Tag Archives: DPchallenge

To all the Divya Ks out there – Part IV

As you can tell from the title of this post, I’ve written on this subject — i.e. the infuriating commonness of my name — several times. In fact, it was one of the first subjects I wrote about on this blog, given my glee over grabbing the domain name divyakumar.com out of the clutches of the many other Divya Kumars out there.

It’s been a while now since I wrote about it last, but nothing’s changed in the interim. I still regularly get emails meant for all those other Divya Ks. One of the most annoying instances was when I received a flood of resumes from a bunch of desperate job seekers. Obviously one of the Divya Ks was recruiting freshers and, as always, there had been an email address mix up. Or had there? In this instance, I began to suspect that she’d given the wrong address on purpose to the least promising/most aggravating candidates. Because, from what I could tell, none of these kids could spell or construct a grammatical sentence. And at least a couple had some form of severe short term memory loss, since they just kept sending me their CVs again and again in spite of my repeatedly telling them they’d got the address wrong…

It’s amazing what insights I’ve gotten into the lives of all these Divyas over the years, though. Bank and credit card statements (so much for secure online banking right, Divya Kapoor?), flight booking details, phone bills (that Divya Khanna sure has been talking up a storm)… these, of course, I’ve written about before. What’s new is the peeks I’ve been getting into their online shopping habits recently. With the internet shopping boom that’s happening in India, I now regularly receive emails from various online stores about all these goodies they’ll be shipping to ‘me’ soon — saris, electronics, books, you name it. It’s kinda fun… for a little while, I live vicariously through the Divya Ks out there, getting that virtual retail therapy rush without actually burning a hole in the credit card (though I can’t say I like Divya K. Sharma’s taste in clothes much. Not all that glitters needs to be on your sari, m’dear).

But recently, I got some emails that were less fun. Actually, with each one that arrived, I started getting increasingly jittery. You see, for the first time, I was feeling the pain of a fellow Divya K parent. Her child, it appears, studies at this institution that emails parents their child’s grades at the end of the term. Clearly, parents’ email ids is not the only thing that this school was screwing up on, because, let me tell you, the report cards weren’t pretty. Subject after subject was marked ‘FAIL’ in bold red. By the time the third email arrived, with the child’s language scores, I was a nervous wreck, and found myself desperately hoping it wasn’t another big, fat F. Thankfully, the child had – just barely – passed English and Hindi, so I could breathe again.

As I get older, I’m getting more philosophical about this whole having a common-as-heck name thing. After all, it gives me a glimpse into these women’s lives, and I realise we share a whole lot more than our names. We share the stresses of parenthood, we share the joys of shopping and troubles on the job too. So, to all the Divya Ks out there… I salute you. We’ll make through. And to the Divya K whose son is flunking so dreadfully… hang in there. And maybe look for another school?

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This was written for the “Power of names” weekly writing challenge over on Daily Post.

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The tree that remembers

Note: This piece of fiction was inspired by marsowords’¬†hauntingly beautiful entry for the three’s weekly photo challenge: ‘The oddly scenic threesome.

He used to live there, in the house under that tree. The tree would flower in the spring, blooms blazing bright red and orange under the California sun. There’d be a carpet in the colours of autumn on the ground and the sun would glint gold between the leaves above.

We sat there, on that carpet, many an afternoon. It felt like we were the only people alive. Even then there was an uncanny silence surrounding us. The green orchards, fruit and busy workers that were just miles distant seemed a world away, and that dusty road never saw any traffic. Just barren land all around, and this one, single spot of colour, bathed in the light of life.

When he was gone, the light went away. I go there every week to his house, and keep it perfectly clean, as though he’s just away on a trip and will be back home any day soon. I go there every week, but I can’t stop the life seeping out of it.

The flowers don’t bloom any more, the branches have curled up as though in sorrow. Even the light doesn’t glint golden; everything is grey and brown, just as it is all around. The ground is dry and burnt, no carpet to soften it, just spiny seeds.

All that remains are the memories that linger in the air, haunting that tree and that house like so many spirits of the dead. Now I go there not to exult in the present but to drift into the past, a past that was golden and warm. I exist like that tree, alive but bereft of life, warped by the past and uncaring of the future.

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This was written for the Weekly Writing Challenge: Threes over on Daily Post.

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Ten minutes in the life of a doll

I lay on on my toddler’s play mat tonight, overcome with a sort of lethargy, apathy, almost. Couldn’t get myself to move for any reason. She needed dinner… she needed her medicine… she needed to go to bed. For about 10 minutes, I just shut out those constant “mom-reminders” that ring in my head from morning to night, from the moment she wakes up to the moment she goes to bed at night. I didn’t want to think about everything that needed to be done, all the balls that I’m juggling, all those schedules that needed to be maintained. I just wanted to be, just another object lying on my daughter’s play mat.

And so I lay there. She was sitting right by me, reading a book. She stuck her foot into my nose and mouth a couple of times. Sat on my hip and bounced, announcing in delight that she was “jumping on amma”. She clambered over me, this way and then that, several times. She put her snack bowl over my face like an oxygen mask and watched me with the kindly attention of a ward nurse, to see how I’d react. I didn’t. It afforded her considerable entertainment, and for me it was strangely liberating. My day, just like every other day, had been spent monitoring what she was doing and wasn’t doing… “wear your clothes!” “don’t pull off your underwear!” “don’t throw the cup!” “come for your bath!”.  Now, since I was just another object on the mat, I could let it all be. For those ten minutes, it didn’t matter that she was sitting there playing bare-bottomed or that her cup lay in the far corner of the drawing room.

She lay next to me and played with my hair, humming under her breath. Then she gave me a hug and said, “Love you too, amma!” (the “love you” from my side was clearly a given). Then she went back to reading her book, her big toe lodged in my nostril again, apparently utterly contented. The child who’d spent the entire evening whining and clinging to me had disappeared. Some vestige of energy returned to my limbs and I sat up slowly. I reached for the discarded Peppa Pig undies, and wonder of wonders, she put it on without a fuss. Then I hoisted myself off the mat, ready for the dinner to bedtime drill.

My 10 minutes of suspended animation turned out to be the best thing I’d done all day. I’ve always wondered what it felt like to be one of my daughter’s favourite dolls. Contrary to what I’d assumed, it wasn’t a bad life at all.

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The post was written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge: Object over on The Daily Post.

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