Day 81 100words100days: Life as a native (child of the soil)

I can point out to you the places where the houses my ancestors lived in once stood. I can show you land that once belonged to them, that has been lost for better or worse.

I know the names of my grandparents’ grandparents and the villages they came from.

I can list the countries they travelled to, the places they worked in, far away from their homes, sometimes eking out a living, sometimes doing fairly well.

I might not speak the “native” language very well, but I bleed rust-red and salty, like the mud that supports fruit-bearing trees around my home, trees planted by people whose names have been lost, but whose auras still linger.

I do not currently live there, but what happens to my quasi-village still affects me.

I dream of home, and a better world, and me in it.

Day 82: Write a story for a younger cousin (0-10)

Day 80 100words100days: write the text of a Mad Lib, leaving out adjectives, pronouns and half the verbs

When creating a t-shirt design, the most (adjective) thing is to (verb- infinitive) the person who will (verb- infinitive) it.

(Pronoun) can (verb- infinitive) a (adjective) t-shirt with (adjective) tools ranging from a (adjective) pen and paper to a (adjective) computer programme like Paint or Photoshop.

Next, (pronoun) (verb-present) which medium of transference will suit the idea. It could be embroidery, painting, or printing. Again, (pronoun) should (verb- infinitive) what the user would prefer.

But, as with most things, (pronoun) can only know what the t-shirt will look like once (pronoun) has been (verb- past participle), and once the user has (verb- past participle) (adjective) feedback.

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Mad Lib creation is like designing training- you know if it’s any good only when you have had a chance to test it.

Day 81: Life as a native (child of the soil)

Day 79 100words100days: write a story for a younger cousin, in the age group of 11-15 years

“There are no adventures left to have,” said Cousin number 9. He flopped down on his bed with a melodramatic sigh, like all was lost.

Eyebrows raised,  Cousins 1-6 looked up from their game of Monopoly. (Cousin 2 briefly considered if she had enough money to put a hotel on Pall Mall.)

“What?” asked Cousin 9. “There are no islands that have not been discovered; Space is not exactly a frontier anymore; time travel doesn’t exist-” a sharp intake of breath from some cousins, and a roll of the eyes from 9 “- and there are no battles to fight.”

Cousin 1 regarded the disillusioned youngest one very seriously. She raised herself up on her elbow, and said “Then make your own adventures. You could learn a skill that only few know, and use it to travel the world.”

Cousin 2, understanding what her elder sister was trying to do, added “You could dive into your own imagination and fish for pearls of adventure there.”

Cousin 3 put a skinny arm behind his head. “You could see what the state has to offer that you haven’t seen before.”

Cousin 4, holding her Monopoly piece-the iron- aloft, said, “You could read about the world’s religions and see which one works for you.”

Cousin 5, the eldest brother of cousin 9, rubbed the scar under his eye. “You could float with the current and see where it takes you”

Cousin 6, cousin 9’s only sister, put a hotel on one of her properties. “You could build something for yourself.”

Cousins 7 and 8 had come in from helping their father wash one of his buses.

Cousin 7 shrugged at everyone, but mainly in the direction of his little brother. “You could be like Dexter- the scientist, not the murderer.”

Cousin 8 pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. “You could put yourself in someone else’s shoes.”

Cousin 9 moved over to the bed where the bigger ones were, picked up the dice, rattled them in his fist, threw them and waited to see what they would turn up.

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Day 80: write the text of a Mad Lib, leaving out adjectives, pronouns and half the verbs

Day 78 100words 100 days: Write a pitch for a word you think should be included in the dictionary

If there is just one word that can be added to every single dictionary in every language in the world during my lifetime, let it be a neutral personal pronoun, preferably one that isn’t awkward to use.

I think humanity has reached the point at which it should neither be forced to use the patriarchal, all-encompassing he nor should it feel compelled to ‘advance’ to the apologetic-like behaviour of using she everywhere to compensate for the millennia of suppression and oppression of the feminine voice.

Neither gender owns the narrative. They both form it and shape it and guide it and grow it.

This is where Hindi has one up on English- the word वह can be he or she or even it.

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Day 79: write a story for a younger cousin, in the age group of 11-15 years

Day 77 100words100days: Pick a garment and elaborate the care instructions in verse

Ah, retail.

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I have this mustard t-shirt in a size 22

I know it’s big for me, but I like the way it looks.

It’s made of cott’n and polyester and it is far from new

Though I’ve looked after it so well, you can’t tell if that’s the truth.

I never bleach it or dry clean it, cos that’s against the rules

And if and when I iron, the heat’s a dot away from cool.

When it is time to wash it, the water’s 40 degrees max

With the tee inside out to protect the design printed in black.

If my drying option’s the machine, it must be normal and low heat,

Or I dry it in the shade to save electricity.

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Day 78: Write a pitch for a word you think should be included in the dictionary

Day 76 100words100days Write the story of your grandparents (fiction/non-fiction)

Written especially for my little cousin Josiah, who turns 16 today. He didn’t get much time with my maternal grandfolks, aka Mummy and Papa, because they passed away when he was quite small. Here’s a small snippet of who they were, Jos. Happy birthday!

