Shoma loses a tooth

   

                                        
Shoma, the fattest sheep that farmer Bholu had ever reared, waddled out of her pen with a frown on her face. Of course, Bholu could not notice the frown but Shoma’s mother, the mighty ewe did. She hustled Shoma off to the fields to let her graze, watching after her thoughtfully.

Shoma walked as if in a daze. She stood looking moodily at the field of clover as her brothers and sisters all grazed on. Shoma did not eat because she had a toothache. And boy, did her tooth hurt! It hurt when she chewed, it hurt when she drank and it hurt when she clenched her jaw.

Shoma’s mother walked out to the field. She patted Shoma on her head and gave her a loving look. Shoma blinked back her tears. “It hurts”, she whispered. “Your tooth will come out in a few days. Keep it for the tooth fairy and she will bring you something”, said her mother kindly. “I will bring you special clover to chew on.”

Shoma sat with her mother inside the pen, chewing the tasty, rough clover that her mother had got for her. There was something hard in the clover. Shoma spat it out to see a white, pointed bloodied…. tooth! “I lost my tooth”, she said meekly. “Well, that is good! And it does not hurt any more!”, her mother beamed. “No, it doesn’t”, said Shoma excitedly, feeling the blank spot with her tongue.

“Put it under your pillow when you sleep”, her mother said gaily. That night Shoma was wide awake. Her tooth, wrapped in a bit of leaf was under the straw that Shoma used for a pillow. Her brothers and sisters had gawked at her tooth till late in the night. They turned it over and sighed. They checked their own teeth to see if they had a loose one.

And now, after a long time, Shoma felt like closing her eyes. I want to see the fairy, she thought. And then she slept. The next morning, Shoma scraped through the straw anxiously. “Oh, my!”, she exclaimed. There was the roundest and shiniest copper coin anybody had ever seen! Shoma danced with joy. “Oh, when would I lose another tooth?”, she asked.

My top talents you won’t want

Here is a list of my top talents I cannot avoid and wouldn’t want nurtured. These are the things that help me blunder through life when I am not writing.

One, I cannot remember names or faces. Sure, it happens to all of us. Sometimes. But, all the time? Some people are bad with names and others with faces. What about the ones like me who are bad at both? It just means that I forget all my neighbours whom I meet occasionally, my spouse’s colleagues and people I meet at social gatherings. However, I am aware of my shortcoming and to avoid making others feel bad, I cheerily respond to evey greeting that comes my way. I even engage in a conversation with such unknown (to my mind) people, hoping that exchanging a few sentences would remind me of who this really is.

Two, I cherish last moments. Not last moments of a life well lived but last moments leading to any task that needs to be completed, any deadline that needs to be met. As is rightly said, “If it weren’t for the the last moment, nothing would ever get done.” That’s me.

Three, I feel all objects in any enclosed space are meant to be bumped into. What else are they there for? So, when when I weave myself from point A to point B, I weave. Not walk straight, but go bump into anything moving or stationery.

Four, I love work. I always need a long list of tasks that need to be done. I love that list so much that I do not subtract anything. So, I leave things unfinished just so that I can come back and cherish the feeling of having plenty to do.

Five, I like everything organised. In their proper places. In colour coded bins. With labels. So much so, that by the time organising for one space is done, entropy has taken over and created more organising tasks in other spaces. Entropy or not, I still like to chase perfection.

What would you list as your greatest talent?

Thanks to Joyrosesand Ameena for listing their talents so that I was inspired to come up with my own list.

Let us Talk

If we were having coffee right now…I would talk to you of my Meditation classes and how they are making me do the opposite of meditation. I would tell you about the long months I spent feeling I had to calm my inner turbulence and trying to find time and guidance to meditate. I would talk to you about the euphoria of finally being able to attend classes that fit into my tight schedule of parenting two demanding children. I would tell you how I had the urge to break out into hysterical laughter the first time I attended the class. I would describe to you in great detail, the beautiful place, the positive people and the serene atmosphere. And then I would tell you that inexplicably, it was making me tumultuous and rebellious inside. I would tell you how I was discovering newer longings inside me rather than feeling calm and content. You would probably shake your head and ask me if I were not imagining things and I would give a wicked smile and pour you another cup.

If we were having coffee right now…I would take out the photos I have clicked recently and show you my amateur attempts at capturing things I find beautiful. I would tell you how I have always been stopped in my tracks by that bend in the road, the glimpse of a curving staircase, the angular jutting out of a porch, the play of light and shadows in the garden and thought about those things long after. I would express my surprise at this most unlikely passion for I have considered clicking photos a waste of time till most recently. I would share with you the unexpected longing I feel when I see something especially well captured. And then I would photograph your hands.

If we were having coffee right now…I would talk to you about my writing. I would ask you if you have been reading me and if the tenor of my posts have changed. I would tell you how I am writing more and more and pushing back the boundaries of what I have been wanting to say. I would ask you about the other things I am writing that nobody is reading but me till now and whether I express myself completely.

If we were having coffee right now…I would ask you what you are reading these days. I would tell you about my eclectic reading and how I feel my understanding is being expanded as I read of an unconventional spiritual approach to life. I would also tell you of the other books on my bedside table, the fast paced thriller, the wise man’s guide, the children’s books for reading aloud and for the child in me.

If we were having coffee right now…I would tell you that I am seriously considering running a marathon. Or a half. Or a quarter, going by my physical fitness and preparation. You would smile perhaps but I would tell you that yes, I really want to and now.

If we were having coffee right now…I would tell you how much I cherish you and your companionship. I would tell you that I am going to hold on to you for as long as I live. I would talk about my regret at letting other dear friends getting lost over the years. Then I would take out the book that a long lost friend had given me and tell you excitedly how I finally tracked him down. And how pleasurable talking to him was, after all these years.

