lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Name:
Location: Kolkata, India

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Because I love you

She loved and trusted her. Her every step watched over, guided and protected. Then she grew up. Her every step watched over, guided and protected still, she chafed. There was the whole wide world to explore and learn. But she was hemmed in, penned and bound by a litany of you mustn’t, you shouldn’t, you can’t, it is not done.

If she’d ever voiced the question, cried “why are you doing this,” she would have been told in hurt and loving tones that were actually implacable, “because I love you.”

She loved and trusted him. Her every action watched, every move noted, her world small as ever; still hemmed in, penned and bound by you can’t, you shouldn’t, you mustn’t, and more. If she’d ever thought to ask “why are you doing this,” she would have been told “because I love you” with the same implacability.

She discovered bonsai. All her hemmed in, penned and bound realities shaped her trees. She became particular. She grew trees from seedlings, saw them as saplings and urged and nudged and pinched them into the shape of her vision. Then she used wires. If she thought her first seedling grown into sapling reaching out to experience more of the world ever asked her, “why are you doing this,” she’d have gone on twisting the wire around the branches to bend and hold them to the perfect front view and back that she envisaged for the young tree, and she’d have whispered “because I love you.”

Her collection of imprisoned trees, her miniature world grew as she aged. Unnaturally shaped to imitate nature, with hollows and lightning-struck scars and more detail, her trees grew. Her loving mother, who defined her boundaries when she was a child, who tainted her pubescent and teenaged perception of the world, was long dead now; her husband, who refined those boundaries and fences and limits, dead for a month.

She was old, herself. But not so old that she couldn’t dig a patch and find the perfect spot in the sprawling grounds her house was set in; it was the mansion and grounds that she was given in marriage to as much as her husband, by her mother. She was going to plant that tree, her first seedling sapling young tree that she stunted into submission; plant it in soil that would let it grow, now at forty years of age. At liberty to grow as it pleased at last.

“Are you crazy,” her sons screamed at her. “That tree will fetch thousands for its age alone. You are destroying it.” They took her potted world away from her to be cared for by a gardener. She was taken aback. For the first time, she whispered the words, “why are you doing this.” And she received an honest reply.

“Because these bonsai are money.”

Cheers!

95 Comments:

Blogger Banno said...

Oh, how I wish she could have planted that submissive tree in the grounds.

2:17 pm  
OpenID anox said...

The ending line clinched the story. And you've a lovely way of telling it. :)

4:12 pm  
Blogger Chenthil said...

Because I love you - cruel words.

5:43 pm  
Blogger dipali said...

Wonderful. Poor protagonist(:

6:06 pm  
Blogger Sivaram said...

My friend's mother shared with me the following :
As a young child, she was confined and dictated over by her mother. She got married at the age of sixteen and went to her husband, and her mother-in-law took over.
Then she thought she will be able to express herself when her sons got married, but her elder settled in US with an American wife, and the younger married a university Professor, who was hardly at home.
The grand children do not speak Telugu, her only language.
She said, never she could do or get something done the way she wanted !
What you have written is lyrical, but I think, not fiction. It has happened yesterday or today.

2:55 pm  
Anonymous Hehhh said...

Not the ending I would've chosen, but still very good.

And of course, bonsai, because of the sheer attention to detail, lends itself to obsessive love, to stunted imagery and attendant starkness.

Oh wait, I already said that.

:)

11:35 pm  
Anonymous Grasshopper said...

Lovely story.
Although I find Bonsai trees very pretty, I could never buy them. It almost feels like caging birds, no?

2:57 pm  
Blogger zigzackly said...

Lovely story, this. And so economically told.

1:33 am  
Anonymous vishwapriya said...

Strange world, this cyber space. How can you ever worry about someone you have only met in the realm of words? But here I am, wishing that you get well soon. Look forward to plenty of posts on anagrams and crosswords.

9:30 am  
Anonymous putul said...

unrelated comment (sorry!) but cant seem to find your post on Teri Aankhon Ke Siva Duniya Mein Rakha Kya Hai in your blog archives.. "The Eyes Have It" is a post that i keep needing to read once in a while, it's devastatingly beautiful.. :) help?!

10:40 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello.

How things be, ma'am? Me, I'll just be around waiting to read more from you.

(Shifting to the other leg now)

4:04 pm  
Blogger frissko said...

Beautiful post...I've had issues with the idea of Bonsai (in Japan you apparently have even Bonsai kittens!). But relating it to 'parenting' et al is a nice touch..

6:46 pm  
Blogger Sivaram said...

