Friends in Deed

Tree

She is dull

drab and brown

cares of the world

weigh her down;

unbeknownst

they close in

and paint her

pink and

yellow.

 

T2Where

would we

be

without

friends?

 

Linked to Becca’s Sunday Trees – 293

 

Just 4 Fun # 44

Hola people! How’s life? Hot, hotter hottest…

Gorom

Yep that’s how hot it is 😀 Makes one terribly dull and lazy.

Mom

Dash it…

School

In a separate news, there are others who dont let anything come in the way of their creativity. This picture is of a school in Kerala.

School2

Wouldnt you love to go to such a school?

Artist

That’s the artist – hats off to him! Oh well I guess I should be getting back to work

Position

That does sound good doesn’t it? Now if only the kids could just as easily be cornered.

Password

What! No password needed? Surely nothing good can be written there 😉

Dog

Whom are you rooting for – the dog or the cat? 😀

For some more fun, 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.

 

Story Club #11: A Twist in the Tale

It’s story time folks and this month I have chosen to feature the master storyteller, William Sydney Porter (1862 – 1910) or O. Henry. Apart from being an acclaimed short story writer, he was also a gifted musician with impressive drawing skills.

O. Henry had a checkered career that involved pharmacy, drafting, journalism, and banking. While at the bank, he was accused of embezzlement and though his father-in-law offered to bail him out, he preferred to flee. He had to come back when his wife fell terminally ill. His father-in-law posted bail that allowed him to be by his wife side until her death. He was then imprisoned for five years. But he was lucky enough to be spared the jail cell for he was allowed to practice pharmacy and given a room in the hospital.

O. Henry’s collection of short stories was one of the very first books that I bought with my own money (and hence all the more precious!). The heartbreaking and poignant The Gift of the Magi and The Last Leaf, stand out vividly in my memory from eons ago. In O. Henry stories, I particularly enjoy the unexpected twist endings which fascinate and impress like no other. Perhaps that’s part of the reason I feel compelled to include twist endings in my stories. But lately as I re-read his stories, I am bowled over by his witticism and clever wordplay, which I can never hope to match.

For this story club, I spent a pleasurable couple of hours reading his stories – the ones I hadn’t read before. One of them, The Romance of a Busy Broker immediately touched a chord and I fell in love with the short and sweet story.

Do read it before scrolling down as there are spoilers ahead.

As the title suggests this is about a busy broker Maxwell. Even after I finished reading the story, I can still vividly see Maxwell’s office as clearly as if I had emerged from a movie screening. And the humorous turn of phase,  brings a smile whenever I think of it. Take for instance this line:

Maxwell dashed at his desk as though he were intending to leap over it, and then plunged into the great heap of letters and telegrams waiting there for him.

and another

“He did,” answered Pitcher. “He told me to get another one. I notified the agency yesterday afternoon to send over a few samples this morning. It’s 9.45 o’clock, and not a single picture hat or piece of pineapple chewing gum has showed up yet.”

I read the latter section twice, quite sure that there was a typo somewhere! The crisp and exacting words painted images that refuse to go away long after one had moved away from the story.

And this day was Harvey Maxwell’s busy day. The ticker began to reel out jerkily its fitful coils of tape, the desk telephone had a chronic attack of buzzing. Men began to throng into the office and call at him over the railing, jovially, sharply, viciously, excitedly. Messenger boys ran in and out with messages and telegrams. The clerks in the office jumped about like sailors during a storm. Even Pitcher’s face relaxed into something resembling animation.

While I would like to draw your attention to his liberal use of words ending with ly (against current exhortations to avoid them like the plague 😉 – jovially, sharply, viciously, excitedly not even the most critical critic can accuse him of using clichés:

She was beautiful in a way that was decidedly unstenographic.

I also love the fact that unstenographic is not a word but should clearly be in the dictionary 😀

But I saved the best piece for the last:

In the midst of this growing and important stress the broker became suddenly aware of a high-rolled fringe of golden hair under a nodding canopy of velvet and ostrich tips, an imitation sealskin sacque and a string of beads as large as hickory nuts, ending near the floor with a silver heart. There was a self-possessed young lady connected with these accessories; and Pitcher was there to construe her.

 This one just blew me away and I still can’t stop giggling. I have only one reservation. It also evokes dejection, envy and despair  – I cannot even dream of coming anywhere near sort of exposition.

But before things get really bad, I just read it once again 😀

Moving on, in the story, if you remember, there is mention of lilac odor. Now I am not familiar with the odor and since Google is as yet unable to let me experience it, I subconsciously replaced it with the scent of mogras or jasmine flowers. The combination of the office scene and the fragrance was a potent one.

Before I had finished reading the story, a story in the Indian setting played out.

I attempted to pen it but it took quite a while to actually draft it and grew longer (4000 words approx.) than I wanted it to be. Besides, it looked so much better in my head. But since I put in so much effort I thought I would go ahead and post it.

If you can read it without feeling bored, I will consider it worth the zillion redrafts. If you like, you can read it here. And if you do read it, do let me know if you managed to finish it, what you liked and what you didn’t.

Thanks so much for visiting.

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.
  2. 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.
  3. Bloggers should post on their blog.
  4. 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 email me at mysilverstreaks@gmail.com

If you don’t want to host a story club, but if you have a favorite short story, do share it – thanks!

 

The Scent of Love

Dayaram entered the office and his step faltered.

A new girl sat at the reception.

“Belaji?” he mumbled unable to stop himself.

“Good morning!” The receptionist sang out as she jumped up from her seat. “Myself Geeta, how may I help you?”

Dayaram shied away but he had to know. “Where is Belaji?”

“She’s getting married…”

Dayaram tottered away to his seat.

Married!

An alien sensation enveloped Dayaram – acid, he wondered or was it a heart attack? Wasn’t he too young? Was…was this what they called heart broken? How easily he had said it didn’t matter…but how would he live the rest of his life with this pain, this agonizing crushing pain as if a giant hand had slid into his chest and was squeezing his heart. He couldn’t breathe…

“Daya Babu, are you alright?” The office boy stood at his desk with a sheaf of papers.

Beads of sweat dotted his brow. Dayaram nodded and waved him away. He took deep breaths to calm himself.

He pulled a file and stared at the neat orderly row of numbers.

It had all begun 7 months, 21 days and 13 hours 17 minutes ago.

That day, unlike other days, Dayaram had arrived at the office a little late because he had been to the bank for some official work.

As was his habit, as soon as he entered he touched the feet of Goddess Lakshmi on the calendar that hung by the doorway. The calendar itself was a decade old but nobody dared remove it – after all she was the Goddess of Wealth. Dayaram himself was staunch devotee of Hanumanji and kept a fast every Tuesday, but Devi Lakshmi was hard to ignore. Besides, as head clerk of the Accounts Division, his job was all about money and her blessings were of paramount importance.

Even as he paid his daily obeisance, he could sense something was different in office. He had been coming to this office for the past fifteen years and hard work, perseverance and a love for numbers had made him a valued and reliable member of the company.

His honesty, sincerity and dedication were legendary and all, including the CEO were in awe of his meticulous work. If Daya Babu had passed a bill, a balance sheet, a file, it became God’s gospel – unchallengeable. He was the perfect employee who lived for work and had no time for office chitchat or politics. But he did have a quirk he was a stickler for first-come first-serve policy. The files, bills, vouchers were all handled as and when they were received and not in order of priority – not even if it meant rising rates, irate customers or delayed payments.

No amount of cajoling or pleading worked. He would just stare at the offending file and get back to the pile of files on his desk. Over the years, after many an altercation and brainstorming sessions, he had grudgingly begun to accept files, which had the CEO’s initials with his distinctive scribble “Daya babu plz expedite”.

He would keep these files in a separate pile and deal with them on his time after office hours no matter how late that made him.

The others shook their heads and laughed at him.

“Crazy fellow. No wonder he is still unmarried,” said one.

“I thought his wife had left him?”

“How old is he?”

“He’s thirty-three.”

“Really? He looks so much older.”

Dayaram did look forty plus but that was mostly because of the air of gravity that he wore like a thick mantle and shed only on rare occasions and never in office. The responsibility of providing for his family had fallen on him when he was still in school. A stroke left his father paralyzed. With his father out of commission and four younger siblings to take care of, Dayaram had had to grow up overnight.

He had joined this office as a peon and worked his way up. He had taken his responsibility as head of the family seriously and uncomplainingly unquestioningly earned money to feed his family, school his brothers and marry off his sisters.

The entire office laughed at his penny-pinching ways but he didn’t care. They didn’t know his story and neither did he want to share. He only did what had to be done – did the Sun ever ask why he had to rise everyday? Did he care if people cursed him or prayed to him? No. He did what he was meant to do. Rise and shine – come summer, winter and rain. If someone or something came in front, so be it, He would still rise and shine.

Daya Babu took inspiration from the Sun and drew strength from Hanumanji.

Every morning he would wake up at the crack of dawn and do the Suryanamaskar 32 times and be in office by eight-forty five am. He had a fixed routine that he liked to follow – fifteen minutes grace period to cool off, after a one and a half hour journey by bus and on foot. He would reverentially extract one marigold from his shirt pocket and offer it to the bronze idol of Hanumanji before bowing with folded hands. He had a deal with the flower boy at the temple, ten rupees a month for one marigold for each weekday. Dayaram splurged another ten rupees on Tuesdays for prasad, which he distributed in the office. Rather, he would keep it by the side of his table and his colleagues would feel free to take some and offer a greeting in return. Dayaram would nod in return without looking up from his precious files.

