We meet the people we need in our lives.

There was a collective “Whoa!” as we gathered around the girl who had just joined us at our playground. A brown and white shaggy rabbit in her arms had us transfixed. We gaped in wonder at the little fellow she had been hiding from us for so long.

She mumbled something as she placed it on the ground, now, in the center of our circle, and stood aside to let us feast our eyes on it. As if selling us some idea, perhaps?

The rabbit sat still where it was placed, its floppy ears twitching nervously, its button eyes shining like red rubies in the afternoon sun. We continued scrutinizing it like observing bacteria under a microscope in a biology lab and murmured to each other in awe.

Want to read this story later? Save it in Journal.

We spoke softly as we discussed the creature, but dared not touch it. It was a rabbit, and rabbits were supposed to be cute. But this one was all dirty, unwashed, stinking; a pitiful version of the adorable ones we saw in our books.

We bombarded her with questions about the rabbit, most of which she replied to in murmurs we couldn’t decipher. But the one answer that we did catch on was why she was there with her pet rabbit out in the open.

“What? Your father really asked you to throw it out, Sharmila?” I gasped, incredulously, my eyes peering into the girl’s who was there to abandon the poor rabbit, as per her father’s orders.

I imagined a scary-looking man reclining in his rocking chair in the patio, taking in the gentle summer breeze, issuing orders to his kids to get rid of all the clutter lying around the house, which also included their pet rabbit.

“Yes,” she mumbled, feeling ashamed, I think, as she bent her head and looked at the creature with a sad look in her eyes. I think she felt bad for it but also felt helpless — her father lay down the law at their home, and his every wish was their command.

Ah, fathers!

I don’t know what came over me, but on an impulse, I picked up the stinky rabbit, gingerly — never having handled an animal in all of my twelve years — and announced with a hint of bravado, “The dogs will kill the poor thing here. I will take him home. We love animals!” stressing on the “love” for added effect.

“The girl should feel ashamed, abandoning a helpless animal like this,” I muttered as I hurried home with the rabbit.

I hadn’t thought of asking mom, or dad, or wondered what to do with the rabbit if they denied it an entry into our home. I just remember losing my heart to the little guy who looked so vulnerable. It needed a home, and I would give it to him — the momentary rebel in me had made up her mind.

We were never really pet lovers; we hadn’t ever had a conversation revolving around pets until that day. Dinner time conversations were always about school and studies and how we had to finish whatever was served on our plate because there were so many poor children out there who weren’t as blessed. Animals, or pets, weren’t a topic of discussion; a trend that would soon change, thanks to the new arrival, I thought to myself. A much-needed respite from discussing the dreaded school.

I reached home with the furball, pushed open the gate with one foot, and called out to mom to come, see what I had brought. I don’t remember what she said, but I clearly remember my grandmother voicing her displeasure as if I had picked up some trash on my way home. Thank god I had my grandfather’s support — an advocate at a high court, he knew how to defend a helpless soul.

“Let it be, please! The child has brought it home with a pure heart. We will keep the rabbit,” he announced. That was it. No one dared oppose grandpa. My heart was filled with love for the sweet, old man. No, not just because he didn’t reprimand me for doing something without asking for permission. But there was an intrinsic sweetness to him (just like the rabbit I now held in my arms) that appealed to me and made me favor him over my grandma, or even my dad, for that matter.

My sweet, sweet grandpa.

I did have a nagging fear about what dad would say once he returned from work. I had grandpa’s support now, but still…

Surprisingly, for me, dad accepted the rabbit without a protest. He also offered to take it to a vet for a thorough check-up the next day. Now, that was completely unexpected of this man. I was so overwhelmed by emotions, I felt my heart would explode!

I had always had this image of dad being the strictest father in the world. Mom often recounted how I, as a little girl, would ask her why we even needed dad; mom took care of me, so what was dad doing there, anyway?

