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The 24-hour challenge - 4

What a fantastic response! Thank you all for posting your stories. Alien, rupa and neha's entries caught my eye. But the runaway favourite was Aliskandar's short.

Today's theme is 'credit card'. You have until 14.30 GMT tomorrow to come up with a story and post it in the comment box. Good luck!

Comments

aravind said…
He threw his purse on the bed. Something fell out and caught his eye. His mind went racing backwards...."Special offer! Only for spouse and children! Reduced rates! And no annual fee for the first 5 years." And his father had said, "Have one, beta....You shouldn't carry money around. And this offer isnt for everyone...." He could still picture his father going to shops having "Buy two, get three free" or "stock clearance sale" boards. "I am saving the money for you", thats what he used to say. Suddenly, for no reason, his legs went pale. He could take it no longer and he crumpled on the bed. There, it was, the credit card. It had been his companion for long....Now, it seemed to be laughing at him. He cursed the day he had sent his father to that old age home. He cursed his wife. And he cursed the credit card for bringing back old memories. Damn! Tomorrow I should get a new one.......
IdeaSmith said…
She was the kind that stopped to pet stray puppies. But food was only ever surreptitiously slipped to bit-bound horses ferrying kids on beaches and abandoned cows. Dogs and cats had their fans world-over but who thought of these forgotten ones? She did. Impartial with love but she tried to distribute equally what she could and ended up caring for the underdogs (or horses). Fair share for everyone.

Saturday afternoon found her clutching an envelope, mixed excitement and resignation. She didn't even really like shopping. But one did what one must. She thought of last week's phone call, begging, pleading with her to do her part to make one life easier. She sighed and thought, no human being should have to beg that way. So she squared her shoulders and walked in. A new credit card gleamed in the darkness of her wallet. It wouldn't be lonely for long. Not as long as she was around to see it got its fair share.
??! said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
??! said…
He liked the Black Amex cards best. It clearly showed the crystals stuck to it, once he was done chopping the snow. At $50 a pop, he couldn't afford to waste any.
Alien said…
The card meant convenience... he wondered how life happened before it. He had read it in some encyclopedia at the library that it all began with the 'credit card' as they called it then.. funny they had a name for it. "Aah but then they used some special printed paper and called it cash...", he remembered. Well with nothing called cash now 'credit' had no meaning .. so they just called it the card. You got paid credits on the card and you paid credits too... and when they ran out as they eventually did... sigh
He reached the counter. "Card please" the machine demanded in a staccato voice.. "Thank you. Please enter incinerator number 3. Do not worry you will not feel a thing..."
Rupa said…
Seven more calls to go...
She was hurrying through the calls today. Electricity bills to be paid, rent to be paid, her son's birthday cake had to be collected too. She counted the notes in her bag once again as she dialed the next number. Still short of a thousand. And salary day was still long away.
The call is connected now.
"Sir, I am Janaki calling from Baran Bank. We offer free credit card..."
dp said…
The last four numbers on the credit card caught her eye as she bent down to pick up the things which had falled from her handbag. He had pointed out that how even her credit card number would remind her of him. They resembled the last four digits of his phone number.She laughed teasingly and said she would not be bothered about seeing the numbers anyways, though inwardly happy thinking how her credit card also indicated that he was the right person for her!!He had encouraged her to apply for the credit card. For the car which they planned to buy when they moved in together. Decided they would give a split of their income each to repay the bills...so many hopes for the future..all lay in the credit card. She sighed ...how time had changed ...he was no more around her to drive in the car she bought...was somewhere else going on a drive with someone else perhaps..She continued paying the bills though....
Revealed said…
Past expiry. Bend it over along the middle until it snaps. Her dad used to let her do it to all his expired credit cards. Laughing as she struggled with her little hands to do what his big hands could do with such consummate ease. He'd say "Wait, da. Let me show you" and pick up the card which suddenly would look like the flimsiest piece of plastic that simply couldn't be capable of having bought their new car, their new house, her new kiddie-pool. Even if he claimed it had. His callused fingers would bend the plastic like it was a piece of paper, making a crease that slowly became a clean break. "See, kanna? It's simple", he'd say. And she'd look up at him, all big, brown eyes and mop of curly hair, transforming him in a moment into a big, strong Hero. Her big, strong Hero. Funny how over the years it was he who had folded up along the middle and slowly been broken in two by other pieces of plastic. Very similar pieces of plastic to those she'd used to trash so obligingly for him. This was what Alanis Morisette would have unhesitatingly termed ironic.

Or maybe not.
Shruthi said…
Munni finished building the castle. She sat back and admired it. It was lovely. But.... but something was missing. Yes, a roof for the highest turret.

She rummaged in her box, but found that she had used up all the triangle blocks. She looked around. She got up and walked around the room. Amma's purse always holds treasures, I will look in it.

