A box full of memories!

Two tough days in succession and it’s been incredibly difficult fighting back the tears and succeeding. If you know me well enough you know I rarely ever cry. Time heals all wounds “they” said but never said that the scars remain, actually Poison said that in the song “every rose has its thorn” (sorry, I had to throw this in for humour).

I got my husband to get this box full of memories from the loft. I spent the entire day going through decades of photographs ranging from 1934 to 2003. My father’s childhood pictures, my parents’ “courting days” as their generation called it. Ooh and then there were my pics and my brother’s pics, our childhood, our friends, school days, everything documented. Who knew life would pull the first rug from beneath my feet when I was eleven?

My grandfather died of a massive heart attack. One moment he was fine and forty-five minutes later he was lifeless. Always had a peaceful look on his face no matter how strong the tempest was. I had heard, more like overheard, his stories of struggles. I knew some of the stories and the rest were supposed to be told to me when I got older; when I could understand the more “adult” stuff. How does an eleven-year-old deal with this? There was so much life ahead of me. So much to learn. So much to know. Who was going to help through the bumps in the road? My guide, my beacon, my “go-to” place, my world just left in a blink of an eye. Everything crumbled. I hadn’t even reached the threshold of my life. I relived my moments with him in my mind. I carried all the advice with me through my growing pains, asking myself what he would do in various situations. Of course, I failed at getting it right, more times than I could count. It was then I learnt that life is too short.

It was here that my endless battle with depression began. I had no one I could talk to. I had to deal with a void nothing could fill. Life went on. I learnt to roll with the punches carrying his stories with me and replaying them in my head through every adversary. Stories that had morals in them. Stories that would get me through the roughest times. Stories that made me dream. Stories that made me think. Stories that made me believe.

My mom died in 2004 after a brief illness. Our lives slowly fell apart to an extent where we went separate ways. My inheritance (most of it) never made its way to me and that was okay. I floundered. I started rebuilding myself from scratch and failing. I held my head high and braved another day and another and before I knew it I had survived ten years. Well, eleven this year. Life fell apart, I glued it carelessly together leaving some parts out. I kept telling myself that there’s hope tomorrow.

Here I am still struggling but I’m not alone. I have my box full of memories. A box no one can take from me. A forever box. A box filled with love, strength and happiness of years gone by. A life I once knew. People who are now a memory I carry with me. Phantoms of my past. A box money can’t buy. A box more valuable than anything else. This is my box! My box full of memories!

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My Box Full of Memories!

 

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Just A Peek (The Life of A Dreamer)

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If you looked into my life,
If you peeked into my mind,
I wonder now
What you would find.
A million tabs of
Pictures and words,
Myriad dreams
And songs unheard.
A rainbow sky,
A gushing stream,
Snow capped mountains
In the sunshine, gleam.
The deep blue sea
Where dolphins play.
This is where thoughts
Go astray
And grow wings
Of their own.
This is the secret life
I have known!

(If this poem doesn’t make sense, it’s a good thing because it’s not meant to make sense. It’s about a mind that’s full of different thoughts and images racing through, and someone trying to make sense of it all. It’s just a fun ride of how my mind jumps topics quite randomly because there are always a bazillion things racing through.

Sometimes in conversation I jump to random topics because that’s where my mind went. Sometimes I zone out and I have no idea what’s going on around me because my mind decided to come up with something… random.)

(Another one of my two-minute poems. Again, another experimentation with rhyme and style. I love messing around with poetry. It’s versatile and there’s so much you can do with it if you know how. I like to keep every poem I write unique as much as possible.

I haven’t written anything in a while because I have not been in the right frame of mind. Today, after what seems like all of eternity, I finally found a happy place in my head and this is what I saw. Absolutely random stuff coming together haphazardly.

Having been a daydreamer all my life this is just how I lose myself. I just enter this labyrinth people refer to as a mind. When I’m strong enough I return to reality. It’s just the way I have always dealt with stuff.)

what if this reality is a dream

An Ode To Aging Dogs

Wait little ones don’t age so fast,
My heart is weak it will not last.
I’m not quite ready for goodbye,
If only time would cease to fly.
I’m not quite ready to let you go,
Please little ones let’s take it slow.
Let’s hold on for a while longer,
I need more time to get stronger.

