Unbearable

teddy-bears

Is it Sunday already?

Time for laundry.

First the whites.

Colours next.

Four cycles.

One. Two. Three. Four.

Four. Four. Four. Four.

North-South-East-West.

Morning- Afternoon- Evening- Night.

Spring- Summer- Autumn- Winter.

Balance.

Perfection.

Four is the best of all even numbers.

Two is OK too.

But four is satisfying.

Sorting through the clothes I try to make four piles.

There aren’t enough.

Hmmm.

I walk around the house.

Sheets I changed just yesterday.

Cushion covers  I can’t throw in, they have to be hand washed.

Curtains?

No. Not on Sunday.

Curtains are slotted for Wednesday, the middle of the week, for curtains separate tranquility from the bedlam out there.

This room has not been used for years now.

I spot the bears sitting there.

One. Two. Three.

Just so.

I am not happy with three.

I did try.

Everything does not work the way I want it to.

These bears need a spin in the machine.

Now how do I do this?

The big ones go together.

Where do I put the little one?

The little one is always the problem.

Another one would’ve…

Four.

The set would have been perfect.

It’s my fault.

Four would have held everything together.

[200 words]

Sunday Photo Fiction

A Home Truth

​I am in my special place, the couch actually, and close my eyes. 

The lights are dimmed and I slip into a trance.

I am done for this minute, hour, day, week, month, year and even lifetime, maybe, and await further instructions from deep within to attain Samadhi state. A state of Nirvana. Having done all I can, having conquered all impulses, except maybe shopping, I am content to wait for eternal bliss to come my way. After some tea perhaps, or some mind-numbing television even.

At least silence works, for the moment.

The telephone. 

Where’s your mobile? 

I don’t know. 

Voices, trying to get into my head. Actually one voice. A voice that asks questions, answers them and makes observations and gives obvious conclusions, sounding pleased, waiting for accolades at such display of life and enthusiasm.

On steroids? 

Nope. A blithe spirit. A friend. A well-meaning, genuinely caring friend.

A devoted soul, brimming with concern enters the zone with all energy, brimming with cheerfulness that grates on my frayed nerves.

What are you doing?

What is this? Why? How? Where? 

And why are you so quiet? What did I say now? What did I do? Shouldn’t I have called? Shouldn’t you have answered first?

Hmm. Yes. No. Really. For the next ten minutes.

 I reel from the onslaught and ignore it while I can and then – Enough!

As expected, easy tears, the waterworks. The works! The efforts to pile guilt on me. 

GUILT.

I refuse to feel any, for I know I am in MY space, it’s MY time and MY life.

Don’t snap at me! How dare you treat me this way? After all  that I have invested into this relationship!

Oh Hell! That’s not how I remember it. Anyway I don’t think so.

You have not got any returns from this relationship?

 Only  incurred losses?

I’m not going down that road. I know she is itching for an argument now. I hold the receiver a little away from my ear and pace the room, now lit up in harsh lights, the blood rushing to my head.

From my window, I now look at the dog that won’t let go of a bone, worrying it till it cracks into splinters and then looks surprised as to why its mouth is bleeding. It yelps in pain. Some children playing on the street rush to call for help.

So I say- Could you please not think aloud? Resolve the way you feel. It’s not my problem.I am the problem here. So you need to let go. Deal with it. I want to be alone. I want silence. I don’t want to talk about anybody. To anybody. For anybody. Sometimes I just could go through the motions and not disturb the very air around me.

Nothing works out. The assault continues.

So I say, in all exasperation-Would it make things easy if I quit? OK. I quit. Even if it makes me more miserable than I am. Move away? Fine.  Even die? Yay! Why not! 

I will go. Why should you? Anyway, I do so much for you. I am such a good friend. You never think about me. In fact I watch out for you…

Yes, I’m so tired of all this now. Listen! You are the good one here. Miss Congenialty.You are the best. Could you now go spread some sunshine in other lives? Please? And if you have a real problem, you know where to find me. You have millions of friends, a wonderful family even. What can you want from a loser like me? Do you want to finish the job life started? Annihilate me?

