L’amour toujours

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Madame Sophie collected the finest things in life first. Waterford crystal. Flora Danica. And then she set her sights on people, for people were attracted to things, mais oui!

She was known for her exquisite soirees. The lustrous rope of pearls felt cool against her fevered skin. She took her place by the piano, accompanied by her dear doting husband.

Alas! La Belle Madame could not sustain the high note. She would reach it but didn’t have the confidence or the passion to stay there. She would break off…Such a pity. Oh, Mon Dieu!

She never gave up though.

Madame began trilling. She scaled higher and higher.

‘Wait for it, here it comes!’

‘Now.’

As if on cue, little Gregory, Madame Sophie’s youngest, held up the bowl of Waterford crystal and put it on his head.

Madame was well into her range when she espied little Gregory and her precious bowl. The notes escaped her glorious throat, soaring higher and higher, as she let herself go completely.

Resounding applause brought her back.

A beaming Monsieur slipped an extra pastry to Gregory.

You see, Monsieur had decided that Madame had had enough disappointment.

[193 words]

Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers is a weekly challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. Thank you PJ, for the awesome opportunity! Thank you Louise with The Storyteller’s Abode for the photograph!

 

 

Maisie’s Muse

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Sunday morning. Finally. A glorious day. A getaway. All week in the cramped flat. Hardly any action. It was once a week, but enough for a girl.

He was always there before dawn to grab a hunk of bread and a chunk of cheese. His steaming mug of coffee slid across the counter and he caught it in time, before it became poetry in motion, scalding her if she wasn’t careful. Helping her to scramble into the little boat, he tossed the ropes aside and set sail, bobbing all day. They left before the others and he returned with her, spent, sunburnt and sweaty, just the way she liked him.

Gosh! He smelt so good!

Maisie felt the breeze ruffle her to distraction and turned, smiling into the wind. Her perfect profile, gorgeous brown eyes, oh, a man could drown in those limpid pools of honey. She had eyes only for him, and looked at him like no woman ever looked at a man.

The quay was deserted at this time. She could be herself, with an extra spring in her step and a joyous whimper, she found herself in his arms again.

It was only he.

And she.

Woof!

[200 words]

Sunday Photo Fiction is hosted by Al Forbes. Thank you Al, I enjoy this challenge immensely! Thank you, Jules Paige, for the photograph. I love it!

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A Game of Hornes

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Presenting-“The Cowntess Moasty-Toasty of the House Cocoamuff, First of Her Name, the Unburnt Toast Almost, Queen of all Ambling Bovines and the First Moos, Cowleesi of the Great Grassland Stretch, Breaker of Great Wind and prospective mother of Prize Heifers…”

A secret tryst in the barn, induced by unlimited Cocoa and muffins, Pat-a-cake being the predominant theme, Moasty-Toasty was christened after her gleaming brown coat reminded the others the toast was almost burnt before her first Moo.

The First of Her Name, and probably the Last. It won’t catch on, really now, would it?

The Queen of all Ambling Bovines, for Moasty Toasty has been known to emulate her mother, the Cowager, who was known errr, for  mooching. The Cowager has long since been forgotten, the public having such short moomory.

Thus, the addition First Moos.

Cowleesi,  note the eyes, the tuft of hair, the distinct resemblance. The sun never sets on the Prairies, Pampas,  Veld,  Rangelands, Steppes, and Savannah, Great Grassland stretches all.

The ABC diet, rich in asparagus, beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage contribute to the penultimate title.

Throw in handsome Angus, and you’ll have little Bullah, and Cownnie gamboling in no time at all.

Charmed.

[200 words] Sorry, went overboard!  😀

Thank you majesticgoldenrose for the photograph. A million thanks, PJ, for hosting Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge! I had loads of fun with this!  ❤

 

Mountain Belles

Hey there Dolkar! Long time no see!

Hello Pasang! You look great! I love what you’ve done to your hair. Left it loose, hanging down your shoulders.

Yes, Dolkar, I don’t have your patience. You take such good care of your silver tresses, combing them every morning and evening and tying them back into this adorable little knot at the back of your head.

Wow Pasang, all your teeth have gone! How beautiful! I can see your gums!

Don’t worry Dolkar, you’ll lose that lone tooth soon. And then your look will be complete!

Pasang! Thank you! This tooth is rather annoying. It is a sore spot, comes in the way of my gums when I’m chewing. Carmah says I should get new teeth. How uncomfortable! You were saying something about my hair. Yes! You know how tiresome my now thinning tresses were four decades ago. I’m so glad I lost most of my hair and I can now wash my hair at will. It dries up so quickly. No sinusitis, coughs or colds.

You look fabulous. You have at least twenty more wrinkles than you sported the last time we met.

