Author Archives: Simi K. Rao

A Silent Cry for Freedom

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A few summers ago, on a tour to the UK, I happened to be in Edinburgh, spending the evening in a hotel next to the well known zoo. So, in order to kill time, I decided to pay a visit and came across the enclosures with the usual occupants in various states of animation. I went inside the primate enclosure and saw this particular individual sitting in this state, and it made a great impression on me. It was as if I was seeing a human being, an old wise one, pondering on the sad state of life and it almost reduced me to tears. I wish I’d known what he was thinking. Was he contemplating on a happier past?I’m not sure if he was ever free or was born in captivity. 

Now that we are in the midst of the most unusual situation of our lives — when people are rebelling, crying for freedom, even when we are living in our homes and have freedom of movement and the internet do we spare a thought for our fellow sentient beings? What have they done to deserve this awful treatment? That we go to gawk at them, even tease and instigate them. What right do we have to shut these beautiful creatures up in cages so small they can barely move. We jail them like criminals and sometimes even abuse them. I also speak of circus animals. And when they turn around on us we call them rogue– take for example the case of Tilikum, the killer whale, who was captured at the age of two and spent the rest of his life performing at SeaWorld. He was responsible for the death of three people allegedly as a result of psychological trauma he suffered. Please watch (if you haven’t already) the wonderful documentary Blackfish, available on Netflix to know more. It’s an eye opener. 

Fortunately, nobody can enslave humans (at least by law), but slavery of animals continues unchecked and we lack the basic quality of humanity that defines us. 

 

Milan (A Wedding Story) Chap 10: Closer

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chap 9

Mili was uptight. In fact, that had become quite the usual for her nowadays. Anxiety, confusion, sheer nervousness when she was in Ahaan’s company; agitation, restlessness, a maddening confusion when she was not—for sure she was becoming irreversibly unhinged, she had no doubt about it.

She contemplated herself in the mirror; having lost count on how many times she had changed her outfit tonight. Nothing seemed to fit the bill. It was going to be the first time they would be seen socially together and she didn’t want to let him down, rather she wanted to impress him, make him puff up with pride. But how—she worried as her eyes ran critically over her shapely frame enhanced to perfection by the charcoal dress with a silvery sheen that shimmered each time she moved. Was it too revealing? No, she didn’t think so; it did cling but not too blatantly, with the scoop neck revealing just the right amount of silky skin. But would he think so too?

Oh Ahaan! How much do I not know about you!

“But I don’t care! Let him think what he wants to! After all, it was his decision to marry me, not mine!” She defiantly addressed her reflection.

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You Will Always be My Mother

 

Our bond transcends Time, Worlds and Space. 

Our relationship doesn’t need a ceremony, or an oath, or witnesses, or a piece of paper.

It doesn’t need a special day, a reminder, or a note on the calendar. 

It doesn’t need talk, work, gifts and or constant reassurances. 

It is there when I need it, and I know it’ll always be there.

I can count on it at any time, I can make demands of it.

I can ask you to lay down everything else for me and you will

Because

I will always be your daughter and you will always be my mother.

Thank you, Mom!

 

A Life Worth Living 3: Okay

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2: When

“Shaan, are you okay? What’s wrong?”

I mashed my arm with my hand, screwed my eyes tight shut and tried not to curse out loud. “I’m fine Ruhi. It’s no big deal. Must be a pinched nerve or something like that. I’ve been banging on the keyboard way too much.” My attempted laugh came out sounding like a croak. My wife looked at me suspiciously but didn’t say anything. She examined my arm carefully and then when she didn’t see anything awry, massaged it gently. Then made me a new ice pack and forced me to swallow a couple of ibuprofens. She was taking care of me while it was supposed to be the other way around. Sorry mom-in-law!

I felt foolish and angry at myself as the pain abated again. But it left behind a strange tingling and numbness. I couldn’t feel the keyboard as well with my left hand as I could with my right. I couldn’t figure it out. I felt fine otherwise. It was more of an irritant than a concern.

I googled it. Pain in the elbow and arm. Tennis elbow. It was the first thing that showed up. Yeah that’s it!

