Tuesday, October 24

'neath Pooh's Pointy Yellow Shoe 

Okay, we seem to be on a roll. Kindly bear with our coolness factor :-D

We were asked to imagine a terribly messy room (or even a house) full of clutter. The nature of the mess or clutter was left to us to decide. The point is, there is such an awful lot of it that the owner/resident has disappeared into the mess. Yes, disappeared. We were asked to write about how he/she got into this predicament, speculate on how or whether he/she will ever get out of the mess...this, a take off on our own Stuffaholicism piece below. Ahem.


He’s pudgy, he’s strong, and his hold’s tacky as glue,
I feel asphyxiated, someone tell him, this Pooh!
It all began, whilst trying to find Barbie’s pink purse,
I slid on ducky’s slithery back, and got hit by a curse;
ooh, aah, ouch, does it hurt… ‘neath Pooh’s pointy yellow shoe!

Yes, that’s how it all began, really. And I’m done making rhyme. I know it’s a little off the wall, but what isn’t, these days? (Especially given that we’re always looking at things from the other side). It was a routine Sunday morning, and I had started to stack some deserted Lego blocks in their haven, the translucent cherry-tinted plastic sack that had assumed many of their shapes, swelling here, and scrunching there, over time. Let’s face it – it wasn’t an ordinary task – there were many blocks to stumble over. And for all one knew, a whole new pile of them was building up elsewhere; besides, it was impossible to accomplish this task without wondering where Barbie’s pink purse had mysteriously vanished, or why Froggie shrieked even before being nudged. Anyhow, I was doggedly going about the task, and I heard her yelp “Fall Oun, Caefool,” (read fall down, careful), from the other room. I darted and barged in there to see that she was, in fact, cautioning Pooh, and not me. I had carried Barbie’s teacup unknowingly on my scrunchie, and she noticed it instantly. So Barbie somehow came into the picture, and then I embarked upon another mighty task – to put her kettle and teacups in order. Of course, I had had a vision that morning that a mauve saucer was hiding under the couch, and it turned out to be true. I shrugged at the thought, wondering why I couldn’t envisage where the purse had taken cover.

I decided to explore the disarray that had swathed an otherwise orderly room with its shadowy, threatening veil. I looked under Eeyore’s belly, the broken red vase, by the shredder, behind the bookshelf – all in vain. Suddenly, an orange ball with a buck-toothed rabbit on it, came plummeting down from nowhere, and knocked me off. I could swear that the rabbit was laughing and mocking at me, but it didn’t seem to be of extreme importance at the time.

I woke to an untraceable tract of darkness, but it didn’t take much light to figure out that I had shrunk. Considerably. I was certain it wasn’t a dream. I yelled and howled for help with all amain, but to no avail. Hours have gone by, and not only have I not found the purse yet, I have also been unable to figure out where exactly I am. I have since ambled about, and feasted on morsels of “Number 3” arrowroot cookies, and smidgens of cherry puffs and fruit drops, but there’s no water in sight. For the first time I’m wishing that she spill some juice on the carpet. It has gotten grubby out here, but I genuinely hope he doesn’t decide to vacuum and siphon me off. My hair, which is precisely all of 4 strands and a half, has gathered much dust and salt.

Well, I’m nearly getting used to this. It’s quite an escapade, if you ask me. I think I’m going sightsee and have some fun afterall.




Darn, I lost you. You see, I was turning around the corner of Lilo’s tail end, wondering if I should make a right to get to the singin' rockin' aquarium, and then, of a blaring sudden, he landed on me, in one big swoop. I had heard some faint drone of him “Popetty-Pop”ing and a round of tiny-handed applause, but I hadn’t imagined Pooh would choose poor little me to tread his next weighty step on. His shoe has this logo stamped on its underside, and I think I’m wedged in between the flanges. I really need to get out of here. The twinge is killing me.

Don’t just sit there and stare at the diminutive script. GO GET YOUR MAGNIFYING GLASS NOW AND GET POOH OFF. And meanwhile, it would help greatly if you could croon a mean “Help is on its way…” I can still hear, YOU SEE!

Recollections of a Stuffaholic 

Our contribution to a month of reminiscences...

Today I reminisce a time in my life when I was a stuffaholic of sorts. I still am one, but I have metamorphosed somewhat, and acquired a curious new form over the years. That came rather mellifluently with age, I think. Although, I’m not sure it’s a pragmatic thing.

