Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Notes

I am forced to put up a post because I had signed a blog treaty with my buddy. I figured he would never live up to his end, but he has and so I need to post too. Since the treaty never said anything about quality writing, I figured now would be as good a time as any to post a holiday version of my miscellaneous blather.

Tis the season! I love Christmas - the lights, the cookies and the gifts! Especially the gifts. In case people are wondering, I love receiving gifts. Every time I check my mail, I expect someone to have sent me a gift. This expectation amplifies during Christmas, with the only problem being - there is no-one to buy me gifts. For one thing, my family lives far far away and secondly we don't celebrate Christmas. Last year, I told S that we should exchange gifts. He took that to mean that he could buy himself some random camera crap off the internet and call that his gift from me. The day Amazon delivered it home, he realized he didn't have a gift for me and bought me a perfume from Macy's and gave it to me unwrapped, one week before Christmas. To give him credit, he did remember the name of the perfume that I had tried that last time I was at Macy's. But people of the internet, my whole intent in deciding to exchange Christmas gifts was the act of opening a beautifully wrapped gift on Christmas morning! So this year I am mostly done with my Christmas shopping and I am hoping S gets me something good. When I say good, I don't mean diamonds or ipad good (although those items would be appreciated). It means paying attention to small details good. Let me illustrate. This year for my birthday there was the usual spread of expensive gifts. My favorite was a $10 blender bottle from GNC. Every day I drink a smoothie for breakfast. A couple months before my birthday, someone (who is not me) left my bottle at the gym and it was gone forever. When I stopped at GNC a couple days later I was told that my bottle was not sold there anymore. I wasn't heartbroken, but I was pretty bummed because that had a narrow mouth which was easier to drink from. So for my birthday S scoured the internet and managed to snag one for me. This is what makes a great present!

Speaking about ipads, they seem to make great presents. I sent one to my sis and I was pleasantly surprised that my mother has learned to use it and doesn't the computer anymore. I was also shocked when my technology challenged father told me that he would like to learn to use the ipad because it seems easy. Say what you may about me being an Apple fangirl, but other companies would be wise to learn from Apple as far as usability goes. But for all this talk about ipads, we still don't own one. S and I have iphones and we have a Macbook Pro that doesn't take all day to boot and it sits on our couch or bed all the time. So I don't have a need for an ipad. I am just going to will the universe into giving me one. I will let you know how that works out.

Merry Christmas to everyone. Joyeux Noel!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Thanksgiving Edition

Since it is always fun to make lists, here is a list of little things that I am thankful fo.r

1) S making breakfast for me everyday. I like to sleep in until the last minute possible. S makes a smoothie for me everyday and I just drink it on the way to and at work. It helps me sleep for 10 more minutes every morning and more thankful I could be not.

2) Going home for lunch everyday. I live 5 mins away from work, even with the parking. I love going home for lunch and having my lunch alone. It's my me time, when I can watch TV or play a game or just sit and stare at the wall. Even where there is nothing to eat at home, I buy a sandwich and take it home just so I can be alone for sometime.

3) My iPhone. I am often accused of drinking Apple's kool-aid, but it's seriously the best phone ever. It helps me keep on top of everything and best of all, when I press a button it immediately does what I want it to do without hanging.

4) Mini Reese's Peanut Butter cups at work. This is my all time favorite candy. I am both thankful and resentful that they stock this at work. But sometimes this salty gooey deliciousness in a cup can turn r mood.

5) My erstwhile DVR and now Hulu Plus - for letting me watch my favorite shows even when I don't know which channels and when they are on. I am mess without my dose of Parks and Rec! :)

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The "I am Back" Post

Is anyone still waiting for me to post something? :) Please fill up the reason for my blog's sad state with your favorite excuse - work, travel, abducted by aliens.

It's that time of the year where the days become shorter and the air gets chillier. This year I have decided that I have to stop complaining about the weather and try to learn why Wisconsinites look forward to winter. I love summer is because every weekend we are usually out in the sun. Maybe I just need to go out more in the winter to enjoy it. During the winter we usually only step out to go to movies, restaurants, bowling etc. Internet, please hold me responsible this winter.

This is also the time of the year when I miss home terribly. Everyday I talk to my parents and I wonder what I am doing so far away from home. I should just pick up and move back home, but since I am too chicken to do that, I will do the next best thing and talk about how much I miss home. Sometimes you miss the weirdest of things. I miss my mother's cooking. Ok that didn't come out right, let me explain. My mother is a great cook when it comes to typical Tam Bram cooking. I am still not able to recreate her mor kozhambu to perfection. But she was pretty experimental in the kitchen when we were younger and she would try to make north Indian recipes, but somehow Brahminize them. She makes this awesome baby corn masala without using any garam masala or garlic. It tasted like nothing you would ever get at a restaurant and yet it was pretty awesome. (I used to think I inherited her cooking, but while I am a good cook, the results are horrific when I stray from a recipe and add my own substitutions.) I also miss the hustle and bustle of Madras. I am always looking for an excuse to go to State Street, because seeing people walk around me reminds me of T Nagar a teeny bit. Most of all I miss being around people who love me.

Now that the statutory missing-Madras bit is out of the way, let's move on to other things. I am enjoying the Nintendo 3DS very much thank you (you thought there would be a comeback post without any mention of Mario?) To give credit where credit is due, S never skimps on the gifts he gets me. Mind you, he still has trouble picking gifts (does everyone remember the robot incident from 2007?), but anytime I hint that something would be nice, he buys it for me the day after. while this sounds very sweet and romantic, it is very dangerous actually. People who know me in real life know that I have no problem buying expensive stuff for myself. And when I deem something is too expensive or wasteful, I have a husband at home who buys it for me. To add to that, we both like to travel too and never balk at buying flight tickets to somewhere. Coupled with some expensive hobbies and our love for takeout in lieu of actually cooking dinner, I think it is time for us to buckle down for sometime. It's going to be an interesting few months ahead. My plan is to blame S for everything and hope to win the lottery. I will keep you posted on how this works out.

In other depressing news, the number of books I've read in 2011 is shockingly low. Despite the Kindle! I squarely blame Angry Birds for this (see how good I am ) I would go through books in hours when I was younger and now I am reduced to this. I am taking recommendations for new books/authors, so suggest away. Warning: I will judge you, point at you and laugh if you suggest Twilight or anything similar.

So gentle readers, how is life treating everyone?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

On Route to Maui

Hello Interweb peeps. I love you all so much that I am blogging from my phone at the Denver Airport. S is off to get me a panini from "Pour La France" and I decided to let you all know what's up.

