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We Reap as We Sow!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Certain circumstances shape one's relationships and events of one's Life----some of them are like a Thorn in one's flesh!!!Mummy's younger sister Vasanti Maushi--- a Spinster---is sick---and alone--ostracised by the entire Family.There many reasons for this---the premier one being her own inability to form and retain relationships.
Since her childhood she has been an eccentric and idiosyncratic person---considering herself to be a class apart from the rest of us Mortals.She never married since she was prone to Epileptic Fits and besides never considered any proposal to be good enough for her---rejecting quite a few good ones. My maternal Grandma, Aaji, indulged her the most amongst all her five children---in this Vasanti Maushi even managed to supersede Bal Mama---Aaji's only son!!This made her wilful and uncaring as well as extremely selfish----with an extremely sharp tongue---to the extent that all her siblings preferred to stay an arm's length away from her.Since Mummy was the only one who lived far away she was largely spared hence was more kindly disposed towards her sister comparitively due to less inter action between them----but the biggest blow was yet to come.
After Daddy's death in 1974 Mummy shifted back to Mumbai and was refused shelter temporarily in Aaji's home by Vasanti Maushi on the grounds that they did not want any upheaval in their regular routine!!My maternal Uncle--Bal Mama had already moved out and was living separately with his young Family.Since Mummy was looking for a Flat of her own this announcement must have hurt her terribly---following as it did barely a month after Daddy's death but she never let on how much it did.It was my brother-in-law Milind who stepped in and invited her to stay with us---and in 1975 when Sudhir and I shifted here my two younger sisters and Mummy moved in with me.In 1977 her own Flat became ready and Mummy immediately shifted there.After that it became a constant pattern for Mummy to look after Aaji and spend time nursing her during the day each time she fell ill---this included an 8-9 hour unrelieved Hospital Duty---for Mummy was free during the day since both my sisters were either studying or later working.Mummy did this not due to Duty but with a lot of Love.Vasanti Maushi would summon her each time a visit to the Doctor or Bank was on the Cards and Mummy ran a myriad errands for Vasanti Maushi despite being 8 years older, Menopausal and heavily Diabetic.It became so bad that Mummy seemed to have become a Slave obeying Vasanti Maushi's commands---And that--knowing my brutally frank and outspoken mother was a shock to see!!
In 1996 Aaji passed away after ensuring that Vasanti Maushi was well provided for and would be looked after by Mummy---in fact she took a promise to that effect from Mummy---unknown to us.In May 2003 Mummy contracted a bad bout of Bronchitis which brought pressure on her heart---and it began getting difficult for her to move around Town though she was still very active in her own home.That is when she'd request her cousins to step in for her with Vasanti Maushi's visits to her Doctors to monitor her general well being and Epileptic Medicines----and for Mummy's sake they'd keep their own prejudices aside and oblige.Mummy passed away in January 2010----and Vasanti Maushi lost her only support.She had hurt everyone--Family and extended Family pretty badly by both her Conduct and barbed Words and no one was in a forgiving frame of mind.She felt the Money she had would ensure that all would Kow-Tow to her-----but this Pipe Dream just broke recently!!
Now she has a serious Gynaecological Condition requiring a Hysterectomy----and while all three of us---Mummy's daughters have rallied round her no one else is willing to even listen!!Today all three of us are battling Ill Health in our own different way.I am on a heavy dose of both Heart and Cancer Medication and have been advised no stress due to my Conditions,Mikki is extremely obese and a heavy Diabetic while Ritu too has just 2 years back battled a Hysterctomy due to Uterian/Cervical Cancer and won.Both Mikki and Ritu are working in Jobs that require a large level of Responsibility and Accountability----sometimes involving plenty of Overtime work.The three of us thus are in no position physically to offer Post-Operative Care----so today Vasanti Maushi faces a bleak Convalescence all alone!!
Lesson???Man is a Social Animal---so remember to be spontaneously helpful and Well meaning as well as generous in one's thinking---for one Reaps as one Sows!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOVEY63 9/28/2011 12:38PM

    You are so right.

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ANITAS66 9/27/2011 8:42PM

    That's a big lesson to learn for all of us . Be kind to others.

