Kabootar Chowk

Warsaw pigeon

*Picture from jeziorki.blogspot.com

“It’s all very good to suggest doing a business. Have you given thought to what we can sell?” Ratul grimaced at Manohar, his friend and partner in several unsuccessful ventures till date.

“Am I the only smart one? Can’t you come up with a product idea, for a change?”

“Smart indeed! The last time we went by your suggestion and started selling balloons, that kid got hurt and his Mom ravaged our store.”

“How was I to know the balloon would deflate with such an explosion?”

Ratul shook his head and flicked dust off his trousers. Continue reading

Once Upon an Evening

BeautifulEvening

*Picture from http://www.mi9.com/

On evenings like these, her mind often scuttles down old memory lanes. Back in school, she would spend such evenings lost in homework – yes, the teachers would always set out loads, even in those days. When she lived away in the hostel, working towards her Masters, the evenings would silently transform into night, unknown to her. Many an evening had disappeared even later when she, stuffed in her cubicle at work, remained lost in her computer screen. When she finally emerged under the open sky, the stars would be too distant, too unfriendly to talk to.

There came a series of evenings when her life turned staccato. Continue reading

The Pretty Frock

He hadn’t had breakfast today. It was possibly still lying on the old stone floor. The wife had been in a rage over something. Sunil wasn’t sure about the something though he had an idea.

“Is this the time to report to work, Sir?” the manager at Pune Delight mall jeered as he saw Sunil arrive. Standing at the main gate with his hands on his hips, he looked the epitome of a perfect predator for unsuspecting latecomers. In his brown shirt and even browner skin, the manager resembled the devil in uncanny ways.

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When It Snows

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Snow

The view outside her window was magnificent. Snow came down silently, glittering in the light of the streetlamp. Inside, a rich aroma rose from the dinner table and she could hear her husband urgently fidgeting around.

“What are you up to?” she enquired, giggling as he dropped one filled glass after the other, the water pouring out unabashed. “Butter fingers you’ve always had!”

“Don’t rub it in.” His face dropped comically as he mopped the floor and washed his hands. “Let’s dig into my delicious dinner fare. At least I hope it’s delicious.”

She laughed and ruffled his hair. He had always been a good cook, a huge point in his favour when they were still in the lets-persuade-our-parents phase. While her Dad had said ho and hum, secretly very pleased, her Mom had been more vocal and openly proclaimed how a son-in-law who could cook had always been her dream. They had got married one fine winter night, snowless of course, as it always was in Delhi. The stars overhead had nodded in delight, the house she had grown up in decked up in lights bright enough to be stars.

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The Neighbourhood Monkey

Monkey

*pictures from blogs.westword.com

I am often out for a walk in this neighbourhood. Nice, sprawling backyard the houses have. It is dirty at times – I can’t deny that – and the grass is hidden under piles of bricks and other construction material, not to forget rickety old tyres and dog excreta. I don’t know what is it with these dogs or their owners for that matter. Their ability to pick the neatest section of the backyard to err, do their business is directly related to their owners’ discretion at not being heard/seen. Anyhow, other than these occasional eyesores, the neighbourhood is a perfect place for a stroll.

When I am there in the mornings, I can hear Moms preparing breakfast. Since the area is predominantly Bengali, this is often luchis, aloo ki sabji and lately, paranthas.

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Story Telling in Dolch

My handbag is always among the largest of its company. No, before you pass judgment, it isn’t because of an overstuffed vanity-kit. Well, not entirely. I am always scared of the vehicle stopping midway due to a heated up engine or a punctured tyre and being lost on a boring highway with nothing to read.

All the feel-good advice on spending time with your thoughts is very well till a point. But beyond, I absolutely must have a book to drown myself in and tune out perspiration, frustration and hassled phone calls about deadlines and meetings. Given this frame of mind, I was enthralled when I found out about The Dolch Project.

The initiative of Bodhisatwa Dasgupta, a copywriter with Grey Worldwide, the Dolch Project takes on from the Dolch word list that Edward Dolch had crafted after exhaustive research, way back in 1938. Lost in our world of books, we often miss out on how there are several children who have nothing they can read, no castles, animals and butterflies they can run after in print. What could be more wonderful than a compilation of stories exclusively designed for such kids, written with the 220 words that they fully understand? Inviting stories written using words from the Dolch list, the project aims to let children with learning disabilities enjoy the exuberant time that childhood is.

P&P decided to send in the little tale of Mitali and Kitty the cat, which is now up on the project’s Facebook page. Have you ever dropped by Kitty House? Well, they would love it if you went in to say hello.

And they, along with a lot of children, will be thrilled if you leave behind stories of your own.

If you are interested in penning a tale for The Dolch Project, do drop a message with your story at their Facebook page here.

Kitty House

The Sign-Board

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He walked past the board every morning. It was on the way to work, standing in all its freshly-painted, large-visual glory. He would stare at it through the corner of his eye, as his car halted at the traffic light, and then proceed to indulge in a breakfast of vegetable patties in the cafeteria. The food-vendor ensured he made them with extra oil and potato, just as he liked them best.

It had been several years since he had joined his current company as a software engineer. He wasn’t keen on jumping onto the management bandwagon; the truck seemed way too full anyway. Coding still enthralled him and he beamed when he solved even seemingly mundane problems in innovative ways. Back at home, his parents would sigh. How do you manage to sit at your desk job every day and not grow plump? He would laugh about his amazing metabolism. The truth – his ever growing err, tyres, and slightly protruding belly – remained hidden under well fitted clothing.

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A Bundle of Dreams

Ironing Clothes

*picture from flickr.com

“How did the blue shirt get burnt?!”

“The iron must have been too hot.”

“Oh? And your attention of course was completely unshaken.”

Ram Lal didn’t respond. His wife’s fluent Hindi rattle continued to be heard outside their little hut at the end of the road. I slinked away, deciding to return the following morning with my little bundle of clothes to be ironed.

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The Owl by the Window

Owl by the window

*Picture Courtesy: Rachit Agarwal

He sits alone by the window. Rendered spouse-less in a recent accident, he has his own private grief to tackle. His former social club doesn’t interest him anymore, what with its recent spate of over enthusiastic members. They keep telling him to take it easy, the fools. As if life was only an ongoing succession of pointless nights spent hooting your heart away. That is another thing though. He misses hooting out to his wife when she would sit by him in the moonlight.

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Once upon a Merry Marriage…

Marriage

*picture from indianweddinginvitations.com

This time it was a glass. The last time it had been a stuffed toy. Down, the glass went. Right on the back of a black ant leisurely plodding home outside the biscuit tin.

Reena refused to get married ‘just like that’. She made sure the family got that straight. The suggestion itself was absurd. How could she marry a random stranger who would come decked up with neat manners on the five visits scheduled before the ceremony? What if he produced a collection of whips, a cellar of wine and a dozen smuggled guns on the marital bed? She wanted to get married lost in the eyes of her man, reminiscing the multitude of moments spent with him and fantasizing about the ones to come. The only problem was: she was yet to find him.

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