FFfAW: Will he or won’t he?

This week’s photo prompt is provided by TJ Paris. Thank you TJ!

The princess stared at the waves lashing up the coast from her large window. Today my prince would come, she thought. Her savior. The one who is going to defeat the red dragon that’s laying guard at the base of the fort and take her away. And then they’d marry, in front of the whole country, and they’d become a thing. The bards will sing songs of them, the writers will write tales of the suave and bold warrior who saved the world’s most-loved princess from the evil clutches of the red dragon.

She spent the day running around the fort, catching shrimp by the shore, and singing Taylor Swift songs aloud – much to the chagrin of the red dragon, who spouted smoke now and then from his enormous nostrils. At evenfall, the princess returned to her chambers, disappointed.

Tomorrow then, she said to herself.

The prince never came. Turns out he used Apple Maps instead of Google’s, and they led him to a tornado instead of the island.

The princess died old and wizened, hopeful of the prince’s arrival till her last breath.


Please click on the below link for more details on the challenge.

Advertisements

“Fish Tails” #FFfAW

‘Hey, we’re hitting the pool again tomorrow!’, the voice blared through the mobile. Tanya still found it hard to get used to Dori’s screechy voice. ‘And no more excuses this time!! Three times you’ve avoided going with us already!’

Tanya stumbled in her tracks, searching for a reply. ‘Ummm,Dori….I would love to come,’ she lied. ‘It’s just you know, Saturday mornings…I usually visit my parents as I told you before.’

‘OK, I hear you, we’ll go Sunday then!’ Tanya’s heart sank. ‘I’m guessing you’re pretty much free on Sundays? You don’t seem to be the church going type.’

‘Well…’ God, save me! 

‘Is that a yes?’

‘Umm, I’ll try.’

‘Don’t try. Just come, will ya? You never come out of that shell of yours! This will be fun, trust me!’ And she hung up.

Tanya wistfully glanced at the life-sized underwater photograph on the wall. The water, it beckoned her almost everyday. But they cannot know. They cannot know that when she takes a dip in the water, her legs turn to a fish’s tail. Her mission outside of sea was not yet complete, and secrecy was of utmost importance. So guess who’s pretending to fall sick this Sunday?

Photo Courtesy: Sonya

This was written for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers event hosted by PricelessJoy.

At the Altar…

This is for the Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers Event.

This week’s photo prompt :

NO! He was not going to be the guy on whom the bride has run away on their wedding! And anyway, why would she? He shook away the faint uncertainty that’s creeping up on the back of his head. She loved him, she wanted this. Period. 

The crowd was getting inquisitive by the second. A few murmurs here, a few suppressed laughs there. Please don’t do this, Raquel! He fidgeted with his collar, shooting a tremulous smile at his granny in the front row. It felt like a thousand eyes were fixated on him in derision.

Just then, one of the bridesmaids rushed behind him whispering slyly in his ear, “She’s had a bathroom emergency!” After the ten longest seconds of his life, Raquel appeared across the hall, an apologetic smile on her face. That’s my girl! He heaved a sigh of relief.

“I’m never eating spicy food again!!!” she muttered when she was finally beside him.


Photo courtesy: PricelessJoy

Hermione Granger and the time she saved Middle-Earth

Hermione, Harry and Ron found themselves in The Shire one day with no recollection of how they got there. The sun was setting on the horizon and little dwarf-like people were strolling in the meadows, singing cheerful songs.

‘Merlin’s beard! Where the hell are we!’, groaned Ron, scratching his ginger hair.

Hermione stepped up and craned her neck to get a better view of the surroundings. It seemed to be a sleepy place, with lots of little houses wedged into the hillsides. She could hear distant laughter, and the sound of clinking utensils.

‘How fascinating!’ she remarked. ‘This looks like nothing I’ve ever read about!’

Ron rolled his eyes while Harry squinted at the curiously designed houses. Hermione noted that she should bring him here back on a vacation once they’ve killed Voldemort, the poor guy really needed the time-off.

‘So now what,’ said Harry. ‘Anybody starving?’

She realized she was and Ron nodded his head too. ‘Let’s knock on that house then’, said Ron pointing to closest door, ‘We’ll see if we can get something to eat.’

The door was unbolted and they could hear murmurs from within. Without warning, Ron pushed it all the way through, much to Hermione’s angst. They could hear someone speaking-

‘-Sauron’s ring! This has to be destroyed! Otherwise great misfortune will fall upon Middle-Earth!’

