Category Archives: Short Story

A matter of Time

Thelma had  only a day left for a whole lot of things to do before leaving for a long drive to Mumbai.

She and Timothy her husband were on a short holiday in Goa.

So on Friday, she spoke to Sebastian their man Friday, who willingly agreed to bring his car early morning , precisely at 8am to help her.

Next morning Thelma had a quick breakfast and was ready for Sebastian…Timothy was all set to have a late breakfast , and then do some house chores before departure next day.

Its 8am….8.10…8.15 am    Thelma calls Sebastian,” Have you left?” He replied “ I am just leaving; I had a request order to prepare a curry for Victor.”

Its now 8.20am….8.25 am….Thelma cannot wait any longer… the sausage woman gave a time of 8.45am for the purchase of sausages…then 9-9.30 am was the time for the refill of gas cylinder.

“ Ok Timothy, I am going; I will give you a call in case I need any help.” And so Thelma quite irritated, went in a rickshaw to the market place.

Timothy prepared a sumptuous breakfast with eggs and fresh roties….He just about started when he got a call from Thelma, “ You better come and pick me up; I will be at the corner of the village road at Taligao.”.”  Timothy sighed “Yes, dear I will come. “  There’s no sign of Sebastian.

Timothy gobbled his breakfast and in quick time , got  ready and drove to the Taligao corner.

As he reached , so did Sebastian… and Thelma in the hot sun , with her bags, was walking towards them.

Here started the fire works….not aloud, as you will imagine… but the ‘look’ and the scowl was enough. That was the end of Sebastian… Very apologetically he said “ I can take you now.” But Thelma just walked to Timothy’s car and said “ Next time, you please tell me , when you have  work in hand, and that you cannot come “

“ You know, the Sausage woman could wait.’ said Sebastian

Thelma interjected “ Yes, but do you know that there were so many customers waiting to buy those sausages for even a higher price. So why would she wait for me?”

Besides the gas cylinder had to be picked up before the truck left for distribution in other parts of Panjim before 9.30am, and we are leaving for Mumbai tomorrow.”

Sebastian very meekly, kept silent.

Timothy drove off to the Gas Distributor along with Thelma.

However Sebastian followed Timothy’s car , and made up with a good deed of showing them the way to the gas distributor’s office.

Thelma and Timothy completed their round of things to be done thereafter, and returned home.

There was no sign of Sebastian.

“Was he upset? He is so helpful and must be quite embarrassed” conjectures Timothy.

“He had to go to Dona Paula for some work , which will keep him occupied for the full day” said Thelma.

As night approached,  there was still  no sign of Sebastian. The couple then packed their bags, and loaded their car.

Next morning they left on a long journey to Mumbai.

Wait a minute. Do you think that Sebastian will ignore them or keep this grudge for all the mess which happened.

At about 8am , Thelma’s mobile phone rang “ How are you all?  Where have you reached? Is everything ok?” enquired Sebastian…… a few hours later……. he enquired again…until Timothy and Thelma reach Mumbai safely.

Thought: 1) How can Sebastian balance his  work and also please  people dear to him with his good deeds?

2) What is so significant at the end of the story?

To Emulate a Hero

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We have heard a lot of heroes till date. Some in the sports field and some as leaders in critical times.

Here we have a collegian Harry who has always looked up to the great athletes of the past Olympics.

Harry was of medium height. He had well toned upper arms and chest, short cropped hair and sturdy limbs, well equipped to do middle distance running. He trained regularly and dreamed of making it to the Olympics.  He also read a lot specially about the renowned athletes of our times and even of the past.

He trained sincerely and tried to learn new techniques to do better.

Harry heard about Michael Johnson and then recently Usain Bolt. He dreamed of becoming like one of these athletes.

Now  the college athletics were a few months away. He trained even more. Every morning he woke up , whether in rainy weather or not. He left early mornings with a few fellow athletes, to train at the University Grounds. Joe was a good friend but also a good competitor. Friendship never came in the way of their races.

They both trained for the 400 , 800 and 1500 metres . Their timings were quite closely matched. Harry was the stronger. Joe was lanky and tall, and had elegant strides. It was a contrast of styles.

Harry very determined and focused, whereas Joe was casual and aware of his natural talent.

Harry dreamed of whipping all the others in the his events. He quadrupuled his training efforts. He sacrificed all his time and energy only in this direction.

Joe once teased him: “ So, are you trying for a clean sweep of the 400, 800 and 1500? Oh yes, you have your heroes in mind: but it requires a lot more. Lets see how you do it ?  Don’t forget , I am also in the running.”

