I woke up this morning with a bad migraine. The wall clock announced the time as 6 am. Looking at the toddler sleeping beside me, I felt guilty. Yesterday had been an extremely depressing day for me. The editing part of the first novel has been pending for quite a while. The boy had been falling sick quite frequently for the past one month. Last week he had come down with viral flu and had to be confined inside the house for the whole week. Yesterday he wanted to go to the nearby play zone quite badly. Fear of an infection again made me discard the idea. When every mode of trying to make him understand failed, I yelled at him. My son is generally a very sensible kid and so, I try to be as gentle with him as possible. The sleepless nights for the past few days and the slack in my working schedule finally got on my nerves and I vented it out on the hapless boy last evening. I regretted it immediately and apologized to him. I don’t think he even remembered the incident when I put him to sleep last night but I stayed up feeling extremely annoyed with myself. Few drops of tears ran down my cheeks at this moment as I ruffled his hair. That’s when I saw the writing on his magic slate. It read,
Today is your last day on Earth. You have ten hours left and so go ahead and do whatever you want to.
The countdown to say goodbye has already begun.
P.S. – This is not a joke.
I read the message couple of times to ensure that this was not a prank on me. I tried deleting it by pressing the delete button above the writing area on the slate. The words were still prominently visible. It took me a while to understand what was happening. I was going to die and had only a few hours to savor my last moments on this planet.
Looking at my toddler and husband sleeping peacefully, I started shedding silent tears. Oblivious to the grief ahead, they were cuddled up. To get a grip on my emotions, I decided to walk out of the room towards the balcony. My father had arrived here a couple of weeks back to spend some time his grandson. I saw him reading the newspaper in the sitting room while passing through this area. After my toddler started school, I rarely had the luxury of spending time appreciating the beauty of nature. But today I decided to relish every single moment.
“The red stiletto heels will look gorgeous on your feet Ma’am.” the salesman at the shoe shop was eager to close a sale deal before calling it a day.
Tshering looked at the case that boldly displayed 12000 INR. It had been nothing less than a dream to own the pair. She glanced at the cheap black heels purchased with her first salary at just 1100 INR from the local Shillong market.
Seated on the shop bench, Kodor fondly looked at this girl who had been employed as his house-help two years back. A freak accident in the city lake would have killed his mother hadn’t Tshering dived in to save her. As a swimming coach, he had spotted her talent and immediately taken her under his wings for training. He proudly beamed at the National level swimming champion today as she proceeded to pay the bill for those red heels.
“Coach, shall we leave?” Her voice broke his reverie.
It was already time to head towards the State conducted felicitation ceremony for their contribution to sports.
Disha was packing the lunch box as her father Aravind Rao rushed inside the kitchen. She knew her father was a stickler for punctuality, “Appa, I’ve made puliograhe (tamarind rice) for lunch today.” Aravind smiled, “So I get to eat my favorite food on my last working day.”
Fifty-five-year-old Aravind worked as a postmaster in the only post office in his town. Disha had always been her father’s pet but it was the pain and grief of losing her mother that had strengthened their bond. Disha had just turned fourteen a month before her mother passed away due to cardiac arrest.
Despite not so favorable circumstances, Disha had been a meritorious student. Aravind had always been supportive of Disha pursuing a career although his friends and relatives had pestered him to get her married after she turned eighteen. Disha not secured admission in the only Engineering college in town but was also chosen for the scholarship.
In her final year, Disha was the first student to be recruited from the campus by India’s top IT company. Her job location demanded a daily commute of two hours from her native as she was unwilling to move away from her father. Once Disha settled down in her profile, she started convincing Aravind for voluntary retirement. Her father had struggled the whole life for her betterment. Now she wanted to let him relax.
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.
The theme for Tuesday Photo Challenge this week is New. The idea is to bring about a fresh (new) look at things.
This picture was clicked on 22nd September -2015, few hours after my son was born. After an extremely complicated pregnancy and equally difficult c-section, the feeling of seeing your own flesh and blood in the form of a new life is beyond expression. With him, began a new journey of motherhood for me. Gradually my husband and I realized how this new member of the family has brought in a new perspective to our lives, new priorities for us and many other new aspects that were non-existent until then.
The first time that I met T, I was coming out of my chemistry tuition classes. A lean fellow then, he looked way more arrogant than his seventeen years. Our twelfth board exams were due to begin in three months and he joined my tuition batch for joint entrance examinations. I had already lost my heart to chemistry and the only reason I was part of that group was that I wanted to pursue higher studies in the subject from a premier institute. I don’t remember ever interacting with him while he always nurtured an irritation towards me for consistently topping the class tests. I got through my dream college in Kolkata for pursuing Chemistry Hons. He got through the most coveted medical college there for pursuing M.B.B.S. The funny co-incidence was that our colleges were adjacent. The day we went to bid adieu to our Professor was the only time we spoke wishing each other luck for the future.