As exciting as it gets!

Life’s a Candy Store

Everywhere life forces want to get out. Things unintentionally contain baskets of energy. Some believe they are poems, others think they are dreams and yet others believe they are like sheets set out on the summer line holding fists of air. And for Hope, life is just continuous fun.

‘’Wait. Don’t run so fast. Wait for me.’’ Hope runs holding a stick behind the small brown puppy and her mother. Both the dogs are running through the green grass, through the small colorful flower bushes of the garden.  After half an hour of running and chasing each other now they are all tired. They sit on the soft green grass under a big flower tree. Everything stirs gently in the soft breath of cold air; the trees, the bushes, the grass, birds skipping from tree to tree, beautiful blue jays squawking excitedly, white pigeons cooing on the top of the pile of bricks in one corner of the garden. The mom dog lays there, nose on the paws with her long tail beating gently, watching the Robin pecking up some food crumbs from inside the grass. Hope leans against the big dog holding the puppy tightly in her arms. The puppy licks her face, gets distracted by the birds, then turns her face back towards Hope and licks her again. Hope giggles, her eyes dancing. She wipes her face on the back of her palm, and pulls out couple pieces of cookies from her dress pocket.

‘‘This one is for both of you and you have to share.’’ Hope gives the dogs the delicious cream filled cookies. ‘‘No, do not lick, that is mine.’’ Both the dog grabs the cookies from her hand and enjoy their snacks. Hope laughs. Suddenly Hope stops, not abruptly, yet with utter completeness, her jaw stilled mid- chew. Both the dogs lift their eyes and ears. There on the top of a long stem sits a beautiful butterfly; its wings are dark blue with yellow and white spots and seem very soft and velvety.

‘’Hope! Hope! Where are you? Are you in the garden? Hope!’’

Let’s go inside, grandma is calling. Hope makes a circle and runs towards the house.

Hope is almost five; pretty with olive skin tone, a heart shape face, big brown eyes and very sharp and intelligent. She is the favorite of both her grandmother and grandfather. She climbs the wide veranda steps, opens the massive double door, walks through the high center hall with lots of marble pillars on both sides and beautiful framed arts on the walls, colored glass chandeliers that hangs from yellow velvet cords, through the rich rugs of the living room to the marble floor of the dining hall and hugs her grandmother. Her grandmother is the best; she is warm, kind, a soother and understands others perfectly. The most important thing is that she has a pleasant sense of power of knowing, she smiles more than she frowns and she loves Hope.

‘‘Good morning!’’ Hope says tucking her hairs behind the ear. ‘‘Are we going any place in the morning?’’ Her grandmother looks astonishingly at Hope’s face and the lilac dress that caked with dust but she bends down and hugs Hope like she has been gone for a year and pats her shoulder like she is a puppy. She serves her breakfast, tilts her head slightly, smiles richly and says “Yes we are, after you finish your breakfast.”

Hope looks across the dining table with a tilted head and smiles. ‘‘I have one brilliant idea just like you always have. We should go to the book store, then to the beach and may be to a movie.’’ Hope looks at her grandmother’s face which has changed rapidly as fast moving scenes of a movie. Hope slides her chair close to her grandmother and touches her softly. “So after the movie we can go to the jewelry store and the dress shop that you enjoy.” Hope cranes her neck and kisses her grandmother on the cheeks and says ‘‘I know we will have a wonderful time.’’ She says excitedly.

After breakfast Hope climbs the circular stairs to her favorite room on the third floor to the left of the stair case. The flight of steps seems endless to her small feet. But she takes a deep breath and climbs to her destination. The room painted in delicate apricot gives off the pleasant aroma of the books. The solid decorated wood shelves in both sides of the room are full of books. The children’s magazines peek out from the wicker basket at one corner of the room. The room is very cozy. Hope stands on one of the sturdy wood chair close to the book shelve and with both hands pulls out a few of the big books that have lots of pictures of kings, queens, castles and horses. Settling herself more luxuriously up on the sofa leaning against the cushion, she opens the book. She turns the pages with her small fingers. “Wow!” She says and looks at the pictures closely. For her every part of book is magic. She slid into books like a seal into water. As she finishes looking at the beautiful pictures she stacks them on a pile on the table in front of the sofa and pulls out her drawing book and the sketch pencil and a pack of crayons. She bends down and draws picture; Picture of a baby blue sky, of the gray mountains with a few  black goats with small ears grazing here and there, of a pretty deep purple peacock, a few pink roses and yellow zinnias in a green lawn, of two elephants and two  dogs both mom and the baby. The pictures are not that perfect but cute with lots of circles, tringles, lines and pretty colors.

