Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Mission Impossible : The Maid Hunt

Yes! This is an impossible mission to achieve. Getting that perfect maid in your dreams! In case anyone has made this 'Mission Maid' possible, hats off to you guys! We envy you so much. 

My maid hunt began only after I had kids. As just  married couple we both managed cleaning and doing dishes well. But the plot changed once kids came into our life. And once in every two years or so we had to shift house as we were the usual Bangalore IT professionals who aspire to go back to native and settle at any given opportunity. 

Fortunately my first two experiences with maids in Bangalore were quite good. They both were South Indians and worked really hard with least supervision. We gave food and took care of any medical expenses which were serious. It is a win-win situation for both. They were honest and trustworthy. Only now I realize their real value and how lucky I was! They never complained about salary. Thousand five hundred was minimum wage for 'jhadu pocha' and doing dishes, cleaning the kitchen. Bathroom cleaning happened twice a week. (Cooks I haven't tried yet). They took care of each and everything pro actively. Shanthi Akka and Shaarda Akka, I am very much grateful to them. We gave hikes every year more than the hikes we used to get from our so-called IT hubs. Happy maid, happy home!

Again plot change... Now we have two kids. The dream of settling at native has become a mere dream itself. Enough of this shuttling. We decided to settle in this much cooler city and bought our own house in Sobha. Even kids are grown up and they are like "we are ok with visiting visa to native but no permanent visa mom and dad". They speak as if they were in Bangalore for 50 years and we are asking them to leave everything and go somewhere! It's been four years in Sobha, the real challenge began. 

I was in the hallucination that all maids are the same and they will be like my previous akkas. But after reaching Sobha I have learnt many lessons. Let me explain. I haven't changed my maid in these four years. I have enough reasons for not changing her. In Sobha 90% maids are Bengalis. For them this is like a gulf job. One comes first and then they bring the whole family here and send money to native. They have great respect in their village as they are the rich ones in the family and made a concrete house with tiles on the floor. 

Firstly let me tell you the challenges I had with my dream maid.

Language barrier : I knew Tamil and Hindi quite well so I thought it would be easy to communicate. But she is a pure Bengali and her Hindi also sounds like Bengali. Actually it is Bangla they speak. We all know from where they migrated. Now, whatever I tell she understands half and the rest half is guess work and vice versa. I am still learning. I understood one trick that you need to add an 'O' sound to the words, then it will become almost Banglandi (Bangla+Hindi). Shakthi becomes Shokthi, Darr becomes dorr, bus becomes bos etc. Some words are even separated while spelling it. For example: Brush - Barash, clap - calap. These tricks might help you to communicate in a better way. Thank me later ahh ;-) Meanwhile try not to forget your original pronunciations as it may create problems at your workplace. 

Supervisory role : This is a dirty job which I used to hate even during my working days. I really can not rule people nor be strict/rude with them which I am still learning and getting better at it gradually. My husband is top at this though he hates people management. In turn he trains me in this field so that I can manage my house help. Most of the maids here are lazy or too busy as they are working in more than 10 houses on a daily basis and time management is very important. So, if you are not supervising (minimum once in two days) them and giving out instructions they will just flee away leaving half the job for you to do. If there is a chair or chappal on the floor they will clean perfectly around that as if that is glued to the floor. Kitchen will be half clean. Dishes will have residues of food. Bathroom will have all the dirty water flowing all over. Some will use the cloth only once dipped in the bucket of water to mop the whole house. Hence the floor will have stains. These are all common issues. But if you have time to manage, then you can effectively train and change your maid to an average one. Time and patience is also important.

Attrition/Ghosting : This was not so popular until the last two years. Now comes the new gen maids who are postmodern and do not encourage the above mentioned supervisor madams. If they feel we are trying to control their work or salary is less according to them then that will be the last time you will see them. From next day they will neither come to your doorstep nor pick your calls. As Sobha is a big community (around 6000 houses) they are sure they will get another house in no time. If someone is ready to pay them more than you pay, ghosting happens again. My friend has changed four maids in three months! Listening to these 'ghost' stories I got scared and decided to keep my old maid itself. Something is better than nothing.

