Saturday, 6 February 2021

Rosy Rendezvous By The Chilika #StoryTellersBlogHop

Kali Jai Prasad. 

No, not three different names.

It's my name. 

Baba and Maa had lovingly named me as the offering or gift of Goddess Kalijai.

Kalijai island is located in the Chilika Lake in Odisha. It has a temple dedicated to Goddess Kalijai. 

Not wanting to name me as "Kalijai Prasad", they gave a space between Kali & Jai! 

Isn't it amazing what a little bit of space can do!

However, if you find my name too long or old-fashioned, you can just call me by my nickname- "Jai".

We stay near Lake Chilika. 

Baba often says that they had nothing before I came into their life.

I brought them luck. His seafood business started flourishing. 

Veeru- Veerendra Prasad- was born a five years later. 

Veerendra means 'brave and noble man.'

However, in Veeru's case, Baba first gave his nickname and then thought of the name- 'Veerendra' to match the nickname- 'Veeru'! 

Baba loves watching movies. "Sholay" is his favourite. 

'Jai' and 'Veeru' are the screen-names of his favourite heroes, Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra respectively, in that epic Hindi movie. 

It's another story how much of a hero have we both (Veeru & I) been in real-life.

It gives me immense pride to share that Baba is presently one of the heroes of this area having earned numerous top exporter awards for seafood marine exports from Odisha state. Besides, he is also the owner of a hotel by the lake.

Despite this, we still live in the same residence near Asia's largest brackish water lake! 

All of us, except Veeru as he is in the USA for higher studies. 

Heard the Oscar-winning song- "Jai Ho"?

My life has always been upbeat, but more so from the past two weeks.

Living in a Golden cage, rain or shine, I love to spend my free time by the Chilika. 

I have been offering prayers to Goddess Kalijai.

It was a Sunday during sunset, when she walked in to my life like an answer to my prayers.

I had somehow missed her entry to the lake. 

Sensing the movement under the water, I first thought it might be a big fish!

Then, she grandly emerged like a princess...

Her golden hair sparkled and her turquoise eyes shone. 

Seeing me, she was conscious that she was being observed.

As she walked towards me, she smiled like a doll.

"Hello, Kali Jai Prasad! I've heard so much about you!" she greeted me by my name in her cheery voice that touched my soul.

I had seen and met so many people, but this experience was surreal. 

Magic, I have seen it happen.

She seemed to understand. She came close to me and splashed some water from the Chilika.

We sat there without a word simply gazing at the stars.

There was no one around.

She suddenly got up and started walking away from me.

She made her way to Baba's hotel! That's where she was put up! 

This rendezvous became our evening ritual for two weeks.

I learned her name- Rosy. 

An American citizen, Rosy was researching about the Chilika Lake and the unique products of Ganjam district of Odisha. 

Earlier, this area used to have ports where my ancestors had sailed with merchants from Kalinga (presently Odisha) to distant lands for maritime trade. There are Bali Yatra and Boita Bandana celebrations.

Baba was explaining the rich history of our geographical area to Rosy. He showed her the framed Pattachitra, and the antiques and heirlooms in his collection.

Baba even told her that actress Waheeda Rehman's name was 'Rosy' in the Hindi movie, "Guide"!

Maa looked very happy with Rosy and gifted her a red and black Berhampur Phoda Kumbha Patta Saree.

Rosy seemed to be everyone's favourite!

Have you ever met someone for a brief while and known that you want them to be a part of your life?

This question came to my mind.

I remembered the same question had been asked by Pujari- a temple priest I had travelled with. He had predicted my 'golden' fortune! He had blessed me saying that I would get whatever I desired!

I am sure he was a time traveler.

Wherever Rosy visited, she used to be back for our evening date without fail.

But, the other day, I waited and waited, but Rosy never came...

Seconds ticked. It was getting late. I was worried.

It was a full-moon night.

When, I heard her carefree laughter, I was instantly relieved!

She was talking animatedly while snuggling with a man.

The man looked like Veeru... 

