April 23, 2014

Tashi

April A-Z Challenge - T is for Tashi - Prosperity ( Origin : Tibetan)

Theme: Short stories highlighting the lives of 26 fictional characters


(Image Courtesy: Wikipedia)

Tashi rushed down the hilly road towards the bus station, she had got word from her most reliable source that there was a bus arriving that day, with a lot of tourists. She carried a box filled with her famous homemade momos to hand to the man in charge of the bus station. He deserved a special treat for sure, for an information like this. It was not everyday that they had tourists in their hilly city in the cold month of November. She had informed two of her other friends too, families like theirs definitely were in need of these blessings. They had four more months till their regular jobs as tea leaves pickers would resume in spring.

Tashi stood with her two friends, smiling looking at the prospective sign of a bus driving into the bus station. She secretly wished that there were a few visitors from outside the country, she had a special way with them and had at times managed a really handsome tip. As she spotted some brown hair amid all the black heads, she rushed towards them, explaining to them in the few English words she had learnt, that she was a porter and could carry their luggage up the hill where vehicles could not go.

Tashi climbed up the hilly road eagerly, smiling through the burden of the leather on her head and shoulders, as she pointed at various sites on their way to the hotel. Her chirpy conversation with the visitors with less words and more animated actions had won their hearts. They had asked her if she could lead them to the inside stories of the city and its people for a documentary movie they were going to film.

After promising to be back the next day, she headed back home during the early evening as the sun went down over the hills. She paused briefly to take in the sights as she lit a bidi, it was her treat at the end of a tiring day. She closed her eyes with gratitude, clutching on to the small sack of money tied around her waist - her earnings for the day.

As she entered her modest dwelling, she saw her four kids playing together in a corner as her husband approached her looking happy to see her. He eagerly tugged at her money sack, explaining to her that his friends were waiting for him for the past hour. They would be gambling again that night, it was the only hope for them to survive through the winter he said. She handed him some small bills, explaining to him that business was not exceptionally good that day.

As he saw him leave, she took out the remaining bills of money from a secret pocket she had stitched in her traditional robe and hid it in a jar in the kitchen. She would take it to the bank the next day on her way to the hotel to deposit it in an account that she had secretly opened for her kids.

April 22, 2014

Sharini

April A-Z Challenge - S is for Sharini - Earth (Origin : Sanskrit)

Theme: Short stories highlighting the lives of 26 fictional characters




Sharini was lying in the hospital bed, too tired to open her eyes, as she heard the voices of her family with the ticking of a clock in the background. They sounded worried if she would recover and return home. If only they were so concerned all these years she thought, as images of the abuse and exploitation that she had been through, flashed before her eyes.

She felt the warmth of her favorite granddaughter's hands as they gently cupped hers. She was the one who had always tried to help her, but had failed without the support of the entire family.

Sharini knew her family was depending on her, she felt sad as she knew she didn't have the energy to pull through this time. Sharini felt like she had nothing left within her to give anymore, she had given it all, if only they had known how to preserve it she thought, as the voices of her family along with the clock's ticking faded away to the background and beyond.


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


If I have to pick one image, that changed how I think about the role I played in taking care of our planet, it is this one. It shows the inside of a dead bird, that had swallowed plastic that we throw, thinking it was food!



It is a huge deal! I try to do my part, I have not perfected it as yet, it is definitely not easy. But I certainly think that following the three Rs whenever I can has helped in some way.

Reduce  -  Reuse -  Recycle

I hope everyone does their part too! Happy Earth Day!



April 21, 2014

Renée

April A-Z Challenge - R is for Renée - Born Again (Origin : French)

Theme: Short stories highlighting the lives of 26 fictional characters 


(Source : Wikipedia)


It had been two years since Renée had opened her café, and business had so far been slow. In the recent months,  she had been at the front of the café, talking to the few customers who stopped by, taking reviews of the food.  It surprised her to see such few returning customers, despite the rave reviews she received about her food. Her quest for a solution ended when she met Jane, who had been visiting the restaurant since she began working at a nearby building.

Jane had come in the first time on a cold November afternoon and ordered a bowl of french onion soup. Renée had personally served her, and had seen Jane's surprised look upon seeing the bowl.

"I actually wanted the whole bowl, not half" Jane had said.

"This is the full bowl Ma'am, " Renée had said "Perhaps you would like something else with it?"

"Seriously!?!" Jane had completed the rest of the sentence under her breath, as she skimmed the croutons and hungrily ate them.

Renée watched to see Jane finishing up her soup in no time, definitely seeming to enjoy her food.

She went up to Jane enthusiastically for a review, when Jane had got up saying "Don't bother, I will not be coming back for your sampler again."

Renee had spent a week worrying since she had heard Jane's review. She had been reconsidering her portion sizes, when suddenly one day she saw Jane enter the café again.

"I am sorry for the way I behaved the other day," Jane said "I have been dreaming of the soup, it tasted heavenly."

Renee smiled and went inside to get a bowl of soup for Jane.

"I am reconsidering our portions," Renee said "till we decide about that, I can get you another bowl, with baguette on the side perhaps?" she said, setting down the steaming soup.

"Oh no, actually the truth is, my wedding is in six months and I need your help," said Jane "I love this wedding dress I saw in a store and there is no way I am going to fit into it.

I have decided to come eat at your diet restaurant everyday, and try to fit into that dress before my wedding" Jane said licking the remains of the spoon.

"Sure, it will be a pleasure" said Renee making note of the term "diet restaurant".

It was the best feedback she had ever received. A few months later, there was a new sign in her restaurant that said "We offer diet portions: loose weight while you enjoy good food," with a picture of Jane in her beautiful bridal attire.

Renee's café was born again with the new sign, and had never been busier!