A Strange and Ceremonial Encounter

Sunday, 11 am
Do I really have to move? It is the last day of summer vacation, I will have to wake up at an ungodly hour from tomorrow anyway, might as well just stay in bed all day. But I am hungry, and that’s rather inconvenient to my lazy plans. With this primal motivation of hunger I make myself finally move out of my bed and towards the kitchen. No one’s home today, my brother is at a friend’s , my parents went out an hour ago for some home depot shopping, so it’s just me, some cereal and my Netflix this afternoon. Yay, alone time!
Sunday, 1pm
I could not be bothered to cook , I have had two bowls of cereal and milk while finishing up the last two episodes of ‘Good Omens’. That is some quality vacation time if you ask me, absolutely enjoyed it. I think I have an inclination to read or watch shows like that. Anything that has got to do with angels, demons, commentary on the conventional concept of hell and heaven, consider me signed for that content.
It’s always a bummer to finish a phenomenal show such as ‘Good Omens’, the end of the season somehow making it feel like an end of a travel into another world of adventure and mystery. As customary in a post-show haze, I find myself treading onto Instagram to go through fanart, fanfics and head canons of the show (an integral routine in a fangirl’s life). As I am logging into my account the thought of not having taken a bath yet briefly crosses my mind, I shrug it off, bathing in late afternoon is allowed during vacation after all.
Sunday, 3 pm
I am hungry, again.
I completely lost track of time as I stumbled through the black hole that is the internet. The abundance of fan content is simultaneously a blessing and a curse, on one hand it provides the joy to view and talk about the same interests, look at beautifully drawn art, read stories woven about your favorite characters in a number of scenarios, but on the other hand it is an endless pit in which you can get lost and not even know where the hours, days went by. Excess of everything is bad, right?
I can’t believe it is 3pm already; I should probably have real food for lunch now. I prepare myself some sandwiches (with real vegetable, I’m lazy but I try to maintain a modicum of health) and sit down at the dining table for once, giving the crease in my bed a break. For once, I don’t bring my phone or laptop to the table, or even switch on the TV for that matter. Just my sandwich and some quite time.
I get bored easily.
Yet, with a show of restraint I do not reach for the electronics again and settle for looking around the house at the new frames and décor my parents have added in the last few weeks. My eyes fall upon a photo collage lying on my brother’s table. There are no photos in it yet.
Sunday 3:30 pm
Looking at that empty collage gave me an idea. I am free, bored and have hundreds of unfiltered photos from our last family vacation, might as well make use of this time and select some shots to put in that collage. I connect my phone to the laptop and begin to flip through the snapshots. Looking through them makes a smile etch upon my face. What a wonderful vacation it was. We went to Dubai for the first time. I think it was our first proper vacation in last 4 years, what with my grandparent’s demise, my brother’s final year of college, my final year of school. It had become somewhat impossible to take a relaxing break.
Dubai was spectacular, the desert had its own calming effect, the soft sand on which we wrote our names. I took a picture of that too. The artificial beach created near Atlantis, the vantage point from Burj Khalifa, unique structure of FRAMES building, the markets and the Abra boat and best of all the serene Marina Walk at night. All of these places and moments have been captured in the photos and selfies we took. I go through each picture once again, looking closely this time and remembering exactly how the moment felt. I see my brother and I attempting to be the cliché tourists holding the top of Burj Khalifa, it is a lovely picture with the bustling crowd in the background walking towards the tower, except one person, a man who is actually looking towards us rather than the tower like everyone else. Huh, that’s odd. I see another picture of my brother and I riding those motorbikes in the desert, I am smiling very wide in this picture mostly because I rode something for the first time. There’s a couple and a man riding behind us as well, the man looks familiar. My favorite picture is the one all of us took together, it’s a selfie in an ‘Abra’, there was something elating about sitting in that small boat just to go to the other side of the road. The boat itself was quite adorable too, small and colorful. The picture however has been robbed of its cuteness by a stranger having photobombed it. It’s a man again he is looking straight at our camera. That’s a little creepy and he looks suspiciously familiar. Isn’t he the same person in other pictures?
I go through my pictures again, this time specifically looking for that man and he is everywhere. He is just there, standing, looking, and being creepy with those wide staring eyes and that small smile. His face is all sharp edges and has a sort of cold beauty to it. I feel myself being raptured into staring at it just as the doorbell rings and the spell seems to be broken. Feeling slightly disoriented I open the door to find that man standing in front of me. He is smiling a little wider this time.
I am stunned.
Before I can react in any way he say, ‘ Hey there! Come on now it is time to go. Your throne awaits you.’ Throne? ‘ Yeah you are the next heir after all, come on now.’ Huh? Did I say that out loud? ‘ No you didn’t I can read your thoughts for now, once you do the ascension ceremony I won’t, let’s go now otherwise we will be late’
This doesn’t make sense. I am more perplexed than scared of this strange man being here. Oddly enough, his presence doesn’t make me feel frightened, as it should. Something is familiar about him, and not just the familiarity of seeing him in my vacation photos but something comfortable.
“Who are you and what heir? I don’t understand, are you in the wrong place perhaps? Why are you in all my pictures?”
“Ah! I never gave you a proper introduction. Apologies, that’s hardly proper for someone of the court such as me. I am Asmodeus , one of the seven princes of Hell, here to escort you to your ascension my queen. I had been following you around for the past month to find the right time, sorry about ruining the photos. ”
Okay, what just happened? First off all this man just bowed to me and called me his queen. Second of all, I am perfectly human so what is this nonsense about ‘queen of hell’. Isn’t hell too hot? I don’t want to go.
“ I think you have the wrong person, besides the weather is too warm for me at Hell, I think I will pass. Alright, best of luck on finding your queen, although I don’t believe your story.” Just as I am about to shut the door and go back to figuring out a way to crop this guy out of my pictures, he slams his foot between the door and the wall.
“okay, listen you are the chosen heir. Lilith made it clear she wants a person from a sloth and gluttony background this time, lust is overdone, we need a change of sin and you fit the criteria. Just come along to the ascension for tonight, see the place and you can switch between staying in the mortal realm and Hell as and when you like, I mean the court culture is just for the aesthetic, we don’t actually abide by a monarch, we are demons, we don’t have rules. As for the weather, your stereotypes are quite offending; our Hell has the best breeze. So what’d you say? Coming for the ceremony? We have chocolate cake too and here’s the proof I am saying the truth.”
Well, who am I to say no to chocolate cake-
Wait-
ARE THOSE WINGS SPROUTING FROM HIS BACK ? THAT’S HIS PROOF?
I will be damned, that’s a convincing enough proof. Humans can’t have wings, this strange man isn’t lying. Huh, that’s interesting then. I think I will check this ordeal out, I am bored anyway. “Sure okay, my parents will be home by 9 so just get me back before that. The cake better be good. Oh, and let me take a quick shower then we will head to it, cool?”
Asmodeus grins at me like a cheshire cat, “Cool, I will have you home by 8:45.You have 15 minutes to get ready your highness, everyone’s waiting for you down there.”







