Posted in Love

At Fault

You told me it was in my best interest–

the yelling, the barely restrained anger.

Then,

You told me it was all my fault–

the yelling, the unrestrained anger.

Now,

You tell me I deserve it–

before all hell breaks loose

everyday…

Posted in Random Thoughts

Recycling Stories

Resuse, Repurpose, Recycle is the rage of the day. It is fashionable to paint stained T-shirts, cut old socks into mittens and carry the old, ‘vintage’ bag your grandmother received on her wedding day while sporting the latest shoes (that needed a home loan to buy) to eat out in restaurants that were once aeroplanes. I am supporter of recycling old stuff to save the environment.

But my daughter has taken the ‘Resuse, Repurpose, Recycle’ phrase to another level. I had once shared her story where Lambert, the Sheepish Lion was repurposed to be Lamabert, Hippoish Hippo.

After creating several versions of the story (Lambert, The Sheepish Crocodile, Lambert: The Wolfish Lion, Lambert: The Sheepish Hippo), she stopped and I sighed with relief. I am not the one for plagiarism. Now, she has taken a similar approach for a Hindi kids song, “Aaj Mangalwar h“.

Original plot: A mouse gets ill on a Tuesday and goes to doctor. The doctor gives him injection and he cries in pain, “Ooi, Ooi, Ooi”.

First day she asked me to replace the story with another animal, I got creative, using a Giraffe, I built a story where Giraffe, being too tall, could not find shelter on a rainy day and fell ill. His mom took him to the doctor. The doctor tried injection but it broke. So, he gave him a medicine and Giraffe became well.

Big mistake! Now my daughter asks me to build stories around the same plot, using:

  • Different animals: Rats, Rabbits, Giraffe, Lion, Sloth, Elephant, Beaver, Crocodile, Fish, Swan…∞ (infinity)
  • Different relations: Mom ill, Baby ill, Father ill, Sibling ill…∞
  • Different diseases: Fever, runny nose, runny stomach…∞
  • Different causes for the diseases: Bad weather, playing in rain, over eating, stomach infection, swimming too long…∞
  • Doctors of different species
  • Different forms of medication

The idea is superb since the combinations are endless but it is a blow to my creativity.

Once, when I retaliated and declined to honour the request for these stories, my daughter decided to humour me by telling me the stories herself. In one of them, she gave 100 injections to a lizard baby.

I feel for the lizard baby and wonder if she survived the wrongful detainment and the horrific treatment. Nobody deserves that, even in imagination. As the diseases and their treatments become more graphic, I am praying this fetish passes soon before we get a notice from PETA…

Posted in Life and After, Twisted Tales

The Dress

Author’s note: This is a painting-promt story based on my four-year-old daughter’s painting ‘Stork in Dress’. Please don’t look for logic. There is none.

Long ago, a stork was in love with a princess or, to be more accurate, in love with the long, flowing dresses she wore. He wished he could have one for himself. He spent long fruitless hours standing alone in the pond in front of her window in the palace grounds, looking grumpily at the princess.

One evening, when the drowsy sun dipped its feet in the carmine horizon and an orange moon rose in the star-studded sky rubbing its eyes, he saw something that looked like a large insect near the pond. Contemplating eating it, he stalked closer. The ‘thing’ magicked the beautiful rose bushes to look like cactus with flowers–he realised it wasn’t an insect but a sprite. Sprites are eternal mischief-makers with magic. A plan formed in his mind.

Taking her by surprise, he caught the sprite in his beak by one arm. The sprite cried out in pain, “It hurts! Let me go.” With his mouth still closed to keep a grip on the fae, he muffled out, “Promise to give me anything I ask for?” Writhing, she cried, “I promise!” He let her go and sat her on a rock.

The sprite was angry but fae can’t lie–she had promised and would have to give him anything he asks for. But, there is always a loophole, so, she asked, “What would you like me to do?” The stork said, “I want a dress just like the one the princess is wearing today–the one with rainbow colours.” The sprite thought for a moment and smiled, “So shall it be, then. I will weave you a dress out of light.”

