Monday, April 30, 2018

Dealing with the Wall

Seeing this week’s nonfiction prompt made me cry. April for me has been a disproportioned sine wave with a lot of lows. I barely completed my Camp NaNoWriMo thanks to the instinct which made me change the goal from word count to hour count.

Writer’s block is nothing new to me. I’ve endured months of it with no success. But back then, the writing was only a hobby. Now, I dread the times when I stare at the blank pages willing myself to write something, anything. The frustration makes me grumpy, not that I am sunshine otherwise. I snap at everybody only to feel bad later on.

Books have always rescued me from such situations. This month, even they deserted me. I read like crazy only to continue staring at white sheets of paper. I finished the entire Lady Julia Grey Series by Deanna Raybourn with such obsession that I dreamt of Brisbane and Julia bickering and solving new cases. At least if I remembered a quarter of those silly dreams, I’d have attempted my first ever Fan Fiction. Alas, it was not to be. I woke up feeling groggy and irritated; not the best way to start a day.

I turned to music and ended up with a similar result. Nothing worked, not even the daily prompts I get to see on my newsfeed. I read a few more books, skipped a week of the YeahWrite challenge, tired some crafting, and watched the saved episodes of CID. For the previous week, I forced myself to attempt both nonfiction and fiction grids (I would get a free review after all). The nonfiction was decent, I suppose with few errors but the poem, sigh! It was one of the worst ones I’ve written. Still, I posted it, desperate to get back on the track.

I’m not sure, but I feel a little better now. It could be the after-effects of celebrating my birthday (Sunday), but I am confident I can write can this week. A flash fiction flowed easily. I sent it before the deadline.

What I think eventually helped was my persistence to not give up. I bought myself a new pen, mixed inks to create purple and reddish black colors. The incentive to use these colors served to an extent. Constantly reading books was a bonus. Even if I use the Regency language in my writing, the paper is not blank anymore.

What works effectively to kick aside the writer’s block is ultimately the determination to write. It may take days or weeks to get over it. And there are no standard cures. Each barricade is a new one and has to be dealt differently. But, the underlying force will always be the grit to survive and move on.
The image is taken from Pinterest.

The New Room

The image is taken from Google.

My heart swells with love
as sunshine fills the room.
The faint smell of new paint,
a balm to my tingled nerves.

The walls were bare,
patiently awaiting the arrival
of chubby hands to make them
the best canvas on earth.

Yellow lace curtains danced
as the spring breeze wafted through
blowing the tendrils of my hair,
making a giggle like a child I carry.

The new empty cradle stood steady,
confident to safeguard the baby.
The rainbow cushions and silk blankets
grinning at me, eager to hug the newborn.

Sleepless nights and tired mornings
put a blush on my cheeks.
A load of chocolates I relished
sweetening the discomfort of swollen ankles.

Dark circles make my eyes glow
as the smiles and mutterings fight to win.
I can hardly see the ground,
my eyes only for the tiny red socks.

Sinking into a soft chair,
I sigh as the baby kicks, again.
Eight more weeks before I hold
a precious bundle of joy in my arms.

Oh! How I yearn,
uncaring the fatigue and pain.
Every second that passes,
takes me closer to my dream come true.

The prompt is to write a poem expressing an emotion without naming it. The POV is a first for me. I hope I've done justice to it. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Nostalgic Dice

Reading about the games of dice made me nostalgic. I remember the summer holidays when I and mom would go to my grandparents’ house. I would get bored in the noon (stepping out in the summer heat was not even an option), so we would sit and play board games.

Sometimes it was me and grandpa and other times it was with my cousins (two of them). My mother bought this big chart for me- we call it Vaikuntapali in Telugu. It’s basically the Snakes & Ladders. The other side had ludo, called Ashta Chemma (I’ll come back to this one later).

With cooler in full blast, we would sit on the floor fighting over choosing our favorite colors as chips. The game would go on for two or three hours with bickering, pouting and laughing thrown in. Mom or aunt would make some juice for us and sit reading a magazine or doing embroidery (my aunt was amazing with a needle).

But we did not use the dice always. We instead had shells- four big brown shells of equal size. The count would invariably change. It was 1, 2, 3, 4 & 8. The 4’s & 8’s got double chances just like the 6’s in dice. And this is where the ludo comes in. Ashta is 8 and Chemma is 4.

Ludo is, of course, a strategic game where we have to escape from being killed, kill the opponents’ chips and reach the house first to win. We were pretty competitive. There were times we would fight like monkeys and swear not to talk to each other. The fact that we would go out together barely an hour after the fight was entirely a different matter. Sometimes, they would coax and drag me along (I was the most stubborn).

Talking about Ashta Chemma always makes me smile. You see, there is a movie of the same name. It is a rom-com with more emphasis on comedy. It is a lovely film to watch and laugh until our tummies ache. The comedy is clean and refreshing. The director was influenced by Oscar Wilde and it shows on screen.

The storyline is pretty simple with melodious songs. The movie was shot half in the city and half in a village in Andhra. With four main characters and a bunch of side characters and decidedly no negative roles, the movie is as good as the evening breeze.

I and my sister (cousin) went to watch this movie during a trip for her brother’s marriage. We had our favorite mini onion samosas, dilpasand (it’s a jam and nuts stuffed bun) and Pepsi to give us company as we laughed in the cinema theater and on our way home.