Oh, absolutely. You see, I laugh so much these days. They are crazy, these children. They are so stupid to worry so much. Yesterday, the goat went missing. You should have heard Carmah fuss. I told her the little one would return and it sure did, in the evening. Carmah lost it though! Want more wrinkles? You could do with a few, you know. Sitting out in the sun longer, helps. Next year, I aim for more lines, around the eyes.

Ha! Ha! Any more lines around the eyes and I won’t be able to recognize you, my dear.

Don’t worry. You’ll recognize me by my beautiful jewellery. I look so good, don’t I?

Yes, you do, Love! Look at my necklace. Got a new one just last week.

You were always a great one for jewellery, Pasang. Your fingers look so beautiful with these folds and lines. Do your rings still fit?

Yes, they do. I’m rather vain about my chapped hands. Every crack is testimony to the chores I still do at home.

Yes, you always do a lot. Now, how about some Butter tea at the shop up the mountain?

OK. let’s go. But first let me take a look at the mirror.

You always look good, dear, you don’t need the mirror!

I know my darling, but I do love a little primp.

You never change!

You too!

 Primp

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Image sourced from the internet.

Becoming Mrs. Reddy.

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Amma sat chewing on her customary paan, betel leaf and nut, till her mouth and teeth turned a crimson red and fragments of green nestled in the gaps between her teeth. She grinned and her mouth was a festive Christmas theme all gone wrong. I looked away and cleared the table after dinner. The Lord and Master had had his dinner and retired to his customary spot on the balcony. Contorting himself at an impossible angle, he leaned against the railing of the balcony, talking incessantly on his phone.

The telephone rang. Checking the caller id, I answered, for it was my friend, Rekha. I spoke softly into the receiver and the TV blared in the corner, updating us all on the condition of the Kulkarni family. Mrs. Kulkarni was declaring her daughters-in-law absolutely incompetent, while her sons stood in the background watching helplessly. The camera raced from one impossibly made-up face to a fixed one and then to an apoplectic one, when the Lord and Master walked in, folding the hem of his lungi, tying the ends in a tight knot.

‘Sarla!’ He snarled. I hastily put the receiver down.

‘You are just like Mrs. Reddy.’

Ah, the reference to Mrs. Reddy. Again. Irksome

I knew Mrs. Reddy. Anybody who was somebody knew her. She was this delightful woman who was everything a regular woman could never aspire to be. In a sea of illiterate and barely literate women, Mrs. Reddy had a Bachelor’s degree in Home Science. Oh! The exotic creature! In a world where women teamed up their silks with one faded black blouse, Mrs. Reddy had matching accessories. And her home! A study in elegance. From the store-bought curtains to the polished brassware, she was elegant, cultured, sophisticated and savvy. Such a far cry from the women who bunched their sarees around their flabby waistlines, hair tied up into awkward knots, a bunch of wilting flowers sitting awkwardly atop oiled heads, Mrs. Reddy was unique. She dressed like a dream, a movie star, and was the cynosure of all eyes.

So, it puzzled me no end. Why would the Lord and Master snarl at me while comparing me to this gorgeous creature?

It certainly was a compliment.

I sat at the table chopping vegetables for the next day. I worked in a bank and had to balance both work at home and outside. But, I don’t want to talk about that now.

Amma got up to get herself a cushion and as she walked back into the hall, scratching her head and inspecting the residue under her nails, I said, ‘Do you remember the dinner we had at Mrs. Reddy’s? I wonder what the recipe of her salad dressing is. Do you think she adds honey?’

Amma snorted. ‘Aiyyo. Malini can neverr stop yexperrimenting woenly. She and her barrr-coli, that green cauliflower and mushrooms.’ She spat out of the window and said, ‘Chee, mushrooms are fungusss, you know. Unclean. Aiyyo, thoo.’

I seized the opportunity. Someone had told me that if you want to get the dirt on someone, praise him or her to any random acquaintance.

I was not disappointed.

‘I believe Malini Reddy is so beautiful. What a lovely home she has! Mr. Reddy is so lucky.’

Amma launched off. I sat, mesmerized. When Amma gets her claws into someone, she can be merciless.

Meeow!

‘Maaaaalini is good and alllll. Wokay. Aaaal very nice woenly. Bootifool, you say, Yess. If you go to the booty parlarrr regularly, spending aaaal his moneyyyyy…

Cooking-aa? Yesss. She cooks. No orrrdinaree fud for her. All vegetabulls and frootsu. All Home Science naansensss.

Yesssss. And she has no shame woenly. Gossoooooooooooooooooout with her fraands and allllll. Sometimesss Mr. Reddy comes here woenly to have meals. He tells for mee.. aiyyo vaini, he calls me sister-in-law, you allwaysss make the bestu saammbbaaar and rice. Your vegetabulls are saaaft and I can swamp it in one go woenly…Malini never cooks the vegatabulls prraaperlee woenly. Yand she knows-aa that I am home for dinnerrrr, but she goes aaff with her best fraands to movies and restauranttts, she don’t care woenly.’

