Posted in Random Thoughts

Bored

It has been too long–a life of waiting and moving without my own wish. It is always the guys without the white cap who decide the destination. It is always some boring parking lot with too many black and grey cars like me.

No pink eye candy, no sexy red…

I like my guy better. He is the one with the cap, who cleans and feeds me. Mostly, he just holds the doors and turns the steering wheel according to what the no cap guys decide. But on Sundays, he takes me to those wonderful lots bustling with cars–blue, green, yellow, pink…ahhh! heaven! He ensures I sit next to a nice car, pats me and leaves me to play for hours as he goes to shop with his family. It almost makes up for my entirely boring existence.

Almost.

It is Wednesday and I am almost dying of boredom. Sunday seems so far…


Free image by Aaron Huber on Unsplash

Posted in Life and After

Late

It was a beautiful night-the moon was red and full–that made you wish you had someone to share it with. I was returning home after the day at the restaurant serving clients and bussing tables. The shops were all closed and, somehow, it made the moon shine even more brilliantly.

I was tired. My limbs wanted to go to sleep right there on the pavement, but I reminded myself that it was temporary. It was paying for my degree and once I complete it in five months, I will be able to get a decent job that I actually enjoy. I was looking forward to that day. I had practiced my interview speech a thousand times already.

I turned into a short dark alley that I crossed twice a day ever since I took up this job last year, and stiffened immediately. Something was off. I couldn’t see or hear anything, but that was the point. It was too quiet as if someone had put a blanket on the entire alley blocking the outside noises. Also, there was a funny smell, the one you get when crossing a butcher’s shop…blood?

I wasn’t the superstitious kind but I trusted my instinct. So, I decided to backtrack. As I cautiously took steps backwards, I heard a human moan, a growl, a snapping of bones, and then, silence. I gasped. Three set of eyes gleamed green in the dark, looking straight at me. Canine eyes, set far higher than an average dog, or even a wolf.

I felt frozen for a second. And then, I turned back and ran with all I had in me. The streetlights were the only illumination on the path. I dare not look behind me for the fear of slowing down or falling, but I knew I was being chased. Their footfall wasn’t audible and they weren’t barking, unlike the neighbourhood strays. For a second, I wondered if I wasn’t just hallucinating but I didn’t stop to check.

In fact, I ran harder. I wasn’t sure where to go though. The shops were closed and my own restaurant was locked. So, I ran to the underground railway station, hoping that it would be crowded and these ‘things’ will stop chasing or pick a new target. Else, I would catch any train I could. I would return home later in the morning.

The stairs leading down to the platform were deserted. I could hear a train approaching the platform. I thanked my lucky stars and covered the last stretch with a burst of energy I never knew I had.

When I reached the platform, it was empty of people. I heard a group coming down the stairs slowly–click of heals and boots…I was so relieved to hear fellow human beings that I nearly cried. I turned to look and found two men and a woman pulling out their shades to cover their eyes. Canine. The woman had something red around her mouth. Leisurely, she licked clean with an unnaturally long tongue and smiled at me.

Furtively, I glanced behind me willing the train to stop or, at least, slow down.

It didn’t.


Free photo by Charl Folscher on Unsplash

Posted in Random Thoughts

Republic Day What?

Today is 26th Jan, India’s Republic Day–the day when we adopted our Constitution that proclaimed that we were a Sovereign, Secular, Socialist, Democratic, Republic, giving all of its people equality and the freedom of life, belief, expression and speech. It became the basis of all our laws and guiding light for our judiciary. Ever since I have learnt about it, I have been in awe of those who drafted it…

Until our political parties decided that it wasn’t necessary to follow through the promise. Right now, Indian political scenario is anything but equal or free. All our major parties thrive on racism alone. There are Hindu parties and Muslim parties. And then there are parties for lower caste and upper caste hindus, and then are parties for Tamilians and Bengalis and Kashmiris…

Where is the party to represent India, I wonder? Right now, only one political party that contests elections on development issues alone–Aam Admi Party (AAP). All the others, whether ruling or not, collect votes in the name of fighting for temples and mosques.

Riots are always hiding in the corner waiting to happen. One word against the ruling party, you are declared a Traitor and Pakistani, and you will either be trolled and attacked until you hide in a closet, or thrown in Jail for something ridiculous like killing a man of your own religion during last riots, or you will simply be disposed off. If you kill a Muslim, he/she was a terrorist.

