Familial dichotomy

My last post was almost a month back.

I am appalled. It started with ‘Not today. Positively tomorrow.‘ and eventually became ‘Is today actually today or is it already tomorrow?‘ By the time my brain smog cleared, I was wallowing in ‘Shame on you. You need to get your act together, lady!‘ Until today, eventually, after hours of self-motivating perk-up monologues, I resolved to ease myself back in with the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt.

A very wise Linda said – When you’re ready to sit down and write your post, look to the publication closest to you, and base your post on the sixth, seventh, and eighth word from the beginning of the page. Enjoy!

I picked up the paper beside me, which happened to be a real estate commercial, and read the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th words.
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That’s it. That’s bloody it.
The reason why I have not been able to write for the last month – I just couldn’t get what is the serene location nor the quiet down time.

Visitors tire me. In-laws tire me out even more. Just having to constantly watch what comes out of my mouth is tiring, its tiresome. What was fascinating, and only in retrospect, was the familial dichotomy between shared upbringing and divergent lifestyles. There was a warmth that seemingly infused the room as the siblings reminisced, and yet we were constantly aware of the undercurrent of egotistical clashes that could suck that very warmth out at any moment. Verbal communications did not always speak the same language as the emotional interactions. We smiled, we laughed, we feasted, we bid tearful farewells, and then we heaved a secret sigh of relief as some unnamed burden lifted from our souls.

It took a few more days to reclaim my living space and my routine.

Now here I am. A little older, a little more cynical, but definitely also a little richer for having gained some more insight into the intricate tapestry that is my family. After all, family shapes us. And constantly reshapes us.

We look to connections with immediate family in order to understand our place within larger communities: our neighborhoods, cities, countries and worlds, our genders, economic classes, generations, races and sexual preferences. ”
– William Tolan

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Jim walked through the almost desolate museum. Except for the curators and their obviously bored grandchildren, there was no one to be seen. Not even the lure of free tickets and popcorn had worked. As of now, the museum housed more extinct species than living ones.

‘Museums are becoming extinct,’ he lamented to his grandson.

‘Pops, you need to change with the times. Who wants to see some inanimate bones, when they can experience everything in n dimension in the Virtual Reality museums.’

‘Flying with the Pterosaurs and being chased by a T-Rex is not science, it is science fiction.’

‘Maybe, but at least people pay to see that.’


In response to the 146th Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge, based on a photo by Yinglan Z.

The oblique clique

Oblique comments – how I hate them.
They leave you tethering on the precipice. Not direct enough that you can tell the speaker to piss off, and yet not so subtle that you miss their meaning. They leave you with such a bitter taste.

Would I rather that they just come out and say it? I don’t know about that either. There are far too many people who think that they can get away with being rude, simply by claiming that they are being frank. Mind you, frank is rarely a two way street.

As someone who has always avoided any form of confrontation, I suppose I should take oblique over frank. At least this way I can simmer and run through a mind-blogging arsenal of quick and witty retorts in my head, that I could have said if only they had been explicit. Frank, leaves me with only one excuse. I am the more polite person, which sorta makes me feel like the spineless gutless coward.

Ideally I would like every one to just mind their own business. Everyone should be very polite to everyone all the time. But where am I going to find that ideal world!


Badge by J-Dub @ https://jilywily.wordpress.com/

In response to the Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “liqu.”

The new Pied Piper

Let us speak of mice and men, for indeed we live in interesting times.

The capitalist Pied Piper has shrunk our world to the confines of his kaleidoscope, and media is his instrument of choice. The great puppeteer has us addicted to consumerism, to his mighty malls with their bargain sales and food courts. Who we are, what do we want and where we wish to be – he decides, he dictates.

But not to me.
I, the thinker, the artist, the lover, the non-conformist. I make my own music, swim against the tide for humanity.

For we are men, not mice, and this world is no fable.


My 108 words reaction to the picture by Mert Guller hosted as part of Bikurgurl’s 100 Word Wednesday: Week 46 challenge.

