Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A Tough Cookie

500 words + title
Must contain the following plot:
1 protagonist, 3 doors, 3 choices, and the process by which the protagonist makes 1 choice.
You can write in any voice (1st, 2nd or 3rd person).
Tagging Mathangi KrishGouri DangeParomita Vohra
A Tough Cookie
My parents had seriously started looking for suitable matches for me even before I had got my BA final results. It was the done thing, at the time. Much correspondence and many discussions were happening at our home. That evening the bell rang, the front door opened, and in trooped the parents of the boy suggested by my aunt. Apparently our horoscopes matched. He liked my photograph. He would meet me only if his parents approved. I had come in with the tea tray, and had served tea to the guests, surprising myself by not being at all nervous. Both sets of parents seemed pretty pleased. I went into the kitchen, having suitably displayed myself, and stood near the door, absent-mindedly listening to the conversation. I was, I remember, a bindaas, merry soul. Nothing seemed to faze me. But what I overheard certainly did. The ‘boy’s’ family was asking for a huge sum as dowry, besides the customary ‘decent’ wedding and jewellery and gifts and trousseau etc.
I waited until they had left, and then went and told my parents that there was no way I would ever marry anyone who was stupid enough to either demand or accept a dowry. They told me that it was customary in our community, and they had saved up enough for both my dowry and that of my younger sister, and that I was being needlessly rebellious. I asked them if they had stopped reading the newspapers, where every second day a dowry death or two would be reported. My mother laughed, and said, Oh, these people are not like that. Your Bua knows them well.
I said, All those girls who have been burnt to death, their families I’m sure also knew them well.
Papa said, Meet the boy at least, see if you like him.
Not in a million years, I said, stomping off to the room I shared with my sister.
My sister came into the room and shut the door, quietly sliding the bolt home.
Why are you locking the door?
Shhhhh. Vinay gave me a letter for you.
Vinay was the boy-next-door. We had played together, grown up together, until he had left for the engineering college hostel. He wrote that he had secured a good job, and would love to spend the rest of his llfe with me. If I was at all interested, he would ask his parents to approach mine. Even though we belonged to different communities, he was sure both sets of parents would agree.
I opened the bedroom door and handed Vinay’s letter to my dad.
I think it’s quite possible for me to get married without a dowry, Papa.
Do you like the boy?
Well, we have been friends for a long time. But right now, Mum and Dad, I don’t want to get into any kind of relationship. I want to enroll for my Master’s degree as soon as I get my BA results. I want to study, and I will want to work, too. Only way to end this dowry nonsense.

Monday, March 30, 2020

The Senior Citizens' Quinoa Tales

Start with the words of the last watsapp message your wrote, and go on to a 500 word monologue, a piece to camera. Sarcasm and kindness must both shimmer through, like in a dhoop-chaaon sari.
500 words and a title. Deadline: 5.30 p.m.
Tagging Gouri DangeMathangi KrishParomita Vohra.
The Senior Citizens' Quinoa Tales
The last WhatsApp message I sent, before seeing this post, was “Please send the recipe’, to a friend who had posted a picture of her dinner, quinoa upma and peanut chutney. I love quinoa upma, which I have eaten a few times at my favourite CafĂ© Lota, but have never made. I also love the quinoa salad that my older son makes, with all kinds of exotic ingredients like avocado and mint sauce that I am not likely to get in Covid times. I love quinoa for various reasons. It tastes good. It also has a very low glycemic index, which is excellent news for diabetic me. I also know that it is rather expensive in India, so the last time I went to the US, in 2017, I bought packets of black quinoa and white quinoa, which have been sitting in my freezer ever since. And then my son was on a sabbatical in Delhi for most of 2018, accompanied by his family. (That was a wonderful time, being able to spend time with the grandchildren, but I digress). When he left I inherited some groceries from his house, including, of course, more quinoa. I did make something with some of it, once, but I forget what it was. It was edible and it was eaten, is all I can say.
Some more facts about my life, which are germane to the non-consumption of my extant stocks of quinoa. For most of the past couple of years, at least, our two-person household now has major spaces in its togetherness. Spouse ji travels for 3-4 days most weeks, so we have an either 3 or 4 day weekend, in which we do many things together, like banking chores. No, we are not net savvy enough to do online banking. We like our local bank branch. We also physically deposit our credit card cheques in another bank. We are senior citizens, and entitled to be dinosaurs. We sometimes treat ourselves to a Chinese meal post banking! Of course I cook good nutritious meals at home, for poor Spouse ji, who has to eat out when he travels. Now, I find it really hard to cook very small quantities of food, even though I try. So, once the spouse is out for the week, I end up consuming leftovers until it’s time for him to come home again. So when does the bechaara quinoa get a chance? The spouse is not terribly adventurous with food, and is not a quinoa fan either. I have, today, made a karela salad from a recipe on a Facebook post, which I know he will not touch. There is also sabut urad, aka maa ki daal for lunch, and yesterday’s lauki koftas, which I made after years and years, so he will be well fed. I need to plan a meal which has some decent leftovers for him and yummy quinoa for me, because I don’t want to generate extra washing up for my dishpan hands.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

A Month of Sundays

Our prompt today is:
Pick a day of the week that you most like. Tell us why you like it so much; only caveat: provide a set of analogies in the manner of "name, place, animal, and thing". E.g, if your day is Monday -- if Monday had another name, it would be....if Monday were a place, it would be....etc. etc. As per usual: Exactly 500 words. Tagging Mathangi KrishGouri DangeParomita Vohra
A Month of Sundays
Do you remember that ridiculous verse, Monday’s child is fair of face, etc.?
It gave a lot of silly kids silly ideas about the day they were born, which was therefore meant to be their day, hence their favourite. I was quite a crybaby, being squashed often by two older siblings. I was quite convinced that I was Wednesday’s child, which wasn’t bad at all, because our school used to have a half day on Wednesdays, and Wednesday lunch at home was, inevitably, bread fried in butter, with baked beans. My sister was hardworking and super competent at everything, we were sure she was Saturday’s child. To add to which my father would often call her Shanichar, which was linked to Saturn’s obduracy. She was, actually, born on a Saturday, while my brother and I were both Sunday’s children. This fact I got to know much later in my life.
That’s a long digression. However, in another life, I did love Sundays. Daddy was at home on Sundays. I’d often accompany him to the weekly Satsang in Connaught Place, following little of what was sung or spoken, but feeling suitably holy. The prasad was always welcome too, usually rajma on a slice or two of bread, and a sweet. When the whole family attended, which was rare, we would walk down to Madras Hotel, and have dosai in the Family Room. In any case, Sunday lunches were a treat. Most evenings, