Dance of the eunuchs



There’s some perspective called for before we go further. An epilogue of sorts. We are a middle aged couple pushing 50, childless by choice repented a lot later but it was too late for anything to be done about it. After two decades of no real interaction with any child except a pat on the head reserved for relations came along Ronny. My sisters son. You need to know about my health too dear friends, I suffer from Demyleating neuropathy which has confined me to a wheelchair for any distance which entails more than a minutes walk and the icing on the cake is also a extremely rare disease undiagnosed jostling for equal rights with neuropathy in my body. I weigh a scrawny 48 kgs having lost about 35 with severe weakness and a myriad other issues surviving on pain medication s to take me through the life . I would happily give not only my thumb but an entire hand to get better. 

Chapter 1-

Ronny was born and till then I had no particular interest in my sisters pregnancy leaving it to my mother. The day is so vivid in my memory ingrained for life, as the nurses brought the just born to us and then in a few minutes to the room. I was strutting around Having been given the honor and privilege of taking the child in arms even before the parents and the second the child came into my arms a chord was struck. Two decades of paternal instincts ruthlessly suppressed surfaced violently and I took to loving that child more than anything or anyone else in the world. Months passed years passed and the bond grew only stronger with the child            reciprocating with the same love. Not only me my wife too fell head over heels in love with Ronny having spent the first three nights in hospital holding him to her chest for the child would cry the minute he was put down her maternal instincts kicked into high gear and a bond between them formed indescribable and suddenly all we could talk or think about was of him. He would come to stay at our house frequently and the only helped cement the bond further. While Ronny was grew older my health started deteriorating with weight loss starting and an advanced neuropathy not lagging far behind. But still till two years ago we were having the best time of our life as a void had been filled and whenever Ronny was with us days were a whirlwind of parks and malls and activity centers. You name it and we taking him there money being spent left right and center without even a passing thought given to it. But suddenly about two years ago my weight loss become so rapid that it alarmed me and believe me I don’t scare easily. The neuropathy causing muscle atrophy extreme pain in legs making normal life impossible and I stopped working. But whenever Ronny came he would take precedence with hours of the excursions getting shorter but not the frequency he was still taken everywhere. We would be ecstatic just being with him listen to his incessant chatter and tinkling laughter. 

We have a condominium in Kamshet a cosy 300 square feet of bliss in a housing project primarily constructed as a second home and bought by by people for the purpose. Ten buildings of ground plus two with flats of different layouts to fit different needs. Ours is one of the smaller configurations as being only two of us further footage was not required. Set in the remote corner of Mauli Nagar a village in kamshet about forty five minutes drive from its glamorous sibling Lonavala. 

I had been after my sister to send Ronny with us to our condo but they were hesitant considering my frail condition. But I am persistent if nothing else and slowly chipped away at their reluctance until one day a phone call came informing us that our request had been accepted for now my wife had joined in pestering my sister and our joy knew no bounds. 

Chapter 2-

A weekend was decided on and off we drove to kamshet, the three of us a happy bunch giggling laughing talking generally making merry as the car chewing up the kilometers fiercely with me determined to not waste time on the road I could still drive back then. I reached in record time that day listening to both their talks inane yet making perfect sense to them. I could not help but wonder how wonderful a mother my wife would have made looking the peas in a pod lost in each other while I hurriedly jotted down our details in the logbook at the entry gate. It is manned twenty four hours but two guards in twelve hour shifts and no one is allowed in or out without the ubiquitous logbook shoved in front of your face. There were not many people this weekend just a couple of other flats occupied in other building while we being the on,y ones in ours. 

Driving on towards our building named Gerbera we parked and the bags were lugged up to the first floor where the condo is situated. The little tyke was very excited constantly talking taking in everything as we settled in. Ronny and I were sitting on the  sofa my arms around his shoulders as he snuggled in to me in the hall which also boasts of kitchenette and looking out of the balcony while my wife Dhullu as she is popularly known having been christened by the name in hilarious incident put away the bags in the bedroom and got everything up and running all the while fielding the constant questions that Ronny threw at her. He’s a a constant talker the little guy starting the minute he wakes up till he finally sleeps. The height is that he needs someone to talk to even while on the potty and someone has to keep him company while he goes about his thing. Invariably it’s Dhulli cause there’s no request that she can turn down if he’s an apple of my eye he’s an entire orchard to her. I again digress, well here we go again. Settled in the two start with their shenanigans romping about generally having a good time as very soon my stomach rumbles. Gently butting in I ask for the unveiling of the Tiffin brought along and Dhulli finally relents and starts the 22preparations. Her prince has to be fed first and I have to wait my turn. Ronny is fed every morsel by hand tenderly and with a smile. At last the the meals are done the housekeeping cleans up everything while we sit on the bed giggling away. I request a short nap and the little guy always the hyper active grabs hold of Dhulli and off they go. The society boasts of a beautiful garden with a play area for the children and by the time they return its late evening. Refreshed from the long nap that I stole I am feeling a little better and we decide to head out to dinner at the kinara dhaba. A nice place which many of you must be acquainted with I am sure. The food has come and again the prince has to be coaxed and cajoled into taking the next bite a job which my wife is doing with infinite patience for Ronny can get so engrossed in his iPad that many times it takes quite a while for him to finish meals. I looked on smiling secretly for Dhulli has a lot of virtues but patience is not one of them. Anyways we rush through the rest of the meal once Ronny is done for it’s getting a bit late and I wanted to get back to the condo in time. 

