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Lost Identity

Discussion in 'Stories (Fiction)' started by malspie, Mar 8, 2008.

  1. malspie

    malspie Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear I'Lites,

    My gift to you all for Womans Day.. hope you enjoy reading this story.. Love you all.

    LOST IDENTITY
    PART - I

    “Nitin, eat your grub quickly and start with your studies. Next week you have your final exams”.
    “Mili, did you solve those sums in Algebra, you are losing your percentage because of your Mathematics. Your tution teacher was telling me, that you tend to forget the theorems of Geometry too and you need more practice”.
    “Rajesh, won’t you take some time for the kids. Stop watching that news, morning and evening you are glued to the news, else, sports, you are not a bachelor. You are not sharing any of my responsibilities”.
    “Viji, you are doing a good job, the children are well trained under you. I may pamper them a bit, that’s the reason I maintain a distance. You are the Home Minister; we are your subordinates. I have a very tiring day in office, with back to back meetings, papers, files, decision making, my job gives me all the luxury but takes away my smile”.
    “You mean to say, my task is easy, can you do it even for a day, I am not sounding filmy, try and find out how hard it is to run the house. God, why did I give up my job in the reputed firm after Nitin was born? I am cursing myself everyday. Actually, I am tired of …”
    “Viji, will you stop it. I have asked you to hire a full time maid, I am earning enough to pay her, you never bother to hire one, and then crib like this. I spend around 7 hours of wake up time in the house and you spoil it by cribbing”.
    “You meam maid can take care of this house and the kids. You mean she will be..”
    “Viji, you are getting in to a wayward argument. Let me just go for my…
    “Keep cutting my sentences, I do not let you have a fag, you blackmail me saying let me go for a walk and have a fag. Everybody wants to have his way in this house”.
    Rajesh slipped in to his floaters and moved out to the lawn of the building. He pulled out a fag and took a long puff .. Suddenly he felt a tap on his back..
    “Hi Raj, you are down today, how come at this time, you never miss your morning walks, but, in the evening it’s a pleasure to see you”. Rajesh turned towards Neeta a very beautiful, petite young woman in her early 30’s. Neeta works as Manager – Customer Relations and had way with words which were very plesant to hear after what he heard in his house. She looked beautiful in her pink silky pyjamas with a halter neck sleeveless blouse. There was not a single trace of make-up on her face which glowed in the moon light”.
    “Hey Rajesh, How are you yaar”. Ajay, Neeta’s Darling husband shook hands with Rajesh. “Vicky is busy studying upstairs and we are down here on her usual walk. You are a surprise visitor at this hour of the day”.
    Rajesh realized that he has not taken a puff for a long time; he curled the fag on his lips and drew a long relishing puff. Neeta was observing him from the corner of her eyes.
    “I think you should give up smoking, a handsome young man like you need to live longer what say”. There was mischief in her eyes. Rajesh curled the smoke in the air, “Thanks for the compliment”. “Viji is not to be seen, neither in the morning nor in the evening. She always seems to be in a hurry, poor dame, has no time for walks too. Why don’t you hire a maid for her?”
    The sentence hit him below the belt. Viji, is not going to make me live in peace outdoors too. Is she trying to gain pity from everyone? A flashing thought came in to his head. Neeta is a working woman and yet she manages to look after herself the house and takes time for walks, parties. Why that Viji is not finding time?” Rajesh started questioning himself. These people are cornering me and cause is Viji. I am not going to spare her today. I will bring in the sun early today. He held his fist tight.
    “Raj, where are you lost? Did we hurt you? Sorry, buddy, we were concerned about your wife, that’s all.”
    “No, I have been asking her to hire a maid for assistance but she is reluctant. I respect woman and am against her slogging at home tirelessly.”
    All three of them were walking in a straight row, Neeta was in the middle. Neeta held his hand and pressed it tight. Rajesh for reasons best known to him did not lossen the grip. Ajay was busy telling him about the crash in the stock market.
    Rajesh was a handsome man who never looked his age, may be in his early 40’s. He would hit the gym regularly, was well dressed and with the blessings of the Almighty he had the power and postion in his profession along with plenty of money. He had nice family, no matter Viji was a bit more to herself. She is a good wife and her life revolves around her husband and children. As they finished three lapses all of them signed off for the day. Rajesh sighed a relief and walked back home feeling revived. He washed his legs and spread himself on the couch.
     
