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Look before you post.

Finally, my wait for the weekend was over. Mom had started losing her temper over frivolous issues like the slow internet speed, missing her favorite show because of the unexpected arrival of the guests, and her best friend failing to accompany her to shopping. I decided to surprise her by getting up early on Saturday.

Mom placed her palm on my forehead to make sure I was not having fever. She said, ” Well, congratulations for taking that big step. It requires a great deal of courage to get out of the comfort of your bed and that too, on Saturday.” Rhea giggled and I glared at her. She was awfully cranky today. She went to prepare coffee for us. I saw her mobile on the coffee table. I picked it up to check what made my darling mom so angry. She had posted her pic wearing a new sari with the caption ‘ My husband gifted me this new sari worth 5,000₹ yesterday on the occasion of our engagement anniversary.” Engagement anniversary! What the hell was going on? No one remembers their engagement date. This was a new height of spinning a sordid yarn.

Dad barely remembered his own birthday. I choked back my laughter when I read one of the responses. Someone called Usha had said, ” Oh my dear, Alka! Your husband is so innocent. He has been cheated. Yesterday, my maid servant wore the same designer sari and it’s hardly worth 250 to 300₹. Anyway, your husband is really very thoughtful.” I signaled Rhea to join me for a risky undertaking. Scrolling through mom’s mobile behind her back was like waking up a sleeping lion.

Rhea and I tried suppressing our giggles as I scrolled through some posts. Mom had clicked selfies and posted them with captions. She had a juicy red apple in her hand and posted ” Enjoying fresh hand picked Apple.” Mrs. Chatterjee aka Chatterbox was the first to respond, ” No way. There’s no apple orchard in our society. So, you couldn’t have handpicked it. Tell me frankly, how much did you buy at Jio Mart?” There was another comment from the same venom spewing Usha, ” Thank God! You mentioned it was an apple. I thought an orange became red in embarrassment.” Clearly, Mom had done something to infuriate her. I clicked on Usha’s Instagram profile and scrolled through her posts. She had posted a picture of herself with a half-bald man with a pot belly and mustache. Mom had liked the pic and commented, ” Very proud of you to click selfie with your father-in-law. He looks young for his age. Where’s your mother-in-law? “
Usha had replied with an angry emoji mentioning that it was her husband and not Father-in-law. Her Mother in law had passed away last year due to Covid. Mom replied, ” I am so sorry for the misunderstanding. But you look so young.” Usha grinned back until Mom had to ruin it with her thoughtless comment, ” If you don’t mind, I would like to know whether he was like that before or after the marriage.” Usha ended the conversation with ” Please mind your own business.” I and Rhea burst out laughing. Mom could be so tactless. We exited from Usha’s profile to check Mother’s other comments. She was so brutally honest that I was sometimes worried about her social media presence taking a negative turn.

There were people who took her suggestions sportively while others stopped responding to her comments in Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Twitter. No wonder, Mom felt upset over losing her followers and getting hurtful responses on her posts. It was time for us to teach her the basic manners and etiquettes, while interacting with people on the Social media. Mom came back carrying three cups of coffee. I barely managed to put it back on the table. Mom forced a smile, ” You must have gone through all of my posts, by now. Can you tell me how to get back my lost followers? “

” Mom, ” began Rhea, ” You aren’t supposed to make rude comments on anyone’s physical appearance or their surroundings. People get annoyed. Don’t assume anything without finding out the truth.” ” Try to read and like others’ posts, ” I added, ” It’s not necessary to post comments always. But be careful with your choice of words to avoid any controversy.”

The next day, Mom was busy with her smartphone. She made breakfast and later asked dad to order food online. All of us thought Mom was exerting herself to get back into everyone’s good books. Actually, she was focussing her attention on WhatsApp. She appreciated the quotes and images sent by her friends and forwarded the same to another set of friends and family members.

It was Monday and all of us went back to our respective work. It was lunch time, when we were summoned to the principal’s office. The principal, Ms. Angela David, looked at us with sympathy. She said, ” I am sorry, children. I don’t know how to tell you that your father, Mr. Deepak Patel, passed away at 10 AM due to heart attack. I will make arrangements for you to go home. Convey my condolences to your mother.” Rhea and I were speechless. This could not be true. Our dad was hale and hearty. There’s no way he could die just like that.

All the hell broke loose when we came back home after lunch. The door was opened by none other than Dad who was very much alive and furious. Mom was sobbing her heart out. He let us in and scolded mom, ” This idiot of a woman should not be allowed to use smartphone. She doesn’t know how to use the social media. She was simply forwarding messages from WhatsApp without checking the content. One of her friends, Meena’s husband passed away, and she sent her a message informing the same. That woman forgot to mention her husband’s name which turned out to be quite convenient. The great,Mrs. Alka Patel, forwarded this message to at least half the town. My boss, the greatest idiot, granted the whole office leave for a day to mourn my death when I am standing alive in front of him. I received plenty of phone calls asking me the date and time for my funeral. And now, the insurance company contacted your mother to offer the insurance money. I am the only person to collect my insurance money while I am still alive.” Rhea and I couldn’t help laughing. Then, dad joined the laughter and approached mom with a friendly warning to use the Social media only in our guidance.

Thank God! We managed to convince everyone that Dad was still alive and his boss asked for an apology. Mom learned a lesson. It’s better to read the content of the post before simply liking or sharing it with others.

Thank you so much for taking your precious time to visit my website. Hope you enjoyed reading my blogs. 😊😊



Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Chapter 11

Very funny response.

It was Saturday. I woke up leisurely at 9, only to find my elder sister, already up and cleaning our room. The traitor! Mom entered our room with a mug of water to pour it on my head. I got of the bed and rushed to the bathroom to avoid hearing a boring lecture on how great my sister was! I loved her but Rhea enjoyed watching me getting into trouble with Mom.

I planned a revenge on her. She used to chant prayers after having a shower. I took a piece of paper and wrote the following :
Om Facebookaya Vigmahe, Instagramaya Dimahi.
Tanno Google Prachodayat.
If you chant this mantra twice a day, your internet will gather maximum speed every day. I inserted it inside her prayer book and quickly hid behind the sofa. As usual, she came to offer her worship in front of the idols. She lit the lamp and burned the incense sticks and offered flowers. She opened the prayer book and straightaway started chanting the nonsense that I had written.

She said aloud, ” Om Facebookaya Vigmahe, Instagramaya Dimahi.
Tanno Google Prachodayat. ” Mom heard her and twisted her ear. She yelled out in pain while I giggled at her awkward situation. Mom shouted, ” Is this how you say your prayers? Lekha is better than you. She’s not pretending to be someone else. Tanno Google Prachodayat, indeed! How dare you think about social media when you are praying? ” ” But, ” tried Rhea to defend herself. Mom said, ” Go to your room and hand me your smartphone. You will only get it in the evening. “

Meanwhile, the doorbell rang. I rushed out to open the door. My favorite aunt ( mom’s younger sister) Sangeeta had arrived with her kids to spend the weekend. I welcomed them and called mom who was equally pleased to see them. Her kids were in class 7th and 8th respectively. I showed them around the house, leaving the two sisters to catch up on their past gossips.

Rhea was in a foul mood. She was about to yell when she noticed our cousins, Manish, and Preeti entering our room. Thank God for the angels. I quickly muttered an apology and pointed out that she herself got me into trouble plenty of times while I never retaliated. She gave me a sheepish grin and we started chatting with the kids. They were adorable kids and our favorite. We had tea with onion pakoras ( fritters). Sangeeta aunty took out a bundle of papers for correction. She was an English teacher at Bharatiya Vidya Mandir, near Borivali. She taught for the classes 6 to 10th.

She glanced at me and handed over a paper to read the answers written by a genius. She grinned and said, ” I have something amusing for you. Just go through the answers of this scholar. He will give you a run for your money.” The student’s name was Keshav Kumar and he had scored the biggest donut (0) out of 50 marks on the paper.