When we finally made it to the airport this morning, I was sure that we were going to miss the flight. But we didn't. However the bag we checked in was overweight and we had to stuff some stuff into our carryin. Which was of course flagged at security and they took everything out to make sure we weren't carrying anything suspicious. So S had to sit on that tiny suitcase and close it twice at the airport. Nothing else interesting happened at the airport, except for the flight desk guy asking if we were going back "home" to Hawaii. :)

Am going to wrap it up now as S is back with my eggplant panini. Expect more updates and pictures the next few days.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Contact Lens Saga

I am back to doing what I do best - ranting. This time you get to read about how to order contact lens that you will not get in time for your vacation

As I wrote in my last post, I am going on vacation next week. About six weeks ago, I realized that I was on my last pair of contact lens. I tried to order them online, but my contact lens prescription was too old. So I tried to setup an appointment to get fitted for contact lens and was told that I need to pay for an eye exam to do that. I was really angry about that because I had had an eye exam just eight months ago and I couldn't understand why I had to pay for one again. But I decided to let things slide and asked to make an appointment. The earliest appointment was a week away. I mentioned my upcoming vacation and said that the reason I am making the appointment was to get contact lenses before that. I was assured that my brand of contact lenses would definitely arrive before that. So I went for my appointment and met the doctor. She was really nice to me and I told her about my need to get contact lenses before my vacation. She gave me a trial lens and said that she would order another trial pair and another pair of the one she gave me so that I would be covered for my vacation and after coming back I could order a year supply of the one I liked best. I was wary about this, but agreed to go along because the trial she gave me was different from the one I used before and I was not sure if I wanted to order a box of them. I have astigmatism, so I know and understand that it takes time to order and get lenses for my prescription. But she assured me time and again that I would definitely get the lenses in time. When I didn't get a call from her office, I called them last week to ask about my trial pairs. The person who picked up my phone told me that she hadn't gotten it yet and had no information about when it would arrive. I was seething with anger, but I didn't want to create a scene and hung up politely. So this afternoon, I called them again to be told just just one pair of trial lenses were ordered for me (though the doctor told me she was ordering two). She said that that particular lens usually takes 2-3 weeks to come in and that I could probably expect them sometime next week! When I told her that there was to be another trial lens for me, she said she would put it in now and I would get that in 2-3 days. When I persisted and told her about my vacation and she said that I do have that one pair of trial lens that the doctor gave me the day of the exam and that will have to do.

Gentle readers who have been following the story so far, am I wrong in being angry at the situation? I feel like I have been blindsided here. When I called 1-800-CONTACTS they told me that if I took an eye exam at Walmart, they would get the prescription from them and I would get my lens in a week or 10 days tops. I wanted to support a local business and order the contact lens from the nice local doctor and this is the kind of thing I deal with. While talking to the doctor, I told her that I would be wearing my lens while snorkeling and I was worried that I would lose them in the water and so I wanted more than one pair to tide me over that week. I realize that the doctor's office is not responsible for the delays in getting the lens (unless they forgot to put the order in rightaway), but a little empathy would be nice. Or atleast not promise me 2 pairs of lenses when only one has been ordered. I am eligible for a free eye exam in a couple of months and I would have just waited instead of paying upwards of $100 for an eye exam and no contact lens. Next time I think I should just go the warehouse route and swallow my feelings about Walmart and just get my eyes tested there.

Updated : I got a call yesterday saying one of the trials had arrived. I was ecstatic. When I went to pick them up this afternoon the other one had come too. So this is what I had planned exactly. The only caveat is that, the lens that had taken longer to arrive (the ones that are supposed to match my prescription better) are expensive and they want it back if I don't decide to buy a box. Which means I can't wear them while snorkeling. I can deal with that :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Mish Mash Post

Hello my dear lovelies. I forgot to sign up for the Indie Ink Challenge this week. I went through the archives of past challenges and I picked one - a story of how I fell in love with my husband. But as I started writing it, it was too long and mushy and not very interesting (think Ross and Rachel from Friends). So I thought I could do a general post about what's happening in my life right now.

I am most excited about our trip to Hawaii next week. This is the first trip and S and I are taking together that is longer than 4 days (not much longer, it's just a week) I feel so nice and adultish to tell everyone that we are going away to Maui for a week, especially since our honeymoon never happened. S and I are the kind of people who take their travel booking very very seriously. We stayed up an entire Friday night (till 6am, no kidding) arguing and trying to decide which island to visit. S won that round (I wanted to go to Oahu), so if anything goes wrong in this trip, I can always blame him. When we picked the island, we had the harrowing choice of picking the hotel. Do we pick a resort or a condo? Do we want to cook during the vacation? Will the island have enough vegetarian friendly restaurants so that we aren't eating salads for every meal? Finally my parents came to our rescue and my Dad said that he didn't want his first born princess cook while on vacation (He actually said that since we do so much takeout during regular days, he didn't foresee us turning on the stove while on vacation. He also said Oahu has a lot more historic significance and to go there for our first visit, but we chose to ignore that) Once we figured out that we were going be staying on a resort, I had my heart set on this hotel on Ka'anapali Beach (The reason I liked this hotel was because it has a gigantic kickass pool - I know the beach is just a few meters away and I am weird for fixating on the pool, but humor me). We were pricing the vacation on Priceline and it gave us a number slightly more than our budget if we left on that particular week in August. S okayed it (the man has a problem saying no to me, he would buy me the moon with his credit card if he could) And then Priceline turned on us, it kept telling us that this price was not available though it turned up on the results. We started looking at other, more affordable hotels on the Ka'anapali Beach and me finding faults with all of them and wistfully going back to the website of the one I liked to ooh and aah at the pictures. After two hours of this, S put his foot down and booked this hotel on expedia (Yup I am that spoiled :)) And this is how we came to book our most expensive vacation to date which cost almost 2 months of my paycheck.

So we are off to Hawaii in 2 weeks and I am most excited. I will be taking my laptop with me and I am planning to post a picture everyday. We are planning on snorkeling, snuba diving, taking a rainforest and waterfalls hike, watching the sunrise from Haleakala Crater, driving on the Road to Hana, rafting the sea caves at Kanaio Coast and taking in a luau. So much for a relaxing vacation. But we may end up not doing all of these, especially considering my limited swimming skills. I hope to write a recap when I get back and I guess that will cover what we did do.

In other earth shattering news, we canceled our satellite TV service. I can hear a collective gasp from all cable stations right now! It's not because we want to cut down on our TV watching (honestly, we don't watch a lot of TV) But I would DVR a lot of sitcom reruns and all we were doing was watching Seinfeld, That 70s Show, Will & Grace and Frasier over and over again. We figured getting rid of cable would force us into watching shows that we really want to watch, but we don't because we don't want to hunt for it on Netflix or iTunes - like Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Pushing Daisies etc. Also S and I are huge fans of Lost and we are thinking about re-watching the series. And if we save some $$ every month by doing this, why not? We connected one of our old laptops to the TV and bought a nifty little wireless keyboard and mouse the size of a remote and use that to stream what we want to the TV. We plan to get a HD antenna for the TV so that we can watch the local channels. People tell me that it is possible to build your own DVR on your laptop and if the antenna works out well we plan to build one as well. It's been working well so far. I am more motivated to go to the gym in the evenings now since I can watch TV there. There are some things I miss - like Conan on TBS. But they upload the entire episode on the next day. I will survive. The icing on the cake - no commercials.