A little bit of fairy dust

Of late I am beginning to wonder if my aspiration to become a writer has been cut short by the short cuts I take.

I thought that starting with micro fiction was a great idea. Stimulate the mind. Think of different characters. Add flesh to those characters. Come up with a plot. But it’s been almost a year, and I’ve happily settled down at this point, refusing to go beyond 300 words. I suppose I could do an anthology of short stories. I am told I gravitate a lot towards female characters in angst, so that could be the common thread for the anthology.

BUT…

I was supposed to start writing longer stories. Meanwhile I’m viewing my inability or reluctance to foray further as a shortcoming. Laziness. A major character flaw.

Am I unhappy writing micro-fiction? No. I am unhappy that I have not started on the path that leads to my originally planned goal. That which was supposed to be the sort cut has actually become the roundabout. But I’m not complaining. Not really.

‘Cause the roundabout is strewn with beautiful wild flowers, and rocks and streams and generous sprinklings of pretty pretty fairy dust.

So excuse me my goals. I think I’ll tarry, just a while longer.

In response to The Stream of Consciousness Saturday: shortcut/cut short

Peas Porridge


SOME LIKE IT HOT, SOME LIKE IT COLD
SOME LIKE IT IN THE POT NINE DAYS OLD

Forgive me, but because of interacting with kids on a regular basis, this rhyme is the first thing that came to mind.

Which raises the question, why do we even have such ridiculous nursery rhymes?

Most of them are illogical, and when you read some interpretations about them, they are downright scary or sad. Did I spend so many days of mirth running around in circles with my friends singing about the plague? How did I not realise that the old woman living in a shoe was assaulting her children. And having to eat nine days old peas porridge is so sad and unfortunate.
Yet rhymes were sung to make the harsh times sound less harsh. To build up apathy from an early age.

Then we had all these sexist fairy tales, where a major portion of them involved a damsel waiting for her prince to come and give her her happily ever after. Endure all the crap that is thrown at you with a smile on your face without protest, and then and only then will magic come your way.

O I know your probably nodding your head and giving thanks that times have changed. Today we have better stories, better fables. We are making a conscious effort at integration.

Really? Do you really think we have changed?

We don’t have rhymes to desensitise our kids; instead we have graphic TV news and even more gory games. Despite inclusion, objectification of the female form has hardly changed. Look at the women in a video game, and chances are she will have breasts that could put Pamela Anderson to shame and a butt that could give Kim Kardashian a run for her money!
I’m not saying women shouldn’t look a particular way, but every woman need not look like that.

Anybody in marketing and advertising will tell you, sex and violence sells. Shock and scandal sells. The absurd still attracts attention. And as long as these facts stand true, we have not really changed for the better. Something is still very wrong.

This porridge needs to be fixed.

In response to Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt – Hot/Cold

Kids Rule

I am beyond trying to understand some people’s motives.

Normally I have a thumb rule – empathy. I try to put myself in their shoes to understand why they are behaving in a certain way. Usually that works. At least it helps calm me down. But there are times, such as this week, when try as I might, I still cannot fathom certain behaviours.

Two of my fellow volunteers at the orphanage are having a major ego clash. These are people having successful day jobs. Their alleged purpose here is to give back to society. Their emphatic rhetoric is that God will reward. And yet…

Over the last three days I have received messages from both, each accusing the other of being dominating and autocratic. Why? How does it matter who is doing what and how, as long as results are delivered. You are not going to get a raise or a promotion for being the boss. Then why do these things matter. Why do you feel the incessant need to tout everything you have done to everyone. Why does it bother you if someone else has edged ahead of you in the race for recognition. Its like in their mind there is this hypothetical pedestal with room for only one at the top.

But… This is an orphanage. You are here for the kids and the kids do not care which aunty is instructing the superintendent on job allocation, or which aunty bought 26 nice new chairs this month.

