The quality of mercy…


“It was never going to be an ordinary day. Ordinary days do not exist in the lives of those living in conflict zones marred by war and if you are a woman belonging to a certain ethnic group then life’s ordinariness lies in it’s not being ordinary. “

She suddenly leaped out of the chair and began to pace.

“We can do it some other day if you wish”, I said.

She waved her hand, poured herself some water and settled again. That is when I noticed the two missing fingers on her right hand.  A chill went up my spine as I imagined the kind of atrocities she must have faced.

A lifetime of internal dialogue and struggle was clearly visible on her face. Her deep-set eyes were pools of pain and suffering that she had endured all her life and especially in the last few months. I had thought her to be middle-aged on their first meeting. She certainly didn’t look in her mid thirties.

I was filled with a certain respect for this woman who had transcendent her fear to bare her soul despite the trauma it would cause her to open the wounds which were finally beginning to heal.

“The separatist struggle had taken a toll on all of us. I was just one of the many women who were maimed, raped, killed, tortured or dumped in jails to face the atrocities by the authorities there. We lived in perpetual fear all the time yet convincing ourselves that these things will never happen to any of us. That we will survive but today out of the five people who were rounded up that day only I am left to tell the story.

“Have you ever seen a body of someone you love split in half and the heart exposed to splatters of blood, smoke, gunfire, bomb and grenade blasts?  Seen your best friend brutally molested, beaten and left naked on the streets to die? Seen the fear, hurt, humiliation and pain in the eyes of a five-year old boy watching her mother in that state?

I have. I saw it all that day as I stood rooted to the ground on that chilly winter morning.  Rape in a war is not merely a matter of chance; it is rather a question of power and control. My friend suffered because she belonged to a certain ethnic group. Her rape humiliated the entire community. It was masterminded to totally encapsulate the defeat of men of that community in protecting their women, to humiliate, degrade and terrify them. It is good she died or else she would have been rendered invisible by her own people, left to fend for herself, suffering from one mental disease or the other like so many other women there. Each woman there suffers from anxiety and unrest. Just that, the degree of suffering varies.”

Caught in a maelström of emotions she closed her eyes. I could see her hands trembling as they clutched the bars of the rocking chair on which she was half-reclining.

“I watched in horror knowing it was my turn once they were done with others. Everything fails when you are faced with terror. All my education, training in sports, presence of mind evaporated in thin air.  I felt as if I was carved in stone but something kept telling me to fight till the end, to take that chance. I didn’t want to die like an animal if I could prevent it.”

The evening sun was peeping through the huge trees and the cool breeze made the curtains shadow dance on the floor. She watched them intently for some time.

I decided to record the rest of the conversation on tape and took my seat on a sofa in front of her. She looked up and I felt a slight smile at the corner of her mouth but the gash on her cheek made it impossible to judge that correctly.

As if she read my thoughts and ran her fingers over it.

“The scars inside are deeper than the ones on my body. The wounds are still in process of healing. I put up a fight when they tried to get their filthy hands on me. When a man turns into an animal there is no limit to what he will do. May they be forgiven for what they have perpetrated, she mumbled softly.

“They were four of them. Severely beaten, I drifted between life and death but could make out that I was tossed into a vehicle and taken away. I remember a voice hissing in my ears. “We like to play with our pray before the kill the thrilling the chase and hunt, the better it is. The sound of their laughter still echoes through my mind.”

She winced and began to rock the chair. I looked around for help, suddenly scared for her. She had been in medical supervision since past few months and wasn’t stable enough to cope with the world outside. The doctor observing from the corner of the room nodded at me to relax. The attendant brought a tray with coffee and biscuits. I poured a cup for her. “Lots of milk and sugar” She said without opening her eyes.

“I like it that way. It helps me cull the deep black darkness inside me.”

Then she opened her quiet eyes and looked at me. “They should have sent someone seasoned. You are still too raw to brave such experiences”.

I fumbled with some words in support of myself but failed. She kept looking at me.

“We seem to be of same age though I am sure you thought me to be twice yours”, this time she did smile and I realized how beautiful she was, radiant even in her fragile state.

I mustered a smile and offered her some cookies. She carefully selected one with sprinkled sugar and began to nibble it.

“I have lost the count of how many times and by how many people I was raped and beaten. They broke my fingers and gave me wounds with a dagger one of them had, kicked and shoved the butt of the riffle in my abdomen. For hours I lay naked, body, mind and soul in that small room while they drank. My body was just a sack of pain and bruises but still I kept thinking of a plan to escape. It is strange that they did not kill me or broke my legs or hit me on the head. I never lost consciousness once though pain made me delirious. It was unimaginable to think I could escape alive from them.

The chill of the night made my body stiff like a log. I did not feel parched or hungry even after twenty hours of starvation. In fact I did not feel anything.

Sleep took over as I stared blankly into nothingness that filled the dark room.

When I opened my eyes I was in a hospital in the city. They said I had slept for more than two days. My wounds were stitched and dressed but my body still felt like a log and even the slightest movement shot a streak of pain through it.

