Magic

The Old Fortune-Teller’s Special Offer

Flash Fiction
Fine and finicky little bird. [Source – Pixabay]

Her picky parrot was partying somewhere and the crystal ball was dead, though she chanted to switch it on nevertheless, the old fortune-teller, with a trademark red-riding-hood cloak, was keen to predict the future. “Your future”, she squeaked suddenly.

Looking at the fixed-price board she beamed unambiguously.

“No, tell me about your future, predict first one for yourself”, said the customer confidently, sternly. “I’ll pay you extra.” The customer took out three silver coins and kept them on the table.

Fortune-teller’s eyes sparkled, slowly but firmly she picked the silver coins, mumbling to herself, gleefully, she hid the coins in one of her many pockets. Grinning, with some plans in her mind, she casually said, “I don’t believe in predictions.”

One hand still clutching her silver coins, she realised her mistake. “I-I mean, I can change the future. I often play with my-my future predictions.”

After a short staring competition between the two, she rudely said, “Now listen to what I foresee for you.”

“If you are any good, first predict your own future”, the customer said adamantly, taking out one gold coin and placing it near the crystal ball. The old fortune-teller’s toothless, sweet smile made her look delicately pretty.

She nodded her head, picked the rugged bag that was lying on the floor next to her and rummaged for something in it, happy and mumbling once again. Nimbly, she took out a tiny tin box, tore a paan in half, placing it in her mouth to the right side, she readied herself.

*

The five magical objects. [Source – Pixabay]

“Hmm, I carry five things with me you see, magical objects, I change the future as I please using these… mm (enjoying the paan) first is that precocious little parrot of mine, little nuisance, for ages now I have been looking after this (gestures towards the empty birdcage)… parrots are picky you see, mine feels he is a filthy gourmet (laughs loudly)… once he flew away, returned only a week later, bloody I almost fried him that day (more laughter)… but my parrot keeps me grounded, taking care of this fine finicky red-green creature I never lose focus when I sit down to alter my future life… if I mumble a wrong spell, my parrot rebukes me brazenly (laughs and relishes the paan).”

*

“My magic staff (points towards a wooden quarterstaff resting silently against the tent wall), partly made of dragon bones, many centuries old… swish-swash and the scene changes magically… ask those two thieves I met near, near (trying to remember the town’s name, coughs a little)… they thought an old dame like me, what can I do, I broke their noses, hit them with my staff non-stop, then I broke their ankles, heels and their filthy toes. Tempest-no-tempest, I always face it head-on (with an emphatic look raises a finger as if pointing towards her head), head-on, come what may… ya-hoy, I have built new paths where…where there were no lands you see, me and my magic staff.”

*

She tried to pick the gold coin that was silently shining brighter than the crystal ball sitting next to it, but the customer took it back and said, “what about the other three magical items?”

Visibly displeased the old fortune-teller swallowed the paan and then mumbled something, possibly some curses.

“Hmm… this crystal ball is no ordinary crystal ball, I can see the future and the past in it. But don’t ask me to see your past, I cannot make it work for others, what a shame! If you can give me two gold coins, I can give it a try, hmm? No? Sissy!”

The customer looked at the crystal ball and pondered.

*

“This crystal ball shows me my past, times when I acted like a goof and times when I was a spectacle, I balance things, add condiments accordingly, that is the recipe to a pickled life. And here, see-see this red cloak it has so many pockets, I keep my charm books in it, plus (takes out an old hand-mirror from one of the pockets) this mirror, it is also magical. Do you want to buy it? Hmm? Think wisely!”

The old fortune-teller showed the inside pockets of her cloak, she tried getting up but her aching knees refused to budge. The customer got up and turned to leave.

*

“Listen, special offer for you… buy this cloak and get one of my charm books for free; refer to it when stuck somewhere or attacking an enemy, this is the best way to create a bright future; (gets up slowly, grunting and pushing her chair backwards) buy this mirror then, magical hand-mirror, price -one silver coin only, ask it when you have failed and it will brazenly speak the truth, I always use it, did it just before you came in, and see I have moved on, so… hey!”

