Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Day I First Met Her

I was waiting for the bus that day. The sun beating down, and a few drops of sweat trickling down my face. It was one of those usual boring days. I checked my watch. The bus would be arriving any time now. Little did my bored self know then that that day would change my life forever.

"Excuse me, could you tell me what time it is?" I heard a voice say. I looked back at her and I felt my heart skip a beat. Never before had I seen anybody as beautiful.

"Hello, I am asking you for the time." she repeated.

I gathered my senses.

"It is almost 8:30 am." I replied. "You waiting for a bus?"

"No, I am waiting for a  plane at a bus stop. What are you, an old man?" she snapped.

"I was just trying to make conversation. Sorry for bothering you." 

I felt bad. The first meeting with this lady was not going well. Better luck next time, I told my heart.

The bus arrived soon and both of us got on to it. I was slightly quicker and manage to grab a seat. She came and stood next to my seat. I looked up at her just to catch her stern gaze back. I felt sheepish and took out the newspaper from my bag and began reading it.

"You are totally shameless, aren't you?" she said softly.

"Pardon me. How could you just say something like that?" I asked her. This was getting annoying.

"A lady is going towards a seat and you just come and grab it shamelessly. Don't you have any manners?"

I got up.

"Ok. Just have it and shut up. I don't need to listen to nonsense early in the day."

She sat on my seat with a smile and I went to the other end of the bus. I was boiling inside. How could anybody call me shameless? 

I glanced towards her and she smiled back at me. 

Why? Why do beautiful women have such lovely smiles? 

I tried looking away in another direction, but my gaze always ended up in hers. After about five minutes, the person sitting next to her got up as his destination had come. Smiling beauty looked at me and gestured me to take the now vacant seat. My mind was being torn apart. One part of it wanted to go and sit next to her, the other part was too insulted to accept the invitation. Obviously the first part won the contest and I ended up being seated next to her.

"I am sorry for being rude earlier." She said, flashing that smile which was diminishing my ego continuously.

"Is this sarcasm or honesty speaking?" I asked cautiously. I did not want to get insulted again.

"Take it as a simple sorry. I know I have behaved badly with you and want to apologise. I am Deepa." She extended her hand.

"Apology accepted. I am Rakesh. So may I know the reason behind your attitude, if you don't mind? Just curious since I have been at the receiving end of it since morning."

"You can call it just plain frustration. Things haven't been going my way you know."

"Such as?"

"Such as, my alarm did not go off in the morning which made me skip breakfast in order to catch the bus on time. I ask you the time since I forgot my watch at home and you stare dumbly at me. I get into the bus finally and you grab the sole available seat before me. And work pressures to top that. Who can be in a good mood after that?"

"Me staring dumbly at you? You seriously gotta be kidding me." I said.

"Don't worry, I usually have that effect on guys and I am used to it. And before you get any ideas, let me tell you that I am already married."

"No issues. I'm not interested in dating you, though I must say you are very beautiful and your husband is one lucky guy."

"I wish he would remember that. May be you can tell him if you happen to meet him. He is very forgetful, you know. So where do you work?"

"Still looking for a job actually. I have a degree in journalism and have done a few itsy bitsy pieces here and there. I have an interview with the Times in about two hours, hoping to crack something there. What about you?"

"Now you have to be joking. Are you sure you haven't been stalking me?"

"What do you mean? I was waiting at the bus stop first, remember?"

"I am assistant to the chief editor in Times and I am headed the same way. So here's the deal. I will buy some breakfast for both of us and then we can go to the office together. Let me complete my apology that way."

Now this was too good to be true. This beautiful woman was asking me to have breakfast with her and she worked at the same place that I was going for an interview. Two birds in one shot?

We reached our destination and headed to a nearby cafe. 

"I am really hungry." She said. " What will you be having? A coffee I guess, with maybe some upma? They make it really well here."

"You seem to know my taste very well. Perfect suggestion." I smiled back. Coffee and upma was actually my favourite combination.

"I guess I should, the same way I know how to irritate you." she replied.

"What do you mean you should know?"

"Forget it."

Just then the waiter came and took the order.

We were sitting next to the window of the cafe and the morning sun was streaking in from it right across her face. A cool breeze was blowing that blew her hair softly. With a gentle motion of her fingers, she brushed the loose strands of hair aside and smiled at me.

