Romance is a Bonus Book.

ही कोरियन सिरीज. सगळ्याच कोरियन सिरीजसारखी १६ तासांची. १६ तास खिळवून ठेवण्याइतकी चांगली गोष्ट. साध्या गोष्टीत, रोजच्या दिनक्रमांत चढउतार असलेली. कोरियन सिरीजमध्ये एलियन आला किंवा कोणी नवीन शेजारी आला तरी ते drama सारखाच treat करतात याची मला गंमत वाटते. या सिरीजची सुरुवात तशी बोअर होत होती पण त्याच्या titles मध्ये पुस्तकाची पानं होती म्हणून ती बघायला घेतली. पहिला एपिसोड १०-१५ मिनिटं नीट बघितला पण मग नंतर मोबाईलवर गेम खेळायला सुरुवात केली. मला हा कलाकृतीचा अपमान वाटत नाही. ओढून ताणून सगळ्यांनी त्यांची इंद्रियं कलाकृतीला खिळवून ठेवायची जबरदस्ती मला मान्य नाही. प्रत्येकाला त्याचं स्वातंत्र्य असावं. माझं वागणं justify करायला मी असं म्हणत नाहीये. सहज म्हणतीये. जे मनापासून वाटतं ते. तर मी फोनवर गेम खेळत होते पण दोन माणसांची भेट, त्यांचं नातं इतक्या वेगळ्या पद्धतीनी त्यांनी सुरु केलं की मी फोन ठेवून दिला. आपला divorce झालाय हे आपल्याच प्रचंड जवळच्या मित्राला कळू न देता ती नायिका एक वर्ष बेघर असूनही आयुष्याशी लढते आहे. कारण काय? तर त्याला हे कळल्यास वाईट वाटेल. त्याच्या घरी एक काम करणारी appoint केल्याचं सांगून तीच कामवालीच्या हाजगी त्याच्या घरची सगळी कामं करते आहे. कारण तिला त्या पैशांची गरज आहे. आणि तिची ही अवस्था कळल्यास तिला सगळं मिळवून द्यायची capacity असलेला तो तिचा स्वाभिमान जपण्यासाठी तिला काहीही मदत करत नाही. त्यांचं नातं मला आवडलं. एकमेकांबद्दलची काळजी पण तितकंच space देणं. आदर करणं. त्याची एखादी गोष्ट आपल्याला सांगायची राहून गेली आणि बाहेरुन कळली तर लगेच भांडण न काढता, सांगायची राहिली म्हणजे काहीतरी कारण असेल असं मानणं… जसं घरी तसंच वातावरण ऑफिस मध्येही. कामाच्या ठिकाणी कितीही स्पर्धा असली तर दुसऱ्याच्या कामाचा आदर करणं. दुसऱ्याच्या प्रगतीत आपल्या कंपनीची प्रगती असल्यानी निर्विवाद दाद देणं… हे सगळं वाचताना कदाचित फारसं अवघड किंवा वेगळं वाटत नसेल पण कोरियन सिरीज बघताना या सगळ्यामुळे आपण stress free राहतो. आपल्याकडे हलक्या फुलक्या गोष्टी नक्कीच असतात पण नात्यांचा गुंता असेल तर ती गोष्ट फारशी हलकी नसते. गोष्ट हसवणारी असेल तर विनोदीच असते. निरागसपणा असेल तर एकतर लहान मुलांचा असतो किंवा जर नायक/नायिकेचा असेल तर तो निरागसपणा गोष्टीच्या मध्यवर्ती असतो. आपल्या कलाकृती वाईट आणि त्यांच्या चांगल्या असा माझ्या म्हणण्याचा कल नाहीये. आपल्याकडे गोष्टी तशा अंगानी जाण्याची ही कारणं आहेत. आपला देश तितका श्रीमंत नाहीये. आपल्या आयुष्यातले problems त्यांच्या इतके उथळ नाहीयेत. मुलभूत गरजा इतक्या सहज उपलब्ध नाहीयेत वगैरे आहेच. मुद्दा तो सगळा नाहीये आत्ता. मुद्दा हा आहे की खिळवून ठेवणारी पण त्रास न देणारी गोष्ट बघायला मनाला हलकं वाटतं.

ही गोष्ट मुख्यत्वे एका प्रकाशनाच्या ऑफिसभोवती फिरते. पुस्तक तयार करणं हे सगळ्याच प्रमुख पात्रांचं काम आहे. लेखकांना भेटणं, त्यांचा लिखाणाचा प्रवास, त्यांची हस्तलिखितं, त्यांचा निर्मळ वास… या सगळ्यामागचा उत्साह. एकेक पुस्तक खपल्यावर होणारा आनंद… सगळ्यांचीच एका पुस्तकामागे असलेली अमाप मेहनत… हे सगळं लक्षात राहण्यासारखं आहे. त्यांच्या ऑफिस कल्चरची अशी काही झलक त्यांनी दाखवली आहे की शेवटी मला भुरळच पडली… असं वाटलं की आपणंही अशीच नोकरी बघावी. पुस्तकाचा संपादक म्हणून काम बघावं. नाही मिळालं जे मिळेल ते काम घ्यावं पण पुस्तकाच्या सानिध्यात असलेलं. किंवा कुठेतरी महिना महिना गायब होऊन पुस्तकं लिहावीत.  त्यांच्या सारखं रविवारी घर clean करावं, रामेन खात सोजू नाहीतर वाईन प्यावी. थंडी असो नसो, कोट घालावेत आणि आपल्याकडेही एक गोड कुत्रा असावा. भाषा येत नसताना, कल्चरची माहिती नसताना त्या वातावरणात मला विलीन व्हावंसं वाटलं. प्रत्येक कोरियन सिरीज बघताना आजवर वाटलंय तसं. मजा आली.

