A new creation

Happily Ever After– “And they lived happily ever after.”

Grace thinks staring at her face in the jostling mirror. She likes the beginning of things.The beginning is always sweet. No matter how  often she has rehearsed it in her mind she does not trust the middle. In the middle things always happen without any planning. She is determined to make the end more brighter. She believes in miracles.

In every summer breaks, Grace used to read, re-read and enjoyed each of her fairy tale books; Frog prince, Thumbelina, Rapunzel, Cinderella , Beauty and the beast, Sleeping Beauty. She carried the books in a wicker basket to the garden, sat on a cozy chair in one corner under a tree, read the books. After one or two chapters she used to close the book, tip her head, imagine herself as the main character and smile. Then on other times she went with her aunts and cousins to watch the Bollywood movies which were full of songs, dances, romance and had happy endings to them. In her youth, in spare time, she enjoyed the books on Cleopatra, Napoleon and Josephine, Odysseus and Penelope, Romeo and Juliet. All the beautiful and famous stories made her a strong believer in love, romance and a fairy tale life; a life happily ever after.

” Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination.”- Voltaire

Every thing is so perfect. Grace falls in love with a very humble, kind, honest, confident individual; just like a prince from a  fairy tale. She loves the ground under his feet, air over his head and everything he touches and every word he says. Her love bounces and touches each other.They sit in the garden chairs and read to each other Elizabeth Browning’s’Sonnet  43′, E.E.Cunning’s’ I carry your heart with me’ or ‘Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116’. Grace sits there with her right cheek resting on the palm of her hand, head  tilts slightly, listening and offering the rarest of gift; her unequivocal attention. It has been amazing thirty-two years. But the life is not a fairy tale. In the beginning somehow everything seem possible, fair and right. Grace looks down and sighs. It starts slowly and creeps into their life, step by step, in a procession without any notice; small arguments, false promises, lack of time for each other. Her lips flutters, her carefully tended eyebrows draw together. Grace blinks her eyes, a few drops of tears gather and fall.

 But she is determined and positive. She has to keep her promise to herself to always smile and make others happy. She brushes a loose strand of hair behind her ear. Grace decides to be more supportive, more patient, more appreciative for little things in life, to forget and forgive some aspect of problems so that they can build up their trust again. From the doorway she watches her husband. From this angle his face is obscured by a baseball cap and sun-glass. He is busy in re-potting the purple  passion plant and the jasmine to a larger pot. Both of them need each other’s company and affection. Grace remembers the line of Jennifer Smith that, “ Marriage is a mosaic you build with your spouse. Millions of tiny moments that create your love story.”  She relaxes her shoulder, a tentative smile plays around her mouth and brings a rosy glow to her skin. Grace knows that her husband is like a geode plain on the outside and gorgeous in the inside. She walks into the kitchen, makes her husband’s favorite  Rooibos tea and pours them into the mismatched tea cups. She arranges the tea cups on a white tray and sales out the door into the back yard, to the garden.

images (1)

A Memorable Day

Fly on the Wall

It was a beautiful evening in 14th August, year 1947. The exquisite, beautiful and delicate dark brown, brilliant scarlet and buttery yellow and purple flowers were dancing in the wind in the middle of the large fenced garden.I was flying around and enjoying my day in that garden. I glanced from the corner of my eye towards the huge gathering in front of a small brick house. My curiosity started blooming rapidly. I flew to the front gate of the house and did not see anything interesting so I flew in to interior of the house. The front living room was small with white walls ,high ceiling, two small windows with curtains, a very simple furnishing. There were one square table and four chairs in one corner of the room.  I saw an older gentle man wrapped in a white shawl, a small round frame eye-glass on his nose, sitting on the ground on a mat in the middle of the room. He had a very wide forehead with four lines, thick and long eyebrows, big ears, a prominent nose, a strong and protruding chin and long arms. I flew close to him and sit on the wall. Lots of people sitting close to him. They were discussing about the riots that was  going on in that city. From their conversations I came to know that the person in the middle was Mahatma Gandhi. He is famous for his principles of non-violence, compassion, simplicity and truthfulness. He has been trying his best to unite both the religions to live peacefully in one nation. But it did not happen the way he predicted. I turned my body towards Gandhi and glanced at him. His eyes were down towards the floor. He was in deep thought. There was a small blue tray with a glass of juice on it. It was untouched. Gandhi did not want to eat or drink until some solution to the riot. Around mid-night some one knocked at the door.One gentleman leaped forward, walked on the hard floor to open the door. He returned with sparkles in his eyes and a big smile on his face. He bend down,leaned closer to Gandhi and said ,” Bapu!  A miracle happened!The messenger was here to give you this letter and to tell that we got the independence. We got it .”

