From Surviving to Thriving

Fiction

Tough and challenging times come calling for everybody at some point of life. They usually twist, turn and knock us around and are inherent part of living life. And they are something that cannot just be done away with.

They did come calling for me too.

The global economic depression pushed the company to give me the pink slip which forced me to give up my high paying mid level job. Like it is for most of the people, high paying jobs are usually accompanied with high (or higher) cost of living. And it was no different for me. As expected, the industry layoffs resulted in a downturn in employment for the overall economy as well. For the available jobs, I was either under-qualified or overqualified. I took up odd jobs but they didn’t work out for long.

Two steps forward and three steps back! Yes, that summed up my life. Every time I thought I had found a solution to my financial worries, something would fall apart and I would end up feeling worse than before. The latest blow devastated me. My current job was offered to somebody who was willing to work at a lesser pay than me!

The setbacks demoralized me and it was tough to stay positive. The troubles seemed to be never ending just like the bus ride back home. I was having a tough time coping with the bad hand that life threw my way.

A lone tear escaped my eye as the turbulent mind wandered far from where I was.

So lost was I in complaining to God about my life and my circumstances that when a warm hand touched my hand, I nearly jumped out of my skin. I turned to look into the compassionate eyes of a co-passenger. Warmth and life radiated out from where the stranger’s fingers touched my skin.

Before my brain could process a reaction, the stranger lady said, “I don’t know what’s troubling you. But I want you to know that you’ll get through it. Whatever ‘it’ is!”

I looked at her as fresh tears began to well in my eyes. She patted my hand comfortingly and said, “Though you may fear that you won’t make it through. Though you may wonder if the grey sky would brighten again. But believe me that it will work out eventually. All the life’s challenges are not without a purpose. There is a grand design hidden behind them. The Universe is signalling you to evolve to a higher plane. It is time for you to explore your latent power and talents. You can do it. Have faith.  And remember that faith and hope never fail.”

Her words were exactly what I needed to hear. Those few simple words comforted me. Her words filled me with optimism and hope. I pondered over what she told me and asked myself questions like, “What do I really, really want in life?” “Where am I going?”…

The answer made me realize for the first time, my true calling in life… Yes, a home baker.

Today, my life is smiling back at me. I have come a long way from merely surviving to thriving. But it was all because the Universe showed me the light at just the right moment through that lady in the bus.

Since I was young, I have always known this: Life damages us, every one. We can’t escape that damage. But now, I am also learning this: We can be mended. We mend each other- Veronica Roth

Chapter 14 : The Redeemer

Team Writers’ Den

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Read the previous chapters here – Game Of Blogs – Writers’ Den

The little chat that Cyrus had with the sub-inspector Duryodhan Desle in cell number 308 disturbed him. He had to get out of this police custody immediately. He requested Duryodhan to allow him to make a phone call.

As Cyrus made that one call, Duryodhan looked up and sniggered in his direction, before grabbing his paan from the drawer and made an attempt to look busy with some papers.

*             *             *              *                 *

JJ tapped her fingers on the table top, a habit she had when she was feeling restless, and glanced at her phone for the hundredth time hoping the clock would tick faster. But the time was moving at its annoying pace and the clock showed 3:30 in the afternoon . There was still no sign of the delivery boy.

Patience. Patience. She repeated. But then, while patience with hard work can move mountains, patience in idleness that she was convincing herself of, a few seconds ago, moves nothing, not even cobwebs. She took a deep breath in and opened her laptop to do something constructive.

The start-up page on the Google Chrome opened with her Facebook wall. As she checked her timeline, a smiling picture of Cyrus greeted her. Her heart did a complete somersault. She gave a wistful look at his picture hoping that he would join her soon. On an impulse, she clicked on his picture and saw his timeline. As she scrolled further down, she came across a link. http://cdslegalden.blogspot.in She opened the link and it led to a blog. Cyrus’s blog. An appreciative whistle escaped her lips.

