5word5 theme 52 – Sacred

The next theme for your writing exploits is “Sacred“.

If you’re new to my blog and wondering what is 5word5 or just want to refresh the rules, I have a pretty detailed intro post that you can read and get up to speed here!

For the last 4 themes remaining, I will be posting once a week so feel free to send in your entries by Friday and I’ll publish them on my blog along with the next theme by Saturday 😉. Go ahead – Unleash your creativity!!

We are at the fag end of Season 1 of 5word5 with only 3 more prompts to go after this one. If you haven’t already (or if you had and slipped off!), jump (back) on the bandwagon to be part of 5word5 before this season ends in a month’s time!!

5word5 theme 51 – Poison

Sometimes it’s a thing and sometimes it’s a feeling. It’s usually something we can easily live without, may even be better off without and yet just can’t seem to shake off. Whether it’s whiskey, coffee, resentment or rage, one thing is sure – we all have our poison!

When we were kids, we used to play a game called Medicine Poison (a variant of a game popularly known as Ice and water) where the Denner would try to ‘freeze’ the runners by hitting them with a shriek of Poison while their fellow runners can release them with a touch of Medicine. The Denner won if he managed to poison all the runners before any of them can be ‘revived’. The real life equivalent of that game is, I think, Weekday-Weekend….. where you are constantly battling everyday blues to somehow make it to the weekend unscathed!

Speaking of getting through the day, this native American parable is my go-to on days when I feel my brain is in overdrive feeding me with negative thoughts. I’m reproducing the story here but you should totally check out the detailed write-up on this page.

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

 

 He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

 

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

 

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

The story of two wolves

Leaving you with this thought provoking story today, before we check out the 5word5 on this theme!

Slokabs

Rita’s tongue was swollen, she’d developed hives all over her arms and couldn’t speak. Her friend quickly found her Epipen and luckily, Rita was saved.
“I mentioned nut allergy”, she hollered afterwards. The restaurant clarified there was “just a drop” of peanut oil in the garnish. “Even one speck is poison for me”, Rita said.

Julie P

She had arranged for a baby sitter, blow-dried her hair and even bought a new outfit! It had been years since she had done something like this.
6.00 pm, the phone buzzed.
Standing in front of a mirror, with a mock laugh, she asked, “What’s your poison?”
The date cancelled. She poured herself a Rose.

Shruti Pimplikar (blog)

The grounds that I was bullied on,
The corridors that I hated.
The teachers that made life a living hell,
My childhood that was mutilated.

As I drive by the campus a decade later,
Those memories are still present.
I forgave and removed this poison from my head though,
I have nothing left to resent.

Anusha Arvind

There was a sudden thunder
Her mind did wonder
Why this unbearable anger
What made her surrender?

To blame love or hate
Nothing left to debate
She was in deep grief
Caged in by her false beliefs

She woke up feeling abysmal
Realised all the poison was internal
Change was essential
Lesson that became eternal

Snacky

Since Diya had to work on her thesis last year, she couldn’t spend proper time with her family. Diya now took her family for a fine-dining experience in a cosy restaurant for her successful thesis submission.
Diya and Riya ordered food items under the must-try category. Both prayed that they shouldn’t get food poisoned tomorrow!!

Slokabs

Jolly, a lawyer witnessed a customer having a severe allergic reaction at the curb-side restaurant.
He decided to send out two emails.
One to the victim, inciting her to press charges.
And the other, an anonymous poison pen to the FDA.
Now he just had to wait till the case found its way to him!!

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“Season 1” of 5word5 is closing soon – with Theme 55. So just 4 more themes to go after this one! If you haven’t already (or if you had and slipped off!), jump (back) on the bandwagon to be part of my story!!

5word5 theme 50 – Story

When I started this series, I had no idea how long I would carry it on and I am so happy it has lasted 28 weeks and 50 posts – my longest ever continuous blogging streak in 15years of discontinuous blogging history . Huge thanks to all of you regular readers and writers for making this happen for me 🙂 You have become an integral part of my story!

So YAY – it’s the Golden Jubilee post of this series! That calls for some champagne popping and shimmery lighting with these stars flying out of your screen. Because I celebrate even my smallest victories. (So pardon the loooong intro and my overzealousness in the 5word5 section of this post!)

I would credit my love for stories in all forms – storytelling, story-listening and story-reading – to my maternal grandmom (nani), eldest maternal uncle (mama) and youngest maternal aunt (maasi) who lit up my childhood summer vacations with their bottomless arsenal of fables, folklore, mythological tales and even some creatively made-up stories. To add to that, my parents always encouraged me to talk to them about my day, observe people and things around me, string them together and find connection and meaning in the mundane. So I was letting my imagination run amok and cooking up stories in my head since very early in life! I see and interpret stories all around me and am always eager to know the “other” side to any story!

