“There amid the blue flowers, fair as the flowers themselves, sat the lady of my dreams. Her eyes, black as midnight, dreamt on as she held the petals close to her heart. Her long hair and shimmery wings ruffled in the wind, thrumming my heart strings.
And, in that moment, I fell in love with the fairy.”
I’m sure, the quill had lost its potency, or may be it’s the fancy ink I had purchased at the Witch’s Supplies store. They had guaranteed that anything written with the quill and ink will be accepted for publication without fail. But I should have known better–these readymade spells wear off after a few readings, and I, myself, had reread the manuscript at least four times.
Was that why it had felt rather bland in the last reading?
Now the entire thing has returned from the publisher and I had to pay for the return Owl as well. And to think, I had spent three months writing the entire thing with hands.
Once Paa hears of it, I’ll never hear the end of it. Over and over, he had offered me his spell-operated typewriter with the secret homemade Publication ink–the one he had used for all of his 18 published books. But I had been too proud to accept the favour. And now he’s busy writing his 19th, so typewriter is busy.
May be I’ll beg him for his secret ink recipe…anything for the elusive Booker Prize…
We’ve been getting too many knocks on the windows during lockdown. This series is dedicated to these neighbours.
Ever met those black coats who gather in huge numbers to discuss important matters, dissent on everything, protest for everything, speak all at once for hours, and then go away without discussing anything worthwhile? The sharp eyes, the curt manner, the voice that doesn’t accept ‘No’ for an answer…
Ever so often, they campaign for a cause. They knock on the door, squawk a curt greeting and cry “Vote, vote, vote” and hurry away before I can understand anything.
Not sure if they expect a reply. My voice won’t carry that far anyway.
Author’s note: I always believed Myna as uninteresting until I moved to Baghpat. For the first time, I noted the subtle differences between the various myna breeds that frequent the area. I don’t have decent shots of all types but here are a few.
The world was on fire, but no one felt the burning heat, except she, who walked alone on snow–barefoot, her clothes frayed from her last struggle not unlike her soul–waiting patiently for revenge, until they bring back another, as she knew they would.
Here is an excerpt from Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. While this book is always on my mind, it came to me today because of the happenings in the past three weekends, and in fact, the past five years of my life.
“And we other boys, who would have sacrificed ten terms of our school-life for the sake of being ill for a day, and had no desire whatever to give our parents any excuse for being stuck-up about us, couldn’t catch so much as a stiff neck. We fooled about in draughts, and it did us good, and freshened us up ; and we took things to make us sick, and they made us fat, and gave us an appetite. Nothing we could think of seemed to make us ill until the holidays began. Then, on the breaking-up day, we caught colds, and whooping cough, and all kinds of disorders, which lasted till the term recommenced ; when, in spite of everything we could manoeuvre to the contrary, we would get suddenly well again, and be better than ever.”
I have low immunity and get viral fever whenever season changes, but only on weekends and, then, become completely well on Mondays and ready to work. Nearly 80 percent of my sick leave lapse unused every year while so many weekends are killed. My super manager had once joked that our team has a habit of falling ill only when there is no work. It comes back to me ever so often.
For the first time in past five years, I am out of office for illness for more than a couple of hours (five days already and would need another tomorrow). It feels weird in extreme to not open my laptop for five days in a row, as if I’ve lost a limb.
Thank goodness for the WordPress app on my phone to keep me engaged. Else, I would have gone crazy with boredom.
Many of my neighbours having been calling in, in spite of the lockdown and strict government measures. This guy took it to another level.
It is one thing to ask for something to eat but raiding your neighbour’s fridge and locking yourself inside is plain rude, and stupid too. I found him inside the fridge. Too colourful–bright white background with red and green spots–so, I’m unsure if he’s a regular moth or her love-baby with a butterfly.
Since the little guy showed no intention to move his butt out of the new found haven, or may be his butt was frozen after a night’s orgy inside the fridge, I took him on my hands (he fretted a little but couldn’t fly away) and placed him on one of the walls that gets warmed by the sun.
There he stayed for another 7 hours and I saw his butt had moved a little.
Later in the night, he was gone. Either he got well and away, or Hariya, our resident lizard (a story for a different day) had a sumptuous snack. At least, someone had a good time.
