Pampering Whimpering

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Pampering Whimpering

Ted! Where are you?”

Here mom! A last minute brush up for the party” Ted raised his tone as he replied from the lounge room.

I’ve been looking for you all over the place”. Mom’s face had somewhat mixed expressions as she entered the room. “What? Are you buckling up her sandals?” 

“Tiara’s dress is too tight…not easy for her to bend down. We’re already late, mom!”

“But why are you late? Don’t you think she takes a bit long to dress up for a simple party!”

Not a simple party mom! It’s my office party and I want her to look good”

“But you cooked the lunch too. Was Tiara away somewhere?”

“Mom! She was away for hair-styling!”

“Oh well! You could’ve told me. I had cooked ample food in my tiny kitchen. You never come over. Like you did when you were younger” Mom said as she began to walk towards her room

But mom, what would Tiara have eaten on coming back from the hairdo?”

“I know, she doesn’t relish my simple food”

“Mom! Be happy. We’ll come back late tonight”

The pair walked away arm in arm, laughing. Mom sighed. When she was young, Ted’s father had never been so caring. She often wondered where Ted got it from – this knack of wife pampering.

In fact, Ted did have his dad as a role model. For he did all that his dad did not do; albeit he got carried away and did that a bit too much.

© 2016 Alka Girdhar

~~~ ~~~

For:  Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by Priceless Joy

It was already Saturday when I checked this week’s prompt picture for FFfAW. Recently I had decided not to write any more stories for a while. But this prompt did the trick…again.

Cry Baby – a flash fiction

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Cry Baby

My first day at my new university so far away from my homeland and here I am, already full of mixed emotions. Her letter added to my commotion.

I open the paper with tremulous hands.

“Missing you! When will you come back?”   

Crying for me. This girl has nothing better to do. It’s not that I don’t like her. But liking was not enough. We were kids no more who give and take without selfishness.

Ambition, success, power, money – her rich parents were looking for all these in a guy who would keep their only daughter happy.

I had almost shouted at her “I have no money. And mind it! Money doesn’t grow on trees!!

She listened dumbly with tearful eyes. Always crying. Silly girl!

That’s the last I saw of her before I crossed seas, to find my worth in a new country. To prove myself to the world.

Here she writes again. Cry baby!

I can’t do anything about her”, I hear my agitated voice while drops of water streaming from my eyes drench the paper-shreds that I slowly set free, to let them float on river water. Parting ways, each shred carves its own path.

© 2016 Alka 

~~~ ~~~

Written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, hosted by Priceless Joy.
Picture prompt by TJ Paris

If you liked my post, please do share your valuable comments. Thanks.

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

Empty Unhappy Youth who Kill Themselves or Kill Others

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For the last two days, my mood has been strangely introspective.  My son’s friend, who was a student with him at the same university, committed suicide.
Thereafter, we also heard news about campus killings in Oregon, America.

Although the real reason can never be known, people deduce all sorts of reasons for a young person’s suicide. One reason given was ‘parental pressure’.  Also, that the day he took his life, he had said to one of the girls in his class, “I feel empty inside.

Parents again. Oh, but isn’t this a question being raised all the time, that ‘parental pressure’, which itself has its roots in ‘societal pressure’, lies heavy on many students’ head when they do not come up to their parents’ expectations?
Most students deal with it, some can’t cope.

My son’s friend is (was) actually the older brother of one of his classmates, with age-gap of only a year, but they all studied together.  Although both brothers are/were academically brilliant, and both got along well, but in a way the younger of the two was doing better. And now that this tragedy happened, people are quick to deduce that the older brother was probably not happy with his academic career, howsoever good it was.

That said, I couldn’t help probing further reasons for this unfortunate incident. Why did he feel ’empty inside’?  He had three loving siblings and had both parents alive. Then where and why was the parental pressure? Is it that the child assumed there is pressure? Is it that the younger sibling was out-performing him and he felt left out?  Probably, day-to-day comments and harmless little nagging within the families is not so harmless after all. A growing child, and a young person being consciously or unconsciously compared to others, loses his self-esteem and self-worth. I feel like hugging his soul. How lonely he must have been during his last hour or so!

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Photo Credit: animalnewyork.com

Essentially, loneliness is a part of growing up. Late teens to early twenties – this is the phase when children are no more considered children, even if, due to their lack of life experience and not much exposure to the world, most of them continue to be a child at heart.