To tell the truth I am feeling a little uneasy, no not from the food but in general. These feelings come sometimes making me feel good or bad and the chances are high that the vibrations will have veered towards the unpleasant kind. The bill is settled and the drive back is uneventful except that the feelings are getting stronger a constant rumble in the chest is how I can describe it. I give a big sigh of relief once the car is parked and we are safely ensconced again in our condo. Both of them are oblivious of the unease chattering away amongst themselves. I can’t help but smile at Dhulli who at forty seven behaving like a seven year old but Ronny brings that out in her the inner child long lost long forgotten. Sitting and watching them play and let me be honest does ignite a twinge of jealousy which quickly evaporates at being ultimately included in their play. The vibrations forgotten as laughter reverberates through the tiny condo late in the night. 

Let me tell you a little something about Ronny that he’s hyper active you must have deduced by now but making him sleep is an uphill battle which requires all hands on the deck for the task. After much convincing the monkey gets ready to sleep and snuggling into his Dhulli still talking left right and center slowly dozes off. Another thing about him is once asleep blowing trumpets can’t wake him up. Relived I head to the balcony for the customary cigarette before bedtime, the moon is full strong and pulling, churning my insides mildly as the feeling return. Malevolent promising evil they wash over me as I attempt to finish my smoke but my hands are shaking too much and it falls down rolling away the burning tip staring at me angrily like a one eyed worm slithering about unafraid. Stomping at it hard I rush back into the house closing the balcony doors securely pulling the drapes tightly shut the joy sucked out and now the nights  turned oppressive. Everything feels heavy, I am always on the edge on full moon nights but today’s feelings are way stronger. 

The knocking of evil. 

Calling Dhulli outside in the hall we sit side by side on the sofa, there are times after decades of marriage talking is not required on the contrary it intrudes into the companiable silence. But today is not one of those times and I hurriedly explain what I am feeling to her and I will give her this she has always taken instincts intuitions seriously and never brushed them off as hogwash as many would do. She is not the sort to get alarmed easily slowly calms me down and we decide to try and sleep which for me I know is a while coming but don’t want her to keep awake any longer. She tucks me in, always has for the past twenty five years and moving close to Ronny I close my eyes. But tonight sleep kept eluding me no matter how hard I try the soothing embrace of oblivion refuses to envelop me and I give up. Getting up and  propping up my pillows I  sit half upright in the bed contemplating another cigarette as the last one had failed to satiate the nicotine cravings. Deciding to give it sometime I start tinkering away at my mobile a part of me desperate for a smoke and a part of me afraid to venture out in the balcony. WhatsApp messages checked I lean back closing my eyes hoping to sleep but that is not to be tonight and mustering courage I head out to the balcony for that smoke for the call of nicotine overcomes my fear. The night is still hard strong vicious the moon is full but the night is uncharacteristically dark and I dare a hesitant look upwards to see dark clouds have fully encompassed the moon refusing to liberate any light from their imprisonment. A full moon and no moon at the same time. Nothing feels  right tonight. The cigarette is hurriedly puffed at with a hard stomp at the stub lest the one eye glare at me again. Entering the hall pulling the doors shut behind me I hear something outside the main door. Checking my mobile for time it’s 3 am. Too late for anyone to be out I try and ignore the sounds heading towards the bedroom and there’s a gentle a knock on the door gentle but insistent gentle but sinister to my heightened senses which makes stop dead in my tracks. 

The dance of death. 

Trembling I slowly head to the door and peer through the peep hold to see Pansare our society manager. He’s alone in my field of vision but the whispers are audible, someone or something else is there with him lurking just beyond my line of sight. The look on Pansares face is disconcerting it’s like he’s scared deranged and defiant at the same time. He calls out asking me to open the doo for he has seen the lights on in the hall and knows I am awake and also for that we are known for keeping late hours. Refusing to respond I head to the bedroom as fast as my atrophied legs will take me urgently wake up Dhulli and explain the whole sordid situation to her. She tucks in Ronny securely and we head out towards the door, I am trembling now with fear with the adrenaline coursing through my body and Dhulli looks frightened too. Pansare again calls out asking Dhulli to open the door now. Mustering courage and a bit angry now I call out to him asking why he wants us to open the door at this hour but his reply is the same. “Open the door” in a deadened voice, now it is all getting too much for I am known for my short fuse and I spew out some choicest expletives and tell him to get the hell out of here but the moment he senses that the door is not going to be opened something strange starts happening. 

