Wednesday, 26 April 2017

R - RAMPARTS


Stone By Stone...Rock By Rock
Boulder By Humongous Boulder
The Fortress Was Built On Hills Up High
To Sap The Spirit Of The Awestruck Beholder

Under The Watchful Eye
Of Clear And Open, Desolate Skies
The Fort, Flanked By Strong And Gusty Winds
Takes Invaders And Their Horses By Surprise

O'er Time Many Raiders Tried in Vain
To Tear Down And Ruin Its Ramparts
But They Knew Not That The Strength Of These Rocky Walls
Really Lay In The Valour Of Brave-hearts...


Please feel free to leave comments, whether or not you liked what you read. It's a great way to start a conversation or a dialogue. I might be pretty boring in real life, but I promise I'm a lot more fun in this avatar.

Today's image is that of the Visapur Fort in the Pune district of Maharashtra, India. The fort was built by circa 1713 - 1720, by the first Peshwa of the Maratha empire, Balaji Vishwanath. I thank Gaurang Kelkar immensely for allowing me to use this image. Mumbai-based Gaurang is a twenty-something Software Developer by vocation, and a biker, trekker, nature-lover and photographer by passion. Every now and then, he hops onto his bike (with friends) and embarks on adventures to scale some fort among the many that are scattered across Maharashtra, His Instagram URL is www.instagram.com/imgaurangkelkar

Previous posts in the A to Z Challenge - April 2017:-

A - All Apologies (Poem)
B - Baptism (Poem)
C - Chains (Short Story)
D - Door To My House (Short Story / Sentimental / Philosophy / Wisdom)
E - Evil Eye Deliverance (Short Story)
F - Flight of the Lonely Raven (Poem)
G - Girl With The Rings (Weird Story)
H - Hills Beckon (Poem)
I - Idyllic Sky (Short Story)
J - Judging Yasmin (Short Story)
K - Kiss of Death (Poem)
L - Lady of a Perpetual Sucker (Poem)
M - Mosaic You (Poem)
N - Nevermind (Weird Story / Short Story)
O - Office-ial Stance (Short Story)
P - Pretender (Poem)
Q - Queen (Poem)

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Q - QUEEN


She Lays Siege
To My Lonesome Heart At Will
Overrunning Dreams
An Invader of Unfathomable Skill


She Runs Amok
O'er Vast Expanses Of My Mind
And By Design
Leaves A Million Footprints Behind


With Angelic Glow
She Lights Up The Lifeless Dark
Dazed And Stupefied
I Crave For Her Brilliant Spark


Laying My Armour Down
I Meekly Drink From Her Chalice
And Undisputed, Crown Her
Queen Of My Desolate Palace


Please feel free to leave comments, whether or not you liked what you read. It's a great way to start a conversation or a dialogue. I might be pretty boring in real life, but I promise I'm a lot more fun in this avatar.

For today's images, I am extremely grateful to the pretty and immensely talented Azeema Ilyas aka Zeemee. Azeema is 23 years old and lives in the Peshawar district of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. She is a student of Defense and Diplomatic Studies. She considers photography as her passion (she takes up photography assignments). She also loves to travel. In her words, she loves her beauty sleep and would have loved to laze around doing nothing when she wasn't clicking stuff. Her Instagram URL is www.instagram.com/_zeemee

Previous posts in the A to Z Challenge - April 2017:-

A - All Apologies (Poem)
B - Baptism (Poem)
C - Chains (Short Story)
D - Door To My House (Short Story / Sentimental / Philosophy / Wisdom)
E - Evil Eye Deliverance (Short Story)
F - Flight of the Lonely Raven (Poem)
G - Girl With The Rings (Weird Story)
H - Hills Beckon (Poem)
I - Idyllic Sky (Short Story)
J - Judging Yasmin (Short Story)
K - Kiss of Death (Poem)
L - Lady of a Perpetual Sucker (Poem)
M - Mosaic You (Poem)
N - Nevermind (Weird Story / Short Story)
O - Office-ial Stance (Short Story)
P - Pretender (Poem)

Saturday, 22 April 2017

P - PRETENDER


When You Look Away You Hide
Teardrops That Have Dried
The Void You Left Behind
Your Yearning To Confide

When You Look Away You Hide
Your Prayers That Got Denied
Aspirations That Have Died
A Trail of Swallowed Pride

When You Look Away You Hide
Your Ostentatious Smile
The Scars And Wounds Inside
You're The Mistress Of Disguise...

...Or So You Think!


Please feel free to leave comments, whether or not you liked what you read. It's a great way to start a conversation or a dialogue. I might be pretty boring in real life, but I promise I'm a lot more fun in this avatar.

