Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Year and A New Life

The preacher had a unusual job that of giving sermons to prisoners who were facing death sentences. Today he found himself at a altogether different place. A nursing home, place where new lives are brought to this world. And his eyes fell upon Preetham, who was sitting in the waiting lounge hoping for the doctor to bring some good news at the earliest. The impatient look on Preetham's face made it clear that his wife Seema was in the labor room being attended to by doctors and nurses.

The preacher got an unusual desire all of a sudden to give the young man a sermon on creation. All his life he had been talking only about the greatest leveler - Death. Now he wanted to talk about the basic truths of creation. But he knew that Preetham wouldn't welcome a stranger like him and that too at this juncture. So he decided to use a intermediary. The preacher knew a mystic way whereby he would transfer the knowledge to a intermediary who is close to Preetham and the intermediary would in turn preach Preetham. For this role, the preacher zeroed in on Manya and all the knowledge he wanted her to possess was transferred through a mental FTP (File Transfer Protocol). But the preacher never expected a small girl like Riya to be a distraction in his discharge of this duty.

The eerie silence in the waiting lounge was broken by Manya who spoke as if she was possessed by some spirit of an Acharya from the Gurukul, " Vats (Son)! Why are you so tensed up! Whatever it is and however it is, you need to accept it as God's Gift. It could be a boy or a girl, it could be dark complexioned or a fair one, you need to accept it! Therefore I feel you are simply troubling yourself...."
Preetham looked at his junior Manya and came to the conclusion that she was again going out of her mind.
But Manya needed to impart upon him the new found wisdom, "Out of a millions of sperms that get released, only one gets a chance to see the light of the day. Only one grows as a baby in a woman's womb....."
Preetham just tried to wake her up thinking she was again hallucinating, "This is not your biology classroom nor is this your laboratory! Wake up! You are in a nursing home...."

But the young Riya had her own questions, "But who nurtures this fetus in a mother's womb? Who places those beautiful eyes? Who puts that tiny nose on the center? Who lays down those sweet lips? Who shapes those little ears? Who completes this contract of creation in her womb and that too within a period of nine months?"
Manya gave away a type of divine smile and pointed the finger upwards, " Its him....! He breaks one cell into 46 chromosomes. These chromosomes are further broken down into thousands of genes. He allots each gene a unique function depending upon the prototype he has in mind..." and then turns towards Preetham and says, "When he has created, he also knows to protect. You are just simply worrying too much...."
Preetham just tried to ignore her. But she came up with a good example, "Remember after the Mahabharatha war, when Ashwathama used that weapon of mass destruction Brahma-Shir Ashtr against Uttara's (Arjuna's daughter in law) womb with the intention of destroying the only left heir that was growing in her womb, who protected it? Lord Krishna himself with his Sudarshan Chakra. He protected it till it came to this world."
Preetham was really amazed by her knowledge, "You seem to have taken a crash course in Mythology..."

Riya's mind was working and she distracted Manya's focus, "Creation and Protection parts are Okay! But why does elders desire for a baby. They spend the first twelve months teaching these babies to walk and talk and the next twelve months telling them to sit down and shut up. If such is the case, why do they desire for babies? What it brings to them?"
Manya answered it very poetically, "A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, cloths shabbier, the past forgotten and the future worth living for...***"
When Riya started pondering over this statement, Manya prepared to bring calm to her boss Preetham...

But Riya quickly bounced back with another question, " But this new born baby... is more attached to its mother in the initial years. Why is it so?"
Manya again picked up some more knowledge from her thoughts, "The attachment of child and the mother begins in the womb itself, young girl! A five months fetus is able to recognize his or her mother's voice. As soon as a child is born, he/ she can recognize the mother's smell.. You understood!"
Preetham's mother commented on this new found knowledge of Manya, "It seems everybody these days knows about babies except the people who have them...."

Before Manya could really get another chance to chat with her boss, the doctor came out of the chamber with a baby in his hand and announced, "Its a baby girl!"
Riya saw the cute looking baby and innocently declared, "I am seeing a zero year old baby for the first time in my life."
Manya looked at the baby girl and like a very aged woman started lecturing, "Daughters are precious gifts placed in our arms by the heavens above. They fill our homes with love, beauty and grace..." Preetham wanted to use a tranquilizer and silence her. But she just continued, "She will be your inspiration for the rest of your life. She will be your Prerana..."
Preetham smiled, "You may sound like a psycho... but the name you have given sounds very cute....Prerana"
Wishing all of my readers a Happy and Prosperous New Year.
This is the 25th episode in Preetham - Seema Series.

