Monday, June 5, 2017

One more Letter ...

As the silence of the night was broken by the crickets there was one more sound matching it. The nib of the old Waterman pen on the paper. The writings were broken in between by pauses of thoughts. The late evening rain left a few drips which popped then and now. The air was filled with a strange fragrance, overpowering the smell of the disinfectant which wiped the floor. Was it the petrichor or Gods fragrance of compassion. The hospital wards were silent but for a few intermittent snores of the watchman, who were supposed to be the only ones awake at that time of the night. 

The bedside lamp on William's table was the only light other than the shy moonlight trickling to the earth through the fingers of the trees which tried to cut the light falling on its eyes. The white paper was shining like a bright full moon on the table with the dark blue table cover which just had a few sheets of paper and the table lamp. The nib touched the paper again letting the brain ooze out through the wedges of the pen's nib...which read...

Dear Dad...

The world seems to be envious of the few people who enjoy life to the fullest. The envy flows out through their eyes as tears. Is that compassion or is it something else. I have asked many times myself, why they do so. Today I saw a father and mother come with their only son who was successful in his exams. They were just worried and crying... They talked to Stephen for a while. He was trying to console them, with no success. Ha... ha ha... he should have called me. Why am I here, after winning the awards and accolades for nothing... hmm... Let it be. But the boy came up to me. I smiled at him. He was stressed with all the loads of things he had to study and the expectations everyone around him had. About the boy next door who got one mark more... All I did was not talk... but gave him a hug. He smiled. We became friends in no time. He is fast asleep ... He is safe. 

He is now more a son to me like Sunny, my only son till now, busy pursuing his studies abroad. Like Sunny, he also wants to become a doctor like me. Ann wants me to get back home... But then who will take care of my patients here. They need me more. I will call her tomorrow and tell her about the new found son, I have here, like Sunny. 

Its late, have an early morning rounds. Will have to check with Stephen about the new admission tomorrow. Will write to you tomorrow... till then ...

With love your son ...
Dr. William

The lights went out and William went to sleep as the night got more darker and was waiting to be brightened in a few hours by the sun. 

The hospital wards came to life as the morning shift staff signed in for the day and the started fresh from ward to ward, bed to bed. The Head Nurse walked to one of the beds and in a while was at Dr. Stephens room and said

"Doctor.... William has started writing again... here is yet another letter he has written to God"

Dr. Stephen smiled and took the letter from her and filed it in a special file he had in his table. He secured the file after putting the letter in place. He closed it and kept it back safe, and the cover had a red label "William Case number 423... Letters to God" 

As the head nurse was about to leave Stephen said:

"He would have been the best doctor the world has seen... sad... his life took a turn after he lost his son and his wife left him"

As he closed the cupboard Stephen thought:

"The thin line that divides fantasy and reality... the world of fantasy is so very soothing than the reality... Who is really mad... them or us, who try to find ways to make them do as we want to do ..."

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Lazy morning Sun ...



The clouds were blanket of warmth
When the sun was still to wake for the day
The cool breeze made him smile a bit
And made him lazy as in sleep he lay

He peeped through the clouds shyly once
Saw the world yet to wake for the day
He knew its time for him to wake the world
And shine his best for the wonderful day

The hugging clouds kept him in bed
But his duties called the birds to chirp
And wake him with a smile on his face
Its another day when he can't be a twirp.

Kris Iyer

Time tells the truth ...

Kannan was meeting Ramakrishnan Mama after a very long time, or rather should say he avoided meeting him just for that one incident. 

"Hello Ramakrishnan Mama, How are you?" Kannan asked without a smile. His words were not from the heart. Even after 30 odd years, the scars of those words remain in his heart. Some moments are better avoided and forgotten than remembered and rekindle the emotions which hurt you.

Ramakrishnan Mama , Appa's cousin's husband, was a person who always had airs about him, working for a private sector company, and the way he would talk would give a feeling as if he owned it. His salt and pepper well combed hair, silver rimmed glasses and dark complexion, chequred shirt and grey bell bottomed trousers gave him a look, which Kannan was not so comfortable with. His smile did not have much of the warmth of love, or at least that’s what Kannan thought. His son Sidhdharth Ramakrishnan was Kannan's playmate, the one of very few he had of his age or less, as Kannan was the youngest among the children in Appa's family. 

"Kanna ... how about going home and will be back in the evening" asked Sidhdharth.
"Sure Sidhdhu ... I will tell Amma and come soon" replied Kannan running towards home.

He went panting to the room where Amma was reading a magazine, one of her pastimes in the late afternoons. He reluctantly tugged Amma's saree.

