Tag Archives: Words and Images

Point of View (P.O.V) #shortstory

I couldn’t believe it, I was living a nightmare. 

Was it fair? All this talk about mental health but what about us? Our mental health? We, who are constantly surrounded by sickness and death, who work our asses off trying to save others, who don’t have a life. 

“Then why do you do it?” pops the inevitable rejoinder. 

“Why did I do it?” I’ve actually asked myself this question several times. And each time the answer is the same. Because I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else.  Sounds cheesy but it is true. 

I cried when I saw that miserable creature. It is not easy for me to break down because of the wall I’d built around myself but I couldn’t help it that night. Her body was tattooed with horrendous scars. She was a heroin addict who had been in recovery but the pandemic had made her relapse. She had lost her job and her house. She flinched at the slightest touch. Her body was dotted with pockets of pus where she had injected herself. She asked me not to judge her. I didn’t. I wept instead before steeling myself and moving on to my next patient. 

Work, work, work. No chance to get a snack, even to pee. Phone going off constantly. What I wouldn’t have given for a five minute break. But no. Keep going, I told myself. Just keep a couple more hours then I can have a break- a break of three whole days. 

I’m done finally. I get to go home and then the fatigue hits. Music helps. I drive on autopilot, the route is imprinted in my subconsciousness and the sun is directly in my eyes. I feel discombobulated. I turn up the volume. Oh no, I drove through a red light. The streets are empty though, it is the weekend and everyone is sleeping in, while I… 

I hear that voice, that magical voice. His voice. My serotonin. What keeps me going. I’m okay, I tell myself.

I make it in one piece. Three dizzy flights of stairs then I stumble into my apartment.  I’m greeted by the drooping fronds of my fern, my faithful companion of five years, ever since I’d moved in. I dump a whole jug of water in it. No way was I going to let anyone die on my shift, human or plant. 

I open the refrigerator. Nothing looked remotely appealing, anyhow I didn’t have the energy to heat anything up. I just needed sleep. Just a few hours then I’d be fine. I took a shower (it’s a must, I could skip food but not a shower) then passed out on the cold bed. 

I was choking, fighting for air, struggling against this heavy weight pressing on my chest. Help!!

I sit up with a start. 

“You okay? You were screaming,” mutters a low husky and very familiar voice. 

“Whaaa ..” my chest was pounding. No.. no it wasn’t.. isn’t.  I blinked and kept blinking. He laughed– his trademark soft rumble that made me love him so much more. 

It’s him. The man in my dreams. I raise a trembling hand to his beautiful face. I can feel his skin. It is soft, silky; his honey eyes droopy with sleep and he is smiling. 

“I.. are you… ?” 

“Yes, I am,” he nods. “Remember we met at that party last week? The one that you hadn’t planned to go to but your friend forced you to come along? I need to thank her, I haven’t done that yet.”

I still didn’t believe it. “Pinch me,” I said.

“Enough, now just Stfu!” Then he pulled me down and kissed me.

Romance Of The Railroad

Long winding roads, verdent mountains, dotted blue skies, fresh chill in the air, and yes– The Choo! Choo! train.
“Bye, bye Choo choo train!” says a mother to her toddler as they descended the train. The nostalgia and the romance of the steam engine is unique. It brings an immediate smile all faces and a faraway look in those of us who have experienced traveling long distances in them. The sharp sound of the whistle and the smoke plume billowing over the length of the train has a plaintive ring to it– as if seeking for a lost era.

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The Duomo (An Architectural Marvel).

The Duomo of the Florence Cathedral

The Duomo, as Florence’s cathedral is fondly called, sports the largest masonry dome in the world. It sits across the Baptistry- the oldest religious site in Florence. Florence is a city in central Italy and the capital of Tuscany region.

The construction of the cathedral was begun by Arnolfo di Cambio at the end of the13th century, while the dome was added in the 15th century. It was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1146). Unlike designers and builders nowadays, Brunelleschi did not go to architecture school, rather he was trained to become a goldsmith. But thanks to the Renaissance, which encouraged and patronized art of all kinds, he became interested in architecture, and worked to enhance his knowledge and skills. He designed and invented an array of sophisticated hoists and tools in order to bring his ambitious design to fruition. It is even more astonishing to note that the cathedral dome is entirely self-supporting. It is actually made of two domes. An inner dome made of sandstone and marble and outer dome made of brick and mortar. A copper clad, two ton stone ball that sits on top of the dome provided the finishing touch in 1469. It was built by Verucchio and his students, among whom happened to be the incomparable Leonardo Da Vinci.

To see this and many other wonders visit Florence or Firenze, Italy- the cradle of Renaissance.

