It was a summer day, long and sweaty as summer days are. The flies buzzed around the little girl as she searched the dry cracked ground, probing with her small hands.
“What are you doing?”, asked her father, his skin as dry as the earth. The drought had hit the whole village hard and the farmers like him could do nothing but watch the crops dying bit by bit. They had requested the government for tube wells and other help, but none came.
“Trying to catch two frogs”, answered the little girl. “Grandma says if we marry off two frogs, the rain will come”.
“That is a stupid old wives’ tale, my child, don’t pay heed”, laughed her father.
But still, he joined his daughter to catch the frogs. More to hold on to some hope than to indulge her.
They caught two frogs and together, the whole family- the little girl, her ma and papa, and grandma performed the ceremony of marrying off two very reluctant frogs. The ritual over, the frogs scampered off.
That night, the girl gazed at the starry night.
She willed , prayed that the rain would fall.
The rain did not.
But the next day, a number of trucks drove up to the village.
They carried tubewells and different equipment for digging and creating reservoirs.
Over the next few months, the ground water was dug up, the reservoirs filled with water for the whole village to use, the fields glistened with water, the crops began to thrive.
“Papa,you were right, it was a stupid old wives’ tale. We married off two frogs, but the rain did not come”
“No, my child, it did,albeit differently”.
He added, holding the girl close, his eyes moist.
“Remember this- Sometimes God answers your prayers in a different way. But, he always answers it. Always”
It was rain-washed world that Sunday. The morning sun cut across the clouds and shone brightly on a dark haired little boy jumping from puddle to puddle in a narrow path in the park.He giggled each time the water splattered as he jumped. His father sat on a bench, lifting his head from a smartphone from time to time to check on him before going back to it.
Two old men, out on their morning walk, stopped to look at the little boy. They whispered to themselves and then suddenly, joined the little boy. They jumped from puddle to puddle, feeble, little jumps and laughed with glee.
A young couple, seeing the three, stopped their jogging, smiled and joined in.
Now there were more people than puddles. But the laughter and fun compensated as the awaited their turns to stomp on the puddles.
The father, noticing the laughter and commotion looked up. Realising what was happening, he slowly put his phone away, smiled and joined the laughter.
A little boy and a few little puddles had given these adults, tired of life, a glimpse of their childhood. It was a happy Sunday.
The couple were drifting apart. Routine, kids, life were taking over. No time for love, for affection.
Then one day, a bouquet arrived at her office, pink roses, her favourite. The card read -“I want all of you forever, you and me, everyday”.
When her husband came back from office that evening, she ran up to him, hugged him and said-“I know you stole that from the movie Notebook,but it meant a lot. Thank you”
Later that night, after putting the kids to bed, she whispered to him,
“You know, I love you even when you’re sick and look disgusting”
“Hey, thats from a movie too!”
The broke into laughter.
It had been long since they had laughed together.
A little gesture. A Love rekindled.
Books are my lifeline. A voracious reader, I have never been able to quench my thirst for reading. Saving pocket money as a child and requesting people to give the equivalent money instead of birthday presents, I would rush to this cozy old book shop from where I would buy the Enid Blytons, the Nancy Drews and the Hardy Boys. As I grew, I began reading a variety of authors in different genres.Many books have affected me in many ways, but there are a few that remain inside of me even today. And I revisit these today
by Harper Lee
A classic in which we see the life of a small town in the 1930s America through a vivacious little girl lovingly called Scout.
Full of humour and wit, it also deals with serious issues like rape and the then prevalent racism. Her father, Atticus, a lawyer remains a much loved and model character even today.
Elusive neighbours, loving family and how in times of trouble and turmoil, people come together…all is there in this beautiful book that is sure to touch the heart of everyone who reads it.
by Arthur Conan Doyle
At one point in life, I wanted to be a local Sherlock Holmes and would pray everyday that a mystery would present itself in my otherwise quiet neighbourhood. Nothing did and I soon got over that ambition!
But my love and admiration for this golf cap wearing, pipe smoking eccentric detective called Sherlock Holmes never ebbed.
His methods of deduction, like knowing a man is a bachelor from the state of his shoes to the more complex chemical experiments, this most famous detective in the world will never cease to fascinate you!