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  2. malspie

    malspie Platinum IL'ite

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    PART - II

    The T.V. was on and Viji was watching her favorite serial. She ignored Rajesh thoroughly and he never minded it. After a couple of minutes, he walked up to the bedroom and changed in to his night wear and kissed goodbye to the day. Within a couple of minutes, he was fast asleep. Viji, had finished cutting the vegetables for the next day. The serial was over, “Sapna is getting trapped. Can’t wait for tomorrow?” “Mili, it is past 11, wind up, you can practice tomorrow. You need to wake up early too”. She peeped in the kid’s bedroom; Nitin was fast asleep with the books thrown open on the bed. “You are like your father, a grown up boy of 10 behaving like this. Hope you get a wife like me, who keeps cleaning the clutter you throw”. She walked out of the room. “Good Night Mom” Mili entered the bedroom and crashed on the bed. “Good Night sweethearts” Viji wished her kids.
    Rajesh was snoring heavily; she placed herself in the corner of the bed, said her usual prayers and laid down quietly. She had been doing it for many months now and she is used to it.
    “Hey Viji, how long are you going to be in the kitchen, study room, etc?” “Darling, you make me wait for long” Rajesh would pull her lovingly towards him and hold her dear face in his hands, “How tired you look, Sweeta, you should look out for a maid to help you and stop being eccentric about cleanliness etc. You are not here to do all this rubbish work, you are my love, my wife and you should be living in style”.
    “Raj, I am not happy with the maids and I love to do the work all by myself, it is our house, our children and nothing is taxing darling. When you praise me for the cooking, I feel blessed, when the children come running in to my arms, it brings so much of happiness. I have no words to explain, when I see your concern for me, all my tiredness has taken the back seat. Do you feel tired to go to office everyday, then why should I feel tired to do my work”.
    “Viju, my love, I am so blessed to have you in my life. You have made my life complete. Hey, your hands are so smooth today, did you go to the parlour”.
    “Yes, I did..”.
    “Oh!! Wait.. let me discover.. hmm.. waxing”,
    “Ok”,
    “Eyebrows”
    “Great”,
    “Show me your feet”,
    Viji was on cloud nine now, “Have a look”
    “Yes, pedicure, yesterday you had nails on your toe and they were not painted and the heels were a bit chipped too”.
    “Raj, you are a..”
    “Wait na, sweetheart.. lemme discover more, he loosened her hair and ran his fingers, “you have coloured your hair too. Last time it was burgundy, this time it looks a bit of copper”.
    Viji held him tight and exclaimed, “how many of the hubby’s out there must have noticed all this so minutely, You are a darling, Raj, My love, My puppyheart”.
    “Now what is this word.. ‘Puppyheart’..”
    “Just now, I thought about it”.
    Raj held her tight and oooofs.. Went off the light..
    “Hot tea with Bread Toast any takers”,
    Viji looked at him with eyes half open, “Raj, why hurry, children have to go late today”.
    “Mili, is up and studying, Nitin is brushing his teeth, I have also brushed my teeth, you want proof..”
    “Yeeks Raj” she pushed him a little.
    “My dals will you like bed tea,” he asked her.
    “No, I will quickly brush my teeth and join all of you”. Children were called at the dining table and they relished the breakfast.
     
