The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination

This speech by J.K. Rowling was shared with me by my favourite teacher Prof. Tareque Laskar. I am forever indebted to him for sharing with me this piece of gem. Today I share it with you with a hope that it brings to the same enlightenment that it brought to me.

Harvard University 375th Commencement Address

J.K. Rowling

As prepared for delivery

President Faust, members of the Harvard Corporation and the Board of Overseers, members of the faculty, proud parents, and, above all, graduates,

The first thing I would like to say is ‘thank you.’ Not only has Harvard given me an extraordinary honour, but the weeks of fear and nausea I’ve experienced at the thought of giving this commencement address have made me lose weight. A win-win situation! Now all I have to do is take deep breaths, squint at the red banners and fool myself into believing I am at the world’s best-educated Harry Potter convention.

Delivering a commencement address is a great responsibility; or so I thought until I cast my mind back to my own graduation. The commencement speaker that day was the distinguished British philosopher Baroness Mary Warnock. Reflecting on her speech has helped me enormously in writing this one, because it turns out that I can’t remember a single word she said. This liberating discovery enables me to proceed without any fear that I might inadvertently influence you to abandon promising careers in business, law or politics for the giddy delights of becoming a gay wizard.

You see? If all you remember in years to come is the ‘gay wizard’ joke, I’ve still come out ahead of Baroness Mary Warnock. Achievable goals: the first step towards personal improvement.

Actually, I have wracked my mind and heart for what I ought to say to you today. I have asked myself what I wish I had known at my own graduation, and what important lessons I have learned in the 21 years that has expired between that day and this.

I have come up with two answers. On this wonderful day when we are gathered together to celebrate your academic success, I have decided to talk to you about the benefits of failure. And as you stand on the threshold of what is sometimes called ‘real life’, I want to extol the crucial importance of imagination.

These might seem quixotic or paradoxical choices, but please bear with me.

Looking back at the 21-year-old that I was at graduation, is a slightly uncomfortable experience for the 42-year-old that she has become. Half my lifetime ago, I was striking an uneasy balance between the ambition I had for myself, and what those closest to me expected of me.

I was convinced that the only thing I wanted to do, ever, was to write novels. However, my parents, both of whom came from impoverished backgrounds and neither of whom had been to college, took the view that my overactive imagination was an amusing personal quirk that could never pay a mortgage, or secure a pension.

They had hoped that I would take a vocational degree; I wanted to study English Literature. A compromise was reached that in retrospect satisfied nobody, and I went up to study Modern Languages. Hardly had my parents’ car rounded the corner at the end of the road than I ditched German and scuttled off down the Classics corridor.

I cannot remember telling my parents that I was studying Classics; they might well have found out for the first time on graduation day. Of all subjects on this planet, I think they would have been hard put to name one less useful than Greek mythology when it came to securing the keys to an executive bathroom.

I would like to make it clear, in parenthesis, that I do not blame my parents for their point of view. There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you. What is more, I cannot criticise my parents for hoping that I would never experience poverty. They had been poor themselves, and I have since been poor, and I quite agree with them that it is not an ennobling experience. Poverty entails fear, and stress, and sometimes depression; it means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts, that is indeed something on which to pride yourself, but poverty itself is romanticised only by fools.

What I feared most for myself at your age was not poverty, but failure.

At your age, in spite of a distinct lack of motivation at university, where I had spent far too long in the coffee bar writing stories, and far too little time at lectures, I had a knack for passing examinations, and that, for years, had been the measure of success in my life and that of my peers.

I am not dull enough to suppose that because you are young, gifted and well-educated, you have never known hardship or heartbreak. Talent and intelligence never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of the Fates, and I do not for a moment suppose that everyone here has enjoyed an existence of unruffled privilege and contentment.

However, the fact that you are graduating from Harvard suggests that you are not very well-acquainted with failure. You might be driven by a fear of failure quite as much as a desire for success. Indeed, your conception of failure might not be too far from the average person’s idea of success, so high have you already flown academically.

Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. So I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.

Now, I am not going to stand here and tell you that failure is fun. That period of my life was a dark one, and I had no idea that there was going to be what the press has since represented as a kind of fairy tale resolution. I had no idea how far the tunnel extended, and for a long time, any light at the end of it was a hope rather than a reality.

So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.

Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above rubies.

The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more to me than any qualification I ever earned.

Given a time machine or a Time Turner, I would tell my 21-year-old self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a check-list of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.

You might think that I chose my second theme, the importance of imagination, because of the part it played in rebuilding my life, but that is not wholly so. Though I will defend the value of bedtime stories to my last gasp, I have learned to value imagination in a much broader sense. Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared.

One of the greatest formative experiences of my life preceded Harry Potter, though it informed much of what I subsequently wrote in those books. This revelation came in the form of one of my earliest day jobs. Though I was sloping off to write stories during my lunch hours, I paid the rent in my early 20s by working in the research department at Amnesty International’s headquarters in London.

There in my little office I read hastily scribbled letters smuggled out of totalitarian regimes by men and women who were risking imprisonment to inform the outside world of what was happening to them. I saw photographs of those who had disappeared without trace, sent to Amnesty by their desperate families and friends. I read the testimony of torture victims and saw pictures of their injuries. I opened handwritten, eye-witness accounts of summary trials and executions, of kidnappings and rapes.

Many of my co-workers were ex-political prisoners, people who had been displaced from their homes, or fled into exile, because they had the temerity to think independently of their government. Visitors to our office included those who had come to give information, or to try and find out what had happened to those they had been forced to leave behind.

I shall never forget the African torture victim, a young man no older than I was at the time, who had become mentally ill after all he had endured in his homeland. He trembled uncontrollably as he spoke into a video camera about the brutality inflicted upon him. He was a foot taller than I was, and seemed as fragile as a child. I was given the job of escorting him to the Underground Station afterwards, and this man whose life had been shattered by cruelty took my hand with exquisite courtesy, and wished me future happiness.

And as long as I live I shall remember walking along an empty corridor and suddenly hearing, from behind a closed door, a scream of pain and horror such as I have never heard since. The door opened, and the researcher poked out her head and told me to run and make a hot drink for the young man sitting with her. She had just given him the news that in retaliation for his own outspokenness against his country’s regime, his mother had been seized and executed.

Every day of my working week in my early 20s I was reminded how incredibly fortunate I was, to live in a country with a democratically elected government, where legal representation and a public trial were the rights of everyone.

Every day, I saw more evidence about the evils humankind will inflict on their fellow humans, to gain or maintain power. I began to have nightmares, literal nightmares, about some of the things I saw, heard and read.

And yet I also learned more about human goodness at Amnesty International than I had ever known before.

Amnesty mobilises thousands of people who have never been tortured or imprisoned for their beliefs to act on behalf of those who have. The power of human empathy, leading to collective action, saves lives, and frees prisoners. Ordinary people, whose personal well-being and security are assured, join together in huge numbers to save people they do not know, and will never meet. My small participation in that process was one of the most humbling and inspiring experiences of my life.

Unlike any other creature on this planet, humans can learn and understand, without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people’s minds, imagine themselves into other people’s places.

Of course, this is a power, like my brand of fictional magic, that is morally neutral. One might use such an ability to manipulate, or control, just as much as to understand or sympathise.

And many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can refuse to hear screams or to peer inside cages; they can close their minds and hearts to any suffering that does not touch them personally; they can refuse to know.

I might be tempted to envy people who can live that way, except that I do not think they have any fewer nightmares than I do. Choosing to live in narrow spaces can lead to a form of mental agoraphobia, and that brings its own terrors. I think the wilfully unimaginative see more monsters. They are often more afraid.

What is more, those who choose not to empathise may enable real monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it, through our own apathy.

One of the many things I learned at the end of that Classics corridor down which I ventured at the age of 18, in search of something I could not then define, was this, written by the Greek author Plutarch: What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.

That is an astonishing statement and yet proven a thousand times every day of our lives. It expresses, in part, our inescapable connection with the outside world, the fact that we touch other people’s lives simply by existing.

But how much more are you, Harvard graduates of 2008, likely to touch other people’s lives? Your intelligence, your capacity for hard work, the education you have earned and received, give you unique status, and unique responsibilities. Even your nationality sets you apart. The great majority of you belong to the world’s only remaining superpower. The way you vote, the way you live, the way you protest, the pressure you bring to bear on your government, has an impact way beyond your borders. That is your privilege, and your burden.

If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped transform for the better. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.

I am nearly finished. I have one last hope for you, which is something that I already had at 21. The friends with whom I sat on graduation day have been my friends for life. They are my children’s godparents, the people to whom I’ve been able to turn in times of trouble, friends who have been kind enough not to sue me when I’ve used their names for Death Eaters. At our graduation we were bound by enormous affection, by our shared experience of a time that could never come again, and, of course, by the knowledge that we held certain photographic evidence that would be exceptionally valuable if any of us ran for Prime Minister.

