Daily Prompts

Civilisation of Discontent

He visited today, after long.

At first, Ma didn’t notice him, but he always has to make his presence felt. So he rattles the grill a bit, making a sound somewhere between hissing and cackling. Ma looks up finally, and her face breaks into a smile. “There you are! Where have you been all this while?” He gazes at her, his teeth bared. Ma potters around the kitchen, looking for something to feed him. She finally hands him some peanuts.

His tiny fingers nimbly reach in through the grills to grab them. As he munches quickly, he furtively glances at Ma, as she inches nearer. The relief, I know, is mutual.

Up close, he engulfs the blue of the sky. After the peanuts, he tries to reach for the tomatoes soaked in water inside, but Ma is quick to say “No, don’t even dare.” I think he looks a little sad-the light in his eyes dims a little.

Ma talks to him some more. Shares tidbits with him about her life, what she plans to cook for lunch and where she will go shopping later in the day. He seems to be listening politely, his lips parted in an ‘o’. He then shakes the grills suddenly, screeching. A grief slowly washes over me, like an uncomfortably cold, lazy tide that decides to only wet the toes. I wonder on which side of the grill stands the real prisoner.

I go to the window, and look outside to see tall trees with sturdy branches built for swinging. I see freedom in shades of green and brown. The monkey follows my gaze, in silent agreement. After all, we originate from the same roots.

He grabs the nearest electric wire, and swings out of sight. Until next time.


Via Daily Prompt: Roots


Daily Prompts

Coming out of the (Water) Closet


I walked, no rushed in. My bladders were bursting, threatening to explode. None stared at me while I walked with an awkward gait to the loo. Perhaps they were being polite-everyone experienced UPS (urgent pee syndrome) at some point or the other.

The toilet seat was up and ready. I sat down heavily, not caring about the ensuing noise my steadily deflating bladder created. To my ears, it sounded like a gushing waterfall. And later, I didn’t stop to ask the person outside what it sounded like. As if the acoustics of my tsunamic pee were under my control.

I got up, finally relieved, and reached out for the flush. But it wasn’t there. I searched frantically-up, down and sideways, but I swear I couldn’t find it. I stood there, helplessly bewildered.

Then the commode roared, and the water spurted from its depths. I looked in to behold a swirling whirlpool gradually reduce to calm ripples.

As I stood transfixed, the toilet cooed and gurgled like a baby. Even let out a few burps. Perhaps it was chuckling in amusement, at my astonishment. I blinked, and walked out, this time unsteadily for different reasons.

I later found out that these flushes work on automatic sensor mechanisms.

Technology, I tell you. Taking a leak on everyone’s lives.

Via Daily Prompt: Chuckle



It’s when you crossed your legs I noticed it first

…and I couldn’t get my eyes off since.


You were wearing ankle length black pants, and it was just a thin gold band. What looked like a million shimmering diamonds of a myriad shades, were suspended on that thread precariously. The tension I assumed this created, made me feel like I was walking a tightrope.

We were sitting in a couch at the office. I called you over to discuss the progress of our latest contract. You seemed agitated. I noticed you waved your hands a lot, but I couldn’t remember your facial expressions. That’s probably because I barely looked at your face, the moment you swung one leg over the other.

“Are you listening?” you asked brusquely, at some point.

“Hmm…” I murmured, vaguely. You and I both knew my mind was elsewhere.

You resumed your tirade, against lazy workmen and corrupt managers. My thoughts scattered, exactly when your anklet splayed a rainbow across the ceiling. The blinds were fluttering in the breeze, and one of the sun’s rays sneaked in and bounced off the diamonds. My heart stopped, and in that moment, I wished time did too.

The rest of the day went by in a haze. The only time I got some clarity was when I sat back on the same couch, and closed my eyes. When I replayed that moment over and over, the thousand sparkling tear-shaped drops on the ceiling. In my mind’s eye, I could summon a rainbow any time, without rain or shine.

Before you left, I managed to say “Nice anklet.” You looked at me quizzically, and left in a huff.

I forgot to mention, you have nice ankles too.


Via Daily Prompt: Opaque

Daily Prompts

A Song of Ice and Fire



Was a different kind of morning.

When I awoke, I unmistakably smelled

The remnants of a bitter battle-

A war had raged between Sun and Rain:

I caught a whiff of

Drizzle and dazzle.


I looked up to see Sun miffed-

A little blue in places, some

Flecks of grey.

Like a giant pupil determined

Not to blink.


The winds blew

Making leaves quiver and fall off

Like green snow.

Rain resolved

To kick up a storm and

By evening, Sun

Was thunderous.


Ocean crooned, sensing

Disaster. Sun hadn’t slept well

Last night. Her calm waters

Lapped silently, steadily,

At the shore, creating

A rhythm that lulled Sun

Until he slowly sank…

But not before he burnt so bright

That Rain glowed when it fell.


People all over came out to watch

Streaks of liquid torchlight falling.

