Myra woke up to the sound of the alarm. The outside world was submerged in darkness but she had a mission to achieve. Changing into a t-shirt and track pants, she took out the newly purchased running shoes. As she left, her father smiled at her mother “Hadn’t I told you that the day Myra gets the right motivation, nothing can stop her?.”
Myra started her warm-up exercises in the society gym. At 5ft 3inches, her 85 kg frame had always invoked ridicule and laughter. It had started as a toddler when any random person would seek an opportunity to pull her chubby cheeks. As she grew up, the remarks changed to fat and ugly with people asking her to lose weight. Sarcastic statements and rude remarks related to her body had become a way of life. Despite an academic record that could put her peers to shame, she lost out on opportunities because of people’s mindset related to her overweight frame.
The cruelty and harshness of the world bothered her initially. Except for her parents, no one really understood how much it affected her. As Myra grew up, she was tired of one too many instances of body shaming. Using the veil of dry humor, she started retorting to those caustic remarks. A high-profile and well-paid job kept her busy. She had a couple of affairs in the past which mostly ended because of her weight. Her mother had tried various routes of an alliance but in vain.
Tania had been walking back from her school when she noticed those clothes hung from the ropes near her house. Her excitement grew as her eyes stayed fixed on the sight of those four white t-shirts with black stripes amidst a bunch of other clothes on the ropes. They were exactly the same – one with long sleeves, one with half sleeves and two sleeveless ones. She ran towards the house.
The one-roomed brick house covered felt like a burning furnace. Her parents had just finished washing and hanging the set bundle of clothes and were about to sit for lunch. Tania ran towards her father, “Baba, I saw the set of four t-shirts outside. Did you check why they were not sent for the past six months?” Sahadev Halder, the washer-man also referred to as Dhopa in colloquial Bengali smiled at his thirteen year old. His wife Rama went about getting the food ready.
“How do you know that it is the same set of four t-shirts?” he sounded indifferent.
“I could spot that big deer symbol from a distance. Did you ask Afroz uncle about it?”
Kashpukur area in Kolkata was known as the lane of washer-men. Small one-roomed houses filled the narrow lanes and by-lanes amidst old house buildings. This was one of the oldest areas in Kolkata. The washer-men and women used the nearby pond to clean the laundry and the clothes were hung on multiple ropes tied around the available poles, balconies and window grills. One could never walk through this area without a piece of cloth touching him. However recently, big laundry houses had started operating their branches in the city. They had soon become a favourite with the urban population.
Last ten days have been crazy for me. Moving back to Kolkata with an unwell toddler was not only physically exhausting but it drained me out of all the energy and enthusiasm. While he’s still riding on a sinusoidal wave of recovery and sickness again, I feel amazed at my late mother’s ability to maintain calmness and sanity while dealing with similar situations during my childhood. But amidst such turbulence in personal life, I couldn’t help but notice the incidents that have created a havoc in the world for the past few days.
Last week had been quite a eventful one for us as a family. Saraswati Puja was on January 22nd – my toddler who turned twenty-eight months on that very day had his hathekhori (introduction to the world of education/writing/alphabets). We had come down to our native town on the auspicious occasion but decided to prolong our stay because I got this amazing brain wave of covering the heritage town of Murshidabad through a travel series. Despite limited options, I have also been trying to experiment with the available eating out joints here. Thus quite a few of pending write ups in the categories under restaurant reviews, travel diaries and personal have been piling up which should be out anytime this week. Continue reading “January 2018 – hopping from hopelessness to hopefulness with immense gratitude”