Ma’am with a moustache!

“Ouch..”As I yelped in pain two of the ladies near me looked at me. Omg! what if they see my mustache!! I am not really bothered about it but people are really concerned about my mustache. I guess it’s ok now I screamed a little, this woman at the parlor applied steaming hot wax on my upper lip and pulled the waxing stip hard. My usual parlor woman is really not very fancy. She does a home visit and I get everything done. But she had to go out of town and its December. Its the wedding season. Everyone meets u and see u from up close. The ones who see me for the first time look at my lips with suspicion. If they are not shy they directly look or if they are shy they ask me “oh such a beautiful lipstick what shade is it?” Or “ where did u buy it from” and the ones who are meeting me again always look to see if I still have the moustache. The elder once who have seen me without a moustache has a hint of pity in their eyes and say “it’s ok dear nowadays it doesn’t matter guys have long hair women pose a bald look its a different world” Sometimes I feel as if they are not consoling me rather themselves. To be very frank I am quite comfortable with my moustache. I have had her for years now. Every day when I look in the mirror I see me and also her my moustache. Some have warts, some have cracks, some have chest hair. These people don’t seem to be very unhappy with themselves. 

In a women’s body, there are certain hormones that have a certain level which causes fine hair on the face in my case these hormones are a bit too much. But still, I am as feminine as any woman can be. Not a man! I had a hard time convincing people about this. No one has ever confronted me about it but I can see it in their eyes. I have never been a favorite in the marriage market too. Generally, women have a great interest in the matchmaking of others but I have never been approached by them ever. “Can’t really be sure about her what if she has some issue” that’s what they must have thought at least once. 

To their surprise, I had a love marriage. There was one man in this whole world who didnt care about my facial hair and liked me for my thoughts and my brain. My husband has never been bothered about my moustache. At times he has helped me wax my upper lip too, coz I can’t do it on my own. When we are alone together just the two of us he makes jokes about my moustache. People always get mocked about having a flat nose or thin lips, they are always laughed at and none of them feel bad too. I also am not ashamed of my moustache. What can I do now I have a moustache!! 

I want to but I can’t really talk about it openly with anyone. It’s apparently not acceptable to them. When these women come close to me I want to tell them that I didnt get enough time to trim them so I have tried to comb them, so please don’t stare at my moustache. Bit if I say something like that to their face I am scared it might give them a little heart attack. Whenever I have said that I am worried about my daughter coz as a baby she had a lot of hair too. So she can get a moustache too. This makes them think I am being a bad mother by thinking like this about my own daughter. For me, it’s practical thinking. If there is any solution to this then we can discuss it and come up with some solution. So that she doesn’t have to carry my fate. But huh

To be very frank it amuses me coz a lot of people are jealous of me, why you ask, haha there are a lot of teen age boys in my building complex, they must be looking in the mirror every day hoping to grow a moustache, seeing mine I have seen them stare at me in awe. Looking twice at me always. Coz they can’t grow one and I can’t get rid of one. The way they look at me amuses me. 

Once it happened so that I had taken a vacation for a month as my daughter was just born. It was my birthday and the first time in my 18years at the job it was the first time I wasn’t in the office for my birthday. It was morning time I bathed my daughter and she slept so I was just about to take a nap when the phone rang “ Surprise!! Open the door” as I opened the door I saw my whole team from my office at my door. Omg, this was such a disaster for me. As I was home for 4 months almost so I had not gone to the parlor. I was at my mom’s place and had just come back yesterday. And these guys are at my door. Now, what should I do? Come in. Instead of me Surprised, they looked they had seen me for the first time with my fully-grown moustache. That day it was just me who was laughing and talking about things in order to make the atmosphere less awkward. But it didn’t work. To be really frank do we need to go to the parlor so regularly, keeping change, taking time out, and make it a point and go there. Some times I just can’t!

It was better before. This wasn’t such a big problem. But now with the excellent clarity cameras and Facebook, people tend to take such close-ups that even skin pores are easily visible. How will my moustache be hidden? And everyone wants to look their best the pictures they upload and don’t really care about how others look in them. And thse selfish people and the comments that the photos get the real credit goes to me not these beautiful girls.

Some times I wonder how will all the women look if they all have a beard and a moustache. Will they be less beautiful? Don’t women feel that along with a beautiful body you also need to have a beautiful brain? How do you know if you were selected in a workplace or for marriage or so on based on your intellect or your beauty? Is the beauty of women a substitute for their dim wit? At least I am glad that my husband must really love me and my intellect coz I don’t really have beauty as my strength. 

