Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Ageing with Grace.

They walk side by side - one lost in thoughts, the other, losing touch with herself.

One's hand, wrinkled, trembling vigorously from the effects of Parkinson's, clasping a wooden walking stick with fingers that have lost their grip to age and time, and yet, which do their best to hold on, as if for dear life.

The other's hand reaching out to touch, and feel, those who pass by, in whom she searches the one who walks by her side, unbeknownst to her. Her frightened eyes flicking through the crowd, desperately looking for the face she now has trouble remembering, but seeks, nonetheless.

"Grace," he whispers her name in a voice that quivers as much from fear as from oldness, trying to make it heard over the other voices, but fails to get her attention.

Frantic, he looks around and wishes his son had accompanied them on their evening stroll.

It's almost a daily ritual now. Isn't the young man aware of how exhausting this can get?


Word count: 170

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The above post is written for #FictionMonday
This week's prompt: Word Prompt: Stroll

Do join in with your fiction pieces for this fiction writing challenge, brought to you by Vinitha Dileep, of Reflections

Friday, 10 July 2020

Brothers and sisters



"You know what they say about dandelions?"

"Dandelions, eh? Aren't those just weeds?"

"Nope! "Dandelions are a symbol of fighting through challenges and emerging victorious on the other end"...It's what I read somewhere."

"Baah! That's such rubbish. Dandelions are those stupid weeds mum curses each time she cleans the garden!"

"Uh huh? Stupid weeds, haan? Well then, do you know what mum says about you?"

"What?"

"Mum says you are like the dandelion - the stubborn weed that refuses to leave her garden in peace. Ha!"

"Oh yeah? And, do you know what mum says about you? She says you are the stink bug who pollutes our house with your stink!"

"Shut up!"

"YOU shut up!"

"NO! YOU shut up! You stinky bug! I am gonna squash you like a cockroach one day. Wait 'n watch."

"And, I am gonna...I am gonna...I am gonna rip you out of my room and toss you out of the window when you are fast asleep! You stupid stupid weed!!"

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Participating in the pre-barathon writing challenge at Blog-A-Rhythm (Week 2)
This week's prompt: Picture prompt.


Monday, 29 June 2020

Signs

GO SLOW

I was supposed to go slow when I met you.

How would I know a guy in two meetings over coffee?

Were you trustworthy? Were you caring? Did you love like me?

But there I was - head over heels in love with you when I didn’t even know the person behind the flamboyant exterior!

What was I thinking? Was I even thinking?


CAUTION: DANGEROUS DIP AHEAD

The smoke rings you blew into my face warned me to stay away from you.

 I didn’t heed.

 I silenced the voice that tried to caution me.

The way you held me in your arms—overbearing--your touch lacking the warmth, the softness I yearned for.

I didn’t heed.

How you slapped me when I tried suggesting that we wait till we get engaged.

I didn’t heed.

How you yanked my hair and forced me down because you wanted it that day. I was on my period and it hurt.

How you clamped your hand over my mouth when I cried in pain as you bit my breasts.

I deserved it.


END OF ROAD

Mom says we learn only after we have fallen and broken a few bones.

 It took me 6 broken bones, visits to the ER, and therapy sessions with my shrink to learn my lessons.

It’s now end of the road for me.

I won’t fall for another guy, not without knowing him.

No, actually, I won’t fall for a guy.  Ever.

At least then there will be peace.

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Words: 250

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The above post is written for the second edition of #FictionMonday hosted by my friend, Vinitha Dileep.

Today's prompt: Word promot: SIGNS

Do join in and have fun!


Sunday, 21 June 2020

Red.

Have you observed ketchup dripping out of a squeezy bottle? It's a real sight, see?

First, you turn the bottle upside down and give it a gentle squeeze, like squeezing a loved one's hand as you walk down a pebbled pavement with flower beds on the fringes.

 Then, you watch in awe as the thick, red stuff leaves the nozzle, drop by drop, trickling onto a barren slice of bread, instantly giving it some colour, like rouge to colourless cheeks, perhaps?

It's also how a drop of blood looks like on a pristine white bedsheet.

It's easy, really, getting blood to ooze out of your body. A lot like squeezing ketchup out of the bottle--awe-inspiring--but without the squeezing.

First, you make a slight cut on your wrist; and you do it without flinching, hm?  (A good, sharp knife will do the trick). And then, you watch in awe as it dribbles out, first drop by drop, and then flowing out in a stream, colouring every surface it squirts on. A vibrant dash of red to the crumpled, white bedsheet you spent your lonely night on.

