Book Review and Author Interview – Collection of Chaos by Tikuli

Collection of Chaos by Tikuli

Blurb:

(From the foreword by Kris Saknussemm) As with all the poets I most
admire, words are living things for Tikuli. But as you will come to
discover, they are never deployed for their own sake. She uses them to
tell stories. The images, scenes, characters and fragments of visionary
empathy that you will find in this book are all rooted in her native
India-and yet they reach out far beyond national and cultural
boundaries. They do so because they have an interior cohesion of spirit.
Her subjects are often the dispossessed, the lost…the abused. There
are undercurrents of sorrow and anger. And yet love shines through, even
when it seems to be fading away. Above all, there’s a powerful sense of
hope at work-a conviction in the redemptive strength of poetry.

Book Review by @sulekkha

Review

It was a pleasure reading Tikuli’s lovely collection of poems, they tell a story of a poet’s inner turmoil and emotional journey. Though there are sad undertones in a few of them, they are lovely to read. Some poems about silence are heartbreaking.

Reading her poems is sometimes an intrusion into her mind and heart, makes one feel like a peeping tom peering into her soul.

Tikuli takes inspiration from life and strings together its different emotions and experiences to make a beautiful garland of fragrant words. The depth of her words and her versatile writing elicits admiration from the readers, and her poems satiate their hunger while leaving them wanting more.

Author Interview

1. Why do you write poems? When did you start writing poetry?

You can say a lot in a few lines , you can play around with words and have a finished piece in a short time. That’s what I love about poems and that’s the reason I write them. One of the other reasons is that poetry flushes out a feeling, an emotion, a thought, a question that you never knew lay buried inside you. A little arrangement and rearrangement of words opens up a lot of possibilities. I think for me writing poems is like striking a balance between inner and outer world. Writing poetry helped me change the old order. I find it more intimate and tender to express in the form of a poem. When I read a good poem by someone I feel it in my pulse. I see my own face in their experience and that is why I write. To be this connect is very important.

I must have been in my teens when I started penning down short poems, they were actually observations, on pieces of paper anything I could get hold of and then I would transfer them in a notebook. I actually began to learn the art of writing good poetry some five – six years back. I have been fortunate to find great mentors who nurtured me selflessly and helped me in my learning. They still do.

2. What inspires you to write poems? Do you have to be hurting to write sad/tragic/dark poems and happy while writing romantic/humorous poems?

I can answer that in one word ‘Life’. Music also plays an important role when I write.

Emotional state does play a role especially in my writing but there have been times I have written happy poems during days of deepest sorrow and vice a versa. I do agree however that most of my poems especially the personal ones have been influenced by my state of mind at that moment. Life events do affect my writing.

3. I found this poem to be very moving. Which is your favorite and why?

Your silence

Cold, razor-sharp

My words

A shredded tapestry

I also liked the heartbreaking poem about a boy with red hand-prints.

Thank you. This one and a few others are very personal. There was a lot of turmoil when I wrote this. Yes, the one with red hand-prints is my elder son’s favorite too. It was written long back. I think after the Mumbai terrorist attack. I am glad it connects with you.

You are asking me to choose between my children. It is tough but this one is special for me

I am attracted by your  unavailability

the half-shut windows where

we sometime connect..

It’s called ‘yearnings’ and is on my blog too. It was part of a series called ‘You and Me’. A very personal poem written with a purpose. Sometimes being a poet helps to say what you want so effortlessly. There are times when in real life situation one is unable to put the feelings in a way one desires. This one was written on one such occasion and is close to my heart.

 4. Do you decide to write poems on a particular topic for your book or do they just randomly write themselves in your mind?

I usually don’t plan and write. Very few poems in this collection were specifically written keeping in mind the theme etc. They are all random poems brought together as a bouquet.

5) Do you write every day? Do you shut yourself in your study and write or prefer to be inspired by nature?

I am not a very disciplined writer unfortunately though I am trying to mend my ways. It is very important to have a professional framework along with the ability to express oneself. Working with deadlines, writing for a theme or a topic has helped me discipline myself and polished my writing too. I do try to write something everyday . A story, a blog post or a poem. Sometimes just some thoughts just to keep the flow. There have been times stories or poems have emerged from these scribbling. I am not bound by my environment. I can write anywhere. I just need some quiet place.

6) Any favorite poets? Who is your Inspiration?