If you have been reading so far, congratulations, you are now at the end of the post. The only thing you need to take away from this post is - I am going to Maui in a week and you are not :)

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Fool's Gold

Another week means another Indie Ink Challenge. This is my first poem for the challenge. The challenge is at the bottom of the poem.


I look at his face
Brown eyes, misshapen nose
An unruly crop of hair
As rebellious as his soul.

His eyes meet mine
I melt in the warm embrace
A smile from within
Twisting my under belly.

I lean into his shoulders
Dark sinewy tattooed
A throne for my weary head
I rest like I never do

I take a deeper look
Into his heart no less
I see love buried
Almost as much as in mine

Fingers intertwine in a clumsy knot
My ringless finger feeling naked
I trace an outline in the sand
Of the undefined future

People call him a drunk
A player, a gambler
A fool, they taunt me
Why can't they see what I see?


I was challenged by Alison Newton who writes a wonderful blog here.Go check her out. Her challenge was
"You always see things as you want them to be instead of seeing them as they really are."
Alison, hope you like this. I see lot of people fall for someone unworthy of their love. I often wonder what they see in them that the rest of the world doesn't.

I challenged Headant (two weeks in a row now) to write about "magic". Can't wait to to read it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Real Victory

This is my 11th Indie Ink Writing Challenge. The challenge I received is at the end of this post.

Jack threw his notebook down in frustration. Ten years ago if someone had told him he would be a researcher spending his nights and weekends at a lab, he would have laughed it off saying he was not mad scientist material. And yet here he was on a Saturday night, meddling with his numbers and trying to make his Matlab program give him the sinusoid graph he wanted. He banged the keys of the computer in frustration, but no graph yet.

It had been a long rocky road, the way to a PhD. Picking a research topic had proved a lot more difficult than picking a major in college. And the Professor he worked for did not make anything easier. He wouldn't let him defend his thesis and graduate, always wanting more proofs, more publications and more results. Jack had been an A student right from kindergarden and to have someone constantly criticizing did nothing to improve his attitude. He thought about quitting, for the hundredth time in the last few days. There was this symposium coming up in August and his professor expected him to present a paper on his research there. It was quite a prestigious convention, and he realized that making a good impression there would go a long way in improving his academic standing and help with his prospective career. But his Professor laughed it off when he said he wanted to include a section on his findings and had mocked him that he had nothing of value to show as yet. It became imperative to him that he needed to prove that his mettle not just to his advisor but to himself.

"Take a grenade for ya" his phone sang, with his sanity on the other end. Sweet sweet Ally always called every two hours to check on him. He answered the phone and mumbled some expletives in answer to how his research was going. Talking to her always calmed him down and he often discovered that a calm mind accomplished more.

Jack couldn't believe his eyes. The screen showed a perfect sinusoid curve. He leapt off his feet and screamed out in happiness. It worked, it actually worked. His first thought was not to call Ally and celebrate, but to fling that graph on the face of his snooty advisor. Of course he was right, he had been right all along. His near perfect GRE scores and his 4.0 GPA were not flukes like his Professor hinted. He called Ally and told her that they were going out for drinks to celebrate.

He gathered his papers, saved the program to his email and external harddisk before leaving the lab. Ally gave him a hero's welcome and bear hugged him in the driveway. This was another reason why he loved her so much. Ally was far from being an intellectual, she was a kindergarden teacher who loved simple things. But she understood the nature of his work and always encouraged him to talk about it at home.

They came back home at three in the morning and Jack was glad that it wasn't because of a late night at the lab. He kissed Ally goodnight and told her that he would come to bed after typing an email. He went to the tiny nook he called his office and loaded his program into his computer. He wanted to see that sinusoid again. He was absently going through his papers, when he noticed it. The miscalculation that had caused the sinusoid. He couldn't believe his eyes. He furiously scribbled on his notebook, desperately trying to prove that his miscalculation never existed. After an hour, the truth slowly sunk in. He had no results to show. He needed to retrace his steps and move his research in a different direction altogether. Tears threatened to moisten his eyes and a million thoughts crisscrossed in his mind - his two years of wasted effort, his advisor's face, the conference for which he had no paper. He cringed when he thought about the conference. And then a thought struck him.

Ally knew something was wrong when she heard Jack typing furiously. His ashen face was proof enough.

"Ally, I made a mistake, a tiny but fate changing mistake"

"Calm down, it's going to be alright. You will fix it before the symposium, you always do"

"Not this time. But the good thing is, only I know about this. My imbecile advisor will never find this out in a million years."

Ally looked at him, with her head bent and giving him the look she gave one of her kindergarden children when they did something naughty.

The next morning, Jack had an uncomfortable talk with his advisor. Like he expected, there were some jabs and he had to withdraw his paper from the symposium. But it was going to be alright. Wasn't it Albert Camus who said "An intellectual is someone whose mind watches himself" ?


My challenge this week was from Sir.

"An intellectual is someone whose mind watches himself" - Alber Camus. What does this mean to you.

I hope I have answered your question. I think the quote means intelligence without ethics does not make a man an intellectual. A sharp mind should watch itself and prevent it from going down the wrong path

I challenged Headant with "And then there were none" and she has a moving piece up here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

For Whom the Bell Tolls

This is my entry to this week's Indie Ink Challenge. The challenge I received is at the bottom of the post.


Ashley walked down the path to the church, a million thoughts thrashing around in her head. She was getting married the next day in that church. The caterer hadn't returned her calls and the florist said that the heat wave had killed the orchids that she wanted in her centerpieces. And of course James occupied a good chunk of her mind too.

James couldn't believe the day was so close. He closed his eyes and imagined her soft hands on his cheeks. He remembered the day they met like it was yesterday. He had just finished with grad school and was on a backpacking trip across Asia with his friends. India was the last country on their itinerary. One of his architect friends had refused to leave the country before seeing the famous Brihadeeswarar Temple. The temple was huge and the humongous arch blew him away while he walked in. And then he heard the loudest gong he had ever heard in his life. His hands clapped themselves to his ears instinctively and as he stumbled around in shock, he tripped on a step he didn't know was there, onto the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. It was like the way it happened in the movies, having a beautiful woman fall into his arms, while the bells tolled and in a strange land to boot. James followed her around like a puppy, extending his trip for another two weeks. He called up his mother from India and told her that he had met the woman he was going to marry.

