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Coming To Terms
If only resolving things were easy! thought Aryan Ahuja. In his lifetime of dealing with law suits, he had come across several cases where people almost won the case and then lost it hands down just because a witness had turned hostile.
Here was a case he had tried solving for years. Here was a family he had attempted hard to unite. And yet, he had failed. Even though there were more opportunities for him to reach out and resolve matters, he had been unable to get a little family to unite in harmony.
Have I really lost it? Who was I trying to fool? This was no case. This was life itself. Here was a little girl sleeping on the bed. All that she had wanted was that her Papa and Mamma never ever fight. But, did they ever think of her whenever they allowed their negative emotions let loose? Today, none of them had won the case – not Shekhar, not Tara, not Roohi….And of course, not Ahuja himself.
“Mamma. Mamma” muttered Roohi in her sleep.
Ahuja, sitting next to her on a wooden chair touched her head and whispered, “Sleep my child. Sleep. Your Mamma will be fine.”
Disturbed by the unfamiliar touch Roohi woke up. “Where is Papa?” she demanded. “I want to see Mamma.”
“I will take you there Roohi.”
“I want to go NOW!”
“Your Papa will call and then we can go.”
“No! No! I want to go” Roohi threw aside the sheet covering her and made an attempt to run.
Ahuja caught her in his arms and clutching both her arms tightly said, “Listen to me Roohi. You can go only after your father calls. How will your mother recover if you behave like this?”
The reprimanding did the job and Roohi slumped into the chair.
“Ok Uncle” she said softly.
Trring. Trrring. Trrrring.
“Haan Ahujaji. Please bring Roohi to the hospital.”
“Theek hai Shekhar. I shall bring her. How is Tara by the way? Has her health improved? What did the doctors say?”
“Not very positive news. I shall tell you when you come there.”
Tara’s sparkling white bed was surrounded by doctors and nurses in equally white coats and dresses. The entire room looked like a sea of white colours except for the patient dressed in a blue gown. Tara’s eyes were closed. Unlike her usual charming, aggressive self, the person that lay before the medical fraternity was a weak, vulnerable body breathing slowly with the help of a ventilator. Shekhar was seated outside the ICU fully aware that the doctors were doing their best. But, would he and Tara get a second chance together, he wondered.
“Papa!” Roohi came running towards her father.
Shekhar hugged his little daughter wondering how he could ever compensate for all the discomfort and pain that Roohi was going through.
Ahuja watched from afar. He knew how much Shekhar and Roohi meant to each other. He also knew that Shekhar and Roohi were here for Tara only because they loved her, imperfections and all. He left them alone and walked towards the hospital canteen to get Shekhar something to eat. From the looks of him, he did not look as if he had eaten at all.
When Ahuja came back with the snacks he shocked to see Shekhar shouting frantically at the doctors and nurses.
He rushed towards the crowd.
“I am Shekhar’s friend. What is the problem Doctor” he said addressing to the Doctor.
“Then, please control your friend. There is only this much that a doctor can do. After that it depends on how fast the patient recovers and of course, one’s belief and prayers.”
“But, what is the matter Doctor” asked an equally agitated Ahuja. Here was Shekhar terribly upset and out of control, Roohi was sitting on the bench crying and the doctors were speaking in riddles!
“Well, it looks like it will take a while for the patient to recover. The body is recovering from the accident but the brain seems to be in a state of eh…eh non acceptance.
“Oh! By that do you mean ‘coma?’
“Not exactly…but it could turn into that if the patient does not gain consciousness. She is under some kind of shock and is not coming out it.”
“How long will it take for the patient to regain consciousness?”
“That is the tricky part. We cannot predict that.”
“So, for how long should she be here in the hospital?”
“Once, she is able to breathe on her own; she will be able recover consciousness. After that the patient can be discharged.”
