Are we serious about this?

organ-donation-in-indiaA short time ago some religious ceremonies were performed in our house. When the function was over one of our young boys asked the Purohit about some doubts on the ‘Shraddha ceremony’, the annual ceremony offered to the departed souls. As the conversations progressed I was shocked by some of the remarks made by the so-called Purohit. He said, “Our entire body is given to us by God and different elements from nature give us different organs. So after our death, it is the duty of the living relatives to give back those organs to the elements in nature by cremating the body. The so-called Organ donation is a huge Sin. How can anyone donate something when it does not belong to them at all?”

I nearly went mad listening to this statement. But unfortunately, I had to refrain from answering him because it was a religious ceremony and arguing or advising was improper in that situation. But later I did fume to that young boy giving vent to all my suppressed anger on a wrong statement. I asked him, “Rajesh, someone should have asked that Purohit that if that Purohit’s kidney collapses tomorrow, will he refuse a donation because it is sin to take someone’s organ and choose to die instead? Or if his son requires a heart transplant will he still say taking donated organ is a sin?”

But later this statement made me realise the fact that even today none of us had taken this thought of organ donation seriously at all. In spite of all our education and awareness of health issue, we still do not think about the lives we can possibly save at the time of our death, by our organ donation. Once we are dead, our body is going to be burnt or buried and no one is going to preserve it or love it. So if something is going to be burnt or going to be allowed to decay, why not use the organs which can save some living humans?

Mostly whenever the death strikes a family, the close relatives don’t like their loved one’s body to be cut open for the donation sake, and it is a bit difficult for them to accept. But instead, they should think that even after death, their loved ones are going to be alive in this world, as part of someone’s body.Then think of all that happiness you are giving to the entire family of that recipient, who had lost all their hopes.

If all the cine stars who endorse beauty creams could spend some time for the wellness of the common man by endorsing and explaining the importance of the organ donation, there will be definitely a world of change. All those Religious Guru’s who preach day after day, about the Karma and Rebirth should also spread the message that the greatest charity a man can do even after his death, is an organ donation. Doctors in the hospital could also talk to the relatives about the organ donation if the patient is critical. Of course, this will be a very delicate subject to talk but many times the relatives will definitely agree. There should be councillors in each hospital who can counsel people coming from rural and illiterate background about the greatness of organ donation.

Now, what about the politicians? In fact, in future, we should vote only for those candidates who first pledge all their organs for donation. After all, they want to serve the country and what other way is better than the organ donation?

The irony of this organ donation is that,  only when we are the ones who is suffering and is in dire need of some one’s donated organ, only then we would really feel the actual pain and agony and the dire need for this donation. It is not that only the brain dead people who can donate organs. There is still a lack of awareness about this. Even after normal death, some of the body parts can be removed within one or two hours—the time it takes for the hospital authorities to hand over the body.

It is not only the heart or liver or kidney that can be donated. As shown in the chart above many other tissues like the bones, the skin, valves etc could also be donated. The bone could help young people who lose their limbs in accidents can be helped with the bones. The skin is as major help for skin grafting for the people who suffer from burn injuries.

Friends please share this article with your friends and help in spreading awareness and let us save lives. Let us give the ailing ones a chance to live!.


I miss you all

My dear friends, for so many days, you friends,   from around the world gave me so much support. Since my ill health, I did not post any article for quite some time. But now when I have come back, 2016-02-26 16.36.43(1) I don’t find any of my friends here. Please, come back and read my posts. my heart beats only for you all

with love

Laxmi natraj




Drip….Drip….. it is leaking!!

The everyday newspaper has at least, one  news of a question paper leak. Starting from the high-level Army recruitment Examination to SSC, HSC board examination, degree papers — you name it all. Every paper is already out and is now available in the “What up” of everyone’s cell phone long before the examination halls gets the paper.

It is not shocking or surprising. Our country has a large population of people who had mastered the technique of stealing the question paper from the printing house and also they are very skilled in the modern technique of communication from computer to cell phone to blue-tooth.  There is an equally large number of so called ‘students’, who never attended the classes and enjoyed themselves during the college days, who are ready to pay any amount to get the question paper. So it is the new flourishing business, a market of demand and supply and easy profit.

Besides the question paper leaking, there is the next stage of mass copying. In some places in North India, the answers are dictated through the window and the invigilators can do nothing.  Now with the latest technology, a student writing the examination may have a tiny microchip hidden inside his hair dictating the answers –( Courtesy of the movie-   Munna  Bhai MBBS)! The authority can prevent how much of this?   Shall we install Video cameras in the examination Hall?  Or shall we post Gun wielding policemen?   Everything is Impossible just because of our large population, who take the exams and a lot of men who have a brilliant criminal brain.