Today's image is thanks to the naturally beautiful and talented Sana Fatima. The one thing in her that I instantly found adorable were her extremely expressive eyes. 28-year old Sana lives in New Delhi and is a dentist by profession (it's true!). She is keen on pursuing a Masters' in the near future. Here's the best part - she's a writer herself, and owns a blog. She calls herself a proud Capricorn (like me :p) Sana Fatima blogs at www.thesubtlesword.wordpress.com and her Instagram URL is www.instagram.com/sana_fatty

Previous posts in the A to Z Challenge - April 2017:-

A - All Apologies (Poem)
B - Baptism (Poem)
C - Chains (Short Story)
D - Door To My House (Short Story / Sentimental / Philosophy / Wisdom)
E - Evil Eye Deliverance (Short Story)
F - Flight of the Lonely Raven (Poem)
G - Girl With The Rings (Weird Story)
H - Hills Beckon (Poem)
I - Idyllic Sky (Short Story)
J - Judging Yasmin (Short Story)
K - Kiss of Death (Poem)
L - Lady of a Perpetual Sucker (Poem)
M - Mosaic You (Poem)
N - Nevermind (Weird Story / Short Story)
O - Office-ial Stance (Short Story)

O - OFFICE-IAL STANCE

He sat on his seat, anxious like everyone else. Since the past week or so, the hard workers had been quieter than usual. Over the same time, chronic ass-kissers had been stuffing their noses deeper than usual.

It was D-Day today - the day everyone's increments would be announced. Punit was among the quieter lot. He had always been a diligent and reliable employee. Working for a few extra hours and chipping in to help colleagues. He was a natural team player, and was sought after by team mates for his opinions - both work-related and otherwise. His commitment to work, however, meant that he had very little time for family. There were a zillion occasions when he had to slay family commitments at the sacrificial altar of work.

Very soon he was going to find out how he was going to be rewarded for his hard work and foregoing of the mythical 'work-life balance'. He was anxious, yet hopeful of a decent hike,,,and maybe a promotion.

He saw his colleagues being called into the boss' cabin. To his surprise, only a few stayed in for more than 10 minutes. The rest of them came back in just 5-10 minutes. Not the kind to be nosy, he didn't think of enquiring with them,

It was finally his turn. He adjusted his shirt and walked towards the glass door of his boss' cabin. He knocked twice before opening the door and peeping in.

"May I come in, Sir?"

"Punit, Punit...come in my friend."

"Thank you Sir."

The boss signalled for him to sit down. He did.

"My boy. I won't waste time telling you how much of a valuable asset you've been to the company. Everyone swears by your work rate and ethics. You've made so many sacrifices for the company my friend. But..."

"But what Sir?"

"You know the industry is not in great shape. It's getting increasingly harder to do business these days...ask the sales guys and they'll tell you."

Punit looked at him blankly, trying to make sense of what was being conveyed to him.

"Well, to cut a long story short Punit...here's your increment letter."

Punit trembled a bit while opening the envelope. He read it. But he couldn't digest what he had read.

"Seven percent?"

"That's what everyone else is getting. The company has decided to link the increments with the forecast inflation rate."

"Who came up wit this forecast Sir? And assuming it turns out to be true, what about savings? The common man's needs have been increasing over the years Sir."

"There's no point arguing Punit. I would suggest you work harder this year. All of us working harder could help the company do better the next year, and that would mean more profits in the company's hands to share with its employees. We all need to roll up our sleeves Punit. You know how this works, don't you?"

Punit nodded, having given up.

"I'm sorry my friend. I'm getting the same hike as you are", Punit noticed him sheepishly look away as he said this.

Punit nodded. He stood up and shook his boss' hand.

"Thank you Sir."

"Continue the good work", his boss said, giving him a wink. "And remember...we all need to roll up our sleeves."

Punit stepped out of the cabin. He went to his seat and plonked himself on his chair. He lay his forehead down on the desk and began to think.

He thought of the long hours he spent at work, and the negligible time he spent at home.

He thought of the events he attended at work, and the festivals he had to forego at home.

He thought of the meals he had to skip while being busy at work, and the monthly grocery bills he had to regularly pay for.

But right then he remembered his boss' words.

"...we all need o roll up our sleeves."

He knew this was truly the need of the hour.

He sat up at his desk with a renewed vigour and belief.

Then he rolled up his sleeves.

And then he packed up his stuff and went home.


Please feel free to leave comments, whether or not you liked what you read. It's a great way to start a conversation or a dialogue. I might be pretty boring in real life, but I promise I'm a lot more fun in this avatar.

Previous posts in the A to Z Challenge - April 2017:-

A - All Apologies (Poem)
B - Baptism (Poem)
C - Chains (Short Story)
D - Door To My House (Short Story / Sentimental / Philosophy / Wisdom)
E - Evil Eye Deliverance (Short Story)
F - Flight of the Lonely Raven (Poem)
G - Girl With The Rings (Weird Story)
H - Hills Beckon (Poem)
I - Idyllic Sky (Short Story)
J - Judging Yasmin (Short Story)
K - Kiss of Death (Poem)
L - Lady of a Perpetual Sucker (Poem)
M - Mosaic You (Poem)
N - Nevermind (Weird Story / Short Story)

N - NEVERMIND

Incident #85

Sudhir quickly alighted the bus. The three hour journey that was otherwise supposed to be one hour long (thanks to the legendary Mumbai traffic) had sapped his energy and gutted his composure. More than half of the public transport bus drivers were on strike that day; no wonder then that the bus had been unusually crowded today. As luck would have it, he had spent more than two-thirds of the journey standing, which was painful considering the fact that he was carrying a heavy backpack, loaded with a laptop, documents from work and a three-tier stainless steel tiffin box.

