Sunday, June 3, 2012

Blank Pages

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 28; the 28th Edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The topic for this month is 'BLANK PAGES'.

6.35 AM Pandharpur Govt Misson Hospital

A puny head peeped out between the limbs of the soul where he stayed for ten whole months.*WAIL* He cried and made his presence felt. His father prancing before the operation theatre as cinematically as possible gave out a heave! He had a “SON”! He was a father!

In a matter of months, the little one soon grew at an alarming rate and a name keeping ceremony which was close knit function decided and named the baby - Pāndurang as per the parents vow to the Lord that graced the banks of Bhima river and Pandharpurs’ Vitthal temple.

Pāndurang S/o Venkatan was thus introduced.

Pandu grew up to be his grandpa’s favorite! His grandpa out of sheer curiosity had interested the five year child with a fountain pen and his diary. Pandu found the pen extremely messy, but steadily chewable – he found the diary smelly and disgusting – his maiden encounter with manuscripts and his vehement distaste for the same had just begun…

“Venkataa” he heard his grandpa calling out to his dad. “Haven’t you thought of putting the little one in school yet?”

“Yeah appa, I have already spoken with Ramanujam sir and the Principal, he told me to leave Pandu in school come Vijayadasami. He had even given this ‘Letter of Recommendation’” his father said, waving some written-paper into air “well.. it’s not all that easy to get into Bhimas’ school you see..”

He hated that white thing his father dangled. It has decided his fate...

4.40 PM Bhima Boys school, Pandharpur
Being in tenth standard and rarely living up to the expectation and high standards his school set, he lived only for the one season - the Sports meet. He loved Ball-Badminton more than Hockey and Hockey more than Tennikoit, the animal in him was unleashed when he was in the sports field; on the contrary he hated homework more than exams and exams more than lectures. His second most favorite day was the last day of exams, when he knew there would be two solid months of gilli, cricket and unstoppable fun!

But today, was the least favorite day of his – announcement of results. He knew he would not make it to PUC that his father wanted him to take, he would not become the Mathematics teacher his father wanted him to be, still he couldn’t stop the pounding his heart made as headed towards his friends. He borrowed the evening newspaper and saw his number, as expected, was not there.

His head went whizzing. Printed paper has won over him again…

Reaching home, he wiped the stream of sweat from his brow. Sneaked into his father’s study, did the unthinkable – He stole. Twenty whole freaking Rupees from his dad’s shirt and decided to run away from home to some godforsaken city. He walked steadily at a speedy pace towards the railway station which was seven miles always from his house. By the time reached the railway station, he was ravenously hungry – he happily settled for a set of masal-dosas. Settling his bill he knew he had less than 12 rupees.

 “This is unbelievably atrocious you doofus” his father was fuming “what cheek you have to put your foot again in this house? Pandu, you are SO shameless. You can even think of making your appearance after your indecent stealing act?”

 “Did I not grow you to be a well-mannered kid? Why did I even bear you?” his mother dramatically beat her stomach and wailed “The opposite house Ramu has passed, won’t you be able to do at least that much for us?”

He remained quiet. His grandfather came to his rescue fought against his parents and took him to the kitchen. “You must be hungry Pandu”, said he, “eat beta. And why is that you came back? That too to the devil of your father?”

“Thatha, the ticket collector said twelve rupees was not enough to even go to the next station, so did the bus-conductor.” His grandpa laughed loudly! He joined in, his mood loosening a bit and wore his guts out.

His father intercepted their laughter in the kitchen. “Why am I not surprised. Shameless and happy too; LISTEN you little scoundrel” he hollered, “Tomorrow you are joining the Land registration office for work. I knew something like this might happen, so I had back up plans for you. You better get your things ready and get some sleep”. “Here” – he handed out an envelope, “Your appointment to join as an Office boy”.

Two printed papers in one day? SHIT. This was TOO much.

4.25 PM, Commissionerate of Land Revenue, Pandharpur.

“Saar, you have a visitor” announced the office boy Mani.

Pāndurang looked through his glasses and said “Show them in”.

The visitor was a frayed old man, as he had expected - the brides’ father, who has come in the name of making a contact, in the truest sense he was nothing but an inspector investigating his case which was him, he thought.

“I am Shaambavi’father, I hope I am not disturbing you beta…”, the old man said and gave a sideway glance to his placard, it read – “V. Pandurang, Deputy Thasildar”. Mission accomplished; he would now have a government employee for a son-in-law, how lucky!

“Disturb? No mamaji, not at all”, he responded with a courteous smile.

*Ting* he called for the office boy dutifully. Two strong coffees, mani.

