Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ramblings About Fictional Characters

I can never stop myself from getting into the world of characters in a book. That for me defines a well-written story. I just finished reading +Lisa Genova's Still Alice for a project I am working on and pretty much became Alice, feeling her journey and living her life in the two days it took me to finish reading the book.

My family and friends worry for themselves when I begin reading an intense book because my conversations usually revolve around issues the protagonist faces in the story. In some way reading helps discover new topics of conversations and makes even uncomfortable conversations easier to have such as mortality, life after death, spirituality, sexuality, parenting and more.

The challenge for a writer is to create characters that will be remembered long after the story is read and the book is back on the shelf or in the storage space of an iPad. Recently I was talking to someone who I know through an online group over the phone and in the middle of the conversation she said "Wait, aren't you the one who wrote the Bushaka stories? My daughter loved those stories and still talks about Bushaka" You can only guess how wide I was grinning. I think the high of writing fiction is when someone recognizes you in reference to the characters you have created. But the genius in creating epic characters like a Harry Porter or Percy Jackson in recent times for young audiences simply amazes me.

As I get back to writing my stories after this post, I am hoping that an unforgettable character is waiting to come alive through the screen while I type away frantically. The day feels perfect for the birth of a new fictional person.

If you read this post, I would love to hear from you through your comments on fictional characters that have stayed with you in your life far longer than you though they would.


Monday, September 08, 2014

I Was To Write About Love

As part of the Marathon Bloggers group on Facebook, I was to write on the topic of Love owing to  the fact that it was Valentine's Day week/month. Firstly, I had to set aside a mind-block I have about such commercialized days which only benefits the Archie's of the world, before I could sit down to write this.

Love to me is a very complex emotion. An emotion that I am constantly unearthing in myself and defining as I travel through this life. For a very long time, I was in love with the concept of being in love and so it was easy to think I was in love over and over again, with family, with friends, with people I had just met and so on.

Over the years though, I know one thing for sure, I know how to figure out if I love someone. I know I love someone when I feel the intense need to protect them even when I am angry with them. This holds good for any relationship - as a mother, as a friend, as a daughter, as a partner, as a niece and as a sister.

If that's the case, what emotion would be the opposite of love? I asked myself...
My answer - it is pure indifference. I know I do not love someone when there is a complete lack of empathy on my part towards the other person regardless of situations and circumstances. Followed by no guilt when I feel this way (or rather don't feel).

So, well when I started, I was to write about love but here I am understanding love by learning what love is not. As the journey continues, the definition of love for me will either get more pronounced, redefined or blurred. When I am really old and grey, may be the definition will not matter, may be the fact that I have been loved and have loved will be my definition of love. Until then this is it!


Wednesday, January 01, 2014

A New Dawn. New Words. Just For Today.

As I sit early this Wednesday morning,
The stories in my head find their own links,
And together they write themselves.
And I tell you, it's not so much writing
As it is breaking my very own jinx.

As I pour myself a cup of tea,
Warm a chocolate cupcake too,
These stories are dead,
The moment they are born.
It's true!

Today as it is every day, is special,
Not because it is a new day;
Nor because it is a new year;
Because it is my connection
With the universe... now, here.
Tells me not to go astray
Instead to just say
What I've always wanted to say!

This is a fine new day.
Dunno if it will be sunny,
Or may be the clouds will have their way...
This moment, now, here,
Is all I have at present
And with this I am content,
With this I shall stay content...

Sunday, December 08, 2013

What happened to Sita?

A Work of Fiction


She had always wanted a daughter but now… as she reminisced about her life, she decided to change what she wanted.

She came from a family where girls were brought up with respect, were educated and despite most other kingdoms from around, were taught to speak their mind and be part of decisions being made in the family.

She was a miracle, they said, when she came in to her father’s house. She was a blessing, they said. She was the apple of her father’s eyes, they said. They gave her the status of a Goddess. As she grew older, her father sat her down and pragmatic as ever had said “You my lovely daughter who goes by the name of Sita, Maithili, Vaidehi and Jana­ki, do not let these names forget who you are. Deep inside, you are the one who chose to be saved, so you can make a change. Our land is filled with people who despise women, who don’t hesitate to kill little baby girls, even their own daughters, in the desperate attempt to bear sons. You my little one decided to push through the earth and hold my hand. You are destined to reach out to the souls of people, now and for centuries to come, to wake them from their deep slumber and help break away from distinguishing children even before they are born. You, the one with the gentlest of gentle souls, will guide people to be human first before they give themselves or their children any tags.”

She was too young to understand what her loving father had said on that sunny afternoon but today, as she was on the brink of motherhood, she understood it all. Irony had brought her in to this family, a family known far and wide for being just and right, yet a family that had encouraged all means to justify one end; that of having a male heir so their family name may continue to prosper.

Her husband, though a gentle soul himself, was born only because his sister gave her life for him and his brothers. His sister was never spoken about. No stories were told about her great sacrifice. She had drifted into the unknown – unspoken and forgotten.

“I will bear you sons. Sons who will remain unmarried, because no mother’s daughters will ever want to marry them and become part of this family. It breaks my heart as a mother to know that my sons will never know the joy of a woman in their lives, neither their mother nor a wife or a sister. But this will end the cycle here and now. You, my great husband will be known as a legend, as mythology. But alas! Your family name will not continue because the family that does not respect its daughters will only bring sadness and negativity around it. People will need to forget that this family was ever real. They will be content in the belief that yours was a great story and you a great ruler, a great king, a God even.”