Where is the Constitution? What are we celebrating today?

Don’t get me wrong. I love my country. I have seen it enough to feel it in my blood. That is why it hurts to see it go down the sewer in the past seven years. I hope we return to the normal loving country we were once. I hope we become a Secular Democratic Republic again.

Happy Republic Day! I hope it becomes one.

Posted in My life

Delay in Story Compilation

Hi!

Some of you probably know that I am writing a short story compilation. It was due January first half this year. I had taken a vacation in early Jan just for that.

But I sustained a back injury on January 4 and have been on bed rest. Hence, there is a long delay since I have used up all my sick leaves and nearly all vacation. Also, I am trying not to push myself too hard in the coming month while I return to working part-time with full-time motherhood.

Sigh! I really wanted this one out for Valentine’s day! But I guess some dreams need time to nurture! 😁

Wish me luck for future.

Posted in Life and After

The Boat Ride

The rocking movement of the boat is making me sick. It’s stuffy with the thirty of us inside the small cabin on the warm day. Our hands are tied to stop us from escaping, as if we could attempt anything like that after going without food for three days. I am not sure why this is happening.

Everything was so normal three days back. I was watching my father chopping wood outside our teepee when my mother had called me in for some chores. Suddenly, the whole place rang with booming sounds. We got down on our knees, terrified. An eerie silence ensued, soon followed by horror-filled wails and sound of urgent footsteps and struggle.

Worried for my father, I ran outside, in spite of my mother’s frantic calls. My father was lying on the earth. It was difficult to recognise him with a gaping hole on his cheek. Grandfather had a wound on his chest the oozed blood. I tried to staunch the blood flow, but his eyes rolled. Of course, I didn’t cry–true warriors don’t cry…may be a little, but father had once said that, since I was six, I was allowed.

People in foreign dress were holding weapons, asking women and children to line-up. I thought they were going to kill us too. But they tied our hands together behind us and made us march for two days. Elusa, my best friend, couldn’t walk as fast as they wanted because her one leg wasn’t quite right. They shot her in the head. Of course, I didn’t cry–true warriors don’t cry. But I was six…

On the second night, they brought us to this dark room that smelled of urine. We weren’t allowed to make a sound. Anybody who spoke was whipped until they bled. It was hot with around a hundred of us in there. I wanted to ask for food, or at least water, but mother shushed me. She said it will bring whiplashes. My feet were full of blisters. My sandals had broken on the way and I dare not ask for another pair.

Now thirty of us are cramped inside this boat…I am thirsty, hungry, tired and a little sick. Worse still, I understand nothing of what ‘they’ say, except that it isn’t anything good. They haven’t told us where they are taking us…or may be they have, we just can’t understand them.

I whisper, “Mother, I’m going to be sick. Should I ask them if they can let me out, so I can throw up?”

“Honey! I don’t think they’d care if you throw up on yourself. We are just chattel for them.”

Scared, I blurt out, “Will they kill us too?”

But Mother is thoughtful, “I don’t think so. They could have killed us at the village, if they wanted. May be, they will sell us…”

“So, where are they taking us?”

“Not sure, but feels like it is terribly far away.”

I finally ask the question that has been killing me for all these days, “If they sell us, will I still be allowed live with you, Mother?”

Her lips tremble but she’s silent, looking at me with eyes full of pain. Of course, I don’t cry–true warriors never cry. But, then, I’m just six…

Author’s note: Before slavery was abolished in the USA, native Americans who were prisoners of war were sold as slaves. Once slavery was abolished in USA, these prisoners were shipped to Mexico, where slavery was still legal, in stuffy, small boats. Children as young as six years and women were sold as chattel to whoever made the highest bid. They, then, lived and died on the whim of their owners, without any rights and treatment fit for animals.

Posted in Blogging

Publish Posts Through WP App on Mobile

This is a basic publishing aid meant to help people create posts while using WP app on their phone. I am sure, most of you have already figured out the process, but in case you haven’t just follow these steps to publish the post.

(Note: The screenshots were taken randomly from two different sites I own over a period of three months. So, you may find some inconsistencies. Please bear with me.) 😁

Your main WP App main screen will look something like below. I have covered the logo, site name and WordPress address here since the site is not ready to go live yet.

