Short Story Archive for Stories:

Hot Lips

Thanks to Facebook every morning one revisits posts from “on this day” from previous years.

Upon reading my old post I fondly recalled my first acquaintance with HOT LIPS
which was synonymous with HOT LIPS HOULIHAN FROM MASH… we enjoyed that sitcom hugely along with others…

Second and 3rd encounters with Hot Lips happened as under:
“Then I met my room- mate in rehab and every time she rouged her lips I’d imagine her Hot Lips chasing my Ganesh all puckered up and I’d chuckle and feel sorry for her…
After rehab and recovery we’d gone for a wonderful trip to Croatia and Slovenia. One of our fellow travelers : a very kind lady …would constantly rouge her protruding lips and being slim built ..she was somehow all lips …during the whole trip I kept dreaming about her protruding hot lips seeking kisses from her companion…they were both very caring and friendly but those “hot lips” took some time before fading from my mind !

Last year at this time I was in rehab after left knee replacement …here are excerpts :

Rehab diaries …..

I’ve been wondering if I’ve landed from the fire ‘surgery’ into a pudding full of mixed nuts ‘rehab facility’ !

Those of staff who remembered me from last year gave me broad smiles and warm hugs and the unknown ones eyed me warily.. I was too far gone in pain to care one way or other.

The food quality for vegetarians has improved somewhat happily.. I believe there is a different dietician.

The room they gave is a share with A Hip Surgery. Boy! This one does like to vent and grumble when possible. I pretend to sleep most of the time. Her previous room- mate she had had bundled out as she’d watched TV whole night i was told.

Last night, i got the fright of my life. While knee deep in sleep I suddenly heard bloodcurdling screams …it was the Hip Surgery having nightmares! She scared me silly and I don’t scare easily…

So much for unplanned excitement…. Talk to you later. Have a great weekend, love, bina
Part 2:

Today has been a less chaotic day as things are falling in place and or missing their mark, just…

Meals are tedium personified and am truly elated with this factor as I diligently gulp down one to two mouthfuls keeping all the pills to be had subsequently….uppermost in mind..

Nevertheless my rather feisty ‘hip surgery’ was able to get a couple of vanilla ice- creams to end today and this I gladly ingested with alacrity.

Ms. Cane aka hip surgery is shy of eighty by two years, extremely garrulous and quite resourceful. By all means, cajoling, praising, smiling, snarling or being sarcastic..whichever works, she gets her stuff done. After contriving to lose two room- mates, she has decided to keep me after duly approving me with her eagle eyes….my shy pleasing demeanor no doubt coupled with my 100 watt smile won her over I guess. Problem is, am not sure I want to be there… She has guessed as much and keeps on offering choice pieces of edibles as olive branches… Even though this allegory is a misfit.

Today Ganesh came by with my already prepared stuff. We chatted for a while and then he met Ms. C. Outside our room, in the hallway. Quickly ice was broken and they were on to great back and forth repartees….

Meanwhile Ganesh excused himself in Hindi he as wanted to get home early.

Ms.C hastily entered our room, went to her bed and quickly applied rouge and lip color combing her hair etc…kind of freshened up. Then she asked where was Ganesh? I said ‘he had to leave early hence was gone.’ She was quite disappointed. In any case much later her son came over with his wife …hence the makeup did not go for waste.

After they departed…She told me ‘my son approves of you’. I nearly fell off the bed…. ”


Journal counted…

May 17, 2017

Today I woke up …steady on my feet …this time last year I was prepping for left knee replacement …only anesthesia can put my active mind under ..otherwise I guess it runs as if nuclear powered even though I wish it ran on solar panels !
and this reminds me of our current dismal state of affairs : if only our EPA had more teeth instead of being sledgehammered by current administration …one among a litany of woes these days
even as we gear up to travel in less than a month, I fondly recall all the helping hands and leg ups I’ve received to date while navigating and crisscrossing the globe in various directions in thirty plus countries
People I’ve realized are innately kind and I wish to thank each and everyone from the innermost recesses of my heart … THANK YOU and a big sloppy bear hug !
Life itself is a journey and the way we navigate it is very important … it will always have its ups and downs …thing is being bull-doggish in temperament … I fight adversity tooth and nail as my goal nowadays is either to kick the bucket in great style failing which quietly float way with dignity… no more raging at the dying of light… but this can only happen after I cross off my bucket list which is finally getting pared down and …. one last thing as I continue to work on myself … I want to forgive all those who’ve hurt me one way or another especially knowingly as I don’t wish to meet them again in my next life as I firmly believe in reincarnation !
now am going to drink to life with a lemon twist and a spoonful of honey … life is life full of startling mixed flavors !


