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The path to recovery

First written on #ArtoonsInn…

Bhumi stood before the crowded hall, her eyes burning with defiance. The cross questioning had gone on for long but she refused to budge. It was as if the whole league had gone against her desparate action plan. 

Finally Kamalodbhava got up from his throne, fuming in anger. A part of his creation was facing unprecedented danger and he could not just sit back. He was surprised that it was the docile Bhumi, who had lost her composure.

“Bhumi!” He thundered. The hall went quiet, the sisters of Bhumi stared wide eyed at the fiery Kamalodbhava. 

“Bhumi, this cannot go on any longer. You cannot just take out your frustrations on your own children. They have every right to take advantage of your sustaining power.” Kamalodbhava’s eyes bore into Bhumi’s looking for a glimmer of surrender.

Bhumi stared back at Kamalodbhava.

“Answer me Bhumi.” Kamalodbhava uttered these words with an authoritative tone.

Bhumi rose from her seat. Her blue eyes combined with the blue garment, embellished by a white wavy pattern, stood her out from the crowd. 

“Surajyeshtya! I know I am being made into some sort of a monster but please understand my plight.” Bhumi was ready to defend herself.

“Surajyeshtya! You know that the Manus have been my most favoured children. Right from their childhood I have admired their ability to learn. While my other children like the Vyaghras, the Gajas, who are so majestic and the Mayuras, the Hamsas who are beautiful; they all stuck to a routine, living life only to eat, procreate and die.” 

The sisters knew that Bhumi was passionate about all her children, while they had none to call her own. It was no secret that a few of them like Mangala and Shanini were jealous of Bhumi. Shanini wore beautiful drapes, which formed a halo around her and she would have been the cynosure of all eyes in the Mandala, if only Bhumi had not grown into a graceful, blue-eyed beauty. 

Mangala had lost all her children due to the utter foolishness of one of them, whom she had banished. This child had managed to seek refuge with Bhumi in her young age but it was rumoured that he had been a bad influence on the Manus. It’s another matter that Mangala’s child escaped from Bhumi’s Adobe as well.

“Surajyeshtya! You will say that I spoilt the Manus, I indulged them.” Bhumi was almost pleading.

“But who wouldn’t? See the speed at which they progressed. Weren’t they the only ones to tame Agni? Weren’t they the only ones to increase their speed manifold? Within no time they had progressed from an ox cart to the fast vehicles of today.” 

Suddenly her countenance turned steely. “I should have known then itself, when Manus used and abused their brothers and sisters for their own selfishness, for their…but no, I was blind with love for my Manus.”

“But Bhumi, don’t your other children eat each other? So how are Manus any different”, Kamalodbhava interrupted her.

With a helpless smile, Bhumi answered, “Yes, I satisfied myself with this very logic. But now I realise that while the others eat their brethren, they do it only for satisfying their hunger; Manus eat and kill wantonly…for pleasure.”

Now tears were streaming down her cheeks. Everyone sat, avoiding eye contact with her.  

Bhumi continued, “In the years gone by, they looked at me for sustenance. The green, docile Vrikshas provided them with their vital pranvayu; whenever needed Manus used to clear the Vrikshas but were careful to settle them in nearby areas. I never realised when they stopped settling the poor Vrikshas in other places and started the aridification. This in turn wiped out many of my children.”

“And then they violated my very body to reach at the tailadrava, the drills hammered away, shaking me up to the very core.” Her voice choked up as she remembered the violations. 

She continued between violent sobs, “And they used the tailadrava in the most reprehensible way; with most Vrikshas already history, the tailadrava’s misuse resulted in increased poison which killed more of my other children.”

As the entire hall listened to her in rapt attention she continued passionately, “Using the tailadrava to make abhigatya, their most heinous product, they had gone too far. One day it will kill me, Surajyeshtya! I don’t want to die. Too many of my other children are still dependent upon me to let that happen.”

Though his most favourite creation, the Manus, were in danger of being wiped off, Kamalodbhava was getting influenced by Bhumi’s strong logic.

Suddenly she declared, “Ok, Surajyeshtya! I can still forgive the Manus, they were my favourite too. But they have to change their ways. I am sure they won’t do it on their own because my past warnings have gone unheeded. 

“The vishanu I have released, it was always there with me for many years, the Manus themselves helped release it from its heem confines, and now it is devouring them. Mind you, Surajyeshtya! It is not poisonous for any of my other children. 

“Now Manus can only survive by making lifestyle changes, they cannot stay in huge groups together, they have to spend maximum time within the confines of their abodes, majority of their time will be spent in curing themselves till they find the antidote, which I am sure they will. Surajyeshtya, you have certainly given them a big advantage in their heads; it’s a pity that they hardly use it productively. But by the time they find the antidote, I am sure to heal myself for the benefit of my other children. Already, I have started feeling better, my other children have a twinkle in their eyes, they are roaming about freely even in the ghettos of the Manus…”, Bhumi’s voice trailed off, a smile finally lighting up her face.