Days passed into weeks. It now became a regular feature for Roohi to get down from the school bus and go straight to Ahuja’s house. Shekhar would come home to wash, change and have something to eat, usually at Ahuja’s place. During those times, he would confide in Ahuja about the mistakes he had committed, about taking life too lightly or too seriously at times. Those were the times when Ahuja and he would bond like long lost friends. How much it helped Shekhar, this Ahuja could not make out but this much he understood that it made Shekhar more calmer and more hopeful. And after that, he would rush back to the hospital. Ahuja would bring Roohi to see her unconscious mother during visiting hours and then, take her back home.
One fine day, when Shekhar was sitting next to Tara, he saw her fingers move – a small movement but it certainly did take place. The nurse and then the doctor were duly informed. It was indeed a kind of improvement.
Tara is going to come back. My Tara.
Mamma is coming home.
The family will be one at last.
Positive cheerful thoughts running in the minds of Shekhar, Roohi and Ahuja. But, would it really happen? Was life so generous as to forgive past errors and grant an empty blackboard to start afresh?
Tara opened her eyes. Shekhar was seated on one side of the bed. Roohi on the other side. Her family was there for her. What else mattered!
I will start afresh. I will forget the past. Of what use is success if it meant breaking up the very home that she had helped built up from scratch? Of what use is a perfect man if it meant being unfaithful with her imperfect husband? Of what use was material satisfaction if it meant not being able to spend time with her baby Roohi? She was not perfect either! Thinking all this, Tara smiled and went back to sleep…..hoping to wake up in a world that was peaceful and loving….
( Read the next part of the story HERE)
TEAM NAME: QISSA
(Read the previous part of the Story HERE)
Making a Difference
AMAZED at the kind of information he could collect, store and use in his brain just by walking around in his neighbourhood, appearing harmless made him marvel at his own abilities.
‘I was born to be. I was born to do this and only this’ he would often mumble to himself whenever he succeeded in proving himself right or probing into matters in not exactly the legal way!
He was all ears like the street dog vigilant at night to foresee any threat. Lawyer Aryan Ahuja had made it his life’s mission to find out what was going on in the lives of other people. Enslaved by habit, embedded in every cell of his being was a trait installed by the profession he so ardently practised. Being a lawyer was no ordinary job for Ahuja. It was life itself.
And when, there were neighbours like the Duttas whose house witnessed quarrels, enraged walk outs, slamming of doors and the zooming away of cars, there was no way that Ahuja could sit still.
Wheat complexioned with a prominent black mole just above his left upper lip, his thick eyebrows always screwed up as if pondering about something serious, Ahuja was the epitome of discontent and discomfort. He was not happy with the ways of the world and felt that most of the crimes could be reduced or done away with if only there was more harmony within families. Unfortunately, this was not something that could be practised at the drop of a pin. Painfully aware that cleaning society of its evils could not be wished for, it had to be worked for, Ahuja carried on his lonely path. Lonely because his very own family could not come up to his near perfect expectations and had to be left behind. Or, had they left him behind and gone ahead?
Whenever Ahuja saw Roohi, he was reminded of his own daughter who would have been more or less her age. Maybe, his daughter was leading a happy life without him and his strenuous schedules, but he could not say the same of Roohi who he spotted every other day sitting with her doll or drawing book in the neighbouring park. The Duttas had settled down in this plush neighbourhood almost 5-7 years back and a lot had changed over the years, Ahuja observed.
While earlier the Duttas family used to go out together, the happy family lifestyle had now trickled down to a tiny stream that flowed against the gushing speed of a fast advancing materialistic and instant-satisfaction attitude. The Duttas, it seemed had clearly lost out in the war of life!
But, Ahuja was not one to give up. Much as he longed to comfort the little girl, he knew that he was treading on dangerous territory. Like just the other day, when he managed to smile at Roohi when he was in the neighbouring park.
“Hello Roohi beta. What are you doing with a drawing book? Is it yours?”
“Yes Ahuja Uncle. It is MY drawing book. Do you want to see?”
“Yes. Yes. Why not? Let’s sit on the bench.”
Very carefully she opened her book and showed the first page of her book. Filled with colourful flowers, mountains and the bright yellow sun, the drawing was everything a little girl happy with herself would draw. But, as the pages kept turning over, the colour of the sketches began fading. Dull colours had now replaced the bright ones. And nature seemed to have no place now.