Thoughts thoughts thoughts! Trying to rearrange my thoughts I slowly opened my eyes. The woman at the Parlour was engrossed in threading my hair with all her mind and might and was staring at me as if it was a crime to have facial hair. I got a bit startled by her stare and tried to move a little. She yelled at me “ madam please keep your tongue properly under ur lip, you have a lot of growth.” She didn’t has to say the second sentence, maybe she said the first sentence so she could say the second. Sometimes these women in parlours make me really angry, you have to pay them so that they can criticise you for how you look. I really feel like cursing them “ hope in their next life… Nope… in this life itself hope you get a dense growth on your face… Moustache and a beard! both!” But let it be. Aah, the threading is done & I am on m way out, wore my shoes, and called out for a rickshaw! Someone was calling out for me from behind, I was unaware and walking ahead “ ma’am.. ma’am..” I didn’t hear her until something caught my ear “ ma’am with a moustache”  the lady in the parlour was calling me she wanted to return my change of Rs. 50 the lady who just freed me from my moustache is calling me “ma’am with a moustache” !!

You just read the translated version of Marathi article ‘Mishiwalya Tai’, written by Sayali Kedar.

Translation by – Mrunmayee Bhave.

कलेची चोरी होते!

दिवसागणिक चोऱ्या होतायेत,

संपत्ती लुटली जातीये… काळाबाजार होतोय कलेचा,

साहित्याची माती होतीये… शोषण कष्टकऱ्यांचं…

प्रत्यक्ष बघतोय मी पण उपयोग शून्य,

कारण पुरावे नाहीत पुरेसे… बघे नाहीत फारसे,

कामं असतील हो त्यांना… मीच तेवढा रिकामटेकडा…

समुद्रातून येतात काय हो? की आले परग्रहाहून?

ते सारे असते ठीक पण जन्म होतोय इथेच…

पोसले जातायेत, सोसले जातायेत आपल्याच मानसिकतेतून…

जन्म घेतायेत, जन्म देतायेत आपल्याच मानसिकतेतून…

खिसेकापण्याआधी त्यांनी चोरली असेल का हो हाव?

वित्त सारे संपले तरी संपतोय कुठे डाव?

ज्याचे जाते त्याचे जाते, जळते त्याला कळते…

पण इतरांनाही कळले तर हरकत काय?

लुबाडून, लुटुन, ओरबाडून, हिसकावून, हिरावून

चोर श्रीमंत होतोय का?

प्रेमापोटी?

अति झाली भावना की बोथट होते म्हणे,

म्हणे आमच्याकडे पाण्याला तुडवडा नाही..

आम्ही करतच नाही किंमत भावनांची,

कारण आमच्याकडे भावना खूप झाल्यात..

त्यामुळे थेंब काय ओघळ काय

झरे वाहतात दिवसा ढवळ्या..

प्रेमापोटी?

खूप झालीयेत प्रेमं, प्रेमातून वाद,

वादातून विकोप आणि त्यातून मारहाण..

पण छे आम्ही लक्षच देत नाही

कारण आमच्याकडे हे ही खूप झालंय..

बसतात बुक्के-लाथा जळतात देह

आतून किंवा बाहेरुन रात्रीच्या काळोखात

प्रेमापोटी?

त्यानं तिला विचारणं झालंय खूप

तिनं नाकारणं झालाय खूप

कित्येकदा होकारणं झालंय खूप

अन् अनेकदा मुंडकीही उडवडलीयेत..

त्याचं तिच्यासाठी तिचं त्याच्यासाठी

तिचं तिचं तिचं भर रस्त्यात आम्लानी

प्रेमापोटी?

पण छे आम्ही लक्षाच देत नाही

कारण आम्ही नाही त्यांचे आईबाप

आमचं पोरगं हे करणंही शक्य नाही

केलं तर ते पोरगं आमचं नाही

ढकलतो आम्ही जबाबदारी दुसऱ्यावर

दाखवून बोट तीन ठेवत आपल्याचकडे

प्रेमापोटी?

खूप झालंय मुलालाही नाकारणं

खूप झालं त्याचं भविष्य

त्याच्याआधीच आपणं आकारणं

खूप झालंय त्यानीही

लादलेले निर्णय स्वीकारणं..

मग करायचं एक मागून दोन

मागून तीन काहीही न मागता

प्रेमापोटी?

हो प्रेमापोटी

प्रेमाच्या पोटी म्हणे असते ताकद

घेतं सामावून वाटेल ते

म्हणूनच आम्ही देतो लादतो फेकतो

वाट्टेल ते

छे नाहीतर असं का केलं असतं?

छे नाहीतर वागलो नसतो का धड?

छे नाहीतर काळजी ही घेतली असती..

छे काहीतरीच बुव्वा! सगळं आम्हीच झेललं असतं!

प्रेमापोटी!!!