  3. malspie

    malspie Platinum IL'ite

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    PART - III

    Tears were flowing from Viji’s eyes; the scenes were running in front of her like a movie. She could not recollect the last when Raj has held her and spoken to her few kind words, or had a hearty meal across the dining table. The Television was on and it was always what Raj wanted to see and others quietly munching their food. Later, he would hit his laptop and go to sleep. There was no praise for the food cooked; there was no much noise in the room except for Viji, who forever was organizing things at home. What went wrong? What moved the happiness apart? The 1 BHK apartment has replaced 5 BHK, in place of Martuti Zen, they had Skoda, access to the best of the pubs a high premium, international touring, all luxuries of life. Raj never turned towards her nor she did. The love has been there and it will ever be, but the fire is gone, the wind is not blowing for the pollens to scatter, the flower is swaying away from their direction, there is bareness and it has been here for sometime. With age, maturity creeps in and we all hold a place for ourselves and are happy in the created space. Raj is happy in his, I am happy in my and children are happy in their world. There are four small worlds in the Flat No. 1101 of Sun View, Bandra, an apartment with only one falt on each floor, an aparment where only elite crowd lives. Viji wiped her tears and welcomed sleep with both her arms.
    Mobile rings louder and Rajesh jumps to pick it up, “Cecilia, hey girlie what happened. Everything is fine na.. What ? Marco has come down, don’t tell me you are not going to come to office today”.
    Viji rolled her eyes in despair and fanned her ears. She kept on arranging and rearranging the books in the shelf.
    “Ceci, no probs dear, tell me where can I pick you up from? Its alright, there is no fun in office without Ceci… ”
    Rajesh was in his best element with Ceci. Viji could not believe it. She recollected all those days with Rajesh when he was like this always, be it office or home. He was a very fun loving person, jovial, hardworking, methodical, ambitious and debonair.
    “Ceci, you had your breakfast, if not I will get some packed for you, it is your favorite – rice sevaiya – I know you like it Cess”.
    He quickly turned to Viji and asked her to pack some for Cecilia. Viji quickly marched towards the kitchen and thanked her stars; there was enough in the vessel for a person to eat. She warmed it up and packed it in a Tupperware tiffin box. In the small tiffin box, she poured some yummy chutney and Zipped up the lunch pouch. She called for the driver and asked him to take it to the car.
    Rajesh patted her back and said, “With Viji around, everything is possible”. He pulled her cheeks and rushed towards the door. She could see him hitting the keys on the mobile, “Ceci, I am starting now and should reach you in 30 minutes, do not keep me waiting, I have an early appointment and cannot be late”. “It is at 11.00 Rajesh and I have fixed the appointment” “Oh!! I forgot, nothing is hidden from you Cess”. Viji heard the last sentence; she had enough to ponder for the rest of the day.
    [FONT=&quot]Rajesh in a hurry, did not wave out to her, she waited for him to do so in the balcony, the car took a screeching start and rolled out of the gate, She found Rajesh still on the mobile. [/FONT]
     
  4. malspie

    malspie Platinum IL'ite

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    PART IV
    Viji hurried to her CD rack, I remember attending the last party of the company which was thrown at Hotel Highway View, Sanpada. She wanted to have an urgent look of the person named Cecilia.
    She put off all the work and quickly played the CD. Rajesh had lovingly introduced all his colleagues to her. Viji did not find it hard to mingle with them as she herself was holding the post of Asst. Manager – Client Servicing in her days.
    As the CD played, she started missing her office, her friends, her life, a lump was getting formed in her throat. She quickly identified all the girls of Raj’s office. They were all dressed up stunningly for the party; Amisha, Latha, Vidya, Geeta, Rosy, Anna and Cecilia. All of them were looking ravishing.They had great sense of dressing and were looking like models of the glam world. They had style, grace and charm and throughout the one hour of CD that she played she noticed that the girls were giggling and laughing and were having rocking time. They had a charisma which was hard to ignore.
    Her eyes quickly looked for Rajesh, he was at his best, tall with good physique, trimmed beard and rimmed glasses, he had opted for a black denim with a black tee- shirt short sleeved having a ‘V’ neckline, he had matched his accessories with the clothes and was mingling with crowd, cracking jokes and dancing merrily. Viji had opted out from dancing and Cecilia had given him the company, they both rocked the floor and the couple were elected the “Best”. Viji was proud of her husband. It had all happened six months ago.
     
