Categories
fiction writing

Dabba

Trrrrrriiiinnnnnnnggggg… the school bell rang, signalling in the lunch break. Raghu and Anirudh slipped out of the classroom before the class teacher allowed the children to leave. Unlike other children who would sit in or around the classroom and eat their lunch, these two would visit a different spot in the school each day.

Their classroom was in one of the older buildings of the school. It housed the 4th to 6th standard classes. Both of them were waiting to be promoted to the 7th standard – when they would move to the new building. Everything was so new and clean, the smell of fresh paint, new furniture and the classrooms even had cabinets for the children.

“Let’s go to the playground near the church,” Raghu said.

St. Johns’ English Medium School was one of the older schools in the locality. Three school buildings and two grounds around a small church formed the school.

Anirudh was Raghu’s best friend and they were always together during school. When one of them did not come to school, the other felt out of place. Their lunch time together was special because they could talk, crack jokes and make fun of others. The lunch break was forty-five minutes long, and the boys usually took an extra five minutes to get back to class.

They found a shaded spot on the ledge on the wall near the playground where there weren’t any other children. Though it was lunch time, there were kids who were still on the playground. Some playing catch-catch with a tennis ball, some cricket and some just walking around in small groups without purpose.

Raghu had his dabba with him. He wondered what his Amma had packed for him. It usually was a few idlis, or dosas, and sometimes a rice mix. He loved to eat rice and pickle, but she didn’t send it frequently enough. He opened the small steel box and saw four idlis.

“Oh no, Not idlis again”, he said aloud. He wondered what Anirudh had got for lunch today. He often got special lunch; sometimes fried rice, parathas, chole bature etc.

“Where’s your dabba?”, Raghu asked seeing that Anirudh was empty-handed.

“Mom could not send one today. Would you share yours with me?”

“No, we should not share food and should get our own dabbas”, Raghu said while turning to look towards the playground.

During lunch, while Raghu ate his idlis, Anirudh tried not to look at his dabba. He instead looked at a small group of children who were playing cricket on the far side of the ground. The boys then talked about the half-yearly school fair that was to be held in the coming weekend. It was something that all the kids looked forward to since they could come to the school with their parents and play games and eat from the many food stalls that would be setup. The school bell rang and they realized their lunch time was over.

As they walked back towards their classroom, Raghu wondered if he did the right thing by not sharing his food with Anirudh. Anirudh got his dabba most of the times, but he wouldn’t once or twice a month.

“Yes, it’s the right thing to do. That’s the only way he would get his dabba everyday”, he thought to himself and put his arm around Anirudh’s shoulder.

Categories
writing

Unlocked

April 2022, the world has been in lockdown for two years.

A rumble of thunder awoke Varun from his sleep. He checked the clock by the bed; it was 6 AM. Sitting up on the bedside, he stretched his arms upwards. The pain in his elbows had subsided – it was like this in the mornings and got worse during the day. He stepped out to the balcony – he loved the view he had from the 15th floor. This morning though, it was raining, and he couldn’t see much.

After brushing his teeth, he looked at the softboard in the kitchen where he had his housework schedule mapped out. Today was a Friday – the following items were listed

Change curtains (last Fri)

Laundry

Friday party!

Today though was different – today the lockdown was to be lifted. It was difficult to imagine that more than two years had passed since it had started. Varun had taken an off from work today – he thought he needed the day to be able to digest such an event. He had been prepared that the lockdown would be extended the previous evening or by mid-night. After all, it had happened before – twelve times in all.  He spent almost fifteen minutes checking his phone for news on the topic. Nothing indicated otherwise. It was two weeks in a row when the number of new cases had reduced to single digits; and finally, the lockdown was to be lifted: today.

After years of thinking of what to do after the lockdown – his mind was now blank. He had had so many ideas – go out for a run, go for a movie, eat at his favorite Chinese restaurant, hit the pub – but he was now unsure. It was now almost four months since he had stepped out of his apartment. Finally, he made up his mind – he would go to the neighborhood park. He had a cup of coffee and put on his shoes.

He found an umbrella and picked up the keys to the apartment. He hesitated a moment – donned his mask and stepped out.

Categories
diary

Randomness: The subconscious impacts of COVID-19

I wonder about the subconscious impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. There are a few things that make me cringe.

Almost 80% of the people around my locality wear masks when outside. They pull the mask down when they feel like it. And again, when they want to talk to someone. The mask is there for a reason. To protect yourself – and to protect others. Use it.

During my walks in the evening, I notice people who walk right in the center of the walkway. Some of them will wear masks. Why do you want to throw social distancing in the gutter? Walk on the side: people can walk in both directions. Lanes are good – not just for cars.

This has also affected me while watching TV. If there is a scene of a gathering at home or a party, a shot of a beach – it makes me cringe. It takes me a moment to realize, recall the virus and remind myself that I’m watching TV.

We hear phrases like “the new normal”, “live with the virus”. We’ve started versioning the lockdown – currently on 4.0. Will it reached the number 12 that I wrote about in a fictional piece many weeks ago?

Categories
poetry

Lines #1 – Rocking shore

Boat rocking, stormy sea, water splashing everywhere

Holes appear, water leaking here and there

There is no way out

Far ahead, shore’s seen, hang on, hang on

There is no way out

Above lines are also published in The Writing Gym
Categories
writing

To write or not to write?

I have attempted to write before. Mostly in private; short-lived private blogs, journals, tech notes. But never took it seriously enough.

Duirng the COVID-19 lockdown, I took up a writing course. I never wanted to be a writer – but I took the course to explore a new dimension, something to keep the mind busy: learning.

What will I write about? My experiments with writing, food, tech and more.

No limits.