C-rappy Cacophony

Monday, November 22, 2004

Apsara - 3

At the crack of dawn,there were times when even the cocks overslept and forgot to cry out loud waking up the masses of the silent street,but then Apsara was never late to reach the temple early in the morning and briskly mop the floors and spray the cow-dung mixed water on the entrance,there upon decorate the area with her wonderful rangoli skills she had developed all through the 25 years she had been visiting her favorite temple.

As the priest entered the temple,he would beam his majestic smile towards Apsara as he continued murmuring his slokas.The next few minutes would see them both exchange information just by signals as Apsara would take care of drawing water from the temple's well for the abhishekam,opening the milk packets and pouring them into the vessels,tearing the page out of the date calender and putting some Vibhuthi and Kumkum into it for her family and hurry back home to start yet another eventful day.

Nothing had changed in the last 12 years,except for her father falling from an electric lampost during work and getting partially paralysed,her brother leaving their house due to a squabble with their father and all this making her virtually the sole bread winner for the family,which she did by running a small catering business in the mornings and working at the local tailor's shop in the evenings.

It was one evening that set the pace for a change in Apsara's life,the sudden twang of pain that ran through her nerves as she bolted out of the theatre where she was watching her favorite movie hero's movie on the first day of its release.Midway through the movie,she suddenly realised that she had watched that particular hero act as a baby actor,then as a school goer,then as a college going sidekick actor and now he was doning the role of the protagonist and projecting himself to be the next superstar.It was then that she felt that she had grown in age and that people around her were progressing at a frenetic pace while she was being well anchored day after day much more into her current state of lifelessness.

She hurriedly peddled her way back home in her bicycle, all the way recounting the happenings in the past few years.She realised that the rickshaw man had changed,their neighbour Paati was no more and as she dragged her cycle across the side of her house to park it in the shed,she overheard her parents shouting and arguing vehemently about something.She stopped and tried to overhear what the issue was and that turned out to be the shock of her life!

She heard her mom shout at her father as to how careless and irresponsible he had been with the family and had not even thought about getting his daughter married,to which her dad shouted ...
"What can I do?Who would marry such a useless girl,who is uneducated,26 years old and is guaranteed to be a burden all her life?I don't know what to do with this Shaniyan!
In fact,my colleague is ready to get his son married only to our second daughter Meena!She is 19 years and may be we should proceed with that."

Apsara stood startled as she still stood outside her house,overhearing the conversations.As she treaded to the well area to wash her feet,she remembered her childhood fantasy about the world on the other side of the well and how she used to talk with her own reflections.

She peeped into the now defunct well,which had been covered with an iron mesh, and spoke in her soft voice,just as old times..
"Hey Apsara..
See..how everybody is talking about me...Am I at fault for whatever I am now?Have I ever done any wrong to anyone in my whole life?huh?Please..Ippo atleast..Take me away from here!"

As she peeked in,she was horrified to find that there was no reflection as before,as the water in the well had receded very low in the years of severe draught.She started sobbing uncontrollably as reality dawned upon her again that she had no one for her - not even her virtual friend from the well!

To be continued.

Posted by rajesh |

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Apsara - 2

It was as if God had handed over a life sentence to the softest of all beings, by picking the most boring of all environs for any person and dropped Apsara right in to the middle of nowhere,as she experienced the feeling of nothingness amidst the world of the most uninteresting individuals. But the 13 strugglesome years of her existence had made her good in making the most of out of even the most pedestrian relationships and she was the pick of her small world consisting of the next door Paati,the rickshaw man who dropped her brother from school,the ration shop guy,the milkman etc.

As the giant over-aged contraption in the name of the clock,struggled with its long brass pendulam to complete the 5 strikes that was expected of it in the evening,it was ably complemented by the familiar sound of the rickshaw bell being clinked against the wooden shaft of the rickshaw outside the house.
The sound grew louder indicating that it was time for Apsara to come out of the house and pick up her 9 year old brother's heavily loaded school bag,his shoes and socks and lunch basket , as he nonchalantly jumped off the vehicle and vanished into the house every evening!

The old rickshawman,through the years had developed a special bond towards the poor girl and had been awestruck by her perseverance and caring towards her brother every evening,that he patiently waited for her to come running out of the house crying loudly...
"Rickshaw Maamaa...Don't come so soon tomorrow morning!Thambi is not even ready by the time you come to pick up!"

She would then stand at the gate waving 'tata' to her favorite Rickshaw Maamaa as he disappeared around the street corner.As she trudged back to the house,she would exchange her routine pleasantries with the next door neighbour - Paati.
"Paati...Did you have coffee and also your medicines?
Shall come to your house after washing vessels to pluck flowers for your pooja!Okay?"

Paati was a widow in her eighties,who used to sit in the frontal portion of her house called the 'Thinnai' fiddling with the'Rudraksha' chain on her right hand,as she continuosly uttered 'Rama,Rama,Rama'the whole day.Years had passed since she had lost her husband and not a day in the last 10 years had gone by without her uttering her trademark dialogue to Apsara...
Medicinesaa?..illamaaa...athulaam vendaam!!Porum..Avarae poyaachu..Inimae enaku enna irku? Pogara vayasu aachae!AVAN kuupta pogavandiyathu thaan"

Apsara's father Chakravarthy,who was a junior engineer in TNEB and mother Kanagavalli struggled hard to make their ends meet and provide the basic amenities for their family of 7 and by default there wasn't any bandwidth of affection and care that they could spare to their first daughter.Having married a girl out of his community and religion, Apsara's dad had been branded an outlaw and there was no interaction between him and his relatives.