The great attitude : This is something that irks all of us. You correct them/give suggestions and they pout or talk back or ghost you. There was this nanny with my cousin for years. She is good at work but over the years acted like her mother-in-law. She was fed up and got rid of her recently. Same story with another friend. Do not even ask me about new gen nannies who are quite busy handling their social media reels and if you have a word, no looking are cursed!

Give me a break! Let's listen to the cooked up stories of our Master Chefs. I do not have much say on this as I have tried none till date. I decided so, seeing the cooks of my friends. In Sobha, they come home with a hashtag "I am the best cook here". The package is also overwhelming. Dinner is more costly. Once they start cooking only then you find out that they are not real cooks but aspiring cooks who fell into this category only to earn an income easily. According to them, if you know how to make chapati/paratha and aloo curry then you have passed for a cook's job (Don't you feel like a Master Chef now?). If you are ready to take risks you can ask for more and explore their skills. Never ask the name of the dish though! Sambar may look like Chinese curry, vegetable curry may taste like sambar. Try at your own risk.

Apart from all these challenges they create, I must point out the challenges we create ourselves for reasons I still don't know!! I do not want to hurt anyone's feelings but I have to say this. There are people who want only Hindu maid, Vegetarian maid and the list goes on. Do you have any idea that you have only 10% where you can select from and you are doing the elimination process in that too. Your chances of getting a maid ( I didn't say good maid) is likely to be 0.0009%. No offense but I really wish to say more but it is not safe considering the current situations, you know…

Let me conclude. This is a never ending hunt. If you are a working couple I pity you in this matter as it will be difficult to supervise as I said earlier. All the best and try more options. If one of you is not working then you have fifty percent luck to train, mold into average and make them stay as long as possible. Hope you all run into your dream maid one day! 

Happy maid, Happy home... :)

Thursday, April 7, 2022

The Great Indian Depression

It's been a while, I sit writing one story then the next few lines, am stuck with another one. I just can't move forward as if there is a traffic block of letters in front of me. Usually the so-called 'Block' will happen if you run out of words or you are sinking in a pile of ideas where you are lost, thinking of which one to write. I feel I fall into the latter for a change wherein often I had encountered the first scenario. 

I have a ton of things to write about. I consider current affairs but then I don't want to be stamped as an anti-national and proceed to dungeons. I could write about my own life which is again equal to a suicidal attempt. No no no! Next comes books, plants, children, Covid, love, kings and queens, feathered friends, finger licking food... the list goes on and on. Then I end up writing none. What a dilemma! This is how we humans are right? We have millions of thoughts running parallely through our mind and head while we are stuck at no where, unable to choose between brain and heart. So, finally I've decided to talk about us, people, and their emotions. I hope this doesn't end quite emotionally.

The 'Me' inside 'Me'...

She called me on a cloudy evening while I was chilling with my coffee on the balcony, observing the crows on the branches of a nearby tree. Why are they sitting on this tree and watching me and my family all the time? I wondered. Something quirky. Looks like a family to me - crow mom, crow dad and two crow kids. Might be our ancestors who came to safeguard us from evil eyes. The mobile cried at the same moment when I was about to make a fake 'caw' sound to communicate with the family. Anyways, I can postpone this conversation to tomorrow as well. They are not going to go anywhere until the babies become teenagers. But this one calls me once in a blue moon. So let's communicate with her first, I thought. It's been months ever since we have spoken. There are these people whom you can throw yourself to even after years and years as if you have just spoken yesterday. She is one of them for me. We knew each other for more than a decade. As usual we began the conversation.

"Hey, you know what...! Me... residing in me is talking to me about me"- 

Is she in a trans?!

"oy oy what's happening? You too fell for him!??" I gasped.

