Diets


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Prompts this week: Illustrate, Incite, Irksome, Intruder

Irksome thoughts intruded her mind while she contemplated her response. How dare he ask her that? But it wasn’t really his fault – it was his job after all.

 

What was it about his words that incited that ginormous need to take up his offer? She had to weigh her words before responding.

What if she gave in today? This was a difficult journey after all. But it also meant falling off the wagon on day 2!

Now, his tone seemed annoyed, but it snapped her out of her reverie.

“Mam, you are holding up the line. Would you like chips or apple with your salad?”

Fighting the urge to scream “CHIPS!!!”, she sighed as she said “Apple, please”.

Darn diets!!

Penance


stairs-735995_960_720“Bare your souls, repent your sins and cry your hearts out! Let it all go!”, declared Swami Swaymbu in the most Godly way possible.

“Drop your belongings at my feet. These things are nothing but the dust that cloud your spiritual ways. As your material possessions make their way to those that  deserve them, your worldly worries shall vanish.”, he finished with élan.

As the mesmerized devotees dropped their wallets, jewelry and even property papers into the large bins specifically set up for this purpose, Swayambu turned around and winked at one of his mistresses. His stomach rumbled with hunger but he cheered at the thought of her serving him his favorite meal at the ashram when he was done taking care of the donations. It was a hard days work and these days it was becoming quite a task to convince these educated fools to part with their money! With investigative journalists on the loose and media attention on religious leaders and cults, any religious leader worth his salt would need to tread carefully, leave alone a self made one.

But Swamyambu had been clever enough to never get caught and had accumulated enough wealth to take care of all his needs and had more beautiful mistresses at his service compared to a King’s Harlem!

“All is good.Maybe, this time I can go on that world cruise…”, he thought as he shut his eyes and got into the well rehearsed lotus position which ensured that he would not be disturbed by eager devotees who always wanted his blessings. Nobody disturbed a meditating yogi.

                      *************************************************************************************************

Swayambu stood alone in a eerily silent and dark world where even the air seemed still.
“Where am I…anybody there?”, he called out.

He looked around him. Was he stranded in mid-air?
“Am I dead? Is this the underworld?” Such tales had been conjured by thieves like himself to dupe others, so it couldn’t be true…could it?

Fear shrouded his being as he began to fall.

“HELP!! Please!”.

Magically, a red stone path appeared under his feet. Relieved, he started walking as fast as his legs would take him. Soon he was running – for some strange reason, heat was emanating from the stones on the pathway crippling his ability to stand or walk. When he looked down, he found raging flames of fire which threatened to swallow him at  as they playfully licked the stones.

“Oh God, please help!”, he cried.

He was sweating profusely,  his feet were burnt and he gasped for breath. He could run no more. Then he spotted them – oh! how beautiful they looked and they were opening.

“The gates of heaven!”, he screamed delirious with delight as he sprinted towards the open gates.

He didn’t know what hit him as he plunged into the fire filled abyss below. The last words he heard before he turned to ash were from the the chuckling voice of the devil

“Bare your soul, repent your sins and cry out loud. Drop at my feet and beg for mercy as you make your way to where you really belong!”

The Devil sure had a sense of humor.

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#feedyoursoul #mytheme2017 #BarWoWe #Writing #fiction

The Promise


barathonFinally, a Doctor

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism*“,  he declared, and went on to recite the rest of the Hippocratic Oath* with confidence and pride. It was a big day. He was finally Dr.Ram.

He was scheduled to leave the following day to start work at a government hospital located in one of the remote areas of Tamil Nadu. The belt was infamous for its phases of political unrest and events that followed such eruptions.  But he was confident that it would have no bearing on his job as a doctor and the service he intended to carry out for those who needed it.

6 months later – 2:00AM. A Government Hospital, Remote coastal Tamil Nadu

Dr.Ram rushed to  check the pulse of the bleeding girl who had just been brought into the emergency ward.

“Don’t you dare start treating her”, threatened a bunch of burly goons as they entered the ward, brandishing knives at him while one of them toyed with a gun. Much to the doctor’s horror, the nurses and the paramedics scampered away in fear for their lives.They had witnessed such scenes before.

“But, her throat has been slit…she will die in a matter of minutes!”, the doctor tried to reason calmly.

“Enna Saar….?(What Sir…?)”, ” Are you so sincere to your profession that you can’t take a break every now and then?”, declared the police inspector walking into the emergency ward.

