Spicy Rasam

Not a cooking or food blog! I just share what's cooking in my mind.

I don’t have any hobbies. Yes!! I don’t. I am addicted to WhatsApp, I don’t know what to watch in TV and I am very bored. Does this sound familiar? Welcome to the bored-human club.

My Physics teacher used to say “ if you’re bored, you’ve got no imagination”. Does this mean I’ve lost my imagination? Am I not imagining? Does day dreaming count? Or zoning out? Anyway, I am bored, and according to my ex-Physics teacher, I can’t imagine stuff.

So, as always, I sought help. I Googled “Bored mom” (see below Picture).

bored mom

I am not alone. There are so many moms who are bored. It has nothing to do with motherhood; I guess people are just bored. Is it the fact that humans get to live longer? Or it is the fact that “making a living” is not very exciting anymore, or is it that nothing excites us anymore?

I'm so excited

Honestly!! I don’t know. I grew up in the 90s, and it was awesome. My mom never told me she was bored. She hardly had time for TV. She worked at home and office. She raised me and my brother. She socialized.. well, in the literal sense (no internet, those days). It was simple, small, and fresh.

I used to ride my bicycle to school, I played in the school grounds after school hours, me and my friends hung out in the local bakery. This was my childhood. I grew up with witnessing the evolution of technology. I was awestruck by the idea of cell phones. I was amazed by the idea of internet. It was awesome that a site named “Google” helped us search for sites that provided relevant information. (That’s right. Once upon a time, google worked for the internet. Not the other way around.) Now this is going to sound cheesy, but those were good times.

I mean it was actually possible to part ways with a friend. It was possible that we can never ever see them again in our life. It was possible to have friends who were physically present in our life. We can boldly use the proverb “friend in need is a friend in deed”. Because they were there to do the deed. Maybe that’s why it was not possible for people to get bored back then. There was no comparison, no audience, no mindless socializing, and no instant photography.


People lived their lives in their own little world. They compared themselves with their neighbors, their colleagues, their right-next-to-them friends. They were not doomed to be “friends” with the photography freak, the update freak, the whatsApp freak (this is me), the “it’s all peachy” freak, the “I am too cool for you” freak, the “I am so cool, I run marathons” freak, and “I am always Happy” freak.

Let’s face it. We’re all freaks and internet set us free. It’s like the Jurassic world (the movie) of dumbos. Now, coming back to the topic of being bored. I think the bored people are bored because they know too much. And yes! Ignorance is bliss. As long as you did not know somewhere, some place, someone you once went to school with is living it up, you are very much happy with your uneventful life. The problem is now you know. The person living it up posts a photo in Facebook, pinterest, Twitter, and WhatsApp. The person who posts the picture needs an audience, and they get it. whether or not they are happy is not the question. they just want to sell their “happy life”.

Actors are acceptable critics and thanks to Internet, everyone is an actor and everyone can criticize. You get married, people have stuff to say. You lose weight! People have something to say. You have a baby! People have something to say! And if they don’t say anything, you feel depressed. You post a picture or comment crap, you feel entitled to receive comments. If you are an outcast in a social network, you are, well, an outcast. It doesn’t matter how good your life is. And worst! you start making plans to get yourself noticed. You go outing, go to places and post on Facebook. You want people to know how awesome you are. How rocking your life is. You might have suffered diarrhea, fever, cold or cramps during your trip to Malaysia. The food would not have agreed with your stomach. But, no one has to know that. Just fake it till you make it.


Let’s be positive people!!


I am writing this article because I was bored. You guys are probably reading this because you’re bored. Well! Life sans fight for survival (literally), hunt for food (literally), and procreational activities is very boring. But all the above three without any hint of surprise anywhere is boring too. That’s what we’re facing now and that is called civilization. We created this monster. Let us now suck it up. Happy boredom people!


