I am learning to drive… finally


People are always shocked when I tell them that I don’t know how to drive. It is almost unimaginable for people to live in Auckland and not drive everywhere. There are a lot of cars in this city. I have to explain it to them that I don’t need it right now as I work very close and in Mumbai, everyone relied on public transport.

I got my learner’s license about 8 months ago. I have been meaning to start learning to drive but I was in no hurry to do it. I don’t know why I finally took that seriously a month ago. Probably because I wanted to learn something new.

I don’t have a car. I can’t drive without supervision on a learner’s license and I can’t pass my license test without knowing how to drive. The NZ Transport Agency recommends a total of 120 hours of driving experience before going through a driving exam. This feels like a Catch 22.

I had to ask, like formally, my friends to teach me driving. This weekend, after three hours of cumulative practice in the parking lot, we took to the road.

It is tough to understand how big the car is and how far to the left it stretches ( we have the steering wheel on the right ). It is impossible to instinctively know how to reverse. I have to collect my thoughts, strategize before reversing. And I still got it wrong.

Luckily, I didn’t harm the car or anyone else. My friends were pretty supportive and allowed me to take my time. I might have another session with them in their car before buying my car for practice.

Who knows, I might actually enjoy this. Cause I really want to drive on the road with this song.

Conversation Starters: ‘How’s it going?’


I don’t like that question. I hate asking or being asked the question, “How’s it going?” It is a terrible conversation starter.

I get it, meeting and talking to new people is pretty hard. Talking with acquaintances is even harder. So, it wouldn’t be a surprise that it is pretty common conversation starter.  Almost everyone uses it. There are a couple of problems with that questions, as innocuous as it appears to be.

Firstly, it expects a tale. Not a story, but a tale like Lord of the Rings. It expects a tale worthy of your time and as well as the asker’s.  At least that is how I feel about it.

Every time I am asked that question, I scratch my head to find the most amazing thing that has happened in the last couple of weeks. And every story that comes to my mind seems to be quiver in front of that question. There is no easy answer ( more on that later ).

Secondly, it seems almost disinterested in normal mundane things. The Everyday cannot be answer to that question.

I like mundane, I love normality. I would love to go on an adventure as much as the next guy but I don’t do it as an escape. I would go because I wanna go ( whole other bag of worms ). I would go because after a while I would crave for the normal again.

Thirdly, no one knows how to answer that question. No one. Everyone says things like ‘It is going good’, ‘Average’, or sometimes when people feel a little gregarious ‘Not too bad and not too good’.

After that, everyone just stand there idly thinking of something to say. The very fact that this conversation starter doesn’t even start a conversation seems preposterous to be.

Alright, rant over.

What to do after this question is asked? Or is asked to you?

How Hard can it be? (Ice Skating Edition)


If you are going to try something you have never tried before, a person is bound to tell you ‘How hard can it be?’. That person might think that they are encouraging. It is either that or they want to watch you fail so bad that they can send your fail video to FailArmy.  My advice to you: punch that person in the face.

How hard can it be? Extremely hard.

Now my advice backfires on me. I am usually the one who says ‘How hard can it be?’, mostly to encourage myself. Maybe I am overconfident too. Afterwards I regret it because my body hurts and if I could glare at myself, I would glare myself to smoldering bits.

Today, I decided that I wanted to go ice skating. I have never even roller skated so I should have been aware of my imminent regret. Instead, I thought how hard can it be. Plus, there was a free event for beginners and who isn’t ready for free stuff.

Boy, oh boy I was wrong.

Firstly, it feels different just standing in balancing with the entire sole of the feet and balancing on a metal skate. How was I standing? I wasn’t standing, my legs were dancing and my body’s momentum pulled me forwards. It was like I had new feet and I had skipped the tutorial on using them (I think I did that). My left ankle decided to shake disturbing my balance and I would flail my arms in the air trying to catch balance (it didn’t work). I would fall to the ground and then began the embarrassing process of standing up.

I fell four times throughout. First time I fell, I was trying to skate at the outer edge. A beginner behind me patiently waited as I tried to stand up again. Second time I fell was about half hour later, by then I was getting confident again because I wasn’t using the boundary for support.

‘I will never learn how to do this if I keep taking support of the wall’ were the exact words in my mind before I fell on my ass. I fell again a few minutes later and after the last time I was done.

Every time I fell, I told myself I can do it. The problem was I didn’t know what I was doing. After the last time, my legs were sore and I had no energy left in me to try again.I was miserable, cold and my ankles hurt. I slipped a lot of time and every time I did, I noticed a pain in my left knee. I think I was bending my knee along the wrong axis and at last I realized that if I kept doing this I might hurt myself.

And I wanna continue doing stupid things so I don’t wanna hurt myself. Nope!

Others around me kept giving me advice. ‘Bend your knees’, ‘right leg forward, angle it and then left leg forward’, ‘1-2-1-2-1’ and so on. I just couldn’t do it properly. I never went beyond the first 1-2 sequence because I would loose my balance there.

There is a positive side to this though. Firstly, and this should be obvious to the dumb, I wouldn’t have tried if I had thought this is going to be really hard. I would probably prepared myself a little if I had thought that way, but the technology isn’t advanced enough for me to Google skating simulation.

Next,  do you know the sensation you get after swimming? You are walking on land but still feel like you floating in the water. Nothing has ever come close to that feeling. Today after I was done and walked to my bus stop I felt like I was on ice again. I felt I was gonna slip and fall on my ass again. I loved that sensation.

Third, I thought back and realized how many things have I tried by thinking ‘How hard can it be?’ and I failed miserably. I am not ashamed of the fact that I failed, I find it funny though. I am going tramping next weekend I told my roommate, ‘how hard can it be’ today. Yay!

Lastly, I got an idea to write this post. I know ~4 people read this blog, one of whom is my mother (Hi Mom!!!) so yeah! I think I am back.

Daily Post: Slur (Fantasy Fiction)


(My plan was not to write stream of continued stories  but now with the help of daily prompt, I am going to try writing them. First story in the series: Glitter)

‘Firde!!!’ the Slurred Cat screamed.

‘Wait what did he scream? Did he say fire?’ Maddy asked.

Before One Eyed Solomon could reply, they heard the gush of fire. If you have never heard fire being sprayed like water from a water hose; it sounds exactly like water. No one can actually make a differentiation between the two unless they see the spray is either fire or water.

Maddy looked and found that from the base of the cave, a stream of fire was being poured out. Only…

‘Is it just me or that fire is too small?’

‘How can fire be small Maddy?’

Solomon looked as well. None of the two were in any immediate danger of being fired upon as they were on the opposite direction and quite far from the cave.

‘Yes you are write. It is almost like that fire is coming from a small mouth.’

‘Small jaw sir. It is a reptile.’

‘Shut up Maddy. Think about what we are going to do next?’

The spray of fire stopped abruptly as it had appeared. Screams from the burned victims could be heard now. The two men had their eyes glued to the entrance of the cave and they were waiting to see what would happen.

‘Is ith gone?’ Slurred Cat asked standing directly behind them.

‘I don’th know.’ Maddy said and immediately received a glower from Solomon.

They got their answer soon as the dragon came out of the cave. The dragon was green scaled and small almost the size of a human when crawling. It was definitely a infant still.

‘So the dragon inside gave birth to a small dragon. Are you sure you want the gold inside which is slick with dragon fluids?’ Maddy asked.

‘Shut up. You have not heard the story have you? Three dragons together captured the cave. They killed almost every man and woman inside.No dragon was birthed inside.’

The dragon was still outside the cave when an arrow was fired on it. The arrow hit the skull of dragon and bounced off as if it was a pebble. The dragon was looking towards the direction where the arrow was fired from.

Another arrow. The result was the same, it bounced off the scales as if a pebble. It did irritate the dragon though.

‘What are they doing?’

‘A mistake.’

Everyone who had bow and arrow was firing arrows now and little good it did to the dragon until one unfortunate shot hit the dragon on the eye. The dragon howled in agony and …. it’s scream was not terrifying.

The scream was a child’s inarticulate scream: full of agony. It breathed fire in all directions burning arrows and heating stones before bolting back in. There was a silence in the night as if time was scared to move. It had to broken by Maddy

‘Now what sir?’

‘These guys run. We wait for the dragon’s revenge. Maddy they are coming out soon.’

 


 

Thank you for reading

 

Daily Post: Glittter (Fantasy Fiction)


‘I wanna go out Dad!’

‘Out? Did you say OUT?’ Dad screamed back at his son.

‘Yes dad. I am bored here, there is nothing to do. We are living on heaps of gold which is really uncomfortable to sleep over. I have not seen the sun or the moon in over 3 years.’

‘What are you talking about? We have been here only for 3 months.’ Dad said and then looked elsewhere. He turned back to face his son ‘Anyway you know there are people waiting outside so that they can kill us.’

‘Humans are small. We can kill them.Killing most of them is how we got inside right?’

Dad looked thoughtful, contemplating his son’s logic as that is how he got the bed of gold. He arrived like summer’s heatwave, scorching the fields outside the mountain. He would have had a difficult time to kill everyone if he had come alone but he didn’t. He brought his family with him.

Humans might be able to withstand and rally together to fight one of his kind, but against three they would have to run like babies. He looked towards where his mate slept. She looked so peaceful sleeping there that he had urge to go to her. She wouldn’t like that though, after all between the two of them: she was more ferocious.

His son though, he was the perfect mixture between his reptilian methods and his mate’s hot anger. However, his temperament was marred by the lack of patience and for the last couple of days he kept bothering for different things to do.

‘Alright, what do you plan on doing once you go outside?’

‘Fly! I don’t even know if I can fly anymore. I think I am just too fat to fly now. I also want to scare the sheep. I want to set lands and trees on fire. I want to make new friends.’

‘You know right that your friends will the first one to try and kill you?’

‘Yes I know that.’

He waited for his son to say something more but clearly his son had nothing more to add. He looked carefully at his son then: the glitter of the gold lying all around them shined on his jaw. His son looked…sad.

He got up, and shook off the gold coins off his scales. He can always find another cave filled with gold. But first he needed to entertain his son around and that is what he was gonna do.

‘I am taking our son outside. Do you wanna come with us?’ He asked his mate and braced himself for her attack. She did not like being awakened from her somber.

‘You are an idiot. You will not be able to care for him so I will have to come along with you. ‘ his mate grumbled. She wouldn’t have liked if he went to her but for her son she would let go of her sleep and he would let go of his bed of gold.

The three dragons went outside that night, flying and kissing the moon. Then they set the night sky aflame.

Daily Post: Tremble (Science Fiction)


‘How is my baby?’ I ask the doctor. He looks like he is going to say something but then he stops. He looks away from me for a second while I wait for his face to show any sign of trouble. He is old, definitely more than 150 years old as his silicon skin has developed wrinkles. His hair is starting to gray and his irises are dissolving into his eye substrate.

He looks at me again and says ‘Lucy should be fine. Her operation was not without consequences but she made it through. As you may know, consciousness implantation is hardly done on 8 year old kids. The brain is just not strong enough to sustain the imaging.’

He pauses expecting more questions from me. I don’t want to ask questions, I want to stand up and shout at him to tell me how is my daughter. I couldn’t do that though, this man is trying to save my daughter. I grab on to the seat posts and squeeze to control my anger. I hope he does not notice my white knuckles.

‘She is still under medication, so we do not know how will she be when she wakes up. Her medication should wear off in the next two hours.’ he finishes.

I take a deep breath. Lucy is alive and sleeping for now. Nothing has happened to her, and when she wakes up she should be completely okay. A lot of people have done consciousness implantation, they always turn out okay.

I turned out okay and my implantation was 50 years ago! Surely the technology has advanced enough for Lucy to be completely fine. She should be able to live a long life, her new body should be able to take care of her mind.

No more trembling limbs or seizures.

I thank him and go out of his office to call my relatives and friends. Most of them went home during the implantation surgery, even though it was only 6 hours long. Those were the longest 6 hours of my life.

Now I have to wait another two.

I spend the entire time calling people and lastly I call up my parents to inform them. They had been living for nearly 200 years now and yet they still have trouble using holograms. They always know how to make me smile with their simplicity.

Two hours later, Lucy gingerly wakes up. The heart rate and other body signals were being displayed on the wall screen behind her, the sound of her heart beat smooth and healthy cause if it wasn’t then there would be alerts.

She looks at me and smiles. I smile back, hope surging through my heart. I pick up her hand to hold her and say I am here sweety everything is going to be just fine.

I am the first person to notice her hand tremble.


 

Thank you for reading!

 

Internship Monologues


PS: I got an internship recently, and this is how I feel everyday.


Angel-Devil-OnShoulders
Credits: The Mighty

What are you doing?

I am trying to understand this code.

You have to admit it is way beyond your comprehension.

No I got this.

You will screw up. They will know you are a fraud.

Shut up! You worked your ass off for this and damn it I am not going to let you quit now. Come on now, move!

Oh, this is gonna end well.


My mind is constantly working. When I am reading, my mind is concocting the next military fantasy novel, when I am coding my mind is trying to create ideas for the next big application. My mind does not deal with small issues.

Go Big or Go Home.

I sometimes hear my mind speak in a voice not very distant from my own, but it has a certain sense of arrogance that I can never manifest in mine. My mind wants perfection, it craves success and lastly, it wants that high of achievement.

I push myself to get it: constantly for almost everything. I have met people who say that it is tiring and they get burnout at the end of the day. I am lucky enough to not experience that so far. My mind is also smart enough to know when to stop trying.

Alas, it doesn’t know when to stop talking.


Oh shit! I screwed up.

No you did not, relax.

What have I done in my program: it completely crashes everything.

It is okay. Take a deep breath, you got this.

No I don’t. I should never have come here.

You are trying. That is all one can ever do, if it works or not is not in your hand.

Yeah I guess I can try.


It gets weird at times though. It is like I have the devil (he is not evil, mostly) and an angel sitting on my shoulders. One tells me to be the master of everything, to push above and beyond I have ever gone before. He tells me not to take shit from anyone ever, to keep chasing that perfection. It doesn’t give me the option of failure.

The other: it catches me when I fall, which is very often. It supports me, allows me to watch lots of dog videos when I am feeling down and slowly gets me back on track. It tells me it is okay to fail.


My internship has made the two voices extra loud. I am scared. Seriously scared about what will happen if I can’t do this.

You will not fail, you can’t.

I am struggling to understand how to code at the level of 4 year experienced coders. I have no idea how well I am doing.

It is okay, you are trying your best.

I am not afraid of asking for help, in fact that is what an internship is all about. Learning new things, working your way through challenges.Everyone is helpful at work, they never say no to helping out. They are also funny which is a bonus. I am just afraid of asking for too much help which can make them think I am not cut out for working at their level.

No you are!

I am afraid of being proved incapable. I am afraid of finishing my internship and realizing that maybe I wasn’t smart enough for all of this. I am afraid that my brain, which was once the my strongest asset, is no longer any asset.

If this does not work out then something else. You can manage things bro!

 

Daily Prompt: Scent (Poetry attempt)


What is smell but a trap?

Scented flower buds attract

Killing bees and insects

Unscented buds die hungry.

 


 

I have no idea why I tried this, but if you want to give feedback please feel free to do so. I would like to know what you think: even if you say this is crap! Thanks

Guest Blogger: Manan Pandya Interview


Recently, I got a reply from Manan after my Call for Guest Bloggers. He is from India and like me he is also a blogger! He asked me if I am willing to have guest bloggers and I was more than happy to do so.

So, without further delay, let’s hear from Manan!

 

1. Who are you?

I’m Manan, a student of computer science living in India. I’ve been a writer for school magazines for as long as I can remember. I’m also a professional sportsperson having played five different sports at state and national level.

2. Why do you write?

I write because I love it. I believe that through my writings I can connect with people and be that external stimulus they require to do what their heart wants.
 

3. What kind of stories/posts do you enjoy reading most? 

My reading genre varies largely but I do enjoy romantic and thriller novels more.

 

4. Tips for readers/Mayur on how to improve their writing?

Lastly, it would be hard for me to point out tips about improving your blog as I am unfamiliar with the audience. However I would say that the obvious – keep posting regularly.


His Guest Blog post will be published tomorrow night so do come back here to check it out.

Thank You Manan for the support. Feel free to check out his blog here.

PS: I am still open for more guest bloggers and I encourage more to come. If interested then contact me on: itsmayurremember@gmail.com

 

Daily Prompt: Exquisite Art (Fiction)


‘What is stolen?’ the curator exclaimed.

Security guard swallowed, remembering that it was her job to keep The Pandora safe in the museum. After all, it was the only painting in the world which can be spread 360 degree.

Now, someone had stolen it.


 

‘Hey bro!’ the street beggar called out to the passing police officer. The officer never changed his step and ignored the beggar completely.

The ones who are supposed to protect everyone sometimes have a different notion of everyone.

‘Alright, I could have told you about the painting.’ the beggar mumbled.


 

‘How much did this painting cost?’ the officer asked.

‘How much?!’ the curator exclaims. He always hated those who had no clue about art. He hated those more who tried to put a price tag over something so unique as The Pandora.

‘It was priceless! There was never any other painting like this. You ask me the price? It took Vincent Bonjo 15 years to make that painting. He ran out of money, he lost his house and eventually completed the painting while staying on the streets. Where else can anyone find a painting like this?’

‘It still would have been evaluated. Any estimate would do sir, we would like to know how much monetary value was actually stolen.’

‘3 years ago it could have bought a small state in this country. Three years ago? After a while we stopped estimating the price because we would need bigger numbers.’

‘Okay priceless was better.’

‘That is what I said.’

‘Any offers to buy the painting recently?’

‘No offers recently. The painting had been stored away as the wing was under construction for a while and it was going to be unveiled tomorrow.’

‘When did the construction complete?’

‘How would I know? I am in charge of the paintings and not the refurbishment.’

‘In charge of the painting? Clearly you were not good at your job.’

‘I am not in charge of the security. She was not good at his job. I fired her!’

‘Fired her? So the security in charge is not here? We would like to talk to her.’

The curator at this point called over his security for further information about the on duty guard. The officer exchanged some pleasantries before jumping to the topic of the guard.

There was something nagging him though, how could someone steal a huge 360 degree painting?

‘How big was the painting?’

‘I already told you the painting was the biggest deal!’

‘No you told me that the painting was one of the kind but you did not tell me the size of the painting.’

‘Oh the painting is about 20 m long and 1 m wide.’

‘That is not a large painting. It could have been easily stolen along with the construction equipment. I would like to know about the construction company.’


‘Hey bro!’ the beggar called out to the curator who was walking past. Even he did not look at the beggar, as if the space occupied by the beggar was non existent.

‘Shame! I could have told you about the painting.’ the beggar mumbles.


 

‘We don’t know anything about any painting.’ the suspect avows.

‘Then give us the name of every construction worker in the last couple of days.’ the officer counters.

‘Sure I already gave them. Your partner has them.’

‘He does?’

‘Yeah he does.’

‘Then why did you let me go all Hulk on you?’

‘I tried to tell you that your partner has them but you didn’t let me.’

‘But you should have told me sooner’

‘You did not let me!’

The officer looked around, clearly embarrassed about his mess up. He then slowly sulked away from the suspect as the suspect looked on. Just as the officer was about to leave the line of sight, he turned back at the suspect and says:

‘Don’t leave town.’


 

‘Hey fellows!’ the beggar greets some police officers. They ignore him too but he tries again. This time, one of the police officer answers.

‘What?’

‘You are here about the painting right?’

‘How the hell you know about that?’

‘I live right outside the museum.’

‘And you are high all the time.’

‘It is not my fault that petrol is so easily available’

‘What do you know about the painting?’

‘Just that the construction workers dropped something big on their way out.’

‘How big?’

‘About 20 X 1 m big’

‘You know where it is?’

‘I just have one condition.’


 

One week later after the case has been closed and the museum reopened. The guests were all patiently waiting for the opening of the new wing. They waited for the curtain to be opened so that they can be ushered into the wing and look at the The Pandora.

All except one person who was already standing inside the new wing, turning around to look at the 360 degree painting. The curator entered the wing and met the beggar.

‘It is beautiful isn’t it?’ the curator greets.

‘Yeah making it was very difficult’

‘I should thank you for that’ the curator paused and then added ‘You don’t look the same as you did back then’

‘Yeah, you know I ran out of colors at the end. I had to use some rotten tomatoes and other stuff I found in the garbage to finish this’

‘You wanted it to be called The Garbage

‘You wanted an exquisite name for an exquisite painting?’

Vincent Bonjo winked at the curator as their deal was now done. The painting was world famous, the curator had enough donations into this place and finally, the maker could see his masterpiece as a whole for the first time.


 

Thank you for reading! Keep commenting on the posts.

Daily Prompt: Unseen Hero (Fiction)


‘How could no one seen a thing?!’ Lieutenant Copper exploded.

The two sergeants in front of Copper had never heard their lieutenant speak like this. Copper was a nimble man, full of courtesy and diplomacy. No other man had stayed in charge for as long as Copper has and that is because of how he speaks. The masked surface was under attack now as there was a new kind of trouble on the streets.

According to him at least there is a new trouble.

‘Tell me what do the witnesses tell us?’ Copper asked again, regaining some of his cool demeanor back.

‘Sir, most of the victims or witnesses, as you put it, say that the train was under attack. There was a metal-tentacled man who killed off the driver and then screwed up the controls. They say they don’t know how the vigilante stopped the train but they are glad that he did.’ Sergent Jones iterated.

Copper nodded, his face focused on the statement. He wanted to find a flaw in the witness statement but there was none. Sargent Jones and Sargent Hunter have been over the witness statements a couple of times.

No one said anything out of the ordinary. No one had seen or heard anything to further their investigation about the vigilante. This troubled Copper, this vigilante’s face was one of the most sought after thing currently in the city.

Never mind the metal tentacled man, or his predecessor the green suited-air gliding man or any of the other menace lurking in the city. Copper’s concern was to stop the vigilannte first and then worry about the other menace.

No lone ranger in my city

The entire thing was bizarre enough until a couple of months ago a witness said they had seen this vigilante. The witness hadn’t seen the face properly but he was sure of one thing: this vigilante did not wear a mask.

No mask! The vigilante was saving the city for months now and yet no one had come forward with any information as to what this vigilante looked like? Was he a blonde? A Caucasian guy or an African-American guy?

The answers were out there, amongst the people he had saved but no one ever ventured any information about this vigilante. The train attack was the biggest break the police ever had with the vigilante.

Yet no one has seen his face.

‘Alright, go out again. I want you to canvas the area, find me someone who can tell me if this vigilante is a kid, an adult or a 70 year old veteran. Find me something until I call the Mayor and ask him a favor.’ Copper paused contemplating telling his sargents about the favor. He decided he could trust them both.

‘I would beg him to declare a reward on testimonials about this vigilante. He cannot be unseen after doing so many things.’


 

Thank you for reading, let me know what you think about it.

Daily Prompt: Cling (Fiction)


The smell clung to his self. He could never wash it out, no matter how many times he tried to wash his clothes. He tried to eradicate it out of his self by trying different techniques, by using the ways of his victims.

He traded perfumes from some of the best manufacturers of the world. They asked him just before their end what did he want. He told them. They laughed and then he joined their laughter.

After hearing him laugh, all the blood had drained from their face. They hurried to bring him perfumes, the costliest ones and the strongest ones. He used them and went out, leaving his victims to live another day.

Literally another day.

Cause he would come back the very next day, angry that the perfume did not work. They would beg more but he would not relent, not this time. You can always make one deal and when you break it, there is no going back. He never regretted doing his job.

In fact he loved his job. He got to travel all around the world. He could go to a country of peace, a country of war and a country barricaded against all of the world. He would sneak in, finish his mission and get out before anyone can notice what had happened.

They would notice after his work is done. That surprise on their faces would always amuse him and he would laugh. His laughter would be silent this time, for no one should hear him laugh.

Regardless of how much he loved his work, it was after all just his day job. The demands of the work impacted his physical appearance and it affected his odor. He cannot take it anymore, the bad odor oozing from his own self. He could smell the lifelessness from his victims radiating from him.

He hated that. Not only did he have to deal with other’s demise but also he had to carry their odor with him.

Once, he met a great tailor who bartered for a new dresscode. He agreed hopeful for the smell to cease. It did, for a day and then the fabric could no longer contain.

It was like a dam had broken and the smell just burst forth. He had killed one person by that smell alone. He went back to the tailor again and he finished his mission. It was the last barter he ever made.

Now, whenever the mission calls he gets up. He looks at his own image in the mirror. The face was barely recognizable anymore, his cheekbones looked ghastly. He tried to find his eyes but he couldn’t help but stare into the abyss.

The job had taken too much from him. Now, there was no way to stop.

He grabbed his cowl, put it on and grabbed his scythe. He had missions to complete.

Diwali In Auckland


(PS: that is not my home, it is my neighbors’)

To me, Diwali is the festival of food, particularly sweets. Families all over would create  culinary masterpieces and the very air would be infused with myriad aromas. When Diwali is passes by my house would be filled with lots of food, boxes of sweets. The sweets are delicious. They are perfect eatery when I am wandering or standing near the refrigerator door.

I have many favorite sweets. Over Hindu calendar year, there are many festivals where sweets are obligatory. During Diwali, we would go to our cousin’s place to exchange sweets. The purpose of meeting people is to catch up, spend quality time. For me, that never mattered, I am not much of a people person. I enjoyed Diwali as long there was enough food.

I decided this Diwali would end with sweets. This was not nostalgia or delusion. I can’t eat food and be instantly transported back to home. I don’t need sweets to recall what home is like on Diwali.  The evening would be alive with firecrackers’ noise. Mum would startle hearing a burst of a cracker. My dog Jimmy would run around smelling food. He got quickly immune to the noise of crackers.