The Big Baron

For now just oil, the rest of the list we will see tomorrow! The list that mom gave was very clear and easy to understand. Rani took the list and a big shopping bag and left. Her real name was Purva but her pet name was Rani, everyone called her Rani. Rani was very strong-headed, actually, her tantrums were always fulfilled even before she expressed them. But still, she was very adamant. The store was just a few yards behind Rani’s house while walking towards the store she had a million thoughts in her mind. ‘Mom things that I hardly do any work around the house, now see how I will complete all the tasks at and prove her wrong’.

 She reached the store but got a little too overwhelmed there were 3-4 storekeepers and 8-10 customers. Rani tried to call out to the storekeepers but nothing. She was not used to this. She had never ever been to a store before, and if she ever went she always had their servant with her. He used to make sure all the things on the list are bought. All Rani used to do is, point at the things she wanted. But today the servant was on a holiday and her mom wanted to make some fritters. It was Rani’s tantrum to eat fritters 

She felt a little humiliated, whenever she used to go out with her father she used to get water, a chair to sit. Here she was ignored and standing under the scorching sun. She saw the store’s owner sitting at the cash register. He was sitting idle, playing games on his mobile phone. If by chance someone asked him for anything he would look at one of the storekeepers his employees with apathy in his eyes ignoring the customer. Rani went ahead and approached him and said “Hey I need all these items that are there in this list and a little quickly I am in a hurry”. The owner was as rude as her. To tell the owner to get things for her and that too with so much arrogance. “ Why is it that you have to be in such a hurry? And by the way who are you?” Rani ran her fingers through her hair and told him about her father and his shop along with his annual financial transaction details. “ and not just that as soon as I get the things on this list mom is going to make fritters with the oil that is there in this list” The owner got angrier now not as much at the girl but more her father’s money more. He spat at her saying “Go get lost come in the evening”. By this sentence Rani was a bit taken aback, she didn’t expect him to say anything like this her father treated customers so well and he is a big man, and this man who has such a small shop how dare he treats me like this “Get lost, is that how you talk with me, I was going to be a profitable customer for you, I wanted to buy things of at least Rs. 1000 from you!” The owners smirked a little and went back to playing his game. 

  Rani in a feat of rage started walking away from the shop now without buying any oil. She never liked it when her father used to be all humble towards a customer but she had understood the reason why he did it. She now didn’t know how to control her anger. If she went home without the oil then this would be a battle lost. There was no other shop nearby that was open she knew. And rest she knew if she wanted another shop she would have to walk a lot. It was a really hot sunny day. She in her mind decided something and went again to the same shop, this time she went right inside. The owner yelled at her “ are you out of your mind?” Rani ignored him more than he was ignoring other customers before, and she started taking out things that were on her list. She could not differentiate between the lentils so she started out with the simpler items like dry coconut, peanuts, etc. in a few seconds she could hear people murmur behind her, people from the locality knew her as the gold store owner’s daughter. Rani was having fun. She was used to these people praising her even if she sneezes. Now her confidence rose and she turned to the lentils and the legumes. The store owner now wanted her out of his store. It didn’t bother her if the quantity was correct for the things that she was picking. He told is employees to get her out of the store, “If you keep acting this way, I will call the police.” He said. Rani stopped. Became a little composed went close to him looked into his eyes and said, “Your employees were busy so I told you to get my list, what did I do wrong? But you didn’t bother to pay any heed, you told a genuine customer to get lost. You have such a big ego. So I helped myself, what did I do wrong”. She took her stuff put it in her bag and started leaving. “My dad will pay you for the things that I took, you can collect it later from my home” the store owner was speechless. 

Barely managing the weight of the shopping bag Rani entered the door and she was greeted with a big hug by her father, “today daddy made sure that he is home early just for his princess Rani”. Rani was super happy she wanted to tell her father what happened today but the mood of the hour was different. Her father made her sit next to him and asked her what she wanted for her birthday!!  The house was filled with delicious fritter aroma. Yesterday she was gonna ask for a car just for herself with a chauffeur, but today her mind was changed. 

The doorbell rang and today mom had given the maid Resham a day off too so that it will be just the family together. Hence daddy opened the door. “Oh, sir come in please, what gets you here today?” Rani peeped through the door and she saw the store owner standing in the living room. Daddy made him sit down offered him fritters, water, and the teapot was also made to put on the gas for tea. The owner was a bit surprised and told that Rani had visited the shop today and said the bill was Rs.1800, Rani thought this was trouble. But daddy paid him the money and didnt say a word. Mom gave the store owner sweet and the owner asked “What is sweet for?” “It’s our daughter Rani’s birthday today.” My father very happily started telling him the sweets are not just for her birthday but also for a new business that I am starting today.” “I had bought the commercial space next to your shop a long time back and today Rani has asked me to set up a grocery store in that spot. Today was the first time she had gone grocery shopping, she must have loved the experience!”. The store owner was a bit disappointed with himself when he heard this statement. He wanted to get out of the house as soon as possible. He stepped out of the door when he overheard Rani’s dad say “See what I always say, the customer is your god, we should keep his example in mind, such a good man he came by himself to take money from us when he could have just sent his employees over. This brings success!!”.

You just read the translated version of Marathi article ‘Malak’, written by Sayali Kedar.

