A Sparkling Gem from the Interiors

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Image from here

When he was 10 years old, Haldhar Nag lost his father and was forced to drop out of school to sustain his family. He worked as a dishwasher at a local eatery. Later he became a cook at a high school, where he worked for 16 years. As schools mushroomed, he took a loan of Rs 1000 (about 16 $ today) and opened a stationery shop for school children. He used to fill ink pens for 10paisa (I can’t even do the Math – neither can Google!).

Why am I telling you all this?

Today his humble shop has been renovated and is frequented by his admirers and researchers. What’s more, in 2016, the President of India awarded him the Padma Shri. There are 5 PhD theses on the writings of this barely ‘literate’ man from Odisha.

A Kosli (or Sambalpuri) language poet, Nag wrote his first poem Dhodo Bargachh (The Old Banyan Tree) when he was 40. It was published in a local magazine. Subsequently he sent four poems to the magazine and all of which were published.

There was no looking back. A prolific writer, Nag has a series of works to his credit including poetry collection Bhaab, Surut and more than 20 epics like Achhia, Bachhar, Mahasati Urmilla, Siri Samalai, Santha kabi Bhimabhoi, Rushi kabi Gangadhar to name a few.

Sambalpur University in Odisha, is now coming up with a compilation of his writings – Haldhar Granthabali-2 – which will be a part of the university’s syllabus.

In addition, Nag has a phenomenal memory. He remembers each of his works and can reel them off on demand. The quintessential Indian, he always dons a white dhoti and a vest. He has never worn any footwear. Popularly known as Lok Kabi Ratna in Odisha, he writes mostly on nature, society, mythology and religion. Social oppression and exploitation, protection of human dignity and women’s issues are some of the topics that are close to his heart.

Haldhar Nag has a huge following in Odisha and Chatishgarh where they flock to listen to his readings. His technique and way to writing serve as inspiration to poets and has triggered a HaldharDhara in Odisha. I hope that soon someone takes up the task of translating Nag’s work so that it is available to a larger audience.

Haldher Nag’s journey from a class 3 dropout dishwasher to an acclaimed author is the stuff of fairy tales and awe inspiring. And I thought quite the perfect submission for the monthly We Are the World Blogfest which seeks to promote positive news.

Do share your views, opinions, suggestions and positive news.

Thank you for reading 🙂

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 136

Haiga #2

Haiga2

sunshine –

that’s all she needs

to cook

 

A/N Just in case you were confused or worried, the gas stove is the only place which gets sunshine 🙂

WPC: Earthy Matters

This earth is a wonderful thing.

EtreeIt can be plain old mud, fine as dust, scattered by a gust of wind or washed away in a summer shower.

EwareYet, add a measure of water, light a fire and it can become almost anything you would like it to be – earthenware

Terracottaor terracotta buildings that can last centuries.

Sunrise

Wake up to the beauty that envelops us, learn to read between the lines

Indus
Photo shared by my brother A. Ghosal of the Indus river at Ladakh

Heaven or hell depends on what you make of the ingredients.

In response to Weekly Photo Challenge – Earth

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 135

CFFC: Monstrous Beauties

For this week’s Fun Foto Challenge, Cee wants to see something that is related to Autumn or Metal. For metal, it should combine strength and beauty.

warship copenhagenA warship – isn’t she impressive?

from the ship to swedenFrom the ferry taking us to Sweden from Denmark

ShipThis one is honking and snorting steam, ready to take us to Havelock Islands, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Anda3Cutting across the ocean, striding ahead without a care in the world

AutumnCouldn’t resist a final photo – Autumn or is it spring?

Have a wonderful day and thanks for joining me, hope you had a fun ride 🙂

The Addict

shoes-and-books-by-magaly-guerrero

The Addict

Words 100

 “How was your day out with Piya?”

“She dragged me through the shops for hours.”

“Couldn’t she find what she was looking for?”

“Oh, she wasn’t looking for anything in particular.”

“Ah. Window shopping.”

“Not exactly.”

“Then?”

“She must have tried on at least a 100 pair of shoes…”

“What!”

“In 10 different shops.”

“Did she buy any?”

“She settled for 3 pairs…”

“Settled?”

“She was on a shoestring budget.”

“Yet she could afford 3 pairs?”

“She simply had to complete her century.”

“You mean she already had 97 pairs?”

“99 pairs. Two pairs to get the next century going.”

***

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a story in 100 words or less. Thanks to Rochelle for hosting the challenge and Magaly Guerroro for the photo prompt. To read the other stories inspired by this prompt click here

This post is inspired by my baby sistah 😀 And going by the number of shoe addict quotes, she is clearly not alone 😉

“You know you are a shoe addict if you think there is always room for one more pair”

“What do women want? Shoes.” ― Mimi Pond

“I would hate for someone to look at my shoes and say Oh my God! they looks so comfortable!” Christian Louboutin

“The look he shot her was incredulous in the extreme. “You have a filing system for your shoes?” ― Norah Wilson,

“You can’t buy happiness but you can buy shoes and that’s kind of the same thing”

😀 Hope you liked!

Just 4 Fun # 35

Hola everyone! Howz life? Cool or rather hot and bothered?

Prescription

Hmm I wonder if it is the heat or can we blame it on English? 😉

English isn’t the easiest language to figure out – need proof?

Here goes – just don’t hold your breath!

 

We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
Neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren’t invented in England.

We take English  for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes,
We find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square,
And a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write, but fingers don’t fing,
Grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham?

Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?
If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them,
What do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speakingEnglish
Should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.
In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?

We ship by truck but send cargo by ship…
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
While a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language
In which your house can burn up as it burns down,
In which you fill in a form by filling it out,
And in which an alarm goes off by going on.

*And in closing……….*

If Father is Pop, how come Mother’s not Mop????

😀 😀

Dont ask me! I am stressed out as it is.

Stress

And to top it

Barbie

If Barbie is aging I probably shouldn’t be around…

Ah well que sera sera 😀

For some more fun (and puns) hop over to Rekha’s blog 😀

Hope you found something that you enjoyed – none of which are mine by the way. I received all of them as forwards/shares and am just keeping the fun going.

Have a super week and don’t forget to have some fun as well 🙂

And do let me know your favorite – or better still post your own and leave me a link I will be along in just a bit.

 

 

 

Harmony

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to visit the Chidambaram temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva in Tamil Nadu, India. The temple complex is spread over 40 acres (160,000 m2) in the heart of the city. There are four entries to temple complex – via 4 massive and intricately decorated gates known as gopurams. I had posted about it here.

Like all Hindu temples, footwear is not allowed inside the temple complex; we left our footwear in the car. As we strolled through the temple premises we noticed many of the locals using the temple premises as a short cut.

Harmony2They carried their footwear in their hands while they cut across from one gate to another. Notice anything out of the ordinary? Burqa clad women, in deference to Hindu sentiment, also walk across the temple complex, barefoot.

What better sight than this to exemplify harmony?

Bushy Greens

Suntree“I don’t see myself as extremely handsome. I just figure I can charm you into liking me.” Wesley Snipes

For Becca’s Sunday Trees – 284

 

Haiga #1

20170420_072358

empty nest

fussing over

the new baby

 

A/N Haiga is a Japanese concept for simple pictures combined with poetry, usually haiku. Thanks to Suraja for the inspiration and help with the haiku 🙂

 

 

SPF: Of Time and Monsters

06-jade-m-wong-16-april-2017
Photo (c) Jade M Wong

 Of Time and Monsters

Words 200

“I am not having that dog in the house…”

“I got it for Rajkumari.”

“What next? A car?” His wife, Rukmini was put out.

“If she wants one she’ll get one.”

“What about the expense?

“I got it all sorted. Now don’t sulk and put a spoke in her happiness.”

The only daughter in the house and only sister to four brothers, Rajkumari was the darling of the family.

“You shouldn’t pamper her so much. Don’t forget, soon she will get married…”

“She’s going to stay right here.”

“Which self-respecting man will stay at his in-laws’ house?”

“My Prince is already here.” Rajkumari held up the squirming puppy.

Sohanlal laughed.

When Rajkumari joined college, Sohanlal threw a party for the entire village.

Rajkumari was the first in the family to go to college.

Sohanlal took a loan to buy her a car.

He didn’t want her traveling with the riff-raff.

At college, Rajkumari found love.

