The first prompt for NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) is to write an Ekphrastic Poem. Ekphrasis is the description of a piece of art.

 

One of my favorite artists is Alice Zhang. Some of her works on pop culture are simply wonderful. I am using this work of hers which is titled as “An Ocean of Oil”

Laugh now,

but know that I shall sow the seeds

of vengeance,spite and envy

and wait. Patiently.

I shall water them, nurture them

and let them grow in to big large trees .

And when then when they bear fruits,

I shall set the whole thing on fire.

I shall watch it burn,

and with it

burn every bit of this place to ash.

When there is nothing else left to burn,

I shall finally dance.

 

 

Thanks to Janaki for telling me about NaPoWriMo

Advertisements

Two years ago

Samir smiled. It was the wedding day after all. Nimi had just stepped out of the changing room, and looked wonderful. The golden hues in the saree went wonderfully with her brown hair and eyes, while the pink matched the blush on her cheeks. She had a big smile as she walked towards the mandap, and her eyes shone when they met his. He couldn’t help but think of the day two years ago.

Samir had come back to his home in Bombay for the weekend. The new project in Pune would keep him occupied for most of the working week, leaving him only the weekend to relax. He had planned to catch up on his reading during this weekend. He was idling away on the sofa when his phone gave a beep to signal that he had received an SMS.

“Where are you?”
“Home… Lazing around… Why?”
“Can you meet me? I am at the café. A friend of mine wants to give away some of his books.”
“Excellent! Will join you in some time.”
“Ok, will ask him to come as well.”

He had grown very close to Nimi. He felt that it was about time that he ask her out. He took a shower, and changed in to a fresh pair of jeans and shirt. The café wasn’t far away, and with his bike it would take him less than five minutes. After parking his bike, he stood back in the parking for some time thinking. After taking a deep breath, he opened the door to enter the café.
She was sitting in a corner, watching something intently on the laptop. Her back was to the door, so she couldn’t see him come in. He took a moment for the sight of her to sink in. Here she was in a green tee, and black shorts. Her hair fell back in long waves, while she played with a lock in her left hand. She had long hair that went below her waist. It always smiled nice. He walked towards her and gave her a tap on the shoulder. She smiled and got up to hug him.

“I am hungry.”
“Why didn’t you order something till now?”
“I wanted a paneer sandwich, but they’re out of that.”
“Let’s order something else before we sit down.”
“Will you share a pizza? I will half a pizza and some iced tea.”
“I thought you were hungry.”
“Just hungry, not hungry-hungry.”
He couldn’t help but laugh, as he joined her at the counter to place an order. He ordered for some cola for himself.
“Who’s this friend of yours?”
“Ravi’s from work, in a different department. He is moving to a new place and wants to get rid of his dad’s old books.”
“What do you mean get rid of?”
“He’s not into reading. I know that you love it, so I asked him to come by. We can go to his place together and you can have your pick from the lot.”

They spent the next hour talking and sharing a pizza. He told her of his ongoing project in Pune, and how it kept him away home. She told him about the new boss she had, and what a pain he was. They agreed that bosses in general make it a point to trouble people and that when they would be team leads, they would be different. She laughed so hard at that, that a woman had to come and ask them to tone it down a little. The rest of the conversation took place in stifled giggles and glances in the direction of the woman.

The urge to ask her was overwhelming but he felt it would be better to do so after the visit to Ravi’s house. He didn’t realize that they had spent over an hour and Ravi hadn’t turned up. Almost on cue, Nimi received a call.
“What do you mean you can’t make it? We’ve been waiting for so long over here. I even called Samir over yaar. I wanted the two of you to meet.” She carried on her conversation with him for another minute.

“Sorry yaar, he’s stuck with some work. He has had to rush to help his dad with some of the unloading at the new place.”
“That’s ok. Next weekend perhaps.”
“I know, but I wanted you to meet him today.”
“Why is that?”
“Umm… Ravi asked me out last night. He’s such a great guy. I told him yes! Since you’re such a good friend, I wanted you to the first one to meet him.”

She began to blush. She was so happy that she couldn’t notice the small reaction on his face. It took a great effort on his part to not give away what was going on his mind. Ravi has asked her last night. If only he had asked her some hours ago instead. He wondered what she would have told him then. Would she have told no, and told him of her feelings towards Ravi? Or had they just been good friends too, and Ravi’s asking her had been a natural progression, that wouldn’t have mattered had he asked her before?
“That is great news! Why didn’t you tell yesterday, idiot? This is your treat now!” He smiled as much as he could, and got up to hug her.