And as for God, well I have a sneaky suspicion that he’s not going to be too thrilled that you decided to autocratically allocate the recognition department to mortals and the rewards department to him.

For a while I was tempted to quit, to get away from these crazy ladies. Soon I realised that I was focusing on the wrong things. Bottom line – the bathroom is being cleaned more frequently and there are now 26 new red chairs. A WhatsApp chat can be cleared with one swipe of the finger, and pent up stress can be released with one Stream of Consciousness rant 😉

Kids rule.

Not when but how

When am I ever going to let go?
Or more accurately, how do I let myself go?
Earlier this month I took a long overdue break with my girlfriends.
What I did not expect was an almost intervention.

It’s never been easy for me to open up. I’m aloof. A creature that needs a lot of space. But according to them, I have closed myself off even more over the last year. Ever since I lost dad, I guess. Grieving is a process and I’ve been going through that. It’s not been the denial, anger, bargain, depression, acceptance stuff, because after three weeks of watching your hero devoid of movement, speech or though, your beyond anger or bargaining. You go straight to depression. And when you have the added responsibility of running a family and nursing a depressed mum, you barely even have the luxury of depression. You simply add a few layers to that brick wall around you and chug along.

I started blogging when my dad was admitted in hospital. Flash fiction is such a beautiful escape. Plus its so much easier to talk to strangers than the people around you, to have a relationship with someone who you’ll never meet, who wont ask you those intimate questions. No expectations, no judgement, no prodding, and no fear of losing anyone. Just like-minded people casually sharing their souls with one another. A relationship most intimate yet least risky.

In the process I had apparently been staying away from the people who I had chosen as my family. ‘We gave you time, now snap out of it,’ is the ultimatum that has been delivered to me.

These are tenacious women. I better knock down a few bricks or someone is going to be huffing and puffing till they break the house down. I love them. With all my heart. But I still need to figure out how to let myself go.

In response to the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt ‘When’

Maverick

Tick Tick
I’m bored sick
All I do is nit pick
Tele’s full of chick flick
Shut the damn thing off quick
Expiry on my lipstick
I wish I were a maverick.

Well, sometimes I do.

I wish my every pore oozed joie de vivre and my life was filled with magic and romance. Ah, the tales I could then tell.
Had I been a princess, or a tramp, travelling around the world, meeting new and varied people, sampling exotic cuisine or gross concoctions, perhaps a few scrapes with the law or some clandestine trysts. How eventful my life would have been. What a grand biopic it could have made.

Instead, I spend my abundant free time visualising the lives of others and dreamscaping.

Honestly, it’s not as if circumstances held me back, because circumstances can be fought, they can be altered. I held me back. My laid-back, ever procrastinating, never put off until tomorrow what you can put off till the day after self held me back. Correction, holds me back.

People keep asking me how I spend my time. I don’t understand this fixation with spending your time. You don’t have to spend time, you just have to be, and time will pass.

I pass my time by watching time pass!

And then I wonder what it is that makes me want to go out and live my life but not want it enough to actually go out to live my life. I do.

I wish I were a maverick. Ah, the tales I could then tell…

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Ranting in response to Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt “ick.”

I need raindrops falling on my nose

The Rain God’s reign over my city is very closed fisted. Sigh!

We beseech him, eyes raised heavenwards, for some relief, but it is only his fierce and merciless brother The Sun who laughs down upon us. And just as we give up, and hang the clothes out to dry, The Rain decides to play Peek-a-Boo with us, says a hearty Boo and disappears, and we are left with wet clothes, hot sun and a wrung heart wailing Boo-Hoo-Hoo.

Please Mr Sun, if I may be bold enough to make a suggestion, perhaps now is a good time for a recess, preferably in the arms of some heavy moisture laden dark clouds. Perhaps now is the time to hand over the reins to another. Hint, Hint, the shirk Mr Rain.

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Prompted by The Stream of Consciousness Saturday – rain/rein/reign