Sure enough, she found what she wanted. A hard piece of cardboard. Amma called it kedit kaad. She brought it back, folded it with an effort, and set it on top of the turret.

Perfect. A nice golden roof for a beautiful castle.
Jeeves said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kshama said…
This time he flashed a plastic card and said marriage expenses will be taken care off. She shrugged, probably thinking that he is growing senile.
kshama said…
Iam not sure of the rules of the challege. So posting two entries.Here goes....

Lone afternoons would see her scrambling with vessels enjoying the discordant noise. In the alienated world, vessels spoke more than people who walked past her in the wide roads, malls, and parks. The appearance of the other person of the house always drifted to obscurity. Before she realized his presence late in the night, he would have walked into the early morning mist for another day in office.

This afternoon as she cocooned to the chair looking aimlessly at snow falling across the window, a noise reserved for weekend rang past the house. She scurried to the phone and listened to a voice selling credit card. The voice spoke in heavy American accent. After sometime, when the voice asked for confirmation of sale, she asked her “Did it rain yesterday in Chennai, isn’t Chennai hot now”.

She had often heard her husband talk about the booming call center business in Chennai….
Neha said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neha said…
All she wanted was to spend the day together. Maybe he could surprise her with a bunch of flowers, and a romantic dinner. Some candles, and music, some laughter and wine. Instead he chose to play golf; brush up on his game before the company championship. He had it all planned out. He’d tell her he was caught up in a crazy meeting, and then he’d send the little parcel home, with a note that said - help me make up for this. Now as he looked at the little golden trophy on his desk, he realised for the first time just how much it had cost.
nevermind said…
Why had Shiv given her this? It had neither the crisp rustle of valuable paper, nor the warm smell. The Father did not smile his almost-toothless smile, nor did the row of peasants show their backs to her, hard at work. She wondered how people nowadays filled their wallets with these; how could she even compare it to the days when her father reassuringly patted his worn, fat, brown wallet and gave her a whole hundred rupees? Instead it had two red and blue circles, overlapping, like those Venn Diagrams she had learnt in school. It was even a hideous yellow, the only colour she detested.

Yet, he had said, it was valuable and should be kept carefully. With a sigh, she got up, placed it in front of Lakshmi, and began chopping vegetables.
Falstaff said…
??!: :-). Clearly you don't have one of those transparent blue Amex things.
ahiri said…
So this seven year old i know got on to carsalesindia , filled out all the details ,address, name et al.and booked for himself a Mercedes benz and phoned his mother at work to find out her credit card number.

(true incident)
Bubby chitti said…
Happy birthday to my dear dear dear jikku tomorrow!!!
Brad said…
~.Quaint finds.~

It was a decision taken in a blink of an eye that flew him from the West coast to the East.

His new apartment smelled like fresh paint over musty thoughts. The walls were slanting, the floors were sloping, the lights off the center, and the windows were everywhere. He loved every bit of it. In the months to come he was to discover many things that wouldn't come to notice to a visitor. You had to live in the house for the house to reveal itself to you. The little cross on the patio dooor. The half-moon scraped off the pain beneath it. The mirror that opened in the wrong direction. The glass beads stuck at odd angles. Every week had a gift.

The 2nd week got him a shiny, luxurious car. The car seemed to share the hide-n-seek quality of the house. He found a copy of the bible stashed under the ashtray inside the car. A gold paper coin hidden under the gear handle. A shark tooth tied to a bolt. Little oddities that made him smile.

All that 15 months ago. He had enjoyed life ever since. A partner found in the folds of the complexities of life, money was sufficient to make him not think much, friends a bit more than few, and some golden.

He gave her a wake up call. Her waking up sound was the best, and very uninhibited, as raw as one could ask for. He thought of all the good things that life had to offer him until then. His eyes caught a small enclosure just below the glove compartment. He was driving at 80 miles per hour.

Steering with one hand, he leaned over to open the tiny door. And out fell a very used plastic card. It lay quietly on the floor. He itched to lean further and pick the hide-n-seek delinquent off the floor of the car, but he was getting late to work and was in no mood to stop the car and do the deed.

He let his left hand guide the steering. Keeping his eyes on the road, his curious hand clawed the floor randomly for the credit card. Out of annoyance, his curiosity got the better of him. He lunged ahead, eyes first, to grab the card. The oncoming trailer fell on his fate's blind spot.

A momentary lapse of reason. From L.A. to New York; a hop that he never regretted, until then.
bablu ghandat said…
bablu said..

specil offer only for spous& children, reduce rates and annul fee for the first 5 year
bablu ghandat said…
he could take it nolongar & he crumpled
bablu ghandat said…
food was only ever surreptitiosly .hecrued his wife and he cursd the credit card
A4ISMS said…
What are credit cards made of?
What are credit cards made of?
Compulsive yearnings and spending with rashness,
That’s what these cards are made of.

