Super Short Stories- 6

Hello! We meet again today for the sixth serving of this series. I must be honest though. Today’s post is technically half short stories and half longish ones. 🙂 I must once again thank a multitude of friends and family for keeping me upbeat about the whole writing business, prompt feedback and undying encouragement. Without much ado, I will let you get started 🙂

#51
Torrential rains lashed
But they huddled close by
Working to and fro
Playing “catch me”
No winner, no loser!
|Wipers|

#52
The distant rise of the hills
The stretch of green all around
The sway of the lazy swing
The cold, almost moist breeze
The shrill call of the first lark
A cup of hot tea soothing the soul
Are but indicators
Of time well spent on a holiday.
|Holiday|

#53
She had walked a long way
Now she didn’t know where to turn
Yesterday, she had his his shadow
To follow and walk behind
Now that he was gone
She looked for the first time
At her own frail shadow beside her.
|Shadow|

#54
If life were made of ifs and buts
If every page of this book
Had an option for us to pick
If we were allowed to edit
And re do our choices
I’m not sure if it might be fun
Or just page after page of chaos!
|Ifs and buts|

#55
He saw them battle
Against the toughest teams
Ate little, slept little
Did little else
Over more than a month
Day and night, like a zombie
Eyes bloodshot and sunken
But when they lost the final today
He felt like he was falling
Into an endless abyss.
|True blue fan|

#56
She walked through those gates
Once again this morning
Without the hustle of being there
before the first bell rang
The last decade had changed
The entire landscape of the campus
Yet, in that forgotten corner
She found what she came here for-
A full grown majestic mango tree
Some changes are indeed exciting!
|Welcome change|

#57
“That was a great party!
Did you see the crowd?”
He said when they got home
“I was still alone, honey
While you talked politics and sports”
She whispered in her head
As she smiled and nodded back.
|Alone|

#58
Everybody opined
Even if it was unsought
But I had to make a call
Decide one way or the other
I flipped the little coin
To make the decision for me
Perhaps if it fell the other side
I might have been a painter
Not a lawyer.
|Coin flip|

#59
If I didn’t choose to go to the library
If I didn’t trip and fall on my face
If I didn’t knock those books out of your hands
If I didn’t stop to pick them up
If I didn’t meet your eyes to apologize
I wouldn’t have fallen a second time
Into those deep brown pools
No wonder they call it falling in love
For I had such a magnificent fall!
|The second fall|

#60
All night long he wished
For time to paue and hold still
He knew what tomorrow help
She would be lost in a a world
With over six billion people in it
Yet his heart didn’t dare
To ask her for a phone number
When he woke up startled
The train pulled into his station
And she was most definitely gone
But in her window latch
A tiny scrap of paper fluttered
A phone number with nine digits
The tenth spot was a blank
Ah, perhapsa the paper resembled
His quivering excited heart
The woman loved mystery
As much as he did!
|Mystery|

I’ve been traveling since the end of July- so most of these were written on the trot. Hoping to publish another post in a fortnight. Thanks once again for stopping by and taking the time to read.

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Super Short Stories- 5

Here is a fifth serving of Super Short Stories! With this, I’ve touched 50 short stories. Half a century! 🙂 I must take this moment to reiterate that this feat has only been possible thanks to the continued feedback and encouragement from all of you.

Here’s to celebrating the grand old Five-Oh! 🙂

#41

It has been a lonesome battle
Fighting those gnomes and demons
That only he could see and hear
No medicine was the perfect cure
No counseling helped long term
Tonight he decided to kill them
When he finally will draw his last.
|Psychosis|

#42

All his life
Was about running
Making money
Reaching high
Escaping every evil
He ran and ran
Until the battery died.
|Temple runner|

#43

A dash of grease
An assorted sprinkle
Hot and spluttering
A shade of golden brown
Splashed like a crown
On every dish.
|Tadka garnish|

#44

She was rummaging
Through her box of rings
Diamonds and sapphires
Precious other gem stones
She picked gingerly
That chocolate wrapper ring
And slid it on her finger
‘I wish you were around’
She whispered.
|Lost love|

#45

One of them wore
Dirty rags for clothes
While the other wore a uniform
They were conditioned
Not to converse
But on the bus,
They always traded
One smile for another
|Barter smiles|

