Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Boat Festival – A short story

The village of Mayilakam and the areas around it, baked in the hot summer sun. The Earth was dry and the small river that flowed through the village had very little water left.

The people of Mayilakam were farmers and depended on the timely arrival of the Monsoon rain for their livelihood.

The rains brought joy, prosperity and  much-needed respite from the sweltering heat. The villagers marked the onset of the Monsoon season with a unique festival called the Boat Festival.

The local meterology department had predicted that the Monsoon would set in a week’s time.

The boat festival was celebrated on the third day after the rains started. The  river actually flowed through the village, through the backyards of all the homes, which stood on either side of the river.
During the rainy season, the water nearly came up to their back doors.

That year when the rains started, the villagers got busy with preparations for the boat festival.

The villagers made paper boats of different colours and shapes. They had become masters of this craft. Even children were quite adept at making these boats.

While the boats were being made, the village band was readying itself to play on the day of the festival.

The other and most important specialty of this festival was that inside each boat was a small pocket, where messages could be placed. The message was written on a piece of paper, folded, with the addressee’s name on top, put into a small plastic pouch and tucked into the boat.

The philosophy behind this practice was that all of them, who lived as a community, and who depended on rain water, welcomed the water and sent their boats down the river, where another group usually waited to pick up the boats and remove the message packets. The messages were sent to apologize to others, to profess love, to share love, to brighten up someone’s day.

Again, there were boats made up of black paper with messages that contained the bad qualities people wanted to change in themselves. These boats were allowed to float away, symbolically purging away the villagers’ negative qualities.

The whole village was happy, as the rain lashed and the boats floated down merrily.

As the band played, the messages were given out – two young women smiled shyly as they had received proposals from eligible young men; two brothers, who hadn’t spoken to each other in a year, hugged each other in remorse, a child who had lost her parents was adopted, the richest man in the village had gifted the village school its own computer center.

They danced, drenched in the rain, united in that moment of collective happiness, where they let go, and felt lighter in spirit, ready to take on another year of hard work on their land.

What’s really important?

This afternoon, after a crazily busy month, I finally got some free time. I lazily flipped through the hundreds of TV channels that never seem to stop churning out programs.

I finally decided to watch a movie. The channel I watched was playing a blockbuster Bollywood film from the eighties. And this movie triggered memories about an incident that happened during my childhood.

In the small town, where I grew up, we had a club house that screened movies, every weekend, for its members.

Our slot was on Saturday evenings at 5.30 p.m. The movies screened were usually blockbusters or those that had won critical acclaim. So, Saturday evenings were quite exciting.

On one such Saturday, my sisters and I were on pins to watch the movie being screened, as it had been released just a few weeks ago, and was a huge hit at the box office.

We were ready from 3.30 p.m.,waiting for my parents to finish their chores, and get ready. At around 4.15 p.m., the door bell chimed.

We had visitors. Two of my grandma’s friends had decided to pay grandma, and all of us, a surprise visit.

Those were the days, when social networking was actually done in person! So people just dropped in unannounced, and were welcomed with joy and fanfare.

My grandma was visibly excited. So were my parents.

I also have to tell you that my grandma & mom were life members of the ‘Whoever visits our home will not leave without a heavy meal’ Club.

So, as my grandma caught up with her buddies, the aroma of filter coffee, masala dosa, and rava kesari, wafted in the air.

My sisters and I were really down. The movie….? The clock was merrily ticking away, fast approaching 5 p.m. The club house was a 7 minute walk or a 4 minute run, so there was still some hope.

We were in our room, feeling sorry and worried. At 5.10, we quietly slipped into the kitchen to ask mom if we could leave, as grandma could keep her friends engaged till we came back.

I will never forget what my mom told us. Our ears rang as we slunk back to our room.

She said, “There are some things in life that are very important. Whenever guests come home, they take precedence over everything else. Our priority is to be good hosts and feed them well. This movie that you want to see, will be there forever. When you grow old, or retire, you can sit and watch it anytime. Now, go to your room and play a board game, I will bring something for you to eat.”

That was an important lesson. The simple joys of being with loving friends, and all the camaraderie that goes with it.

At that point in time, my sisters and I moped and sulked; Mom’s lesson totally lost in our sorrow.

