SPF: The Christmas Gift

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year!

SPF (2 of 2)
Photo (c) Susan Spaulding

The Christmas Gift

Words 200

“I wonder what Santa will gift me this year.” Rimi mused.

“Lucky you,” Rimi’s grandfather was jealous, “In my time there was no Santa.”

“That’s not possible!” Rimi protested. “Perhaps you were a bad boy.”

“I was always a good boy.” Huffed Dadu. “It’s not fair that I didn’t get any toys. Not even on my birthday.”

“Aww.” Rimi commiserated. “I’ll ask Santa!”

“As if he’ll agree.” Dadu snorted.

The next morning, Rimi ran to Dadu. “Guess what I saw last night?”

“What?”

“A thick blanket of snow covered the garden…”

“But it never snows here!”

She stamped her foot. “It did last night.”

“Fine!”

“Elves sat around the stumps talking when a sleigh drew up in a shower of snow. I jumped out and asked Santa why he didn’t give you gifts.”

“What did he say?”

“He said his GPS wasn’t as advanced then.”

Dadu coughed.

“I said, why not gift him now? But Santa said he brought gifts for only children.”

“I told you so!” Dadu grumbled.

“But I managed to convince him!” Rimi was triumphant.

“How?”

“I said what about those in their second childhood?”

Dadu laughed and enfolded Rimi in his arms. “My best gift ever!”

***

Written (after ages) for the Sunday Photo Fiction – a story in 200 words or less. Thanks to Susan Spaulding for hosting the challenge and for the photo prompt. To read the other stories inspired by this prompt click here.

 

 

His First Pair

My second submission (first one here) this week after my ‘inspirational’ walk 😀 Would love to know which one you think is better. Thanks!

adamickes-childsboots
Photo (c) Adam Ickes

 

His First Pair

Words 102

“Dadu you came!” Rimi ran to hug her grandfather.

“Soon our village will get electricity…”

“Great! Dad will have no choice but to take me.” Rimi pulled him.

“Wait. Let me wash my feet first.”

“Why are you bare feet?!”

“I couldn’t wear leather on my feet!”

“But Dadu shoes are also made of synthetic material.”

“Really?”

“Yes! Let me buy you a pair of shoes.”

 

“I love my new shoes.” He carefully tucked them into his bag. “Thank you.”

“Aren’t you going to wear them?”

“Oh but I couldn’t!”

“Why not? They aren’t leather…”

“They’ll get dirty and frayed.”

***

Written for the Friday Fictioneers – a story in 100 words or less. Thanks to Rochelle for hosting the challenge and Adam Ickes for the photo prompt. To read the other stories inspired by this prompt (and showcase your story) click here.

 

 

 

 

Enslaved

dales-waterfall
Photo (c) Dale Rogerson

Enslaved

Words 102

“There!” Mohini huffed from the gentle climb on to the dam, “This is where I grew up, beside the mighty Ganga. Beautiful isn’t she?”

Sia blew on the bubble till it popped. “Sure.” She ruminated, busy taking selfies. “The mountains in the distance look better. She’s too dull and bloated, like an over-fed slithering python for my liking.”

“She wasn’t always like this. She was free, fresh and sparkling, singing her song while skipping and dancing her way over boulders and stones.“

“What happened?”

“She was dammed up for the greater good.”

“How much longer Mohini?” Her husband called. “I am hungry.”

***

Written for the Friday Fictioneers – a story in 100 words or less. Thanks to Rochelle for hosting the challenge and Dale for the photo prompt. If you want to read the other stories inspired by this prompt (or add your link) click here.

A Survivor’s Tale

Photo (c) Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

A Survivor’s Tale

Words 98

It was dark and the weight crushing.  

Life oozed out bit by bit.  

I struggled to survive, one breath at a time.

 Loneliness engulfed me. 

Oh the pain the anguish the isolation – all for what?

Doubts racked me.

Why struggle so much?

Who cared whether I lived or died?

Why not just give up?

Give in.

I tried.

Believe me, I tried hard to give up.

But I didn’t know how.

I only knew one thing.

My time would come.

And it did.

That’s my story. What’s yours?

She swayed and dipped, offering me yet another luscious mango.

***

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

Full Moon

gah_window
Photo (c) Gah Learner

Full Moon

Words 102

“Why are you packing?”

“I’ve had enough.”

“But why? You know I love you!”

Love?”

“Yes. A thousand times yes. My love for you shines brighter than the moon.”

“That I agree.”

“Then…?”

Your love lives off my love. No wonder it’s fickle and ever-changing.”

“Don’t say that!”

“Why not? It’s the bitter truth unlike your sweet lies. Your game is up for I can see through your fake protestations of undying avowals of love.”

“Don’t be so mean. My love for you is pure!”

