Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Not in the open

“If you would have delayed bringing her here, she may not have survived,” saying so, the doctor walked out of the room towards the waiting area. Babli still lay unconscious and severely dehydrated – lips parched, eyes sunken and breathing rapid. The drops of the IV fluid slowly merged into her bloodstream, each drop slowly adding a little more life to her petite body. 

In the hustle and bustle of the town hospital, Babli’s mother – seated on a wooden bench in the waiting area – wiped her tears with the corner of her saree. As Babli’s father and the doctor walked towards her, she stood up – eager to hear that her precious one had survived the severe bout of diarrhoea. 

They had travelled miles from their village to reach this hospital, for the treatment of their only 5-year-old daughter. After exchanging a few questions with them, what the doctor related about her condition came as a shock to Babli’s parents.

‘Your daughter has just survived a severe infection. But do you know this could have been prevented? If only she would have used a toilet instead of defecating in the open.’

‘But everyone does it in the open in our village’, said Babli’s father. 

‘What everyone does may not always be right Ramu. Passing stools in the open contaminates the soil and the water with germs. Kids, when exposed to this, can easily catch infections as well end up with worms in their tummy.’

‘Oh no! I wish we knew this earlier.’

‘Not only that, poor hygiene is one of the leading cause of deaths amongst children. And if you think of it this way – it is an avoidable cause. Can’t we do even this much for our precious ones? Give them better toilet facilities in schools & at home, teach them to wash hands properly after defecating, wash hands before & after eating and keep the surroundings clean.’ 

Ramu stood with his head low as he began to say, ‘Doctor, I cannot thank you enough for saving my daughter’s life. And I make a promise to you and to her today. The promise of better sanitation for my daughter, my whole family and my village too. No child in my village shall die for lack of hygienic toilet facility. I shall speak to my uncle in the Gram Panchayat and take this initiative ahead for the benefit of my entire village.’ 

‘Sure Ramu. In fact, HUL’s flagship sanitation brand ‘Domex’ currently runs the Domex Toilet Academy (DTA) programme for the same reason. They make toilets accessible and affordable for a number of villages. They also help us educate everyone about the benefits of clean toilets and good hygiene. What’s more, they are working hard to build 24,000 toilets in rural areas of India by 2015.
Babli’s mother too added with a sparkle, ‘I will discuss this with all the women of our village and we will pass this knowledge about hygiene to our kids. The school teacher is our friend and she will help us too.’

‘Well done Ramu and Rajjo. I will be proud of you if you can do this. And as far as Babli is concerned, she will be bubbling with joy once again, very soon.’

You too can bring about the change in the lives of millions of kids, thereby showing your support for the Domex Initiative. All you need to do is ‘click’ on the ‘Contribute Tab’ on this page and Domex will contribute Rs.5 on your behalf to eradicate open defecation, thereby helping kids like Babli live a dignified life.

This is my submission for an Indiblogger Campaign #ToiletForBabli

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Garnished with surprise!

He was the one who normally cooked non-vegetarian food in their house, albeit not too often. Not that she didn’t know to prepare it, but simply because he liked it that way. Of course, she loved it too! Especially when he would go all the way to bring out their pristine Borosil dinner set, lay the table with all those pieces of glass bowls, plates, casseroles, tumblers, glasses and more!

“We’re just the two of us, honey” she would often exclaim but he paid no heed while decorating their red table-cloth with numerous pieces – he would simply turn around and flash that smile at her – one which would make her go weak in the knees, even after four years of marriage!

She savored watching his graceful movements in the kitchen as he cooked, as much as she relished the food cooked by him. Today, however, she felt like surprising him. She’d picked up chicken in the evening and decided to cook him a sumptuous non-veg meal.

She ran one final check of all the dishes before the doorbell rang. As she lifted the lid, the rich aroma of the chicken masala made her hunger pangs even more intense. An almost audible growl from her stomach made her giggle to herself. Perfectly golden brown, appetizingly loaded with just the right amount of masalas and piping hot, she picked one small piece of chicken to taste and it just melted in her mouth, tantalizing her taste-buds. Garnishing the masala-laden delicacy with fine-chopped coriander leaves, she secured the lid of the Borosil serving bowl, placing it on the table.