He would take a 10 min break for tea at 11 and 3 pm when the canteen boy arrived with the tea. He would sip the sweet tea with a biscuit from his personal store – one for the morning and one for the afternoon. He would leave his seat at dot one and have his lunch in the Government sponsored Meals on Wheels that stood at a distance from the office. The food wasn’t too great, but it was fresh and cheap. During summers when it was too hot to stand outside, he would carry a tiffin box, collect it and go back to his seat to have it and indulge in a bit of a siesta until the clock struck two. And it was back to work until six pm or later.

And that is how his life had been for the past seven years since he had joined the accounts department. Every morning when he came to office he bowed his head in gratefulness and reverence – for this was his temple, his sanctuary. He had a seat of his own and had even graduated from an office hall with a cooler to an air conditioned hall. At one time his job was in the field delivering collecting, queuing, or walking in the blistering heat just to save the bus fare. And study by night, sleep out in the open, live on the mercy of strangers saving every paisa to send home for his father’s treatment, his sisters’ wedding, brothers’ education. Those days had been the really tough ones even though he hadn’t had time to think so then – he was too busy coping. But now that the worst  was over – his sisters married, a brother on his new job and even father was better, he had nightmares. Sometimes he woke up sweating thinking that he had been just dreaming of his office cubicle, his own desk, chair.

After many years he was finally in a comfortable position and wanted nothing more –  What more could he ask for?

“Get married Daya, I worry about you. All alone…” his mother had taken to saying of late and Dayaram was running out of excuses.

“Don’t worry Mother. I am comfortable and happy. Why do you want to take away my peace?”

“I want you to have a family of your own.”

“You all are my family Mother.”

“You need a wife to take care of you, cook for you…”

“I can cook for myself. She will be more of a headache than an asset.”

“I want a grandchild.”

“Get Sakharam married.”

“He can’t marry before you!”

“Says which law? If you want I will look for a suitable bride for her…”

“Better you look for one for yourself!”

“Over my dead body!”

“Daya!” His mother burst into tears. Daya exerted himself to soothe her and calm her but he stood his ground. He wasn’t going to get married ever.

His mother was equally adamant. If he wasn’t going to marry, neither would his brothers.

And that was that – a stalemate as neither party was willing to blink.

Fate heaved a sigh and sent a gentle waft his way.

He frowned.

What was that fragrance? It took him back to his school days with his mother humming a song as she clipped a gajra on her hair. He took a deep breath – who in the office…?

“Namaste. May I help you?”

“Who are you?” Offended he shot back.

“I am Bela, the new receptionist.”

Dayaram walked inside without bothering to respond to her. Someone would tell her who he was. Besides, as the receptionist, it was her job to find out who was who, he sniffed.

“Good evening Dayaji.” She chirped when he left for the evening.

Showing off, he grumbled to himself, that she knew who he was and that she wasn’t a slacker like him, who came late to office and left early.

“I have to give these cheques to the Chief at his home,” he snapped.

Her smile flickered but she held on to it. “Very good Sir.”

He grunted annoyed with himself. What was the need to justify to her, a newcomer? Who was she? Oh what did it matter, his and her paths were different. They needn’t meet ever. He would be in office before her and leave after her. Today was an exception, he told himself firmly and put her out of his mind.

Or so he thought.

The entire night, the scent of mogra haunted him. How could one dream about scents? And why did he? She didn’t have much to her credit – dusky glowing skin, large kohl lined eyes, a long plait with the bunch of mogras peeking out, a mole on the upper corner of her lip…stop it! He told himself sternly.

When had he noticed so much about her? And why her? There were other girls in the office, they laughed and giggled whenever he passed them by but he barely noticed them. What was so special about her?

Dayaram sneaked into office half an hour before his usual time. He slid into his seat and soaked in the silence and the familiar musty smell of files. He felt safe as if he had crawled into his mother’s lap. He even looked up to greet a colleague or two as they passed by his table.

Dayaram was neck deep in numbers when his breath faltered. Head still bent over his file, he froze, he gripped his pencil tightly and the numbers blurred.

What if she wished him? He wouldn’t look up. He would nod distantly. Like he did the others.

Simple.

“Namaste Dayaji.”

Daya’s breath left him. Almost helplessly, he looked up and of their own will his lips moved and he echoed, “Namaste Belaji.”

She rewarded him with a smile that stretched ear to ear, crinkled her eyes and even her shiny button nose. He stared bemusedly until she swished away her thick black plait swaying gently.

Dayaram put down his pencil. He closed his eyes and leaned back in his chair and replayed the ultra-short clip over and over again. His heart thudded, he was back in his village running through the yellow mustard fields the wind blowing through his hair until he was flying high, high…

“Dayaramji? Is everything okay?” It was Sukrit, the office manager.

“Y…yes.” He straightened. “Just a bit tired, didn’t sleep well,” he said shortly.

“Sorry to disturb you but could you please do this file urgently?” Sukrit was close to begging, “Please it is very urgent. The Chief is out of station otherwise I would have had it initialled, please…”

“Okay.” Dayaram took the file. “I’ll do it.”

Sukrit stared.

“I wonder what’s wrong with Dayaji,” he mused over a cup of tea with his colleagues, “he broke his own rule! He took the file. I was prepared to fight tooth and nail just to allow me to keep the file on his desk. But he smiled and tokk the file!”

“I am sure this is a new delaying tactic. He’ll just sit on the file.”

“While I get an earful from both the Chief and the customer.” Sukrit fretted.

But by evening, the file was on Sukrit’s table. And he couldn’t even say thank you for Daya Babu had left for the day. Another first! He must be coming down with something serious.

Dayaram was restless. He had to meet her once more, speak to her, perhaps look at her…he flushed.

At the ripe old age of 33 he was turning into a pervert.

He left without wishing her and spent a miserable night cursing himself.

What on earth was wrong with him? Where was the unruffled placidity that had been his constant companion and strength in times of his greatest challenges. Was he losing it in his dotage? But didn’t people become steadier as they aged? He tossed and turned the whole night unable to sleep, the scent of jasmine wafted in from the open window, teasing him, disturbing him, inciting him…

Quite at his wits end, Dayaram upped this exercise regimen, went to the temple, tried meditating in an attempt to regain control over himself. It was a slow, uphill task – one step forward and two steps backwards.

He avoided her in the office but she always came by his desk to wish him, as she did the others. Nothing special. But she was the only girl in his office who was bold enough to help herself to the prasad on Tuesdays.

“I am a devotee of Sri Krishna,” she confessed, “but I love this prasad.”

He began getting a little extra packed separately for her, which he would slide towards her as she came by his seat.

Then one day, she requested him to help her with her tax, and on anohter, requested his advice regarding her investments. Dayaram went deeper and deeper into the chakravyuh. And like Abhimanyu he entered the complex tangled web easily enough but lost his way out.

Unlike Abhimanyu, Dayaram was oblivious to his entrapment and was in fact loving it. He lost his air of gravity, shrugged of the invisible burden that weighed him down, he looked younger, fresher.

Fate seemed to be pleased with the revised version of Dayaram. She laughed with glee and cooked up ways to throw them together. There was a new circular to transcribe physical files into electronic files. He was asked to take the help of Bela in extracting and computing the expenditure data. She spent longer times at his desk, leaning over his shoulder, fiddling with her dupatta, worrying her nail and sometimes throwing back her head to laugh at her own stupidity.

He could only stare at her in wonder. How could anyone laugh at oneself? How could anyone not mind making a fool of oneself?

He stopped avoiding her. He made excuses to pass by her table – the photocopier machine, the washroom, drinking water, in search of the elusive mobile signal, his creativity blossomed. He changed the angle of his chair even though he got a crick in the neck. His colleagues snickered and although nobody dared say anything to the man himself, the girls teased Bela no end.

She began noticing his visits, his shuffling even steps, the way it faltered by her seat. She would continue to type diligently with a small smile on her lips and her heart rate would speed up just the tiniest bit.

There is no saying how long this gentle romance would have continued for one day, Bela dropped by Dayaram’s seat.

“I finished typing the 1998 records.”

“Give it to Ramesh to proof read.” He didn’t look up. “And take this file and correct the typos. So many errors this time. You need to pay more attention…”

“I…I…my engagement has been fixed.”

He looked up. The pencil slipped from his fingers.

He blinked.

“Cong…” he cleared his throat, “Congratulations. I hope you will be very happy.”

She drew in a sharp breath as if he had thrust a knife into her. She turned on her heel and went back to her seat.

After about an hour or so, Dayaram came to her seat carrying a file.

He shifted from one foot to the other.

He handed the file to her. “You forgot this.”

“You came to give this?”

“Yes.”

“You could have called me.”

“I thought I would stretch my legs.”

“You wanted to stretch your legs?”

“Yes. Why?”

“There’s nothing else?”

“What else could be there?”

“I thought you came to ask about my…”

“Your what?”

“M…my wedding.”

“What is there to ask?”

“Nothing?”

“Nothing.”

“Fine.”

He walked away but not before he heard her sniff.

He felt slow and dull. He hadnt anticipated this. He had never given future a thought. He had been too exhilarated from soaring on the clouds living in the present moment, her presence, her fragrance, her smile.

But she wasn’t smiling now.

And she seemed to be angry with him.

Why was she angry with him? What did she want from him? What could he have to say to her? Had he not done the right thing and congratulated her?

What did she want from him?

The question haunted him day and night. He wrestled with it like he would when his numbers wouldn’t tally. He went over and over the question but it just didn’t add up.

“Why are you angry with me?” He confronted her.