  5. malspie

    malspie Platinum IL'ite

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    PART V
    She quickly opened her wardrobe and pulled out her wedding VCD. Rajesh, was the same, he had not changed, but, when she compared herself with the CD of today, she could find a sea change in her. ‘God, how I look’, she exclaimed. She ran to the mirror and was shocked. I have never looked at myself from this perspective. She whispered to herself.
    Viji had put on weight and had not bothered to visit the parlour for months to come, Even if she happens to visit one, it would be only for her ‘eyebrows’. She would quickly run out worrying for her children, home. She felt her hands were rough and the heels of the feet had cracked. She observed long hair on her upperlips and had never bothered to remove the unwanted hair from her body. Viji went for an introspective. What has happened to me? Look, there stands my husband, dashing as ever, and what have I done to myself? Why I have been so careless? Is it necessary to look beautiful to keep the fire of passion ignited? She questioned herself. Not required, but at least, I should try to look presentable, her concisous answered. I have not bothered to groom myself, I have lost my identity, the beautiful, petite Viji, has turned in to a gummy bear. Motherhood has taken its toll, but
    Neeta is also a mother, she has maintained herself. She answered her questions. It is not necessary to doll up, but it is important to be presentable, It is vital to look for answers in your self rather than accusing others. Rajesh, you still love me and how dumb I was to mistake your love. You never cribbed about my extra flesh, the hair on my body, the rough coarse hair of my head which has gone in to a pony tail forever, the .. list is endless. I need to look good not for him or others, but, for myself.
    She recollected that she had won a prize when she danced along with her husband in the hotel which held a party for couples during her honeymoon.
    ”Viji, you dance so well, without you, I would have never been qualified for the prize, matching steps with you was tougher than the decisions I take in my office”. He had whispered in her years. Viji was a good ball room and jive dancer.
    Just few months ago, she was sitting and clapping hands when her husband was dancing with Cecilia. Raj, you never forced me to dance and let me just stand and watch. You never cribbed. It is me and me always who have been drawing in to a shell. I have become a nagger, a nit pricker, I want myself back. She challenged herself. Today she did not mind missing her favorite serial on Television. She looked at the mini gym in the house. Raj is a regular here, after few days, even I will be here everyday. Yes, I will do it, I can, I have the ability in me. But, I need to train myself before I hit the gym. Mercury Tower was housing “Gracilia’s” Gymnasium. She looked at the clock, she had 30 minutes with her. She pulled up her pink salwar kameez and rushed out. She had a chat with the trainer and fixed a plan for herself. It was easy. Six months time and she will back in shape. Viji’s face gleamed with joy.
    As she stepped outside the gym she heard a voice calling out to her, “Memsaab (Madam)”, she quickly turned and a lady in her mid 40’s was waiting at the door step of the gym eager to talk to her, “Sorry, Memsaab to call you back, I am Kanthabhai working here as a cleaner, I return home in the evening to my brother who lives with his family. They disown me and my kids do not want to take care of me as they feel there is no enough space in their room for another person..”
    Viji cut her short, “Why are you telling me all this?”
    “Memsaab, I have been telling all the ladies who visit this place to look for a job for me, I can cook well, take care of the house, I am ready to work full time, atleast I will have a place to live in dignity, is there any job for me, every evening my brother and my SIL torture me with harsh words, though I do all household chores after I go home, they are not happy.”
    Viji was moved by her story, but she could not trust a stranger. She nodded her head and assured her if there is any job she will let her know. She quickly went back to the Gym office and enquired about the lady, her background.
    The clerk with heavy spectacles on his nose answered, “Kantabhai is working with us for the past ten years, six months ago she lost her husband and her children do not want to keep her. Both her kids a son and a daughter are married. Her daughter-in-law does not want to lose her privacy with her around and her daughter is already having space crunch and you know madam, these people …”.
    “How is she with her work and how is her relationship with other staff of her caliber? Does she pick up fights?”
    “No, No, she is a very quiet lady, after finishing her work she sits in a corner and is always at our beck and call. She has been healthy and has rarely taken leave. She has told us about her problems, but who is going to pay heed to these people, in a metro city we have no place for our own family and no time too.. Who is going to listen to her”.
    Viji gave him a blank stare and walked out of the gym. She could see the tired and longing eyes of Kanthabhai following her. She walked out of the gym and rushed back home, she is very late today.
     
