Sharing our vulnerability. #MondayMusings.

As I read Dr. Brene Brown’s thoughts on vulnerability being strength rather than a sign of weakness, I pause to think of the effect it has when we lay bare our soul. Our fears that torment us, our shortcomings that shame us. Lay it bare to the world, to gauge the effect our words have on (our) people.

I have always shared my vulnerability, have always been honest about myself. I am not perfect, and neither is any other soul on this planet. And, so, as always, I shared this post on a photo sharing platform: “My anxiety took a bad hit. I survived these past eight months only because I had my art and my writing to help me give vent to my feelings.”

In response to these words, I heard someone say, “What’s there to get anxious about? It’s part of life! There will be ups and downs, highs and lows, joys and sorrows. One needs to accept life the way it is, fight it all and survive. I did it. What’s the big deal?”

The words hurt. But, the feelings behind those words hurt more. It could be a fleeting thought, expressed without pondering its effect, but it hurt. And, consciously, or unconsciously, I now fear sharing those feelings. Keeping those to myself will hurt most, but sharing them with my closest people–now that’s going to take time to happen. The healing won’t happen anytime soon–my sensitivity will come in the way.

It takes courage to put your wounds, your scars on display. But, it takes superhuman efforts to deal with the insensitive remarks that are cast in response.

We need sensitivity today, and empathy, kindness and love, to deal with life. Do we have enough of it to give those who need it most–ourselves?

The attic story. #FictionMonday

Cleaning the attic always brought Granny’s histrionics to the surface.

All the clutter lying there since ages, covered with a thick layer of dust and colonies of spider webs seemed to be her ticket to long life. If we were to discard all that junk, then she would die, too–she claimed.

Every time we ventured towards the attic, Granny would put on a false show of being on the verge of death.

After years of conceding to her wishes, mum and I finally could take it no more. How could junk keep a person alive, we wondered. So, one afternoon, while Granny took her nap–thanks to the meds that made her drowsy– we hurried up to the attic, and started hauling the boxes filled with junk towards the balcony, to be pushed over the parapet, down into the waiting garbage van.

One after the other the boxes and the trunks went down into the van with a thud that was muffled by the cushion of garbage lying at the bottom. Granny slept through it all.

Once we were done, we swept and swabbed the place, cleared the cobwebs, sprayed the insect spray, burned some incense sticks, and voila, the dusty, grubby attic held a new look!

It took us about three hours, but soon I had a new room for myself.

Granny still thinks her junk is up there. She won’t climb the stairs to check, ever.  Her mom-in-law haunts the attic, she says. 

Those two never got along.

WORD COUNT: 250

************************************************************************

This post is written for the #FictionMonday hosted by my dear friend, Vinitha Dileep.

This week’s prompt: FALSE.

 

 

 

 

Grandma’s pets.

Grandma Pearl loved mice. Those furry brown rodents with beady eyes and stringy tails had a special place in her heart.

 It so happened that one day, when she opened her sewing kit for a button for Grandpa Joe’s shirt, she found a tiny one snuggled amidst the spools of colourful threads.  But, instead of shrieking in fright and fleeing the room, she reached in and scooped out the little guy, who, on his part, climbed into her palm and settled in comfortably, instead of scurrying away, as mice are wont to do.

Grandma Pearl went into raptures over the creature and petted him, like one pets a dog, cooing with delight. The mouse batted its eyelids and smiled at his saviour–don’t ask me how–and became an instant fan!

It followed Grandma everywhere she went. Most of the time, he would be nestled inside one of her pockets, or perched on her greying bun at the back of her head, surveying the world like a king does, perched on the royal elephant. Soon, Grandma and the mouse were inseparable–like best friends forever.

As days passed, some more mice found their way into Grandma’s home. And, as we all know how they multiply, soon the entire house was swarming with the rodents. Grandma’s love for the creatures won them a free ticket for food and lodging, much to Grandpa’s chagrin. 

There were mice all over. 

On the bed, under the mattress, in the cupboards, the canisters, the jars, the bowls, scampering about from one shelf to another, looking for food to fill their ever-hungry tummies. 

They loved Grandma’s wardrobe the most, with its heaps of clothes giving them enough space to play hide-n-seek in, or snuggle up after a heavy meal.

 “What a disgusting thing to have as one’s pet! For Heaven’s sake, get rid of the filthy creatures!” Grandpa howled each time he found one sitting on his writing table, chewing on his pen, or darting about under his bed, or jumping from chair to chair.

 “Oh, shush, old man! You frighten my little ones, you know that!” Grandma chided, livid with Grandpa for all the fuss.

“Little ones! You call them little ones!? You foolish woman, these are pests, for god’s sake! You mark my words, you old hag, these will be the cause of our death some day, you hear me?” Grandpa hollered.

And the day indeed arrived when Grandpa’s words came true.

The army of mice went from strength to strength thanks to their breeding habits, and soon they polished off all the food they could find. With Grandpa’s savings drying up, Grandma found it tough keeping the supplies coming.

