Thursday, September 30, 2010

Victims of Silence

A couple of days back, Tabitha Bird wrote this post - This is Why I Write. I cannot even start to comprehend what she had gone through in her life, and it must have taken her enormous courage to put her story up on a public forum. I want you to read what she wrote- reading it will only take a few minutes, but it is unlikely ever to leave you.

And on the same note, here is something I witnessed a few months back, and which I have put down in words only today. Silence is not always the option. Sometimes, we have to speak up, sometimes we have to interfere.

Rush hour. One woman decided another had invaded her personal space. She picked up an argument.
"How dare you kick me?"
"I didn't. You stepped on my toes, I pushed your feet away."
People watched, fascinated.

"God will punish you."
"If your god has nothing better to do, let him."
"How dare you!" 

Her station arrived. She slapped the other woman on the face, and got off.

Helpless, the other woman burst into tears. Everyone rushed to comfort her. Told her they were on her side.

She cried even more. Not for herself but for the other victims of silence.
And I do know that for a fact, because that woman was Me.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Banning gets you nowhere

[I tried writing a post for Banned Books Week, but found I had nothing to say that hadn't already been said by dozens of people. 
Hence, this drabble that says it all, without saying anything.]

"Anita has a ponytail so she is a girl."
"No Teacher, you are wrong. Anita is a girl because she doesn't have a [soosoo]*. And because she is a girl, she has a ponytail." Not yet four, my son held his guns.

"You really shouldn't teach your son all this stuff", the teacher told me. "He's too young for it."
"I can't lie if he asks me a direct question."
"But it is wrong."
"It is factually accurate. And he is too young to give it any of the connotations we give it."

Evasion gets you nowhere, neither does banning.

* insert own word for the organ here
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

And just in case there is still any ambiguity in where I stand on the issue, I firmly believe that nobody has the right to dictate what anyone else reads. A book can come with a warning/ rating, but ultimately it is upto the person to decide whether they want to read a book or not.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why Bother?

December 1989. Ayodhya, India.
Hindu fundamentalists, armed only with pickaxes and brute strength, brought down the triple domes of the Babri Masjid. A mosque where prayers hadn't been said for decades. A mosque allegedly built at the precise spot where Lord Rama was born,  though there is no evidence he even existed. Weeks of communal frenzy, fueled by Fundamentalists seeking political gains.

Twenty-one years later.
The politicians have held high office and retired. The nation has moved on and forgotten.
The court is finally giving its verdict. Violence is expected. Why bother, when the guilty aren't going to be punished?

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

And because I need a bit of cheering up after a couple of weeks of news that has left me feeling angry and helpless, I am passing on a fun Award I received from Leigh today- the "Strangely Irresistable" Award (a.k.a. the Yo Gabba Gabba Award). Now, Leigh is a person with whom I felt this strange connect the moment I met her (maybe something to do with the fact that we were born on the same day, in different parts of the globe), and in the three months I have known her, I have only grown to love her more. You have only to check out her blog, That's Write, to know why.
I am passing this Award to three people who I think are Strangely Irresistible (not so strangely, actually- they are irresistible, because they are so great) -
Kitty Howard @ The Block
Pamela Jo @ There's Just Life
Holly Ruggiero @ Scribbles and Splashes

Ladies, if I know Leigh, she would have jinxed the Award so it implodes if hoarded for too long. I implore you to pass it onto three (or more) simply irresistible people as soon as you can.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Piece of Cake

The other day, someone was talking about a friend who made the most amazing baked desserts ever. While she was getting orgasmic about the brownies and the white-forest cake, I nearly mentioned someone I knew who was an equally good baker. Luckily, I caught myself just in time, because strictly speaking I don't know the person. She is a character from Hart Johnson's WiP, but I do know her better than several people I am friends with on Facebook.
"The secret to a compelling character is that they live on after you finish reading the book", someone said. I agree.
A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

That Delightful Child

He was not scared of failure, so failure never touched him. When he fell down, he cried. But he always got up and tried again. And got it right on the seventh try.
He was full of questions; always seeking to find connections in the world. Everything was new and exciting- cynicism was a word he did not know.
In his world, clouds were made of candy floss, and lions gamboled with rabbits. Nobody hurt another, except in self-defense.

He was a delightful child. I miss him still. When and why did I lose touch with the child I was?

