Whom should the fair lady marry?

A beautiful maiden had three equally good-looking and worthy admirers to choose from, whom would she marry? Betaal, the celestial spirit, asked the legendary king Vikramaditya in the famous Sanskrit story book – Baital Pachisi.

The question seemed baffling but the answer given by the wise king at the end of the story was exceptionally wise. Read the story (in my words) and decide for yourself – If you were the fair girl, whom would you choose and why?

Once there was a beautiful and intelligent Brahmin maiden, who was sought by many young men of the time. But her father wanted to choose the best of all her admirers.

Three handsome Brahmin young men of Kanauj, who were great scholars arrived, and each one claimed that they were in love with the lady. Her father was perplexed as each one was great in every sense. The girl couldn’t choose because she did not want to hurt sentiments.

The three men’s ardent love for the girl did not lessen with time. They stayed on for months and months, showing their commitment towards the lady. But tragedy struck one day, the maiden fell ill and died. Her father and the devoted men were heart broken.

After the lady’s funeral, the first man, built a hut there, slept on a bed made of her ashes, and got his food by begging.

The second took her bones and went far to dip them in the sacred Ganges river.

And the third became a wandering monk and travelled around.

One day, the wandering monk, stopped at a Brahmin’s house to spend the night. The Brahmin thought he was a great ascetic and welcomed him. Dinner was served and the Brahmin’s wife and son joined them. But the son was quite mischievous and he began to trouble his mother by throwing tantrums. The mother got very angry and threw him into blazing fire. The boy turned into ashes.

The third man was shaken and began to scream. He thought the Brahmin’s family was that of vampires and demons. The merchant calmed him down, brought a book, murmured a magic spell and threw water on the ashes. The boy got up, alive as before. The third man was joyous. Here was the way to revive the maiden!

That night, he stole the magic book and returned to the cremation ground. The first man was already there and the second man had returned after immersing her bones. The third man told them about the magic book and asked the first man to bring the ashes of the girl.

The lady came back to life, prettier and more radiant than before. And the three men began to claim her recounting their respective, trials and tribulations.

The first man said – I kept her ashes. That is why she came to life. She is my dear wife.

The second man said – She came to life because of my journey to the sacred river. She is my wife.

The third man said – I brought her to life by my magic spell. She is my wife.

Here Betaal stopped and asked the good king – Whom should the fair lady marry?

(At this point, while reading the story, I considered the monk as the worthiest one because he found the way to revive the girl. But after understanding the king’s answer, I agreed with him.)

King Vikramaditya said – The third man painfully found the magic spell and brought her back to life, but he did what a father ought to do. He is not her husband. And the second man who went to dip her bones in the sacred river, he did only what a son ought to do. He is not her husband.

But the first man who slept with her ashes and lived a hard life in the cemetery did what a lover ought to do. The first man deserves to be her husband.

Betaal agreed but flew back to the tree to test the king’s constancy. And the loop of stories continued with questions and wise answers in the book.

But, If you were the fair girl, whom would you choose?

(Image courtesy Google)

Three Men and God

So, one day, three men, who were friends, began their search for God in the magic jungle. They reached the jungle and looked around. The first friend, saw a cave, and unwittingly entered it thus losing his way entirely. But his search for God was so intense, he did not care about darkness or dangers and walked on. It was a very tough, long, long journey, with no companion, no food and absolutely nothing for support. He became skeletal and hardships troubled him at every turn. There were beasts around, and scary thoughts as well as physical handicaps but he continued walking just because he knew nothing else to do. Eventually, he found the exit of the cave and concluded God is ‘Nothing’. And instantly got enlightenment.

Soon after this, his second friend called him from a nearby stream. He was rowing a boat, looked drenched and tired . On reaching the shore, he got down, tied his boat and came to sit by his first friend. The first friend enquired about his journey. The second friend said -“When I lost sight of you two, I found the river and the boat. The journey was exhausting, with severe ups and downs, and there were agitating storms and heavy rains. At one point of time I was sure to drown. But I found a certain balance, somewhere in the middle. So, this understanding helped me to find the perfect balance in the boat. The whole time, I stayed on the middle path, and I survived.” The moment, he uttered – Middle Path, the second friend got enlightenment! Now, they waited for the arrival of the third friend.

