Saturday, June 30, 2018

Software Engineer Troubles


They say daybreak is beautiful. I see it today, it takes my breath away. I don’t need coffee today to kick start my day. I already feel charged; an adrenaline high rushing through my veins. My plan, if all goes well could go viral on social media, maybe even make me famous or it could end up becoming the biggest embarrassment of my life. A complete disaster. I hope for my sake, it is the former.

I take a quick shower and get ready for work. I check my laptop bag, make sure I take my wallet, my house keys and by force of habit, my car keys as well. Then as an afterthought, I realize I will not be driving today. Chucking them back into the key holder, I pause and take a deep breath. I hope I do not end up becoming a laughing stock. For all I know, I might be covered in newspapers and on media channels. Saying a quick prayer, I lock up the house and leave.

I see the white horse, saddled up, all ready to go. She seems restless, symbolic of something I am going through as well. Donning my bag across my body, I take the stairs two at a time and reach my ‘vehicle’ in less than fifteen seconds.

“As ready as you are,” I mumble. “We’re both made for bigger things.” I say and giving myself a thrust, jump up and take my place. Then off we go, maneuvering the Bangalore roads, making heads turn. I see people whip out their phones and start shooting. Holding my head high, I pose for pictures with the placard I made yesterday night. “Last Working Day as a Software Engineer ” it reads.

I am Roopesh Kumar Verma. And today is my last day at work.

Picture Credit: Deccan Herald
The above is a fictionalized version of that morning – a possible rundown of what it may have been like. The event did happen for real. You can read more about it here.

The above post is post 6 of 7 in a series of posts written as part of a 7-day, based on today's image prompt, shown below, published within the 'Write Tribe Festival of Words June 2018' challenge.

Picture Credit: Pexels

Vantage Point


“The Castel Sant’ Angelo. Translated to English, it means the Castle of the Holy Angel. Commissioned by the great roman Emperor Hadrian …”

Standing to the far end of the group, five year old twins Ishaan and Kabir zone out of the well-rehearsed intonations of the Italian tourist guide. Eyes darting to both sides, looking for something to hold their interests, the impish ones settle on the majestic spiral staircase, the four flights of which seem to soar and meet the towering sky.

“Come on, Ishaan. Let’s go. I have seen this place before. Dumbledore can be up there.”
“You need a train to go to Hogwarts. Trains don't go on stairs. How will Dumbledore go then? You’re dumb. I am going upstairs.”
“No wait. What if Mom sees us?” says Ishaan, unconvinced and not in the mood for a talk down.
“We’ll come sliding back down in two minutes. She won’t even know. Imagine that! Come on Ishaan. Stop being a sissy.”

And a minute later, when the group huddles closer to the guide, the two boys find a quick moment to sneak away in the direction of the stairs.

***

“The Castel Sant’ Angelo. Translated to English, it means the Castle of the Holy Angel. Commissioned by the great roman Emperor Hadrian …”

Standing at the right end of the group, the handsome thirty-something gentleman registers none of the words but finds that the steady cadence of the tourist guide’s voice has a soothing rhythm to it. Then he sees her. Walking down the stairs; gliding even. An apparition in blue. As pale as the sky, as pale as her eyes. She looks beautiful, as she always did. She comes to a stop, ten paces away and he finds him unable to breathe. The air around him suddenly feels a little chiller, like the temperature dropped a hundred degrees.

Propelled by a force he does not recognize, he finds himself moving towards her. And then he’s thrown off his feet. Stumbling to find his balance, he looks around to find two children pushing him aside and running past him, onto the staircase. He looks up at her, knowing that she would be smiling at their antics. But she’s gone. A knowing sadness descends upon him. He sighs. It’s been six years since his wife died. He wonders if he will ever be able to let go of the haunting memories.

***

“The Castel Sant’ Angelo. Translated to English, it means the Castle of the Holy Angel. Commissioned by the great roman Emperor Hadrian …”

“I wanted to go to Vishnodevi and look where I am," says sixty five year old Vijaya, bored of the tourist guide's monologue and wanting to rest her tired knees.
“What would you have done in Vaishnodevi anyway, Vijaya?”
“I had a pact with my God, Rama. I had made a promise. I would climb the 4000 steps there, my offering to our Creator.”
“Oh come on, Vijaya. Be a Roman when you’re in Rome. We have Vaishnodevi back in India. Here, they have Castel Sant’ Angelo. See those stairs? Must be easily 400 of them. Go climb them up and down ten times. You’ll be done.”
“You can’t joke about these things. You should take God a little more seriously, Rama” gasps Vijaya, appalled at the casual disregard Rama has for God and religion.

