Mercy

In response to today’s Daily Prompt – Mercy, I will be writing a small story.


Rosanne looked at her watch. He was late again.

She went to the ladies room and locked herself in one of the stalls, trying to brush back angry tears. Oh, she couldn’t afford to cry, for her mascara would run and ruin at least half an hour of hard work.

She’d been looking forward to seeing him for many weeks now.

‘I’m an emotional fool who will never learn’, she muttered to herself.

She’d grown tired of the cat and mouse game that she was playing with Todd. Todd was a handsome, intelligent man…he was a man’s man and not one of those lovesick puppies she encountered on a frequent basis. But he knew he was a catch and he probably was dating a few women on the side.

After a few minutes, she walked out. There was no sight of him in the restaurant. She called for the bill and left.

Her heart felt sad, because she knew they would have been good for each other. But when the time isn’t right…even your soul mate will not be able to recognize you.

<A month later…>

 

Todd was standing at the altar, sweat trickling down his neck. The tuxedo suffocated him. He could feel at least five sets of eyes staring at him with hostility.

Blasted bridesmaids. Rosanne had probably warned them about him.

He looked at his best friend, the groom, who looked like he was going to burst with happiness. Todd sighed, surprised at the twinge of envy he felt

The bride walked in with the maid of honor, and he swallowed nervously. Rosanne.

Swallowed? He probably looked like a fish, gulping down air.

Throughout the wedding ceremony he tried to keep his eyes averted from Rosanne’s. She looked beautiful. He cursed himself for not showing up that day. Women like that didn’t come along more than once or twice in a life time. But he liked being a free bird…didn’t he? He looked at the shining faces of the bride and groom. Maybe being tied down wasn’t too bad…

The bride and groom exchanged their vows and kissed, hand in hand they walked towards the reception area…oblivious of the world around them.

Inadvertently, he looked at Rosanne’s face. She gave him a cool glance and looked away.

He walked towards her, only to see her being pulled away by another man. She turned around to give him a sad smile and walked away.

‘God have mercy on me’, he muttered to himself ,‘ I need to make this right’. 


 

 

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To the Sixteen year old me

Sixteen year old me…

Why do I smile sadly when I think of her?

A little flame that burned bright…

And eyes that always had light…

 

Sixteen year old me…

Loved music and books,

Maybe she should have focused on her looks…

But she was still a child.

 

Sixteen year old me…

Was too shy to talk to strangers…

Social anxiety my old friend,

I see you still are with me.

 

Sixteen year old me…

Was impulsive, unaware of the danger…

Of what opening my heart to love would mean…

But all I could do was wonder what could have been…

 

Sixteen year old me…

Knew what it was to truly love freely…

She could comprehend his fragile masculinity…

But only from a distance…for he was out of her league…

 

Sixteen year old me…

Didn’t know what the years ahead had in store…

Would they change her to the core…

Would she live up to what she thought she would be?

 

I had dreams…I had ambition…

I worked hard…harder than the rest…

I wanted to be the best…ace every test…

Did I try too hard? Hard enough?

 

I never fit in…I was a loner…

The cool kids stayed away from me…

‘She’s a geek, she’s such a bore…’

I heard those words more and more…

 

Kids can be pretty cruel you see…

They’ll make fun of you for having acne…

Or for a scar on your forehead that’s unsightly…

So you cut your hair so that they can no longer see…You try to hide what you think is ugly…

 

Sixteen year old me…

She had dignity…

She did what was right,

And when people hurt her, she hid it well…while she secretly cried at night…

 

She had a friend or two…

Her mother’s love made up for the rest…

Sixteen year old me…

She really did try her best.

 


 

This is a draft version of this attempt at poetry or whatever else one can call it…I could write more but I don’t know, I got a bit sentimental when I was writing this. This is one of the most heartfelt posts I have written in a while.

I don’t know if I changed for the better, but I feel that somewhere down the line I let myself down. The good news is I still have plenty of time to make things right. Do I regret anything…not really. Everything that happens in life happens to teach us something and we should learn from it. I have learnt things the hard way, unfortunately.

I was camera shy when I was 16. I thought I was ugly. I was a little chubby and I had this big dent in my forehead (i was born with it and it became more pronounced when I grew up). I was teased about it dreadfully in school to the point where I cut my hair and got a fringe to cover it when I turned 17. I am a Sikh and we aren’t really supposed to cut our hair. Back in the day, I was pretty religious so this was a big step for me. But it didn’t stop the teasing.

I always get really uncomfortable if someone shares/puts up photos of mine from my teens since my dent is visible and I struggled for a long time with being confident about my looks (I always looked grumpy in the photos) but no longer. I want to apologize to my younger self for not being more confident. Yes, cutting my hair made me look better but I will not be ashamed of the way God made me.

