Wednesday, September 24, 2014


An excerpt from my unpublished novel, BEYOND BOUNDARIES.

Taara sat on the family room area rug in her Minnesotan suburb.  Head bent over her sketch pad, pencil in hand, and tongue twisted out to the side of her mouth, she drew lines, erased, and redrew.  As she worked, glow from the fireplace cast shadows around her.

Dimple sat on the sofa and stared into the fire.  Her thoughts traveled to her valley, the place of her birth, her home of 18 years.  She remembered how Ammaji had sat her down one afternoon.  An old friend, Kalavati from Kandhar days, was coming for tea with her nephew, more like her son, orphaned at a young age.  Ammaji had picked out Dimple’s emerald green salwar kameez shirt pant with white thread embroidery.  A chiffon chunni scarf had been draped shoulder to shoulder over her breasts.  Balancing a tea tray, she had walked into the drawing room, her eye lids lowered, her steps measured.  Kalavati had invited her to sit next to her on the wicker sofa.

Dimple had felt his presence in the wicker chair adjacent to her.  From the corner of her eyes, between stolen glances, she had noticed his thick dark hair and bushy eyebrows over intense eyes.  He sat with a polite smile pasted under a full moustache, listening to the old women reminiscence.  She poured elaichi cardamom tea which he quietly sipped.  As she offered pista biscuits, he took one from the plate and thanked her, as he looked into her eyes.  She could feel his gaze following her as she moved to the other side of the table to offer the biscuits to Ammaji and her friend.  Dimple took her cup, found her seat, and sipped the fragrant, creamy tea.  The chatter of the older women continued as a background chorus to the melody in her head.  She stole a glance in his direction from the corner of her eyes, but his look held her there and she felt hypnotized.

Ammaji and Kalavati slipped out of the room, taking their musical refrain with them.  Her grandfather’s clock ticked away in its place on the corner table, each staccato note at a time.  He cleared his throat and leaned forward, empty cup in hand.  She reached for the teapot but he held up a hand and placed his cup on the table.

He cleared his throat again and said, “What does religion mean to you?"

Teapot still in hand, she set it back with a louder thud than she had intended.  She sat at the edge of her seat, kept her back straight, and placed her hands on her lap.  Keeping her gaze on her hands, she spoke softly, “Family.”

From the corner of her eyes she saw a smile appear on his face.  She looked up and noticed a biscuit crumb on the dark hairs of his moustache.  She smiled with him and had the urge to reach out and brush the crumb away.


Dimple slowly traveled back to her cozy home in the Minnesotan suburb, her gaze fixed on the flames in the fireplace.

“Mummy.”  Taara repeated.

“Hmmm…?”  Dimple said dreamily, a smile pasted on her lips.

“Mummy, what are those flowers called?”  Taara pointed with her pencil.

Dimple looked toward the sun-bathed corner of their family dining room.  The glass of the sliding double doors welcomed the warm rays inside and left the snowy chill outside.  A large pot sat by the window balancing a trellis.  Ivy of green leaves crept over and around it.  The tropical plant had rooted itself firmly into the new soil.  It flourished and even bloomed in the winter, flaunting its heart shaped purplish flowers with a hidden tiny white flower within.

“Bougainvillea.”  She told her daughter and went back to staring into the fire.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Obscure Memories

Inspired by a scene from Amy Tan’s “Valley of Amazement”

I can never forget the day Rosemary died.  My very special, constant companion who kept me amused all day long. Her face was soft with pinkish tones, as if she was always flushed.  Her eyes had a mix of sly and timid with the permanent sideways glance under long, blond lashes.  Her rose colored lips pouted together into a permanent pucker.  Father had her especially manufactured for me in his porcelain factory. I asked mother to sew her dresses to match mine, so we could be like twins. 