Does nothing matter to you?

No.

Don’t people matter? 

No.

Who behaves like this?

I do.

Oh, the times you take ‘U Turns’ and behave so unpredictably. I never know where I am with you!

Yes. The U Turn. It’s called survival.

Don’t be sarcastic! AHHHH! Nothing matters to you!

Well, you see, so much matters. Peace, silence, and solitude matter. I feel stifled with all this attention. You’ve helped me, I am grateful to you. You are a wonderful friend. I get it. I’m eternally grateful. But I never asked you for help. Never. You did it out of the kindness of your heart. Don’t kill me with so much kindness. Find yourself another project to work on, another relationship to invest in. This here is done. You are flogging a dead horse. I have nothing to give. I am Nothing. Let me slip into Nothingness. No, I don’t need anybody to rescue me. I just want out. OUT! It cannot get more specific than that really!

But then, she chooses to think I’m in a bad mood. I know she thinks I am fraught with stress and other problems and I need tender loving care. Lol! Despite the blood pressure shooting up to alarming levels, I cannot suppress a smile. I am glad she cannot see me smile for she’d be really mad!

After what seems an eternity it comes.

I’m sorry. I know you didn’t mean anything bad. 

I know. I didn’t mean anything bad. 

Sob! Then why do you do this?

Hell, woman, haven’t you any sense of space? Any sense of self?

 I am a bad person. A horrible friend. Face it. I can’t be what you want me to be. I will be quiet more times than not. I will look into far away spaces and sit still. I will walk away inexplicably. I will be myself. I will take U turns. I refuse to pretend to be happy and jolly when I am a shattered being trying to make pieces of my self whole again.

And it is all my fault. Please accept this. And, I won’t change. I cannot. 

You don’t mean it!

But, I mean it all.

Every single word.

Specific

Karmic Gears

crook3

 

my life

a certain cycle

karma

a sequence

i haven’t set into motion

already spinning

it pinned me down

gathering

speed and strength

with every thought

word

and action

maybe even silence

and inaction

 

i have one life

this i know

keep

the machinery oiled

iron out

the creases and folds

while i still can

before i become one

with the elements

 

this life

already

a forgone conclusion

 

atonement

for my sins

are visited on

the flesh of my flesh

the blood of my blood

the wheel in my wheel

 

and that cycle

mine own

to stop

this spinning wheel

 

[100 words]

Thank you Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers! Shalom!

Thank you, Sandra Crook , for the photo prompt.

Silent Spaces

piic

Your narrow window to the world

tightly frames your limited thought.

Boxed in, your spirit

is beaten into submission.

Cracks, fissures and fractures

immobilize you.

Rejecting your body,

your soul floats away

seeking vast expanses.

Your breathing, shallow.

No movement,

for any imperceptible tremor

significantly magnifies the pain.

Limp, spent,

reduced to a quivering mess

of bleeding pulp.

You try to get used to it.

 

This life.

 

Try this. Get up. Walk.

Take the roads

that lead you away.

Move

till you reach the open spaces.

One step at a time.

Trek your way till you find a spot,

your private domain.

The wind now whispers in your ears

and the sun blazes on high.

The rock is warm to touch.

Steady, solid rock.

Lean back

and feel the warmth seep into you.

Breathe in.

The air so pure

it hits your lungs.

Your heart explodes.

So much beauty.

Such peace.

Walk away from those confines.

Break those shackles.

Now.

For, after this,

you can never break yourself into bits

to fit that box

again.

[175 words]

 

Thank you, Grant, for the beautiful photograph.

A million thanks to you PJ  for hosting this challenge Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Happy New Year! 😀

Lead, Kindly Light.

dark-night

The winter evening drew on, enveloping all, in a shroud of mist and darkness. The clay stove where wood fires burned with the occasional crackle and pop, was where they all huddled together, the dying embers burning orange, reflecting on their faces as they tried to get closer to the heat, tempted to touch the ash laden coal, still molten hot at the core.

