Enough (Chapter 5)

This story is part of a novella – A girl was born

Do check out the first and the subsequent chapters – https://firsttimemommy.net/category/a-z-blogging-challenge-2018/

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Everybody Tara knew had ambitions; one friend wanted to work for a multinational bank, while another wanted to teach. And one friend just wanted to marry an NRI and live in the US or UK. Even Tara had an ambition. She wanted to be a mother. She knew she could be a wonderful mother.

Her friends asked her, “But what’s so special about being a mother!”

She told them, “Whatever we are today, we owe it to our mother. She works hard, she protects us and sacrifices her ambitions and desires so that she can see us grow. She gives children values. She is the force behind the society. I want to be one such mother.”

Her friends didn’t understand her, but she didn’t care much. She was focused – she wanted to be a mother, and for that she had to find a suitable man first.

Her father was more than happy to oblige. He was from a family where girls married early. Her brothers’ daughters were long married. He was already at the receiving end of his family’s taunts as he had yet not started looking for a prospective groom for Tara.

Tara met the first suitor. She was very excited. Wearing a pretty strawberry pink sari, she welcomed the suitor and his family. She served everyone tea and snacks. And then the man and Tara were left alone in the room to talk. She waited for some time for the person to initiate a conversation. But he didn’t. He kept his head down and refused to even look at her. Tired of waiting, she took the matters in her hand.

“Do you like to read books?” It was a harmless question and if he replied in positive, she knew they would have much to talk to.

“Books??” He smirked. “I don’t even get time to read the newspaper. It’s only work, work and more work for me.”

Tara’s smile froze. She had nothing against workaholics, they were nice people, but they were not for her. She wanted a husband who was more than a guest in his house, who went for grocery shopping with her and who helped her raise the kids.

She refused the proposal.

A few days later another proposal came for her. This boy was completely opposite to the first one. He talked without taking a pause. Tara couldn’t even get a word in edgewise. She wanted a husband, not a chatterbox. It didn’t look nice when men talked so much.

Disappointed with the kind of men she was meeting, she told her parents, “I don’t want to marry anymore.” They were shocked but thought she would come around in sometime.

Would Tara ever come around?? Come tomorrow to read Face in the crowd


Dangerous age

This story is part of a novella – A girl was born

Do check out the first chapter – https://firsttimemommy.net/2018/04/01/a-girl-was-born/

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Tara was soon a teenager. Her body had blossomed and she looked like a little lady. And, like most teenagers, she too had acne problem.

Most of her time was consumed in looking into the mirror and groaning aloud when she found a new pimple. But, stubborn acne was not her only problem. Like most teenagers, Tara was undergoing a hormonal change. The boys who till last year were only boys, classmates or friends suddenly appeared different. She didn’t know what was happening to her. On talking with her girlfriends, she realized she was not alone and that they were undergoing the same symptoms. Girls loved talking about boys, dreaming about their prince charmings and playing the Ouija board what the future lay in store for them.

But while many of Tara’s friends had secret affairs with the boys, Tara remained unattached. Until she entered college. Tara soon fell for a boy, two years her senior. While entering and leaving the college and during breaks, her eyes searched for him. But, she never mustered up confidence to go talk to him. It was a case of silent affection, from her side. On the other side, the fellow didn’t even know Tara existed, let alone know that she was crazy for him.

Soon the year was up, and the boy graduated from college. Tara never saw him again. And within a few weeks, she forgot all about him.

A year or so after, Tara found another person. She met him through a mutual friend, and she liked him instantly. He was three years her senior, confident and looked wise, unlike the college lads who she found too much into themselves and immature. He was tall, dark and handsome; a scarce community she was given to believe by the romantic-erotic novels that she had read growing up.

But, before she could profess her feelings to him, she found out that there was someone else in the picture too. He was in love with another girl, who didn’t care about him, but had him wrapped by her little finger nonetheless. Tara waited a better part of a year for him to understand that the girl was just using her. But, boys could be so obtuse sometimes, even when things were glaring right in their eye. Tara sound realized the hopelessness of the situation, and thought it was wiser to unattach her feelings.

Will the right man come along? Find out in the next chapter – Enough!!

Cacophony in the neighborhood (chapter 3)

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Image: Pexels

This chapter is the part of my story – A girl was born. Do read the previous two chapters to understand the premise – https://firsttimemommy.net/2018/04/01/a-girl-was-born/

Tara’s father developed business interests in Gujarat, so they moved to Ahmedabad when Tara was a little girl. Her grandparents chose to stay back. Her grandmother was very attached to her house. She said, “she came to this house as a bride, and she would leave it upon her death.”