What looked like a living room had a towering man, with a pointy hat and long white hair standing over the hearth, and he was observing something very closely in his palm. There were a couple of the little dwarf-like people seated on the chair opposite to the hearth, one was visibly old and the other seemed to be in his youth.

‘WHO ARE YOU?’ bellowed the old dwarf. Hermione wondered if she should say something but Harry stepped forward and muttered, ‘We’re sorry, sir. We found ourselves lost in this place and were wondering if we could find anything to eat around-‘

The dwarf seemed to get furious. ‘So you just march in here and expect me to feed you?! I’ve had enough of people gorging from my kitchen for a lifetime!’

‘Now Bilbo! Where are your manners!‘ the old man turned around. Hermione found his resemblance to Dumbledore uncanny.

‘Please, sit down,’ he offered. ‘I’m Gandalf, this is Bilbo Baggins and that over there is Frodo. I see you’re not from middle-earth and I’m interested to know more but I’ve just discovered something and it’s very dire. We’ve got a world to save, you see. So I’ll let Frodo get you something to eat -‘

‘But -‘ interrupted Harry. ‘Did you say you had a world to save? Maybe we can help!!’

Hermione sighed. Harry’s propensity for people-saving got to her nerves sometimes. But on the other hand, this did seem to be an interesting case.

‘What exactly is the problem, Mr. Gandalf?’ she asked.

Gandalf smiled at her. ‘See this?’ he held up his hand, a gold ring nestled between his fingers. ‘This is the One Ring, and it should never fall in the hands of Sauron! So I’m planning to send Frodo here on an elaborate mission to destroy the ring by dropping it in the fires of Mount Doom.’

Frodo rounded his eyes. ‘WHAT!’

‘Yes,’ Gandalf continued. ‘This has to be done. It won’t be easy, it is very far, and the way to the Mount is strewn with rough landscapes and dangerous enemies, everyone on the lookout to catch the ringbearer. It is going to tough, extremely tough!’

Ron lifted his hand stupidly, ‘We can go in my dad’s flying Ford Anglia!’

Gandalf looked puzzled. ‘Oh it’s a car, a flying car! I  think it will be much faster and the ground-folks can’t jolly well meddle with us!’ Ron explained.

‘I have a better solution!’ beamed Harry. He took out his wand and yelled, ‘Accio Firebolt!’

Bilbo shuddered. ‘What was that for!!

Hermione was exasperated. Were they really thinking of flying all the way to Mount Doom?

‘Give that ring to me, Mr. Gandalf. I know what to do,’ she said smugly.

Gandalf looked taken aback by the offer, and said, ‘It’s not advisable to fly to Mount Doom, there are far more adversaries on the lookout in the sky…and the ring, it affects you! It meddles with your mind.’

She smirked. ‘No I’m not going to fly, I was thinking of apparating. Shouldn’t take more than a minute, trust me.’

Gandalf gave away the ring hesitently. Hermione pictured Mount Doom in her mind and turned on the spot. A lot of body scrunching followed. She never really liked the process of apparation, though of course she loved how convenient it was. When the world started to build again around her, she saw that everything was burning a bright orange color, and it was smoking hot.

She walked up to the edge  of the crater, there was molten lava burning inside. She retrieved the ring from her purse and dropped it slowly into the depths. Plop. 

Well, that had been easy. She disapparated back to the Shire.

The living room only contained Bilbo, who was smoking on his pipe leisurely. The whoosh from her disapparation must have startled him, as he looked up at her and said, ‘Oh you, did you do it then?’

‘Yes,’ she answered smiling. ‘So I guess the problem’s solved. Where are Gandalf and my friends, anyway?’

Bilbo sighed. ‘A flying broomstick came jetting into my kitchen, broke my stained glass window…Firebolt, is it?’ He let out a big smoke ring, and continued. ‘Anyway, Gandalf found it amusing so he’s gone out to take a ride. Your friends tagged along.’

‘Hmmm.’ She settled down on the chair opposite and asked hesitantly, ‘So, Mr.Bilbo, ummm…are you people dwarves?’

The End.


Hi folks, this is my first attempt at fanfic and this thought just occurred to me. Maybe we can call it…cross-fiction? 😛 Anyway, I know the above story probably was very stupid but it was all in good humor. Let me know if it can be improved in any way or if there is any mash-up that you’d like to read. Thanks!

