August 9, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 30


Going for a moonlit walk with B made me happy today.

What you may think

We went for a romantic after dinner walk.

What really happened

We set out for a walk to take a breather from the tantrums of a sick two year old. When we stepped out we were pleasantly surprised by the moonlit sky, but smartphones in hand, we spent most of the time trying to get the perfect picture!

August 6, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 29


The sound of crisp leaves followed by giggles of laughter made me happy today.

What you may think

That the family had a lot of fun jumping in the dried leaves.

What really happened

The kids did have a lot of fun jumping in the dried leaves, on the same day they enjoyed the summer sun. Wait it's early August,  and we are clearing dried leaves? What are we heading into, winter like autumn?



August 5, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 28


Looking through ethnic wear, and trying it out with the kids made me happy today.

What you may think

We were shopping or getting ready for a party to wear the ethnic accessories.

What really happened

With kids busy doing something,  I sneaked away to get things organized and kept in order. Before I know two young ladies were all over,  pulling out things, giggling and trying out accessories, making future plans, fighting over whose is what. And instead of getting some work done,  we spent an hour just trying out things and being silly.

August 2, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 27


Seeing the panda family up close and the absolutely cute 11 month old baby cub made me happy today.

August 1, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 26


Having a picnic at the backyard, with loved ones and delicious food, made me happy today.

What you may think

We have many such picnics in the warm evenings of summer.

What really happened

It was our first backyard picnic of this summer. With the dawn of the last month of summer today, came a gentle reminder of the near of the end to a phase. There was a moment of panic, of things that had to get done, and of all the things planned but never got done. A resolution was made to enjoy what was left of summer.

July 31, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 25


Seeing our little guest, who lives in our backyard, eating to its heart's content from the bird feeder made me happy today.

What you may think

He is a frequent visitor,  and makes us and the kids happy.

What really happened

He has not been a frequent visitor but been living in our backyard for about two months now, ever since he was a few days old. It is almost like his world begins and ends in our backyard,  has not known anything else. He is content eating out of the bird feeder and strolling around in the yard. He is a joy to watch, especially for the kids. But with it he also brings about a lot of other emotions. I already dread the day he is going to discover the external world and leave his temporary home behind!

July 30, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 24


Seeing an American Goldfinch bird, feeding on a Basil plant in my backyard, made me happy today.

What you may think

We are treated with sights of these rare birds ever so often in our backyard.

What really happened

We have lived in this house for five years now and have finally been successful in attracting these birds this summer. Seeing a Cardinal, a Blue Jay and now a Goldfinch in our backyard is slowly becoming a reality. It took trying out 2-3 kind of bird feeders, and finally figuring out that one at ground level, carefully placed near tree branches works the best. But not with out paying the price of cleaning it ever so often, because of rain, ants and another friendly guest in our backyard. (Hopefully he will feature in one of my posts soon)

July 28, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 23


Riding on the new route of the metro train that connects the big city closer to home, made me happy today.

What you may think

We are frequent travelers to the big city and don't miss out on any happening events there.

What really happened

Our travel to the city is limited to only a few times in a year. Life gets caught up living in the suburbs, and feeling content that we live so close to unlimited access to a variety of museums and places of interest. The feeling of contentment even got better with the new train. The list of things to visit,  can be postponed indefinitely to another day.

July 25, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 22


Cleaning an old pencil box with A and giving it a face lift and filling it with last year's supplies that could be reused for school this year instead of buying new, made me happy today.

What you may think

I scored a deal to convince A and am going to save some pennies this school year.

What really happened

It was indeed a happy moment to hear A's explanation of how much plastic she saved by reusing some of last year's supplies. We had been talking about this ever since school closed for summer break. Did I feel proud and also save some money this year? No! I splurged on a personalized pencil pouch for being so proud of her!


July 24, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 21


Spending some time on organizing paper work,  made me happy today.

What you may think

I am a highly organized person, spending time regularly on taking care of such things.

