I feel a mixed bag of emotions as I write the last post in the A2Z challenge 2019. I had finished my first A2Z challenge last year by balancing my writing with the needs of a toddler who started preschool in the first week of April 2018. This year, it became a little more difficult as the toddler moved on to a new school and I was left juggling between multiple tasks. Between getting the kid ready for school, preparing his breakfast and dropping and picking him up from school, I was left with limited time to write my posts daily and read some great pieces from my fellow bloggers. Probably that is why I feel an extra dose of happiness on reaching the finishing line for the second consecutive year.
When I chose the theme of school admissions, I had no idea if I had experienced enough number of situations to convert them into posts for twenty-six days. I must mention that none of these real-life stories seemed funny when we were going through the experiences. My father often says that when we look back at life in retrospect, we often find a lot of instances that could have been handled in a very different way if we could have added a pinch of humor to them. I realized the depth of this statement only after I started writing this series. There are so many times when I published a post and then thought to myself, ‘What made me react so much to rejection?’ or ‘Why was I affected the most by this new phase in Tuneer’s life?’
It’s a great feeling to get back into this recap mode sharing throwback memories from 2018. After January, February and March, April and May, we move on to the middle of the year as I cherish memories from June and shudder at the thought of July this year.
June marked my entry into fiction writing as I participated in the Write Tribe Festival of Words for the first time. I discovered my love for writing short stories and flash fiction and my blogging journey took off in a new direction.
Amay inhaled the fresh air with a feeling of nostalgia. Looking at the hills through the window, his eyes brimmed with tears. He was back home. He remembered his childhood spent amidst luxuries in a plush Government bungalow. But his father had died of lung cancer when Amay was barely five.
His mother had been employed by the same organization on sympathetic grounds but they had to vacate the bungalow. With the meager salary, they could only afford this small house on rent. Amay had grown to love the slopes, hills, and fields in the surrounding. He kept excelling in academics and his school supported him through scholarship.
Seven years back, he had made it to one of the top medical colleges. Despite some earnings through private tuitions, financial constraints would have shattered his dreams hadn’t his mother taken up odd jobs to support him.
Dr. Amay Mhatre had returned as a doctor in this town hospital. He recollected the stunned looks of the interviewing panel when he had asked for a posting here instead of a metro city. But Amay knew that his mother felt a sense of belonging here and for him, her happiness was the biggest priority.
This is the 5th post written as part of the #MyfriendAlexa campaign as per my theme ‘Shades of Perception’. You can read the other piece of fiction based on the same photo prompt here and the first three posts here.
For this challenge, I am using four photos as prompts to weave two flash fiction stories and one real story behind the picture. This is my second picture prompt.
I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter.
Through the classroom window, Tiya spotted Raisha slouched on the ground. She ran down the array of stairs to call Arjun. They needed to carry her back home immediately.
“I had to give up my cricket match for this wasted friend of yours.” Arjun sounded annoyed. “You have been trying so hard but she doesn’t want to cooperate at all.”
“We have been dating for two months now but do you know how scared I would feel to even walk down these stairs alone? When I shifted from Jhansi to Delhi, I was bullied incessantly in the campus for my looks and accent. Raisha barely knew me yet she stood up for me. When she realized that I missed home, she started finding excuses to take me to her house. Her mom made me feel like family. Raisha had grown up without a father but when she lost her mom to cancer three months back, she sunk into depression and turned towards drugs. How can I abandon her today when she needs me the most?”, tears rolled down Tiya’s cheeks.
Arjun held Tiya’s hands firmly. Together, they would help a friend retrace her steps towards a normal life, he promised.
This is the second post written as part of the #MyfriendAlexa campaign as per my theme ‘Shades of Perception’. You can read the first post written around the same picture prompt here.
For this challenge, I will be using four photos as prompts to weave two flash fiction stories and one real story behind the picture. Stay tuned to read the third post that will be about this picture and its significance. You could also consider subscribing to my blog if you like reading my stories.
I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter
Mir Rehman walked inside his office room in the palace.
The rumors about the palace being haunted had led to a decline in visitors. But having worked as a Diwan for 38 years here, Mir rubbished such claims.
Of late his relation with Amir Ali, the last Nawab had become sour. Amir’s obsession with alcohol and women had been eating into the palace’s revenues.
The creaking of the door made Mir observe Amir’s entry with another man.
“Anjan, finalize the hotel deal and give me the money.”
Anjan said, “What did you do to Mir who had threatened to inform the local police about your unlawful activities?”
“I killed him in his sleep and rolled his dead body down the stairs outside. The police and the local doctor helped me cover it up as an accident from tripping.”
But Anjan had turned pale on spotting a ledger in the air, held without any support.
Next morning, the newspapers carried details of Nawab Amir Ali and liquor baron Anjan Seth’s demises. Amir had a fatal fall from the stairs while Anjan had passed away from a heart attack.
For Mir Rehman, it was work as usual in his corner office room.
This is the first post written as part of the #MyfriendAlexa campaign as per my theme ‘Shades of Perception’.
For this challenge, I will be using four photos as prompts to weave two flash fiction stories and one real story behind the picture. Stay tuned to read the second flash fiction that I will write around the same picture in my next post. You could also consider subscribing to my blog if you like reading my stories.