What a Duck Wants – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

In response to Flash Fiction for Aspiring Authors

“What the duck is wrong with you?” squeaked Mama McFeather. “You are too young to decide what to do with your life!”

I just stood there, disoriented. I have my family on one side and him on the other.

Why do we have to move?” I pleaded. “I love this place! Who knows what lays ‘cross the river. And he…I’m starting to like him -”

“HOLY QUACK!” jeered Papa. “We McFeathers are a proud lot and listen to me you, we do not mix with simpletons!”

“But he’s great!!” I tried to press on. “He taught me how to swim like a pro and we have so much fun together. I don’t want to leave it all behind! I may never find a friend like him again!”

Mama sniffed. “Then it’s up to you, Melissa. It’s either him or us!”

I shot him one look and I immediately knew. I took a deep breath and stepped to my right.

Word Count: 159

Photo by Priceless Joy.


This is something I wrote for the weekly event Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. We have to write a short piece (100-150 words, with a leeway of 25 words) based on a photo prompt.I found this exercise extremely fun and creative. 🙂

Writing 101 – Day 20 – My most favourite possession

When they asked me to write about my most prized posession, I faltered. I closed my eyes and thought about what I really possessed that I hold dear. Quite predictably, I was drawing a blank. I mean, I’m not a hoarder of memories. I don’t store little trinkets away as memorabilia, never! The best that I did was to store some of the movie tickets, those that belong to some great movies and those that bring up some good memories. But apart from that, what else do I have? Family heirloom? Please, the closest we have to a family heirloom is a spoon holder that got passed down our family from one generation. That’s it.

Now that I think about it, I wonder why I never really paid materialistic things their due. I mean, they do mean something to some people, and they do have the power to bring back memories. But it’s funny how I never take something away from a memory to stash it for future nostalgia. But that’s just me, I suppose.

But see, I do have ONE thing that has stayed with me for a long time and something that partly bolstered my one true trait. It’s been staring at me for so long in the eyes and yet it took me this long to realize how crucial it had been to me all along. I’m not in the mood for theatrics, so I’ll go ahead and say that I’m talking about my Computer.

Yes, my loyal and obedient friend. Who gave me a lot but also asked a lot in return 😉

I guess I had always been fascinated with computers. And back in those days (I’m talking circa. 1997), computers were relatively new in the Indian market. And we had black-and-white monitors, mind you. Our school had been the first in our town to buy four computers for educational purposes.  Though the truth is that all we did was play games on it (Prince of Persia, Dave, Paratrooper). There were thirty of us in our class so everyone used to get about 10 minutes of time to play with the computer. And I used to wait in line, with eager eyes, just to get my hands on the keyboard. I was mad. But of course, after that we moved to a bigger city and our new school actually had Computer Science as one of  the courses. And they had color monitors with Windows 98, but best of all,  they had one computer for one student which meant it was all yours for the whole 50 minutes. Ecstatic would be an understatement.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, after almost two years of constant pleading from my side, my dad finally gave in agreed to buy a computer!! So it was in May 2003 that a brand-new sparklingly white CPU and a CRT monitor entered our house. And the rest, as they say, is history. Ok I did go for a bit of theatrics there, but that is the truth. I was one of the first kids in our class who owned a computer and I loved talking about it to everyone. “You know, today I found out that you can apply custom themes to Windows 98! I put a Jungle one and it is awesome!!” Maybe I was showing off a little too.

And that basically took off and put me on my life trajectory. I was the Master Tinkerer. It was Windows 98, of course, so naturally there were loads of times when something would go wrong or the OS would stop to boot and I would have to troubleshoot and fix the issue. I loved that exercise, of finding out the precise cause of an issue and the smugness I felt when it starts to work again! I learnt to disassemble and assemble the innards of the CPU all by myself. The undeniable truth is that I saved my parents loads of money by never having to call a computer repair guy. 🙂

Well I guess I could go on and on about all the wonderful times I spent with my computer. How I discovered new things almost every single day.  How I got certified an official geek by my friends, and how people used to come to me to fix any issues with their computers. We still did not have an internet connection back then, that would come almost seven years later. True.

I did revamp my computer in 2010. The CRT had to be replaced with an LCD monitor. The motherboard and everything on it had to be upgraded too as they just couldn’t keep up with the changing times. It looked new, after all the changes were done, but I still think of it as my old friend. That soul never really left.

Years later, when I sat for my first campus recruit interview and the old guy sitting across the table asked me what my most favourite childhood memory was, you can guess what I answered back without thinking for a second.


