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An excerpt from my debut novel, New Dawn:

Dear N.B.,

 Good to find you recovering from this tribulation. This is just a nightmare from which you will convalesce and then don yourself with the same “I-will-kill-you-I.D.” coat. And don’t assume I am lying but as I went through your experience at your grandma’s, I had no idea how as an impulse my eyes filled with water. I can now actually feel the way you dealt with those days.

 You dreaming of your uncle was really emotively tetchy. I guess it is your love that brought you both together in your dream. And just like your uncle’s words, always try to make others happy, make them smile and laugh (including me).

 Your situation made me muse a lot, lot about love these days. Love-a feeling which even though has a designation in the dictionary, can never be expressed with words. This irresistible feeling which I could never clarify, never understand fully (I still have a long way to go I mean…c’mon I’m just 14).

 But people do say that there’s no age to fall in love. Plus, once you attain puberty, you have no control over your hormones- be it growth or gonadotrophins. So probably that isn’t really false. Plus, who said that “fall in love” refers to true love only (maybe it does but mostly in movies). There are many other “love”s available, for instance puppy love which is none but infatuation and you are never too young to be a victim of this. Take my case. I had my first crush when I was an eighth grader (later part of it) a year and half after attainment of puberty.

 I had my first crush in my Chemistry tuition classes. I was never interested in any of the guys available there but this fellow was a new comer. He joined our session mid-term.

It was his first day. Co-incidentally, I was early to my classes, earlier than usual.  As I passed through the main gate, my eyes fell on a fair, thin structure who stood in the corridor. I neared him. He looked at me. We shared glances, then I made my way to the classroom. That’s how I saw him for the first time. I left him unnoticed until my chum, Naina whispered in my ear: “That new boy…did you see him? His smile is so cute”

I dismissed her statement with “C’mon stop starring at him”

 

And needless to say, she did stop starring at him until I had started. That very day, when our classes got over and everybody moved out of the room, Naina and I stayed back to clarify our doubts. The new boy too stayed behind to pay his monthly fee. Our doubts were over fifteen minutes later, till then, the new boy waited near the doorway patiently for us to be done.

“Look at him! Look at him!” Naina cried a panicky, tugging my shoulders as we walked across him.

 

I gave a closer look at his features: tall but thin, fairer than the other guys, dark eyes with high cheek bones, unruffled hair and an evergreen smile on his rose- pink lips. I began observing him. Eventually, I started finding his smile or rather him cute. I decided to have a talk with him, much against my “I-don’t-talk-to-guys” ritual. Probably I wouldn’t have succeeded in my goal had it not been for organic and inorganic chemistry. Naina and I had some doubts regarding the bonding of the functional groups and so did the newbee; not exactly that but some doubts regarding structural formulae.

 

 Naina and I were done soon and waited outside the classroom for our sir. New guy came out and left without any stoppage, not even his doubt partner. I gave Naina a jerk to get her out of her trance as she stood mesmerized by the new bee’s smile. Yeah it’s cute but not that cute…but it’s cute.

‘Bye sir’ she bade on behalf of both of us and we rushed down. New guy was waiting at the resting on the first floor. Prone to his behavior, he stood timidly-as if still debating whether to walk or not.

“Organic chemistry’s cool right?” I said as I took the first step.

“Yeah. Specially the structural formulae” Naina matched.

I glanced at the new dude as he stood behind us.

“What’s your name?” Can’t believe I just did.

“Ro…” he replied.

I could feel my heartbeat acceleration. And as an impulse, my face turned hot.

‘Actually it’s Rohan Aditya Kashyap. But my friends call me Ro so you can call me Ro’ he explained with a grin…a cute grin. So, I was his friend.

By then Naina had fled from the spot, leaving me at the mercy of ‘Ro’.

I tried to flee too.

‘What’s your name?’ it was his turn now

That was probably the first time I had conversed so well with a nutcase. My infatuation increased. However, I knew that all that was going through was just nothing but the action of hormones and its result was a crush. Occasionally, we would talk. Sometimes just a cordial “hi” or “hello”. And sometimes even more. In the mean time, people had started spreading rumors about Rohan liking me and him staring at me during lessons.

