Arnav Goes to School – IV

Click here for:

Part I

Part II

Part III

berries, blackberries, blueberries
Photo from Pexels

Part IV

“Can I have a choco-lava cake Daddy?”

“I want an ice cream cake, and an apple pie.” Deva too had his list ready. “Oh and a fruit salad sundae.”

“Da! You are such a hog! Daddy if he’s taking all that, then I want a tiramisu too!” She paused. “Three tiramisu,” she counted on her fingers, “Mamma and Nani also like it.” She looked at Arnav. “Maybe one for HPji as well?”

Arnav rolled his eyes. “Okay enough now. Let’s wrap up this extended lunch. I’ll see about,” he shook his finger at them, “ordering your requests, provided you start studying….”

“Studying! Right away after lunch?” Devansh was aghast. “We’ve just come back from studying…”

“So what?” Arnav said hard-heartedly, “Even I have been working since morning…”

“But Daddy,” Chotti slid close to him, “You went to office two hours later than us,” she batted her eyes at him, “and you’re are so much older than us.”

“Exactly.” Arnav’s lips twitched, “if I being so old can work so much, surely you guys with young blood can work much more than I can.” He crossed his arms and waited sure that fresh salvos were on the way.

“Yes of course we can Dad,” Arnav raised his eyebrow at this unexpected support. “But for an all round growth we need to exercise all parts of the body. We already worked out the grey cells, time for the muscles don’t you think?” he wheedled.

“Don’t listen to him Daddy!” Chotti threw herself into the fray, “he played a lot of football. Before school, during break and even after school!” She turned a beleaguered face up to Arnav and said piously, “It’s my grey cells which need a break, besides my dolls are crying for their Mamma…”

“Oh please Chotti,” snapped Guddu, “dolls don’t cry, they aren’t even alive…”

“Says who?” Chotti ran off to get her favorite doll and pulled a string. Instantly the doll set up a racket.

“Ouch!” Both son and dad flinched.

Seeing his opportunity, Devansh appealed to ASR, “Dad I HAVE to practice more. Shubham scored 3 goals while I couldn’t even score one goal.” He drooped.

“Shubham is older than you,” Chotti consoled him, “and,” with her brow darkening, “a meanie. Only meanies can score goals.” She absolved her brother of any such character flaws.

Arnav frowned. “What did Shubham do?”

“Nothing Dad,” Devansh shushed Chotti, “When she was younger, Chotti used to join us as we ran around the field playing football. She would get underfoot, trip and get hurt. That’s why whenever Shubham saw her near the field, he would hold the ball and not let anybody play. So then all of us would gang up and chase her away and ever since then she calls Shubham a meanie.”

“But that was the right thing to do Angel.” ASR shrugged off his coat and tugged at his tie and plopped down on the settee. Surrender was the only way out. Besides he was finally having fun. “He did what he had to do to save you…”

“Exactly what Mamma said – sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind,” intoned Deva.

“I don’t care.” Chotti put her nose in the air. “Shubham is a meanie. Shubham is a meanie. Shubham is a…”

“He is not!” Guddu cried hotly. “He’s the best.”

“He is not.”

He is.”

Not.”

“Is.”

“Is not.”

“Okay!” Arnav played his trump card. “So which dessert should I order and from where?” He took out his mobile and waved it temptingly. Instantly they both lunged for it and fell on top of Arnav, who held away the phone.

The deserted corridors of RM were rent with shrieks and howls and it was a miracle that the living room settee didn’t crash. A rumpled but victorious ASR emerged from the tangle of skinny arms and legs with the phone still in his grip.

“I think I need to order something to drink as well!” Arnav was bright-eyed and flushed.

“Yay! Orange juice!”

“Pineapple for me!”

“Okay okay fine!” Arnav swiftly tapped the order app and gave a rather generous and large order led astray by the range of demands pouring in from over both his shoulders. Besides he couldn’t refuse them anything. He was just here for one day. Khushi could discipline them as much as he liked. But he did have the ‘deal’ to clinch.

“And done!” He pressed the proceed button. “This will take 45 min to an hour to be delivered. So why don’t you finish your respective homework during this period?”

“Okay Daddy,” Chotti gave an angelic smile, “I will do mine and on my own.” She stuck out her tongue at Deva.

Guddu was unfazed. “If I had some stupid drawing homework, even I would have done it by myself. But this is Social studies, I bet you don’t even know what it is…”

“Why can’t you do it on your own?” Arnav cut in hastily as Chotti geared up for another round.