Ashley was relieved to see him that evening. Too many things were going wrong at the venue and she wanted someone to say that it was all going to be alright. "Sweetness, it's all going to be okay tomorrow. We have the bride, the groom and the ring and if you think about it, that's all that matters." She felt the tension melt away from her body and she looked at the face of the man she was going to marry. "You still aren't thinking about James aren't you?" And now the topic of James was out in the open. “Mikey, I was engaged to James once, but you know what happened after that. I want to marry you and NOT James”

James felt like time was slipping away from him. When Ashley broke the engagement after the incident, he thought he would be able to get her back. But he didn’t bank on her meeting Mike. Ashley stopped answering James’ calls. When a friend told him that she was getting married in West Virginia in a day, he nearly ran all the way there. How could Ashley marry someone else? They were fated to be together. He felt that if he could somehow remind her of the good times they had, she would surely be convinced to take him back. But he had to be careful, her family hated him after what had happened and if anyone of her Italian family saw him in that small village, they would be sure to give him the boot. Then he noticed the bell tower in the church. Of course, the bells! He would have a pretty good view of the churchyard from atop the tower and he would just ring the bell at the right time. The bells would flood memories of a good time in her mind. And then he would just have to show himself to her.

Ashley walked up to the church at sunrise. Mike had managed to get some orchids from the nearest city and she wanted to make sure the pews had some orchids in the decorations. She hadn’t been able to sleep through the night anyway, especially after the talk about James. And then she heard it, the toll of the church bells. She felt a strange exhilaration run through her body. It was ominous. The bells were signaling that she was meant to be with Mike after all. How else could you explain the toll of the bells at sunrise in an empty church? She smiled and hummed a tune while carefully placing the orchids. The bells have spoken.


I was challenged by the lovely Amanda who writes at myplaidpants. She asked me write about the toll of a bell at sunrise.

I challenged Manju this week - "Loneliness can make people do the strangest things"

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Question of Territory

This is my entry to this week's Indie Ink Challenge. The challenge I received is at the bottom of the post.


To say Podin was tired when he came back home, was an understatement. Moving time was always tough. You pick a place to call home and get all settled in, and then you get the call. Podin's colony was ruled by a leader, who was quite capricious. She believed in superstition and at the slightest of reasons would want to move the colony of thousands to a new location. She had a band of workers that she called her scout pack. They would have to scour the regions and find a new place to set up home.

You might think that Podin's leader sounded like she thought of herself a queen bee. You are right. Podin was a bee and stayed in a hive ruled by a queen bee. It was not like she was a tyrant, but she had her whims and prejudices. Since Podin was one of the oldest in the pack, she valued his opinion and made him the leader of the scouts. Ever so often, they would set off on these expeditions to find a new place to setup their hive. Bees already have a reputation for being hard workers, but their limits were tested those few weeks, when they would travel mile after mile looking for a place that met all their needs.

It was smack in the middle of scouting time. Podin had had yet another unsuccessful day and was just about to retire, when he heard Rafersky calling out for him. He groaned inwardly. Rafersky was a young recruit who thought no end of himself. He had a good work ethic, but there was nothing else going for him.
"Mr Podin, I have found it, the place."
"Eh?" (Bees are known for their brevity)
"There is this beautiful place, about ten miles from here. It's a small lake in the middle of the woods. It looks so beautiful, you have to see it to believe it. I don't think humans know about this place, which means no disturbance. Shall we go tell the queen?"
"Pipe down boy. That's no good, we can't move there. Maybe you will have better luck tomorrow"

Rafersky bristled with anger. He hated Podin and all the older bees. They were slowing everyone down. There was a new generation of bees who still had to seek permission from these old fogies to live their lives. No, Rafersky was not going to stand for it. No siree! He was going to go straight to the queen. He had to do it, for the colony.

Podin saw Rafersky's eyes move towards the queen's chambers and guessed what was running in Rafersky's mind. So he thinks he can go over his head?
"Well, if you want to go to the queen, let's go. I don't think she will take kindly to being disturbed at this hour for such a silly thing."

The queen was obviously impatient. There were so many things to be done and she could do all of them tomorrow only if she got a good night's sleep today. But her mood lightened up when Rafersky told her he had found the place. In the hot summer, moving by the lake felt wonderful. Also the flowers by the lake were always sturdier than flowers inside the city. Which meant more pollen! And no human disturbance too? She giggled in an unqueenly manner upon hearing it.

"Your Majesty. I don't think we should move there. I am not saying that to spite Rafersky who found the place. It's because I don't think it's a good place for us to move to. Sure, living by a lake sounds heavenly, but have you considered water accidents? About half our population is terrified of water and the other half doesn't know how to swim. If one of our young ones fall into the water, what are we to do? Also, humans may seem like pests, but I think they have their use. Have we learned nothing from watching the Bee movie? There are good humans out there. I think that cutting away from civilization is not the way for us to go at this juncture."

The queen was nearly in tears after hearing Podin. She had never heard Podin speak more than two sentences together. Even Rafersky looked humbled and was nodding to what Podin had said. The queen announced that the search would go on and gave Podin a teary hug.

While walking back to their quarters, Podin smiled to himself. He hated humans and had not even watched the Bee movie. Podin had discovered the cove by the lake years ago. That had been his secret place to retire, when things got crazy around him. The thought of sharing that space with thousand other bees made him shudder. Sometimes a bee's got to do what a bee's got to do!


My challenge was from Shiv
You are a worker bee in charge, with 90 other bees, of finding a new hive ...

Somehow I couldn't really get inspired this week. My entry reads like a children's story and I apologize for that.

I challenged Jules- "Do seasons affect you mentally? Why or why not"

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Violin

Thursday means another Indie Ink Challenge. I challenged Amy to write about what makes her madly deliriously happy and she has responded here. Go read it.

Here is my entry.

Angela placed the pearls round her neck and looked at herself in the mirror. She grimaced and took it off and replaced it with a simple diamond necklace that showed off the plunging neckline of her Versace gown better. Still, the face that looked back at her was not a happy face. Yes, Angela Van Hofsten was not a happy woman. Not as happy as someone who just inherited millions should be.

Angela was the only child of the wealthy Mr and Mrs Van Hosften. She grew up with the best of everything and wanted nothing. Her trust fund kicked in when she was 18, and she was one of the most popular girls at college. Tragedy struck when she was in her senior year and her parents' car met with a fatal accident. She was inconsolable for days afterwards and couldn't bear the thought of life without her only family. Then life dealt her second blow, when she realized there was another relative she didn't know about. She had heard stories about crazy Uncle Matt, but had never met him. Her parents had not been on speaking terms with him throughout her life. But since the wealth was mostly from family investments, as per her great grandfather's will, he got almost everything. She had her trust fund, but it hit hard since she had grown up assuming she would be in millions in her adulthood.

