Short Story Archive for Stories:

immunity

Intense joy, grief no longer etch inroads in a heart that stays a mere pump as at this point in life
I stand dead centre of emotional highway’s crossroads –
untouched in my core –
is this detached state a leg up to the final turnstile of this life’s fold?
know not, this subterranean river serenely babbles other notes-
I stay engaged, detached player, spectator, sport

Delhi

cloudy-weather-in-delhi21

It’s a precipice, this city. Sharp, rugged, unbracing.
Everywhere you go in Delhi, the edge never leaves you.
I look out at the precipice that the city is.
Sharp with the setting sun’s rays.
Rugged like the Gulmohar’s bark.
Enticing nonetheless like a kaleidoscopic slope seen from afar. ..Nabina Das
Delhi …the old world Dilli…dilwalonki Dilli ….of Meena Bazar and narrow bylanes where sounds of “azan” intermingle cheek by jowl with fervent temple bells….the tinkling of anklets and bracelets shyly giggling at lovers’ trysts….

the fading jaded decadence of bygone era of opulent excesses…

the reverberating sighs of a deposed ruler poet Bahadur Shah Zafar exiled to far flung city unceremoniously plucked from beloved hometown by money and power hungry British Company Raj

“Lagta nahi hai dil mera
Ujde dayar mein
Kis ki bani hai aalame
Na payedar mein
Keh do in hasrato se
Kahi aur ja base
Itni jagah kahan hai
Dile dagdaar mein
Itni jagah kahan hai
Dile dagdaar mein
Umre daraz mang ke
Laye the char din
Do aarzu mein kat gaye
Do intazaar mein
Do aarzu mein kat gaye
Do intazaar mein
Kitna hai badnasib
Zafar dafn ke liye
Kitna hai badnasib
Zafar dafn ke liye
Do gaz zamin bhi
Na mili kue yaar mein
Do gaz zamin bhi
Na mili kue yaar mein
Lagta nahi hai dil mera
Ujde dayar mein.”

My heart has no repose in this despoiled land?Who has ever felt fulfilled in this futile world???The nightingale complains about neither the sentinel nor the hunter?Fate had decreed imprisonment during the harvest of spring??Tell these longings to go dwell elsewhere?What space is there for them in this besmirched heart???Sitting on a branch of flowers, the nightingale rejoices?It has strewn thorns in the garden of my heart??I asked for a long life, I received four days?Two passed in desire, two in waiting.??The days of life are over, evening has fallen?I shall sleep, legs outstretched, in my tomb??How unfortunate is Zafar! For his burial?Not even two yards of land were to be had, in the land of his beloved
~

…the light and sound magical enactments in old Red fort of old Delhi…these draw and spell magic to my history enamored heart and mind…

the rundown smattering of crumbling tombs, Qutb Minar , Hauz Khas, Nizam-ud-din and sundry historic monuments….the draw of National museums housing saved treasures ….this is the Delhi I love…

new Delhi….is as stated by Nabina Das above…it is sharp and edgy and not above drawing blood from the unwary …

forcing one and all on their toes for sake of life, limbs, dignity and what’s in pocket/handbag …. Give me my beloved Bombay any day… I’d take
“Amchi Mumbai” any day over your smog bitten Delhi..

image above is via Google only ~
Amchi=our

A foggy polluted evening at the Vijaypath facing the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on monday. Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal New Delhi 071215

A foggy polluted evening at the Vijaypath facing the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on monday. Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal New Delhi 071215

Journal contd…where mind is without fear

April 12, 2016  Nothing Maudlin

wake at decent hour for a change but a head filled with swatches
of thoughts – an admix of happy, disconcerting.
when did I ever really get desired, unasked?
I ask myself..whatever fell in lap, I made it happen putting wheels in motion in my own quiet way. Lady luck did push other wheel providentially.
I’ve gotten what I’ve paid for by blood gut sweat tears and am happy for it.
earning and bingeing on own kneaded bread butter leaves no messy clutter in emotional debris and finger pointing.
However, that doesn’t abate certain yearnings in heart… tears having dried long ago..
coming to terms with that is really something else and am no quitter
detachment -full and final is name of game and am surely going to get there

April 13, 2016

Heart of the matter, matter of Heart
~
heart weeps without a hat drop sometimes
I wonder why is it this touchingly tender, prone to spill claret without really having any reason to….
has anyone felt like that? Everything is relatable if one opens one’s heart and mind wide and allows life to impinge in every which way…
what heart longs for does not happen, what happens pleases a lot
without seeping through and through…. c’est vie
I am super rich in enunciated pronunciations and these I take without
pausing stride nor with any salt pinches fully cognizant of elevated blood pressure all the time …
crunch time is when it matters the most.
Even then I simply carry on unfazed without waiting… Hence when something falls in lap at this sorely needed time, the joy rendered thereof
giddily cascades rejuvenating insides and tastes every bit dark chocolate delicious.
Such moments are rare hence all the more precious and much savored upon reliving…
time is zipping by at record speed and I’ve much to accomplish, many exotic places to experience firsthand and then lay me down for final exit..
Bucket list is long and keeps getting longer
neither crows nor grim reaper visit me these days..perhaps they consider me a gone case… am not pushing either…