Life during holidays was entirely a different experience and I do miss it sometimes. 

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Exam Guide

The image is taken from Google

I do not usually do the non-fiction challenges. Somehow I don't get those right. But this week, I wanted to give it a try.

The topic, to write a tutorial in seven steps got me thinking. It's just like writing a recipe or a flowchart. Now, I've written programs and flowcharts when I was in college- the computer record books, pages of coding that had to be executed without error, and finally diagrams of the result. For exams, every answer had to have an example if we were to score good marks.

Exams! That's it. I agree half of the kids are done with their Boards, but there will always be other examinations to study for. I could write my procedure to prepare for those horrifying days.

Disclaimer: The system may or may not work for everyone. Go with what suits you the best.

Step 1: Get a copy of the examination timetable. Make duplicates and keep one on the desk or stick to the wall. It has to be where you can see it, every time.

Step 2: Make a plan. Calculate how many hours you will need to allocate for each subject. Be realistic. (You need to eat, sleep, shower). The more detailed a plan, the better.

Step 3: Collect the required material from the library, friends, etc. Arrange them neatly on the side. Divide the day into parts and schedule the study time. Some prefer early mornings while some prefer late nights. (Mine is neither)

Step 4: Have a stack of plain sheets ready. Use the ones leftover from previous notebooks. Get the pencils or pens (whatever preferred).

Step 5: Start making notes topic wise for each chapter. Write the side headings and key points for each topic. Place the sheets in the main book you refer.

Step 6: Read the notes you've made. It will help you remember better. Do not forget to take some power naps. Also, have a small chocolate once a day.

Step 7: A day before the exam, make cryptic notes with only the keywords. The entire syllabus should fit on a single sheet of paper. Carry it to the examination center. But do not take it into the hall. (cheating is bad)

Finally, if it feels like this might work for you, give it a try. Good luck. After all, exams have a habit of arriving every year.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Oceanids

The image is taken from Google.

A shining constellation of stars
making us feel they are ours.

Calming the sea for a sailor
in answer to their silent prayer.

Guiding the Zuni farmer
with little more than a murmur.

Girls of water, Maidens of ice
Oceans, snow, showers, frost- they entice.

Fluttering wings of a dove
flying safe from Orion's love.

May for Maia, beautiful and shy
The Great One, brightest star in the sky.

Electra gave birth to the Trojans
slipped away to deal with emotions.

Alcyone, a leader and a rival of the elder
but she turned a lover as Ceyx held her.

Taygete the companion of Artemis
potnia theron, had her lair in the hills.

Sterope, mother of a war God,
weakest she was, yet they applaud.

Celaeno, the faintest of all,
mother of two is all they recall.

Merope, a lost sister of the cluster
married a mortal, turned an outsider.

The Pleiades, a part of Taurus,
the seven sisters remembered in the Greek Chorus.

Note: I tried to write a poem using couplet style, but this poem does not have a meter. I am not good at scansions. I am learning to get the rhyming right first.
Also, the poem has full rhymes, near rhymes, and even vague rhymes.
The poem is about the Pleiades or the Seven Sister Stars. Each mythology has different versions. I used a few.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Fairies Dance

The image is taken from

“Seven of them.”
“They are here.”

*Rolling eyes*

 “I see nothing.”


“Me too.”
“Use your sight.”
“My! My!”
“Yeah! Told you.”

Fairies danced around the Night Blooming Cereus.

*Shooting Stars*

“Stop it.”

The fairies vanished.

“We’ll see them again.”

“A hundred years.”

This was supposed to be for the Microprose challenge. But then, my Word messed up the count and I being who I am, did not count the words manually. So here it is for the weekend showcase. 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

I am not Envious!

The image is taken from

In the crowded room,
as flash caught my eye,
I gasped.
Diamonds- uncut and pure,
glittered around a thick neck.
My hand closed over
the two dollar trinket,
choking my voice.
She was such a show-off.

My car stuttered to a stop
when the signal turned red,
The sound making me cringe.
Even as a sleek car paused,
silent than a panther.
My eyes widened and narrowed.
Longer than my apartment,
it screamed money and power.
Here comes the idle son of a rich man.

Eyes glued to the screen,
I type faster than a flying comet.
"I've been promoted."
She whispered and giggled.
My fingers curl into a fist.
Three years of toiling,
I am invisible to the manager.
With a fake smile and flashy accent,
she waltzes right over me.

An abandoned basket stood
outside my neighbor's door.
Something whimpered, I peeked.
Soft as cotton, white as a daisy,
it stared at me, unblinking.
Jaw clenched, I hand it over,
as her pale cheeks turned red.
So the wrinkled husband gave her a kitten.
The old couple was nauseatingly in love.

My house is clean, empty.
I have no friends to laugh with me.
Nor do I have pets to comfort me.
Why does the fat party woman deserve diamonds?
What did the rich son do to earn the flashy car?
How could a snobbish female be superior to me at work?
Why should an ugly old woman need so much love?
This would is unfair to me.
I rightfully deserve better than them.

For this week I had to write using one of the Seven Deadly Sins. I chose Envy. It wasn't as easy I thought it would be writing in the first person. I can only hope I did some justice to the poem.