Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Spoonful of Smile

Ravikant Shukla is watching his father, Mr. Shukla, dress up in an exquisite kurta pyjama, when Mr. Shukla decides to take him along to the place he’s heading to. “Get dressed. Don’t you want good food? Madhu, take out his kurta pyjama.” It’s the first party that Mr. Shukla has decided to take his clumsy child to. “Today, I will teach you some public eating etiquette, something your mother doesn’t know.” Shuklas are a patriarchal household. Mr. Shukla, a professor of English at the Government College in Bhagalpur, was married to a village girl Madhu after her family offered a huge dowry. Madhu, being just a high school passout, has never quite gotten the respect that she deserved from her scholar husband. The discrimination has been evident to the nine-year-old Ravikant since sense came into his head, and he hates it but has never dared to raise voice against his father. He whispers, “Can’t we take Ma along?” Mr. Shukla ignores the question.

While dressing Ravikant up, Madhu calms him down and jokingly asks him to bring something for her to eat from the party. Once groomed, he proceeds along with his father waving a goodbye to his deserted mother. While Mr. Shukla joins his friends at the party, Ravikant goes on to accomplish his life’s greatest mission — to fulfill his mother's great wish. He scans the items on the dinner table - which is embellished with sumptuous daal, fragrant veg pulao, spicy paneer curry, tempting gobhi masala, and steaming hot pooris. Fearing a rebuke from his strict father for stealing food from the venue, Ravikant figures that to fulfill his mother's wish, he needs to act really smart and sneak things out without letting anyone know. He dismisses the idea of carrying items in the plates, as they would be inadvertently seen by everyone else. He contemplates carrying pulao in his small fists, but figures that would be ludicrous as pulao is almost tasteless when eaten alone, plus the chances of being caught and chided by Mr. Shukla would be raised as it’s pretty conspicuous. He tries and tests every other possibility only to encounter no solution, no great idea, and utter disappointment. Soon Mr. Shukla calls for him and he joins him for dinner. Dinner is served — scrumptious, aromatic, and delightful food in grand bone china plates. “You could eat as much as you want, but with a spoon that you hold like this. Only unsophisticated people eat with their hands,” his father instructs. Ravikant doesn’t really listen; his mind is elsewhere, racing to find that one great idea with which he could make his mother happy. He looks at a faraway stall, which is serving something he's never seen before in Bhagalpur. How could he have missed it? He finishes his dinner in a hurry, eating with hand irrespective of what his father had said, dirtying his entire palm. Before his annoyed father could rebuke him, he excuses himself on the pretext of toilet.

Half an hour later, Ravikant reaches home, running frantically ten meters ahead of his father. It alarms his mother. “What’s wrong with you?” she asks. “Get me a bowl, get me a bowl,” Ravikant screams, panting. Madhu Shukla, confused, looks at her peeved husband and is slightly unsettled expecting an impending outburst, but the excitement on Ravikant’s face evaporates her worry. At least for the time being. She goes to the kitchen and gets a bowl. Ravikant directs her to place it in front of him, asks her to shut her eyes and takes out fistfuls of McCain French fries hidden in his tiny kurta’s pocket and pours them to the brim of the bowl. “For you, Ma,” he says, as his mother opens her eyes. They well up with tears and a sweet smile surfaces on her face as she caresses Ravikant's head with love. They both grab hold of a fry each, and crunch them with delight. The intrigued Mr. Shukla steps ahead to see what the bowl contains. “Ah, you sneaked these from the wedding for your mother. Sweet act, my son. Madhu, these are McCain’s French Fries. They are the best ever, you won’t know, very famous among sophisticated people. I often have them in my college, can be made in just three minutes,” Mr. Shukla says with pride and reaches out to grab one.

Ravikant slaps the back of his father’s hand, halting him and says, “Don't eat with hand. Sophisticated people eat with a spoon.”

(Inspired from a real life incident. Written for Indiblogger's contest for McCain India.)


