[ultimate_heading main_heading=”Short Story by Dr. Maitreyee Joshi – Issue.XXXV : December 2017 ” main_heading_color=”#1e73be” sub_heading_color=”#8224e3″ spacer=”line_with_icon” spacer_position=”bottom” line_style=”dotted” line_height=”1″ line_color=”#1e73be” icon_type=”custom” icon_img=”id^48|url^http://ashvamegh.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Ashvamegh-ICO.jpg|caption^null|alt^Ashvamegh Journal Icon|title^Ashvamegh ICO|description^null” img_width=”48″ main_heading_style=”font-weight:bold;” main_heading_font_size=”desktop:34px;” line_width=”3″]folk and talk…[/ultimate_heading]

Dr Maitreyee Joshi is an enthusiastic writer. She has a book of poems published by the name “Shells and Melodies”. Her flash fiction was published in The Cigale Literary Magazine in 2015 and The Creativity Webzine in 2016. Her poem “Knots” got published in the web magazine “Indian Ruminations.” Her short story, ADIL, was published in Ashvamegh Literary Journal June 2016 She is currently practising Ophthalmology and is about to complete her masters in Psychology.



Pari woke up early today as it was the first day of Ganesh festival and she was expected to multitask throughout the day. Ganesh festival meant fun for everyone in the family except Pari. All the other members of the family would merrily plan the decorations of the Ganesh idol while Pari was busy cooking, cleaning and making modaks. The rice flour much needed for the modaks was available in the supermarket these days, well even the modaks were available in the market and sweet shops but the way her in-laws looked at her when she tried to mention about them, made her heart go tumbling down with guilt and remorse over not making the offering to the God who meant so much to the family. It was not only about the in-laws but also about her own parents who had made it their duty to inculcate a cultural value in both their girls. They had not only given them cultural values but also a deeply ingrained value of being educated and working to be self-sufficient and both the girls were following what their parents had taught them with great sincerity.

But come to Shravan and both those values stood to oppose each other.It was Pari’s 5th leave in the month from the bank where she worked and she had really felt extremely uncomfortable asking for one more, but she had no other option.

There was no compromise when the question was about Ganesh festival. As she put her foot down on the floor, she winced with the pain in her as it touched the floor. The whole evening after office, she had been standing getting things ready for Ganesh chaturthi. The pulses had to be soaked, the milk had to be set to make the curd, the vegetables had to be cleaned and cut and put into separate boxes and the filling for the modaks had to be cooled before putting it in the fridge.

She freshened up and as she entered the kitchen she almost shrieked at the sight of the sink full of dirty utensils. Today, Lata bai and her daughter Vrushali were not going to come. They were on a five-day leave. When Pari asked Lata bai why she had to take a leave now, she had lamented,” You don’t know didi, it’s festival time and if we do not go to the village, people talk behind our backs. They say that we have learnt to insult the Gods after migrating to the city. We have to go to the village for Ganesh festival.”

Pari had thought with dismay,” They just know how to avoid all the work. They know that there will be extra work during festival time and so they just run home. These people just want money and when there is even little extra work, they find out reasons to avoid it. They are just such an ungrateful lot.”

The Ganesh festival progressed from Ganesh sthapana to Aarti and a grand luncheon with lots of guests from extended family and friends and relishing the food to laughter, leg pulling, jokes and ultimately through it all Pari’s relentless toil to put it all flawlessly together, without anyone realizing what all went behind the great show.

The next day, as Pari reached the office completing all her chore at home, cleaning, cooking and floor mopping too since Latabai and Vrushali were going to be absent for 4 more days, the manager called her to the cabin and warned,” No more leaves Pari! The bank suffers due to employees like you. You want hefty pay packages but you want to go on leaves whenever you wish. I strongly disapprove of employees like you. Now please go to your desk and get to work.”

Pari started walking remorsefully towards her desk and picked up the newspaper from the newspaper stand to read it during lunch. She held the front page as she sat on her chair and was shocked with the news. The news headlines read,” WOMAN AND HER DAUGHTER DROWN IN THE RIVER NEAR MULSHI.”

With shaking hands Pari called Latabai’s son, Krishna. She had his number saved for calling when Latabai’s number would be out of reach. He picked up after six or seven rings. Pari stammered into the phone,” Krishna, is it…true…??”

Krishna replied amidst sobs, “ Yes, Didi, they both went away…I had told them not to go. It was raining so heavily. The river was really up. The bridge also had become invisible. They must have lost track of the bridge. The bodies have been found somehow. I should have stopped them from going. Mother had said that you did not like them going when you needed them but she said even if it’s difficult, they must go…otherwise the Gods would be insulted. She said that people will talk..she wished to stay, didi because she also felt working at your place would be so much better than going in the rains..she just did not want to insult the Gods and was afraid of people talking…”

What Krishna said further could not reach Pari’s ears. They had turned deaf..she just thought with grief flooding her heart,” Losers..losers..all of us..me, Latabai, Vrushali, all are utter losers trying our best to please the Gods and all the others, while we don’t even know what it is that we really want…

● Modaks- A sweet momo made out of rice flour cover and filling out of coconut, sugar and
dry fruits.
● Ganesh festival – The annual festival in Maharashtra when Lord Ganesh is worshipped
for ten days in rainy season.