Byron, Milton, e.e.cummings, Neruda, Octavio Paz, Longfellow Walt Whitman, Emily Dickenson, Amrita Pritam, Jayanta Mahapatra, Kamla Das, Keki Daruwala. The list is never ending. I love so many of them and each one has inspired me in some way or the other.

Facebook brought me in contact with many poet friends who write exquisite poetry. Just reading them has helped me improve on my writing style. Each day is a learning and some of these excellent poets Seb Doubinsky, Cynthia Atkins, James Goddard, Matthew Bailer, Praneta Jha, Tim Buck, Uma Gowrishankar have been instrumental in my poetry evolution. These are the people who are still part of my journey as a writer. Here we are just talking about the poets. There are some more very fine writers who have been a driving force in my evolution as poet/ writer.

7) Do you agree with the statement that those who have suffered a loss write better? Is a broken heart an essential prerequisite for a successful poet?

No. here are many examples of poets who had bad relationships, unhappy lives, broken hearts…. difficult to say; but there are many, many more examples of poets who didn’t suffer these things. At the end of the day poetry is a form of fiction, and like all good fiction it will be informed by personal experience.

8) There are a lot of poems on silence, in your book. Are poets lonely people or do they like to be alone?

I won’t say poets are lonely people or they like to be alone but we all have our reflective moments. Times when we want to be alone but that doesn’t mean we are lonely.

In my case the poems on silence were born from a deep feeling of aloneness and loneliness. They reflect the chaos I was experiencing in my personal life . I think it was cathartic for me.

9) Does writing help people heal?

Yes, it does. I have experienced it myself. As a young girl writing helped me cleanse my inner. I would sometimes just pen down whatever came to my mind and then tear the pages or burn them. I wrote for myself at this time. Writing helped me find answers, clarity, calm. It does it even now. My blog proved a great healing tool for me in the worse times of my life. It helped me get my stilled voice back, gave me courage and made me who I am right now. I know many people who have healed by writing. Friends fighting cancer, people in relationship problems or those who were trying to help others heal.

10) Any writing tips/advice for your readers.

Remain a student. Enjoy the mess of the process of writing. I guess the best works are born from the chaos that is in your heart and in your mind. Let it guide you. Writing is a constant work, a discipline. Enjoy it. It may seem clumsy or foolish in the beginning but there is nothing that can’t get better with training, by working hard, by learning. Be ready for rejections, failures, disappointments, they are great teachers. Embrace yourself as you are, seek connection and self-awareness, be open to learning. Write, rewrite, reject, edit , write again.. keep the process going.

Buy this book from:

About the Author:

 

Brought up in Delhi in a family of liberal educationists
Tikuli is a mother of two sons. She is also a blogger and author. Some
of her short stories and poems have appeared in print and in online
journals and literary magazines including Le Zaparougue, MiCROW 8,
Troubadour21, The Smoking Book (Poets Wear Prada Press, US), The
Enchanting Verses Literary Review, Mnemosyne Literary Journal, Women’s
Web.
Some of her print publications include poems in
Guntur National Poetry Festival Anthology and much acclaimed Chicken
Soup For The Indian Romantic Soul(Westland). Her work has also been
featured on websites related to gender issues and child sexual abuse.
She blogs at
Stalk her @


THIS TOUR IS HOSTED BY:

 

 

 

By Sulekha Rawat

Bards of The Blogosphere – Stand-off – Week 3- Chapter 5

Authors note: This is the Fifth chapter of week 3 in the “Game of Blogs” for the team “Bards of the Blogosphere.” #CelebrateBlogging To read the previous chapter, click here

#Bards of the Blogosphere

#Bards of the Blogosphere Pic credit Roshan Radhakrishnan

“Ha! As if! No, Roohi has to die”, his voice was as steady as his hand holding the gun. “And so do you”, he looked over his shoulder at Jenny, his eyes daring her to shoot him.

Roohi gasped in fear and covered her mouth with her trembling hands; she first stared at the gun pointing at her, and then at the man’s face. Why was he trying to hurt her?

It was as if he had heard her unspoken thoughts, for his next sentence seemed to answer her baffled question.

“You are just an unlucky little girl, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I don’t have any enmity with you, but you have seen me, and so I cannot let you live to identify me. You are an innocent bystander who will have to pay with her life for the cruel joke that life has played on you. Both you and your photographer friend face a similar fate; I have to kill you both in order to survive.”

The intruder went on with his monologue, unmindful of the effect his words had on his listeners. It was as if he was in a state of suspended reality. He casually waved Roohi towards her parents’ room and smiled when she scurried past him and into the waiting arms of her mother.