“Why would I be angry with you? What right do I have to be angry with you?”

He shook his head bewildered. “I don’t know. But I know you are angry with me. I can feel it.”

Feel? Don’t make me laugh.” She walked away.

He wrestled some more with his feelings but drew a blank.

“I don’t understand. What do you want from me?” He went back to her.

“What do you want?”

“Me?” He was taken aback. This question had never ever come up in his life. “What do I want?” He looked lost and confused.

Bela sighed. “Yes. What do you want?”

“What I want doesn’t matter.” He reported back to her the next morning.

“But the question is what do you want?” She insisted.

“I don’t matter.”

“Then what matters?”

He shrugged. “Others?”

“W…who others?”

“Everyone.” He waved his hand vaguely.

“Am I included in that?”

Unable to breathe, he could only stare at her.

“Well? Do I matter?”

His throat closed up choking him. Sweat broke out on his brow. This was something terribly important he could make that much out. But what exactly it was eluded him. He had to get to the bottom of it.

“W…what about you matters?” He managed to say.

“T…that…that I,” she faltered but held his eyes, “that I am getting married.”

He was silent.

“To another.”

Rage engulfed him. He wanted to smash everything in sight. He wanted to strangle her. He felt like running to the terrace and jumping off.

He walked to his seat.

She was getting married to another.

And he could do nothing but watch in dreadful silence.

His feet would drag as he passed her seat. She no longer wore the flowers in her hair nor did she wish him good morning. He wished he could say them but the words stuck in his throat.

Despair settled over him like the thick blanket of smog after Diwali. He was suffocating and the clock was ticking. Each day he lived in dread of seeing her empty seat. And each day he saw her sitting, was as if his death sentence had been commuted at the last minute.

But today the axe had fallen.

Her seat was empty.

She was gone and his life would never be the same again. A searing anguish ripped through his soul. Had he felt this bad when his world had come crashing down when he was barely out of his teens? He didn’t think so. His tender years would not have been able to take this raw bleeding gaping gash that didn’t let him sleep or work. Work which had been his panacea was abhorrent to him – the numbers mocked him and slipped away from his grasp. He messed up the accounts.

“Daya Babu, you are overworked.” The Chief had been apprised of the real situation. “Take a holiday. Go home. Meet your family.”

Dayaram looked at his boss with something akin to hope. Meet his family. His mother. She would know what to do with him. She would take care of him. He couldn’t wait to see her. It had been five years since he had gone home. The money was better utilized in paying off the debts incurred for his sister’s wedding.

“Amma…” He choked up.

His mother shed tears of joy and sorrow. “Look at you my son! So thin! Don’t you eat? Are you not well?”

“I am fine Amma.” But he was listless and dull. He only perked up when his sister put her toddler in his lap. He sat for hours playing with her.

“It’s decided Daya,” his mother was firm, “you are getting married. Your Uncle even has a girl in mind. Very…”

“Amma please! You know I don’t want to get married. I barely sustain myself. How will sustain a family?”

“By God’s grace, we have enough for our needs. Sakharam has a job at the post office and God willing Munna will start earning soon. You can stop sending money to us. It is time you thought of your own family.”

“But you are my family Amma.”

“I don’t want any arguments. I have decided you are getting married and that’s it.”

“Amma, listen to me…”

“No you listen to me. You are getting married otherwise you arent going back to the city.”

“Fine I won’t go back to the city. I’ll just sit at home and eat home-cooked food.”

“You will see my dead face if you don’t get married.”

There wasn’t much to be said after that.

If only he hadnt come home! How could he marry? What about Bela?

What about her? She’s already married to another.

But I couldn’t marry anyone else.

Fine then see your mother die.

Dayaram was the most morose groom ever. He refused to cooperate. Not that it mattered. He was anointed with turmeric, bathed, dressed and led to the mandap for the wedding. He exchanged garlands with the bride, went through the motions as directed by the pundit and ended with the seven circambulations around the holy fire.

And he was married.

But he was also free.

Free from his mother’s blackmailing tactics. He had been an obedient son and done as she wished.

Now he would do his duty as a responsible son and leave his wife behind to serve his family.

That would serve Amma right for forcing his hand.

But before that he had to bypass the obligatory first night rituals.

He got drunk and passed out on the nuptial bed decorated with marigold and rose petals.

Dayaram managed a peaceful night but the morning brought no respite. If anything it was worse than before – his heart was as sore and resentful as ever only now it was compounded by a massive headache.

His sisters fussed over him and scolded him. “What made you drink? That too on your wedding night? What will Bhabhi think?”

He couldn’t care less and the less she thought about him the better it was for his peace of him. He snarled at his sisters.

They left him to sleep off his hangover.

With no alcohol to deaden his senses he thrashed and tossed about on the bed, groaning and moaning as the scent of jasmine assualted his senses. Would he never escape? Would he never forget?

“Bela!” He called out in anguish.

“I am here.” Her voice washed over him like a soothing gush of cool water. He never wanted to wake up from this dream.

“Bela?” He reached out blindly.

A soft small hand slipped into his. He gripped it tightly. She moaned. He sat up and stared.

Bela was rubbing her hands.

“You are here!” he said stupidly. “You’re married!”

“Yes.” She said simply.

“What are you doing here?” He hurriedly got up from the bed. “What will about your husband?”

“What about him?”

“What will he say?”

“Ask him yourself.” She said coyly.

Dayaram back away. “He’s here!”

“There.”

He followed the direction of her finger.

“But…what…how?”

Bela came up beside him and looked at him through the mirror. “You may not matter to you, but you matter to me.”

Dayaram gave up trying to make sense of it. He did what he had been yearning to do since the day he had met her. He buried his face in the white bunch of jasmine nestling on the base of her neck.

***

A short story with a local flavor inspired by O. Henry’s  The Romance of a Busy Broker as described in Story Club #11.

Thanks for reading and go on, say it!

 

 

 

Commitment Checklist

Continuing from an earlier post on Borrowed Advice and inspired by a heartbreaking piece I came up with a tentative checklist on questions to ask oneself before going in for a lifelong commitment:

  • Will I still love you when you are too tired for a movie but not a booze party?
  • Will I still love you when you catch a cold and demand 24-hr nursing care?
  • Will I still love you when you insist on trekking with an 11-month baby?
  • Will I still love you when your job is more important than mine?
  • Will I still love you when you have eyes only for your phone screen?
  • Will I still love you when your family is my family but mine is not yours?
  • Will I still love you when you are sullen, surly, cranky, moody, and grouchy?
  • Will I still love you when you are bald and fat?
  • Will I still love you when you break my heart over and over again?
  • Will I love you still?
  • Will I?

Thanks for reading. Feel free to add your own questions…

CB&W: More Lights

I already posted my selection of lights for Cee’s BW challenge on the theme. But I still had a few left over, so here goes…

Mumbai airportAt Mumbai’s swanky new airport

SignageThe lights were so bright and the floor so shiny, even the mirror image is pretty easy to read. Or is it?

DiamondsDiamonds in the sky just the tiniest bit out of reach 😀

RichmondA cozy dinner for two. One of the rare occasions (in thirty years) where we had dinner all by ourselves (and emerged unscathed 😉

Diner

The other occasion – this one was a close call. We do love to live dangerously 😀

Gandhi

Children make the most out of Gandhi’s Memorial and play on the makeshift slide at his feet.

Cake

Hungry after that little jaunt? How about a piece of this delicious crunchy ice cream cake? Frankly I don’t remember craving this much for anything else. Not today at least 😉

SunsetI know Cee said only man-made lights but I couldn’t resist this perfectly framed frilly sunset.

Have an awesome weekend 🙂

CB&W: Enlightening

The theme for Cee’s this last week’s Black and White Challenge is was Lights.  Without any further ado here are some selected shots from the Golden temple at Amritsar.

BerbabaBaba Budha Jee, the first head priest of Harmandir Sahib, used to sit under this Ber (tree) about 125 years go and supervise the excavation of the Amrit Sarovar and construction of the Golden Temple. The tree is more than 500 years old. The lit up tower on the right looks remarkably like a face doesn’t it?

Gold templeA view of the Golden Temple from the other side (previous photo). On the right is the queue for darshan at around 8 pm.

EntryThe entry gate for the queue

ChandelierA closer look at the gorgeous chandelier

 

Golden templeI used minimal color in this photo.

Golden2This is the sepia version. You can see the original photos of the Golden Temple here.

Thanks for visiting 🙂

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 152

Borrowed Advice

As a matter of principle I don’t meddle in affairs of the heart but I came across this piece by Rosemarie Urquico that I thought was too good not to share. Anyone who needs a bit of advice on which kind of girl to date – read on or pass it on 😉

“You should date a girl who reads.

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.”

Ever since I read this piece, I have been wanting share it. It is a feel good article that makes the ‘dated’ (for want of a better word, at least in my kitty) feel special and great about themselves. Regardless of whether anyone else is inspired to date her or not.

But strangely enough as I begin the actual posting process doubts began to creep in. Is it really sound advice? Apart from the fact that he will be saving a lot of money on gifts; ) A critical factor that seems to have been overlooked is whether the ‘dater’ too is a reader. Can he discuss Murakami, quote Neruda? (Not that I can!) Or is this a given and second nature for men? Is he comfortable with the idea of a thinking girl? Someone who is her own person, able to make her own decisions, walk the less traveled road, is complete by herself (give or take a few gazillion words).

And if there is such a man, then I would advice her to grab him and never let him go.

Look forward to reading your thoughts, reactions, opinions, comments….