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

"Happy Birthday"

Michele Emrath's blog Southern City Mysteries completes a year on September 24, 2010, and she's running the Happy Birthday Blogfest to celebrate. To participate, all you have to do is write something that includes a reference to a birthday, a setting of a birthday, or a scene that revolves around a present or upcoming or past birthday. Here's my entry.

New job, new city, no friends. It was her birthday, and except her parents who called in the morning, not a single person even wished her. This was her dream job. She knew she would eventually settle down. But right now, all she wanted to do was weep.
"How about a quick drink?", her boss asked. She almost refused, but didn't want to spend the evening in her empty flat.
She spied familiar faces in the pub- was this where the office hung out?
"Happy Birthday!", they chorused, raising their beer mugs to her. Who said she didn't have friends?

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Blogfest: How to write compelling characters

[ Elana JohnsonJennifer Daiker, and Alex J Cavanaugh came up with  what they call "The Great Blogging Experiment". Nearly 200 bloggers writing about what goes into Writing a Compelling Character. I could have written a tome, but decided to restrict  my entry to exactly 100 words.]

"I know you wrote that I could do nothing to my hair. You did, didn't you? Let me tell you I can do something to my hair. I can get a crewcut. What do you say to that?"
"If you make me a single mother with a boss from hell, a hormonal second grader and a Know-it-all mother, how do you expect me to survive without any vices? I don't care if passive smoking is bad for my child, I am going to start smoking."

The secret to writing compelling characters? Just let them decide how they want to be.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Today, I am also at  Burrowers, Books & Balderdash with a Motivational Friday post that talks of getting the Fun back into our Life and our Writing.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Nation hangs its head in Shame

India has been talking about hosting the Commonwealth Games for years. Unfortunately, all we did was talk.

Basic infrastructure was missing, the stadiums needed upgradation. "Don't worry, it will be ready on time", we were told. We believed them, because we wanted to.

The media broke stories about the money siphoned off, about toilet rolls being purchased for $200 a roll. After making appropriate noises of protest, we chose to ignore the scam- corruption is a way of life.

The first teams to arrive refused to move into the athlete's village. "Indians have different standards of hygiene"- the official excuse made the nation cringe.

Days before the start of the Games, a newly-erected footbridge collapsed. "It was not meant for the athletes, only for spectators", the Chief Minister said. In a nation of a billion people, a few are expendable.

A ceiling over a stadium caved in. There is talk of cancelling the Games. I hope they do. Because if they don't, India will sweep all the medals- there will be no competition.

A nation hangs its head in shame. If these are the people we elect into office, do we have the right to expect any different?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ganpathi Visarjan*

Bidding goodbye is never easy. Specially if the departing guest is Ganpathi, the roly-poly Elephant-headed God.

In hired trucks or cradled in arms, the idol is taken in joyous processions to the sea for immersion. There is music and dancing. Bright sarees and fashionable clothes. An old woman shows the younger ones how to shake a leg. The young lovers surreptitiously exchange smiles.

But beneath the smiles, there are tears. After being a part of their lives for ten long days, Ganapathi is going back home.

"Ganpathi Bappa Morya. Pudhchya Warshi Luakar Ya. Oh Lord Ganpathi, come again speedily next year."

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

*Visarjan - ceremonially immersing the idol in a river or the sea, symbolising the ritual see-off of the Lord towards his heavenly abode. More Visarjan photographs here.

And October is NaBloWriMo- the National Blog Writers' Month. If you are willing to commit to one post a day, everyday, during the month of October, what are you waiting for? Hop across to NaBloWriMo and follow the directions to sign up for the coolest thing in blogdom.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Simplest Logic

"I don't think I want to be a pilot", my older one said. "Flying a plane is very boring. I want to be a scientist."
"Mamma, can he be a scientist?", the younger one asked.
"He can be anything he wants to be", I said. Then added, "But to be a scientist, you need to be really good at Maths."
"I don't like Maths", he replied. "But I want to be a scientist, because scientists are really cool. So, I will be a scientist without Maths."
"If you wish."

Oh to be seven and have the world at your command.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Monday, September 20, 2010

One Scared Mamma

When it was time to fetch the kids, I couldn't find them anywhere. With mounting panic, I ran around, calling out their names. I found them on the tenth floor. 
"What are you doing here? You know you are not allowed", I sobbed, collapsing in relief.
"But Mamma, Little Anita is scared of cats, and there are cats on the stairs. So we left her home."
"Just because you are doing good, doesn't mean it is okay to disobey your mother", I yelled.

