Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Grandma's memories


Those were the days when going on a vacation meant visiting our extended family 

members in hometown. I did not go to exotic destinations in my summer holidays.

A trip to my maternal grandmother was most awaited. My other cousins , younger and 

older , too assembled in the 'dodda-mani' (literally means big house in Kannada, an Indian 

language). There was enough space for our battalion of cousins and neighborhood kids to 

play in the courtyard. And there was a bigger space in the hearts of relatives who 

accommodated us and our pranks. There were no project deadlines or school schedules 

to be followed. The Sun, moon and stars dictated our time-schedules.


My grandmother, the matriarch, who ruled with an iron hand had the softest heart which 

she displayed it at an appropriate time. We were scared and at the same time in awe of 

her. Her work started with the kitchen and ended there. Kitchen was her playground.

Cooking gas stove and cylinder hadn't made inroads into rural India and my little mind 

couldn't grasp the reason. Grandma cooked on a makeshift stove of bricks cemented with 

mud. There was a huge chimney area for the hot air and fumes to rise up. Logs of wood 

were used and fire was lit. 

                                               Image result for Indian chulha

                               (Indian make-shift culha/gas stove) (google pic)


The crimson tongues flared up and the matriarch bowed to the Fire God paying 

obeisance. All the Elements were worshiped. The food was cooked in earthen pots in an 

eco-friendly way.

My keen interest in the rural way of rural way of life kindled my grandma's interest in 

explaining each ritual and need to thank the Almighty for having a roof over the head, 

food to keep the wolf at bay and relatives sharing the common DNA for warmth and 

comfort. The simple truths later shaped my raw mind.

After all the food was cooked, grandma used to mix clarified butter (Indian ghee) with a 

tablespoon of cooked rice and offer it to the fire as oblations. The aroma of the food sent 

my hunger pangs into an overdrive and my mouth salivated. The human senses of sight 

and smell were awakened before touch and taste. Watching this ritual was sacrosanct to 

me while my cousins played in the courtyard.

Water was gingerly splashed on the makeshift stove and the flames quietened to sleep 

and rest after devouring 'prasadam' (offerings). All the Elements of Nature were 

worshiped.

A pair of dozen plates appeared and grandma used to serve food and love to all her grand-

kids.


Last summer I paid a visit to my ancestral villages. Rural India has made progress. 

Grandma's kitchen has made way to a swanking and sparkling modular kitchen and the 

makeshift stove burns only in my memory. I looked at her smiling portrait with a 

sandalwood garland around it. She has cooked memories for two generations, fresh and 

aromatic.

                                                 


This week’s prompt is fire. Campfire? Forest fire? Just burning your life down and 

starting over? Wherever this prompt takes you is fine!


Tuesday, 9 July 2019

rays


incubated sun rays
hatched from the womb
i cradle them


                                              Image result for sunrays

                    Shared with carpe-diem-weekend-meditation-92-sunrays

google pic

Thelma and I



                                
                                Legs, Window, Car, Dirt Road, Relax, Woman, Outdoor

                                                        image by Greyerbaby at Pixabay

Thelma had an eye for perfection. She did the most imperfect thing perfectly. Like 

dangling out her clean shaven athletic legs out of the window at the certain angle as they 

would not hurt her and her torso perched on a pillow for maximum comfort. The canvas 

shoes were gleaming in the freshly incubated sun-rays.


I asked her to relieve me while I relax and munch on a cucumber sandwich.

I got down from the driver's seat and clicked a photo of her carefree legs dangling 

outside the window, on my Nikon.


She reluctantly plonked herself in the driver's seat while I shifted in the passenger seat 

besides her.

Next summer we both would graduate. Excitement as well as trepidation weighed equally 

on a see-saw plank. Trepidation , as we would have to work for different firms in 

different cities. One never knew where our paths would take us. So she voted on a road 

trip to Goa. 

We left behind the bustling Mumbai City.  The narrow belt of the Konkan strip with 

verdant farms as far as the eye could reach, slowed down our journey. We feasted our 

eyes on the picturesque splendors of Nature. The bucolic beauty wowed us to take a road 

trip again after we were settled in life.

"Could I get a Paracetamol? " I inquired at the tiny Medical-Cum-General store.

