Through the Foggy Windows…

Here’s my second short story based on below picture.
For Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) hosted by Priceless Joy.

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The Shadows Uplifted…

After a tiring day, as she barged into her room, she habitually walked towards the window.

God! He’s still sitting here!”.  Through the window-pane that was totally blurred by the heavy rain, she could see silhouette of a young boy – sitting exactly where he was sitting yesterday – on the pavement opposite to her window.

He was the same boy who had knocked at her door three nights ago. He said he was very hungry. He badly needed help, a place to stay as it was a stormy night.  Assuming that he was a trickster of some sort, she had refused.  Moreover, she was getting late for a late-night party.

Night after night, the shadowy image sat outside her closed window but she felt scared to open it.

Today, as rain drops lashed the window-pane, she again saw his vague figure. This time she felt a tinge of pity for this homeless urchin, so she went out to check. But all she could find was was some shapeless rock. Probably no boy ever sat there.

She decided she’ll search for the boy. And help him.

The one you’re ‘Meant To Be With’

My poem defines a ‘soul-mate’ as not someone we pine for, but one your soul learns to live with and knows him/her well.

~~~

The one you are with, day and night
Is the one you are Born to Be With

To (not) take you to moon and back
To help your life gain ground on earth

Together buy food and groceries
To cook all the family meals

To remind each other about
The day for the rubbish bin

Together watch soap-operas
To fight for the remote control

To converse about bank balance
To get home renovations done

Together plan your child’s future
To worry about his/her career

The mate you share your life with
The mate who cares for your little needs

Soul-mate is not the one you pine for
But the mate your soul learns to live with

'Will these glasses help him see things my way?'

~~~~
.
Take Me to the Moon

Also for the daily prompt  Born to Be With You:  Got a soul-mate and/or a best friend? What is it about that person that you love best?

Yin to My Yang

Hands Up!!

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“Hands up!!  Young Lady!
Give me whatever you have!
Save your future”

I have often imagined this scenario esp. after that GPS incident.  If faced with something like this, better not argue with the goon/s. Better give them all that you have – for your life’s sake, for your future. And theirs.

Sounds easy. But the reality is, if somebody does this to me, I’ll be horrified.  I may swoon.

Now look at this picture.

syrian_child_photoThis little girl, in war-ridden parts of Syria, also looks awe-struck. But it seems like she’s quite familiar with this concept of ‘putting your hands-up’ when faced by anyone who’s carrying a mechanical thing that looks like a gun. The picture was taken by a photojournalist and shows how this child mistook the camera for gun and impulsively held her hands up in surrender.

Soon after that, a Red Cross worker had also shared a picture of another Syrian girl child raising her hands in surrender because she too thought the camera was a gun.

No chirpy childhood for such children. No play schools full of colorful toys, no school bags, no fun schooling with playful age-mates, no bright future. Their lives are on a knife-edge where at any moment they may have to ‘put their hands up’ – only to survive, only to keep themselves alive. Quality of life is not even their immediate worry.

Can we give them something? Can anyone save their future?

