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Not another quick tale

I don't know why I was thinking about you today. Your birthday is only in November. And that day is not until August. It must be because of the song I was listening to. Not the one with your name. But the one that we used to sing together. The one that you would sing hopelessly off-key. The one I teased you so badly about. And that was not the only thing I used to tease you about. The way you used to stutter mildly before each sentence. The way you scratched your head often. The way your hair curled into tight rings. Just about everything was a reason to taunt.

How could I forget that day when we went to the beach and I demanded that you return the dress you were wearing because it belonged to me? Yes, right then and there. I wanted my dress back. And yet, you kept your head about you. You just ignored me like you always did. And that infuriated me even more. I tugged and pulled at the dress. You continued to ignore me. How I tortured you! That I was only 8 or 9 years old then was no excuse. Looking back I'm shocked at how my behaviour was allowed to go on.

Luckily, you didn't have to suffer me for too long. And after a couple of years with us, you went back to living with your parents - my aunt and uncle - in that remote northern town. And we met only during holidays. Until that year, when we were both 16 years old. I still remember being woken up in the middle of the night and being asked to pray. You had contracted meningitis and were in a critical condition in the hospital. And collective prayers alone could save you. Sadly that was not enough and you succumbed to the disease. After that, whenever I saw your mother, I was weighed down with inexplicable guilt. She would see me and burst into tears. You too would have been going to college. You too would have started working. And like my mother, she too would have been looking out for a suitable groom for her daughter. I was a constant reminder of the life that her daughter was so cruelly denied.

But the real reason I'm writing to you is because I'm a mother now and I fear for my child. You know what they say about the sins of the parents coming back to haunt their kids. And I often worry that there's a bully waiting to get my son.

I know I didn't say it when it mattered. But I'm saying it now. I'm sorry for what I did. I really am.

Comments

s said…
we derive a sense of strength from often worrying about some harm lurking about around our children... your worry is fully justified.
complacency is not a luxury we can afford in this society.

to relate the worry to a memory from childhood is another thing.
Deepa said…
Did you read Kite Runner recently? Or is it really not a QT?
Priyamvada_K said…
Ammani,
That was hard-hitting, and very powerful.

Being a parent will make one a better person. No doubt about it! :-)

Priya.
Reema Banerjee said…
i can never seem to say anythin after i read what u write. so i dont comment at all. but this time i thot, i must let u know, its overwhelming, the way u touch ur readers
Honey Bee said…
ammani.. the first half of your letter reminds everyone of their childhood friends..
your worries... my goodness ...you are so natural
Aarthi said…
Ammani, I like the way you tease out these nuances. Almost anyone can nod along.

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Bio-data

Married for 31 years, 2 months and 17 days
Six cups coffee a day, brewed everyday of marriage
Three meals a day,
At least two dishes cooked, each meal-time
One snack for every Sunday
Big basket of clothes ironed every Tuesday
Average 18 items of clothing washed per day
Three children
1 miscarriage
One mother-in-law suffered
900 sq metre of floor space mopped, once a day
One caesarean endured
3 chicken poxes, 2 measles, 2 fractures, 8 diarrhoeas, depression, conjunctivitis every summer, 1 tonsilitis and countless common colds and flues
1 job held for 29 years
6 hours slept every night
Sex tolerated every 2nd week
Religious rituals everyone of them, carried out
Not one of them, believed in
Lived 52 years and some
Died exhausted

Overheard, “At least she had the satisfaction of having lived for her family”


http://jikku.blogspot.com/2005/02/quick-tale-3.html#c111042815438237631

The Saturday Poem

Found this in yesterday's paper. Again, I wish I'd written it.

-a

Now and Then

"Now that I'm fifty-seven",
My mother used to say,
"Why should I waste a minute?
Why should I waste a day

Doing the things I ought to
Simply because I should?
Now that I'm fifty-seven
I'm done with that for good."

But now and then I'd catch her
Trapped in some thankless chore
Just as she might have been at
Fifty-three or fifty-four

And I would say to her
(And I have to bite my tongue)
That if you mean to learn a skill
It's well worth starting young

And so, to make sure I'm in time
For fifty, I've begun
To do exactly as I please
Now that I'm thirty-one.

-Sophie Hannah

Lost in Post

To a little boy

It cannot be easy being you. A follow-up act to your more devilishly charming, flamboyant older brother. Before you were born, I was convinced that no child could ever take the special place your brother had come to occupy in my life. I used to argue with your father you would always be a second-born. A runner-up. A bridesmaid (or a best-man, as you turned out to be). That you could never be the prized, cherished, celebrated apple of my eye that my firstborn child was. But how easily you tore down my flimsy little conviction. The minute I saw you, I knew I was gone. What was worse, I succumbed willingly.

My fears that you would be overshadowed by your brother have proven unfounded. Over the past year, you have come into your own as a person. Your brother demands and challenges our love and attention. You, on the other hand, are much more accepting of our distractions with him. It is almost as if you understand that he is used to being the star of the show for much of his…

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What happened when young Padmavathi was drawing water from the well to wash her clothes, early one Margazhi morning?

Annon's story

One morning when Padmavathi was drawing water from the well, she found Pettai Rowdy # 1 Govindarajulu inside the bucket! She dropped it at once and Govindarajulu went down and down and hit the bottom of the well with a Nung sound. His upper and lower teeth fused together and since then he has been fed intravenously. Pettai Rowdy # 2, Ragothaman Iyengar, who suggested this to Govindarajulu, now rules the roost.

After marrying Padmavathi, he is inviting all of you to a water drawing ceremony at the new well they dug in their house.

Jai Ragothaman Iyengar! Jai Padmavathi! Come one, Come all!

-

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What happened that made young Meenakshi change her mind about the parrot green saree she had originally chosen and go for a …