The Family’s Tree

As I leaned towards the ground before my final fall, her anxious face peeped through the glass. I knew I would miss her smile.

The kids were there too – noses pressed against the patio glass, anxious to see their tall friend being killed slowly. “Mumma, look they are pulling our tree!”

Yes, I was ‘their’ tree. Their only friend, after the family had migrated to this new land. Since the first day, they warmed up to me as I stood guard in front of their apartment. 

I entertained the kids by hosting squirrels, birds and insects on my barks. When spring came, I bore berries and flowers, cheering mom and dad. I adored them all.

Every morning, I waited for the lady to draw curtains. She would give me the sweetest smile before starting daily chores.

Today, she was not smiling rather frantically calling up someone in an attempt to save me – her dying companion! But it was too late now…

( Written in memory of a lovely tree that stood in front of our house when we moved to the US in 2013. It had to be cut last year due to maintenance reasons but we had spent some deeply touching moments with it. It had a beautiful soul.)

This is my entry to the flash fiction challenge, Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by the lovely 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. Please CLICK HERE for more.

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Failure, struggle and a tiny thought!

  [Dear Ma’m,

Thank you for your participation in our Writing Competition.

The overwhelming response to our contest resulted in thousands of entries from amateur and professional authors alike. We’ve spent an enormous number of hours reviewing all the entries, and narrowing those thousands to double digits has been no easy task. 

Unfortunately, we’re sorry to inform you that your entry is no longer being considered for a prize.

We sincerely hope you will ‘try again’!]

When you receive a letter like the above, you are gripped with an enormous sense of failure. All that months of brainstorming, effort, struggle and persistence ends up in a huge cipher. And then tormenting questions start spinning your head – Am I not good enough? Where do I lack? Perhaps, my works should be thrown in a garbage can? Should I quit writing? They no longer appreciate works like mine… Thoughts like these go on and on as you go about your daily chores. The letter crashes your expectation and self worth in a moment!

At first, the words ‘try again’ in the rejection letter sounds downright condescending. It seems organisers are patting the back of a dejected child, who is on the verge of tears. You think – “Have I not tried enough? I neglected sleep, appetite and everything that mattered to create something unique. And my work is mundane for them, my creativity has no acceptance.” You feel your struggle came to naught. You believe you are a loser for this is not the first time you have been rejected.

And then, from a tiny corner of your mind, emerges a beloved and luminous thought angel. “It wasn’t about winning, it was all about trying your best.” You remember hearing your child chant that sentence just a couple of days back. It is from his favourite story book. Everytime he comes across this line, he demands an explanation. And you like a doting mother, explain it to him.

This thought chastises and shakes you to sit upright. You no longer look grumpy and slumped. You think – “Why did I forget the meaning of the line when it became relevant in real life? Is it one thing to lecture a child and another thing to incorporate in real life?

You smile pleasantly as you repeat to yourself – “It wasn’t about winning, it was all about trying my best”. 

One happy thought defeats dejection. The thought of quitting no longer plagues your mind. You know, you cannot let down your creativity. Winning or no winning, appreciation or no appreciation, applause or no applause… you will try to create like the everflowing murmuring  ‘Brook’ ( Alfred Lord Tennyson). “Men may come and men may go but I go on forever”. Victory is transient, creativity is not!

You once again gear up to take up another challenge… just for the heck of it. Who thinks about failure as long as you are creating! Indeed, life is not about winning, it is all about trying your best! The rejection letter is forgotten.

When I lied about something…

   
 ( A chit chat with Him)

Recently, I lied about something to escape an uncomfortable situation. It was a small lie… did not hurt anyone nor did it bring any major benefits to me. I just escaped a situation. But a lie it was!
My heart felt a little heavy. So, I thought of talking to Him and asked – Will you forgive me for my tiny sin? 

He said – It is important that you forgive yourself. I love you the way I have always loved you. It is you who have to take care of your Self.

I defended myself – I have not done wrong to anyone. I just protected myself with the help of that lie.

There was no answer from Him. 

I nudged Him again –  Is a lie wrong in all its forms?

Thankfully, He answered – if your heart is light nothing is wrong, if your heart feels heavy. You have done some damage to it. Remember, every sin sickens your conscience and weakens your Self. You get weakened over time. It has nothing to do with Good or Bad, Right or Wrong. It affects your Self. There is no external force keeping a check over you, it is your Self, who is the witness to all that you do. I am and will always be with you until you throw me out of your heart.

I asked further – And how sick is my heart?