It was the last page that he was seeing.
“This is my house,” she was saying to him.
“This is my Papa. And this is my Mamma” she pointed to two stick like figures seated at two opposite ends.
“Why are they sitting so far beta? How can they talk and hear each other?”
Roohi began chewing on her thumbnail nervously. “Uncle, don’t tell anyone. They are sitting so far because whenever I make them sit close by they begin fighting.”
Just then, Tara Dutta walked briskly into the park. Even at his age, Ahuja could appreciate charm when he saw it. And, Roohi’s mother WAS charming.
‘But then, why was she coming here? She never takes a walk here. For her it was always office, car and the house’ Ahuja wondered.
And before he could even register anything, Tara had picked up the drawing book, had a look at the sketch, given an angry stare to Roohi and marched away with Roohi and the book.
Was life always going to be like this? A struggle to smile? A battle to find love. A conflict to live life happily? Aryan Ahuja thought and walked back home, his trudge comical with his bent back curly grey hair and yet so ironical for within it lay the answers to the conflicts of others.
( Read the next part of the story HERE)
“I can feel the smooth fabric of the garrote around my neck. I grasp both ends and gently pull. Oh, yes….I can feel the compression. A little more pressure and I’m gasping for breath. I’m about to black out as I release the garrote and allow myself to breathe once again, allowing myself back from the brink of darkness.”
Private India was one of the last books I had received for reviewing before I left for Madurai. After having lived for long in a city that had been home to me for ages, leaving Chennai was like slicing a part of my heart. But, then, we never know why a city beckons us. And the same I would say of a book. Why does a book attract us in the first place? Is it the storyline? Is it the author? Or, is it an ardent desire to just plunge into the unknown?
My reasons for wanting to read and review PRIVATE INDIA were many.
Firstly, it was a Ashwin Sanghi book. Having read and reviewed almost all of his books, I just couldn’t miss out on his latest novel.
Secondly, I really appreciate his style of writing and the research that goes into each and every novel of his.
Thirdly, I hadn’t read James Patterson before although I had heard of him. And, here was an offer to read a combination of two of the finest authors today. So, the story plot was bound to be interesting!
PLOT: A series of murders are taking place in Mumbai city. And each time, the murderer is leaving behind a clue. The clues in themselves are strange objects that appear to be carefully placed near or on the corpse. Could it be some mysterious ritual that the murderer is participating in? If so, then what IS it?
‘Santosh Wagh, the head of Private India, the Mumbai branch of the world’s finest investigation agency’ is the protagonist of the novel. He is racing against time to stop the killer from killing again and again. But, can he succeed when there is no idea at all about the murderer who seems to be a strange serial killer out to destroy people.
“I drop the eggs into the scalding-hot water. Do you like water? I used to hate it but now I love it. You know why? Because if you hold someone’s head in a tub of water, you can stop their breathing. Like a garrote, water is also a murder weapon. Be it a rumaal, a tub of water, or a pillow – they are all switches. Flick the switch and you can turn life into death.”
But is it just that? Or is there something more sinister in the whole episode of murder and killing? Could a terrorist attack be related to it?
To me, Santosh Wagh the detective appears more like Dr. House (the medical serial) limping with his cane, fully aware of being a genius. Here too, in the novel, Santosh Wagh is fully aware of is ingenuity in solving mysteries that nobody else can and just like Dr House, he builds up a wall of self defense for the lack of emotional back-up from loved ones.
The book is a combination of politics, prostitution, hypocrisy and defeated ambitions. The combination of both the authors has resulted in a racy novel and reads like an excellent thriller. Having said that, I would have still preferred to read Ashwin Sanghi as the sole author of the book.
“There are no mistakes in my profession, sir,” replied the blacksmith, sweat trickling down his face. “Unlike a piece of wood which can turn out too short when you cut it, if a piece of metal is botched, we simply wait, reheat, and give it another go. There are always second chances – both in metal and in men.”