And so she bore two sons and left them in their father’s care as she jumped into a crevice caused by a great earthquake… silently forgiving her parents who showed her the path to the underground the day she was born.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Honest Open Smiles

Can it be this tough?
Wearing masks all day long;
Passing by the universe.
Every day. Every night.

Needs. Wants. Desires.
In that order please...
Make mine with
A sprinkling of soul dust.

Rains feeding streams,
Leaves leaving trees,
Cups upturned in sinks,
Music. Laughter. Life.

Let the cookie crumble.
These cookie cutters 
Were made all wrong.
Honest open smiles,
It isn't this tough!

Firewood gathered,
Hunting done,
The roasting begins!
On this Friday noon,
Dream up your dreams.
It ain't tough at all...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bushaka Loves Mangoes!

You all know Bushaka, the little lion cub with adventure in his heart and a shine in his lovely big eyes! This is a story of how Bushaka met Sundari, the Bandari. Since it was a bright and sunny day, Bushaka thought it would be fun to go on a picnic with his beshtesht lion friends Shimbuka and Kashimbu.

They each got something to add to the picnic. Bushaka brought along his favourite juicy mangoes, Shimbuka's father made delicious dosa rolls, Kashimbu's aunt packed two jars full of Kokum juice. The three of them, with tiny little picnic baskets in hand headed off to a mountain with tall grass laid out like a really, really thick carpet. Being lions, they loved to hide themselves in the grass.

They had a big colourful bouncy ball which was red, blue and yellow! They played the "Jump over the right colour" and the "Bounce with the ball" games for hours together. After a while they were all thirsty so went to the spot under a Peepal tree where their two jars of juice and all other yummy goodies were kept in the shade. 

Bushaka gulped down two glasses of juice and suddenly realised that his basket with the juicy mangoes were nowhere to be seen. "Kashimbu, Shimbuka, where are the mangoes? It's not here!" he cried.

His friends came over to him and said that they can all look for it and asked Bushaka to "Please stop crying."

"But... they... are... my favourite..." he said between sobs and the tears left tyre like marks on his cheeks through all the dirt from all that playing they did.

Both Kashimbu and Shimbuka hugged him and Kashimbu said "Don't cry Bushaka, it will be here somewhere. You sit down here and we'll look for it."

Bushaka sat down and tried hard not to feel like his heart was heavy, tried hard to stop crying. His friends were jumping around all over the place looking for the missing picnic basket with juicy mangoes in it.

"Tee... heee... heee... heee..." a sound came from high up on the Peepal tree. Bushaka looked up and what did he see??

Why? A little monkey sat on a branch and was laughing at Bushaka's friends who were jumping around looking for the missing picnic basket with juicy mangoes in it.

What do monkeys do on trees? Let me see if you can show me...

"Hey you! Up there! Why are you laughing at my friends?" asked Bushaka.

"Tee.. heee... heee... heee... you cry baby!" replied the little monkey.

"I lost my mangoes a while ago and was feeling sad. That's why I was crying. My name is Bushaka, not cry baby. You can call me by my name if you want to talk to me. What's your name?" said Bushaka feeling all strong and ready to stand up for himself.

"Mangoes? Yummydelicious! They are my favourite too! Now I know how you felt and why you were crying. But your friends do look quite funny from up here, jumping around like that!" came the monkey's reply.

"Well, they are searching for the missing mangoes. You still didn't tell me what your name is." said Bushaka, getting up and dusting himself off and wiping the tears off his face!

The monkey came down to a lower branch and whispered, "I will tell you my name but promise me you won't make fun of it? A lot of others who are not in my family always laugh and make fun of my name..."

"I promise!"

"My name is Sundari, the Bandari." she replied.

"That is such a lovely rhyming name. Can we be friends, Sundari, the Bandari?" asked Bushaka.

"Why, thank you. I think so too. And off course we can be friends. To prove it, let me climb up to the highest branch on this tree and look for your mangoes." and off she went climbing up swiftly swinging from one branch to the other as she went higher and higher.

"It's a little picnic basket with juicy mangoes in it!" shouted Bushaka so she could hear him.

He heard Sundari, the Bandari's voice like it was coming from so far away, "I can see your missing picnic basket with juicy mangoes in it!!"

And then she yelled out some directions like, go left, move right, keep going straight, jump over the rock and some more confusing directions. Bushaka shouted out the directions to Shimbuka and Kashimbu till they found the missing picnic basket with juicy mangoes in it with some mangoes fallen out of it.

They brought it under the Peepal tree and all four of them attacked the mangoes and ate them all up in no time, because by now, Sundari, the Bandari had become their friend too, you see. By the end of it, all of them had mango pulp all around their mouth and Bushaka had some over his nose and ears too!!

And so, it was that Bushaka met Sundari, the Bandari who could climb the highest of the highest branch on any tree and had very sharp eyesight that could spot the missing picnic basket with juicy mangoes in it!

Sundari, the Bandari became such good friends with Bushaka and his friends that she even goes for an adventure to India with him... But that story is for another time!