"You really like me, don't you?" she asked.

"Why do you ask me that? We have just met." I replied.

Her eyes filled up for a split moment and she recovered her composure quickly. The food arrived soon and she busied herself into eating.

"Let me change the topic. Since you were late, why didn't your husband drop you?"

"I wish he would just remember he has a wife for a change. Maybe I should have married you instead."

"What the hell are you saying? It isn't funny if this is your idea of a joke."

"Rakesh, don't do this again please. Don't you remember anything?" Those tears were back again and this time she made no effort to hide them.

"What do you mean?" This was getting weird.

"Don't you remember this place? This was where I took you so many years back when we met for the first time to apologise for being rude. Try to remember Rakesh, please make an effort."

"I think I am having enough of this nonsense. Thank you for the meal, I think I should be going for the interview now."

"Look at yourself Rakesh. Just have a look in the mirror. Do you even think you are young enough for an interview?"

Ironically there was a mirror right across where I was standing. I looked into it. Was my hair really white? Did I actually have those wrinkles on my face?

"Yeah, look into that mirror. Look into it the way you have been looking in it for the past few months. Neither are you going for an interview, nor am I working at the Times. I have been your wife for the past 54 years. I know the ailment is eating your memory, but try to remember something please!"

A sharp pain emerged in my head. Everything looked too bright, so much that I could not keep my eyes open. I closed my eyes. The pain kept on increasing and it spread to the rest of my body which could not hold me any longer. I fell on the floor grabbing my head with both hands. Images were flooding in my brain. A much younger me graduating from college. Me receiving the best journalist award. Me looking into the eyes of my newly-wed bride. Me holding the tiny hands of a baby girl, my daughter. It was too much to bear. I tried opening my eyes, everything was blurred. I could make out Deepa leaning over me telling me to hold on. Those eyes were familiar. I had seen them on my wedding day. I could make out some white clothed men holding me up and taking me somewhere. Somebody held my palm, and this time I did not need anybody telling me who it was.

"Deepa......... " my voice trailed off.


It was a normal day. I woke up early in the morning and made myself some light breakfast. I had an interview that day and I wanted to reach the office before time to make a good first impression. As usual, I walked to the bus stop and was waiting for the bus, when a hand tapped my shoulder and asked,

"Excuse me, could you tell me what time it is?"

I looked back at her and I felt my heart skip a beat. Never before had I seen anybody as beautiful.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Outside the Comfort Zone

This blog of mine has been neglected too much. If it was a wife, then I would have been divorced long back. But thankfully blogs are much better, they remain faithful and as they were when you last saw them. So what was I up to?? Nothing much, other than packing as much stuff as I could into as many suitcases as I could hope to carry on an international flight. Taking as much of my country with me as an airline would allow me to. And as expected, it wasn’t enough. Once reaching Arizona, I was getting adjusted to the arid and hot weather, the usual apartment hunting tensions and once everything was done, I was busy having a gala time with all the university welcome events which are like almost everyday.

So, if I am enjoying myself so much, where did I find the time to attend to this blog of mine? My relationship with my blog has been a typical one that a person has with their boyfriend/girlfriend. There’s the initial excitement at discovering something new, then you show people what you have, and enjoy the sight of their awestruck faces (a bit exaggerated), you take in the compliments and ignore the criticism. Then comes the stage where you are comfortable with it and get used to it. There isn’t anything new to discover. So you start neglecting it, and when you are at your loneliest, it again comes to your rescue. I love my blog, maybe because I may have poured so much of myself into it, more than I have done with any person. So here I am, whether I like it or not, posting once more, hopefully for the better. And no, I still haven’t come up with a story but hopefully the block would pass and I would be back with the usual fiction.

Getting used to another country, a totally different culture has been a real adventure. Some of the old followers of this blog might recall one of my earlier post titled Cast Away, where I had posted about my first experience away from home into a hostel. It is the post closest to my heart since it was all totally true and heartfelt. Today I am writing a similar one, but this time the person writing it is 6 years older than what he was during Cast Away, and this decision of going far away from home to pursue my dreams has been a calculated one and wasn’t hurried like that time.