The customer turned, keeping the gold coin on the table said, “I would need all the five”, then smiled and left.

The old-fortune teller, as if transfixed, picked the coin, checked its authenticity and kept it safely in her pocket. As she sat down slowly, her parrot flew back in; she cursed him badly before offering him half of the paan.


If you were the customer, which magical object you would have bought and why?


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The Flying Golden-Grass Machine

The unknown labourer in the outskirts of Kolkata.
Photograph by Jagriti Rumi

Excerpts from the report

#First entry; Day 1

It landed lightly right behind the unknown labourer who was sweating his day off, certain of his actions and in complete focus, busy in a simple yet, arduous task.

#Fifth entry; Day 1

The flying golden-grass machine runs on a magic engine. A high maintenance product, if not frequently checked, leaks pixie dust.

#Thirteenth entry; Day 1

On the way back from home, that evening, when you saw an aeroplane blinking red-blue lights in the sky, you had uttered something, do you remember it, mister?

You were just fourteen then and had a rather rough day and a broken slipper was not helping either.

You had wished to fly.

Of course, you meant in an aeroplane, but you know how things are in offices, what was spoken was noted down verbatim, it became a written record and a record is the most sacrosanct concept and is hailed throughout the universe.

#Third entry; Day 3

It may look a bit raggedy to you, but it is as good as new. After the service station gave it a nod and we made them sign a nine-paged document for the record, this is its first trip. We, sir, run a professional organisation here.

#Ninth entry; Day 5

Come on now, why don’t you give it a try. The sky awaits you, explore the world and be spellbound by its majesty.

Also, then you have to fill a bunch of forms and sign it, for record purposes.

#First entry; Day 9

Listen, we do apologise for being late. Don’t be upset, in fact, you would be pleased to know that this is also an award, you are one of the most efficient and disciplined people in this world, please accept your prize… and then sign this document here… just a formality.

#Eleventh entry; Day 21

A handful of resources and a handful of desires, how do you adjust to such a life so easily? Doesn’t the heat bother you… the flies, the stench and the failures?

Is life nothing but a cycle ride to you? Oh, remember the cycle rides from your childhood? I do, very clearly, we have it in the records.

With the wind in your hair, you rode it so swiftly, beating all your friends… I bet you can beat the flying golden-grass machine as well.

#First entry; Day 40

Ahm! Let me again ask for your forgiveness for the delay, our department is not the best, it is the 6th best, well 16th actually, but keep this off the record please.

Nevertheless, there is no fault of this machine. It is a good model; many have travelled to far off lands in this little light ride.

What is remarkable is that it is in so many ways just like you, mister.

It too works year long, dreaming of meeting new travellers, visiting different lands, stopping at pixie-dust-pump-stations, collecting visions silently.

#Fifteenth entry; Day 55

Yes, for the 100th time yes, this is a magical machine… and… oh, why don’t you understand… think of it this way, you have won a lottery… you are getting to travel the world, okay? Now, don’t waste time and sign this…

*

RECORDS

Entry: 90005070QPx∞

The unknown labourer, id no.00089∞, after two months of bewilderment, shock, anxiety, panic, anger and confusion, agreed to make use of the flying golden-grass machine.

The messenger, id no. ᶲᴥ჻֎, successfully delivered the award and got the awardee’s signatures on all the forms.

Please find attached here the detailed report of the awardee’s world tour.

The messenger took charge of the flying golden-grass machine once the tour ended; the awardee’s memory was altered as per the protocol; he will now remember it as a strange dream.

Please find attached here all the signed documents for your perusal.

Blessings and bell chimes!

Bright regards,

XO

Messenger id no. ᶲᴥ჻֎

Random Honest Wishes Fulfilling Department

The Misty Realm


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Make This Magic Potion Every Day

Cassy the Liberator is famous for hypnotizing, just look in her eyes and you will know. Read the post to know who she is.
Image from Pixabay.