P.S:
Bushaka was born in 2007 as a playful little lion cub with adventure in his eyes and an attitude to make new friends and create fun games all the time. He was born to make my daughter's (Vedha, then 5yrs old) life a little more exciting than it already was. :)
A couple of Bushaka's friends, besides the new friend Sundari, the bandari introduced in this story, are Moshu, the cat and Kakaraku, the frog.
Bushaka's early year stories are written as a read-aloud story for little kids.


Monday, August 12, 2013

The Streets of Venice and Crete

This is a poem written by Vedha on 9th August 2013, as I was busy making Biryani to celebrate Eid. She wanted it posted on my Blog so she can be "world-famous" according to her! :)

There's someone I want to tell you about,
I might as well shout it all aloud.

Since there's no one around me,
I might as well let it all out,
So here goes:

We walked up the streets -
Of Venice and Crete.
We went to a place,
To get something to eat.

We talked and laughed,
And we hugged and loved.
As huge as a heart,
We sat by the hearth.

- So that's what happened
In Venice and Crete.


Monday, July 29, 2013

The Wonder 'O' Machine

This is a story written by my daughter, Vedha in 2012, when she was 10 years old (she is 11 now). I found it very interesting and full of adventure so with her permission, I am posting it here on Vedha's behalf. Please note that this is typed exactly as it was written except for a couple of corrections in the main character's name to maintain consistency! :)

"No!" said a person in the village. He was surfing at the beach when he noticed that the water at the beach was flooding! Soon, in a few weeks that village was submerged into the sea. A few million years later a new gadget was made. The new gadget was called The Wonder 'O' Machine. Now, the Wonder 'O' Machine was built in different types, one for land, one for water and the last one was for the air transport. But it could go to outer space and meet their friends from Mars.

Now, this story is about the Wonder 'O' Machine which was the one for water. Now after a few years people had to use the Wonder 'O' Machine (of any type). There was a marine biologist and her name was Suzanne Markman. She had the gadget for water since she was a marine biologist. Soon she had read the headlines of the 'Daily News'. It said, "WORLD'S AQUA ENDANGERED SPECIES, THE BETTA, WAS KILLED AND ONLY ABOUT 30 BETTAS LEFT IN THE ENTIRE WORLD." Suzanne was shocked by this and the Betta was her favourite aqua animal!! She grabbed her vehicle which could fold into a small miniature car when it wasn't in use. Once she reached the beach, she pressed a button on the miniature car and soon it transformed into the vehicle. She got inside the vehicle and clicked another button and it moved forward into the water and then she pulled a gear and a voice from the speaker said, "YOU HAVE NOW ACTIVATED THE SUBMARINE." and the vehicle which was short for the Wonder 'O' Machine sank into the water. An hour went by and it was time for supper. Suzanne pressed a button and said, "dinner" and a small tray popped up with delicious Tacos!

She had put the vehicle under auto driving and started eating when something caught her eye. She saw a very shiny thing so she went close to it, but she still couldn't understand what it was so she went even closer. Soon she noticed a lot of skeletons. She got very scared, but she wanted to explore so she looked around. A few hours later she noticed that this thing she saw was a village! She could see remains of the houses and all other buildings.

She used her phone and called her best friend Lilly. "Lilly I want you to come to East Coast Beach with your water vehicle and get into the water at the shallows. I need to show you something really awesome and don't forget to bring your movie camera" she said to Lilly. So after that call Suzanne went to the shallows to pick up Lilly. Soon both of them were back to the sunken village. "Wow! What is all this Suzanne?" Lilly asked. "This is the Island which sank because of a great flood in 2012" said Suzanne. Lilly had taken some pictures to put on the news and on the computer. But Suzanne had a different idea. She took out a book with blank pages and started writing this story, but no one has ever solved the mystery of how old age people lived.

Author: Vedha
Year: 2012

Sunday, July 28, 2013

To Listen Was to Hear

She stood in the rain, at crossroads with herself.
'Should I move straight ahead or follow the fallen leaves?'
She closed her eyes and continued to walk.
The path was chosen, she felt it with her bare feet.
She smelt the air and followed the mixture of scents calling to her.

A week passed by as she continued walking,
Seeing nothing, for her eyes were shut.
She heard every sound, 
From the distant rustle of birds on a tree,
To the blade of grass stepped on by beasts.

Something, somewhere caught her attention.
Was it a sound, a smell or a feel on her bare arms?
She couldn't say.

She knew she had to stop, for this was her calling.
This was where she had to wait till she grew a new tree.
She dug the earth deep and sowed the little seed.

Bushaka Learns the Kakaraku Hop Game

One day Bushaka, the lion wanted to play something different, a new game, may be even make a new friend. He went to his lion friends Shimbuka and Kashimbu and told them, "Let's go for a walk in the jungle. We'll make some new friends and play some new games."

Shimbuka and Kashimbu said "roar... roar... that's a good idea, let's go!" They knew that Bushaka was always great at finding new things to do and they were so very excited.

So off they went, for a walk in the jungle. They ran a little, walked a little and looked around for other animals to play with. Finally they saw a frog.

Can you show me how frogs move?

This little frog went... Hop! Hop! Hop!

Bushaka said "Hellloooo! We want to play with you... can we play with you please?"

"Croaak" said the frog.