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Modiji ke saath: An E-governance App to Achieve #DigitalIndia Vision

The present government, especially our prime minister Modiji, has been a pioneer at leveraging the advantage of technology to reach out to masses. Be it the use of Facebook or Twitter, or through the medium of radio. I feel with Intel's technical support of the Digital India Vision, the government can bring in a massive change in the way the junta communicates with the government. 

E-governance is the future, and with the mobile and 3g penetration increasing with every passing day, the government at the center could be made very accessible to every smartphone located in each nook and corner of the country. With companies launching cheaper and cheaper smartphones (as low as 4k rupees), the exclusivity of smartphone users no more exists and now everybody can adopt the digital lifestyle that the current government champions. In this regard, I have an idea of an app that could allow everyone in the country to reach out to the PMO, and register their questions and concerns.

Our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is an inspirational figure for the masses, a leader who believes in actions, and if he decides to connect on a one-to-one basis through the medium of a video-based mobile app, nothing could be better and more empowering for India's citizens. I am an IIT graduate and I have been toying with this app idea along with a couple of my friends, which could be utilized by the PMO very well to interact with the citizens on a personal level. 

Tentatively named, Modiji ke saath, it's an app that combines Modiji's Vichaar, Charcha and Kaarya on mobile platform and makes them accessible and interactive with the masses residing anywhere in the country. 


1. Vichaar: Showing all the facebook, twitter, news and mann ki baat content, real time.


2. Charcha: People can ask questions and upvote on popular ones. Modiji answers 1 most popular question a day in a video selfie, taking the name of the person who has asked the question.



3. Kaarya: Here, for instance, if someone goes to Jandhan Yojna, they see a video about it, take a pledge to support it and share their experience about a) how they plan to contribute or b) how their life has been changed by it



The beauty of this app are as follows: 
  • it could be used by anyone, in a customisable language and could also be accessible via the computer. 
  • Even in villages, through the Panchayat, it could be rolled out and during every gram-sabha, janata can put out its questions to the PM. 
  • Modiji will be able to address the concerns of the aam aadmi from his office itself, but the personal connect will be far deeper 
  • Allow participatory democracy and e-governance to reach its maximum potential. 
  • It will empower each and every citizen, for s/he would be having the Prime Minister a mobile app away 
  • It could help the government design better policies based on the ground realities.
Essentially, digitization is the future of governance, an app such as Modiji ke Saath can bring the future nearer. 

Let's steer towards a #DigitalIndia with the help of Intel.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Together: A Love Story

Written for https://housing.com/, which wanted the story of my most memorable day

Late July 2014
New Delhi

"That was the most special thing you've ever said to me." I said.

"What was so special about it? I just said that I trust you blindly - how could that be counted as special? Are you so elated because you're being trusted for the first time?" She said, continuing the conversation.

"The sheer fact that 'you' are telling me this means so much to me. I can't express the pleasure I received on hearing that!"
"See, I am not that bad. I am rather good at flattery!"
"But you're much better at being mean."
"I know. It's my forte. Let me ask you something - do you trust me?" She asked genuinely.
"Hell yeah! I trust your flattery, one hundred percent. After all that is what makes me feel special."
"Oh poor baby! You know what, you're gifted at seeking sympathy. It's your forte. That's why I like you, that's why I trust you and that's why I love you." She said.

I was bewildered. The ease with which she said the last three words gave me a series of goosebumps. I just could not believe that. We had been more of phone friends - having met just thrice - once during my college fest and on other occasions in common birthday parties(she being my friend's friend). I already had got some feelings for her by then but it was unclear from her side (until then). And now, she was hinting me that the story was on from the other side too.

"What? What did you say just now? Did you mean it or was it just a part of flattery?"
"What? I meant whatever I said." She said.
"You mean ... you mean you love me?"
"Yeah! I love you ... as a very good friend of mine!"