"Amma... can I go to Sidhdhu's place and come back in the evening"
Amma took her attention away from the article in which she was engrossed and did not even see Kannan coming in. Amma smiled and replied
"Ok, be careful on the roads"
"Amma... I am taking the cycle" Kannan had that wicked smile as it was his new found passion to roam around in his newly gifted BSA SLR. 
Amma smiled and that smile said it all ... permission granted.

Kannan ran to his BSA SLR, standing shining in deep red color with the rim and spokes shining in the afternoon sun. He mounted it with ease and started off ... to gain the speed; he would stand and pedal fast, then sit and pedal to maintain the speed intermittently and rushed through the compound drive ways to reach the main road. It was as if he had conquered the roads, when the shining cycle with the smiling Kannan on it sped through the roads. His soft hair would be flying back, eyes would shine, smile giving away the joy in his ride. Within no time he reached Sidhdhu's house which was just a few minutes away. The ten year old Kannan was tall enough to be mistaken for a teen. He looked around in pride and parked his cycle by the side. Locked it and took the key tossed it up in the air and caught it. He squeaked the metal gates and rang the bell. 

Sidhdhu opened the doors and looked at the shining cycle outside

"Kanna... one ride" Sidhdhu pleadingly asked.
"No Amma has asked me not to give the cycle to anyone", came the reply from the proud owner.

They went inside and Sidhdhu was so happy to have Kannan sound. Talks, games, music... they had fun for over two hours when Ramakrishnan Mama reached home after work.

"So Kannan ... new cycle" asked Ramakrishnan Mama
Kannan smiled and slowly got up. Kids always find it difficult to be themselves when elders are around. 

"It's getting late... I have to go now" said Kannan and waved at Sidhdhu and ran out of the house to his cycle and quickly vanished from sight with his speed.

A few days had gone by. It was a Saturday evening and as Kannan walked back home he saw Ramakrishnan Mama standing there. 

"Kanna ... I would like to talk to you" said Ramakrishnan Mama
Kannan went up to him and stood there silent. The regular sweet smile was missing as he did not know what Ramakrishnan Mama wanted from him. Did Sidhdhu complain about anything, or is it about the cycle... thoughts hunted the ten year old. 
"I want you to tell me the truth ... You had come home last week and an Audio Cassette from my collection ... the Jagjeet Singh Chitra Singh cassette... its missing. I want you to give it back... No one else has come home after that or before that"
Ramakrishnan Mama said in a stern voice with a smirk on his lips. He had kept his hand on Kannan's shoulder giving a feeling of being the Investigating Officer for a supremely important murder case was being solved there.
"But... I did not take it" said Kannan with the pain of being accused of something which he had not done.
"I am giving you time..."said Ramakrishnan Mama.
Kannan's eyes turned red and tears started rolling down his fair cheeks. He pushed the hands from his shoulder and ran home. He threw himself to the bed and cried his heart out.

"I won’t steal, I did not, I will never ... but Ramakrishnan Mama believes I did so" Kannan was talking to himself. "Why would he say that...? I did nothing wrong". Kannan kept crying till the pillow was wet with the small boy’s tears. He had not gone downstairs till late

"Kanna ..." called Appa.

Kannan was shocked, Appa has come back from office, Did Ramakrishnan Mama complain about him, Is Appa calling to scold him ... thoughts ran wild. He slowly went down with his heart beating fast.

"My dear dearest chandu .... time for Dinner" Appa petted his beloved son and with one hand grabbed him with love. Kannan's heart came back to a normal tempo. There is nothing wrong, he thought. 

There was no talk about the cassette. 

Days passed and was almost a month since he had gone to Sidhdhu's house, far from normal. That evening while walking back home, he saw Ramakrishnan Mama talking to Mohan Periyappa, Kannan's paternal uncle. Kannan did not know whether to move forward or to retrace his steps. He walked towards home, with his ears awaiting a call and it was not long before he heard

"Kanna ... "

It was Mohan Periyappa. Kannan did not look back but walked forward without a reply. He ran home and went straight to Amma. The wandering thoughts came back to Kannan. Was Ramakrishnan Mama still hunting for his Audio Cassette, why was he blamed for something he had never thought of...

"Mami....." He heard Ramakrishnan Mama call Amma "Where is Kannan"
"He is here Ramakrishna ... come inside... Tea" Amma offered.
"No no ... just had" he replied and walking in turned to Kannan "You are not to be seen these days... Sidhdhu was asking about you"
Kannan remained silent.
"By the way ... I got the cassette... I had given to my friend in the office... I forgot"
The moments of pain and anguish Kannan went through never let him smile with his full heart to Ramakrishnan Mama again. Blamed for nothing, making him a thief for a theft which never happened, the smirk on his face with the sense of accomplishment that he found the culprit, all made Kannan aloof from him. The friendship with Sidhdhu remained for a very long time, but the question still remains in Kannan's head... "Why was I blamed for something I did not do".

