Tuesday 30 April 2024

Zoom out on life

When the breath feels heavy and the day seems dense, zoom out on life; 

When the flight is solo and the heart is hollow, zoom out on life.

Beauty is in the big picture, victory in those valorous scars;

Darkest hours are also when brightest shine the stars.

We break a little every day, we build a little too;

We drown a little every day, we swim a little too.

When doubt shrouds faith and the soul sinks in despair;

Smile into the mirror and say this too I shall repair. 

Not all chapters can be grey, not all memories sour;

Sweet feels the bud today, bitter the wilting flower.

It's but one life to love and live, one chance to fight it all;

How do we rise and piece together, if never we fumble and fall. 

When the clouds gather and the storm brews strong, zoom out on life;

When dreams lie shattered and hopes look scattered, zoom out on life


PS: And with this it's a wrap. Thank you all my fellow bloggers for the visits, the exchange of thoughts and the words of encouragement. I managed to stay afloat all through April :)      

Monday 29 April 2024

Yellow nostalgia

The day was young and Dorothy had committed herself to her to-do list, determined not to get tripped by anything this time. She had at last gotten a Saturday all to herself. The husband and kids had set out for a weekend camping and for once, she wouldn't have to slice and dice her time. Tickle, the family's most adored member, of course stayed behind to tail her. He always had a secret access to his hooman momma's heart.  

Dorothy took a long last sip of her morning coffee and put the newspaper down. Tickle, sitting at her feet, lazily raised one eye and immediately sunk back to basking in the morning sun. Dorothy petted him and stood up. First she'd head to the grocers. She had promised the boys a cake on their return, but was running low on unsalted butter and vanilla essence. At 11, she had an appointment at the salon and at 3pm, a routine visit to the dentist. She also wanted to make a halt at the new nursery, just a 15-minute drive from home. The veranda, she thought, could do with some more potted plants.

Mentally glossing over the list, Dorothy stepped into her bedroom. The curtains were still on and the room felt extra dark. And bam, she stubbed her foot against the desk, a spot she was so familiar with that it seemed utterly ridiculous. Dorothy plonked on floor, holding tight her baby toe. The pain was sharp and she was irate. One Saturday after so long, and now this. Not wasting any sympathy on herself, Dorothy pushed forward to stand up, when something lying on the floor clutched her attention. 

It was a photograph and she immediately knew which one. But how did it even land there? Dorothy gently pulled it out and turned it over. It was a moment captured in black and white, Dorothy with her mom from countless summers ago. Age had crawled into the picture and it had acquired a yellow tint. Ever since her mom's passing, this one frame travelled with her, a place of warmth she'd turn to in her darkest hours. Dorothy sat staring at the picture, the pain in her toe felt nothing in comparison to the sudden sting of tears. 

The yellow tint alluded to the vast stretch of time she had been a motherless daughter and, suddenly, it was a deluge of yellow nostalgia. Did the photo ride the morning breeze to find Dorothy? Sitting with an aching heart and a hurting toe, that's how she wished to imagine. 

Image by Ruiterlijk from Pixabay



Saturday 27 April 2024

'X'cuse me, please!

The letter X is an invader, or so must be the rancour in the world of lexicons. It may be a tailender in the ABC hierarchy but in modern-day vocab, it has neatly attached itself to many words starting with 'ex'. And no one seems to be complaining, certainly not the new-age kids who in any case prefer the Afk (away from keyboard) and mos (Mom over Shoulder) language for alien-like transmissions. 

'Xchange' for exchange, 'xtraordinary' for extraordinary, 'xplore' for explore, 'xtra' for extra, 'xtreme' for extreme, these and many more similar iterations are mainstream today. To it's credit, X is a handsome letter and carries an air of elegance which makes it stand out even if it's at the bottom of the heap. Placed at the start of a word (a favorite of ad creatives), it brings an extra swag or should we say an X factor. 

It's like this letter does a side hustle. I suppose we will all agree that X isn't an inherently rich alphabet. Take 10 seconds to think of as many words as you can with X. Repeat the same with say letter A or S. It will become obvious who's the deprived cousin. It's like to stay relevant, X had to reinvent itself. Survival of the fittest!

Language nerds might very well sneer at the audacity of X. But popular culture seems to have accepted this reinvention and probably doesn't mind 'xperimenting' further. Breaking away from linguistic conventions, this alphabet has dropped the axe on many long-established words and how. Slaying all the 'exes' in style, shall we say. 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


Friday 26 April 2024

Wordsmiths we all


Today's post is an ode to us writers who are in this challenge to savour the joy of putting pen to paper or should I say fingers to keys. Words make and break, words hurt and heal, words scatter the silence, words are how we feel. And to think we can get better at our craft by sharing this invaluable treasure, that's incredible. 

I have been reading blogs from across the spectrum and what a delightful month this has been. I think of us writers as weavers who dig deep into the recesses of our minds and climb into pockets in our hearts to pull out the threads of vivid emotions and lace them with words. I'm amazed at how each of you are sustaining through this rigor and putting out such delightful reads. I have been blog-hopping just to experience the smorgasbord of ideas and their infinitude.   

Writing is a meditative process no less. One has to shut out the chaos (mostly within) and turn the volume down on all outer distractions for words to discover their way out of those creative veins. Writing also means a lot of groundwork, seeking beyond the obvious, dreaming up characters, sewing up plots, building narratives, tying up the loose ends and adroitly plating a kaleidoscope of perspectives.

