No Country for old men

Population ageing is a global issue, which has been recognized to have implications on the health care and social welfare systems. The process whereby the proportion of children in the population decreases and those of old persons increases is known as the “ageing of population”. The global population of elderly has constantly been increasing during the second half of the last century. This has been possible due to easy availability of life saving drugs, control of famines, and various communicable diseases, better awareness and supply of nutrition and health facilities and comparatively better overall standard of living. These achievements have resulted in drastic reduction in mortality rates and substantial increase in the life expectancy at birth and the overall span of people.

Ageing is a continuous, irreversible, universal process, which starts from conception till the death of an individual. However, the age at which one’s productive contribution declines and one tends to be economically dependent can probably be treated as the onset of the aged stage of life.With the rapidly increasing number of aged compounded by disintegration of joint families and ever increasing influence of modernization and new life styles, the care of elderly has emerged as an important issue in India.

The common psychological problems that most of the older persons experience are : feeling of powerlessness, feeling of inferiority, depression, uselessness, isolation and reduced competence. These problems along with social disabilities like widowhood, societal prejudice and segregation aggravate the frustration of elderly people.

#SpeakingCinema

We start our Speaking Cinema with a movie that is winning critical acclaim all over for its  tale  of emotional depth and understated paradox, Hotel Salvation (Mukti Bhawan) describes the tragicomic ordeal of an over-worked modern son who is forced to set his job aside and accompany his elderly father to the holy city of Varanasi to, presumably, die.

Driving Miss daisy is about an old Jewish woman and her African-American chauffeur in the American South have a relationship that grows and improves over the years.

The Bucket List features two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die.

The bolywood movie Baghban was a tell tale of the ignorance and loneliness that ensues after a family betrays its old ones.A love story of an elderly couple resonated with many.

Cheeni Kum was one standalone movie depicting the emotional and sexual desires of an aged man who falls for a girl much younger of his age.

Perhaps the greatest portrayal of one’s final years is Kurosawa’s Ikiru in particular the scene where Takashi Shimura unexpectedly sings in a crowded nightclub, the boys and girls around him silent, reminded of their own fleeting mortality.

As a standout portrayal of the elderly in film, Tatie Danielle stands out. for its delicious subversion of the kindly old lady role. At 82 years old Danielle is not sweet, considerate or cute, she can be smart, cunning and deliciously bad, non- angel types.

 

Meet the Many having the same address #M #AtoZChallenge

While many movies portray Dissociative  Personality disorder perfectly it’s Split that left me in awe and yeah the ending.

The big twist comes after the plot has been resolved and even a “Split” title card comes on screen. We then cut to a diner where a TV news report tells patrons about the events we’ve just seen, and that Casey’s captor (James McAvoy) is at large and has been dubbed with the name “The Horde”. Three women begin discussing these events and one says, “Wasn’t there a guy in a wheelchair about 15 years ago? What was his name?” David Dunn (Bruce Willis) then leans forward and says, “Mr. Glass.” The camera then lingers on Dunn’s face, strongly suggesting that the emerging superhero from Shyamalan’s 2000 film will face off against The Horde.

For those who never saw Unbreakable (spoilers ahead for a 17-year-old movie), the film follows David Dunn, a security guard who’s the lone survivor of a massive train crash. Dunn eventually comes to learn that he has superpowers and that the man he thought was his mentor, Elijah Price aka Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), is actually his archnemesis. It’s a fascinating look at the tropes of the superhero genre and trying to reposition them into a more realistic framework. While the twist at the end feels unnecessary (Price is revealed to have orchestrated a series of accidents through flashbacks we couldn’t have possibly known about), the movie as a whole is fairly interesting and it’s certainly worth watching.

(Inputs from Split movie, collider)

We leave you with a poem on Multiple Personality Disorder instead:

06/03/2017 – 11.15 am

She walked into the clinic

With stilettos that sparked gold

And a skirt that whirled like poetry

She pushed the door instead of pull

‘Fuck!!” Get a slider door doc

Hello Ms. Joshi said Dr. Panicker

How are you feeling today?

Ecstatic, I just had a healing spa

Wonderful Tina, Tell me how was your week?

It was good, I am working on my new exhibition

Wow, now that’s some news.

And I am over Robert now

I think I should love myself

Perfect Tina. Let’s see your case sheet.

 

13/03/2017 11. 15 am

Doctor rushes into clinic

Only to find Robert there

“Hey Doc, You are late” with a grin

Sorry Robert, was caught in traffic”

And by the way nice shoes.

Oh, I love glitters”

Cool! So how was your week

Bad doc, breakups suck.

They Do, but it’s just a matter of time

Let me have a look at your case sheet.

I hope you are sleeping okay, no waking up all night

I try doc, I do try. She seems to have moved on.

Will you try talking to Tina Doc, Just the bro thing

I will try Robert and if she doesn’t let her go.