"It is closing time for tea and I will do no business", a stern looking man with Gandhi 

specs manned the counter.

" I won't be able to drive with this headache. Pleaseee", I pleaded with an urgency in my 

voice. The sound of temple bells reverberated at a distance. 

He agreed to dispense the medicine.

Thelma picked up the crate of aerated drinks, dropped the currency notes on the counter 

and ran towards our vehicle.

"Thissss is cheating", the old man hollered. I had no option but to press my legs into 

action.

I started the ignition and the old bones defying his age started to run behind the clouds 

of dust , swearing at us. We picked up speed and never saw his face again. 

                                   
                                             * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


The temple bells struck a sonorous note. The small shop was replaced  by a swanky 

Day-and-Night Chemist shop. My body was slightly sore with wear and tear. My temples 

were throbbing. A young lad manned the counter. I asked for a Paracetamol. 

My bespectacled eyes hunted for a crate of aerated drinks. 

I started the ignition. My eyes turned moist. I looked at the skies. "I have kept my 

promise, Thelma. You ......" .  My eyes turned moist. 

I still have the picture of her legs dangling, in my brief-case.

              The solo road trip after two decades is incomplete.




                                               



The two mandatory prompts are the use of the image by Greyerbaby at Pixabay and the 

use of the emotion  schadenfreude. 

Definition of schadenfreude 

enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

try try






Amy's name was not announced.

Her ego took a fall. The floor tasted like bitter-gourd. 

The bitterness of defeat left a bad taste in her mouth. 

She would be Master-Chef next year.




                                         

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

warmth and heat




       

Anita set the automatic coffee maker and changed the flowers in the vase. Her palms 

hugged the body of the mug sending warmth through her body. Her mouth enjoyed the 

taste and aroma of her morning drink.

The wrinkled hands poured tea from the kettle and stirred with the old spoon. She had to 

finish the ironing chore.

Anita stared at her mom and the old eyes met her gaze. The unspoken communication 

said a lot.

Two coffee mugs lay on the table basking in the sunshine with laughter wafting, the next 

morning.

                              It’s time to leave the past behind.


                                   Written for : Friday Fictioneers. Thanks Rochelle W.


                               



click HERE to read all the FF stories.

Monday, 10 June 2019

Property






                                                                 PHOTO PROMPT © Ceayr

“Sir, this beautiful property is owned ….

“….by a landlady who suffers from OCD. Blue being her most loved color she wears her 

heart on her sleeve and prefers to keep pesky intruders at bay.”

“But Sir, how do….”

“She is in the blooming range of 25-35 years and prefers to charge the rent as per the 

tenant’s tastes and intellectual standard. She is a stickler for punctuality and hates to be 

kept waiting.”

The estate agent’s pupils bulge with a farrago of admiration and curiosity.

“Tricks of the trade”. The detective winks climbing the stairs while the agent scampers.


                            Written for : Friday Fictioneers . Thanks Rochelle


                                    

Word Count  : 100

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

The cellphone

Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers




                                                                           PHOTO PROMPT © Susan Eames

His cell phone would ring and he would hold it tighter to clamber onto to a coconut tree.

This ritual was sacrosanct and quotidian affair. She tried her best to hear the one side of 

the conversation. However, the height and his low tone would not reveal anything.

Suzy had heard that he was engaged to a beautiful girl prior to their 10-month-old 

marriage.

People whispered that Suzy possessed strange powers.

She glared at the sagging branch of the tree. Thud. His spine cracked under the weight of 

the tree.

The day after, Suzy answered the call and smiled.


                                           Written for : Friday Fictioneers

                              

Click HERE to read all the wonderful entries.

Monday, 27 May 2019

Not a perfect murder.

                          Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers








In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story without ice. It can be a world without ice or a 

summer camp that runs out of cubes for lemonade.



Inspector Ghote finds it hard to believe that it is a Perfect Murder. What is the motive? 

No clues.

The billionaire’s obituary extends to a full page in the newspaper. The dead man’s chest 

is cut open.  Looks like the work of a surgeon.  All the family members are abroad. The 

lone maid retires after serving supper.
                  
                                                             **********

Ghote stares at the cylindrical ice in his lemonade.

“Water can take any shape to form ice and melt away”, quips Pratima.

