Solving a Who-Dun-It… Or Trying To

via Daily Prompt: Grasp

I just finished reading an old Agatha Christie who-dun-it.

I spent the last few hours, after all the characters were clearly delineated of course, pointing my imaginary finger at almost each one going, “Yep! You’re the murderer. I’m so freaking sure of it!” Well, that’s until the next character made a seemingly suspicious move like twitching his eyebrow in a dubious manner or something equally innocuous. Then, of course, he was the one I held responsible.

Finally, when the real culprit was revealed, my reaction was an obvious, “Well, of course, I knew it’d be him. I’d already said so, hadn’t I?” (Well, who would have the temerity to gainsay me within the depths of my head?)

As a writer, I’m quite accustomed to looking at a person and providing him/her with a make-believe family, a rich history, a sorrowful tale or a fascinating superpower. The ability to imagine is a prerequisite for any writer. However, that can be quite the handicap when one is trying to solve another writer’s murder mystery.

I was so busy providing  each character with a backstory and a reason for him/her to commit the murder, that I missed the opportunity to grasp the writer’s point of view. This was her world – a world and its inhabitants that she moulded amidst the chaos of hundreds of other ideas clamoring for attention. My preconceived notions and I were hindering her characters from doing what they were created to do – captivate and entertain. It didn’t take me long to see that I did that in real life too – letting my imagination run amok about people and incidents instead of grasping the Creator’s point of view about His people and His schemes.

Sigh! You live and learn, I guess! Anyway, I’ll be starting a new who-dun-it soon. I wonder if all this soul searching will help me enjoy my next book all the more or hinder my reading process.

Soul Search

(Never claimed to be an ace illustrator!)

Stay tuned for updates!


Laying Out the ‘Unwelcome’ Mat

via Daily Prompt: Hospitality


I’m waging one right now. Well, okay, this one doesn’t include bloodshed, death or mayhem and the recipient of my angry thoughts remains blithely clueless. Nevertheless, this still is war.

“Did you hear me, Mr. Lizard? Hah! Have the temerity to enter my home, do you?”

Who am I kidding? That lizard on my wall is the king of this castle right now – all without uttering a single word. The unparalleled power of an Aussie reptile! Sigh!

Even as I type with false bravado on my keyboard, I’m doing my unhappy best to keep my unwelcome guest in my field of vision. One swish of his tail, an atmosphere-testing swipe of his tongue and I’m out of here… till I can amass enough courage to inch back in, grab my laptop and run back out again, of course.

I’m sure once I’ve urged him to leave, I’ll be sitting down with my cup of warm tea – and, oh, I do want my tea but what if I make a move and he does too? – and philosophizing about the equality of God’s creatures, finding parallels between the current inhospitable situation at home and the political refugee situation around the world, and such. But that isn’t going to happen yet. Right now, I just want…EEK! He moved!

Sssh! Type softly and don’t distract him. He’s turning back around. I’ve left the door open for him to find his way back out. Can lizards remember stuff? How about simple things like – I got into the nice lady’s house this way. I’ll stop scaring her and leave the same way?

He’s looking at me! He is, I tell you! Uhhh… was that a nod of thanks? I’ll take it if it includes a good bye as well.

Okay, signing out now. I’ll go and make sure he decides to leave the premises, or start looking for new ones myself. 😦

Pinning Originals Down

How does your mind work?

Mine is a bit weird, in that it likes to spend loads of time quietly ruminating and wondering about things best left alone. It appreciates new things thrown at it and can’t wait to dig its figurative fingers into them. It sometimes goes into hiding when it’s person has to have conversations with people she’s just met ( I hate it when it does that!). And yet, there is one time I trust it completely – when it comes to pinning a good thought down.

As a writer, one of my favorite past times is grabbing hold of a fleeting thought, peering at it with my mind’s eye, dissecting it to make sense of it, figuring out how it came to be and where it could go.

There are some thoughts that are a bit faded – they’re the ones that were directly inspired by someone else’s thoughts. They aren’t Originals any longer and yet some of them can still be re-worked to form an innovative original thought. (Plagiarism is a big NO-NO.)