What really happened

I love organizing things and dream of being a highly organized person. But what stumps me usually is making time for it and keeping up with the organized system. I finally made time to organize some paper work that had piled up for months. Though I got a good start, I am far from being done.

July 23, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 20


Going for a nature walk with the girls and collecting random fallen things for a collage project, made me happy today.

What you may think

That I am a super creative mom and keep the kids busy with projects like this and at the end of the day we had a beautifully handmade collage hanging on our wall.

What really happened

We finally thought of/found time to go for a nature walk and pick things. The last time we did it was probably 4 years ago. Though the walk was fun, the scorching heat of a july summer's noon, kept us busy puffing most of the way. We came back too tired, just perfect for Av to take a good nap. Before we realized the day's chores caught up with us, leaving just a basket full of picked goodies from nature sitting by the door.

July 21, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 19


Harvesting a ripered, plum tomato from my garden, made me happy today.

What you may think

That I have a lush vegetable garden in my backyard, where I grow vegetables of all kind. And every evening dinner is prepared with freshly picked produce from the garden.

What really happened

In a feeble attempt to try a hand at growing a vegetable garden, we have some pots trying to satisfy the needs of space seeking vegetable plants. So far we have to our credit,  some saplings of cucumber screaming out for space, a drying up basil plant, sprouting cilantro and methi seeds, and a lonely tomato plant, which we had bought from the store bearing a single fruit. Today that tomato fruit ripened after weeks, and the plant went back to silently praying for more fruits.

July 19, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 18


Experiencing one of the best experiences with loved ones and seeing smiles on their faces, made me happy today.


July 18, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 17


A picnic lunch by the river surrounded by hills made me happy today.

What you may think

It was a scenic lover's haven and I had a relaxing lunch with the family.

What really happened

For once that is exactly what happened! The only negative, the place is about 4 hours drive from home.

July 17, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 16


Bags almost packed for an up coming trip made me happy today.

What you may think

That excitement is in the air and things were carefully packed for all the fun in store during the next few days.

What really happened

Things in the beginning, were packed with excitement and care, making sure we have everything needed for the trip.  The excited screams of the kids coupled with the nervousness of dealing with them in the car during the long drive, diluted the excitement by end of day.




July 16, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 15


Spending some alone time with myself made me happy today.

What you may think

That I took some time off to treat myself at a spa or some retreat away from everything.

What really happened

I stepped out to run some errands, leaving both A and Av with my parents, who are visiting.  It was bliss to just be without being interrupted by questions or commentaries on observations. But all at the price of big tears flowing down Av's cheeks after she woke up from her afternoon nap and couldn't find me!

July 15, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 14

Image Source: www.etsy. Com

Finding hair ties that don't hurt and learning how to make them made me happy today.

What you may think

I am a craftsy person and an expert at all things DIY.

What really happened

I am far from being a craftsy person but have a thing for handmade stuff and all things simple and earthy. (Even the word organic can sometimes be too fancy for me) So in quest of that simplicity, and the detest of retail prices for something so simple I am excited to get some fold over elastic from the craft store and try this myself. If not anything I can definitely cut and tie knots!

July 14, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 13


Having some silly giggly girly fun with my 7 year old made me happy today.

What you may think

I have the liberty to have this kind of fun with her every other day.

What really happened

The only one on one time I get with her is when Av is napping. And in that small window of time, there are numerous things that have to get achieved. For this is the ideal time to do stuff where we won't get disturbed,  that time for fun never gets to come up on the priority list. That basically leaves us both hungry for fun time with each other.

July 13, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 12




Cooling off with ice cream at the end of the day made me happy today.

What you may think

I enjoyed the ice cream and relished it till the last bite. And I probably do this every so often!

What really happened

After a lot of fighting against the good voice inside me that warned me not to indulge in an ice cream,  I finally succumbed. The first few bites was so satisfying, until I was reminded of the harsh truth. I was supposed to be on a diet to shed those extra pounds that I had bagged(ahem) in the past few months. 

July 12, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 11





Watching the kids play at the soaking water fountain made me happy today.