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Captain Nemo

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Nibbles and Nemo

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Nibbles

(Another one of my five-minute poems. Yes, I know this one is extremely “rhymey”, it was written that way on purpose. I might add to it later if I decide to edit it.)

(The inspiration behind the poem was my ageing dogs, one who’s almost eleven and the other who is 10 years and six months. Both have age-related issues. One is losing his teeth and the other her sight, as for me, my heart is breaking because I can’t save them from getting older.)

(This poem is dedicated to everyone who has senior dogs. The journey, as painful as it is as they get older, is still one of the most beautiful ones we could ever experience. When I say “painful” I mean watching them struggle, watching them age, watching various irreversible health issues creep in. The bond between pet and human is strong, the connection is deep.)

From the pool to the open sea – Prepping for the Goa Swimathon 2018

Please Note: – This blog is based solely on my personal experience and it could or could not be useful to any other swimmer. Every experience is different as is every swimmer.

It’s been precisely eleven months and five days that I have had no training whatsoever. I spent a good chunk of last year trying to enjoy my six months of house arrest. I had another major setback shortly after I was back on my feet and that took another bit of recovery time (three months). I have never been an athlete, and not an aspirant one either. I was quite happy being bookish instead of training. I spent most of my early days being sickly and this didn’t change until I moved out of my old place.

This year, with all optimism and grit I decided to take part in the Goa swimathon 2018 organised by Enduro Sports. Now comes the training part. I was supposed to start on the 1st but then I got sick and I was out for two weeks. So what? I still have ten days! Ten days should be okay… for someone who is and has been fit. Here I am, hoping my stamina goes from 0% to 100%. I started my training on the 13th of March and Race Day was on the 25th.

Training Days!

Day 1 – I could barely make it to the 50-meter mark and I’m not even joking! I had to stop twice while going and then I took a minute’s break just for my wheezing… breathlessness… to settle down. Heading back to complete the first lap and I had to take another break, panting worse than my dogs after they’ve had a run in the heat. The second lap was a rinse and repeat. I was about to throw in the towel (pun intended!) and quit but no that’s not me. I moved on to the third and fourth lap with ease. By the time I completed the 10th lap I was fine. The next day was better. Progress was made by day 4, not the amount of progress I would have hoped for but considering that I have not been training for almost a year I thought it was decent.

Day 5The open water swim with The Goa Open Water Swim Club. Let’s do this! A group of us met at the venue where the race is going to be held. We paired up, there were two kayakers. I was all set! I started swimming! 10 meters in or barely, I ran out of breath. I was stopping every 20 meters or so trying not to wheeze (did I mention I am asthmatic? I’ll come to that part in a bit!) and no, I wasn’t carrying my inhaler. I kept fidgeting with my goggles just to see how far I had managed to swim. Yes! I had made it to the 500-meter mark! Being a swimmer I had never swum so far out in my entire life. I have swum deep, I have swum in the open ocean jumping and diving off a boat (and no, nothing like a scene from the Titanic!) but 500 meters into the sea and back! Nope! not done that. I have to say I was overwhelmed. I started freaking out only because my mind went astray with ideas of sharks below my feet and around me and maybe some dolphins come to save me and hey! that’s me riding a dolphin… oh where am I? Yes, I was freaking out. I calmed my nerves down a bit and now it’s time for the long swim back.

The tide was coming in, and that was a good thing. It was pushing me towards the beach and that was also a good thing but it wasn’t pushing me towards the area I was supposed to swim and that couldn’t possibly be a good thing. Swimming towards the destined spot I was trying to swim against the pull and make it to where I was supposed to be. Yup, that wasn’t happening. I felt like I wasn’t moving. I removed my goggles to check for the millionth time. I could’ve sworn I was in a movie where the scenery was moving and not me. By this time I was battling fatigue, my arms felt like lead and my legs refused to cooperate with my brain or anything else. I had a SLAP tear in my left shoulders, nine years ago and that still troubles me every now and then, this was one of the “every-now-and-thens”. Every possible ache was surfacing.