There are two possible solutions.  The bulk portion of all examinations question papers should be made of objective type. If a little serious thought is put into this it is not an impossible task.  Say in a B.Com paper which is mostly subjective with problems of calling for mathematical computations give the student four options of answers. He has to work the problem if he has to give the answer. As a first step convert  75% of the syllabus into the objective type of questions where the student still has to work out his answers. Then the second step is to feed the computer with a large number of questions to prepare a question bank.  Just ten minutes before the actual examination the print out of the question papers could be taken out. The computer will select an assorted question by permutation combination method from the question bank questions. Now every question paper will be different but all chapters justified and balanced.   So no copying is possible. This method will also save the great pressure of carrying the question papers to different centers in the choking traffic with two policemen.  Only those students who pass these examinations with more that 60% marks can appear for the second level of written short papers of one hour for each subject. Since the objectives answer sheets can be corrected with the computer, teacher’s burden of correcting the written papers and errors in correction will also be minimized.


The second alternative is if some system demands only fully written papers like the language papers, then about thirty numbers of question papers are to be prepared by the professors covering properly all the segments of the subject. Then these questions have to be fed into the computer according to the topics.  The final question paper, in this case, will also be the choice of the computer which will make a question paper choosing the required number of questions,  balancing the topics. In this case, again the question paper for each person will be difficult.  To solve the difficulty of the teachers in correcting different papers the question papers can be classified   A, B, C etc. After collecting the answer papers from different centers it will be sorted out according to the alphabet and repack so that the correcting teachers will get only one type question paper and its s answer books. This will also take care of some centers getting very high marks and some more failures and an average correction will prevail.

If the Education ministry and people working in the Examination divisions and the allied section put their heads together then the solution is not difficult or impossible.

Trying to buy the leaked question paper or copying in the examination are the reflections of cheating mentality and we should not allow the younger generation to become pray for it.







The pass word


As I climbed the last step in the Dadar Station the clock showed the time 07.00 PM.  I am late by three minutes today. My Andheri fast will enter the station at 07.03 PM sharp.  I have just three minutes to cover the long over the bridge, get down on the platform 5 and board.  I started running, pushing my way through the overflowing humanity.  Two minutes and I had reached the first steps of the stairs when I saw the Andheri fast entering the platform. Oh, God!  The train is early today. I have to catch it.  I now ran madly, jumped two steps at a time, reached the end of the stairs and just when I touched the platform, the train had started moving.

I now ran madly like an Olympic sprinter running for gold.  I reached the moving train and running along with it, caught hold of the vertical bar and then I swung myself in and was inside.  I felt so good. Every day, catching the train at any cost had become my obsession.  I looked around. People were stuffed in the compartment like bees on a honeycomb.  But surprisingly today I did not feel any of those being crushed out of breath feeling.

Suddenly the train screeched to a halt. Everyone peeped out of the train and there was a big outcry.”Someone has fallen off the train” People jumped out,  curious to see the accident. I also pushed through them and jumped out.

That man was on the platform, his face and head drenched in blood. Sympathy words poured from everyone’s mouth. I looked at the man again. Strangely there was something very familiar about him. Someone reached the man and turned his body to see the face. “Oh God No” It was my own body! my dead body in front of my eyes! How is it possible? I am very much standing here. I shook a man by his shoulder. But my hand was not touching anything. I looked at my hand. There was no hand, no leg, No Body. OH God! I am dead and now me, myself is a body less ghost. I was sort of floating in the air.

I screamed loud, “Oh God, this is not justice, Oh God where are you?” I felt a soft cloud  surrounding  around me,  and a velvet voice whispered,” Yes my son, what is your problem?”, I turned around to see the source of the voice.

There was no one. I said, “Oh God how can you do this. I am just 34 yrs. And I am dead” The voice answered with a half-suppressed laughter, “So what?  People can die anytime. Did anyone tell you that you will live till  hundred?” I said “Oh God, I am so young. What will my wife and my one-year-old twins do, all alone in this world? How will they survive?” There was a soft laughter as the voice answered, “They will survive just like the hundreds of women who lose their husbands young. She will learn to live”

My mind raced through all of my finance positions. Bank account, Mutual funds, insurance and everything“ Oh God! Everything is password protected and my wife Madura does not know my password. I  jealously kept it hidden. Now, what will I do? Had I known that I will die so young I would have given her all the papers. Oh God! yesterday the bonus cheque of 5lakhs, I hid it among my old books so that I can surprise her by getting her a gift? Now after my death she might even throw away all my books and the cheque with that. I imagined my wife with a torn sari begging on the streets with my twin kids on her lap. I screamed “ Oh God please, please give me a chance just for only once… let me go and tell my wife all my passwords”  There was no answer now. I wanted to scream but no voice came out of my throat. But then I remembered that I don’t have as a body to have a throat!

