Cinderella – a retelling

Her name was Carrie but all her friends called her Cinderella because she had the colour of a brown cinder. Her father was a rich and smart man but he made a grave mistake. He married Lady Tremaine whose cunningness was public knowledge. She was known for her blunt mouth. She had two daughters called Anastasia and Drizella. Like mother like daughter, they both liked to live a comfortable life. 

They all moved in with Cinderella and she warmly welcomed them. She made them at ease in the house and offered to do their chores out of kindness. Lady Tremaine secretly admired Cinderella’s smartness and wished that her daughters had some brains too but one cannot neglect its own children after all. 

The Lady and the two sisters started treating Cinderella as their housemaid and threw orders for her to fulfill. They would tell her to iron their clothes or to wash the dishes or to clean the house. Cinderella first did all the work to be hospitable but she then realised their true intentions. She started thinking of a plan. 

One day, Drizella asked her to iron her shirt as she had to go out. Cinderella obliged and took her shirt on the ironing pad. She set the iron to the hottest degree, kept the iron on the shirt and headed towards the kitchen. After some time, Drizella’s nose caught a strange smell. She came out of her room to see that her shirt had a huge hole the shape of the iron. She called Cinderella and asked her about it. Cinderella said that she completely forgot about the shirt as she was overworked. Drizella decided to iron her clothes by herself. Cinderella smiled to herself. 

Anastasia’s room was always a mess but she hated cleaning it. One day, she asked Cinderella to clean her room and Cinderella obliged. She asked Anastasia to leave the room. The room will be spotless, thought Cinderella. 

After some time when Anastasia entered her room, she was shocked. Her bed was clean but her heart was in her mouth. She called Cinderella and asked her about the papers that were scattered on the bed. Cinderella replied that she tore them and threw them away as she thought they were trash. Apparently, they were her university admission papers. Anastasia cried the whole day and cursed Cinderella. But Cinderella had no regrets. Brats have to be tackled in their own way. 

Lady Tremaine had a cat called Lucifer who she loved. Lucifer used to scratch Cinderella and tear her clothes. The cat walked around the house as if it owned it. 

As Cinderella was walking on the road, she read an advertisement on the bus stop. After some days, she brought with herself Bruno, a dog 2 feet high with sharp teeth. He barked at Lucifer and ran after him the whole day. Lucifer was scared to death and would never leave the side of his Mistress. 

But Lady Tremaine had earned the image of a cunning woman for a reason. She couldn’t rest until she taught this girl a lesson. 

Cinderella was preparing for a job interview in a famed company. She had all the skills required and was pretty sure she would get the job. One day, as Cinderella was running some chores, her phone rang. Lady Tremaine quickly picked it up. It was a call for Cinderella’s interview. 

The interviewer asked whether it was Cinderella speaking. Lady Tremaine  replied in the affirmative. The man asked whether she would like to schedule the interview tomorrow to which Lady Tremaine rudely replied and said that she wasn’t interested in the job anymore. Lady Tremaine showed her uneven teeth and smiled. No one messes with Lady Tremaine , thought she and threw her phone away. 

What Lady Tremaine didn’t know was that the interviewer was Cinderella’s close friend. He was sure that something smells fishy. He tried calling again but to no avail. He decided to visit her house and check for himself. He met Cinderella outside and told her about the incident. Cinderella told him the whole story and arranged for an interview the day after. 

Cinderella finally got the job, leaving her step sisters and mother’s mouth being wide open. She asked them to leave her house and she lived happily ever after.

A girl need not be so kind that she gets abused. Standing up for oneself is a characteristic that everyone should incorporate in themselves.

A happy ending does not need a prince to save the love of his life from the tortures of her life. The girl is capable of saving herself!

A Man Called Ove- A book review

Warning – The blog may include some spoilers.

Some books make you wish that you had a forgetfulness potion just to forget about it and read it again. I was reading some thriller novels lately and wanted a break from the plethora of information and decided to surf the internet for some light-hearted books. The Master (Google) suggested a bunch of books lined beside each other. 

As humans, we tend to select things that look good or the ones that are immediately before our eyes. Google takes advantage of it. The first book that it suggested was ‘A Man Called OveBy Fredrick Backman’. An old man with only his back visible and a cat near his foot gives a pretty philosophical impression on the cover.