“Isn’t it the best feeling in the world, holding your child close to your heart?”, he smiled wistfully and pointed the gun at Tara as he waited for her to answer. Jenny still had her gun trained on Ahuja, she hadn’t moved a muscle ever since she had seen Ahuja standing in front of Roohi, scaring the kid nearly to death.

Tara and Roohi grasped each other’s hands involuntarily upon hearing his threatening and spine chilling question, while Shekhar put his arms around them. Their daughter was in grave danger unless he came up with a plan to save her.

“Roohi, why did you sit next to me at the conference at Kochi? You recognized me, we had met at the park where my Dragonfly used to play with her friends.” He swallowed shakily before continuing, “Do you… remember my Priya? Why did you wander off in to the grounds later and see me escaping out of the window, with the minister’s blood on my clothes?”

Aryan Ahuja walked around the room while recounting his story, lost in his thoughts, and confident in the knowledge that Jenny would never put Roohi’s life at risk by shooting at him. As long as he had the Duttas in his firing range, Jenny’s hands were tied. They all held their breaths and looked at Ahuja and each other with fearful eyes.

“And Jennifer, you are a thorn in my side. Your friend Cyrus was stupid enough to trust the snake of a minister and didn’t think twice before handing over all the evidence to him. The human trafficking organization is not a small operation; it is a well planned, deep-rooted and politically controlled one. Now you are also involved in this mess, your persistence and dogged pursuit of the truth has led you to Dutta’s house and their daughter Roohi. I am sorry but I have to wipe out all evidence and get away from here, your lives will mean my death and I am not ready to die, yet.”

Aryan Ahuja sounded more sad than angry; with his soft and cultured voice. He didn’t speak like a hardened criminal, more like an anguished man, and that piqued Jenny’s interest. The journalist in her wanted answers; he was an unsolved puzzle and she momentarily forgot her fears while trying to think of reasons for his behavior. Why was this polite and sophisticated man talking about killing innocent people so casually? What had led him to this state?

“You know, I had a daughter, her name was Anupriya.” His voice broke while speaking about his daughter, “I have been running from pillar to post, looking for her but haven’t found a tiny clue to her whereabouts. She was taken from me when she was just 10 years old. My baby was kidnapped from school and I fear that she was sold by human traffickers into some brothel in the red light area. My Priya… my little dragonfly.”

His voice trailed off, almost like he had fallen asleep recounting his heartbreaking tale.

“Papa, have I told you lately how much I love you?”, Priya’s smiling face was turned towards him and her eyes were twinkling with mischief and affection.

“No, my dear, you haven’t. Come to think of it, it has been a while since you baked a cake for your poor old father”, he had quipped.

“Okay, from now on, I promise to bake you a cake every Sunday and go for a morning walk with you on holidays too”, she had a hidden agenda and he was determined to get to the bottom of this puzzle as soon as possible.

“What do I have to give you in return for these favors? Is it more pocket money that you are after?”, he had smiled and ruffled her hair.

“No, I am perfectly happy with the pocket money you give me every week. I just wanted to get a dragonfly tattoo on my hand, my friends have got tattoos and they say it doesn’t hurt much.”

He had stared at Priya; she was a ten year old little girl. When did she become interested in tattoos? And who had taught the finer nuances of negotiation? She gave him imploring looks and there was a hint of moisture in her pretty eyes. He didn’t have the heart to say no to her, but he made her promise something in lieu of allowing her to get the tattoo.

“I will let you get a tattoo only if you promise to study hard and attend school regularly, no more French holidays, okay?”

“Thank you papa, I promise to do that. I love you so much, thank you, thank you, thank you….”, her profuse thanks had elicited a laugh out of him and he had driven her to the tattoo parlour to get a dragonfly tattoo inked on her delicate hand.

He remembered the impromptu poem they had written about the dragonfly tattoo and how they had danced around singing it, waving their arms and shaking their heads.

Glowing wings of fire

Reaching high for the sky

My golden dragonfly.

The ringing of the phone brought him back to the present; and he was startled to find himself amongst three frightened Duttas’ in their living room. He quickly turned towards the kitchen where the phone was ringing and stumbled in the dark.

Tara had fished out Shekhar’s cell from his jacket’s pocket when Ahuja had been engrossed in telling them about his daughter, his anguish had made him lose sight of the fact that his hostages were more in number and desperate enough to try anything to save their child . Tara had called up their landline and had anticipated Ahuja’s momentary confusion at the sudden ringing sound coming from the kitchen.

