An ounce of innocence!

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It was Sunday. He wanted to cook his favourite Chicken Lonvas (an East Indian preparation). There, in the sweltering heat, he stood shirtless in his favourite nylon shorts, sweat trickling down his huge belly. Crushed garlic turning brown, onions turning translucent. His senses were indulging in the sights and scents of his culinary skills, it was easy to miss those tiny feet that tiptoed into the kitchen.

She looked on curiously as he stirred his dish with passion, and finally broke the silence.

“What you’re doing, dada?”

“I’m making food beta!”

“Dadaaaaa, I wanted to ask you something. Why is your stomach so big? You have babies inside?”, she asks… stifling her giggles.

He looks down at her, with a straight face. “Of course, you didn’t know?!?”

It was her turn to get serious now.
“Reallyyyyy???”

He nods his head, in a very matter-of-fact manner.

“What rubbish!!!”, she starts giggling again.

“Come here. Put your ears to my stomach. You will hear kittens going ‘meoowww meowww'”, he said.

“Kittens!??” It didn’t take her long to press her ears against his tummy. She giggled as she heard rumbling. And then the mewing.

“Meow… Meow… can you hear it? He asked, with a broad grin.

She knew he was making the sounds. She looked up at him, laughing heartily, amazed at all the crazy things her dad did for her. His eyes crinkle as he takes in the most real, most heart-warming moment he’s had all week.

Crossing Boundaries…

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This post has been selected as a Blogadda WOW post (Dated 25th August).

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Sunday, 18th August.
Rishikesh Building: 6.30 pm

The children geared up for another game of cricket. It was risky, because just a month ago, they had been warned by the society, not to play cricket in the garden. Reason? Too many complaints of broken windows. Especially from the Monster – Mrs. Sharma, whose 3rd floor window was always in the way of a good ‘sixer’. Six times, that’s how many times her window had become the target. And she was mighty furious.

Today, she stood there, at her window, waiting for them to start their game. She had decided that if they broke any more of her windows, she was going to find out who exactly did it, and make them pay for it. “If the building secretary isn’t going to do anything about it, I will have to do something about this nuisance myself”, she grumbled to herself.

And the boys, ranging from 6 to 16 years, well…they had a plan of their own. They decided to play a prank on her. How? By constantly hitting the ball on the offside, no major boundaries… just minor runs & only one tappa catches would be declared as out. Sounded simple, no? How could she catch them breaking windows, if they were playing a decent game? They decided to to tease her all evening with this tactic of theirs.

So the team captain Ansh ran the team through the rules once again. The opening batsman, Harsh, had been famous for his spectacular boundaries. He did not like this idea at all. Why should he be deprived of playing a good game, just because of a few complaints. He had made up his mind. After the first few overs, Mrs. Sharma would get fed up of their ‘tuk tuk’ game & go inside. That’s when he would start hitting his big shots.

As predicted, by the fifth over, she did get irritated by their stupid game. Just as Harsh saw her walking in, he decided to go for the big boundary. The team held their breath as they watched the ball fly through the air in slow motion. Yes, his sweet spot turned out to be her window. Again.  Except, this time, the ball didn’t hit the window. It flew right through it!

‘Phew, bach gaye’, he thought. They all breathed a sigh of relief. Which was soon drowned out by a piercing shrill, coming from Mrs. Sharma’s apartment. The boys froze. What had happened? Should they go & check? Ansh & Harsh being the oldest among them, decided to do the right thing. They asked the lil ones to stay put & most importantly, stay cool. They ran up to her 3rd floor apartment. They rang the doorbell frantically, and the 50 year old matriarch came limping towards the doors, her eyes welling up with tears. She let them in only cos she needed help. She realized she could yell at them a little later.

They noticed the mess in the house. The mess they’d created. Apparently, Harsh’s super sixer had entered her living room, bounced off her table, knocked over her cough syrup. The glass bottle had fallen to the ground, and she had accidentally stepped on shards of glass.

They were sorry, and their eyes reflected that. They made her sit down on the sofa & immediately ran to the window to call out for help. The watchman couldn’t hear their shouts. ‘Munni badnaam’ was playing out on his FM player. The chillar party sensed the urgency, ran towards him & pulled out his earphones, and told him that 3rd floor wali ‘monster aunty’ needed help.

They all rushed her to the nearest clinic, and stayed there until their parents came to pick them up. The doc had mentioned that the gash was quite deep, and that she would have to walk with support for at least a week or 2.

As they reached the building, they all took turns to apologize to her and promised that they would go to a open ground to play cricket. They also told her that they would like to visit her every evening, till she gets better.

Ansh had noticed that her family hadn’t come by to get her from the clinic. He asked her, “Your family members didn’t come. Where are they?” She remembered that dreadful car accident that took away her husband & her son, brushed away her tears & said, “I’m looking at them, right now!”

She gave them a group hug, planted kisses on their foreheads and just like that, Monster wali aunty found a new reason to live!

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda
(prompt: 3 words, 1 story. cough syrup, earphones, prank)

Midnight Wishes

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At the stroke of midnight, Esha woke up to strange noises. They were strained voices, singing happy birthday. She leaned over to her side table, checked the clock. It showed 12.00 am. 13th August. With quivering hands, she turned on the table lamp.

13th August. It was definitely not her birthday today. Nor anyone else that she knew of. But this date rang a bell for her. What was it?
She looked over, and her husband was sleeping peacefully. He didn’t seem to hear even the faintest sound around him. Maybe this was her demon to face.

Demon. Ghost. Paranormal activity. The Supernatural. These things had always intrigued her.
In fact, you would always see her scouting for haunted locales, just to explore them & find out the story behind it. The more mystery it had, the more exciting it was for her. She knew the significance of 12 am or 3 am. She knew better than to explore the source of the noise, at this hour, all by herself.