#46

The grass on her side
Was always greener
He sneaked out at night
To water hers when she forgot
|True friend|

#47

He gazed at the red
A little faded now, perhaps
And wondered where she was
The crush from highschool
Who signed her love note
With a crimson lipstick kiss.
|Crimson kiss|

#48

One afternoon she blurted
Everything on her mind
Then there was a pause
It grew with vigor
Watered by the complete silence
And then there was nothing
It’s true when they say
Some things are best left unspoken.
|Unspoken|

#49

She took a tiny step forward
A  giant leap of faith
Curled into a ball
Lunged forward
Stretched backward
Flailed wildly
Surfaced momentarily
Moved marginally
She had just had her first swim.
|First swim|

#50

I always see him carry her
High up on his shoulders
Today I saw his naked torso
Down at the swimming pool
Those little feet on his chest
Etched her in his heart forever
Indeed, that kind of dads
Are a dwindling breed now.
|Feet tattoos|

Pool Diaries

At the age of almost 29, I decided to take up swimming lessons. I love water but have never actually been in a pool. I’m hoping this piece might help others who are skeptical or worried about learning to swim. I enrolled myself in a 10 day session and wrote down my everyday struggles, fears that I overcame, and the journey to finally becoming a swimmer. I must tell you that I could just stand or at best wade through water that was shallow, when I signed up for the classes. 🙂

Day 1-
Instructor- Matt/Kelly
I got into the deceivingly calm waters in the pool. The chill hit my senses and ran a shiver down my spine. This was going to take a little getting used to! I plunged into the water neck deep and gasped. But it was done now.

The first day, we were introduced to the guard tube. The sturdiest flotation device there is. I used a guard tube to try and swim. I was scared and although I knew it was a pool, I seemed to see just blue everywhere. Water, water everywhere not a drop to drink. The smell of chlorine was strong too.

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Kelly asked me and another batch mate if we wanted to try and swim the length of the pool with the guard tube and two instructors by our side. I could not expect more safety measures to ensure I don’t drown. Yet, call it beginners fright if you will, but we refused. We managed till the 5 feet mark and back.

I faced two challenges. One was the idea of putting all my faith into the guard tube and the instructor. The other was to try raise my legs to the surface. I was asked to scoop with both my hands and try to be as horizontal as I could, on the surface of the pool so I could paddle with my feet. Scooping, I did okay. Paddling, not as much. It felt like I was trying to walk in the water!

By the end of the class though, an achievement is made. I swam. With the guard tube. But I swam. And that is what mattered. I moved in the water. Of my own efforts- not in a boat or a raft. Matt and Kelly were both very encouraging and supportive. I moved from 3 feet to 5 feet. Back and forth, back and forth.

Come, dance with me. I’m going to do a little jig!

Day 2-
Instructor- Matt
Once chilled, you always expect a chill. I cautiously entered the pool today but was pleasantly surprised. It was not cold at all. The weather was crazy with a thunderstorm prediction and skies were grey-ish with clouds looming large. Yet, the water felt good.

I wondered if I would be able to conquer today, my fears from yesterday. I started in earnest my effort to stay on the surface and paddle and scoop all at once. I remembered what a friend said– if I didn’t learn to keep my feet straight while using the guard tube, I will never learn it on the noodle.

I tried to get my act straight. I sought help to specifically better my leg movements. Matt suggested I hold my arms around the guard tube and just focus on paddling without the distracting sway of arms. I tried that and wow, I moved better and my legs didn’t seem like they were trying to walk. I was more horizontal than yesterday.

The biggest achievement though, was reaching the deep end. 8 feet of water under me!  I conquered the big blue pool. Matt was very wise in reminding me the simple truth- it makes no difference whether you have 3 feet or 8 feet of water under you. Or even 8 million, he added. That last bit was a bit scary to hear, but made perfect sense! And personally, the icing on my cake was that I was the first in my batch to reach the far end 🙂 I swam like crazy- the whole length of the pool- 4 times, with the guard tube though.

I was hoping to move to the medium noodle tomorrow. I have to admit though, that I was hoping there would be heavy rain and the class might get cancelled. But boy, was I happy it didn’t happen! It was a great day, except for the nagging pain in my muscles.