*** Anonymous Quote.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Mediator

Though Seema was away from her husband for last few days, she had never stopped giving orders to her ever-obedient husband Preetham. Her latest order for him was to mediate between her cousin brother Jeeva who has earned for himself a MS Seat in the Buffalo University and his father, a old man in his seventies.The reason for the deadlock between the father and son was the latter's marriage. Father wanted to see his son lose his bachelor's degree before he obtains his masters degree in the States. He wanted to see his son married off.

As usual, Manya gave her boss, Preetham the company. After all the hospitality at the old man's place, Preetham directly came to the issue, "Sir! If you get him married off now, would he be able to concentrate on his studies? Wouldn't his mind get diverted?"
The seasoned man knew the exact reply, "I am getting him married off exactly for the same reason. So that his mind doesn't get diverted by some western influences. The way he is into those social networking sites and those status messages he gives makes me more afraid...."
Manya was in agreement with the old man's words, "Yups. Those status messages on the networking sites has more power to terrorize the parents than the climate warnings and the terror alerts that come on the news channels"
But this young man was too afraid to raise his voice in front of his dad.

Preetham tried to reason out, "But marrying him off would mean an additional burden na. He has to study and also has to look after his wife na... Would he able to juggle between family life and college life. Do you really want to push him into the circus of Samsara so early?"
The old man had even thought of that, "Who said we are burdening him? He will marry and leave his wife with us. We will take care of our daughter-in-law until he completes his studies. When he knows that someone is waiting for him on this shore, his mind would be more focused...."
Manya couldn't believe what she was hearing, "Oh My God! You are uniting them and immediately separating them!!!!" and then said to herself, "Is he a father or some villain from bollywood romance drama!!"
Jeeva still didn't speak a word in support of Preetham or against his father.

Preetham tried one last time, "You don't have confidence in your boy!!! From his childhood till now, he has not even looked at any girl with romantic intentions... He would go a virgin boy and return a virgin boy... I can assure that!"
Manya wanted to laugh out loud on hearing the words virgin boy...
The old man said, "Its not that I don't have confidence in him. But the time in which we live has so much changed. My colleague's son returned married. My colleague is so unhappy not because his son got married... but because his son married a guy....Gosh! I can't take any chances"
Manya laughed and remembered the lines from Dostana and said,"Love has become so blind these days that it is failing to differentiate between man and woman...."

Just then a cute young girl of twenties entered the house. With that jasmine buds around her long hairs and that tilak(vermilion) on the forehead and that traditional saree, she looked the epitome of feminine perfection. She touched the feet of the old man and handed him a piece of paper, "Uncle!... Papa told to give you this". Saying so she left after giving a stealthy glance at Jeeva. Jeeva who had his heads down till now had his heads completely turned. And his joy knew no bounds when his father said, "That's the girl I had in mind for my son..."
Now the young man took a complete U-turn and advised Preetham, "I think Dad is not wrong... In our life we need motivation to move ahead... Sometimes a girl plays that motivating role..... Behind the success of a man is a woman...a beautiful woman. I think I need such a woman...."
Preetham looked at the young man with complete disbelief. He scolded him, "Unnecessarily you have made me a villain na!"
Manya was getting angry with the young man and at the same time wanted to laugh at her boss's situation, "These Boys are so confusing!! They call us girls chanchal(fickle minded) but they themselves are so chanchal... One sight of a pretty girl and they fall for her... "

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Pains of Separation

Some tortures are physical
And some are mental,
But the one that is both
Is dental.
~Ogden Nash

Manya was suffering from such pain and she was at the dentist along with colleague and her guru Preetham. Preetham recognised in the visitors lounge old man Mr seetharam and his grandson. Seetharam's son Ajay and Preetham were of the same batch. Mr Seetharam was back from a pilgrimage to Triveni sangama and other places and loved to speak about it, "I even dispersed my wife's ashes in the Triveni Sangama (place where three rivers meet). Now she is free from birth and death cycles"
Manya was confused, "I cant understand these traditional people when they marry they say I will be with you for saath saath janam and when the lady dies, the men quickly go and disperse her ashes such that she doesn't come back for their hand in the next life... "
The old man did hear this and was made to remain silent