He was handsome, rich and educated.

Rajkumari took him home.

He was perfect.

But of a different caste.

Sohanlal tried to convince Rajkumari but she stuck to her guns.

Sohanlal had no choice but to make the ultimate and final sacrifice.

With a kitchen knife.

***

 Written for the Sunday Photo Fiction – a story in 200 words or less. Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting the challenge and Jade M Wong for the photo prompt. To read the other stories inspired by this prompt, click here.

Thanks for visiting and leaving me a note 🙂

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 134

Bestsellers Galore

Sameer washed down on the last bit of the burger with a healthy swig of beer. He was sick of airport food, which was all that he got these days. On the flight from Chennai to Delhi, he had had a wonderful dream of dal and rice, just the way she used to make.

How can the cook mess up something as simple as rice and dal? I could do it better, if only I had the time.

Liar! You hate going into the kitchen because it reminds you of her.

Everything reminds me of her dammit.

Then why did you let her go?

She didn’t want to stay.

Did you ask her to stay?

Why would she listen to me?

When has she not?

She left didn’t she?

You left her no choice. You forced her to choose between self-respect and her love.

So fine! She chose herself.

What did you expect? That she would prefer to choose a moody obnoxious…

Whose side are you on?

Hers obviously. I am sick of you and your blasted ego. Just because you don’t like to say sorry, admit your mistakes, you let her go.

Oh stop whining. Move on. It’s been two years…

Oh so you’ve been keeping track?

What’s there to keep track?

You lie even to yourself. Hey isn’t that her?

Where? Shut the hell up and stop messing with my mind.

I am not messing with you! And even if I am, what can you do? Push me away like you did her? Just because she told you a few home truths?

What rot! I didn’t push her away.

That’s what you think. And deny as much as you like and the way I see it, she still has a firm clasp over your heart.

Nonsense.

And every now and then she gives it a squeeze.

His heart stopped. There she was – at the bookshop.

Go to her! Don’t let her go away again.

Stop being so Bollywood. What do I have to say to her?

Tons.

But I can’t say it. I wrote it all down. I even published it.

You should have sent her a copy.

What if she laughed at my face?

She has the right. Besides the book is funny.

Very funny.

If you hadn’t used a penname, she would have known by now. She couldn’t have missed it.

I couldn’t make fool of myself.

So you used a female penname?

Oh shut up.

For once be honest with yourself. Do you or do you not believe what you wrote? If you do, do not let her go. Fate has handed this chance do not let it slip.

I couldn’t.

Why can’t you? Just say hello?

What if she refuses to talk to me?

Just the kind of tonic your oversized ego needs.

What?

I told you I am on her side.

Help me dammit.

Go to her and apologize to her.

What if she insults me?

What if she doesn’t?

What if she does?

That’s the risk you have to take. That’s what you have to decide. Whether you love her or yourself.

She had finished purchasing her book and was moving away towards the boarding gates.

 He couldn’t let her go. Not again.

“He…hello?”

“How are you?” No surprise. No flicker of recognition or emotion.

“Fine.” Limbs and heart leaden, he turned away.

“Do you mind autographing this book?”

 She held out his book.

“Y…You know?” He held his breath.

“Yes. I read the book.”

“How did you like it?” He couldn’t quite hide his smug expression. His book was good. The reviews and sales proved it.

She looked at the book in her hand. “The book is good. I especially liked the twist in the end.” She met his eyes.

His heart thudded. “When he walked away?”

She nodded.

He shrugged. “It is what the protagonist deserved. To be punished. To be alone, forever.” He cleared his throat. “If you have already read it why did you buy it?”

“I wondered if it was all mere talk. I wanted to find out for myself.”

“And?” His breath eased and his heart steadied. He felt on top of the world. He could picture her in his their home. Nothing would have changed. It would be as if these two years had never happened. He at his table tapping away, a delicious fragrance wafting around him while she pottered about…

“I better go that’s my flight.”

“But…”

“I’ll mail you my thoughts.” She paused. “Or maybe I won’t. You can buy the book and read it. Stay well.” She walked away.

***

Depending on whom you’ve been rooting for I hope I managed to jolt you or extract a chuckle or two 😉

Thanks for reading! I would appreciate if you let me know your thoughts 😉 Or would you prefer me to wait for the bestseller? 😀

CFFC: Earthy Images

Dry“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” ― Rachel Carson

Roadside“How does one become a butterfly? You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”–Trina Paulus

Earth“All through my life, I have been tested. My will has been tested, my courage has been tested, my strength has been tested. Now my patience and endurance are being tested.”Muhammad Ali

Green field
‘Ticklers’ hunched over the field in their daily struggle to get Mother Earth to laugh…

“Earth is here so kind, that just tickle her with a hoe and she laughs with a harvest.”— Douglas William Jerrold

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Harvest: Earth

Sorry about the blurred images. Pics were taken from inside a moving car.

For readers of Moonshine here's Chapter 133

Die Another Day

On account of bad weather, the seat belt sign has been switched on. Please return to your seats and fasten your seat belts.”

Sia looked up from her Ipad as the air hostess aboard the Mumbai-Delhi flight made the announcement.

Deeply entrenched in the twists and turns of Chake De! India, she hadn’t quite noticed the turbulence.

Sia’s co-passenger on the window seat shifted uncomfortably “Just look at that!”

Accepting the invitation, Sia leaned forward.

She gasped – a thick swirl of grey-brown lay directly below them and seemed to be growing bigger.

“There is a dust storm over Delhi and we are diverting to Jaipur. Sit back and relax.” The Captain’s reassuring boom echoed from the cockpit.

Oh good! She would be able to finish her movie. Sia smiled to herself as she turned her attention back to her downloaded movie.

“How can you watch a movie at this time?” The guy next to Sia glared accusingly at her. “We are all going to die and you are sitting here watching a movie?”

Sia sighed and took off her earphones. “We aren’t going to die. We are…”

“Yes we are! Can’t you see the thick billowing clouds? Can you not smell the dust?”

“Relax! Didn’t you hear the Captain? We are diverting to Jaipur. It’s all clear there.”

“But what if we die en route? What if…?”

“Yikes!” Sia jerked up straight in her seat. “I never thought of that! I better get back to my movie, it has been on my bucket list for ages…”

“It’s not funny!”

“No it isn’t.” Sia straightened her expression as it slipped. Her eyes strayed to her Ipad.

She sighed and held out her hand. “Hello I am Sia.”

“Whatever.”

“What’s your problem?” Sia asked.

“My problem is that you don’t have any problem!” His voice rose in affronted indignation. “We are going to die and all you are concerned about is your stupid movie.”

“So what would you have me do? Die before it is time to die?”

Frustrated, he glared at her. “At least…”

“I could panic a bit?” Sia twinkled at him. “Have a fit or two?” She twitched and rolled about her seat.

He rolled his eyes.

The aircraft dived and steadied. His knuckles turned white.

“Is this your first trip to India?”

“Last trip.” He mumbled, his eyes determined closed.

Sia laughed.

He opened his eyes. “How can you laugh?”

“How can you begrudge me my last laugh before I die?” Sia shot back.

He rolled his head as they hit another bad patch.

“At least tell me your name.” Sia coaxed.

“What good would that do? We are all going to die…”

“Talk about yourself.” Sia settled herself comfortably. “I am not going to die.”

“How do you know?”

“I just know.”

“Yeah right! So Ms Know-it-all, do tell me, am I going to die?”

Sia looked at him over.

She pursed her lips and tapped her head with a contemplative finger.

He rolled his eyes. “Hey come on! Cut the dramatics would ya?”

Smothering a laugh, Sia finally shook her head. “Nope.”

His lips twitched.

“So when am I going to die Ms Sia?” He folded his hands and bowed.

Sia raised her hand in blessing. “I say never.”

She was rewarded with a laugh.

“The dust storm has passed and we are heading back to Delhi. The seat belt sign has been switched off but for…”

As the announcement droned on, Sia pinned him down with a smug expression.

He returned her look expressionlessly but gave up. He threw up his hands in defeat. “Sia maiyya ki jai!”

Sia clapped her hands. “Very good! I am impressed.”

“I thought you would be depressed.” He looked out of the window trying to hide his embarrassment.

“Never mind,” Sia consoled, “it happens to the best of us.”

“But I am better than the best!” He turned to her. “Tell me weren’t you scared? Not even a bit?”