Rama looks around disinterested and does a double take as she sees her two five-year-old grandsons giggling upstairs at the first landing. Right now, the only thing she wants to take seriously is catching hold of them, possibly by their ears, and bringing them back downstairs.

Picture Credit: Pexels
The above post is post 5 of 7 in a series of posts written as part of a 7-day, based on today's image prompt published within the 'Write Tribe Festival of Words June 2018' challenge. The one-day delay continues to cascade but I hope to catch up, hopefully tonight!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

To Infinity And Beyond


It’s almost time. Any day now. I think I am ready, R. I think after months of denial, grieving, anger and helplessness I am finally at the stage of acceptance. I am ready to let go. My diseased body is killing me. Figuratively and literally. But months of carrying on with the physical pain and ache has almost done me in.

I think I am finally ready to join you out there. Well, almost. There is one last thing to do. One last trip to embark upon. Everything else, I crossed off our list. Yes R, our list.

I stand up and slowly wobble over to the rickety old desk at the corner. The light from the desk light feels faint but I can do everything by the feel of my fingers now. My joints ache, my bones hurt but I cannot complain. My body has served me well. Now it’s time to renounce it and move past into the vast expanse of the afterlife, the endless vacuum out there, whatever happens next.

I run my hands over the contents of the drawer. The diary where you used to maintain our expenses, our trip calendar, your poetry book, the albums. I have done these a million times. Taken them out and felt them, smelled them. I still feel your presence in them. And under these, I find what I am looking for. I pull it out gently.

It still feels like it was taken just yesterday, though cracks have developed over time. The thin layer of film has worn off at the corners. But the image is fresh in my mind. I do not have to look at it. It is etched in my memory. The grey white sand, the white kaftan you wore. Your dainty young hands in my well rounded ones. And the rings.

I have to go find those now. I have to go find those and bring them back. Then I’ll be ready. I promise you I will dig those out from where we buried them for infinity, never to be disturbed again. A memory to be frozen in time, we had said back then. I will dig those up and bring them back to you. Just like I promised you, R.

I tuck in the picture neatly into my notebook and place it inside the overnight case. We will make the final journey together.

I will see you in a while R.
I am ready.

Picture Credit: Pexels
The above post is post 4 of 7 in a series of posts written as part of a 7-day, 'Write Tribe Festival of Words June 2018' challenge. The one-day delay continues to cascade but I hope to catch up! 

For a change, I incorporate two prompts in a single post this time! The image prompt and the below creative writing prompt.

"Day 4 – 27 Jun – Write a story about a character who finds out that he or she is dying and has been knocking things off his/her bucket list and has finally reached the last item."

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Little Prankster


“How could you, Ashish? One thing I ask you to do, one thing and you lose him!”
“Come on Maya, stop being so dramatic. He’s not a baby. He’s thirteen. He’ll be here.”
“Here? Here? Where is here? Do you see him? What if someone …” she gasps, unable to fathom the thought of something untoward happening to me. I squeeze myself further behind the palm tree to avoid any runaway chance of being seen.

I watch her walk up and down the beach. Frantic, hurried, impatient. She yells out my name. Out into the waves where it mixes with the salty breeze and gets lost in the surf. She does it over and over, left and right, this way and that. She starts to get worried. And it bothers me. Suddenly I start to doubt my genius idea. Maybe I should have followed Abhinn’s lead.

And then I hear her bloodcurdling scream. This is it. She has found the shoes. The shoes arranged in perfect symmetry right where the tide starts. It won’t be long now.

“No … no … no … my baby. How could you? Ashish, no …” she cries, falling into a heap. Dad looks like he’s struck by lightning. And I finally realize the joke’s gone too far. I step out from behind the palm tree, my bravado having gone up in smoke. Uh-oh, this doesn't look like it will end well. But I have to put on a brave face; the task has to be completed. All for a good cause.

“Mom, Dad?” I inch my way towards them, my voice close to a whisper.

I watch them do a double take as they take in the scene – me walking out from my hideout, barefoot, the shoes, and the sheepish look on my face. Mom runs to me and plasters sloppy kisses all over my face, her minty breath in my hair as she mixes in curse words with lovey-dovey nonsensical phrases. I watch Dad’s face change shades of colour and end at a dark shade of red.