And continue the pills. Text me if you need something

Robert stands up to leave and pulls the door .

Push it outside Robert”

Fuck! Get a slider door Doc”

Being alone is not the same as being lonely #L #Loneliness #AtoZChallenge

We’re all a bit scared of loneliness – of being alone. Of being left. Of not being loved. Or needed. Or cared about. “Lonely” hits a spot of fear in all of us even if we don’t acknowledge it.

Being alone is a state of being by oneself without others around. It can actually be a healthy phenomenon, as everyone needs a little time away from others to plan, to think, and to rest.

However, being lonely is a different matter entirely. We are especially prone to loneliness in the modern society. Social media like Facebook, Whatsapp, or Snapchat may allow more convenient communication, but all these ways of communication neglect the importance of face-to-face socialization.

And at the end, despite many “friends” we have on the online media, they don’t really have anyone to talk to when they need friends most.

We prefer online communication to face-to-face conversation because online communication is less committed, if you don’t respond instantly, it’s okay. But face-to-face conversation doesn’t really need to be stressful. When you’re with someone who you can be comfortable with, silence is precious too.

Audrey Hepburn once said:

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others”

This quote highlights the importance of helping others, and also highlights the fact that most of the time we are the key to many problems we are facing; in other words, you can cure your loneliness.

Giving others a hand will help you realize your value, as you discover you are capable of doing so. And helping others also open up opportunities of deep friendships, as very often, a deep relationship is forged in adversity.

When we talk about “helping others”, you don’t need to always save others by risking life. You can just pay attention to details.

Write your colleague a card if he or she is unhappy. Read out loud for the old man living next to you. Or help a child to reach the top of a rack

#SpeakingCinema

Charulata –  Charulata, a beautiful saga of loneliness by Styajit ray himself  is based on a story by Rabindranath Tagore, Nastanirh (The broken Nest) and set in Calcutta in the late nineteenth century. Bengal Renaissance is at its peak and India is under the British rule. The film revolves around Charulata / Charu (Madhabi Mukherjee), the childless, intelligent and beautiful wife of Bhupati (Sailen Mukherjee). He edits and publishes a political newspaper. Bhupati is an upper class Bengali intellectual with a keen interest in politics and the freedom movement.

Charu is interested in the arts, literature and poetry. Though Bhupati loves his wife, he has no time for her. She has little to do in the house run by a fleet of servants. Sensing her boredom, Bhupati invites Charu’s elder brother Umapada and wife Manda to live with them. Umapada helps in running of the magazine and the printing press. Manda with her silly and crude ways is no company for the sensitive and intelligent Charulata.

Amal (Soumitra Chatterjee), Bhupati’s younger cousin comes on a visit. Bhupati asks him to encourage Charu’s cultural interests. Amal is young, handsome and is of the same age group as Charu. He has literary ambitions and shares her interests in poetry. He provides her with much needed intellectual companionship and attention. An intimate relationship develops between Charulata and Amal. There is a hint of rivalry when she publishes a short story on her own without his knowledge. He realizes that Charulata is in love with him but is reluctant to reciprocate due to the guilt involved.

As a respect to Satyajit Ray, we will discuss Charulata only in detail.

In Charulata, Satyajit Ray explores the emergence of the modern woman in the upper-class of colonial India. One can not help drawing parallels with Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.

The opening sequence is a piece of cinematic poetry. We see the young wife Charulata moving from one window to another in her house. She observes the activities of the outside world through the window blinds using opera glasses. She is like a caged bird in her mansion. We sense her curiosity and desire to know the outside world.

As she moves to the interior corridor of the house, we see her intellectual husband. He is too engrossed in a book and walks past her without even noticing her presence. She watches him as he walks away and stands reading. Charu raises her opera glasses and looks again as if he too belongs to the outside world. As Bhupati disappears from the view, she is expressionless and lets the opera glasses slip down. The camera is pulled back sharply, “like a flourish with a pen at the end of an essay …” in Ray’s words. Without a dialogue being spoken, we know Charulata is condemned to her loneliness and boredom.

In the final sequence, as Bhupati returns home after wandering aimlessly, Charu opens the door. Gently and with hesitation, she asks him to enter. A wavering Bhupati enters the door and reaches toward her hand. The shot is frozen and is followed with still images of Charu’s half-lit face, Bhupati’s half-lit face, a servant holding a lamp, a mid-shot of Charu and Bhupati and finally a long-shot of them. As the music rises the words “Nastanirh” (Bengali, The Broken Nest) fill the screen. It was ray’s cinematic answer to Tagore’s original ending in which Bhupati has to go out of town and Charu asks him to take her with him. He hesitates to which Charu says “Thak” meaning “Let it be”. As Ray explained later, it was his visual equivalent of the word “Thak”. “The two are about to reconcile and then prevented from doing so.”

Hail Satyajit Ray.