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Mummy was fifteen years younger than Papa. He was the younger son and second youngest child of a big family- big both in terms of the number of family members, and status in his village. She was the youngest daughter and antepenultimate child of an equally large and well-known family from a village farther north.

She said she wasn’t sure about marrying a man so much older than herself, but since their families had known one another for a long time, and were neighbours in Bombay, she decided to go ahead and accept his proposal of marriage.

I’m glad she did.

They were wed in a Bombay that had recently lost the sparkle of being a jewel in the crown of the British Empire. Their wedding pictures – those that I’ve seen- are black and white, with a wonderful clarity that I sometimes have trouble achieving with my smart phone. Mummy has a slightly peaked headdress, and a veil that fans out just a little behind her. Papa looks dashing in his tails and top hat.

Together they had four children- two boys and two girls, of whom my mum is the second child-, lived in three countries- India, Pakistan, and Kenya-, were expats and then foreign-returns, Portuguese and then Indian, spoke several languages including English, Konkani, Swahili, and what my grandmother referred to as Hindustani, had many trades, held and loved eight grandchildren (the ninth came after Mummy passed away), and built a home that welcomed family and friends from all parts of the world.

Mummy passed away about fifteen years ago. A year before that, she and Papa celebrated 50 years of being married. Papa stuck around for a few more years, and was four years short of becoming a centenarian when he passed away.

They were awesome. They made us feel loved. They fed us. They told us stories. They looked after my sister, me, and all our little cousins whenever it was necessary. I know they were fallible human beings, but they did their best to make up for it.

P.S. Mummy- I know you preferred Grandma as your honorific, but some habits die hard even 15 years later.

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Day 77: Pick a garment and elaborate the care instructions in verse

Day 75 100words100days Live long and prosper- a blessing or a curse?

Live long and prosper, said the man with the funny ears, holding his hand up in what I hope was not some vulgar sign, before he vanished before my eyes in a ray of what I can only describe as light of some supernatural kind.

Fifty years later, and I am still alive, while all my friends and family- those I was close kin to- have passed on.

I live in a beautiful large house- one that is almost a castle- bought with money I made by the sweat of my brow.

I have lived long, and I have prospered and continue to prosper, but to what end?

My life is shallow, hollow, incomplete.

If the man ever comes back, I will tell him to change his parting words. I think something along the lines of “Be happy” would be most appropriate.

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Day 76: Write the story of your grandparents (fiction/non-fiction)

Day 74: A series of limericks about 1st world problems

I don’t know how it came to be:

There’s a leaf out of place on this tree.

It seems rather savage

To not shape all foliage.

Have you not heard of topiary?

—–

There once was some food on a plate.

It was not at all well-arranged.

The presentation was hardly

Instagram-worthy.

It might as well have been torched by a flame.

——

I don’t know how I’ll get through today:

I don’t have FB or BBM or email.

My Whatsapp’s not workin,

My LinkedIn is shirkin-

How will I ignore those I hate?

—-

I know this sounds mean but it’s true-

Some countries just don’t know what to do

When their citizens are unhappy-

They should discuss what is crappy.

Now agree or I might shoot you.

***

Yes, I know the last one is a wee bit stereotypical.

It also occurs to me that all the First-World problems I’ve come up with are rather superficial. Surely those who think they are more advanced have some profound thoughts as well?

Sincerely,

A citizen of the “developing” world

Day 75: Live long and prosper- a blessing or a curse?

Day 73 100words100days write an ode to a commonplace object

O wonderful and omniscient smart phone!

I can count on you in my times of need

You are my comfort when I am alone

My troubles are dispersed by the light from your screen.

If I were so unlucky as to not have you

My life would be devoid of meaning

I would not remember what I have to do

Like paying bills and sending out greetings.

You aren’t that slim, but I don’t really mind

Because size doesn’t matter to me

You answered my call when I was in a bind-

That’s how I went from Samsung to LG.

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Day 74: A series of limericks about 1st world problems

Day 72 100words100days Write a cutesy recipe (like the ones out there for Love, etc.)

A recipe for a healthy, solid, lasts-a-lifetime kind of friendship

Ingredients:

2 individuals

A heap of common interests (or, if this is not available, a common friend with whom both have strong ties, or a common enemy whom both detest with the same vehemence)

A liberal dose of tolerance, tempered with a healthy helping of truthfulness

A couple of cubes of empathy

Five drops of tact extract

A cup of refined Love, from which all to nearly all physical desire has been removed

Instructions:

Set the two individuals on a tray. Remove a piece of each one’s soul and place it in the other’s body.

Apportion the remaining ingredients equally between the two. Be very careful about this, because if there is an imbalance, the friendship will not be a healthy one.

Place the tray in an oven, and allow the individuals to bake together till the aroma of the friendship fills the air.

Make sure not to keep opening the oven door as this will result in a half-baked friendship, and the soul pieces will wither and die.

Also ensure that the friends are taken out of the oven at the same time, and are kept together in a warm place, or the friendship will cool.

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Day 73: write an ode to a commonplace object