Thursday, March 31, 2011

Yesterday's story, continued

Of Equal Status?
And what happened to the man you asked. The man who raped a cousin the same age as his son.

He was found guilty of conducting an illicit relationship too. Even imams know that a girl cannot quite force herself of a man against his will.

The fatwa ordered that she be given 101 lashes, delivered swiftly and publicly. He was sentenced to 201. She collapsed after 70, was taken to hospital and died a week later.

After a few lashes he managed to escape.

Managed to escape, or allowed to escape? He is a man. Need you even ask?
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Raped, then stoned to death!

Fourteen year old Hena's innocence caught the eye of her cousin, Mahbub Khan. She studied in the same class as his son; that didn't stop him from harassing her. Her father complained. Mahbub Khan was asked to pay a fine. The matter was buried.

Many months later, Mahbub Khan abducted her and raped her. His wife heard Hena's cries for help. She accused Hena of having an illicit relationship.

Hena was found guilty and sentenced to be whipped. She died.

He escaped.

If it were fiction, you would say it was unrealistic. Unfortunately, it happened. And we can do nothing.
News story
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Out of Control

Every night, I go to bed telling myself that I have got my life in control. Every morning, I wake up determined to find time for everything I want to do. Every afternoon, I realize my life is still spiraling out of control. Every evening, I acknowledge that the day did not go quite the way I wanted but that tomorrow would be just fine.

The cycle continues.

Maybe it is time to prioritize; to take a blog-break, so that is one less thing left undone.

What does it say that on first attempt, this post is exactly 100 words?
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Give it your 100%

I was to run the last leg of a 4x5 kilometer relay. While waiting for the baton, six teams came thundering in to finish. It took a special kind of, dare I say, courage to run when you knew the race was over before you even started it.

"I really love your attitude", someone later told me on facebook. "You gave it your 100%."
"Life is too short to waste on anything unless you give it your 100%", I retorted.
He put that on his facebook wall.

How weird is it when something you say is read back to you!
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Connecting instentaneously

Not often do you meet people with whom you are chatting like old friends within minutes of shaking hands with them. Not often do you run into people who don't ask you how old you are, or where you work, or what you do. Not often do you come across people who make you laugh as much as I did today.
I am blessed to have two such sets of people- my online blogging community, and my running fraternity. I guess when you share a passion, externalities don't really matter too much.
And I wish the world could realize that.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Plumeria Blossoms

I just don't feel inspired to churn out a post today. So am cheating by just posting two photograph of my plumeria blossoms.
Four years back, I had acquired two plants- I nursed them through several illnesses, and one rewarded me with flowers two summers back. It is the turn of the other one to grace my garden with flowers now.
The first of the lot, reaching for the Sun

Close-up, don't they almost look like they are made of porcelain? 

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Invisible Victims

While I may want to believe that commercial sex workers choose to ply their trade, the reality is that most of them don't have a choice. Even today, families sell girls into the sex trade for as little as a couple of hundred dollars, and the girls are expected to remain till their earnings pay off the cost at which they were acquired.

The girls already sold into the sex trade, perhaps, have no option but to remain till AIDS or old age claims them, but must the daughters born to them have to follow them into slavery?

Hopefully not!
Their smiles hide the horrors they have witnessed!
Do check out my blog post on the Invisible Victims of Sex Trafficking, and help spread the word if you can.
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Is Unforgettable

Long before appearing at charity events to create HIV Awareness became the most desirable fashion accessory. Long before people got around to even comprehending the sheer magnitude of AIDS. Long before HIV/AIDS became the most funded healthcare intervention in the world. Long before any of that that, one person spoke out fearlessly about the disease that had claimed the life of her friend.

That woman was Liz Taylor!

I may have fallen in love with her unforgettable violet eyes and almost Rubenisque features, but it was her courage and loyalty that kept me captive. She was unforgettable. Is Unforgettable.

‎"When people say, 'She's got everything', I've got one answer - I haven't had tomorrow."

Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor, DBE
(February 27, 1932 – March 23, 2011)

Requiescat in Pace

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

One just give in to despair

Some statistics can be chilling. Twenty-one children under the age of five die every minute. Half those deaths can be prevented by cost effective solutions like vaccinations and nutritional supplements, but aren't simply because the services do not reach the people they are meant to serve. It is nobody's fault. There are not enough health clinics in developing countries, because there aren't enough trained people to run them. Parents don't get their children vaccinated because there is nobody to explain to them why they should do so.
Will things ever change? Sometimes one just has to give in to despair.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

But that cant' be...

"Which is the odd man out- Brazil, USA, North America, India?", asked the seven year old.
"North America. Because the rest are all countries", I replied.
"Wrong. Guess again."
"India, because India is not in America?"
"No! The answer is Brazil. Because Brazil is south of the equator."
"But India and North America are right too", I argued.
"But that can't be", he said. "How can one question have three answers?"

I wanted to tell him that most of the really important questions don't have a single correct answer. But then I let him enjoy his childhood a little longer.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Half the Sky

Most books of fiction are easy to read. Some like Rohiton Mistry's "A Fine Balance" carry you along at your chosen pace, but stay with you for months. Some like Vikram Seth's "A Suitable Boy" make you pause, rewind and re-play even as you read.

Well written academic tomes make you pause and ponder after every paragraph, but you cannot put them down because of the insights they contain.

And then there is Nick Kristoff's "Half the Sky". Short stories of oppression and courage.  Stories that chill your spine. I challenge you to read more than a chapter a day.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

I am also over at Burrowers, Books and Balderdash blogging about some of my favourite and not so favourite Indian books.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Plumeria Blossoms

[This is a work of fiction.]

He was the least romantic person anyone could imagine. It was obvious he cared. But would it have absolutely killed him to make a romantic gesture sometimes? Like bringing me flowers.
"But I know nothing about flowers", he told me when I stopped hinting and demanded.
"Any flower is better than no flowers", I replied tartly.
For our Anniversary, he brought me a plumeria plant. One measly flower. I hid the cut-glass vase I'd taken out, and pretended I loved it.

He knew what he was doing. He's no longer in the world, but I still get flowers every month.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A friend no more

A friend met the man of her dreams. Or the man she thought was the man of her dreams. She said was instant chemistry. I was skeptical; love at first sight not being something I believe in.

I tried warning her. But shut up when I sensed she didn't want to hear what I had to tell.

Another friend, was a better friend. He warned her. Told her she shouldn't get too involved. She didn't listen. She didn't want to.

She got hurt, as both of us feared she would. She's not talking to the friend who warned her anymore.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Friday, March 18, 2011

There can be no greater feeling than this!

[This is what my seven year old wrote about his mother]
Me, captured by my son this week
My mother loves plants.
She loves us.
When it is Sunday she takes us where ever we want to eat lunch or dinner.
My mother is kind.
She is intelligent, smart.
Whever she goes to office she works as hard as she can.
Her favourite colour is purple and pink. Her favourite flowers are Rose, lily, many.
She loves Boys who always say the truth.
She loves watching football when it comes. It comes after four years.
And she's very strong to.
When she is Running or Jogging, and she falls she gets up and run like a brave girl.
When we watch TV she all the time works.
She loves to eat tulsy leaves. Her favourite insects are dragonflys, butterflies, ladybirds.
What ever I like my mother likes the same thing only her colour is different.
Her hair is very beautiful lovely.

[There can be no greater feeling than this. Now excuse me while I go shed a few silent tears.]

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What do you want to be?

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" the hubby asked my five year old.
"No! I want to be a scientist", he declared.
"Why not an engineer? Or a doctor, or a cricketer?"
"I want to be a scientist."
"But why?"
"Because scientists have fun!"

Flashback to a couple of weeks back when I caught him experimenting with water, and asked him if he intended becoming a scientist.

Pushing a mug into a bucket of water and watching it rise may not quite be what scientists do, but I am glad my son wants to 'have fun'.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Write for Japan

Six winters back, a tsunami hit the coast of India for the first time in recorded history. The land my forefathers had lived in for centuries went under water till the sea decided to return where it belongs. The death and destruction was unprecedented, the army was pressed into service, aid-workers camped in the area for months.

India called for experts, but never asked for financial assistance. Japan is a much more developed economy; it doesn't need your dollars.

