Tuesday, May 31, 2011

True Grit

The Comrades Marathon. Fifty-two miles, twelve hours. Four cut-off points to be reached by a fixed time.
Last year, Amit and Neepa became the first couple from India to finish. This year Amit discharged himself from hospital to get to the Start Line. They ran side-by-side for over half the distance, till Amit's body gave way. Neepa reluctantly left her husband behind, and started eating the miles. She overtook men and women alike, and with her trademark grace, finished with less than four minutes to spare.
Joy at finishing the Ultimate Race. Sorrow at having to do it alone. Salute!!!
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Last year, I ran with Neepa once on a training run. A more humble and graceful person I am yet to meet. Will cherish the memory forever.

Monday, May 30, 2011


"Look, a ghost", trilled my five-year old.
"Ghosts don't exist", declared his grandmother.
"Of course they do. I can see them. Look", said my son pointing at the wall.
"What nonsense. I don't believe in ghosts."
"Of course there are ghosts. My ghost goes with me everywhere. He's a friendly ghost."
They argued back and forth, till my son declared, "But Mamma told me ghosts exist."

My mother's eyes turned towards me for confirmation- how could me the skeptic have told my son about ghosts?
"He calls Shadows, ghosts", I finally admitted. After all, what difference does the nomenclature make?
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Very Van Gogh

[This is one of the first drabbles I wrote, and it was a part of the Cardiff Project of the Burrow.]

“Very Van Gogh”, John Wilson
 I could paint like that when I was a child — carefree strokes, bright colours, passion oozing out of every pore. Some of my lines went beyond the outlines, all the area was not always coloured, but you could tell how I felt from my paintings.
Then I got an Education. I was taught to see things the way the books said they should be seen. I learnt proportions and compositions. Was trained to reproduce lines, to break an image down.
Now they tell me I have to unlearn it all if I want to become great. Great like Van Gogh.
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Manolo Blahniks in a tomato field

Tomato is a water intensive crop. You would not expect to see acres of tomato fields in an area which till a few years back faced droughts every year. And yet, that is exactly what you do see.
Why tomato and no other crop, you ask the villagers.
"All those years when we didn't have water to drink, we dreamt of growing tomatos. Now that we get water in our wells, we are living out our dreams", was the answer.
Who knew calling yourself a tomato farmer was as aspirational as owning a pair of Manolo Blahniks? But it is.
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.
This an other cool Water Facts at Burrowers, Books & Balderdash

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Victory, but still not enough...

Today I placed an order at a fast-food outlet, and when after 25 minutes the order hadn't been filled, investigated and found my tray being given to someone else. I protested, and was rudely told to wait. "I've been waiting 25 minutes", I said, "and you give my tray to someone who just came."

Had he apologised, I would have dropped it, but with a smirk, he told me I would just have to wait. I just lost it, and created a scene. Ultimately, I got a full refund and a complimentary meal, but the victory wasn't one I savoured.
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Water Facts

There will be more wars fought over water than there have ever been fought over oil, you are often told. I am not sure I agree.
Oil is a luxury that is available and affordable but to a few. No matter what people may believe, we can live without oil.

But Water? Water is a necessity without which neither man nor beast can survive. When we start to run out of water, we start running out of life.

Water Wars, if they come, will make the oil wars look like mere skirmishes. Conserve Water today, so that Day never comes.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

I am also over at Burrowers, Books & Balderdash, delusioning about water facts.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spam in the middle of Nowhere

I was in the middle of nowhere, or so I thought. A hamlet high up on a hill. A place without water and electricity. A place where the only mode of transportation was two feet. A place without a primary health-care centre, or a store. A place not on the map. A place so beyond civilization, your mobile lost connectivity long before reaching there.
There, a beep was heard over the roar of the wind. My mobile managed to pull through a message. "Flat 15% off on all books till May 31", it read. Are we safe from spam anywhere?
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Life without essential mod-cons

My kitchen is full of amenities that I take for granted- microwave, grinder, refrigerator, freezer, gas stove, water filter, electric cooker. Things that work on electricity, gas and other utilities that I enjoy without interruption. When I turn a tap, I get water. My water purifier is connected to the mains so drinking water is at the touch of a button.
And yet all I can say, most euphemistically, is that I do not particularly enjoy cooking. How then do women who have to collect firewood from the forest, and walk miles for their water manage to feed huge families?
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Man and Beast

"When I came to fill water yesterday, I saw a tiger drinking at the pool", said the resident of a remote hamlet.
"And what did you do?"
"I waited for the tiger to finish, and then filled my pots."
"And what if the tiger came when you were here?"
"That happens also", she said with a smile. "If I am filling water, the tiger waits for me to finish, and then comes to the pool to drink water."

If man and animal can co-exist so well in the wild, why can't man get along with other men in the cities?

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

In the height of an Indian Summer

For two days I heard all about watershed management. Got fluent with terms like contour bunding, gully plugs, trenching, check dams and recharging of the water table. Saw signs of emerging prosperity in villages that had been drought prone. Spoke to villagers who were starting to be hopeful of the future. Saw fields of cash crops and ponds full of water.