Are you 30 plus years of age? Did you cry when you turned 30? Or did you rub it off as just a number? I’ve always wondered how life would be if we did not measure it with numbers. 20’s, 30’s, 40’s. I am not saying turning 30 is bad. I love my 30’s. Why? ‘cause in my 20’s I was busy coping, marrying, mom-ing and daughter-in-law—ing. But my 30’s; they are rocking. For starters, they are long, and I feel like I have a lot of time. I am sure every woman in their mid-30’s get what I am saying.


Don’t let this crying man fool you!! 30s are awesome!!!!

Then why are we so worried about the age? Why did my co-sister cry when she turned 30? And console herself saying 30’s are the new 20’s. (Well! Then I guess 10’s are the new 0’s. Let’s use face creams to go back into our mom’s womb ya’all). Let’s face it! We hate to age. Anything that is young is fresh and wonderful. Right? We want young vegetables, fruits, house, car, furniture, phone, oven, and grinder (Well! Except rice. That we want the aged ones).


see! even he looks great when young!! before the award…

Has this fear of aging always been there? I was so curious and asked my grandma. She told me she got married at 16 and by 34 she was old (by 34, she lost a husband and had 5 kids). But she never followed the aging process like we do now. I mean she lived wonderfully and aged happily.


Last week I raided the Korean products store in a mall and bought a ton of anti-aging creams (yup! They stop aging. Have you seen the Koreans!!!). I even bought face packs and sheet masks. I promised myself I will use these diligently and regularly (I did not! I was told the cream will last a year. The way I am using it, it will last 2 years). Why?? Because I could see some lines on my face. Those were not there before (Well! We shifted and the new house has better lighting!!).

The face products market claims that the increase in pollution has led to faster aging. Has it? I mean my mom tells me even at 32, she used to look like a middle-aged woman. And nowadays women don’t look that aged. It’s true. We do have more freedom. We can wear clothing that suits us. We can opt for a hairstyle that suits us. We have better financial independence than a woman in 1980s. It’s not the face creams ladies! It’s just that we feel young. No one can stop aging (trust me! I’ve tried! ) but we sure can feel young.

Feeling young doesn’t necessarily mean grooming yourself to hell in the beauty parlor or using a ton of beauty products. Feeling young is not knowing you’ve aged till you die. Let’s live in denial and embrace life.

Gender equality has always been a much discussed, much obsessed over topic. The urban work-field is a battle of sexes. Although, we can see a lot of improvement in the lifestyle and living-conditions–changes in the past 25 years, these changes have not impacted areas of concerns that matter the most.

India ranks 108 in the gender equality survey conducted by World Economic Forum. The gender gap was measured by economic opportunity, political empowerment, educational attainment, and health and survival. Seems fair right?

We can all agree that women have a different spectrum of standards when it comes to economic opportunity, political empowerment, and educational attainment. Indian women have a lot on their plate and are expected to conform to a set of rules predominantly set by the male gender.

gender equality.jpg

Any woman who gets an opportunity to get paid for her professional services and her talents has to go through a lot of hurdles; starting from her father. (I am not saying all father are controlling and chauvinistic, but some definitely are; and these ‘some’ are more than enough to ruin a flourishing development).

I have met many women who have had a father tell them to dress like a nun, behave like a wall flower, cook like a master chef, and clean like a vacuum cleaner. “A woman should first tend to her home, career comes next” a man once told me. He was my subordinate and I was mentoring him.

Now, girlfriends, don’t fume now. Read on! We have some things to ponder. Now! how did the guy I was mentoring have the audacity to talk to his mentor that way? What gave him the power? Or the sheer stupidity? He will never say that to his male superior. Because every ‘Tom, dick and harry’, every ‘Mohammed, Rahim and Karim’, and every ‘Ramesh, Rajesh and Vikram’ has a say on what a woman should do. Everyone seems to think they have a right to say. The economic opportunities will increase once women start to take decisions on their own, are not influenced by what the men folk think, and are not pulled back because they were trying to impress the “traditional rule followers”.