Dear Clementine,  

Mix a bit of red liquid with blue one, it is on the upper left shelf and then add a bucket full of sparkly sparkle, glittery light kept in the three vessels under the oak table and add ‘skadoosh’ and ‘skadaash’, top desk drawer… oh just refer to my notes and diagrams and make this magic potion.  

Yes, no more questions, just experiment, what is stopping you?

Think about this powerful potion and say cheers. Ya-hoy!  

Remember what I told you about the letter I found… and a map… oh, no that was a game of knots and crosses… but the letter was from my grandmother, the great magician… she revealed a great secret to me, the recipe to make the ultimate elixir.  

Enough talking, mix it all and heat it up and then cool it down and leave it forever for a few minutes… I mean leave it with the “feeling” of leaving it forever in that pot.

FEELING, remember my dear Clementine, is very important. What you feel adds a different colour to every magic potion.  

Is it ready, is it ready? But how will I know? Write to me soon if you are successful in making this potion – Dynami Tou Parontos.

It is Greek for the ‘Power of Present’. Keep the ‘P’ in capital here. Jim, your uncle’s little brother, made this mistake, but forget that and remember to believe in this potion while preparing it. Hmm!  

Dynami Tou Parontos gives you the power to be fully present in the NOW, to see the bright light in its glory, to hear the quiet wind and feel the splendour of nature.

You feel not only powerful but also truly at peace. Your victory is guaranteed!

Whoever has used this magic potion, has won, even a drop of it leads to triumph.  

Remember this spell, Skadoosh and Skadaash.
Image from Pixabay.

Word of caution – the effort to make this potion should be honest or else the potion will not work.  

Oh, how glorious are the tales, this potion has supported many a warrior to fight the enemy and the self.

You know Cassy the Liberator, she had used and still uses this potion, it freed her and now she frees the others (but she charges way too much, you know).  

What is the mechanics, the science behind it? Good question, but I said no questions.

Oh, it is beautiful, being in the NOW awakens your soul, you connect with the Universe’s soul, boom, the Universe gifts you with tons of magical energy and boom you win the battle. Got the answer? Good, good.  

And yes, I almost forgot, burn this letter of mine and put its ash in the pot, this will help you straighten your thoughts while you prepare. How? I do not know, my grandmother asked me to do the same.  

Good girl mix, mix, mix, stir, stir, stir, heat it, cool it down.

And of course, take a sip then. Duh!  

Waving my hat,

Magic Ciao!

CJ Star  

My bottle of magic potion, only for 500$. (Buy from me, Cassy the liberator will charge you double.)
Image from Pixabay.

P.S – Clementine, tell Mrs Curry to return my trunk, my books and Mr Rocky to return my pickle jar.

P.P.S – Make this magic potion, every day.  


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Humming Is Good For The Soul

The wind is blowing and the wind chime is playing a melodious tune. It is a calm hour of the day. Dozens of clouds are drifting by leisurely. And that group of birds is sailing high, their songs are falling along with sun rays, it is a tune unheard.
What charm is it that is capturing this scene? Ruby does not know, and, yet she allows herself to let it seep within. Standing against the railing, staring at the sky, Ruby feels free and happy. Those thoughts cannot grip her any more, those worries slip down her gleaming face.
Ruby realises then that there is nothing wrong with Time, if it is fleeting, it is also filling every second with a pearl like moment. “Breathe it”, she tells herself. When she does, she feels at home.
Waterfall like grand, fresh as a rainbow, her inner self whispers something. Ruby smiles, she does not know why. She looks at the kites, red kites against the blue sky, hopes, wishes, dreams they are, flying high.
Humming is good for the soul thought Ruby as she hummed an incomplete tune. Why incomplete? Who will complete it? “Ruby, Ruby”, someone calls out her name and completes the tune.
Oh! It is all magic… magic, magic, magic!

Universe’s a Disciplined Place

Glowing pizzazz!
Image from Pixabay.

Golden, glowing and emitting exuberance, vigour and vibrancy, the dynamic, ceaseless dance of fire, the Sun has mastered the art of discipline.

