What a wonderful life

“Happy New Year!!” they shouted in unison.
“Happy New Year!” she smiled back weakly, still groggy from sleep.
Once fully awake, she grinned widely. It was that time of the year when she was most happy. Well, not most. She was most happy on her birthday. There were more presents then! Nevertheless, these words spoken, no, shouted every year always filled her heart with love.

“So Margaret dear, what is your topmost resolution for this year?” Diana asked, plopping herself on the bed beside her as Tom walked over to Margaret’s side.
“Umm… I’m not sure mom… Couple of things?”
“Well, good! What are they?”
Margaret began excitedly.
“I want to study the stars. Apparently, they are the most brilliant objects in the universe. Then, I want to learn maps, so I never get lost.”
“That’s a great plan,” Tom remarked.
“Thanks, dad. I wonder though, how I will keep track of all these classes. I am already in the music and abacus classes. I could get overwhelmed you know.” replied Margaret.
Tom laughed aloud.
“No, you won’t! Of course, you’ll manage it all and very well at that. But we did think you might like a little something to keep you company? That’s why we bought this for you.”

“What is it?” Margaret immediately reached out her arms like any ten-year-old would.
She grabbed at it and felt the hard corners of the pocketbook. Hurriedly she opened it and felt its pages. There was no mistaking it.
“A diary! Oh, I love it… Thank you so much, dad!”
“You are very welcome dear,” said Tom as he bent down to hug his blind daughter.

He felt content and at peace. Life can be so wonderful sometimes.


Flash fiction in response to Weekend Writing Prompt hosted by the lovely Sammi Cox.

This week’s prompt: Write a story inspired by the making – or breaking – of a New Year’s resolution.

When you stumble

“How could they have been so mean?”

“Good and bad do exist you know. Life can’t be all good. Sometimes you need to stumble on the bad. Someone, surely wise, has said ‘When you stumble, make it part of the dance’. And you dance! Have you ever learned to dance without an initial stumble? Take this experience as that first stumble.”


Microfiction in response to MicroMondays hosted by Varad.

This week’s prompt: “Good and Bad do exist.”

Word count: 61

Find other entries here.

 

Love all

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As she walked through the streets to the city center, countless more people joined her, silently. Many were holding candles, including her father, whose hand she was holding.

On reaching, she climbed the stage and raised her hand-drawn placard proclaiming “Love”. The gathering clapped.

She spoke. “Today I am ten years old. It was also on this day a year back that I became a cripple. As a lone survivor, many say I am a miracle… I am not sure of that. What I am sure of though, is that if I am walking here today, it is because of the love that you have all shown me; your letters and cards. Thank you so much…. On my last birthday, I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grow up. Today though, I know. I want to grow up to be a policewoman; be able to protect people from dying and losing their limbs in terror attacks. I want to protect all, who like you, are wonderful, loving people.”


Flash fiction in response to FFfAW hosted by Priceless Joy.

The hollow

Some primal instinct of survival must have surged through my body. There is no other explanation for how I could have run so far into the woods.

I could be dead. I will be dead if caught. Run!!!

This singular thought electrified my exhausted legs.

I glanced back when I thought I had lost them. In that moment of folly, the entire world came crashing in a heap of green and blue and brown. I tripped over a tree root and fell on my face.

Fear overwhelmed me. Trembling, I struggled to get up. That’s when it caught my eye – that wide gaping hollow at the base of the guilty tree; strangely dark.

The sound of approaching footsteps spurred me to dive into the hollow. Refusing to breathe, I inched forward to flatten myself against its inside wall. On reaching it, I let out an involuntary yelp; the wall was ice cold, in the middle of the tropical forest.

I panicked. Surely they had heard me now! Confused and desperate, I searched for any means of escape. That’s when I saw the mark of a human palm on the wall. Would it open, if I touched it? With no time to decide, I had no choice. I couldn’t imagine anything worse than a violent death. I placed my hand on the wall.

I have been here ever since. Over the years, I have often looked back at that moment of desperation. Every single time, I regret placing my hand.