She never got along with Uncle Matt. He looked just like dad and many times she would want to visit him just to see his face. But she soon realized that he was nothing like her dad. For one thing, he didn't believe in any rules. She once got a collection call about turning off electricity at his house. When she asked him about that, he said that he didn't think electricity should cost so much. He drove her insane with his eccentric ways. On the anniversary of her parents' death, she organized a small service at their church for friends and family. He turned up an hour late, in red overalls and drunk to the gills. He refused to donate anything to a charity she founded and said that he would rather throw money on the streets of a poor neighborhood. She gave up all pretense of loving him and after awhile gave up on trying to be in his life too.

One day, her lawyer called her saying he had some bad news. Uncle Matt had gone on an expedition to Africa and had contracted a tropical virus. By the time he was airlifted to a hospital in a city, it was too late. Angela was shocked to hear that. She had her differences with him, but she had never wished him any ill, at least not intentionally. She felt guilty when a corner of her mind burst into jubilation at getting the money back. She brushed those thoughts away and some surprise tears came streaming down her cheeks.

When the dust settled down, it felt good to move back into the house she grew up in. It took a cleaning crew to get the house resemble a home to live in. The grand dining set was broken into pieces and was used to make campfires in the middle of the lawn. The first room that Angela entered the house into was what she had dubbed the "music" room when she was a kid. Her parents loved music and preferred to collect musical instruments instead of art. She loved to go into the room and imagine an orchestra was playing with those old instruments. Her favorite was the 300 year old Stradivarius that her cost her parents more than a million dollars. She had been taking violin lessons since she was six and her parents had promised her the violin after her first performance. Sadly that never came to be. She had been looking forward to playing that violin ever since she got the news.

But try as she may, she couldn't find the violin. All the other instruments were intact, but this one eluded everyone who searched for it. She figured it might have been stolen or maybe Uncle Matt had tried to sell it to buy himself a sandwich. She contacted the police and many art dealers, but no-one had any record of it. She felt like the violin was Uncle Matt's final joke on her. She was sure that he must have known she loved that violin and must have burnt it out of spite.

Her boyfriend Tim walked in while she was putting the last of her makeup on.

"Geez Angie, I told you we are going to a comedy club. Why did you get so dressed up? A jean and a tee would be more appropriate."

Angela stared at him with disguised anger. Yes, Tim would have to go. She knew she was breaking rank by dating him but now the difference seemed more stark than ever. She wanted to be a distinguished socialite and did not care to be seen at such pedestrian places. But she couldn't break up with right away, that would seem too snobbish. She decided two months would be an appropriate time and resolved to send him packing in August.

The comedy club was packed to the gills. The first comedian who came on seemed to go and on in a Seinfeldish way.

"What is the deal with swimming? Don't we have enough bridges to get across water? Flapping your hands and lakes, bobbing up and down for air, that's a poor excuse for fun!"

The proverbial bell rang in Angela's mind. Of course the lake! Their house stood on a lake and the there was a small island in the middle of the lake with a gazebo. She knew that Uncle Matt loved to swim upto the gazebo and stay there for hours just looking at the water. Could he have hidden the violin there?

She left the club rather abruptly and rushed to the gazebo. To her delight, she found the violin case lying on the floor ajar. She hugged it in delight and looked around for the violin. She would have the whole lake dredged if she had to. She could hear the sweet sounds of the violin in her mind. She was going to find it!


The sounds of violin filled the air near the lake in central Mexico. Matt played the violin with abandon, the lessons of his youth came rushing back to him. All the money never agreed with him. He liked to run the way the wind took him and all those lawyers were always behind him. He figured Angela liked doing all those things anyway. He took a few things that he wanted that he knew that no-one would miss - like his favorite saucepan from the kitchen, money to tide him over for the next 10 years and an old violin he found in one of the rooms.


My challenge this week was from The Womanist - Make a story around these three - a 300 year old violin, a comedian, a lake. It's not a strong story, but thanks for pushing me into fiction. Hope you like this :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Father of the Year

I am back to the Indie Ink Writing Challenge after a two week break - to celebrate the husband's birthday, a visit to New York and to recover from all the celebrations. It feels good to flex my writing muscles again.

I challenged Dafeenah to write about a confrontation at work with her boss. I think she really did a great job with such a boring prompt. Go read it here.

Here is my response. The challenge is at the bottom as always.


She came home from school and announced that to the household by banging the front door close. She immediately regretted doing that because her mother was probably resting. She threw her bag in her room and came to the kitchen to get herself a snack. And then she saw him. He had the audacity to look her in the eye and ask if she wanted a grilled cheese sandwich. Typical! If he had taken any pain to get to know her, he would know that melted cheese made her feel icky and she would never ever eat that, except on pizza. Didn’t he know about her sweet tooth? Her mom usually made a jelly sandwich or a pop tart after school. She poured herself a glass of milk and settled on the table with cookies and a comic. But someone couldn’t take a hint. He followed her and started asking about her day. She wanted to throw the milk on his face and scream. Yes, he was her father. But does he even know what grade she was in? Or her teacher’s name? He had never displayed interest in her in the eight years of her life. He hadn’t even been present. He would always be on the road and the only father she knew was the one who would be sprawled on the couch, clasping a beer with his calloused hands, sleeping the day off. Even when he was awake he never spoke full sentences to her. Never wanted to play catch with her.

She didn’t always feel this angry towards him. She had made her peace with not having a fulltime father and was glad to see him when he was home. But the past few weeks, it was different. For one thing, he was home all the time. There was a lot of yelling and her mother was crying all day. She felt sorry for her mother. And now he thinks he can just waltz back into her life and start playing her father?

He sighed when he saw her read the comic, ignoring his questions. The feeling of sadness in his heart was peppered with flashes of anger at her mother. Yes, he had been absent for a large part of her life. But that was not because he loved her any less. He was a trucker, he had to be on the road most of the time. When he did land back home after driving through ten states, all he wanted to do was eat and sleep. For a few months after she was born, he had stopped driving trucks and had taken up a job stocking shelves at the Piggly Wiggly. But he soon found that his wife preferred an absent husband who made the big bucks to one making minimum wage in town. She liked buying things and wanted everyone to call her pretty. He remembered the night she came to his room crying, with the letter from the credit card company. He was back behind the wheel the next day.

And there was this whole other thing too. Growing up with six brothers, he had been delighted when she told him they were having a daughter. He called all his family and told them the news. Then his buddy called him aside and told him about some rumors that were flying around. That night, they had the biggest fight ever and she swore she was his. And he stayed, because he couldn’t bear the thought of his daughter being raised by someone else and being neglected. And when she came into the world with her black hair and brown eyes, he knew he would love her for the rest of his life. He wished now that he had been different with her. Loving someone and telling someone you love them are independent and separate actions, where one does not imply the other. He took after his father and always had difficulty with words. Many times, he would want to gather her into his arms and just hug her tight. But held back, because in his mind fathers were stern creatures who did not give butterfly kisses to their daughters, preferring to express emotion with grunts.

