As You Like It

For this week’s Sunday Trees I have a really bindaas one 😀

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Covered

from top to toe

They cry foul

As they do

when uncovered

turn

a deaf ear to

the unpleasable world

take a leaf

from me

dance

to your song

as you like

however

you like

Hark! She Speaks

This week for Becca’s Sunday Trees I bring one that has probably witnessed history that continues to hold significance today – from the precincts of the famous Chittor fort. I have previously shared several visuals from this place earlier as well but this particular tree overlooks the Sati sthal on one side and Jauhar kund on the other. I could not bear to take photos of the place where women burnt themselves along with the dead bodies of their husbands or jumped into it for fear of rape and slavery by plunderers and victors of wars.

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Hark! She Speaks

I can tell you

tales of brave

helpless women

Sending off their men

to wage battles

of honor and pride

Fasting and praying

for his victory

and

his long life

They were but

One soul,

one body.

If he died, she would

burn with him

if he lost, it was Jauhar,

for her

and her children

As the spoils of war

it behooved her

to embrace death

to protect her

dignity and honor

and

save them

the dishonor

of failing to protecting her.

Times have changed

The world has progressed

They educate her

indulge her

pamper her and

cheer for her as she shatters

One glass ceiling after another

But under the sheen

lurks a beast

that seeks to

subjugate her with

attitudes and mentalities

that are passed off

as our culture and

sanskriti

All said and done

it is still her duty

to uphold their honor

And his right to defile hers

it is her duty to bear it silently

to shield their bestiality

so that they can continue to

hold up their heads in society

She is still blamed

and shamed

Be silent

Or be silenced

remains the

unsaid mantra

Since the beginning of time

they have

hacked my branches

stripped me bare

And with cruel knives

carved out love notes

on my body

over and over

again

but did I die?

Did I hide nakedness?

Did I hide my face?

Why do you?

 

Silent

unyielding

unflinching

unapologetic

existence

is my DNA

 

What is yours?

 

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

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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.

Friends Forever

fatima-fakier-deria-3
Photo (c) Fatima Fakier Deria

Friends Forever

Words 101

“Here comes Her Highness.” Trishna muttered as Sapna floated down to join them.

Sapna stuck out her tongue.

“Enjoy your last day as Queen,” Prakriti said maliciously.

“Excuse me?” Sapna frowned.

“Maya’s coming.” Trishna burst out. “With fresh gossip.”

Sapna flickered and then rallied. “She must be ancient!”

“Remember how vain she was of her looks?” Layla’s husky murmur was still a killer.

“A bad hair day saved her from the car crash.” Leena rued.

“I wonder if she has any hair left?” Trishna patted her flowing tresses.

“I can’t wait to see her as a doddering ghost.” Sapna said gleefully.

***

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

PS. Any readers of Silver Streaks here? Or fans of IPK? This may be of interest to you (or at least I am hoping it will be!) 😉

WPS: Into the Maelstrom

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Photo from Google Maps

Into the Maelstrom

Words 151

“Exams over?”

She gave an ecstatic twirl. “I am free!”

“Free?” I queried. “But what about admissions, career…”

“None of that nonsense for me,” she dismissed with her nose in the air. “I have my future all planned.”

“Let’s hear it.”

“First college for some graduation course…”

“Which course?”

“Whatever I qualify for.”

“Okay. Next?”

“Prince Charming will find me and sweep me off my feet. I will lead him to a merry dance, before agreeing to marry him.”

“Wow.”

She smiled dreamily. “A stupendous destination wedding with both Shah Rukh and Salman Khan dancing and then go abroad for our honeymoon.”

“Where abroad?”

“Anywhere! The States to do lots of shopping.” She giggled. “Visit all the famous tourist spots, go trekking, camping, just him and me.” She clasped her hands. “It will be the most romantic time ever.”

“Nice.” I said. “And then what?

“I haven’t thought further than that.”

***

Written for What Pegman Saw – a story in 150 words or less based on locations chosen from Google Maps. This week we are off to Yellowstone National Park in the US and on my bucket list. Thanks to K Rawson for hosting the challenge. To read the other stories inspired by this prompt, click here.

Enough of Double Standards

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Photo (c) Bjorn Rudberg

 

Enough of Double Standards

Words 100

“Belated happy birthday!” Shipra greeted Deeksha.

“Thanks.”

“How did you celebrate?”

“We didn’t. We are still in mourning.”

“Oh I am sorry.” Shipra offered her condolences. “Last year too you couldn’t celebrate as your father-in-law was unwell.”

“Yes.”

“It must be over six months since he passed away?”

“Yes.”

“Yet your husband attended his cousin’s wedding last week?”

“It wouldn’t have looked nice if he hadn’t gone.”

“So only you’re expected to mourn?”

“That depends.” Deeksha said. “As I am integral part of their family, they made sure I participated actively in the wedding festivities soon after my father’s death.”

***

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