Yay! I made it to the other end of the beach in an hour and ten minutes! The cut-off time was 45 minutes, I was 25 minutes off. Now I was seriously doubting my capabilities. The cut off time was 1 hour and I was off by 25 minutes. The jitterbug bit me hard.

At this point, there were two clear choices.

Option 1 – QUIT!

Option 2 – Get my act together! Improve! Swim harder! Train harder!

I opted for the second choice and continued.

Day 6 – Almost disheartened but not quite ready to give up, I dragged myself to the pool. I trained harder. I managed to do fifteen laps within that hour and I was feeling as pleased as punch! That’s 1.5 KM in one hour! I can totally nail this… completion wise… speed wise… let’s not talk about that one!

Day 7, 8, 9 and 10 – Were the same as Day 6 with my speed increasing little by little along with my confidence.

Pre-race Day 

Race Day was on March 25th. I took one day off from training on March 24th and decided to rest. I got good advise from friends who race competitively and friends whose children are in the state swimming team. Following instructions of resting and diet, all I could do at this point was hope for the best.

I was advised to eat a banana before the race which I didn’t do because I do not like the fruit. It makes me feel quite squeamish. I prefer to fuel up on liquids rather than with food. That’s a personal choice and not necessarily the right one. You need to figure what works and won’t work for you.

Race Day

I was so nervous I couldn’t sleep a wink. My heart refused to beat normally. I had everything packed and ready. I knew who was at the baggage claim. I had everything planned out except the swim itself. The only thing I was confident about was not going to be able to finish before cut-off time.

At the venue now. It was meet and greet time. My nervousness had skyrocketed, my legs felt like jelly. This was my first competitive race. I got my number, swimming cap and race band. I had an energy drink before beginning.

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The participants gathered together for the 1 KM race. I had selected to do the entire race with breaststroke because that is the most painless stroke for endurance. I didn’t want to deal with my shoulder out at sea.

The race began, I walked into the ocean, more like ambled, and only because I couldn’t and I still can’t run. My ankle hasn’t healed completely. I swam, taking short breaks every ten meters because I was wheezing. I finally got to the boat, called my name and asked how much time had gone by. Twenty minutes! I made the 500-meter mark in twenty minutes! Of course, I am not proud of that timing but it was a colossal jump from my 45-minute timing during the practice swim. Without wasting much time I headed for shore. Now, not as nervous about not finishing before the cut-off time.

I had to stop several times because of my wheezing. The next hurdle was the incoming tide. I kept going off course and I had to be guided back. A lot of the time went there. I finally put my feet on the ground and headed out of the water. Then I heard I wasn’t the last one to finish but then… good girls finish last! I was over the moon at this point! I got one miniature goal scratched off my bucket list!

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(Photography by Hypercube Technologies)

Diet!

If you know me then you know I never say die…t! I’m allergic to that word. All I did was cut down on sugar and everything sugar related (UGH! that damn near killed me because I like my sugar fix!) which meant no aerated drinks, no chocolates, no hot chocolate, no sweets, no rice, no junk food! I made sure I had a balanced diet that was mostly fresh veggies and fruits minus bananas and papayas. No fried food either. I dropped 10 KGs. Another reason to rejoice!

What to expect in the open sea

To get nervous if you haven’t trained an insignificant amount unless you have nerves of steel! (This is mostly aimed at me in a humorously sarcastic way!)

You may have to swim against the tide so it would be a good idea to have some open water swims done. (You can contact The Goa Open Water Swim Club on Facebook).

Dehydration after the swim so make sure you have a lot of water once you get out of the sea.

What to not expect in the open sea

Sharks! No! There are no sharks in our Goan waters! There’s a very high improbability that you’re going to face any other aquatic creatures either. There’s no need to fear anything. Just stay calm and keep swimming.