Title: Private India
Authors: Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson
Publication: Random House
This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!
Setting The Stage
It isn’t always easy to shoot little children, thought Jennifer as she took off the sling camera hanging around her neck. But then, once the photo session is done and the picture finally appears on film, it is a real pleasure!
Having had enough of her shooting little children with her creative weapon, the camera, Jennifer had called it a day. She was back in her very own nest where she could relax and be just herself. Not that she wasn’t like that outside, but then, despite being her very own person, there were certain pretences that had to be kept up with, since she was part of a society that seemed to have no better work than probe, pry and push one into conforming….something that really disgusted her!
The cold water shower really soothed her tired and exhausted nerves. It was in the shower that she could rewind her thoughts and brush dark reflections away. For an outsider, the water dripping down her dusky body only seemed to make her more sensuous than she actually was. The tattoo on her right hand on the forearm also seemed to want to wash away a past that still lingered behind and lived in a corner of her heart. Just like the colors of her tattoo which could be scrubbed but not washed away, her thoughts flashbacked into time where the fragrance of a past was still fresh and just refused to fade away.
Getting into her comfortable long white tees, Jennifer lazed around and had her dinner of salad, fried fish and a glass of wine. Fish was something she just could not do without; it reminded her of her grandmother’s cooking. With some wine still lingering behind in the glass she carried it to the bedroom and sat down on the bed with her laptop. Of late, she had been surfing blogs. It seemed a nice past time, reading the inner thoughts of strangers. As she surfed along from blog to blog, she suddenly came across a blog titled, Cyrus(Serious) Thoughts. Let me have a look, she thought. The design template seemed less ornamental and flashy like the innumerable others that she had read so far.
Before Jennifer could realize it, the wine in her glass was long forgotten and she was reading post after post of the writer Cyrus. It was well past midnight and she was still plunging into the archives of Cyrus (Serious) Thoughts. What is it that is making me want to read more and more of Cyrus’ writings, she wondered. And then, presto! It struck her why she had been so absorbed reading the innumerable blog posts of Cyrus. He reminded her of Shekhar! His writings reflected the style of Shekhar and his thoughts. A link to her past that she so desperately wanted to forget. Memories that only brought her hurt and regret, pleasure and pain.
It was 5.30am in the morning in Mumbai and Shekhar was already up with his cup of coffee. He strolled around in the lawn, and soaked in the fresh feel of a day commencing. Those were the moments when his mind was strewn with the seeds of new ideas. By the time the coffee had warmed his throat and activated his grey cells he was back at his study table, ready to begin his day of creativity.
Tara was a late riser quite unlike her husband. Putting on the light green housecoat over her noodle strapped transparent night gown, she moved to the kitchen to get her cup of tea. While the tea brewed she opened the front door to get in the newspapers for the day. Like always, she and Shekhar preferred to read different newspapers. As she settled down with The Times of India and tea for company, she opened to Page 3 to know about the latest in social updates and then, it was back to media news related to marketing and advertising. Any other news appeared just too insignificant to her.
Roohi was the last to wake up in the household. The apple of her father’s eye, Roohi was the reason the house was filled with life. Roohi walked into the drawing room and wished her mother, “Good Morning Mamma.” Planting an affectionate kiss on her little head, Tara continued reading the newspaper even as she asked the maid to get Rooh
i ready for school.
Realizing that Mamma was busy Roohi walked into Shekhar’s study and put her little palms on Shekhar’s eyes, “Guess who is it?”
Aware of her touch, Shekhar’s fingers stopped beating an age old typewriter that despite the technological advancement in the world hadn’t turned into a laptop or desktop and he played along with her.
“Is it Mahima?”
“Is it Juhi?”
“Then, it surely must be Bacon”
“Oh Papa. How can it be Bacon? He has four paws. And these are two hands.” Saying this she jumped around, “It’s me Papa, Roohi. You lost again!”
“Oh beta. For you I will lose any number of times” saying which Shekhar placed Roohi on his table.
“So, is my pretty girl going to school today?”
“I don’t want to Papa but I have to.”