Wait! He was Veeru! 

Veeru was back!

No one, not even Veeru, had told me that Veeru was coming. 

Rosy had gone to Bhubaneswar to personally receive him from the Biju Patnaik International Airport. 

Sibling rivalry, how far can it go?

Source: Swosti Hotels

"Jai, you met Rosy, right? How do you like her?" Veeru asked.

"She is perfect to be Baba and Maa's daughter!" was my opinion.

Baba and Maa were very fond of girls and had always wanted a daughter. I always knew they would treat their daughter-in-law like their daughter.

From Rosy and Veeru's intimate talks, I could guess that they knew each other very well. They were studying the same course at the US University. Veeru had planned her research trip to our place. Apart from research, Rosy could also get familiarized with our family. 

We seemed to have forged emotional bonds with Rosy. The love was mutual. 

She comfortably fit our family. 

She expressed that she never wants to leave us- "This place feels like home. I want to settle here with you by the Chilika forever!"

Tears rolled down.

I wanted to wipe off Maa's, Baba's and Rosy's tears, but Veeru gallantly did so. 

I noticed that he spent extra time fondling Rosy's face.

Chilika Lake is a Birds Watcher's Paradise in Odisha

Lakhs of birds visit each year. But, how many stay back?

Today is the wedding day. 

Rosy looks beautiful dressed as an Odia bride. The Tarakasi (Filigree work) traditional gold and silver jewellery suits her perfectly.

Tarakasi - Silver & Gold Filigree Works of Odisha

She has worn a lovely red, blue, and golden Bomkai silk saree (that Maa has gifted her). Odisha has amazing handlooms that have the Geographical Indication tags like Berhampur Patta and Bomkai Sarees.

I am dressed in turquoise blue- my body-suit is the same colour as Rosy's eyes. 

Veeru has worn a blue kurta of the same shade as Rosy's eyes and paired it with a golden dhoti that matches the colour of Rosy's hair. 

The paint on my body has dried and I look like a brand new boat. My name- 'Kali Jai Prasad' is boldly embossed in gold paint on my body.

It was Rosy's idea actually. 

She said the photographs will look lovely as they- the newly-married couple- Veeru and Rosy- pose with me and Baba and Maa against the backdrop of the blue waters of the Chilika Lake.

The family picture is complete with me. 

Baba and Maa never let anyone call me "boat"; I am their elder son.

I am geared up to take my favourite couples- Maa and Baba and Rosy and Veeru- to the Kalijai Temple. May Goddess bless the newly-weds with a happy married life. 

Sunrise on the Chilika

I had always prayed to Goddess Kalijai for a sister. 

I will offer my gratitude to the goddess for gifting us Rosy.

This boat named 'Jai' is always ready to sail especially with my 'rosy' family in the Chilika Lake! 

Jai Ho!

And that’s just the beginning…

This post is written for #StorytellersBlogHop FEB 2021 hosted by Ujjwal and & MeenalSonal.

Did you know about the Chilika Lake? Have you visited it? Please share in the comments below.

We were to weave a story using any of the given 6 prompts.

However, the moment I saw the interesting prompts for the #StoryTellersBlogHop, this story took shape.  Actually, I thought of some more stories, but this is the one that kept coming back. I wrote and pre-scheduled this story post!

Note for the storytellers participating in this Blog Hop- The hosts want us to use only 1 & not all these prompts-

1) Tears rolled down, 2) And that’s just the beginning, 3) Sibling rivalry, how far can it go? 4) Living in a Golden cage,  5) Magic, I have seen it happen, &  6) I am sure he was a time traveler

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Lockdown Doll

She had made several rounds of the departmental stores during the lockdown.

Her frequent visits did not ensure availability of what she wanted.

The products were always out of stock.

Along with other pandemic essentials, everyone seemed to be obsessed with toilet-paper rolls & tissue-paper!

PHOTO PROMPT - Trish Nankivell
Some people wanted to buy cart-loads of these!

She decided to highlight this issue.

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