Feet of Clay

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Photo (c) Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Feet of Clay

Words 200

“Mom!” Shilpa wailed, “Look at the cake.”

“Don’t worry darling,” Reema consoled, “Layer it with cream and fruits. Your Dad will love it.” She looked at the clock. “Why isn’t Vishal back with the ice cream yet?”

“Won’t Daddy be surprised!?” Shilpa rubbed her hands in glee.

“I was surprised when so many congratulated me!” Reema bustled about. “I felt like a celebrity!”

“He’s the bestest smartest Daddy in the whole world!” Shilpa twirled.

“Vishal!” Reema gasped. “What happened?”

Shirt torn, hair askew, Vishal tottered in.

“Liars!” he spat.

“Who?”

“Everyone! They’re accusing Daddy…”

“…Of…?

“…Sexual misconduct at the workplace.”

***

PS. Not Morgan Freeman! Are there no good men?

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

SPF: A Rough Draft

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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.

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

SPF: Life Notes

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Life Notes

Words 200

“Cheers!” They clinked glasses of preferred poisons.

“When did we last meet?” Priya asked.

“Rhea’s wedding.” Molly winked at Priya as she raised her glass in a toast to Rhea. “So Rhea, did our advice help?”

They giggled at her blank look.

“The birds and the bees.” Priya prodded.

“Oh please!” Rhea smacked her forehead. “Couldn’t you girls have given me some better advice?”

“Like what?”

“Like how disastrous it is to have a joint bank account with your spouse.” Rhea shuddered. “If only someone had told me to keep our accounts separate.”

“Money sweeter than honey.” Molly giggled.

Priya poked Molly. “What would you have done differently?”

“I would’ve prayed harder for my children to ignore me.”

They stared.

“When my children left home and promptly forgot about me, I was devastated.” Molly said. “After several tragedies, broken hearts and late night calls I realized the harsh fact of life.” She grinned. “If your loved ones don’t miss you, they are in a happy place.”

“Your turn.” They looked at Priya.

“I would’ve stayed connected.” Priya looked at them. “I would’ve stolen some time for my friends.” She swallowed. “Invested more in myself, my constant and often only companion.”

***

This photo prompt was one of my earliest (second or perhaps the third) attempts at flash fiction. You can read it here if you wish and let me know which one you prefer – if at all!

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.

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.

 

 

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.