I imagined my wife with a torn sari begging on the streets with my twin kids on her lap. I screamed “ Oh God please, please give me a chance just for only once… let me go and tell my wife all my passwords”  There was no answer now. I wanted to scream but no voice came out of my throat. But then I remembered that I don’t have as a body then how can I have a throat!

I felt a warm soft hand on my forehead. Finally, God is taking some pity on me. Now I heard very faintly the murmur of voices.  Are there many more ghost around me? But then, how to see them? I tried to open my eyes involuntarily forgetting that I don’t have a body for the eyes. But for the first time felt my eyes were hard like rocks.

Now the voices were becoming louder and I could open my eyes a fraction. I saw green dress all around me and one was looking very close. I heard the green ghost calling, “Karan,   Karan,  can you hear me?” My eyes opened further and the misty images became sharper.  I could now recognise the doctor with a green scrub coat and mask hanging on his neck and the other green ghosts were also doctors. Are they all doctor ghost? He repeated again, ” Karan can you recognise me? I am your surgeon” I tried to nod my head but could not move. No noise came out of my mouth.

The doctor said, “He is coming to consciousness. Call his wife in”  As I stared wide-eyed trying to gauge the situation and the reality that I am alive and is in the hospital, I saw Madura coming near me. I could see her face was all swollen and tear-stained. She just kept staring at me without talking anything. The doctor was saying “Madam, your husband is a real lucky person, and he had actually come out of the jaw of death. Lucky,  that he fell on the platform instead of the gap between the train and platform.

I tried to speak. Seeing my moving lip movement doctor told Madura, “ Maybe he wants to say something to you”

Madura leant closer to me and said, “Yes Karan, tell me” With a great effort I managed to say, “ The password. is….”

Before I finish she stared at me for a moment and her expression turned into a shocked one,  as she turned to doctors and half screamed “ Doctor, look at Karan, I think the accident had affected his brain. He is blabbering something” The doctors rushed to me.








A hundred diyas flickered


Revathi was holding the landline and was almost begging. “Sridhar, you promised that you will positively come for Diwali. For past three years, you had not come to India at all. You know how much preparation I was……”

Her son Sridhar calling from the US cut her sentence, and said,” But Amma, why can’t you just understand my problems. You are just repeating your lines. My children want to go to African Safari on this vacation and I cannot say no to them you know. Ok Ma, take care. Will talk later” She still held the dead receiver and buckling down she sat and started crying, Her husband Ramesh, watching her with sympathy came to her and took the receiver from her hand and placed it back.

He said, “Revathi how many time I am telling you not to build these castles in the air! By begging do you think he is going to come running to you? He is a grown up adult. Let him do what he wants. You had lived four years without seeing him. Let it be one more year. That is all!”

He turned inside and called the housemaid. When she came he asked her to bring a glass of water. Then giving that water to her he said with kindness,” Revathi you are attending Vedanta classes is it not? Don’t wish for things you cannot get. Be happy with what you are destined for”

Revathi looked at the kind face of her husband. She understood that if she cries he will feel hurt. Why punish him for some one’s mistake. She gulped her tears and said in a fake cheerful voice, “Good you reminded me of the Vedanta class. Last time I had borrowed Sita’s book and I had to return it” She got up and flashing a forced smile walked away.

That evening she sat on the porch and thought about Sridhar. Her only son! Who once wanted her all the time, for his every action. All his exams, she had throughout the night to give him company. How much he cried when he had to go to the US! Then slowly his interval of calling home lengthened and then his annual visit started dwindling. Revathi knew well that she should control her emotions and give away this unwanted craving. But it is not so easy for a mother’s heart.

The whole world was celebrating Diwali and there were lights everywhere. Her maid came and asked, “Madam shall I put some Diyas on the porch?”She answered with indifference, “If you feel like, then light some”

As the maid lighted about a dozen Diyas, she got up from the porch and started walking on the driveway. A large garland of crackers was burst by the neighbouring bungalow people. She shut her ears. As the cracker noise died, she saw that some burning pieces had fallen inside their garden. She walked to them and squashed them with her slippers. As she was about to turn she saw two little slum girls of age around six and four picking up the unburnt crackers from the rubbish. She wanted to stop them from getting hurt by some smouldering crackers and she called the girls. They turned back and looked shocked. The elder one said,   “ Auntie we are only picking up from the floor”  The fear, the innocence of those children stirred something in her heart. She said, “You come here. Don’t worry. I am not going to scold you” The girls held each other’s hand tight as if for support and holding their torn dress with another hand came near the gate.

