Quickies #9.

This Quickies is on an old lady I knew and had grown to be fond of.This is also the story of many women her age.
……….
Mrs G.
……….

Everybody thought she was ready to die. After all, she had outlived her entire family.Lost her only daughter, aged 17, tragically to meningitis decades ago. Her husband had passed away quite suddenly last year from a heart attack. What did she have to live for? But at 72,Mrs G had so many things left to do.

Never questioned her parents,cut her hair short, read an English novel,been told ‘I love you’ by her husband,stayed late in bed, chatted with a stranger, wrote a cheque, drove a car, touched snow, tasted meat, screamed out loud, visited another country, learnt French, questioned God.
Never enjoyed life.Never was loved.

She died last Friday. Nobody asked her if she was ready for it.

Quickies #8.

The First Time
…………………..

The excitement had given way to a lull,even tiredness. She was sitting in the marriage hall surrounded by her cousins and aunts. Her younger cousins were chatting away while the aunts were busy gossiping.Planning what to wear and more importantly what they thought others should wear for the reception.
“So”, began one of her aunts,”Ready for tonight?”.
At this cue, the other women started shooing the kids away. This talk was not meant for their ears. The new bride lowered her eyes and pretended not to understand.
“You know, it’s going to be your first night. I am going to tell you something important”,the older lady proceeded.
So this is going to be sex education, the bride thought, bring it on.

“You all are far advanced from our times,you must be knowing what happens on the first night?”, another aunt quizzed.
The newly-wed,utterly embarrassed,stayed silent.She was thinking about that time,on her tenth birthday,when that same aunt’s husband had put his hands up her skirt. It went on for months. She remembered the time the old man had pressed himself on her in the crowded bus.She had always avoided crowds from that day.She recalled the day the lab attendant had exposed himself to her at the empty college lab. She pushed the thoughts away. The aunt was now giving her a detailed lecture accompanied by giggles and chuckles all around.She wondered if they had the same experiences she had before their ‘first time’…

Quickies #7.

REMEMBER THEM?

It’s his height that makes you remember.How else would you have noticed him among the crowd waiting to cross the road? The traffic light in front of you turns red and you smooth to a halt. He steps on to the road from the pavement. His posture is straight, just like you remember it. When he looks in your direction to check for oncoming traffic, you see the same severe expression on his face that you recall from all those PE lessons, way back in high school. What a terror he used to be back then. Making you run laps around the track while he stood in the middle sipping coffee. I have eyes in the back of my head, he would threaten. And you sincerely used to believe it. He is just about to take another step when a bicycle comes speeding past him causing him to lose composure and retreat swiftly back to the pavement. He decides to wait for a quieter moment to cross the road. The lights turn green and you gradually pull away.
As you drive past him, you notice that he is shaken. Just another frail old man waiting to cross the road.

How you wish the illusion had not been shattered.

Quickies #6

You curse and take the car past the speed limit.You are frustrated.Your shirt is creased badly. Again. Whoever ironed it hasn’t bothered to do it properly and you now have three crease lines running parallel to each other from shoulder to wrist. Today is also the day when your socks decide to lose their elasticity and slump listlessly around your ankles. And I hate to add this, just this morning you discovered a small bald patch on your crown.

In short, it has been a miserable start to the day and while sitting in your car, waiting for the traffic lights to turn green, you remember that you’ve left some important papers behind at home and you’re already running late. So you curse some more. Precisely at that moment, a little boy comes up to your car window and points to his mouth and stomach and begs for your kindness. A few coins please, saab. I haven’t had food in three days, saab, he pleads. He’s not lying, you can tell. The caved-in stomach and sunken eyes and scrawny legs and the strong smell of poverty he reeks support his claim.

You know this the point in the story when you’re supposed to feel grateful for the shirt on your back and the coins that jangle in your pocket and quit moaning and make peace with your life and be misty-eyed and remorseful and all that. But no.You don’t feel anything. And to be honest, you’re still pissed off about your shirt.

Quickies #5.

I had first read about Darfur in a Reader’s Digest article some time back.Left a strong impression.It’s also probably the reason,I never misuse anything.Well,I try not to!
Here’s Quickies #5.
……………………………………………………………..

It’s nothing.That’s what you tell yourself.This morning when you came into the kitchen, you found that the tap had been left running. A steady trickle of water had been flowing down the sink all night. About 10 or 15 litres of water gone waste, you reckon. Enough supply for a small family in drought-stricken Africa to survive on for atleast a couple of days. With prudence, it could have even lasted them a week. But now, all that has gone down the drain. You sigh and tell yourself that it’s just water. One strong spell of showers and the deficit would even out. You even put out a bucket out in the garden hoping to catch a few drops in the next drizzle.

Still, you can’t seem to shake the image of water-starved children out of your head. Why me, you wonder. What about all those idiots who are using up water to wash their cars and shampoo their dogs and sprinkle their lawns? And who could forget that moron who left his tap running for days in the name of art? How come none of them ever seem to worry about dying Sudanese children?

And yet, that evening, when they mention Darfur in the news, you switch channels and look away.