The richness of the rice-flour parathas cooked with ghee was evident in their softness. Off into the Borosil casserole went all the super-hot, soft, soft parathas that her husband immensely relished with gravy.

The chicken biryani was almost done too. The rice grains were tastefully cooked to perfection when she checked, the chicken flavor permeating every grain to release a lip-smacking aroma. She quickly fixed up the fresh green salad, some papad, his favorite boondi-raita and added a dash of lemon to the diced onions.

Just as she was about to call him on the phone, she heard the car pull into the driveway. Looking through the window pane, she saw him pull out of the car, with a small gift in his hand. She smiled coyly. He had a surprise for her, too!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Of choices made

Seething fury for his cold indifference gave way to washed mascara.

‘My children need me’, he sealed her fate, walking away.

She’d given up her world for him. Pity, she lost him too.


This post is in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge – Week 102. The challenge is to write exactly 33 words about love gone wrong. However, we are forbidden the usage of any of the following words:

Friday, December 6, 2013

Soul cleansing

His temple, a basin
where numerous travelers stopped by
to wash away their sins
with tears of repentance
that scald the soul.
The myopic
were obviously repelled
by the dazzle of the faucet.


This post is in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge - Week Ninety-Seven. The prompt is to pen down 33 words that include the following - basin, myopic, dazzle.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


      Without you, there's no grudge against life
              Yet without you, life is no life.
                Like a moth drawn to flame
                       None is to blame...
My love finds redemption in none other than you!


This post is in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge - Week Ninety-Five. The challenge is to choose a word and use it three times in our 33 words. However, it must be either a verb, noun or adjective and the form of the word cannot change, it must appear exactly the same three times.

The word I've chosen (obviously) is 'life' but I'm unable to highlight it in bold currently (some weird tantrums thrown by my browser). So please bear with me and enjoy the post :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Race

His heart thumping right into his mouth, he took a sharp turn out of the serpentine trail of slow-moving cars in the jam and turned into the dark alley on the left. He nervously kept looking back at the dark shadow following him and repeatedly muttered under his breath ‘Just a few more minutes please’.

Although it was past midnight, few of the houses continued to throw light onto the street. Glimpsing into his watch every few minutes, it appeared as though he was somehow trying to slow down the pace of time with this fruitless effort. The car suddenly screeched to a halt as he abruptly hit the brake when an injured puppy appeared in front of his car from nowhere. Mentally juggling with the idea of cursing the puppy or taking pity on it, he stepped out, lifted the puppy and quickly placed it inside his car to resume his journey.

Back at the bungalow, he searched fruitlessly for her in every nook and corner. Pacing across from room to room, he intermittently looked behind for the dark shadow but it was nowhere to be seen now. All he saw was the little puppy, limping slowly behind him.

Sweat trickling down his brow, he froze in his path for a moment, turned around and raced towards the terrace garden. ‘Honey, I got your medicines’, he shouted at her back but she made no move. As he approached her, he saw her lifeless body right besides the dried rose shrub she had once nurtured so lovingly – a painting of his smiling face clutched firmly to her bosom by her pulseless arm. The dark shadow had given him a few minutes but claimed her instead. The rose petals had lost out to the thorns this time.

The puppy slowly limped into his lap and put its head down to rest. A wounded leg, a wounded heart… united in pain. ‘You are my only companion’, he whispered to the puppy, gently kissing its forehead.


This post (333 words) is in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge - Week 104. The prompt is to pen down 33-333 words using the third definition of the following word:
1:  one that accompanies another :  comrade, associate; also:  one that keeps company with another
2 obsolete :  rascal
3 a :  one that is closely connected with something similar
   b :  one employed to live with and serve another.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Watch out

Gods that bestow blessings abound.
I only ask dues for what's not sound.
So turn on your switch,
Give the bad a miss.
Escape me you cannot
It's your Karma, just watch out.


This post is in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge - Week Ninety-three.

Buddhist cosmology tells of Trāyastriṃśa, or the Heaven of Thirty-Three gods, which rule over the human realm. The challenge this weekend is to write exactly 33 words about a god of your own devising that shares heaven with the other thirty-two gods.