But, the arrival of the rabbit changed it all.

Yes, he was still strict and very particular about our performance at school, which was rather dismal, but with the rabbit by our side, dad was all mush.

Every Wednesday — his day off — dad would carry the rabbit in a cloth sling bag, travel by bus to the animal hospital an hour away from home, get it treated by the vet for its various infections, and return home in the evening.

Dad would then recount all that happened during the journey to and from the hospital. How someone asked if they could hold the bag for my dad who couldn’t find a seat on the bus; how dad told them there was a rabbit in the bag, and how they would look in awe at the bag and take back their offer.

How we delighted in hearing these stories! Our evenings were now happier, too. There was a lot of laughter now, even after dad returned home from work. With our homework done, we would all spend time together, playing with the rabbit.

These precious moments filled my heart to the brim with love for this man who I had regarded with fear all my childhood.

Mom had always been the epitome of love and warmth, but dad, too, had a little bit of it tucked away somewhere in his heart. That was new to me — new and appealing.

But as all good things should come to an end, this one did, too.

After six months of living with us, our rabbit passed away.

It was a shocking experience for me and my brother; we hadn’t seen death at such close quarters until that day. We were devastated. We cried our lungs out that evening as we walked alongside dad to the creek near our home to give our dear rabbit a water burial.

All those beautiful memories with that adorable creature. Those precious moments of love and laughter watching dad’s gentler side. All of it came rushing to my mind’s eye as we walked back home with a heavy heart.

In hindsight, I think we all needed that rabbit in our life. A calming presence that brought with it an unbridled joy, and some precious moments for us kids. A soul who gave us the chance to see our dad in a new light.

I think life brings precisely those people to us whom we need more than those whom we want. We don’t realize it just then, but years later, when we reflect upon life, we understand how some tough times were relatively easy to put up with, all because a certain someone walked into our life, unannounced, and changed the way we lived

What do your dreams tell you?

Do you think your dreams talk to you? Dreams that fill you with dread, or tranquility; dreams, that, at times, make no sense, but which, on hindsight, feel like messages, premonitions, warnings?

I have always wondered what my dreams tell me. On nights, when I have such vivid dreams as if I were seeing them when awake, I sit up in bed — my heart thudding in my chest, my thoughts all tangled up in each other — trying to read into those images. Finding meaning in them when actually there might not be any.

I remember my dreams with clarity. My childhood dreams, too. One of which comes to mind today as I gaze at my Grade 3 class photo. I don’t have a smile on my face like my classmates do; there’s a somber look in my eyes. Maybe my feelings for my school-life reflect in my eyes.

I hated school. And I hated studies. Father was strict about me performing well at school, but because I showed no interest in studies, I was often at the receiving end of his scolding and beatings. The proverbial rod was considered to be a magic wand back then, which transformed an unruly child into an obedient one; one which parents didn’t think twice before wielding. Thankfully, father never used the rod or the ruler; his hand was enough to inflict the pain that, he felt, I needed to feel to know how I hurt him by not doing my duty.

But what could I do if what the teacher taught made no connection with my mind? Math gave me panic attacks, and so did science and social studies. And, on days when I was to receive my grades for an exam or appear for an exam, my anxiety knew no bounds. It crept into my mind, forced its way down to my heart, and gripped it in a stranglehold that suffocated me. I felt drained. Nauseated. I knew my report card would contain more remarks in red ink than blue; I knew I would have to show it to father and ask for his signature on it, and I knew the scenes that would unfold thereafter.

The reprimands, the beatings, the sobbing at night, the restlessness as I waited for sleep to take me away from my world. Mother was the balm that healed my distressed soul — her warm embrace and her gentle voice lulling me into a deep sleep.

I distinctly remember dreaming of monstrous tigers and bears, sometimes oxen, too, prowling on the roof of my childhood home, waiting to pounce on the first human to exit their home. The neighborhood, deserted like it is these days as if battling a pandemic outbreak, with the only movement visible that of the beasts, on the roof of the row house I resided in.