Preetham quickly diverted the topic, "So your grandson has problems with the teeth?"
The young boy who had accompanied the old man said, "No... I know good dental care. I have come to extract grandpa's teeth. I am his guardian today.."
Preetham was surprised, "But why has your son not come with you? Where is Ajay?...."
The old man was silent for sometime and then said, "Ajay has gone to give his wife a DRY WASH"
Manya and preetham didn't get the point. they couldn't make sense of the old man's sentence. The young boy was quick to correct, "Sorry for my grandpa's English. He is not familiar with sum words. He meant divorce and not dry wash.. vivah vichedan"

The old man spoke with such anger that his voice was heard by all the visitors, "After living with him for nine years, my Daughter in law says she cant take it any more. Preeham, You know my son na!!!!... He is such a gentleman...."
Preetham answered in a rush of emotion, "Sure... he is a gem of a person... I don't know how anyone can have a complain living with him"
Manya didn't like her boss's answer and she tried to talk sense,"To Know the depth of the river you should put your feet deep into the waters and to know the worth of a person you should live with the human being. She has lived with him for nine years... she would definitely know more than you, Sir."

The old man adds further, "My daughter in law is also asking in the court for his whole money... she is such a ***** ", The old man started using profanities which irritated the young boy who again came to his grandpa's rescue
He spoke with calmness "Its alimony and not whole money, Grandpa. It means maintenance charges only...."
Again Preetham rushed to a conclusion, "Isn't she a working lady.... Why does she need alimony? If she doesn't want her husband... why does she want his money?"
Manya was rational in her thinking, "I believe she has to take care not only of herself but also her kid... She has to provide for future also.... Future is uncertain.... Sir!!! why are you speaking like this?"

The old man spoke again "She is right.... not only are my son and daughter in law separating, but they are also separating me from my grandson.... It seems the mother wants the custody of the child...."
The child said with a tinge of sadness, "Lucky grandpa... He gets to stay with Dad while i have to leave to a different place with mother..."
Preetham said, "Now this is not fair... Don't the couple have some responsibility to the people who have brought them to this earth and to the people whom they have brought to this earth. Can't they just eat the poison of bitterness and live together for the sake of the family..."
Manya took a holistic view "It can be done... its called compromising.... But when the life together becomes nonadjustable... then it becomes hell. Then the best thing they can do, instead of torturing themselves and others living with them,is to separate"

Then Manya's name was called out by the attender and as they entered the dentist's cabin, Manya had one last thing to say to her boss preetham, "Sir... this teeth may look beautiful for my face.... and to the external world... but if i keep it, it will destroy all other teeth. So its better to extract it and separate it for the sake of others..."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

To Sir With Love!

Preetham's wife had gone to her mother's place for a week and he felt lonely. Sitting on the sea shore, he looked at the waves which tried to touch his feet now and then. Searching for her dear boss, came Manya. Her state was still worse. It looked from the dark circles around her eyes that she had lost lots of sleep. When she came to the beach, she saw a ship ... that too, a pirate ship hitting the shores and pirates running towards her boss with their long guns and swords. She cried out aloud to the surprise of all the present on the beach, "Boss! Run! Pirates are coming to get you!" But Preetham saw no pirates at all and not even a ship or a boat for that matter on the shores. Nor did any other present there saw any pirates. It looked like Manya was hallucinating and probably because of some sleep deprivation.
Manya stopped the pirates and its leader before they could reach her boss. These pirates looked directly out of the movies and its leader looked like Jack sparrow to her. He started speaking with a grin that couldn't be said villanious but a bit cunning, "Don't Stand in the way of Jatayu, Girl.... I am not a ordinary pirate. I am a collector..collector of souls.. nice souls that would help me in life.... And here we have a soul of a loving and caring husband.... one that is rare to find... a priceless diamond... All I need is to put this sword in and take that loving and caring heart out..."
All Preetham saw was a weird Manya holding her hands out as if she was asking the waves to stay away from him. He was not able to understand anything about the imaginary conversation Manya was having.

