Imaginary

“ Can you give me a house?” The boy asks standing close to the huge tree.

“ I have no house,” replies the tree. The forest is my house, but you may cut off my branches and build a house.Then you will be happy.” The tree smiles.

The boy without any further thought, cuts off the tree branches to build his own house. It hurts the tree but she keeps quiet. She is just delighted to see the boy, her childhood friend.

“ Disgusting! So ungrateful! Selfish boy!” Hope uncrosses her legs, sits upright, legs drawn in and her eyebrow bends. She closes the book with a thump and hides it deep behind the other books in the walnut bookcase. As she turns around,she hears her mother’s voice from the kitchen.

“ Hope!It is almost time for school.”

Hope glances at the windsor cherry finish clock on the wall. It is almost 8.30 am. She marches through the narrow hallway to the dining room to grab her lunch box. Something fluttering out the  glass window caught her eyes. A bright cardinal sitting in the pine tree and staring directly at her. For a moment their eyes locked, and they look at one another their heads slightly tilted. “Welcome my new friend!” The cardinal chirps and then takes a flight, cheerfully. Hope’s gaze returns to the dining table.

“Did you memorize the timetable?” Her mother sips her tea, trying to look at her sideways with the cup at her lower lip.

“O, snap!” Hope nods her head in disbelief and tries to find out a reasoning.That is the main reason that she wakes up real early but she completely forgot! It must be the way she has arranged her books in the book shelve. Her study room has two doors. If you enter from the right side, then immediately you will notice the school books in the bottom shelve. But from the left side of the entrance your eyes directly fall  on the wonderful story books. Well,there is no other reasons to verify this event, so she must have the right conclusion. Now she realizes that instead of memorizing the time table, why she read a few pages of the book The Giving Tree.And she does not like the greedy, self-centered boy at all. “ Nope ! Nope! The friendship is such an amazing thing and the boy did not care to keep it! And on the other hand the tree is so affectionate, so kindhearted and so thoughtful! I am confident that my tree friends are wonderful like the tree in the book.

“Hope! Did you memorize or not? You need to focus more on your math.” her mother looks directly at her, one eyebrow arched.

Hope does not like to lie to her mother. There is something mysterious in mother’s eyes! They understand your inner feelings without any confession.She bends down to tie her shoes avoiding her mother’s eyes.” Don’t worry mom, it will be fine.I am getting late for school. Bye.” She leaves and her mother tilts her head back to sip the warm tea.

 

The bell rings for the first class.Hope sits with her two elbows on the small table, her hands clasped in front of her, her two fingers leaning against each other and against her thin pink lips.Hope tries her best to remember the time table before the class starts. She could remember up to the 7 but gets stuck in the eight table. The door opens and math teacher appears.He sits on his chair, takes the roll calls. He closes the book,pushes the chair to one side and abruptly stands up. He starts to ask question in a random order. Suddenly his eyes falls on Hope.

“ Hope! Please stand up. What is eight times eight?

Hope tries to count in her head. She stands straight. “ Sixty two.”

“It is hard to hear your voice. Come to the front of the class and speak clearly.”

Hope’s forehead and palms are warm and sweaty. As she tries to walk her way from her seat, her unstable nervous hand bumps into other notebooks and they fall in a pile. All the student’s curious eyes  are on her. She does not know where to look. “ Sorry! Pardon me!” She tries to  picks up the books from the floor.

She stands in the front. Her unstable nervous hands squeeze both sides of her maroon skirt.She closes her eyes for a second to do her prayer but suddenly she forgets the right one. Instead she begs the wonderful, kind tree of the story book. “Please help me.I will be your best friend forever and will not hurt you in any way.”

“ What is eight times eight?” A deep voice echoes.

A long breath.

Hope opens her eyes to answer. “ Sixty two.”

“What?” Now the voice is not only deeper but it sounds more angrier.

“Sorry, it is sixty four for sure.” Her voice is confident.

“ Excellent!Next week I will start the question with you so be prepared. You may go back to your seat.” The math teacher turns his attention to the class.

That evening after school, Hope opens the iron gate of her house and runs to the garden. She has to give this wonderful news first to all her friends in the vast garden.

 

Solving a dilemma

Conundrum

Olivia and Paul try their best but the house itself start to takes part.

The lamps dismount from their stands at the slightest touch, the glass from the frames start to shatter when anyone walk past them, the air inside the house  has acquired a poisonous residue from the negative things they have said to each other. Now the house is haunted with pain. One could feel it  the minute  one walks in the door.

They sit there on the white sofa unsmiling, neither of them say anything. A little colorless sunlight has forced its way around the neighboring buildings and lay exhausted across the floor.It is so oddly quiet, as if  the house is holding its breath. Both husband and wife are like two becalmed sailing ships carrying sailors from different countries who shout and curse at each other as they drift farther and farther apart. Sometimes they forget the nicest things that they do for each other.

