Short Story: Big Daddy’s Chair

Well, this is a short story. Do read.

By Abha Iyengar

Big Daddy always sat on the big reclining chair with its long arms opened, his legs splayed across the arms, wide. He was a short man, but big and sturdy, and somehow his thick, muscular, hairy legs across those long arms seemed just right. At least to my thirteen-year-old eyes, for I had seen him reclined in this position, chewing his tobacco and scratching his chest, which, surprisingly, had no hair, ever since I was a child.

I noticed these things, because I have always been observant since my childhood, and this has stood me in good stead and in bad stead, depending on the situation. Like when I noticed how extra low my aunt would bend to light Big Daddy’s fire, exposing her breasts, which, compared to my mother’s non-existent ones, would attract anyone’s attention, and Big Daddy’s eyes were always drawn there. Aunt did little to…

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Workshops

A Workshop with Abha Iyengar: Creative Writing with emphasis on the Short Story Synopsis: In this hour-long workshop, fiction writer and poet Abha Iyengar will teach you about the basics of short s…

Source: Workshops

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Book Review: The Gourd Seller, Author – Abha Iyengar, Publisher – Kitaab

Source: Book Review: The Gourd Seller, Author – Abha Iyengar, Publisher – Kitaab

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# Trust 30…Day 31…Image…The Image is All


Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mess up your hair. If you are wearing makeup – smudge it. If you have a pair of pants that dont really fit you – put them on. Put on a top that doesn’t go with those pants. Go to your sock drawer. Pull out two socks that don’t match. Different lengths, materials, colors, elasticity.

Now two shoes. You know the drill.

Need to add more? Ties? Hair clips? Stick your gut out? I trust you to go further.

Take a picture.

Get ready to post it online.

Are you feeling dread? Excitement? Is this not the image you have of yourself? Write about the fear or the thrill that this raises in you? Who do you need to look good for and what story does it tell about you? Or why don’t you care?

(Author: Matthew Stillman)

It is the need to conform, to fit in. In India, old women will never wear shorts, not at home, and not to the neighbour or the marketplace. In the Indian villages,  girls begin to dress very modestly when very young, whereas in urban cities like Mumbai, girls of the same age wear figure-hugging jeans and noodle strap tops. My brother says that in Australia, his children walk to school barefoot and in their swim suits, the ocean is close, and they attend class in swimsuits! In India, a kid going to school barefoot would be very poor, and swimsuits are never worn anywhere but at the beach or the swimming pool. I wear a sari to a formal party but jeans or a salwar suit if I go out informally. I am not much of a dresser at home, prefer to lounge around in loose and comfortable clothes, and will visit the local market too without make-up or dressed in fancy clothes and footwear. I have neighbours though who will not step out of their door unless their hair is in place, and they have their jewellery and lipstick on. I really do not dress, but if I have to go out to dinner etc. , then I will.

I remember , in my college days, my boyfriend arrived unexpectedly one night and I was dressed for bed in a kurta pyjama (casual dress for sleeping) and wearing the rubber chappals I wear at home to relax in. He said we would go for a drive and I agreed, for the weather was good. We drove around  enjoying the night breeze and I told him I was hungry. He stopped in front of a 5 star hotel and said I should get out, he was going to treat me to a good dinner. Now , I could walk into an ordinary restaurant dressed the way I was and fend off the occasional stare, but a 5 star hotel? I stuck my bum to my seat and refused to move. Rubber chappals in a hotel! My ears were burning , I would never do it. In those days, dress codes were not laid down, so I could have got away with it, but my own sense of what was not ‘suitable’ got the better of me. He had an impish smile on his face when he , dressed in white kurta pyjama as well, casusally got back into his car and  lit a cigarette. I was angry with him too, wondering what had made him suggest such a thing, but anyways, he was a bit of a rebel so he was capable of such acts. And I was, in those days, a girl who played very much by the book. Today, if I wanted to do the same thing, for I am not such a rule book follower anymore, the hotel itself would not allow it, they have dress codes firmly in place. Sad, but true.

So of course, I have an image to live up to and a society to live in. I dress only because of that. Who needs clothes otherwise? J

Moreover, everyone says I look wonderful when I dress up to look pretty. So that works like an occasional incentive. I sometimes also do it to cheer myself up, a dash of colour on my lips works wonders for my ego.

We are ourselves impressed and deluded by our own images. When the real thing is not working for us anymore, a little bit of the mask helps. Anything to keep the smile on the face from slipping. The world cannot live with truths, me included.

