Child labour is a crime. Isn’t this line very familiar? But for this little girl, Dhanya, this line was baseless. Eldest among her three siblings, this 8 year old, fatherless girl, knew only one thing, sunrise means getting up and going to Aunty’s house to do all the household works. 

Aunty was a good task master, merciless, with her motto that she is paying money, so all the servants have to work, whatever the situation maybe.

Evening this tired girl used to come home, to see her siblings waiting for the leftovers, given by Aunty. Her sick, fragile mother also worked in many houses to make their ends meet.

Journey was tough, but the spark of happiness in Dhanya’s life was the showroom nearby, where she use to go to see the mannequiens wearing beautiful frocks. And among the frocks, a pink frock was her love. She used to dream, that wearing it she reaches to the fairy land and the world’s best things are at her disposal. This dream was the only happiness in her life and she use to long for that frock. Her heart, her soul, her wishes, her desire became that frock.

One day, as she was staring at the frock, a big car stopped in front of her and a pretty girl of her age, along with her mother walked in the showroom. Suddenly Dhanya saw the salesman changing the manniquein into another frock. She sat on the floor, her heart sank, realising that the girl has bought her dream frock. Her only happiness was going away forever.

The next moment, she could see the girl, wearing that frock and coming out. Tears of desire, tears of hollowness, tears of lost dream… flowed uncontrollably.

Sobbing, she looked at the frock, to bid her last farewell, but what she saw, was that girl struggling to take out the frock strucked in the barbed wire, near her car.

Her mother screamed,” Oh, the frock is torn, how can my princess wear a torn frock, come lets go and get the best frock from the showroom.”

They went in, and the princess came out wearing the best frock. Her mother saw Dhanya standing, simply gave that frock to her and walked away.

Till now Dhanya was crying, but with the dream frock in her hand, she was blank, numb… So much of happiness was beyond her imagination. But the next moment, her self-esteem started arguing with her mind. She thought, ” Did they give the frock because they thought I am a beggar? I didn’t beg, I can never beg! God, I asked from you, but I didn’t ask them. I work hard to earn a meal, I am not a beggar.” The pride, the self-respect of a child was hurt.

Her mother who was witnessing everything, since long, read her mind. She hugged her daughter and said,” They didn’t think anything about you… actually they gave it because they didn’t want it, you got it because you deserved it. You are not a begger, you are the fortunate one and fortune chooses their own way to reach the deserving one. So don’t doubt, it’s all yours.”

Tears rolled over Dhanya’s cheek…the stream could reveal her whimpering…her soul wailed to breathe a respite…she was happy, very happy.

Her mother darned the frock.The frock was again as good as new. Who says princess are different?? Dhanya in that frock was looking every inch a princess, a fairy, an angel.

Make your wish, your desire, so big that it comes running to you. Have the courage to dream, the starting point of achievement is your dream, your desire.



He was asthmatic. Old age, 76 years of age and various ailments were not actually his major pain, his wife’s bitter, foul tongue made his life hell.

The whole night, he used to cough and she uses to scream,” You don’t sleep and don’t let others sleep too. One day, I will strangle you.”

Love grows with age, the couple becomes each other’s life, all this was just a fairy tale for them. Bitterness and humiliation were the gifts, the old lady use to serve the old man.

One fine morning, when the daughter-in-law entered their room with morning tea, she was shocked to see that the old lady was no more. This sort of unexpected death left all of them stunned.

The old man wept for his wife, bought a beautiful sandalwood garland for her photograph and prayed for the departed soul.

Days passed, the old man was at his death bed. His whole family surrounded him, some praying, some crying.

The old man slowly opened his eyes and said,”  There is something I want you all to remember as my parting wisdom…never humilate or hate a person so much, that he gets pleasure doing any wrong deed, as if he is doing the best thing in the world.”

Surprised, astronished, his son tried to blabber,” You mean to say that….???”

There was no one to reply, the old man was resting in peace.



Puja mania, puja enthusiasm, puja shopping craze, if you want to see, come to Kolkata now, before Durga Puja.

