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Sunday, June 29, 2014

CLRI June 2014



Contemporary Literary Review India
June 2014

CONTENTS
Editorial
Poems
Boating Through Jabalpur’s Marble Canyons
In the Streets of Mumbai
The Marble Merchant of Jabalpur
Palika Bazar
The Kingdom of India  

Parasites
Chain Reaction
Ethics and Morality
The Public Trust
Pernicious Abuses



The Show
Restless Night

Losing it
Everything You Said



Stories





Criticism



Book Review
Announcement
Congratulations!

Joao Cerqueira's title The Tragedy of Fidel Castro has won Multicultural Fiction Award 2014 with 2014 Beverly Hills Book Awards. Joao's stories from the same title have previously appeared with CLRI.

Check at Beverly Hills Book Awards.
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Poems By Daniel Thomas Moran

Poems By Daniel Thomas Moran

Boating Through Jabalpur’s Marble Canyons


We were eight
in a blue rusty boat,
Rowed slowly through
the up river canyons
of the Marble Falls, pulled
by three pair of slight men,
and another who pointed put
the details in the stone cascades.

High on a ledge, a small boy
and a smaller one as well,
yelled to us words that became
lost among their echoes.
The guide said the elder boy
would jump into the river
for 20 rupees (a nickel).

Thoughtfully, the offer
was considered, then
I said, tell them both
to jump.

The Marble Merchant of Jabalpur


On that dust and stone hill,
high above the Marble Falls,
the marble merchant squatted,
the way men squat in India,
bottom against the dirt,
knees pressed to shoulders.

Beneath his tarpaulin, were
his five shelves, displaying
his store of stones, each
a proper fit for the palm
of a man.

I considered him and his stones.
He studied me as well,
the way a man studies a man
who has something to offer.

One by one he proffered each,
Writing on his open palm
the price of them. First
one hundred-fifty rupees, then
one hundred, then seventy-five.

After we had our dance, I
chose the one which spoke to me
with the clearest voice, and
handed him 150 rupees.

Agreeing, as we must, that
In consideration of fine rocks,
between men of will and willing,
One should not quarrel long,
or fail to strike the bargain,
over an issue of fifteen pennies.

Palika Bazar


This, our final day
in Delhi, the air
over the Palika Bazar
Has filled my lungs
with steel wool.

Every step, a man
with things to ply.
The small boy with
strings of tiny beads
presses us for ten rupees.

On the ruddy street tiles,
men with raspy brooms move
dust from place to other place

A well draped-woman
with a plump baby, begs
the white faced strangers.

It has been said by some,
The Hindus worship
a thousand gods.

Here on Janpath Street
there is but one god,
Folded in half in
the pockets of tourists.

Shopkeepers chant
mantras, to coax
the god from his temple.

The Kingdom of India


India is the kingdom
of a billion tiny efforts.
By wooden cart pushers, and
one-handed ditch carvers.
By rickety pedal cart climbers.
All those who dance with the traffic.
and the beggar with the basket of cobra.

In India little is spent, nothing wasted,
by them who feed all those who eat.
By the ones who coax the wells, and
those who scratch at the dry earth.
In India, even the dogs have their places.
Snarling for what little remains, or lying
out along the roads stretched in sleep.

In India, there is always one more
tiny space which could be filled.
And though the air holds its weight, and
the passing waters weep their pain,
In India these are the holy places,
of all the many gods who keep watch,
over the conversations of men drinking tea.

India is the puttering three-wheeled taxis,
clotting the roundabouts and lanes.
The Indian men who fry Indian things,
Boiling the sacred water and the ghee
in great dented vessels and kettles.
The drivers of groaning buses steering
their travelers through the chaos.

India is the tiny hands of the thiefchildren
of the monkey-god, Hanuman.
All the lungs breathing of that blue smoke
which curls and lifts out of every crevice.
The bony shoulders of memory
that bear the soft weight of long silk drapes.
The ancient din outside the ancient walls.

India is carried on bicycles stacked
with burlap sacks, thin lengths of wood,
all that is precious, and all collected things.
India it is the gathered pastel women
who reclaim the old bricks, while babies play.
Bald-headed loin-clothed holy men, and
Dirty urchins who hawk ten rupee necklaces.

It is khaki policemen and palace guards, and
the monsoons of uniformed children
who pour from the doors of schools.
India is the old ladies stringing wedding garlands.
The bony-hipped cows grazing the trash
The ten million machines with two wheels and three.
The sunrise always muted by yesterday’s haze.

India is the overflowing trains, set
on endless miles of creaking rails,
conveying all things which must be
gotten from here to somewhere else.
For India must maintain its motions, and
also its rare places of deep stillness, all
the voices chanting mantra praises to the invisible.

And India is the magnificent marble mausoleums
set among dilapidated shelters of the living,
India is the shop window teeming with brass,
and the pastels which color everything.
The crisp bleached linens of the mahogany old men.
And the mother whose babies are born hungering,
India is the bride whose groom arrives dancing.



 
Daniel Thomas Moran, born in New York City in 1957, is the author of six volumes of poetry, the most recent of which, Looking for the Uncertain Past, was published by Poetry Salzburg at The University of Salzburg in 2006. From 1997-2005 he served as Vice-President of The Walt Whitman Birthplace Association in West Hills, New York and has been Literary Correspondent to Long Island Public Radio where he hosted The Long Island Radio Magazine.
His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize on nine occasions. In 2005, he was appointed Poet Laureate by The Legislature of Suffolk County, New York.
He is Clinical Assistant Professor at Boston University's School of Dental Medicine, where he delivered the Commencement Address in 2011 and received the ADSA Outstanding Faculty Award. In 2012 he also received the Outstanding Clinical Faculty Award. His seventh collection, A Shed for Wood, is expected to be published by Salmon Poetry in Ireland soon. He and his wife Karen live in Boston's South End and in Webster, NH.

Poems By Gary Beck

Poems By Gary Beck

Parasites


Politicians don't gargle
to remove the taste
of speeches of deception
designed by cunning craftsmen,
because it's part of the job
to deceive the people.
They have personal contracts
that further special interests
heavily invested
in acquired legislators,
purchased at bargain prices
for mutual benefits
that exclude the public
from vital services,
no longer affordable
since available funds
were already expended
by elected officials.

Chain Reaction


Citizen X lost his job.
Citizen Y lost her home.
Their children are hungry,
but no one seems to care.
Dumb or greedy bankers
lost billions of dollars,
and officials rushed to replace
the squandered money,
while bankers rewarded themselves
for their colossal failure.
Citizen X has no job.
Citizen Y has no home.
Their children are still hungry,
yet no one seems to care
to adjust the imbalance.

Ethics and Morality


Many legislators
who should serve the people
avoid their duty,
grossly preempted
by special interests
preoccupied with profit,
avoiding obligations
to a struggling nation.
The few who attempt
to do the right thing
are often tempted
by seductive appeals
to concealed appetites
that allows them
to forget their duty.