The difference between dreams and reality did not present itself to me during my childhood as it does now. The nightmares scared me, petrified me. I tried to scream for help, but my screams were soundless. Nobody knew what I dreamed of, or how I slept through the night, shivering, clutching my pillow to my heart, my bedsheet over my head, tears spilling down my cheeks, and I was too dazed to talk about it the next morning. I went through the days, the months, and years, mechanically; dragging myself through school, hoping that someday my childhood would come to an end.

Time passed. Father mellowed and became more of a friend than a parent. And, childhood came to an end. But it was now replaced by adulthood. And some more dreams. There were no wild beasts wandering on my roof, though. But, there was darkness and confusion and chaos.

With mental illness in the family, adult life, particularly, married life, was not how I had imagined.

There was fear in every corner of the house. Fear, which furtively crept towards me every morning as I woke up from a fitful sleep, and followed me through the day as I went about trying to fulfill my duty as a good wife, a good daughter-in-law.

The house felt alien even after months of living there. Every wall, every window, every door felt strange, like it didn’t belong to me, like I didn’t belong there. The air I breathed in failed to fill me with hope and happiness. I pined for love to strengthen me, but it disappointed me, instead. It seemed to diminish by the day. Maybe the fear was too powerful and overwhelming for me to find any courage from love.

The mental illness of my second mother — my mother-in-law — filled me with dread.

The need to keep her happy and peaceful took its toll on me as I strove each day to do everything as perfectly as could be.

“Did she take her meds this morning? Will the meds keep her calm? Will I find her talking to herself, gesticulating wildly with anger in her eyes at god-knows-what?” My day began with a barrage of questions.

“Do I really care about her, or is this all about me?” my inner voice prodded me, as if in response.

My anxiety returned. And so did the haunting dreams.

I dreamed of making my way to mum’s home in the middle of the night, desperate for her warm hugs, her soothing words, and some sleep. Sleep that evaded me most nights.

I yearned for mother’s calming aura; the one that softened life’s blows. Maybe that’s why the desperation with which I walked towards her home, towards my warm and cozy nest.

I dreamed of trudging along with uncertainty on a strange street that had no streetlights; a street with vehicles zooming madly at breakneck speed with their headlights switched off. Leaning against a lamppost on a dark pavement from fear of getting crushed underneath a speeding vehicle I grieved as I failed to find my way home. My home!

The darkness and chaos stifled me. I thought of calling up mum, begging her to come, fetch me, save me. I fished out my phone from my bag and as I held it in front of my face, I noticed it was blank. Its interface showed me nothing except a black screen with a crack running across it. I realized to my horror I had also forgotten my mother’s number, as well as every other number that I could have dialed for help. Could have, had the phone not broken. I screamed out mother’s name, but not a sound escaped my throat, my muffled cries drowned out by the roar of the passing vehicles.

I woke up with a start every time I had this dream. My mind foggy, my heart pounding in my chest in a wild thump that refused to calm down even after a few deep breaths. What was my dream telling me? I asked my frightened self. Or, was it just harping on about how my anxiety was here to stay, a permanent resident in my mind?

There were nights when I dreamed of rummaging through my mother-in-law’s medicine cabinet to find all her meds disappeared. I asked her about it and she replied nonchalantly how her stock depleted many days ago and how she felt she didn’t need the meds anymore.

“What?”

My hands trembling uncontrollably, I opened the cabinet again, groping for some strips of tablets I could give her but found none. My palms sweaty, my throat parched, I tried to clear my turbulent mind. And I cursed myself.

“How could I have been so careless? I am supposed to be the dutiful daughter-in-law, taking care of her, her health, her meds, everything, and here I am, completely unaware about such an important matter!” I rebuked myself.