To be honest (and at the cost of sounding totally wacko), I also kind of related to Meghna in the Bollywood film Jaane tu ya jaane na who had devised a game called “What’s this?” as an escapist ploy to her rather sad reality. Basically, she looked at everyday objects like a cement mixer or a wheelbarrow and saw them differently. So the cement mixer becomes a giant that has swallowed a little boy, and the wheelbarrow becomes a rocket launcher. No, I don’t relate to her need to escape reality, nor do I completely endorse her version of the game (or see her vision of those objects), but I have to say, I like the concept of the game – which is to see regular things differently. Quite like looking at clouds in the sky and trying to see if their shapes remind me of something. Years later, a similar principle was applied to a ‘Creativity and Problem-solving’ training I attended at work where a similar exercise (i.e. see this picture and list down all the things it reminds you of) was used to introduce the concepts of six thinking hats and unconscious bias (not getting into those here for obvious reasons…..maybe in a future post!)

I have frequently imagined that my entire life is just a chapter or a page in a magnum opus novel and that all the importance I give myself is probably meaningless in the larger scheme of things. (Reading this post by Tim Urban on his addictive blog Wait But Why only put things more into perspective than ever.) I really have no idea whether, how and how significantly my chapter affects the rest of the novel. Your story, my story, our story……all fit into the cosmic puzzle somewhere undoubtedly, but where and how, we will never really know. But then again, my story is the only one I know inside out. So it’s all I can do to live it in the best way I can!

Then there’s the question of whether our stories are pre-written or do we write our own destiny! If you’ve been a long-time follower of my blog, you’d know from my earlier posts that while I do believe in destiny, I feel life is after all a decision tree and at some point, we have to believe that we fully control our actions – maybe not our thoughts or feelings but definitely our actions! So our stories are only an outline or a framework that we see ourselves in and are constantly evolving every day of our life.

If you think about it and really look around, stories are all around us. No one is living a completely mundane, decrepit life and we all have some story to tell! The best thing about stories is that they always bring gifts – the gift of joy, laughter, empathy or insight……and it is scientifically proven that what you learn in story form, you retain better!

Anyway, this post has become way, way heavier and longer than I’d intended so let me not go rambling any more and let’s get down to business with the 5word5 of the day!!

Slokabs

“An autobiography of a book
Everyone writes their stories in me, but where do I go to write mine? What if I don’t like their handwriting? Or worse, their thoughts?! After all, the keepers of secrets can have secrets of their own too!”
Neelu smiled, marvelling at the thought process of her 15-year old self!!

Milan Singh Solanki (blog)

Sitting on “charpai”, on the terrace of their ancestral home,
all cousins would first absorb the mesmerising effect of
being in total darkness with no street lights around,
a phenomenon witnessable in village alone.
Gazing at the stars, they would talk about
ghosts of the paddy fields,
sticking closer to each other
with every sentence!

Slokabs

Birbal, Tenali Raman, Chacha Chaudhary
Shikari Shambhu, Kalia, Suppandi
Mowgli, Swami, Charlie, Harry
Matilda, Belle, Fiona or Hermione
Aesop’s fables, Grimm’s fairy tales
Tinkle or Amar Chitra Katha, never far away
From each one, learnings galore,
Afternoons spent, lost in another world
A childhood rich with treasures like these,
They’re not mere stories, they’re memories!

Julie P

It was 9.30pm already, Rohan was not home yet. Amma had given up calling him.
She went to the balcony to double check if she could spot him on the road below. The trains passing next to her building made a familiar metallic sound, awakening her from her daily narrative. Rohan’s picture stared at her.

Slokabs

Krishna mesmerised those around him with his stories. But those who were listening to his stories had no clue that stories of his leela had spread far and wide. Who knew that Gokul’s beloved cowherd would become the mastermind of the greatest Hindu epic and impart the greatest story of all to his beloved Arjun!

Snacky

Yahoo Messenger not only dealt with varied kinds of relationships and happenings like friendships, love, arguments, etc., it also gave me an attractive nickname.
My Cyberspace friends introduced me to an interactive forum, where I had to register with a unique username and it’s “Bakoda”, which gradually transformed into “Snacky”.
And that’s my naming story!

Slokabs

“Story time, ma”, 5-year old Akhil said.
Maya knew which story he wanted. It was the same one every night. The one she’d conjured when he was three; about Sweetopia, a country with cake mountains, ice-cream snow, chocolate fountains and biscuit roads. Tonight, Akhil asked if Sweetopia had dentists! Her little one was growing up!!