What you may think

I had a really relaxing and fun evening with the family.

What really happened

I was having a really fun evening, watching the kids enjoy as they got soaked at the water fountain. There is nothing more relaxing than hearing laughter and giggles. But the price for all the fun, was a really tired toddler who had a severe meltdown on the drive back home, washing away my relaxed mind.

July 11, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 10


Getting ready for family movie night made me happy today.

What you may think

We had a great time together watching a movie.

What really happened

Preparing for the family movie night is the best part of the whole thing. The pillows fluffed up, the blankets spread, the lights dimmed and all of us cuddled up on the couch, it's a moment of bliss. But about 20 minutes into the movie, little Av who was cuddled beside me, was fast asleep,  and I soon followed suit! 

July 10, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 9


Seeing a rainbow in the sky made me happy today.

What you may think

I went on a relaxing nature walk or a long drive in the car, to witness nature at its best after a clean wash from the rain.

What really happened

I was driving home from one of the kid's classes when we noticed it right across from us. I have witnessed very few rainbows, so every time I see one, it's a moment of great pleasure.  I pulled to the side, put on the emergency lights and captured it with my lens. Not the best of shots, but the best I could do being parked on a right only lane, with cars passing me with people with glares. Though it involved many of my favorites like the sky, rain and colors, I had to move on!

July 9, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 8




These words that my daughter A said to me made me happy today.

What you may think 

That I am oh so proud that my daughter thinks this way about me and I am one lucky mom.

What really happened

I was mentioning to A about a picture on Facebook (the irony of life) getting many Likes, when she started talking dreamily about how famous she will be one day. I told her that I believed if she made up her mind, she would indeed be famous one day. For which she said "Whatever I become famous for, you would have played a big part in it".
The words took a few seconds to sink in, and that moment will definitely go down as one of immense happiness. Till I hugged her and she looked up at me and crinkled her nose just like the way I do, it hit me then and there.  I have such a big part to play in what she will be famous for - all things good or bad!





100 Happy Days - Day 7


Eating one of my favorite dishes cooked by my mom,  made me happy today.

What you may think - It was just like old times, my mom made the dish, and I sat back and enjoyed it.

What really happened - As my mother cooked, the kitchen was engulfed in the most appetizing aroma. But I was no longer the girl grabbing a plate and sitting back and enjoying the meal. I was a mom making sure the kids were taken care of before I began to eat. 

July 8, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 6



The moment the kids finally slept made me happy yesterday.

(Excuse the quality of this picture, it was indeed a happy moment)

What you may think - My adult life began that very moment. I caught a show on TV with B, or stretched on bed and devoured a book.

What really happened - As I sat up and saw in the wee light of the night light, the magic of slumber that had transformed two monsters to angelic beauties, my heart leaped with joy. I went to my haven eagerly looking forward to some adult time. As I stretched on the bed, satisfying the needs of my tired body, slumber did it's magic again, washing away all my plans and even making me forget to do a post!

July 6, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 5


Image Source: telegraph.co.uk

Seeing Stefan Edberg on TV while watching the Wimbledon finals made me happy today!

What you may think - I was happy to see a tennis star from my childhood days of whose I was an ardent fan.

What really happened - Hearing about the tennis star after a long time, of whose I was a big fan, brought back many fond memories. I was waiting for the match to begin so that I can catch a glimpse of him. Just when I spotted him and the image of his that I had in my mind got replaced with the image on TV of an older looking man, I was sadly reminded of the years that have gone by.

July 5, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 4


Looking at some cards and letters made by the kids made me happy today!

What you may think - It s a proud happy moment for me.

What it really is - When I looked at this card, I felt immense happiness, but soon to follow was an overpowering sense of responsibility to always do the right thing as a mom!

July 4, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 3


Watching the 4th of July fireworks with loved ones made me happy today!

What you may think - I am living the American dream,  enjoying the holidays of this country.