This pathetic situation exists in many if not most parts of the world, in some form or the other – little kids not living a life of a child.  In the egotistic power games and political rivalries of adults, these budding lives are sacrificed.

~~~~~

For: Ronovan Writes Weekly Haiku Challenge 51
Words provided: Future & Give

I rock!!!  By being my own rock.    

With time, I have learnt to be my own rock!  Even in times of dire need I’m well able to keep my worries to myself till I can.  I feel, any time spent asking others for help, can be utilized trying to do it myself. That’s because now I know many life answers.  Other than that, even though I try to help others whenever possible, I do not find it easy to ask others for help.

Not just asking, I sincerely do not expect or demand any help from others. Life is very busy for all such families who are working full-time or over-time so I try to avoid telling people to take precious time out from their busy schedules. I also do not judge anyone for not having helped me.

But I was not always like this.  Being born and brought up in a big family was a different thing altogether, when we all were dependent on each other.  Later on, the family I got married into was also the same, quite big though smaller than my birth family. In both these cities, both families had huge extended families with all their social events, perpetual marriages, birthdays, religious events and what not.

In big families people are just there for each other – simply by being there.  They do not have to ask each other for help yet all the work load, little miseries as well as bigger problems, literally every little thing is automatically shared, often without a word. Emotional problems also get taken care of.  Thus, inside home-front or outside, my native cities were full of relatives and friends who, despite occasional conflicts, were co-dependent on each other as well as stood by each other.  I too found strength experiencing the merits and the demerits of such dependency.

These were the lessons learnt during first half of my life.  But that’s that. Thereafter it’s been a life that was pretty much lived alone.  Alone means, as a couple with no extended family at all in the city I live.  A growing child is a company but he could not be our rock as such.  By the time a child is grown up enough to understand what life is all about, parents have already become their own rock.  So it was for me.

Years ago, when we initially migrated to Australia and we were younger, there were friends galore, rather one too many. There was too much of mutual dependency as our kids were born, school issues arose or we were generally helping each other settle down in a new country. But soon people got busy and scattered to different locations. Actually my family moved away. More new friends came along but we left them behind after once again moving to a distant suburb.  All these wonderful friends, who were very close once, seem to be totally changed whenever we see them after a long time. Our priorities changed, lives moved on. None of these groups could ever be our constant rock so we learnt to rely primarily on ourselves. Of course, other than these ever-evolving friendships, there are ever-changing workmates, besides the wider Australian community, new neighbors as well as Indian-Australian organisations. Helpful but they can’t be our rock.

Overall, when this process of change occurs a number of times in life – this parting from family and friends – we become stronger. Thus after this vagabond life, at some stage I became my own rock.  Literally I seek strength mainly from myself.  And it comes. It always comes. It’s there inside us.

For example, owing to my husband’s work hours as well as work-related tours, I often got to experience a life where, along with my own career goals, I had a major share in household work as well as taking prime onus of bringing up our only child who never had any grandparents or extended families around him. I had to do my best. I could do it.

Only after his schooling finished that I finally felt free to spread my wings around, to seek local people who can be of some help.  Such people are many and yet they are not many. Because only a handful of people in the world truly care for us. That’s not surprising given the fact that most people can’t relate to our life and circumstances, esp. those who live far away have not seen our life’s ups and downs.

And yet, through all this, my mother who lives in India has been my constant rock, even if it is more of moral strength.  I should not and do not expect her to be my rock, as it is rather they, our aging parents, who need us to be their strength which we cannot be as we live so far away.

Lately, as my son got busier with his higher education, another realization has dawned upon me that parents can’t keep centering their lives around their children, as they eventually leave the nest sooner or later.  Getting prepared for the inevitable time, I too am gearing myself to become stronger than I have always been.  Moreover, if the family structure and priorities change, all my previously acquired strength is not going to be of much use. That’s because growing young children need a different kind of all-round support and love.  But soon it will be more of mutual exchange without any expectations from parents’ side. Parents need to become a rock as they learn to let go of the usual smothering and clinging love they once had for their off-springs.

Parents approaching middle-age also need to strengthen their physical health, while fulfilling their pending career dreams and hobbies, as well as learning to be happy for themselves rather than seek joy only through their children who are about to move out to have their own life.  When children become less dependent, parents also need to renew or strengthen their family friendships and look after their own social needs. At this stage, I too will need more friends for things big or small.  Being busy with our young families and career issues, we ourselves drift a bit apart from our close friends and families, we isolate ourselves mentally.  That uncaring attitude has to go to a certain extent.

And yet, I may still not rely on too much help from others. I will always try to be my own rock – mentally, emotionally and physically – at least till I can. I usually seek internal strength through prayers and music. That will continue.

~~~

In response to The Daily Prompt:  I Am a Rock
‘Is it easy for you to ask for help when you need it, or do you prefer to rely only on yourself? Why?’

Is it a boy or a girl?

Today is International Women’s Day 2016.  Here’s wishing all the women in the world lots of happinessimages (1) and joy!  Here I share my previous article.

The theme of Woman’s Day 2015 is ‘Make it Happen‘. Indeed it should be so. After all a woman is a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a grand-mother. She’s caring, she’s an epitome of sacrifice, somebody worth worshiping. Even Aristotle had said, “If women didn’t exist, all the money in the world would have no meaning”.  This world is a better place because of women and behind every successful man, there’s a woman. So guys, buy lots of nice gifts for her today, and every other day. The last bit was unnecessary. Oh well! I think I got too carried away.

To be fair, I heartily wish same happiness to all male children of these women, i.e. all boys and men of this world, young and old.

While many similar cliche` thoughts cross my mind today on this day dedicated to us wonder women, I am reminded of one of the previous writing prompts by Word Press’ The Daily Post. “Happy Happy Joy Joy.”  The prompt seems appropriate for my feelings today as I probe my identity of being a woman.