Women are inherently non-forgiving and courageous. They will make good law makers, law keepers, doctors, parliamentarians, and scientists. Stop being a bitch to your fellow sisters and encourage them. If you see a friend who has talent is being held back by useless “traditional” values, fight for her.

Education and opportunities are the key for any woman to attain the basic minimum economic growth. These are like oxygen and water for a woman to be financially independent. How can a country flourish without giving its evolved gender these necessities?

India ranks very low in health and survival. It is not a surprise. Considering the conditions in Govt. hospitals, I am surprised how the government does not take initiatives to give better care for the patients. Indian population amounts to 17.7% of world’s population. I know that it is tough to provide, manage and protect this many people. But medical amenities are a necessity, it is not a luxury.

Take sanitary napkins, for example. The controversial GST tax of 12% was reduced to nil by the GST council in 2018. This was done after many educated women protested and voiced their opinions. Nevertheless, good move! Because lack of knowledge in dealing with the monthly natural process is a crucial reason many girls in rural areas are suffering.

sani pad.jpg

Periods are among the leading factors for girls to drop out of school in a country where four out of five women and girls are estimated by campaigners to have no access to sanitary pads (Source: Reuters). Sanitary napkins should be distributed freely. They should be available in schools and the access should be seamless. All work places, irrespective of how small, should provide their female employees with clean washrooms. Women and girls should be empowered to ask for a washroom, a napkin and any other hygiene products. It is their birth right. It is our duty to provide these to them.

Awareness should be created among men and the elder generation on the non-taboo of this natural process. Some innovative thinkers like Arunachalam Muruganandham take steps to address this problem. These people should be recognized and enabled to help the county as a whole.

Feminism is required. It is required in the rural areas. Areas where women are considered as second-class citizens. They are looked upon as baby-making machines. It is high time the common Indian man in rural areas change his perspective. Because let us face it, India is still a patriarchal society. Empowerment should start with every daughter. If we somehow achieve that, gender equality and population crisis can be addressed in one go.

Related Article: Education is like a Country’s Engine Oil


Hi guys,

You know! there are some times in all of our lives when we are in the lowest of the low. It feels like the whole life is a nightmare that is going to end anytime now. And then you wait for it to end. You wait, wait and wait some more. It never ends. And then… You breathe… you live.. you love.. you love yourself again… It is called a grieving process, recovering process. Basically, you just process. Live through the mess. Not avoid it. Do these words ring a bell? Strike a chord? Yeah! you’re not alone!

I wrote this poem at a time like that. I process with words (what do you know! I love paper work! :D). It is called The Grief:

Related image

My life did not stop,
Nor did my heart,
The gift that I got,
Is the gift that I regret.

“I won’t let you go”
“I won’t let you go”
I fought till the end,
I fought till your end.

Life is precious,
Neither you were cautious,
Nor was I.

I got away, away from death.
You got away, away from life.
You left me dear,
In this empty sphere.

Sharp as a spear,
It cuts through my heart.
But not as sharp.
I’m still alive.

Alive and cursed.
Cursed with solitude.
I cared for you,
Hath you no gratitude.

I’m counting my days,
The days to my birth.
’cause without you my love,
I’m not complete.

Full as I’d seem,
Less I am than empty.
Less than space,
Lesser than vacuum.

Hath you no mercy?
You left me by myself…
Hath you no mercy?
Mercy to take me with you!

Cruel you are my love,
Cruel you are my god,
Cruel as you are,
Cruel is my death.

Take me away,
Take me to the heaven.
Take me to the light.
To the light, my God,
The light of my life… to my love.

This is the seventh part of a long story.