I was a little taken aback and wrathful at the thought of being liked by a boy. But a part of me felt okay. Teenage fancy, you see. Gossips had it that Ro was even preparing for a proposal. He had asked someone about my basic instincts and tempers over Facebook and my friends circle was more than gay with the buzz…

– New Dawn, Lets talk about LOVE.

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Let every girl be filled with that might, that valour and strength of the graceful goddess Durga…Happy Durga puja.

hufb

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The Young Saviours

‘We have to save him’

‘Certainly, we must and I swear that if get hold of that goon I’ll give him a good dressing down’

‘but remember, he’s 22yrs elder to you’

‘And still pea brained…what a pity’ 11 yr old Ravi said with a grin.

‘Shh…there he is’ Jonna said pointing to a middle aged man who just sauntered in front of Ravi’s house. The children gazed at him in horror. The man glared back at them, squinted his nose and scowled at them-his over-weight physic depicting the epitome of an addicted drunkard-a rasistance to the society at night.

Jonna pretended a mock smile (as if she was really too happy to see her drunkard neighbor).

Probably this man who now tried to stable himself on his shoes too tried to smile back at them for he had transformed his grimace to an uncanny fashion of his face.

Ravi raised his hand to wave him goodbye then turned to enter his house. But instead, both of them ducked quietly behind a jamun tree to observe this chap’s actions.  And then they watched him smash a glass bottle right in front of the driveway and continued staggering from side to side along the boulevard.

‘Bruno’s in grave danger’ Jonna whispered

Ravi nodded as he resolved in his mind ways to sneak into his neighbor’s yard and rescue Bruno.

‘What now?’ Jonna asked

‘We’ll enter through the back gate which opens up right in front of Bruno’s kennel. We don’t have to open it. We’ll climb over it. Okay listen…’

As soon as Ravi had explained his plan, they heard

‘Let’s go before it’s too late’

They had executed the plan as it was decided.

Bruno lay writhing on the ground-his golden-brown coat smeared with vermillion and sand. His emaciated legs moved in disharmony. His black eyes starred up at the sky, as though it was his style of praying, a dog’s way of expressing his grief.

He yelped as Jonna took him on her lap. ‘Oh you poor thing’ she said brushing her fingers through his fleece, ‘Don’t worry we’re here to set you free’. He let another painful yelp.

And as they tried to trespass out of their

‘Who’s there?’ the drunkard stepped out of the darkness, flashing a torch at his pet and the two teens. ‘What are you two doing here?’ he asked infuriated.

‘We, we came here to rescue your dog’ Ravi replied trying to be brave.

‘Rescue my dog at his own house eh?’ he mocked

‘He’s not happy here’

‘Oh really? He’s absolutely happy here. Now get out and go to sleep. It’s late’

‘We’re taking Bruno along with us’

‘My dog doesn’t have a name. and besides he’s a part of my property’

‘Now he does have a name and he isn’t just a part of your property. He was meant to be your friend and to be given that right. But you torture him and abuse him after your alcohol pangs’

‘You mean with this’ he said helding his belt high, ‘If I wish I can do the same with you’

‘Listen, we didn’t come here to fight with you’ Jonna intervened ‘All we want is Bruno to be given real love and care’

‘He gets so’ Bruno’s owner replied

‘You don’t feed him well. You don’t pay any heed to him. Then why don’t you let us adopt him?’ Ravi asked agitated.

‘You didn’t buy him right. I bought him. So I won’ let anyone else have him for free’

‘So it’s all about money then’ Ravi clarified ‘Well then, what’s his M.R.P.?’

‘I bought him for 10,000 bucks’

‘Look at his condition first. We won’t even pay you 8000. 5000 and be done with that’

The drunk gave a thoughtful look.

‘Agreed. But I need the money in cash’

‘Deal’

Rhea and Rahul each contributed 3000 bucks from their savings to buy Bruno back from his estranged owner.

Nowadays, Bruno is seen playing in Rahul’s courtyard or being fed biscuits in Rhea’s porch. According to them, that was the best spent 3000 bucks of their life.

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image-1390323555_happy_womens_day_2014_wallpaper

The one that can change

For you I am a girl

A woman with no worth.

For you I am a server

The bearer of your wrath.

Since the days of Ramayana and Mahabharata

My dignity has been nothing

But man’s desires and yearning.