"Not yet, apparently his words of wisdom have come true in my case. Listen... all these days it was me talking to me. But now, there is a third me inside me talking to both the me! You know, earlier any issue happened the second me used to advise and suggested alternatives and we used to resolve somehow. I was at peace at the end of the day. Now the third me has arisen and it's a total mess. Whatever we both say she wouldn't agree. I am confused and going mad. Am I really crazy?? Just wanted to check if you have encountered this phenomenon at any point of time!"

After listening to her I felt like I was also going crazy! Because at times I too had these multiple personalities peeping at me from the backstage of my mind. Reminded me of Vikram's 'Anyan' film. One person with multiple personalities living inside. I am sure most of us especially, those who are in their mid 30's would. They call it a midlife crisis it seems!

Another friend texted me saying she feels sad for no reason, always stress. She can sleep well but when she wakes up it feels like someone has put a huge rock on her heart. Is this depression? What could I say!

I am neither a medical person, nor an expert in psychology. But I am a psychology enthusiast and always have been doing my own research on these topics. Unfortunately in India, there is no concept called 'Mental Health'. People hesitate to discuss it, even if they do, the society will rather give them a tag - "ohh paagal hein/ ithiri vattundu/ athu oru loosu etc (he/she is mad) ". 

So we feel it is better to normalize our negative feelings and we keep suppressing them deep inside. We bury them deep inside our hearts so that they don't peep outside and make any noise.

That won't work for a longer period of time. The volcano has to burst somehow in the long run. Something lit in my brain. Yes! I got the key. The crows; my mind connected the dots. The key is 'Communication'.  

I told her, "look, you need to open up to someone at some point. Do not let it burst, rather let it pour. Pour your feelings, talk to someone. Choose the fourth me from outside and the other 'me's will disappear automatically. At least for that reason I could anticipate more calls from you!" I giggled.

I guess the pouring technique works for most. It is like decluttering your mind. You allow yourself to flow without any inhibitions, expectations. You just need a good listener. You being the radio and they being the listener. So, choose wisely. World has a deficit of this kind. Hope it is working for her as we have a lot more conversations nowadays and she doesn't mention her 'Anyans' anymore.

The Positive Era

Be positive is the most seen flashy quote in the last few years. People have become too positive that even their RTPCR test results turn positive nowadays. Oh! Come on, just kidding. We are sinking ourselves into the deep positivity trench that even a bit of negativity can shatter us. We do not want to see negativity anywhere around us where we are living in a world full of negativities. We are dreaming of an ideal world, ideal people, ideal thoughts which is a mere dream. They tell us to ignore the negative people wherein we are sharing one roof with them! They might be our family, colleagues or neighbours. How will you avoid them on a daily basis? I have seen people living in a bubble. The positive wave has been hit so hard. We are unable to distinguish between real negative and false negative. In the name of positivity what is really happening? You know what is positive but you don't see that much around you. On a daily basis at home, office, college you see a lot of negativity. As per the positivity experts your parents, kins and acquaintances are all negativity bombs. Now you are not happy because you want to get rid of all this negativity. They say stay away from negative people which is practically not possible for you. As a result you are always in a sad and confused state. You are losing your real happiness. You are spending all your energy to fight with negative people or to make them understand. You were doing far better before the positive era. This is what it means "too much of anything is not good". 

Why do you think our new generation has taken suicide so lightly? Even for a small worry they choose to flee away from life. Fight or flight- they don't know to choose wisely, when to fight and when to fly. They are scared to face the challenges, risks. Instead of telling them to stay away from negativity we should teach them how to handle negativity. Unfortunately, from the time a child is born to schooling they preach about perfect parenting, perfect teaching. We endorse good mental health of the child by affirming each day that they are special and unique. Think about it, after all these special treatment when they become adults is the world going to give them the same treatment? Just take an example at work. Will their boss/colleagues be going to give them a special, unique or equal kind of approach? Is their life and society going to be non-judgemental? No, never. In any of our human history there is no society who were supportive enough. There will always be derogatory and pejorative remarks. We can make people handle this chaos only by exposure. If you are keeping your child in a bubble with least interactions and always pampering  then he/she will be least exposed to negativity therefore most fragile. Absolutely, experience matters. We learn from our experiences. This doesn't mean that you need to send your children to the war-front. It means let them learn how to handle criticisms, how to handle judgmentalism.