It has attained absolute freedom for nothing else can explain the mystical, marvellous zeal it possesses and the pizzazz it flaunts so calmly, so brilliantly.

The Sun enthrals us wholly, it rules all life forms; in its magnificence, it conducts the solar system without a baton.  

147.19 Million kilometres away from the Sun I feel its warmth, I feel home, I feel alive.  

*

Divine o divine!
Image from Pixabay.

Silver cascade shimmering the night sky, music to the waves and surreal beauty to the eyes, the Moon loves the art of discipline.

It may be difficult to believe for the Moon’s splendour defies time, it stupefies the clock, it follows the path of a dreamer, but how could this be possible if the Moon knew not discipline?

Think for yourself, it never fails to heal a sad heart and rejoice with a happy soul, it never leaves one alone, it moves with the one walking, it blinks at the dreamy one, it soars with the child allowing the little hands to embrace it.    

The Moon’s discipline is unique for it never minds the clouds, the rain, the darkness; it shines serenely, reigning in power and peace. Divine o divine!  

*

Universe – a miracle.
Image from Pixabay.

What is this magic? This Universe, this miracle… it is disciplined to invite life, to hold the infinite, to make the ending light and the beginning bright.  

This Universe, it sings and plays rhythms that touch every element quiet and sentient both; it is a rainbow of colours that paints with accuracy and fun alike.  

The Universe runs the art of discipline, it gloriously celebrates the art of discipline, for what else are the galaxies going round and round, round and round… for why the invisible cells in a body are forming a life…  

The macro and the micro worlds imbibe the Universe’s joy and freedom, which is nothing but the art of discipline.


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Ode to the Elements

Short Poem

Twinkling eyes, twinkling elements.
[Source – Pixabay]

It begins and ends, life does,

In nothing but elements,

It shines and multiplies, life does

With nothing but elements.


An atom when quiet and alone

Holds secrets and miracles,

Once it unites, once it tones,

Once the harmony writes a lyrical,

Planets and stars are born.


A star twinkled, its elements

Present in a child’s eyes,

Such a magic never dies

For it is made of elements.

*


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Certainty

What makes magic?

That which eyes can’t see yet the mind is determined to follow.

That which is thwarted by reason, that which is fictitious for logic.

A grand place where you meet the dragons and dance, where you befriend the little fairies, where nature talks and you listen…

What makes magic, the mere belief or its certainty?

The Map to Miyazaki

Well, the map in my possession is incomplete, I still have to collect many missing jigsaw pieces- Ponyo, Porco Rosso, Pom Poko, and more. I am all AGOG!

Dominant colours– green, blue, white, yellow, and red – on the map, endless stretches of farmlands, mountains, rivers, sunny days, foggy evenings, starry nights, and cottony skies are fulfilling.

Colours reinstate the quiet you, making you sensitively aware. Wide EYES!

The map warmly takes you to different worlds; worlds you will strongly start to believe you belong in, you always did. Yes, each world on the map has that charm, each world is linked through MAGIC.

Magical creatures, seen for the first time as you follow the map, will become your close friends, the closest ones. Tell them your secrets to make them yours forever.  

Princess Mononoke. © Studio Ghibli

The map took me to the magnificent majestic world of Princess Mononoke. I confess I was afraid, threatened for my familiarity with and my memories of this life-journey disowned me and left.

Alone I walked, met many Kodamas and I walked ahead. Alone and FASCINATED!

This world merges evil and good, rights and wrongs, anarchy, and peace… thoughts and feelings of being in the centre, with a grand forest and a grand iron fortress, converging. I will return to this world, for I have to.

Do you know what Prince Ashitaka said to Lady Eboshi when she asked him what was he there for? Prince Ashitaka said, ‘To see with eyes unclouded by hate.’ GRAND!

Spirited Away. © Studio Ghibli

In the world called Spirited Away, I was with Chihiro all the while even when she became Sen… or was I? She kept swinging on the threshold, meeting and understanding the spirits and their realm.