So today, I can wish you nothing better than similar friendships. And tomorrow, I hope that even if you remember not a single word of mine, you remember those of Seneca, another of those old Romans I met when I fled down the Classics corridor, in retreat from career ladders, in search of ancient wisdom:

As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.

I wish you all very good lives.

Thank you very much.

Life… as we know it

and at times you have to satisfy yourself with the fact that even though it got over, it did happen.

that they lived every second they were given and touched the sky every chance they had.

The day will grow on you
so will your shadows

the person you meet at the end is you.

Few words will remain unsaid,
few will be written but may never see the light of the day,
and rest will be wasted

in the end, everything is overcome and a life is lived.

PS: Lines 2,4 and 6 are by Mr. Irfan Kazi. Many thanks to him for making it so beautiful.

Life

“You know how all those people use to say that Life is short. Well I know now that people need some personal experiences to realize it beside knowing its literal meaning.”

~ Abhishek (@gairo0)

I couldn’t find better words to introduce this poem. And what can be better other than the words of the poet himself to introduce this beautiful piece. Thank you Abhishek, for bestowing this privilege on me. For letting me put this amazing piece here. You are one amazing word wizard. I only wish the best for you in Life.


oh life… oh what a fragile sweet little thing you are,
like a toddler in a willow cradle.
so soft in the beginning than grows out into a strong stem.
concrete in the appearance but abstract,
full of possibilities and predictions.
simple looking yet complex…
individual yet entwined with a gazillion souls.
spiritual yet full of vanity and facade.
connected with the one yet bombastic.
reflection of the universe yet meaningless.
so weak that even its frailty effecting many.
oh life… what are you? are you for real? or just a muse?
oh life… who are your friends? you must be happy.
oh life… whatever you may be, you are beautiful, interesting oh life.


Dear life, 
the puzzle that you are, abysmal,
filled with unceasing amazement,
seeming frivolous, but oh so precious.
The one with the countenance of 
the bountiful Goddess, the unnerving God,
today I bow before thee, beseeching,
embrace my surrender.



Verses of the Three

A Combined venture by @islejazz @SliceOfMySoul and @PoeticDisguise


Submerged dreams surfacing now,
They touch and go in a flash,
A glimpse, flaring a dead hope
Rippling the waters of the heart.
A leap of joy to touch the face
Of the gleaming mirror silver glazed
Reflecting desires, or is that fate?
Leaving me to an unblinking surmise.
A feat of my own volition, or
Is it a lagging decree of divine?
A question I would happily dismember
Lest upon me bechance their pique.
Tonight is the night of rendezvous
As I sit beneath the slow whirring fan
Eyes closed in a blur of white saline
Life being unreasonable and playing tricks?        
A multitude of emotions sweeps across
As the deafening silence leads to a cold shower
And first tear drops, of despair? Of loss?
May be of confusion.
A drop of sweat trickling down my neck
In the deafness of silence
A transition of outcomes unknown
The heart blossoms, binds, bursts & waits. 
For now is the time, to breakthrough..
Yearning wings have grown apart
Took a flight just to travel the pitch of sky
I run down to you every moment ripped
My journey is undefined yet meaningful
I adore each moment of bliss between those clouds
Transfixed between desires and dilemmas
I ought to take down every possible trick
More than my existence the destination matters
For I was born to rule, to live, to help others
Let’s not measure the heights of tomorrow
Make the present look bright, future never smothers..

Micro Fiction – CHOICES


A Wispy Choice

To start with my story I would like to first of all tell you that writing this is One Beautiful Choice. This story tells you about a girl who eventually made up for the best of her choices for her own happy state of mind.

Sapna, a girl with the same attitude like others, wanting to fly, having dreams, wanting to be successful, wanting to be with someone who would take care of her like princess, was a lass who was born and brought up in a rich family who could afford each and everything she would direct her finger on. She was having everything in her life what she wanted. Her parents were renowned in the city and state and almost every other person knew about their family. She completed her education with average result and as soon as she graduated she went abroad for a long vacation. Drinking, Smoking and partying hard were her keen interests and one night she met a man at the pub on the bar counter. He was an official Pimp. She didn’t know herself about her sexual tendencies. He lured her in a drunken state and she got wasted. The next day she didn’t have an ounce of guilt in her and she left for her place.

That was the night which changed her life, her lust came out and she decided to stay there forever. She called up her parents that she wouldn’t come back for a decent period now. She met that guy again and took up prostitution as her profession just to satisfy her inner urges for Life. All she knew that it was a choice, a choice which is keeping her happy and nothing else mattered to her. She was happy making unsatisfied or hungry men, quench. Strong choice, I must say.

@PoeticDisguise



The Gift

“The red one or the green one?” Sam was finding it difficult to choose. He came with his mother to the supermarket , and had saved two weeks of his pocket money for this. He wanted to buy a diary for Gina, the girl in Sam’s “study-group”- as he had proudly announced after coming back from school one day. “Yes Ma, Miss Skitters had asked us all to form study-groups to learn team-work!” he had exclaimed.Gina , the smartest girl in Sam’s class would often drop by and help Sam with the art n craft assignments. Sam felt glad about it. He loved her handwriting and tried to imitate the same. 

“It’s getting late Sam!”
“I don’t know mom, she likes green, but once she had told me that red is a very cute color!!” Sam was having a real hard time. 
“Hey buddy!” he saw his dad, returning from work and taking a detour to join them. “Sammy is having  a tough time choosing a diary for his friend Gina” his mother chirped,stressing on the word ‘friend’. 
“Well I tell you what, take the red one.”
“But Dad, how can you be so sure?”
“Trust me bud. Go for it!” 
“Erm…okay.” 
Sam reached for his pocket for the cash, when his Dad stopped him. “How about we did something with that later? This one’s on me.” he smiled at his son. “Awesome!!” Sam was elated. He ran towards the toy-zone. His parents exchanged glances.
“Red..remember this, Anna?” 
“Yes…”
“Our first date, and the exact same difficulty to choose. When you had philosophized  it, saying ‘Green means envy, so I’d go for red instead!’ hah!” 
“Well you still remember that?!!”
“Yes, I do.” 
They smiled at each other, and started walking towards the toy-zone.

@i1_2ramble




*———* 

“Wait! What am I doing? Why am I doing it?” He stops himself as he gaze hypnotically at the black burnishing leather bag.
“It can’t be this easy. It can’t be this easy. It can’t be real.” He exhorts himself but his feet had different plan. As he advanced few steps more towards the bag, a golden button on the bag starts gleaming pyrogenetically.
“No, no, no, no, nooo…” he chants the words while to and fro-ing his hand thinking to grab the bag which he ultimately does.

Holding that udder tightly in his embrace in the expectation of something gravely to happen fore-thoughtfully, he probes his surroundings dreadfully. After being assured of the prophylactic he smiled.

He industriously tries to open the golden button but failed. Every time he wastefully tries to open the bag he becomes more and more agitated but at the same time more lustful for it. He started trying boorish methods but gained nothing. Despite of his agonizing efforts he refuses to cease them.

What good it’d done to him? What he was thinking then? Did he really believe that the leathery sack would solve all of his problems?

That was his choice. He chose to believe in that worthless piece of putrefying pelt despite all the signs of failure and loss.

And what did his belief in those choices gave him, and what did he accomplish? Eh? I tell you what he accomplished, a young wife left to suffer with her five children with no support and a dark future in this cruel world.

If he would have got what he had imagined, would you be saying the same bitter things for him?

“Probably not but verily the insane guy didn’t get what he imagined and now he is rotting in this godforsaken place. Justice has been served for his choices, to him, to his wife and to us.” Says the younger one, as both the eldest and the youngest son of that man leave the Mental Institute.

@gairo0
Blog: www.gairo-blog.blogspot.in

Where do I go from here?

He was so drawn to her simplicity that he couldn’t deny that. It was not that she was the most beautiful that made him feel desirable. But it had to be something with the way she made herself naturally cheerful and the way she made him a part of it. It was for the facts that he had lived a life that seemed so different from hers, yet they spoke the same language of thoughts a similarity that he found within the short period they had know each other. 

He had met many but none like her. Most people he knew and certainly everyone in his connection seemed to live their life to achieve goals, get a job, get married, buy a house, have kids and until this weekend he realize he was no different. 

Somehow compared with the choices she made, places she travelled his life seemed so ordinary. He grew up with his experiences and she grew up with her experiences and the choices she made. Finally, he decided to part away with her for that was the best choice he had. 