Everybody in that room rejoiced with the glorious news. They touched Gandhi’s feet because of his struggle against injustice and for his determination that India got her independence. Gandhi lifted his eyes up. I saw tears and a deep sorrow in his eyes but no excitement. He wanted peace among the people and a united country. He sat quietly with closed eyes. He thought prayer was the only way hope for another miracle. Prayer can only bring  wisdom and courage to continue into the path of justice and right action. He requested others to celebrate the big day with  a prayer and fasting. He wanted to restore the peace between Hindu and Muslims before the celebration. I overheard that on the next day, in Delhi the capital of India, there were more than a quarter million people on the street to celebrate the independence. Amid the scene of the rejoicing crowd and the flag ceremony, broke a brilliant rainbow in the sky which was taken by the crowd as a good omen. The rainbow resembled the saffron, white and green color of the Indian flag. And I felt deeply proud , humbled and overjoyed to be in that room in that particular day, with a wonderful person who gave the gift of independence to India.

images (9)                                                                           images

A Meaningful Valentine.

It is a beautiful Saturday morning. And unique its own way. Amy lays in an Ivory color sofa in the living room with Charlotte Bronte’s novel ‘The Professor’. She is amused with the delightful descriptive plots of the secret love  between prof. william Crimsworth and his pupil lady Frances. Amy is fascinated by Bronte’s first novel displaying her supreme creative imagination.Then the chirps of the birds, the  buzzing sound of the lawn more, harmonic play barks of the neighbor’s dog distracts Amy’s attention. Amy drops the book on the end table and walks lazily across the room and stands by the large bay window. She lifts her eye to the sky and sees the beautiful  golden sunbeams that trickle through the branches and  dazzle on the grass. All the tree branches and the brown grass laced with sparkling,glittering frost. Today she notices hearts everywhere; big heart shape red and pink balloons in front of the neighbor’s door, a flower delivery person with beautiful red roses in a heart-shape vase standing close to someone’s front door, and, even some dogs have cute pink and red heart bows and collars on them. ‘Hmm, so today must be the valentines day’ Amy says adjusting her long soft black hair in a pigtail and, walks into the kitchen.

There on the counter top she notices  a pink envelope with her name on the top in big letters. Curiously she reaches out, opens the top flap of the card. ‘wow such a pretty card,’ says Amy.The greeting card is white with hand painted  soft pink flowers on the two sides, and inside in a big heart shape picture of a red balloon and in the middle it says in blue ink ‘Thank You, Grateful and Love.’ Those are  only three words, not a romantic poem or quote,  but those words hold very special meaning for Amy. Joy flashes in her heart , with a big smile she looks around  for Paul.