Happiness is in the air and you will drown yourself in the aroma of self-satisfaction.
As we were talking about this puja craze,  my friend proposed,” If you really want to enjoy this, let’s go to New Market. You can’t imagine how people shop with extra zeal and madness.You will start enjoying the drums in advance, once you reach there.”

I am back to Kolkata after many years. I was still wondering whether to accept her proposal or not, she came up with another tempting one,” I will take you to the best puchka (golgappa) shop there. Once you put the puchka in your mouth, it melts like butter leaving a sweet, sour, hot and exciting taste.”

This temptation was more than enough to inspire me, I immediately said, “Let’s go tomorrow. ” She laughed and said,” I knew, I had hit the arrow at the right place.”

Next day, at New Market, I was puzzled, amazed, in fact excited to see people shop like as if the shops are going to close the next day, forever. All sort of people, of all age group, happy, smiling, bargaining, eating……that positive happy energy started mesmerizing me.

Yeah…sometimes crowd can be a pleasure, sometimes in crowd you are not tired and you start enjoying the pleasure of the freedom of behaving, in your own terms.

Totally engrossed in shopping and hunting all sort of things, we didn’t remember that time was fleeting. Satisfied with the huge packets of goodies, we moved to the puchka shop, to satisfy our gastronomical buds. As we were melting with the pleasure of hogging puchka, I felt someone was saying something from behind. I saw a small boy, pointing towards samosa and asking for one. I told the vendor to give him a samosa, he happily grabbed it and ran away.

Done with our guilt pleasure of overeating,  we planned to go back home. At that time in the corner of the road I saw the same boy, sitting with four more kids, maybe his siblings, all sitting with military like discipline, waiting for the boy to distribute the single samosa among them. I watched them eat the small piece, of their share, blissfully. A sudden urge forced me to turn back to the shop, and get five samosas for them. As I handed it to them, their face suddenly started spreading with hearty happiness. The pleasure to get your desired thing unexpectedly, the joy of satisfaction, made them lift their hand and dance in tapori style. I had witnessed nearly all sorts of dances, but this dance of happiness was beyond comparision.

We had spend thousands of rupees within few hours, but the happiness I saw in their faces by spending only few rupees, was nothing in comparison to it, in fact it was an asset for me.

Back home, I closed my eyes and while recalling their faces I smiled, feeling all my nerves relaxed and calmed. The Puja drums and merrymaking were inside me with the message…….Happiness is contagious, spread it.ūüėä




I looked down from my balcony. Yes it was Ghosh Uncle, who was trying to tell the watchman and one of our neighbour, something. Now it was a routine, since Aunty expired six months back. The loneliness has changed him a lot, he now tries to catch hold of someone, who can spare time, to hear the tales buried deep inside his heart, about Aunty.

In my building on 17th floor, Flat no. 17C, they had weaved their nest with the main ingredient, love. Their love story starts right from the door, where a hand painted wooden name plate adorned the name,
with a very artistic flowery pattern. Below this another extended name plate is attached with his son’s and daughter- in- laws name and sketch of two kids holding hands, with names of their grand children. A very unique one, painted by Chayya Aunty, on request of Uncle.

We friends, use to go for evening walk, then usually chat sitting on the bench near the poolside and wait for the couple to come for a walk, just to see , what aunty is wearing that day. It was a common joke among us that instead of watching the young ladies, latest fasion trends, we wait for this retired old couple in their seventies, to walk on our building ramp. But yes, we could never deny that the best of handloom, cotton or tatth sarees were owned by her. Aunty always gave us the address of the shop, but we never got the same stuff, and Aunty would smile and say that the saree is bought by Uncle with love, so it looks so beautiful. Very light and appropriate matching accessories with the saree, a flower in her bun, she use to deck up for Uncle, as he liked that way.On the other hand, we the bunch of friends, use to take walk wearing the most comfortable plazzos, leggings, pants or pajama with kurties, hair tied in a ponytail at the back, with that bindass, who-cares-to-deck-up attitude.