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NICE125 9/27/2011 4:10PM

  Sad story, but how often we forget these lessons, the cycle of life, what you give you get...

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RAGGARWALAX 9/27/2011 4:01PM

    That's got to be hard to watch but I honestly cannot imagine turning my back on anyone in their time of need no matter how difficult they may have been. Not saying it is easy to forget but we are human and I don't know part of being human means you have compassion??

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SAASHA17 9/27/2011 12:03PM

    Hmm...What goes around comes around. but hopefully she realizes it and she gets through this.


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XXMILAXX 9/27/2011 4:18AM

    Amen to that! It's sad that some people think that they can mistreat others and still expect all good things to come to them. It's her Karma...maybe a stranger will be kind enough to help her.

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So Far---So Good!!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

The last few days have been pretty hectic----what with my periodic Check-Ups and assembling all the things requested by Lotta--Meha.Taking it one by one I guess the Flax Seed based Mouth Freshner(Supaari) I eat every night after Dinner and the Organic Tulsi(Basil) Green Tea I drink twice a day is working as the Cardiologist gave me a clean Chit---and the Mammography and the rest of the Cancer paraphernalia worked out positively too!!So I'm all clear and waiting impatiently for the 17th. October to come---for that's when we fly out to California!!
Putting the House in order,stocking my numerous Medicines,packing my stuff,getting stuff stitched and buying some---all that is keeping me busy---leaving very little time for Sparking.However I plan to put all the Stuff in and lock my Bags atleast 10 days before Departure to just relax thereafter---Let's see how it works out!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANITAS66 9/27/2011 8:58PM

    Good job on the clean chit. Tulsi, I know is good for coughs and is also a blood purifier. what else is it good for, as I have 2 good tulsi plants growing in my garden.

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RAGGARWALAX 9/27/2011 3:56PM

    That's fantastic news! I'm sure that your Positive attitude must have played a huge role in this :-)

Diwali in sunny California? That will be different I'm sure but fun still.

If you come to Toronto, let me know!


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XXMILAXX 9/26/2011 2:52PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NICE125 9/26/2011 1:59PM

  Congrats with all the good results!, and good job with getting all the stuff packed, where in CA are you coming?? The weather is getting cooler, and nicer.

Oh, and when are you coming, will you be missing Diwali in India?

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SAASHA17 9/26/2011 12:15PM

    yay...on ur health..

and have a fun safe trip

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BOVEY63 9/26/2011 11:15AM

    So happy that all went well with your check-ups!

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Ghostly Love!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

