Saturday, April 30, 2011

On Zero

"Mamma, what's your favourite number?"
"Six", I nearly said automatically, then corrected myself. "Zero!"
"But Zero is not even a number."
"Of course it is- it is the most powerful number."
"But you can't count zero."
"So what? Zero can consume any number- if you multiply even the largest number by Zero, you get Zero. And if you divide even the smallest number by Zero, you get the biggest number ever. And, mathematics as you know it is there only because of Zero."

Six will always be my lucky number, but Zero is what has got us where we are.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Life was different when I signed up for the second session of "A to Z Blog Challenge". Throughout March, I was sure I would not be able to do it. But I am glad I did. It was fun coming up with a drabble a day, everyday (except Sundays).
Unfortunately, I haven't had time to visit any of your wonderful blogs, but I will come around sooner rather than later. Thank you!
Last year, it was Z for Zzzzzz

Friday, April 29, 2011

On Yoga

There was a time when I practiced yoga- not everyday, but at least a few days a week. Those were the days when I was overweight, but my body was flexible. I could do things I can't even dream of doing today, and I did them quite effortlessly. Then, one day, I stopped. And before I knew it no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't any longer touch my toes, much less do the more complicated stuff.

Sometimes, I wonder why and when I stopped. I wonder if I can now go back? And if I really want to
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Last year, it was Y for Youth

Thursday, April 28, 2011

On X

Years back, I attended a workshop I wasn't intending to attend, told a person I met that he had no idea what he was talking about, debated that for weeks, ended up becoming friends. Last year, he told my current boss I would be prefect for the job I am today deliriously happy with. It was just meant to be.

My life has been one chaotic mess of accidental events, all of which have eventually ended up enriching my life in ways I could never imagine.

In life, as in algebra, there is the 'x' which eventually balances every equation.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Last year, it was X for Unknown

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

On Woman

"Why do you give your husband your hard-earned money when you know he is only going to spend it on getting drunk?", said she to her maidservant. "It is all your fault. If you don't give him money, he can't get drunk, and he wouldn't then beat you."

The maidservant blocked out the entire conversation- there was nothing she hadn't heard from the lady of every house she had ever worked in. How would those high-born ladies ever understand that she would rather her drunk husband beat her, than a frustrated beast rape their daughter if she refused him money.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Last year, it was W for WiP

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

On (Global) Villages

The Global Village, they call it. Where technology makes it possible to communicate with a person half-way around the world as easily as with the person living across the street. Where Geography is History, and relationships are built around what you have in common, and not broken by what divides you. Where distances are reduced to wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, and a <3 gives you almost as much comfort as a real hug. Where friends are a keyboard away.

Professionally and personally, I cannot dream of a life outside the Global Village. How did people manage before the Internet?

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Last year, it was V for Variety

Monday, April 25, 2011

On Urgent

If you allow it, one word ends up ruling your life- Urgent.

Everything is urgent. The water in the pan is boiling, you need to throw in the vegetables. But the phone is ringing, and try as you will, it is hard to ignore it. The kids are fighting, and if you don't separate them NOW they are likely to get hurt. And a professional deadline threatens to engulf you.

When everything is urgent, it is impossible to prioritize. Experience has shown me that there is only one thing to do. Drop everything and savour a steaming cup of tea.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Last year, it was U for Universe.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Back in Time and Space

Your house is crying out for last spring's cleaning. There is dinner to cook, clothes to iron, toys to put away. There are people who take breaks on weekends- all you do is try to catch-up. The kids want you to play with them; you hate to say you do not have time. Even if a day can't have more hours, why can't a weekend have more days?

And when you are ready to drown, yoou  close your eyes, and breath deep the fragrance of a favourite flower. You are transported back in Time and Space. Life is Simple again.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

On Travelling

A friend's explanation for posting only eight photographs after a dream vacation was simple. "I like to experience a place completely", she said. "The moment I take my camera out, I lose that."
I am her polar opposite. Every picture takes me back in time. I can smell, hear and feel what I was experiencing at the moment when I took it.
Another friend is going all the way to Russia, and spending ten days exploring just two cities. She doesn't want to just do the sights- she wants to live them.
Isn't that the whole point of travelling? Experiencing!