The small Ganesha Temple in our building compound was managed by them. We use to insist Uncle, a very good singer, to sing and Uncle use to sing looking in Aunty’s eyes,” pal pal dil ke pass tum rehti ho……”, and Aunty use to blush like a teenager first time in love.

Right from a recipe to philosophy of life, we use to look at them for guidance.
Of late, there evening walks were restricted as Aunty was not keeping well. First started with fever, then lots of complication and unexpectedly she passed away six month back.

The very strong and confident uncle started breaking rapidly, the smiling face clouded with gloomy sadness. His supporting and caring family also couldn’t help him overcome his sorrow. And now this new mania overpowered him, he use to wail loudly sittting on the bench, where they use to sit, talk and giggle. His pain touched us all, infact we stopped sitting together after our walk.

Yesterday as I came down, I saw Uncle standing there, he came to me and said,”¬† You tie your hair nicely, so you can use this. Keep it.” He quickly handed me a hair clip and walked away so that I can’t say anything. Surprised I looked at him and then the hair clip, it was Aunty’s one of the favorite clip. Then I came to know that he was giving away all her visible things. I don’t know what this syndrome is called, but now he was in a stage where her things were haunting him. I came up holding the clip, very disturbed.

Evening as I was telling this to my husband, we could hear him again, wailing like a child, and his son persuading him to come home. My husband said,” Let me go and talk with Pratham(his son) about the anti-depression treatment, which may help Uncle to overcome the pain.” He went down and I sat with something hot flowing from my eyes. I looked up and said,” Aunty you both taught us what is real love, but now it is unfair of you to go up alone. Take him with you, he can’t live without you. Uncle is just a body now, who’s breathing. Please take him with you, make your nest again up there, be with him……”

The song from sony mix,” hamhe tum se pyar kitna yeh hum nahi jante, mager ji nahi sakte tumhare bina…..” made my appeal and tears more prominent.

Everyone says love hurts, but that is not true. Loneliness hurts. Losing someone hurts. Everyone get these things confused with love. Real love doesn’t care about body shape, old age, model looks or wallet size. It only cares about what’s inside.




Mehendi ceremony of Shaila was in full bloom. The arrangements, the music, the food, the ambience…all were perfect. Guests were looking forward for the next day marriage ceremony,¬† which was expected to be marvellous.¬†

Shaila, the very beautiful banker, doting daughter of Mrs.and Mr. Mehta, was getting married to handsome and famous CA, Soham.

When Shaila and Soham stood on the dias, Shaila raising her hands to show her mehendi, all cheered for this beautiful, made for each other couple.

Soham was crazy about Shaila’s smile and loved her habit of saying something special in form of puzzle or rhyme.

Soham, one day, asked lovingly,” Do you like me?” This question was obvious because Mr. Mehta had chosen him as his prospective son in law. Shaila smiled and said,” Hey, Mummy-Papa said you are the best,
Let’s think about each other and forget the rest.”

Both laughed at this silly rhyme.
Next morning, the marriage day, ‘Mehta House’ was full of police as Shaila was missing, leaving a clueless letter behind her.
” Mummy-Papa, forgive me as you always do, but I have to go”.
“Soham, you¬† may feel cheated, but I am really sorry, get a nice life partner and lead a very happy life.”
Don’t search me or blame anyone. No one is responsible for my departure.
“Violet was the colour, but Orange was my choice.
So¬†I preferred to go with absolute White.”

The last lines of the letter became a mystery, all started decoding it in their own way. The police searched the hospitals, bus stands, railway stations, airports, spots of accidents, friends, relatives,…. …everywhere , but in vain.

Days past, the CID took charge of the case and started intrograting everyone separately. No previous affair, no bad habits, no wrong association, no clue for kidnapping, how can she vanish like this??
The clue she left had violet, that represents the future, the imagination and the dreams(that was really going to happen). Orange was her favorite color and white was for peace and calmness.

Mrs. and Mr. Mehta recalled that when Shaila was young, she had a facination to become a monk, but that time they told her, they will die if she thinks so. The chapter was closed.