Love found a new meaning when I read this book. The proud yet endearing heroine Elizabeth and the very charming and often arrogant Mr. Darcy makes for a love story that will transport you to the 1800s British world of dances and dames. I consider this novel as Jane Austen’s best.
by Gregory David Roberts
A runaway convict from Australia finds home in Bombay, the big bad city. His survival in the underbelly of the city, his love for an elusive woman and how his heart found a home in the world’s biggest slum. A magnificent reading. Gregory Roberts journey will make you fall in love with the vibrancy of Bombay and indeed with the beautiful country of India where the poorest have the biggest hearts.
by Emily Brontë
A dark novel, a vindictive hero and a wild heroine who later loses her vivaciousness in marriage. This masterpiece of a novel has had me spend many a nights lamenting the story of Heathcliff and Catherine. Falling out of love, revenge, subtle physical and mental cruelty depicted in an England of the 1800s have made this novel initially controversial, but then today, a classic. I assure you, this book is going to stay with you forever.
by Arthur Golden
When I picked up this book, I was skeptical. After all, I didn’t know Japanese culture, so I was not sure whether I would be able to appreciate the nuances of the story. But I am glad I did not stop. I read it and realised that a good book transcends cultures and countries. A geisha is a hostess trained to entertain men in the form of dance and song. The protagonist is the fictional character of Chiyo who is put into an okiya(a geisha boarding house). The story follows Chiyo as she grows from a cheeky and witty little girl to a beautiful geisha in a journey of ups and downs and rivalry. And love too, in the form of a mysterious man.
A beautiful book and a must read.
by Khaled Hosseini
Khaled Hosseini is my favourite author. I have read all his books but this one remains my favourite. A poignant story with loveable (and sometime pitiable) characters, it tells the story of Amir and Hassan, two friends who grow apart, due to guilt and a country in turmoil.
Any review wont do justice to this great book. So read it as soon as you can! Oh and it has my favorite quote too –“For you, a thousand times over..”
by Kathryn Stockett
In the 1960s, in America, where apartheid was still prevalent and African-American maids were treated differently, a white girl decides to write a book about it. She befriends two maids, one quiet, the other fearless and thus begins the journey of three women, very different from each other, yet the same at heart. A lovely book that talks about feminism but more about the human spirit with all its faults and strengths. Read this book to feel warm and powerful and vulnerable at the same time.
by Anne Frank
In one of the darkest times the world has ever seen, during the Holocaust, a young girl , in hiding, writes a diary for over two years. A diary that traces her emotional journey from a young girl to a teenager, her infallible spirit, her relationships and the war outside. A chilling and endearing account of a young girl’s life, cut short by cruelty. Yet, in her diary she wrote – “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
A book that grew up with and still love dearly.
Have you read any of these? We would love to know what you think and any other books that have stayed in your heart!!
The old woman sat on an old rocking chair in her porch. She was waiting for her eldest grand-daughter to take her to a dentist’s appointment.
It was her birthday. But no one in her big family had called her up. She listened to the silence of the house. The house where once the sounds and chatter of little children and grand-children reverberated. Now all of them were grown-ups, had their own lives. Who would bother remembering the birthday of an old woman like her. She sighed and tried not to cry.
Her grand-daughter, Elsie arrived.
“You should not have booked the dentist’s appointment, my teeth are fine”.
“You sound cranky, grandma!” Elsie said.
“No, it is just that you all are so busy, I don’t want to be a bother”, sulked her grandma.
“Haha, you are cranky!”, laughed Elsie.
Her loving grandmother, for whom she had had a beautiful childhood. Oh how she loved this sulky old woman!
“You look too happy,have you decided to leave that ass of a husband you have?”, grumbled her grandma.
“He is not an ass, Grandma, and he really loves you”, Elsie chuckled.
“Well, I don’t love him, or anyone for that matter”, came the retort.
“I know, I know”.
They turned around the corner and parked in front of a party hall.
“This is no doctor’s clinic”, the sharp old woman said.
“Yes, I just need to run an errand,but you will have to come with me”, said Elsie, helping her out of the car.
Taking her grandma’s arm, she led her to the door and flung it open.
“Happy Birthday to you, Happpyy Birrthdday to you!!!”
There stood in the hall,her huge family, her children, her grandchildren, the great grandchildren, friends and family.
“You thought we forgot, right? You must be growing a bit senile, Grandma”, whispered Elsie.
“Senile, my foot! ” said the old woman.
And she burst into tears.
As everyone hugged her, wished her and kissed her, her tears dried up and her old face wrinkled up to form a radiant smile. Only, those were not wrinkles. They were but a patchwork of love.
The fragile dream, the one that had shattered when life took over, haunted him constantly.
A dream of becoming a writer, of travelling to lands faraway, of finding inspiration in little known places.
For years, as he sat in a tiny cubicle in a big office, his desk cluttered with paper and post-its, the fragments of those dreams still haunted him. In meetings, in coffee shops, in malls, the remnants of the dream followed him.
At home, in the lonely evenings, the shadows chased him.
Till he could take it no longer.
He had to bring the dream back to life in order to escape its ghost.
People thought he was crazy.
Maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t.
He packed his bags and travelled to faraway lands, wrote stories, made friends, found inspiration.
No more ghosts.
He had oozed life into his dead dream.
And the dream, in turn, now, made him feel alive.