April 29, 2017
when it all began..
having touched almost 40 odd countries and innumerable cities world over, I’ve decided to jot down early memories before mind becomes foggy…
Amritsar city memories:
Amritsar with famed Golden Temple is where it all began… after partition this is where the family crossed over to… from Lahore Pakistan….
my earliest memory is of being tossed in the air by dad’s second youngest brother in our family home inside the old walled city of Amritsar… I can clearly hear the sounds he made with his puckered mouth while tossing me in the air…I must’ve been barely two-three years old…rest is hazy.. this image has stuck due to the sudden hurl in air and my squealing delight admixed with fear thereof, I guess…
I also distinctly recall our family trip to Haridwar at the banks of holy river Ganges… Gangaa as we call it… Mom was carrying me in her arms and I must’ve been less than three years but very light and skinny … my two elder siblings Pushpa didi and Neena who was dressed in a frock was also there seated on my uncle’s lap. It was a family outing with mom’s real and step brothers and sisters … we had taken a family photo of this memorable trip and we all had an copy of it… but for the life of me I am unable to find it …our home is an abyss….I also recall mom’s real bro force feeding us hot green chillies as punishment for touching his battery operated toys …he would bunch the skirt of our frocks in his hand to stop us from escaping… mom would implore to let us go to no avail… we took revenge in other ways that I know …cannot recall much now …
Next memory is of our fun overnight summer trips from Bombay to Amritsar in the Frontier mail… the powerful nasty smells and the cacophony of steamy heaving crowds still assail my senses powerfully… the flash of reds of the porters’ shirts with copper number tags and their deft push/pull of odd shaped luggages/trunks/bedrolls through the train windows..with hasty leaps inside to reserve empty berths and placement of food tiffins on the tiny tables next to the windows and the clay water Jug with with a long spout like a tea-kettle…safely put away in a corner under the seat…. this was a yearly adventure as we literally gobbled away food and time playing card games, mildly squabbling, playing with ceiling fans from upper berth of the train and curiously staring at fellow passengers and their doings… …monkeys usually got inside the trains once it huffed and puffed inside railway platforms of the cities of Surat and or Ratlam in eastern part of India … food was literally snatched from my hand by one monkey..this is another distinct memory…
Our Amritsar vacation of couple of months was spent between staying with dad’s sister in her sprawling home near the bridge which separated old city from new construction..and at maternal grandpa’s home.. We enjoyed rides in grandpa’s horse buggy to the Company gardens where we gorged on ‘paneer pakoras” and “chaat” etc. and an absolutely delicious “paan” ..betel leaf filled with stuff ..
The station teas and hot fritter snacks were delicious and we usually bought some magazine or comics from the stalls… I remember being hooked to a monthly called “Chandamama” meaning “Uncle Moon”…
more later
Amritsar word itself means a lake of nectar… am going to jot down whatever I can sieve from my memory in all flavors … one distinct image that I recall is from wee hours of early morning in Amritsar when there was a gentle tap on the door and grandpa opened it to let the person in quietly … they tiptoed into the “baithakhana” sitting room as it was called and after much hugging ..they both wept profusely… this behavior further fed my rampant curiosity …being a light sleeper I was peeping from another room with eyes wide as saucers … after feeding this gentleman who was dressed like a tradesman, grandpa saw him off and that person left as stealthily as he’d entered……
Later during the day I heard him tell granny that their “Dhobi” laundryman had come with news from Lahore… he must’ve quietly slipped through the borders and no man’s land to visit his “Lalajee” as grandpa was fondly known as… and then both granny and grandpa had tears in their eyes … I did not have the heart to quiz and pester them with questions.
Just before our yearly visits from Bombay…granny would have different savories and snacks freshly made and had them stored in a big wooden almirah (cupboard) so that we could help ourselves whenever we wanted to munch something without asking for permission… those were growing years and we were hungry all the time even though I was a finicky eater……
we explored the whole house with it’s three roof terraces. the dark servant’s quarter and the lower level with a stall for a cow and calf ….I can still smell the hay / horse’s fodder… and hear the animal snorts and moos …. these sounds are punctuated by the gurgles from the hookah that grandpa smoked after the cook Bakshi..had prepared it just the way grandpa enjoyed was spit polished and readied on daily basis … granny was diminutive and extremely fragile with eyes oozing love and tenderness… I only recall her gentle hugs from childhood… Grandpa had a robust booming voice and he was the unofficial “judge” for the merchant community and usually settled most big small cases that were brought to him… like a true Solomon…
As an aside: During our visit to Morocco we’d entered a “Hookah bar” with hookah tables. The place had a gypsy /Berber decor and was like a tent ..our whole group had taken photographs of us smoking “sheeshaa” as it’s called over there… it was rather fun …but was kind of decadent and seedy as well…just not my cup of tea… Now back to grandpa’s place of business: we usually made a trip during the day to his storefront that was within walking distance from the house … the shop floor was covered by a thick mattress topped by pure white sheets…there was an ebony desk with a foldable leaf in which the “Bahi-khataa” account books were placed … as far as I can recall grandpa had a spice and dry fruit business and usually sent mama (mom’s bro) and other cousins to Jammu, Dehradun, Mussoorie, Dalhousie and other places for business etc.. they also owned property there …this was a joint family business with his only other brother and a cousin brother with a large family living in the same by-lane as grandpa… we had fun visiting this granduncle as well… and could reach his home by jumping over roofs of the interconnected houses until we faced that house and then simply came down and crossed over… I believe this granduncle’s couple of sons live in the US too but I have no contact with them …
Life was very interesting as there was much to process in this teeming and sensually rich city called Amritsar after year-round stay in the concrete jungle called Bombay … which was a blur of getting ready for school…heavy back-breaking school bags… four months of rubber gum-boots during the monsoons…sloshing in muddy flood waters dressed in lengthy smelly duck-back raincoats, sniffly noses and hot sweet ginger teas and often milk laced with brandy for a restful night of sleep… … well I’ve digressed a bit… when we visited grandpa at his shop he usually took me in his lap as I was the sickly one and fed me fresh cup of cool fruit-cream and then kulfi and other mouthwatering treats …my elder sib Neena was usually with me and we went everywhere as a twosome … sometimes we took a rickshaw to visit mom’s other cousins and stepbrothers and sisters… the step- granny was a real fun person and we had a jolly time with her as well… some rickshaw seats had a slight tilt which made one slide off when we were being driven and I recall hanging on for dear life with my skinny arms…
( our real grandpa was the younger brother and when he remarried…mom and her two siblings were adopted by the elder brother who became our “real” grandpa in letter and spirit and whom we loved fiercely –he only had one daughter and hence loved mom and her two siblings very much)

