The stranger

old-shoes-cobwebs
PHOTO PROMPT © Sarah Potter

Dying alone is the worst curse. He had been dead for three days before I realized I hadn’t seen him. We had hardly known each other. Just a nod of the head as I passed his home. But still, I felt miserable. I had to do something for him. So what if he was dead?

I decided to help clean his apartment. The little there was enough to tell me that he liked flowers and the color red; collected chopsticks. I also found a pair of old, cobwebbed shoes. That meant, he wasn’t born a cripple… I wonder, what happened?

Word count: 100


Flash fiction in response to Friday Fictioneers hosted by the lovely Rochelle Wisoff.

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Honesty is the best policy

I stared at the letter; read it again. Was this really happening? Was this happening now? I stumbled back and plopped down on the wet floor; broken. I had known something was wrong when she hadn’t answered my calls all day. That’s why I had hurried back as early as I could. But then, I was still not early enough. She had left me; leaving my home, my life, completely dark.

Where had she gone? How could I find her? I had to find her; to tell her the truth; to tell her how much I love her; tell her how mistaken she is; tell her that I had made a terrible mistake and she would be my redemption.

I raced through all the places she could be and came to conclusion. She wouldn’t be in any of those places. I simply knew it. Suddenly, I went entirely limp, like all my vitality had been flushed down the drain in front of me. I sat there and cursed my luck. The best day of my life had stormed by and shredded it into pieces.

The day had started off much earlier than usual. Boss had wanted me to sweep and scrub the entire office sparkling clean before the special visit. It was not an unusual request and I obliged as usual. It meant I could get overtime money.

Bone tired after doing housework in 4 places, Nammu had still woken up at 4 to pack my lunch box. We never ate food outside. It was simply too expensive. It was an indulgence reserved for special times…

I remembered how she had stood there and waved to me from the front door of our tiny home, as she did every day. That morning smile had always been my only defense; the shield that I would carry all day long.

It was too early for the bus station to be crowded. Perhaps, that is why I noticed the bag. It looked like a child’s bag and I was immediately worried that some kid would be looking for it. I went up to it and opened it, hoping to find a name or address.

But what I found left me breathless. I had never seen so much money in my life. Trembling, I sat down next to the bag, unsure of what to do. I knew the right thing was to give up the money to the police. In all these years as a sweeper, it had been never hard to do the right thing. I had come across gold jewelry, phones, wallets and what not. Never had I even touched those. That day, however, my integrity broke. It was simply too much money. At first, I had been ashamed to even consider taking the money. But then, I convinced myself that if someone had been carrying so much money in a kid’s bag, they were not good people. They were trying to hide, to get away. Such people deserve to be double-crossed. I was not bad. I had only looked at the bag to help a child and I was only getting rewarded for my good intentions.

I carried the bag back home. Nammu had already left for work. There are not many hiding places in a poor man’s home; so I hid the money in the bathroom and started for work. I wasn’t going to do anything suspicious. I had decided to tell Nammu in the evening after work. God knows how she would have reacted over the phone.

And what a terrible, terrible mistake that had been! Two selfish decisions had landed me here, on the bathroom floor, weeping into her letter.

“You cheat! All these years you let me wallow in poverty. You never let me have even 100 bucks for anything. But you have been secretly hoarding all this money without telling me even a single word. How could you, you liar? How long has this been going on?

But then, I don’t care. I don’t want to live with a cheat. Don’t try to find me. You and your money can live happily with each other.”

I stood up, making up my mind. If selfishness had destroyed me, perhaps honesty can resurrect? I took the money to the police station. I also lodged a missing person complaint.



Pendulum

Sand of today is the mountain of yesterday,
Mountain of today is the earth of yesterday.
River of today is the rain of yesterday,
Rain of today is the ocean of yesterday.

Success of today is the failure of yesterday,
Failure of today is the success of yesterday.
Circling between destinies, people stuck in orbits,
With no escape or respite, from its dizzying flow.