“I just … Abhinn said if his folks don’t let him go on the school trip he would go jump into the sea. But … I wanted to show him that’s not needed. I told him … I told him you love me. See? How much you love me? You … so Dad, can I go on the trip?” I say it all out in one long breath and then summon the courage to look up at him.

He looks at me, eyes blazing; the gaze a little too discomforting for me. Then, he slaps me hard across the face. OK, I am pretty sure that means no trip for me. And as it turns out, all that idiot Abhinn had to do was ask his folks nicely and they agreed. My folks are so dramatic, I think as I turn around and walk away rolling my eyes.

Picture Credit: Pexels
The above post is post 3 of 7 in a series of posts written as part of a 7-day, 'Write Tribe Festival of Words June 2018' challenge and based on the image prompt for the day! Albeit a day late. But then, better late than never! For more on the same, click on the link.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Tell Me Your Dreams


“Tell me your dreams, Marco. What do you see, mi hijo? Where do you want to go? What do you want to do?” She asked, dusting off the caked dried mud from his hair. Tiny wisps of blonde-brown hair fell across his eyebrow making him look younger than the tender age of four that he was and she caught herself choking back a tear. She could not afford to seem weak in front of him. She had to stay strong. Yet another year, a whole year of 365 days. And then it would be all over.

“Oy Natasja, your turn! They be a waiting for ya, don’t keep ‘em waiting girl!” yelled out one of the other women, making Natasja turn and look back at the source of the voice. Little Marco chose the distraction to make a run for it. Putting up buildings in the mud with his friend Alex was way better than talking to Mama about stuff that made her cry. Besides, Marco didn’t dream. He saw. The long line of clothes that hung way high up for him to reach. All he wanted was those colourful striped clothes. A different one to wear each day. But the last time he had told that to Mama, she had gotten cross with him.

Mama said they would be out of here to a new home in another year. Marco didn’t know what one year meant, but he hoped it wouldn’t be too long. He was bored of the clothes he wore every day; the monotony wore him out. He yearned for those blues and reds and browns. The colourful shirts that hung upside down every single day on the clothesline beckoning him over to an exciting life on the other side.

“Come on Diego, I don’t got all day man,” said the beefy heavy set man, slapping the quiet guy on his back, pulling him out of his reverie. Diego let out a long sigh and threw out the excess water from the trough. Getting to his feet, he heaved up the twenty odd inmate garments he had just washed and handed them over to Garcia. His task for the day was done. Now it was up to Garcia to get those dried and back. Standing up, he arched his back and stretched himself, his eyes coming to rest on the wall that separated the men’s quarters from the women’s.

He wondered how his wife and son were faring. Not a day went by that he didn’t rue getting into the wrong side of the law. That he was incarcerated was one thing, but the fact that he had gotten his pregnant wife entangled in this was something that he struggled to live with every day.

Behind him, the previous day’s laundry fluttered in the soft cool breeze.

Pic Credit: Pexels
The above post is post 2 of 7 in a series of posts written as part of a 7-day, 'Write Tribe Festival of Words June 2018' challenge and based on the image prompt for the day! For more on the same, click on the link.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

How Do I Let You Go?


So, this is where it all ends; where I am supposed to let you go; where WE are supposed to let you go. But it seems like just another day. So regular, so ordinary. I have come to the end of the rope, I want to hold on but I can feel it slipping out of my grasp. My fingers tingle as I struggle to hold on tighter, I cannot let you go, I am not ready yet.

I watch the machine beep behind you; the rhythmic pulsations sending a spike every few seconds. I watch your chest rise and fall, proof that you’re alive. But then, you’re not, are you?

The insurance company refused to pay for life support; they say our policy does not cover it. I want you to wake up so I can curse you for choosing such a shoddy life insurance. I want you to wake up so I can hand over the reins to you and rest a little, I am so exhausted. But then it’s selfish of me to say that when you’re struggling so hard to live. I want you to wake up so you can witness the miracle we created, the one that now sleeps fitfully in my arms, blissfully unaware of the mental agony I go through.

Medical science has endured miracles. Sadly, none of those seem to work for us. And nothing moves you anymore. Not our family, not our friends, not people from work. And certainly not me. I read you stories and recollected memories. I ranted and raved, cried and screamed, cursed and abhorred. I even tried to hate you for putting me in this position and failed at that. Miserably.