“Hope! Come downstairs. Let’s move now”. Grandmother calls from downstairs. Hope puts all the crayons back in the box, pulls the chair close to arrange the books on the shelve. She likes everything to be neat and in order.  Hope closes the door from behind and walks down the stairs with her ponytail swaying bright and cheerful as a sunflower. They drive to the beach. A beautiful afternoon.  Hope props her chin on one hand and through the car window she looks at the high clouds rolling across the blue sky. Hope walks into the sea water holding her grandmother’s finger. It is so much fun when the big wave comes and bumps her on the face. They giggle and laugh. Hope sits on the shore in her wet dress and builds big sand castle, like the one from the picture book. She decorates the castle with different small shells that she finds in the sand. Her grandmother sits there on the soft sand and chit chats with some other ladies who are visiting with their families. It is almost late afternoon. They drive back home.

On the way to home they stop by the ice cream shop. “Hope, go inside to the store with the driver and pick up the ice-cream that you like.” Her grandmother opens her purse and hands out the cash to the driver.

“Thank you, grandma! You are the best.” Hope laughs and opens the car door. Hope picks up the vanilla ice-cream with chocolate and caramel topping and pistachio flavor for her grandmother.

At home during dinner Hope sits close to her grandfather and tells him her exciting adventure from morning to evening. All the uncle and aunts in the dining table smile and enjoy her story. The day never ends without bed time stories. Hope snuggles against her grandmother on the bed and her head tilts slightly, listens, offering rarest of gift: her unequivocal attention to the stories of adventure one after another until grandmother falls sleep. As soon as her grandmother falls sleep, Hope adjusts her pillow, closes her eyes and pretends to be in the leading character of the series of adventure stories.

Stolen Dreams

What a Twist! “Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird, That cannot fly.” ― Langston Hughes

“Mom! Mom!” Adesh walks into the kitchen with winged steps looking for his mom. His mind is thronged with delightful thoughts. His mom sits on the packed dirt floor close to the stove with a far-away look on her oval face, her eyebrows drawn together, her lips squeezed flat and lines across her forehead as she contemplated to herself. Her soft lilac-colored, many times patched dress contrasts with the clay and thatch of her home. Her right cheek rested on the palm of her hand and she stared at the boiling rice in the small chipped clay pot . Her thoughts fly rapidly through her mind and she dwells on how she will send her son to school, manage the house and find a job. The candle in the far corner, haphazardly placed on top of a brick, flickers slowly in the wind, casting a shifting circle of light. Upon hearing her son’s footsteps and exclamations, she shakes off her thoughts, looks up to find him and smiles. He is her happiness, her love, her life.

Her eyes alight on her son, ” Is everything alright? What is in your hand?” Adesh bends down,hugs his mom tightly, and sits on the floor. His eyes sparkle with excitement. “Mom, today a miracle happened! I met a guy near the big bookstore- the one with lots of books! books about different countries, books with different stories, alphabet books, books with beautiful pictures” He could barely take a breath, he was so excited. Adesh softly squeezed his mom’s hand, his eyes dancing with excitement “And books with pictures of kings, mountains, and trees!” His mom smiled even larger, and with some puzzlement, waiting to hear the rest of the story. “I am scared to go into that bookstore so I always stand close to the stairs and try to look at the displays. I was leaning close to the last step of the store and staring at the books, then I felt a heavy hand on my shoulder. I startled and  turned my head to see a tall gentleman with a blue striped shirt, a black pant, a black jacket. He looked at me from the corner of his eyes and with a small smile asked me,’I have noticed that everyday you come and stare at the books, but never buy any books.’ Then instead of waiting for my answer, he asked ‘Do you want to read some of  those books? I can even help you start going to the school‘ .I swallowed, lifted my brown eyes towards the tall gentleman and asked ‘How? Are you going pay for my school and the books?’ The tall gentleman chuckled, and pulled out a few rupees from his pocket  ‘Sure. And you have to work for the money.The company will pay you, provide a house to live and once in six months you can come home to spend time with your family. You can save money, go back to school and fulfill your dream. Doesn’t it sound great? Discuss this with your family and let me know tomorrow morning in this same place, before I leave the country. And here are a few rupees to buy things necessary for the trip. I forgot to ask you your name?’ I cleared my throat and said ‘ My name is Adesh.’ My hands shook as I took the money.”

