The Golden Ladder

‘Who will play first?’ the old lady asked.

‘The one who comes up with the highest number on the dice,’ the girl said.

The old lady nodded in agreement. ‘Bring the board,’ she said.

The little girl moved towards the corner of the room, dimly lit with spider webs at the edges. The rack was dusty, like no one had visited the place in ages.

‘Ha….shooo,’ the little girl sneezed and rubbed her eyes.

The metal board was heavy and had numbers from one to hundred carved over the surface with tiny little squares. The little girl hadn’t seen it before and wondered how the game is played. She knew a little about the dice which was used in the game.

She walked back to the place where the old lady was seated. The place was bright with the rays of the newly awaken sun entering through the windows.

‘You roll the dice first, Ma,’ the little girl said, grabbing the glass dice from the pocket and handing it to the lady.

‘Do you know the rules of the game, Arki?’ the old lady asked.

‘I know about the dice,’ she said.

The old lady wiped the board and it shone like a fine piece of metal. The little girl’s eyes widened by the sight.

‘Is it true, is it true?’ she asked anxiously.

‘Yes it is,’ the old lady replied. ‘The game is run by magic,’ she added.

Continue reading “The Golden Ladder”

Two Stories

As a school going kid I was very bashful and quiet. My early days of schooling was spent in a very small school. I became even more shy when I transferred to a bigger school. I would find it so big that I would get lost on my way to class from the rest room. If I sauntered into the wrong corridor I’d have to say that I was a new student and I did not remember where I was going.

I would often leave the main ground of the school 10 minutes earlier after the lunch break in case I got lost and had trouble getting back. After 4 years, each minute detail would be imprinted in my mind but before those years were over, a million things would pass. 

Memory is a tricky thing, they say. We can distort and recreate memory of events that never happened. It’s not very reliable. Yet, a wave of memory hit me after almost a decade of leaving my school which I’d like to remember. The memory cue might have been a chat with two other friends who went to the same school, but none of us knew the other existed back then.

Back to the shy kid that I was.  I don’t know how I kept myself from bursting into tears the first few weeks of new school. I must have though, silently wanted to run away. Being the new kid is interesting in some way. All eyes on you. Everyone else is new too, so my eyes must have fallen into a huge state of confusion. The second thing we often asked each other after our names were our grades which is rather funny now that I think about it.

I was a major laggard in extra curricular activities. I had no clue what I could do apart from memorizing passages from books and finishing all my homework before I got home so that I could play Mario or stare at the TV with animax playing on it. I wasn’t good at art, music was okay, sports was a nightmare, and forget about public speaking. 

Whenever teachers came in to get in names for the inter school or inter house competition I raised my hand, in an alternate universe billions of light years away. I wanted to raise my hand in the universe I lived, but I lacked the courage to do so. It was all inside my head.

Fast forward to a few years later, I don’t remember when or how, one day a news about a story writing competition arrived. The visions are a little blurred, was it a teacher who suggested my name or did I finally muster the courage to raise my hand, I don’t recall. But I found myself as one of the participants from my school.

For a moment it felt cool. Back then it was a big deal. Imagine what would happen if I won, I kept telling myself. My name would be called at the morning assembly and I would walk out of the hustling mass of students wearing maroon and white to get my certificate. What a splendid sight it would be!

I think I heard one of the teachers telling me to write a story sample. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I had no idea what the organizers were looking for, but I wrote and wrote some more in royal blue ink. I continue to write in royal blue ink even today, and I still can’t seem to figure out who wants what.

I must say the story back then was a carbon copy of the Barbie movies I had been accustomed to. I had grown to admire the stories in the series. I found it magical. I thought I was creating magic.

For some unknown reason I always felt nervous walking into the staff room of teachers. But on this occasion I had to find the teacher who had asked me to write the story. I climbed many flights of stairs to reach the top floor and in my squeaky little voice I said, “May I come in Sir.”

To my dismay, the teacher I was looking for was not there. There was somebody else though. Normally, my mouth would have run dry and the words would have died out half way through my lungs, but I had to tell who I was looking for.

I had already written two stories, I told the teacher there. I was a participant for the story writing competition. Not much was said. The teacher asked me my name and I slowly exited the room. I walked down the stairs, feeling a little miserable with each step.

I never heard from the teacher I was intending to speak that day and I never enquired about it ever again. May be I should have gone back the next day, or the next week. In my over excitement I had written two stories that did not make much sense. There was no prize. There were only Two Stories. 

While I sure felt miserable that time, I do not remember feeling really sad about not being able to participate. I had two stories, and my friends loved it. We would go on to talk about it for many years. They would say I would write a story, I would write it. My best friend even told me that she’d publish it if I didn’t. Guess as children we love to believe in big things!

Perhaps I’ll find the two stories hiding in my bookshelf someday or they could be completely lost now, thrown away or burnt down. But they were the reason I managed to have a brief conversation without falling apart of nervousness. They were the reason I wrote in excitement, they were the reason I thought I could create magic. My friends believed in me. And that was cool. That is cool.

And I thank everyone who read the carbon copy of the Barbie stories I wrote to the ones who read writings I publish on my little blog every now and then; my little cousins who tell me I should become a writer when I grow up.

Thank you for joining me in this journey. And a new destination awaits!

Alfa

 

Flavors of Failure

I looked at my first story submission rejection email. And I smiled. And I rejoiced. And I am totally sane.