Anusha Arvind

What’s in a story
A mystery or a thriller
Romance or comedy
Anything worth sharing
Is worth reading
Sense of humor and benevolence
Values or life lessons
Some characters leave strong impressions
Be it Enid Blyton or Sidney Sheldon
A companion in childhood
Leaves behind memories
Some close to the heart
Some leave a mark

Slokabs

As a kindergarten teacher, Sumi told a lot of stories. There were story-telling sessions everyday and she prepared well to give her children as much learning from her stories as possible. But her favourite time of the year was when kids got back from vacation. Because for once, they had more enchanting stories to share!

Shruti Pimplikar (blog)

There once was a storyteller.
Every night, he told us a new story.
I hardly remember those today,
but I remember wanting to finish dinner quickly.

We snuggled into bed every night,
Waiting for a freshly minted tale that could have been a bestseller.
My cousins and I were lucky,
My grandpa was a storyteller.

Slokabs

The old war veteran hired an apprentice to write his biography. The young chap arrived, enthusiastic and ready to take notes. “So, tell me your life story, Sir”, he said. The ex-Major took off his shirt, bared his war wounds and said candidly, “My life story is but, a chronology of bullet wounds my friend!”

Anusha Arvind

A crispy biscuit at the base
Melting cream cheese
A dash of strawberries in its place
Some butter to grease

The aroma from the oven
Baked to perfection
Nothing but temptation
A wonderful culinary creation

A slice on the plate
Taste that lingers on the palate
A joy to make
The story of the cheesecake!

Slokabs

Bharti witnessed the media’s darling socialite being shot dead by a public figure at the pub. She couldn’t believe her luck in landing this huge story purely by chance. She excitedly texted her boss and immediately got a call. “Drop the story. Forget you were ever there. Or you and I will both be dead!”

Aditya Arora

Every individual’s story is different, and each story can be made into a movie.
The casting and setup are different. And some moments are relatable, while other instances don’t make sense at all.
But, if only it was possible to wake up in someone else’s story, maybe we would have been a more tolerant society.

Slokabs

Mohit wrote screenplay for movies for his living. But his heart was still beating for his first love. He missed the stage – the thrill of hearing the applause each time, the instant improvisations, the tiny ways in which every performance was different. In his plays, he was not just a storyteller, he was a magician!

Shruti Pimplikar (blog)

A story of a chocolate pastry,
The one I bought from Monginis as a child.
It cost a mere 25 rupees,
Every single time I bought it, I smiled.

It was chocolate-y, gooey, and delicious,
It made my heart warm and happy,
It had powers from the great beyond,
It could make your day un-crappy.

Slokabs

“There are always two sides to a story”, the village head said. “I cannot decide without hearing the boy’s side.”
Amar was amazed that Mukhiya-ji was so just even when his daughter was the victim. “He knows that she was promiscuous and is now feigning innocence”, he thought to himself.
Amar was killed that night.

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“Season 1” of 5word5 is closing soon – with Theme 55. So just 5 more themes to go after this one! If you haven’t already (or if you had and slipped off!), jump (back) on the bandwagon to be part of my story!!

5word5 theme 49 – Charm

Charm – a surreal quality that you can never quite put your finger on. Something that strangely draws you towards itself – a person, a book, a picture, a scenery. It’s usually something that oozes a positive energy of some kind – a charming person is rarely a mood-spoiler, a charming book is rarely depressing, a charming picture is rarely inspired from something unhappy and a charming scenery is rarely man-made lending itself a mystical vibe!

Speaking of mystical, ever seen how a snake-charmer hypnotizes his subject? Seems like charm can cut both ways! Don’t let someone’s charm sway you so much!!

Do you believe in lucky charms? I had a shirt that I would wear to every one of my CA exams. Luckily by the time I did my CA, the exams were held on alternate days which gave me ample time to wash and dry my “lucky” shirt! When I was in school, the trend of having charms everywhere – from school-bags to pencil boxes to keychains to cars and of course as jewellery- really caught on. A trend that is still very prevalent and one I’ve also been guilty of following!

A person or a thing can be your lucky charm. I know people who carried a little teddy or a photo of someone they love everywhere as a good luck charm. It’s been known to work – largely because it serves as a reminder of what or who you’re doing something for or how far you’ve come!

Last year, I did a really fun DIY project to make shrink charms out of takeout box lids. If DIY is your thing, this is a pretty quick and interesting project – do check it out! They also make great personalized gifts! Check out the video here!

Coming to the 5word5 of the day, what I’ve written is not what I’d originally planned for this theme but it seems fitting for this lovable being who was indeed a lucky charm in our lives and who we are deeply pained to have lost yesterday!

Slokabs

A sparkle in her eye,
A spring in her step,
She charmed her way,
Into all of our hearts;
With nothing but love,
And happiness to give,
Playful and fun,
A lick for everyone!
Sparkle! You’re missed,
You’ve left a deep void,
We’ll hold you in our heart,
Till we meet on the other side!

