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.

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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

A Note To Myself from Myself


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Another year has arrived and much like other years in the past decade you haven’t made any resolutions. Nothing wrong with that, but this year, how about aspiring to do the things that feed your soul? Discover yourself, stop and smell the flowers, keep CALM and carry on with an emphasis on CALM ….

Sigh! Here you go again, focusing on all the things that could get in the way of this journey…

Always the (over)thinker!! Anyways, how about you stop thinking and start acting and see where that might take you?

Stop laughing- I can hear your thoughts! Now, get going…really… move!

#feedyoursoul #mytheme2017 #BarWoWe

Word Prompts: Aspire, Always, Anyway, Arrive. Thank You #Blogarhythm

 

Mischief gone wrong!


bar_ww_badegeWe were kids in primary school and it was dull afternoon during the summer holidays. We were at our aunts and had run out of ideas to entertain ourselves. While the adults were busy with their afternoon naps, my cousin decided it would be a great idea to go snooping into my aunts closet. I was surprised at her idea – the goody-goody, forever sick child of the family had come up with something daring, but the idea of doing something that our parents had taught us not to, bothered me.

Even before I could think, she was in the closet and turned around, her face full of glee and a small bottle of imported perfume in her hand.

“Just a little dab”, she said  and poured some on herself.

“Your turn!”, she reached out to me. Still unsure about the whole idea, I blocked her hands, sending the contents of the little bottle on all over the carpet.

The little bottle was empty and we smelt like, like something imported! Suddenly, the reality of the situation struck and all that we could think about was our aunt transforming into her monstrous self because someone had touched her precious things from “Amayreeecaa”

As we sat there, trying to think of an escape route, my cousin calmly walked into the bathroom and filled the little bottle with water and returned it into the closet.

“It will be our little secret”, she said. As we slipped out of the room, something inside me told me, I shouldn’t believe her.

Soon, the adults were up from their afternoon siesta and few minutes later there was a lot of screaming! My aunt tore down the stairs wagging her fingers at us and admonishing us for what we had done!

“Now, who did it?? Who had the genius idea to fill water in the perfume bottle? Whoever it was, is going to be punished”, she declared.

Upon hearing the word punishment, my little cousin ran to my aunt and hugged her legs and turned around and pointed at me! The whole incident was effectively pinned on me and of course nobody would ever doubt the sickly goody-goody child! I can still recall my mother admonishing me for something that I had not done and everybody putting me down for days to follow.

It was a terrible summer and I actually looked forward going back to the school I hated so much. I would never forgive her for what she’d done

My relationship changed with my cousin that day. We would never ever be close again. Years passed and anytime we met, we would stop with the exchange of customary greetings. Close to two decades have passed and we both have a child of our own. But we still don’t talk. And when we do, it is still customary.

Linking to the Wordy Wednesday Prompt from Blog-A-Rhythm

Waiting to Exhale


bar_ww_badegeShe pondered about her life at that moment and sighed satisfactorily over her steaming cup off coffee as she looked over the river and various ferries that dotted it every now and then.  She didn’t miss home; her parents? yes, but nothing else. Not the lecherous stares every time she wore sleeveless tops or skirts or the cat calls from random men on the roads. She didn’t have to walk back home from the bus stop with a knife hidden in her hands or be wary of anonymous passengers on the bus who would never miss a chance to brush themselves against her body when the bus braked…Nope, it was behind her for good. She had made a new life out here; where she could walk alone and where men at work actually listened to her ideas. A place where didn’t have to live according to societies expectations. No judgment from women because she was independent and no funny moves from men for the same reason! She could live free – fierce and independent and soon her parents who gave her the wings to fly would join her. Her fairy tale had come true.

Linking to the Wordy Wednesday Prompt from Blog-A-Rhythm

Potential


bar_ww_badegeShanti sighed with frustration as she opened the doors of her fridge. The different sized Tupperware boxes that lined the shelves greeted her with a threat of collapsing at the slightest complicated hand movement. What was she supposed to do with all this food? Why didn’t her cook just get the fact that she always cooked more than necessary! Not to mention the fact that nobody wanted to eat food from the week during the weekends! They worked hard during the week managing commutes, deadlines at work, a zillion meetings, homework, activities and everything that one could think of. They never really paid much attention to what they ate, as long it was palatable and healthy it went in… But weren’t weekends meant for relaxation, pampering and some good food and conversations at the dining table rather than bickering about old food??

And then, just like that, she saw the immense potential of what lay before her – an entire new brunch menu with what she had on hand…

She worked her magic and soon the humble daal was reborn as daal rotis, while the bhindi metamorphosed into bhindi masala with some onions and tomato to give them that boost! And as for the tons of rice…They debuted as pulao and yoghurt rice tempered with mustard and curry leaves!

She pat herself on the back when she saw the smiling faces at the dining table. The potential of another successful weekend as a mother and wife was in the works 🙂

*Daal – Indian preparation of lentils
*Rotis – Indian Flat bread made from wheat
*Bhindi – Okra
*Pulao – Indian preparation with rice, vegetables and spices

Linking to the Wordy Wednesday Prompt from Blog-A-Rhythm

And for the first time, I am also linking to Weekend Cooking as Beth Fish Reads

wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend

Some coins and a flicker of hope


parul-photo“Get away from my kiosk!!”, yelled the shop keeper to the dirty, smelly homeless man who had stopped in front of his kiosk that sold coffee and bagels with fresh cream cheese (or so he boasted). Located on 5th Avenue and 42’nd street, in front of Bryant park his clientele included bankers, the corporate movers and shakers and editors of the big name fashion magazines that were sold all over the country.

The homeless man moved near the trash can that had been placed conveniently on the side of the kiosk. He waited patiently only to jump to attention the moment he spotted Daniel turning the corner of the street. Daniel was the chief editor of a fashion magazine, the office of which was located a block away and always got his breakfast fix at this kiosk. He usually handed over a $5 note to the shopkeeper and received about 70 cents in change. The change was always in the form of dimes, 10 cent coins and he got 7 of them every morning.. As he walked away with his coffee and bagels, he tossed the dimes into the trash. Initially he had shocked the shopkeeper with this action but Daniel’s reasoning was  he didn’t like dimes! They made his wallet heavy and it was not like he needed those dimes for anything….

The moment Daniel disappeared, the homeless man shamelessly dug into the trash and collected the coins. He smiled through his dirty teeth at the shop keeper as he collected his booty. He had managed to save about $14 this entire month thanks to Daniel alone. If he kept at this and checked out the trash  around Manhattan and also collect the quarters and dimes that he found on the streets, he could save enough to buy some pencils and papers to start making a living by sketching the profiles of the many tourists who visited New York. And if he worked hard at it, he could soon put this nomadic way of life behind him. A warm fire started within him – a hope had been lit.

Image Courtesy: Write Tribe

Image Courtesy: Write Tribe

#MondayMusing – When I hear people say, Money is not everything I always want to respond by asking “Is it”? I think it depends on which side of the table the money is present and the middle is always dicey! What say?

Also linking this post to the picture prompt from Wordy Wednesday at Blog-A-Rhythm.

On a side note, the inspiration for this was based on my days spent walking through the streets of New York. As a new visitor to the United States, I found it hard to imagine that there were homeless people out on the streets scrounging trash bins and dumpsters to find something to eat or wear. They had no roofs over their heads – it bothered me as to how they fared through the long  and cold winters. A country which was a super power of the modern world, had a big problem which it was trying to address….it was no different from I came from. The idea of Daniel was inspired from the television show Ugly Betty where the one of main characters named Daniel actually throws his dimes into the trash because he hates the coppery looking coins!