More than the spoken, I have always been a fan of the written word. Little wonder then that I'm here writing. Written words are endowed with patience, a virtue otherwise in short supply. You are free to interpret them as you may and when you may or just move on. You could keep revisiting them and yet never outstay your welcome. They know no offence, don't come back to bite you, nor judge you for how you feel.  

To all you incredible wordsmiths out there, I find myself richer discovering you. More power to your pen. Happy writing!

Image by Monfocus from Pixabay




Thursday 25 April 2024

Vibe check done

 Rusha parked herself on a three-seater waiting chair with a book spread on her lap. Her suitcase occupied the remaining seats. It was her first time travelling alone and her senses were wide awake. At high noon, the railway platform wore a deserted look and Rusha could feel the throbbing silence. She had purposely turned up early to avoid any misadventure. 

Her parents had insisted on accompanying her to Delhi, where Rusha was to pursue higher studies. But the teen rebel in her firmly refused. So much so that she embarked on her solo trip right from home. At 18, she was confident she could do it alone. She had done a couple of train trips to Delhi with her parents and didn't think it was a big deal. Otherwise too, a family friend's son, who was also Rusha's school senior, was to board two stations later. 

The train was scheduled to arrive at 3pm and depart in half an hour.  As boarding time neared, footfall at the platform increased and the bustle grew. The train was on time and Rusha was glad there was no nasty surprise. She wheeled her suitcase, lifted it up the two steps and into the train, found her seat by the window and slowly settled down.     

A woman and her chirpy daughter occupied the opposite berth. Rusha set her book aside, pulled out a sandwich her mother had packed for her and took a few bites of it while looking out the window. The train had left the station and was just about picking up speed. Rusha's eyes drifted towards the little girl who was stealing glances at her. She smiled.

As the wheels chugged, Rusha's body set into a rhythm and her thoughts drifted to a point where it was all a blur. Her eyelids heavy, Rusha slowly placed her head against the window. A few hours later, she felt a gentle pat on her shoulder. Neev, her senior from school, stood there with his backpack strapped on his shoulders. 

Rusha took two seconds to gather herself. It was time for another vibe check. Just like she had done at the desolate station and on finding her co-travelers. Neev tried to study her expressions but felt lost. Seconds later, Rusha stood up, leaned forward and gave Neev a hug. "Always do the vibe check, my dear," her bestie had told her just the previous evening. "And veer with your vibe." Rusha smiled to herself and made space for Neev.         


Wednesday 24 April 2024

Undermining the present

Undermining the present - It's one of the most pronounced ironies of life. We either live in melancholic wistfulness for a past that is nothing but a chimera now, or our worry lines stretch thinking about a future that could literally end in the next few minutes. And still our thoughts gallop back and forth, but refuse to make a halt.

Between this surge of craving for the days behind and the ceaseless pursuit of that which is unknown, the present yelps for a chance to be acknowledged but finds us too occupied. To pause and relish the here and now is a rare gift, only those with heightened awareness get to experience.

To give an immediate example, I publish the day's A-Z post every night after putting the thought factory into an overdrive (on most days). But once the task is accomplished, I'm barely able to take a moment to sit back and feel good about the process and the outcome. The mind swiftly pivots to 'what tomorrow?' Some say that's how the human mind is wired, but isn't that weird? 

Come to think of it, every tomorrow is a today and yet today finds little currency. The mind loves to brood big and we tag along - physically present, mentally absent, like they say. Life often expires between how things could have been and how things should be. May be also the reason why happiness seems so elusive?

 (Your thoughts? And what do you do to stay anchored in the present?) 

Tuesday 23 April 2024

Tale of two tails

Brandy was a woolly tomcat, Coco an adorable furball. Size-wise the two were no match, but Coco was always up for a game with frowny, browny Brandy. It was the quintessential love-hate relationship and their little antics kept the Branson family in good humor. 

The two felines were brothers from different mothers, or so thought the Bransons. Coco loved to tinker with Brandy's bushy tail. It was a toy he fancied, one he thought played along, even if Brandy growled under his breath. Brandy had figured that Coco scampering around meant mischief in the making. So, he'd often curl his prized tail and neatly tuck it under his soft, cushy legs. 

Cats love belly rubs and both the members of the fur family got their staple every morning during breakfast, first from the daddy and then from the toddler twins. Coco being the junior one would be served both food and cuddles first. Brandy had to wait his turn. 

But here was the thing. Coco loved interrupting Brandy's two minutes of seventh heaven. Whenever Brandy would sprawl on the floor to savor his share of morning indulgence, Coco would crawl up from behind, set his impish eyes on his favourite 'thing' and start stomping all over it, flapping it right, flapping it left, at times trying to flip it even. Eyes clenched, softly mewing, Brandy mostly preferred to ignore but there would be days when Coco would get a good whacking - a flurry of sharp slaps to be precise.

And then came a day when it was Brandy's turn. The big brother caught Coco unawares, wedged between two cushions and heavily purring, oblivious to the happenings around. Unforgiving, Brandy climbed up the sofa and lodged himself right on top of the furball. The little fella squealed and squeaked from underneath. But it was revenge time. The toddler twins who were around playing saw Brandy but could hear Coco. And when they went up close, all they could see was Coco's puny tail frantically wagging from underneath Brandy's slouching tummy. Scores settled, once and for all!     

Image by Pexels from Pixabay