Ghote kisses his wife.


The murder weapon too melted away. He will search for the motive. The murderer is 

zeroed.

    
                 Written for  Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction. Thank you Charli Mills.

Saturday, 25 May 2019

the dark horse.

                                   Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers






                                      PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

Suzy was blindfolded playing ‘tail the horse’. She missed the mark. His daughter’s play 

reflected his state of mind. Charlie had to choose the right candidate to succeed him 

from the promising lot. However, one bloke stood out from the rest. The dark brooding 

eyes, the creased brow and tight lips were a picture of concentration. This young man 

could be a dark horse and Charlie was ready to bet his money on his chosen horse. 

Charlie could see his former glorious self in these eyes. Now wheelchair was his 

companion. Being an assassin requires more than nerves of steel.
    

                               Written for Friday Fictioneers

                                 

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

feeding the hungry


                         Twittering Tales #136 – 14 May 2019


                 





nrd-1002460-unsplash


                         Photo by NRD at Unsplash



Rich people came and kept food packets and the needy took them as per their needs. The gap between the haves and have-nots decreased. What started on a small scale boomeranged into a noble cause . The fridge was always full just like her heart. Unseen , she smiled in the clouds. 


              written for  : Twittering Tales. Thanks Kat Myrman.

                  Twittering Tales






                

Space travel



Nikhil loved travel. Traversing the terra firm was reserved for the hoi polloi , he inferred. 

Invading the unknown  and far-off planets was his idea of adventure. And it ran in his 

veins.

The space-ship which resembled an orange hot air balloon glided smoothly  towards 

the Milky Way.  Nikhil wished the vehicular traffic had smooth sailing on Mumbai 

highways. He had read a report by doctors that screamed of backaches and slip-discs of 

patients commuting on pot-holed roads. His flight odyssey would make Mumbaikars green 

with envy. 

The planet of Hoth has fierce creatures like the predatory wampa and tauntauns but they 

couldn't harm him. He would be safe, he  assured himself.

The hot air balloon picked up speed and the centre of the Milky galaxy look surreal. His 

eyes twinkled.


He had watched  'The Empire strikes back' umpteen times. Stars Wars was his fav serial.

School academics failed to ignite his curiosity. The lessons seemed banal to him 

and the teacher's voice monotonous. Science-fiction unleashed his interest and creativity. 


As his space ship cruised closer to Hoth, he imagined the cold white snow and ice for 

miles around. His heart beats resonated in his ears and he couldn't contain his 

excitement. He would regale his classmates with his experiences of the small terrestrial 

planted. But ughh !! the cretins  would not be interested. 


Hunger pangs pricked his insides and the aroma of his mother's rajma-chawal broke his 

reverie. The door opened. "Nikhil, rajma-chawal is ready. Enough of your simulation video 

games."


            Nikhil stepped down to hard reality and headed towards the kitchen.


                                          

Mumbaikar - resident of the city of Mumbai.

Rajma-chawal -  Indian one pot meal of rice and kidney beans gravy.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

ups and downs

                                           Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers




                                          

                                                                          Cover art from Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division (1979)


Straight lines, I drew,
mountains you brew,
peaks you considered.
distances apart , I Interpreted.

I tried to stretch the barrier,
But you got angrier.
You held on to your creation,
while I fumbled with caution.

I languished,
waiting for a slice of you.
I dusted myself, drew the border
of sanity and retreated.


                                          written for : imaginary garden with real toads.

                                                     









Saturday, 11 May 2019

Young

                       
Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers




          Prompt : In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about growing older. 


“You will give wannabe models a run for their money. 500+ likes on Facebook. You are 

ruling Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat “.

“Thanks, darling”.

“How do you manage to punch in all these things in 24 hours?”

“Time-management, Honey”.

“You seem to have drunk on the nectar of youth.  Are you ageing in the reverse? You 

seem to be Master of all trades. Fashion, literature, cookery, women’s empowerment.”

“Sweetheart, you start to age not by advancing years but when you stop growing. 

Jettison stagnancy. Encourage yourself and others. Love yourself, be your own friend”.

 “Yes Daadi”.

                                        Happy Mother’s Day.


                       Written for Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction.

                  

Word count : 99

Daadi means paternal grandmother in Indian language.