I tried to find out how I managed to get out alive from the clutches of those beasts but got no replies. I guess it is better this way, maybe for someone who must have dared to save me, for I had no strength left to carry on. I do say a silent prayer for that person for giving me another chance to live.”

My heart warmed at the words. . On the way back from the village where I was sent to investigate the killings, miles away where the woods began, I had found her huddled like a bundle among the trees. I had stopped my jeep and along with a friend managed to rescue her to the city hospital and then to this private one, away from the turbulent environment.

Of course, no one told her anything. They weren’t supposed to.

I realized that she had dozed off in the meanwhile. The half eaten cookie rested nestled in the fold of her gown. I walked over and placed it in the plate. The doctor told me to withdraw.

She needed rest and most of all peace.

What happened in the last few hours and how she managed to reach the road remains a mystery but it would certainly have taken immense courage to escape alive. All her people were dead. Village burned to ashes. Curfew imposed in the area.

All that remained was the mist that slowly enveloped the small mountain village like a shroud.

Silently I closed the door and look a last look at her through the glass window. She was a survivor, a brave one and she had a beautiful smile of a child.

The curtains of the large window swayed to the night breeze while the crescent moon kept a watch on her as sleep caressed and healed her ravaged being.

In the still moonlit night I too said a silent prayer for the woman who braved it to live a life she held too precious to give up even in such dire circumstance.

There was a new life waiting to blossom buried under the heavy layers of snow. Soon the spring would come.

Hundreds of women like her go through similar or more horrifying experiences each day and succumb to the fate, unnoticed, uncared between the conflicts of power and rule. Human life is ravaged and torn to shreds at the altar of political tug of war and dies in oblivion. The universe watches quiescent.

It wasn’t an ordinary day for me and  henceforth no other day would ever be ordinary.

This post is part of the contest It was never going to be an ordinary day.. on WriteUpCafe.com

It’s time to TAB!


Each day technology is molded into a new shape, a unique design, it’s faster and better. Today we have a new star in the scene ” The Samsung Galaxy tab 750″ a star which is by far the most ‘meaningful invention’ and to describe it in one word, I would say Irreplaceable .

Samsung has gone all out to the kill the other competitors in the Tab market. No one  but this leviathan stands tall while other companies run for cover.

Here is the recorded live webcast of the Galaxy Tab 750 launch

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 750 presents a variety of amazing features. It is faster, meaner , sexier. It’s a dude and a macho one, with all the women running after it and the men envying it.

Features of the Power packed Samsung Galaxy Tab 750 –
Network – 
2G – GSM network
3G – HSPA+ network
WiFi 802.11 connectivity support
EDGE / GPRS
Bluetooth v3.0
With the help of HSPA and WiFi support one can easily connect with internet 24/7. Enjoy the fast browsing and downloading and lots more.
Camera –
3 MP camera with LED flash and auto focus.
2 MP camera secondary camera for video calling.
HD video recording.
While using Tab one can have a better experience of video calling.
Enjoy the dual cameras integrated in a Tab with great clarity. A useful gadget for business men to do video chat with their clients with a great clarity.
The camera quality of Samsung Galaxy Tab 750 is better than other Mobile phones, Tablets.

Layout –
10.1″ HD TFT capacitive display
Size : 256.7 X 175.3 X 8.6 mm
1280 X 800 screen resolution
A light weight and the thinnest Tab product in the world. Great design, easy to use and handle. Its weight is about 565g. Its high-definition 10.1 inch screen will offer you an excellent display. You can enjoy the videos, images, movies in high-definition with rich graphics.
Processor –

Dual core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor
Operating System –

Android v3.1 Honeycomb operating system. Honeycomb is the latest version of Android operating system. It is specially developed for those devices which have large screen like Tablets. Better multitasking support. You can use more than one application in same time. Browse the web in desktop format. This latest version Android operating system will offer you a better experience while using the apps.
Audio / Video Playback –

MP3, AAC, WMA, AAC+ audio formats
HD video playback
DivX, VidX, WMV9, WMV7, WMV8, MPEG4 video codecs.
MP3, WMA, AAC, RA audio formats.
3.5 mm universal jack
Dual speakers surrounding the screen will give a surround sound effect.
It supports a large number of audio video formats. One can also play the videos easily which are in HD format.
     
Battery –

7000 mAH battery
It will kept more than 9 days without charging.
Tab 750 will give a long-span battery backup of 72 hours for music listeners or 9 hours for video entertainers.
Input / Output –

USB 2.0 support
3.5 mm universal jack support
30 pin dock connector
Memory –

1 GB of RAM
Internal memory of 64 GB(Maximum) and  16 GB(Minimum)

Other features –

Multitasking.
Better web browsing with adobe flash player support.
Accelerometer sensors, Gyroscope
Compass. A-GPS support and navigation with Google Maps.
Support millions of applications, downloadable from Android app market.
Enjoy clarity of text while reading the ebooks.
Social Hub will give you to easily manage multiple email accounts, IMs and social networking accounts.
Better accessories such as keyboard case.
Integrated Mobile office.
Google application – Google talk, Google maps, Google latitude, Google places.

