Myself, caretaker.

flowers

Who you?

Wait there woenly.

You who?

You wanting admission for your childrens?

Nice boys. Twins woenly, no? What your names?

Tom and Jerry? No?

Ajay and Vijay? Verry nice!

Commeere, don’t hide Mummy’s backside.

I have chocolate for you.

Here, take.

No? Very shy no, Medam?

Office? Sorry, office is close till next week Monday.

Myself? Rawbett. Security.

Thees flaarz? Mys. I looks after thees flaarz.

I waters them everyday morning and everyday evening.

working full time.

This play moan?

Very good Medam. First class! A-one!

Children getting out of out marks.

Means full marks woenly.

Rimes learning top class- Ajay Veejay- you tell- Baa Baa Black ship avooenyvulll?

Counting numbers – wontoootreefoe…

You likes? See Childrens laughing off, nicely.

Come see my flaarz.

You want picture Medam?

Wait I getting chair.

No problem Medam, small childrens chair

For big mans also fits.

I sitting.

Wokay  me ready.

What? say ‘cheese’ Wokay! Chisss!

Good bye Medam. Bye, Bye Ajay Veejay! Ok Tata! Bye!

Best of Good Luck!

Ave a nice day!

God Bless YOUUUU!

[174 Words]

Thank you PJ for hosting the wonderful FFfAW challenge. Thank you Shivamt25 for the photo prompt.

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Woes of Sympathy

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I go about the business of my life, shunned by those who hold their head high. Yes, the Proud. They don’t need me. Despite their dwindling numbers, they are still a reproach to Society. I’ve come a long way trying to help them find solace.

Solace, indeed.

Let me tell you how I tried. I touched Poverty, trying to obliterate her, she, who shivered in my presence while she cast her baleful eye on me. I held her close, too close for comfort, for long years, when the sun hid behind layers of frozen clouds. It was then that I became synonymous with the Poverty of the Spirit, who stalks among the living, touching those who cannot see beyond the confines of their cloistered lives.

I have been striving to be visible.

My presence struggles to be felt.

Have you ever been the victim of your circumstances? At least, perceived as one? That will be the shield that you need, for behind that, you can see me for what I am. I preen. I primp. And my twisted heart gladdens at the sight of your abject misery. I get a chance to show how noble I am, at your expense. I make people feel oh, so glad at their exalted circumstances. I make them feel gratified, important and eventually immensely magnanimous, at being able to help. I am condescending in all my concern, feigned or otherwise.

The truly Proud see me for what I am and walk away. They never look back preferring to shiver in their little hovels, living on air and water till their very eyes shine with an ethereal gleam only Death can recognize.

Their hunger becomes a light that consumes their being.

Have you ever been slapped hard in the face? Have you felt the shock reverberating along your jaw, angry tears, obliterating your vision. This is their expression when I approach them. I ignore that. I try to comfort with honeyed words that sound hollow, even to my ears, while I say all the right things.

They look at me and away, dismissing me in one look that deems me insignificant.

I try doggedly. I am spurned like the cur that I am.

I walk away in pretended disdain, angry, for I did extend a helping hand. I did try to uplift the downtrodden. I did try to be good. I think to myself, I’ve been lucky, truly blessed, oh please won’t you allow me to help you? Why don’t you accept my help?

Their eyes declare- Help? Never could stand the stuff. Distasteful. We cringe at your kind looks cast our way. Never could tolerate kindness. Especially when all we have left is our pride.

All I did was try to help.

Don’t, for all that we have left, is our pride.

Sympathy

Head above Water

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I’ve always wanted the best view from my window.

This. Cascading water. The bustle that I could ignore. The peace.

An address that read- 24/7, Head above Water Retreat, Off the Road…

It was either this or the meds. Did I really have a choice?

I was asked where I would feel good.

It was either the mountains or water.

I loved the suspended animation the mountains could give me. But the gurgle of water soothed me.

Lofty mountains and all the chance of elevated escape, or drowning in the depths of inviting water?