As they leave their teens behind, they are full of anxiety. Anxiety of behaving sensibly like a new adult, that of being a role model for younger siblings, of performing well as per the societal or parental expectations, of getting admission in best possible courses, of out-performing others so as to secure a great job, of issues related to a girl-friend, of not having a girl-friend while others have; all this while out-doing many others who themselves have similar mind-set.  Each young person trying to excel in this rat race because eventually the fittest will survive.

While I was deeply brooding on all this, I shifted my thoughts to the other news, that of mass killing at the community college at Oregon campus. News about campus carnage in America is no more news for the international community.  This time too, the culprit’s age-group is the same as in most other campus killings, and the victims too are mostly young students or else teachers.

Oregon massacre, as the news slowly reveals, was based on hatred for organised religion, and quite like previous campus killings, this is also related to frustrated youth – an acrimonious revenge of some sort, for it is strange that the shooter was at some stage enrolled in the same college.  So it was about rebellion and about getting noticed. This too is about perceived or real societal pressure to conform (to religion), and it’s about retaliating and giving back pressure to the society. It’s about saying: Look you mean society!! I don’t believe in your dictatorial religious dogmas and pseudo-principles. I shun you. I have the power to kill you all.

As I mentally compare a young man’s self-killing to that of another young man’s mass-killing of others; both have similarities as well as differences.

Suicidal youth are the ones who have lost all hopes from life. Their needs are not being met, they’re crying for help but unable to say it, or else they try to convey but no one pays enough attention to their feelings. Eventually, when they feel life is more unbearable than death would be, that’s when they escape life via one impulsive step. Likewise, the youth who finally resorts to a killing spree, he also conveys or protests spitefully via media and other means, till one day he decides to take some rebellious action. As the Oregon killer said ‘He did not like his lot in life”.

Youth on the verge of a suicide assume they haven’t found their rightful place in the society and can never get it, hence they finish their life.  In comparison, aggressive young men who kill others also feel the same, except that killers try to get their place forcibly, by attempting an act that would leave a larger statement behind. Both seek attention, one does it passively and the other aggressively. A suicidal introvert passively punishes the family and society by withdrawing from it; whereas the shooter does so aggressively by taking lives within unsuspecting campuses.  

Taking one’s life via suicide, or that of many others…these are angry, unhappy, lonely, frustrated youth, not born that way but possibly they had been seeking attention since their early age as is clearly visible from the early life of this campus killer. Their mental tension and loneliness took root in their childhood, that is long before they culminated their anger or anguish in this extreme manner.

This amazes me as a parent, and I wonder at what stage do parents mentally lose contact with their child and why does this happen. Is it from early childhood that some odd behavior goes ignored, or else at the age of 10, 12 or 15?  Possibly more so after they turn 16 or 17, as that’s when they start to go out on their own.  In a nuclear family, which is a norm these days, there’s no support from extended families, hence the pressurized parents are either too engrossed in balancing their career with family life; or busy looking after their younger kids while getting more and more detached from the older kids. The older ones thus grow distant from their families and soon their lonely voices go unheard.

Here the problem is, how much parenting is enough? There are parents who would like to be forever involved in their children’s life, but they face another ‘societal pressure’, one that reminds them that parents should let their kids be; should set them free, let kids grow up on their own. Over-caring parents are considered helicopter parents – over-anxious and too fussy about their grown-up child or new adult.

Well of course, good parents need not be helicopter parents but they should not be so unobtrusive or unavailable that if their child is feeling “empty inside” they don’t even know it.

Likewise, parents of a teen, who is soon going to to evolve into a monster with head full of bloody ideas like mass massacre, are either parents who are themselves party to such vile things or else totally ignorant about it.  Either way, they are not playing any positive role in the lives of humans they gave birth to.

Throughout the life of their child, parents need to constantly sow seeds of ethical, moral and righteous living in their children. There’s no age for that. Parents need to be present in their kids’ lives forever. There’s no age for that.  Parents need of watch out for signs of killer instincts in their growing children and youth. There’s no age for that.

There’s no age to fix things that have gone even slightly wrong. It’s better to mend them in time.

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Copyright © 2015 Alka Girdhar

Crushed Crush

In response to the writing prompt: First Crush
Who was your first childhood crush? What would you say to that person if you saw him/her again?”

Not based on any personal experience, but observing many others, I assume if people have a one-sided crush on someone, it doesn’t mean much.