Weddings

A parody poem on the typical wedding scene in India

Venue

It was once a palace they say,

So we gave our guests a three night stay.

The décor was sculpted from literal ice,

Was it extravagant and grandiose?

Enough to make people stare and marvel twice.

And did it cost a heavy price?

Well, safe to say, now our bank balance doesn’t feel so nice

Date

A suitable date needs to be decided

So we consult an astrologer and are guided

by planets and stars that float light years away.

Turns out, the only auspicious day is a Tuesday

But then guests can’t make it to the three night stay

So Pay an extra 100, the astrologer says

And the stars will ensure the weekend becomes your wedding day

Itinerary

The baarat arrives after an hour of delay

Presenting a 50 minute dance sequence in front of the hotel gateway

With pomp and show the ceremonies commence

Busy with the buffet, guests gaze at the proceedings

with interest that is pretense.

Then the bride and groom sit on throne like chairs

Acting as a selfie booth for dolled up relatives that come in pairs.

Smiles are feigned

And the couple is chained

by societal expectations

that strain their marital unification.

published at @inksword.magazine on Instagram

© @_theponderingkitten_

Every Tuesday Night

I am waiting in a restaurant and the atmosphere is precisely what I witness every Tuesday night, mundane with a hint of gloom, characteristic of this decades old establishment, located at the far end of a scarcely populated street. Only one of the rickety old tables is occupied by any customers, a family of three and their presence adds to the dreary atmosphere of the restaurant.The silence amongst them filled only by the dull clink of pots coming from the kitchen, the chef presumably preparing whatever it is that the family ordered. From the sultry expressions on each of their faces it seems to me that they had a little argument at home and hence decided to eat out at the nearest place to break the tension hanging in the air around them.But this dismal ambience was soon broken, for the clock struck nine and the sound of a door swinging fell upon my ears and in walked the one reason I have been visiting this restaurant every Tuesday night.My younger sister.Now in the 22nd year of her life, she looks cheerful as always. She orders an ice cream sundae and sits across of me. I watch her eat the sundae, just like we used to every Tuesday before my demise 5 years ago. A single tear rolls down her eye and she wipes it away with a bittersweet smile, reminiscing all the memories we made together. Out of the corner of my eye I see the family of three finally talking to each other, the veil of tension thinning amongst them and I like to believe it is because of my little sister’s presence brightening the world of others just as she does to mine. I watch her as she finishes the sundae licking the last bit of chocolate, a habit I have seen ever since we were little kids and then she stands up to leave. I smile wistfully at her retreating form and prepare myself to return amongst the dead. After all, lost souls like me are granted a mere few minutes every week to roam amongst the living and I spend every second of this time looking at her, my dear little sister.