He was exhausted, but thanked his stars that home was just a couple of minutes from the bus stop. He attempted to walk as briskly as he could - his wife had asked him to be home by 7:45, but it was already 9 pm. Hardly had he reached the gate of his residential complex, when he suddenly remembered his wife's message asking him to buy 2 litres of milk and a packet of brown bread. He slapped his forehead and dragged his weary body back outside the gates. The kirana shop was about 400 metres away, and it took him about 10 minutes to fetch the stuff and drag his fatigued body up the staircase of his building. He stood in front of the doorstep of his second floor apartment and rang the doorbell, 

His wife took about 30 seconds to open the door. The door opened, and they both stared at each other. For about 10 seconds, no words were exchanged.

"Did you get the milk?", Shobha broke the silence.

"Yeah...here it is."

"The bread?"

"Here."

"Is that all?", she looked at him with a cold stare.

"Wha...what? Did I forget something?"

"Hmm."

"What?"

"...Nevermind."

The pistol had been purchased.

Incident #93

Shobha was busy wearing her saree. Sudhir was still shaving, but he had kept his linen pressed and ready. He knew he'd be done shaving in about five minutes, and that he'd only need another 15 minutes to get into his shirt, to button up and to slip on his trousers and loafers. The party was supposed to start in another 45 minutes. But he was certain Shobha would take another hour or so to get ready.

As expected, he was ready in twenty minutes. He waited patiently for her outside her room. She was done in an additional forty minutes. She walked out in panic.

"You ready?"

"Of course."

"So let's go. What are we waiting for?"

"Nothing. Let's go."

"Wait...What are you wearing?"

"Why? What's wrong?"

"You wore this last week as well, didn't you?"

"Maybe...so what?"

"I'm not leaving if you're gonna wear that."

"But why?"

"...Nevermind"

The bullets came as well.

Incident #137

The bed was rocking in harmony with the motion of their bodies. With every thrust of his organ, she let out a moan that sounded like sweet music. She grabbed him by his buttocks and pulled him closer. His eager mouth moved from one breast to the other, attempting to take in more than it could accommodate. Then he moved his mouth back and used his fingers to twirl the nipples. She contorted her body into shapes that suggested that she was going to explode. Not for a second though did the pummelling down below stop.

When he finally came, he slowed down to look at her.Assuming that she was done as well, he rolled over next to her bare body and let out a sigh of satisfaction.

"That's it?", she asked in a tone that suggested irritation.

"Oh, I'm sorry...I thought you...."

"Yeah, of course you did."

"I'm really sorry.", he whispered gently into her ears as he proceeded to finger her.

She pulled away. "It's alright. I'm sleepy now. I never knew that...", she mumbled and stopped abruptly, without ending the sentence.

"Never knew what?", he asked, understandably angry.

".Hmm..nevermind."

He opened the drawer adjacent to the bedpost, pulled out the loaded pistol and pulled the trigger.

EPILOGUE

Did someone die or get injured or get killed?

Which one of the two was it then?

Well....it was....

Hmm..

...NEVERMIND!


Please feel free to leave comments, whether or not you liked what you read. It's a great way to start a conversation or a dialogue. I might be pretty boring in real life, but I promise I'm a lot more fun in this avatar.

Previous posts in the A to Z Challenge - April 2017:-

A - All Apologies (Poem)
B - Baptism (Poem)
C - Chains (Short Story)
D - Door To My House (Short Story / Sentimental / Philosophy / Wisdom)
E - Evil Eye Deliverance (Short Story)
F - Flight of the Lonely Raven (Poem)
G - Girl With The Rings (Weird Story)
H - Hills Beckon (Poem)
I - Idyllic Sky (Short Story)
J - Judging Yasmin (Short Story)
K - Kiss of Death (Poem)
L - Lady of a Perpetual Sucker (Poem)
M - Mosaic You (Poem)

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

M - MOSAIC YOU


In Every Nook And Corner
I Find Splinters And Shards
And Before We Could Realise
You Lay Down All Your Cards
Not In My Wildest Dreams

Did I Ever Think I'd Find
A Shattered And Scattered
Mosaic YOU

We Both Begin To Gather
The Pieces, Small And Large
I Help, But Think It's Best 
That You Assumed Full Charge
But Then You Break Again

'Tis A Challenge To Concede
A Flustered And Bewildered
Mosaic YOU

I Let You Rest Awhile
And Shards Begin To Trace
In Some Scattered Pieces Of Mirror
I See A Broken Face

It's True, I'm Bruised Too 
Distraught And Impotent
Mosaic ME


Please feel free to leave comments, whether or not you liked what you read. It's a great way to start a conversation or a dialogue. I might be pretty boring in real life, but I promise I'm a lot more fun in this avatar.