 

And that’s a wrap for Writing 101. Even though I’m so late for this last entry, that the official forums have closed down so I can’t post a link there anymore. Yet, I would like to thank each one of you who has taken the time to read my blog. You guys pretty much made my day whenever you showered a like or an appreciating comment my side. For that, I feel truly blessed.

This has been one whirlwind of a ride, and I enjoyed each and every moment of it. Write on, folks!

So I’m doing this “Start Writing Fiction” course…

Recently, a fellow blogger has posted about this course called Start Writing Fiction on FutureLearn and I’m glad he did otherwise I wouldn’t have heard of this wonderful opportunity at all. This is basically geared towards budding writers who are just starting to get their feet wet at writing fiction. I’m finding it quite resourceful and fun so far! The course is laid out in a very logical step-by-step process getting you slowly acquainted with all the intricacies of fiction.

And I finally found a reason to keep a physical journal! 🙂 The course prods everyone to note down anything and everything that comes to their mind in the journal – the people, the sights, the sounds, the smells – you get the idea. I haven’t gotten this detailed yet, for I also realized that I do need to hone my perceptive skills. I’ve been doing a lot of people watching, though, and noting anything that seems intriguing. It’s been proving to be quite an enjoyable and insightful experience so far!

Though I have to say I still have to master the art of observing someone without coming off as a stalker!!

WP_20150507_00_55_51_Pro

The idea is that you create a character drawing inspiration from your observations and finally be able to build a short story around them. Fingers-crossed!

To talk about the course in particular, the duration is 8 weeks in all(of which we’re in the second week now) with a minimum effort of 3 hrs per week. But I guess the best thing is that you are at liberty to do this at your own pace which is very crucial to me.

Writing 101: Day 19 – Everything Changes

Well once again, we’re tasked to write freely for 20 minutes. Gawd. But anyway, this time I did a couple minutes of thinking before I started so I do know what I want to write about. Behold – It’s about “Rapid Advances in Technology!

Well I chose this topic as I know that this is something I can talk about. I guess everyone who’s born around the 1990’s has seen a tremendous shift in the way we lead our lives, more than any other generation if I’m not wrong. We have seen a significant change in the definition of “entertainment”, if I say so myself. I still remember the big boxy television we had in our home when I was a kid, which showed only a max of 8 channels. And how can I forget the antenna on top of our house which used to capture free-to-air channels run by the government. Everyone had one of those back then. And of course, the pain of having to press buttons on TV to change channels. When Dad suddenly one day purchased a “revolutionary” new TV which showed up to 100 channels, had a remote control(!!) and had so many customization controls that it took a whole day to understand it all – we were ecstatic! TV watching became a vanity, and whoever had the remote in hand was the boss. Now we have two televisions in our house. Each connected to a digital set-top box which dishes out crystal clear quality channels. There’s no more fights, no one argues over which program to watch anymore. If mum is watching soaps, bro is watching sports then I will turn to Youtube on my computer. They put all the TV shows online these days anyways, no one has to worry about catching a show at the exact time it is telecast on TV.

If I turn to music, I was one of those people who used to run to the music store to buy the latest audio cassettes (not CD’s, mind you). I don’t think the future kids would even know what a tape-recorder is. Or the once ubiquitous Walkman! What’s strange is that music CD’s are relatively new but they’re already dying. Why would anyone go through the trouble of accumulating physical discs when you can have it all digitally in your pocket. It’s interesting to note how technologies come and go, and how it is driven so much by public convenience and usage.

You can never call something the pinnacle of innovation.

I guess I’ll leave you with one more remark. Anyone remember Floppy Discs? You see them everyday, whenever you click the Save button. And yet, I don’t think the younger generation has ever held one in their hands. I remember the days when we would store documents and photos on a floppy disc to share between friends. And all it had was a max of 1.44 MB. Can you imagine? These days, not even half of a song fits in that space.

Writing 101: Day 17 – Take a Deep Breath

I am sleeping peacefully on the bed, lost in a dream. But slowly I start to come to my senses. There is movement alongside me, and people are murmuring all around. These people! They won’t let a bloke sleep. I don’t want to open my eyes lest they think I have woken up. They won’t let me cuddle back to sleep for sure. Suddenly, I sense something different. It feels like I am floating in the air. What is happening? Maybe it’s my brain playing tricks. The murmuring has stopped now, I decide I can safely open my eyes. But when I do, I find something coming towards me. I can’t quickly place it, but below it I can see grass and a lot of legs. 