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Last year, it was T for Test for Thyroid, Today

Friday, April 22, 2011

On Some Ses

[Tami, Mari, Tara and I decided to do it again. We each contributed an S-word (soup, slag, slug, sophisticated), and I threw in Leanne's 'shell' for good measure. Enjoy!!!]

"My shell, my shell", muttered the slug, as she skidded up the slag-heap. "Where could my shell have gone?"

"You and your shells", her sister sneered. "If you think wearing that shell makes you look like a sophisticated ingénue, you are mistaken. You just look like a stupid snail."

"That's not the point. If I really want a hat, I can use a soup-bowl", said the slug. "The point is that we had a lovely sandy beach here, which everyone loved. Did those humans have to destroy it all by putting up a smelter and pouring slag into the river?"

Happy Earth Day
Cherish Mother Earth- she is the only planet we have
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Last year, it was S for Save the World

Thursday, April 21, 2011

On Running

My favourite running route

Five years back, if anyone asked me to run 5 kilometers, I would have laughed out loud. Sports was something other people did, and I watched. Running included. A half marathon was an incomprehensible distance- a distance that one could walk in  a pinch, but never run. And yet today, I feel I am cheating myself if I do not register for a full marathon.

"The challenge in running is not to aim at doing the things no one else has done, but to keep doing things anyone could do but most never will."

Replace "running" with "living", if you like.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Last year, it was R for eRm, eRm, eRm, ...well, R for a lot of things

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

On Questions

"Where does the President of America live?"

"What is the name name of Phantom's house?"

"Who is stronger Ironman or He-man?"

"Is Batman stronger, or Spiderman?"

"How many colours are there on Spiderman?"

"What is in the corner of the Australian flag?"

"What does koala eat?"

"If the panda is very hungry and there is no bamboo, what will it eat?"

"Why do you water your plants every day?"

"Can I pluck this flower?"

"Why do girls have ponytails?"

"Which guy cricketer wears a earring?"

"Can I wear your earring, please?"

"Why aren't you wearing a necklace like Rahul's mom?"
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Last year, it was Q for Queue

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

On Pigeons

I like pigeons, as long as they are in Trafalgar Square or the Gateway of India. I do not like them pecking new shoots from my plants, and I definitely do not like them flying into my bedroom, and trying it make a nest on top of the cupboard. But a fresh-air fiend like me, couldn't keep all the windows closed all the time, either.

Finally, I gave up the fight, and let the pigeon lay its eggs outside my bedroom window. I am not too happy about it. But at least the kids have something to keep them occupied.
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Last year, it was P for Passion, and Pharohs

Monday, April 18, 2011

On Ottomans, orgasms, orange and ostriches

[I had a very different O post ready, but made the mistake of visiting Tami, Mari and Tara. And those wonderful friends of mine managed to suck me into their Burrow. You girls owe me one for this !!!]

"Off with his head!!!!"
"Who's?", I asked innocently.
"Carry out my orders or I'll have the Ottoman chop your head off too." The Red Queen was working herself into an orgasm, and I loved it.
"You mean his?", I asked helpfully, pointing to the King of Hearts. "Your Majesty, if you do that, the King of Clubs will become the King, and you will no longer be queen."
"Not his", she yelled. "You know I meant that orange ostrich that dared move it's head when I tried to strike."
I released the flamingo, and let it peck off her nose.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Last year,  it was O for Orange Belt

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Clitoria ?

Clitoria ternatea
A prepubescent girl raped to punish her family for allowing their cattle to gaze on another's land.
A candidate running for office gang raped by supporters of her political opponent.
A sister going to gather firewood, knowing she will be raped by soldiers- better that than her brother being killed.
A lawyer raped them accused of being delusional and imagining the whole incident.

It is only Women who can create new life. Only Women who can nurture. Only Woman who can give Birth.

Without Women, men would not even exist. Why then should the act that creates become a punishment?

Catch this drabble, and many more in the April Feature of the Burrow.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

On Nature

With a population of 21 million people, and a population density of over sixty-four thousand people per square miles, Bombay is one city which needs all the green spaces that it has. Aarey Milk Colony is one of those places. We complain about the badly maintained roads and the lack of drinking water sources, but it is an untamed patch of green that we can enjoy.

But, even that is now being parceled out for "development". Soon housing colonies and commercially developed "picnic spots" will claim the place we go to for our weekly runs.