Olivia sails past Paul, then makes a half turn and looks over at him in the gathering dusk with a genuine expression of surprise. An acute observer would detect the presence of rich nature, warm heart, thoughtful intelligent eyes. Olivia twists her wedding ring. This is the man for whom she fought with everyone to marry. Now she should try her best to fix the problem. She would rather find happiness in the quiet of ordinary things; a book, a petal falling from a flower or an extraordinary shape of a rock.

Miracle happens everyday they are rarely tallied. No one keeps the score.

A late afternoon in November. Olivia sits up startled, gasping. Her husband Paul appears at the door. “Is everything okay?” He asks irritably flipping the pages of a book.

Olivia smiles. “ I had a strange dream!”

Paul turns around. “During the afternoon?It is really awkward.’’ Paul glances at the clock. “ It is almost one thirty. You should spend time in your sketch or writing.” He evidently wish to return to his reading.

Olivia murmurs. “ Well, my dream was strange but sweet.She smiles mischievously. “ There is a handsome man in my dream and I would rather enjoy his company.” She hums a few lines of an old romantic Bollywood song and lays back on the bed.

Paul closes the book that he is reading and stares at his wife. “ How absurd and nonsense!. Keep your silly dream to yourself.” He walks out from the bedroom.

Next morning is very delightful.

As Olivia tries to cover the rose bushes from freezing rain Paul walks into the deck. “ Are not you going to work?”

Paul gives Olivia a helping hand and says, “ I have taken off from work to spend some time here.”

Olivia raises her eyebrows and laughs a charming little laugh.

A precious Possession

Pride and Joy

It happens again just like the other days. Mithee pushes her curly black hair behind her ears and bends down to look at the stitches. The stitches have to be neat and accurate. Tomorrow they will be shipped as designer jeans to Canada and USA. That is what she heard from her boss. Satisfied with the outcome she lifts her head, stretches her small hands towards the ceiling, then to the back and straightens her aching back. As she gets up from her chair the supervisor comes. He adjusts his silver framed eye- glass, bends over to the long table and checks all  the fifty pairs of  jean pants lifting one after another. He stands straight and says in a gravely, “ You have done a good job and before you leave pick up your money from the clerk at the downstair office”. Mithee counts and carefully leaves the money inside her old, overly patched small hand bag.She pushes the heavy wooden door with all her strength and steps out.

Outside, evening shadows are falling; the sun is low in the west and the breeze is soft. A few birds squat on the side of the road pecking on scraps, while in the sky a dozen sail towards their nest. Mithee walks slowly her head slightly bend towards one shoulder, her small tired hands dangling down. She is almost ten but the workload is too heavy for her. But  her eyes are sharp, intelligent and full of hopes. As she walks on the long dirt road  full of wriggling vines, trees, the causal wheelbarrow faintly rotten towards her house, out of the trail of her eyes she notices the pretty purple and white flowers in one of the dense bushes to the side of the road. She stops. A chord of delight strikes inside her.This will be perfect gift to bring smile on her mother’s face.

Just before the crossing the last street to the house Mithee stops. The beautiful sound of the violin from the radio that floats out from the stores and scatters in the air outside. Mithee stands leaning against the wall of the store, closes her eyes. She puts an imaginary violin to her shoulder and softly caresses it with a phantom bows. Through her closed lips she makes a humming noise which she vaguely imagines resembles the sound of the violin.Suddenly the music stops. Mithee opens her eyes, moves away from the store. She feels the warm sap of emotion being pumped through her body.  She smiles and continues her walk.

It is almost seven in the evening. Mithee walks into her small clay house. There is no door, instead just a long dark beige color torn cloth hangs there. She runs ,hugs her mother and presents her the beautiful flowers. A general air of happiness falls  and settles. Her mother raises her eyebrow in astonishment and touches the delicate petals of the flowers with her pale fingers in deep appreciation.“ Beautiful! Thank you. But where were you? It is so late!” Then  she  knows her daughter; her likes and dislikes. She smiles warmly and says “Go wash your hands and come to eat.”

Mithee remembers something. She turns back and gives the money to her mother. Her mother adjusts the candle. She counts, wipes her tears and hides the money in an envelope under the pile of clothes in one corner of the room.She does not want her little girl to work for money. After her husband’s death Mithee started to work to help her mother and two siblings. And her mother has high hope and determined that one day she will send Mithee to a school.

Evenings are always enjoyable for Mithee.She pulls out her small note pad and a pencil and settles herself on the floor. Her imaginations start to shuffle through her brain. She bends down and  starts writing; ‘The story of a princess’. Her creativity is her best prized possession.

Image result for image on creativity in writing

Dense Fog!

Singular Sensation   If one experience or life change results from you writing your blog, what would you like it to be?

 “One moment she is here, and then she is gone again and each journey takes her a little farther from the reach”. – Debra Dean.

