Simple Pleasure

Pleasure

“I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex.”- Oscar Wilde.

Aura tries to be a touch giver in workplace, in the volunteer programs, in the meetings and she does in her own way. She loves the gracious act of decoration and transformation.But sometimes she is a bit bewilder as to how one can perform pretty miracles to make a huge difference in the world of a house. Today is July 4th, off from work. She has plenty of time at hand. Aura looks around. She walks towards the mantel, lifts the beautiful hand painted vase, the one she painted in her second painting class. It turned out good for a new learner. Her husband and children do not say any negative which concludes her doubt. She looks at it closely. “Sure it looks pretty.” She decides to keep that in between the two white elephants which she purchased last time from India. She moves the wooden giraffe from there. According to Aura giraffes must have been made by someone talented but distracted.

The wooden bookcase caught her eyes and gratefully Aura crosses the hall. Her husband and children like to collect books but they just pile them in the book case.To relieve the congestion she takes up the framed photographs of her last visit to the Yellowstone National Forest and sets them on the top of the piano. Aura steps back and surveys her innovation. “Wow! It is Amazing!” The doorbell rings. Aura opens the door at the first bell. Her husband returns from his long morning walk with the dogs, still lots of energy to smile brightly at her. They sit on the beige sofa with two glasses of lemonade on hands. “ Well, it seems like you have rearranged the room again?” He says with a small smile taking a sip from the glass.Aura moves forward on cushion excitedly to tell all the new things she has done.She does not talk too much but a little to break the monotonous time. But at that time her husband has already opened the newspaper and hid most of himself behind the paper. Aura moves back on the sofa with the fashion and art page of the newspaper on her hand but she gets bored. She puts the paper down on the small end table. She wonders how he could get so much enjoyment out of a newspaper. She wish she could. Aura looks around to get her husband’s attention. “ I love these flowers,” she says arranging the bright yellow roses in a long neck glass vase. Her husband does not answer. He sighs and continues his reading.

In the late afternoon Aura drives to the elderly care home. She walks upstairs to the room to the right of the hall. The room is bright and comfortable furnished with pristine bed,  a small sofa. The old man, a friend of Aura sits on the chair, his eyes towards the door. Twice in a month Aura visits him and lifts the curtain on his creativity,helping him in the music lessons.This is the greatest pleasure for Aura when her blind friend plays passionately with great care pausing for emphasis, shaking his head at certain notes as if  he walks in a rainbow.You  will just breathe hard and listen to him mesmerized. After the practice Aura leaves to meet another woman in the same building. She knocks gently on her door and not expecting a response anyway she enters. Her other friend is in the bed. The yellow blanket is pulled up to her chest. Aura arranges the fresh picked flowers from her garden into a small glass vase and places on the wooden table close to the bed. Her name is Ivy and she is ninety years old. She does not have any family member so Aura visits her to give her company. Aura wraps her warm fingers around Ivy’s delicate hand. Ivy opens her eyes and smiles.

The last faint colors of the sun are gone. Aura returns home.

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A Miracle!

The Luckiest People

Who was the first person you encountered today? Write about him or her.

Every night, before my eyelids close themselves I wish the beautiful grey statue holding a small child  in front of my would step down, walk softly towards me. She would sit on the floor cross legged with her fingers gently caressing my hair and tell me the wonderful stories; stories of fairies, adventure of the kings. Each one of the stories will be marvellous and distinct. Or the tall Douglas Fir tree and the pine trees decorated  elaborately and lavishly with christmas lights to my right would speak, they would talk to me, sit with me and  tell me stories. I sigh while lying down on the damp newspaper. I pull the torn cloth up to my neck and adjust my small body deep into the medium size square cardboard  box covered with a clear plastic.The snowflakes drift down, glide on the plastic sheet, trimm the curves of the sidewalk and touch the ground. It is very very cold. My body shivers.The chill cold air of the night seems to lie on my limb as heavy as a slab of marble.I wipe the tears from my face with the back of my palm and try to sleep. Sorrows lay heavily around me.

A patch of cold sun greets  through the tiny holes of the cardboard box, I squint my eyes and tries to turn my face to the opposite side but then sharply turns my head back.I brush a cloud of hair out of my astonished eyes. A heart shape face with bright brown eyes and a pleasant smile appears in front of the big whole of the box. My heart stops.