I am down to the end of the rope. Because I am down to the last shred of our savings. They say I should let you go so I can provide for our baby. I want you to wake up so I do not have to choose between you and her. And so, in a last ditch attempt of desperation, I place her dainty little form on you. I watch as she quivers a bit and places her tiny fist under your chin, settling down neatly into the nook of your neck. Like it was sculpted for her. Laying there like that, you both look like a picture of normalcy. And yet I know, it is anything but that.

I watch for signs of recognition, awareness, anything. But there is none. Maybe I imagine the flutter of your lashes, or I desperately will you to awake. Do you see her at all, this seven pound mixture of awe and delight? We have waited forever. You and me. And we have waited thirteen days. Me and her. Feels like forever. Please wake up.

The monitor behind you continues to write out spikes, the machine continuing to breathe for you as I realize I have been holding my breath. How do I do this? I am not ready. I don’t think I will ever be. How do I let you go?

Image Copyright: Pexels
The above post is post 1 of 7 in a series of posts written as part of a 7-day, 'Write Tribe Festival of Words June 2018' challenge and based on the image prompt for the day! For more on the same, click on the link.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Which One Are You?



It takes all kinds of people to make this world. True. If you look at it differently, at the very core, there are two types. Positive and Negative.

Negative people are … well, negative. Why spend any more time on them?

This morning I was suddenly reminded about the person on my Whatsapp list who was working through a GM diet. I do not remember who this person was; just that she would post a daily status. I couldn’t recollect seeing one this morning. Someone close to me is on a difficult diet too. While I would be hopeless at any kind of dieting, I smile knowing that they’re working hard and going strong! I know of another work-friend of mine, who started out on one such and couldn’t sustain the momentum post the diet. But the important thing was, she had believed in and made an attempt. Having something to believe in - that’s important.

A Facebook friend of mine is currently on a #100daysofrunning challenge, running a minimum of 2 kms every single day for 100 days. #Noexcuses. Every single day he posts a picture of him post the run. And there are folks who consistently like those posts and encourage the run.

Another long-time work-friend of mine back in the States, would run a lot of full marathons. His trick to completing those was asking for and dedicating each mile to one of his encouragers. Needless to say, he would find some co-supportive energy to go on and there were people equally egged to see him complete the run.

I say this, because it’s not a cake-walk to take on something and see it all the way through to the end. Back when I was doing the A-Z challenge, I remember twice along the way where I was so exhausted with the other happenings during the month (all good stuff, hectic though!) that made me want to quit. But then there would be those beautiful souls who would ping me asking for the post of the day, those congratulating and commenting, those calling or just simply sending out positive vibes. I have to honestly say, the posts written those days were more for and due to them.

Of course, like I also said – it takes all kinds of people to make this world. There are those who are not just negative, but insanely toxic. Never encouraging, always belittling. I know a couple of such people and try as I might, I cannot remember the last time they said anything positive about anyone.

Make your own call. Find out if someone believes in a cause strongly enough to make you want to encourage them. At times I find it difficult to support someone in endeavors that do not make sense to me. If I cannot encourage, may I not discourage either.  I have negative phases too; we go through ups and downs. But don’t be someone who stays down there forever. If you need to pick between being an encourager versus a put-down, choose the former. Always the former.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Z: Zootopia!


Long after the last guests of the night had left, Alok stood outside his room with bated breath. While he was glad that his twenty-one pets – a motley combination of cats, dogs, rabbits, parrots, hamsters, snakes and fish had attended his wedding, it was his beautiful bride Nisha’s entry that had taken his breath away. And now she was in there waiting for him. As he parted the curtain of flowers expecting to see a coy Nisha, Rocket - his labrador bounded off his bed and took off true to its name. Behind him, his friends erupted into boisterous laughter.

Lots of individuals love animals. Some as pets, some as care-givers. Zoophilia however, refers to the extreme obsession and paraphilic attraction that certain individuals feel with animals. History has some very infamous references to Zoophilia and bestiality.

Pic Credit: I Freaking Love Animals
This post is written as part of a 100 word microfiction series for the A2Z Blogging Challenge.
Read other posts in the A2Z 2018 Blogging Challenge here.
For the complete works of A2Z 2016 Blogging Challenge, click here


And that brings us to the end of the 2018 challenge! I hope you enjoyed reading these as much as I loved writing them! Whether you read 1, 26 or any other number of them, thank you for stopping by! A special thanks to those who liked, commented, fed back reviews/edits. And of course, a big shout out to those special ones who have been encouraging me throughout! I owe you!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Y: Twist in the Tale!


