As I bustle through my daily life, quiet conversations with you play themselves out in the stillness of my mind. Whether kneading dough, taking clothes out of the dryer, grinding spices, or doing dishes, we talk of this and that, and everything else. They are dialogues we could have had for real, but which now take place only in the shrouded corners of my mind where imagination reigns supreme. Eerie silence, cold as frost, has filled the gaps left by words that once flowed freely between us. These imaginary exchanges are what shield me from the ice, keep me warm.
I wake up late. It is Sunday after all. As I open the bedroom door, my thoughts are solely about the cuppa that will shortly be in my hands. Yup, without imbibing the elixir that uplifts, my day can never ever have a start. I am listless and hopeless too, literally balking at the day ahead until and unless the system is appeased with the brew that cheers, chai.
As soon as I step outside the bedroom, Luci who has been waiting patiently jumps up to greet me. That peps me up for a while. It is amazing how dogs make you feel by their enthusiasm on seeing you. My face lights up in joy, and I chirrup to her, my lethargy forgotten for the moment. Strange indeed are the ways of showing affection. In Bollywood they break into a song and do calisthenics. Luci on the other hand shows hers by jumping up and trying to topple me over. If she can, she packs in a few nips too.
I make it half way down the stairs and then sit down to have a serious cuddling session with Luci, who is still excited about the fact that I have survived the gruelling sleep session at night and am back with her in one piece. That is when I look down and notice that the sitting room looks all spruced up. Wow, someone’s been doing some cleaning up. No prizes though for guessing who has been at it with broom and duster. Obviously it is not I because I have only just woken up. It certainly is not Luci either. Her job is to litter the room as much as possible and thus keep her ‘slaves’ in shape, not that it is helping any in my case.
Anyways, that leaves the L & M as the only choice. It is indeed he who has been up, with the lark, and been quite the busybody. There is a stack of ironed shirts and trousers on the dining chair to prove how industrious he has been. Luci’s bowl has milk in it though she herself has forborne to touch it. Oh man! I think to myself, the guy is giving me a complex (Sunday after Sunday) and me a homemaker too. Why can’t he emulate others and laze on a Sunday and thereby let me laze too?
What I need is an excuse, a nice shiny, smooth, solidly strong and plausible excuse to not only get myself out of work but also feel good about it. Tall order, I know. Tea, tea! scream my cells. No use attempting thought before downing the cuppa.
“Good morning! Good morning!” says the Colonel on espying me dragging myself down the stairs with a prancing Luci in tow. She rushes to Dad wagging her tail furiously (where do Labradors get the energy for non-stop tail wagging?) as if to say, ‘Look, look! She is here safe and sound. The Night Monsters didn’t gobble her up as I had feared. Phew!’
“Chai?” I ask him.
“Of course, chai!” says the L & M who has already downed one and is now looking for his second innings.
Chai is made and had. I wait patiently for it to course through my system and throw up that much needed excuse for shirking work today. Without fail (what did I tell you?) chai comes up with an infallible and safe one. It will suffice for today.
“Darling!” I say in dulcet tones, “I have something to write today. Can we get biriyani from outside for lunch?”
“Why not?!” says the L & M. “I will go at around 11-30 a.m. and get it.”
I sigh with relief. There will be enough left over for dinner as well. My day is saved. It is the perfect pretext to not put the clothes for wash or do any other work around the house. You see how easy it is? Blogging has immense benefits. It is the best excuse to get out of the day’s work. Try it and experience the results for yourselves.
Disclaimer: The author is not answerable to any untoward incidents that may happen or resultant damages thereof from trying out the suggestion prescribed above.
The prompt: “Write an excuse for not working today”
As a blogger who speaks her mind, I have ruffled some feathers. I guess that goes with the territory for most of us in the same boat. More than what is written the culprit seems to be how it is interpreted. Something can be read in different ways. The tone/color/mood applied to the content depends on the reader. Yet the writer is held responsible for the reader’s subjectivity. For instance, when a reader sees aggression/arrogance wouldn’t it be appropriate to pause, and ask how much of it is reflection of self and how much the writer’s intention? Just a thought.
Thank you Vivek for suggesting the topic
Once I found a mask and put it on.
It did not matter if I was sad or forlorn. People saw the grinning face of the mask and smiled back. I was thrilled, vowing never to remove the mask.
One day I felt tired of being mistaken for the mask. I wanted to be the real me. So, I tugged at the mask with all my strength, wanting to peel it off. But it wouldn’t come off.
Terrified, I cried. Yet those around only laughed.
Behind the mask my tears fell unseen as realization dawned: I was now the mask.
Written for 100 Words On Saturday 7 Prompt : MASK/S
I am a light sleeper. If the person sleeping next to me were to move an arm even ever so slightly, I wake up as if the Great Wall of China has come crashing down in my vicinity. So it was no surprise that I woke up with a jump and was sitting up in bed when I heard the sound. It felt like a loudspeaker had blared in the stillness of the night. It was not an unknown sound though, just the familiar musical notes of my phone announcing that I had a new message. What was it doing belching out messages at me so late into the night? What time was it anyway?
I craned my neck to check the time on the clock on the far wall of the room. The radium dial said 2 goddamn a.m. I was disgruntled. Enticing sleep back when once I have woken up is not an easy task and involved inviting flocks and flocks of sheep to be counted. Who the hell was sending me messages so late in the night or rather, so early in the morning? I watched my wife sleeping, lost to the world, and sighed envying her. She could easily sleep through an earthquake if need be. I debated whether I should ignore the damn message and try to start counting sheep. But sleep had fled too far, and curiosity had bitten me badly. Checking the phone for the message seemed the next best thing to do. So I reached for my phone.