Edit 1

I came back to this post to add my belated nebulous thoughts with apologies to the author and her brilliant piece. For it is a diamond glowing and shining dispelling the darkness, giving up hope that one day we will find that one person who will realize our true worth (and possibly push us beyond ourselves) and love us forever and forever.

And therein lies the trap that young girls fall into – at least in these parts.

We always want to be loved, be appreciated, be valued, be understood, nurtured, cherished, forgiven etc etc.

When we should be looking for the person who interests us, fascinates us, engages us, intrigues us, and makes us want to nurture, cherish and look beyond the many flaws that make him who he is.

It is my understanding that men (apologies for the blanket generalizations that follow) are notoriously like children – fascinated by new toys. They won’t rest until they have taken apart the pieces of that one toy which attracts their attention, got to the bottom of it before throwing it away, broken and mangled.

Knowing that why don’t girls look (instead of waiting to be looked at or picked up) for that person who fascinates, intrigues and enraptures her enough to overlook the myriad glitches that are part and parcel of the package deal? For her first teddy bear, no matter how threadbare it maybe still finds a place in her bed and heart forever and ever.

But then again, like I said, I don’t like to meddle in affairs of the heart – take my advice and find your own path instead of following another ignoramus’ advice 😉

Like me.

I almost never follow my advice and frequently disagree with my own views 😀

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 151

 

 

Just 4 Fun # 43

Hello everybody! How’s the summer treating you? Terribly hot and humid in these parts. Anyway let’s get down to the business of the day – getting rid of the Monday blues 😀

Did you see my earlier post on Buildings? Remember a photo of Ambani’s Antilla? Apparently, his driver has been inspired to follow suit in his village 😉

Antilla

Perhaps not so funny but I thought it a remarkable coincidence 😀 Moving on we have a minion complaint

Minion

Point to be noted your honor 😀

Weight

How very true! 😦

Manequin

Now if only they would have realistic mannequins for females as well….But there is something even better than that 😉

IMG-20170610-WA0006

Hehe and that is a fact 😀 And those of you worrying about aging as well, here’s some good news

IMG-20170612-WA0009

Now we can safely say

IMG-20160506-WA0012

 

And a final note for those living in ignorance

IMG-20170613-WA0014

What do you say ladies? Raise your hands if you agree 😉

For some more fun, 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.

A Survivor

 

Pre drum

You may cut

me to size

show me

my place

as many times as you wish.

Destruction

is your nature

just as mine

is to rise

again and again

Drum

Four months was all that she took to begin yielding juicy drumsticks all over again.

For Becca’s Sunday Trees -292

Thanks for visiting – have a super Sunday 🙂

CB&W: Buildings from Home

Hola! How’s the weekend progressing? I know Cee’s Black and White Challenge on Buildings is over but I did warn you I had loads more. Although I have to admit nobody asked for more photographs. But then again I have a generous nature and an active ESP – I can hear your clamor, nay, demand for more photos 😉 😀

So here goes – but this time all from India but yet another eclectic mix. Hope you like 🙂

VillageAfter the massive and high rise buildings in the previous post I thought it was time to get closer to the ground – a village in the north east.

KolA deserted run down house in the suburbs of Kolkata

GangtokI was attempting to capture the view of Gangtok but the mist obstructed my view. But all I got was a makeshift school and an under construction building

LighthouseA defunct lighthouse (alongside a hopefully working street lamp) in Puducherry

AmerAn outsider view of the Amer Fort, Jaipur – it was dusk and you will have to peer to make out anything 😀

City palacePhew this is one is better – isnt it? It is the City Palace at Jaipur.

HutTired from all that zipping around the country? Take a breather in this thatched shady place built just for this purpose. Although I have my doubts if it can be called a building 😉

GopuramI have shared several photos of the gopurams of the Chidambaram temple. This the first black and white version. Which one do you like better?

MpuramA 7th century cave dwelling built along side the more famous and one of world’s largest bas-relief monolith known as Arjuna’s Penance at Mammalapuram.

ShoreTJust a little ahead, in Mammalapuram near the Bay of Bengal, is the Shore temple built with blocks of granite. It was built between 700–728 AD. It was barely dawn and apart from us, there was a group of boys who were busy clicking pics. But there was one who stayed away from the group despite their active efforts to make him join them. He preferred to sit alone and mope. Can you see him? Right in the center, sitting and brooding – I do hope he is fine now.

AurovilleMatri Mandir or the meditation center at Auroville

HawaThe famous Hawa Mahal of Jaipur, the Pink City

Monkey

Whew that felt like one of my long pieces – where I never know when to stop or how to stop. Here the cup of tea acted as the perfect reminder – so I am off while you leave me a little note or a smiley or whatever else you are keen to throw my way – have a super weekend!

And just in case there are any Khulasa Mami friends - she's been at it again.

 

 

CB&W: Homing in on Buildings

It’s been quite a while since I participated in Cee’s Black and White photo challenge. This week’s theme is Buildings and I am late. But I have been good for many days now, so I guess Cee will cut me some slack 😉 Especially since I started digging through my archives all I had were photos of buildings and I got lost trying work my way through them 😀

SchoolHousing young bodies and nurturing budding minds – a school in Darjeeling

Salar jungA side view of the Salar Jung Museum which houses the priceless sculptors like the Veiled Rebecca, Cuppa Chai, Dishy Stuff and so many others that I still have to share. And I managed to visit only the ground floor!

SpainSomewhere in Spain that’s all I can tell you for I flicked this impressive building from my worse half’s collection 😉 Time to move on from the pristine whites…

DenmarkOne of the many castles in Denmark. Despite the huge structure it’s the sculptor in the middle that invariably captures my attention. What about you?

GolcondaGolconda fort near Hyderabad, which was in its hey days home to the Kohinoor diamond among others.

palace in swedenOutside the Lund University, Sweden built in 1425 is one of Europe’s oldest, largest and prestigious universities.

MumbaiAamchi Mumbai from the 33rd floor! Where lives are made (and destroyed) in the quest to touch the sky, become a star.

AmbaniYep that’s the Antilla home to Mukesh Ambani, the Indian business magnate worth $ 29 billion. The Antilla was built at a mere $ 1 billion has 27 stories but since ceiling are high it’s equivalent to a 40 story building. It has a multi-story garage with space to park 168 cars and three helipads, it’s another matter that permission for chopper landing hasn’t yet been received.  Once the tallest in the region it is now overshadowed by a taller building in its backyard.

SunsetAs if there aren’t enough buildings in Mumbai! The work continues into dusk and beyond – living up to its name of the city that never sleeps.

hanging gardensJust to reassure you that Mumbai is not just about heights but also has breadth, not much but nevertheless culled out some space to hang out – the Hanging Gardens.

MalmoA building facade at Malmo, Sweden – looks like a swanky office complex.

CharminarMuhammad Quli Qutb Shahi built the Charminar, the most famous monument and mosque of Hyderabad, in 1591 AD. It was built to celebrate the end of a deadly plague.

copenhagen from a boatSightseeing at Copenhagen – home or office?

HutThis was once probably both home and workplace – an abandoned hut by the roadside

copenhagen royal theatreRoyal Danish theater – the outside facade is so awe-inspiring, wonder how it would look from inside.

GhoomOld Ghoom Monastery, Darjeeling, India is the popular name of Yiga Choeling. The monastery belongs to the Gelukpa or the Yellow Hat sect and is famous for its 15 feet high special statue of the Maitreya Buddha. The famous Mongolian astrologer and monk Sokpo Sherab Gyatso established the external structure of the building in 1850.

Oh darn it – I think I better stop now. If you would like to see more buildings do let me know – I have loads more 😀

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 150

CFFC: Dishy Stuff

How swiftly the days pass! It’s time for another of Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Pots, Pans, Dishes and Silverware. Since we are allowed to be creative, continuing from my earlier CFFC post of photos from the Salar Jung Museum, here are some more dishy goods 😉

Bowl

A decorative bowl – I wonder what it was used for? Surely not soup 😉

JarPerhaps he washed his hands with water from this jug over the bowl – what do you think?

Silverware

Another massive silver bowl – purely decorative purposes I am guessing.

Urn

A huge urn – I am out of guesses – what do you think?

BlueThis jar looks tiny and a bit lost doesn’t it?

Thanks for visiting!

COB: Let’s Face it

Face

the original

painted over

and over again

until you too

forget your own

true colors

linked to Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 149

Bloggers~

I simply had to share this brilliant post by an amazing blogger and more importantly a wonderful person, Cindy. I am a huge fan of her photographs, captions, views, thoughts, kindness, generosity…

This post, of photos taken in and around Greece, is dedicated to you. Opa!
(Athens)

Creativity is one of the most personally helpful gifts a person can possess.


It gets you through all sorts of negative situations, because it pulls you out of yourself, and your individual worries and concerns.

I think the willingness of bloggers to put their creativity out in the universe, consistently, in a blog, is a huge act of individual human courage.