Revathi said, “You two go home and tell all your friends living in your slum to come to my house, tomorrow evening for a Diwali party. I will give a lot of crackers for you to burst.” The girls blinked unbelievingly and said,” Really Aunty? You will give us crackers?”

She said, “Yes. I will give a lot of crackers” The two ran back madly screaming something. Revathi came inside. As she was giving her cook instruction the maid came and informed that there were two ladies from the slum and they had come to see her. As she reached the porch, the two women said hesitantly,” Maaji our children are saying that you are going to give some party for our slum children tomorrow. Is that really true or our children are bluffing?”

Revathi smiled and said, “Your children are telling the truth. Tomorrow brings all the slum children at about 5 PM. We will have a party”.  Both the ladies faces bloomed and they folded their hands and said, “Namaste Madam. We will get the kids tomorrow”

Ramesh was watching all this while reading his evening paper. Revathi suddenly seemed to have got a new lease of life. Ramesh owned a readymade garment factory. She telephoned the manager of the company and ordered him to get four cartons of new dresses for the children, from the age group of three to ten years. Then she called the driver and told him to get two big cartons of crackers as first thing in the morning. Ramesh now folded his paper and said,” Revathi I should also do some work for the celebration. How about ordering sweets and other dishes for the children?”

Both of them feverishly discussed the arrangements for the party. The next day the whole house was decorated.  Office staff members were called to help the party. At 5 sharp, children wearing their best dresses came in bunches. Revathi called all of them in the garden and there was so much fun and noise as the children happily played in the lawn and swing.

The maid came and told the children, “Since today is a big Diwali day, all of you first light the Diya’s for Madam’s house. Then we will have the party.

With the help of staff members, children lighted hundreds of Diyas. They filled all the compound wall and entire porch, every inch of the house with glowing Diya.

The children were then given sweets and the gift of a new dress. Latter together they burst crackers for an hour and thanking  Revathi went back home.


Revathi stood in the centre of her garden and looked at the hundreds of diyas which flickered in her house, diyas after three long years. Ramesh watched her happiness with a smile.

She turned to husband and said, “I finally discovered my life. Hereafter there will be always laughter and happiness in my house.


The slum children started coming every day in the evening and played to their heart content in Revathi garden. The grown up schooling girls from the slums, who attended morning school,  came and sat in the car garage in the afternoon for studying.  Revathi has vacated one of the garages for this purpose and had renovated the garage with lights and fans for the girls to study. Her life now became busy as she planned every day new things for the needy poor people.

Sridhar called one day and Ramesh picked up the phone. He said, “Anytime I call you say  Amma is busy. Why Papa? What is doing all the time?”

Ramesh looked through the window at his wife Revathi playing with a toddler from the slum happily and said,” She had found a new job for herself. She will call you as and when she is free. Please take care Sridhar and call some other time“

With a smile on his lips, he closed the line without disturbing Revathi’s happiness.


The greasy hands


TV anchor  Ritu was busy checking the script given to her by her crew. Her cell phone jingled. Ved had sent an SMS to her, saying that he would be picking her up at 5 PM sharp. As she read the SMS a gentle smile bloomed into her lips.  Earlier her mother had almost given up her dreams of getting Ritu married till Ved came. Ritu’s expectations about the groom were so high, that no one was fitting into the frame. She not only wanted a highly educated, cultured man but also have a good taste of music, a voracious reader etc. To her mother’s relief, luckily they found Ved fitting into the picture.

The evening traffic was unexpectedly very heavy and Ved was struggling to drive. Ritu was getting worried that they were going to be late for her favourite Sitar recital.  Finally, the car had to stop as there was an accident in the front, and all the traffic was coming to a grinding halt. Cursing under the breath Ved tried to reverse the car when Ritu peeping out of the window saw her neighbour school girl  Minu standing in the crowd.

She said, “Ved my neighbour’s kid is there. Let me check what is wrong” With her heart in her mouth she was already out of the car when Ved pulled her hand and said,” Ritu, If it is an accident it will be a police case. Let us not get involved in that. Someone will help them. I don’t want to miss the music” Suddenly anger bubbled into her head and she hissed,” Ved leave my hand just now” Within seconds she rushed towards the crying girl.

The girl Minu came running to her and said,” Didi, see my brother Arvind. A car boy-accidentovershooting the signal hit him. My Papa, Mama is also not at home” Ritu hugged her and comforting her said, ” Don’t worry we will take Aravind to hospital” As she stood  worrying  what to do next, looking at the boy on the road, with a bleeding leg, one man with a dirty creased shirt moved closer to them and said, “ Minu  the taxi had come. Let us go to the hospital”

As the public helped the bleeding boy into the car, Ritu and Minu got into the back seat with the boy while that man got into the front seat. As the taxi started moving he took his cell phone and dialled a hospital number and told them to that he was bringing in an accident victim.