Just go to hell……….Ae Dil #J #AtoZChallenge

Let’s talk about one factor that leads to anxious days, sleepless nights and depressing moments- Toxic Relationships.

Courtesy- EliteDaily

Relationships turn toxic and because that’s how addiction is, trying to find comfort in the same thing that’s destroying you. But you still fight for it, you fight for same thing that has destroyed you.

This poem is for the toxic relationships:

“You grow up with the tales that fool you

the karmic relationships

The happily ever afte

The beautiful families that go on vacations

The kiss under the stars

The love that never fades

Walking on sand with hand to hand

Comes an emotionally unavailable man

You wake up to his texts

And nights that say “i miss you”

They aren’t toxic at first

and that is how you fall

Comes the anger, the desire, the shame

the outbursts, expectations and the pain

You knew that was not normal

Screaming, fighting and just fucking

The fact is

Nothing will work

That expensive hair cut in a posh saloon

Books that tell you to move on

Shopping spree that makes you broke

TED talks that friends suggest

Eat pray and love never exists

Love happens when you least expect it

and so does shit

 

Don’t act normal when you want him back

Don’t say you have moved on when you have not

Don’t date men and still look for him

You still want to make it work and don’t deny that

Just take your time and shake yourself up

Remember the expensive heels that you

never wore but regret buying anyways

Love happens when you least expect it

and so does shit anyways”

So if love is, being there for another person while things are good and then sprinting, the minute things get bad, that is not “Love”

Courtesy- TinyBuddha

 

 

The Incredible Irresistible Introverts #I #AtoZChallenge

Courtesy- Lifehack

Introverts are some of the most underrated and misjudged people today, and how most people perceive them is far from who they really are and what they really do.
Extroverts tend to be better at communicating and expressing their thoughts and feelings, while introverts are known to be reserved and hesitant when it comes to disclosing, and the movies listed can be a basic and useful guide for extroverts to understand and see the world in an introvert’s eyes.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower” shows through a protagonist called Charlie  that introverts always have thoughts inside their heads, they engage in deep conversations, ruminate about life, the universe, and everything, and take the time to really reflect on all that’s going on in the world around them.. It is so moving and will bring back good and bad memories from high school that would make not just introverts, but everyone, feel nostalgic and emotional.

Celebrated French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet directed the 2001 comedy-drama, which received recognition both critically and commercially. “Amélie” is a beautiful movie depicting a story of a lonely woman, who is not great at having conversations, but she is probably the most inspiring introvert character of all.

When they connect, the connect is special. An introvert is letting you know they’re interested in connecting with you beyond a superficial level. They’re displaying a level of intimacy and vulnerability that not many people get to see, like “The Station Agent”  film directed by Tom McCarthy, which revolves around the life of Fin, a man with dwarfism, who lives in solitude in an abandoned train depot.

Following a personal tragedy, Fin retired from his job and chose to live alone, but he finds himself growing closer to his neighbors each day and the bond that is displayed is beautiful.

We all dream of having a partner with whom we can just talk about everything and nothing for hours on end. Someone who listens and really understands what is in your heart.

This is one of the introvert’s superpowers. They love to listen and if you’re having a bad day or are homesick, you know who can make you feel better.

I don’t have friends,Watson”

Yep, You’re right. I’m talking about the famous character ever made, not only in books but also in the screen- Sherlock.

In a crowd, they’re the ones hovering around the outside, watching, observing, usually with a sly smile and a devious look on their face and bet they are charming.

Introverts avoid the spotlight like vampires avoid sunlight. They’re not looking to be the center of attention.While they’ll likely run and hide when their name is called, you can be assured that when you step off the stage, they’ll be the ones cheering the loudest.

Movies and television shows often portray introverts this way.  From the days of The Breakfast Club to Little Miss Sunshine to Napoleon Dynamite to The Perks of Being a Wallflower, introverts are often portrayed as awkwardly shy people, often ok to average looking, and typically unpopular.

Further reinforcing this stereotype are movies like and Can’t Buy Me Love where a bet happens over making geek introverts into popular extroverts.

Fortunately, the moral of most of these latter stories is that the introverts don’t need to be turned into exceptional, incredibly attractive people by the extroverted popular crowd. They already are.

Be you all introverts, believe me you make best of friends, amazing partners and super caring siblings.

 

How to speak about your mental condition #H #AtoZChallenge

OK. We have made a lot of hoopla around mental health and the forms of illness and we will continue that.

But the question that i was asked by a reader was how to speak about it. And gosh, that is important and we completely missed it.

If you recognize symptoms of any common mental health problem and are worried, or if you feel that something isn’t right but you can’t put your finger on why, we recommend that you speak to someone in family, someone who cares and then therapist.

