Contest 13: What is Your Pet Superstition?

superstition-black-cat

CLOSED for entries. Last date for submission was 24th February, 2015

Hello, all! Contest 13 is upon us, and in keeping with the theme of the number, this time we’ll write about superstitions.

Before we get to the topic, though, I have an announcement to make about our contests. We’re soon moving from a fortnightly schedule to a monthly schedule. So the contest will stay open for longer, which means we’ll hopefully get more and better entries. The prize, which has been stuck at 500 rupees for a while now, will be doubled to 1000 rupees.

I’m doing this because I want to run monthly giveaways as well, on the 15th-to-15th cycle, where people will get a chance to win various prizes in return for insignificant acts such as leaving comments. If all of this doesn’t make sense, don’t worry. As a follower of the blog, nothing much will change, except a few timelines here and there which you will get used to soon enough.

Topic

Superstition-2

Since we’re on Contest 13, it will be almost criminal of us if we did not write about fears and superstitions. As you know, the number 13 has always had an ominous significance in the world of the supernatural. It is not so much an Indian motif, but let’s use it as an excuse to ruminate upon the other-worldly anyway.

Why? Because it’s fun!

All right, so this time, the topic to write on is:

What is your pet superstition?

Ideas

Here are a few superstitions that come to my mind straight away:

1. Many hotels in the West do not have a thirteenth floor, because they believe that the number brings bad luck.

2. Black cats are almost universally feared in India because they portend doom for those whose paths they cross.

3. ‘Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.’

4. The belief that our fate is written in the stars.

5. When a dog howls, death is near.

And so on. Here is a list of 20 superstitions.

And another one here.

What you could do with it

superstition-3

Now, once you decide on a superstition you want to write about, there are many ways in which you can convert it into an entry to the contest.

1. You could write a short story or mood piece about a character who is wrestling with a superstitious idea. Horror movies have made a staple out of allowing horrible things to happen to atheists and non-believers. Maybe you could write about a person who doesn’t believe in a given superstition, but by the end, he does (or doesn’t).

2. How about a memoir, taken from your own life, where a superstition played a big part?

3. If nonfiction is your thing, write an essay about your chosen belief. On the other hand, poetry is also welcome, full of atmosphere and foreboding.

4. You could write just about anything, as long as it is loosely related to superstitions, fear, and belief in the supernatural. So go deep into the corners of your mind and see what lurks there. Once you find it, slash it open and throw it onto the page for us all to see.

5. The word limit is 500 words.

How do you enter the contest?

It doesn’t get simpler. You leave a comment to this post. If you leave two comments, they will count as two separate entries. The maximum number of entries you can submit is three. If you leave more than three comments, I won’t tell you off (I’m too nice for that) but I will only pick the first three.

What’s the prize?

A Flipkart e-gift voucher worth 1000 Indian rupees. It looks like this.

Flipkart-Voucher

No, you can’t touch it, but you can buy things – especially books! – with it. If you live outside of India, your choices are limited to e-books because Flipkart doesn’t deliver internationally (yet).

Lucky Winner

In addition to the prize above, one lucky contestant will win a copy of Shweta Taneja’s occult murder mystery, Cult of Chaos.

In this you will meet Anantya Tantrist, a gaali-spewing, beedi-smoking fearless tantrik who solves crimes in Delhi. When she’s not solving crime, she’s having a drink at Bedardi Bar. The book is one of the first urban fantasies in India, based in the supernatural underworld of Delhi.

Cult of Chaos final cover

How is the winner selected?

Each comment will be rated on three things:

1. Clarity: We should understand what you’re trying to say. Good grammar and punctuation will help. So will a reasonable structure to your entry. Beginning, middle and end.

2. Personal Touch: We’re interested in getting to know you better. So go for depth, specificity and honesty. In narrative pieces, the deeper you take us with you into the scene, the better it is.

3. Beauty of the writing: Make your words sing. Give rich sensory detail. Describe well. Transport us to to your world. Be cogent, crisp and clear.

The above three criteria are ranked in the order of importance. So clarity is more important than personal touch. And personal touch is more important than evocative writing.

Rules/Guidelines/Suggestions

1. The closing date for comments/entries is Tuesday, the 24th of February, 2015. The winner will be announced on Saturday, the 28th of February, 2015. (Allow a day or two as ‘grace period’ in case there are too many entries.)

2. When you enter comments on this blog, you will find a separate text box asking for your email. I recommend that you enter your email into this, so that I will have a way of contacting you in case you win. Rest assured that I will not use your contact information for any other purpose, shady or otherwise.

3. Sexually explicit or offensive material will be deleted at my discretion.

4. Avoid plagiarism. I will check for it, and remove entries that I think are lifted from elsewhere.

And finally…

Have fun! If you think this is the sort of thing your friends would enjoy, share this post with them and invite them to participate. You can share it with just a click on the sharing buttons below.

Images Courtesy: 1, 2, 3

Comments

  1. The Ring

    Rings had always fascinated her right from childhood… especially, rare, pretty ones: carved, filigreed, stone-encrusted, metalic, wooden. It didn’t matter that most were unaffordable, she loved the asthetics and romantic symbolism they stood for.

    In later years, while her peers had been gifted or shopped for rings soon growing them into sizable collections, she had admired them without envy. She waited patiently. She knew the universe would send her the perfect ring at the perfect time!

    Then the day dawned: her life partner chosen, she knew the time had come. At the engagement, he presented her with the most beautiful band she had seen. It was slender, just like she liked: delicately set with a small, neat stone. A princess cut! She smiled. This ring was telling her that her new life would be just fine. It was a good omen ring. The priest blessed the couple and the prayers made the ceremony official.

    A few months later, they wed. Life went on. She couldn’t be happier: somehow the arranged marriage was working out despite major adjustment she faced entering into the joint family she had married into. Then came Valentine’s Day. She wondered how throwing her pragmatically minded spouse a surprise would work out. She stopped at the bakery on her way back from work and picked out some snacks and pastries. Then she went home and prepared a home made meal as she usually did. She didn’t want to overdo it, or make it clichéd, so she didn’t overdress, lest he think that she expected to be taken out. She just wanted him to notice that she’d made an effort to make the day special, for him.

    With time left over before his arrival she settled down to wait his return. Her mother-in-law entered the sitting room with a small velvet box, and wordlessly handed it over to her. “What’s this?” She couldn’t hide her surprise. Her in laws had never handed her anything before. “Open it,” came the reply. She smiled uncertainly. Then, her hopes soared and she wondered if he had left her something. She opened the box. Inside was the most opulent ring she had ever laid eyes on. Set in white gold, it had nine diamonds wet out in a diamond shape. She looked up at her mother-in -law. “It’s beautiful, ” she whispered. “Your ring is beautiful, maa.”
    “It’s not mine, it’s yours now”
    She stood up, speechless.
    “Thank yo…” she began to utter, but was cut short with a curt, “Don’t thank me! He bought it for her. The girl he wanted to marry before he met you. She turned him down. So, it’s yours now.”
    Then she turned and walked out.