But the people of Japan need to know that people care. Here are some ways you can help- Write for Japan.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

And here's a great news story on why it doesn't really make sense to donate dollars - Charities rush with little direction

Photo Credit - Cruella Collett, taken in Tokyo a week before disaster struck.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Most people are Decent

It took me 20 minutes to hail an auto-rickshaw today.
"Are you going to office?", the driver asked me after I had settled down.
"You do know there will be no auto-rickshaws after 12, don't you?", he asked.
Public transportation is almost non-existent where my office is. Had I got stuck there, I would have had to walk home. I didn't hesitate a moment. "In that case, can you drop me off at home?"

It would have been a long ride, but he went out of the way to help me. Most people are decent if you let them.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Invisible Tree

Beside a busy road, an invisible tree. A tree so coated in dust, it blended into the grey landscape. In all these years, I never once saw it. Till I couldn't find a vacant space and was forced to park in front of it.

It was a peepul growing on a banyan. Aerial roots entwined around a gnarled trunk in firm lines; lines worthy of a Bernini. A religious postcard providing the only splash of colour in the monochromatic hues. I could not have enough of it.

Will we ever know how many other Wonders are waiting to be discovered?
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

How forgiveness?

We considered each other friends. Kept in touch through Facebook, but often picked up the phone to chat.
I commented on a status message. My genuine reply was construed as a 'smart retort'. I cared enough to apologize, but it wasn't accepted.
I remained mad for a day, then decided it wasn't worth it any more. He told me he had "forgiven" me the previous night.
"Easier for you", I said. "I apologized. You haven't yet."
"Sorry doesn't exist between friends", I was told.
I disagree. The word may be unnecessary, but you need to know he accepts his guilt.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Stop to see the Beauty

I went for a run in a protected forest today. There was a stream running parallel to the road. The sun was peeking out through cracks in the canopy. The wild-flowers were prettier than many cultivated ones. I was vaguely aware of the beauty, but concentrated on my run.

I turned around a bend on the steep hill, and found myself in paradise. The warm rays of the sun had painted the entire landscape golden, the sky was the perfect blue to set the colour off. I stopped to take in the beauty. Sometimes you need to do just that.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Friday, March 11, 2011

We are Mean to Planet Earth

"We are being Mean to Planet Earth", my five year old told me this morning. "And soon the whole Earth will Die."
"Oh really? Can we do anything to save Planet Earth?"

"We must not waste water."
"And we shouldn't cut trees."
"And we should plant more trees."
"And we shouldn't throw garbage on the road."
"And we shouldn't kill animals."
"And we shouldn't burn plastic."
"And we should seg-seg-segigate garbage."
"And we should walk or take a cycle."

Maybe none of those things could have prevented today's Tsunami, but I wish adults did what our children want us to.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Get Running # 6 : You are a Runner

[People often tell me they would love to run, but can't. This is the sixth in a series of drabbles which, I hope, will get at least a couple of people who think they can't run, running.]

If you have been following the walk-run routine for the past two weeks, I am sure you are surprised by how long you can now run. You are closer to the psychological milestone of 20 minutes than you thought- in another couple of weeks you will be there.

By now, the aches and pains that characterized your first runs would have disappeared, leaving in its place a sense of exhilaration.

If you haven't started calling yourself a runner yet, it is time you did. Because the day you believe you are a runner is the day you actually become one.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Other drabbles in the series-

Get Running # 1 : The Simple Joy of Running
Get Running # 2 : Everyone can Run
Get Running # 3 : Start Running
Get Running # 4 : Embrace the Pain
Get Running # 5 : Keep At It

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Waka, Waka! Yeah, Yeah!

My son's Annual Day Concert. The song, Shakira's "Waka Waka". The kindergarten kids knew all the moves. None was out of sync. They performed like seasoned professionals. One girl in particular stood out. She was Shakira reincarnated. The same provocative thrust of the hips. The same sensual swaying of the body. When she did her solo part, 600 pairs of eyes were riveted on her. She didn't falter once. If anyone could be better than the original, she was.

But, am I old fashioned in believing that a five year old shouldn't be asked to do such a provocative number?

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

International Woman's Day

I may have been a Girl, but I was always encouraged to dream big. If Society drew the line of what a Girl should and should not do, my Parents never let me be see it. My being a Girl never came in the way of anything I wanted to be.