Fish in the Treesis my alter ego. It stands for my unique position as a true Gemini. (Ever saw that horoscope picture with two people looking in different directions? That’s me.) I have always been looking in two directions or more–trying to see both sides of the coin, skewing my perspective like a fish-eye lens. I have a traditional small-town upbringing, but am plagued with question-itis (the habit of asking pain-in-the-ass questions) and conform-o-phobia (the fear of conforming with status quo). My blog follows suit.
It makes both of us forever misfits, like a shellfish in the trees.
Fish in the trees only had five posts till mid-last year, all of which I deleted. On the night of 15th June last year, I decided to rebirth this site and moved in stuff from my earlier site Fly on the Wall (that no one read). Since then, I have written every week, twice a week, daily… Yup! I’m that crazy!
Now after one year, here are 10 posts that I am proud of…okay 18…It is rather difficult to pick your favourite child, and I have over 300.
The lockdown has made me better acquainted with a lot of neighbours. This one visits us every spring.
When I first saw one, I rubbed my eyes, took a photo and showed around to check if it was really green, and really a pigeon. May be, it was a parrot or a barbet…People suggested I needed to invest in a better camera, or perhaps, a psychologist.
I questioned my sanity.
A couple of years later, I saw a group again, I took pictures. People suggested, may be it was just the morning light. I showed them Google Search for green pigeons. They said they might exist but not here. The shots aren’t clear enough for a proof.
For another month, I hung around on my rooftop everyday, looking for clearer evidence. Even though they had moved in the trees around my house, the green mean guys hung around, always out of range.
Then, one fine day, one of the elusive guys came close enough for a clear shot. There he sat for 10 minutes, letting me take 15 shots, and prove to myself that I hadn’t been hallucinating.
Well, let me clarify, Racism is not just about hitting or killing a person from another race/religion. It is also the prejudice or discrimination you direct against someone of a different race, consciously or sub-consciously. My last post My Personal Black Day was an example of racism at a sub-conscious level in daily life. I had more of such experiences when I joined a Christian school in middle grade and later a Muslim High School, but those are stories for later.
Now, do you still think you aren’t a racist? I dare you to check.
Did you study in a school or college, worked in an office, or lived in a place that had people from different races–Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Jews or others; black skin, white skin, red skin, yellow skin or brown skin? Open your collection of pictures during the social gatherings and answer the following questions in the Comments section. You will find your own answer.
Which race/religion shows up the most?
Is a person from another race/religion standing close to you?
Are they close friends?
Do you remember their names clearly?
Ever visited their house or hung out with them?
Did you ever go on a date with a person of another race/religion?
What race/religion is your bestie?
What race/religion is your spouse?
Did you get your answer yet?
You can give an excuse that these people wanted to be left out. Really? Did you try starting a dialogue or offering a smile?
Clearly, as birds of a feather, we racists flock together.
I am rather ashamed of myself for this incident because, all my life, I had believed I wasn’t a racist. It shows me the mirror.
Bangalore, nearly evening…
I and my roommate had been shopping for several hours and I was fretting to return home. I was new to Bangalore, didn’t remember the roads, didn’t know the language, and had already lost my way once at night. My roommate knew the way, but we hadn’t been friends long, so I had a difficulty trusting her night-navigation skills.
As we boarded the autorickshaw, she asked me if it was okay if we visited a friend close by for a couple of minutes. She had something she wanted to handover. I said it was fine.
So we went to his rented flat in a posh locality. I was fine until he opened the door. Black.
I was suddenly on guard. I wasn’t able to place the sharp smell that came from the flat (a bachelors’ pad), I wondered if it was drugs. I can’t even give an excuse of huge built or towering personality. He was merely 5’8″, welcoming and cordial. My fear was only based on the colour and smell, which I later found out was the smell of sweat (bachelors’ pad, after all).
Even though I knew he was a highly qualified software engineer and a close friend of my roomy, I was scared. I held my breath until we were out. Those two minutes were the longest in my life. I knew that all those present there realised my discomfort since he didn’t stop us for chit-chat. I didn’t do anything, but still made him feel unwelcome.
I later tried to rationalise my reaction by saying it was being in a new place among strangers…but I had been in a similar situation before, but the guys were all Indians and we had a lot of laughs that day.
There are no two ways about it. I was prejudiced against a Black man even before he looked at me.