The friends recalled the day when she topped in the University and won the gold medal. She told her friends'” The best one in the room was me,
So they gave me the medal and the golden key.”
Golden key was the prestigious job offered to her.

Soham was really feeling cheated and down, she could have told him once, he could had solved her problem. He took this monk  facination as a big clue. At his request all the church, monastery were searched, not only in India but in China, Bhutan and all the possible places, but no results. After a year the case was closed
But Soham didn’t give up, he started personally visiting all the monasteries when ever possible. Years rolled on, under pressure of everyone he got married.¬†

Nearly five years later, as he was sitting in the Buddhist Monastery in China, he saw a group of lady Monks coming for prayer,¬†in them a bald headed monk in white dress looked exactly like Shaila. He put his secret camera on, later in the hotel, he checked the video and concluded, she is definitely Shaila. He had decoded her message correctly, a Monk, she is a Monk now. He sat emotionless, his search was complete but he was unable to decide whether to be happy or sad. How she came here, they had checked the airports also, but she didn’t board any flight, when she got the tickets, why she had chosen the marriage day to elope, he was coming again and again here, why didn’t he see her before, since when she was planning all this, all this questions started screaming inside Soham’s head, the unbearable pain slowly converted into sobs,¬†and he decided to confront her the next day.

Next day he stood in front of her looking straight in her eyes. She asked ,”what do you want my child?”

“I simply want some answer Shaila, you are here at peace, calling me my child, following the path of divine one, but there since last five years we are searching you, your parents are totally broken up, I am wandering like a mad one. Why you did this?”

She calmly replied,”I am not the person whom you are searching, and leave some¬†questions unanswered, time will reply and heal your agonies. God bless you.”

She walked away. Soham screamed, “Shaila turn back, you can’t go like this.”
But no one was there to reply, a vacuum in his heart nearly choked him.

A soft hand on his shoulder bought him back to life, an old monk made him sit and offered some water, and said ,” Child, she is correct, she is not the person you are searching, she is a Monk. But I want you to breathe in and exale peace, so listen, she was planning to join us since long, she didn’t tell because she didn’t wanted to lose her parents, she choose the marriage day as it was her mother’s wish to see her getting married, so she completed half the rituals, one of her friend helped her reach here, gave her shelter, since last five years she didn’t come out in front of strangers, so that you all get time to heal your wounds and you Soham, she knew you are a strong man and you can forgive her and also walk ahead strongly. Go back and don’t tell her parents, let them wait for her. They will surely meet one day up there.”
“You know me?”
“Yes I know everything , God bless you my child. It’s God’s decision, so don’t question it. “.

To the degree that God has not revealed His plan, it is a mystery. But even that which He does reveal is a mystery……



Basic goal for Suniti was to reduce 5kg weight. She took it as a challenge. Health conscious Suniti made a walking plan of 4km, which would be 2km walk from her home to Shiva temple and back home. Rule was simple. If tired, halt at temple. Perfect plan to start with, smiled Suniti.

Next day, as a non-walker, she got tired and as per plan took a halt at Shiva temple. Suniti believed in the Divine power, but was not that going-to-temple-daily-type, or praying-regularly-type. She believed more in hard work and labor.

Inside the temple she saw a huge shivling, a continuous playing peaceful audio chant of ‘Om Namah Shivay’. The ambience was soothing. She also sat there like rest of the people sitting, meditating and praying.

Suniti saw, on the right side of her, a lady sitting. Her hair was totally white. She was wearing a white saree but surprisingly her face was wrinkle free and had a perfect glow. Suniti thought that if she sees this lady again tomorrow, she will surely ask her the secret of such a glowing skin.

Back home, at dinner table, Suniti told about her walking plan to her husband and son. Their son, Amol, was in class 8th, a very bright and intelligent student.

Next day, in the temple the lady was there. Suniti went and sat next to her waving a hello. She smiled back and said ‘Om Namah Shivay’. After few basic chit-chat, Suniti couldn’t control her urge to ask her secret of wrinkle free skin. That old lady smiled and said,”Not a secret at all, it’s faith in God, believe in self and satisfaction with what you got, makes your skin glow. And of course wash your face many times with fresh water.”