Amber startles and looks around with a mix of bewilderment, shock and wonder. She sits on a small wooden bench on the wet sand; the spilling waves are breaking down softly at her feet. A few sea gulls are scavenging on the sand, and one or two pelicans on the water. She held a black leather hand bag loosely in one hand, and a notebook lays spread on her lap. The scarcely perceptible wind flutters its pages at intervals. Her black dress is wet from knee down. Eyes float uncomfortably not knowing where to look. She pulls her fingers through her sticky hair. She tries to remember how she came there, why she is in the beach, and where she is supposed to go. A heavy suffocating blanket of reality began to sink in. She leans with her elbows on her knee and remains rapt in deep thought.  But everything seems so hazy and vague; it’s hard to remember anything. She opens her bag and grabs the phone and looks at all the contacts. And now she is in a dilemma on whom to call; everything seems so unfamiliar. She crosses her legs then uncrosses her legs. Her forehead is shaded with a heavy cloud; lips are sealed in an expression of unspeakable sadness and anxiety.

“Hello, is this Mason?” Amber takes a big gulp pf air as she could and held it ,then asks nervously.

Mason is surprised to hear Amber’s voice “Is everything alright? Are you done with your presentation? And where are you? Are you driving back? It is so late!” Mason’s heart is pounding at a frantic tempo.

Amber can feel the anxiety from the other end and the voice seems so familiar. She swallows and answers, “I am lost and I do not know how to answer all your questions. But, will you come and pick me up close to the beach.” She turns her head and looks around to get a name for a nearby building and she finds it. She says eagerly, “I am close to the hotel Galvez”.

“I will be there in fifteen minutes!” Mason sighs and takes a deep breath. He is glad to know that Amber is fine. He decides to take her to the doctor tomorrow.

Amber is almost sixty, and graceful woman. Her fine forehead slopes gently up to where her hair and burst into wave. Her hair is as pale as milkweed has gone from black to white, and the years of laughter and joy reflect through the crow’s feet at the corner of her eyes. She has been happily married; they have no harsh edges with each other, they ride through life like conjoined jelly fish, filling each other’s space. She enjoys every bit of her life a very active lifestyle; happy in the job, enjoys her kick boxing, Ripped, yoga classes, long walk in the trail. She loves doing puzzles, reading and writing. Amber arranges her thoughts into the most beautiful words, and tries her best to flavors her stories to perfection.

But things happen and sometimes without any reason. Amber has started to become forgetful; cellphone numbers, the lane where she parks the car, the keys to the house, important papers. Sometimes she would stand in the doorways trying to figure out where she is going. Sometimes she even forgets what she wants to say. There are days she is more confused than others. Other days she drives crazily; drives her car in the wrong lanes and runs red lights or stop signs.

Mason is very worried and consults with different doctors. The doctor has diagnosed the symptoms, as Alzheimer’s a progressive neurological disease, a common form of dementia.

One early morning in October, Amber notices the pink of the new day seeping through the lacey white curtain. Settling herself more luxuriously upon one of the dining chair she decides to spend the morning in writing. Inside the kitchen, the light reflects off the bits of chrome, sinking quietly into the granite countertops and floor. While she crunches on an apple from the basket on the table and pulls over her note pad and begins to scribble ideas for her short story. The hour passes. In the middle of writing, she stretches her arms above her head, to the back, looks away, stares at the ceilings, looks back at the page in the hope of being surprised by the brilliance of what is there. She held her chin between finger and thumb, tries to think hard, but then it does not matter, she is happy with her creation. She pushes her hairs behind her ears and turns her head towards the heavy footfalls in the hallway. Mason walks-in. “ Hi, do you want to take a break and join me on the patio for a hot cup of tea?” He knows how Amber loves to sit on the patio from where you can see her treasured rose plants, and the branches of the cherry trees hang heavy with pink and white blossoms, their petals drifting like a spring snow on to the yellow daffodils below. Amber smiles. Her pale face flushes.“Sure I will.”

Sometimes she would fall in love with me again just like she had a long time ago. And that is the most wonderful feeling in the whole world.”- Nicholas Sparks.

One Friday, as Mason walks into the house he notices Amber sitting in an old fashioned wing backed swing from this angle her face is obscured by a large sunhat. An album lays spread on her lap, she tries to visualize and the images are fuzzy, obscure, flow of things lost. Amber lifts her head. The expression of her face seems disturbed and anxious. Her lips are half open as if she means to speak, and then she draws a deep breath, her carefully tended eyebrows draw together. Smile spreads from her tightly pressed mouth, the laugh lines deepens and she says, “Hi. It is so nice to see you home early.” A big delicious smile spills over from Mason. A black cloud seems to hover over her and envelops everything. Unhappiness burrow into her soul like a winter wind whistling hollowly. Mason is determined to heal his wife, help her in this rough time. He sits close to his wife gently holding her hand. He says enthusiastically, “I want to chitchat with you, then we can go for a stroll, but first, we will look at the album together”. Mason opens up each page of the albums, and starts telling the stories on the different pictures. . They fail to penetrate Amber’s brain as if a bird collides with a window pane. It is like a puzzle and each piece held historic facts, personal memory. Amber tries her best to visualize the stories.