They had had many fights before, but he didn’t know if they could stay together any longer. A wife is not something you share with a neighbor. For a minute, he wondered if he could just tell his daughter everything. Judging by the dirty looks she was throwing at him, there was no way she would leave her momma and come with him, no matter what he said. Also the only thing he knew in life was driving trucks and what kind of life was that for a little girl? Maybe it was better that she thinks he is the ultimate villain.


My challenge this week was from Laura and it was "the ultimate villain". It feel very Bollywoodish to end my writing with the prompt :) This was a great prompt, thanks Laura.

PS. Please forgive the terrible font/style, blogger has been very bad and does not let me edit the font.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Ring

This my entry to this week's Indie Ink Writing Challenge. I am taking a break next week, because I will be partying it up in New York this weekend. Woo hoo!

This week I challenged Blackbird to write about a mind adventure and she has the most beautiful and powerful response here. Go read it.


Madan was on his knees on the stairs with the ring on his hand. But he was not proposing to Sue, like he wanted to. He was searching for the stone on the ring that had to be somewhere on the stairs.

It had all started a few months ago. He loved Sue and she loved him back and he like Beyonce said, he wanted to put a ring on her. And he knew just the ring to propose with, his grandmother's antique ring, with a diamond as big as a rock. She came to this country fifty years ago and even when they were struggling to make ends meet in the new country, Grandpa wouldn't let her sell or pawn the ring. The ring had been promised to the first grandson who got engaged. Since his brother just broke with his longtime girlfriend and his cousin was a frat boy who couldn't commit to a woman for a week, leave alone for life, he figured the ring was rightfully his. It had been hard convincing his mother though. He figured it was because Sue had lost a wallet and a watch recently and she must be worried that she would absently misplace the ring.

He picked the date to propose, and decided he would do it at their favorite restaurant and place the ring in a glass of champagne. But the night before while flipping through channels, Sue came across a documentary about blood diamonds which ended with her swearing off diamonds for life. Madan couldn't believe his luck, he should have watched the Sex and City rerun like she wanted to. It was back to the drawing board. He turned to his trusted friend Google and searched for other options for engagement rings. He decided that blue sapphire would be a good alternative, considering blue was her favorite color. But now there was the question of the ring. Should he buy a new ring for her? Or should he keep his grandmother's ring and replace the stone? Since he went to so much trouble to get the ring from his mother, he was loathe to give it back. He ordered a blue sapphire to match the diamond on the ring and went to a jeweler to get the diamond off. When Fedex finally delivered the sapphire, he placed it on the ring and was just thinking it looked perfect, when Sue came home and was on her way up the stairs to hug him hello. He did the what at that moment seemed to be the sensible thing to do and just dropped the ring and the stone on the stairs, hoping that the shag carpeting on the stairs would hide them.

When Sue left in a few minutes to have coffee with her best friend Karen, he rushed back to the stairs, but found that the stone was missing.

At the coffee shop, Sue was nervously stirring her latte though she had forgotten to add sugar.

"What do you mean, Madan is going to propose? Are you going to say yes? This is so exciting! Think you will have a summer wedding?"

"Karen, did you hear the other things I am telling you? He was going to use his grandmother's ring. That thing is huge, I am telling you I could blind an entire village with that thing."

"And he is not using that ring now?"

"No, he took the diamond off and is planning to replace it with a blue sapphire"


"Yes, it's because I saw this documentary about blood diamonds on TV and I might have cried a bit and told him I am never to wear diamonds again"

"Aww that's sweet of him. You got yourself a listener. Congrats, they are a rare breed."

"Kare, it is his grandmother's ring! His mother will never let me live it down. She hates me enough already, Madan is oblivious to it though. I don't want to be the woman who broke the family heirloom. I will be mocked at all family gatherings."

"So ask him get you another ring. Don't tell me you want that diamond."

"Well, actually I do. I mean what I said about not buying diamonds, but this one is already mined. And it is a beautiful stone and the setting that accentuates the beauty. I like that Madan finagled it from his Mom to give it to me. And that's why I took the sapphire with me when Madan was not looking"

"Are you nuts Sue? Madan loves you and you love him. Go home and fix this!"

When Sue came home, Madan was still on the stairs. When she walked up to him, he got down on his knee and held out a ring from a cereal box. Tears started streaming down her eyes and she gesticulated a resounding yes. Yes, rocks don't matter as much the people do.


My challenge was from Lazidaisical

a story that takes place in a stairwell.

My first attempt was about this little boy who pushed his mother down the stairs who dies. But that was very sad and dark and I couldn't take it further after a while. This one was more last minute thing and I just had fun with it. Hope you don't mind that the whole story does not take place on the stairs and the stairs aren't even a focal point of the story. Some day I will complete the other piece too.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Letter From Me To You

Another week, another Indie Ink Writing Challenge. I challenged Amy to write about a different kind of courage and she has done an awesome job, go read it now.

Here is my response, the challenge I received is at the bottom of the post

Dearest husband,

Remember when we were kids, we would run and play on the streets all through summer? Remember the day I threw the ball into the crazy lady's house? I was shaking with fear when I saw her come out, red in the face, with my ball in her hand. I started crying, the way little girls do when they know someone was going to yell at them. You pushed me aside and told her that you threw the ball. You held your own for awhile, but soon realized that the only way to get my ball back was if you apologized. You did that and when you gave the ball back to me, you told me you would never let anyone make me cry.

I still remember our wedding like it happened yesterday. All the planning had come to a close, all the flowers were set up, the venue decorated and we felt like there was nothing left to do but get married. Then my cousin walked up to me, the bride, and made a rude remark about my weight. I barged into the groom quarters, with tears in my eyes. You wanted to beat up my cousin. I can still feel your palm in the small of my back and your other hand brushing my tears away. You told me that you would never let anyone make me cry.

In our first year of marriage, your parents visited us. I know your mother never liked me and I was determined to win her affection. I served a dinner that I slaved over for hours in the kitchen. Your father loved it, as did you. That night when I came to the kitchen to get a drink of water, I saw you sitting on the kitchen table, thumbing through a magazine while your mother talked about how you could have done so much better. You nodded absently, breaking my heart into a million pieces in the process. I forgot the water I had come down for and ran into our bedroom. You found me sobbing into the pillow an hour later and you were aghast. You thought you had forgotten an anniversary of some sort. When I told you why I was crying, your first instinct was to laugh at me. You spent the next hour explaining that your mother was just a crazy lady who didn't know the way to her son's heart. You said you never listened to most of what she said. You offered to make your parents leave our house that night but I refused to let you do that. You hugged me close that night and told me that you would never let anyone make me cry.