What really happened - I was sitting on a picnic mat with family,  surrounded by hundreds of people as the beautiful colors filled the sky. It was a moment of happiness to be under the starlit sky watching the lights paint a picture before my eyes. I looked around as the crowd cheered as the fireworks displayed red, white and blue, they looked happy and proud.  I missed my country, and the feeling of that pride.

July 3, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 2


Availing a back massage service from 2 pairs of precious hands made me happy today!

What you may think - I am the luckiest mom on Earth,  with two willing pairs of hands ready to give me such luxurious services.

What really happened - It was the best moments of the day, as I lay back, and closed my eyes to relax when I soon felt too much lotion on my back. Little hands were completely bathed in it too, treating it like a puddle of water ready to be splashed around. Before we knew we had an emergency situation where lots of paper towels had to be brought in for rescue.

July 2, 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 1


A cup of hot coffee made me happy today!


What you may think -  I sat sipping on the steaming hot coffee,  while I watched my  lovely kids play, or read a book with perhaps some soothing music playing in the background.

What really happened - I sat down with the coffee for my first sip, finding my moment of happiness after a busy morning, as I let the magic of the beans take over my senses. But I was soon brought back to reality by a fight between the kids, followed by the little one's potty call, and finally a phone call. I finally reunited with my cup of Java, when it no longer looked or tasted the same.

100 Happy Days?

It's been a while,
  my thoughts had gone astray.
They are now here with me,
   hopefully to stay!

Without further ado, let me jump to what I wanted to write about. The one thought that pumped up a heavy doze of adrenaline,  to make me jump up in bed at midnight. While the house sleeps peacefully, and the clock ticks away like a reminder of the much needed sleep to face another long busy day.

I am sure the 100 Happy Days challenge needs no introduction now. It is all over the social media/ internet. The challenge is to submit a picture of something that makes you happy, everyday for 100 days.

Guess who wants to jump onto this bus now?! But wait, how well do you know me? Do you think I will drop my pen and clutch onto my camera and spend 100 glorious days taking pictures? Have I ever looked straight at something and failed to gaze beyond, probably in search of a mysterious ghost holding it up and looking straight at me?

My pictures from tomorrow will have words....not simply describing what it is. But maybe teasing thoughts of what is and what is actually perceived. Perhaps a satirical nudge at today's social media and the many pictures posted in a day, of mostly, ahem, happy faces. That includes me too!

Why would I post a picture of a bad day, grumpy faces, leaky noses, withered flowers, lonely walks?

But the problem is with people's perception of your posted picture and your life. The expectations of all things rosy at all times, and your strife to keep up to them. A counter picture from an acquaintance that everything is going well for them, and the vicious cycle thereon.

With all due respect to the person who started this 100happydays challenge, and the many people who have found genuine happiness doing this, here are my 100 Happy Days, with a twist.




May 7, 2014

Writing as ME again


It has been a while since I blogged as myself, hasn't it? It had started getting a little too comfortable hiding behind the characters in the past month. It has really been an effort on my part, to be writing as myself again. I have been trying since Monday, and I finally am able to get some thoughts come through today!

As much as I have been exclaiming how much I enjoyed the process, saying that it did get a little bit overwhelming, would be a big understatement. Coming up with the idea and stories was one thing, and on its own, it would have been manageable. But being able to process the thoughts, the feelings and the emotions of the characters in my head, was a whole other experience.

The repercussions of the experience has left me CHANGED! And when I mean changed, I don't mean I am releasing a book, I only mean it has left me changed internally. It has changed the way I think, about myself, about people, and about life in general.

It has reflected to me the joy I find when writing fiction, my strong points when weaving a story. And more importantly, it has reflected my weaknesses.

There are so many, the most important and biggest one is the editing. The work it takes to edit, is more hard work than the fun of putting your ideas on paper. The persistence to edit till the story sounds like the way you meant it to be, does not come naturally. You definitely have to work hard at it.

The other is networking, to find readers for my work. I thought I am the worst at drawing and painting, but I can call myself a Picasso, when I compare my drawings to my networking skills. It is a big deal breaker, the choice is clear, learn to network or stop dreaming! (Just stop dreaming, my mind says!)