Nimesh Balaji Shinde

She kept quiet a lot,
because she was different from the lot…
Her eyes talked to me,
in ways that only I could see…
She giggles like a child,
has a side that’s also wild…
With a clean heart,
She’s my poetry and art…
Simple, innocent and calm,
my love has an old world’s charm…

Anusha Arvind

The day is warm
Crimson hibiscus and lilac lilies bloom
Butterflies visit off and on
Animals feeling content on the farm

The birds come sit on the branch
A hello they sing as a song
Bees come and kiss the nectar
Alongside the churning sound of the tractor

The countryside is calm
That’s its charm

Julie P

Ditch the heels, you don’t want to fall for someone at first sight.
You see, Prince Charming is not what he seems to be! Don’t fall for his flattery and niceties. Wear trainers and run as fast you can. He can be a wolf in sheep’s clothing!
Why  didn’t they teach you this in fairytales?

Snacky

Ravi’s phone rang and it was none other than Ananya. She asked Ravi to share the Google map location of his house since it is going to be her first visit. Ananya was very much excited to meet Ravi’s parents. The moment Ananya was there, she felt Ravi’s house was full of charm and character.

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Gold Jubilee post up next! Who would’ve thought?!! Yay 🙂 🙂

5word5 theme 48 – Puzzle

I’m puzzled about my love for puzzles – as someone who usually liked to meticulously plan everything out and know the destination before the journey begins, I’m curiously drawn to puzzles. For a change, I seem to enjoy the fact that the solution will emerge as I get closer to it! There’s a certain satisfaction that comes from getting it right.

I love all kinds of puzzles – jigsaws, 3D puzzles (did one and stopped myself from buying more because there’s nowhere to keep them and I don’t have the heart to dismantle them!) but most of all the mental puzzles (brainteasers) – riddles, word puzzles, logic puzzles (guess the next in the series, Sudoku), crosswords, even the whatsapp emoji puzzles (guess the movie based on the emojis etc!!). I love quizzes too – a given thing considering I was part of quiz club at school and college – but the big difference between quizzes (also technically a puzzle, BTW – trivia category) and other intellectually stimulating puzzles is that when it comes to trivia, you either know the answer or you don’t. But in puzzles, you always have a chance to figure it out – the process of getting to the answer is as exciting as eventually getting it right!

If you’re as much of a sucker as I am for puzzles, then you’ll love this amazing app that reminds you to flex the muscles of your grey cells for a fixed period everyday. It’s called ‘Peak – Brain Games and Training’ (here’s the link to the Android App and the Apple App). I realise I also wrote about this on Theme 13 – Peak – seeing as how much I’m talking about it, you can imagine how much I love the app!).

Oh and I recently found out there’s this awesome cafe in Chennai, India called Untangle which allows its customers to do puzzles as they sip on their latte and a piece of chocolate cake. It houses 800 jigsaw puzzles, 80 logic puzzles and 250 boardgames and their biggest is a 24,000 piece jigsaw, the final form of which will take up 17 ft space. While I can’t wait to visit, for now, I’m content with following there Insta page here for updates on when they’ll open again post lockdown and more importantly, a bunch of daily puzzles!

But aside of all the literal puzzles, the puzzle that both puzzles and calms me the most is the figurative one I wrote about in this post 13 years ago! In case you don’t feel up to going back and reading it, I’ll summarise it for you – Our whole life and this whole world is all one big puzzle. A lot of people fit in our puzzle and we all fit in many others’ puzzles! People may come into your life for a reason, season or a lifetime but one thing is sure – they always help to complete your puzzle! Once again, thanks to everyone in my life that’s part of my puzzle – my life is fuller because of you!

And on that note – here are the 5word5 of the week (considering I missed one weekly update in the middle).

Slokabs

She grew up watching Crystal maze and Takeshi’s castle on Nickelodeon. She always solved the daily sudoku and both easy and cryptic crosswords in the newspaper. She loved birthday parties, then office parties that included treasure hunts! And now, her mobile was filled with puzzles and games. She loved intellectual challenges. The tougher, the better!

Anusha Arvind

Filled with purity
Tons of curiosity
Free as ever
Totally clever
A child is easy as it gets
A gem that shines from million facets
With no inhibitions
New determinations
Learns with inclinations
Effortless in emoting
Expresses without hesitating
Innocence and bliss
A child’s kiss
The creation is incredible
Why adulterate it, always a puzzle?

Snacky

Apart from spending a lot of time studying, attending classes and socializing with peers, Diya also had limited time for playing mobile games. Her mobile was loaded with unique kinds of puzzle apps. She used to advise her twin sister Riya to play puzzles as it makes you clever and happy, if you resolve it.