Dad would watch a Diwali celebration concert on TV. The concert would be terrible but he would keep switching channels. Navin, my brother, would play on his phone or roam the town with his mates. If he is out, he would come home half hour late at the minimum. He always did that making everyone fret over his ETA.

Eventually, everything would work out fine. The entire house would be lit with oil lamps and decorating LEDs on the windows, dry color floor artworks (rangoli) outside the house. The LEDs lights toggle their brightness. It would continue to dance and emulate the twinkling the stars for the rest of the night. The Pooja (prayer) at home would finish quickly while Navin or I would make sure that Jimmy doesn’t eat any of the sweets.

Funny how easy it is to recall mundane memories at times like this.

Auckland is different. There is no startling noise of crackers, no decorating LEDs. But I decided that tonight at least there has to be a meet and catch up. The main reason was food obviously. I made a plan, invited some friends to a nearby Indian restaurant. As I cycled there, I could see which houses have Indian families. It is easy to spot that one house in a lane with LEDs adorning the porch. The house which has oil lamps lit on the veranda. Someone started fireworks as well.

I was not the only Indian out eating today: meeting everyone and greeting them ‘Happy Diwali’ was familiar to the days in India. Over the entire year, no one would say hi to one another, and on Diwali, everyone would greet each other like we are some long lost cousins.

The food was amazing. The essence of Diwali for someone like me was achieved. It was with a bunch of people who I can count on. The familiarity made food more precious. I didn’t miss home today as I thought I would.

Fiction: At the races


Chris sat at the stall, waiting for Selena to show up. The race was about to start and she was nowhere to be seen, it was her idea to spend the Sunday on a racetrack. They arrived at the scene together but then she said she needed to use the loo. Now, half hour later, the horses were all lined up and it has to be only a couple of minutes before the whistle is blown and the race starts.

The excitement of the race was enough for Chris to forget about Selena, even if he didn’t want to. Selena had warned him that races are addictive and from the moment they are lined up, the adrenaline high he felt was indescribable. Chris could no longer disagree with it, he was skeptical about it at first. All around him he could see people cheering on, screaming for the race to start. Some were already a little tipsy, after all the bar was open for significant time. Now, the bets have all been made and the bookies are all waiting for the results to be out. Many people will leave the race with money enough to party all night long in London and others will go home, get drunk and curse their misfortune.

For Chris, caution and self control was the key. Before the excitement had surged, he had already made modest bets on horse number 7. Because of this, he wasn’t worried about losing a lot of money, neither was he anticipating good profits. The bets were more of ‘When in Rome, do it like the Romans do’ kind of an act. However, now he had to control his impulses to just go and make a few bets.

Where is Selena? he thought. His heart was pumping and he could feel sweat budding on his forehead. He used his napkin to wipe the sweat but there was nothing more he could do for his heart. Except drink more ale.

As he took a sip, the whistle was blown and Selena was nowhere to be seen.


 

Selena threw her knife at the copper’s chest and it him right in the middle. She didn’t stop to check whether or not he was dead, she just rolled over to be away from the other coppers’ line of fire. This was a disaster, she thought as she exhaled a mouthful of air.

Chris would not have ever guessed why she wanted to come for the races. Now, her elaborate plan had been shattered to pieces and all she could think of is his safety. What has happened to her?

A shot was fired and it hit the wooden panel to the left of her head. She whipped her head around to see more coppers coming in the tent, one of them with an automatic weapon.

Damn! she cursed her stupidity. The henchmen now know who she is and also would find out who she came here with. There is no going back to anonymity after what has happened here and they will keep hunting her. Screw it, she thought as she tore away the bulky dress and freed her legs for more agility. Underneath the dress she had an arsenal of weapons: knives, shooting stars and one revolver. The revolver was for desperate measures only as it had only 6 shots and she didn’t bring in a lot of bullets.

She glanced back from the hole in the panel and counted. 10, 11… 12 coppers she could see out there. This was not going to be easy but she has done this kind of thing before too. If all goes well, then she should be able to escape with a couple of broken ribs and maybe one gunshot wound. If all goes well..

No time to waste now, she thought as she grabbed a couple of throwing knives, removed her heels and held them both in different hands. The knives were the main weapons, heels were for close combat.

She brought mayhem to the tent as she threw her knife at the pole holding the structure and the canvas barred her opponents vision.


 

The chorus of men, women screaming as soon as the whistle blew was deafening. Chris was jolted and he added his voice to the crowd, swept along with the flow.

He could see the horses running fast and faster, already covered up a quarter of the track within seconds. His number 7 was not in the lead but he could hear someone screaming ‘Yes’ for the lead horse, number 9.

Chris had an growing urge to just hit the guy whose horse was in the lead. He turned around to see who it was and saw and elderly man with binoculars to his eyes. The elderly man had not noticed Chris yet but Chris noticed the man’s companion.

Clearly 30 years younger than him, the companion was someone Chris had seen a while ago. He remembered going to a party along with Selena and the girl was either the hostess of the party or another guest. He had never seen the elderly man before.

The girl was an anomaly in the crowd. While everyone else was screaming their lungs out over the horses, the girl sat mute and composed. She noticed his attention and he quickly looked away.

Looking at the girl made him realize that Selena was not here yet and she was still missing out on the race. It was her idea damn it!


 

4 dead and 8 more to go. As soon as the canvas had fallen down, Selena moved with the grace that would have made snakes piss. Within seconds she had slashed three coppers’ throats and had stabbed the fourth. However, the time spent on killing the four was enough for the other’s to come within sight of her. One of them opened fire and he felt a stab of pain in her left calf.

From experience, she knew what a gunshot wound felt like. This pain that she felt was nothing close to that pain meaning that the shooter had missed. Well, she will not miss. She turned in a circle and aimed, used her momentum and drove her knife at the copper’s head. She was moving before he dropped to the ground.

Two more in front of her and she had no knives in her hand anymore. She had heels nonetheless and it was time that men knew how much heels hurt. With her right hand she hit the copper’s gun away and her left hand uppercut the other with the heel. There was a spray of blood on her face but she didn’t stop. She brought in her left towards the head of the copper and the right towards the stomach. He dodged her left but her right lodged in his stomach. She left her heel in his stomach and moved on, leaving him to his slow agonizing death.

No more knives but she still had the gun and there were only 6 left. There were also some other guns lying around and now she picked them up. Halfway through with this, she was struggling to believe that there hardly any damage to her when the automatic opened fire.

Something like a truck hit her shoulder and she fell to the ground by the force. She lost the gun from her hand but it was still within reach. She could see she was surrounded and the automatic gunman was still active.

Well, it was a long shot anyway.


 

The race finished and Chris had never been this high. He had not won his bet but he still had an amazing experience. The elderly man was more excited as he had just won the bet.

The girl had finally moved and now was standing just above him. She whispered, ‘We always win’ just as she stabbed him in the back.


Inspiration: Peaky Blinders Season 2 Episode 6

Rejections


Imagine yourself on the penultimate step of the staircase. You are almost at a new level, representing a new world in itself. How you reached that spot is another story, worthy of its tale. However, if you don’t reach the final step, something which often happens in my life, it can be because of two cases.

One case: the last step gave away as soon as you put your weight on it, and you fall through the crack into a dark viscous pool of depression. You don’t have time to take a breath, in less than a second you are choking on something that feels like tar and struggling against a liquid that solidifies as time passes.

Second case: the final step is there, but it is beyond your reach. It has grown into a wall, and you have to climb it. You can’t do it alone, and you want someone to haul you up. Only there is no one to haul you up to the new level. You can see people up there, but no one can see you. Slowly your legs feel stuck, then your torso and eventually you have a stiff neck. It is the depression tar again, only, this time, it is creeping up slowly.

I would prefer the first case over the second one every single time. I would rather be a victim of circumstance than be rejected by people who can’t see me. I would rather have the power to save myself than to rely on others to it. While one case I can be free even by any firm ground, the second requires a huge recovery period filled with comfort food, lack of motivation and lots of stupid TV shows. Because rejection hurts, more so when no one can see you.

Why so….happy?


Recently, partly because of my newfound ‘Yes’ attitude and my friend’s insistence, I ended up at a meditation workshop arranged by people from Hare Krishna Temple, Auckland in University of Auckland.

The person conducting the workshop did a good job, outlining the various religious reasons as to why a certain meditation is performed. I know this as my parents have told me about it before. But I couldn’t focus much on what he said because I wanted to ask him:

Why are you smiling? How are you so happy?!


 

I have been going to a church here regularly for a while, now my weekly visits have reduced. The reason I decided to take a step back was because I felt like I don’t fit in there. I always felt it but I tried to swim against the current nonetheless. I go to church and I look around at people. I see happy faces, people with no sorrow.

It puzzles me, how could these people be happy?

Everyone has problems and everyone is going to be tensed about it. But then how could they look so relaxed!


 

After the meditation finished, I told my friend the same thing. I feel weird about a person look so at peace while I am in torturous turmoil. He has found solace in a deity beyond us. But as I look at the people in my church, at the meditation people, all I see are people who are trying to make a happy exterior. An exterior that I cannot relate to, cannot fathom & so I want to break to see what’s inside.

It is really hard to trust someone when I don’t feel as if they are not real. I can’t relate to people when I don’t see the scars. That in itself is scarier than all the pretentious happiness.

No offense intended to any religious practice

Who is this guy?


7 months. Without family, with only an hour long conversations with people who I utterly love. And now, this morning I realized I no longer can recognize myself.

Mumbai would be a place of comfort. Where I would say ‘no’ more than I draw breath. No to cooking, no to cleaning, no to socializing, you get the gist.

Why am I writing about it?

Because it is one of those days where there is too much to do. It is this day that I have to go for a job fair, have a date, try my hand at a coding competition and all of this on top of my usual university project and thesis writing. Others, my mom including say that I am chewing more than I can swallow.

I don’t agree with them. I just say ‘Yes’ more now.

Practically everyday I come home, I make sure that I cook my own dinner. I never did that when I was with family, I would always bring something from a restaurant. Now, I love cooking so much that whenever I try something new and it works, I tell mom with excitement. I make sure that my stuff is clean, at university and home.

However not everything is roses. In college, I would have to walk for five minutes before I would run into a friend. I remember a friend complaining to me I know a lot of people. Now, most of my days are spent bent in front of my laptop, learning codes or watching some important tutorial. Friends? I have already given up. I have spent so much of my time in a church where everyone seems friendly and I would rather stand outside than talk to anyone.

I always thought that making friends in a new country would be the easiest thing I would ever have to do and house chores would suck. In the last 7 min, I enjoy chores more than meeting a new face.

I have always ran on ‘Indian time’, a special scale in which it is practically normal to be half hour late. Now, after a colossal mistake, I am always early. I don’t even have an alarm in my phone anymore, I know I will be up exactly 8 hours from when I sleep.

There are not enough words to articulate the discord between me from 7 months ago and me a minute ago. One is full of naivety and other is practical. One is disorganized, other is organized to the minute. One feels lonely, other is lonely.

I never lived in denial back there, now on the end of bad days I sit in my bed watching a comfort show which does nothing more than numb and dumb my brain down. And I am aware of what I am doing. I know this though, regardless of the rejections, bad days and good minutes: I would never regret this life changing move.

So someday, I look at myself in the mirror and ask ‘Who is that guy?’

Fiction: Waiting for a Train


‘He will be here, his letter said so.’ Maduram said. Sindhu, the station master observed Maduram sceptically. Madhuram was old, looked frail, he should not be out on a cold night without any warm clothes. His threadbare kurti and lungi could scarcely provide warmth, his shawl looked older than Madhuram. Regardless Maduram was here waiting for an rich American traveler. Sindhu was afraid that this was a case of delirium, old people do have a tendency to go a little nuts.

Sindhu knew Madhuram, they have spoken before and he was also aware of why everyone in the village were so found of Madhuram. Sindhu, a born cynic and skeptic trusted Madhuram! Sindhu had been the station master for 15 long and hot years. He had seen travelers coming to the village to visit the iconic Kali Mandir, he had witnessed teary goodbyes from mothers to their sons as they left for Mumbai, the city of dreams. In 15 years multitude things changed, a few didn’t. The tea stall outside the station still made disgusting tea, it had more water than milk. The wages Sindhu received still hadn’t changed much, while the town grew his salary crawled. Lastly, Madhuram was always outside the station greeting customers as if a mother greets her sons. No wonder people who returned always asked for Madhuram.

Madhuram was older than 70, he looked 80 years old. His teeth have started to fall off and whenever he smiled now, Sindhu was terrified a little. But as Madhuram spoke, the apprehension vanished and a familiar sense of comfort replaced it. Over the years, Madhuram never stopped driving around his rickshaw. There were better rickshaws available in the market but Madhuram never sold his old vehicle. Sindhu never asked why, he still had his first bicycle.

It hurt Sindhu, for he was looking at someone who was as close as a friend, start slowly loose his mind. Sindhu knew nothing about Madhuram’s family and he couldn’t leave Madhuram alone on the station like this. So he just sat there and listened to Madhuram talk about his English friend. Other rickshaw drivers conned travelers but Sindhu opened his heart to them. Maduram had the heart & wealth of a saint. He would never con, he would never bicker with anyone. He has been like that, as far as Sindhu can tell, he would die with a heart that doesn’t belong in this world. The least Sindhu could do was to listen as one of the best people he knew prattle.

 


 

25 years ago, Maduram saw a firangi (foreigner) depart the train. Every rickshaw driver knew that this meant dollars. Luckily for him that day, he was the only rickshaw driver. Pankaj had gone off for lunch and so Maduram approached the firangi. Madhuram knew that the firangi was lost, frustrated and a little angry just by looking at him. Madhuram did something that he hardly ever did: he smiled and greeted the firangi. The tension evaporated from firangi’s stature and he said “Maandir?”

Firangi trying to speak hindi was hilarious incident for Madhuram.  He drove the firangi, who said his name was Peter, to the temple of Kali. One the way they both spoke, Madhuram slowly reminiscing his time in Mumbai. He had learned some English when he was in Mumbai, when he was young and stupid. So they spoke in broken languages of one another and somehow the two wrongs made right and a bond was born, stronger than anything Madhuram had ever known before. The entire day Madhuram drove Peter around, first to the temple, then to the river where all the village wives washed clothes and then to the old film set where Amitabh Bachan had shot his first movie. All of the places had no tourists, they were all places where Madhuram had spent his youth in; where he had decided that it was time he became something like Amitabh himself.

As night fell, Madhuram invited Peter to their home. Peter accepted and as they reached home, Peter was shocked and Madhuram abashed. The ‘home’ of Madhuram’s family was nothing more than a small shed where he lived with his wife and son. But Madhuram didn’t relent and treated Peter more like a brother than a guest. Peter was an Englishman visiting India as he wanted to experience what his ancestors did. Peter wanted to know what made his grandfather love this country so much. Peter also said that his experience so far had contradicted everything his grandfather had told him.

Madhuram however, was excited and apprehensive at the same time. He had met some firangi when he was a young man, living in Mumbai with wide eyed dreams of making it to the big screen just like Amitabh Bachan or Dharmender. He never could become great, and he was too straight for the crooked lifestyle. Everyone in the village kept asking him about the life in Mumbai and he narrated the story. However his story made more naive youngsters leave the village chasing the same dreams.

Peter enjoyed the tour around the places in the village. He was comfortable in the tiny abode of Madhuram’s. Madhuram’s wife Sita blushed whenever Madhuram complimented her food. His son, Dhanu kept looking at Peter as if he was alien, got a scolding from Madhuram as soon as he noticed. It was astonishing for Peter to see how such a family of three can live in a small house, but nevertheless the hospitality offered was better than the best hotel. The food was another paradise perfectly crafted in a small ceramic plate, which was different from the metal plates the family ate in. Sita didn’t speak at all, she couldn’t speak English. Dhanu knew English than Madhuram and Madhuram was proud.

‘I learnt English Bombay, I learn English Dhanu’ Madhuram proudly stated.

Peter laughed at the statement, a simple statement that had was medley of pride, joy and sorrow rolled in one. He was taken back by the emotions packed. The family was in itself complete regardless of the materialistic lacking. They kept asking Peter to stay in their house even before the dinner was done. Peter never said yes but they insisted and Dhanu ran outside to fetch a better mattress. Madhuram had not yet even taken fare from Peter.

 


 

Postal addresses were exchanged before Peter departed. Sita and Dhanu stayed back home while Madhuram drove Peter to the station. Madhuram refused Peter’s money.

‘Money from bhai?’ Madhuram asked refusing Peters’ insistence.

Peter never knew what bhai meant, but the word stayed with him. A month after Peter left, Dhanu came home gleefully. Turns out there was a letter in Madhuram’s name at the post office near the school. Madhuram couldn’t read the letter but Dhanu could. Somehow, Peter had tracked a person in London who could write in Hindi as well and there was a two paged letter, one in English and other in Hindi. Peter mentioned his family, his grandfather and his girlfriend. Madhuram didn’t know what girlfriend meant but Dhanu grinned embarrassingly.

The letter was signed off with ‘Bhai, Peter’.

Over the months that followed Dhanu kept coming home with similar letters and he kept sending more letters out of the country. Madhuram spent a days’ wages on the letters and eventually he didn’t need Dhanu to read the letters. 3 years passed this way but suddenly the letters stopped. Madhuram got worried as he knew that on 20th of every month a letter would arrive. It was 30th and still no letter. He went to the post office daily to check but still no letter. He sent more letters asking what had happened but no reply. Years passed and Dhanu went to the city for study. Sita got pregnant but she couldn’t survive childbirth and the girl was stillborn. While Dhanu tried to make his studies and a grieving father priorities, Madhuram sent him back to the city to complete his studies. Madhuram grew distant, and he sent another letter to a bhai across the globe. No reply.

He never invited anyone to his home anymore, he had no home other than a shed. He treated everyone the same way he treated Peter and showed them all the temples, the rivers and the film locations. Some were happy, most were annoyed. Most just thought he was cheating them for more fare. His son was gone, making money and name for himself, Madhuram was proud of him, but he hardly got time to visit his village anymore. Madhuram wrote another letter.

One day Dhanu came home unexpectedly and he had a letter with him.

 


 

Sindhu couldn’t believe it. Friends, one English and the other an ordinary rickshaw driver. They didn’t share a language, they didn’t share any cultural background but they shared bond stronger than any he had ever known. Sindhu’s father had mentioned Madhuram, he had said Madhuram is one of the very souls which could imbue loyalty from a thief. Sindhu however was never aware of the hardships Madhuram had suffered. It is one thing to hear about someone’s loss. It is even more devastating to listen to the person narrate his loss.

The train horned distantly and Sindhu looked away from Madhuram, conscious that tears might fall. He knew he would be at the station when the two friends reunited. He hoped he would be strong enough to witness it. Moreover he hoped that Peter actually shows up.

When the train finally stopped, Madhuram bolted upright, his moderately strong vision scanning the crowd in light of a few bulbs. Sindhu scanned the crowd as well, how hard can it be to spot one white among so many colors. He spotted an old white man soon enough and directed Madhuram towards him.

Peter looked worse than Madhuram, there was some problem with him. Sindhu almost flinched when he saw Peter, he resembled a leper. But Madhuram, he was overjoyed. Tears rushing from his eyes as waterfalls and ran to embrace his friend. It was out worldly to witness this, an ordinary old man hugging a diseased white man.

Sindhu, for the first time in years cried seeing them. The onlookers were damned, he knew he was changed forever. Madhuram tried to speak but his throat was rocked with sobs, his old body shivering. Peter, he never knew he could ever know peace like this ever again, especially when he knew he had only weeks to live.

 


 

The story was inspired by Pico Iyer’s personal essay I had read in ‘Burn This Book’. Short story plucked all the heartstrings.

Poem: Trying too Hard (NZ National Poetry Day 2016)


Inspired by a recent Meetup I just went to & today’s Daily Prompt challenge: Obvious. I decided to try poetry for the day.


 

Trying too hard you say,
Mockery spurns away.
Why is this such a bad thing?
Everyone wants to fit in.

It is easy for many to find their places,
others struggle to find spaces.
Trying too hard you say,
with disgust and others hearsay.

Stop with your pretentiousness,
Embrace the awkwardness.
Be kind in with your words,
they are sharper than swords.

Many grew in times,
when one had to earn their wines.
Nothing was a mouseclick distant,
Nothing was a publicity stunt.

Trying too hard you say,
Mockery spurns away.
Fitting in is what makes us,
can’t you what’s Obvious?


 

Other entries in Daily Post Challenge:

Privilege


In recent times, privilege has been branded as a word to describe to Whites. The use of the word is many a times justified, but I am not the judge of that. I am not perceptive enough to pick out subtle race differences, to spot the minorities. I am not writing a post about racism, nothing has warranted it. But now, I have  a taste of privilege.

 


 

Last night, after a hilarious evening with some friends I took the midnight bus home. I didn’t want to read a book. I sat with music reverberating in my ears and looked around. For the midnight bus, there were still a lot of people riding home. Auckland doesn’t sleep either. I saw faces mirroring mine: tired, sleepy and listening to music than talk to each other. The only sound was the roar of the engine (which was not much) and chatter of a couple. I raced my brain to draw some inspiration in the scene, to get inspired and write a fictional story from the dark passage home but I couldn’t. How could I?

 


 

We all are going somewhere. One station at a time #train #blacknwhite #auckland

A photo posted by Mayur Wadhwani (@mayurdw) on Feb 29, 2016 at 10:26pm PST

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

On my way to work in train, I was reading a collection of personal essays. I was mundane, another commuter more engrossed in his phone or his book than to observe people or talk to people. This changed until the person next to me took out a novel. Her interests and mine were different, I read novels for fun and she read because of curiosity, which was now focused on understanding New Zealand’s aboriginals Maoris. I could see her interests in tracing Maori philosophical & cultural roots

In my time in Auckland, Maoris look physically big, scary. It is difficult to comprehend their accent their sense of humor is eclectic, only to be understood by them. After I actually got to know a few of them, I can say now they are simple-minded and enthusiastic about everything. (Exclude a gregarious roommate I had in my previous home)

We spoke first about Maori culture, I already knew a little about their mythologies as I have read some novels. I don’t know everything about them after reading a couple of novels. On the other hand, she is trying to understand the customs, their drive. She said she could draw many parallels between her Buddhist practices and Maori practices. One peculiar custom we spoke of related to their ‘Mana'(or in how I could understand the term: respect) is when a person wronged and their Mana been damaged, the same person must restore their Mana by damaging the perpetrator’s Mana. From my sessions in my University’s debate society, I know there is a property law founded on the same principle.

However, we quickly moved on from books and spoke about the city life, which is lonely as compared to rural life, rife with communities and mutual care. She said that she is trying to help out in her own way to take care of the surroundings, to give back to the country she is staying in and trying to understand the wealth gap existing particularly in Auckland. She mentioned that she feels privileged to have enough food, shelter and livelihood.

 


 

If you ever ask any foreign national to describe India, or Mumbai specifically, they will say it is very poor. She said the same thing while reminiscing her last trip to Mumbai. She was torn at the sight of so many poor people living without basic amenities. I wanted to tell her that she was a magnet for all the beggars as she had dollars. The heartlessness of my own words shamed me. Our conversation had quickly moved on from Maori culture to the poverty prevalent in my home city, the intensity of our conversation didn’t. As for the homeless in Auckland, I could say I have seen worse. Became immunized to worse conditions.

Probably why I never complain about buses running late in the city, as I have traveled buses which were running with a joke of timetable in my hometown. Why I never complain about the traffic or for that matter the standard of living here as I know it is four times what I was used to. And I am still scrapping the end of the barrel here.

When we spoke, for me it was very easy to fire up, and be outraged by her pity to call India poor. After all we are improving. However, the truth is we have to fight for basic amenities in India. The biggest of which is, and forever will be, water supply. There is too much in rainy season, too little in summer. I tried to defend my country by quoting Rang De Basanti ‘No country is perfect’ but at the end, I knew she was right. The ceaseless struggle, my city which never sleeps, city I left behind. I moved to a place with better living, with hopes of making a better life.

I have no conclusions to draw from yesterday. Because we never reached a conclusion. Maybe there will never be a conclusion.

Weekend Coffee Share: Househunting again


If we are having coffee, I would tell you that coffee shares are surprisingly simple and difficult at the same time. How much am I supposed to share? Am I just supposed to gloss over stuff, or dive into my feelings as I do in many of my posts.

I would tell you that I hate my housemate. She is subletting the apartment to us and is no longer willing to adjust all the while binding us to her house rules. I don’t mind the rules as long as I get what I want, which I have to argue over. This past week, things boiled over and there was no conclusion other than it is worthless. Time to move again.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I never realized what my parents meant by ‘having a stable home’ till now. After everyone argued, me and my roommate started by taking out our frustration and then each shared stories. I shared the story of the best people I met here, who would call me to dinner every Thursday when I lived in my previous home. He told me his overnight stay in his friends family place, and how he now knows what family is.

I looked in a couple of places this week, one of which I loved but was too expensive. After messaging, the houseowner said that nothing can be done. However, as I visited that place, I cycled by Mission Bay and it was so worth it. Auckland sure does have a lot of coastal ways and that is something I love.

If we are having coffee, it is at this point I would let you speak. To hear some others said, check them out.

 

 

Fiction: Characters in Bookworld?


Credits: Buzzfeed Books, FB

 

(I saw this on Facebook and I had to write on this!)

John could see the train coming in the tunnel, the beacon becoming brighter. Newmarket train Station in Auckland was extremely crowded. Considering the station had every line passing through it, it meant it was as important as Britomart Transport Centre. However, John had this stinking feeling that he had been here before even though he had never.