However, my favorites are the shiny thoughts – the ones that radiate a newness of concept. These Originals are special. They touch my mind just as gently as the other thoughts do but once my mind has grabbed hold of these Originals, has understood what they could become, they evoke a sense of immediacy. My brain urges my fingers to dash maniacally upon the keyboard documenting the idea the Original thought suggested.

It’s crazy but, oh, so much fun. That moment when the Original has been birthed on the page, when the ache in my finally-resting fingers can be felt, when my brain sighs in contentment at a job well done – that moment is the epitome of bliss.

At least, that’s how it often works for me.

One-word prompt: (Original)

The View Through His Eyes

Now, be honest… really honest!

Isn’t there someone in your list of acquaintances or colleagues whom you dislike and, try as you might, you can’t really put your finger on the reason? You aren’t of the same wavelength, your conversations lack any zing whatsoever or some such excuse is what you rely on when you try to keep your exchanges to the barest minimum. And, what about all the people who have wronged you? Isn’t there a list of them and their words that you can bring to immediate recollection sometimes, much faster than… your spouse’s birthday, maybe?

Unfortunately, this is occasionally true for me too. (No, not the bit about finding it easier to remember my detractors over my husband’s birthday – I do remember the date! Seriously!)

Our creativity and imagination often display amazing results when we are faced with having to meet these people or have just completed an unsuccessful interaction with them. When faced with the former, our creativity concocts unparalleled ideas, never before seen in our professional or personal lives, that enable us to avoid the dreaded meeting. When faced with the latter, our imagination soothes our offended dignity by providing us with witty comebacks that, if we had managed to vocalize on time, would have totally decimated our detractors – or so we think.

Of course, our brain is so busy strategising in and following those moments that we hardly have the opportunity to recall our Lord’s command about loving our neighbors. We tend to forget that Jesus faced opposition both physical and verbal a hundred times worse than ours. And yet, He still spoke of and displayed love.

There is no doubt about the fact that we are, each one of us, spectacularly special to Him.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.” Psalm 139: 15

We were all given the same amount of attention and care when He wove us into creation. He breathed the same breath of life in each of us. He put together the road map of all of our lives – from birth to death. We are all, without exception, equally loved and equally adored by Him. Now, when we meet our detractors/the people we dislike next, if we can stop focusing on whatever irritates us about them and concentrate on how special to Him they are, we could see them the way He does and, as a result, arrive at the first step toward loving them.

It probably is best to stop trying to see them through the lens of our past experiences, and instead to view them through the lens of His presence. The longer we look at them the way He does, the easier it will be to love them the way He wants us to, don’t you think? 🙂

(One-word prompt: Zing!)

Why Not To Ask Who The Older Sibling Is!

My sister, J, is four years older than I am.

Yes, sometimes I have to pull that slip of reality out and wave it frantically at the People of the world. Seriously, of all the things they could have spoken of, they opted to go with age? How asinine! Furthermore, because their lives would feel incomplete without this much-needed information, they just had to look at the both of us and go, “So, who’s the older one?” Good thing I have an unnatural sense of humor. It’s saved a lot of People from limping away with bumps on their heads.  😛

Anyway, J left home when I was 15; let me tell you, when 2 teenagers have been sharing a room all their lives, one is initially just glad when the other leaves because of all the extra space that is suddenly available. Missing each other was a notion we scoffed at… then.

However, the tide began to change and we never saw the shift happen. She’d come home on vacations and suddenly, J and I had things in common to speak of – our philosophies on life matched, she understood my quirkiness and I comprehended her craziness. Maybe distance did make the heart grow fonder, or maybe J’s wacko roommates in college acted as quite the foil to my much saner (I know YOU don’t believe it, but some new reader just may. So, shush!) self, and she realized I was the lesser of the two evils.

It’s been almost 18 years since then. The tides have never remained consistent – we have long talks now like we never did before; we also have months of silence when the aforementioned elder sister refuses, for some weird reason or the other, to answer any and all messages.