    She sat. She felt her throat choke with unshed tears, but they refused to fall.
    The ring burned bright in the palm of her hand.
    She didn’t hear the bell ring. Someone else let him in.
    He stared at the ring in her hand in shock… then he muttered, “Keep it.”

    She quietly replaced it in its box, then silently removed her own simple symbols of union.
    That was almost a decade ago.

    I stare today, at my ringless fingers.
    My marriage survived- my love for rings didn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Vinisha! What I liked most about your piece was your very specific description of each kind of ring. I found myself thinking that you must like and notice rings too, in real life, to have been able to describe them with such specificity. Or maybe you’re just more observant than I am. I would struggle to tell you the design on my wife’s engagement ring, for instance. But I guess that’s a guy thing, no? 🙂 As usual, loved the underlying emotions, and felt like I should know these people a bit more deeply. I think you can still tighten your writing, but most of it is nice. Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My Goodluck Charm

    Hi!

    My goodluck charm isn’t any thing,
    My goodluck charm is a person.

    🙂

    That’s it.
    That’s all I will allow myself to say.

    Why?
    Because I don’t want to jinx it.
    That’s why!

    Goodbye.

    Like

  3. I first read Edgar Allan Poe at 12 and I never looked at crows in the same way again. “Ravens” would have naturally made the grade, but they just quite simply weren’t as visible to my untrained eye.
    So, my twelve year old mind happily settled upon the happless crow as the symbolic villian of the piece.
    It all happened soon after I had read a couple of Poe’s offerings. I was seated at a window in my school bus and as it thundered and chugged its way across the bridge that spanned the gap between the suburbs and the main city, I spotted half a dozen crows swooping and flying in a frenzy over a swollen gray object floating by in the swirling river water. I craned my neck trying to catch a glimpse of the mysterious reason for their obvious avian chaos and curiosity. It looked like a swollen hypopotamus to me, but since I’ve never resided on the continent of that amphibian’s origin, I figured my mind was playing games with me. Since the bus had ambled past, my pre-teen attention was soon swayed by my peers conversations and all thoughts of those noisy birds fled from my immediate consciousness.

    At school, the day proceeded more or less on course, until my history class. To my horror, I realized that I had forgotten my assignment for the day on my desktop at home. I was more horrified at thought of public humiliation than petrified of the harridan who would mete it out unpityingly.
    She brooked no excuses. Ever! I had nothing to offer: I had forgotten-plain and simple!
    I mentally wrung my hands. She walked in frowning. I was dine for. That’s when it crossed my mind! I had probably seen too many crows that morning! Those harbingers of death! And now I was going to die a slow death … by shame. Oh the tragedy of it all!
    I was inconsolable.
    “Assignments!” She barked. “Who hasn’t done them?”
    I squirmed. Her razor sharp hawk eyes alighted on, then bored into me. I stood up shaking. She waited. I waited. The class held it’s collectively baited breath.
    “Get it tomorrow,” she snapped. “Turn it in first thing in the morning, before the bell rings, at the teachers’ lounge. I will be waiting.”
    “Yes Ma’am. Sorry Ma’am. Thank you Ma’am” I stuttered hoarsely.
    “Sit down!”
    I shakily did.
    “Take out your books and turn to page 98!” She called out.

    An hour later the dismissal bell rang and we all trooped out.
    That was weird, my friends concluded: why had she spared me.
    Perhaps she was having a good day, they giggled.
    We lined up and walked to our bus stop.

    Amidst the usual after school chitter-chatter and sheer atmospheric revelry which arises from the ring of the school dismissal bell, I almost forgot about my near death experience with our formidable history teacher. Almost! Until the bus reached the bridge and my eyes straining eyes flew straight scanning the lazy river, searching for the doomsday birds. They were nowhere to be seen. Neither was that supposed hypo. The flock had vanished into thin air. I shook my head to clear it. Why was I letting crows bother me? I wasn’t a baby after all. I was almost a teen! My family would probably laugh at me if I confessed my thoughts about the crows: I was known for my overactive imagination.

    The assignment lay where I had left it. I packed it with haste. She would not let me off the hook so easily a second time. I was sure of that.

    The bus rattled over the bridge the next morning. The crows were back- the hypo wasn’t. They searched the waters relentlessly, nevertheless. I admired them. Poor crows. They were just hungry birds out searching for a morning meal. Poor, misunderstood crows. I resolved to visit our library and check out some further reading. I needed to be better informed.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hey Sharath, I’ve gone with the flow: underused the word count in one entry and overstepped it in the other. It wasn’t intentional. I beg pardon, in advance.
    Hope the readers enjoy my entries, irrespective 🙂
    I’ve had fun writing them!

    Like

    • Hey Vinisha, no problem. You know how ‘seriously’ I take word count limits. I barely ever notice, until an entry comes along that is quite visibly long. In the second entry I was setting myself up for a twist ending. I was expecting the character to get to her school, check her bag, and find that that her assignment was still missing. That would have been spooky. The piece reminded me of my younger self. If only I had a rupee now for each time I got punished in school for not doing my homework… And I never got lucky breaks like the girl in your story.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sridhar Rajendran says:

    The alarm went off sharp at 5 AM and Kamala leapt out her bed soon to switch it off so her husband could sleep a while longer. She had lots of work to do; today being Friday – the most auspicious day of the week in her middle class Brahmin household. She opened the doors and windows. Then swept the entrance, sprinkled water and drew rangoli. She picked up the milk packets and went into the kitchen. She boiled milk on one burner and water on the other to prepare the decoction for the filter coffee. She poured the hot water over the roasted coffee powder and closed the steel lid of the coffee filter to seal the aroma. She bathed and wore a starch-ironed cotton sari and proceeded to circumambulate the tulsi plant with her wet hair wrapped in a towel praying for the well-being of her husband and her family. After her prayers, she made coffee and woke up her husband and mother-in-law. Ramanujam left for work at 8 after having 4 idlies and sambhar.

