The Leaking Ink

I’m sick, down with a terrible flu. All that I feel like doing, is to stay curled up in bed and rise only for that intermittent cup of steaming hot coffee. I guess, I’m one of those people who, if faced with the predicament of choosing their last meal, would go with a cup of aromatic South Indian coffee.

But when one writes a blog titled ‘Leaking Ink’, then it seems almost blasphemous to not respond to the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt of ‘Ink’.

I was never a writer.
Let me rephrase. I was a dreamer who never put down her dreams. In school I was often reprimanded for having too vivid an imagination. [As if there can ever be such a thing!] Tone it down my English teacher would comment. Stick to the often trodden path. Do not speak to yourself. It gives the impression that you are cheating.
Suffice to say that slowly but surely the education system nipped the nascent writer in the bud.

But not the dreamer.
On no Sir, I didn’t really care that people on the streets thought me crazy for talking to myself. When you have an entire soap opera playing out in your head, you need voices and gestures. [If only I had grown up in the bluetooth era, I could have easily passed off as someone having an animated conversation on the phone.]

Life played out as life does.
My collection of stories grew. Some I lived, some I witnessed, some I created as an alternate reality to escape to. With time the stories became darker. The happily ever after morphed into So what now and If only. When life threw me lemons, I made exotic mocktails.
All the while I kept my stories safely ensconced in my own head. Drop by drop the reservoir filled up. Critical mass was reached. I tried to build the walls higher. I tried to keep it all in. I really tried.
Until one fine day, my cup runneth over.

And here you have it. The Leaking Ink blog…

image

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”

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.

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

The seasons are passing

The seasons are passing, and my expectations have reached their autumn now. The leaves have changed shades and eventually started to fall. All that remains is a few branches of hope, and they wait for winter to come and shroud them, and then you wont even see those any more.

Do you think that the death of expectation will give birth to the season of peace?

I’ve decided to forgive you. Not because you have changed, nor because I have, but because the burden of carrying my anger has started to weigh down upon me. I am weather beaten by the winds of time. Tired, so very tired, I need to stop.

Why now, why here, I do not know. Perhaps a little bit of realisation that life does not follow the script. Perhaps the wisdom that there are two sides to every story. You may be my antagonist, and I am probably yours.

Do you think that perhaps I am mistaking purgatory for life?

The seasons are passing but I seem to have missed spring. Cactus flowers, however beautiful, do not make the land fertile.

I’ve decided to stop searching, but have not decided to stop living. I’ll walk my path, and even if its not lined with roses, I’ll still stop to see the intricate patterns in the grains of sand. And when my eyes have failed, and my nerve endings die, I’ll still have worlds of imagination to explore.

So when all the seasons have passed, I’ll dream up seasons of my own. We’ll walk different shores in that picture, but we will still be in it, both you and I. Because the seasons may pass, but the threads still hold.

In response to the Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday – Season.

I need to stumble

Nothing is going well in my life.
Nothing is going badly either.
Basically, nothing is going anywhere.
Its as if I’m in a limbo. A well of nothingness, if you will.
Writer’s block – big time.

My dad, who was a farm boy, used to describe me as a cow. “Put her on a path and she’ll keep ambling along,” was how he would describe me. That’s true. Someone put me on the highway and I continued on it until the end. Now it’s time to choose an alternate path. I would like to say that I am exploring the roads less taken, or even the beaten path. Any path would be something. But I’m standing by the side of the road, feeling all the vehicles pass me by, admiring all the little paths that I could take, and yet not moving. Just looking around wistfully.

My mind is not blank. It’s full of fanciful notions. I am constantly dreaming about stumbling into a situation. Any situation.
One does not stumble if one does not take a step.
I need to take a step.
Soon.
Just not today.
Some day.
One day.
The day, it is not too far.
It is not too close either.
Well…


In response to the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt: well.

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…

socsbadge2016-17

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