“Good morning!’’ She says and lifts the box. I make an attempt to rise- I lean forward then sits back wrapping my hands around my knees and stare at the stranger. My heart beats faster.I am scared.I try to take a big gulp of air  as I could and held it to push back at the fear. I suck my breath like iron popsicle.

she is a tall lady in a jean pant, a dark grey winter jacket  and grey winter boots. A light blue scarf hangs loosely on her shoulder.Her hair is black and slightly wavy, arranged elaborately, and the bangs covers her big forehead.Her small knowing smile makes her appear benevolently ready to lend you her ear. She is light, delicate with a touch of motherly affection in her repose. Her penetrating bright brown curious eyes are full of kindness and sympathy. There is an pure simplicity in her warm smile that plays on her lean, spacious cheek and lights up her face. The lady bends down with one hand on her knee and the other lean arm outstretched towards me. “ Please do not be scared. I want to help you. Come hold my hand.” She says warmly.Then she leans forward and slowly touches my fingers. “ Your hand and feets are so cold! Is there anybody else lives with you?” Her curious eyes looks around the surroundings then gently falls on me.

“Please stand up. I will take you to an shelter. You need food, warm clothes and a place to stay. It is freezing here. Come, I will help you.” She says breathlessly, wrapping me with a dark blue blanket in one hand and holding my small fingers in the other.

My pulse beats fast but the lady’s eyes matches her voice. May be I will get a chance to live happily; surrounded with nice people, food to eat, books to read,cozy place to sleep. Yes, I strongly believe in miracle.

I raise my small tear-filled eyes and a little whisper escape my slightly parted lips.

“ Thank you!

Outside the air is alive with chatter,laughter and  a promise of bright future.

*Children are the greatest asset but 2.5 million children are homeless in each year in America. We should not create a Third world in our own backyard. No one child should be homeless!

Rain

Singin’ in the Rain Safe inside, toasty warm, while water pitter-patters on the roof… describe your perfect, rainy afternoon.

Outside the morning air is surprisingly cool. Grace stands on the pavement holding the bags of books close to the front door of the  library. The cloud pull their veil over the city.Rain she thinks flexing her neck and squints skyward. She better run to the car.She drives back to her house. As she reaches to open the door, the lightning flashes and a few seconds later thunder crackles and comes the torrential downpour.

As she steps into the living room, a  pair of brown paws appear in front of her. Her dog lucy does not like the rain or the cloudy weather. Rain is her worst enemy. She stands there to one side of the room with a sad face. Her tail hangs down, and the eyes are anxious and droopy. Grace sinks her fingers into her thick fur and pats her head to assure her that everything will be allright. The rain comes down hard and the wind whips sheets of water against the glass windows.Grace walks away forward to the north facing window overlooking the back garden.Her eyes lazily roams her surrounding. The wind is driving the rain against it in furious ways. The sky is dark as the north sea.A few birds perch heavily on one of  the tree. One or two small brown frogs hopping on the grass. The fragile white flower clusters and the lilacs  shake to and fro in the languid air and the heavy rain and then some scatter on the ground. The thin branch of the Cosmos plants are half bend to the ground and it’s pretty, soft orange petals shake violently  in the rain. Lucy stretches out on her belly close to Grace on the floor, her nose pressed against the crack under the door. Her tail beats gently , just a thump or two but with the sound of the heavy rain it stops. Suddenly she leaps forward, leans heavily on Grace and raises her eyes. Her mind screams  Mom  please do something to stop the rain. Grace pats her lovingly.

Grace loves the soft, uninterrupted and the mysterious sound of rain. Her imagination overflows. She wants to create  something marvelous; a picture, a short story or a flash fiction. She feels the warm sap of emotion pumps through her body. She decides to write not a flash fiction but a long story.With a hot cup of ginger tea she settles herself luxuriously upon the couch and opens her laptop.The scent of wet birches and pines flow through the small opening of the back door. Lucy stretches out on the rug beneath her feet tail lying sideways.After two hours on a stretch Grace leans back on the chair, stretches her arm above her head, to the back then looks back at the screen. What! A little whisper escapes her slightly parted lips. She glances at the clock, then looks back to the screen. Really only two paragraphs! I wonder what the other writers do; may be they are more creative and their imagination takes shapes faster than mine. Sure! Well I have to take a break. Grace walks into the kitchen. She opens the door and looks at the sky.The heavy rain has turned into sprinkles. The air feels cool and clean. The smell of pine is heavy. Out of the trail of her eyes she could see the birds rustle their wet wings against the wet shrubs. The raindrops from the leaves fall softly to the ground.There are pretty golden and brown leaves all over the lawn. Grace closes the door and walks back to the living room. As she settles herself on the cream colored sofa a few memories flash in her mind. She smiles deliciously. The romantic songs of Bollywood from 70’s float in her head. Grace starts to hum softly the lines. “Vigee vigee rato mein meethi meethi bato mein aise barsato mein kaisa lagata hei…”She blushes. Grace rises, sits down again and throws herself back with a cheerful smile.The wonderful memories of youth. Lucy raises one eye and stares at Grace. She wags her long tail and stretches out her legs. She is more relaxed now.