She saw her chance to escape and save her daughter when Ahuja was staggering about trying to get his bearings; she pushed Roohi towards the main door and yelled ‘Run’. Jenny picked up Roohi and ran out of the room, Shekhar and Tara followed closely on the girls’ heels and tried to get out of the house and away from Ahuja but he recovered quickly and grabbed Tara’s arm as she ran past him.

Shekhar heard her scream and tried to help her get away from Ahuja but even before he could open his mouth to reason with him, felt a sharp pain in his stomach. It felt like someone had poured hot lava on him and he fell to the floor.

Ahuja stood over him with a smoking gun and Shekhar realized the searing pain was the wound inflicted by the bullet. Thankfully, Tara, Jenny and Roohi had run out of the house and were safe. He clutched his stomach and lay writhing on the floor, his blood slowly seeping out of his body…

To read the next chapter, click here

By Sulekha Rawat

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

The team Bards of the Blogosphere comprises of MariaPRBPeeVeeArpitaDatta Nupur,SulekhaMaria and Roshan.

 Collages1

 Our Facebook page is here

The Story so far

Week 1: 
Chapter 1 – Princess’ Day Out
Chapter 2 – The Weekend Brunch
Chapter 3 – The Journey
Chapter 4 – The Phone Call
Chapter 5 – Through the Eyes of a Stranger
Chapter 6 – The Princess and her Pied Piper
Chapter 7 – Shadow play turns real
Chapter 8 – Mysterious Tattoo
Chapter 9 – The Confrontation

Week 2:
Chapter 1 – I’m coming to get you, Princess
Chapter 2 – The evening before
Chapter 3 – A Good morning
Chapter 4 – Trigger happy
Chapter 5 – The Calm before the storm
Chapter 6 – What lies beneath
Chapter 7 – Pandemonium
Chapter 8 – Whodunit?
Chapter 9 – Divulgence

Week 3:
Chapter 1 – Shadows in the Night

Chapter 2 – Taken

Chapter 3 – Truth and Pretence

Chapter 4 – The Perfect Crime

Chapter 5 – Stand-Off

Chapter 6 – The Return

Chapter 7 – The Catharsis

Chapter 8 – The Reunion

Chapter 9 – Epilogue

 

Bards of The Blogosphere – Whodunit? Week 2- Chapter 8

Authors note: This is the Eighth chapter of week 2 in the “Game of Blogs” for the team “Bards of the Blogosphere.” #CelebrateBlogging To read the previous chapter, click here

#Bards of the Blogosphere @sulekkha

#Bards of the Blogosphere Pic Credit Roshan Radhakrishnan

Unaware of the impending doom, Shekhar and Tara took their darling daughter back to their hotel room. Kochi, the queen of the Arabian Sea, had lost all its charm for this nuclear family from Mumbai and they made arrangements to fly back home to safety and sanctuary, away from this danger and chaos.

“Shekhar, Roohi hasn’t spoken a word since you found her lost in the crowd at the conference hall”, Tara’s normally stoic demeanor was shattered and she was almost wailing with concern for her daughter’s well being. Her hands trembled while packing Roohi’s clothes in their overnight bag, a pink scarf fell on to the carpet.

Shekhar bent to pick it up and tried to compose his features before straightening; he had to be strong for his family’s sake, Tara shouldn’t see him looking worried and almost on the verge of panic.

“Please stop making such a fuss, Tara. You are making her even more anxious with your hysterical behavior. She is scared because she was separated from us for a while back at the conference hall, she will become normal in some time. Children are very resilient, they bounce back faster than a rubber ball”, Shekhar tried to inject some humor in to this terrifying scenario. He didn’t let on but he was equally concerned about his little princess and her stricken face was driving daggers into his heart.

What had happened out there to make her this terrified? What had she seen? What was in store for his precious family?

vcm_s_kf_repr_832x624The plane took off from Kochi airport and the Dutta family heaved a sigh of relief, Roohi looked relieved and more like her old self while tugging at Tara’s sleeve,

“Mummy, I am thirsty”, these were the sweetest words Tara had heard since the incident at the hotel.

“Darling, what do you want to drink? Should I ask for a juice for you?”, Tara pressed the switch overhead to call the airhostess to their seat.

“I want orange juice and I’d like some chips too, I am suddenly so hungry”, there was a hint of a smile on Roohi’s lips and Tara smiled back involuntarily, her eyes seeking Shekhar’s over Roohi’s head. The relief reflected clearly for him to see and reciprocate.

