Monday, March 30, 2009

A 55 Fiction

I found this interesting and wanted to try my hand at it...

I search for my toothbrush but can’t find it ...
“N…,” I shout, “Where is amma’s brush?”
N appears and says, innocently, “I put it here,” indicating the bidet. I peep down the pipe – and see three more.
I look at her threateningly.
She smiles angelically, “I was washing them.”
I succumb to her charm…

About 55 Fiction
A literary work will be considered 55 Fiction if it has:
Fifty-five words or less (A non-negotiable rule)
A setting,
One or more characters,
Some conflict, and
A resolution. (Not limited to moral of the story)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Is this Generation Gap?

Taking you back 25 years to my hometown, Kottayam

Exam time for me

The day starts quite early with some last hours of mugging up and then a cold bath. Then taking the pen with me, I would run off to the temple to offer my prayers. The last important step in getting good marks, I believed then and with conviction. The pen would be given for pooja and holding it reverently I would trek off to school.

Fast forward to this era
My daughter’s exams
I suggested this age old technique of mine and though K (my elder one who is 11 years old) expressed disdain, I saw her taking a small picture of the God and tucking it into her pencil box. I keep mum. Two exams later, I saw her keep it back. The next exam was Hindi, her toughest one and I saw her struggling with it, with just a few pushes and doubt clearing from both of us. But after the exams she came back happy, saying she has done it well.
Her reasoning to this, “I took God’s picture with me for the first two exams and I didn’t do the papers well, I kept God back and then the exams were easier.”
I explained, “God makes sure that what you remember what you studied. That is just 10 % of the total. How you fare depends ultimately on your hard work. You put in more work on the last exams and so naturally you did well. Hard work constitutes the 90 %.”
She listened, but she refuses to take the picture along with her…
I am sure she has her reasons, and the next time I insist she would even come with rejoinders, like, ‘You have said earlier, God is always with us’.
So I just let her be, I conclude that I was naïve at her age, I clung on to age-old beliefs, though it hasn’t done me any harm…it has only helped, maybe at least that 10 % bit.
And I don’t think I have changed much, even if I still believe work is worship, I don’t forget to think of God before I do anything important…and I am sure all this will rub off on K too.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Not me!

Picture this.
I am outside after a conference and am surrounded by familiar faces, those of the media and those who are participating in the talks, some familiar and some unfamiliar ones. And from far, this guy from a local newspaper, waves at me and bears down on me with a happy, almost triumphant look on his face. I look back, and there is the wall behind me, so I decide, Yes, all of this smile is for me!
I hope there is some good news in the offing and look at him expectantly.
He stretches out his hand and shakes my hand vigorously saying "Congrats"
ME: "What, why?"
(Trying to pull back my hand)
He: “Well, heard some good news!"
ME: "You did!"
He: "Yes, Congrats and how do you manage."
Me: (now slightly relieved...thinking he means about my job and the recent responsibilities I am handling, I almost preen in self appreciation) and say, "Well, it is difficult, but I manage."
He: “Is it a she or a he"
I almost faint in shock...and manage to mumble: “What!"
Now the confusion is in his face...
And then it dawned on me, this guy had heard of my boss's good news, a new baby girl, a happy addition to their family and mistook me for her.
I gave him a look, one of disgust and pity and well all the bad emotions that I could pull into one expression and said, "Kindly verify facts before you publish and utter them!"
And if looks could have killed, he is now a dead man...

A lady of contradictions?

I have all of it in me, bottled up, but the flood gates wouldn’t open. I tried hard to let the fingers fly over the keyboard but they were still and lifeless, when I navigated on to the blog page. (Only then, mind you, I have been writing lots for my job…)
Until finally, I decided, I should let loose the fire in me -- to write without inhibitions, without being bogged down by deadlines and word counts, and that will happen only if I don’t loosen up and write. Hence this…
A lot has been happening, yes, here in Qatar too and we the media have been on our toes trying to be everywhere.
On one of these trips, I met our very own Mira Nair. True to all expectations she was all words and actions and could be categorized as borderline brash too. The reasoning, I will come to later.
But here, Mira Nair, was addressing a foreign audience and she used her oratory skills to the max. She said that she didn’t want to be known as the cultural ambassador of India.
And that put me off, when (mostly) all her movies and the monies made from them can be attributed to that very country, how can she deny the effect of that upbringing here in front of a global audience!
But then as a contradiction to her own words, were her cinema, so full of colours and customs and traditions, especially the scene in Namesake where the protagonist (Tabu) mourns the death of her husband. And then I forgave her or rather understood that an artist should not be judged by her words but by her creations…for even if she hates being called the cultural ambassador of India, she is just that.
And for the brash part, well, it is partly my fault, while we were talking to her, my cell rang…and I instantly cut it and put in my sorry (and wasn’t I embarrassed, I am usually very careful and put it on silent for all meetings!), well, then this lady replied, “You should be!”
And then I wished I could be invisible, atleast during that moment!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Anyone for a Hiccup?

When things go bad….it kind of acceralates a chain reaction and you find that everything is going wrong around you…
I had a particular episode which is a case in point.
My exam day had dawned, bright and shiny, and though I had a bad night, trying to put my younger one to peaceful sleep and going through my notes in between, I got up feeling positive.
But that feeling just didn't last too long.
N’s fever shot up suddenly and I wrote part of the exam, carrying her and she was boiling hot… The clever tutors’ at LSJ had taken efforts to make the Law paper so hard that it was virtually impossible to finish it in time and that combined with the effort of carrying N made me lag a good 2 question behind schedule…
Well, not just that, K suddenly fell sick too and he even started with a loud new rather unheard of ailment -- hiccupps…
The first hiccup was just ignored, the second and third, partially, but when you have heard over a hundred hiccups, your patience wears thin and you cringe at the loud disturbance.(Well, please don’t doubt me, the love is there, of course, but the love gets lost behind the efforts of controlling this sound pollution!)
We tried everything, from water, to sugar, to tickling, to putting ice cubes down his body…but he just wouldn’t stop! But my poor husband was tired with the effort and I could just watch helplessly.
So we set off to the emergency (and he was at it for 4 hrs by then). Reaching there, I went to park the car. As I came running back, I find him standing in the queue, smiling and I wait for the next one, hiccup, that is….But miraculously, it has stopped and the reason…the nurse at the counter. He just walked to her and was in the process of explaining his predicament when he found out that the next great hiccup just didn’t come.
We came back after a brief consultation with the specialist, who gave him medicines, incase they returned. But my husband was of the opinion that the nurse was the best medicine and wanted atleast to get her picture...
We came back in a better frame of mind, had a coffee and then…he hiccupped again!
Any solutions folks, to this ailment?