But what an important lesson!

We never got to watch that movie after that, but funnily, this is the very same movie that I watched this afternoon, just as my mom predicted – when I had all the time.

The Toothless Granny – A Short Story

The village of Marakad was far away from any town or city, comprising a small community of farmers who grew rice. Life went by at a pace dictated by the planting season and the harvest season. The people of the village were a happy lot.

In this village there lived a granny – who was in her late nineties – its oldest living member.

She lived with her sons, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

The village folk called her ‘The Toothless Granny’.

After her retirement from active life, she took on the role of investigator and village observer.

No incident, however small escaped her hawk-like eyes. She sat on the open verandah, anytime after 9 am in the morning, after a breakfast of rice porridge.

She sat with her legs stretched out and her back against the wall for support.

She had a small iron cup with a small pounding rod, in which she pounded cloves and cardamoms that she chewed throughout the day. The metal rod’s ‘ting ting’ sound alerted the village to her presence.

She stopped women, who were on their way to the market, asked about their shopping, gave liberal advice to squabbling neighbours, took away and hid the cricket ball that hit her once, when the boys played cricket, played with babies and sang songs to them in her cackling voice.

She ruled her family with a constant barrage of words, had a comment for anything and nothing, and from her vantage point, lived the lives and experiences of almost everybody in the village.

Her family put up with her various moods and chatter, the villagers tried to avoid her, but sometimes she sent word for them, and they came, if only out of respect for her age.

She took care of her health and appearance, and pulled up young ladies for their sloppy dressing. She was a matchmaker and a walking almanac of prospective brides and grooms within a 10 km radius of their village. Such a personality was she!

As with everything else, change came to the village. The village had suddenly become quiet. For the first few days, nobody realized it, then people started wondering. Then they heard that The Toothless Granny was unwell, and ailing with a bad chest congestion.

People dropped by at all hours to visit her and they could not bear to see her, so frail and quiet. They prayed for her recovery. Somehow the village had lost its charm, without their granny to chide them, scold them and watch them.

Somehow the key to the soul of the village’s happiness seem to lie with The Toothless Granny.

Ten long days went by, and then one morning the villagers heard the most joyous ‘ting’ of the granny pounding her mouth fresheners for the day.

People queued up to talk to her about the mundanities of their lives, their petty squabbles and everything else.

The village was alive once more.

The No Strings Attached Award

I would like to thank Hyperion Sturm for this nomination. It means a lot to me, as I take every nomination as a happy sign that someone has taken the time to read my blogs and appreciate them. Thank you once again!

I totally enjoy Hyperion Sturm’s blog, especially the Return of the Dragons. Please do go and check out this blog.

The No Strings Attached Award, is just that. It comes with no rules or requirements to do anything. You can post it or not, it’s your choice.

 

no-strings

The No Strings Attached Award was designed on Alfreds Almanac using input from his readers. You can check out his original post by clicking –>HERE<–   A website was set up just for people to retrieve the award and to get information. You can see that page by clicking –>HERE<–

This Award is given by one blogger to another because they like that person’s blog and want to recognize them for it.

I would like to nominate the following bloggers for this award, as I love reading their blogs and look forward to reading more.

andrewsviewoftheweek.com

esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com

hushlola.wordpress.com

johnpoetflanagan.com

rellickswritings.co

kateloveton.wordpress.com

arpitaapramanick.wordpress.com

simpleheadgirl.wordpress.com

Lots of love,

Nimi

THE PREMIO DARDOS AWARD

Dear friends,

I would like to thank 4 Year Old Adult for nominating me for ‘THE PREMIO DARDOS AWARD’.  I am truly touched by this nomination, simply because it means a lot to me that you have taken the time to read my blog and appreciate it.  Thank you once again.

Please do go check out 4 Year Old Adult’s blog, especially the poems, I enjoy reading each and every one of them.

The Premio Dardos Award exists to acknowledge the values that every blogger shows in their effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values every day. These stamps were created with the intention of promoting fraternization between bloggers, a way of showing affection and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web.

 

Premio Dardos2

Here are the rules for this award!

1) Accept the award by posting it on your blog along with the name of the person that has granted the award and a link to his or her blog.