The romantic mood lingers.Grace decides to play the piano. Her delicate fingers play the soft interlude, gradually and imperceptibly the interlude melts into the soft opening  minor chords of the Chopin Impromptu. She glides from Chopin into the quivering love notes of Isolde’s song. The music grows strange and fantastic, it fills the whole house. It floats out over the house steps into the silence of the upper air.

The autumn twilight gathers inside the room.

writing          rain

A Dark Fear

1984      (You’re locked in a room with your greatest fear.)

An autumn leaf, very crisp, falls  somewhere in the dark. It is the last saturday in one October. Just after midnight I return home. Framed through the hall door, I see the familiar stage where my father is sitting on  the sofa  holding a newspaper but reading the empty spaces, close to him is my mother flips through a magazine and hums like a tea-kettle. Mostly it happens if I come late. There is a strict rule for the house is that you have to return home before midnight. And tonight I have broken that rule and anxious for the consequences. As I tiptoe into the room and cross it, my father hears either my footsteps or the clinking sounds of my glass bangles, he turns his head. He lifts a gray, slightly worried gazt through his eyeglass. “ You are home! Do you know the time? It is after midnight. You are supposed to return before twelve.”

My eyes float uncomfortably not knowing where to look and I reply in a nervous tone. “ I went to the haunted house with my friends and forgot to check the time. Sorry dad.”

My voice fades away towards the end of the sentence. Immediately my mother opens a knowing smile like a lightening. “Today is Halloween and all the children are having fun.”

My father’s voice deep like a Congo drum booms. “ No it is not right, go to your room and stay there until morning.”

My mom’s tries to convince my dad with the voice like water-bright Soprano in a choir. “Do not be so harsh, she is just a teenager!”  My mother walks with me to the hall. She looks at me with sympathy and says warmly. “Go eat something before you go to your room. We will talk in the morning. Good night.”

I am not hungry so I drag my feet to my room and go straight to bed.

The night around is chill. It is vibrant with tension and fear.

In the middle of the night, I hear a rustle, like a Japanese paper lantern drops in the dust. I open my eyes to see but it is pitch dark. I sit up on the bed, switch on the small lamp that sits right to my bed. I look around. There on the floor It is crawling with its long spiny hairy legs. It is coming towards me. Its wings are licorice black with small bright eyes.My eyes flexed wide as from blasts of photographhic powder, sits staring at itwith mouth half-open. It comes a little closer to the bedpost. My heart beat is super fast, then slow, incredibly fast like I am in a roller coaster, then again slow as the moon going down the sky on a winter night.I close my eyes and suck my breath like iron popsicle. The room is cold as a caveron the one I visited with my parents, on our way to New Mexico. I sink back towards the wall biting my lips. After a few second I open my eyes slowly and look down. It is rustling with its long antennas and slowly opening its wings. Fear overtakes me. I turn and bury my face in the pillow. My eyes are mummified shut, long nose is collapsed, mouth is like thin wax.

Inside my brain flashes the brave stories of princess that I heard from my grandmother when I was a small child. Do not let fear take over you, always be brave and fight back. Yes, sure I can do it. I am brave. I opens my eyes slowly and look down. It is now on the bed post. I take a big gulp of air and held it to push back at the fear. Then  I scream.

The bedroom door opens. My dad walks in. “Are you Ok?’’

I jump from the bed, leap forward and  run towards him as fast as I can. “ ….Yes…” I answer in a whisper.

My father hits switch, looks around and sighs. “ It is cockroach! You should not be afraid to this little cockroaches. Be brave.”

“But dad, it is almost 15mm long! I will try my best to be brave, but not today.” I leave quickly to my parent’s bedroom.

Slightly Invisible

Imaginary Friend

People  disappear, reappear, lose each other and suddenly find each other.

