Friday, November 22, 2013

The Trring Trring (R)evolution

Hello Reader

“3-4-1-7”, I was exuberant while uttering those digits repeatedly until they were carved in my mind forever. I was only a 5-year-old when we said “Hello” to our first landline telephone. And 3417 was our first telephone number; I would tell it all the guests who visited our house. It came into life just after the telephone operator made the first test call and it rang “Trring! Trring!” It was like a child’s first cry.

It brought a sort of revolution into our lives. We no more had to go to the nearby grocery shop to talk to our far-away-yet-close-relatives or wait at an STD booth for our turn. I was enjoying our new device the most. I would call my father’s workplace every day after coming back from the school, asking “Can I speak to Mr. Rao, please?” while playing with the spiral cord and order him to bring for me Samosas or other junk food for the evening.

Also, my mother would be well-prepared before any relatives visited our house as they started informing about their visits which would otherwise be, most of the time, a surprise. Kept at one corner, the telephone was an asset to have those days. And with it, a telephone directory and a ball pen, which was in any case, not to be misplaced, kept just next to it. All the important numbers were alphabetically noted in it.

One day, after returning from my school, I found another revolution was being unboxed at my house. It was a new white colored telephone device which they called “cordless”. I was excited again to know what new features has this one got. “You can carry this to any room and talk” they said. I was like “are you kidding me?” and ran to the terrace with the “cordless” device to witness the magic. And it was working.

Not many years passed and I was learning what a SIM card is. This new device was also cordless and also, smaller in size and I was told that it can be taken anywhere you want to take it all over the country. I peeked into my father’s first mobile phone. “NO SIM CARD INSERTED” it said. Then a small ‘chip’ was cut out of the pack and inserted into the phone. It was as if a heart has been transplanted into a heartless body. The mobile phone woke up that very moment.

“Hi hru?”
“f9 thnk u. hru?”
Everybody was speaking in a new lingo called SMS. 

But people were still not satisfied with all this. They wanted more add-ons. 
To keep up with the technology, we went to buy another new phone.

My father asked the shop-keeper to show the best phone.
“Sir, this has Camera, Video recording, Internet, Music player and Bluetooth.” The shop-keeper boasted.
“All that is good but can we make phone calls?” was my father’s question.

The world was quickly moving to the smartphone era and now, we see every other person holding a touch-screen phone with a flip cover. While waiting at an airport terminal, I overheard two guys conversing. They were talking about the smart phones they possess. “Hey, do you have this app?” one said. “Oh yes, but I think that app is better” the other one was saying. 
“How many mega pixels is your phone’s camera?” was his next question.

Then I looked around, I saw a family sitting together with their individual phones in their hands. Necks tilted down, eyes fixed to the screen. There were many more people in the same position like statues. Some were playing games and making new high scores in temple run, some were typing so fast that I could almost empathize with the screen and others were practically wired with it via earphones. They were all committed to their phones and made no eye contact with another human, lost in their own personalized world protected with passwords, where nobody is allowed to enter.

And then I looked back in time, where each phone call had a value. There was much more to talk about. And, the relations were real. The friends were countable. More importantly, ‘people’ had time for other ‘people’ even though there were not so many apps or smartphones or internet, yet people kept in touch.  

And after all this advancement, that lustre is lost. The price of the phones and the digits of the telephone number have increased in an inverse proportion to the human value. Now, the ‘people’ have become busy. They no more find time. 
Their ‘Hello-s’ have become ‘Hi-s’ and our cordless has become heartless.

 - Ashish

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fiction 55: Hide and Seek

Horns were honking. The traffic was stagnant.
Holding uniform flags, the swarm was clamant.
My camera’s lenses captured a kohl-eyed beauty.
Our eyes couldn’t stop playing hide and seek.
Then, her obscure gesture invited a loud eruption.
She won. She was lost forever in that unpleasant reek.
The romantic season changed. It was then political. 

The Dawn of Ayurveda

My mother woke me up at four in the morning and took me to the terrace. I have a vague memory of it as I was then a little toddler. But, I do have partial memory of that early morning and the taste of the Kheer that my mother had fed to me. It was unlike the usual Kheer.