Adesh looked at his mom and held out the bag held tightly in his hand, as if it was the most precious item in the world, “I  was racing back home through the market and and I bought this for you. Go ahead open the bag.”  Adesh’s mom reached for the bag, astonished at the story, and pulled out a pretty blue dress with soft white flowers on it. Her face is awash with equal parts happiness and surprise. She pulls Adesh close and hugs him again. “Wow, such a pretty dress! And did you buy anything for you?” “No mom. You have a torn dress and wear it all the time and I have two nice shirts so I so not need any thing.” Adesh is on cloud nine. He changes the topic and in a chirpy voice he asks his mom,” So what do you say mom? Please say yes. I want to work and bring lots and lots of money. Then you can buy more new dresses, colorful bangles, milk , a few fruits, repair the house and I can go to school. Then he moves close to his mother , “Really mom I want to study, go to school and be  like the famous people I see in the torn newspapers on the side of the road. Pictures of very rich,educated  people and some say that the rich people do help the poor people like us and give money to the school too. So can I go with him? Please mom?”

Adesh’s mother sees the beautiful, colorful and vibrant  hopes and dreams in her  child’s eyes and they float so brightly close to each other. She does not have a husband or anyone else to help her take care of the house. It is hard to let go of her only love. She glances at the sweet face of her son and smiles joyfully “Yes. You can go if that is the only way to fulfill your dream.” Then she tries to hide her tears, extends her both arms, wraps tightly around the small body of her son.

The next day, a  thunderstorm looms over the town, thick and rich with monsoon rain. The wind drives the rain against it in furious ways. Adesh gets ready to leave for town to meet the gentleman with high hopes. His journey starts, hope and dreams get wings. Soon he finds out that he has to work from early morning to night in a cocoa farm. He works day after day hacking the cocoa pods. He holds the pod length wise and gives it two quick cracks scrapping it open to  reveal the milky cocoa beans. He drops the bins on a  growing pile. It is so hard,he thinks. He opens both his palms and looks at  the cuts and scratches. He stands and wipes his sweats from his small forehead.He looks for some food in his pocket but it is empty. He has not eaten for the whole day, except one small banana in the morning. He sits down on the side of the big pile of the cocoa bean. He bends his head down and thinks that It is almost four years that I have not seen  my mom. I do not how to go back home. My mom must be waiting for me. Then he sobs. He wants to go back to his mom and back to his home.The gentle man lied. There is no money to send to her mom or for him to eat enough or to save for school. He looks around but everywhere there is only darkness and shattered dreams and shattered hopes. images (3)

Eyes wide open

Just a Dream I heard a faint scream. I jumped from the bed, walked swiftly towards the back door. I twisted the knob, stepped out and glanced around. Was it Daisy? I said to myself and walked towards the shed.Lightning flashed, and a few seconds later thunder crackled. Rain hammered the ground.The wind was driving the rain against it in furious ways.I did not see Daisy inside the shade. I walked around the compound and looked everywhere but there was no sign of Daisy. I cupped my mouth Oh! No! She is gone. A heavy suffocating blanket of reality began to sink in.That night I was the only one in the compound. I grabbed a flash light and ran towards the big entrance gate in the rain. The big iron doors were wide opened. My heart was pounding heavily.My imagination knocked into overdrive. I scratched my  wet hair, wiped the water from my eyse and tried to recollect the four real curious tourists, who came today to the visitors center in a big pick up truck. They were asking lots of questions about the compound and the surrounded area.They were very tall, muscular, with dark sun glasses on their eyes, discussing on different routes on the map with a tall lady as the group leader. I remembered the story in the newspaper about those people, the nasty mean people. I do not want to think or describe but I have to save her,I whispered.  Doubt has a way of blooming like firewood. Once it takes hold, it is impossible to eradicate.