He continued smiling as the memories of that day came back to him. Over time he would become good friends with Ravi as well, and the three of them would hang out together at the café. He nudged Ravi in his sides. He was talking to his brother and hadn’t seen Nimi come. His face broke into a wide grin as he saw his wife to be.

Here stood his two friends, at the beginning of their happily ever after.

Written for the ‘Happily ever after prompt’ from Project 365.

My new favorite human

After I woke up from my nap, I moved to a small sunny spot near the window. It was a small spot, but I could make do with it. I wanted to nap again but the floor felt cold. I decided to get up and look for another spot in a different room.

The boy human was propped up on the bed with his hot light and sound thingy. I climbed over the bed and sat near his legs, staring at his wired device. I rubbed my head against his legs and mewed softly to get his attention. The boy turned off the noise, and picked me up.

He smiled and began to scratch behind my ears. It felt so wonderful that it made me purr. He kept me in his lap, and turned his attention to the noise again. A bunch of humans were talking about something on it. Every few minutes his hand would stroke my back.

Then all of a sudden the boy picked me up and placed me next to the thing in which the humans were talking. I couldn’t understand why and looked at him. Then I felt the burst of warm air on my belly. This was so much better than the spot of sunlight in the living room. I stretched and set myself against it. This boy was now my favorite human in the family.

IHM's cat: Sher Khan. Used with permission
IHM’s cat: Sher Khan. Picture used with permission. All rights belong to IHM

 

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. The prompt was to  write a short story/incident (200-300 words) from an animal’s perspective.

Strangers in the night 2

I had written a micro fiction for the Write Tribe 100 words prompt for ‘Strangers in the night’. I did read some of contributions by the other writers, and loved how people took a dark taste to it. I was discussing this with a fellow blogger, and the idea to write a more uplifting take came forward. This is another take on it:

The celebration of their fifth wedding anniversary was a tiring one. It had soon become an occasion for the whole family to gather. While it was fun to meet everyone together, organizing the whole affair at the last minute had been hectic. He was sitting on the bed and didn’t realize when she came and sat behind him. She just sat there behind him, hugging him. He felt a familiar comfort in her presence. Without indication, she playfully bit his shoulder. He laughed naughtily and turned around. After all these years, it felt like they were strangers in the night.

Written for the Write Tribe- 100 Words on Saturday 2014 – 2 Prompt: Strangers in the night.

Strangers in the night

The family was cheerful as the dessert was being served. Everyone had come together for the first anniversary of the couple. They had had a long day with the celebrations and greeting all the family members, but were still looked as cheerful and fresh. Once everyone had left, they went to their bedroom. He lay down on the bed after changing into his pyjamas, and she joined him by his side. Neither spoke as they stared at the ceiling, before sleep came to them. A year after their marriage they were married by day and were strangers in the night.

100 Words on Saturday - Write Tribe

Written for the Write Tribe- 100 Words on Saturday 2014 – 2 Prompt: Strangers in the night.

Micro fiction: Thinking of love

He was wondering what had happened between them. He couldn’t bring himself to do the things he was asked to. Then, it became clear to him. He hadn’t stopped loving her. He had just begun to love himself too.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. The prompt is for the post to contain the word ‘love’ and complete the story in just 5 sentences.

A year after the apocalypse

I was reading some status updates about how today is one year after the day (21st December 2012) a bunch of people believed that the world would end. It got me thinking and I made a facebook update. One thought lead to another, and I made in to a thread. This is what I finally ended up with.

 

What if there really was an apocalypse one year ago and only a handful of humans survived? But unable to deal with all the pain of losing almost of everyone we knew, someone developed a virtual reality which starts a day before the apocalypse, and in this illusion the apocalypse never happens.

You’re just living in a life of illusions and imaginations. I am not alive. I died when a meteor caused the mall I was buying chocolates in to collapse. You’re reading this because you mind imagined that I would post something like this. A figment of your imagination, just like everyone else around. They’re all dead. DEAD. DEAD. DEAD.

Now that you know that is not the real world you’re living in but just a simulation, what do you do? Do you continue in this virtual world, knowing full well what pain, the real world holds for you? What if you never wanted the illusion to get so out of hand that it creates an entirely different world for you? Now that you know it, you want out?

Plot twist… But you can’t get out. You’ve been put in a self-sustaining machine that is keeping you alive via a breathing and feeding apparatus. Your thoughts and actions in this simulation cannot influence the machine or the real world. The question here is, what is more painful? The real life where your world was ravaged by an apocalypse? Or living in an illusion knowing full well that it is so, and what the real world holds for you?