Some words hurt you for a lifetime...

The moments of amazement...

"And she eloped with the guy next door ...Velu knows this" That were the words from Murugan Pillai, Kannan's father in law who was at home when he walked in. He was  talking to Appa in a very serious tone. Kannan smiled at them and walked in from a hectic day at work. 

"And what happened to Kaveri" Appa asked.
"Oh you did not know ... she is suffering from Cancer... very critical" said Murugan Pillai.

A typical government servant whose life starts in the morning with work and ends with family and nothing else. He was dark skinned well oiled hair set to a style reminding of those who saw it villains of Tamil movies of the 70's, wore brown shell framed glasses, old fashioned full sleeve shirt and trousers and his smile was a perfect dental ad one. He was always hyper with work and home accounts but he seemed to be different today and Appa was listening to him eagerly. The others were inside the house discussing the new variety of Sarees in the market and the ornament patterns that would have looked nice. Typical woman folk talk, nothing chauvinistic about it, but a fact of life.

Seeing everyone busy Kannan went to his room, changed and got into comfortable home clothes. He could still hear about the fight of Kaveri and her husband, the problems in her workplace, her medical conditions and so on, the discussion between Appa and Murugan Pillai. 

"Do I know her" Kannan thought for a moment.

He went to the kitchen and got himself a cup of coffee. Sipping the hot cup of filter coffee, Kannan was trying to place the relation or the common factors which Appa and Murugan Pillai were talking about. As he was walking out of the kitchen, he saw Amma, Priya and Saraswathy, Priya's mother, his M-I-L as they call it in the new lingo for Mother-in-law chatting away to glory. 

"Do you need anything" Asked Amma

That question could have been avoided Kannan thought in his mind as he saw his MIL looking at Priya and Priya looking at Amma for a brief moment. No wife  likes her MIL to take care of her son, as it is a constant struggle to prove who is better - "Wife" or "Mother". Probably the fight between women were mainly based on that one point. 

"No ...no ... I am fine... carry on" said Kannan and walked to the front room where Appa and Murugan Pillai were still discussing in length.

"And you know the guy who drives that pink Maruti" asked Murugan Pillai
"Ya" said Appa.

Kannan was still not able to figure out what was going on and did not want to disturb the serious discussion between them. 

"Pink Car!!! totally impossible... who would be driving a pink car of all the colors in the whole wide world" thought Kannan for a second and came back to the discussion. He saw Appa really paying attention. The matter would be really grave, otherwise Appa would not be listening so carefully, Kannan reached a conclusion in his mind and gave his attention too to the discussion. Murugan Pillai was seriously on it...

"He met with an accident ... he is in the same hospital where Kaveri went for her check up yesterday. She did not see him, but he saw him...."

Appa's eyes were set in a gaze at Murugan Pillai who continued.

"She will need a surgery, but cannot afford it"

Is it some charity issue, Kannan thought, but kept it to himself as he did not want to disturb.

"Krishna will not be able to help???" Appa asked.

Now who on the Supreme Lord is this Krishna, Kannan was bewildered, and getting more irritated on not able to place these people in the mental list of family and friends. He sipped the coffee which was cold, when compared to the heat of the discussion.

"Krishna won't... he gave the money he had to his lover last week" replied Murugan Pillai.

It was getting too much for Kannan to digest and he interrupted.

"Who is Kaveri, who is Krishna and what is the discussion all about ..." he broke his long kept silence.

All he could hear was laughter. Amma, Priya, MIL and FIL were laughing and Appa was laughing so much that Kannan saw Appa's eyes closed in the laugh.

"What happened... what’s so funny about someone having Cancer, not having money for treatment and accidents" Kannan asked to clear the doubts that had  
started eating him.

"They are to catch up with what both of missed the previous week on their favorite serial on Sun TV, the 9 O clock serial Chiththi" said Priya trying to control her laughter. Kannan also joined them in a rare happy moment.

Sharadha, Shakthi, Ramachandran, Vaidhegi, Prabhavathi, Krishna, Velumani, Kaveri, Vishwanathan, Yogi, Viji, Anand, Prasad, Marudhappan, Charulatha, Daniel were more names which Kannan got used to in the next two years as he heard Appa and Murugan Pillai discuss whenever they met. 467 episodes running over nearly two years, got many glued to it and Kannan thought only ladies get addicted to serials.... and thanked God for not being one of them.