Category Archives: BAR-A-THON

The Meeting

stock-photo-lovely-golf-fall-in-love-152581661

It’s going to be a tough day today. I can feel it. I know what you are thinking, ‘Since when did men start doing this intuition thing?’ Not my style either, but today I feel it in my gut. I mean how much fun can it be to meet up with your fiancee’s US-returned childhood pal? The one who thinks she knows my girl waaay better than I ever will and loves her waaay more than I ever will do? The ‘I got married before you so I know all about men and I’ll check out your fiancee for you’ friend.

It might have been fine if it were just her. But there’s also the husband to contend with. The ‘Jiju’. Ugh! I hate the sound of that word just as much as I hate it when Aditi goes on and on about him. But then I focus on that tiny endearing lisp she has and I can put up with almost anything. I do love this girl. More than I ever loved any girl, more than I thought I could ever love any girl. Aditi. I love her for her passion, for her strong sense of right and wrong, for the way she stands up for what she believes in, the way she talks – with her entire body – her eyes dance and her hands move as fast as she talks. Oh she can sweep a thousand people along simply on the wave of her enthusiasm. Within the space of a few months she had taken over my first love, Golf.

But I digress.

The thing is I need to get it right today because these guys are important to her. I dressed with care picking out a blue check shirt and my favourite tan jeans.

I arrived well before time but there she was, already. Aditi waved at me like seeing me across the road was the happiest thing that had happened to her. I forgot my nerves, my heart gave a joyous leap and I waved back at her. Sometimes I wondered at this miracle – the miracle that made her love me back just as much as I loved her.

Behind her stood Kirti and the ‘Jiju’ – the two spokes in the wheel of my perfect love story. I crossed over and as she made the introductions I sensed I was being sized up. I sensed a tinge of approval from Kirti but the ‘Jiju’ looked like a tough nut to crack. We must be about the same age, I mused. But he had a huge Rajput moustache that made him look some ten years older. We shook hands and walked into the restaurant.

In that instance I began to empathise with all those girls who had ever had to walk into a room with a tray laden with tea and samosas when the groom’s family came for the bride viewing.

We settled down and Kirti asked me about my parents and work and the wedding date. We seemed to be getting along pretty fine, better than I expected. I would have relaxed but for the Jiju who simply stared on. He was beginning to freak me out when he said, So what’s your handicap? You do play golf, right?

Man oh man! A fellow golfer! Who would have thought! And just like that the ice was broken.

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Written for the prompt ‘Of Ice and Men’ for Day 3 of the second edition of the
fortnight-long Bar-a-thon.

barathon

Lemon Pie Cafe

Life of Pie1

He stood in front of the cafe enjoying the crisp winter morning. The air felt cool on his hot face.

As a young couple walked in, the glass doors swung open and he caught sight of his reflection. He couldn’t help giving a self-satisfied smile. I look good, thought he, glancing appreciatively at his golden mop, its bright yellow contrasting spectacularly with his tanned chocolate body. He puffed out his chest a trifle more, settled the pleats of his paper cup just so and put on his best ever look. He was, after all, the life and soul of the cafe.

He sniffed the air – it smelt good too – fresh and lemony with a dash of cinnamon. Life’s good, thought he. It was going to be a good day.

Not everyone, however, was having a good day. He glanced back at the young couple as they spoke in angry whispers barely managing to keep their voices down; not that there was anyone else in the tiny restaurant, apart from the plump affable Mrs Brown who had discreetly retreated to the back of the bakery.

Mrs Brown glanced at the couple, then looked back at him. And then before he knew it, he was at the table and Mrs Brown was saying, “This is for both of you, with best compliments from Lemon Pie Cafe.”

The couple looked from him to Mrs Brown their frowns slowly melting.

‘You remember,’ whispered the girl, ‘the time you’d stuck a candle in one of these for my birthday,’
‘and,’ he added softly, ‘we’d argued over who should get the larger piece’,
‘and then,’ she went on, her eyes tearing up, ‘I’d almost eaten up the ring you’d put in there.’
‘And I was grateful you found it in time because it had cost my whole damn salary,’ he completed with a laugh in his voice his hand closing on hers.

At this point Mrs Brown thought it best to return to her station at the back of the bakery while he just gave a proprietary smile. That’s another sweet ending to a love-story.

This, this is what makes the life of a pie worthwhile, thought he.

