Step in time

Bridges
Old, new, high, low, each beautiful, each imperative.
Just a few, I post for you…

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Manimuthar Dam

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Manjolai

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Tree Top Walk

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Henderson Waves

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Alexandria Arch

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Clarke Quay


In response to Week 83 of Frank’s Tuesday Photo Challenge – Bridge

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Psst-Psst: That awesome sound

Psst – Psst
The sound that transports me back to simpler times. When it was easy to open the gate and walk into the neighbour’s house, but it was way more fun to just jump the common wall. A wall that partitioned only on paper. To the children who lived on either side, it was a nice place to plonk snacks on, while we stood or sat around chatting for hours together. A wall that served more as a net across which we threw ball, or a hurdle to jump. A wall that eventually tired of six kids climbing two and fro, decided one fine day to start crumbling to lower the hurdle height.

Psst-Psst. That’s how we called each other. The signal that meant ‘meet at the wall, below the coconut tree’. Even the coconut that once fell on my sister’s head, requiring her to be rushed to the emergency room for stitches, was no reason to shift the rendezvous point. Too naïve to realise that sound carries at night, we would loudly hiss psst-psst, and one parent or the other would snap back, ‘GO TO BED’, triggering an endless senseless peal of giggling.

Psst-Psst, the sound that preceded many important conversations, much idle chatter, strategy discussions, or confessions, as children transitioned into young adults.

Until one by one, the birds left the nest, and now all that stands is a lonely ageing wall and an almost barren coconut tree.

In response to the prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday – “psst”

All consuming love

The fire burns hot and bright, shining in all its glory. It’s carefree flames leap up in excitement, uncontrolled, unashamedly consuming whatever it pleases. Beautiful, breathtaking and merciless.

Maybe that is why I am so attracted to it. I look at the wild flames, and all I see is you.

You who enveloped me in your smoldering heat, consumed my heart, my soul, my bank balance, and when all I had was consumed, you disappeared like a plume of smoke, leaving behind the charred mess that was me.

As the flames embrace you, I know that you are finally where you deserve to be. You are free to rage without pretence.

And all it took was my little spark.


In response to Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers challenge of 17 November 2017, based on a photo by J D Hardy

Sam, please come home

She should wait for him. Sam would be home shortly. But freshly baked bread was her weakness. God, she hoped that it wasn’t vanity to appreciate your own cooking. Just last Sunday the pastor had spoken of pride. Gulping down a little wine, she said a quick prayer.

Almost six. Yes, he should be home soon.

Suddenly the phone rang. Ah, it was Jason.

“Hello son.”

“Hi ma. Just called to check if you’ve taken your pills.”

“I will. After supper.”

“Why have you not eaten yet?”

“I’m waiting for Sam.”

“Ma… He’s not coming. Dad’s dead, remember.”


In response to Bikurgurl’s 100 Word Wednesday: Week 45 challenge based on a photo by Brooke Lark

Ma

This is my response to the 11th exercise in The Scrivener’s Forge on point of view, examining an incident from the point of view of two different characters.

The incident is that the son, who is at college, was supposed to visit home, but didn’t.

Tring Tring…

I have been like a fish out of water all day. Why didn’t he come home? Perhaps he’s sick. Linda says there is a terrible flu going around. “Hello.”

Hi ma.” he answers in a hushed voice. “What’s up?”

Nothing really. You said that you would come home last weekend but you didn’t.” I try to keep the panic out of my voice.

Sorry ma. Got busy. Assignments. You know how it is.”

Thank God its not the flu. But he should have at least given me a call. He knows I worry. I will never understand what that boy has against picking up the phone and talking. He has all the patience in the world to chat with his friends on WhatsApp.

Ma?” he breaks through my reverie.

I miss you.”

Ya.”

Huh! What kind of a reply is that? College has changed him. No regards for his mother’s feelings. “You’ve forgotten me.”

No ma.” I can hear the irritation in his voice, and my heart sinks further.

It’s understandable, I suppose. You don’t need me any more.” I blurt out. Great. Now he’s going to think I’m needy.

That’s not true, ma. I told you I had assignments to complete. You know that my scholarship is conditional on maintaining a GPA of at least 8.”

You work so hard. Are you eating properly?” He was looking sort of skinny last week. “I worry about you, you know.”

Don’t worry, ma. I’m fine. OK. I gotta go. Bye.” he hangs up abruptly. I didn’t even get around to asking him about next week. I know he’s a grown man now, but, an ‘I love you’ or a ‘See you soon’, is that too much to expect!

***

Shit, it’s mum. I forgot to tell her that I wouldn’t be coming.
Hello,” a frail voice comes through.