I know I should be proud of them, but right then, I was just one scared Mamma.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Jayne @ A Novice Novelist passed on the Versatile Blogger Award to me. Since I have already received the Award, I will thank her for it, and place it on my shelf. Thank you, Jayne- I treasure this Award. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Plants for Brown Thumbs

[This is a work of fiction, but could describe any number of people I know.]

My sister has green fingers; I have a brown thumb. She has only to look at a seed for it to germinate; I once managed to kill a cactus left in my care. She buys me the hardiest plants, tells me how much I should water them and how often I should put them out in the sun. I follow her instructions to the letter, but nothing can stop the inevitable. I could never tell who was more distressed by it- my sister or me.

The other day, we discovered artificial plants. Now I too can surround myself with greenery.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


When you remember laughing, but just can't remember what made you laugh.
When you know you chatted non stop, but have no idea about what.
When you know you passed opinions, but are not sure which was who's.
When you revel in your differences, because of how similar you are.
When you don't discuss the things that bug you, because there is no reason to.
When you remember how happy everyone looked, but not what they wore.
When you had a great time, and can't wait for the next,
You know the people you had lunch with are real friends.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Flickering Images

The most luxurious hotel in the city. The place where you took your girl if you really wanted to impress her- a coffee there would cost more than a dinner at a decent restaurant, but would be ten times as magical.

What were terrorists doing stomping along those elegant corridors? Did they even know that along with all the people they had cowering in the rooms, they were also holding our memories hostage? Is there no place where we can be safe?

I stood frozen in front of the flickering images on my TV. Terrorists had claimed my world. Again.
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

This is an entry for Jenny Marlock's Saturday Centus # 19. The post is in remembrance of 9/11, but I have chosen to write about an act of terrorism that took place in another city, several years after the attack on the World Trade Centre. Terrorism is the same everywhere- it leaves numbness in its wake.

The photograph shows the iconic Taj Mahal Hotel under attack. The photograph was NOT taken by me, though it was one of the flickering images I watched almost obsessively on my TV.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Too much food

My son's school had asked me to send idlis for six children. I got up really early, so I could make enough idlis for six very hungry kids- you don't want food to run out, do you? Almost all of it came back, uneaten.
A bit of questioning, and the story emerged. Each of the 25 children had been asked to get food for six children each- there had just been too much food!

They do this every year. Couldn't their instructions have been more precise? And instead of sending it back, why didn't they just donate the extra food?
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dame Christie

The first Agatha Christie book I ever read was the last of her books to be published- Sleeping Murder. I have no idea when I read it, but I do know for a fact that I read it long before I even knew the name Agatha Christie. And the only reason I know I read the book is because when I read it for the 'first time', I kept experiencing a sense of deja vous not unlike those experienced by Gwenda throughout the book. If I hadn't read the book before, I would have had to have written it in a past life, and since I was born before she died, reincarnation could not be the answer either.

Perhaps it was fitting that the first of Dame Christie's books that I read was one with Miss Marple, because she is my favourite detective of all times. You had to admire the intellect of a Sherlock Holmes or a Hercule Poirot, but it was hard to love them. Miss Marple, on the other hand, was entirely loveable. Though the image I most treasure is of her in fluffy pink declaring she is Nemesis, the fact is that it is hard not to like her (unless you are guilty of something, anything). Strong moral code, heightened sense of justice and perfect understanding of human nature- she's anyone's favourite grandma, except she wasn't even one.

In fact, I love all Dame Christie's female detectives - Lady Eileen 'Bundle' Brent, Ariadne Oliver, Tuppence Beresford- three very different personalities, but each loveable in their own way. The one thing they all have in common is that they are all normal human beings with normal foibles and failings, but all concerned with basic human justice. And it is for that reason that I find it hard to get upset at Agatha Christie when she makes her slightly demeaning comments on Indians and foreigners. Dame Christie was concerned with justice, and I can forgive a person like her almost anything.

Today is the 120th Anniversary of Agatha Christie's birth. Thank you, Dame Christie for all the hours of reading pleasure you have given me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


After three months of incessant rain, I can look out of the window and say-
And in honour of the Sun showing his face, here's a precious memory from the monsoons.