I could not choose.

This little retreat that bridged the canal, perched rather precariously over the river, came into view just around the corner of the leafy lane.

To Let.

I figured out a way to get there.

Now the river sighs and gurgles under me and I am perched at a height, away from it all.

Blessed peace.

The water gushes under my haven and, with renewed energy, I marvel at the magnificent torrent that surges ahead.

The ducks paddle their placid way, pleasantly surprised by the bread I toss at them, accepting this manna from heaven.

Well, I am in Heaven.

[196 Words]

Thank you, Al, for hosting the Sunday Photo Fiction. Such a lovely platform to share stories on. Thank you, A Mixed bag for the intriguing photograph.

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The A-J Handbook of an Alienist.

A is for Alienist. Here comes the Alienist. Watch her as she dusts her framed diploma and gathers her tales of woe for the day. She walks the murky path of troubled souls and collects a few trophies along the way. Ah, this will add a glitter to the halo she has installed around her forehead, so she can be seen from outer space, even. A is for Abuse, that the Alienist deals with and reinforces.

The thing about abuse is that you get used to it. You accept it as part of your life. It becomes an inherent part of your soul. You set up yourself for it. You are conditioned by it. Active abuse shows itself on you, your bearing, your words and thoughts. You are a victim. You look like a victim and soon behave like one.

B is for broken. The Alienist thrives on the broken. She hunts them down. She’s developed special skills in identifying them. The broken inhabit the hidden nooks and corners when they don’t want to be seen and under extra hyperactive behaviour, when they feel the eyes of others devour them. Smiles moulded from plastic freeze on their faces and their eyes are sunk into hollow depths of despair. A murderous glint appears when you spy the espying Alienist. You are one among the truly broken.

C is for Coventry. Have you heard of this quaint old English term- Being sent to Coventry? A group of popular, active, privileged people, who have their bearings about them, vote to send an unsuitable member of their company to Coventry, for being different, having problems, and being the proverbial wet blanket. So nobody speaks to you, for you are in Coventry, you are shunned and ostracized. The Alienist thrives on Coventry. Coventry provides her with a major chunk of bread and butter she needs to put on the table. Many decades of research and psychological studies later, the Alienist states that this practice is cruel and detrimental to the individual, but does nothing about it in real life.

D is for desperation that sets in when you realize nobody is listening. Not even the Alienist, who is paid to do so. You muster the courage to speak to the officious Alienist who is as prejudiced as your peers and tries to convince you that what you are feeling is wrong. Any pedestrian healer of souls would know that the first step to healing is acceptance, both by the healer and the broken. But no, the Alienist is infallible in her opinion. Her veil of prejudice already exists, firmly attached in place.

E is for the eagerness with which the Alienist, in the avatar of the healer, is eager to point out that the world is nice and there are nice people out there. E is also for the eagerness you show in escaping to another zone unsullied by the presence of the formidable Alienist. E is also symbolic of the stupid grin you plaster on your face in case you get caught.

F is for the final futility of seeking help. The broken are now shattered to smithereens and come to the conclusion, that there is no point in speaking up. There really isn’t. Nobody wants to look at your point of view. The Alienist who has the world in the palm of her hands is quick to point out the other perspectives which have obviously escaped you. Now you’d rather amuse yourself banging your head against the wall and see the patterns that emerge.

G is for Good Lord. For God’s sake! There are many pleas for help, some strident, some barely audible, some masked under the veil of silence, smiles and even dignity. Dear Alienist, get off your high horse and lend an ear. You might be the reason for someone to want to continue to live. Don’t be the one to push someone off the narrow ledge they are barely walking on. It’s murder. Believe me it isn’t very much different.

H is for the delirious happiness dispensed by the Alienist. After a few sessions with her, things are better now, at least the pretence continues. For you realize things were better before she curled her tentacles around you and now you can’t extricate yourself anymore. You know you were happy when you were depressed and now you are desperate to get away, who cares about happiness? You could have created a happy world in your mind, instead of being driven up the wall!