“That’s a good girl. Then hurry along. Get ready.”
Each one busy preparing for their own day, hoping that the day would bring happiness, success and contentment. But would it?
Today, Chennai is celebrating its 375th anniversary. Just imagine! 375 glorious years of Chennai! Almost 4 wonderful centuries of a city that has grown in leaps and bounds….Not to mention that it has not outgrown its beautiful traditional culture. And therein, lies the charm of the city Madras now, Chennai that attracts people far and wide. Those living in Chennai will vouch for the wonderful flavour of the city – a unique combination of the ancient and the modern, the old and the new and still growing strong despite all challenges that any city faces in today’s fast moving world.
To celebrate this momentous day, the Madras based conglomerate, Murugappa Group have come out with a tribute song on the occasion of the 375th Anniversary of Madras. It has been shot across locations like Krishna Atluri Rao & Hotel Broadlands, Chamiers Cafe, Sharif Dance Company, Shelter beach resorts, ECR Sundari Silks, Grand Sweets and Snacks, Adyar, Kalakshetra, Vadapalani Murugan Temple, Kasi Vinayagam mess, Triplicane, Dreams Come True, Prince Plaza, Tanmay Thakker, Sindhuri S.
“PUDICHCHA CUTOUT, PUDIKKALENA GET OUT” the anthem for #Madras is here.
(Love it, get a cut out. If you don’t, just get out!)
Yasmin Ponapapa , the actress from the movie Aaranya Kaandam is the one introducing you to the charm of Chennai. She is spontaneous, careless carefree and dives into the pleasures of living in Chennai beautifully wanting you to do the same. Oblivious of passersby as she carries on her shoot, she is a pleasure to watch as we get to perceive the city through her eyes….
The concept is catchy and spontaneous… The Madras Song has been written and directed by Vijay Prabakaran while the music has been directed by Vishal Chandrashekhar. Lyricist Subu has given that Chennai angle and twist to the song while Shakthishree Gopalan has sung the song with ease. Cinematographers GVS Raju & Imran Ahmedh KR present the picture in the most aesthetic manner that appeals to the young and the old generations.
Executive Producer: Krishna Ramkumar ,Associate Director: Swathi Raghuraaman, Assistant Directors: Meera.Karthik, Keerthi Raju, Production Assistant:RM Ramesh kumar, Camera Assistant: Baskar, Post Production: Red Studio, Editor: Vijay Prabakaran and Colorist: Madan form rest of the Credits Team for THE MADRAS SONG.
The Logo Design is by Hakuhodo Percept, Chennai and the album has been produced by The Murugappa Group
The experience of a girl who is clearly not from Chennai who is stuck here for 3 days and who falls in love with Madras at the end of it is the essence of this lovely video .
A creative and heart felt tribute to the city that has welcomed so many people of diverse communities and cultures in its fold.
Do have a look at the video and enjoy the charm of beautiful, gracious and loving Chennai city.
HAPPY MADRAS DAY ALL!
So, we finally have it all. The black campaign, the intense marketing, the suspense in it all. And I almost missed it in my apprehension to know what it was all about. Many of my friends were intrigued as to what I was upto. What is it just a prank? Or, was I going to come up with something new in the market? A new review?
So, dear friends….
And finally, on the final day of revelation so to say, we discover the real product…..It is yes, you guessed it right. I know. I know, you can see the picture down!!!! It is a toothbrush…
So, what is so very different in this toothbrush from other toothbrushes? you might ask. Well, for one, the bristles of the toothbrush are not entirely white or multi-coloured. They are fully (yes, you guessed right!) Black! And, adding to this is (according to the company), the black bristles are infused with charcoal that helps remove plaque bacteria and can effortlessly reach tight spaces between teeth and along the gum line that other toothbrushes can’t.
So, now you have it all. A black toothbrush from a branded company that costs only Rs. 60. Quite affordable for a toothbrush that boasts of the qualities mentioned above…don’t you think?
And, what a marketing attitude in spreading the news about the slim, elegant and seductive Colgate toothbrush!!
