Wednesday, July 20, 2016

No pets Land

Note: This post was written for Yeah Write Super Challenge. When I first read the prompt Pets, my heart sank because that was the last thing on my mind. I never had a pet nor any deep connection with them. So what should the personal essay be about?

But I am glad to announce that I qualified for the next round! I hope you like it.

Coming from a typical Indian middle class family, each day was a struggle for decent survival. Our everyday battles included fighting the snail-paced traffic on roads, praying for a seat to empty in a crowded bus and long power cuts that brought everything to a standstill, to name a few. You would be drained out of energy by the time you came back home from your day’s work.
Maybe that’s why, we never had any pets. Or so I always thought. Not just us, but none of our relatives or close friends had any, barring a rare few. There was just no energy or love left to show on another creature. I am not speaking for all the Indian families, but a majority of them. Pets never crossed our minds, and even if it did on rare occasions, it was immediately shooed away by throwing a list of all-the-better-things-you-could-help-with-instead on our faces. It’s not that we did not love animals. We were just not ready to having one more thing to look after.
My first experience with pets, or rather a dog, was fictional. Having grown up reading Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven, Famous Five and the Five Find-Outers, Timmy, Scamper and Buster endearingly made their way into my life. I laughed with the Secret seven on Scamper’s antics and cried with Anne when Timmy broke his ear. I felt their wet kisses on my face and imagined the warmth in their welcomes. I longed for somebody or something to adore me like the way they did.
So when a stray puppy lost its way and ended up in our apartment building, its brown watery eyes half-scared and half-mischievous, it took us bunch of kids (my friends in the same building)  little time to call it our own. It jumped and yelped, and we played along. It licked our feet and we let it. We were thrilled to have this new company and overjoyed to have someone who loved us so unconditionally. But all of this didn’t change the fact that he was still not allowed in our homes. I vaguely remember a night, I was sitting alone in the corridor, cuddling Pandu (that’s what we named him), picking fleas from his soft fur with my bare hands, caressing him amidst soft purring sounds until the summons from home became persistent and unavoidable.
And then we lost him. Just like that. In two days, a few grown-up boys turned up at our door to claim Pandu. Word had spread that some people were looking for him (thinking of it now, it amazes me how news spread back then), and I had immediately picked him up in my arms and rushed home hoping to save him from the goons. Yeah, we thought of them as goons, silly us. We fought and pleaded and protested. Pandu was ours. He loved it here and nobody could take him away from us. We couldn’t give him a home, but does it matter? We loved him. As it was being snatched away from me, the watery brown eyes looked at me the same way it did when I first saw him.
Almost 15-16 years have passed since then. Though the mindset hasn’t changed a great deal, an allowance was made to bring tiny new beings into our lives. Ten little fish. Three Guppies, Three Tetra Serpae and Four Zebra Daniels to be precise. There is a little story behind it. For some reason, the husband developed a soft corner for fish. In his little mind, all our home needed was a beautiful little aquarium to make it more beautiful. One fine day, armed with researched information and strengthened resolve, we made a trip to the Pet Mart to buy our first pet. After skimping through the many many aisles, we finally brought home a 10-gallon aquarium and all the decorative shells, sea-bed, and floral pieces. Yes, you read right. No fish yet. A certain Nitrogen cycle has to be established first in the water, so the fish could survive.

In the following days, our dining table became a make-shift laboratory every morning, as the husband’s first attention as soon as he opens his eyes, went towards testing the levels of ammonia-nitrite-nitrate. A series of test tubes, a color chart, some chemicals, a simple chemical test, pouring over the results and never coming to a common conclusion as to which shade of color it was closest to became a daily routine. The cycle of waking up each morning-testing the pH levels-feeling dejected–doing more research–more pacifying words formed a cycle of its own.
It amused me, how diligently and patiently he pursued it. After two months, I stopped believing in his we-are-almost-there followed by just-a couple-of-weeks statements. And then one day, after another month, I came from office to find him excitedly watching the Zebras race each other in their new home. He had finally done it and the happiness showed in his eyes.

Every morning and evening, he checks on them industriously. He pulls a chair by its side, resting his chin on the headrest and earnestly watches them skirt around in full frenzied movements. He drops them food and watches them race each other, nibbling at the tiny dried shrimp. And from a corner, I watch him. Amazed at how these little beings have his full attention. And amazed at how much love there is always left inside us.

Our little aquarium

The main reason I participated in this paid challenge was that I would receive feedback from the judges. I had been yearning for some critique for sometime now and this provided exactly what I wanted. Here is what the judges had to say. I would be glad to hear from you too!
What the judges really liked about “No Pets Land”:

You've chosen a complex and compelling organizational structure flashing back to your childhood and drawing parallels to your husband's aquarium hobby. You did a great job drawing enough parallels between the two stories you were telling to make them seem like a coherent whole.