For today's image, I was looking for someone who had an innocent face and whose picture conveyed a certain degree of sadness. A big thank you to Shinjini Dutta for sharing her pictures for the post. As you can see, she has an angelic face. No surprise then, that she has more than 4,500 followers on Instagram. Kolkata-based Shinjini is all of 21, and has a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communication and Journalism. Interestingly, she has also completed a course in aviation from Frankfinn Institute. Her hobbies include shopping and playing the synthesizer. Her Instagram URL is www.instagram.com/shinjinidutta

Previous posts in the A to Z Challenge - April 2017:-

A - All Apologies (Poem)
B - Baptism (Poem)
C - Chains (Short Story)
D - Door To My House (Short Story / Sentimental / Philosophy / Wisdom)
E - Evil Eye Deliverance (Short Story)
F - Flight of the Lonely Raven (Poem)
G - Girl With The Rings (Weird Story)
H - Hills Beckon (Poem)
I - Idyllic Sky (Short Story)
J - Judging Yasmin (Short Story)
K - Kiss of Death (Poem)
L - Lady of a Perpetual Sucker (Poem)

Monday, 17 April 2017

L - LADY OF A PERPETUAL SUCKER

Here I Am
Numb
Smitten
Cleaving My Mind And My Heart
For You And Your Contentment

There You Are
Composed
Indifferent
Trampling On My Flesh And My Soul
And Hopping Onto Yet Another Sojourn

Here I Am
Falling
Squirming
Clutching My Scars And My Bruises
Biting The Dust

There You Are
Airborne
Zippy
Dancing With The Wind And The Stars
Oblivious To My Existence

Here I Am
Wretched
Pathetic
Seeking My Joys In Your Bliss
Using My Bloodied Robes To Catch Your Tears
There You Are
Poised
Confident
Holding Your Nose Up High
Dusting Off The Bygones And Letting Them Be

Have Mercy...


Please feel free to leave comments, whether or not you liked what you read. It's a great way to start a conversation or a dialogue. I might be pretty boring in real life, but I promise I'm a lot more fun in this avatar.

Woah boy! What a struggle it was to find today's image. For two posts in a row, I think I ended up freaking out a few ladies. I needed the image of a woman who carried a slight hint of evil in her attitude. Some ladies probably misconstrued this as asking for 'bold' pics. Amid all this struggle, Dr. Pooja Tripathi - a Doctor by profession and a Writer and an Activist against Child Sexual Abuse by passion - came to my rescue. I am extremely grateful to her, because not only did she give me a patient hearing, but she also took pains to click new photographs based on what I had visualised. Also, coming up with the required images was a huge challenge for herself, because she is inherently a sweet person who always has a genuine smile on her face, and who's features convey a child-like innocence. By her own admission, she had never done a pic like this ever before. Here's an interesting fact that I did not previously know - she's a blogger herself, and she is also participating in the A to Z Challenge herself. Dr. Pooja Tripathi is a doctor turned writer, hit by wanderlust. She believes in following her heart always because life is too short not to be happy. She works with Care India on weekdays and with her Bachpan Project against Child Sexual Abuse on weekends. She blogs at www.drpoojatripathi.com and her Instagram URL is www.instagram.com/wanderer_wordweaver

Previous posts in the A to Z Challenge - April 2017:-

A - All Apologies (Poem)
B - Baptism (Poem)
C - Chains (Short Story)
D - Door To My House (Short Story / Sentimental / Philosophy / Wisdom)
E - Evil Eye Deliverance (Short Story)
F - Flight of the Lonely Raven (Poem)
G - Girl With The Rings (Weird Story)
H - Hills Beckon (Poem)
I - Idyllic Sky (Short Story)
J - Judging Yasmin (Short Story)
K - Kiss of Death (Poem)

Saturday, 15 April 2017

K - KISS OF DEATH

Her Luscious Lips
Alluring
My Spellbound Heart
Enduring

Her Blood-Red Lips
Beguiling
They Look So
Tantalising

Her Lips She Licks
Inciting
The Prospects Seem
Exciting

She Draws Near
So Enchanting
My Demons Begin
Ranting

Our Lips They Meet
Igniting
I Put Off All The
Lighting

Soon Licking Turns To
Biting
Its Gruesome And
Uninviting

A Hiss I Hear
I'm Panting
And Suddenly
There's Chanting

I Try To Push
I'm Brawling
'Tis Too Late Though
I'm Falling

Wish I'd Held Onto
My Armour
The Kiss Of Death's
A Charmer...


Please feel free to leave comments, whether or not you liked what you read. It's a great way to start a conversation or a dialogue. I might be pretty boring in real life, but I promise I'm a lot more fun in this avatar.

Finding an apt image for tonight's post was a real struggle. I think I must have scandalised a few ladies tonight. Which is why I'm extremely thankful to Taniya Parihar for trusting me with her lovely picture. She was extremely patient in terms of sharing multiple options so that I could get the perfect image. Jammu-based Taniya is a housewife and the mother of a 4-year old boy. She has a background in Arts and Computer Sciences. Her Instagram URL is www.instagram.com/taniyaparihar123

Previous posts in the A to Z Challenge - April 2017:-

A - All Apologies (Poem)
B - Baptism (Poem)
C - Chains (Short Story)
D - Door To My House (Short Story / Sentimental / Philosophy / Wisdom)
E - Evil Eye Deliverance (Short Story)
F - Flight of the Lonely Raven (Poem)
G - Girl With The Rings (Weird Story)
H - Hills Beckon (Poem)
I - Idyllic Sky (Short Story)
J - Judging Yasmin (Short Story)

Friday, 14 April 2017

J - JUDGING YASMIN

Most the guests were already in. Farzan and his family were the first to come in. Junaid had promised to bring his fiancee Aneesa along, but had arrived solo. Sarah had come in with her 7 year old, Abram. Also present were a few neighbours and a whole bunch of teenage kids. With most of his friends having arrived for the house-warming party well on time. His new third floor apartment was teeming with friends and loved ones. He would occasionally regret not having a family, but he was far from feeling lonely today. Everyone could see Sadiq smiling from ear to ear.