This individual blogging courage and creativity results in a blogsphere replete with fascinating, absorbing and intriguing blog posts, that offer an improved alternative reading and viewing experience, that is a refreshing alternative to mass media.
(Above four photos were taken on the island of Corfu)


Being part of a worldwide community of talented and supportive bloggers broadens our horizons and perspectives, and enhances our lives.
(Stairway Hotel Bretagne Athens)

It enables bloggers to form…

View original post 84 more words

APWC: Moving Waters

“High and fine literature is wine, and mine is only water; but everybody likes water.”
― Mark Twain

Betaab

“You never really know what’s coming. A small wave, or maybe a big one. All you can really do is hope that when it comes, you can surf over it, instead of drown in its monstrosity.”
― Alysha Speer

Lidder“Human nature is like water. It takes the shape of its container.” ― Wallace Stevens

Manali2“It is life, I think, to watch the water. A man can learn so many things.” ― Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

Double“They both listened silently to the water, which to them was not just water, but the voice of life, the voice of Being, the voice of perpetual Becoming.” ― Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

Fountain“I want to be like water. I want to slip through your fingers but hold up a ship.” – Michelle Williams

Song

“Be fluid. Be like water. Flow around the obstacles.” Master Choa Kok Sui

Linked to Nancy’s A Photo a Week Challenge: Moving Waters

 

 

Just 4 Fun # 42

Hello all you lovely people – it’s fun times again. Exam results are out while many more are on the way. Lakhs of hopeful students and (hysterical) parents have their own dreams chalked out – IT, Doctor or Engineer.

Some helpful guy (or gal though I very much doubt it 😉 ) came up with this life chart 😀

Life of an IT guy

1.Born
2.Study
3.Job
4.Shall I share my screen?
5.Are you able to see my screen?
6.Am I audible?
7.Correct me if I’m wrong
8.Sorry I was on mute
9.Ok… I am sending that email.
10.Did you receive my email?
11.Repeat until…12
12.Die

Doctor’s life goals:

1. Become a doctor
2. Marry a doctor
3. Have kids
4. Make them doctors
5. Get them married to a doctor
6. Die.

Engineer’s life goals:
1. Study engineering
2. Ask your siblings not to study engineering
3. Ask your friends not to study engineering
4. Tell everybody not to study engineering
5. Die watching everybody still choosing engineering.
At least they meet a common end! Do you agree or would you like to add your own perspective – please feel free! 🙂

In a separate news:

Udta punjab

Wonder what he was thinking! Hmm perhaps he wanted to save on labor and drive in to dump soil for the terrace garden 😛 Or perhaps he (definitely he 😉 has some connection with his lab…:

Theory

Hmm I would beg to differ. So many things do work but just not the way I want 😉

Video rewind

I wonder what his problem is! She should be the one tearing her hair out. For instance, there’s this couple:
A wife asks her husband, “Could you please go shopping for me and buy one carton of milk, and if they have eggs, get 6.”

A short time later the husband comes back with 6 cartons of milk.

The wife asks him, “Why did you buy 6 cartons of milk?”

He replied,  “They had eggs.”

Go on, don’t feel shy, you can read it again and again until it makes sense 😀

Danger sports

Men do like to live dangerously don’t they? But I know some women like that as well – in fact I am constantly with one such woman 😉

For some more fun, 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.

WPC: An Orderly Lot

With so much of disorder and chaos all around wouldn’t it be great if there was a genie or a magic wand to order everything to fall into an orderly pattern? Ah well I guess I am asking for too much. But one can dream and hope can’t one?

Until it happens, here are some photos for inspiration.

CargoOf they go in tandem and in sync, not a step wheel out of place –  and nobody jumps queue either 😉

PanelingUneven strips of stone have been coaxed into a neat orderly pattern

TreesEven Nature falls in line just to show you the way…

HedgeAnd allows herself to be ruthlessly trimmed into a shapely order.

IMAGE_259Buildings are usually made to order – be they for elephants

IMAGE_261Or their mahouts.

BanglesBangles for the bride are always in order – packed or worn. Quite in contrast to her life that is thrown into disorder.

ShoesGo on, choose one 😉

ThreadsHere diverse threads and colors have been coerced into order by our very own Svkuki

RangoliWhile here, an unruly bunch of multi-colored petals have been tricked to give an orderly appearance by none other than the wayward and absconding Mymind ;).

Thanks for visiting – have a great day 🙂

 

 

The Battle for Supremacy

sp-overgrown-summer-house
Photo (c) Sarah Potter

The Battle for Supremacy

Words 99

 

“Wow! What a swanky home.”

“Thanks.”

“You don’t seem too pleased?”

“It’s okay.”

“You have your eyes set on a palace or what?”

“If I could, I would go back to our old ramshackle haunted house.”

“Haunted! Weren’t you scared?”

“Terrified. But that was the only house we could afford.”

“Yet you would go back?”

“It was the best of times. We were together.”

“You still are!”

“Doesn’t feel like it. Back then we were a team. We ganged up to fight our common enemy – ghosts, poverty, whatever.”

“And now?”

“We have graduated to individual sports – the ego games.

 ***

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

Thanks for reading – have a great week 🙂

 

The Sneaky One

This week I am again off on my favorite hobby – stalking trees 😀 Just as a recap and in case you are not a regular visitor to this blog, just a couple of weeks ago, amaltas were in full bloom (CFFC: Golden Garden).p4

This particular showstopper opted for an all gold look. And just as quickly, she was back to her sedate greenery in about two weeks time.

20170529_181941But when I ventured for a closer look this weekend, look what I found nestling within the folds of her pleats leaves.

FrontGolden danglers!

 

20160911_062915

tough times –

he lives off her

gold

 

Linked to Becca’s Sunday Trees 291

Thanks for visiting 🙂

 

APWC: Yellows

This week for the A Photo A Week challenge Nancy wants us to focus on the color Yellow. You may have noticed that I have developed a liking for yellow (see this post here) and rifling through my archives I found loads more yellows. Here they come – first the flowers

Roses

Yellow roses taken at dusk

 

FL1A bunch of yellow flowers – what are they called? Anyone? Rekha…

Fl2

Exoctic flowers on display at a flower show – nope dunno their names either 😦

Darjeeling fl

Multi-colored flowers but you will admit yellow is the dominant color!

BoatingAs it is here where my niece and nephew go for a yellow boat ride 🙂

ScoobieScoobie is thrilled with his new yellow blanket

BrideThe radiant bride on the morning of her wedding 🙂

Leaf

And a specially yellow-winged green tinged butterfly just for you 😉

Thanks for visiting – have a super day!

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 148

CFFC: Care for a Cuppa Chai?

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is about Glasses, Cups and Saucers. This was just the kind of challenge I had been waiting for to showcase some very exquisite pieces that I had snapped earlier this year while on a visit to Hyderabad. The Salar Jung Museum at Hyderabad is the largest one-man collection of antiques in the world.

Feast your eyes and eat your heart out 😀

Cup1

The serving bowl is just a bonus 🙂

GLASSES

I stared at these quite glassy eyed 😉

 

Teaset

With tea sets like these, even coffee drinkers would defect to tea what say you? 🙂

Set2A designer set or two – which one do you like?

Cheers

Nope this isn’t served at the museum 😛 Cheers!

Hope you liked – do let me know your favorite set – thanks for visiting, have a great day.

Hola IPK fans! How have you taken the news of the return of sleepless nights? Of old wine in a new bottle? An IPK minus SI 😦 or is there something up their sleeves? And what’s with this Intezaar, Imtihaan ya Ilzaam doon business? Jo bhi ho, Khulasa Mami intequam legi aap sab ki ijaazat ho toh (aur nahi bhi ho toh!) 😀 The news of IPK3 shook her out of her half a decade’s slumber and she got down to business straight away! Click here to read more #arshi #ipkknd

 

SPF: The Many Hues of Love

09-c-e-ayr-04-june-2017
Photo (c) C E Ayr

The Many Hues of Love

Words 200

“Relax Dadi. We are on a holiday!”

“But darling I am relaxing!”

“Let’s go out. Dadu can unpack his bag by himself.”

“Perhaps. But I want to have a peaceful night.”

“It’s tough being a wife. I never want to get married.”

“Even Nandi didn’t want to get married.”

“Why?”

“He was afraid that marriage would take away his freedom.”

“Exactly!”

“But like Lord Shiva said – freedom means being free from all fear isn’t it?”

“I guess.”

“Marriage completes a person. The responsibility that comes with a marriage helps in the blossoming of ones personality…”

“What about love Dadi?”

“What about it?”

“Does Dadu love you? Has he ever taken you for a romantic date? Showered you with gifts?

“Is that love?”

“How else can you judge love?”

“Love is not to be judged! It is to be experienced, to accept…”

“How you can accept a curmudgeonly cantankerous man like Dadu is beyond me.”

“Now what did he do?”

“He vetoed our plans for a ropeway ride followed by lunch at a popular Chinese joint.

“Oh!”

“Why does he insist on being contrary, spoiling everyone’s fun…?”

“I am terrified of heights and neither do I care for Chinese.”

***

Footnotes:  Nandi: In Hindu mythology, Nandi, depicted as a bull, is the vehicle of Lord Shiva and is also the bearer of truth and righteousness.

Dadu, Dadi: Paternal grandparents

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

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 147

Thanks for reading – have a great day 🙂

 

 

Just 4 Fun # 41

A new week begins and time for some fun with puns 🙂

Q: Can February March?
A: No. But April May!

Q: Did you hear about the painter who was hospitalized?
A: Reports say it was due to too many strokes!
Q: Have you heard the joke about the butter?
A: I better not tell you, it might spread!Q: How do you know that carrots are good for your eyesight?
A: Have you ever seen a rabbit wearing glasses?

Q: Music Teacher: What’s your favorite musical instrument?
A: Kid: The lunch bell!

Q: What did the triangle say to the circle?
A: You’re pointless!

Q: What do you call a group of men waiting for a haircut?
A: A Barbercue!

Q: What do you call a person that chops up cereal
A: A cereal killer!

Q: What do you call a South American girl who is always in a hurry?
A: Urgent Tina!