 Amy did not find Paul inside the house. So she walks on the Golden Teak hardwood floor of the kitchen and peeks through a glass window in one corner of the kitchen.’May be he is in the backyard’,says Amy and decides to make Paul happy with his favorite tea. Amy stands near the counter, cups her chin in one hand and trails her fingers on the card and thinks, It has been so amazing thirty-three years of marriage. She remembers the wonderful  romantic first years of marriage with dinners, gifts, movies. Quickly they got bored with these  artificial, meaningless material things.They wanted to live a  more meaningful life. Afterwards there was not  any gift exchange. Amy and  Paul both are in favor of a simpler life style. They sit in their living room on their favorite sofa  close to each other.Paul reads to Amy a few interesting articles from the newspaper and Amy recites to him her favorite poems of William Blake, Lord Byron, John Keats and William Words worth. Some days  after  a busy work Amy chooses to play light  classical musics as Beethoven’s Sonata in B major, Lestoreadars, on Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini on piano in the cozy living room while, Paul closes his eyes softly and listens to the music leaning on the couch. On other days they sit in front of the fire-place with warm mulled cider in big mugs and talk about their children, parents, friends. In one valentine’s day  both decided to make their Valentine’s day more colorful and fulfilling by doing something special . Amy is not that a good cook but she tries her best to  bake delicious  cookies , cup cakes and to create hand-made  greeting cards. And Paul has been helping her in delivering them to the homeless center and  in the community senior care home, to charity events , just to bring smile on their faces.

 Amy wanders across the room to the big glass window,slightly leans against and looks outside. She notices Paul with a Blue shirt and jean pant with few of the neighbor’s kids in the yard. Paul loves small children. He teaches some baseball tricks to the kids. Even their eight years old German Sheppard runs around after them wagging her long tail with soft barks. Amy held her chin between her finger and thumb and thinks, I am so thankful of having Paul in my life. He is perfect with his sense of humor, intelligence, compassion and love. Amy smiles.

Amy makes two cups of ginger tea with a hint of honey and cardamom, pours into her favorite two white fine china tea cups which are decorated with deep pink small hearts in one corner. She pulls out a pretty white tray and arranges the cups and in another plate two Blueberry ricotta pancakes with two forks on one side. Amy twists the polished brass knob, opens the back door and walks into the porch. After the kids left, Paul sits on a hand-woven, Tawney wicker in the yard and the dog sits close with a ball in her mouth.

“Thank you for the pretty card”, says Amy and hugs Paul  with one hand holding the tray on the other hand.

” You are welcome. I am glad that you like the card because from last two days I am trying my best to draw the pictures”, he says with a smile, tipping his head back slightly. Then Paul leans close to Amy and says softly” today you look more lovely”. Amy blushes.

She slides down on the wicker with Paul with the tea-cup, raises the cup savoring the aroma with each sip. Her dog lifts her head, looks at Amy with her brown eyes and makes a plaintive yelp wagging her tail.  She stretches her paw and moves closer to Amy. Amy scratches her around the ears to show her affection and she likes that. She puts her front paw on Amy’s feet rests her head.  Three of them sit there  enjoying the beautiful deep pink and white Camellia flowers, Red-Orange unusually fragrant Cinnamon Cindy in one side of the yard and the double Yellow and Red prince Hellebore flowers in the other corner. Amy leans against Paul and listens to the melodious  voice of the Long-billed Thrasher and of Black- crested Titmouse birds on their trees.

In the afternoon, Amy decides to bakes Valentine sandwich cookies: Engaging heart cookies with half white and half chocolate frosting, and lots of chocolate filled peppermint heart cookies with pink frosting.She leans against the dining table and flips through her baking recipes, then she remembers how last year some of the ladies enjoyed her special cupcakes. Amy walks into the pantry and pulls out all the ingredients. She bakes vanilla cupcake with Maraschino Butter cream and,Red velvet cupcakes with  cream cheese frosting. Then Amy carefully arranges the lollipop sticks on the cupcakes as the cupid arrow to give a special touch. The scent of the cup cakes travels across the kitchen in soft, heavy waves filling all the spaces with whispers of the kitchen. Amy turns her head to see both Paul and her dog at the kitchen entrance. Both want to taste the cupcakes. She takes out her blue apron, bends down and gives one peanut butter cupcake with yogurt topping to her dog. Amy opens the cupboard and brings out a small  white porcelain carved with deep blue vines on the sides and gives a chocolate filled peppermint cookie to Paul.Paul helps Amy in carrying them to the car and to the Senior care center. From there they drive to the ‘Star Of Hope’ to help their for few hours. Paul knows how Amy loves long walks so in the evening they go for a walk in the trail with their dog enjoying each precious moments in a beautiful Valentine’s day. All three of them are happy, thankful and grateful in each other’s company.

