Mutton Chop — Dr. Pragya Suman
Dr Pragya Suman is a doctor by profession and an award winning author from India. Writing is her passion which she inherited from her father. She also writes short stories and reviews which have been published in many magazines and anthologies.
Surrealism, prose poetry, and free verse , avant garde are her favorite genres.
Recently she won the Gideon poetry award for her debut book Lost Mother .
Her second poetry book was published recently by Ukiyoto Publishing, Canada.
Dr Pragya Suman is Editor in Chief, Arc Magazine, India.
Her social media account is following
Twitter : @DrPragyaSuman7
Facebook : Pragya.Suman.50
A mound of piled pages is open awaiting for final finish touch. Seema is a solitary soul. She is trying to make her mood and for breakage of inertia, a full mug of espresso coffee mug is sufficient. Foaming coffee is one of the beautiful sights which was also a real pen drive of Balzac.
She is sipping and pondering from where to start up though she knows the end is going to be inflated in a big helium balloon. That is not the sole matter, beside it so many cobbles are also clattering in her reclusive mind. The utmost is her father’s health. There is a valve between the left chambers of the heart. A communication window through which blood circulates. Window is getting narrower. Seema’s prescient medic eyes are fearful of upcoming heart failure. She is a doctor so she is more apprehensive about the dangers of disease. Sometimes ignorance is great relief, knowledge on the cosmos divine plane brings bliss but on an illusional mundane plane fear.
One night when Seema was sleeping, rustling of pages began to beat her ear drum, after which she heard in succession Carey coomb murmur. An auscultatory sound which happens in mitral stenosis. She got flustered and opened her eyes.
“ Ohh ! It was a dream, thank God.“
Sometimes she thinks with open eyes. Suppose one day the whole window between the heart chamber would be closed then what? A forbidding fiery flame begins to flow upon her flesh
The last station is awaiting the slithering train.
Brain is in discombobulation.
She picks a book of Emily Dickinson, an American poet, simple mystic of few words. Emily has written “the brain is wider than sky”.
“ How could it be? Did Emily use an abstract metaphor or it is magic of a stoic mind?
Perhaps the stoppage of squeezing and dilatation of the heart leads to swelling and widening of the brain.
This conclusion came in Collaboration, with the help of a scenery depicted in the gargantuan novel ‘War And Peace’ penned by Leo Tolstoy. In one incident of the novel Napoleon Bonapart’s soldiers are carrying away one Russian civilian. Captured man is sulking, and suddenly he looks above. In the sky of Moscow several stars are shining. Suddenly a single thought descended in his dismal mind, “everything is mine and I am in everything “. Slowly he felt lightened and encompassed himself in the whole infinite.
Seema has unriddled Emily Dickinson today through the penned pieces of Tolstoy.
Deepening apprehension about father’s health has unlocked her probing power and really it is sharpened now.
She is far away from her home, in the hostel. Guarded self is along with sparse souls in a remote recess of her mind. Hostel, home and mind. She has diffused herself in three spheres, with indelible lines. Private, personal and public. If demarcation lines are intact surely happiness would be unbroken! But parents permeate throughout the whole sphere with at least two exceptions, because hard core blood is difficult to detach. One day she capsulated her theory and described it to her mother--
"Family and blood relations mattered merely for fabrication of society and keeping in motion. It's futile saying that blood is thicker than water."
A sudden twist of ear lobe, made her cowered in the corner.
“Just leave the big books and big talks. I am not going to tolerate your philosophical babbles", mother was infuriated.
She always quivers when mother's mood is mangled! one day she was sleeping until late morning, suddenly a colliding call caught her. Mother was yelling. For a moment she recoiled in the blanket, a momentary thought descended,
" Perhaps jinn has come upon her, ...so mother is bursting."
Previous late night she was reading a horror comic, where Dracula was sucking blood !
Smile pressed her both upper and lower lip making them stuck in semicircular shape whenever she recalls this childhood incident. Mother has mellowed down with age.
Though her two sisters are along with father, they are young but quite responsible, father should be safe in their hands. But even though dismal dots prevail, and perforates the peace. The final exam is at hand. After the exam she will go. Situations are getting labyrinthine, and spiders are still stuck in the roof’s corner. There were single but now they are multiple. Previously they used to sweeped out as cleaning of room was on a daily basis, roofs on the weekly basis but nowadays engrossment in studies has soaked her attention.
She picked the roof cleaner and in a sudden whim attacked upon the jumble of cobwebs. A topsy turvy situation created for the spiders. Few dropped upon her, along with frail figments of crushed cobwebs.
Nauseated feelings nested in mind, so abhorred are creatures of God. Suddenly she saw her books were heaving under the mound of spiders, a sloshing sound spreaded in the room though spiders were upon islands of books. She tries to clear. Is that auditory hallucination or was something else? A big knock broke at the door, diverted and drove away the dusty maze.
Who could be? Seema hurriedly opened the door.
Sonia is standing before her at the doorstep with a big social smile. She has been her friend since college days. Both were not chummed up but it existed in bits, in a particular arena of some common interests, not in a fully permeating circle. Sonia has a bit short height, bulging eyes in myopia which are perhaps due to engulfing books.
“Ohh you are, I had guessed, how are you, and why is standing? Just come in.”
Seema is both astonished and alarmed at once, but soon it is diluted in nostalgia as old classmates never get stale, their personal nature slips and hides in the abstract aura of the past which has samursoulted in the present!