The questions and the answers were.

Q. 1 Change into past tense.

  1. Put – Putted
  2. Cut – cutted.
  3. Hit- Hat
  4. Write- writed.

Q. 2 Write the synonym of motion.
Answer. Motion means shit. It can be of two types. Hard motion and loose motion. Yesterday, I suffered from plenty of loose motion.

I burst out laughing. ” Maasi ( mom’s sister is called Maasi), I said, wiping out the tears in my eyes, ” This guy deserves a medal for his unlimited stupidity.” She chuckled and urged me to continue reading.

Q. 3 . Give an example of future tense.
Answer. When I score Zero in my exams, my parents predict my future tense.

He continued to give weird answers. I clutched my stomach after having a hearty laughter. There was a paragraph given for comprehension and he had to answer the questions given at the end of the passage.
For one of the questions, he had written, “Please refer to the passage. This is examination and not Dora the explorer cartoon.”

There was a question asked, ” What do you mean by the term judgemental? “
He had written, ” A judge who is mental is known as judgemental.” I could not take it anymore. I literally fell at her feet for dealing with the students from Einstein Academy. Later that evening, dad came home after a tiring day at the office. He greeted my aunt and her children. He was unusually silent at the dinner. I prompted him, ” What’s the matter, dad? You seem to be troubled today.”
Dad replied, ” I hate this auto correct option. My friend cum colleague, Ramakant, was sick and didn’t come to office today. I sent him a message, ” I hope you are well dear” but ended up typing ” I hope you are well dead.” All of us sniggered at his expense. Maasi said, ” Don’t worry, Jeeju ( brother-in-law). Invite him for a lunch tomorrow. I will help Didi ( elder sister) to prepare a special meal.” Dad smiled at her gratefully.

On the whole, I had a fantastic day with plenty of laughter provided by Rhea, Maasi and my dad. Manish approached me and said, ” I could hear you laughing a little while earlier. Did you go through Mom’s answer sheets? Preeti and I help her to check the total marks scored. For a change, it’s nice to see someone else making a silly mistake rather than me.” I grinned at him, ” You bet, bro. I have crossed the stage of giving funny replies. I still remember when I was in third or fourth grade, I had an arithmetic sum. Ram had two glasses of water before his breakfast and two glasses after his breakfast. Find out the result of the total glasses of water consumed. I had written:
He would be visiting the bathroom. “
Both of us had a hearty laugh. I asked him, ” By the way, did you know that even pure vegetarians consume non-veg? ” He was confused and asked, ” How is it possible? “

I winked at him and replied, ” By chewing on the brain of others with his non-stop chatter.”
We had a wonderful time and never wanted this magical moment to end.

Thank you so much for taking your precious time to visit my website. Hope you enjoyed reading my blogs. 😊😊



Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Chapter 10

Rhea realizes her folly.

A for Asshole.
B for Bastard.
C for Cheapskate.
D for Duffer.
I was busy composing a list of swear words. I was planning to curse the entire electricity department for their inefficient power management. I saw Rhea smirking at me as she noticed my frustration. She read the text and burst out laughing. ” You are still a child, Lekha, ” she said, ” Grow up. Probably, there’s a shortage in the electricity supply.”

“That’s ridiculous, ” I replied, ” We are living in Mumbai and not in a village. I don’t understand how you are so cool. You were the one who taught me to swear. ” Rhea went back to reading a book which was the eighth wonder of the world.

I rubbed my eyes to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Rhea never read anything other than school textbooks. I saw her blushing furiously and felt something fishy. I snatched the book from her hand and started reading.
I rolled my eyes while Rhea’s face reddened in embarrassment. The paragraph read:

He stared at her nude petite figure and smacked his lips like a hungry wolf waiting to devour a cute lamb. He dropped his clothes and before they knew, they were all over each other. He moved his tongue all over her body as she moaned in delight. They shared a hot passionate kiss with their tongues playing with each other in their mouths. After a sensational foreplay, she gave him a heavenly delight by taking his manhood in her mouth. He returned the service by kissing her intimate parts.

I stopped reading and wanted to vomit. I stared at her and said, ” Chee! Yuck! I never knew that the book was about the hot romance between dogs. I also never knew dogs wore clothes. ” Rhea quickly snatched the book and said, ” They are humans, you fool! ” I retorted, ” Then how come there is so much of licking and exchanging of saliva. Only dogs lick, right? They also sniff the butts of their female partners. Thank God! It’s not mentioned here. I can hardly imagine his fate if she farted while he tried to sniff her backside. Yew! Gross! How can she suck his cock? Can you imagine what would happen if he peed into her mouth?” Rhea resisted her urge to laugh and glared at me, ” Mind your own business. Don’t you dare mock this book. It’s quite cool and most of the girls read romantic novels. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. I am just reading a book and not having a boyfriend.”

I glared at her and said, ” This isn’t you, Rhea. You are such a good girl. You have just turned 16 and don’t blame it on your hormones. Spit it out. Who asked you to read it? ” Rhea burst out crying, ” Most of the girls in my class read it. I felt left out and wanted to join them. They have challenged me to read an adult novel. They would let me join their gang if I succeed in their mission and discuss the novel.” I wanted to slap her but she was my elder sister. I said, ” It’s better to be alone than join the company of spoiled girls. It’s ok to read steamy romance novel but only if you are over 18 and on the verge of getting married. I am not against people describing the carnal actions in their books but it should not be so explicit. They know you are a good girl. If they ask you to smoke weed, would you do it?”

Rhea realized her folly. She said, ” You are right. I have been trying to alter my personality to please a bunch of brainless girls. Please don’t tell mom about this book. I will return it to the snob queen, Reema. I need to focus on my studies. I have also done a foolish thing. I shared my WhatsApp number with a few guys to prove that I can also have boyfriends. Reema and all the girls (7) have boyfriends. They think I am a loser and challenged me to have men seeking my friendship.”

My sister was in a big trouble and I had to save her from a potential disaster. Her mobile got a WhatsApp message notification from Rahul, her classmate. Rhea was nervous. She had taken a hasty decision in a moment of madness to prove her worth. She handed me the mobile to handle the conversation.

Rahul : Hi Sweetie!
I typed: Bye! How can I ignore you?
He : Don’t you mean, ‘ how can I help you’?
I : I am so sorry. Yes. I will help you. I kept on typing as he waited for a response. I remembered the contact number of a psychiatrist in our area.
I : You definitely need help. Not only you but please pass on this contact number of Dr. Sahil Sharma, a great psychiatrist to Reema and her gang to get your heads checked. I am sure he will recommend all of you to take treatment in the lunatic asylum in Agra to cure your perverted mind.”

He immediately blocked Rhea’s number and she appeared to be relieved. The next day, Reema and her friends teased Rhea for her cowardice but Rhea politely smiled and walked away, much to the consternation of Reema and Rahul. There few other boys who had a huge crush on Rhea and their hopes of sleeping with her dashed to the ground, as she tied Handmade Rakhis to all the boys, including Rahul. Her act left everyone speechless. Suddenly, their class teacher , Mrs. Thomas, arrived with a furious expression on her face. The previous day had been a holiday as a mark of respect following the demise of a senior teacher, Ms. Angela Parker. She had asked one of the students to present a written eulogy as a mark of respect from Class XI. Rhea wanted to write but our neighbor, Mrs. Chatterjee’s daughter, Divya, beat her to it. Mrs. Thomas yelled, ” Which idiot wrote, Ms. Angela was a great teacher. She always helped her students. She would always be immoral and may her sole rust in piece.” The entire class burst out laughing as Divya hung her head in shame. Mrs Thomas gave her an imposition as a punishment.

Rhea’s day ended on a much better note. We met each other in the school canteen and had a sisterly chat. Everything was fine now.

We should never give up our good qualities merely to be accepted into a popular group based on immoral values.

Thank you so much for taking your precious time to visit my website. Hope you enjoyed reading my blogs. 😊😊

PS: The story is from the point of view of a teenager who finds the steamy scene vulgar. Hence, such a reaction. Personally, I have no issues with steamy romantic novels.



Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on

This is purely a fictional story because no one is this much stupid. 😂😂😂😂😂😂.

Vedhika Aryan, a 19-year-old spoilt brat and the only daughter of Kanishk and Jaya Aryan, had no dearth of wealth. She had plenty of servants at her beck and call. So, the poor soul never knew how the kitchen looked like. She only concentrated on her makeup and shopping while her father paid an exorbitant sum only to make sure she got admission in the best college and gave her whatever she asked him. Unfortunately, she was a beauty without brain.

Once her cousin Samaira came to visit her for the holidays. She impressed Mr. and Mrs. Aryan with her exceptional cooking skills and showed them her business website and her YouTube channel having millions of subscribers. Vedhika’s parents wanted to inspire her to learn basic cooking skills and started citing Samaira’s example. Fed up with her parents’ badgering, Vedhika asked her Manservant, Binod, the way to the kitchen. He tried to suppress his giggle. Fancy, not knowing one’s own kitchen! He led her to the kitchen, wanting to watch her actions. Sara, the cook, was surprised to find her in the kitchen. She said, ” Ma’am! Did you need anything to eat? You could have sent for me. What can I do for you? “

Vedhika said, ” I want to learn how to cook. Let’s start from the basics. How do you boil water? ” Sara and Binod stifled their smiles with great difficulty. Sara picked up a small utensil and asked her to pour water in it. She said, ” Ma’am, you need to fill the vessel with water and keep it on the gas stove. As soon as you see the water boiling with bubbles, you can turn off the gas stove. ” Vedhika, the lazy idiot, opened the refrigerator took out a plastic water bottle and kept it on the vessel. She lit the gas stove. Sara burst out laughing, ” Oh no, this isn’t how its done, the plastic will melt due to the heat.” She removed the bottle and emptied the content in the vessel. Vedhika was a bit embarassed at her stupidity. But Sara took pity on her and encouraged her not to give up.

She returned to her room, thinking of starting her YouTube channel. She was scrolling through her mobile when she saw a writing contest offering a healthy reward of 25,000₹ for a poem. She had never dabbled in poetry before. She immediately took out a pen and a paper and started scribbling :
No one can understand my pain!
My fat mom stepped on my toe again.
‘Go to the doctor’ screamed my brain.
I looked at my mom with disdain.

When I did Yoga, I tore my pants.
I changed into another pair, only to be bit by ants.
I leased my hair for the lice as tenants.
I have learned to tame my appetite giants.”

She finished writing and felt pleased with her work. She filled the online application form and typed her silly poem. She received the acknowledgement for her participation . The contest results would be declared the following month. Meanwhile, she kept practising boiling water. After a couple of days, she moved on to making tea. She referred to YouTube channel and was so immersed in watching the video that she left the kettle boiling until the water completely dried out and there was a burning smell. She grinned sheepishly at Sara, apologizing for ruining the kettle.

A couple of days later, she tried her luck with making rotis ( Indian flat bread). She watched YouTube to knead the dough using wheat flour. But the consistency wasn’t perfect. She had added two much water. She threw the liquid batter and tried again, adding water little by little. But her patience gave up. She suddenly had a brilliant idea. Since the dough was flaky, she poured half a bottle of Fevicol (glue) to make them sticky. She extricated her palms with great difficulty. She was unable to roll out the dough. She threw it away and again tried kneading the dough. Somehow, she succeeded this time and rolled out the dough into various shapes other than circle. The rotis were ready and she served it to her father who had great difficulty in tearing it and when he ate a piece, the roti tasted like the hide of a Buffalo. Both her parents wanted to appreciate her efforts but didn’t want to upset her. They diverted her attention by discussing her favorite topic, shopping while Binod quietly removed the stuff. Sara served the food while the family enjoyed a more satisfying meal.

A month passed and her parents begged her not to enter the kitchen. One day, she received an interesting email. The contest organizers had offered her 10,000₹ as a special prize with a humble request to give up writing forever. But Vedhika is Vedhika. She won’t stop to get ahead of her cousin, Samaira.

Let’s see how she fares in her next undertaking.

Thank you so much for taking your precious time to visit my website. Hope you enjoyed reading my blogs. 😊😊



Hi friends,

I am presenting another Short story that I had published in my older blogs in WordPress. I had it published in August, 2021. I thought of sharing it again.

Photo by Pixabay on

“Will you turn off that damned thing?” I yelled at my daughter, Tanya, who was watching TV with headphones connected to her smartphone. She did an excellent job of ignoring me. I yanked off her headphones from her ears, causing her mobile to slip from her lap. ” Are you insane, mom?” she yelled at a high decibel, enough to tear my eardrums. “Don’t you raise your voice at me, young lady, ” I warned her, ” Next time, I will make sure to throw your mobile into the garbage bin. Why are you wasting the electricity? You are already fiddling with your mobile. Why do you need to watch TV? ” ” Mom, it’s called multitasking,” she said, ” I was listening to rock music while watching Netflix.”
I smirked, ” Could you tell me why it’s called rock music? “
“I don’t know. Would you care to enlighten me?”
” The music which compels the listeners to throw rocks at the lead singer or singers is called rock music. Their vocal cords sound like cats and dogs are fighting each other.”
” Very funny,” she retaliated, ” That was a poor joke. It is as outdated as you are. Now that you have already disturbed me, what do you want me to do?”
I asked her to buy groceries from the supermarket across the road. I handed her a list of items needed. She glanced at the paper and handed it back to me. She called the grocery store near our house and placed our order. My fifteen-year-old daughter was teaching me how to use my smartphone. She would often tease me about my lack of knowledge of using my smartphone. My husband, Sundar, made fun of my ignorance of the internet and social media usage.
I was never inclined to learn about Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, or Twitter. I rarely used them.
My daughter made desperate attempts to get me hooked to the social media frenzy. I couldn’t understand why people bothered to post updates on whatever they were doing at home.
One day she challenged me to post something on Facebook. She kept on asking me to post an update throughout the day. I had exhausted all my patience.
I posted my picture on Facebook and typed:
Hey, guys! I am so glad to have completely recovered from a severe case of constipation. After consuming gallons of water, and half a dozen bananas over the past couple of days, I managed to make my rear end fall in love with the toilet seat. What a huge relief!
I told Tanya that I successfully made my first post and asked her to check it out for me. She was so ecstatic that she tagged all her friends in the post without reading the content. The next day, her mobile kept ringing continuously. Her friends kept on asking her questions like whether I had a bloated stomach or how many times did I fart?
She glared at me for embarrassing her with the ridiculous post. She screamed, “How can you do this to me? My friends are making fun of me. I am going to bunk my online classes for two days.” I failed miserably to control my laughter. My mobile saved me from another verbal tirade. My husband said,” Tanya told me about your foray into social media. Congratulations, dear. I will check your Facebook post after some time. By the way, What’s for dinner tonight?”
I answered,” I am going to make paneer butter masala with chapati and pulao.” He ordered me to make pizza by referring to YouTube. I knew it was a bad idea. I decided to comply with his request. I bought all the necessary ingredients to make pizza. Initially, I followed all the instructions carefully. I was so mesmerized by the video that I forgot to cook for a while. A disaster struck after my nose inhaled the burned smell of pizza base. It was completely charred. I switched off the gas cylinder. My bad luck followed me when my husband returned home. “What’s that horrible stench?” he asked me, ” Did you forget to turn off the gas stove?”
I accepted my mistake and apologized to him. He smacked his forehead with his palm. I thought he was going to slap me. He burst out laughing and ordered pizza from Pizza Hut.
Tanya joined him in pulling my leg.
I decided to feed the burned pizza to any stray animal that I came across. A stray dog approached me as I placed my wrecked pizza before it. It sniffed at the pizza and barked at me before turning away. I thought I could hear its implied threat to file a complaint against me with the PETA for my serving a horrible food.
I had a hearty laugh with my family. Finally, my husband and daughter begged me to stay away from Social Media. I smiled at my victory.