In the old days---in fact till the early years of the last Century India had it's share of Child Brides---girls as young as 8 years old would be married off----sometimes to Men much older than them---even some old enough to be their Grandfathers!!!When these older Men died a few years after the marriage these poor girls would be condemned to live a life of a Widow---the term used was "Bal Vidhva" or Child Widow.Their hair would be shaved off and they'd have to follow strict dietary restrictions to prevent them from putting on weight---as a result they were often fed just enough to keep body and soul together.Since many lost their husbands before puberty they were often open to exploitation and abuse by certain male members of the Family as well as Society at large.This is the story of one such Child Widow----and how she finally found peace!!
The roomy,rambling houses of the Konkan are very picturesque with their Red tiled Roofs,and facades of thick Igneous Rock walls set with solid Shisham or Oak Doors and Windows.These walls are plastered with a thick layer of Mud inside and whitewashed.Most homes are picturesquely set in large Coconut or Betel Nut Groves ,lush Green Paddy fields surrounded with Orchards of Mango,Cashews,Pineapples and "Papnus"----a large Grapefruit like Citrus Fruit with a thick white Pith and pink coloured Flesh streaked with Red.This home was no different except for one thing---the huge family had dwindled down to one heir----and he was based in Bombay working with the Excise Department during the turn of the Century.In due course his only child ---his son Gajanan got married to Siddheshwari a few years later .Unfortunately Gajanan lost both his parents relatively soon after his marriage and as a result he and his young wife were left alone.A year or two after his parents' death Siddheshwari concieved---and then began an odd series of compelling dreams.Siddheshwari began by initially seeing a beautiful, rambling old house set amidst the shaded greenery of Coconut Grove----and the house seemed to be calling her towards it.Each night the Dream began getting clearer---the trellises,the Red tiles of the Roof gaining focus like a Photograph emerging slowly as it develops in the Chemical Solution it's being washed in.Once the facade became clear the interior Plan began emerging and the House began pulling Siddheshwari towards it---till finally she began pestering Gajanan to take her to the Village---for she wanted to give birth to the baby there!!Gajanan was loathe to leave Bombay--in the early 1930s the only service available for delivering Babies in the Villages was the midwives---and he wanted his first born born in a Lying -In Home with good facilities.
Siddheshwari however was adamant and finally Gajanan gave in---and applied for long leave.They left Bombay just before the 7th. month of the preganancy for the Village.Those days they'd travel to Sawant Wadi by Train and from there further to their Village it meant a two hour bumpy Bullock Cart ride---so it was pretty late by the time they reached.Siddheshwari had never visited the Family home before but the moment she set eyes on it she gasped---it was the House she dreamt about!!!The old house had been cleaned out by the elderly cousin named Bhima Tai living next door----and the couple settled in.The first night in the old house Siddheshwari dreamt of a little Baby---but it was a hazy figure.As the days passed the Baby came into sharper focus---and one night she sat bolt upright after her dream---filled with fearful revulsion--for the Baby was a tiny Skeleton----- stretching it's bony arms invitingly towards her!!!
Each night the Dream persisted---with the Baby growing more and more persistent----entreating piteously to be hugged close and cuddled.By now the initial shock had worn off and Siddheshwari was now feeling more kindly towards the skeletal baby---but still hesitated to open out her arms to it.Finally one afternoon she confided to Bhima Tai about it---and Bhima Tai stared at her incredulously---her mouth hanging open in shock!!
The tale behind the baby came tumbling out--haltingly at first but slowly gathering momentum as it progressed.It seems that Gajanan had an older sister named Malati, who was widowed at the age of 10 when her husband died of Snake bite.Her In-Laws agreed to keep her in their home for she was regarded as an unpaid Kitchen help and Cook.The family she had married into was large---with many members both male and female.malati attained puberty at the age of 13 and that was when tragedy struck.One of her male relatives noticed the changes in her appearance started making covert advances towards her and one day grasping an opportunity raped her.Malati concieved and when this came to light she was sent to her father's home quietly under the cover of night---for she threatened to reveal the name of the father of her child if ill treated or abused.Gajanan's grandfather was at a loss about how to deal with this complication but he sheltered his grand daughter and ensured she had all the comforts she needed.Unfortunately there were complications during the birth and she passed away after giving birth to the baby---a still born!!While Malati's last Rites were performed according to the Traditional manner, the Baby was buried clandestinely according to custom--in a deep grave somewhere in the Coconut Grove surrounding the house.This was done to save face and since only the immediate family knew of the preganancy it was thought that Malati passed away after a bout of Cholera!!Gajanan was born late in his parents lives and while he was aware of his elder sister the only memories he had of her were hazy sepia tinted Photographs since she'd died much before he was born!!
Both Siddheshwari and Bhima Tai came to the conclusion that this was Malati's baby who had perhaps willed her to come here for the birth.After hearing the story Siddheshwari felt a surge of love for the Skeletal baby---and forgetting it's terrifying appearance, she clasped it to her in her next dream---and the dreams stopped completely after that!!As the time of birth approached the Monsoon began--Rain began pouring down in buckets from the Heavens.As the Downpour continued the Coconut Grove became water logged and slushy---becoming impassable and adding to poor Gajanan's worries about how to get the Midwife home when the time arrived!!He began cursing himself for giving in to his wife---and landing both of them in this mess.Finally the hour of Birth approached and the house was Water bound---marooned in a sea of knee high Water----completely impassable!! As he was pacing up and down he felt a gentle tap on his shoulder---and turning around his breath whooshed out in a shocked gasp!!His sister Malati whom he had only seen in old Photographs stood there----and beckoned him to come inside.She told him to keep a supply of hot Water coming while she quietly and tenderly helped Siddheshwari through her labour---performing all the procedures efficiently----right down to cutting the umbilical cord of Gajanan's first baby--a beautiful baby girl!!When it was all over Dawn was just stealing over the Horizon and the Rain had lessened--falling gently as Malati placed the little girl in her mother's arms.Malati stood gazing with wet eyes at the Tableau of the father,mother and the baby-----and murmuring about how happy she finally was placed her hands on the heads of her brother and sister-in-law in a blessing and suddenly vanished completely!!So you see---Ghosts aren't always evil!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANITAS66 9/30/2011 10:16AM

    Gave me goosebumps. Lovely story.