“The only thing pure about you is the darkness of your soul.” He picked up his bag.

***

Written (after an eon and this one too almost slipped out – or perhaps it would have been better if it had missed the bus) for the Friday Fictioneers – a story in 100 words or less. Thanks to Rochelle for hosting the challenge and Gah Learner for the photo prompt. To read the other stories inspired by this prompt click here.

 

SPF: Reality Bites

SPF 08-19-18 Anurag 2
Photo (c) Anurag Bakshi

SPF: Reality Bites

Words 101

Amidst thunderous applause Kali walked up to the dais to receive her award from the President of India. Not just a wife and mother, she was a woman of substance – of the likes of Madame Curie. Pride and exultation filled her as she surveyed her family cheering and clapping until their throats and hands were sore.

“Wonderful groundbreaking work Madam,” the interviewer gushed. “You are truly an inspiration for all women and we are extremely proud of you.”

“Thank you.” Kali said modestly.

“Tell us Madam who was your inspiration on this long and difficult journey in a male dominated field?”

“My inspiration?” Kali laughed. “Everyone!”

“That’s interesting. Could you elaborate please?”

“I was named Kali because I was dark. I was also given other names because I was fat and short.” Kali shrugged. “Rejected by suitors and reviled by society I turned to my first love, academics.” Kali smiled. “So here I am.”

“What about your husband?”

“He’s been a pillar of strength all throughout. He took care of home and children while I slaved away in the laboratory…”

 

“How long does it take to make a cup of tea?” A querulous voice demanded.

“Coming.” Kali switched off the gas.

***

Written (after a long time!) for the Sunday Photo Fiction – a story in 200 words or less. Thanks to Susan for hosting the challenge and Anurag for the awesome photo prompt. To read the other stories inspired by this prompt click here.

 

 

Sonu aur Titu ki Lovely – VIII

Links to the previous parts are here:

Chapter 1: A Lovely Noose

Chapter 2: A Lovely Surprise

Chapter 3: A Lovely Story

Chapter 4: The Unfinished Story

Chapter 5: A Lovely Dinner

Chapter 6: A Lovely Confession and a Spat

Chapter 7: To Hell and Back

Chapter 8: A tête-à-tête

Today was the day!

Exam over, she was rejoining office after a week’s leave. As she dressed her heart thudded with anticipation and nervousness. She dithered over her dress and changed thrice before settling on one. Stop it she scolded herself, you weren’t this nervous before the exam!

Yes, but he was sure to be there waiting for her after work. She wanted to make sure she was well armed with a thick shapeless drab dress and a severe bun topped with her forbidding spectacles.

But to her dismay he wasn’t there. Nor did he turn up the next day. She checked his last updated status. He was online! She hurriedly exited her app. She was relieved she told herself firmly. This was for the best. For him.

“Miss me?” Once again he popped up when she was least expecting.

“I thought you’d gone back to hell.” She stilled her leaping heart.

“I tried,” he fell into step beside her, “but they threw me out.” He grinned engagingly.

She couldn’t help smiling back at him.

“Oh! Hurry they are going to tow away my car!” Before she knew it she was in the car with him.

“Where’s the tow truck?” she craned her neck.

“Must be coming.” He slid the car into motion and winked at her.

“You think you’re very smart don’t you?” she seethed. “Fine. Let’s talk.” She crossed her arms and glared at him.

“Not now.” He focused on the road. “I don’t want to to have an accident.”

She pressed her lips together. “Where are we going?” she asked stiffly.

“To my office. We can have privacy and your sensibilities won’t be offended either.”

She looked away. She yielded the battle and asked. “Are you okay enough to drive?”

He shrugged.

“I mean your leg was broken, so it must hurt?”

“Not as much as it hurts when you rebuff me.”

Sudden tears clouded her vision. She looked out of the window and blinked rapidly. It wouldn’t do to breakdown so easily. She re-bolstered her defenses.

“What do you want?” she demanded aggressively as she faced him in his cabin.

“I thought I had made it clear.” He threw the car keys on the overloaded table. It slithered over the plastic folders and dropped down through a crack in the middle. Lovely sighed and picked it out. Unable to find a reasonably safe place she slid it into the pen stand making sure to keep the distinctive key chain hanging out. “I want to marry you.”

“That’s the trouble with you Sonu,” she faced him with a stern face. “You don’t have vision.”

“Vision?”

“Yes.” She nodded. “You just care about the present. Instant gratification, with a complete disregard for the future, which trust me, will come, sooner or later.”

“What are you talking about?” Sonu was clueless.

She pointed to his messy table. “You threw the car keys without a thought for how you have found it later. All you were concerned about was getting rid of them. But you will leave this room sometime? You will need the car keys? Better to keep it somewhere you can easily find it?”