Free from this pendulum, are those lucky few,
Who realize, rain, river, and ocean, are only water.
Success and failure, are but labels they were given,
They are and always remain, persistently humane.

 

 

The longest journey

benches

It had been the longest journey. I fell onto the bench next to me, exhausted; but only for a few moments. It had been ages since we met, but now that I had finally escaped my world, the urgency to meet him increased with every moment.

I got up and glided along as fast as I could over the green grass, unfeeling it. The gray skies poured down all around me trying to blur my vision. But I continued, relentless, till I reached his threshold. I hesitated. Would he recognize me? I had nothing on me; not even my body.

Word count: 100


Flash fiction in response to Weekend writing prompt hosted by the lovely Sammi Cox. This week’s word prompt: Resting

Prose Challenge – Write a story in 100 words that includes three elements from the photo prompt (e.g. bench, pylon and trees, or grass, sky and bench, etc).

 

Once upon a time

hearty-breadOnce upon a time, there was a king who was kind and loved by the people of his kingdom. As a result, he also had many enemies. They hatched a plan to poison his food.

The wise king came to know about such plans and solicited the help of an ancient sage; who cast a timeless spell.

“All food would bear the mark of all the people who handled it. Hearts would appear when cooked with love; darkness otherwise.”

The king thereafter only consumed food cooked with love. He continued his service to his people until the ripe old age of 150.

PHOTO PROMPT © Kelvin M. Knight

Word Count: 101


Flash fiction in response to Friday Fictioneers hosted by the lovely Rochelle Wisoff.

Legacy

photo-20170911154817820

Photo courtesy: shivamt25

Being a newcomer in an unknown household is never easy. Of course, I had been scared of my father-in-law before my wedding. I never knew what kind of a man he would be. I had decided to stay quiet and be obedient. Being scared and wise was better than being bold and stupid.

Soon, I realized that all my fears had been entirely misplaced. A widower, he was a gentle soul who mostly kept to himself. After finishing his daily chores, he would retire into his tiny room to read and emerge only to tend to his beloved plants. He nurtured them with the utmost tenderness – watering them, loosening their earth and applying manure. They seemed to share a unique bond, each responding to the other’s love.

His colorful garden, his cherished legacy, is still blooming though he is no more now… I can truly say that my father-in-law has been the silent rock in my life, always standing by me, keeping me rooted and peaceful. I miss him.

Word Count: 169


Flas fiction in response to FFfAW hosted by Priceless Joy.

Legends

“Isn’t there just one thing you can do right? How can you forget to pay the bill when you know today is the last day?” she would say, making no effort to hide her anger.

“I am sorry Ma” I would reply meekly.

“This isn’t the first time, is it? When will you ever learn?”

Silence.

“Every time I ask you to do something, you somehow manage to mess it up…. I don’t understand what more I can do.  I try and try so hard to make you a man your father would have been proud of. But it is just one grand failure after another.”

I would try to make myself disappear; compress my shape into the smallest space. Hoping, that perhaps then, that unforgiving gaze would miss me. But it never did.

“Don’t just stand there all dumb! It is the most useless thing to do” she would say in disgust.

I would hasten my retreat into my room; the small sanctuary where I could sit still with a restless mind that ran in circles about how absolutely worthless I was.

This was the shape of my life – an endless spiral of events that reinforced how embarrassingly inadequate I was. I wasn’t my father. That meant whatever I did, I did wrong and was solely responsible for the sum total of my mother’s misery. “Why can’t you be more like your father?” would have made a single line memoir of my entire life. And what did it mean to be my father – to be a man of highest morals, infinite patience, unsurpassed kindness, quick intelligence, great generosity and piety that can only be experienced.  A person so accomplished, that the events of his life were legends. Legends that had a way of sneaking in, unbidden. They would crop up in every bed time story, in every scolding, in every shared moment, in every casual comment. They would surround me with a voice so loud that they completely filled my reality. My own words had no chance, they simply drowned.

