Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Distance makes the heart grow fonder?





Packing my last piece of garment into my suitcase, my head moved sideways with my 

pupils shifting gaze to the entire length of the wooden almirah. A handkerchief or a piece 

of toiletry left behind would be duly returned to me on my next visit with a scolding by 

mom. A scolding accompanied with a twist of my ear and a reminder that I was no longer 

a little girl. I never was.

I couldn’t bathe in the luxury of a childhood. Before the last embers burnt to ashes, I had 

donned the trilby of a patriarch and the trappings that came with the title. Responsibility 

was my middle name.

The paid holiday of two fortnights was an annual indulgence which I concluded it to be of 

avian species that flew away with the bat of an eyelid. My short tresses would be 

pampered with a home-made herbal oil concoction easing the accumulated corporate 

stress.  I was treated to an array of gastronomical delights cooked on slow fires under 

Ma's watchful supervision, a far cry from the monotonous urban canteens and cheap

restaurants. 

I and my little sibling walked into the woods and waded into vernal waters hand-in-hand.


As my luggage was loaded into the tonga, my posture bent down to touch the wrinkled 

feet. Her trembling hands clasped my shoulders to raise me and I melted into her warm 

embrace. I held her tightly to dig my tears into her cotton sari which absorbed my 

sadness.

“Take care, Ma”, soft words churned from my throat.

“I am not so helpless, Anjali”, a fusillade of salty pouring added to the melancholy. Her 

grief and helplessness were camouflaged in her uttering.

“When will you come again?” fully knowing my itinerary.

“Soon”, I heard myself say, aware that the monosyllable implied a time gap of 24 

fortnights. This enquiry had become a annual ritual.

“Didiiiiiiiiiii, you will miss your train”, neighed the voice from the tonga.

                          Image result for Indian tonga


(Indian tonga. Google pic)

Geeta had left a generous space for me to be seated beside her in the mode of 

transportation. With one strong hand she pulled me inside the horse-cart to foist my body 

under the awning. The waving of the hands continued till the bend of the road swallowed 

my Ma out of sight.

I and my sibling had a long way to travel.

The hoofs of the animal echoed the rhythmic pattern in a sing-song manner to rock the 

cart. Our bodies swayed in unison. The rough disheveled road added to the woes. 

“Ma looks frail”,  with concern in my voice.

Geeta nonchalantly rolled her eyes and shrugged her shoulders.

The hills adjoining the road showed subtle signs of ageing with crevices. The trees on the 

hills seemed to keep each other at arm’s distance. Not all seems to be in good health.

“Her tongue develops a sweet coat with your arrival. You haven’t tasted her bitter words, 

Didi”.

It was my turn to roll my eyes but I widened them.

“Remember what she has gone through, Gee”. This was my way of addressing her.

“And do you have any idea how I suffer under her, didi?”

“Ma is a blanket of love”.

“At times this love suffocates me. Didi, I have no rights or privacy. She demands to know 

the details of my friends. Going for a sleepover is out of question. Is there anyone to 

question you?”

“Gee, she dotes on you. Every right comes with a baggage of duty and responsibility. Do 

you know how much I miss her warmth and your company, Gee, in the far-flung Mumbai? 

The thought of coming back home and to my family keeps my heart ticking”. I almost 

sermon-ed my little sibling.

With an extra velvety gentleness I asked if Gee would like to trade places with me.

Abdul Chacha , the tonga-driver lashed the whip on the Sona’s body. Gee 's body shivered.

“Quicken the pace of your hooves, Sona (horse)” , and Abdul Chacha was privy to our 

exchange of words.

Gee and I were locked in a loving embrace, my last query having dissolved her rebellious 

streak.

We said our good-byes to each other.

Me and my luggage entered the train. 

The metallic monster chugged out of the station. From the rectangular window frame, 

the distant hills looked verdant, devoid of any cracks and in salubrious health. I smiled. 

The train of my thoughts continued with my journey..........







Notes :-

Almirah - Wooden wardrobe.

Hindus cremate the dead. Later the ashes and bones are immersed into the waters.

Indian youngsters bend down and touch the feet of elders as a mark of respect and to 

seek blessings.

Didi - elder sister.

Tonga- Indian horse-drawn cart 

Chacha - Uncle , addressed with respect.