The stork was excited beyond words. The sprite quickly called upon her powers. The lake waters shined like crystals, splitting the light of the setting sun and the rising moon into thousands of colourful ribbons. The sprite quickly wove the ribbons of light in to a dress even more breathtaking as that of the princess. The bodice shined on its own and sparkled against the palace’s crystal windows drawing gazes of the residents.

At the sprite’s nudging, the stork greedily put it on, but his wings would not fit in.

“Oh! The dress looks rather weird on your thin waist and legs, and your wings cannot enter it’s sides. Would you like a human body to go with it too?”

“Oh! Of course!”

So, the sprite mumbled as the stork looked at his reflection in the pond, admiring his gradually changing body: human legs, stomach, chest, hands, neck, hair…

…and the sprite vanished. He still had the stork’s face!

He was irritated in extreme. Now he will have to catch the sprite again to complete the change. In all this excitement, he missed the fact that he stood in the palace grounds smack in front of the princess’ window as half a human in a dress that shined like a beacon. The palace servants had seen him changing his body without spotting the tiny sprite. Now all of them ran towards him, brandishing swords and pitchforks, shouting, “Monster! Monster!”

He attempted to fly away but his wings were gone. He tried to swim away in the pond but his dress, now wet, pulled him down, nearly drowning him. He came out of the pond somehow hoping to run away, but too many men surrounded him. No one asked him questions.

He never saw when his life-blood seeped into the rainbow dress he had wrested out of an irate sprite.

Posted in Random Thoughts

Little Things | Shaily Agrawal

Hey All! My piece was published on Whispers and Echoes eMagazine.

Whispers and Echoes

I had always been like that–

Building shrines

For dead butterflies,

And visiting

With the freshest flowers.

You had been like that too,

Loving me for little things,

Until you grew up

And I didn’t.


Shaily Agrawal is a small-town Indian and a working mother. Her skewed perspective is apparent through her stories on her blog: https://fishinthetrees.home.blog/ You can read her first short story collection, The Forest Bed on Amazon Kindle.

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Posted in Random Thoughts

Am I Evil?

Last night around 11, we heard a hair-raising screach of car tyres in the narrow lane outside my house, followed by a loud thud. We ran towards the windows facing the main road. The car had ended against the electric pole across the road.

My first thought was, “Is that a learner who pushed the accelerator too hard? Is he even an adult?”

Smell of burnt tyres filled the air and a whiff of smoke rose from the car front. No one stirred out. The next thought was, “Is he dead?”

As I itched to run out and help them, the family of the car’s passenger (who live at the end of the long lane) ran into the scene. The shouting that ensued confirmed my worst fear–the driver and co-passenger had been drinking in the car. My will to help died right away.

That pole could have been me or my child!

Of course, they have the right to risk their own lives–they can hang themselves from a fan if they want. They don’t have the right over my family though.

The policeman in the area alerted the driver to remove the bottles of alcohol and go home before the police car arrived and checked him for a breath analyzer test. The owner will get his insurance money and buy a new car soon for a repeat performance. Apparently, he’s not new to all this and this drunk driving will go on until someone dies. I hope it is him.

Does that make me evil?

Posted in Random Thoughts

Lantern: Hope

Storm

rocks my

paper ship–

drenched, not drowned–

ever.


Author’s note: Lantern is a type of descriptive poetry from Japan that follows the syllable structure of one, two, three, four and one syllables per line to shape a lantern when the words are centered to middle.

Posted in Reblog

Dogs & Consent — The Thinking Dog

All in? Have you ever picked up a small dog or a puppy? (Of course you have!) Did you ask for their consent first? The first time I really thought about dogs consenting was when I read Gregory Berns’ How Dogs Love Us. He was very careful to ensure that all the dogs participating in […]

Dogs & Consent — The Thinking Dog

As someone who loves and is popular with dogs, I agree with this article by Pam. I would never pet a dog without their consent. But what does consent mean in doggie language? Read the short article.

Posted in Life and After, Nature

My Housemates: The Mistreated

And just like that, they’ve thrown me out…

When I was brought home, everybody had rushed out to fawn over me. Ever since, it was all the way downhill for me. For years, I was the most abused creature in existence–people walked all over me. They threw things at me without faintest sign of remorse. In fact, one rainy day, when water seeped in from the windows, I was left to shiver in cold. Nobody thought of mopping me up until the next morning!