But this noise seemed to engulf her in a trance. She began following it, in a dream-like state. The singing had transformed into unbridled laughter. As she walked out of her bedroom, and headed towards her terrace, the voices grew more distinct. She began recognizing a few of them too.

She grew even more curious as she walked up the stairs. The terrace door was slightly ajar, and there was a bright light emanating from it. She was smiling, as she walked fearlessly into the light. The voices seemed to welcome her. Right there, on her terrace, were all the faces that she had pursued in those haunted locations. Those horror stories that she simply had to discover. The drunk plumber who killed his cheating wife, and then himself. The 6 year old who died trying to save his dog from an accident. The daughter-in-law who had been burned to death. The grandfather who was cursed by black magic. And they were welcoming her into their world, where she would learn even more. It would be her ‘birthday’ – Friday, 13th of August, the day she leaves this world & steps into theirs.

They were urging her to take the plunge. She took a step back, and they all closed in on her. She was a little nervous, but there was no way out. Her hands shook, as she stepped onto the terrace wall. She let the moment take over. If this is way it had to be, she might as well enjoy it. She opened her arms and flung herself from the terrace of her 4th floor building. The freefall lasted for a few seconds, but it felt like eternity. When she finally touched the ground, she felt a sudden jerk. She woke up, and found herself in her bed, right next to her husband. She was sweating profusely, and was breathing hard.

She checked her clock on the side table.
13th August. It was exactly the stroke of midnight.
And the singing had only just begun…

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This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda & was selected as the WOW Post. (prompt: at the stroke of midnight…)

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This post was published in tamarindrice:
http://tamarindrice.in/tamarind-rice-issue-6/midnight-wishes/

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly!

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This post has been selected as a Blogadda WOW post (Dated 11th August).

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It was a pretty ugly spat.
From bouts of yelling, to absolute silence, interspersed with inconsolable sobs…as he walked out of their home.

She was trying to stay cool, but her mind was in a disarray much worse than her living room.

She was done trying to keep them together, when all he wanted was to be apart. 
She’d discovered the trail of clues he was leaving behind, a testimony to his infidelity.
It wasn’t this obvious earlier. But now, it’s like he wanted to be caught, and set free from the shackles of their empty marriage.

In the past, they’d agreed to disagree with each other, when problems arose.
But she was done sweeping issues under the carpet.

As she slumped into the corner of her plush Malabar Hill duplex,
she recalled the days they spent in each other’s arms.

But those seemed like a haze now, and as the tears thickened,
she could only see the ‘other woman’ in his arms.

She’d always known that she was slowly losing him,
and her attempts to win him back were futile.

She got up, drew back the curtains,
and fixed her eyes upon the Queen’s necklace that adorned Marine Drive.

She walked out of the door, her vintage .22 teak wood revolver tucked safely in her handbag.

The next day’s headlines were: The good, the bad & the ugly.
Business Tycoon caught in the ‘act’ with a bar dancer, wife shoots herself in front of them. The two of them have been booked for abetting her suicide.

It was her goodbye gift to them, as she welcomed death with open arms.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.
(prompt: use opposites)

Tring – Tring, the phone rang…

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This post has been selected as a Blogadda WOW post (Dated 28th July).
And I’m more than happy to show off my first WOW badge ever!

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Tring tring. The phone rang… again.

Liz knew who it was. And she did not make any attempt to answer the call.
Her husband was devouring the butter chicken she’d cooked that evening.

“Mama, uncle Don is calling you again & again. Should I answer the phone?” said her 4 year old daughter Sharon.

A flushed look crossed her face, and she glanced at her husband to gauge his reaction.
“What does he want now, at this hour?” he growled, his  eyes filled with suspicion and his voice filled with contempt.

“Errr, I don’t know… you know your brother. He must be in some problem again, or maybe he needs money for a drink” she answered nervously.

“I met him a few days ago, he seemed pretty sober to me.” he said. “And even if he did need money, since when did he start calling you up for that?”

“Well, you know how you can intimidate anyone, including your younger brother”, she replied, taking a step back.

His features softened, and he lowered his tone.
“Well, it’s time to change that.” he said, smiling at his daughter.

This time, the phone rang and before she could silence the ringtone, he answered it.
“Hi baby, you can be a real tease! I’ve been waiting forever to hear that sexy voice…… you’re the only alcohol I really need…”

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.
(prompt: tring tring. the phone rang…)

Pain, pain… go away!

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The stereo was blaring. Her eardrums were aching, her head was throbbing.
The car screens were fogged up. The heavy rains lashing the windshield with all its might, like as if it were trying to protest. The wipers were following a monotonous rhythm, clearing the rain to give her some clarity! But her vision was still blurred, thanks to the unending stream of tears. Just then, her player belted out ‘their’ song and she could not take it anymore

She’d been on the edge for over a month now, and this was the final push. She stepped on the accelerator and zoomed past anything that dared to come in her way. She’d been planning this out in her head for the last few days now, and nothing else made sense. Once she’d crossed the urban jungle, she headed straight for the adda that they called their own, a small cliff that overlooked the city. Every sentence of that song evoked memories that pierced her, puncturing her already-broken heart! She was approaching the edge of the cliff, where they had made promises for eternity… where they had watched a million sunsets and vowed that they would never let the sun go down on them!
She took a brief pause, kissed those memories goodbye, and kickstarted the engine. It drove her insane to stay away from him. And finally…the insanity drove her right over the cliff. As she fell to her death, she looked to her left and relived that deadly fall which she survived, but he didn’t! She left the steering wheel, held his hand and smiled as she heard the best part of their song!

Death didn’t do them apart. If anything, it mended her broken heart.