The Public Trust


Political parties
with their own agendas
often conflict
with the common good,
since their priority
is reelection
of representatives,
whose primary loyalty
is to their benefactors,
not the needs of the people.

Pernicious Abuses


Ignorant investors
forced to rely on others
for financial improvement
are always at the mercy
of unscrupulous advisors
who place their interests
before the needs
of those who trust them.
Bankers, brokers, consultants,
insure that they will flourish
despite market downturns
that wipe out the savings
of the greedy, or gullible,
future prospects deceived
in the great recession.


Gary Beck has spent most of his life as a theater director and currently lives in New York City.  His poetry and fiction has appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He has many publications to his credit including Remembrance, The Conquest of Somalia, The Dance of Hate, Material Questions, Dispossessed, Mutilated Girls, Pavan and other poems, and Iraq Monologues to mention a few. His novel and many other collections are soon to come out.

Inwardly By Dr Karanam R Rao

Inwardly By Dr Karanam R Rao


Fix and unfix,
an idea with an image,
and a metaphor with an
enveloping silence,
that are now paired and
all at once into many-hued
silhouette.
All that I need to do
is to search for the many layered
meaning that is already there.
All that you Need to do
is to find an earth, a sky,
a fistful of moonshine,
a hand that blesseth,
and a smile that’s all- empowering.
And again , there is the same
sundown that shapes
and re-shapes itself
into tunnelled darkness.

Dr Karanam R Rao writes poems and fiction.

The Risks and The Rewards of Life By Dr. Krishna P. Chakravorty

The Risks and The Rewards Of Life By Dr. Krishna P. Chakravorty


The Risks and the rewards of life are the inseparable parts of life
No risk, no gain, greater the risks, greater the gains and so on
Extreme sports and games are getting more and more popular
People are going to the north and the south poles for adventure.

Even living a life is itself a big risk, and perils are everywhere,
Because virus, bacteria and other unseen bugs and infections
Can anytime endanger your life and cause serious diseases
So also are the accidents and the Natural catastrophes of the world.

On the other side, the rewards of life are priceless and unthinkable,
Today a man can fly like a bird, can jump from the top of the mountain,
Can dive to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean and the coral islands
Every inch of the glove is now accessible to the human adventure.

Life is a gift of Nature to us and is invaluable and beyond beliefs
We should use our lives to make it a better place to live for all.
Instead of plundering the Nature’s wealth and goodies around the globe
We should make Nature to be proud of us and the human race.

Dr. Krishna P. Chakravorty was a Faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Ohio State University and the Temple University. He has also served with the US Air Force, Dept. of Defense, EPA etc. He is a Senior Citizen with U S Citizenship. His interests include Philosophy, Science, Poetry and Nature.

Poems By Manish Kumar Kishan Singh

Poems By Manish Kumar Kishan Singh

The Show


Yet again, drums go
in remand of beaters,
and scream through
their lifeless, burdened skin.

Teenage hands sweep
sun stricken face of tar,
to form a nucleus;
in concentrated streets of city.

Aspiration walks on rope,
holding bamboos of desire.
And future swings in occupied space;
between toes and fingers

Few fingers go between teeth,
and palms oscillate to clap.
But her skin burns in usual,
adhesive stares of glued eyes,
scanning her breathing hunger;
peeping through her wrinkled poverty.

The magnetic performance ends,
with a hope of metallic down pour,
but clouds of indifference,
pass with few scanty drizzles.

Restless Night


Restlessness stretches again,
in dim yellow light of my room.
I open shutters of windows,
in the darkness of new day,
to bring some fresh air,
on my operating table,
where a heap of naked sheets,
lie open for germination.

Again I chase dark outlines,
swarming on off white walls.
Somewhere a rat is consuming,
my history and culture.

Eyes stare the static fan,
yawning over the cold roof of my face,
and a spider doing meditation;
in a secured corner.

A small stubborn star,
still wants to perform few scenes.
But it fades in strong beams,
of light thrown on stage.

Bhadauria Manish Singh, (born 1982 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat), is a poet and short story writer. Currently, he is pursuing his doctorate on the Indian English Poetry of Jayanta Mahapatra. He has published several short stories and poems in many literary magazines and journals including Nazar Look, Indian Rumination, Tajmahal Review, and Harvest of New Millennium. He has also presented his research papers at more than twenty national and international conferences. He has also published his first poetry collection called “World: Inner and Outer” in 2012 published by Cyberwit.net.

Poems By Revelle

Poems By  Revelle

Losing It 


Paused into a timeless abyss of impossibilities
a lapse, a moment frozen,
pining in the still winds of un-forgiveness

These un-ebbing flows insightfully outline
a ripened truth scrapped from ebony
dispersed in iron clad particles of heme unmercifully

Micro blades slice holographic strands of oblivion
hover in the deepest darkest recesses of emptiness
carved in innocence, as still as a stagnant body of water

Percolating endeavors murmur
in these abiding undiscoverable ripples
pensively sweating, oozing towards an unfathomable surface

Invisibly I pray
in-between these folds of fantasy and verisimilitude
shivering invincibly as eons press in all directions

Everything You Said 


Woken from the Slumbering feats of another decoy
I bravely wax the tides to slip between savages that keep me from my joy
Brimstone puts the fire to my feet, rings around the ridges counting defeat
Weavers mead the cloth thread by thread, reminding sanity of its tread

Hypnotic erotic fantasies blend these pages of you and me
I find some reality sitting on the banks of bottom shore
I find something stirring me I never found before
Ride another destiny along this blowing wind
Keep your parachute unwound to let the goodness in

Something missed the night a mystic rhythm of an honest man’s plight
Towing and sowing his misery in awkward frustrations blinding even obscurity
Death is all everywhere in every empty stair that attempts to read somewhere
Over my shoulder I realize I was the one who could Hypnotize

Sing me some more truth I love to taste its soil
Sing me some pretty song so I can just uncoil
Salutations bury me carry me deep inside my bed
Here there is no heartache, just everything you said

 
Revelle was born in Marshalltown Iowa in 1955, but his family moved to Los Angeles in 1964. His childhood was split between city life and working on the family’s farm during summer breaks for many years. Fascinated by religion from an early age his first experiences are shaped in small town churches where he begins his religious studies in various disciplines including Hinduism, Buddhism, Philosophy and Metaphysics. Music was also very much a part of his life, writing his first songs and performing them at the age of eight. At 7, he started writing plays and preforming them in his school at the behest of his teachers.
He currently lives in Los Angeles. He has a fictional novel titled Tantric Tales of Mahamudra which is awaiting publication and a collection of poetry titled 365 Days of Poetry to his credit.