Tearing at unleavened bread, dipping it into bowls of hot piping stew, the warmth of the food seeped into their bellies and there rose a silence more blessed than joyous laughter.

The orphan waited patiently for his share. Every other benevolent family in the village took turns through the week to feed him.

Wolfing down his bread, he wiped his bowl clean, sponging up every drop of stew. Muttering thanks, he walked away into the cold winter night.

While the village slumbered on under layers of quilts that barely warded off the cold, he sat hunched over his books.

The lone street lamp, his only companion, blazed on, in the darkness of the night.

[178 words]

Thank you, Maria, for the beautiful photograph!

Bless you Priceless Joy at Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers for hosting such a wonderful challenge!

 

 

Fleedom

Flee – The Daily Prompt20161212_221259.jpgI have dug my own grave and prepare to lie in it.

With these hands. These grimy hands with dirt embedded in the nails. The soil made soft and pliant with my sweat and maybe some tears as well.

The walls are lined with the memories of my own making. Sometimes I cringe when I face them, but I deserve to face my mistakes. Why should I be spared when I am low in the ground, six feet under? This life I lead, spells no escape. Why should death afford me this luxury?

No, I cannot run away. There is nothing I can run away from, nobody I can run to…

But I don’t need anybody, do I? A strong woman like me…

I bare my teeth in derision. You seem to forget, there is no running away from myself, now, is there? The abyss I’ve sunk to. The scraps of affection I’ve waited for. The smiles that I’ve bought. The comfort I had sought all come rushing in when the filters are dismantled, and my guard is down. And then I loathe myself all over again. Forgive myself? Oh, no. I don’t deserve it.

Who would give me a second chance? And if I were given one, would I even take it? I despise the world. I despise all it represents. I despise how it changes people. I have seen enough.

I sit out in the open bazaar of this world, with my veil outspread on the pavement, trying to catch a stray coin that comes my way, trying to look as if I were not there. I look at the others there and see the same vacant look in their eyes. You never get used to begging, do you? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been generous too, when I could. Now, as if that would shield me from the barbs that random passersby shoot at me. Speak all you can, there’s space on the pavement for you soon.

Cursed, I am the face of humanity, the underbelly nobody notices. Once in a while we crawl out of our little hovels and sun ourselves sharing your light and you wince, looking away. Hold on. It’s just a matter of time.

My tattered veil is still outstretched on the pavement and is now decorated with the footprints of people who have walked my way. Coins? Some are still there. Some are gathered up furtively by the enterprising ones in the passing crowd, who look at my unseeing eyes and decide I’m not really there. And maybe I’m not really there. Maybe I fled a long time ago. Maybe my body and soul are no longer united for my soul has fled its mortal prison and escaped to God knows where.

My body awaits. Every single day it carves a little dent into the living earth and the earth obliges by becoming forgiving.

The minute I was born, I knew it was one step closer to death. Every dying day brings me nearer to my living death.

No, I’m not saying this because something happened. Something always happens and it almost always amounts to nothing.

Who belongs to whom here? What is mine? What is yours? Who are we? I have no answers to these questions.

Is death the real escape? Or do we close our eyes in death to wake up to another hell? I have no answers yet, but well, all I can do is watch and wait.

People like me, sometimes we watch. Sometimes we don’t. But we’re always waiting. For a handful of rice. For a fistful of coins. For day to follow day. For night to follow day. For darkness to follow darkness.

And Death follows us faithfully. Life is a betrayer, treacherous and false. Death is real and eternal.

Love, hope, family, and self are beautiful illusions. They light up your darkness with the occasional glimmer. Like blinking fireflies, this light is elusive and does not last.

Death is the only hope you can count on. It never fails to visit. Flee if you can, and while you can. But regardless, Death always catches up.