If we were having coffee right now…I would talk wistfully of how I am trying to say goodbye to the place I have come to love. I would ruminate over the countless times I have moved places and conquered the feeling of loss. I would look to you for reassurance, for telling me that I would be able to adapt to this change as well as I have done in the past.

If we were having coffee right now…I would tell you how I am in love with life. I would tell you how I count my blessings and am grateful for all that I have experienced. You would say that you are grateful too, for the conversation and the coffee.

To you

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Dear D,

You would be surprised to hear from me. No, you would be puzzled. You would look down to the unfamiliar name at the end of the letter, frown, search your memory and come up with nothing. Who is this from, you would wonder. But, your memory would bring up nothing.

I first saw you in a crowd, that year of the extraordinarily warm summer, wearing blue, your coiffed hair losing strands in the heat. People around me whispered, pointing you out, for obviously, even then you were a head turner. I wondered why and pulled myself away to enter the rectangular, dark room, with the cobbled floor and took a seat next to the wall lined with little jars holding condiments, herbs, pickles.

The lady holding her pans and measuring spoons would appear at just the right time every day to teach us to put together a lot of ingredients to rustle up a gourmet meal. I was then struggling to master the craft, in fact trying any craft that would help me earn my livelihood and you, on the other hand, looked the pampered daughter of a rich scion.

I did not really want to talk to you, I was content to feel your presence. I thought of your soft flesh as I carved the juicy, soft mangoes to extract the pulp. The slow and precise slicing of vegetables made me aware of your long nails that flashed exotic colours every day. Your nails were sharper than my knives for they could tear apart hearts. I could smell you in the milk vessels as the milk formed a thin layer of fat slowly on the surface accentuating the white colour. I smelt you in the fresh herbs that we tore with our hands, not daring to bring the blades near them.

I sat, listening to the teacher’s polite, cultured voice, imagining instead yours, talking to me, asking about me, my life in the dingy, one room with thin walls that could not mute the next door whisperings and the sound of scrambling mice.

The day, I was asked to come up to the cooking platform, I shook inside for even though I was getting good at the stirring and the cooking, the cold surface of the cooking stove made me think of you. For many minutes, I bent my head and concentrated on cooking the perfect sauce. When it was about to be done, I dared look up to steal a glance in your direction. I expected, feared, prayed for an admiring glance but you were busy talking… That felt like a rejection and I froze for long seconds till the sauce boiled over and the sizzle brought me back to what I was doing. Silently, I mopped up the mess, feeling like a failure.

Did you look at me then? Do you remember me now? Do you know that after that day, I stopped coming to the class? I redoubled my efforts at mastering the culinary skills in my one room house. I went on to have a successful career, yes, it would be successful in your eyes, it got me money and recognition. Sometimes, I felt empty but I considered I was making you proud.

I had to write to you and tell you that I dream still of you. That I am here still waiting to make the perfect meal, to feed your appetite.

Yours,
S

Where we write

I have a fascination for spaces. Open, closed, narrow, wide. I am sure whoever is reading this, has a fascination for collecting umbrella handles or tasting fish bait or punching errant drivers on the road and frankly, we would all rather be talking about our own fascinations and interests than be reading about someone else’s. But, since this is a blog and you need to at least skim through the damned post so that you can make an intelligent comment, I have the benefit of putting together a couple of hundred words to put out a seemingly interesting post.

Ah, spaces. When I was just a struggling writer, that is struggling to put in enough time to write, I often thought that an isolated cabin in the hills would be the ideal place to write. There would be an occasional deer grazing out in the green patch outside the cabin (if deer can be found at higher altitudes, otherwise, chirping birds would do, because I am not crazy about bears) and a gurgling stream in the background which I would sit next to in between the writing. I was sure that masterpieces could be created this way.

However, over the years, I learnt something quite different. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I just want to escape to the mountains, like our learned sages but the irony is that I am already living in the mountains. My house looks into a valley and at night the hills are alive with twinkling lights. It is breathtaking and just the right place for inspiration to strike. Yet, writing is more than the place, the atmosphere, the resources. It is the urge to put on paper what cannot be held in the heart.

I have now recalibrated my writing habits. I mostly need absolute peace, but I have learnt to make do in crowded spaces, in noisy places. When I have to write, I write wherever I can, with whatever I can. I can type away entire posts on my phone if I do not have the luxury of a pen and paper. I can write sitting amidst a chanting group of devotees in a temple. My apologies to the Gods!

For inspiration, I would love to hear of your writing spaces and your writing habits. Thank you, friends, for having come this far (in the post). The Day 6 task of Writing 101 asks us to include a poll asking readers feedback on what topics to write about and since I do not want my friends to turn away in disgust at having to make yet another effort just when the rambling was actually going to end, please leave your answers in the comments. That is, if you have had coffee and are feeling sprightly enough.

Rain

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The little boy scampered through the puddles left by the rain that came on him suddenly. The tin roof of his shack by the dirt track had holes that let in the rain water. The coarse orange blanket he shared with his brother was soaking wet. He would get curses and kicks when Buddy got home from working the shift. He pulled the blanket out to spread and dry in the sun, dragging it and making it muddy.

The sky looked grey and the little boy sat outside on the edge of a large jagged stone, half buried in the dirt track. Momma had once cut her face on that, when Pa had pushed her out in a drunken rage. She was gone before long and the boys took to looking for food in the bins.

The sun was out now and it got warm. The little boy scraped the mud stains out of the blanket and flicked away the water droplets.

Word Count : 162. This is my submission for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers Challenge, where we are given a photo prompt and approximately 100-175 words with which to build our stories. The challenge is open to everyone who would like to participate.

Cross posted for Day 4 task of Writing 101.