The importance of training

Regular training is important. Ten days are just not enough for endurance swimming.

Choose a stroke that works for you. Most swimmers prefer freestyle but I find it rather painful after a few meters. I would have probably chosen it over any other had it not been for my SLAP Tear. Breaststroke worked fine for me. I just have to train harder before the next Swimathon.

Diet

Diet? NO SUGAR! That is all I avoided and it worked well. No junk food either. Nothing deep-fried. Pig out on Salads (minus those fancy dressings), fruits, Cashew nuts and almonds.

I have to admit I went bonkers on chocolates and all my favourite food items as soon as I was done with the race. That was the end of my training! I was back to my “bingey” self!

The Event

Swimathon 2018, organised by Enduro Sports, was well planned, well organised. The safety was excellent and overseen by Drishti. A must-experience for every passionate swimmer. An absolute fun event. I’m definitely “planning’ on taking part in the Swimathon 2019.

The event is held at Bambolim Beach, Goa. One of the safest beaches in Goa. The water is almost always still and the waves are barely noticeable. The sea does get a little choppy in the afternoons when the winds pick up. The event is over by then though you might find a bunch of us splashing around in the water.

Swimathon Certificate

Every Finisher gets their timing displayed on the website and an E-Certificate!

Sea you there!

 

 

(I was disappointed with my timing but I was happy that I successfully managed to complete this race within the given timeframe considering a year hadn’t gone by since the surgery. I was still in recovery, still am to some extent.)

Modern Cinderella

MODERN CINDERELLA
(Idea by Wendy script by Charmaine)  

Characters

Cinderella – Lushan
Stepmother – Serena
Stepsister 1 – Sandhya
Stepsister 2 – Sharon
Prince Adam – Charmaine (He-Man was a total hit those days… and I was a fan… so…!)
Prince Andrew – Theresa
Pageboy – Osyth
Fairy Godmother – Astrid
Drunken lady at the ball – Veronica
People at the ball – Everyone else in class(?)

Scene I

Narrator: – Once upon a time there was a girl called Cinderella who lived with her     Stepmother and two stepsisters.(Starts with Stepmother sitting on a chair and gazing into a mirror)
Stepmother: – Cinderella! Cinderellaaaa!(No reply)Cinderella come here right now!
Cinderella: – (offstage) Coming Stepmother! (Runs in) Yes Stepmother?
Stepmother: – Comb my hair.(Cinderella gets a brush and starts combing the stepmother’s hair after a few seconds she starts combing her own hair while making faces at the Stepmother. The two stepsisters pass snide remarks. Cinderella ignores them.)
Stepsister 1: – Oh Mother Cinderella isn’t combing your hair.
(Stepmother looks into the mirror and sees Cinderella combing her own hair.)
Stepmother: – You impudent girl STOP THAT and paint my nails.
(Cinderella gets the nail polish and starts painting her stepmother’s nails. After a while she starts painting her own nails.)Stepmother: – You imp….(Doorbell rings)
Cinderella: – I’ll get that!
Stepsister 2: – You have to! That’s your job, silly!
Cinderella: – Who are you calling “silly”? You cow!
(Stepsister 2 starts crying.)
Stepsister 2: – Mother she called me a cow!(Cinderella walks in with a basketball in her hand.)
Cinderella: – Stepmother we’re invited to Prince Adam’s Annual Masquerade Ball.
Stepmother: – We are NOT YOU! You are just a maid. Now go iron my gown. (Grabs the ball from Cinderella and removes the invitation that’s stuck on it. She starts bouncing the ball while she reads the invitation aloud.) You have been cordially invited to The Prince’s Annual Masquerade ball. It will be special this year because the Prince will be choosing his bride.
Stepsister 1: – Iron my dress as well
Stepsister 2: – Iron mine too!
(Cinderella walks off the stage in a huff. The two stepsisters sigh. The Stepmother and two stepsisters talk animatedly. )
Stepsister 1: – Prince Adam will choose me for his bride.
Stepsister 2: – No he will choose me.
Stepsister 1: – No me!
Stepsister 2: – No me!
Stepsister 1: – It won’t be you; you’re fat and ugly.
Stepsister 2: – It won’t be you either; you’re too thin and too tall. You’re like a beanpole!
(The two sisters bicker. Cinderella enters the stage after a few seconds. She hands each of them their gowns.)
Stepsister 1: – Look mother Cinderella has burnt my best dress!
Stepmother: – You wretched child, off with you now. Go mop the floors.
(Cinderella exits.) 