Sona - name of the horse.

This is a piece of fiction.


Monday, 14 August 2017

Blessings


               Weekly Writing Prompt #102

                       

                            DOOR Template Instructions
                                     (5) Words: | DRAGON | PROVIDE | HEART | FIELD | HAND |

                    Please feel free to substitute any of the words with a synonym.🎈 🎭 ✨


                             sun provides blessings
                           hands till riparian farms
                        warms Earth's heart and soul
                        father sows seed, Ma nurtures
                           they reap fruits in unison





Haiku (5 – 7 – 5)


Tanka (5 – 7 – 5 – 7 – 7)


Shadorma (3 – 5 – 3 – 3 – 7 – 5)
6 lines – no rhymes – multiple stanzas [your choice] – just follow meter


Villanelle (19 line poem[no word limit]–2 repeating rhymes & 2 refrains)… Excellent example is Dylan Thomas’s “Do not go gentle into that good night”


Nonet (9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1) progression downward of syllables


Cinquain (2 – 4 – 6 – 8 – 2) five-line poem on any theme – syllables


’28’ Form (4 x 7) or (7 x 4) lines & syllables or lines


Free Verse – No Limitations

Note :  I have opted for the Tanka form of poetry. I have substituted dragon to Sun as both emit fire and heat. Ma means mother in Indian language.



Written for Weekly Writing Prompt # 102 , Secretkeeper.





Sunday, 13 August 2017

Zanjeer


          Sunday Photo Fiction – August 13th 2017






Photo Prompt by Al Forbes

He wiped his muddy stains on tar road and raced around it, his coat gleaming of

eucalyptus oil. Ganesh trailed him, waiting for the slightest signal to pick up vital clues. 

The grey telephone booth  became a centre of his focus and attention. Ganesh 

took the hint and wondered what the innocuous looking wooden structure held inside to 

garner attention. But being trained to handle sensitive cases, his unseen antennas picked 

up unusual wavelengths. The entire force in khaki apparel got ready for action. One pair 

of strong hands opened the door of the booth effortlessly. The Police scanned the entire 

structure. Only air seemed to be enclosed. His acute sense of smell could never be 

doubted or undermined.

While the Mumbai Police looked at the walls and roof, Detective Karamchand’s pupils 

were arrested at the ground beneath his soles. “Dig”, he yelled having scented the cache.

There was enough ammunition to blow up the entire city of Mumbai. The area was 

immediately cordoned off to avoid the onslaught of the Fourth Estate.

Ganesh bent down and patted Zanjeer's gleaming coat.

“Good boy, treat yourself with a biscuit”, praising the canine.


“woof woof” , responded Zanjeer.


                 Written for  : Sunday Photo Fiction

                                            



word count : 196

Note : Zanjeer was trained at the Dog Training Centre of the Criminal Investigating 

Department. The Mumbai Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad took him under their wing 

and handler Ganesh and Zanjeer helped the department recovered RDX  and gelatin sticks 

in 1993 Mumbai bombings.

Read more about Zanjeer here.

I have tweaked a bit for the story.




Click HERE to read all the wonderful SPF entries.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Prisoners

FLASH FICTION FOR THE PURPOSEFUL PRACTITIONER- 2017: WEEK 31


bus


                                                             JulyMorgueFile file6681324364046


The wheels wobbled in the uneven potholed road rocking the spines to and fro. The 

creaky bones cringed as the engine trembled. All heads were bent, the pupils glued to 

the palm that treasured the piece of modern technology of communication. Only one 

neck remained erect, the eyes scanning the contents of the bus as the scenes outside 

kept hurtling in the opposite direction. There was no action to arouse interest and his 

eardrums ached for a conversation.

As the vehicle hit the speed-breaker he became acutely aware of his Writer’s Block. It 

clung like an infatuated lover.  Nikhil’s keyboard had draped a thin film of dust. 

His fingers hadn’t tap-danced on the alphabetical pieces. His anxiety had made him take 

refuge in every element of Nature to stimulate his creative juices. Excess intake 

of caffeine was blamed as his body tossed on the mattress. The night seemed to stretch 

beyond its finite time to torment him infinitely. No inspiration sprouted on the barren 

linguistic field.

Finally he boarded a random bus unaware of its destination.


