Thawing the Chill

january-snowfall-nighttime
Photo (c) Sarah Potter

Thawing the Chill

 Words 101

“Why are you two fighting?” Mother intervened.

“She started it.”

“I did not! She did.”

“Nonsense! She lost my shawl.”

“Liar! I gave it back. You’re getting old.”

“Not as old as you.”

“Stop it girls! The shawl? I have it.”

“Really Mother!” they turned on her. “Where is it?”

Mother shrugged. “I don’t remember. I am old.”

“Mom has been using that excuse for the last 50 years.”

“Exactly! Remember when she ‘forgot’ to pick me up from school?”

“Yes! And I sneaked off in my cycle…”

“If it weren’t for you I would have starved…”

Mother hid her grin.

***

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

Thanks for reading and for leaving me a note 😉

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Just 4 Fun #27

Another week is upon us and to make it worse, it was a lovely long weekend – now I have to re-train myself to go back to school office…

Anyhow, some priceless kid speak for you this week 😀

ques

For every question, they have an answer 😉

exam

They have answers to not just exam question but also life problems 😉

chooshi

And speaking of siblings

bros-and-sis

Why just siblings?

hair

Hope you liked this selection – 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.

The Bedecked One

20160918_071903Isn’t she gorgeous? Wondering why I call her the ‘bedecked’ one?

bd2

Notice the cummerbund?

bd3And she’s wearing bangles too! A bit creepy no doubt but then each to their choice – who am I to judge, right?

For Becca’s Sunday Trees – 276

Thanks for visiting – do let me know what you think of the jewelry 😀

Have a great day.

FFfAW #103: The Wager

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The Wager

Words 168

 

“You didn’t!” She scowled.

“Don’t you know by now that I never lose a wager?” There was a ghost of a twinkle in his eyes.

“One of these days you will.”

He paled.

He fought for breath.

Doctor!”

He held her hand. “No. Stay. It’s time.”

“It’s not fair!” she sank down beside him.

“Didn’t I bet I would go first?” His voice was a whisper.

“Take me with you,” she pleaded.

“You haven’t even cleared security check, but I have my boarding pass,” he gloated.

“I don’t care! Pull some strings,” she cried, “get me my boarding pass.”

“Khushi…”

“Why must you always break my heart?” She gripped his hands. “Why must you always win?”

“70 years gone in a flash.”

And so was he.

She stood up with a crash.

To stop him.

To follow him.

Blinded by tears, she stumbled.

With no one to break her fall, she cracked her head on the floor.

He couldn’t always win.

She wouldn’t let him.

Not this time.

***

Written for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers – a story in 175 words or less. Thank you PJ for hosting and Dawn M. Miller for the photo prompt. To read the other stories inspired by this prompt click here.

Thank you for reading – look forward to your comments and reactions

SPF: It’s a Match

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It’s a Match

Words 202

Devansh edged towards the balcony. He needed some fresh air. Mom was going to be disappointed – again. Now she would insist that he go to India to find his soul mate.

As if they grew on trees over there.

“…fossilized dreams and aspirations…”

“That’s it! It’s off.”

“Are you crazy? To break off our wedding for such a flimsy…”

“This is a flimsy reason? Do you have any clue, any notion of my emotions, my sentiments? I see no future for us.”

“You’re impossible. I am leaving.”

“You’re still here?”

Rohit brushed past Devansh and vanished.

Devansh hesitated.

Unable to help himself, he picked up a drink and stepped out into the balcony.

“Here, have a drink.”

Mishti glared at him. “Trying to drug me?”

Devansh rolled his eyes. He downed half the glass and held it out to her.

“What happened?” Devansh leaned against the railing.

“That moron…”

“What did he do?”

“He didn’t like my plans for our honeymoon.”

“What plans?”

“A dinosaur expedition. I have been dreaming of it for years. But now all my plans, my money, tickets…”

Devansh’ eyes gleamed. “Maybe we could do it?”

“What? The wedding?”

Devansh coughed. “We could explore that after the expedition.”

 ***

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

CFFC: Kolam

If you are a regular visitor to my blog you may have noticed that I have already published my photos for this week’s fun foto challenge hosted by Cee on Looking Down on Things. But as I mentioned, I have a few more photos to share on this topic.

I opted for a separate post for these photos because they are an insight into Indian art, thought, philosophy and way of life.

rangoli-3

In many parts of India (and Asia), patterns are created on the floor in living rooms or courtyards using materials such as colored rice, dry flour, colored sand or flower petals. Usually these patterns (rangoli or alpana) are made on the occasion of religious festivals and auspicious functions such as weddings. But in South India, these drawings called kolam (among other things depending on region) are made in front of the house, every morning.

rangoli2Kolams are not only decorative but are also believed to bring prosperity. Kolams were traditionally made of coarse rice flour – it serves as food for ants so that they don’t have to walk too far for a decent meal. It is also an invitation to birds and other smaller creatures. Kolams symbolize thinking beyond the self; the philosophy that the greatest joy is in giving rather than receiving. Only if you give, will you receive.And no one is too poor to feed another or welcome another.

rangoli4Every morning, women of the house clean their homes, courtyard, road and draw patterns with rice flour. The kolams are generally drawn while the surface is still damp so the design will hold better. As a child I remember watching Aunty as she drew bigger and bigger patterns without moving from her crouched position on the floor with just a flick of her wrist holding the rice powder between her thumb and forefinger. It was like magic.

rangoli1Walking back from the beach after witnessing a breathtaking sunrise, I was taken aback to see kolams on the road. The streets were deserted now but soon they would be bustling with activity. The patterns were sure to be trampled upon – why would anyone deliberately let their work of art be destroyed?

It was only later that I began to see the glimmerings of the deeper philosophy behind this tradition. Kolams on the road symbolize the impermanence of life and everything in it. It is a daily reminder to go ahead with our tasks without being attached to it.

Today’s work won’t last forever, be prepared to do it over and over again, all the days of your life. Be grateful for the new day, this life and another opportunity to create a new kolam, once again.

CFFC: Looking Down

This week Cee wants us to lower our gazes and have fun while doing so. So here I am off on my travels keeping my eyes firmly on the ground 😉

Ready? Steady? Po…yep off to Pondicherry or Puducherry as it is now known as:

bag-airportThis cool bag caught my bleary barely open eyes in the wee hours of the morning.

20170217_052624Look what I got fooling around with the photo – cool isnt it? Anyway on with the trip

flightLooking down on sunrise was quite an experience

hotelA glimpse of the hotel lobby on the 6th floor.

pondyLooking down on the roof tops, I squinted as I tried to decipher where the sky ended and the sea began…

seaAt the beach, to catch the sunrise – the camera took this shot when I wasn’t looking.

spaAnd finally, we come a full circle – back at the airport. On the floor, a flower arrangement outside a spa.

But that’s not all from me  😉

If Cee allows, I would like to have another edition of looking down

Thanks for joining me on this gig – do share your thoughts, views and opinions 🙂

COB: Sweet Dreams

I clicked this photo on my recent travels and thought it deserved a post of its own.

scootyClearly he doesn’t much care for the stone floor, bird feed or the creepy crawlies. 😀

I thought it was quite apt for Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge – what do you think?