But it was only at the end of the trip when, in the height of an Indian summer, I rested against a tree and felt the cool breeze ruffling my hair that I finally realized what it all meant.
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The lady at the door

She stands at the doorway, chin resting on her palm, the sun painting patterns of light on her lithe frame. The pose she strikes is one of her own choosing- she is aware of being observed, but doesn't react in anyway. She could be a photograph on a calendar, or a watercolour hanging on a living room wall; but she is neither, she is a living, breathing person. A mother, a wife, a daughter, a labourer. Her trials and her triumphs are etched on every line on her face.

I wonder what she makes of the camera trained on her?
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Laugh at yourself

"I save a fortune on shoes", I told someone who was pulling my leg, "because my foot fits so neatly into my mouth."

We both had a good laugh and forgot all about it. But another friend, who overheard the conversation, was quite upset with the whole incident. How dare I be ragged for something that was not even my fault, she ranted, and till better sense prevailed, I almost agreed.

Why can't people learn to laugh at themselves? And laugh with others when they are doing the same? Wouldn't the world be a much better place if they did?
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Adenium obesum - the cycle of life

The first year my Adenium shed all its leaves after a season of blooms, I nearly wept in despair. Bucket-loads of tender loving care revived the plant, and I got another season of blooms. Pests attacked the plant next; with a heavy heart, I had to prune away almost all the branches. The following year, the flowers were back, though diminished in quantity.

This year, I knew just what to expect. When the plant shed all its leaves, I gave it plenty of sunlight and water, but didn't shed any tears. Now, the branches are groaning with bright pink blooms.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Stories of Hope

In remote villages in Kenya, where administrative costs make it infeasible to offer insurance against crop failure and the cost of verifying a claim are prohibitive, determined people still solutions using available technology.

Stores selling seeds take cell phone photographs to confirm purchases and details of insurance purchase are sent as text messages. Insurers use data from weather stations to determine conditions leading to crop failure, and insurance benefits are paid out without detailed paper applications having to be made.
There is no limit to human ingenuity. And it always wonderful to see people seeking solutions, instead of creating problems.
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Wisdom of Whores

Sometimes you come across a voice that cuts through the nonsense and tells it as it is. A voice that is not afraid to tell you that the UN spent $ 250 million on AIDS prevention in 1995, and private users spent $ 2 billion on botox injections ten years later. A voice that questions a much admired public figure for declaring that he intends wiping out polio in less time that it took his company to wipe out its nearest competitor. A voice that challenges with humour.

I just started reading Elizabeth Pisani's "The Wisdom of Whores", and I am already addicted.
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sleep, deep sleep

So many of us think sleep is almost dispensable. So many of us think that being able to get by with little sleep is a badge of toughness.

I know people who compromise on sleep so they get their daily workouts- till very recently, I was one of that tribe too. I know people who have almost trained their body to believe it needs less sleep than it does.

And yet, the body needs rest. It needs sleep; uninterrupted, quality sleep. Compromise on your passion, but don't cut back on sleep. Someone I know recently died of lack of sleep.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Prematurely mature

"You are distorting my sense of age", my twenty-five year old colleague complained, when I informed her that a person she thought of as "old" was just a couple of years older than I was.
"She's just prematurely mature", I replied. Perception of age has nothing to do with either maturity or genetics- the lady we were talking about chooses to act her age, just as I choose to keep the child in me alive.
Don't know which is right and wrong; or even if there is a right and wrong. I just know that I am happy being me.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


We all dream of leaving behind
Footprints on the sands of time.
Of being remembered long after we are gone
As someone quite Unforgettable-
Noble, generous good and kind.

But when you actually run along the shore,
You find you leave behind you a lonely trail
Which lasts till the next wave comes along
and neatly washes it away
leaving behind, again, a pristine beach.

When my time comes to go,
All I want is to be remembered
By those who I really care about
As someone who briefly touched their lives
And left it no worse off than before.
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Searing heat

April and May are the hottest months in the city. But every couple of evenings there would be cyclonic showers that would bring the temperature down. Two years back, we waited for the showers, and waited, and waited... till the wait turned to three months, and the monsoons arrived.

Last year, we still hoped for the showers, but though there were many false alarms, not a drop of water fell from the sky till the monsoons arrived in June.

This year, we didn't even expect the cyclonic rain. How quickly we adapt to change. How easily we destroy the planet.
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


How easy it is to break, how difficult it is to mend.

How easy it is to judge, how difficult to understand why.

People are complicated. Relationships are fragile.

You lash out without meaning to. Then kick yourself, but chose not to say 'Sorry'.

You find yourself on the firing line of another's outburst.
You understand why things happened, but the other person pretends all is fine.