First part of the story: Long Story 1

Second part of the story: Long Story 2

Third part of the story: Long Story 3

Fourth part of the story: Long Story 4

Fifth part of the story: Long Story 5

Sixth part of the story: Long Story 6

Seventh part of the story: Long Story 7

man and woman

Vishva; USA

Vishva, Mitch, Max, and Alejo had ordered the spicy curry sandwich. It was weird. Vishva and Mitch always ordered the spicy curry sandwich. Alejo probably was used to spices and heat. But Maxine? Mitch was looking at Max like she was going to explode anytime now. Alejo had ordered a chilled bottle of water and was holding the bottle with his left hand, while he ate the sandwich with his right. Vishwa had got a plain yogurt; it was opened and a ready with a spoon beside it.

Max started to eat the sandwich and looked at the three men who were looking at her like how she used to look at her baby when she fed it something new. Max took a look at the sandwich, a little bit worried now. “GUYS!” she said banging on the table. “CUT IT OUT.”

Alejo immediately put the bottle on the table and held the sandwich with both hands. Mitch started to eat the sandwich like there was no other sandwich for him in this world. Vishwas silently pushed the yogurt near Maxine.

“What?” she asked looking at Vishva.

“Yogurt!” Vishva said in a matter of factly.

“I know! Why?” Max asked.

“For the heat!” he replied.

“What heat?”


Max had already finished half the sandwich. She looked at the 3 sets of worried eyes. “Men! I can handle my Curry. Cut it out. God!”

Mitch visibly relaxed and smiled. He had already finished his sandwich, so he went for the yogurt. Alejo grunted and started to eat again. “Good for you!” Vishva said and sincerely started to eat his sandwich.

Max rolled her eyes and said “So! The presentation went well… congrats Mitch and Vishva.” “Good work guys” said Alejo.

“Thanks…”  said Vishva and Mitch.

“Which of you guys will be giving the KT to the Project Manager and the TL?” Alejo asked between bites.

“Both of us” Mitch said. “We’re planning to share the modules equally. It will also enable good interaction”

“Good! Make sure that they get initiated well. We cannot afford distance-related miscommunications and misinterpretations,” said Alejo.

“They’ll be fine Alejo.” Max said, “All businesses have global workforce now. We’ll take care.”

Vishva wiped his mouth and said urgently “It won’t be a problem Alejo. I promise. I’ll make sure nothing affects the working efficiency.”

Narrator: Nothing you say!!! Not even Prabha? Huhahahahahaha (evil laugh)

Prabha; India

It was 10:30. Her mom-in-law was going to come anytime now. She did not want to face her today. She was just very tired. ‘Why the hell did Arun tell me now?’ Prabha sat on the bathroom stool and was thinking away. ‘Maybe if I jump off the window and land in the 11th floor balcony. I can then walk on the beam and go to the common area in B block. I can then jump on the balcony and.. What if the balcony is closed?’

‘Or! I can jump on the 11th floor balcony, let go of the dignity and scream and scream. Sigh! God save me from my mom-in-law.’

Prabha came out of the bathroom at 10:45. Arun was weighing the luggage and moving them to the hall. Prabha went and sat on the sofa. She stared at Arun who was now cleaning the dining table. “I do not want to face your mom now.” Prabha said.

Arun stopped and looked at Prabha. “What shall we do?”

“You say!” she said.

“Hmmmm… shall I ask her not to come now?”

“She will suspect something.”

“Well! There is something to suspect.”

“She will think I made you Gay.” Prabha said.

Arun smiled and sat on the dining table chair “She might. We’ll explain to her.”

“She will tell me that I am cursed. Like the time she thought I am unfavorable to go to a baby shower because I could not conceive a second time.”

“Hmmm… yeah remember that. She has changed a lot now. You’ve changed her Prabha.”

“What will you tell her Arun? Shall we tell her after I come back from the US?”

“I was thinking the same thing.” Arun said

“Why did you tell me Arun?” Prabha asked and Arun looked at her with guilt-ridden eyes.

“Because my lover is going to Canada in 2 days. And he wanted an answer before that.”

Prabha alerted herself. “What did he want to know? Wait! You have a lover?”

“If I will be coming with him, eventually. And yes, I do.”

Prabha looked at Arun with demanding, worried and sorrowful eyes.

