Thursday, 23 November 2017

Saat Phere and Radha

A strange sense of thrill infused Diya and Rishaan on their visit to Goa that day. There had been an agreement between them at dinner time when Diya had announced her decision to ring her marriage bells in front of the God in the ISKCON (Krishna) temple, Goa at the time of deep-Aradhana.

 "If Kate can solemnize her marriage in ISKCON (Krishna) temple, Goa, so can I," she had argued passionately.

Rishaan has griped in upset voices, "Kate is the daughter of an IAS officer. She can have that luxury and resources."

Kate was the best friend of Diya and used to come every day and both used to bolt themselves in the room of Diya for hours.

"Besides," she added, provoking him deliberately, "In the eyes of God, we all are equal, IAS or no IAS." She was not rather sure whether he had listened to this bit, for he had already turned away in antipathy. But after dinner, she caught him again.

"That horrid Mission school she attended to" which meant he had heard…."She was a spoilt child," she caught him murmuring.  

She was convinced that he had not taken her seriously. That was the trouble with men: they always presumed that women are not sharp enough in such matters and if they would accept their intelligence and ability unquestionably, their manliness will be dimmed.

But women have to endure such inadequacy without complaint. Even back home she had to come back before the evening flurry of lamp-lighting started. But boys at home were free of this burden.

Diya cried a lot. She did not know how time passed by. She was not emotionally strong.

Rishaan approached her and touched her shoulder. She shrugged and started crying inconsolably.

"Why are you crying?" He asked.
"Sit down and listen to me carefully." She said.

She then showed him an old photograph of her and Rishaan sitting in a temple.
That photograph took him to their past days spent together. A past full of sweet memories.

She was his sweet love; his angel. His everything. Everything of her's will be his'.
His heart was melted. Love became victorious. 

She wept as she held his hand.
She bolted the door so that he might not leave the room.

"Don't say no to ISKCON (Krishna) temple, Goa. I love you," were her passionate words.
She kept on repeating her wish but Rishaan was hesitant to go to ISKCON (Krishna) temple, Goa, to solemnize their marriage.

Not everything in life had a reason, to say yes. He lost out to her emotions. He ultimately surrendered and said ‘Yes.'

She inspired him in every possible way. She became a motivational force. He started dreaming. She gave his life a motto. A dream. A dream to be lived and conquered.

They booked tickets to Goa by Tata Airlines.
The great day came. They were very excited. At the right time, they reached the airport and boarded the plane. They were very happy. But all hell broke.

In the same flight, Rishaan met his old friend Kiarra and her seat was also with them. After initial introductory formalities, Kiara became very informal with Rishaan. They had drinks together too but Diya did not like all this at all. After dinner, all slept.

In the middle of the flight, Kiara woke up to go the washroom. When she returned, she was too lazy to push her way into the middle seat. And with Rishaan readily offering to shift seats, the seating arrangement changed. With 20 minutes still remaining for the flight to land, a sleep-starved Kiara took another power nap, this time holding Rishaan's right hand more firmly. Richman's other hand, though, nervously moved to touch Diya's. Her heart skipped a beat. Diya pulled her hand away. But a defiant Rishaan held her wrist again, this time firmly and more reassuringly. The changing behavioural dynamics between the three perhaps gave out a foreboding of what was to come in Goa.

When the flight landed at the Dabolim Airport, Rishaan felt uncanny..his excitement seemed replaced by an unknown fear that he found very difficult to decipher.

They reached the hotel Sea View.

Rishaan was in a dilemma, for the storm brewing in the hearts of all. He was trying to recollect the past of his life but was shocked that he couldn't recollect even a thing. His mind was not working.  Initially, he thought, he was yet to awake from his deep slumber. But that was not the case. He realized that he did not know who he was. His mind became blank.  In the brightness of the day in Goa, he was feeling the darkness of night.

The clock struck four and Kiara could see the sunrise. Bringing with it the pink rays of the dawn and pushing the dark night and stars out. She had spent hours introspecting about herself and was still hovering in dark about hers and Rishaan relationship.