“Of course I was.”Sia confirmed. “But not of dying. Of crashing down, breaking bones, hospitalization…”

“Oh those! That’s all reversible. I am talking about dying.”

“I knew I wasn’t going to die.” Sia said.

“But how?” He was all at sea.

“It’s all thanks to you.”

“Excuse me?”

Sia burst out laughing at his confused expression. I knew I wasn’t going to die because you didn’t let me watch the movie. And I wasn’t going to die without seeing the whole movie.”

“Whaaa!” He stared at her open- mouthed. “Crazy.”

“Yep! We Indians are like that. Crazy.”

He shook his head. “How do you do it?”

“Complete and unquestioning faith in destiny. “ Sia was serious. “If it is meant to be, it will be, if it is not,” Sia shrugged.

“Well your way of thinking beats me.” He scratched his head. “But thank you for not letting me make a fool of myself.”

“My pleasure, and more than happy make the Lufthansa TVC a reality.” Sia grinned mischievously at him.

He frowned.

“When you have time, check out the advertisement, but for now, after that near-death experience,” she twinkled, “do you think you could tell me your name?”

He held out his hand.

“Bond, my name is James Bond.”

***

A/N This is my first time participating in an indiblogger contest. I found the details in the mailbox this morning and voila! this happened. 😀 😀

Thank you for reading and do let me a note. Have a super day.

#MoreIndianThanYouThink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just 4 Fun # 34

A long weekend which didn’t feel like one since mail alerts from the office nagged me no end 😦

Height of work pressure:

I was flashing my ID card instead of  unlocking the house door with the keys.

I don’t login to youtube thinking it will be blocked. Until I realize that I am at home.

I end conversations with friends saying, “Ok bye… in case of any issues will call you back”

After a hectic week, went to a movie. In the middle of the movie, when I wanted to check the time, I kept repeatedly glancing at the bottom right corner of the Theatre Screen.

I open my lunch box in the roadside to see, whether I am going to office, or coming back from office 😀

If you do any of these, it’s time for a break!

Okay? Now how about

na

K! Gotcha 😀

Just relax your mind

Relax

Treat yourself to a chocolate milkshake 🙂

Shake

A shower perhaps

Water

Make sure to utilize every drop!

Cycle

Be careful! The trees are on a rampage – first they eat up houses, then cycles what next?

IMG-20170414-WA0019

For some more fun and cool Minions, hop over to Rekha’s blog  😀

Hope you found something that you enjoyed – none of which are mine by the way. I received all of them as forwards/shares and am just keeping the fun going.

Have a super week and don’t forget to have some fun as well 🙂

And do let me know your favorite – or better still post your own and leave me a link I will be along in just a bit.

Double Standards

dale-rogerson-pizza

Double Standards

Words 100

“Did your parents agree to our wedding?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“They were skeptical about the morals of a girl who was living in.”

“Didn’t you tell them you insisted?”

“Even if I did, it wouldn’t make any difference.”

“Why not?”

“How could you give in to my demands?”

“I love you. I cannot refuse you anything.”

“If you can’t stand up to me, how will you stand up to the world?”

“Don’t you love me?”

“I do.”

“Then?”

“I cannot go against my parents’ wishes.”

“If you cannot stand up to them, you don’t deserve to stand by my side.”

***

Written for the Friday Fictioneers – a story in 100 words or less. Thanks to Rochelle for hosting and Dale Rogerson for the photo prompt. To read the other stories inspired by this prompt, click here.

Thank you for reading.

Mango Trees

There are three mango trees right outside my window.

CornerThis one is at the left corner and its branches intermingle with the middle one – almost as if they were one. If you visited my earlier post here you would remember that I commented on their apparent overnight transformation. One fine day I noticed that the leaves were no longer dark or stiff and dusty. They were lush, tender green, brown and yellow shiny leaves! No striptease, shedding old leaves, baring arms and all that – just a magical instant make over. I promised to catch them in the act the next time. But that was a whole year away. That’s when it struck me – there was no need to wait for so long.

MtreesThey were both here, right under my nose. That’s the middle mango tree on the left and the third one on the right. I don’t need to ask you if you can see the difference between the two mango trees.

Mango treeOne is lush green and yellow, overloaded with fresh luscious leaves, heavily pregnant so to speak, just waiting to pop out mangoes. And the other, stuck in a time warp with its dark sparse leaves, stagnant and unchanging through the seasons. As if it had given up on life, barely hanging on – a gust of wind would be enough to snap it, end it all.

I looked once more at the dying tree and blinked.

What was that?

MangoWithin the dry hard winter leaves nestled tender, fresh shiny leaves, lime and brown. Can you see?

By the way, how many mangoes did you count?

It’s never over until you say it is over – and sometimes not even then.

For Becca’s Sunday Trees 283

WPC: Summer Surprises

The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge wants us to show a few surprises that we may have captured.

Ddn

Traveling through this picturesque stretch, I was surprised to see the images in the rear view mirror. And don’t miss the carpet of leaves 🙂 Apologies for the blurred image – the auto ride was terribly bumpy 😀

SunflowerDon’t they look like unruly children trying to escape? And do check out the tiny top hat on the middle rod – Warden in charge perhaps 😉

ButterflyLook what I found in my mum’s garden! Not at all camera shy 😀

Thanks for visiting  – do surprise me with a note.

Poetry for No Rhyme or Reason

Since as long as I can remember I have been at loggerheads with poetry. I admired the rhyme but could often find no reason. Prose was my cup of tea I decided. I tried writing poetry but always felt a sort of disconnect with it, as I struggled to understand them and worse never really enjoyed the ‘hassle’ of penning them. I struggle with prose too but it is never a chore, I can sit with it for hours – just like I have been at this post!

But then I came across a post by Theresa, which forced me to re-look into my antipathy towards poems. And understand that poetry is not about understanding but about feeling.

Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood. T.S. Eliot

I had the first inkling of this when I came across the Shiv Tandav Stotram by Ravana, which he composed to appease Lord Shiva. Ravana is a Hindu mythological figure and that he composed a song is in itself mind boggling – did he actually exist? And then comes the poem, in Sanskrit, a language that I don’t know. Yet the song, the poem with its onomatopoeias and alliterations resonates and never fails to pull me right into it, leaving me exhilarated, uncaring and unmindful of the world and its shenanigans. I finally understood why Lord Shiva forgave him. Anyone who can compose like this, deserves another chance, and another, and another….

But that didn’t stop me from dissecting poems, struggling, scoffing, scorning until Theresa introduced me to this poem:

Introduction to Poetry

by Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem

and hold it up to the light

like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem

and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room

and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski

across the surface of a poem

waving at the author’s name on the shore.

but all they want to do

is tie the poem to a chair with rope

and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose

to find out what it really means.

I was stunned – I was guilty of doing exactly the very same thing! I should technically be ashamed and embarrassed but I am too relieved and flying high to be any such thing 😀 Thank you Theresa! Do visit her blog for the complete post and more amazing poems.

I would also like to share with you with a poem written by the French poet, novelist, and dramatist Jean-Pierre Simeón. It has been translated into English by Claudia Zoe Bedrick, and illustrated by Ollivier Tallec.

The poem is about a little boy Arthur, whose fish Leon is dying from boredom. His mother advises him to give Leon a poem. And thus begins Arthur’s journey to find a poem. He meets and asks several people and finally returns with this to Leon:

A poem
is when you have the sky in your mouth.
It is hot like fresh bread,
when you eat it,
a little is always left over.

A poem
is when you hear
the heartbeat of a stone,
when words beat their wings.
It is a song sung in a cage.

A poem
is words turned upside down
and suddenly!
the world is new.

Click here for Leon’s reaction, the complete poem, illustrations and original links. And while you are there, you may consider subscribing to Brain Pickings, a goldmine and a must read for all 🙂

PS: I am very pleased to tell you that the Haiku queen penned another commended haiku for the IAFOR Vladimir Devidé Haiku Award 2017.

our baby
between us
a new distance
                                                                                                                                                              Suraja Roychowdhury, USA

Congratulations Suraja – look forward to many such pearls 🙂

The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. Dylan Thomas

Thank you for reading – wishing you all a wonderful weekend, Happy Easter, Happy  Baisakhi, Happy Vishu and Shubho Noboborsho and anything else I may have missed! 🙂

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 132

SPF: The Amusement Park

 197-04-april-9th-2017

The Amusement Park

Words 198

 

“Come along Granny! Let’s ride the Columbus.”