WPC: Out of the World

rebecca

The Veiled Rebecca depicts the veiled bride of Isaac. Created by the Italian artist Giovanni Benzoni, it stands at a height of 167.0 cm with the statue and its round pedestal carved from a single block of marble without any joints.

reb2

Another closer view of the stunning work of art. How he managed to create the appearance of a transparent veil from marble is beyond my comprehension. I cannot even remove the reflection of the light 😦

reb3

Benzoni is believed to have made four copies of this sculpture, one of which is kept at the Salar Jung Museum Hyderabad. I am sure he was so stunned by his own creation that he wanted to make sure it was no fluke or magic!  Apparently, the only difference between this and the other three is that in this one the right hand is lifting the veil while in the other it is the left hand.

Did you notice the fingers in this picture and the one above? In one it seems as it the fist is sort of clenched but in the other, the fingers seem to be unfurled. Quite magical don’t you think?

I could stare at it whole day long – the flowing robes, the posture, the poise, the grace, the fluidity of stone, the….

Linked to Daily Post’s Weekly – against the odds

The Story Club for this month is overdue. If anyone is interested, please suggest a story, otherwise I would like to propose ‘The Kabuliwala‘ by Rabindranath Tagore. I hope to post my review over the weekend. I would be happy if you join the discussion.

Have a good day and thanks for visiting.

 

The Blow

I have just returned from a vacation and the photo below says it all 😉

broken-face-liz
Photo (c) Liz Young

But nonetheless, here goes:

 

The Blow

Words 86

“You look lovely.” Su hugged me.

“Thanks.” I smiled.

“Yes,” said Ana. “I remember telling you that this color really suits you.”

“Thanks.” I flushed and paled.

I tottered away.

“What’s the matter?” The Husband asked.

“That Ana…” I gritted my teeth.

“But she just complimented you.” He frowned.

“Compliment my foot. She just dished me a swift upper cut.”

“Are you crazy?”

“Oh God!” I moaned, “why didn’t you warn me?”

“About what?”

“That I wore the same sari at the last wedding we attended.”

***

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

Thanks for reading – look forward to reading your reactions.

 

CFFC: Let’s Face It

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge theme this week is about things that look like faces. A very interesting topic don’t you think? I remember as children when we went out family trips, my sister and I would hang out of the window and laugh at the ‘faces’ made by passing vehicles – especially trucks and buses. They really look different and funny. Have a look next time when you are on an ‘are we there yet‘ zone. Hmm come to think of it it was Ma who told us about the faces 😀

Anyhow, here are a few ‘faces’ from my archives:

cake

A smiley cake with a blue nose – baked by my 12-year old niece

otterfaceAn ‘otter’ in the woods

skeleton-buildingA double mouthed skeleton or perhaps that’s the nose and the mouth is busy eating up the earth…

 

tree-mouth

She looks about ready to swallow anything and everything in her path doesnt she?

tree-manCan you see the Tree Man standing guard in the distance?

hatAccessories can do wonders for your looks 😉

Thanks for visiting – do let me know which one is your favorite 🙂

Just 4 Fun # 26

Hello! How was your Valentine’s day?

I had the most wonderful V-day – binge watching a web series on my own 😉 😀

Here’s an assorted (mostly V-day) collection which I hope will brighten up your day:

valentine

Dont miss the candles 😀

But seriously a bit too much eh?

peanuts

That’s more like it 😀

sports

Hmm, I have to admit I am a very sporty kind a person – what about you?

cute

Exactly!

diamond

Indeed! And birds of a feather flock together 😉

band

How true!

gf

Hope you liked these memes – none of which are mine by the way. I received all of them as forwards/shares and am just keeping the fun going. If you have something to share, please leave your link and I will be along in just a bit.

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

Far From the Madding Crowd

golconda

For Becca’s Sunday Trees – 275

Hope you liked!

SPF: How Heaven Saved Us

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Photo (c) Sascha Darlington

 

How Heaven Saved Us

Words 194

“What’s the report from residents on the Earth prototype?”

“Excellent. They think it’s heavenly. I deeply regret the self-destruct program.”

“How long is our Heaven going to last?”

“Heaven is self-sustaining for a hundred years.”

“Good, but why so many Heavens? Weren’t you supposed to build just one?”

“I wanted to provide shelter to as many citizens as possible.”

“Focus on one. Don’t waste money…”

“Money! The Earth is going to blow up once the comet crashes into it.”

“You don’t understand. This is our chance to begin again, choose our fellow companions. Get rid of the riff-raff.”

“But…”

“Even we are allowed only one other person.”

“Choose one person!”

“Sacrifices have to be made in the interests of the future.”

“Meaning?”

“My wife is old. Young blood is needed to create a new generation.”

“Your son or your daughter?”

“The model Tatiana.”

“Not your beloved daughter?”

“She’s married. She is her husband’s responsibility.”

“And your son?”

“He is Captain of Heaven.”

“But…but am I not the Captain?”

“You have done a great job. You have labored long and hard. You deserve a rest. A nice long rest.”

We’ll see who gets to rest.

***

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

Thank you for reading – look forward to your comments and suggestions. I am traveling this weekend and hence may not be around to visit as much as usual. Hope you all have a super weekend.

APWC: Zoom In

We recently visited the Golconda Fort near Hyderabad, India where we had glimpses and insights into the lives of people who lived centuries ago. Nancy’s A Photo A Week theme this week is of Details – exactly what I was looking for to showcase some of the interesting things we saw:)

entry

This is the entrance to the Golconda Fort (of Kohinoor diamond fame). This path was meant for kings and nobles but our path lies elsewhere. Just alongside (on the left to be precise):

barrack

A view of the barracks where the soldiers were housed. Pretty barren and lackluster do you think? Let’s look around.

entranceThe entrance to the barracks – actually to be honest I took this photo because of the tree 😉

shelves

On the other side are the shelves for soldiers to keep their artillery and other stuff.

holder1See that protrusion with a hole? That was for holding flame torches for light.

holder2Another flame torch holder on the other side. The walls look rather bare and utilitarian don’t they? As I mentioned, this section was meant for soldiers. The Royalty didn’t much care for the fumes of the flame torches. Besides, the flames charred the walls which again offended their sensibilities. Hence they had other ideas.

diamond

The intricate decorations on the inner palace walls – which was originally diamond studded. A single candle was enough to light up the whole room.

wall

The Royalty lived in luxury and left no stone unturned their comfort. This came to light when the walls broke revealing water pipes for carrying hot and cold water to the city and fortress built on a granite hill that is 120 meters (480 ft) high.

The water was heated in a wood furnace and pumped up using hand cranks. Phew!

Hope you enjoyed the detailed tour.

Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts.

Have a super week.

The Chair

mystery-chair-ted-strutz
Photo (c) Ted Strutz

 

The Chair

 Words 93

 “That’s my chair.”

“It’s time you passed on the baton.”

“There is nobody capable enough.”

“It’s our job to groom them. Make them able.”

“If I leave, the whole system will collapse.”

“Don’t kid yourself. Nobody is indispensable.”

“Nobody has as much experience as I do.”

“A new person will bring in fresh ideas, perspectives and vision.”

“That should be applicable for your chair as well.”

How dare you!”

“The Minister’s new son-in-law is a good friend of my son.”

“I will see what can be done about creating another chair for you.”

***

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

Thank you for reading – look forward to your comments and suggestions.