“Alzheimer’s is the cleverest thief, because she not only steals from you, but she steals the very thing you need to remember what’s been stolen.”
― Jarod Kintz

stock-photo-memory-loss-and-brain-aging-due-to-dementia-and-alzheimer-s-disease-as-a-medical-icon-of-a-group-of-264060908

  • I have a high hope for my blogs to touch other’s hearts and bring more social awareness which will be my greatest achievement.

A Hard Truth

Mouth Drop

The morning of  September 6th is clear and sunny with the fresh warmth of an ending summer. Gloria is excited and looking forward to teach her first class in one of the school. This year she has decided and planned to  spend more quality time in volunteering in different organizations and the first one is the school.

The class starts at sharp 8 am. Gloria double checks her hand bag for the note pads and the few treats which she has picked up lovingly for the students; crayon packs and colorful stickers. The class starts on time and continues perfectly until Gloria notices the small boy with thick brown hair, a plain blue shirt who sits at the far right side of the room, close to the wall with a window. He has long hair which hides half of his right face, tries to look straight or tries his best to listen to Gloria’s teaching and sometimes looks down to the open pages of a book or around to other students, then turns his head and stares out through the glass window. Gloria tries to get his attention and focus by asking him one or two questions but he just sits there, stares with a vague and empty look on his eyes and nods his head but does not answer. It is a little strange to see  a young boy in this state; so disinterest and inattentive in the class or it may be Gloria’s imagination. But she is determined, cold as a steel to find our the reason.

The class ends.Gloria walks closer to the desk of the young boy and asks him to follow her to the corridor, next to the office room. The young boy walks slowly and stands leaning against the wall. Gloria looks at him and asks,’What is your name?’

He swipes his stray long hairs from his right side of the face and looks towards Gloria and answers,’My name is Nicolas.

Gloria is surprised to see his sleepy eyes and asks,’ Did something bother you in the class or the topic that I was teaching? You were not paying any attention!’

Nicolas takes a deep breath, tilts his head slightly and answers nervously,’ I was trying my best. But some days it is very hard to concentrate in the class.’

Gloria relaxes a little as Nicolas opens up.But the answer does not satisfy her and she tries to know more about his disinterest in the class.She bends down a little and asks,’ You are like my son and I will try my best to help you so tell me the truth. What is bothering you?’

Nicolas stands quietly for a minute or two then leans towards Gloria and says,’ It is hard to sit still in the class because of my stomach, it aches from hunger. My last meal was the free lunch that I ate here in the school cafeteria. My mom tries her best but it is hard for her to take care of all of my other four siblings and they are younger than me. Some days we eat and some days we stay hungry.’ Sadness flickers across his face. He wipes his tears with the back up his small palm and looks the other way. He sighs. There is a long pause, a breathless pause and then Nicholas says,’Sorry. I will try my best to concentrate more in the class. My mom has faith on me that if I study hard and do good in the class then I will be able to help her in future.’

Gloria tries to stand straight. Her eyes are wide and  lips are sealed in an expression of unspeakable sadness. Her face is washed with an expression that’s equal parts of shock and wonder. She is surprised that Hunger which is a very hard reality in some of the third world countries has started to emerge in some families in a rich country too.Gloria stands in silence, staring numbly towards Nicholas, letting the tears trickle down her face. She shakes her head, wipes her own tears with a handkerchief. Gloria gently holds the small fingers of Nicholas within her. Her eyes fix on Nicholas as she speaks, measuring his reaction. ‘ Thank you for opening your heart to me. Do not worry. Relax.Come with me. I will talk to the principal and we will figure out a way to help you. I will make sure that you will get free breakfast and lunch here in the school and a way to help your mom.’

Nicholas’s eyes sparkle joyfully and his face lit up by a wide smile.He springs forward and hugs Gloria.

“If we can conquer space, we can conquer childhood hunger.” Buzz Aldrin

hunger                           hunher

Embracing the Reality

Forever Young ( If there were a real Fountain of Youth, would you drink the water?)

In the early part of one November, on a Sunday Emma pulls the heavy oak door and steps into the garden. The bare trees stand quietly in a line close to the fence. The lingering petals of the colorful flowers from most of the trees has faded and fallen from their stems. There are brown leaves all over the yard. Slowly Emma meanders through the garden and notices a very pretty deep blue butterfly with yellow dots on the wings, dozing in the crevices of two small rocks.Emma bends down to peek and then whispers to herself, ‘May be the butterfly forgot to leave with the departure of the season’.

