19

Happy Birthday Papa

Happy Birthday Papa

The year was 1991. I was about 5 years old then. Papa always motivated us to be courageous, brave and work on our fitness and had this habit of saying that his body was made up iron and how I should also exercise and eat right to get that perfect balance for the body.

It was a hot summer morning and my summer vacations were going on. Papa was following his daily routine of exercise. I was in a fun mood that day and somehow got hold of a huge stick. He was sweating profusely and was exercising bare-chested. I was always a naughty child and was always ready with one or two tricks everyday.

That day I dared him, “Papa you always say that you are made of iron. Right. I want to test it today.”

He casually replied, “Yes I am and so are you. So how do you plan to take the test?”

Exuding my childhood innocence I stupidly suggested, “I will hit you with this stick on your back and lets see whether you feel any pain or not.”

One thing I would like to highlight about him; he was exceptional with kids especially when it involved their curiosity. He would never shy away from answering lamest of queries and encouraging them to try out new things. He always taught you would never learn until you fail.

He persuaded me to go ahead.

I kept on asking him again and again whether he was sure. Each and every time he confidently replied, “Yes! My son. Bring it on.”

I thought that I had thought this through but I was too naïve.

With all my might I swung the stick hard and bangggg!!!

Papa and Me

A crimson cylindrical line appeared where the stick hugged the skin.

Moments later similar crimson lines appeared on my cheeks with the love that was showered by my mom after the Iron Man test was completed.

Everybody in the family including my mom was shocked that I actually did it. They all thought I was just playfully bluffing. For a moment I was appalled too that I actually did it but it was all too late by then.

This was the kind of bond Papa and me shared for the major part of our lives. I remember he being either my partner at the running end on a cricket pitch or would be bowling to me being as part of the opposition. He always said that we are friends first and father-son later.

I clearly remember the nights scarred with power cuts and me spending most of them on his shoulders bombarding him with innumerous ‘whys’ and then would doze off on his chest. I would suck the juice out of oranges and then would give him the pulp to finish. How he would take me to buy cream rolls every evening. How he would take me on a bicycle round and round every time it rained. The memories are uncountable and the vacuum is forever.

For the last 3-4 years he would constantly say to me that I want an hour from you and want to discuss something but destiny always deceived us. In fact there was a trip, which we both undertook and the only time that we were separate was the time when we would use loo. I guess this sums up what a father-son relation actually becomes when they grow old. Both of them have so much bottled up to say but none of them has the courage to look weak.

Everybody loses someone in his or her life and my case isn’t special. It’s just that sometimes when the people are alive you don’t have the words and expressions to convey your feelings and this is my way of communicating to him. I am sure wherever he will be he will be in peace and would definitely be smiling over me; reading what all I write. It’s been 530 days since he left us and he would have been 65 years old today. There hasn’t been a single day where I haven’t craved to speak to him and hug him. Some would say he left too early…All I would say is that he lived like a king and he left royally too where he didn’t give anyone a chance to serve him in any manner and take care of him.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

A poem by my sister Shraddha Mukul

Life has moved on, and yet you still remain,
Your absence your memories is unbearable pain.

Every day I wait to sleep wait to be with you in my dreams,
I hug you, I hold you so close … your presence makes me smile,
And then I wake up and see you gone,
And that you were never there …you are gone for a while.

I waited on my bday … coz you promised you will always be there,
No matter which part of the world I am, you will come to me to celebrate,
You didn’t come … I am still waiting…
And now I wonder I might go crazy at this rate.

When I was little I always thought … nothing will ever happen to you,
And that you are “my daddy strong”
Look where I am standing Papa,
I feel so so very wrong.

I am angry at you and I feel cheated,
You promised you will never let go of me,
I am falling in the dark Papa,
Don’t you care anymore, can’t you see?

People say I am silly,
that one who goes never comes back,
They don’t know our connection, Papa
I know you will find me even in a world pitch black.

– Shraddha Mukul

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22

Cirque Du Joker

Its a WOW post

Once upon a time in a far far land,

It was unique, as it was known as TEDDYLAND.