He had seen the train on different stations before too, he could guess he had seen the train driver before. The station masters in their yellow high visibility jacket were standing at the yellow line of the platform to ensure that no one crosses it as the train was almost at the station, a few seconds away. The girl next to him was playing Candy Crush on her iPhone, and his feeling intensified. He had seen that girl before, he just couldn’t recall when. He frowned, trying to remember when had he seen a scene which was so similar, the train light shining down the tunnel, the girl and the people. The loudspeakers boomed saying “Train for Swanson is arriving on platform 1, please stand behind the yellow line”

The wind blew across the station and someone lose their purple scarf. That purple scarf, he thought as it kept flowing and slammed into his face. He knew now, all of this had happened before. He had been here on the station before, seen the Candy Crush playing girl before right here and that scarf had hit him in his face before. Everything had happened before, only it really hadn’t. How? Why?

The train whoozed past him, slowing down and stopped, the door right in front of him. People pressed the green button to open the doors. He just stood there, the purple scarf had tied itself to his neck now and there was someone in his periphery. Another girl, no not a girl this time but an old woman. He realised that the scarf belonged to the woman and he apologised. Untying the scarf he handed it to her and smiled, the old woman smiled back. This was new. He could recollect some of the things which had happened last time. But last time? It was his first time here on the station wasn’t it?

He was no longer sure. He was sure that the previously he entered the train. After that what happened he was not sure. He had an interview to get to but he was too lost in his thoughts. The Candy Crush girl stood near the now opened door, the old woman was making her way to the reserved seats. He knew he had got in the train the last time.

This time, he didn’t want to. So he didn’t and slowly the train doors closed with a beeping sound signalling closing doors. He had just wasted his ticket but he didn’t care. He had a strange feeling that this was bigger than any other job waiting for him.

He knew that his story was written differently. Now it has started fresh.

Weekend Coffee Share: Eventful to say the least


If we are having coffee, I would say that this week has been exciting and tiring at the same time. I did a lot of things this week and the main thing is I loved the past week, which climaxed with a beautiful trip down to Taupo Lake.

 

If we are having coffee I would tell you that my manager helped me by providing me with a lot of utensils and cutlery because I asked for a thing or two. Aside from the fact that she gives me enough freedom, which I realized after I tried working for someone else this week, I am really happy that I am working with her. What is even better was this week there was another Jazz Session by University of Auckland students. Who doesn’t love Jazz?!

 

Last night. Jazz session by #ua #musicschool. Amazing!! #jazz #auckland #orleans bad camera shot though! 😞

A photo posted by Mayur Wadhwani (@mayurdw) on Jun 21, 2016 at 5:32pm PDT

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

 

Wednesday my university had a career fair, and I have not figured out if it was useful in making contacts or not. I volunteered as the Student Ambassador that day and while I made contacts in my university I can’t say the same thing for the companies. Was it worth it? YUP!

If I was having coffee with you, I would tell you that I tried to get another job. I didn’t get it though, even though I knew exactly how I was doing. I do know how to tutor kids! Anyway, I am kind of glad that I didn’t. When that manager mailed me by telling me that I didn’t get the job, it almost ruined my trip. Almost. That very same night I had agreed on attending a friends’ 21st and I had fun. I met a recently married couple there and they were by far one of the most funniest couples I met. On the down side, I had to look for a gift for birthday girl. Damn shopping!

Lastly, if we do have coffee I would tell you I love New Zealand. It is so beautiful as soon as you get out of the city. Taupo Lake is as immense as the marina here, twice as cold but so much peaceful. We even found a ghost town there (Kinloch) as when we drove by we didn’t see on soul. We ate barbecue chicken, had excellent music and finished it off with chocolate. Best night ever! I am really happy that my friend invited me. The picture down is of the Orakei, we were lucky to be there just as the sky cleared up.

Now it is your turn! I know I spent too much of your time here but yeah sure go ahead. 🙂

Cycling: A Paradox


In the recent months, cycling in Auckland has become one of my favorite activities. At the same time, I have come to loath this activity too. I love cycling down-slope, even though my nerves fire up whenever I ride in such high speed, I am glad I bought a cycle. When I cycle up-slope, if I ever do, I curse my decision to buy a cycle in this sinuous city. I love the fact that I can ride really slowly around the places, the coastal areas and enjoy the view. But I hate it when some other cyclist overtakes me in their absolutely amazing cycle. I love the wind on my face as I cycle. I just hate it when I have to cycle against strong winds.

 

 


 

“He is still so short”

Everyone would talk about me “make him ride a cycle, that will give his growth an impetus.” I never was a fan of cycling, especially because learning to cycle meant falling down a lot and I didn’t want to get hurt. But whenever anyone would talk like that about me, I wanted to learn cycling. In my family, everyone is at least 6 feet tall. I was not tall at that time and I was slightly afraid that I wouldn’t be able to catch up to my cousins and siblings. So one fine day when one of my aunts said that line, I decided that I will learn cycling.

I learned cycling when I was in grade 9, and my learning curve did not include lots of falling. The few bruises and cuts I got were eclipsed by the joy of learning something I never thought I would do.

And to this day, I have not found any scientific correlation between cycling and getting taller. However, I don’t care anymore as I am taller than everyone in my family. Not really that tall in Auckland though, the people here are gigantic.

 

 


 

When I went to Hamilton, I was mesmerized by the green pastures that stretched for miles and miles. However we were driving at more than 100 kmph so there was hardly any time to actually absorb the views. I knew that if I was cycling or walking, I would have more time.

My first home in Pakuranga (East Auckland) had a great coastal cycleway. Almost every chance I got, I would be there cycling as slowly as I can, but not walking as I had a cycle, to soak in. The sounds of waves crashing into the rocks, the chirping seagulls(do seagulls chirp? I don’t know) and gushing wind. It was bliss.

Then when I would be heading to a friends’ place or the church I would again ride, this time fast as I was on the road. Every car that whooshed by me would be terrifying, especially on the bridge that I always had to cross. I never got used to that.

New house (West Auckland) and luckily I no longer have to cross any bridges. Only here, I saw other cyclist and damn they are fast. They would out pace me as if I am standing still and every single one who did made me want to go faster. It took me a while to grasp the truth: they are better cyclist on better cycles (their tyres offer less friction). I hate that and I want to go faster.

 


 

My first cycle was whatever leftover from my brother. He brought it and then after sometime hardly used it. We didn’t maintain it much I realize now. He had also custom painted it, if I could call it that. So when I started learning, I had to fix it up first and then ride around.

I rode it to my school, but for some reason I no longer remember, I stopped using it. We sold it off as scrap metal. Years later, we brought a scooter and at that time I was applying to many universities. Then, I wanted something for myself as well but I wanted a cycle again. Only for some reason, I never bought it. Money was not an issue, I had started earning and a cycle is cheaper than a scooter. With months passing, I got my visa and I left for Auckland never really buying a cycle. However I knew there are great pathways for cycling here.

Brought my first cycle here with money saved, and immediately did something stupid: tried to ride up-slope. Never have I ever been so tired. It took me a while to remember how cycle gears worked but I still never did try up-slope again. I always dragged my cycle to the summit and had a breathtaking panorama of the entire city now trough of the valley below.

Maybe there is a metaphor in there somewhere but I would just leave it as that.


 

With a couple of issues in my cycle recently, I vowed to ensure that my cycle is always properly maintained. I have put too much efforts in cycling to just drop it off now. I Google for every small thing, YouTube for tutorials on how to adjust the dérailleur. Maybe I am being excessive but I do love cycling. And sometimes I hate cycling. Maybe it is not a paradox but just me being lazy.

PS: Excuse my bad photographic skills

 

Street Art while cycling #nz #cycle #maori #streetart #auckland

A photo posted by Mayur Wadhwani (@mayurdw) on Jul 14, 2016 at 6:32pm PDT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiction: What is Success?


(The following piece is inspired by a conversation I had with a couple of friends)

The restaurant is pretty busy. There is long queue of people who are waiting to dine in here but those who are having their dinners here do not want to vacate their tables even after they are done. The tiny restaurant is hardly 5 years old but is already more popular than most others along the Mount Eden Road stretch in Auckland. In one of the tables sat two families with children of the similar ages. The fathers are talking about the latest business deal they had closed while the mothers are chatting about the latest gossips. The kids are however busy with something else.

“Oo I caught a Charmandar!” Rick exclaimed.

“Wow” exclaims Jeremiah agog. Their fathers shake their heads at the early addiction signs of the game and resume their conversation. While Pokemon is a game based on a TV show from the time when the fathers were young, now they do not have the time to relive the young memories, the nostalgia. They are busy chasing one benchmark after another. Just like the owner of the restaurant who is trying every trick in the book to be a perfect gourmet.

“So you have a Charmandar, what do we do now?” asks Jeremiah more interested in the game than the conversation his parents are having. His mother looks towards him, thinking about how materialistic her son is becoming. She remembers her own childhood when she would be happy if she had just a Barbie or a teddy. But Jeremiah wants more so her husband works more hours. What is happening to her perfect life she wonders.

“I don’t know. But  I think I am going to battle the gym leader, beat him.” Rick explains. “If I am successful, then I will be in control of the gym for my team.”

Jeremiah picks up a word from the conversation his father is having, something about the youth not knowing what success is. Jeremiah shouts suddenly.

“Dad I know what success is!”

(image credits: Mind Protein)

Weekend Coffee Share: Week’s helper


I missed last weekend’s coffee share as I was doing something. I don’t remember what. The week started early, some 5 am when one of my friend called me to talk to me. Something was wrong I knew immediately and we Skyped so early in the morning. Something had came up and she was scared. I did what I do best: make the lamest jokes possible to alleviate her worries. I wish that was the only time it happened in the entire week but another friend also had some issues and messaged me. Did the same thing but I was only thinking: only last entire week I was in a bad place and now are some of my friends. What is happening?

If we do have coffee, I would break the news: my application for continuing my master’s is approved. I can now work on my Masters project which is exactly what I wanted to do. I am so happy and finally a little relaxed. I knew who all helped me, kept touch with me when I needed it. Thank you.

In other news, I love Pokemon Go. The weekend me and my friends walked around the harbour catching pokemon rather than go out to a pub to relax and kill them. I kept thinking: this has got to be the only time I enjoyed my phone more than my friends company. If we do have coffee and you have the game then we will probably stop talking and go catch them all. It is not just me who is addicted but the entire Auckland is catching only pokemon these days. Can’t really blame anyone for it is amazing.

One of the best things I now realize I did was encourage one of my friends to apply for his Masters. His grades were similar to mine and he had given up before applying.

I guess that is all for the week. It is your turn to speak up and say how was your week?

Weekend Coffee Share: New House


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I moved to a new house past Sunday. It’s not as luxurious as my previous house but then again I knew it was coming. I spent the week here, making friends with the roommates and slowly our bond seems to be getting stronger, unlike my previous roommates.

Also, while sipping coffee, I would complain about my cycle. Start of the week it had a puncture and now there is another problem with the rear gear derailleur. No wonder people give advises to buy a good cycle and not a cheap one. Well, I still have to get a quote on the derailleur problem.

However I love cycling around here. There is a direct separate cycling way to my university, an easy way to the church and both sides it is fun to cycle. Yeah it is also tiring but then again I am having fun. I would have more fun if my cycle stops breaking down so much.

I would tell you that I started working on my Master’s project even before my grades were out. This is especially risky as I didn’t know at that time what is going to happen with my degree anymore. Regardless, even though I worked for a couple of days, I was happy. Finally!

Speaking of grades: they are also out. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I clear them to qualify for my Master’s or not yet. As my grades are bordering between B and C, I don’t know what to infer. When I read the grades all I could do was laugh: even now I feel like Life’s playing with me.

If we do have coffee, I would tell you the highlight of the entire week has been the spoken word event that I attended and wrote about it. I would tell you that I’m desperately waiting for the next such event as I loved it. Considering the response that they got, I hope that they don’t charge it from the next time.

Lastly, I would turn the mike over to you and await to hear from you: how has your week been?

Maybe I should pay more attention


Racism. Something which I would hardly think of when I am dealing with people. So whenever people would ask me “Where are you from?” I would reply where am I from and just leave it at that. I hardly pay any heed to the subtle hints of racism because I do not have time for it. However after listening to at least 6 people speak about the same issue I realize that maybe I should be paying more attention.

After seeing an event on Facebook about a spoken word/poetry event, I decided to go for it. I like writing, I like poetry and I am a fan of spoken poetry. I knew the topic is not a simple one and from what I heard from the speakers I realized how unaware am I about the extent.

The bar couldn’t have been shadier. Honestly, they took underground groups too literally and they had more than 100 people gathered in such a small place. The next door rock band overpowered the speakers completely and I couldn’t make out more than a syllable or two in the first half of the event. However the next half, I sat up front and listened. I was so into it that I forgot to click photos, forgot almost everything and just absorbed.

I heard a girl try to explain and fail, try again and still get all messed up in explaining where she is from: Chinese or Kiwi. I heard a guy talk about what it was like being White after being born in a Maori family. Heard an open letter, not to White people, but to Koreans. Heard two poems from an Australian Maori girl.

Maybe I am missing some of the poems. Even more likely I am actually not doing justice to what I heard. Because I simply cannot; I am not perceptible enough of the surroundings, I don’t think along the lines as the speakers can think. Because their words moved, their experiences made me recall all the months and think: was that racism?

While I may not know which end of the spectrum I exist on, I am surely one of those ‘unawares’ the speakers spoke of. And from what I heard, I cannot help but applaud the speakers and their courage. And learn and absorb whatever I can, from their experiences, from their words and their strengths.

Fiction: Burying my companions secrets


I am killing some zombies on my PlayZ console. The console and the game are really ancient at this point and I have mastered the game by now. But it is still crazy. I want to buy some new game, maybe military FPS this time but my mom wouldn’t give me any money. What’s the point of earning so much money if no one enjoys it?!

To make it worse my damn WiFi is down. Some construction work at the end of the street and now no one has any network. It’s like living in the freaking apocalypse only without any zombies to kill. I get a call from Adam.

“Hey buddy what are you doing?” He asks loudly on the phone in his cocky English accent. I hate it when he calls me and talks like that. He knows it.

“What do you want?” I snap at him, angry about the interruption and accent.

“Haha” he jibes on the phone, perfectly aware that I hate his accent. No wonder we are best friends.

“Alright I’ll speak. If you are not free then it’s cool but if you are free then can you come over and help me bury a body?”

Damn! He did it again. I want to shout on the phone, throw my phone away in anger. But it won’t matter to him. I know him too well.

“Okay cool I’ll be there in 10.”

I never could say no to my friends. And zombies are getting kind of boring anyway.


 

We are outside Adam’s house, in the backyard with only moonlight to help guide us. It is drizzling and in five minutes my clothes are damp from sweat and rain. If our moms found out that we are outside instead of studying then she would kill us. She will never find out though.

When I arrived at his place we exchanged pleasantries and quickly got to work. I haven’t removed the cloth covering the body yet but I can see blood spreading around what I assume is the head.

Headshot then. Damn impressive on my friend’s part. But I will not tell him that, instead I need to beat some sense into his head. We buried a body last week, ten feet from where we are standing. The grave is closer to the tree and he joked about how the tree will get more minerals now. Asshole. I am trying to frame an argument to persuade him to be more cautious in his hobby but so far I have got nothing. So I just dig, both our shovels hitting the ground and prying the soil loose. Crunch, crunch. The sound of the shovels in sync. After another ten minutes we are done.

I stand up straight, my left hand holding the shovel while my right wipes the water from my forehead. I look over at Adam, he was looking at the body and I could see a smile on his face Then he looks over at me and I can see his eyes glittering. If anyone would look at him no one will be able to guess that he killed two people in two weeks. He was small, slightly round and stood with his legs pressed together. His milk white skin was beading with water but he didn’t mind. I have to try something.

“Headshot?” I ask.

“Hell yeah!” He can’t keep his excitement out of his voice. “Oh you should have seen me buddy, I was so good. I hid behind a …”

“You idiot! What if someone had seen you? What about witnesses?” My anger is going to pour out like a fountain now.

“No witnesses, and I learned how to find a good spot. You must know it by now too.” He stops and waits, but I don’t know what he is talking about.

“The new PlayZ! This time we kill zombies and humans. They can’t keep putting us against zombies all the time can they? In the series, there is zombies outside the city which is barricaded. We have to go outside in the day to kill zombies and in the night eliminate the opponents. However if we mess up and get caught game over!”

He says expecting a praise. I don’t give him one. I guess he is right. But that doesn’t change anything, and I just need to get it out of my mouth.

“Allison Martin, George Washington, Philip Mathews. Do you remember those names? They were all over the news recently, for the exact same thing. They killed and they were caught! The characters in the games and real life are different. People and cops think buddy. You can’t keep killing people in the same manner as you kill them in the game! They will catch you!”

I turn towards the body, ready to throw it in the grave. I hear him move a little, the sound of leaves rustling underneath his feet alert me. But not nearly as early enough.

“Not if there are no witnesses.”

I hear the click of the gun…….

 


 

NOTE: All characters are fictitious and any character name mentioned is purely coincidental. In response to Daily Prompt’s ‘Companion‘ and Clever Fiction’s ‘Choose your scenario: If your buddy asks your help to bury a body

Other responses:

 

Weekend Coffee Share: The week that wasn’t


I had everything planned. Give my exams, Monday and Tuesday. Finish up my presentation for Wednesday and then go for a Jazz session in a bar in Auckland CBD. I would have finished up with everything with a smile on my face.

 

If we were having coffee then I would have told you that it didn’t go that way. In fact, it might be the worst week I have had here. I gave my exams, tensed and when I was done instead of a smile on my face I had a frown. Then I realized that I have misread the event on Facebook and the jazz session is actually this Tuesday and not last. It would be here from which everything went downhill.

 

I would tell you over coffee that on Wednesday I was late for my presentation. My bus was late, which always reaches on time that didn’t. And I’m regret of my mistake of not taking the previous bus every second. My sir canceled my presentation. No matter how much I begged, pleaded nothing came from it. 10 minutes and I loose 20% grades. As much as I want to hate him, I can’t. I screwed up.

 

I would tell you that the crazy part of my mind was laughing over the futility of it all: work hard over entire semester and screw up in ten minutes. It was laughing, I was laughing as I found out how easy it was to screw up this big.

 

I’m mortified: if I don’t score B grade over the semester then I would not be able to complete my Master’s. I had to worry about my house first, now my degree. I wish this was all for my week.

 

Friday. I had secured a last assistant job at the university for next semester. My professor told me that due to being inundated with applicants, I would no longer be hired.

 

I tried to distract myself. I volunteered in the church I’m a part of since Easter but all I thought about was my screw up. Everyone was talking about exams and all I did was mull over my scores. Sadly the distraction that did work was killing random robots while playing Call of Duty. I didn’t try to ask myself why am I this way.

 

Speaking of the church, today every sentence uttered in the service, every scripture referred seemed directed at me. The Pastors spoke about worrying, tension, forgiveness. Everything that I could think in my mind was addressed in the service. As I left, one of the Pastors walked me out. He knew something was wrong and at the end he prayed for me. I still feel his presence on my back where he kept his hand.

 

Plus, today they had a jazz choir. If we do have coffee, I would apologize for dropping such bombs on you. I would apologize as I wanted to talk but all I did was whine.

If we are having coffee: Some Reminders


If we are having coffee(or tea), I would tell you that something happened that made me want to take writing seriously again.

If we do have coffee, I would also tell you that this is my first #weekendcoffeeshare post. I always loved this idea, I tried it in real life too, however I failed to keep up with half of it. I don’t know if I will be able to do this for long either.

It has been rough couple of days. No actually, it has been a rough couple of months. There was no particular reason, there were many of them. So while studying and speaking to a dear friend of mine something unlocked.

I told her to grow up, I told her to have patience and learn how to deal with things happening because of the wishes she is taking. I told her to take care of her loved ones first before she breaks down. And the reason is not so noble: I told her that she can’t take care of her loved ones when she is the one who needs help.

I don’t remember where I read this. I must have because I picked it up, adopted it without breaking a sweat and now I realize that I have been doing this for so long it is who I am. So I opened up ‘Pocket’ to try find where I read it, it is my treasure of the posts I have loved ever since I started blogging.

I forgot what it was like to feel through reading words. I read one and then I read many. I read this post, one which beautifully described the experience of having a dog: it made me laugh and sad, it made me miss my dog.

Then this post, one where she spoke about her familiarity with funerals and death of David Bowie and I felt her pain.

I wept, I laughed, I ached and I smiled amidst tears. Then I wept even more when I read this post, something that I always do when I read this, one where a other speaks about her dying daughter, I never found out what happened afterwards, I don’t have the courage to. I laughed at this guy’s take on Indian culture, on this blogger’s collection of Cat quotes, this post about depression, this post about childhood & identity, on this absolutely beautiful tale about Guitar and music. No wonder I tried to pick up a guitar afterwards and I am still trying.

If we are having coffee, then I think I must have mentioned all of this before too. I don’t care, I cherish the reminders. I just know that in the space and time I forgot how or what blogging was. I struggled with closing this blog, tried and somehow still struggling.

I am looking for a new place, or found it, giving exams and so much more. I didn’t sleep two days in a row, studied and realized that I still have a long way to go in studies. This week reflected on mostly my studies.

If we were to have coffee(virtually again) I would love that. I know it is not the way #weekendcoffeeshare posts are written but this is my take on it.

Luck’s running out


Random person: “Wow that is awesome”

Me: “Yeah, I got lucky.”

That’s how I always described it. Lucky. Not hard work or dedication; I was just at the right place at the right time. Many would say that I jinxed it myself, I just knew it was coming sooner or later.

The previous housekeeper left and I took up housekeeping. I wanted to save money and the job was the only way. No rent, work against stay arrangement. I admit, I was not an excellent housekeeper but I tried.

Last week I got to know, a mere week before my semester exams, I need to vacate the house by the end of June. I like my house. It was not perfect when I moved in, it is not perfect still. I have seen better houses, been around in better localities in Auckland but I liked the people that lived here. Somehow it suited me to know people for a couple of days, make friends and then never speak to them ever again. In my own twisted way, it suited me to be aloof. I had privacy in a shared room, I joined communities and I bought a bicycle here. It seems like yesterday that I moved in here. I planned to finish my studies in this house. Aside from the monetary reasons, the best thing about the house was its quick access to the coast. So I cycled down the coast to experience it again. If I didn’t have monetary reasons to stay in this place, I would have still tried to live here.

 

wp-1464754652186.jpeg
The pakuranga walkway, that is my bicycle

 

Now, I am worried, stressed and mildly freaking out. I know how difficult it was the last time I tried to look for houses in Auckland. Now I have to do it again along with getting my studies done and earning more money so that I can afford a house. When I got to know, I knew that my good fortune will not shine, however I also knew there wouldn’t be total darkness. That things are going to get tougher, and I may still make a lot of mistakes in the coming days. But I can’t just sit here and do nothing.

Now, when I am almost done with househunting (or room hunting), and the experience was not as bad as it was the last time. I knew what I wanted, the location I wanted and the cost. I knew my parameters, my limits. It was not as bad as it was the last time. Obviously, I didn’t expect something perfect, or a house with pets, what I am getting is perfect for the time being.

And even if things do get worse, I do have the feeling that I can figure it out. Eventually.

Perfection


 

I was assessing year 4 math papers yesterday. As part of my new job as a assistant tutor, this is one of the responsibilities. As I assessed their papers, I recalled my school years when I used to do the same things that these kids are doing. My frustration at the concept of complex numbers, integers and sign rules, I knew what these kids were passing through.

However, after assessment when I showed the marks to my supervisor, she said these results are good and they are ready to pass through to the next level. Shocked and bewildered I checked their marks again. None of them had scored a perfect score! Why would she let them pass on to the next level?

 


 

I recently got some of my interim grades for some of my assignments. None of them were that good, however to be honest I have never been very good at assignments. My strengths were always concepts and theories but not being able to artistically and articulately represent the said concepts. I was disappointed with the ‘B’s that I had received and these are just the interim grades. They are not the final grades. I know I could have done better.

Thus, I am putting so much more efforts into the upcoming assignment. I am no longer in India and here I know I have to pass each paper with flying colors(grades). I want that A+ in at least in one of the papers.

My mild OCD is slowing taking control.

 


 

When I site with the children who are learning, I cannot explain everything to them. I am given explicit instructions to not explain everything, just to nudge them in the right direction and let them complete their classwork. For me, the urge of not teaching the kids everything I know is killing me.

Okay, not literally killing me. Everything’s okay Mom, chill.

I like teaching. I did teach back in India with my classmates, with everyone who asked me. And now I cannot. So I sigh internally when I see them making a mistake and I can only do so much without telling them the error. I feel like a helpless tutor. It is not a good feeling.

On the contrary, it might be a good thing that I am not allowed to teach. These are school kids and I am in my masters’. I can finish the problems in my mind before they can read the question. It’s not arrogance and I take no pride in my capabilities when being compared with toddlers. However, if I do try to teach, how will I explain habitual calculations?

How do I explain the concepts that I have perfected by now?

 


 

When I assessed, I was alone. I winced audibly every time I saw an error. I winced even louder when I saw a very small error, a stupid mistake as my school teachers used to put it. I don’t like it as I knew the kid made a very small mistake. If the kid paid attention then there wouldn’t be any mistakes.

Regardless, my supervisor thought the kids were ready for an increment. I didn’t. I completely forgot that these are kids and not adults. I forgot that even I am not doing any good myself in my own grades in University and maybe some margin of improvement will always be there in everybody.

I forgot nobody is perfect.

The realization took its time to set in. I didn’t say anything to my supervisor, wisely as she knows it better. And I need this job to last so I should keep my head down for little issues. I mused on the way home why was I expecting such high standards from kids.

Expecting perfection from myself is not a good excuse for a change in my perception. I have too much left to learn for me too.

