Saturday, July 26, 2014

Compensation (Micro Fiction)

“Push your glutes down, stretch the arms, stretch, stretch… this is very good for the spine. Are the legs burning? Come on, whose thigh muscles are hurting…hold it, hold it…..eight, seven, six, and five…..”

A moan rose from the sweaty bodies positioned around the high ceiling hall on colorful yoga mats. The air reeked of tentative optimism and personal neglect. Having devoted their prime to nurturing families, these women had finally decided to show themselves love before their frames turned too porous. They hoped that a gravity defying lift would happen: to the uterus, the underarms, and the morale.

“Rimmi, my husband is going to bless you if you can teach me salsa. He is an excellent dancer and I am such a bad partner, I just feel so terrible” Manya was one of those sponge students, soaking her instructor in toto. Her gaze did not once waver from the yogi’s crafted body and she pushed herself, absorbing every single word, painstakingly following instructions down to the last turn and twist.

“I am not able to practice at home; why don’t you give us homework Rimmi? Should we do three Suryanamaskars over the weekend?” her dependence on the instructor for direction and discipline was childlike. Their constant exchange interrupted everyone’s rhythm but the group plodded on. They shared an unspoken empathy borne of having survived life’s unending wear and tear. 

“Shucks, I always forget to carry my napkin and water. Rimmi, my arms were aching over the weekend but the Husband’s Night is approaching and I am really looking forward to it this time” there was no abating Manya’s refrain for validation. “Did you try Bikram’s Hot Yoga this time on your trip to the US? Goodness, looking at you, no one would believe you had two caesareans!” 

For over an hour, the hall would thrum with hissing breaths, groaning joints and swiping towels. “Keep the heart rate up but don’t hurt your back, bend from the hip…..slowly roll up” Rimmi had the group in a trance with her steady pace and even manner. “I am launching my website soon ladies, you can check out the exercises there” she had the physical fluency to talk while in a “Bakasana”.

“What inspired you Rimmi, to take up physical fitness. You look so fit, not an inch extra anywhere?” Manya was the quickest to roll her mat, drain the water bottle into her mouth and gather up her belongings.

“My parents!” Rimmi answered, unplugging the music system from the wall socket. “Here, let me show you their picture, I always carry it with me.” Diving into her bag, she pulled out a six inches by four inches laminated photograph. The others hung back politely as Manya craned her neck familiarly. “Ouch!” she crushed more than a toe on the hasty step back. The rest moved forward, frowning. There was silence as they viewed the smiling couple settled comfortably on an elegant sofa in a tastefully done up living room.

“My Dad is 130 Kg and Mum is stable at 98 Kg!” Rimmi’s tone was rueful.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Shrine (Micro Fiction)

The two women were a familiar sight to the guards and the local domestics. They carried a stick each with a strangely apologetic air, not knowing when an articulate animal lover might spring from behind the bushes.  

“I am sorry Rashmi, I slept through the alarm yesterday, hope you did not wait for me!” The taller of the two, Rashmi was gracious, “It is all right Meeta but it is unsafe to walk alone, that black dog came out of nowhere at me but I used my stick, I think it hit him on the nose.”

The two feared their colony street dogs that neither the MCD nor the resident welfare association would touch. Diffusing a canine was apparently more complicated than launching the PSLV C-23. The walkers had therefore evolved a signature move. They would lower one end of their long canes on the tar road, the scraping sound promptly sent the dogs into subdued skulks although there was no telling the canine hormones!

The hour was a trifle incongruous to go striding, not much stirred at 4.30 am. They walked in silence for the most part, commenting intermittently and dryly on the lack of breeze, the faulty street lights, the litter by the road and other fitness options close by.

“Good lord, what is that lying on the temple road?” the two quickened their pace to pull up near the narrow lane one day. “Two shoes from different pairs and a small slipper; must be a pup playing hooky in the night when the household is asleep” Rashmi chuckled to herself, recalling the antics of her own Beagle snoring back home.

A toilet brush one day, a magazine the next, even a mosquito repellent dispenser once! The two looked up from a quartered shoe box in the middle of the road one morning to take in the little statues, flower petals and red scarves scattered under the temple tree. “This shrine blesses expectant mothers with sons, my maid servant made an offering here, she has three daughters already.” Rashmi shrugged her shoulders at Meeta’s words, “Are you serious?”

They had turned around the main gate notice board, gripping their canes at the sound of distant barking. The guards were asleep, rhythmic traffic sounds lulling them unhelpfully. “Oops, did you feel a drop? It is beginning to drizzle?” Two Chinese umbrellas snapped open as they resumed cautiously, “This is odd, it looks like a pack today” Meeta whispered into the sound of falling water. They narrowed their eyes at the sight of five dogs huddled around an object, their heads bobbing. Rashmi sucked the moist air, perturbed at the sounds of ferocious gluttony.

"Is that a stuffed Little Lulu?” they swung their sticks at the busy dogs with a sense of alarm. Meeta howled into the rinsing dark. The animals growled back, their rapacious sounds adding to the turbidity of fear and horror.  

A new born baby and the sounds of om nom nom!