One hot summer’s afternoon, while Grandma and Grandpa lay snoring after a scant meal of porridge and a piece of bread, the mice raided the home looking for food. And, when they found nothing to fill their bellies, they attacked the sleeping couple. 

Sigh.

She should have invited the mongrel that loitered on their street, instead, don’t you think?

Erm…you sure you don’t have any mice living under your roof? 

Feathery Tales – 3. The kiss-o-holic. #MicroblogMondays

Feathery talesCookie is kiss-o-holic.

She is crazy about kisses. After we bonded, she began accepting my kisses on her neck, but no more than a few pecks.

Slowly, though, she started asking for more. Especially on her tummy. She would lie on her back and I would kiss her tummy, and she would enjoy it so much, I would keep kissing her till she had her fill and flew to her cage.

WIth time, she showed me who was the boss.When she perched on my shoulder and bit my neck, I would give her a good scolding. She would stare me down to tell me I had crossed my limits. Then, as if to show me how she cared a damn about my scolding, she would turn around and push her bum towards me for a kiss.

Now, her appetite for kisses has grown.

She demands kisses, endlessly. When she perches on my shoulder, she snuggles up to my neck and makes kissing sounds. This is a signal for me to shower her with kisses. If I stop to take a breath, she nudges me with a chirp, as if reminding me to keep going.

So, at a time, I think I kiss her at least 50 times, or so. And yet she isn’t satisfied!

Do you know how she sings herself to sleep?By imitating my kissing style. It’s like her lullaby now

Feathery Tales – 2 Of foodie bonds. #MicroblogMondays

Cookie bonded with me over food.

During lunch, I would place her cage with the door open on my dining table. She would hop out, come near my plate, pick her choice of food and go back inside her cage, or on top, only to come down for a second helping.

Over a few weeks, she grew comfortable being near me. And, one day, while I sat by her cage, reading a book, she quietly came outside, hopped onto my stool, nestled against my back, and went off to sleep! I sat still for almost forty five minutes, trying to read, but my mind kept going back to Cookie, who was sleeping snuggled against my back.

That was the day everything changed for us.

Slowly, she started perching on my shoulder and dozing off. My shoulder became her sleeping quarters, her dining table, her play area.

And, one night, as I sat typing a post on my laptop, Cookie, who was on my shoulder, climbed down and inched her way underneath my T-shirt! I think she found the place “in there” super cozy because she dozed off. For almost an hour, as I typed, she slept in there  so peacefully as if it was her nest.

Now, it’s her favourite place. And, although her claws hurt me, I love it that she trusts me so much!

Take a look…

My cozy place!

Our purpose in life.

“What is the goddamned purpose of my effing life!?”

 I experienced another meltdown last evening and, as always, this is the question that hit me with all its force.

There were quite a few factors that led to the meltdown: Midlife crisis, perimenopause, hormones going haywire, lack of (paid) work resulting in an abysmally low self-esteem and desperation combined with loneliness, thanks to social distancing.

On hindsight, it was also gazing at the stunning artworks of the artists I follow on IG and reading articles written by some brilliant writers that must have brought on that horrid meltdown.

I have stopped comparing myself with others’ success stories for my mental peace. But, there are days, when the mind plays weird games and leads you down an abyss. The deep dark tunnel of self-loathing and dejection.

I am well aware that all those success stories began at the place I find myself in, today. Those artists, those writers, too, must have toiled for hours, fought the demons of self-doubt, waged battles against their crumbling morale to emerge at the top today.

But, I am 47, with half of my life gone doing nothing worthwhile.

Again, I am aware that age is just a number. That, age has nothing to do with anything. That, someday, I will reach that stage I dream of every day.

And, yet, there are times, when I feel like an utter failure. Times, when I wonder what is the purpose of my life? What is the reason I was put here?

All I have done in the past two decades is taken care of people with mental health issues, and played mommy to a dog and three birds. Played the role of their nurse, caretaker, helper and what-not.

And, today, in my late forties, I have nothing to show for all that I did. I didn’t get paid, neither did I receive any certificate of merit. We never do. Although, we should, coz only then will our efforts have some worth. Right?

So, when I see people younger than me succeeding in their careers, making a name for themselves, reaching great heights in the fields of their choice, my morale gets the worst beating.

And, that’s when this thought comes to mind: What did I achieve in all these years?
The mere thought sends me down in the dumps, with a hurt self-esteem, shattered self-confidence and zero faith in my capabilities.

I came across this post yesterday on IG. A post that made me feel a little better, although momentarily. I felt it would help me look at life from a new angle. I felt good about myself for a while, but, at the end of the day, my feelings won’t give me the confidence that comes from being financially independent.

Well, what do you think?

Are you, too, sailing in the same boat as I? How do you cheer yourself up during your meltdowns?

Please share with me!

Hugs, and thank you!

Feathery tales – 1 Kids! #MicroblogMondays

Welcome to FEATHERY TALES!

I have three pet parrots: Cookie, Chikki and Bholu, who are my constant source of entertainment as well as inspiration. And, because I haven’t created an Instagram profile to share their stories, I thought of writing all about them here, on my blog, every Monday, for #MicroblogMondays.