Now that I am old and frayed at the edges, they’ve left me out for the garbage truck to pick up. Life is so unfair!

Posted in Love, Nature

My Neighbours: The Conservative

It is slightly stuffy but it is home and I love it. There is a lot of room to walk around and food hangs from the sealing everywhere. It is rather dark for the lack of sunlight, but who needs to see anyway. It is unsafe on the surface, what with all the sunlight and the monsters that roam the earth. I hardly go up except when stormwater floods the tunnels. My life is quiet but safe. It’s a lonely existence but company is overrated.

She wanted a ‘life of adventure’. I had assumed she would see the fault in her ways and return to our molehill. Afterall, who likes to eat from dustbins when they can get fresh roots? But…

Sometimes, I walk to where my tunnel runs beneath the nest she built with an uncouth rat and hear the soft pattering of little feet that are her proginy. Those are the moments when I wonder if a life of adventure wasn’t as bad.

I guess, I’d never find out.

Posted in Life and After

The Plan

How much time would it take to build a coffin by hand?

He wasn’t fond of the job but, atleast, he will have one when he dies…soon, considering it was one of the last trees on Earth. So far, he had recharged his Oxygen cylinder using the tree that lived in his yard for the past 57 years but storm uprooted it last night. He wasn’t rich enough to afford buying Oxygen…

Even if the coffin is ready on time, who will lay him in it? Everyone he knew was already dead. Should he lower it in a grave and hop in while waiting for his cylinder to empty?

Who will cover it with soil?


Photo by Jeremy Hynes on Unsplash

Posted in Life and After, Love

The Long Walk

It is a long walk down the aisle. My father holds my hand reassuringly while my mom sobs in the pew. He stands with the pastor looking perfect as ever but I can’t bring myself to smile.

Is it too late to cancel?

Is it wrong to wish for something other than perfection?

I pass by her and, for a second, her entire face lightens up but, then, the lights go out again. Her red-rimmed eyes mirror mine.

Is it too late to cancel?

Posted in Love, Nature

Heartache

I picked up the flower that had fallen from her hair. It still held her fragrance.

Ever since she moved here, I followed her around, hoping she would look at me and never look away. Often, I would walk behind her, right past her, in front of her…

But she seemed to look right through me.

Then, this guy came and held her from behind. She squealed in terror. Naturally, I attacked him. But instead of supporting her saviour, she hit me with a stick and called me a ‘stupid bird’! Worse still, she kissed him!

I’ll never love again!


Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash

Posted in Random Thoughts

Little Treasures

One of my favourite writers, Pete Johnson from Beetley, recently wrote about his tin box and the memories within it.

It reminded me of my own. My treasured tin box holds:

  • Old coins from my late grandmother (1 paisa worth around 10,000th part of a pound, 3 paisa and 5 paisa) that went out of circulation before I was born and have no materay value;
  • A couple of leaves that were birthday gifts by friends with “Happy Birthday, Shaily” and “We Miss You!” written on them in red paint, gifted by two of my friends who were in a village with no access to birthday cards at the time;
  • Beads of a broken bracelet from my oldest friend;
  • The dollar my brother gave me when he returned from Texas;
  • The 1″ X 1″ Philips music player that my parents gave me as a reward for excelling in my MBA first semester (doesnot work anymore, but…);
  • My pen drive that holds my MBA research project (doesnot work anymore, but…);
  • A pair of beloved, well-used and, now, broken earrings that one of my best friends gifted me on my birthday, right before he got down on one knee to tell me that he loves me;
  • A single earring (well used and now deviod of its partner) sent by mail by the same person two years later on our first Valentine’s day apart; and
  • Five capsules, each one stuffed with a miniscule handwritten notes, saying “I love you” from you-know-who on the same day.

Some treasures I am unable to fit inside a tin box.