I grabbed a poncho and started running on the dirt road looking for Daisy. After twenty minutes I saw another dirt road to my right towards the big hill.It was so dark that I did not where I was going. Dead leaves crackled under my foot. Some where in the tree the owl hooted. My leg muscles were tired from running. Sweat broke out pouring off me. It was real hard to run in the rain. I noticed a cottage at the foot of the hill. I walked closer and stood still. Long grasses and weeds climbed up the gate and poked through the rusted unused gate. I climbed the chained gate. I  was surprised to see three doors in the in the house; one on the front, one to the right and one to the left. It was a real dilemma to choose. I walked up to the front door, tried to open but it was locked. I walked towards  the second door to the left. I slowly extended my right arm to push the door, then I stopped. I could hear some voices. The door was not closed and there was a small opening. I peered more closely.  The room was cramped and musty with a few mismatched furniture.There was a lady sitting on a chair wearing a long-sleeved high-necked black dress, over which was draped  a blue shawl. She had very long dark hair with a center part. Three other men were standing close to her hovering over a paper. I recognized them from the visitors center. I tried t lean more against the door to hear their conversation but could not. I suspected something fishy.I backed up slowly and walked in real soft steps towards the third door. I pushed and pushed at the big wooden door but could not open. I took a deep breath. I was determined to find Daisy. I could not give up. I tried hard to push the door. There was no knob to twist so the only option was to push. With a little click the door opened and I stepped in. It was very dark inside. The darkened Gothic entrance did not appeal to me. It felt like I was in a forested area, not in a house. I tried to tread carefully without making a sound. Leaves rustling and echoes of twigs snapping and crunching beneath my feet.  I was very tired and anxious. I leaned against a tree to catch a breath and looked up.Some trees rose  from the ground arched as though in agony and reaching out. Suddenly I heard a small movement and a faint noise. I adjusted my eye-glass, stood still and looked around. Although it was hard to see anything. The noise was coming from the left so I turned and walked through the dense trees. There in the corner close to a tree, tied with a chain was Daisy. I ran towards her. Her ears were pinned back against the head, her trunk dragged on the ground. She looked at me and tried to stand. I could feel her sadness, her fear. I approached towards her,  touched her body with my wet hand,hugged her,and kissed her.She touched my face as gently as a whisper. We both shed tears; tears of finding each other, tears of affection, tears of love. I was angry at the poachers and my anger gave me a tremendous power; power of a super woman.I tried hard to cut the chain from Daisy’s leg. I noticed for the first time that  mental determination can do such a tremendous job. I broke her free.We both stood there silently looking at each other, then to the back. We started running through the dense forest. images (1)            images (4)

I heard voices and foot steps but kept on running.

Lekha! Lekha! wake up. My husband tried to wake me from my nightmare. I kicked off the cover , opened my eyes, and sat up on the bed and took a deep breath. I was sweating.

Is it another dream? My husband asked me handing me a glass of water.

I smiled and said ,Yes and I saved her. I was a super woman!

I turned my head towards the side table and glanced at the letter which I received from the Save the Elephant  conservatory and heart touching story of an elephant.  

A few notable acts

Me Time

What’s your ideal Saturday morning? Are you doing those things this morning? Why not?

Another beautiful Saturday morning. The rising day is emerging behind the trees. The morning symphony of the Spring birds make it more vibrant. Serenity walks lazily towards the back door. She twists the brass knob gently,opens the door and steps into the porch. The air feels fresh and new. A gentle cool breeze caresses her skin.She glances around. The trees in the back yard are warmed by the fresh sunlight, begin to unfold their new leaves. The apple tree in one corner shows off her beautiful pink buds and in a competitive spirit the Bradford Pear tree displays her symmetrical leaf canopies completely covered in fluffy  white blossoms. Serenity turns her head to the right  close to the wooden fence. She notices the beautiful dance of the Yellow Trillium and the Harmony Iris. Wow! So pretty! Says Serenity as a complement. They deserve a hug, she says with a smile and walks in barefoot to hug the trees. She wraps both her arms gently around the trees and hugs them. Then Serenity walks back to the deck, spreads her  blue yoga mat  to start her day with the sun-salutation. She lays in the Savasana on the mat and listens to the mumbled chuck of the warm orange breasted Red Robins and in a distance the fluttering whistle of the woodchuck. Serenity smiles richly and welcomes the joyful Spring.