The book starts with a grumpy old man called Ove going into a shop and trying to buy an iPad but ending up shouting at the salesperson instead. Ove is very particular about rules, regulations, and the board that says ‘Motor vehicles prohibited inside the residential area.’

Ove is always snapping at people and thinking that they are all a bunch of idiots. He has given up hopes of being happy, ever. He, therefore, decides to end his misery of getting up every day and dealing with this incompetent world by attempting to kill himself. But he keeps failing at this ultimate task because a new family has just moved into the neighborhood and are a bunch of clowns. They don’t know how to back a trailer without breaking Ove’s postbox or how to not keep falling from ladders while fixing their windows. Every day is new chaos with Ove somehow being dragged into it. 

The book reveals Ove’s past and how he was bullied and discriminated against. How he worked at the railways and also at a construction site. How he rebuilt his house where his father and mother used to live with him and how he finally met the love of his life, Sonja. 

Ove and Sonja were no match for each other. Ove was a realist and Sonja, a dreamer. She was all the bright colors on the palette while Ove was just the monochrome. But Ove loved her smile and Sonja loved his honesty. Ove was an admirer of her optimism and Sonja admired his integrity.

The book talks about all the battles that they fight together against the men in white shirts and the bureaucracy. 

Coming back to the present day, Parvaneh, the new pregnant neighbor and her family is a constant inconvenience for Ove but eventually brings out his human and vulnerable side. He realizes that ending one’s own life is not the solution. Facing life with courage and fighting for what we feel is right is the only way to defeat the system and its cruelties.

This book tickles your funny bone but also leaves you thinking about the depth of human characters. We often are prejudiced against people who do not talk much or are always grumpy and immediately assume them to be unpleasant and unfriendly. But there is more to people than just their appearances. This book explores just that. It makes you teary-eyed but the next moment, you are laughing at the expletives that Ove utters. 

You realise with Ove that the meaning of life may be hidden in the smile of a child or by helping a helpless person or simply in having a cat who accompanies you everywhere! 

Firsts

The sky was on fire. The flames of the mighty solar body spread across the horizon as if it wanted to engulf the city in its arms. He sat on his chair with his feet up against the window. It was going to be a long night, he thought to himself. 

Rising from the chair, he gulped down the tea which kept his eyelids open. The screen of his laptop made him drowsy.

He was waiting for a phone call. A signal. He had been practicing for a long time now without a break and today was the D-day. His phone rang and a  sweet but firm voice told him that the time had come. 

He was anxious and excited. He had never done that sort of thing before. Just thinking about it made him feel dizzy. But he had to do it. After all, you have to do something for the first time. 

He changed his clothes and put on a white tshirt and a blue jacket over it. He sat in front of his laptop and opened the website and pressed the Allow button on the pop up. His reflection appeared on the laptop screen and he waved at it. 

“Hey guys, my name is Raj and I’ll be singing ‘Talking to the moon’ by Bruno Mars.”

The pandemic has given us new problems but also new experiences. Sure, it bought a halt to our lives but the spirit of humans cannot be deterred. This short story conveys the feeling of doing something for the first time with a pandemic raging outside. It conveys that we still have not lost hope.

Listen to the art

” This culture tells you to hurry but art tells you to take your time. Always listen to the art. ”

I read this on instagram right now and I realised that the culture of everything becoming a competition has sucked the soul of creativity from us. Sure, people are still creative and come up with unthinkable ideas but I feel it’s all done not with the purpose of creating art but rather to compete with other artists. I, for instance, don’t write purely because I want to create something. I write because I want to show the world how good a writer I am. I have written many pieces that are for my eyes only and in those pieces, my true art lies. 

I discovered the perks of WordPress.com and read many blogs here and felt that I should have a blog too. I also want people to read my blogs and hit a like or sometimes drop a comment saying that they loved what I wrote which is not a bad thing at all. If you have the skill, it is for showcasing it to the world. But showcasing your creation while being proud of whatever that you created and showcasing your creation so that others prefer your art over others are two different things. Of course both are fine. 