“What about me? What will I do?”

“Prabha––––“ Prabha stopped him.

“I am not asking you to help me. I can take care of myself. I just mean. I’ll be in India. How am I going to face people? “

“Prabha! You have to remarry. I’ve told Radha that I will not come to Canada till I know you have a happy life.”

“Radha?” asked Prabha.

“Radhakrishnan. He’s the guy. My lover.” Arun said.

“Oh!” Prabha said.

“I know Prabha! I have the fear of losing what I have too.” Said Arun.

“More than the fear of losing the stable life, I fear people.” Prabha said and looked at the clock. It was 11:10.

“I’ll go pick Charan!” Prabha said got up from the sofa.

“No! I will. You relax.” Arun said.

“NO!” Prabha said, “You stay here. Your Mom will be here any moment.”

Arun nodded his head in response.

Prabha took her handbag and opened the main door to leave, she stopped and said “Arun! I am not angry. I am just… I do not know. I just wish I did not waste my life trying to live up to everyone’s expectations. I am angry at myself for not believing in the glaring hints I was seeing.”

“I know! I know I am to blame. I know you are strong. I am weak. I’ve been rendered weak by the same expectations you’re talking about Prabha. I was expected to be straight. I was expected to talk dirty, not have a dress sense, be manly, be boyish. I hid my facial expressions, because they were too expressive. I married a woman to seem straight. I hope you can forgive me. I hope I can be strong.” said Arun and sat down dejected.

“Hey!” Prabha called him. Arun looked at her with worried eyes. “I am happy you met a Loooovveerrr” she said in a sexy, teasing voice. Arun throw a throw pillow towards her as he laughed.

Prabha laughed too and closed the door behind her. She smiled to herself as the lift opened. It is OK. She has not lost a good friend. She never really had a husband. She just lived with her best friend. So, there is nothing to lose.

As the lift closed, Prabha smiled more. The other lift opened in the floor where they reside and Arun’s mother walked out.

Arun was vigorously wiping the dust off the center table when the bell rang. He first thought was ‘Prabha must have forgot something’. He scanned the hall room for her bike keys, scarf and handbag, as he walked to the door. It was his mom. He was both happy and sad to see her.

He braced himself and opened the door. She beamed at him. Vatsala Nagarajan was a Retd. Bank Manager. She was a Gemini by birth, therefore she fought with herself and others. She was traditional, yet modern. She was tech savvy, yet ancient. She believed in God yet did not follow all religious rules. She was a, is a single mother. Arun Nagarajan was the apple of her eye.

Vatsala kept her bags down and hugged Arun tightly. Arun hugged her back just as tightly. “How have you been my boy?” She asked with sparkling eyes.

Arun smiled down at his mom with love, “Fine Amma! Go in, I’ll bring the bags.” Saying this he walked near the lift to bring the 3 big bags. The cab driver who was holding those bags was relieved to let them go.

“Amma! You should have called me. I’d have come down to get you,” said Arun as he maneuvered the big bags to the guest bedroom. “It’s OK Chellam. She said pinching his cheeks.” She was obviously excited to spend time with her son and her grandson.

“Where is Prabha?” She asked as she went into the kitchen and inspected the space with her eagle eyes. She opened all the vessels and checked the ingredients. “Is the cook coming regularly?” She asked.

“Yes ma..” Arun replied with strain in his voice as he was trying to lift one of the bag up on the bed.

“Does Prabha cook? At least occasionally?” Vatsala asked walking into the bedroom.

“Maaa… don’t start” Arun said.

“Start what? I am just asking. Look! I know the constraints a working woman has. I just asked does she cook at least occasionally.”

“Yes! in fact, I love her Matter Kachoris, Her Paniyarams, Besan laddo, Rawa kesari ––––”

“Fine! Fine!” Vatsala interrupted. “Open that bag.” She said, pointing to the blue bag on the ground. Arun looked at the red bag that he had heculiously lifted on to the bed. He closed the red bag and kept it down. He then lifted the blue bag on to the bed.