2) Include the image of the “Premios Dardos” in the post.

3) Pass the award to another 15 blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgement.

I would like to nominate the following 15 bloggers for this award.  Some of you may have a No Award Policy, however, this is to let you know that I truly love reading your blogs and look forward to reading more…!

animateurlife.wordpress.com

art2peace.wordpress.com

ashiakira.wordpress.com

erikakind.wordpress.com

doctorly.wordpress.com

blackandwrite.net

butismileanyway.wordpress.com

eddietwohawks.wordpress.com

fiddlbarb.wordpress.com

tombalistreri.wordpress.com

krivashist.wordpress.com

rockandrollsupermom.wordpress.com

hyperionsturm.wordpress.com

adivir.wordpress.com

maverickmist.wordpress.com

Lots of love,

Nimi

Twilight Walk – A Short Story

Fiona had to run across M.G.Road, and walk about 300 m to drop off a set of documents to another office, and get back to her workplace to wind down for the day.

She grabbed her handbag, took the folder containing the documents, and left the building.

The Sun had already set and most office-goers were heading home, some in a rush, some strolling, others busy on their phones.

Hundreds of crows were cawing raucously in the twilight, catching up on the day’s gossip. Fiona smiled to herself, as she imagined what the crows would say to each other.

Traffic was heavy on MG Road and it took her sometime to cross. She quickened her pace. She walked down 1st Cross, took the second left, went into the office, dropped off the folder and headed back.

She badly wanted to have a cold drink. The humidity was stifling. As she walked back, there was a stretch of road where the street lights were not working. As she looked up to see the lamp post, she was grabbed from the back and forced against a wall.

A masked face pointed a knife at her neck and asked for her handbag. Fear paralysed her, as the handbag was snatched, and she felt darkness engulf her. She felt herself going limp as her legs gave way. She felt that these were her last moments. After that nothing.

When she came to, she felt water drops on her face. She could hear many voices, indignant, worried and lots of murmuring.

She opened her eyes and looked into ten or twelve pairs of eyes. They helped her to her feet and asked her what had happened.

She was too tired to talk and told them that she was okay and that she could manage. One of the women offered to drive her back. Fiona declined and said she could easily walk back.

Another man said he would walk her down to the office, just to ensure she reached safely. She agreed.

She thanked everyone for their concern and started walking towards the office.
The man made polite conversation. He looked like a banker or sales guy, well dressed, and she noticed he wore branded glasses. Smart, she thought.

The office building was fast emptying, as they reached the lift. He smiled.

She smiled and said, “I can manage from here, thank you so very much.”

He said, “No trouble at all. I will see you up.”

She did not want to be rude, and they got into the lift.

The door closed. And then he caught hold of her neck and pushed her against the lift wall.

“You silly woman, there was nothing in your handbag, except trivia, no money, no smartphone, nothing”, he said.

Her eyes widened in terror.

“I will not go back empty handed”, he said.

He snatched the thin gold chain she wore around her neck, yanked it off, pressed the lift for the next floor and disappeared into the night.

She then remembered that her wallet was in her laptop bag along with her phone. She rubbed her neck, which now had an angry red line.

What a day it had been! Phew!

On my guard

So, my left ankle is slowly getting better and I am able to walk around, albeit with a pronounced limp. After my fall, my knee seems to have a problem with the ankle’s movement and for the last few days, I have had to wear a knee guard to keep the knee from buckling.

Both my children have been so very very helpful over the last ten days, making cards, running errands, spending time with me and generally giving me oodles of love.

They are quite relieved that I am mobile now.

Yesterday, when my son got back from school, he heard me talking on the phone with a friend, who had called to enquire about my leg. I mentioned to her that I was wearing a knee guard.

After the call, my son asked me if I was really wearing a knee guard and if yes,   could he see it?

I told him I was wearing a knee guard, but that it would be difficult to show it to him, as the jeans could not move up till my knee.

Strangely though, he persisted and wouldn’t let go.  I finally showed it to him.

“Phew! he said.

“What?” I asked.

Pat came the reply, “I thought you had borrowed my sports knee guards, and I was worried about how I would attend my training this week.”

I laughed out aloud and assured him that these were my own.

Really, the things that kids worry about!