Who cares about pain, when you are an achiever? 🙂 Care for a second jig?

Day 3-
Instructor- Martin
I decided I was going to learn to float today. Not because I wanted to learn something new but because my arms and legs and every other muscle in my body were so sore and tired that I didn’t want to move.

I had new challenges- like with every new learning. So I had to plop myself backwards and lay flat on the surface of the water. Is that even possible, considering my weight and lack of skills and the supreme fear of water entering my ears and nostrils?

Several times today I felt like I was trying to drown myself. And water gushed into my ears and nostrils like flooding the titanic. That I’m alive to share this story means it is conquerable! 🙂

Martin taught me, after a special session in basic physics, that there were 3 crucial rules to staying afloat. One, to always look straight up and keep your face parallel to the water with your ears submerged. Two, to keep your bum from tending to sink (do what it takes). Three, and the most important of them all, take a deep breath, fill your lungs with air. The bigger you are, the less dense you will be.

Over the course of the class, after many cases of spluttering, faltering, gasping and flailing, I floated. I FLOATED for a few seconds. Does that matter? Only the first two words! 🙂 Time for a third jig!

We were taught some stretching exercises to ease muscle pain and soreness. It was exhausting to work them but I felt better. Significantly better. I can go back to swimming tomorrow 🙂 especially considering another batch mate moved on to the noodle!

Yeah, I know. I’m competitive. That’s who I am! 🙂

Day 4-
Instructor- Kelly
Low turnout today. That meant exclusive attention from instructors. And focused learning. Yay.

I volunteered to try the medium noodle after the first lap (swim cycle?) to and from the deep end. Although I volunteered, only I know the plight of my little heart that firmly wanted to believe I was going to goof up.

I held on to the noodle like it was the last thing I might ever see and plunged. My head sank a little bit, as did the rest of my body- noodle provided much less support as compared to the guard tube. After fumbling initially, I managed to swim a little bit. I requested we not try the deep end today as I wanted to get accustomed to the noodle some more.

IMG_20150723_190834

Kelly was very supportive and agreed to do horizontal laps along the 3 feet and then we moved to 3.5 feet. Slowly we moved to 4. And eventually, the last lap was along the 5+ feet. I was only a couple of feet away from 8. But I wanted to wait until tomorrow.

Laura taught me how to stand in shallow water coming from swimming position, without reaching for the pool walls. She explained when I pushed water in a forward motion, that automatically stopped propelling me and if I tried to put my feet down, I should be able to stand without touching the wall. It was great learning!

From stubbing my toe on the first day, to gulping mammoth amounts of chlorinated water, to bumping into other batch mates on my way, trying to stand up without holding on to the walls, to conquering the deep end and learning to float myself while getting my ears filled with water that stayed put overnight, I have come a long way.

I have enjoyed the sessions so far and it may be the best thing I did in recent times- sign up for swimming classes 🙂

Day 5-
Instructor- Laura
I had an amazing day at the pool! 🙂 I hope you realize how the tone of my writing has changed over the days. From mortal fear to mild skepticism to facing every day challenges and making new milestones, I am beginning to love the classes!

Today, I used the medium noodle to swim all the way to the deep end three times. I wasn’t really scared at all. I did get some water in my ears again and gulped down some too but I was OK. I knew that wasn’t the end of it all. The more I was in the pool, the more comfortable I got.

Soon, we graduated to the thin noodle. Hard work. My head was closer to the water, which meant I had to make that extra effort to swim without the water engulfing me. I managed it reasonably well. I think I was successful because of two factors- my own effort and Laura’s persistent encouragement.

IMG_20150723_190822

My paddling got better and faster than before, my limbs didn’t hurt as much and I could happily converse while swimming- without being short of breath. We just finished one half of the course. I only have 5 days left to learn as much as I can. I promise to myself I am going to be adventurous and bold and try as many new things as I can. I hope I won’t forget this week’s lessons over the weekend!

Day 6-
Instructor- Matt

After the weekend break, I was worried about goofing today. When I got in the water, I was wishing for the first time, that it could have been colder 🙂 all day has been sweltering hot and I was looking forward to getting back in the pool!