I rushed out to get the meds, but in vain. The medical shops were all either shut down, or the meds were out of stock. Perspiration dotting my forehead, I tried to think about what I could do next. She needed those meds; those managed her mind, controlled the thoughts from getting the better of her, held her together.

“What will she do without those meds? How will she manage? How will she sleep? And, how will I manage? Am I stressing about her meds for her sake, or for me? Am I being selfish? Is it really her that I am worried about, or is it me?” The barrage of thoughts jolted me from my sleep; confusion tearing at my mind — was it reality or a dream?

Recurring dreams, both— me dragging my exhausted self to mother’s home, and me hunting for my mother-in-law’s meds at some ungodly hour, my anxiety crushing my heart in a vice-like grip.

Waking up after these nightmares struck was fatiguing, frightening. I wanted to wake up to the reality that everything was fine, that mother-in-law’s meds were well-stocked, but I also wanted to keep sleeping because I was tired all the time I was awake.

Today, it’s almost five years since my mother-in-law passed away. It will be more than two decades since I learned to live with mental illness, even encourage people to speak openly about it, get the help it needs, but those dreams refuse to part ways with me. Anxiety is here to stay, meddling in every aspect of my life. Whatever I do, or say, it mocks me, dares me to ignore it, like a bully mocking his target.

Sometimes I wonder, had I paid attention to my dreams, heeded their advice, taken their warning seriously, would I be in a better place, emotionally? Physically, too? Would I be made of sterner stuff, armed myself with enough confidence, and fought every battle, courageously?

Would I have faced life’s curveballs bravely, without fear nagging me at every turn? Would I be a better human being? A better daughter, a better wife, a better daughter-in-law, a better person?

Should I have listened to my dreams?

Beware! The Universe listens.

In an article by my friend Holly Jahangiri, I read a line that stuck in my head. “Never let the Universe know you are bored.”

I couldn’t agree more. The Universe listens. It’s a mind reader, you know. A sly entity (if I can call it that) that has a knack of discovering even those secrets that you try to hide in the darkest corners of your mind!

Not only ennui but also our secret fantasies, our grudges against people who we meet with fake smiles; hatred for matters that are forced upon us and yet which we follow without any protest; repulsion for matters that we would rather not deal with in this life – all of it is information accessible to the Universe. God knows how.

The Universe finds out each and every one of these secret files that we stash away in some secret vault inside our mind and uses them against us, springing a surprise that’s like a jolt out of the blue.

Like, last week, when I was grumbling about something — oh, yes, about the lack of excitement in life, what else! — the Universe heard me. In hindsight, I imagine it did shake its head in disgust and decide to teach me to be grateful. I agree I was out of line for grumbling about the absence of any excitement considering the situation today. But, I am human, and to err is my birthright!

So, that day, last week, after having a scrumptious breakfast my tooth began to hurt. The pain came out of the blue. Like, all was fine a while ago and, bam! suddenly here was this ache, sending shockwaves through my body each time my tongue touched the tooth.

The pain was so intense, it left me in agony even when I ate an overripe banana! I writhed in pain and cried like a baby, but the pain persisted. It refused to budge even after I popped my first painkiller.

I was lucky that the medical stores were open because, in these days of #covid19, no dentists are prepared to put their hands into our mouth to either extract a wayward tooth or work on a root canal that will cure us of our discomfort.

The dentist was contacted (phone calls only), the antibiotics and some more painkillers bought as per his prescription, and the meds gulped down, but life refused to go back to normal.

Toothache is such. Not just the tooth, but the mouth, the face, the head, the neck, heck, the entire body aches. Whatever you do, the pain refuses to subside. Like a stubborn child, who plonks himself in the middle of the street, throwing a tantrum, not paying heed to his parents who beg him to behave, a painful tooth keeps at it, too — paining every second, not budging even after you have downed a couple of painkillers, not allowing you to eat even the softest of foods, making you starve till you run out of energy, patience, and hope, and are ready to give up your fight.