“No no babu”, he cried, “I am so full, I just went by this way so I thought I would see you. I will come and see father by this weekend. I better take leave now, the last bus leaves by 6 PM”, and he left.”

Damn it! He pounded the desk. Government job. He hated every minute of the paper work he was forced to do, he hated the Stamp papers more than he hated his files and vice-versa. Now, his marriage would be built on this faulty and pretentious foundation called Government job. He was nearing thirty, too old to push aside marriage. His head still whizzed.

10.00 AM, Vanavani Bhramin Community Hall

Shaambhavi was at her feet, greeting guests and seeing to that they are attended to. It was the first year birthday of their daughter, Vijitha, the girl they sired after eight years of childlessness. Ten years goddamned years. Today, it was his priceless daughters’ Ayushhomam, a havan performed for longevity. He felt proud as he saw his daughter play with her cousins almost 10 times her age!

He eyed Shaambhavi. Eleven years since their marriage, she was still looking as pretty as a lotus flower. Her only negative point was that she was literate and riddled him with epics and vedas, but on the other hand she was smart enough to chose the function-hall wisely enough to save money. It was a Bhramin Community Hall and only 40% had to be paid, she had told him.

He was contentedly reviewing his weightily married life, when some fool announced - “The girls are growing fast eh Pandu, soon you would be finding a school for them, looking out for recommendation, teaching nursery rhymes. Make sure you will give them a good education, will you? Time sure flies, doesn’t it?” That's when all his relatives pitched in and advised him high and low about education and what nots. He had a pounding headache.

Who was the dumb ass who started this topic? Who was the… *He fainted.*

8.30 PM Home.

He knew he had mouths to feed, but he can’t be faking his whole life like this. He popped an over dose of his sleeping pills - Death would be cowardice but yes, better than a bloody fake life. He knew he had matters to settle, once and for all. Prancing towards his father’s study, he sat at the desk that faced a long Teak window and started penning furiously…

Sunday, September 12th 1969.
Dear Father,
I know, I should not have been born in this family. But fate decided so. Sometimes, in life we can decide against the norms. Why is that father, you never paid heed to my distaste for education? Why? You thought you were doing good to me?  No. You never did. I wanted to be a P.E instructor teaching games to students. But here I am – a loser. A bad corrupt government official who hates every day of his life.

That day when I ran away from the house, when I couldn’t get tickets, I wanted to die right in front of the train; sadly fifteen years was a feeble to age to make that decision. I wish I had done that earlier. It would have saved a lot of hurt and agony. But better late than never, as you say.

Why did you get me married to Shaambhavi? You knew I rejected girls until I was thirty just because they were literate, you lied to me that Shaambhavi had done only her 8th when she was a graduate. How COULD you lie to me like that? Not that I dislike her, but I surely would have had a convenient life with someone much less educated.

What always mattered to you were education, money and pride; not me, my interests, or anything that remotely concerned my feelings. I thus, take part from the most unconcerned soul that existed in the whole vamsha. Let my next birth be a blessed one with much understanding blood connections.

With respect,

Monday 8.30 PM, Four doors of Yamapuri.
“Chitragupta, probably was not afraid of paper works”, he thought, dazed at his amusing identification. “Last dose of humor before heading through the South door to hell”, he added to his thought, “Hell undoubtedly; he had made a his wife a widow, stranded an old mans soul, left a child fatherless – his crimes were innumerous. He wanted to kill his soul for the blasphemed writing. How can pen something SO easily, which will plunge like a dagger in his loved ones? With the little theism left in him, he fell to his knees as he saw Him.

"Chitragupta namastubhyam vedaksaradatre" he chanted and prayed for “Blank pages”.

Tuesday 7.35 AM, Home.

She looked at the diary which lay on the study by the window. The previous nights rains had completely drenched it. She saw the entry on September twelfth, almost nothing was there, mere illegible scrawny lines and sodden empty pages except for a faint "Dear Father".

Dear Father, she bit her lip and chocked, this would have certainly been a loving letter that he had written for his father. She was certain about it, SO very certain. She was mildly jealous of her father-in-law for taking precedence in his thoughts over her.  “How lucky her father-in-law was to have such a loving son”, she thought.

Missing him exceedingly, she wiped the then faint words with her tears. Holding the battered blank pages tenderly to her bust and cried even more. LOUDLY, bitterly, and with love.  

The rains poured again and trying to compete with her tears. . .


References :

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.


