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!)

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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!)

Her last Christmas

Who would have thought it was going to be her last Christmas? I was the one who was ill and tried desperately to hide it because we had family visiting. Nothing could escape her eagle eyes. I was cornered on one of the long drives to meet the family. She purposely chose the seat next to me and that meant only one thing, a lecture was coming, one of those excruciatingly long-winded ones. I groaned mentally. She could be quite persevering when she wanted to extract information. One whole hour of this? Somebody kill me!

The minute the driver revved the engine and we were on the way, she leaned towards me and whispered that she knew I was unwell. I looked at her quizzically knowing full well I had not been healthy for a while. She went on to point out to me that I couldn’t hide anything from her even if I wanted to. Everything was internal how could she have possibly guessed? I rolled my eyes and admitted that I had not been well for weeks and launched into a lengthy explanation of what was going on. As much as possible I would hide all sorts of ailments thanks to my father. His first reaction was to always yell and then once he had cooled down considerably he would ask what had happened. I would mostly hide things to avoid his melodrama. I guess that is something that hasn’t changed.

I was never too happy about the whole family visiting because that meant an invasion of space and endless lectures. The good part of it all was that my parents’ home was rather huge and I could lose myself anywhere. Most times I would just stay locked up in my room and meet everyone at meal times. I was never good around people anyway and I never mastered the art of being a good hostess. How my mom would point that out and I would just ignore. “When I grow up I won’t be entertaining anyone.” I would retort. My dad, knowing what a spitfire I was, made me promise to be courteous and “civil”. “…but they hate me,” I whined at him. “Do it for her, it could be the last time we meet one of them. Age is catching up with us and you never know.” Wow! That was pretty big coming from my dad if you knew him on a personal level.

Ah well, all was forgotten the minute mom started making Christmas sweets. Now who could stay angry when one was surrounded by such aromatic fragrances constantly wafting through the house? I offered to help! I was feeling generous.

“Are you going to help make the sweets or make sure they find their way into that stomach?” my mother poked my ridiculously flat stomach.

“I’ll help, of course, the eating will happen on the side. One has to be sure that the sweets are edible,” I rolled my eyes.

“You know the rule,” she began, firmly. “The perfect cookies go into the box and the misshapen ones can go into your mouth.”

“Yes, yes, the perfect ones in my mouth and the…,” I teased her.

“I will whack you with that hot ladle,” she threatened.

My idea of “helping” was always hovering around her, getting in her way and eating everything that was put on the tray.

Christmas passed with no major calamities or fights (which was a regular feature of the house). Post-Christmas, now that was when it all began to some extent. I had to have an operation just before New Year’s Eve and I daresay I was quite excited about it. I had a readymade excuse to stay away from all social events. “Oh hey, I had an operation yesterday and I have to be home!” Totally legit! I planned on watching TV until I felt sick. I think they were playing the Phantom Menace that year.

That whole Christmas week got me thinking about what my dad had said. We were waiting for the results of the biopsy. Could it be my last Christmas? Weird thoughts raced through my head. What if? Who knew? I was in pain but post-operation pain was nothing new to me anyway. I was ready to take on anything.

Dad’s words kept playing in my mind like a broken record. I thought back to all the past Christmasses. My mom loved Christmas and we went out of our way to cooperate with her and her flamboyant plans long after the magic and belief had died for us. For us, it was just another day but for my mom, it was a day she could do extra stuff to make her family happy. Chocolate hampers, special breakfast and lunch, dinners were usually spent with people who didn’t have anyone to spend Christmas with. My mom would invite them over and we were forced to stay home, not that I minded, I was happy not getting out of the house most times. Sometimes she would invite her friends.

I thought back to how she would gather us together, set a date and time to put up decorations. We had to keep the morning free. She would play her favourite Jim Reeves LP even after we had a cassette player and a CD player. It had to be played on the record player! Oh so vintage but the sound was reasonably clear.

Then there were those chocolate hampers. Long after we grew up and stopped believing in Santa and all things Christmassy the chocolate hampers never stopped. Every Christmas without fail there were all our favourite chocolates and candies carefully put together in our boxes that we had had since our childhood. The stockings had become part of the decorations but we would never outgrow mom’s legendary chocolate hampers. Had I known that was going to be the last chocolate hamper…

I have to admit that December was always an exciting time of year because friends came home. We would plan a couple of outings in between family time but that year I was ill and I had no idea what was going on with me.

Flashback after flashback hit me. I remembered one Christmas my aunt and cousin were down. My dad escorted Santa to our garden where we were all waiting.

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The entire household would gather around and our neighbour would join us from behind her wall and of course there was a gift for her too.

Then there were the years we would go Caroling before everyone grew up.

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These evenings were always fun. We were allowed to stay out late. Our neighbours would wait for us to get to their houses. These times were magical. The weather was much colder than what it is now.

