In a World That is Mine

Image credit; LuizClas@ Pexels

The ruthless alarm woke me up with a start as the birds chanted their morning mantras, just like every other day. I sat meditatively, refusing to open my eyes, at the blissful liminal state between sleep and wakefulness. Just like every other day.

Another day awaits, its gloriousness or dreadfulness determined by whom I bump into at school, the first thing in the morning. If my crush Justin does the bare minimum of acknowledging my presence, it’s a day like no other in this year. Or if he takes it a step ahead and graces me with his beguiling smile, it’s a day like no other in my life. As I filled my head with dreamy fantasies, my frenemy Ashley Slater made her way into my mesmerised mind and there, the spell ended. Just like every other day.

Expect Ashley Slater to ruin a perfectly idyllic moment! I hastily got ready, unable to remove the sulk from my face and stormed out of my room. With the sulk intact, I raced to the dining table to grab breakfast, just like every other day. To my surprise, the table was empty. My mom was recently experimenting with French cuisine and I had been the benefactor of her experiments as I would go to school everyday with a happy tummy. Yet somehow, she was not to be seen! I looked everywhere around the house, in the garden and even as far as in the attic, she was nowhere. Something anomalous had happened.

I stepped out of my house to find the roads empty! No vehicles, no morning joggers, no sight of people going to work, literally NO OTHER HUMAN BEING! A strange, eerie silence engulfed the streets, apart from the dog that barked and the bird that chirped away like nothing had happened. What was happening? Was this a dream? In an instant, a day like any other transmuted into a day like no other!

Suddenly, I heard a voice from somewhere, couldn’t tell from where. Was it from the sky? I really didn’t know. A rather frightening, booming voice spoke “Dear girl, you have manifested a desire of yours that was as deep and expansive as the cosmos. A day alone in this world, a day just for yourself, all alone in this mighty expanse. Make of it what you will because with your good deeds and strong desire, you have manifested it.” The voice faded into infinity, just like that.

I spent a good many moments processing what had just happened. Admit it, you’d be flabbergasted too. This is too surreal and supernatural to be real. Feels like something pulled out of a fiction. After I came to terms with what had just happened, I screamed my lungs out- something I would have never done in a world with the most judgmental species in existence. A day without people! Damned people. A DAY WITHOUT ASHLEY SLATER- Can it get any better? I have NEVER known jubilation of this intensity in 13 years of my existence!

Make of it what you will– So I shall! With an enthusiasm uncharacteristic of my nerdy self, I set about to spend the day the best way I could.

In a world that is mine,

Love would be all-pervasive,

Love for life forms big and small.

In perfect harmony we shall breath the air,

The air that does not discriminate,

between life forms wild and tame.

The sky that ties the big world together,

Making it a nest big and beautiful for you and I.

I set out on an adventure. To the oceans, the forests, the hills, the ravines. No one to stop me, no commitments to meet, no deadlines to worry about, just me…. And nature… In our collective solitude. I walked upon every field my legs could carry me to, thanking the heavens for a day free from destructive human activities, animal slaughter, noise, pollution and chaos. For a day free from hatred, ego, lust, cruelty and jealousy.

Before I knew it, the Moon rose with her celestial charm, in the artist’s palette, tinted by tasteful purples and reds. I dwelled deep in nature’s tight clasp, basking in the unparalleled ecstasy it had to offer, knowing I am the only one, living this moment….

Written for Sadje’s WDYS Prompt.

The Queen of the Palace

Image credit; Vrolans @ Pixabay

“Once the residence of the Great Empress Rukmini Devi

As the light of Dawn engulfed every pillar and wall,

She came into the world,

To rule and conquer,

Hatred, ignorance and disease.

A fearless ruler, teacher and healer,

Lost her battle,

To the diseases of hatred and ignorance,

The very ailments she was born to cure.

A beloved Queen who knew of no fear or fright,

Now rests here in eternal peace and power.”

Read the board on the wall that a bunch of tourists had gathered around. Like every historical residence, the former home of Rani Rukmini Devi attracted millions of tourists, national and international, all year round.

“Interesting!” Said Raj, looking up at the notice. “Let’s play a game, Gagan. Let’s look around and see which girl is alluring enough to be queen of this place.” Said Raj with a wink and a mischievous smirk, his mind overflowing with various images of queenly beauties. “Eyes like emerald…” Before he could complete his sentence, his mouth opened wide in awe and admiration. He had just spoken of the devil!

