Eyes

Bhikshuni

Review
‘The mother of liberation’, green Tara; Sumtsek hall at Alci monastery, Ladakh, ca. 11th century.
[Source – Wikimedia Commons]

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वह दूसरी ओर पीठ किए खड़ी थी। हमारी टैक्सी एकदम उसके पास ही आकर रुकी। वह हड़बड़ाकर मुड़ी और मेरा कलेजा मुँह को आ गया। उसके चारों ओर छोटी-मोटी भगवा पोटलियाँ बिखरी थी, पीठ पर मोटे रस्से में दो-तीन भारी कम्बल लदे थे। अपने खुरदुरे, तिब्बती लबादे को सम्हालती, वह एक कोने में सिमट गई।          

भिक्षुणी – शिवानी

English Translation –

She was standing with her back to the other side. Our taxi stopped right next to her. She turned around in a huff and my heart came to my mouth. Some small bundles were scattered around her, two or three heavy blankets were laden with thick ropes on her back. Holding on to her rough, Tibetan cloak, she huddled in a corner.

Bhikshuni, a short story by Shivani


A known face, however time-wrought, when seen, catches the eyes and attention almost at once that you cannot resist thinking about it. She saw Kiki, her heart smiled and a surge of memories filled the world, stopping time effortlessly.

Kiki, a spirited girl, enamoured with every new idea, had the courage to not to conform, not too easily, blindly. As a maiden, when in love, then a married woman, a mother and again in love, she moulded her life and everyone she knew anew. Some cheered for her, others washed away her colours.

When her livid father cremated her without uncovering the shroud, once just to see Kiki’s face, she instantly got a new lease of life.

A new lease of life where she chose to become a bhikshuni; crestfallen, she took a turn to continue with this journey called life. How difficult it would have been?

To let go of the collection closely locked in the heart – the hurts, laughs, blessings, all of it. To begin afresh when old tidings try to tie one down, to let the old self know its place.

The bhikshuni was carrying a potali… what was in it, we know now.

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*Bhikshuni – a Hindu or Buddhist nun.

*Potali – a small packet or cloth bag.


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One-All!

Short Film Script
Happy eyes!
[Source – Pixabay]

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FADE IN

INT. SCHOOL BUS – DAY

Shweta, an eighth-class student, is chit-chatting with her friend in the school bus; they choose to stand by an empty seat.

The bus’s engine crackles and starts running as the driver takes his seat. The boys standing near the back door are talking loudly. With more and more students boarding the bus, it becomes a happy noisy site.

CUT TO:

CLOSE UP

Shweta is searchingly looking at the back door while pretending to be fully engrossed in the conversation.

CUT TO:

INT. SCHOOL BUS – DAY

A boy enters the school bus from the back door; his friends address him as ‘Raghu’; they immediately start discussing something.

CUT TO:

Shweta’s eyes are now fixed at Raghu; she even stops pretending to listen to what her friend is saying. Funnily, her friend doesn’t notice.

CUT TO:

Raghu, while listening to his chirpy friends, turns to look at Shweta just for a second and then turns back again.

CUT TO:

CLOSE UP

Shweta, with a tinge of anger in her eyes, glares at Raghu. This time her friend also notices it. The bus grunts and sluggishly starts moving.

ZOOM OUT

Raghu turns to see her again and when he does, right at that moment, Shweta quickly switches her place with her confused friend.

Taking Shweta’s side, the bus swayed to take a turn on the road, giving this switch a rhythmic touch.

Shweta, with her back towards Raghu, now can’t see him but is smiling as if she has somehow defeated Raghu in a game.

Raghu, somewhat baffled, stares at Shweta in the background and we hear a voice –

NARRATOR

(Keeping score)

One-all!

FADE OUT

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Happier now, wink-wink!
[Source – Pixabay]

Complement with another short film script – Bowie’s Birthday Party

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That Flower, Dark Coloured

Bloomed in darkness.
[Image by Michael Gaida from Pixabay]

The dark old lady walks like lightening devouring the night sky, she is swift, she is fast. Her dusty feet, darker than the broken black slippers, know exactly where it is to lead and where it is to stop. Draped in a saree lungi style, her slender figure boasts of agility and strength.  

Amma, it is a cold tonight, and she covers her head, her ears with a towel. Does she look funny? Not at all, she looks as beautiful as that flower kept in that book. That flower, dark coloured, tells a story, pressed and noted neatly in that book, stored for a chance meeting. 

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Waiting for a chance meeting.
[Image by Petra Šolajová from Pixabay]

Amma what time is it, nine thirty she says and at ten she has to go to a flat and clean the dishes, clear the kitchen counter, set the culinary world in order; often Amma plays music and her dear plates, cups and spoons dance on her tune. Amma beams then like she is beaming now – Amma’s toothless smile.  

On her way back home, at night, embracing the darkness Amma moves briskly, but stops in front of a small house and asks Sunita bahin if she can get a water-can and take some fresh water; yes, at Amma’s place you won’t see a water-tap rather there are colourful canisters lined up – yellow, blue, faded red and dirty white.

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Risen in style.
[Image by dendoktoor from Pixabay]

Amma is stylish, her dark self knows what colours to wear – white and orange and green, mixture of all these and add some flowery designs, this completes her look. Do you also wear the colours of the road, the trees, the dark sky Amma? For you look as quiet and great as them.

And your eyes, that glance, killer! Amma your eyes are sharp, your eyes smile – your eyes are familiar with Time and that’s why you don’t mind, you don’t curse it, you don’t cherish it; you know how to live it. Whatever it may be, a raging tempest or a happy carnival or a visit to the temple, you get up the next day and leave for work on time.  

