a beautiful mind

Category: Short Stories

A Race You Should Not Win

By Rashi Pranav Roy (Delhi, India)

This happened to a teacher in our school. She was walking hastily in the corridor, and stepped on wet orange petals fallen all over the slippery floor. She slipped terribly- the most classic fall one can ever see happening  to a woman in a south silk saree. She ended up with her legs in full split; she earned herself a pelvic fracture. She could not close her legs due to, you know, the broken pelvic bones. Nor the teachers could bring her legs back together ending the acrobatic stance. Hence, she was put in the same position on a stretcher and rushed to hospital. Just imagine (pause). What a brutal piece of work we kids were! When we were told about her injury, it was an ‘Oh No’ in unison. When we were explained how she fell, and moreover how she was taken to hospital, we fell off the desks laughing hysterically. Not our fault, she made it a legendary fall to remember. Because she could not watch her steps! It was wet, slippery and sprinkled with deep orange petals all over. She should have used her eyes and brain and slowed down.

It’s not the matter of just the steps we take while walking. The pace of everything has switched us to 2X speed. Everything! One morsel of food is there ‘un’chewed in mouth and we are already about to pop in the second. Before the other person can reach the end of his sentence, we interrupt him with our story, “know what…”. There is a new thing called power Yoga which can condense the entire benefit of 1 hour of pranaayama in 10 minutes, ethereal! It’s so crucial to overtake that truck or tempo that dents no more matter for car and driver. Pace and pace in everything, vrooming along the clock without making any sense- back down, just cool down, pacify yourself.

Have you ever seen a mommy who gets up late and gets her kindergarten kid ready for school- polishing the socks along with shoes, while holding the cheeks tight enough to make the child pout like a pig as she combs the hair so hard that scalp bleeds. And I would not explain the phallic catastrophe following a fast and careless zipping up of pants. White icing rather than cherry on the top, she dabs talcum powder all over the face of the dumbstruck kid, finds unnecessary to clean the dust off the brows. Making the child look blonde! And her final kiss before the child boards the bus clearly swipes the powder away in kiss shape on one cheek. The child, too shocked to interrupt the mom, expressionlessly hangs the water bottle by its ribbon around neck and shoos to school. It’s her misconception that she did it so fast and perfect. If only she could give ten minutes more to the chore, the kid could happily go to school looking like a student rather than clown. (But hey, lazy or hasty, mommies still rock)

To some serious side of this, most accidents are a result of illogical race to reach first. How devastating that has proved to be for millions? Just a matter of ten to twenty minutes of time makes one behave like a fast forwarded fool. All the bruised gums, scratched scalp, choked windpipe, bumped cars, unzipped pants, messed up work desk, cluttered shelves, broken ankles, injured elbows (against the doors and walls)- it’s all because of haste. And it is entirely our fault, isn’t that hard to manage if you take a step back, look and plan.

Why not be ready half an hour in prior to avoid that rush? Please keep things at right place (men, have mercy on this point), never ever pull a cloth randomly from the shelf and always, get up early. Getting up early is the first thing which sets every schedule in perfect timing for the rest of day. When you get up at 6am instead of 5:30, it’s a huge loss because the mind is boggled thinking I’m Late, I’m already Late.

One more thing, avoid listening and reacting to people who keep shouting to hurry up. Not asking to be rude, just develop a resistor in your mind. Loud horns, loud advices- these only harm the functionality. I had smashed my car’s rear view mirror against a hoarding once. No, not because I am a woman. My cousin shouted suddenly, ‘Take a Left!!’ I reacted to that in one second and bang! Keep the body, mind and logic in equilibrium. When thes three factors are out of sync, the person ends up looking like an unsolved Rubik’s cube. Take time. You have to be alive first, anything later. Else, no one minds another classic acrobatic pelvic fracture-slash-split to die laughing about.

In and Out

Writer wishes to remain Anonymous. 

People are constantly asking me if something is wrong. It’s as if they can read my mind by merely looking into my eyes. I don’t know what they see, but I believe them. They say I look tired. They say I have sad eyes.

A friend of mine once told me that even though he appeared to be enjoying himself he was really empty inside. He told me that what you may see on the outside does not really relate to what is on the inside. I believe him now. A laugh on the outside, a sigh on the inside. A smile on my face, a lost look in my mind. It’s better to just lie to everyone. To act like everything is in its place.

I miss you. Your laugh, your eyes, your touch, your kiss, your companionship, your love. I miss all of you.