Serenity walks into the house towards her daughter’s bedroom. She knocks at the door and says, Good morning! Wake up. It is almost eight thirty. We do not want to miss the gym.

Good morning mom! Yes I will be there, says Saffron, Serenity’s daughter.

Serenity drives to the gym with her daughter listening to the prelude ‘Enchanted Garden’. Serenity never misses the the class on Saturday. She loves the heart pounding, tough, endurance training of the Kickboxing class in every Saturday morning. They feel very tired but at the same time happy and satisfied.

Saturdays are the best time for Serenity to read and write her blogs, as she gets very busy in the weekdays with her office work. In the late afternoon, she and her daughter take their dog and enjoy a very long walk in the beautiful green trail.Their  eight years old German Shepard dog loves the open grass field, usually a few they pass on the sides of the trail. As they reach the dog gets her nose into a good smell, hops around, re-sniffs from different angles, then the climax: dive into the grass, rolls around throwing her whole body, wriggling  back and forth. Then she runs around with lots of excitement as she notices the squirrels chasing each others on the trees.Serenity and her daughter stand and enjoy the scene with smiles. Serenity walks into the living room, glides into the soft white color sofa, leans back more  and watches the stunning shows of ‘ Planet Earth’, shows on the stunning, fascinating national parks, cute puppies in the animal planet and a few good comedy shows.  Later in the day, she pulls her long black hair in a pigtail, wraps a soft peach color scarf  around her neck, holds her list , two big Blue cotton bags which she painted with pretty flowers on the front and goes for groceries. She rolls down the windows, enjoys the air, drives listening to the soft classical musics on the radio. She does not enjoy the grocery job but she likes to drive, walk around in the vegetable sections, check all the fresh, green items, walk to the candy and cookie isle. Also the other secret is serenity loves sweets which she is not allowed to but If she goes to the store by herself then it is easy to buy few of the forbidden items. Serenity smiles for her mischievousness.

Serenity sits on the dining chair with a cup of hot ginger tea. Like every Saturday she wants to visit the neighborhood  library to get the new books of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please and Harari’s’ A brief History of humankind’. She loves to walk in each sections of the library, standing close to the book shelves. She pulls the books one after another, flips through the pages, reads  a few pages, then decides either to bring or not. She takes her time. For her, every part of book is magic and she feels as if she is in a magic land, where all the wonderful,enticing stories pop up as she turns the pages. She comes back with a few good books. Serenity is a planner she likes to make list and check things off, get things done. She extends her right arm, pulls the small pink note pad with deep blue flowers on the sides from the table. She glances at the long list of other important things to do, scratches her finger across the pad as if to tease out a better idea than the listed ones. Serenity sighs, she has to finish them first.

Serenity walks into her study to bring her check book, pulls a chair and  sits comfortably. Today she has to send this donations to the various charity organizations. She goes through them carefully, reads about them, writes the checks and seals all the envelopes with stamps on the top.  She moves ahead with the next task. Serenity brings out a few big  brown boxes from the nicely stacked shelve from the garage, tapes one side and asks her daughter to help pulling out unused or gently used  dresses, shoes to donate to the Good- Will center. They both seal the five boxes with clothes and shoes. Her kind husband carries them to the car. Serenity with the help of her daughter stat to paint and decorate a few Easter baskets  for the city’s Annual Easter  party for the underprivileged children. She likes to make cards at home and write prayers for the cancer patients. It is almost nine thirty in the night, when she completes everything from the list. Serenity stretches her arms and stretches her back in a downward dog pose. She is happy, satisfied  and grateful for today’s activities.

Embracing life.