My thoughts on this topic:

Crushed Crush – – Two erratic poems

He was my first crush
When I was way past
The age of crushes
Fast forward
Years later
Saw him
And he shared his secret…
Back then
Years ago
He had a crush
On my best friend
My heart thus crushed
He became my last crush

***

She met me after ages
No more shy, all smiles.
She opened her mouth
I gaped, looked hopefully
Now’s my chance, for sure
This time she won’t refuse.
Before I could speak,
I heard her bold voice
“My son has a huge crush on
your daughter, will she refuse?”
I woke up from my trance
And stuttered “No naah,
She won’t. Why would she?
How can she? Will she?”

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A rant…From Me to You…

The Daily Prompt: From You to You  has asked us to…Write a letter to your 14-year-old self. Tomorrow, write a letter to yourself in 20 years.”

Oh baby! Was I ever fourteen?  I can write about 40 as that’s not distant, but 14 seems so remote though I do have vivid memories to share. My sensitive and studious 14 year old self does need some sermonizing on practicalities of life but I’ll leave it for some other time.

My son should answer this prompt. In fact, I can write on his behalf as I know him inside out. I think I do. On the contrary, maybe I don’t. He’s always been a thoroughly good boy during his schooling and now university but generally, as they grow up they have their own lives, esp. our sons. As such, in these times we all live in our own cocoon. Particularly at young age they want to carve their future, spread out their wings so they’re busy trying out new ventures and journeys.

Right now at this moment my son is in London. He went all alone for a month long academic trip to Europe. After Switzerland and Germany, he’s now in UK.

The last few weeks were anxious anyway but today I’m worried like hell, for he has not been picking up the phone since yesterday. Right now it’s midnight in London and I assume he must have been caught up in tube transport strike during the day or when coming back home late evening. Something to do with that.

When I last talked to him almost two days ago, he said he will not go out of his accommodation on Thursday as the city may get chaotic. But the whole day on Thursday, his phone was switched off, so I have no idea what’s been going on. Due to his hectic schedule and the time-gap between the two countries, his phone calls have been generally erratic throughout his trip, but this one’s the longest disconnect we had.

Of course, all this gave me a sleepless Thursday night. On top of that, today on Friday morning, I woke up to a power shut down. It’s not usual for Sydney to go without power, but that’s what happens when you need something the most. A few hours of no electricity meant phones can’t be charged, problematic net connection and all. Finally the power is back so I’m writing all this.

Now…waiting for his phone call. Possibly he’s asleep at this time. He will wake up and call us. But I have the phone numbers of Australian Embassies ready and also that of London Police.

My husband, who is busy with his inter-state tasks, tried to contact him as well but was amused at my panic. He laughed and said …”Police. Huh! Aren’t you too worried?“

Yes I am.  For I am a mom.

So yeah… 4, 14, 21, 40, 60, 80…nothing matters as long as we are safe and alive.

mother and child

My son with his mom when he was younger, she was younger but not 14

Whether we get little miseries or bigger woes, abundant achievements or tremendous failures, small joys or exhilarating happiness, it all holds value only when we ourselves are secure, and sure of the safety of our near and dear ones.