Q: What kind of shorts do clouds wear?
A: Thunderwear!

Q: What’s easy to get into but hard to get out of?
A: Trouble!

Q: Where do boats go to when they get sick?
A: The dock!

Q: Who cleans the bottom of the ocean?
A: A Mer-Maid!

Q: Why can’t a leopard hide?
A: Because he’s always spotted!

Q: Why did the barber win the race?
A: Because he took a short cut!

Q: Why did the boy tiptoe past the medicine cabinet?
A: He didn’t want to wake the sleeping pills!

Q: Why did the tomato turn red?
A: It saw the salad dressing!

Q: Why did the tree go to the dentist?
A: To get a root canal!

Q: Why don’t you see giraffes in elementary school?
A: Because they’re all in High School!

Q: Why was the maths book sad?
A: Because it had too many problems!

Good ones huh? And continuing in the same way
Autocorrect
So many people bash and blast autocorrect but I wonder why don’t they turn it off? Then again, autocorrect is so useful – it would never allow you to have covfefe when you actually wanted tea 😛 😀
Aunty acid
Don’t mind me – what do I know? Besides I am busy achieving perfection 😉
IMG-20160413-WA0012

Looking forward to that time – not to follow Harold’s footsteps but to cook up more (and better) stories 😉

For some more fun, 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.

Loaded

20170604_134136

The jack-fruit tree at full term 😀

For Becca’s Sunday Trees – 290

The Extra X Factor

charred-toys
Photo (c) Karuna

The extra X Factor

Words 100

“New car, new gold jewelry! Did you win the lottery Rhea?”

“I was born with five lottery tickets.”

“Excuse me?”

“I have five brothers.”

“Ah! The pampered sister.”

“Not always. They were such terrors when I was young.”

“Really?”

“They teased and bullied me mercilessly. But now they would do anything for me.”

“Even give you a share of the ancestral property?”

“Of course!”

“Want to bet?”

“Why are you so negative?”

“Ask them.”

“I will.”

“Well?”

“They said ancestral property was for sons not daughters.”

“I told you so!”

“You would know. After all you too are a son.”

***

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

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 146

WPC: What’s Your Choice?

Which do you prefer – the sunrise with its promise of a new day, signalling a new hope or the sunset the welcome end of a satisfying day’s work, the knowledge that you did your best?

puriBut whether it is the sunrise or the

Sunsetthe sunset, both are evanescent or fleeting moments gone in the blink of an eye. Not unlike our lives.

between

sunrise and sunset

our lives

to squander or make it last

forever

SPF: Monstrous Tales

201-05-may-28th-2017

 Monstrous Tales

Words 201

“Ma, I never want to go to school!”

“I thought you were desperate to start school?”

“There’s a Monster in school.”

“Monster?”

“Yes. He has big fangs that jut out from pink gums. His eyes have streaks of yellow and red. And…” Molly shuddered.

“What?”

“He’s got a long flaming tail tucked in his pants.”

“Who told you?”

“Dada told me.”

“He’s teasing you.”

“He isn’t. I saw Dada’s hand – it was all red with big welts.” Molly clapped a hand to her mouth.

“What?”

“I promised not to tell anyone.”

“I am not anyone. I am your mother. What else did he tell you?”

“You know why Dada has his lunch standing up?”

“Why?”

“Because he can’t sit. The Monster whipped him with his tail.”

“What else does the Monster do?”

“He pinches their ears. Sometimes he puts a pencil between their fingers and squeezes until they scream. Ma, please don’t send me to school.”

“We’ll see.”

“Ouch!” Molly rubbed her arm.

Grinning Dada held up his weapon, a huge toenail.

“Is it the Monster’s?”

“Don’t you know? We chased away the Monster.”

“How?”

“With this nail.”

“Where can I get one?”

“There’s a cupboard full of nails in school.”

***

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

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 145

Thanks for reading – look forward to your comments 🙂

CFFC: Golden Garden

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is all about Gardens. I haven’t visited any garden recently, besides it’s too hot. But then again who needs to visit a garden when the whole campus is ablaze with Amaltas. I have shared a few pics before but then I cannot resist sharing a few more 🙂

PINo matter which way you go – this way

P3

Or that way

IMAGE_099

 

No matter where you look

down

Up

or look up

Two

No two Amaltas is alike – one may turn completely yellow while the other refuses to let go of her greenery. But then again, all her leaves are not green, some are brown – a true non-conformer. Or perhaps this is her way of standing out from the crowd. 😉

LimeAnd not just that, the trees change colors and by evening, they opt for a more sober shade of yellow.

p4They stand there bedecked and dazzling daring you to look away 🙂

20170529_181941Yet barely a week later, she’s back to her sedate elegant green wear, her flamboyant nature firmly tucked away  – at least for this season 😉

Thanks you for visiting – hope you liked. Have a great day.

Just 4 Fun # 40

GM1

Another (hot and spicy) week begins 🙂

EinsteinHow prescient of him! But like all things, technology has its flipside

FlipsideUmm…I would have thought she would be glad to have him out of her hair 😉

UpsideSmart parents know how to turn technology to their favor 😀

Trick sideBetter make hay or better still, get the upper hand at home by controlling the wifi password. Trust me, the day is not far when keeping it a secret is declared an act of cruelty and torture that is punishable by law 😀

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. Do drop in on Rekha’s blog for some more fun stuff.

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.

Ready to Party

OrangeThis one is all decked up and ready for the wedding party 🙂

For Becca’s Sunday Trees 289

Bringing Mythology to Life

Growing up on the banks of the mighty and holy river Ganga, I was fascinated by the mythological story of Ganga’s descent to earth. I never tired of hearing and cannot resist sharing it – the abridged version.

In times more ancient than ancient times, there lived a King called Bhagiratha. His kinsmen had sinned (I shall spare you that story – for now) and were doomed to spent their afterlife trapped on earth with no scope for rebirth or moksha. Pained by their plight Bhagiratha quite literally moved heaven and earth and after a lot of hardships and penance (which involved the cooperation and blessings of both Brahma and Mahesh)  brought Ganga to the earth to wash away the sins of his forefathers.

But that is just for context.

In April 2017 we have found out own real live Lady Bhagiratha – 51-year-old Gouri, a daily wage laborer from Sirsi in Karnataka, a southern State of India.

To supplement her meager income as a laborer, Gouri she also maintained a kitchen garden of sorts comprising of banana, areca and coconut trees. But arranging for water for them was a major issue. She needed to urgently find a solution. Which she did in her own unique (and possibly inimitable) style.

Problem: No water

Solution:  Dig a well.

Problem: No money to hire somebody to dig it.

Solution: DIY

Problem: Nil

She dug every day for 5-6 hours, over and above her job as a laborer. Despite suffering intense body ache and exhaustion, she dug for three months and ended up with a 60 foot deep well. In the final stages, she enlisted the help of three other women to clear the heap of mud that had accumulated.

Today she has ample water for her life giving trees, has earned the respect of thousands and is an inspiration for women world over.

She has effectively proved that where there’s a will there’s a way well.

Hats off to her grit, determination and spirit.

This is my 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 and have a super weekend.

“Some women choose to follow men, and some women choose to follow their dreams. If you’re wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn’t love you anymore.” ― Lady Gaga

Stop crying over your obstacles, it’s time to demolish them, one shovelful at a time

And the Oscar Goes to…

j-hardy-rubble

 

And the Oscar Goes to…

Words 98

 “Congratulations!” Shobha hugged Neha.

“Thank you Shobha Aunty. I admit to feeling victorious! You look stunning and…”

“It’s your day Neha. Let’s talk about you…”

“…And no wonder, even after three decades, Uncle is still besotted with you…oh look – Shobha Aunty’s blushing!”

“Why would I blush? Your Uncle should – he’s the one besotted.”

“Oh but I am blushing.” Uncle butted in. “It’s hidden under the tan!”

Liquor and laughter overflowed.

Shobha’s cheeks hurt from all the smiling.

She couldn’t wait to take off her heavy sari and slip into the tattered nightie that mirrored her wedded life.

***

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

 Thanks for reading and commenting 😉

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 144

WPS: One Perfect Summer

Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 9.55.34 pm

To see the Google map view, click here

One Perfect Summer

Word 150

“That’s Granny’s house. The others lived down the road.”

“There were four of you right?”

“Yes. Darius was the youngest and I, the oldest.”

“The big boss eh?”

“Yep. I got to decide which games to play.”

“Football?”

“And tree climbing. The middle one was mine. I could climb right till the top.”

“Wow! What about Darius?”

“That little tree was his.”

“Poor thing! Didn’t he protest?”

“Loud and long. But he shut up after I threatened to expel him from the gang.”

“Meanie!”

“Might is right, right? We had tons of fun, running wild, pulling pigtails, unclipping the washing, sneaking into kitchens, until…”

“Until?”

“They caught us sharing biryani from Syed’s home.”

“What happened?”

“In an instant a mob gathered. The screams and the smell of burning flesh still haunt my dreams.”

“What happened to the others?”

“I dared not ask. What if they weren’t as lucky?”

***

Once again I am trying my hand at What Pegman Saw – a story in 150 words utilizing Google Maps. This week Pegman took us to Portland ND. To read the other stories inspired by this prompt click here.

Thank you for reading and your comments – have a great day.

 

CFFC: Different Shades

This week’s Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge is all about one color. Hmm a bit tough but let’s see what I can come up with and what all I can get away with 😉

MistThe mist blows in wiping out all color from the picturesque scene

SkyHey look! The mist clears to reveal the blue sky – okay fine blue & white.