There, right before their eyes in solid vision, stood the social media influencer, who, by virtue of her ethereal attractiveness garnered a million followers in a matter of hours. Their pupils dilated. Raj was at loss of words. Gagan could only speak in poetry.

“She is poetry that became a person,

A fantasy that became reality,

A note that became music,

With eyes that speak the language of the soul

A Gucci bag,

10,000 rupees of pure class,

Hair dyed golden,

Gold as the Sunflower’s smile….”

“Yes, that’s it, Raj! THIS woman right here is the queen of this palace and every palace that has ever existed.” Said Gagan, beguiled by the charms of the elegant damsel. Eyes of emerald green, hands of a velvety dream, lips as juicy as a strawberry, what more do you need in a queen?

Meanwhile, a young woman, skinny as a centipede and homely as one starved for years, just received her salary for the cleaning work she does around this royal residence-turned-tourist spot, her eyes lighting like a million Suns at the sight of her hard- earned money, a humble earning of ₹10,000. Being the lone earner of her family, the ₹10,000 in her hands are going to pay off some of her dead father’s debts, her brother’s education and work as a small saving for her sister’s marriage, along with paying off her mother’s hospitalisation fee.

Did they crown the wrong queen?

Written for Sadje’s What do you see prompt.

A Long Way Home

“That’s your mother and I” I recalled with a smile, running my fingers over the old photograph.

“Those tall things you see, the long brown pillar-like structures with leaves on them, they are called trees.” I explained passionately, to which my little grandson felt provoked to ask me a question, “What are leaves?” The children always made such enthusiastic audience.

I took a breath, crafting an answer to that tricky question in my head. Leaves are leaves. How does one explain it to someone who’s never seen one before?

“Leaves are found in trees, they’re green in colour and look like this pattern on my cushion.” I said shallowly holding out my cushion, providing vague, ambiguous information that failed to quench the curiosity of the little mind.

“Do you miss the Earth?” Asked my granddaughter.

“Ofcourse I do. I don’t think your mother recalls her time there, but to me, it is wildly different living here in this airplane.” I answered, to which the toddlers felt a necessity to giggle.

“Granny, for the zillionth time, it’s NOT an airplane. Those are ancient vehicles. This is Zenith, our space colony.” Corrected my grandson.

I took off my spectacles and began reminiscing over the days in my native planet, when my daughter entered the room. “You’ve been yearning to go back, haven’t you?” She asked sympathetically, having overheard the conversation.

“Do you want to visit?” She asked, with a serious face.

I sprang to my feet with difficulty, pupils dilated. “What do you mean? We’ll be killed in seconds. The nitrogen levels are too much and the ozone layer is completely depleted. Carbon levels would be higher than oxygen and you would choke to a horrible death.” I said quickly, secretly wishing it was viable to pay a visit nevertheless.

“The N-2000 mask” she said. “Shields you from the most harmful of gases. As for the temperature, it would be too high indeed, but we’re not going to stay there very long. It will be a short visit.” She promised earnestly. “Just don’t tell anyone. None of the neighbours, none of your friends, no one.” She asserted.

Moved, with tears of ecstasy, I awaited this adventure with open heart, open spirit, the flower of youth revived from its wilted state. “I’m coming with you, granny.” Said my granddaughter, Latvia, named after our motherland in the Earth. “And me!” Yelled my grandson.

We set off in our private spacecraft, the one we use for unofficial space tours and casual space walks. In no time, we got close to the blue ball of magnificence, ruling the surroundings with her aura of glory, yet teeming with diseases her former inhabitants had inflicted upon her.

“In we go!” Cried my grandson in an adventurous spirit as we plunged right into the surface of the ailing planet.

“Don’t land in water!” I yelled and there, we landed in smooth, safe land near strategically near our ancestral home! A sight to the sore eye!

“That was fun!” Cried my granddaughter.

My eyes were filled to the brim, no matter how hard I tried against it. “A long way home.” I said, removing my mask.

“Mom, no!!” Cried my daughter in distress. I paid no heed. If my life should end, at home it would, I thought. Yet I noticed, the air was not pungent. My wristwatch indicated my O2 levels as normal. The temperature was as it had been in my youth. This all meant one thing.