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Written for the prompt ‘Life of Pie’ for the second edition of the fortnight-long Bar-a-thon.

barathon

The Bar-A-Thon begins

I haven’t dilly dallied ever about anything as I have about this fortnight-long Blog Marathon. – the Bar-a-thon. I could do a whole blogpost on the ideas that I’ve thought and rejected because they just didn’t seem to come together. Finally, I’m plunging right in with no plan at all, taking a day at a time hoping to have a short fiction piece up here on the blog every alternate day. Very daring of me, given that I have rarely been this busy but after missing out on the A to Z I didn’t want to miss the excitement yet again.

So here it is – my first post for the Bar-a-thon.

Never Judge a Book by it’s Cover

Twilightbook

Sana put down her book and yawned. She could barely keep her eyes open. ‘Darn it’, thought she, ‘had I not missed that connecting flight I would have been home, tucked cosily into my own warm bed’. Instead, here she was, trying to make herself comfortable on a cold steel airport chair waiting for her early morning flight.

Sana normally, loved airports. She was a people-watcher, which is why she never minded the wait. But not today. And definitely not at 4 am in the morning, she mumbled to herself.

With a sigh she picked up her well-thumbed copy of War and Peace but then a huge yawn split her face and she put it down again. It was no good. She couldn’t read. As she turned to put it away in her rucksack her eyes fell on the man.

He sat in the corner seat lost in a book. Or so it seemed. And …. he was wearing glares. Glares! For goodness sake! Who wear glares inside airports, thought Sana. Other than rock-stars or film-stars. But despite his stubbled, manly good looks, he was neither. For one, he was bereft of the entourage that’s the norm with every famous personality and two because he slouched in the most unbecoming manner. No self-respecting celebrity would be caught dead sitting like that. He sat there – his shoulders slumped, his back bent, lost in the book.

And then that red apple leapt at her from the cover. Sana sat up bolt upright. She looked, and she looked again, she stared till she was very sure. Yeah it was Twilight! Which man in his right mind read Twilight? Which person in his right mind read Twilight? thought she, rather derisively. Unless they were giggly headed teenage girls. And Mr Glares here definitely wasn’t one. To Sana’s mind the book sat rather incongruously in his hands.

One really gets to the most unusual sights at airports, thought she.

From behind his glares Samir stared on unseeingly, fingering the tiny heart doodled at the corner of book – the last one his 15 year old sister would ever read.

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Written for the prompt ‘The Fault in our Stares’

barathon

 

 

Go Read a Book

Read a book

As I pack a gift for your friend’s birthday I hear you groan, “A book, again?” I hear it, though you think you’re being discreet, trying to spare my feelings. And yes, it’s going to be a book every time.

When you come to me and say. ‘I’m bored,’ I know you have your eye on the iPad. But all I say is, ‘Go read a book’.

When I start a book club I know you come for your friends (and for the cupcakes!) but I go ahead anyway. I invite your friends, I get the cup cakes and I pick out stories – of thrill and adventure, of children like you. And as we craft and play and eat and talk I quietly squeeze in Gaiman and Rowling.

I do it because I once made a promise.

Years ago, when I was a child like you, I had a somewhat drab existence. Until one day I fell in love – deeply irrevocably. This love of mine swept away the dreariness. It opened up a canvas wide and colourful and so very cheerful. It made me new friends – toys that could talk and little pixies, a Polish boy and a German girl, a mighty magician and a young ballerina – I shared their stories – their joys, their sorrows.

I had fallen in love with the written word.

Then one day, wonder of wonders, I found I could create a world of my own, my own colours and my own friends. And that filled me with such great joy. I was a creator, a little like God!

I had learnt to make up my own stories.

That is when I made that promise: that I’d never stop trying to share my love, that I’d help it touch each life it could, I’d help it help each one get wings and I’d help it make many little gods.

That’s a promise I’ll always keep and so I’ll try to get you to read.

I’ll push and I’ll wheedle, I’ll tempt and I’ll tease. And it’s not going to stop till you open a book, till you begin to read.

It’s the  very last day of the # BarAThon Challenge from 1st to 7th August 2016.
The prompt for today is ‘Promise’.
I am with Team #CrimsonRush

BAR-A-THON

 

 

Tweaking the tales

heart.jpgIf I had a wish to wish for me
I’d go on quite a wishing spree.
I’d ask to get into my favourite tales
Just to make sure they stick to the rails.
A little tweak here, a gentle twist there
And I’d save people from much despair.

When I’d see Romeo at Juliet’s grave
I’d jump right there in time for a save.
And “Thus with a kiss I die” as he says
And to his lips the poison raise,
Stop! Will you! She’s alive, I’d cry
There really is no need for you to die.