I asked for the thin noodle and was a little hesitant at first but Matt was super encouraging and I started off. Once that happened, there was literally no looking back, at least not until I reached the deep end!

Today, I was comfortable in the pool, with the occasional splash of water in my ears and maybe a gulp or two. But the frequency for fumbling came down drastically. I enjoyed being able to go back and forth without getting too tired. Today’s highlight– 4 full laps, using just the thin noodle!! 🙂

I enjoyed today’s class thoroughly although my legs were cramping a bit by the end of the class. Am little sad we have just 4 classes left! 😦 I wonder if I will be able to actually swim without any help whatsoever over the remaining classes. I look around and find different people trying different things- treading, floating, jumping, elementary back stroke- I didn’t even know there were so many aspects in swimming!

So looking forward to tomorrow!

Day 7
Inclement weather- Thunderstorm
I did hope for a class and I walked down to the pool. I called the pool query and Matt answered. He told me about the Thunderstorm rule. Even if there was no swimming lesson today, I thought it was good to write this down. So when there is thunderstorm, the rule is that the pool remain closed for at least half hour from the last thunder that was heard.

It was supremely depressing. We will now have only 3 more classes- provided the weather will be conducive for swimming the next few days.

Day 8
Instructor- Laura
Excellent progress, if I may say so myself! 🙂 I was talking to my Laura about trying to swim without any floatation device at all. And she was very supportive and said we could move on to bubbles before we tried swimming without help. Bubbles is a little flotation device and true to its name, is as light as a bubble, which means it wasn’t much help at all.

So bubbles it was. As is usual with me, I was unwilling to swim down the length of the pool with the new device. Three little squares around my back wasn’t really a lot. I requested we do the breadth of the pool a few times. I wasn’t sure I will succeed.

IMG_20150723_190849

But I did! Definitely extra effort. And definitely a little scary. But I did it. Laura was always at one arm’s distance from me and always had an encouraging word to say. I could not even do the breadth of the pool to and from one end. I was getting short of breath and the effort was exhausting- to swim with barely any help with the bubbles.

Laura suggested we try another activity before continuing swimming and we moved to the 5 feet line and she taught me the basics of treading. I was very scared about tipping into the steep incline of the floor. On hindsight, I worried unnecessarily.

While moving my hands through water seemed easy in my head, it was much harder to put that into practice. I understood the leg movements she demonstrated, but found them hard to imitate. In a couple of minutes, I didn’t know what I was doing with my legs or arms, for that matter- but I was afloat with my head bobbing up and down. I was treading! And soon I was at 8 feet!

Laura explained to me that while the leg movements she showed me was her particular style of treading, there really wasn’t any correct way of doing it- we could all do what suited us best. An action similar to walking is what worked in my case 🙂

Today’s highlights- graduated to bubbles, learnt basic treading and reached the deep end with bubbles!

Day 9

Instructor- Laura

Another very eventful day! I started with the bubble and swam a little bit. I was getting more comfortable with it. Laura suggested we practice some more treading. This time we started at 5 feet and quickly got the hang of it. When she suggested I could try jumping into the pool, I understood why we were practicing treading!

Of course I was petrified by the idea of jumping into the pool and almost said no when she said maybe I could try sliding into the pool instead of jumping. Although I was hesitant, Laura was very persuasive and supportive and I agreed. The first couple of times I slid around 5 feet and made contact with the ground and that wasn’t so bad.

When we moved on to the deep end though, Laura had to haul me up to the surface a couple of times and keep reminding me to move my arms and legs to tread. But I got there eventually. This was new domain and I conquered it too! Soon I was sliding into the deep end and resurfacing by myself. I was too tired to swim to the wall though. So, I continued to tread.

Today’s milestone- Learnt to slide into the pool, resurface and tread long enough to reach the wall. I managed it in the deep end too! Excellent. We had about 6 minute left when I asked Laura would I be able to swim without flotation before the last class and she suggested we give it a shot right then. I wasn’t ready just yet to give up my precious bubbles. But I was very excited by the prospect.