The feature I love Most:

I don’t know which feature to pick and tell that I love the most, but if i still have to make a call I would pick the Amazing Dual core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor. I am a fan of speed and there is nothing faster than this now. At least not in this world 😛

Samsung Galaxy Tab 750 is a stunning experience. It delivers just that.

A complete Power packed, slimmer, lighter sensuous beauty. A dream come true.

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A Love Letter : Moulsari Blossoms


Team This post has been published by me as a team member of Indiana Legends for the SUPER 6 round of Bloggers Premier League (BPL) – The first ever unique, elite team blogging event of blog world. To catch the BPL action and also be part of future editions and other contests, visit and register at Cafe GingerChai

Dear Sir,

Standing under this beautiful flowering Maulsari tree, I’m transported back in time to the poet’s corner in school. Sitting on a carpet of star like fragrant Maulsari tree a fifteen year old student listening to the teacher’s deep husky voice in rapt attention… Mesmerized, I felt alive.

My heart is filled with fond memories of the poetry/drama sessions, the steamy hot chocolate that you sent for us when we burnt the midnight oil before the exams, a teenager’s first crush on a teacher who taught English literature with such passion that it made her slide under the skin of the characters.

A surreal experience…

I remember that evening in summer when sitting with my back against the tree I had begun to recite along with you quite carried away with the poem and your voice. The class stared wide-eyed as you quietly sat in the corner amused by my sudden performance.

It was only after I finished that I understood what had happened. For days the incident made me feel embarrassed and I could not look into your eyes. It changed things overnight for me and perhaps for you. Feeling responsible and guilty in some way about your sudden decision to leave the school I escaped to a secret hideout on the day of your farewell, unable to understand whether my love was for you as a man, a poetry teacher or for the language.

Now after twenty five years I can see myself with much more clarity. Yes I was in love I wouldn’t deny it. I wanted your appreciation, affection and care which were missing in my life. I could feel the unsaid warmth and knew that you understood my desire for love and peace. My gaze followed you everywhere you went and I soaked in each word you wrote or said. I was sure you knew you were being watched and that filled me with immense pleasure.

Some moments in life are such sinful delights.

Sir, you planted the seed of love for the language I was beginning to discover and showed me the different shades of love. I still have the book of verses you left on my bunk bed before leaving the school. Three words beautifully inscribed on the inner cover

For T
– K

I drew hearts around it and read it like the bible. This one small gesture from you opened a whole new world for me and added a new dimension to my life. You veiled your heart from me and never crossed the student teacher line. I realized that day that the bond of love that held us together was poetry. We didn’t meet that day so actually never parted but your absence created a huge void somewhere deep inside.

I would sit in the poet’s corner, eyes closed, and try to recite in slow whispers – Keats, Shelly, Byron just the way you did. The lovely cream flowers would slowly glide down with the breeze and kiss my face. Their faint fragrance still fills my senses. It was a sight that has remained etched in my memory forever.

There is nothing more intoxicating than the first love. Isn’t it?

Slowly I began to empty the spaces overflowing filled with your memories – liquid hurt stings.

Soon I left for England where I am based now but a part of me remained in those corridors filled with girly laughter and knowing glances, among the shady trees and soaring mountain peaks.

Sir, do you remember the little poems that I left on your table? I waited endlessly for your response which never came. I spent that one year under a spell, charmed by your very presence. Sometimes even small associations transform into life long love and admiration for each other. In those 365 days I evolved as a student, as a woman and as a human being.

All along my journey from a dreamy teenager to a known writer, you remained in my thoughts as an undercurrent. The phantom who haunted and inspired each word, who controlled the dancing fingers on my keyboard.

You not only gave me roots and wings to fly to seek my own horizons but also helped me emerge as a butterfly from within my dark cocoon. You helped me find my direction and become a better human being. It was your encouragement led me to weave the most beautiful yarns of life through my words.

The journey back to school was a pilgrimage. I wanted to visit the place which had laid the foundation for who I am today. Today after almost 25 long years I went through the corridors of my school, revisiting the glorious mornings and fragrant sunsets and a sudden urge to meet you rose inside me like a burning desire. Finding your address from the old watchmen was nothing short of a miracle, a wish come true. It is strange how some places draw a person back into their fold. I hadn’t expected to find you living here.

Sir, your absence from home is in a way a blessing in disguise, for I wouldn’t have been able to express myself as freely as I’m doing in my letter to you.

Love that began as a spark in a young girl slowly matured into revered adulation and respect.

I am leaving my first book of verses “Maulsari blossoms” which I have dedicated to a teacher who showed me the path and helped me find myself- YOU. I have kept inside it some dried flowers gathered during our poetry sessions. The fragrance still lingers ——

Just when I seemed about to learn!
Where is the thread now? Off again!
The old trick! Only I discern—
Infinite passion, and the pain
Of finite hearts that yearn.

-T

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