 

There lived a Mr Joker,

He was no ordinary card…he was the hero of his own Poker

One by one they came and broke his heart,

Though smiling through the pain was his art

 

They love their Jager bombs and Jagermeister,

He would honor them with his own JOKERMEISTER

 

They would cuddle and lay on his chest,

The funny stories he told were his best

 

In his genre, he was a rocker

He brought to the town his own CIRQUEDUJOKER

 

Each had a Paraphilia that brought them to orgasm,

He had his JOKEROPHILIA hat created a lot of LAUGHGASM

 

His art was to touch women’s heart,

All they would do is break his apart

 

So many stories and so many happy endings,

He was a storyteller whose JOKERTALE was never ending

 

They say, Jack-of-all-trades master of none,

For him, it was Joker of all trades and master of some

 

He faded with time, but his stories remained,

The Contemplation of a Joker forever entertained.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

Tell me which one did you like the most of all the new words.

 

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

The New invented Made up words:

TeddyLand – A place where every inhabitant is a Teddy bear.

Jokermeister – A potion of the Joker

Cirque Du Joker – Circus of Joker (inspired from cirque du soleil)

Jokerophilia – Love of Joker

Laughgasm – orgasm experienced with laughter

Jokertale – A tale of Joker

 

12

The Cricket Bat

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The Cricket Bat

The continuous ringing of doorbell was a unique trait of Papa’s arrival. Every time that happened I almost instinctively knew who would be on the other side of the door. I was right this time too.

As soon as he entered he announced, “Listen I have a meeting in the evening and I will be leaving early. Sit down, I want to have a quick chat regarding the preparations of the reception”. We both sat down on the sofa in the living room and started discussing. I told him about the things that were already taken care of and what were the expenses involving that.

He went to the items that were yet to be finalized and what would it approximately cost us. While he was still speaking I don’t know when I involuntarily stood up and started walking to and fro. In fact, I didn’t realize until he pointed out to me.

“Why can’t you simply sit and continue a serious conversation? Why are you so restless always?” Papa questioned digressing from the main discussion. By now mom and sister had also joined in. In an attempt to showcase sincerity I blurted, “I am all ears and listening very carefully to what all you are suggesting”.

A smirk had already formed on my sister’s face. She knew where this was heading, like the usual conversations where, in the end, Papa will get angry and frustrated and without completing the discussion, shout at me and leave for some work.

My Cricket Bat

Papa began again with the details. A few minutes later he shouted again. This time I was unconsciously shadowing batting postures with my favorite childhood bat in my hands. “I am earnestly listening to you, Papa. I swear. I can repeat each and every word that you have said”, I pleaded to keep him calm.

It was too late. He was already irritated and all I could overhear was he shouting at mom saying what’s wrong with this boy? Why can’t he just listen to me? Even if he can’t…he can at least act? Someday I will definitely burn this cricket bat of his, somehow it becomes a part of every discussion. My mom sarcastically replied to him, “You are the one who gifted the bat to him”.

The ignition of the car suggested that Papa drive away. My sister was now laughing, as it was a daily routine for her to see every discussion end this way.

My parents say that I have a good memory and a decent recall power. As far as I can remember the first memory about myself is holding a plastic cricket bat and being surrounded by plastic cricket balls. I was about 8 or 9 years old when Papa gifted this bat to me.

Even in ‘the State of Happiness’ I highlighted this. Playing cricket with him was pure bliss. It brought happiness and joy beyond words.

I would carry this bat along with me everywhere possible. Like the girls have their dolls by their side, I would have my bat. I would even sleep with it. I have scored most of my childhood runs with this bat. I still remember how Papa taught me to oil a cricket bat and how I would take care of it like the most precious thing in the world.

It has seen its ups and downs. They were phases where I felt that it might get broken but with the help of some adhesive tapes and extra love and care, it has seen those treacherous and scary days off.

Even today, if you visit my house you will find it in the living room living along with us. You will still see me playing around with it, mimicking cricketing postures even during serious discussions. There were many times when my mother and sister during their clean-up drives, tried to get rid of it. But they know that it is like those older movies of fairy tales where the villain will only die once you kill his pet parrot, similarly my lies in this cricket bat. It is my first cricket bat and is like my first love.

For all those who love cricket,

For all those who have their bats with them,

For all those who still play with them,

And

For all those who are still living with them…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

 

 

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

16

The State of Happiness

It was an early Sunday morning. Around 5 am he shook me out of my slumber. He signaled me to be extremely cautious and not make any noise. He hated waking up people but on Sundays, he would make an exception. I quietly picked up my cricket bat and bowl and went to the roof. I had to make sure that I don’t wake up my mom else our plan of morning cricket would not be executed. He was waiting there for me.