But what Sadiq was excited about most of all was the fact that his longtime pal Yousuf  was also on his way there; they were going to meet after a couple of years. What's more, Yousuf had also decided to bring his 19 year old daughter Yasmin along. Sadiq had last seen Yasmin when she was barely a few weeks old. Yousuf would rarely take Yasmin out; she hated to be in public. Sadiq all the more happy. Yousuf rarely took his daughter anywhere; not because he didn't want to, but because she didn't. Maybe she was painfully shy, or maybe she was a social recluse; Sadiq couldn't put his finger on it. Nevertheless, he was happy that he was going to be able to see her after years.

The doorbell rang, and a couple of the neighbours' kids who were till then playing a random game of 'pakdam-pakdai' or tag, ran to open the door, with Sadiq walking behind them in excitement. As expected, it was Yousuf and his daughter. Sadiq rushed forward to hug them.

"How big you've become beta. I last saw you when you were this small."

Yasmin smiled, at first a little awkwardly, but eventually it developed into a full-blown toothy smile, the kind of smile a shy six-year old would typically give. She didn't say anything though.

"Say hello to Sadiq uncle", her father said gently.

"Huh..hello" she struggled to say. Sadiq noticed she had to make an effort to blurt out the word.

Sadiq looked at Yousuf, "Is...everything all...alright?"

"Alhamdulillah...God has been kind", Yousuf said.

Sadiq began feeling uncomfortable. He crossed his fingers and hoped everything was fine. 

The afternoon was progressing normally. The kids continued playing. Guests were now talking to fellow guests whom they had never met before. Food and beverages were being guzzled. Yasmin though, chose to sit in a corner with her glass of fruit punch while her dad engaged in small talk with the host and other guests.

All of a sudden, there were loud noises coming from below the  window.

No one needed to go take a peek outside the window to know what it was - it was a brass band playing folk and filmy tunes. Somebody from the neighbourhood was probably getting married. No one bothered to look.

But Yasmin ran towards the window and gawked in amazement. She made a clumsy attempt to hum along with the tunes being played; she even clapped her hands gingerly when she liked a particular tune. She was extremely happy, and the world knew it. But in her moment of enjoyment, she was unknowingly evoking reactions from the guests and the kids.  

Almost all the kids were giggling. Some were secretly recording her mannerism on their smartphones. An unsettling buzz began among the guests. Some were shaking their heads in pity, while some simply sat shell-shocked and stared at her. But while all of this was happening in the background, Yasmin was completely oblivious of the goings-on around her, and was having a gala time.

Her father broke the awkward moment by saying, "She's regained her hearing ability after ten long years...God is Great!"





Please feel free to leave comments, whether or not you liked what you read. It's a great way to start a conversation or a dialogue. I might be pretty boring in real life, but I promise I'm a lot more fun in this avatar.

Today's image is all thanks to another wonderful Instagrammer from Pakistan. Karachi-based Rimsha Javaid considers herself as just another average 20-year old girl. She's pursuing a Bachelor in Arts degree, with a major in Philosophy. She's a photography and literary enthusiast. She blogs at www.thefaultinourbrains.tumblr.com and her Instagram URL is www.instagram.com/_rimshaha

Previous posts in the A to Z Challenge - April 2017:-

A - All Apologies (Poem)
B - Baptism (Poem)
C - Chains (Short Story)
D - Door To My House (Short Story / Sentimental / Philosophy / Wisdom)
E - Evil Eye Deliverance (Short Story)
F - Flight of the Lonely Raven (Poem)
G - Girl With The Rings (Weird Story)
H - Hills Beckon (Poem)
I - Idyllic Sky (Short Story) 

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

I - IDYLLIC SKY

The Friday Namaaz or congregation prayer at the iconic Badshahi mosque in Lahore had finished about twenty minutes ago. But Fahad stayed back to take a walk inside the mosque to take a look at its elaborately-decorated interiors and prayer halls and to walk across the enormous courtyard that could accommodate more than 100,000 worshippers. He had done this an umpteen number of times before, but he could never get enough of the monument's marvellous sights.


As he strolled across the courtyard, with the massive edifice made with red sandstone sourced from quarries in Jaipur (India), a gust of wind blew across the landscape. It dishevelled his neatly parted hair, but Fahad had no complaints. On the contrary, it only added a new dimension to the state of reverie that he currently found himself in. He smiled.

Soon, it was beginning to get dark. Fahad checked his watch - it was 6:55 pm. He remembered that he was supposed to meet his friends at Bundu Khan's at the Emporium Mall at around 8:00 pm for dinner. It would probably take him around an hour to reach there considering the usual Friday evening traffic. He decided it was best to leave right away. And so he turned towards the gate, eager to make an exit.

An then he saw it.