“No dear! I can’t handle so much excitement.”

“Then let’s go for a gentle train ride on Piggy.” Lilly offered.

“No darling. I’ll just sit here and watch the fun. Go on now.”

Great! Now even your granddaughter pities you.

Just because you lost your husband.

To another woman.

Your own sister.

And now Death had taken them both.

“Granny! You are missing all the fun!”

Snehlata waved to her granddaughter.

She knew how it worked.

A gentle swing at first, a slow build up and then an earthshaking stomach heaving nerve wracking swing from one end of the horizon to the other – relentlessly, over and over again.

Just like it had for the past three decades.

Pity that her best ride had been also been her last.

Switching her sister’s insulin injection and then parading as her ghost had been an exhilarating experience.

But those days were behind her.

It was time for a Piggy ride.

“Hello Ramesh. How’s your wife?”

“She’s bedridden, dependent and cranky as hell.”

“I am so sorry to hear that. Do you think she might like me to visit?”

Perhaps one last roller coaster ride…

***

Written for the Sunday Photo Fiction – a story in 200 words or less. Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting the challenge and the photo prompt. To read the other stories inspired by this prompt click here.

Thanks for reading and look forward to reading your comments 🙂

Undone

Unravel

Hunched over

A spread-eagled rat

I unraveled

Was it the chloroform,

Old Spice

Or you?

Clearly I am re-unraveling 😉 Go on say it, I am waiting for the axe to fall 😀 

Photo credit: Svkuki 

 

 

CFFC: Fiery

Summer is here and it is only right that the Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge should focus on Summer: Fire

So, without any further ado, hop on for a fiery ride 🙂

TrainWhere there’s smoke there’s bound to be fire right?

JhumkoSome fiery orange blossoms

FlowerBright yellow flowers hanging upside down – anyone know what they are called?

GardenNice summery feel to this garden isn’t there?

MatchedIf you are looking for something that is really combustible – here we are. Probably guilty (at least partly) of the global warming 😉

Thanks for visiting – do let me know your favourite pic 🙂

For readers of Moonshine, here's  Chapter 131

Living a Lie

Mt Pilatus

Through swirling mists

I followed you

on faith alone.

When the haze lifted

I reached out and

blindfolded myself

 

This is another unexplored genre for me. What do you think? Did it make sense? Is the format all wrong? 

In response to the Daily Post’s one-word prompt – Blindly

Just 4 Fun # 33

Hello friends! How was your day? I spent an exhausting weekend catching up on my allergies. Now myriad muscles are crying out in protest against the unwarranted exercise due to excessive sneezing. And it hurts the most when I laugh. Ah well enough of my woes – time to laugh a bit.

Vacation

I just returned from a short trip from my mum’s place undoing a month’s of hard labor 😦

MathI am one of those people – are you?

AdviceTrue! Nobody else understands me better. But on second thoughts, I tend to misjudge myself the most too…What say you?

LifeSo darn true! Worse – I am dying for some hot crisp juicy jalebis…

And finally the latest claim…

Wifi

If you want to have some more fun, hop over to Rekha’s blog for a laugh or two 😀

Hope you found something that you enjoyed – none of which are mine by the way. I received all of them as forwards/shares and am just keeping the fun going.

Have a super week and don’t forget to have some fun as well 🙂

And do let me know your favorite – or better still post your own and leave me a link I will be along in just a bit.

 

 

Of Fashions and Styles

I just finished reorganising my wardrobe – putting away all the woollies and digging out my summer cottons. Quite a monumental task and I couldn’t help envying the trees. They seem to have their own go as you like dress codes. Some shed leaves in winter and green up during summers. While yet others wear shaggy punk hairstyles with impunity. The mango tree outside my window is a real sneaky one. Right under my nose, without any warning or prior intimation, almost overnight, it just went from wearing dark, crusty and dusty leaves to lush, tender light green and yellow shiny leaves! No striptease, shedding old leaves, baring arms and all that – just a magical instant make over. Will catch it in the act, next time 😉

For this time, here’s are photos of the same tree, two months apart

branchesPerhaps you remember this photo, I had clicked it on a cold dreary winter evening in the first week of February this year. Seems to have taken to renouncing the world and completely internalising herself, meditating and contemplating on the meaning (or meaninglessness) of life…

 

20170409_124508And in just two months, she’s back all refreshed and rejuvenated ready to spread some cheer and oxygen 🙂

Linked to Becca’s Sunday Trees – 282

Out of the Ordinary

 

It had been a long day at the office and Sonali was looking forward to putting up her feet with a cup of tea.

Raja, her 12-year-old-son, opened the door. “Mom, my scholarship money which was in the drawer has been stolen.”

Sonali suppressed a groan.

There went her hopes of relaxing. “Are you sure? Did you check properly?”

“Yes Mom.”

“Let me see.” She hunted high and low with Raja prowling about like a bear that had misplaced her cubs.

“Perhaps you spent it and forgot?” Sonali asked hoping against hope.

“No! I didn’t. I had Rs 7122. Now there is only Rs 122.”

“Why would a thief take only part of the money?” Sonali wondered.

“Probably because she was in a hurry?”

“She?” Sonali turned to her husband.

He shrugged. “It’s obviously one of the girls.”

Sonali looked at him in dismay. Who else indeed? Nobody else entered Raja’s room.

“Mom, are you going to call the police? Will they go to jail?” The bear wanted blood.

“I am not going to do any such thing.”

“Why not? They are thieves and they should be in jail.”

“There are three of them and I don’t know who has taken the money. I can’t just call the police.” Sonali was aghast. “This is a domestic matter and not a very big issue. I will sort it out.”

“Not a big issue? It was my scholarship money!”

“How will you sort it out? You do realize this is a tricky situation, which could blow up in our faces? What if they bring counter allegations of harassment?”

Mama and Papa bears pulled her in two different directions.

“Let me think! I haven’t even been to the washroom.” Sonali snarled. “And you,” Sonali turned to Raja, “It’s all your fault. How many times did I tell you to take care of it?”

“So it’s my fault? Not the thieves? You want to put me in jail and let them go scot free?” He followed his mother to the washroom.

Sonali slammed the door for some peace and quiet.

Her husband was right. This was indeed a tricky situation. She couldn’t –shouldn’t talk to the girls. Who knew how they would react? They would of course deny culpability. It would be better to talk to their mother, Sheila.

In the privacy of the loo, Sonali allowed herself the luxury of a groan. If only Raj was still around. None of this would have happened.

“I can’t come to work from tomorrow.” Raj, Sonali’s longtime and trusted house help, had said not so long ago.

Disaster!

Raj was Sonali’s right and left hand. A delicate health, a full time job, a hungry teenager, breakfast, tiffin, lunch, high tea, and dinner – the heat! How would she manage?

“I am sorry but the family is shifting far from here. You know I can’t read bus numbers. Besides I have never traveled alone. So.” She raised her hands in a helpless gesture.

“Can you suggest someone as a replacement? Someone trustworthy?” Seeing no other option Sonali asked.

“I will see. But I won’t be able to vouch for trustworthiness.”

“I suppose not. But at least send someone who is regular and doesn’t take too many offs. You know how things are at home.”

After a frenetic week, a middle-aged woman turned up. “Memsahib, you are looking for a maid? Raj sent me.”

“Oh.” Sonali wiped the soapsuds off her hands. “What’s your name?”

“Sheila.”

“Are you new? I haven’t seen you around.”

“No Memsahib. I have been here for longer than Raj has. I was the one who arranged for her accommodation near my house when she first came to town.”

“Okay Sheila,” Sonali interrupted her self-righteous affronted speech, “I do need someone to help me with the housework. But you have to come early morning before I leave for work and after I come back from work.”

“But Raj used to…”

“Yes Raj had a key. But she’s been with me for more than a decade now. I can’t just…” Sonali trailed off for fear of offending her.

“Don’t think like that of us Memsahib. We are of good family Memsahib. It’s just that we have fallen upon bad times.”

“I am sure! I didn’t mean to imply that you weren’t trustworthy. But you do agree trust takes time? Even with Raj…”

“Okay Memsahib. As you think best.”

“And I don’t want you to take any leave without information. At least give me a call, if you can’t come.”

