The night is alive.
I shut my eyes tight
against the stubborn dreams
that refuse to leave.
Short Stories | Fish-eye Perspective
Fish in the Trees
The night is alive.
I shut my eyes tight
against the stubborn dreams
that refuse to leave.
Lonely in a crowd,
The journey of writing a story book,
One heart, many lives.
I’m a lot of things.
I miss being me.
And you’ll hear it–
The sound of dreams you shattered.
One forgotten dream.
Many duties, expectations,
Life came in between.
I walk the thin line
between yesterday and tomorrow.
It is all too easy to cross over.
I try to be present
’cause that is where I am.
Being polite never hurts, and it is good for business too.
Day 2 Writing Prompt! I think I’m getting the hang of this!
My initial thought with this prompt was some deep social commentary on how we must need more words in our language, because we’re all talking but no one seems to be understanding each other, but…this was more fun. So, here is my unintended homage to O’Henry’s “Ransom of Red Chief.”
“We don’t have enough words,” she sighed, flipping through the stack of mangled magazines in front of her. She had spent hours poring over that wrinkled piece of paper, scissors in one hand, an Elmer’s glue stick in the other.
“Good god, woman! It’s a ransom note not a novel,” I griped, fanning myself against the stifling Louisiana heat. The AC had conked out hours ago, and our only relief was a small metal fan creaking in the motel room window.
“That’s no reason not to be polite,”…
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All night in my ears
Softly whispers sweet nothings
Her wings hum an incessant beat.
Edgy, I swat her.
She ducks and sings.
Free image by Егор Камелев on Unsplash
Long ago there was a girl who lived in a small town that constantly lived in the fear of bandits…this story is not about her.
This story is about my daughter who has a bandit-fetish. Note that we live in a pretty peaceful town…well, as peaceful as an Indian small town in Uttar Pradesh could be, considering the population density of 828 people per square km area. And there are certainly no bandits.
It all began when my daughter watched a cartoon where her favourite character Masha played Robin Hood and asked me who Robin Hood was. I told him he was a bandit who stole from the rich and gave to poor. I was trying to invoke her respect for Robin for helping the poor. But my daughter’s perspective came from the side of the rich he looted.
Ever since, she began asking questions…
Do bandits come during the day? Do they come during the night? Why would they come to our house?
I assured her that they do not come to our town, and we weren’t rich enough and they would certainly never visit us. From my side, the topic was closed, but from her side, it was hardly the case.
First day, she began worrying about her favourite toys, urging that I hide them away somewhere safe at night. I assured her bandits do not play with toys. But then she countered, what if they take it for their baby? It took a lot of assurance to leave the toys in their regular place.
Next she urged I hide away all her favourite dresses too. I told her bandits own their own clothes, and would hardly be interested in such a small size. But she countered, what if they have a baby. A truly valid point… I had to hide her dresses in iron safe.
Lately, she told me to hide away her one rupee coin (1 pence) that I hid in my work drawer and her kebab that is hiding in fridge, while her biscuits, pasta and noodles are in a danger of becoming bandit-food.
You can’t watch everything!
Kara was sitting on the water tank on the roof with the lost look on his face, that I have become accustomed to, ever since his latest batch of eggs hatched. This time I decided to ask, “Hey, what’s with the long face?”
For the few seconds he took, I thought he wouldn’t reply at all. When he did, there was a sigh in his voice, “I’m worried about the youngest one.”
“What happened? Did he fall off the nest?” That would explain his worried face. But he shook his head, “No, he is careful and obedient–just the child any parents would ask for. I just think, he’s not getting the right role model.”
I thought if the number of times I had thought the same about my baby, “Don’t be silly! You and your wife are dedicated parents and a loving couple. How could you not be a good role model?” He hesitated and I could see he was considering whether to just take off without answering. “Yeah! But our voices are…rather different from him. He tries to imitate us but fails…it leaves him frustrated and sad.”
