Aug 27, 2009

55 Fiction and a prize !

Here’s a 55 fiction story I wrote for a contest held at work. We were given a theme and had to write something in 55 words or less in 20 minutes. My theme was ‘Nature’ -and I won the first prize. Yay !!
The picture was clicked by me at Rishikesh !

She sat outside, waiting for the Sunrise, her mood as dark as the Night Sky. Slowly the sun peeped out from behind the mountains, bright and shiny as a newly minted coin, its rays like yellow arrows against a backdrop of flaming orange sky. Suddenly, all was well with the World again.

Aug 18, 2009

An Oasis of Greenery

The flats in our block are in a sort of semi circle and bang in the middle of that semi circle there is a park. Many years ago it was totally barren with not even a blade of grass growing in it. Even the smallest gust of wind would blow the dust from the park into our houses and we would crib and grumble. The kids would not play in that park and no one would go for walks there because everyone simply found it too dusty and dirty.
One fine day,a retired gentlemen living in one of the flats decided to put this piece of land to good use. He asked the municipal gardeners to come and grow grass, put in some plants and generally create some greenery. Obviously the gardeners couldn’t be bothered. When he forced them to come saying that the park was a municipal park and hence their responsibility; they came but all they did was lie in the shade and smoke beedis. They had the long list of excuses, the water pump is broken, the garden hose is not long enough, our equipment is too old etc etc. Undaunted, the gentleman took things in his own hands. He visited the local nursery, got some seeds and started to grow grass in the park. He dug up the earth, made flower beds and started planting flowers. By this time the rest of us grew interested in what he was doing. We all came forward to help. We got together and painted the park’s outer walls. The rusted gate was replaced with a new one. A jogging track was put in. Swings were brought in for kids and benches for people to sit on. We didn’t get a penny from the MCD- the people who were actually responsible for the park. We all pooled in with whatever time, money and resources we could spare.
The retired people all pitched in with the watering and general maintenance. Others pitched in buying new plants and doing the heavy stuff like carrying around flower pots or the heavy digging. The kids took it upon themselves to ensure no one was plucking flowers or littering the park. I am sure they also got valuable lessons in gardening and most importantly on the value of team work. We started a park fund, replaced the faulty water pump and brought in two gardeners.
The days when a windy day meant dusty houses are long gone. Now a fine wind finds almost everyone in the park, playing, relaxing after a hard days work or just catching up. You can smell the raat ki raani and the mogra as soon as you enter.The flower beds are filled with roses, dahlias, sunflowers, marigolds and many exotic flowers. A corner of the park is devoted to growing herbs that everyone uses as seasoning and for minor ailments.

I am lucky enough to have our front door open right in front of the park and we have a fantastic view of the greenery from our living room. The snap here was taken from my living room window when it had just finished raining. There are hardly any flowers in this season but the greenery is just amazing.

This park is not only an oasis in the madness and heat and traffic and general chaos of Delhi; but it speaks volumes about what a little bit of determination and a lot of team work can achieve!

Aug 13, 2009

The Greatest Gift !

A while back one of my favorite bloggers Preeti Shenoy asked this question on her blog. It got me thinking. Sometimes the best gifts that we get are not tangible objects but acts that end up changing our lives or at least influencing us greatly.
The best gift I ever got was from my grandfather. A teacher by profession, my grandfather was also a writer and a great dramatist. Whenever I visited my grandparent’s house during my holidays I followed him around like a shadow. Everyday I would accompany him on his morning walk and he would considerably slow down his speed to accommodate my small steps. Once we were out on a walk just after it had finished raining and we saw a peacock with its wings spread out, dancing in all its glory. These walks with him are one of my most cherished memories.

He was a great story teller and it was on these walks that he would tell me stories. They were usually out of the panchatantra or about some mythological character. One day I was pestering him for a story as usual when he suddenly asked me to tell him a story instead. I let my imagination run wild and told him a tale involving elephants and tigers and a village boy who befriends them. I guess something in my imagination must have caught his fancy because the next day he got me a note pad and asked me to start writing stories, poems or whatever came to my mind. He would read what I wrote everyday and give me his opinion. He taught me the secrets of story telling and encouraged and nourished whatever small talent I had for creative writing. He would be delighted when ever I got praised for writing a good essay in school or whenever something I wrote got published in a kid’s magazine. As I wrote in my post on childhood reads, I also had full access to his library and he is the one who introduced me to the magic world of books.
This love for literature and writing that my grandfather has inculcated in me is the greatest gift anyone could have ever given me!

Aug 12, 2009

Of Rains and spicy Bhuttas

The heavens opened up yesterday and it poured and poured and poured in Delhi. Once it stopped raining, I saw many bhutta (corn on the cob) sellers around the park infront of my house. Some squatting on the road and some with push carts; all surrounded by people and doing a very brisk trade. They seemed to have sprung out of nowhere as if intuitively knowing that people will queue up to buy bhuttas once the downpour ends. Personally I think rains and Bhuttas are meant to go together. So I bought myself a Bhutta and ate it piping hot and spicy as I strolled through the park. Now this park is a schleduded area sheltered by huge Gulmohar and Neem trees.It’s like a personal park for the few flats that surround it. In the evening it’s filled with aunties sitting on benches and gossiping, kids playing on the swings or people like me trying to jog. So there I was strolling unconcernedly and eating my bhutta when the ladies sitting on the bench spied me. The sight of me eating a bhutta sparked off a discussion on various recipes involving corn. On an impulse one of the elderly neighbors asked her husband to get a few bhuttas so that she could roast them in the microwave.
I stopped to talk to one of the kids playing on the swings and she asked her mom if she could have a bhutta too. Suddenly all the kids wanted to eat bhuttas and started pestering their maids/moms for them. The bhutta seller was called over with his cart and soon all the kids and most of the moms were clamoring around him. By this time I had finished my bhutta and was geared up to start my evening jogging session. Meanwhile the elderly neighbors had bought their bhuttas,microwaved them, cut them into little pieces, added lemon and spice to them and were now offering them to everyone in the park. They offered me some and when I politely declined saying that I had just eaten one, they said “c mon eat it after all you are the one who has sparked off this Bhutta eating epidemic today!

Inspite of yesterdays rain its a really hot day. Perhaps today I should walk through the park with an ice cream in hand!

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