So, off came the bubbles. I was standing at the shallow end. I crouched myself into a ball (or something like that), leaned forward and splashed face first. In an enormous effort, and under Laura’s constant cheering, I tried what I thought was paddling and scooping and that was it!! I was swimming! All by myself. Without floatation. Mission accomplished!! The minute I realized what I was doing though, I faltered and managed to stand up. But it was so exciting I just had to try it again! The second time around was much better. Laura is an amazing coach to work with!

Tomorrow, maybe I should try jumping into the pool. I have just one day to be as adventurous as I can be. Looking forward to my last class!

Day 10

Instructor- Laura

I started with bubbles and swam to the deep end and back once. Did not take much of a break in between. Laura suggested we try to slide in without flotation today. Towards that effort, she encouraged me to try and tread without the bubbles. I thought I might be a doable thing, like every hurdle I have been getting past. But it was not to be. I just could not tread without kicking off the floor every few seconds.

I thought maybe I could try to jump into the pool with the bubbles instead of sliding in. I hauled myself over the pool wall at 4 feet. I stood there, ignoring my beating heart and staring at the blue beneath me. I remembered to take a big breath of air and took the leap into the pool. I was expecting to dunk but I ended up standing on firm ground and felt rather silly!

We moved to the 5 feet mark and I tried it again. This time I dunked a little bit but immediately resurfaced and began to tread. This was exciting! Laura egged me on to jump from the deep end and today I did not hesitate. It was a now or never for me. Nate came along and said I should try make my feet touch the water first, not my face or my back. I wondered if there was a technique. I stood at the deep end, battling my inner demons, took a deep long breath and jumped! For a split second there, I thought I was going to hit the bottom- but I felt myself rising and broke surface soon enough. Treading was easier now than before and it was the most exciting thing I ever did.

Upon Laura’s suggestion, I decided to do away with the bubbles, pick up the guard tube instead and leaped into the deep end. It was very scary but when I surfaced much quicker than before, it felt comforting. I tried letting go of the guard tube and swimming to the wall. I can definitely say I wasn’t drowning. I managed to stay near the surface and reach the wall somehow.

Around the end of the class, I swam without any flotation, back to the shallow end! I just want to say that these past two weeks have been an amazing adventure!! And I can now swim. Without flotation. Even in the deep end. (We are not talking about for how long!)

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(Receiving my certificate from Instructor Martin)

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(The batch and instructors- Standing behind L-R: Cauvery, Rey, Matt, Martin, Nitin, Sridhar and Shahaida;

the front row L-R: Kelly and Laura)

General note
Instructors– The entire crew, Martin, Laura, Kelly, Matt and Nate are super fun to learn from. I have learnt some very important pool lessons from each of them.

Martin- The more courage you put into learning to swim, the better you will be at it. The more you are in the water, the lesser is the effort you will have to make to stay afloat.

Matt- Practice getting comfortable with your face in the water. Even a few seconds at a time is good. Smaller paddling movements with full length scoops of hand works better than big splashy paddling.

Kelly- To get the most out of your paddling, keep your feet pointed outwards and imagine kicking the ground downward.

Laura- The best way to stay horizontal is to slightly arch your back just enough to keep your face and feet on the surface. There is no one correct way to tread.

Powow– I don’t even know how to spell that. It is just a group thing we all do at the end of every class. Participants and Instructors share the day’s learnings, battles, efforts and challenges and most of all, we all encouraged and cheered each other, learnt from everybody and enjoyed our sessions together.

The Grand Purpose

Why I wrote this piece is because if you don’t know how to swim and you are looking to learn, look no further. And do not hesitate to take that plunge. Remember I was in your shoes 10 days ago and today I can call myself a swimmer! Albeit amateur. 🙂 If you have the right kind of instructors, learning can be so much fun. And definitely age is no bar. I am almost 3 decades old! Please go sign up for a class at the earliest! Best wishes 🙂

Super Short Stories- 4

We meet again 🙂 Here’s a fourth serving of super short stories. It has been hard- fighting the urge to take a break and stop writing.