Now what was that? Another flattery? Or another gimmick? I hated her for sure!

"I joked earlier that you are mean, but now I mean it. I mean it that you're mean ... the meanest person I know!" I said irritably.
"What is this, Silly? You'll get angry if things don't go according to your wishes. I told ya that I love you, isn't that sufficient in itself to make you happy? Why are you bombarding me with yet another bag full of tantrums - sympathy seeking tantrums! By the way, you sound adorable when you're irritated!"

"Stop kidding! Things are pretty much serious. Now things have gone down this track, let me tell something to you. You mean to me - mean to me in a very special way rather than just being my friend. I want to give you each and every happiness of this world. I want to be there with you always - in times when you need somebody by your side or in time when you're getting bored."

"You contradicted your own statement, Silly. I won't need you when I am getting bored because I am dead sure you'll be the one who would be making me bored."

"You take everything as a joke. Why can't you see my evident love for you? I want to be yours forever - I want to be your guy - Just tell me, will you let me enter your life as someone who's more than just a friend?"

"Yeah, as a friend and a sweeper! I need to save some money. A sweeper friend would save a hell lot of money!"
"Stop fooling around. Answer me or I'll cut the phone." I rebuked.
"I know you would not cut the phone, Silly. If you would, then how will you hear my answer?"

I was agitated. This girl is going to blow my brain off my skull!

"Don't irritate me more. Just tell me what do you want?" I asked, frustrated.
"I want to leave it upon God."

Oh God! From where the hell did He come up? If I had been given an AK 47, I would have searched and shot dead each and every God present on this Earth!

"Wow, what a sick choice! Leave it upon God, damn! The day you are old enough to die, he'll come to meet you and tell you that you should say a 'yes' to my proposal. And then come with all the band-baaja of your ghost-friends to marry this wrinkled guy!"

"Wrinkled but still handsome!" She joked, once again.
"Oh thanks, the Queen of Flattery-kingdom. What more could I do for you, your Majesty?"
"Wait for tomorrow. If it rains tomorrow, I'm going to say a yes."

What the hell was that?

"What the hell is that? It's late July and haven't you seen the searing sun? There is no probability that it rains. It's being unfair to me."
"If God has a positive answer for me, then it will rain."

I was not sure whether God had a positive answer for her or not but I was totally sure that whatever be the case, God would have a negative answer for me. It had always been like that. Nothing had ever come to me just by chance.

"You're impossible." I said and hung up the phone. She didn't call me back. Nor did I. We both waited silently for the next day. The next day tested too much of my patience by taking more than the usual time to come.

I slept late being lost in thoughts - thoughts about her and then the thoughts about 'us' - with my bed being just adjacent to the window. The thoughts overladen with skepticism about the next day had overburdened my mind and it wanted rest. Sleep took over - it was a deep sleep.

Drops of water slapped hard on my eyelids. The tired and glued eyelids experienced a magical curtain raising. My deep sleep had been evil-eyed, evil-eyed for bliss of a lifetime. The morning sun forgot to show the early-risers its majestic face. Clouds danced in the rain - yes rain! It was the best morning of my life.

I picked up my phone and straightaway called her. She was sleeping - unaware of the summer rain.

"Hey, your God answered and answered for me too! First tell me, where is my 'yes'?" I charged.
"Your 'yes' is still with me and I am too selfish to give it to you." She said, with her voice seeming drunk.
"But why?" I pleaded.
"God can't be so direct. It is just by chance that it rained, my belief has not yet been enforced. If it rains again tomorrow, I'll say a yes. Promise!"
"What? What the hell? What is this? You are being mean! You don't need to prove your forte again and again."
"Practice makes a woman more perfect." She must have winked after her statement. I could almost see it through the phone.

"You know what, your jokes don't seem funny at all. You are one hell of a confused girl and of course, you're 'the' meanest person I know. Let me tell you aloud that I hate you." I said and disconnected the call.

