Friday, December 31, 2010

Hit your Stride

Yesterday, I had to literally drag myself to the park for a run. I had too much weighing me down- I DID NOT WANT TO RUN. But the moment my feet touched the running track, I found my Stride. I hit that High where nothing mattered- not deadlines, not dinner, not the partially blocked nose or the sore ankles. I could have run forever! When I finally stopped, I found I had run faster than I have ever run before, much faster than I even dreamt I could.

In everything you do, I hope you hit your Stride in MMXI.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Congregation is Dwindling

Christmas Decorations, 2009
 Four years back, when we moved to our current home, Christmas at the parish church was a huge affair. The Nativity Scene was beautiful, and each of the paper stars was a work of art. The following year, the celebrations were toned down, but I blamed it on the fact that the city was still recovering from the recent Terror Attacks. Last year, the decorations were slightly better, but this year, they are virtually non-existent.

One can't escape reality- the congregation is dwindling. People are either moving away, or just don't care anymore. Isn't it sad when that starts happening?

A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Change Happens

The running track in the park I use is always full of discarded wrappers. For the last couple of days, after finishing my daily run, I have been walking an extra round to collect the wrappers and throw them in the dustbin.

"Why are you doing that?", an old lady asked yesterday.
"So nobody slips on them and gets hurt", I replied.
"But you didn't throw them."
"No, but I can always pick them up."

Today, there were no wrappers on the track. The old lady had been making sure people used the dustbin.

Change happens even if only slowly.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


There are beads, and there are Beads.

Some Beads are so exquisite, you fall in love with them instantly, and can never get them out of your mind. Some beads are mildly pretty, but look much better when strung together with others of their kind. Many beads serve only as fillers- on their own, you would not give them a second look, but no necklace would be complete without them. Whether they are Beads, or merely beads, strung together by an expert, they create beauty far beyond what each individual bead is capable of.

Words and beads. Aren't they alike?
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Oil in your lamp

All of us can identify with the sentiments of the old Eskimo proverb, “May you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp, and peace in your heart!” But do we understand what they really mean to people? Last month, I visited a rural hamlet where no electricity lines went. The residents spent almost a fifth of their income buying oil for their lamps. If the crops did poorly, they couldn't afford the oil, and would be deprived of even that feeble light.

May we never forget that there are people who lack the things we take for granted.
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Fiona was the one who introduced me to the proverb- do check her site out.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Some relationships are fragile. Both parties waiting to misunderstand and to be misunderstood. You care for the other person, yet set them off without realizing how. You try to convince yourself you are the long suffering martyr in the relationship, but know that the other person thinks the same too. Relationships where you are scared of hurting the other person, and yet, despite your best intentions, end up doing just that.... always.

They are fragile, yet precious. Relationships worth keeping. Relationships where the cracks, now mended, become a part of the whole. And yet, you know there will be more.
This Drabble and many more are a part of the Annual Advent Calendar at the Burrow.  
A drabble a day, everyday to provide some respite from the madness that is December. Do check it out

A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Buying a Christmas Tree

[This is a work of fiction.]
“Let’s get a Christmas tree”, said my daughter.

“I am not sure that’s a good idea”, I said, sure that it would not go down well in my traditional household. “We can go to the mall and see Santa.”
“But I want a tree.”
“Ask your father.” I didn’t like doing it, but it was his parents who would disapprove, let him handle the situation.

Father could, of course, never deny his beautiful daughter anything. So here I am on Christmas Day, shopping for a Christmas tree. I wonder how the tree would look among the Islamic artefacts at home.
This Drabble and many more are a part of the Annual Advent Calendar at the Burrow.  
A drabble a day, everyday to provide some respite from the madness that is December. Do check it out

A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Friday, December 24, 2010

I know who Santa Claus is

"I have figured out who Santa Claus is", said the seven year old.