Ode to Saving by Spase Petroski

Ode to Saving by Spase Petroski

I sing a song, a joy I pour, for the wisdom of saving,
for the savers, for smart, for brave, for the heroes,
who acquired their wealth by wisdom and slyness,
he with courage and glory, had fought for the victory,
over the improvidence, bad luck and uncertain future.

The saving, my beautiful love, from my pipe get drunk yourself
the thoughts of you often raise us to the blue skies,
in every round we look you prettier, close to faith and hope,
honeyed heart waves and is looking for love for all enamored,
clear tears of joy, flow into the golden strings.

Good people who found a way to save something,
they found their muse protector also
that will give them serenity, beauty and spiritual peace,
that will gift them, a new kingdom in an ornate end,
that will gift them, a new dewy floral bud of God.

Primordial is the desire to save on something today, for the future,
to save today for tomorrow, for the future generations,
for our youngest, for our dearest, for their future,
for our future, the future of our homeland,
for growth and development, safety and happiness, for fertile ground.

By saving you breathe strength and power for wide action,
for victory of prosperity, good and secure tomorrow,
saved goods are boon for all of our close,
saved goods are as a heady fragrance, that spreads,
heady fragrance that is spiced with green ozone, which brings health.

Penny by penny, a spiral is build, and a huge flame in my soul
which victoriously rises itself to the heavenly saddle,
the brave heart starts after the track of the real saving,
from the depth of the soul a magnificent beauty springs,
in that moment the sadness and pain will disappear as lighting and thunder.

The saving takes, adorns and celebrates the whole area,
it spreads and adorns, permanently fills the handsome space,
the saving lights the consciousness strongly for the better tomorrow,
a strong desire for success lies in everyone’s heart,
for freedom, safety, for new and healthy investments.

Oh! God, hear our prays, give them strength and power,
give courage to saving crusaders, in the battle for profit,
give them the brightest stars to bring them through the heavenly arch,
anywhere on the earth a beauty to shines, a boon to be spread,
glory and honor to follow them, a song to be heard everywhere in the world.

Glory to saving with wonderful songs for any soul,
glory to the victory of austerity, praise for the believers,
you, the believers of saving, give us grace and blessing,
angelic psalms will celebrate the wealthy deposits,
praise and joy will be heard on the earth and heaven.

Oh, Saving! Mother of all new and healthy investments,
spread the news through loved homes, villages and towns,
spread it through factories and gardens, colorful expanses,
take hope for today, tomorrow, for safe eternity.
bring hope and joy, lucky and joyful youth.

Friends of saving come in to our wide circle,
feel around, expand the space,
open your soul, open your pores,
breathe deeply and strongly, fill your chests,
fill yourself with strong and healthy synergy, for new deeds.

A beautiful song is heard from the distance, a song which captures my soul
Go ahead, brothers savers, our faith will win everyone,
all those diligent, honest and smart, who believe in their future,
the faith for better freedom, unity and future will win them,
bringing the austerity a wonderful bright glow, everywhere.

And in that way, so confident, fulfilled spiritually, materially and morally
with clear thoughts and sound sense, with passionate and clear will
with blazing and glowing sparkles, friends and united strengths,
open their vision, open the sweet dreams,
and with winning gallop accomplish your desired goal.

Sweet and holly saving, we hold you with steady and firm hand,
because you bring us passionate love, peace and happiness,
you give us pleasant light, soft and wide bed,
you give us great justice and exalted freedom and luck,
you spread our delight everywhere around the world. 

He, who does not save, he cannot build his country,
we saved a lot, we spent a lot, but we created most,
we created worlds surrounded by stars, shined by the sun,
we rise to the heights with our view till the glow of the stars,
I circled with my view above the grand and golden creations.

The savers are strong revolutionaries, full with energy,
the world believes and follows them, because they are common boon,
because they are pure soul which is talking the truth,
their message is clear and the world receives it with joy,
and it gains clear instruction for the benefits of saving..
Saving is world’s boon, that builds beautiful towns,
it is the reason, many homes and nurseries to be illuminated,
it is a result, teacher, guardian of many good deeds,
it also makes all happy people, diligent, wise and honest,
and the people with sincere soul conscious and powerful.

You are honest, my beloved beauty, your deeds are glowing,
you turn the black into white and clear, ugly into beautiful,
the bad into good, the old into younger,
you make the less noble, entirely noble, 
and cooperate with gods for good of all.

A blessing is given by you to the brave, courageous, and strong
to all of your loyal subjects, you give honorable titles,
you put all of your followers to a valued place,
with bright and shiny halo on the domes of saving,
you solve the needs and demands of the humanity.

You, my beauty, spread beauty and freshness everywhere,
you build hospitals, you cure the sick, you give hope to everyone,
you turn the unhappy to happy, build them future
with pure love for light, for freedom, for tomorrow,
your strength and power, with bright fire is brining over the world.

Any successful effort for saving will surely give profit,
any security lies on the tenets of saving
our high and durable balances are fed by the saving,
and so spiritually and materially rich we go forward,
because the rich person does not beg for justice and freedom.

God, you call for saving, and we follow you with faith,
ready for distant road ,the saving is the beginning and the end,
the saving is my labor, the saving is my hope,
therefore, we build the saving, for the increase of the reserves,
a deep sense is hidden in the saving reserve.

Only with saving our value is increased,
only the saving is the guardian of our goods,
with the saving, you cannot be raised by doubt,
the despair is rejected with it, and the optimism comes
only with saving a better world is found, a new life is born.

The saving is strength and power, it is an ultimate supreme goal,
it is a common good, for all sincere and faithful souls,
it is a slender stature, which shines all day and night,
the saving is equivalent to the honesty and value,
equivalent to the goodness, sweetness and innocence.

Dear saving, only you can open heavy doors,
just you can open wide fronts of investments for the future,
only you and your twin sister, smart accumulation,
give diversity, beauty and sense of life,
you extend the horizon of light, glow and knowledge. 

The money saver is not penny pincher, but a visionary who thinks about tomorrow,
the saving today worth as much as it will bring benefit tomorrow,
we save today in order to be richer and happier tomorrow,
we save a little today to have more tomorrow, in the future,
what is saved today should be wisely spent tomorrow.

Let’s enjoy in the beautiful gifts, that saving offers,
to live a careless life which God gives us,
he turns the ugly into beautiful, the old into young and pretty,
he turned the cowardice into courage, strengthens the faith,
brings power ,faith, and strength to weak and exhausted.

A moment of happiness comes, a moment when the centuries are turned into years
the years into months, the months into weeks, and the weeks into full days,
the days of new joy, days filled with a healthy life,
Supreme God gift them days of happiness and eternal peace,
because only the savers first deserve your blessing.

The saving tempts the smile, creates eternal satisfaction,
with love, with harmony and peace, for your wide supreme gathering,
bridges of happiness will always be built and restored,
join and gather together, create happy friendship,
bring happiness ,pleasure and hope in your and our home.