“Marriage is a mosaic you build with your spouse. Millions of tiny moments that create your love story.“- Jennifer Smith.

images (1)             images (3)

A Bouquet of Fragrant Memory:  Familiar Land and Beloved Faces (Part-1)

Life is magical. What happens in one day of our life is more magical than any fantasy movie.

Today is Saturday, a day to relax and enjoy. Emma sits on the maple porch swing in her backyard with her favorite cup of hot tea, flavored with ginger, cardamom and a dash of honey. The clean, crisp and cold air brushes across her face like a veil, sweet and delightful. She looks around and notices the magnificent lines of frost that stretch across the tree branches and the wooden porch. The silvery dew drops on the grass dazzle brightly under the sun light. It reminds her of the beautiful winter garden in her parents’ house and then her thoughts began to wander, trailing through lots of familiar places, familiar people and beautiful memories. She has been trying to travel and visit her family back in India, but it has not been that easy to take one month off for a vacation from the grueling demands of her job. It must be the force behind the law of attraction that draws us to our family and friends, Emma thinks to herself. Slowly she strolls back into the kitchen, and puts the tea cup down in the kitchen sink. She tucks a stray piece of her hair behind her ears and looks at the calendar on the kitchen wall to check the upcoming holidays. “O yes”, she says, “Thanksgiving is coming, this will be the perfect time to take a vacation!” Joy flashes into her heart. Emma breathlessly flies to the living room to talk to her husband and daughter, with winged steps.

It must have been that Emma’s desire to see her family and friends was so heartfelt that it was gratified. Or it was the force of love that moved every circumstance for her to travel so far on such a short notice.

After a lengthy discussion about visiting India on short notice, Emma’s family finally decided to take a vacation for two weeks, before Thanksgiving. The tickets were booked through Qatar Airlines. Despite being unable to make a trip for the family work for the last 20 years, somehow, the magical support of the world around them made this trip possible. Everything clicked perfectly. Emma was thrilled that her daughter, who had just graduated from the law school and passed the bar with flying colors, was able to take part in this adventure.

images

Soon the day had arrived. Emma’s smiled as they boarded the plane. She decides to sit on the middle seat between her husband and daughter. The comfortable seats with pretty red seat covers are equipped with tiny TV to make the trip more enjoyable.  Emma appreciated the courteous, friendly, and attentive services of the air hostess. She even enjoyed the delicious foods, drinks and snacks which were served in the flight. Then Emma noticed that every two hours the air hostess came with snacks and drinks- which was fine at the beginning-but then came an unbearable feeling of suffocation from eating so much food. Emma was sure that most of passengers at that particular time wished for a long walk, or a run on the tread mill or to attend a body combat class.  It is total seventeen hours from Houston to New Delhi. After a long five hours, Emma got bored. She stretched her arms above her head, stared at the ceiling, and then looked around to see if the other passengers were having the same reaction. She noticed that most of them were busy in staring at the TV screen or sleeping. Emma turned her head slightly to see that her husband was enjoying some documentary with a smile and her daughter was busy watching the Harry Potter movie. But Emma feels the complicated hybrid emotions in her mind. It is hard for her to sit still. It feels like she could throw off sparks, which will shoot out in all directions like the colored arrows from a July 4th rocket.  Then she pretends to be settled and flips through the pages of a glossy magazine, and even tries to watch the Discovery channel on the tiny TV monitor. But Emma’s mind was like a butterfly. It fluttered with the excitement of going back to her country after such a long time and meeting her dear ones. It was almost time to land in Doha, the capital of Qatar. Emma unbuckled the seat belt gently and walked across the floor to the restroom with her swollen feet. After standing in a line for ten minutes, the small bathroom door opens and the lady with her baby walks out with a tight smile. Emma smiles back and goes in, locks the door from inside. She adjusts her wavy hair in front of the huge mirror, glides the light pink gloss on her lip, stretches her arms, and then goes back to her seat.

