Saturday, 2 November 2019

When life gives you lemons. #WordsMatter

"'When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.'  Baah! Isn't it the stupidest suggestion, ever? I mean, look at me.  Life gave me lemons, and I made some lemon pickle to have with this bland food we get here! Isn't that a much better way to use the tangy fruit? You get the joke, kid?" old Jaggi chuckled as he spoke to the latest entrant. 

Chandu was the new entrant to this place that Jaggi called "Home".  He looked about him nervously, trying to take in the life around him.

Without waiting for the young lad to respond, the old-timer continued in his raspy voice.

 "Ah, but I have gotten used to the food here.  I do long for the food my woman cooked for me once upon a time. But there's no way in hell I am going to eat it, ever again, so why go down that memory lane? I have also gotten used to the loneliness here, and these bare walls that are witness to my battles with my inner demons. Hey, does it sound real deep, this line? Wouldn't it be nice to use it in my book, someday?" Jaggi chortled as he playfully nudged his young companion. 

"But, it's not easy, mind you," he continued as he noisily chewed on his bread. "Being all by yourself once the gates close can give you the heebie-jeebies, you know? You crave for another soul, for a voice that speaks to you, for another heart that beats in the stillness of the night. But, alas, all you hear is your own heartbeat, your own shallow breath escaping your nostrils, merging with the stale air in here."

Pausing to dip the thick, dry bread in the watery dal, Jaggi looked around him before continuing with his story.

"20 years ago I entered this place for a reason I have ceased to remember. I chose to forget about it all. I mean, there's no point recalling those events when you know there's nothing you can do about it, nothing you can change about it, right? My woman kept pleading with the judge; kept repeating that I wouldn't even swat a fly, how could I kill a human being! Tch...poor thing, the way she wailed in the courtroom. I did try my best to do everything to save myself from this life sentence, but it was of no use, really.
They were rich people, you know, who had the lawyers in their pockets. Even before the verdict was out, I knew what lay in store for me."

Jaggi coughed now as a piece of bread stuck in his throat, but he kept going..

"Ah, but I have gotten used to it all now. It's a chapter in my life that can't be erased. I keep turning the pages, but the damn chapter refuses to come to an end. I guess it will end only when I end, right?
But, you, young man, you need to buckle up for all that this place has to offer to you. It's quite a ride, I tell you. Somewhat like those roller-coaster rides at the amusement parks?  Once you get in, you can't get off midway. You have to complete the whole darn ride before you are allowed to get off. 
It's the same story here, my boy. It's a ride that will end only with you. Until then, all you can do is buckle up real well and face whatever shit comes your way. I mean, whatever vomit comes your way!
Hehe, I know, bad joke. That's what this place does to you. It screws up your sense of humor," Jaggi complained as Chandu looked in awe at the old man. 

"But, tell you what," whispered Jaggi as Chandu tried digesting Jaggi's words. "It's just a matter of time and you will get used to it. Like I did. And, those rats? Ah, just ignore them. There's nothing to be scared of there. In fact, they make for the best companions, you know, those furry little things!" and he walked off guffawing as Chandu looked on.







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I am participating in the #WordsMatter Blog Hop. 
This month's prompt is "20 years ago I..."

I received this tag from  ESHA M. DUTTA of My Soul Talks. It's my pleasure to pass on the tag to VINITHA of Void Thoughts

There are 29 of us on this Blog Hop and it will be spread over 3 days -- 1st, 2nd and 3rd November 2019. DO follow the #WordsMatter Blog Hop and prepare to be surprised! 


33 comments:

  1. We crib for small problems, your post reminded me that there are many people who are not as fortunate as us.

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  2. The sad reality of so many taking the rap for someone else's crime. Very poignant.

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  3. Interesting take on the prompt Shilpa - love the story spin of how 20 years can change the thought process, even if you are a criminal rotting in a prison cell.

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  4. Interesting prompt and interesting take on it.

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  5. Interesting and a differenttake on the prompt!

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  6. Poor man - the bitterness, the acceptance, the loneliness, everything that a 20 year long imprisonment an innocent soul develops is reflected in Jaggi's tone and words brilliantly, Shilpa. Some lives are caged and wasted for no reason. How well have you captured the helplessness and injustice in this heart touching story!

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  7. It's interesting how twenty years add a sheen of humour to bitterness. Jaggi seems to have lost all fight, all will to get out of the place. I do feel for Chandu, though. You wove it so well Shilpa - the two such different reactions to being in prison.

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  8. Can see through both the characters, very well captured Shilpa. When there is no way out of the prison, the only way is to accept what you are left with - a stand jaggi seeems to have taken.

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  9. Arre ye Jaggi to Kartik Aryan nikla. Itna lamba monologue dekar khisak gaya aur TV screen ki audience ki tarah Chandu bas sunta rah gaya. Agla panna Chandu ko samarpit kiya jaana chahiye.
    On a serious note, the lemon pickle was a strong punch on the now over-used and stale lemonade. How could anyone have thought with reading just the opening lines Jaggi is talking about the food served to him in a jail. The build-up was engaging and kept me interested and invested in his story throughout. Big applause.

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  10. wow that was an intense read. The transition of bitterness to acceptance in twenty years is so well expressed. Fabulous narration.

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  11. start writing scripts, lady..what a story..brilliant is not enough...

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    1. Yaar!!! Thanks for the encouragement, Balaka! I need loads of it. :)

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  12. A story that brought a smile despite the dark humour...I suppose you have to learn to get on with things

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    1. Learning to let go is the one and only way to get over stuff we got no control over, right?
      Thanks for reading, SUnita!

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    2. Learning to let go is the one and only way to get over stuff we got no control over, right?
      Thanks for reading, SUnita!

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  13. Abuse of power has been a problem not only in our country but through out the world. I wish world could be rid of that type of thinking! Sigh!
    I enjoyed ready the dark humor you made use of here in this post.

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    1. Oh yes! You have money, you have the power to twist life in whatever way you wish to.
      Thank you for reading, Keerthi!

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  14. I liked your take on the prompt. It made for an interesting read.

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  15. I liked how different is your take on the prompt. a very interesting one I must say

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  16. At first, I thought he was in a nursing home and the "young man" was merely - younger than him! It's a double tragedy, given his poor wife out there.

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    1. Thank you, Holly! Yes, the wife is the poor thing here, more than the old guy, I feel.

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  17. I love how you have a very different perspective on the prompts. I feel for people like Jaggi who lose their chance to live with dignity. Life tears away every bit of self-worth. You've drawn a portrait in words that is so palpable. The bitterness, the harsh reality, the silence, the shame, the pain and the frustration of convicts serving a life term is so well brought out. Kudos to you, Shilpa! Loved this take on the prompt.

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    1. I loved reading your comment more than my post, Esha! :P
      Thank you so much!

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  18. That's such a good one, Shilpa. You had a story, a message and a zeal in there for life. I loved how you kept it real and detailed the many things that made the scene come alive. Well done!

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