Sheila nodded.

Relieved, Sonali agreed to Sheila’s demands of a salary hike and handed over the reins of the cleaning to her. She could go back to having a cup of tea in peace.

After a bit of tussle with the men of the house who didn’t like the idea of a strange woman roaming the house and encroaching upon their activities.

“Why do I have to go out? My room is clean.”

“Who is she? What are her credentials? What if she steals something?”

“Whoever has objections can take her place. I will even pay for it.” Sonali smartly turned the tables. They backed off mumbling and grumbling.

Sheila turned out to be a God sent – she was regular, clean and a reliable worker. Sonali relaxed and bonded with her new ‘friend’ and life savior. Saturday was Sonali’s day off and Sheila would share a cup of tea her life’s woes and joys while the bears were away.

“Memsahib, this morning breakfast that you are kind enough to give me everyday? I really appreciate it. I come for work without having breakfast. It saves me time. And money.”

“My husband is a good man, Memsahib. No smoking no drinking, no bad habits. I feel sorry for him that he got me as a wife. I couldn’t give him a son.”

“Without a son, there is no respect in society, Memsahib. I gave birth to five daughters but no son.”

“My husband can’t sleep nights for worry. The other day he fainted because of high blood pressure. Running around the hospital is no woman’s job. I cannot even read and write. If only we had a son.”

“My husband is taking a life insurance policy. He has been advised to make his nephew as the beneficiary not me or my daughters.”

“My youngest says she is my son. She said she would never leave me and go.”

“Daughters’ weddings are expensive business. We are still dealing with the burden of loan for our two elder daughters’ marriage.“

“I don’t know how to control my daughters Memsahib. They are driving us crazy with their demands for an early marriage. The middle one especially is running out of control and is straying. She has a boyfriend. She has no shame in flaunting him. She carries on publicly with him. She cares more for him than us. She gave us an ultimatum, either we get her married or she will run away with him. Think of the shame Memsahib, we will lose face in society.”

“We can’t put off their wedding much longer. But where will we get the money to marry them off?”

“Sweets for you Memsahib. I am very happy today. My daughter’s second child is a boy. Now nobody can taunt her or me. Our ‘sonless’ curse is broken.”

“Memsahib, I need leave to take care of my husband. He’s had a heart attack.”

Sonali looked at her in dismay. “Oh no!”

“Don’t worry Memsahib. Your work won’t suffer. I know you also don’t keep a good health and I will make sure that at least one of my three daughters comes to do your house work.”

Seeing no other option, Sonali agreed. Besides, it was considerate of Sheila to keep her comfort in mind in this situation. But her neat orderly house running like clockwork was thrown into disarray. It’s not that the girls didn’t come, but each had a different way of working and special area of slipshoddiness. But Sonali had little choice but to bear it as well as she could.

And now money was missing. And who knows what else was missing.

“Mom, you are still letting thieves walk about the house?”

“I don’t know which of the three took the money. Besides, I don’t want to say anything to them. Sheila will have to deal with them.” Sonali said. “Until she comes to work, things will carry on as usual, except that we will have to keep a closer watch on their activities.”

A long drawn out altercation followed but Sonali was adamant.

Much to everyone’s disgust.

Sheila reported for work four days later.

“Sheila,” Sonali was uncomfortable and apprehensive, “I wanted to tell you that some money is missing from my son’s room.”

Sheila stared.

She turned off the tap.

“My youngest would never do it.” She said at last.

Relieved not to have Sheila take offence or fly off the handle, Sonali said carefully measuring each word, “You know your daughters best. I didn’t say anything to any of them because I thought you were best suited to deal with the situation. And there is no doubt I am afraid that one of them must have taken it.”

Sheila didn’t say anything and went about her work as usual.

Sonali escaped to office but she was bombarded with dire warnings and advice from all quarters.

“Be careful of these people. They are very cunning. They will land up in hordes and create a ruckus. Worse they can also file a harassment complaint at the police station.”

“So what should I do?” Sonali was getting more and more apprehensive.

“Forget about the money.”

“And continue to let her work?”

“That’s a bit tricky. Best you deal with it diplomatically.”

“But how?”

“Oh look at the time! And I have tons of work…”

That’s it work – work was the only distraction and Sonali pushed the domestic crisis for later.

When Sonali returned from office, she found Sheila and her husband waiting for them.

Now what?

Sonali looked at her husband. He set his lips and walked inside.

Sonali steeled herself for the worst.

“Yes Sheila.” Sonali hated the defensiveness in her own tone.

“Memsahib, we came to apologise and offer compensation. I know my middle daughter has taken the money. Please don’t call the police.”

Sonali stared at Sheila unable to believe her ears. “How do you know?”

“Like you said Memsahib, I know my children best. I knew my youngest couldn’t have done it. And my middle one has been getting desperate about her lover. I confronted all three of them. They all denied. So I accused her outright. She denied vociferously. Then I told her ‘Memsahib has a CCTV camera and she saw you take it.’ She broke down and confessed.”

Sheila wrung her hands waiting for the axe to fall.

The wind taken completely out of her sails, Sonali was dumbstruck.

In all the scenarios that they had painstakingly constructed, they had never ever considered that Sheila would accept culpability or identify the culprit.

“Memsahib, we have brought some money. Please take how much ever she stole from you. She confessed that she stole for her boyfriend and has already given it to him. We would have thrown her out Memsahib, but her wedding cards have distributed. Think of the bad name our family will get. How will I get my other two daughters married? Please don’t call the police. We just have Rs 5000 with us right now. We will give back the rest to you as soon as we can.”

Sonali felt humbled yet victorious, small yet exhilarated.

***

A/N Based on a true incident.

In response to the Daily post’s one-word prompt – Outlier

 

Flash 50: His Right

“What’s wrong with him?”

“He’s had a bad day.”

“Did somebody die? Is he ill?”

“The heat is killing.”

“His office is air-conditioned. We had a power cut.”

“His boss is mean to him.”

“So?”

“You don’t understand!”

“I’m listening.”

“He’s not used to being abused.”

“And you are?”

***

In response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt – Denial and inspired by Nicola’s 50-word dialogue only story. As usual, I await your judgement with bated breath 😀

WPC: Security

The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge wants us to share ‘a’ photo of something that represents security. Initially, I couldn’t think of a single photo that would fit the theme but then I ended up with four of them! Unwilling to play favorites, risking life and limb, discarding all thoughts of personal security I decided to post all them 😀

HelmetDoesn’t this look like a soldier’s helmet and rifle?

GuardA ‘real’ security guard – don’t miss the flowers in her hair and the red painted toenails 🙂

CatI snapped this photo of the kitty from behind the security of the barred gate 🙂

Esecure

Taadaaa – Heights of e-security! Back up of back ups! And would you believe it – I still end up disconnected. Oh well…

Here’s wishing you all a safe (e and otherwise;) secure future!

Do let me know which one is your favorite 🙂

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 130

WPC: A Dense Collection

The Weekly Photo Challenge wants us to get into the thick of things. Here I am with my collection.

ParkThe morning Sun makes the park look denser than it is

WoodsThis one is a pretty dense wood in the midst of Delhi

LushWith lush green foliage and thick leafed trees.

Anda12

Have you seen a dense jungle beside a sea beach? Quite an amazing sight at Radhanagar beach, Havelock Islands, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

20170316_215521(1)

Dense artwork of the Chidambaram temple gopurams. You can see more pics and read about it here.

Salarjung

A dense green tree at the Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad. And a couple of more dense colorful trees from around the world 🙂

Yellow tree
Photo shared by my cousin in Germany.

Wearing the colors of the Sun.

P prague
Photo shared by my sister

Party time in Prague 🙂

Hope you liked this collection and thanks for dropping by 🙂

CFFC: Of Wood and Spring

Spring and wood what more could I ask for! Thanks Cee for this challenge 🙂

Wood pathLet’s take a stroll through the woods shall we?

V woodV is for victory 🙂

20161021_113410After a bitter and long battle

WhiteTossing out blossoms white and

Pink woodand pink ones too

Green wood

One day tiny shoots, and the next day they shoot up to reach for the sky. Such is the magic of life.

FlowersAnd before you know it, the tiny blooms grow up  – tall and strong

Disclaimer – I have clicked only one of these photos (can you guess which one?) the rest are all shares from family. Hmm I guess that makes them my photos 😉

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 129

Just 4 Fun #32

Another Monday, another week time for some fun. But first my top trending rant for the week, month and season.