Julie P

Solving jigsaws was Madison’s favourite thing in the world. A little ponder, a bit shuffling of the pieces and Voila!
“You fit nicely here!” , her mum  occasionally helped.
Whole Sundays could be spent doing complicated thousand pieces in few sittings. Yet when it came to attending Sunday school. It was clear. She was a misfit.

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Honourable mention for a regular contributor 🙂 Shruti Pimplikar who wrote a #65wordstory that you can check out on her Insta page right here!

5word5 theme 47 – Chant

Apparently, one of the most powerful sounds in the world is “Om”; a sound that even the Big Bang theory (the actual theory, not the show!) and therefore the creation of the universe is associated with. Most sacred rituals and anything to do with spiritual or mental well-being (such as meditation, yoga or music lessons) start with the chanting of this sound.

There was a whole drama few years ago, about how the visual vibrations of magnetic fields around the sun as recorded by satellites created an eerie humming sound that sounded strangely like “Om”. You can read all about it on this link -> Did NASA record OM sounds from the Sun?

There is a lot of power in chanting. There’s no doubt about that. That’s why there is such a thing as home ground advantage in team sports – where the home team’s local crowd support them by cheering them on and chanting their victory slogans. That’s why a pop star performing in front of a live audience can perform straight for 4hours, drawing on the energy and vibrations from the audience chanting her name! That’s why positive affirmations are so powerful – when you tell the mind what you want it to believe. Whether it’s “I can do it”, “This too shall pass” or “Go Corona, go”, deep down we draw strength from these phrases.

If you think about it, ancient sacred and Vedic chants in our own religions all emerged out of a need to put a message out to the universe. Our forefathers may have done it in Sanskrit or Latin but because we have limited exposure and knowledge to these ancient languages, we devise our own ways of doing it in English, or any other language that we are comfortable communicating in. In other words, instead of saying “Loka samasta sukhino bhavantu” (sanskrit verse which means may everyone in the world be happy), we speak in a language that comes naturally to us and may say, for instance, “May God bless us all”! That’s as much a chant as any! Don’t you think?!

On that note, “May reading these 5word5 make your day!!”

The Sun apparently “chanting” Om!

Slokabs

He woke up to the rhythmic chanting of Sanskrit verses set to a familiar tune. As a youth, he’d hated waking up to the sound of these chants that he believed were intentionally played loudly enough to wake him up! But today, hearing them brought renewed joy. Because it meant his hearing aid was working!

Six

The Hindus chant the names of god while they climb mountains and stand waiting for hours on end, for a fleeting glimpse of him in His temple. When they return, they shall say, “It was never about the temple. God was with us all along the way. God was with us long before the mountain”

Julie P

It was a hushed celebration but sure to make international headlines. What was wrong in hosting a fairytale mid-air?
Blessed chanting, fine Silks and flowers were welcome in these times.
But down below, the mighty enchanting river was humming a melancholy song.
Mourning those who were submerged without their last rites. Only desperate sobbed chants.

Anusha Arvind

The world chants in unity
For things to rewind to normalcy
Children yearn to hear school bells
Grannies miss the echoes of temple bells

Going for morning walks
Having little talks
Laughing out loud in the park
Not having to wear a mask

What have we done O supreme!
Forgive us and let us be

Snacky

When Ravi ended his wonderful speech by telling everyone a huge thanks for supporting him, the spirited crowd started to chant his name. This brought tears of joy and happiness for Ravi. He once again got the mic from the anchor and said he wanted to dedicate this prestigious award to all his lovable fans.

Slokabs

At the designated hour, the collective chanting of the powerful mantra began just as he’d advised. Soon, there was a buzzing sound like thousand of bees in a swarm until you could clearly hear the air vibrating to the repeated energetic chants. Thunder. Lightning. Rain. The self-anointed godman once again claimed credit for nature’s benevolence!

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5word5 theme 46 – Magic

I’ve grown up on a steady diet of fairy tales so I was introduced to the conventional idea of magic very early on – everything to do with fairies, wands, pixies and pixie dust, of innocent unassuming damsels turning into fair maidens overnight (or less)!

Then when I was about seven years old, I went to a magic show for the first time. Actually, I didn’t go, the magician came to our school. And my beliefs were confirmed. That if one had a wand, they could turn anything they didn’t like into anything they did – shoes into slippers, homework into board games, corn flakes into chocos (don’t judge, seven-year-old remember!). Thus began my quest of how do I become eligible to own a wand and learn magic.

When I was ten, a relative dashed my fantasies of magic by informing me that there was no such thing. “It is all an illusion”, he said (the adult equivalent as I have now learnt is “sab moh maya hai“).

Ten-year-old me was devastated. Because that was also the time the first book in the Harry Potter series was published and I was waiting ever so eagerly for my Hogwarts letter, having toyed with the idea of writing to them more than once. Who I would have written to if I went ahead with that plan, I have no idea but it seems like I was convinced that Hogwarts existed in real life!