Maybe all was going to be okay now that they had left the traumatic events and the place behind. Maybe Roohi will tell them one day, what she had seen and why she had been so scared.

Meanwhile in Kochi a distraught and bewildered Jenny sat holding her head in her hands, spent after a good cry, and muttering to herself,

“Cyrus cannot kill anyone; he is not capable of harming another human being. I know my CY. He is innocent; I know he is not the killer as the cops are making him out to be.”

She remembered how just yesterday she had walked with him on the beach, the dinner in his hotel room, the kiss and the night of passion. His softly uttered “I love you”, the next morning. How happy she had been on seeing him after so many years and how his nearness had affected her senses, brought her back to life. She’d wanted nothing more than his nearness, his loving gaze on her face and the warmth of his affection thawing her dormant emotions, she loved him. And now he was in danger, falsely accused of a murder he didn’t commit. She had to help him! At any cost.

Another thought crossed her mind, an image flashed before her eyes; it was the screen of his laptop with TMJ displayed on it. Tamso Ma Jyotirgamaya, wasn’t it Cy’s blog? She remembered Cy telling her about it,

“TMJ stands for Tamso Ma Jyotirgamaya. You know Jenny what it means. It means lead me from darkness to light. I have worked very hard on it for last two years- a lot of primary research, investigations and interviews have gone into it. It’s like my field diary.”

Cyrus had spoken about a meeting with the minister after his speech at the conference, he had some proof he’d wanted to show the minister. Maybe those who had a lot to lose by Cy’s disclosure silenced the minister and pinned the blame on poor unsuspecting Cy.

Maybe someone didn’t want this information to exchange hands – maybe they were unable to stop it – then there would be no choice but to make sure the minster would not interfere – he had to be silenced – perhaps even taken out of the equation entirely. Murder! The motive! It had to be! This only left one loose end. Cyrus! Her poor innocent well-intentioned Cyrus! She had to save him.

Jenny flipped open her phone and called a number she knew by heart, “Uncle, I need a favor”, she then went on to explain to him about Cyrus and everything he had told her the previous day. By the time she disconnected the call, she was smiling, slightly, and there was a glimmer of hope in her sad eyes.

The next day she reached the jail and the Inspector in charge escorted her courteously to Cyrus’s cell. Jenny’s heart went out to Cy, his hair was disheveled, shirt crumpled and eyes red with lack of sleep and worry. His eyes lit up on seeing Jenny and he rushed to the bars of his holding cell, “Jenny, I’m being framed”.

Jenny tried to tell him that she believed him but Cy didn’t give her a chance to speak and continued with his frantic explanation.

“ I swear I didn’t kill the minister, when I left the room he was alive and I heard him scream so I went back in and found him lying on the floor, dead.”

Jenny’s eyes brimmed over listening to him plead his innocence, Cyrus couldn’t tell whether she believed him or not but the fear of losing her again made him continue trying to explain his innocence.

“I know Cy, you don’t have to defend yourself to me. I love you and know you very well; you can’t even hurt a fly. I am sure someone who was involved with the human trafficking organization felt you were zeroing in on them and wanted to escape getting caught, has committed this crime.”

A thoughtful look crossed Cy’s face.

“There was a man in there who ran off on seeing me.. .Oh my god, Jenny! I am sure he is the killer and I know I have seen him somewhere before today.”

It was just as Jenny had suspected! “You were cleverly framed but don’t you worry, I will do everything in my power to get you out of here and also have these charges dropped.”

“But Jenny, how did you manage to meet me without bringing in a lawyer and why did the Inspector himself escort you in here? Are you some sort of Secret spy or working for the CID?” he said incredulously.

“I wish”, said Jenny ruefully, “It’s all thanks to Menon uncle, I will tell you all about him once you are out of jail and the real killer is caught. Our top priority now is to get you out of here, so let us revisit the conference in our heads and see if something strikes a chord. Better still, I have hundreds of pictures I clicked at the venue; maybe the killer is in one of them.”