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RAGGARWALAX 9/25/2011 10:28PM

    Very interesting and nice that it had a happy ending :-)

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XXMILAXX 9/19/2011 11:59PM

    Sad, but with a happy ending, very vivid writing.

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    Entertaining and sweet ending tale.

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RAIN454 9/16/2011 1:40PM

    Yet another emoticon story!
My grandmother used to tell me this story about how her mom got married when she was 8 years old and was carried on her dads shoulders down the aisle. I'm sure it was the norm back then but so incomprehensible to think about now. No point in that comment actually...just that your story reminded me of that. :)

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BOVEY63 9/16/2011 1:18PM

    What an awesome story! Thanks for sharing!

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SAASHA17 9/16/2011 12:23PM

    See I always tell people that...hehehe..this was a nice story...

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ATMANI 9/16/2011 9:50AM

    Nope they aren't. Thanks for a great read.

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The Ghostly Phaeton of Shimla

Thursday, September 15, 2011

This was one story that was very popular while I was in School.In the Ninth Grade, one of my Schoolfriends named Anita heard this from an old Gardner at her family Estate in Shimla.On the first day when School reopened after Summer Vacations, we all sat around in a large circle sharing our Lunches as usual.Somehow the topic of Ghosts came up and one by one many stories began unfolding---some tame, some eerie but Anita's tale was so spinechilling that it became one of our favourite Ghost Stories in School!!!
This old Gardner on Anita's family Estate in Shimla was an old man who had worked for a British lady early in the 20th.Century.This lady was of British descent but born and brought up in India and very beautiful.She was a young widow having lost her husband to Small Pox a few months earlier.Well connected to the Upper Echelons of British Society she lived a discreetly quiet life in a beautiful Cottage situated in a quiet wooded lane----well shielded from curious and prying eyes due to it's remote situation.A friend of her late husband's was smitten by the Lady and visited her often.In due course this relationship blossomed and as days passed the Lady fell head over heels in love with her regular Visitor.A closer relationship developed and when the time came for the Gentleman to head home to England for a visit the Lady was heartbroken--she was so deeply involved that this temporary parting of six months was sheer agony for her.Assuring her of coming back as soon as he could the Gentleman departed for his visit.
Soon there were fervent Love Letters arriving by "Daak" as the Mail was called then and equally passionate replies being sent.Slowly the time passed and the day for the Gentleman to reach Shimla finally arrived.The Lady made elaborate arrangements to welcome her Paramour home and went to recieve him at the Railway Station.The Train arrived and her Paramour alighted with his new Bride on his arm---and seeing the Lady casually introduced her as the widow of his old Friend!!!Somehow the Lady managed to retain her composure but her heart was broken and they say she turned suicidal and tried many times to end her life---but failed.Finally one day in desperation she drove her Black Phaeton over a steep ravine and crashed to her death on the Rocks below.
Soon after that her Paramour was found dead on the side of the Mall Road early one morning---his dead features frozen in a mask of terrified Horror!!The Story goes that an hour after midnight each night the Lady and her ghostly Phaeton bowl around at a brisk pace on the roads surrounding the Mall Road.She offers a lift to young Men returning home late after a good time---say a Movie or a Party.Anyone who accepts her offer of a Lift does not live to tell the Tale----but the old Gardner said--his former Mistress had chalked up quite a score!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PRACHI17 9/26/2011 12:44PM

    cool story

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XXMILAXX 9/19/2011 11:50PM

    good one!

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ATMANI 9/15/2011 4:40PM

    ooh creepy!

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ZANNACHAN 9/15/2011 12:37PM

    Very creepy indeed.

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BOVEY63 9/15/2011 12:34PM


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SAASHA17 9/15/2011 11:44AM

    Wow interesting...I could actually imagine it and man creepy...

