Finding my voice

Chennaiyil oru Mazhaikkalam – Chapter 1

…..Teynampet signal kitayun, Kathipara kitayun traffic konjam slow movinga thaan iruku! Mazha naale namaku elan Bajji , tea, dum nu yosika tonum aana iniku aduku kuda vella poga mudiyada alavuku adichi saathinurku. Neenga office layo, velilayo irundeegana gabaal nu ipove kelambi veetuku poradu safe nu naa matum ila, unga boss eh solirpanga. So chamatha avanga solrada ketu elarun safe veetuku poi serunga, apdiye naa podra next paata kelunga. Ithoda naa kelambren, naan ungal Rj Muthu, neenga ketutrkardu Radio mirchi 98.3 FM, Idu semma hotu macheyy” , screeched the radio, as Shalini got out of the taxi she booked from the last bar of charge her phone had. She forked out an extra 100, apart from the already few extra bucks she paid because of Uber’s surge pricing. She thought some extra gratitude on days like these wouldn’t burn her pockets too much.

The rains lashed out with even more ferocity now, creating multiple ponds of water inside the city. One more hour of such brutal downpour and the rains would start flooding the homes as well.  The city lost its power totally, due to both transformer explosions and shut downs owing to risk of electrocution. It was around 6 PM by the time Shalini reached home after picking her 2-year old daughter Nancy up from the crèche, which was two streets away.   Shalini put Nancy in her ‘toy area’, which is a corner inside the house, across the living room.  Then she went to have a talk with the neighbor to take a stock of the situation in their neighborhood.

She left the house door slightly open to make sure she hears Nancy amongst the thundering rain sound, in case Nancy starts calling out to her. She stood by the wall across the verandah that bordered her independent house and the neighboring apartment. Holding an umbrella that protected her from the rain, she called out to her neighbour Indra, who lived in the flat adjacent to the wall. Indra waved at Shalini and picked an umbrella up as she came out of her flat.

As Shalini and Indra tried to outshout each other to be able to hear the other person, Nancy was fiddling with the fidget spinner her mom had bought her last week. Except for curiosity, she didn’t seem to like this toy much, something that is becoming a kind of a sensation in  the world of adults today. As she kept spinning it around, gradually, more light started coming in through the door. The door was being opened wide, by a hand. The hand was followed by a body wearing a black robe. Its face was covered by a white mask, and the head by a hood. The other hand was holding something, an object that had bloodstains.

The intruder slowly closed the door behind and bolted it. Without making a sound, the hand lifted that object and slowly walked towards Nancy, and stood near her in striking distance, hitting the object on the ground and making a faint metal sound. As the kid turned towards the sound, she opened her mouth as she was about to scream, on watching the long sharp blade of the splitting maul being raised above her head.



3) Why should I tell you?

“What goes around, goes around, goes around, comes all the way back around…”  blasted the speakers in the auditorium. The  boys lead the girls, palms in palms, with the hands going in circles above the girls’ head, as they spun 4 times from left to the right side of the stage, finally striking a tango-ish promenade pose. Continue reading “3) Why should I tell you?”

2) So, which school did you guys go to?

Wilt u de bon?” (Do you want a receipt?) asked the lady at the billing counter, with an insipid smile on her face that reflected the gloomy weather outside. “Nee, dank je wel” (No, thank you.) I replied . Though my dutch is as good as my Swahili, I had picked up a few words to say at the supermarket counter. Continue reading “2) So, which school did you guys go to?”

1) Dei, I’m starting a blog…

It was a hot summer afternoon, and thanks to a day-long powercut due to maintenance issues, the stink of our sweat spread throughout the cramped classroom, multiplying our discomfort by a factor of 1000. Continue reading “1) Dei, I’m starting a blog…”

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