Flash Fiction

The Samurai Walker

Reverberating grand mountain range… here I come!
[Source – Pixabay]

Recently ordained as a samurai or was she a veteran, no one knows for what is the difference between new and old journeys… Experience! Experience? Experience is always limited, tied to the past, a guide it maybe, yes, just that, but not a compass, for the working compass points towards the present, always.

And grannie, the samurai never called herself a samurai… she said, and I have heard too grannie, she called herself a walker.

Hmm… yes, yes, that’s right too, but listen what happened next. She crossed the ocean of the golden grass that swayed with the silken wind, her hands stroking the golden waves past her, dancing a little to the left, then to the right, dancing to dodge the crickets, grasshoppers and in some seasons the dragonflies. Some seasons? Some seasons, yes, for she has crossed this ocean of the golden grass many a times.

You mean the meadow, right grannie? Golden grass ocean is where we play? Because I have seen her passing by.

Yes kiddo! So, listen now, she crosses this ocean to climb the reverberating grand mountain range… mountains that speak and its white peaks touch the sky, its high peaks that speak that us chaps fail to see for we bend to sow seeds, our backs ache and speak a different language that doesn’t reaches the peaks that speak.

But the samurai’s footprints, when in the mood, talk and share anecdotes and so we know somethings like that she stands still to sleep and drinks fresh water for breakfast and dinner, skipping lunch altogether, that she takes different routes to reach the top in search of an answer.

Grannie, she bought flour from the market one day, I saw her. She knows how to cook too.

The footprints are complete, not weak, she is never in a hurry, walking ahead, different routes but one direction. Where to? What chasing question she chases? What can be seen that is hidden in these glorious mountains? An answer? Why again? Yes, again… isn’t the old answer relevant anymore? Or is the question too old, dimming the revelation in-turn? Or there’s no question, no answer to be known?

Kiddo? You asleep, good. Rest now, for you too have to go on a long walk soon.


The samurai, standing on the mountain peak, her hundredth journey, maybe, she mutters, for she stopped counting long time back, for it didn’t answer, it dated the time passed and that is all. Why hundredth then? For impact, she whispers.

Biting cold wind reminded nothing of its silken version that swayed the golden grass, the meadows that looked like a shiny river from there. The samurai looked in one direction for hours, concentrating madly, couldn’t see clearly when suddenly a brisk energy filled her fully, and she stopped looking in one direction, and looked at the panorama fully, the whole of it and not just a part.

The question, the answer busted in joy then, concentration took a dive into complete attention, a clarity dawned that stopped the samurai from checking time, for the whole movement moved in her wholly.


This one movement played like a melodious orchestra around her, that from that day, the samurai walker didn’t imagine her goal, but saw the radiant whole.

The job was done, yet the samurai walked, fought and caught the fallen and rose every time, looking, from a certain angle, as tall and strong as the mountains.


And those who have heard the peaks, mostly the oldies like our grannie, even once – the echoes of the purple caves – they have spent the days and nights in glorifying it as a legend, speaking in riddles, confusing all and never…

Hey, where’s my stick? Wait, you!!


Climbing like the rainbow.
[Source – Pixabay]

She walks without counting, checking time

Or imagining a direction, she walks

Matter-of-factly, fearlessly, lightly

Like the rainbow after a storm

-Samurai’s footprints

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An Old Tune

Flash Fiction

*

Nibbling the leaves and thorns, reaching for its yellow flowers, suddenly, Jhui-Mui the little goat made a novel request to the Khejri tree, “please tell me a story.”

Jhui-Mui’s mum and other goats chuckled a bit, then continued surfing the shrubs spread around the Khejri tree for shade, water and love.

The tree which gave, for centuries, both food and medicine to all, with its ground bark to make a flour during the very many parched famine days, and its deep-deep roots that held the soil and directed the researchers to the cool water table, the desert’s old friend, Khejri, knew a pocketful of folktales too.

The Khejri tree told Jhui-Mui the little goat about a four-hundred-year-old tree, one who belongs to its own family, but lives in a far-off desert, alone on a barren hill, with roots fifty meters deep and long groovy, harmonious branches that welcomes every traveller and every story.

“What is its name?”, asked the beady eyed, happy Jhui-Mui. “The Tree of Life”, replied the Khejri tree and hummed an old tune that filled the arid air with cool magic.

No one spoke, everyone listened then.

*

The Tree of Life (Shajarat-al-Hayat), humming an old tune, in Bahrain.
[Source – Wikimedia Commons]

*


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“Smile”, says the Girl and Laughs

Flash Fiction
The grand mountains and the evening sky = peace.
Image by enriquelopezgarre from Pixabay.

What a wonderful, serene scene this is… I love mountains.

[Dev breathes in the cool air, then walks ahead and clicks pictures using his new camera; the funky-funny-machine-like clicking repeated sound is in sharp contrast to the peaceful silence present.]

