Mother


Hands that snip craft paper for that school project, hands that patiently wipe away silver tears, hands that hug you to her bosom, hands that snatch you away from danger, hands that cook the tastiest meals, hands that sew buttons, hands that hold yours to say ‘don’t worry’, hands that ruffle your hair, hands that clap for joy, hands that are callused from hard work, hands that write encouraging letters…HER HANDS

Legs that walk tirelessly about the house, legs that walk with you to and from school, legs that seat you on her lap as she sways to put you to sleep, legs that run when you learn to ride a bicycle for the first time, legs that run up and down the stairs to check on you when you have fever, legs that transform into horses and elephants, when she carries you on her back, legs that are worn with age…..HER LEGS

Her eyes that light up in that special way when she sees you, her eyes that mist over when she sees you performing on stage, her eyes that reflect the happiness she sees in yours, her eyes that have bags from not having slept, her eyes that show compassion, her eyes that laugh silently when you throw tantrums, her startled eyes when you roll your eyes as a teenager, the crow’s feet around her eyes from years of smiling….HER EYES

Her mouth that croons lullabies to you, her mouth that has a 100 watt smile, her mouth that laughs, her mouth that kisses your forehead when you feel down, her mouth that prays for you all the time, her mouth that sings sweet songs as she moves from one chore to another, her voice that sounds divine when you call her from university, missing home……HER VOICE

Her heart that’s hidden from view, a heart that’s probably what she is made up of, her heart filled to bursting with love, love and only love, a heart that prays, a heart filled with compassion, a heart that can sense your pain, a heart that beats for others, a heart of pure gold…..HER HEART.

To all moms around the world, for all the thoughtful things you do, for the love that you give, for every single thing you do to light up our lives –

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Change – A Short Story


Vish sat on the wall that separated land from the ocean. It was a wide wall, and he sat dangling his feet towards the water.

He had a job in the docks, a small job that paid for his food and rent, but little else.

He sat munching on his sandwich, weighed down by a feeling of hopelessness. This week would be his last one on this job. He was a temporary hire for the busy season.

Seagulls swayed and danced above, around the water; the water itself, blue and timeless, a mute spectator to his melancholic mood.

He felt bitter as he looked at the busy port, and the hundreds of people who worked there. Was there no job in this big place for him?

He had stopped with high school and had joined his uncle’s business as a tailor. He had learnt on the job and come to love the satisfaction of sewing a beautiful frock or suit or trouser to perfection. He was in his early twenties when his uncle passed away and the tailoring shop had to be closed.

From then on it had been this way, one temporary job after another, where one just followed instructions.

The loud blare, as a ship left the docks brought him out of his reverie; the pain intense, as he contemplated the next week.

He had to start all over again. His money would soon run out and he had to find something quickly.

He finished his lunch and walked back, to the mundane task of dragging cartons up and down, only stopping for tea and coffee breaks.

That weekend he was set free, nobody expected him to report for duty, nobody believed he could be of any use, nobody knew or cared if he had had a decent meal. His mom lived in her village, content with the few dollars she made as a domestic help.

As he walked back and forth on the high street, checking if anybody was hiring shop assistants or anything else, he heard three women talking animatedly as they waited to cross the traffic signal. They were quite loud, and he heard one of them talking about their children’s costumes for a play that had to be altered by the evening, and their desperation that no tailor was willing to take on this rush job.

He decided that he had allowed life to slip by thus far, without focus.

Before he could stop himself, he had gone up and told the ladies that he could do it for them but for the fact that he had nothing, no support, no infrastructure, no money, absolutely nothing, except the skill to alter the costumes.

The ladies looked at each other incredulously. One of them saw his face; and couldn’t quite place the expression on it – hope, resolve, grit? She couldn’t really say. On a whim, she said, “I have a sewing machine at home, will you do it?”

Three hours later, he had managed to complete the job to perfection, leaving three very happy moms behind. They had compensated him well and had given him a warm meal.

As he walked home, for the first time in years, he felt that maybe things would work out for him. He just had to wait for the right opportunities and seize them.

A couple of days later as he poured through the newspaper, circling the Jobs Vacant section, his phone rang.

The voice said, “Mr.Vish?”

He said, “Yes.”