The saving offers successful harvest of true values,
it is priceless wealth and happiness to all people,
it is an asset preserved from all colors and hues,
it brings progress ,which is a source of all treasures,
and the profit that the saving brings is a boon for all.

Who offers all his savings for knowledge, he had found God,
knowledge gives confidence ,the truth is born, the freedom comes,
the knowledge widely opens the alter of mind’s freedom,
give me your hands, brothers-savers, your strong and clean hands, the time has come,
a brotherhood to be created ,let the delicious food be a knowledge.

There is a saving that is a faith, treasure for all desires,
for all the benefits, for real relaxation, for joyful meetings,
for interesting trips and pleasant experiences, for happiness,
for beautiful homes and harmonic clothes, for nice accommodation and equipment,
there are boundaries and stations, but there is saving also.

Only with saving there is not so much or too much surplus,
it is an optimum, that always creates a new value,
it is a good that fertilizes itself time and time again,
it is a health which creates a healthy and strong generation,
it is a new thread for branching the tree of joy.

The saving creates an asset that has creative power,
it is a common denominator for all goods,
the treasure of any nation depends on the saving,
the saving makes every nation powerful and reputable,
it builds the bridges, it brings together the people and nations.

Dear, your saving is holy and it develops intensively,
it is presented and respected admirably everywhere in this white world,
the saving raises golden bridges with invisible love,
with its side-splitting joy it joins the hearts and brings happiness,
a new sun will shine, new rays will flow like a river.

The saving is a sponsor of all beauties and valuable changes,
it is a sponsor of all values in any happy community,
the saving is a main median around which are interlaced,
the political, intellectual and social ideals,
and through the saving the moral values are protected.

The saving is strong and visible, with heavenly force, bright and sweet,
it finds force immediately and it puts up like a firm pillar to the sky
it discovers roads ,brings joy, spreads hope among young,
joined together like a brothers we will form a holy alliance,
in front of the future, this reality will not be embarrassed.

The saving is a mentor for accumulation of new knowledge,
for creation of new intelligence and young capable staff,
for establishing and application of new science and technology,
for establishing of new scientific and technical discoveries,
for creation of conditions for better and more humane life.

The saving is a medium, through which an investment is made,
through which new products and values are created,
through saving the community is enriched and protected,
the servants and saints are animated by the saving,
the saving will create a happy and prosperous country.

The saving is always an obligation, an obligation of the common sense,
the saving is always a movement ,a movement along the real road,
a movement through wavy meadows and playful starry skies.
the saving is a holiness and paradise ,the saving is bright glow,
with kind and smart people who do not neglect the future.

All the obstacles that life brings and sets,
are easily skipped regular saving,
the crimson flag of saving is a symbol of honest love,
of love toward universal human opportunities and necessities,
all savers joined together are perfect and fair citizens.

Let’s plant a seed for new works, a thirst for knowledge and love,
for all young to come from south, east, from north and west,
words from the mouth to pour, for God’s glory, for heroes,
the brave hearts go after the track of the real saving,
from the depth of the soul magnificent beauty will emerge.

The saving calls, gives impetus, encourages and proclaims,
winners, messiahs, heroes, leaders, peacemakers and sages,
who change and beautify the environment and the world,
and all the other who step on the way to brighter future,
with saving the poverty is exceeded and a paradise is built.

If you think that you have no perspective, no future,
rely on the saving, look for it in the saving,
because the saving is a postulate for your future,
give your confidence, see your future,
the saving is a security and it will never let you down.

The idealism encourages and raises the level of saving,
the realism emphasizes the benefits of the saving,
the saving represents elevated current doctrine,
a doctrine which is never boring or violent,
it is used and idealized by everyone, and everyone delights of it.

Diligent savers, now, in this moment, in this crucial hour,
raise a third barricade to protect us from the crisis,
which knocks on every door, which brings weakness and poverty,
protect us from this monster, give help to all of us,
because you have opportunities and because only you can do it.

As everything in this song is immortal and should live,
and a modern life also affirms the desire,
the clear will for a new saving and a new creation.
Savers! Your duty toward the humanity is clear,
your intellect is to the reasonable, which opens all the doors.

Merciful Jesus, give help to all loyal savers,
and open them the doors of the paradise, because they, the savers,
built the past, and set a bedrock for the future,
Oh! Dear God! If they had sins or made mistakes,
forgive them, because they did them for the others.

Savers, cheerful and reasonable, your thoughts are clean and clear,
your thoughts are honest and as innocent as a child’s soul,
your duty toward all others and toward yourself is clear,
faithful friends profess saving, speak future,
pronounce a bright future because a new spring comes.

Dear Savers! Faithful friends! Brothers of ours!
access to our ranks, from all over the world,
assemble to our circle, stand under our flag,
all savers and associations from all around the world,
from different regions, join to the international saving.

The saving, before and above, before and above everything in life,
for equality, for wellbeing, for better life,
for brotherhood, freedom and harmony, for happiness in life,
the saving is healthy and happy mother of all goods,
and a good children are those who constantly promote her.

The saving alliance is a force that strengthens the democracy,
the saving alliance is a symbol of a freedom and progress,
the saving alliance will climb on the pedestal,
the saving alliance can see the future,
the saving alliance will share and implement the justice.

Dear Brothers-Savers! Smart and sensible heroes,
your means are basis for the existence of the society,
your final goal is not only the survival of the society, but also a progress,
we do not have final goal ,we are bold evolutionists,
we will always search for new and higher means and laws.

Dear Brothers-Savers! You are honest people and you have a goal,
people with a burning heart, young in spirit and a pure wisdom,
you are people that always accomplish their holy aims,
you are relatives of Moses who will greet the bright morning,
you will all together get to the promised land where the paradise is placed.

Oh!a dearest new friend, you also bring new deeds, for a new power,
for the new deeds, for the new power, our heart and our soul pine,
about new successful reforms a new power and force is needed,
the successful reforms are deed to the services of the mind of saving,
the result of that type of reforms is a high standard in the life.

Happy are those who save in youth and old age,
because only they are conscience about the meaning and aim of the life,
hard to those who lost their faith in the saving,
because they lost the meaning and purpose in the life also,
therefore, dear brothers, focus yourself toward the aim of the life.

Come here, savers, young and old, large and small,
come here and accept this brotherly sincere call,
this call is for you, your way to be paved for your own good,
ready for action ,joined together for the good deeds,
new fruits for the saving will be born, fruits for you.

Brothers-Savers! Sons of the freedom, faithful to their kind,
the lifetime begins and ends with glare for the saving,
it always brings hope and joy, brings brightness and happiness,
friends, access to the courageous army of savers,
to protect our eternal and sacred homes.

He, who cannot understand the mind of the reasonable,
will surely understand the pure soul of the saver,
the person who never saved has no orientation in the life,
the saving gives strength and power, the saving is from a blessed kind,
from the God ,our Lord sent with frank greeting, dear saver.