Tara didn’t remember if it was tough for her to adjust to a new life. She was too small. The neighborhood was quiet, clean and spacious, unlike the narrow, filthy gullies of old Delhi. But, she missed her old house. She missed the sweet smell of jaggary and sesame seeds from the gajjak shop, the pigeons on the terrace and the chatwala. Not for long though. Kids have short memories.

She loved the new house with a huge garden and big trees that she climbed with her new friends. When she was not hiding in the closet, Tara was busy being the leader of the gang and indulging in innocent mischief. Every day she came up with a new play idea. One day she would be making a small temple out of bricks that she and her friends found at the nearby construction site and they would light incense sticks borrowed from home, do puja religiously and offer prasaad. The next day, she would be taking the entire gang of kids to the general stores and buy all of them candies.

“Khate mein likh dena.” She would ask the store owner. At the end of the month, her father was shocked to know that his daughter’s monthly chocolate consumption was in three figures (quite a lot for that time). Her rights to order chocolate at the store were henceforth revoked.

She loved imli and often climbed the tamarind tree to get the fruit. There was also a neem tree in the backyard, which she climbed to break its branches and offered them to the old beggar woman who stood outside their house twice a week. Tara had seen the night watchman collecting fallen sticks and keeping himself warm at night by lighting them up. It was winter and she was sure the beggar woman didn’t have a house or blanket to keep herself warm in the cold winter nights of Ahmedabad.

Staying in Ahmedabad had its perks. Every school holidays, they visited Delhi to meet their grandparents and cousins. As Tara became older, she visited Delhi even without her parents. She loved her cousin sisters. They were elder, wiser and wittier. Tara was in complete awe of them.

One day, Tara was taking a bath with her cousins. As she was putting soap on her body, she observed that both her cousins’ complexion was similar to hers. They were dark. This made Tara think. Her aunt loved Tara like her own daughter, her two daughters looked more like Tara than her own mother’s other children did.

When she was born to her aunt who already had two daughters, her grandmother was very upset. She decided to give Tara to her other daughter in law, who didn’t have any kids of her own yet.

A kid’s mind could be wonderfully fertile. Her imagination ran away with her and she was convinced that her parents were not her real parents. She was the daughter of her aunt and sister of her cousins. If only she had confirmed with her parents, she could have saved much of the heart break.

But Tara was different

This chapter is a part of the novella – A girl was born under the theme Yesterday Today Tomorrow. Here’s the first chapter – https://firsttimemommy.net/2018/04/01/a-girl-was-born/

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While she loved the evenings, she hated the mornings. In the morning, her granny massaged her with chick pea flour and cream. She rubbed her hard to remove the excessive hair on her body, particularly moustache and chin. And, also to make her complexion “a little whiter”. Her parents were fair complexioned and very good looking. And it bothered her grandmother that Tara was not.

“Don’t know after whom she has taken?” She complained and massaged her harder that made Tara cry.

Her poor mother pleaded with her grandmother to stop with her massage, and the old lady finally gave in to her mother’s tears. Now, every time Tara visited a beauty parlour, she cursed her mother.

Three years later, her sister was born. Very fair, very beautiful. And then two years later, her brother was born. Rose pink complexion.

She never realized that she was different until that one day when she was 7 years old, she overheard one of her mother’s friends saying, “She is quite dark for your family. Though her features are nice, you might have trouble marrying her off.” She didn’t wait for her mother’s reply. Immediately, she ran to her cupboard that had mirrors on the inside of both its doors.

She looked in the mirror. She had never really paid attention to the mirror before. She looked at her face closely. It looked just the same the same. But, something arrested her eye.

She was dark. Yes. But she never gave it any thought until now. How did it make her different from her family?

That night at dinner, she looked closely at her brother and sister. Her sister looked quite like her. Except her skin colour. She was fair. Many shades fairer than her. She looked at her brother then. Though he was not as fair as the other sister, he was still fairer than her. Then her eyes fell on her mother’s skin. She was so fair, and so was her father. She was the odd one out. The dark one.

Though she didn’t want to get married at 7, and didn’t know what marriage was, she knew one thing, that she was lacking something that was important to so many people in this world around her.

That night, she sat in the cupboard and quietly closed the doors. And in the small, dark and confined space, she sobbed. What she was crying for, she did not know. But, she was hurt. For the very first time she realized she was different from her family.

After her tears were spent, she realized it was stuffy in the cupboard. She opened up the doors a little bit, just a tiny bit to let the air come in. She checked her face in the door mirrors, her eyes were red and swollen.

