A Start…

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She couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen the stars. Clouds wrapped the whole town in a tight embrace, not letting any glimmer of light come through or get out. No Lights, No Lights played on the radio as she drove from the grocery store a few blocks away to home. Normally she would walk the distance, but the prospect of rains and the squalidness of the place in general had forced her to use her car instead.

The song seemed fitting… No lights in your bright blue eyes… She thought of her father, a ghost of his younger, buoyant self. She used to often joke about how she would still be trying to match her Dad’s pace at hikes even after he turned a hundred.  But her father was only half that age and needed support to walk a few steps. Of course, from a philosophical high ground, life is never fair, there’s worse suffering in the world. But to see her Dad dwindle away before her eyes in a matter of weeks as she helplessly watched was brutal in its own right. Her mother was his strength; she was in fact, the binding force that held everything together. Everything was a blur – the accident, the call at midnight, her father’s hollow, sagged face when she met him outside the ICU.

It had been six months since that day but little had changed in the interest of normalcy. What was originally planned to be a few weeks’ stay with the old man kept getting extended one week after another until she finally came to terms with the fact that she had to move back in this dingy town she had been so desperate to leave since she was young.

She didn’t admit it, but all this was taking a toll on her. She didn’t want to be cross with her Dad, she didn’t want to say the things she said to him before dashing out of the house and on to the grocery store. She had rehearsed a calmer, gentler version in her head so many times, but had never said it until now, in the hope of a more opportune time. When her thoughts did find their way across, they came out as a blow, not to heal but to harm. It was all true of course; rage is but brutal in its honesty. He had been selfish, self-consumed, unwilling to look beyond his own grief at others’ plight, at her plight. She had a whole life ahead of her and here she was tending to a perfectly healthy grown man who would not even try to make it easier for her.

As always happens with anger, regret of the harshness of ones actions dawns after nothing can be done to reverse their impact. Her heart sank as her words replayed in her mind. How they would have broken him. If only she held her resolve to let it go one more time, if only she let that moment pass – perhaps this could have been averted.

She could hear music as she pulled in the driveway. More melodious than what was playing on her radio. Imagine by John Lennon was her mother’s favorite song. Her father opened the door as she locked the car, came out to help with the groceries. Clean shaven, swollen eyes… his crooked smile doing a sorry job at hiding his tears.

“I… uh… Sorry” He said pleadingly… “How have you been, hon?”

“I miss Mom”, she cried, hugging him.

“I know… I miss her too…”

“I’m sorry… it’s just a lot to handle” she sobbed.

“Tell me about it. Will you stay with me a little longer? I… uh… will make an effort, I promise”, he said fighting back the tears.

It was a long road to recovery for both of them, but it was a start.

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I am trying to write again… Thanks Ted for looking out for me…

This is for the speakeasy at yeah write challenge #178. All I am hoping is “to get back in shape”!

Before the next flight

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I had a turbulent landing a while ago – almost like a free fall for a few seconds – a woman was crying, the couple next to me were holding each other tightly, and to bring a finality to the pending doom the air hostess began speaking in an urgent, disturbed voice.

I was thinking “So this is what it feels like!” I thought what if this was it? Me alone on a plane, middle of nowhere – that’s it. How long before my family would know? Would they find me? I know it has happened with many, the missing Malaysian airlines being the most recent example, but there is a difference between when it happens on the news and when it happens to you.

I was wondering if I had said a proper goodbye to my husband before leaving in the morning, and calling out to God, since I have heard that if your final thoughts are about God you go to heaven(and I still maintain I’m not overtly religious). I also realized how much I love being alive. I am grateful that I lived to write this, and hopefully there will be more.

This also made me aware of the fact that I haven’t written about my marriage yet, and it has been exactly 7 months today. I got married in December last year and am in the “happily ever after” phase of my life. It has been the most interesting part of my life so far, has made me acutely aware of myself than anything else ever has. My husband stays as far away from books as I cling on to them. The only exception he makes to reading anything except news is my blog. He is practical while I am dreamy; I am thoughtful while he is impulsive. Together, we are making each other better people with every passing day.

I don’t have my wedding picture handy, but this is a picture of us from last weekend.

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Vegas, Baby!

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For a vacation filled with booze and gambling, it’s only fitting to be stuck at the freeway with a bag of Doritos and an empty stomach.

Now that I have a good opening line, I can straight head to a mundane account of my July 4th weekend. Yes, there was booze.. Lots of it? Perhaps not by comparison of the fellow street strollers in the Sin City.. But enough to give a buzz, brighten the glittering silhouettes of the imposing casinos, give a spin to the walk… And yes, there was gambling… lots of it? Definitely not by comparison of the thousands fellow casino convicts had put on the line.. And there was a minor loss, too minor to be mentioned without an indulging grin.