The soul of the saver is fragile, full with longing and passion,
it is lit and it stands forever on the swift wings of time,
that soul gives blessed strength from the supreme God,
that grateful soul from the nectar of wisdom grows,
and it resembles to the golden lyre, with strong and playful strings.

The money is cheaper and profitable if they are from the saving,
every saving is good, because it creates a good deed,
but what kind of saving you will do, that kind of offspring you will get.
Are you savers, do you regularly and earnestly save?
Why is the saving treasure, why it is a paradise?

Under the blue sky, a new spring comes, a new flourishing life,
where there is equal place for all savers and their relatives,
the fruits of the saving will belong to you and your relatives,
our country will crop abundant fruits with a blessing,
and our soul will silently wave and rejoice for the saving.

Libertarian call echoes, the saving given from God spreads,
the saving sweetens and frees the soul from restraints and shackles,
it opens new horizons, it is a connection between the past and the present,
we wear the gathered savings in our armpits, we feed it as a baby,
we keep it and like it, we stroke and multiply it, and put it on a throne.

Savers! Friends! Blend gently into one innocent soul,
which steps toward the Gods, toward their eternal kingdom,
the strong soul with passionate thing flames the spirit and the echo,
the joyful saver will approach to the heavenly glittering palaces,
the saving will soar toward eternity the life will pass in happiness.
The saga always and everywhere celebrated and praised the saving
a song for smart and brave savers, the fighters of the future,
it always multiplies the benefits, it liberates us from the suffering,
in a dawn a red wine will be drunk and a cheerful song will be sung,
in the dawn the golden sun will shine with a wide smile.

You ,the new savers approach to the horizons of the muse,
because the endless fields of the muse will be opened,
from the endless flowering gardens, and clear streams and rivers,
the muse will weave you wonderful and colorful fresh wreaths,
from your glare the whole darkness will be lightened.

Savers, you, the leaders of the good, protectors of the beauty,
in your consciousness there is neither anger, hatred, pain, nor pain,
there is no corruption, conflict, contradiction or a gap,
the big fame and hope gently touches and strokes your hearts,
in your chests wakes up the sweetest cheerful love,
golden savers, the saving takes time, you are lucky.

Bold fighters will carry the new saving through time and space,
a new sun will shine, the new rays will flow as a river,
the holly light will pour the de

Spase Petroski, based in Macedonia, is a sing writer.

Albatross By Vennila

Albatross By Vennila

The gills of my life lie on the cot
with the waves of breath drumming between
the skin and bones showing regular upheavals that
gnaw me deep with the woodpecker’s beak
digging through the heap of doubts
Oh Mother! Will you be alive to sail me safe?

I grow up under your vigilant pulse
along with the fire-ball’s everlasting journey
and the return of the queen of night
threatens to fortify my skeptical thoughts
pushing me deep into every dark hole
Oh Mother! Will you survive to help me grow?

Under the unbridled limbs of the banyan
I suffocate as I branched out with my own
clinging on to my limbs as I yearn to take off
but stays connected to the stone-pedestal
trying to detach the undesired umbilical cord
Oh Mother! Don’t be an Albatross around my neck!

Woman-born Man
Woman-born man,
the stalactites on the roof of her cave,
the hanging dagger targeting her heart,
the fringes around Vesuvius’ mouth,
with words half-cooked, anger unsubdued,
becomes her Orion hunting her mind and matter.

Woman-born man,
the silhouette of her frail frame,
the outrageous designer of her selfless name,
the weird harbinger of her vicious fate,
with his darkest passions quashing her unborn desires,
chases her to the edge with his Cyclops’ eye.

Woman-born man,
the broken sword of a warrior in death’s hands,
the fading rays of the giant Sun,
the last sigh of the dying tsunami,
with his unquenched thirst to surmount his creator,
succumbs to his phoenix-abode to be born again.

Vennila Ramanathan, Associate Professor of English at Bharathi Women’s college in Chennai, is interested in writing poems, short stories and flash fiction. They have appeared in Transnational ejournal, Inspired by Tagore International Publication 2011-12, Roots and Wings: An Anthology of Indian Women Writing in English, New Harvest Millenium Magazine, A World Rediscovered (Cyberwit publication), The Poetic Bliss, International Poetry Anthology and Wordweavers, an online magazine.

Mom You Don’t Lie Ashok Patwari

Mom You Don’t Lie Ashok Patwari


My Mom would never lie. I know it!

It is not just a belief or my blind faith in my Mom. Everybody in our family knows that she always speaks the truth, howsoever bitter it may sound. Without taking a position because of her fondness for a particular family member, she always supports the truth at the cost of being unpopular. Whatever it might cost her she never lies!

I don’t exactly remember how old I was at that time but I vividly remember the day when the whole family was making a fuss over the allegation made by Sunil Bhaiya’s class teacher against his misconduct in the examination. Sunil Bhaiya is five years elder to me. His class teacher caught him copying in the examination from small chits of paper recovered from his pocket. Sunil Bhaiya protested and pleaded to be innocent by arguing that somebody might have put those chits of paper in his pocket without his knowledge. But when Mom was called to the school, she immediately recognized Sunil Bhaiya’s hand writing and apologized on his behalf. Sunil Bhaiya was eventually let off but the whole family was upset with my Mom for being cynical. 
“How can a mother do it, just to prove her virtue of always speaking the truth?” Everybody including my Dad said it but she stood like a rock.

Mom is not only truthful but also knows everything about life. She even anticipates things and makes right prophecies. Her knowledge and premonition really impressed me when I was five years old. It was immediately after I jabbed my teeth in to that green apple my Dad brought from Geneva. I felt a strange sensation in my mouth. There were blood stains on the apple. Merely the sight of blood made me nervous and then I felt some pain in my gums. I screamed and called Mom. She came running and looked at the apple. I could see a sudden relief on her panicked face.

“My sweetie you have just shed your first milk tooth”, she said with a smile and showed me the detached tooth fixed like a peg in the apple. I washed my mouth and saw my lower incisor tooth was gone. But except for some raw and reddish area in the gum there was no bleeding.

“But how will I eat Mom” I was still concerned.

“We will just take this tooth out from the apple” she removed the tooth from the apple and put it on my right palm, “ We will go to the park and put it inside the mouse hole. The mouse will take this tooth and get you a new tooth after a few months. And you know, that tooth will be bigger and stronger than this one”, she tried to console me.

I didn’t believe her weird story. Before the mouse could return my tooth, as promised by Mom, I lost another and then another. “Mom has lied to me !” A disrespectful thought came to my mind. I didn’t want to change my opinion about Mom but whenever I looked at the mirror and discovered all my four front teeth were gone I couldn’t help but feel disappointed.

