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.)

Small Things#11 – Magic in our neighborhood!

This Summer not only flowers but magic blossomed in our neighborhood.

Driveways got filled with chalk art and innocent secrets were shared. Every beetle was observed and ants ran for cover as little scientists scaled the grounds. Stories happened and games got invented! There were nasty fights, cuts and falls but all was forgotten.

There were songs sung in chorus and amazing dance moves! There were dirty hands, feet as well, and soaked muddy shoes. Round eyes laughed and ruddy cheeks sparkled as they got engaged in charming chatter.

I saw stars in their wild hair and music in the shrieks. Imaginary characters came to life and so much was make belief.

Yes, I saw it all from my brown chair…experiencing it all like lines of an old prayer.

Many many years back, I was a part of the magic… now, sadly, just an observer!

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.)

Looking for a daycare of stories!

Raising her chubby arms in air, one tiny story stalks me. She wants to be picked from a swarm of other unwritten stories – sweet, sad, funny, immature…some barely a thought…all of them wanting my time. My time? But my time is barely mine!

There are endless jobs and responsibilities, which needs to be taken care of. The everyday chores of life that kicks away creativity. I will have to ignore the tiny toddler story’s demand.

I sigh, while folding laundry and smoothing the bed sheet! There is cooking to do and kids need to be fed. But the tiny story is stubborn. She stealthily alights on to my lap. She is such a bright inspiration!

For one moment, I smoothen her silky tendrils and smile at her. I don’t want this one to be gone. I know her type. She will vanish forever if not taken care of immediately. Stories like her create history but they require a huge amount of time. Time??

And then, the phone rings! I reluctantly let go of her to attend the call. A relative asking for quality daycare for her kids! I suggest her a few. The conversation drags on and on.

By this time, I see my story vanishing into the thin air…right in front of me. Her accusing eyes moving me beyond words. It is heartbreaking! It feels like a part of me going away forever.

I ask my relative, who is still on phone – “I have a question? Do you know of a quality daycare for stories? I have several neglected, uncared and ignored stories lying everywhere around me. My situation, circumstances and to some extent my docile nature, cannot protect them. I need one urgently.”

She laughs, taking it as a joke. “No, I am serious, I need a daycare for stories,” I insist and she hangs up on me.

I look around and find other stories and ideas looking at me with anticipation. A daycare would be good for them… until I find the time to tend them one by one. The loss of that one little tiny story weighs too much on my heart.

I do not want to lose the likes of her. Chores can be managed, responsibilities can be take care of but inspirations like her are truly rare. And I have been foolish enough to let the brightest one go. I weep!

And that’s why, I have taken to asking everyone – Do you know of a quality daycare for stories? I do not want to lose another like her. May be with time I will know how to balance it all.

For a time will come when I will have leisure but all these stories would be gone. They will no longer come to me. My creativity will perish due to neglect. Therefore I am in need of a daycare for stories…that can keep the ideas, thoughts and even the opportunities intact and fresh.

I am even asking You. Do you know? Please suggest for I urgently need one.

Images courtesy Google

The Divine Race

Once Shiva and Parvati received a divine fruit of knowledge from devas. It was a special fruit, filled with wisdom, knowledge and immortality.

Their great sons, Kartikeya and Ganesh, both seemed worthy. But who was better of the two? Shiva thought of a plan! He asked both sons to circle the world three times, the winner would get the fruit as prize.

Kartikeya’s vaahan (ride) was a swift peacock while Ganesh rode on a little mouse. Off went Kartikeya, sure of being victorious but Ganesh had a better plan. He began to circle Shiva and Parvati. After circling them thrice, the wise Ganesh said to his dear parents – “For me, you are my whole world. The entire universe resides in you. Any other world is superficial.”

The doting parents hugged him and champion Ganesh received the divine fruit!

This is a famous story from the life of Lord Ganesh. Thank you Priceless Joy and Lavanya for this picture prompt on the auspicious day of Maha Shivaratri.

(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 Lavanya 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.)