Hmm… Hey, Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me/ I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to/ Hey, Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me/ In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you…

[Dev walks ahead; his rough shoes making imprints on the kind earth; he continues humming and the wind plays the tune; he then stops and clicks another photograph.]


Who’s that? Does not look like a tourist… she is… why is she standing… on the edge of the cliff?

“Excuse me, you are standing on the edge… the cliff is quite steep… just, just be careful.”

[The girl does not pay much attention to him; she is looking at the grand mountains and the evening sky.]

What is with this girl… she is clearly… oh!

[Dev suddenly starts running; camera in one hand, he rushes, gazing like an eagle at the girl.]

“Hey! Wait! What… what are you doing?”

“Calm down, it is alright”, said the girl curtly.

[Dev halts; panting he takes a step forward and then looks up in the sky; he then presses his forehead with two fingers and sets his hairstyle before looking at the girl again.]

“I thought… I… I thought you are about to jump… sorry!”

[The girl smiles and goes back to looking at the picturesque scene. Dev feeling embarrassed hits his head gently and starts walking away.]


“Will you click a photograph for me? Such a peaceful place this is”, said the girl mesmerised by the view.

“Oh, yeah, sure”, said Dev.

Should I take her photograph or just the mountains…? Oh, she is looking at me and smiling, definitely posing for the camera.

“One moment, please”, said Dev.

[He changes the settings on his Canon DSLR and then gets ready to click the photo.]

Hmm… she is beautiful…

[As Dev sets the frame with the girl to the left side and the mountains in the centre, the girl takes a step backwards and jumps. The camera slips from Dev’s hand and he rushes towards the edge.]

Oh, no, oh, no!

[Dev gulps dry air and peeks down the cliff, he cannot see her anywhere. His heart beats madly and his head starts to spin.]

What just… she, she… jumped!

*

[Dev again looks down, a gush of wind hits him, this time it is playing another melody. Dev fails to recognise this tune. Dev steps back from the edge of the cliff, takes out his cell phone and turns; he dials the emergency helpline number and looks up. The girl is standing with his camera in her hands.]

“Smile”, says the girl.

[Dev blackouts. The girl laughs.]

*


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Ambitious? Yes.

Flash Fiction

The flowers are ambitious by nature.
Image by Marisa04 from Pixabay

Gori knows not where the path leads to, the wet air, the dusky flora, and the mysterious tunes do not guide either.

Soaking in the newness she walks forward.

And why is it that we always choose to walk ahead, why does not the uncertainty collapse us?

If we stop to rest, if we feel defeated, if we turn back embarrassed and ashamed, we still reach, in some time, at the glorious hour of a beginning.

The tired, wounded, and sullen eyes once again look up, once again fathom the depth, once again find the path.


Taking the rope bridge, climbing the echoing mountains, crossing the glassy rainbows, Gori saw that valley where her loved one awaited her.

The gush of wind cheered her, the dew heavy leaves blessed her, the clouds played the drums for her.

And why does it seem that the whole world dances when we dance and the whole world moans when we moan?

How come we hear the call when there is a concrete silence around us, when facts dispel hope and when dejection raises a toast?

In anger the head is alone, when rejoicing the heart holds it all.


The illusion rudely reveals the reality and Gori faces the brazen cold marshland.

What happened to the beautiful valley, to the lover’s promise, to the perfect dream? Hush! The monster rises, its shadow darkens Gori’s faith.

Thundering sky strikes with lightening that Gori catches with her bare hands. Heaving, she runs towards the monster.  

Why is life so epic, so grand, so ambitious? Why do the storytellers talk about ‘once upon a time’?

If the legends appear amused by the mundane, then how many of us are at folly for it is the ordinary that becomes extraordinary?

The tales have never ceased to be melodious, we live perpetually enchanted.  


Gori starts walking, leaving behind the triumphant air, gravity shining on her forehead.

She resumes the journey as a narrow track becomes visible to her now, a solo night jasmine tree on the way, showers her with its flowers, Gori takes its fragrance along.

Gori knows not where the path leads to, soaking in the passionate silence she walks forward.  

Are the night jasmines very ambitious to wait for and shower a victorious warrior and not anyone else? Yes, they are.  

*

Shine-shine, you two!
[Source – Pixabay]

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Farrukh and Coco

Flash Fiction
Our house and Farrukh’s car.
A painting by Coco.
[Source – Pixabay]

In a hurry Farrukh forgot his wallet on the desk and left.

Down the stairs – nod to the watchman – walking towards the car – caressing hair – quick glance at the car window – slipping hand into the pocket – pausing for a second – no wallet – retracing steps – opening the door – “I forgot my wallet like an idiot” – bedroom – long pause – returns and bids me goodbye.

I smiled at him.

Just a few minutes ago Farrukh came to get his car keys. Of course, I tried to tell him about the wallet, but he didn’t listen and cutely replied “see you in the evening, Coco”.