But the competitive part gets me. The population is rising as fast as the champagne rises in the bottle when shaken. It leaves no place to just be. People are reminded time and again that whatever they do, should be better than others, be it writing or drawing or painting or even humming a song. If you are just enjoying yourself while painting and don’t care about how it turns out, there will always be someone who will tell you that it can be better. For fucks sake, i don’t want it to be better. I painted because i like to fill colour in pictures that I draw. Not because I want to become a painter. 

Hobbies are not treated as hobbies nowadays. A hobby is an activity done for leisure. Who wants to compete in their leisure time? Who wants to think about being the best painter or singer when they are just doing those things for pleasure? 

We humans need a break from this rat race. Maybe then we’ll appreciate art and the people who make art. Maybe then we’ll stop criticising ourselves for not having a correct pitch of voice or not being able to draw a landscape or coloring out of lines and just do those things simply because we want to. 

The ‘medo ring’

Writing prompt Day #2

I have tried to stitch up a story from elements that are unrelated to each other. I hope you enjoy it!

Elements – A stolen ring, fear of spiders and a sinister stranger.

John’s shirt was drenched in his own sweat as if he ran a marathon. He was frantically checking his small pockets but didn’t seem to find the thing he was searching for. He ran back to the tree where he had camped the whole night and began searching in the mud and on every possible surface. 

John wore a ring in his left hand that was handed down to him from his father. It was an heirloom but it was now lost or rather stolen. He had noticed a pair of eyes looking at him from behind the bushes but didn’t really bother himself with it. He wasn’t scared of the dark and penetrating eyes. 

But he was now anxious. This was a new feeling and he could feel the dark eyes constantly following him. John knew this was going to happen. He wished he had been careful. 

He moved towards a small cave and lit his torch. He never really knew what fear was up until now. He discovered that he was scared of spiders as he saw five spiders creeping up the walls and couldn’t even bear to look at them. But he had encountered spiders before in his house so why was he suddenly scared?

He moved ahead and saw those sinister pairs of eyes. The man was dressed in a black coat with fresh cuts around his eyes and hair that were let loose and reached his shoulders. He advanced towards John with the ring in his extended hand.

“Give me my ring,” demanded John.

“John, do you have any idea that so many people want this ring and will do anything for it? People will spend their whole lives just to be the owner of this ring.”

“It’s my heirloom and it’s just an ordinary ring!”

Here, the stranger laughed and revealed his pearly white teeth.

“This is no ordinary ring. It’s the infamous ‘medo ring’. Have you ever wondered why you were not scared of anything up until now?”

“I am really losing my mind now. A medo ring? What is the bloody meaning of that?”

“A medo ring makes you fearless. It makes you immune to anxiety. That is the reason you never discovered your fear of spiders.’’

John was bewildered. Everything suddenly began to fall in place. Pupils in his school feared public speaking but not John. He wasn’t afraid to go out in the dark alone and neither was he scared of operations. 

He now understood why people wanted this ring so desperately. No one likes being scared. No one likes the feeling of being anxious. 

The stranger stood at a distance of two feet from John and offered him the ring. 

“I don’t need this ring. I only came here to make you realise it’s importance. Remember John, to be fearless is not human. This ring will do you more harm than good. Fear is necessary for growth. Fear gives us strength that we didn’t know we had.” 

John took the ring in his hand and instead of putting it back on his finger, he kept it in his bag and walked back home. 

Music, ball and fire

Writing prompt Day #1

Elements – Music, ball and fire

I have attempted to create a story from the above elements and also relate them. I will be doing this everyday for 10 days where I pick random elements around us and try to create a story! I hope you enjoy them!

. . .

The song could be heard by someone sitting near Shweta from her headphones. Music often does put people in a trance. The sounds of the real world are only a whisper when your favourite song is playing and our lips instinctively sing along with the singer and our body moves as if someone has told us not to dance but we are doing it secretly.  

Shweta was feeling all this while her mother was shouting her name from the kitchen. Her mother was terrified and made a note in her mind to throw away Shweta’s earphones when this mess was over. 

An orange glow made Shweta look up and she saw smoke from the kitchen and when she removed her headphones, her mother’s cries chilled her down to the spine.She rushed to the kitchen and saw that the flames of the fire blocked the entrance of it like you had to pass some test to cross it. Her mother was in the middle of the small kitchen and told Shweta to get her a ball. 