"I am Bushaka and these are my friends Shimbuka and Kashimbu. What's your name?" Bushaka asked the little frog.

"Croaak" replied the frog.

Kashimbu and Shimbuka burst out laughing "roar... roar... ha ha ha... his name is croaak."

What sound do frogs make?

The frog looked at Bushaka and said "My name is Kakaraku. I'll play with you if you ask your friends to stop laughing at me just because they don't understand the Croaking language."

"OK. I'm sorry." said Bushaka and told both Shimbuka and Kashimbu to stop laughing at Kakaraku.

"So, what game are we playing?" asked Kashimbu all excited.

Kakaraku replied "Here goes... I will hop thrice and the three of you try to catch me."
"But... if I land on a leaf or a branch by the third hop then whoever is trying to catch me is out."

Bushaka jumped up and down saying "That's an interesting game!"

"There's one more thing..." said Kakaraku, "you have to catch me in three hops and if I don't reach a leaf or a branch in three hops then I am out."

So they started playing. Kakaraku counted "1...2...3..." and off they ran behind Kakaraku as he leaped into the air... Hop!!

Shimbuka almost caught him and Kakaraku went HOP for the second time away from Shimbuka even before he knew what was happening. As Shimbuka tried to pounce on Kakaraku for the second time, Kakaraku went HOP and landed on a big leaf.

"Yay!" shouted Kakaraku, "Shimbuka is out! Shimbuka is out!"

Then there was only Bushaka and Kashimbu. So once again Kakaraku said "1...2...3..." and off they ran to catch Kakaraku. HOP! and Kakaraku escaped from right under Kashimbu's nose as he tried to catch him. The second time Kakaraku went Hop! Kashimbu pounced and lost balance falling down with his face landing in the mud and dust... Kashimbu's face was all brown and all you could see were his big eyes trying to search for the fast little Kakaraku. The moment he realised that he was close to Kakaraku, HOP! went Kakaraku the third time high up in the air and landed on a branch.

"Yay! Yay!" shouted Kakaraku once again, "Kashimbu is out! Kashimbu is out!"

Kashimbu stood there looking all confused and dusty. Shimbuka was rolling and laughing "roar... roar... ha ha ha" looking at Kashimbu.

Both of them stood under a tree and watched with full interest as Kakaraku and Bushaka continued the game.

"1...2...3..." and off ran Bushaka to catch Kakaraku. Kakaraku jumped high Hop! and Bushaka missed catching him. Then Hop! went Kakaraku for the second time, this time to the left of Bushaka. Bushaka almost caught his own tail!

Finally, for the third time Kakaraku took a deep breath "CROAK!" and jumped Hop! just as Bushaka pounced on him but Bushaka missed him once again. And Kakaraku was high in the air... and landed plop! On the ground and not a leaf or a branch.

So, Bushaka ended up winning the game and luckily Kakaraku hadn't got hurt too. Because, you do know that lions are so much bigger than Kakraku that he could have gotten hurt if any of them had pounced right on to him?

"Phew!" said Kakaraku, "nice to meet all three of you. I have taught you a new game but I have to go home now. Next time may be I will teach you the croaking language so you can understand my language."

They all said bye... bye... and Kakaraku went back home.

Bushaka made a new friend and also went back home with Kashimbu and Shimbuka. The three of them taught all their friends the new game and had lots of fun. Off course none of them could really go HOP! like little Kakaraku but they somehow managed to play the new 'Kakaraku Hop Game."

Can you show me how high you can jump?

Bushaka, Kashimbu and Shimbuka became experts at it because after all they learnt it from the expert hopper, Kakaraku himself!

P.S:
Bushaka was born in 2007 as a playful little lion cub with adventure in his eyes and an attitude to make new friends and create fun games all the time. He was born to make my daughter's (Vedha, then 5yrs old) life a little more exciting than it already was. :)
A couple of Bushaka's friends, besides the new friend Kakaraku, the frog introduced in this story, are Moshu, the cat and Sundari, the bandari (monkey).
Bushaka's early year stories are written as a read-aloud story for little kids.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bushaka, The Lion

Bushaka, the lion was sad. He had forgotten how to roar. 
How do lions roar?

He walked alone through the jungle with big sad eyes. A wild cat, Moshuu, was playing with a hard round fruit, in fact, it was a Wood Apple! She looked at Bushaka and said "Meaaaow... meaaaow... what happened? Why are you so sad?" meaaaow... meaaaow..."

Do you know how to meow like a cat?

Bushaka replied, "I've forgotten how to roar. All my friends are laughing at me. sniff... sniff" and cried. Moshuu said, "Ah! Come let's play together and I can teach you to meow like me... meaaaow... meaaaow..."

Bushaka was happy and played for a long, long time with Moshuu and learnt how to meow by the evening. Then he went home and stood in front of all his friends and said very sweetly "meaaaow... meaaaow..."

But hearing him, everyone was roaring with laughter.

ROAR! HA HA HA... ROAR! HA HA HA...

Bushaka ran away, feeling sad.  His mama saw him running and went after him "Bushaka, stop! What happened? What's the matter, tell me..."

Bushaka cried (tears down his cheeks and gookie down his nose, which his mama wiped away) and he said "Mama, all my friends are laughing at me..." sob sob he continued, "because I have forgotten how to roar... but... but I met a new friend today, Moshuu and she taught me how to meow"

"When I showed my friends that I can meow, they all started roaring and laughing at me. waaa..."