For IPK fans and readers of SS - the final part of A Tangled Web is up

Just 4 Fun # 25

It’s been a long day, so without any further ado let’s get down to some serious relaxation 😉

phony-data

I would like to add one more to the list – after the 14missed calls when he does pick up the phone, he disconnects after listening to one of the 14 points she wanted to make 😉 😀

Has that ever happened with you? It happens with both my son and husband. They invariably disconnect before I finish speaking – especially if I am giving instructions.

phoneYeah right – that will be the day!

ecgWhy just for men? Works for me as well. What say gals? 😀

headache

Who swallows a paracetamol by mistake? I have swallowed many a headache though 😉

balance

Here’s hoping we all find the right balance in our lives on this Valentine’s day:)

flowers

Hope you liked these photos, none of which are mine by the way. I received all of them as shares and am just keeping the fun going. If you have something to share, please leave your link and I will be along in just a bit.

Have a super week and don’t forget to have some fun, regardless…

Bindi Tree

bindi-tree
Photo (c) Punit Kaur

In India, trees are very much revered and it is a common sight to see the Banyan tree or the Bodhi tree entwined with red strings. But this particular tree covered with bindis is a rare sight and one that I have never seen before. This tree stands outside the Koteshawar temple, Kutch in Gujarat. The temple overlooks the Arabian Sea and is the western-most Shiva temple of India.

Bindis are traditionally red in color and round in shape. Married women wear them on the center of the forehead as a symbol of their marital status. Married women put a bindi on this tree to ensure the long life of her husband. I believe glass bangles are also offered to the tree. I hope to see it for myself one of these days, until then the photo will have to do 🙂

For Becca’s Sunday Trees – 274

 

An Art -Y Post

I am an avid follower of Y’s 365 days of art and sometime ago she inspired me to try an art post. So here I am, with a couple of paintings that we have at home. Photography turned out to be quite tricky – flash, shadows, reflections and other amateur issues. Nevertheless I hope you will like them. Taking cue from Y, I added a little bit of background to make it more interesting.

Indian paintings can be broadly classified as murals and miniatures. Murals are large works executed on the walls of solid structures, such as in the Ajanta Caves. Miniature paintings are executed on a very small scale for books or albums on perishable material such as paper and cloth. The Palas of Bengal (in the eastern part of India) are believed to be the pioneers of miniature painting in India.

Miniature paintings developed during the 10th century in Rajasthan (western part of India). The subjects of these miniature paintings are in relation to the subjects of the manuscripts mostly religious and literary. The painting below is of the life of Lord Krishna and his Gopies. These paintings were created on leaf of the palm tree and later paper.

In these paintings,  most of the human characters are seen with side profile. Big eyes, pointed nose and slim waist are the distinctive features of these paintings. The skin colors of human being are brown and fair. The skin color of the Lord Krishna is Blue. Human characters are adorned with a lot of jewellery and wear traditional Indian dresses. Mostly natural colors were used in these paintings.

miniatureSorry about the flashlight at the bottom 😦 No fault of the artist!

The second painting is known as Madhubani art and belongs to the region that is now Bihar. It is locally believed that Madhubani painting tradition started when Raja Janak of Videha commissioned local artists to paint murals in his palace in preparations for the marriage of his daughter Sita to Lord Ram (who is believed to have been born in 5114 BC). Painting is done with fingers, twigs, brushes, nib-pens, and matchsticks, using natural dyes and pigments, and is characterized by eye-catching geometrical patterns. There is ritual content for particular occasions, such as birth or marriage, and festivals.

These paintings were done only by women and only on occasion of marriages. Madhubani art has five distinctive styles and their themes were mainly religious and they depicted Gods and Goddesses, flora and fauna in their paintings.

The painting was traditionally done on freshly plastered mud walls and floors of huts, but now they are also done on cloth, handmade paper and canvas. Madhubani paintings are made from the paste of powdered rice. Madhubani painting has remained confined to a compact geographical area and the skills have been passed on through centuries, the content and the style have largely remained the same. Madhubani paintings also use two dimensional imagery, and the colors used are derived from plants. Ochre and lampblack are also used for reddish brown and black respectively.

Mithila painting (as Madhubani art is also known as) was hidden from the world until the India-Nepal border earthquake of 1934. While inspecting the damages, the then British colonial officer in Madhubani District, William G. Archer, “discovered” the paintings on the newly exposed interior walls of Mithila homes. He took black and white photos of some of these paintings, which today are the earliest images of the art.

I also bring a black and white painting for you. For more images you can click on the links given above.

madhuIf you look carefully, no two image is same – sort of like spot the difference.

madhubaniHere’s another angle with a darker focus on the top panel.

So what do you think? Do share your thoughts.

Thanks for visiting and hope you have a super weekend.

CFFC: Crawl or Fly

Cee’s fun foto challenge this week (I am determined not to be late!) is all about Crawling or Flying.

So let’s see what I managed to dig out this week. 😉

crawl-caveCrawling through the limestone caves.

truck-crawlA truck inching its way on to a ferry

tractorI just love this tractor which haunts our campus. There’s something about it – the shiny bright blue contrasting with the rusty trailer as it rumbles sedately lugging something or the other or as it waits patiently to be loaded…no? Don’t much care for it?

shikaraI am sure you would enjoy a leisurely shikara ride on the picturesque Dal lake, Srinagar. Hmm perhaps I have shared this photo before – time to fly 😉

road-flagFlying banners decorate the road

flagsMore colorful flags flying in the wind (and the green T-shirt guy’s hair too 😀

tree-legI saved this one for the last. Doesn’t the tree look as if she is going to leg it any moment?

Thanks for visiting and for letting me know your favorite 🙂

For readers of A Tangled Web here's Part 5

CB&W: A Musical Story

Cee’s black and white photo challenge theme for last week was Music. I am worse than late this week, but in my defense it’s been a super busy week plus I was traveling. Hunting through my archives I could find only one photo, which fit the bill. Ironical since my house is littered with musical instruments – guitar, Mohan veena, sitar, piano, tabla and I distinctly remember buying a mouth organ too.

Before you get the wrong idea I must add that I am quite tone-deaf but my son has the ‘feel’ for music – and I think he plays very well. 🙂 Well no, I am not really being partial – he won a music scholarship during his school days. But what I really wanted to share with you was the way he was introduced to music. Since I am not really musically inclined, I would have never thought of pushing him towards music. But fate has a way of taking the right turns and sort of forcing your hand.

When my son was about seven years old, he suddenly turned obsessive about me. It was winter days and it would get dark by 5 pm. Quite all of a sudden, he started calling me up at the office demanding that I come home immediately. Once he even dragged his octogenarian grandfather to the campus gate to escort me home. I tried to get to the bottom of the matter and set up a minor grilling session.

I saw the glimmerings of light when he muttered, “Bad things happen in car parks.”

Darn it – that’s what comes out of encouraging children to read the newspaper.

Some urgent damage control was needed so I began hunting for some suitable distraction. But what? I had not time to take him anywhere for anything. It would have to be something at home.

“Would you like to learn music?” I asked having bumped into a music teacher at a friend’s house.

He wore a thoughtful look. “Does he have a mustache?”

Of all the things!

“Hmm. Not sure. I think so.”

“Okay.” He went back to his comic. “But only if he has a mustache.”

musicI wonder if these guys have mustaches?

Or more importantly did they have any such preconditions before they started learning music 😀 How about you – do you know of any one with peculiar preconditions to do doing something? Do share 🙂

Thanks for visiting!