Sometimes you do not want to have to deal with other people's emotions. Sometimes you wish you did not care. But would life not be a little less enriching if it were easier?
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

The Springs that are Yours

Four weeks back, a pigeon laid her eggs outside my bedroom. A week later, the eggs hatched. I watched those ugly yellow chicks grow into handsome pigeons. Now they are ready to fly away, and will do so soon. I am looking forward to getting my window back; I will not be sad to see them go.

I still don't like pigeons. But I am glad to have been a part of their life.

"For every person who has ever lived there has come, at last, a spring he will never see. Glory then in the springs that are yours."
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Jane Kennedy Sutton

Jane Kennedy Sutton was one of my first blogger friends. She was a published author and had seen more of the world than I could ever dream of, but she never made me feel like the newbie that I was.

Only once did she mention that she was battling lung cancer. But her posts and comments continued to be full of life. Last Friday, Jane lost her Battle.

We never met, nor hoped to. Her leaving has left an emptiness the equal of what any 'real' friend would have. Despite the pain, I am glad I got to know Jane.

Jane Kennedy Sutton
January 15, 1949 to May 6, 2011
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Best Mother

She didn't just give birth to me, she made me the person I am.

When I was upset, she let me cry. But after the tears dried, she always told me if I was wrong.
She taught me to stand up for what was Right. And not care too much for what other people thought and said.

Like my Mother, I am opinionated and outspoken. Which is why we always seem to disagree, even though we are more alike than either would want to admit.

My kids are lucky, if I can be half the Mother that my Mother was.
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Mother's Day has never been about me. It has been a day for the kids who made me a Mother, and for the Mother who made me who I am. And I am glad I am with all three of them today.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

150 years ago, today...

Half a lifetime ago, I actually learnt a new language so I could read his works in the original- even though I never got fluent enough to actually do so.

He's probably the only poet in the world who penned verses that later became the national anthems of two separate countries. He's definitely the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. He composed over two thousand songs, and created an entire genre of light classical music. And he founded India's first University devoted to the Fine Arts.

One hundred and fifty years ago, today, Rabindranath Tagore was born.
Rabindranath Tagore
May 7, 1861 - August 7, 1941

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Friday, May 6, 2011

As Her Due....

She strode into the plane. Took her middle seat. Claimed both armrests for herself. She shoved her backpack under my seat. She stretched her legs, accidentally kicking the feet of the man on the aisle seat. She was one of those obnoxious traveling companion who one wishes wouldn't occupy the adjoining seat.

The red-eye flight was two hours late. She was expecting to be met, but wasn't. I saw her trying desperately to hail a cab. Her destination was the same as mine. I could have given her a lift. But didn't.

She would have taken that as her due!
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

That which you take for granted

I lived in Delhi three years, and the only times I went to the park were to see the winter flowers. The only running I ever did there was to run after my then three-year old. It wasn't a place I particularly liked, and I never thought that feeling would change.

But now that I have moved away, and discovered running, one of the few things that I look forward to when I have to visit the city is the jogging track in the park. Sometimes, you have to move away and evolve to appreciate things that were always there.
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Three Cups of Disappointment

Combat terrorism by educating girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The idea behind Greg Mortenson's "Three Cups of Tea" is so simple and so powerful that it is hard not to be impressed by it. And I was.

So when I read about how many of the schools they have funded are non-operational, I put it down to the naivety of foreigners who implicitly assume that dollars translate into projects.

And then I heard about the misappropriation of funds. Of the creative accounting. Of how expenses relating to book-promotion were written-off as program costs.

I was heartbroken. Can't you trust anyone?
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What is meant to be, will be

"It is strange how we became friends", a running pal commented.
"When things are meant to be, I guess they do happen", I replied.
We chatted about it for awhile. "As a scientist, I can't make sense of how things happen", she mused. "They defy all laws of science as we know it."
"I don't even think about it", I told her. "When things are supposed to happen they do. We don't understand it today, but a century later, it may be mainstream science."

It is not fatalistic to think that what it meant to be will be- that's reality.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Monday, May 2, 2011

On A-to-Z Roundup

Two years back I signed up for my first marathon thinking six months was enough to make myself ready. I fell ill, needed surgery and was off training for three months. I was in bad shape at the start, but lined up intending to run as much as I could. Once I started, there was no question of not finishing, and I did. My first full-marathon was transformational.

The A-to-Z Challenge was no different. I was intending to take a blog-break, but decided to go with the flow as long as I could. Twenty-six drabbles later, I am still alive!
for dropping by and commenting- I will
visit all your blogs, someday soon!!!
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

And for completing the A-to-Z Challenge, Elizabeth Mueller awarded me this awesome badge. Thank you, Elizabeth. I shall wear it with pride.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

One Year

It is when I look at my kids through their grandmother's eyes, is when I realize how much they have grown in the past year. Not just in height, but in skills, maturity, and sheer grown-upness. The younger one is doing now what the older one was doing a year back. And the older one has picked up things nobody ever suspected he would. They have both come into their own, and established themselves as individuals.
But, one year is a long time. Specially considering that birds evolve from egg to (nearly) full-grown bird in just slightly over a week.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.


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