Posted in Life and After

A Walk Down the Memory Lane

After an agonizing search in my desk drawer that lasted forever (who knew a 15 x 12 inch drawer could hold so many things), I finally found it–my pen!

It looked weird…too plain. Not quite what I remembered. In my memory, it was rather shiny, elegant, all pretty curves and easy on the eye, or at least, a lot better than its current reality. Perhaps, my mind had been polishing its memory like lost love, romanticizing it until I forget the reality.

It seemed, a lot of other facts escaped my memory too. For example, why did I store it with the rest of the crap I own. I agree the drawer is supposed to have working things, but mostly, mine is the museum of fossils–long-dead things that I couldn’t throw away for reasons better left to imagination.

Did it still work?

I held it in my hand gingerly. It felt awkward, like I had lost a limb without knowing that it had gone missing, and now that I’ve found it after an eternity, I don’t know how to reattach it to the rest of me.

I held it between my fingers and moved it around, ill at ease. My fingers didn’t respond happily, the way they should have. After all, it is something they had held for half their life. They ached from the effort of mock-scribbling in the air.

Did it still work? I tried scribbling on my palm. All it did was scratch the sensitive skin.

Was the refill dry? But then another lost fact sprung to my mind–these ballpoint pens were always hopeless on the skin. I looked around for a scrap of paper–a difficult task, considering I hadn’t written in eons. Why would I? In a perfect world, everything I needed to write could be typed on the Notes app of my phone and laptop.

Only, this world wasn’t perfect anymore.

Finally, a piece of paper bag presented itself. I scribbled on the back side and it worked. Great! Now, all that remained was to dig out a notebook to teach my daughter how to write…

Sigh! Home schooling can be pretty exhausting…

Posted in Life and After, Nature

The Forest

Image copyright Ammpryt ART

The hiking trip to the forest had once seemed like a great idea–a dare–but now, it felt horribly wrong. 

The forest seemed rather bleak with the tall trees blocking out the sunlight completely. The air was heavy and sounds felt muted somehow, until all we could hear was our own heartbeat. Even the birds that were chirping outside seemed to have deserted the forest in search of happier places. Our otherwise rambunctious group was now too silent. The crunching sound our feet made on the forest floor felt like an open invitation to…

Something…

Something sinister…

Though we couldn’t be sure of what.

Turning back felt like a wise decision though nobody wanted to say it out loud. It would be admitting defeat. So we all walked along, no longer cracking jokes and too aware of our surroundings. There was a feeling of being followed the moment we stepped in, and as we went deeper, the feeling became stronger, until it was so overpowering like a serpent sitting on our chest. We walked in a tight group and kept sneaking glancing behind us.

And that’s when a twig cracked behind us. A flock of birds took off. And suddenly, everybody started screaming and running in all directions.

A stag walked out of the bushes behind us, looking scandalized.

Posted in Nature

My Neighbours: The Peacock

A couple of months back, I came back to my bedroom to find that I wasn’t the only woman in the room. A very pretty young lady had decided that my place was good enough to spend the night. She was resting against one of the pillars in her absolutely stunning dress in shimmering golden-coppery-green.

It made me slightly jealous–She was definitely returning from the disco, because there was no other excuse for such a dress. I, on the other hand, haven’t stepped out of my house since December 2019, thanks to COVID 19.

Also, that meant she had not been following the social distancing rules, mingling with people. She had no mask. So I, with a self-righteous air, told her to leave. She was probably too drunk to get me, because she stayed right where she was. So, I had to bodily remove her from my premises. But I couldn’t forget the dress…yeah, I know, typical woman! 😁

Posted in Love

Someone Special

I love variety in life. If there is a choice, I never take the same route to a destination twice in a row. Not sure how I hung about you for ten years.

You must be someone special!


-Dedicated to W, the one path I’d take till eternity

Posted in Random Thoughts

Thank you!

Three years back, a colleague, Insiya, asked me why I do not write apart from work. I told her, I do not have the creativity in language; that I am too simplistic and minimalistic.

She said, “You have perspective, and simple is a style too.”

Thank you, Insiya. I needed that push.

Posted in Random Thoughts

2020/2021

This one is for the unsung heroes of the world. Let’s make their lives easier…Stay safe. Save lives. Be a hero.

Don Ostertag: Off Stage

PHIL

This photo says more than anything I could ever write about the year 2020

Phil is one of the millions of Front Line heroes, around the world, risking their lives to fight for our safety, to help bring back the normalcy we had less than a year ago.

Phil is a medic in England, but he represents, in my belief,

Medics, First Responders, Essential Workers, Teachers, etc.

in every county.

Truly, a united world wide fight.

And these Phils have families

Loved ones.

Some who work also on the Front Line.

Some who stay back

and support their Front Line Heroes.