But Manya's hallucination continued as she decided it was a testing time for her and she needed to save her boss and for that purpose she was ready to lie, "My Boss has a loving and caring heart? Rubbish! If he had one, would he be here with me? On the beach on a sunday evening? He would be with his wife na?"
Preetham couldn't believe his ears, "What are you saying! I am not sitting alone. Seema, my wife is there with me even now. Like you are chatting aloud with the air, I am chatting within my mind with that clear horizon in which I see her."
Jatayu smiled and answered Manya, "Hmm... He has given the answers, he is like those ideal characters from those mythological serials for whom 'har ladki maa samaan hain' (all girls are like mothers).... Such species are rare to find and I need to have at least one of them in my kitty before they become extinct"

Manya went ahead with another allegation against her Boss only with the good intention of saving his soul, "But he has made me fall in love with him though he is a married man. Isn't it wrong on his part."
Preetham was really getting agitated, "Are you high on booze!I made you work for me because I am your senior. I made you say lies for me so that my wife may not scold me. I never made you love me"
Manya didn't hear her boss but heard the pirate Jatayu say with a big laughter, "I know what kind of relationship you share with your senior. Its those relationship which has to be highly respected.Even a bad man like me cant think bad of such relationships. Nice try!"

Manya wouldn't say quits as she had one last argument, "When you want to know if a person is a really worth, you shoud make a field enquiry or take feedback. You should ask the neighbours or the colleagues... Ask me about him and I will say that his soul is definitely not worth to be praised of."
Now Preetham who heard only Manya's words was furious with anger,"What next? Putting this news on the office noticeboard! Giving an ad in the newspaper! With friends like you, why do I need enemies?"
And Jatayu remembered his idol Jack sparrow's dialogue as he commented, ""You, You are dishonest. And a dishonest man or woman you can always trust to be dishonest. I like them Honestly! It's the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they're going to do something incredibly… stupid." Saying so, he pushed her and directly went for Preetham's heart

Manya cried out loud and closed her eyes unable to see her boss's heart being pulled out. But nothing of that sort happened. When she opened her eyes, she found Jatayu in front of him, "I booze... but I have another hobby too, reading books! And in one such book I remember reading the difference between Knowledge and devotion" and suddenly the pirate got highly philosophical, " Knowledge is like a lamp and devotion is like a gem. There is brightness present in both. Keep both anywhere and they eleminate darkness. Lamp cant glow on its own, it needs oil wick etc. But a gem glows on its own. In the storms of lust, anger, greed etc, a lamp's flame can flicker or even blow off. But not the brightness of gem. Likewise one who has true devotion in his heart, no greed, no lust can crush it. A knowledgeable persons enemy is pride and he can fall whereas devotee is humble and he can never fall...!"
Manya was suddenly bored to death by this preaching, "Why the hell are you preaching me all this?"
The pirate made himself clear, "Because I see that devotion in you.. the devotion to your Guru.... your boss. When I have this gem.. Why should I go for something less?" Manya was still confused, "What do you mean?" Jatayu gave one last smile before ordering his men, "Guys! Seize her and put her in my ship!"
As she was dragged, Manya gave cries for help to her Guru, her boss. But all Preetham saw was a mono acting by his junior Manya. He saw her moving towards the ocean with her hands facing skywards as if someone was pulling her towards the ocean.
He couldn't tolerate the drama anymore and just pulled her to the sea and made her take a dip in the salty water. When she was pulled out, she looked surprised and asked him, "Sir! When did you came? " Preetham was filled with joy thinking that his junior had finally returned to her normal self. But his joy was shortlived when she put her next question in a stern voice, "And what are you doing in my bathroom Sir?"
(*** The high preachings about knowledge and devotion taken from Ramayan)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Kiss Of Death

"You need to hone your story telling skills" came the advice from his dear wife Seema to Preetham. Preetham replied harshly and without giving it much thoughts, "Here... I am trying it hard to update my software skills. And you want me to update my storytelling skills. And what could be the silly excuse for doing so..." Seema got very sad by the casual remark from her husband. She had her future child in mind when she advised her husband. And his silly remark put her into silence the whole day. However hard he tried he couldn't bring the smile back on her face.