I wonder if you have not spoken with everyone until now. Because you are alive, you know Time, you know the society, you know poverty and you smile with your eyes.  

Amma cheers to your journey. The dark old lady waved a goodbye.

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Trance

Eyes could see that the mind was dreaming, yet it stayed attuned. The soft, glowing place might be the reason. And colours, crayon colours, water colours flowing smoothly. Glory ruled the place.

Such were the wonderfully true sights that my eyes beamed with pleasure. I then was beyond time and space, happy in the present.

Breathing deeply, quietly, I knew it all and I knew nothing. Bliss!

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I woke up and with a quick, strong rush, lively sounds reached me all at once. It was time to live another true dream… it was time to be.

Ah life!

Incomplete

Flash Fiction
Open the window and smile.
[Source – Pixabay]

Chantal didn’t finish the story. After gazing through the few lines that she had written, her search for a known voice abandoned her.

She sat near the window, still holding her pen, playing with it in a steady rhythm, Chantal thought of something and rushed back to her seat. She wrote in her notebook–

It appears as if the joy within

Knows nothing about the war within

And vice-e-versa

Pausing for a moment, she then closed her notebook with a rough jerk. Chantal got up and walked back towards the window, this time leaving the pen behind, letting it rest on the table.

Her gait reflected her confused, unsure, restless state of mind. Chantal took a deep sigh and then without giving it a thought, wrote the word ‘Incomplete’ on the windowpane; a hazy layer of fog on it allowed her to.

Chantal’s eyes fell on something interesting, something which was moving towards her house, she smiled. Her hand poked her cheek as she pondered over the matter.

Suddenly, she opened the window and shouted, ‘Hi, how are you? It has been so long…’

A muffled voice replied, it made Chantal laugh heartily.

A smiling Chantal then closed the window and ran towards the door, opened it and left. Her footsteps on the wooden floor made a fine music.


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The Unfinished Book

The unfinished book, a chapter in a story.
Image – Pixabay.

Biting her nails, Ruby thought about the unfinished book. Drops on the windowpane and the cold coffee agreed that it was late. The passing crowd in the cafe didn’t bother her, she was rather pleased. Ruby forgot about time.  

Sigh! Ruby looked outside the window and saw nothing, neither the woman with a red umbrella nor her brown guide dog. She was lost; god knows where her train of thought took her by then. Playing with her scarf, she picked her coffee and took a sip. Ugh! It was bad.  

Time and space hit Ruby once again, she checked her watch and decided to leave, just then her eyes fell on the woman with a red umbrella; she recognised her and her brown guide dog. Ruby’s eyes revealed something.  

As she watched that woman and her dog crossing the road, a part of her got up and left. Heavy eyed, Ruby saw herself through the window; she quickly crossed the road and stopped the woman. They talked animatedly for a while.

Ruby in the cafe looked longingly at the scene. The other Ruby started walking along with the woman and her guide dog. Shaking her head in disbelief, but still smiling, the Ruby in the cafe got up, paid the bill and went outside.  

There she waited for a few minutes and then walked in the direction where that woman and a part of herself went.

Another cup of coffee is ready, finish the unfinished book.
Image – Pixabay.

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It Came Quietly To Me

Poem

Mountains… grand and free. [Image by Jagriti Rumi]

Cry at times and don’t hold it back,
Take a pause and then look back,
You’ll find a way,
You’ll see the light,
With a calm mind and free eyes
You’ll connect with your soul and realise
That you were, you are and you will
Always be free.

 

I am happy I am free.

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Two Photographs

Granny’s smile has lots of secrets and lots of memories in it. She is always smiling, beaming; we can also count her wrinkles rising from her cheeks to her closed eyes; eyes shining with childlike brightness, watery eyes speaking the language of love.

It is early morning and everyone in the house is running hither and thither. Mummy is cooking food and packing the tiffin-boxes. The children are late once again and Daddy is going to give them a lift to the school. But Daddy himself cannot find his tie and the green file and somehow Mummy is managing everything right from the kitchen.

In this daily drama we see Granny sitting in the balcony, she is combing her grand-daughter’s plaits; Granny talks about her late grandmother who use to tie her plaits, to which her little granddaughter giggles up and says, ‘Granny you also had a Granny?’

Mummy shouts from the kitchen as the clock declares it is 8. Everyone is late!

In this relay race, this cute family is asked to stop and pose for a photograph. Daddy says no but the children agree and Mummy is caught between them; while everyone else hesitates only to agree in the end, the granddaughter brings Granny inside and both of them settle comfortably on the sofa for the photograph.

Say Cheese! Click!

Daddy is awkwardly smiling with a bad tie-shirt combination making him look funny; Mummy is smiling nicely and is hiding her apron behind her; the children are looking full of life and sleepy at the same time; the granddaughter is hugging her Granny and saying cheese loudly; Granny is smiling peacefully.


Daddy, Mummy and the children wish Granny a good-bye, she waves back at them from the balcony. They leave in their car and get mixed with the ‘bhroom-honk-honk-bhroom’ crowd on the road.

When Granny is asked about the brightness in her eyes and the secret behind her smile, she laughs musically and says, ‘thank you very much’.

Enjoying the scene from her gallery she seems to be waiting for somebody. She walks slowly to the kitchen like there is no need to hurry, this is how blessed she is, maybe this the reason behind her smile.

When we are about to leave the house, she calls us and asks us to meet her friend. Back in the gallery, Granny is feeding a stale roti to a crow with extreme joy in her eyes.

She indicates us to take her photograph with the crow. She is already saying cheese. Click!


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