Flash fiction in response to Weekend Writing prompt hosted by the lovely Sammi Cox. Thank you so much, Sammi! This week’s prose challenge.

Write a story with a maximum word count of 250 words that tells the story of a character or group of characters who discover a secret doorway.  Your story must include the following elements:

  • a description of the secret doorway
  • an explanation of how the doorway was discovered
  • a firm decision to either go through the doorway or not

The circle of life

That evening was the first time in 15 days that Jayanthi and Anisha were at home – alone. All the funeral rites had been completed. All the relatives had returned.

Anisha, resting her head on her mother’s lap, was crying softly.

“Come now. Don’t cry.” cajoled Jayanthi.

“I miss daddy, mom.”

“I know you do… It’ll be alright. You’ll see.”

“That’s what everyone keeps saying. It’s not alright. Daddy is no more. It shivers just to utter that mom.”

“Sshhh…. It’s ok dear. Calm down.”

“Life seems so meaningless without him… To top it all, now I have to run the company too! What will I do without him, mom? I am terrified.”

“Don’t be dear. You have been running the company for a few years now; your father was just guiding you from here. You understand the business more than anybody else. Your father was always so confident in you. Besides, you will not be alone. There are so many trusted people in the company who will help you. You know that.”

“Oh… I don’t know. I wish he was here.”

Anisha spoke again after a few moments silence.

“Mom. Will you be ok? If I go back? You know the business needs me in Delhi… Why don’t you come with me?”

Jayanthi hesitated.

“I… This is all just so sudden. I … don’t know… Can we discuss this some other time?”

“Oh..Ok. Sure,”

That time arrived a few days later when Anisha realized she would have to leave shortly.

“Mom… Did you, by any chance, think about what we discussed?”

Jayanthi visibly tensed.

“Mom. I know this is hard. I get it. Just talk to me.”

“Anisha dear. What I am going to say might shock you. But…”

Anisha’s heart clenched – what was life throwing at her now?

“What is it?” she asked cautiously.

“I… I will not be coming with you to Delhi. I will not be staying here either. I will be going back to my village.”

Village?” Anisha was shocked. “What village? I thought you were from here.”

“I spent my entire married life here. That’s true. But I am not from here.”

“Mom. I don’t understand.”

Jayanthi took a deep breath, recollecting the talk she had rehearsed a hundred times. She was not prepared.

“What do you know about my parents?” She asked slowly.

“Your parents? Only what you have told me – that they died when you were about 20, before you got married.”

“They are probably dead. I wouldn’t know” Jayanthi drew a long breath. “I ran away from home, from my village when I was little… I don’t even remember why.”

“What?” Anisha lost her words.

“Yes, I did… A young girl on the streets experiences unspeakable terrors… I can only call it God’s kindness that I somehow landed up in a children’s home. I found a new life and became a nurse… You have probably figured out the rest of the story. I came to this house as a nurse – for your grandfather who was very sick at the time. I don’t know if he really liked me or felt that he was running out of time. But one day, he called your father by his side, pointed to me and said ‘She will be your wife’… Your grandfather had a heart of gold. But then without realizing, he had done his son a grave injustice.”

“What do you mean?”

“Your father didn’t like me. Never did throughout his life.”

“What?” Anisha was shocked.

“It’s true. He never told me if he liked someone else. But for sure, he didn’t want me.”

“Oh!”

“He lived with me only to protect the family’s honor… I believe he was truly happy only after you were born. You were the only happiness in his life. In mine too.”

“Why didn’t you tell me about this earlier mom?”

“I couldn’t. Your father had prohibited me. Nobody could know that I had run away.”

“Then why are you telling this to me now?”

“So that you can understand when I tell you why I need to go back… Even though my parents may not be alive, perhaps their way of life is. Maybe the house I was born in is still there… God has been very kind to me. Now, it is time for me to give back. I want to go to my village and do everything in my capacity to make myself useful. I owe it to myself. I owe it to my parents.”



The stranger

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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.

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).

 

Legacy

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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

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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.