 

WPC: Shadows

It’s a double Weekly Photo Challenge bonanza this week – after solitude it’s time for some shadows. I managed only a couple:

rock-gardenYep this is at the Rock Gardens in Chandigarh. I have to confess I didn’t mean to capture the shadows. I was too busy focusing on the artificial tree 😀 Anyhow I fooled around a bit with the photo to highlight the shadow of the railings – they look cool don’t they?

lodhi-gardensThis one I took because of the shadows.

So which one do you like better?

Thanks for visiting and leaving me a note 🙂

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 120

Grounded

roger-bultot-flower
Photo (c) Roger Bultot

Grounded

Words 97

“Namaste Mother. Yes I am well. You?”

“Don’t worry Mother. Things are better now that I know his likes and dislikes.”

“Yes Mother. Once he leaves, I don’t have much work.”

“No Mother. All that has changed. I no longer flit in and out of the house. We go out only on weekends for our weekly shopping.”

“Friends? No Mother. Sometimes I think there are less people in this entire building than there are at home!”

“What do I do? I relax. I look out of the window watch the snowfall, talk to the flowers.”

“Namaste Mother.”

***

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

Thank you for reading and leaving me a note or two 🙂

WPC: Solitude

Solitude is a state of being alone without feeling lonely. Solitude is something I crave and find uplifting and relaxing – a state which, to me at least, is almost akin to meditation. The freedom to think or not – the freedom to just be. The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge theme is about solitude and hence this outburst 😉

Anyway, hunting through my archives, I found this picture which seemed to fit the bill.  Fooling around with the photo, I was reminded of a discussion I had with Ravens regarding BW and color photographs.

I thought I had interesting results with this photo.

bw-benchDoesn’t this picture evoke a sense of loneliness and despair? Of waiting? If only someone would come and say hello?

park-bench-2 Yet, doesn’t this scene speaks of utter contentment and relaxation? It is as if the bench is soaking up the sunshine and a few brief moments of blissful respite from the burdens that he knows are sure to come his way all too soon.

I wonder if you agree with me? Or am I being too fanciful? Do let me know which one you like better. I would love to know about your thoughts on the matter…

Thanks for visiting!

Just 4 Fun #24

Morning folks! The dreaded Monday has turned up like a bad penny once again.

Funny how we are all afraid of something or the other isn’t it?

comes-back

True isn’t it? But there’s someone who isn’t afraid of anything or anyone. Any guesses?

bear

And new understanding of available facts removes any remaining guilt as well

chocolate

Go on, what are you waiting for – spread the word

gossip

True story!!!

Hop over to Esther’s blog for some wacky real life instructions 😀

Disclaimer: Over the week, I get a lot of jokes and life philosophies as shares. Some are too good to pass up. Here I share those that appealed to me or tickled my funny bone. Hope you like them too. Please note none of this is stuff is mine – I am just keeping the fun going.

If you too have something worth sharing do leave your link in the comment box or create a pingback to this post.

Have a great week ahead and don’t forget to have some fun too.

And do let me know your favorite – mine has to be the Mama bear. She is cool 😀

Blending In

biding-her-time-2

Doesn’t she look as if she is trying to blend in with her surroundings? Or perhaps Nek Chand  arranged his sculptors to suit her woody nature.

For Becca’s Sunday Trees 273

CFFC: Inside Out

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is about Inner and Outer. Come join me as I weave in and out of here and there 😉

kalimpongInside a hotel suite in Kalimpong, West Bengal

gandhi-ashramInside Gandhiji’s room in Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad.

city-palaceAn insider’s view of the outside of the City Palace, Udaipur, Rajasthan India.

outsideOr would you prefer an evening view?

banglesInside view of a bangle shop in Punjab. Newly married girls wear the entire ‘cylinder’ of bangles (comprising of individual rings). If you like you can read more about the custom here

treeCaught up in the frenzy of Cee’s photo challenges, the termites obligingly nibbled away the outside of this tree to give us an inside view 😉

Hope you had fun – which one is your favorite?

 

SPF: Mired

01-ceayr-29-january-2017
Photo (c) C.E.Ayr

Mired

Words 195

He rocked on his heels as he took in the picturesque scene.

Not a blade, not a ripple out of place – just the way he liked it. Streamers and balloons heralded his arrival but what he liked best was the trumpets blaring his entry. He frowned, he would have to make it clear, he didn’t much care for the pink stuff – he was after all a man.

He squinted into the distance – what an eyesore!

“Hey you! Get out of the way. Can’t you see Me coming?”

“Go on ahead. I am not in your way am I?”

“You bother me just by being! Get the hell out of here.”

“How would you manage without me?”

“Huh! Are you crazy? What do you do – except clutter the place?”

“To me it looks as if you are the one blocking the path…”

“You…you nobody! How dare you speak to me like this? Don’t you know who I am? With just a twitch I can blow you out of existence.”

She snickered. “Sure you can.”

“Are you challenging ME?”

“Chicken.” She thumbed her nose at him.

“How dare you? Charge!”

Smirking, she edged towards the riverbank.

***

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

Thanks for reading – do leave me a note 🙂

 

WPC: Recreate

The theme for the Daily Post’s photo challenge this week is repurpose – recycling or re-purposing an object into a clever new use. Well to tell the truth, I am not clever enough to do anything of the sort. But I am clever enough to know and click works of amazing people who are expert at this art 😉

The first to come to mind is of course Nek Chand of Chandigarh’s world famous Rock Garden.

archwayAn arched path in the garden – notice the material it is made of?

archway2Broken light fixtures – ingenious isn’t it?

entranceAnother gateway – made of broken crockery

dollbangleDolls made of broken glass bangles. Married women wear colorful glass bangles particularly in North India. Nek Chand collected heaps of broken glass bangles and created not only rows and rows of dolls but also peacocks and other decorative items for his rock garden.

stoneMoving on, here’s a table lamp fashioned out of a piece of stone – beautiful isn’t it?

threadAnd finally, isn’t it fascinating how just a few colored strings can be re-purposed into almost anything in the hands of the right one – like that of the Officially Amazing Crochet Queen, Svkuki.

Thank you for visiting and do let me know your favorite re-purposing 🙂

For readers of MS, here's Chapter 118 and for fans of IPK and readers of SS - A Tangled Web - 3

WPS: Why on Earth!

This is my entry to the flash fiction challenge What Pegman Saw inspired by any view of a given location on Google maps. The challenge is to write a story in 150 words or less.This week’s location is of Buffalo N.Y. suggested by Y. To read the other stories inspired by this prompt click here

screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-6-57-03-pmTo see the location Google maps, click here

Why on Earth!

Words 142

As I walked down the street, the roads lengthened, elongated, stretched and merged. Rows and rows of houses and not a person in sight.

Would I die of thirst in a foreign country?

Dare I knock on a door?

Where oh where did the one with streaked hair live? Surely she would spare me some…

I stilled.

Mesmerized I rubbed my eyes.

A clear blue lake with the faintest of ripples encased by the greenest of greens.

Parched, I stepped forward only to draw back in fright. Whoosh!

A massive black apparition emerged from the waters.

Shaking off the droplets and turning its curly horned head, the buffalo grinned at me, flapped its wings and took off into the sky.

Hmm, not a particularly graceful ascent, but definitely an interesting piece with a lot of movement, I thought just as I woke.