Thank you so much for taking your precious time to visit my website. Hope you enjoyed reading my blogs. 😊😊



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Hi friends,

I will continue the story ‘ Catch me if you can’ next week. I am not feeling well today. So I am sharing another story of mine from I hope you like it.

Ooh la la,” crooned Sheetal Taneja’s mother-in-law. Her grandchildren came rushing into her room. Aditi asked her,” Are you hurt, grandma? Shall I apply ointment on your legs to ease your pain?”

Her grandmother let out a huge sigh. She said,” Thank you for your concern. But I am not howling in pain. I was trying to hone my singing skills through the Starmaker App.” Aditi and Yash tried their best to suppress their giggles. Usha could not resist her urge to laugh at the children’s facial expressions. They all ended up laughing heartily. Sheetal came running up to inquire what was wrong with her family. “Has someone sprayed laughing gas in this room? Why are you all still laughing?” she demanded. Yash told her about his grandmother’s poor attempt at singing and how the brother-sister duo mistook it for crying out in pain. 

Sheetal could not hide her smile. She had gifted a new smartphone to her mother-in-law on her sixty-fifth birthday. Aditi opened a Facebook account for Usha. She also taught her grandmother how to send an e-mail and use Whatsapp. The tech-savvy grandmother spent most of her time listening to bhajans or going through Facebook or Whatsapp. 

Arun and Sheetal worked from home because of the lockdown in force. Likewise, Aditi and Yash attended online classes. They managed to laugh together by playing pranks on each other. 

Usha was pretty naive as far as using the internet was concerned. Her WhatsApp group consisted of senior citizens who loved bragging about their families or severely criticizing their daughters or sons-in-law. 

It was a hot and humid Sunday. The children and Arun had slept late. Usha woke up early and went to answer nature’s call. Meanwhile, her mobile rang incessantly. She had lost her temper. 

She picked up the call and hurled a string of swear words. It was an automated telemarketing call. Her abuses fell on deaf ears. Sheetal had heard every single word uttered by her mother-in-law. She tried to suppress her giggles and knocked on her bedroom door with a cup of coffee in her hand.

“Come in, dear,” said Usha,” I need your advice on handling this stupid mobile. 

It does not even allow me to empty my bladder. I almost came rushing out to answer the call, only to find a machine rambling out an advertisement.” 

Sheela explained,” That is how the telecom companies earn money through advertisement. It is nothing unusual. Don’t worry, Mom. You will get used to all the shenanigans of the smartphone.” 

Usha took the coffee cup from her and started slurping noisily. Sheetal left the room to handle the online classes. 

After sometime, Usha received a notification for new WhatsApp messages. She rolled her eyes when she saw the pictures of mouth-watering dishes posted by her friends and neighbors. She felt jealous of them.Usha summoned her daughter-in-law to her room after dinner. 

She showed the Whatsapp messages to Sheetal. She exclaimed,” Why can’t you make these delicacies at home? My friends are enjoying a variety of dishes prepared by their daughters-in-law. They post these pictures to make me feel jealous.” Sheetal grinned and replied, ” I knew something was bothering you, judging by the expression on your face. Do you honestly think that their daughters-in-law prepared those delicacies? They had ordered them online through Swiggy. Please take a look at this video sent by Malati, Gomati Aunty’s daughter-in-law.” Usha burst out laughing after seeing her friend, Gomati, clutching her stomach after coming out of the toilet. Usha could hear her grumbling,” I wish I hadn’t eaten so much. Malati! You are a murderer! You deliberately tried to kill me with the delicious poison.” 

Sheetal said,” Malati forwarded this epic video to make you realize that all that looks yummy on WhatsApp may not be good for the tummy. ” Usha added with a chuckle,” Point noted. Anyway, I feel like a fool for having entertained negative thoughts.”

Six months later, Usha received an email. 

The sender congratulated her for winning a trip to Goa for the entire family. The email also asked her to send the contact details. Usha’s joy knew no bounds. She completed the necessary formalities.

She called Sheetal and said,” Start packing our bags. I have won a free trip to Goa for all of us. I received an email that declared me as a winner of a lucky draw.” Sheetal was speechless. Usha beamed at her with her chest swelling in pride. Sheetal tried to reason with her mother-in-law that she should not respond to such an unwanted e-mail. Usha snorted,” You are just jealous of my good luck. I am not going to listen to your unsolicited advice. I don’t want any arguments from you. Do as I say. ” 

Later that evening, Usha received a courier containing the plane tickets with a hotel accommodation brochure. She waved the tickets on Sheetal’s face and remarked,” You were wrong this time. We are going next week to Goa. I have to broadcast this news.” Sheetal looked at her husband, Arun, for moral support. She felt mortified after her mother-in-law refused to listen to her. He consoled her,” My mother can be stubborn at times. Don’t let her wisecracks bother you. You are trying to protect her from a probable scam. I will always support you because you are right, and she is naive.” Sheetal had a cursory glance at the plane tickets. She immediately contacted the airways in question whose tickets she had received. She came to know that those tickets were fake. But, she didn’t want to disappoint her mother-in-law. So, she booked the flight tickets for the family on the said date. She also arranged for their hotel accommodation. 

She called Arun and briefed her plan to him. He appreciated her thoughtfulness. 

Sheetal said,” Now don’t say a word to her. Let her panic for some time after reaching the airport. Besides, I want to make security arrangements for our house. Mom will not allow me to do any alteration as long as she stays with us. I will convince her to stay with her brother for a couple of days.” She knew it was futile to argue with her mother-in-law. 

She put her plan into action. She successfully sent Usha away. She removed all the valuables from her house and kept them in a safe deposit vault of her bank. She asked Arun to hide their LED TV in their storeroom. 

After taking all the necessary precautions, Sheetal and her husband started packing their luggage for the trip. The children were quite excited. Usha came back after spending a couple of days with her brother. 

Finally, the day of their departure arrived. Sheetal let her mother-in-law take charge of the plane tickets. When they arrived at the airport, Usha had a nasty surprise. She learned from an official that the tickets with her were invalid. Hence, they could not go through the boarding procedure. 

She started weeping and cursing herself. 

Sheetal consoled her and showed her the flight tickets that she had booked for them. Usha hugged her tightly and kissed her on the forehead. The entire family boarded the plane and reached their intended destination. 

Meanwhile, the crook, who had tricked them into leaving their house vacant for his intended burglary, picked the lock at midnight. He asked his accomplice to follow him with the gunny bag. When he shone the torchlight, his jaw dropped open in surprise. The house sported a deserted look. The furnishings were sparse. When he opened the closet in the bedroom, he saw only a few clothes but no jewelry or cash. There was nothing worth stealing. They cursed their bad luck and retreated silently, leaving behind a note and cash worth two thousand rupees.

The Taneja family was enjoying the holidays. They came back after a fortnight only to discover an attempted robbery. Usha nearly fainted from the shock. Arun caught her in his arms. Sheetal entered the house and scanned it thoroughly. She found a note with some cash under a flower vase on the coffee table. It said:

” Dear Sir/ Madam,

I owe you an apology for causing great inconvenience to you and your family. I entered your house with the intention of robbery. Unfortunately, I had no luck with my misadventure. Your pathetic condition moved me so much that I have left behind Rs.2000/- for your use. I hope you forgive me. 


An idiotic thief.” 

Everyone burst out laughing after Sheetal read out this letter. She told Usha about the action she had taken to protect her house. Usha appreciated her quick thinking and promised her that she would avoid giving in to any kind of temptation on the internet.  

What a funny misadventure they had! 

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Chapter 9

The Ghost Hunters.

Mom just stepped inside the bathroom when her mobile rang. As usual, the task of answering her phone was entrusted to me. I put aside my long exercise notebook and pressed the green button.