I was a shy kid – I still am shy though I can occasionally strike up a conversation with a stranger if I feel I am in a safe environment. Yeah, go figure. God has made me this way. :/

I hope in the years ahead I can be more like what I was when I was 16. Hard working, ethical, loving, quirky, kind and steadfast. I wasn’t perfect. No. I had quite a temper. But no one is perfect.

Over and out,

Ladyhawk

 

 

Perspective

I can’t live like this…’

Melanie’s voice cracked as she spoke to her friend, Nisha. It was 1 AM Indian standard time, daytime in the US, where Mel lived. Nisha was half asleep, struggling to keep her eyes open.

‘There there…what’s the problem?’ Nisha suppressed one of her many sighs as she anticipated half an hour of wailing to continue. She was right.

‘I had to leave my bungalow and shift into an apartment complex! AN APARTMENT COMPLEX. I feel so suffocated, I open a window and there are no green spaces…just buildings all around me. I live in a concrete jungle!’

Noreen rolled her eyes. Concrete jungle, AKA the most expensive apartment complex in that city.

Noreen felt a drop of water land on her forehead. She squinted, searching for her glasses in the dim, flickering yellow light. The only light that worked in her bedroom.

‘Damn!’ she muttered, ignoring Melanie’s rants but supporting them with occasional hmms and mmms…the roof was leaking again. The sad part of living on the top floor in Mumbai during the monsoon. But it was the only flat that she got. Single people, especially single women didn’t have much of a choice, if you were lucky enough to get a house in a decent locality, you’d better take it, leaky roof or not.

‘And my maid didn’t come yesterday! I had to wash all the dishes myself and ANDREW wanted me to cook! Can you believe it? He thinks we don’t need a maid, we should cook ourselves? I’ve never had to enter the kitchen in my entire life.’ 

‘Can’t you hire a part time maid for the days she doesn’t come?’ Nisha muttered absent mindedly.

Melanie pretended not to have heard her ,’AND so I cooked, I almost cut my finger and chipped my nails washing the dishes, now i’ll have to go for a pedicure all over again, its such a drag!!’

Nisha looked at her own hands. Nails? What nails? She had given up the idea of growing them out. She had soft, tiny hands, almost like a child’s. By some miracle all the cooking, washing and cleaning hadn’t wrecked any damage on them yet. But there wasn’t anything attractive about them. Her nails were as short as short could be. She filed them at home. Dishing out a grand for a pedicure which wouldn’t even last a day didn’t make sense to her.

‘I also have to walk six blocks before i reach the parking! I mean, can you imagine walking for six blocks on stilettos? My feet had so many blisters. I’m soaking them in hot water as we speak!’

Nisha smothered a chuckle. Stilettos were out of the question for her as well. Barring a few special occasions, she wore flat shoes, sensible shoes like her mother called it, to work. Comfort over style. Plus one really couldn’t walk on the street in stilettos. The potholes would kill them. Did she mention she walked to her office? It was a ten minute walk and she enjoyed it.

‘Why don’t you wear flats till you reach the parking?’

There was a pause then Melanie laughed loudly, ‘ Hey girl that’s a great idea I don’t own any flat shoes but it will be a good chance for me to go shopping and relieve myself of all of this stress!’

Nisha suppressed another snort and muttered some non – commital words of encouragement, as she endured another couple of minutes of wailing about the traffic, lack of space in Mel’s five bedroom apartment, the fact that they had only three bathrooms instead of five, that they had bay windows in only four rooms…that….

She was relieved when the conversation ended. She never had been able to understand Melanie. She had it all. A great house, a good, rich husband, a great job…she was living the American dream but she was always unhappy.

She looked around her one bedroom house a bit sheepishly. She had one cupboard, which housed all of her clothes, shoes and jewelry. A smaller closet had some linen. The kitchen was well stocked for one person.

There was a sofa, a desk with a chair, a lamp and a bean bag if anyone came to visit. She had a bunk bed, of which the spare bunk was seldom used unless a friend came over.

The house wasn’t great. She’d had to get all the electric points fixed when she’d moved in, along with fixing the plumbing. She had a maid who cleaned for her three times a week. But she was content. Material things didn’t really matter to her. They never had.

It really was a matter of perspective. You could have it all…and still feel unlucky. Or you could have nothing and be grateful for the little you had.

She chose the latter. Her eyes closed and she immediately fell into a deep sleep, her tired body giving in to sleep’s sweet call. She didn’t notice that Melanie was calling again, this time to complain about something else no doubt.