He turned to Ritu and said, “My name is Hari. In this traffic, Ambulance will take a lot of time to come. So I called the taxi. Since Mehta hospital is close by, we will take Aravind there” Ritu was comforting the girl while the boy Aravind seemed to be in a  state of shock and almost remained quite.

Reaching the hospital, the waiting staff wheeled Aravind into the causality room.  Ritu now dialled the number of the parents of Minu who were on their way back from Sridi and informed them gently about Arvind.Only then she remembered,  that the money is to be paid for admission.  But when she went to the reception she was told that the advance deposit was already paid by the Uncle of the boy, and the balance they can pay later.

All this time Ritu was thinking that Hari was someone known to Minu. But she was surprised when Minu told her that he just happened to come there when the crowd gathered and she did not know him at all. The doctor came out and said, “Aravind is fine now. There are only external injury and a minor fracture.  But boy’s Uncle Harish bringing the boy in time to hospital, and then donating the blood made a lot of difference to save the life of the boy“

Both Ritu and Minu stared at each other. He had called himself the uncle! Taking direction from a nurse for the blood donation room, they rushed to see Harish, but he had already left.

After a week Menu’s brother, Aravind came home, and the whole society was praising Ritu for her timely help when heart in heart she thought that actual credit belonged to  Harish.  But why should a man wear such a crushed shirt? Somehow the crushed shirt refused to leave her memory. After five days there was a phone call from Ved. She thought he was going to apologise. But he said very briefly, “Ritu I think we have to call off the marriage. We are almost  a world apart in the way we think”

Two months rolled by. One day when Ritu was in the car with her friend Meghan their car stopped on the way. Meghan said,” Luckily, our mechanic garage is nearby. I will call him” As she made a call on her cell phone and got out of the car, Ritu opened her book and started reading. She heard some voices but never paid any attention. Finally, Meghan got into the car. She heard a voice,”  Madam, please send the car tomorrow for service. I will look into the problem” The voice sounded familiar and before she could see the person the car moved away.

Meghan said,” My mechanic Hari is a very good man and is too polished for a mechanic. His father was first servicing our car and now he is doing the job”Ritu remembered the dirty wrinkled shirt. So Harish is a mechanic. A man, who has to repair cars for his bread, took an unknown child to the hospital and paid the admission fees from his pocket and vanished quietly before someone thanked him!.

Next day evening she took a taxi to that spot. Getting down she found the Garage. As she hesitantly walked into the garage a mechanic looked up and said, “Yes, Madam, What is the problem with your car?” As she blinked and looked around Harish came from the back side and said:” Yes Madam, Where is your car?”

She looked at him and said, “I don’t have a car, I came to see you” Harish just stared at her. There was no recognition in his eyes. With a surprised expression, he asked, “Me, for what Madam?”She said hesitantly, “Two months back near Dadar Circle a boy Aravind was run over by a car and…” Now a smile came in his face and he said, “Oh yes, now I remember. You are that girl’s Didi. Right? How is the boy now?”

As she looked around he said, “Please come to my office” She walked behind him to car-repairreach a small cubicle with a table. He pulled a chair and she sat down.

Harish said, “Now tell me, Madam. Why did you come all the way looking for me?” Ritu looked at him, the wrinkled, greasy shirt and said” “ the First question is why did you pay the money that day? The second question is why you ran away from there”

Harish laughed and said, “I did not know that I would be court-martialed for this. Generally when accidents happen sometimes people won’t have enough cash or credit card,  to pay for the admission.  Secondly, if I hang around many time people come thanking me and sometimes they try to give me cash etc for my help. So to avoid all that embarrassment I vanish ones my job is over”

Ritu was now taken aback. She said, “The way you say,  “That when accident happens etc,  looks as if our case was not the first one you attended”

Harish laughed sheepishly and said, “Yes I had attended some six or seven.  I had given my number to most of the constables and they call me when accident happen around here”

Ritu still blinked. Hari on his own said, “When I was in my final year of automobile engineering, my father met with an accident. The accident did not kill him. But he was on the road for four hours, and he died of bleeding.  I dropped out of college and took over his garage. As much as possible I tried to save the accident victims. I don’t want another person to die for lack of help” There was dead silence as both sat in silence.

Ritu was tossing in the bed for a long time that night. She was ashamed of her own pride and the importance she attached to status, education, career etc. Ved had everything, but he lacked a human heart, the kindness which is the essence of life. Hari was always with a greasy hand, but he had a heart which was filled with kindness and sympathy for all unknown persons.