April 18, 2016

Expectedness of Unexpected
~
sometimes dread lies mostly in the mind… dreaded arrives without much fanfare quietly zipping out equally soft footed…
Both of us have begun feeling tad physically challenged these days while our minds remain whipcord and irresponsible as always…biting more than what can be chewed…
I asked someone “why can’t our bodies remain as fresh and alert as our minds, this morning?” he replied, “Then we’d become all too powerful” which was a vociferous No, No as far as nature of things went..meaning
..in an orderly fashion…
the cycle of birth decay death… yet every ending is a new beginning and I do firmly believe in reincarnation with some carried forward memories which explain the mildly shocking “deja vu” moments in our lives.
wheels under our feet haven’t quite retracted.
honed and ready they are eager to zoom down another airport, in another city touching down another tarmac..
The amount of cities we’ve visited so far makes my head spin 360 like an owl.
Dunno if such hurly burly is good at our age but our minds stay kid fresh while beat up bodies constantly crave shuteye and TLC big time.
I for one, am planning a visit to my masseuse today prior to embarking on our next adventure tomorrow.
Grass simply refuses to grow under our feet
we being those perennial, proverbial ‘out of control’ rolling moss(es)
Tired of our New York weather’s vagaries’ prima donna behavior with vapors and airs … we shall bask in heartwarming company of dear friends happily soaking in mild to red chillies hot west coast.
We’ll revisit some of our favorite spots while refreshing and spit polishing our epic journey few years ago from Coronado to Glacier Natl. park by car up and down California coast with trips to Sonoma Valley wine country, Yosemite and side trips to Grand canyon, good bit of Arizona with wild west Tombstone thrown in…plus an up close and personal brush up with an irate mama bear …
During that west coast trip we’d stayed at Super8 motels mostly owned by Indians named “Patel” where Ganesh had been in his element “haggling” the good old fashioned Indian way and a jolly good laugh had been guffawed by all… we have many heartwarming stories of generosity and goodwill from that trip.
Our wonder at nature never ceases.
Nature never lets us get jaded
may our love affair with nature remain newlywed fresh
without wilting till the end of our time….
~

May 6, 2016..Inner workings
~

where to begin when life/death are continuums and one is determined to hum no matter what…
today I wish to address the uncertain certain sadness that could be a kind of wistfulness lying fallow in heart’s cave.
face values are just that and ‘never judge a book by its cover” can also be true if the author is truly great but lacks marketing acumen….
Sometimes my own serenity and general happiness seem out of place given the plethora of bad news everywhere…should i appear suitably subdued and blighted kind of, somewhat…I do wonder about it….my smiling face does put paid to that occasionally… la di da ..
wicked part of me cackles all the time…. I can clearly see what makes people tick but still accept it for what it is (they) are worth…who am I to judge…being equally or more flawed? hahaha
this is not about shelling out pieces of my mind…simply a casual stroll through the inner working of my cognizant self …
nothing is black and white for me anymore….over time colors have bled into each other and am more comfortable with leeways than high roads….time having suitably put me in my place duly chastised and less exuberant… maybe……am still quite impulsive and bouncy advancing age regardless…
May 17th is the day when my left knee gets replaced …right having already been done… I wonder after both new knees what can I bounce on them?
Curve balls served by life?
well…come on down then…I’ll be ready…and that m’dears is a challenge !

~

May 8th 2016

Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf. ~ Rabindranath Tagore
Born utterly indolent and domestically disabled…when life hurled me into an abyss of responsibility, I was clueless and utterly bewildered
A bookworm with head in clouds playing outdoors when not reading books… that was my world during growing years..
Knowledge of birds and bees and the before afters of pre-teen, teen years were all mystery to most of my generation by and large myself included.

Mom was childlike and kind of “otherworldly” hence asking her was out of question. Only knowledge garnered was from Lady Chatterly’s Lover and from a single closed door class of Miss Lydia at school whom I recall as a ludicrous teacher at best and who left most of us even more confused.