As he turned the key and started the engine, he knew that wasn’t the question that mattered. As the car idled, he realized the choice before him was this: Where do I go from here?

@err_fun

Achromatic Choice

The day she found out that she is pregnant with her second child, she was over the moon. It fills her with felicity. She knew this time it’s a girl. She could feel it. A plethora of thoughts starts jutting out from her heart. Her man and son are sports fan & she is not at all. Now, that she wasn’t going to be the only girl in the house. She fantasizes about them doing hair together, make-up & doing fun girl stuff. Next day, ultrasound confirmed a baby girl. She felt like living a dream. She was lost in reverie of their future when doctor enters, she couldn’t have stopped that HUGE smile. After doc leaves, she was numb. Her girl had hydrocephalus. An amalgam of questions broke her mind, heart dies. She was hysterical. In state of oblivion she chooses between choices, either to let her go or shape up her own fantasm. She decided to let go her girl. She couldn’t bring this innocent girl into world with this many problems throughout her life. Throes engulfed her heart. She saved her baby by not protecting her but by snatching her heart beat. That’s her choice between choices.

@TikTokHeels



Mettle of Steel

This is a story about how an ordinary boy with extraordinary problems but deep reserves of will power went on to grab his life by the scruff of its neck. Born in South Africa with a congenital problem which demanded amputation of both his legs, James was faced with a problem of gigantic proportions even before he was a school kid. But he had one passion, to run & run & run. And he chose to pursue it as his career disregarding the adversity that he was confronted with.

Encouraged by his mother, he entered the para Olympics, after years of rigorous training. But he chose not to halt his progress there. After fighting & winning a multitude of legal battles, he entered the Olympics for his nation. Once a dream, now a reality. He didn’t win any medals, but he won the respect & support of each & every person.

What was the linchpin in this wonderful & inspirational success story. It was the right choice that the boy made. He chose to take up the right path and it changed his life for the better. As its said the best choice isn’t always the easiest choice.

[Based on the life of Oscar Pistorious]


@Smiling_Lass



Had No Choice

It was a Sunday evening and I was sitting on one of the wooden bench of my neighborhood park staring at sky. There was something missing and I was trying to remember what it was. I saw few birds returning totheir nest after a daylong food hunting mission. I asked myself why they are in the rush to reaching their homes, why they don’t sit on trees and relax for sometimes, and then I realized they had no choice. They had no choice rather than returning to their home. Then I asked myself what choice I have, return to home or struggle to make a home in this strange city. And flashback of my life was showing in front of my eyes like old black and white films.

As many more like me didn’t have many choices in life. I came to thiscity when I had no choice left. Belonging to an average middle class I had no choice rather than come here and start making some money while studying. It was the first time when I realized I had no choice.


I started my classes and fell in love with a girl. I had no choice rather than falling in love with her. But I never know that I was being cheated. When I came to know about that I had no choice to take another way. It was second time when I had no choice.

After this heartbreak, I was started to focusing on my career as I had no choice. Now my parents want that I should be settled and have family with the girl they choose, I have no choice because never want to hurt them.

It is not my story, it is the story of all middle class people, they don’t have choice but they have to compromise with other choices.  For an average Indian boy like me life is all about fulfilling other’s choice rather than having one.

@TheRaviKeshri



Lost but Found

There was a time when I would stop by your little world, lost in the melee of devotees who would thrust their devotion. And awe-strucks who would hand globules of their awe.  I stood there with tiny fluorescent saplings of ceaseless love analogous with the projection you shared with the rest of the world. Yes I chose to wait there as footsteps came from all directions in that mayhem of globules and gods. I held a small globe which was also green. When I tried to place them across they turned to words a whole mesh of symmetrical meaningless meaningful words that made you notice me with a smile of approval.

You see it was not a bad start at all considering the very fact that I was but a lone penguin sliding through a shifting maze of caves. I knew then that I had made the right choice. I was Joyous, alive, content because it felt warm to be inside your womb of secrets by the end of which I saw a blinding flash of light which I still carry for you and will do always.

@Sliceofmysoul

Blog: http://screaming-whisperss.blogspot.in/

DAMNED!

His conscience mocked him for the decision he gulped down his throat. The lump generated, thus, was far more painful than the one caused by the loss of his father’s early death. Yet, he preferred mugging a man up for two thousand bucks. On the way back to his home, he felt quite relieved removing the netted mask and let the cool breeze cool his sweaty face off. He was quite contented then for the heinous crime he had committed. Alas! Not so grievous for him though.

He woke up to a monstrous dream in the morning and headed towards the damned college he dreamt of. And duly signing the admission form submitted those cursed fees with his eyes closed. A drop of tear also could not remain in the eye socket and went rolling down over the cheek. “Everyone has a fate”, thought he,” One has to see things happen or has to make his gruesome Choices, I just made mine.”

 @JoeConjures

Blog: http://shailthorat.blogspot.in/




THE PARADOX OF CHOICE

Nikita was midway through her favorite midweek activity – shopping for breakfast items at the nearby supermarket. But today, she noticed something unusual. There was a special booth near the bread and jam aisle where almost 30 odd varieties of jams were laid out for customers to taste free of cost and then buy any of their choice. Nikita almost let out a squeal of delight. If there was anything besides shoes she liked lots and lots of variety in, it was jams. 

She half sprinted to the booth where a handsome young man (mid 20s Nikita figured; nameplate said Dan) handed her a bunch of plastic spoons and gestured for her to get started. Having tasted here way through about 22 varieties, Nikita was in a fix. She was growing increasingly frustrated at not being able to make up her mind about which varieties she wanted.

Suddenly, as she was at her 26th tasting, something inside her snapped. Nikita threw the spoon away and shouted ‘What is happening to me?! Why can’t I decide? Choices are supposed to make you free…they are supposed to empower you…so do I not feel empowered? Why am I feeling depressed, frustrated and angry?’ Almost involuntarily she flung her arm across the booth table where the jams were kept scattering 30 of the bottles around the floor in a deafening crash. 

The housekeeper and Dan looked on in horror as the apricot jam seeped slowly and stickily into the strawberry on which the mango had crashed already. ‘It’s a mess’ lamented the housekeeper. Nikita, now crouched on to the ground, snapped back to reality. ‘Oh my God!! I am so so sorry…I didn’t realize…’ ‘It’s OK, Ma’am’, said Dan calmly as he helped Nikita back to her feet, ‘I am a psychology doctoral student at the nearby University and this is an experimental booth.’ Nikita eyed him sheepishly, part in embarrassment and part in bewilderment. She dusted herself and regained her composure and then apologized. 
Before she was about to walk out, she turned to Dan. ‘What exactly are you studying in this ‘experiment’? Dan smiled. ‘Ma’am, choices are indeed supposed to liberate you but it would seem that beyond a point, too many choices can paralyze you.’

[Adapted from a famous research experiment and subsequent paper by Sheena Iyengar (Columbia University) and Mark Lepper (Stanford University). The paper titled “When Choice is Demotivating: Can One Desire Too Much of a Good Thing?” can be accessed herehttp://www.columbia.edu/~ss957/articles/Choice_is_Demotivating.pdf]


@tarequelaskar





Choices

Choices… Yes, they make us

Life is all about making choices, right ones or the wrong ones.

I feel everything that happens to us, good or bad; we are responsible for it, at the very first place. And our choices play a very important role in our life. 

Now when I look back, I realize whatever that has happened to me. I am responsible for it. Trusting people was my choice. Believing in their promises was my choice.

I feel the most important choice I ever made in my life was to stop judging myself on the basis of what others say, on the basis of what others feel about me, to believe in myself, And to have faith in myself. Staying alone and staying away from people who will leave me one day is my choice. And today I feel that whatever I am, I am the outcome of all the choices that I have made in my life. Once we choose a path, it is not possible for us to come back and to choose another path. We should be careful while making choices in our life. They are what that makes us or break us. 

@Cryptic_Desires 
Blog: http://daniarehan21.blogspot.in/



It’s All Up to You

What’s the first thing that clicks your mind when it comes to choices? Well, for me it’s all about happiness. Coz happiness is the essence of life. As per me there’s a very easy funda of life and it’s all about being happy. There’s nobody here who’s going to safeguard your happiness for you, the key of your happiness solely lies in your hands. And for this you need to analyze, think and focus on the choices that life gives you, in an ordinary way or in a disguise. You know certain times it does happens that life gives us a basket of grapefruits and we throw it away just by assuming that they were lemons. And then as usual we regret, putting the blame on life.
Life is nowhere to be blamed upon; it plays its part well enough always. Life is not a bitch, people are. You always have your fair share of choices but the point you tend to neglect them in the slightest of ways possible, gets you in trouble. Remember there’s always a very fine line between choice, opinion and priority. And time my dear keeps evolving these three for all of us. May be, just a choice today, an opinion tomorrow and a priority for days to come or you may jumble up the above sequence in any order. However, the fact is they are linked and would be that way.
The people you have in your life are also your choice, they are chosen by you alone and nobody else. This is the point where you need to be cautious. One wrong move and you may be left in despair. What I believe is your happiness quotient is directly proportional to the kind of people you are surrounded with. So be fair enough when it comes to choosing between people. Here I nowhere mean that you need to be judgmental, all I want to say is be sensible enough and make the right choices. Don’t give anyone the power to hurt you and thus avoid the miseries in your life. It’s that simple you see.