So how is USA? That’s the first thing people ask me. I say it is a really good place. I see more discipline here as compared to my own home country. The people are more well-mannered and polite. No job is a shameful job here. For example, the maintenance guy in my apartment complex owns a car and drives down to Las Vegas every weekend, and cleans the swimming pool, sweeps the complex, does the repair work in the apartments during the weekdays. The people here take their job seriously. Another thing I really admire here is the traffic discipline. I have rarely heard a car honking even in the most horrible traffic jam. In a jam, there’s a difference of at least 4 metres between every car, unlike in India where a jam means all cars are sticking their noses up the front car’s rear end.

Now that doesn’t mean that I don’t miss my country. I do. I miss the utter chaos, I miss the crowds and obviously I miss the food. Luckily for me, my mother had made sure that all her children are comfortable in the kitchen and can cook for themselves right from childhood. It used to feel a real pain to be helping Mom in the kitchen when we were kids, but I can see, or rather feel the dividends of that training now. In this country, where we keep converting the dollars into rupees mentally, it is very difficult to survive without cooking yourself at home. It is way too expensive to eat outside and even then the food here is not easily digested by our gut which used to spicy food. There are Indian restaurants but imagine having to pay $10 for a plate of daal-chawal.

The best thing about staying away from home is that one learns to appreciate his/her parents. You realize that it is not easy managing a daily routine all by yourself. But then, our mothers easily manage the entire family’s routine, don’t they? You realize that keeping a hold on your expenditure is very difficult, but Dad does it without any problem right? You realize that your cooking doesn’t taste all that great, but then you used to crib about your mom’s preparations (not in my case, I was told right in the beginning that if I crib, I would have to do it all myself).

It is very difficult staying all on your own, even if you are with friends. More so, if you are in a foreign country where the culture is totally alien. Initially it is the awe that you feel when seeing something you’ve never seen before. Then is the acceptance stage, where you decide that you are going to like this place since you are going to be here for a few years anyway. Next is the homesickness, especially when you start missing the home-made food, so you dig into the reserves packed into your bags. Once the reserves finish, then there are the desperate calls home to ask for simple recipes which don’t turn out as they are supposed to, however much you try.

And once all this is past, you realize that life cannot be more awesome. It’s awesome to be on your own. You are more willing to take chances and experiment. You are away from your usual peers, so there is more scope to develop new aspects in your personality without the fear of being ridiculed. Your horizons are widened; life is calling you with open arms, with a platter of opportunities laid out for you. Yes, the entire platter is for you. You may not be able to finish all of it. You have to choose. And the choice you make would define your entire life. You make mistakes, you learn from them. Some situations sweep you off your feet, you learn to retain your balance. You get overwhelmed, but your upbringing gets you back on track. If not for anything else, I love Christopher Nolan’s Batman series for one tiny dialogue, which literally defines every human being’s life.

“Why do we fall, sir? So that we could learn to lift ourselves up.”

I just read all that I have written. This makes me wonder, did I really have to leave my country to realize all this? No, not really. Then it struck me, was it just now that I realized that life was waiting for me, or had I known it all along, under the mental stacks of self doubt and low confidence? Yes, I knew that I was destined for something big, something I may have never imagined when I built my first Hydro-electric generator at the age of 16. I knew that if I could build something like that all on my own, I could do whatever I set my mind to. Then came the stage where I made it to the prestigious NIT. I struggled all those four years. I discovered myself more through those struggles than any other way. Luckily for me I had a rock solid family that never let the self doubts go above dangerous levels, they made me understand that a creature meant for flying should not be afraid to walk, and this is what has defined me.

As I am at the beginning of another marvelous phase of my life, a new platter laid out before me, I would like to tell you all one thing. Somebody who has never tried anything new in his/her life, somebody who has always been afraid of taking risks, afraid of falling, that somebody can never support you when you want to take a plunge into the deep sea. Don’t fear getting hurt, time heals all the wounds. Don’t fear falling, for there will always be someone to give a hand in case you can get up yourself. And most importantly, never ever hurt those who are close to you. Your ego will be forever with you, but it may not be the same with people. Choose what you value more.

So at the end of a random post, I would like to tell you all that I might have thought of a new short story for the next one. The writer’s block is slowly melting………………………………….

Friday, July 13, 2012

Rape of Shame

"Don't walk alone on the streets, it's not safe."

"Don't wear skirts, you may provoke somebody."

"Don't talk to boys, you may give them wrong ideas."

"Don't speak out your mind, you may be wrongly labelled."