One day Ritu asked about   Hari to her mother. Her mother said, ” Ritu when we think of compatibility in marriage we look for the highly educated person because we all have an age old belief that education will make a person cultured. Culture is not just opening the car door for a lady or waiting for the lady to sit first.  Culture is when you don’t hurt another person’s feeling and be always kind in heart. Finally,  the  warmth and kindness for each other is the only factor which works in long run in marriage”

After two months when the famous TV anchor Ritu married a car mechanic she was the topic of gossip everywhere. It is difficult for the world to understand, anything beyond the word, “the Status”








The long term investment


Somya’s brother Venkat and her sister in law Sarala,  were having a whale of a time,  enjoying the train journey because they could trap Somya as their Guinea pig for all their entertainment purposes. They were going to Pune by train just for the fun of it.

Her brother a CEO of a finance company and her SIS a vice president of a bank,  could never ever understand how their sister could be so foolish in money matters. They could not simply assimilate the fact that in a present day condition how Somya does not know the difference between a closed end and an open end mutual fund, does not know  as to which is the most profitable way,  to invest one’s money, or  cannot  even bargain intelligently from a street vendor etc.

Venkat always said that with her double post graduate study she had actually wasted her life by becoming a school teacher, that too after resigning her good bank officer job.

He was now giving his wise advice as usual. “See Somya, you have to be a little smarter and invest for in  your future.  See Sarala, She is not as qualified as you are. But she joined the bank, slowly improved her qualification steadfastly, and she had reached such high post. Not only that, she had wisely invested all our family money so that in our old age we have so much of finance support. You were all the time stuck with your school job, with a salary which is even lower than an office peons. What will you do in your old age?

Sarala continued, “See Somya, long time investment is very, very important. Let me know about your savings. I will give you a correct guidance” Somya smiled sheepishly.

Suddenly the train violently jerked and there were screams and shouts and confusion. The train came to a screeching halt.  Everyone peeped out and latter jumped out to see what had happened. One of the compartments had derailed and some of the other compartments stood dangerously tilted.  Public pooled and pulled out the passengers who were stuck in the partially tilted compartments. Luckily,   there were no casualties.

Now though there was no immediate danger, all of them were all left stranded between two mountains and thorny bushes. Many people had not bothered even to bring in a bottle of water as it was a short journey. Now the small children started crying, some in hunger and some for water.  Some men started climbing the steep hill, searching for some small streams.

The guard of the train came around and announced that it may take five to six hours before they could pull the compartment with a crane and then bring in another train to transport the passengers. Until then, there was no alternative but to wait.

They all got out and sat in the grass. They had left early morning and did not even have breakfast. Of course, the Royal Blue Express train served breakfast and snacks and tea on normal days.  But the train had derailed even before they started preparing. They sat quietly in the hot sun too tired even to speak. Someone said that if they walk two kilometres along the mountain side they can reach a road. But no one knew which the  was the correct direction to do so is.

There was an uproar in the crowd as the IAS officer from nearby  town  came to the spot. He  appoligised for the trouble  and teachingcalmed the people and said that the Railway had arranged for food and water and by half an hour it would reach the accident spot. He said the crane was already reaching the spot and by three fours the train may be able to move. The public surrounded him and bombarded questions at him. He patiently answered all of them

Without wanting it,  the mob had pushed Somya and Venkat to the front line.As the officer was generally looking around he suddenly noticed her. He continued to stare at her for few seconds and she was a bit embarrassed and tried to move away from the spot.

By the time he  walked towards her and reaching her in two quick steps said his voice bubling with happiness, “Madam, You are Somya Madam am I right?”  Somya blinked and in a little  bit confused  voice said, “Yes, but you…” Now not only her brother but the other entire crowd surrounding them, now  started watching them curiously.

He said, “Madam, I am Siddarth your student. Remember how many days you have taught me Math in extra classes  because I was not so good in that” Now she recognising him she  smiled broadly and said,” You Siddarth. Are you  the officer here?”

Unexpectedly and suddenly  he knelt down and touched her feet and said,” Madam whatever I am today it is only because of you. I am an IAS officer here in Ulhasnagar. Madam, why you have to wait here in this hot sun for the train?  Please come with me to my house. You can later continue your journey by road”

The IAS officer took her travel bag from her hand and started walking ahead. They climbed a slope and reached the road,  where his official car was parked. The two police officers touching-the-feetstanding near the jeep came running and took their entire luggage. They all got into the car. Sidharth was breathlessly talking about his school days his career etc. Soon they reached Siddarth bungalow and received a royal welcome and lunch. All the members of Siddarth’s  family came  and touched the feet of Somya as  her brother and his wife looked on with open mouth.  Later Siddarth arranged for an AC car for them to travel further to Pune.