Walking home, I saw the kids playing football on the street. Wet teeshirts clinging to their backs, water dripping off their hair. I was glad they were not my kids- I didn't even want to think about the germs they were picking up.

The splashed through puddles as they ran to kick the ball. Their laughter carried up to me. I longed to join them. I knew I couldn't.

A misjudged kick. The ball came flying towards me. I could have dodged the impact- instead, I moved to intercept it. My foot made contact. 

No Goal could have been sweeter!

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Abusing the trust?

"Mamma, do you know, Bharat kissed Muskan today", my second-grader informed me.
I had no idea how to react. "Really? And what did Muskan do?"
"She said, 'ooohhh' and smiled", he said.
"Why did Bharat kiss her?", I probed gently.
"Because he loves her. And she loves him too, but her friends tease her, so she doesn't talk to him."
"Does your teacher know?"
"No. And you don't tell her, okay."

I am stuck. I think the teacher needs to know what is going on. But how do I do it without abusing the trust my kid placed in me?

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Henna Tattoo Parlour

[This is a work of fiction.]

Every year at festival time, I take my place on the pavement with my friends, arrange my tubes of henna paste and pattern books around me, and set up up an alfresco henna tattoo parlour. The moment my customer gives me her hand, my fingers know exactly what to do. The henna paste flows out under my expert guidance, and peacocks, flowers and abstract designs take shape on her palms. Even the most intricate designs take me not more than ten minutes, my clients are always satisfied.

The money is good- it will pay for my canvas and oil paints.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Ganpathi Bappa Morya

"Ganpathi Bappa Morya. Praise Ganpathi, Our Father."

The ten-day long celebration in honour of Ganpathi is the festival that defines Bombay. Communities vie with each other to erect larger and larger idols of the elephant headed God. The entire community comes together to pray, people come from across the town and queue up for hours at a time to see the more popular idols. Plays, often on socially relevant themes, are performed at the foot of the deity. Ganpathi loves modaks- the festival is the perfect excuse to indulge in the sweet made of coconut and jaggery.

"Ganpathi Bapa Morya."

A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Even before I was ten, I learnt that when a Hindu festival and a Muslim festival fell on the same day it would lead to religious riots. Things only got worse in the next two decades. Then fatigue set in. People realised that violence served no purpose. Co-exiting was easier.

Today is Ramazan-Eid. The ten-day Ganapathi festival starts tomorrow. When I heard about the police deploying extra troops to maintain law and order, my immediate reaction was, 'What nonsense! Who has the time or the energy for all that?"

Indians have learnt their lesson. I hope the World does too.
A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Photograph from The Times of India- an artisan taking a break to say his prayers.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Nights of Feasting, follow Days of Fasting

[Iftar - traditionally, the evening meal partaken by Muslims after a day of fasting. Today, a celebration which non-Muslims join in with gusto- who doesn't love a good meal?]

Be prepared to loosen your belt by an inch if you choose to walk down a street selling Ramazan delicacies. The aroma from the mutton kebabs and lamb chops travel straight up your nostrils and settle onto your hips and tummy. You can enjoy teh sensory experience of the sticky sweet jalebis and maddeningly fattening malpuas without even digging into them.

"What is the point of fasting all day, when you gorge at night?", you ask someone.
"Thinking of the evening meal helps us get through the day", they reply. "Besides many of these delicacies are available only during Ramazan.

A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Education gives you a good life?

A couple of hours after his sixth birthday party, my older one started planning his next one. He wanted a "big" party at Pizza Hut; I have been trying to steer him towards something a little less extravagant. With barely three months to go before his Big Day, the topic came up again last night.
"Can I please have my birthday at Pizza Hut", he began, staring at me with a plaintive look in his eyes.
"Why don't we take a few of your really close friends out for an afternoon?", I asked.
"But it would be more fun to have a party at Pizza Hut", he argued.
"Wouldn't it be fun to spend an afternoon with your friends, and have lunch with them?", I asked, before adding. "We can even get you a Spiderman cake, if you wish."
That seemed to tilt the scales a little. "Okay", he said. "But why can't I have a party at Pizza Hut."
I debated for a second, before deciding this was as good a time as any other for a lesson in sharing. "Because, a big party at Pizza Hut is more expensive than an afternoon out with friends", I explained. "We can give all the money we save to some poor kid who needs it."
"But what will the kid do with the money?", he asked.
"Maybe his parents can use the money to send him to school. Then he will learn things, and when he grows up, he will have a good life."
"Will he really have a good life is he goes to school now", my son asked.
"Yes, of course", I replied. "Education is the key to everything. Now, the child is poor and doesn't have a good life. But after he gets an education, he will get a good job, and be able to earn money, and then he will have a good life."
He was silent for a few minutes. Then said, "Okay. I will have a smaller birthday party, and you can give the money to the kid's parents. But don't tell them I gave it, okay. Let it be a surprise."

