The Right and the Wrong Umbrella

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The Right and the Wrong Umbrella

 

It was raining cats and dogs. On top of that I had flu and fever. But it was imperative for me to go out, and public transport was my only option for that place.

My navy blue umbrella had turned inside out when I used it during the last deadly storm. What should I do? I wondered.

Giving me her hot pink umbrella, my mom said to me, “Who’s going to see it anyway? No one will be out in this bad weather”

I took it and walked slowly against the opposing rain that was made worse by the harsh wind. As I entered the long pathway towards the train-station, I heard footsteps behind me. Then came multiple whistles followed by lewd comments.

“Out on your own, baby!!”

“Let us join you, will ya?”

For a moment it confused me. Then I looked up at the pink brolly and smiled. They were teasing a lone woman.

I decided to fool them by acting like a scared damsel, trying to walk faster with staggering steps. This went on for a while. While they continued their chase, soon they got more suggestive and vulgar. Then all of a sudden, one of the guys came up front, probably with intention for some cheap gesture.

I stopped and turned back. Then popping my eyes at them, I patted on my chin and the coarse stubble.

Lucky me. Despite my mom’s reminders that my unshaved face makes me look older than my twenty years, I’m very lazy about getting rid of facial hair that I’m genetically so well endowed with. Well, at least today I ended up looking like a toughie that I am not.

Scared by this change of game, the loonies ran away. I chased them uttering filthy words that I had never spoken before.

The episode became the talk of my community. A pink brolly draws men to women. I wonder if that is the reason why so many women in my area have now started using big black umbrellas, the kind that men use.  A lone woman’s strategy to keep prowlers away.

Copyright © 2015 Alka Girdhar

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This flash fiction was written for: Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by Priceless Joy. The photo by Etol Bagam.

Now posting my story for Flash Fiction with Ronovan Writes Challenge 7.

She Could Fly No More

Flightless Bird


Flightless Bird
– 
A short story

 

“I’ve got the best bird around town”, he bragged as his friends felt envious of him. After all, the guy-gang had spent years outside women’s college, hunting for good chicks. Only he had been lucky.

His bird had shiny eyes, spring in her steps and golden wings that took elegant ambitious flights that left him enraptured, till he captured her and kept her solely for himself.

Soon this bird, with the sweetest voice ever, forgot to sing. Her beauty lost its lustre, for she did not eat much and lost her sleep. She walked around a little but flights she took no more.

One day he came back home with his friend and saw her lying sprawled on the floor, her tattered feathers scattered all around her.

It so happened that out of sheer curiosity to know if she could still fly or not, the bird had dared to climb atop the roof, hesitatingly spread her nervous jammed wings, only to fall down trembling. And lifeless.

As he stood looking at her, his friend remarked, “Mate! I had warned you. That’s what happens when you get such a high flying bird.”

I’ll be careful next time”, he replied curtly

~~~ ~~~

My story was inspired by the picture prompt provided by Luther Siler for Friday Fictioneers.

 

Tabby – the Tyre Man (a short story)

 

a tyre

Tabby – The Tyre Man

Tabby liked his small town. He liked its people. Well not really. But the thing he hated the most was, that each day after school he was made to sit in his father’s tyre shop. To sell tyres.

Day after day Tabby sat in this shop seeing nothing but black round rings of rubber all around him. They drove him mad. Truck tyres that he found as swarthy as toad. Emaciated and lean cycle tyres that stood hugging the midget scooter tyres. Tyre parts. Tyre pictures. And a strange odour of tyres wafting all around.

He found the buyers as boring as the product he was made to sell with a smile. The clients like highway truck drivers and transport company owners, who spoke in a strange street language, drove him nuts.

When he finished high school, he said to his father, “I want to be a lawyer

But son…our small town simple men hardly ever fight, and couples here don’t even take divorce. Maybe we need more doctors. Or good teachers!

Tabby didn’t fully agree with the first part.  But he couldn’t stand the sight of blood, so his being a doctor was out of question.

And teachers here are made to teach duds like me”, thought Tabby.

Nothing seemed to work, but still he was sure of one thing. That he didn’t want to spend his whole life selling tyres.

One fine evening, as his mind over-dwelt on this matter, he went to the river side. The quiet and the solitude seemed like a balm to his restless nerves.  He took off his shoes to get the feel of soft sandy soil under his feet.

Walking in shallow waters, his foot slipped. The mighty river pregnant with monsoon waters began to drift him towards the deeps. No one heard his fervent cries for help.

Tabby had lost all hopes when something hard struck his shoulder.  A big black tyre calmly floating towards the shores. He held on to it with all his might and prayed for his life. Till he was deposited safely on the river side.

Of course things changed after that day.

It was a matter of time before Tabby undertook all possible education associated with tyre-making, to become the biggest ever success story in tyre industry.

Gallop – A saviour of your life journey‘ – That’s his new tyre brand that adorns the bill-boards all around the country.