The third friend soon joined them. He came running down a hill, and looked healthy, happy and upbeat. His two friends asked in chorus – “How was your journey, friend?” The third friend said – “Divine and blissful!!! You see, when I lost my way, I was terribly sad and scared. I climbed a mountain top, looking for both of you, but couldn’t see you anywhere. But then, I found a very interesting rock. I began to sculpt the rock and created a fascinating companion.” He showed a rock statue of a little, naughty looking boy to his friends. “I was missing your company, my friends, so I would talk to this statue, the playful guy. This guy answered all my questions. And you know, He became my guiding light. He made mockery of the dangers and I learnt to laugh with him. We enjoyed exploring the jungle – the cave, the river, waterfalls and mountains….all was fun, because I had Him. I was free of fear, sadness, stress and attachment because He was with me and I was devoted to Him.” The moment, he said – Devoted, the third friend got enlightenment.

Then, the statue suddenly laughed and said – “Journey matters friends, as much as the destination. And if you find devotion, you attain the highest form of intelligence and life becomes a breeze.” The three enlightened men smiled together.

(This story alighted in my mind out of nowhere and I thought of capturing it in this blog.)

The Wrong Ferry

He looked at the beautiful lady standing next to him on deck of the departing ferry and wondered – Has she won a trip to Duluth, too? She wore a period costume, similar to Kate Winslet’s in ‘The Titanic’.

He cleared his throat and casually remarked about the weather but she seemed lost in thoughts. Her pale blue dress matched with her eyes while the turquoise waters of Lake Superior provided a befitting background.

Aha, photo time, he remembered! His wife, Mrs Sharma would kill him if he didn’t keep her updated with photos and messages. She had reluctantly let him go on this trip, alone.

He took out his iPhone.

“Do you mind taking my picture, pleeeeease…..”

The lady turned to him angrily. Her face changed, got distorted and eyes emanated fumes of red. Blood froze in his veins as he realized he had boarded one of the famous ghost ferries that haunted Lake Superior!

(This my entry to the flash fiction challenge, Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by the amazing Priceless Joy. We are given a photo prompt and approximately 75-175 words with which to create our stories. This challenge is open to all who would like to participate. Thank you Ted Strutz for the image. Please CLICK HERE for more.)

The Legend of Luma

Six Uri tribals saw the double rainbow from a distance and rejoiced! The time had come. For centuries, they had closely guarded the secret of Luma!

Everything had changed, the tribe had shrunk in size, and nobody believed in Luma anymore. But for those seemingly modern Uris, the legend of Luma was the very basis of their existence.

“Let’s drive towards the end of the rainbow. We will find her,” Bali, the leader said.

Their hearts sang when they found her in a car – a woman in labor. “I..I was trying to drive over to the hospital…,” she said weakly.

“Don’t worry we’ll take care of everything,” Bali said respectfully. And the others cheered in their hearts as Luma was about to be reborn!

(This my entry to the flash fiction challenge, Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by the amazing Priceless Joy. We are given a photo prompt and approximately 75-175 words with which to create our stories. This challenge is open to all who would like to participate. Thank you @any1mark66 for the image. Please CLICK HERE for more.)

The Love Letter

Ella observed the displays and memorabilia closely at a Marine Museum along the shores of the mysterious Lake Superior. One particular love letter caught her eyes. It was written by an officer to his beloved in OCTOBER 1917.

DEAR ELLA

JUST COUNTING DAYS TO BE WITH YOU AGAIN HONEY. HOW QUICKLY DAYS PASSED WHILE WE WERE LAST TOGETHER. WILL YOU MARRY ME?

JACK

How sweet, Ella thought! And then noticed the names of the couple and the date. What a coincidence! “What makes you smile, honey?,” Jack came near her. “100 years back, on this day, you wrote that love letter to me proposing marriage,” she pointed out.

“Whoa, and you took 100 years to accept,” Jack said, fondly hugging his bride and marveling at the coincidence.

This my entry to the flash fiction challenge, Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by the amazing Priceless Joy. We are given a photo prompt and approximately 75-175 words with which to create our stories. This challenge is open to all who would like to participate. Thank you BarbCT for the image. Please CLICK HERE for more.

Seven Deadly Sins and Me!

 

Now that I am almost on the 24th out of 28 magic steps, I can see what joy lies beyond! But first, I must sit to catch my breath! Looking down the steps, I can see the Sins hovering around to stop those who try to come up the stairs. 

