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.

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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

 

Sunflowers for Tina

This post is in memory of Tina Downey who passed away on August 23rd 2014.  She was one of the co-hosts of the A to Z April Challenge 2014 (I participated in this challenge too). Tina loved Sunflowers and we have posted pictures of sunflowers on our blogs in her memory. I like her blog,’Life is good’, and love her ‘About Me’ section, it says a lot about the kind of person she was, witty, charming, happy, creative and beautiful.

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In her blogpost, 5 things that make me happy she writes-

“God, family, friends are a given, and I love them immensely. However, I’m going to share five less obvious choices, because that’s the mood I’m in.”

SunflowerTina loved her sunflowers.

Flowers don’t worry about how they’re going to bloom. They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful. ~Jim Carrey

vcm_s_kf_m160_160x120By Sulekha Rawat

Book Review – The Angel’s Share

BOOK REVIEW

TitleThe Angel’s Share

Author: Satyajit Sarna

Publisher: HarperCollins

ISBN No: 9350293331, 9789350293331, 978-9350293331

Price: INR 250/- (Paperback)

Buy The Angels Share (English): Book

Book Blurb:

Zorawar Chauhan lives two lives. In one, he has the big money corporate law job he used to dream of. To the young lawyer, the world tenders an endless promise of wealth and privilege.

In the other life-  the one in his head-  he is haunted by the ghosts of a past from which he is not yet free. He relives his life on the colourful campus of the National Law School, Bangalore, playing football, getting stoned, getting into trouble and  falling in and out of love. And above all, he remembers the loss of his friend, the charismatic Sasha Kapur.

The Angel’s Share is a story of loss and wisdom – dark, funny and relentlessly honest about youth and ambition.

BOOK REVIEW-

The Angel’s Share is a story with multiple hues; the dominant shade is yellow, the color of sunshine, fun and friendship. The underlying crimson of tragedy and heartbreak seeps into the lives of the young law school students of National Law School, Bangalore. The major part of the story takes place at the law school. The memories of the campus and its surrounding areas stay with Zorawar Chauhan, the main protagonist of the story, and fill his heart with bittersweet emotions intermittently.

The friendship between Zorawar and Sasha Kapur is evident from the way he talks about Sasha, “We simply acknowledged that he was cheerfully insane and loved him for it, a uniquely jagged piece of the puzzle that was our lives.”

The author has presented a scary picture of the students’ lives on campus of the law school; hopefully there is more fiction than fact here. The story is gripping and its characters eclectic and very interesting; Zorawar, Sasha, Malaika, Amlan, Seshadri, Kelkar, Raghav, Kiran and Jennifer, to name a few.

I am aware that it’s a story but the characters are so real and their feelings so accurately and sensitively described that I re-lived their trials and tribulations. I found myself praying for a miracle for sweet Jenni, and also for Zorawar, nobody should live with such a burden of guilt and introspection. I had mixed feelings while reading the book and was left with a dull ache in my heart at the end.

I felt that the language used by Sasha, Zorawar and his friends at times was pretty scandalous. The excessive partying and drinking aside, the core of the book is vulnerable  and sensitive, it envelops your heart in a soft bubble of varying emotions. The angel’s share was not justified; the young law students’ lives were torn apart and some of them couldn’t come to terms with this upheaval.

I give it 3.5 stars.

Book Review – Private India

 Book Details

Title : Private India
Author : Ashwin Sanghi & James Patterson
Publishers : Arrow Books
Genre : Fiction ( Crime Thriller)

ISBN: 978-0-099-58639-5
Number of Pages: 470

 

Buy Private India (English): Book

About the book

In Mumbai, seemingly unconnected people are dying, strangled in a chilling ritual and with strange objects carefully arranged with the corpses.

For Santosh Wagh, Head of Private India, The Mumbai branch of the world’s finest investigation agency; it’s a race against time to stop the killer striking again.

In a city of over thirteen million, he’d have his work cut out at the best of times, but this case has him battling Mumbai’s biggest gang lord and a godman who isn’t all he seems.

And then he discovers there may be an even greater danger facing Private India. Hidden in the shadows is someone who could destroy the whole organization- along with thousands of innocent Mumbai citizens…

Book Review

The idea of reading a murder mystery co-authored by Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson excited me enough to pick up this book, yet I must admit that it wasn’t at all what I had expected it to be. The story meanders about at a slow pace for the first few chapters of the book, picking up speed as it moves into the second half, but there are a few speed breakers along the way making the ride a little bumpy.