Her mind went numb and cold. During the tense hours of the night, only Scotch gave her much needed solace. She quickly gulped the alcohol, from the bottle directly. She could feel the Scotch running through her veins to the brain. The alcohol opened her mental faculties and it dawned on her she was going to break a relationship and two hearts.

"But who am I?" Wondered Kiara. Her brain was flooded with millions of questions about her relationships with Rishaan. "Was I simple friend, or ‘X', or an ordinary acquaintance…..Who was I?" She knew, even Rishaan or Diya in the hotel room would not be able to answer her puzzle. She was in a muddle. There was no one else, except those three. That reality added to her distress as her question was to remain unanswered. She felt claustrophobic in the room and rushed out of the room in the dark night.

The fresh morning breeze brought about some peace and comfort to her mind. She felt silly that it did not strike her to ask Rishaan and Diya about their relationship and future plan. They would have ridiculed her for asking such a ridiculous question. She was broken, but she was not the one to give up so easily.

Kiara gathered the courage to ask this question to Rishaan. He was her only hope and that was to be a clue about her future. Suddenly Rishaan also can out of the room. When Kiara saw Rishaan, her eyes filled with tears and she hugged him saying, "Rishaan, I know, you have got Diya in your life!" Her statement came as a shock, yet she gave comfort to Rishaan that she had admitted the reality.

She asked him, "How am I related to you?"
He replied very coldly, "You are my ex-girlfriend."
Out came another question from her, "Since when were you dating Diya?"
He answered, "Since more than a year."

Then she probed him about their future.
That was the stupidest mistake Rishaan made since he revealed his relationship with Diya, because, after that, she started blabbering.

Rishaan had no option, but to listen to her. It was crucial to listen to his ex-girlfriend. Her voice was very sad. Rishaan got lost in his past days spent with Kiarra.

She almost shouted, "Are you listening to me?"
"Yes, dear," Rishaan muttered.

In a high voice, she posed like a school teacher, "OK, now tell me, what you heard?"
Initially, he faltered, but regaining his confidence, he started talking.
She became very emotional and said, "You don't have to be worried Rishaan. You enjoy. Calm down, please.

Then she opened her mouth full of pain, "You have cheated me." She said.
Gathering courage, Rishaan said, "No one was at fault. It was destiny."
"Yes for men, it was easy to blame destiny and go away." She replied.

"Please enlighten me, how did I cheat you?" Asked Rishaan.
Rishaan was shattered when he heard her say that he enjoyed physical relations with her.
Again he was stunned and scared. His hands started shaking. She said how she gave you a blowjob and he removed all her clothes.
"What nonsense! It was your consent too." He said in utter astonishment and bewilderment.  
"Yes, yes, but now you are dating a new girl," she retorted.
"What next? Please tell me? How I cheated you and played with your body?" He shouted angrily.
"Wasn't this enough?" She asked angrily.
He said," Please tell me everything; I have forgotten everything, my dear?"
She sniggered and said, "Ok, listen, but calm down, you need to mentally prepare yourself for this. Again I will repeat my lovemaking to remind you, how you cheated me and played with me?" 
Rishaan was shocked and stunned. He could not speak nor could stay there. Rishaan tried to run inside the room.
Suddenly she said, "Listen, all that was a joke."
Rishaan heaved a sigh of relief.
She said, "You were always very nice and decent with me."
That gave her a sense of pleasure. "I told her you were exceptionally mischievous in lovemaking."
She gave him a naughty smile and said, "You were generic."
He felt that his mind was blocked because of that ‘Scotch' he had last night with her.\

Rishaan felt heavy. She came close to him, petted on his cheek and said, "Listen carefully, I always thwarted the idea of falling for you, but my heart always pulled me towards you. I could not resist your charm."

Shocked on these revelations, he sat on the bench and listened more carefully to her.
"I was mesmerized by your charm. Sometimes you became cranky. But I made you happy by my foreplay.  But I always saw a gap in you." She told.