I was almost killed by the Sins. Initially, Pride puffed me but I prayed and got delivered. Then came Greed in form of precious pebbles, I ignored it. Lust tried to blind me with dirty images but I did not fall. 
But unfortunately, a bug bit me and Anger took over. I rolled down. But thankfully, I persisted and started again. This time, I dodged Gluttony and Envy to rush right up here.

But… aah… what is making my body so heavy? I feel soooo sleepy! Oh, no Sloth is still around, getting better of me. I hope I make it…


Partcipating here after a long break. Had missed it! This my entry to the flash fiction challenge, Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by the amazing Priceless Joy. We are given a photo prompt and approximately 75-175 words with which to create our stories. This challenge is open to all who would like to participate. Thank you J S Brand for the image. Please CLICK HERE for more.

Gulliver Travels to PoliPut


Beyond distorted trees and barren lands, situated half on Earth and half in the Sky, was the mega city – PoliPut. Gulliver consulted his map once again to ensure that he was nearing his destination. 

As he cautiously entered the noisy City, a volley of tweets just missed his ears. Monstrous boards and placards full of accusations stood at every corner. The Politikians were enjoying rowdy rallies where slippers and boots were being hurled. And every nook and corner stank of black wealth.

The Politikians were short in stature but giant shadows accompanied them. The leader was chosen after a round of Yelling Match.

Gulliver also noticed one queer thing. The Politikians used just one emotion – the smiley. They even killed with a smile! It was the strangest land ever! 

(Gulliver did not write any further. Like most honest journalists, he was muted by a smiling Politikian.)


This is my entry to the flash fiction challenge, Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by the amazing Priceless Joy. We are given a photo prompt and approximately 75-175 words with which to create our stories. This challenge is open to all who would like to participate. Thank you Yarnspinnerr for the image. Please CLICK HERE for more.

The Raped Girl Who Refused Heaven!

A girl who was brutally raped and murdered, went to heaven. Near the entry she checked herself in the golden mirror. All signs of cruelity that had been done to her body was gone. Now, she had a glorious, translucent form. The four guards of Heaven greeted her at the gates. But suddenly, she stopped and stepped aside.

Every soul was always eager to enter heaven and meet God. Since eternity, nobody had ever done that. So, the four agitated guards asked her, “Why are you refusing heaven? My dear, come back to the queue and enter the great gates.”

The girl smiled and recounted, “You know I was gang raped by a group of filthy men, who were jeering and spitting on me…”

“Yes, we know that…,” the guards cut her short in chorus. “Please don’t tell us the details. We know you have suffered immensely but once you enter the gates, all pain and sadness will vanish. Your troubled soul will find peace. All thoughts will leave you and you will bask in eternal glory.”

The girl still hesitated. The wind played with her hair as she she looked around with delight but still showed no inclination to enter.

“Dear, what is going on your mind? Do you feel any sort of guilt? Do you think you can’t face God after what happened to your modesty?,” the guards asked in chorus.

The girl laughed for a long, long time while perplexed guards looked at each other. 

“It is not that! The reason why I don’t want to see God is not because I am ashamed. I have done no wrong. Wrong has been done to my body.” she answered.

“Then?,” the guards asked.

“It is because God will be shamefaced on seeing me. I know, He will never be able to meet my eyes. I want to spare Him the shame as I love Him too much,” the girl wandered away after saying this leaving a trail of shimmering light behind her. The guards stood unmoved, red faced.

God heard her, clutched his heart and cried…

( Written after viewing a terrible image of a dead, rape victim in West Bengal, India. She moved me beyond words. A tribute to such victims.)



Images courtesy Google

The Chattering Housemaid


The Astons always look picture perfect. In gatherings like this, Lady Aston sings while Lord Aston displays his skill at the piano. And the usually haughty Miss Matilda, tries to be genteel.

But today, crack in the picture is showing. Look, doesn’t Lord Aston appear stern? Yesterday, the footman had confided that a perfumed letter arrived for My Lady. But Lord Aston grabbed it and tore it to pieces!

Lord Aston has no right to do that. Since his character is not without blemishes. He even tried to be sweet on me but I am a housemaid of integrity.

How I wish my peep hole in the kitchen was bigger! Soon, a drama is about to unfold in the parlour. I hope the author of the letter arrives and I get a chance to see My Lady blush.

I feel, Old Lady Olivia, whose portrait hangs in the parlour, disapproves of my sneaking ways but then, what harm can she do…she is dead! 