On most of the weekends Emma returns home from her favorite body combat class  feeling energetic, fresh and happy. Her to do list for the day starts to jump in her mind like the wild small frogs in the rain. She feels restless like a tapping toe or a wandering eye to do something; she prepares the breakfast, feeds the dog and cat, finishes the laundry,visits the library, runs for the grocery, waters the plants, prepares dinner, takes long evening walk with her daughter and the dogs, and then finally sits down to read and write the blogs. Emma tilts her head onto her clasped hand, toys with her list sitting on the dining chair. It happens for the first time on a Saturday morning. She feels lazy like a pampered honey bee and notices something different in her body; like the small aches and pains in the joints; a little difficulty in punching or doing the back kicks in the class, urge to sit in one place for more than ten minutes after a long day of work, even some-days she decides not to write but just to read the blogs of her friends and post comments.

One morning while cleaning the big mirrors of the bathroom Emma stops. She stands straight, swipes the hairs from her forehead,adjusts her eye-glass on her nose and looks at her face closely on the mirror, which she has not done for a long time. She traces her finger on the small crows feet at the corner of her eyes, long laugh-lines around her  mouth, then with mix of bewilderment and shock she leans more closer to the mirror, pulls her finger through her long black hair and notices the small white hairs; some are hiding nicely and a few brave ones are trying to emerge from the top. ‘Wow! I  have never noticed so many changes on my face.Hmm’ It must be the age!

Secretly Emma wishes to hold the youth as tight as possible. No body likes the pain that creeps in slowly or brings the dramatic changes in the body. The experiment on holding the youth for a longer time starts either consciously or unconsciously. Otherwise what will happen to the vast market of the different brands of skin care products; eye- cream, face creams, brown-spot removers, gel to tighten the eye, creams to clear the face and lift , hair colors to hide the whites. Just like the millions of women Emma has tried to stay young but only with the organic home made products. Some days she uses different fruits on her face, other days nuts, milk, honey or yogurts.

Emma breezes into the room with a shine to her cheeks. Somewhere she reads about the ‘Fountain of youth and can not stop laughing. She looks at her fifteen years old tabby who stretches out on the Persian rug beneath her feet and purrs gently, slowly age had made him more gentler. Even on the other day Emma met the older lady who lives in the second house to her left. She has started to complaint about aging after taking so many vitamins, nutritious food and exercise. That  night after dinner, while drying her face in the small white towel Emma looks at the mirror and smiles. Today she likes her crows feet, the laugh lines and the white hairs. She tips her head back slightly and murmurs’ You look lovely for your age’. Aging gracefully is fine. She does not want to defy the nature.Just like the change in the nature, the human body goes through the same cycle; from infant to childhood, from youth to old age and every part of the life is fabulous and enjoyable. Emma prefers to do yoga, meditation and stay active rather than drinking the water from the Fountain of Youth which is not an option at all.

“The wiser mind mourns less for what age takes away than what it leaves behind.” William Wordsworth 

fountain of youth          age

Life as it comes.

Finite Creatures

“No permanence is ours; we are a wave

That flows to fit whatever form it finds”
― Hermann Hesse

‘Ladies and gentlemen. We will be landing soon. Please buckle your seat belts and switch off the phones.’ As soon as I heard that I felt as if throwing off sparks to all directions like the colored arrows of a July forth rocket.I sat up blinking, and rubbing my neck.  After eighteen hours finally the plane landed. I quivered in excitement and a wide smile beamed across my face. I adjusted my lilac dress, moved my fingers to smooth my hair and marched forward with my coral blue handbag and then stopped and tuned around.’ Sorry.‘ I said. Both my kids were standing there close to the seat with big surprise looks on their eyes. I completely forgot my luggage and my kids.’ I need to control my fluttering mind.‘ I muttered. I wanted to surprise my grandmother and my whole family so we took a cab and went home. The cab ride seemed pretty long. My mind was thronged with so many delightful thoughts; all about my family, more about my sweet, kind, generous , loving grand mother. I reached up and slowly unlatched the huge metal door to the entrance and walked towards the front stairs. I felt like snorting, a horse-galloping glee. As we stepped into the living room and crossed the long hall to the right into the dining hall, I saw most of my aunts gathered around the dining table.They glanced at us with a big surprise, then moved their chairs and walked up to greet us. ‘Emma! O’ the kids too! What a pleasant surprise. Why did not you call us? We could have gone to the airport to receive you.’ Said my aunts.

I smiled, dropped my luggage and said ‘ I did not want to spoil the surprise.’ We moved forward and touched every one’s feet as a respect. My eyes were searching for my grand-mother. I asked one of my aunt, ‘ Where is grand-ma?’

She pointed her finger to a room closer to the staircase and said,’ She is there. Go meet her. She will be so happy.’ I  ran towards my grand mother’s room. I knocked gently and not expecting a response, anyway I twisted the polished brass knob and stepped in. The room was a little darker and so quite that the silence actually hummed. My grandmother was in the bed, napping. I opened all the windows for light, sat closed to her on the bed and whispered, ‘ Grand ma! Grand ma!This is me Emma. How are you?’