"You never talked about your love for Diya whenever I asked you about your any affair. You always looked at my breast cleave," saying this she revealed her breast cleave.
Rishaan was puzzled by her behaviour, he asked, "What is this?"
She shouted at Rishaan, "Get out of your stupidity. It is time to come out of your innocence and understand things." 
He felt that she would cry or shout at him. So Rishaan prepared for her outburst.

"You never told me that you have another one in your life."
I asked, "What? Where is your frustration heading?"
"Do you think that I am stupid or a whore to quench your lust?" she retorted.
"No, no. We were both drunk and both young, so all the wrong thing was done." He replied very coolly.
This was followed by a volley of abuses for me. Her word started hitting his heart like a sharp javelin.
He gathered courage and apologized to her, "I'm sorry Kiara,"
"Only sorry? The man has got the license to plunder a woman and leave her. God bless you and Diya and protect you." She said in a loud voice and left him spellbound. 

Kiara silently left the hotel room. She reached the ISKCON (Krishna) temple. She arrived at the abode of Lord Krishna. She saw the majestic door of the temple. She knew about the temple. The idol inside was infinitely more beautiful than the ones in other temples.

She circled the majestic temple slowly and slowly. Her mind was full of new and different ideas. Some were good and some were bad. Then she almost ran along the long, bright wall, inviting the curious attention of passers-by, but who could not keep up with her. The river of tears ran through her eyes.

The eastern frontage of the temple enchanted Kiara. She reached the holy water tank which has the collection of waters from different holy rivers. The jade green-clean water attracted her. In the enclosed area, reserved for women bathing, women were taking holy dips without any hesitation and shame, chanting holy hymns. They were thumping each other on body and back. 

Pigeons whirled and cooed on the rooftop, the walls. The dawn and early, pink sunlight, their incredible mix of spiritualism and mysticism, inside the conical hall and inner sanctuary, clutched to her heart making her forget her past and her attachment to Rishaan. Quickly she moved through the temple. Standing in front of the majestic idol of Lord Krishna, she almost felt like lost in Him. She felt fabulously isolated there, floating breathtakingly between earth and sky. The bathers in the tank were just floating souls, the pigeons flying white-black-red in the sky, she felt like one with them.

But her feet were turning cool and heavy. The muhurta of deep-Aradhana was near. She stood up in front of the idol, hand folded, eyes closed. She touched the deep-pole three times for good-luck, moved swiftly, bowing her head in obeisance. She bowed a dutiful greeting to the majestic Lord Krishna, folded her hands and touched her eyes before the white, visible Krishna and swiftly moved towards the crowded main sanctuary. A memorable fragrance of deep oil and flowers welcomed her. All the devotees stood in front, their eyes closed, their lips moving in an ecstasy of mesmerizing hymns.

She saw big bell above. She leapt up, pushed the bell with one echoing sound and was down the steps before anybody understood what was happening. She sat on the steps of the temple. Love or relationship with Rishaan became inextricably mixed up with serious bonding for her own newly acquired spiritual salvation. She was unaware of the surroundings. She was feeling amazingly light-hearted, wonderfully contented. She decided to stay back in the temple.

She was in dire disgrace. She contacted the head priest Pundit Krishna Das. She took Diksha. Her tight-lipped silence was infinitely more expressively than speech. For the silence seemed filled with thousand voices singing within her. And she was quite and quite sure that the all-merciful Lord Krishna within the temple will protect her and bless her, in whose eyes all are equal, and He has accepted her with love. Now she was a sadhvi. Ma Radha to the world.

Kiara was singing and dancing with devotees. She reached near the main idol of Lord for darshan. In the main hall, in front of the idol head priest Pundit Krishna Das was reciting;

"Om Sarva Mangala Mangalye, Shive Sarvartha Sadhike,
Sharanye Trayambake Gauri Narayani Namo-stute".

