Saturday, August 22, 2015

Mad Jade by Sona Ghose


Title: Mad Jade
Author: Sona Ghose
Genre: Poetry
Pages: 53




When I first opened the pdf file of this poetry book by Sona Ghose, I was smitten by the cover graphic and the title "Mad Jade". Poetry should be mad and evocative filled with imagery and imagination, which the poet has successfully achieved in some of her poems, while many of her other works were emotions expressed onto the pages of a book, simply like we write a diary.
I was amused by the poetic rendition of her acknowledgement page, which is dedicated to her beau and in clear words were poignantly suggestive of the bond she shares with him.
Her prose piece "Fashion is fickle" tells you of her struggles to get published and more so, to get a footing in this big bad world filled with poets and authors. When she finally decided to listen to her voice and ask her own self for support, this poetry book took shape.
"When do I get myself back?" is a call of her alter ego and I liked the way she plays with the images inside her head, trying to tell the reader of the deeper voice of her alter ego that isn't leaving her alone.  

"For as long as I can remember,
I’ve been tugging at sheets
to tell myself that I’ve still got a hold on things,
but she and I both know
that I’ve never gotten the hang of hanging around her.
Sitting in my car, she’s singing
folk songs I’ve never heard. She brings
something to the table
that I’d left to childhood fables."

Scary images of a confused reverberation of her other self are painted in these images.

In the poem "Names" she has tried to sketch a colour of the seasons like she does it here
"Let me call you April
because I’ve never come across
a brighter storm; you
surrounded by gusts of wind
and rains which beat on the window panes; of me."


Friday, August 7, 2015

Cold Confession

She was puzzled to see the blood stains adorning the alabaster marble flooring.It was the third case of cold blooded murder in the city which had left the police force as well the people of the city in bewilderment. The murder weapon was untraceable and there were no helpful clues that could aid the investigation

Two months,three murders and no major headway.

ACP Ananya Sharma was a discomfited soul. This mystifying situation had gifted her sleepless nights and a lot of unhealthy criticism that was posing as a serious threat to her job.

She belonged to the 2002 batch of IPS(Indian Police Service) officers, who, because of their extraordinary brilliance had been deputed into the Central Bureau of Investigation. She had won many accolades for her bravery and sharpness but this time around the story was very different. She could sense a grave situation in store for her if she failed to achieve a breakthrough in this case.

****

She was sipping a glass of orange juice and was observantly examining the forensic reports along with Abhigyaan her immediate junior officer who had been deputed to the CBI from the Delhi Police.

"One thing is for sure, this guy is a brutal soul, else why would someone want to kill three pregnant women?" she asked.

"I agree madam. Did Dr.Rishabh tell you something about the murder weapon?" he enquired.

"Yes he says that a weapon has pierced two to four inches into the flesh cutting the jugular vein." she replied.

"Oh, then there might be some clue about the kind of weapon used"

"No, Dr.Rishabh said there are no traces of any kind of metal in the DNA samples of the victims. He could confidently tell me about the kind of injury but was not very sure about the murder weapon. He says this is the rarest of the rare cases. He assured me that he is working on it."

"What will we do madam, if the forensic team has no clue about the kind of weapon. They are the only people who can give us valuable evidences that will help in the investigation. What will we do,madam?" Abhi inquired in uneasiness.

Suddenly her eyes fell on the glass of cold drink that was placed on the table. She could visualize the ice cubes getting smaller in size and blending with the drink.

"I think I have a clue." Ananya said with a dash of jubilation in her voice.

"What clue, madam? " Abhi asked .

"You know our body is composed of roughly seventy percent water and if something like a weapon has to get into the flesh and disappear, I think it has to be water. Just like these ice cubes which are merging with the drink and getting smaller in size with time. After sometime they will disappear. I hope you are understanding my point."

"Yes madam, I think I am understanding what you are saying. But then water in which form?" Abhi questioned.

"Water in solid form that is ice. It can be very dangerous if in solid form and is easily available." Ananya replied.

"Oh yes Madam, Ice can do the trick. Oh yes..."Abhi marveled at her brilliance.

"I am glad you understood my point."

"But this has complicated the case further. What will we do now,madam" Abhi asked

"I agree Abhi. But let's not lose hope. ” She assured.

“Abhi, I need all the details about the three victims. Let me know everything right from their education to their husbands to their family backgrounds. I need every bit of information about these three women.”

“I need about two days to gather all the information. I hope he doesn’t commit another murder in the next two days.”

“No he won’t. Have you noticed Abhi? This guy murders a woman once in ten days. The first murder happened on April 17th,the second on April 27th and the third on 7th May. The fourth may happen on 17th May but again I am not very sure. This guy wants to challenge our mind. I hope and pray that the fourth murder doesn’t happen before we catch him. ”

“Hope so,madam. ”

“Just two days,that’s all you have. ”

“Sure madam,I know how important it is to be quick in our profession and not waste time unnecessarily. ”

****



“These are the details, Madam” Abhi informed as he placed a blue colored file on her table.