It’s HOT!

Eggs

Seriously – now that’s off the table let’s move on to lighter matters 😉

Envy

And if only I had your weather…I wonder which is worse the cold or the heat. I guess the cold in winter and the heat in summer 😀

Argue

But the best forward I got for this week has to be 😉

Emoji

surprisesurprisesmugsmugcoolcoolcoollaughinglaughinglaughingon the phoneon the phoneat wits' endat wits' endtalk to the handtalk to the handAren’t they cool?call mecall me and we’llrolling on the floorrolling on the floor

Hope you found something that you enjoyed – none of which are mine by the way. I received all of them as forwards/shares and am just keeping the fun going.

Have a super week and don’t forget to have some fun as well 🙂

And do let me know your favorite – or better still post your own and leave me a link I will be along in just a bit.

Hard Earned

fatima-fakier-deria1
Photo (c) Fatima Fakier Deria

Hard Earned

Words 100

 “Nice view! When did you move here?” Raina asks.

“About a year ago.”

“Wasn’t that when you mailed me?”

I nod.

“I am sorry I didn’t reply. I was also having family issues…”

“Never mind.”

“Who looks after your daughter?”

“She goes to a crèche after school.”

“Isn’t that expensive?”

“Yes.”

“Did you sort out matters with your in-laws?”

“Ye…es.”

“Where is your husband?”

“In India.”

“Lucky girl! Mine doesn’t let me breathe without his permission.”

“Coffee?”

“You’ve done well. I’d give my eye teeth for this kind of freedom.”

My tongue slides to the empty space.

I did.

***

Written for the Friday Fictioneers – a story in 100 words or less. Thanks to Rochelle for being such a bindaas hostess and Fatima Fakier Deria for the photo prompt. To read the other stories inspired this photo click here.

And thank you for reading 🙂

A Tangled Epic

Tree

“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.” ― Kahlil Gibran, Sand and Foam

And this one is is nothing short of an epic poem 😀

For Becca’s Sunday Trees 281

Have a super Sunday.

APWC: Red Bricks and Greens

Nancy’s A Photo a Week Challenge is about Two Materials. Funny how sometimes pictures just fall into my lap specifically tailor-made for challenges. For this one I had just about begun to wonder what to do when these two pics (among others) landed into my phone from far away places.

Bricks

Doesn’t it look lovely? Wait till you see the larger picture…

Building roots
In the outskirts of Kolkata, West Bengal

He may not be good at shopping but he sure is good at shooting and capturing beauties 😉 😀

Have a great weekend!

Engineering a New Way of Life

I have a confession to make. I stopped the newspaper subscription. Every morning I used to spend precious minutes to hours with the newspaper and my morning cuppa tea. But then I started dreading my favorite time of the day – another tragic headline. Ending the self-imposed torture I quit reading the papers. And I feel so much better and freer. Any news of any importance that I may have missed does come my way via some media or the other. And even if it doesn’t so what? It wasn’t as if I was going to change the world, was I?

But there is something I could do – I could spread some positivism instead of negativity. In fact, riding high on the successful completion of the A to Z Challenge last year, I had decided on the theme for the next year – A to Z of positive news. I had been collecting snippets for the challenge. But now I find I am too tied up to participate in the A to Z challenge. Yet happily enough, I stumbled upon We Are the World Blogfest which seeks to promote positive news.

Participants are expected to join in with a short piece every last Friday of the month. I thought it was a really cool idea and jumped at the chance to share and spread some of the good stuff that is happening and is worth knowing about. I hope you too will join in.

For my first bit of positive news I bring to you Sonam Wangchuk who inspired the movie 3 Idiots. An engineer, innovator, and an education reformist, he is all that is Phunsukh Wangdu (of 3 Idiots) and so much more. The movie has come and gone but Sonam Wangchuk continues to scale greater heights.

In November 2016, he was awarded the prestigious Rolex Award for Enterprise. Wangchuk helped farmers of Ladakh to overcome water shortages by tapping melting waters and building artificial glaciers, known as ice stupas. The ice stupa are almost two-stories high and can roughly store about 150,000 liters of winter stream water which is unwanted at the time. These stupas melt in the summer providing the much needed water to farmers when they need it the most. Brilliant and simple solution isnt it?

In addition, Wangchuk has successfully applied the ice stupa technique for disaster mitigation at high altitude glacier lakes. He has been invited by the Sikkim and Swiss government to counter the phenomenon of fast-melting glaciers.

IMG-20170328-WA0009
Photo shared by my brother who met Sonam Wangchuk in Ladakh last week

The Ice Stupa that won the international Rolex award of USD 1 million for innovation from among 3,200 entries worldwide. It also qualified for the tallest Ice Sculpture in the world for the Guinness Book of World Records, beating the previous Chinese record by more than 6 meters.

IMG-20170328-WA0008

Apart from this, Sonam Wangchuk has been working in Ladakh for over 20 years through his Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL). Working with the J and K government and like-minded friends, he rewrote the textbooks, retrained the teachers, took in failures and is now creating success stories out of them. You can watch his talk here.

He also designed the SECMOL campus that runs completely on solar energy and uses no fossil fuels for cooking, lighting or heating, even in Ladakhi winters when temperatures fall to minus 25C degrees. He wants to translate and transform not only school education but also higher education. Not only in Ladakh but for the whole world. To fund his dream he has donated his entire Rolex prize money as seed money and is looking to raise more funds. I could go on and on but I think it’s time to stop. If you like you can read more about him on the web. Just type in Sonam Wangchuk – a man who is truly inspiring.

I hope you enjoyed this bit of news and if you have a minute to spare, have a look at this heartwarming video.

Do share your views, opinions, suggestions and positive news. Thank you for reading 🙂

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SPF: The War Within

05-jules-paige-26-march-2017
Photo (c) Jules Paige

The War Within

Words 192

 Enough was enough.

She was too old for all this nonsense.

She couldn’t – wouldn’t take any more.

She would pack her bags today.

Her shoulders drooped.

But where would she go?

Her parents?

But they were staying with her brother – would she be welcome?

Where did she belong? Where was her home?

With her husband?

Her children?

Her parents?

Her feet dragged as she walked to meet her destiny.

The swirling waters called out to her.

This was home.

Her final resting place.

She eased down and sat with her legs dangling just above the water.

The waves lapped higher and higher, calling insistently.

She yearned to give in.

It would be so easy.

A soft bed.

A restful endless sleep.

Perhaps they would miss her, appreciate her – or perhaps not.

They would be too busy coping with her absence.

How could she be so selfish?

How had it come to this?

She had wanted to save the world.

And now she couldn’t save her family?

She stood up.

The waves weren’t calling her.

They were urging her to go back.

Not because they loved her.

But because she loved them.

***

Written for the Sunday Photo Fiction – a story in 200 words or less. Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting it and Jules Paige for the photo prompt. To read the other stories inspired by this prompt click here.

Thanks for reading. Would love to know your thoughts.

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 128

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Story Club # 9: Flash Back

Hello friends! As you perhaps may be knowing I have taken it upon myself to host (preferably co-host) a Story Club each month where we can pick up a short story and discuss it or simply enjoy it. March just whooshed by just as spring did. The sun is out all guns blazing and to make matters worse – no Story Club 😉

But don’t worry here we are with this month’s offering – with a little twist. No advance notice (there didn’t seem to be any takers as it is) plus we have a couple of really short but fun stories. I say ‘we’ because this time I managed to rope in a partner – Rekha. Multi-talented, she is a writer, artist, paints shoots and can leave you in splits. 😀 She suggested the idea of Akbar-Birbal stories and I for one, can’t get enough of their (or at least Birbal’s) antics.

Akbar, as you may know, was the Mughal ruler of India between 1560 -1605 AD. Akbar was illiterate – unhampered and unencumbered by education he was a visionary and tried to integrate and unite with the Hindu community. He patronized and promoted artists and men of exceptional talent in his court regardless of their religious affiliations – they are popularly known as the nine gems of Akbar’s court.

One of these nine gems was Birbal, the son of a poor Brahman of Trivikrampur. Though Birbal was initially inducted for his administrative skill, his wit and wisdom won Akbar’s heart and he became a close confidante and advisor of Akbar. There are countless stories of Birbal’s wit and he didn’t even spare the Emperor.

