Piya and Tara gazed at the beautiful tent of the tarot card reader. The girls did not really believe in all this. At the same time there was something fascinating and romantic about tarot reading. They had read about it in novels. They stood a little away from the tent watching people going in and coming out with a look of satisfaction on their faces. They too walked in.
They had been expecting someone very exotic but were disappointed to see a very ordinary looking old lady. She smiled and asked them to sit down. She took out the tarot cards and laid them one by one on the table. The cards had beautiful drawings on them. The old lady started speaking and what she said thrilled the girls. What they had believed to be their secrets were not really secrets. The cards seemed to know their innermost feelings, their hopes and fears. This scared them and made them uneasy. They did not want to know about the future. Life would become very dull then.
The lady seemed to understand their feelings. She said good bye to them as they paid and walked out.
( Photo Credit : Wendy Van Hove)
Coco the cat and the bird lived in Tara’s home. She loved both of them but they were always at loggerheads. Tara had brought Coco from the shelter. He had been abandoned by the roadside. The kind owner of the shelter had found him and brought him home. Tara and her mother had gone to the shelter, both loved animals. It was love at first sight for both, Tara and the kitten. A year had gone by. Love and security had changed the kitten beyond recognition. He looked sleek and beautiful. He believed that Tara and her home belonged to him.
One day he received a jolt. Tara’s friend brought her rooster home. She was going away for two weeks and Tara had agreed to look after the bird. Coco did not like this interloper and always looked for an opportunity to swipe at the bird. But the rooster was too clever for him. That left Coco frustrated. But, today both were on the table and there was no one around. The bird had become too complacent. A second was enough to strike the bird. It ran away squawking loudly. Coco disappeared from the scene with speed. He was happy.
( Photo credit : DeAnna Gossman)
Kavya enjoyed play school. But she had not liked being separated from her mother in the initial days and had protested before leaving home. The teacher took the children to the playground every day. One day they went to a farm. The children were excited to see black hens in the coop. Kavya touched the soft feathers of the hen. She liked it. Seeing the children enjoying themselves the teacher decided to take them to the zoo in their town.
The children were too small to know what a zoo was. When they reached the place, they were happy to see the animals. The five children walked around, holding hands. The teacher was behind them. It was autumn and the beautiful leaves were lying on the ground waiting to be picked and thrown up in a shower. They walked on. Suddenly they stopped when they saw two strange-looking birds. The little ones were not scared but just surprised by the birds’ big round eyes. The teacher was surprised to see the owls and wondered how they had come out of the enclosure. She looked around and saw the board with slightly faded words, ‘Beware owls in the road’.
Photo from Morguefile
Kavya returned home to tell her mother about the sunflowers she had seen in her friend’s house. She found them beautiful and wondered why they were called sunflowers. They did remind her of the sun and sunrays.
The following weekend Kavya, Advaith and their parents were driving to the next town. On the way they were excited to see miles and miles of sunflower fields. Of course they had to stop. The children felt as if the flowers were nodding and smiling at the sun.
Advaith told his sister that when the plants were growing the buds turned to face the sun. He was sure the plants knew that the sun rises in the east. Kavya was not ready to believe this. She asked her brother if flowers had a mind. The farmer looked amused when he heard this exchange. He said that when the flowers were in full bloom they always faced east. So, they got this name.
To test if what her brother and the farmer had said was true, Kavya dragged Advaith to the fields the next day. They spent the morning watching the buds. They did seem to worship the sun.
Kavya was convinced.
The two friends met at the hospital entrance. The look on Asha’s face saddened Deepa. Asha had been finding it difficult to see things. A check-up revealed that the nerves of her eyes were becoming weaker. Soon she would be blind. That had terrified her. She had taken to wearing dark glasses, hoping that people would not notice her disability. Deepa understood her friend’s feelings but wished she did not worry about what people thought.
Deepa had always seen the blind wearing dark glasses but had never understood why they wore them. What was their purpose? Who had decreed that the blind should cover their eyes? Was it because ‘normal’ people felt uncomfortable looking at eyes that could not see? Or did people who were blind feel more secure while wearing dark glasses? She could never find answers to these questions.
She had tried to convince Asha against wearing those glasses. But Asha stopped her by saying that it was easy to say such things. Only those who experience the pain of losing their sight knew what it really meant. Deepa was left speechless.