And a young pair was taking pheres around Agni (Fire). Groom was in white dhoti-kurta and bride was in red sari. Both were knotted with a pink chunri. Pundit Ji further recited in loud voice; 

Vakratunda Mahakaya Suryakoti Samaprabha –
Nirvighnam Kuru Me Deva Sarva-Kaaryessu Sarvadaa

At the completion of seven auspicious pheres all threw flower petals and auspicious yellow rice over the newlywed couple.  Kiara, now sadhvi Ma Radha, in saffron attire, also threw flower petals and yellow rice, with eyes closed. When Kiara opened her eyes, she found in front of her, Rishaan and Diya as groom and bride.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Lost in the Light

Maya crossed the gates of the highest court of India that is the Supreme Court of India with the final order of the judge, ending her four-decade-old marriage with Aditya, means divorce. She had tears in her eyes and a dirty jhola on her shoulder, loaded with old dirty files related to the case.

She said she would fight the case herself. Her lawyer had cut out his work for her for a hefty fee. Today she got the much sought after a divorce but she was feeling cheated and broken. Other clients were also coming with their lawyers. And then, thought Maya, what a day-sad and cursed,' as if she was standing near some freshly lit pyre.

What a dark day! What a break up! She could not stop her tears. Now officially she was alone, again a single, free woman. How aged, stiller, the air was in the late winter evening, like the panic of a wave due to the foam of dirt, kiss of smog. Chilled and bitter yet grave, standing there under the polluted sky, that something appalling, just happened, looking at the red bricks and wall with the smoke engulfing them and dirty DTC buses honking, rogue motorists driving and gazing until a hand on her shoulder broke her stream of thought.

He was Aditya, my husband for forty-five years. He hugged me very warmly, praised me and my sari, and looked pointedly towards the road.
I asked, "Can't I call a taxi from here?"
He said, "My driver there will do it. There won't be any problem. Try to forgive me, if I have ever hurt you or caused any pain to you and forget me. Take Care." 

I thanked him.

He looked at me, with tears in his eyes and vanished in the crowd of litigants. 

I still remember my last unfortunate day when I had a heated argument with Aditya before I decided to file an application for divorce. I discussed with Sanjay, my husband best friend, the flirting of my husband with another lady.

She still remembers the day when she was informed by her maid Kiran about a woman visitor.
‘God, the front-door bell rang' Maya listened.
I want to see Mr Aditya, said the young charming woman in her mid-twenties. ‘Oh yes, he will see me.' She repeated, putting me aside very gently, and almost rushing so quickly. Yes, yes, yes', she muttered as she ran upstairs. ‘He will see me. After six years in America, Aditya will see me.'

Maya heard a bang upon the door. Aditya rushed to receive her. She tried to hide her blushed face, like a virgin protecting her chastity.
"But who am I?" I wondered. My brain was flooded with a number of questions about her relationships with Aditya. Was she only an ordinary friend or more than that? There was nobody in the room, except Aditya and his friend. Their behaviour added to my discomfort as my questions were to remain unanswered. I felt claustrophobic in the room and rushed out in a panic to breathe a whiff of free and fresh air.

Farah works in America. She is six inches longer than me and almost five years older to me. But she looks five years younger to me. I think she is a much more pleasant woman to talk to, I have ever met. She is extremely soft and sweet spoken, always has a charming and attractive smile on her face. In short, she is one of the very few women, whom I actually find beautiful and charming.

What the hell is going on between my husband and that bitch?' Maya's patience was at its lowest ebb and she was ready to burst.

Sanjay knew that she was serious. 'Look, Maya. There is nothing going on between the two of them. Just a little bit of healthy flirting, I'd say.'

'Flirting? Healthy flirting? Really Sanjay. .' she rolled her eyes in disgust. 'That's what you men call it? There is nothing healthy about flirting, Sanjay, not for a married man.

Healthy flirting is a term introduced by perverted men who want to lend legitimacy to their extramarital dalliances. Flirting invariably has a sexual connotation to it.' She got up from her seat and walked around the room gesticulating and muttering something to herself. Suddenly she stopped, turned back, looked at Sanjay and asked, 'Did my husband sleep with her? You are his friend. Did he ever tell you anything about it?'