Shweta scratched her head at this weird request but dared not to argue. She fetched a small green ball and threw it at her mother. Her mother caught it and began aiming like you do at games. A pot full of water was standing on a raised platform near the fire. She threw the ball at it. The pot tumbled down, splashing water everywhere and breaking itself in the process. The fire was out and now Shweta’s earphones would be next.

Ervin and the sword (Part 3)

Ervin and the sword (Part 1)

Ervin and the sword (Part 2)

Mazdak loved his sword and kept it safe in a cabinet. He admired it everyday and held it in his hand like one holds a precious diamond. No one was allowed to even touch the sword. He polished it everyday and took care of it as if it were his own child.

One day, Ervin requested Mazdak to let him have a look at the sword and sharpen it if needed. Mazdak was a little hesitant but as Ervin was the one who carved the sword, he let him in. He opened the cabinet and handed the sword to Ervin and left the room to attend some business. He came back after a while to find Ervin packing his things to leave. He asked Ervin to show him the sword.

“It looks more powerful than ever,” said Mazdak while admiring the sword. 

“It’s your sword after all, my highness,” said Ervin.

“No one will ever dare to come near me when I have this sharp thing in my hand.”

“But I have come this far and so near to killing you” said Ervin, smiling now.

Mazdak raised his eyes and looked angry.

“How dare you talk to me like this?”

“You will die with the blade of your own sword and I will be the one doing this deed.”

After hearing this, Mazdak realised that Ervin knew the truth and immediately pointed the sword at him but surprisingly, Ervin started laughing like some toddler has recited a funny joke. 

“Do you think I am a fool to come to your palace without a plan?” And removed an identical looking sword from his holster.

Mazdak looked confused. How can there be two swords? And which one was his? 

It then hit him like a train. The blade of the sword that he held in his hand didn’t look so sharp now. His heart sank. 

Before Mazdak could react, Ervin tore a hole in his stomach with the original sword. Mazdak felt weak. He could see his sinful life in front of his eyes and at the same time, everything was becoming a blur. 

The last thing that he saw was Ervin’s wrathful face looking at him and the last words that he heard were, “I am the master of the sword.”

. . .

The kingdom rejoiced at the news and hailed Ervin. The people picked up Mazdak’s corpse and let it sit in a cave with his beloved sword beside him. Years later, Mazdak was just a bunch of bones but the sword shone and reflected his master’s greatness.

Ervin and the sword (Part 2)

Ervin and the sword (Part 1)

As Ervin was walking on the street one day, he noticed that people were glaring at him and whispering to their companions. He heard two ladies mention something about his parents but couldn’t make out the rest of the gossip. He went home and didn’t think much about it.

The next day, he reached Mr Ario’s shop and began working on sharpening the swords. He could hear mosquitoes buzzing around but on further inspection, he saw that 2 men were murmuring outside. 

“This lad has got no self-respect. How can he work for the enemy?” 

Upon my calculations, he doesn’t actually know the whole truth.”

” But the whole town knows! Even Ario knows.”

“I think Ario is protecting him.”

“But the boy has a right to know that his parents were murdered by Mazdak!” cried the man. 

“Don’t raise your voice, Sharin. The walls have ears too. God bless that poor Ervin.”

“God bless Ervin.”

Upon hearing this, the small knife that he was holding fell from his grip and tears started rolling down his cheeks. These tears of grief soon turned into a blazing fury. 

He dashed inside the space where Ario was busy scratching his beard and drinking wine. 

“Why didn’t you tell me?”, he asked Ario with a trembling voice. 

“Tell you what my son?” 

“That Mazdak murdered my parents! That bloody scoundrel took them away from me” and started crying. 

Ario couldn’t get a word out of his mouth for a few minutes and then spoke, 

“Your father was a brave man Ervin. Elijad went for some carpentry work in the palace one day and overheard Mazdak and Mordin, the finance minister, talking about some shipment that was coming by sea. Corcin it was called. Corcin is a very powerful drug, Ervin, that can ruin lives. Mazdak was planning on introducing Corcin in the market and filling the treasury from the profits.”

“But why did he kill them?”, screamed Ervin. 