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An Unprecedented Time

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Okay I get it. This is real. For a while I thought it was a farce; a dystopian narrative like in a movie or a book that are so popular nowadays. Unfortunately, I was wrong. 

I never thought I’d live through a time like this when everyday is worse than the day before and there’s no end in sight, at least not for the foreseeable future. My training never prepared me for this. But fortunately, I’m a rational being and I’m not scared easily. Plus, my work gives me succor because I feel I’m making a difference.

The very nature of my profession (I’m a physician) has taught me to be calm, and do my job. The problem though is the uncertainty. What was ‘the norm’ yesterday is taboo today and who knows what tomorrow will bring. This is a new disease and a new virus. There’s no actual cure though there are multiple potential cocktails being flaunted and used. They haven’t been diligently studied or tested but have brought vital hope. 

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‘Home’ (A Short Story)

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A Life Worth Living 2: When

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1: Turn

When it began, I had no clue what it was or what I was in for.

I’d been up all night running tests on my final solar battery model and getting all excited with the results when a sudden sharp electric pain shot down the outside of my left arm and I yelled out. It was a cry—equally of surprise because I hadn’t done anything to cause it. Instinctively, I rubbed my elbow when I felt a burning sensation. As if I’d stuck my arm inside the fireplace. It was so intense that I burst into a sweat. I cradled my arm and rushed into the kitchen and grabbed one of Ruhi’s readymade ice packs from the freezer (the ones she used for her frequent headaches even though her OB had told her it was okay to take Tylenol in her condition but my darling wife didn’t want to take any chance with the health of our baby). The shock of cold did help ease the agony a slght degree that I was able to examine my arm to see if I’d been bitten by a spider or something else. We were getting an extension built – an extra room and bath for Ruhi’s parents and in the process a lot of the yard had been dug up. Besides, it was summertime, and the bugs were starting to show up everywhere.

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Milan (A Wedding Story) Chap 9: 4 Weeks..

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Chapter 8

Chap 9: 4 Weeks..

—o—

Mili woke up with a start. It took awhile for her to get oriented. Sitting on the bed, her limbs entangled in the mussed up sheets, she waited for her pulse to slow down, while watching the tiny fragments of dust float in the rays of the morning sun.

It had been a restless night; of memories and dreams, real and unreal; of realizations; of flights of fancy, the very notion of which made her burn with mortification.

Why had Ahaan told her all that he had? How would she be able to face him now, without imagining herself in his arms? How would she be able to dispel such thoughts from her head? He had completely upset her equilibrium and she hated him for it!

A loud knock at the door made her jump.

“What is it?” Mili called out irritably. She was just getting settled into an imaginary argument with Ahaan.

Kiran stepped in, “beta (child), what’s going on? Do you have any idea what time it is?”

“Maa…I…I,” Mili’s eyes sought the clock as she tried hard to shield her agitation, “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize…I must have overslept…”

But Kiran was shrewd. Little escaped her doting mother’s eyes, but whatever she saw pleased her. Sitting on the bed, she pulled her daughter gently into her arms, “I have news for you…”

“`
4 weeks…

Mili stood in front of the floor length mirror, and contemplated herself. But instead of an image of a beautiful young woman on the brink of life, she could only see a tangled mess of nerves. With trembling hands she drew her muslin scarf  over her head and was suddenly startled by the sound of something heavy scraping against the window sill.

It was Ahaan holding a medium sized terracotta pot.

“What are you doing here?” She demanded, quite rattled.

“Since I wasn’t able to go hunting for wildflowers today, I chose to pick something from your own garden. I hope you don’t mind,” he said with a rueful grin.

“But why the whole pot and not just a flower?”

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‘None of Your Business’

How many women are around there for who plough through every day with broken hearts? For whom marriage has lost it’s meaning. Many I’d say. But not Ruhi Sharma:)

 

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Like it? Want to read more about what my gutsy heroine did? How did she turn her fortunes around?

Then you better buy a copy of Inconvenient Relations and it’s sequel Now and Forever. Available now on Amazon and Kindle. Links below 🙂

 

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