I am prepared. I have dug my grave and now I lie in it.

Flee

Archaeopteryx

This is not my life. This is not me. This is the thought that pounds at my mind, never allowing me to be content with my lot in life.
This is not my life. This is not me. This is the refrain that courses through my blood, ringing in my ears, never allowing me to rest.

This is not my life. This is not me. For I am the missing link. I never knew that at first, but destiny led me to believe that only I am the connect between all that I am and all that I can be.

This is not my life. This is not me. Slithering among my fellows, revelling in the sun, I waited, this buzz in my head preventing me from basking in peace. 

No, this was not the life for me.

I wasn’t cold blooded, you know.

I wasn’t cold at all.

In me, there beat a heart, there pulsed a thought- This is not my life. This is not me. This is not my life. This is not me. This is not my life. This is not me. This is not my life. This is not me. This is not my life. This is not me.

This is not my life. This is not me.

This is not my life. 

This is not me.

I waited. I watched. Change embraced me, slowly at first and then with indecent haste. They stared at me with distaste. How dare I?

I realized once you accept the inevitable, things fall into place.

My scales soon shed, of their own accord.

My beating heart made the connect, completing the leap it had begun a million years ago. I felt different. But it felt so right. Oh, so right!

But the others. They watched aghast as I changed from within. Soon the difference was apparent. There was a certain degree of alarm and a whole lot of conjecture.

At first I actually care to make them understand. It wasn’t their fault, you see. It was all me.

I said to anybody who would listen-

This is not my life. This is not me.

They blinked in all their incomprehension.

My beating heart sang this refrain. Over and over again. This is not my life. This is not me.
My heart changed as well. I now had four chambers. My love for life pumped through every chamber- I didn’t know when my body turned warm. So much joy! So much peace! I was doing what I wanted to do! I was being me! Oh the possibilities that awaited me!

They looked at me balefully and coldly.

How dare I even presume?

Hiding in the cracks during the day, they slithered onto the warm rocks at nightfall, cold and unfeeling except for the one common thing they had for me. Malevolent hatred.

Grouped together ominously for comfort, they twined and intertwined and it became less obvious where one ended and the other began. They looked my way a vengeful collective of dark, brooding menace.

All I knew was solitude.

Solitude was bliss. Ignorance more so.

Vital life coursed through my veins. I flexed my shoulders and hopped about in glee! A kind one shushed me and motioned at me with a blink but I paid no heed. I tested my arms, wiggled my digits and spread the membranes that defined me. I flapped. Blood surged through me.

I took flight.

A serpent reared its head and hissed- You freak! You moron! What do you think you are doing?

I looked down from my primordial perch and shrugged.

I didn’t have an answer to that. I didn’t have an answer to anything, really. You see, sometimes there are no answers. You just are. Things are. And that is all there really is.

All through my flight, my heart simply told me -This is not my life. This is not me.

I repeated these words to the now coiling serpent who slumbered on the still warm rock.

This is not my life. This is not me.

They fell on deaf ears.

I spread my wings. I left my perch behind. Far behind.

I now could view my primitive life from a different angle. Oh, the pettiness of it all. The struggle for existence. The futility of it all. I flew. Every flight I undertook changed me ever so slightly. I became this fascinating creature, at least I thought I was and began something I knew was unstoppable. I didn’t understand it myself, but all I knew I had to try. Well, you see it was my job to try. If I hadn’t tried, you wouldn’t have had these beautiful creatures who dot the skies, who wake you up with their song, need I really say more?

Who am I?

Do you need names, labels, categories?

You see I don’t really fit in.

I never belonged. I am different. And the whole world knows me. Because I dared. To be unique.

For I am Archaeopteryx.

I am the missing link.

I dared to dream. I dared to try. Alone. Never let them hold me back.

Where am I now?

Frankly, I don’t know. 

And really, I don’t care.

I lived my life. I mean, I really did. 