Another plot twist. You can choose to come out of the simulation, but for ulterior reasons the makers of the machine and simulation built this thought that you can’t get out of it as a fail-safe to keep the simulation going on. You can do it, but you’ve been lead to believe that it is impossible.

After some time you slowly come to terms with your life in the simulation. You don’t have much control over how the simulation plays out as it is reflection of the imaginations from your subconscious, but you accept this new life and embrace it. You now have a loving family with the person you always liked, and a dream job.
Plot twist. There never was an apocalypse, this simulation was built as a trial so that we can use it when something like this really happens. You are now taken out of the simulated life you had come to embrace. The people you loved, and lived with are no longer there. They were just how your imagination worked them out to be. You now live with these people, who are so different from how you remember them in your imagination.

You’re unable to come to terms with this, and your mind begins to play games on you. There are flashes, only momentary which are like glimpses into the life you had. After a period of substance abuse, you want to end it all and plan to kill yourself. By the time you are about to do it, some of faculties come back at you. There is someone who is screaming at you to not do it. You tell them about the lie of a life you were made to live in, and that you can’t take it anymore.

As you are about to take the final step, you are filled with doubt. Is this the real world or the simulated world? Have you actually come back to the real world, or has living for so long in the simulated world make you think that it is real world. It could be coping mechanism by your mind.

When you do kill yourself, will be it real or not? Will you die? If it’s not real what will happen to you? Will you find out immortality of yourself in this simulation? Will the simulation reset itself, and all of it feel like a dream that you cannot fully remember? What will happen?

 

Is there an end to this?

 

 

The walls

I had a feeling of helplessness as I stood there, staring at the walls. The outer wall was once strong and protective, and now a blanket of green moss surrounded it. I didn’t want to spend much time there, so went inside to get it over with. I tried to prepare myself, for all that I could feel when I would get this over with. The walls were supposed to be once a symbol of strength, were now decaying with neglect.

The door was left open, probably by the last person who had been here to steal something for himself. The inner walls once bore a brilliant shade, but the purple paint was now peeling off to reveal the plaster beneath it. I stared at the fireplace in the hall. When once the room used to be covered in the orange warmth of its glowing fire, now lay the walls blackened by soot. A cracked shell of what it once was.

With great difficulty, I opened one of the cupboards that were there. The doors did not require much pull as they were swaying open with glasses broken, but I needed to strength to confront what I might find in them, present or missing. There were only two things left, an old notebook and a pot of ink. The pages had yellowed with age, but the ink still remained fluid. The bottle of vibrant blue ink held my eye, I assumed it would still glow if I saw it against the light.

I hoped to use this ink and write in the notebook as I once did. I would hold the nib of my pen for a second longer than I had to, when I would complete a chapter. It would amaze me how the ink would flow out fast and fluid, as it spread life in the pages on which I wrote. IT took me some time to look for a pen. I found one lying below the cupboard, its cap long lost. As I began to fill it with ink, I noticed that the nib was broken. The pen and the inkpot fell from my hand.

The ink spreads all over the carpet like a waste, quite different from how I remember it. Slow, and thick. I have a feeling of helplessness as I stand here, staring at the walls.

***

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

Chapter 5 – First stroke of luck (Tribe whispers)

We all know about this game called Chinese Whispers in which one person whispers a message to another, which is passed through a line of people until the last player announces the message to the entire group. We at Write Tribe are doing just that but with stories on our blog. One person tells a short story on his/her blog, the next Blogger will continue the story, till it finishes on Blogger no. 9.

Chapter 1 by Richa

Chapter 2 by Shilpa

Chapter 3 by Pixie

Chapter 4 by Pheno

*****

Chapter 5 – First stroke of luck

Ankitha kept staring at the man who sat in front of her. As much as he looked like Shishir, his behavior and mannerisms were totally different. The Shishir she knew carried himself with a sense of certainty, and confidence. The man in front of her was a bumbling man, who was reduced to stammers on being confronted by whom he thought was a stranger. She ignored the phone call she received and kept her attention on him.  He was not taking it well. While he was just stammering before, he seemed a nervous wreck now. Sweat was trickling profusely from his temple, trickling slowly down by his ear and onto his neck. At this pace, he would begin to draw attention from those who sat in the café.

“Why don’t you visit the washroom?”

“I d-d-d-don’t have to.”

“Look at yourself, you’re sweating heavily. Go wash your face.”