Some of the most frequently experienced symptoms include:

  • loss of apetite
  • feeling low or constantly anxious or worrying
  • thinking negative thoughts about yourself
  • irritability or moodiness
  • finding it harder than usual to concentrate
  • not enjoying your life as much as you once did
  • finding day-to-day life difficult (not feeling up to washing or eating, for example)
  • trouble sleeping, or sleeping too much
  • seeing or hearing things that other people do not see or hear

One thing is important- You may be generally sad and not depressed even with these symptoms, it’s the persistence of these symptoms over a period of time that is crucial.

It can be daunting to speak to someone that you may not know well about your mental health, but most people find that speaking  can make all the difference to their lives.

And this “Speaking Up” is not a cake walk and we know that. Make some pointers before you speak to your therapist:

  • Be patient, the treatment mat take time.
  • Communication is the key- Your doctor is not a mind reader or an astrologer, communicate clearly about your life events or thought process so that he/ she can come up with proper diagnosis.
  • State your expectations and understand his limitations
  • Be a good person with timely follow back.
  • Remember that diagnosing and treating depression takes time and expertise, so if your goal is to make your symptoms disappear immediately, you’re likely to be disappointed
  • Treat him/her as a friend rather than a doctor.

Speaking Cinema

One movie that hugely impressed me with a patient- therapist relationship is Dear Zindagi. This  exploration of the inner life of a young successful, ambitious woman confused with relationships (Sounds familiar……Na?) is fairly unprecedented in Bollywood. In Tanu Weds Manu 2, we do get a chance to see Tanu’s  bipolar struggles. But the shabby treatment of the movie and a predictable attempt to make it comedy with punchlines like

“Tu Kaun hai be?”

“Main kandha hun”( I am that shoulder on which girls lean). ………….Oh please, give me some better jokes.

Instead, in the opening scene, Tanu manages to turn marriage counselling into an opportunity to get her husband locked up in an asylum.(WTF) In Queen, Rani needs the trip to Paris to transform herself into this confident avatar (But we ain’t geeting Paris dear ladies)

It’s soothing, therefore, to hear Khan tell Kiara that she doesn’t have to forgive her parents or confront them for abandoning her. To hear Khan tell Kiara that she is not “cheap” but “superfine” to not settle for the first man who comes down the pike. Kiara has  nightmares about society judging her for being unmarried and unloved. (Happening with definitely me).It’s even more soothing when Khan tells Kiara that no society — no matter how judgmental — doesn’t have to think well of her, as long as she thinks well of herself.

The best part about this movie is how Gauri shinde doesn’t create any love angle between therapist and Kaira. And that is how it should be, we all are left crushing over Shahrukh and a rocking chair. But what we leave behind is :

When Kaira confesses about life being an interminable musical in so far as the new singer guy in her life is concerned, SRK’s Dr Khan is quick to retort with a good humoured jibe: “Aur tumhein to dialogue pasand hain (You like dialogues)”. Or when he himself says “we are all our own teachers in the school of life” and then comes back with “ye kuchh zyada heavy ho gaya (it’s too heavy-handed)”. Oh, we love you Shahrukh.

Dear Zindagi is a breezy change in the rare movies pertaining to mental health. I will leave you with a beautiful deleted scene of Dear Zindagi.

 

When Gender is the demon……… #GenderDysphoria

First i want to make some points crystal clear before you read:

Gender dysphoria is not the same as gender nonconformity, which refers to behaviors not matching the gender norms or stereotypes of the gender assigned at birth. Examples  include occasional cross-dressing in adult men. Gender nonconformity is not a mental disorder. Gender dysphoria is also not the same being gay/lesbian.

Gender dysphoria used to be called “gender identity disorder.” But the crisis of identity associated with gender is not the mental illness,Instead, what need to be addressed are the stress, depression that come along with this dysphoria.

How to identify Gender Dysphoria

In children, these symptoms may include:

  • Consistently saying they are really a girl even though they have the physical traits of a boy or really a boy if they have the physical traits of a girl
  • Strongly preferring friends of the sex with which they identify
  • Rejecting the clothes, toys, and games typical for boys or girls
  • Refusing to urinate in the way — standing or sitting — that other boys or girls typically do
  • Saying they want to get rid of their genitals
  • Believing that even though they have the physical traits of a girl they will grow up to be a man; or believing if they have the physical traits of a boy they will still be a woman when they grow up
  • Having extreme distress about the body changes that happen during puberty

Why it’s important: Studies suggest that 71% of people with gender dysphoria end up being chronically depressed or schizophrenic and have abnormal sexual life leading to marked proportion of 23% ending in suicides.

#SpeakingCinema

Boys don’t Cry: Based on a true story, Boys Don’t Cry was adapted from the life of Brandon Teena, born Teena Brandon, a woman who chose to live her life as a man and suffered tragic consequences as a result. A true story about hope, fear, and the courage it takes to be yourself, Boys Don’t Cry is critically acclaimed love story. Brandon falls in love with a beautiful girl named Lana, and there’s an undercurrent question that’s never quite answered as we wonder if Lana knows that Brandon is still physically female.Starring Hilary Swank and Chloe Sevigny, this is an excellent, brutal and unforgettable film.