” Hello,” said a cheerful female voice, ” Is this Mrs. Alka Patel? ” I was in a foul mood and decided to vent out my anger on her. I replied, “No, this is Sridevi from heaven.” The girl laughed, ” Are you joking, ma’am? ” I answered, ” Why should I be joking? I am a lady, so I am joqueen.” There was a momentary silence and the girl resumed her telemarketing speech, ” Ma’am, I am calling from Money Bank. We are offering all kinds of loans.” I sighed, ” I do need a different kind of loan. I am looking for a fresh, unused brain in a pristine condition because the one I am using is completely burned out. My wonderful family has this unique habit of chewing my brain. Can you help me? ” The caller abruptly ended the call as I chuckled and Rhea gave her thumbs up. I hated telemarketing call. I was sure if I continued to answer like this, their company would put us into Do not ever call this woman zone.

Finally, I finished my homework and kept my books in my school bag as per the timetable. ” Ding! Dong!” Damn it! What’s it today? Is this International Nuisance Day? Rhea sensed my fury and said, ” Relax, sis! I will open the door.” She opened the door to find a handsome young man with a briefcase. She decided to impress him and said, ” To what do I owe the pleasure of your company? ” He looked confused and replied, ” What? “

I am sure this guy must have flunked ten times in his Kindergarten. I smiled and replied, ” Forgive my sister. She loves English literature and always speaks like Shakespeare. As far as her question is concerned, she simply asked you why the hell are you here? ” The guy was visibly upset and said, ” I think you are being rude. Couldn’t you have used better words?” ” That’s what, my sister did, ” I smirked, ” It’s unfortunate that people never recognize the politeness but quick to point out the harsh truth spoken in front of them. Now, if I said, it’s my greatest pleasure to have my house blessed with your presence, would you please tell me how can I be of service to you, would you be impressed? “

The poor young man looked more confused than ever. I explained, ” I simply asked you what do you want from me? Now you will say that I insulted you but the truth is your brain only accepts direct message, it may be rude or polite. Anyway, would you please be kind enough to state the purpose of your visit so that we can visit the temple of education for our enlightenment? ” Rhea burst into laughter and even the young man joined her. My mom had just stepped into the living room and saw him.

We let the poor guy in and finished our basic introductions. ” The guy ( Naveen Kumar) said, ” Your neighbor, Mrs. Chatterjee, asked me to contact Ms. Lekha Patel, the girl with a big mouth to help me.” I rolled my eyes and replied, ” Really? I can’t believe she said that. Me, a big mouth, huh? Says a lady with such a fat bottom that she can crush anyone to death if she accidentally sat upon them.” Now, everyone laughed. Naveen said, ” I am the estate manager of the Shandilya Mansion in Bandra. Mr. Rajkumaar Shandilya, the owner of the mansion is unable to sell it because of the ghost of his grandfather, Mahendra is haunting the place. He tried every possible means to get rid of the spirit, but failed miserably. He decided to launch a TV show , The Indian Ghost Hunter. He offered a double reward, one for winning the show and the second for getting rid of the ghost. Many people participated but fled the mansion in the midnight itself. Mrs. Chatterjee’s son was one of the participants who failed. So, she recommended you to take part in our show.” ” If I make it alive, I am going to strangle Chatterbox, ” I grumbled. Mom flatly refused to let me participate saying I was too young. But Naveen convinced her that the prize money was ₹20,00,00 ( 10,00,000 for the show and the rest for driving out the ghost). He also said that Mom could accompany me. I hoped she would refuse, not because I was scared of ghost but I had to study for the upcoming class tests the following week.

“When is the shooting for the show? ” she asked as Naveen said, ” Between Friday night and Saturday Morning this week.” Mom looked enthusiastic and agreed to my participation, provided, she was my assistant. Rhea was scared and granny gave my mom a high-five and said, ” Only my granddaughter can scare the hell out of a ghost. Go for it, champ.”

Later, Dad also gave his approval and said he would be taking leave from his office to watch the show. For the first time I wished my mother hadn’t voluntarily offered me as a scapegoat.

Finally, the dreadful day arrived. We left our home and watched Chatterbox waving those fat arms of her happily. She was expecting my death but I promised to give her a much needed heart attack. We carried the basic provisions and a suitcase containing our clothes. It was 7 PM and we were given welcome drinks upon reaching the mansion. It seems we were the only contestants. We had a grand feast and I thought of watching TV. There was nothing scary about the place. We were shown our bedroom with instruction manual to be followed during the show.
Rule no.1 said the contestant will be disqualified if he or she screamed.
Rule no.2 required us to put on a brave face, no matter, how scary a ghost might be. We would be given marks on our courage and confidence.
Rule no. 3 : We could do whatever we like without worrying about a script. We had to work on our own script.
Rule no. 4: No profanity or vulgar language allowed.
And the list continued. I glanced through it and dropped it on the table. Mom and I planned to watch Netflix on TV when there was a power fluctuation. It was like a typical badly scripted C-grade Bollywood Horror Movie. I knew what to expect next. I signaled my mom to calm down or we would be thrown out. I told her it was a part of the TV series shooting. She checked her makeup and looked visibly calm. Then, there was a complete blackout. I switched on the torchlight of my smartphone and lit a candle.

I felt like I was a part of a super flop horror movie. The usual storm situation followed and the candle got extinguished. Mom tried to put on a brave face. We started chatting with each other, plotting revenge on Chatterbox without using profanity. Suddenly, a transparent man ( a ghost)came floating towards us. I looked at him and burst out laughing. Mom took my cue and gave me company. ” You should be terrified of me, ” snarled the ghost of an old man, ” Why are you laughing at me?” I said , ” You look as if Einstein got electrocuted while crossing a puddle.”

” You mannerless girl, don’t you know how to talk to your elders, ” glared the ghost.

” Pardon me, grandpa ghost, but I have some doubts. How did the blazer that you are wearing become transparent? I usually thought ghosts wore white bedsheets with slits for their eyes and they made sounds like cackling of a witch. How do you speak English? “

The ghost was getting angrier. Its eyes were glowing red in anger. He said, ” I am the grandfather of the owner of this mansion. I order you to leave right now or you will regret ever setting foot in this house.” I laughed even harder. I said, ” I am not scared, grandpa. Because you can’t strangle with your transparent hands nor can you hold any object? By the way, how did you die? “

The ghost sighed and began, ” Once upon a time…. “
And I interrupted, ” Why do all the stories start with once upon a time? Why can’t it be twice or thrice below whatever?”
Mom kept giggling while the ghost gave her an evil eye. The ghost of Mahendra continued, ” Just shut up and listen to me.”
I : Why don’t I open down and talk to you?
The ghost: You silly girl. You are getting on to my nerves.
I: I always wanted to see a nerve but I can’t see yours. Its transparent. I wonder how you ghosts manage your bowel and kidney moments. There must be an advantage of being a ghost. You can survive on air and don’t need solid food or drink water. So, there’s no question of pooping or peeing, right?
The ghost wanted to tear his hair apart but gritted his teeth and said, ” Listen to me, laddie. I had enough of your cheeky replies. Once I went to market to buy a birthday gift for my wife.”
I smirked, ” Don’t you mean, you went to the market to buy vegetables on your wife’s orders? ” The ghost spluttered, ” How did you know? ” I laughed and said, ” I could see the fear in your eye when you mentioned her. Please continue. Lady Dracula sent you on an errand.” The ghost said, ” On my way, I saw a beautiful girl smiling at me. I smiled back and didn’t notice my devil wife following me with a rolling pin. A whack on my head and lo, I was dead.” ” I am so sorry, grandpa, ” I said.

The ghost was surprised at my reaction and said, ” You must be a very brave girl. Most of the participants in this show peed their pants but you are so cool and courageous. What’s the secret? ” I replied, ” Every day I am dealing with a monster called the Mathematics teacher. We call her lady dragon and she can be a tough task master. You are an angel compared to her. But now I wish to thank you for entertaining us with your story. My mother, here, is an excellent singer. She’s going to dedicate a song to you. ” Then the real horror show started. My mom started singing an old Hindi film melody.