‘Emma!  Wow! Really is that you and your kids?’ She said as she opened her eyes and turned her head towards us. Her face was washed with as expression of that’s equal part of wonder and excitement. Her eyes sparkled joyfully. She adjusted her eye-glass and said, ‘Come. Come closer. It has been such a long time. You made me so happy. I wanted to see all of you too’. She wiped her tears of happiness and pulled me and the kids closer for a hug.

My grandmother was more than a mother. She was everything for me. Going back to my country means spending wonderful time with her. She tried her best to sit leaning against a stack of  pillows. I tried to smooth her white hair, and move the stray hairs from her face. She was a little weak and exhausted after the second heart surgery. A slow smile lifted her weathered cheeks. Settling herself to a right position she pulled me a little closer and asked one of my aunt to cook all the foods that I like. Then she told me a lot of stories from my childhood. We laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. Everyday some new story and more laughter. It was just like the old days. After two weeks she did not feel well so the doctors decided to keep a close watch on her in the private clinic and she had to move there for a few days. All of us took turns spending time with her in the clinic.

I remembered that day clearly. I was getting ready to drive to the clinic to see my grand-mother when a phone call came from the clinic that my grandmother passed away. I was coming down on the stairs when I heard the shrill sound from the other room.  My mother was crying. My hand trembled and feet froze. I tried to grab the side of the stairs. I stood there in the silence, staring numbly into the ceiling. I took several attempts to speak to my mother but no words came. Everything was fragmented; my thoughts, my memories, emotions, love. Suddenly all of it floated disconnected. I promised to spend two months with my grandmother before I returned. We both agreed to share our memories, happiness, stories together. I inhaled only a shallow breath and then struggled for another and tried hard to control my tear but could not.

I wiped my tears with the back of my palm and closed my eyes and leaned my head against the side of the stair. I did not expect this from life. I took granted of everything and forgot that life is just a bubble. Life and death are the parts of life. I have to accept the truth and the uncertainty of life. So many promises, so much love, so much expectations, so many dreams all vanish in thin air. Every moment is important and I have to make use of each moments.

life2

A curious mind

Practice Makes Perfect? A talent you’d love to have… but don’t.

It is the first day of summer vacation in the elementary school. Emma bounces around the house with a sparkly yellow pencil , a white note-book with the picture of a few colorful flowers on the front side of the note-book and a box of crayons on her hand. A long list of ideas gather and shuffle through her small head. She wants to catch and pin down each of them. She stops in the middle of the stair-case and lifts her eyes to the wall at the side of the staircase. She glances at the beautiful paintings on the side of the wall; paintings of graceful dancers, magnificent mountains, stunning water-falls. O’yes, she smiles and whispers.’ I want to be an artist’. She sits there on the middle of the stair, opens her notebook and on the first page she draws a mountain in triangle shapes, long straight lines for trees and circles for flowers on all the branches. Emma  colors the triangle in brown and black, brown for the tree and decides to give all the colors to the flowers. She  swipes her wavy black hairs from the forehead, holds the note-book away from her face, tips her head a little to the right and tries to study her creation. Her face is lit up by a smile as bright as the sunshine. Emma runs up-stair to her grandfather’s room to show him the wonderful art.

It is the third Friday of the month. Emma sits on her bed and looks at all the pictures on the cream color wall of her bedroom. She counts with her fingers all the drawings and then decides to  start something new. It is a long Summer break and she gets bored very easily with the same stuff. She recollects how her grandmother says that,’ one can acquire any talent if you put your mind into it’. Emma thinks on starting a new project when she gets distracted by the gentle, melodious songs that come from her mother’s room. She loves music. Emma climbs down from the bed and sails through the door. She gracefully steps into the room and sits close to the radio and tries to remember the song word by word. After the breakfast Emma closes the double door from behind and tries to  sing the same tune that she heard from the radio. Then she leans against the wall and breaks into a huge smile. ‘I am a singer and after some practice I will be a famous one. I will surprise my parents, grandparents and all my friends.’ Emma whispers and claps.

It is the Summer in a early July. The leaves of the mango tree rustle gently in the west wind. The bright puffy white clouds float rapidly above. Emma sits on a garden chair and reads the Gulliver’s travel. As she finishes the last chapter, a brilliant idea flashes on her mind. She wants to be a famous writer like Frances Burnett or Robert Stevenson or Louis Alcott or just like her father. Her father walks into the garden with a magazine and with a cup of tea and sits close to Emma. He turns her head towards Emma and says,‘ Me and your mom have been thinking to send you to a music class in every week-end. It will be small classe and you may like it. And if you want you can attend a drawing class too. Do you want to start in the coming week?’

Some strange imaginary ideas float in Emma’s mind. She wants to learn everything and wants to be the best but she does not like to be in the crowd. She feels very nervous in-front of strangers. Emma wipes the sweats from her forehead, she laces her fingers together on her lap, then turns her head towards her dad. ‘ May be next year dad. This year I want to focus on writing stories. Or may be after my high-school.’ She replies with a small smile.

Her dad understands. He takes a sip from the hot tea, nods his head and says,’ That is fine but let us know. We will arrange everything but you need to prepare yourself. And the idea of writing is wonderful too.’

