Sunday, July 27, 2014

Black & White and Grey All Over.

"The thing is that your writing is at its best when you write about people or personal emotions. It becomes very intense." A friend who had read one of my recent stories remarked. "Obviously if you put it out, there is a risk of being judged". She had added.

I have, in the recent past, written a few short stories that can be considered a little bold to say the least. While the writer in me knows that I am at my best when I write about complicated relationships and unusual emotions; as a person, who has grown up in a rather traditional and conservative set up, I realise that these may not be considered best subjects by a lot of people who are connected to me. Married women with children, after all, do not write about sex, or do they?

While growing up in middle-class, small-town India, my vision of life and its emotions was very limited. I saw the world in black and white. People were either good or bad, there was nothing in between. But my exposure to life in a metropolis and my experiences as a person in the last fifteen years showed me a very different world. I saw that the same person is capable of, and often is, both black and white at different times, I realised that there is more grey to life than there is black or white, and that grey has intrigued me ever since. 

Perhaps as a result of this, a lot of my initial posts on the blog were about such greyness -- of things people see but never talk about, of things middle-class India considers inappropriate, of things everyone does but never owns up to. At that time only a few close friends read the blog and most, if not all, seemed comfortable with what I wrote. Over the last one year though, in an effort to build variety, to write for the pleasure of the reader and to build up a more serious repository of writings, I stopped paying attention to such topics. But even now, the stories that I write are a reflection of the grey that I love so much, they are usually made up of things that might seem inappropriate, characters that might seem characterless and situations that might seem complicated, but then that is what real life is about.

As a writer and as a person I will perhaps continue to explore the feelings that interest me, the emotions that intrigue me but as a wife, a mother, a daughter and a sister I am not yet sure of how people, who know me and love me will look at it. Would it mean that my father will consider me a blot on the family? Would it mean that my brother will be embarrassed to read my work? Would I run the risk of my husband doubting my integrity as a wife? Would it mean that my daughters will be ashamed of what their mother writes?

While my mind tells me some of my fears might be true, at least to a certain extent, my heart tells me that people who know me, know me enough to judge me. And it is my heart that I listen to, always.

Friday, July 11, 2014


“I am at the hospital, they want me to stay back. Will keep you posted” Read the message on the screen of his phone.

For the first time in his life, he had begun to panic; he could even hear his heart beat as he booked himself into the first flight to Bombay. But it was hard not to be excited; he was going to be a father.

Father, the word sounded so alien, yet so familiar. Although he adored children, both he and his wife had consciously chosen not to have any: they did not want any distraction in their flourishing careers. But today, he realised why the world, or most of it, wants children. He sometimes wondered how did he, the self-confessed pragmatic; manage to turn into such an emotional fool. But then, love can make you do anything.  

Ria and him were not supposed to fall in love. They were not even supposed to meet. But a flight that they boarded together changed the course of their lives. Although as different as chalk and cheese, they took an instant liking for each other; it was hard to tell when the liking transformed into love. Or if it was love at all, or just comfort – the comfort of sharing their roots. Their comfort was evident that day too, in his bed; when he had made love to her all through the afternoon, well into the night. It seemed as if they had always known—and loved—one another. As they lay together afterwards, she had casually mentioned how he was only the second man to have touched her; he could not say the same though.

A few weeks later she had called to inform him of the baby, “let me keep it please, I assure you, it will never be a hindrance to you” she had pleaded. It took him no time to give in; he suddenly wanted to be a father too. True to her word, Ria had never complained about being on her own. She managed everything, from the morning sickness, to the check-ups and now she was alone in the labour room struggling to birth their dream.

It was raining when he landed in Bombay, the traffic and the rain had made a mess of the roads and it took him almost two hours to reach the hospital. He paced to the labour room only to be told that Ria had already been shifted into a room, excitedly he ran towards the ward; he was just about to enter, when, from the large window, he spotted Amit, sitting by Ria, holding the little girl in his arms.

In his excitement of becoming a father, he had completely forgotten about Amit, Ria’s husband. Together they made a pretty picture – Ria, Amit and the baby – a picture that had no space for an outsider like him. He hurriedly turned away and walked home.