Out of everything I had expected, thus wasn’t in the list. I was confused, “I think I’m mising something here. How could your voice be different from your child’s? Is it because he is still young and his voice unbroken? You can tell him it is just a matter of time…”
A pregnant silence ensued before he answered the question, sounding hesitant and repentant, as if he was sorry for having talked at all. “It isn’t that. His voice is…shrill…Ever heard of a cuckoo? They often break one of the crow’s eggs and leave their own egg behind. There was a cuckoo in our area when our eggs came about…”
That must have been difficult, to suspect having raised the child of their baby’s murderer, “So, you suspect your youngest is the cuckoo’s baby?”
Resigned, he admitted, “We know he is. Knew it from the first day. Both I and wife saw the broken egg below the tree, but what could have we done? Thrown him out of the nest, out of our lives, like his own parents did? Let him die without experiencing love?
We thought we are doing the right thing by taking him in. But now, we are worried if we are the right role models. All the kids laugh at him at his inability for crow-speak, when he coos in the weird cuckoo voice. We try to rationalise it in front of him, but I think he is beginning to understand that he is different and it hurts him.” He was speaking more to himself than me. “We have been arguing over whether to tell him the truth. The wife is afraid the truth will hurt him deep. She’s afraid to lose him.
But I feel he is already hurting too much–the constant failure to become what he clearly isn’t, to conform with family, to accept himself with all the differences–is proving to be too much for him. I want to tell him the truth before we lose him altogether.”
“But you haven’t. Why?”
When he answered, tears bubbled up in his eyes, “What if he decides that he doesn’t want us anymore? I’m afraid to lose him…”
As some of you might already know, I am on a weight reduction program that my husband arranged for me because of knees problems I faced due to sudden weight gain (thanks to hypothyroidism). I wrote a post about it earlier.
Hence, since 10 July, I am on a diet that largely contains fruits, dry fruits, milk and a meal-replacement shake called Safolla Fittify. It tries to keep me away from regular oily and spicy Indian food. But an Indian cannot live without spices, so I am allowed normal food during lunch only. My breakfast and dinner are strictly controlled. I am allowed dry fruits all day, but they don’t taste as good as the Bread-Jam and Aaloo ka Paratha (Potato-filled Chapatti) I would rather have.
In the beginning, I could feel a pride of Lions clawing from inside out, but after 3 days, they shrunk to the size of a small pack of Dogs and I stopped crying at dinner time. One week later, they gave up the struggle and died a painful death. I only have little mice now, who often remind me that they would rather eat something. I throw them some dry fruits and they are happy.
Even though I was reluctant to accept the rules in the beginning, I have to admit, I feel like a new person. Since I was only 60+ kgs when I began, nearly 10 kg reduction in 3 months is a lot. Ever since then, my weight has stablized and I can hear my knees thanking me for the small sacrifice. I am still on the diet, but now, I am okay to trudge along as long as needed.
My daughter is a minimalist. Her paintings contain only what is absolutely necessary. For example:
Her caterpillars have multiple feet, yet her fish is an oval without fins or tail…but what’s the big deal! The fish knows she needs neither fins nor feet while living out of water. She is what she is and that should suffice.
This two horned Rhino…just so that you know, the horns are blue triangle patches and round orange patches are the eyes. She told me it is African, and hence the two horns.
Her monkey has no hands nor legs but makes do with his tail. No need to add extra weight to his frail body that already carries the weight of an oversized head. The head beneath him belongs to a fish (a hammer head shark, it seems from the shape of it!).
The best part is the cat. She has two legs and a tail, and a litter of five kitten-blue and black. All her babies are unique in shape and have different characteristics (two legs, no legs; ears, no ears; body, no body…). She also seems to have adopted a yellow baby monkey (because I have been assured by the painter herself that it is indeed a baby monkey and not a cat). He also seems to be wearing a monocle on his eye, however, the painter declined to comment. I believe diversity and inclusion is the cause.
She created all these paintings in her first attempt at painting on the day she turned three. It was a hasty work to finish the masterpieces before any interception from a meddling mother.