My younger sister.Now in the 22nd year of her life, she looks cheerful as always. She orders an ice cream sundae and sits across of me. I watch her eat the sundae, just like we used to every Tuesday before my demise 5 years ago. A single tear rolls down her eye and she wipes it away with a bittersweet smile, reminiscing all the memories we made together. Out of the corner of my eye I see the family of three finally talking to each other, the veil of tension thinning amongst them and I like to believe it is because of my little sister’s presence brightening the world of others just as she does to mine. I watch her as she finishes the sundae licking the last bit of chocolate, a habit I have seen ever since we were little kids and then she stands up to leave. I smile wistfully at her retreating form and prepare myself to return amongst the dead. After all, lost souls like me are granted a mere few minutes every week to roam amongst the living and I spend every second of this time looking at her, my dear little sister.

The silence amongst them filled only by the dull clink of pots coming from the kitchen, the chef presumably preparing whatever it is that the family ordered. From the sultry expressions on each of their faces it seems to me that they had a little argument at home and hence decided to eat out at the nearest place to break the tension hanging in the air around them.

But this dismal ambience was soon broken, for the clock struck nine and the sound of a door swinging fell upon my ears and in walked the one reason I have been visiting this restaurant every Tuesday night.

My younger sister.

Now in the 22nd year of her life, she looks cheerful as always. She orders an ice cream sundae and sits across of me. I watch her eat the sundae, just like we used to every Tuesday before my demise 5 years ago. A single tear rolls down her eye and she wipes it away with a bittersweet smile, reminiscing all the memories we made together.

Out of the corner of my eye I see the family of three finally talking to each other, the veil of tension thinning amongst them and I like to believe it is because of my little sister’s presence brightening the world of others just as she does to mine.

I watch her as she finishes the sundae licking the last bit of chocolate, a habit I have seen ever since we were little kids and then she stands up to leave. I smile wistfully at her retreating form and prepare myself to return amongst the dead. After all, lost souls like me are granted a mere few minutes every week to roam amongst the living and I spend every second of this time looking at her, my dear little sister.

Silhouettes

Under the glimmering night sky
a soft white curtain
stood unnoticed at the edge of a street,
fluttering as if lulled by the serene wind.
And it tells a forbidden tale,
of two silhouettes in love.

Two tentative heads peek at its edge ,
bent towards each other in careful speculation.
Emerge out of shadows the two figures,
behind the curtain standing at polar ends.

A song begins thrumming through their veins
electric energy buzzing through the air
and an amorous duet commences.
Two steps forward, a step to the side,
distance closing in with passionate strides
Arm’s length away, a halt.
Bodies shift in a coy fashion,
dancing along the rhythmic beats of their hearts,
It’s a melodic display of infatuation.

A twist and a twirl
they slink closer and closer
A hairs breath away, hands clasped back in self restraint
Chests heaving in laboured breath
movements charming each other in a flirtatious display.

The end of a verse
hands freeing from their back
two silhouettes collide like stars in space,
creating a universe for themselves
away from this prejudiced place.

On the shimmering curtain
they become smaller and smaller
walked away with
their fingers knitted together,
and heart strings strumming
in symphony

This lovely tale of two dancing silhouettes,
became a secret of the universe.
Away from the prying judgement of narrow eyes
of those who failed to understand love.

Mother and Her Plants

My mother has a garden. Well, it’s actually a quaint little setup in our balcony.  It’s an adorable arrangement with a bunch of beautiful potted plants and a round swing at a corner- the kind that can lull you into a light sleep with it’s gentle soporific motions.

Something you should know about my mother is that she is a petite woman with a childlike persona and an ability to make the best of any situation. She likes to keep the optimism flowing whether for her own sake or the people around her, I don’t know. Perhaps, it’s both.

And those plants seem to give her some kind of inexplicable joy. Maybe it’s in the way they bloom so gracefully with bright colors that she enjoys  the scenic beauty of the plants. They seem to provide her a sense of calm.