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My mom loved this Santa and every year he was diligently placed at the entrance of the house for every passerby to see. I used to be embarrassed by the attention he attracted and a number of times strangers would ring the doorbell and ask if they could take pictures of the big guy.

Then there was mom’s birthday celebration and we were allowed to choose one location for a photograph.

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My choice was a big Chinese Jar which cannot be seen in this pic. I was intrigued by this antique. It was easily over a hundred years back then and I have no idea where my maternal grandfather sourced it out from. My mom would tell us stories about how her mother would store rice in it during the Second World War.

Growing up, midnight mass was the most exciting thing about Christmas. We were allowed to stay up late. I was part of the choir and I enjoyed that. My parents were also a part of the choir and so were my best friends. Everyone gathered together to celebrate Christmas after midnight mass was over.

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My dad would play the piano accordion and everyone would join in singing Christmas Carols. Yes, it was a magical time indeed. Everyone was happy and excited. Somewhere between then and now we all grew up.

Whatever it was, whatever happened, mom really worked hard to make Christmas as magical as possible from preparing our favourite sweets to making sure our favourite meal was all laid out for lunch. She went the extra mile to put chocolate hampers together and who knew that year would be the last?

Last year and this, I found myself pining for Christmas at home with my parents. How I wished I could just be there one more time. Just for one more meal, just to swipe sweets off the counter while they were being prepared. Just to aggravate the maid while she stirred a cauldron of dodol (a toffee (sort of) made out of coconut milk, jaggery (a sweetner made out of sugarcane), finger millet. A southeast Asian sweet.) Just to put up all those decorations that would make me agitated thinking about them. Just to put an ornament on a tree or to unwrap the statues of the crib. The magic has long gone but the memories linger on like silhouettes pirouetting in the background.

If only I knew that it was going to be her last Christmas I would have done things differently, played the Carols she wanted instead of making her listen to more modern Carols by various singers. Mom obviously preferred Elvis Presley to Michael Bolton. Heaven forbid I played Firehouse or Twisted Sister or any of those bands. Mom would have definitely pulled the plug on that music over Christmas for sure.

Mom is mom and Christmas with mom was so different. Now it’s hard to tell what I miss more, the magic of it all, receiving that chocolate hamper along with a pile of gifts, or the food through those Christmas weeks. In a way I think mom was trying to keep that magic alive, trying to keep us believing that family and everyone we truly cared for were the most important especially this time of year. Even though I don’t believe in the festival or anything else, I believe in family and the people I care for. I still believe that this time of year a family should be together no matter what the problems are because that’s how my mom always strove to make us believe. She held on and taught us how to hold on and maybe, just maybe, the magic never really died!

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(My biopsy results were negative. I received that a couple of weeks later. That was one of the things that changed my life, my thinking, and no I don’t speak about it. Those couple of weeks were a nightmare.

My mom died two months and three weeks after our last Christmas together. Life then changed completely.

Mom always used to say that being alone this time of year is extremely difficult and last Christmas I finally learnt what she meant by that.

Now Christmas for me is spending time with my in-laws, and everyone who is available that day. My home is always open to anyone who doesn’t want to be alone.)

(A couple of days late, I know, but it’s been a bingeful, sinful time of year, and I have been working feverishly on another project which hopefully will be complete in the upcoming months (something for me to look forward to next year). It’s probably the annual itch but I’ve been a little unwell (coincidentally).

To everyone who spent Christmas with family – You have no idea how lucky you are! Cherish these times.

Trying to…..

Trying to find a place I belong
Trying to keep my feet on solid ground
Trying to fit in
Trying to stand out
Trying to keep quiet
Trying to shout
Trying to breathe
Trying to stay
Trying to leave
Trying to stray
Trying to hold on
To sanity
Trying to be me
Trying to hide
Trying to stay alive!

(Another two minute experiment. Don’t read too much into it. This is totally random and extremely cheesily “rhymey” on purpose, it made me smile though!)

Learning to hope!

(Before I start writing what I’m about to write I’d like to say that it took me a little over 24 hours (and this was a year ago) to make up my mind about whether I wanted to publish something so open, so personal, and a piece from the depth of my… existence(?) (I don’t know how else to say this) and I decided that I should.

It’s not my entire journey, just a section and not an entire chapter. It might come across as little haphazard or confusing but that’s exactly how it’s meant to be. Feel free to stop right here and close this tab.

P.S.- You still have a chance to stop reading!)

Somewhere down the line a part of my soul died, or a part of me died, or was it a heady mix of both? The pain will make you stronger they said. So strong that it breaks you? It killed the person who had big dreams, it erased the smile off her face. So strong that it numbs you inside?

