What changes ?

I have just finished a fascinating book called The First Promise. It is written by Ashapurna Debi and has been translated from Bengali to English by Indira Chowdhury. The story is set in late 18th century and early 19th century. The heroine is Satyabati and she is not like other women of her time. The author has beautifully depicted life in rural Bengal and in Calcutta. The lives of women have changed a lot but their emotions, their needs and desires are still the same. Even now not all women are free to fulfil their dreams.

The other day we read in the newspaper about a man damaging the voting machine because his mother did not vote for the candidate he had told her to vote for! One wonders if two hundred years have passed since the days of the story.

This somehow reminded me of a couple we used to see some evenings. Walking past their house I would see the old man in a wheel chair and his wife reading aloud to him. I had not seen the gentleman in his younger days but I had heard that he had been a different person during his youth. He had taken his wife for granted and had cheated on her. There is this arrogance in that period of life when many do not think about old age, about the time when they would be dependent on others. Old age seems far away and it is as if it happens to others. On the other hand, I read in the paper about grandparents forcing their minor granddaughter to marry a middle-aged man who had raped her. How could they do that? Do people really change with the time? Two hundred years ago girls were married off very young. Not much has changed.

Not hundreds but thousands of years ago life was the same. I was listening to the story of Lord Krishna narrated by Shri Bannanje Govindacharya. Narkasura had imprisoned hundreds of young girls. Krishna helped free them. He asks those girls to return to their families. The girls reply that they would prefer to remain in the prison because society would never accept them. They would forever be labelled as girls who had been in Narakasura’s prison and would be looked upon with suspicion.

It is sad but even now it is the same and very few have the courage to stand against the dictates of society. I often wonder who are these people who think they have the right to pass judgements. I have asked some friends about this but they have no definite names. They are ‘people’, nameless and faceless. And it scary how they are able to control people, through the ages.

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Narakasura – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narakasura

Krishna – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krishna

Bannanje Govindacharya – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bannanje_Govindacharya

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#SoCS May 18/19

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “adverb.” Start your post with any adverb and just run with it. Have fun!

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Slowly we sucked and absorbed the juice of the wild mangoes at our table. These mangoes grow in our village in the yard of our house. This tree is a grafted one. The original is in a field a little away. Three generations of children have enjoyed the fruits of the original tree. My husband does not know if it was planted or whether it came up on its own. Some bird or animal must have got the seed to that field. About fifteen years ago it showed signs of dying and a relative grafted its branch with the mango tree in the front yard. The tree is very tall now and we get fruits every year during this time. The taste is just like that of the original. This mango is called ‘sakkare maavinahannu’ in Kannada which literally means ‘sugar mango’.

My husband grew up in a joint family. During summer vacations there were a lot of people in the house. The grandchildren used to come home to spend the summer vacations. And it was mango season too. The children used to regain their energy sucking the wild mangoes and eating other varieties too. Even now, when the cousins who are now grandparents meet, talk about those carefree childhood days when playing and eating was all that they thought about. Vacations were meant only for that. When I see children of today I feel they have no free time. It is school and tuitions and summer camps during vacations, always learning and doing something. Maybe they do not feel so. They must be having fun. I do not know.

Our children too used to spend summer vacations with my parents or with my father-in-law in the village. My mother-in-law passed away at young age in 1980, before our marriage. Our children  used to enjoy these mangoes. And my father-in-law used to enjoy looking at them slowly savouring the taste of sugar mangoes. They were from the original tree.

There are many varieties of wild mangoes but most of them are sweet and sour in taste. Some are just sweet. These we eat raw, the others we use to make some dishes. In these dishes the sour taste is necessary. In a way they teach us a lot. What would life be like if there were no differences? I am sure it would be boring or maybe we would accept the sameness not knowing that there are differences in life too. This thought came to mind because I am reading Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder. 😊

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#SoCS May 18/19

The Outside World

Sunday Photo fiction

Kavya was born when the days were short and cold. That did not make any difference to her. Her world was her home, safe and secure in her mother’s arms. Months passed. With the coming of spring the world become bright and colourful. The outside world was now becoming part of hers. It was an exciting world. The tree with fluttering leaves fascinated her. So did the grass under her feet. She wanted to touch everything. She and her brother loved to play in the park. The beautiful wild flowers were waiting to be plucked. She got angry when her brother stopped her from plucking tulips. Every small thing filled her with joy. She loved to run after butterflies. Once the family went to a farm near the hills for a vacation. Kavya and her brother loved to watch the animals, the rooster fascinated them. One day they were exploring and saw a beautiful red carpet under a cherry tree. They were delighted and ran forward to find that it was a carpet of petals. Surely there could be nothing more beautiful than it!

Childhood is filled with such simple joys. Children teach adults to appreciate them once more.