“Be careful my boy!” Vatsala said and moved to stand near Arun and opened the blue bag. “Mrs. Thanigachalam had gone to Sri Lanka. She got a Leghayam (herbal medicine) from there. It seems it is good for men. Nice lady she is. She got one for you too. I am sure, you and Prabha do not have any problems, but fortification is good right? Here!!!” She gave a small box with a decorative paper on top. Arun took that box and put it in his track pants’ pockets.

‘God save my mother’ he prayed silently.

Being confident is a true gift. Isn’t it? It works like a magic potion no matter what the circumstance is. Most self-development classes, courses or talks talk about self-confidence. Can a person be forever confident about themselves? Won’t they have off days? How much confidence is not too confidence?

Phew… that a lot of ‘confidence” in just one para. (I’d say too-confident… eh? Hehe… not funny? Well! Bite me!!) People consider me a confident person. Some even ask me tips on ‘how to be confident?’ I honestly do not know. Because I am always insecure. I think I turn on my “confidence mask” only when required. (Guess I keep practicing wearing the mask.)

But, I know some people who are extremely confident. I mean, they make YouTube videos, some are stand-up comedians, some are theater actors, some are receptionists and some work in customer-facing jobs. They have to be confident. They cannot afford to be otherwise. I have sometimes wondered how they achieve it. I recently got the answer when I was talking to my friend (The YouTuber). He said, it is all about the way you see yourself. If you look at yourself like you are your own baby or a treasure, you tend to be less confident.

confident sistah.jpg

Aaah!! come on…little baby hehe!! (blushing) (blushing)

Your first reaction is ‘What the hell??’ Right? Mine was too. Seems, people who do not take themselves seriously come off as confident (WOW! Who knew!! No wonder Trump, Modi, and Rahul Gandhi are so confident). Take note that I said, ‘come off as’ and not ‘are’. Because that is all it is.

If you treat yourself like a king, Kim Jong-un, or Daenerys Targaryen (that woman scares the shit out of me now! not more than Kim Jong-un, though), you behave like a toddler’s publicist. You keep your mouth in check, your thoughts, you think, think, and think what to say; and then it is just too late and you just stand there. You have definitely saved your dignity, unwanted stress that will come later, and some other unpleasant stuff.

These filters are good, in small amounts. If you keep filtering the hell out of your thoughts and speech, you just do not interact. I am not talking about introverts. I am talking about extroverts and not-so introverts (like myself; I am a half and half). Never hurt anyone, do not say nonsense, but trust yourself to say the right thing. If you do not trust you, who else will?

baby greenshrt.jpg

Listen to the baby with mud on his hands!! LISTEN TO HIM

This is the seventh part of a long story.

First part of the story: Long Story 1

Second part of the story: Long Story 2

Third part of the story: Long Story 3

Fourth part of the story: Long Story 4

Fifth part of the story: Long Story 5

Sixth part of the story: Long Story 6

holding hands

Vishva; USA

“You guys wanna have Lunch?” Alejo asked Max, Vishva, and Mitch. “Sure” Mitch said as he nudged Vishva who was busy gathering up papers and shutting the system down. “Yes! Sure… “ Vishva said with an immediate smile.

“ OK! Then! the sandwich place near Starbucks ok?” Max asked. “Sure!” Alejo said, “See you at 1:00”. “Bye guys” Max said and she and Alejo walked away.

“Dude!” Mitch gave a pat on Vishva’s back, and Vishva stumbled a little, but he gathered his balance and play-punched his friend on his chest. “OK! So, our baby is kick-starting man!” Mitch said in a prideful voice. “Yes!” Smiled Vishva. They have been researching and pitching this solution for the past 1 year. It was finally taking shape and they were going to implement their solution. It was a big moment for them.

“Man! I wanted to celebrate tonight! But I can’t Cathy’s leaving Jane with me.” Mitch said.