Rather than preaching about positivity, help them to get along, help them to be happy in small things. Teach them gratitude, teach them compassion, teach them generosity, teach them to handle real bullies, teach them to be bold not rude(nowadays bold means rude!), teach them to be independent yet sociable. This will help them to survive in future. 

See what happened to one of my friends recently. She was a positivity bomb. She wanted to think positive, see positive, listen positive, breath positive... Oh my! She posted positive posts from morning to night. She will tell us, "You know, always surround yourself with positive people. Think positive, that will give you positive energy in life." She declared herself as the official brand ambassador of positivity. And then I met her after a while, everything changed. The real story unfolded. She was sinking in depression. I was shocked. Due to the surge of positivity in mind yet the lack of positivity around herself she started to feel negative. Whatever her parents, relatives, colleagues say she could sense negativity only.  She was suffocated, stressed and didn't know how to avoid her own family and friends. She had undergone counseling and was prescribed anti depressants. Now, she has understood one thing that it is not possible to eradicate negativity from your life but it is possible to wisely manage it. She knows her parents love her abundantly, apparently their old way of handling things and traditional thoughts were not going hand in hand with hers. She understands the issue very much now and learnt to handle it slowly. There is no point in fighting, instead try ignoring the comments not their love and care. 

Hope it made some sense. Mental health is as important as physical health and too much positivity is also not so good for your mental health is what I learnt. So to all the positivity experts please educate us how to handle negativity rather than just saying surround yourself with positive people. I am afraid, we don't have so much positivity left in this world to surround ourselves with, else we might have to create bio bubbles to live in. Because each person has their own positives and negatives. How many of you are sure about yourself being positive to everyone at all the instances? Not so sure, right? It is the same for all. Like us, they too have two sides. Accept it and be grateful, happiness will follow. 

Be an optimist not a positivity bomb.

Monday, March 21, 2022

World Poetry Day

There was a village where people never heard about poetry. Once a poet came across the village. He sat under a banyan tree and began to write poems. Upon reading his poems some people cried, some smiled, some were enlightened and few turned out to be brave enough to fight against injustice. The news flashed all over the village that one magician has reached who can influence their thoughts and emotions. People ran towards the banyan tree in excitement. 

Then the poet told, " I am no magician. The words are magical. The language and literature is magical. They never die. They can ignite and influence our thoughts and emotions. They always surprise us with miracles! Try writing something of your own."

ലോക കവിതാദിനം

കവിത എന്തെന്നറിയാത്ത
ഒരു ഗ്രാമത്തിൽ ഒരിക്കൽ ഒരു
കവി ചെന്നുപെട്ടു. ഒരാൽ മരത്തിന്
കീഴെയിരുന്ന് അയാൾ കുറെ
കവിതകൾ എഴുതിക്കൂട്ടി.
അയാളുടെ കവിതകൾ വായിച്ച്
ചിലരുടെ കണ്ണ് നനഞ്ഞു,
ചിലർ ഹൃദയം നിറഞ്ഞ് സന്തോഷിച്ചു,
മറ്റു ചിലർ ആശ്വാസം കണ്ടെത്തി,
ചിലരാകട്ടെ പോരാടാനുള്ള ധൈര്യം കണ്ടെത്തി.
നാട് മുഴുവനും വാർത്ത പരന്നു.
ആളുകളെ നിന്ന നില്പിൽ കരയിക്കാനും ചിരിപ്പിക്കാനും കഴിവുള്ള ഒരു മാന്ത്രികൻ വന്നിരിക്കുന്നു എന്ന്. കേട്ടവർ കേട്ടവർ ആൽ മരത്തിൻ കീഴെ ഒത്തു കൂടി. മാന്ത്രികനെ കാണാൻ. 