“We are calling from the Little Flower Nursery School, we were given your contact by Mrs.Samuel, who spoke highly of your skills in tailoring. We have our annual school concert coming up and would like you to sew the costumes. Could you please come and meet us?” the voice said.

Unexpected


The small town nestled in the hills, beautiful and green. Numerous small roads snaked their way across it; either going uphill or downhill.  Most houses were on small hills or hillocks.

The town council had recently appointed a new postmaster, who had been given the official quarters of the postal department – a rambling house with a huge living room, a kitchen and many bedrooms. The postmaster’s family settled down in the new home, happy, except for the fact that they had no neighbours in the vicinity. Their house stood, all by itself, on top of a hill; which had come to be called ‘Post Hill’.

The postmaster and his wife had four children. The children kept each other company in the big house, when they were not at school.

Outside their house stood an old silver oak tree. The locals told the postmaster’s wife that it was more than 50 years old.

The tree had grown quite close to the house and the postmaster feared that it would fall on their home, or its branches hurt his children, especially during the monsoon season. He had spoken to the Forestry Department to see if they could uproot it and replant it elsewhere or chop it down. They had promised to revert soon.

That year, the Monsoons set in early, and the town witnessed one of its worst rainy seasons ever. The Sun had been forced to take a long holiday.

On one such evening, heavy rains lashed across the town, accompanied by thunder and lightning. Heavy winds howled across the hills.

Most people were safely tucked-in indoors, keeping themselves warm and well fed!

At about eleven p.m. that night, a huge bolt of lightning fell on the town, and as many people recalled later, they saw it falling on Post Hill. The people worried about the postmaster and his family.

The rain spent itself by 6 am in the morning, as people ran to see what had happened, fearing the worst.

But when they reached Post Hill, they were happy to see the postmaster and his family safe and sound. They were amazed to see that the Silver Oak tree had been split into two by the bolt, and had fallen away from the house, saving its residents.

P.S: This is a true incident that happened to my paternal grandfather’s family, many decades ago!

The Silver Smartphone – A short story


He was at the airport, at the designated gate, waiting for the boarding announcement.

He was a thief, who stole mobile phones and smart phones. His hawk-like eyes scoured malls and markets, as he glided in and out of these places, loaded with all kinds of phones.  He was part of a network of small time thieves, who specialized in technology thieving!

The phones he stole were passed on to a middle-man, who then gave him his cut for every stolen mobile, depending on its brand and model.

Like a predator that can sense its prey from far away, he could sniff out the rich, and their expensive phones, very quickly.

He had recently discovered airports;  and their mobile-charging pods for passengers. He laughed to himself as he saw the number of phones that were being charged. All kinds of smartphones belonging to smart people, one of which he would now steal.

He was very careful to steal from a boarding gate not near his own, sometimes replacing the stolen one with a dummy. He normally did this, just after the boarding announcement  for his flight was made. As people stood up in states of semi-sleep and airport fatigue, he walked to steal, and walked back to his gate; job done.

He knew the risk he was taking in the airport, but some of the best models were readily displayed in the charging pod, as opposed to malls, where he had to really pray for good luck, as people clutched their phones, as if their hearts were resident in them. Here, he could at least look at them, evaluate and then decide.

“No pain, no gain”, he muttered.

Today, he had an hour to look for the next phone. He strolled casually, stretching and yawning, eyeing the charging pods.

Then he saw it, a sleek looking smartphone, metallic silver casing, brand-new from the looks of it. But he did not have a dummy for it. So he had to proceed carefully. He walked around, waiting for his flight to be called.

Once he heard the announcement, he looked around and went quickly to the charging pod. He took out his phone and pretended to tinker with it. He quickly looked around and unplugged the charger from the silver phone, and walked away quickly, to his boarding gate.

He was sweating profusely, waiting for a hand to slap him on his shoulder. Nothing happened. He boarded and the flight took off.

He sighed audibly and asked for some wine to calm his nerves.

When he landed, he took out his new possession and switched it on. He knew better than to type the password and disable the phone. He rather liked this phone, and maybe, would keep it for himself; after he spoke to one of his friends, who could get it to work for him.

He stood in line for a cab. He gave the cabbie his directions. He settled down, more relieved than he cared to admit.