It was one of those early morning surprises. While brushing my teeth I saw a whitish thing in front on my lower jaw. When I touched, it was hard. After a few days another white thing was visible next to it. In a few weeks I got the biggest surprise of my life. These white things grew like seeds and looked like my new teeth. Mom was right. I knew it. I knew it for certain, she could never be wrong because she always speaks the truth. I felt ashamed of myself for doubting my Mom.

It has always been a great excitement for me to visit my grandparent’s village. Apart from freedom from daily stress of getting up early for the school, carrying my heavy school bag and missing my evening TV serials for the sake of my never ending home work, my brief vacation gives me complete relaxation and opportunity for outdoor activities, and privilege of breathing absolutely fresh air. The other attraction for me in the village is an ancient Durga Mandir, barely ten minutes walk from our house. My experience of climbing up the stairs of Durga Mandir has been a part of my life, a reflection of my growing years.

It is not a joke to run up to a hundred steps to the temple but Suresh Bhaiya used to do it in one go. I was barely five years old then and could hardly go up to ten steps and then start panting. I used to get frustrated with myself and complain to Mom that Suresh Bhaiya runs up so fast and I can’t. But every time I complained to her she said, “ You are still a little kid. Suresh Bhaiya is older then you. He is ten years old. When you will be of his age you will also run up the stairs like him, I promise”. I was convinced because the very next year I could gradually run up to thirty steps without panting. “Yes, Mom is right. When I will be ten years old I can also run up like Suresh Bhaiya” I was convinced about what Mom told me.

It was an unexpected experience and a great disappointment for me when I visited my grandparent’s village during my summer vacation when I was around eight years old. It was after two years I visited the Durga Mandir. I was shocked because I could not even climb ten steps of the temple. This kind of regression was unexpected. After climbing hardly five or six steps my legs felt weak and I almost fell down. I didn’t experience this before coming to village may be because I never tried to climb. Our apartment was on the ground floor and my class room too was on the ground floor. Deep inside me there was something which caused anxiety but I was not sure what it was about.

Soon after the vacation I had another shocking experience waiting for me in my school. After the summer break the class room assigned to my class was moved to second floor. I was shocked when I realized that I cannot go upstairs without taking the support of the railings. I couldn’t explain why?

When I recall what has been happening to my legs over last one year, I am convinced that something is wrong with me. Gradually my legs are becoming weak. My legs look big and strong but I cannot run like other boys in my class. I fall down unless I walk slowly and carefully! Yes, I am different from the rest!! I think I know something about it by now. I did hear my doctor telling Mom “You should transfer him to a school with a ramp or an elevator. Things are going to worsen. We need to anticipate these problems and try to help him…”

May be I am suffering from some disease because last one year my Mom and dad took me to several hospitals in the town, many specialist doctors have examined me and a lot of investigations have been done. The deep anxiety in my mind has made me even tougher than what I thought I was. The pin pricks of the ‘Nerve Conduction test’ and ‘Electromyograph’, and the soreness after muscle biopsy did not cause me as much pain as the thought of going through a spell of regression. Now I am a regular visitor to the physiotherapy unit of the children’s hospital, a place I always panicked to go for my immunizations.

I suspect the doctor knows everything about my illness. I heard him saying, “It is called Duchnne Muscular Dystrophy and it is a progressive disorder. We need to have a counseling session with the boy…..."

The doctor appeared composed and confident and Mom was quiet. Is it possible that the doctor is wrong  I tried to consoled myself. But my doctor appeared serious and Mom’s facial expressions didn’t seem to be in disagreement with the doctor.

This year, after a gap 2 years, our whole family has come again to grandparent’ house for a brief vacation. I didn’t want to accompany them because I am scared of the thought of visiting Durga Mandir again. I was reluctant but my local friends in the village compelled me to accompany them to Durga Mandir.

I feel miserable today because I don’t want to attempt to climb the stairs and display my awkward way of going upstairs. I know I have a problem but I don’t want others to ridicule me. My friends coaxed me but I am afraid. There are no railings to support me if I fall. And I am definitely going to fall because even with the support of staircase railings in the school it takes me ten minutes to reach my class room. I am ten years old now and I can’t even go up a few steps without support.

Mom had said I can run up these hundred steps in one go when I am ten years old. But I can’t? Did she lie to me? I know her! My Mom never lies!! But then why are my legs so weak, why!!

 
Ashok Patwari is a Professor and Head of the Department of Pediatrics at Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, New Delhi, India. His short stories have been published in leading Urdu journals since 1968. His compilation of Urdu short stories, "Kuch lamhe kuch saayey", won him the Delhi Urdu Academy award in 2005. He has also published a compilation of Hindi short stories,"Behta Paani" in 2009. His short stories in English have been published in "Muse India", "Contemporary Literary Review India" and "Indian Ruminations".

Different Ways By Nilanjana Chakraborty

Different Ways By Nilanjana Chakraborty


Sadhana looked at Prem, “What do you mean by that?”

Prem sighed deeply and put his coffee mug on the center table and readjusted himself on the sofa to face her squarely. “What I mean is very plain, Sadhana. Just how do you suppose is this going to work out. We have a six-year-old son now, who needs his mom and I have a demanding job myself. Considering the circumstances, is going to Antarctica for one year that important to you?”

“You know I am a geologist, Prem. You also know how much effort and dedication I put in my work and what the academic world is all about. I thought that you appreciate my sense of identity that I derive from all this.”

“I do Sadhana, without a doubt, I do. In fact, it was your independent spirit and a zeal to strike it out on your own that attracted me to you in the first place. But that was a decade ago. You were a research student at that time and I was a budding software engineer, totally new in US. Things have changed now. We must acknowledge that. I have grown in my profession and currently run my own consultancy firm which is a lot more involving than a salaried job. And our son, Prasad is just six years old and still needs both of us around.”

Sadhana finished her coffee by now. She put the empty mug on the side table and turned back to resume the conversation. “I am aware of all that, Prem, and more. What do you think, this is all very easy for me? But the fact is that just as you have your commitments towards your profession, I have mine. I am a research scientist now, working with a group of other scientists who depend on me to do my job. We have obtained a lot of grant money from various sponsoring organizations over the last few years for our research and now it is time to pay them back with concrete results...by collecting real-life data and testing out our theories. And all this requires an Antarctic expedition, of which I too am a part. I already opted out of an earlier expedition, when Prasad was just two years old. But I cannot shy away now. And talking of Prasad's well-being, I want to set the right example for our son, even if it means that I have to leave him for a year.”

Prem threw up his hands in exasperation. “Always talking idealistic. What examples are you talking of, Sadhana? What does it matter that the group of scientists depend on you. Your own family also depend on you. Whom would you choose?

You are not a super-human. You also have your limitations, whether you like it or not. Everybody would understand that.”