 

Fiction: Half Remembered Dream


Eyelids flickering. He should know by now he is dreaming, that it is almost 5 am in the morning. The time when the dam withholding dreams is released, random characters both new, remembered and fictitious manifest.

Yet he dreams on, his eyelids quivering as his sleep slowly withdraws, his breath quickening.

He is standing in a parking lot. He can hear dogs barking. Something is amiss because he has never been in such a parking spot yet it feels similar. He hears ‘I don’t wear hockey pads’ in a grumbling voice and realizes that his hands are tied and Batman is getting inside his Batmobile.

‘Bruce Wayne?’ he mumbles, both asleep and in the dream. Batman doesn’t hear him but someone next to him does. He turns around and finds his best friend, Helio next to him. There is blood pooling out of Helio’s mouth in a dribble. He can feel his heartbeat rising. He remembers Helio in such a terrible state before: it was the night that Helio died in an accident. He remembers the guilt of being a drunk driver, the emotional turmoil of waiting to hear back from the doctors about the operation. He remembers Helio taking his last breaths in his arms on the side of the road. He remembers the helplessness…..

‘It’s alright buddy, everyone knows who Batman is.’ Helio comments, his speech lucid despite the blood in mouth. He can’t speak, can’t say a word to his late best friend who is grinning, but that grin is all the more terrifying now. He can’t say as that night is still locked in his mind.

He wakes up; slightly drenched in sweat. This dream has always been repeating itself but now that he is awake he doesn’t remember the dream: doesn’t remember where the dream started from or who was in it. Everything is gone. He looks at the clock on his bedside table. Its only 4 am. He can sleep some more. His eyelids are already closing as he wills himself to not have the same dream he just lived through.

He is in a field, the empty air wheezing past his body. The field is clearly overgrown but no one has harvested it. The wind rustles the grass, picks up the dirt and blurs his vision. He doesn’t feel cold though. As he looks around, he finds a shovel in the north. The field he is walking through is orange and he picks up one of the fallen fruits. He tries to peel of the skin only to find that it is actually rotten from the inside. Orange rotten? He looks closely and sees that it is actually a mango in his hand. He throws it away and reaches the shovel. His hand is almost at the door…..

The alarm buzzes. He wakes up and sees that is 5:05 am. How could such a small dream take up an entire hour? Moreover, he wanted a mango now. He turns around to snooze the alarm and takes a big yawn. He feels the other side of the bed and sees that it is empty. His wife is not here, he recalls, she is out of the state. She always said that he is a sound sleeper but hardly quiet while dreaming. He takes another yawn and….

He is in the parking lot and he is not alone. He looks to his left and finds his wife beside him, she is young. Very young, she looks the way she used to look like when they both were in high school. Now it is day time and they are in their school parking lot. She is saying something but he can’t really hear what she is saying. She is angry at him, angry enough to start stomping away from him. He is confused about what but she is his wife so he runs after her. He runs but cannot reach her, she is always a couple of steps away from him even though he is running and she is walking.

He looks behind him to find that the parking lot is gone and he running across the terrace. He looks ahead too late and like a madman he jumps off the terrace. As he is falling down to the earth, which should have embraced him by now, he feels like he is underwater. Somehow the sensation of gravity is like diving inside a lake, slowly and controlled. It even feels cold but that maybe because he is falling. And just like that, he can see the ground coming to meet him all too fast….

And he wakes up, gasping for air. He looks at the clock it is 6:13 am. He jumps off the bed to get dressed. His mind however is still reeling and he remembers only a couple of things: running & the sensation of being underwater. He remembers his heart pounding, threatening to burst through his chest.

 


 

Well I was watching Inception last night so….

 

Grinning Down Queen Street


Today could have been any normal random day. Only it wasn’t. If I had known that I could have been this foolishly happy by just a book then I would have borrowed this book sooner: Malazan Book of the Fallen: Book 6 Bonehunters!

 

The best part about Auckland Library is the fact that they are so impossibly huge. As I returned a novel to the library, I could not stop myself from checking out the book collection. There is something about having this many books in front of me that dissolves my resolve. I did not expect to find Steven Erickson’sThe Bonehunters’ amidst the fantasy section. I already knew the library contained the entire 10 book series + standalone novels. The first book of the series ‘Gardens of the Moon’ already has a month waiting time before could borrow it.

With unmasked joy, I walked out of the library with my favourite book in tow, grinning like a proper maniac.

I always have music playing when I walk and today I kept playing the same 3 songs in repeat: Sinai by ilan Bluestone, Skylarking by BT and Snake Eyes by Mumford & Sons. My feet sprung up with each step, insync with the beats of the trance songs played in my ear.

I DID THAT ON THE BUSIEST STREET OF AUCKLAND!

I tried to control my glee but could barely manage. A small smile still crept up my face regardless of how hard I tried and I walked in tune with the best music of the day. I looked around at the tired faces, the ones who walked alone and the ones who walked in groups. Some sad and some amused. I moved on, unmoved amongst them, careless in my strides.


 

Halfway through Queen street, there is a cobbled lane the name of which I could never remember.

Whenever I look at the lane I feel like I am in Rome or any other Italian city. The restaurants have tables lined up along the lane, cementing the European look. A human statue stood at the intersection on a pedestal with his left arm outstretched holding a oil lantern. I did not notice his right hand. His face and body was smeared by black colour, giving the impression of a coal miner,  his eyes darting, scanning the crowd. One old fellow walked past the guy in an attempt to blow out his lantern, unsuccessfully. Another guy walked past the street artist and dropped some coins in the basket.

The immobile man quickly leap down the pedestal and grabbed the coins. I could not help it, I laughed. I was not the only one who was amused though, as others saw the same spectacle. The street artist though was enjoying himself too. He knew what he was doing.

 


 

My quick feet darted past the man covered in black and onwards my destination.

Undeterred, unmitigated and still gleeful. I could not wait to board the train and read Bonehunters.

Who knew the book could mean so much. The book is not even a happy book; it is full of blood and death, friendships and love, Gods and Man. And it is a masterpiece.

PS: I got an idea after that. Maybe I should start using the lanes and scenes from Auckland to spin fictions.

Sometimes I Surprise Myself


I have been cooking in a new country for a month now. Sadly, only once my cooking has produced something that I couldn’t get enough of.

I do not cook bad all the time. I don’t cook amazing either. The very first time I cooked lamb chops, I followed a recipe. The result was so good, that I wanted to cry in joy at the taste.  ‘I made this’ I thought amazed. And I have been trying to reproduce the results ever since.

image

But aside from the served dish, there are a couple of cooking things that I have mastered.

I heat up oil in the pan and add mustard seeds. The seeds pop and emit a great fragrance. I can add oil-blackened seeds to rice, lentils or anything else I have made. The aroma of the fried seeds, called tadka in India, is so good that everyone say ‘smells good’. I smile and try to tell them I didn’t do nothin’.

I don’t like large chunks of vegetables. Actually, I don’t like vegetables in general but I understand their importance in my food. So I spend time meticulously cutting onions, potatoes, carrots. As finely as I could. My previous housekeeper asked me how do I find so much time, I should just cook them in whatever shape they are. I didn’t tell her the answer but I don’t like that way, I like the way these small vegetables taste. The surprising thing: the chopped onions are now almost perfectly diced.And then I caramelise them so they are almost burnt. I could eat that with everything.

I have made mistakes. Twice, I cut my fingers with chef’s knife, once cutting onions and yesterday while cutting potatoes. After I bandaged my finger yesterday, my eyebrows were raised. ‘Wow, that was bloody efficient of you’ I praise myself (no pun intended) but I’m the clumsiest person I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

Roommates cook, sometimes I watch them. That’s how I learned how to cook pasta, embarrassingly. I praise them when their food looks or smell fabulous. Sometimes they offer their good food to taste, sometimes they don’t. I always offer food to taste. Food is always better when shared.

When I got here, I was prepared to eat anything I could cook. I was wrong, I want to eat food that does not makes me nauseous. If that means that I have to spend more time in prep so be it. I spend more than an hour cooking. I don’t regret it, I have found that cooking is actually fun.

I never expected myself to say that.

PS: I just completed 2 years on my blog.

Transit Friends


That is what I call them.

When I moved to Auckland, I had a plan. Live temporarily in this place while I look for a good apartment near my university. Call it my incompetence to get a good apartment near to my university, or the fact that I loved my area so much that I never moved.

I was supposed to get a good place, but I didn’t want to leave a better place either.

The people I met here are a special highlight. Not all of them are great, many like me are introverted. When the conversations start though, they were a unique experience.

They are all travellers. None of them are talking about the money they have, or the wild experiences they had. It’s simple, none are trying to impress anyone.

When I moved in, there were a couple of people living here already. These travellers are way past their studying years and now are making a living on the go. They travel, earn money and then travel some more. The cycle is repeated till I don’t know when, I never asked. They had fascinating tales, even better passports which could very well be out of a travelogue or self help book.

In my first week I met 4 Brits who were staying over for a weekend. Real cool guys, and as luck would have it we shared a room. There was another guy in the same room and he snored. I was jetlagged and couldn’t sleep. The 4 Brits couldn’t sleep because of the snores. We all stayed awake that night talking to one another about how to shut the snoring up, what other ways a corn can be used and my personal favourite was a tale of a lodge they slept one  night and swore never to return to such a place again. I can’t remember laughing like that in a long time.

As it was my first week here, I missed my home food and had bought Indian (expensive) food in desperation. I had no hesitation to share the food.

I met a Japanese girl here. Unlike the other travellers that I keep encountering she had no clue what she was doing, what she wanted to eat and what she wanted to buy. She hung around with me for a couple of days. I am sure she would be cursing me for making her walk from one place to the other simply because I didn’t want to use the more expensive bus. She was fun in her different way. Of all the people that I met here, she is the only one who I befriended on Facebook. And now I don’t text her either.

A very generous bunch of travellers gave me their guitar. We spoke the night they arrived, tired and cranky. Crazy dudes, a quiet girlfriend of one of the guys. Possibly the friendliest bunch ever, I would love to travel with such a group. I closed up all my work as I listened to them talking about Bali, India, Australia. Where to get cheap flights from, where to party hardest and where they found peace: they knew it all. For a first time traveller like me, I can only stare in fascination at their passports with multiple immigration stamps and visas. I was spellbound. The couple were engaged but he wanted his fiancée to travel the world like he did, on her own. He said ‘I want her to experience the things I did. I don’t want her to regret it.’ He didn’t have to tell me that but he did.

They moved to the city a day later, I lost their numbers. I also knew I would never contact them. I am weird that way.

There was a couple from Poland I remember. The guy had an awesome collection of folk music that I forgot to take. They told me where to buy good white wraps from which I substitute as rotis. They told me they were interrogated at the airport when they arrived at Auckland only because they were from Poland. The girl never spoke a word.

In the last month’s Lantern festival, I went alone on the first day and on the last day I oversold the festival and took two Germans and the Japanese girl along. I just didn’t want to go alone I guess. Like everyone else the Germans were travellers too. I kept asking questions about the places they have been to, things they have done.

Not every person is great though. Sometimes I wanted to run out of the room because a roommate looked scary. I maintained my cool. A chinese family snored like tractors in the night and I slept on the couch. I didn’t complain to them when they asked me why did I sleep on the couch. The couch is also very comfortable for me.

A Czech republic girl played the most soothing version of Tears of Heaven in the night. I slept like a baby listening to that tune. A guy never stopped drinking beer.

Days turned to weeks and now it has been a month. I can’t count the number of people I have met. I don’t want to because I would have a number of people that have left the house since I moved in.

I read about this on his blog ‘Into The Mild’ but until now I never realized what he really meant. The worst part about meeting so many people is that they leave. I know the probability of ever meeting them again is extremely slim. Unless I stay at the same place and hope that the Belgian guys decide to come here again or the Japanese girl wants to travel Auckland again.

A house like this is perfect for me: I will not be depended upon anyone. I wanted that, needed it. I don’t want to be at the mercy of other people’s kindness ever again.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t wish some of these great, funny people I met would live at the home for a little longer. For I can get out of my natural inhibitions and ask for their numbers and contact. And maybe speak to them again.

For now, I can see almost everyone I knew leaving the house this weekend. I can only sit and bid farewell because like them, I am too their in-transit friend.

Thank You Gmail


It is not easy; I knew it the moment I landed here in Auckland tugging two suitcases trying to soak in the new country and at the same time worrying about the things that I need to do. I knew that if there is one thing that I am going to miss the most about home is the ability to just call someone when I needed something.

To have a conversation without having a huge 8 hour time difference.

Now, I do the only thing I know well enough by now: I write them letters. Everyday my phone reminds me at 2 pm to send an email to my parents telling them how my previous day was. Sometimes I draft the email at 2, sometimes I don’t. The only thing that doesn’t change is my honesty. I know that they are the only ones at the moment who would like to know everything happening in my life in Auckland.

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

The first email I sent was a surprise to them. Three weeks into this, I mail them everyday. My mom’s morning routine now includes an email from me the first thing in the morning.

I do leave out a certain things, like the fact that one of my Japanese roommates decided to post a video on Facebook tagging me. Now I am going to be teased for a month or more. But its all cool.

The idea is similar to ‘If we were having coffee’ which I read on Sabina’s and Jay’s blogs. I liked the idea then and now I am using it not on my blog but with my family. Gmail made it really easy.

Okay that’s it, I’m in heaven! #sunset #nofilter #harbour #auckland #dockyard #walkway #manukau #beautiful

A photo posted by Mayur Wadhwani (@mayurdw) on Feb 19, 2016 at 1:05pm PST

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

I am trying to do the same thing with my friends back in India. I mail them every Sunday however I am pretty sure they will not be as enthusiastic as my parents. I don’t blame them, they have their own lives and not everyone can read hundreds of words.

I could Skype them, I did do that today. But I am not a guy who can talk. I am guy who knows how to put my thoughts into words and back them up with emotions. I tried the other way and because of the time difference it is not feasible. So now, I do what I know the best: I write letters to the ones I miss.

I write about the Lantern festival in Auckland, I write about the marina near my house. I write about the food that I made and about the food that was not so good. I can’t call them every time I need some help but I can surely remember where I came from; why I am here.

When you miss home, you make pav Bhaji (without the pav of course) #foodporn #pavbhaji #homesick #indian #auckland

A photo posted by Mayur Wadhwani (@mayurdw) on Feb 26, 2016 at 6:16pm PST

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

Nostalgia and Family


After two years of hard work, failures and obstacles that still seem unbeatable me and my family now have finally done it. I write my very first post from Auckland, New Zealand.

The road has been not been easy. The last six months were the hardest months that I had. Almost zero friends, a job which I didn’t fully enjoy and a slippery future were everyday thoughts. I crawled through the thick and thin, some days having support and the other days with my head bowed in guilt and loneliness.

The day before was the family dinner. Just the four of us, no Jimmy because restaurants are not exactly animal friendly here. We walked, and for the first time my elder brother, Navin was not fussing about my clothes. The dinner was never going to be a grand gesture, nothing flimflam but just something we do. Thanks to the India-Sri Lanka T20 match, the table talk was not filled with awkward silences.

*

I love food. But I love eating the comfort familiar food more than trying out different new dishes. Give me a new cuisine and I might excuse myself. Give me Dal Rice and I will definitely ask for more, probably with some fried potato slices. So the menu for me was fixed: tomato soup, Chicken lollipop, Nan and curries.

Familiar Dishes. Dishes with which I have grew up with.

The other day while roaming my town to complete some work (still pending and I’m worried about it.) and it was then I realised that there is so much that’s left to eat. I walked, music played by my phone echoing my mood, remembering all the small stalls where I would eat. Junk food, delicious food and places which I will not visit for over a year now. A couple of blocks away from where I was, an awesome vada pav (Indian Burger) stall is located. He would add chat masala and onions as garnish. I remember the innumerable times I finished my tuitions and ate there. That Idli corner or the sugarcane juice stall or the Pav Bhaji stall.. My mind raced and my belly growled.

So as I walked, ignoring my belly’s urge to go and eat away the food again. I did eat most of the said food but there’s only so much time I had.

*

So the family dinner was no different. As we four walked back home, I looked around trying to soak in every scent of my neighbourhood. To remember the school and the college, because I know I’m going to miss it when I’m gone. My school, where I spent 7 years is now a mammoth structure that is sucking the marrow off parents savings. The school is under reconstruction for years now and who would send their children to a school that is under construction. Or so I thought as the school is only getting bigger and prosperous. It’s just school management’s greed to run the school.

A couple of my school classmates houses past, my memory gates opened and I was inundated: the corner sweetshop Kaveri sweets which became so popular that everyone renamed the bus stop. I lived and saw throught the slow gradual process of renaming a locality took place. Half a block past is a building which once was the dream building: from the gates of the building it looks as if there is an city inside. Opposite to the building is the power office. When we were in school we would come home, me and Navin and look at the schedule for power cut and whine about having to miss Pokémon again.

Not everything was the same though. New sitting benches have been put up, the evenings now host a vegetable market. Not everything resembles my childhood.

But most of the things do.

The temple which would be the study spot for everyone as exam day arrived. Or the upslope road where my brother rode his bicycle with me seated behind. I was always lazy.

I was too busy in my nostalgia that I fell behind mom and dad. Every single place had a memory with it. Some with mom. Some with dad. Most of them with Navin. A tiny smile lit my face, a genuine smile which I missed in my life for long. I love this place, my neighbourhood.

As we climbed up my building stairs, memories kept me alert and reminiscent of my surroundings. I even recalled the smooth feeling of a wall which has long been remodeled. My building once has no automobiles parked now has a parade of cars, new and old, motor bikes and cycles. So much has changed and I want to say it happened too quick. It didn’t. I lived here since November 2002, 13 years.

I played with Jimmy, I make him run around the house and in no time he is tired and grinning his signature. I don’t think my dog has a sixth sense. He should be the emotional one and he is licking his butt.

I always said. Jimmy is an idiot.

*

Overwhelmed I wrote this before sleeping in my bed that night. My last night in my bed. Next day the very first thing was to change the location of my bed to accommodate some furniture and so my bed had to move.

My Mom knows me best and she senses the tiny changes in me. Mom teased “Enjoy the bed.” I laughingly say yes. Even though the lights are off but I’m sure my mom heard my smile in the dark.

Even after the lights are off I am still thinking about everything: from the way my brother talks and behaves. From my dad’s logic to my mom’s emotions to my dog’s stupidity: I cannot help but recall every instance that I have spent with them. I don’t remember what I dreamt that night but I am sure I dreamt about them.

*

Final day was full of nervous excitement for everyone. There is so much riding on me now, everyone had done so much for this. The unexpected surprise came when Navin made a special farewell video for me. I knew he was working on something but never thought he would make, edit an entire video.

Navin always had a good taste in music so obviously the chouse of music would be good. He roped in his friends, mom and dad into the video too and I watched barely controlling my quivering lips while with me exclaiming ‘Aap bhi ho?!’ (you are also featured in the video!) Trust my brother for a surprise and he never disappoints.

*

Mom and dad say Navin and me always fight. We argue, occassionally we fight too but at the end of the day there is hardly anyone more important to me than he and my parents. I got calls from friends and relatives wishing me good luck for my abroad trip. I never told anyone of them that its not that I am going abroad, the thing is I am leaving my family behind.

My parents worry about us both. They shouldn’t really. Not anymore: they raised two great kids.

*

Mom quickly made some delicious ladoos which I inevitably forgot. Now I regret forgetting the ladoos because the food at the Hong Kong Airport is either too expensive or just too bland for my taste.

Yesterday when we arrived at the Mumbai airport we were awestruck with the arcitechure and colossal size of the terminal. Somehow, despite my anxiety I sat down on the plane and braced myself for the take off. But my mind was still fixed on my family. I already know the first thing that I will miss when I reach in Auckland.

In India, I can call up Navin or Mom for anything that I want to ask. Now, regardless of the advanced internet calling services, that one thing will be missing. I can only keep them in loop but at the end I have to make the decision. It does not sound like a big deal but it is. My family always has my back and I will have their back; now there would be a distance of 5000+ miles and a time gap of 8 hours.

*

It was easy to get lost in the moment as I boarded the plane. First time experience, the gravity pull and push as the plane changes altitude. The sight of Mumbai from the sky; the sight of New Zealand as I flew past the shores of this amazing and beautiful country.

It’s quiet here: country side and the people are friendly. I love this place already.

*

Last night in flight I dreamt of the way my parents talk. How Navin would ask for something and Dad would just shoot him down. How I used to laugh at the embarrassing situations that I or anyone else faced. I have no idea how they lived with me laughing like an ass for so many years. Now, I am thinking of how will they do things. Who will walk Jimmy? Who will feed the plants? Will mom eat after coming home from work? Will dad tell me if there is something’s going on?

If I ask them this question they would tell me to just focus on my studies. I will focus on my studies and make a career. They have always been right about this: I can’t do everything at the same time.

Thank you Mom, Dad, Navin. Thank you everyone who wished me well.

Literary Lion: Pool


Fiction: Literary Lion: Pool. My response to Laura’s prompt: this time she challenged us to write a story in 100 words or less on her prompt pool.


pool-literary lion-mayur

 

 

First Feet, thighs and then chest. Finally, I was in the pool walking towards that sparkling beauty. The sunlight shimmered off the water surface. I prodded my way towards her; ignoring the increasing pool depth. When I slipped she, in all her breathless beauty, laughed. I fought my way against the water to breach surface and inhaled sweet air infused with her aroma.

She was no longer beautiful or desirable. She was the devil in red. But that didn’t stop my feet from moving towards her. I was spellbound. When I slipped again, I grabbed her leg too.


Thank You Laura. Check out other people’s responses:

https://mandibelle16.wordpress.com/2016/01/29/literary-lion-the-cheater/

pool

Class Field Trip

Literary Lion: Pool

https://tuckedintoacorner.wordpress.com/2016/01/29/literary-lion-pool-100/

 

To Dale Carnegie and his book ‘How to win friends and influence people’


When I was in school, I remember reading about Dale Carnegie’s book ‘How to make Friends & Influence People.’ Back then I was a weird kid; I still am weird guy. I could never fit in amongst people; I did not have any friends so naturally I wanted to read it.

When I eventually got my hands in the book, I read it slowly, methodically, trying to soak in everything in the book. I read the companion piece and I read the book again. Now, five years after reading the book, sometimes I glance through it. I try to remember the lessons and techniques the book taught me. I try to perceive solutions of perplexing issues or people I encounter. However, today I understood it does not talk about a certain kind of people: assholes

What Dale Carnegie and his ’How to win friends and influence people’ made me believe?

It made me believe that the world is full of people like me. People who are often misunderstood, they are grumpy and they are now laconic. I genuinely thought that the book made everything simpler. Like a proper recipe, the book opened a new doorway for me: socialism.

Simple: Just a bunch of techniques to follow.

In addition, ‘How to win friends and influence people’ author Dale Carnegie always said that to make the techniques work, you need to be interested in the other person. Feigning interest will not work. Even then, I was interested in finding out what is happening in the other person’s life.

I wanted to know the other person.

What the ‘How to win friends and influence people’ didn’t tell me

I don’t think Dale Carnegie deliberately forgot to talk about this. He must have never come across the same assholes I have so far encountered. Maybe if he did then the book would be aptly named ‘How to win friends and influence people while staying away from assholes.’ Regardless, the techniques are not a boon with such people. They were a curse because when I got to know such people, I hated them.

Its equivalent to finding out your best friend is a criminal.

Mostly, it is their thinking that makes me nauseous. I don’t want to know about the assholes’ ‘exploits’. Neither do I want to know how did you cheat your way through your life. It is unnerving to find out that the person who I think is a great friend actually has such low opinion of everything that I value.

Before I read ‘How to win friends and influence people’ I felt the hurt of loneliness. Now, I feel a longing for that loneliness that I tried to claw my way out of. The people I tried to befriend are now the people who I should never be near to.

Dale Carnegie forgot to talk about making the wrong friends. He forgot to tell me that not ever grumpy person is like me, lonely and awkward. He forgot to tell me that grumpy person is actually someone who I should avoid.

Concluding, I’m glad I read ‘How to win friends and influence people’

Dale Carnegie may have written a novel which is no longer applicable for the current generation. But he gave me a chance to change and finally get out of hole I dug for myself. I made more mistakes than wrong friends along the way. These mistakes hurt and haunt me, but the friends that remain make me forget about it.

Literary Lion 6 word challenge: Star


Laura’s Literary Lion prompts are back and this time she gave the hardest challenge of them all: A 6 word story challenge. Her prompt is Star. Here is my take on the word.

They are brightest

As they Fall.

There you go Laura. Let’s see what other Literary Lion Contestants have written:

https://villpowerstory.wordpress.com/2016/01/19/literary-lion-six-word-story/

I Wish I May, I Wish I Might…(Literary Lion: Star)

https://newshoundnovelist.wordpress.com/2016/01/15/rising-star-literary-lion-week-one/

Black Hole? : Literary Lion

https://livehomeandaway.wordpress.com/2016/01/15/star/

https://vnktchari.wordpress.com/2016/01/15/literary-lion-six-word-story-starman/

https://cherrytato.wordpress.com/2016/01/15/starlight/

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/01/15/six-word-story-star/

https://mandibelle16.wordpress.com/2016/01/15/literary-lion-star-six-word-story/

six 

Literary Lion: Star

http://shawnwingsit.com/a-story-in-six-words-per-ms-literary-lion/

 

 

 

Jallikattu: Other Side of the Festival


I see the beast in you.

 

You tell that this is a festival, a celebration but it is actually a sport. I see the gleam in your eyes, I see that heavy breathing. I can see the excitement in your eyes; I know that look.

 

It is the look of an Animal. An animal like me; like my wife or any of my kin. But we are animals. You evolved past animalism.