For fifteen years since my early childhood, my father and I would go and play cricket every Sunday morning. On days when we would be playing on the roof, we had to take care of the plants mom had planted. On those evenings she would find a branch or two cello-taped and we would be banned from playing on the roof. This ban would only last till the next Sunday and my father and I would be back to our mischievous best.

That is my earliest memory with my father. Playing cricket with him was pure bliss. It brought happiness and joy beyond words.

Happiness is like success. It is not a destination but the journey. It can last for a moment, an hour, a day or a lifetime. It depends a lot on internal as well as external factors. It is a state of mind.

Happiness brings a smile but a smile is not necessary for me to be happy. I can be silent…observing a picturesque view…and be completely happy without smiling. And I can be all smiling and laughing out loud without being happy.

Happiness comes from within and depends from person to person. A person can have all the wealth and pleasure of the world and he might still be unhappy while, on the other hand, a person earning just daily wage…sleeping on a footpath be content and happy. People befriend adversity and somehow find happiness in that also.

A monk is happy when he finds peace through meditation while an entertainer finds happiness by witnessing how happy his audience is.

For me;

Happiness was playing cricket with him – when he would be my partner at the other end or I would be facing him.

Happiness was sleeping was on his chest and talking to him for unlimited hours sitting on his shoulders.

Happiness was asking him irrelevant innumerous ‘whys’ and he patiently responding to each and every one of them.

Happiness is finding sleep in mom’s lap and love in her food.

Happiness is teasing your sister and pulling out pranks on her and then spending the rest of the days pleading her not to complain to mom.

Happiness is having a meal together with all the family.

Happiness is the tea, pakode (snacks) and the petrichor of first rain.

Happiness is facing the red cherry opening the batting.

Happiness is bowling leg spin and getting the batsmen bowled behind his legs.

Happiness is holding her hand when you are down and out, knowing that there is someone in the entire world who will never turn her back on you when the entire world will actually face the other way.

Happiness is going for a long bike ride in the mountains.

Happiness is playing with kids and letting them win.

Happiness is taking a long walk in a downpour and getting completely drenched.

Happiness is cracking jokes in a group of friends and being a reason for their smiles.

Happiness is traveling to places, meeting new people, learning about their cultures, eating their food, speaking their language and experiencing their lives.

Happiness is dancing to any tune and making others dance with you too.

Happiness is acting in a theatre play and seeing your parents with tears in the audience.

Happiness is the delight of putting my thoughts into words and seeing it reach to the readers.

I believe these days everybody is so caught up in the paraphernalia surrounding them, that they have actually forgotten how to smile…how to be happy. We are just living a dead life. It is like pressing the play button at 28 and stopping it at 60 without realizing to live the moments.

I took the part of being the Joker to bring some smiles and happiness to people and their lives whenever and wherever possible. Humor is the medicine which can save lives out of grimmest of situations. I have seen biggest conflicts getting resolved when both the parties broke into laughter at the same time.

Smile often, people…Laugh genuinely…be aware of every moment. Let happiness come to you rather than you pursuing it. And you will surely find your peace.

For all those are in the pursuit of happiness,

For all those who believe in positivity,

For all those love to smile

And

For all those who are genuinely happy…

It’s not a goodbye…

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

12

Through the Mist – Book Review


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Cover Page

Through the Mist – Book Review

Book: Through the Mist

Author: Sona Grover, Abirami,

Adhithya, Nimitha & Rupali

Reviewed By: Manas Mukul

Publisher: Jimpify Publishing (29 Aug 2017)

Price: Rs 99

Pages: 92 (pdf)

Language: English

My rating: 3/5

One picture – Five Authors – Five stories – One Book. This in itself is an interesting premise for anyone to enlist ‘Through The Mist’ in his or her reading list.

About four years back I took part in a collaborative effort to come up with content worthy of publishing. Collaborative writing can sometimes turn out to be very tricky. It can be less writing ‘effort’ but it can surely be more ‘headaches’. When too many heads collide taking a story in a definite direction then sometimes the story takes the back seat and ego begins to power the engine. Anyway, let’s not digress.

Sona Grover, one of the five authors of the book, to do a review for them, approached me. My bargain was; an honest review in exchange for a free copy.

I found the overall premise very intriguing. A picture, which is also the cover page, was shared with the authors and each was expected to start with their version of the story keep the picture as the pivotal point.