I is for you, yes, the hidden, ignored, much-maligned I in you. If you are different, admit it to the Alienist, at least you stand a chance of being a specimen under someone else’s microscope, at least someone unlike her is going to spend time on you, serves you right, plucking your wings away from your body, removing your limbs systematically, cutting you open and poking into your entrails before formally validating your thoughts by giving them a collective noun and a prescription that makes you feel relieved and hopeful as you down your meds, day in and day out. At least you’re not judged any more for being the way you are.

J is for Jolly good show and it’s Just another day in the illustrious life and career of the Alienist. She pins you to the rest of her collection and her saga continues…another day another time, another place… Well, I’m sure you’ve had enough of her. Me too. Not going to Continue.

Pettifoggers Anonymous

Let’s face it. We are a critical lot.

I happened to appreciate an acquaintance in the presence of a few well-wishers. After a few minutes, in the lull of the conversation a well-meaning do-gooder sidled up to me and tried to set the record straight.

Actually, he…

The conversation grew intensely uncomfortable. I cast a pleading look at a friend who was oblivious to my hints.

But, we see, he should’ve…

Err, I need a refill.

And he could’ve…

Oh look, there’s…

And I would’ve…

I gave up. I zoned out and left for fresh air on the overcrowded balcony.

As I was saying, we are a critical lot. We don’t keep our opinions to ourselves. We’d be considered fools if we didn’t take the subtle and not so subtle hints. Don’t know what I mean? Just try ignoring the ‘truth’ slammed your way. See what I mean?

So, let’s wince, duck and try to change the subject because we’ve been brought up the right way, and a sudden unsheathing of claws always unnerved us. We have too much integrity to agree, leave alone add to the damned conversation. Let’s hem and haw and try to change the subject. It never works, till we get a brainwave and walk away to answer that urgent call, of the telephone or nature, depending on the proximity.

We truly are a critical lot. Ever ready to judge, condemn and dispense justice as if it were used tissues cast into the bin.

In no uncertain terms I state that I would love to be mistaken. Please prove me wrong. In the meantime I’m avoiding all my well-wishers. And slipping into a zen-like state. I suggest you do so too.

It’s Critical.

The Waters of Lethe

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systole/diastole

diabolic rhythm

an unwilling heart

clogged roads

life

courses

most reluctantly

systole/diastole

brash waves drive from behind

inevitable and unavoidable

foxtrot on the treadmill

tango with wires

pounding waves

pulsed into spray

on ticker

systole/diastole

a coded tempo decrees

control

systole/diastole

a heart much maligned

cannot be repaired

systole/ diastole

measures

walls of my making

rendered inflexible

systole/ diastole

rigidity sets in

i pace

rigor mortis sets in

i forget to breathe

in my fury

systole/ diastole

evergreen memories

don’t go away

condition the core

now brittle and callous

systole/diastole

regulate

thin the blood

slow the heart

adjust the rhythm

systole/diastole

take this memory

fertile

weeds of thoughts

plunder

systole/diastole

every onslaught/ failed attempt/ wretched expectation/ wrenching betrayal/ gaping wound/ gnash and gash/ cutting word/ tightening of the heart/ suppressed retort/ repressed emotion

barbed wires of a resilient memory

systole/ diastole

a pattern of my remembrance

a curse that i live with

what wouldn’t i give

to forget

Memorize

Divine charms

On a hillock I reside, removed from all inhabitation.

Steps hewn into granite lead you to me.

Your breath is tested, your feet calloused, as you strive to reach me.

I wait patiently, watching over you, from the innermost recesses of my sanctum sanctorum.

My vision pierces clear even through layers of fragrant sandalwood paste, lovingly smeared to appease me.

Appeased am I, indeed, for my love for you transcends everything, even my fury.

My claws receded and roar subsided, a long while ago.

I chose to be tame, putty in your hands.

Love overpowering is what you crave.

I am enamoured by your display of deep devotion.

Come to me.