“Jenny, I am sure I have seen that man earlier too. Do me a favor and go to my room and check my laptop, search in my blog TMJ’s drafts for the blog post about busting a human trafficking organization, where I have posted some photos and videos of interviews from brothels, police remand home etc. That man’s picture is in one of them, not alone but in a crowd”

As Cyrus had suspected, there was a picture of a crowd at an event a couple of months back and a man’s face held Jenny’s attention, she couldn’t breathe. She froze with shock momentarily but then frantically started going over the pictures she had clicked at the conference just before the minister had been murdered. She stared at a picture for a long time and whispered one word

“Roohi”

Somewhere faraway, deep in the woods, sat a man rocking himself to sleep, his soft voice echoing in the dark

Forgive me, I have failed you.

You singed your wings,

Flying too close to the flame,  

and I wasn’t there to protect you.

 

 

I heard your laughter fade away

Imagining your eyes dull with pain

I long to hold my dragonfly

Safe in my aching arms again.

 

By Sulekha Rawat

To read the next part of the story click here

The team Bards of the Blogosphere comprises of DivyakshiPriyanka RoyPriyanka Victor,ArpitaDattaNupurSulekhaMaria and Roshan.

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

The Story so far-

Week 1: 
Chapter 1 – Princess’ Day Out
Chapter 2 – The Weekend Brunch
Chapter 3 – The Journey
Chapter 4 – The Phone Call
Chapter 5 – Through the Eyes of a Stranger
Chapter 6 – The Princess and her Pied Piper
Chapter 7 – Shadow play turns real
Chapter 8 – Mysterious Tattoo
Chapter 9 – The Confrontation

Week 2:
Chapter 1 – I’m coming to get you, Princess
Chapter 2 – The evening before
Chapter 3 – A Good morning
Chapter 4 – Trigger happy
Chapter 5 – The Calm before the storm
Chapter 6 – What lies beneath
Chapter 7 – Pandemonium
Chapter 8 – Whodunit?

Chapter 9 – The Divulgence

I Am Grateful For You

World Gratitude Day

World-Gratitude-Day-Greetings-WishesSome quotes on gratitude

memory of the heartGratitude is the memory of the heart. ~Jean Baptiste Massieu, translated from French

scenery1Gratitude is an art of painting an adversity into a lovely picture. ~Kak Sri

Pink flowersGratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul. ~Henry Ward Beecher

night time

Gratitude is the music of the heart, when its chords are swept by the breeze of kindness.

~Author Unknown

Parrot

With arms outstretched I thank.
With heart beating gratefully I love.
With body in health I jump for joy.
With spirit full I live.
~Terri Guillemets

 

By Sulekha Rawat

Linking this post to Write Tribe’s World Gratitude Day post

World Alzheimer’s Day

We, at Write Tribe, are blogging about this illness today on World Alzheimer’s Day to create awareness.

Alzheimer's awareness

What is Alzheimer’s?

‘Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.’- www.alz.org .Read more about it here

Micro-poetry

You look

World Alzheimers Day 2014

- See more at: http://writetribe.com/world-alzheimers-day-2014/#sthash.KVDAG25g.dpuf

We invite you today to blog about this illness – to create awareness write a post on your blog sharing facts, stories, etc.

World Alzheimers Day 2014

- See more at: http://writetribe.com/world-alzheimers-day-2014/#sthash.KVDAG25g.dpuf

You look at my face

Devoid of any emotion

I wait patiently.

HandsDo you remember?

How my hand had felt in yours

I miss your warm touch

Blank

Some days I recall

The times we spent together

Today I am blank

 

By Sulekha Rawat

 

Bards of the Blogosphere: Chapter 8 – Mysterious Tattoo

 

#Bards of the Blogosphere @sulekkha

Please Note: This is the eighth chapter in the “Game of Blogs” for the team “Bards of the Blogosphere.” #CelebrateBlogging

Read the previous part of the story here

While Jennifer slept like a log, the turmoil going on in Roohi’s mind didn’t let her sleep at all.

Dragonfly tattoo! Jenny had a dragonfly tattoo on her wrist!

Roohi dared to open her eyes only when she’d heard the door click shut after Jenny. They were like that of a deer caught in the headlights; scared, terrified and surprised. She had seen the same tattoo on the armed man’s wrist in her school bus. He had come to kidnap someone in their class but was chased away by Ramesh’s quick thinking. Jenny had the same dragonfly tattoo on her wrist, how come I didn’t notice it before tonight? When Roohi tried to think of the reason for not noticing Jenny’s tattoo on earlier occasions, she realized that Jenny always had her arms covered in full sleeves. Tonight, she had been so engrossed in teaching Roohi the shadow puppets that she had let down her guard, and taken off her denim jacket, dropping it on the bed, and thus exposing her tattoo to Roohi.