What I liked about the story was the twist in the last few chapters and the joining of dots at the end of the story. The characters were not very well defined and they didn’t grow on me, I read their thoughts and actions but didn’t see them in my mind’s eye.

The logic behind the extremely short chapters with their first three words in capital letters eluded me. Even though it is a work of fiction yet the casual manner in which the police let the private agency manage the investigation was difficult to imagine and accept.

The link between all the characters in the story is very neatly explained – a bit too neatly. It looks like the authors were very methodical in their storytelling, but in the process the spontaneity was lost. The large Font size made it easier to read and gave it a clean look.The highlight of the story for me was the scene at the Tower of Silence, great piece of writing.

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

 

By Sulekha Rawat

This review is a part of the biggest Book review program  for Indian Bloggers.Participate now to get free books!

 

Memories of Us.

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Precious memories of Us.

I glimpse all around

Bits I stole from time

When we met, you and I.

 

I thought you,

didn’t see me

Mentally filing away

little snatches

Of our conversations

Did not notice

Me picking up

a few breathtaking

And incredible moments

Were unaware of me

Scooping up

lots of caressing smiles.

Didn’t see me

Gather carefully

Some lingering glances

From your mesmerizing eyes

 

But I hope I was wrong

And you did witness it all

Yet let me steal

A bit of you and me

From this world.

 By Sulekha Rawat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review- Where Even the Present is Ancient: Benaras

BOOK REVIEW-

Where Even the Present is Ancient: Benaras

maitreyee's blog tour banner 2By Maitreyee B Chowdhury
Editor: Surojit Mohan Gupta
Genre: Poetry
Sub-genre: Lyrical Poetry
Back Cover Blurb
Where Even the Present is Ancient: Benaras is a book that seeks to tell the little stories that make us who we are. The author believes that Benaras resides in all of us Indians, in some beautiful often unknown way. The author is the Sutradhar, in that she attempts to connect an India that many do not realize exists, in that it is everybody’s story. Radha, Krishna, Ganga, Benaras and Me are all characters in this deluge of poems.

This beautiful book starts with a captivating poem- Benaras: A long-lost poem

“Sometimes Benaras seems like a poem,
A long lost one, at that.”
Just like the fragrance of the Benarasi kaththaa sticks to the author’s self, her vivid imagery creates mesmerizing images which reach out and capture our souls with their beauty and intensity.
“In Benaras,
Every artist merges,
every traveller comes home.”
There can be no better way to put across this sentiment than her own words, I simply fell in love with her lyrical poetry and soaked in each word like a parched desert-traveler.
With every poem the author provides glimpses of Benaras and its people, their lives, rituals and their fears and longings. The traditions associated with the holy Ganga and its relation to Benaras, makes for an interesting and riveting read. The soothing waters of the river Ganga trickle and surge towards our hearts intermittently in an expressive and artistic way. The readers are left trembling in the chill of the night with only the flickering lights of the floating lamps to warm them and dry their dripping garments.
The Linga is a powerful poem-
“Ganga impregnates. The widow and the sinner alike,”
Manikarnika is the culmination of all of lives’ journeys, the final resting place of all.

Maitreyee takes us on a journey with the river Ganga in Benaras and shows us the depth and serenity of the place. The sins we wash off of our bodies pollute the Ganga and they seem to permeate the holy river shamelessly but she absorbs all and absolves us of our wrongdoings. Those who live in Benaras are blessed and revel in its beauty and complexity while the visitors come back feeling complete and bereft at the same time. They lose a part of themselves in the ever flowing Ganga, they leave a bit of their souls behind, in Benaras.

I leave you with these few lines from Maitreyee’s last poem, they sum up her entire collection so evocatively.

“In Benaras,
Everything is a song,
a sad song and a happy song-
But a song in the end.”

I gave this book a rating of 5 star for its poetic beauty, soulful expression, heart-warming emotions, lyrical flow and for making Benaras come alive in my heart and mind.

By Sulekha Rawat

 

 

About the Author- Maitreyee B Chowdhury

MaitreyeeMaitreyee B Chowdhury is a web columnist and creative writer. She is author of Reflections on My India, a book of Indian traditions and spirituality in parts. Maitreyee is also author of Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen- Bengali Cinema’s First Couple and Ichhe Holo Tai, a bilingual muti media presentation of poetry. Maitreyee is featured amongst other Indian writers such as Gulzar, Shashi Tharoor and Deepti Naval in an anthology of Indian writers Celebrating India.