Whatever protest he wanted to make, went down in a whimper when he saw the look on her face. He nodded and slowly walked towards the washroom, with his gaze on the floor all this while. She took this window of time to run through the back pack he had on him. There was a laptop and a hard disk in one of the compartments. While the contents of the hard disk interested her, she didn’t have the time to copy the data from it on to the memory cards she carried in her purse. There were some print outs of a project report, of which she quickly took photographs. There was a bunch of pen and pencils in the other along with a few bars of dark chocolate.

He hates dark chocolate, she thought. Why was he carrying a bunch of it then? It could all be part of his cover. That didn’t make any sense to carry so many of them, though. She quickly put a bar in her purse as well. She could hear him fumbling with the door lock to open it. She quickly zipped the bag, and kept it back on the floor. He came back looking refreshed, but still nervous. If this was an undercover mission, it didn’t seem that he was going to tell her about it in public. If he wanted to, he would contact her through the means they had already had in place for times like this.

“What, what d-d-d-oo you want from me?”
“I am sorry, you look a lot like my friend Shishir. He had disappeared six months ago. We are all worried about him.”

“I am sorry, I d-d-d-ont recognize you. My name may b-b-bee Shishir, b-b-but you have mistaken me with someone else.”

“I understand, sorry to have taken your time.”
He got up and walked out of the café, with his gaze down all the time. She didn’t want to follow him now, and arouse suspicion from whoever might be keeping an eye on him. She knew where he worked at , and would trace him from there. All she had were the photographs she had taken and the single bar of dark chocolate. It did not bear the name of any brand or have any distinguishing packaging or logo. Just the words ‘Dark chocolate 3’ were written on the wrapper. She tore open an edge of the wrapping and took a bite. It didn’t taste very different, just had a slightly pleasant after taste. She would get it checked in one of her trusted labs.

She got up and ordered a coffee for herself, and then began to read whatever she had captured in the photographs.

******

I now hand over to Ayush Chauhan to take the story ahead.

Tribe whispers is an idea proposed by Ayush Chauhan in the Write Tribe Group. Members of the group are working together to create a story. Read more here: Tribe whispers at Hundred Works

Memories

He had been lying asleep on the floor for some time now. One would have thought that the house had been empty had it not been for the sounds from the fan as it continued whirring. He was in a rare session of a long uninterrupted sleep from which he hadn’t woken up for the last 8 hours. This would however not last long as he was soon rudely awoken by the constant ringing of the doorbell. The doorbell along with the banging on the door aggravated the headache he got from the being woken up so suddenly.

“YES! YES! I am coming” He yelled before getting up. He got up with the help of the sofa, and walked groggily towards the door. He fumbled a little with the door lock before opening it. The sudden burst of sunlight hit him hard in the eyes. He looked through the squinted eyes to see his domestic help standing at the door. He let her in the house, and closed the door. She didn’t need any specific instructions and went about her normal routine which began with making the rooms tidy after which she would wash the clothes in the laundry basket and vessels in the kitchen sink. The sunlight had ensured that he was wide awake by now, and he went to the bathroom to freshen up.

After brushing his teeth, and washing his face he took a long look in the mirror. His hair hand grown long and without the generous of a comb appeared wild. His stubble had grown into a full beard, and had now begun to itch below his chin. In spite of the lack of responsibility he felt towards it because of being on a ten day leave, he took up the can of shaving foam and began to shave it itchy growth of. He turned on the shower and stood under it for some time, motionless. Generally he would find such a long bath relaxing, however he didn’t feel the same today. He wondered if he had felt anything for a long time now.

After the prolonged shower, he put on a tee and shorts. He walked in to the kitchen to take out something to drink from the fridge. He picked up an unfinished carton of juice, and began to drink from it. He stared at the month’s calendar he had stuck on the fridge. It was the 12th of this month. This meant that he still had four days left in his leave before he would have to resume the daily grind again. The very idea of it seemed to dull him even more.
The domestic help had finished her work and he nodded as she went out of the house shutting the door behind her. He went back to the hall where he had been lying asleep before. He checked his mobile after he plugged it in the charger. There were a couple of notifications from Facebook and Whatsapp. Nothing that couldn’t wait, he thought and sat down on the floor again. He rummaged through the brown bag that was kept on the sofa. He took out the many envelopes that were kept in them, with names of the different cities that he had been in.

He opened the envelope with the name SFO on it. He had very fond and personal memories associated with the place. He emptied the contents of it on the floor. There was a bill for the first breakfast he had there, couple of dollar coins which were returned as change, and a photo postcard he had purchased that he had forgotten to post. He stared at them for a couple of minutes more, lost in the memories that were rushing back. He then moved on the others.

 

 

Write Tribe
Written for Words: Write Tribe Contest # 1