I was real.

Now, I am a fossil.

I am reduced to a theory.

I exist in your dust laden tomes. 

And maybe even in your vestigial imagination.

I am the bridge that forged itself between the cold and the warm

Between the unfeeling and the aspirers.

I am the pioneer of flight.

It all began when I said to myself-This is not my life. This is not me.

So much joy! So much peace! Oh the possibilities that awaited me!

Missing

Stupid

wp-1479921799642.jpg

Not all lives are patterned the same.

Not every breath grudged.

Not every effort rejected.

Not every attempt thwarted.

Stupid girl chanted this mantra every day of her life. Her special little prayer. Her little affirmation of faith. In anticipation of the deluge of change, she knew awaited her.

Stupid girl stood by the door, watching the others at play. They called her.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

Hide and Seek. Stupid girl hid with the others. Stupid girl was caught first. Bad at hiding, Stupid girl had no choice but to seek.

Easier said than done.

Stupid girl gave up after a few attempts and returned home sniveling.

Mother was too busy worrying about the evening meal to bother.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

Stupid girl wiped the tears off her grimy cheeks and settled down in a corner with her books. The film on her burning eyes made the letters all blurred and they swam, enticing her to dream. Dream? Stupid girl couldn’t for long. Mother came by, saw her with a faraway look in her eyes and hit her on the head. Feeling very stupid again and most insignificant, Stupid girl looked at her lesson. It didn’t make sense to her at all.

Father was at it again. This time Stupid girl knew dinner would be late. An hour later, Stupid girl crept into the kitchen for dinner. The vessels were scattered on the floor and Mother was sitting there, staring at nothing.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

Stupid girl looked at her and away.

Stupid girl gave up on Mother. Food. Where was food,now? Stupid girl foraged for food. Father had thrown the rotis into the sink. The vegetables lay in the slop that had been a curry earlier that evening. Stupid girl could smell the tobacco rolled in betel leaves. See the red stains on the wall.

Telltale signs.

Stupid girl picked up the soggy rotis and ate one. Stupid girl gagged. Threw up. Got slapped by Mother. Father snarled again. A feral beast.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

Stupid girl felt really stupid this time.

Being hit always made her feel like an idiot. Her brain would freeze for so long, Stupid girl couldn’t think anymore. Stupid girl couldn’t say a word either.  Stupid girl felt like an imbecile.

Stupid girl blinked at her reflection in the mirror and now suddenly thought of the beggar who sat in front of the temple. The stupid grin on his face. Stupid girl was like him. How grateful he looked when someone dropped a coin into his bowl! Stupid girl felt the same too. For Stupid girl was a beggar sitting on the fringes of her home, her school, starved for affection and maybe even attention.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

The only difference was, nobody noticed her.

No alms came her way. No words, no smiles, it was as though Stupid girl wasn’t even there.

Stupid girl looked at the group of girls chattering incessantly. The only time Stupid girl wished they would speak to her was the last. It was a slap in her stupid face.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

She felt their scorn bore into her soul.

She felt dumb again. Stupid really.

Stupid girl watched in incomprehension, as they turned away and laughed a little louder, their backs an impenetrable fortress.

Why did they then seek her when they were alone and reject her when together? She had listened eagerly when each one told her things. Had run little errands for them, willingly. Had helped each one enthusiastically almost every other day.

Why did they now behave this way?

Stupid girl felt like a moron again.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

Story of her life.

Stupid girl.

Stupid girl grew up, despite life.

Stupid girl lived, despite dying a thousand deaths inside. You gotta hand it to her. A thousand at least.

Stupid girl tried to believe, despite all her faith being crushed.

Stupid girl dared to love, hoping it would make her feel whole.

Love split her soul to pieces mangled beyond recognition.

Stupid roadkill.

Stupid girl thought…What? She still thought?

Stupid girl could have a family.

Really? Stupid couldn’t be that stupid now, could she?

Well she was. Stupid.