Suniti was disappointed,” What are the beauty products for, if it is that simple, this lady doesn’t want to share her secret, so is telling anything abstractly.”

That old lady guessed her thoughts and said,” Wait, one day you will also believe in the power of God, you will decode the secret of self. Till then try chanting ‘Om Namah Shivay’.”

Days passed, Suniti started shedding weight, got use to, infact got friendly with the old lady. Something charming was there in her personality, that appealed Suniti.

One day she was about to leave the temple when her husband called and asked her to reach Fortis hospital immediately as their son had met with an accident.

Suniti felt her body clench up, and something cold rippled up her spine. An unbearable pain started spreading all over her body. Her only son, her life, her Amol was in hospital. She somehow dragged her body to the hospital.

In front of ICU, she realised her son was sinking. She could feel the words of doctors, her husband, friends and of relatives, floating above her. She felt paralysed.

Two days passed, two major operations, but no response, life seemed to play hide and seek with Amol. Her tears had lost control and were flowing nonstop. The team of best doctors were helpless.

Suniti suddenly remembered the old lady’s words and challenged God,” If you are really there, give me a proof, I will chant your name nonstop, show me your existence.”

Suniti sat in front of ICU and started chanting,’ Om Namah Shivay’. Day to dusk, nothing could move her, no food, no rest, she went on chanting. Doctors told her to stop all this as her son was already in coma. His chances of survival were nearly nil. Her husband also pleaded to stop, but all the efforts went in vain. They forcibly inserted the IV fluid in her. Meanwhile the old lady and other devotees started chanting Mahamrityanjay chant for Amol, in the temple.

Two nights past, Suniti could feel a strange light around her. She exclaimed, “Is it you God? Are you here to save my Amol?”

No response came but she could see that divine light entering the ICU, Suniti dragged herself with the IV fluid to the room. She could see Amol covered with a blue light all over.

“I can feel you, I can feel your presence, ” screamed Suniti. “You are there, oh you are there God,” Suniti started wailing like a mad women.

Next day this miraculous news that how Amol was saved by doctors, how he got back his life by the new advanced technology, and his mother’s faith in God, was in newspapers.

But Suniti knew, infact every one knew that God is still the supreme power. Suniti rushed to the temple, hugged the old lady and instead of saying anything, went on uttering ‘ Om Namah Shivay’. Her faith in God cemented deep in her heart.

It was a new life for Amol, so after the puja in temple, they had a party in the home. All the ladies were surprised to see the glow on Suniti’s face. They asked the secret and Suniti repeated instantly,” Not a secret at all, its faith in God, believe in self and satisfaction with what you got, makes your skin glow. And ofcourse wash your face many times with fresh water.”

Some puzzled, some surprised and some confused looks made Suniti, recall everything.

Faith doesn’t make sense, that’s why it makes miracles. Feed your faith and doubts will starve to death.



Three years flew away, now it was again the time for transfer. This time posting for Shirin’s husband was in Udaipur. Shirin was happy as they were shifting to a tourist place. As the official township was far from city, they started searching a house in the city. Out of the best five searched, they liked a twin duplex, located in Hiranmagri, the most. This was like a dream house, with a small but nice garden with lots of mango trees and an orchid at the backyard. The interiors were good.The adjoining duplex was vacant. It was simply love at first sight.

But the people at office were suspicious as the twin duplex had been vacant since long. Later they came up with the fact that in the adjoining house a lady had committed suicide and people could see or hear her in that house often, so out of fear no one had occupied this house .

Shirin was a strong and brave lady and she never believed in all this ghost tales. She firmly said that they will occupy the house as that house was not haunted. Her husband agreed with her.

The first week, Shirin was very busy shifting, settling and arranging the house. The kids got busy with their new school and her husband with his new office. Shirin got friendly with some of her neighbours, they all told her about Sapna, the lady who had hanged herself in her adjoining duplex, a very pretty and good lady, her husband went on official tour, came back and saw her hanging from ceiling fan. They were a happy couple. She left a note that no one was to be blamed. A mystery unsolved…

Next week, bit relaxed, Shirin sat down with her cup of coffee, in the swing of her portico. Out of curiosity, she peeped to look at the other house and found a big lock at the door.