Now, the ghost was so scared by her horrible singing that he covered both his ears. He pleaded with me, ” Please ask her to stop singing. She sounds like a donkey braying. I am getting a headache and I can’t even have an aspirin. I promise to do whatever you ask me to.” I asked the ghost to give up haunting the mansion and move on to the other world. He immediately vanished into thin air and I could actually see a white light for a brief moment. The lights came back.

” Hurray! We won, ” I hugged my mom and danced. We had a special cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows. The next morning, Naveen came to congratulate us for winning the show and Mr. Rajkumaar Shandilya personally came to the mansion to give us a cheque for 20,00,000₹. He dropped us home after a special lunch at a star hotel. Chatterbox was shocked to see us stepping down from BMW with garlands on our necks.

I went to her and fell at her feet to seek her blessings, ” Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity. I am not sure whether you would have played this mean trick on your own daughter for money.” She apologized to me for trying to put my life in danger. Mom never forgave her. That evening, the whole family celebrated our victory at a hotel as my dad said, ” Only my Lekha could drive even a ghost mad. I am proud of you, sweetie.” I replied with a smile and a tear, ” I have the best dad in the world. Happy Father’s Day in advance, dad.”

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Chapter 8

Punishment for elders.

” Aaargh! ” I screamed as I saw a horrible face opening the door. “Grandma, ” I yelled, ” Please save us from this alien that has invaded our house.” The green woman knocked me on my head and replied, ” I am your mother, you idiot.” Rhea tried to stifle her laughter as Mom let us in. I was pushing my luck by provoking her yet again.

I asked her, ” Why have you covered your face with cow dung?” She answered with a sigh, ” This is a herbal face mask made of Neem leaves, henna, tulsi, aloe vera, and Multani Mitti.” ” Looks like गाय की टट्टी ( cow shit) to me, ” I replied, ” Please don’t tell me that you are using this mask to hide the pimples , boils, and zits on your face.” Mom looked like she was about to murder me as Rhea rolled over with laughter. Mom decided to ignore me as she went to sit on the recliner chair and closed her eyes.

” Mom,” I said, ” I heard that the Ramsay brothers are conducting an audition for their upcoming horror flick, “Bhatakti Aatma” ( The wandering soul). Why don’t you try for the lead role? ” ” That’s it, young lady, ” she replied, ” No dinner for you tonight.” ” What’s special tonight? ” I asked her, planning to apologize if it was my favorite dish. She replied, ” Rotis ( flatbread) with bottle guard ( lauki)stew.” I made a face and said, ” I would rather be hungry. Mom, I am sorry. I was just joking. I didn’t mean to hurt you intentionally.”

She merely grunted as I removed my shoes and socks. I went to my room and closed the door behind me. Rhea winked at me and said, ” I am sure you are going to get grounded for a week.” After changing our dresses, we had tea and snacks. Then I started doing my maths homework. I grumbled, ” I wish I knew who invented mathematics. I would dig him out of his grave to kill him again.” Rhea smirked at my outburst. She said, ” What’s the matter, sis? Do you want me to help you with a problem? ” I responded like a philosopher and remarked, ” As if the problems in our lives aren’t enough, why does mathematics makes it more complicated by marrying alphabets in English with numerals? Assume X= 7 , y =11 and so on.” Rhea explained one of the algebraic problems so effortlessly that I got most of my answers right. Solving a maths sum correctly is equivalent to bagging a medal. I achieved the Herculean task of completing a truckload of homework in other subjects as well.

Later that evening, my dad came home in a foul mood. Usually, he was a cool guy and rarely lost his temper. He smelled of urine and dog poop. He was literally screaming into my ears, ” Wait till I get my hands on Varma and Rastogi. I will break every bone in their bodies.” I tried to calm him down and said, ” Relax, Dad. What did those nincompoops do to upset you? ” Dad answered, ” Varma let his three-year-old brat, Sunny, pee on my head from the balcony of his second floor filthy apartment while he laughed shamelessly and I stepped on Rastogi’s dog’s poop. He too laughed at me. I have requested these bastards to potty train their kid and dog respectively. While Varma claimed Sunny was just a child and I should not make a big issue out of it, Rastogi had the same stupid argument.”

Our housing society had fourteen families, including us, out of which there were five families who consistently violated all the laws of the society. They were Rajan Varma and family, The Rastogis, The Mehras, The Kamdars , and The Chatterboxes
(Chatterjees). I had devised a plan to put them into their proper place . After dinner, I discussed my secret project with dad who was very excited and quite optimistic about the success of the plan. I let Rhea and ten other kids in my society join my scheme. After school, we started spying on the five erring families and recorded their activities. Finally, at the end of the week, we created posters announcing a special film on the honorable members of the society. Rahul bhaiya( elder brother) the son of Mr.and Mrs. Potdar arranged for a silver screen and an overhead projector. We scheduled the screening of the movie in an open playground at 5.30 PM. We had also made arrangements for tea, coffee, snacks and chairs.

The entire society turned up to watch the program, including the offenders. We began our show with a prayer to God and the silver screen lit up with my image carrying a microphone in my hand. I said, ” Good evening and welcome to the Oshiwara Housing society special show. We would like you to meet the ultra legends of our housing society who think they are God’s special creations. Our first guest of honor is Mr. Rajan Varma of Apartment 208 in the second floor of Building B. We are glad to inform you that he’s going to launch a special YouTube channel on shamelessness. Dear viewers, what do you do when you first get up in the morning? Go to toilet. This hero believes that the whole world is a big toilet and he can piss and poop anywhere. Please watch this video as he gives a special tutorial to his son to hold their hosepipes for watering the lawn. If doesn’t matter if any passerby gets drenched in their fountain. Their next episode might involve defecating in the public. ” The image showed Rajan holding his privates and urinating from the balcony with his son. Rajan was shamefaced and red in embarrassment as everyone burst out laughing at the video. I continued, ” I am sure there must be a problem with their toilet which is either clogged or Mrs. Varma and her daughter never leave the toilet. Mr. Varma, please accept this money that we have contributed towards the beautification of the society.” Mrs. Varma was so furious that she twisted her husband’s ear and said, ” Thank you, Lekha. Our toilet is fine and I have told him number of times to use it but he disregarded my advice and caused a public humiliation. I am so sorry with what everyone had gone through. As a punishment, I am going to make him clean everybody’s toilet for a week.” There was a huge round of applause for Mrs. Varma who was a sensible woman. Rahul bhaiya proceeded with the next clip of the Rastogis playing with their dog, Tommy. The next few clips showed Tommy biting the sweeper, the daughter of the Rastogis maid servant, and the postman. When questioned over not putting his dog on leash or keeping it chained, Mr. Rastogi said it was cruelty to animal. He also refused to pay for the medical expenses of the affected people. The next clip showed Shaguna, their maid, giving the food plates to Tommy for licking. She didn’t bother to scrub or clean the the dishes. It was her revenge for their ill-treatment. They not only refused to pay for her daughter’s treatment but also lashed out at her for taking a leave. I asked Bhaiya to pause the video and asked Rastogi, ” What would you have done if Tommy had bitten your children? ” Rastogi replied, ” I would have shot him dead and taken my children to the hospital. ” I asked him, ” Why do your children deserve a special treatment? Have they descended from Mars or a reincarnation of any God? You think too much of yourself and your family. A life is a life, Mr. Rastogi. You are a perfect example of how to not lead a selfish life. You refused to pay the sweeper, maid and the postman because of their low social status. Are you in any way related to the Maharaja of Mysore? Have you ever thought of what would happen if they didn’t turn up for the day? The society would stink and so would your house without Shaguna. You would lose important communication if the postman deliberately hid your mail.” The Rastogis hung their heads in shame. The video moved on to show the Mehras collecting contribution from every household for the Society Welfare scheme but a clip showed them pocketing the funds for their own welfare. ” So, this is the latest honorable technique of begging by Well to do people. For more details contact the Mehras at”. Everyone glared at the Mehras who quickly fled away after being exposed. Mr.Prashant Kamdar, was the chief secretary of our society but the most corrupt and inefficient fellow who won the election for the past five years by bribing his opponent from withdrawing his nomination. He never did his duties and in spite of numerous complaints on fixing drainage, proper water supply and faulty wiring, he did a shoddy work. The video showed his son asking money for going to school. The boy, Vinod, a fifth grader, was seen asking, ” Baba, I need 100₹ today. Only then will I go to school.” His father gave him 200₹ to encourage him. I picked up the mic and said, ” This is how the training for corruption is given. I fail to understand why you are sending your son to school at all. Train him properly to be a corrupt politician. One day he will ask you both to pay him money for taking care of you in your old age. Aren’t you ashamed of taking and offering bribe just to do your duties? You are also getting a regular salary. Tell me something, does your wife pay you money for eating the food cooked by her or do you pay her for sleeping with you?” The Kamdars couldn’t face anyone. Mr. Kamdar handed over his resignation and didn’t wait for the final show.
I presented Mrs. Chatterjee ( Chatterbox) gossiping and spreading baseless rumors that tarnished the image of a newly wed bride . I said, ” Hearty congratulations, Mrs. Chatterjee, for being the CCTV camera of this society rather than focusing on your own family. Rita’s husband, Sameer, has filed for divorce because of your unwanted interference. Why did you do it? The poor girl’s only fault was that she talked to your son to help him concentrate on his studies. Now why don’t you take a look at what’s happening behind your back?” Mrs. Chatterjee’s husband was molesting their maid servant. She slapped him and hit him with her sandals before running away from their home.