    By 2 PM, Kamala had cleaned every nook and corner of the house. She had forgotten to ask her husband to keep the glass bowls back in the loft. She sighed and fetched a stool to do it herself. Just as she was about to push the box in, it slipped out of her hand and crashed on the floor. Vishalakshi rushed to the kitchen and started crying. She was convinced that something bad was bad going to happen to her son. In the hurry to clean up, Kamala scratched her hand on a piece of glass and was now bleeding. Vishalakshi cursed Kamala; not only had she broken glass on Friday but also spilt blood in the house. The fact that Kamala might be in pain and need an antiseptic right now did not matter to Vishalakshi. All she was concerned was her son’s life. She had already lost her husband and was not going to lose her son as well. Her daughter-in-law could bleed to death for all she cared. Despite the pain in her hand, she apologized to her mother-in-law for her ‘mistake’ and assured her nothing would happen to her husband. She proceeded to dial her husband’s cell phone but it was switched off. Kamala then dialed the office number and was told he had left half an hour ago for some personal work. She had no idea where her husband had gone. By now Vishalakshi was sure that Kamala had killed her son by breaking the god dammed glass bowls. Vishalakshi had become tired of reprimanding Kamala and demanded fresh coffee so she could continue with her insults.

    Just then the front gate opened and Ramanujam walked in – hale and healthy. He was surprised by the commotion going on his house. He understood what all had transpired in the past hour and assured his mom he was alright. He had forgotten to charge his mobile phone and he had left early to take Kamala for a movie in the evening. He looked at Kamala as if to say, “I am fine. Sorry my mom put you through all this.” She brushed a tear off her eye with her bandaged hand and went in to make coffee leaving him to deal with his mother.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Sridhar. Nice story, as Vinisha said. I thought it was a very Chekhovian kind of story, very slice-of-life that brings out the topic nicely. What I would suggest in terms of treatment is to refrain from over-explanation. For example, you tell the reader that Vishalakshi is thinking that, she doesn’t like her daughter-in-law, she doesn’t care about her blood spilling etc. Instead of that, can you find a way to show these in scenes, without explanation from the narrator? That way, the narrator goes into the background, and the reader just sees and makes up his mind about the various characters. That gives the reader a deeper experience.

      Not saying that this wasn’t good, but next time, perhaps you could try ‘showing’ a bit more. Your writing will be stronger for it. Thanks 🙂

      Like

      • Sridhar Rajendran says:

        Hey Sharath,
        Thanks a lot for taking the time to read and give your feedback. Will definitely keep that in mind when I write henceforth 🙂

        Like

  6. Great story, Sridhar.. i like he way you build up the suspense with attention to detail.

    Like

  7. Billy perched on the terrace of the two-storied house, carefully observant of the animal traffic below. It was a bright and sunny day, with a hint of cool breeze in the air. Exactly the kind of day those two-legged animals seemed to think was a “nice” day. Billy knew this, of course. On these nice days, there usually is a heavy influx of them on the streets. But he’d been taught since his childhood that one never crossed paths with a black human being, because it is bound to bring bad luck. You would have called him a racist pig but of course Billy would counter you by saying that he was a cat, not a pig!

    A bee wafted and rested on his nose – Billy almost sneezed but controlled himself. He did not want to spoil his whisker-style. Today, after all, was the Mister Cat competition finals. He is not going to let a stupid bee spoil the hours of effort it took to carefully style his fur and whiskers. He had to win this, otherwise… well otherwise he knew he had no chance at scoring a date with Kitty. His heart crushed each time he saw her being intimate with other male cats. Wasn’t she like the perfect companion? No wonder a lot of others were trying to woo her as well. The competition was tight, he knew, but winning the Mister Cat title would certainly draw her attention. He let out a deep breath.

    The buzzing of the bee bought him back to his senses. He grunted at it frustratingly. What did bees know about love, anyway? He got on all-fours, craned his neck to try and spot his destination. They were holding the finals inside the church cemetery. The spire was visible to him from here but what immediately caught his attention was that there were no buildings at all for a good distance around the church. Which meant he could not merely hop from one terrace to next to reach his destination. Which meant he’d have to walk on the ground, the same level as humans did. Which meant that there was a very good chance that a black human would cross paths with him. Which meant he would definitely lose the competition. No! Damn these humans! Not today, please. Not today. Billy usually liked to call himself a liberal minded cat. He did not usually give in to silly superstitions. But after seeing a couple of dire incidents occur to his friends who saw a black human, his instincts told him that it’s always better to be safe than sorry. But now, what choice did he have? He just has got to test his luck.

    He made it to the beginning of the clearing. The Sunday mass ended just about then and people had begun to leave the church. Keep your head low…and sprint!
    As Billy dashed across the square, he only had the cemetery gate in his vision. And without his usual cat instincts in place, it was only natural that something sinister was about to happen. And happen, it did. He ducked and swerved to avoid a group of elderly humans – and the next thing he knew, he was deep inside a big ditch in the ground, half buried in sludge. His mind went numb for a minute. He did not know what to do. He meowed frantically- and then suddenly, the head a little human girl appeared above. She looked up, pointed her right hand towards him and called out to someone-

    “Mama, look! There’s a cat down below. It’s stuck!!”

    Billy could see that she had a distraught expression on her face. Billy could also see that she was black. As he realized that the sludge was slowing pulling him in and that he would be completely buried and possibly dead, he really wondered what would be worse – dying here or being rescued by the black girl.

    But when he emerged from the cemetery garden, two hours later, with a Mister Cat ribbon around his neck, he knew he had a story to tell and debunk some superstitions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Uday! I chuckled to myself a few times throughout this piece – especially where Billy tells himself that he’s a liberal-minded cat, but experience has taught him to be wary of black humans. I hope the ribbon was enough to score a date with Kitty and the sludge did not hamper his chances 🙂

      Like

  8. Ragavijaya says:

    Dogs possess an extraordinary potential to see paranormal things which are invisible to human eyes. They are thought to be aware of the presence of ghosts and their howling is the first sign for some supernatural occurrences. Black dogs are the incarnations of wicked souls and dogs howling intermittently at night could mean that the departed are coming to visit…

    I couldn’t even finish reading the sentence from my laptop screen which was illumining the small corner of the otherwise dark room. Time would have been anywhere around 1 am. I was preparing for the next day seminar on preternatural experiences. In the process somehow I started feeling uneasy, say may be because of the creepy subject taken for study. Not that these things are all new to me. I grew up hearing such stories though I never gave it a thought to scrutinize if I believed in them or not.

    That particular night was peculiarly silent. Silent as a grave. The occasional howl of a dog was the only sound to permeate the sea of silence surrounding me. Like an assaulting aggressor the darkness was consuming everything. The Frozen wind was constantly sending mysterious shivers down my spine. I never had felt such discomfort in the recent times. Whatsoever. I resumed my research only to hear the howling getting louder and louder. At one point, I was distracted from top to bottom because of the shrieking howl. My instinct whispered I should go out and see what was happening. But my guts resisted me from do so. What if my deceased Grandma has come all the way to take revenge on me for all the pranks I had made on her? Or could it be that white woman ghost people claimed to have seen in the locality? Thinking much was pointless. Sometimes somehow you feel that you need to do something right? That was my call on that day. I gathered every bit of my courage together. Groping in the dark I walked across the room to reach the front door and looked around. I could see some movement near the mango tree outside the gate. That mango tree! I have never gone closer to it. They say that someone hung himself on that tree and since then some abnormal activities are reported. All the stories that I heard about the tree started reverberating inside my head. Outside of it was the deafening and unbroken howl.