The first post she saw…

Cyrus Blog

“Ok, so he has a blog! And writes about legal investigation cases “, she mused. Before, she could explore further, the delivery boy interrupted her, “Madam, your papers!”.

“At last!”, she muttered, before dismissing him with a curt nod of her head.

Immediately, she packed her laptop and the papers and rushed out.

*             *             *              *                 *

Duryodhan leered at her with a sick smile as he found that all the bail papers were in order. He shouted at the constable to bring Cyrus out from his cell.

JJ and Cyrus exchanged a look which was not lost on Duryodhan.

*             *             *              *                 *

JJ and Cyrus drank their coffee in companionable silence, until Cyrus finally broke the quiet. After all that she had done for him, he believed that it was time for him to come clean and tell her the truth. He cleared his throat and looked at her feeling all bashful and guilty.

“Actually, I have not been honest with you”, he stuttered.

It took her a moment to absorb it but she eventually lifted her right brow and looked back at him.

“I have been to the crime scene and have collected 3 pieces of evidence. I have a chocolate wrapper, a blank piece of paper and a thorn from the crime scene and Duryodhan knows about it. My instincts tell me, that these will lead us to crucial discoveries about the gruesome murder of lil’ Sophia.”, he explained.

“I have been thinking about these, since the past 3 days in that wretched cell but nothing is making any sense. I think we must consult the expert from Mumbai. His name is Aryan…”

“…Ahuja!”, JJ completed for him. He gave her an incredulous smile.

“Aah! So you have been snooping around my blog!”, he looked pleased now.

*             *             *              *                 *

Finding his address was a cake walk. As they reached his building, JJ stopped dead in her tracks. Cyrus looked at her with his eyebrows raised questioningly. After recovering from the initial shocked surprise, JJ found her voice and said, “This is where Tara stays too!”

He was about a head taller than her and had a clean short crew cut. He had distinct cheekbones and an angular jaw made him look devilishly handsome. He was lost deep in thought as he looked at the dull weather outside. JJ was busy admiring the man in front of her oblivious to the inner turmoil raging inside him. The man had aged right in front of their eyes. His earlier reaction of point blank refusal for taking up the case was a sharp contrast to the pensive looking man when they mentioned Sophia’s name.

Cyrus nudged JJ with his shoulder and gave her a withering look. He cleared his throat and said, “Please, Mr Ahuja, you must help us. If not for anything, at least for Sophia. She must have played in front of you…”

“Oh anything for Tara errr I mean, Sophia…. “, he stuttered and muttered, the overcast weather mirroring his mental state.

“Please, call me Aryan and tell me all that you know about this case”, his demeanour completely changed. He was all business.

*             *             *              *                 *

Read the next chapter of the story here

Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.

Chapter 6 : The Vulnerables

Team Writers’ Den

writers den

Chapter 1: Mens Rea by Mahesh Sowani
Chapter 2: A Morning Star by Rohini Varun
Chapter 3: The Cursed One by Sreesha Divakaran
Chapter 4: The Vanquished by Aurindam Mukherjee
Chapter 5: The Insurmountable by Vinay Biradar

The story continues…

42% Complete…

JJ tapped her fingers on the table restlessly, as the file transfer continued to take its own sweet time. Her mind took her to the moment she had a chance encounter with Tara that night at News Today office. A casual chat with one of her colleague revealed something weird about Tara. Her curiosity was piqued and she wanted to get to the bottom of it. The search in the desk drawers did not reveal anything, so she looked at her computer.

While she willed the computer to reveal some dark secrets, Tara’s voice jolted her from her thoughts.

“What brings you here at this late hour? And what are you doing on my computer, JJ?”, she had asked. Her voice was smooth, like water calmly flowing over a smooth rock, though there was an icy glint in her eyes.

Beads of sweat trickled down the length of her body, as JJ struggled to stay calm.