"Oh wow! You know how meow like a cat?" said his mama, "Will you get your friend to teach me how to meow too? We'll go tomorrow to meet your friend and you both can teach me how to meow."

The next morning, Bushaka took his mama to Moshuu and his mama also learnt to meow and purr too. She sounded so beautiful!

Bushaka and Moshuu had another fun filled day playing Opposite-To-Me and a whole load of fun games. His mama had packed a nice little lunch for them which they had sitting on a swinging branch of a BIG tree. What fun they had!

When they went back home in the evening, his mama taught all the big lions and lionesses to meow and purr and the next few days all the elders in their pride went about meowing and purring sweetly for a change instead of roaring loudly.

All of Bushaka's friends came running to him and begged him to teach them to meow like the big lions and lionesses. Bushaka took them to Moshuu and by the evening all of them were meowing and purring happily. They too became friends with the lovable and playful little Moshuu and her friends.

And so Bushaka taught all his friends a new thing and was happy with all his old friends and new.

P.S:
Bushaka was born in 2007 as a playful little lion cub with adventure in his eyes and an attitude to make new friends and create fun games all the time. He was born to make my daughter's (Vedha, then 5yrs old) life a little more exciting than it already was. :)
A couple of Bushaka's friends, besides the new friend Moshuu introduced in this story, are Shimbuka, Kashimbu and Kakaraku, the frog.
Bushaka's early year stories are written as a read-aloud story for little kids.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

A Concept of Simplicity

Sun dried tomatoes and olives in pasta
These my dear are a thing of the past.
Waking up to the silence in the soul,
Listening to the calm of the mind
These are what I look for now.

The sun hides behind dark clouds.
The moon revels with the stars around.
The rains that kiss the ground,
The path that is lit for me to walk,
Today is that day, now is that time.

Sinking into the earth, bringing forth new life
As the navel of the universe lights up...
Yet again, yet again.

Mastheads of sailing ships in the horizon
Fifty feet high waves rise up.
Come into my arms, let me take you to the top,
Beyond the waves and past the sailing ships.
Life, laughter, tears and sorrow - 
All become one, all become one.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Romancing the Rain


Down the pavement, she skipped along
With a song in her head, a smile on her lips.
As large drops of heaven came slowly down,
She couldn’t help but gently sway her hips.

Barefoot and wild, she swayed away.
Heels in one hand, an ice-cream in the other;
Innocent as a child, lest your mind goes astray.
Never once did she look for cover.

A lick of the ice, an upward glance at the skies;
Memories of yesteryears - Her eyes brightly shone.
A flash of pain but love quickly rescues...
And keeps her no longer alone!

The ringing of a bell, the heaving of clouds above.
He opens the door, lets her in...
Towel in hand, eyes filled with love.
"I knew you'd need this" he said, with a grin;
And just a hint of envy 
At the heavens, that had caressed her hair
And driven her, Oh! so crazy.
But he knew this was just a short-lived love affair.


Inspired by and written for the "Romance In The Rains" contest conducted at Atta Galatta for the book launch of Nandita Bose's The Perfume of Promise.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Life Goes On. A Living Has To Be Made

He was all of 11 years old. His life consisted of playing till the sun went down, and then some more, going to school and ensuring that his parents were asked to visit the school at least once every month and apologise for his antics, asking for and getting all his favourite food and pretending to study when the date for his examination drew closer.

He was the youngest of three children and he knew his mother would do anything that he asked for. Life was good since the universe revolved around him. He left for school that morning rather late and was dropped off by his father after the constant pleas by his mother lest he miss his classes and worse get punished for being late.

His father, usually the epitome of silence told him "You don't realise what a comfortable life you have, son. Don't take things too easy because life has a way to jolt us and force us to learn lessons that we choose to ignore." He sat pretending to be sullen and sorry for his behaviour while he thought to himself that as long as his mother was around, he could do anything and no one in the world would be able to harm him.

That evening he was out playing later than usual. His sister came looking for him and he tried hiding from her for as long as he could. However he heard a certain desperation in her voice that he somehow couldn't ignore. Something in him urged him to get out of hiding and go to her. She didn't yell at him like she normally would and in fact didn't say a word. Just "Come home."

He didn't like the silence between as they walked home, her pushing her cycle while he walked by her side. He tried to break the silence with a "Is papa mad at me?"
No response.

Now, he was anxious and could feel the butterflies in his stomach. May be this was the day he would actually get a solid whacking like his older brother usually does. May be he should just run away. Mother will anyway find him and bring him back home safe. May be he should try to get his sister on his side with some inane story that he was studying with a few friends and so didn't realise the time. As his mind raced with multiple things that he could or should do to avoid what ever unpleasantness awaited him back home, they were closer home. His sister was still mum.

There was no car at the gate, so well at least his father wasn't home yet. He relaxed a bit. As he enters the door, he shouts out towards his mother "Mama, didi embarrassed me in front of all my friends. Why did she have to come and get me? Now all my friends think I am a little baby!"

To his surprise his mother didn't say a word. She sat silently on the easy chair by the window and stared out blankly into the darkness beyond the window.