"I always knew Santa Claus", boasted the (almost) five year old.
"Who? Tell me!", challenged the older one
"He's the guy who has a long beard and gives presents."
"Yes, but do you know who he is?"
"I just told you. He is the guy who gives presents at Christmas."
"See, you don't know", gloated the older one.
"Okay, then you tell me."
"Santa Claus is the father of Virgin Mary. Which makes his Jesus' Grandfather!"

Given the way Christmas is going, he might just be right.
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Perhaps there was a Father Christmas after all!

I will be honest, thought she kept reminding me, I had forgotten all about Danette's Christmas Story Blogfest. At the time I signed up, I was intending to re-post a rather morbid short story set over the Christmas holiday that I had written several years back. But when it came to actually doing so, I decided to go with a brand new drabble instead.

This is a work of fiction, which I hope reminds you of the true meaning of Christmas.

She looked hungrily at the brightly lit stores. Savoured the aroma of the Christmas decorations. The foot-tapping music was making her ravenous. She wanted to feast on the Christmas spirit.

At seven, she already knew that festivals were only for those who could afford to celebrate. But maybe she could persuade her mother to braid her hair in that special way?

A car stopped and asked for directions. The driver thrust something into her hands before driving away.

A whole bar of chocolate!!! Perhaps there was a Father Christmas after all!

She ran off to share it with her friend.

A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Are People Really Dishonest?

"Are you sure you are quoting the right fare", I asked the auto-driver.
"Don't you know the fares have gone up", he replied, thrusting his rate card at me. "I am not overcharging. See!"
I glanced at it. I had been right after all. "You are not overcharging me", I explained. "You are undercharging me."
I paid the fare and got off. He continued to stare at me.
"In all my twelve years of driving an auto", he said, "nobody has ever done this."

This could not have been the first time he undercharged someone. Are people really that dishonest?

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Veiled in Shadows"

I do not offer to do book reviews unless I am almost certain to like the book. I do not know enough about the craft of book writing to critique a book, so any review of mine is bound to be more about how I feel about a book than about where that book ranks in that absolute scale that some people employ with such ease.

But one book I did not hesitate to offer to review was Allan Russell's 'Veiled in Shadows'. My decision had nothing to do with the fact that I have known and liked Al for nearly a year, and with having been with him in the last months leading upto publication. The main reason why I offered to review the book was because of the cover. Yes, you heard it right. I decided that I was going to like the book because of it's cover.

I am one of those people who does judge books by their covers- if nothing else, the cover gives me the genre, and in a country where books are not categorised by genre and synopsises can be misleading, that is a useful thing to know. But in case of 'Veiled in Shadows', it was more than just that. Al designed the cover himself, so I was sure that the cover would be an accurate representation of what the author hoped to achieve from the book.

And I was not disappointed!

'Veiled in Shadows' is the story of a half-English half-German 'Princess' who calls herself "Katharina..... My second name, it seems less pompous and more German than Victoria. My daddy calls me Victoria Chesterfield, but I prefer Katharina von Brunnenstadt." Bold, beautiful and intellegent, we first meet her through the eyes of a young Nazi officer who thinks he is saving her from a wild boar, but ends up having his head chewed off for destroying a breeding boar.

She proceeds to fall in love with the Nazi officer remarkably quickly, but just before the outbreak of World War II abruptly breaks off their engagement and moves to England. In England, she meets a young fighter pilot, and despite loving him, turns down his proposal because she loves another.  She follows her cousin into the English Secret Service, and defects to Nazi Germany under very mysterious circumstances. To say much more would be to give the plot away, but her ambivalent actions keeps you guessing till the very end.
Allan Russel knows a thing or two about creating and maintaining suspense. Who is Katharina/ Victoria? What does she stand for? What is she fighting for? Who is she fighting against? You get conflicting pieces of evidence and despite the prologue seemingly having told you everything, nothing falls into place till the last chapters.

