Monday, February 22, 2010

Love story

Before you get all flustered about me getting romantic, this is not about me. A few days ago I entered a short story competition, as a lark. The rules were simple, 500 words or less and use a pre-stated line in the story before the deadline.  Well the resultant story is as follows:

The strategy was deceptively simple. Get across the exposed ground, under the cover of darkness. Find the food supplies and bring them back to the quarters. What could possibly go wrong?
Part of an elite group for the colony, I was prepared for any eventuality. But she was the last thing I’d expected to see in a forsaken place like this.
The crossing had been easy enough. The ground was under complete darkness and we were left with only our senses to navigate the expanse to whatever lay ahead. The cold seeping in through our armor, we silently made our destination.

The reconnaissance team had done a good job. The enemy was no-where near this location, at least for now. The co-ordinates they had supplied had actually panned out. Ricter had promised ‘ It’s there. I swear on my nearly dead mother’s grave! You’ll find the food at these co-knots.’

Convinced, I was not. But I’d taken on the mission. And now I was staring at the one reason that had convinced me to move to this part of the world. Amber!

She’d left me for lack of a better life, 5 years ago. Wanted to roam the world she’d said. And left, before I’d even had a chance to try to change her mind. An eternity ago.

And now here she stood shivering in the damp cold, looking like she’d been on the run since she’d left me. I wanted to reach out and touch her beautiful face but couldn’t get myself to feel the pain of rejection again.

‘Help me’ she whispered. That’s all it took. I wasn’t going to leave her there, alone. Not now, hopefully never. We carried as much food as possible and began the journey home.

That’s when the floodlights came on, drowning us in luminescence with no-where to hide.
Too late. The gas, a highly efficient and deadly neurotoxin, seeped into our lungs before we even saw it. Still running, I reached out for Amber. As I fell I felt the wind rush by me, razor sharp and merciless. I saw her then. I thought my life would flash before my eyes but all I could see was her face. I turned to face my doom, I wouldn’t die like this. Not like this…

Her face reflected mine. Love. Loss.

 ‘Hey mom, come look at this! These two roaches look like they’re hugging.”

                                                               The End


The Jury is still not out, but I'd love to hear your comments about the story, so please write....encouragement always needed, discouragement never discouraged.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

VD sucks

I've been wanting to write this post for, well, the last 3 days. But I've been procrastinating. Not for the lack of material to write, no, I've got plenty. No, I haven't been in the right emotional state to write it. It's nothing hormonal. I just haven't been feeling the love. So, to remedy the situation I went, by myself, to watch Valentine's Day, the movie. If there was more reason to hate Valentine's Day, the day, this was it.

Which idiot came up with an association between a day when two men, with, obviously, the same name, were tortured to death, eons ago, and love? Call me stupid and slap my face, but I just don't get it. (on second thoughts don't!) The saints, after which the day is named,were presumably executed because they defied the emperor's (Claudius the Cruel) command of  having an army of single men. Damn! I'm sure that's reason enough. Where the celebration of love features in this whole story is beyond me. The evolution of these morbid deaths into a symbol of love and what it stands for, is a little too far-fetched.

I am not romantic, by any stretch of the imagination. Yes, I have been known to indulge in reading Mills & Boons novels, but those are feminine pornography, not to be confused with romance or love. The ideology of romance is, at best, vague to me. Don't get me wrong, I've had romantic moments like being on top of the Eiffel Tower with my husband, having wine at 2 am on my balcony and discussing ethics in business strategy, or having my husband poke fun at me and being able to return the favor, in public. See what I mean? To the ordinary, this would seem absolutely unromantic, except maybe the Eiffel Tower bit. To me, this is the essence of love and romance, being able to connect with someone on a simplistic level, regardless of the day.

Tell that to the millions of people all around the world, who celebrate this day as if the rest of the year is devoted to showing people how much you hate them. Seriously, isn't love the kind of emotion that has to be nurtured everyday? How can one day in a year encapsulate a feeling that leaves you breathless, longing for more, sad, angry, lustful, caring, kind, devoted, forgiving, happy and a myriad of other things? I wouldn't wish valentine's day, everyday, on anyone. But there has to be a realization that one day in a year does not justify the power of love.

A candlelit dinner, flowers, a walk in the park, that special smile or touch can't be reserved for once a year. As someone, probably piss drunk, once said: 'What is life without love, and love without a life?'