One of the minars of the mosque stood tall and dark, with the setting sun in the background creating hues of pink and orange in the sky. A couple of birds that were sitting on the minar decided to fly, almost as if on cue, adding magic to the show in the sky. Fahad's heart skipped a beat.

And then Fahad did what he knew he could do best.

He pulled out his camera and clicked a beautiful picture. 

Footnote: In India, Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb is renowned as a tyrant - especially during the last few years of his reign. Also, unlike his predecessors, he was not known to be a patron of art and architecture, having spent much of his reign in military conquests. However, unknown to many, he never spent a single rupee of the royal treasury on himself; he would instead earn his money by writing copies of the Koran. The Badshahi Mosque in Lahore (Pakistan) and the Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad in India are probably the grandest monuments that were built during his reign. Also, interestingly, in accordance with his wishes, he was laid to rest in an unmarked grave within the complex of the Dargah of a Sufi Saint named Sheikh Zainuddin Shirazi, in Khuldabad in Maharashtra. 


Please feel free to leave comments, whether or not you liked what you read. It's a great way to start a conversation or a dialogue. I might be pretty boring in real life, but I promise I'm a lot more fun in this avatar.

Today's fantastic image is all thanks to Lahore-based Fahad Qureshi. He is an MBA from Fast University, Lahore. He describes himself an introvert, a hobbyist and an 'amateur' photographer. A look at his Instagram feed will tell you that he's anything but amateur, this guy's got an eye for beauty and immense talent. His Instagram URL is www.instagram.com/fahadqureshi_

Previous posts in the A to Z Challenge - April 2017:-

A - All Apologies (Poem)
B - Baptism (Poem)
C - Chains (Short Story)
D - Door To My House (Short Story / Sentimental / Philosophy / Wisdom)
E - Evil Eye Deliverance (Short Story)
F - Flight of the Lonely Raven (Poem)
G - Girl With The Rings (Weird Story)
H - Hills Beckon (Poem)

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

H - HILLS BECKON


When I Look Up
From Down Below
I Am Amazed
At Their Glorious Heights
I Am Bewildered
At Their Seemingly Insurmountable Summits

But When I Begin Scaling Those Heights
I Find Myself Taken In
By The Smell Of The Earth
By The Might Of The Rocks
By The Soothing Abundance Of Greenery

The Higher I Go
The Thinner The Air Gets
Yet, The Lighter I Feel
And The Closer I Feel To A Higher Power

When The Hills Beckon
Truly, Magic Happens!

Please feel free to leave comments, whether or not you liked what you read. It's a great way to start a conversation or a dialogue. I might be pretty boring in real life, but I promise I'm a lot more fun in this avatar.

A loud and clear shoutout to to Rahul Mhatre for allowing me to use his photograph of a tea garden in Munnar (Kerala). I have been following him on Instagram since almost four months now. As his Instagram feed would suggest, Rahul loves travelling and clicking a lot of pics. In his words, his aim in life is to 'Travel and Shoot'. Like me, he is obsessed with the hills and with forts. Every now and then, he darts off to one of the many hill forts spread across the state of Maharashtra and comes back with a treasure trove of amazing pics. I would have loved to do what he does. He also has a travel blog. Rahul blogs at www.travel-n-shoot.blogspot.in and his Instagram URL is www.instagram.com/mhatre.rahul

Previous posts in the A to Z Challenge - April 2017:-

A - All Apologies (Poem)
B - Baptism (Poem)
C - Chains (Short Story)
D - Door To My House (Short Story / Sentimental / Philosophy / Wisdom)
E - Evil Eye Deliverance (Short Story)
F - Flight of the Lonely Raven (Poem)
G - Girl With The Rings (Weird Story)

Monday, 10 April 2017

G - GIRL WITH THE RINGS

I sat gingerly on the couch, waiting for the Shettys to come out. Sub-Inspector Prabhu and Constable Naik were seated on the adjacent sofa, calmly sipping their tea. There was an air of trepidation in the house, and understandably so. We could hear wailing in the rooms inside, and I felt pity for the young lady.

I was growing impatient by the minute. I get extremely edgy and anxious whenever I'm forced to ask my wife to manage our jewellery outlet in my absence - she loves jewellery a lot - but I had no choice. This had been the fourth incident in our otherwise peaceful colony in the past couple of weeks.

The Shettys had moved into their fifth floor apartment in our 12-storied building only about two weeks ago. But ever since they had arrived, weird things had begun to happen. Over the past 14 days, four married women from the building had been found unconscious in the storage room of the Shettys' apartment, severely injured. None of the women could recall how they had landed up there, but they all agreed that they had felt a strong invisible unearthly force pull them away from where they originally were. For your information, one of the ladies had been found naked. I grinned, wondering whether she had been in the bathroom or in the bedroom at the time. Interestingly, all the four women reported that their rings had gone missing. Following an investigation, all the four rings were found on the hand of the Shettys' 17 year old daughter, Anushka. And here's where things get even more eerie and mysterious - in spite of several attempts, the rings would simply not come off. The girl wasn't trying at all. Her parents tried their best, but to no avail. Neighbours and relatives tried their hand, but only ended up hurting the poor girl. At present, a doctor had been called to try his luck, but the screams emanating from the bedroom suggested this was going to fail as well. What was I doing there you ask? I was there to make an attempt as well.