The breeze gave her the excitement to think about her shopping list and the places she can visit, in this beautiful city. Checking out the list mentally, she went to the kitchen to keep the coffee mug. There she could hear the mixie running and could hear the voices of utensils as if someone was preparing dinner in the next kitchen.
The kids and her husband came back, but she didn’t tell anyone, as she wanted enough proof before disclosing.

Morning she could hear the same voices again. It was a new experience for her, but as she was a daring lady, while preparing lunch, she tapped the kitchen wall and asked,” Friend, what are you cooking?”
Suddenly all the voices ceased. After few minutes Shirin tapped again and said,”See, I am making Rajma Chawal today, what’s your menu?”

And Shirin could smell Dal, Chawal and Alu Gobhi ki sabji. “Oh yes, I can smell them all, but why don’t you talk with me?”

And the first time, Shirin could hear,”Are you not scared of me?”

“No Sapna, I am not, because I know you can’t harm anyone. Will you be my friend?”
No reply came but Shirin got a friend. She didn’t tell her husband about Sapna as he will be worried.

Sapna knew everything, ask her about the best shopping destination, best school, best locality nearby, not only that, Sapna was a good cook, good singer and Phd in Geophysics.

Shirin started sharing with her, all her fantasies, problems, views, fears, expectations, dreams…and what not, knowing very well that Sapna was a ghost.
The chemistry between them was so strong that an intelligent lady like Shirin, started believing her as real. Sapna also shared with her many things except the fact, why she committed suicide.

One lazy afternoon, the landlord of the house rang the doorbell. Shirin somehow never liked that cunning faced, mean looking fellow, but she went to open the door out of courtesy. As she was about to open door, she heard Sapna’s firm voice,”Don’t open the door.”

“But why?”

“Never open the door for him, when you are alone, tell your husband to tell the landlord very firmly, only to come, in his presence.”

Surprised, Sirin didn’t open the door, but her intelligent mind started joining the clues and she came to the conclusion that the landlord had something to do with Sapna’s suicide. “Sapna, tell me, please tell me the truth, is this man, responsible for your death? I need to know. I can put him behind bars. Please, if you really consider me as your friend, tell me.”

Shirin was shocked to know that she was correct. She charged Sapna,” You were a highly educated lady, you could had dragged him to court, could had put him behind bars, leave all this, you could had shouted, screamed and could had gathered the crowd, you are not that weak, you could had hurt that man, why Sapna, why you had to kill yourself ?”

“I was not that strong as you, I got scared, I didn’t tell my husband also, I didn’t want our families to suffer humiliation because of me,” sobbed Sapna.

Shirin’s husband was stunned to hear all this, but he promised to help her, as he had strong political contacts. With help of Sapna, all his illegal activities and the list of females harassed by him was made and the landlord was behind bars within four months. Need not to say Sapna’s name was not there in the list.

Shirin took another firm decision that she will perform ‘shanti puja’ for Sapna, so that her wandering soul can rest in peace.
Sapna told that she can never hear her if the puja is done. Shirin decided to be a true friend and let Sapna’s soul rest in peace.

The day of puja all the neighbours gather, Shirin stole some time to get in and talk with her friend for the last time. They both wept together for the last time, Shirin wished her a new birth.

Next day morning, the deep silence from the adjoining duplex, made Shirin very sad, but she was happy that her friend was no more a bewildered spirit. Shirin started a campaign where the girls were taught to be self protective and self defensive.
Six months later, Shirin’s husband was shifted to Madhya pradesh. Shirin carried with her, her friend forever, in her memories. Good friends are like stars…you don’t see them but you know they are always there…

Do you believe in ghosts or wandering souls? If yes, this story is for you and if no, then also this story is for you, as it is a real story. Quest for emancipation, quest to unshackle is such a topic which has no end…