The anxiousness and the butterflies in his stomach were back. Something was wrong for sure. His mother had never ignored him in his entire eleven years of existence. "What happened mama? Why aren't you talking to me?" No response.

After a few fleeting seconds that felt like an hour to him, his mother said almost in a barely audible whisper "Go change your clothes and wait in your room."

Something told him that he should just do what was asked off him. He sat in his room, having changed his clothes waiting impatiently but fearfully for he didn't know what to expect. His eyes fell on a can of mosquito repellent spray and he thought may be he should just drink it up and then they would rush him to the hospital and all will be forgotten. His mind wandered off with images he inspired by movies he had seen. An ambulance speeding to the nearest hospital with him inside. His parents telling him how sorry they were and that everything will be alright. His sister getting a shouting from his parents.

Suddenly, breaking his reverie his brother came in to the room and told him to stay at home with their sister. Mom and he will be back home late at night or only in the morning. He heard himself ask what was wrong and his voice was shaking. He didn't recognize his own voice... devoid of any arrogance or rudeness it sounded like someone else's altogether. Mother came in and hugged him... "Your papa is no more." she said and burst out crying. The eleven year old put his arm around his mother and said in a voice that was unnaturally calm and cold "That's OK mama. Life has a way to jolt us and force us to learn lessons that we choose to ignore."



Sunday, June 02, 2013

No, I am Not Writing This Today

No, I am not writing this today
Come what may
I am jut not writing this today
Or any other day!

Some days words just don't flow out as easily as others.  Stories stay stuck in my head and refuse to be born. It's after a day like this that I don't sleep so well at night. The stories in my head make for delusional dreams. It's not a writer's block, no. It somehow is just not time yet for these stories to be told. On days like this, I just let the universe take control of my day and give my angels some more time to set things up right for me.

Saturday was a day like that. I began writing this post yesterday but somehow things were just not meant to be. We were to go away for the weekend to a place with water sports and loads of activities, but as it turned out the plan had to be cancelled at the last minute. I was to get myself a Vespa yesterday after months of deliberation and planning but as things turned out, I did buy it but didn't get the bike yet. Under such circumstances I would have been highly strung that things were not going as planned. However a few months back in a +Paulo Coelho book I read that if things are not going your way, stop and take a few moments to relax, your angels are working hard to set the right time and circumstances for something good to happen to you. Give your angels the time they need instead of making them work even more harder setting up obstacles to curb all the rushing around that you do.

So, NO, I couldn't have completed this post yesterday no matter how hard I tried just as I couldn't get away for the weekend break or get the bike yesterday. But here it is, with Blog-A-Prompt word NO, this sure was a tough post to complete. There's no beginning or end to this post, it just is.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Disaster Strikes When you Least Expect it!

The dictionary definition of disaster is 
noun: a calamitous event, especially one occurring suddenly and causing great loss of life, damage, or hardship, as a flood, airplane crash, or business failure.

This is a story of a woman whose hardship may or may not have been classified as a disaster. You, the reader decide.

Let me warn you that this story begins as abruptly as it will end...

She was stranded at a cross road on a Friday evening. How she ended up there makes for another story, suffice to say that here she was. It was close to 9 PM and there was a threat of rains. She stood under the bus shelter with a number of other girls who had just finished their shift at a mall close by. She wasn't one of them but there was always safety in numbers. A couple of men were at the shelter too. All waiting for the right bus to board.

The first bus stops by and no one gets on to the bus. The same with the second and the third buses. However, by the time the fourth bus leaves the shelter the numbers dwindle to 3 women and 2 men, not including herself.  The fifth bus stops by and the numbers left at the bus shelter is now 2 women and 2 men, this time including her too.

She looks at her watch and realizes that it is just about ten past nine. That's not too late for a city that bustles with activity even at 3 am, she thinks to herself and stands closer to the other woman, trying to look more confident than she felt.  She rummages through her bag, pulls out her cell phone which only she knows has a dying battery. She pretends to look at it, all busy when suddenly...

She notices a figure walking in her direction. A smartly dressed short but well-built man in his 20s walks towards her smiling. He asks her still smiling "Does this bus go to..." followed by a common destination point. She gives him a cold glare and steps back closer to the only other woman at the bus shelter. In the five minutes that followed before the bus arrived, all the new arrival did was smile at her... with an almost psychotic demeanour. She ignored him while keeping her eye on him discreetly.

The moment the bus arrived, the "psychotic" stranger was the only one who ran and stopped the bus before getting on it.

By now, she had decided to take a bus to the same common destination point from where she could choose to get home almost definitely without much trouble or any more waiting.

She got on to the next bus that came, found herself a seat, pulled out a book and before she knew it, was lost in the book. Suddenly she jumped out of her skin because she heard a commotion... something about a lost pass. The voice was unmistakably the same. The "psychotic" young man from the bus shelter earlier. He was being asked to produce the pass or get off the bus. He tried to smile and talk his way through the situation. She felt goose bumps on her neck and decided, enough was enough! She spoke out aloud and mentioned how he had made her uncomfortable at a previous stop and she said that she could guarantee he didn't have either a pass or money for the bus.

