Friday, January 22, 2010

The day she baked a cake....

The overwhelming response to my last story has inspired me to write and post some more.

Unlike An Evening Visit, which was a complete figment of my imagination, this one is inspired from real events! Hope you enjoy reading this as much as i enjoyed writing it!


I was fast asleep in my room, when I was very rudely woken up by my dog who was trying to take refuge under my bed. Now he was a big guy, and my bed was low. So he decided that if he could not get under it, he might as well try to get on top of it. So what if I was sleeping there? According to him, I was wasting my life, and if he could, he would personally take the cot and throw it out of my house. He might actually have done that too, only he did not know that my father supported his ideas (thankfully for me!).

Anyway, I was so “overwhelmed” by his affection that I just had to get up and see what the matter was (he would give his life for me, and expected me to give mine for him). Now then. I dragged myself out of the cot, walked into the hall, looked disbelievingly at the scene for what seemed like an eternity, turned around, and marched right back into my room.

To describe to what I saw in those moments is an enormous task, but since you  so badly want to know it, I’ll try. First I saw what seemed like an apparition. It was part white, hair all over the place, a darkish dress smudged with some sort of gooey substance and a pair of spectacles on the face. I think it was a woman. Next I remember noticing the hall. The table was there, but it most certainly did not seem like the one I had eaten my dinner at! Then there was our maid, who was moving around the apparition so animatedly that I could hardly notice where one began and the other ended. Hands flapping, mouth opening and closing like a fish, legs darting out from under her to avoid obstacles and that weird look on her face, she was a sight.

It took me a while to understand what I had seen. 

I finally gathered that the apparition was my sister and that the whole scene was that of my sister attempting to bake a cake. I set out to test this hypothesis. By now my dog was also pretty excited thinking that his master was finally doing something for him. This time I was not so stunned as before as I was expecting to see what I saw. And yes. My hypothesis was correct!

What was happening was that my sister had her holidays on, and wanted to do something useful to prevent time from killing her. So she set out to do what seemed like a very easy task of baking a cake.

First she had got the proportions all messed up, and when she figured them out, she had not enough flour. So she sent our watchman to the end of the street to buy some more. In the meantime she decided to make some popcorn for her entertainment while she worked. The flour arrived sooner than expected (by now the whole household was involved I guess), and as she negotiated with it, the popcorn popped! She rushed to the popcorn, leaving the watchman holding the flour, who in turn had to rush to the gate as chota saab had returned from his round of squash. So the flour was in the wet hands of the maid, and when my sister noticed this she shrieked. That sound was followed instantaneously by a dull plop sound, indicating that the flour had landed safely on mom’s new sofa!

So that was how the room had looked so hazy the first time around. The popcorn, by this time, had popped all around the room, and the plug was pulled out of the socket in a vain attempt to turn off the machine. What actually happened was that the machine flew off the table and splattered even more popcorns all over the room. The eggs just could not manage to find their way into the mixing bowl, and having a mind of themselves, decided to go after the popcorn. The butter meanwhile had melted and was trickling into the open mouth of my dog who was relishing every bit of it.

This was when she decided to give up the whole exercise and spare the household of any more torture.
The best part of the whole episode was that in the end, we did eat some very good cake for dinner (it was parents wedding anniversary).

From there I moved on...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

oh! yes! I just could not resist this! So true! if there is ONE thing that the internet CANNOT ignore it is this! Copyright -

Sunday, January 03, 2010

an evening visit...

The room I sit in is messy. It is dark, and has a mysterious aura abut it. It feels exciting. Part romantic, part uncertain. Makes me melancholy. The room reminds me of my mother. Had she been here she would have said, “Why can’t you boys ever keep your rooms clean? I am warning you for the last time in my life. Next time if you can’t find anything, look in the garbage can!.” A smile escapes my lips. The man I have come to meet welcomes me informally and starts off with too much of a preamble.
To tell you the truth you have me confused. I really don’t understand why it is that I even agreed to your request. I haven’t met a soul from outside in years. I don’t know what it was that urged me to put in all the effort to make you comfortable, and then sit patiently and share with you my thoughts that have been bottled up for so long that I surprise myself by being able to recollect them. It feels like the flood gates of my memory have suddenly been opened.

My thoughts are wandering all over the place today. The evening is beautiful. It reminds me of all those times that I sat and shared a story or two with those kids in the park. Wonder if anyone remembers the old story teller they were so fond of. You know one day a little girl came to hear a story, and she brought her entire household with her. She had a raging fever, but refused to stay home and miss the story. I had a tough time convincing her to go home. It was only when I promised her that I would go to her house and tell her a story did she relent. Thats how much those kids loved me. They were pretty much the joy of my life too. But then time takes its toll on our memories... They must all be married and have kids by now.

People come and people go. But there are always those who leave an indelible mark on us. Long after they are gone, they still make you think. They live lives that are examples.”
He looks at a painting that lies in front of us and continues. “That painting there, (he sighs) was painted by me in those times. But now, it just lies there, a reminiscence of the time when the air was fresh and the spirit was free. I was young, energetic and had a lot to look forward to in life. Carefree, those were the days when youth seemed to last into eternity. But then time the traitor, always takes its toll.

I think of all my grand-children. I miss them a lot. (He lights his pipe). When we were young, we lived in huge families. But now the times have changed, I guess. People are too busy to even be able to take proper care of themselves, we are better off here. Atleast there are people to hear us call out to them. At home everyone leaves for work or something or the other, and we are all alone.

You know”, he continues, “It feels so nice to have you here for company. Not many people come here. Atleast not to spend time and listen to us. You are probably here only because you have to earn your living. But even then. It feels nice to be wanted. Your patience, it makes me feel so loved.
What do think of that painting?” I was taken aback by this abrupt invitation to join in the conversation. Before I could recover, he continued. “You know. That painting has a beautiful history behind it. It is the only spot of brightness in my otherwise dull existence. She was so beautiful. One had to see her to believe her beauty. Its a pity she made me promise to keep it a secret.” In my mind formed a picture of a wonderful romance that could never see the light of day. I thought of secret rendezvous and moonlight strolls in the parks. He seemed so content as he spoke about “her.” “Maybe some day I shall tell you about it.”

A couple of hours have passed since I got here and it is now time for me to bid my host farewell. As I rise to leave, he says, “It is a secret, but someday you shall know.” I leave.

More than a week was past, and one day, just as I sat wondering about what to do with the transcript of that evening, the phone rang. It was my host’s son. And instinctively I knew it. He was no more, but in the past week he had willed his painting to me, and had also left with it an envelope addressed to me.

I reached the appointed place and after offering my condolences, received the painting and envelope. I took these and departed. I actually felt awkward to be there in the midst of his family. For some reason I felt like a traitor. I know it sounds weird, but I have no other words to describe what I felt. I opened the envelope.
I knew at the time of our meeting that my end was near. I sit and write this letter soon after you have left. I have not much time to live. This painting is what helped me live this long. Gave me memories and the strength to pull on. But after you left I realised that there was actually very little for me to look forward to. I have enclosed in this envelope another envelope that contains the key to mystery of the painting. But remember. It was a secret.

Within I found another envelope just like he said I would. It was old and tattered and the paper was yellowing with age. On was the inscription, “the secret of the painting.” I look at the painting. It seemed to radiate a warmth of a sort. It had the aura of mystery around it. It seemed above all tranquil. The last words of the letter kept ringing in my ears. “It was a secret.
Next morning in the fire place was found a burnt envelope with the words, “cret of th” on it. The rest had been burnt.