I was feeling a bit guilty for being so rude to her. A minute later, her SMS dissolved all my guilt. She wrote, "Smile. That's the second best thing you can do with your lips. And stop fantasizing about the first thing, Silly!"

I did smile and messaged her back a smiley simultaneously. We shared no words that day.

At night she did call. I hung up saying, "Let us talk tomorrow only, if anything happens then."

"Not anything Silly, 'something'!" She managed to squeeze her sentence before I cut the phone.

I slept at my regular time and this time thoughts played hide and seek with my blank mind, ultimately giving a path to dreams to play an emotional movie inside my head. This time I didn't wait eagerly for the next day to arrive, thus giving it ample time to arrive on its own. Surprisingly, it indeed arrived quite early.

The next morning, the Sun was back at its original duty with its full radiance mode on. The aura seemed to be telling me, "The clouds have been shunned off completely. Now your life is going to be darkened with light."

I just watched and watched and then looked at my watch. It was college time. Busy Saturday it was. I could not notice how the dusk merged with the effulgent morning and brought an end to the day of my glory. It was already dark with night's shadow encapsulating the whole of the surroundings in its funny darkness. I don't know why it seemed funny to me. We had not shared a word that day until then.

Free from work, a bit anxious to ask her to reconsider the last morning rain as God's answer, I looked at my phone intently. It showed nothing but blankness - much the same as the condition of my mind at that time. But suddenly, the blankness was replaced by a phrase called 'She calling!' flashing intermittently on the screen.

"Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! A million times. That's the God's answer." She yelled, her voice reached the epitome of excitement.

"Did it rain today?" I asked with my heart lost in thinking something that I could not trace. I was not anxious, that's all what I could feel that time.

"Yes, yes, yes; it has been raining here for the last two minutes. It's been raining elephants and hippos here." She said jubilantly. She was very happy.

Why wasn't I as elated as she was? Even her witty description of rain could not bring more than a stingy smile on my face. I looked up at the dark night sky. A huge rain-drop struck my spectacles with a great force and scattered all throughout. Soon followed more drops, some of which originated in my eyes, but the dark sky had enough resources to liquidate my tears. It rained. The clouds were just two minutes late, I was angry at them that they pleased the lady first, while I was waiting for them like never before.

"Some hippos have come here too." I said, still struggling to gather myself together.
"They have found their lost brother in you."
"Come on, my face is not like them. It's more like you rather." I said, trying to outshine her wit.
"Yeah, so I should say I've found my lost brother in you!"
"You always make me lose when I am winning."
"You never are." She said.

"Listen to me. I've to tell you something." I said. I was not feeling the same way I thought I would feel.
"What more? My stomach is full - with happiness and joy!"
"Give it a break. Now, it's not a yes from me." I said in a contemplative tone.
"Oh my God, yet another tantrum! Listen Silly, you don't act smart! Leave that bit to me."

"I am serious. If it rains tomorrow, then I'll say a yes. I need to convince myself whether it really works or not." I was damn serious. I don't know what made me say that but I stuck upon it, I meant it. One hundred percent.

"We'll talk tomorrow then. Tomorrow never 'lies'!" She said, a bit serious, though still I could guess that she would have winked for at least once. She loved being a one-eyed queen. Hell of a cute girl, she was. And I was in love with her. As was she with me.

The tomorrow came, not so suddenly and not too slowly even, at its perfect God-Made boring pace. I wanted to meet her. I called her.

"Hey, It's a Sunday."
"Thanks for making me realize that today you're going to stink." She said, poking me about my habit of not taking baths on weekends.
"I want to meet you and I've already taken a bath."
"Well, that's a surprise."
"What? Want to meet you or taken a bath?"
"First tell me whether this 'taking a bath' means bathing in perfumes or a proper bath." She said.
"Oh, so the 'I want to meet you' thing is not a surprise for you."
"Of course not. It's our day after all."
"How can you be so sure?" I asked, being struck by her optimism.
"In the same way you always remain unsure, Silly."