He was promptly asked to disembark from the bus. As he got off the bus, he looked straight in to her eyes and said "I am not lying". She looked away, glancing at her watch... it was a quarter to 10 now and she really needed to get home without any more incidents. She reached the destination fifteen minutes later and as she began crossing the road, her eyes met a pair of eyes. The psychotic gleam in them were unmistakable. The world as she knew ended right there...

Like I said earlier this story begins as abruptly as it will end.

Disaster, I feel is something that happens to you when you are not looking, when you are not aware, when you are complacent, when you take things for granted, when you are so sure about your world. 


The dictionary definition of disaster is 
noun: a calamitous event, especially one occurring suddenly and causing great loss of life, damage, or hardship, as a flood, airplane crash, or business failure.

This is a story of a woman whose hardship may or may not have been classified as a disaster. You, the reader decide how this story might have ended.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Loneliness and Paranoia in a stranger's city

As she sat at the edge of the bed all alone in a strange but plush hotel room, her eyes fell on the  single bottle of water at the side table. She was thirsty but then her mind wandered... what if she drank up all the water and was thirsty in the middle of the night? This was a boutique hotel with no 24 hour room service. Where will she get more water to quench her thirst? What if she were to die of thirst in the middle of the night all alone in a strange city, in a strange but plush hotel? She could read the headlines in the morning papers "Woman found dead under mysterious circumstances!"

What would her family think? May be she should change out of her shorts to track pants so the photo of her dead body doesn't cause the least bit of embarrassment to her family.

Oh! But she didn't want to die of thirst. She did want to drink that water though. But once again her mind wandered... If she were thirsty again in the middle of the night, she might have to crawl  to the basin in the wash room. And once again the headlines in the morning paper were glaring at her "Woman dies under mysterious circumstances!"

Again, should she change into more presentable clothes? And so she spent the night staring at the bottle of water, never sipping from it and never sleeping. Until it was daylight and in moments she was fast asleep. At least there was room service now! She will not die of thirst...


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Every child should raise itself!

Me: V, your tummy is so yummy... who made your tummy?
V: I don't know. You tell me.
Me: I made your yummy tummy
V: No. Look at your lovely big tummy. I made it so big!

The title of this post is from Anne Frank "The Diary of a Young Girl"
I just finished reading this amazing book and the timing seemed perfect. As a mother of an inquisitive almost 11 year old daughter, it has given me some food for thought and excellent insight into girls of that age. Obviously every child is different et all but some generalizations work and provide a good foundation for parents to do more good than harm in the process of parenting.

I am just glad that my little girl has the habit of both keeping a diary and talking to me. So far, so good. She is a normal and lovely 11 year old and beautiful human being. Hoping that I am able to continue doing justice to her life!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

My life is my inspiration !

I have been that little girl who trusted and lost, who grew up too early for her age, who always had a smile on her face while she wore borrowed & faded clothes to school. I have been that teenage girl who began working when she turned 18, curbing her dreams of going to college. I have been that working professional who did a kick-ass job every time but had to feel apologetic every time she had to take a day off for her daughter’s PTA meeting. I have been that neurotic single mom who has screamed and yelled, who has sometimes felt so exhausted at the end of a day because she just wants to put her feet up & relax. 

I have been that little girl who made friends easily, who played every sport in school, who was forever the tomboy. I have been that teenage girl who bought her first bike with her own money, who wasn’t afraid to ride home at midnight every day after work, who had her first drink when she was 18. I have been that working professional who brought in happiness and cheer to work, who was always there to help out, who made friends out of colleagues. I have been that friend who’s always there, who always called her friends to wish them happy birthday. I have been that single mom who never tires of making her daughter laugh in all the strangest ways, who cooks her heart out because she knows her daughter will wallop a dish, who never tires of telling her daughter she loves her.
I am not you & my life over 37 years has been my inspiration!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Just a Story - Chapter 1

Sayoni could still taste the blood in her mouth, her nostrils filled with the stench of blood. The memory was vague, the images distant but the blood still felt real. She sat staring outside the window for what seemed like ages. She had no consciousness of activities around her and the people around her. She was alone in her world.

Now, the taste of chocolate melting in her mouth, the bitter sweet smell filling her being. A half smile passed her lips, a slight twinkle in her eyes, a flicker of memory. And then, nothing.

Two days later, an image crossed her mind. One with a beach, the sounds of happiness, laughter and cheer. Blank again.

Three months later, singing; a familiar voice. Again a spark of memory, an involuntary half smile and yes, that twinkle in her eyes. Staring out the window. The colours seemed to have changed, a whiff of the smell of rain on mud. One more memory. The taste of blood, her nostrils filled with the stench of blood. A scream, so close to her! Numb.

A year later, no window to stare out of. Just the ceiling and a fan. The fan, grey in colour. Memory of a grey sky. A shadow passed by a pair of eyes. A familiar image. The sounds of panting. The pair of eyes again, this time a different expression in them. They were trying to say something. Silence again. Alone in her world.

*****************

She got up with a start. Wet palms. Sweaty eyebrows and complete disorientation. She glanced at the clock by her bed. 03:15 A.M. “oh, now I can’t go back to sleep” she thought to herself.
She stepped out and lit a cigarette. The red ashes burning at the tip of her cigarette, gave her a relief. Relief she couldn’t define to herself. “can’t wake the neighbours” she thought to herself and puffed away silently. She had had a bad dream. What it was all about, she couldn’t recall. She felt her heart pounding! “Something bad is going to happen today” she thought to herself.