    Like a possessed doll I walked towards the tree. With every step I moved forward, my fears compounded exponentially. I was two steps away from the tree and what I saw there shook me to the core. Yes. A small puppy was trying to move its broken leg and was wailing in out-and-out pain. No white ghosts nor my Grandma. No dog superstitions, nothing. It was this poor thing fighting for life. Such experts we are at complicating things! Human mind is the cradle of all superstitions, I learnt on that cold night.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Ragavijaya! Thanks for writing this. In the house we used to live until last year, there is a large empty plot right next door, and throughout the night a pack of dogs used to get together and participate in communal howling. I’m not the superstitious kind at all, but the way they cry out is so eerie that it leaves you with a grey fog all over your mind. The rational part of me agrees with you, of course, but it’s impossible to sit in the dead of the night, hearing a dog mewl and NOT think that it is calling out to some being beyond our natural realm. Spine-chilling!

      Like

  9. Atika Srivastava says:

    *The Curse*

    A woman bangs on the door of her room and thunders inside. She pulls Miyuki through her hairs and throws her on the newly cemented ground. She tore her head from the groud and looked at the lady. Her eyes were burning in anger. She wondered what crime did she committ. She made the rotis perfectly round, last night. She didn’t take the name of going to school even once.

    “Are you happy now? After. . . ” The lady began sobbing. She looked around. There were so many people gathered, like when she was getting married. Was someone else getting married now? Her friend Jhumki? She got excited. But marriage? During her marriage, everyone was dancing, singing and merrying. But people around her were gravely silent. She rubbed her tiny eyes. Disheartened, she collected the broken pieces of the green and yellow bangles. She would ask her mother to gift her one more such set. Ever since she got married, her mother gifts her a new set of bangles every time they meet.

    “Come here, Miyuki! Leave those bangles girl. They’re of no use now.” An old lady said. She was Jhumki’s grand mother. She went near the group of women collected there.

    “Maa sa! Why are you crying, maa saa?” She went near her mother-in-law. Her mother-in-law cursed her yet again and began crying hoarsely. One of the ladies rubbed off the red powder that Miyuki wore over her head.

    “You bought a curse to this house. You’re unlucky for my son.” Saying this, she starded crying again. Unlucky? Yes, she knew this word. Jhumki had told her that the girls who get married are “lucky” and who those are “unlucky”. Hoe can she be unlucky? She was married, no? She assured herself that her mother-in-law wasn’t scolding her. Then who? Her eyes fell on a boy, sleeping on the ground. He was her husband, her mother had told her once.

    No manner he has, she thought. Why else would a “good” boy sleep in front of so many people? He is a demafe to his parents, that’s why they are crying, maybe. She called out his name, “Raghu!” Her mother-in-law stared at her, angrily with tears in her eyes. Oops! She wasn’t allowed to call him by his name. She had forgotton in utter rage.

    If he can sleep in front of elders, she can too for she was no less than him. If he stood first in third standard then she too, is a good student of her class. Plus, she also knows how to make round rotis.

    She unfurled her yellow chunni and spread it on the ground. Beside him. She lied down upon her favorite chunni and closed her eyes. Like him. Her eyes pricked with the lack of sleep. Suddenly, she heard her mother-in-law, calling out, “Miyuki! Get up from there. It is all ’cause of you. She won’t even let my son die peacefully. This ungrateful wretch!”

    Little did she knows, the meaning of venom dipped words spitted by her mother-in-law.

    Like

    • Hi Atika! I liked this one. The whole scene was well-constructed, I thought. I did spot some grammatical/spelling errors, but the general flow of the scene was good. I would have liked a more low-key last line. It almost felt like you were trying to end on a dramatic note and therefore wrote that sentence with venom-dripped-words and so on. A simple ‘Miyuki curled around and went to sleep, wondering what made maasa so angry’ would have worked better. It would have been more in tune with the rest of the piece.

      Interesting premise too. Well done 🙂

      Like

      • Atika Srivastava says:

        Eeee! I’m glad that you liked it. ^_^

        Grammatical errors- I wrote it when i was half asleep. Sorry! It won’t happen next time.

        Like

  10. Atika Srivastava says:

    When my results were announced last year, I did quite well in two subjects among three. Scoring 130 and 110 out of 150 is not good but is not completely bad either. Third one, in which I scored way too low (:p) was ancient history. I couldn’t even score 90. I got 82, precisely. History examination is divided into two exams- Paper 1 and 2.They’ve got some name but I don’t remember (no wonder why I scored sucha good mark in this subject :p). In paper 2, I got satisfactory marks; 50 out of 70. I was grateful that I cleared it how somehow! In paper 1, I scored only 30. (I told this deadly/embarrassing result of mine ’cause without it you won’t understand the story.)

    Here comes the “superstition” twist. In all the examinations, my mom makes me eat curd and sugar. When she got to know that I’d scored the least marks in history-1, her comment was– “This was the examination when you didn’t eat the ccurd and sugar, right? That’s why you scored this less!” I was astonished. I mean I didn’t score ’cause I didn’t study the subject the whole session. Forget studying, I had even not attended all the classes of history. I told her the same but she hushed my thought away, “You don’know anything. I’m telling you it’s because you didn’t eat dahi-cheeni.” I and dad laughed a lot. Not on her but on her superstition. She still believes on this theory. I tried explaining her but sje refuses in my-words-are-final tone. :/

    Moms. They try their best to save their children from angry dads. Haha! Kidding. :p
    I don’t believe in this dahi-cheeni thing, but I believe on my mom and if this little thing give her satisfaction, I can drink buckets of it.

    P.S.: This isn’t an entry. I just wrote it ’cause it’s what came into my mind as I read the word “superstition”. :’)

    Like

    • Hi Atika, of course as people grow older, they have more and more to lose, so they become more and more prone to superstitions. I’m sure a few years down the line when your son or daughter scores less in their exams, you will find a superstitious reason too and believe in it. Let’s call it the power of mother’s love.

      My mom is the same. Interestingly, she was quite rationalistic in her thinking for much of her life, but a few unfortunate incidents in the last few years have converted her. Now she prays a lot, fasts almost every day of the week, and keeps track of how many black cats each one of us is crossing on a daily basis. I guess that’s how it is. Life makes believers out of us all.

      Like

      • Atika Srivastava says:

        This reply! “Life makes believer out of us all”. (y)

        All moms are pretty much same. Maybe that’s what defines mommies!