Amma paused.

I held my breath.

Why was I like her?

Look at me. My drab existence.

Amma lowered her tone significantly.

‘Akchooly, Malini talks to all mens. She sits with them at the clubb, and talks sooooo much woenly. All we ladies we sitttt with each other woenly, but-aaa, this Maaleeneee, she crazy. She likes to talk to mens. She drinks wine alsooo. I sawd. With mice wone eyes woenly. Mr. Reddy lookeddd so hurrt, I feel sooooo bad for him. I made him special coffeeee that day…’

Amma droned on.

Oh. Now it made sense.

The Lord and Master didn’t like me speaking on the phone to Rekha.

He didn’t want me to have a life.

I worked because it suited him.

The money.

There. Now the reference to Mrs. Reddy made sense.

Well, I always liked Mrs. Reddy.

Now, I positively loved her.

The next evening I came home, changed and walked out calling out to Amma, ‘I’m going out to catch a movie with Rekha. And then dinner. Don’t wait up. Tell him to heat up the dal in the microwave.’

I ran into the Lord and Master who turned his scooter into the compound. I waved at a cosmonaut whose eyes almost popped. His blood pressure, I didn’t care to know!

Oh, boy! He now had Mrs. Reddy to reckon with. Wasn’t his wildest fantasy coming alive!

Irksome

Dat’s mah man!

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This week’s photo prompt is provided by Louise with The Storyteller’s Abode. Thank you Louise for providing this beautiful photograph!

Woof!

My name is Valentino. I am fabulous. And I know it. I got my shiz together.

Look at my gleaming silky coat. I’m top dawg, man. I believe in taking care of myself. All I need to be happy is good food. Throw in a bone or two, refill my bowl with clean water and I’m all set. Oh, plenty of exercise. I recommend you take your man for a walk too. I never let him miss his walk. When I see the signs, the bottle of beer, the newspaper, the flickering lights from this strange box and I know it’s time for my act.

A couple of whines and bounding onto his tummy with vigour usually does the trick. Sometimes he has this glazed look in his eyes and I know it calls for desperate measures. Fervent, nervous scratching at the door. Ha! Watch him go!

So here we are, my man and I. I need the leash to pull him along. Will someone tell him to dress smarter? He needs to keep up with my style.

Bow wow to you.

Moi, Sass Queen Extraordinaire.

Look, I haven’t always been this way. Nobody starts off like this, OK. Nobody becomes Sass Queen just like that. There comes a time when you realize you’ve had enough. And that heralds the rise of the Sass Queen. She takes the Sass Crown and seats herself on the Sass Throne and takes control of her Sassy Life.

Before the dawn of Sass, I was as elusive as a neurotic fish in a vast ocean, hiding deep underwater. I had nothing to smile about. I had a lot on my mind. Things were not going too well for me. Hold that thought. A Sass Queen never cribs or whines about her pore ole self…no poor me syndrome.

So, in a world of other Sass wannabes, what makes me the original Sass Queen? You got it right, there has to be a list. Learn while you burn, lesser mortals! And then just burn!

  • So, here is the first criterion. I know who I am. You cannot tell me otherwise. Save all your pseudo-psychoanalytical drivel. Save your breath while you can, as well. You cannot tell me anything new about myself. I know what I am. I know I’m being ingloriously vain about my ability, but then you won’t find me in denial about anything ever. A Sass Queen just knows. And doesn’t care.
  • I don’t think I can be a better version of myself. At this moment the version of me is up to date, and don’t presume you know any better. What I am works for me, if you have a problem, deal with it. I ain’t gonna change for nobody. I am absolutely sass-worthily fabulous. So there!
  •  Bring on the vapid, insipid, uninspired, colourless, uninteresting, feeble, flat, dead, dull, boring, tedious, tired, unexciting, uninspiring, unimaginative, lifeless, zestless, spiritless, sterile, anaemic, tame, bloodless, jejune, vacuous, bland, stale, trite, pallid, wishy-washy, watery, tasteless, milk-and-water, flavourless (list compiled from Google), for that is what everybody turns out to be, in comparison to me. And I’m not exaggerating. Cause I be the original- The Sass Queen.
  • I believe in dressing up in my very own unique style and I do not follow fashion trends. I set my own trend, to hell with common opinion. And yes, I shall team an incongruous red, blue and black cotton blouse with a pink and white silk saree and get away with it. Somehow it all gels well with me. So bring your best criticism to me, and say I’ve made a fashion faux pas, and I will say yes, and look you in the eye, and you shall look away and crawl back into whatever you crawled out from, in the first place. So, do not give a Sass Queen your opinion. Nobody asked you for it. Ouch! That must have hurt!
  • I do not need your company. And for that matter anybody’s. I have my family, my students, and a very few friends who really matter. I smile at you, exchange a few words, but that is it. A Sass Queen is an enigma.
  • I can say a lot with my face. It’s pretty elastic and prone to be more honest than I am. See, I wouldn’t correct you in public, classroom excluded, I’m too refined for that, but you will know, if you are looking my way. You’ll know, the next time, at least. So when you see me roll my eyes and give you that look, and fix that glare on you, you ought to know it is time to shut up, or correct yourself. A Sass Queen is a woman of few words.
  • I know a lot. I keep my eyes and ears open and my mouth shut, most of the time. I know more than you think I do. Of course, when you get a little presumptuous or even a little obnoxious, I have the perfect line, to put the brakes on and cut you short. I shall always have the perfect comeback. You cannot ever win. If I am quiet, it is because I choose to be so, not that I am at a loss for words, ever. I am silent because, it is not worth it, or maybe you are not worth it. A Sass Queen knows when to speak up. And when she does, the world listens.
  • You can’t hold me ransom. Ever. I shall not do anything I don’t want to. Ever. I am not going down that road. Big mistake. And Sass Queens learn from their mistakes.
  • I don’t compromise on things that matter. My cup of tea. My routine. My life. My space. Back off, if I make you feel uncomfortable. Nothing else matters. Power. Glory. Name. Fame. All transient. Good while they last. Take them away and what remains defines the real me. And I am real. The me. Very real. The Sass. Absolutely real.
  • Sarcasm is my second language. There can be no greater criterion. Ever. And that makes me The Sass Queen.