Scene II

(The stepmother and stepsister leave for the ball. Cinderella sits on the floor and starts crying. The Fairy Godmother enters in a short skirt and a cute top.)
Fairy Godmother: – (Clears her throat) My dear child why are you crying?
Cinderella: – (Looks up with a start) Who… who are you?
Fairy Godmother: – I am your Fairy Godmother you silly goose.
Cinderella: – You don’t look like a Fairy Godmother. You aren’t dressed like a fairy.
Fairy Godmother: – These are modern times child! You do want to go to The Prince’s Masquerade ball, don’t you?
Cinderella: – Yes, of course I do but I have nothing to wear except for this ragged dress.
Fairy Godmother: – That’s why I’m here! To get you to the ball!
Cinderella: – How can you do that?
Fairy Godmother: – Magic of course! Now go keep a pumpkin and two mice out in the garden and come back here.(Cinderella goes off and does what the Fairy Godmother asked her to do. The Fairy Godmother touches Cinderella with her wand).
Fairy Godmother: – Abraka… Alaba… Alaca… Alama… (Mutters to herself) Now what are those magic words I swear I knew them a few seconds ago.
Cinderella: – Er – Fairy Godmother I don’t mean to be rude but do you know what you’re doing?
Fairy Godmother: – Of course I do! I wouldn’t be a Fairy Godmother IF I didn’t know what I was doing!
Cinderella: – (Hastily) I didn’t mean to sound rude Fairy Godmother I was just asking.
Fairy Godmother: – Ah! Good! Now I remember! Abracadabra alakazam! Okay child you may remove your ragged clothes.
Cinderella: – I can’t do that I….
Fairy Godmother: – Trust me child!
(Cinderella removes the dressing gown and finds herself in a beautiful gown. She smiles at the Fairy Godmother.)
Cinderella: – Thank you Fairy Godmother.
Fairy Godmother: – You’ll find your shoes at the entrance. Hurry now! Let me warn you first… you must leave the ball before the clock strikes 12 or everything you have will turn back to normal. Promise me you will return before midnight child!
Cinderella: – (Excitedly) I promise Fairy Godmother. Thank you so much!Fairy Godmother: – Make haste child your times running out.(Both exit) 