I took Rosemary everywhere, even on that fateful day to the mountain top picnic spot. The day was picture perfect under the bluest sky I had ever seen in all of my nine years.  Its blueness hovered in the backdrop to jaggedly edged, brown, sandy peaks in the distant.  Our luscious picnic spot was carpeted with greenness speckled with wild purple, yellow and red blooms.  A stream sauntered down the mountainside in a lazy lull. Its musical notes serenaded us as we munched on ham sandwiches, nibbled on the potato salad and sunk our teeth into the juicy watermelon slices. My brother Michael made a game out of spitting the black seeds, measuring the distance to the farthest throw he could accomplish. Some of them even went as far as the sharp edge of the cliff, down into an abyss.
Sated, Rosemary and I left mother, father, and Michael in their grassy spot and walked toward a shadowy corner by a large rock. I had dressed her in the lavender dress with white laced edges, an exact match to mine.  Her long, blond hair swayed in the breeze but kept away from her face with a sparkly headband, just like mine. We sang and danced, twirling on the rocky floor as my Mary Janes thumped the hard ground. Music rang in my ears that transported me to a grand dance hall, just like the ones Mother and Father attended. I stayed in the shadows and danced with Rosemary exactly as I did when the grand events were hosted in our Manor. A whirl, a pirouette, a skip and suddenly, before I realized it, Rosemary was snatched from my hands.
The music stopped just as the dance hall disappeared.  I was back on the mountain. I turned around to see a pudgy faced boy grinning from ear to ear. Malice floated in his glassy, blue eyes as he threatened to throw Rosemary in the air. Before I could react, I saw her flying, high towards the clear blue sky.
I shrieked and rushed to catch her on her downward journey. The chubby boy pushed me aside, his red cheeks flaring as he caught Rosemary just before throwing her up again. I kept screaming and crying out for him to let me have her back. He ignored me and continued with is vicious game. I did not see my brother, Michael, come from his grassy spot and try and catch Rosemary for me. Before I realized what was happening, I saw the two boys on the rocky ground, fighting over Rosemary. Each had her by an arm, trying to pull her apart. I could not see her being tortured and shut my eyes tight as tears rolled down freely down my cheeks. I heard myself scream that they were hurting her, to let her go, to stop fighting. I heard their voices, sounds of scuffle, a pebble being kicked, thumps, and then there was silence.
The wind blew my hair off my tear stained face, it brought the smell of lavender to my nostrils, and it fetched my screams back bouncing them off from the far off mountains with their jagged edges. I also heard screams that were not mine. My eyes opened and I saw an odd looking bird sitting on a rock. I turned towards the shouts and saw my mother screaming and a strange woman in white pants crying uncontrollably. Father and a pudgy old man stood frozen, silent, and far apart with no expressions on their faces. The pudgy man’s cheeks flared red, its color spreading all the way down to this neck.
I walked up to mother and tugged on her skirt to inquire about Rosemary. She didn’t respond and continued to cry. I walked to father and asked where Rosemary was. He ignored me and walked over to the edge of the cliff and proceeded to look over into the abyss. I ran towards him and was soon dragged back by mother screaming, “not you too”.  She held me close to her body, digging her fingers into my arms as she held on.
The End

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mystical Masterpiece

Slice of a lake
    where lilies skate
       slight immersed mist
             my painting it assists

Hues emerge bit by bit
      blackness to when it’s lit
          luminous returns to dim
              defining just the rim

Silhouettes expressed
   egret somehow appears
      alighted by a cove
         conversing with a dove

Ripples form the center
     core of the senses
       stroking to evoke
          emoting to provoke

Nuances pour and stream
     spread through the misty steam
       supple in its advance
          appearing only by chance

Haze rises and disperses
     displaying white blossoms
        budding lilies wave in concert
          calling for attention

Greens, whites and blues
     blend in to subdue
       stunning on the surface
          serene in the essence

Lines remain blurred
    limits linger as slurred
       stillness appears disrupt
          design seems obscure

The final image transcends
      to tranquility, an essence
             that exceeds beyond senses.