Just as the cab left the airport, a police car intercepted the taxi. The cabbie pulled over.

There were three cops, and his heart almost stopped beating. How had they known? He was bathed in sweat.

“Are you S.Neel?” One of them asked. “We have a warrant for your arrest.”

“No, I am Sid”, he said. They had the wrong man. He was sure he could explain.

“Come with us”, they said.

Two hours later he was interrogated about a bank robbery he knew nothing about. He pleaded and begged them to let him off.

Whom could he call? It was late on Friday afternoon, so bail could be posted only on Monday. Ice-cold fear, and sweat, took turns to taunt him.

Finally, they left him alone. Cops came and went. Two were stationed outside his room.

He  was allowed one call. He thought about his cousin, who was a fledgling lawyer, but decided against it as he imagined the shame, if this were known to his family.

He had to tell his wife that he was delayed on business, and would not be back as planned.

His eyebrows furrowed as he tried to sort  through his thoughts and fears, when he heard voices, presumably of the cops who stood outside.

“Looks like this guy will go in for a long time”, one said.

“Hmmm, $20 Million, wonder where the stash is?” said another voice.

“How did they pick him up?”

“Oh! The control tower was tracking the phone. At one point it seemed like the gang had been tipped off. The phone was lying at the airport unattended for hours. Then this guy picked it up…. and rushed to board his flight.”

Rebuilding – A Short Story


Their small house stood on top of a hillock. After years of repaying loans, they finally owned it, every single brick, every bit of wood.

They were a family of five, husband, wife, two daughters and a son. The children were 12, 10 and 8 years old.

The house was a modest one, with two bedrooms, a study, a kitchen and a living room, filled with photos, and love, and bits and pieces of their life together.

On this day, the Sun shone a bright yellow, as the radio blared within and the early morning sounds of the three children getting ready for school floated in the air. There were arguments and teasing.

The father had left home early. Breakfast was served. The three children sat down at the table.

And at that very moment, the Earth trembled so violently; that their home shook from side to side. As they clutched each other and watched, a huge chasm opened up near the bedroom, and that part of their home was swallowed up by the Earth.

More shaking, more rattling..and then there was an eerie silence, a silence that was deafening, as the mother looked to see if her three children were safe, to see if they were hurt and if they needed anything.

She gathered them for a hug, realizing the power of the force that had shaken their lives.

They were both inside and outside their house at the same time, with one half of it missing. There was a huge cloud of dust around them.

The mother drew from her inner reservoir of strength. She sent a prayer upward asking that her husband be safe.

Then she resolutely fixed her mind on rebuilding their lives. She was a mother and she would provide for her children, come what may.

P.S: My heart goes out to the people of Nepal as they grapple with the aftermath of the earthquake, to the countless families who have lost loved ones, and who, now, have the very difficult task of rebuilding their lives, both physically and emotionally .

Working Late – A Short Story


Naomi got off the elevator. She had her laptop bag with her, stuffed to overflowing with papers that needed to be looked at once she got back home. It was already 9 pm, and she didn’t really relish what the rest of the evening had in store for her. She had been travelling, and while she’d closed some good deals, what work she’d left behind, seemed to have been put into a multiplier machine.

She sighed as she walked out of the office building, hoping for a cab. Cabs were quite hard to come by at that late hour. She waited for ten minutes with no luck.

She decided to walk down to the train station. On the way, she saw an ATM, and decided to withdraw some cash, as she was running low. The whole road was deserted. She thought longingly of hot dinner followed by her favourite movie and the prospect of the weekend.

But no, it was only Monday, and the week stretched ahead without any end in sight.

She stood her laptop case on the ground, between her legs, as she extracted her wallet from the utter chaos inside her handbag.

This was one of those ATMs that was on the road; no booth attached to it. As she inserted her ATM card into the slot, she sensed, rather than saw someone behind her. She pushed her eyeballs as far as they would go, to see the person. She saw a black hoodie and blue jeans. She quickly withdrew the money, pressed ‘No’ for a printed receipt, picked up her bag and walked away as quickly as she dared, without making eye contact.

Just as she was about a 100 metres away, she heard footsteps echoing across the pavement. She turned; it was the same man, from the ATM.

