Monday, January 22, 2018

The Avenger


The Avenger

Cold, unseen stranger,
stalked about, 
touching,
with icy fingers.

Over his victims,
his feet trod slowly,
hardly fair game,
the people lining-up.

A man?Is a man worth-
It is weakness.
Whenever begins count,
subtract a chance of ten. 



The above page is from a story called The Last Leaf, by O Henry. I couldn't get the exact page on the internet, so I took a picture of the page and circled the words. The book is titled, "100 Selected Stories" by O Henry.


The image is taken from Pixabay and edited. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Missing Bracelet

The Missing Bracelet 

"My bracelet is missing. Can you help me?" A young girl asked the man who sat at an old desk.

"Something's always missing." He muttered without looking up.

"I guess so. But it is an emerald bracelet. I need to find it before my mother wakes up." She said in an urgent voice.

He paused his work to look at the little girl. She was wringing her hands in tension. With a sigh, he replied. "Tell me about it."

"We stopped for a refill and when mom was filling the gas, I went to the loo. It was on my wrist when I came back but suddenly disappeared. I searched everywhere. It just vanished!" She answered and added. "I'm Sarah."

"Alright, Sarah. The thing is bound to be somewhere here. No other vehicle came in after yours and you must have noticed how deserted this place is. It is definitely not stolen. We will find it." The clerk said to her.

Sarah nodded. "I told my mother to take a break. She is napping in the car."

"Let's get going then." He replied and went with Sarah to search the place again. She was right. The bracelet was nowhere to be seen. The gas station itself was a small thing. There wasn't much area to search.

Sarah looked at him with tears in her eyes and he felt bad for her. She was a little girl, barely fourteen years old with huge brown eyes and two thick braids of dark blonde hair.

"Don't cry, kid. We'll find it." He told her. They spent the next fifteen minutes poking into holes and peeping into gaps.

"What are you doing, Sarah?" A female voice made them jump. They turned to look at a woman in her early forties with a simple face and no makeup. 

"Umm… mom…" Sarah murmured.

"She lost her bracelet. We are searching for it." The clerk answered as Sarah glared at him. He thought the woman looked sensible and would understand.

"Sorry, mom. I promised I would be careful. I was, too. It just vanished from my wrist." Sarah spoke in a low voice that trembled at the end. 

The woman sighed. "Now you understand why I don't let you wear it. It is too big for you. Is that why you wanted me to take a nap?"

Sarah nodded.

"Well, I needed the nap. Let's get going. We have to reach Spring Lake by evening." The woman said and turned towards the car.

"But mom…" Sarah began. She could not understand why her mother was not bothered about the bracelet.

"The bracelet? I have it with me, Sarah. It slipped from your wrist when you were walking towards the car. I saw and picked it up." She replied in a calm voice.

"Why didn't you tell me?" Sarah cried.

"To teach you a lesson, my dear. Now get into the car." The woman replied and turned towards the clerk who stood silently watching the scene. "Sorry for the trouble and thank you for trying to help my daughter."

The clerk nodded and smiled. "I realized you had it when we couldn't find it anywhere and you looked so composed. I'm sure she must have learned her lesson. Have a good day."

She thanked him again and drove away. The clerk went back to his old desk smiling. The woman reminded him of his mother. 


Image is taken from Pinterest


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Memoirs of an Eighty year Old- Episode XXVI

Episode: Medchal (1964-1966 end) (Professional Life)


Hello, again readers! Hope you are enjoying reading the previous episode of granny’s birthday. :P

Due to personal reasons, I could not post in the month of Dec 2017. But worry not, I am back and the episodes will continue as before. :) 

Now we go back to the series and continue where we left. So after a small stay in Basara, they moved to Medchal. It wasn’t by chance, but because grandpa’s previous trainer wanted to have grandpa working with him. The man was nearing his retirement and wanted someone who could take control of things for him. And he knew grandpa was the best man for that job.


So on special orders, grandpa was appointed as his subordinate. But, the main HQ of grandpa was Masaipet, a remote area, almost like a jungle. The house given to them was also in a bad state and definitely not livable. So the trainer/Sr.Inspector offered his official bungalow to grandpa while he lived in Secunderbad with his family. It was of course officially done. Now grandpa had a beautiful place to live for the next three years, but he also had double the workload.

“I enjoyed it and learned a lot. I learned about audits, inspections, handling labor issues with care, etc,” he told me.

“The first two years were professionally very good, but then the Sr.Inspector retired and we gave him the best farewell ever. An entire train was decorated and we dropped him in his house with utmost love and respect. He was beyond elated and remembered it till the end. He was the man I looked up to and he gave me equal love and affection.” Grandpa added.