So much of the world is a perception that has been filled in our heads, first by the society and then by our experiences. There are subjects we think we can feel or expect to feel because we have been told about them. And while these descriptions are often true, the way we truly feel is something only we can uncover.

“You’ll never know unless you have your own kids.” “You’ll never know till you start earning.”

We are often reminded. Because it is an experience reserved only for us.

And there are many experiences we never have, all of them we cannot have. We operate solely under the circumstances of bounded rationality. We suffice most of the time. And there’s nothing wrong with it. Human lives are about sufficing, that is what makes it every bit interesting.

Then what about failure? What about the volcanic outcry of pain that precedes failure? Or so we are told.

If we evaluated failure as a concept, as a word that simply means not being able to attain a goal and isolate all emotional feelings, who is to say it will be bitter? May be you’d find it sweeter? or salty? or 132 other adjectives that strike your head- positive, negative and neutral.

I had failed. And I am surprised it did not bring me down, like it normally should have. I could have been distracted in the middle of an examination or a pile of spammed mail that had almost eaten up a rather important one. There could have been 302 other variables that jumped and played inside my head. But I have isolated much of these extraneous elements to realize that I was actually delighted to fail in that moment.

When little children fall down and hurt themselves, right before they begin to cry from the burning pain inside, our elders pounce in and say “you’ll be taller now”. A wound on my leg meant I’d grow taller, a leg ache meant I’d be one inch closer to the stars.

Of course none of us grew in direct proportion to all these folklores, but it kept us from crying and falling apart so many times. Falling flat on the ground did not need to hurt, it could mean something good. We saw for the first time that what we felt at the moment necessarily did not need to hold the same results, and vice versa.

Then why have we come to dread failure as a monster bought to life right from the frankenstein movie? Why haven’t we told ourselves, that it could be something very different from what we’re feeling?

Stephen King failed. And he cherished his rejections. The day when his novel Carrie credited his bank accounts with $200,000, he was standing in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room receiving the phone call that would change his life, at least financially. But he was always a writer at heart, nothing changes that, not his early rejections, neither the $200 short short stories he wrote to breakeven or the millions that followed. It was his book, On Writing, that challenged me to look at writing and failure rather differently. Combined with Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, I’d just discovered paradise.

If you’ve just tasted a hot pepper and can’t seem to handle it, run for the sweets! If you’ve hit rejection, run towards improvement and learning. It is the taste of the final delicacy that lingers on your tastebuds.

These are all a set of concepts that run down our heads, and yet when it boils down to failure we see of it as something much beyond the parameters of a simple concept. We’ve been told it hurts, we’ve been directed to fear and punishing ourselves. Certainly, feel the emotions, but don’t let them eat you up.

We’ve always been told, it’s bitter, perhaps it is time to discover our own unique flavors.

This is the first flavor I have discovered with my conscious mind, that failure can be more than bitter images and hurtful emotions. I am convinced there are more to come. I’d like to cherish my writing rejection, by simply writing more. There’s nothing more appropriate to do.

Now, a rejected but ever hopeful writer,

Alfa


Photograph of the sky of Kamalanagar, Sindhuli, captured from the bus park as a bunch of balloons from a near by street vendor flew right across.

The Joy of Art

Put these tears into words

And you shall be invincible.

Summon your most prized valorous knight,

Summon your inner most demons,

The untold characters jumping inside your head.

Lead them through their journeys,

While you go through your own voyage.

Weave your secret dreams, and cut them,

Because that is the only way you may learn.

Art is not just about reality,

It goes beyond any realm any creature

Has ever seen,

Only those who have been there

Have known its joy.

 

Why did I start this Blog?

I don’t quite remember.

While Columbus headed towards the West in search of India and ended up discovering America, I had no clue where I was heading. I knew I wanted to write, now I know better.

Why? How? I know the questions better.

To write. To read. To be read. To learn. To improve. To discover. To explore. To dream. To dare. To face the fear. These have been the refined goals I discovered during the journey.

Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination. – Drake

When the frog got to see a world beyond the well, she was awestruck by its magnificence, a little too scared at the same time. Suddenly the boundaries shifted and the sky became bigger to measure in distances, with eagles, hawks, pigeons, sparrows and white metallic creatures called airplanes all sharing the same blue canvas.

Writing has helped me make new friends, expand horizons with older ones, I have met people exclusively because of writing. I said, boldly I want to be a writer in front of five people I’d never seen before at a program, and how they backed me to share my ideas that day has been a big big surprise. (Gave a power boost to my confidence.)

I love the community here. The people behind these work of art have become my inspiration; people juggling with life, education, family, finances and managing to type a few lines everyday. I somehow landed on Blogging University and now here I am considering three concrete goals for my blog.

Three goals for my blog:

Learn, Learn and Learn

A forever goal.

Write more interesting articles and research more

It takes sweat to create interesting works. And tedious days of churning and writing, rewriting, writing, thinking, reading. I will focus more on topics that interest me and try to find more about them. I already have a few topics at the back of my head. Let’s see how they turn out to be.

Consistent Features

I’d like to be more consistent with #PawMgmt, where cats (my pets) and management (my major) come together here at my blog. I also plan to continue the Book Quote series (which has been dormant for a long long time.) Likewise, a mini fiction series too (smells like hardwork!).

I had a story to tell. I have many many more. I know you do too.


Til’ the next post! With hopes that I will be able to stick to my goals!

An amateur writer full of hope and dreams,

Alfa