Sanjay preferred to remain silent.

Straightway, she rushed to the office of an NGO; she knew that claimed to be working for the right and safety of distressed women.

The NGO, Director was in his mid-thirties, bearded but young and energetic. He was wearing a long kurta and blue lagoon jeans. He was very soft-spoken. I told him my entire story.
Listening to my story, he took me in his car ‘Ford Icon,' to the nearby police station. We lodged a police complaint.

The inspector charged Aditya under a number of sections of which I have no idea. He took my signature on that complaint written by the NGO director. Inspector left the office with his men.
We both remained seated at the police station.

The director looked around and could not see anybody. He put an arm around me and hugged me and consoled me.

I was deeply impressed by his behaviour and helping attitude. 

The inspector returned after half an hour. He arrested Aditya under domestic violence act and dowry act. I was feeling very happy, victorious and relieved. Aditya was sent to jail but I knew it was all frame up.

Director and I left the police station. He dropped me at my residence. I took him inside and prepare coffee for him. During coffee, we discussed the future plan to fight the case. The director was very kind and generous to me. He offered a job to me in his NGO office and very happy I accepted that offer.

I was on the cloud nine with all this success. My eyes felt very heavy but very happy. He came close to me, held my chin up and said, " Listen carefully. I am always there for you now, never feel hesitant for any help and work. Your mind will be troubled and you so far ignored your happiness which censured you. That was something nasty. I feel for your pain"

I was mesmerized. He told me that he was a bachelor.

Outside there was lightning, thunderbolt and very heavy rain. He could not step out of the flat. I prepared the dinner for us. At around ten it was still raining.

Ultimately we decided that the director sir will stay in my flat although I felt a little uncomfortable. But there was no other way-out.

We continued talking up to almost midnight.

I was feeling very uncomfortable. Suddenly he got up from his bed and held my hand. I could not sense the fear running my body. I was very nervous, extremely nervous.

He asked me, "Are you alright?"

"Yes. Of course, I'm," I said.

He said, "Why are feeling nervous then?'

He put his arm around my waist as a sign of affection and concern. I did not resist.

"O God, there is nothing like that, I am fine," I said.

"Please continue," your stress will be lessened, he asked me.

I took a deep breath but could not speak.

He hugged me and kissed me. He switched off the light. We both slept together. In the dark, his gentle hands searched my entire body. I enjoyed this new beginning. Now, this was almost a daily routine. We never slept alone.

From next day onward, I started going to his NGO's office. There I saw an altogether different society.

"Women, I never knew about them, but saw the first time,…many women working there, women wear micro minis and with heavy makeup and always live in the company of a man and made as if they love each other, but only for money and sex and …offer them…every-thing…money …..bodies…And use each other…and stuff with them….to satisfy their own urges.…sex…money…activism…and ultimately awards and positions…Some used to come every day only to be used for paid and fixed dharnas, gheraos and demonstrations….all for money"

Now I was a part of this dark world. But now I was lost and trapped completely but there is no escape.

Sex and money have engulfed every part of their world. Once finished with DU or JNU, through artificial relationships, carefree parents and relatives, then nothing is left drugs, sex, fake activism, NGOs but dark alleys.

Now my case was also going on in courts. Dates, adjournments, lawyers on strike, vacations, the judge on leave or sick, etc., etc., all this became a part of my life. Now I started to see this new and ugly world for a ‘dumped' woman.  World and guys are freaks.  Director, lawyer and I talk a lot about my case, my future. But all loud talk, no escape. They all wanted money or sex. I had gotten used to the snobbery and drubbing and vice versa. It became realism that in that world, nobody cares about anybody.

Now I was shattered. It was my fault to destroy my happy home for a non-issue. Wasn't it? I was blinded by light and thunder of fake and false modern, new world. Now I couldn't cry even. Nobody loves me nor I. Here I was realized that I had lost everything and was crushed by my protectors. We did smile and laugh. But to my euphoria, the smile didn't encourage my crushed movements that would have converted my disabilities into joy.