The cupboard became her favourite hiding spot for many years to come, whenever she wanted to cry or spend some time alone. Till the day she could fit in no longer. Till the day, she realized she could cry in the bathroom as well. It was bigger, spacious and airy. And, she could easily drown the sound of her sobs in there as long as she kept the tap on.

So, in total filmy style she cried “Why me? Why have you made me so different? Why couldn’t I be fair like my family?”

Things changed for the better in movies. But, for her, nothing changed. She was still the same dark complexioned the next day and the day after then.

But, one thing changed. Her attitude towards her family. She had a very strong suspicion that she had been swapped at the hospital with another baby.

Just one more day for the 3rd chapter in the series…

A girl was born

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                                 A busy street of Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi                                                                                          Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

My fiction A girl was born under the theme Yesterday Today Tomorrow for #BlogChatterA2Z.

She was born 2.2 kgs. Her mother had put on so much weight during her pregnancy, that everyone was expecting a chubby infant. But, she was very small – mouse-like. No wonder, the doctor who delivered her called her ‘chuhiya’ (meaning mouse). Thankfully, her family decided not to play along. Her mother named her ‘Tara’.

Tara was a tigress. Supple, bold and fearless. At 5 years, she was the leader of the neighbourhood child gang. Everyone knew her, from the milkman to the grocer.

Living in the old part of Delhi had its perks. They just had to scale a low wall to find themselves in another house. If she didn’t like the food that her mother had prepared, she would hop to her neighbours’ to find out what they were eating.

She accompanied her grandmother to the terrace where they offered water to the Sun God and millet to the hovering pigeons. Her grandmother chatted with the neighbours who were drying papads or clothes, while she played with the kids.

She stood in the verandah for hours and observed the bustling life of the lane below. The peddle rickshawwala was ferrying school kids. Two well-built men were pulling a hand cart piled with boxes. A tired man was sitting on the steps near the temple and wiping off the sweat with his gamchha (towel). A buxom woman in a pretty pink sari with a shopping bag in one hand was trying unsuccessfully to avoid the filth on the road sticking to her sari.

The gajjak-maker had a huge ball of caramel in his hand which he hung on the big nail on the wall. He pulled the ball of caramel towards him and again hung it on the nail. She started counting the number of times he stretched the caramel and put it back on the nail, but she knew numbers only till 18.

If she felt like eating sweets, she would just climb down the stairs and cross the narrow street to the gajjak shop and ask for some freshly made gajjak.

“Khate mein likh dena!,” (Write down in the monthly account register) she said as she had often heard her grandfather saying.

In the evening, a chatwala into the gully. All the women milled around him.

“Give me 1 aloo chat!” One woman shouted.

“Give me some more meethi chutney!” Another one asked.

“Your water’s not as tangy as always. Maybe you didn’t put enough lemon!” The third one suggested. The poor guy didn’t utter a word. He just nodded his head.

Her mother never went down to eat chat. Her grandmother didn’t like that. It was improper for the women of their family to be seen eating chat in the gully. So, she sent their servant instead to get chat for her. Tara accompanied him many a times. The chatwala always gave her one puri to eat.

A – Z Challenge – Theme Reveal Post

Writing has been a passion for me, though I am sometimes too lazy to put pen to paper. Of late, this laziness has reached its pinnacle. And, that’s when I came across A – Z challenge on BlogChatter via my blogger friend Aesha’s musings.

It couldn’t come at a more opportune time. I will tell you the reason why. I am standing at the threshold of a new decade – 40s. As much as it is exciting, it is full of apprehensions too. I am moving further away from my insolent teenage years and my gay youth and entering into unchartered territory. What will the 40s bring in for me? Midlife crisis, loss of my youthful looks, or fame and recognition (well, I have always wanted to be a writer! May be this is the decade when I finally do it!)

I often flit between what was and what would be!

A past that is done with not necessarily and I still hanker after it. I still wonder ‘what if’! It influences my thoughts and my present decisions.

A future that is looming large on the horizon with every passing day. A future that is still a mystery. What will happen to me as a woman, a wife, a mother and a daughter?

And, in this conflict of a past gone by and a future knocking at the door – I am stuck. How do I change my today to affect my future? Why do I constantly think of tomorrow that is ruining my today?

I have a lot to think, rethink and un-think. It’s a daunting task. Hopefully, this one-month A – Z blogging challenge will help me sort it out.

And thus I choose my theme for the April A To Z Challenge 2018

Yesterday Today and Tomorrow

I am looking forward to taking up the challenge as I think it will help me find a lot of answers.

Join me on April 1, 2018 as a friend, adviser, mentor and critic.

Pssst… it’s fiction with some elements from my real life woven in!!