#31
She gazed at the wrinkled hands
That held the prayer beads
Perhaps they once signed as a Bank Manager,
Perhaps they used to help do homework,
Perhaps they braided pigtails,
Perhaps they did laundry and the dishes,
Perhaps they ran errands and drove a car,
Those beautiful wrinkled hands
Had many stories to tell.
|Wrinkled tales|

#32
She hugged him every chance she got
Even kissed him a few times
He loved the way her eyes sparkled
But she never got to look into his
The costume always came between them
He was just Daffy Duck.
|Fictional love|

#33
When all the dust settles down
And humans voices fade out
Busy lives have been lived
Our words will echo from graves
And trees that we tended to
Are the only things that will tell our tale.
|Tales from beyond|

#34
Everybody stopped by to ooh
At the exotic and vibrant Anthurium
While the pale white Yarrow stood
In its shadow, inconspicuous
When it rained or shined though
They received equal attention.
|Equaliser|

#35
She frowned at the picture
It was different somehow
Then she noticed the smudge
A vivid violet smear
Her toddler’s paint stained fingers
Gave the game away!
|Little Artist|

#36
He got her pretty clothes
Took her on exotic vacations
Through his lens he saw
The gorgeous lady posing
If only he took a moment
To look at her without the lens
He’d find the lonely damsel
Waiting for conversation.
|Perfect couple|

#37
It had been parched
For a while now
So the downpour was welcome
But soon it turned to slush
And was about to flood
Thank God they realised
And shut the sprinklers off.
|Ant story|

#38
She wore some high heels
And draped an orange sari
Picked up a piece of chalk
And wrote “Inglish” on the board
Then the 5 year old turned around
And wished the empty room.
|Pretend teacher|

#39
They jumped down the sunshade
And one lifted the other
The sisters plucked guavas
From the neighbours tree
They knew stolen guavas tasted
Better than store bought ones.
|Sister escapade|

#40
Scrawly hand written pages
Yellowing on the edges
Dog ears around the corners
Thrilling three, they called it
That novel the 6th graders wrote
Was a cult fiction
In all their homes.
|Junior writers|

Super Short Stories- 3

Here’s the next serving of Super Short Stories. Truly touched and overwhelmed with feedback and encouragement. Thank you, everybody who stops by 🙂

#21

When I’m hurting, I always talk to him to feel better.
I once got a tee that read ‘when the going gets tough, call dad.’
At 55, I still believe that.
|Dad|

#22

The once familiar faces were strangers again.
But with an inbox full of memories.
|Online friends|

#23

She loved to travel and I didn’t have the money then.
Today I do and I take her picture in my pocket across the world.
|Lone tourist|

#24

She lived alone in a bungalow.
Every night the phone would be on the left side table.
Every morning she would find it on the kitchen counter.
|Ghost story|

#25

They were celebrating tonight
Their 6 year old daughter
Uttered her first word- ‘happy’
After years of therapy
There couldn’t have been
A more appropriate first word!
|Specially gifted|

#26

She built many houses
In Kentucky and Illinois
He had none anywhere
She took some of hers away
And loaned him a couple of hundreds
Erected him a bungalow in Baltic
The board looked balanced now.
|Monopoly with siblings|

#27

She burst through
All the grime and dirt
That surrounded her
The sun beckoned
The water teased
And the little sprout
Stuck her head out
And gazed at the skies.
|Seed tale|

#28

The train crawled to a halt
One little boy called out
Another little boy scurried
With a basket full of biscuits
When their eyes met
The emotion mirrored in both sets
They realised it was not a lie
They had been told they had a twin who was given away for adoption at birth.
|Twins|

#29

Destitute. Orphanage. Adoption. English medium school.
College. Cultural fest.
First break. Modeling.
Miss world. Movies. Glamour.
Superstar.
Make believe sets. Destitute.
Sharing tent space. With 4 others.
Uncannily familiar.
Her luck changed. Not her.
|Destiny|

#30

She sneaked out of her room at night
‘I know how you feel’, she whispered.
She let the love birds out
The cage was no place to be
She wheeled herself back to her bedroom
At least one of them was free.
|Wheelchair|

As always, your feedback is most welcome. Hoping to write a fourth serving soon! 🙂

Super Short Stories- 2

Here are some more 🙂 Some of them could be altered versions of previous works, though. Been writing them for a while now. Posting them in bunches of 9-10 🙂

#10- Gift

Memsaab carefully draped

The six yards of silk

Over the tiny frame

Of my only daughter

I could afford only cotton

The Banarasi sari was a gift

Because she knew how it felt

To give a daughter away.