Always I tried to be a little closer to my lawyer, understand his tricks and moves and catch glimpses of his hidden jibes beneath his face as I kept craning my neck from one side to another with every beat of files and law books. When the saying and shaking of head and eyes became tired I had to pay his fat fee. At times I had no fee then we flopped down on the couches. He wants money or me.    

And ultimately I became victorious but lost everything and of course Aditya forever.

Now I will never get back Aditya. He will never be mine again. But the beautiful moments, the delightful time that we spent together, will always be mine. And it will always give me pleasure. And joy. I may not have in him in my life in reality, but he will always have in my dreams. Not even God can take him away from me. Only he was capable to make me lose my memory by his love and care. But he will always be in my mind, in my heart, just like Jack always stayed in the mind of Rose in Titanic.

"Many budding and aspiring actors leave their native places to pursue the American Dream in Hollywood, only to return and little did they know that Los Angles is not all about Hollywood but also about millions of slum-dogs who never became milliners."

Broken and shattered I packed all my belongings. I decided to leave this city. It does not have anything more to offer me. Not in life, nor in love. I am moving to Vrindavan which has been given shelter to those who have no one in the world. Today once again, I am standing on another gateway, which will take me to a new world and new people. A new beginning will be there again. And I am all set to start everything, all over again. Vrindavan is the town where Lord Krishna spent his childhood days.

Like thousands of widows, orphaned women, etc., who have been making to this town their home till their end, where once Lord Krishna played with his gopis and gwalas. Left by their families, all alone in the world, some travel hundreds and thousands of kilometres to get some space and some peace in this holy and divine land but nobody knows why?
‘Tomorrow I will be one among the lost thousands.'
‘Problems of West, find solutions in the east.'

From Kashmiri Gate, I boarded a bus going to Mathura.

The engine of the bus roared. I saw outside the bus- The heartless city of Delhi, which robbed me of everything. Now I hate this city.

The bus began to move; leaving small clouds behind. And slowly and slowly and slowly Delhi vanished out of my sight.

The bus reached Mathura at around seven p.m.. The city was abuzz with temple bells and evening prayers. All the roads and streets were echoing with the hymns and shlokas of the Srimad Bhagwadgita and Lord Krishna.

I was very much confused and afraid of my loneliness. I was tired of travelling. I could not decide where to go. At times I was feeling to commit suicide. But ultimately I decided to go ISCON temple. It is a very beautiful temple and very lovely structure. I was mesmerized by the spiritual environment of the temple. There I felt a unique peace of mind.

I moved towards the manager's office. There I enquired about the system and rules to get a room allotted on the permanent basis. When I was busy talking with the manager, a gentle but firm hand touched my shoulder. Taken aback I turned back. It was Aditya.

He asked the manager to book a room. In the entry register, he filled the first name as Aditya Sharma and second as Maya Sharma (Wife). I did not question. The manager gave the keys to the room. Aditya took my luggage too. I followed Aditya like an obedient child. He opened the door. He unloaded himself and sat on a chair. I sat on the bed. We were silent but our teary eyes were talking about the lost four decades.

He muttered,  "Don't live in an American Dream My Dear! Life is not as rosy as you suppose to be. .."

Aditya muttered the lines of famous poet T.S.Eliot

"Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.
Om  Shantih     shantih     shantih."

b]ø<YaaDaaYa k-MaaRi<a Sa(r)& TYa¤-a k-raeiTa Ya" )
il/PYaTae Na Sa PaaPaeNa PaÚPa}aiMavaM>aSaa )) 10 ))

brahmaëy ädhäya karmäëi
saìgaà tyaktvä karoti yaù
lipyate na sa päpena
padma-patram ivämbhasä

"He who works, having given up attachment, resigning his actions to God, is not touched by sin,  even as a lotus leaf (is untouched) by water."

The Bhagavadgita, ‘True Renunciation', Ch.V, Sl.10.