Oh no! Jenny has the same tattoo on her hand as the one that bad man had. The one who tried to take me away with him from the school bus! Is Jenny also a bad person? Why has she come to our house? Is she planning to try and hurt me?

All these questions kept Roohi awake through the night. She was too scared to open her door and go to her parents’ room in the dark; she was sure Jenny was waiting for her outside.

“Good morning, sleepyhead. It’s 8 AM already, don’t you have school today?” Jenny’s teasing tone made Roohi’s pulse quicken with fear once again.

Oh no, she is alone with me in my room, what if she decides to take me with her from the back door? I must warn my parents, they don’t know anything about her and the tattoo. She could be just like that horrible man! He also had the same dragonfly tattoo!

Roohi rushed out of her room and scampered down the stairs, almost tripping over her nightgown’s hem in her haste to reach the sanctuary of the kitchen.

“Careful, my dear, you might hurt yourself. What’s the rush? I have never seen you so eager to get to school,” Shekhar’s mirth evident in his words. Though he was smiling, his eyes had that watchful look. Ever since the kidnapping incident at the bus stop, he had been keeping a close eye on Roohi. He couldn’t let anything happen to his little girl, but at the same time he didn’t want her to disrupt her routine. He made sure he dropped her off to school and picked her up every day, no more going by the school bus for her.

“What will my princess have for breakfast today?”

Roohi opened her mouth to tell him about the dragonfly tattoo on Jenny’s hand but in walked Jenny at that moment. Roohi gasped and kept quiet, her interest captured by the intricate design on the table mat, or so it seemed.

“Roohi”

What’s wrong with Roohi? Why is she acting so strange?, thought Shekhar, giving her downcast eyes a puzzled look.

“Princess, what is daddy asking you? Should I make you an egg toast?”

Roohi twirled her hair around her finger and looked at Shekhar without saying anything; he felt a cold hand grip his heart. Something was definitely wrong, he remembered the times when he had seen Roohi twirl her hair- once when she had broken the lamp in the living room with her rubber ball, another time when she had lost her new tiffin box in school and the most recent one was when she had seen their neighbor’s son beat their pet dog with a stick. Roohi was a sensitive child and she had this coping mechanism when things got too much for her innocent heart to handle.

Jenny ruffled Roohi’s hair and answered for her, “She will have that egg toast, I know she loves it.”

Roohi flinched, barely, but Shekhar noticed the imperceptible movement and came up with a brilliant plan.

“Jennifer, will you be a dear and get me some eggs and another loaf of bread from the store across the street? We are all out of eggs and I want to surprise Tara with her favorite breakfast, I promise to make some yummy toast for you too”, he smiled at Jenny and she willingly agreed to run this seemingly innocent errand.

Shekhar locks the door after Jenny and picks Roohi up and rushes into the bedroom where Tara is getting dressed for office.

“What are you two doing in my room? Why isn’t she dressed for school yet?”

“Tara, I think Roohi has something to tell us.”

“Mummy, Jenny has a dragonfly tattoo on her arm, just like the one that bad man, who wanted to hurt me, had on his hand. I am scared mummy.”

Shekhar and Tara were stunned to hear this and they looked at each other helplessly, each trying to come up with a plausible explanation to placate their frightened child.

“Jenny can’t be a bad person, Roohi. Remember she has a little girl your age, her name is Caroline and she used to study in your school. I have seen her picture on her dressing table”, Tara tried to calm her daughter down.

“Let us call the school and ask them about Caroline, maybe then we can put these doubts to rest. The tattoo is a common thing nowadays. Everybody is getting a tattoo, it is the latest craze”, saying this, Shekhar picked up the phone to call Roohi’s school.

“It’s too early to call, I think we should wait for the assembly to get over before inquiring about Caroline”, Tara reasoned with Shekhar. Meanwhile she called in sick and promised Roohi that she’d stay home with her and Shekhar to keep her safe.

They went down to the kitchen and waited for Jennifer to get back. Shekhar cooked egg toast for Jenny and Roohi; Tara had a plain toast since she wasn’t feeling too hungry. They informed Jenny about Tara’s unexpected day off and Roohi’s desire to skip school and spend it with her parents.

“Excellent, that gives me a chance to go over to the Menon’s for a coffee, I have been meaning to visit them for a while now. They have helped me a lot in my time of need and I am grateful for their help and support”, Jenny sounded happy with this turn of events which made the Dattas doubt her involvement in Roohi’s kidnapping incident.