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The Ghost Next Door!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

This is a true Tale and it actually happened---for all the accounts I heard from my paternal Grandma Akka,Daddy and my three Uncles match----word for word!!As a child my Grandma akka would always tell all us grandkids to be careful each time we went for walks on the River banks.It seems that each year on certain days of the year the River Panchganga would claim it's Victims by enticing them into the Whirlpool at it's centre.Many people---even expert swimmers and divers perished in it's languidly deceptive Waters each year---and of course the River was a favourite suicide spot as well!!Akka used to caution us to turn back just before twilight and to avoid the thickly foliaged ancient Trees on the River bank were a veritable favourite haunting spot for all those disgruntled Souls she'd say!!
To our constant queries about how she came about having that knowledge one evening she told us this Tale.It seems one of our neighbours had once gone for his evening walk along the Riverside a little later than usual.While taking his perambulations he chanced upon a young teenaged girl sitting beneath one of the Trees---sobbing her heart out.Moved by her distress he asked her as to why she was so upset?She answered that she had lost both her parents recently and had been left alone in the World---and was destitute as she had no home!!The kind hearted Gentleman brought her home and handed her over to his wife.Now this gentleman was a very rich and famous Jeweller and had a very large joint family--his three brothers,their wives and his and their children all lived together.Akka used to say that not a single set of parents treated any of the kids inequally--it was as if all the children belonged equally to all the couples!!Feeding this large family meant that the Kitchen opened at dawn and continued non stop till late night----so this large family could use as much help as the womenfolk could get---and this where the destitute Waif was roped in---into the huge bustling Kitchen!!
The girl turned out to be a welcome help---she was extremely efficient with preparing the Vegetables and also a great bargainer and would return from the Vegetable market laden with Fresh Produce at minimal rates.Her thrift further endeared her to the family and she soon became a very happy member of the household.As Time passed by a son was born to one othe children---and as it was a male child this was a joyous event.After 40 days of the baby's birth the family decided to visit the temple of Lord "Jyotiba" on a hilltop near Kolhapur.Everyone in the entire household was going except this young girl---she begged off saying that she could not join them as she was menstruating---and according to our rules she was considered "unclean" for the first 5 days of her cycle.After much debate the Family left her behind and set off on it's outing.They were supposed to be gone for 5 days.
Unfortunately the the child of one of the brothers became sick---and that brother and his wife returned home unexpectedly barely 2 days after they left.On arrival they found the house in total darkness.Thinking that the girl had gone shopping as usual they entered the door---but before they could strke a light a sound from the Kitchen raised their hackles---so they carefully and soundlessly peered into that room.A huge fire was burning very strongly in the Mud Stove---the girl was sitting in front of the Mud stove---her legs stuck into the fireplace and she was cackling away in unholy glee!!The sight was so fearful that they crept away in fear----and took refuge in a Shiva Temple---spending the night there.
The next day they told the Temple Priest of their predicament and he advised courage and patience in dealing with the situation.This Priest took them to a Yogi who was well versed in Exorcism and took him to join the rest of the family.Here they all decided to cleanse their home of this Ghost but at the same time they could not say that they had suffered at her hands.However,once the entire family returned the Exorcism Rites began---and the Girl was evicted from the premises after a lot of trouble---Akka used to say that the process dragged on for months---during which the girl would either cajole and entreat or at times turn vivious and spit fire---causing freshly cooked food to go bad,hot coals to rain from the Rafters or assume scary shapes!!However the Yogi managed at long last to evict her from the house---but while going she took all their prosperity and serenity from the house---sowing the seeds of discord as she left.
Akka used to say she had seen all this when my father and his siblings were children and hence she'd exhort us to be home before dark---specially if we went to the River.I do not know how true this tale is---but each time I passed that ancient "Waadaa' next door---the very sight of it gave me goosebumps!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PARM01 9/17/2011 2:41AM


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XXMILAXX 9/15/2011 3:50AM

    Creepy indeed!

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ZANNACHAN 9/14/2011 2:04PM

    Oooh, creepy story.

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BOVEY63 9/14/2011 1:38PM

    That would give one goose bumps. Eerie!

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PRACHI17 9/14/2011 1:10PM

    yes very creepy n now m scared !

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SAASHA17 9/14/2011 12:12PM

    Wow that is creepy...

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