I lay in bed unable to sleep; I went into the kitchen to cook with not an idea of what I would do; I tried to relax on the sofa in front of the TV, I tried to write/draw/read, but couldn’t do a single thing. I was starving and had visions of food floating around in my mind’s eye, but there was nothing I could chew without the spasms coming every second and bringing with them a fresh wave of agony.

Crying in bed, I lay wondering when this will end — this, as in, life. I just wanted to die. Sounds melodramatic, I know, but with the end of the lockdown a mystery, I had visions of myself weakening from the continuous pain for days together and wondering how I would survive the next god-knows-how-many-days of this isolation.

There were a few moments of respite when the painkillers did work, but the pain returned with a vengeance, and then it was all back to square one.

As I lay in bed, praying to the Universe to have mercy on me, to take away this ‘excitement’ and give me back the mundane life, I tried being grateful for what I did have. But, it’s human nature, you know, that when you are suffering — even if from a toothache — all the good sense goes flying out of the window. The gratitude, the peace of mind, all of it is tossed out in the trash and all you think about is, “When will this end?”, or, “Why me? Why now?”

Cut to the present, it’s five days since it all began and today is the first day since I ate, as in, relished my food. The antibiotics did their job; the painkillers worked their charm and here I am, typing these words after letting out a satisfied burp that follows a hearty meal.

And yes, I am grateful I did not have to step out of my house to get treated. Grateful because had the pain not subsided, I would have had to visit a hospital and stand the risk of contracting the virus thingy that’s caused havoc around the world. Just imagine, it would have been a double whammy!

I can imagine the Universe smiling at me benevolently now that I have learned to keep my mouth shut and not ask for anything — least of all excitement. I have understood that life is not the ‘happening’ kind these days, but there is a hell of a lot happening out there that we don’t want to happen with us, so we better be happy with what we have.

Yes, there will be times when I will grumble and groan for lack of any social life and the rest of the luxuries that I have left behind. But, we are humans; discontentment is a trait we imbibed from our ancestors, so yes, we will want for more. But, whatever it is that I thirst for, I will keep it for another day when all of this will be (hopefully) over.

Until then, I will not yearn/ask for/beg/dream/fantasize/expect/complain about anything.

The Universe is listening, and it has some really weird ways of fulfilling our wishes.

P.S.

If your tooth starts complaining, reach for an ice pack, gargle your mouth with salt water (at room temperature) multiple times in a day, massage your gums gently with salt, and call up your dentist for help. You won’t be able to visit a dentist as that involves too many risks. So, take care. And, be grateful. 🙂

The good ol’ days of blogging.

Seven years ago, when I started blogging, the blogosphere was a completely different world.

You typed a heartfelt post, shared your deepest feelings with the faceless stranger sitting on the other side of the screen and established a bond that felt genuine, despite the unfamiliarity.

You forged friendships that went beyond the physical and the virtual realm. You connected with the heart and the soul of the people typing out their thoughts, sharing with you their feelings despite never having met you, known you. All because you felt you knew each other, understood each other. You didn’t feel the need to come face to face; your hearts beat with a synchronicity!

But, sadly, like all good things must come to an end, blogging, as I knew it, as some of my dearest blogger friends knew it, came to an end. 

Today, it’s all about commercialisation. I got sucked down that hole, too. But, I dragged myself out of it; it wasn’t meant for me, didn’t feel like me. 

I am glad, though, that the friends I made then, are with me today, too. We do blog, although not as passionately as we did, coz there’s hardly anyone who visits us here, connects with us like we did in the past. 

The readership of my blog has reduced, as I am sure of other’s, too. It’s more about traffic today; about how many followers we have, how many likes our posts receive, and if we can monetize our words. 