അയാൾ പറഞ്ഞു, " ഞാൻ ഒരു മാന്ത്രികനുമല്ല. ഈ എഴുത്താണ്, കവിതയാണ് മാന്ത്രികൻ. എഴുതുവിൻ, നിങ്ങളെക്കൊണ്ടാവും വിധം. അത് നിങ്ങളുടെ വിചാരങ്ങളെയും വികാരങ്ങളെയും ഉദ്ദീപിപ്പിക്കും. ഭാഷയും സാഹിത്യവും ഒരിക്കലും മരിക്കുന്നില്ല.  അവ എന്നും അദ്ഭുതങ്ങൾ കാണിക്കും!"

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

'A letter to the woman in me' - My winning write-up for the 2022 Women's day competition held by Wetalk Foundation.

Oh dear me,

I realise that I haven't written you anything till now! I have written bundles of letters to all my loved ones also to unloved ones. But I haven't written you anything as such.

I had made terrible mistakes that I was ashamed to talk to you about. After all the dramas and traumas you had been through, I couldn't even face you. I was trying to be as patient as I can but it made you submissive. I was being modest but it made you self-effacing. You were accommodating all my mistakes silently.

I know how much you needed my assurance to look forward to life. I failed you as many times as possible. Here I am, with repentance (somehow gathered all courage to do this), I apologize for all the neglect, all the wounds I have caused you. You are much stronger than I thought! Yes!

I am proud of you for not giving up at any point, for sticking with me and finding a ray of light each time there is pitch darkness around me. That's what I love about you.

There is no 'perfect woman' exists. You are not one, I don't want you to be one. It is not merely possible to always be happy in whatever you do, but it is possible to find happiness in some parts at least. The broken pieces can be beautiful at times! Just find your broken pieces. I love the imperfect broken you.

Nothing more to say! You know we have many more debates in line. So, let's conclude my firstlove letter to me, my sweets!

I will be there for you forever (literally after death). Trust me, no one else can love you so intensely, ahh!

Be you, be mine…

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

സുരഭിയുടെ സൂക്ഷിപ്പുകൾ

അടുക്കളയിലെ തെക്കേ അറ്റത്തെ നിലവറ തുറന്നതും വളരെ പുരാതനമായ വസ്തുവകകൾ ഓരോന്നോരോന്നായി പുറത്തേക്ക് വന്നു തുടങ്ങി. മോഹനൻ്റെ കണ്ണ് തള്ളിപ്പോയി.
"നിനക്കെങ്ങനെ സാധിക്കുന്നെൻ്റെ സുരൂ...?!! പദ്മനാഭൻ്റെ നിലവറേ പോലും കാണൂല്ല ഇത്രേം."

"ആ നിങ്ങക്കൊക്കെ കളിയാക്കലാ. എന്നിട്ട് ആവശ്യം വരുമ്പോ സുരൂ... സുരൂ ന്ന് വിളിച്ച് വാ. ഞാനിതൊക്കെ സൂക്ഷിച്ചു വക്കുന്നോണ്ട് ഉപകാരമല്ലേ ഉള്ളൂ?"

"പ്ലാസ്റ്റിക് കവർ, പ്ലാസ്റ്റിക് ഡബ്ബകൾ, പ്ലാസ്റ്റിക് കുപ്പികൾ, പത്താം ക്ലാസ്സിൽ പഠിക്കണ മോൻ ജനിച്ചപ്പോ മുതലുള്ള ഉടുപ്പുകൾ, കളിപ്പാട്ടങ്ങൾ, ചട്ടി, വട്ടി, കൊട്ട, കീറിപ്പറിഞ്ഞ തുണികൾ (തുടക്കാനാണത്രെ), സീ ഡി കൾ, കാസറ്റ്, ഫ്ലോപ്പി ഡിസ്ക്, പഴയ ലാപ്ടോപ്, മൊബൈൽ, വയറുകൾ എന്ന് വേണ്ട മോശയുടെ അംശവടി ഒഴിച്ച് ബാക്കി എല്ലാം നിൻ്റടുത്ത് ഉണ്ടല്ലോ. മിനിമം മൂന്ന് ആക്രിക്കടക്കുള്ള ഐറ്റംസ് ഇണ്ട് ഇത്." മോഹനൻ ശ്വാസം വിട്ടു പറഞ്ഞു നിർത്തി.