Scene III

Narrator: – At the Masquerade Ball
(The people at the ball are sitting in groups and are talking animatedly; waiting for the Prince’s arrival. There’s party music playing in the background, which changes to a Michael Jackson song so Prince Adam can break dance. The Pageboy follows Prince Adam and imitates his every move. Prince Adam turns back to face his Pageboy who also turns back.)
Prince Adam: – Oh Dummy! You are supposed to announce my arrival!
(Pageboy repeats.)
Prince Adam: – (Angrily) ANNOUNCE MY ARRIVAL DUMMY!
(Pageboy repeats in the same tone and everyone turns to look at the Prince.)
The crowd: – (In loud whispers) The prince has come! The Prince is here!
(Prince Adam starts to break dance. The girls rush to his side. He gets all flustered.)
Prince Adam: – (Digs into his pocket) Now where is my mouse? Where did I keep him? Was it in my left pocket? (Removes a lot of rubbish from his pockets) Or was it my right pocket? Ah here it is! Ladies would any of you like to hold Alf?
(The ladies disperse and the Prince walks calmly to his seat next to his brother Prince Andrew. Andrew leans over and whispers something to Adam. The two sisters rush up to Prince Andrew and pull him to his feet. They start quarrelling over who should dance with the Prince.)
Prince Adam: – Andrew! Pageboy! Help!
(The Stepmother comes to his rescue.)
Stepmother: – Now, now girls if the prince dances with ANYONE it will be me!(The Stepmother pulls him to center stage and swings him around and then steps on his toes.)
Prince Adam: – (Freeing himself from the stepmother’s hold) For Heaven’s sake Lady can’t you dance?
Stepmother: – (Pompously) Of course I can dance! I have been dancing much before you were even dreamt of!
Prince Adam: – (Complains loudly to himself) Women nowadays! All they can do is argue and fight over me, pull me for a dance and step on my toes! As if that isn’t enough they tell me that I can’t dance!
(He moves to his seat retiredly)
Prince Andrew: – (Leans towards Adam and whispers loudly) I told you to postpone your masquerade ball; today is Friday the 13th!
(A drunken lady walks towards him staggering and swaying)
Drunk lady: – Hi Prinshee boy would you care to dance with me?
Prince Adam: – No I do not want to dance with you… you’re drunk! Get away from me!
Drunk Lady: – Don’t be rude Prinsh Adam! How can you refushe a danshe with shomeone like me?
Prince Adam: – I just did! I DO NOT WANT TO DANCE WITH YOU!
Drunk Lady: – Of course you do! Come on now! (Pulls the prince towards the dance floor and the Prince pulls away. In the tussle the lady throws her wine at the Prince. He was furious.)
Prince: – You stupid woman! Look what you’ve gone and done!
(Drunk Lady rushes offstage. Enters Cinderella. The Prince returns to his seat trying to dry his shirt and suddenly he looks up and sees the beautiful girl. He rushes to her side and escorts her to his seat. Prince Andrew and the pageboy move away.)
Prince Adam: – (Somewhat shyly) Hallo! My name is Adam!
Cinderella: – (Somewhat shyly too) Hallo! My name is er… er…. Cindy
Stepmother (to stepsisters): – Could that be Cinderella, girls?
(Stepsisters snicker)
Stepsister 1: – Oh no Mother!
Stepsister 2: – Definitely not! Cinderella must be home crying her eyes out.
Stepmother: – She had better be!
(Prince Adam slowly puts his arm around Cinderella who brushes it away while she smiles at him. Prince Adam puts his arm around her again and she brushes his arm away again. Prince and Cinderella sing a song.)
Prince Adam: – May I have the pleasure of this dance my dear Princess?Cinderella: – Yes you may!
(The two of them walk to the center of the stage and start dancing. Everyone forms a semi circle around them and watch ardently. Offstage the clock strikes 12. Cinderella breaks loose from the Prince and runs off leaving her shoe behind ALMOST offstage. Prince Adam watches sadly as she runs off.)
Prince Adam: – (Feebly) C-Cindy? Where are…
(Cinderella is already offstage. Prince Adam retrieves her shoe and walks to his pageboy.)
Prince Adam: – Tomorrow I want to hunt this whole area and find me the lady who wore this shoe… I will marry her!
Pageboy: – Yes your honor – I mean – your highness – I mean your majesty… what do I mean again?
(Prince Adam ignores the pageboy)