***

Thanks for reading – look forward to your reactions.

Just 4 Fun #23

Another week and another Monday. Too soon don’t you think? Actually worse for me – after about 22 months consisting of only Sundays, I am back to Monday blues. Not really – at least not yet 😉

Anyway time for some laughs

baby-oil

Children say (and think!) the darndest things don’t they? And the fallout is usually this:

img-20160203-wa0000

But then it’s probably the fault of the education system

age

Now if only there was some way to keep the children pure and unsullied by ‘adult’ expectations…

Below are letters that children have written to God

Dear God:

1. I didn’t think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset You made on Tuesday. That was cool.

2. Instead of letting people die and having to make new ones, why don’t You keep the ones You have already made.

3. If You watch me in church on Sunday, I’ll show You my new shoes.”

4. I bet it is very hard to love everyone in the whole world. There are only four people in our family and I’m having a hard time loving all of them.”

5. In school they told us what You do. Who does it when You are on vacation?

6. Did You mean for the giraffe to look like that or was it an accident?

7. Who draws the lines around the countries?

8. Thank You for the baby brother, but I think you got confused because what I prayed for was a puppy.

9. I want to be just like my Daddy when I get big, but not with so much hair all over.

10. I think about You sometimes, even when I’m not praying.

11. We read Thomas Edison made light. But in Sunday school they said You did it. So, I bet he stole Your idea.

12. Please send a new baby for Mommy. The baby you sent last week cries too much.

13. Could you please give my brother some brains? So far he doesn’t have any.

14. Thank you for the nice day today. You even fooled the TV weather man.

15. Please help me in school. I need help in spelling, adding, history, geography, and writing. I don’t need help in anything else.

So which one is your favorite?  I know it’s a tough call, but I think mine is 3, 4 and 6 😀

Have a super week ahead!

Disclaimer: Over the week, I get a lot of jokes and life philosophies as shares. Some are too good to pass up. Here I share those that appealed to me or tickled my funny bone. Hope you like them too. Please note none of this is stuff is mine – I am just keeping the fun going!

If you too have something worth sharing do leave your link in the comment box or create a pingback to this post.

Have a great week ahead and don’t forget to have some fun too.

The Buxom Lady

comely-miss

See what I mean 😉 😀

For Becca’s Sunday Trees – 272

Have a super Sunday!

The Last Bastion

al_forbes

The Last Bastion

Words 102

“Wow!” Suresh stared at the gleaming vintage car, quite out of place in the rustic surroundings.

“Maharaja Pratap Chand’s car.” The decrepit grandson reclined on a charpoy under a tree.

“A goldmine Grandpa! If you sell it, our family fortunes will take a turn for the better.”

“We won’t sell the last symbol of our Royal heritage.”

“Of what use are symbols if we are dead?”

Grandpa pulled at his hookah.

“Would you consider renting it?”

“We, of royal families, don0t dabble in petty businesses.”

“The film industry would give good money.”

“If they need it, they may borrow it. For free.”

***

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

Thanks for reading – would love to hear from you 🙂

SPF: Ill-timed

191-01-january-22nd-2017

Ill-timed

Words 198

“Must you go?”

“What a question?” Professor Ray was incredulous. “After all these years don’t you know that I always honor my commitments?”

“Even at the cost of your wife’s life?”

“Now don’t be so melodramatic Madhu. It’s just a broken arm.”

“How will I manage alone?”

“Ask the maid to stay.”

“They haven’t even sent you the tickets like they usually do.” Madhu pointed out.

“The invitation letter clearly mentions all travel expenses and local hospitality will be borne by them.”

“It’s not like you have to catch the local train! You have to go to a different country. They should have sent you the tickets.”

“Roberts is an old friend. I have been to many conferences organized by him. Tickets or reimbursement have never been an issue.”

“But still you should confirm with him. It’s not a small amount.”

“What should I say? Show me the money first? I am academician not a businessman.”

“Surely there are other ways to ask?”

“Stop fussing!” Ray overruled Madhu’s objections and left for the conference.

 

“Roberts,” Ray called him from the hotel, “I am here for your conference. Have you changed the venue?”

“Conference? But that is next year.”

***

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

 Thanks for reading – have you ever mixed up dates? 😀

 

COB: Of This & That

It’s been a while since I posted Oddballs but nevertheless, since you are here, how about a cup of coffee?

20160617_143647

One for you and one for me 😉

Now cast your eye upwards (after you scroll down)

20160617_145122

I liked the wall decor but I couldn’t quite make out what the flying yellow man is doing up there. Providing competition to Spiderman and his ilk? And speaking of yellow…

2013-07-05-14-11-20

Truly I had no intentions of capturing him this yellow man and wanted to delete the photo. But I found it weird that he is apparently jogging at a popular tourist attraction in Vienna – Schönbrunn Palace.

Odd isn’t it? But then again the palace grounds are extensive, perhaps he thought of killing two birds with one stone – sightseeing while working out 😀

What do you think?

Have a great weekend and thanks for visiting.

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 117 and A Tangled Web -2

WPC: Amazing Grace

The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge is all about being graceful and dance is all about grace. India is a treasure house of dances ranging from regional folk dances to classical dances. As a child I was fascinated with the classical dance forms. I learned a bit of Bharatnatyam and even had the opportunity to give a stage performance in a school competition – mostly because there was no other taker from our house 😉 But I will have you know that I stood second 😀 No there weren’t two competitors (as my dear brother who was late for the performance suggested) – there were five. Yeah and I was just as incredulous as you but what stands out most in my memory is that my dance teacher said that she wasn’t surprised. A lovely cherished memory! There are other memories too associated with that day but perhaps another day, another challenge 😉

As far as grace is concerned, of all the classical Indian dance forms, I have to confess that I personally find the Odissi dance form to be the most graceful. Odissi is a major ancient Indian classical dance that originated in the Hindu temples of Odisha, an eastern coastal state of India. Here are a couple of my beautiful and graceful friend’s photo – I have shared these before but I couldn’t resist posting them again.

handmudra1Isn’t she stunning?

grace
Odissi dancers

So who’s is your favorite?

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 116 AND for IPK fans/readers of SS here's the first part of A Tangled Web

 

 

Just 4 Fun #22

A new week begins and what if the internet doesn’t work?

internet-link

We are all linked via the link and all questions lead to us to the same place

google

Did you hear about the one – is Google male or female?

Votes veered towards female for Google completes your question before you finish typing 😀

That reminds me…

wi-fi

Here’s a bit of a evolutionary lesson for the selfie takers

 

selfie

And some cheer for Whatsapp addicts

wa-barb

I hope you enjoyed these. If you have any other gems and pearls, please do share. And please note, none of these are mine. I am trying to just keep the fun going and beat the Monday blues.

Have a super week ahead. Do let me know which one was your favorite

 

Outstanding

mohali

“Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be.”  Karen Ravn

 

For Becca’s Sunday Trees -271

Dead End

dale-rogerson2
Photo (c) Dale Rogerson

Dead End

Words 95

She cries.

It’s a girl.

Toddling and lisping, she brings cheer.

Cracking school and college collecting degrees, trophies and hearts.

Job in hand, hunt begins for the one who would ‘let’ her serve and nurture his family.

But wait – was she tall slim and fair?

With a long plait, a fat bank balance?