 

Yet here we are, you present with your crowd. Braced and armed with sticks, clothes and ropes. You do this because you want to tame me; you who surprisingly a month ago was crying and advocating Beef Ban. You saved my wife and here you send me to fight for my life.

 

I can feel the lashes on my back, courtesy of my handler. I can feel the nails with which you are poking me with now, you are trying to make me feel afraid. Afraid and angry and desperate. Because only then You will be able to have fun in this.

 

I am wild animal. You push me towards the edge, towards death and I will attack. I will ram into you, charge at you with my horns aimed at your chest and try to win my way into freedom. You encircle me, threaten my life and you will get a desperation.

 

But alas, I know I cannot win this one. Because if one of you dies by my feet stomping or being penetrated by my horns; I will die. If I am lucky then I will be mercifully executed. If not then the death which awaits me….I have heard my brothers die like that.

 

I do not get you. You cry against cruelties. You protest against blind religious practices. Then you commit the same cruelties, you follow the same blind faith.

 

It is my nature to protect myself when threatened. I do not dress up in clothes and act intellectual only to be hurtful and mindless of the Dumb. We live in solitude. We do not kill each other for fun, we do not play sports and try to tame LIVES just for sport. We mind our business.

 

You do that. You live two lives; and for your tastes we are tortured, maimed and killed. And once we were prayed; once we stood next to Gods.

 


 

PETA India has long campaigned against the use of bulls in performances. In 2014, the Supreme Court passed a judgement in favour of PETA India and the Animal Welfare Board of India confirming a ban on jallikattu, bullfights and bull races. Despite this, the government is now permitting cruel events like jallikattu and bull races again. (7th Jan 2016)

Video footage from Jallikattu events shows that terrified bulls are deliberately disoriented, chased, kicked, punched, jumped on, dragged to the ground and stabbed, and people even twist and bite their tails to agitate them. Numerous people, including spectators, have died or been seriously injured at jallikattu events by bulls who were intentionally frightened as part of the “game”. During races, bulls are often hit with nail-studded sticks and pushed beyond the point of exhaustion. In bullfights, a round ends when one of the bulls either is killed or manages to flee.


 

We were enraged when we read about Yulin Festival in China. It still happened. But this is India, our home. We need to stop this; we should. Animals are living beings. You can help. Click here.

PS: I tried to write a piece which would induce an emotional reaction; I may have failed miserably. I do not mean to hurt religious sentiments but I am strongly against hurting of animals

UPDATE: Supreme Court stayed the festival and Jallikattu will not be played this year

image credits: pfapune

Level 2016: You Are Just Going To Get Harder Aren’t You?


If life is compared to a computer game then each year would be a level.

In the beginning of the level, it seems easier but with time it gets harder and harder. You pray for the demon to appear so you could beat him and finish the level.

If life is a computer game, then that demon really cannot be defeated. Because that bastard reiterates itself in multiple forms that it no longer have a name or face. That demon can be beat but then you will be wary of its reappearance.

If life is a computer game, then the game developer must be one of the sneaky ones. Because this game does not drop hints of the coming monstrosity. However, in the game developer’s defence, there are no intimation of blissful moments either. Sneaky and gracious game developer then.

If life is a computer game then most times you get hurt. However there is no reset button, if you die there is no reincarnation at the hospital like its GTA. There are no cheat code to gain weapons so that you can kill away the bastards in life. Then again, you realize you cannot hurt even a fly, killing is way out of your league.

Friends are those bonus which come irregularly but revitalize your life. Family is the thing that can sap your energy but without them the game is worthless. Game scores become irrelevant after enough game-play because the missions matter more. You already know you can’t get a perfect score; unless of course you have money.

If life is a computer game then level 2016 is going to be tougher than 2015.

There will be more heartbreak, more brutalities, sporadic joys. But maybe you have finally gotten the hang of it now.

Now you, if life is a computer game then you know where to look if you are almost out of power. You almost can see the trap coming from a couple of meters away. And you also know that you might be wrong. You would know what you are looking for, it won’t be absolute but it will be enough for now.

If 2016 is a game level, then there are a lot of levels left to play, so do not give up. Because you will die, so take your time and get up again. The rules are almost discernible now. Life is difficult, levels are more difficult and love is impossible.

But you play this computer game of life, cause only then there’s any meaning. Cause only then there’s Elysium in hardships.

Guest Post #7: What is Writing to Me?


I started writing when I was six years old.

Back then I was convinced I was going to be a writer. I’d spend my evenings carefully ruling out sheets of A4 paper so I could write up my stories and take them in to show the teacher the next morning. I recently caught up with my teacher who got me interested in writing. She remembers me bringing in pages of stories for her. I loved turning my ideas into words and then handing them to someone for a read. Since then, only my handwriting has improved and my audience has increased, slightly.

I rarely put much of my real life into my writing, but I’ve used my family and friends multiple times when writing poems. They often provide the basis strongest poetry. My mother likes to say that she can tell the difference between the poems about my real life and the ones that are not. She has the advantage of being related to me though, so she might not have the most objective view on the matter.

This raises the question I wanted to look at in this post:

‘How much truth do writers actually put into their work?’

As a poet, I can put a lot of myself into a poem. Similarly, I can put a lot of someone else into a poem. I can just as easily take an imaginary someone and create a poem around them and I can write a poem about myself. Perhaps my ability comes from writing characters in prose. However, writing about me is the hardest task when trying to put pen to paper.

Writing personal poetry can be akin to tearing a chunk out of your soul. You’re putting yourself on display. Often it can just be as simple to create someone entirely new and let them tell their story instead. For example with Daydream Girl, a poem I wrote:

 

They called her Daydream Girl.

Eyes, tucked away in the letters of books, spine crackled and binding frayed. She was music, tripping up over loose pavement stone in the hopes of digging out stories long ago buried in the sands of time.

Her hands were skeleton keys pushed into every lock on sunken chests pulled up from abandoned rib-cages. Took care not to hurt the crustaceans as she pulled them away mail-link by mail-link until only the under armour remained.

She poured laughter down my throat and burnt out my lungs with song. Left me bellowing misty dragons into the night. Ran my hands across the tempo of her chest and told me to dance with the beat.

Ba-dum.

Ba-dum.

Ba-dum.

They will not tell me where to find her again.

These words are brittle,

there is nothing of you here

and I am tired.

When I wrote this I was only thinking writing something for the prompt that was fun to read and had some cool metaphors in. I was having fun playing around with language and thinking about this person that I had made up to play the role of speaker. It wasn’t about me, though some of me may leaked in, it was about a character that was bubbling around in the back of my brain. This ability to experiment with different characters is perhaps my favourite part of writing.

Take for instance Neil Gaiman. He writes for adults as well as children. He writes novels, short stories, fairy tales and comics. He talks openly about how he never wanted to be a writer who wrote ‘that’ sort of book. He once said that readers know what sorts of books are his books because they have his name on the front and in my opinion that is what all writing should be. The choice to hop genre, or to write both personal and fictional poetry, or to throw out children and adult stories is all you. Writing should be unlimited and writers should be unbridled in seeking out new ways to express the words that they want to say.

 

Writing is about imagination. Nothing more, nothing less.


 

The post is written by Carol J ForresterShe mailed me this a long time ago and I got around to posting it now. Carol is a poetry and prose writer and her blog Writing and Works is a wonderful collection of her writings. Lastly, her novel Darkened Daughter is in the works!

Discover vs Freshly Pressed: Why it doesn’t work for me


After I finished my NaNoWriMo, I returned to WordPress to find the best feature is defunct. The Freshly Pressed feed had provided me with loads of laughter and buckets of tears. It is now replaced with a new blog: Discover. The new blog is not bad but it does not deliver as Freshly Pressed did.

What was Freshly pressed?

WordPress has its own Editors and curators. They used to monitor the blog posts and the perfectly written and profound intimate posts were selected.

Being featured on the Freshly Pressed feed was getting stamped as the ‘Best of WordPress’. They even had a badge saying ‘Featured on Freshly Pressed‘ for the accomplished bloggers.

I have read in awe as the featured posts tore my heart; the words written reached out from  the computer screen and touched a quiet corner of my heart flipping a switch making me feel again.

I have laughed when the writer joked, smiled at the strength often overlook in our daily lives.

Freshly Pressed was the best perks of blogging. I used a read-it-later application called Pocket; it is inundated with hundreds of posts: 90% were featured on Freshly Pressed. I now follow most of the accomplished bloggers, reading more about their lives and slowly growing a companionship with them.

Now there is Discover:

Discover blog is, to my knowledge, is controlled by three or four bloggers: Ben Huberman, Michelle W,Cheri Rowlands and Kristi. These familiar bloggers are the owners of Daily Post. Ben is also the weekly author of Community Pool, a great place for gaining excellent traction for new posts.

Discover may not be bad; I may not have tapped on its true potential properly. I followed that blog and I would get at least 4 email updates. The Discover blogger would feature a small introduction of ‘Discovered’ post and a link to that blog. This is similarity with Freshly Pressed is a lot more complicated.

When I first browsed the blogpage I was discombobulated by the disjointed look of the page. I was and still am confused by the random thumbnails of posts and blogs combined, some of them being a small box and others are a huge rectangle.

Even explaining how the page looks is difficult because I cannot get it myself. To make matters worse: You cannot read the posts directly; you would have to go the original site when you find something that interests you.

Many of the featured posts on Discover are old ones; I remember reading them in Freshly Pressed.

Main Reason why I do not like it is….

I never got Freshly Pressed. I wanted to, I wrote extensively and tried to improve my writing, style to get featured on Freshly Pressed. The ever fleeing badge was the approval that I sought; it meant that I wrote a great post.

It sounds selfish and asinine to say it but yes, it is like losing the job I wanted and realizing that it might never happen again. I do not hate Discover or the work the four individual bloggers are putting into the site, I hate the closed opportunity.

 

Thank You: We ought to say it more


Because we do not say thank you to anyone any more.

Not to family or friends, the prospect of saying thank you to people who owe us nothing is a far fetched dream. A irony of this lack of expression is social media though.

Say Thank You to the people, like the conductor who punched your ticket on the public transport, or the guy who held the elevator for you. Or for that matter who kept the door open when you walked in with your hands full. Their deeds are not extraordinary, but necessary nonetheless.


Thank You is a simple thing to say, common words in every language.  If used apropos, they can explicit the gratitude.

I am trying to be genuine in my expression. It is difficult because everyone is a skeptic, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

A while ago, I met a girl who said Thanks to everyone. The ticket conductor, the rickshaw driver, the person who served our meals. Intrigued and awestruck I asked her why. Her answer was a shrug, a habit I guessed was ingrained in her demeanour.

I unwittingly adopted her habit. Soon I said thank you to the elevator man, the lunch boy, canteen boy, watchman, neighbour. Yeah, pretty much everybody.

It feels good, when you say Thank you to the conductor who just gave you change when commuting. It feels better when you say thanks for doing his job. Same goes for grocery shopping, say thank you and the stall owner and he is bound to greet you back with his hands raised and posed in a Namaste or a Salaam.

Seriously, try it.


A month ago, I took a bus home. Unfortunately, I had a 500 rupee note, 16 rupee change and the ticket was a mere 26 rupee in comparison. The conductor had no change to give me. He did not want to risk taking the note from me either, he explained that recently there is a plethora of fake currency. 

He respectfully (that is a miracle in itself) asked me to get down at the next stop and take the next bus.

Distressed, I fumed about what to do because I did not want to wait for the next bus. It was already a long day at the office. The guy who sat in front of me overheard our conversation and offered to pay the remainder. That was bigger miracle.

In a small conversation he gave me a huge lesson in humility; he told me he was stuck with some money issue in the bus. Someone helped him out too then. Now he helped me out and asked me to help out another such stuck commuter if I could.

I promised that I will, thanking him more than once. I also made a promise to buy his ticket the next time we meet. Unfortunately, I no longer remember his name, face. He is now another random face in the crowd for me.

I still have not helped any other commuter in a similar fashion, but I help in any way possible.


There is more than one instance when the thank you is not acknowledged.

I get it, the listener may not have heard me. Maybe they were having a bad day. Its cool, its all cool.

Like I said, I enjoy saying the words. It is ingrained in me by my own deeds,  a habit that I do not want to obviate.

The heart of the issue is most of the people do not say thank you. They act as they do not even care. I do not help people for their thank you, and at the risk of sounding a hypocrite, that nonchalance is offending.

I feel like staring at the people for whom I just kept the elevator waiting (this happens a lot of time in my office) to coerce them into saying thank you.

Like the girl however, I just shrug it off.


The irony of this situation is social media. For me saying thank you is not manners but I am assuming that they are manners for every other socialite.

On Facebook, Twitter and everywhere else, manners are rigorously followed. Every comment gets a thank you.

But in real life, thank you is lost, meaningless and taken for granted.

It says something about us, my generation. We consider the same words as a sign of weakness.

Suddenly, due to pop culture idolizing the stolid, arrogant protagonists and other ignorant heretics, saying and acknowledging other people’s kindness depicts a weak individual.

Seriously, WTF!


In stark contrast, help out an old person and wait till you hear him say Thank You Beta (son). There is the zenith of humility and graciousness. The qualities one should be chasing and not money.

I remember speaking to a good friend once and she told me about her classmates. One thing we both agreed on is the lack of humility everywhere. Everyone is a braggadocio. Everyone wants to prove their superiority. No one wants to help though, no one can say thank you and sorry anymore.

We debate about intolerance and feminism. We have not yet learned the basic, easy humane values. Then we wonder what is wrong with the world.

NaNoWriMo Winner!


I heard about this contest a year ago while reading someone’s blog. Then it seemed a gigantic task: complete 50,000 words of your manuscript/novel in 30 days. This year when Alisha asked me about this, I jumped at the opportunity. Obviously, I have written about this previously too: My writing goal is to get published.

 

So after deep thinking of less than one second, I went ahead with this. All I needed was a story.

Mid October to 31st October:

I decided to use the idea, boy meets girl and things go wrong. Simple idea, simple plot and leaving everything else to just conveniences. Just to make sure that I don’t loose my way through the novel, I made loose plot lines and decided in the beginning and end of the novel. I felt ready, I purposely chooses to reduce my workload and tell less people about this.

Untitled

1st November:

Unfortunately, I do not remember where I wrote this novel. I have a habit of writing on my mobile and my computer so I do not know where I wrote it first. I had a daily target of 1700 words which will amount to an exact 51000 words. First day, I finished my prologue. My mind was clear and focussed and I guess that is why my prologue turned out to be the best. I wrote 1700 words and thought, wow this is so easy.

I could not be more wrong.

2-10th day:

I fell back. I tried to keep up and I just could not do it perfectly. I renamed my novel from ‘Started With A Date’ to ‘Convenient Caliber’ and tried looking for some ideas for covers. Oh and 9th November, my office colleagues gave me one of the best birthday surprises ever!

11-20th day:

I picked speed again, catching up and finally reaching the daily target. I wrote now mostly during travel time on my phone. No more games and no novel readings. Only writing and more writing. I refrained from all sorts of distractions like twitter, Facebook or my own blog!

It finally got easier.

20-27th day:

I joined Twitter and read up on people’s experiences. I was shocked to see other writers reach and cross 50k mark during those days. Even more dumbfounding was the fact that these novelists were aiming for 100k. Meanwhile, my writing suffered a little but I kept it up. I was so used to writing on my phone by now that whenever I sat on my computer to write, I fell asleep.

It was during this period that I read a tweet saying take the proposed end of your novel and bring it to to the middle of the novel. I used that advice, or tried to use it.

Day 28 & 29:

I finished and verified a huge 50164 words! Then, because only I knew the content of my novel I looked for a cover. I found an online cover designing website called Canva, free registration and free good resources. I kept my design minimalist and made my cover. There is an exact scene like this in the novel.

Book Cover: Mayur Wadhwani

 

I shared it on Facebook and twitter. Congratulations kept pouring in, because they thought I had published my novel, which was far from the truth.

The hardest part was sitting to write. Not because I did not knew what to write but simply because I lacked the will to do so. Easiest part was writing. I was shocked my brains ability to seamlessly cultivate words and scenes which I had not even thought of before. I would be writing and the words kept flowing.

I had a lot of things happening in November. Amidst the worst time, I wrote because trying to make a fictional character’s life better was something of an excuse to do something. Unlike so many other great writer, I did not spend countless hours on character development and backgrounds. I kept it easy and I finished. It is the best feeling to set a goal and then finish it. 15 chapter, prologue and epilogue and I finished. I have not touched the manuscript(I think) from that time because the words are too fresh in my mind to try and revise the book.

Will I do it again? Definitely!

Should you try it next year? Hell yeah! There us no better motivation than watching your progress on a graph.

2

 

Voice To Words


It is 1 am and I’m typing this. It is because tomorrow morning I will not be feeling this elation.

Only an hour ago I had a Skype conversation with two blog friends. I follow them since long back and I feel like I knew personally. Only I didn’t.

I follow a lot of people, and if I’m following you I actually FOLLOW you. I read what you write even if I read it a month after you have posted it.

So when I spoke with these two, I finally did speak to them. Their 300 or more word posts had now suddenly a voice with very unexpected accents! Now I that I think about it, not really unexpected accents.

A very different experience from reading, speaking to someone. That may sound patent to anyone but only now do I realize what it actually means. You may too one day realize it when the author of the words you have been devoting your time on for years suddenly has a voice.

I don’t know if the plan I made may succeed or if we may end up doing the random shit and wasting our time. But it was fun to hear the voice of words, to listen to the accent and trying to not jump in ebullience when talking to someone for the first time.

I was surprised that the conversation even lasted half an hour. Half the time we struggled with awkward silences and figuring out what to say. But it was good, if we ever do it again we will figure out what to say.

Guest Post #6: The Song


Another blogger Megan from the Invisible World answered my call for guest bloggers and submitted her guest post, The Song a long ago. I loved her piece and I think so will you. You can also read her interview and checkout her blog.

So here we go:


A young maiden of immense beauty.  Her hair a golden waterfall cascading over her slender shoulders falling to her waist.   Her long golden eyelashes framed sapphire eyes and her lips were like a soft pink petal. Her quiet demeanor and a silken walk shouldn’t grab any attention but instead had the opposite reaction.

Daron wondered if she was laconic and shy or if she thought herself above everyone else. Her face held no trace of scorn, but neither signs of bashfulness. Impassive, her willowy form walked though the city at his side.  Perhaps that was what drew the stares—the mystery that lingered beneath her serene gaze.

Daron knew her secret.  She looked young, fifteen or sixteen at most, she ‘s centuries old.

She was one of the Old Ones.  They lived since the genesis and possessed esoteric knowledge.

They once lived among humankind and disseminated their wisdom. The land grew prosperous under their watch. Time passed and humans grew bolder, in their effrontery challenged they challenged the Old Ones. Relinquishing the land, the Old Ones journeyed across the sea to a land they could make their own

Thousands of years after the Old Ones disembarked, drought and famine plagued the land. Daron was assigned an impossible mission: to cross the sea and find an Old One, who would be willing to come back with him and salvage their dying land. To sing the ancient songs that would call down rain for their withered crops.

Daron looked at the Old One beside him and thought himself lucky. He was warned that not all the Old Ones would be helpful. There were some who resented humans for their arrogant ways. Their disdain for humans had festered into animosity changing them.  These Old Ones grew cruel and vain.  They were so intoxicated with their power and consumed with revenge that they were proscribed by their own kind. If Daron had stumbled on one of them, it would have meant his death.

The danger and uncertainty of that journey had passed.  Daron would soon present the Old One to the King as proof he had succeeded in his mission. And she would bring the rain.

—–

Daron and the Old One stood on the steps of the front of the castle; the courtyard was filled with hopeful faces.  The bright-haired girl stood in the center with the king standing to the right and Daron to her left.

She didn’t address the crowd but closed her eyes and hummed. Her voice was so low that Daron could barely hear it only a few feet away.  Her hum grew louder and her soft, girlish lips opened letting loose a melody of words drifted.

Daron didn’t understand the words.  She sang in an ancient language that the Old Ones alone had mastered.  Even without the knowledge of the meaning of the song it was entrancing.  The song rose and fell in somber minor notes.  Her voice softening, then swelling to portray first sorrow, then urgency.

Daron ought to be watching the sky during the Old One’s summons for rain, but he couldn’t look away from the girl.  From his peripheral vision, he saw that the others were equally entranced with the golden-haired singer.

Her eyes remained closed and her face focused as her silky voice bounced off the courtyard walls.  Small pricks ran up Daron’s arms.  As the song went on, he almost forgot why they were gathered or the reason for the song.  There was nothing in Daron’s mind but the captivating melody spinning sorrow and hope.

He shook himself when a shadow passed over him.  Rain!  Rain clouds were forming and blocking the sun.

He looked up and was confused.  Something was blocking the sun, but it wasn’t rain clouds—not unless rainclouds were ebony black and moved as one shimmering mass.

Wait.  That wasn’t shimmering.  It was flapping.  Thousands of crows filled the sky.  Gasping and whispers filled the courtyard.

“What’s going on?” demanded the King, but the girl continued singing. Daron tried to get her attention. “Old One, the skies are filled with crows.”

She didn’t acknowledge him.

“Thousands of them,” he continued.  “They’re coming at us.  Take them away!”

Her chilling song mingled with the people’s confused cries.

“Is this some trick?”  The King asked, red faced.  Daron was sure it wasn’t a trick, but a mistake.  Maybe the Old Ones forgot how to call down rain.  Maybe in all their years of isolation, they lost their skill.  Or maybe this particular Old One didn’t know how to call rain.

The sky was getting darker.  The birds would land soon and what little crops they had left would be destroyed. Daron strode forward to shake the Old One out of her trance.

As his fingertips touched her shoulders, a shock went through him and he staggered back.  The girl’s blue eyes opened.

“Don’t touch me human snake!”  It was her voice, but it didn’t come from her lips which were still forming the words to the ominous song filling the air.

Confused, Daron tried to form words.  “Crows. Will eat our crops.”

Her laugh filled his head.  The harsh sound didn’t match the softness of the girl before him.

“The crows aren’t going to eat your crops.  They are going to eat you.”

He must have heard her wrong.  An Old One wouldn’t speak such words.

“You, the humans who destroyed the land and drove the Old Ones out with your haughty ways, they are summoned to eat you.”

In an instant, Daron understood who the girl was.  Not an Old One, understanding and willing to help mankind like the Old Ones thousands of years ago, but one of the wayward Old Ones he was warned about.  She pretended to help them so she could destroy them.

Before he could call out a warning to the others, the crows fell on them.  Shrieks mingled with the incessant cries of thousands of crows.  People ran or fell to the ground and covered their face as the winged terrors swarmed them.

Daron ran, but there was nowhere to go that wasn’t already filled with crows.  Sharp beaks picked at his arm and shoulders.  They pulled his hair and bit the tender skin on his neck. He kept his arms in front of his face but their sharp beaks jabbed at his chin and cheeks.  He wanted to cry out, but was afraid they would poke their nasty little beaks into his mouth and rip his tongue to shreds too.

He tried to keep moving, hoping he could find a door that would bring him into the safety of the castle, but the crows were so thick and so many wild thrashing bodies kept jostling him that he didn’t know if he were moving at all.

He fell. He didn’t know if he tripped from the crows gathered around his feet or if his legs gave out from the panic that snared him.

He laid in a huddle, feeling wet, sticky blood run down his back and arms.  He was screaming now.  His mouth pressed to the ground and his tongue tasted dirt.

He was ready for death.  Anything to stop feeling hundreds of holes being dug into his body.

Everything began to fade.  A haunting melody sung by a innocent young voice.


I hope you enjoyed reading her fiction. Thank you so much for the support Megan!

PS: I am still open for more guest bloggers and I encourage more to come. If interested then contact me on: itsmayurremember@gmail.com

 

Blogger Interview

Guest Blogger #6: Megan Interview


A while ago, I posted a Call for Guest Bloggers, Megan from ‘Invisible World‘ responded. She found me on Community Pool from Daily Post.  Currently she is one of the contestants for the upcoming #NaNoWriMo and obviously she wrote fiction.

Her long form fiction is amazing, particularly because she wrote about immortals and I love immortals. Her post will be published here tomorrow night. So let’s hear more from her shall we?


 

1. Who are you?

Megan, plain and tall. 

Just kidding! You can drop the plain and tall part (hopefully all of you have seen Sarah Plain and Tall…if you haven’t, well, go see it!).  

Actually, I guess you can keep the “plain” part in (and now that I think about it, I am tall.  So you can keep that part in there too.  What the heck.  Just call me Megan plain and tall), because I’m just your average blogger.  Nothing special about me.

Except for the fact that I have a whole world going on in my head. Yeah, that’s perfectly normal.  There’s nothing strange about exploring a world that only you can see, and meeting people that only you can talk to. 

Relax people.  No need to call the funny farm. I’m talking about my imagination.  If there’s anything remarkable about me, it’s my never-ending imagination and my constant quest to find ways to share it.  Maybe I’m not so plain after all.  (So you can stop calling me Megan plain and tall now  😉 )

 

2. Why do you write?

I write to share the aforementioned “world” with you.  What good is imagination if it isn’t shared?  My goal is to tickle your imagination, get the gears in your head turning, and make tears slide down your cheeks. 

Oh yeah, and make you laugh.  I can’t just leave you with tears running down your cheeks.  What kind of blogger would that make me?  

 

3. What kind of stories/posts do you enjoy reading most? 

I love fantasy.  There is something magical about…well magic.  Duh.    Besides fantasy, I enjoy reading anything in the historical, dystopian, or science fiction genres. 