Weathermen scratched their heads:

“What a conflict; a highly professional



Of course, the following morning, Sun and Rain appraised the extent of their damage. Both couldn’t deny that they were too weather-beaten to care.


Via Daily Prompt: Denial





When I’m lucky to

Fall asleep

I dream this recurring theme-

I walk through a wall:

And instead of picking

Off the glass,

I pull out some words, bloody

And shiny, still



I’m unable to sleep,

Neither on my back,

Nor face down and

Mother asks


Frightened and finally


“What is wrong?”


She offers to help-

“No!” I snap.


Leave my dreams

Alone with me:

They’re here to keep my insomnia







Daily Prompts

Maple Trees


You and I, two maple trees

Stand together,

Roots entwined.


Our children are ageing

Quite fast-see

The leaves are grey already.


Autumn is upon us-

Pray, pause a while,

Let our gnarly branches embrace

A final time.


Via Daily Prompt: Pause

Daily Prompts

If on a Summer’s Day a Reader…

You, Reader, are thinking that this post will be about today’s prompt: Passport. When you first saw the word, you might have thought of all things related to it, like traveling to exotic destinations, a suitcase filled with tourist paraphernalia, or the little black book that is immediately distinguished from all other little black books. Or maybe, it’s blue. Or red. Depending on the country it’s generated from.


Further thinking led you to the thrill you associate with holidays. You’re looking outside your window now, sighing from the heat. Summer has arrived, guns blazing, and is determined to scorch you. As you’re reading this, sweat drips down your brow and you reach for the nearest towel. You, Reader, could choose between a white or brown one, but decide on the brown. It’ll mask the dirt from your forehead as you wipe it, better than the white one. Plus, you won’t feel so disgusted when you need to use it again.

So thinking about traveling also entails the problems of booking tickets and finding a lodging. You have to consider whether you will travel solo, or with a group of people. And most importantly, where you’d like to go. If you want to go with a group of people, who will you go with? Your family? Friends? Colleagues? Maybe not your family. You’re young and full of adventure, and you think if you go with family, they’ll only end up doing the most banal things-like hunt down existing family members in that location, or go temple/church hopping. All that is boring, these routines set in stone.

Then you think of friends and colleagues. Everyone is busy. Some have promotions to look forward to. Some are birthing babies. So you decide to take yourself somewhere. As you are dreaming, you see the screen in front of you slowly shimmer, as if a light breeze is whistling through the nearby palm trees, somehow able to ruffle the screen as it were the pages of a book.

You reach out to your wallet, to see how much money you can spare. You cringe in dismay. You are yet young, struggling to make a mark in your career. You don’t have the bare minimum to finance a vacation.

This is where I, the Author steps in. Do not forget Reader, that you are first and foremost a reader, and everything you chance upon is a text to be read. Yes, I’m talking about the movie you watched last night, the menu of a new restaurant that was slipped beneath your door, seamlessly blent with the morning newspaper, and the sun you happened to see setting the other day. Don’t think you’re delusional, Reader, if you believed the sun waved to you before it disappeared beneath the horizon, promising it’ll be back the next day. It is promises (and texts) like this which make you believe in…believing.

So now I ask you, Reader, to stand before your bookshelf. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have one. Think of all that you have read. Now that can be confusing, so let me guide you.

You are fingering the spine of a Murakami book. You are trying to remember the story as it were told, about a bar owner and how a mysterious woman of his past appears and pulls the rug out from beneath him. You are toppling, and you can’t help but taste the words, the food-especially miso soup and rice. It’s time to move on now, so you head to Shinjuku station and board the next train.


When you open your eyes, you are on a boat with the Old Man. His hands are cramped, and he is laying, slumped against the stern of the small skiff. You cannot offer any help, so you stare at the calm expanse of blue water on either side of you. The boat is directed by an unseen force, something you presume to be underwater. Strange. You’ve been on the boat long enough, and it is becoming too small to accommodate two people simultaneously. So you plunge into the icy depths.


When you resurface, you’re hit by a blast of frigid air. You are on the Swiss Alps, and you see the dark figure of something approaching you swiftly. As the figure closes in on you, you make out the monstrous shape of a Fiend. It looks as though it’s hot on the trails of something, or someone, and you hope to god its not you. So you quickly flatten yourself against a cave. You’re freezing, and when you breathe, you exhale perfect rings of fog that you couldn’t manage with a cigarette.


Now, Reader, open your eyes. sit back down, and look at the screen. You are perhaps thankful for this mini globetrot, or it might have made you feel bitter. But somewhere, perhaps you’re thankful for all the reading you’ve done throughout your life. If you can’t see them places, you can always imagine them. And imagination is a sort of travel, isn’t it? One that does not require a passport.

Oh, Reader, I’ve forgotten to mention, I did not write anything about the previous word prompt Fortune.

And you, Reader, are thankful that only one Italo Calvino exists in the world.  It is you, reader, who is truly fortunate. Fortunate that I, the Author, am but a poor copy, a failed mimicry artist.

Via Daily Prompts: Passport
and Fortune