Dr.Ram looked surprised and confused. He had heard of corrupt cops, but he finally understood what it meant.

“Just sign the death certificate stating that she was dead on arrival and I will take care of the rest…”, drawled the inspector, casually spitting out the remnants of the paan he had been chomping upon on the clean walls of the ward.

The woman on the stretcher grabbed Ram’s pockets, which was the only thing she could reach out to, from her position. He held her hands in an assuring manner.

Pannalana?? (And if I don’t?)”,  Ram challenged the inspector.

“Hmmm…”, said the inspector, his voice laced with less enthusiasm than before. “You see her, lying on the stretcher?  She is a journalist…out to save the world like yourself! She filmed us as we trafficked young girls from the slums, to places on the world map you haven’t even heard of!”

“First we destroyed her camera, and then it was her turn.  Now, here she is, wishing death would come fast!”, laughed one of the men, while he cleaned a dirt finger nail with a knife.

“You disgust me!”, spat Ram.

“Why are we wasting our time with him?”, interjected another goon pointing the aruval* at Ram. “Let’s finish him off”, he smiled as the man holding the gun thrusted its barrel against Ram’s temples.

“Doctor, what you don’t get is that if you refuse to sign, we will find someone else to do so. But we will make sure that you join our journalist friend on her journey to heaven!” finished the inspector

The girls hands dropped from his pockets bringing Ram’s attention back to her. She was dead. In all the time  he had spent trying to negotiate with the mob, she had moved on.

“Now, you have no problems…dead on arrival. It is not such big a lie…”, smiled the inspector. “The MLA will be very happy with you. Infact,  if you want to request a transfer he will make sure it is passed without any hassles”, he continued.

2:30 AM

They make us take oaths that we cannot uphold“, thought Ram to himself as he recalled the lines he had recited with much happiness on the day he was declared a doctor. He watched the backs of the goons and the inspector as they left the hospital with his signature on the death certificate. DOA / Dead on Arrival, it lied in big bold letters.

He turned around to look at the lifeless form of Suchitra – She must have been some woman,  to taken on these kind of vermins!”, he thought. He absent mindedly put his hands inside his pockets and was momentarily distracted by something his fingers had touched.

Ram smiled, as he pulled out a tiny SD card from his pocket. Apparently even the prospect of death, had not deterred Suchitra’s attempt to cleanse out diseases worse than than cancer.

“At least,  this is a promise that I can keep”, he whispered.  Her death was only the beginning.

 Today’s Prompt: Promises

* Notes:

  • Hippocratic Oath – The oath is typically taken by doctors and physicians about to embark a career in medicine. Refer to the wiki page. I also found this interesting page that talks in detail about the oath and the modern Indian doctor
  • Nihilism – Refer to the link to understand the complete meaning of this word.
  • Aruval – A type of sickle commonly used in Tamil Nadu
  • I have used some tamil words in the story. The translation immediately follows the words in brackets
  • This short story is entirely fictional. It has been inspired based on what we as the public hear about corrupt government officials some of the scary stories and events that make it to the newspapers.

Moira


barathon“She will never find out!”, smiled Maitri to herself as she hid the family heirloom diamonds deep inside her personal locker at home. She was supposed to deliver the the precious stones to her younger sister Deeta.

Their older sister Lakhi, had taken on the onus of distributing the diamonds from their mother’s traditional nose ring between the siblings and she had entrusted Maitri to deliver the diamonds that were intended for Deeta. Never in a million years did Lakhi think that the diamonds would not be delivered or  that her own scatterbrained nature would work against her when Maitri declared that she had never been given any diamonds to pass on to their younger sister…

Maitri had always been jealous of the smarter and better looking younger sister. It also didn’t help that Deeta never bent to Maitri’s bullying when they were kids. Maitri had finally found a way to own something intended for Deeta.  In fact, she had plans to convert the diamond stones into earrings for her own daughter before suspicions could be raised within the family.

Life works in funny ways and late one evening, Maitri walked into her home that had been broken into.

“You have some wishful thinking!”, smiled an invisible Moira, as Maitri rushed into her bedroom and fainted on discovering that the thieves had  broken into her locker and had made away with everything in it.

Notes:

Moirai – The word origin for Moira per Dictionary.com is as follows:

“fem. proper name, one of the Fates, from Greek Moira, literally “share,fate,” related to moros “fate, destiny, doom,” meros “part, lot,” meiresthai “to receive one’s share”

I have used the meaning “to receive one’s share” for my fictional attempt above.