സുരഭി മുഖം കൂർപ്പിച്ചു. " നിങ്ങക്കൊന്നും ഇതിൻ്റെ വില മനസ്സിലാവൂലാ. എത്രയെത്ര ഉപയോഗങ്ങളാന്നോ ഇതുകൊണ്ടൊക്കെ. ഇപ്പൊ തന്നെ അപ്പുറത്തേക്ക് കുറച്ചു കറി കൊടുക്കാൻ ഡബ്ബ വേണോ? ഫ്യൂസ് പോയാ കെട്ടാൻ വയറു വേണോ? നനഞ്ഞ കുട ഇട്ടോണ്ട് പോവാൻ ഒരു കവർ വേണോ? ആ.... "
മോഹനൻ പിന്നേം കണ്ണ് തള്ളി നിന്നു പോയി. 

"നിങ്ങടെ ഒരു വീട് വൃത്തിയാക്കല് കാരണം എൻ്റെ പല സാധനങ്ങളും ഇപ്പോ കാണാനില്ല അറിയോ. ഒരു വൃത്തിക്കാരൻ വന്നേക്കണ്." സുരഭി ചുണ്ട് കോട്ടി.

മോഹനൻ പിന്നീട് ഒന്നും ആലോചിച്ചില്ല. ഇതിനിയും അനുവദിച്ചു കൊടുത്താൽ ഇവളെന്നേം കൂടെ ആക്രി ലിസ്റ്റിൽ കയറ്റും. 
"ഇന്നത്തോടെ എല്ലാം നിർത്തിക്കോ. സകല സ്ഥാവര ജംഗമ പുരാവസ്തുക്കളും കെട്ടി പുറത്തോട്ട് വെക്കാൻ പോവാ. ആ ആക്രി കച്ചവടക്കാരൻ മോൺസണെ ഞാൻ വിളിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ട്. അവൻ വന്നെടുത്തോളും."

സുരഭി മൂക്കു ചീറ്റി. "നിങ്ങളൊക്കെ ഇതിനനുഭവിക്കും. നോക്കിക്കോ..."

"ഉവ്വോ, ഞാൻ അനുഭവിക്കാൻ തയ്യാറാണ്. എന്തേ? അങ്ങനേലും കുറച്ചു ചിക്കിലി തടയുമല്ലോ."

മോഹനൻ മൊബൈൽ ഫോണിൽ തോണ്ടി. "ഹലോ മോൺസാ, എപ്പ വരും? നിനക്കുള്ള നിധി ഇവിടെ കാത്തിരിപ്പുണ്ട്ട്ടാ."

ഉച്ച കഴിഞ്ഞു ഉമ്മറത്തിരുന്ന് സുരഭി തൻ്റെ കഴിഞ്ഞ ഒരു പതിറ്റാണ്ടിൻ്റെ അവശേഷിപ്പുകളും ശേഖരങ്ങളും കൺ നിറയെ കണ്ട് ദീർഘശ്വാസമിട്ടു. അതേ സമയം മോൺസൺ ഗേറ്റ് തുറന്ന് അകത്തേക്ക് കയറി വരുന്നത് കണ്ട് സുരഭി ഭൂമി കുലുങ്ങും ദേഷ്യത്തോടെ അകത്തേക്ക് കയറി പോയി. ഉച്ചമയക്കത്തിൽ നിന്ന് ഞെട്ടി എണീറ്റ മോഹനൻ ഊഹിച്ച പോലെ തന്നെ മോൺസൺ അതാ ഉമ്മറത്തുണ്ട്. വെറുതെ അല്ല ഭൂമി കുലുങ്ങിയത്. 

അര മണിക്കൂറിനുള്ളിൽ സകലതും വാരിക്കെട്ടി വണ്ടിയിലാക്കി അവൻ സ്ഥലം വിട്ടു. പൈസ പതിനായിരം മോഹനൻ്റെ കൈയിൽ!