Fast forward to a few years later, as a young teen, I had accepted that there was no such thing as magic and I had stopped looking for it. I was also learning a lot of science and ‘logic vs magic’ so I was questioning more and believing less.

Then I got to my last day of school when suddenly, my whole life up until that point flashed before my eyes. A journey of seventeen years compressed into a little slot in my memory – I felt like a computer program. It was as if lines and lines of complex code were archived and stored in a back-end program with just the final output showing on the user interface. And that felt like magic. The magic of time. The magic in the realisation that “day by day, nothing changes. But when you look back, everything is different” – a quote by CS Lewis (author of the amazing fantasy series “The Chronicles of Narnia”, the series to which this quote belongs).

That was the moment that made me believe in magic again. Because everytime I look back on my life, I see how far I have come by just getting through one day at a time, getting through days I never thought I could have gotten through.

I wish I could go back and tell ten-year-old me that magic is not an illusion. It’s a process. A process of transformation – from what is to what can be!

Yes, I still revel in conventional magic. Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia (even the Ramayana and Mahabharata which have their own share of magic) and many more still enthrall me no end. I find the specific instances of magic hard to believe, no doubt. But I do believe the underlying common thread that runs through them all – that magic plays a part in taking you from where you are to where you are meant to be. And a part of my heart always hopes that somewhere, in a parallel universe, such fantastical worlds may exist!

While we are on the subject of how magical time is, I have to add that Facebook just notified me about my FB blog page turning one year old today! What a year it’s been! I’ve blogged more consistently then ever before and I have many of you regular contributors to thank for keeping my motivation up! Thanks for adding a bit of magic to my blog and my life!!

And with that, moving on the lovely 5word5 of the day!

Slokabs

Arjun was distraught. His favourite toy, the red fire truck was broken. He wailed and wailed until Mum told him to leave it in the balcony with some cookies. The pixies will come at night and fix it for you. It’s magic, she assured him, winking at Papa who’d have to play magician again tonight!

Six

The smell of fresh mud after the rain. The raucous shouts of laughter at family dinners. The touch of human skin. The sun streaming in through your bedroom window on a quiet morning. The pretty words and pictures that made you cry. The warm breath and blood keeping you alive. Don’t you believe in magic?

Shruti Pimplikar (blog)

Have you ever been enchanted by the magic of words? Have you ever met a book you fell in love with? Have you read a story that gave you a hangover? Did you miss the characters after you were done reading? Did you want the book to never end?
Which book are you thinking of?

Anusha Arvind

A timeless collection of characters
The Express at nine-and-three-quarters
Showcased some special friendships
With an interesting experience of quidditch.

The unexpected twists
The golden snitch
Lessons on spells and potions
A unique way of tuition

The perfectionism of Ms. Granger
The Weasleys’ anger
The quest of Mr. Potter
Brilliance and magic created by the author!

Couldn’t resist adding this!

Snacky

The day when Jaanvi spoke about her relationship with Jishnu to her parents, Jaanvi’s father yelled at her mother and went inside his room. Jaanvi’s mother started to cry. But he came back promptly and uttered the magical phrase ‘I am Sorry’ and hugged them. And he asked Jaanvi to organise a get-together with Jishnu.

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5word5 theme 45 – Peel

In a way, I like to think that all of us are like the dinner sets we own. We display our best and shiniest ones prominently and reserve them for the people we know the least, yet somehow want to please the most. We use the most basic, rugged ones on a day-to-day basis even if some of them have slightly dented in some places or lost their colour in others.

It’s the same with clothes – the best ones are saved for rare occasions and if you’re like me, you’ll probably wear the same old clothes repeatedly for years no matter how stretched, pale or worn out they’ve become.

We humans are like that – we save the best version of ourselves for outsiders, bringing out our basest and most real selves only in solitude or in the company of our closest ones. Sometimes, it helps to peel the layers off and be true to yourself no matter whom you are interacting with. Just like those regular dinner sets feel most homely and those old-ish clothes feel the softest and most comfortable, showing people who you really are can be remarkably liberating!

On that note, moving on to the 5word5 of the day!!

Slokabs

“In our time, we didn’t waste anything”, said grandma, dousing the lemon and orange peels with salt and spices, giving them a new life in the form of a pickle.
Today, she ran a roaring business of food and beauty products exclusively made of fruit and vegetable peels. And grandma was her Chief Quality Officer!

Julie P

There was an unexpected bustle in the kitchen. A stormy night called for it. “Make the most it”, Simi thought to herself,  shaking off the mundane routine of last few lockdown months. Tears trickled. Peeling and chopping.
Ah! Hot crispness off the wok. Just like her journey of knowing her new husband of five months.