Translation by – Mrunmayee Bhave.

The Bachelorette

Today again she was standing wearing the same dress, it’s not as new and beautiful as it used to be, but she had gathered her courage and was standing in front of the mirror watching her reflection closely. The  face looks a little wrinkly she thought to herself “I am in the thirties now, instead of the fairness cream I think its time to buy an anti-aging cream.” “Should I put some lipstick on? I don’t want to look goddy, but if I don’t put anything on it might seem like I didn’t bother to get ready at all.” “Do my eyes still have the spark or they have lost the twinkle? like Jui, my classmate whos eyes seemed a little lifeless.” She was thinking to herself. “Even Jui got married I hear” she could feel her smile disappear. She opened 2-3 lipsticks to check the colors, she so wanted to put the MAC Ruby woo on but thought it would be too much so went for the nude pink. She touched her cheeks and thought to herself ‘as a teenager it was such bad judgment to pop her pimples.’ She moved her neck a little to see her earrings swing which made her smile. ‘ i still look good,’ ‘ girls who are fat, skinny, dark, even ones who have a squint get married, why haven’t I found anyone yet.’ She thought. 

Nowadays the worry regarding her marriage in her parent’s eyes had started to bother her, made her feel responsible for their troubles. It must kill them inside to see their daughter who is so well educated, independent, earns well enough that she can afford a flat, a car also almost every weekend when she goes to meet the probable suitors in the cafes, she pays the bills too but doesn’t seem to find anyone worthy of marriage. All the girls in their community have found someone but their daughter Nah! They couldn’t put a finger on the problem, she isn’t arrogant, selfish, she is hardworking, intelligent and isn’t so bad looking either. What is it that those other girls have that our daughter lacks? They always wondered. Arranged marriages are difficult they knew but their daughter isn’t so bad. Especially the marriage season is the worst. Whenever they attend someone’s wedding the relatives get very judgmental. The elder generations in their extended family always end up asking what is the issue why are you not getting ur daughter married. 

‘I am tired of all the rejections. Am I damaged somehow and I don’t know’ everyone else has got someone, I had registered my name in an arrange marriage site when I was 25 years of age. There are many theories as to why maybe I haven’t found anyone yet ‘My aunt says that I am too old, my grandmother says that I am too much educated maybe. Hence I have even edited my profiles on the website and made it simple less overbearing deleted a few qualifications so that I don’t come off too strong. One of my aunts thinks it’s because maybe I am not fair-skinned, but for me, skin color is not as important, My demands are very fair and realistic. I don’t care if the guy is dark, he just has to be fair in his heart. My friends think that I am being too choosy. Not really, for being choosy I don’t have a lot of options anymore. 

I have met a lot of guys in the last two years and you won’t believe it but I wore this same dress every time, it’s like I am being superstitious. One of my friend’s mother suggested I wear this very dress in this fashion, lavender. Her daughter had worn a similar dress the first time she met her guy and the guy was mesmerized by her and said, “Nice dress, You seem to have a good choice” must be the dress, it was her choice, not mine. But before that the dress I used to wear was my choice a dark blue one, it also wasn’t appreciated by anyone either. 

‘Must be because I go way before the time of the meeting must make me seem desperate, but that can’t be it I was late a couple of times. Maybe the times I went late the guys wouldn’t have liked me going late. In all, I don’t know what seems to be the problem. This time when I go I think I am going to hide somewhere nearby and as soon as he comes I will go just in time not to seem careless or desperate either’.

I am thinking about this guy so much whom I have never even met. What if I wear what I like and meet these guys as if just for the heck of it, meet casually have a conversation pretend to have a good time, why pretend I might have a better time meeting the guys rather than with my girlfriends who keep asking me the same stupid questions about my marriage. 

In my thoughts, I didn’t realize that I had reached the cafe which was just around the corner from my house. I am now hiding behind a bush as I had planned. As soon as I see him I will enter the cafe, and there he has arrived. I better check his picture on my phone and make sure it’s him. I keep going through so many faces nowadays throughout the day on these dating and marriage profiles that all of them seem the same. Omg, this is that guy who has his own business and earns around one lakh per month. 

“Hi I am Bhavana, you must be Sagar?” This is the first time I have introduced my self like this to a guy without hesitation. I am feeling a little less stressed today, its just like one of those times when you meet a guy just for a quick coffee. Even if he rejects me I suppose it’s ok. But this guy seems a little shy. Must be new to all this arranged marriage thing. I am by now a pro at this. He doesn’t seem to even look at me so I also start looking around. These cafes have glass walls and I could use a mirror anyways. I couldn’t stop myself from thinking “ the red ruby woo would have been a better choice, and this dress is such a mistake. Huh!”

“What are your expectations from your future husband?” Sagar asked. I couldn’t help but think “All I want is for someone to say yes to me and get married” but I just smiled. 