The prompt asks:  “We cry for lots of reasons: sadness, pain, fear . . . and happiness. When was the last time you shed tears of joy?

Yes, we all cry tears of joy occasionally. Often as an outlet of extreme happiness that we feel for our near and dear ones. While there have been many such instances in my life, I remember at least one of them.

It was when my brother called me to inform that his wife had given birth to their second child, this time a baby boy. My father’s family and extended family have always had hordes and hordes of females, something that has traditionally been often considered a worrisome matter in a patriarchal society like India.

We too are four sisters, my dad’s brother had six daughters. Like so. I myself was an unplanned child, probably a result of my parents’ trial to have a son. Maybe the third one will be a son, they must have hoped. At my birth, there was no celebration like it was when my only brother, the youngest of us siblings, was born after four girls. Not that it mattered to me. Didn’t matter when I was born nor when my brother was born, not even now. We were all a happy family and we loved him for being the baby of the house.

That doesn’t mean we girls were not loved. Our father used to argue with anyone who ever pointed out that four little girls, all under the age of seven, are a big lot. He would retort back and ask, “Why are you worried…are you going to look after them?”  My mom used to tell us that she did harbor a secret desire to touch little boys’ (macho) shorts as she was tired of hanging colorful frocks on her washing clothes-line. Later on we were a line young women ready for marriage.

Now, before you start relating this scenario to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, let me narrate my specific context. In those days, that is when I was born well into the 60s, it was embedded in the psyche of most Indian families that girls leave their parents’ home while boys have a greater chance of living with them till their old age. So even if birth of a daughter did not give sorrow and it did give joy, still it was assumed that birth of a son may give a lasting joy, esp. if one already has a daughter or two.

And I shamefully admit that even though I am a feminist who fights for women’s rights…in my brother’s case, for a moment I felt quite like most others do. A feeling that, with the birth of a son, my brother’s family is complete. Even if it was a temporary fleeting feeling, it was there.

So, does it mean that much as we pretend to be the harbingers of change in the society, we ourselves are victims of the old rudimentary thoughts and beliefs?  Or is it a fact that these old practices had at least some truth in them?

Of course, as I said before, in Indian context (esp. that of the times when we grew up) it was assumed that a daughter will leave her father’s home and eventually she belongs to her husband’s and her in-laws’ house. Nowadays the social dynamics have changed a lot and therefore young women don’t cry after their marriage ceremony and celebrations, but those days there were so many weepy Bollywood songs that depicted dramatic scenes of a bride leaving her parents’ home forever, as if she is dying or something. The sad tune of shehnaai music added to the woeful drama.

So yes, this thought prevailed that girls have to leave her father’s home at some stage while boys are here to stay. A son and his wife will (or may) take care of old parents. Hence, why would parents not wish for a son?

Another reason for this preference for boys is of course rooted in nature itself. Girls are naturally different from boys, therefore women are different from men.  Nowadays they are trying to be like men and are almost there, aren’t they? But even in non-patriarchal societies, that is in the matriarchal societies, a girl has monthly periods and pains since puberty. Come puberty, in fact even before that, a girl becomes a liability, what with fear of rape and molestation in the hands of some barbaric man, as in this rape story. If she escapes all that, soon she faces another physical fact, that a woman has to undergo so much to become a mother. Even the simplest of deliveries are actually a ‘labor’, not to talk of caesarean section or difficult births. After becoming a mother, a woman has a life different to that of men at least for a few years. There is truth in this belief that a good mother is the foundation of good families so a mother often sacrifices her own goals or interests for her children.  In most families, if husband and wife both have full-time jobs, it is woman who ends up going part-time, unless and until there is extended family to look after her children. Thus, where is equality in nature??

Put it in another way. There is no inequality in nature but nature created men and women different. The solution also lies in accepting this fact. Women do not have to keep fighting and claiming that men and women are the same. The point to convey is, they may not be the same but they are still equal within these differences.

For men too it is vital not to continue discriminating but women be accepted as equals despite all these differences, not just accepted but encouraged to live with dignity, encouraged to stand on their own feet within their family circumstances.  Also, if home-bound women do more than their share of child-rearing or house-hold work, then these mundane tedious services be well recognized and respected.

No superiority or inferiority of sexes. No suppressing. No unfair treatment. Pure respect!!