Mahua- The story of a girl whose screams we couldn’t hear

Story By: Obhimanyu*
Translated by Eunoia
16 June, 2017     

WOMEN.. Have we ever realised how powerful this word is? Women are mothers, a mother gives birth to a new life.
Her mother died giving birth to her. Her relatives named her Mahua. As a little child, Mahua needed the care and love of her mother which no one else could give her. So her father, Sudhir, married another woman. But she was his wife, never a mother to Mahua.
Mahua missed her mother and always wondered how different her life would be if she was alive. She’d read fairy tales where the prince and princesses had a lovely mother, sometimes they would get back the loved ones they had once lost and live happily ever after. These stories gave Mahua hope and little Mahua would dream about finding her mother somewhere, somehow.
She isn’t a child anymore. She now understands that the dead can never come back to life, will never come back to you. She’s 17 years old. “A young girl is roaming around in our village. Oh Lord, how embarrasing is that! Girls like her need some security. Sudhir, it’s time you find a young lad for her, get her married so she can fulfill her duties as a woman.” they’d say. “A man is ready to marry her. His family has agreed upon three lakhs”, said Sudhir. Three lakhs was her dowry. Did anyone ask her what she wanted in life? No. She loved someone else. Two innocent hearts were separated over an agreement. That day she wished upon a falling star, just like she did when she was a child, for her mother to come back to her. “She wouldn’t have supported this”, she tells herself with tears in her eyes and scars on her soul. But her step mother turned a deaf ear to her pleads.
If you ever meet Mahua, you’d realise that only god can do such miracles. She was perfection. Her big, bold eyes would tell you her stories while her lips would smile through the pain. But it was that day when she gave up to this cruel world, she lost the war, she lost all hope and faith in life. It was that day when she was sold, the day she realised that her body had a price.
She failed to understand why god gifted us with all these emotions like love and trust when he can’t protect them. She wondered if he understands the pain of losing someone, of getting your heart broken in two. Why did he give us the power to dream, if they wouldn’t ever come true?
That day Mahua was devastated. She succumbed to the society, following orders like an obedient pet just how they like women to be. But this isn’t a story of just one Mahua, this is the story of many girls. Female foeticide, dowry, eve-teasing, rape.. the list goes on. Motherhood is in grave danger. Respect women not only because they’re women but because they are humans too and it’s high time we realise that.

*names have been changed


A budding writer from The City of Joy shares his story with us.


Pic Credits- Google Image

Author- Obhimonyu* (Kolkata, India)

1953, six years after one country was divided into two, my grandfather left his birthplace in erstwhile East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, and settled in Kolkata. He rented a house in Entally in east-central Kolkata. Why India was broken into two still remains a mystery to me!

The despair of partition was matched by a ray of hope of building a new nation. In the 1950’s, the old school charm Kolkata was in the air. Every youth indulged in physical training at ‘Akaharas’, notably the ‘bayam samitis’ of Kolkata.

Various clubs – harbingers of collective prowess and aspirations of a young nation started organising Durga Pujas, the biggest festival of the Bengalis. The pandals were huge, the idols full of elegance and spiritual essence as was the floral offering or anjali to seek the blessings of Maa Durga.

India was adapting fast to the challenges ahead as was Kolkata with an unending stream of refugees. Lack of financial resources never came in the way of the warmth in social, communal (not an antidote to being secular but emanating from ones community) and familial relations. The ‘sindoor khela’ or vermillion play while bidding good bye to Maa Durga on Bijoya Dashami, the last day of the Puja, and inviting her for the next year was full of ethereal charm and cordiality.

The immersion, commonly known as ‘bhashan’, of the idols in the River Ganges took place in processions and people distributed sweets to neighbors and family and friends to demonstrate the strength of their bond.

The post-puja open air functions, commonly called Jalsa, were dominated by the golden voices of the bygone era – Hemanta Mukhopadhyay, Manna Dey, Shyamal Mitra, Manabendra Mukhopadhyay, Pintu Bhattacharya, Arati Mukherjee, Sandhya Mukherjee, Dwijen Mukhopadhyay and many more. The ordinary others were mesmerised by the melody and the music as the narrow lanes and by-lanes of an old city got transformed into makeshift sitting arrangements.

It was not just the singers with their enthralling voices, but the Bengali actors and actresses of the golden days, like Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen hogging the limelight during the festivities in the 1960s and thereafter. The ordinary people emulated the stars as the conventional wisdom on helping the poor and the needy intensified.

The colorful yet disappointing, the period of hope yet with despair of the 1970s marked its arrival with bell-bottoms and handlebar moustaches. Enfield, Yezdi and Jawa bikes used to roar the Kolkata streets as they became symbols of flaunting power by the local god-fathers.

Hooliganism, bombings and the tussle between the Left and the Right became more pronounced than ever before. The angry young man of the tinsel town, Amitabh Bachchan, gained popularity by depicting social despair on silver screen, but in the process came to epitomise the harbinger of hope. His hairstyle of partially concealing the ears became the favourite hairdo for a generation.

The worship of Goddess Kali and the associated fanfare depicted the power relations in the social space. As the youth indulged in leisurely time-spending by way of ‘addas’, Kishore Kumar and RD Barman songs reverberated the lanes and by-lanes of a city well known for its vibrancy.

Blood donation camps and social services became the norm to win hearts and mind as the ordinary people turned eager to make their contribution for nation building and ensure a better future.

The arch rivalry between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan became pronounced in the 1980s, as the red and yellow team recruited two Iranians from the Aligarh Muslim University. Majid Bishkar (neither Basker nor Beshkar are etymologically correct) was 23 then. He along with Jamshed Nasiri, gave the Indian Football Association (IFA) League in Kolkata, a new lease of life.

Bappi Lahiri’s Disco music coupled with the steps of Mithun Chakraborty in white shirt, white trousers and white shoes on the silver screen produced the Disco Dancer, who easily stoked the imagination of the contemporary youth.

Flying kites in those days was more of a religion amongst the conservative Bengalis. The terrace of every house used to rock with “KASOR GHONTA”. Pigeons were there in every person’s house, nesting in the big ventilators. It was a power-game to pet and fly them.

Nuclear families became the norm of the day starting in the 1990s. The intelligent people improvised to their advantage. The scopes for jobs and education increased as did unemployment and underemployment.

The spartan lifestyle of the average middle-class Bengali gave way to consumerism as India embraced economic liberalisation. The young and the old thronged to the new power jaunts like the McDonalds, KFC, INOX etc., as the poor, sick and the elderly were pushed into oblivion.

The Bengalis delved into self-criticism, propagating and preaching, morality, ethics and humanity among friends and families but not necessarily practising them. Calcutta became Kolkata but did it also give away the values she stood over generations

*names have been changed

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