It is a lazy Sunday. After dinner Emma walks into the living room with her writing pad. She settles her self on the baby blue sofa and pulls out a black binder from the end table. She runs her fingers on the soft silk cover then lifts the top flap. She shuffles through her  random sketches on nature and on animals. She leans back more, glances at the pictures one after another. Emma remembers how her parents wanted her to attend both the music and art class. She wanted to learn them badly too. Even now she loves to sing only when no one is around She makes time to sketch but as soon as she finishes, she stacks them nicely in the binder which lays on the corner table. Her expression softens. Emma tips her head slightly and smiles. Her creations are not that perfect. But they take wing through her imagination, satisfy her and encourage her all the time.

talent

Magnificent Thoughts

S/he Said     Pause whatever you’re doing, and ask the person nearest you what they’re thinking about (call someone if you have to.

The July sun is bright and keen on the bricks of the stone path in the garden and gently warms my calves as I kneel on the lawn to check the lavender plant. A bee zig zigzags up from the lavender plant and hovers around my elbow lightly touching my fingers. I hear the ring of the phone that lays on one side of the deck. I wipe my hands quickly and answer the phone.

I hear a familiar voice from the other end, ‘Good morning! Are you in bed?‘ Asks my mother.

I stand up, arch my back and say, ‘Good morning mom! It is almost ten and I am in the garden. Remember we are two hours ahead of California time. I want to finish my garden work before it gets too hot. So, how are you? Did you have fun yesterday?’

O’ Yes. It was a beautiful firework! There were so many people! And excitement was everywhere in the air; people were enjoying the concert, children were playing with the glow sticks, and even the dogs were sitting happily close to their families. Hold on let me pull the chair closer so that I can sit comfortably.’ Then I hear her sigh.

I move to the other side of the garden to check the pumpkin plant. I adjust the phone in one hand and pour more compost  around the delicate sprout of pumpkin vine with the other hand. The vine has newly emerged from the ground just this morning. I try to readjust my hat on the head to avoid the bright sun on my face and I ask,’ Are you alright?’

‘ Yes.’ She replies and continues with her sentence,’ We walked around a lot yesterday and now my knee hurts too. I am planning to ice both the knees. I forgot to say that I met some young girls of your daughter’s age and are already married and working. You should think about that. She should not marry in a late age.’

I move towards the honey suckle vine and fastens it to a wood stick on the fence with the right hand and answer,’ Do not worry mom. She has just started working so I want her to  concentrate on her job. Also she wants to travel different countries and participate in some non-profit organizations for women’s right and children’s education.’ I hear my mother is shifting her position on the chair and sipping on some type of liquid; either green tea or ice coffee or water.

She clears her throat and says,‘I know. I understand that the time has changed. In India the women have started working, taking independent decisions and bold steps on different fields; raising voices on the women’s education, protecting from slavery, domestic violence, poverty. I like how they are helping the poor families in education. You should  participate more if you get time.’

I walk to the deck where my dog has stretched out peacefully between her legs, tail laying sideways. She lifts one eye to see me then wags her long brown tail and thumps against the floor. I sit close to her on the white rocker and say to my mom, ‘Yes. I read that in the news and it is good that our society is going towards the right direction. Women are the backbone of a society so it is really important to educate them properly. Our Indian government should take more appropriate measures to ensure the particular needs of women and meet health care service, training and employment opportunities.’

My mother pushes the chair. May be she tries to get up and walk around. If she sits in one place for too long then it  bothers her knees. Although she is doing good at her age. She takes a sip from her cup and asks, ‘ Did you have a good time?’

I smile, nod my head and answer, ‘Yes we enjoyed the July forth concert and the firework. We drove to the out door theater in the museum district. We were surprised to see so many people this time. I think the population of our city has grown. But the weather was nice so we had a wonderful time.’ I wipe my face and try to shield my face from the sun. I take out the cotton garden glove from both of my hands and walk into the house. I say,’ Mom I will call you later after my shower and do not forget to ice your knees.  And I will try to dedicate more time on human-rights issues. Bye.’

Protecting their Dreams

Groupthink

The small town has began to rise itself : The milk delivery van rattles down the road, the recycling truck drivers try to back up their truck in narrow roads, the shop-keepers on the roadside re-arrange their best merchandises on the front, a few cows stand and some lay on the middle of the road chewing either grass or papers from the street, children walk on the street to the school ; some with colorful back packs and some carry a few books on hand. Across the street, morning light shifts thorough the clouds to give back the terraced row flats their eggshell color. Life forces want to emerge from all directions.