M'am, am getting worried now.
And this is my only link to you, so I cannot find out ....

10:21 am  
Blogger Arnab Chakrabarty said...

Hi Sivaram,

Lalita is recovering from a small surgical procedure, and is in relatively decent health. I visited K this afternoon and he says Lalita will be back on Monday.

Cheers,

a

5:26 pm  
Blogger Sivaram said...

Arnab, thanks a lot man !

6:50 pm  
Anonymous varali said...

Putul - use the search at the top left. I did and found the post you want.

4:05 am  
Anonymous putul said...

thanks a ton Varali.. much obliged, glad i checked the comments again

9:54 pm  
Blogger complexvanilla said...

Sigh! You'd say I'm much too young to feel like a bonsai, but I do feel so, every now and then!

Like animals trapped in cages for years lose their will to explore the outside world, do bonsai trees 'forget' the art of growing, I wonder?

1:13 pm  
Blogger buddy said...

beautiful

7:24 pm  
Blogger buddy said...

stumbled upon your blog and wasted the entire morning in office doing nothing but reading! feels lovely :)

9:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could someone post an update on how Ms M is?

Thanks

rajsekar

11:02 pm  
Blogger Sivaram said...

Arnabda !
Can you help us with an update on Ms. M ?
Thanks
Sivaram

9:27 am  
Anonymous Bhajans said...

Mrs. M, long time no post, you are getting us worried! Please update us with your health

5:46 pm  
Anonymous Sanjeev said...

Lalita is back at home.She is confined to bed.

10:06 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi lalitha

Good to read about Chittibabu garu
My Mother was {in some way }related to him
I had the good fortune of attending to his concerts ,
Do you by any chance , have a video of Sri Chitti babu?
If you do
may i request you to post it to me via email

lalitharmachiraju@gmail.com

Thank you

Best rgds

lalitha

3:39 pm  
Blogger Sivaram said...

Sanjeev, thanks !
I hope it is only a matter of time before the cherished larking starts again.

Sivaram

4:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know if I should be the person to say this, because I did not know Lalita nor did I follow her blog. My friends were always full of praise for her, and it was through them that I heard the news that she has passed away. Rest in peace, Ma'am.

9:01 pm  
Blogger ?! said...

Lalita

I find this unfair. You're going to let me have the last word without letting me gloat about it ?

I shall haunt you, forever.

Dear heart, always.

10:28 pm  
Blogger Sivaram said...

Oh my God !

9:54 am  
Blogger dipali said...

And so a legend passes away. It was a privilege knowing you,Lali, though all too briefly.

11:40 am  
Blogger neha vish said...

Love you Lali.

12:23 pm  
Blogger Krishnan said...

From a fellow crossword fan and one who partook of your great posts, goodbye Lalitha.

2:07 pm  
Blogger sra said...

From someone who discovered you too late, rest in peace Lalitha!

3:05 pm  
Anonymous Kamini said...

Your writing spoke to my heart. I hope there was not too much suffering or pain in the end.
Goodbye.
Kamini.

3:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are the family & in her own words
"they know you warts and all and still love you."
http://lalitalarking.blogspot.com/2007_01_01_archive.html
Thank you all for keeping her cyber company & adding so much joy in the last few years.
Tivi

7:34 pm  
Blogger nimbupani said...

I knew her for short a short while through the very poignant posts she made. I dont think I can say anymore than I will miss her terribly and will always remember her for her grit and courage in facing her end.

8:28 pm  
Blogger anantha said...

Tivi: *hugs*

9:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lali's cyber friends are our family friends! thank you all. she used to be so happy when she spoke about her blog and her blogger friends. on 26 too, I read out the comments and she had a smile on her face. we do pray that she rests in peace- kavita ( her elder sister)

10:56 am  
Blogger Priya said...

Dear Tivi, Kavitha,
This is Priya from Bangalore. I don't think she'll ever be gone from my life. I continue to draw inspiration and strength from her words here. Spoke to K this morning and am amazed at the man's strength and composure. Wish I could be there, but with Lali, distance was never a hindrance. She permeates her lovely self through my life. Will miss her pickles but like her, the taste of gongura lingers...

5:36 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sanjeev here.I met Lali in 2005,and she was a constant in my life ever since.She knew me better than I did.Once,she told me that even after many years, she wakes up thinking of calling up her father, only to realize that he is no more.
Lali,I feel the same now.I keep coming to your blog to feel your presence.
I was planning to have lunch with you next month.I was too late.
Take care,Lali

7:35 pm  
Blogger Sivaram said...