For we don't live for just a day, do we?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Aunty Social

I am a likable person. Unless, of course, you are averse to the straight talking, 'this is shit, not play-dough', I can't fake smile (even for the camera), I'll do what I please, and screw what people think kind of person. Then I'm probably not on your guest list. I've been like this most of my life and have many a times been reprimanded for my sincerity (as I like to think of it). In school, I had as many friends as George Bush Jr has tact. As I go through life I've made a few real friends, only those people who could stand me for what I am (family's not counted, they ain't got a choice), most of who are now a few thousand miles away.

Since I've had children, however, I've become milder in manner and approach. I now readily stop to greet people I'm acquainted with, chat about trivial issues of weather, the children's wellbeing, and other such things. I still am guilty of being outspoken and straight talking when the occasion calls for it, but have learned (sometimes the hard way) to sugar coat things. "Darling, this is poo-poo, not play dough."

But hard as I try, I can't seem to make friends like I used to. Am I such a crazy person that I can't make a connection with my peers? Or, are people just that dumb that they don't get me? I like the second choice better.

I actually tried to get to know a few women, of my general age, from my apartment complex. I smiled, exchanged pleasantaries, talked about the kids, asked semi personal questions and finally got together with these women as a group. That was the only time, a few months ago. My idea of a good time does not involve bitching about the only person not present in the group, or sitting around talking about the same shit we talked about in the morning. Nor do I find prayer meetings too enthralling (God I believe in, just not religion), or eating fatty foods without doing something to work it off.

No, I'm just not fun anymore!

I'd much rather be doing something that involves either physically stimulating activities (talking about games and exercise, people!!) or activities that entice my mental abilities, as limited as they may be. I'd rather discuss a good, or even a bad book you've read, or what you think of the Shiv Sena's approach to killing Mumbai. Your ideas will be respected and heard, but will not be entertained if they involve fashion, make-up, movie stars' lives, or for that matter other people's lives. If you've got something to say about your religious fervor and devotion, you might as well turn around now.

No, I'm not an easy person to get along with as I plunge face first towards old age. But at least I know I won't die of boredom because of the people I choose to socialize with. And if that makes me anti-social, so be it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

V for Value Creation

I recite my ABCs and my multiplication tables. I practice my narration for the school play, my dance for the annual concert, and finish my homework all before my kids go out to play everyday. And they said, you only go to school once!

To top this group of activities, since I seem to have plenty of time on my hands, the kids and I have joined a Karate class. Now, before you back away and make a mad dash for the door, let me sooth your concerns; the violent streaks are under control. The karate class is a group activity that ensures I'm with the girls and that we're doing something constructive (even if it is essentially training to pulverize anyone who physically opposes us) together. You may be wondering why a woman in her mid 30s, with 3 kids, a job, school pick-ups & drop offs, and extracurriculars would want to enter the world of contact sports?  Yes, it's a great thing for the kids to learn, but ain't I a little old to play Karate Kid with, well, the kids? I thought so too, till I figured this was a skill I did not have. But the path to learning is not easy.

The Karate class started in our community very recently. In fact, I had to initiate and propagate the entire event. It's interesting to know that when it comes to learning there are 2 camps; one side holds those who are first in line to learn something new(mostly children), and the other harbors people who snicker and try to discourage the learners (adults). I shamelessly fall in the first camp. The process of getting the class started would have been at most 15 minutes, requiring only a nod from the management committee to utilize space in the community complex, that otherwise is never used. But that happens in the ideal world where people see value in starting something new for the entire community, without selfish motive or political under-toning of the learning process. The process was stretched to two and a half weeks, something my juvenile impatience and exuberance had a hard time fathoming.

The documents had been provided, the petition filed. All that was needed was the go ahead from the old fogies (my British education). I was told that getting the permission would be next to impossible, since it was going to be a business venture for the Karate instructor. Duh!! The guy wasn't going to do it for free! But what the pessimistic bastards (not very old, but fogies non the less) completely missed, from my constant hounding, was that this was for the kids of our community, and anyone else who wanted to join. I was promptly challenged with 'this is for children. Why would any adult want to learn something like Karate?' That did it!! I finally did the one thing I'm really good at; Over-riding authority. I approached the few members on the community who had children and within 10 minutes got my permission.

We're going to have our fifth session today. The class takes place on a small patch of grass behind the swimming pool restrooms (not too glamorous). The outdoor space is great with apartments overlooking it, and the sun shining in its gentle evening cycle. The hour long class is strenuous, yet energizing filled with Bruce Lee styled sounds of 20 children, 2 adult women, and 1 senior citizen (also a lady).

Now that's what I call value creation!