But above all, the amount I enjoyed the whole process stands out loud and clear. Reading this post, it is clear I am yet to fully recover from the challenge. Yes, I am still not able to write about anything else. But the fact of the matter is, that I finally was able to write.


April 30, 2014

A-Z Challenge Wrap Up



I had the most amazing time doing this challenge and writing the 26 short stories. 

Here is a list of all the stories in one place.

 Asha
 Maya
 Otto
 Urmi

It would be great, if you can take a moment to vote below and let me know which stories you liked.

Thank you for Reading!


Which A-Z stories were your favorite?

Zaire

April A-Z Challenge - Z is for Zaire - River (Origin : African)

Theme: Short stories highlighting the lives of 26 fictional characters



It was a beautiful Friday evening. The wind created a steady shower of leaves laying a carpet of mixed hues in the cafeteria's patio. There were students walking around, some dressed in their best, eager to get to their dinner dates, others casually walking in a group to go out and forget the stress of college. Zaire sat at a table by a lamp, his head deep inside a Mathematics book. He looked up every now and then, carefully assessing his surroundings. He was used to the buzz of the early evening giving way to a chilling silence as the evening passed. Then it would just be Zaire, and the open skies.

Zaire put his book down and walked towards a nearby fountain, the water gleamed in the light of the full moon. Zaire ran his hands in the cold water of the fountain, the free flowing water had not stopped to amaze him. He looked upwardly at the skies, with fond memories of home. It was the same skies, with the blessing of the stars and the moonlight, that had got him so far. He missed home and his family, especially his mother. The thought of his mother, made him feel hungry. He went back to the table, and pulled out the remainder of his lunch from his bag.

It did not taste anything like his mother's food, but Zaire had not once questioned how fortunate he had been. He had initially thought twice about taking the opportunity given to him by the visiting Americans. He had felt sad to leave his family behind in their small village, living a life of struggles for their basic needs. But he had realized it was important to follow his dreams, and so Zaire had flown like a river towards the sea of opportunities. He was determined to work hard and make it big. He had vowed to change everything for the better for his family, and for his entire village.

Zaire sat back again with his Mathematics book, pulling the ends of his cardigan and fastening its buttons. The autumn nights were getting chillier for sure, but Zaire knew he could fight it. His worry was about the winter months, when he had to adapt to studying indoors in his dorm. Some habits were hard to break, especially for a kid who grew up studying outside in the moonlight, while his family slept in the darkness of their house.

April 29, 2014

Yoshi

April A-Z Challenge - Y is for Yoshi - Righteous (Origin : Japanese)

Theme: Short stories highlighting the lives of 26 fictional characters



Yoshi was glad to be in familiar surroundings, the Sakura trees, especially after a long flight, that had made him sick. It was his first time away from home, but he was proud to represent his country in the Cherry Blossom Festival. He felt the calligraphy pen in his pocket and the picture. The festival started tomorrow, his stall would write children's names in Japanese. He would begin his search for his missing father tomorrow too. It had been fifteen years since he had left home for this festival. Will he find him and prove to be a righteous son?


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

My first attempt on a 100 word fiction challenge!

Short Story Contest Entry


If you have not had enough with my short stories for the A-Z challenge, here is one more.

This time for a short story contest by Tell-a-Tale.

What was interesting with this contest was we were given a choice of themes and some challenge words that had to be included in the story. Using which the story had to be written and submitted within a day. The amazing experience I have gained from the past month definitely helped here.

The winners of this contest, are determined by both, a panel of judges and public voting.

So, if you do like the story, please click on the like buttons at the end of the story page, in this link.

http://tell-a-tale.com/network-of-hope/


Thank you!