I took a deep breath and said, “ To be very frank I should have asked you to reschedule the meet to some other day, I wasn’t feeling like going out today, but u know when you are desperately looking to get married you can’t waste a day, it’s been 6 years since I am looking for someone mom gets emotional and so had to come. This dress, I don’t like the colour at all I don’t generally prefer this pattern too but I have been wearing this dress to meet guys for a year or more. Because every time before you meet a guy, finding a dress that is a good colour, doesn’t make me look fat or dark or sleeveless and so on is such so tedious, hence this is like a uniform. I don’t have a pattern as such, I wear what I like. M sorry it seems like I am being too frank. Also, I suppose I should have just rescheduled the meeting for tomorrow. I guess its ok, now that we are here let us just enjoy the coffee and leave.” His face seemed blank. I was a bit surprised I thought he would react somehow as I was too frank. Bollywood movies always seem to have a happy ending so did my life, not that I fell in love with him or he did with me, but one thing happened that day, I fell in love with me. I realised I am loveable. But I always undervalued “ME”

You just read the translated version of Marathi article ‘Ghodnavari’, written by Sayali Kedar.

Translation by – Mrunmayee Bhave.

My Non-competitive father

The same faded tiffin bag, actually it was faded when it was new too. Worn out shoes, old briefcase, and tired dad. For years he has been slogging for the same company. The owner changed. The office got renovated people came and went but my dad was still the same. For him working for the same company meant dedication, persistence, loyalty, and integrity. In return, the company puts its trust in you. These were his principals. My uncle used to tell him a new job will get u in demand and give u new prospects and exposure. But my dad never understood what he meant. My uncle moved out of our house and shifted into his new flat. But my father felt that these new apartments were worthless. He found peace in our old house, every night he had to struggle to shut our door and lock it, as it was an old door just like the place we lived in. My uncle bought a brand new expensive sedan. He used to call the car a reason to get stuck in traffic, and he himself was happy with his old Bajaj Priya. My mom, sister, and me we used to pity the old man. I used to think my father had no likes. But a day didn’t go by when the old radio didn’t play in our house, and to those songs, he didn’t nod his head in appreciation. On the day his salary came, he always got me a new pen, new clothes for my sister and anklets for my mother once a year. My mom used to flaunt those with joy. When he used to hear the tinkle of those anklets in my mom’s feet while she moved around getting him his tea it used to bring a smile on his face. But he never looked at her across the newspaper in his hand.

   I have seen him get ready in the morning even before our alarm would go off. He polishing his shoes is a sound that I will always remember. The sound of a ladle and the pot in which my mom cooked, my father used to call for my mom while closing the drawers, and the sound of her placing his tiffin on the dining table are memories that are imprinted in my heart I can feel them whenever I close my eyes. The same old same old stuff is it his salary, be it the same vegetables, or be it him waiting for a Sunday it used to irritate me a lot. He will never get out of this routine and will never let me get out too I was sure about that. I complete with my degree and get a job is the only aspiration he has for me that will make him happy. When I get a wife it will be good and when I have a kid it’s even better my life will be perfect. I have always been preached for the same. But now I have made up my mind I am going to leave his house and today I am gonna tell him about it!

One rainy evening in our house there is tea, pakodas the radio is playing and its the day my results come out. My uncle came over to give us the news that his son got through a university in the US. My father was not so happy but my uncle was really proud of his son. My mom quickly prepared some sweets along with chapati and we had lunch. My uncle was telling stories about the US that he had heard from others with excitement. And my dad stuck to convincing my uncle about how the US is dependent on his company. Both the brothers started debating about their standard of living. My sister was on my uncle’s side and my mom was on my father’s side there were two parties suddenly. My results for the exam that I had given for further studies in foreign countries without informing the others in the house I decided to keep it away now was not the time. This option I had chosen to get away from this house, from my tired father his thankless job. But in the end, dad won except for good money he had nothing to say. 

My uncle ate the paan and the celebration came to an end and he left. My father started lecturing us about how the recent generations are just behind money. I was hardly paying attention to what he was saying, whereas my sister had her eyes on her cell phone. We arrived one square near the house the usual paan shop guy waved at us. My father said let’s have one more and then head home. The guy made my favorite paan. The paan that my uncle had got from the mall was really sweet and my taste buds were a bit cleansed by this usual pan. My father said “ See son this is how people get far from what really matters in life, what you own, ow much money you have doesn’t really matter, what matters is people, materialistic things make you happy but for some time. Is this how u want to live life running behind materialistic things?. Are we that shallow? I want you to dust your guitar off and see you will see a bright new day. 

I used to call my dad names, call him orthodox and old fashioned but he isn’t that bad, he is my father after all. He knows where I come from. My father has been so sensitive about the place that he has been in. The same old job in the same apartment, the same two-wheeler. But today their conversation taught me something that I will always cherish. Staying where you belong isn’t bad and going after materialistic things isn’t bad either. They taught me that there is no winning or losing it just depends on what you want. How you want to live your life, that’s all!

You just read the translated version of Marathi article ‘Ramlelya Babachi Kahani’, written by Sayali Kedar.

Translation by – Mrunmayee Bhave.

Theft!