He answered – You are a better judge! Just remember that as long as you feel the heaviness after committing a ‘sin’, I am around. With time, people learn to ignore the heaviness. They start believing in deception. Deception makes life easier but  with time, you will be disconnected with your Self. I make life heavier but I connect you to your Self. 

I said – Is that all you do, mighty God? You just connect me to my Self?

He laughed – Yes, that is all I do. Rest, is all your own doing. You create your own paradise and hell. And remember, try never to alienate the ‘self’ witness, the moment that connection breaks, life may seem easy but you would be lost forever. 

I asked –  But how do I heal the heaviness in my heart?

He said – By admitting that it was a fault and resolving to tell the truth. Damage control is important. 

I asked – And why do I need You as a mediator between me and my self?

He smiled – It is your choice. Establish a connection with your Self and you will not need me. I and your Self are no different. I am just on a large scale. Presently, you need me because you have been taught to listen and pray to me, all your life.

I said – Well,  much ado over a small lie! You certainly look a little less dreadful to me, now that I know that you do not punish  people or send them to hell.

He laughed.

I said –  Okay, I think I will not repeat that lie again to strengthen my Self. I find it funny to realise that my life is all about my Self. This Self creates heaven, it creates hell! And poor religious fundamentalists, they have been fighting and killing for You. 

He said – I know. They are the lost ones…

I said – So, will you always be around no matter what I do…?

He said – Yes, I will always be around as long as you don’t start avoiding me. I do not avoid people, they avoid me!

I simply said – Alright, that means, I will have to stay clean, so that I don’t avoid you.

He smiled – Yes, my dear!

I smiled.

The Solitary Reaper sang of Loneliness!

  

Dear Mr William Wordsworth,

If you were alive today, I would present this letter to you in person. It concerns your timeless ballad, “The Solitary Reaper”. I gather that you created this classic wonder while observing a farm girl reaping  in the fields and singing a Gaelic song. 

The poem says that you were not able to decipher the content of her song because of the language but you could feel the ‘melancholic strain’ in the lyrics. 

In the course of your poem, you make guesses regarding her deep melancholy. 
Was she sad for old…far-off…unhappy things? Or was it for battles, familiar matters? Or perhaps for natural sorrow, loss or pain…?

But you overlooked one big reason for her sadness that was so evident – her solitude! In that big corn field, she was intimidated by her job of reaping, overwhelmed by the enveloping solitude, and helpless due to the lack of human companionship.

The highland lass was so alone… doing cutting and reaping, all by herself. I could not help suggesting Sir, that if you would have stopped and not ‘gently passed’ by her, she would have felt better in your company. But I think you have had your reasons.

  
Her melancholic song resonates even today everywhere…because most of us are solitary. We look for friends in the big virtual world but all is artificial there. The touch, feel and presence of family and friends cannot be compensated with messages, jokes and ‘connectivity’. 
In the real world, we are growing private, we have trust issues while making friends and we have embraced isolation rather than staying ‘in touch’ physically. We are afraid of going out in order to save ourselves from hurt. We are trapped trying to ‘touch’ others through mobile screens rather than fingers.

Even if we summon our courage and cry out, very few hear as everyone is looking and listening to their phones.

Alone we are “cutting and binding the grain”, and there is no one to listen to our “melancholy strain”. So guess, our plight is worst than the solitary reaper! She had you to applaud her Sir, we have no one.

If I were to meet you in person, I would urge you to write on “our solitary generation” too. But this time you would know the reason for the ‘melancholic strain’ in our lives. I really and truly wish you were here today to sing of our solitude.

I thank you profusely for this poem and applaud its relevance even in our world.

I beg to remain, Sir, your most humble and obedient admirer.
Images courtesy google

A Drop of Tear!

image

“At first, it looked like an ordinary marble, but it was far from it.” The vagabond looked at it closely. He had not seen anything like it in the whole wide world. It looked so delicate and fragile on the ground.

The vagabond had returned home after years of travelling…wiser but poorer. He needed money and perhaps, he had hit the jackpot on finding the stone. He was sure that the beauty could fetch him big bucks! But what kind of treasure was it exactly?

A deep heart-breaking sigh startled him. It was coming from the stone and made him feel wretched. He closed his eyes and knew it in his heart. It was a huge tear drop of a heart broken person!

The vagabond did not have the heart to sell it…instead he went to the temple and placed it with the Gods.

This story is a part of the wonderful ‘Mondays Finish The Story Challenge’ by Barbara Beacham. She provides us with a photo prompt, the first sentence, and approximately 150 words with which we are to use to write our story. To take up the challenge click here: Mondays Finish the Story.