Short Story Archive for Family:


March 10, 2016

He stirs in his sleep as I stir my hot chocolate…..stairs continue creaking softly prior to settling down for balance of night….
Then he mumbles in his sleep and I wonder if he is talking to his amma (mom) his yardstick for correlating
Life in general and cooking in particular…. Magic touch of lovingly cooked dishes somehow anoint for life ….regardless of age ….umbilical cords stay put in phantom form…. I gently turn him while settling down once again….now back to counting sheep chasing elusive sleep …..

March 13, 2016
we fit loosely hand in glove, fingers interlocked till death do us part…
two state of minds, physically from two diverse north south “bent of mind states yet we jell imperfectly, perfectly. This state did not get arrived at easily but a well dinned cultural conditioning did go a long way into more firming with categorically zero asunder as an easy out and I was no quitter.
our solemn knot stays tied to date, tad beat up and frayed at edges
like a much loved worn out pair of hush puppies snugly hugging tired feet.
this pairing is, has been a feat in the making…
daily I rise and crank my role poly over the hill bag of bones –
involuntary groans and sighs escaping and admixing with cheery garden twitter while my “now” partner in crime blissfully sleeps chasing haunting happy sad moments from past as he continues to babble in sleep… He says I snore terribly and I wonder if my snores drown his “sleep talk” …
we are quite a pair and happy for it…

March 15, 2016

routine days never turn out to be quite routine actually…
both retired, semi tired keep busy doing our own thing until we either collude or collide…
collisions usually end up in minor flare up and pouts with periods of non speaking for various lengths of time until one of us breaks this impasse
posing as if nothing had really happened…. and then we chug along as usual.
Usually I break our “silent” huffs given that I am the talkative one at home while Ganesh is more talkative abroad or when known company is present… In fact he is known to chat up any and all strangers on the street with aplomb while we cringe and try to become invisible… hahaha
I am in fact so talkative that once I was bet a grand if I could pass 24 hours without speaking… I barely lasted three, four hours failing miserably.
This enforced tongue tying made me fit to be tied considering how much hot off the press gossip, news and stuff I had that I was dying to share with my family.
As a result all of us had a good laugh at my expense amidst lots of head shakes and tut..tuttttsss…
My record for non-stop talking is 48 hours without any sleep break when we teamed up with a dear friend once during our summer holidays during our Bombay days.
life at this juncture in our lives can be dull if we let it… we try to keep it humming in our own way..
more later….

taste memories


A great dish is like a great memoir: in both, the salty, the bitter,
the sweet and the tart that must be in perfect balance to succeed. The memoir
writer relies on nostalgia and sentimentality, but without horror and
tragedy to leaven the sweetness, well, it wouldn’t be life, would it?

(excerpt from article in 1996 New York Times: Food, Taste Memory by Molly O’Niell)
My mind is a steel trap where taste memories are concerned- often conjuring those that bring a rush of tenderness and smiles and others that make me grimace.

Just now I tasted a snack after mixing a spicy one with a sweet snack and immediately mom came to mind. Her way of eating was without ever compromising no matter how fatigued she was due to various reasons. Her serving platter (Indian thali) had to have a couple of fresh roti, small bowl of freshly made lentils, yogurt, side of vegetable, papad, few veggie fritters with pickles and a small salad. Mom’s favorite evening snack with tea was a mix of two snacks- one salty and other sweet. Tart and salty was another of her acquired tastes which has now percolated to me. I don’t need any triggers to remember her as she safely dwells in my heart
but she was a good cook and taste memories at once bring her dear face to mind and I become both happy sad simultaneously..

some bonds are like that – defy life, death, everything…

55 Micro – story adaptation

He: “I love you dearly”. She: “Prove it”

Overcome by passion he nodded and left.

Blind rush led to his fall

“Are you hurt son?” cried the bleeding fallen heart.

He shook his head. Miraculously his besotted mind cleared.

Guilt ridden and heartbroken he realized the supreme difference

Between the two loves and wept bitterly.

*****adaptation source: (wiki)


Prince Iraj Mirza (1874–1926) (titled Jal?l-ol-Mam?lek), son of prince Gholam Hossein Mirza, was a famous Iranian poet. He was a modern poet and his works are associated with the criticism of traditions

Iraj Mirza Jalaalol-Mamalek, mostly known as Iraj, who was the first Iranian master of colloquial poetry.

Among many poems that Iraj composed, his well-known poems include Satan (in Persian: Ebleess),

In Satan, Iraj explains how a wife maliciously complains about her mother-in-law, and encourages her husband to kill his own mother and bring the heart for her. The young man, ignores the respect due to his mother, pushes her to the ground, cuts her chest and takes her heart out. As he walks toward the door, all of the sudden, he falls and injures himself. He then clearly hears his mother’s heart cry out: “Oh! My son’s hand got cut. Oh! My son’s foot was hurt!” In this poem Iraj plainly presents the evidence of an Unconditional Love.

** image is from internet only -disclaimer

The Wishing Tree


Every winter the story teller came south to a heartwarming welcome.  His advent was eagerly looked forward to the whole year by both the children and adults.  His spun tales enchanted everyone.


