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.