So it is true, real, final ?
I keep revisiting to find that it is not .....

10:26 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will miss her posts a lot.
Rest in peace, Missus Em.

10:27 am  
Blogger Chitra said...

Rest in peace Lalita. You will be missed dearly.

1:01 am  
Blogger Keshi said...

*prayers n love*

never been here before, but I heard abt ur passing from my dear friend Veenz. Im sorry I never met u in blogville. *HUGZ* fly with the angels luv!


Keshi.

12:00 pm  
Blogger voodootjs said...

Hi there, must be having a blast dodging intruders who are in search of massage parlors.
Hilarious that i too was searching for massage parlors in Kolkata - though not for the sexual kind..and I bumped into your blog.

And i am quite impressed that u have a telugu blog.. The spelling needs 2 be checked and even does the font.

Have fun blogging and writing your poems.. Take Care.

Ravi.

6:18 pm  
Blogger complexvanilla said...

Dear Lalita, may you rest in peace.

I hope heaven has Scrabble, Crossword, and people who are capable of giving you a good contest in Scrabble! I was but an infrequent visitor on your blog, but I would devour everything you had written during the period I had not paid a visit, and that too, in one sitting, chuckling away, sometimes feeling the anguish that the characters of your pieces were going through, reliving my own memories, some sweet, some bitter and a few, painful. I always thought that reliving painful moments was an exercise in masochism, but you made me think otherwise. You showed me that it could be profoundly educating, even soothing.

I loved playing Scrabulous with you. I used to pride myself about my vocabulary, till I played Scrabulous with you! For me, the ultimate ego-boost would be when I lost to you with a slim margin! I would even crow to my flatmates that I had gone down to The Lalita by only 15 points! And they would congratulate me! The day I finally beat you, I was so happy and you were happier! But that didn't happen without constantly using the dictionary, something that you never needed!

Every single time I called, you sounded so very cheerful, despite the pain you were undergoing. I loved to hear you guffaw about things that tickled your funny bone. You always called me kiddo, but to me, you were a peer, a confidant.. a pal.. a fellow conspirator...

I will always remember and love you, and so will the countless people whom you have reached out to, some of them vocal, most silent. Lalita, you will be in our hearts and memories forever!

Love,
Prashanth Chengi.

6:51 pm  
Blogger abhorigine said...

Will learn that svarajati. Least one can do.

4:45 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope you have a great birthday celebration up there. you managed to stay forever 50 or as the cap said 49.95.
Tivi

4:07 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonder song is what I wish you (5,8)
Love.

2:25 pm  
Blogger vamsi parimi said...

Nice

www.timmiri.com

11:06 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RIP. You will be missed.

Karthik

3:03 pm  
Anonymous Hehhh said...

RIP, Lalita.

I often revisit this blog and recollect our conversations. We never quite settled on the question of an afterlife, but some vestige of you lives on in these pages.

Miss you.

8:39 am  
Blogger Sue said...

Dear Lali, just so that you know we still think of you: http://sunayanaroy.blogspot.com/2008/11/this-is-in-extremely-bad-form.html

RIP

12:13 am  
Anonymous Sanjeev said...

Visited after many days.Take care,Lalita

7:26 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs, 25
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
And leaden-eyed despairs;
Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow. 30

Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,

5:44 pm  
Anonymous Hehhh said...

The last time you couldn't call because I was travelling. I told you it did not matter.

This year, I realised I was wrong. It did.

7:39 pm  
Blogger dipali said...

Missing you so much, so many months later. Driving anywhere near your house evokes so many memories of you.
I guess you are immortal, Lali.

9:49 pm  
Blogger neha vish said...

I miss you every time I write a poem, or chance upon an object of utter beauty.

I think of you when I hear some beautiful piece of music, when Rafi sings, when black and white movies grace my TV screen.

RIP, Lali...

8:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to know that she is still in so many peoples thoughts. I keep coming back to read something to feel connected. Tivi

8:55 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is still difficult to accept the reality.We keep coming back- expecting a new post-Kavita

5:33 pm  
Blogger neha vish said...

Where does your ghost live Lali?

Here, where your words still float?
Or at home, in your balcony.
Won't you glide by here.
It's snowing in the land of Tea.

(Can't stop coming by here once in a while.)

4:47 pm  
Blogger flyingelephant said...

R I P

1:54 pm  
Anonymous Sanjeev said...

Lalita,I had news to tell you.But I guess you are watching.Take care

10:40 am  
Blogger venkat said...