        P.S.: No wonder you’re becoming my favorite! ^_^
        I simply can’t wait for my exams to get over. 😦

        Like

  11. *A small victory*

    She stared at the mortified face in front of her, praying, (ironically, in a temple) that this won’t cause a scene. “What are you doing here then?” she strained a whisper, her eyes narrowing on Daksha.
    “Because I wanted to come!” Daksha said, she could not believe she was accused of being impious.
    “We have to leave, now! We cannot stay here even a minute longer!” Daksha’s grandmother grabbed her wrist and lead her down the temple hallway as swiftly as possible.
    “Daadi, I didn’t do anything wrong! I can’t help it! Why is it so bad?” she questioned, trying to resist her grandmother’s strong grip but failing miserably.
    “Shh! Don’t say anything, you can’t be prancing around anywhere you please when…” her voice trailed off, her eyes darting around the temple checking for eavesdropping strangers.
    No sooner had they stepped outside, Daadi turned around to face Daksha, ready to begin her rampage.
    “It’s bad, you are dirty and unclean now. When it is over, you can come to the temple again,” Daadi explained, surprisingly calmer when her feet were not touching the temple ground.
    Daksha raised her chin, feeling indignant at her comment.
    “I’m not unclean! I took a shower this morning and I even prayed! How is it my fault if I bleed every month? Didn’t God make me this way? How can I be unclean when He was the one who made me this way?”
    It was now Daadi’s turn to stare. Daksha’s face spread into a wide grin, satisfied at stumping her grandmother. “Because it just is!” Daadi sputtered, “God doesn’t like unclean people and you have to wait until you become clean again”
    “I am very clean! My mind is clean, my heart is clean, I don’t wish ill on other people, I even volunteered for my school’s charity fund. God has no reason to keep me out of his home. You are the one stopping me!” Daksha furrowed her eyebrows, crossing her arms across her chest, almost daring her grandmother to challenge her statement.
    “Daksha… Beti,” Her grandmother’s tone softened, trying to change her tactic in convincing Daksha, “You also need to rest, this is a straining process on your body. It happens every month, so you also need some time to recuperate. You don’t have to do any of your chores either!” she said smiling.
    Daksha was tempted to take the bait, “I don’t have to clean my bedroom?” she asked, with eyes wide in excitement.
    “Yes, beti, until this is over, you don’t have to go anywhere or do anything. Don’t strain yourself. Let the dirty blood leave your body and you will be better again,” Daadi said.
    “But… I feel fine, I might have some slight cramps, but walking around actually helps…” Daksha mumbled, skeptical of the second explanation, “and mummy told me it’s not dirty blood. It’s the same blood that I would get if I cut myself right now. It’s not dirty blood, Daadi”
    Daadi looked at Daksha, fumbling around in her mind for other explanations she received as a girl. She sighed and took Daksha’s hand, slowly walking back toward the temple, silently accepting defeat.
    “Pray,” she said in a barely audible whisper.
    Daksha held her down head with a smile playing on her lips, thinking, ‘Maybe tomorrow, I’ll tell her that I haven’t been wearing the Kaala Tika to protect me from the evil eye…’

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Nidhi! Welcome to the blog. Unless my memory is serving me wrong, I think this is your first time here at the contests. Thanks for sharing this. It reminded me of a family we were good friends with when we used to live in New Zealand. Even there, the girl of the house had to sleep separately on her days of the month, and not touch anything or go into the god’s room, and they used to make a public announcement to everyone who comes home that the girl is on her periods. What is perhaps shocking is that the girl I speak of was in medical school at the time, and now she’s a practicing doctor. (For all I know, the practice continues at her house.)

      It’s amazing how we can compartmentalize our rational minds and our superstitious minds to live comfortably without ever feeling the need to confront the contradictions.

      Like

  12. *The Widows Destiny*

    The flimsy white cloth adorns my head,
    Twisting around my body like a deathly noose.
    My identity is caught between the folds,
    As I wear the symbol of a widow’s destiny.

    The stares of sickening empathy follow me,
    “Lost her husband, so young!” they say,
    The sighs engulf me, drowning my sobs,
    Over my pitiful existence as a relict.

    Warded away from prayers and gatherings,
    Unlucky wisps emanate from my pores,
    I define this word: inauspicious,
    Yet it echoes in my ears as: unworthy.

    They wiped away the red from my forehead,
    But what of the red that flows in my veins?
    The rhythm of my anklets have been forbidden,
    But what of the beat that is heard from my heart?

    I pray silently to the creator of my fate,
    In my own shrine of reverence.
    For I am shunned from the God’s abode,
    I hover near the temple stairs, asking.

    “What I have done to deserve this?”
    Being punished twice in this lifetime,
    His death ended my life abruptly,
    While the world steals the remnants.

    I hear the ‘tsk-tsk’ of other women,
    “You shouldn’t be here, it’s unlucky,” they sneer,
    Shooing me away as a stray dog on the road,
    Unfurling their pattu sarees across my face.

    They shield themselves from my impurity,
    Folds of their pallu protecting their matrimony.
    They wear the colors proudly like a crown,
    A status in society, their blessing, their luck.

    The other people on the street glance at me,
    The ones in their suits and fancy cars.
    They shake their heads and drive along,
    Mumbling about misfortune and superstitions.

    “These things will never change,” they say,
    Hiding behind their tinted glass of education.
    Mum against the realities on these dusty roads,
    The shroud of false beliefs covering their minds.

    How do I break free from these shackles?
    The invisible bondage in place of my bangles.
    I am forgotten without a man by my side,
    To remain a ghost of his memories left behind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • All of you have written fantastic. But Nidhi love yr piece as it is unique topic

      Like

    • I especially liked the part where you say, the red on my forehead has been rubbed, what about the red that flows in my veins? It’s striking that even in 2015, we’re speaking of widows being destined to live a life of loneliness and ostracism. Sometimes we forget how deep-sown these beliefs are, that a woman is somehow powerless without a man by her side. I remember when my cousin died and left behind his wife and young daughter, I said to my parents, ‘Imagine, she is a widow at 31.’

      I caught myself after I said it, but that’s the point. I had to catch myself. And now, about three years later, both mother and daughter are doing fine – apart from missing my cousin, of course.

      Like

  13. Crows – Have an aversion for them because of the bad experiences of some persons in my life.
    It started when in school Std. VIII – My english teacher gem of human being – It happened one day while she was taking a class -” Caw Caw …….ooh caw caw “disturbing our class – shocking was the reaction of the mild loving gentle Miss Abraham . ” I hate these crows” hate? from a loving teacher? “Cawwww” Miss Abraham they are cunning bad luck and more were her words. and more of all the bad sad experiences she has had because of them. True her words proved ! Next day and some more she did not turn up at school . This was beloved teacher who never missed school for the number of years we have known . We missed her . We almost worshipped her and thus began my dislike fear of the crows
    “one for bad news – two good news – three for treasure and so on went the interpretation of sighting black crows (ravens). If we saw one bad crow we just went searching for one more so that we can have good luck experience for the day.