“Mom!” Said my daughter exuberantly. “The Earth has healed!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Written in response to Sadje’s WDYS Challenge

When I was in the 8th grade, I was part of a NASA space colonisation project, where we had to provide models for the design of space colonies and life in them. The competition involved students from across the globe. My 4 friends and I named our Project “Zenith.” We may not have won that contest, but the experience was highly enriching. This Colony is named Zenith in memory of our dear NASA project.

The Single Line Story Challenge

This is such a fun challenge and I’m so excited to see how this goes! I’m extremely thankful to my friend Moi from Definitely Moi for nominating me for this unique challenge! Moi is an incredibly creative, talented young blogger. If you haven’t visited her blog before, you’re really missing out! She’s witty, has a penchant for word plays and is a clever word sorceress.

The Single Line Story Challenge

Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you/Mention whose blog you found this on
  • Include the rules and badge in your post
  • Write 5 single line stories that fall under any of these genres (you can pick which ones you do!):
    • fantasy
    • romance
    • thriller
    • mystery
    • western
    • contemporary
    • historical
    • drama
    • dystopian
    • adventure
    • sci-fi
    • paranormal
    • young adult
  • You can choose 5 genres that’s easiest for you, or you can challenge yourself to try something new!
  • Nominate 5 blogger/writers who you’d love to see participate and leave an open nomination for all writers!
  • You can do this challenge more than once.

Again, thank you dear Moi for nominating me!

Now, to the stories!

Historical

Playing a solemn tune, the violinist pictured his daughter one last time, freckle by freckle, as the hungry waves of the Atlantic engulfed the mighty Titanic, digesting his lifeless physical form in seconds.

Romance

Gazing at the man who was on his knees before her, she answered ‘’If infinite parallel universes exist, I want to be your wife in every one of them.’’

Sci-fi

The Human colonisers and Martian natives decided that war was not the best course and signed a peace treaty at the request of their respective governments but… Will the Martians really settle?

Dystopian

The headquarters of WHO was shifted to the Republic of Antarctica, a nation that was once an icy continent, as that was the only country that wasn’t under a totalitarian government… Yet.

Fantasy

Ron Weasley was well prepared for his potions exam that day, but little did he realise that the exam was actually on defence against the dark arts!

I nominate:

Moksha @Happy Panda

Manjiri @Penjiri

Paula Light @Light Motifs II

Shweta Suresh @My Random Ramblings

Nehal @ Quirky Pages

And you!

No pressure. Anyone can take up this challenge and it’s not a compulsion. If you think this challenge seems like fun, just go ahead and jump right in! If you don’t feel inclined to it, remember that no is a complete sentence and silence is an accepted answer. THIS CHALLENGE IS OPEN TO ALL OF YOU!

Hope you had fun reading these, just as much as I did writing them… 🤍

With love, from Panipat

I’m Margaret Jyothsna Vincent. A rather unique name, wouldn’t you say? It’s a nod to my Anglo-Indian heritage, combining both my parents’ names. The word “Anglo Indian” evokes myriads of images in people’s minds. But I’d spare you the trouble of analysing and tell you my story straight away. Do ask for refill if you run out of tea during the tale!

I live in Chandigarh, India. Ours is not one of those classic pre-independence coloniser-native love stories. My father was an ardent social worker in England who often visited impoverished countries. My mother was a very ambitious Indian woman and taught slum kids whenever her work spared her some time. My mum and dad first met at a slum school. In their very first interaction, they knew that they were meant to be (and rightly so). Their hearts were connected spiritually, emotionally and intellectually, by a string so strong that even the oceans between India and England were too weak to rip apart. This is a pair even Cupid is jealous of!

I couldn’t care less about my ridiculous brother, so next in list are my wonderful grandparents. My dad’s parents separated due to a serious disagreement on their son’s marriage to a Foreigner. My dad’s mom thought it was a “filthy” thing to do, while my dad’s dad, Charles Jonathan Vincent approved of his son’s decision with all his heart. He lives nearby, in a home for the aged. My mum’s dad died even before I was born.

The heroine of this story is my mother’s mother, Chandrika Srivastava who died in her sleep two days ago. Grandma was a descendant of the Royal Family of Panipat and was, before independence, a heir to the throne and was deemed ‘Rajkumari’ (crown princess) during her father’s reign. Grandma was an uncommonly generous, kind and warm woman who lived her life as a giver. She was incredibly caring and was also a daring risk-taker.