Anyhow, when I was a little girl, about seven, or eight, I had an interminable fancy for stuff - stuff like stamps, coins, pressed flowers, leaves, cashews (tucked securely in their shells), and a few other material things I cannot seem to summon up at this moment. The urge was formidable all right, but the resolve was rather weak. I used to go around demanding exotic stamps from well-traveled relatives and family friends, and after a high spell of stacking them in different places I deemed fit at different times (an old plastic pencil-box that looked like a Cadbury’s bar; and the inner pocket of a glossy lamination-sheath in my mother’s recipe diary, are two special niches that come to mind) and flaunting them to dreamy-eyed friends, I would give up and move on to the next novel idea.

I had started to amass a small coin collection, and would often brag to my friends that a part of it had been handed down by my grandma as a legacy - which wasn’t far from the truth, only, it hadn’t been handed down so much as it had been beseeched, hankered after and acquired. (My grandma was an obstinate old woman). Of course, I had some ‘overseas’ coins too, and they were all bundled together in a turquoise-and-fuchsia hued, flower-speckled China silk pouch my grandma had given me, and stowed away in my mother’s almirah, beneath her silks, which always smelled of sandalwood. (Miraculously so, as there was nothing even remotely associated with sandalwood around, at least not visibly).

Then came the flowers, and leaves - not quite an outlandish collection to boast of, but I’m quite positive they all had a sentimental value, however minuscule. Some bougainvillea, and roses from my best friend’s garden, and some citrus, passionfruit and gooseberry leaves from the only garden in the community that also housed a beehive. They would be pressed between the pages of my favorite books, like Masha and the Bear, or one with cheery poems and limericks, called “Happy Thoughts.” (It had come as a surprise gift from an uncle, all the way from the Peter Pauper Press in New York).

And then there was the most exciting activity of all - every summer, there would be an unstated competition for collection of cashews. There were about six cashew trees in the neighborhood, and the biggest of them all stood in my neighbor’s garden. A strapping, grumpy woman, she was known to be rather hostile to children (and adults too, in general), and the right time to sneak in would be the afternoon, when she’d take her post-lunch siesta. I remember sneaking in there with my little plastic bag, clambering up the tree in a trice (I knew all its branches, nodes and safety handles closely), and counting how many were within reach. I would then end up devouring one or more irresistibly juicy cashew apples, and meanwhile, my friends, who were apparently shrewder, would have picked a dozen more cashews. The norm was to hurl the cashew apples recklessly about after the cashews had been pinched off. These cashews were then stowed away in tin boxes in our respective kitchen attics, and on one chosen day, they would all be counted, and the shells roasted, in a small garden fire, under the supervision of an adult who was considered wacky and wild enough to be a part of the squad. The winner would get a fruit picked fresh from the garden, or, on occasion, a pencil or a sharpener. And obviously, losing one too many a time would dissuade me, and I would be ready to make a fresh start elsewhere.

And so on and so forth, there was always something new to enthuse my little mind. Of course I never stuck to any one thing, and relentlessly kept at acquiring several fractionary collections, through the years. I have a few oddments of this and that left somewhere, but nothing substantial or of paramount merit that I might hand down to my little one as a bequest someday. And rather contrastingly, I find today that it’s impossible to lay my hands on a single stamp or a quarter even if I rummaged the entire house, and my flowers and cashews are exclusively store bought. Perhaps I wasn’t cut out to be a collector of stuff, and perhaps I’ve grown into a stuffaholic that likes stuff, and likes to reminisce stuff. The latter, well, at least when I’m expected to.

Cloyingly Yours 

Taking off from Richa's suggestion that the idea in the "Cherry Crest" piece below could be extended to the whole inanimate world in general, the unvoiced, this poem gives voice to our favorite unvoiced spice, CLOVE.

In transient, yet evocative memories,
I swarm in, and infest her senses.
With a wanton-winged aura, I taint her fingers,
like catyrpels, on wet picket fences.

Pepper is fiery, its creepers snaky,
inflicting even, on stately teaks.
Cinnamon is numbing, cardamom feisty;
cumin smokes, coriander tweaks.

Mustard’s too mild, turmeric, too acute;
fennel, nutmeg, fenugreek, asafetida,
they all brim with an acerbic clout,
parching the gullet, singeing the viscera.

Be it summer - hot and humid,
or winter - frosty and dim,
I remain evergreen, and lucid;
the rest - mere dust-trails on the dipper rim.

And now, to stir out of my resting shell,
serenely wait, and grip my chapeau.
The chill’s heralding a sickly spell,
while the heat bids a coy adieu.

I shall burn, wither into smithereens,
I shall bop in the mortar, by my troth.
I shall soothe aches, and be the means
to rid the flu; I shall simmer in a broth.

She needs me, and I, her;
I’m clove - I reign supreme.
As her one-stop elixir,
I soothe, heal, and make her beam.

And with a wanton-winged aura
I shall taint her fingers.