With Chihiro I crossed the tunnel in the end, we turned together with a measure of hope, wanting, trust, and belief.

We left and the threshold disappeared, but the feeling stayed. The feeling is ALIVE.

My Neighbour Totoro. © Studio Ghibli

The map will take you, to your utter pleasure, both in the future and the past, in the known and the unknown, in their story and your story.

Gladly I followed the dirt road and reached the world of Totoro, My Neighbour Totoro. All I did there was dancing, under the huge tree in the Tsukamori forest along with Satsuki, Mei, Totoro, and two small Totoros.

Listen to the track we all danced to –  

Déjà vu, dreams, and fantasy fused together in this world and promised. A promise so DEEP, one never made before.

Oh how the dreams never end, how we build on and on… maybe for the dreams speak to us honestly without any guilt, without shying from LOVE.

Howl’s Moving Castle. © Studio Ghibli

I have been on Howl’s Moving Castle, what a wonderful world.

But I warn you, it is like being in a dream, a lengthy dream, one which tackles evil and disgust and the power game; where love and compassion dimly shine and darkness shakes you from within, leaving you weak.

If you hold on, Howl the wizard fights back and casts a spell to restore harmony and balance.

How well a spell can work? For how long will it preserve? Corruption spreads, how will it all end? Howl’s Flying Castle a dreamlike reality…

I left this world after learning how to make a castle fly – apart from Calcifer’s (the fire-demon) help, you need to nurture freedom within. VOILA!

The Wind Rises. © Studio Ghibli

And so the map showed me another beautiful world which was all about flying, The Wind Rises it was called.   Know that ‘flying and magic’ is a must in life. Abide by for there is magic WITHIN.

If you happen to forget yourself, truly forget yourself, may you be reminded as the wind rises, that you must LIVE.

Live to fulfil, to cherish, to create, to inspire, to love, to remember, to let go, to smile, to embrace the truth as it all ENDS.

© Studio Ghibli 

I will continue to make the map to Miyazaki as slowly it is being revealed to me how the dreams are unfolded, how the stories are made, what it takes to truly believe in it all, and what a treasure living is.  

Arigatou Gozaimasu!

© Studio Ghibli
© Studio Ghibli
© Studio Ghibli

P.S- My friend Tashi gave me the first piece of this map, the one that took me to the world of Princess Mononoke; this is the tradition, I now pass it on to you.


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Nazo’s Simple Magic Trick

Flash Fiction

Nazo, busy reading the flowers (she loved this exercise, it made her “fuller”, that is what she said).
[Source – Pixabay]

Nazo believed in magic. While the stories about djinns and fairies and magic potions made her wonder, the everyday sundry experiences also left her mesmerized. She was a simple person who felt special about simple things like the sun peeping out from behind the dark rainy clouds.

I told her once a sad story, intentionally, I wanted her to cry. It was a made-up tale about a little dog that lost its way home and died of starvation. Before I could make it sound more pathetic, I saw tears in Nazo’s eyes. Mission accomplished, thought I, until Nazo did something magical.  

She asked me about the dog and I fabricated the cute brown dog, with black ears and kohl eyes. Suddenly, Nazo jumped up and started clapping. She told me to follow her and we both ran down to old Mr Tolkien’s house. What I saw there was as mysterious and as astonishing as a miracle.

Nazo went ahead right into Mr Tolkien’s garden and brought a cute brown dog in her arms, it had black coloured ears and kohl eyes. She announced that Mr Tolkien found the starved dog yesterday near the abandoned park and brought him home.  

While coming back, I, filled with a concoction of emotions (specifically foolishness), told Nazo the truth; that it was a fake story and I meant only to make her cry because of her utter belief in magic in life suffocated me. Nazo laughed at me and didn’t say a word. She then hugged me, if I remember correctly.  

After a few days, Nazo gave me a card (she loved making cards), a lovely one with colourful flowers and bright butterflies. She had written a few lines inside, apart from wishing me a happy day, that I can never forget; it read, “Magic is real for me, maybe because I try to see things from the earth’s point of view – a beautiful blue-green lonely planet – something magical is happening for sure”.  