“I study like that only,” Deva said sulkily, “I will read the chapter and you will have to ask questions.”

“Sure,” Arnav nodded. “I’ll be happy to do that.” He smirked to himself as he could see Khushi’s crestfallen face. Now what should he make her do? He wondered. Make her dance? Make her say sorry holding her ears? No! He couldn’t do that to her again. Maybe…

“Dad. Dad!” Deva shook him. “I finished reading,” he held out his book.

“So soon?” Arnav was surprised.

Deva shrugged. “Ask me anything from Chapter 22.”

Chotti returned dragging a rucksack almost twice her size. Ignoring them, she upturned the bag and emptied the contents on the floor. She carefully unrolled a sheet of chart paper and weighted them down. She rifled through her scattered belongings picking and discarding things.

“Dad!”

“Oh yeah!” Arnav tore his eyes from Angel and reluctantly flipped the pages. Social studies had never been his kind of subject. “Chapter 21?”

“No Dad. Chapter 22.” Devansh was busy bouncing a tennis ball.

“This is a long chapter,” Arnav accused, “how could you read it so fast, leave alone memorize?”

“Ask me anything.” Devansh challenged, his entire attention on the lime green ball.

Arnav sighed and focused on studying. Devansh had only skimmed through the pages, relying on his interrogator to fill in the blanks while he played ball. This was how he liked to study and so long as he was studying, absorbing and retaining, Khushi saw no harm in going with the flow.

Not so with Arnav. He didn’t appreciate the spoon-feeding, primarily because it meant double work for him – read the chapter, grasp the essentials, and pick up the ones Devansh missed. And to top it all SS!

Who the hell created SS? He would take great pleasure in doing away with the person for once and for all.

*** to be continued***

Click here for Part V

 

 

Fighting a Losing Battle

Black White and Brown Chess Board Game
Photo (c) Pexels

Words ~ 800

Don’t you dare shout at me Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada!” ASR’s face was black as thunder.

“Why should I not? Are you the only one with daring?”

“Shut up Khushi.”

“Why should I? You shut up. Besides you started it!” Khushi’s voice was hoarse from the slanging match.

“I did not!” ASR denied.

“You did,” Khushi insisted, “God! You are really high maintenance.”

“I am high….huh?! That’s rich, coming from you.” ASR stomped into the kitchen.

“What are you looking for?” Khushi followed him.

Ignoring her, he banged drawers.

“What?” She insisted.

Slam.

“You tell me.” He snapped. “You know me so well.”

Khushi pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes as she accepted his challenge. She bent down and extracted a box of lemon teabags and banged it on the counter.

Arnav’s eyes flickered and steadied. He raised an eyebrow. “Clearly you don’t know me at all.”

“Oh but I do.” Khushi said mournfully. “I was just hoping I was wrong.” She opened a cupboard. “This is what you were looking for weren’t you?” She held a large kitchen knife.

Arnav smothered a laugh and flicked away the knife from her. “Where’s the kettle?”

“Right under your nose.” She rolled her eyes. “What’ll you do when I die?”

His eyes strayed to the knife.

Khushi rolled her eyes and snitched it back. She dropped it among the pots and pans and dusted her hands while shutting the drawer with a trademark swing of her shapely hips.

Arnav’s lips twitched.

Khushi plugged in the kettle and asked gently. “Shall we come to the crux of the matter?”

His eyes flickered.

Khushi sighed. “Arnav let Guddu go. He really wants to, besides it’s just for a couple of years….”

“Couple of years!” Arnav was up in arms. “How can you say just for a couple of years? Do you know how long that is?”

“You also went off abroad…”

“I didn’t have my parents waiting worrying…”

“Di and Nani were there…”

“Damn.” He turned away and smashed his fist on the wall. “It’s all your fault!” He accused, rubbing his hand.

“If that sorts your problem,” Khushi shrugged, “I accept.” She bowed. “It’s my fault. Happy?” She switched off the rumbling kettle.

“I’ll be happy if you rectify your fault.”

“Rectify my fault? How?” Khushi handed him his tea. (Side note: Yeah along the way, ASR had switched over to tea– coffee caused too much acidity and dhak dhak 😛 )

“Deva never listens to me. You convince him not to go.” He urged. “If you insist, he will definitely change his plans…”

“He listens to me only because I insist on things I know he will listen to…”

“That’s crazy!” 