I remember a cute joke where a child tells his mom at school today he’d learnt how to make babies! Obviously the mom is shocked and before she can reach for the phone to call school …the child said, it is really easy mom, all you need to do is change the “y” in word baby to “ies” and you get “babies”
If only life were that simple.
Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. ~ Tagore
Two leaps of faith : Twice married to total strangers and then transported to “foreign” country… it was like tumbling in the dark… and this is where Rabindranath Tagore comes in…
I have always had “Gitanjali” by Tagore with me and usually could recite it verbatim…nowadays with senior moments ..it is easy to copy paste from the “net”
These words by Tagore gave me stiff upper lip and survival skills when I was fumbling to cope with “hard to crack” situations to subsequently emerge with flying colors…

“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high, where knowledge is free. Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls. Where words come out from the depth of truth, where tireless striving stretches its arms toward perfection. Where the clear stream of reason has not lost it’s wayinto the dreary desert sand of dead habit. Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever widening thought and action. Into that heaven of freedom, my father, LET MY COUNTRY AWAKE !”
here I was suddenly uprooted and replanted in America, knowing not a single soul, scared out of my wits …maybe not that much but still scared…in the land of the free with a mindset as “bindass” (carefree) as my beloved Bombay … hence nothing could really go wrong I kept consoling myself… plus of course I had one all important “magic” working for me to propel me forward ..
”the fathomless deep love of both parents and our mutual faith in a tiny miracle worker blue god” who has incidentally never left my side…aka my beloved Krishna
I’ve experienced too many unbelievable things and have walked away unscathed from the grim reaper once too many times…
re: Mother’s day … one does one’s best …topmost thing going for a mom is the unabashed overflowing well of love that she has for her child…whether expressed or not despite her admix of successes and failures as a mom… I tried my best too in my own inadequate imperfect way ..
more later….

where_the_mind_is_without_fear_by_ritwik_mango

Fresh legs

This is about our previous regular mailman Billy.
I miss him a lot. He delivered mail on our street for over a decade and I never saw him without his ready Irish smile.
Then over a year ago the powers that be at the post office suddenly decided to change routes of all regular mail persons.
Our Billy too got re-routed.
I ran into Billy a couple of times afterwards and we caught up on our news. Needless to say he was not happy about these changes as he too had invested himself forging many people to people connections and folks on our street looked forward to chit-chatting with Billy on daily basis.
Come Christmas many people left gifts in cash and checks in the mall box for Billy and during winter months they even had hot chocolate and coffee readily available for when he came by.
Billy has only one son who was born physically challenged and both his wife and he devote themselves wholeheartedly in caring for their beloved son. Christmas money came in very handy for his son’s medical care.
I’ve never heard Billy complain about this bum deal that fate had delivered in his lap. He remained cheery all the time. He would even go out of the way to help me carry bags etc. home in case he ran into me thus laden. He’d ignore my nays and continue picking up my stuff.. this is just how Billy was…pure gold inside out.
Today around one o’clock I met the mailman who was a new face. I smiled and commented that he had arrived quite earlier than usual. He told me he was subbing for our new regular mail person and he was what the Post Office called “FRESH LEGS”
The senior mail persons logically then should be termed “STALE LEGS” I suppose.
I told the substitute mailman that I hope his fresh legs weather well without withering… He laughed saying he liked what I said a lot…and then we went our separate ways…

Journal contd.. Fireflies, glowing eyes

FireFliesInForestDeviantArt

“I am but a firefly caught in his jar and when he looks at me, I can’t help but glow.” ~ Kellie Elmore …
in light of this quote… For me it’s mom and dad all the way ..we mutually glowed and basked in “us”
~ ~ ~
and she said, “You don’t say!”
I am left wondering whether this was a robust yea or nay !
plus am still figuring out who said it in my dreams… the figure is hazy as hell.
For past two days my dreams have been peppered with eyes
full of overflowing emotions.
Chasing those eyes with my dreamcatcher reminded me of childhood jars filled with lightning bugs. Often in burgeoning darknesses of late evenings we’d capture a firefly in our tiny white kerchiefs and our childish eyes would goggle up at this marvel of nature…and then we’d gently release them…following their trajectories with “ecstatic eyes”
It did not take much to be content and happy in those days.
I digress… here I want to correlate those eyes chasing my dreams to fireflies of my wonder years in the fifties and sixties. Life was our oyster and we shucked it to our heart’s content.
In a movie I saw yesterday a brother and sister reminisce about what they most recall of their “mom” and both said in unison “she had the happiest of eyes!” After the movie was over I tried to recall what kind of emotions do I recall about those I hold absolutely dear and close to my heart… I was at an impasse.
I recall “sorrowful eyes” of mom the most esp. when I had been bad throwing tantrums about trivial stuff and when she was at the cusp of crossing over at the time of her death. She was full of worry about “unsettled”me and that is why I feel her presence around me all the time. Dad on the other hand had “happy eyes” and he simply loved putting me through my paces physically and mentally.
Mom’s eyes mainly glowed with an otherworldly light as she sang in her off tune voice from the Hindu holy scriptures. Her unworldliness filled us with tenderness for her and a fierce urge to protect her …this role reversal happened early on and that was how maturity crept into our wonder years : imperceptibly… we’ll talk of other eyes later…maybe…perhaps…who knows..
Image : Forest Fireflies: Deviant Art

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