Photo credit: Colby Renee
Meera looked around the crowded lounge. There were people from different parts of the country in that space. She was an anonymous being here. She felt safe from prying eyes.
Prying eyes were what she had experienced in the small town she hailed from. Everyone knew what was happening in the lives of all their neighbours. There was no privacy. She had not thought so while in school. She was busy with studies and friends. Life revolved around school and home.
Slowly her way of looking at the world changed. She was not sure when that had started happening. What she had earlier thought of as concern for each other’s well being now appeared to be interference. Most people expressed their opinions even if they were not asked to do so. People wanted to control others, and everyone seemed to worry about what others would think. She was unable to understand who those others were. They were formless and nameless but appeared to have power. She wanted to escape.
Fortunately, she got admission in the college where she wanted to continue her studies. She was now on her way to that city to start a new life with new friends.
Photo Credit : Barb Crews
Leena gazed at the beautiful scene in front of her. Its serene aspect affected her deeply. She realized that she could never be at peace unless she learnt to accept that every stage in life was different. The present was more important than anything else. She had to learn to live in the now. No one could hold on to time.
Her mirror had been her greatest friend. It told her how beautiful she was. She did not want to grow old. That was her greatest fear. She did everything possible to look younger than her age. She had succeeded too. People admired her for it.
In spite of all that there was no peace of mind. The terror of growing old haunted her. But her body was growing old from inside. She could do nothing to stop that. She thought that a change of scene would help her.
The mirrored scene helped her to reflect. In one moment life changed. She accepted her fear and her aging body. Then she knew that she was free.
Photo credit : P Allman
Advaith loves lollipops. There is something very satisfying about them. He sees the shape of a lollipop everywhere. Recently, he was enjoying his vacations in his grandparents’ home. It was the rainy season. He and his sister loved to splash about in the water holding umbrellas.
He liked to explore nearby places with his grandfather. There was a small stream nearby. He loved to make paper boats and run after them as they floated gown the stream. His grandfather enjoyed telling him about the different plants, their flowers and seeds. The wild fruits were tasty too.
One day his grandfather wanted to show him something which he thought would fascinate Advaith. They set out early in the morning to the mountains with sandwiches and lollipops of course. Advaith wondered what his grandfather wanted to show him. They walked along a path when he stopped in surprise and wonder. In front of them were giant lollipops. Some of them looked as if they had been eaten. He knew they were not lollipops but he hoped they were. There would be so much to eat. The duo approached the beautiful plants. Looking at them the grandson wished they were really lollipops.
Photo credit : Morguefile
Amar felt old when he looked at the young tourists. He was a guide in the palace and had been working there for more than four decades. He looked with wonder at the youngsters busy clicking pictures.
His thoughts went back to those days when life had been so different. Back then, tourists were more interested in looking at those reminders of life lived long ago. But now people were more interested in taking their own photos. When had these changes taken place? He loved his work and many a time his wife used to tell him that he lived more in the past than in the present world. And it was true. The past fascinated him.
His gaze fell on the young lady wearing big sun-glasses. He could not make out where she was looking but he did know that she was looking at herself from all angles. Why she had come here? Was she really interested in this heritage building? He shook his head and looked away. He found it difficult to understand such people. He was growing older and maybe the time had come for him to retire. The thought made him sad.
Photo credit: L L Jones
Anand entered his study and looked at his cat gazing at the laptop screen. This would have amused him under normal circumstances. But today was the fifth day without power supply. Heavy rains and winds had caused chaos and destruction everywhere. He had used his laptop sparingly but soon it would not be possible. What would he do without his laptop or his mobile phone? All his books were on his Kindle. Not being able to use his gadgets was frustrating. But it should not have been so.
The sight of the bird on the screen took his thoughts back to his childhood in the sixties. Nature was part of their lives in his village. There was no electricity. Before dusk, lamps were lit in the rooms. People ate their dinners early. In summer he and his cousins fell asleep fanning themselves with hand-fans made from areca leaves. They had grown up without electricity and had enjoyed those days.
There was no going back and he would not want to even if he could. Circumstances were the same but everything else was different. The virtual world had become a more important part of their lives.
Photo credit: Sue-Z