What made the book even more engaging was the fact that the story emerges through multiple points of view, none of them Katharina/ Victoria. She is 'Katharina' to her German lover, and 'Victoria' to her English lover. Her subjects in Baravia call her 'Princess', and her cousin calls her 'Vikki'. She is different things to different people, but all of them love her.

I am not a fan of war fiction, but I am glad I read this book, and I would without hesitation recommend it to anyone.

Disclaimer - Al sent me a copy of the book expecting a review, but the fact that he sent me the book is not the reason for my rating it as high as I do. Had I not liked the book, I would have either declined to review it, or made do with a summary and some general observations.

Veiled in Shadows is available on Amazon.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas traditions

[I never signed up for the Be Jolly By Golly blogfest co-hosted by Jen and Melissa, but when the tree came crashing down just as I was getting out to leave the kids at school, the post wrote itself. Here then are Christmas traditions unedited in my mad houshold.]

'Why on earth do I subject myself to this torture?", I asked myself this morning when the tree came crashing down yet again. 'Never again", I informed the kids, "by the time you get home, the tree will be gone, and I will never get you another one."

I meant every word. Strictly speaking, Christmas is not even 'my' holiday, and none except the Christian households even have a tree.

By the time I put the tree together again, my anger had dissipated. After all, it is traditions that sustain us, and knocking down the tree is a tradition too. 
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

The Tree in all its glory, after being dressed by the kids!

With the lights on- kid wandered into the pic!
The Angle of Choice!
My favourite ornament- a gift from
an Austrian friend.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


[This is a work of fiction.]

I cannot tear my eyes away from the light. It shines brightly from the window- enticing, beautiful, but giving nothing away.

Somewhere beyond the light is the love of my life. In greater distress than I can ever imagine. The light shines on her, but tells me nothing of how she is.
I feel guilty. It was my need for pleasure that causes my love so much pain. The light does nothing to assuage my guilt.

Soon, someone will come out and give me the news. But till then all I can do is wait. And stare at the light.
This Drabble and many more are a part of the Annual Advent Calendar at the Burrow.  
A drabble a day, everyday to provide some respite from the madness that is December. Do check it out

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Can't people Read?

Most people know that I don't do forwards, but there is one person I keep getting stuff from- often neither funny, nor thought-provoking. Sometimes, she forwards back to me things I sent her, and once she's even forwarded a blog post of MINE to me.

But yesterday, she surpassed herself. She sent, with a ringing endorsement, a vile and racist denouement of Indians. I read it three times to see if I was missing the sarcasm- I wasn't. To me, circulating the mail was tantamount to treason!

Is it too much to expect people to read stuff before forwarding it?
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Tree is Up, or was

"Are you sure you want the tree up today? Can't we do it tomorrow when you are less sleepy."
"How do you expect me to string the lights if you keep pushing my elbows?"
"The tree is not very steady. Can't we wait till tomorrow and get a better base?"
"Don't load all the ornaments on one side. The tree may collapse."
"The youngest in the family gets to place the star. Who's the youngest?" "Well, never mind. Papa's not helped. He can place the star."
"Stand back while I turn on the lights."

"Please don't touch...." CRASH "...the tree."

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fetching Water from the Well

The only running water she knows is the trickle she gets when her daughter pours water from a glass for her to wash her utensils. There is one water pump in her village, but it is almost always dry. Her only reliable source of water is almost mile away.

Every morning, she walks a mile to the common well, and returns balancing pots of water on her head. Every evening, she repeats the journey.

But she doesn't complain, because her friends make the trips with her, and they have their special songs which they sing on the way and back.
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Characters who do nothing

The other day I read this novella which had more than half a dozen characters who did nothing. They all had distinct names and family relationships, but they were indistinguishable from each other. If they spoke at all, they said the same thing, in exactly the same way. None of them advanced the plot, all they ever did was provide the backdrop against which the story was enacted. And yet, they were there, and I had spent precious minutes trying to get them sorted out.