He began, “Today I am going to tell you about the Wishing Tree.  It is a true story.

It was an exceptionally warm day.  Everyone was trying to cool off with flavored ices and frequent showers.  Rains had been plentiful that year.

We were a ten strong group and moved everywhere in unison.  Two brothers in our group were catholic and attended the localchurchofVirgin Mary.  It was Sunday evening and we had congregated at our favorite spot near the town park’s swings.  It was a sticky hot day and we had cleaned out the sweetened crushed ices seller of his ices.  He had left for the evening.  It was then that the two boys blurted out something that startled us all.    Both of them had seen tears streaming down the face of the Virgin Mary during morning mass.  They had spoken to no one but invited us to verify for ourselves.

We  rushed to experience this phenomena for ourselves.  We took our cues from Johnny and Tommy and knelt in the pews and stared hard at the Virgin Mary.  I can still feel goose bumps even now in recollection.  We all saw the tears stream down.  We decided to ask the church pastor about it.

So far only our group had seen this miracle.  The pastor came and verified too.  He was all excited and kept making the sign of the cross again and again.  In exuberance, he had the church bells rung to beckon the believers.  They all came and marveled too.  No one knew what to make of it.  The bishop was also informed.  After a week, the tears stopped.  Thereafter, within the church complex, a dead tree stump suddenly came to life.  It was as if the tears streaming down the face of Virgin had brought it back to life.  Soon it grew to its full height with strong branches laden with healthy green leaves.  It was the holy *Peepal tree, much revered by us Hindus.

A worried mother, wrote a note to the Virgin asking her aid in healing her one and only very sick child.  She tied this note to the tree branch.  Within a week, the child was healed.  Soon others wrote notes to the Virgin asking for help.  The church coffers filled to bursting and on hold repairs were finally undertaken.  Then the Virgin appeared to the church priest in a vision night before Sunday mass and said that everyone whose wish is granted must untie one note from the tree and help that person as pay it forward and she would help through that person only.   Next day during mass, the priest shared his vision and thus the town started helping each other through the notes tied to the Wishing Tree.

One day an agitated neighbor came and knocked our door.  My father was theKrishnatemple priest and much revered among the Hindus.  His advise was often sought to settle petty disputes. The neighbor had sought help from the Wishing Tree and in return had brought back a note which had shaken him to the core.  He wanted advice from father on how to go about fulfilling this wish.  The note said, “Dear Virgin Mary, I live in the orphanage and long for a mommy and a daddy of my own who will love me.  I was left at the church steps when I was very little.  Since I am nine years old, no one will adopt me as everyone says I am too old.  Please help me.  –signed Rose Da Cunha.”

Mr. Shiva Sharma was a devout Hindu and it would be very hard for him to fulfill this wish even though his own had been met by the Wishing Tree.  He looked at father for guidance.  Father suggested that he talk about this note at home and ask for everyone’s opinion.  Since the family wish had been met, they were honor bound to pay it forward as desired by the Virgin Mary.  It had been very easy to ask help of the Wishing Tree in the church ground but very hard to cross the bridge of religious differences.  Sharma family was divided.  The Sharma children were open to sharing their home with Rose as their adopted sister but their mother would have none of it.  She had a hard time managing her own brood of three boys and two girls and now a sixth one and that too a possible meat eating Christian would be too much for her to handle.   She stayed adamant.

It was early morning time and Mrs. Sheila Sharma was busy performing the daily prayer rituals and had lit the lamp before the deity.  Suddenly, the image of herKrishnaidol became that of the Virgin Mary and she beheld tears streaming from the idol’s face.  Mrs. Sharma rubbed her eyes to reassure herself whether this was real or not.  Her belovedKrishnaidol had morphed into Virgin Mary!  She had a change of mind immediately and agreed to adopt Rose as her sixth child.  She realized that the inner divine is the same in all religions.  Rose was rechristened  *Roshni Sharma as she had brought enlightenment into their lives.”

The storyteller then dropped a bombshell.  He said his wife’s name was Roshni.

Notes: Roshni means light and Peepal tree: The Sacred Fig, Ficus religiosa, or Bo-Tree (from     Sanskrit  bodhi: “wisdom”, ” enlightened.


The heirloom, an antique timepiece was the family’s prized possession.  It had been given to their distant ancestor in recognition for gallantry by Empress Catherine the Great herself.  He had been a Cossack in the royal guard.  It was also a reminder of their Russian bloodline.  Names like Nicholas, Peter, Ivan, Anton and Alex were often given to their newborns either as first or second names.

The revered heirloom had to be kept within the family and not sold.   The four brothers had no solution for the only condition in the will.  This became a real headache as they lived world’s apart managing the family’s vast foreign holdings.  How to meet this condition?

Their beloved housekeeper came up with an ingenious solution.

She said,   “Each of you should keep it for a year and a week before the time runs out, you should gather here in this family home for a vacation and then hand it over to next in line.  This will keep you all closely connected, even your children.  Consider it as a yearly family vacation.”  Everyone loved the idea and it was at once agreed upon

The Cossack patriarch beamed in satisfaction from his portrait above the fireplace.



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