The movie ended as an eye opener for many. I concluded the program with a short speech. ” When children make mistakes, the adults try to correct them by using various methods. Explain gently about the consequences of their actions, then take disciplinary action by punishment, imposition etc. What happens to the adults who keep on committing the same mistakes time and again?” No one had any answer. I said, ” We always look up to our elders as our role models. If you disregard the law yourself, how can you expect us to obey you? Let’s conclude this meeting and hear your opinion on these families.” There were plenty of suggestions like imposing heavy fines and ostracizing them. But I came up with an idea and said, ” Let’s give them a final chance to redeem their lost dignity. If they fail this time, we will forward this video to a news channel.” Everyone applauded and appreciated me for my boldness to expose the crimes taking place in our society. Our parents beamed at me and Rhea with love, admiration and pride. I might be a comedienne but I am an Indian first and I would never let anyone tarnish the image of my motherland.

Jai Hind! Bharat Mata ki Jai!

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Hi friends,

I am starting the story with a disclaimer :

The story is purely fictional and the characters in the story bear no resemblance to any individual. The content mentioned in the story is purely meant for comedy and not to hurt anyone’s sentiments. This is for pure fun and the views of the girl are hers only.

Chapter 7

Murder of a marriage.

I dreaded going back to school after two years of staying at home due to the lockdown. I felt like a soldier about to be martyred at the hands of an enemy. Mom was so happy at the thought of getting rid of us that she started humming a tune.

It was an old melody sung by the late Lata Mangeshkar. Mom was deliberately teasing me. She said, “Lekha darling, Are you ready to go to school tomorrow? “I grinned and replied, ” It doesn’t take me more than half an hour to get ready for school. Do you expect me to sweep the school premises?” Mom ignored my taunt and continued to sing. I arranged my schoolbooks according to the timetable in my bag. Rhea was speaking to her friend on her mobile.

Mom came to our room after an hour, grinning like a heroine. She said, ” Congratulate me, kids! I have started a new business with Mrs. Chatterjee. We are running a matrimonial service for all the eligible bachelors.” I replied with a smirk, ” Great. How many lives have you ruined so far? “

She glared at me while Rhea giggled at my choice of words. Mom said, ” We have matched ten couples, out of which five are already engaged. My business has started booming since I launched it last month. I wanted to celebrate my success with you.” I hugged her and said sorry.

Both of us congratulated her as she walked away as a happy woman. I closed the door and said, ” Matrimonial services! What made her think of this stupid business! I feel like she has opened a marriage shop selling brides and grooms.

I can be her advertising manager. Just imagine a marriage shop, offering schemes like :
Buy one get one free. Buy a bride or a groom, and get an extra idiot free.

Money back guarantee: The bride and grooms sold in our shops are highly educated, well versed in the art of cooking, cleaning, winning domestic arguments, and bargaining while shopping. If they are incompatible or decide to separate, we will refund your money, provided we have sufficient funds with us.

90 days exchange : Since you are our valued customers, we are offering a 90 days exchange scheme where the goods ( brides and grooms) can be exchanged. If you feel your current life partner isn’t the one for you, we can provide you with a better model, provided you are approved by him or her.

Terms and conditions:

Prospective brides and grooms are required to see themselves in the mirror before demanding a beautiful or a handsome partner. Just like a buffalo can’t marry a swan, or a monkey can’t marry a lion, if you are ugly, you don’t have a choice in selecting a life partner.

Domestic chores must be shared equally between the husband and the wife. This will help in avoiding conflicts or disagreements between them.

Grooms, especially, must know, at least how to boil water and make tea, since guys are spoilt by their parents and girls end up in the kitchen.

Brides are supposed to know the value of hard earned money and avoid unnecessary shopping and relieving their poor husbands of their money. Their husbands should not treat the house as a hotel and ask for a menu card. They should either be prepared to cook their own meals or eat whatever is being served without complaining about the quality of food.

Most important term: Keep your parents-in-law out of your disputes. Stop whining or complaining about each other to the poor old people. It’s bad enough that they had to deal with you. At this age, they can’t handle additional headache.”

Rhea had tears in her eyes from nonstop laughter. She gave me a high-five and said, ” Lekha, you should seriously consider being a comedienne. You have an amazing sense of humor.”

It was evening. Dad came home with a wedding invitation card. He said, ” My best friend, Tilak’s son is getting married next month. He has invited us for the wedding and the reception. His son, Rohit, is an investment banker. What gift shall I give him?” I was listening to their conversation and replied, ” Dad, give him a thousand bucks in an envelope. Also write:
Marriages are subjected to domestic violence, unwanted expenses by wife, arguments with the spouse due to ego clash, bearing children and changing their diapers, going bankrupt after paying the hefty school and college fees, getting abandoned by them in the old age. Marry at your own risk. ” Dad burst out laughing with Mom looking at me like a raging bull. ” We will not take you to the wedding reception, if you don’t change your attitude, Lekha,” she threatened me.

I said, ” I am not interested in attending a death ceremony.” Mom and Dad looked puzzled. Dad asked, ” What do you mean by that? ” I answered, ” Marriage is equal to death, Dad. Though not physical, it means death of your freedom. You have heard that song :
‘अपनी आजादी को हम हरगिज़ मिटा सकते नहीं |
सिर कटा सकते हैं लेकिन सिर झुका सकते नहीं |’
( We will never ruin our freedom. We can afford to lose our heads but never bow before anyone).” Mom said, ” People who say that they don’t have any intention of getting married, are the first ones to find their lifepartners. I can see your wedding card in future.
Mr. and Mrs. Patel request the pleasure of your company on the joyous occasion of the marriage of their younger daughter
Lekha with ( the groom’s name) at the venue.”

I giggled as I replied :

“Allow me to correct your hallucination. The wedding card will read like this.
Mr. and Mrs. Patel deeply regret the cancellation of the wedding of their daughter Lekha with Jackass ( The Groom) at the marriage hall near the Mental Hospital. She rejected him for losing a PUBG game. Don’t waste your time and money , bringing your ass with your family here. If you are looking for free food, try visiting temples or gatecrash some dope’s wedding as in the movie ” Three idiots “. This will make you the fourth idiot.” And now even mom laughed out with the rest of the family.