“Wow, thanks Abhi. You took less than two days actually. Thanks a ton. ” She replied in gratitude.

“The common link between these three victims is that they were pregnant and studied in St.Mary’s College. ”

“Whattttt? That’s my college.Oh my God.Then I am sure I might be knowing   atleast one of the victims closely, or maybe my sister might have some clues since she is from the same college as well. ”

She hastily examined the file and frantically dialled her younger sister’s number.

“Oh didi, I was about to call you.” Priyanka said.

“Yeah Pri. Do you know the latest murder victim to die in the city was a classmate of yours. Did you know her? ” she probed .

“Yup didi. She was the topper in our class. An extremely intelligent woman. And recently she had got promoted as the assistant director in the Chamber of Commerce.” informed Priyanka.

“Oh God, This is insane. And you know we collected their medical reports and found out that they all went to Dr.Rashmi Prabhakar’s maternity care home in the city. ”

‘Didi, I am consulting Dr. Rashmi as well. Maybe I can accompany you to her clinic and maybe she can give you some important clues.” Priyanka told.

“No,Pri. I just want you to be careful and not go to Dr.Rashmi’s clinic for a while till I inform you. OK? ”

“ Alright didi. Rohit is always here with me. And so are dad and mom. I won’t step out of the house without Rohit. So don’t you worry” Priyanka consoled her.

****

“Dr.Rashmi Prabhakar’s Clinic. That’s our first destination for today, Abhi.”

“But why madam? What can this doctor do for us? ” Abhi asked.

“It seems this killer is getting some kind of help from Dr. Rashmi. And you know Priyanka my younger sister is also consulting her and I am really worried about her. It seems like this killer knows me as well. ”

“Is it madam? I hope she is fine. ”

“Yeah. I asked her not to step out of the house. Let’s go Abhi.”

They reached the clinic in about half an hour and headed straight towards Dr.Rashmi’s chamber.

“Hello Madam. I am ACP Ananya and I am the special investigating officer of the triple murder case in the city. I wanted your help. ”

Oh yes. I will surely help you. But…what can I do for you? ” Rashmi stammered.

She handed out a sheet of paper with the details of the three victims clearly inscribed on it.

“They were my patients. ” Rashmi said in hushed tones .

“What else you know about them? And do you know one Priyanka Sharma? ” Ananya enquired .

“She is my patient and I can only help you with the medical reports of these three patients. There is nothing else I can do for you. I think you must go and conduct an enquiry with the families of the victims. " Rashmi suggested.

"Alright, madam. Sorry for the trouble caused. Kindly hand over the reports to Abhigyaan as soon you can" Rashmi said.

"Let's conduct an enquiry with families of the victims."

"But is it sane to give this lady a clean chit?" Abhi probed.

"No. It cannot be a coincidence that the killing of three innocent women in the city has nothing to do with this doctor. Since all the victims were her patients, it's too early to comment on her innocence. Let's see where we are going from here. Meanwhile, ask Arun and Pratish to keep a check on her in plain clothes." ordered Ananya.

*****


"We condole your daughter's death Mr.Verma. I have come to you to clarify certain things. I hope you will be supportive." Ananya said.

"Yes we will help you. But please keep Mrs.Verma our of this. She isn't feeling well and might get depressed if you ask her disturbing questions." Mr.Verma replied.

"I understand Mr .Verma. Where is Renuka's husband? Can I meet him? " Ananya inquired.

"He's out to the U.S. He went immediately after the cremation. He said he wanted to be away from all the pain and I think he had some meetings there." replied Mr.Verma.

"But don't you think he should have been here and supported you. How can any man attend meetings after his wife's brutual murder? Mr.Verma if you don't mind,can I have Renuka's husband's mobile number. I need to talk to him." Ananya requested.

Mr.Verma scribbled the number on a piece of paper and handed it over to Ananya.

"I...I wanted to tell you something." stammered Mr.Verma
"What is it Sir. Feel free to tell me everything. I am like your daughter. I will support you in every way possible." assured Ananya.

"There was some problem between my daughter and her husband. I think Pranav, her husband has another affair in the U.S, because he visits the place once in three months. I am not sure but I think something is terribly wrong, because my wife always kept telling me about their fights. And I was about to speak to Pranav about the issue. But..But... Before that he killed my daughter I think." said Mr.Verma and broke down into tears.

Ananya went near him and patted his back and consoled him.

"Mr.Verma I will look into the matter. If your daughter's husband is behind all this, I won't leave him for sure. Thanks for the number"

She took leave from Mr.Verma and walked towards the door dialling the number engraved on the sheet of paper but it was prompting a busy tone.

"Seems that asshole is busy. Abhi,please take down this number and keep trying. Meanwhile we must also conduct a check at the pregnancy aerobics class."