“I always throw my keys there and I have never ever had any had trouble finding it.” Sonu declared.

Lovely threw up her hands. “That’s neither here nor there. It just proves what I think – that you have no vision and have not spared any thought for the future. Can you seriously see us together? For decades?”

“I can’t see it any other way.” His eyes were soft and warm as they rested on her.

Frustrated (partly because of the way her heart leaped), Lovely almost stamped her foot. “Uff. Please none of this romantic drivel please. Marriage is no child’s play and it’s for a lifetime. Think about it. More than fifty years of commitment to the same person. Can you do it?” He nodded. “I don’t think you can.” She shook her head.

“How can I convince you I am serious? I don’t know about the future but I do know I won’t be able to live for very long without you.” She opened her mouth to give him a dressing down but he forestalled her. “For the past two months as I lay on the bed battled pain and agony of physiotherapy and learning to walk again,” his eyes bored into hers, “all I could think about was you. That you were there waiting for me or worse slipping away from me, kept me going. I pushed myself harder and harder, ignoring the pain. I had to get back on my feet as soon as possible, before someone else snapped you up.”

Lovely’s eyes dropped. She clamped down on her rising answering emotions and rallied. “I am glad I could be your inspiration but this doesn’t prove anything. In fact it seems to me that I am a toy, which has been denied to you. And the novelty of it has you hooked. Soon this craze this obsession will wear off and there would be nothing left.”

“You don’t understand! If I had the slightest doubt that this was an infatuation, I would have never asked you to marry me. I would have wooed you made love to you, got you out of my system and gone on my merry way.” His lips twisted at the shock in her eyes. “Been there, done that,” he gave a self-deprecating cough. “But,” he hastened to reassure her, “With you I don’t feel like that. I just want to be with you.” He looked at her helplessly. “I can’t understand it myself. It’s a weird feeling, uncomfortable and disturbing. Yet exhilarating.” He ran a hand over his hair. “God! I am not making any sense am I?” he groaned.

Unfortunately only too well.

Lovely clenched her fists and forced her jumping nerves to calm down.

“Look,” Sonu got up from his chair and drew up one across her. He leaned towards her, “there’s nothing to worry. I’ve got it all sorted. I…I mean we, Titu and I talked to everyone and they have no issues with me being the groom instead of Titu. Even Ghasitaram has no problem, in fact he has already sounded out your grandparents.” He smiled triumphantly at her. “They have no issues.”

“What about me?” There was just the faintest tremor in her voice. It cracked and she automatically raised her pitched to cover it. “Have you got me sorted too?”

He looked blank which served to fuel her anger.

“You didn’t think about me, my feelings at all did you? Why would I say no to such a brilliant catch isn’t it?” she jeered. “Why can’t you get it through your thick head that I don’t want to marry.”

“But why not?” Sonu stared. “I am financially sound, reasonably good looking and from a decent family, no in-laws to worry about, what’s the problem?” He looked irritated and frustrated.

“The problem is that it is all about you, the others.” Lovely said. “There’s nothing in it for me. My feelings what I want doesn’t matter at all.”

“Okay. Okay.” Sonu raised his hands and backed off. “Okay fine. We’ll talk about you, what you want. I just thought of removing any concerns regarding familial opposition or hurting Titu’s feelings etc which may have bearing on your stance. If you have any other concerns, we can sort it out together. I promise. So let’s see,” he counted on his fingers, “Titu doesn’t have any problem, my family, your family don’t have any issues,” he grinned, “neither do I. So only you are left.” He tapped his chin. “You are worried, I won’t let you work? But of course I will! I already…”

“You know what galls me?” her tone was conversational as she interrupted him.

“What?” he asked warily.

“This thing about you will let me work. Why would you say such a thing? As if I were your bonded laborer or something. Male chauvinist,” she swore under her breath.

“Hey come on!” Sonu protested. “It was just a figure of speech. I didn’t mean anything other than I fully support and respect your decision to work. Like I was saying, I have my heart set on being IAS officer’s househusband. You go out and set the world right and I’ll keep your home sparkling clean, fresh and welcoming. I’ll look after the children, send them to school, make them do their homework…”

“What if I don’t want children?”

“Every woman wants children!”

“I think you know by now, I am not every woman, at least not your idea of every woman.”

“But you like children!”

“How do you know?” she crossed her arms.

“You told us, that you wouldn’t marry, but you would adopt a child, maybe more.” He shrugged. “But if you are getting married, may as well have children and have fun trying,” he winked.

Her lips quivered and firmed. “What if I don’t want to try? Or have fun?” Angry with herself for allowing the bitterness ooze out, she walked to the window.

***

Click here for Chapter 9: The Ugly Truth