“How can you not like it? Everyone celebrates it on Jun 21.”
“Not a fan.”
“How can you not see the health benefits?”
“Nothing that Zumba or good ol’ aerobics cannot achieve.”
“Flexibility.”
“Please!” I sputter, “a clothes hanger would be more flexible than you!”
“How dare you! Let me show just how flexible I am because of my love for yoga,” he retorts entwining his arms and limbs into a complicated posture.

Ten minutes, I chuckle and lock the door, jingling the keys in my hands as he yells out “Krishna, come on man, I’m stuck! Help untangle me!”

Like Q, Y too did not have any documented philias 😝😝. However, Yogaphilia might as well be. With power yoga, beer yoga, hot yoga and more – the day might soon dawn when they coin something like this for the yoga super-enthusiasts all over the world!

Pic Credit: Do You Yoga
This post is written as part of a 100 word microfiction series for the A2Z Blogging Challenge.
Read other posts in the A2Z 2018 Blogging Challenge here.
For the complete works of A2Z 2016 Blogging Challenge, click here

Friday, April 27, 2018

X: From the land of Far, Far Away!


“Famous Ganges mud. Usually it cost more. I give discount,” explained the tourist guide, Mr. Pratap. His five-year-old went wide-eyed at the sight of the two intrusions, their milky white skin standing out clearly among the sea of brown gathered to get a look or even a selfie with the foreigners.

Twenty minutes later, the kid giggled watching the couple indulge in his favourite game. Scooping up handfuls of swampy mud, they rubbed it all over themselves. Little did Mr. Pratap know that owing to their fear of being followed and bothered, their need for camouflage had trumped his faith.

The fact that there are pockets in India that love, worship and pander to foreigners, mostly fair skinned, is no big secret. Xenophilia refers to the extreme love for such; when the curiosity or amusement rises to the extent of obsession with the visitors from another land.

Pic Credit: Deccan Chronicle
This post is written as part of a 100 word microfiction series for the A2Z Blogging Challenge.
Read other posts in the A2Z 2018 Blogging Challenge here.
For the complete works of A2Z 2016 Blogging Challenge, click here

Thursday, April 26, 2018

W: Up, Up and Away!


8:00 AM
“And that thrust is what makes rockets fly,” concluded Mr. Chidambaran, happy that his son seemed interested in science. He wondered why his nine year old was asking questions around propulsion physics though.

2:30 PM
“Don’t you have homework? Stop goofing around with the broom,” said a very cross Mrs. Chidambaran. Arvind’s antics were driving her up the wall.

5:00 PM
“Appa can make propellent shoes. I stole the broom from Amma. Wand?” asked Arvind.
“Got a Harry Potter wand, see? I think it should work!” Divya remarked.
“You’ll be the coolest witch ever!” quipped a beaming Arvind!

Wiccophilia refers to the love for witches and witchcraft. The above micro-fiction is about a light-hearted childhood fascination through the eyes of two innocent kids.

Pic Credit: Creatables
This post is written as part of a 100 word microfiction series for the A2Z Blogging Challenge.
Read other posts in the A2Z 2018 Blogging Challenge here.
For the complete works of A2Z 2016 Blogging Challenge, click here

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

V: Ouch!


“Who would do something so ghastly? This is an eight month old we’re talking about.”
“Mrs. Rajen, I understand your pain. But tests don’t lie. Your baby has more than thirty puncture points. Recent ones. We can’t release her back to you until the police allow it. A social worker will visit to check on the twin as well.”
I watch my sister crumble to the ground.

That night, I deviate from my routine. No injections anymore for baby Sanya. Much as I love the euphoria, I cannot risk it anymore. I cannot let Sanya get taken away as well.

Most people detest needles. At the very least, they get a little squeamish around them. Vaccinophilia refers to the weird love and attraction that one has to needles and vaccines. Vaccinophiles enjoy injecting themselves as much as they derive pleasure from watching others being injected or injecting others actively.

Pic Credit: Career Daily Girl
This post is written as part of a 100 word microfiction series for the A2Z Blogging Challenge.
Read other posts in the A2Z 2018 Blogging Challenge here.
For the complete works of A2Z 2016 Blogging Challenge, click here

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

U: Up Above The World So High!