That would be her ticket to a baby or two or as many as it took for a boy or two.

Straddling office and home she is saddled with strictures; failures are hers achievers are his.

It’s a girl.

She cries.

***

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

Story Club #7: Perchance to Dream

Welcome to another round of the Story Club. As announced earlier, story for this month is “The Dream of a Ridiculous Man” by Fyodor Dostoevsky. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s not too late. Read it here and join the discussion.

Sandeep, who had suggested the story and was supposed to host it is unable to join us due to unforeseen circumstances. I will try to do my best to make up for his much felt absence but I must confess I feel quite out of my depth with Dostoevsky. Hopefully some of you will chime in and complete the picture.

First a few words about the much acclaimed Russian novelist, journalist and short story writer Fyodor Dostovevsky (1821- 1881). Although a military engineer by profession he resigned in 1844 so that he could focus on writing. He published his first novel Poor Folk soon after in 1846. This was followed by The Double.

Dostoevsky was a member of the Petrashevsky Circle who were socialist radical thinkers opposing tsarist autocracy and Russian serfdom. He and other members of this group were arrested and sentenced to death in 1849. Apparently they had all been taken to the square and were waiting to be shot when a messenger arrived with a reprieve. The death sentence was commuted to incarceration and he spent four years in Siberia and four years as a soldier in Semipalatinsk. His later works were influenced by his experiences in Siberia.

Although Dostoevsky was impoverished most of his life due to familial debts (worsened by his habit of gambling) he was lucky enough to be recognized as one of the greatest writers of his country during his lifetime.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

Power is given only to those who dare to lower themselves and pick it up. Only one thing matters, one thing; to be able to dare!

But how could you live and have no story to tell?

To go wrong in one’s own way is better then to go right in someone else’s.

The cleverest of all, in my opinion, is the man who calls himself a fool at least once a month.

The best definition of man is: a being that goes on two legs and is ungrateful.

Man is a mystery: if you spend your entire life trying to puzzle it out, then do not say that you have wasted your time. I occupy myself with this mystery, because I want to be a man.

The best way to keep a prisoner from escaping is to make sure he never knows he is in prison.

Everybody wants to change the world but nobody thinks about changing himself.

Man is sometimes extraordinarily, passionately in love with suffering.

I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.

Awesome quotes aren’t they? Any favorites?

The Dream of a Ridiculous Man published in 1877 is a fascinating read. Written in the first person, the story is about a (ridiculous) man who has lost the will to live and is determined to take his own life. Yet a dream changes everything.

Presuming, that you have read this (longer than our usual) short story, I will touch upon just a couple of points that I found of particular interest.

The narrator who is disillusioned with the world cannot find the meaning or the point of his life. With an intention to end his meaningless existence, he buys a revolver yet he cannot gather the will or the gumption to take the final irrevocable step. Then, one day, he decides that tonight was the night.

Hurrying home to undertake the final step, he is accosted by a little girl, demanding, pleading for help but he spurns her. His life is going to end in a couple of hours – what did it matter? Yet he cannot quite shrug of the burden of guilt that nags him. He sits contemplating his actions “I stamped and shouted at the unhappy child as though to say–not only I feel no pity, but even if I behave inhumanly and contemptibly, I am free to, for in another two hours everything will be extinguished.”

For instance, a strange reflection suddenly occurred to me, that if I had lived before on the moon or on Mars and there had committed the most disgraceful and dishonourable action and had there been put to such shame and ignominy as one can only conceive and realise in dreams, in nightmares, and if, finding myself afterwards on earth, I were able to retain the memory of what I had done on the other planet and at the same time knew that I should never, under any circumstances, return there, then looking from the earth to the moon–should I care or not? Should I feel shame for that action or not?”

The above paragraph caught my attention for another reason – it is such a long sentence. Today, writers are exhorted to write short sentences – a sign of our (impatient) times? Or just that not everyone is Dostoevsky and long involved sentences are bound to confuse the reader? But then again, this a translated work – I wonder how it was written in the original.

Coming back to the story – the narrator is so overwhelmed by the questions that arise in his mind that he puts of dying (once again) so that he could find answers to his questions.

Decision taken, he seems to be relieved of guilt as he promptly falls asleep sitting in the armchair, something he has never done before. Perhaps out of sheer relief of having evaded death?

As the narrator falls asleep, he has a vivid detailed dream – and I just loved his description of a dream:

Dreams, as we all know, are very queer things: some parts are presented with appalling vividness, with details worked up with the elaborate finish of jewellery, while others one gallops through, as it were, without noticing them at all, as, for instance, through space and time. Dreams seem to be spurred on not by reason but by desire, not by the head but by the heart, and yet what complicated tricks my reason has played sometimes in dreams, what utterly incomprehensible things happen to it! My brother died five years ago, for instance. I sometimes dream of him; he takes part in my affairs, we are very much interested, and yet all through my dream I quite know and remember that my brother is dead and buried. How is it that I am not surprised that, though he is dead, he is here beside me and working with me? Why is it that my reason fully accepts it?”

Again some very long sentences but nevertheless compelling, don’t you think?

The dream itself is believed to refer to the original sin and the narrator a ridiculous man who has deteriorated to madness. It is believed that Dostoevsky had temporal epilepsy and had several hallucinatory dreams which forms the basis of his story.

But I somehow couldn’t quite accept that this is his ‘madness’ speaking. While reading the story, right from the start I couldn’t help but find parallels with the story of Lord Buddha – not the bit about wanting to end his life of course. But his mental state of the utter meaninglessness of life, seeing no point of it all, introspection via his dream, a churning of his mind of all the knowledge and information he has within his subconscious mind followed by enlightment and clarity of thought culminating in a deep love for his fellow companions and an overwhelming desire to save them and show them the path to eternal bliss.

What do you think? No, I wasn’t talking about the long sentence! Jokes apart, I do feel as if I haven’t managed to do justice to this Story Club. But I still have hope. Perhaps, one of you could chime in!

Thanks for reading. If anyone wishes to join the Story Club (including this one) most welcome. Just post a review and link back to this post. Or you could host the next month’s Story Club.

Rules are simple:

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

Moo Point

One sunny winter morning, we set to explore the Kolkata suburbs. Err well actually, the boys were on the lookout for a suitable place to reconnect minus the usual noise of their own ‘inhibitory’ pathways. And I, being blessed with no such inhibitions, tagged along for some possible photo ops. And voila there unfolded right before my phone camera a live drama.

brunchThe ladies were out for a bit of a munch at brunch

gossipPerhaps share a few confidences away from the old hag and other potential eavesdroppers.

dangerOh but wait – what was that? Danger!!!

retreatTime for a graceful and disdainful retreat – the leading lady led the way, while a tardy youngster grabbed a mouthful for the road.

retreat2Feeling brave, I ventured closer. She gave me a beady glare – No interviews or autographs please. I have other urgent business to attend to – she trotted off on the double.

escapeShe has her escape route mapped out and makes a beeline for it. The steps are just something else she has learned to negotiate for a bit of fresh greens.

gateKnowing the ways of the mischievous youngsters, the caretaker waits for them to actually leave the premises, lest they make a U-turn.

Apparently, every morning the hungry visitors arrived at the hotel lawns via a circuitous route to mooch around until heckled off the field. The caretaker also shared that the side gate is deliberately left open to enable the free lawnmowers to make a quick gateway 😀

Written for the Daily Post’s Weekly Discover Challenge – Transcript.