Or perhaps, it’s in the way the flowers crave warmth that she does too. I know she likes to bathe in the sunlight, evident in the way she sits facing the sun every morning. But I think it’s more than  just feeling the sun rays cascade her skin.
I think she seeks the kind of thoughtful care she gives to the plants for herself.

It seems, my mother and her garden are not so different in their desires.
And I hope both of them feel content with the ones who care about them.
For the plants, my mother.

And for my mother, her family.

A New Year’s Eve

It’s half past 11 now and the night is younger than it has ever been  in the past 364 days. There’s a light buzz in the atmosphere as if someone has sprinked electric energy ino the air . It is coupled with a whiff of anticipation and an inexplicable excitement that seems to be flowing through everyone’s veins.

There’s a couple of them flailing their limbs around in an elaborate sequence, dabcing is what they call it. They look ridiculous but indefintely happy.
A few seem to be playing a game of who can hug the most people before 12am. No one seems to be complaining even though those are sloppy displays of affection.

And I am leaning against an isolated corner, it’s  a good vantage point to observe, not so much if you want to participate in the celebrations.

My job  is to observe.

It’s a fascinating sight, all these people looking forward to the next 15 minutes as if it is a completely new begining when in reality half of them will be too hungover to get out of bed till noon.

I mean sure it can be an utterly new begining but they don’t know this, humans can’t reset themselves.

There’s a ringing sound just then, only audible to my ears.
It’s a call from the mothership,
‘shall we initiate memory reset?’

‘No. They don’t need it.
What these intriguing creatures do need are their experiences, good and bad. They seem to carry hope for a better tommorrow even though most seemed to be morbid about 2017.
Let’s leave these complex beings  to survive at their own devices.’

For now.

___________________________

A/N 

🌺HAPPY 2018 EVERYONE🌺

Black Tinted Glasses

I donned those black tinted glasses

laughter echoing in the air
Mirth resounds in this fair
The twitch of my lips
enough to prevent any slips

I donned the black tinted glasses
To hide the anxious eyes wondering If i looked right
Result of clogged insecurities
Caused by feeling of inadequacy


I donned the black tinted glasses
To hide the sunken crescents under my eyes
result of endless sleepless nights
caused by the constant buzzing in my mind

I donned the black tinted glasses
To obscure the redness of my eyes
result of unbridled tears
caused by those who fed me lies

I donned the black tinted glasses
And they prevented me from seeing beyond darkness

One day,
I broke those black tinted glasses
Snapped by dainty, unwavering fingers
that carried lot more strength
than  I could  have envisioned

And I replaced them.


Now,

I don my clear glittery glasses

To Match with my loud outfit
To coordinate with my jovial spirit
There is no falter in my stride
As I maneuver over every tide
Endurance burning through my veins
ready to venture through rocky lanes


Those clear glittery glasses,
are not a veil over my persona
but a reflection of the
ignited sparkle

in my irises

________________________

A/N-  I am lookig for artwork to go with this piece. Contact if you want to collaborate !!


An epiphany

She, I think ​                                       A big nose, chubby cheeks,too small a mouth, pretty eyes.

She, I think
Constant tapping of the fingers, doodles here and there. Silence surrounds but the mind is too loud with pondering.

She, I think
Clumsy and awkward,
unapologetic and candid
Perhaps not always

She, I think
Bold in showering compliments
Bashful in being its reciever

She, I think
An anxious achiever armed with an average skill set

She, I think
Scared and Struggling to experiment

She, I think
Treads up a rocky terrain, hesitant to play in the rain

She, I think
Miles to travel to reach her full potential

She, I think
Needs to jump over those inhibitions,  quit being in vexation

She, I think
Once tasted the blithesome state of being  true to herself

She, I think
Needs to relocate the sparkle, needs to relocate herself

She, I think
Will grab the damn reins again and whisk away, for it’s been too long a tedious break

She, I think
Started this epiphany because of her friend

She, I think
As I think about myself.

More than just a trend..

​Stared at with predatory eyes
Made uncomfortable in public sights
Privacy invaded without any remorse
Themselves upon me those fiends force

A catcall, a crude remark
A brush of fingers none too accidental
Muffled screams of protest in the dark
That ever present shadow cannot  be co-incidental

Much more and much worse has been endured
In a constant fear many have lived
Stayed silent for they might have been censured
For victim blaming often left the sinner unscathed

This nightmare isn’t just yours or mine
Faced by thouands, a never ending line
#metoo isn’t just a trend
It’s a loud message that is long due unsent

‘Harrasment is an issue large than we think
Deserves an action of more than just a blink’