I realize that whatever that was, it’s not coming but closing on me! I quickly look around. I’m in a fucking coffin. I try to yell, but nothing comes out of my mouth. The lid closes and everything turns dark as I grapple for breath. My mind goes numb while I start to die a suffocating death…

If you’ve made it this far, then congrats, you now know what my biggest fear is.

It’s not the fear of dying, it’s the fear of being stuck in extremely confined spaces. A version of Claustrophobia, if you will. I’m fine with being in elevators and all. As long as I can move inside the space, I don’t have a problem. (I’m not like Robert Langdon, you see) But being stuck in places where I can’t move, can’t see, and probably can’t help myself out – that is what gives me the chills. I still get goosebumps whenever I imagine myself in such places. In reality, this never happened to me and probably never will but I don’t know why it affects me so much.

By the way, the account you read above of me stuck inside a coffin was an actual nightmare I had. I was jittery the whole day.

And if you have to know, I also have Entomophobia. The tiny devils!

Writing 101: Day 16 – Lost and Found

Part 3 of the dreaded “Serially” series is finally here. If you’ve read my previous posts, you’d know how I conveniently ducked the prompts by taking an entirely different approach to them. Needless to say, they don’t form parts of a series. And this post has no intention of being one, either. In my first post, I spoke about how I’ve lost my faith, and in my second post, I took the cheerful route and spoke about how finding our pet dog Winnie had been the best thing in our lives. So now comes the question. What have I both lost and found? Yes, I have lost my stuff( e.g a lot of books, flash drives, university lab records!) and went into misery. You might think I’m careless, but that is simply not true! Sometimes things happen that are just not in your control 🙂 Some of the things I have lost would have eluded even the likes of Sherlock Holmes! Anyway, why am I digressing so much?!

It suddenly struck me that there is nothing more significant in this world that I have both lost and found than my Writing. So I’m going to dedicate this post to this part of mine. I guess I always had this curiosity towards writing, even dating back to school days. I loved to participate in Essay Writing competitions(in both English & Telugu, which is my mother tongue) and won almost all of them. I think it was my interest towards Language, in general, that has pushed me to invest more in the art of eloquence. Of course, it was also massively helped by my propensity to read. I was one voracious reader, I tell you – starting with newspapers, then magazines, then novels ( it was an era of very less internet penetration, otherwise who knows what would have happened!). So needless to say, I always scored well in languages, quite contrary to others who always got less grades in languages. And then I took French as second language in the final years of school ( It was wonderful, but probably a story for another day 🙂 )

It was also at this time that I ventured into writing fiction. I think I was 16 when I wrote my first short story. It was a very long and sad piece on an ancient Hindu practice and probably wasn’t very good. But it did resonate with a handful of people, who said they liked it. So it acted as quite a good boost, which led me to write one more for a contest the same year. This, too, was well received. And then that was it. I didn’t write anything for the next six years! Yes, six! Strange, isn’t it?

A lot of things contributed to this. I relatively got busier when I started college and didn’t have much time for creative writing. I found new interests like software development. And then I convinced myself that even though my writing was okay, I’m never going to become a famous author or anything so why waste time on this anyway. Yea, I was that stupid. So it slowly faded away into the back of my brain. The neural pathways to it disconnected mometarily. And I existed like that for several years.

But you see there’s something called as epiphany. And when it strikes, you better seize it before it’s gone.

The thing is, all through these years, I’ve never actually stopped reading. And it so happened that I visited the Literature Festival in our city this year. There were a lot of distinguished authors on the panel, including Eleanor Catton (who is the youngest Man Booker prize winner) and also the literary pop stars of India like Chetan Bhagat and Amish Tripathi. And when I heard these people talk about why they write and what it means to them, I was completely bowled over. I suddenly realized what was sorely missing in my life. I knew I had to retrieve that lost habit from the cobwebbed portions of my brain, if I need to add meaning and purpose to my life. And thus began this blog! Even though it’s only been a couple of months here, I’m glad with the way things are proceeding. Baby steps, but each one has taught me something new. I’m still finding my voice, and my foothold. There is a lot of inspiration around, I noticed. I had just been blind to it before.

What would I make of my writing, I dunno. As of now, I just want to write and write more. There’s a satisfaction in doing something you like that you don’t get anywhere else.

Hopefully, all will be well.