What happened next?

“Well the new Sr.Inspector came and he was jealous of his predecessor. He took out it all on me. First, he told me to vacate the bungalow we were residing at. Officially it was his so he wanted it back. He told me I could find housing elsewhere if I wanted to work in Medchal HQ. I had two small kids by then, (yup, baby P was born) but then the Station Master was my dear friend; in fact he still is. We are very in touch with each other even today. He offered me his quarters to live for the rest of my tenure at that place since he was living elsewhere. I am very thankful to him. Next, he started to dominate me and belittle me, mocking that I was his subordinate.” He said.

So did you continue there under that man?

“Not for long. I worked another six months maybe. I put in a transfer application. My mentor got to know and I told him everything. He then spoke to the higher officials and got me transferred to Mehaboobabad for the remaining three months. I was any way in due for a promotion. It is near Khammam and had a broad-gauge track while the ones I worked till then were meter-gauge. I got my promotion and was given a totally remote area called Kinvatt in Adilabad. It had only one train per day and there was absolutely no communication available even with the nearby villages.” He answered.

So did you go there?

“No. My elder brother also worked in Railways, so I asked for his help. He arranged for it to be changed to Sailu, Maharashtra. I was promoted to be an Independent Incharge, after all. I needed to prove myself and he explained the same to the officials.” He explained.

So how was it in Mehaboobabad?

“We weren’t there for long like I said. But it was closer to Warangal where my brother used to work, so I was in touch with him. We spent some time together. And I learned to work on a broad gauge.” He said.

What’s the difference?

“Technically, meter-gauge means the inner distance between the two rails is 1 meter and in broad-gauge, the distance is five feet six inches. All main lines are broad-gauge. The process of dealing when their repairs and maintenance changes a lot.” He said.

Now we need to talk about our dear ammama.

“Yes. She went through quite a lot because we had some family pressure and financial crunch during then. But you know her, she was strong and totally supportive.” He replied.

I am going to deal with the family life in another episode though grandpa wanted me to finish everything in a single one. I prefer to segregate things and that’s what I am doing.


Meet you guys in the next episode, until then, be happy, be kind. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Strangers


The woman wondered how it would be to live a life so carefree. She had to worry about everything- the rent, the bills, and her medical expenses. A girl sat on the park bench to write or maybe draw. Each day she came at eight in the morning and stayed until twelve. Then she would stand, pack her stuff and leave, humming to herself. She was young, lovely and confident.

The woman was sure that she was invisible to the girl. Random people waved and smiled at her, except the girl, until one evening.

"Can I talk to you?" A musical voice startled the woman. She looked up from the flowers she was arranging. It was the girl.
"Yes.." The woman murmured, her eyes curious. She never saw the girl during evenings.

"Umm… I am Sophie." She said, trying to smile.

The woman noticed Sophie was uncomfortable and gave her a warm smile. "I am Martha. Would you like to sit down?"

Sophie shook her head. Her hands were hooked in her belt, as though she could prevent them wanting to roam. She rocked on her heels and finally blurted. "Can I be your assistant?"

Martha was stunned. Whatever she thought, this was definitely not what she expected. "You want to work with me?" She asked her eyes wide.

Sophie nodded and waited. "But.. you are rich! I mean, why do you want to work in a tiny florist stall?" Martha asked and heard Sophie's sigh of resignation.

Martha was confused why a girl who was chauffer driven in the latest model Benz would want to work with her. But she also did not want to hurt the girl's feelings. And Sophie was definitely upset about something. "You can tell me, dear. I promise to keep your secrets."

Sophie laughed at herself. "There is no secret. Yes, I have the money or my father has, loads. I can have everything I want. But no one has time or affection for me. My parents want me to act like a robot and be perfect. My so-called friends want me to act like a tantrum queen. No one listens to what I want."

"Try me, Sophie," Martha said, her voice soft.

Sophie stared at Martha and realized she was right in approaching her. Here was a woman who could understand her. "You saw me sitting with a sketchbook. I draw and paint to escape reality. I want to cuddle your fresh flowers, bury my nose in the buds and weep. Do you know I am not even supposed to cry? Each day I see you smiling and laughing, standing among the pretty flowers. I want that for me as well. Is it too much to ask for?"

Martha looked at the girl who was less than twenty years old and realized how similar their lives were. Neither had a person they could talk to. They were two lonely souls looking for love and imagining that the other was happy and content.

She pulled Sophie onto a small bench and sat beside her. "Do you know I thought you were a spoilt brat? That you never cared enough to notice a poor florist like me?" She asked and smiled at the shocked look on Sophie's face.