#11- Winding

She stared into the dark night

Along the winding tracks

Sitting on a lonely rickety bench

Waiting eagerly for her son

To return from the battle

That he fought 20 years ago.

#12- Battlefield

The house shone bright

Diwali lights everywhere

Dinner was made

His favorite desert ready

The old couple sat quietly

At a table set for three

Their soldier son would come

Beaming from the battlefield

Winning a war from 20 years ago.

#13- Celebrate

Last week has been hectic

The enemy is cornered

I can almost taste the victory

Tomorrow shall come

And we shall celebrate the loudest

For we will be home soon

Maa and Paa will cry with joy.

Tomorrow has come

We will win this battle too

But the train that goes home

Won’t have me on it

I can see Maa and Paa

In a little while from now

Staring in disbelief

Not a single tear to shed

When I am bound in tricolor

Their photo still in my breast pocket.

#14- Crimson

I’ve known this day would come

When I must let go of home

Take a giant leap of faith

Be carried by a gust of wind

And lay a little crimson patch

On parched and withered grass

But wait! I am to live eternally

In a little boy’s Leaf Book project.

#15- Truth

He rammed his fist into the sullen face

Of the man that stood in front of him

Nothing changed.

A thousand pairs of sunken eyes

Stared at him from the floor

The mirror only spoke the truth.

#16- Monster

She ached everywhere

Hungry and tired

As she sunk into the couch

She heard a little something

Irritated, she dragged herself

To the little bundled monster

Only to find her grinning in her sleep

Her hand sprawled wide

Diaper bottom in the air

She smiled- not hungry or tired

Not aching anywhere.

#17- Trophy

You’d think that lady

Won a trophy

She beamed so bright

Looking at her two year old

The first time on a slide.

#18- Unbridled

A messy car seat

Some squiggles on the wall

Too many broken crayons

A constant barrage of questions

An unruly mop for a head

A pair of muddy feet

Some sauce on clothes

Coming home in someone else’s shoes

Tell tale signs of mischief overload

And unbridled laughter galore

Little humans not so little any more!

#19- Irony

His father smoked his lung away

Alone, he had to fend for himself

Ended up rolling beedis

Irony stared at him everyday.

#20- Current

There was an obvious current

They were destined to be together

From birth till culmination

The banks were never alone

Yet never really together.

I have immensely enjoyed writing each of them. Hope you enjoyed reading them! Would love to get some critical feedback. Thanks in advance 🙂

Whose tracks?

A youngish woman sat with a little girl on the dirty floor of the compartment. They shuffled close to where I sat stretching my lazy self. I instantly moved away. I watched them scurry about a little. They seemed to get in everybody’s ways.

After half an hour, when I was blissfully reading a book and munching on kurkure, I looked up to find them crouched under the wash basin, almost close to the lavatories. I felt bad about my first reaction. The woman wore a faded sari that was probably a vibrant pink in its good days with a mismatched brown blouse that had torn at her shoulder seams. The little girl, I presumed was her daughter, sat beside her, clutching her knees and gazing between passengers who stood by the door for a smoke.

Somebody near by commented loudly about their disposition- ‘These lowly people always board trains without tickets for free rides. They should be kicked out!’ If the woman heard it, she showed no signs. She sat quietly looking away into the distance, perhaps thinking of a happier time, for a wistful smile came on her face momentarily. Her daughter then asked a question that has been haunting me to this day. She said- ‘Amma, why are we treated like this? Didn’t you always say we were born on the tracks, will live our lives on the tracks and bid farewell too on the tracks? I thought these railway tracks were ours because thatha(grandfather) laid them with his own hands.’

The ticket collector just came around then and looked at the duo like they’d stolen the Kohinoor. The woman wiped a stray tear on her cheek and dug out a crumpled 20 Rupees note from her tucked pleat on her waist. She paid for her tickets and got off on the next station. I realized she was in no way a lowly person. A woman who faced judgement by onlookers everyday, she probably grew up a princess when she was a little girl and her father laid the tracks between remote towns in interior Tamil Nadu.

Whose tracks are those? Can not the man who laid them, claim them at all?