Sadhana smiled and shook her head sadly. Then she sat up, “No, Prem. Nobody would understand that. When you, my own husband, are not trying to see my view of things, how do you think I can expect others to do so? You do not live on favors in this world, Prem, you have to earn your living. You talk of choosing between my profession and my family, now, when my profession demands some personal sacrifices. What motivated your choice when you married me? Did you simplistically assume that I would be the one to give up my job, when it came to it, just because I am a woman? I do not know the answers to these questions, Prem. I was always under the impression that you fully knew about my level of commitment to my studies and were aware of the amount of effort I put into them...working late nights, often missing meals, slogging for the last twelve years, being absorbed in the work – body, mind and soul. And I thought that you accepted me within this framework, for what I was. You see, I owe it to myself the most, to make this expedition happen.”

“And yes, it has everything to do with Prasad. I do not want my son to grow up thinking that one can hide behind personal excuses. I do not want my son growing up thinking that there are easy solutions to life's problems. I want him to know that his mom gave it her all to live up to her professional commitments, because she had started her family with that understanding in the first place. And I want my son to know that it is as OK for a woman to be ambitious as it is for a man to be so.”

Prem was looking at the floor now, absorbed in thought. He said, without looking up, “Ambition is a tricky word, Sadhana. It has been known to tear families apart and leave individuals utterly forlorn and unfulfilled at the end of the day.”

Sadhana was quick to reply, “Not if your ambition is based on dedication and scrupulous hard work and is motivated by your love for your dear ones.” She reached out for Prem and put her hand over his. “I love you, Prem, and our son, very much indeed.” They sat together like that for some time, silent and reflective. Then, she got up, stretched out a bit and added, “Besides, without ambition, there would be no progress and the world would not be as safe and comfortable as it is today.”

Prem looked at her, “Provided, you are able to raise a family and pass it on to the next generation. So, just how do you expect us to manage a whole year without you? Do you have a plan?”

Still standing, Sadhana said, “Of course I do. I have been expecting this since a couple of months now and have been talking to Bhavana about it. She was very supportive and encouraging and said I must go forward with the trip. In fact, she was more than willing to take charge of Prasad for the year in case you don't feel so confident. As you already know, we are both very close, she being my only sister. Her husband, Shantanu, simply adores Prasad, just as we are very fond of their two girls. They feel that Prasad can quite fit in for the year with their daughters, Neha and Shikha, who are currently nine and twelve years old. Besides, my parents live nearby in Mumbai and keep coming over to them at Pune quite often and shall be helping out too if the need so arises. I could have left Prasad with my parents too, but both Bhavana and myself did not want to burden them with care, at their age. You know what, Bhavana is even planning to talk to a good school there to arrange for Prasad's admission. It is early April now. I intend to prepare Prasad for all this before we make it to Pune in May to get him enrolled and comfortably settled for the year.”

Sadhana paused for a moment before she resumed, “As for you, I am sure you can manage on your own pretty well as you did when you had to go to Japan for six months on training just a year into our marriage, not to mention the numerous business trips you make every year”.

Prem finished off the rest of his coffee in one gulp and got up. He went and stood near the window, drawing the curtains aside to let the cool night-breeze in. Then he turned back to look at Sadhana, who was still standing there, waiting for his response. “It may sound all very mathematically correct, whatever plan you are proposing, but in reality I do not like the sound of it. Talking of favors, would you not be taking favors from your sister and her family if you leave Prasad with them? For that matter, my mother also loves Prasad. But she is in her late seventies and lives with my younger brother Jeetu and his wife Sudha, in Lucknow, as my father is no more. We have very good terms with my brother and his family too, but personally, I do not approve of sending our son away to live with relatives for a year, however intimate family ties we may have with them. Ever since you resumed attending your conferences within the last two years, we have somehow managed the couple of occasions when both of us had to go out of town, by sending Prasad over to stay with Brendon and Smita, who happen to be our close family friends of years and are in the academics themselves. Even so, these occasions lasted only for a day or two. One whole year is a totally different story, Sadhana!”

“In short, I do not want you to go. My Japan trip was a different matter altogether. I was at Tokyo all that time and not in some godforsaken place where no one can contact you; we did not have any child to take care of at that time; and you were in your final stage of doctoral research, deeply engrossed in writing your thesis and more than glad to have me out of the way, I can swear. However, things are quite different now. Life has moved on. I may be going on business trips from time to time but I still come home by the weekends, if not before.” He paused for breath before adding slowly, “I love you, baby. Look at us. This is the only child we shall ever have, given our busy lives. I do not want to miss out on a full year of his childhood.”

Sadhana went and stood beside Prem. “I understand your feelings darling, but you are unnecessarily getting defensive. And as for Bhavana, she is not doing any favors by taking Prasad in. She loves him. This is what family is all about. In fact, I had even suggested putting Prasad in a good boarding school in Delhi with my parents as his registered guardians. But she would listen to none of it. And I cannot deny that I would feel more comfortable with him staying with my sister than at a hostel. I mean, he is just six years old.”

“So, when I was talking about earning your living, I was not talking in absolute terms. Nothing is absolute in this world. One does have to depend on others in some form or the other and I am no exception. All that I am trying to say is that we must sincerely try to fulfill our precommitted obligations and take help wherever justified. I consider that taking help from family is justified by average standards as long as it is being offered willingly. However, nothing is finalized as yet regarding Prasad. I am still talking to you, am I not? You can have him here with you if you want it that way. We can make other arrangements – contact a crèche, appoint a suitable housekeeper, maybe. In fact, it would be the best solution possible if you two are able to continue together.”

“But please bear in mind that this conversation is not about justifying your Japan trip and the countless others you make on business errands. Neither am I trying to justify my decision. This is about making choices and living up to the responsibilities attached. I made a choice when I entered this profession. You made a choice when you married me with the full understanding that I would be continuing my research activities. We both made a choice when we went ahead with having a child in spite of our careers.”

“I agree that our lives have changed. However, adapting to change doesn't mean giving up on promises, but finding and choosing alternative solutions to challenges or making the best of a situation if you don’t have any alternatives available. I have no choice if I want to continue in this field. Surely you would not want me to sit at home just because we are not able to adapt ourselves to the situation.”

Prem turned away to look out of the window once again. “I think that you talk too much about commitments and choices. I prefer making decisions in spontaneous freedom. Is it that necessary for you to keep working at the University? Can’t you think of any other career, when it comes to this? Wouldn't that be an alternative solution, too?”

“That would be an alternative solution too, agreed. But you seem to be making it out as the only solution open for me. I expected a little more understanding from you, especially since you knew about my work before we married. I can and shall give up academics if the situation really demands it, even though I am not sure that I would be able to replace it by any other equally satisfying career because of my over specialization and the passion I share for my current calling. However, just now, it is not an emergency but a matter of willingness to go through some temporary inconvenience for the sake of attending to my duty. I do not see this as any reason to quit the University.” Sadhana kept looking at Prem in silence for sometime.

“Antarctica is a far cry from this campus township in Florida. With its hostile climate, coupled with the lack of supporting infrastructure, it has earned notoriety for claiming the life of many a scientist who went there. As far as I can see, an element of life and death emergency is very much present in this decision.” Prem quietly replied.