1. Click Posts (highlighted in orange).

2. Click the red + sign to add a new post.

(The tabs on the top contain the following items:

  • Published: List of your published posts in order of Chronology
  • Drafts: Drafts that you haven’t published, including anything you wrote and forgot to save before closing the application
  • Scheduled: Drafts you have scheduled to post in the future
  • Binned: Posts/Drafts you have deleted)

3. Type the Title of the post (you can change it later, if needed), and add content. If you have a block editor, which is now the default editor in WP, every time you click enter, you will get a new block.

4. To add various items to the post, like heading, quotes, images, videos, space and separators, click the highlighted + sign at the bottom of the screen. Then, select one.

5. Once you believe that post is ready to be published, click the three dots at the top right, and select Post settings.

6. Select Categories. It is not mandatory, but it helps your audience later when you have, say 30+ posts. You can simply add some major category names to your top menu and the audience can find your posts easily by clicking them. You can add/change category even years after publishing, if (God forbid 😁) you feel like it.

7. Select the category.

If you are new, the page is probably blank, or does not have the required category. 😎 To add a new category:

  1. Click the + sign at the top right.
  2. Add a category name. Keep it generic, short and easy to understand.
  3. If you wish to place them under one of your existing categories, click the down arrow next to Top level.
  4. Select the parent category from the existing list.

Once you have selected the category, click the back button at the top left.

8. Select Tags.

9. Select the tag. If you need a news one, type a new tag. You can separate two tags with a comma. Do not add space. (Feel free to disregard the advice of your editor for a change, as I have. 😎)

Once done, click the back button at the top left.

10. To select the publishing time:

  1. Click Publish.
  2. Click Time and Date.
  3. Either select Immediately; or select appropriate date, and click OK; then, select appropriate time, and click OK.

11. Click PUBLISH, and then, PUBLISH NOW.


Note: If at any point of time, you feel the need to stop writing and close the post, click the three dots on the top-right, and select Save. It will save your work on WP site online.

If you reopen the WP App and see Local changes message below a post, it is because you closed the application without saving it. Just open the post settings and click Save.

If you see the Version Conflict message below the draft/post, think of the last time you worked on the post.

  • If you worked via the mobile, click Remove Web Version.
  • If you worked directly on the website, click Remove Device Version.

Thank you! I am such a genius! 😎

Posted in My life, Nature

My Neighbours: The Underbird

My area is used to seeing 10-12 birds at any given time except during the intensely hot summer afternoons when these birds are hiding in the cool shade of trees along the roadside. On winter mornings, this number rises to 20s.

Today started as any winter morning. I am on bed-rest because of a back injury and was looking out of the window. Pigeons were enjoying the sun perched on the electric wires on opposite side of the road. There seemed to be a lot more than usual…so many that I had to count them–58! It made me wonder whether a high-tension wire could break down under the weight of 58 full-grown rock pigeons.

And then, all of a sudden around 70 crows flew in from the right side of the sky. There could be more. Since they were coming in large groups and continued circling the sky, it was impossible to count unless I had a very quick brain. But after 14 days of bed-rest due to a minor back injury and 5 fantasy ebooks, my brain is less cognitive and more imaginative. They were cawing at an intensity that made me wonder whether it was a war cry.

Suddenly, the crows started retreating. I turned around and saw a huge number of pigeons flying in from the left side of the city. Suddenly, the pigeons perched on the wire took flight together, swooping in from the left, filling the sky with at least a hundred pigeons and my brain with the scenes from the movie Underworld. I wondered if I was stuck between a war of shape-shifters–the Crow clan and the Pigeon clan.

The remaining 30+ crows were clearly outnumbered by 1:3 ratio. Holding my breath, I waited for the fighting to begin. But the crows descended and perched on trees on the right of my house (which is the tallest tower in the area) looking irritated and guarded. Then, the bulk of pigeons retreated and nearly 50 pigeons stayed to take their rightful places on the electrical wire in front of my house, looking watchful yet at peace, as always.

I was left waiting for the rounds of silver bullets and wondering if they can penetrate the walls of my house…the only thing between the two clans. Only time will tell, because they are still in position, so if I live to post tomorrow morning, you’d know too.

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.Β 

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:

β€˜Our year has been…

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