Thanks for visiting – do let me know you were her so that I may return the courtesy. 🙂

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 115 and Calvin and Hobbes

SPF: Masked

190-01-january-15th-20171

Masked

Words 201

“Isn’t she tall?” Lakhishree nudged her granddaughter at the airport.

Towering over the crowd, she was a kaleidoscope of colors. Blue jeans, red shoes and a multicolored woolen cap complete with a green pompom jammed over her shoulder length dark blonde hair. Any color missing from the ensemble was taken care of in the muffler draped around her neck. At the counter she fiddled with her unruly hair. Armed with the boarding pass, she turned.

Gia giggled. “She’s a he!”

Obviously a foreigner, he sported a day’s stubble and a toothbrush mustache.

Lakhishree sniffed.

They ran into him again at the coffee shop.

“He’s cute.” Gia said.

“Shush! He’ll hear you.” Lakhishree looked at him critically. “Looks like an out and out junkie.” She spoke in Bengali. “Stay away from him.”

“What!” Gia was flabbergasted. “I was just looking.”

“Well don’t. Who knows…?”

“Relax Granny!”

“Come, let’s go.” Lakhishree hustled Gia.

“Excuse me Madam,” it was the cute junkie, “you dropped your boarding card.”

Mumbling ‘thanks,’ Lakhishree snatched it.

Gia smiled at him.

“Hello.” He smiled back. “I have to confess,” He coughed, “I am a coffee addict.”

With a wink, he loped off.

His Bengali was only slightly accented.

 ***

Written for the Sunday Photo Fiction, a story in 200 words or less, hosted by Alistair Forbes. To read the other stories inspired by this prompt click here

Thanks for reading – any comments?

CB&W: Hampi

Cee’s black and white challenge for this week is Sculptures, Statues and Carvings. I bring two photos, a bit of history and one of (innumerable) favorite mythological stories.

Both, the sculpture and the carving is from the ruined sprawling town of Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage site at Karnataka, India. It was one of the richest and largest cities in the world during its prime and part of Vijayanagar, the capital of the Vijayanagar Empire.

narasingh2

The Lakshmi Narasimha statue, built in 1528 A.D. is crafted from a single boulder of granite. The statue, which is 6.7 meters tall, is also referred as Ugra Narasimha (or Narasimha in its terrifying form).

Narasimha, as can be seen from the sculpture is half human (nara) and half lion (simha). He has the face and claws of a lion, and torso and lower body of a human.

The sculpture depicts Narasimha sitting on the coils of Adishesha, the king of all snakes, which rises behind him with its seven hoods. The original sculpture had the figure of his consort, Goddess Lakshmi, sitting on his lap. If you look closely, the broken arm of the Goddess can be seen encircling Narasimha’s waist on the right side. The gigantic statue was vandalized and mutilated in 1565 A.D. during the raid by the Mughals. The limbs of the statue were broken and figure of Lakshmi was separated.  The horizontal band around the knees was added later to give support to the sculpture.

narasingh1

This is another depiction of Narasimha on the wall of a temple at Hampi.There is a fascinating story behind this portrayal – of Narasimha disemboweling a person on his thighs.

But first a quick background.

Lord Vishnu, the Preserver of this world is said to have taken the form of man and descended to earth many a time to destroy evil and restore cosmic order. Rama, Krishna and Buddha are the seventh, eighth and ninth avatars of Vishnu. The tenth and final avatar – Kalki avatar has been foretold to appear at the end of this epoch, riding a white horse, carrying a sword, blazing like a comet. But that is in the future, when the world will end. And begin anew.

Coming to the story of Narasimha, in his third avatar as Varaha (boar), Lord Vishnu killed the demon Hiranayaksha. Wishing to avenge the death of his younger brother, Hiranyakashipu, undertook ages of austere penance to obtain the boon of immortality. But Brahma refused this boon as death is inevitable for whoever is born. Brahma urged Hiranyakashipu to ask for any other boon.

Determined to obtain immortality, Hiranyakashipu tries to trick Brahma into granting him immortality. He laid down certain conditions for his death – he should not die within a house or outside, during the day or during the night, not on the ground nor in the sky. He should not be killed by any weapon, nor by any human or animal, or any entity living or nonliving created by Brahma. He should be invincible to any demigod, demon or any snake. He also demanded sole lordship over all living entities, presiding deities and mystic powers.

Brahma granted him his heart’s desire and vanished.

Thus armed, Hiranyakashipu wrecked havoc in the three worlds and because of his boon, was invincible and unstoppable. By a twist of fate and to his fury, Hiranyakashipu’s son Prahlada was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu’s hatred of the Vishnu ran so deep that he decided to kill his own son. But each time his attempts were foiled by Vishnu’s mystical powers. Hiranyakashipu attempted to browbeat his son into acknowledging his father as the supreme lord of the universe but Prahlada refused saying that Vishnu was the one who was all pervading and omnipresent.

Hiranyakashipu laughed and pointed to a pillar in his palace, “Does He reside here too?”

Prahlada said, “He does.”

Unable to control his wrath, Hiranyakashipu smashed the pillar with his mace in the twilight hour (which is neither day nor night). Narasimha, the fourth avatar of Lord Vishnu, emerged from the pillar. He was neither beast nor human. He dragged Hiranyakashipu to the threshold of the courtyard, (neither indoors nor outdoors). Narasimha put Hiranyakashipu on his thighs (neither the earth nor space) and using his fingernails (neither animate or inanimate) he disemboweled the demon and relieved mankind from Hiranyakashipu’s reign of terror and torture.

Thanks for visiting – hoping that you will leave me a note too 🙂

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 114 and Calvin and Hobbes

 

WPC: Of Eras Gone By

The theme for the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge is of photographs with exceptional ambience. I take this as an opportunity to share pictures of a few places with unique atmosphere and character.

indus
Photo (c) Punit Kaur

Dholavira, an archeological site at Kutch district in Gujarat, India, contains the ruins of the Indus Valley Civilization or the Harappan city. This was the Bronze Age civilization (3300-1300 BCE; mature period 2600-1600 BCE) extending from what is today northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and northwest India. It was one of the three old world civilizations (along with ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia) and also the most widespread. During history lessons at school, I remember getting goose bumps thinking about their unimaginable skills and expertise in a time, which existed before the Vedic period.

Inhabitants of the ancient Indus river valley developed new techniques in handicraft and metallurgy (copper, bronze, lead, and tin). The Indus cities are especially renowned for their urban planning, baked brick houses, elaborate drainage systems, water supply systems, and clusters of large non-residential buildings.

stepwell
Photo (c) Amit Ghosal

Rudabai Stepwell, built in 1499 AD at Adalaj, Gujarat, India by Mahmud Begada for his queen Rudabai. The step well nicely depicts fusion of Indian and Islamic architecture. The step well or ‘Vav’, as it is locally known, is intricately carved and is five stories deep.

stepwell2
Photo (c) Amit Ghosal

Such step wells not only provided water for drinking, washing and bathing but were also venues for colorful festivals and sacred rituals. Listen – can you not hear the echoes of laughter, rush of feet with tinkling anklets and bangles amidst a rustling swirl of colors on the backdrop of love, lust, oppression, greed and intrigues? Or am I being fanciful?