This photo of Phil was taken by his loving and supporting wife, Fraggle, a professional photographer, who captures amazing art in her photos. More of her art can be seen in her WP Blog: https://fragglerocking.org/

This is what she wrote to accompany her photo:

‘Our year has been…

View original post 154 more words

Posted in Love

Pieces

You picked my pieces

from the ruins,

dreaming to put me

together

on the pedestal

of perfection–

A place where I could

never belong.

Angry, you pushed me

off the pedestal

Shattering me into

Countless pieces

of heart.

Every day.

Posted in My life

The Curious Case of M&S (Part 2)

Illustration by M at Ammpryt ART

A lot of you already know my best friend M through my post–The Curious Case of M&S. She’s my soulmate, except for the romance part.

We had rediscovered childhood together at an age when most women try to act grown up. We had run amok on streets ducking angry cows, eating unhealthy food, just loitering around on the pretext of finding coaching centres, attending those coaching just to be around each other during summer breaks…well, you get the drift.

What I didn’t tell you is that our common love is painting. We met during our Bachelor’s at our painting class and it was love at first sight. We were the fiercest competitors and best friends. We had entered competitions together, exhibited paintings together, experimented with colours and dabbed with different styles.

I was her biggest fan…the kind who collect waste paper after the other, literally. So, she used to carry out five-minute experiments on scraps of paper, intending to throw them away. I used to collect these little gems. Some may find it a little creepy–stalker-kind of behaviour. But I knew someday, I’ll sell them off as M’s first and become a millionaire. I had that level of confidence in her skills.

She is the best painter I have come across, and I have met some some really successful Indian painters during Bachelors. After she finished her Masters, she had to take a long career break due to the reason the world knows as marriage and children. Now she’s back in full force and raring to go.

She paints both for love and money. She has created some illustrations for my site under the pen name Ammpryt ART.

She also has a website that has her contact details in the About page. So, in case you are thinking of some custom-made paintings that you can print, she is the go-to person. She also has a design shop on redbubble.com by the same name (Ammpryt ART). They print your chosen designs on blankets, mugs, t-shirts etc and deliver at your doorstep. There are a bunch of Red bubble links in her blog, though she hasn’t figured out the blogging part properly yet. Do check her site and let her know your thoughts about her designs.

We are currently working on our first book–a story compilation with some kick-ass illustrations. Wish us luck!

Posted in Life and After, Twisted Tales

Occupational Hazard

Shivering with cold, he peered inside the window. The tree was ablaze with lights. Gifts beneath it awaited the next morning. One of them seemed like a large jwelery box…

Bracelet?

Necklace?

On the table sat a couple of steaming mugs. Was that coffee?

What wouldn’t he give for that coffee right now? Or hot Cocoa? His ride didn’t have heating and his buttocks got glued to the seat. He felt like he would need an icepick to get him out. His fingers were turning blue. Global warming didn’t seem to be helping him right now. The cold was just as cold now as it was fifty years back. In fact, it seemed to be getting colder each year. Or maybe, he’s getting on with years. Maybe he should just retire…

Anyway, how long are these people planning to stay awake? It was already midnight, but the couch potatoes were glued to the television screen playing a cheesy movie about Christmas with Santa in a red coat, saying, “Ho! Ho! Ho!”. He rolled his eyes. Typical! The movie seemed to have just started, which meant these people would stay awake for another couple of hours.

Utter disrespect for other people’s time!

How on earth would he get inside undetected? He wasn’t exactly a wee mousey. This ample girth wouldn’t hide behind a candy stick.

He was tempted to skip this house and try another? But then, it had been the same case for the past couple of hours. State after state, house after house, people were awake glued to their screens. First, they had set radars across the world, shooting missiles at any flying object, turning traveling at night into a safety hazard. Then, they invented central heating, reduced chimney width to the size of a drainstorm pipe and installed intruder alarms to doors and windows. And now, they stay up all night keeping him out, waiting, and shivering in the cold.

To rub salt on the wound, they say, there is no Santa Claus! What do they expect him to do? Send stuff in by Magic?

He sighed. He couldn’t skip the sweet little girl upstairs waiting for her gift. As he had done all night, he placed the package with the teddy bear at the doorstep, hoping to get away without a sound. The intruder alarm went off, waking the entire neighborhood. He ran to his waiting sledge, and his reindeers took off in the sky before the adults could come out.

Panting, he cursed under his breath. He would have to find a replacement next year…maybe those nimble little elfs would be a better match for the exhausting routine. Or may be, just may be, he would join that gym again, and try harder this time…


Author’s note: To find out about Santa’s tryst at the local gym, read Santa’s Sweatshop.

Merry Christmas to everyone stuck at home away from family. Let prayers flow freely today. I truly hope the worse is behind us all and in the new year, we would all wake up to a better, safer world.