@_TangledForever



A Cycle of Choices

He was an unlikely choice, but she took the chance. He would not give up and she was happy to choose him. His deep love reached her soul and bound them; it became their world. And then, the World came in between…

She was not a conventional choice either. He left to find what the world had to offer… Only to realize that it held no meaning without her. After a long journey, he returned to her. The magic of their connection drew him back… He asked her humbly, for another chance.

She had never stopped loving him. Joyous and teary-eyed, she made a gracious decision towards the cycle of life…

She chose him again, and they began exploring the World with a whole new light…

@Renaissaint



Time

It was a bright sunny afternoon in Delhi when they met at one of these fancy malls that sell overpriced pints of beer and food that has unpronounceable names.

She was scared. She hadn’t met him before except at the workshop they did together where all they did was exchange pleasantries and later their phone numbers. And she hadn’t gone out with a guy three years younger to her… ever. But life is all about taking chances. She took her, and fixed a meeting.

One glance at his face, and she knew that things won’t be the same for her. The curly hair on his head and the sly smile on his face made her heart skip a beat. He extended his arm for a hug and she melted.

Three and a half hours later, they’d eaten, bought books, discussed philosophy; he had read poetry to her, made her swoon, introduced her to Pink Floyd and neither of them could fathom how quickly the time passed.

She was right. Her life hasn’t been the same since then. Two and a half years, lots of discussions, pints of beer, more fancy restaurants, packs of cigarettes, all the crazy music, and Buddha happened.

All because they made their choice: the choice to not hold back from the other, the choice to spend time with each other.

@rant_err



Truth : The Leveller 

Raj had been working with Sundaram Chit Funds for the past 1 year. He was aware that the entire business was a sheer scam. But he got a big cut, so he enjoyed duping people

But it was different today. He had just entered his cabin when he saw the form kept on the table. He lifted to see the form and froze in horror.

Name:Smt.Nirmala Devi. The photo confirmed it all. His mother had been duped by a scamster of his own office. His world fell apart. His conscience pricked.

He was seething with anger and when he couldn’t contain it anymore, he picked up the
vase on the table and threw it on the wall. Tears which had evaded him till date started trickling down his face. He didn’t know how to face his mother.

He picked the form and the money and started for his home. When he reached home, he immediately went inside and hugged his mother and finally broke down. His mother, though shocked initially at his reaction, calmed him down. Between tears and sobs he narrated the entire incident to her while she was struck with shock.

“Main bahut bura insaan hun maa” He said.

“Listen beta“, she started calmly, “When u started working for these scamsters, you knew what you were doing. Being a well educated person, you always had a choice, to choose between what is right and wrong.”

“It’s the path that we choose that makes us who we are.”

“You are feeling guilty today, just because your mother got duped. Just imagine the state of the people whom you’ve looted all this while. Even they were people with family, wives and kids.”

“I have nothing more to say, but I hope you know what you have to do. I trust you on that.” saying so she left.

And yes Raj knew. He called up his rikshawala friend.

Oye Birju, jaldi aa Ramnagar Police Station jaana hai“…
Kyu bhai kuch jhol hua kya” asked Birju…
“Haan, Jhol hua…Par ab se nahi hoga.. ” Raj said. And he knew that this time he had made the correct choice.

@papps_gunner

Blog: www.onestepbeyondme.blogspot.com




पसंद अपनी – अपनी

मिक्की बोला – “ भाई ! मुझे तो गर्मियां अची लगती है | खूब नहाओ ,बर्फ के गोले ,आइसक्रीम खाओ, कोल्डड्रिंक्स अनलिमिटेड , कूलर –एसी के सामने पसर कर सो जाओ …..शाम को पतंग उड़ो बस मजे ही मजे | वाह !…..”

“ना बाबा ! छि गर्मी ! पसीना,बदबू और चिपचिपाहट अपने आप से नफरत पैदा कर देते हैं | ऊपर से मच्छर-मक्खी | ये भी कोई सीजन है ? सर्दियों का तो कहना ही कुआ ? गरम-गरम खाओ-पियो ,बन-ठन कर घूमो और रजाई- कम्बल में खरगोश जैसे दुबक जाओ | कुछ भी कहो सर्दियाँ सर्दियाँ होती है |” रोमी ने अपनी पसंद का इक्का फेंका |

दोनों ने कैलाश से उसकी पसंद का मौसम पुछा| वो देर से चुप बैठ दोनों की गर्मी – सर्दी झेल रहा था |  
  
“गर्मी न सर्दी सबसे अची बारिश  | कपडे पहनने – बदलने का लफड़ा ही नहीं | एक चड्डीमें ही दिन निकल जाते हैं | जैसा जो मिल जाए खा लो|” एक हाथ फटी निक्कर को छुपाते और शून्य में डूबता सा बोला कैलाश|

पसंद पर भारी पड़ी बरसात ने गर्मी-सर्दी को धो-पोंछ डाला |

@bavlichori



Give up, give in or give it all yours!!

You ain’t winning or losing anything in life until you make a choice. Whatever happens in our lives is the result of the decisions or the choices we make. Choosing between accepting ‘certain’ things in life or analysing and questioning them always? “Start accepting, stop questioning” for a change. The secret of being happy is no more a secret than our willingness to choose life. You make choices every day. Whenever possible, choose the life you want.

You are the one who has to choose between doing it or leaving it aside. You are the one who’ll make up your mind that whether you’ll lead or linger behind. A lot of times we are confronted with problems and are easily discouraged. Whenever you come across challenges in life let your motivation for overcoming them be whatever encourages in life. Remember to be encouraged and surely you will be strengthened.

@foreverr_mad



Choices are us.

No matter what path in life we walk on, there are always options for us, there are always choices that we have to make.

Just like any other couple in love, they chose to stick together through thick and thin, they chose to love each other in sickness and health. He, was good with words and she was reality he longed for. She was practical, yet a high flying bird and he was the only dream she dared to chase.

It was as if the cupid himself had blessed their choice of being together, But then times change, circumstances change and consequently people change. Love no longer remained the only reason to stay together, Life started to change and choices were to be made.
I always say, “Choices make us who we are”.

She chose to be the perfect wife, In someone else’s life. He chose to chase his dreams alone, with a broken heart and became the nation’s most loved celebrity.

Our choices today are the decisions of tomorrow, so chose well, for it shall affect the ones we love and the ones we’d love to live with. Choose well, for life is not a game that you should always win. With the correct set of people, even defeats are worthy enough to be walked through.

So how good are you with choices?

@TheGhostWriterr


Silence – A Choice

The four members, parents in their middle age with their daughter & son, were dining together. The guy had come from Denmark where he stayed for 3 years & worked.  The girl had come from New York where she worked for 2 years.  The boy told his experiences of staying abroad and the girl told hers. The brother & sister did listen to each other & could understand each other.

Suddenly, the girl noticed some strange & awkward silence between their parents; they were absolutely engrossed in dining. The mother & father didn’t talk to each other, they were silent. The daughter said to herself, “the deaf ear is a choice, they could have participated in the conversation, to make their children happy, and after all, they had come home after long.” She just didn’t understand what was wrong with her parents. She left the dining table & said, “I’m done with it, dinner was good mom.” Her mother replied but she chose to turn a deaf ear towards her & went in her room.

She then went in her parents’ room while her mother was working in kitchen & father was watching television in living room. She checked wardrobe, drawers, and everything else to see what was going on. She suddenly got the papers of their divorce. They had already been divorced since 2 years and she was appalled to know that their parents never let them know about it. Now she understood the reason behind their parents silence on dining table. The girl had planned to tell their parents about her boyfriend & she wanted to marry him, but now she didn’t know to whom she should tell, father or mother? She was on the horns of dilemma; she didn’t know what to do. Now Silence took over her.

@Varsha_Jugni



The Choice Is Yours

“The choice is yours”, he said.

The one, whom she had considered her greatest hero till date, suddenly seemed so nefarious today. He had no expression misplaced on his face, neither did his eyes gave away even one hint of any of those thoughts that were taking shape in his head.  She looked perplexed, and he seemed to educe all the pleasure that he could from her state of quandary.