Stretching from my shoulders all the way to my stomach, the snug vest feels like any regular jacket. Except, it weighs sixteen kilograms. Defacto pipe bombs line the inner area. The fragmentation layer built over it is full of tiny steel balls. The wire running down the sleeve of my shirt ends in a lever.

A beautiful heaven beckons. I have waited for this all my life. As I finger the lever, I realize that I have been holding my breath. As images of a breathtaking paradise up there float to my mind, I smile. And I flip the switch.

Uranophilia refers to the ultimate expression of faith in that you can take such joy and derive such pleasure from the mere thought of heaven alone. It is an abnormal affection that the individual has for heaven.

Pic Credit: Doctrines of Faith
This post is written as part of a 100 word microfiction series for the A2Z Blogging Challenge.
Read other posts in the A2Z 2018 Blogging Challenge here.
For the complete works of A2Z 2016 Blogging Challenge, click here

Monday, April 23, 2018

T: The Poisoned Apple!


The hydrocarbons in the dishwashing liquid hit me hard, like that of an oncoming train. I feel the sudden rush to my brain; millions of nerve centres lighting up and tingling all at once. I feel my stomach burn, as if my insides are being ripped open. I shudder and cough, flailing my arms around, choking and gasping for air. I scramble for the activated charcoal by the side, and stuff it into my mouth. Six hours later, I am stable. After all, I have done this a few times. The dishwashing liquid is stowed away, for another episode someday.

Toxicophilia refers to the insane love that a person has for toxins, both legal and illegal. It is the search for the rewarding effects of one or more psychotropic substances. Toxicophiles derive pleasure by subjecting themselves or others to heady combinations of toxins often pushing one to the edge before wanting to return back to the state of normalcy.

Pic Credit: Jane Hinrich
This post is written as part of a 100 word microfiction series for the A2Z Blogging Challenge.
Read other posts in the A2Z 2018 Blogging Challenge here.
For the complete works of A2Z 2016 Blogging Challenge, click here

Saturday, April 21, 2018

S: Half and Half!


She smooths the bed sheet again, neatly re-tucking in the corners on all four sides. Taking a step back, she inspects her handiwork. Not completely satisfied with the way it looks, she walks over to one side of the bed and tucks the sheet in another three quarters of an inch. Standing by the side, she squints, pursing her lips, surveying the situation and trying to make up her mind. Ninety three minutes later, when she’s finally convinced that the geometrical shapes on the sheet are symmetrical to both ends of the bed, she locks up and leaves for work.

Symmetrophiles are persons who are pleased by or obsessed with maintaining symmetry in their life. It is usually used to indicate a more extreme attraction (or medically classifiable relationship) of a person to the condition. It is also closely related to an obsessive-compulsive-disorder, an OCD condition where the individuals feel driven to place items in a certain manner that provides symmetrical alignment.

Pic Credit: Elecwire
This post is written as part of a 100 word microfiction series for the A2Z Blogging Challenge.
Read other posts in the A2Z 2018 Blogging Challenge here.
For the complete works of A2Z 2016 Blogging Challenge, click here

Friday, April 20, 2018

R: A walk down memory lane!


We force open the door. It cracks open four inches before being met with resistance. Even through the gap, the musty smell hits us hard.

“What the …” remarks Goyal.
Rows and columns of cardboard boxes greet us, stacked wall to wall, floor to ceiling. Eight hours later, we take turns listing our inventory.

“Thirteen boxes of newspaper. 1960 to 2018. Sequenced”
“Magazines. 1952 onwards.”
“Sixty two cassettes. Audio. Thirteen video cassettes. Home made.”
“Nine boxes of pictures. Eleven CDs. Again pictures.”
“Nineteen boxes of personal journals”.
“Our victim’s a retrophile? It’s going to be a long day,” I sigh.

Retrophilia is defined as a strong attraction to and preference for that which is from or characteristic of the past. Retrophiles have a strong liking for things of the past and tend to accumulate and hold on to tons of memorabilia for years together, often until they die.

Pic Credit: Irish Times
This post is written as part of a 100 word microfiction series for the A2Z Blogging Challenge.
Read other posts in the A2Z 2018 Blogging Challenge here.
For the complete works of A2Z 2016 Blogging Challenge, click here

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Q: When knowledge is expensive!


