Excerpt: The Clockmaker – A spark in the rain

Here is a small excerpt from my upcoming novel THE CLOCKMAKER. Hope you enjoy it.

***

It had started raining since the evening. A heavy downpour followed by drizzle. With the onset  of the monsoons it was predictable. It was chaos everywhere. The routes were jammed due to water logging on the streets and the traffic came to a standstill in a short while.

Vicky was waiting for Kavya in the parking lot. He knew it would be difficult for her to drive back to her house in her scooty in this weather. So he waited there to help her out.

Kavya came out of the institute in a while. She was very upset to see the chaos on the road. It was already late and she didn’t want to keep her mother worried at home. She called her up to inform that she would be home late due to the traffic.

She pulled her bag above her head and ran to the parking lot. She was almost drenched by the time she reached there.

“Damn. How am I going to make it to Noida in this weather?” She cussed.

“May I help you?”A voice asked from behind. It was Vicky. He had gathered a lot of courage to say those words to her. His heart was racing fast as he waited for her answer.

Kavya turned around and saw a guy standing. His nervous black eyes were the first thing she noticed. It matched his anxious voice. She remembered seeing the guy in the class. One of the back benchers. She dismissed him immediately saying, “No. Thanks,” and turned back. She started her scooty and drove off without giving a second look to him.

Vicky sighed as he watched her go. “Damn! How stupid I looked?”index He said to himself and started laughing. “You need lessons from your old man again,” he reminded himself. His Nanu had been of great help to him when he set out to make his first girlfriend at the age of thirteen. He started his bike and trailed Kavya which he often did without her knowledge.

Kavya couldn’t reached very far. The route she usually took was completely jammed due to the rains and there was no sign of relief any time soon. Most of the people were already reversing their vehicle. So Kavya also thought of doing so.

She took a right turn and didn’t notice the speed bumper ahead. Before she could apply the brakes she lost her balance and bumped into a standing vehicle. The impact threw her out of the bike on the water logged road.

The vehicle was a brand new car and the impact broke one of its tail lights.

Kavya stood up shivering – more from the shock of the accident than her wet clothes. She was drenched completely and her hands and knees were bruised.

Instead of helping her, the driver of the car, she had bumped into, got down and started arguing about the damage done to his vehicle. The poor man was concerned that the car owner will deduct the damage from his salary. People started gathering around and it terrified Kavya more . She was so terrified that she hid her face in her palm.

Vicky reached there in time and found Kavya panic stricken amid the crowd. He didn’t lose a second and took the situation in his hands.

He got down from his bike and yelled at the crowd, “She is with me!” Within a few strides he stood right in front of her.

Kavya heard a familiar voice. She opened her eyes slowly and was curious to find a guy standing in front of her with his back towards her. His broad shoulders shielded her completely from the crowd.

“I will take care of it. Just don’t worry.” He stated.

Kavya remembered the voice. It was of the same guy in the parking she had met a few minutes ago. But his voice sounded so authoritive now.

He spoke something to the driver and he went away without saying  another word. The crowd too disbursed immediately.

He then turned back to face Kavya. “Are you alright?” He looked concerned.

Kavya looked into those eyes once more but could not hold his gaze for more than a few seconds. She was ashamed of her rudeness earlier. She nodded looking down.16445177980_40092b40ae_b

Vicky bent down and picked up her bag from the road. He looked around for her scooty. It stood a few meters away. Someone in the crowd might have picked it up. He went to check it. He started the engine and it roared. He looked at Kavya who was still standing there where he had left her. The rain water washing off the mud stains off her fair skin. He then noticed that she was shivering.

He came over to her and took off his rain jacket and offered it to her.

“Your scooty is fine.” He informed her.

Kavya remained silent. She knew she couldn’t make it home alone but she didn’t have the courage to say it. She started weeping.

“Damn! No! What happened? I am sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you anyway.” He was confused.

Between her sobs Kavya said, “No I am sorry for my rudeness. Please take me home. I can’t ride my scooty.”

There was silence for a moment.