Per Wiki, “Moira may mean portion or share in the distribution of booty (“equal booty”), portion in life, lot, destiny, (“the immortals fixed the destiny”) death (“destiny of death”), portion of the distributed land., The word is also used for something which is meet and right (“according to fate, in order, rightly”)

Today’s Prompt: Wishful Thinking

 

Freedom, to be


barathonI am not disappointed by the fact that God gave me big feet. It is because of them, that those tiny shoes never fit.

It is because of them that I was able to live up to my name. A beautiful Greek name meaning “resurrection”. I resurrected my life which was confined to living under the shadow of a beautiful sister to that of a woman who lives by her own rules.

I always wonder if it suits Cinderella to live within the stifling walls of a grand castle adorned with stained glass windows. To live each day having to look like perfect arm candy alongside Prince Charming, while having to follow every rule under the crown that was ever written; to spend her days as dictated by the Royal planner.Seems to me like she won her freedom from the clutches of my mother, only to be step into a life akin to that of a beautiful bird inside a splendid golden cage.

Could that ever be my life? Would I be happy with such a life?

A tiny cottage in the country with a little garden and my precious solitude;  travelling on a whim and interning under the best street artists of Paris while meeting new people and soaking in new experiences. This is my life.

And I will always have what Cinder lost when those shoes fit. My Independence.Freedom to be.

You still don’t recognize me? The world refers to me as one of the ugly step sisters, but I will always remain  the  feisty, strong and brave Anastasia.

Today’s prompt: Tiny Shoes

Notes: 

Refer to Wiki for the meaning of the name Anastasia

Refer to the Wiki for the list of characters who figure in the story of Cinderella and the characterization of Anastasia

Truant


barathonDid you hear about Sam, who was caught red-handed while he was at the movies during office hours?

Turned out that the director of the organization he worked for, had promised to take his son to the latest animated blockbuster currently showing in the city. He had taken a day off to fulfill his promise to his son and had run into Sam who was in his work attire complete with his office ID card along with his girlfriend buying tickets for the same movie!

The director was also a man who always did his homework and apparently Sam’s time sheets indicated that he had been working that day!

That was the end of Mr.Truant’s association with the organization!

Today’s prompt: Caught Red Handed

Justice


barathonKumar was sweating profusely within the confines of his dingy cell. He had woken up to someone throttling his neck. The nightmare had felt real.

You deserve it!, hissed a soft feminine voice behind him.

He reeled around looking for the source of the voice, wondering if he was alone in his jail cell.

“I think, I am loosing my mind”, he mumbled.

He pondered about the situation that had got him into this conundrum. He worried about the effects it would have on the fragile lives of his family which lived just above the poverty line. Would they be declared as outcasts in their tiny village? How would they support themselves?  He wondered if anybody would employ the kin of a prospective murderer?

Not prospective…an actual murderer!”, said the voice and this time it sounded angry. The tiny 60 watt bulb hanging from the dark ceiling  flickered.

“Who are you? Show yourself…please”, cried Kumar as the bulb died out.

As he crouched into the corner of the walls, he saw her emerge from the darkness. A vision in white, just as beautiful as the day he had first laid eyes on her.

“But…but, you are dead!”, he screamed.

And how is that possible?”, she teased.

“Because I left you there… cold and lifeless!”

You have made it clear to the police and everyone around that you are not involved in any way“, she chimed in her sweet voice.

“I am sorry…please forgive me”, he pleaded as two hands closed in around his neck.

The pot of water lying in the corner of the room shattered to pieces as the light came back on. She was gone.  As Kumar tried to fight the hands off, he eyes widened in shock to discover that they were his own.

Not possible, you wouldn’t do this…”, he thought

But you changed me“, chimed the sweet voice again. “The day you throttled me because your fragile ego couldn’t handle rejection from a woman. This is how I felt when the air to my soul was cut off…when my soul turned dark

His final vision was that of the bright, orange, flickering hot flames of hell that engulfed his soul, dragging it into the depths of a dark world where it would be destined to roam hungry, thirsty and condemned forever.

Note: Dedicated to the souls of women whose lives are cut short due to acts of violence. To those who never got the justice they deserved. To those who never had their stories heard. May your souls rest in peace.

 Today’s prompt: Fragile Lives