Usually when authors collaborate the book turns out to be an anthology but what makes ‘Through the Mist’ interestingly unique is that each author will share their unfinished draft with other authors in a sequential manner and after all the authors have written on every story then only it will be considered complete. So that means each author will contribute to every story.

It is like a relay race of writers. You don’t know how the next is going to imagine and write or how good the outcome would be; all you could manage is your own leg.

The Motivation

The team:

Jithin, who provided the inspiration for the book. He blogs at www.trablogger.com

Abirami, the teenager who’s obsessed with writing and blogs at www.theobsessivewriter.com

Adhithya, the youngest teenager of the team who blogs at www.wordstuggedatheartstrings.wordpress.com

Nimitha, the writer who finds time to write between her busy work schedule. She blogs at www.nimzrevealed.wordpress.com 

Rupali, the teenager studying maths and writing poems at www.literatureismyporn.wordpress.com

Sona, an avid reader and the resource person to lend any help. She blogs at www.sonaonline.wordpress.com

Aadhira, the in-house editor who pushed everyone to write this book, blogs at www.aadhira.me

The five stories are:

‘A Middle Class‘ story brings us Pari, the independent, headstrong girl whose parents want her to marry and settle down. Love has other views and comes unexpectedly through Rehan. In this comedy of errors, blunders pile on and the protagonists head a laugh riot.

In ‘A strange Life‘, Aarya, bored with her profession and disappointed with her personal life, finds an unexpected adventure that is a little too much for her to comprehend. Can she manifest the life she has wanted to have, by reclaiming her power?

Aakash cannot forget Anavya, the love of his life. His longing turns him into a poet and he hopes and waits for her, years later. ‘Languish in Love‘ is a delicate story that explores love, longing, pain.

‘The Lone Man‘ is hard-hitting. All John wants is to forget his wife Sarah’s death and get on with his life. But his nightmares and visions would not let go of him.

‘Turn of the Tides‘ is set at sea and the men who have lived with the sea and loved her are the ones who fear her now. Can they conquer their dread and have the sea lose her power over them?

PROS:

What surely works for the book is the diversity that each of writer brings to the table. With their experiences and thought processes that vary from a teenager to a mom, it definitely adds on to the flavor. The love of writing is what makes this a ‘team’ irrespective of the difference in their culture, language, preferences, age groups and perspectives.

The standout thing in the book is that each story is completely different from each other and do not belong to a single genre. That is very refreshing, as it doesn’t overdo a single theme or genre.

One thing which I would like to highlight since each story exchanged hands five times that there was consistency in the storyline and the theme in all five stories. It is a swift read with only 92 pages.

CONS:

The role of an editor in such a collaborative effort becomes crucial and critical. I felt that the authors were let down by average editing, judging by how the stories were stitched.

The other thing, which I believe, could have been a bit better is the vocabulary. There are far too many grammatical errors. So the onus lies with each author as well as the editor. I can understand the flow of the stories not being smooth because of the format but still, that’s no excuse for the grammatical errors.

How it came about:

My favorite story:

The last story how it personifies the sea. I like it for its poetic and metrical tone and how expressively it gives ‘Sea’ a voice.

The pros definitely outweigh the cons in ‘Through the mist’. It’s definitely worth a read once. I give two and half stars for the stories and another half a star for the concept. It’s 3 out of 5 for the unique collaboration i.e. ‘Through the Mist’.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

Grab a copy here: Amazon

18

Some might say that it’s wrong

 


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It was the last day before the summer vacations of the kids were about to start. All the ladies in the WhatsApp group – ‘Class of 2003’ were busy gossiping about how they have convinced their husbands to pick up their kids from the school.

Nothing is as refreshing as seeing your father at the end of a long hot summer afternoon at school come to receive you.

They all lined up outside the main gate, waiting for the final bell to go off. Most of them were coming straight from work in their formals while some belonging to the self-employed class had the privilege of being in casuals. But there was one, who was dressed up like a cool dude. He had come on his Royal Enfield Bullet. The aura around him suggested that this guy doesn’t have an iota of a worry. He too was their batchmate but looked way too younger and was in great physical shape. He was so good looking that some of their wives even teased them by mentioning his name at odd hours.

The moment the other men saw, the humming of bees started among them. Each and every one was jealous of him. It was as if the roles had reversed and now they were discussing (read cribbing) more like their wives. The reason being he was still unmarried.