 

haunted
Photo (c) Papia Chatterjee

For a spooky ambience, visit the abandoned and haunted village of Kuldhara, Rajasthan, India. Kuldhara was established around the 13th century and was home to the Paliwal Brahmins till about 200 years ago. Legend has it that the unscrupulous and rogue Diwan of Jaisalmer, Salim Singh fell for the beautiful daughter of the village chief. Determined to have her, he threatened to levy huge taxes upon them unless they toed his line.

Equally determined not to yield, one night, all the residents of the village fled, leaving behind their homes and everything within them. There is no information about the whereabouts of the Paliwals. Before leaving, the Paliwals cursed the village which is why, till date, it remains uninhabited by mortal beings. Instead ghosts roam the deserted streets. I believe night stay facility is available for those who wish to experience moving shadows, haunting spirits and other paranormal activities. Game anyone?

 A big thank you to my friend and family for sharing the pictures 🙂 Thanks to you too for dropping by – where would you like to go first?

Psst I think the curse of Kuldhara is affecting my post as well – I had to redo the whole thing again 😦 Fingers crossed

Just 4 Fun # 22

Amazing how we are already half-way through January – yet Monday is interminable! Quite inexplicable and incomprehensible, just as these problems were to school children 😉

kid1Hmm have I shared this before?

kid2Well the child does have a point…

kid3

This guy is sure to go places –  the Principal’s office for one 😀

kid4

So does that mean k = stupid?

They say school kills creativity but I beg to differ. Here are some gems which underscore the blooming creativity and out of the box thought processes of students – have a look here. I dare you to keep a straight face.

Disclaimer. Over the week, we tend to get a lot of jokes and life philosophies as shares. Some are too good to pass up. Here I share those that appealed to me or tickled my funny bone. Hope you like them too. Please note none of this is stuff is mine – I am just keeping the fun going!

If you too have something worth sharing do leave your link in the comment box or create a pingback to this post.

Have a great week ahead and don’t forget to have some fun too.

Make my day and leave me a note – thanks!

 

CFFC: Old and New

This week, Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge is all about capturing Old and New. No doubt a very interesting topic but one I was quite resigned to giving it a miss. But then hunting through my archives I managed to scrounge a few photos which I hope will fulfill the requirements of the challenge. With a little bit of license 😉

house

An old abandoned house and a brand new car. Don’t miss the innovative blue and red unnamed indigenous vehicle. But actually what I wanted to capture were two houses – new and old alongside each other but I couldn’t manage it in the same frame.

house2

You don’t have to take my word that the above two houses were alongside each other – the nose of the car in the right corner should be proof enough 😀

houses
A street view in Kolkata

While on the road, I finally managed to capture both an old and new building in the same frame.

cycle

Where’s the new you ask? Focus m’dear focus 😉

cycle2

A brand new padlock 😀

leavesjpg

And finally before I take your leave –  have a look at these leaves, some lush and fresh while others are a crunchy brown.

Thanks for visiting – do let me know which you like best.

Waiting for Spring

jaipur

For Becca’s Sunday Trees -270

Oh I almost forgot, it’s time for this month’s Story Club. Sandeep, who writes amazing poems, has very kindly agreed to host it. His choice of story is The Dream of a Ridiculous Man by Fyodor Doestoevsky. Please do read it and join the discussion, which is to be held soon. Perhaps you could also post your own review and link it here so that we can hop over for a read? Thanks!

An Inconvenient Death

ceayr3
Photo Prompt (c) C.E.Ayr

An Inconvenient Death

 Words 100

 “Where’s my breakfast?”

“Coming!”

A crash.

A wail.

“Forget it.” Bhushan grabbed an apple.

Dangling a toddler, she thrust his lunch box. “Best of luck!”

Dashing out, Bhushan hailed an auto. He wanted to catch the earlier train.

He couldn’t afford to be late, not today.

Pushing and shoving through the broiling jostling crowd, Bhushan boarded the Mumbai local.

He wiped the sweat off his brow and loosened the tie.

Did everyone have appraisal today?

The train lurched to a halt.

Babel broke out.

“What the hell?”

“Guy jumped in front of train.”

“Is this any time to commit suicide?”

***

Note: Based on a true incident narrated by a friend.

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

Thanks for reading – look forward to your comments and critiques

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 113 and Calvin and Hobbes

WPS: Buried Alive

This is my entry to the flash fiction challenge What Pegman Saw inspired by any view of a given location on Google maps. The challenge is to write a story in 150 words or less.This week’s location is of Burhanpur, India. To read the other stories inspired by this prompt click here

shahi-qila

To view image on Google maps, click here

Buried Alive

Words 149

 “Sister?” He whispered. “Sister, it’s me.”

A tinkle and a rustle.

A frail woman emerged from the shadows.

“Did you get any food?” She looked at him hungry eyed.

“A little.” He dug out a bundle from his robes. She fell upon it with eager hands and mouth.

“What news Brother?”

“It is done. The Begum is buried.”

“And the Emperor?”

“Grief stricken.”

“It wasn’t my fault Brother. It was her fourteenth child.”

“If only you had not run away.”

“I panicked Brother. The Emperor’s favorite begum died in my arms. He would have had me buried alive.”

“You should have taken a chance with the Emperor.”

“What do you mean?” She stilled at the bleak look in his eyes.

“We have orders to proceed to Agra.”

“For what?”

“To build a mausoleum for the begum.”

“What about me?”

“You should have taken a chance with the Emperor.”

***

Note: The above is a fictitious account based on the following historical information:- The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan is believed to have spent a lot of time at the Shahi Qila with his favorite Begum Mumtaz Mahal. She died here giving birth to their 14th child. Mumtaz Mahal was buried here until the Taj Mahal was constructed at Agra. Shah Jahan wanted the Taj Mahal to be built in Burhanpur but had to give up the idea because of lack of availability of white marble in this region.

Thank you for reading – comments and critiques welcome.

SPF: A Toy Story

189-01-january-8th-2017

A Toy Story

Words 199

“I want Dolly.” Lily whined.

“She’s mine.”

“But you don’t like dolls!”

“Rubbish.”

“You don’t.”

“I do.”

“You don’t. Mama!”

“Shut up! You’ll get us into trouble.”

Mama!”

“What?”

“Mama, look Di isn’t giving me my doll.”

“She’s not yours Lily. She’s mine.”

“Mama, Di doesn’t even like dolls.”

“But Aunt gave Dolly to me and Lily the three bears.”

“I want Dolly.” Lily howled.

“Fine!” Mama gathered up the bears and put them away. “I will gift them to someone else. Share the doll.” She ordered before sweeping away.

“Mine!” Lily grabbed Dolly’s arm.

“Mine!” Di tugged with all her might.

Di stared at the armless doll. “Look what you did!”

“You did it!” Lily threw the arm at Di. It flew out of the window.

“Murderer!” Di shrieked. She dumped Dolly and went for Lily.

The doctor set Lily’s dislocated shoulder.

But Lily was inconsolable. “I am not a murderer Mama,” she sobbed and sobbed.

Di was downcast. She held out Dolly. “You can have her.” She had fashioned a new (albeit floppy) arm with a red sock filled with cotton wool.

 

Lily brushed the dust off the photo of the three of them. “Miss you Di.”

***

Written for the Sunday Photo Fiction – a story in 200 words or less. Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting it.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 112 (posted yesterday!) and Calvin and Hobbes