It is not easy to share a flat with two girls who are 10 years younger than you. Not because they tend to take advantage of you or get their boyfriends over or they drink alcohol but maybe because they earn more. Suddenly I received a blow from behind and hit the grill that was near the door, the physical pain did not bother me so much as much I was emotionally hurt. I had a good marriage but my husband received an offer to work abroad that he could not turn down, in short, he chose money over me and I chose self-respect. What would I do if I go with him? I would not get much work there as I did translations from Gujrathi to Marathi. That too written translations as I cannot really converse in Gujrathi. We had already talked about this before getting married, he had promised me that we will stay in India. He broke the promise. I could not move back with my parents and burden them. It’s not like the old times that people might boycott you but people ask questions and they tend to give you the looks I didn’t want to put my parents through all that. So I decided to move out of the city that we lived in. 

I am good at my work but won’t really call myself the smartest of the lot. I am beautiful, but that doesn’t mean I would be with another man for his money when I am not divorced. What I am ok with is using other women’s money so that at least my character isn’t questioned. 

My station arrived, I didn’t even have to move a muscle, one push and I was out on the platform, the second blow was in my stomach that’s something that I did mind. I had to use the washroom. Before leaving the office I usually use the washroom but nowadays before I leave the local train I generally feel the need to go again. Seems it must be my growing age. Now on my way home, there is no clean washroom that I can go to, also once I reach home the two young girls might not even hear the doorbell, even if they do they are going to argue about who’s turn it is to open the door. This will definitely waste a minute. That minute is so important for my bladder which they won’t understand till they cross their 40’s. Nowadays just like my bladder control has diminished so has my ability to control my urine. The feeling of getting old is the worst. My marriage wasn’t really a success and I don’t have any kids as well, I can’t even go back to my parents as I would only make them unhappy. So now it’s just me and these two girls. That’s all that I have in life. We have a decent house that has all the amenities like TV, fridge wardrobes, beds, sofas, etc. But I haven’t bought any of them. I somehow manage to pay a small monthly rent for all the rest the girls take care of. I feel really ashamed sometimes. I would have asked my husband for a loan but now he is in a live-in relationship with another woman. And now with them together I can’t even let him see me vulnerable. 

Aah I am almost here in the parking but it’s still 6 floors to climb, unfortunately, the elevator broke down yesterday. At least I won’t have to wait that extra minute as I have the keys to the flat. The girls have gone out for a trip with their friends from the society. I start to look for the key in my purse, but can’t seem to find it, I always make sure the key is in the same section of my purse just to keep it safe. The girls always leave their stuff outside in the house. I always feel burdened by their favors. I try to lighten my burden by doing chores around the house like cleaning up, cooking, laundry, but the feeling still stays. They could actually hire someone like me for a 24hr job at their house and even I am aware of this fact, they can afford it. I still can’t find the keys. Where did it go? M sure it was here. Because I locked the door in the morning on my way to the office. And I don’t remember taking it out after that. I had kept my purse safely in my drawer in the office too. Panic swell within me. On top of this, the bladder was also not helping. I decided that’s it I have to find the keys first. The neighbours’ set was out of the question too as they had gone out with the girls. What should I do?? 

It’s been almost an hour now. I haven’t come up with anything yet. Where can I have lost it? Was it on the local trains? Have I gotten so old now that I can’t even remember so much? My mind was racing. What if the girls come early? Omg, what will I tell them? I can’t lose the keys like this. It felt as if I had burned the house down that I don’t even own. When I was six I had gone to stay at my uncle’s place, he had just bought a new house in Pune. For us, it was like a mansion. None of us had ever been able to afford such a big place in my whole family. We used to play around the house. One day while we were playing I was running ahead and my brother was trying to catch me. I suddenly turned around to see if Mihir was chasing me and I bumped into the television. A loud bang and the television fell on the floor. Followed by a whole lot of silence. I can’t even remember me crying, I was stunned I couldn’t even remember hearing a word. My mom was so scared of how my uncle would react. All I remember is my father telling my uncle he will pay for the damage. After that, I remember my father started working overtime. He used to come home late, my mother would feed me and tuck me in and wait for my father to come and eat together. In spite of my mom putting me to bed, I couldn’t fall asleep for all the days that my father did late nights. In the morning when dad left for work I would hug my mom and cry feeling apologetic. I can feel the same feeling creep in right now. And it’s been years since I felt like this. I had never apologised to my parents for that mistake. My mom always said, “the burden of favours is always too much to repay. I hope you understand someday”. I wanted to prove her wrong. This time I would ask for forgiveness. I wanted to do something so out of the world for them that the favours would seem repaid. I would pay for the duplicate keys and all the sets that would be my penance. After all, I am the eldest. It has to be my responsibility.

My stomach has started to kill me now. But what if I leave and the girls come back? They are returning tonight itself. It’s been two hours since I arrived. I checked my watch omg it’s half-past nine already. All I can think of is the public toilet nearby. But I can’t leave now because if they come and I am nowhere to be seen and the door locked, I’m sure they will worry as I never go anywhere except the house and my office. Vishakha had also asked me “you will be here when we come back right??” They don’t have the keys,  they carry but sometimes they forget to take it. It’s ok because I am always home. If I make them wait outside their own house it won’t be good. They might think that I disappeared. And if they decide to go and wait at Mrs. Shah’s house I will have to give them the news in front of her that I lost my key. It’s better I wait here once they arrive I will tell them and make them wait here.. or should I quickly get the key maker? What if he breaks the latch, the house is a rental and I haven’t even given any deposit. That’s a big NO. 