  1. Wow!!! this makes me wonder why dont write often..... you absolutely took me off to the 1930's with this one- almost like watching Madrasapatinam again...but why Pandarpur? any family connection?? keep writing more short stories - this is definitely your genre....
    p.s. i could even imagine this whole thing in tamil dialogues...semma nativity karpagam

  2. Thanks a lot Ganesh. That was a HUGE compliment, and its immense pleasure to see such a comment on a morning :) you made my day! Why Pandharpur, cos I knew a friend of mine who lived in Pandharpur and always said Pandharpur this Pandharpur that :D he was a half-bhramin, so put 2 and 2 together (it doesnt make four.. still)

    It was a long post, appreciate you reading it!

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Ash, for following will read up your write soon!

    2. Thanks for the lovely comment on my post :) I'm already following your blog, it's really good!

  4. wowwww Kappuuuu ..... fab one !!!! loved reading itttt ... ATB ... im sure ud b in the first three.....

    1. @Menachery - THANKS SO MUCH!! I loved your story last time, and I cant wait to read your current post! Perhaps tomorrow, nighty nite :)

  5. maybe I need to have better geographical knowledge or I should I at least have the wisdom to distinguish between a story and a real life journey….. hmmmm….
    Going through your time line, I was under the impression that you are into writing a novel or something…. But then at the end I guess my wisdom came to life I guess… so went through other comments only to realize … this isn’t some cooked up story….
    But like before another you took out another leaf from your day-to-day life

  6. Lol Deeps, from my diary? no not this time! I am a CONTENTED Programmer Analyst :) (for a change)

    Btw, thanks for stopping by.. I know you dont have a liking for long posts et al! So that is our pride that you have made your presence here boss! Thankssiee!

  7. Hi

    When I started reading I did think 'Another Long One!' but once I started I was totally hooked and read till the very last line with the interest never caesing for a moment. Its brilliant. Good Luck for BAT. :)

    1. Thanks SO much Jaish, you just MADE MY DAY! :)

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. This is a good story to be honest. Great narration and I could see a Tamil family too :D ATB for BAT

  10. Thanks a lot re! :) Appreciate you stopping by! All the best for yours too!

  11. Wow. A whole saga from birth to death narrated within the narrow confines of a blog post. Hats off.

    1. Thanks a lot, mighty owner of Lucifer inc ;) humbled!

  12. nice one Kappu ... the story held me captive till the end ...

    1. Thanks a lot Tangy Tom :D I am SO glad that you took time off to read SUCH a long post!

  13. Replies
    1. Thanks Girl! I liked your post and your blog layout even more! ;)

  14. Very well written. I too have heard so much about Pandharpur!! One of the best posts in BAT. Such a real life story.

    1. Thanks DS, it was fun collecting information on Pandharpur and interspersing it here. The Bhima river and Vittal temple are supposed to be famous, yes. And the temple is supposed to date back to 17/18th Century :)

      Thanks for your comment, SO appreciate it!

  15. This was a very different story i came across, the way u concluded the post with the diary gifted to him by his grandpa, and in contrast to what he actually felt, his wife mistakes his pain to the love he had for his father

    Speechless, great work !

    1. Thanks chiqua! :) Your work left me baffled, SUCH a lovely post on a AIDS inflicted mother-to-be.

      Thanks for your comment!

  16. That`s a pretty compelling post. I believe voting this BAT is gonna be tough. A fantastic post Kappu. I`m glad to have visited!

    I especially loved the difference in perspectives that you defined educated vs not. I mean real education is a whole new topic altogether but I`ll leave that for now.

    1. Thanks a lot Richi, I always love your comments - detailed and very analytical :)

  17. I`m not sure about the time, day, place; was that to tell the readers of time and place, differentiating events or did I miss something..

    1. Richi, that was certainly not to depict anything of importance. I actually thought of even removing them, but then decided against it - just like that... ;)

  18. Good story .. but I guess you had to rush through the story so some aspects like why he became corrupt, why he married to Shambavi etc. remain unexplained to me. Maybe, I should re-read!

  19. Yeah definitely Aativas, I had to rush, cos its a three generation story and a 1800 word one at that.

    Btw, the points you have mentioned were not left unexplained. I have consciously explained em :)

    Why he married to Shambavi is hinted - thats cos he was nearing 30 and he dint not want to push marriage further.

    As with the corrupt officials, I will say with a grain of salt - Govt officials of Land revenue are not corrput are they? How many registration which do not have a bank loan involved happen at original value? :)

    Thanks for your comments. I truly appreciate ALL of it :)

  20. Wow! Very creative. I will come back. :)

  21. lovely writeup Kappu!
    all the best:)
    I will keep dropping by :D

  22. Thanks a lot Ashzzes! SO appreciate your time! ;)

  23. Fabulous Post!!!It hooked me till the end...This time BAT voting is going to be really tough..... Consider me as your new fan of your blog...

    keep blogging

    1. Thank you Ruchita, you certainly made my day :)