I already had a proper bath and I bathed in perfumes too. Having two baths a day does make you feel confident. 

I went to meet her. The clouds flew out of my mind. I was thinking about her. Only her. This was the first time she was going to meet me all alone. I reached her place - a five-storeyed PG. She lived on the third floor, her window faced the road. I looked up at the window. The bright sunlight made it impossible for me to see anything discernible. I called her. She didn't pickup the phone. Her SMS came. It said, "Silly, you look sillier when you look up with your monkey-like face trying to fight the sunlight!"

I smiled. I looked up again, trying not to make my face look like a monkey, rather just like a simple moron - as it was. She was standing there at her window and suddenly, her hand extended out of the window and dropped a jug full of water over my 'moron'-ish face.

Another SMS came, "Silly, here is your rain. Are you now fully convinced that it really works?"

I replied with a smile, "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! A million times."

She smiled back upon reading my message. She asked for five minutes which I happily gave her and I went to the other side of the road, standing there to wait for her.

She came with her little-bit wet eyes which were saying much more than her heart and jumped on me giving me the tightest hug ever.
"I love you." I managed to whine.
"I love you two, three, four, five, six ...." She squeaked, quite merrily.
"I love you a zillion times!" I said since I didn't want any competition in my love for her.
"I win!" She said and winked in the same way as I always used to imagine her on the phone.

I was lost in her, until something kissed my cheek. It was a wet kiss. That of the rain. The rain indeed arrived!

Written for https://housing.com/, which wanted the story of my most memorable day

Friday, March 6, 2015

Meet my Suri!

I have a baby at home. His name is Suryakant, and we call him Suri. Suri is seven months old, and is a healthy and chubby baby. Suri is my elder brother’s first child. Right from the first day, Suri has been a fun child. He immediately befriended our pet dog Biskut. Biskut loves licking Suri’s feet, and it tickles Suri so much that he goes rolling on the floor, giggling, laughing boisterously.

Suri likes watching TV. He sits next to his father every night and stares unblinkingly at the news that his father watches: at Arnab Goswami shouting at the top of his voice, at Rajdeep Sardesai coaxing the panelist to let each other speak, at Barkha Dutt cutting people midway. At times, when he has been watching a channel for a long time, if you switch the channel next, Suri gets annoyed and starts wailing. He doesn’t stop until you get the channel back. Stubborn child, he is.

Suri, being the child that he is, obviously has to undergo toilet training. While he sits on the potty chair that grandfather gifted to him every morning for twenty minutes, crunching up his face until he’s done with the business, the thing that troubles him the most is his incontinent and leaky bladder. Initially, the sofas of our drawing room was always wet, as Suri would pee the moment the background music turned towards the bass note, or Arnab would scream. Suri would sit in man-made puddle and flap his hands until all his fingers would be pruned, and he started shivering because of the cold. We didn’t use diapers. Elder brother and Bhabhi are slightly conservative, he wouldn’t like these corporatized products, and preferred making those triangles out of clothes, to tie them around Suri’s leaky bottom. Why to waste money for gharelu use, was his logic? Constant wetting gave Suri rashes on his bottom and from being a fun, giggly kid, he became a vexed kid who would keep wailing on every little thing.

It was during one of those TV sessions with Bhai came across the ad of Pampers and we thought of giving it a try. While there may be many things that Suri enjoyed doing, a full tummy and a dry diaper was probably what was needed to keep him happy. We ordered it! Within a week, Suri was back to his playful self. Not only did he watch TV and play with biscuit, he also started jumping on our mattress bed with his guarded bottom. You should see his smile every time Bhabhi makes him wear a new diaper. While most diapers only focus on being leak proof and ensure dryness on the outside, the new Pampers Baby Dry Pants promised dryness for Suri on the inside. Its Magic Gel locked in moisture so that Suri’s skin remains dry and healthy for up to 12 hours. At two diapers a day, Suri is happy and dry, while Bhaiya and Bhabhi are happy and grateful that their wallet is not too burdened.