I met him later again in a GoCarting area. This time, I was genuinely happy to have received a second chance. Surprising my family, I went ahead and talked to him about everything under the sun. I still wish I had done it the first day, which still remains the black day of my life.
As Instructional Designers, we create online courses for adult learners. Recently, I and another colleague were training around 12 colleagues on an authoring software that we use create these products. We were worried about the mental barriers of virtual training, the monotony of software training and the difficulty our colleagues would face in remembering the huge number of functionalities.
So, we decided to go crazy. To show them the various capabilities of the software, we used a dragon activity that Ellen Forkin had shared for free on her blog Ellen’s Wonderfuss Fairies for kids to doodle on.
We showed them how to insert icons and images of food in it’s stomach and then add labels and various functionalities to the page. It earned quite a few giggles from our ‘class’. Since, we are all 30-50 years old, I would call that quite a feat. More importantly, it helped them remember.
Next day, as a refresher of the functionalities taught the previous day, I quickly built a story using a troll hair activity, again by Ellen Forkin. It had the same functionalities and some new ones to get my ‘students’ excited and ready to learn. Some may think it unprofessional to use cartoons for adult learners but it worked for us.
Here is the story and a couple of screenshots. Together with the animation, narration and various functionalities, it came out as entertaining, if nothing more.
Now, a farmhouse, complete with animals and a farmhand, sat atop his bald head.
The old couple was horrified–it’s not everyday that you see the earth move beneath your feet. The young farmhand was rather amused–it’s not everyday that you see the earth move beneath your feet. The cow and sheep were wide-eyed and stopped mooing and baaing for an entire minute. The rooster, however, loved the higher perch and began cock-a-doodle-doo-ing right away.
But the gentle troll that he was, Munchkins put them down, smiled and walked away.
Thank you, Ellen, for waking my student’s inner child, which made the training a resounding success. Your art inspired mine.
During lockdown, a lot of my neighbours have been knocking on my window.
This guy wasn’t one of them. He was just minding his own business. Meet Chatters–our neighbour squirrel on the way to becoming a whale.
He lives on the tree next to our window and had been eating constantly all summer last year, all winter (I don’t think he can deal with hibernation– no food for four months!), all spring this year and now half the summer.
He started a puny little thing and looked cute munching on the flowers. But he ate…and ate…and I started wondering how he can climb up and down the tree with so much food in his system. So, when I saw him hanging upside down on the tree branch, I was sure he had taken up Yoga to lose some weight.
But alas, he was chewing the dried beans from the tree. So much for losing weight.
In that moment, he reminded me a lot of another rodent who hangs upside down in the next tree. So far, I had believed that bats were flying rats…but all of a sudden, I could see the family resemblance, the thin fingers holding the branches tightly, the cute puppy face (until you see the teeth), the pointy ears and beady eyes.
As I saw Chatters, still hanging upside down, eyeing Kohl, the pretty lady hanging on the next tree, I wondered if he was trying to impress; as Kohl eyed him right back, whether we’ll see some ‘flying squirrels’ in the coming months…
During lockdown, our neighbours have been knocking on our windows for various reasons. This series is dedicated to them.
Recently, we got a visit from the Jungle Babblers–not sure about their names, since they never got around to introduce themselves.
One of them just knocked on the window at 6 am and, then, hopped back on the tree to argue with another Babbler. Or may be, they were just talking…Babblers can be pretty loud about their views and a simple-minded person like me can easily misjudge it as an argument.
Anyway, when I reached the window to check who it is, both of them looked pretty peeved…but then, Jungle Babblers always look peeved.
So, I felt rather uninvited in this heated discussion, which could be about anything–a fight among neighbours for the best branch rights (it is time to build nests), a lover’s quarrel over who will change diapers once the babies are delivered (Read The Delivery Guy to find out more), or a discussion about the weather.
But it was intense, because discussions are always intense among Babblers.
So, I stood there sleepy-eyed and waiting for niceties and for someone to explain why they woke me up. May be, they wanted someone to mediate but all I could hear was a lot of swearing in Babbl-ish (they have some really obscene words, like ‘crockacrockacrow’ and ‘cruuuckkrrrrr’). So, after 5 minutes, I finally gave up, left them to settle the ‘argument’ themselves…if it was one, and went back to sleep.
I think they felt insulted, since they haven’t visited me again. But, for once, I am not sorry. I don’t want my baby to grow up learning such foul language. Would you?