Hedwig and the angry inch : Ok i am smitten by this movie.I’ve  watched this one over and over . It’s a love story, a glam-rock musical, a comedy, a search for meaning, a journey of discovery and a story about loneliness and redemption.

This story begins with Hansel, the child of a German mother and American-soldier father, being raised behind the Berlin wall. As he grows up, his love of glamor and rock music only grows, so when he meets a handsome American soldier and falls in love, he gets his opportunity to escape from behind the wall. But in order to leave as his soldier’s bride, he must take his mother’s passport and pass a physical exam. And here Hedwig is born.

The gender-change surgery is botched, leaving him with only “an angry inch,” and eventually losing him the love of his soldier (who is pictured loving big sausages and we’ll leave it at that). Living alone in a trailer park, Hedwig is depressed and lonely. Working as a grocery checkout girl and babysitter, he falls for the young son of an officer, and they write beautiful music together. Until his boyfriend runs off with all the songs and becomes a rock star…

Daayra : In this path breaking film directed by Amol Palekar, Nirmal Pandey plays a transvestite who comes in contact with a rape victim. Helming a sensitive story, he personifies human relationships that go beyond narrow identities. So far, he is the only actor to bag a National Award for Best Actress.

Talk to us, leave a comment or mail to us if you want to have a word on abuse or mental health. Share your stories of being victorious at “The Bachpan Project.” and help people deal with their demons.

The goal is not to change how the person feels about his or her gender. Instead, the goal is to deal with the distress that may come with those feelings being non judgmental.

Love

P.

Heading to fridge when stressed?…… It may be #EatingDisorder

Most of us binge eat or head straight to refrigerator when we are stressed, but do you know this when uncontrolled may turn into a serious psychological disturbance .

According to the National Institute of Mental Health eating disorders primarily affect girls and women.1 But eating disorders aren’t just a problem for the teenage women so often depicted in the media. Men and boys can also be vulnerable. About a quarter of preadolescence cases of anorexia occur in boys, for example. And binge eating disorder strikes males and females about equally.

There are three major types of eating disorders.

People with anorexia nervosa have a distorted body image that causes them to see themselves as overweight even when they’re dangerously thin. Often refusing to eat, exercising compulsively, and developing unusual habits such as refusing to eat in front of others, they lose large amounts of weight and may even starve to death.

Individuals with bulimia nervosa eat excessive quantities, then purge their bodies of the food and calories they fear by using laxatives, enemas, or diuretics; vomiting; or exercising. Often acting in secrecy, they feel disgusted and ashamed as they binge, yet relieved of tension and negative emotions once their stomachs are empty again.

Like people with bulimia, those with binge eating disorder experience frequent episodes of out-of-control eating. The difference is that binge eaters don’t purge their bodies of excess calories.

Treatment plans often are tailored to individual needs and may include one or more of the following:

  • Individual, group, or family psychotherapy
  • Medical care and monitoring
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Medications (for example, antidepressants)

Eating Disorder In Cinema

Sharing the Secret – An amazing movie about the mother-daughter relationship  It is among those movies about eating disorders that focus on bulimia instead of anorexia. The movie is about a child psychologist Nina Moss and her daughter Beth, played by Alison Lohman, who is a slim, upbeat overachiever. However, Nina feels something is just not right with Beth, and she is right because Beth becomes bulimic, purging, and binging, which things start to get out of hand, shows the importance of family and friends in overcoming.

Unrealistic beauty standards leading to anorexia in young girls is beautifully portrayed in Dying to Dance which is  about a talented ballerina Alyssa who is asked to lose weight to stay in the game. But, soon things go out of hand and anorexia takes over her life. Another movie Thin also traces the journey of four anorexic women.

The road to eating disorder recovery starts with admitting you have a problem. This admission can be tough, especially if you’re still clinging to the belief—even in the back of your mind—that weight loss is the key to happiness, confidence, and success. Even when you finally understand this isn’t true, old habits are still hard to break.

The good news is that the eating disorder behaviors you’ve learned can be unlearned if you’re motivated to change and willing to ask for help. However, overcoming an eating disorder is about more than giving up unhealthy eating behaviors. It’s also about rediscovering who you are beyond your eating habits, weight, and body image

Remember- You all are beautiful.

Z : Zindagi Replay #AtoZChallenge

 

ZNew Delhi ki ore jaane waali gaadi sankhya 22588 Rajdhani Express platform kramank 10 par aa rahi hai,“

“The train number 22588 Rajdhani Express moving towards New Delhi is arriving on platform number 10.”