Where the judges found room for improvement:

Your essay would benefit from editing to tighten up your syntax, avoiding wordy phrases like "thinking of it now," "one fine day," etc. There are a few times when you are too cautious and overexplain things that you have adequately set up, like Pandu's name.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Expensive humor

Its time again for some Friday fiction. Following is a 100-word fictional story written for Rochelle's Friday Fictioneers . To read other entries, please click here.

Copyright-Sandra Crook

“This is why I hate coming back home. I am never moving back here!”

“Relax! You are over reacting. Try to enjoy it. I am sure you will miss it when our trip ends”, he grinned.

“Over reacting?! We haven’t moved an inch in the last 10 minutes!”
Wiping her sweat, she looked in the mirror. “Eeesh! I am going to look like a scarecrow in the wedding!” she wailed.

“You look like your face caught fire and I put it out with a track shoe.”

She glared at him.

“What!? I just thought this makes for a better simile!”  
PS : So what do you think of the story? Would love to know your thoughts.



Friday, July 8, 2016

Lost love

Note : This post is a 100 word flash fiction written for the following photo prompt by Friday Fictioneers

Copyright of Friday Fictioneers

She clutched her notebook nervously, tucking the imaginary stray strands behind her ear. How helpless she felt, in his mere presence.

He passed her in a blink, the thundering noise from his Royal Enfield ripping through the shy air, sending warm currents down her spine.

 “Did he look at me?” she asked her friend earnestly.

“No. When will you get over him? He is not interested in you.”

“How are you so sure? Why does he take this route every single day, at the same time that we leave college? There must be something”.

“Mm..well....because he..Sorry. He loves me”.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

What happens behind the closed doors of an office restroom

It started as a drizzle, faint trickles slowly ballooning into torrential downpour. The only sound in an otherwise pin drop silence. I shifted in my seat uncomfortably as the sound decided not to recede. Please forgive me for being so blatantly gross, but what's with this woman? Pouring gallons and gallons of it. She must have had the largest urinary bladder in the world, I bet. She must have been busy too, otherwise who would wait until the bladder burst? Wait, isn't this too much personal information to deduce? Is the woman analyzing the same thing about me?! The design is so invasive that anybody can guess the pressure/urgency/size of my bladder and I am not sure I like it :\

I don't know why, but I have this irresistible urge to bend down and see who is next to me. I mean, I do not see the whole person, but I do get a glimpse of the shoes, thanks to the 2-foot gap and there is a 1% chance that I might know that person. Once I even blurted out a 'Howdy X! What's up?' evoking complete silence for a full 30 sec.

Besides those that come in thundering, do their job and leave, there are people who are there for a long time. Absolutely no sound. They are just there. Either thinking, or relieving themselves of bigger things due to lack of time in the mornings. These kind of people are embarrassed about letting others know that they are there. So they pretend to not exist. But little do they know that the smell of the Apple scented air freshener hastily sprayed gives them away. I then know its time to hold my breath a little longer.

And then, there are people who are more vocal about their presence. They decide that is the best place to resolve issues. They have arguments over phone, completely oblivious to the fact that others might be listening. It is either the bitchy mother-in-law or a stupid customer care guy. If you happen to be lucky and its all in English, you get your share of meat. You can either stick around longer to see how it ends or walk away in a sprint to spit it out on the first person you meet.

Hold on, there is more nastiness to deal with. Making it more disgusting is the fact that it is a CORPORATE office restroom. Well dressed professionals work here. So my head went for a spin when I saw people using the toilets royally and then promptly forgetting to flush. Many a times I found myself reeling back in disbelief, shock and repugnance at the sheer lack of basic etiquette. The mental trauma I underwent was so deep rooted that I refused to go to that south side restroom for a good one month. It is for this reason, if I ever have the power to do something about it, I would install cameras in all the restrooms, catch such persons red handed and let them do a walk of shame. Oh, how I would love that! The mere thought is giving me goosebumps.

Bathrooms surprise you like no other. Like those set of people who take things in their literary sense. For example, the boss might have said, 'Go, Judy, make a mark.' And lo, Judy decides to leave her foot prints everywhere, on the toilet seat cover, on the flush, wherever her feet can reach instead of her hands. She literally did what she was asked to do. And what would I want to do to such people? I leave it to your imagination.

There, I said it all. All of my bathroom woes. What is your story?

PS : This post is just supposed to be funny and not offensive. I really hope people take it in the right spirit!
While looking for a picture to go with my post, I stumbled upon some hilarious toilet quotes. I literally ROFL-ed.  Hope you enjoy them too!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...