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!


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)

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)

Stepping Off the Harbor of Safety

There is a path that leads forever and on.

It ran past brickwork houses and medieval stone-worked churches. It ran into and out of cheerful schools and busy offices. It meandered past other paths and occasionally accompanied them for a while before continuing on its merry way.

I’ve walked down that path and it’s led me here – to the edge of the Sea of Uncertainty. But I am not perturbed, for I can see that my ship, Lord Father’s Arms, is docked and prepared for departure.

I am aware that the voyage will be a difficult one. I have been warned of the storms and whirlpools that frequent this section of the sea. But I have faith in my ship and its captain. It has seen such trifles before and it has come out on top.

My Captain knows where to drop me off. I haven’t a clue. I wonder if the ship will lead me from the uncertain waters of the sea to the Ocean of Impossibilities or take me all the way to the end of my voyage and my final home. It may instead dock at a nearby port, one that I don’t know of yet, and I may have another path to travel for a little while longer.

I don’t know and it doesn’t really matter. I am learning to enjoy the journey because He has assured me of the destination.

(One-word prompt: Voyage)

Drawn to the Flame

She was on her way home when she first caught a glimpse of him.

He was the most beautiful little thing she had ever seen. In a world where everything seemed dulled by the ordinary, where all around her was a world colored in grays and blacks, this little being shone as a beacon of the extraordinary.

She came closer, just to watch the little one better. If she could express her emotion in words at right that moment, she’d have said it was awe she felt. This overwhelming emotion of absolute wonder mixed in with a little fear could be nothing else but that.

He was a such a jolly little being. He shone with an inner glow she had never seen in anyone before. He was smiling and merrily dancing away to an inner rhythm only he could hear. Could she hear the rhythm too if she moved just a bit closer? The little one hadn’t noticed her yet. So, she stealthily moved just a little closer.

She still couldn’t hear his song but she could see him better. In fact, she was close enough now to feel the warmth of his smile. If she moved closer would a little of his glow rub off on her? Would she become extraordinary like him if she just touched him for a second? It couldn’t hurt the little fella, she convinced herself. So she inched closer again and reached forward to gently touch his yellow head.

“Wow! That’s one huge moth but it’s a little too close to that candle’s flame. Shoo! Go away! Don’t you know any better?”

(One-word prompt: Candle)

Wishing for Summer

Summer is half a year and/or half the world away from me right now.

I live in the southern hemisphere and for those of us here, today is the winter solstice. I look out my window and see dark, grey skies carrying the weight of rain-filled clouds. I look down at myself and can barely hold back a grin at the number of layers I am clad in – my fingers and nose are the only parts of me that aren’t wrapped up… yet. That’s how cold it is today.

But I don’t need to wait half the year for summer to come around again nor do I have to get on a plane to reach a place in the throes of summer. I just need to put my over-worked imagination to good use again.

I can just shut my eyes and visualize in my head Summer’s vivid blue skies guiding to light the rich profusion of flowers in my neighbors’ gardens; I can watch my now lonely garden turn into temporary homes for birds of innumerable species; I can hear the noisy chatter ringing up in the trees and down in the burrows; I can slowly recall Summer flooding to life in multi-colour at the back of my shut eyelids.

And then I start to remember the downside of Summer – the hot, sweltering days and nights; the thirst that chases me down till I am ready to cry in surrender but my body lacks the fluids to implement my desire; the layer of skin that painfully protests my sun-exposed walk from the garage to the front door, etc. Yikes!

Hmm, I think I was under the influence of the dreaded syndrome called ‘Thegrassis greenerontheotherside’. My eyes are wide open now and I realize how much I enjoy this season that is Winter too.

So, Winter, good to have you here.

And Summer, see you soon!

(One-word prompt: Summer)