Since then, I too have started to believe in magic.


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Zumuh Kakuraa

Tenzin Achi for the first time was going to reveal the hidden treasure of her green old trunk. She knew we children were very keen and would do anything even to take a peek. Especially after Lo’s encounter with an alien creature who guaranteed Lo that he came via the green old trunk. When Tenzin Achi was approached to confirm this incident, she just laughed and said, “Ask the green trunk.” No one ever dared to do that of course.
And today Tenzin Achi has agreed, astonishingly, at such a low bid – one chocolate and five cookies – to introduce us to the mysterious dwelling of the trunk. “Oi… not letting you see inside”, said Tenzin Achi, “I’ll show you all myself, stay back.” I knew it, we are duped… she wouldn’t have let our curiosity die so soon. But you know what, we all were prepared for it. Tenzin Achi is famous as canny granny.
Behold, she announced and took out a pair of silver tinned wire loops, which a talking dragon gifted her. Then came out five stones – red, indigo, yellow, green and white; she collected them from a planet she visited, named Kakuraa, and were extremely precious stones. Seeing none of us impressed, she challenged us to visit planet Kakuraa and ask anyone about the credibility of the stones. Silence prevailed and when someone yawned, Tenzin Achi was seen sweating.
She then took out a tiny copper ball. Now this appealed to all us children and Tenzin Achi beamed. There was a message engraved on the copper ball and “only a warrior could read it” said Tenzin Achi. Dramatically she said some words in her dialect and we understood zilch of it, but we stayed hooked. We all gasped in chorus as she twisted and opened the copper ball. She first made all of us swear with our hands on our heart, “don’t pass my secret to anyone – I am a warrior of Phui clan.” We obeyed as we were clueless and eager to know what’s hidden in the copper ball.
Veil uncovered, Tenzin Achi took out a small piece of crumpled cloth from the copper ball, red-white pattern knitted, it looked extremely ordinary, but the story attached to it wasn’t. She told us about Zumuh (that piece of cloth had a name). When the Kakuraa dynasty decided to leave for another world, they left on this planet, bits of Zumuh. These magical pieces worked as a Genie and it wasn’t easy to get one. Only who believed in magic and showed reverence to the Kakuraa dynasty could find it. Umpteenth times, she said proudly, Zumuh had helped her. Magic lived in her heart and pocket.
Pazo then said harshly, ‘Tenzin Achi is trying to fool us… this Zumuh can’t be used as a hanky also.’ Laughter filled Tenzin Achi’s old wooden room, but she stayed quiet, like me and Lo. Were there tears in her eyes? I don’t know, but I stood up and told everyone “I too have a Zumuh, it saved my life thrice from a dog”. They knew it was true, Kaalu had bitten Pazo and even Lo, but I managed to save my pajamas and myself somehow. I took out a round and rotted plastic but alive key ring from my pocket; with red-white pattern on it, I presented my Zumuh. I told them that a great traveller gave it to me near the hilltop and then vanished. Surprisingly Lo agreed, adding that he too saw that great traveller vanish into thin air. Pazo asked me to demonstrate the power of the Zumuh. Tenzin Achi had something else in her eyes then – spark of magic.
I stretched my hand, holding the key-ring and shouted, ‘Zumuh show your power, I believe in you’. ‘I also believe in you O Zumuh, let the magic shine’, said Tenzin Achi as she copied me and looked towards the roof, as if it was magical and we could see through it. Lo, who was without any Zumuh, also got up and screeched ‘I also believe’. Many eyes were glued to the Zumuh and I was actually hoping for a magical blast. Thunder! We all literally jumped on our places. The sky replied and immediately it started to snow. It was winter, but it wasn’t the time of the year for snow. I yelped, ‘Thank you Zumuh’. We all rock and rolled and tried to copy Tenzin Achi’s funny one-leg-in-the-air-dance, singing ‘zumuh, kakuraa, o zumuh, kakuraa.’