Shruti Pimplikar (blog)

“Imagine you’re lying down on a lounge chair. You just had a fruity drink. You applied a peel-off face mask which feels cool on your skin. You find yourself calm and relaxed. You’re drifting off into a deep sleep.”
She woke up and sighed. She missed the beach. The pandemic had ruined her sleep aid.

Anusha Arvind

It started off as no big deal
He began to steal
That was the only means to a meal
There was nothing to conceal
From cheap thrills to shop lifts
Suddenly his conscience pricked a bit
One life changing instance
Peeled his layers of resistance
Transformed into a divine soul
As the realisation was whole.

Slokabs

She had never imagined returning to her familial home to find it so dilapidated. There were cobwebs in every corner, the paint and plaster were peeling in more places than she could count. She took one last glance before handing over the keys to the new owners who would give it a much needed facelift.

Slokabs

“Layer up”, everyone had told her, warning her that it was the only antidote to the biting cold. Not only was it the worst advice for someone like herself, who loved the sound of her clattering teeth, but when she got home exhausted and drowsy, peeling off all those layers almost drove her sleep away!

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5word5 theme 44 – Clear

It had been a long day. Starting with gloomy skies and unseasonal rain, the sun had finally dared to peek through the dispersed clouds, as if assessing whether it was now safe to emerge. By evening, the rain clouds had cleared and the rain puddles had dried. It was a classic many-seasons-in-one kind of day.

Simi had spent the whole day clearing her drawers and filing cabinets at work. She was exhausted and had no idea about the weather outside. Her office always kept the window blinds drawn. It didn’t matter because by the time she left work, the skies were so clear that she could even spot some stars.

Simi came home with a severe dust allergy from all the cleaning at work and decided to take a shower. She took a new soap bar, her childhood favourite – Pears soap – and she couldn’t stop herself from seeing through the clear, translucent bar of soap. It made her smile, thinking of her nine-year old self.

She then proceeded to make herself dinner. She had some bread sitting in clear cling film at the back of the fridge. Simi was tired so she decided to just have some instant soup with the bread. She checked her cabinet and found a nearly expired packet of vegetable clear soup. That’ll do, she thought!

As she was having her dinner, she remembered there had been a word prompt on a blog she’d been following that she’d meant to write on. She quickly checked her feed and the deadline was today. The word was “Clear”. In a rare moment of clarity, she knew exactly what she wanted to write about.

Clear skies, clear eyes,
Both ingeniously hide,
The storms they’ve endured,
In their worst times.
A clear thought, a clear mind,
Seemingly, an absence of turmoil,
Is often a camouflage,
For the war raging inside!
Clear communication, clear principles,
Hold you in good stead;
When your heart is undecided,
But it’s clear in your head!

Simi finished her dinner and her poem simultaneously. As she cleared the dishes and prepared to go to bed, she felt calm despite the tiring day she’d had. Writing always did that to her – healed her cathartically, making it suddenly clear to her that a writer was what she really wanted to be, deep down!


And that was another of my 5word5 based intros – Third one of the season!! Yes, each of the paras above (including Simi’s poem) is a 5word5 in itself. Hope you enjoyed reading it. Do let me know in the comments!!

On that note, moving on to the 5word5 entries on this theme!

This is a picture of clear slime. I recently saw a couple of videos featuring this and it’s oddly satisfying!! Check this one out!

Slokabs

She opened the door to find a man with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates. The flowers, her favourite red carnations, were beautifully arranged with clear cellophane wrap around them and a note saying, “Have a great day, beautiful!” “Who’s it from?”, her husband asked.
“They’re from me”, she casually said!

Anusha Arvind

An unexpected twist
Can we rewind and hit normal
Caged in
Battling to win.

Police on patrol
The virus has become our master
We have lost control
It’s time to wake up; if not we will have to surrender.

Nothing is clear
All doomed with fear
Faith being our only hope
We learn to cope.

Shruti Pimplikar (blog)

She stood at the corner of the mountain, alone. Dense and heavy clouds were passing through her. She closed her eyes as the raindrops hit her skin. After a few minutes, the rain stopped, and the clouds cleared. Straight ahead, she saw a beautiful rainbow over a waterfall. It was a sign from the universe.

Julie P

Priya was writing her last exam, after months of preparation. Then suddenly she could hear a random song. It kept playing in loop. All in her head.” Oh stop!” and continued writing.Years later, she learnt the power of self talk. The voice in her head became clear. She learnt to bend it at will.

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5word5 theme 43 – Privilege

#longpostalert

Privilege is a funny thing – those who have it neither acknowledge nor appreciate it; and those who don’t have it, both, despise and covet it!

There’s a lot being said about privilege these days – in these unsettling Covid times.

The privilege to work from home.

The privilege of having the space to quarantine in if you happen to catch the bug.