PondyThere! That one color enough for you? You can’t even make out where the sky ends and the sea begins 🙂 What? Green and the white disqualifies the photo? Darn it…

Blue seaToeing the line, here’s just a bit of the blue sea 😀

CoralView of the corals in the sea through a glass-bottomed boat

SeagreenAnother cropped up view of the sea just for the challenge. Is the sea green because of the corals or vice versa?

InkyThis is one of my personal favorite photos taken while traveling between islands at Andaman and Nicobar Islands – unedited.

MehendiThe bride to be decorates her hands with mehendi – just before she dons the colors of her husband’s life and family.

TreetopsGreen tree tops

 

 

The grand finale – amaltas in full bloom just before they bid adieu for the season.

And it is time for me to say goodbye too – thanks for visiting and leaving me a note 🙂

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 143

SPF: To Cut a Long Story Short

200-05-may-21st-2017

To Cut a Long Story Short

Words 203

“Dad why is the crowd outside the gate shouting traitor, traitor?”

“They are upset that I ordered machines that may take away their jobs.”

“But why did you order them?”

“It wasn’t my decision. Besides, they were given the option to learn how to operate them. But I guess it’s easier to throw stones.”

“They’re mean!”

“Go and have lunch.”

“It’s so hot here Mamma.”

“The dining room is cooler.”

“Mamma, do you like cooking in this heat?”

“I love the smile on your face when you see your favorite dish.”

“But you don’t like cooking?”

“Do you like studying?”

“No.”

“But you like coming first?”

“Yes. But I love cricket even more! You don’t let me to play cricket but you force me to study.”

“Cricket is not essential for your survival. Education is. Besides, if you are really passionate about something you can always find a way to pursue it.”

“How?”

“You could do your homework quicker, wake up earlier?

“Mamma…”

“Call Bhaiyya for lunch.”

“Bhaiyya! Lunch!”

“I don’t want any.”

“Why?”

“I HATE Dad.”

“Why?”

“He wants me to become a doctor. But I hate academics. I love only music.”

“I think you only love to sleep. And throw stones.”

***

Flash fiction are typically involve two or a maximum of three characters. This one had four, not including the crowd outside the gate! So what do you think? Did it work? Do let me know – thanks!

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 the prompt click here

 

Just 4 Fun # 39

Good Morning!

IMG-20170205-WA0003

It’s hot isnt it?

India

But I guess the heat is all for a good cause 😉

Hot

😀 😀

Cremated

Here in India, we don’t need to resort to such drastic measures – Mother Nature is by and large very kind to all of us.

Amsterdam

Now there’s a thought 😉 But just in case I ruffled any feathers…

Fluff

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. Do drop in on Rekha’s blog for some more minion fun stuff.

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.

Righting a Wrong

The bar door swung open and she automatically turned around.

She paled under the heavy make up and instantly turned her back to him.

What was he doing here? When had he gotten out of jail? And of all the places why come here? Had he come looking for her? Hadn’t she hidden her tracks well enough?

She slipped on her over large dark glasses and fluffed her blonde wig. She wondered if she could slip out before he…

“Hello Gorgeous.” He loomed behind her.

She froze.

“Let me buy you a drink.” His voice was low, seductive.

He hadn’t recognized her!

“No thanks,” she mumbled.

“Just one drink Baby,” He leered at her

Shuddering she jerked her arm away.

He caught hold of her arm. “Don’t act so pricey!”

Blood rushed to her head. Enough was enough. She knew how to handle unwanted customers.

She turned back to the counter. “Drink is on me.” She signaled the bartender.

“Cool.” He ran a finger down her bare arm.

Her wavering resolution firmed.

Instead of the usual one tablet, she dropped five tablets into his drink.

Nobody paid any attention to his slumped body or her when she left the bar.

Tears of regret streamed down her cheeks.

If only she had taken the doctor’s advice and opted for the abortion 22 years ago.

***

Linked to the Daily Post’s prompt notorious.  Thanks for reading and for leaving me a note.

Young ‘un

LimegreenThis youngster seems to be too shy to bring out all the gold 😛

For Becca’s Sunday Trees – 288

Hanky-panky on the Road

inside-the-diner
Photo (c) Roger Bultot

Hanky-panky on the Road

Words 100

“Is the presentation okay Ma’am?”

“Yes. But include talking points.”

“I don’t need…”

“I do. How far we from the dhaba?”

“About an hour.”

“I had only a glass of milk and a banana.”

“Would you like a matthi?”

“They are heavy. That’s why I skipped breakfast.”

 

“Ma’am, what should I order?”

“I am full. I had too many matthis. But the stuffed parathas are nice here.”

“Shall we share one?”

“Make it two. And lassi.”

“Okay.”

“When you pay the bill, ask for an extra bill.”

“Why?”

“Reimbursement is impossible without the bill. I’ll keep one. Just in case.”

***

Phew, this one was tough to squeeze in 100 words. Please feel free with your confusions and questions!

Dhaba: A roadside eating joint

Matthi: A popular Indian salty snack.

Lassi: Yogurt based drink.

Paratha: Indian flatbread.

 

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

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 142

 

 

 

Haiga # 5

Two

you and I

are no longer

together.

You have a new soulmate

while I have found

myself

A/N You may think this is the same photo as in the previous haiga but this one has three birds – can you see? At first I saw only two but just before posting I noticed the third in the bushes giving the picture a twist. And I had to redraft the ‘poem’ – how was it by the way?

Thanks for visiting 🙂

SPF: Lessons in Practicality

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE
Photo (c) Sally Ann Hodgekiss

Lessons in Practicality

Words 201

 “Namaste. Fancy meeting you here!”

“Why? Do you think it is too fancy for us?”

“No! I just meant I didn’t expect…”

“We are shopping for our trip,” Mrs Sharma gave a dramatic pause, “to Europe.”

“Wow! Did you win the lottery?”

Mrs Sharma expanded with gratification while Mr Sharma seemed to shrink.

“Sort of. It is an all expense paid vacation sponsored by our beloved daughters.”

“Don’t you have two sons?”

“And two daughters-in-law.”

“That’s very generous of them!”

“We’ve done our bit. Now it’s their turn. It was such a surprise when on our 40th anniversary, they gifted us the tickets…”

“Nonsense!” Mr Sharma butted in. “You left them little choice but…”

“Didn’t you want to purchase a muffler? Go on I’m coming.” Mrs Sharma pushed him.

Mumbling, he pottered away.

“Poor thing, he doesn’t like international travel. And with my brother’s hospitalization, he is even more stressed and nervous.”

“What happened?

“He was involved in a car accident.”

“Oh no! I will pray for his speedy recovery.”

“That’s unlikely.” Mrs Sharma held up her crossed fingers. “So I am hoping that he manages to hang on for the next two weeks. I don’t want to cancel the trip.”

***

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

Thanks for reading and leaving me a note 🙂

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 141

 

WPC: Some More Reflections

Rifling through my archives I found a few more where the photo changed my perspective of what I had intended to capture. This is my second submission to the Weekly Photo Challenge – Reflecting. The first one is here.

Family sunI was trying to capture the Sun in the sky and look what I got – a family’s day out on the beach 🙂

PillarsA (tiny) bit wiser, I actually tried to ‘compose’ a shot – probably my first ever. It’s unedited, nope not even cropped. What do you think – did it work?

ColumbusI have to confess I liked the boat more than its reflection. But the greenery is nicely reflected in the water isn’t it?

PeacockMy entire focus was on the peacock but the glass door reflection is just as eye catching don’t you think?

AirportLook! Diamonds on the floor 😀

Thanks for visiting – any favorites, comments, suggestions?

Just 4 Fun # 38

Hello friends! How was your weekend – sizzling hot or just chilling?

Like these two?

Dad and child

😀

Whatsapp                           Probably require a session or two here soon! By the way did you know there are 200 million Whatsapp users in India?

SculptLike these two 😉 That reminds me – it’s time for my monthly (guilt) workout.

Ma

Sound familiar? 😀 But I can’t help thinking it must not be that short and sweet in other countries either – anyone?

MabetiA lovely line drawing of a ‘mother‘ and ‘daughter‘.

Hope all you lovely mothers had a wonderful Mother’s Day and for now it is back to:

IMG-20170514-WA0021

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. Do drop in on Rekha’s blog for some more fun stuff.

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.

CFFC: Isolated Subjects

Cee’s challenges us this week to focus on Isolated Subjects so off we go on the search of some suitable shots…

SwanShe posed patiently and confidently making sure her fans had ample time to focus on her long graceful neck. Not like…

Ostrich…this irate lady. I wonder what or who cheesed her off?

RamCould it be this billy goat? He does have a sheepish air about him doesn’t he? Sorry about the kid Cee but you know how they are – poking their noses in matters which are none of their business.

Lion2

This is the Lion Monument at Lucerne. It is a giant mortally wounded lion carved out of a wall of sandstone rock above a pond. It was designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen as a memorial for the mercenary soldiers from central Switzerland who lost their lives while serving the French king Louis XVI during the French Revolution.

Lion3Mark Twain was particularly taken in by the monument. He called it “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.”

It does look rather tragic doesn’t it?

 

 

CyclistLet’s move on to wider and cheerier places. Sorry don’t quite remember where this is 😦

LadyMy final selection for this collection. A saleswoman displaying her mouthwatering (can’t you just taste the sourness?!) array of natural goodies for the intrepid traveler scaling or returning from the Singhgadh fort near Pune, India.