The morning changed to evening and then the dusk arrived. As the sun was about to set, Riya entered the home and announced, "I had enough of these reruns of cartoons and serials. I want something new. Preetham uncle, do tell me some nice and different story. Please...." Preetham felt as if God has given him a chance for a redemption and he sat for the story telling, "This story is about a Rakshashi(demoness)...." Ria interrupted immediately, "Na... Na... I had enough of these Asuras(demons) and Rakshashi stories ...." Preetham smiled a bit, "But this story of Rakshashi is set in the present age..." and so he started the story.

"There was this young teenage Rakshashi called Mandira. She once sat for deep penance calling her dear God Bholenath. The penance took years. Her make up withered and she became thinner and thinner. Then Bholenath got happy and appeared before her, 'Devi ! I am happy with you.. Ask me what you want to." Mandira was not happy when Lord addressed her as Devi. She would have loved 'Gorgeous' in its place. But she didn't speak her objection and proceeded with the boon, 'Oh God! All I ask you for is The Kiss of death. A simple kiss of death. Whenever I kiss someone with my lips, they should be reduced to ashes immediately"
Ria went Wow! while Preetham's mother wanted to shut her ears as she proclaimed 'Shantam paapam'. But Seema was expressionless.

Preetham continued, "Bholenath was unlike my boss who took two months to raise my salary after I asked it. He said 'Tathasthu' (Okay) immediately. Mandira was very pleased. But I don't know any girl who purchases goods or anything without testing it. Mandira also wanted to test this vara. So she went ahead to experiment on Bholenath himself. Bholenath cried 'O Paroooooo! Help me out!!!' and ran for his life. But no Gods were ready to help him out as it was month end and all were busy with deadlines. Then helpless he came to his favorite temple in this town today morning and guess whom he met????"
Ria got confused with this sudden twist in the tale and didn't knew what really to expect next. Now even Seema was full ears

Now that all were listening, Preethm got some more encouragement, "At the temple Lord Shiva found me. I was there to ask for forgiveness as I had hurt my dear wife Seema. I heard Lord Shiva's story. I knew that though the Asuras and Rakshashis thought that the God's boons were fool proof, there would be some bug in them. All it needed was a great debugger like me to find such bugs. But In return I asked something from Lord Shiva. I asked him to return the smile on my Wife's face. So the reciprocal agreement was signed between me and Lord Shiva. Then I asked Lord Shiva to hide in the sanctum sanctorum"
Now Ria was really anxious enough to hear the ending and so was Preetham's mother who had stopped her chanting.

Preetham neared the end, "The Rakshashi Mandira entered the temple. With that Sleeveless blouse and that burning eyes and desirous lips, and that enchanting slim figure, she looked more like a angel than a demoness to me" Preetham turned to Seema to see her emotions. Seema tried to hid her emotions but she failed. Her interest in the story was clearly written all over the face. Preetham continued, "As she slowly kept those steps towards me..... I directly went for her lips.... "
Seema and Ria together exclaimed with surprise "What!!!!"
Preetham corrected the sentence, "I mean... I started praising her lips,'Your lips look so sweet. It looks like it is the storehouse of all the nectar that emerged during the churning of the sea.' Mandira started blushing and I continued 'Such red lips would put the minds and hearts of even sages to fire. '"
Mandira may be blushing but Seema was fuming with anger as Preetham used more examples to describe the lips of the Rakshashi.
Preetham came to the climax of the story, "When I stopped the praise, she was standing straight in front of me. She was about to kiss me. My praise had did the trick. The praise had intoxicated her senses and she was completely blinded by my sweet words. So when I uttered these words, she blindly followed them, "If you were to look your lips now in the mirror, You are gonna kiss the reflection of your own lips in the mirror." And the silly teenager went to the mirror, saw her sweet sugar coated lips and blindly kissed them. But Shiva's boon never failed. As I watched, her whole body got engulfed in a raging fire. And within a minute, the rakshashi was reduced to ashes.... END OF THE STORY"

Ria was very clever as he questioned, "And did Shiva keep his promise?" Preetham expressed jubilantly, "Sure he did! Look at your aunt Seema" As both of them turned towards Seema, there was the smile hanging on her lips.
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