To me, International Woman's Day was meaningless. A Woman is no different from a Man, I believed, we don't need a special day. Till I realized others were not as fortunate. Women are not Inferior, but they are Oppressed. Today is for all those not as lucky as I.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Do Smiles translate over the phone, I wondered last week. Yes they do, you all replied. But me being an eternal skeptic, I had to check it out. It was easy enough to do, since I share office space with a bunch of people I do not know.

Everytime anyone made a call, I tried to guess if they were smiling or not. I guessed right every single time. Strangely, or perhaps not, the ones who seemed to be having more successful conversations were the ones who started off the call with a smile.

Smile. What's your excuse not to?

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

To put a SMILE back on the faces of some of those affected by the recent earthquake in New Zealand, and to have a chance to win some great books, do visit Margot Kinberg's "Do the Write Thing". 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ball and Chain

And there he rots in the deepest, dankest, darkest cell in the dungeon. Ball and iron on screwed on more tightly than it would for any other prisoner- the King personally ensured that. He is not an ordinary convict- he is guilty of the highest crime imaginable against God or Man, or at least against the King. He dared fall in love with the Queen, and send her poems of love.

Stupid boy. If he had stopped at warming my bed, we could both have been so happy. Will I ever find another who makes me as happy in bed?
Catch this, and many other drabbles on the many facets of Love, live and excusive on the Valentine Feature at 'the Burrow'.

A new drabble (or more) every single day in the month of February. Read them all in one short or keep coming back for more.

All your favourite drabblers are there- don't miss it!

A Drabble a Day, Everyday.

Image credit - Aleatha Ingleton

Saturday, March 5, 2011

She is a Girl!

"She's not my friend. She's a girl."
"Why can't a girl be your friend?"
"Because she is a girl."
"I know that, but why can't she be your friend?"
"Because. She. Is. A. Girl."
"So what? She can still be your friend."
"I am telling you she is A Girl. How can she be my friend?"
"Why not? You are in the same class. You can be friends."
"I don't want girls to be my friend. They don't know Kung Fu. And they want to play stupid games."

He's five. Wonder if he would feel differently when he is fifteen?

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Will I ever learn to Edit?

I had 36 hours to cobble together a post for my organization's blog. 500 words- one word every four minutes! More than enough time.

But I was feeling particularly uninspired. In two hours, I came up with something grammatically and factually accurate, but utterly uninspiring.
I tried a second time. The second version was engaging, but you couldn't understand it, unless you knew exactly what I was talking about.

I slept on it. But still didn't want to edit.
I was happy with Version Three- it conveyed all that I wanted to convey. I managed to get away without Editing!

The blog post is here - Heros of Poverty Revolutions

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Clitoria ternatea

Clitoria ternatea was one of the many flowers my father taught me to love. Even if I could not appreciate its stark lines, the vivid blue colouring made the flower quite unforgettable. "It is used in the worship of Lord Shiva", my father often told me, "because that is the colour of Shiva's throat".

I few months back, I found a dried pod, and planted the seeds. It germinated and grew, but remained unidentified, till it threw out a flower yesterday.

Yesterday was also Shivratri, the day when Shiva is customarily worshiped.

Perhaps those you love do watch over you.
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

An Unexpected Smile

For the first time in years, I took a professional call in the gym today. There are floor-to-ceiling mirrors on all the walls, and though I was concentrating on the call, it was impossible to avoid seeing my reflection talking into the phone. It was only towards the end of the call that I realized that I had been smiling throughout- a full smile, not a tentative one.

Do I really smile that much when I meet someone for the first time? Does a smile even get transmitted over the phone?

Either way, I loved discovering something new about myself!
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Grab every Opportunity

Ten year old Manisha believes in grabbing every opportunity. For centuries, her forefathers have been strangers to the written word, but when a private school took her on as a charity student, she shot to the top of the class.

Her mother is often forced to beg on the streets, to get enough money to feed her family a single meal a day. Undernutrition was taking its toll on Manisha's ability to concentrate on her studies. But just fifteen dollars a month gives her three healthy meals a day. Is that too much to change the life of a child?
To read the full story, whether or not you want to donate, click here.


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