As the car started moving to Pune, sitting in the comfort of the car Somya said,” Look here Venkat. Did you ask me about my investments Right? Students like Siddarth are my long term investment. Any part of the world I go there will be a student like Siddarth for me. Is this not a wise long time investment of mine?”  Venkat just stared at her unable to answer





The Backseat driving( Part II)


Time started flying now.  She relentlessly applied for various vacancies though she never got a single call from anywhere. She searched through the folders in the house safe and listed out all the details of investments, which were in her name.  The news was good. Without her knowledge, the house was already in her name now. Almost all in investments were done only in her name. Financially she was secure.

In her interior designer short course, she was the butt of all the youngsters. Firstly she was a too old student in the bunch of all youngsters. Secondly, she was too clumsy in handling the computer projects.  But she learned to ignore all that. She sat till late night,  and feverishly worked on PC and practised. Her continuous late night hard work, added to the workout in the building Gym, pulled her weight down and she looked very trim now. The new haircut and colour gave her a youthful look.  She started liking her looks and her professional classes. As days passed the new ideas in designing which she presented in the class started gaining appreciation and the young girls and her professor started looking at her with respect. Finally, she got an offer for a job. Her professor had forwarded one of her design to an interior designer and that project got her the job.  She started working.  She was so involved in her job that whole day she had no time to think. After coming home until the late night she did her homework. Life became a happy dream for her.

Aryan continued to return only in the early mornings and she was now above all feelings. One more month was over. That day as she was helping the maid to set the table for breakfast  Aryan noticed her and he whistled loud. He said, “ Oh God, who is this young lady here? Where is my wife Ankita?  Hi, Ankita what magic pill are you taking to change like this?” His daughter said, “Dad, it is three months since Mom changed her hair style, and you are noticing her only today. Shame  on you Dad!”office-1

Aryan stared at her for some more time and said,” Hi baby, it is not just the hair style. Your mom has gone through a total change. She looks too young and pretty now” The children started teasing their father and she just smiled. She was no more the frightened nervous girl now. She was a confident lady who can now take care of her own life. She was no more a back seat driver.

That was a Saturday. Aryan had not returned from the office that day and the children were having their breakfast. Suddenly the children screamed,  ” Mama come here. Papa is in TV” She rushed to the front room.

The news reporter was reporting about a big money laundering which was unearthed the previous night. He said that the credit went to the CEO of the investment company Mr Aryan.  A dozen mikes were pushed near a very tired looking Aryan’s face,  and he was patiently reporting about the scam. Sheena was standing next to him along with a dozen CBI officers.  Aryan was politely saying, “Actually all the credit goes to the CBI officer Sheena,  and her team who sat,  night after night in the hotel room,  video recording all the conversation going on in the next room. This how we were able to catch the this biggest racket of people”

Aryan was talking more about their operation, but nothing was registering in Ankita’s brain.  She stood too shocked. She muttered, “Sheena. a CBI officer.  A whole team of them were sitting in the hotel room where she thought Aryan was with his girlfriend !”

At the same time, Kiya phoned. She said,” Did you hear the news Ankita? Aryan is the big hero today.  He has unearthed the biggest laundering of money.  He has purposely put up an acting of an affair with Sheena so that no one would suspect him going into the hotel room, when he had twenty CBI officers in that room video recording the next room, through the hole drilled in the wall. I am so sorry Ankita I   scared you with all that wrong information”

After two hours Aryan came home. The children jumped on him and hugged him in happiness.  After answering all their questions patiently he came to Ankita who was standing at a distance staring at him with wide eyes.

He said, “Ankita when this project was being discussed, we four officers were the choice for the job. But when it was told,  that we have to act a drama of an affair to fool the fat criminals, everyone showed a knee jerk reaction. They were afraid of their wives reaction. Only I told them that I will go with the project. I told them that my wife had an unshakable faith in me so nothing will go wrong. Am I not right dear?”

Suddenly Ankita threw herself on Aryan and cried uncontrollably, feeling guilty, while a surprised Aryan just held her tight.But whatever be the outcome, one good thing about the episode is that she realised that women should not be the

But whatever be the outcome, one good thing about the episode is that she realised that women should not be the back seat driver just because they are comfortably settled in life. Now she is even advising her friends about this.