And, in keeping with the tradition behind microblogging, I plan on sharing snippets about them in no more than 200 words, or 8 lines. I hope these provide amusement to you, too. So, let’s begin, shall we?

******

Chikki–the guy in the middle in the picture below–thinks my mouth is a treasure trove of goodies.

Whenever he perches on my shoulder, he leans towards my mouth and tries to pry it open to find something in there, like a peanut, perhaps, or an olive seed. As if it weren’t my mouth, but a can of eatables!

It’s been more than two months since he returned from the adventure that transformed him. He has lost all inhibitions. Or, does he value life at home now that he has seen the world? I wonder which of the two!

I read somewhere that once you have kids–human kids, animal kids, bird kids–you have to let go your “private space”.

I experienced it with Chikoo, who loved to join me in the washroom as I answered nature’s call.

Now, I experience it with these babes, one of who loves to get inside my mouth, and another….well, I will share it next time.

Have a lovely week!

#MicroblogMondays

Feathery Tales

Mind games.

Fiction Monday

Photo by Zachary DeBottis on Pexels.com

She stood facing the mirror, her body almost touching the glass. A tiny jar of sindoor in her left hand, she collected a pinch of the vermilion powder with her right.  Her trembling hand moving towards her forehead, she paused as she caught her reflection.

There wasn’t a mangalsutra around her neck—the symbol of marriage, the thread that binds a woman to her husband for life. Could she apply the sindoor? What would people think? Say?

A voice inside her head—a male voice—whistled and sniggered.

She whirled around, her heart thudding in her chest, her mind spinning madly. She had definitely heard it.

She had to save herself from those wolves; they gave her no choice.  Go ahead, her mind urged her. Do it.  Let people say what they want, you know you can deal with them.

With shivering hands she smeared the deep red powder in the parting of her silver hair, a triumphant smile spreading on her powdered face.

How will you harm me now? she muttered under her breath.

Word count: 183

*****************************************************************************************************

The above post has been written for Fiction Monday, a fiction writing challenge brought to you by my friend, Vinitha Dileep, at her blog, Reflections. 

This week’s prompts – word prompt (MIRROR), and picture prompt.

When the past beckons.

FictionMondays

Photo by Adrien Olichon on Pexels.com

I catch a whiff of a familiar scent in the evening air as I walk down the promenade. It mingles with the other smells wafting around, but I catch it again – it drifts thus, it reaches my nostrils, invades my mind, and instantly carries me to my past.

It’s him. I feel it in my bones.

This was his favourite perfume. The one he used everyday even when he had around ten bottles of as many perfumes lined up on his bureau.

I stop dead in my tracks, my heart palpitating, my breathing shallow. Beads of perspiration dot my forehead as I argue with myself: should I turn around and face him, or should I keep walking and not show him my face; not see his?

I hear him nearing with every step, closing in on me like an enemy closing in on the lone soldier who must now fight to save his pride.

I need to save mine, from him, from the man who…

Or, what if I do turn around and face him? Forget saving my pride, I want to see his eyes going pale when they catch sight of me. His voice caught in his throat, the colour draining from his face, his breathing laboured as if watching an apparition snatching him from his present, transporting him to his past, where he left me to die.

I turn around when he is mere inches away from me, lost in the virtual world, oblivious to the person who was supposed to be dead, standing in his path, wanting him to face his past, and pay for his sins.

I will lead him to the beach, right into the roaring waves that snatch a person off the shore and swallow him whole, then spit him back a lifeless body, stripped of life, of ego,of the dignity he once held dear.

“ What is Karma?” he asked me once.

“Well, this is it!” I’ll tell him.

Word count: 328 

*****************************************************************************

The above post has been written for #FictionMonday – a brainchild of my friend, Vinitha Dileep. 

This week’s prompt: Word prompt – Faint and picture prompt.

Do join in the have some fiction fun! 🙂

(I am sorry, Vinitha, I crossed the word limit, but I couldn’t control myself! ;P  )

 

 

 

 

Russo

“BEWARE OF DOG” – the chipped brown wooden board read, its bold, white letters still wet, with smudges here and there.

With some rusty, old nails she found in dad’s tool box, she had installed the board onto the gate of her front yard.

Screwing up her eyes in the bright sunlight, she examined her gate with its new look. If someone approached her house, they wouldn’t fail to notice the board, right? she wondered as she admired her handiwork. Would it scare them enough to keep them away from her house?

Now, if only Buzz and his gang of rowdy friends came over.

if only they spotted the board and the warning.

And, if only Russo growled that deep, menacing growl like her neighbour’s dog…she would brag about it to her friends.

Her darling Russo – the mongrel she had picked up at the dog shelter last month. The scraggly black dog she had instantly fallen in love with; the one without an eye, just like her. The one who despaired for love yet gave it freely to those who sought it, just like her.

 

WORD COUNT: 230

fictionmonday

Photo by Josh Hild for pexels.com

 

************************

The above post has been written for #fictionmonday.

Today’s prompts: Picture prompt and word prompt (Beware).

Do join in for the fiction writing challenge, an initiative by my friend, Vinitha Dileep.

I am sure you will enjoy it! 🙂