~~~ ~~~

I wrote my above story for Sunday Fiction. Thanks for reading!  Do give your feedback about my work.

© 2015 Alka Girdhar

Everything Changes

Modern Love Story (a short story)

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A Modern Love Story

She liked him for all right reasons. Who wouldn’t want to marry this charismatic son of a steel magnate. But how to know him?  That was the problem.

When a mysterious woman miraculously invited her to one of his parties, she quickly availed it.

Looking her best was the next challenge. Her exquisite satin red gown came from a designer thrift-shop. She borrowed a pseudo-Chanel clutch from her friend and diamante stilettos from her newly wedded cousin.

All went well. Being a good dancer she impressed the rich hunk, who was anyway dandy very easy to impress. But the vibrant party was in full swing when she got too carried away. Due to her fascination for all things expensive, she couldn’t resist fine wine that was offered to one and all for free. She overdid it, and that did the job. She forgot the invitation lady’s warning; that she must get back before midnight or else her party-wear will change into her everyday apparel.

Now. Two minutes to go before midnight, before her gown turns into ripped jeans and a tee, and her heels become flip-flops… while her pseudo-Chanel purse hangs like a canvas school bag that she was wearing while still at her home, before the party.

How can she go back home so quickly? She can’t. Intoxicated that she is, she’ll have to take a bus back home next morning.

Cinderella had better sense than this gal from a modern fairy-tale.

~~~

First written for: FFfAW  a weekly story challenge.

A Mouse Run For Life

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A Mouse Run for Life

Squinting my eyes, I watch the vulture looking at me hungrily as I lie on the ground bleeding and injured.

I’m quite a mouse these days. I get heebie jeebies at the very sight of this bird. But I wasn’t always like that. In fact, as a kid I had no idea what a vulture is…till one bad day a big bird swooped down from nowhere and simply swooshed my mom away by her tail. I didn’t get to see my mom after that day.

I barely manage without her. See. Today I got myself badly injured. It hurts. And there sits the demon, looking at me as if about to pounce on me. I must save myself.

Ever since my mom’s experience, dad kept me informed about enemies, “Son, vultures are dangerous. They love dead bodies. So beware! But if you’re alive and kicking, they may spare you”

“But then…mom…”

Before I could finish, my dad had replied, “Mom was half-dead.  But she could have saved herself by somehow finding power to run. That vulture wouldn’t have bothered about her”

Yes!!  That’s what will save me now.  Wake up man! You can do it!!

And I did it.  I jumped up, ran fast till I found a hole and vanished into the earth. Today I am alive.

© 2015 Alka Girdhar

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Written for: Mondays Finish the Story – a flash fiction challenge hosted by Barbara Beacham.

Hawked Rituals

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My Hawked Rituals

I watched the vulture looking at me hungrily as I lay on the ground bleeding and injured. Was it for this day I had come here against my parents’ wishes; hiking all the way to lofty mountains?  A slight twist of feet and down I came rolling to land on this isolated rock. Now what?  I feel dizzy. Any moment she would pounce on me to shred me into bits. 

Last minutes of life. Everyone has them. But could I have imagined this kind of end? No one will ever find my body. No last rites. No religious ceremony.

Ohhh!  And it was only last week I had argued with my college-mates, that my religion is the best; even the way it disposes off its dead. Could never help mocking at other faiths. And now? Destined to be a carcass for this scavenger.

Eyes full of tears, I start to pray, “God, please let me be alive for now! I won’t mind dying in some other way, with any ritual. Please God! Please!”

~~~

For:  Mondays Finish the Story 

The Escapist – a flash fiction

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Photo Prompt by Barbara Beacham.

The Escapist

Not knowing what to expect, he made his way into the dark of the forest.  But I feel this was nothing unusual and very much aligned with his childhood escape pattern.

As a child his escape cocoons were weirder. If some sibling got a wonderful birthday present, then locking himself inside his cupboard was a sure way to compel his parents to buy him a better gift. Hiding under the bed for hours was also his favorite; leaving his pampering mom with no choice but to cook the food he loved. Once he deliberately got lost in a big supermarket till his anxious parents reported to the police, only to find their teenager just around the corner.