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A Bully is bullied

” Rhea,” I called out my elder sister, ” Where are you? I have to show you something.” Rhea was reading a book in the living room. She jumped up in excitement as I said, ” I clicked the picture of the closest living relative of a dinosaur. Can you believe? Our house is full of them.” She snatched my phone and saw the picture. She must have jumped a foot in the air before whacking my head with her book. It was the magnified picture of a lizard sticking its tongue out and staring at her with its beady eyes.

” Yuck! You idiot, Lekha. Do you want me to die of a heart attack? ” she yelled at me. I snickered at her and replied, ” Honestly, Rhea! You call yourself a topper and don’t even know that a lizard is one of the close relative of a dinosaur, beside a hen and an alligator.” Rhea slapped her palm against her forehead. She exclaimed, ” Oh My God! Why didn’t I realize that it’s April 1 today? ” She chased me around while I skillfully dodged her punches.

Finally, she stopped chasing me. I said, ” Now it’s mom’s turn to get fooled.” She smirked, ” I don’t think mom will fall for your silly trick. If you manage to fool her, I will pay you 500 bucks.” ” Be ready with the cash, sis,” I said, carrying my mobile phone with me. I went outside, leaving Rhea puzzled over my sudden departure.

I called my landline number at home. Rhea picked the call as I disguised my voice and said, “May I speak to Mrs. Patel, please? This is Rita Senorita from The Kitchen Queen contest.” Poor Rhea! She fell for my trap and put the call on hold to fetch Mom. Mom answered, ” Hello, This is Mrs. Alka Patel speaking.” I continued in the same nasal voice, ” Mrs. Patel, we are the organizers of The Kitchen Queen contest. We are happy to announce that you can win a special prize, if you answer this question correctly.” Mom was excited, “Please proceed with your question.” I asked, ” What are the ingredients used for making tea?” Mom rattled off her answer to which I replied, ” Congratulations, Mrs. Alka Patel. You have won the first prize of a trip to your kitchen and prepare the tea for your family and enjoy it with them.”

Mom squealed in delight, not realizing that she had been fooled. She disconnected the call and I burst out laughing. I made a straight face with great difficulty and went home. Mom and Rhea hugged me as they told me about the prize. I was desperately trying to hold back my giggle but managed to say, ” Gosh! You should claim the prize right now or it’s validity might expire.” ” Wait a minute, ” said Mom, ” A free trip to my kitchen? What kind of prize is that?” It dawned on both of them that they had been fooled. Rhea gave me a deathly glare and told her that I was the one who played the prank. Initially, Mom was furious, but she started laughing after getting the gist of the joke. ” Good one, Lekha,” she smiled at me. Rhea felt as if someone had given her a bitter pill. She paid me 500₹ which I returned graciously.

The door bell rang and I opened the door to find a young girl in her twenties with a suitcase and a handbag. ” Hi,” she said with a forced smile, ” Is this the Patel residence?” I stopped myself from reporting, ” No. Barack Obama lives here with his family.” ” Who’s it, Lekha?” asked my Mom. She saw her and acted like a typical aunty character in a Bollywood movie. ” Oh my Gosh! Nikki, how tall you have grown? Oh, I am sorry! Why don’t you come in?” She followed Mom and said, ” I wanted to call you about my visit but my Mom said that it would be a pleasant surprise if I come announced.”

Mom introduced her as Nikita, her elder sister, Gita’s only daughter. Rhea and I could feel the trouble brewing up. We weren’t comfortable with anyone invading our privacy, even if it was our cousin. She joined us at lunch and bragged about her studies in London. ” How hot and sultry it’s in India? Your house is quite small compared to my apartment in London. Anyway, don’t worry. I will manage to adjust with whatever is available to me.” Rhea and I hated her instantly, unlike our crazy mother, who was warming up to her idiotic, spoilt brat of a niece. I responded, ” What a great sacrifice! You deserve a Nobel Prize for giving up your comforts to spend a couple of days with the family of morons. If you hate India so much, why did you come back? “

She felt uncomfortable about my sarcastic comments and replied, ” My parents never wanted to send me abroad, stating that I was a girl and it was dangerous for an unmarried, virgin girl to live alone in another country, away from the scrutiny of the parents. I pleaded with them to give me a chance to finish my studies and then I would come back to my roots.” ” But what about your branches and stem that you left behind in London? ” I remarked, earning a glare from Mom and Nikki and giggling by Rhea and Granny.

Nikki said, ” I forgive you for your silly remarks. You would still be enjoying the pleasure of my company for a week. I have to attend a job interview this week. So, we will have fun together.”

Except for Mom, Nikki managed to irritate everyone with her bossy attitude. She made us follow her stupid diet, and got us to exercise and take up yoga.

I decided to teach her a lesson and make her go back to her parents. Just a day before her scheduled date of interview, I changed her resume with the one that I had written. I wrote:

Curriculum Vitae

Name: Daddy’s Princess, Mommy’s Dayan (Dayan means an evil witch), Brother’s
Age : Women don’t tell their age. Don’t ask.

Career objective: To earn money without having to work. I hate any kind of labor.

Educational Qualifications: B.Com ( History)

B.A. ( Chemistry)

Ph.D in Boasting

from the University of Timbuktu.

Work Experience: More than 20 years’ experience in sucking the blood of my parents to fulfill my never ending demands.

Salary Expectation: The entire turnover of the company in a year.

Extracurricular activities:

Helping the hospitals to increase their revenue by raising the blood pressure of those around me and sending them to these hospitals for treatment.

Statement of Declaration:

I, hereby, declare that the information provided in my Resume above are absolutely rubbish and made under the influence of liquor. I prefer whisky, rum and gin.

Place: Hell
Date : 1.4.2022.

I forged her signature that looked more like a frog face.

The next day, Nikki attended the interview, and came back in tears. I felt sorry for her and was about to apologize for my prank, when she hugged me and said, ” How I wish I hadn’t set foot in that company! The MD read out my resume in front of the other interviewers. They laughed at me and refused to go ahead with the next round of interview. In fact, I was quite ecstatic over my rejection.” I was puzzled over her weird reaction and asked, “Then why are you crying? “

Nikki replied, ” The MD’s womanizing son sought me out after the interview to discuss our marriage plan. My parents had been responsible for forcing me to accept a position in this company and marry the MD’s son. The MD of this company is my parents’ close friend and wants me to be his daughter-in-law. But I want to go back to London and live there for at least another five years before my marriage. I am sorry for misbehaving with you all. I did it on purpose so that you would hate me and send me back to my parents. But the main problem is the jerk claims to be in love with me in spite of the ridiculous CV. He has threatened to throw acid on my face if I refused to go ahead with the planned alliance. I have to go back to Ahmedabad day after tomorrow with a positive report or else my parents would kill me.” I hugged her and wiped away her tears.

I told her about my role in changing the CV and she forgave me with a smile. Nikki was really a good girl. I promised to help her but she was sceptical of my assurance because of my age. I asked her to show me the pic of the guy who had threatened her. She showed it to me on her mobile. I forwarded those pics to my WhatsApp number and created a new post for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on.
It looked like a Meme with a caption that I had created:
Presenting the best toilet cleaner. He’s more effective than Harpic because he always carries a bottle of acid ready to use. Call him at 900000000. Effectiveness of the product is guaranteed because he imagines the toilet floor as the faces of the girls who rejected him and gives it an extra scrubbing for the removal of yellow stains. I showed the post with the pic of the jackass who was supposed to marry Nikki. She had a hearty laughter. I posted the meme in all the social media pages. Rhea joined us in having fun. Mom was pleased to see a change in our attitudes towards Nikki.

The next day, Nikki jumped in joy and kissed me after telling me that her wedding was called off. The MD and his son were so humiliated that they called off the alliance and went into hiding.

We celebrated the success of our plan with a grand party in a hotel. It was a sad moment for us when Nikki decided to go back to London but she promised to send some amazing gifts for me and Rhea. What a huge turn around!

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