This was my third trip to Vegas. I think it’s about time I form my opinion of the city. I like Vegas, it’s festive undercurrents, the grandeur, the overall carelessness and live-like-there’s-no-tomorrow attitude. I am not a big fan of gambling, I have never relied on probability to pass a math exam and money is by far a more serious stake. So that leaves the strongest reason to go to Vegas out of the picture. I am also not into sleaze which leaves the enticing strip clubs out too, but I have to say – all the men and women calling out at you from the posters with their perfect figures and chiseled bodies are quite a sight. I love the architecture of the casinos, I love how each one is different from the other and yet matchlessly majestic. And more than anything else, I like the feeling of freedom that the city exudes in abundance. Where else can you walk about flaunting flasks longer than a crane’s neck filled with margarita?

If I was asked what was the one thing that I liked the most in Vegas, it would be the abundance of art in every part and pocket of the strip. Then be it the decorations or themes of various casinos or the shows playing all around. I think it is the city you can visit when you haven’t planned a long weekend ahead of time. There will always be something to keep you interested.

It would be naive to end this post without mentioning the glitter and glamour of Vegas ends with the strip. The rest of the city is an all engulfing hostile desert. There are a few things outside the strip too, like a shooting range and a few streets, but I don’t think anything else matches the tourist pull of the strip.

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A Childhood

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Some chatter, a caress
Laughter, eyes rolling
Secrets, Promises
Curious exploring

Vivid dreams
Active passive
Books, board games
Cartoons, comics

A brother, an angel
A baby, so beautiful
A tear, a smile
A friend for life

Singing, Dancing
Playing, Fighting
Forgiving, Forgetting
Being, living

Ideas, imaginations
Future evaluations
Philosophical dabbles
“Serious” discussions

A childhood, a flashback
Maddening, blissful
Unthinking, unflinching
Confusing, simple

On a Personal Note

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I haven’t written in the longest time, and it has been much longer since I have meditated.

I meditate, not as much as I want to, but enough to realize what I lose when I am not meditating. I lose the power to solve my problems. I also lose the power to not conjure up problems where none exist. I think all the time; the amount of time I waste thinking and the monsters I create in the stories I whip up inspired from the happenings around me, make me think even more – on how to deal with these monsters and how to get myself out of these stories. But I can’t get out of something that’s inside my head, can I?

When I meditate, I can think clearly. I can tune out the noise, see things more objectively and hear the feeble voice of reason tell me what to do.

People often scoff at me; meditation to them is a retirement indulgence, when there is plenty of time to kill and nothing to do. I am too young for all that stuff I am told. Some even confuse it with religious activities. Meditation actually, is a state of thoughtlessness. Just listening to your surroundings, becoming aware of the present rather than chasing unseen butterflies your mind conjures in thousands every minute. It doesn’t need elaborate setups or yoga mats or Gurus or music or incense sticks. It just needs you to close your eyes and not think. And then you will be able to hear the thoughts that truly matter, that have been long waiting in line for your attention but you have been too distracted to notice them. For instance, I just meditated on a plane. That’s when the thought of writing this post came to my mind, among other productive thoughts that I haven’t had in a while. So I am writing it while I am in flight. I had been so involved in the thought of not liking the book I am currently reading and not being able to buy a new book before getting on the plane for a 6 hour long flight that I didn’t realize there were other things I could do too – like write this post! At least I am solving my other, more important problem – of deserting my blog.

Here is a very nice talk on Meditation: Andy Puddicombe: All it takes is 10 mindful minutes

 

Crossing the Rubicon… Almost…

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I never thought this day would ever come but I forgot my blog’s password today.

For a very long time, I have been flirting with the idea of blogging again… On and off, I would keep visualizing my post, I would think of the title, what theme it would be, would it be a fiction, or a personal account giving an excuse for my long absence (I roll my eyes on that one. Who would be waiting on my blog for an excuse really? And how many times have I been excused already?)

But I crossed the Rubicon today… well almost. I read someone’s post and wanted to like it which prompted me to login and I drew a blank at the password. I tried and tried, nudging my fingers into typing on memory, and regretfully clicked on the dreaded ‘Forgot Password’ and I thought to myself – if this didn’t stir me into action, nothing would.

I will write something good another day, maybe throw in an excuse or two for this post also. But today I just write. I sit on a chair, boot up my laptop, login to my blog and just write.

I don’t want to cross this Rubicon, not yet… for I write, therefore I am.

Getting Back

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He walked with nervous anticipation… his hands hanging awkwardly by his sides… his fingers felt like forgotten acquaintance – their movements a vague memory of a subconscious past. He trudged slowly to the farthest room of the house – the place he called his haven amidst madness. Did he still belong? Would he still match up with the sanctity of his refuge? The thought had held him back for weeks. But he had to try, or what was he but another mortal drowning in the sea of life? He had to try… he took a long breath and walked towards the closed door.

One step after another, the door got closer. He held the knob and gave it a twist. It felt like before, but as the tiny dark room showed itself, the hesitation resurfaced. At the centre sat a chair and his violin lay on it, just like he had left it a few months ago, before the accident, before the physiotherapy. He stepped in the room, the door clicked shut behind him. The dwindling light of an impending dusk filtered through the curtains making the shadow of the chair longer, beckoning him.