Entitled

While you take a sip of your expensive wine…

Feast on imported bread…

I scrounge around in dustbins…

For my children must be fed.

You sleep on satin sheets…

On pillows made of fluff…

I sleep anyone where I’m safe from bombs…

The ground no longer feels rough…

You bathe in bathtubs strewn with petals,

Scented candles and bath bubbles…

Scrounging around for a sip of clean water…

Is one of my daily troubles…

You go to work, come home to your families,

Complain about the heat and taxes…

All I worry about is how to stay alive…

In my world, no one ever relaxes…

How I long for not feeling afraid…

And freedom that’s mine to keep…

Clean clothes, a square meal, a roof on my head…

And a night of peaceful sleep.


Dedicated to anyone who thinks their life is tough..please remember that there are people who are dying due to wars, famine,slavery and diseases all over the world. Be thankful for what you are, what you have. It could all be taken away from you in a flash and then what? Don’t take life for granted. Help others. Volunteer. Donate to the UN and other charities who need, DESPERATELY need money to aid people and countries which are facing a humanitarian crisis. Don’t know what I am talking about?

Peace out,

Ladyhawk

 

Free Spirit

I sat under the stars…

Contemplating my life…

An outsider may think its perfect…

To me, it has always been wrought with strife…

I’ve never been really happy…

I’ve never known true peace…

The devil’s constantly whispering in my ears…

If only I could do as I please…

What’s right…what’s wrong?

What’s black…what’s white?

Why can’t I cross the line sometime?

Why can’t I for once NOT be right?

Who makes the rules to rule my life?

Who gets to judge me when I die?

I’m sick of pretending to know the truth…

When my life has been one fat lie.

If only I could do what I want…

If only I could be thoughtless like a child…

No limits, no boundaries, no rules to follow…

How I long to run free and wild.

 

Fare thee well!!

People come and go,

Only a few will stay,

The ones who tug at your heart strings,

The ones you never want to go away.

 

Life has its own plans…

People drift apart,

They say you should not be afraid of letting go,

Someone else will come and heal your heart…

 

Yet as you grow older,

Time flies so fast…

You’ll find yourself reminiscing

About the days in the past…

 

Your first friend who taught you how to cross your t’s,

Your friend in high school, who always cheered you on…

Your friends from college…when life was just a ball,

Your work friends…where have most of them gone?

 

All you have is memories in the end…

Who decides who stays or who leaves?

To the ones who stay – thank you…

For the rest, my heart silently grieves.

 


 

Value your self worth. Give and don’t expect anything in return. If someone hurts you, learn from it and when the time comes, forgive them. Forgiveness is a way to set yourself free…unburden your heart. No matter how much you love someone, if they make you feel bad about yourself, perhaps its time to move on. They aren’t bad people – they are just not the type you need to be around. Remember, you are a reflection of the people you surround yourself with.

 

 

 

 

 

Melody – Part 3

For Part one – click here

For Part two – click here


He rubbed his eyes, he was so sleepy.

Farming wasn’t easy.

Oh yes, the hottest jock on the block was now your average run-of-the-mill farmer. But he liked this life. The smell of the mud on his hands, good physical hard work, sweat pouring down his back as he walked up and down his fields, talking to his crops…

Yes, he talked to his crops. People would think he was plain loco if they knew what he was doing but it was something which Jane had taught him. He smiled at a particular memory.


‘Your house is so green.’ He looked around admiringly. ‘How did you manage to grow such a fine garden in this heat?’

Jane smiled,’I have a little secret, I talk to my plants’.

He snorted,’Yeah right.’

Jane’s eyes went wide,’No, I do. I reallly do!! Last year, they were wilting and not doing well despite me trying everything so I started talking to them and look! Healthy as can be’

He gave her a suspicious look. Soon, both of them cracked up at how ridiculous she sounded.


He looked at his watch. It was 6 PM.

Wearily, he drove back to his house and sat in front of the computer. There was a mail from her. He’d received it a few weeks ago but he hadn’t opened it. Maybe it was time. It was a link to a video.

‘ Hey you…..I’m sorry I couldn’t attend your mother’s funeral…I’m so sorry.’ 

He paused the video to look at Jane, with little Jean propped up on her knee. Andy was no where in the picture. Maybe he never had been. He clicked on play again.

‘ But Jean and I..’

‘BABY JANE’, protested the little girl as Jane smiled, ‘I stand corrected, Baby Jane and I have prepared something for you. Hope this will cheer you up.’

Jane took a guitar in her hands and played the same song for him which he had sent to her a few years ago, while her daughter danced in front of her.