 

Anjali took her eyes off from the hustle of railway station and looked in the distance of coming train. The railway track was filthy as usual but she loved travelling by train. Flights gave her backaches and even after repeated insistence of her two sons she preferred train. Her two sons! Oh, how much time has passed, she wondered. The little caterpillars have turned into winged creatures and flew to form their own world and she was left alone in Varanasi. It’s been such a long time when Ashok left them. She doesn’t even miss him now. At this thought, Anjali felt a pang of guilt. What is she saying? She does miss his presence, and just coping up with the responsibility of raising two sons – one of 10 and another of 8 alone made her strong. She laughed – a big loud laugh on how she was consoling herself.

 

Ha ! Ha! Ha!’ Suddenly she realized people were looking at her and embarrassed, she picked up her luggage and moved in search of coach A2. She double checked her seat on the chart and then entered the coach.

 

This was her Life – She spent three months with each of her son’s family every year but never agreed to leave Benaras. Benaras was where she belonged, she had a weird feeling that the day she will leave Benaras, she will die.

 

The dhoop mixed air of her city, the echo and colors of Ganga aarti, the silence of ghats in morning only broken by temple bells and the narrow never ending streets, Benaras breathed through her. And her every day evening walk to BHU, she missed it when she was in Delhi or Bengaluru.

 

Stretching her legs on her berth, she was lost into thoughts. And a memory brought a giggle onto her face. Ashok was working with a bank and one fine day when he came home and said in a disappointing voice that he was transferred and she had to pack, she said yes. It was a routine and she was not even interested in knowing which city. Ashok was a silent man, they never talked much.

 

That night when they retired to bed, Ashok said, “Achha! Tum to Benaras me rahi ho na, tumko to wo jagah pata hogi,

(You have lived in Benaras? You must be familiar with the place?)

 

Benaras!!! She screamed with Joy but later composed herself lest she irritated her husband who was not very fond of her. She just nodded in affirmation.

 

Mai BHU me…”

 

Haan, Haan, yaad hai mujhe…” Ashok cut her short.

 

But she was happy. It was Benaras calling for her and she will be with the city that was her partner before she got married.

 

“Madam, what will you for dinner, veg or non-veg?” Her memory train was stopped by the coach attendant.

 

“Vegetarian,” She replied and suddenly the attendant stumbled due to a jerk and a girl emerged with her big backpack.

 

Bhaiya, arrange a seat just for sitting nah, please,” said the  girl, as she looked in looking for some space to accommodate herself.

 

“Madam, the train has just come, let every passenger be seated and then I will surely arrange one for you.” The attended replied and left.

 

The girl, all breathless, started introspecting the compartment. Noticing the old lady continuously staring at her, she jumped at the opportunity.

 

“Aunty, can I sit here please, if you don’t have any problem. I have a RAC ticket and TC has assured me of a seat.”

 

Anjali was in a fix, but she simply nodded offering her some space to sit. And then, Anjali gave a look to this co-passenger. She was pretty, dressed in a white shirt and Patiala salwar, she was wearing big black metal earrings. Hair tied to the top of her head, a flick here and there was coming out. She looked tired with red, sleepy eyes.

 

 

Anjali looked at her lazily, suddenly it seemed as if she had seen this girl before; not recently, must be some time ago; and she tried to think when and where, – but could not remember. She tried hard to recall, the girl seemed so familiar but finally she settled with the fact that at 68 her memory was not the loyal one to stay back.

 

 

The girl who was in her mid twenties started checking her phone and tears started rolling down her cheeks. She made a few frantic calls and was shouting, screaming, pleading and then crying over every phone call.

Anjali wanted to ask but restrained herself from interfering in a stranger’s personal life. She tried to engross herself in a magazine. As happens with almost everyone in that age she went down the memory lane

 

1967, Benaras Station

 

A girl was running towards the train with a suitcase in her hand. She did not have a ticket but had to go to Dilli urgently, rushing towards the train she managed to get into the crowded train. Throwing the suitcase at one corner, she then turned towards Benaras, the city she was absolutely in love with, the city that gave her dreams, the city which she never wanted to leave and then she said goodbye one last time.

 

She stood at the door until the city faded off. Coming back to the compartment, she sat on the suitcase and within no time she was in tears. She didn’t want to leave her studies mid way but was forced to because her parents found a suitable match for her. The groom was working in a bank and that was enough for her to leave her studies midway. And all through the journey to Delhi she cried, cried frantically. How much she had tried to persuade her parents to let her complete her education.

 

She was pursuing a degree in literature and everyone admired her writing skills at BHU. She had never seen that boy, never talked. She wrote a letter to him stating her wish to complete her studies and to write. Never came the reply and she one fine day with a heavy heart left Benaras.

 

Her thought express experienced a halt as she heard the RAC girl sobbing. She then decided to talk to the girl.

 

Beta! Don’t mind, but you are restless since the time you boarded the train. Is everything ok?”

 

“Yeah Aunty, I am a little disturbed, some personal issues,” replied the girl, wiping off her face.

 

“You can talk to me if you want and remember, sometimes talking to a stranger helps,” added Anjali, trying further to help the girl.