Hi ma. Whats up?” Was she sick or was she just irritated with me?

Nothing really. You said that you would come home last weekend but you didn’t.”

Ah! So it’s that. “Sorry ma. Got busy. Assignments. You know how it is.” To be fair, I never did say that I’d go, just that I would try, but then she always hears only what she wants to.
Silence. Man, she probably cooked a zillion dishes, and now she’s mad at me. “Ma?”

I miss you.” comes her soft rebuke.

Now I’m feeling guilty. I really really should have at least spoken to her. I almost tell her that I miss her too, but Professor Markinson passes by, so I offer up a bland “Ya.”

You’ve forgotten me.”

What the hell! “No ma.”

It’s understandable, I suppose. You don’t need me any more.”

That’s not true, ma.” Should I tell her about the extra job that I’ve picked up, or will that just make her worry more. “I told you I had assignments to complete. You know that my scholarship is conditional on maintaining a GPA of at least 8.”

You work so hard. Are you eating properly. I worry about you, you know.”

I can almost hear the tears. How do I end up hurting her so bad? This woman has slogged her butt off for me and she deserves better. It’s good that I did not tell her about the extra job just yet.
Don’t worry, ma. I’m fine.” This is a conversation that best be continued in person. Need to sit her down and explain. “OK. I gotta go. Bye.”

I’m definitely going home soon. I miss her bad.

The under world

Deep down below the surface, all the way down in the sewers, a party is about to start.
Red eyes keep watch through the sewer grate. “The baker has gone to the back room.”

Suddenly the hole in the pavement comes alive, as they start popping out, like the undead clambering out of the ground.


Image courtesy: Channel 4 News

By the time the baker comes out, his shop is infested with them.
Sunken red eyes stare out of bony face, some snorting out of bags at their mouth, pumping slowly like a black heart. The smell and rashes are unmistakably. Sickening.
Sewer people.

He backs away. They pick up what they want and return to their living graves.

Down below the music continues thumping. Syringes are passed around. The candle is blown and the cakes reached for.

Some start vomiting. Some break into seizures. Some fall to never rise.

Above ground the baker waits. Sickness was taking too long. The cyanide should expedite matters. Just some long overdue pest control.



In response to The Sunday Photo Fiction challenge of 12th November 2017


In 2014, Channel 4 News reported that “Deep under the streets of Bucharest – in Europe, in the 21st century – there is a network of tunnels and sewers that is home to hundreds of men, women and children stricken by drug abuse HIV and TB.”
Due to Ceausescu strict policy against birth control, there were tens of thousands of orphans and children in state care. After his fall, and the ensuing chaos, some moved into the tunnels underneath Bucharest. Drug addiction is rife, some have had children of their own.
The entrance to this underworld are holes in the pavements or sides.


Image courtesy: Don’t Panic Online Magazine – The lost boys of Bucharest

Arms

Arms
Arms that rocked an infant to sleep
Arms that picked a crying babe
Arms that made a tub feel safe
Arms that walked a child to school
Arms that could ride better than any hero
Arms that could fix anything at home
Arms that made the warmest pillow
Arms that made the world feel safe
Arms that taught and gave good guidance
Arms that meticulously filed every accomplishment 
Arms that never wavered in their grip
Arms that could stoke softer than a feather
Arms that were strong enough to give a bride away

Arms that rocked an infant to sleep
Arms that told stories not in books
Arms that calmed when parents raged
Arms that could hammer harder than Thor
Arms that signed and taught secret codes
Arms that clapped louder than any crowd
Arms that were never too busy to play
Arms that sagged with each passing day
Arms that moved far too slow
Arms that petrified after a stroke
Arms crossed over a body laid to rest
Arms 

Your grandson and I miss you daddy. You will always be the world’s best pillow and our secret superhero. 

Triggered by the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt – Arm.

Spin your tapestry

Lonely people
walking down grey cobbled streets
huddled within themselves
on a cold dreary day
small fragile finite
insignificant before the ode they built to themselves
where creation superceded creator.

A brief crossing
accidental meeting of eyes
quick hellos
look away before you start to see
secure in space bubbles
with impenetrable masks.

What brings them out
to these cold lonely streets
buying striving acquiring
achieving milestones
collecting trinkets
to leave behind.

Life starts with an inhale
and ends with an exhale
Each breath between a lifeline.
Fill your tapestry with colour
make it intertwined
revel in the chaos
Be the butterfly
whose flap affects the world.


Inspired by a photo by Marie Gail Stratford posted by Rochelle for her Friday Fictioneers challenge of 10th November 2017.