I have no idea what the tide will bring when I see her next in 2 week’s time but I am excited to see if it is something new. I have never been able to fathom the complexity of our Relationship that behaves like the Moon and sets the tides moving, but I sure am, when I am not mad at her, extremely glad for its presence in my life. 🙂

However, when J comes visiting, if I have even one from the People section ask that dreaded question, heads will roll this time! Mwahaha!

(One-word Prompt: Moon )

Mr Confusion and I

I’m the sort that likes to know what the plan is – in advance – in advance of advance, if possible.

These are some conversations (from my end) that would not be amiss in my home:

  • “We’re going on a trip? Cool! Let’s get the itinerary prepared. Uh… what do you mean you didn’t pick a location yet?”
  • “I’m NOT mumbling. I’m working out loudly in my head what to put together for supper. Well, obviously not tonight’s. I planned that last night. I’m planning for tomorrow’s right now.”

Yep, I belong to the prepare-in-advance-for-all-events group of people.

So when, as is quite common in life, things don’t go as planned and Confusion rides in on his black charger, let’s just say, I am not very pleased. Would you be when you know that he loves to throw things into absolute disarray? These are some silent conversations from his end that would not be amiss in my life.

  • “2 days for the deadline for your editing project? Well, that’s not good. If I hadn’t arrived now, I may have missed the deadline… okay, so what about getting your computer to suffer a momentary state of hibernation – just enough for you to miss the deadline?”
  • “Ready to get to the airport on time, are you? Tehehehe! How about trying to locate your ticket first.”

So, yeah, Confusion and I, not the best of friends. But you have to agree, he sure makes life interesting. Come on, think about it! How would we exercise our problem solving skills if he didn’t mess things up first? How would we know if we could handle stress, if he didn’t come along and induce it with some underhanded trick?

Talk about looking for the silver lining behind the dark cloud! Phew! It’s exhausting!

(Daily Prompt: Confused)

The Good Feast for the Brain

This is not one of our best traits, but is there anything humans enjoy more than sinking our teeth into and grabbing a tasty bite from a slice of juicy news? We want to know who got married, whose garden sprouted the best flowers this season, who flunked their exams, etc. And what do we do if there isn’t any local gossip to chew on?

Never fear when reality television is here! Just turn any one of the electronic devices on and, since reality television is all about catering to our gossip-obsessed taste buds, we can always find something to grab our attention in there.

But what’s wrong with feasting on some harmless reality television (and don’t forget digital media), you ask?

Nothing, really, if we make sure that the feasting is only occasional. Would we feed our children pastries all day every day? Or chocolates? They are good occasionally but we also know that good health comes from putting good food in the system.

So, then the question arises, what healthy bits of information are we feasting on daily. Are our brains fed foods that are beneficial – things that stretch our imagination and our senses to the maximum like reading things that make us feel proud of what humans have accomplished, going online to learn new languages or play crossword puzzles, writing articles just to get the creative juices flowing, etc – anything to shift from feasting on the entertaining to feasting on the beneficial.

And now that my creative juices have run amok for the last while, I guess I’ve done enough of the ‘beneficial feasting’ for the next couple of hours. Where’s my Facebook page and my Twitter? Did anyone post anything on Snapchat? Quick, what’s going on? 😛

(One-word Prompt: Feast)

On Equating Problems With Bullies

We’ve all had bad days.

Those are the days when that figurative dark cloud dogging our every step gets really annoying. Sometimes, and this is something no self-respecting dark cloud should do, it clings to us and lets us do the hard work of carting it around. I think it finds it immensely entertaining to bring our frailties to the forefront! Finally, to top it all off, it patiently waits till we are feeling our worst and then gleefully sheds its girth atop our heads.

Oh, the nerve!

I’ve often likened my dark cloud to a bully.

We are advised to face bullies head-on, that they will back off because most of them are cowards at heart. Well, often, that trick works on my dark cloud as well. It may be heavy-laden with a lot of problems that are facing me at the moment but strangely enough, when I raise my head from my dejected posture and look directly at it, somehow, the cloud loses its hold on me.