“That”, replied Sadhana, as she turned to pick up the empty coffee mugs, “is a chance we take every day, when we step out of our houses. There can be no end to speculating about the future, but in the end it is just that. Speculation. I agree that some professions have a higher level of occupational hazard attached to them. All the same, you have to go out to do your bit, be as careful as you can and hope for the best. It continues that way as long as you feel that the returns from your endeavors are commensurate with the risks implied.”

Before she left, she hung back near the door of the living room briefly, to conclude the conversation, “I think we have had enough discussion for the night. Why don't we retire for now and resume our discussion tomorrow, when you get back from work? It's quite late and I have to get up early as usual to have an hour with Prasad to go through his home-work before dropping him at the school.”

***
It was about eight, the next evening. Prem was sitting in the living room, staring abstractedly at the television. A bowl of crackers and an ashtray were kept beside the TV remote-control on the center table in front of him. He held a half-smoked cigar between his fingers, while his other arm was flung across the plush cushions. A wisp of cigar-smoke drifted about him, as he sat.

Sadhana entered the room carrying a bundle of journals and papers in her arm along with a small boy by her side. She placed her load on the table, and flopped back into a couch. The boy went to sit beside Prem and picking up the remote, started surfing the channels. Prem stubbed the remaining of his cigar in the ashtray and turned to put an arm around the boy. “How was your day, Prasad?”

“Alright, I guess”, Prasad replied, simultaneously reaching out for the crackers. Munching, he turned to his father, “I got an ‘A’ on my math test. Miss Emily gave me a candy for that. Then, we had some nice pepperoni pizza for lunch. And guess what, Dad? Susan has invited us to her birthday party next Saturday evening.” He then resumed watching his favorite cartoon on the TV.

Sadhana yawned in her couch as she swept the hair out of her face and proceeded to tie it up in a knot. “I had a heck of a day, for sure - thrashing out the finer details of my next research proposal, finally submitting that paper I had been working on to an online journal, picking up Prasad after school to drop him home, returning to my department to attend a meeting of the crew members of the proposed expedition, shopping for grocery before returning home, taking Prasad to his music lessons, visiting the library to look up some reference material I wanted, collecting Prasad from his music class and lastly taking him for some ice-cream before returning home. Phew!

“Yes dear, I know”, Prem smiled at her in acknowledgment and proceeded to strike Prasad’s head in silence, as the child leaned back against him and hoisted his legs on the sofa.

The family continued to watch the TV for some time. At about nine, Sadhana left for the kitchen and in another half an hour, she called out for dinner.

“Want some more, Prasad?” Sadhana asked as she ladled out some chicken gravy on her rice. Prasad shook his head as Prem reached out for the water jug. “OK then. If you have finished your dinner, you may now go upstairs and read yourself to sleep. Remember that a nice picture storybook I got you the day before yesterday? It is kept in the top drawer of the side table by your bed.” Sadhana said, between mouthfuls.

“Why don’t you come too? It’s a lot more fun when you read to me.” Prasad looked at her expectantly.

“No beta, you go on. The sooner you learn to read yourself, the faster you can move on to more exciting books. Then you will see that it is more fun to read on your own. Besides, I want to talk to Daddy about something important.” Sadhana had finished by now and she rose to clear the table. Prasad got up too, deposited his plate in the kitchen sink and left to wash himself. “You know, I think our son is getting quite self-sufficient.” Prem observed. He too had finished and went over to prepare their usual after-dinner coffee. “So much the better for him.”

***
Sadhana looked at Prem, “What do you mean?” She kept down her coffee mug on the center table in the living room and turned towards Prem, tucking her legs under her, on the sofa.

“Yes, Sadhana. I have decided to sell my consultancy and take the year off. I shall get a very good price for it, I am sure. Enough to afford a reasonably comfortable living off the monthly interests alone, accruing from the sum if we put it in a bank. I may keep working on projects, but then I shall operate from home. This should solve all our problems. And once you return, I may restart another concern by investing a part of the principal again. You know our industry. It works out fine, this way.” Prem said.

“I don’t know how to thank you enough for your understanding, Prem and it takes a huge load off my chest. But all that I was asking of you was your understanding and support. The rest of the details can be managed...a full time, live-in housekeeper can be appointed to ensure that everything runs smoothly. A fellow geologist, who had to go out on a long field trip somewhere remote, had appointed one for her family when she was away, as her husband happened to have a traveling job. I can talk to her to find out more about this. Besides, you are generally home during the weekends, even when you do go out on business trips. I would request you to cut down on your traveling as far as possible, for the year in question. Beyond that, I never wanted you to sacrifice your career plans in order to support mine. Such decisions should not be taken under pressure, but of free will and I just hope that you are not being impulsive.” Sadhana still looked incredulous.

“No, Sadhana. Like you said, a job is a job. I cannot predict anything about my business obligations beforehand, that too for a whole year, which is quite some time. And I also do not want to send my son away from me, even if it is to your sister. So, I am not being impulsive. Let’s just say that I suddenly realized that I have only one wife, only one son and only one life to love you all.” Prem laughed. Then he became serious and said solemnly, “Remember Vivek? The tall, lanky fellow, who kept joking and laughing with us at the last get together of my consultancy-fellows? Well, this morning his wife died of cancer. She was diagnosed only a month ago in a very advanced condition.”

“What? That vivacious, lovely girl? She was there at the get together too. I remember her well. She had the most charming smile I had ever seen. Christie. That was her name, I think. Oh, I am so sorry.” Sadhana looked anguished.

“Yes... Christie. She was just twenty-nine. Vivek is completely crestfallen. All of us were with him the whole day until their family arrived. They have two kids. The elder one’s six and the younger one just two years old.” Prem paused. “That’s when it struck me. I mean, nobody knows about the future. So, I don’t think I have any right to stop you from pursuing your calling just in order to hold on to you. You already do enough for the family, as it is. God willing, I am sure that you will be back with me in no time. In the meantime, I can stay home with our son and watch him grow all I want. You go ahead and do your thing.”

Sadhana’s eyes were sparkling. The tears had welled up unbidden. She moved over to Prem and hugged him. “I knew that it would finally all work out, darling. I had full faith in you. After all, we are meant for each other. In fact, we are not complete without the other. It’s just that we have different views on life, but in the end it’s all the same.”

She slipped her hand through Prem’s, “Come, let’s walk our different ways together, hand in hand.”

Nilanjana Chakraborty is a financial economist by profession and resides in Ahmedabad with her husband who is an Astrophysicist. She completed her doctorate from Department of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in 2011 and has been working as a freelance researcher since then. She has been an avid reader and has possessed a flair for creative writing ever since her schooldays. A few of her poems were published in the school magazines and the local newspapers in Bhopal where she grew up.

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