Kavya wasn’t sure anymore what to expect and Vicky was speechless hearing her words. How much he had waited for a moment like this and now he was zapped. He could feel the blood draining his ears and cheeks red as his heart raced.

Then she heard him say. “Don’t worry about your scooty. I will get it picked up by my friend. Come on lets go.”

Kavya followed him quietly to his bike and pillion rode the entire way to her house in Noida. Nobody spoke in between. They spoke only for directions.

Kavya was still in shock and Vicky too cautious of her nearness to him. And it drizzled all the way.

When Vicky stopped the bike in front of her apartment Kavya got down and throwing a small, “Thank you,” behind her ran inside without looking back.

Vicky stood there watching her enter the building. He looked up towards the sky and a smile swept his lips while the rain drops splashed on his face. He started the engine and biked all the way home in super speed.

Advertisements

How much transparency is needed for our Armed forces?

The post first appeared on

http://www.ddsreviews.in/2017/01/Transperency-Armed-Forces.html?spref=fb

#SpecialFeature :: #GuestPost – How much transparency is needed for our Armed forces? by Paromita Goswami

When I wrote the book Grow Up Messy! I mentioned in details about the life of personnel working in Border Security Force. My chest always swells with pride whenever I read the scenes in the book. My father worked in B.S.F and hence I was brought up in that environment. It really helped me in shaping me up as a responsible citizen of my country. I have a special corner in my heart for the people in the armed forces. There was a time when I too wanted to join the uniform cadets however, I was destined to do something else. We will talk about it later.

The recent video of a B.S.F jawan that went viral on the internet and that which has really shaken the faith in the olive and khaki uniforms has really hurt me too. The video was about the quality of the cooked meal supplied to the Jawans at the border. It showed burned Rotis, Dal, without Tadka and all. And in my book, I have a complete chapter how Misry loved the Langar ka Tadka Dal.

Here is the excerpt:

Misry relished food prepared in the langar. First, the food had a manly touch unlike her mother cooking at home, which meant more oil, more spices and “Tadka”. And second, the food was cooked in huge chulha unlike the L.P.G gas cylinder at home and so the food had a different aroma and taste to it.

The Jawans had a special liking for Misry. Her presence and innocent questions reminded them of their children back at home, whom they missed very much. They loved to have her around and treated her like one of their children.

One of the cooks had also made a small bench and table for her to sit and eat with the rest of the platoon. The Head Cook knew about Misry’s love for langar food so he separated a small portion for her and added his special spices to it.

If I have to believe this video then I must say it was never so bad earlier. However, I understand things have changed over the years. The Jawans might be too stressed out defending the peace for our country just as we do while meeting our deadlines. Has life really changed so much? In the Video, Teg Bahadur has blamed his senior officers for selling off the ration that is distributed to them by the government. Can this really happen? Can someone even think of making money in this manner? If it were true then can that person be really termed as a patriot serving the armed forces to serve the nation? I don’t think so.  Such traitors need not be in any armed forces.

Every officer has a big responsibly of motivating his men so that they remain stress-free while standing in the first line of defense.  Every grudge of a Jawan,  no matter how small it maybe, is first dealt with these officers. It is his duty to see that his men are well taken care of unless of course, he is a victim of this bad practice too.

Not all officers are corrupt but those who are, they are really putting the lives of civilians at a big risk. And eventually the security of the country. I have only one question for them –What good is your money earned by corrupt means if the nation does not survive. Of course, India is very strong for this handful of corrupt people for we are the people of the country that has a big history of legends and no one can shake that trust off us be it money or fame.

However,  I do feel there should be more transparency in our armed forces too. With the growing technology, everything is visible now like this viral video. So why not make our procuring system and recruitment in the armed forces more transparent. Let the Jawans know how well they are being treated.

Another Video is of a CRPF Jawan who questions the facilities enjoyed by the paramilitary and the Central Armed police Force. When the risk is same then why not the facility. Let the parameters for selection be the same in both the forces. Earlier, when the Central Armed Police Force was established its main duty of line was restricted to only certain areas just like the B.S.F.