April 28, 2014

Xiao-Chen

April A-Z Challenge - X is for Xiao-Chen - Early Morning (Origin : Chinese)

Theme: Short stories highlighting the lives of 26 fictional characters






It was the first time I had gone to work that early - the morning fog covered the building like a thick blanket as I walked towards it. A light at the corner of the hallway greeted me, surprising me of someone else's presence. As my curiosity dragged my feet all the way down the hallway, I found a middle aged Asian man, small in stature, deeply engrossed in his work. That is the day I first met Xiao-Chen. A man of few words, rarely seen outside his cube, and I had not known him for the year that I had worked there.

That was in Spring. I noticed him a few times again during lunch, as I went to the break room to heat my lunch. There he sat, head bent over his bowl of noodles, adeptly gathering them with his chopsticks, only briefly looking up to nod. He intrigued me, for looking so calm, not a change in his expressions, come rain or snow, dressed in the same black sweater and khakis, rarely speaking a word.

My curiosity got the better of me. For months, I probed my colleagues, sometime subtly during meetings, and at other times over lunch, hoping to gather some insight about him. He was a good employee they said, always finishing his work on time, but didn't talk to a soul, but still got away as friendly, with his polite nod. There were rumors of him being lonely, some said he saw a shrink, some even thought he was not stable, and that, one day, he would bring harm by doing something drastic.

Work went on, and it was soon the holiday season. I was on a long vacation from work, engaged in a lot of family gatherings and fun. But early one morning, I had to sneak out of the house to work, to pick up the gift I had bought for my wife and hidden at my desk.

It seemed eerie as I got inside, the same fog, and the same light welcomed me. Only this time, Xiao-Chen was not at his desk. Instead, I saw him walking from one cube to the other, with a backpack over his shoulders. My mind raced with questions. Should I confront him? Or should I call security? Or should I just ignore and head back home? Before I made up my mind, I saw him standing in front of me with the same polite nod. He slowly turned around and walked to his cube.

I rushed to my cube, determined to check it's contents, and email the team. Upon entering I found a gift box wrapped in shiny red, sitting on my desk along with a greeting card. As I opened the gift to find a mug with hot chocolate mix, Xiao-Chen entered and said, "Don't tell anyone," and hurriedly left with a nod.

I stared at where he had stood, trying to understand what was going on as I opened the card that read:

"Happy Holidays - With Warmth, Your Dear Friend!

Finally, I had a face and name to the "Dear Friend" who had been leaving a gift for everyone each Christmas. And that early morning,  the person who intrigued me for months, had warmed my heart, and become a dear friend.

April 26, 2014

Winona

April A-Z Challenge - W is for Winona - First Born (Origin : Lakota)

Theme: Short stories highlighting the lives of 26 fictional characters




Winona felt excited about her new surroundings, as she played with her younger siblings, near their freshly built teepee. They had moved to a new location today following the buffalo's trail. Winona gathered her siblings and took them inside as she heard her mother's song. It was her favorite time of the day, when they sat together and listened to fascinating stories told by the women, in the smoke of the teepee.  Soon she heard the gallop of the horses in the far distance, as she ran out to see the men returning with a new prey. "They would be eating buffalo for dinner," she thought excitedly. As soon as the women had cooked the meat, everybody gathered around and ate hungrily. Before Winona was done eating and helping her siblings eat, she began hearing the sounds of the drums. She could feel the Earth come alive as the beats of the drums and their feet rose to the skies. Winona looked around happily, content with her life in the Great Plains, not knowing what the future held for them.

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

Inspired by my daughter's American Indian project for school.

April 25, 2014

Vilas

April A-Z  Challenge - V is for Vilas - Charming ( Origin : Sanskrit)

Theme: Short stories highlighting the lives of 26 fictional characters





Vilas walked stealthily across the hallway, making sure there was nobody watching him from the windows, as he moved towards the dark room at the far end of the hallway where he had seen it being hidden. He had chosen the perfect time for the task when the women of the house took their afternoon nap, if everything went as he had planned, he should finish his job easily and leave without a clue left behind. He was soon at the door to the dark room and he anxiously stepped in and spotted it right away, it sat on the tallest shelf in the room wrapped in a newspaper to disguise it to avoid unnecessary attention. Vilas climbed onto a step stool and pulled himself high on his toes, just as his fingers finally reached it, his elbow accidentally knocked down a jar and sent it crashing down. The next thing he knew his mother and grandmother were standing at the door to the pantry where he stood shell shocked as he was caught red handed in his first attempt in stealing a chocolate bar.