And when Darcy’s making his darned proposal
The one that earned Lizzy’s disapproval.
Tread here with plenty of care, I’d advise him
For goodness sake don’t be condescending.
Let your heart talk, the one that loves her
Lose your pride, that really bugs her.

When Scarlett is abandoned by Rhett all alone
I’d tell her he’d be back, he wasn’t all gone.
And while I’m there I’d give her a shake –
It’s him you love though he might be a rake.
Look carefully, will you open your eyes?
it was never Ashley, it’s Rhett who’s your prize .

Perhaps I’d drop by Jeeves for a chat
I’d tell him all my tales and hope for a pat.
He’d give his wise head a supercilious shake
Unimpressed he’d say, ‘That’s a piece of cake’.
Don’t want to spoil your congratulatory party
But I’ve been doing this for years for Bertie.

That’s true of course, his case he does rest,
As a setter-righter of things he’s the best.
All along this time that’s exactly what I’ve wished for
I want to be Jeeves to my favourite characters.

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

It’s Day 6 of the #BarAThon Challenge from 1st to 7th August 2016.
The prompt for today is ‘Wishful Thinking’.

I am with Team #CrimsonRush

BAR-A-THON

Also linking to  Mackenzie at Reflections from Me

The teacher

slice of life fiction

The Teacher

Sangita’s eyes drooped. Who ever said sleep deserts the old, she thought to herself, as she struggled to keep her eyes open. There was a time she could stay awake well past midnight, waiting for her husband to get home from his shift at the steel foundry. But now, come 10 o clock and she was asleep already.

Nani ma you need to pay ATTENTION!” Pia’s plaintive cry snapped her eyes open. This little granddaughter of hers – what a delight she was and how determined, just like her mom… and like me too. She smiled to herself. Oh the wars she had fought with Pia’s mom! There was the great tattoo fight and the late night curfew battles…..

Nani ma you are dreaming again.” Ah Pia..

“Come on. Hold the pencil like this and copy that first letter once more. Remember I told you it stands for the sss sound in your name? And that dot on top – that’s for the nnn.”

“Just three letters Nani ma and then you can sign your name,” enthused Pia, “Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Then you can learn to read. You can read up new stories to tell me.”

Sangita looked indulgently at the eager face staring up at her. She adjusted her glasses. She had been trying but those squiggly letters refused to make sense.
“I am too old for this, darling,’ she said with a sigh.
“But you say one is never too old to learn new things. You don’t know what you’re missing. Come on, take the pencil and try again, please,” begged her granddaughter.

She couldn’t say no to the fervent entreaty in the those honey brown eyes. Struggling to put herself in Pia’s tiny shoes, to feel at least some of her enthusiasm, Sangita wrapped her bent old fingers awkwardly around the pencil and began to write.

It’s Day 5 of the #BarAThon Challenge from 1st to 7th August 2016.
The prompt for today is ‘Tiny Shoes’.

I am with Team #CrimsonRush

BAR-A-THON

Fragile Lives

Beat About The Book - fiction

thoughts

It’s crowded in here. The good and bad, small and big, beautiful and ugly, jostle for attention, clamouring for life. Fragile lives, all. His attention means life, his disregard is oblivion, death. I am but a tiny germ, too weak to move – frail, nebulous – a beginning maybe, but nothing just yet. How is he is ever going to notice me?

I wait..

I dream.

Somedays I feel full of possibilities. I can grow up to be anything. A powerful king, a shy little boy, a drifting vagrant, a wily old woman.

Somedays I grow tired of this existence – this half existence. Am I destined to die before I’m born? Will my time ever come? Will he ever know I’m here… waiting? For in his knowledge lies my life.

And I wait..

One summer day as the yellow sun shines, I feel a surge of blood through my veins, red-hot blood. He sees me! It’s here, my time is here. I take a deep breath and I grow with his consciousness. I am growing …… taller, stronger.

He smiles at me. I fill his thoughts, taking shape and form. All others are now mere dwarfs before me. Then I’m walking, running, flying. He gives me wings. And I’m slipping out of my home, into a new world. A world he builds for me.

He is in falling in love with me. The knowledge makes me powerful. I give a triumphant laugh as I take charge. No longer fragile, I drive him now. He forgets to eat and to drink. He loses track of time. He sits lost to the world, consumed by me.

Is it days or months? Or has a year gone by? He does not know.

He looks up one day. “It’s done”, says he, “My book is done”.

That’s me, that fragile thought in his head. I am his book!

 

Day 3 of the #BarAThon Challenge from 1st to 7th August 2016.
The prompt for today is ‘Fragile Lives’.

I am with Team #CrimsonRush

BAR-A-THON