A great way to promote a commercial product in the competitive market. It was great fun in trying to decipher what the actual product would be….
Even the sole black fish in my aquarium seemed to wonder #WHAT THE BLACK!!
Day 3 and there is another black box at my door again. I am just itching to open the box and find out what is there inside.
‘Day 3′ the box states and I open the box to find a :
So, is the final product going to be connected with something to eat or drink? I wonder.
Will it be some extraordinary kind of drink or maybe, a different kind of coffee?
#WHAT THE BLACK!
All I can do is just guess. Or, like they say, my guess is as good as yours. Or maybe, your guess could be even better. That’s why I suggest you put on your guessing hats and you can drop in some ideas in my inbox too so that I can be ready to expect something like you suggest.
Till then, we have to wait for Day4 which will be the day of revelation when we shall finally discover what it is going to be all about……
Until then, be good and keep guessing!
It was nearing late evening, and I had still not received the Day 2 surprise for #What The Black!
Gosh! Was not getting anything part of the surprise, I wondered. Finally, when we were preparing for an early go-to-sleep process, (locking the doors, switching off the lights, etc) the door bell rang!
Oh! Lord! Who was it at this hour in the night? Was something wrong somewhere? Grudgingly I unlatched the door and found a man with a black newspaper in hand asking for me. For once, I was like, What the *%$#.
Then, I realized that it was the Day 2 surprise of #WHAT THE BLACK!
Yes! A black newspaper. So, black was in town once again….
My son was already asleep. My husband was too tired to even register anything.
I found the whole process of reading a black newspaper intriguing…. Finally black was getting its due, I thought.
But, how was a black newspaper connected with #What The Black?
Yesterday, it was a black egg. Today, a black newspaper….. What would tomorrow bring?
No idea at all…. What do you think?
What kind of project is being launched in the market?
Is this going to be a hi-funda promotion marketing?
No idea. Just counting the days. Not my days silly. The days until I receive the final product which of course I shall share with you.
Till then, let’s just keep guessing, while others keep reading The Black Times…..Have to keep abreast of black sorry, current matters you see!
#WHAT THE BLACK is an activity that BlogAdda has innovatively come up with. Nothing less can be expected from a website that keeps striving to become more interesting and involving to bloggers and readers all over the world!
On Day1 on 3oth July 2014, I received a box late in the evening. A little black box that promised a lot with the black shade of the box hiding more than revealing any thing. Curious as I was about unwrapping it, I let it absorb the vibrations of my home while I freshened up.
And then, when I opened the little black ribbon I dipped my hand inside the mysterious black box to find an egg shaped dome. My son was really edgy now.Unknowingly to him, I too was curious.
What can it be?
Can I break the egg, he asked impatiently?
Is it a chocolate?
Is it a toy? Innumerable queries but no answers as of now. Except some guesses.
Yes! A Black Egg it was. And I wondered, #What the Black!!
WHAT DO YOU THINK? WHAT COULD IT BE?
The colour black has always intrigued me. More so for the fact that this beautiful shade hides within it innumerable other colours invisible to the naked eye. I realized this the moment I stepped into my teens and began experimenting with colours, dabbling in paint or trying out different coloured dresses. In fact, you will not believe it that when my mother and I went out shopping to Benares city (that’s where I come from) then, a black embroidered Benarasi silk saree with golden zaree on it is what caught my eye and I insisted on buying it despite my mother saying that ‘kaala shaadi ke liye shubh nahi hotha.” My mother bought the saree for me on the condition that I would not ‘stupidly’ wear it for my wedding or the reception.
About the 5 Black Things on my wishlist:
Third on my list is a black Persian Cat. Something about the cat is mysterious….https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/237/444466302_6b48d6c973.jpg
Fourth on my list is a black gown that I can carry off on my not-so-model-like figure with contrasting pearls to match as accessories.https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7144/6429491821_627999b307_z.jpg
And finally, fifth on my list is to see a slimmer hubby dear in a smart black tuxedo.http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2916/14236094172_346db97690_m.jpg
Not much to ask from life… is it!!!