The Backseat Driving

Women in their life act different roles in different part of their life.  This is the story of a  woman who remained  an ignorant  wife till the thunder struck her:

 Back seat driving-   Part Ihouse-wifes-2

Ankita stared blankly at the dozens of colourful photographs splashed over the coffee table. There was no need for her to pick up one of them in hand to look closely. She could clearly see that the man entering the hotel room hugging the sexy lady or the one taking a selfie with that lady and the other fifty-odd photographs, were all her own, husband Aryan.

Her friend Kiya moved closer to her in the sofa and hugging her shoulder gently said with a soft sympathetic whisper, ” I am so sorry Ankita, I asked the detective to shadow Aryan only because I was dead sure that all the rumour in the office about Aryan and his new PA Sheena are all baseless. I never thought that it will end up like this”

Ankita looked up at her and said in a dry voice, “What is your mistake Kiya if my own husband ……”She managed to swallow her tears.

Kiya excused herself and going to the kitchen quickly made two cups of coffee. Coming back and handing over the cup to Ankita she sat down.  She forced Ankita to drink the coffee.

Then after a moment’s silence she started talking in a soothing, velvet voice, “Ankita, though this affair was going on for past three months, Aryan has never mentioned anything thing to you and had not shown any change in his behaviour to you or to your children. Am I right?”

Ankita looked up with a confused expression. The coffee had done well. She was not crying now. She asked a single word. “So?”

Kiya said, “It means Ankita, your husband is still attached to your family. So I don’t think that he would take any drastic step immediately. That means either he may end the affair on his own. Or he may think of a separation only after some time. So we have some time to prepare for the worst”

Ankita still looked at her with a bewildered look and said, “Kiya I am not able to understand anything. What are you trying to say?”

Kiya looked at her friend with sympathy. The ignorance of Indian married and well-settled women, in spite of their high education, is really shocking. She said trying to keep her voice very silky and said, “Ankita suppose Aryan decides to take a divorce, I just want to know how you are placed financially? Would you be able to pull through all alone, with two of your children in college, calling for a high amount of finance? How much money you have to support you in savings like FD, Mutual funds etc on your own name? What about the house? Is it in joint name or is it only in the name of your husband?

Ankita looked shell shocked. She started in a meek voice, “Well, I never thought of having my own savings. House is in his own name. Some mutual funds or FDs are all in the joint name. Actually, I had hardly looked into any of the financial transaction. I just use to put countersignature in the forms without reading them. Our saving accounts just hold money for monthly transactions and that also……”

Kiya said, “Don’t get worked up Ankita. I was just doing a reality check.  Knowing very well about Aryan,  if by chance he divorces you, he will be good enough to provide for you and kid.  Financially you will not be hit so badly. But beyond all this, there is one grim reality of divorce. That is your coping with the loneliness and depression. Because of this, it is very important that you start looking for a job right now. Do not be choosy. Take any job available. But the first idea is to keep yourself engaged and self-sufficient. Think calmly and at leisure. Nothing is so serious that you have to panic just now.” She gave a warm hug to her friend and collecting all the photographs left the room.

Ankita still sat dazed. Her husband Aryan, who loved her so much, is having an affair! Her marriage is a quarter century old and she has two children in twenties still in college. Until today Aryan had not raised his voice, got angry for anything she did. Even when once she lost her chain to a chain snatcher he said calmly, “Forget about it as a bad accident. Suppose he had pushed you down or hurt you, what would have happened to me or the kids? So just be thankful that God was kind to you” Such a nice husband, how can he fall for an affair? She could still not believe the truth.

At night after her children had retired, she sat on the bed and her eyes fell on her reflection in the mirror. Oh God, she had put on so much weight, bulging all over. When did she change like this? Her hair was all in a mess. Not a single time Aryan had made any remark on this. As married life progress, almost all women take life for granted that everything is fine. In spite of all her education, she becomes the back seat driver and is satisfied with that till a thunder like this strike them!

Early morning Aryan opened the house door at 3 AM as usual. He first went to the children’s room to check on them and then came back and changed. She was pretending to be in deep sleep. He came near her and stood to look at her face. Then he gently fondled her hair. She swallowed hard the choking sensation,  with a great difficulty. He moved to his side of the bed and within seconds he was fast asleep.

Next day morning breakfast was as usual. Both her children were laughing with their house-wife-1father with some meaningless conversation and he was bursting out laughing so loudly. Ankita could not believe her eyes. Is this all only an acting?

After everyone left the house, first she booked an appointment with a famous Parlour and in the same breath enrolled herself for a fitness class. Now she started looking for a placement in an interior designer job, which she was doing before marriage.  Suddenly she realised how much the world has moved ahead of her. The whole world was digital now and she did not have that much computer skill in the interior designing field. Then she searched in the PC and enrolled for a short term interior course near her house.

_                                                                               ( to be continued)