Common sentences, aren't they? These are the instructions given to all females belonging to "respectable" families so that they maintain that "respect" and "honor" of their family. Sometimes it makes me wonder, what do "honor" and "respect" really mean?

According to wikipedia, honor is an abstract concept entailing a perceived quality of worthiness and respectability that affects both the social standing and the self-evaluation of an individual or corporate body such as a family, school, regiment or nation. In more simpler terms, how you yourself, as well as others perceive you.

It is common on the papers these days to see at least 2-3 rape or molestation cases daily. These are only the reported ones. There must multiple others which are not published in the media. There would be even scores of others where the victim keeps quiet or rather is forced to accept her fate and close her mouth to uphold this so-called honor of her family. Which leads me to the question which has been bothering me and countless of like-minded people. 

"How is it that the victim of a rape case is dishonored while the perpetrator is still honorable?"

The mindset has been also fuelled by our film industry. In so many movies we have seen or rather heard the dialogue "Balatkaar se ladki ki izzat loot gayi." ("The girl has lost her honor/respect as she has been raped."). Does that mean the victim of this horrendous crime is responsible for bringing upon herself this fate? Does that mean just because she chooses to dress herself or behave as she deems proper, it gives the perverts out there on the streets the right to sexually assault her? Who's really lost his/her honor here? The person who can't control his sexual desires, or the one who chooses to live the way she wants?

Many argue that most of the rape cases involve the victim dressing "provocatively", displaying portions of anatomy which are best deemed hidden. Though I don't agree with this point, even if we deem this to be true, how then, do you explain the rapes of children, the minors who haven't even reached the stage of puberty yet, some not even touching 5 years of their lives? What is so "provocative" about a little child, who now would have to grow up with the world around her telling her that she is unclean and dishonored, just because some pervert out there vented his sexual frustration on her.

The latest shame is the incident that occurred in one of the most busy places of Guwahati in Assam. Just because a girl in her late teens protested against a drunk man filming a video of her friend, she was molested by a group of 20 men in full public view, the proof of which everybody must have seen by now either on the internet or on the news channels. She was groped, slapped and stripped openly and what everybody did was just stand and enjoy the "scene". 

News channels spent hours debating whether the journalist who filmed the entire crime was correct in doing so, making a public show of the girl's plight. But thanks to his presence of mind, all the guilty have been easily identified, their photos have gone viral on facebook and even hoardings have been put up in Guwahati with their faces. While morally it may be wrong to film such a scene, if he hadn't done so, the guilty would have been moving around scot-free while the victim would have deemed as an object of shame by the society.

A news channel asked the question, "Have we become a nation of onlookers?" Sadly, I have to say yes. When such crimes can happen in the busiest of areas in full public view, and it takes the police 30 minutes to reach the spot after being notified, and a further 4 days before any arrests made, it shows a very sorry state of affairs. One cannot point fingers only at the law enforcers. All the people who stood there watching without moving a muscle are equally guilty. Some people tried to help her (including the journo who filmed it) and were beaten and abused themselves. Still the gut-less public stood and watched. Why?? Because it's not our job to help those in trouble, it is the police's, in the meantime let me watch the show live.

The power of the internet and websites like facebook and youtube was flexed, and 3-4 days after the incident, the "let-us-condemn-it" virus spread among our "honorable" leaders. So what if the administration does not have the balls to implement the laws, everybody can easily redeem themselves by condemning these incidents.

"The incident was unfortunate. We condemn it and strong action would be taken."

"It is the rarest of rare cases. We thoroughly condemn it."

"The perpetrators will not go scot free. They will pay for their crime. The public must condemn it."

Now that scientists have discovered the God-particle, it's time they discover the power of condemnation and develop a way where criminals would be punished just by sheer condemnation. Easy and quick way of justice, isn't it? So when the crime is reported, the police can just pick up a phone and call the politicians, who would just utter a statement, "I CONDEMN IT" and whoooshhh....the criminal disappears to the lowest levels of hell.

I wish things were as simple as that. 

We have become a society with the chalta-hai attitude. It is okay if a third of our MP's have criminal cases including charges of murder and rape against them. But if a victim of a crime chooses to move-on, he/she is pulled back by society and reminded continuously of their fate. We are helpless when it comes to punishing the guilty, but we love to further victimize the victim. Lay all the blame on the victim, after all she brought it on herself, she asked for it.