Money Well Spent

It’s a Sunday. Not just any day. A day of so-called rest or restlessness. Let’s take a trip downtown. The weather is chilly, the sky is grey. The streets are deserted. Parking in the Whole Foods garage will cost you unless you spend $10 on groceries. Two boxes of cereal and some lemonade- $11 and change; not bad at all. Pick up some coffee at Starbucks (there is still no sitting inside) then wander along the streets.

The trees are finally springing leaves- makes for a nice contrast against the blue of the building across.

Walk through the Union Station which happens to the center of action to 17th street. A man wearing a purple cape slips into an alley covered with striking graffiti. Oxford Hotel, the oldest in Denver- had no clue.

Now back to the parking garage. Money well spent.

Window Shopping

As she turned the street corner, Ritu stopped to check her profile in the shop window. For a fraction of a second, not more. Guess I look okay, she thought and walked on after giving a brisk downward tug to the form fitting dress that ended just above her knees. It was a pretty dress with a cheery print of yellow and pink roses on an olive green background. “Perfect for the summer!” the salesgirl had assured her with a bright smile.

Ritu hadn’t just bought that two hundred dollar dress. She had splurged– in a way very uncharacteristic of her. She had acted on impulse. The print had caught her eye and the color looked really good on her or so she’d thought at the time. But she hadn’t got around to wearing it. Ever since that day it had hung in her closet to be perused periodically then passed over for something more ordinary and comfortable. Such as the dozen or so pants and blouses that fit her identity of sensible but bland Ritu. But today was different. She wanted to look her best.

The cafe was called Coffee, Tea and Me. The name had evoked a distant memory. It was the title of a book she had read a long time ago. She didn’t recall much of it but the gist had remained with her like some stories have a way of doing. It had something to do with a young woman. Or two young women who were stewardesses and their adventures. She had associated with the book as a young woman; launching herself into an exciting new career, of a stewardess, traveling to new places, meeting people, maybe some romance even. It felt silly now but at the time it had been wonderful. A different life.

Fact and Fantasy

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Was it true or was I dreaming? I couldn’t wrench my eyes off the scene. In fact, I couldn’t have enough of it.

I checked the clock to be sure. Yes, it was half past eleven. Almost midnight. But outside my window, the world was bright. Like day, yet not quite. It felt like I had stepped into a painting, another universe– a place I’d never been to before.

The blizzard had run out of steam, or taken a pause so it seemed. The air was still. The naked trees were sporting a shiny new coat of snow. The sky was white, so was the earth. There was no sound, nothing moved, yet everything throbbed with life. I was in awe.

It was too fantastic to be true. Yet true it was. I had the proof outside my window.

Let’s go for a walk

Let us go for a walk, my friend.

Somewhere, anywhere,

In a forest, a park, a street, many streets.

Let us take turns we haven’t before.

Let us sit down on a bench

and talk a little or a lot,

or say nothing at all.

Let us walk for hours,

and wear out our soles.

Simi K. Rao.

Monsoon (Baarish)

CIMG3680 (2)

Poinsettias in rain by Simi K. Rao

Drenched in refreshing moisture, earth bursts into colorful melody-

                                                                                                Simi K. Rao

Monsoon in India is a special time. The overcast black skies, the drumroll of thunder, invoke the thrill of anticipation in the thirsty heart. This is then fulfilled by the downpour. And what a downpour it is!

Extending from June- September, the monsoon brings welcome relief from the stifling heat of the summer. The happiness is visible not just on the faces of the citizens but also on the parched earth– the fragrance of the soil, the blossoming of the vegetation, the songs of the cuckoo, the dance of the peacock.

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A Woman is to be Seen not Heard.

Bust of a woman by Picasso

It may sound cliched yet nothing could be truer. A girl who goes on to become a woman has always learned to lead an inferior life. She has learned to be a perennial serf, who lives in the shadows. Who is seen and not heard. If she speaks– it has to be in soft tones or whispers. She has to align her opinions with those of the society — she has to be uncontroversial, motherly, generous. She has to live for her family and the world at large. She is ‘weak’ thus needs to be protected, yet she is also taken advantage of. Hypocrisy much? 

If she rebels and asserts herself even in the slightest she at once surrounds herself with frowns and draws rebuke and criticism. How dare she? She is labelled a vixen, a mad woman and cast out or burnt at the stake.

Hence since the birth of time (with a few notable exceptions) she has learned to clip her wings, succumb to the pressures, curb her desires, even censor her thoughts. What a tragedy isn’t it?

Do read ‘The Awakening’by Kate Chopin.

Image is of a painting titled Bust of a Woman by Pablo Picasso– Oil with fixed black chalk on canvas. Displayed at Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California.