Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Little Box - Part IV

[Story starts here]

Dan noticed Sarah was being very secretive about her little box. She would check on it every now and then and never let him touch it. She also managed to find a nice small lock for the box. He did not bother to give it much thought, brushing it away as a little girl's prerogative to little eccentricities. But it wasn't long after that he realized it was not just playful fancy that his daughter harbored for the box. He found out something about the box that Sarah seemed to have kept from telling him - The box moved. By itself!

One day when Sarah was away at school, Dan was in her room, tidying it up while talking to himself, like he usually did (and like many of us do when there is no one around to judge us for being a madcap). He lifted the box off the desk it was on to wipe away some dust, when he thought he felt it move ever so slightly. He assumed he was just being delusional, but decided to humor himself by ensuring that boxes don't move by themselves. He straightened up and held out the box on his huge rugged palm, waiting for it to happen again. And it did! It was a pipsqueak of a move, but one that couldn't go unnoticed if it happened right on top of your palm. He wanted to open the box and see what was in it, but it was locked. He searched all nook and cranny for the key, but in no avail. He decided to wait until Sarah was back. Although his wait involved holding up the box on his palm every 10 minutes to check if it moved. It moved only once after that, of the two hundred and fifty times he tried.

Once Sarah was back from school, Dan prodded her about the box, sounding phony-calm, fighting against his adrenaline's efforts to burst into an interrogative tirade. His hormones started pumping with even more ferocity when he learnt that the box belonged to a clairvoyant.

"So, what is in the box?", Dan nudged.

Sarah looked up from her sketching work and gave her dad an inspective-eyed, thin-lipped look. In under a wink, it turned into an angelic, unsuspecting semblance and she calmly replied, "Nothing".

There are some ironical times in a parent's life when they feel their child has learnt too much of a thing they were once encouraged to learn. This was one such time for Dan. It was clear to him that Sarah was lying, but thanks to her pick pocketing adventures, she had learnt to do it with a slickness that averted any further drilling. "What do you plan to keep in it?"

"Nothing. I lost the key", she said with the same serene poise, without looking up from her sketching.

Dan sighed. Sarah wasn't going to tell him a thing. But he resolved to find out what the box was all about. Having belonged to a soothsayer, the box could infact be magical, he mused. And if the box were really magical, it might even help him get rich quick.

And it did.

[To be continued.]

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Red Riding Hood Talks

[Spurred off by a writing prompt to re-write a fairy tale or re-tell it from the view point of one of the characters :). I picked 'Little Red Riding Hood'. Original tale here.]

This is the one advice I give to celebrities all around the world: If you want people to know the truth, write your gossip columns yourself.

In my early years, there were no 'gossip columnists'; there were just 'columnists' - the ones who did not indiscriminately conclude every red apple a celebrity carried to be poisonous; the ones who did not blow up a simple kiss to a pet frog into a torrid affair; the ones who do not exist anymore. And then the Grimm Brothers came along and brought an end to every strain of truth in journalism. Stories about me of the most preposterous nature were published and widely read. At that point, this did not bother me for two reasons - One, I was way too busy with my celebrity life and two, I hadn't been singled out as the victim in this horrendous connivance of words - Ms. Gretel, Mrs. Charming I, Mrs. Charming II, Ms. Locks were all subjected to the inequity as well. But now it bothers me to see that over the past many centuries, no one has ever succeeded in bringing back the element of truth to the written word. And what is worse - we have been forcing our children to read these fabricated versions and letting them draw morals from these that don't apply in real life because the stories are not real in the first place!

In an attempt to lay things straight for all generations to come, I have decided to bring out the truth in the stories they read about me and urge every other celebrity to do the same. Here is my true story :-

So yes, I did set off to granny Ann's place for my routine visit. Granny Ann was my dad's mother. My mom and she never really got along. My mom thought she was a bossy old lady and granny Ann thought my dad could have done better marrying someone who was a better cook than mom. The only reason mom even sent me to visit granny regularly was because everytime I visited, granny made these amazing pastries that she packed for me to take back home and mom secretly loved these pastries. (Now you know why I was made to carry that basket along during my visits).

Anyway, getting back to the story, on that eventful day I met Mr. Jamie Wolfe on my way to granny Ann's place. Contrary to popular belief, he was no wolf. I have no clue how the Grimm brothers made you believe he was - wolves dont talk to humans! But... Mr. Wolfe was a werewolf. Now, here is something that we should all know, but don't: Anyone whose name has the word 'wolf' embedded in it, is a werewolf, like the composer 'Wolfgang Amadeus Mouse-Art' or the novelist 'Virgin-i-am Wolf'. The reason this fact does not feature in the "original" fake story and the reason you would not have acquired this piece of information from any other media source is because werewolves do not like us normal people to be aware of their whereabouts AND they happen to own the largest market share in the media industry. This of course is apart from the reason that the media industry has got nothing to do with facts anyway.

I knew Jamie. He was once granny Ann's friend. I had seen him at a party in granny's place many months ago. That was the same day he became a werewolf. He cracked a joke that offended granny and she cursed him to be a werewolf for a whole year. He morphed into a werewolf that very night and so also had to change his name from Jamie Fox to Jamie Wolfe. It was well before dusk and Jamie was in his human form when he approached me that day on my way to granny's home. He said he had served his term of one year as werewolf and wanted to meet my granny to get the curse removed. I gave him her address. When I reached granny's place, he was already there. I could understand the urgency and totally empathized with him - being a werewolf is like having multiple personality disorder, split between being a human and a wolf, and it can be very irritating... to others.

Granny was describing the curse removal process to Jamie. We had to wait until it was dusk when he transformed into a wolf. That moment, granny would cut open the wolf's stomach (while muttering some spells) and Jamie would emerge, cured from his curse.

Dusk came, the wolf was cut open and Jamie was redeemed. As we stepped outside home to perform the final acts of the ritual - burning the wolf skin and getting Jamie a new last name - the paparazzi caught us in their flash lights. No points for guessing what story Mr. Grimm cooked up on seeing the photo featuring an irritated me, a tired granny Ann and Jamie with the wolf skin slung over his shoulders.

That, readers, is The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But The Truth.

Unlike the unrealistic morals of the 'original' fake story such as
- do not give out phone numbers and house addresses to wolves
- beware: wolves are capable of swallowing grandmothers whole
- if you cut open a wolf's stomach, you will get back all grandmothers it has ever eaten,

the true story offers morals you can actually use in your life, like
- your mother and her mother-in-law (your grandmother) will likely not get along but all is fine as long as there are tasty pastries
- please do not let a person whose name has the word 'wolf' in it bite you.
- if you want people to know your version, don't let someone else tell your story.