She was in the streets one day when she saw the pregnant wife of a construction worker going into labor. She stayed with her all day until she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. When she came back home, her golden bangles and her golden necklace were all missing. Upon my mother’s interrogation, she said “That baby girl needs to adorned, rather than this old lady.”

Her generosity continued even after her death, when her will revealed that she’d left her house at #22 Harrison Street to my grandpa Charles! This, despite having no obligation to help him. It’s a majestic house that the royal family of Panipat took over from the colonisers, upon their departure. She always detested the idea of sending parents to old-age homes when their children are well-off. She always lived with us, but knowing that it would be rather strange to co-exist with her son-in-law’s father, she did not question our living arrangements. Yet, she made sure grandpa had a place on his own and her will did him justice. What a sweet human being the world has lost! God doesn’t make people like her anymore.

In her later life, she was consumed by Alzheimer’s, which ruthlessly stole from her all her memories. Most days, she even had a difficult time remembering me! Although we’re all still mourning and have kept her room closed to avoid memories filling us with more grief, it’s time we celebrated her for what she was. I thought that by keeping that door closed, we were only failing to do so. So I decided that it should stay open.

As I enter the room, I feel a lump on my throat and my eyes betray me. I feel suffocated and want to scream like a maniac. In the bedside, I see a tiny photo album with a black-and-white picture of the young princess Chandrika. The ”untouchable picture” we call it. Crying an unhealthy amount, I pick it up and touch it, trying to feel her from the picture. My grandmother was very protective of this little piece and never let anyone touch it, which explains the name we gave it. I can hear her voice ringing, even now. Even with her Alzheimer’s she remembered to bully us away from that picture. I’ve always wondered why she was so protective about it. A weird shyness or perhaps, embarrassment? It was her own picture after all!

Picking up the little album, I realise that there is more than just her photograph in the frame! I see something yellow at the back of the frame. It is usually kept touching the wall at the back so no one could notice it before. Wondering what secret she’s been keeping from us all these years, I open the frame earnestly and find an old, folded, wrinkled piece of paper.

Unfolding it, I discover that it is a letter written in a very beautiful cursive handwriting dated 22nd August 1947! It read:


Dearest Crown Princess Chandrika,

I’m happy for your upcoming betrothal. I’m only dejected that it will not be to me. I’m writing to you now to unburden my heart from all the pain your absence will cause. Please, my dear Poppy, don’t let your heart ask for me anymore because you know that will never happen. I came here a teenaged boy reluctant to stay and now here I am, a young man of 22, reluctant to leave.

We will soon be many oceans apart. Everyone’s celebrating independence, but it’s selfish of me, indeed, to be mourning it. I wish I can help it, but I can’t. I’m happy that you happened in my life and hope it’s likewise with you. You took the pain of learning a Foreign language just to be able to talk to me. No matter how much you deny, I know that from the bottom of my heart. You had no other reason to learn the only language I speak. I hope your life ahead is filled with all the adventure you seek and all the happiness your pure heart deserves.

I’m sure your parents have found the best match for you. He is the luckiest man in the world, that’s something I know for sure. My father quits from his position as Governor of Panipat tomorrow. That means, I quit too, from my position as sub-governor. That also means that it’s time we part ways for good. I will always wish it was otherwise.

It’s depressing that we cannot get married or have children because we are different. I wish when we are old enough, we could atleast have grandchildren together. Such a funny idea indeed, but God always has his own whimsical ways. I must stop now, for I’m beginning to sound like a hopeless dunce.

Meet me one last time at my residence, #22 Harrison street when father is out and the servant naps, at 2 pm. As usual.

With love,

From Panipat,

one last time.

Charles Jonathan Vincent


DID YOU SEE THAT? The letter was signed Charles Jonathan Vincent! Yeah, that’s my dad’s dad! Along with this letter was a passport-sized black and white photo of a young man, who all these years later, would look like Grandpa Charles!

God has his own whimsical ways indeed! Even when Alzheimer’s feasted on her memories, Grandma remembered this letter. THIS is the secret she kept all these years? I’ve learnt one thing: Love does not forget. Nor does it discriminate.

Disclaimer: Any resemblance to real events is purely coincidental. Also, please do let me know honestly if you saw that ending coming 😉🙈