"ദേ, നാളെ വിനോദിൻ്റെ വീട്ടിൽ പോവാനുള്ളതാ. പുതിയ വീട് വച്ചിട്ട് ആദ്യായിട്ടാ നമ്മള് പോണെ. ഈ പൈസ വച്ച് എന്തേലും ഗിഫ്റ്റ് വാങ്ങിക്കൊണ്ടു പോവാം." സുരഭി ഓർമിപ്പിച്ചു. 

"ആ ഇപ്പോ പൈസക്ക് ആവശ്യക്കാരുണ്ട്."

"അയ്യടാ, ഞാൻ കൂട്ടി വച്ച സാധനങ്ങൾ വിറ്റ് പൈസ കിട്ടിയപ്പള് എനിക്കില്ല. ഇച്ചിരി പുളിക്കും..."

"ശരി ശരി. ഗിഫ്റ്റൊക്കെ വാങ്ങാം. നിൻ്റെ നിധി വിറ്റ കാശ് നീ തന്നെ വച്ചോ... ഇന്നാ"
അയാൾ പൈസ വച്ചു നീട്ടി.

സുരഭി സന്തോഷത്തോടെ പൈസ വാങ്ങി എണ്ണി നോക്കി. 

"ഓഹോ... ഞാൻ കരുതി നീ പറയും, വേണ്ട മോഹനേട്ടാ നിങ്ങ വച്ചോന്ന്. വിക്കാൻ നേരത്ത് എന്താരുന്ന് കരച്ചിലും പിഴിച്ചിലും. ഞാനത് വിറ്റ് പൈസയാക്കിയപ്പോ എന്താ സന്തോഷം. ഇതിപ്പ ഞാനാരായി?!" 

" ഓ പിന്നേ, നാണമില്ലേ മനുഷ്യാ പറയാൻ. എൻ്റെ എത്ര കാലത്തെ സൂക്ഷിപ്പുകളാണ്. വെറുതെ അങ്ങട് തരോ!" 

പിറ്റേന്ന് വിനോദിൻ്റെ വീട്ടിൽ സമ്മാനവുമായി രാവിലെ എത്തി രണ്ടു പേരും. 
"ഹായ്, എന്ത് ഭംഗിയുള്ള വീട്. പഴമ ഒട്ടും ചോരാതെ നോക്കിയിരിക്കുന്നു." സുരഭി വാ പൊളിച്ചു. പെട്ടെന്ന് ലിവിംഗ് റൂമിൻ്റെ ഒരു മൂലക്ക് ഇരിക്കുന്ന കറങ്ങുന്ന പഴയ പാട്ടുപെട്ടി കണ്ടു. 
"ശോ! ഇതെവിടുന്നാ വിനോദേ ഈ ഗ്രാമഫോൺ?"

"അത് തറവാട്ടിൽ നിന്ന് കിട്ടിയതാ. ഇതിപ്പോ കിട്ടാനില്ല. പിന്നെ ഇത് കണ്ടോ നമ്മുടെ പഴയ സി ഡി കളക്ഷൻ. ഇതും ഞാൻ പലയിടത്തും നടന്നു വാങ്ങിയതാ.  ആകെ ഇരുപത് എണ്ണമേ ഉള്ളൂ. ഒരു സി ഡി ക്ക് മുന്നൂറ്റൻപത് രൂപയാണ് പുറത്ത്. നിങ്ങടെ കൈയിലുണ്ടോ? " വിനോദ്      നാല് ലക്ഷത്തിൻ്റെ പുതിയ സി ഡി പ്ലേയറും സ്പീക്കറും അവർക്ക് മുന്നിൽ അഭിമാനപൂർവം  അവതരിപ്പിച്ചു.