    One of my colleagues did not turn up for work for a few days and when she did she had bandaged hand “:fracture” she said because of damn crow who flew over her head and in fear without looking she ran and banged into a pole which fractured her hand. Imagine in Bombay crows coming low down enough was not scene that happened. In Bombay at least upto the 80s we never encounters cows or bullocks or monkeys . as we do in chennai and bangalore. Crows were a sight only from trees or our window sills on rare occasions.

    This experience was the unhappiest experience I have had. My brother had a per parrot . One evening when he came from school he found this parrot dead.pecked by a crow. When I came home from work the bathroom was locked. for a long time and I could hear sobs . That was my brother who never even whimpered when he had to take injections.

    Last was my own eerie scary experience on my terrace – some few years ago in Chennai when crows yes crows not one but a number of them flew over my head Even if i bent low they would almost touch my head. No physical hurt but my mind was. I was gripped such fear that could not explain.

    there are many more real stories but i stop here

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    • Philomena, hi, how are you doing? Crows are seen as inauspicious creatures, yes, but I recall there is a proverb that we should all be together like crows and not fight like dogs, so maybe they’re not all that bad. One of the reasons why we don’t like crows, I think, is because they prey on parrots and pigeons, who are docile creatures, and whom we shelter on our window sills and in our cages. There are some people who are interested in Wicca and witchcraft for whom crows are intelligent companions. I guess to each their own 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. The intrigue of uncertainty is not only foreboding, but has also led to creation of rituals only to keep the unknown at bay. I have grown up among my ancient folks who still believe that the time to sleep is when the sun sets. And that the dog howling means death. The list is endless, making me research on certain superstitions that are in vogue, while others that have been infamously put to use, in a new twisted manner.

    There is one belief from the ancient Louisiana tribe, which says, if you want to keep your man to yourself, so that no other woman can ever place her eye on him, put a drop of your blood in his drink and he shall be yours’ forever. Follow this if you want an instant breakup!

    – Howling/Crying of a dog is an ill omen (I read that Dogs [Animals in general feel/see/foresee death, hence they howl – my personal opinion, night is the time for most animals to mark their territories or to call for mating);
    – Handing over a knife or scissor to someone you know – causes animosity with that person (I know this one because I follow this…somehow, my grandma scared me. I always keep the knife or scissor on the table or wherever, from where the other person can pick it up. I know my psyche has become like that, but haven’t been able to get over it);
    -Not cutting nails on Thursdays, Saturdays or in the night (Mostly because of lack of electricity in olden days);
    -Keeping someone else’s handkerchief is considered to be harbinger of ill-relation with that person.
    -Seeing a cow and a calf together was/is a very lucky thing.
    -Inverted footwear would cause fights. (I am personally so much used to this that I keep turning over the inverted shoe or sandal, dreading a fight)
    -Never step on a lemon smeared with Sindoor (vermilion), nails, or the one that is kept on a cross-road
    -If you see a woman in Black/white Saree in the night, she is probably a demon/witch/black magician etc.
    -If a crow caws on your terrace, expect a guest!
    -Keeping a snake-skin that has been recently shed, is considered to be lucky;
    -Horse shoe above the main door wards off evil;
    -A child born on a Saturday from the left foot (Yours’ Truly) should be asked to wear an iron ring. Also, a kick on the back from the said left footer baby heals any kind of pain. Kicks anyone? 😀 😛

    Some of these may have a scientific backing and logic, but these beliefs have been around for so long that we might not even know we are doing something subconsciously. Nonetheless, don’t turn around when you hear my voice from behind. Deal?

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    • Hi Pradeeta! I knew most of these, though I’d not heard of the handkerchief belief. About the white-clad woman, though, I can speak from experience that when you’re out in the darkness and you hear anklets behind you, you just soil your pants. And it’s not even a noisy night; on a quiet night, you hear this soft, unmistakable sound of anklets. It happened to me a few times, and I still don’t know where it came from. It’s not easy to stare into the darkness, knowing that something might be staring out at you. It can see you, you see, but you can’t see it 🙂

      Like

  15. They think we’re howling because we sense death.

    They’re wrong.

    We’re howling because we feel him coming.

    The Prince of Hell.

    ‘A man’s best friend’, men call us. ”A woman will leave you when you’re down on your luck”, they say. ”But a dog- never.” They take us in, and feed us, and shelter us. They talk to us when they are upset, and they play with us when they are happy.

    They like to think they own us.

    That’s all right with us.

    They’re leading me on now, they’re letting the leash go. “Sniff, boy, sniff! Seek him out!”, they say
    I smell him, the boy who is on death’s door. The brother of the scared little girl who now holds my leash. I will comfort her later, lick her face till she smiles a feeble smile. But now, I must hunt. I lead them on into the darkness.

    In the dawn of mankind, when we were still capable of speech(the old tongue, not the human speech), we chose to shepherd them, these fledgling creatures, these fragile lives, these blissfully ignorant folk, from the darkness and into the light. It was agreed that we must bear the burden of keeping them safe from the greatest evil that grows everywhere, and the dark one who must never hold mankind between his fingers.

    Him, the Prince Of Hell.

    The boy is close, and he is wounded. I smell blood… oh, so much blood. They are running behind me with knives and pitchforks, and some carry those heavy metal tubes that spit fire. They think the boy has been taken by a man.

    But they are wrong, and their weapons won’t help them.

    I find the boy lying in the middle of a field. The girl screams and lets me go, running to her brother. He is nearly dead.

    Nearly.

    “We must bring him back to the doctor!” one shouts.

    “We must search for the attacker!”, another one demands.

    They argue amongst themselves over the dying boy, while his sister cries. I sit silently next to her. I am waiting.

    And then the wind stops blowing, and a hush falls among the villagers, and I know he has come.
    The Prince Of Hell.

    He walks softly into the clearing. His eyes are green, they stand out in the darkness. His ears twitch once, and he says nothing more. He sits down. Perfectly. Still.

    Of all the legends that men believe, only one has any truth to it.

    If you cross a black cat, your soul is doomed.

    The shadows dance around the Prince’s paws menacingly. They seem to advance, as if to reach for the dying boy. This soul is mine, his green eyes say. The boy’s pulse flickers. He will be gone, any moment now.

    I take a deep, deep, breath, and howl.

    The cat hisses in rage, but he does not relent. The shadows reach the boy’s foot, and he shivers even in his dreams.

    I howl louder and louder, but the Prince is mighty, and he has all of Hell at his back.

    I cannot match his strength, and he knows this. His green eyes gleam in the darkness, full of victory and malice. The shadows start to wrap around the boy’s heart. The Prince prepares to feast on his soul. The villagers stand mesmerized.