Oh well, I drifted from the topic of ‘tears of joy’.  So I better stop here and discuss feminism some other time.

Coming back to the daily prompt, I did have tears in my eyes as an expression of joy at the birth of a baby boy within my father’s family. Particularly so as my father was not alive to see the baby so it had caused emotions. My brother quiet young when our father passed away, therefore my brothers’ new-born baby boy happened to be the only other man in the family beside my brother. Looking at it that way, there was nothing wrong in feeling happy about the birth of this baby boy.

That brings more varied thoughts on Women’s Day. We, the feminists, say women are important. We want equality – women should get their full rights, women this women that. But men too have a place, esp. if they are strongly needed within some families. Birth of a baby girl and a baby boy, both are to be rejoiced.

To stop thinking about this topic, today I called my mother in India and discussed this boy versus. girl imbalance. She disagreed with me about Indian families wishing only for a boy. It’s all changed, she said.  Parents these days want two kids – a boy and a girl.  If there is already a boy then parents heartily want a girl and secretly do not wish for another boy, my mother argued Int Women's Day 4while enthusiastically citing many such examples from within our family.

And mama can’t be wrong. For she is a woman, and that too with lots of experience about life, a woman worth respecting this Woman’s Day and every other day.

~~

 

 


Header: Silvia Pelissero

LOVE:  Facts and Facets

Love:  Real or Illusion
(Food for thought haiku for those in love)

love, an oft needed pill
that cures, to cause
greater malady

♥      

love, an oft needed balm
that calms the heart,
numbs the mind (brain)

love, an oft desired enigma
that opens few doors
closes many more

♥ 

love – an obscure game.
the loser wins it all,
after losing it all

love, a lure for beauty
and youth, love fades
as youth and beauty fade

love, not lust, is the truest
love, from soul and heart
not body and mind

love exists not in flowers
jewels, cakes or chocolates
but in truth, loyalty and faith

well…love is so commercial these days
jewels can win her heart

jewellary to win her heart before somebody else does

woo the (material) girl
with a big sparkling solitaire
or else
somebody else will
woo her
with
a diamond bigger
a bigger cake
a bouquet brighter

Let this Valentine’s Day be for genuine love, not greedy love
Let there be compassion for the fellow human beings…

For the writing prompt: Cupid’s Arrow

♥♥♥

I wrote the above set of Haiku poems some time back in the context of romantic love as it was Valentine’s Day.

These poems do not provide a singular definition of what love is all about. But overall, the crux is that love is unselfish. It is not self-centered. It is not based on material things that the other person can provide us.

Love should make you feel happy, even if it demands sacrifice. We all sacrifice our precious time and money for our children. Even the most intelligent mothers, at some point or the other, end up compromising with their career if their child needs them, and yet this sacrifice makes them happy.

Love tries to give, not take. If we love somebody, we should be happy with whatever little we get in return.

The above criteria is for true love, be this your love for a lover, child, parent, pet or neighbor. But true love is a difficult path – easier said than done. That’s because we all love our own self more than we love anyone else. Hence our ‘ego’ becomes a barrier between us and those we claim to love.

I Want to Know What Love Is

♥♥♥ ♥♥♥

© 2015 Alka Girdhar

Ode to Terrorists

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So you think you are smart, don’t you?
Yeah sure you live in your pipe dreams

Wow!! You are real men, aren’t you?
With power to thunder and create havoc

You want to scare us, want to terrorize
How desperately you seek our hatred!

We don’t hate you, but we do pity
Pity your sickness, your pathetic mind

You disgust us but we don’t hate you
No time to hate, we’re too full of love

You kill, we embrace our dead like never before
Million bouquets united us all at Martin Place

The heroes you killed, will live on in our hearts
And you? You lived alone, died alone, to be forgotten

You loner! You loser! Can’t you see?
You became weak, we became strong!!

You killed school kids in Peshawar, fragile and sweet
In our love for these kids, we forgot to hate you

We tender humans cried freely for the departed
You macho cowards made us cry, then run and hide

You hide your face before killing, and after killing
You live a cloaked and masked dead life

You give terror, we become strength
You give hatred, we become love

You’ll lose your games!!  We will win!!!
It’s that simple…

~~~

I wrote this poem after Sydney Terror Seige  in December, 2014 and soon after that massacre of innocent children inside Peshawar school
Who would not be moved by such videos: school children and bodies

My feelings are now apt for current France Terror Attack.  Sadly nothing’s changed….

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