“No Problem!” Vishva said easily. He was not in a celebrating mood anyway. “So, Jane is in which grade now?”

“She’s is high school man, Junior year” said Mitch.

“WOW! Time flies. I actually thought she was still in middle school” Vishva said.

“Hahaha! Yeah, sometimes I can’t believe it either,” said Mitch. Mitch and Cathy had been divorced for 5 years now. They shared custody of their daughter.

“OK! Lets document this and update the SharePoint mate!” Mitch said.

“OK Mate!” Vishva said and got a poke on his chest for mocking Mitch’s Aussie lingo.

Vishva sat on his desk and started to update the reports and fill in the notes for the first meeting. He typed Prabha, TL, and Shalini, Project Manager will be coming onsite. He stopped and stared at the name ‘Prabha’.

She sure did sound a lot like his Prabha. He smiled to himself. It is going to be fun calling someone Prabha. He sighed lightly. The developments yesterday wear weighing down on his mind. He still has to talk to Jaya. They have to talk to Rohit. Vishva had to kick Parvy’s ass. Just then his stomach grumbled and made its presence known. He looked at the time. It was 12:30 PM. He pinged Max and Mitch. He needed sandwiches.

Rohit; USA

“Where’s dad?” Rohit had asked in the morning. And his mom had told him that he worked late yesterday and was asleep. His dad always got up early and went to the gym. There was hardly any day he missed. This was weird. What was weirder? His mom gave him money to buy lunch. She never did that. She was a health freak who obsessed over eating whole foods and unprocessed foods. His friend Sean’s mom was a health freak too. That was one reason their moms got along well! This was good for Sean and him of course.

Something was definitely off today and yesterday, though. What was wrong with mom? She dropped him off in her night pants. She gave him money for lunch. She did not go for her morning swim.

“Rohit!!!” his teacher called.

“Yes! Yes Mrs. Kingmen”

“Rohit! Where is your mind at? I asked you a question. What are the names of these fruits?” Rohit stood up and looked at the fruits. “Cantaloupe, Tangerine, and Water Melon.”

“Good! Sit!” said Mrs. Kingsmen.

Rohit sat down and started to look at the Mango tree in his school garden. I guess I cannot ask mom again for permission to play dragonslayer with Sean this weekend. I hope she remembers that she said yes. God! Please let me clear level 3 and win the king’s trident.

Arun; India

“I’m Gay…. I am Gay Prabha…  Prabha… do not be surprised…” Moron… of course she’s going to be surprised, he thought. Arun stood in front of his bathroom mirror and was practising telling Prabha his news. “Daaad….” Charan banged the bathroom door. “Dad! Come out. You’ve been in there for half hour,” Charan whined. Arun looked at himself once more in the mirror and reassured himself that he can do it. Radha was leaving to Canada in two days. Prabha was leaving today. He has to do it today. He has to.

“Daaaaad….” His son banged the door again. “You can use it now son!” Arun said opening the door to the bathroom. Charan walked in half asleep. He took his toothbrush and started to squeeze some paste on it. “You’ll pick me up at 12:00 right?” Charan asked between brushings. “Yes!” Arun said, “Grandma will be coming here after you leave for school.” Charan nodded his head. With ruffled hair and sleepy eyes, his son was very boyishly handsome. Arun hoped his son will forgive him and understand him. “Move!!” Charan said, wanting to reach the wash basin. Arun laughed and went out of the bathroom.

Arun went straight to the kitchen. Prabha was giving instructions to the cook. “Do not make rotis in the dosa tawa and do not make dosa in the roti tawa… ok? You got it, right?”. The cook was smiling and nodding. “Woman! If you don’t remember this, I’ll get nothing for you from USA” Prabha said jovially.

“Prabha!” Arun called her. Prabha’s expression immediately changed to a serious one. “Yes Arun!”.

“We need to talk! Can we have a chat please?” said Arun. Prabha looked at him with puzzled eyes. So, did the cook. In her working in this home for 3 years, she has never seen her madam’s husband talk to madam.