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Thus spake the Sass Queen and the world stopped, to listen.

 

 

 

For all we know…

Has it been a week already?

It’s time for them to go.

Not so soon, I selected the buds with infinite care, arranged them in this divine vase, and I changed the water every morning and evening.

Look at the water now. All clouded and dirty.

Already? Look! The sweet-smelling sap from cut stalks oozed a certain interesting cloud into the transparent clarity only afforded by plain water, before its sojourn in the vase came to a satisfying end. 

Hmmm. The stems are black now, have  lost all firmness, are limp, ready to give up.

But look! The flowers are now in full bloom, opening into pristine white clouds to reveal the sun nestled inside. A glorious burst of white against the cool blue walls, they were the conversation piece of the evening. Did you hear them wax eloquent? You didn’t ? I see. What were you doing? Come to think of it, I haven’t seen much of you this evening.

Never mind. The flowers have to go. Maybe the vase as well. It looks old, The copper has lost its sheen. At least get it polished. And that grotesque china plate, I insist on it being removed, or I shall have break it, maybe accidentally, you know.

What! The plate! The fish swims eternal circles, patterned on fine china, the artist’s flair for capturing movement in a rigid state is legendary.

I’m sure, in an artist’s world, anything is possible.

Maybe china is fluid, taking on the movement of its maker’s wheel.

What defines our understanding these days? It is incomprehensible, really!

Well, the artist certainly knew how to breathe life into his work.  He also knew how to ensure they lived, these living things, I mean. As you know, all living things grow…

Aren’t little ones taught that in rudimentary science class? It’s been some years, but I confess to a little remnants of knowledge…

Don’t interrupt. So, the fish grows and continues downward in its search for the depths where it can submerge itself completely, to merge and lose itself in the union between depth and understanding. Do you follow?

Maybe.

Do you even understand my artistic sensibilities?

Maybe! Can I leave now?

Hold on. Oh, this is so frustrating. You are as elusive as…

This fish?

Enough! See, now that the water is changed, the petals fall off, ripe and satiated.

Satiety?

Yes, they thrived, their pure life in the garden was done and a sophisticated but transient life, in exalted company, awaited them. Sadly, it is time now for them to lose themselves in the larger order of things.

The larger order?

Where are you going? Listen to what I thought of, just now. It is rather clever! Allowed one last burst of colour, bloom, dear ones…

Dear Lord!

Straining at your seams, you are allowed but one bout of flirting with the setting sun, one last desperate fling…

Ooh! Interesting. Desperation.

One last attempt to capture fleeting attention, one last longing look at the mirror, one last breathless breath,

Oh good Lord! Breathless breath!

One last bow to your reflection,  for everywhere you look, you see yourselves mirrored in astounding similarity.

Confound this!

This one moment is yours…

Dear Lord take me away!

…before you call it a day, the blue walls a perfect foil to your beauty, we are only too aware of our mortality,

I’m only too painfully aware of these moments that don’t seem to end, my dear!

They speak to me- Listen! ‘Take a look at our stalks rotting in clean water, while on the surface, the race is on, who can bloom the largest, stay fresh the longest…and then maybe we can call it a day!’

I’ll drink to that! Let’s call it a day!

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Maybe