Read more about Pampers here: http://www.rewardme.in/tag/Pampers 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Two drops of tears

It was the Parents Teacher meeting of my class 12th, and as always my Dad was accompanying me. With me always being one amongst the top three rankers of my class since the late childhood, my Dad had got used to praises from the teacher during such meetings, which was quite gratifying experience for me as well as my Dad. But that time, the case had been pretty different. I had performed dismally in almost all the subjects except Maths, and my class rank had crawled down to stand amongst the bottom fews.


Those days, the mighty preparation for JEE with numerous everyday assignments and test-papers left me completely enervated to concentrate on the school studies and thus, the result was more or less expected. But, I feared that my Dad would feel bad about it and might scold me, since he didn't know how much pressure the studies for JEE had on me. As we entered the class-room, my class-teacher immediately stood up from her chair and with a worried look on her face, approached my father.

'Mr.Pathak, your son is going nowhere. See the decline,' she said, pointing at the dismal marks in different subjects, 'the highest is 99 out of 100 in Chemistry and Harsh has got just 67. His rank has slid down to 24th, from 2nd in 11th class. This is not what we expect from him. He's certainly not studying. He's lost his spark.'

My Dad looked at me with a serious face. I was expecting a reprimand, a reproach echoing my teacher's words, to hit my ears.

'Madam, don't you worry about Harsh. He's working hard, I can assure you. He will do better the next time. And mind it, he has not lost his spark. It's right there.' My Dad said with a reassuring smile as his palm caressed my head softly.

The teacher was dumbstruck. She had nothing more to say. Handing over the report card, she moved back to her chair and greeted other parents. My Dad put his arms around my shoulder and asked, as he always used to do when I secured a rank, in a delighted tone, 'So, which ice-cream do you want to have - butterscotch or chocolate chips?'

I looked into his eyes, smiled and blinked. I had butterscotch, with two drops of tears, thereafter.

One year later, I topped the boards as well as cleared the JEE. That time, he had butterscotch, with two drops of tears.

Written for Indiblogger's Happy Hours conducted for Housing.com's new lookup. Check it here: https://housing.com/lookup

Saturday, December 6, 2014

My Wish List for Christmas

Well, well, well.

It's Christmas time and right now, I'm in Europe. So my travel itinerary and the dream-stay wishlist comprises of the places where I'd like to spend my Christmas.

This is my wishlist: https://www.airbnb.co.in/wishlists/46636660

Here's the exhaustive list, my wish-trip begins a week before Christmas.

1. Good things start from Paris. 18-20 December. This BNB next to Eiffel Tower is the place where I wish to begin my week before Christmas. Red wine with Paris in the view and Champs-Elysses market in the night.
Photo Courtesy: My wishlist at airbnb

2. Five hours away from Paris, Brussels will be my next stop. 20-22 December. Its hot wine, frites, Belgian beer and sumptuous waffles next to City Palais make Christmas celebration a sweet and momorable affair.
Photo Courtesy: My wishlist at airbnb

3. 23rd December. Not too far from Brussels, a bus ride away, I wish to reach London for a day and stay in this small but cute house in South London. London for its fish and chips, for its British accent and for the London Eye. I wish to spend 1 complete day here.

Photo Courtesy: My wishlist at airbnb

4. Flying back from London to a small town on France-Germany border, Strasbourg. 24th-26th Dec. Why? Because it's the best place to be in Christmas. With its glowing Christmas markets, thousands of people on the road with Christmas trees, one cannot afford to miss this heaven.
Photo Courtesy: My wishlist at airbnb

5. After the nice zest at Strasbourg, a rejuvenating and quiet stay at the beautiful Berlin in this apartment with balcony. I plan to visit museums, the Berlin wall for its graffiti and just talk quiet walks.