As a child, I had asthma and I, many a times, had a tough time at nights, taking long breaths, trying to fill up my lungs with air, opening my mouth. And I am sure, this would have been even harder for my parents to watch me suffer like that and so, they tried every kind of treatments and therapies to cure me. I am not sure, which one worked for me.

The Kheer was one of them. My father had brought some ‘magical’ powder (which, I later learnt, was Ayurvedic). And this ‘magical’ powder was fed to me, mixed with the Kheer. The night before that morning was a Sharad Poornima (full moon night). It is said that on this day as moon and the earth are very close to each other, the moon rays have certain healing properties of nourishing the body and the soul.

So, following this property, my mother kept a bowl of boiled rice in milk, covering it with a translucent cotton cloth, in full view of the moonlight for the night long.

According to the Ayurveda, it is also said that it proves beneficial in pacifying the mind, and keeping the body healthy throughout the year. The mind attains peace through it and it cures the diseases caused by aggravated pitta (Pitta governs all heat, metabolism and transformation in the mind and body). So, on this night, you might just find a cure to all your illnesses.

The following nights, I was pretty relieved and my lungs were happy. I am again, not sure whether it was the ‘magical’ powder and blessings of the moon or my parent’s love and care, which worked for me.

Apart from the healing power, Ayurveda, since ages has proved to be a powerful tool in the healthy growth of children. Long before the terms, Allopathy and Homeopathy were even coined, these ideas were widely used.

I remember when I used to very closely observe how my grandma gave my younger cousin Oil massage and singing lullabies or making the baby laugh doing some childish acts and she’d tell me how I, myself loved it when I was a kid. And then I held up the ‘Dabur Lal Tail’ oil bottle and I could see my cousin was as happy as the child on the bottle.

Seeing my curiosity to know about it, my granny explained to me that during the initial ages, various organs of the body are not well developed. There is tenderness and the baby can’t tolerate stress. And therefore, external oil massage of the whole body is very important for weight gain. Massaging with appropriate oil increases blood circulation and muscle growth. This is a unique method prescribed by Ayurveda which is very effective.

A little knowledge about Ayurveda is always helpful, even during the small ailments we face in day to day life. Here are a few quick tips, which my Grandma, if nobody else, would be the first to suggest.

For tooth aches, chewing on a clove slowly, letting the juice penetrate the affected area really helps. Clove has been used since ancient times. It has healing elements which soothes the inflamed nerves.

For quick relief from cough and cold, taking a little ginger and basil juice with honey really pacifies the throat.

And for muscular pains, make a dressing of heated mustard oil and turmeric with a pinch of salt. Applying this to the aching or injured area and leaving it for about two hours, is a simple home-made remedy. Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. Mustard oil, with its warming nature, improves circulation and is a natural anti-bacterial agent.

I hope that was helpful.


Thank you IndiBlogger,

And Dabur Lal Tail for this contest. 


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Window

The old man’s wristwatch apprised him to get up. It was the most anticipated time of his day, every day. Spurning the early cold winter morning, he got up from his iron cot and briskly wrapped himself in a thin woolen rug. He was eager to know what he was going to unveil, see and hear. He walked, the fastest he could with a walking stick in his left hand bolstering him. The corridor was empty, rest of the people were still snoring. He crossed the corridor slyly, trying not to make any sound to reach the common hallway. It was silent and empty, just as he wanted it to be. Reaching the telephone, placed near the window, he picked up the receiver and dialed the number. It rang thrice before it was picked up at the other end.

“Hello. Is it you?”

“Yes, It’s me”
the old man replied.

She, on hearing his voice on the other end, was elated. “You will never miss calling me, won’t you?”

“Never” the old man said sanguinely.

She was glad to hear that. Clearing her throat, the woman asked, “So - what do see, today?”


Malhar’s phone rang beside his bed. Why is a good sleep so unaffordable for me? He thought and lazily picked up the call.