സുരഭി മോഹനനെ നോക്കി പല്ലിറുക്കി. "എൻ്റെ വിനോദേ നിനക്ക് ഇന്നലെ ഒന്ന് വിളിക്കാർന്നില്ലെ. അറുന്നൂറ് സി ഡി കളാണ് ഇങ്ങേരെടുത്ത് ആക്രിക്കാരന് കൊടുത്തത്. ഒരു സി ഡി ക്ക് 350 വച്ച് 600 സി ഡി ക്ക് ... 210000!!! എൻ്റെ മുത്തപ്പാ!! അതുപോലെ വേറെ എന്തൊക്കെ... കാസറ്റ്, ഫ്ലോപ്പി... തൊടാനൊരു പൊട്ട് പോലും ഇങ്ങേരു ബാക്കി വച്ചില്ല. കണ്ടില്ലേടാ, ചേച്ചി പൊട്ട് പോലും വച്ചിട്ടില്ല. സകലതും വാരിക്കെട്ടി കൊടുത്ത്. എന്നിട്ട് ഒരു പതിനായിരം ഉലുവ. മോൺസാ നീ രക്ഷപ്പെട്ടടാ!"

മോഹനൻ ചിരിക്കണോ കരയണോ എന്ന ഭാവത്തിൽ വിനോദിനെ നോക്കി. എന്തോ കുഴപ്പമുണ്ടല്ലോ എന്ന് വിനോദിനും തോന്നി. രണ്ടു പേരും കണ്ണ് കൊണ്ട് കഥകളി കാണിച്ചു. "വരാന്തയിലേക്ക് വാ..."

മോഹനൻ വിനോദിനെ വരാന്തയിലേക്ക് മാറ്റി നിർത്തി, "എൻ്റെ പൊന്നളിയാ നിങ്ങൾക്ക് എന്തിൻ്റെ കേടാർന്ന് ഇപ്പൊ എല്ലാം കൂടെ അങ്ങ് പ്രദർശിപ്പിക്കാൻ. അടുത്ത അഞ്ചു വർഷത്തേക്കിനി എൻ്റെ കാര്യത്തിലൊരു തീരുമാനമായി. തൃപ്പതിയായല്ലോ..."

കഥയെന്താണെന്നറിയാതെ ആട്ടം കണ്ട് വായും പൊളിച്ച് നിന്ന വിനോദിനെ തട്ടി മാറ്റി അകത്തേക്ക് കയറുമ്പോൾ മോഹനൻ സ്നേഹത്തോടെ നീട്ടി വിളിച്ചു, 
"സുരൂ.... മോളേ..."


Friday, October 8, 2021

Peace Lilies

The one and only one piece I longed
For a while, your hues of white
My peace lilies…
I wandered over earth and heaven
All in vein, hopeless me!

A glimpse of white, by the street
Made my heart pound a bit.
As a forlorn soul, scorched earth,
Blooms torn out, in a heap
Yet with a dreadful smile
None cared to heed
A peace lily resting in no peace!

I carried you in my arms
I hid you from earth and heaven
I pampered you, I fed you,
I buried my worries beneath your roots
You were shaken, you were awaken
By my love, by my pain
The day you showered your blossoms
I knew my war is over
I knew you sprinkled peace on me
I yearned to give out each piece of yours
Only to spread the white lilies of peace
All over the rumbling world

Alas! The apathetic realm!
None longed for peace
But for wars…
They laughed at me
They wielded hatred on me
Perplexed and wistful, I ran into you
You hid me underneath your roots
I was garbed in your greens
I survived… I lived!
I was at peace once again
The mirth of love
Twinkled in my heart

I then built my own forest
Of happiness, of love
Of peace, of blues
Of togetherness,
Of patience, of madness
Of creativity, of friendship
Of my own tunes,
Of my dreams…
I buried me somewhere
Amidst the woods
Now am lost
In my own forest

Perhaps, I may rise and bloom
From the seething dirt
And you shall see peace lilies
Blooming all over earth and heaven
Keep me safe keep me in disguise
Albeit, let me spread let me thrive
For the world to be at peace forever!

Mission Impossible : The Maid Hunt

Yes! This is an impossible mission to achieve. Getting that perfect maid in your dreams! In case anyone has made this 'Mission Maid'...