  6. malspie

    malspie Platinum IL'ite

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    PART - VI
    It was 10.00 a.m. Viji quickly rushed out of her home. She had a commitment to fulfill a pledge with her ownself, she had to bring her weight down, she want to be herself, the real Viji, the vibrant, cheerful Viji. She felt a breath of fresh air as she walked towards the gym. It was just two buildings away from her home. She found it very tasking and even had the urge to give it up the very first day itself. She curbed those devilish thoughts and moved ahead. The gym had taken its toll on her and her calves and joints were breaking in pain. It will take time and I will be fine, she assured herself. She was not grumpy at home. Suddenly, she remembered Kanthabhai. Tomorrow, I will meet her, she whispered.
    “Kanthabhai, how are you?”
    “Fine, Memsaab.”
    “Do you have a ration card?”
    “Yes, Memsaab, also Voters ID”.
    “Can you bring them tomorrow?”
    “Why, Memsaab.”
    “I want to see them.”
    “I am not staying in the address of the ration card, my son is there, I am staying with my brother, I told you”.
    “Can you give me your brother’s address?”
    “I am 5th standard pass, I can write in Marathi.”
    Viji hid the smile on her face.
    “O.K. write and give me all the details tomorrow”.
    “Is there any job for me Memsaab?”
    “Yes, Kanthabhai, it is a nice place, I have personally gone and see that house, they are very good people, I will gurantee you a happy life, only if you give your 100% and not cheat their trust”.
    “Kai bolte Memsaab (what are you saying, Memsaab?), I will always be loyal and hardworking, you can ask about me in this office, they will tell you, this is my 11th year here, do you know? And Memsaab, if you have seen the house and the people, I will not question you much. Memsaab, I want full time job, I don’t want to go home”.
    “It is a full time job and your salary will be Rs.3000/- per month. You should not leave them and go in the middle; you have to continue working there sincerely”.
    “It is alright, but once, If I can see the family, it is in Mumbai only na.. “
    “Yes, it is. Now, go and get me your ration card copy and your present address, also give your photo, if not there, then let me click you now.”.
    Kanthabhai, pulled her pallav across her shoulder and stood with a toothy teeth grin.. Click, went the camera of Viji’s mobile to capture Kanthabahi.
     
  7. malspie

    malspie Platinum IL'ite

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    PART - VII

    Viji had a plan for Kanthabhai and for herself too. Kanthabhai was recruited and she lived up to Viji’s expectations. The children adjusted well with her, though Kantha could not cook the dishes like Viji, she was a game for Puran Poli, Sabudana Kichdi, Masala Baat, Kothambir Vadi, Batata Vada, Shrikand, Pohe, Solkadi, Kanda Bhajji, Puri Bhaji, phulke, roti.
    Viji and family relished the food and Kantha was feeling secured. Viji though kept her gym schedule a hidden secret, Rajesh was the first person to notice. “Vij, you are looking pale nowadays, I think you should go for a medical check-up. I hope you are not anaemic”. Viji was happy to know that her efforts were paving her good way. ‘I am not doing this for Rajesh or for any other person, this is only for me’. I am reinventing my ownself. She smiled again.
    “Did you hear me Viji?. Shall I call the Pathologist to come and take your blood sample for test? Let me speak to Dr. Vaidya, he will tell me what tests are to be done. Forget it, let us get a complete check up done. When was the last one done? Oh ya, it was done just a few months ago right, the reports were normal, but let us get it done again. I am coming with you”.
    “Raj, you are getting hyper, I am perfectly O.k. Did you get that? I am looking tired coz I am not enjoying my afternoon siesta anymore.”.
    “Are you sure? Tomorrow, I am a bit free and can allot time for you.”.
    “I am pefect Raj, stop worrying”.
    “With Kantha around, we are really blessed. We should be always thankful to Maya for getting her here as she was going to Dubai. Are you in touch with her?”
    Viji had actually even forgotten what reason she had given to her hubby dear. There was a small trace of sweat on her brows, she quickly wiped it off and cleared her voice, “Maya and myself are always in touch. Maya has given us the best that we wanted. I was always reluctant of having maid at home, now with Kantha as part of our family, things have become so normal, I get time to read books, browse the net, watch my favorite movies and also spend some time with kids. Raj you were always correct. I should have done this long time ago”.
    “Common, Viji, now I can see some smile on your face, dearie, I am still watching news and sports, going for walk…. Nothing has changed in me, but, you have stopped cribbing”.
    “I was not cribbing, actually I was feeling tired and bored”.
    “Mom, I have just solved the problems in Physics, can you check them for me”. Mili requested.
    “Yes, my love, I am coming to the study room. What is Nitin up to? He has to pick up in Geography, Nitin..”.
    Viji walked fast to the study room. There was a smile in the eyes of Rajesh.
     