“But he is your son too…” she almost whimpered. “Please show some mercy? Our little boy needs you. Only you can save him.” She said.

“I have nothing against him. I will donate him my bone marrow, but then I need you to do this as much as you want Johnnie’s life saved.”
“You want a price for your own child’s life!!?” she cried in a voice so dreadful it could have ripped a heart out of a stone, but there he stood, motionless, like nothing could deter him ever.”
“Honey, it is not a price… it is simply a means to lead our lives peacefully and to secure our future.”
“What kind of peace and security would you get by selling my body to your boss?”
“ I NEED THE MONEY. I am done living this life of meagerness. You can’t blame a man if he wants to live a better life. Even you and Johnnie will benefit out of this. Can’t you see we will have a much better life?”
“Right Mike! I can definitely see the better life” she blurted out scornfully. “Fine! If that is the price for my baby’s life, I shall pay it.”
“See… now that is my darling!” saying so he moved forward to hug her, but she pushed him and ran away upstairs to her bedroom.

It wasn’t an easy choice; it was the matter of Johnnie’s life and death. It was a choice between saving their only baby and keeping safe her honor, because it wasn’t just his bone marrow that could save Johnnie.

Mike was helpless. His boss controlled the reins of the hospital where Johnnie was treated so far. He had made his intentions and instructions very clear and had left Mike to make the choice.

“The choice is yours”, his boss had said.

@islejazz

Theme of the upcoming week : HOPE

Micro Fiction – Ego

“All good things come to an end… But if they are good enough, they ought to return”

That ain’t said by anyone famous, but its just a thought of yours truly. 


And here I am bringing back, one of my most cherished ideas – Micro Fiction, with a fresh new beginning. It brings with it much more love and gratitude towards everyone who made its first series so successful, that after much apprehension and indecision I could gather enough courage to revive it again. All through the week I have had butterflies in my tummy, just imagining the moment when I would finally click on the “Publish” button. 


More than that, I have thoroughly basked in the respect and love that so many of you have poured upon me, by contributing just on my insistence. Also, I need not forget the people who have been constantly coaxing me to get it back. They are one of the most dear people who I have come across in life and I am really thankful to them for showing belief in this idea when even I doubted it. Believe me, without that I would not have been able to do it. 


Also, there are those who support me, by just being the readers. 


I am highly grateful to all of you. 


I know I have rambled  too much and for many of you it is not that big an event also. But believe me… for me it is big. And I actually believe that we need not wait for the big occasions, instead we should celebrate each small one like a big do. And so here I lead you all to another collection of wonderful thoughts, words and world of imagination…


 

The Missing Head

‘Where is the head? I need to see the head!’ barked MI6 special agent Jonathan Mayfair, OBE into his two way radio. ‘It must be around! Look carefully.’ said the voice at the other end. ‘I know!! This is not the first time I am handling a world leader who is in pieces’ said Mayfair who had seen his share of blood and gore. ‘Dad! You never pay attention!’ an exasperated James Mayfair replied into his toy walkie. Ego deflated, Jonathan knew it was going to be a long vacation if he did not put the Abraham Lincoln jigsaw puzzle together fast.

@tarequelaskar




EGO

Eg0 – sometimes a saviour, sometimes a destroyer. A man’s ego is his woman; a woman’s ego is her man. People think ego is the reason of breakups and all. But they don’t know there is a reason behind so much of ego. People doesn’t see the real fact, they always see your negative side. Ego is not negative side, but it is protective side.

@Slyer_Baba



Let it go

We are surrounded by this thing called ego so much that we often forget the meaning of love.It has happened with me. I ruined my 10 year old friendship with a friend who was not just a friend. Was more of a sister, a soul mate.

Sadly, when I realized it, it was too late. I so regret it. That feeling of regret rips me apart, kills me within. My ego killed that “friend” within me that was so much loved.

This ego inside us stops us from helping people, stops us to love them, and above all, it makes us forget how to value those who love us so much. We should never let our ego rule our mind, it ignores all the things our heart wants. Not just relationships, not just happiness, Ego is killing humanity too. Ego is our biggest enemy. We should try to “Kill” it. 

Just let it go? No, not the people, Let your ego go? 

@SugarySour



Dual

“No I can’t do it anymore” says G renouncing.
“But you have to, you can’t thrive without it” spoke the man at the darkest corner on the table.
“And who are you to advise me. We met just 10 minutes ago.”
“mhunh my dear, we’ve been friends since you acquire intellect. I am your best friend.”
“What the hell are you talking?” asked G.
“Truth mate. Which is that you exist because I aid you? Without me you’ll drawn in your own trench of sorrow and pity. Without me you’ll lose all your self-importance. Without me you’ll be a bug ready to get thrashed between the hands of…well any pair of hands”
A dumbfounded G tried to say something but the laws of bio-mechanics diminished that moment. A waitress put 2 glasses of alcohol on the table. G supped his with in a blink. The man said “thanks, I don’t consume anymore. I am with the program. 8 months this week.” As soon as he finished G swallowed his glass also.
Retaining his voice by the wonder of alcohol G says insolently “So what you saying is, that… you…do not…”
“What I am saying is this that” interrupts the man “you will not talk to that chick beforehand. If she talks to you first then only you’ll do whatever is that you will be planning this night to do”
All the whisky has evaporated from G’s consciousness with a splat and he blathers “how… owu… haw… how do you know that? You…”
“How do I know?” the man cut G’s blathering aggressively “You stupid urchin. I am not an encyclopedia that will give you your answers. I am your friend who gives you your strength.”
The man rises from his stance and says ”now I shall go. I can’t be seen with you for too long”
G finally overcome his mutism and speaks “What’s your name friend?”
The man turns. He is G himself.
“Look at the table” he says and walks away.
G throws his glance on the table and sees a word engraved on the table ‘मै’.

@Gairo0



Stitched Ego

 “But what is wrong in it? Why can’t You get a few tailored jeans at least once?” gnarled Mom. Her voice felt like it fell on the Deaf-wall of the boy’s ears and reflected back. She fumed even more. Meanwhile Dad remained as unreactive as a monk sitting in his own penance under a tree.

It is not the first time this scene happened. Though the demand this time being quiet different, pointless as usual. Finally, Dad broke his silence, “do not grow your ego so much, you are just 19 yet!’ Mom joined in “You are not born in the family of ambanis or such millionaires. Just go and see other houses sons are so obedient. We do so much for you, yet you do not value! “Boy finally controlling from letting his emotions flow – “Fine, I have a lot of ego, I like to wear branded clothes only.” and rammed into his room.

Next day while cleaning his son’s room, got hold of a book and ran to his husband. He reads – “Ok Diary, I know. I know you demand an explanation for whatever happened this afternoon. Yes I know I need a Jeans, but looking the present conditions at home, I wanted to minimise the expense on me. They are already spending so much on me. If I had said this in simple words, he (Dad) would not have agreed. Fine they think I have ego, but this atleast make them think even about spending a few bucks on them. ” 

Finally He got what he craved for since ages ‘A Bear hug from his Dad’. Happiness rolled on his cheeks, beaming his face with satisfaction.

@serene_waters



Banished !

It had been 16 years since she last saw her daughter. She clearly remembered those deep dark eyes, the flowing brown locks and the enchanting smile that the whole world adored. Tara remembered how, when she was a child, her daughter used to run up to her and kiss her cheek with the pure innocent love of a child. But unfortunately she could not forget how her only beloved child had disgraced the name of her family by chasing after a wild ridiculous dream. Belonging to a family of scholars, the acclaimed neurologist Tara hadn’t in her worst fears for her daughter’s future, considered that after winning a scholarship to Harvard medical school, her daughter would foolishly throw away all she had for such a superficial, nonintellectual profession. Once she was convinced that her daughter would not change her mind, in a fit of rage Tara had declared her daughter to be dead to her.

Her teenage daughter, now a women of thirty-five had become a confident and successful actress  , but even after all these years, after all the wasteful attempts of reconciliation from her daughter’s side, Tara still could not forgive her, could not back out on what she had once declared-her daughter was dead to her. Although her heart ached for her little girl, she was headstrong about her decision; nothing could melt her heart, hardened by ego.

Now she sat in her study, trying hard not to be weak and change her mind as her daughter approached her door. Tara had refused to see her. She didn’t believe her mother could be so hard and had come to try again. She had flown all the way from London for some work and would be there for just a day. The doorbell rang but no one answered. She waited for 10 minutes then inquired to her neighbors who confirmed Tara’s presence in the house. She was disheartened and started to return to the car. Tara had come to the window and was looking into the street; she observed her son in law had accompanied her daughter. Her eyes filled with tears and her lips trembled as he slid into the car with the tiny baby wrapped in a blue blanket in his arms.  That night Tara didn’t sleep, just gazed out of her window into the emptiness of her street, the emptiness of her life.