Kamalodbhava was now fully convinced and he granted a mandate to Bhumi to stick to the path charted by herself.

—-

Glossary :

Bhumi – Mother Earth

Kamalodbhava – A name of Lord Brahma

Surajyeshtya – another name of Lord Brahma

Mangala – Mars

Shanini – Saturn

Manus – Human race

Vyaghras – Tigers

Gajas – Elephants

Mayuras – Peacocks

Hamsas – Swans

Vrikshas – Trees

Tailadrava – Oil

Abhigatya – plastic

Vishanu – virus

Heem – ice or snow

humour

WAH!

Many young men see the larger than life movies and imagine themselves to be the main protagonists living the high life, romancing some damsel in distress and when time permits, saving the world on the side. Of course, no one wants to be the protagonist in the ‘Contagion’ or other such disaster movie.

But this is exactly what has happened to many of them. However if they are not from the medical field or from the police or from the essential service fields, then they belong to the humble WFH category. 

WTF, they are either WFH or WAH category. While everyone knows WFH, which is, Work From Home, what is WAH, one might ask. 

While the Indian WAH, is an exclamation of admiration for something or someone, an English WAH is a cry of fright or a cry of distress. I remember that in the comics which I read in my childhood, a crying baby always had an expanding bubble pointing towards itself, which went ‘waahh…’, to show that it is crying.

So, in these COVID times, WAH is WORK AT HOME, a syndrome affecting all households due to the disappearance of the MAID. While the ladies of the house were equally affected, it really brought out the English meaning for their not so better halfs, atleast in India. 

In most households in India, where ladies are also the earning members, they were used to managing their household responsibilities with loads of help from the maids. However one fine day, the maids stopped coming and the ladies were cooped up inside the house with their not so better halfs. This was a recipe for disaster. 

While for both of them, WFH was manageable, it was WAH which stretched and tested their relationship to the fullest. 

While some of the not so better halfs remained on the disaster path of not WAH, many of them decided to, or maybe, were left with no option but to help their better halfs to WAH effectively. 

So this is a story of one of those who chose the second option and his discoveries around the house. A house he usually returned to, late at night to eat dinner and sleep, only to rush off in the morning, with a half eaten breakfast.

Discovery 1 – human beings shed hair more than their pets, and those hair are the most difficult to sweep from the floor. Such hair has the uncanny ability to jump over the approaching broom, with atleast two sommersaults and rush back to where it was resting in the first place. So there is no option but to pick up the hair between two fingers, which is easier said than done.

Discovery 2 – many things which you forgot, ever existed in your house, are to be found below the bed, especially if it is having a very low floor clearance. One of my friends found a cassette long after the cassette player had been dumped recently. 

Discovery 3 – sweeping the floor is a very good exercise, if done meditatively. If it is done superficially nothing good will come out of it. Neither the floor will be clean nor your haunches will be strong. But if you use the mop, your forearms will be stronger.

Discovery 4 – washing clothes in a washing machine takes loads of time, especially if you wait for it. My friend finished the entire Da Vinci Code by the time the washing was over. And then, untangling the clothes from each other was much more mysterious than untangling the plotline.

Discovery 5 – the progress from a map of a country to a round shape was hastened due to the lockdown. I am talking about the shape of the humble chapati. It is a much more intricate job than sculpting an idol from stone. But a few have already given up and delegated that job to their better halfs. While a few of them are happy with their foresight, when they had decided to buy that chapati making machine.

Discovery 6 – transferring the chapati from the board to the pan is another skill altogether. The first many times are spent in retrieving the chapati parts from the pan and reimagining them into another round shape. As some great personalities have wondered, why should it always be round and not any other better manageable shape. Randomness in shape is more welcome, after all, variety is the name of the game, when it comes to food.

Discovery 7 – keeping up the constant movement of the chapati on the pan is a very important aspect otherwise one might end up with eating a crunchy, hard one instead of a soft, easily munchable one.

Discovery 8 – one day, the time comes when your better half feels confident to pass on the fine art of kneading the dough to you. Please brace for this day, as it is bound to happen sooner than later. So there you are, trying to balance the atta and the water with just a pinch of oil, in exact proportion so that it progresses from powder stage to a dough stage, without much of overflow spillage onto the kitchen platform. One of my friends discovered that it has all the characteristics of clay, and when the better half was not looking, made the most hideous dolls from it. When she finally saw his shenanigans, a shriek escaped her mouth followed by a swoon to the ground. His temple still displays the bump, just above his left eye, where she swung the roller in her hand and made contact, as she went down.

So on and so forth the discoveries will go on. I welcome my fellow not so better halfs, to contribute their own discoveries and help the WAH club. Why, even the better halfs can contribute too.

Will you be the English WAH or the Indian WAH, that is the million dollar question.

Yatindra Tawde