It happens again in October.   Daisy settles herself on the garden chair and dangles her feet ,enjoying the sensation of her ankles flopping loose in the breeze with the book The Orphan Train on her hand. She tries to concentrate on the story, when a heart-shaped face with bright brown eyes and a pleasant smile appears on her side. Daisy turns her head.The other one sits close to her with her hands on her lap folded upon her light blue dress. Her hair loosely black and hang down to her nape, are scattered over her shoulder. Her impressions are numerous and they are all reflected in her clear knowing smile. She breaks the silence. “ It has been a long time! Are you happy to see me back?”

Daisy smiles warmly. She uncrosses her legs, leans towards her friend. “ Yes, I am delighted to see you here.” Her voice leaps up extraordinarily strong. Daisy continues. “ It is a little lonely after the children left, and somedays it is so quiet that it feels like the house hums itself.”

Yes,her friend replies nodding her head. “ How about your other friends? Do not say that you do not mingle with them.” She raises her large astonished eyes.“ What about writing?”

Daisy pushes her curly hair behind her ears and says twisting her ring on her finger, the golden one  with tiny flowers bud on it, the one she purchased with her daughter. She misses her. “ I love writing which happens only in the weekends. What about you? You look so energetic! How is your life?”

She smiles luxuriously and answers in a  thrilling voice as if each speech is an arrangement of notes. “ I am in love with my yoga routine and keeping myself busy with lots of charity works, music lessons, travelling.This time I am planning to go to Alaska and hike in Denali.You should come with us and it will be lots of fun. I remember clearly that you love hiking.” The air is alive with chatter and laughter.

Her friend looks around with astonishment. “You have not decorated your house! It is Halloween. I know how much you love to decorate and hand out candies to the children.” She looks at Daisy more closely as if to read something in her eyes.

Daisy leans forward and sighs. Her voice is quite grave now. She sits still, her hands motionless upon her lap.“ I used to but after both of my children left, I do not think it is fun anymore. We used to decorate together, buy treats, take turn in opening the front door and giving candies to the children and love their custumes.”

Her friend springs to her feet and pulls Daisy from the chair.“ That is very absurd! Children have to leave and start their own life and that does not mean that you behave as if the life ends.’” She reminds Daisy of her first encounter in one clear in a bright Sunday. “ It was a pretty day in one Spring. You were almost five and half. You left your grandparents house and came to live with your parents in another city. You were standing leaning against a tall tree and crying. your shoulders were shaking and hands clenched. Occasionally you raised your eyes to look at the book which  was a gift from your grandmother, then lowered your eyes. your eyes were brimming with tears as if your existence is dull like a faded garment. Then I appeared in front of you with a promise of friendship, hope and excessive joy. It was so much fun! So now I am here again. Let’s have fun together just like the old days before I leave.” She says more warmly with a delicious smile.

Daisy tips her head slightly and looks at her friend. There is a determination in her eyes. Happiness deepens in her. Everything at once seems gorgeous.Tonight they will make cup cakes, decorate the house for halloween and plan for their hiking trip to Alaska.

“A daily dose of daydreaming heals the heart, soothes the soul, and strengthens the imagination.”

Richelle E. Goodrich

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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.

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The disappearance of an innocent world.

When Childhood Ends

There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again“. ~Elizabeth Lawrence

It happened in one late afternoon in spring. It was a Sunday. Everything was perfect in my imagination; the statues in the garden would step down and walk, the characters of the fairy tale would emerge and talk, the walls would speak, the trees would transform to small children and play. I as the brave princess was standing tall close to the big magnolia tree, in the front garden in my parent’s house. The air was alive with chatter, and enthusiasm. I took a deep breath, as big as a gulp of air as I could and held it to push back at the fear. I adjusted my sword, bowed my head to the all my friends. There was an air of expectancy everywhere. The world seemed to hold its breath. Then it started. I was running around in between the big trees holding my cocker spaniel puppy in one hand and a long broken tree branch in the other. I was trying my best to fight and protect all from the evil monster. The fight was very hard and tricky but I tried my best.

‘Yes, yes, we won!’ There the monster was laying flat on the grass, not dead but tired and shamed from loss. I spared his life and gave him a second chance. I stood straight, swiped my sweat from my forehead in the back of my palm, removed a strand of hair from over my eyes and threw the broken stick to the ground.  A general air of surprise and genuine satisfaction fell upon everyone. I looked around and saw the rich smile on the faces of all the statues, on all the trees and on the faces of my favorite characters. ‘Wow! You won the battle and made us proud. Bravo!’ They raised their right hands to their lips, laying thumb and forefinger together and threw kiss of reverence and waived cheerfully.