O’ man of narrow minds,

Don’t forget that you were born

Born from a lady’s womb.

Dare to elude the pain she had undergone

Her sacrifices for you alone.

 Remember Goddess Durga

The epitome of strength.

And that you pray to Lakshmi

The provider of your wealth.

The little knowledge; not wisdom you have

Is nothing but Saraswati’s grace.

Yet you never saw me

With a respectful eye.

And yet you never thought

About the dreams of my life.

But now I have a voice

A voice to retaliate.

And I stand against injustice.

With my head held high:

‘I am a woman

The symbol of tolerance.

I am a woman

The giver of life.

The embodiment of strength

Fortitude and  placidness.

I am a woman

One of the goddesses’ kind.

The one who can change

I am that power and might.’

1390926433_womens_day_2014_wallpaper

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For you I am a girl

A woman with no worth.

For you I am a server

The bearer of your wrath.

Since the day of Ramayana and Mahabharata

My dignity has been nothing

But man’s desire and yearning.

O man of narrow minds,

Don’t forget that you were born

Born from a lady’s womb.

Dare to elude the pain she had undergone

Her sacrifices for you alone.

 Remember Goddess Durga

The epitome of strength.

And that you pray to Lakshmi

The provider of your wealth.

The little knowledge; not wisdom you have

Is nothing but Saraswati’s grace.

Yet you never saw me

With a respectful eye.

And yet you never thought

About the dreams of my life.

But now I have a voice

A voice to retaliate.

And I stand against injustice.

With my head held high:

‘I am a woman

The symbol of tolerance.

I am a woman

The giver of life.

The embodiment of strength

Fortitude and  placidness.

I am a woman

One of the goddesses’ kind.

The one who can change

I am that power and might.’

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It was a Sunday morning; an as usual Sunday morning. I casually sat in the park, enjoying the sight of many young and old that came for evening walks or to work out their fats.  ‘My fats will never burn even if I do hundred push-ups a day’ I thought. My eyes scanned the entire area-greenery amongst concrete. That is when I spotted this girl- Niharika. I didn’t know her then though she was my neighbor  She came with her mother, clasping her mother’s hand like a tiny tot at my age. At first it seemed a bit amusing. Her mother led her to a nearby bench- made her sit and she left to join her friends circle. She sat there, her head turning from left to right. Her hanky slipped down. She didn’t notice that. I guess she was busy in her own world. So, I duly went and picked it up.  I think she ignored me too.

“Excuse me, you’re hanky” I said, as politely as etiquette demands. She held out her hand in response. I sat beside her. She had beautiful brown eyes that matched well with her fair complexion.

“Hello-”, I began, “I’m Tania. What’s your name?”

“I don’t talk with strangers” she retorted looking away from me

“We can be friends…”

She sat still. As if I was akin to any other abiotic component. My touchy nature would not let me forget and forgive this insult (not exactly one). ‘Do what you want! Sit alone in this park and I don’t care!’  My mind hauled over the coals.

Days flew by. And contrary to what I had stated earlier, that incident faded away gradually.

It was a social gathering held in one of our neighbor’s house. I had no interest in visiting such parties. But that day, the extent to which my sister pissed me was at its utmost limit and she was successful in removing the ‘unsocial’ tag from me.

The house was so cramped up. I wonder why ladies held such activities in their miniature bungalows in no other attempt but to showcase their affluence. And comically there was no trace of mosquitoes while it was a rainy day. How will they survive if they get in?

I sat in one of the corners alone for a few minutes until my chum came over.

“Hey, how’s on?”  , she asked

“Fine. School’s hectic although” I replied.

As we were in the middle of our conversation, that ‘I-don’t-talk-with-strangers’ girl entered. As usually, she was accompanied by her mother. She was donned in an oblong yellow dress. How weird.

“Poor girl” my chum sympathized

“Poor? Doesn’t seem so.”

“Not in that way but…she’s blind”

That was the shock of my life. She was blind. Whatever she did, the way she behaved, what she wore had only one reason behind them-the fact that she was blind. She had beautiful eyes which didn’t serve their actual purpose. She didn’t even know how she looked. She never saw and could not see this beautiful but cruel world. She was BLIND. I suppose that was the worst irregular conjugation I had and will ever make in my life. That day was a turning point, a vantage point to check my judgments.

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