    I have failed, I think.

    And then, in the distance of the night, another voice howls.

    The shadows shudder, but they do not let go. Another shrill howl joins in. Then soon, another one, and then more. Soon, the night is full of baying, and the moon seems to shine brighter every time a voice joins in.

    The Prince is retreating, his eyes flashing hatred. The shadows return behind him, and the black cat bares his teeth.

    I close my eyes, draw my breath, and sing my song to the night.

    When I open my eyes, he is gone. The villagers are now huddled around the boy, trying to talk to him. He is alive and well, but deep down he knows he will never be the same again.

    The girl is crying, and she puts her arms around my neck. “Thank you”, she cries. She does not really know what has happened, but she has a feeling. I lick her face earnestly, and she breaks into a smile.

    The next time you hear a dog howl, remember. They’re not howling because a soul is being taken.

    They’re howling because a soul is being saved.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Her Thirteenth

    There she was.One look and he knew he was a goner.His baby girl ,all pink and wrinkly ,with frog legs had arrived ;kicking and screaming on the 13 of Jan ,2013.
    What an odd coincidence …it subconsciously registered in his mind.Is she going to be the omen of …?No,No ,he thought to himself.She is my daughter ,how could I even think like that.
    And so Ananya Ramanathan made a grand entry on the stage of life,predestined for events beyond her control .
    As a little babe she was different…quiet and always hungry …infact her mum thought she was not only feeding her but getting the life force sucked out of her…leaving the poor mum exhausted and tired on the verge of a breakdown.
    As she grew …a buzz started growing in the neighbourhood ;of unfortunate events happening to people who got close to her.
    Matters came to a head ;as expected.
    Ananya was turning thirteen.Her mother had planned a grand party.Redeeming her daughter’s image was the agenda.
    On the D day as guests came ,Ananya made a grand entry on the staircase ,as she came down she tripped .All watched in horror as she stumbled on the stairs and landed with a loud thud on the floor!! .Her head split wide open!
    And the irony was not lost on the horrified spectators.The unlucky one had had a dose of her own .
    It was the final call on her thirteenth birthday and Ananya R took a bow !!
    She finally had redeemed her image of being unlucky for others …the price was much .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yay! You did it! 🙂

      Like

    • Hi Kanu!

      Sorry, I somehow missed your entry. I read it just now, as I was scrolling down the post. Thanks for sharing this. I like the story of an unlucky charm getting unlucky herself. I think it has possibilities. You should try and write a longer story out of Ananya Ramanathan’s life. In this piece, it seems as if you had to hurry a little to get it under the word limit (I guess), but I’m really excited about the potential in the story. I hope you revisit it at leisure 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. StellaVeigas says:

    Nidhi: Very touching poem; reflects the sad reality/hypocrisy.

    Like

  18. I was gliding softly. The place was confined and, I had no way to escape. I waited patiently. I knew one day my confederate would find out a way to end my captivity. She was working on it, meticulously. Her success was slow but sure. She stopped in front of me for a moment, her velvety black body reflected on my shiny surface. She purred and, her green slinky eyes gleamed in ominous amusement.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Abhay was late for his as usual. While rummaging the cupboard for his tie, he shouted for Ramya, “Where the hell are you? Busy feeding that stupid cat? Will you bother to come and help me?”

    Ramya didn’t care to answer. She was tired of this everyday drama. She knew that Abhay couldn’t tolerate her cat, whose silky black body resembled the most expensive Persian fur. Ramya failed to fathom how an innocent creature could have so much impact on their conjugal life. Abhay was too much superstitious. Was it her cat’s fault that her mother-in-law tripped down the stairs, the very day it was brought to the house? It was just a little kitty then.

    Six months ago, Ramya, while returning from her office, found that poor creature by the side of their main gate. It was shivering, a small black ball, with half-open eyes. Ramya at once fell in love with it and from that day, it was able to steal all her attention. She caressed her pet as it was busy drinking milk from the big bowl.

    Abhay was shouting at the top of his voice. His usual petulance reached its nadir. Ramya couldn’t take it anymore as she heard him hurling some abusive words for her and her cat. She put the cat aside and stood up,” everything has a limit and, I’ll make him understand this today.”

    As Ramya strode off to her bedroom, the feline creature quietly went down to the lawn and sat beside the gate, where she was first discovered by Ramya, six months ago.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I was enjoying their harangue, as they were attacking each other with the filthiest of words, sounded musical to me. I was feeling impatient for I knew that the moment has arrived. I was waiting eagerly for the impending blow. Then it came. The man named Abhay erupted in anger as he picked me up with all his might and threw me down on the floor! Oh! Sweet sound of shattering glass. Millions of reflections on the floor. The woman stood still, utterly shocked and, I was free!

    As the man hurriedly came out of the house, I danced in joy getting my first prey after years. My ally was there; she was waiting outside. As he went out of the gate and was about to cross the road, she made him stop abruptly in the middle. A speeding car failed to stop and, within seconds I felt rejuvenated. The smell of blood, fresh and pure…I was satisfied.

    Me and my feline cahoots, we were reunited, once again.

    Like

    • Hi Maniparna! Good to see you here again. Hope you’ve been well. I’ve been on the lookout for a killer black cat in the entries for this contest, and you didn’t disappoint 🙂 I just noticed that we’ve had so many variations of the black cat theme here this time. It’s nice to see. Well written, and a bit unsettling, even for someone (like me) who grew up with cats around the house at all times. Now I’m thinking twice about whether or not to get one.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Sharath. I’m doing fine. Hope everything is well at your end too 🙂 It’s always fun to participate but sometimes I can’t due to the time factor.