Clone Wars

An early morning on Monday. Faith sits on her couch with softly closed eyes in her meditation. Suddenly the knocking sound on the door startles her. She opens her eyes slowly, wraps the light pink shawl  and walks towards the front door. Faith twists the brass knob, opens the door, bits her lips. Yes, what! wow! she says, and closes the door.Her eyes are real wide with shock, her heart beat speeds up but, she dares to peek through the small opening of the door. Then she says, No way! and runs to the bathroom. I need to wash my eyes so that  I can see clearer, she murmurs. Faith bends down on the  white vessel sink and washes her face and returns to the front door. O my God!, Faith says, the girl standing on the opposite side of the door is just like me. I do not have any twins. Is she a ghost? Is somebody playing a prank on me? She leans against the door and looks closely through the small opening. She has black wavy hair, sharp long nose, brown eyes, olive skin tone,same glass frame like mine, same height and weight! Then she hears from the other side,

“Please open the door. From the last couple months you are constantly praying and wishing for someone to help you in your busy life and now your wish is granted.  And I am here to help you , your clone, let me in.”

What? Faith says,” No. Really, that was just a wish because of the work load but, I do not want another me in the same place, please go away”.

She says ” Sorry, I can not just disappear. Give me a chance. I will do what you want me to do.”

Faith’s hand trembles  as she reaches for the door knob. She inhales only a shallow breath and opens the door.  She wipes  the sweat from her forehead and says, “Well you can stay only for a month, then you have to leave.”

“Yes,Sure. So what do you want me to do?”, the clone asks.

Faith moves back from the door, sits on the beige color leather couch and  starts to think. I am a workaholic. I love working all the time either it is intellectual or physical. I do not get much time to read or write the daily prompt in the weekdays.I do not enjoy cooking. And always busy in the office work or in the home. If she works for me then I  can do what I desire. I love to see beautiful castles and  enjoy hiking too, so may be I should keep her. I would love to  visit the castles of  Schonbrunn palace in Vienna, Tocnic Castle in Czeck Republic, Alnwick Castle, Arundel Castle and Belvoir Castle in England. Then  I can go hiking in Kungsleden in Sweden,  Chilkoot Trail in Alaska, Tonquin Valley in Alberta. I will carry few classics to read and my lap top to write. O wow such a marvelous idea. I feel so proud of making so much ideas in the early morning.

Then  Faith turns around and smiles.” Sure you can help me but just for a month. First, You can go to work in my office but make sure not to mix and mingle too much with others because that is not me. Be on time. Finish the works on time ,no delays and everything have to be perfect.

Secondly,  in the early morning, feed both the cat and the dog, be gentle with them.Prepare a healthy breakfast and lunch to go . Lunch can be lentil with vegetables, mix fruits in a bowl and big bottles of water. Make sure the kitchen is very clean and tidy.

In the evening around six make Indian tea with ginger and cardamom and pour in my favorite white mug with blue and pink flowers on the border. In the mean time I will go to the gym for one and half hours. I will  come and work in the garden for a while and read some books. You will prepare the dinner. There should be one lentil soup, vegetable curry,tofu slices, steam green bean or asparagus or broccoli for dinner.

But then Faith leans back on the wall  and held her chin between her finger and thumb and thinks. I need to be more organized and practical so that I can handle my life perfectly.I do not need the help of a clone. Her eyes sparkle joyfully.Faith adjusts her robe and walks back to the front door, hugs the clone.Now the clone is very surprised.

Faith smiles and says,“Thanks a lot for being so kind to me in offering the help, but I can not accept. It is my fault that I wished something inappropriate.So please leave. I want to face the challenge by myself.” 

Reflection of heart and mind.

Wall to Wall

Today is Sunday. It is a beautiful day to relax and enjoy.Ava is almost done with her Sun salutation when she hears the buzz in her phone. But she ignores. She lays with closed eyes in the Savasana pose on a reversible deep blue yoga mat decorated with floating blossoms. Ava opens her eyes slowly ,looks at the statue of Buddha in front of her.  She is not a Buddhist, but She loves and adores the meditative pose of Buddha. This serene statue always brings so much calmness, peace and wholeness to her life. Ava folds her yoga mat, carries it to the closet. She adjusts her eyeglass on her nose perfectly then, extends her hand to pick up her phone from the cherry wood finish sofa side table to check the messages. Ava looks at the daily prompt: What do you display on the walls of your home — photos, posters, artwork, nothing? How do you choose what to display? What mood are you trying to create?

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Ava tilts her head,looks around the house at the pictures on the wall. She likes decorating her house with statues or pictures to create a peaceful atmosphere. She thinks, that decorative items are the powerful medium of expression. But she does not have a whole lot or not any of great artists but, she has some meaningful ones. Pictures holds deeper meaning about who we are and how you want your guests to feel in your house.