He alighted at the next stop and decided to pen about moron earthlings metamorphosed 

into zombies.


                  written for  : Flash Fiction for the Practical Practitioner - 2017 week 31

word count : 192

Friday, 11 August 2017

Birth???

Tale Weaver # 131 – 10th August 2017 – Birth


earth-399566_1920

Ananya sat staring listlessly outside the open window. A monstrous mango tree stood 

guard, a mute testimony to the sufferings and joys of the inmates of this hospital 

room.The birds and their nests cooing and the butterflies flapping their diaphanous 

coloured wings did not stir an iota of interest in her tired body. Biology ,her favourite 

subject in school.

Her parents tried to comfort her fully knowing her state of mind. Who would comfort 

them?

The nurse announced her entry into the hospital room with a bawling bundle wrapped up 

snugly in her arm.

She cast an uncomfortable look at Ananya and her gaze shifted to the two elders in the 

room.

Mrs. And Mr. Dash looked at each other with an eerie silence. Finding the tension in the 

room too congested for the asthmatic father, he slipped out into the verandah.

“Take that child away from here”, were the sharp words that befell on Ananya’s ears.

Mrs. Dash‘s words had hardly left her lips when suppressed sobs from Ananya’s gullet 

pierced her heart.

The umbilical cord was severed but Ananya still hadn’t developed maternal instincts.

The birth of the child was the birth of her misery, dilemma, suffocation all rolled into 

one.

Her change of clothes from school uniform to a maternity gown was not what she wished 

for.


               written for : Tale Weaver # 131 -10th August 2017- birth.



Note :  A news in a leading newspaper :- A Mumbai girl is said to have gone into a shell after hearing the news of her pregnancy that entered the third trimester last week. She has clammed up and not told the Police anything about the likely sexual assault. She is 13 years old.
Rape, sexual assault on girls are on a rise.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

re-invent







Knowing that he did not have a penny in his tattered pockets, the astrologer told him to 

re-invent his fate when Chenappa forcibly proffered his palm.

Chenappa walked towards the rock to recline and ruminate.

News spread like wild fire in the village that the ugly rock had begun to talk.

“How do I make more money?”

“Stop adding impurities to the gold ornaments” thundered the rock.

The goldsmith beat a hasty retreat but not before genuflecting and depositing currency-

notes in the hollow part of the rock.

Chenappa came from his hideout to pick the booty.  

Re-invent is the mantra. 


                    Written for : Friday Fictioneers. thanks Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

                                               


click HERE to read all the wonderful FF entries.

Nest


              Three Line Tales, Week 80



three line tales week 80: a blue old school VW camper van

                                                            photo by Annie Theby via Unsplash




The chrome blue colour vehicle stood in my backyard fully refurbished akin to a young 

bride but its porous lungs are a testimony to its unfailing labour of the bygone decade 

and half.


Its services needs a well-deserved rest as my weary bones are in need of calcium 

supplements.


The metallic body is shorn of number plate but is ripe with memories of laughter  and 

banter and my fledglings 's  transformation to flit away from the nest.


                         written for  :  Three Line Tales. Thank you Sonya.


Wednesday, 9 August 2017

scarred

         

                                      unnamed-11-e1462409384457

The cue this week is : SCRATCH
Her legs  encircled in a tight embrace, the salty deposits 'sat' on her knees wetting the 

layer of coagulated blood.

Gently she 'uprooted' the wound , the protective layer peeled off in one piece exposing 

her still raw deep lesion.

Her General Physician had asked her not scratch it to expedite the healing process.

The scar was a grim embellishment of her relationship albeit a broken one.

The bodily stain would heal but the hurt , injury , blotch resided deep in the crevice 

of her mind was sequestered from the worldly humans.

Has the 'patron' of her scar ever felt her trauma  or is an unblemished creature? 



                                      Image result for a girl sitting huddled and crying

(google pic)

                           Written for Six Sentence Stories. Thank you Zoe.

                           Click HERE to read all the wonderful SSS entries.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Epistolary saga



Michael teacher, my second grade English teacher has asked us to get a blank Inland 

Envelope Letter. (It was a light blue colour rectangular paper which could be folded like 

an envelope after writing the contents of the letter.)