Now, Farrukh will come back for the third time, yes he will, he has forgotten to put my food in the bowl. Look-look, it is empty.

When he returns, I will go near the table and bark loudly, for he has also forgotten his wrist watch there. O Farrukh!

*

Coco – a portrait.
By Farrukh.
[Source – Pixabay]

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Intervals

Moony music in the air!
[Source – Pixabay]

The beach was audible to her in intervals. She walked bare feet on the sand and still didn’t smile. Rhea had muffled thoughts, a cluster of it, covering her face. And that is why she couldn’t see the beautiful, starry canvas right above her. The sky didn’t twinkle, the waves didn’t play music for her. Like a ghost, locked in some tragic seconds, she moved slowly, that pale thing or maybe the world moved around her, and she stood still.

But the beach was audible to her in intervals. And she unconsciously moved towards the ocean. The interval ended, but it was too late for her to be locked back again… a wave rushed towards and caught her. Rhea took a deep breath and looked down, her feet were wet, the waves danced forward and backward. She smiled before she could stop herself.

Rhea could now hear the gushing ocean, see the sparkling stars, feel the cool wind and the cool sand. She started walking, this time not shying from the waves. She sauntered along the shore, opening her arms and welcoming the wind, the waves and the night sky… the interval overpowered unbeknownst to her.

 


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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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Sunflower Smile

Flash Fiction
The sunflower warmth just touched you.
Image from Pixabay.

Smile that sunflower smile, I love to see your beaming face, eyes closed and the rosy glow. Oh, come on! Remember those winters how we huddled to be in direct sunlight… warmth of the burning star touched our souls, and we smiled.

Peeping through the bushes, the sunlight always made me feel like I am in a photograph – yet to be taken.

While the tiny white daisies were busy decorating and tackling the mad wind, blushing, swaying and often taunting it for impeding their progress, the sunflowers stayed glued like a crayon drawing on the wall, letting the sun seep within.

Seeing the clouds approach, the sunflowers never trembled or rebuked the sky’s spongy friends… for the sunflowers could feel the presence of that warm burning star, part of it now stored inside them.

Maybe that’s why sunflowers’ signature reads ‘Forever’ rather than their glowing name. Oh, how lovely!  

Now just smile that sunflower smile, I love to see your beaming face, eyes closed and the rosy glow.

*

Smiling sunflowers and the gin-soaked hour.
Image from Pixabay.

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Me-The-Kind

Going up, coming down, the stone steps remain the same.
[Source – Pixabay]

Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.

Simone Weil

Stone steps lead up to a place I am yet to see. Dealing with the quietness interrupted intermittently by sweet songs of the birds, I continue ahead. My mind usher some unwanted thoughts and force me to dwell on and on and on, until I refuse, pause and take a deep breath. Don’t inquire for I don’t know why I am smiling, but I am and it has opened the collection of happy memories. Beaming face feels like being in an ocean of flowers. I start knitting happy thoughts with the golden thread of dreams and everything seems possible, the world is mine. A castle is constructed, my reign flourishes in seconds and in seconds I see my downfall. When I gather the broken pieces and stand up, I see the stone steps staring at me. No dialogues are exchanged, and I continue ahead.

I wake up, and then I don’t think much of this dream. I am already late to rush into my monotonous routine. The running time never bargains while I always find a reason to… though haven’t cracked a deal even once.

The whole day I critique myself, like a ritual, except when the dream hushes me-the-perfect and me-the-kind takes over.


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Crane on Turtle Candlestick Holder

Flash Fiction
“We are old friends.”
“Hai-hai!”

[Japanese vintage candlestick; source – ebay]

Our blacksmith picked up the mould and studied it. His expressions were not discernible, but the sweat on his forehead highlighted his precision as he poured the molten metal into the mould.

Whilst he worked, many frames, metal shapes – some contorted, some flamboyant – stared at him, acknowledging and appreciating in utter silence.

Our blacksmith, on his way back home, saw a little kid who was standing against a wall along with his friend, wasting time, living.

That little kid whispered something to his friend and they both started following our blacksmith, copying his gait.

A silly game, a random thought, a reason to smile.


Dear reader what does time say?

Time says it is next day.


Every frame, every metal shape was eagerly waiting for our blacksmith. Roller shutter made its habitual noise and our blacksmith entered his workshop, and along with him came his two buddies, those two kids we saw earlier.

Quickly they went and stood next to his grand table, jumping with excitement.

Our blacksmith finally showed them what was now ready in the mould – it was a crane on turtle candlestick holder.

The two kids laughed and so did our blacksmith. He said the crane and the turtle were friends and the kids inquired if he had seen something like that in real.

Our blacksmith nodded and said that when he was their age he went with his father to a lake side and saw a crane standing on a turtle’s back.

Childhood memories capture time that never fades.


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