The Jane he knew was tone deaf so he knew the amount of effort she would have put into it. He replayed the video again…and then once more. He sniffed, trying to suppress the lump in his throat.

Her love was in that melody. It had always been there. It was still there. Despite everything. Despite him not being able to give her what she had wanted so many years ago, despite her being married for years, despite her raising a beautiful child, she still had enough love left in her for him. He walked outside to the porch and looked at the sky, softly humming to himself…coming to terms with the fact that life wasn’t always perfect, life wasn’t always fair and how lucky he was to have one person who loved him no matter what.  She was a fool, but it was ok. The world could do with some more fools like her.

Tears welled up in his eyes again but he didn’t care. It was worth it.


The End.

Melody – Part 2

For Part 1 click here:


‘I’m baby Jane!’

My five-year old daughter looked at me defiantly. For some reason, she hated her name. I’d named her Jean…yes, I’d played around with the alphabets in my name but I liked it. She didn’t. Apparently some poor kid in the kindergarten class got whacked on the head for calling her Jean instead of baby Jane and that infuriated her.

I smirked. My daughter was a lot like me…she spoke what was on her mind and didn’t feel bad about letting people know when she was happy, sad or just plain angry.

Baby Jane idolised me. And as far as I was concerned…she was the only good thing in my life. Andy and I…we were still together, don’t get me wrong. To the world – we were the perfect couple. But he knew…like I did…that we weren’t.

The front doorbell rang.

Baby Jane ran across the room to open the door knob. It was Michael. My music teacher. Oh yes, I’d started taking lessons. Music…was the other thing that brought me joy. Maybe to my little girl as well as she used to sit on the couch and watch us practise with rapt attention.

‘Mrs A! How’s it goin’??’

Michael was a college school student and an expert at the guitar. He was also my neighbour’s son. One day I’d heard him play and I’d walked across to his house. I still remember his surprise.


‘You are good at playing the guitar’ I had announced this statement very loudly when he’d opened the door. Perhaps I’d scared the poor kid.

He was startled but recovered quickly, ‘Uh yes?’

‘Can you teach me?’ I bit my lip.

‘Uhhh…’ he looked a little lost. Bloody teenager.

‘Can you teach me how to play this….’ I fumbled around in my purse and took out my phone to play the melody that I’d been sent three years ago.

‘Wow.’ Michael stroked his goatee and grinned,’Sure Mrs. A…that is beautiful but it will take some time for..’

‘ You start at 4 PM tomorrow my house.’ I interrupted him and walked away. Hell, I liked to make an impression.


To be continued…..

 

 

Climate Change & the Paris Agreement

Woke up this morning to read the news which I thought was going to happen anyway. The US backing out of the Paris agreement. People shouldn’t be surprised – look at this image.

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What else do you expect a man like him to do? 

But what exactly is the Paris agreement? A lot of people are talking about it but not a lot of them know what exactly the agreement entails. Why is it a big deal?

First of all – let’s get one fact straight. Unlike what Trump and a lot of other people may believe – climate change is happening. Global temperatures are rising, believe it or not and every day makes a difference. And if we don’t take care – in our own small ways as individuals, collectively as nations and universally, as humans – we are just harming the planet that we call our home.

The Paris agreement was a big deal because it was the first of its kind. 195 countries ratified the agreement where they agreed on the following: (source: Wikipedia)

(a) Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change;

(b) Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production;

(c) Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.

In a nutshell – we need to control the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees C if we want to save our Planet.

Trump said that the deal was bad for the US and wasn’t in its best interest. I don’t know the details of what the US planned to do – but the fact of the matter is – he’s doing it for the wrong reasons. Because Obama pushed for it. Because a lot of people who voted for Trump/funded Trump will lose money and jobs if the deal comes through. Which is crap cos there are plenty of jobs that will be created through introducing renewable forms of energy. 

Sure, the world might lose out on a lot of funding from the US which would have helped them to introduce clean, green and renewable forms of energy…this is especially with respect to the developing world.

But the world doesn’t need to get depressed. The rest of the world will continue to try their best to stick to the agreement. Also – the US itself is divided regarding Trumps decision. The states of Washington, California and New York are already going ahead with what they call a Climate Alliance where they will continue to take measures to control emissions and introduce renewable energy across their states. 

Tesla’s Elon Musk and Disney’s Robert Iger quit Donald’s presidential council after this decision. Good for them. But I doubt this would make a difference. He’s too thick-skinned and worried about himself to care about what anyone else might do.

The thing is – like Angela Merkel said – Germany cannot rely on the US or the UK and nor can the rest of the world. There may soon be a new world order. We just need to realize that the US is no longer going to be the so-called Global watchdog and we need to take things into our own hands. If anything – it will help the rest of the world to grow up and for countries like India – to increase their international presence in the global market.