“Exactly!” Khushi pounced. “And I have to do that thrice over.” She paused to tick them off her finger, “Guddu, Chotti, and of course ASR.”

“Rubbish.”

“Deny all you like.” Khushi shrugged. “All three of you are stubborn and self-opinionated egoistic…”

“Okay okay fine fine.” Arnav raised his hands in surrender. “Don’t drag me into this,” he paused. “Where will he stay? What will he eat?” He fretted. He brightened. “Maybe you could go along with him?”

“As if he would allow his Mamma to tag along with him! He’s a full grown man.” Khushi prayed for patience. “Besides who would manage things here?”

“What’s there to manage here?” Arnav was blasé. “Angel and I will have a blast with you out of our hair.”

“Mamma!” Chotti called from the living room. “I’m going!”

“Going?” Khushi poked her head out of the kitchen. “Where?”

“I told you!?” Chotti sashayed up to her looking hip in a figure hugging little black dress, “Sammy’s birthday party. I’ll be late. Don’t wait for me.” She twirled around. “How do I look?” she looked at them expectantly.

“Beautiful.” Khushi said extra brightly.

“Bye Mom!” she blew them a kiss. “Bye Daddy.”

“What the…!” Arnav breathed fire into her ears.

“Now what?” Khushi was at her tethers end. Hey Devi Maiyya please! Sambhal lena!

“What the hell is she wearing?!!!”

“Much more than what you wanted me to wear.” Khushi replied tartly.

“I don’t know what you are talking about.”

“Oh how I envy you your convenient memory.” Khushi gritted her teeth.

“That’s neither here nor there.” Arnav brushed her aside impatiently. “Why didn’t you say anything to her?” He was agitated.

“Because I have already had that battle with her and lost.” She raised a hand as Arnav opened his mouth to blast her. “And better you admit defeat too,” she advised kindly, “before she also decides to look for accommodation elsewhere.”

Khushi watched with interest and intense amusement the play of myriad emotions on Arnav’s face, which could perhaps be best described as oops-dammit-left-with-no-option-but-to-allow-Khushi-to-have-the-last-word—–again.

***

Cough cough waise Arnav ko toh aap bhi achche se jaante honge? Toh aapko kya lagta hai, unka expression kaisa raha hoga?

Look forward your reactions to this retrospective look at Arshi and their lives and if you are interested enough, I may just have another one – soon 😉

SPF: A Rough Draft

DSCF8715
Photo (c) Susan Spaulding

A Rough Draft

Words 200

“Well? Is it done?”

“Sort of. Whether it is well or otherwise is not for me to judge.”

“Very funny. So aren’t you going to show off?”

“Umm. Not sure whether it’s worth bragging about.”

“Come on! Are you digging for compliments?”

“From you?! Who hasn’t even looked at it once?”

“That’s a dig!”

“Haha. Very funny.”

“How does it feel to have finished the story you were working on for over two years?”

“Mostly drained.”

“That’s it?”

“So much more remains to be done!”

“You have a complete story! Go find a publisher and just rake in the moolah.”

“If only it were that easy!”

“Isn’t it?

“Before I can even think of contacting a publisher, I have to edit my novel.”

“Isn’t that the editor’s job?”

“Nope! He just draws red lines through manuscripts before throwing it in the trash.”

“Ouch!”

“Exactly. Ideally one should spend at least thrice the amount of time editing as writing.”

“Wow! You don’t like editing?”

“I do but despite the difficult subject, writing was so much fun.”

“How’s that possible?”

“It was possible thanks to all the people who kept me company through the tortuous paths and cheered me from the sidelines.”

***

A/N Sorry about that I simply couldn’t resist bragging in a (not so) roundabout way 😉 I finished Moonshine the story for which I began blogging (240 chapters!) and the reason I’ve been away – just in case any of you noticed 😛 A genuine and heartfelt thank you to all you alpha readers – silent and otherwise 🙏

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

When the Calling Calls

k-rawson
Photo (c) K Rawson

When the Calling Calls

Words 100

Skipping along the road of life she halted. Her eyes sparkled.

Don’t go down that road, they warned, it is a dead end.

Others said it was tricky treacherous path.

A one-way road to hell.

Quicksand that engulfs and suffocates you.

What rubbish! She tossed her mane and scoffed at the naysayers. You are such scaredy-cats and so darn negative.