(199 words)

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(Photo Credit : Fandango)

 

Everyday Moments (#SOL 2019)

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(I believe that the moments in each day make our life what it is. Of course, the unexpected always happens and whatever preparations we make, Life surprises us. Many a time, we think that nothing happens in our life, but things do happen. I started writing to my Doddamma, my father’s elder brother’s wife in October 2017. She is 88 and is not able to hear properly. I post my letter to her every Tuesday. Both of us enjoy the letters. These letters have made it possible for me to appreciate the ordinary moments of life. I edit the letters and post them as Slice of Life every Tuesday.)

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Yesterday morning we went to our village to spend the day with my father-in-law and brother-in-law. The couple who lived with them to cook and help in other ways have left. Now we have to search for someone else. My brother-in-law has learnt to cook and they are somehow managing. We had breakfast in a small hotel on the way. My father-in-law is fine but he is not able to recognize people. He will be 94 soon. We slow down so much as we grow older. I cooked lunch. My father-in-law’s sister’s sons came to give the invitation card of their sons’ wedding and seek the blessings of their uncle. My husband along with his brother, father and my mother went to his maternal uncles’ home. It was a nice change for my father-in-law.

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Before returning my husband and his brother plucked wild mangoes which is called ‘sakkare maavinahannu’. It means sugar mangoes. They are very sweet. We cannot slice wild mangoes, we have to suck them. Some wild mangoes are sweet and sour, we make rasam and other dishes with them. We started back at 3.30 and reached home at 6.

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We are facing water shortage for the first time since shifting to our home in 2005. We were supplied water on the 10th afternoon after almost a week. The water reservoir had dried up. Desilting had not been undertaken for a long time. Last year we had very heavy rains for three months and the rains stopped in September. Usually we get rains till November. The corporation should have rationed water supply from January. We have an underground sump and an overhead tank and water had become less so on the 9th we bought water in a tanker. The main topic of conversation these days is water.

On the 10th we attended the Upanayana (thread ceremony) of a little boy. His parents are my husband’s students. He was a professor in the dental college of our university. He retired in 2017.

On the 5th my husband went to stay with his father in the village. He goes by bus when he goes alone. He has to change buses twice. About thirty years ago we had to change buses four times. 😊 In those days we used to go by bus. It seems so long ago. Life has changed so much, places and people too.

Last week, our son twisted his foot. He was not able to walk much. He is better now. Today we went to the park in the training college of Syndicate bank. My mother enjoyed walking with her friend. A few days ago we went to the park near the temple. She met her other friend there and caught up with all that has happened. She enjoys talking to people and talking in our language, Kannada.

Today afternoon I went to Asare, Home for the mentally challenged. Last week I could go only once. My husband and I leave together, he goes to the medical library to read the latest dental journals. He prefers to read the hard-copy. I too love to hold a book but I am fine with Kindle too. 😊 We return home together.
Everyday Moments.

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( Early morning )

“As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder,

How to make mango rasam – Veg recipes of Karnataka
http://www.vegrecipesofkarnataka.com/…kayi-mavinakayi-saaru-mango-rasam.php

Ripe Wild Mangoes Rasam – betterbutter.in
https://www.betterbutter.in/recipe/104197/ripe-wild-mangoes-rasam

Upanayana – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upanayana

Everyday Moments (#SOL 2019)

#SoCS May 11/19

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Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “strain.” Use it any way you’d like. Enjoy!
We shifted to our house in 2005 from the University campus. For the first time we have been facing water crisis. Many families have their own wells and many others get water supplied by the city corporation. We have and underground ‘sump’ which holds 6000 litres of water. We used to get water everyday but in the last two months we have getting once in three days. But today we got water after more than a week. The feeling that there will be no water has always made me very anxious and a great strain. How can we live without water?

In many parts in the northern part of our state there has been no rainfall for almost four years. People living in those places have been migrating to the cities. Our town and other neighbouring areas get drinking water from a reservoir. That has dried up this year. Many say it is because of the pattern of rainfall last year. We got very heavy rains for three months from June to September first week and water was overflowing in all rivers, lakes and dams. Then the rains just stopped. Usually there is rainfall till November. So water has dried up earlier in water sources. Many people are buying water which is supplied in water-tankers. These tankers get water from other sources, mainly from wells. I had been asking my neighbour if she knows any person who will gey water for us. We had water just in the overhead tank. She asked a relative who has three wells in his farm a little away from our place. He got the water and we filled our sump. There was extra water and we asked another neighbour if they wanted it. They wanted it. Such a relief from the strain 😊. And today afternoon we got water from the corporation too. They had started supplying water but had not stated to which places they were supplying. We dared not wait. We were a little casual about though we never wasted it but we are now very careful. The monsoon will begin only in June. Hopefully it will arrive on time. And we just hope the officials in charge of the water supply will manage better next year. No one would complain if they start rationing from January. We have got information that from now on we will be getting water once a week. We have to be careful and manage. So many constructions, so many borewells without and restrictions, is such a strain on Mother Earth. Wonder what the future holds for us.

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