 

“Thanks Aunty, actually it’s my family, they are emotionally blackmailing me to come to Delhi right now.” She said, coming closer.

 

“But why?”

 

“They want me to marry, they have found a boy which is a perfect match for me according to them and the guy is leaving for US in a few weeks and they want us to be married in a week.” She said, looking away.

 

“And you like someone else?”

 

“No Aunty, I am doing my masters and after that I want to make a career. I want to write my own book, my own stories and not get entangled in relationships.” The girl was so well settled with her thoughts, she knew what she wanted to do, and it made Anjali think for a moment, about her life, about her past.

 

“You don’t get entangled in relationships beta, they bind you together.” She finally said, recovering herself.

 

“I don’t deny that, aunty, but right now I want to focus on my career.”

 

“You said that you want to write. But you can do that after marriage too.”

 

“My parents say the same. I tried talking to this guy first, but he is super busy and then he thinks writing is just a hobby. Tell me honestly, aunty, don’t we have a choice to decide our timelines and our interests by us?” as she said those words, Anjali was forced to think again where she had seen this girl. She was so clear in her mind, yet she couldn’t recall where she met her.

 

Anjali fell silent. To her rescue came the attendant with the dinner and Anjali was spared to this girl and her question for which she herself never had an answer.

 

The girl again got busy on phone persuading someone and Anjali went 40 years back to the same train. She reached Delhi and married Ashok in a hurriedly arranged ceremony. After Bidai she went to her new home. Not only Ashok was working with a bank, her in-laws were old time zamindars of Bengal with a big haweli.

 

On her first alone moment with Ashok, he said, “I got your letter and I didn’t reply because I thought that I will talk about it when we’ll meet. You will not get any discomfort here, so there is no question of your studying further.”

 

Anjali’s world came falling down. And suddenly she missed the city that gave her air to breath, a city where she dreamt to fly. She didn’t realize when she stopped crying, and when she felt asleep.

 

And she had actually fallen asleep when she heard the girl trying to wake her up.

 

“Aunty, I got a seat the side upper one just to your opposite. Thank you so much Aunty for your help, I think you should take rest now.”

 

Anjali wanted to say that she is making a wrong decision and that she should follow her heart, but couldn’t, instead she said, “Everything happens for a reason beta and love is a force we could never understand. Now, you should also take some rest and leave everything on god. You have been crying all the evening and look at your eyes, they are swollen.”

 

The girl gave her a smile. And settled on her berth, before switching off lights she wished her good night. The girl tried to smile with emptiness in her eyes.

 

‘Those eyes… I have seen them somewhere.’ She tried hard to remember, the girl seemed so familiar and she never forget faces. Maybe on her evening stroll she might have seen that girl.

 

Anjali tried to sleep but emotions had already robbed her of the sleep.

 

She came to terms with the fact that her dreams would always remain incomplete and she got busy with her new life. With Ashok back to town, she was left alone in that haveli with an ailing father-in-law to take care of.

 

She still remembered the day when sitting in the garden the gossiping maid told her about her mother-in-law. Ashok had earlier told her that his mother died due to TB when he was a child. And the maid told her in a whispering voice that her mother in law had actually left the family never to come back.

 

She was shocked, she could not imagine a woman leaving her house. She herself at times felt suffocated in this life but never ever she thought of leaving. Ashok was a man of fewer words but she loved him and Ashok cared for her. She missed their love soaked moments of intimacy when he was away at work. She wanted to know more about her mother-in-law but she had got strict instructions from Ashok not to discuss her mother at home and now she knew why.

 

She one day called the maid to her room and gave her a few old sarees. On seeing her happy she asked the question about why did her mother-in-law left the home. A frightened maid looked around and then told her to not let anyone else know that she had told her.

 

She then told how her mother-in-law, a daughter of zamindar herself was the only woman in village who knew how to read and write. Married at young age the whole day she was immersed in reading and was very different from other women. Her mother-in-law was always angry on her but her husband loved her so she escaped the scoldings. And one day when Ashok babu was a little child, police came looking for her but she was found nowhere. Even not near the pond at the corner of Bageecha where she was busy writing something the whole day.

 

She was never found again. People say she participated in freedom struggle, some say she was shot dead by police and some even say she was sighted in Calcutta with some other man. The maid after narrating the whole story again pleaded with Anjali not to tell this to anyone.

 

That whole day Anjali locked herself in her room saying she was feeling sick. She was pregnant with her first child so no one disturbed her. And then alone in the dark room overlooking the rice fields, she felt a pang of jealousy.

 

She was jealous of her mother-in-law.

 

That day Anjali realized that everything happens for a reason and that reason is emotions. We all are slave of our emotions. She missed BHU because of her emotional attachment to that place, she was contempt because she loved Ashok and now she has this flood of emotions for her unborn child. Her mother-in-law fought with her emotions of love towards family and love towards a country and she chose the latter. Ashok guided by the emotions of hatred towards his mother never wanted another mother like figure in his home.