((This is my entry to the flash fiction challenge, Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by the amazing Priceless Joy. We are given a photo prompt and approximately 75-175 words with which to create our stories. This challenge is open to all who would like to participate. Thank you Louise with The Storyteller’s Abode for the image. Please CLICK HERE for more.)

Anecdote: Haldiram’s is Healthyram’s?

My five-year-old recently learnt about the difference between need and want foods. He was informed that milk, eggs and green leafy veggies are need while cake, chocolates etc are want.

But recently his one observation left me in splits. He asked me whether sweets like Rasgullas, Pedas and Barfis are healthy? I said, “No, sweets are want.”  He retorted in his American accent, “But sweets come from Healthy-ram’s, Right.” I couldn’t help laughing aloud!

Haldiram’s is an extremely popular sweets and snack brand in India. And it’s snack items are available in US too. We often buy Haldiram’s sweets so, my Kindergartener probably put two and two together and concluded that – Haldiram’s is Healthyram’s!

I guess the advertisers would adore the line!


Images courtesy Google

When Mary Met Gary…

Mary Smith loved to write songs. During lunch breaks, she would often escape from her clerical job to a nearby park and create heart-breaking songs.

One day, as she was writing a love song on paper, a naughty gust of wind blew it out of sight. With a heavy heart, she returned to her job.

Few days later, on way to job, she heard a soloist singing her song! She stood there nervously, clueless how to claim her song.

“May I help you! I have been watching you…you look extremely agitated!,” a young man, who had been filming the soloist, asked her. 

“Look, that’s my song he is singing. I had lost it, I don’t know how to tell him,” Mary cried.

“Wow…! Well, we can claim it back. I have an idea,” he smiled. “By the way, I am Gary…”

He looked familiar… but of course, he was GARY ANDREWS, the genius composer! And this is how Mary met Gary…

((This is my entry to the flash fiction challenge, Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by the amazing Priceless Joy. We are given a photo prompt and approximately 75-175 words with which to create our stories. This challenge is open to all who would like to participate. Thank you Sunayana for the image. Please CLICK HERE for more.)

The Sound of One Hand

If you have sensitive ears, this post is for you! While reading Rajneesh Osho’s ‘The Book of Secrets’ in which he discusses around 112 techniques to meditate, I came across a wonderful story – The Sound of One Hand. I can not help sharing it!

The master of Kennin temple was Mokurai, Silent Thunder. He had a little protege, Toyo, who was around twelve years old. Toyo used to run errands for the master and everyday he would observe seekers visit the master’s room to receive instruction in sanzen or personal guidance in which they were given koans to stop mind-wandering.

Toyo wished to do the same so one day, he put his head at the master’s feet and asked him for a Koan. 

Mokurai refused initially but the child insisted, so the teacher finally consented.

Mokurai said – “Try to hear the sound of one hand. And when you have heard it, then come and tell me.”

Toyo bowed and went to his room. He tried and tried to listen to the sound of one hand but all he could hear was the music of the geishas, coming theough the window. “Ah, I have it!” he thought.

The next evening, when his teacher asked him about the sound of one hand, Toyo began to play the music of the geishas.
“No, no,” said Mokurai. “That will never do. That is not the sound of one hand. You’ve not got it at all.”

Toyo did not give up, every now and then he would find some sound but the master would object -“This is also not it. Go on trying, go on trying.”

Then one day, the boy didn’t come. The master waited and waited, and finally told his disciples to find Toyo. They found him sitting under a tree, absorbed – just like a newborn Buddha. They returned and told the master – “But we are afraid to disturb the boy. He is looking just like a newborn Buddha. It seems he has heard the sound.”

So, the master came, put his head at the boy’s feet and asked him, “Have you heard? It seems you have heard.” Toyo had entered true meditation and transcended all sounds. “I could collect no more,” the boy said, “so I reached the soundless sound.”


Osho goes on to explain as to what had happened to the boy, “The boy had tried since he was a simple boy and had complete faith in his master. Actually, there is no sound of one hand, but just an indirect method to create sensitivity, awareness. And one day, suddenly, everything disappeared for him. He was so attentive that only attention was there, so sensitive that only sensitivity was there, so aware – not of something, but simply aware! 

This is a method to make you very delicately aware of the subtle nuances of sound. Center on the word ‘aum’ – a-u-m without any a or m. Just the u remains. You have to intone aum and feel it in three different sounds. Gradually, you will forget ‘aum’. Not only a and m will drop but there will be a state of soundlessness! The state of bliss!”

Images courtesy google