“Uhh because he caught Elijad and didn’t want to risk getting his secret in the open. So he planned to kill your father and make it look like an accident. When your mother and father were going in the carriage that unfortunate day, the driver was bribed and was told to leave them on a secluded road. Here, Mazdak’s men caught your father and your unfortunate mother and beat them to death. After that, uhh.. they were thrown in front of a lion to be eaten. “

Ervin had heard enough. It was now time for revenge.

To be continued…

Ervin and the sword (Part 1)

Ervin merely looked like a 13 year old. He was much more than that. Losing his parents 3 years ago to an accident which involved wild animals, Ervin learnt to take care of himself. His father worked at a carpenter’s shop and Ervin would visit him often. Besides the carpenter’s shop was a swordsmith who liked Ervin very much. Mr Ario would let Ervin admire the swords and would tell him stories related to each sword. Ervin liked the sharpness of the swords and the brave feeling that it gave. 

After his parent’s untimely demise, Mr Ario employed Ervin in his shop and taught him the skill of making sharp and shiny swords like a shark’s teeth. Ervin soon began to master the skill and by the age of 13, was Mr Ario’s most talented swordsmith. 

The king, Mazdak, heard of this boy’s talent and summoned him to court one day. 

“What’s your name?’’, asked Mazdak, glaring at Ervin.

“Ervin, your highness”, he replied with trembling hands. He thought he was going to be beheaded for stealing a few fruits from the vendor outside his house. 

“I have heard that you make fine swords. Ario has employed you and he too speaks highly of your art.”

“I wouldn’t say that I am any good at it, my highness. I have learnt from the best but wouldn’t want to take their place.’’

“Cut the humble brag. I’ll get straight to the point. I want you to carve a sword that is so sharp that it slashes the body of the enemy like a curtain. A sword that glistens in the sunlight and reflects my supremacy! Tell me boy, will you be able to make a sword like the one I just described?”

“By all means, yes sir. It would be an honour”, replied Ervin, relaxing a bit.

Ervin imagined how the sword would look and began working on it. After 1 month of dissatisfaction and disappointments, he finally was able to carve a sword that only the king had a right to hold. 

A sword 2 feet tall with edges that could cut pumpkins in a stroke glistened in the hands of Ervin and gave him a powerful feeling. 

He presented this sword to Mazdak. Mazdak held the sword in his hand and eyed it like a jeweller eyeing the Kohinoor. 

“You have done a great job, boy. This sword looks like it is made for a king and the one who holds it will be undefeatable. Mordin, give him 1000 shans and bestow 2kgs of gold on him!”

“You are very kind, my highness. I am in raptures!”, cried Ervin, trembling a little from the reward.

To be continued…

Addictions are out of hand

Photo by MART PRODUCTION on Pexels.com

They say we all are addicted to something. Be it our phones, illegal snorts or chocolates. I am addicted to many things. I am addicted to my phone which, in this generation, is an overused phrase. But yes, I am addicted to my phone. This addiction stems not from how sleek my phone is or how pretty the colour of my phone cover is. It is the effort of all the social media apps, my friends, ebooks and funny videos that keeps my thumb scrolling. Mobile phones are like our education system. Everyone hates it but no one can do without it.

I watched a video where the man explained how the ‘socials’ keep us hooked. It’s all planned. They first extract all your information by asking you obviously. They then spy on you by keeping a track of what you like and what you don’t. After knowing all this, your ‘feed’ is customised so that you lose track of time and keep scrolling forever. And ofcourse there are those ‘like, comment and share’ buttons that have the world crazy about its stats. But social media is not that bad. You keep in touch with your friends without actually talking so no one minds anything. 

Another addiction of mine is to fidget with my hair. This habit has been with me for many years and it’s intensity is only increasing. Whenever I am studying or thinking about something, my hand automatically starts examining my hair for any inconsistencies. I have been made fun of for many years now but the addiction always gets the upper hand and I give in. The internet says that it may be anxiety. It may be. Social media has not spared anyone after all.

These addictions sometimes get out of hand and I wonder how will I ever fight them. They comfort me and have become a familiar activity. No one likes change after all. But I guess we just jump from one addiction to another. If we overcome the social media craze, we may start to gamble in the share market. If we overcome the habit of fidgeting with our hair, we may start smoking.

Tell me your addictions in the comments and what you do to overcome them!