“Sir, Geko here. Sorry to disturb you but there’s a woman at the gate, says she wanted to meet you…”

“Ah yes, please let her in. I’ll be there in a moment”

Malhar jumped from the bed. He was going to meet her after a long time. Looking himself at the mirror, he could tell he was excited. He quickly sprinted to meet her. His first love was just behind the door. He opened it. He was speechless for a few seconds and then he recoiled himself.

“Welcome Alimah, good to see you, again, after such a long time.”

“Thank you. Same here, Malhar”

The excitement was mutual. The affection was mutual.

“Let’s have a cup of coffee?” Malhar asked.

“Absolutely” she smiled. Her eyes were scintillating.

The old man looked out of the window and narrated “The outsides look as beautiful as always, thick trees till the farthest you could look, open blue sky and I can hear the morning birds chirping musically and there are butterflies coloring the scene. Everything looks peaceful except this young girl, she is running. Oh! She looks so much like you. And she’s running behind a falling kite. Off she goes into the woods…”

“That sounds beautiful. Can you still see her?”

“Well, I can see the kite, stuck on a tree. And the girl is trying to grab it.”

“Ah! I hope she gets what she loves”

“I think she might, because, now I see a young, handsome guy trying to help her. The brave chap has climbed up the tree. The girl looks completely impressed”

“I am sure, she is” the woman smiled.


“Nice coffee.”
Alimah took a sip.

“It’s regular, actually. I suppose, it’s the company.” Malhar gulped, surprised by his own instant reply.

“Ahem! So, Malhar, when did you start this service? Who inspired you?”

“I always wanted to do something good for the society, apart from my routine work. So, I thought this would be a good cause to invest the money my father had left to me.” Malhar explained.

“I really appreciate what you are doing, Malhar. Why don’t you show me around?”

“Yes, I’ll do that and also, introduce you to all the members. But, before that, let me take to the main hall. I want you to see someone very special here and the reason why I wanted to meet you. Follow me”

“I am excited. Let’s go.”

Malhar walked her into hall and whispered, pointing near the window. “There he is, on the phone call, wait here.”


“And, what do you see?”
The old man asked, curiously.

“The street looks peaceful as well. There are a lot lesser vehicles today. A lot lesser morning people rushing to their work…”

The old man chuckled. “Of course, who would go to work on a Sunday?”

The sudden realization made the woman tap her forehead. “Oh! Stupid me, How bad my memory has become at keeping track of days…”

“Curse your memory later and tell me something interesting”

“Okay. Let me see. Did I tell you about the new corner tea stall? I heard the ginger tea is really appetizing. The stall is always full of people. And, a lovely couple just walked down there, holding hands, sipping their morning tea, enjoying the ecstasy, said to be hidden in these small experiences. They look amazing together.”

“I wish, I could –“, the old man paused.

“You wish – what?”

“I must hang up the phone now. I guess people are waking up, here. I will call you tomorrow, same time.”
“I will be waiting. Take care”

The phone call was cut. The old man slyly walked back to his room.

“Who is that man? Who was he talking to?” Alimah asked.

“I called you here, at this odd time, because, this is what I wanted to show you”

“Years ago, this man and the woman on the other side were in love. But, back then, people were more orthodox. She was married before the old man could even ask for it. And, till today, he regrets what he has missed all these years. After a long treasure hunt, he found her number, only to find out that she now lives with her children and probably serves them. He was also alone all his life, so he joined our old age home.

He calls her every morning and they narrate to each other beautifully crafted stories, fiction of course, which they pretend as if is happing just outside their windows, trying to make each other happy.”

Alimah’s eyes were watery. “Such an Immortal love, just like I wish to have, I don’t know what to say”

“Say ‘yes’”. Malhar prompted.

“Yes to what?” Alimah rubbed her eyes.

“To my proposal. Will you be my Immortal Love?
Malhar was on his knees.

“Yes!” Alimah jumped and passionately embraced him and whispered in his ears, “Let’s celebrate this at my favorite spot.”

“And, what is that?”

“It’s a small tea stall. They serve amazing ginger tea.” Alimah replied.

 - Ashish

Written for
A Platinum day of Love contest