  8. malspie

    malspie Platinum IL'ite

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    PART - VIII
    Viji’s weight loss was noticeable now; she could not lie to anybody. Every body had noticed her selvette figure and she was enjoying her new found look or rather her lost look. She had given herself a new look with a lovely hair cut, pedicure, manicure, waxing.
    “Hey Viji, you have lost so much of weight.” Neeta looked at her appreciatively. “Were you worried of losing Rajesh?
    “No, I was never afraid of losing my darling husband, but the only worry was I was losing myself. This is just the beginning, Neeta, now wait and watch”. Viji promptly replied.
    Neeta gave her raised eyebrow look, “Viji, that should be the spirit, we should always live for our conscious and it helps us to discover our inner strengths.You have rightly identified the dark spots of your life and have picked the threads before they break away”.
    “Neeta, my thread will never break, Viji, is a winner.”
    “I am happy for you Viji, hope to see you in morning walks with your husband, I will miss Rajesh, myself and Rajesh always enjoy our walks together”. Neeta left with a winsome smile on her face.
    Viji also left the place with a glee, the curtain is going to raise, the rehersals are showing so much response what would happen if the curtain is raised fully, she walked back proudly home.
    Raj was still awake and had not crashed on bed as usual. Viji was very happy to see him awake. She slipped in to a fresh new lilac gown and was looking like a freshly bloomed rose; her newly attained spirit to live life in zeal was showing on her face.
    Raj dragged her towards him and whispered in her ears, “Where was my Viji lost? You are on diet isn’t it. I have noticed your eating habits off late, salads, fruits, leafy vegetables, juices, rich protein diet, fibres. Sweety, this is Raj – CEO of an organization and every detail hits his eye. I am waiting patiently for you to tell me.”
    Viji’s happiness had no bounds, she is yet to reach her goal and she has already got what she want - her identity the real Viji, the Viji which was hiding in her had bounced and was dancing merrily in her heart.
    “Raj, I am hitting the gym for the past 5 months and just a month to go and I will complete the gym plan. I wanted to rediscover myself and I also wanted to surprise all of you at home. I would divert the calls of the land line on my mobile and go to the gym and the safe time was between 10 – 11a.m. when usually nobody called including you. I discovered Kanthabhai fromt there and Maya is still in India, but in Kolkatta and not Mumbai. I had told Kanthabhai not to tell anybody from where I have picked her up and she did not. Recruiting Kanthabahi and going to the gym were the two prime steps of rejuvenation for me. Now, I have decided to groom myself a bit more and I will be the same Viji who danced with you in the hotel during the Honeymoon.”
    “I always loved you the way you were, but, you were spinning in your own world and had closed doors to all of us. Viji, I never loved you for your talent or postion, I just loved you for the person you are”.
    “Raj, you never asked me to do anything, but, why should I live a life of pity? What was wrong with me? Children did not ask me to give them all the time. You gave me the total freedom to live and do what I want. I followed certain rules created by my ownself and was about to ruin my life. Viji wanted herself back Raj and she has come closer to it”,
    “Darling, I am there for you,” he held her tight and she could feel his tears on her neck and her eyes were also moist.
    “Love you Raj. Love you very much”.



    Thank you very much dear I'ltes for reading this so patiently. Hope I did not take much of your time. HAPPY WOMANS DAY






     
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  9. corallux

    corallux Bronze IL'ite

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    Happy woman's day Malspie.:hiya

    Khara lihilat tumhi! I get questions from the local Ozzies here as to why the women from the subcontinent tend to let themselves go & then hit the roof when their hubbies stray. The answer: we are so involved in doing things for others that we forget ourselves.

    Asking for some time of our own was a crime in my Mom's days. Mom says I am lucky I can stand up for myself.

    Thanks to education, I can!

    Loved this post girl, very apt for woman's day.

    Regards,

    Corallux
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2008
  10. Lotus007

    Lotus007 Senior IL'ite

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    Hi Malspie,

    This was a wonderful gift for fellow I'Lites. I totally agree with Corallux. What more can anybody ask for .. a story so well narrated and as usual your story always touches the human soul. You are next to the character in all your story lines. I sincerely appreciate you as a writer, a very lucid, simple and easy writing and message conveyed in the best ways.

    Do keep posting.

    Happy Woman's Day..

    Thank you very much for the GIFT.
     

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