        By the way, I’m eagerly waiting for your sequel to the “Winds of Hastinapur”. 🙂

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  19. Superstitions are a part of our daily life. We see people who are faithful to them, people who laugh it off and some who remain confused and follow them only in times of crisis. Besides the common superstitions which we all are aware off, I have across one, particularly before the death of someone in my family. You might relate to it as well.
    My maternal Grandmother passed away on 24th December 2012. At her memorial, all our relatives gathered; spoke about their most cherished moments with her. Amongst us, my aunt, was closest to her. She devoted her life taking care of my Grandmother.
    My aunt and grandmother lived in a two storied, pink house which had a silver gate. The left side of the porch consisted of my aunt’s nursery and like in most of the houses of Madhyamgram, Kolkata, you would find a very old tubewell behind the building.
    While all our relatives were in the hall, I couldn’t spot my aunt anywhere. After a while, I found her in her room. She sobbed and told me, “A few days ago, I came back from the hospital. When I was using the tubewell, I turned left and saw a really ugly, black monkey in one of our coconut trees. He looked like Yamraj (God of death). I felt like its cruel smile wanted to warn me that something bad was about to happen. I somehow then knew, Ma was leaving us soon. And she did, today”.
    At first I thought, she was imagining things because of all the stress she underwent through, till I heard a similar story from my father. My grandfather expired on the 14th of December, 2013. He was mistreated in the hospital. The doctors and the other staff were inconsiderate.
    After his death, when I was accompanying my father for a ritual which had to be performed near a pond, he told me, “I didn’t like the doctor from the moment I saw him. His sinister face had evil written all over it. There was something so malicious and unpleasant about him. I knew something bad was about to happen”. My grandfather had cardiac ailments. He went to the hospital with an unwavering will to recover. But he could not continue fighting after four days.
    Fortunately, I never faced any such incidents. We come to this planet for a certain period of time. Our deaths are destined. These vibes may indicate something. You could call these signs “superstitions” and steer clear of them or gravely believe in them. As for me, I believe certain occurrences act as indications. Furthermore, after hearing both my aunt and dad, I don’t think calling it a “coincidence” would be very fair, would it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ankita. When I was living in New Zealand, my friend used to volunteer at an old age home. They used to have a cat over there who would come and sit in the corner of a person’s room, and after a week or so, the person would pass away. It happened so often that whenever the cat began to act clingy towards one or the other residents there, the workers used to prepare for the worst, and more often than not, they would be proved right.

      My father tells the story of the family dog sleeping under the cot of his grandmother and mewling. A few days later, she had a fall, got infected, never recovered, and died in her sleep. The dog was still lying next to the cot all the while.

      So who knows, right? 🙂

      Like

  20. Rohit Bhasy says:

    The Prophecy

    The astrologer had predicted his death in an accident involving a four wheeled vehicle….

    He was six and his parents were scared.

    So his parents kept him away from four wheelers all through his childhood.

    They never owned a car, always travelled by the bus, rickshaw or the train.

    He too got used to travelling by public transport, yet consciously avoided taxis.

    He grew up to be rich. He built for himself, a modest bungalow. He didn’t have a garage, he never owned a car, nor did he travel with his friends when they offered him a ride.

    He got married, had a child and all about the prophecy was forgotten.

    Until one day when, while coming down the stairs of his house, his feet stumbled on something, he wasn’t aware was there…

    He slipped…his body jerked wildly as he flung into the air momentarily…

    His head crashed onto the marble staircase as he landed on his back, his spinal cord shattering at the impact…

    Shocked into silence….he lay in a pool of blood…unable to move…

    Darkness was slowly tightening its grip around him…

    Thats when he saw it…

    That on which he had tripped…that which led to his fall…

    Across the room…lying upturned..was his son’s toy car…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Rohit! This is the classic ‘conservation of reality’ that gets visited in a lot of science fiction stories. Basically, the person making the prediction does everything in his power to escape it, but by his very actions, he brings it about. That is because there is only one reality, and the fact that he makes the prediction and does things to prevent it from happening are already taken into account. So in that sense, no matter what you do, it will happen.

      If this concept interests you, you should read ‘The Stochastic Man’ by Robert Silverberg. Good novel. And thanks for sharing your piece 🙂

      Like

  21. I know I’m late. Did not have proper internet connection the past few days. Hope you enjoy my story 🙂

    Starburst

    I watch as my name turned to rust on his tongue. Staccato syllables, marred by guilt.

    “Why’re you getting so worked up, Shyam? If you really have to go, I totally understand.”
    His muscles ease at these words.

    “I knew you’d be cool. You’re the best, babe.” I flinch as he traps me in a flimsy hug.
    “That’s why you love me, right?”

    Blood pounds in my ears, bracing my mind against those obsolete words. I reflect his compromising smile as his chapped lips prick my cheek. The door swings shut. His key turns in the ignition, and once again, I lose him in a blur of metallic blue.

    The phone rings in my pocket, its imposing vibration rhyming to the collapsing silence that’s filling in the house.

    “Happy wedding anniversary, darling! So, what’s your plan for the special day?”

    “Thanks, mom. Well, we are just heading out to dinner at this fancy place nearby. I’ll get back to you in a bit.”

    A hot tear drop betrays my eye, burning the ghost of his kiss on my cheek.

    “You need to take that mirror down.” A trembling finger pointed at the starburst mirror, hanging above the fireplace.

    “Don’t be so ridiculous, grandma. I’m not going to take this beauty down just because of a tiny, broken shard of glass in the corner.”

    “You don’t understand. I wish you’d quit mocking and listen to me for once. I can feel it coming, Dhruti.”

    “That mirror is going nowhere. Seriously. I wish you’d speak with as much conviction about your reading glasses that you misplaced.”

    A childish pout crinkled her toothless mouth as I pinched her nose in an attempt to cheer her up.
    “Shyam, will you help me set the table? Someone’s getting really hungry here.”
    His laugh joined my friendly jeer as I flippantly dismissed the prophecy that took an unexpected turn, just as she had portended.

    A host of greetings flood my phone, vibrating at my feet.

    I scrape the tear away with the back of my hand as a whirlwind of memories swirl in my head, offering no respite from the sickness resonating from the innards of my throbbing heart. I reach for the banister as my knees buckle. Slowly, I reach up the stairs to the step where I saw it all.
    The quivering lips as he reaches beneath her cascade of raven hair to ravish her neck.

    A thousand images of him, passionately kissing another woman, tucking me away in the farthest shadows of his dreams.

    A starburst of my soul, falling to pieces.

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    • Hi Dharini! Good to see you here. And don’t worry about the late entry. It didn’t come in after I’d begun reading, so it’s still okay. Your story is nice, and there are some striking images here and there. Her name turned to rust on his tongue, for example, was very good. And I liked the symbolism of the main character’s mirror-like soul. All of it was good. I did feel, though, that the piece was hurried a bit, lacking in balance, so much so that some of the narrative bits seemed as though they were forced. Also, the superstition angle was not the main driver of the story. It just seemed to be tagged on as an afterthought. For instance, if you remove the grandmother and the superstition completely, the story wouldn’t change, would it?

      Thanks for sharing this. Hope you come here every contest from now on 🙂

      Like

      • Yes, yes, it indeed was put up together in the last moment. You saw through it, didn’t you? 😛 But I really wanted to enter, so I thought I’d just give it a shot no matter. Well, sometimes a really nice sentence just floats up in your mind, and you know you have to do something with it? That’s exact.y what happened. I had to concoct a story around the first sentence. This is how I usually write, A surreal sentence pops up in my head, and I build around it, drawing inspiration from my favorite vocalists/songs that I’m hooked to. Basically, mood pieces that have some nice sentences peppered throughout the story, to which I can always come back to later. Hope to be part of all your contests from now on 🙂

        Like

  22. Thank you, Sharath & Shweta!

    Like

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  1. […] At author Sharath Komarraju’s website. […]

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