I was so proud of my son, I nearly agreed to give him his party at Pizza Hut and also make a donation to an institution working to impart education, but contented myself by hugging him tight and telling him how proud I was of him.

Poverty is, perhaps, the biggest problem facing the world today- and Education is the most effective tool by which to fight poverty. Every child in a school, every adult literate- that should not have to be a distant dream. If every one of us is aware of the magnitude of the problem, and is willing to do our bit, we would be a little closer to the solution than we were yesterday.

Today, September 8, is International Literacy Day. Can you take a few minutes off to reflect on what literacy means to you, and if possible blog about it, to spread awareness. And if you can, could you also do your bit towards contributing to the education of a child? There are many organisations which allow you donate online. And even if you can't do either, do check out Burrowers, Books & Balderdash for some unbelievable statistics that Mari has put together on (the lack of) literacy.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The holy month of Ramzan

[Continuing on my Festivals of Bombay series. This is the month of Ramzan, and for the last few weeks, the cry of the muezzin has served as my alarm clock- there is something strangely soothing about faith, even if it is not your own.]

The holy month of Ramzan. When the faithful fast from sunrise to sunset. Not a morsel of food passes their lips, nor a drop of water quenches their thirst. And after evening prayers, they break their fast with a single date, as the Prophet Mohammad is said to have done.

My friend's teenage daughter kept the fast for a day last year. Her father is Hindu, her mother Catholic. But her friends are Muslim, and she wanted to do it with them. She barely survived the day- her friends do it 30 days in a row.
Such is true faith.


A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Monday, September 6, 2010

It was a dark and stormy night

"It was a dark and stormy night...", began Stella. Her granddaughter groaned, "but Nana, why do all your stories being the same way?"
"Because stories always begin on dark stormy nights."
"And then something nasty happens, and after a couple of twists and turns, everything works out fine. Right, Nana?" Stella nodded, though she didn't quite like the tone her granddaughter was using.
"But, Nana, it is dark and stormy tonight. And because there is no electricity, you are telling me stories. What's nasty about tonight?"
Stella smiled. "True. Forget that one. I'll tell you a story about my childhood."
This is a drabble (a story in exactly 100 words), based on the prompt for Jenny Matlock's 18th Saturday Centus. No points for guessing what the prompt is.

It is inspired by the countless evenings when I would sit on the balcony with my grandmother, hearing her tell me stories from her childhood.

My grandmother was one of my dearest friends, so this is as good a time as any to pass on an Award that I got from a dear friend who also counts her grandmother as her first real friend. Hart Johnson who herself is a great hoarder of Awards passed on the Awesomous Maximus Award to me a couple of months back.
I'm going to pass the Award onto a few Awesome people I met AFTER I received the Award-
Leigh @ That's Write - not only do we share a birthday, we were born in the same year- weren't we just meant to be friends?
Mary @ Giggles and Guns - she loves her family, laughing and a good mystery. I love her.
Julie Musil - one of us is definitely channeling the other - we often end up blogging about very similar stuff on the same day. Isn't that fun?
Tina @ Life is Good - we have so much in common, it is almost uncanny, and I am not just talking about the fact that we would compete with each other to fall off a bar-stool when sober.
Barbara @ The Middle Ages - one half of Deb and Barbara, I seem to be where she was a couple of years back- which gives me hope.
Jules @ Trying to get Over the Rainbow - if you have ever loved a grandmother, you have to read about her love for her's.
Girls, I love you all.

So there you are, six new people for you to get to know better, and one less hoarded award for me!

And after visiting all those blogs, if you have some time, do drop by at Burrowers, Books & Balderdash to hear me wondering how we managed without YA in our life?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Teacher's Life

Detail from the Card made for
his teacher by my son.
[This is a work of fiction, though it is based on several of the wonderful teachers I knew.]