I read a quote somewhere “There’s a crack in everything and that’s how the light gets in” (I don’t remember where I saw this one and who said it!). Perhaps this is why we need to be broken sometimes, to allow the light to shine through the cracks. Really now? Like the chinks in a curtain allow the morning sunlight to interrupt an already-disturbed sleep? No thanks! I hate curtain chinks that betray me by letting in the light. I’ve grown addicted to the darkness, my darkness, that has stemmed from pain of the past and present.

Somewhere between yesterday and tomorrow the darkness enveloped me, the cold became noticeable and the numbness? That was a very welcome feeling. It means that you’ve been tossed around like a sailboat out at sea braving the turbulent waters. That numbness. Yes, that’s addictive. Are there anymore pearls of wisdom that I can reject or refute? Do I care enough? Do I want to care? Sadly, I’ll never know.

Sometimes I don’t know what makes me continue holding on when inside I have already let go. At times I think I’m a fool. I coax my outer self to meet my inner self and convince her to let go but outside there’s a glimmer of hope. Maybe the hope lies in the cheerful chirping birds at dawn, or the golden sunset skies at dusk or… maybe… just maybe… it’s the lyrics of a song that’s constantly playing in my head on repeat mode.

“At the end of the storm there’s a golden sky…”, there’s always a golden sky so I choose to walk on with hope. Hope for newer golden skies or the sweet silver song of a lark. I guess I’ll keep walking on with hope, towards the golden sky at the end of the storm.

If you chose life, you’ve been brave enough to live another day. You chose to live another day, keep going!!!

(The song “You’ll never walk alone” was written by Rodgers and Hammerstein (my favourite duo when it comes to lyrical and musical magic).

No one saw…

Broken

She hid behind her fairytales. Every single one of them had a happy ending. It helped her escape until reality hit.

No one saw her loneliness. No one saw the pain in her eyes when she smiled. No one saw the depression she hid behind her mask. No one heard her heart break. No one saw the silent tears she cried at night until her pillow was damp.

No one noticed that her dreamcatcher had broken. No one saw the demons she slew in her waking hours. No one saw her sit alone and stare at her walls, battling the silence. A silence she once welcomed was almost deafening. No one saw her struggle to stop her mind from thinking, not thinking. No one saw her struggle to sleep at night. They saw her anger, her hatred but no one saw her hurting inside.

No one noticed she was so numb inside that her tears no longer flowed freely. She was broken inside and no one saw.

She was alive and that was all that mattered!

Isaac Mutant!

Sometimes we just find something that touches our soul and stirs up emotions and thoughts we never knew existed within us. It took me a long time to settle into the area but now that I have lived here almost a decade I have grown to love and enjoy the sights and sounds the place has to offer. The different animals and birds, oh the birds! An ornithologist’s dream corner right through the year from Golden Orioles, to Magpie Robins, sparrows and pigeons, Pariah kites, Brahminy kites, waterhens, Egrets. Sometimes I stay awake until 4 a.m. just to hear the farmers head to work. Sometimes I wake up at the crack of dawn just to watch them water their crops. Sometimes it’s only to peek at a Black-rumped Flameback (woodpecker) who diligently visits the coconut tree outside my window at the first hints of daylight. If I’m lucky I get to see the Mongoose family scurrying about. A common sight are squirrels who have just been added to my “To-be-fed” list…

…and then there was Isaac Mutant. The first time I saw him I was in awe. Yes, he is a common crow with a story. I was tempted to call him Mr. Crowley but that didn’t quite cut it so Isaac Mutant it was. I love this crow for his uniqueness. I started feeding the birds leftovers. I watched him struggle to get food off the ground because of his beak. The other crows would seize his food before he could get at it because he would take long or rather the other birds were far quicker than he was. The poor chap had to tilt his head to get a grip on the food.

Isaac Mutant

Isaac Mutant

Now not only has he mastered the art of picking food off the ground, he has no problems piercing bags open with his freakishly long beak. The struggles were real but he overcame them. Animals do have their struggles too and if we are lucky enough we get to witness their growth and ability to fly above their adversaries.

I have been feeding the birds (and now squirrels and a waterhen) since I moved into this place and it’s been almost eight years now. Today I managed to get a close up of him without him taking flight. Most times he’s perched safely on a branch of the jamun (blackberry) tree and watches me through his black beady eyes.

The crow that never gave up

The crow that never gave up

Why did I write about a common crow? I don’t know really but looking at Mr. Mutant every single day I see a soul, I see a bird who persevered and beat the odds, I see hope and most of all I found something that could be turned into a beautiful story.

I look around me and I see people fighting silent battles, depression, stress, health issues, struggles of holding a home together and a job or two or three, then there’s Mutant, the crow that didn’t give up. A living being without rationale. Everyone’s struggles are real, as real as Mr. Mutant’s, the only difference is; not everyone rides through the storm the way Isaac Mutant braved through his. To me he is no longer a “bird” but a symbol of hope!