I have always found Akbar-Birbal stories entertaining and jumped at the idea of revisiting them and hopefully unearthing an unread story or two. And sure enough I found a couple which I hadn’t read before much to my delight (and secret chagrin – how could I have missed these stories!)

Anyhow before you vanish to Rekha’s blog here’s a couple of short stories.

Birbal’s Justice

Once a man sold his well to a farmer. But when the farmer went to draw the water from that well, the man blocked his path. He said, “As per the sale deed, the well is yours, not the water. So you have no right to draw water from the well.”

The farmer was naturally outraged and took the matter to Emperor Akbar.

Akbar promptly handed the case to Birbal.

Birbal called the man who sold the well to the farmer and asked him to justify his actions.

The man replied rather self-righteously, “But I sold the well to the farmer, not the water. He has no right on the water of the well.”

Birbal nodded and smiled. “I agree!” He turned to the farmer who was wringing his hands and asked, “By the way what is the rent of the well?”

“Rent?” they chorused.

“Yes. Rent for the well. Since the well is the farmer’s, you have to either pay rent to keep your water or take out your water from the well and keep it elsewhere.”

Outwitted, the man had no choice but to give in.

Didn’t this story have overtones of The Merchant of Venice? I wonder who inspired whom or perhaps they had their own ideas. Here’s another tiny one – this can be of help to us too 😉

Birbal escapes

One day a man accosted Birbal on the street and unburdened his myriad woes and ills.

“I’ve walked twenty miles to see you,” he ended his tragic story, “and everywhere people kept saying you were the most generous man in the country.”

It was not difficult for Birbal to guess that the man was going to ask him for money.

“Are you going back the same way?” Birbal asked.

“Yes,” said the man.

“Will you do me a favor?”

“Sure!” said the man. “What do you want me to do?”

“Please deny the rumor of my generosity.” Birbal walked away.
As I re-visited these stories, I couldn’t help but think these were probably the earliest version of flash fiction stories. I thought I had just chanced upon flash fiction when actually I have been reading them all my life! How interesting is that? A huge thank you to Rekha for being such a sport and coming through at such a short notice.

I hope you enjoyed these little stories. If you have any favorite Birbal story do share it! Let’s move to Rekha’s blog where she has created a lovely post complete with pictures – looks just like my comic book of yesteryears! And even better, she promises to post more such stories in the coming days.

But before you leave just a quick recap of the Story Club:

Rules are simple (and breakable) :

  1. Advance announcement of name of short story, one that is freely available on the net.
  1. Story maybe a folktale or in the local language. But an English translation should be freely available on the net. Or participant could post the translated version along with his or her review.
  1. Bloggers should post on their blog.
  1. The basic idea is to gain from each others rich heritage of literature and be able to understand a little bit more than before and of course have fun! 

    Anyone interested in hosting the next month’s Story Club? Please feel free to may email me at mysilverstreaks@gmail.com

    Look forward to reading from you – have a great day.

CB&W: G and H

Some photos for Cee’s weekly black and white photo challenge: G or H.

Gate

Won’t you step in through the gate? Come on in and take a stroll

Havelock

And take a stroll along the Radhanagar beach at Havelock Islands, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

House arrestOr you could hop over to Ross Island to catch a glimpse of what it really means to be under House arrest 😉

Hippo

Let’s cut half way across the world to the Denmark zoo for some lessons on how to enjoy your meal. Can you see the sheer joy and bliss on his face? That’s the way to be – at one with the moment. Let the lookers look on!

Hide and seekBack home, I found a kitty playing hide and seek at a wedding venue. All those fishy smells…

GoodbyeTime to say goodbye 😉

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 127

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WPC: Green – The Color of Life

Green is such a wonderful color, so soothing and something I can never get enough of. At one point of time, all my dresses had something do with green. Now it’s all about blue and red 😉 This week, the Daily Post’s Weekly Challenge is about celebrating green – It IS easy being green!

Come join me on a green tour…

Woods
Somewhere in Denmark

“Do you have a personal mantra? Mine comes from a childhood song.
“Wherever I go the grass grows greener.” ― Richie Norton

Denmark
Again somewhere in Denmark

A green spire and a matching green dress 🙂

Park
Park in Delhi

Yellow, red and orange dot the greens

FortGreens own the ruins of the Golconda fort, Hyderabad.

DdnWhiled away many an idyllic childhood day traipsing up and down this stream near Dehradun.

PondiA final green feast – a boat ride through the picturesque Chunnambar backwaters, Puducherry, India.

Hope you liked – ciao until next time!

Do let me know you were here so that I may feast my eyes too 🙂

APWC: Spring

Spring came and went – pushed away by a relentless and impatient Sun. But it was a treat while it lasted. Have a look.

SpringQuite riot of colors isn’t it? This is one of my favorite pictures taken at a park in Delhi. What do you think?

In response to Nancy’s challenge: Spring

Just 4 Fun # 31

Hello everyone! Here we are at the beginning of another week which promises to be hot, hotter and hottest. The first bite of summer is the worst. And Delhi weather is possibly the worst. There’s hardly any space between winter and summer.

Enough of weather woes for today. Let’s look on the lighter side shall we?

Sometime ago I had shared a link of some priceless student bloopers. But perhaps you may have missed it. And it was pretty long. To give a brief update it is a collection of student answers to exam question and like someone said – the only time a student changes the course of history is during an exam 😀

So here I am with a chosen few 😉

Without the Greeks, we wouldn’t have history. Poor chap, I do feel for him

The Greeks invented three kinds of columns – Corinthian, Doric and Ironic. Excuse me, Doric is rather Greek to me.

They also had myths. A myth is a female moth. Hahaha, a likely story!

One myth says that the mother of Achilles dipped him in the River Stynx until he became intolerable. Intriguing…

Achilles appears in “The Illiad”, by Homer. Homer also wrote the “Oddity”, in which Penelope was the last hardship that Ulysses endured on his journey. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer but by another man of that name. Distinctly odd

Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. He was probably hemmed in by his wife.

In the Olympic Games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled the biscuits, and threw the java.The reward to the victor was a coral wreath. He had me at biscuits 😀

The government of Athen was democratic because the people took the law into their own hands.Sounds pretty familiar

There were no wars in Greece, as the mountains were so high that they couldn’t climb over to see what their neighbors were doing. There you have the solution to wars – build higher mountains.

When they fought the Parisians, the Greeks were outnumbered because the Persians had more men. This guy is going to go places!

I think it’s time to switch topics before I forget whatever little history I know…

BindiThose who agree raise your hands! 😀

Cell

Well what about you? Are you a prisoner too?

Funpic1

Here are some fun pics

Funpic2

Isnt that cool? Hop over to Rekha’s blog for some more cool fun pics and you can browse her other blog for some fun posts too.

Okay, then see you soon. It’s time for my exercise

Treadmill

Hope you found something that you liked – none of which are mine by the way. I received all of them as forwards/shares and am just keeping the fun going.

Have a super week and don’t forget to have some fun as well 🙂

And do let me know your favorite – or better still post your own and leave me a link I will be along in just a bit.

 

Good Morning

Sun tree

Have a great week.

Linked to Becca’s Sunday Trees -280

CFFC: Raibeshe

So far Cee has made us look up and down and from the side.  And now it’s time to cover all that is left – back, bottom and underneath. I am guessing you all are tired from all that tramping about with me from one place to another. So for just this once, sit back relax and watch the fun. This time I bring to you glimpses of Raibeshe, a genre of folk martial dance performed by males, in West Bengal, India. Traditionally, this dance involves display of vigorous physical prowess along with the acrobatics of a raibansh (a long bamboo stick), from which its name originated.

StiltsProponents of the martial arts from Bengal doing the stilt dance

SingleThe picture is a bit blurred isnt it? So let me just explain – there is one man on top of another man’s head. Hey wait, he is standing on a earthen pot balanced on the other man’s head. Go on have a closer look.

Okay another picture, just for you. Hopefully a bit clearer.

DoubleOh this one is a bit different – a wooden block on which rests two earthen clay pots and he stands on top of that.

PoleA different kind of pole dance 😉

UnderneathThis one is a bit complicated. The man lying underneath with his legs up supports all the men on the pole balanced on his feet

WheelThe focus here is on the glass underneath the wheel…

Hope you enjoyed the show!