The background was the walls of the playschool I had created for my daughter on her birthday out of an old refrigerator box (since she could not go to Playschool this year, thanks to COVID 19). My daughter quickly painted the inside walls while I was busy arranging food for hungry mouths. I hadn’t even finished sticking chartsheets on the outer surfaces by then. She had a gala time.
But now the playhouse had to be retired because of its depleted condition. I have pictures for memories though.
Here is some work we had done together on the walls. I had written a couple of posts about it earlier.
Food burnt in kitchen.
Laundry soaked and waiting long,
While tears wait to fall.
3 November 2031
Yelin (13 years, Slovenia) texts Omega (13 years, Mexico)
Y: Hey girl, you won’t believe what I found today? 🤓
Y: I found mum’s childhood pics…with a lot of people… 🤶🥇🚪
O: “Who were not family? Coz family’s allowed…”
Y: “No, definitely not family.”
O: “😱 What was her excuse?”
Y: “She said it was from her ‘School’, a place where she went to learn new things along with nearly 500 others! 🤓”
O: Liar! 🤥
Y: No! She showed me old pictures of this ‘School’ on internet. It does exist. 🙂
O: Was it open air? Cave-man style? 🙉🙊🙈
Y: Proper buildings. There were rooms with enough desks to house fifty people at a time. 🏢
O: 50 kids in the same room? It is downright dangerous! Didn’t they know it spreads germs? 😨
Y: She said it was before the germs took over our lives. Her friends played with her in places called parks. And she went on ‘real dates’– 🚗 long drive, dancing💃🕺 in disco and 🍷🍸🍹 drinking together in pubs…
O: Yuk! So much exposure! Seriously! She must be reading too much fantasy to come up with stories like that.
I own a Weather app on my mobile phone. It seems that weather has a love-hate relation with this app. If it predicts 10% chances of rainfall, it will rain by the bucket load. But at 90% chances, not a cloud shows up. It reminds me of this excerpt from Three Men in a Boat (1889) by Jerome K. Jerome.
I do think that, of all the silly, irritating tomfoolishness by which we are plagued, this “weather-forecast” fraud is about the most aggravating. It “forecasts” precisely what happened yesterday or a the day before, and precisely the opposite of what is going to happen to-day.
I remember a holiday of mine being completely ruined one late autumn by our paying attention to the weather report of the local newspaper. “Heavy showers, with thunderstorms, may be expected to-day,” it would say on Monday, and so we would give up our picnic, and stop indoors all day, waiting for the rain. And people would pass the house, going off in wagonettes and coaches as jolly and merry as could be, the sun shining out, and not a cloud to be seen.
“Ah!” we said, as we stood looking out at them through the window, “won’t they come home soaked!”
And we chuckled to think how wet they were going to get, and came back and stirred the fire, and got our books, and arranged our specimens of seaweed and cockle shells. By twelve o’clock, with the sun pouring into the room, the heat became quite oppressive, and we wondered when those heavy showers and occasional thunderstorms were going to begin.
“Ah! they’ll come in the afternoon, you’ll find,” we said to each other. “Oh, WON’T those people get wet. What a lark!”
At one o’clock, the landlady would come in to ask if we weren’t going out, as it seemed such a lovely day.
“No, no,” we replied, with a knowing chuckle, “not we. WE don’t mean to get wet – no, no.”
And when the afternoon was nearly gone, and still there was no sign of rain, we tried to cheer ourselves up with the idea that it would come down all at once, just as the people had started for home, and were out of the reach of any shelter, and that they would thus get more drenched than ever. But not a drop ever fell, and it finished a grand day, and a lovely night after it.
The next morning we would read that it was going to be a “warm, fine to set-fair day; much heat;” and we would dress ourselves in flimsy things, and go out, and, half-an-hour after we had started, it would commence to rain hard, and a bitterly cold wind would spring up, and both would keep on steadily for the whole day, and we would come home with colds and rheumatism all over us, and go to bed.
Blogger’s note: Weird how even after 130 years, satellite imaging and newest technology, the Weatherman is just as clueless as ever.
Another Blogger’s note: You may think why I quote from this book so often, but this book is my personal antidote for all kinds of depression, sadness and ‘general disinclination to work‘.