The doctor emerged from the room, all sweaty and red-faced. He looked at us, wiped the seat off his his brows, chuckled and stormed out of the house. I presumed it was now my turn, and so I called out to the Shettys to bring their daughter out. It took them another five minutes to recompose themselves and come out.

There she was, all of seventeen. She was tall and slender, and had features that were 'not like a child, not yet like a woman' - just like other teenage girls her age, She had pretty eyes, cute dimples and a childlike innocence. But she was scared and exhausted. She had been constantly fidgeting with her long braided hair out of nervousness. My conscience pricked me for having landed up there to torture the poor lass, but I didn't want to disappoint the cops. I had to break the ice with the girl and so I thought it would be best to talk to her.

"Are the rings tight?"

She didn't answer.

"Did you try taking them off?"

No response.

"How'd they end up in your hands?"

"He wanted me to keep them", she finally responded.

"He who?"

No response.

"Show me your hands."

She reluctantly brought her hands in front of my face.

I saw her hands. They were beautiful. The fingers were long and pretty, and the nails were painted turquoise. Her skin was clear and dusky. The veins on her hand were visible, but they added a charm that I could not quite explain. I had never seen hands like those in my entire life. I kept staring at those hands - it was as if I had become obsessed. Suddenly, I found myself wishing that my wife had hands like hers.

The silence was broken with the sound of a loud thud in one of the rooms inside.

Although I was stunned, I was still looking at her hands. But what I now saw sent a shiver down my spine.

There were five rings now...and one of them belonged to my wife.


Please feel free to leave comments, whether or not you liked what you read. It's a great way to start a conversation or a dialogue. I might be pretty boring in real life, but I promise I'm a lot more fun in this avatar.

I am extremely grateful to Shipra Bharati for the image. She is a 20-something biochemistry postgraduate, and on her way to securing a second Masters' degree. Although photography has been one of her hobbies since the past 3-4 years, she is keen on gaining some professional training in the near future. Her Instagram URL is www.instagram.com/shipilli

Previous posts in the A to Z Challenge - April 2017:-

A - All Apologies (Poem)
B - Baptism (Poem)
C - Chains (Short Story)
D - Door To My House (Short Story / Sentimental / Philosophy / Wisdom)
E - Evil Eye Deliverance (Short Story)
F - Flight of the Lonely Raven (Poem)

Sunday, 9 April 2017

F - FLIGHT OF THE LONELY RAVEN


Perched High Atop A Desolate Tree
The Raven Stared Far Into Oblivion, Carefree
He Reminisced About The Glorious Past
And Pondered Deeply On What Could Have Been

The Voice In His Head Came Calling Again
Why It Frequently Surfaced, He Couldn't Explain
Yet He Thought It Unwise To Ignore All It Said
Lest It Get Even Louder And Drive Him Insane

Oh Foolish Raven, The Voice Did Remark
It's Evening Now, But Soon T'will Be Dark
Why Art Thou Affixed To This Skeleton Of Old 
With Neither Leaf, Nor Stem, Nor Bark?

Why Doth Thou Just Sit Here And Dwell On The Past
Don't The Visions Up Here Simply Leave You Aghast
Thou Should'st Fly Like Your Brethren, Look...They're Up In The Sky
Why Must Thou Behave Like A Social Outcast?

You Judge Me Unfairly, Did the Raven Protest
You Mistake My Isolation For Melancholy and Hopelessness
The Truth Is My Time Has Not Yet Arrived
Don't Misread My Patience As Fear And Emptiness

For When My Heart And Soul Are Finally Prepped
I Will Sharpen My Claws, My Wings I Will Spread
I Will Soar Past The Heavens, The Wind Will I Shred
I Will Leave The World Behind, I'll Go Way Ahead

So Leave Me Be, Put Your Fears To Bed
I'm Just A Little Different, I Take The Road Few Tread

This poem is dedicated to all the late bloomers out there. Shine on!



Please feel free to leave comments, whether or not you liked what you read. It's a great way to start a conversation or a dialogue. I might be pretty boring in real life, but I promise I'm a lot more fun in this avatar.

My idea of collaborating with Instagrammers has been the best part of this year's A to Z Challenge. for me. Today, the collaboration has extended beyond India's borders to Pakistan. A big thank you to Bismah Mughal aka Punkiztani from the port city of Karachi for the wonderful photograph of the Raven. Apart from being a wonderful photographer, she's also a talented writer/blogger. She's also a student of journalism. What's truly amazing is that she's all of the above (and maybe more) at the young age of 20. Way to go girl! She blogs at www.insane-insaan.tumblr.com and her Instagram URL is www.instagram.com/punkiztani

Previous posts in the A to Z Challenge - April 2017:-

Saturday, 8 April 2017

E - EVIL EYE DELIVERANCE



Monday, 3rd April 2017, 10:33 p.m.
The Nadar household, Rameswaram (India)

Our Father, Who Art In Heaven
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Thy Kingdom Come
Thy Will Be Done
On Earth, As It Is In Heaven
Give Us This Day
Our Daily Bread 
And Forgive Us Our Trespasses
As We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us
And Lead Us Not Into Temptation
But Deliver Us From All Evil...
AMEN.