The family escaped the tantrums when he got married. Let his wife bear the brunt! Since he could no more fit under his bed, if offended, he would vanish into his garage tool-room or sports club for hours and hours.

The couple’s new house is close to a forest so after their latest tiff, he went to the forest, threatening to never come back.

Possibly it was only a threat and due to fear of wild animals he returned back soon.   Possibly he never returned.  I’m not sure.

~~~~

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This was my flash fiction/short story for ‘Mondays Finish the Story’ challenge by Barbara Beacham. We are provided with a photo prompt as well as the first sentence to begin the story, after which we finish it.

Are you an escapist?

Social Butterflying – a flash fiction

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Photo prompt provided by TJ Paris

Social Butterflying

Sheena looked at the mirror a millionth time and scrutinized her face. The curled hair lock looks better on the cheek. She loved her spiky winged eye-liner that added to her mysterious eyes; kind of waking them up. Hope the mascara is not overdone! Is the dress too loud and flowery?

Flowers! This reminded her that she needs roses – real or fake – for it was a theme party. She went out to pluck a rose but stood watching the pretty butterfly sitting on flowery cacti.

Butterfly! The word rang a bell. Only yesterday somebody had commented on her ‘Sheena, the social butterfly!”.  She sensed a hint of jeering in the remark.

Why! What’s wrong if she likes parties and loves colorful clothes? She stood pondering. This world loves beauty. A plain Jane is quite like this butterfly that was once ignored for being a creepy worm till she developed pretty wings in brilliant hues. Nature’s fashionista is never ridiculed for her transformation!

Thus emboldened by the tiny butterfly, Sheena confidently headed towards her college party. She heard her mom’s voice from behind, “Come back before it gets too dark! Will you?

~~~

That was my flash fiction/short story in response to this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by Priceless Joy

Copyright © 2015 Alka Girdhar

Primal Instincts – a flash fiction

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Picture prompt by Sonya of ‘Only 100 Words’

Primal Instincts

This was the last leg of our journey.  Soon we departed from the hustle and bustle of Port Blair and cruised nearer and nearer to the isolated island of Nicobar – ‘the land of naked people.’

But a short distance away from Nicobar Islands, our ship stopped. Emerging out from their whereabouts, people gathered on the podium and looked questioningly. The ship captain announced, “We shall not go any further. The Nicobarese tribals are paranoid about strangers. Spears have been thrown in the past at those who dared to venture any farther than this. People have been killed!”

We listened with our mouths agog. Lazily positioned close to the side deck, suddenly I felt as if I saw a huge spearhead peeping from the smooth waters below. An angry tribal throwing darts at me – now that won’t be the best way to breathe one’s last, esp. if one has left one’s little children behind. Shivers ran up my spine as I quietly budged away to a securer place.  At that moment I felt, we are just two different type of humans scared of each other; or should I say animals.

~~~

Information on Andaman and Nicobar Islands

That was my flash fiction/short story for  Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by Priceless Joy.

Copyright © 2015 Alka Girdhar

Making and Remaking your Dreams

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Photo prompt by Louise, of “The Storyteller’s Abode”

Making and Remaking of Dreams

When Robbie won the first prize, he couldn’t believe it. It was a lovely beach-house overlooking the harbour with a view to everyday yacht race. This is the stuff dreams are made of!!  But here he was. Not very happy.

For he had secretly wished for the second prize –  an exotic World Tour package. Touring with a handful of comfortable clothes in a backpack and inter-mingling with common people of unknown countries while eating their local cuisine and enjoying their cultural activities. Now that was Robbie’s idea of money, as well as life, well spent.

What now? Residing in this prim suburb, his happy family would be suffocated emulating the mannerisms of Who’s Who of the society, thought Robbie to himself. Not to forget that it’s only the posh house they are giving and not the money required for the elite race of trendy furniture, branded apparels, plush cars and private schools.

But selling the house would mean discarding this blessing of luck. He decided to turn it into a guest-house.

And sure it reaped wonders. Superb location meant the house always remains booked with clients. With the income thus earned, Robbie now regularly goes on tours to far-off exotic places. The best part is that occasionally he also gets to stay in his own luxury guest house, where he’s treated like some world-class traveler.

Best is that his family continues to live in their multi-cultural suburb with little things they love. Where shops offer a different cuisine each day and where it feels as if the whole world is your neighbour.

What else could he ask for? He had turned one pot of luck into many smaller golden urns.

~~~ ~~~

That was my short story written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Copyright © 2015 Alka Girdhar