I’m not a big fan of talking about politics nor is my post intended to infuriate people – this is just what I feel about it. For once, I am happy that I am not an American and that I am an Indian. Our PM might have been a controversial figure but he has more common sense than Trump does.

Over and out.

Things you should know/do if you are an adult

In India…a lot of people like to live with their parents. Maybe in other countries as well. I guess it is ok to live together as one big unit…but for self – development and some amount of mental peace and to well…GROW the EFF UP one should shift out once one becomes an adult/gets a job and oh yes – DEFINITELY when one gets married.

I’m sorry. I do not get the concept of joint families. It is a different thing when you are looking after old and ailing parents but its different when you stay with them of your own free will. I just find it a bit odd.

Also…I’ve noticed that a lot of adults these days don’t know basic life skills. Seriously, they don’t. It is quite frustrating and I blame their parents for spoiling them too much.

So…here is a list of things which I feel everyone should know or do once they start living by themselves or by the time they start working (in no specific order).

Maintain their own personal bank account. Not a joint one – you operate your own account. You make your own investments. You handle finances yourself. This means you know how to work a credit card. And the pitfalls of using it too much.

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Maintain a budget. It is painful. It is cumbersome. But maintain a budget of your expenses. It will help you in the long run.

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Start planning for your retirement. Yes – start young. The sooner you start, the better it is!

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Learn how to file your own taxes. Now I know a lot of us use tax consultants to help us with this and that is ok! As long as you know the basics of your investments,expenditure and can do your planning yourself – its great! Don’t ask Daddy to do it. No, not even if he is a Chartered Accountant.

Cook. Yes – I am not asking you to be a gourmet chef. But learn the basics so that you can make a couple of balanced meals for yourself and eat healthy instead of always ordering in. I know a lot of people who are older than me who think ‘ cooking is boring’, ‘ I can’t stand at the stove waiting for the food to cook.’ I think this is because they do not know how to cook and it is a way for them to hide behind their insecurities. It’s not cool not to know how to feed yourself. Its actually…kind of lame.

Grocery shopping: You can’t cook if you cannot shop for your own groceries. Lean to identify what’s fresh and what’s not. What’s in season and what’s not. What’s over priced and what’s a bargain. It comes with practice.

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Learn to use a needle and thread to do some basic stitching. Yes, in case you rip off a button or need to mend a tiny tear around your crotch line of your pants – you can do it yourself instead of running to the tailor each time something like this happens.

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Drive. Let me be honest, I have a phobia of driving. I do have a license and I can drive a two-wheeler but I am scared of cars. It’s a thing I have to get over. Learn how to drive people. It will make life simple for you.

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Household stuff: Learn how to change a gas cylinder (if you have one), change a light bulb and take care of minor repairs around the house yourself. Don’t go running after the electrician for every teeny little thing.

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Iron your clothes and hand wash the delicate ones. Seriously, I am surprised at the fact that a lot of people – especially men – cannot iron. They somehow manage to crumple the shirt even more.

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Pack like a pro. I’m sorry. But once you are working, there will be a bit of travel now and then and everyone should know how to pack for a couple of days without running short of clothes/shoes/toiletries. I’m always amazed at how disorganized a lot of people are regarding these things.

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Get insured. Your life/health/car etc. I need not say more. These are ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL.

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How to dress like a pro. I know this sounds stupid. But it is not. Imagine you have a choice of 2 restaurants. Both have good food but restaurant #1 is clean and has a good ambience with fresh flowers and dim lighting and #2 looks dingy and the table-cloth on your table has a hole in it. Which restaurant will you visit again? Appearances matter. Invest in a good hair dresser. Hair makes a lot of difference. Build a good wardrobe. You don’t need to have too many clothes. You need a few – but which are of good quality.  Don’t dress like a slob. You are just letting yourself down that way. Have at least one good outfit exclusively for a job interview, a first date, a funeral and for religious ceremonies like weddings, prayers etc.

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Have a hobby. Yes – this is essential. Apart from work – I think everyone should have at least one other thing that they can fall back on to relax and unwind.

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Remember birthdays and keep addresses: Keep a track of birthdays and store addresses of important people in your life. You will need them at some point or the other. And please – pick up the damn phone and wish people on their birthdays. These things matter even if you think it is a drag.

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Have a first aid kit: Yep – keep a first aid kit at home with basic medicines, cotton, bandages etc. You never know when these will come in handy.

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Well…this is my list. Feel free to add to it if you think I have missed out on something. Over and out.