She had to make a dash for it. He had seen her withdrawing cash. To run, she needed to get out of her high-heels, which she did. She broke into a run.She could hear her heart pumping and bellowing in her ear drums.The man called out as she ran.

Furtive glances showed that he was running as well.  She had read and seen so many things like this and knew she had to think smart. She  mentally ran through a list of the things she had in her handbag that could come in handy.

The roads continued to disappoint. There was not a soul in sight. Where was everbody? And finally, hurray! there was a Starbucks, glowing warmly, in the distance.

She invested all her energies into that last sprint to safety. A glance backwards showed that the man had slowed down.

She decided to bolt into Starbucks, and call the cops if required. She was completely out of breath as she opened the door at Starbucks. Totally drained out and relieved.

In just two minutes, the man opened the door too..! She gasped in shock. What would he do?

As she stood frozen, her mouth preparing to scream for help, he said, “Miss, you left your ATM card behind.”

Rendezvous


My mom is staying with us for the holidays.

She is visibly excited. It is 5.50 p.m. and she is all set to go down to the park in the condo to meet her friends.

In the short time she has been with us, my mom has made friends, six friends to be precise.

However, this is a rendezvous with a difference. These seven women who meet every evening, do not speak the same language. Five of them are from different parts of India and the other two friends are from Japan and Korea.

A few of them speak English, but otherwise they use a mix of their own language, and English,  to communicate or just use gestures and sign language. They spend a good hour and a half together every evening, talking about their sons, daughters and grandchildren. They also talk about their spouses, many of whom are no more. 

Sometimes they have their evening tea or coffee by the pool, with each of them bringing something to eat. 

My mother takes me one evening to introduce me to her friends.

I say, “Namaste”! 

All of them radiate love and happiness. The Japanese lady bows gracefully. I am truly amazed, she gestures with her hand that she has a daughter like me. I understand perfectly. All of them smile and nod in acknowledgement.

All these women, probably in their seventies or eighties, deriving so much joy from making new friends at this stage in their lives, their eagerness to accept and share their thoughts and feelings, through the universal  language of love!

Truly, friendship has no barriers.

The Mystery of the Missing Shoes


A few years ago, my friend and her family stayed with us during the summer holidays.

One day, we planned to take the children to the zoo.  Just when we were about to leave, my friend discovered that she couldn’t find her daughter’s shoes.

My friend’s daughter was 3 years old, and my kids’ slippers were much too big for her. So, we launched a massive shoe-hunt, we emptied the shoe cupboard, my friend emptied all her suitcases and bags. We looked under the sofa and cots, we checked outside the house. There was no sign of the missing shoes.

We wondered if we could just carry the child and pick up new shoes on the way.

Suddenly, the little girl said, “Papa, I know where shoe.”

All of us watched her as she ran to the balcony and pointed downwards.  We went to check. There they were, a pair of pink shoes, fallen seven floors below, on the roof of the building’s porch. We wondered when she had thrown them!

We brought out the ladder and took it down to the porch. My friend’s husband had to do a bit of a Spiderman type of jump. As we watched, he waved his hands victoriously to show us that he had managed to get the shoes.

When the little girl saw her shoes,  she clapped in glee, and when we saw her, all of us burst out laughing.

Saturday Special: I write


I would like to thank Arpita for giving me this opportunity to be a guest blogger on her blog Scribbles@Arpita, for a special series in May, on ‘writing’. I thoroughly enjoyed writing this piece. Please do go check out her blog and her short story I am Mala on Amazon and the eFiction magazine.

Scribbles@Arpita

Hello and welcome to Saturday Specials in May! As promised, I am back with a special series having guest blogs on Scribbles@Arpita

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Today’s guest is Nimi Naren, who blogs regularly at Simple Moments of Life. It is a pleasure to have her as the opening guest blogger of the season. In my brief time at WordPress, I have been lucky to have come across some really wonderful bloggers. Nimi, is undoubtedly, at the top of my list of favorite bloggers. The first thing that attracted me to her writing was the sheer simplicity of it. She writes about simple day-to-day moments, but with her penmanship even the most mundane of things appear so beautiful! The other thing which amazes me is the discipline with which she writes every single day, never failing to update her blog on any day.

Today, Nimi shares with us about her…

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