I started down the stairs. I tried to tell my mind that I don’t have to go, but the Samosa that I had at Mr. Surve’s sendoff is making my stomach upset. The worst has come true now it’s not just pee now I have to empty my stomach too. I crossed the road, and I took out 5 rupees from my purse. They must keep the toilets clean as they charge money I thought, also at the same time praying that the girls should not come back before I return. I entered the toilet and saw that there was a big queue. I just can’t put the finger on how the time went and my turn to use the washroom came and ahh finally I felt free. My knees were hurting badly as turning forty seems to have taken its toll on me, also this was the 12th or 13th floor that I had to climb in the whole day. Unfortunately, my office is also on the third floor and has to climb up and down a few times there too. By the end of the day, I get really tired. I Strained my ears to listen if I could hear anyone or anything, but our building still seemed quiet. I felt relieved.

I climbed to our floor and sat on the staircase. I didn’t feel quite comfortable so I looked and to my surprise the door of our flat was open. So Vishakha had taken the keys, I thought. Relieved, I entered and started taking out the snacks that I had got for the girls. And I was shocked to see that the television was gone, so was Pallavi’s laptop which usually is kept on the couch. The cupboards were wide open. I had saved some gold for the girls it was also gone. The drawer in Pallavi’s wardrobe was empty. Vishakha’s purse was gone, my feet went cold and the snacks fell on d floor. I turned back to see Vishakha, Pallavi, Mrs.Shah all standing in the door all of them speechless, me too. It was as if not just the things but my spine was stolen too. I was again speechless. Trust me I really wanted to apologise this time!!

Translation: Mrunmayee Bhave

मी कुठे म्हटलं माझं प्रेम नाही…

मी कुठे म्हटलं माझं प्रेम नाही

फक्त इतकंच म्हटलं की या नात्यात राम नाही

जेव्हा तुझंच उत्तर ठाम नाही

मी कसं म्हणू माझ्या ठोक्यांना आराम नाही

म्हटलं तर तूच की प्रेम नाही

परीक्षा असतात तुझ्या पाठांतराच्या

ओळखा पाहूच्या. त्यात जिंकायला मी समर्थ नाही

म्हणून तुझ्या लेखी माझ्या प्रेमाला अर्थ नाही

परत परत सांगते तुला

यात पास होऊन कोठे जायचंय?

शेवटी मला तुझ्यापाशी आणि

तुला माझ्यापाशी यायचंय

मग येऊ की असेच

पत्रांच्या थप्प्या न लिहिताच

गाण्यांवर न गुणगुणताच

आणि न देता एकमेकांना वचनं

वचनं आली की कटघरे आले

कटघरे आले मी-तू पण

आणि मग एकामागून एक पण

पण कशाला पडायचं यात?

पडायचं तर फक्त प्रेमात पडू

प्रश्नांना कशाला एकमेकांना ओढू

नडायचं तर ते ही लाडिक नडू

आणि भिडायचं तर सगळ्यांची मिळूनच भिडू

तू पडायचं प्रेमात की मी?

हे नकोत प्रश्न

तू रडायचं प्रेमात की मी

असली नकोत उत्तरं

काय होईल काय होईल

याची नको टांगती तलवार

नको विचार जगाचा

नको भीती कोणाची

तू हरवून जा माझ्यात

मी हरवून जाते तुझ्यात

वाऱ्याच्या निजवणाऱ्या

झुळुकेप्रमाणे अलवार!

घर

एक घर आपलंसं आणि एक सवयीचं असतं,

एक करणारं लहान आणि एक मोठं म्हणणारं असतं…

एक खिदळवतं आणि दुसरं संयमाचं असतं,

एक मायेनं भरलेलं आणि दुसरं भरवायचं असतं…

एकीकडे शांत वाटतं दुसरीकडे हक्काचं,

एकीकडे वेंधळेपण दुसरीकडे जबाबदारीचं…

एकीकडे साचलेल्या आठवणी असतात,

दुसरीकडे आठवणीच पाणी साचवतात..

पहिलं चांगलं दुसरं वाईट

म्हणून पहिलीकडे राहता येत नाही,

पहिलं आपलं दहादा म्हटलं

तरी दुसरं सोडून जाता येत नाही…

अडकलोय मध्ये आसऱ्यासाठी

असंही येत नाही मोकळ्यानं म्हणता,

एकाच्या नावानं दुसऱ्याच्या जागी

तसंही येत नाही मोकळ्यानं कण्हता…

म्हटलं तर डोक्यावर असतात दोन छपरं,

म्हटलं तर वाटतं दोन्हीकडे उपरं…

तरीही म्हणायचं पहिल्या ठिकाणी,

आता ते दुसरं आपलंसं झालंय..

सांगायचं दुसरीकडे, काय करणार?

पहिल्याच्या सवयीचं पाणी मुरलंय!