The WOW prompt

Some might say that it’s wrong to remain unmarried but I really envy him for the fact that how can someone have so much freedom and fun. Slowly each of them started pouring their heart out:

You get to sleep on any side of the bed…in fact, the whole damn bed is yours. No fight for the pillow…no tug-of-war for the blanket at night. No changing of diapers at 2 am.

These so-called ‘parents’ and ‘elders’ are never satisfied with whatever you do. They were after my life first to get married. After I got married they were after me for giving them a grandchild. Now once I fulfilled their wish they are chasing me to give the child a sibling.

First, they say you are doing all this for the family but where is the time for the family. From 8 am to 11 pm I am slogging in the office earning for the EMIs that are reducing us bit by bit. If it weren’t for wife’s Facebook posts I would have even missed the growth of my kids.

Some relatives suggested get married to a small town girl; she will be a good housewife. Now she has become a great housewife along with three maids doing the better half of her duties.

He still gets to play cricket on weekends while we spend most of ours in the queues of supermarkets. He is partying on Friday nights while we are busy helping out with home works.

He gets to take out his bike, do solo trips and explore the mountains while we end up spending the holidays just planning where to go. Most of us spend more time doing to and fro outside the movie theatre than actually watching the movie.

In fact, to his credit, he did give a Russian girl a real chance but the family went crazy the moment he brought her home. His life is so perfect as he can choose to go out with different girls on different nights and his eyes became moist (The one who was saying this). Everyone went quiet reflecting on their miserable lives.

The bell rang…kids came out running…each outpacing the other in the desire to hug their father.

The dude overheard everything. He turned towards the men and said; “You know what I miss the most, my bundle of joy running towards me like this as if I mean the world to him.”

For all those who are still unmarried,

For all those who are single,

For all those who are married

And

For all those who love their kids

It’s not a Goodbye

but it’s a GOOD BYE

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

 

25

The UGLY Teddy

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Once upon a time in a far-off place, beyond the snow clad mountains, within a mesmerizing landscape, where nature was in its purest form, where the freezing streams originated there was a picturesque land known as ‘Teddyland’.

In Teddyland everyone was a teddy bear. From adults to children, from stout to tall, from brown to pink to red to orange, everyone was a personification of a teddy.

In teddy land there lived J, the most jovial of all of them, a teddy that was the center of everyone’s attention. Wherever he was he would always be surrounded by other teddies that would be laughing out at his tales of witticism, puns, and gags. Female teddies drooled over him. Anyone who got an opportunity of his cuddles never forgot his feel.

What made him unique was his appearance to go along with his nature to make everyone laugh at all times. He was surely different than any other teddy of the Teddyland. He had no fur on his head…he was bald. To make matters worse he had misplaced teeth and no jawline. With humor came a lot of sarcasm, which won him a lot of accolades, but the fate seemed to differ when it came to love.

One day a female teddy, S, from the neighboring village came. She was in the market when she heard a loud laughter erupt. She got curious to know what it was. The moment she laid her eyes on J, she was in love with his imperfect smile. Somehow none of J’s imperfections mattered to her.

She confessed her love to J. They started seeing each other. Met, ate and danced together. The moment she cuddled J, her love for him deepened. They became inseparable.

They decided to take a step forward in their relationship and get married. S was very skeptical of her parent’s response. Her mother knew of J, she had seen him perform many of his gigs. She liked his performances but never approved of his looks.

When S discussed about J to her mom, she outrightly rejected him. Her mom told her that she belonged to a royal family with grace and splendor and possessed beauty for which others are ready to kill. How can she stoop down to this ‘Ugly Teddy’?

S never wanted to disappoint her mother, as she was the sole reason for her existence. She knew all the hardships her mother had faced to raise her. But she was in too much love to let go off J either.

She tried to convince her mom but their love was defeated.

In the end, the respect for a mother won over the love for an Ugly Teddy.

Many years later, S was visiting Teddyland with her husband and children. They were taking a stroll by the stream. She heard an eruption of laughter. All of them went to see what the commotion was all about. There was J, right in the center of the action, a little balder and fatter with wrinkles beginning to sketch out, doing the only thing he knew – to make others laugh.

He instantly recognized S. He brought a couple of cotton candies, handed them to the kids, hugged them one by one, wished and blessed the couple and disappeared into the crowd of teddies.

For all those who want to live in Teddyland,

For all those who believe love is beyond looks,

For all those who want cuddles

and

For all those who love Teddy Bears…

It’s not a Goodbye,

but it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

Wow Prompt

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’