April 24, 2014

Urmi

April A-Z Challenge - U is for Urmi - Wave (Origin: Sanskrit)
 
Theme: Short stories highlighting the lives of 26 fictional characters
 
 
 
Urmi stood grimly in front of the Kensington Palace with flowers in her hand. It had been three days since the news of Princess Diana's death, and Urmi felt like she owed her this homage.  Like many others in her profession, Urmi had felt a pang of guilt when she had heard the news about Diana's death, especially since she had written many articles about her over the years, for the local newspaper that she worked for. Her eyes welled with tears as she saw the messages left by thousands of people. She felt the same kind of sadness that she had felt eight months ago when she had lost her husband to cancer. She had nursed a growing turmoil inside her ever since, about what she should do with her life now. She had contemplated everything from retirement to changing careers, but had found no answers. All those questions inside of her echoed even louder in the dim light of dawn, as she bid farewell to a person she had admired.
 
She had picked the wee hours of the morning to pay homage in order to avoid the crowd and also give herself enough time to prepare for her flight to Calcutta that evening. She had explained to her company that it would be a sabbatical of sorts, a brief pause to regain herself. But Urmi herself did not know the purpose of her visit to her home country. Perhaps meeting family and friends, visiting places she grew up in, dwelling for a while in familiar surroundings would give her the answers to her questions she thought. She was beginning to understand that her soul was searching for something more than what her job provided
.
It was a long flight and upon arrival, Urmi was flooded by her family and friends, temporarily relieving her of the gloom she had been surrounded by. The next two days went in meeting a lot of people, good food and idyllic banter with her loved ones. But by the end of it, Urmi still felt restless, her mind seemed alienated to her surroundings, busy in its quest for something. She heard a loud commotion outside of the house brining with it the news about the sudden demise of  Mother Teresa.
 
In less than a week, she stood there waiting to pay homage again, this time nearly 5000 miles away, to a person she had idolized through her growing years. She was deeply moved by the stories she heard around her while she waited for her turn in line. When she got closer and looked at the frail body laying there surrounded by the aura of the work she had done, a sudden wave rose inside her, Urmi finally felt like she knew what she wanted.
 
In a few months Urmi stood in front of the new school she had started in Calcutta for underprivileged children, with a sense of contentment.  A new wave of energy had taken over her and her quest had finally ended.
 

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.


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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!

April 19, 2014

Qadir

April A-Z Challenge - Q is for Qadir - Capable (Origin : Arabic)

Theme: Short stories highlighting the lives of 26 fictional characters 




Qadir sat in the VIP section of the packed stadium, eagerly awaiting the start of the opening ceremony of the 2022 World Cup Football. The loud electrifying cheers from the spectators in Qatar, reminded him of the cheers he had heard on the television the day their country was chosen to host the world cup games. It was twelve years ago, and Qadir had been laying on a hospital bed with both his legs in a cast, after his dreams of playing for the nation's football team had been crushed by an accident. As he watched the announcement on television, he had found a new hope of still being able to do be associated with what he loved the most. Qadir heard his name being called as the organizer of the event, as he made his way to the spotlight of the ceremony, he felt that he had finally kicked out the gloom and disappointment of not being able to play again and scored the biggest goal of his life.


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Another Flash Fiction!