Doha’s Hamad International Airport is quite impressive with stunning architectural masterpieces, coffee shops and duty free shops. As soon as Emma walks in to the airport with her family she asks her daughter to join her for a tour of the airport. “Sure mom, I will be happy to walk with you”, replies her daughter with excitement.  Emma’s husband wanted to stay in the Oryx lounge so both mother and daughter walked around, stretched their legs, tried some good Arabic coffee, and visited the various duty free shops.  Emma with her family enjoyed the stopover of two hours in the airport which was very relaxing after a long flight. From Doha, Emma and her family boarded the next flight to India.

10922112_10203725448726689_764628166_n10933295_10203725449046697_249108889_n

The flight from Doha to India is close to four hours. Emma was quivering with excitement to meet her dear ones after a long time.  The wonderful pictures of her mother land floats in her mind. A wide grin beamed across her oval face as she started to imagine the surprise on all the faces with raised eyebrows, twinkle eyes, then the questions and at the end the wonderful hug and smiles. Emma was as happy as a lark and on cloud nine. As they approached India, Emma leaned towards the window to get a glance of the city that she left for such a long time.

Emma and her family, after the final immigration check, gathered their luggage and walked out with high spirits, blanketed with happiness, twinkling eyes, and big smiles to meet the family outside of the airport. The air may not be fresh and clean, but it was heavenly for Emma- the air of her Motherland. As they were driving on the road the traffic suddenly seemed overwhelming, the insanity of the cows, trucks, scooters and pedestrians all squeezing into one lane. Emma had completely forgotten how the cows and goats are actually the bosses of the roads. They can go anywhere they want and even relax on the middle of the road for a quick nap. Emma’s daughter noticed that honking doesn’t move the animals, and the driver has to walk out from the car to shoo the animals from the road. Emma and her family quickly buckled their seat belts. In seconds the driver’s total disregard for traffic lanes became clear. Emma’s husband noticed how the driver switched into oncoming traffic on a two-lane road, then stayed in the lane with traffic barreling towards them, until the car or the truck heading right for their car was close enough to read the driver’s  fine lines on his face or time on his wrist watch. Then the driver calmly moved the car back into the lane as if nothing had happened. It was like an action movie drive. Then the continuous and unnecessary honking will make one crazy with headaches. The pedestrians happily walk right in-front of any vehicle without hesitation. “Really! This type of insane driving! It will be a road rage in America”, Emma thinks to herself. Emma’s daughter was laughing with surprise but at the same time busy taking pictures of the mad traffic to post on Facebook.

Next part of my travel will be posted soon.

1471207_10203353339864200_6911819113919677517_n (1)

 

A Special Season.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Getting Seasonal”

 

Christmas is a time when our mind and hearts are surrounded by the beauty. There is a delightful feeling which captivates our imagination.Christmas is a state of mind.

Many times people become overwhelmed by the season, this is one of the season that I look forward to each year. It is a unique holiday and each year it brings special memories. I love the whole month of December it is like a quilt with snow, my birthday, time of the fullest and fresh flow of thoughts , bright ideas and then the wonderful spirit of Christmas.