@smiling_lass



What does a Death in Paradise sound like?

Among banana trees and in the glow of the sun. Do you hear the scream within?  My problem is that I cannot hear it. I see my body tangled twisted and warped in time, lost to history and memory. May be I do not hear because the past is muted to my deafness. So we wonder how the past speaks to us; words, images, smell all come out when someone decides to tell the truth. Truth is loud and history cannot speak, yet we turn sideways in the mirror and stare blankly, at our person and our humanity, and simply ask: Why does this success makes me sad.

First must come the sound of the enemy within. His shoes kicking up the dust of the street. You hear the soul crying within. You feel the drip of salt slide down your temple, cheek and neck. It collects in a pool on the floor. There is no knock, no sign of entry. Everything is conspicuously peaceful and you forget where you are and why you are there. Flashes are all that your cortex can spare and then the loneliness sets in. The knell (slow bell ring) has sounded and everything moves slowly. Where did he come from? You smell his sweat and feel your own.

So in the end we are left with our own enemy the one word that describe it is called EGO. What if EGO is not the death of one person but the entire paradise around us?

@err_fun




The Lost Friendship

Harish… The weak boy of the family. The only one who was going to take up over the responsibility of the family. All he loved was cricket. His friends knew his weakness and lured him to betting, not a large amount but the ones which would suffice to earn him his pocket money. Arun, his life time best friend was against all the unethical practices. Wanting to save him, he tried to stop him but Harish was so attracted that he couldn’t. Arun stopped talking to him and 6 months passed. Harish’s parents were informed and even they supported Arun. Finally Harish realized, it was all in vain. He was drained; he wanted everything to be back to normal. He along with his parents called Arun at his place and apologized for the same. They were back, yes Arun and Harish couldn’t ever stay without each other. More than just ego, it was Arun’s initiative to bring him back to a normal life. Arun was always forgiving and more than anything, relationships mattered to him, for he had lost people, he had lost friends, he had lost relatives, and he had lost a part of his family which wasn’t just blood. All he wanted is Harish to realize that shortcuts won’t matter and only effort will take you a long way. Harish. The weak boy of family is now settled, a working full time job, earning a good amount, happy and settled. Arun is with him always, blessing him for Life.

@PoeticDisguise



Ego

Ego – It can be good or it can be bad. Having ego about the good deeds you have done isn’t harmful. But having ego about all the things you have done which you think are right but have ended up hurting many will end up hurting yourself badly one day.
Considering yourself above everyone is good. But tomorrow when someone will replace you, what will hurt you the most is your ego of not being replaced ever.
You have ego just because you are way beautiful than others. You will comment on someone’s color, or someone’s obesity or whatever, but when with age, your beauty will fade, and then the same people on whom you used to comment will comment on you, you won’t be able to take it. Because ego.

Sometimes, it’s good to let ego go to keep life and love balanced.

Always remember, “Aasman ko chune ke liye kabhi apni zamee ko na chhodna.”

@ItsAPerfectLife



The Scorn (read a Woman’s Ego)

She sat in front of a mirror, preparing herself with painstaking detail. It was going to be another one of those nights. After some fussing about-oh, the hair never falls in place!… she got up and took a last long look before stepping out.

She took her car and went to her favourite place. She always called them there. A young man was waiting. Good! At least he is on time…“You look beautiful”, he said. She laughed… mirthlessly. He was genuinely admiring her, but she pretended not to notice. “Thanks”, she said and walked past him. He followed.

He flustered slightly, unable to take his eyes off her, as they sat down. “What should we order?”, he asked. Indecisive not my kind of guy. “Anything you like is fine”, she replied. He looked at the menu, carefully screening what she would not eat on a first date, and placed the order. And the conversation began…

It was not such a bad evening after all. She enjoyed herself, but as the night came to a close, she cut it short. She got up. “I have an early day tomorrow. It was nice to meet you”, she said. “When can I see you again?”, he almost pleaded. Soon… maybe. “Call me”, she said, while walking away.

As she walked, high on the evening’s pleasantries, she looked around, hoping to catch a glimpse of someone she had not met in a long time. This used to be their place… She gave a lingering look before she stepped back into her car, still wearing that mask.

@Renaissaint



“Why?”

He looked out of the window. The sun was rising. Through the recesses of the the clouds, it was slowly brightening up the sky, shooting darkness out of sight. He lit a cigarette. “Why?” a voice rang up. “Because it is none of your business!” he chided.

The chirping of birds outside reminded him of the good times. The love of his life now lived thousands of miles apart, with mere phone calls at their disposal. He knew it won’t be easy, temptations being everywhere around him; and she was devoted to him, yet the idea of freedom is only so beautiful that no one can really let go of it so easily. Hence, fights became regular, indispensable, irreparable…

Last night was just another usual conversation. He could not agree to her explanations, and she could not take in his accusations. “I hate you!” her voice shrieked through the phone.”Same here! Goodbye!” he barked and banged the phone down. His thoughts were clouded. She too felt the same, he knew. Yet neither of them would apologize to the other person. The next day would start with a reboot of their conversations, and would probably end up in the similar way as it did last night. He sighed as he thought of the past, when ego was just not there when it came to their relationship. They were thick in love, regretted even the slightest of spat and would resolve a small quarrel with such passion. 

“Why?” the voice rang up in his head, once again. This time, it sounded like hers. Or perhaps it was the nicotine that made him feel that way. “Why?” it asked again. “Because I LOVE YOU!” he yelled, throwing the cigarette away, curling up to a fetal posture, weeping discreetly. “…a lot.”

 @i1_2ramble



The Red Lipstick Girl

Six months had gone by since their break up. This day would have been so different had he been with her. He had moved away from her life & so did celebrations. This day would also be spent in melancholy & thinking about their time together.

Sometimes, it seemed like a dream. What else could be the explanation? They were so much in love & so happy together! Why would anyone want to leave? Sighing, she opened her inbox to read his mails. These were the only proof that their love was real. She was deeply engrossed in one of his mails when her phone rang. It was her bestie calling to wish her Happy Birthday.

Her bestie sensed her state of mind & convinced her to go out with her. While dressing up, she came across her red lipstick. It was her quirk. Whenever she was happy she used to put on this red lipstick. Instinctively she picked up the lipstick & applied it. She was not ready to be happy yet. But she could show the world she was. Would save her from pity & questioning eyes!

He was going through her profile on Facebook. It had been six months since he saw her. Time apart made him realise how much he loved her. This was a test he had inflicted upon them. He wanted to be sure as he couldn’t afford another heart break. He would now know if she truly loved him. His eyes stopped on one of the pics she was tagged in. The pic was taken on her birthday. His heart filled with love on seeing her smile but his eyes froze when he saw her red lipstick. He understood what that meant. She had moved on. With a heavy heart he blocked her, never wanting to see her again.

@MirchiLaddoo

Blog: http://www.mirchiladdoo.com/



US

We lived under the same roof, shared the same dreams, and liked the same stuff.
Then he crept in and things changed for us. He killed the essence of us.
I am lonely because of my ego and he is alone because of his.

@rant_err

Blog: www.ravenousforlife.wordpress.com



I Won Right ??

The meter read Rs.27.00.
Akash gave 3 10Rupees notes to the rickshaw walah and waited for his change…
Chutta nahi hai… 7 rupya khulla do” sandesh the rickshaw wallah said.
“Nahi hai matlab kya yaar. Poora din toh sawaari kiya naa.. kaise nahi hai chutta. Check kar, zarur hoga tere paas”.
Sandesh outraged said “Ab tu decide karega ki mere pocket mein kitna chutta hai saale”.
“Abbe saala kisko bola bey. Jyaadaa udtaa hai kya. Rukh teri main bajaataa hun“. He called up om the RTO helpline and within 5 minutes the local Beat Marshall came to the spot.
Sensing trouble Sandesh apologised to the RTO Marshall and Akash and paid the 3 rupees change. Yes.. he had 3 rupees change all the time.
Next day while akash was crossing the road to catch his usual rick to office,
A carrier van which rammed into him and he died on the spot…
The van did not stop and nobody even noticed the number of the vehicle.
Vikas the van driver told sandesh “Saale kutte, 3 rupye ke liye ye tune kya karwaaya merese!!!! 
Jaan le li ek bandhe ki sirf 3 rupya chutte ke liye”.
“Saalaa mereko pulice mein pakdaane wala tha… abhi pahucha diya upar seedha. End mein apun jeet gaya na???”
Vikas just nodded his head in disbelief.