“Calm down! Try to recall your dream, stupid woman…”She couldn’t! She gave up. Stubbed her cigarette half way through and went back indoors.

“Oh damn! Where’s the sleep when you want it?!” she looked at the clock 04:35. “might as well get up now.” She pulled herself out of her bed and began silently preparing her coffee. Black! That’s the only way she liked it. “was this again about mama and what she had been through?”

“Why do I have to go through this all the time? Preeta was there too, why doesn’t she have the same restless life that I do?”

“Gotta see mama tomorrow. It’s been almost a week. The doc had said the more regular the visits, the better the chances of mama getting back her life.”

By the time Sureni was ready, all bathed and in crisp white clothes, it was 7AM. She had almost killed herself with her thoughts these past 3 waking hours.

She drove to the hospital, half conscious of the roads or the traffic. It was a routine for her. Once she reached the hospital, she calmly reached for her visitor’s pass and showed it to the guy at the gate, who was obviously ogling at her. She had long given up trying to dress conservatively for her bi-weekly visits to the hospital. It didn’t make a damn difference to the assholes anyway. She now dressed as she felt like when she woke up any morning. To hell with their hormones and their problem dealing with it!

She could sense the guy sizing her up but she just stayed focused and drove through the driveway to the parking lot.

Mama was lost, as usual. One of her old songs came to Sureni’s mind and she began to hum it faintly, knowing fully well that mama didn’t care a damn. She couldn’t even hear her or even be aware that someone she knew was around her.

Sureni continued the singing till after lunch time. “Got to get across to her” the motivations were selfish. It wasn’t about mama that she cared about but she couldn’t explain away her insomnia since the incident. It was almost four years and not a thing had changed, yet so much had changed! She still got up in the middles of the night unaware of the nightmare that caused her to wake up. Her mama was still locked up in her own world, unwilling to break free!!

*****************

Preeta was her chirpy self. She left her office building in her red sedan. The music was loud and it was one of her favourite songs gonna get it right this time… some people they go for second best… not me!

She smiled as she sang, slowing down at the traffic lights. She put down her window and adjusted the mirror. “Ah! That’s better.” Started the car and she chose the longer path to the hospital today.

“Hello Doc! You are looking handsome as usual” Preeta openly flirted with him. “He is kinda cute…” she thought, “but not my type.” I won’t settle for second best she smiled.

“So, how’s my mama faring? I hope you aren’t getting used to having her here?” Preeta joked. He looked up at her with a puzzled expression. “oh! Chill doc, I’m just bugging you” she flitted off to mama’s ward, so full of life and humming a tune “Mmmm… mmmm… mmmm…”

“Hi mama! Stop sitting there and staring at the rains… you should be out there getting drenched!”

“Oh well! You are growing awfully boring with age… huh! I’ll soon tire of coming and seeing you if you go on like this.”

She opened the paper bag and laid out the contents on the only table in the room, by the wall. Two cups of coffee – one black and one cappuccino, two slices of banana walnut cake, some tissues and a tall glass of mango juice. “That should tempt mama hopefully.”
“How I wish things were back the way they were. Even if mama’s memory improves, things will never be the same. In fact the boat will rock once more. The Pandora’s box will re-open… oh God! Make it stop. Stop Preeta!! Things are fine the way they are. Get back into your world… put that smile back on your face.”

She turned with the cup of black coffee in her hands, “Mama this coffee smells heavenly” she said. “You should get your cup before it gets cold.”

“Ah! You are still ignoring me huh? How long will you pretend that you don’t hear me or see me? If you seriously think this will discourage me from coming and seeing you then you are definitely right! This is the last time and this time I mean it!”

She looked at mama and though she saw a slight smile, and then gone! Was it there? Or was it just her imagination? Talk Preeta, talk… say something.

“I love these summer showers! You remember mama, how we used to rush out in the rain… just you and me… barefoot and giggling? Oh yes, you giggle more like a little girl than me. But you were pretty much a little girl, weren’t you? Well, most of the times at least.”

“Sureni could never understand the joys that we felt just dancing in the rain, losing all inhibitions.”

“Mama, we should be out there” she said sipping on the coffee, she could hardly taste. Her words choked her, and her eyes welled up. She remembered that fateful day. It was raining then too. Not this summer rain kind of rain. It was almost a storm that night. The rain was so loud that it muted the radio. She had walked up to the system and increased the volume. The RJ was doling out some inane trivia about some band… how every member in the band wore opposite footwear while on a particular tour. She had found it funny then and smiled. “Stop it Preeta! Stop it! You don’t have to relive that day everyday. YOU need to be in this hospital, not mama. Mama is surely putting on a brilliant act of losing her memory. She was always a great actor.”

She walked to the table, picked up a slice of cake and started nibbling on it. Reaching out with the other hand, she smoothed mama’s hair. “Mama, I know you can hear me and understand me. It’s taken me this past one year to understand but I need to tell you one thing… I know why you are doing this. You don’t need to mama. Trust me, you don’t need to. Sureni might have forgotten that day but not me. Be yourself mama and relieve me of this burden… of carrying this memory alone.” She almost gave in to her tears, just when Doctor Ketan walked in.

*****************

There was an error in this gadget