I did try my best to be more like the man I had never met; he was dead before I was even born. But then, it was an impossible ask.  You can only pray to a God, not want to be one. Eventually, I was tired of my futile attempts at greatness and settled for the mediocrity that I was destined to excel at. The only skill I managed to acquire was to navigate the forest of my father’s legends without being broken – for 18 years.

College happened and I started living by myself for the first time. Finally, my voice, though feeble, got a chance to be heard – by me. It taught me the overarching lesson that all the legends of my childhood could not – that most legends are never entirely true. It taught me that no doubt, my father was a good man. But he was still a man – like me. It made me understand who I wanted to be as opposed to who I was supposed to be. It made me drop out of college and do my own thing. I have been at it ever since.

Today, I am free – from the legends and from the bitterness. I have come to realize that the legends of the God man were just castles in which my mother lived, buttressed against reality and loneliness. She needed them for her own sanity. She was incapable of seeing how those walls imprisoned me.

Today, I am also an orphan. An orphan, who yearns to be imprisoned in those walls again.


Passing through

Time passes through spaces,

Leaving behind history, itself remaining young.

History passes through minds,

Creating and shaping opinions, itself ever morphing.

Opinion passes through actions,

Building an imagined reality, itself getting ever stronger.

Reality passes through life,

Constraining and stifling it, itself being an illusion.

 

The seeds

abundance

At the beginning, God gave Humans an assortment of seeds and said, “What you sow, you reap”. Humans began to sow seeds of intolerance and distrust and reaped bumper crops of hatred. Every person consumed the brews of the addictive crop and turned God’s loving creation into hell’s outpost.

Tired of man’s folly, HE then said “How you sow, you reap” and handed them just one type of seed that no one had seen before. Everyone sowed the seeds and hoped it would turn out to be a crop of their liking. They sowed with desire, with doubt, with prayers. But no one reaped anything – except for one. She had sowed the seeds with acceptance and knew that she would love the harvest no matter what as it was a God given gift. She raised crops of love in abundance. It was the only one that sustained life thereon.

Word Count: 149


Flash fiction in response to Weekend writing Challenge hosted by the lovely Sammi Cox.

The challenge “Write a story that focuses on a quality that you think the world could do with in abundance.  Word limit: 150 words”

 

 

Welcome to our world

tltweek84

photo by Niv Rozenberg via Unsplash

We may not be normal like you – no homes, no day jobs, no restaurants on weekends. We are just your average gypsies – wanderers at heart, dreamers by choice. We take shelter under canvas roofs raised on wheels, live under the sky and its fireworks, get drunk on the morning dew as we make our way to nowhere.


Microfiction in response to Three Line Tales hosted by Sonya.

Silence 

Words are just tools

that others use.

For they forgot

to use their eyes.

 

Our story though, is written

between the lines of silence.

You know what I think,

I know what you feel.

 

The cold silence of strife,

The content silence of peace,

We have seen all in this life,

Except for that final one.

 

 

Who would be first between us,

to ride that boat into

the Eternal silence

I do not know.

 

But I do know that

we will follow

each other’s steps.

Silently as always.


Have you observed some old couples? They sit beside each other, perfectly content and perfectly silent. Perhaps there is nothing left to tell. But I believe, it is because they don’t need to tell. They just know. And they feel loved, content and so peaceful. This poem was inspired by such couples. If I may be audacious, I would also like to dedicate it to them.

 

Hide and seek

danny-boweman-1

PHOTO PROMPT © Danny Bowman

The sun set, after a journey that had started with mine. Apparently the sun, as my love, decided to play hide and seek with me, hiding behind those hills. The sun would return tomorrow. What about her?

“You? Here? How did you find this place?” she uttered through shock.
“I can’t lose you”
“I… can’t come back.”
“Hiding in the middle of nowhere doesn’t change anything, Asha. Yes, we lost everything. But it was our doing, not yours. There are always second chances for those who believe. Stop punishing yourself like this!”

Asha’s tears drenched the parched land. I entered.

Word count: 100


Flash Fiction in response to Friday Fictioneers hosted by the lovely Rochelle Wisoff.