Until next time – thank you for your visit and note 🙂

The Witch

Witch
31st March 2017

A spring view

 

Cloaked
12th May 2017

summer 

she cloaks herself

shady going ons

 

For Becca’s Sunday Trees – 287

Reflecting on Nature

April

There are some beautiful trees around the campus where we stay. And on the rare occasions that I do overcome my (overwhelming) laziness I invariably manage to find new trees to drool over. This one is my latest favorite. I couldn’t help marveling at her impoverished state and yet she was so generous in her support to the others. Creepers grew on and around her with impunity whilst she held up her bare arms, undeterred, patient and waiting for her time in the Sun.

She looked so sure that I clicked a photo and waited (impatiently) for what was to unfold in less than a month. Take a look at nature’s miracle in less than a month 🙂

For best results scroll down slowly –

May“I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be.” Albert Einstein

This is the Amaltas or Cassia fistula and aka golden rain tree that is native to the Indian subcontinent.

Linked to the Weekly Photo Challenge – Reflecting

Haiga #4

Ku

topper –

always something more

to conquer

P.S. Well? How was it? Something off? A word here or there?

PPS Hope you can see the topper?

Click here for a few more haiga.

It Happened One Night

auto-aftermath
Photo (c) Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

It Happened One Night

Words 101

“Hurry or you’ll miss the train!”

Pushing and shoving, they squeezed into the car before Grandpa drove off all by himself.

“It’s so dark and eerie.” Lilly shivered.

“Ghosts live in this jungle.” Rishi said with relish.

“Mamma!”

The car shuddered to a stop.

A blinding darkness engulfed them. Crickets shrieked. Lilly whimpered.

Grandpa opened the bonnet.

“Let me see.” A disembodied voice said.

Rishi dropped the torch.

The engine sputtered to life.

“Thank you.” Grandpa offered money.

“Money is of no use to me.” The shadow moved. “This boy…”

Gasping, Rishi threw off the crushing weight of the Unexplained Mysteries.

***

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

Thank you for reading 🙂

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 140

The Inheritance

“Ann, why didn’t you tell me about the inheritance?” Polly asked.

Ann started. “How do you know?” she asked warily. “Did you read the letter?”

“No I didn’t. You know I don’t much care for reading and writing. Tidger told me. He read the letter by mistake.”

“Oh.”

“Ann, now that you are an heiress, you better keep your wits about you,” Polly cautioned her elder widowed sister.

“What do you mean?” Ann was bewildered.

“Ah Ann, ever the fool. Didn’t you notice the doddering fools Wigget and Miller praising you to the skies?”

Ann pinked. “Oh I thought they were being sweet.”

“You’ve been here for the past 6 months and all of a sudden they became sweet? It’s the inheritance, mark my words.”

“Oh Polly,” Ann wrung her hands, “You are the clever one. Tell me what should I do? I don’t like either of them but nobody else will marry me at this age.”

“Humph!” snorted Polly, “I wouldn’t be surprised if my own Tidger wouldn’t marry you himself.”

“Polly!” Ann gasped scandalized, “Do you know what you are saying?”

“Of course I know.” Polly said. “I know my Tidger. He has a weakness for money. Besides, he’s worried about the mortgage on the…”

“But that doesn’t mean…”

“It doesn’t mean, but it could, is all I am saying. And now that the children have flown the nest, we don’t have much in common.”

“Oh Polly aren’t you happy in your marriage?”

“Now don’t be a romantic fool Ann.” Polly briskly set about cleaning up her tiny makeshift kitchen. “Does anyone get married for happiness’ sake?”

“Then why get married?”

“Women get married to have children and stability. Men get married to get an unpaid servant and nurse for life.” Polly attacked the dishes with vigor.

“Polly!”

“Tell me Ann, were you happy in your marriage?”

“It was alright.” Ann crossed herself. “May his soul rest in peace.”

“Do you miss him?”

Ann was silent. “Not really.” She said at last. “But I do wish we had a house of our own. That I was independent…”

“Well with your inheritance you could easily set up house by yourself.”

“But that would be so lonely. What would I do alone?”

“I…I could join you.”

“That would be lovely Polly! Will Tidger agree?”

“He doesn’t need to.”

“Meaning?”

“I am baking his favorite cake today.” Polly held up a bottle. “With a special flavor.”

“Polly!”

Polly shrugged. “He’s outlived his usefulness. He’s more of a bother and a pain to be with. I thought I would send him to a happier place.”

“What on earth is the matter with you Polly?”

“You are a fine one to talk Ann,” Polly rounded on her, “Making sheep eyes at my husband.”

“How dare you Polly!”

“Oh I dare alright. Do you think I am blind? You always had a soft spot my Tidger didn’t you? And now the money is making him lean towards you.”

“You are crazy Polly.”

“No I am not. He’s always been a sleep talker. And these days all he says are Ann and mutter about ways to bump me off.” She held up the bottle. “I had bought this poison for you. But since the money I thought it better to get rid of him. After all you are my sister.”

“Polly please…”

“Don’t worry Ann, you and I will get along well together. Won’t we?”

Ann paled. She wrung her hands but wilted under Polly’s unblinking glare. She nodded.

“Good.” Polly sounded strange and her eyes glittered dangerously.

“You are looking funny Polly. Your blood pressure seems to have shot up. You need to rest. Let me make dinner…”

“No! I am baking the cake.”

“Okay after you bake the cake,” Ann said soothingly, “you go and rest. Let me take care of the dinner, while I think how best to handle this. And you know I love cooking.”

Polly expertly sifted the floor, broke the eggs, crushed the sugar, emptied the bottle and slid the cake batter into the oven.

“Done!” Polly dusted her hands and slipped off her apron. “I am going. You think all you like, but remember that cake is for my Tidger.” She sniffled. “He was a good man. Until you and your money came along.” With a sob she left the kitchen.

Ann heaved a heavy sigh. But there was dinner to be made. She worked swiftly around the kitchen and didn’t pause until she had set the table to her satisfaction.

“Polly,” she walked up to her room, “It’s all set Polly. And I have decided to accept Miller’s invitation for dinner. That way I will be out of the way and you can claim that Tidger had a heart attack.”

“Good thinking.” Polly approved of the plan. Besides, she couldn’t wait to see Tidger’s face as Ann left for a date right under his nose. Oh how she would rub it in.

He would die of a heart attack, she chortled to herself.

Bump her off would he? She would show him – who would bump off whom.

Ann and Miller were enjoying a quiet dinner when the concierge came and interrupted them. He spoke in a low whisper to Miller.

“Ann, my dear,” Miller laid his hand on hers, “We have to go.”

Ann stared at him and paled. “What’s the matter?”

“Come let’s go.” He was gentle with her as he led her out of the restaurant.

The scene at home was one of utter chaos. The dinner Ann had labored over, lay spattered all over the floor. Alongside it, Polly lay senseless while Tidger was weeping softly in one corner.

“What happened?” It was the doctor.

Tidger wiped his face and attempted to gather himself. “I…I don’t know doctor. We were having dinner. She had finished eating and I was almost done. She got up to get the cake and appeared to get dizzy. She gave a gasp and grabbed the tablecloth before keeling over. She…” he choked, “she hasn’t moved since then.”

“ You ate the same thing?” The Inspector peered at the dishes. “What was in this empty bowl?” He sniffed suspiciously at it.

“Soup. I finished it.”

“What soup?

Tidger shrugged. “Don’t know but it was real tasty.”

“The bowl looks clean, as if it has been been washed.” He pinned Tidger with his eyes, who flushed and blustered, “Look here Inspector…”

“It was clear soup Inspector,” Ann controlled her sobs, “I…I helped her make it.”

“She was fine before that?” The doctor interrupted.

“Yes. She was perfectly fine. She cooked dinner. She even made my favorite cake.” Tidger paused. “She did complain of uneasiness once or twice.”

“Hmm, looks like she had a heart attack.” The doctor stood up. “She did have high blood pressure and diabetes.”

“My poor Polly. What will happen to me now?”

Ann was too busy crying in Miller’s arms to console Tidger.

She didn’t even speak to him at Polly’s funeral. She moved out of his house the same day.

It was only months later, after the doctor had declared Polly’s death to be due to natural causes and police had given Tidger a clean chit that Ann met Tidger at a common friend’s house.

“How are you?” She looked at him critically. “You’ve lost weight.”

He gave a tired smile. “I am not much of a cook. And,” he coughed, “I haven’t been sleeping too well either.”

“Come over for dinner tomorrow. Miller, you come too. Around 7.30 pm?”

They nodded.

Tidger was early.

“How’s the paperwork for the inheritance progressing?” Ann asked as she cut him a piece of his favorite cake.

He bit into it and closed his eyes in bliss. “Almost done.” He mumbled indistinctly through a full mouth. “Shouldn’t take more than a month now.”

“Good. Poor Polly must be turning in her grave to know that she was the one who got the inheritance not me.”

Tidger grinned. “Aren’t I smart?”

“Only in showing me the letter first. You shouldn’t have washed the soup bowl.”

“I thought there could be traces of the poison.”

“They wouldn’t have been able to detect it.” Ann was confident.

“I am sorry.” He deferred to her greater wisdom. “What next?”

The doorbell rang.

Ann rewarded him with a kiss. “Now it’s time for you to woo me. Make it nice and slow.”

She went to let Miller in.

Just enough delay to raise suspicion but not confirm it.

As always, patience was the key to success.

***

A/N This story is inspired by WW Jacobs short story A Golden Venture and linked to Story Club # 10

So what do you think? Plausible? Any loopholes? Doubts? Loose ends? Go on say it, I am sure you found something!