“My name is Srikant, I am an addict.”
I hear reluctant murmurs of 'Hi Srikant' and 'Welcome Srikant' from the group.
“Srikant, I am glad you took the first step. Daily quota?” asks the facilitator.
“Fifteen hours, usually,” I respond sheepishly.
“How do you feel?” asks an elderly gentleman who I have trouble imagining as an addict.
“Um … It’s difficult. I ask myself, how can more knowledge hurt? It just felt so right. I ... crave that intimacy.” I say, feeling at home as people around me start nodding.
“That’s why they call us Quoraphiles, son. Welcome to Quora Anonymous.”

So, I totally made this one up! 😄😄 There are no documented philias that start with Q. And Quora undoubtedly, is becoming hugely addictive! It should come as no surprise then that questions like ‘How do you deal with Quora addiction?’ and ‘How bad is your Quora addiction?’ have 100+ answers on – surprise, surprise – Quora itself! 😉

Pic Credit: Quora
This post is written as part of a 100 word microfiction series for the A2Z Blogging Challenge.
Read other posts in the A2Z 2018 Blogging Challenge here.
For the complete works of A2Z 2016 Blogging Challenge, click here

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

P: A Raging Fire Within!


2002
I watch him focus on the tiny blip, concentrating hard on getting it right. He adjusts the magnifying glass carefully. Ten seconds later, I see the first wisps of smoke rise up from the paper.

2010
The helpless cat lets out a whimper but it is bound tightly. He sprinkles a generous dose of lighter fluid and strikes the match. Breathing in the smell of burning flesh, he lets out a satiated sigh.

2018
I watch him on TV, being handcuffed for arson. I see the look of pleasure on his face and I feel sick to my stomach.

Pyrophilia is a relatively uncommon paraphilia in which a subject derives gratification from fire and fire-starting activity. Pyrophilia has been diagnosed in very few instances, and is not fully accepted by the general psychological community.

Pic Credit: UnDepress
This post is written as part of a 100 word microfiction series for the A2Z Blogging Challenge.
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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

O: A Slimy Affair!


“Quick! Hide the ring in there. And run,” I whisper, as we work on pranking Gaurav. I keep watch as she locates Gaurav’s bag. And then I gasp. Was it my imagination or did I sense movement in his bag?

“Mm … Prachi, it moved.”
“What moved?”
“The bag ... something in there.”
“Shut up. Don’t psyche me out.”

I watch as she zips it open. I try to warn her but I cannot find my voice. My heart stops beating. And then I hear her blood curdling scream as more than four snakes slither out of Gaurav’s gym bag.

Ophidiophilia refers to the irregular adoration or amazement for or with snakes; it’s a subset of zoophilia – attraction to animals in general. Greek culture has historic records of several ophidiophiles from centuries ago.

Pic Credit: Teezilly
This post is written as part of a 100 word microfiction series for the A2Z Blogging Challenge.
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Monday, April 16, 2018

N: Till Death do us 'part!


The hazy sun rays streaming in through the window shades give her an other-world aura that makes her look even more beautiful. A hint of a smile plays on her lips; like she’s in a happy dream. I run my fingers through her golden brown locks, playing around with her hair. She always ties it up, now it lays splayed across the pillow. Her skin feels cold, even though it’s starting to get warm outside. I pull her close to me, kissing the nape of her neck. She does not stir. She cannot. She’s been dead for three days now.

Necrophilia, also known as necrophilism, necrolagnia, necrocoitus, necrochlesis, and thanatophilia, is a sexual attraction or sexual act involving corpses. It is classified as a paraphilia by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association.

Pic Credit: Keyword Lister
This post is written as part of a 100 word microfiction series for the A2Z Blogging Challenge.
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Saturday, April 14, 2018

M: To Be or Not to Be!


There are those who doubt me. Doubt my decision to go ahead with this; who see this as dangerous. I cannot blame those people. But there was a time when I was in the deepest dungeons of my life, struggling to cope with what I was going through. People turn to nature, travel, books, friends, even yoga. I turned to bees. They helped me get through before. And they will again. I trust my baby with them. So will I go ahead with the maternity photo shoot with 20,000 bees? Yes I will. A mother will not harm her child.

Melissophilia refers to the obsessive love for bees. When I read the story about the bee-keeper woman from Ohio who decided to have a maternity shoot with 20,000 bees, my first reaction was disbelief as well. But then love for all things, human or not, animate or inanimate can be all consuming and inexplicable. It saddens me to read that Emily Mueller later suffered a still birth. However, there is no research that links bee stings to stillbirths. While in her profession as a beekeeper, she has given birth to two children, both hale and hearty.