To those making irresponsible statements, I would like to ask you, what if it was your mother or sister who was the victim and not some unknown female? Would you have said the same thing?

As a society, we turn to our leaders for inspiration. And such strong leaders we have. They provide such strong condemnation. Dumb-asses the public are who underestimate the sheer power of condemnation. How can the Singh who is supposed to be the king bother about such trivial cases when he's busy following the orders of his Mem-saab and plotting new ways to screw our economy. How can you expect the elder sister who's occupied by the ghosts of opposition conspiracies and Maoists to have time to look over incidents in Park street? It's tough being leaders you know. But despite their busy schedules, they provide such strong condemnations, isn't that enough?

Since all the leadership is totally busy, it comes to the police, the protectors of law and order to salvage some pride. C'mon guys, we know that you have it in you to bring the guilty to book. Show some balls, which obviously the "leaders" lack, and punish the criminals. If you can't catch them, when you have full video proof of the crime (mind you, the faces of the criminals are razor sharp in the video) then I feel sad to say that it is of no use paying our taxes so that they can pay you your salaries. I mean, why should I work, so that you can relax?

Sometimes I feel that the public should be allowed to take law in its own hands. But that would be an irrational option as it can set a very bad precedent. The law takes its own course at a snails pace, but it is one of the few systems in this country that works. It is high time now that the tag of being "dishonored" is shifted from the victim to the criminal. Keep harsh punishments for harsh crimes. A death sentence would be too easy on the criminal. Castrate them and make it public news. Let them be the ones to face humiliation instead of the victim. Let it be a deterrent, so that the next time when a pervert even thinks of raping a female, he should know that what he is about to do can make him lose his balls.

Now that some of my anger has been vented out, I would like to state that this rant of mine is a result of sheer disturbance that I felt when I saw the news yesterday evening. I am NOT sorry if I have hurt any sentiments, because my own sentiments have been continuously hurt when I read such news daily. If a certain Kapil also wants to censor this, go ahead, we will censor you when the election time comes. Some people need to know that you cannot take the public for granted. Women are responsible for bringing us into this world, and if we cannot learn to respect them, well, we don't deserve a place on this planet.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


It was 7 am and I was fast asleep. Usually Ma or Papa did the job of waking me up at 6 in the morning to be ready in time for the school bus. Today it wasn't so. Both of them were not at home. Instead, our labrador, Simon woke me up with his wet licks. He wanted his morning biscuits. I saw a note on my table which confirmed my guess about my parents' whereabouts.

"Sorry Arjun. I had to leave in the middle of the night as Ma had started getting the pains. I will collect you from school and then you would be able to see the baby too, if all goes well. All the best for your last paper. Do well, and then we would enjoy the summer vacation.


Thankfully my schoolbag had been packed the previous night. I hastily made myself a sandwich and gobbled it as fast as I could. The bus was to arrive in 15 minutes, so I decided to skip the bath and just washed my face.

I was just in time for the bus. It was the last paper of my final exams and my favorite subject, Maths. Pretty happy with the way I had written it, I exited the exam hall with a smile on my face, much to the envy of my classmate most of whom had very grim expressions. Now that the exams were over, I felt very light as I waited at the school gate where Papa would come to pick me up. I waited for half an hour, but he didn't arrive. Papa was never usually late. What would I do if he didn't come? Or even worse, forgot to come? An 8 year old boy couldn't walk for 5 kms and I had already missed the bus to wait here. Was the baby so beautiful that he had forgotten me totally? My friend Suresh had told me the other day that once a younger child is born, the parents tend to ignore the older one. Was this the beginning of the end?

Just then, a black Qualis stopped right in front of me and a man wearing dark glasses emerged from it. He had a thick moustache and broad shoulders.

"You must be Arjun Naik, right?" he asked me.

I nodded meekly. Ma always said that I must never talk to strangers or eat anything that they give.

"Your father sent me to pick you up. Come on, get into the car. He is waiting for you."

He seemed to be a friendly person. He even took my bag and placed it in the car. I climbed on to the rear seat. The windows were tinted and closed. The man sat on the driver seat, closed his door and pressed a button which locked all the doors. He took out his mobile and made a call.

"Yeah, I've got him. See you soon." Through the rear-view mirror, I could see him smile. I noticed that his teeth were stained dark.