Harry quite nonchalantly replied “ I will do my best”

“Oh! I really mean to win”,  retorted Joe.

Ten days before the  University Athletics,  Harry caught the flu. He was down with high fever and had to take prescribed treatment from his doctor. Dr Bratt, believed in heavy dosage of medicines, with the prime purpose of reviving Harry back to health and the upcoming Athletics.

“Harry , ensure that you take these medicines thrice a day and rest enough. I think in 4 days you will be okay”, assured Dr. Bratt..

Joe trained in his own quiet way, without any pretensions of winning as Harry dreamed.

In 4 days Harry recovered from the flu . He had lost weight and was a little weak. However he resumed training and was ready for the final day.

The usual tests for dope were conducted and Harry and Joe were given the green signal.

The three events  were held over two days , and both Harry and Joe reached the finals of all three events. Their timings in the heats were quite good, Joe’s  a little better than Harry.

In the 400 metres finals, Harry was not fast enough and placed a distant third. Joe came in 1st, smashing the meet record by 0.4 seconds.

In the 800 metres,  Joe again ran a tactical race and came in first, with Harry in second place.

It seemed that Harry’s dream of 3 in a row was going to be a complete washout, without a single win.

He got ready for the 1500 metres. This was his favorite  event. The race started at a good pace. Harry ran  to  keep up with the pack. At the end of the first lap , he was in third place. By the second lap he moved to second place and maintained this until the end of the third lap. Before the third lap ended  and the last lap began, he burst into his best speed, overtaking Joe and the rest . However 20 metres away from the finish, Harry tripped over and sprawled onto the track.

Joe  overtook him but then stopped to look back. He was overwhelmed with pity for Harry. But before Joe could do anything to help, Harry stood up and ran like a gazelle to finish in first place. Joe failed to catch up, to finish second.

Joe and Harry hugged each other, and could not believe at this sudden turn of events.

Harry tried to emulate the great Johnson and Bolt , but then struck his own mark by winning the 1500 metres in this fashion.

And Joe….. he was as casual as ever. Notwithstanding his loss in the 1500 in such a dramatic way. He was happy to win the two other events i.e. 400 and 800 metres.

Can I pretend to be someone who I am not?   Is it okay to strive to emulate my heroes ?

Think about it…..we are all gifted in different ways; each given in different measure, which highlights the  motto  “  strive to give off your best”. I think Joe and Harry both did that, each a hero in some way.

Does the Winner take it all

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Mikael was on par with the best golfers in the circuit…However he never seemed to win any trophies. He was quiet and dedicated and sought to improve at every stage. He kept fit and did his best to play well and improve.

During his time he had a few top golfers who kept winning in turns the various big tournaments.

Alfred was steady and focused and most often came away with the top spot.

Dean was more flamboyant and knew that he possessed the skills which could beat anyone on his good day.

But Mikael was the one to watch. He practiced 24×7 and wished to make a mark in life.

He had tremendous faith in God. He kept fit in simple ways and was disciplined in his time.

He gave the best part of his day to the Lord in the morning .

Alfred once asked him” Hey Mike, why do you come in late morning for your practice?”

And Mikael quietly replied” Well,  I give myself to the Lord first, as all I am and have is from Him”

The other guys listening were amazed , and Dean chipped in “ but how come you don’t win anything Mike.”  To which Mike’s simple answer was   “ in His time he makes all things beautiful”

The Indian Open was fast approaching. Preparations were on. The best golfers were expected.

They all were focused on their training and diets.

Mikael kept to his morning quiet time , and then turned to his practice and other preparations.

On the big day, he was calm and confident. Whereas Alfred and Dean were in their zones of anticipation. Alfred totally serious . Dean appearing nonchalant .

They started on their rounds. Halfway through one sees Alfred beginning to get fatigued. The tension increases. He swings and it comes on too firmly.. He whispers to Mikael “ I don’t understand , what is happening . My strokes are getting messed up.” Mikael calms him down “ Relax, you have the strokes to play better” and prays quietly for Alfred, ” Lord, help him to recover his poise. “ Next moment Alfred delivers the best stroke and goes on to get a very good average.

Next we see Dean taking his stance . Overconfident as usual he starts off well and within a few moments loses his composure when his caddy trips behind him.” Hey what’s wrong with you; you have just ruined my concentration” Thereafter Dean makes a mess of his rounds and is way behind in the final tally.