Father died.

Mother cried.

Stupid girl lied? Sighed? Tied? Flied? Gosh what would her teacher say!

Fried? Plied? Mied? Aied? Jied? Kied? Wied? Nied? Ried? Uied? Hied? Xied? Zied? Ried? Oh no! Said that already!

Vied? Aha! That made sense! No, that was too stupid a rhyme. Even Stupid girl knew that.

Maybe she should have just died? Now that made a lot of sense. Even to Stupid.

Stupid girl now made another attempt.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

Stupid is as stupid does.

Stupid thought she could be happy. Stupid thought she could start afresh.

Stupid didn’t reckon that grownups were overgrown versions of the little bullies they had been.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

So Stupid thought she could make a difference.

So she thought.

Stupid! Oh, so stupid!

Stupid girl chanted her prayer. Yes, you are right. A stupid prayer.

Shouldn’t her prayer have been a little different? If only she knew better.

Not all lives are patterned the same, but mine is frozen forever.

No breath grudged, but mine.

No effort rejected, but mine.

No attempt thwarted, but mine.

Every single time.

Every single time.

So now Stupid girl lives her life and is as invisible to people as beggars are. No, the futility of it all- she cannot be invisible, now can she?

More of an eyesore really!

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

Look how gazes are hastily averted, things are held with a tighter grasp, conversation becomes animated. Oh, for Heaven’s sake let there be no gap, we simply cannot allow Stupid girl to loom large and clumsy, awkward, on our horizon!

For everybody who is stupid enough to look at her, I won’t say any more, see for yourself…

Just notice them wince and cringe. They visibly shrink away from her as she glides about her day, a stupid freak, with a stupid smile on her face, a stupid word on her lips as she waits for someone to get her.

Finally get her.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

After all, she does believe in the power of her mantra.

Not all lives are patterned the same.

Not every breath grudged.

Not every effort rejected.

Not every attempt thwarted.

Stupid girl!

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

Anticipation

Doomspell

footy-and-foody

My waters beguile you. I stretch as far as the eye can see, not a drop fit for life. I’m the ocean. You don’t know my depth. I hold sway by my shores, my waves rendering rocks to fine sand, washed onto another shore. I hold in my ample bosom, many a wrecked ship I helped reach the abyss; their treasure now declared void and soon forgotten.

I take all the venom you cast into my waters, churning below the surface.

The poisons around me choke the unsuspecting. Vast skies as far as the eye can behold. Not a single gasp purer than what is expelled. I’m the vast expanse around you. I don’t know any boundaries. I just sweep by the horizon, my gusts gathering clouds, scattering their virulence over the thirsty earth. I hold in my outspread arms the souls I gather, their lives now oblivion.

I spew all the toxins I can in the air above me, spiraling into the firmament.

Don’t pay any heed.

Go about your business, while I wait.

[175 words]

 

PJ, thank you for hosting this challenge. Such a wonderful platform to share our work!

Thank you Footy and Foodie for the beautiful photograph.

Dr.M.Balamuralikrishna- A tribute

images

Grew up listening to your haunting melodies.

Please click on this link to listen to Emi Sethura Linga? – my personal favourite.

For those who cannot understand the lyrics of this tattvam , my feeble attempt at translation.

A devotee of Lord Shiva regrets his inability to offer the Lord, the purest tokens of his gratitude. 
He contemplates offering the holy waters of the Ganges, but a little tadpole informs him that the river water is contaminated by the spittle of frogs and fishes living in the water.
What can be purer than milk fresh from the holy cow? Sorry, says the calf, but the calves got there first and their spittle has pervaded the milk.
Alright then, what about flowers freshly plucked from the garden? Millions of bees buzz, from their hives on the branches of trees confessing that they got there first!
What can a devotee then do? He can only lament, ‘What can I do, Oh Lord, What can I possibly do?’ ‘Emi sethura Linga?’

You will be missed, Maestro.

Rest in peace.