Ava walks on the textured soft plush carpet of her living room. She stands close to the wall and lifts her eyes up to the  picture of flowers. ‘ Flowers are the music of the ground from Earth’s lips, spoken with sound’- Edwin Curran.

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Ava leans against the wall and remembers her childhood days. This memories always come in slow procession, follow one another. Her parents had a  beautiful garden full of different types of Oriental flowers. She was in the elementary school. In the week ends her favorite place was the garden. She used to run in her tiny feet, sit close to the plants, sometimes hug them softy, talk to them, tell them all her secrets, read them make belief stories and even sometimes lean against them and cry softly to relieve her sadness. And she loved it. She liked them more than her other friends in the school. Time passes. And even now Ava loves the flowers. She enjoys their beauties in each petals: their different  smell and various colors. The delicate, gentle flowers bring so much peace, joy, tranquility in the life which she wants to share with others.

Ava  tucks her stray strand of hair behind her ear and walks across the room to the other corner where she has the picture of mom and baby elephants. Ava loves elephants. She touches the cute face of the baby elephant in the picture. This was a birthday gift from her daughter. She looks at their eyes closely’.They are so intelligent, kind loyal, empathetic and portrays strong family bond and team work spirit and those are the wonderful qualities Ava wants to be present not only in her house but also in others. ” Nature’s great masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great thing.” John Donne.

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Ava walks on the wood floor to the hall close to her children’s bedrooms. There she has the a big wall hanging with wisdom quotes. Every morning, before the start of a day she likes to glance at the inspiring, motivational, energizing  quotes and wishes her children to spend at-least a minute to read the quotes. They make the life so much easier in the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day life. She smiles remembering the reaction of the kids,’ Mom we do not have time to read the quotes in the early morning, we are getting late to work, but we  know how to handle the life, do not worry’. O’ well, may be I am the one who enjoys reading the quotes in every morning’, says Ava. 

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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.

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Rearranging Life

Enough Is Enough

It is a beautiful Sunday morning. Anne walks softly on the bamboo floor of her living room to the study without disturbing the sleeping dog. She opens the white lacy curtains from one of the window, and then slides into the Sloane cream-colored leather sofa.She leans slightly to right on the couch, reaches out to her i-pad, opens it, and goes through her list of activities for the day. suddenly the grey cat crawls in from behind the couch, sits close to her foot and purrs softly. Anne checks the to-do-list and does not find any thing interesting. She is tired of wandering in the shops and over collecting all the brand name items, visiting to the beauty salon, nail salon and the spa frequently. Anne turns her head and looks around the room with bewilderment and shock.It is overwhelming to see her collections. Anne thinks to herself ‘That how pitifully she has been wrapped up in Consumerism. She feels her lifestyle as very shallow and boring.

‘It must be the psychology behind being popular, or showing off ‘, she thinks to herself.Then she leans back more on the couch and closes her eyes and thinks again, the reason for her unhappiness. She has a huge limestone Chateau with antique portraits on the living room and dining room walls, on the staircase, museum quality Italian mirrors reflecting the dining room suits of Georgian chairs, a beautiful garden,her trips to different luxurious places, trendy clothes,overfilled drawers,  own business and lots of friends.Then Anne’s eyebrow draws together as she thinks hard,then she rests her chin in her hand, her elbow prop on the side of the couch.
‘All these beautiful, luxurious things promise so much happiness, but really they never deliver, instead they slowly begin to rub us of life’, Anne says and decides that’ enough is enough, no more of this show offs with brands and luxury, I want to escape this vicious cycle’.

Anne stretches her legs a little more. Then she gets up and leans on the big bay window and looks outside. Her expression softens.Then she gasps as a  brilliant idea flashes in her head. Anne gives a tinkling laugh.Even her dog startles, and comes up and gazes at Anne with her big brown eyes. But then she wags her long brown tail with a little white tip and licks Anne, as if she fully understands her ideas and agrees.

Anne decides to spend more time is creating new things; writing, sketching, spending more time with her family and extending her hand to the needy. Now her mind is filled with delightful thoughts of spending this beautiful Sunday to start with a long walk with her daughter and dog.