Scene IV

Narrator: – The next day!
(Scene starts with the Stepmother and two stepsisters talking about the masquerade ball. They hear a voice offstage and the doorbell rings. The two stepsisters peep to see who it is.)
Stepsister 1: – Mother, the Prince’s Pageboy is here! Hurry!
Stepsister 2: – I think the Prince wants to marry me, mother. Do hurry!
Stepsister 1: – No he’ll marry me!
Stepsister 2: – No me!
(The two sisters argue while the Stepmother goes to find out what the Pageboy wants.)
Pageboy: – (Politely) Madam, Prince Adam has requested all the ladies in the house to gather at the town hall!
(The two stepsisters rush out pushing and jostling each other. Cinderella purposely drops something offstage.)
Pageboy: – Er Madam I do not mean to be rude but is there any other lady besides the three of you in this house?
Stepmother: – (Hastily) No! No! That was our robot! It’s quite rusty and it’s falling to pieces. That is what you must have heard!
(The four of them rush off to the town center where all the women are trying on the shoe.)
Prince Adam: – (Loudly) I am going to marry the lady whom the shoe fits!
(Stepsister 1 rushes forward to try on the shoe… the shoe was too small. Stepsister 2 rushes forward and tried on the shoe. The shoe was too big. Cinderella rushes forward just as the stepmother was about to try on the shoe. The prince sees her and smiles. Cinderella smiles back. They gaze at each other.)
Stepmother: – (Shouts loudly) Eureka! Eureka! The shoe fits ME! The shoe FITS ME!(Prince Adam is stunned. He stands rooted to the spot, his jaw slightly open. Cinderella was shocked. The Stepmother rushes forward and lifts Prince Adam off the ground and swings him around singing “I’m getting married in the morning! Ding dong the bells are gonna chime! Pull out the stopper, Let’s have a whopper and get me to the Church on time!”)
Prince Adam: – (Shouts) Help! Somebody help me!
(The Stepmother carries him off the stage.)
(Cinderella falls to her knees as the crowd disperses and looks up towards the sky.)
Cinderella: – (Yells) Fairy Godmother!
(Curtains close with her kneeling on the stage.)

THE END

(My second script, written when I was in high school.

My best friend and I were chatting about days gone by (I refuse to call them “old days”!) and I decided to share the script. An overdose of sweet nostalgia and a smile on my face.

Even back then I liked a twist in my tale!

I did keep the script after all these years. I do not remember everyone who acted in the play though. If I missed anyone out I apologize, the memory is beginning to fade but I will never forget the moment we gripped the school because we dared to be different. The laughter that rang through the school that day and our names changed to our character names! (I think this was the first play in school where most of the class if not everyone was onstage and involved) Loved the time we spent together rehearsing for this and all the ad libbing on stage. We were a great team the bunch of us!

If you were part of the cast, part of my class, and you’re reading this… Thank you for some of the best memories! You made school life so worth it! Thank you for putting up with all those pranks I pulled, especially the chameleon one that most unfortunately disrupted the French Class! If I got you into trouble, I apologise, if you got me into trouble… thanks for getting me sent out of class! I used to get so bored in there anyway, and that view of the sea always distracted me! Fond memories that still make me smile. (P.S. I still can’t form a single grammatically correct sentence in Hindi (okay I can say a few words that aren’t very polite!) and I still get nightmares of that teacher!)

The best part about memories is that it’s forever!)

Calling all Chocoholics!

I’m going to begin this blog with… I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day but I know a lot of others are. Valentine’s Day is a little less than two weeks away, you’re probably wondering what to gift your “S.O.” (Significant Other)and you know time is running out. I have a “sweet” idea!

Chocolates! You can NOT ever go wrong with Chocolates and which ones? Gourmet Chocolates! Simply out of this world and bound to put a smile on anyone’s face. I was grinning like a Cheshire Cat after I sampled one. I can safely say this… this was love at first bite! The flavours are well thought of and dance in your head a while after the chocolate has been ingested. Talk about a rush of pheromones, this would be it!

I admit I love chocolates as much as I love books and shoes (and if you know me well you know I love, love, love (you get the picture) my books and shoes!) These gourmet chocolates are actually quite indescribable in a good way per se.

The chocolates come in a very unique box (yes, ladies would definitely not want to get rid of this because it not only looks pretty but it can be used as a trinket box. I kept my box.)

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It opens up a window to heaven and I’m not even exaggerating here! Okay, okay, I solemnly swear I’m crazy about chocolates!

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This was the assortment of the Christmas Chocolates

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I’m going to “try” and break the flavours down as graphically as possible.

Lime! This had me quite quizzical… lime and chocolate? I kept imagining a sweet and sour flavour in my head and it didn’t set well. Gingerly, I opened the wrapping and I saw white chocolate. White chocolate? I nibbled at it and a smile slowly spread across my face. Oh! Now I didn’t quite picture it like that! A perfect blend of lime and chocolate. No bitterness, no sourness, no sickly sweetness… just bliss. It was so well blended, neither of the flavours overpowered the other. Pure chocogenius!