Photo Courtesy: My wishlist at airbnb


So what's left? It's for you to join me in my endeavour and make my wish come true. Join here, this is my referral link: www.airbnb.co.in/c/hsnehanshu?s=8

Because there's a brilliant OFFER: Every reader who uses my unique referral link will get Airbnb credit worth INR 1,544 ($25)!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Ganga Needs a Snan

(This short-story is written for Indiblogger's contest #AbMontuBolega for Strepsils. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Through a satirical short-story, I bring out the attention that the river Ganga deserves because, as Montu says, bin bole ab nahin chalega.)
It was in Badrinath that Shuklaji met a hermit who'd asked him to bathe in Ganga to get rid of his misery. Ramesh Shukla, a religious businessman from Darbhanga, Bihar, had been running a successful saree shop for over twenty years, but last year, after his shop caught fire, he had lost his entire fortune. Even after one year of tireless efforts, he had not been able to reinstate his business back to affluence. He cursed his luck for not having insured his shop, despite having planned life insurances for every member of his family.
One month ago, when he visited Jagannath Temple at Puri to pray for his goodwill, he received a life-changing advice to take a Ganga-snan to bring his fortune back. The chief pundit at Puri, after plundering his remaining wealth, enlightened him that everything had been conspired by the will of Ganga-maiyya to remind her son, who had been neglecting her for long, to meet her. Shuklaji took the hermit's clairvoyant words by heart and decided that he would go back into the tender lap of the holy mother Ganga as soon as possible and pray to transform the fate of his family, which consisted of his wife and two daughters of marriageable age.
Shuklaji remembered his childhood that was spent alongside Ganga-maiyya. When Ramesh Shukla was not Shuklaji but just Ramu, he often visited his grandfather's sprawling bungalow at Patna that was surrounded by peepul and mango trees on three sides and Ganga-maiyya on the rear side. His entire childhood was spent jumping in the cradle of the holy river. He owed a lot of things to river - his ability to swim that has kept him fit over the years, his risk-appetite that made him swim through the river from ghats to ghats, his disease-free childhood because the holy water strengthened his immunity. But with time, the pressure to earn and sustain his family had cut his ties with the holy mother.
From Puri, Shuklaji boarded a direct train to Patna instead of his hometown Darbhanga, and when he got down, he straightaway hired an auto to take him to Mahendru Ghat. He stripped himself to his undergarments and jumped into the holy river, without thinking twice. As he completed his first dubki, he realized the sea change that the river of his childhood had seen over the years. The water now reeked of filth, it had assumed a dark brown colour that resembled Jhaji's evening tea and it didn't even taste sweet, instead bitter. Nevertheless, in sheer belief of transforming his fate, he spent forty-five minutes in the holy river, even quenched his thirst with it, and came out only when his fingertips and toes got pruned.
Feeling accomplished and nostalgic, Shuklaji bowed in reverence to Ganga-maiyya before leaving for Darbhanga. No miracle happened for the next two days and he, along with his family, kept waiting. Three days later he sensed a severe stomach-ache and kept dismissing it, until he couldn't tolerate it. He was rushed to the hospital, where he succumbed to his pain in seven hours straight. Police feared a conspiracy and asked for a postmortem report. One day later, the newspaper report read, 'Businessman in loss dies by accidentally consuming poison.'
As promised, Ganga-snan relieved him of his misery and his wife received fourteen lac rupees from LIC the next month, with which she married both the daughters in the following year.


The brown Ganga water at Patna's Mahendru Ghat (clicked by me)

There are places that need cleaning, people who deserve your attention & authorities who need to hear your opinions! Don’t be a silent spectator. Raise your voice and make a difference. We know that raising our voices against all that is dirty in our country is a power that we all have. Let’s exercise the power of our voice & work towards a Swach Bharat. This is what the Strepsil's AbMontuBolega campaign is all about. Kyuki Bin Bole Ab Nahi Chalega!