Me in my weirdness

Life in general, particular

I often react to people as in total strangers and have this inexplicable pull to engage them and blurt stuff that emanates involuntarily…it can be both uncanny and weird…plus I get goose flesh to boot..rather strange if I say so myself…
Happened again this evening…met two lovely Brits holidaying in Italy in length/breadth as much as time out of their “life real” allows…..

Both had this heavy kind of aura of sadness and melancholia about them that my own lightness of spirit wanted to brush away…

I blurted stuff that was already in one’s back of mind and brought it to their forefront….they seriously thought of considering this journey to regain their joy and it made me content and at peace somehow…

I felt I was merely a conduit in their life’s journey …a carrier pigeon albeit a roly-poly one! …and am not one to question these urges of mine any more…
Life is what is…strange, marvelous, miraculous…incredible..
Moi avec Mt. Etna, Sicily

thinking out loud…

truth is usually a woman no one acknowledges…..
when you truly love someone, you want more for them…above and beyond yourself……..
and if they are ill, you realize your want is actually selfish….
you pray for buying more time standing at the edge of heartbreak
and in next breath out of your pure love
you find yourself incoherently praying for a quick release
for loved one who is diminishing right before your eyes from debilitating pain…..
such is pure love….a mix of quiet happiness mingled with grief of loss.
you mourn for both …….. I did that when mom passed away…pleaded for time and in next breath prayed for quick release from pain…
2016 has left me bereft and all alone
as I deal with another sibling’s loss…
I just heard my sis Neena’s voice on many phone calls she’d made on whataspp.. which I’d inexplicably missed ….I hug her voice close to me with hurt somewhat assuaged…….will hang on to her calls full of love and concern for my knee surgery et al…. c’est vie……..
I remember you when old Hindi songs we sang together play on TV
I remember you with every cup of tea as I always made you laugh at that time and you’d splutter and beg me to shut up
I remember you on your birthday when we danced together and you wished yourself happy birthday
I remember you almost every day when I see my face
and you smile back at me ….

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