How can I possibly critique the story without running the risk of losing a friend?
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

I am also over at Burrowers, Books & Balderdash talking about lessons we can draw from children's books on creating memorable characters.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Happier Child

I saw a schoolgirl throwing grain for pigeons, and after she was done, walk through the flock. Her happiness was evident. Her day had been made so soon after it had begun.

Minutes later, I saw another child. Her mother kept her away from the birds, and she didn't seem interested in them either. They were both focussed on the task of reaching school on time.

Which kid does better in school, I do not know. Nor which is the faster runner or the better dancer. But which one is happier, I do know. And that is what really matters.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Human Pyramid

"Have fun", I told my son before his Sports Day. "And don't cry if you fall."

My heart swelled with pride when I saw him clamber to the top of the human pyramid. I couldn't tear my eyes away from him as he balanced himself precariously, and fearlessly lifted his hands; happy smile firmly in place. He was a star. He was having fun. What more could any mother want?

"You are so brave to let him do it", people later told me. I hadn't even thought of stopping him.
Now I wonder if my "Mommy meter" is all wrong.
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Reindeers in Curry Land

One minute we were flying over continents so swiftly we could barely register the landscapes we passed over. The next minute we found ourselves stranded on this narrow ledge overlooking a busy street. It is nice to rest for a bit, to stand silently and watch more people pass beneath than are reindeer in my entire country. Where once I barely survived on tundra grass, it is the curry fumes from the Indian restaurant that now satiate me.

The people here love me. But I want to go back home. These twinkling lights are pretty, but I miss the snow.
This Drabble and many more are a part of the Annual Advent Calendar at the Burrow.  
A drabble a day, everyday to provide some respite from the madness that is December. Do check it out

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Five weeks back, in a crowded market, I had been shoved against the traffic and had got burnt by the exhaust pipe of a motocycle. Home treated for a couple of days, the pain from the burn had been almost unbearable. For weeks, I lived with the pain. For weeks I was paranoid about someone hitting against me and opening up the wound. For weeks, I had to wear clothes that kept the wound exposed.

The wound has now healed. All that is left is a rather ugly scar. But the sight of a motorcycle still fills me with fear.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hijack Successful!

[When I left the computer untended for a few moments, little did I imagine it would get highjacked by the two rascals.....]

"Hi. I am seven years old, and my brother is four years old."
"No, I am five years old."
"No you are not. You are four years old."
"I am almost five years old."
"But now you are only four years old. Baby."
"But next month I will be five years old."
"So what?"
"But last month, you were six years old, but said you were seven years old."
"That was last month. Now I am seven years old, and you are four years old."
"Bully. I am almost five years old."
"Okay, okay. Don't fight. Mamma will find out."

[For the rest of the story, do visit Burrowers, Books & Balderdash]
A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Giving in to Despair

I was at an organization that works with expectant mothers. Photograph after photograph of undernourished women flashed on the computer screen. One caught my eye- the woman was too well-dressed to be undernourished, yet she was.
"This is her second child", the social-worker told me. "We give her iron tonics and vitamin supplements but she never takes them."
"Why not?"
"She is scared that if she does the fetus will grow big, and there may be complications during childbirth."

In the absence of birthing centers, that is a very real fear.

At times like this, one gives in to despair.

A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Life is what happens....

“Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans”, sang John Lennon to his second born. Barely five years after the song was released, a bullet fired by a madman silenced his voice forever.

Thirty years later, his words still ring true- “They hate you if you are clever, and they despise a fool.”

Thirty years after that fateful encounter in New York, his dream is still far from being realized- “Imagine there's no countries, It isn't hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too.”

Someday, we will learn to live in peace.