  • A couple of birthday post cards from Manpreet, my bestie, that have handmade paintings with 100+ “I LOVE YOU” hidden inside the design
  • My copy of Three Men in a Boat that I read too often to bother hide it inside a tin box, only to pull it out the next day
  • The invitation card of my marriage to you-know-who
  • Our daughter’s countless pictures

All of these treasures, except the coins, were acquired after I became an adult. What, do you think, does that say about me?

Do you have any treasure boxes of your own?

Posted in Life and After

Bermuda Triminiaios Periodiko (Bermuda Quarterly)

Summer Solstice edition

Month: Junius, Year: 593618 Anno Poseidon

Page 2

Is this the Beginning of the End?

In our last edition, we had revealed the heinous government policy of shooting flying fishes for target practice in a blatant infringement of Right to Life. The public uproar that ensued forced the government to change its policies, enforcing the use of mechanised manaquinns for practice instead. In this issue, yet again, we are raising concerns against mindless shooting by government officials for a completely different reason.

The concern stems from a recent report by Dr Hammerhead, a famous Ecologist claiming that the quality of water around the Atlantis Triangle has deteriorated greatly in the past couple of centuries. It now contains dangerous levels of Iron, Aluminum and Asbestos. Earlier last year, his team was contacted by the head of Coral Tribes Council (CTC) about the discolouration of their ancestral sites across Atlantis. Upon furthur research, it was found that that ancient Coral colonies that form the top spires of Atlantis Castle since the beginning of times are the most affected. A detailed study clarified the reason being the concerning levels of Asbestos, Iron and Aluminium in water.

The report has come right after last month’s environmental report on the changing ecology of Atlantis Triangle, claiming a twenty-fold rise in microbial infestation in the area in the past couple of centuries and swelling number of poaching and illegal hunting activities by rogue Sharks, raising the risk of biological imbalance.

While these reports may seem disconnected, they are linked closely together to mindless shooting and the Atlantis Ship-wreak yards.

Some of you might be aware that Atlantis Triangle has three large Ship-wreak yards, each situated on its three corners. They were created to dispose off the human ships shot down by King Poseidon to ‘safeguard his territory from illegal infiltration’. Now, these yards have grown large enough to look like iron islands peeking out of the sea because of the numerous ships and flying planes collected over the centuries. The spaces between ships provide ideal hiding spaces for poaching Sharks. Their woodwork and the stuff-humans-wear they carried has rotted for years causing microbial infestation in the surrounding areas leading to breathing problems and various skin and gills infections. The Iron, Asbestos and Aluminium from these ships are now part of Altlantis water causing the said Coral discolouration.

The research team has suspicions that the same could also be the cause of tail-scales decay in the senior citizens, the expanding numbers of eye-problems in Cyclops population and early aging signs in otherwise immortal sea-nymphs. According to Dr Hammerhead, it would require a detailed study of entire population of Atlantis to understand the exact effects and funding worth several million sea-oysters.

When we contacted King Poseidon for his comment, his first reply was that of causal dismissal. In his own words, “I have read the reports and am arranging some strong waves to be sent to wash away the minerals from the area.”

When we asked if he finally plans to stop shooting ships and flying planes, he said, “I will continue to do what it takes to keep my territory safe. I can’t secure all oceans due to the amount of vigilance required but I will not let those pests infect my capital.” He also commented on human intelligence, saying, “They just don’t stay out. Even after losing so many ships and planes, they haven’t learnt enough to mark out our territory as hostile and give it a wide berth. Instead, they send ships that can deep-dive to search for their lost ships. Such Assfish!”

When we commented that humans can’t see the city hidden below water and have no way of marking the territory on waves, the King blamed us for supporting the ‘enemy’ and threatened to use his trident on us. While leaving, one of the guards escorting us threatened to turn us into fried fish if we did not cooperate.

Meanwhile, CTC has called out King Poseidon’s bluff saying that he is just missing old times when wars with Zeus came often; that he is itching to use his trident on someone or something. They are protesting against the mindless shooting and resulting ecological problems by building colonies in the middle of palace gates, blocking the main pathway.

We urge you to support them in their cause by joining the mass protest at the Whale Bone park this Dies Solis being arranged by the FishMatters organisation. Let us pledge our support to our fellow citizens and save our environment and cultural landmarks from desecration.