‘Thank you for all your support.’ I said with a smile, waving my right hand proudly. They all cheered ‘Now you are the queen.’ Their voices were high and penetrating and were woven into fantastic patterns of high- hope, assurance, excitement, courage and fulfilment.

‘Amber! Amber! Where are you?’ I paused and turned around as I heard my mother’s voice. I made a few cart –wheels, plucked one pretty bright pink rose from one of the rose bush and sailed across the garden to the house. I walked into the kitchen where my mother was standing with a bowl of mixed vegetables in one hand and a cup of milk on the other hand.

‘Hi Mom’ I said, as I carefully set the flower in front of her on the table. ‘For you, Happy Sunday!’ I smeld the rich scent of heating spices and also at the same time felt something different in the air. Leafing through my hair I smiled nervously. She tipped her head to one side, looked at me. The expression on her face was too familiar. Quickly I said, ‘I was in the garden, playing with the puppy’.

My mom handed me the cup of milk and asked, ‘How old are you? This not an age to play anymore with your make-belief friends. Be realistic. Now you should focus more on your studies and learn some other thing except books and friends’.

I took a sip from the warm milk and said, ‘Yes, I should concentrate more on my studies but what are the other things that are more important?’ I clasped my hands and continued with my sentence that how much I liked sketching, writing stories and reading.

My mother raised her eyebrows and nodded. My heart squeezed momentarily.  There was a long pause. She adjusted her eyeglass on her nose and said, ‘You are not a small kid any more so you need to learn how to act according to your age. Go to your room finish your home- work then come and help me in the kitchen.’ Her voice was quiet grave now and it matching her eyes.

A little whisper escaped my slightly parted lips.

childhood

Reflection

I’ve Become My Parents.

Do you ever find yourself doing something your parents used to do when you were a kid, despite the fact you hated it back then?

“Everyone else we knew growing up is the same: image of their parents, no matter how loud they told themselves they’d be different”― Tana French

It happens in the time between sunset and the lighting of the street light. There was a small quiet gray period back then when Sophia was a teenager. The air is always alive for them with chatters, laughter, dreams and some special dreams which take different shapes depending on the times of the day. Their group change more swiftly, swell with new friends, dissolve and form again in one breath.For the teenagers time has no value at all or may be a little. Sophia was from a very conservative family where there used to be a curfew for the girls, that after school you can spend time with your friend, but you have to come back home as soon as it is seven in the evening or as soon as you see the street light. Sophia is a very lovely girl with bright things in her; bright brown expressive eyes, bright smile and a positive attitude towards life. She loves her parents but sometimes the attraction of friends pull more and makes her take wrong decisions.

It was a ten minutes after seven on a Friday evening. As Sophia slipped through the front door and into the paneled hall way, her mother appeared. Her eye brows pulled together. She adjusted her eyeglass on her nose and looked at Sophia, folding her arms, head cocked to one side. “Where were you? Is it the right time to come home? Do not you have any respect for your parents?”

Sophia’s heart was pounding at a frantic tempo. She inhaled deeply, lifted her eyes slowly. “Sorry. Me and my friends were talking about stuffs and forgot the time.” She swallowed, wiped her sweat with the back of her palm. She continued her sentence, “I will go and finish my homework.” Sophia left quietly into her study room. She did not like the restraint all the time. It was no fun at all.

Today after a long time Sophia is really surprised when the same argument she started with her daughter. “You are so late! Where have you been? You should come earlier.”

Her daughter tries her best to explain. “Mom! Listen. I am in the Law school and have lots of home work to do before I drive home. I am not a little girl that you have to give a fix time to return home.” Then she comes closer and says, “Sorry mom. But you have to give a little space and I know my limits, you have raised me. So don’t worry. I will never do anything wrong.”

Sophia looks at her daughter; her voice matches her eyes.There is a small pause. Then Sophia’s expression softens. Smile spreads from her tightly pressed mouth. “Sorry. I understand, but I am so much used to this time sense from my childhood that it bothers me even now.” Sophia moves forward to hug her daughter.

A wise decision

Take Me to the Moon

Just like the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees in the spring or like a fast forward movie, Valentina’s life takes a swift turn.