We are realists, they claimed, and you but a babe in the woods. You know nothing of life, of sweat, blood, the struggle, the agony…

Perhaps, she laced her shoes, heaved her rucksack, but you can’t see what I can.

***

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

Well did you see what I saw or was it too obscure? Do let me know!

 

SPF: You’ve Got Mail

 march-31st-20131

You’ve Got Mail

Words 202

Five-thirty! All of a sudden Rhea was energized. Her day at the office had ended. She couldn’t wait to get home and switch to her Rheal personality. Technically a copyeditor but relegated to proofreading, she had found succor in her secret alternate universe.

Scifi world here I come her heart sang as the whole weekend stretched before her. Quickly grabbing her weekly essentials so that she wasn’t forced to move out for supplies she let herself into her apartment. Shedding her baggage, kicking off her heels, plugging the kettle, she pulled open her laptop.

The notification button glowed like a welcoming beacon. Yes! Her blog was finally making waves. The act of writing itself was cathartic and fulfilling yet it was lonely. For fear of ridicule she hadn’t shared her newfound passion with her fellow beings and she was resigned to being unnoticed and unread.

But things were changing. Random page views blossomed to a like here and there. And even (gasp) a comment or two. Gerkle was a particular fan. Obviously a fake name but where on earth was Zeutron?

Hi! Could you tell Zoe on Earth that her Dave’s fine? We could arrange a one-way trip for her and you.

***

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

This story is a sort of a continuation of a previous flash 😀

Any fans of IPK but more importantly readers of Silver Streaks? Here's a little weekend gift - hope you like.

Brothers in Arms

stock photo, family, sibling, home, funny, kids, rivalry, patenthood

Photo from here

 

Brothers in Arms

Words 250

The only girl among three boys, I was mercilessly ragged and teased.

Their one stop entertainment channel.

Their unpaid servant.

Make me an omelet, one would say.

Coffee for me, another said.

Why me? Why always me? Make it yourself. I stamped my foot and threw a tantrum.

“Fine, I am off to tell Ma, that you went bike riding with…”

Okay fine! Thwarted, I stomp off in impotent fury. They double up laughing. I shake my fist at them. They laugh even harder.

I grow older, taller, and prettier. Besotted, I stare at myself – Mirror Mirror on the wall…

Snickers and muffled gasps from the window still haunt me. “Oooh isn’t she pretty – for a donkey?”

Skirt flying, I chase them around the neighborhood.

Mother catches me and thrashes me.

“Did you hear the poor lil donkey go heehaw heehaw?” They rub salt on my wounds.

They make me buy cricket gear with my Rakhi money. In return they allow me to fetch and hunt the ball from the undergrowth.

School and college bring distances and greener pastures.

I move on with my man, the love and light of my life.

All too soon, he showers me with curses, kicks and punches.

Sporting a black eye, I decline to go home for Rakhi.

I couldn’t face the boys’ howls of laughter.

They landed up to get their pound of flesh.

They whisked me back home even as he lay trussed up in a hospital bed.

***

Rakhi: An Indian annual festival wherein sisters of all ages tie a Rakhi (a decorative string) around the wrists of their brothers, while praying for his health and protection from all evil/mishaps. She in turn receives a gift from them and a promise to take the responsibility of her well-being.

 

 

SPF: Where Ever You Go

227-04-april-1st-2018

Where Ever You Go

Words 201

“Got your tickets? Your ID, your…?” I fussed.

“Relax Mom! That’s the nth time you asked me that.”

“But I didn’t see you check anything even once!” I flared up.

“I have it with me.” He patted his pocket. “It’s not going to disappear…”

“You could check it just to humor me.” I was resentful.

“Like I could not go just to humor you?”

Hurt, I stared at him. “I never told you not to go!”

“Maybe not in so many words,” he admitted, “but your dark dire predictions…”

“I didn’t mean to discourage you.” I was stiff. “I was just trying to prepare you…”

“By scaring the life out of me?”

I looked around the room. “Doesn’t look like it.” I sniffed.

“Would you have been happy if I was?”

Ashamed I shook my head.

“Aww Mom,” He put his arm around me. “Don’t worry so much. Remember how worried you were when I went to boarding school?”

“I wasn’t worried then!” I protested. “I knew what was going to happen, where you were going, what you were going to eat, but now…”

“Even now you’ll know Mom. They’ve promised to do a live telecast of our life on Mars.”

***

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