Why can't we respect Nature?
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Last year, it was N for Networking

Friday, April 15, 2011

On Me and the Middle Ages

As I approach the "dreaded" Four Oh, I can't help but reflect on the last four decades of my life. When I stand aside and look at snapshots of me taken at five year intervals, I am struck by two things. At no stage could I have ever predicted who I would become in the next five years. And at every stage I was happy being who I was.

Which only means I was born under a lucky star. Lucky for leading an interesting and enriching life. But more importantly, lucky because I have it in me to be happy.


I am also doing a three-way with the Awesome Deb and Barbara at The Middle Ages. If Middle Age means growing to be like them, I can't wait!!!

Last year, it was M for Mummies, ... and Money

Thursday, April 14, 2011

On Light

Without it, our day would have much fewer hours,
Less time to work, and play. More time to sleep.

Dinner would be a constant surprise,
A concoction of unexpected ingredients.

Whatever we wish to do, we would have to do before sunset
And have no time for anything more.

We wouldn't be able to take a book to bed,
Nor knit that last line in a sock.

Everyday, we would have to wind down before dark,
Star gazing would be our only nocturnal passtime.

Of the many things we take for granted,
One of the least visible, strangely, is Light!

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Last year, it was L for Lost in London

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

On Killing

In India today, there are nine hundred and fourteen girls under the age of six to every thousand boys. That's nearly seventy girls disappearing every HOUR.

Fetuses aborted for being female. Girl babies abandoned at birth. Girl children left to fall prey to common childhood illnesses. All because society considers daughters of less value than sons.

Forty years back, India was one of the first countries to elect a woman as the Prime Minister. Indian women are heading banks, and manufacturing companies. They are sitting on the bench in the highest courts.

Yet the gender balance continues to worsen. Why?
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Last year, it was K for Kicking a Ball

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

On Jasmine

One minute, I was walking in a crowded Bombay market dodging shoppers with bursting bags, trying to avoid stepping onto banana peels or into potholes. The next minute, I was an eight year old running barefoot on a springy lawn, chasing dragonflies, plucking flowers.

I savoured the moment; gulped in the fresh, fragrant air. Only then did I wonder how I got there.

The answer was one I knew- the flower seller had done it to me.

Isn't it strange how scents have the ability to take you back in time and space? Jasmine flowers always do that for me.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Last year, it was J for Journey

Monday, April 11, 2011

On Immunizations

A community health worker came home the other day to administer polio drops to my kid.

"I got him immunized at the health-care centre on Sunday", I told her.
"Thank you!", she said sincerely.
"What for? He's my child. Why should you thank me?"
"Because so few people do. And even when we go to their house, they ask us to come back later."
"That's ridiculous!"
"You know, the problem is that we give these drops for free. If we charge for it, people will queue up for them."

She'd nailed it. Why can't people value things that are free?
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Last year, it was I for India, and for Interview

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sibling Love

"Sibling Love"
[This is a work of fiction.]

"How dare you disgrace the family name", Father thundered.
My sister refused to budge. She stalked out home. My father cut her face out of the family portrait.

I became the Golden Girl. Away from her shadow, I bloomed. Did all the things that made my family proud. And a bit more.
I had everything. But a void remained.

Years after becoming India's most loved actress, she chose to return home. The Family welcomed her back.
I am no longer the favourite daughter.

I am slightly jealous, but nobody can be happier for her than me. Her beloved younger sister.

Catch this drabble, and many more in the April Feature of the Burrow.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

On Home

I look around me and what I see is almost depressing. A sofa with its upholstery spilling out; a victim of the trampoline practice of my kids. Walls covered with scribbles of every color, form and size. Paintings lovingly collected over the years groaning under an inch of dust. Piles of books and puzzles on every available surface threatening to fall over any moment. School-bags and laptop-cases strewn all over, every chair booby trapped with Alien monsters.

I should be depressed, but I am not. This is Home, and it is those who I love that have made it so.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Last year, it was H for Hitler.

Friday, April 8, 2011

On Girls

She can't even sign her name, but is determined to give her daughter an education. Her husband doles out little more than physical abuse, but skimps to buy school supplies for her daughter. She sews together unused paper from her son's notebooks to make books for her daughter. She skips meals, so her daughter can eat.

She wants a better life for her daughter than she had. And she knows education is the only way to ensure it.