It isn’t like my problems magically fade away. It’s just that sometimes facing my problems, figuring out why I fear them, comprehending the worst that can happen and remembering I can dump the whole lot at my Father’s feet, helps me put them into perspective.

The change in posture is immediately obvious – figuratively of course. What once was an unintended frail over-burdened bow from lugging around my dark cloud changes to a thumb-my-nose-at-my-dark-cloud and intentionally planned bow before my Lord, the God of my circumstances.

“So, Mr Dark Cloud, back away! Do you know who my Heavenly Father is? Hah!”

(One-word Prompt: Frail)

The Legendary Monsters

It was the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last.

Mum knew it but, fortunately, he didn’t. He just held on tight because Mum had told him to. His little eyes were wide open although he really couldn’t focus on much with Mum moving so fast.

With eyes radiating innocence and clumps of  red hair standing on end, the little tyke was the most adorable thing ever. He was the youngest in his family and his mother and aunts doted on him. He was still considered young but he knew he would soon be permitted to play with his cousins. They were always calling out to each other and playing games.

Except now the calls didn’t sound so encouraging. In fact, these cries were drastically different and they scared him. And it wasn’t just his family causing the racket. Birds were screeching loudly as well and taking to the sky en masse. Those loud bangs were scary too. He didn’t like seeing his oldest aunt fall face down after that first bang.

Was she playing a game? If she was, he didn’t like this one.

But Mum knew this wasn’t a game. She’d grown up listening to stories of them – those legendary two-legged monsters and their hurt-inducing black instruments. She’d never seen them herself but many of her sisters had warned her about them. She’d heard that the instruments were loud, and emitted something sharp and fast that could pierce the body. She’d been warned that those monsters especially liked to attack new mothers and steal their babies.

Mum’s mind was abuzz with these thoughts and warnings but she didn’t let it slow her down. Her son’s life and her own depended on her successful escape.

This orangutan mother was not going to let humans and their guns win the battle – not this time!


*Note: Orangutans are considered critically endangered because of deforestation and many other similar human errors – one of them being the murder of mother orangutans so their infants can be sold as pets.

(Discover Challenge: Opening Line)

Meeting a Fence Head-On

A decade and four years ago I learned to ride a motor scooter – well, I tried.

Since then I’ve often wondered why a couple of semi-sane parents would buy their daughter a scooter when she has, in the past, very often and quite painfully displayed a penchant for being a klutz.

It’s not like they woke up one morning and went, “Maybe we should help her overcome her klutziness and the best way to do that is to put her on the road in control of a slow-moving vehicle.”

Umm, maybe that’s what they actually did because I soon was the surprised but proud owner of a scooter which, thanks to my petite frame and skinny structure, weighed a ton.

I wasn’t going to let that get in my way, though. I quickly found myself perched precariously on my brand new scooter. My childhood sporadic bicycle-riding moments rose heroically to the rescue and helped me to keep the scooter vertical and moving in a relatively straight line till I got to the end of my quiet lane.

But, gulp! How do I turn this thing around? Did I mention it weighed a gazillion tons?

So, there I was, calculating the axis of rotation and other totally irrelevant things in my head, when my scooter decided to take matters in hand. It decided it had had enough of my clumsy handling. It wanted to stop and smell the roses and unfortunately for me, the roses that grew closest to the road were the ones overhanging a neighbor’s fence.

Now this was no ordinary wooden fence. This was a sturdy metallic fence with absolutely no give to it. You could see into the garden through it and, as a result, the roses were clearly visible too.

Before I knew what was happening, my scooter had raced to the fence closest to the roses and met up quite forcefully with it. There was a loud resounding thud and a fraction of a second later, my rose-obsessed scooter and I were both smack down on the ground, in close association with that aforementioned metallic fence.

Let’s just say it took me a long while to live that one down, especially as many of my neighbors came to help my scooter and me up.

I haven’t been a big fan of scooters or metallic fences since that day. But it did help my parents realize that putting me in charge of a moving vehicle on 2 tires was not the brightest plan when I didn’t have a successful history of being adept on 2 legs.

(One-word prompt: Fence)