 

4. Tips for readers/Mayur on how to improve their writing?

Don’t give up just because you aren’t _____ enough.   You fill in the blank.  We all have those times when we think we aren’t smart enough, talented enough, or skilled enough to write.  And maybe we aren’t.  But that doesn’t mean we should quit.  We never will be skilled enough if we don’t keep at it. 

 No one is born with the ability to write well.  Anyone who ever achieved their dream had to work at it.  They had to make mistake, after mistake, after mistake before reaching the level of expertise they were aiming for. 

And guess what?  Even then they made mistakes, because without mistakes, you can’t learn.  And you don’t stop learning until your dead.  (That escalated quickly.)  So my sage writing advice is, keep writing or you’ll die. 

 


Her Guest Blog post(fiction) will be published on Monday night so do come back here to check it out.

Thank You Megan for the support.

PS: I am still open for more guest bloggers and I encourage more to come. If interested then contact me on: itsmayurremember@gmail.com

 

Quitting Blogging, Missing Birthdays and all the rest


Around the time I started working, I was out of ideas, I had nothing to write anymore and even worse I was hesitant to share the things I used to share so bravely when I was back in college. Moreover, I was frantic over the fact that my blog, something that I am dabbing with my soul for so long is simply refusing to fly. So a month ago, I decided to quit blogging. That seemed like the perfect solution to things, no more blog posts and then no more stats to worry about.


In the last two months six of my friends had their birthdays. Before I had left college I had promised all of my friends I will keep in touch with them. Now almost six months later (where did the six months go!), I cannot even remember their birthdays. I missed six birthdays, I never checked birthdays on Facebook. Some of them understood, some of them cursed me playfully. Although I am never the one for partying I do intend to be there for friends especially on the big days. I couldn’t even remember my best friends birthdays.


I hated my decision to quit, but when I knew the only way for me to enjoy this again is to make sure I stop looking at the page views. I even gave a trial run of writing in my phone for a couple of days as a personal journal. It was good, that made me realize what is more important when I blog here. I ended up catching up with the bloggers who I follow and I loved what they wrote. I read and I read more than I can ever.


I called up my friends, apologized for not being there with them on their day. To my best friend I offered to buy a gift. And I never do gifts, the entire idea is highly overrated to me. But the guilt that rode me made me offer.Luckily, friend here never thought too big of it. So did all the other friends, they understood. I must have done something right by them, otherwise I have seen friendships broken with such little thought.


Another one of my blog friend quit blogging around the same time I contemplating to quit. She started blogging when I started and her blog I really enjoyed. Even though she wrote only about nonsensical things (sorry :P) I liked her blog. With her leaving this place, I felt bereavement of sorts. We are still in touch but she hardly ever blogs anymore, regardless of the fact she has a new blog.


I was afraid moreover that my own blog can be used against me. It took some will to convince myself that the only people reading this will be the ones who actually want to know what is happening in my life. My blog is going to be updated today after almost a month. Only yesterday did I realize that maybe I do have somethings to say. I will always have new things to say. I just need to stop making excuses to not write here.


I did meet my friends again. Not all of them, but with them the old familiarity returns however tarnished. I speak less with them, I speak less with everyone. I think I did make some new friends again, actual friends and not bullshit ones. I always had a plan to get my shit together so to say, only tonight I am beginning to try.

Now, as I proofread this I realize my writing is still very bad. My thoughts muddled and yet I am going to try big things like #NaNoWriMo. I have no idea how am I actually going to achieve that. Neither do I know how I will actually continue writing and how am I going to prioritize things in life. I guess I should say I am sorry for almost deleting my blog, I should say I am sorry to my friends for forgetting birthdays. But enough self-pity for a day.

Don’t Blame Me


Don’t blame me
If I fail
Cause you told me I’ll fail.

Don’t blame me
If I get angry
Cause you never appeased me.

Don’t blame me
For being a loser
You never taught me to win.

Don’t blame me
If don’t talk
You never listened.

Don’t blame me
If I’m alone
You never stood next to me.

Don’t blame me
If I trust too easy
How else could you have taken advantage?

Don’t blame me
If I don’t back myself
You taught me I’m not worthy.

Don’t blame me
If I turn cynical
Even I need a facade

Don’t blame me
For becoming vile
This is your making.

Guest Post #5: Quest for a Right Job


Here’s Melissa’s post. Do have a read, I for one found some great inspiration from reading this. This is one guest post I have not edited for it deserved to be as it is. Her Blog ‘In Between Moderation‘ is amazing and worthy of a follow.
You can also check out her interview. Take the stage Melissa:

With a knotted stomach I hit send on my application. This is probably the 23th job I have applied for in the past 20 years averaging to a job a year. The case however is different; I have been with the same company for several years. However, I have switched positions in a vain attempt to find where I fit. That’s the thing about the working world. It’s hard to know what you are meant to do. Sometimes it is self-doubt that derails you, sometimes it is poor timing, bad economy, or just happenstance.

My career path had been close to a jagged line with peaks and valleys then an upward curving trajectory. After graduating collage I thought, in a naive misguided way, that it would be smooth sailing. Just find a job in my field and happily plug away. That was until I received my first paycheck…and realized it was not enough to cover my rent. What about all that schooling! They told me a college degree was what I needed to set myself up for a good steady stream of income. Arrange my life to have the 2.5 kids and white picket fence of my dreams. I remember staring at the paycheck in disbelief. What I was told in collage was a lie. No dream job was waiting for me when I graduated. No automatic insurance into a good life came with my diploma. I had to change my plans.

Thus ensued my search for the “right” job. A job that didn’t make me feel like I was surrounded by characters from the movie “Office Space,” and that didn’t evoke feelings of the opening scene in “Joe vs. The Volcano.”  After spending two years fruitlessly trying to make my collage degree worth something in my chosen field. I got tired of living at the poverty line and decided to ” get a real job,” with set hours and benefits.

What I didn’t know was this job came with a shackle that handcuffed me to my desk and measured every moment of production possible. That included timed bathroom breaks and various acronyms for measuring of productivity. AHT, WID, these that were suppose to have some sort of meaning to me, but never did. I bounce around to several of these types of jobs feeling pretty lost but making enough money to live on.

This time was not a totally loss however, the jobs were draining and unfulfilling but I learned a lot about how I worked and how to get along in an office environment. I learned how to interview for jobs. Mainly when to keep my mouth shut. However, I hated this type of environment, and its lack of freedom. I often hoped I would have a car accident so I would have an excuse not to go to work.

After several years the company decided to move. Everyone was terrified. I was relieved. This was it. This was my way out. But to where? I still did not know. I bounced around to several more jobs until I found the company I have been with. I settled here. Why? The people were not insane, I was not chained to a desk and I enjoyed the environment. Was the job fulfilling… no. I got board pretty quickly.

However, this was another transition point in life where I learned about myself. I got married and gave birth to two children. I found an unusual amount of support in the people I worked with. I learned how to better get along with those of differing viewpoints. I learned that my boss is not an evil maladjusted wackjob, hell bent on making me miserable. They are people who are just trying to get through the day and even if they like you they have to do their job too. The other employee’s came to be like family to me, mean older sisters and spoiled younger brothers at times, but they were there for me when I needed a family. I didn’t know until then a job could offer that.

As far as the work however, I created nothing, left no mark, had no new skills to learn and after a time become board and disgruntled. I needed to move on. So I did. Moved into a position that I thought would allow me to grow. Somewhere I thought would finally lead to a career, to a place where I fit. Unfortunately, this was not it. My hopes where soon dashed in a position that held no movement or growth. It was filled with fossils of an old régime who guarded there knowledge like “my precious” in Lord of the Rings. I was given minimal tasks and little human interaction. This began to weigh on my mind, and my self worth. Little mistakes became inflated. With no were to go, I felt trapped like a claustrophobic in a box.

But as in all the jobs I had prior, I turned inward for my lessons. There was growth to be had but it was inside of me. I needed to identify who I was outside of what I did for a job. Thus began my blog at Inbetweenmoderation.com. I also embarked on the journey of making a cake decorating hobby into a viable side business. Most importantly, I searched beyond my employer to define what I choose to give back to society. This has lead me to try something difference and in the end try for a position that I would have never thought I stood a chance in.

Where am I going with this? The jobs I have had might have seemed like a stagnant void of despair. It might have seemed like I was standing still for all those years, searching for somewhere I fit. I have come to realize that each job was a stepping stone, a place marker for something I need to learn about myself. The growth and change needed to take place in me. I needed to learn about myself before I could ever understand where I fit. So as you go thru your career and job landscape remember, it isn’t the job that make you who you are. It is you that makes you who you are. The job only a part of the journey, but finding where you fit is so much more then any job give you. You find where you fit when you finally figure out what job fits for you.


Thank you Melissa for this wonderful post.

PS: I am still open for more guest bloggers and I encourage more to come. If interested then contact me on: itsmayurremember@gmail.com
(image credits: yorksolutions.com)
Blogger Interview

Guest Blogger #5: Melissa Ruddy Interview


A while ago, I posted a Call for Guest Bloggers, Melissa from ‘In Between Moderation‘ responded. She kind of liked what I do so she asked me to write a guest blog for and that you can check out here.

Her blog is all about balance, and she herself tries to achieve balance in her life and try to help other reach the goal. She herself is a amazing writer, her blog post is inspirational.

So let’s hear more from her shall we?


1. Who are you and why do you write?

I am a mom of two, a wife, a full-time employee and someone who is trying to not overdue things while at the same time trying to fit everything in. I write because I need a voice, I need reflection, I need the sanity of the outlet it provides.

2. What kind of stories/posts you enjoy reading most?

The posts I read vary greatly depending on my mood, sometimes I  blogs about cake decorating, recipes, finance, family life, really anything that is written in an interesting way.

3. Lastly, any tips for readers/Mayur on how to improve their writing?

I am always more likely to read blogs that are broken up with some white space and have a few pictures. If it is a long block of text, I tend to skip it. It might be good writing but it just seems to arduous to read.


Her Guest Blog post(non fiction) will be published on Tuesday morning so do come back here to check it out.

Thank You Melissa for the support.

PS: I am still open for more guest bloggers and I encourage more to come. If interested then contact me on: itsmayurremember@gmail.com

 

Lessons

Things Never Done


I traveled by bus past her area, thinking I will be unaffected. But I become overwhelmed by the past.

The past was funny, flirty and childish. It was something inexperienced, new and cute as a baby.

The face I never could recall. I always marveled at my inability to recall her visage, I’m one of those who never forgot a face.

The words stayed though, the laughs shared, the places described and the wishes left unfulfilled. Of going to the places she described, enjoying the things she so enthusiastically explained, ones I never got to do.

Fate ran its own course and the irony of how things ended left me mortified. How the last conversation ended in blood and threats.

The realization of how big I messed up plagues me, producing questions which I could never find answers for. Regrets gave me a lesson in humility.

I miss the conversations. No matter how many times they are emulated with another, they lack the originality, the naïveté.

I guard my tongue more than before, aware that I’ll still hurt someone way too easily. Haunted by the thought of making the same mistake again.

Rain fell, seemingly to compliment the bereavement.

(Image Credits: Pagecovers.com)

Guest Blog

Guest Post #4: Busy Bees


Without much adieu, here’s the guest post by Alisha, do check out her blog “LifeEventsObservation“. Check out her interview here.


Are we ever free? No, we are ALWAYS busy. Timed actions and controlled words. Here’s life:

7:00 wake up
7:30 breakfast
8:00 off to work
9:00 work
10:00 Continue working…

No breathing time, we are too busy to gawk around. We look forward to something new, all the time.  Our attention is hardly on now. While at work, we are looking forward to going home and taking a nap.  When we are almost going off to bed, we plan the next day.  Making plans is not unusual. It keeps us motivated, makes us hop with vigour.

But where’s the time to paint? Where’s the time to read or to sing discordantly? To dance like there’s no tomorrow? Where’s the time for ourselves?

We are following the flock. Be the shepherd and change directions. Routine is boring. Avoid it!! It’s lethal!

I have known amazing people with mind throbbing lifestyles who at the age of 35-40 want to give it all up and withdraw into a normal life. They are the victims of routine. They have a nice car, a beautiful mansion, sons and daughters, loads of money yet they aren’t content.

What’s lacking here?  Time: they don’t have time for themselves.

They, or I say, we are living for the world. We have lost the true meaning and purpose of life. Satisfaction, peace, spirituality, inner happiness: these are all waiting for us to summon them up.

Imagine, you get two options to choose from:
1. At 25: little but enough money to satiate common pleasures, living the life you want to

OR

2. Living like the rest of the world, working hard, saving bank money and touring the world at 65?

I’ll choose the former. I’ll tell you why!

When you’re old, and, well, touring the world, you cannot eat junk food, cause it will trouble your super sensitive digestive tummy. You get cramps in your legs, aches in your back, head, and stomach, almost everywhere. You cannot drink through the night or dance to the blaring music. Your body would need rest, YOU would need rest.

Think about yourself! Do what you want! Hell with the world.

It’s trying to bring you down while it’s already beneath you. Talk to a roadside peddler, know their life, eat at cheap restaurants, board a bus taking you to an unknown place, purchase a ticket of Mission Impossible and sneak into the auditorium screening of Inside out.

Just do it!

It’s hell lot of fun. Be a kid. It’s screaming inside us. Let your craziness take hold of you. Get the door!

Explore the world!

Feel beautiful. 🙂


Thank You Alisha for the support.

PS: I am still open for more guest bloggers and I encourage more to come. If interested then contact me on: itsmayurremember@gmail.com

Blogger Interview

Guest Blogger #4: Alisha Khan Interview


I have been unfair to the guest bloggers who responded to my call. For the delay I have cause I am sorry.

After I published my call for guest bloggers, Alisha responded. I remember her comment on my blog about a few months ago and I followed her. From that day to today, her progress in the blogging world has sky rocketed and left me in wonder how did it happen?

A great writer, fiction and non fiction, Alisha’s blog is amazing and her name “LifeEventsObservation‘ is apt for what she write. She gave answers to some of my questions:


1. Who are you and why do you write?

Considering the extent of the universe and the population dwelling in it, I am a nobody! I am just like a drop of water going unnoticed in the massive ocean. I want to be that drop of water which is prized in a desert.

I’m a nervous jerk born in the beautiful land of Karnataka who stays in Mumbai. I have survived for nineteen years.The St Paul’s High School had imbibed great values in me and now I’m studying Media.

I write because I think that’s what I was made for. It soothes me. It makes me euphoric. It heals. And more than writing is my love for reading. I’ve read over fifty novels, have kept a record of every book I read and that’s what I consider as my greatest achievement. Without writing and reading, I’m valueless or that’s what I think.

2. What kind of stories/posts you enjoy reading most?

I enjoy reading the human interest stories the most. Also horror stories but a good horror story that practically makes your skin crawl is hard to find.

3. Lastly, any tips for readers/Mayur on how to improve their writing?

Keep writing and reading. It helps you discover yourself. What better way to say it than quoting George Martin, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”


Her Guest Blog post(non fiction) will be published on Monday morning so do come back here to check it out.

Thank You Alisha for the support.

PS: I am still open for more guest bloggers and I encourage more to come. If interested then contact me on: itsmayurremember@gmail.com

110 People Died Yesterday


Just yesterday I read this Police Commander’s article.The Loss of Innocence

I work in an online journalism website. Yes, I am an engineer and currently working as a journalist, go ahead judge. I’m almost immune to people’s judgements. Almost.

I started working there from September 1st. My job is simple, putting up stories that we get from our sources. A little editing, a lot of copy pasting. I am trying to get a foothold in my workspace and it is not easy.

But the thing which shocks me is my apathy. Why?

Turn on your news channel, you will find news of murderings, killings, bombings, trade negotiations, rapes and movies. There is a little mention of someone’s accomplishments, like someone winning a Padma Bhushan or a medal in sports. Except cricket, that sport is popular enough.

I read stories about rape, gang rape, killings and all kinds of violence. You will be surprised by the criminal activities happening. I show no reaction to the news. I just do my Job and put up those stories.

Yesterday I told myself to find out how many people died. I wanted to see what’s my limit.

I found out that from midnight to 1700 hrs IST, Exactly 110 humans died. A hundred and freaking ten people. And my estimate can be wrong too!

Untitled

The deceased were Afghan soldiers, Yemen victims, suicides, accident fatalities and at the risk of sounding frivolous other ill fated individuals. Just look at the list I made! I didn’t even write the news headings fully.

If that raises your eyebrows then you have some humanity left. Because I am insensible to the news, I went to have tea after that. I have read enough blogs about death but this is the first time words have not hit me, made me feel the pain associated with it.

Was I shaken? No.

Did I try to find out more about them? No.

I realized later last night at how screwed up I am. Yesterday at least a hundred families were affected, their lives changed drastically, the changes irrecoverable. And me? I am unfazed.

On the other hand, if the news would have been of animal cruelty or fatality I would have been enraged. Maybe I would be, I am no longer sure. But human fatality? No anger, only now do I begin to feel remorse and will try to sympathize more.

Humans are dying out there! Causes might be heart attacks, accidents or hellish terrorist attacks. Humans die agonizing deaths and I am earning money by their deaths.

If a person reading this has lost someone in some horrible event, go ahead spit the condemning words at me.I have earned them after three weeks.

Humans are dying now. I am sure humanity died long ago.

Literary Lion: They Never Did Fall


A 400 word response to Laura’s prompt.

Literary Lion: Fall

Harry waited at the party for his wife, she was running late today. She always runs late these days. He doesn’t mind, in fact he is rather proud of the fact that she is so hard-working.

Georgia is someone he has always admired and more he got to know her the more he fell for her. No, he stopped himself from using that word. He didn’t FALL for her, he instead got elevated. Yes elevated was the proper word here, nothing other than that.

A Girl who deserved better than what she was getting at the time he met her, the fact that she wasn’t scared of chasing what she wanted. She never complained about being in a misogynistic society and neither did she blamed it on her sex for being down the corporate ladder. She knew what she wanted and she chased it.

In his life he never expected a girl to ever settle down, girlfriends came and broke him and left. She had a worse streak with her boyfriends. A year into their relationship she confided the trauma one of her ex boyfriend had inflicted on her. Enraged, Harry was ready to beat the man to a pulp, Georgia with a shy smile on her face said “You can’t, that man is already in prison for what he did.”

It was that point he knew he has to marry her, he has found his partner, he knew Georgia also had the same plans. He loved her and all the baggage that came along with her. She loved him and his baggage. They settled their disputes easily, they never got bored with each and both of them were ready to go head over heels for other. 

She was better professionally, he was better personally. He is not ashamed of making dinner for her, for pouring her a glass of wine to relax her. She spurned his imagination to an extent that he is already published an acclaimed trilogy. She is his muse, he is her support.

Ingenious couples ask them what’s their secret? they say figure it out. They lead by example rather than by words. They revel in their friends achievements and support failures. They do their best to keep up with others, they actually keep up with each other’s lives.

If anyone asks when did they figure out they had fallen for each other, they would laugh.

His train of thoughts was interrupted by her arrival, she had come directly from work. Hair a little disorderly, face a little tired but Georgia did her best to smile. That was what he loved, what she knew he loved, the natural attempts.

They hadn’t fallen, their lives had gotten better.

Let’s see what others have written:

  1. https://thecoolbookworm.wordpress.com/2015/09/17/fall-literary-lion/
  2. https://bencnicholson.wordpress.com/2015/09/17/the-fall-a-response-to-laura-feaseys-literary-lion/
  3. https://thecoolbookworm.wordpress.com/2015/09/17/fall-literary-lion/
  4. https://mandibelle16.wordpress.com/2015/09/17/literary-lion-the-fall-of-uriel/
  5. https://tuckedintoacorner.wordpress.com/2015/09/18/fall/
  6. http://ismithwords.com/2015/09/17/literary-lion-tumble/#comment-3361
  7. https://livehomeandaway.wordpress.com/2015/09/20/pride-and-falls/
  8. https://deliriousantidotes.wordpress.com/2015/09/20/fracture/
  9. https://seriesofadjustments.wordpress.com/2015/09/19/the-descent/
  10. https://deliriousantidotes.wordpress.com/2015/09/20/fracture/
  11. https://livehomeandaway.wordpress.com/2015/09/20/pride-and-falls/
  12. http://viewsfromtheridge.com/2015/09/25/fall/
  13. https://thisismyironlung.wordpress.com/2015/09/25/her-fall/
  14. http://dralimanonlife.com/2015/09/26/literary-lion-after-the-fall/
  15. http://grahamisjustmyname.com/2015/09/28/the-fall-literary-lion/
  16. http://finallyawriter.com/2015/09/27/falling-literary-lion-prompt/

Guest Blog: #3 The Morning


As promised here is the fiction by Kailash Nath. You can see his interview here

You should totally check out his blog.


 

The cool breeze is making me shiver a bit, but it is refreshing. The morning sun is rising and the color of the sky slowly changes from blue to red, color of the blood that covered my body yesterday.
 
Now the breeze is becoming warmer. The warmth resembles the one I felt yesterday when she kissed me.
 
Where am I now?
 
This is a new place, yesterday I was at a different place. It was so clean there but here it is all dirty and that smell… YUCK! What is this smell?!
 
Bowwow… Bowwow…
 
Whose dog is that? Why is it seeing me like that?
 
Ok chalo leave it. Let me enjoy this morning sun. I had enjoyed this many days back, I guess many years back or maybe in the last life. However, now in this new life I am seeing the sunrise for the first time.
 
It is always beautiful from any place I guess.
 
Of course, I have not been anywhere else other than that room yesterday. Today I am here, a place that I do not know.
 
Grah!… this smell is becoming worse. The breeze is carrying it towards me and my nose is burning with that smell.
 
Where is everyone?
 
The person who pinched me yesterday till I cried, the person who shot the video of that, the person who is helping the first one and that woman… that woman who kissed me with all the love in her face.
 
Where are all those?
 
Now the smell is intolerable. I am not going to be here anymore, I cannot take it anymore.
 
What? Why can’t I move?
 
“Please someone help me….” I cried but there is no one who listened.
 
But the dog saw me. It heard my cry.
 
He is coming near. That is really a big doggie, huge. Eyes shining tongue rolling and drooling; the sight of that doggie scared me. His canines are very large, larger than my limbs I guess.
 
I think I made a mistake by crying. This one is sees me as food now. It can have me in one gulp may be. This dog is that huge.
 
Wait. He is not alone; there are 3 more dogs of that size coming towards me.
 
They surrounded me and one of it kept its front leg on me, I tried to move away but I am not able to. This move irritated the dog I guess, he started barking at me. The bark is too loud my ears are ringing. I am afraid now. I cried louder this time, hoping someone would come.
 
The dog became more irritated. He ran on to me and with those huge teeth bit my leg. There is so much pain! There is blood oozing from it. I think the bone broke and the injury is fatal.
 
But just then someone came. I guess God had heeded my prayers.
 
They came and frightened the dogs. They left me and the person who came took me into his arms and said to the other person
 
“See the parents these days. I guess they left her in this dustbin because she is a girl. This is really irresponsible and inhuman.”
 
I didn’t understand those words, but I guess I will understand them in the future…
 
 
PS: This is based on a true incident that happened some days ago where a girl child was thrown into a dustbin just after few hours of birth, and dogs ate some parts. The dead body was found by some of the people living nearby and the police had not found the parents yet. The speculation for leaving a child there is that the child is a girl child. I still can’t believe that people see a girl child as unwanted. Really a pathetic incident and need a change.


 

That was the fiction piece I promised.

PS: I am still open for more guest bloggers and I encourage more to come. If interested then contact me on: itsmayurremember@gmail.com

 

Blogger Interview

Guest Blogger #3: Kailash Nath Interview


After I published my call for guest bloggers, Kailash here responded. I have read his fictions via daily post comments and I can say he is a really talented writer. His blog is full of fiction pieces that will entice you into reading more of his posts.

Without much adieu here is the interview that was supposed to go on yesterday! Sorry about that Kailash. Do check out his blog!


 

1. Who are you?

I am Kailash, and presently working as a Software Engineer. I am 21 years old and Like to sing (Though not a great singer), write, read and also travel.  Theres nothing much other than that to know about me.. 

I started telling stories since I met one of my friend who used to believe everything I say. One day he suggested me to write whatever I say and it becomes something interesting to read and like that i started a story and have got a good feedback from my friends and this encouraged me.

I dont like to say lies like I feel great while writing or something like that as I dont feel so. But whenever I see someone reading my story and telling their opinion I like myself…. So I write to be happy and like myself

 

2. What kind of stories/posts you enjoy reading most ?

At the starting of my reading habit, I used to read novels by Agatha and Sheldon, I.e., Murder mysteries and crime fiction. But later i also read books like TH\he alchemist and The kite Runner, Shiva Trilogy
 which also made me like those genres…..
At present I have written a story of crime fiction and working on a story which is something related to human emotions…..

.3. Lastly any tips for bloggers(myself included) on how to improve writing?

And the tips…. I myself am a amateur writer so I need tips from some seniors… Some of the tips I got were to maintain tempo of the story neatly not rather fast nor very slow… Another tip was to give more attention to the characterisation of the different roles in the story.. anything and everything that a person in the story does should match their character and it should not change drastically….
Thats it about me.

Like I promised, a short interview!

His Guest Blog post(fiction) will be published on tuesday morning  so do come back here to check it out.

Thank You Kailash for the support.

PS: I am still open for more guest bloggers and I encourage more to come. If interested then contact me on: itsmayurremember@gmail.com

Walking My Dog is Heartbreaking


That’s Jimmy, we brought him home in April five years ago. We still don’t know when he was born, we adopted him from the street. This morning when I walked him I couldn’t do it without tears in my eyes.