So. What will I say to my fourteen year old self? Maybe some of the above. And much more.

~~~

He called later in the day, as if nothing happened. So everything is ok now.

I can’t hold his hand anymore to keep him within my range. I should realize that it sets me free as well.

To Love the Coming and Going of Seasons

If we want, we can be happy in every season.

A heart full of love is the prime reason, that even when all seasons turn, turn, turn they still carry a special beautiful meaning for us. Here, by love I mean love between young or old lovers, between happily married couples or love within your family, friends and general humanity.

Our age and vitality is another reason. By age, I do not mean just physically young age with its plentiful energy and zeal to live, but also the youthfulness of heart in people who are ‘young at heart’.

Which means, to a generally happy and content heart, all seasons seem good.  An unhappy heart will not even notice the change in seasons. Thus, abundant love and youthful feelings at any age can make us look forward to any season.

When love sprouts in our heart early on, everything is romantic and wears a rosy sheen.P1050651 Spring flowers and bird songs carry a special meaning for a heart in love.

Likewise, heavy rain that is at its worst during a full-swing rainy season, may often be abhorred by others around you, but if you are in a desirable company of someone you love, you won’t mind walking in the rain for miles, even without umbrella. Similarly, a group of youthful (young at heart) friends in a mood to enjoy rainy season will love every drop of water falling on their fresh faces. For the same reason, sitting indoors in our home and hearth with our families, even when wild rain thuds and creates noise, is far from scary. Rainy season becomes a family occasion for special food being cooked, a charming fun event.

For a person with heart full of love, dry autumn leaves seem to sway and fall gracefully; and walking on crunchy leaves hand-in-hand with your loved one creates a rustling music like in no other season does.

Likewise, winters too seem unpleasantly cold only if our hearts have gone cold and frozen. Oh for the love that melts ice in our hearts, the chill within relationships!  These clichéd thoughts remind me of the song ‘Frozen’ by Madonna, and the lyrics ‘you’re frozen, when your heart’s not open

Oh well! That was one way of viewing seasons, that is, accepting the reality that it is our personal feelings that make seasons influence us positively or negatively. Too much happiness and too much unhappiness render us oblivious to any good or bad changes around us.

And yet, other than our personal moods, there is also a certain practical and physical side to it. The hard facts. On seeing myriad colorful flowers and after inhaling sudden fragrances of spring, even a very sad unloved person is liable to cheer up for the time being. That is the power of nature and flowers. To a person in a normal mood, most fruit and flower trees anyway give greater joy during spring season.

Some time ago, during late spring, this fig tree in my yard was lush green and full of figs, but now so barren, with every fruit and leaf gone. Few days ago, in early winters, on seeing a few off-season figs, I felt sudden joy and delight, more than on seeing a tree full of figs in their full season.

Which means, other than love in our hearts that makes us sensitive towards seasons, there is some definite impact of seasonal changes via physical beauty of nature, as also through other physical consequences of changing seasons, esp. the extremes of heat and cold.  Ask a homeless and poor person which season he/she likes the best. Can’t be winters. And even a rich person, who is badly susceptible to catching flu in winters, cannot be in love with this season, even though he/she can afford best possible medical help.

Moreover, shorter winter days seem to be generally less productive. Physical mobility is also less if one finds it hard to wake up early and go to work. But that means, winters provide plenty of rest and warm snug sleep. Now that too is a blessing if not carried too far! Other than that if and when sun comes out during winters, which is plentiful in Australia, it is highly welcome.

That way, summers get many things done what with their longer sunny hours. But then again summers produce scorching heat accompanied by physical exhaustion throughout the day. Nature counteracts this by providing treasures of summer fruits, that we can top up with drinks and ice-creams.

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Rain drops today – from my front door

See, I can go on and on and justify that all seasons are good if we have open hearts, and as for our comfort, well nature shows a balancing act in all seasons.

Personally speaking, at all times in life, whether there is abundant love or no love around me, extreme happiness or no happiness, I have no complaint with any season. For I am lucky that I am not homeless during severe heat, cold or rain. I count my blessings, that I still have many reasons to be happy in life, irrespective of seasonal tantrums and turnovers.

~~~ ~~~

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: Turn, Turn, Turn
Seasons change so quickly! Which one do you most look forward to? Which is your least favorite?

. Also for WPC photo prompt Seasons

 

Copyright © 2015 Alka Girdhar

Lingering Campus Ghosts

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My university days
The last class finished
The course was over
The final day farewell
Well cried and rejoiced.
The vacation commenced
But we refused to accept!!
We ‘Three Musketeers’
Lingered on and on

For many days to come
We three friends
Like ghosts hovering
Around empty campus
Inside the vacant rooms
Sat on the benches
Laughing and eating
Though sad in our hearts
Searching for all that was

Days later, vacation over
Once again, we got together
Same campus, same rooms
But what we observed soon
Was some hustle and bustle
Whole lot of fresh new people
New students happy and chirpy
Their introductory Open Day
Their freshers’ Welcome Party

The roles had been transferred
The place was taken over
We could not be in denial.
The place is all theirs
What are we doing here?
“We can no more linger on
We are students dethroned”

Demoted to be ex-students
Years down the track
Till now we are ex-students
the respected Alumnus.
But that’s not a problem
Alumni do have permission
to linger on, and linger on.
In their minds and memories
they can forever linger on.

.

This poem is about how we girls felt in those days, how we lingered on…but I don’t dwell on my university, college or school days anymore. These days, coming across heaps of very old time friends on social media gives us sudden elation followed by confusion and mixed feelings – how much and how long to live in our younger days? It’s quite an effort to assimilate them in your current life hence a balance is needed.

As P G Wodehouse said, “Memories are like mulligatawny soup in a cheap restaurant. It is best not to stir them”

Do you also have some memories about campus days?  Please share as it’s always fun to remember and read about youthful times.