Coconut and Pineapple! I bet your first thought was “Pina Colada” and you wouldn’t be wrong just subtract the alcohol from it, add chocolate and you get this! My brain did a dance at this point! I love pina colada and that flavour in a chocolate was “gobstopping”. I was speechless! Once again the flavours were well balanced. When one couples coconut with a chocolate the result would be a “Bounty” but this is nowhere close, it’s far better. Brilliant tropical blend. I had images of sitting at the seaside while eating this one.

Nutmeg and Almond! Oooh, another “eyebrow-raising” flavour! I have to admit I was a tad sceptical about this one. I am not a fan of nutmeg. A small nibble of it and I was sold! Nutmeg? I suddenly began to like nutmeg! None of the flavours is overpowering. I was curious about this flavour and I was not disappointed in the least. Nutmeg is used in eggnog (Nope not a fan of that either!) and this was the most Christmassy flavour in the box. Yes, my last Christmas was truly a chocolatey one!

Orange! Orange+Chocolate = Terry’s milk chocolate orange! That was my first thought. This is better and I love the milk chocolate orange. To sum it up very simply… this chocolate is very “zesty”!

Salted Caramel! What can I say? I’m a fan! I love caramel and I love chocolate (I think we already established this point only several unnecessary times but hey, I do love chocolate as much as I love reading and shopping for books and shoes!) and this one was divine!

Coffee! There’s a special treat for the caffeinators/ chocoholics! Yes, you guessed it! There’s a coffee chocolate that beats the morning cup! This is one sweet awakening! ‘Nuff said here!

From the wrappers to the packaging it’s just creative and tasteful (pun intended). The flavours are unique and “come together” like a song.

Intrigued enough to make that call?
Aaron Franco
Aaron Franco Gourmet Chocolates. Simply the zest!
Phone number: – 9823723711
Email: – aaron.franco14@gmail.com

Don’t forget… Easter is coming!

(Currently only delivering around Goa!)

Going home…

There’s something incredibly magical about hanging out with childhood friends. Time and distance just melt away and we take off exactly where we left off like it was yesterday once more. Every time I meet one of my childhood friends I am reminded of a bunch of pleasant memories. Today as I walked home to the place where I was raised, then towards my childhood best friend’s house my mind was flooded by clips of our yesteryears, the stories, the games, the picnics and “adventures”.

We grew up in an age of innocence where we created our entertainment. Living by the coast there were always thoughts of smugglers sailing in at night, the marker buoys were signals from sea to land. Stories of a wicked “time dragon” residing in a cave beneath the cliffs to spook the younger ones from following us to the “dangerous” area, a place where we could always witness the most beautiful sunsets, perched upon the dilapidated walls of a fort. Hours spent just staring out at the azure sea. Then there were beliefs that a certain unoccupied house was “haunted” because the lights would come on every single night at a particular time. Endless hours of playing in construction sites much to our mothers’ horror. The excitement of having new neighbours and adding numbers to our “cool” gang.

Endless Summers spent at the beach collecting cowries and splashing around in the water. Evenings cycling down mud roads trying to race each other without falling or bumping into anyone. Rough games of football that ended in hurdling over bushes. Playing cricket and badminton in the middle of the road.

Soon it was our turn to be the “big” kids where we took the utmost pleasure in teasing and bossing the younger ones around especially the ones who decided to talk a little too much.

There will always be a special bond with the people you shared Famous Fives and other Enid Blyton books with then moved on to Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Three investigators, Dana Girls, only to move on to Danielle Steele (yes I did read those books briefly when I was 16) and finding our own likes and dislikes when it came to the literary world. I moved to horror, Sci-Fi, and fantasy which are still my favourite genres.

The place has changed, a lot of people who once lived there have either moved away or left for their heavenly abode but the memories woo me like a jilted lover singing a forlorn song.