Her daughter knows it too. Which is why she wakes up before sunrise to finish all her chores before heading to school.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Last year, it was G is for Glamour.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

On Food

"If there are so many starving kids, give this to them", said my son pushing his plate away.

"Let him be", advised the father. "What are you trying to prove?"

Yes indeed. What was I trying to prove? How will my kids clearing their plates make any difference to a starving child?

Actually it would. If we don't waste food, we consume fewer resources. Lower demand pushes down prices, making food marginally more affordable to people living at the edge of starvation.

Or you could order one pizza less and use the money to feed a child for a month.
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

And here is the story of a girl who's meals I sponsored for a month for the cost of a pizza.

Last years' post - F is for Fighting Fat and Fitness

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

On English

"Mamma, Sunaina said me....", my seven year old began.

"told me", I corrected automatically.
"Mamma, Sunaina told me....", he continued without missing a beat.

"Look, Mamma, her tummy is showing off", giggled the five year old.
"Not showing off, baby", I corrected. "Showing."

"Because..." I paused. How exactly do you explain the difference between 'showing' and 'showing off'? Specially since the starlet in question was not showing her belly as much as she was showing it off.

Got me thinking about spoken English. When the language has been evolving continuously, why do we insist colloquial English is not right?
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Last year's E for Education.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

On Dung

Why should a third of the patients at a rural healthcare clinic be suffering from asthma, I wondered. There were no polluting industries in the vicinity of the village. The air was so fresh, it should have been curing respiratory diseases: how then was it causing it?

I had the answer when I entered the first hut. It was so full of arid smoke that my eyes welled up with tears, and I had to run out of the room.

Too poor to afford fuel, the people burn cowdung cakes in their stoves. Poverty was the Cause, not the Air.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Doesn't the scene look idyllic?

From last year: D for Daddy's Darling Daughter

Monday, April 4, 2011

On Clothes

"Excuse me, can you tell me where the bus stop is?", asked a cultured voice in English.

As I gave her directions, I marveled at her command over the language. I know it is no big deal to speak idiomatically correct English, but you don't normally expect it from a lady clad in a burqua.

A burqua brands you not just as Islamic, but as one hailing from a family with conventional values. And such families do not normally educate their girls. And yet, well-educated she definitely was.

Serves me right for make snap judgements based on a person's clothes.
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Last year's post - C for Chocolate.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Who Really Won?

Compulsive Communication!
India played Sri Lanka in the Finals of the Cricket World Cup yesterday. Even before the match started, the facebook updates began.

"India Wins the Toss"
"Dhoni elects to Bat"
"Retoss :-("
"Already started cheating"
"Sri Lanka go home"
Once the match began, it was virtually a ball-by-ball commentary. Facts stated with an economy of words. No opinions, no analysis. Unless you call, "God must be Indian", after a close call an opinion.

To what purpose, I do not know. Would anyone be following a match on Facebook? They did, because they could.

India won. As did the telecom companies.
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

On Bucket-lists

I really must put this on my list of places to visit, I told my Mom after she sent me photographs of tulip fields in bloom. Like many others, I have a list of things to do... someday. Things that are doable, only not now.

But completing a full marathon was never on the list, because till I started running, even 10k seemed impossible.
Sitting in an un-electrified hut, eating freshly harvested peanuts and gossiping with villagers was never on it, because who even thought about such things?

Bucket-lists are great. But it's better still to let Life surprise you.
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Last year's B post - B for Burrow.

Friday, April 1, 2011

On Arithmetic

December 2010

"If you have three apples, and your brother has four, how many apples do you have altogether?"
Long silence, then a tentative, "Is it a multiplication problem?"

I was devastated when I discovered that my second grader couldn't even do basic arithmetic. How would he survive without being able to add and subtract? We started with the basics- 2+2=4!

March 2011
"This box has ten chocolates. How many will we get if we share equally?"
"We will get three chocolates, and there will be one left over for Papa."
Once you get the basics right, isn't everything fun?
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Anybody who has been following my blog would know that the only way I can find time for all the things I need to do, would be for the day to have more hours. Blogging is the one of the things that I am contemplating dropping till I can get my life back on track.
But I do have fond memories of last year's A to Z Challenge, and since I've already signed up for this year's edition, I am going to play along as long as I can, and drop out when it gets too difficult.
And here's last year's post - A for April
Happy reading! Cheers.


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