Monday, May 30, 2005

A quick tale 25


They were all ready to say goodbye. They had even started mourning while she was still hanging around. Even if it was only by the flimsiest of threads. They were used to surprise deaths – an accident here, a stroke there. This waiting for death was something new. And it was beginning to take its toll on their patience.

The family wished she would hurry up. But the old matriarch was no pushover. After all those years when she had put her life on hold until they were all done eating, studying, marrying, having children, falling ill and dying, it was her turn now. And she was not going to be rushed.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

A quick tale 24


They were surprised by her decision not to have father's photograph in the house. They didn't know that she wanted to remember him as a complex human with capacity for infinite love and a foul temper that made him a monster to live with. And not just as an old man with a benign, toothless smile beaming down from their living room wall.

Friday, May 27, 2005

A quick tale 23

Look away

They would quickly change channels whenever there was an ad for a contraceptive or a sanitary pad or a performance enhancer. The kids shouldn't hear of these things, they believed, it will corrupt their minds and give them wrong ideas. For their part, the kids would pretend not to know.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A quick tale 22


They will forget everything she ever did for them. How she would stay up late until they were all home. How she would wait until they were all served before sitting down to eat. Or how she would fast so that they may pass an exam or get a good wife or not get chicken pox. They will remember what a good cook she was and how they miss her food.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Quick tales

Water, terribly, sleep

Waters of the world had had enough of abuse and decided to go to sleep. And never wake up. There were no waves, no ripples. No whirlpools, waterfalls or vortex. Only still water everywhere. And the world was a terribly poor place for it. But the people did not notice a change.

Young man in a strange country. Boards a train. Drinks coffee offered by stranger. Drugged and robbed of his luggage, thrown off the train. Remembers nothing except three words 'water, terribly, sleep' which he keeps repeating to himself. But what good is 3 English words in a land where they spoke a different tongue with their noses? And why was everyone walking on their hands? Were the tree waving their roots at him? How was he ever going to get out?
'Never swim after a heavy meal' were the last words that flashed through her mind. Her mom her given this sagely advice many years ago. The words were of no use. Now that the water was turning terribly cold and she was drifting into a deep sleep. Sinking all the time.
He had a lisp and could not pronounce 'r' properly. At six, that was a terrible or a 'tellible' thing to happen. So he invented a new vocabulary for words that involved pronouncing an 'r'. He'd say 'jingo' for 'water' and 'bingo' for 'bread'. Thankfully, he did not have to come up with a word for 'sleep' as there were no 'r's in it and in his dreams he was not teased.
She could remember it like it was yesterday. Walking into his house for a drink of water, falling asleep on the couch and waking up feeling terribly ill. She told her mom about it. But the mother asked her not to breathe a word. For father would be real mad if he found out.
She longed for a pet. But mother wouldn't allow any in the house. 'They make a terrible racket and won't let me sleep at night', she said while adding helpfully, 'Instead, you could have a plant, water it and watch it grow'.
'But I cannot take it for a walk', countered the daughter with irrefutable logic.
Note: These were written as part of an exercise to weave stories around a set of 3 words picked randomly. All stories have been reproduced without the benefit of revision or editing.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

A quick tale 21

An expense

No holidays. Rarely new clothes. New shoes can wait, old soles re-stitched. Why bother going to movies when there’s tv? Dinner always at home. Nothing wasted, everything saved. Squirreled. So that it may all be spent in one afternoon. The day the daughter gets married.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Thursday, May 12, 2005

A quick tale 19

Once they were lovers. Now one does not know where the other lives. She put her photo on her web page. With her husband and child. Hoping that he would google her name and find out. Just like she had found him. Still single, she had noted with glee.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Had to share this...

Marriages Are Made

My cousin Elena
is to be married
The formalities
have been completed:
her family history examined
for T.B. and madness
her father declared solvent
her eyes examined for squints
her teeth for cavities
her stools for the possible
non-Brahmin worm.
She's not quite tall enough
and not quite full enough
(children will take care of that)
Her complexion it was decided
would compensate, being just about
the right shade
of rightness
to do justice to
Francisco X. Noronha Prabhu
good son of Mother Church.

-- Eunice deSouza

Saturday, May 07, 2005

A quick tale 18

Two people
She could not believe that these two people could ever have been intimate. Two old people who had very little to say to each other. Who had grown into strangers they barely recognised. With nothing but anger and discontentment left between them. She could not see how the couple could have made love. One sultry summer night many years ago. And yet there was undeniable proof in front of her. Staring from the mirror.

Project why

Anu is a special friend of mine. Someone I've only known virtually. She is an extraordinary woman and one I greatly admire and support. Please visit her blog and tell her that she is not alone. Please. Thank you.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A quick tale 17

He will clear out his wine bottles and throw away the porn magazines. She will stop swearing and start cooking two meals a day. He’ll ensure that she wears her wedding necklace and will hide her designer jeans. The Gods will be dusted, contraceptives hidden and they will not kiss each other good morning. His parents will fly thousand of miles from their homeland and remark how true to tradition they live. And the younger woman will ask them how many sugars they would like in their coffee.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

A quick quick tale 16

She married one, loved another.
He became her husband, the other her password.