"I thought you had no troubles in the world. I couldn't see how unhappy you eyes were. Yes, you can be my assistant. But I cannot pay you money; I don't have enough. But I will teach you all I know about flowers." Martha said offering her hand.

"You will be my friend, a real friend?" Sophie asked wiping her tears. Martha nodded as Sophie held her hand between her soft palms.

"Yeah!!! Can I start from now?" Sophie asked and leaped towards the flowers, not waiting for an answer. She was dying to take the tender blooms in her hands.

Martha laughed at her eagerness. "Have you not touched the flowers before?"

"Oh yes, I did! I buy dozens of flowers, but none are as lovely. Your flowers are the best, they are magical." She replied twirling, a bunch of flowers in her arms. "And this is for you."

Martha looked at the paintings of her stall and whispered, "True, flowers are indeed magical."





Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Spider's Web

An arrogant spider famous for weaving skills insulted other spiders. They got angry and decided to take revenge.
"Weave a web on hot water." They challenged.
The spider laughed and began to weave on a pot of boiling water. The heat became unbearable. It fell into the pot and died instantly.

Image is taken from Wikipedia page

Fables are fun to write, especially when the word limit is less than 60 (51 words to be exact.) :) 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Erasure Poem

Happy New Year 2018!

So this is the first challenge of the new year and the site (https://yeahwrite.me/) has made a few changes to the weekly challenges. :)

For the poetry challenge, we have to write an Erasure Poem and let me tell you, it is fun.

I took a page from PG Wodehouse's Damsel In Distress book and made a poem out of it.



A City Morning

Singing canaries were out,
cats washed themselves on doorsteps,
waiters peered from the windows,
the sun shone with a genial smile.

Guardian of the stage door,
emerged from the glass case
to observe life,
with an indulgent eye.

His job was a permanent one,
he felt nevertheless, a proprietary interest.
When a musical piece made a big hit,
he had a warm regard for the composer.



Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Bake the Cake

After not making it to the voting in the last week's challenge, I was a tad disappointed. But then my piece was read and enjoyed by some of the fellow writers and that made me feel a lot better. I know I am still in the early stages of writing and yes, I do tend to jump tenses at times.

So does that mean I am going to stop writing? No way! It only means I'll have to concentrate and work harder. Which is why I am taking up writing creative non-fiction again this week.

The underlying theme for this week is to keep trying and the first thing I remembered when I read the write up was about my disasters in trying to bake a cake in the microwave.

Unlike the households in other countries, in India we did not have built-in oven in the kitchen. The trend began with the increasing number of people taking interest in baking cakes & bread at home and it is fast becoming a standard feature.

It was during my early college days that we brought home a microwave and it sat in a corner, dressed in an old curtain cloth. Indian cooking doesn't really need a microwave and the person who came to give us the demo told us about reheating and preset recipes most of which were non-vegetarian.

We were totally disappointed. It looked like we had absolutely no use for it! Month after month I would look at it not knowing what to do. I searched on the internet, wrote down recipes and tried using the poor thing, but I ended up being the poor thing. They were absolute disasters and I thought I was better off using the cooker cake mix to make cakes at home.

But.... the microwave should have some use (we do not reheat food) and I kept trying asking people for tips and ideas. I hit gold when I posted the same query in a foodie group in Facebook and a kind lady explained to me the different types of microwaves(mine is just MW & grill). She gave me the approximate time settings and encouraged me to keep trying. For half an hour in an OTG the microwave takes around 5-7 mins.

Honestly, my parents were reluctant but I got stubborn and they gave in eventually. I messed up a few more cakes and even bread (it ended up looking like a ball of dough). Another round of hunting the internet began and it was then that I realized; not cakes can be made in the MW and definitely not breads.

A simple recipe caught my eye and finally I got a decent chocolate cake. It was kind of mushy though, but at least we could eat it.

I kept trying, reading stuff and making adjustments in power and time settings. Gradually, the efforts began to pay off. I still mess up at times, the cake turns out too dry or hard, but most of them come out fairly decent. I tried numerous recipes but my most favorites are the egg less chocolate cake by KK (a fellow member of the foodie group), semolina banana chocolate cake, paan (betel) flavored cake which I am proud to say is my creation. (I used a butterscotch cake recipe and moved things around). Also I discovered how the cakes taste much better the next day as the flavors intensify. I now have the confidence to use whole wheat flour, sorghum flour or finger millet flour to substitute the bleached all purpose flour in cakes. (It is comparatively healthy!)

My latest cake was an egg less Christmas cake with nuts soaked in rum (first time again). It was soft and a touch dense though the color was a pale brown (MW doesn't change the color of the batter. There will not be any golden top to drool at.)

This is the image of a semolina chocolate banana cake.