The Chronicles of Miss Shola

The blog's epitaph: Miss Shola came and went as she pleased

Archive for August 2010

No meter jam for this one!

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This ricksha picks you up from where you left off and ensures a smooth ride all through. I picked it up from Planet M in Vashi.

The book it’s travelling through is my recipe book that I’ve painstakingly and meditatively put together with recipes collected over many years from various sources.


Written by Miss Shola

August 31, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Posted in Bookmarks

Elocution Competition 1994

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Some of the stanzas of this poem have been haunting me for a few days now. And Google didn’t help my failing memory. By coincidence came across my school poetry book this weekend and finally found the poem. Also found this note I had scribbled on the last page of the book:

‘I am not going to win the Elocution Competition – written at 10:05 on Tuesday morning.’

How pessimistic was I.
And I did perform disastrously!

Aurungzeb at his Father’s Bier
Hur Chunder Dutt

The monarch lay upon his bier;
Censers were burning low,
As through the lofty arches streamed
The setting sun’s red glow.
Still grasped he in his hand the blade
Which well-fought fields had won,
And Aurungzeb beside him knelt,
Usurper proud and son.

Thou wilt not hear –thou wilt not speak
It is the last long sleep. –
And am I not a king myself?
What mean these stirrings deep?
Oh! foolish eyes, what means this rheum?
I will not call them tears;
My heart which nothing e’er could daunt
Is faint with boding fears.

The past appears! a checker’d field
Of guilt and shame and war,
What evil influence ruled my birth,
What swart malignant star?
Why did I barter peace of mind
For royal pomp and state?
Mad for the baleful meteor’s gleam
With worldly joys elate.

Remembered voices speak my name
And call me parricide,
The murdered Dara beckons me –
He was thy joy and pride:
And thus I fling the dear-bought crown,
But whither can I fly?
The awful thought still follows me
That even kings will die.

Written by Miss Shola

August 30, 2010 at 12:51 am

Posted in Poetry

Louis, the Goldfish

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They brought him out and placed him on the table as they had been doing for the last twelve days.

The first day it had seemed odd; almost embarrassing. I had swept my eyes across the restaurant every five minutes to check if anyone was looking at me. But I didn’t muster up enough courage to have him taken away. It was, after all, a thoughtful gesture on their part: they didn’t want any of their solitary guests to feel unaccompanied as they dined, so Louis, the orange Goldfish with a silver glaze, was brought out in his round glass bowl to make the meal a shade more enjoyable. Guests could make funny faces, smile or simply gaze at him. If you had something to tell him why not scribble a note, they said.

Whatever the philosophy, it worked wonders! By the fourth day itself I was hooked on to Louis. I looked forward to dinner-time at the end of the long dreary day in an alien town that I had been sent to, to conduct business. There was something very charming about that half-a-finger of existence. He dived and soared and swirled and sashayed in the small bowl-world of his. Sometimes he would stick to the inner side of the bowl pretending to be tired. Even if you tap-tapped the bowl a good many times, he wouldn’t respond. And just when you thought the master had concluded the concert for the day, he would rise again with mock pleasure. It was difficult to keep pace with the zealous fellow but time just flew by until the cheque arrived and it was time to leave.

By the seventh day, I had started conversing with Louis in my mind. I would tell him about my day – the irritating customer I had dealt with, the call from the demanding boss comfortably tucked up in his cabin back home, my girlfriend who had ‘commitment issues’, the lousy grilled chicken I was eating that had been left a little too long in the oven. I could talk about anything with Louis while he performed for me – his way of listening and reacting.

But on the ninth day, Louis was just not himself. The usual talking, playing, listening was just not working. He seemed to be doing a different dance that was not in tandem with mine and it felt like we were stepping on each other’s feet all the time. I called out to him in my mind “Lou, Lou, what’s the matter? Why are you being like this?” but we just couldn’t connect. Everyone is entitled to a bad day, I thought as I left the restaurant that night but my heart was heavy.

The next day didn’t get any better. We were like two people forced to be together in a chaotic world where the ends of tied shoe-laces are always of uneven lengths and the doormat is always off the center mark. And the day after that it seemed like we were in two different worlds altogether.

And yesterday was probably the worst. Louis kept sulking in one corner of the bowl. I spoke to one of the restaurant managers to check if they had been feeding him well and he assured me that Louis was taken care of as well as any other restaurant staff, if not better. Before paying the cheque, I peered into the bowl and looked into his eyes. Sad droopy eyes they were, that seemed to have woken up to reality from a dream full of fancies. And when I looked harder, I saw myself in them; as sad and droopy. That’s when I made up my mind.

I ordered a meager meal on the evening of the twelfth day – chicken roast salad with croutons and lemongrass soup on the side. I had purposely arrived an hour later than usual and was glad that the crowd had thinned. I ate as quickly as I could and waited for my table to be cleared. The cheque came and was cleared unsuspectingly. The complimentary chocolate mint came and went too. All attendants seemed to be occupied in clearing the tables or serving the last few guests. The time was ripe. I picked up the bowl from the table as if it was a doggy pack, and walked out of the restaurant into the cold balmy wind. I looked down once and saw the speck of orange contained in the space between my palms. I quickened my pace, keeping a safe distance lest someone follows. It had been a while since I had walked briskly in my huge frame, and I was panting and puffing by the time I reached the gate of the villa. With one hand, I fished out the keys from the pocket of my trench coat and walked into the villa with just a bowl full of water.

Written by Miss Shola

August 25, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Posted in Shorts

Moo-moo one

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Steven Spielberg said “Why pay a dollar for a bookmark? Why not use the dollar for a bookmark?”

But bookmarks have their own story to tell, Mr Spielberg. And sometimes the stories are worth more than a dollar.

So here’s the first in the new ‘Bookmarks’ category on TCOMS. It is made of cow dung paper and was bought at a stall at Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2010.

Written by Miss Shola

August 20, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Posted in Bookmarks

The Non-Sense Boy

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I’m the non-sense boy. I feel no sense of touch. It’s true. I was born this way. God’s men forgot the fifth tick mark before packing me off.

Don’t you believe me?

Pinch me to know if I’m real, and I won’t cry out in pain.  Put my palm over a flame, and I will let it be there till I smell my flesh singe. Push me down so I bruise, and you won’t have to say sorry. Bend my fingers the other way around, and I won’t withdraw till I hear the cracks. Poke me with a needle, and I will never know till I see the colour drip.

Some say I’m a wonder. I should be enlisted with the Guinness.

Some say it’s a pity. How do you feel the intensity of joy if you don’t feel the intensity of ache?

Some say I’m blessed. There is no fear to arrest you if there is no pain to defy you.

I say – God, if life is less painful than others, will death be any different?

Written by Miss Shola

August 12, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Posted in Ramblings

The illness

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Knock, knock!

Who’s there?

The writer’s block.

Ah, I thought you were inside all along.

Written by Miss Shola

August 11, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Posted in Ramblings