I wasn’t planning on writing this post. What’s the use? I said to myself. Only those regular two or three friends might visit. But then I thought to myself that it’s these handful of friends who matter, whose words, thoughts, feelings matter. And, it’s only these handful few who will understand me, agree with what I say, and share their own feelings on the matter.

And, for them, I write this post. Just something that struck me as I caught my thoughts running down memory lane. 

What do you think? Do you enjoy blogging like you used to, earlier?

Wait. I think I know what you will say! 🙂 

 

Monday Musings

 

 

Ruminations #FictionMonday

The stream of blood that flows through my slit wrist splatters onto the sparkling white tiles of the bathroom floor. If mum had been around, she would have rushed to mop the floor.

Cleanliness.

Did you know that a clean space is a reflection on your character? So, what would it say about mine if someone entered my bathroom just now, and caught sight of the bloody tiles? I wonder.

Would they, instead, rush to my help with worry writ large in their eyes, and anxiety in their voice, demand what I was thinking, trying to bleed myself to death?

Would they hold me in their arms, with tears streaming down their cheeks splashing onto mine, staunch the blood flow, bandage my wrists, carry me to my bed, and coo softly into my ears as I sobbed, uncontrollably?

Would they hold me by my chin, look deep into my teary eyes and try to dig out answers I couldn’t get myself to share?

Would they rock me gently as I fell asleep, whimpering in a pain that my heart felt more than my wounded wrist?

Would they stay awake all night by my side, watching my face as I slept a fitful sleep fighting the demons in my dreams? Would they fight the demons for me?

And, would they just decide to stay, for I was the most precious thing in their life?

I wonder.

WORD COUNT: 253

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This post is written for #FictionMonday hosted by my friend, Vinitha Dileep of Reflections. 

Today’s prompt: STREAM

Embracing rejection. #Mondaymusings

To enjoy success, we must embrace failure.

I’ve repeated this maxim to my sore ears a hundred times. No, actually, 58 times. That’s the number of times I received rejection letters in my mail box from places I applied for a job in the past eight months. 

The pandemic has made it so easy to remember everything, no? Like, how old is so-and-so’s pup? Eight months old, because he was brought home when the Pandemic struck. Or, since when have I been going berserk hunting for jobs? Since eight months, or, ever since the Pandemic arrived at our doorstep and turned our world upside down. 

I am glad, though, that it’s all electronic mail these days. Had this happened some decades ago, the rejection letters would have piled up like raddi (old newspapers) in some neglected corner of the house, or a dusty corner of the balcony, where the sunlight would fade its severity and the insects would make food out of it.  

Now, though, with emails making life so simple, all I need to do is, with a click of a button, send the mail into the bin and forget it all happened. 

A couple of days ago, while on my evening walk, I made a new friend. WIth her year-old daughter in tow, she was strolling around, enjoying the evening breeze when we met. She introduced herself and her little one, enquired about me, and just like that, opened her heart up to me, like confiding in an old friend.

I feel so useless! All I do everyday is cook, clean, look after my baby, and toil like a donkey, and yet, I don’t get any respect for all I do! Maybe if I ran away they would realise my worth. Do you know, I have done my MSc, MPhil and BEd, and worked at a school? But now that I am home, and not “working”, I feel I am worthless!” 

I almost said to her, “Welcome to the club, dear!” Instead, I said, “Been there, done that,, still doing it!” hoping she would feel less alone. 

I wonder why I keep bumping into my kinda women! But, I am glad I met her. We could look out for each other in the physical world. 

Anyway, getting back to my rant, it’s good, talking about embracing rejections and failure and all that. What’s not good is gauging our self-worth based on rejection.

But, when you have tried for so long and haven’t been approved or accepted, the feeling of uselessness creeps in and gnaws at you, like maggots, eating away every ounce of confidence you have, leaving you feeling hollow, valueless. 

So, how do you deal with it?

How do I deal with it?

I sob, until my pet birds get panicky and climb all over me, wondering what’s wrong.