 

And who among us all are happy because of our emotions?

 

Anjali still does not have any answer to it.

 

But now she has a deep respect towards her mother-in-law, that is why when Ashok passed away after a brief illness she decided to return back to her city, a city with which her emotional ties were never broken. She started a new life, without Ashok and with two kids in Benaras.

 

My sons would never understand my connection to this city.

 

And with this thought Anjali fell asleep. In morning she woke up with noise of activities of passengers. New Delhi was about to arrive and people were shifting their luggage towards the door. She looked for the girl, her seat was empty and she feared something unfortunate.

 

Anjali put on her sleepers and went looking for the girl. There she was, staring outside the door with the same empty eyes.

 

‘I have seen this girl somewhere and why I am not able to recall,’ wondered Anjali.

 

“Good Morning Beta, are you okay now?” She asked, still trying to remember.

 

The girl turned back and pretended to smile, “Yes aunty, I am okay, I am just afraid.”

 

“Don’t worry beta, everything will be okay.” Inside, she again felt a pang of jealousy, jealousy against her mother-in-law.

 

The train slowed and New Delhi station’s platform appeared alongside the running train. Anjali hurried back and brought her bag to the door. The door was too much crowded. From the train window she saw her son and the little Adi waiving towards her.

 

She smiled and waived back, “Oh, how much I miss my grandson,” she wondered.

 

After getting down on platform and hugging her boy, she looked around. She could not find that girl. Unable to find that girl, she felt a little sad and a little lost.

 

Her son asked, as he noticed her being disturbed, “What happened, Maa?”

 

“Nothing! Let’s go,” she replied.

 

Suddenly, someone screamed from back. “Aunty!”

 

She turned back to notice the same girl, waiving at her from a distance.

 

The girl came closer, hugged her and said, “You were right, Aunty, sometimes it helps to share with a stranger.”

 

Anjali smiled, feeling at ease she replied, “Everything happens for a reason Beta and that reason is our emotions, and now don’t be sad.”

 

The girl started walking away. Suddenly Anjali remembered something as she shouted, “Arey, I forgot to ask your name, beta?”

 

With a similar empty smile and hollow eyes, which looked so familiar the girl shouted, “ANJALI! ANJALI SHARMA!”

 

She looked towards the direction of the voice, but couldn’t locate as so many people were moving – some of them were in hurry, some of them walked lazily. So many faces, so many expressions, so many thoughts in so many minds – it seemed as if time have suddenly stopped and everything around went into a slow motion mode.

 

The whole world around Anjali became blurred once again. She stood there like a statue.

 

And then it dawned to her – the eyes, the face that she was not able to identify was suddenly so known – she was no one else, she was her, the way she used to be four decades ago. And it was no dream – people moved around, train arrival and departure being announced, and a shrill voice of Adi.

 

She looked for the girl, she wanted to reach out to her and tell her to follow her heart, to choose her true emotions and not take too long a time to return back to where she belonged.

 

Anjali was nowhere in sight, Anjali Sharma was gone. And another Anjali Sharma stood there, as if trying to change her past to better. She wanted to amend her past by making it better for that girl, but she was gone.

 

Fourty years have passed.

 

Then she remembered, she once read something scribbled on an old book, she found at her village home while cleaning.  She was sure that it was of her mother-in-law’s and that is why she kept it with herself for all those years, faintly it read something like this:

“Just follow your heart,

And follow your dream,

Don’t forget to jump,

 Even though it means going down the stream”           

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This is my last post written for #AtoZBloggingChallenge with www.blogchatter.com.

Hope you enjoyed reading wordweaver’s musings as i enjoyed writing them.

Love

P.

Postcard From P : The eX Effect #AtoZChallenge

From now on. I will be writing a postcard every Thursday to the little kids and then this idea struck me why not start it with AtoZChallenge. Though it has been heck of tiring writing these 26 lettered posts, it taught me one thing. – It all takes a little effort to complete what seems inevitably incomplete.

Dear Little Girls

Tomorrow you will be grown up and I won’t be there. So today I will talk about the eX Effect in the first postcard of the series.

Once a while you all will fall in love, head over heels in love. You will feel that this is what you have been waiting for and couldn’t thank your stars for so much happiness.

And then this person turns out to be an Asshole, big time Asshole. So what?  You want to cry?  Do cry. You want to binge eat, Do eat. You want to isolate, do it.

But sweetheart, the sun rises and it just takes a little effort. You met a coward who could not take a little effort. But you have to take one. You have to stand up, stand up not to fly, just for the sake of standing up. Look around, I know you must be having friends on whose shoulder you can lean, it’s okay to share, they understand and even if they don’t, you will feel better.

Life is too short and beautiful to keep on thinking about a moron who does not have balls.

Be Unfuckwithable.

Love
P.

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I am participating in #AtoZChallenge with www.blogchatter.com.