@papps_gunner




And that is how I wrote this

She picked up her weapon… and finally it rained…

The mighty proud sun had been bullying everyone around. Laughing, at the torment that it showered on everyone. Even she was bogged down by his tortures. 

She used to remind him constantly that so much pride is not good and he should mellow down. He used to feel offended whenever she said so. He didn’t want to be instructed by her. She was nothing but a mere speck of cloud, dark, ugly and haphazard. She stopped bothering him. She left him to simmer in his ego and pride.

He grew… and so grew his pride, and a bigger ego. He thought no one could ever over-shadow him. No one could ever block him. And he just kept his torment on.
Then came the day the humble cloud returned and she came back with a plan. As the sun rose higher, she descended lower. And both continued on their paths, the sun unaware, and the cloud with her plan. She descended lower and further lower, so low that none could see the sun anymore.

And then she struck her bolt, her lightning bolt. She broke herself and pored heavily. Everyone sighed in relief. The sun stood in the corner awestruck and helpless, his ego all shattered.

And while it rained, she wrote away their story.

@islejazz



THEME FOR THE UPCOMING WEEK –  CHOICES


for more info check Once Again

Looking through the Mirror…

And here is what they see… 



What does a looking mirror say? NOTHING… You do further introspection and it says, you are just younger than your coming tomorrow, and just inching more closely to your death. It also says you have long list of to-do’s go ahead do it now. But the question is WHAT?

It says I am able to reflect only what you truly are to you, you need to go out stand in front of my cousin called glass and see if people are able to connect with you and smile around then keep doing the thing else reconsider your life plan.

Mirror can be deceptive if you don’t see yourself through glass. Through the looking mirror I realized that I am a persona with self induced reflection which will only be worthwhile if each second my soul contributed to spread smile one person at a time. 

– Reflections of Irfan (@err_fun)


Everytime, I come to my room and stand in front of the mirror, few thoughts crop up in my mind.
The very first question is , Am I still the same? I recollect my faces till now from my past. 
Smiling ones when I was happy, teary when I was emotional. If not any human, I have seen myself only in mirror.
I try to find what I am up to? Is It okay to continue? The view basically helps me know my mental state more than anything. 

Reflections of Nikhil (@CricCrazyNiks)


“Mirror is my best friend because when I cry it never laughs at me” – Charlie Chaplin
 This is the first quote what comes to my mind  when I read the word “Mirror”.. said by greatest comedian ever…
Yes its true, who else will understand you who you are and what you are, when you look in to the mirror…. like your friend right?
“Kaun apko aapki  kabiliyat par bharosa dilayega? Or zyada udne par zameen par laayega” your friend your mirror…  who will understand you better than anybody else is your best friend your mirror..

Reflections of Piyush (@friendli_ghost)


बाहर से जैसे भी हो लोग, अंदर कुछ और होते है.
यकीन ना आता हो गर, आईना देख लिजिये…!

Reflections of Hiren J. (@BhootHuMain)


“Mirror, not a single day passes without looking at you. How are you so good at showing the truth? You don’t lie. I may pretend I am happy, but you, you make me stare into my own eyes and reveal the true side of feelings. You have seen my tears, you have seen my smile, you have seen my weirdest face, and you have seen the most beautiful one too. I have spent hours looking at you, trying to find the person I am. I know, with time, my life would change but you will always be there holding the deepest secrets of mine.”

-Reflections of Hiren C. (@ItsAPerfectLife)


The first time I looked at the mirror deeply was after I was told in a science class in Standard V that the silver coating is *behind* the glass on top. I had till then always thought it was on the top layer. That taught me an important life lesson that is captured in Albert Einstein’s words – Reality is an illusion, albeit a persistent one. The silver lining incident till date reminds me that what we see in a mirror is a projection; a projection of our reality through an illusory lens called perception. And like that lesson in science class we need knowledge of that illusion to peel it away and reveal the truth.

Reflections of Tareque (@tarequelaskar)


“After bearing those last two hours of office, coming out with his bag and a sigh of relief he felt better. The day had not been that interesting and past 4 he wanted to just leave the office and go home. He kicked start his Honda Eterno and started driving back to home. While driving he just looked at himself in the side mirror, his hair was a mess, eyes a bit weary and face sad. That was the reflection of his inner soul that day on his face, his conscience whispered, “You are missing her so much today but still helpless and wanting to run away to her, jump in her arms and stay there forever.” And the signal turned green where he had stopped and he found a way back to his home, the ultimate destination, as always.”

-Reflections of Ashwin (@Gods_Evangelos)


I Shall Rise

In this treacherous journey of life, I stand alone with dreams and aspirations. Thanks to the people who mocked at me, today I proved them wrong. Giving up was not an option & I salute myself today for what I have achieved. The day is not far when I rise and see the positive side of things even in the broken pieces of mirror. I know the future will be more treacherous yet I refuse to give up because I am an Hopeless Optimist. As I stand in front of the mirror, I raise a toast for myself & for the people who stood by me.


-Reflections of Prashanth (@PkPerception)


Be The You

When I looked at the Mirror, it said to me:

“You have been through a lot. Never give up on yourself no matter how tough things or situations might become. You can fake to anyone but not to me. If you fake to me, you only have to bear the guilt later on, because I am just a reflection of who you portray yourself to be. You can ignore me for some days, but not for long because every single day you have to look at me. In the end I am just a reflection and it all depends on you as to how you want me to perceive you.”


-Reflections of Prashanth (@PkPerception)


I see a little girl, a baby rather, who just learnt to stand on her feet, standing in front of her dad’s Sanyo tape recorder, listening to the song playing from it and bouncing as if to dance to it. I see a girl who is fighting with her brother to share the mirror space so that she can get ready for her school. I see a girl looking keenly at her father getting ready for the office and asking him, “Papa ye audit kya hota hai?” I see a girl looking at her mother draping a saree and possibly thinking that this is just so difficult (and it still seems the same). I see her singing and dancing to the song playing on the same sanyo tape recorder in front of the mirror in her school uniform after coming back from school every day. I see her practicing for her first speech for her elocution competition. I see her putting on her house captain sash and badge. I see her looking at just her reflection and saying, “The day you cannot look me into my eyes, is the day you fail me.”


-My Reflections

Daughter’s Love – Anonymous

Disclaimer: This poem is not written by me. I came across this long back and saved it in my diary. Reproducing it here today so that I could share it with all of you.

Her hair was up in a ponytail
Her favourite dress tied with a bow.
Today was Daddy’s day at school
And she couldn’t wait to go.

But her mommy tried to tell her
That she probably stayed at home.
Why the kids might not understand
If she went to school alone.

But she was not afraid,
She knew just what to say.
What to tell her classmates,
Of why her dad wasn’t there today.

The little girl went to school,
Eager to tell them all.
About a dad she never sees,
A dad who never calls.

One by one the teacher called,
A student from the class.
To introduce their daddy,
As seconds slowly passed.

At last the teacher called her name
Every child turned to stare.
Each of them was searching,
For a man who wasn’t there.

“Where’s her daddy at?”
She heard a boy call out.
“She probably doesn’t have one”,
Another one dared to shout.

And from near the back,
She heard a daddy say,
“Looks like another workbeat dad,
Too busy to waste his day.”

With her hands behind the back,
Slowly she began to speak.
And out from the mouth of a child,
Came words incredibly unique.

“My daddy couldn’t be here,
Because he lives so far away.
But I know he wishes he could be
Since this is such a special day.

We used to share chocolate sundaes,
And ice cream in one cone.
And though you cannot see him,
I’m not standing here alone.

“Cause my daddy’s always with me,
Even though we are apart.
I know because he told me,
He’ll be forever in my heart.”

With that her little hand reached up,
And lay across her chest.
Feeling her own heartbeat,
Beneath her favourite dress.

And from somewhere in the crowd of dads,
her mother stood in tears.
Proudly watching her daughter,
Who was wise beyond her years.

And when she dropped her hand back down,
Staring straight into the crowd.
She finished with a voice so soft,
But its message clear and loud.

” I love my daddy very much,
He’s my shining star.
And if he could, he’d be here
But heaven’s just too far.

You see he was a fireman,
And died just last year.
When airplane hit the towers,
And made the meaning of freedom very clear.

But sometimes when I close my eyes,
It’s like he never went away.”
And then she closed her eyes,
And saw him there that day.

And to her mother’s amazement,
She witnessed with surprise.
A room full of daddies and children,
All starting to close their eyes.

“I know you’re with me daddy”,
To the silence she called out.
And what happened next made believers
Of those filled with doubt.

Not one in room could explain it,
For each one of their eyes had been closed.
But there on the desk beside her,
Was a fragrant long stemmed pink rose.