“Why?” asked Prabha reflexively, and immediately regretted, “I mean!! Aaahhh, I have a lot of work.” She gestured towards cooking prep.

“It is important. Please.”

Prabha sensed that something was amiss. She could feel an instinctive churning in her gut. “After Charan goes to school?” she asked.

“Sure” replied Arun and went out of the kitchen. Prabha and the cook kept looking at the space he stood for some time. “See Didi! God has shone his light on you. Your husband talks to you now” said the cook.

Prabha looked at the 20 something girl, still in shock. “Sure Sabia. Sure!”, she said and walked out of the Kitchen.

Prabha and Arun were sitting on their Godrej Interiors sofa. Prabha sat cross-legged and stared at Arun with dread and worry. She has to leave for USA today. Her mom will call in one hour. Her mom-in-law will come in 2 hours.  Shalini and her have to have discuss a few matters. She has to pick Charan from the school at 12:00.

“I’ll pick up Charan today” Arun said suddenly.

“Arun! Tell me! We’ve been sitting like this for 10 mins. now”

Arun stood up and paced the hall. He sat down, bending his knee in front of Prabha. Prabha turned to face him. She touched his face lightly and asked, “What is it Arun?”

Tears started to flow. Arun did not want to hurt Prabha. He hated himself for doing this, for being gay. He started to cry, covering his face with his hands. “Arun! Arun! Please look at me” Prabha was saying.

Arun suddenly got up, went near the dining table and took a bottle of water. He drank till he finished the bottle. He then turned and said in an urgent voice “Prabha! There is no easy way to say this…… I am gay.”

They both sat in silence. Prabha could hear the birds. The mynah that came every morning was singing away. Someone was sounding their car horn loudly. The song “Kala chashma” was playing in someone’s home. Charan’s digital watch was sounding an alarm. Sweepers were sweeping the staircase. Pigeons were fighting on the roof of her balcony. Prabha couldn’t take her eyes off Arun. After some minutes, she asked, “What?”.

Arun Sighed and went to sit near Prabha. “I am gay. I guess, I always have been. I am very sorry Prabha. I promise I did not deceive you. I did not know for sure until a few months ago…..” Arun kept talking. All Prabha could hear was a loud ringing noise. The room seemed to spin. He whole life flashed in front of her. Her past. When Arun refused to have a romantic dance during her friend’s wedding. When Arun told her he does not need to have sex unless otherwise required. When Arun never forgot their anniversary but did not seem happy at all during that day. When she’d felt like she was arguing with a woman when she argued with Arun.

“––––and I know I cannot be forgiven–––” Arun kept talking.

“Is that why you like Jason Mamoa?” Prabha asked.

“––––– huh? Ahhmmm yes! That’s why. I like rugged men.” Arun said.

“Me too.” Prabha replied. They both sat there, again in silence.

“Prabha––––“ Arun started.

“Arun!!” Prabha stopped him, “Can we do this after I come back from USA?”

Arun looked at her with guilty eyes. “Sure!” he said, “Sure!”. Prabha got up to leave and stopped after a few steps. “Wait!! Do you want a divorce?” she asked turning half way and facing Arun.

Arun sighed, “Do you want to be married to me after knowing this?” he asked.

“We live in India Arun. How are you going to come out of your closet? This country is not exactly kind to the LGBT community.” Prabha said.

Arun smiled. He had come to love this unselfish, brave, kind, beautiful woman. Even after his big reveal, all she can think about is how it will affect him.

“I’ll take care of that!” Arun said. “How are you going to face people? Tell me what to do! Do you want me to tell people that I am impotent? Anything you want.” Arun said.

“What?? NO! I am going to take a bath.” Prabha said and walked away.

She suddenly stopped and said, “You can start by coming up with a plan on how to break it to your mother. She’s going to be here in sometime.”

Eighth  part of the story: Long Story 8


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