“Of course, work. What else?” Did you like the “The Queen of Arabian Sea”?, she asked and hoped that Tara wouldn’t come and stand besides her, as she quickly closed the various open windows in the computer.

Tara was walking towards her desk, when a phone call distracted her. JJ gathered her bag, mouthed a bye and made a dash for the exit. Outside, she heaved a sigh of relief at her luck. Had she been there for a few more seconds, she would have seen Tara turning white into a sheet.

*             *             *              *                 *

Settling with a cup of coffee, she dialled his number. Cyrus picked up her call at the very first ring. Their relationship did not require the horrid nonsense of having to exchange pleasantries, so they got down to business, immediately. The 65 pictures captured by her DJI Phantom Drone were viewed and reviewed back and forth on their respective laptops.

A few pictures made her throw up while he squirmed in his chair. The body of the little girl, Sophia was discovered at a secluded area near railroad tracks. She had been bound, blindfolded, 666-lucisgagged, and stripped naked from the waist down. The child had been brutally tormented and it appeared that death came after hours of torture, having suffered injuries to her vagina and anus as a result of repeated sexual assaults. Something was carved on her forehead. Zooming the picture revealed it to be 666 which was cleverly concealed. It was the mark of the Beast. The blood had dried and blackened and encrusted around the symbol in haphazard patterns on her once beautiful face.

“Who could have done this?”, JJ asked, incredulously.

“The Lucifer’s army is at work. Looks like that the some new “initiates” are inducted in the army, with a baptsim in ‘blood and semen’ to make it all fine!”, explained Cyrus.

As she chewed on this revolting information, he felt the need to elaborate further, “Their rituals are based on the manipulation of energy and consciousness. They believe that blood contains the life-force energy, so drinking human blood is good for their inter-dimensional connection. They prefer young children because they are not contaminated like adults. Sex with corpses fresh or less is hailed as ‘divine’ too. Hard to accept isn’t it?”

“Sickos”, she said vehemently.

“Let’s get it cracking, lady. Will you work with me on this maiden case of mine?” He knew the answer, but he still asked. Was he feeling jittery at the enormity of task and the path that was laid ahead?

*             *             *              *                 *

She woke up from her nightmare with a start. Heart pounding in her ears, she tried to scream.

But when she tried to open her mouth, it was just not happening. Roohi’s nightmares were following her like a shadow. Sitting at the edge of her bed, Shekhar despised himself some more. He hated when his anger turned into tears.

*             *             *              *                 *

Read the next part of the story here by Archana Karkera

Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.

Unrequited Love

She was tall, thin, beautiful and elegant, my mother I mean.Sad Girl
I have seen her only in pictures.
I have been told that she died just after giving birth to me.

A string of relatives along with my father took turns to bring me up.
When this routine started disrupting their regular lives, my foster mothers suggested my father to remarry.

My new mother just about tolerated me.
I often wonder what it would feel like her arms around me, giving me one of these warm hugs that I see other moms and children exchange everyday…
I wonder what I should do bring a smile on her face on seeing me…

Aah! A remarriage may give a man, a wife but rarely a mother to a child.

Linking it to The Write Tribe Festival of Words – 3 : Day 1 : 9 Sentence Fiction 

I'm taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of Words -3

PS : Based on a real life story!

Her Story So Far

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Unattached and Independent. Yes, these words define her. She has been like that for as long as she remembers. She has lived life on her own terms, always!o-single-woman-facebook.jpg

If she wanted to stay in bed all day, reading a book, she could do that without a care, without a second thought. She could pack her bags and leave for a vacation wherever and whenever. The freedom to follow her dreams and passions, she cherished that. Why, if a friend called her to accompany somewhere, she could say a yes or a no immediately as she needn’t check with anybody, ever.

In her world, she reigned supreme. A dream job, a dream house and a dream life. What else does one want?