Walking Jimmy has always been an important task of the day for me, I trained him so I walked him most of the times and not my elder brother. Parents hardly walk him because then Jimmy is the one in control and he is a total brat with my parents. I love walking him, I have used walking him as an excuse to walk away from family when I am angry or sad, I walked him so that I can forget about a girl or I wanted to think things over. He is the perfect companion, always laughing. Sometimes I seriously wonder if he knows my mood and his demeanour changes accordingly, if it does then I don’t know how he does it.

Last couple of days he has taken ill, he doesn’t eat and there is a sprain or muscle injury in right hind leg. He limps. Back when he was healthy, coming home I would be greeted by his sloppy kisses, the thumping of his wagging tail and infinite energy. It was either that reaction to my homecoming or he would fall down asleep because he is too sleepy and my coming home had disturbed his sleep.

But I know he was happy to see me. He looked cute, peaceful in his sleep. I have previously written about him here.

In the last two days, things have changed. Now he wouldn’t get up from the corner of the room that he has occupied. No wagging tails, no drooling tongue and no grinning welcome. He doesn’t even lift his head. My mom cries helpless looking at him. I sit next to him and comb his fur. He had lost weight I can see, his fur is thinning out. The light in his eyes is not the same, he looks in agony.

He is no longer happy to see me.

I took him to the vet and got him checked up. Vet suggested that I would let him rest and if he doesn’t start eating then I should bring him in again today evening. I was glad that mom didn’t come along too, she wouldn’t have kept her cool if she saw him wailing in pain.

He is eating but only sparingly, not with the same viciousness that he used to devour food. I kept my worries in check, kept my emotions in check because only I will be taking him to the vet, only I can stand by and not cry while he wails when injected. But it is so difficult not to.

Today I took him to walk. Usually he is full of energy, he would be the one to lead and I would be the one who is pulled by him. Today his trot was slower, clearly favoring his right leg. Head and tail drooped, he looked so old today. He was already past his energetic days, but today he looked frail.

Frail but stubborn because he still walked his usual long route. I tried to make him walk for less distance, give him rest but he wouldn’t. The whole twenty-five minutes this morning I looked at him walking and it hurt.

I still can’t stop the tears from welling up in my eyes, three hours after. He walked cautiously then suddenly decided he has to lead and try to canter, stop before he would hurt himself. While returning home, he took two steps and stopped, this happened a lot of times. I tried to carry him but he would wiggle out of my hands, he didn’t want to be carried. The bastard has his pride, he has to walk the same distance and he will walk back without my aid.

I tried to encourage him, telling him thoda dur (just a little far) but my throat clenched up in a try or two. All I could do was to touch his back and hope he gets the message. He always sits downstairs in the building compound and today he made no exception. He  sat on his hunches, ignoring my pull and stared at every passer-by. I know he was in pain, otherwise he would be grinning. Uncomfortable but he still was unwilling to drop his routine for some comfort. He sat on his hunches and he looked more proud today that on any other day.

Somehow we managed to climb to the third floor, he could barely walk now. I could barely watch. Inside the house he went back to occupy his new customary corner while I sat facepalmed telling myself that Jimmy would be alright

He will be alright.

Jimmy

Flowers In Your Memory


Literary Lion: Flower

Dear Jyoti,

Here is the gajra I promised. Its Thursday and you always loved wearing it in your hair every Thursday.

I vowed to keep gajra in front of your photograph, today I keep this letter too.

You see, I have been diagnosed with cancer. We must have a strong love because I too have stomach cancer, terminal and doctors gave me three months to live. The doctor was ready with tissues and sympathetic look, awaiting the tears. But you should have seen his face when I cracked up, I was so relieved I started laughing!

Samir and Girija doesn’t understand my happiness. They want me to undergo chemotherapy and all the other procedures. I don’t want to do that, I saw what those procedures did to you. I saw my beautiful wife become this thin fragile carcass and I know you hated it. I know you wanted an end three years ago but you fought because I was fighting with you.

For that I am sorry, I should have paid heed to you. I blame myself for your horribly painful death. I was selfish. I still am selfish, I want an end too because there’s no joy in this world without you.

Parvati promised me she will take care of Samir, she understands why I am happy. Girija has a new boyfriend did I tell you? Really nice guy. He will keep her company, he will take care of her.

Our varis Shruti is beautiful. One year old and so fragile. She looks just like Samir, she has all of his childhood habits. She spits milk when fed, she keeps using my head as a tabla and occasionally while asleep she giggles. Remember Samir used to do that? We were so scared that we took him to three doctors.

Samir doesn’t find it funny but Parvati does. She made a video of it and its there on something called YouTube. Really popular too.

I digress. Today I kissed Shruti goodbye, made tea for all the members and now they think I am going for my walk. Do you think they will forgive me? I hope they do.

And you my love, I am coming. Because without you I don’t have any heart in life.

Love,
Hari

 

Let’s see what others have written:

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/literary-lion-flowers-for-you/

http://rfrmst.com/2015/08/19/calmness-of-beauty/

https://unusualstrangeness.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/wilted/

https://sonyca.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/daisies-literary-lion/

https://thisismyironlung.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/lion-flower/

https://heartscrawler.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/memories-of-a-flowered-crown/

https://mandibelle16.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/literary-lion-the-orchid/

3-in-one: Take these flowers away. And the balloon, too!

https://tuckedintoacorner.wordpress.com/2015/08/21/amarysso/

https://livehomeandaway.wordpress.com/2015/08/21/flower-stories/

Literary Lion – Stained Red

In Convenience

https://write1st.wordpress.com/2015/08/25/flower/

http://reelryan.com/2015/08/25/literary-ryan-red-unearthing/

Literary Lion : Heather

https://cleveroldowl.wordpress.com/2015/08/30/flowering/

https://vnktchari.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/literary-lion-word-prompt-flower-a-wonderful-rose-plant/

https://deliriousantidotes.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/flower/

Captivated


Many people catch my attention but only few of them truly captivate me.

Today I met an extraordinary woman.

She is my aunt’s mother, easily older than 80 years.

I don’t know her name, her last name I learnt from the nameplate.  I am clueless about her education, her marriage, her accomplishments or her regrets: because I didn’t ask them.

In fact I didn’t ask her anything, I just watched her in wide eyed wonder. I observed her energy and cordial personality, a person captivated.

Yes, captivated.

She couldn’t hear anymore but that didn’t impede her loquacious nature, she can lip read everyone: me, my parents, my aunt, even the actors on TV! Her focus oscillated from one person to the next as we spoke, she wanted to be a part of the conversation.

She spoke with everyone, she made me feel as a part of her family even if I had just met her for the very first time. I am part of her family, to her my father is like her son.

I heard her stories and her theories. She doesn’t leave her house anymore because she wants to pass away at her own home, she doesn’t want to taint her sons’ houses with her death.

Back when my father was a child, she used to summon him for small errands, my father never said no. Today when they met she told him she has some work for him, he still didn’t say no.

Her two favorite things are the bank and moving. Yes, I said she doesn’t leave her home so wait.
Her residential area is under remodeling. Old buildings are being replaced with new towers, the previous residents are given apartments in the new tower. She keeps making arrangement for a new temporary apartment even though her building is not scheduled for remaking. In fact, the plan is just under talks and nothing is finalized.

She is meticulous about her accounts, always checking to see if her money’s still there. Nowadays she calls over a nearby kid, pays him 15 rs to go and check her account! The same kid was also summoned to visit her cousin who was hospitalized.

She has a diary, all the people who she knows are in it. Contact numbers, their residences everything. She has maintained it over the years so well that my aunt only uses her diary as a contact list. She took our numbers today.

Like I said her gregarious nature doesn’t permit her to stay aloof, she calls people and speaks to them over loudspeaker of the phone. According to my aunt, her telephonic conversations are a shouting match.

I love her, I don’t have any blood ties with her but I wish there should be one, no matter how distant. Her diabetes has no control over her, she would eat rice and sweets whenever my aunt’s unaware.

Funniest thing is that she is always smiling. She is unique in that, her frankness and motherly nature. If you were there, you would probably touch her legs in awe and respect. Like I said I was captivated.

Before we left her abode, she gave me and my brother ten rupee notes. I never do this but I marked her note and vowed to never spend it. When she made me vow to never spend it later at the door, I wanted to hug her and say I was never going to spend it anyway.

wp-1463814512867.jpg

This is the goal. To be so venerated, to possess such candor, to meet another youngster and make him captivated.

After all, what is life’s goal but to be remembered.

Local Train

Guest Blog #2: Life As We Know IT


So guest blog #2 By Stressed Mess! You read her interview here! She is really great at fictions and is bound to reach great heights later. Check out her blog!

Without any more delay, here we go:


Crisp Mumbai evening.

He boarded the local train with commuters; but there was a difference between him and the other passengers. They were all eager to get home after a long day at work but for him, he knew this was going to be his last train ride.

He described his life as one big disappointment. He always knew he was destined for greatness, but life intervened at about the tender age of eighteen. He dropped out of college to support his ailing parents, to repay debts and take over the responsibility of his younger siblings.

That was twenty years ago.

He had stopped dreaming. He was a smart, intelligent and ambitious man, now struggling to make ends meet. He was stuck in a loveless marriage and he cannot remember the last time he really laughed. Life was dull, claustrophobic and he was going to relieve himself.

He did not bother with a suicide note, it cannot possibly convey why he was taking such a drastic step. How can a paper provide any kind of solace to the family he was leaving behind?

No. He did not want his life and his death to end up as a piece of paper. He wished oblivion. No one would know how he felt in those last, frantic moments. He wanted privacy; nobody should know what was going on in his mind. He had lived this way and he preferred to die this way.

He stood at the door of the train and watched the sun set; his hair flew with the wind as the train caught speed. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath and braced himself to take the leap, to let go the pain. Suddenly he heard a loud bang and the world changed forever.

He opened his eyes and saw that there was blood everywhere. Smoke was everywhere and he could hear people crying in pain. People who were next to him on the train were severed, blown away into bits.

He heard a woman’s cry in his vicinity and tried to get up, but he could not. He looked down and saw his bloody legs. His mind suddenly registered the pain from his legs, pain beyond his endurance. Help took ten minutes to arrive; those were the hardest ten minutes of his life. He was in a lot of pain but he was conscious, aware of his surroundings. There were times when he wished he would pass out just so that he did not have to see the gruesome scene. The only thing he could think of in those moments of agony was that why them and not me?

He forced himself to die; he wanted to die!

He must have lost consciousness at some point because when he woke, he was in a bed at a government hospital surrounded by other “lucky” passengers who had made it. His wife and ten-year-old son rushed into the room. The relief his family had on seeing him there, alive and well was something he would never forget. They both gave him a big hug and spoke about how thankful they were that the horrible bomb blast had not taken him away from them. They did not know that the bomb blast had actually saved his life.

Later that day he scanned the room and looked at the other patients. They were shook up; of course, some had broken limbs and burns. However, they had gratitude in their eyes. Life had thrown a curveball at them but they were positive, it would all be fine. They knew they were lucky they survived. Seeing the distraught looks on the faces of people who had lost family members, he had an epiphany.

After that day, he knew that he had to hang on, take whatever life has to offer and live for the people in his life. Moreover, after that day, he really lived. His life had finally begun.

Your life is not just your own. Human lives are interwoven. Everything you do, every choice you make, has a direct effect on everybody around you. One cannot live in a selfish manner as he lives in a society, with several different people. We think about suicide because we think it will relieve us of the pain we feel when in reality we are just transferring our suffering on to people who love us. With every death, a hole is formed that may never fill. With every death, there are several lives that are disrupted and with every death a tiny part of several people, dies.


My sincere thanks to ‘Stressed Mess’ for doing this and I hope that I did justice to her piece.

PS: I am still calling more guest bloggers, any one interested can contact me at: itsmayurremember@gmail.com

Blogger Interview

Guest Blogger #2: ‘Stressed Mess’ Interview


After I published my call for guest bloggers, Ms StressedMess here is one of the few to show any interest in this

Thank you! So here is her small interview & you should totally check out her blog, ‘Of Silver Linings And Stormy Nights‘ she is although new at her blog, she has a talent for writing fiction that blows you away and a visit or a follow to her blog is definitely worth it. Her fictional post series ‘Let the Masks fall away‘ are what made me follow her!


 

1. Who are you?

I am a 19 year old student from Mumbai. I come from a family of writers so writing is something that comes naturally to me. Its both a stress buster and my favorite way to pass my time. 

2. Why do you write?

I LOVE TO READ. I read everything from the generic teenage romantic novels to sci fi to books about deranged criminals. Just give me a book and i am a happy girl

3. Lastly any tips for bloggers(myself included) on how to improve writing?

I think the more you write the better you get.Also, It is always good to have a few people who will read what you write and give you an honest opinion on it. 


Like I promised, a short interview!

Her Guest Blog post(fiction) will be published on Monday night so do come back here to check it out.

Thank You for the support.

PS: I am still open for more guest bloggers and I encourage more to come. If interested then contact me on: itsmayurremember@gmail.com

Fan Fiction: Lou Bloom

Fan Fiction: Lou Bloom


Literary Lion: Flower

(I just saw Nightcrawler starring Jake Gyllenhall. I was captivated by his superb performance and when I saw Laura’s post Bloom I had to make an attempt at fan fiction. I’m afraid I couldn’t do it justice)

‘911. What is your emergency?’

‘Hello my name is Lou Bloom from Video Production Network. I heard gunshots in the apartment next door and I went to check. My neighbour is dead.’

‘Sir, can you tell me your address?’

Lou did.

‘Do not touch anything, sir. Patrolmen are on their way.’

He knew that, he could see the police codes on his laptop. Their ETA 120 seconds.

His neighbour, sweet little Miss Penny, was writhing on the floor, her clothes bloodied. He wasn’t worried about her, she would be dead before the police arrives. He was busy filming.

He had video footage of last minute, from when the killer left Miss Penny’s apartment. He had to edit the film, remove killer’s exit.

He continued filming, he had just bought a new camera, the best in the market, and he was using it.

The furniture in the house was undisturbed. Remove the soon-to-be dead body from the scene and no one could guess the room is a crime scene.

He filmed the bedroom, the hall the kitchen astonished that there was no sign of struggle. Miss Penny made a sound and he saw her vomiting blood. Almost dead, he would film the entire hall with her in the frame when she dies.

But somewhere in his mind there was an excitement. He was looking for a flower, flower that was blooming, a message left for him and him alone.

He still couldn’t find it, time was running out and he was loosing control becoming anxious.

Miss Penny continued making more noises. He snapped and screamed at her ‘Shut up!’

He saw then. She was not vomiting blood. He couldn’t keep this trophy can he? Not like the last two murders.

Quickly he made up his mind no editing the tape this time. This woman he will try to save. He kept the camera on the coffee table, making sure he was in the frame. He saw the gunshot wound, midsection.

‘Apply pressure’ he knew so he grabbed the cloth he could find and used it to stop the bleeding.

His tape would help the police to nab the killer. He wanted that flower! But it was a crucial evidence, removing it from the scene would bring the full force of the police on him.

Already he has made a couple of detectives suspicious, he was always at the crime scene before any policeman. He needed them to ease off and Miss Penny would do the job.

All the killer had to do was let him have the flower, now he would be captured.

  image credits: Twitter

Let’s see what others have written:

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/literary-lion-flowers-for-you/

http://rfrmst.com/2015/08/19/calmness-of-beauty/

https://unusualstrangeness.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/wilted/

https://sonyca.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/daisies-literary-lion/

https://thisismyironlung.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/lion-flower/

https://heartscrawler.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/memories-of-a-flowered-crown/

https://mandibelle16.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/literary-lion-the-orchid/

3-in-one: Take these flowers away. And the balloon, too!

https://tuckedintoacorner.wordpress.com/2015/08/21/amarysso/

https://livehomeandaway.wordpress.com/2015/08/21/flower-stories/

Literary Lion – Stained Red

In Convenience

https://write1st.wordpress.com/2015/08/25/flower/

http://reelryan.com/2015/08/25/literary-ryan-red-unearthing/

Literary Lion : Heather

Guest-poem-you-dont-matter

Guest Blog #1: You Don’t Matter


Here is the Poetry as promised by Mr Brent Kincaid. You can also check out his interview.

 

 

 

You don’t matter at all,

You hardworking citizen,

You who toil at drudgery

To feed all your children.

When we need you to vote

We pay attention to you

But the rest of the time

We look right through you.

 

You don’t matter at all.

Only the rich are essential

The rest of you are not;

You’re interchangeable.

You’re just marks on a page;

On the bottom of a ledger

And it’s best if you just

Work silently altogether.

 

The one percent matters

But if you are not rich yet

That means you are too stupid

To reach out and get.

The rich are a better class

And a truly valuable human.

All you non-rich are good for

Is to support us by consuming.

 

You don’t matter at all

Since you only vote for POTUS.

The rest of the time you all

Let us rob and you don’t outvote us.

We write laws that give more

And soon all of wealth to us

And then we point at someone else

For you to fail to back and cuss.

 

You don’t matter at all,

Or haven’t you even noticed.

You didn’t see that we urge

You to dwell in a field of lotus

Called football beer and Fox,

The news that is not really news;

Just something to misdirect.

It helps us shape your views.

 

You don’t matter at all.

You prove it every single day

By being so ignorant and lazy

We give this country away

We sell off your birthright

To the rich of other lands

And you all just run your mouth

And sit there on your hands.

 

Brent Kincaid


 

How was the post? I will appreciate any feedback to the post so go ahead!

Thank You Brent for the support.

*All views presented here are from the author.*

PS: I am still open for more guest bloggers and I encourage more to come. If interested then contact me on: itsmayurremember@gmail.com.

 

Blogger Interview

Guest Blogger #1: Brent Kincaid Interview


After I published my call for guest bloggers, Mr Brent here was the first to respond. Though initially I was hesitant to go ahead with this guest blogging routine because of a lack of response, I am going ahead with this anyway and I will run this series of guest blogging till I run out of bloggers.

Thanks Brent! So here is the small interview on Brent and you should totally check out his poetry blog ‘Poet but know it‘ That has about 868 poems on it!!! It is a fresh take on things. A veteran is here on my blog!


 

1. Who are you?

About seventy years ago I was born in Kansas City, dead center of The Bigotry Belt. After leaving high school I worked, got cast in a couple of plays and sang in two nightclubs. I moved from there in my early twenties to Hollywood on what ‘the right’ likes to call The Left Coast. Yeah! And, damn proud of it!

I stayed there for twenty three years during the gay revolution, including but not limited to defying the police who threatened to arrest all of us, I marched with a thousand other gays down Hollywood Boulevard in 1970 chanting “Out of the closets and into the streets!” and doing the flutter kick with a dozen other young gays. I stayed there, acting in plays, singing in nightclubs and making absolutely zero effect on my career as a famous entertainer.

The rest of my time there, I worked for the telephone company, bought a house and then retired from Ma Bell to Tucson, Arizona, where I met and married the love of my life. We have now been married twenty-four years. 

2. Why do you write?

Twelve years ago we moved to Kauai where I am working as an artist and poet. I am sort of the staff poet on a Facebook magazine called The Blue Route, a progressive newsletter.

3. Lastly any tips for bloggers(myself included) on how to improve writing?

The best advice I can offer to bloggers is two old saws.

First: be brief, be correct and be visible.

Second, avoid, as much as possible unless for comedy relief, using old phrases like “a good time was had by all” and “my jaw dropped to the floor”. That is about the best advice I can give anyone who wants their piece to be read by anyone anywhere.

Remember the words of Oscar Wilde: “If you want to be famous, get your name in print as often as you can. There is no such thing as bad publicity. Any publicity at all is good publicity.” While I don’t agree with that 100%, it is basically good advice.


Like I promised, a short interview!

His Guest Blog post(poetry) will be published on Monday night so do come back here to check it out.

Thank You Brent for the support.

PS: I am still open for more guest bloggers and I encourage more to come. If interested then contact me on: itsmayurremember@gmail.com

Dance of Death

Dance Of Death


Literary Lion. Dance

She lay dying.

Her clothes were bloodied although most of the blood was from her enemies. She had killed many of them tonight. But not enough and now only the most potent and deadly chased her down the alley. She knew she wouldn’t outlive the hour, she had no energy resources to tap to. She fought with them to avenge her brother. No regrets now.

Gasping breath, gurgling blood and spit she tried walking into the alley when she heard footsteps in front of her. Two men stood there, both had their weapons drawn. She noted that one on the right looked relaxed, the tip of his sword slightly lowered. He was the leader!

The leader understood he has been made. He bowed down at the waist in respect. The sign of respect was so genuine that she almost forgot that this is not a death match. Some scuffling sounds at her back made her aware that more men stood behind her. She was surrounded, the trap was sprung and there’s no way out.

She looked down at her weapons, her knuckles were bruised and there were some throwing stars in her belt. Her short swords were perfect for close combat but her feet were a mass of cuts. She was slower on her feet now. She knew she was stabbed somewhere in her back but she wasn’t sure where. Now there is no time to worry about that.

Deep breaths. Eyes closed and focused on directing any energy to her limbs. Making mental defenses for the pain she is experiencing and the ones which will be forthcoming. She must have taken a whole minute before she was ready, she was surprised that none of the five killers had attacked.

Hands steady now, legs almost nimble enough for the dance, she sprung into action. She was completely surrounded, her only option was to make room. Her strongest enemy was their leader so she attacked him. Any rational thought had long since escaped her, survival was all she looked for.

Swinging, parrying, shouting she shot forward, the leader quickly moving a step back and then two. She had her space. Blindly, instinctively she counter attacked, she felt one or two slashes across her back. Her mental defenses were crumbling but she couldn’t stop now. Slash. Parry. Thrust. Move.

Her world was down to those four actions. Suddenly her left handed thrust punched into a chest and she felt blood on her hand. No time to dislodge the weapon she moved to throw a star from her belt. Another man down.

They moved away again, another man was injured, holding his right thigh. She had no clue when she had cut him but the damage was done. He would die bleeding out because an artery has been severed. Two men remained. Their leader was furious.

They engaged again, this time she attacked the other guy and got lucky. Her right handed cut him across his face and he was down. And she felt a sword driven in her gut.

Not this way, she thought. Not this way.

A last throwing star. His right eyeball. More blood on her hands. And it was over. She fell down, vomiting blood.

She lay dying. Her dance was over.

Let’s see what others have written:

purgatory for paperback novels
https://newshoundnovelist.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/dancing-around-the-issue-literary-lion-challenge-week-1/
https://balconyviewz.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/friends-in-love-fiction/
https://thumbingthrough.wordpress.com/2015/08/10/where-to-put-my-feet/
https://rileyreedauthor.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/literary-lion-dance-in-his-arms/
Literary Lion : Pas de Deux
Literary Lion – Lord of the Dance
The Pre-Audition
https://thistlehammertransmutational.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/fortune-cookie-friday-6-august-2015/
https://nortinamariela.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/and-this-is-why-i-do-not-go-to-clubs/
https://tuckedintoacorner.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/patina/
https://thisismyironlung.wordpress.com/2015/08/06/dance/
https://livehomeandaway.wordpress.com/2015/08/06/for-the-king/
https://sonyca.wordpress.com/2015/08/06/danse-macabre/
https://unusualstrangeness.wordpress.com/2015/08/06/flawless-performance/
A Dance Memory

Guest Bloggers Needed

Calling Guest Bloggers!


I have discussed with a blogger friend of mine on the same topic and taking advice from her I intend to publish a series of guest blogs.

If you are interested, you a blogger or just want to want to write I welcome you. I won’t guarantee a lot of exposure, I myself suffer from less exposure.

Email me at : itsmayurremember@gmail.com

There’s no word limit.

I give you full space as to write whatever you want to write about.
PS: I still have all right to not publish if I think the post is offensive
Contact me. Thanks!

First Job

My First Job


It lasted for four days. Yes four days.

(I have previously written on my struggles to land a job.)

How did I get placed there?

I had little hopes of getting a good job. I had a specific criteria & I was not willing to enter any written agreement mandating me to work for the company for ‘x’ years. So I looked at the unconventional openings: Content Writing.

In my folly, I thought I knew how to write. I figured this would be a piece of cake. A Google search of the jobs available later I ended up on their website and my application was sent. Same day I got two more interview calls and I had three interviews arranged in a span if two days.

The Work

The in-charge proposed that I work there on a temporary basis. He wanted to see how well I can cope up with actual technical writing and he asked me to evaluate if I am sure of taking up the responsibility. Additionally he offered to pay for my travel expenses for the temporary period. After some hesitation I took the job. There is still no call from the other two places where I interviewed.

The four evaluation days were all the same. He gave me a task to perform and I had to write. My initial assessment of this being a piece of cake quickly broke down. There’s a huge difference in writing for oneself and writing for someone else. Though we thought along the same plane, my words failed to impress him time after time.

I didn’t lose hope and concentrated more. The most frustrating day was when I ended up writing the same sentence ten different times and he liked none of them. 10!

I am humbled. He kept his word on the last day and remunerated me. He had a stock of papers in his hand, my written drafts & when I bid him farewell I knew I wouldn’t be called back. But that experience was needed. I needed to learn first hand that I am not the best at what I do and I still have a long way to go. I needed the shock.

The sad thing is though

On the last day I was starting to enjoy myself. I liked the congenial work culture, the indulgence and work ethics. The in charge no matter how dogmatic is a man who he said he was and his company had the life the website promised. They were nice people. It sucked to leave.

On the worse side

Of sorts. The food I ate there had a serious effect on me. Vomiting, fever and all the accompanying symptoms. I have been lying in my bed for last two days. Helpless. Weak. If I had continued there my health would surely deteriorated.

I expect a recovery in the next couple of days. I keep joking to my friend that ‘I’m dying’ and she rebukes. She doesn’t realize that I really feel that way.

PS: If you are a php developer or writer and looking for a job”

Reach me via Facebook and I will refer you to the company. They need the manpower.

Keep Me As A Friend


Yes have me as a friend. I am interested in you. I want to know about you.