Two years back, you were out drinking with your buddies. You promised you would be back by ten. The clock struck two and you weren't home or picking up calls. I was worried sick and imagined you lying in a ditch somewhere. I thought maybe you didn't have a ride home and so I came searching for you in your favorite bar. You were fine - drunk to the gills and waiting on another drink. You yelled at me in front of everyone when I asked you to come home with me. Tears were streaming down my face when I drove back home, listening to the classic rock station on the radio. The next morning you brought me breakfast in bed, with a single red rose and said you loved me. I believed you. You told me that you would never let anyone make me cry.

The last two years have not been fun. We both seem to be growing in different directions. You have embraced your inner teenager and you think life is just one big party. Sure, I found your fun loving side an attractive quality when we were dating in college, but real life can can only take so much of that. When I asked you to pay attention to our bank accounts, you blew me a raspberry. When I insisted, you called me nag. That seems to be your favorite word for me, because you know I hate to be called one. I talked you into taking dance lessons with me, but you didn't turn up for even the first class. I have tried to do your thing, tried to come with you on your Friday night pub crawls. That's when I noticed you take off your wedding ring during these events. Seeing your naked finger was very hard for me. You took me aside and told me you loved me. I believe you.

Unfortunately love is not enough to keep a marriage alive. I think we need to separate, at least for sometime. By the time you find this letter, I will be at my parents' place. You will probably be shocked at this point, but honestly didn't you see it coming? You swatted me away whenever I wanted us to talk about our relationship and said counseling is for losers. What was I to do? I struggled with this decision, I really did. I made a promise to you, with God as my witness, to be with you for the rest of my life. But I realized that I had been crying myself to sleep, everyday for the last year. And you have broken your promise to me too. All my life you had been telling me that you would never let anyone make me cry. Don't you count as a person who makes me cry? Never is a promise and you can't afford to lie.



PS. In case anyone is wondering and for the family who reads my blog - this is a fictional piece.


This week's challenge comes from Seesaw. The challenge was:

Never is a promise and you can't afford to lie

I didn't know this was a song by Fiona Apple. The song is beautiful and I am listening to it on a loop now. Thanks for the challenge.

Friday, May 13, 2011

My Grandfather

This is my fourth week of participating in the Indie Ink Writing Challenge. I challenged Christina to imagine she was a horse on a carousal and she has done a great job answering it. Go read it here, I am sure you will love it.

This week's challenge is really delightful and comes from Amy who writes at Transplanted Thoughts. The challenge is:
Compare yourself to your grandparents. How are you alike? different? Tell us a special memory you have of your grandparents.

I am very close to all my grandparents. I started writing about all of them, but it became very long and anecdotal. So I am just going to talk about my grandfather. Many thanks to Stef who helped me with this prompt when I was stuck and gave my entry a once-over and made it spiffier.

My father's parents lived with us when we were growing up. I have just a few memories of my paternal grandfather, like the way his eyes would light up when he talked about his children's accomplishments and the way he would argue with my grandmother about some seemingly trivial things. He died when I was about seven years old. When you lose a grandparent at that age, you have to treasure and safe guard memories of them so that they stay with you for the rest of your life.

I was about three, when my parents enrolled me in this awful pre-school because that was the closest to our home. I used to cry and throw a tantrum because I was a snob (even) then and I didn't want to go a dinky school. I think after a few weeks my parents were sick of my drama and let me quit. Years later, my mother told me that it was my grandfather who didn't let my parents put me in a nicer school that was farther away, because he didn't want his precious granddaughter to go further than a few steps away from home. He loved to gamble and belonged to a club of some sort where he went to play cards. He won a small sum of money once in a lottery (say something around $20) and asked my sister and I what we wanted. I don't remember what I said, but my sister said that she wanted a new car! (I am sure I wasn't half as ambitious and most likely asked for a candy bar). He was half annoyed and half amused and told her he would get her a toy car instead. I have a lot of memories of my father yelling at him, I don't remember why. My father tells me that my grandfather was an honest upright Public Works Department officer who didn't have an enemy in the world. I have seen an old picture of him looking very handsome in his evening jacket and I can imagine how dashing he must have been, driving a jeep to dams and other rocky areas for work. Dad told me that he was very strict and would not bend the rules for anyone. I like to believe that I am a stickler for rules just like him, a pod and we're the peas right? He was an extremely friendly person and would invite a lot of people home for dinner without so much as letting my grandmother know in advance. I wish I had inherited his gregarious nature too. I am gun shy when it comes to talking to people and I have just a few friends whom I hold close to my heart. My father is still in touch with people who gush about what a great person my grandfather was.

A day or two before cancer took my grandfather's life for good, he called me and my sister to his room. I don't remember his exact words, but I do remember him patting us on our head and kissing us. I am ashamed to say that I was in a hurry to get out because his room always smelled funny and I did not hug him or say something personal. This is something I regret to this day. Would it have killed me to have said a few words to him? I can still see his smiling face and his hands reaching to stroke my hair. Why didn't I hug him back?

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

It Had To Be You

This is my entry to this week's Indie Ink Writing Challenge. The challenge I received is at the bottom of the post.
She walked out of the class with a heavy step. It was not that this was a particularly boring class. It had been one of her favorite classes until a few months ago. She loved the professor who taught this class, in fact he had been the one who had nudged her into picking her major. But lately nothing seemed interesting or worthy of her enthusiasm. "Hey do you want to come to the party at Mike's place next weekend?", it was her best friend who had caught up with her. She sighed and nodded her head in the affirmative. She didn't feel like going, but she had to. Mike was her ex-boyfriend and if she didn't go it would seem as if she was still not over him. She was the one who had dumped him a few months ago, the victor of the breakup if you will. Which meant that he got all the sympathy and she had to keep being normal and act like it wasn't a big deal.

But it wasn't the breakup that was bringing her down. Something was missing from her life and the worst part was she didn't know what it was. She tried music, partying, self help books but they just made her more weary. It seemed like nothing got her excited anymore. She missed being deliriously happy. She even tried skydiving, hoping that would crank up the systole of her heart and maybe the thrill would shock her back into good cheer. Sadly she was the only nonchalant skydiver that the instructor had ever seen.

That evening, she packed her car to go home for the weekend. Her parents lived four hours away and insisted that she visit them once a month. Considering that they were paying for her tuition, dorm and her car, she figured it was a small price to pay.

It was past dinner time when she pulled into their driveway. Her mother was waiting at the door and smothered her with kisses, while asking about the drive at the same time. She walked in and there she saw it! It was this huge record player, smack in the middle of the living room, looking anachronistic amidst the big screen LED TV and the Bose surround sound system. Her father stood by it proudly, preening like he had invented the gramophone. He said that he had found this at a garage sale two streets down. Her father had been a salesman till he retired, and there was nothing he loved more than a good deal. The guy who was selling this didn't know it's value and had thought that he was foisting it on her dad for $50. Her dad had played along, expressing some reluctance initially, until the guy threw in a bunch of Sinatra vinyl records to seal the deal.