Drums start playing. A ungodly cacophony accompanied by strong claps and we can sense a flurry of moment. There are many out there not only Pansare that is for sure and the claps are familiar they are sounding disgusting and evil but are familiar. Suddenly Dhulli exclaims “they are the claps of eunuchs” horrified utterly confused as to why these people are here dancing, beating the drums louder and louder to a rhythm only taught in the deep dark places I head to for the peep hole again and what I see makes my legs turn to jelly, there are about six eunuchs all of them wearing a deranged dead expression on their face shouting at the top of their voices now asking us to open the door, looking closely Pansare though in male clothings has makeup on his face the garish red lipstick sitting hideous on his lips clapping along with the eunuchs who are dressed in their usual sarees. The sight is enough to put terror in the strongest of hearts the dancing the clapping the monotonous chanting of “open the door” the scene outside our house feels like a scene from a horror movie on,y this time it is too real. Our minds unable to comprehend what is happening tonight scared terrified we hold each other tight hoping it will all go away but it does not it never does does it? Suddenly my attention turns towards Ronny who i assume is still sleeping for he has not made any noise and I ask Dhulli to check on him. He’s still sleeping she informs relieve shutting the bedroom door behind her. My heart sinks a rotten feeling in my stomach so worried Am I for Ronny that I cannot think straight panicking not for us but for the little child who’s our responsibility, rueing the day I insisted on bringing him here my hands start shaking badly and legs threaten to give way under me, Dhulli senses I am about to fall and helps me to the sofa. 

We look at each other mute and so utterly helpless that in some ways it angers us. But there’s nothing we can do against these horrifying creatures not with my health and Ronny with us. The drums stop abruptly and the lull is more scary for I am sure we have not had the end of this but Dhulli ever the optimistic thinks maybe they have gone away and the drums start again louder than before the beat more corrupt, the claps harder. Louder and louder the ungodly beats emanate from the drums with the chants of open the door until the cacophony reaches an ear shattering crescendo. All of a sudden one eunuch starts hitting the door with his palms the chants constant and others join in the hitting. The door shaking from their efforts as now shoulders are being used in turns they try and smash the door open but it’s holding. I tell Dhulli to push the fridge against the door, being medically unable most physical tasks are delegated to the her. Knowing it won’t be of much use but will buy us a few precious seconds more she sets it tight against the door. Our fear is now turning into anger and the need to fight back taking the place of need to flee. We look around for something anything to arm us with and I reach for my victorinox knife strong sturdy and serrated gleaming on the kitchenette while my wife grabs one more. We open the bottle of chilly powder intending to throw it in the eyes. It is astonishing how the human brain switches from flight to fight mode and once you are pumped of adrenaline a devil may care attitude sets in the consequences however obvious and dire seem                   

We don’t realize when the bedroom door opens and Ronny has come out. He comes to me his demeanor somber but unafraid as he says “Mama they are not good people” and he grabs the remaining knife on the kitchenette and comes back and holds my hand. I have always maintained that this child is an old soul in a young body and tonight his reactions are not only proving me right but also make immensely proud. My heart goes out to him as he stares unblinking at the door one hand holding mine tight and other the knife. My little man. We stand the three of us as the door shudders at their constant efforts and all of a sudden the lock begins to give. 

Wrenching the door open and pushing the fridge out of the way they barge in the eunuchs. 

The dream. 

I wake up shivering drenched in sweat. Heaving a sigh of relief I sit back in the bed looking at Ronny and Dhulli sleeping peacefully my heart goes out to them. Throat parched I head to the hall for some water still shaky the last vestiges of the dream refusing to leave me. As I grab a bottle of water and someone knocks on the door. The bottle slips from my hand and all the fear and terror of the dream return in an instant. I check the time and it’s 3 am! A part of my resigned to our fate a part of me hoping against hope I head for the eyehole and see Pansare and he’s wearing bright red lipstick!!

The End?

About the author

Veeru Chheda

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By Veeru Chheda

Veeru Chheda

About the Author

When I write I lay bare my soul. Amateurish attempts even if. That was my biggest dilemma when I thought of starting a blog. For when you open up deep hidden recesses of your inside, you are judged.

Sure you are applauded a little for what you did right but then the criticism comes in tons for your follies.

For the world is a cruel place indeed!

I have finally decided to go ahead with and post what has encompassed my life recently. Poetry. The words of exhilaration of anguish of tears of laughter of sometimes deep dark expressions waiting for a medium, for an outpour. Paths made of alphabets meandering through melancholy pain betrayal interspersed with brief bursts of bright and beautiful.

Poetry is what but a symphony of the pages with the writer wielding the baton making the words dance to a music that only he hears.

I am a man of contradictions, does that mean I say one thing and do the other? No! I do one thing and also do the other.

Middle age is when you look in the mirror and fret about what you see. At the threshold of old age with triumphs and regrets tucked in your holster You wait gingerly to cross over to the other fight.
When you look back with pleasure and pain and ahead with trepidation and hope.

So Dear Readers, let’s explore this beautiful world of words together. In my blog you will find poetry, short stories, travel reviews and tips and last but not the least Food. Restaurant reviews recipes and much more for I live to eat. For there is nothing more satisfying to soul than a good meal.

Get ready for a kaleidoscope of content but have patience for I have just started and will be posting as the write ups are ready. Please do express your thoughts on what is here anything from The Good The Bad and The Ugly for it will inspire me onwards and upwards. Jai Hind.