She was single and living the dream!! Now wasn’t that simply perfect!!

And then her perfect world started looking a little less perfect! She had been feeling more lonely, over the last few months! No, it was not that she no longer enjoyed her company. No, she still needed her ‘me’ time especially after spending long hours with friends. But of late, she felt she was lonely than alone.

A surprising new feeling of talking to somebody when she was low was rearing its head. The usual methods of staying positive or allowing the bright her to cast a shadow on the dark her or relying on her mental toughness, were failing her regularly. Why was she feeling the need of a comforting arm or somebody to listen to her … Somebody to tell her to go back to sleep and that all would be ok in the morning. Or somebody to snuggle up to…

Being single was suddenly not looking so awesome!!

Now in her late 40s, she believed that love may be behind her and that chances of finding a like minded partner were very slim. And that was more so as she started feeling that she’s never going to have one! Was there something strange about her that puts people off? Or is it her success that makes her unapproachable.
She was too late, she thought.
Or was she?

Linking to the Write Tribe’s Wednesday Prompt : She was too late.

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 Image Courtesy : Google Images

I See You

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It dates back when I was a new mother. Everyone around me couldn’t stop from gushing on seeing the little one. parent-toddlers-1

“Aha, she is so cute”.

“You must be loving the experience of being the mother of this angel”.

“Isn’t motherhood the most beautiful experience of this world? I believe, you couldn’t have asked for more!”

And I smiled with them. Motherhood must be bliss. After all they were speaking from experience.

I was 35 then and had longed for a child all my life. After 6 years of marriage, my dream had come true.

One day, after the lil one had fallen asleep, I was sitting by the window and sipping my tea, lost in my thoughts…

Shanti, my maid came near me and took my hands in hers. I was taken aback. I looked into her eyes.

In that moment, I realized that sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.

What I saw in her eyes, shook me to the core. She hugged me and I let the tears of the pain and sadness flow. Of all the people around me, only she understood, what I was going through. Only she understood the pain behind the smile. She understood the insecurities, hopelessness, helplessness and guilt I experienced as a new mother!

 

PS : While most mothers experience excitement and joy on the birth of their baby, some mothers feel fear and anxiety. And since most are clueless about why they feel this way and the same goes with their families too, this sadness and helplessness after child birth can result in depression which is called postpartum depression. Postpartum depression isn’t a character flaw or a weakness. Sometimes it’s simply a complication of giving birth. Postpartum depression is temporary and treatable with professional help.

This is a fiction written for Write Tribe’s Wednesday Prompt ‘Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye’.

Linking it to January 2014 Ultimate Blog Challenge and NaBloPoMo

To read posts by fellow friends and UBC and NaBloPoMo participants, click here Jairam, Kajal, Kathy, Michelle, Nabanita, Richa, Suzy Que, Sheethal. Yes, we can do we with some more cheering and support. :)

Masterstroke

My father believed that I would never make it big in life.

My mother never said anything but her silence said a lot.

Relatives and friends had trouble suppressing their smirks in my presence.

Ha! How much I’d love to see the look on their faces when they see me living in the lap of luxury…

And on television, today, as India’s Most Wanted!

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. This time the entry must word Love and just 5 sentences to complete a story.

Linking it to January 2014 Ultimate Blog Challenge and NaBloPoMo

To read posts by fellow friends and UBC and NaBloPoMo participants, click here Jairam, Kajal, Kathy, Michelle, Nabanita, Richa, Suzy Que, Sheethal. Yes, we can do we with some more cheering and support. :)

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Karma

Dec 2009

It was a cold evening. I was driving back home when I saw this woman, standing beside her car. I could see that she was so very distraught with worry and stress. Woman looking at smoking car engineAs she looked helplessly once again at the machinery under the bonnet, I stopped by and asked her, “Can I help you?”

She looked at me gratefully and stepped aside.