It was that day of bountiful joy that Apsara looked for every month when she was mildly rewarded for having done all the activities starting from cooking in the morning to cleaning the house to putting all the other kids to bed for 3 days continuously when her mom would never even venture into the house or kitchen,from the Thinnai!
Her mom used to give her 6 Rs as a reward to watch a tamil movie at the adjascent theatre with the condition being that she had to take 2 of her syblings along with her.
The guy at the ticket counter had been accustomed to Apsara's trick of carrying both her brother and sister on each side and just buying 1 'Thara' ticket for the show,thereby saving 3 Rs for buying peanuts and Son-papdi in the interval!

Apsara learnt more about life from the movies that she watched than from the meagre education that she had received till 4th grade,when she was forced to stop schooling considering her family circumstances.Life had been reduced to those secret conversations with her alter ego in the well;to her adolescent dreams of meeting the heroes she watched in the movies; to her trademark bubbly laughter by recounting and reliving the comedian's jokes and finally to the never-ending burden that she had in the form of chores in the family.

To be continued.

Posted by rajesh |

Monday, November 08, 2004



These were the rhythmic beats that the dark unlit kitchen,with a faint beam of sunlight peeking in through the whole on the asbestos sheet roof,reverberated with.It had started faintly an hour ago and still there was no sign of stopping,as a young cherubic girl in her teens,sweating profusely from her forehead,kept going at the 'grinder stone' industriously all through the morning in preparation for the night's dinner - Steaming 'Idly's and the next morning's breakfast - Sour dough Dosa.

Every time the heavy stone with the wooden handle, touched the wall of the gaint receptacle stone bearing the semisolid dough,making the 'ktaku' sound,the girl gently patted the unground mixture,driving it into the middle,making the rhythmic 'kchpp' noise.As she kept humming her favorite tamil number,she slowly started to tune in the grinding sound according to the song's beat and kept herself busy all through the gruelling time.
Just as she was about to leave the place,filling the huge Aluminium container with the ground dough,she heard yet another time her name being called from the bedroom..

'Apsaraaa' ehh..'Apsaraaa'
Appu maa...Could you bring the clothes from the terrace maa?Also make sure you collect all the clips from the clothes properly and look out for kerchieves and shoes laces strewn on the floor

Apsara peeked into the bedroom as she saw her mom facing the wall and feeding her 6 month old baby brother.She peered across the room to find her 3 year old brother sleeping on a mat and the 5 year old sister busy playing with her toys.
She slowly treaded to the backyard of their house to wash her hands and dress laden with the white marks from the Idly dough.She peeped into the well and looked at her reflection yet another time that day,as she spoke softly to the dancing image of hers in the water..

You know what...
You look so beautiful and you dance very well like Cinderella.
So,how is your world out there?Lots of fun huh?
Will you take me also to your world?
Please maaaa..Don't say no today also..
I am very tired and my chores are increasing day by day and I see no end to it."

Suddenly she saw the image getting distorted as she realised that it was starting to drizzle.Her mom shouted at the top of her voice from the kitchen window...

"Hey Apsara..Are you deaf?Din't you hear me asking you to get the clothes?Now everything is going to end up wet from the rain!"

Apsara ran to the terrace as she grabbed the clothes and the clips and dashed into her house,eventually almost tripping at the step in the entrance door and hurting her toenail.
As she threw the clothes on the cane chair and wailed in pain,her mom noticed blood seeping through the corner of her toe and screamed at her..

"See..This is the punishment for being careless and not listening.
Had you gone and picked the clothes promptly,you need not have hurried like this and could have avoided hurting yourself.
Now go to the bathroom,wash it and tie a cloth around it.Don't let it become septic!There is no way we can take you to the doctor!"

Apsara always considered the dancing image in the well as the girl she always wanted to be and got herself relieved of her mental stress everyday conversing endlessly with her.She felt that there was a wonderful world of happiness on the other side of the well, where children were allowed to live as children,playing happily and eating candies as much as they wished.Her alter ego from the well was the only person she was able to relate to and who always was there for her to share her joys and bucket load of sorrows.

To be continued..

Posted by rajesh |

Thursday, November 04, 2004


Blogger gets night visit from US Secret Service

The poor blogger's whining...


Posted by rajesh |

Monday, November 01, 2004


Just another avenue for that bored,directionless mind seeking something to get away from routine and waste yet another hour interestingly..

For the past couple weeks,I have found this 'Cluenatix' to be an excellent tool to get away from reality and plunge into a virtual world of trivia/crosswords/Googling!
Kudos to Anantha,the guy behind this wonderful 'Daily contest'!

If you too wanna get hooked into this madness..

Click here to join cluenatix

Click here to join cluenatix


Posted by rajesh |


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