Hey lalita ,

Oh my god , can this be true ? I am venkat , the one who used jesus id and chatted with you a long time ago , Iam shocked to know that you passed away..

I should have communicated with you earlier before it was too late .. I hope you remember me , iam the one who used to talk to you a long time ago ( iam venkat , jesus ) the guy who exchanged obsure words with you a long time ago.

6:40 pm  
Anonymous Hehhhh said...

I once told you I'd remember you only with pleasure and not regret.

: )

I wish you'd been around to listen to me whine though.

8:33 pm  
Blogger dipali said...

Missing you again and again and again, more than words can ever express.

7:44 pm  
Blogger neha vish said...

Missing you .. my heart leaps when in the mornings, my eyes yet to focus, almost see a green light next to your name on Gtalk.

3:50 pm  
Anonymous AKM said...

Almost a year now since you last posted.

I think I read more of your writing now that you aren't there to distract me :).

11:45 am  
Blogger panu said...

I just came here and read the story again. And I just could not stop crying. Be loved Lali, wherever you are.

9:50 pm  
Blogger Nova said...

I keep reading this again and again and again!

I wish I had had the chance to know you sooner.. I do know you now!

1:33 pm  
Blogger Chenthil said...

It has been a year now. Missing you.

3:38 pm  
Blogger anantha said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:32 pm  
Blogger anantha said...

Lali: It's been a year and a few days more, but it's the time difference, I say. So don't hold this late note against me.

In any case, I still keep thinking of our last phone conversation and the text messages you sent me. I am back in Chennai now and I can't pass by Woodlands without thinking of you. And that'll always be the case. Missing you!

4:34 pm  
Anonymous Sanjeev said...

Happy birthday,Lalita, wherever you are.
I wish you were still here.

7:07 pm  
Anonymous ?! said...

Have I told you ... philately ?

--> Stamps his foot.

Still remains the most favourite of my puns.

Hello, ma'am.

10:09 am  
Blogger NN said...

it is a great idea and thought but the representation is too direct and overt for me.

Cheers!

3:11 am  
Anonymous AKM said...

Still sober enough for the weird veri : )

How be, ma'am.

9:37 pm  
Blogger Indian Home Maker said...

RIP.

10:37 pm  
Anonymous Tory said...

I hate to say it, but sometimes love isn't enough. We also need respect, faith and reasons to love..

1:05 am  
Blogger Chenthil said...

I know it is stupid, but still can't stop coming here again and again. Miss you a lot Lalita.

12:36 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for those of you who are still visiting & reading. It would have meant a lot to her
Tivi

6:27 pm  
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1:49 pm  
Anonymous Hehhhh said...

Ma'am

It's been three years, can you believe it ?

I now have missed you more than I knew you.

RIP, dear one. And I still hate the Weird Veri.

11:31 pm  
Blogger anantha said...

Hmmmm...

2:14 pm  
Blogger neha vish said...

Back here. On nights like these, I always miss your fleeting embrace on gtalk. And those rambling rants. Miss you still dear Lali. Love, chinna ponnu.

3:28 am  
Blogger dipali said...

Four years now- you remain as unforgettable as ever.

7:05 pm  
Anonymous AKM said...

Sometimes, a pattern of clouds in the sky, an impromptu carpet of leaves on the park bench, a chance remark in a conversation : your image floats to mind. Heaven will require trolls, Lalita, if you are retain your acerbic wit about you : )

12:12 pm  
Anonymous Hehhh said...

Still visiting now and then.

Perhaps it is vanity to think one lives on in memories after all the dust has settled; perhaps it is madness to think that speaking to memories can still reach the original person.

We too, shall settle this question someday.

8:58 pm  
Anonymous Hehhh said...

Hello ma'am. Something made me revisit this page. So many of your stories remained untold, no ? You went off in a hurry. Most unlike you.

9:59 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A long time, and a chance remark made me revisit.

I don't think restfulness was your forte here, ma'am. Too much of the acerbic replies : )

One hopes you have foes worthy of your steel there, though.

10:16 am  
Blogger neha vish said...

Was listening to Lahiri Lahiri - and thought of you. You still linger about in my thoughts.

8:50 pm  
Anonymous AKM said...

Hello ma'am. A long while now... and who knows how much longer ?

7:02 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had to come back to read a few posts -Tivi

6:41 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading her post, just thinking, 'What a wonderful person she is..."
Rajesh Varadarajan

2:43 pm  
Anonymous AKM said...

: ) Another year, ma'am. Nalam, nalamriya aaval, as they say in these parts. Just re-reading old mails and smiling.

10:03 am  

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