The path is steep.

The road is lonely.

Fear not.

I shall watch over your every step.

For I am truly enamoured.

Truly blessed.

For you belong to me.

Enamored

Stone Sangria

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You.

Consider this.

Sangria and Stone. Blood and Marble. Dramatic contrast.

The creation of a free spirit? Not really. Speculation is rife.

In love? Hmmmm.

Committed? Who?  Not really.

Wedded? This one? Really?

Remained unwed? Really!

Rendered unsuitable. Now. Officially.

Smiles a lot? What’s cooking?

Enthusiastic?  Must be on steroids.

Thoughtful? Maybe suicidal. Rubs palms gleefully What’s up, you poor thing?

Pays attention to self? Snob. Disgusting vanity…

Doesn’t give a #%@^ about anything. What the @&^*!

Wants to live? Try getting one first!

Content with this life? What life?

Answers all questions. Must be lying…

Politely declines. Getting ahead of ourselves, now, aren’t we?

Agreeable, to a fault. Desperately seeking approval. Uh huh.

An aloof stance. Oooh!  The audacity.

tbh-You are a spectacle, like it or not.

Might as well get on the loop

Even mount yourself on a platform at the museum.

Don’t have an armour? Bleed!

Turned to stone? Wait.

There’s a spot that has freshly calcified.

Scanning target. Fresh petrification sighted. Aim. Shoot.

Rivulets flow.  Akin to art.

Mission accomplished.

So satisfying!

Shame!

[175 words]

Thank you Jade M. Wong, for the beautiful photograph.

A million thanks PJ for hosting the FFFAW challenge.

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Potent Potions

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Believe me, you don’t really want to know me before I’ve downed these three cups in the morning. It takes three different concoctions to make me this fabulously effervescent, fascinating and gorgeous creature from the grumpy, sullen and dour monster that I really am.

I fumble around the kitchen, in the ungodly hour before dawn, put the kettle on, and have my first cup, warm water with a twist of freshly cut lemon. No, nothing stimulating is added to that, it is after all dawn, not dusk. So that goes down with a shudder and grimace and then the kettle is back on, the water boiling merrily, while yoga challenges every muscle in my being, new degrees of soreness enhanced with every painful stretch.

Where’s my tea?

Finally!

None of that fragrant lavender, chamomile, exotic versions please. I want my chai, thank you very much.

An agonizing hour later, while I’m glowing with newfound health and vigour, I reach for coffee. I like it strong, do you mind? Yes, caffeinated. Yes, I know. Blah! Blah! And Blah! Take a flying leap, it’s my blood pressure, my life and eventually my doom.

Sip, guzzle, and gulp.

I’m ready for the day.

[200 Words]

Thank you Dawn Miller for the very intriguing photograph, would love to know what the original context was.

A million thanks, Al, for hosting the Sunday Photo Fiction challenge. A joy to participate in, as always.spf

Amma’s Congee

Pot story

An iron fence separated the park from the lakeside where a few villagers set up their makeshift tents. Living by the lake assured them a new life, the luxuries of, cooking, cleaning and maybe even bathing, when the guard looked the other way.

Amma, eighty years old, ever-present, self-appointed mother of the lot worked around houses, ingratiating herself to the security folk of the imposing mansions. When the maids swung haughtily down the road to dump trash from the kitchen, Amma would scavenge, marvelling at the waste of good food. Chopped stubs of onions, juicy flesh intact, baked potato still clinging to peel, good enough to eat. Green chilies and curry leaves thrown away untouched were salvaged by Amma who returned home with her loot, that eventually found salvation in the boiling pots.

After excruciatingly hard labour, returning home in the evening, tired and hungry eyes lit up at this welcome sight, aromas wafting to their pinched nostrils.The flavour of the congee was so comforting.

Amma grinned as she gathered the empty pots to scour.

[175 words]

Thank you, yarnspinner for the evocative photograph, I enjoyed writing a piece centred around it.

Thank you PJ for hosting the FFFAW challenge!

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