Shekhar waited impatiently for the clock to strike 10 before calling the principal. Tara and Roohi could see Shekhar’s face change color while he listened to the principal on the other end. The phone slipped out of Shekhar’s hand and fell with a thud to the floor. Tara and Roohi were startled to see him look so dazed.

“Shekhar, what happened, what did he tell you about Caroline? When did she leave this school to go to the boarding school in Shimla?”

“There is no Caroline in Roohi’s school, there never was. No student by this name was transferred out of school in the last twelve months”, Shekhar’s voice was shaking with disbelief and suppressed anger at his stupidity. How could he have let his guard down and allowed a stranger to come live with them? How could he have put his daughter in danger?

What had he done?

Read the next part of our story at Arpita’s blog.

The team Bards of the Blogosphere comprises of Divyakshi, Priyanka Roy, Priyanka Victor, Arpita, Datta, Nupur, Sulekha, Maria and Roshan.

My Favourite Quote

100 Words on Saturday Prompt by Write tribe

2d514474-672f-49c4-929e-6b3f8dc84559_zpsbca51962Choose a quote and write a 100 word post on it. I chose this quote

I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.
― Anne Frank

vcm_s_kf_repr_832x624I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.
― Anne Frank

Writing does this to me, it entraps me in its folds yet oddly enough it releases my soul. With every word I write on paper, I become a little calmer. My emotions darken the pages but lighten my heart, they free me. My tears stain my notebooks but wash away the grime of sorrow from my soul. My laughter bubbles up painting the canvas of life, covering the flaws with fresh and firm brushstrokes. It leaves a smile on my lips in remembrance of the joy and cheer. My defeats urge me to try again and win the next round.

By Sulekha Rawat

Healing poems

This year I participated in the blogging event wherein Write Tribe invited us to take part in the 100 Voices for Suicide Prevention campaign.

100V.FBMicro poetry for the National Suicide Prevention Week

TreeYes we do get hurt

The trick is to learn and grow

No, we don’t give up.

Candle It does take courage

To stand up after a knock

But it is worth it.

sky Inspire others

Save precious and hurting lives

Teach them to survive.

 

By Sulekha Rawat

 

100 Voices for Suicide Prevention

September 10, 2014 is  World Suicide Prevention Day co-sponsored by the World Health Organization and the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) 

100 Voices for Suicide Prevention

Every 40 seconds the world loses someone to suicide. This grim statistic is being challenged every day by mental health advocates and practitioners. USC School of Social Work believes that suicide awareness and prevention work is of paramount importance. It is for this reason that we have started a collaboration with experts in the field to create the “100 Voices for Suicide Prevention” campaign.

World-Suicide-Prevention-Day-Vidya-Sury-4-500x185This year, I am participating in the 100 Voices for Suicide Prevention campaign with Write Tribe

Please click here to go to the main World Suicide Prevention Day </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Web page

Visit the Official World Suicide Prevention Day Facebook Event Page and join people from all over the world who are supporting World Suicide Prevention Day, survivors of suicide and the many volunteers and practitioners worldwide who work to alleviate suffering through evidence-based research and practices.

20140910_201221

on World Suicide Prevention Day
Light a Candle Near a Window at 8 PM

What drives a person to end his or her life?

What pushes them over the edge?

How can we prevent such tragedies?

I still remember this incident from long ago, when I was in college. There was a young couple; so much in love, they got married and started their happy family life. They had two little boys; the young mother fell sick, don’t know what happened but she was undergoing treatment for it. I used to see her going for her doctor’s appointments, we lived close by.

One fine day I got back from college and heard the news that she had committed suicide by hanging from the ceiling fan. I was shocked and so were all the others living in our complex. Maybe she couldn’t bear the pain, or her illness was life threatening? What I do know is her little kids will always miss their mommy, her parents will cry every night and her husband will always wonder why she did it. Wish she could have been saved.

Maybe if she had someone to share her thoughts with, she would have lived. A patient hearing is all we need at times and a willing, non-judgmental friend. We can’t always tell if a person is disturbed or unhappy but there are signs, subtle ones. Even if there aren’t any visible indications of such intents, we can all be good listeners and considerate friends by default. If we treat everyone we meet with a warm, open and welcoming smile, offer our support, without being asked to and just be there for those who come seeking our help, intentionally or not, we can prevent tragic incidents from happening. We can make a difference, we can save lives.

 

By Sulekha Rawat

Light a Candle Near a Window at 8 PM