Image : Proposed Doha Port Stadium

April 18, 2014

Paolo

April A-Z Challenge - P is for Paolo - Small (Origin : Italian)

Theme: Short stories highlighting the lives of 26 fictional characters 




Paolo being the youngest in his family, had struggled with his self confidence from when he was little. His short and stout stature had not helped him either. He had always been laughed at by his brothers and cousins and when he had asked to join them, he had been told, "What can you do? You are too small for anything. "

Paolo had spent his time hiding in the kitchen during the many family gatherings they had, feeling secure in the presence of his beloved grandmother. There he had felt at home, midst the aromas of the tomato, garlic and basil, while Nonna's songs would make the kitchen come alive. Paolo helped her by rolling the prosciutto, while he watched her expert fingers work on making delicious tortellini. She had called him her personal food taster and he had felt mighty privileged to be the first to be getting a bite of Nonna ' s famous recipes.

Time had flown, and Paolo had grown in years, but his self confidence had not. He barely managed to graduate high school not knowing what do with his life. He had been spending a lot of time talking to Nonna, helping her cook and being her personal taster. On one such day, when he was standing there watching the freshly made uneven shaped dough going into the pasta maker and coming out as evenly spun spaghetti, something occurred to him. He had hugged his Nonna and ran out to fill the application to a culinary school.

Now Paolo was doing what he knew best, he was the chef and owner of a famous restaurant called "Nonna ' s Little Kitchen". He did not have to step out into the world without the comfort he felt in Nonna ' s small kitchen, he had created his world in it and invited others inside.

April 17, 2014

Otto

April A-Z Challenge - O is for Otto - Fortune (Origin:German)

Theme: Short stories highlighting the lives of 26 fictional characters 






Otto sat in the subway station waiting for his train, it was a big day for him, he had finally decided to take control of his life. It had been difficult facing the every day demands of life, in spite of working hard at two jobs. The meager salary he brought home hardly met their needs and only fueled the many taunts of his wife. It had hurt him to see the disappointment on his children's face every time he had said no. He had seen the love and respect for him diminish at home over the years, though he had given back unconditionally. He had got used to living life clinging onto tiny rays of hope, since his childhood.

It had been hard growing up watching his father come home and hit his mother. His mother had grieved quietly, living a frustrated life, finding an outlet in Otto. Every strike she received in silence, she had doubled it and hit Otto. He in turn had taken it all in quietly, telling himself he owed it to his mother, till the grief finally took her completely in its clutches. Otto had left home that day, never returning back. He had vowed to himself that he would be the good husband and father that his father had never been.

The train arrived into the station as he climbed inside securing his backpack. It was a short ride to the bank which was the building opposite the station. He walked in and pulled out his gun immediately, seeing fear in people's eyes. He was surprised he could bring that emotion in people! They followed his every instruction, and filled the bag with money, it was the first time somebody had listened to him. He realized the power of his new side as he fired at the security camera before leaving. It came down scattering into pieces, just like the righteous life he had led for all these years.

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This story was inspired by the Cherokee Indian story of the two wolves.


April 16, 2014

Naina



April A-Z Challenge - N is for Naina - Eyes (Origin : Sanskrit)

Theme: Short stories highlighting the lives of 26 fictional characters 






Naina was a happy girl, except when it was time for bed.
When the light went out and the book was read,
the thought of playing, soon filled her head.


One night her mother had a special story to share,
about a little friend who came in each night to care.


The friend flies in from the window as the sun goes down,
To help precious kids, too little to sleep on their own.


She sit's on Naina's tummy, and goes on a tickle prowl,
To make sure it is full, and she does not hear a growl.


She then creeps and crawls right upto her chest,
And lands onto Naina's chin, with a leap at her best.


She jumps onto her nose, making it wiggle,
the wiggle is followed by a loud giggle.


Then she waits and watches, the right moment not to miss,
as Naina gives her mother the last goodnight kiss. 


Plop! Into Naina's eyes she dives ready to explore.
Mother looks closely into Naina's eyes and exclaims,
"Your little friend looks just like me!"


Naina loves her already, and wants to keep her safe and snug,
Her eyelids curl and close to give her friend a big hug.


The friend sprinkles sleep into Naina's eyes,
as she peeks into Naina's mind, using magical ways.


There she collects happy thoughts built from the day,
and makes them into sweet dreams, in her own loving way.


She fills Naina's head with the happiest dream,
To make her smile, as she lay asleep.