The Brook

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In the day, the brook had murmured soothingly. It had been bright and sunny, the grass had smelt sweet and the glistening of the metallic bridge made them squint. The children had been quite content playing on the grassy bank while Kiara kept an eye on them. The warmth made her drowsy but she did not give in to sleep, listening placidly to the laughing and the high pitched squeals.

Now, in the gathering dark, the flashlights made the shadows look deep and eerie. There was silence except for the scramble of the rescue team’s shoes on the loose stones and the squelch of the wet mud. The lights shone on a little red sock caught in the bushes. Kiara screamed in her mind while she fought to catch her breath.

Word Count: 131.

Posted in response to Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by Priceless Joy.

Looking for Beauty

“Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it.”
Confucius

Our world is full of beauty. Nature is the manifestation of the creation’s desire to experience life. The cities, towns, settlements houses are a manifestation of man’s dream to create shelter and a sense of permanence. Man’s possessions act as his crutch and anchor as he negotiates life and its curves.

Often we go through life, sleepwalking, thinking only of our immediate concerns. At other times, we march on, eyes firmly on horizon, looking only at our dreams, desires and goals.

In between all this, we forget to live the most precious gift of all, our present and our now. Do we stop to smell the flowers, to notice the vibrant colours around us, to appreciate the beauty in the mundane?

Inspired by these thoughts, I took a day out to appreciate and capture these fleeting moments, the present that is on the cusp of becoming the past.

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Blue Railing

I went looking for the now dilapidated, abandoned Bantony Castle on the Kali Bari Road near The Mall in Shimla. Constructed in 1880, it was the summer palace of Maharaja of Sirmour and had seen better times. I was won over by the blue railing although I could not get a closer look because of frolicking monkeys.

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Scandal point marks the convergence of two of Shimla’s most important roads, The Ridge and the Mall Road. It is a great point for ‘people watching’. Taking shelter beneath the canopy, I looked up and saw this pattern.

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The Ridge road is a large open space, located in the heart of Shimla. It is the hub of all cultural activities here and is always teeming with people, except on a rainy day like this one. A rarity indeed and worth capturing.

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This moss covered wall caught my eye and I followed along the path.

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I passed by the red door at Tara Hall, a school founded by Mary Ward in 1894. I wanted to peep in, feeling sure of seeing little children laughing and playing in their school room.

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These radiating lines gave a mysterious look to whatever was beyond.

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The lovely colours and objects were everywhere and I wanted a part of them.

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The fog rolled down from the hills and obscured everything in the distance. The building looked stark against it.

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And finally, the clouds parted and there was sun in all its glory. I stayed outdoors to watch a beautiful sunset.

The Dream

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Rachel woke up with a start. The storm had gathered force and there was a lone window banging somewhere. The wind whooshed around the turrets and through the crevices in the ancient stone walls. The walls were crumbling in places and she could sometimes hear loose stones rattling down the sides of the huge castle. She could hear voices when she walked along the passages of the magnificent house. It was just such a night when she had first dreamt of her new house, this castle. Her wealthy suitor was surprised to have her hand so fast in marriage. So, here she was, a few months later, in the historic, rambling house with an army of servants at her beck and call. And now she had dreamt of a pool of blood.
She didn’t even flinch as she heard the blood curdling scream.

Word Count: 143. This story is in response to Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, a photo prompt challenge, hosted by Priceless Joy.

A case of ‘Uncommon Nonsense’

An addiction to a regular dose of nonsense in my life is the fallout of loving the Lewis Carroll masterpiece, ‘Alice in Wonderland’ in my childhood. No, wait, I love the book still. Then, I bought the heavily illustrated book; now I look for the heavily annotated version. (And yes, I love semicolons for the same reason-they make no sense to have and they are confusing most of the time).

A lot of irreverence, rambling, with a precise hold on language is something I still look for in the writers I read. The plot is secondary; the language is primary. (another semi-colon)!

The first time I got hold of the book, I rather disliked it. There was a lot of self-talk going on and really things looked to be delusionary. It did look for the mentally advanced. But, I have since discovered that it is actually for people who like things/situations/people to be challenging and fantastic. It explores possibility and that is liberating.

By the time, I reached the Cheshire cat, I was hooked. I still imagine Cheshire cats of all colours to be watching me from tree branches and laughing at my follies. With just their smiles hanging on. In fact, that smile is my logo.

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Cheshire Cat

I was intrigued by the tea party. I was fascinated by the Mad Hatter. I loved the March Hare. I was surprised at the Dormouse. I was amazed at how it was possible to put a Dormouse in a teapot. As children, there were certain norms we had to follow and this behaviour took the cake. In my imagination at least, there was so much more that could happen!

I also learnt that croquet could be played using flamingoes and hedgehogs.

Things of course got ‘Curiouser and curiouser’ as I continued reading.

Because my copy of Alice in Wonderland came with ‘Through the Looking-Glass, The Walrus and the Carpenter is something I would like to quote as waves crash on a beach. I still have the hangover, you see.

Also-

“Why, sometimes, I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast”- Lewis Carroll.
These days I am happy to believe even a single one. But it has to be before breakfast!