And a child was blessed if only for a moment,
By the love of her shining star.
And given the gift of believing,
That heaven is never too far.

~ Anonymous

Micro Fiction #11 – Closing Curtain

Gift

Her wishes for Christmas had always been modest. And to her surprise, Santa always knew what she had wished for. In the morning, she would always find the very thing she had fancied the night before while going to sleep. The first time that she remembered of this was when she was six. Though she only has a hazy memory of that time. She can recollect that she was too excited while unwrapping the thin gaudy paper from around a small yet cute doll. And then there was a rare wide smile on her mother’s usually tired face seeing her girl’s happiness. The trend set had continued through all these years. One day though a girl from her school almost ruined it all for her, by some grown-up talk. But she covered her ears and ran away. And now, she had turned fifteen. This year too she went to bed on the Christmas eve after hanging her old socks at the window, with half faith and half hope that she will have the thing she has been wishing for, the next morning. And thus she quietly lay there on her bed, thinking. Did she still believe in Santa? Of course, she did. She had to. After all through all these years he had always gifted her what she had wished for. That priceless smile of her mom on the Christmas morning, while her daughter opened another small humble gift.

@TheChinmayNaik
Blog : http://behindshuteyes.blogspot.in



The Sound Of Silence

Okay so today like so many times we fought. No broken china spilled curry or even blood. No torn notebooks or splinters of what used 
to be beautiful cellphones with crystal display showing the radiant face of the lover. There was none of that shit, no residue war-cry, nothing.
  
There was only silence. Static-stoic-solid.
  
That wrung my innards till bile gushed with every breath in tiny volcanic spurts and more silence that saturated me to a point 
where my head hit the door knob thrice while wanting to get out 
of the crapper that got smaller every five minutes.
  
Never knew what she meant when she asked me to go away from her, memory lapse I would say.
  
I did not have one, not without her, if you meant the box or may be hell.
  
Fair enough though.
  
Solitary that is but of course.


@SliceOfMySoul
Blog – http://screaming-whisperss.blogspot.in



Stranger

He suddenly ended up on that social networking site. He didn’t know that its going to end up somewhere he wouldn’t come back from. He met that stranger friend over that website. They possibly never met. They were from different cities and totally different streams of studies. They just talked to each other formally and started becoming good friends. They just had the idea about each other’s field, family and nature. Less they knew but closer they became in no time.

One day that stranger friend suddenly stopped communicating with him. He was amazed but then he knew he wasn’t wrong at his place. He wasn’t aware about anything but he moved on in his life and became normal but missed that stranger friend which brought a smile on his face. He wanted that the stranger should come back but that stranger never turned back. One day he met that stranger in a train but didn’t know that the one he met was the same friend he used to talk on the website. Since then they started remaining in touch via calls and messages just as the stranger didn’t gave any information about being online or not.

Their friendship still continues. They meet often when in each other’s cities. They still don’t know about each other but he got the idea that friend is the same stranger but doesn’t want to lose the friendship. So he let it go as it is.

Life sometimes goes in a very strange way and what we should do sometimes is just accept the way it is. Makes it better to survive.

@Gods_Evangelos
Blog : http://www.ashwindodani.in/


The Silent Talk


She wondered if he would save them if hard times were to come. She secretly wondered if ‘they’ meant as much to him as it meant to her. She wondered if he really meant it when he had said that she means him his life.

He sat silently. He too knew of what could be coming. But he was calm. All choices had been long made. In fact there were no choices, there never were. There were epiphanies rather, epiphanies that had told him that there were no choices.

The truth was he didn’t love her as much as he loved his life. He loved her so much, that the endearment he had for himself, wouldn’t qualify to be labelled as love. 

 She was the everything he could have ever asked for… and even beyond.   

He could wrap himself around her and die through a thousand of most painful deaths before let smallest of harms even touch her. Even as the last of those deaths pierced through him, he would hold her tightest in that last moment he would get, so that his lifeless body cramped around her to protect her beyond. His final Love… his second mother… his first daughter… and his only God.


@TheChinmayNaik
Blog : http://behindshuteyes.blogspot.in


….mebbe this would justify the end


The End for a New Beginning

 We are constantly fascinated by new ideas as and when they align with our views, #Micro Fiction an innovative concept was such a great idea. I hope that the experimentation and dialogues on each micro fiction helped us to be more interconnected with each other. The real inspiration behind any idea comes from the community engage with that idea. And, I would really like to thank Aditi for coming up such a great idea and all its participants who made it their part.

The pressure is always there to keep performing and to be in a certain way, and we fail every day. You always come up short of your expectations. Not every day will be your best, but to know when to retire and wait to retire is a choice person has. I personally believe Aditi is really a winner here to retire the idea at the exact point where she knows it’s the right thing to do. 

I am waiting for Aditi or someone from the group to come up with a new novel idea which will inspire us to contribute more to the world. Though its time to move on… It’s not the end… It’s the End for the New Beginning. 

@err_fun


I just have two words for all my readers and contributors…

THANK YOU


Micro Fiction #10

My apologies to all the writers and readers who encourage and appreciate Micro Fiction, for keeping this edition pending for so long. I’m very thankful to you all for being patient with me and keeping your faith alive. 

Aditi


The journey that did not start before you were born

As you move ahead in life, remember that you are a part of a beautiful journey that did not start before you were born. 

You opened your eyes for the first time, and your parents expressions could not be described of how overjoyed they were, you cried for the first time and like the hell broke loose for your parents. You smiled for the first time and it was like a festive season in your house. You cuddled to your father in sleep and he was awake to see all your expressions while in sleep. That first breastfeed made your mother cried in ecstasy. Those tiresome days of your parents working the full day, were relaxed by your first sight with a pleasant smile in the evening. Your first attempt to stand on own in this world was always a dream to be captured by leaving away all the tasks aside by your parents to be witness for that once in a lifetime instance. Those infant moments that was cherished by your family just to see you around all times.

Remember, as you grow up those things will never happen again but they cannot unhappen. Remember that you are a part of beautiful journey that did not start before you were born. Remember what you made your parent felt can’t ever be taken away.

Remember.

@err_fun
Blog: http://irfankazi.posterous.com/



Re-Born!

The World still talks of the way I survived the plane crash in Himalayas, I remember it differently though. I remember, boarding the plane for India from Illinois, the crash in the Himalayas and the rubble after that. I was sure to die as my mind played memories of my beloveds, my daughter’s laughter & my wife’s smile until I saw someone try to save me.

A 60 something guy brought me to a cave where he treated me but I was sure, the reaper was coming for me. The Images I saw before I blanked out were unbelievable even for a dying man.

On a beautiful moonlit night, I heard my savior’s painful screams, I saw him change, transform into an animal. In the fading light, all I remember is the beastly roar of a tiger. But things got warmer within me, I felt stronger as I escaped the cave & found a rescue team who got me to the hospital.

The world still talks of the crash, my survival & the amazing recovery. But the Images in my mind were still unanswered, until, I found the bite marks on my body. It was as if I was reborn in the cave. 
Since then, the only thing I fear is, another beautiful moonlit night.

@TheGhostWriterr
Blog: http://writersrelam.wordpress.com/



Fiddle

He and his Friends were out there to what everyone in the town referred to as ‘The Damned Place’. It was cursed to muffle one’s happiness and suck out the broken-heartedness. John’s Bungalow, some preferred calling, had a church in it, hardly visited by anyone for the mere fact that it was doomed. Very few returned with a sound mind. These devil-may-care individuals wanted to give it a shot. It was young blood in the driver’s seat for them, then.

“I hear something”, saying what he moved towards the broken window clearing out some spider web over it, dried grass and leaves made a cranky noise while he walked. Crickets and other reptile families made it seem a bit of terrifying scene. He felt peckish with the feeling of flies or insects on his body. Keeping all the weird thoughts out of the mind, he pressed hard over the window panes. He tried concentrating on what he thought is heard. He saw something unusual. “To thee, O Lord, I offer this”, and then a tall hooded man with the knife in his hand slit his wrist. He knelt, prayed and was down after some time. People in the church, six hooded ones went round and round while all this happened. He,
outside the church could only gasp for air. One of the people went aside removed the hood to reveal she was a girl. She looked around, waved and made weird motions in the air. She saw him, their eyes met, he gulped with horror tearing his stomach apart and she just smiled. Those soul piercing eyes made him puke. He got up only to learn he was there alone with no trace of Friends. He ran as hurriedly as he could to reach the town, where he saw the same lady selling toys, she smiled. He was awestruck and dazed by then, suffered a mental block. To this day, he speaks to none, often is seen with hoods making
weird signs and gestures out there in the middle. He was in love with the lady.

@JoeConjures
Blog: http://shailthorat.blogspot.in/