"You don't mind me putting on some music, do you?"

I shook my head. He started the car and soon we were wading through the city traffic. The windows of the vehicle were tinted dark. My mind wandered off, and I just realised that nobody could see the inside of the car from outside, and I didn't even know who this man or what his name was.

Never take a lift from a stranger or take anything to eat from them unless I or Ma is around.  Papa had once told me. Had I committed a mistake by sitting in this car? But he said he knew Papa, right? I felt a chill inside me.

The man lit up a cigarette and began puffing smoke.

"You must be pretty hungry. I only have a bar of chocolate for you." He said.

My brain refused, but my rumbling stomach made my hand reach hout and take it from him. Here, I had broken another of Papa's rules. But how could I refuse chocolate? I ate in silence.

"You don't talk much." He said, puffing some more smoke. "It's a 1 hour drive and would be pretty boring in silence."

1 HOUR DRIVE!! But my house was hardly 5 kms away.

"Aren't we going home?" I asked him.

"Yes, we are." He chuckled, displaying those nicotine stained teeth. "We are going to my home, not yours."

"Who are you? I want to go to my home!" I was genuinely scared now.

"Now, now. We don't want to create a scene here, do we? You sit behind quietly there, and we can reach our destination peacefully." His tone was stern.

I looked around, trying to think of an escape. The windows were shut tight and they were tinted. The doors were locked.

C'mon, I urged myself. You've read almost the entire set of the Famous Five books. Act like Julian, be calm and think on your feet.

Very quietly, I reached out and unlocked my door. I pulled the lever that would open the door. Jumping out of a moving car would be preferable than being tortured in a dark room. I pulled the lever, but the door wouldn't open.

"Kid, you ever heard of something called child lock?" he laughed. I realised he had been watching all the time through the mirror.

Plan A unsuccessful.

"Don't you start thinking of an escape now. The repurcussions would be too hard for a child to bear. Sit quietly or I'll have to tie you up."

That left no scope for Plan B. O God! Why did Papa have to forget today, of all days?

After about fifteen minutes we turned into a narrow alley. There was garbage strewn on both sides of the road. At the end of it, there was a house. The man drove inside its compound and parked there. He opened my door and clasped my arm with his burly fingers and dragged me inside.

I wasn't going to give in easily. What would George, the bravest amongst the Five, have done? I bit his hand as hard as I could. He was taken by surprise and his grip loosened. I broke free and ran as fast as my legs could carry me. I didn't know where I would go, but I had to get away from him.

In my haste, I tripped over a wire lying on the ground and fell hard on the gravel. By the time I recovered, he was standing besides me.

"You are a tricky little prey. No more games now, I've had enough for today."

He held my collar and easily lifted me up in the air. I struggled with all my might, but all in vain. He took me dangling thus inside the house. It was dark, and darkness scared me. He opened a room. It was pitch black.

"You are going to stay here till my demands are met. You play any games,  the result would be far worse than skinned elbows."

He dropped me hard on the floor and went out closing the door behind him. Animals and insects never scared me a bit, but when it came to dark rooms, the fear of the unseen gripped me. Sweat broke out on my forehead and my heart was racing fast.


Suddenly, the room was flooded with bright light which blinded me and people screamed. I shielded my eyes with my hands and was shocked to see the scene unfolding before me.

"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, Happy birthday dear Arjun, Happy birthday to you!!!!!"

Everybody was there. Ma, Papa, Kaka, everybody. I ran and hugged Papa, tears streaming from my eyes.

"Where were you? Why didn't you come? I thought I was kidnapped." I cried.

"My son cannot be kidnapped so easily." Papa said. "And I guess you must have met your Uncle Raghav, my cousin. He has a strange sense of humor, but he is alright. You'll like him once you know him better."

Raghav came inside the room carrying a cake.

"Sorry for the scare, little fella. Cut this cake and let's be friends." He smiled at me. Those stained teeth weren't so scary now.

Papa nudged me.

"Arjun, I want you to meet someone."

 He took me to where Ma was sitting on a chair, apparently weak and holding a little bundle, he face radiating with a smile.

I went and had the first look at my little sister.

May be life won't be so bad after all, I thought as Ma held me tight. Maybe I would even love to share things with her, now that I had managed to share my birthday.

Moments later, I went ahead and cut the cake, the first of the many more I would cut together with my sist