"Whatever I am today is because of you."
"Ma'am, you taught me to believe in myself."
"You were such an example to me."
"When I look for a school for my children, I look for teachers like you."

At my retirement party, the outpouring of affection from generations of my students brought tears to my eyes. All these years of believing I was a failure, because I knew I was unsuccessful in teaching my students trigonometry and calculus. When actually, I had achieved something far more important. I had taught my girls to take their rightful place in the world.

A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

[September 5 is celebrated as Teacher's Day in India, in honour of the second President of India, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan. Two years back, I had ranted about how we had forgotten him and other leaders who deserve to be remembered, here.]

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Once Upon a Time

Hoarding for the movie overlooking
the city that is now Mumbai
"Once Upon a Time in Mumbai" is a Bollywood movie loosely based on the life of an erstwhile mafia don. It is in the news for all the wrong reasons, mainly to do with how broadly you can define the term 'based on the life of' as.

But in that hullabaloo, people are overlooking the fact that name itself is an anachronism. The movie is set in the 70s, when the city was still called Bombay*. But people who seek to re-write history by changing the name to one that never existed, are not too concerned with facts, are they?

A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

* The city that is now Bombay/ Mumbai was just a collection of villages till the British realised that the excellent harbour made it an ideal location for a city. The city was built by British, who therefore had every right to call it by whatever name they chose. They called it Bombay, and for over four decades after they handed over government to the Indians, that was the name by which the city was known.
Then politicians decided to generate mileage by re-naming the city Mumbai, a name that never existed, except as a corruption of Bombay. Wouldn't it be great if it were as easy to re-write history as it is to re-name a city?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Life on the Street

Where commuters see a perceptual traffic jam, he sees a business opportunity. He acquires roses in bulk, to sell to people waiting impatiently for the traffic lights to change. He doesn't sell the flowers himself- he oversees the fleet of children and women who do the actual selling. He doles out bunches of flowers to them, collects the money, pays them their share, and gives advice on selling techniques.

A few years back, he was a flower seller himself. One of those grimy faced, but cheerful boys who presses a bunch of flowers wrapped in cellophane against your car window, and bargains cheerfully with you on the price even as you tell him you don't even want the flowers. 

He is functionally illiterate, though he can add, subtract and calculate discounts faster than the well educated commuters he sells to. He may not know much beauty in his life, but his aesthetic sensibilities are high when it comes to arranging flowers into fetching bouquets.

Hard work, an ability to asset himself, and a few lucky breaks have pushed him up the value chain- he now makes more money than he did as a seller, but it is not enough.

He is a street dweller, who calls the pavement under the flyover his home. The clothes line strung across the pavement is not a washing line; it is the closet he shares with his extended family of flower sellers. The fluttering fabric occasionally provides the illusion of privacy; the wooden planks serve as beds at night.

He is willing to do whatever it takes to better himself, but he also knows that it takes more than just grit and determination to break out of poverty. He is pragmatic and determined, but just once in awhile, he needs the narcotic of escapism- a Bollywood movie.

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Pot of Butter

[Lord Krishna, one of the most loved Gods of the Hindu Pantheon was born at midnight. His birthday is a day of celebrations across the country. This is how it is celebrated in Bombay.]

The world may now know him as a God, but growing up in Brindavan, Krishna was just the naughtiest of all the kids. He would steal butter from the kitchens of the village women. They took to hanging their pots of butter from the rafters, but he always managed to reach them. They knew he was lying when he said, "Main nahin makhan chor/ I am no butter thief", but couldn't stop loving him.

Once a year to commemorate his birth, decorated pots are strung high above the street and youth make human pyramids to reach them. Winners take all.


A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


[Lord Krishna, one of the most loved Gods of the Hindu Pantheon will be born at midnight. Here's the story of his birth, which is celebrated as Janmashtami across the country.]

On a dark and stormy night, in the deepest dungeons, a baby boy was born. The eighth son of Princess Devaki, imprisoned by her brother, King Kansa. The child prophesied to kill his evil uncle and bring peace to the world. The child would have been slaughtered, as all his siblings were. But a humble cowherd substituted his new born child, and took him away to be raised as his own.

Who's heart was bigger? The mother who sacrificed her own child, and lavished her affection on another. Or the mother who gave up her child, so he could live?


A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

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