John Winston Ono Lennon
(October 9, 1940 - December 8, 1980)
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Iconic, ironic Icon

I wonder if Ernesto Guevara graces as many tee-shirts in his native Argentina or in Cuba as it does in India. A clothing brand popular with rich college kids has his stylized visage on an entire range of ironic clothes.
A cousin had him on the other day. "Cool tee-shirt", I said.
"Is that a picture of someone, or just a painting?", I asked.
"It's a photograph", he assured me.
"Don't know his name, but he's an older Hollywood star."
A Marxist as the icon of a Consumeristic Society. Wonder if El Che would have appreciated the irony.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Monday, December 6, 2010

See the Life You Change

The other day, the younger one suddenly piped up. " Mamma, let's buy all these bamboos and send them to China."
"Pandas are dying because they don't have enough bamboo. If we give them this bamboo, they will not be hungry."
"I am not sure it's a good idea."
"But, Mamma, Pandas are endangered. If we don't give them bamboo, they will all die."
"In that case, let's give money to people who can buy bamboo and feed it to the pandas."
"Okay, but are you sure they will buy the bamboo for the panda?"

He sure doesn't trust anyone!

In case you are like my younger one, and want to make a difference, but are not sure if your dollars are going where you think you should be going, do check out the website of the organization I work for-, where you can actually 'See the Life that you Change'.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.
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Sunday, December 5, 2010

When I grow up

When I grow up, I want to be a dancer. I want to let the music into my soul, and let my body decide how it wants to move. I want to wear costumes of heavy silk, and dance before packed audiences.

I also want to be a scientist. I want to invent new machines, and discover new medicines. I want to wipe out hunger, poverty and disease.

I have many dreams, but I do not know what I will become. What I do know is that I do not want to be invisible like my mother and my sisters.

This Drabble and many more are a part of the Annual Advent Calendar at the Burrow.  

A drabble a day, everyday to provide some respite from the madness that is December. Do check it out

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Our Fears

"Look Mamma, Dragon!!!", panted the older one.
"Yes, Dragon!!!", repeated his brother.

"Not Dragon, Dragonfly", I corrected automatically, marveling that the humble insect could inspire such awe in my city bred kids.

I stuck my hand out, mentally urging the dragonfly to perch on my palm.
"No, Mamma, don't", screamed the kids. "It will bite you."
"Dragonflies don't bite."
"They do."

Their fear was contagious. For a moment I was almost scared. The dragonfly fluttered down and rested on my hand.
"Look, it's not biting me, is it?"

"Can I hold it too?"

How irrational are some of our fears.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sibling Love

Lest yesterday's post made it seem like it heaven all the way, here is the real picture of bringing up two boys under the age of 7.

They seem to fight all day long.
"Whatever I want, why do you want?"
"Mamma, he has taken my pencil."
"Why are you kicking me, haan?"
"He hit me." "No, he kicked me first." "But he was not letting me sit on the sofa"
"I don't want to watch this channel." "But I want to watch."

There are times when I worry that one of them will get hurt. There are times when I wonder if they will ever learn to get along.

But when either is upset, the other is at his side.

What I never had. Sibling love.
A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.
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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Brother Love

My younger one drove me to tears the other day. Ten minutes later, he sidled up and tried to apologise, but I was having none of it- he always apologises and goes back to doing the same thing. When I pushed him away for the third time, the older one whispered something in his ears and dragged him again.

Ten minutes later, I heard the tinny music from a McDonald's toy. I looked up and saw the rascal holding up a card drawn by his brother.

After seeing how much they cared for each other, I couldn't but forgive him.

A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

My Delusional Thursday post at the Burrowers, Books & Balderdash is on a different kind of Partnerships. Drop by if you can, and leave a note, even if you think it might offend- I don't offend easily!

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"The Hating Game"

December the First, and you know what that means? "The Hating Game" is finally available for electronic download. And if enough people do, Talli Roland's debut novel starts life off as a bestseller.
What's "The Hating Game" all about, you may wonder. Well, it's a racy, pacy story about a man-eater who stars in a dating game show. Easie, peasie, except a whole bunch of her ex-es are on it too.
If you know the Canadian born, London resident even the slightest, you can be sure the book would be unputdownable.
What are you waiting for? Do check it out.
You can pre-order from :

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.


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