The most evident warmth reflected out of the square outline tapering in semicircles at the both angles of mouth. Teeth are in the vertical rim, slightly convex in mid!
At once the whole room filled up in white teeth, dessicated in side by side!
On a fiber chair she sat down. Both legs relaxed upon the wooden planks which were beside the chair. There was not a tinge of alienation in the way of talking, sitting and relaxation. She is quite comfortable as a daily meeters ! Quite comfortable , as easy at home.
"Look It is so hot and this humidity ...a pimple grows upon an ulcer. "
Sonia has not changed except for an extra sheet of flesh. A bit plump! A bit podgy!
Old days are in forward mode, though they are baked but in core lives a alive germ, a kernel.
"How did you come ? and where you were ?” Seema asked
“ I was posted as a medical officer in the district hospital, now I am transferred to this town. I came to know that you are also living here. It’s always nice to get an old friend in an unknown place.”
Seema is agreeable, agile and astonished. She never thought that Sonia would meet after ten years of separation.
Ten years ! Quite enough, now both are in middle age.
Yeasteryears are compact in ice cube and whenever we compress it warmness releases getting one in moist. That moistness becomes at once two light and too heavy. Lightness makes our ankle slippery in agile while heaviness leads to liquidation of scar or rejuvenation of it. Past is indelible. An inapparent iceberg of our existence.
Coffee is brewing in the kitchen. A cup of coffee is sufficient to set the mood for the whole day.
Talks began to shift after sip by sip, and both circled about the rest of their friends in quick film along with completion of coffee.
A proverb flashed in her mind !
“Tea drinkers believe in love, while coffee drinkers are flirters.”
Does any truth lie in it?
Seema recalls old days,
Eyes of Sonia behind the spectacles used to scan every handsome guy. She always liked to be the center of attraction, but she likes tea!
Seema was self-centered, her daydreaming eyes skipped scintillating shots of the real world as they were recolied in themselves.
But she prefers Coffee.
Perhaps sometimes mutation happens in taste buds!
Soon that converted into a daily routine, whenever Sonia came she felt as easy as her own home. She came biweekly according to her schedule. A deputation posting two days weekly, apart from travel, is quite hectic but relief was in Seema’s company.
one day in the early morning Seema was preparing breakfast . She likes scrambled egg cooked along with ginger, green chillies, and brown bread. A bowl of porridge along with milk is a complete breakfast. Sumptuous enough, though in her joint family traditional breakfast is preferred. Green veggies and chapatis.
“It seems you are getting westerner day to day”, Sonia quipped, laving her face in the cold rilling water, but bread should not be taken as lead is adulterated in it, this came as big news a few days before. Are you not familiar with current news?
No I am not, rarely I watch TV. Seema whispered. Today her mood is sluggish, she is slithering by herself like a broken egg in a distorted dimension. The yellow button stuck upon the white platter. Murkier mind leaps back in biology class. Yellow button is yolk, while white one is protein. Perhaps it is called albumin. Reverse mind begin to beat egg, stirring of spoon in the tumbler,
“Bring it in a uniform texture, efface pure white and pure pale.”
Her senior taught her to beat eggs in her college days.
Perhaps it is confirmed now, the recall center is sprouted, the protein part is called albumin.
Perhaps! major bulk of educational lessons are relevent one only in contemporary sense.
A splatter of solid sheets of rain comes into the kitchen after striking in a slant angle upon the window sill. A mynah is sitting under the canopy of the window roof. She flew away.
Now the place is vacant and also the memory segment of the brain. They are stuffed now with talks of today. After a few days Seema has to go to Katihar, which is also the native town of Sonia. Father's condition has worsened. A thorough examination in a cardiac care hospital of Katihar would probably sort out things, though he has undergone it several times. But every effort at least satiates our weary mind.
After hearing it at first Sonia squeaked, “ohh you are going to Katihar, you can lodge in my house. There are plenty of rooms.”
Then suddenly the frequency of the squeak descended to half hertz.
A clarion call in pretension! Seema caught the soul of sound. She has got expertise enough, living in a hostel apart from parents, makes one’s sense sharp. Though mother still thinks of her--foolish and blunt.
Seema was in Katihar for one week. Her lodge was in a mediocre hotel. The most worrisome thing in outstation is fooding. Lack of homemade food is tormentic. Restaurant food brimming in red oil, twists the bowel. Using the oil in a recycled way, makes a red, rolling bowel.
On the last day Seema was busy throughout the whole day. Final discharge from hospital, soon the breath would go in gush, a relief from the stifling condition as father’s condition is stable now.
She was at the station, and the train was coming soon. Heart beat is a bit rapid, as always since childhood. Arriving train makes everything topsy turvy. In her childhood the most frightening condition was when her father used to descend from the train on the station. Squeamish thought began to linger in her little mind “He would be left behind”. Start up whistle seems to be beating the eardrum every minute.
Today father is along with her, weak, and recuperating. She is in his charge, she has to escort him. She is thinking how bags, beddings would get arranged, and suddenly her mobile bleated. Sonia was calling her.
“Hello, where are you? Since early morning I have been calling you. Perhaps network problems or are you busy?”
“Oh, are you returning today? Actually I am out of my home. I will return in the evening. Please stay for today or you can return late at night. I would like to have your dinner at my place, a Mutton chop program.
“ Okk I understand returning is urgent but that is sad dear …!”
Train arrived, Seema couldn't hear the last words, as that distilled in the whirring whistle of the train.