You just lie there, watching in fascination as it flows out of your body--your life force leaving you, little by little, till you are left without a drop - bone dry, stiff, defunct.

Like the love that left you, perished, extinct, dead.

#FictionMonday


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Today's flash fiction is written for #FictionMonday.
Prompt: Picture prompt.

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Do share your posts for the hashtag and share the link at Reflections, by Vinitha Dileep




Friday, 12 June 2020

Pyrophobia



My fire fantasies started last year, around Christmas - a month after Bob joined us. Mum barely waited two weeks after dad’s passing before inviting Bob into our home, into our shattered lives, “to turn our world the right side up!", she chirped.

She made grand plans for Christmas - decorate the house, cook a turkey; she even got home the tree, herself. She expected me to help out—make myself useful, and "not just vegetate".

 It was a Sunday, when she handed me the list of stuff to do before rushing off to run a few errands. She wanted me to work on the decorations, at least, if not the cooking. “You will definitely burn the house,” she muttered as she left in a huff--wonder why she was mad at me, though.

With the list in my hand, I stood in the hallway, wondering what needed to be done, when I glanced at the kitchen, and an idea took shape. You could say, Mum’s parting shot had sown a wild seed.

 Focusing on the oven so that everything else faded away, I tried to visualize the scene if I left the oven ON – being the “absent-minded dumbass” that I am – and went away Christmas shopping.

I would return after a few hours of gallivanting round town to find the food burnt, as well as the oven, and hopefully, the kitchen, and the house, too, and Bob lying in the wreckage, for all I care.

“I was trying to bake some cookies when Jen called,” I would mumble if mum asked.

But, why such morbid fascination with fires?

You see, Bob suffers from Pyrophobia – fear of fire. He can’t even use a lighter, so he doesn’t smoke. My bad. Had he been a smoker, things would have been easier.

When mum cooks, Bob stands ten feet away to chat with her, enquiring about her day.

One day, he entered the kitchen just when mum was flambรฉing a pudding. He howled as if he was being flambรฉed!

And that’s when it struck me how easy it made my job! There were quite a few ways to do what I had in mind. All I needed was to master at least one of those to do the deed.

Bob’s perverted thoughts and calloused hands brought about those fire fantasies. Always groping, nudging, touching, rubbing, kneading, grasping, all in mum’s absence, or when she isn’t looking.

That day, during breakfast, when he slid his hand up my skirt and tugged at my panty, and Mum was too busy making his favorite pancakes to notice, I wanted to puke. He pinched my buttocks and I trembled, violently. That’s when my mind went into overdrive, fantasizing things I hadn’t in my 18 years.

Bob--with the blotchy arms and legs that need to be slathered with lotion five times a day; he of the dirty, green eyes that squint when he focuses on my breasts--rarely steps out during daytime.

“The sun,” he said to me once, “is a massive ball of fire that could scorch me to death, so I work the night shift.”
“Aww, you poor baby!” mum purred.
 How he delights in her pampering, her cooing sweet nothings into his ears!

He has a weird laughter that starts with a hiss, then gets tinny, then gradually fades away; his body quivers for a while before he calms down. His eyes close, he pinches his eyebrows between his pimpled forehead and tilts his head to a side, as if to let the joke sink in, then regards me with a look that screams “dirty”, like he is mentally undressing me, and savoring the image in his mind because of the way he licks his lips afterwards.

Doesn’t mum notice anything? I mean, any woman would, right?

I spend time at Jen’s after school – with mum away, Bob turns beastly. The first time he did it, I was numb with shock, and mum thought I was missing dad. Of course, I was missing dad. Had he been alive…

I conjure up images of the house catching fire; or, may be Bob’s shirt getting burnt. I imagine the smell of his skin getting charred, and him howling in agony – “Christinaaaa…” I hear him scream for mum, who is away at work. I then imagine him begging me to help. I just stare at him, my pupils dilated, my senses aroused.

I let him burn, till all that remains are fragments of his bones; the smell of his burning flesh and bones permeating the air I breathe. As disgusting as it is, I inhale it deeply for the pleasure it gives me in knowing that the man is dead.

Fantasies - all. There’s no saying where my fantasies will take me nowadays. Usually it’s either in front of his burning body, or in the cemetery, where we bury him. Where mum looks pitiful, and I do my best at arranging my face such, it looks distressed.