Then, I mope about for a couple of days and roll around in a huge mound of self-pity, self-doubt and self-loathing until I am covered in it from head to toe.

Then, I pour out my angst to my girls, who tell me how I am not useless, and how I should stop applying for those stupid jobs, and focus on my writing and art, and how, someday, things will change, because, I am brilliant!

I am really not brilliant, but my girls are, coz their words are like balm for my shattered soul. Their words of encouragement fill me with hope.

I also change the tone of my self-talk, coz how long can we curse ourselves, degrade ourselves, right?

And, then I take in a deep breath and repeat J.K.Rowling’s famous words:

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life”

I have hit rock bottom, and from here, the only way is up (whenever that happens!)

Try doing it.

Most times, it works like magic. At others, you have to reiterate these words like your life depended on it. Coz it does!

 

Monday Musings

The rules. #FictionMonday

Ms. M was our third grade math teacher. Tall, large, with penetrating eyes that could read our mind like a book. A long, thin plait that swayed this way and that as she walked around the class checking our work, and a voice that was so jarring, she startled us each time she opened her mouth to talk.

On the first day of school, she introduced us to The Rules:

No giving silly excuses of sickness or a stomachache on the day of a test. No sitting with friends. No yawning, coughing, or sneezing, even if you were tired or unwell. No asking for permission to visit the bathroom during class, even if you just had to go real bad.

The list was long, but these were the ones that held sway.

A month into the academic year, she gave us our first test.

My stomach started churning early in the morning, but the Rules echoed in my ears.

The panic, the churning, the palpitations, all reached a crescendo when Ms. M entered the class room. I feared I might throw up, or faint. I wish I had fainted, but, didn’t.

She gave us the test papers and signalled us to begin.

My breath shallow, my heart pounding, I felt a strong urge to pee.

With absolute dread I stood up and tried to speak, but it felt like I had cotton stuffed in my mouth.  

Ms. M looked up at me, stared hard and thundered, “Sit down and complete your test, Divya!

Numb with shock and fear, with my breath stuck in my throat, I felt it. The fluid streaming down my inner thighs and pooling at my feet.

I felt weak and ashamed and sank into my seat, my uniform wet, my heart crushed, the tears rolling down my cheeks, smudging the paper.

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

Fast forward to twenty years later, as I called out to the students to settle down, in walked a figure from the distant past; I would never forget that gait. Those penetrating eyes now had a mellow look, and the voice sounded softer.

“Hello, Ma’am! We are sorry, we are late today. My granddaughter wasn’t feeling very well. She has her test today, isn’t it? Please, look after her.” she smiled, her eyes pleading, her tone hushed.

I smiled.

 

WORD COUNT: 375

 

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Today’s post is written for #FIctionMonday hosted by my dear friend, Vinitha Dileep of Reflections.

This week’s prompt: RULE.

Vinitha, please excuse the length of today’s post. I got carried away by a distant memory! ;P

 

 

She. #FictionMonday.

“Please, remember to buy some milk on your way home, John!” I shout from the kitchen to remind my husband as he descends the steps leading to the porch, his head bent to a side, his ear to the phone, as he fishes for the car keys in his pockets. I watch from the window. The keys dangle by the buckle of his trousers, but he seems distracted by the conversation.

I know who he’s talking to.

Janet. She is a colleague. Single. Beautiful. Talented. And, available.

I know he won’t remember to buy the milk. But, he will remember to buy that rose for her, like every day. I’ve seen him at the florist’s buying a single stem of a red rose. The flower that never comes my way.

He will also remember to message her good night, like he does every night, before his head hits the pillow. I hear the ping before he switches off the phone. He waits for it. I wait for it.

And, then he will hold me close, his heart beating like a drum, his breathing, heavy, his lovemaking, passionate.

WORD COUNT: 207

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

This week’s prompt: REMEMBER

 

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

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

This week’s prompt: FALSE.

 

 

 

 

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