~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~

Previously in response to The Daily Prompt:  Linger

Tell us about times in which you linger – when you don’t want an event, or a day to end. What is it you love about these times? Why do you wish you could linger forever?

Also for Writer’s Quote Wednesday #WQWWC  This week’s theme is Memories

You always believed in me

Huh!! Now they want us to play pranks on each other.  It’s April Fool’s Day and it’s customary to celebrate it, innit?  Ready…one, two, and three…Go!!  Play a prank!!!

No I won’t.  Naah. Staying awake till midnight (in my city) only to be prompted to play pranks. Are we kids? Tomorrow if they tell us to play ‘Ringa Ringa Roses’, how in the world are all of us global writers going to do that – hopping around the whole vast planet earth?

But who am I to get annoyed?  I should be the last person to do so because, if I seriously think of it, I’ve already been playing pranks with you all, my dear readers. I have already fooled you once.  In fact have done that ever since I opened this Word Press ID of mine. You know me by a particular name. Are you sure I am who you think I am?  Why did you believe me in the first place?  I had a URL by a genuine name of a female who genuinely exists in this world and has a real face so you easily believed I am A.G.  A person who puts up her real name and real picture has to be genuine. Far from it.

The fact is, I am a very well known ‘celebrity’ – this is how you always refer to me as.  In real life I can’t step out of my house without being noticed or my kid being picturized.  Day and night I was tired of trying to be my original self, the real KK.  But nobody lets me be me. One look at my Facebook Page and you can see how the world swoons at my feet.  I soon got tired of putting up pictures that drove people to leave their important tasks and write comments on my page.  I know, people love me for all possible reasons.  And hate me sometimes.

But deep in my heart I felt a need to leave those reasons behind and hide myself from the world. And yet I wanted to be out in public in some way as I am highly addicted to public life. Therefore one day I decided to write. I am not known to be a writer, right?  I thus became a new person whom nobody suspects to be me.  I didn’t want to have a pseudo picture of a monster, a zebra or a flower as my gravatar.  A real face, a real name of an Indian lady very well suited my needs. Voila! No one ever suspected. Did ya?

Adorning a new persona gave me a new feel about myself as I slowly became what I was born to be like – a thinker, a sensitive female like any other, a normal everyday kind of person – who is not merely popular due to her bags and back-age, I mean baggage.  I left them out of this blog.

And hey! Surprisingly, you all accepted me in my new avatar.  Here on Word Press you like me for very different reasons. You like me for my meaningful words and deep thoughts. Even though the number of followers on this simple blog of mine are not even 1/1000th of the number of followers I have in other social media where I carry my real KK image, but still…who cares!!  I am happy like this. At least you all, my fellow bloggers on creative Daily Prompt, meaningful Photo Challenge/s and very friendly Haiku Challenge, are genuine.

You all are my faithful followers but you aren’t after my beauty, money or sophistication. Love it here!!  My point is, there are skinny people all around the world dying of hunger and I sincerely feel you gals and guys shouldn’t be so obsessed about the constant stream of news related to my body size and weight, my contoured nose, my personal relationships, about the ifs and butts of my life. Please please don’t ape me. Donate the money that you intend to spend on buying ridged leggings. Just because I wore them? Give these £1075 to some legless human being. (sob!).
Honestly, ever since I started writing at Word Press, my inner sensitive soul, my conscience has woken up towards the physical and emotional ailments of other flesh and bones people on this earth.

Till today I had been living with huge feelings of guilt, about hiding my true self from my dear readers for so long. This April Fool’s Day prompt brought out my truth. Hope you won’t desert me after knowing the reality.

Please promise you will stay with me and always read what my inner heart wants to write!!.  Moreover, don’t you think I too need true friends in life, like all of you here?

(sob! sob!!…sob!!!)

~~~~~~

My very honest response to The Daily Prompt:  Fool Me Once

It’s April 1st!  Pull a fast one — publish a post that gently pranks your readers.

~~~~

Time Warp

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Wrote this poem for the writing prompt: “All Grown Up.” that had asked “When was the first time you really felt like a grown up (if ever).” 

:

Time Warp

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I am stuck in time
My age-mates pass me by

I look in the mirror
Not much change I find

 Yes I haven’t changed
Yet I surely have

I was born an old soul
Now so young I am

Getting younger day by day
Prime of youth came so late

Now I refuse to grow up
Have vowed to die young

To be old, to be a grown up
I’ll have to be born again

Forever Young

~~ Alka Girdhar ~~
© All rights reserved 2014