Thanks for visiting 🙂

Backfired

gateway-jhardy
Photo (c) J. Hardy Carroll

Backfired

Words 100

I can still hear the rush of feet, echoes of laughter, the soft whispers and warm sighs.

My vision blurs.

I loved him.

He loved me.

What went wrong?

He turns away.

“How have you been?” I call out.

“Why do you care?” His voice is harsh.

“I just do.”

“If you did, you wouldn’t have left.”

“Why didn’t you stop me?”

“You wanted to leave. Be free.”

“But you didn’t care enough to stop me?”

“Wasn’t that your grievance? That I imposed my dictates on you?”

“But…”

“That’s why I backed off, to let you do as you wanted.”

***

Written for the Friday Fictioneers – a story in 100 words or less. Thanks to Rochelle for hosting the irresistible challenge and J. Hardy Carroll for the beautiful photo. To read the other stories inspired by this post, click here.

Thanks also to those whose commented on this story which triggered this post 🙂

SPF: A Benevolent Dictator

195-03-march-19th-2017

A Benevolent Dictator

Words 198

 “Did you like the show?”

“It was nice.”

“Nice?”

“Well, you know I don’t like War stories.”

“But that is our past, our reality. You shouldn’t avoid it.”

“I see enough reality in real life.”

“I don’t know why I try. I can never please you can I?”

“That’s not true!”

“Last week I offered to take you sari shopping but you refused.”

“I appreciate you wanting to buy me things. But don’t you think it should be about me not about you?”

“It is about you! I don’t wear saris.”

“But I don’t want saris. I have a cupboard full of them.”

“What do you want?”

“I want to be indulged.”

“That’s why I booked this show. You know I don’t enjoy such things.”

“Yes darling I know. And I love you for that.”

“But?”

“But you indulge me when you want not and as you like.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Never mind. Where are we going for dinner? Reeta told me about a new Chinese joint. They make the most awesome dimsums and…”

“I thought Biryani.”

“But we haven’t had Chinese for ages.”

“The Biryani is delicious here.”

“But…”

“I made reservations. You’ll love the kulfi too.”

 ***

Written for the Sunday Photo Fiction – a story in 200 words or less. Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting and the photo prompt. Click here to read the other stories inspired by this prompt.

Thanks for reading.

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 126

 

 

CB&W: Effs

Cee want E and Fs this week. Hmm this one is a toughie. Lets see what I can come up with 😉

Facing a castle wallAt Frederiksborg castle, Denmark

EngineerA budding Engineer and Enfant terrible! Don’t be fooled by his studious demeanor 😉

ferry

Okay let me ferry you across from Lucerne to

FenceThe fencing at the Darjeeling Zoo

ElephantBut these entrancing, enchanting, elegant elephants are at the Kolkata Zoo. Aren’t they cute? 🙂

IPK fans and readers of SS,  A Chip Off the Old Block -II is up. Click here for Part I

Cheers!

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A Full Circle

jennifer-pendergast51
Photo (c) Jennifer Pendergast

A Full Circle

Word 99

“Let’s go in.”

“We just came out.”

“It’s getting dark. You’ll catch a chill.”

“I won’t.”

“Mosquitoes are abuzz…”

“I don’t care.”

“I made soup.”

“What kind?”

“Tomato soup.”

“Did you put carrots in it?”

“Yes.”

“Ginger?”

“A little bit.”

“I don’t like ginger.”

“It’s good for your throat.”

“Cinnamon?”

“I forgot.”

“Then I don’t want any soup.”

“Oh please! I have had a long day…”

“Even I had a long day.”

“Doing what?”

“Waiting for you to take me out.”

“I’ll make croutons to go with the soup.”

“And you’ll spend the day with me tomorrow?”

“Yes Mom.”

***

Written for the Friday Fictioneers – a story in 100 words or less. Thanks to Rochelle for hosting the irresistible challenge and Jennifer for the awesome photo. I am sorry I missed the link up deadline but if you wish to read the other stories inspired by this prompt click here.

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 125 and for IPK fans and readers of SS here are two links under DM's Desk - Hook, Line and Sinker plus A Chip Off the Old Block - which I hope you will enjoy. Anyhow, do let me know your thoughts and reactions

 

 

CFFC: View from the Side

This week Cee wants us to present views from the side for the Fun Foto Challenge. Won’t you join me?

Traffic
Outside a botanical garden near Darjeeling, West Bengal

Oops what have we here? One of the most picturesque traffic jams I have seen. My appreciation was probably enhanced by the fact that I was a tourist and on foot 😉

train
At a train station in Denmark

I thought we’d take the train but this one just whooshed us by. So…

Train
Toy train at Darjeeling, West Bengal

How about a ride on a steam locomotive from yesteryears? Come on, just hop on!

Bridge
Lucerne, Switzerland

Okay time to stretch our legs through a quaint wooden bridge

Castle
Frederiksborg Castle, Denmark

Check out some cool sculptures on the walls of a grand castle.

Koala
Darjeeling Zoo

Catch a glimpse of a hiding koala – or is it something else?

Bear
Darjeeling Zoo

A camera shy Himalayan bear to wrap up this fun tour 🙂 Which one did you like best?

For IPK fans and readers of SS here's Part I of A Chip off the Old Block

Thanks for visiting – hope you have a good day 🙂

Just 4 Fun # 30

Monday! Oh boy what a day – nothing but geniuses like this everywhere

Gate

or this one

Pacemaker

And I can’t help but think

Common sense

And agree that

Mum.jpg

Here’s something that is bound to cheer you up. What are Grandparents – in the words of 8-year-olds:

Grandparents are a lady and a man who have no little children of their own. 

They like other people’s children.

A grandfather is a man, and a grandmother is a lady!

Grandparents don’t have to do anything except be there when we come to see them.

They are so old they shouldn’t play hard or run. 

It is good if they drive us to the shops and give us money.

When they take us for walks, they slow down past things like pretty leaves and caterpillars.

They show us and talk to us about the colors of the flowers and also why we shouldn’t step on ‘cracks.’

They don’t say, ‘Hurry up.’

Usually they are fat but not too fat to tie your shoes.

They wear glasses and funny underwear.

They can take their teeth and gums out.

Grandparents don’t have to be smart.

They have to answer questions like ‘Why isn’t God married?’ and ‘How come dogs chase cats?’

When they read to us, they don’t skip. 

They don’t mind if we ask for the same story over again.

Everybody should try to have a grandmother, especially if you don’t have television because they are the only grownups who like to spend time with us…

They know we should have snack time before bed time.

They say prayers with us and kiss us even when we’ve acted bad.

Grandpa is the smartest man on earth! 

He teaches me good things, but I don’t get to see him enough to get as smart as him!

No wonder I ain’t smart at all.

That’s all from me this Monday folks 😀

Hope you found something that you liked – none of which are mine by the way. I received all of them as forwards/shares and am just keeping the fun going.

Have a super week and don’t forget to have some fun as well 🙂

And do let me know your favorite – or better still post your own and leave me a link I will be along in just a bit.

APWC: Witch Craft

This week’s theme for A Photo a Week Challenge hosted by Nancy is something that has begun to interest me. The challenge is to share a series of the same photograph with different treatments. Amazing how a simple change in color can change the mood instantly. Have a look.

But do wait for the photos to download before scrolling down, slowly.

Humor me – please!

BWYikes!!!

VintageScary, interesting but not terrifying right?

ColorAdd a dash of color and she’s quite clownish don’t you think?

20170318_191743And just in case you have been wondering and were curious – that’s my original photo 😉 😀

Like Nancy says – It all depends on what you want.

Thanks for visiting – do share your reactions and preferences.

Have a great week.

Fall in Spring

It is technically the Spring season and Delhi is awash with colors as you may have seen here. Yet funnily enough, the streets and lawns are strewn with fallen leaves. I cannot but help thinking of it as symbolizing the simultaneous coexistence of the rich and poor, that if it is spring for some, it is fall for others. And if it is fall, can spring be far away?

Finally, I managed to find the perfect foil for spring.

BouganvilleaBougainvillea overgrows a lush green Gulmohar tree with the (almost) bare Peepal tree (I think) towering in the background. Hmm I wonder what color flowers this Gulmohar tree will turn into – red, orange, yellow, purple, pink…

Linked to Becca’s Sunday Trees – 279

Have a great week 🙂