As a kid, I was a girl guide and my brothers were Boy Scouts.
The girl guides weren’t taught anything regarding camping but the Boy Scouts were taught all the skills they’d need to survive in the wild, including setting up a tent, making fire, and tying knots.
My younger brother was very close to me and he used to share whatever he learned in his lessons, so I too learned the basic survival skills, including tying different sorts of knots; nautical knots, reef knots, and slip knots.
Learning how to tie a reef knot was a useful skill as it meant I could secure two things with rope or string with no fear of the knot slipping.
The things we learn as children have a way of slipping into our deep subconscious and making them instinctive so whenever I want to secure something, I automatically tie a non-slip knot.
This word took me back half a century to the days when we were eager to learn new skills and then show them off to others to impress them.
You died without us being aware of the tragedy happening
We were too young to understand or grieve for your loss
Took me many many years to accept what fate had dealt us
No one talked about you when we were young
Perhaps they thought it would be too painful for us
I grew up without knowing the mother who birthed me
Forever imagining what sort of person you were
Life goes on, and people learn to live with loss
We did too but there is a big hole in the place
Where your love and memories should have resided
But I can say despite all that emptiness
I love you mother
Though it’s been 55 years
Since I saw you last
This week I chose this image for a reason. Today it’s been 55 years since my mom passed away. This poem is to express my feelings about her passing which have always been buried deep in my heart for there was never a time I openly grieved for her. It was always too late.
September 12, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about balloons on a bumper. Is it a spectacle, an occasion, an eccentricity? Why are the balloons there? Who is involved? Go where the prompt leads!
Mourning the death of a loved one is natural, but most people who have lived a full life prefer that their life be celebrated rather than mourned.
When I die, I’d like there to be balloons tied to the hearse, people singing and dancing and telling each other of happy occasions they spent with me. I’d love to leave behind a happy legacy in the hearts of people. I do hope that they would recall only the good things that I did or said and not the petty stuff that we all are guilty of from time to time.
It was almost 40 years ago that I got into medical college in Lahore, where I was going to live in a girls’ hostel because my family lived in Islamabad.
We didn’t get Saturdays off and the summer break was only 4 weeks long because studying medicine was a serious business so if we got any unexpected vacation days we would all make a beeline for the students’ clerk’s office.
Why him, you’d ask: the answer was simple, we wanted concession forms to travel by train to our homes.
A concession form made it possible for the students to travel at half the fare in the economy class for just 10 Rs, which was about 10 cents, not much but we were on a student budget so every bit made a difference.
If the announcement for the day/days off was unexpected, the clerk was mobbed with both girls and boys asking him to stamp our forms, which sometimes we got just in the nick of time, and then we made a mad dash for the railway station to catch the train.
Traveling home was another adventure altogether as we seldom found seats to sit on so we would sit on our bags, singing and joking all the way and eating strange, unidentified food from every station the train stopped at; what fun we had!
August 8, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about “the one who left the dress.” A 1940s-era dress still hangs in an abandoned house. Who left it and why? You can take any perspective and write in any genre. It can be a ghost story. Or not. Go where the prompt leads!
My mom passed away 55 years ago, when I was barely 6. When I was 15, my grandmother showed me a box of her clothes that she had preserved with care for me. It was such a unexplainable feeling to touch the clothes she had worn when she was alive, because I hardly remembered her.
I altered most of them to my size as I was quite good at stitching by that age. And wore them with pride. It didn’t matter to me that the fabrics were outdated, just that they once belonged to my mom whom I loved.
When I close my eyes and think back To those bygone days of my youth I see a pool of memories Simmering in silver moonlight Dipping my fingers in the water I catch an elusive memory Of times of silliness and childish joy That brings a big smile to my face Or something that causes me to cringe with embarrassment But I cherish all my memories Because these are a treasure That can never be replaced
June 27, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about swarms. What could swarm? How does the swarm impact the people or place in your story? Is there something unusual about the swarm? Go where the prompt leads!
I was four when I had my first encounter with wasps . I was alone on the veranda one summer afternoon. There was a hole in the wall and I saw a yellow butterfly crawl into it. I was intrigued so I stepped in for closer observation and was suddenly attacked by a swarm of wasps.
My mother came running when she heard my screams. Mercifully, my memory is a bit hazy but I remember being given medication to control the allergic reactions to the stings.
For a few days I was the favorite one in the family.
June 6, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that features stone-stacking. How does the activity fit into a story? Who is involved? What is the tone? Do the stones have special meaning? Go where the prompt leads!
Pitho was a very popular game when I was growing up. Two teams of minimally two players each could play this outdoor game. All you needed was a tennis ball and seven flat stackable stones.
This game involved hitting and scattering the pile of stones with the ball and then trying to put it together again without getting out. It was a wonderful way to run, use excess energy and have lots of fun.
Seeing this photo took me back many decades. We kids were able to entertain ourselves without any gadgets or devices.
Beautiful, fun-filled youthful days!
Word count; 99
Pitho, or seven stones was/is a very popular game of the Indian sub-continent.