It was an unwritten rule at Little Timmy's house to say the Lord's Prayer every night before going to bed. His eyes would usually stay half open throughout the routine, but over the past week he had been reciting the prayer like a zealot. A bully from the 6th grade had been making lunch breaks a nightmare for him over the past month.

He had heard quite a bit about 'bad boys' from friends in his colony and from cousins, about how they would usually be tall and hefty and mean-looking. This guy though, didn't quite fit the bill. Nagesh was at least an inch shorter, almost wafer-thin, and to an outsider he would easily come across like an average Joe...until he opened his uncouth mouth. Timmy himself did not think much of him until he had a run-in with him one March afternoon over a stolen pen. Since then, life at school had been miserable.

Since then Nagesh would rough him up everyday - sometimes tripping him in the corridors, sometimes snatching his meals away, sometimes yanking his bag off his back and dropping it on the floor, and on really bad days being knocked on the head by Nagesh's clenched fist. Tim had tried everything to make this stop - prayers, avoiding been seen in the school corridors during breaks and after school, making sure he hung around teachers and elders - but nothing seemed to be working. Of course, the only thing he didn't dare to do was complain to his teachers or his parents. He was certain he'd get killed if he did that. He was terribly shaken on the inside.

Tuesday, 4th April 2017, 1:03 p.m.,
Lunch Time at Vikas Public School, Rameswaram (India)

Timmy picks himself and his lunchbox up, pats the dust off of himself, and goes to the wash basin to clear any evidence of a scuffle. He then goes back to the canteen table where Ronit was waiting for him. He begins eating without saying a word; Ronit doesn't bother him either.

Five minutes later, Ronit decides to break the silence.

"Did you try speaking to your mum?"

"No."

"How long will you tolerate this?"

"I don't know."

"Maybe you should speak to the Principal?"

"Who wants to get killed?"

"But you WON'T get killed"

"Yeah, right."



Both boys went back to completing their meals.

Nagesh never picked on Ronit. Beating Punjabi stereotypes, he was weak and skinny. Even the girls could beat him to pulp if they tried. Timmy wondered how he had managed to stay safe. The fact was that Ronit's dad happened to be Nagesh's boss at work. Knowing his ways, and unknown to the world, Nagesh's parents had strictly instructed him to steer clear of Ronit. Of course, Timmy didn't know this, and he was disappointed with his luck. 

Timmy was almost done with hie lunch when he finally saw the badge on Ronit's bag.

"What is this?"

"I don't know much...but Maa calls it Nazar Battu."

"Nazar Battu...it looks kinda scary. Is it a demon?"



"Not quite...Maa says it wards off evil."

"I've seen this somewhere else."



"On trucks and lorries? Maybe on walls? We all have seen it somewhere."


"Can I keep it for a day or two?"



"Umm...Okay."

They walked back to class. 

He tapped Romit on his saw it on his their Nagesh would rough him up everyday - sometimes tripping him in the corridors, sometimes snatching his meals away, sometimes yanking his bag off his back and dropping it on the floor, and on really bad days being knocked on the head by Nagesh's clenched fist. Tim had tried everything to make this stop - prayers, avoiding been seen in the school corridors during breaks and after school, making sure he hung around teachers and elders - but nothing seemed to be working. Of course, the only thing he



Tuesday, 4th April 2017, 10:28 p.m.,
The Nadar household, Rameswaram (India)

Our Father, Who Art In Heaven
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Thy Kingdom Come
Thy Will Be Done

On Earth, As It Is In Heaven...

Timmy's mom was observing his every move. She was having mixed feelings. On one hand, she was concerned about her son's sudden change in behaviour. On the other hand, his dedication to prayer filled her with a sense of pride about the quality of her upbringing.

...Give Us This Day
Our Daily Bread 
And Forgive Us Our Trespasses
As We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us...

'Aww'...she sighed in her mind, 'My Son's such an innocent Angel'.

...And Lead Us Not Into Temptation

She was now imagining her son in a priest's cassock. 'Now, now...Maybe he'll be better as a Doctor or an Engineer.'  

...But Deliver Us From All Evil...

AMEN.

To his mom's horror, Timmy then pulled the Nazar Battu badge out of his shirt pocket and kissed it.


Please feel free to leave comments, whether or not you liked what you read. It's a great way to start a conversation or a dialogue. I might be pretty boring in real life, but I promise I'm a lot more fun in this avatar.

Here's thanking Mumbai-based blogger and Instagrammer Arti S for the image of the Nazar Battu. For the uninitiated, the Nazar Battu is a charm that is largely used in North Indian and in Pakistan to ward off the 'evil eye' - it is used to deliberately add blemish or imperfection so as to prevent envy or jealousy, or even evil of the netherworld. Arti and I have been following each other on Instagram since a couple of months now. I only recently discovered that she is a blogger. As her blog url and pics on her Instagram, page would suggest, she loves travelling and discovering new places, with her father. In her words, she considers her trips as continuous learning journeys within, where she seeks to discover and experience the real treasures of life. She blogs at www.myyatradiary.com and her Instagram URL is www.instagram.com/artisdiary/

Previous posts in the A to Z Challenge - April 2017:-

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