The privilege of having your family living with you or nearby.

The privilege of having others run errands for you – whether it’s the house help (if you have one) or the food/grocery delivery guy or your office assistant who still has to show up when you can afford not to.

The privilege of being tech savvy and being able to manage your entire life (from banking to shopping) online.

The privilege of being able to afford treatment should you need it.

The privilege of travelling in your own car/vehicle and not having to use public transport.

The privilege of still having a job, or a home for that matter.

And the privilege of not having to worry if there’ll be food on your plate tomorrow.

The privilege of having access to vaccination.

And in some cases, the privilege of being able to choose your vaccine.

The privilege of having people to rally for you should you need a hospital bed or an oxygen cylinder or medicines in an emergency (yes this too, because even in that unfortunate state, you don’t have to choose between life and death as some people have had to).

The privilege of being able to help someone else in need.

And this is just in this pandemic state. There is much privilege that many of us have, even in normal circumstances.

Access to hygeine and sanitation.

Access to high quality education and variety of syllabi and schools to choose from.

The choice to order in whenever you don’t feel like cooking

The option of taking a cab when you’re don’t feel like walking.

The option to choose who you want as a life partner (and whether you want one), whether you want to work or not, whether you want to have a baby or not.

The option to delegate tasks that you don’t want to/know how to do (cleaning, cooking, laundry, stitching, driving, mending, etc) unlike so many others who just have to learn it and do it themselves.

Having people who love you and care about you.

Having people to love and care for.

It has been rightly said that “Privilege is invisible to those who have it.” Though I must say that in recent times, I do hear a lot more people understanding their privileges somewhat and making an effort (however small) to level the playing field, it’s a long way before the gap between the haves and have-nots of privilege are bridged. And this is not just about money. It’s about much more.

The ability to have a choice in what you do is a privilege“. Whether it’s your work or your family, your culture or your society, anything that gives you the space to grow and flourish and be yourself is a privilege.

“When we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free“. Living life on your own terms is a privilege not everyone enjoys. Because there are people who throw their weight around dictating how everyone else should act, think and speak. People who have opinions but believe them to be statements of fact – forgetting that just as they are entitled to their opinion, so are others. Respecting other cultures, points of view, habits and preferences is the only real way to be responsibly privileged. And it’s often those who’ve worked hard to earn it that realise it, not the ones who’ve inherited their privilege.

“Privilege is when you think something is not a problem because it is not a problem for you”. Classic case in point is when a a government bans a particular meat because it’s predominant vote bank does not consume it anyway, conveniently ignoring the minority. Or when a real estate tycoon starts a development project without considering the wishes or rights of the people whose homes have to be razed for the project to come up. Or at a more individual level, when you judge people for bringing their toddlers to the cinema (probably not realising that they have nowhere to leave them). Or when you talk about how expensive that avocado is without giving a thought to how much effort it took and how many people were involved for it to reach you (not to mention, the fact that you can afford it in the first place). Here’s an excellent video that does a very nice job of explaining privilege, and went viral in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing last year.

Do yourself and those around you a favour – Own your privilege. And then use it to help rather than exploit, to make someone else’s life a little better. After all, “Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth”.

And I’ll leave you with this last quote before we move on to the 5word5 of the day, which I think, sums up what privilege should translate into.

Slokabs

“Please knock next time, don’t you understand privacy?”, her teenage daughter screamed, slamming the door behind her. That sent her spiralling into her thoughts. She remembered growing in a home with a large family. She had shared her room with her parents and three siblings for twenty years. Privacy was a privilege she hadn’t known.

Julie P

The Gautama walked away from his kingdom and his wife.
Whereas the farmer stood by and continued waiting for the rain gods.
The trader fasted and napped during the day and feasted during the night.
What could the labouer do but carry heavy boulders in the hot sun!
Philosophy, Religion and Art.
Ah! A privilege!

Anusha Arvind

I hold you in my arms
A twinkle in your eyes, a smiling charm
Sound of your chuckles
Admiring you, my bouncy bubble
Engaged in your play
My sunshine that radiates through the day
Watching your pute innocence
Realising life’s true essence
Happiness blossoming
A journey’s beginning
Choosing me as your anchorage
An absolute privilege

Shruti Pimplikar (blog)

He told us that he had dinner at 7 pm in an office call. He suggested we do the same to become healthier. I wanted to ask, who cooked that meal for him at that hour when we were stuck at work till 9 pm.
But as a woman I already knew the answer.
Privilege.

Slokabs

Privilege can be explained by a pizza. The dough is worked and worked till it’s firm yet flexible. Then the sauce comes on, creating a bed for the toppings, carrying all the nutrition. But when the cheese goes on, it spreads all over, covering everything under it – until the pizza becomes all about the cheese!

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