Monday, February 27, 2017

Two Sides of the Same Coin


He hefts the overweight bags onto his right shoulder. Walks ten steps. Pauses for fifteen seconds. Shifts one of the bags onto the other shoulder. Walks twelve more steps. Lowers the bags to the ground. The contents shift treacherously, threatening to spill over on the street. Hurriedly, he picks them up again. Mentally curses himself for having forgotten his cell phone at home. His son would have come running to help had he known. With a long deep sigh, he puts one step in front of the other and starts walking again.

She whooshes past him leaving a strong flowery fragrance in her wake. For a second, he is reminded of the Rajdhani Express that his mother used to tell him stories about. There one second, gone the next. But then she stops and turns around. Looks at him and squints. Like there are gears turning in her head. Silently contemplating. She comes running towards him and asks “Is it okay if I help you carry this to your house?”

***

“Kids of today, they are so ignorant!” he exclaims heatedly.
“What happened, Aniruddha? What is making you grumble even as you enter the house?”
“This generation, Baba. They know nothing about our culture and religion,” Aniruddha replies as he downs a glass of water and shuffles around in the kitchen.
“What are you looking for?” He asks, following his son around the house.
“The matchbox. I think we ran out.”
“I got us some. I went to the market. Had to buy the monthly stock of groceries.”
Baba, how many times do I tell you to not go alone? Why carry such heavy bags home?”
“It’s ok, Aniruddha. Bless the girl."
"What girl, Baba? You really need to stop talking to strangers."
"She was a kid, Aniruddha. Must be all of twelve. But she saw me struggling with those bags and offered to carry them for me. Now, what were you griping about?”
“Nothing, Baba. It’s not important. Just call me next time. Now, did you take your medicines?”

***

Dear Diary,
That old man reminded me of my Grandpa. I wonder if he has any grandchildren. They say what goes around comes around. I hope someone helps my Grandpa the way I helped this man.

I got chastised today. Severely. How was I to know that while going around Shiva’s idol I am not supposed to cross over the channel? We go around idols all the time. It’s called circumambulation – the going around. Daddy spelled it out for me. Might be helpful for my spell bee, he said. I hope my good deed for the day does not get nullified by this religious infraction. That would be bad for Grandpa.

Love,
Amaira.
PS: (It means Post script): I used 2 medium and 2 complex words in today’s entry. That makes the total so far – 47 new words for the bee.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Boy On the Train


I slump down in my seat after a long day that never seemed to end, rest my head on the cushioned backrest and let my tired eyelids droop for all of ten seconds. Then I hear laughter. Loud, boisterous laughter. And I instantly look up.
I see him through the bars. Gleaming, stainless steel horizontal ones that seem to slice through his face. The setting sun casts shadows that dance along his shirt. I see the sparkle in his eyes, an obvious joyous excitement in them. He’s in the midst of an animated conversation, I can sense by the grin on his face.  I cannot see the boy he’s talking to, he has his back turned towards me.  But I can still hear him laugh.
As I look on, he throws his head back, does a flick of his mane and winks at his friend. They break into peals of laughter again and this time unwittingly, I smile. It is infectious. And then he signs. His hands move with amazing dexterity, the expressions on his face changing with every action of his. I watch mesmerised as the friend replies with signs of his own. And suddenly the world around me fades away as I get drawn into their conversation. A perfectly normal teenage conversation playing out before me – with all the typical ingredients – friends, laughter, ribbing, recollection and some more laughter.  I don’t understand most of it, there are no words and yet I hear the music.
Then his eyes meet mine through the bars and suddenly I feel like an intruder. My cheeks burn red as I struggle to look away, my smile still pasted on my face. A deer caught in the headlights. He nudges his friend and he turns to look at me too. I wonder if they will yell at me, knowing but not realising at that very minute that they unfortunately cannot do that, even if they would have wanted to. In that moment, I worry about getting chastised by two kids less than half my age; I would realize later how baseless the thought was.   
And then he sends a smile my way. A heart warming one. His friend looks at me and actions a bigger grin. And I cannot help but smile back. They flick me a mock salute and wave a goodbye, grinning at me as I alight. I wave back, still smiling, feeling as if I have just been part of an inside joke between friends, one that takes away the fatigue of the day.  