The above post does not claim to be an introspection or intend to be insensitive or sensationalize the choices being by Emily Mueller. I wish her and her family peace, strength and only the best.


Pic Credit: USA Today
This post is written as part of a 100 word microfiction series for the A2Z Blogging Challenge.
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Friday, April 13, 2018

L: Dreading Day Zero



Only three days to go. Day Zero. Apr 16 2018. I scrub my hands under the flowing water. But it isn’t enough. The water flow slows to a trickle. I feel short of breath, like I might collapse. Forty seconds later, the tap runs dry. I cannot run out of water. Not now. Not when I still have twelve vessels to be filled. I have bathed thrice today but it isn’t enough. I look at the veins in my arm, throbbing hard. Jesus converted water to wine. If only I could convert blood to water, I would kill for it.

Loutrophilia is a condition, one in which individuals are obsessed with the act of bathing or washing themselves, often scrubbing themselves raw. Events like Day Zero, a day on which taps would run dry – a real threat that looms large on the horizon, could cause extreme anxiety for loutrophiles – more than that for an average human.

Pic Credit: Ujuh
This post is written as part of a 100 word microfiction series for the A2Z Blogging Challenge.
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Thursday, April 12, 2018

K: Monkey Business


Monday 2:30 PM
‘Two silver spoons, my Estee Lauder lipstick, my Montblanc pen and Karthik’s mouth organ,” I say, as the constable makes a note.
“One gold earring and three bananas,” says Rama.
“Such a motley list for a maid to steal. One earring, not both,” he comments. Rama grunts.

Wednesday 5:20 PM
I step out of the building when it lands on my eye, blinding me for a second. Then it plops to the floor. My Estee Lauder lipstick. The Montblanc follows. I look up earnestly to see the perpetrator scampering away. With two other thieving monkeys in tow.

Though monkeys make unintentional yet sometimes funny kleptomaniacs, kleptophilia refers to the state of getting turned on by the very act of stealing. While pre-teen stealing tends to focus on the act of proving one’s bravado among peers and most adult robberies are usually of the financial kind, kleptophiles focus on stealing specific fetish objects though there is no personal or financial need for them.

Pic Credit: Youtube
This post is written as part of a 100 word microfiction series for the A2Z Blogging Challenge.
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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

J: Coming Out.


“I cannot .. cannot .. do this, Papa,” I say, trying to muster up courage. Stacked next to me are flyers of the upcoming Nazi convention, the Swastika symbol on each a glaring omen.

Papa looks at me hard, his eyes boring holes into my skin. His unflinching gaze makes me feel unbelievably small. And I shudder involuntarily.

“I fell in love,” I murmur as softly as I can. “With Hanukkah. Hebrew. And … Moses.”

I see the Luger too late. The silent night is interrupted only by the echo of a gunshot. Just one. Then it is quiet again.

Imagine a love so strong that it transcends not just traditions and religions, but borders, generations of hatred, and a whole belief system that one has been raised with. Judeophilia refers to extreme love for the Jewish, in which one might go against their own religions/culture and start adapting those of Judaism.

Pic Credit: The Journal
This post is written as part of a 100 word microfiction series for the A2Z Blogging Challenge.
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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

I: Everything's Fishy!


Day 3 of the trip dawns bright and sunny. And on our itinerary for today is the 188,000 gallon kelp forest tank aquarium at the California Science Center. Filled with coral exhibits, sea weed, fishes and sharks, the swirling water within the deep blue glass casts kaleidoscopic shadows that dance across the hall. Little Shreya, all of three years old, is a big fan of fishes and all aquatic life. She shrieks now, excited.

“Mommy, look! Fish! I love fish!” Her mother and I smile, and then break into peals of laughter as she ends it with “Wow, fish! So yummy!”

Today’s micro byte, though just an innocent take as seen through the eyes of an adorable kid and not really an extreme love of any sort, is still a memory that stays close to me; one that always puts a smile on my face whenever I hear the word ‘fish’. Ichthyophilia, however, is defined as extreme obsessive love for fish and sea life. Little Shreya is now a fine young lady; all grown up and off to make her mark on the world. I hope she reads this and remembers the tale. And I hope it makes her smile 😊

Pic Captain: My Busy Books
This post is written as part of a 100 word microfiction series for the A2Z Blogging Challenge.
Read other posts in the A2Z 2018 Blogging Challenge here.
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