                                                  Image result for an old inland letter

               
                                                Image result for an old inland letter


 We obediently and eagerly spread it 

on the writing desk the and she engaged us to write a letter to our 

grandparent/s, of course with little prodding on her side. I took to writing, with a 

pointed Natraj pencil, like a fish to water. I exhausted the given space in no time and 

presented it to my teacher. She nodded and made a few corrections. With a 'chest'-full of 

pride, I showed my first handwritten letter to my father and he encouraged me to 

write a ‘real’ letter to my grandfather residing in Bijapur, Karnataka.

That night I sat down, post dinner to write a letter to my grandpa under my papa’s 

tutelage. The full moon kept me company and sleep did not spread its blanket on me 

that night and we sat late to finish off.

My father sealed the envelope with glue and  the recipient’s address written down.

My joy knew no bounds when I dropped the sealed envelope into the red colour post-box 

near my house.


                                                Image result for An old RED COLOUR Indian POSTBOX




 I shared the earlier night's episode with my classmates but none seemed to reciprocate 

my feelings. My child-like mind could not comprehend the lack of mutual sharing 

of happiness of my premier foray into letter-writing, an important mile-stone of my life.



My eyes strained to catch a glimpse of the khaki-colour uniformed post-man whose burlap 

sack was bursting at its seams with envelopes of all shapes and sizes. He would drop the 

letters with care and proceed to the next house. He was a regular feature around two in 

the afternoon, the time reserved for siesta. I loved to receive letters and many a times 

the khaki uniform feet did not make a halt at my door. I would console myself that I 

would definitely receive something the next day.



I had graduated from the Natraj Pencil to blue ink pens in my Secondary School.

                                        Image result for Natraj pencil

My two pen-pals, both from diverse backgrounds from two different countries kept my 

burgeoning interest and enthusiasm alive by sending the postman to my doorstep 

frequently. We wrote about each other’s cultures, festivals, gastronomical delights and 

mundane matters . I was thrilled when the contents of the packet revealed a Pound 

currency note. An Indian Rupee note was dispatched from my side to acquaint her with 

my nation’s currency system. A rainbow of colors spread in my heart and there was a 

spring in my walk.



The Junior college saw me growing taller and mature . 

I visited my home-town, Bijapur, for the final rites of my grandfather. A close relative of 

 reminded me of my maiden letter written to my grandpa as a little girl and further 

shared of my grandpa's glee on receiving a hand-written letter from his first grand-child. 

My eyes could not hold the emotion and the dam burst. The indifference experienced at 

the hands of my classmates was wiped away with the salty outpourings. 



Stepping into adulthood and juggling  the twin responsibilities of running a household 

in my marital home and my professional duties I continued to give updates of my life to 

my parents and sibling  through my pen and it was a relief hearing from their side. Those 

were the days of pre-pay-phones days and phones had not yet mushroomed on every 

nook and corner of the streets. Moreover a long emotional chat burned a big hole in the 

pocket and I wisely  confined myself to writing exhaustive letters.




I noticed the light grey strands on my mom’s head, the approaching tell-tale sign of old 

age. This was not the only indication. Her writing in the letters showed a subtle 

difference which was not missed by my keen eyes. The alphabets were not in their usual 

shape, the spacing between two words was erratic. I realized that all is well on her 

health front. When gently asked, she complained of mild stiffness in her joints.Arthritis 

was slowly corroding her joints.

At times a sentence abruptly halted manifesting a change in her continuity of thoughts. I 

urged her to visit the family physician regularly. This way I kept track of her ailments.


A lot unsaid was said through her flow of ink . It is difficult to accept my mother's

approaching old age and simultaneous thought of my ‘ageing’ too.


With the proliferating of cell phones, the Sun on the epistolary saga has set on the 

horizon. 

On my last visit to her,  a few months ago I saw her making a list of grocery items and it 

was a pleasure nay a privilege to see her alphabets resemble my writing in K.G. I lightly 

admonished her to practice and improve her dots and curves. Life has come to a full 

circle, I realized. And I smiled inwardly.


I now call her up five times a week and with a change in her voice can gauge the coughs 

and colds surrounding her.


            Readers, do share with me about your letter-writing experiences.




                                                  


Notes : Secondary school starts from 5th grade to 10th grade.

The postman's uniform was a khaki coloured dress and a cap.

K.G. - Kindergarten. 

Natraj pencil - a brand of pencil.