And the dress suggested by this prompt, well, if that is the image of the season…lead me to it. Otherwise it is a dare I will do without. To be the lone and solitary reaper of brickbats and sniggers and insinuations…nope, not for me.

I do not need to dress different to show that I am different. I do not need to spell it out to people who will not understand. I do not want the wrong kind of attention. I will do what I will do without outright proclamations.

So, of course, the image is all.

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#Trust 30…Day 30…10 Year Text by Tia Singh…Waking up in Time


Speak what you think now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Imagine your future self, ie, you 10 years from now. If he/she were to send you a tweet or text message, 1) what would it say and 2) how would that transform your life or change something you’re doing, thinking, believing or saying today?

(Author: Tia Singh)

This is really very scary. I mean, I know I have been writing the Trust 30 challenge these last 30 days, but nothing has scared me more than this particular one. Facing the hard question. Ever since I have read this, I have been wondering where my life is going. I have not chartered it yet, no goal posts, yes, some goals to reach, but When? What do I really, really want to do and complete within the next 10 years and feel happy that I did it while I was still alive and well and healthy. The questions are hard. I , despite my targets and attidute, have not really put down what I want to achieve by when. From this viewpoint, despite all my attempts to focus and state my wants, I could just drift along and again drift along and again drift along and then…

I have to not only state what, but also  by when?

This needs a good solid think and then a kick in my pants to get me moving. It is so easy to wait for the tomorrow.

The tweet I would be sent would be:

Feels good to know that you have  achieved the goals you wanted and  that you are at a happy place, a content place. Aren’t you glad you woke up in time?

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#Trust 30…Day 29…Overcoming Uncertainty…Not Able to Trust the Process

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Write down a major life goal you have yet to achieve or even begin to take action on. For each goal, write down three uncertainties (read: fears) you have relating to each goal. Break it down further, and write down three reasons for each uncertainty. When you have three reasons for your fear, you’ll be able to start processing the change because you know where the fear stems from. Now you’ll be able to make a smaller changes that push you towards your larger goal. So begins the process of “trusting yourself.”

(Author: Sean Ogle)

Yet to achieve: To be a published novelist

Not able to find the time

a. I get distracted with so many things, other commitments

b. I have to live/earn a living

c. Get exhausted at the thought of a rewrite

Too big a task

a.I hate rewriting and rewriting

b. So time consuming

c. Its crap anyway, no one will want to read it.

Hate to apply to publishers

a. Fear of rejection

b. Fear of rejection

c. So much time this will take, and for what? Rejection.

The tiny sliver f hope here is the mule in me. It might just push me past the finishing line if I don’t listen to the voice of reason. It does not work with the mule, the mule has no ear for it. Thank god for stubbornness, then.

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# Trust 30…Day 28…Alive-est with nature

Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. If we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

When did you feel most alive recently? Where were you? What did you smell? What sights and sounds did you experience? Capture that moment on paper and recall that feeling. Then, when it’s time to create something, read your own words to reclaim a sense of being to motivate you to complete a task at hand.

(Author: Sam Davidson)

 

I have not been feeling so alive for some time now. For I have not been with nature for that some time.

 

I am at my most alive when I am with nature, near the sea, in the mountains. I love the smell of fresh air and the smell of mud after rain (but in Delhi, it is just squishy slippery pavements of muck and …no smell of rain drenched earth). I love hot sand under my feet. I love the tiny purple and white flowers that peek in the grass on the hills. So got to get out of Delhi for those trysts with nature. Something vibrates and comes alive within me when I do so.

 

The next best, for an urban inhabitant of a city with unhealthy fumes, skyscrapers and streets clogged with  traffic, is music. Old Hindi melodies that are sad and make me cry, they move me and make me feel alive (strange). The other extreme is listening to J Lo, Beyonce, Shakira, Enrique, all the shake- a- leg kind of numbers, even the recent Hindi ones, which talk about Sheela ki jawani (the youth of Sheela!), and have a cool beat to dance to. They can make me feel alive with joy and life, such music pumps the blood and brings me to a happy state.

Poetry moves me and gives me life, reading a good story does.

Teaching does.

 

So in the absence of nature, for it is really the one primary thing which brings me alive, I have many other things to fall back upon. Good to be alive, actually, experiencing love and smiles, having a laugh and giggling over stupid jokes.

 

Yes, I can feel alive in many ways, but it is when I am with nature that I am filled with life.

 

 

 

 

 

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