It happens on a Friday evening .Valentina returns home after her last class. She walks on the side of the lawn that starts from the Iron Gate and runs towards the front door of her house for hail-a -mile, jumping over the brick wall, the rose garden to the left and all the other colorful flowers of Zinnia, white stocks, Oleanders to the right. As soon as she turns the brass knob of the door she overhears a conversation. Valentina hears her father’s voice-“Do not worry about her studies. They will permit her to finish her masters and even to continue her ambition to peruse a PhD. Let’s finalize the wedding date today.” Valentina sails into the room, leans forward a little with a conscientious expression, and then she asks,

“Who’s wedding?” Valentina’s mother shifts her weight on the sofa and begins to answer in a low, thrilling voice as if each sentence is an arrangement of organized notes and that need to be expressed quickly.

“It is about your wedding. But you do not have to worry at all. He is from a renowned family and a doctor and after your wedding you can continue your study.”

Then her mother turns her face swiftly and continues her conversation with Valentina’s father. Valentina’s lips flutter, her lips are horizontal but squeezed flat, she pushes her curly black hair behind her ear, her eyebrows lifted, says twisting the gold bracelet on her finger

But I don’t and cannot marry to this doctor; I am in love with somebody else.”

A black cloud seems to hover over and envelope everything and unhappiness and anger start to emerge like a winter wind whistling hollowly through an abandoned building. Parents do not agree of Valentina’s love to a man from a poor family or a family without any name in the society. Valentina has enough of living in a wealthy family and does not want to marry and move in-to another wealthy family. She wants to experience a different life; the reality, the ups and downs, more honesty, more love in life.

In one afternoon, just after the rain, a marvelous sun blossoms and as the puffy cloud appears in blue patches Valentina takes off her garnet bracelet, gold earrings, and silver anklets one after another and drops them gently into a hand crafted gold jewelry box in her elegant bedroom. She leaves the glass palace to marry the sweet, honest and hard -working gentle man, whom she knows for almost nine years. She manages a proud smile.

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An Admirable Personality

Familial Feasts    If you could dedicate a holiday to a more distant relative, who would it be — and why?

This post is in honour of my recently deceased Bisou Mamu-Aaja (Maternal Grand-Uncle), a kind, caring, fun-loving, affectionate, compassionate and accepting man.

Excitement is a crossword which runs in all direction. He can hardly sit still. He keeps fidgeting crossing one leg and then the other, tries to read the headlines on the front page of the newspaper and then lifts his head to look outside through the glass window. He pushes back the chair and gets up to his feet. He sails across the wood floor into the kitchen towards the granite kitchen counter. There on the counter sits a aged rust iron fruits basket. He picks up an orange, holds it to his nose, breathes in and says, ‘ Do you know how this beautiful orange smells?’

I stand close to the stove with a glass container of cut spinach and a few other green vegetables for the soup when I hear his voice. I turn my head, smile and asks, ‘How?’

A wide grin beams across his faceHe smiles richly and answers, It smells of sunshine, shiny green leaves and blue cloudless sky.’ Then he walks closer and says, ‘ Come, look outside through this kitchen window. Do you see the pretty blue sky, the cotton-ball clods and the delicate dance of the leaves in the light wind? Let’s go for a long walk, enjoy the weather then we will plan the lunch. Go get ready and I will ask your kids to join too.’

‘Sure.’ I say and switch off the stove to take a morning walk with him. We went for a long walk. During the walk he asks me,‘Do you know that your son is like a geode?’

I crane my neck, lift my eyebrows and ask,’ What do you mean?’

He smiles, the deep creases in the corner of his eyes stretches to his temples. He tilts his head and says,’ He is plain in the outside, gorgeous and intelligent on the inside; very brainy. Then he turns his head and looks towards my daughter and says,’ She is a Sea-glass, the pretty green kind. Everybody will love her’. His voice matches his eyes.

He is my grand maternal uncle; very tall, strong, long arms and long legs. He visited me for the second time when he was almost eighty-two. He was still very active at that age. He used to tell that,’Age is just a number but I am as energetic as a young kid.’

In the evening, we sit in the cozy living room in our beige color sofa. My great grand-uncle used to love classical music and piano. In the middle of the chit-chat he walks gracefully over to the piano that sits in one corner of the living room. He bends over the piano, head characteristically suspends just above the keys as he plays some notes and asks my daughter to play with the him. The wonderful music made the evening more memorable.

Next morning on the dining table he told us a few good old stories of his childhood; lots of fun, adventure and interesting stories, just after India got her independence. I loved his positive attitude and appreciation for life, his adventurous spirit, love and knowledge towards classical music. His approach to life was simple and honest. Everybody drawn to him for his innate kindness, his gentleness, intelligence He is the best great grand -uncle I had so I want to dedicate a special holiday in his memory.