After Chinese aggression in 1962 in India B.S.F was established on 1st December 1965, to safeguard the international land and water borders of the country only. However, over the years their line of duty has changed. The B.S.F personnel is now doing all kinds of other duties besides guarding the international border. So why have their facilities not changed?

My book Grow Up Messy! is dedicated to BSF fathers who crave to watch their child grow.

No child would love to see their father so much in pain due to food condition or due to the lack of facilities. It is at a time when the men working in the forces should be heard.

P.S  To enter the #Giveaway please follow the above mentioned link.

Demonetization and Me

727985396

I hardly talk politics but when something becomes too much unbearable to hear I don’t stop myself. Okay so today, I want to write about demonetization that is bleeding out on news channels 24X7. So since the moment Mr. P.M, Narendra Modi, made his statement on 8th November 2016, ceasing the usage of ₹1000.00 and ₹500.00 notes, the finance turmoil started. index

I am a sit at home mother and novelist. My interaction with the financial transaction on daily basis is limited to the greengrocer, milkman, maid, newspaper man, mobiles bill and petty transaction here and there. So, did this decision really affect me. Yes, it did but not in a very big way because I have been using the online banking since long. And moreover limiting my cash transaction a little per day helped me take in the pressure.

However, I am not writing this to talk about my experience due to this decision which I believe is for the benefit of our country. I strongly support this decision and in the leadership of our Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. Because when someone, who has nothing to lose, takes a stand it means it is for the best for the rest of us. And I have a blind faith in the goal that he is trying to show us to achieve.

The day after this decision was my bill payment day. I had to pay my monthly bills to all including my maid. My maid is a local who lives in the nearby urban slums and leads a very happy life with her grandchildren. She is not literate and recognizes things by symbols. She can’t even count the money I pay her as salary but shows her faith that I shall never cheat on her.

images

Like me, there are few more people she believes in and one of them is the “Kamal” symbol, the B.J.P logo. She hates the “Panja”, the congess logo because they have not fulfilled their promise which they had sworn they will when they came to beg for a vote. So even if she is illiterate she understands the game of dirty politics.

Here is what she has to say on demonetization.

“A few young men, are being asked by the rich showroom owners of our locality to deposit their black money in their account and turn it into white money before returning it to them. They work in the showroom and hence had no choice but to do it if they didn’t want to lose their job.”

Then after I heard on the news channel that laborers are returning home because there is no work for them in the big cities. It is no cash flow actually because of which they were losing jobs.

Is it?? I don’t think so. Most of the people who returned back to their village had no back accounts in the city. So that means their identity was of no use to the big shots who were using the accounts of the laborers to change their black money into white.

images1

In my opinion, moving homewards always increases the chances of survival for any person. When I penned my first novel, Shamsuddin’s Grave, I had to research a lot because the theme of my book was illegal migrations. Shamsuddin, a daily wager, had come to the city of Guwahati in search of livelihood. What happened next were facts that mostly remain hidden from the people. It really ached my heart to see the fate of these people.

Demonetization led to homewards was, therefore, a very happy news for me. Maybe they get to eat one roti less but at least the family is together. I would like to question the government and officials at the state level and district level as to why they were unable to take the responsibility for this plight of the men and increase the opportunities for employment in the small cities and villages in their state. So that nobody has to leave the family behind to earn bread and butter in the metros. Eventually, this will yield good results for the locals of the big cities too as their share in the city will increase and they don’t have to squeeze in anymore to give room to others coming from outside.

Another good pointimages3 I noticed in the news which I had also highlighted in my book too was the child trafficking. Demonetization had shown a considerable decline in the trafficking trade as well. This was also confirmed by the senior member of the NGO, Bachpan Bachao Andolan Mr. Rakesh Senger. As a developing country, how many more proof we need to show that this step is indeed a remarkable step taken in making India a truly developed country in few years.

The media might be talking at length about the plight of Aam Aadmi due to this decision for they don’t hesitate to show the long queue outside the banks or people dying because of not able to withdraw money from their bank. But we know the truth that just for few corrupt bank officials and black money holders we are suffering.  However, there are few questions still which I am not happy with and I shall surely take them into consideration in my next article.