She still felt that her father had got the wrong end of the bargain. She shook her head, part in amusement and mostly "I can't believe you actually bought that". But her father would have none of it. Soon Sinatra's mellifluous voice filled the air of the house singing "It had to be you". Her father took her hand and they started swaying to Sinatra. Her mother cut in for the next dance and before they knew it, they had danced the night away. She went to her room, exhausted and still humming a tune. A smile that had been in hiding the last couple of months, found its way into her mouth and eyes. Sometimes you need Sinatra and a deal crazy Dad to put things into perpective.

My challenge was from lifenbits. It was:
Write a story using these words: anachronic, foist, systole.
At first I thought it was a toughie and I had to look up two of the words for meanings. But once I found the main thread, it just kept going. Thank you for the challenge. I enjoyed writing this.

I challenged Michael Webb with "He ran on the beach, with the waves lapping at his aching legs. What is he running from?" and he responded here beautifully. Please do go and read it, I think he has done a great job.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rainbows in Real Life

This is my entry to this week's Indie Ink Writing Challenge. The challenge I received is at the bottom of the post.


I walked into the building with a skip and a jump. Today I was going to see where my Mommy worked. Our playschool was closed today because it was take your children to work day. She hadn't wanted me to come to work with her, but our babysitter said she couldn't watch me this morning. Also I cried and cried till she caved. I was so excited that I was going to see what Mommy did everyday after she dropped me at the daycare. I imagined that it must be something magical, with rainbows on the walls.

But something seemed amiss. The walls really needed a coat of paint. And the stench of something unpleasant teased my tender senses when I walked through the corridors. "Mommy, what happens when we walk all the way to the end" I asked, filled with curiosity that all five year olds have. "To the rooms", she said and started talking to a woman using some big words I couldn't understand. I spent that time hopping on one leg and trying to guess what those rooms were for.

Soon we reached my mother's office. Like the rest of the building, the room had a dark aura about it. I was glad to see my mother had hung the pictures I had drawn on the wall. I made a mental note to draw her a rainbow soon. I sat on a chair that was too big for me and started working on the lollipop that my mother had given in exchange for good behavior.

The woman who had accosted my mother in the hallway came in with another woman and a boy. The woman looked pale and haggard with some ugly welts on her face. The boy looked about my age, but he didn't respond to my friendly wave. He looked scared and his clothes were too big for him. He hid behind his mother and looked at everyone with his big brown eyes. My mother talked to them and pressed some random keys on her computer. She asked her colleague to lead them to the dining hall and assured them they were safe here.

"Mommy, can I play with that boy later? Please? What's his name? Does he go to play school too?"
My mother turned to me and smiled sadly. "He can't play with you today. He is not well. He hasn't had a meal in two days. After he eats, he is going to visit the doctor."
I felt bad that I hadn't offered him my lollipop. That's why he didn't wave back at me. Maybe his Mommy had made broccoli for dinner the last two days. I really hated broccoli.
"Sweetie, do you realize these people and everyone who is in those rooms are not well. They don't come from happy homes. Most of them don't even have homes. Some of them don't have enough to eat. Sometimes there are parents who don't love each other, nor their children. This is what we do, we try to help them, give them a place to stay, food to eat in the hopes that they get better soon."

Tears welled up in my eyes and I forgot to swallow the bits of the lollipop in my mouth. I couldn't believe that there were children without a home, a Mommy to bake cakes, a Daddy to throw you up in the air and catch you and ice cream every Friday at dinner.

"Mommy, can we empty my piggy bank at home and buy all the kids candy?"
My mother hugged me with tears in her eyes. Many years later, she told me that she had never been more happy and sad at the same time than at that moment.


This challenge was very difficult for me. At first, I wanted to write a funny piece about a child who doesn't understand what her parent did at work everyday and the parent struggling to explain it in a way that the child can understand. But it didn't go anywhere, I think pathos is easier than comedy. :) It's been a while since I was a kid and I don't have any children, and so writing about parent-child relationships was hard (my challenge last week was also about the same relationship) But I think this is the beauty of the challenge, it forces you to go outside your comfort zone and actually write.

My challenge was:
4/28 is take your daughter to work day. Imagine this is your first time going to see your mother or father's place of work. What does s/he do? What do you see? Who do you meet?

Thank you Melissa for the challenge. I hope you like what I did with it.

I challenged Wendryn to write about rain and she has a beautiful post up on the topic.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Just a Bunch of Keys

Last Monday, I drove home for lunch like I usually do (I live 1.5 miles from work and yes I eat lunch at home everyday and sometimes even play on the Wii a little before going back to work) At my door, I looked for my keys in my purse and couldn't find them (My car keys are in a separate key ring. Don't ask why, no reason). No biggie, I figured I had just forgotten to take it in the morning since S had left for work after me. I went to my favorite sandwich place for lunch and didn't worry about it.

Tuesday morning, when I was scrambling to leave for work, I groped around in the little bowl we use for keys and I couldn't find them. I started worrying then. That night, I searched in the usual places that I find my keys, in my coat pocket, my other purse, in my gym bag, in S' coat pocket and so on. No dice! I remembered that I had gone to the gym on Saturday morning and I had my keys then.

On Thursday I went to my apartment office and asked about a temporary key. They gave me one, but said that I would need to change my locks if I had lost my keys which would cost $75. My heart skipped a beat, because I was planning a shopping trip that weekend and my entire budget was around that much. I convinced myself that I had left my keys at the gym and asked the nice lady at the front desk if anyone had turned in a set of keys. She told me that if they key ring contained the gym access card, they would look up the phone number and call. And if I hadn't been called, they didn't have my keys. She also mentioned that replacing that access card would cost $10. I knew that my shopping trip was doomed.

When I came home I started thinking about my key ring. It had a MVP card from Food Lion, a grocery store chain in Raleigh, NC which was where I landed in the US in 2007. I didn't understand why they would give discounts only to people with cards, but if that meant a little lower in food costs, as a poor grad student I would take it. I didn't know that this was how most grocery stores worked. I also had a NC State Wolfpack Rules key tag (is it what it is called?). I have not attended any game in college ever, but I felt so proud to get that. It meant that I was a part of NC State. After that Food Lion incident, I went a little card crazy and I had a nice little bunch from a myriad of stores. One time when S had a stopover in Minneapolis, he found this keychain at an airport store that looked like a small licence plate and said "Jan". That gift meant a lot to me because after a two hour flight and with a three hour flight ahead of him, if he can stop to buy something because it had my name, it means he loves me right?

When you think about it, a key ring is so much more than just keys. At first I felt bad because I didn't want to spend the money to replace my keys. But then I started feeling sad about losing all of this. And just as I was typing the last sentence, S threw a bunch of keys at me. He found it, gentle readers! I think he is a keeper. I have never been happier to hold keys in my hand. Isn't this a beautiful sight?