In one part of the town, at the farthest corner, at the end of a row far from the rustle and bustle stands a small house with bamboo thatched roof and walls of dirt and grass. The man in a soiled grey shirt sits on a small stool on the narrow front porch leaning against the wall. He has winter white hair, a beard and slightly wrinkled face.  A middle age lady pushes the front bamboo door open. A slant of sunlight fell onto the floor at her feet. She carries two faded white mug of black tea without handles. The lady adjusts her torn lilac color dress, gives one mug to her husband and sits there with the other mug, close to the stool. They sip the hot tea quietly. After a while the man clears his throat, and says, ‘Yesterday, I met Harish from the other village. He is thirty-eight years old , only son of his parents and has his own business. He is looking for a girl to marry. I am thinking to give him the proposal of our daughter Madhu.’

‘What?? The wife says in disbelief. Our Madhu is only a child.’

The husband looks straight to his wife and says in a deep voice, ‘We can not take care of her. We do not have enough food for four of us. And it will be easy if Harish agrees to marry without any dowry. Any way girls are supposed to leave and stay with their husband’s family after their marriage. So sooner the better.’

The wife’s forehead is shaded with a heavy cloud, her lips are sealed in an expression of unspeakable sadness. She places the mug on the floor and lifts her eyes to argue, to oppose to this inhumanly idea of her husband. She gathers courage and says,  Madhu is only eleven years old, a small child. Let her enjoy her childhood, learn a few things in life. And all the other children of her age are going to the school.’

Angers bubbles in the husband’s mind. He stands up slowly, stumps on the floor, bangs the mug and shouts at his wife, ‘ I am the head of the house and my decisions is final. I do not want to listen your complaint.’ 

His wife is very stubborn. She draws in a few deep breath, turns her head and glances at the broken pieces of the mug which are scattered on the floor just like her own life. She was married in a very young age of eight to this man and gone through a hell. She can not let the same misfortune happen to her daughter, she wants to protect her. She let the tears collect on her lashes and stream down her cheeks. She wipes her tears on the back of her right palm and walks closer to her husband and says,’ I beg you. Spare your daughter, let her go to school . I will find more work and arrange the food.’

Her husband raises his hand to silence his wife and says,’ Get lost from here. I wanted two sons, not a daughter and now do not teach me what to do. We are not rich and can not provide dowry. I have to take care of my son too. Harish will pay for everything and Madhu will be happy there.’ He climbs down the two small stairs and leaves. His wife sits there in the silence, staring numbly into the space, letting the tears trickle unchecked down her face.

A young man with a blue shirt and black pant  bends down and tries to  repair his bike in front of their house and overhears the conversation. As soon as the old man leaves, he climbs up the broken stairs carefully and walks up to the lady and says, ‘Excuse me’.

The lady turns her head slowly, her eyebrows lifted to see a stranger.

The young man walks a little closer and says, ‘I overheard your conversations with your husband. You are right about your daughter. She needs to continue her education, learn different things, and enjoy her life. No one should force her. But do not worry. Now there is a strict law against child marriage so you can come with me to the police station to file a complaint against your husband. And now there are lots of organizations who help in this type of scenarios. Please wipe your tears and come with me. I will be the witness.’ 

The lady relaxes her shoulder, a tentative smile plays around her mouth. She is determined to save her daughter’s life. She is strong enough to fight against and protect her. She closes the bamboo door from outside, climbs down the stairs and steps into  the slice of sunshine.

girl         graph

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Lekhamisra

Lekhamisra

Hello and Namaste to my wonderful bloggers and readers. I am Lekha, grew up in one of the beautiful city of Odisha in the mystical land India. My paternal grandmother was a perfect story teller- stories of brave kings and queens to stories of freedom fighters, to stories on kindness,honesty, compassion, truthfulness. As soon as I learned to read, my marvelous adventures started through the fairy tales, the mysteries, the classics and the autobiographies. O’ Yes, it was lots of fun! At middle school my imagination started to take wings into short stories and sometimes in sketching. In 1987 I came to USA to continue my education in Psychology. Life got busy with my son and daughter in their school,library, music class, dance class, tennis, soccer, scout, debate...Staying active is very important for me.So after work, I enjoy going to different classes - kickboxing, RIPP, PiYo and Yoga. I have a deep affection and respect to Nature. For me winter is the champion. During winter vacation it is always delightful to hike on the gorgeous,stunning and beautiful snowy mountains in different national parks. After the children started their own lives, enormous time has poured into my weekends. I decide to do devout my time in volunteering. But still I could not satisfy my hunger and craving to do something more. One evening, I was reading some article on international issues on children, women,and on animal cruelty, which were very disturbing, traumatic and sad.I could not stop my tear or could not sleep. It is very hard to see others in suffering. Life is more fulfilling and rich when you help others, when you bring smile on others. “ Be a rainbow in someone else’s clouds.”- Maya Angelou. So I start to write again. I want my writing to be a strong voice for others in distress; for the innocent animals,for children, for women, on global warming and for all other social causes. Sometimes the truth is hard to digest but I am determined to reflect on those topics to make my readers aware on social issues. And I am thankful to WordPress for providing this wonderful platform to express my observation, views and dreams. I hope you explore the stories,enjoy and leave appropriate comments.

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