I looked at all the terminals and the clamp connections and then I saw a leakage in the cooling system. Since it was a something beyond my expertise with the cars, I called up my mechanic, Jay.

Jay assured that the tow truck would arrive in 15 minutes. I suggested that we grab some coffee, just across the road. Her eyes showed a slight hesitation but soon gave way to a smile.

Her phone was dead, so she made a call to her husband from my phone.

We chatted for a while about this and that and soon Jay came with his tow truck. I offered to stay with her, till her husband arrived but she insisted that I left as it was getting late.

“You are a real trooper. I can’t thank you enough, but you must leave now”, she said with finality.

As I said my goodbye to her, she smiled warmly at me.

Jan 2014

I am meeting my prospective in-laws for the first time today. While, the dad-in-law is a bit wary of me and is sizing me up. I must say, his silence is driving me crazy. The mother-in-law though also, hasn’t spoken a word, but her warm smile is giving me a lot of comfort.

“So, young man, tell us about yourself?”, boomed the old man’s voice.

Before, I could say anything, my MIL said with that trademark warm smile, “He is a real trooper and is perfect for our daughter.”

As I absorbed her words, and tried to make sense of it, I looked at her deeply and in that very instant, I realized, it’s a small world!!

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This is a fiction written for the Write Tribe’s Wednesday Prompt 2014 #2 It’s a small world

Linking it to January 2014 Ultimate Blog Challenge and NaBloPoMo

To read posts by fellow friends and UBC and NaBloPoMo participants, click here Jairam,Kajal, Kathy, Michelle, Nabanita, Richa, Suzy Que, Sheethal. Yes, we can do we with some more cheering and support. :)

Images Courtesy : Google Images

The Hidden Treasure

Finally I have my own place, my very own piece of land. It is small but it is perfect. A little cottage in the woods!

I had to get all my ducks in a row for this one but now I am caught a little short. A small price for a dream to become a reality. If only someone left me a treasure now… I mused idly.

With blisters on my hands and hurting back, I was dead on my feet. But I pushed myself to dig some more to make the most of the tiny patch for my vegetable garden. A jangling thud of the shovel roused me. I looked hard and removed the mud feverishly. My eyes gleamed in anticipation. But the next moment they darted around nervously to see if anybody else was a witness to my little secret.

Satisfied that I was all alone in this quest, I heaved a sigh of relief. I wondered if I should have asked for more that day. I removed the remaining mud around that small, rusty chest and took it out gently.

The lock gave away as soon as I touched it. Years…. they have that kind of effect on everything, I reflected philosophically. I lifted the lid and let my eyes soak the treasure inside.

I smiled and laughed as I carefully took out the feathers, seashells, rocks…

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This is a fiction written for Write Tribe’s Wednesday Prompt : Treasure

Peace… Finally

I was far from perfect. My imperfections overwhelmed me so much that their weight, weighed me down. I hid the pain by boycotting myself from the world and chose the easy world of drugs. They helped me forget and escape, momentarily, till I decided to cure my unhappiness differently.

I figured, if I got active on the social circuit, I wouldn’t have to face myself. So I made an effort to hang out with strangers and friends, hopped from bar to bar all night, but it all gave a hollow and a fake feeling inside. I was still not at peace.

Then one day, I could not take it anymore. I sat on the ground and let my tears dampen it. I understood suddenly that you can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another… you can’t run away from yourself. The relationship that I tried to destroy was the one that would save me in the end… the relationship with my own self.

Today, I am able to embrace my strengths and weaknesses. I am discovering every day that there is beauty in imperfection and every discovery brings me even more joy.

Peace is seeping in…

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This post is written for Hemingway this Wednesday at Write Tribe

  I chose the quote “You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another”  taken from Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises”.

Drabble is an extremely short work of fiction exactly one hundred words in length. Michael Kent of The Next Big Writer used “Droubble” for a double drabble, a story in exactly 200 words. 

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