I make  a nice cup of ginger tea and walk to the back porch with the book ‘ The Art of  Waiting’. The white fluffy clouds glide across the pale blue sky, the sun has awakened but lazily emerging from the sky. The pure and fresh air brushes across my face like a veil, sweet ans delightful. I move my eyes from the book and  look around to see the beautiful dance of  Daisy, Lily and carnation on the porch. The two Poinsettia in the flower pots make a big statement with gorgeous red leaves.The pines lying on the grass looks like a scene from a Christmas card. The blue sky turns a little grey. The breeze comes through the branches of the trees, turning up the silver undersides of the young leaves, and brings goosebumps as it go around me. Then I adjust my glass, look up  and around to see a sudden change. The white, silvery snow floats down from  a light  cloud filled sky soundless setting on the roofs, tree branches, ground.  Joy flash into my heart and light it up. O’ really I  love the snow. I want to express  all  the wonderful reasons of my love for this season.

Imagine the soft fall of snow with real cold breeze and a chill in the air as if the earth is preparing for a new life. During the month of  December  everywhere one can hear  the beautiful Christmas music-in  the radio, in the store, in the television. My favorite list is ‘Let it snow’, ‘Silver Bells’, ‘Silent Night’ and ‘ Jingle Bell’. I love the beautiful, colorful decorations – the classy makeover of the house and the front yards like a winter wonderland. I enjoy burning the Bayberry candle in my kitchen and study rooms. The beautiful aroma of cinnamon sticks  infused with pine cones in bags or the wonderful flavor of cinnamon sticks in mulled cider, or the steamy mug of peppermint tea! The Christmas dinner with friends and  family displaying the bond,the care, the love for each other.Mostly it makes worthy when I dedicate some of  my time in the local women’s shelter, in the soup kitchen and sending care boxes for the overseas soldiers.

The spirit of Christmas brings within us  the virtuous elements of humanity, kindness, caring, compassion and giving. Culture and tradition often hold special meaning for us because such events trigger memories and a sense of belonging within a certain society.

‘ Blend equal parts of Faith and Hope, mix well with Charity

Stir in Good will and sweet contents, precious memories, kindness, joy and gratitude.

Then drop love’s sweet essence, add spices rare as Laughter, Smile and Fun.‘ – By Easter Lloyd Dauber.

 

images (3)

A Dream Manifests

1
Blogging U.
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect”.- Anais Nin

I open my eyes slowly and turn my head to look at the clock and it is almost five.  Time to start the week. The pink of the new day seeping through the white curtains. I walk to the deck to do my sun- salutation. Some of the trees in the yard  have taken on their own personalities and paint the garden into a thousand different shades.I breathe in the cool, crisp air and try to concentrate on my routine. In the middle of the downward dog  position I notice the bright  message notification on  my phone . Guess what? That is  today’ s assignment to write’ Who I am and why I am here’. I stare at the sentence again and  like it, but it is  too early for that. I decide to write it  during my lunch break.

I grew up in a house where in every corner on the tables there were books and literary magazines. My paternal grand father owned a book store and a printing press and my father was a writer. I used to see him in most evenings writing on his desk. It was like  paradise. I did not care about food or sleep. I just wanted to read. People say it is the sign of an introvert, but that did not bother me at all. Every page of a book lights up my mind and gives wings to the soul. Even my paternal grand mother used to write stories for small children. I did not enjoy playing with dolls or  any type of toys but I fell in love with books. On every birthday  my friends and families showered me with books. I looked forward with lots of excitement to every summer and other holidays to spend my time  reading new books. Gradually I started filling up pages with my beliefs, emotions and looked at the finished drafts as my perfect creation. I love the idea of expressing myself in various captivating ways. “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wise counsellors, and the most patient of teachers”.- Charles William Eliot

As the children grew up I got more time on hand . Shopping stopped giving me satisfaction. Now, I want to have a more meaningful life, more satisfaction and fulfillment. I have decided to embrace writing again to share my thoughts through  short stories on this blog. l want to raise people’ s awareness on  different social  and cultural topics through my writing and  bring smiles, inspire, spread positive thoughts. And, have  a deep connection with readers by accepting their input and feedback.  “The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader reading it, makes it live: a living thought, a stay”.-Ursula K Le Guin

n