I walk home lost in thought, still a little in awe. I might have a hundred different problems, 99% of them imaginary, but then these are the light moments that remind me, no – humble me, and drive home the point – no matter what, life’s still alright.  

Saturday, April 30, 2016

2016 A-Z Blogging Challenge: The Complete Works

Every year, in April, the Blogging A-Z Challenge kicks off with a bang and now in its seventh year running, it continues to garner even more participation than ever! Click here to read more on the challenge! And if you're participating too, do leave your blog site in the comments! I'd love to visit!


As A-Z winds to a close, if I think back and reflect, I have to say what an amazing month this was!
From the challenging timeline itself to trying out different styles, I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey!
Here's a listing of everything that came out during this period!
A-Z might be done, but I'll still be around! Hope you'll be too!

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Z for Zimbabwe: And Ever and Ever

Every year, in April, the Blogging A-Z Challenge kicks off with a bang and now in its seventh year running, it continues to garner even more participation than ever! Click here to read more on the challenge! And if you're participating too, do leave your blog site in the comments! I'd love to visit!

Sadly, this post also marks the end of the 2016 A-Z Blogging Challenge. I have enjoyed the entire journey and hopeflully you enjoyed reading the posts as much as I loved to write them!


If you haven't read Part 1 of the story yet, read it here

Two years later
Thursday, 12-Apr-2018 (In Person)
“Please, Tanya. I’ll be gone for only a week this time, I promise.”
“I don’t know, Imran. This feels like deja vu. You got a second chance back then because of your excellent workmanship. But that’s all I can afford. There will be no third chances.”
“Monday it is.”

Wednesday, 25-Apr-2018 (Via Telecon)
“I remember your case. Tanya had finally relented to take you back on the project. What is it this time?”
“My brother’s wedding, Sir”
(Pause)

“Didn’t you say you had only one brother?”
“Yes Sir. Only one brother.”
“Didn’t he already get married in Yemen?”
“Yes Sir. That was Yemen. This is Zimbabwe.”
(Pause)

“Polygamy is legal in Zimbabwe, Sir.”
(Long Pause)

“Would you like to collect your termination letter personally or would you like me to fax it over to your brother’s address in Zimbabwe?”

Click here to access the complete works of the 2016 A-Z Blogging Challenge!
Zimbabwe recognizes legal rights for a man to marry multiple wives making polygamy extremely popular in the country. Link: http://www.sundaymail.co.zw/polygamy-two-sides-of-the-same-coin/

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Y for Yemen: Joined in Harmony, For Ever and Ever and Ever

Every year, in April, the Blogging A-Z Challenge kicks off with a bang and now in its seventh year running, it continues to garner even more participation than ever! Click here to read more on the challenge! And if you're participating too, do leave your blog site in the comments! I'd love to visit!


Thursday, 21-Apr-2016
“I’ll need a day more, Tanya. I should be back on Monday.”
“You’re already a week late, Imran. Just one more day. I’ll expect to see you on Monday.”

Monday, 25-Apr-2016
“There’s just the last bit left to wrap up. Tomorrow for sure.”
“You were going to join today, Imran. You better report to work tomorrow.”

Wednesday, 27-Apr-2016
“If you’re not here by Friday, Imran, I’m going to have to talk to HR.”
“Please don't do that Tanya. The festivities were so drawn out, I kept getting pulled into everything and I’m from the family, Tanya. I had to help. I’m so sorry. I’ll join tomorrow for sure and I’ll make up for the delay.”

Friday, 29-Apr-2016
“No Sir. I feel so horrid. I never knew it would stretch out so far. It was just supposed to be a wedding. A quick week off. But then this is Yemen. The wedding feast has been going on for the past nineteen days and it’s my brother’s wedding, I really couldn’t get away. Please do consider this as a genuine personal problem, Sir.”

Click here to find out what happens next in Imran's story!

Click here to access the complete works of the 2016 A-Z Blogging Challenge!
Yemeni weddings are a matter of pride and social prestige. Wedding feasts typically last for an average of 21 days. Link: http://www.travelingeast.com/middle-east/yemen/ten-interesting-facts-about-yemen/

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