I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter
Shubha gasped for breath as she broomed the floor of the Iyer household. Heavy work coupled with inadequate diet had led to her failing health. The Iyers who paid her the highest salary among the five employers were famous for mistreating people of her class.
Shubha looked at Mrs. Iyer offering sweets to the deities. Shubha felt her stomach crying out for some food. Her alcoholic husband had run away with all her savings last night. She had barely managed to feed the kids and had to sleep without a morsel of food.
In another corner of the house, Iyer’s toddler son was emulating his mother’s actions. The deities had been replaced by his favorite toy called poochie – a dog made out of clay. The little one placed poochie on top of his favorite donut urging it to eat.
“Please let me be born as a toy dog in my next birth. In our world, an inanimate object gets better treatment than people like me,” she spoke to her God with tears in her eyes.
The stage had been dismantled. Samar sat on the opposite ground looking at the words “No entry” painted on the artificial steps. Few lights needed to be fixed.
His wife Suhani loved theatre. She had built a troupe. As Samar got busy with his job, she put her heart and soul into her craft.
Samar wasn’t even aware that the group had been performing to empty rows for a while. Unable to bear the burden of public rejection any longer, she slashed her wrists one afternoon. Samar had never known how depression had overshadowed Suhani’s life.
As Samar learned to accept the reality, he took charge of her dream. Pulling in all his savings, he got few creative heads on board while personally handling promotions and finances.
After months of hard work, their show had opened to a full house last night. Tickets had been sold out for the whole week.
Samar lamented, “If only you had given life a second chance Suhani, you could have been here today to witness your dreams coming true.”
I woke up this morning with a bad migraine. The wall clock announced the time as 6 am. Looking at the toddler sleeping beside me, I felt guilty. Yesterday had been an extremely depressing day for me. The editing part of the first novel has been pending for quite a while. The boy had been falling sick quite frequently for the past one month. Last week he had come down with viral flu and had to be confined inside the house for the whole week. Yesterday he wanted to go to the nearby play zone quite badly. Fear of an infection again made me discard the idea. When every mode of trying to make him understand failed, I yelled at him. My son is generally a very sensible kid and so, I try to be as gentle with him as possible. The sleepless nights for the past few days and the slack in my working schedule finally got on my nerves and I vented it out on the hapless boy last evening. I regretted it immediately and apologized to him. I don’t think he even remembered the incident when I put him to sleep last night but I stayed up feeling extremely annoyed with myself. Few drops of tears ran down my cheeks at this moment as I ruffled his hair. That’s when I saw the writing on his magic slate. It read,
Today is your last day on Earth. You have ten hours left and so go ahead and do whatever you want to.
The countdown to say goodbye has already begun.
P.S. – This is not a joke.
I read the message couple of times to ensure that this was not a prank on me. I tried deleting it by pressing the delete button above the writing area on the slate. The words were still prominently visible. It took me a while to understand what was happening. I was going to die and had only a few hours to savor my last moments on this planet.
Looking at my toddler and husband sleeping peacefully, I started shedding silent tears. Oblivious to the grief ahead, they were cuddled up. To get a grip on my emotions, I decided to walk out of the room towards the balcony. My father had arrived here a couple of weeks back to spend some time his grandson. I saw him reading the newspaper in the sitting room while passing through this area. After my toddler started school, I rarely had the luxury of spending time appreciating the beauty of nature. But today I decided to relish every single moment.
“The red stiletto heels will look gorgeous on your feet Ma’am.” the salesman at the shoe shop was eager to close a sale deal before calling it a day.
Tshering looked at the case that boldly displayed 12000 INR. It had been nothing less than a dream to own the pair. She glanced at the cheap black heels purchased with her first salary at just 1100 INR from the local Shillong market.
Seated on the shop bench, Kodor fondly looked at this girl who had been employed as his house-help two years back. A freak accident in the city lake would have killed his mother hadn’t Tshering dived in to save her. As a swimming coach, he had spotted her talent and immediately taken her under his wings for training. He proudly beamed at the National level swimming champion today as she proceeded to pay the bill for those red heels.
“Coach, shall we leave?” Her voice broke his reverie.
It was already time to head towards the State conducted felicitation ceremony for their contribution to sports.
Disha was packing the lunch box as her father Aravind Rao rushed inside the kitchen. She knew her father was a stickler for punctuality, “Appa, I’ve made puliograhe (tamarind rice) for lunch today.” Aravind smiled, “So I get to eat my favorite food on my last working day.”
Fifty-five-year-old Aravind worked as a postmaster in the only post office in his town. Disha had always been her father’s pet but it was the pain and grief of losing her mother that had strengthened their bond. Disha had just turned fourteen a month before her mother passed away due to cardiac arrest.
Despite not so favorable circumstances, Disha had been a meritorious student. Aravind had always been supportive of Disha pursuing a career although his friends and relatives had pestered him to get her married after she turned eighteen. Disha not secured admission in the only Engineering college in town but was also chosen for the scholarship.
In her final year, Disha was the first student to be recruited from the campus by India’s top IT company. Her job location demanded a daily commute of two hours from her native as she was unwilling to move away from her father. Once Disha settled down in her profile, she started convincing Aravind for voluntary retirement. Her father had struggled the whole life for her betterment. Now she wanted to let him relax.