I don’t expect us to be best buddies. I don’t want us to stay up till 4 am and have a profound conversation. But I will be your best friend if you need me to. I’ll stay up all night if you want me to.

I don’t have any illusions. We aren’t perfect. If you have lived this long then you will be hurt, broken and imperfect. I know it. I won’t ask you about it, you tell me when you get want to. You keep your secrets, and share if you want to. I’ll listen.

There won’t be thousands of pictures of us. There will hardly be a few. But there will be memories. There will be giggles and there will be disgust. There will definitely be tears. Because crying comes the easiest. So have whatever you want to, I’ll be there.

Call me if you have a problem. Call me if there’s a difficulty. Call me if you are eating my favorite food. Or just call me if there’s nothing to do. I’ll pick up. And I’ll either help you or just make fun of you.

Tell me about your interests. Tell me your goals and I’ll encourage you. I’ll enjoy your victories and I’ll tell you to cherish your defeats. I’ll share your passions, even if I don’t know anything about them. I’ll tag you in posts that I think will interest you. I’ll tell you about things that interest me, but I won’t coerce you into liking them. I won’t try too hard to be liked, I am just enthusiastic about lot of things. And there are too many things that can interest me.

I will not bore you with my problems. I keep them into myself and this blog. You ask me about them and I won’t lie to you, not because I’m whiny but because I respect you too much to lie. And I’ll get my shit together.

I won’t look at your color. I won’t care about your devotion neither will I be bothered about your caste. I’ll try to be the same for all. I’ll hang out with you unconcerned. I’ll guard my tongue as per your tolerance.

I’ll be a chameleon, I’ll change my behavior as per my group. I’ll be indecent and I’ll be mannered. I am not trying to fit in, I don’t have just one side, I have many. Neither do you. I won’t ask you about them. I will give you your space and expect the same in return.

And with time I’ll leave you alone. I will be attached, I’ll want you in my life but I’ll make sure I don’t need you. If we make a stronger bond then you will despise me. You will want to kill me. And that’s okay, getting close entails hatred. I can’t have things my way all the time.

So this friendship day I’ll say to you, keep me as a friend. I’ll miss out on birthdays but I will be next to you at funerals. Because that’s what friends do. They laugh and cry together.

One of best friendship posts i have read and saved in my phone:

https://endkwote.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/never-always-hardly-truly/

Time


Liberty Lion: Time

‘Circles? ’ I asked.

Grandpa lay gasping for breath. He is a stubborn old man; he wouldn’t admit he is too frail for a hike. We left our house about two hours ago to reach the summit of the hill. He would always verbosely describe his childhood achievements and all of the stories would have him and the hill in common. So today I challenged him to climb the hill again. Grandma was furious at me to voice even such a dare, but grandpa did it. And whenever he was winded, he would tell the best tales. He began.

‘You would want me to spin a story about my childhood or some other person’s life changing story? ’

I nodded. Old but still sharp my grandpa, I thought proudly.

‘Truth is this Gunther: all the tales are similar.’ he looked around the hill again, at the tree who’s shade we sat on and the valley where our house and farms lay, at the lake where we would go swim and fish.

‘My grandfather also brought me to hikes. He loved them. Then we stayed in a different place but when I bought this house I had one requirement: a nearby hill’. He nodded and took a deep breath as if he tried to soak in the nature. I wasn’t following his harangue but I was rapt. My grandpa told tales that brought the entire village to a standstill, there’s something about his words that bonds you to them, to him.

‘Just like my grandpa I am doing the same with you. And if there’s anything I can tell about life is that it is a circle. ’

‘Circle of Life? ’ I asked. He seemed pleased with my answer and smiled. He raised his hand and ruffles my hair. I hated whenever someone else did it but I liked it when he did that. ‘So life repeats itself? ’ I asked again dubious of my own comprehension. He thought about it for a while ‘Most of the times.’ he knew I didn’t understand completely so he let loose a sigh and started again.

‘Read history son, it is recurring. Some tyrant rises, some heroes die, so on and so forth. Take people son, they always make the same mistake again. Life is cruel because it does the same trick on you all the time and you fall for it. ’ Now I understood his point. I was only 9 year old then but the implications of the same wouldn’t dawn on me until I was 25 and broke. But I had one more question for him. ‘And time grandpa? ’ He smiled again, I remember a hint of sadness was there ‘Of course time is a round too. Why do you think clocks are circular?’

By Mayur Remember

 

Check Out Other’s Responses:

https://bencnicholson.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/literary-lion-time/

https://mandibelle16.wordpress.com/2015/07/23/literary-lion-this-thing-called-time/

https://deliriousantidotes.wordpress.com/2015/07/23/hourglass/

Time to Leave

Hopeful 

Alice Accepts Her Fate

https://thisismyironlung.wordpress.com/2015/07/24/tainted/

https://livingonchi.wordpress.com/2015/07/24/literary-lion-time/

https://rileyreedauthor.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/literary-lion-time-time-will-heal/

Literary Lion – A Homonym Too Far

http://mwlangridge-awritersjourney.com/2015/07/26/the-clock-on-her-wall/

https://livehomeandaway.wordpress.com/2015/07/26/seeds-of-time/

Time

https://vnktchari.wordpress.com/2015/07/28/literary-lion-time-my-reflections-on-time/

In Time…Who’s going to remember?

https://sonyca.wordpress.com/2015/07/28/time/

Why Do Dogs Have To DIe?


There is a bitch that stayed a couple of buildings away from mine. Or there was a bitch.

I never took any pictures of her, but whenever I walked Jimmy near her building she would run out, a huge doggy grin in her face and play with us. She would irritate jimmy by trying to sniff his ears, she would patiently keep her head pressed up against my knee for some petting and scratching. I really enjoyed petting her, her golden fur was one of the most softest fur I have felt, she would have double the energy of Jimmy on any day.

I remember once when I was walking Jimmy she came out of the gate and started pestering Jimmy. And whenever Jimmy tried to sniff her butt she would dash off to her building again, in solitude. That day she dashed off to the top of a nearby parked car. Jimmy tried to follow her but he lacked her height and her agility. So he stayed on his hunches on the road and she up on the roof, both making mopping noises but none moving; because of which I had to stand there holding Jimmy’s leash for about fifteen minutes before he agreed to move.

I hardly saw her recently. I don’t remember when was the last time I scratched behind her ears but whenever I passed her building I tried to catch a glimpse of her. Today I found out that her name was Grubby. WAS. She died seven months ago: run over by a school bus. The school bus being of the same school I passed out from. And I was devastated. She was just another stray dog that the building tenets adopted, no home and leftover food. Jimmy doesn’t remember her, if he would have then he would also wait for her to come out(he used to do that before). But I do. Golden fur, ears straight as an arrow, left ear had a cut and a long equine maw. She would attack Jimmy like a snake and me I would laugh at them for their plays.

My dad would say that it(dad wouldn’t use pronouns) had a fate like that, die by being run over by a car/bus. But she was a good dog. She would listen to her building owners calls, play and never bite. She would be full of energy, always running from one side of the street to the other. Always grinning. Always. And she is now buried in an unmarked grave opposite her building.

Everyone dies, I get it. But why the innocent animals?! They didn’t make the cars neither did they make the road. They are the ones being experimented on, they are the ones who can’t speak yet they know more about emotions than we do. They are simple minded creatures who can only care and for being more humane than we humans can, they get an end like this?!

Damn it! Where’s the Karma now? Someone tell me?

Your Eyes


(Daily Prompt : Born To Be With You
Not completely related but I found some connection so I am putting this in connection)

Literary Lion: Eye
(I’m being lazy by not writing another post but I already have written this!)

I saw you in train, I was soaked from the rains. I couldn’t see your face. Your niqab covered your face. But I saw your eyes. All I saw was your eyes. Those soft round eyes surrounded by chalk white skin. Some mascara maybe. The deep black irises. I don’t think i have been so enthralled by eyes ever before.

I kept looking, occasionally realizing that I have to look somewhere else. I don’t know if you noticed my stare, because if you did then I would have been bitten senseless in the train. I don’t know how your face looked, I couldn’t hear your voice but I saw your eyes and for me that was enough. Black as a moonless night, I don’t know if iris are ever this black. I stared because there was something about them, I know it was wrong.

I don’t think you noticed anybody in the train. For you were enthralled by your boyfriend on who’s shoulder you kept your head. And he kept talking, his voice getting louder as if he spoke with the entire compartment and not just you. I would have kept quiet and stared. Stared at something so small and so immensely beautiful.

I don’t think I’ll meet you again. I won’t remember you either in a week.

And I went home, forlorn, listening to James Blunt sing ‘You’re beautiful ’

Check out other people’s responses :
http://kosheradobo.com/2013/10/29/orange-crush/
http://jitterygt.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/neurosis-from-a-to-z/
http://bessjonesphotography.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/born-to-be-with-you-bess-you-is-my-woman-now-daily-prompt/
http://sincerelyherz.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/bitten-by-the-love-bug/
http://agent909.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/daily-prompt-born-to-be-with-you-psychology-behind-choosing-to-like-people-we-met/
http://sincerelyherz.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/emily-and-justin-the-proposal/
http://themagicblackbook.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/born-to-be-with-you/
http://sabethville.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/dp-daily-prompt-born-to-be-with-you/
http://childrencount.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/born-to-be-with-you/
http://notjustanyotherblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/be-the-edward-to-my-vivian/
http://seikaiha.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/daily-prompt-born-to-be-with-you/
http://jigokucho.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/about-a-panda/
http://mcswhispers.wordpress.com/2012/10/28/love-life-and-loss/
http://myauthoritis.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/she-loves-me/
http://lifesansgod.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/the-one-i-love/
http://wordywings.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/born-to-be-with-you-daily-prompt/
http://mcwilson1956.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/recharging-the-cell-phone/
http://eastelmhurstagogo.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/people-let-me-tell-you-about-my-best-friend/
Born To Be With You
http://meanderedwanderings.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/opposites-attract/
http://thebohemianrockstarpresents.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/an-ode-to-a-soul-mate-who-doesnt-exist/
http://averildean.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/cradle/
http://flowersandbreezes.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/my-sun-my-life/
http://viewsplash.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/welcome-back/
Born to be with You: Daily Post
http://neverstationary.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/this-kid-i-know-michelle/
http://neverstationary.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/how-to-be-a-best-friend/
http://asianchemnerd.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/born-to-be-with-you/
http://marthakennedy.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/give-her-the-truth-serum-now/
http://myatheistblog.com/2014/03/29/daily-prompt-born-to-be-with-you/
http://kate0murray.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/soul-mates/
http://gulliblestravelsdma.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/let-me-tell-you-a-secret/
http://jilliannette.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/my-virtual-best-friend/
http://disappearingwoman.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/every-fiber-of-my-being/
Love Crime, Acts of Love, and wacky love bits: this week’s weird news
http://ohthatwaspoetry.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/born-to-be-with-you/
http://remissionary.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/we-go-together-like-a-bird-and-a-feather/
http://arrythmatic.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/dear-stephen/
http://hudleyflipside.org/2014/03/29/the-swale-and-the-swirl-of-now/
http://daniellemcfarlane.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/daily-prompt-born-to-be-with-you/
http://startingwritenow.com/2014/03/29/soulmate/
http://basicallybeyondbasic.com/2014/03/29/daily-prompt-born-to-be-with-you/
http://myrenaissanceblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/how-i-met-my-beast-my-love-my-christopher/
http://yellowbrickroad7.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/my-person/
http://incidentsofadysfunctionalspraffer.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/daily-prompt-born-to-be-with-you/
http://myjourneyeveryday.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/born-to-be-with-you/
http://loveletterstoaghost.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/doorsteps-and-parking-lots/
http://yichinglin.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/in-intro-to-anatomy/
http://hometogo232.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/daily-prompt-born-to-be-with-you/
http://helenmeikle.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/daily-prompt-born-to-be-with-me/
http://oneeducatorsopinion.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/whats-a-girl-gonna-do-without-a-best-friend-i-have-no-idea-because-i-have-3/
http://wileyschmidt.com/2014/03/29/circle-of-love/
http://wisskko.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/strong-bond-with-her/
http://tonkadella.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/born-to-be-with-you/
http://bluejbluej.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/someone-else-would-do/
http://darkinnerthoughts.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/daily-prompt/
http://maya0615.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/daily-prompt-born-to-be-with-you/
http://dreamypepper.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/daily-prompt-born-to-be-with-you/
http://manmadeoceans.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/born-to-be-with-you/
Anamchara
http://robert-eberhard.com/2014/03/30/why-i-love-kim-and-will-be-marrying-her-soon/
Born to Be With You
http://allthingscuteandbeautiful.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/daily-prompt-being-a-soul-mate/
http://faranastus.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/for-born-to-be-with-you-daily-prompt/
http://easterellen.com/2014/03/31/meant-to-be/
http://justbeverity.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/daily-prompt-born-to-be-with-you/
http://treasurethememory.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/born-to-be-with-you/
http://shardsofsilence.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/star-crossed-lovers/
http://wildandfreeandme.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/my-greatest-fear-as-a-mother/
http://randommstuffblah.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/born-to-be-with-you/
http://emmerleener.wordpress.com/2014/04/27/to-you-with-love/
https://marthakennedy.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/molly-first-then/
https://vexingpoint.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/daily-prompt-born-to-be-with-you/
http://geekergosum.com/2015/07/11/marriage-or-born-to-be-with-you/
https://thelonerose.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/my-best-friends/
https://loisajay1213.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/daily-prompt-born-to-be-with-you-2/
https://debooworks.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/greatest-friend/
https://thecoolbookworm.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/tanya-and-ryan-3/
https://509majesty.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/gave-up-on-that/
https://irishkisses.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/a-tree-named-fred/
https://quest4voice.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/the-best-friend-and-soul-mate-ever/
and the Kitchen Sync
LOVING SWEET HAZEL
https://nonsmokingladybug.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/meant-to-be/
https://unbolt.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/an-averter/
https://flowersandbreezes.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/born-to-be-with-you/
Shoo in…
https://tessacandoit.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/born-to-be-with-you-by-the-daily-post/
https://booksearchjourney.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/darling/
https://meginwriting.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/my-two-best-friends-are-guys/
https://therealuniversitylife.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/alcohol-joint-classes-secrets-and-shenanigans/
https://promptlings.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/soul-mates/
https://myleviathan.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/going-solo/
Ah, Friday…
Reflected Glory
https://theyyouandme.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/gone-haiku/
https://myhappinessisanallegory.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/my-hero-for-the-day/
https://madgefie.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/my-bro/
https://promptlings.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/saturday-sing-a-long-daily-prompt-mash-up/
https://cshowers.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/born-to-be-with-you/

Born to Be With You


https://alotfromlydia.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/a-soulmate/
https://ladybugswritings.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/8/
https://justsometwentysomethingrambles.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/my-best-friend-my-soul-mate/
https://nelkumi.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/all-of-the-above-and-more/
https://awonderingsoulsblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/my-sister/
https://paigempowell.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/can-i-take-a-hit-off-that-smile/
https://rogershipp.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/born-to-be-with-you/
http://www.rileycentral.net/my-wife-sarah-and-i/
https://deanneworld.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/im-still-loving-you/
https://18monthsindc.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/relocating-with-my-best-friend-2/
https://veracitymama.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/just-cant-do-the-soulmate-thing-today-so/
https://seifsalamakarem.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/love/
http://bookreviews1966.com/2015/07/11/daily-prompt-born-to-be-with-you/
https://shameport.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/morning/
https://thestrangeher.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/your-answer/
http://macbofisbil.com/2014/11/20/the-greatest-uncle/
https://maddqueen.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/in-his-eyes/
https://alkagirdhar.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/the-one-youre-meant-to-be-with/
https://perferviddreams.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/for-you-with-you/
https://lebomokoena99.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/born-to-be-with-you/
https://anupturnedsoul.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/when-the-soul-lies-down-in-that-grass/
https://mondozeitgeist.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/in-response-to-the-daily-posts-writing-prompt-born-to-be-with-you/
https://awordadventure.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/born-to-be-with-you-destined-meeting/
“Born to Be With You”
Sole Mate
https://deanneworld.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/that-much-more/
My Boyfriend Should be the Music Blogger: #NaBloPoMo/#DailyPost
https://yournibblednews.wordpress.com/2015/07/13/daily-post-born-to-be-with-you-soul-mate-or-just-a-kindred-spirit/
Why Do You Like Her/Him?
https://amommasview.wordpress.com/2015/07/14/born-to-be-with-you/
https://elingrace.wordpress.com/2015/07/14/seek-ye-first/

Literary lion responses:
https://unusualstrangeness.wordpress.com/2015/08/13/unseen/
https://sonyca.wordpress.com/2015/08/13/shes-had-it-coming/
https://mandibelle16.wordpress.com/2015/08/13/literary-lion-sophia-crying/
https://balconyviewz.wordpress.com/2015/08/13/anticipation-a-sonnet/
https://tuckedintoacorner.wordpress.com/2015/08/14/the-painter/
The Deadline
Literary Lion : In his mind’s eye
https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2015/08/14/literary-lion-eye-of-stranger/
https://livehomeandaway.wordpress.com/2015/08/14/the-lens/
Apple of Her Eye
Literary Lion – Watcher
http://rfrmst.com/2015/08/16/can-you-see/
https://vnktchari.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/literary-lion-eyes-the-eyes-are-scaring-me/
https://mytakemythoughts.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/seeing-through-the-noise/
Blue sea

King, fiction

Literary Lion: King


(Liberty Lion: King. Weekly Prompt by Laura Feasey.)

 

‘Who is this King of Browning street? ’ Hector exploded into the nearest constable.

Hector had recently been very angry. A lot of times. His anger issues stemmed from his childhood, from his mother abandoning him but somewhere in life he got it under control. For his job required him to be cold and distant and logical, angry cops make mistakes. Angry cops lose cases because of their recklessness. Angry cops make enemies.

So he got into the program, worked his issues and became a role model. Till this case.

What started out as a normal homicide in an alley had turned into a serial killing. If that news was bad enough,  the victims were all serial molesters. Hecklers and troublemakers for woman. And someone was killing them.

The second onwards all the victims had a card on their hands: A King. Of any category, they always had King cards. So the media named the killer The King of Browning Street.

The constable was embarrassed by the public humiliation delivered to him. This was the tenth crime scene and the King card was now nailed to the victim’s head. And with the media and the political pressure mounting,  Hector had began to crack. The crime scene was the same: A single gsw to the chest,  post mortem positioning of the body so that the hands covered their genitals and their jaws opened. No evidence and no witnesses.

Anyways no one would probably come forward,  everyone wanted the troublemakers out of their streets. And the thugs were too egotistical to let cops handle this for them.

Hector had an interview this afternoon, but because of the new homicide he rescheduled it. He tried to remember who the reporter was but he kept forgetting her name.

A constable let a female in the yellow tape and immediately he regretted it. Hector went raging at him to not let pedestrians in and how he would have the constable suspended for this when the female showed her press ID.

‘Hello Mr Hector. Since you were too busy I thought I’ll get my interview on the road. I can assure you I will be of no hindrance and I won’t utter a word till you are done with investigating the scene.’ She had lovely eyes. And a face that reminded him of his high school girlfriend. What was her name? Karen yes Karen.

His anger suddenly vanished he nodded but asked her that no photographs or recordings be done else he would land him in trouble.

After a while he asked her name though he never heard her last name,  else he would have shown a different reaction then.

‘Karen. Karen King. ’

Feed The Sparrows


Having nothing to do is dangerous. The task less indolent mind wanders onto places and ideas that you would’ve never reached. And it’s also possible that during such a time nothing can be achieved or a lot can be found. Such is my case.
Every night I made a plan, and every night the plan differed. And with a person like me, one who has a very very vivid imagination the plans stretched far out into the future into success stories.

Dreaming with my eyes open

One such a plan was to join a NGO for animals. I love animals, and they are ones who suffer by our, we human beings, actions. They are the helpless voiceless victims of our ambitions and they deserve something back. Jimmy(my dog) thought me alot of things and it is because of him I know animals know sorrow and happiness. They are more than any other species, they are Life
So I looked for NGO that are nearby and the ones whose interests matches my own. And staying in an almost rural town doesn’t help because many NGO are so far away that it is mostly stupid to go there. Good intent but still stupid. One NGO chairman that I spoke with gave the idea of a sparrow feeder. He had the idea that we can make our own feeders and place them around the area. I have seen the same in a show called Heavy Petting On NDTV Good Times years ago. And I know because it is getting rare to see a sparrow on the balcony or window these days.

Determined to not let anything hinder me I asked the person who I knew feeds birds. The grocery store owner. You know this is true because there’s always pigeons outside his store feeding on some grains. I asked him what do pigeons and sparrows eat. With a lack of of explanation he packed some grains for me and said to place only a small quantity on the window. He is the experienced person here so I took his advice.
What do I need to feed sparrows? Some jowar (sorghum) and bajri (pearl millet).

And a place on window where I can keep the grains, probably an old gardening pot. I did that and the first day no sparrows. No pigeons. Next morning I was greeted with the sweet cooing voice of the sparrows. By mid morning the window had at least three four sparrows perched, each adding their own voices to a song whose meaning was unintelligible to me. But it was melodious.

Never thought that voices like that would be so peaceful to hear

So every day I fed them, everyday their voices brought some life into the house that was mostly empty. And then the pigeons arrived. The birds which are at least twice the size of an average sparrow and when they ate no sparrows could even perch on the same window. To counter this I made two pots, and one of them was hanging from the ceiling. Much to the annoyance of my mom, who didn’t want any birds to damage any of the plants that she had planted, I fed both pigeons and sparrows. The one hanging from the ceiling is for sparrows only and I make sure no pigeon tries to eat from there.

The melody of the birds returned after a day and now it’s part of my morning routine. Get up, drink tea and then serve the grains for the new guests of the house. And it is the simplest thing.

So I urge you, if there’s anything that you can do,and which doesn’t require much of your efforts it is this. Feed the sparrows. It is as simple as watering the plants which is already a part of most people’s morning routine mine included. Buy grains, install a pot and every morning serve grains.



PS:
The sparrows come primarily in the morning and evening around 4-6 pm. Everyday. And they fly from windowsill to pot,  loud and full of energy. And for people who care about animals, this might be a simple way to start. No huge efforts, minimal responsibility and heart warming results.

Check out this page: Sparrow Shelter

What Do You Want to Do in Life?


My dad sat with me the other night to have a very important talk. I expected the conversation to involve drinking or something related to it. Instead he shocked me by asking a question I was never ready for. I will probably be never be able to answer.

Beta kya karna hai life me? ‘what do you want to do with your life? ’

*******

Two months and so many job applications. I have been choosy and more than haphazard in my options. So till date I’m still looking for a job that I’ll go and say yes without slightest hesitation. Idealistic and dreamy view.

I wrote two pieces about my recent interviews and I have realized that I have made my share of mistakes. My brain though is amazing in figuring out where a circuit is faulty is not so speedy recovering from unprepared questions thrown at me.

*****
I couldn’t answer my father. I didn’t lie, I said I don’t know what I want to do with my life, I am confused. I am trying to figure things out. One step at a time but I need some experience to understand my capabilities and my interests. He never pushed me neither did he gave a reprimand for not knowing the answers. Usually this question sends me to Dark corner where there is no return for a day or two. This time I stood and tried my best to answer it. And I intend to make sure I have an answer for it.

And as the decision dragged on they said that I give up too soon. I might be a cantankerous and testy asshole but I never give up. And then I kept quiet. Because I knew now my words are useless and I had to get things sorted.

*****

I have no idea how or when my parents decided to visit a fortune teller. They have their own faith and while I can’t say the same I couldn’t oppose it even if I wanted to. Because they never told us where we were going.

My brother lost his job recently. And while we are really confident that he can dust this off in no time and pick another great opportunity, we all are worried for him. And my parents had two reasons to visit the teller. And the revelations were fantastic/hilarious.

They intend to make a locket for me because I’m a sloth and that’s the way to make a person active. I don’t my parent’s concern or care but I do think it is pretty useless. I said if you both believe it then I’ll wear. The decision was instantaneous.

The funny part was when they exclaimed that they asked about my marriage. Apparently I’m going to have a love marriage. I’m sure that’s fortune’s way of mocking me.

*******
I made a to do list. It’s huge and it’s constantly being amended. And just last week when I thought I had a great life I realize that’s because I let procrastination get the better off me. This list has unfinished items from atleast six months. Prominent among them is to get my slurred speech remedied. I am not going to be mocked because I can’t pronounce Roller.

I still don’t have answers. But I am going to try get them. And I won’t quit.

******

I had another interview. This one via a contact and this time something that I know is perfect for me.

And I didn’t keep quiet when he said this isn’t the job for me. I tried, I tried harder to somehow change his answer from ‘we have no job openings’ to something affirmative. Something that shows a glimmer of hope. Nada.

Another job I’m not made for apparently

******

My juniors ask me for suggestions in their project and GRE and placement. Everything they ask. And I don’t blame them, guidance is needed.

So if you are reading this and you know you are going to have to face a similar situation as my juniors my advice would be the same.

Go for it. Couple of redundant certificates don’t hurt. Do whatever comes your way for now. Do them till you figure out the answers to the questions I can’t answer. Tap on every opportunity you can get. You don’t know where your life will head. So don’t be an idiot and think you have everything figured out. Go for it.

BE Biomedical Engineer


I graduated. Finally.

Last week my results were declared and yesterday my convocation was held.

There’s not much words to describe this but yes I am happy. It’s done.

God Knows What am I Watching!

Last week me and my friends were in Nashik. One night we all stayed up all night and talked. I said life’s much more than money or something similar. Life’s the journey we take not the end achievements. If I can say this I’ll remember my engineering for the last fours years more than this convocation.