Saturday, October 26, 2013

Shame on You

Recently there was this news. A man from Kerala had a friend who went to US for a job. He waited for the friend’s mail for that was a time when email was not popular. Months had passed by the time he received an air mail. It had a letter from the Poster Master General and charred remains of the letter from the friend. The former said that there was a plane crash in US and all the mails in it had caught fire. They could find a half burnt letter with address in a readable form and hence they thought of sending it to the addressee and apologized for the inconvenience caused.
It might have been years since this happened. Technology has advanced and we rarely depend on mails. My father being a writer, we still have mails coming in search of our house. Things went on smoothly until the new post-woman came. She was such a careless and a lazy bump that she would just throw the letters somewhere around the gate. The mail-box was a taboo for her.  
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We were supposed to be detective-minded to find the letters. She was testing our logical reasoning and basic physics knowledge for we had to solve the puzzles like, if she had thrown the letter from Point X where would it have fallen??? Finding the letters did not make us happy as they were mostly soaked in mud or water.
My sister had applied for passport. Days passed and we didn’t get any response and we made enquiries to track the status. We got the reply that the passport was returned by my post-office as they couldn’t find the addressee. I really got furious and the next time I saw the post-woman I yelled at her. As usual she did not admit her mistake. I threatened to file a complaint against her. Finally my mom interfered and brought me inside house.
There did not seem to be much change after that, but at times we got letters from the mail-box itself. On a Saturday I was lazily watching a movie and then the calling-bell rang. I was astonished to find the post-man at my door. She gave a stunning smile. “I have some mails for you”. Am I dreaming?! Then she told, “I’m very tired. Can I have some water please?” By the time my mom got her some water, she sat on chair in the sit-out. She drank the water and then handed over the letters. One among them was my sister’s passport. I thanked her but she remained on the chair without showing any intension to leave. Then she said slowly.“Normally when you get a passport people make their postman happy”. She felt that I was not listening as I was checking the letters. So she turned to my mom and repeated, “I was telling your daughter that normally when you get a passport, it is a practice that people make their postman happy.”
She was shamelessly asking for bribe! My face was getting reddened and my mom somehow packed her up saying “We have more passports to come. Then we’ll see”. I badly wanted to complain her and trouble her to the core. It is such a shame to see government officials begging for money. I can’t take it when I have to bribe a government official. I have seen many of them now. When compared to the officials in the water authority and electricity board, the post-woman is nothing. She was just a little more demanding than a beggar on the street, I would say. For the others you have to bribe them like hell if you want a new water/power connection, if you want them to come for inspection, if you want to convert your temporary power connection to permanent one and so on. I am not comfortable when my hard-earned money goes into the hands of these backboneless creatures.
The saddest part is that the complaint/grievance handling mechanisms would only end up troubling the one who complained more and more. Or one should have enough time to run behind your complaint. I remember an advertisement of a shoe in which a person had to visit an office every now and then as his payment was stuck there. He sadly says to the official that his shoe sole had worn off due to the daily visit to the office. As a solution the officer advises him to use the particular shoe! Even sadder part is that such employees cause a shame to the others who are very dedicated to the job.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Don’t cry, Just Go On

She came into my life when I had least expected her. I was only a beginner in my family life. I loved kids but had not felt the urge to have one irrespective of the queries by the jobless neighbors, horrible relatives and stupid maids.

The medical report made me anxious, curious, confused and a little excited. More than that I was unsure whether I will be able to love my baby and care for her. I had witnessed my relatives and friends going through ‘babily worries and excitements’; worries about the food intake, worries about the symptoms of a prospective common cold, worries about the baby who hasn’t started to crawl, excitement about the baby who had started to say some meaningless words…. But felt that I won’t fit into their category….
Days passed. My first scan report came. I had the first glance of my little one. I could make out only the little round head of hers. For the first time I felt some sort of an attachment to my tiny tot. Slowly she started growing up within me and I could sense her.

 It was more of a funny experience as she used to pop up from my stomach every now and then which could be evidently seen by people around me. Loud noises made her restless and I could sense that from her movements inside me. Slowly I started doing things which I felt as she liked. I sang for her and listened to melodious songs which I thought would make her relax. I kept myself away from loud noises for I knew it disturbed her. Whenever I felt that her restlessness was due to hunger I consumed something even when I was not hungry. I talked to her about many many things with a belief that she was listening to me. I read books which were meant for the ‘mothers in making’. Some of the books which talked about the baby’s development month by month made me very excited. I waited for her and the day finally came.
After the surgery, when I regained my consciousness I searched around for my baby. Nurse brought her and placed her near me. I curiously looked at her face; the face that I was waiting to see since months. It was like seeing a friend for the first time with whom you have only talked until then. She was sleeping calmly. I heard her silently telling me: “Here have I come; to be with you all throughout, to laugh with you when you are happy and to cry with you when you are sad. We shall sing and dance together; we shall play together all of those funny games.”

She cried aloud while someone who come to see her had picked her up. I heard a comment, “Let her cry. Girls are meant to cry”. I was shocked to hear that. I wanted to ask, “Does that mean that you definitely have to make her cry?”
Sorry. Girls are not meant to cry. They have the right to be happy just like any boy in this world. I want my kid to enjoy her life. Never will I allow anyone to blame her because she is a girl. I will definitely oppose anything that she is deprived of, just because she is a girl. I want her to choose her ways. I want her to follow her dreams and passions. I WILL NOT grow her up just to make her fit for the ‘marriage market’. I want her to be ambitious. I want her to be able to take her own sensible decisions. I want her to stand on her feet. I want her to be financially independent. Let her learn cooking when she really wishes to.

She is five now. I try to spend time (quality time of course!) with her as much as I could. I might have returned from office very tired and hungry. But I manage to sit and listen to her ‘very very important’ school news. Through her words I know almost everyone in her class and what almost all of them did that day. I am happy to see that she is very organized about her weekend home-works how much ever small and simple they are. I don’t bother about the way she writes a distorted ‘A’ or ‘B’ even when her teacher marks it red. I know it will slowly get improved in course of time. I am even more happier when I see her spending time with colors for that is her passion now. I file the pictures that she makes. I buy her coloring books and drawing books every now and then. She loves creating stories and funny little songs which I encourage a lot. We sing together those songs of her creation. We dance for movie songs (some of them would be the ones that I hate!)  On holidays we play in the river and rains. We make boats and place them in the small muddy pools and sit to watch them religiously. We play on the swings together. When she gets a chocolate she keeps a small piece for me.
 Yesterday I made some chocolate milk for her and myself and made her drink hers. Then I got a call. I was busy answering that when she came to me with my glass of milk. She placed the glass forcefully into my hand and waited in front of me. I was astonished and I drank the milk. I was even more surprised to see her taking the glass very responsibly back to kitchen!
  If at all she senses that I am disturbed she will come close to see if there are tears in my eyes. If she feels that there is a tiny droplet in my eyes then she will run here and there to bring me a kerchief or a tissue paper or whatever she could. One day I remember her coming to wipe my tear with a big bed-sheet dragging behind her for that was all she could find!
 Go on my daughter! Live your life to the fullest. Be yourself. Definitely you are not meant to cry. Stay strong when others want you to cry. You are meant to be happy and make others happy. Just Go on!