Mikael however goes about his rounds with great dedication. He is silent, confident, and at peace. He seems to enjoy his game.  His days of preparation and discipline show on the course. He gave his best. But still Alfred wins the Cup.  Mikael is runnersup

Did Mikael lose? Ask Alfred. He says” I owe my victory to Mikael . His quiet words of encouragement gave me so much confidence at the time I was playing poorly.”

Mikael smiled and said “ We are all winners when we play our best… Even though only one wins the cup. How we approach the game is important. After all its not life and death. May we all rise above winning and losing, and really enjoy the game.”

Does the winner take it all??

Flying the Nest

DSC_0221(Straight as the Crow flies)

The Mother Crow is all eyes as I watch her guarding her nest of baby crows. She   has finally finished for the day.  Her duty nearly done, feeding the little ones.

They are so vulnerable. The cries are are ever so feeble. Who will sustain them in sickness or in bad weather.What are the guidelines for their diet. Will they get all they need. Where is the shelter. In changing climes, can we see any movement from the insecure nest perched on a high branch.

Miriam their mother, of course is ever concerned about the 3 little ones. All three cry at the same time. Who can say, that one gets more or one less. Little Jack is forever half asleep. He is not quite big enough. Doug is the stronger one, and ever ready to stretch when food arrives from Mother.

Sue is the delicate one, very alert for food, and yet Miriam is concerned for Jack.

Their nest time, is very close and secure….or so it seems.  Wait! Who goes there.  Miriam the mother has just flown in with some last tasty morsels for the three hungry ones.

Its getting dark…. can it be, there is also another hungry creature on the prowl.  Not flying…. but a crouch, and then absolute silence. Whoop, and a gotcha, but the nest overturns and then…

……

Where are they??

How can we forget Carey the Father Crow. Here he comes flying in with such speed to stall the fall, with his mighty wings and fly with his precious burden. But where to…….. Which trees, and how high……..

Miriam crow provides some relief ; The bigger danger is averted; now comes the languorous wait, to start a  new nest.

 

We fly to the future. The nests are empty;. Jack, Doug and Sue have found life and mates. They fly with new found confidence. The cycle completes with  new nests…..

Question…. Do crows have memories…..of parents, nests, siblings, and blessings of happy times?

And the parents……where are they?

We see a pair of crows ….  A new beginning, and  another nest.

 

 

 

 

 

Re Fresh

Dan rushed off to work. He always led a fast paced life . He spent a lot of time at the office. Hugh on the contrary led a sedate life. He was tall and had a casual appearance. They worked in the same department and reported to the same boss. Jim  the boss was an observant man, who knew his men very well.

Now it was the runup to the budget week. There was a lot of research to be made on the past performance and the changes to be initiated to improve. So one can understand the need to meet deadlines.

Dan worked with such speed without recourse to any time off. He invariably reached home late. There was no time for anything. His usual question was more of a formality “Darling how are you today? Anything interesting for dinner?” His wife quite concerned at his stressful condition replied” I can prepare the best for you; how will it help when you cannot enjoy the meal with me , in quietness….choosing to forget office and converse with me.”

Hugh reached home in normal time. He stepped into his home and hugged his wife Katy. “ How glad to be home; got some delicious fruits on the way. Waiting to enjoy quality time with you over dinner.” What warmth and love showed between Hugh and his wife.

Dan  did not speak much at dinner. He gobbled his meal and retired to scan his mobile for latest messages on the email or whatsapp or his facebook page to check whats going on. Not a word from him even as his wife waited.

Hugh enjoyed his meal sharing an interesting conversation with his wife with such gusto. It appears he savored every moment , even time spent at home.

At bed time, Dan collapsed , without a thought of reviewing his day or even turning to the Lord.

Hugh had some more conversation with his wife and then retired for the night  . He first proceeded to empty himself of all that had not gone well during the day. He just discarded it, or what in modern terms means ‘deleted’ stuff that was not worth keeping in mind. But he then prayed to be filled with a newness that only the Spirit of God can can give. He then moved into stillness,  to have quiet communion with the Almighty.

This emptying and filling , helped Hugh tremendously and gave him so much more for the next morning. He again turned to the Lord at the start of the new day thus always keeping the Lord first in everything.

His best quote is” Lord empty me of all that is not of you, and fill be with your Holy Spirit Amen”

Who was more fruitful? Jim will tell you. Naturally the one who slowed down and got renewed daily. Budget or any other important matter, cannot weigh down Hugh. He meets all deadlines. But Dan struggles most of the time. When appraisals are made , who do you think got a promotion?

That’s the time to see …. Why empty me …. why fill me Oh Lord!

Renew……Refresh……