What are credit cards made of?
What are credit cards made of?
Offers and guiles and ‘plasticky’ wiles,
And such are credit cards made of.

What are spouse cards made of?
What are spouse cards made of?
Shopping that rocks and statements that shock,
And such are credit cards made of!

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Guest blog by Chinna Ammani

Here’s an interesting write-up by Chinna Ammani on stereotypical portrayals in Indian adverts. The opinion expressed is strong and the language uncompromising. Read at your own peril!-a

The Aiyaiyo Syndrome

These days I do what is called as a shooting supervision. When ads are filmed (with lip sync) in Tamizh, my job is to teach models their lines and rehearse with them. Most of them are from Mumbai and are non-Tamilians. So when they have to do a line in Tamil, for example "Adanaaladan Dettol ubayogikaren" (And that's why I use Dettol) , they invariably say "Aadanaladaanu naanu Detttaalu ubayogikkareanu" (Something hideous). Their exaggerated delivery of our supposed accent is all thanks to Hindi actor Mehmood. My blood pressure rises and I yell "DO NOT DO A MEHMOOD HERE. WE DO NOT SPEAK LIKE THAT".

Though their voice is dubbed later with a Tamil voice-over, I ensure that they pronounce it the non-Mehmood way. Mehmood has done this major damage to us So…

Bio-data

Married for 31 years, 2 months and 17 days
Six cups coffee a day, brewed everyday of marriage
Three meals a day,
At least two dishes cooked, each meal-time
One snack for every Sunday
Big basket of clothes ironed every Tuesday
Average 18 items of clothing washed per day
Three children
1 miscarriage
One mother-in-law suffered
900 sq metre of floor space mopped, once a day
One caesarean endured
3 chicken poxes, 2 measles, 2 fractures, 8 diarrhoeas, depression, conjunctivitis every summer, 1 tonsilitis and countless common colds and flues
1 job held for 29 years
6 hours slept every night
Sex tolerated every 2nd week
Religious rituals everyone of them, carried out
Not one of them, believed in
Lived 52 years and some
Died exhausted

Overheard, “At least she had the satisfaction of having lived for her family”


http://jikku.blogspot.com/2005/02/quick-tale-3.html#c111042815438237631

The Saturday Poem

Found this in yesterday's paper. Again, I wish I'd written it.

-a

Now and Then

"Now that I'm fifty-seven",
My mother used to say,
"Why should I waste a minute?
Why should I waste a day

Doing the things I ought to
Simply because I should?
Now that I'm fifty-seven
I'm done with that for good."

But now and then I'd catch her
Trapped in some thankless chore
Just as she might have been at
Fifty-three or fifty-four

And I would say to her
(And I have to bite my tongue)
That if you mean to learn a skill
It's well worth starting young

And so, to make sure I'm in time
For fifty, I've begun
To do exactly as I please
Now that I'm thirty-one.

-Sophie Hannah

Lost in Post

To a little boy

It cannot be easy being you. A follow-up act to your more devilishly charming, flamboyant older brother. Before you were born, I was convinced that no child could ever take the special place your brother had come to occupy in my life. I used to argue with your father you would always be a second-born. A runner-up. A bridesmaid (or a best-man, as you turned out to be). That you could never be the prized, cherished, celebrated apple of my eye that my firstborn child was. But how easily you tore down my flimsy little conviction. The minute I saw you, I knew I was gone. What was worse, I succumbed willingly.

My fears that you would be overshadowed by your brother have proven unfounded. Over the past year, you have come into your own as a person. Your brother demands and challenges our love and attention. You, on the other hand, are much more accepting of our distractions with him. It is almost as if you understand that he is used to being the star of the show for much of his…

I ask, you write

Okay, here's the idea. I ask you a question and you write a short story explaining it. Let me give you an example.

What happened when young Padmavathi was drawing water from the well to wash her clothes, early one Margazhi morning?

Annon's story

One morning when Padmavathi was drawing water from the well, she found Pettai Rowdy # 1 Govindarajulu inside the bucket! She dropped it at once and Govindarajulu went down and down and hit the bottom of the well with a Nung sound. His upper and lower teeth fused together and since then he has been fed intravenously. Pettai Rowdy # 2, Ragothaman Iyengar, who suggested this to Govindarajulu, now rules the roost.

After marrying Padmavathi, he is inviting all of you to a water drawing ceremony at the new well they dug in their house.

Jai Ragothaman Iyengar! Jai Padmavathi! Come one, Come all!

-

Here's a question for you.

What happened that made young Meenakshi change her mind about the parrot green saree she had originally chosen and go for a …