"Sure madam. I will keep calling and inform the telephone exchange to keep a check on this number" replied Abhi.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

My Lover in the White Cassock

The walk towards the church was a long one. The winding serpentine roads were a pain that broke her legs which reminded her of the pain that the rubber trees in her hometown might be going through, when the axe fell on them. Even then she loved to walk. She had broken her leg a few months ago. Since then walking seemed like a curse, infact a child who had just grown over her walker, could limp better than her. Although she loved ambling towards the church every Wednesday to pray the beads and hoard sanity. Having lived as a stay-at-home good-for-nothing keep of a husband who stayed away from Delhi for many months on the pretext of work, left her with a lot of time to pursue hobbies and also taught her to pray. She lazily got up to the call of a housekeeper who reminded her of her own mother, she vaguely remembered. To a breakfast that left, no room for lunch. This Wednesday she decided to not break the fast and head for church with a growling stomach. She loved quelling the groans of an empty stomach by guzzling as much water that her stomach could hold.
This was her way of rebelling against comfort food that her rich husband could afford.


The afternoon was welcomed by an unexpected deluge that tore the womb of the sky and fell on the parchment dried and devastated by the heat. They were a reminder of her childhood days in Kochi. A city washed by the sea that had hidden a thousand untold stories in her belly. Her mother had gone to God's house, that was what she was made to believe in as a child, when she was four. Her father was a businessman who never had too much time for a young daughter, who had just lost her mother to fate's dirty games. The free time he had was spent in devising new ways for filling the church coffers. They were perhaps one of the richest Syrian Christians in India, who were household names in every Syrian Christian household. The aristocratic royalty that her forefathers carried, was all that was needed to be honoured.
And to look with disdain on people who weren't as honourable as them.

As she grew up and stepped into the "marriageable age" she was ordered on the dinner table, one night by her father, who found solace in the wealth he was stashing with a petrified guilt, to find a husband for herself. For once, it came as a sigh of relief for her, unlike the other syrian Christian girls, many of whom had first known their husbands on the marriage bed. She had another story that wasn't letting a man walk in, the appendages of which choked her sometimes. She wore his shirt on days that she wanted to feel his skin on him, and many times the letters he had written to her as a young twenty-something innocent young man took her down the memory lane, that still knew their footprints. To get over him she had started following a strange exercise of writing a diary, where in she recorded the most intimate details of a love so shameless, yet so pure. She missed the fragrance of his cologne, the mole on his neck and the warmth of his arms, that she thought had grown up to remember her softness. They were school friends and neighbours who took to knowing each other's bodies from having started doing their homework as pre-school kids. He left on a Sunday morning, leaving at her side a goodbye letter that was a mystery stranger than the UFO's. On nights that she hallucinated about him, she used to see strange objects flying in her bedroom until she would shut her eyes tightly and chant a prayer.
Ralph was like an irritating common cold, that was taking its own sweet time to get cured.

The church bells always rang at the right time, never a minute late. Catholic people from around the sleepy neighbourhood of the government colonies attended the afternoon mass, so did a few enthusiastic school students who studied in the convent nearby. She loved to see those young girls hop around the grey cemented courtyard of the church that had started developing cracks much like the old famished building, that needed the touch of the masons urgently. On the wooden over-sized benches in the church, she had seen life change. Marriages had happened and baptisms too, but nothing changed for her. She still came to church everyday, to pray for a bit of love and everyday she had to meet with disappointment, as though God lost all his divine powers when she turned up with her requests. She was more like a spiritual atheist who had no hope in God, and only in the still silence of the white washed walls of the church that squeezed peace out its pores. She had an important thing to confess about and today she might have to wait after the mass to voice her confession. She hated to wait, all thanks to the privileges that were served to her on a platter. Maybe, that was the only gift her unloving husband could provide. That made her stand on six inched stilettos with not a care in the world.
She felt like a queen.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Is Caste-based-reservation a fair deal?

I am taken back to my college days, a few years ago, when I am starting to write this post. I had the aspirations to become a doctor, and opted for physics, chemistry, biology in class eleventh. The rut and rigmarole of studying for medical entrances wasn't helpful either and perhaps since I wasn't a student belonging to the OBC or SC/ST castes, I was left behind in the race of becoming a doctor. My dad didn't support the idea of paying capitation fees and getting me a paid seat, and much like most of my friends in the graduation batch I was compelled to devise a plan B. Little did I know that I would end up becoming a teacher, which is a profession I didn't want to take up in the first place. But slowly with the passage of time, I'm loving the idea of enlightening minds searching for knowledge.
For all my friends from the backward castes who are doctors now, all thanks to the cakewalk they had during admission, life is indeed a "pain in the neck". And here I'm enjoying the fruits of a profession that has fixed working hours, awesome perks and most of all paid holidays, which being a doctor wouldn't have offered me. Reservation that way, was a "blessing in disguise" for me.
But then only if, I were to be a doctor, I could have only become one, if I was entitled to a reservation. Else I might have got a medical seat only if I was the best in the lot, which I wasn't. I believe these are the reasons that initiate and impel "brain drain" from India.  Many of my friends who couldn't live up to their dreams of becoming a doctor in India, went abroad.Only because our incompetent classmates from the backward classes realized their dreams of wearing a doctor's coat.
Not because we weren't more qualified than them, but because "reservation based" quota had got them their dreams on a platter.