Free Photo by Brooks Rice on Unsplash

Posted in Blogging

Make Some Noise!!! 300+ WP followers

I am notorious for celebrating milestones on my blog. I think it is because of my overzealous nature, but also because this blog means so much to me. So, here I am celebrating yet another milestone.

300+ WordPress followers! Thank you all!

Why it means so much? Because it means that there are people out there who would like to read my blog again. I know most of them may get busy and not return, but the thought counts. It almost feels like getting a Christmas card from a stranger…not expected but that makes it ever so much more wonderful.

And there are those other followers who come back nearly every day, a lot of them even comment and let me know if they agree, or not, or if there could be a potential for improving what I wrote–which is even more wonderful, almost like having a family online–Don, Petra, Chris, Alex, John, Lauren, Ngozi, R.E., Colin, Kim, Yvonne, Ellen, Sangeetha, Vaidehi and Pete. And then, there is Elizabeth, who is not my follower but still has been around for quite a few heart-to-heart discussions.

If your name is not here, I apologize. Trust me, I celebrate every single time someone hits the Follow button. It is just that you have been too quiet lately. You have probably been Liking my posts without leaving a Comment. And, unfortunately, my memory is shorter than that of a goldfish! So, please make a noise. Leave comments, Christmas messages, anything you want to share. I will reply.

So, thank you again for following my blog. You force me try writing better. You make me feel as if this isn’t just a whim! 😀

Also, if you wish to share a guest post on my site, please feel free to mail me at shailygrwl@gmail.com. I will reply within a week’s time.

Thanks a ton!

Love you all!

Wish you all a Merry Christmas and a wonderful COVID-19-free New Year!

-Shaily

Posted in Nature

My Neighbours: The Glutton

It is winters again. Thanks to the tree next door that flowers during the time, we have guests from all over the place. Here’s one…Notice his look?

“Cute flowers…pity it’s lockdown. So, what do they do with it these days?”

“Oh heck! Who cares?”

Chomp, chomp, chomp!

“I hope Rose didn’t see that…”

“Damn! Busted!”

Posted in Life and After

Left Hook, Right Hook

His right hook was stronger than his left hook. So, he gathered the coriander leaves together with his left hook and waged a war against the errant leaves with his right. But they kept falling out, reminding him that quality of his remaining life depended on the new set of fingers his new bosses had ordered for him, if he was to keep his current job as a housekeeper and cook.

For 34 years, he had worked at a warehouse, using his pair of sturdy hooks to carry and store the wares to be housed, never missing the set of flexible fingers that his contemporary robots sported. So, when his owner decided that his model was too old to be repaired and sold him to willing owners, he felt jilted. New beginnings weren’t easy at his age. But having a new owner was better than being thrown in the junkyard, so he went quietly.

His new owners, an old man with a broken front teeth and an equal old squat woman with a traditional nose pin, took him to one of those ‘lesser’ engineers who work for the masses. How humiliating it was to be standing in the place along with all sort of riffraff!

Then came the big blow…He wasn’t fit for the new owners who needed a domestic robot. Being new to the whole robot-thing and not knowing better, they were fooled into buying an old industrial robot with hooks unaccustomed to the nuances of household work, especially cooking–a delicate art–that need a set of flexible fingers instead of hooks. His owners had openly regretted the choice, calling him a tin-box!

There could be no greater insult. He was made of Aerosteel used in making spaceships! He suggested them to rent him to another warehouse. He offered to work overtime to pay back their money. But even he knew it was a long shot. There was no guarantee a warehouse would hire a 34-year-old robot with obsolete technology.

That’s when the ‘lesser’ engineer became his saviour. He suggested updating his program to ‘Househelp’, and getting him two set of fingers, both easily available on GooglyFace.com. Since the fingers weren’t coming cheep, the old couple needed some persuasion. But they eventually relented since they had already invested 78 thousand bucks on the tin box, and ‘another 7 thousand wouldn’t kill them’.

Hence, the engineer quickly updated his program to Househelp before they could change their mind, deleting his Warehouse program by accident. He offered to order the sets of fingers from a ‘friend’ who would give them a ‘discount’ (his discount being 30% more than the market rate but the old couple would probably never find out).

So now, he was ‘home’ with his new owners awaiting his new body parts, and praying to God, if there was a God for robots, that the engineer would know how to install the fingers properly, else he would be stuck chopping coriander with a pair of hooks for the rest of his life.

Posted in Life and After

Retort

All week long,

the nagging voice

in my head kept saying,

“Stop fighting.

You aren’t getting anywhere.”

Frustrated,

I replied her,

“Stop fighting.

You aren’t getting anywhere.”

Posted in My life, Random Thoughts

Indian Snowman

Lately, my daughter asked me when we’ll have snowfall. She wanted to build a snowman that she had seen it in the cartoons.

But we live in temperate zone and never see snow unless we travel all the way to the mountains. So, together we built an Indian Snowman…the Orange man! He looks rather sunny, I’d say.