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It’s Christmas next week. Almost a year since it all began. The game of 'touch-and-go' continues. But, I singed his arm “accidentally” last week as I lit a candle, so it’s been quiet for a while now.  

I make candles, for sale.

But things keep slipping off my hands. I forget to switch off the stove, and the wax catches fire. Sometimes, I light a candle and turn around in haste, as if something caught my eye, and accidentally bump the candle off the candleholder. The tablecloth catches fire and there is a mad rush to douse it lest the dining table catches fire, and eventually, the entire house.

“You absent-minded, dumbass,” mum curses. “Someday you will burn the house down,” she hollers.

 "And, Bob, too," I mutter under my breath.

Yes, someday. 
                           






Saturday, 7 December 2019

If I could receive one gift. #WordsMatter

Today's fiction piece is Part 3 of 'Luv-shuv over chai-shai', a short story I am attempting for the first time in ages.
Do read Part 1 here
And, Part 2 here


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Part 3:


Vishala often visited the eatery for her morning cuppa coupled with the classic buns straight from the oven. Her smile, when she dipped the bun in the piping hot tea, made Manu's heart skip a beat.

How she loved to eat! No nakhras about butter making her fat, or asking for tea without sugar.

 "Now, that's the kind of woman I would love to spend my life with!" Manu smiled as he took in the vision that was Vishala.

Draped in a saree, with her lustrous, long hair all tied in a loose plait that reached her hips, kohl-lined, dove-shaped eyes that lit up when Manu placed her favorite beverage on her table, her tinkling laughter that gave Manu goosebumps, and yes, her signature silky scarves that she inadvertently left behind, which Manu squirreled away in his cupboard.

"How delightful it would be having my special tea with Vishala!" Manu often wondered.

They would sit there, on one of those antique benches his Seth had procured from Chor Bazaar. Two lovers lost in each other's eyes, oblivious to the world around them.  For a change, Manu's Seth would serve them the special tea along with some pastries and Vishala's favorite buttery buns. They would sip the tea, slowly, without taking their eyes off each other, and in no time the magic would begin!

"Ah, if I could receive one gift, it would be having my Vishala immortalised with me, on one of those pretty love seats!" Manu sighed.

Life would then feel complete.

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I am participating in the #WordsMatter Blog Hop.
This month's prompt is "If I could give/receive one gift..." 

I received this tag from Ishieta of I C Dreams 
It's my pleasure to pass on the tag to Geetanjali Joshi of This That and More.

There are 25 of us on this blog hop which is spread over three days: 6,7, and 8 th December.

Do follow the #WordsMatter Blog Hop and be prepared to be surprised. 

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Luc-shuv over chai-shai (contd.)


Read part one here. 

Part two:

Manu had never believed in magic or miracles. But, dreaming of his parents--especially his mother--meant she was, indeed, looking after him, and that was definitely some sort of magic.

His mother's pet, Manu had been devastated by her death in a fire that had engulfed their shanty 10 years ago. As a child who understood very little about life and its strange ways, he had stoically accepted the fact that his mother and father had left for the heavenly abode but would always look after him from above.

With nowhere to go, he started living with his paternal aunt and uncle and their brood of 6. Not wanting to let down his parents, he had put up with the struggle, silently, vowing to get away from it all someday and making a life for himself.

Cooking, cleaning, looking after his little cousins, doing odd jobs to help with the family income, Manu did it all just to make his mother proud of him. He did it all bravely, with his chin up, his dreams of getting out of the chaos giving him the push he needed.

Life hadn't been easy for the three years he had been put up at the tiny shack until he met the man who would change his life.

Manikchand Patel, or Manik, the Magic Man, who with his artful wiles claimed to turn even a stone into a living, breathing person had appeared in Manu's life one fine day and changed the course of it with a snap of his fingers. Just like that!

"There's magic in every breath you take, boy! The magic called, "Life"! This stone you see also has life in it. All you need to do is believe in it, in every thought that walks across your mind, and have the confidence to make it come alive. The stone and the thought!" Manik gushed as Manu watched him in awe.

The words that fell from the man's mouth did seem to have the necessary effect on him, for soon Manu was hooked onto the thought of bringing the stone to life.

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I am trying my hand at fiction and am working on this story that I began writing in my last post. I hope I am able to complete it, slowly and steadily! 

I would appreciate your views, opinions, and suggestions to make this a better piece. 

Thank you! ๐Ÿ’Ÿ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–





Ageing with Grace.

They walk side by side - one lost in thoughts, the other, losing touch with herself. One's hand, wrinkled, trembling vigorously from ...