In the top left hand corner I could make out the blinking white envelope. So I hadn’t imagined it after all, I thought, putting to rest the niggling doubt that it had been a dream that had woken me up. I managed to slide the notification panel down and screwed up my eyes trying to decipher the number. It was an unfamiliar one. This better be good, or someone was going to get an earful from me on the morrow, I decided. I touched the screen to open the message. Nothing, I mean, there was no text that I could see, even faintly, only a splash of colors.
It took some time in my sleep befuddled state for it to register that it was not a splash of colors, but a picture. There was a bit of blue and brown and yes red too. But mostly it was black all around with a slash of white in the middle. I cursed under my breath. I needed my glasses to get to the bottom of this. Putting them on, I gave it a second look and gasped. The grinning face of my son stared back at me. What the hell did he think he was doing sending me grinning pictures of himself in the dead of the night? Granted there was only one picture not pictures, but whatever…. It was one taken at close quarters. His already huge nose (taken after me, I smiled with pride) looked even bigger in the photo. Self-clicked, I concluded. But why oh why wake up his old father in the middle of the night only to have him look at your bulbous nose prominently displayed? And the slash of white had revealed itself to be his teeth, all thirty two of them right below it. No, of course I did not count them.
There it was again, the message tone. I almost dropped the phone as it vibrated in my hands. A second message had arrived even as I was trying to decipher the first. If it was another photo of his I was going to call him up and give him a piece of my mind, 2 a.m. or not, I told myself. I quickly opened it. This time it was in text form. ‘Dad!!! Open the door!’ it read. Open the… what?! I hadn’t solved that one when immediately on its heel followed the third message, ‘Surprise! Surprise! I am home! Dad, please DON’T wake Mom! OTD!!!’
OTD?! Oh right, Open The Door. Oh Narayana! Guruvayurappa! He was at the door. That picture had been clicked at my own front door. That’s why something had looked all too familiar about the background. But it being night, everything was mostly black that I hadn’t guessed. Narayana! He was standing out there sending messages instead of ringing the bell. Cheeky as ever, I noted, smiling involuntarily. But, but how…. How was he here? He had said his leave had been cancelled, that he couldn’t make it this time. All that could wait for now, I told myself. Now I had to open the door and let him in.
He had requested that his Mom not be woken. Not that I could, even if I tried. Even an elephant’s tread would have gone unnoticed by her. Still, I tried to make as little noise as possible and moved quickly and cautiously towards the front door. It is tough to accomplish that when you are as old as I am and your joints creak, refusing to be rushed. Thankfully unlike me, the well oiled front door opened smoothly and noiselessly. As soon as it was open I was enveloped in a bear hug. I felt totally dwarfed. When had my son grown so tall and strong? I used to be the My Daddy Strongest around here till sometime back.
I tried to put on a stern expression, and glare reproachfully at him. What did he mean by all this drama? Why had he said he would be home only next month? Why hadn’t he let us know beforehand that he was coming? But of course instead, I grinned like a contented old Papa Bear who has just found a beehive.
Is Mom asleep? My son whispered in my ear. Yes, yes, I nodded. But the house could fall around her ears and she wouldn’t wake up till morning. It had always seemed a miracle to me how she woke up at 5 a.m. sharp without the aid of an alarm clock. Shhh…, cautioned my son, wanting me to lower my voice, not so loud, she might hear you. I rolled my eyes, as if we could even if we wanted to! He agreed on that and laughed softly. Tomorrow I am going to walk down for breakfast and give her the surprise of her life, he said still whispering. I nodded again and bent down to help him with the bags. Leave them there Dad, he hissed, I’ll take them!
Obediently I turned, leading the way back inside the house and literally jumped out of my skin. I had bumped into something or someone just beyond the door. I stared open-mouthed. It was my wife, standing arms akimbo. She had actually woken up from her sleep? I was dumbstruck that it could happen at all. Not in the thirty five years we had been married had she ever done that.
“What do you think you are doing out in the cold at such an unearthly hour? And what’s so hush hush? Why were you whispering?” she asked me in a belligerent tone. Then she spotted the son behind me and let out such a shriek that I staggered back in its aftermath. So shrill had it been that I was sure the sleeping birds in the neighborhood trees must surely have fallen out of their nests and were even then dusting themselves off the ground wondering what had hit them. She had by then pushed past me, and was hanging on to the son’s neck happily chanting, ‘You are here! You are here!’
I glanced at my son, eyebrows raised. I don’t know whether he could see it in the poor light, probably he could, because they are now all white against my brown skin. He had such a comical crestfallen look on his face. His plan had backfired. Oh well, what do they say about well laid out plans of mice and men? That applies to ad hoc plans as well, I guess.
Written in response to the Creative Writing Challenge: 2AM Photo
I was formless and ethereal; floating on the fringes, elusive.
I made you restless. Was I a memory, a fantasy, a dream?
You tossed and turned in your sleep, were lost to the world in your waking hours. Your longing to make me yours became your only goal.
One day, when I assumed you were inattentive, I came tantalisingly close. Your alert spidery arms caught and dragged me in.
I was examined thoroughly, washed clean to reveal my essence, dressed up to enhance inherent qualities, and presented to all.
You had given birth to your thought and, I was born.