He held the violin in his hands and sat on the chair, adjusting his spine to its curves. The grip of the violin evoked a flood of memories; his fingers found their purpose again. Holding it in one hand, he strummed a few strings – the awkward spurts of sound brought a smile to his face. Arching his back, he held the violin between his left shoulder and chin and lifted the bow to playfully draw a few strings. The resulting clumsy sound, made him laugh like a child. Nervous, anxious wave of energy ran through him… he had not lost his way after all… It would take a while, but he still belonged… and that’s all that mattered.

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This is a tribute to my blog; I am getting back to writing with the same trepidation as my MC.

It feels so good to write something again! It’s like finding my equilibrium in a way no form of meditation ever can.

Love to all!

Cheers,

Parul

Out of Context!

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Genre: Comedy (If you find it funny)

Greg would do anything to make Nancy happy and Nancy would do anything to catch the attention of Rick, and Rick secretly had a thing for Greg.

One day Nancy overheard Rick saying, I’d rather be at the zoo !

Glazed and dazed, Nancy sighed and Greg overheard her saying, I love going to the zoo… such nice animals!

Greg thought, I could do that!

Greg worked all night on his costume – elephants, giraffes, tigers and zebras.

Next day Greg showed up, a placard “FOR NANCY” hanging from his tail.

Nancy didn’t show up at school for weeks… neither did Rick.

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100 words for Friday Fictioneers this week.

I hate myself for not being around for the longest time! I just have been going through a lot of changes I guess… or maybe this is the worst bout of creative block I have had in centuries!

Not the best attempt this, but had to put myself out there before I forget what it’s like to write!

For the uninitiated, in case you are wondering what is going on here, read on. Friday Fictioneers is an excellent forum for people looking to have fun as they learn the nuances of writing. Every Friday a bunch of us write 100 words (no hard rules there) for prompts posted by Rochelle who runs the show.

This week’s prompt is a very creative model shared by our dear friend EL Appleby!

copyright-el appleby

copyright-el appleby

A quicker way to reach other amazing stories:

Blessings in Disguise

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Babur sat behind the tent. Inside the chieftains haggled for horses and silver.

Only a few months ago, the 12 year old prince of an insignificant Ferghana had become the ruler of a prosperous Samarkand.

What followed was a blur. He was getting comfortable on his new throne when Ferghana was attacked and as Babur rushed to claim it, Samarkand was taken over by his own cousin.

You have the blood of Timur and Gengis Khan in your veins, greatness awaits you son, his father had said in the garden of Ferghana before passing away.

He fought back the tears.

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My 100 words for this week’s Friday Fictioneers.

Babur was the first Mughal King of India. He faced many setbacks before he set foot in India. In fact he thought of coming to India only after facing countless failures in the lands of his descendents. And rest as they say, is history. I find Babur’s story deeply inspiring – not because he was a great warrior or he was a great strategist. He was an average ambitious prince of his time, whom even luck favored at places. What I find most inspiring is his determination to go on despite so many failures, however humiliating. His life story tells that we should keep going despite the setbacks as we can never tell what fits how in the grand scheme of things and which setback turns out to be a blessing in disguise!

For anyone interested in the Mughal history or Babur, I’d strongly recommend this book:  Raiders from the North: Empire of the Moghul by Alex Rutherford.

I know I haven’t been regular on FF or my blog in general. In fact, even this story could have been written so much better had I had some cerebral bandwidth remaining. I have also not been responding to comments on my blog, not been reading as many stories as I would like. I am going to be at my worse behavior this week. I just can’t get a handle on things. But as they say – this too shall pass.

For the uninitiated, in case you are wondering what is going on here, read on. Friday Fictioneers is an excellent forum for people looking to have fun as they learn the nuances of writing. Every Friday a bunch of us write 100 words (no hard rules there) for prompts posted by Rochelle who runs the show.

The prompt this week (which I very loosely referred in my story) comes from Sarah Ann Hill. I find it beautiful and oddly nostalgic!

Copyright – Sarah Ann Hall

A quicker way to reach the other stories:


Old and Dear

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She lay supine on the porch. The building looked down on her.

Her granddad – a brilliant orthopedic of his time, had poured all his heart into designing the mansion.

The ornamentation on the pillars was a sorry attempt to conceal the idea behind them – femur – the strongest bone in the human body. The balconies looked like surgically opened human skulls, with some grills fixed in as a last thought in what would have been the eye-sockets.

The keepers of art must weep, she chuckled.

She needed money urgently.

I can’t sell this, she thought desperately, there must be another way.

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100 words for Friday Fictioneers this week.

For the uninitiated, in case you are wondering what is going on here, read on. Friday Fictioneers is an excellent forum for people looking to have fun as they learn the nuances of writing. Every Friday a bunch of us write 100 words (no hard rules there) for prompts posted by Rochelle who runs the show.

This week’s prompt comes from Kent Bonham

A quicker way to reach other stories: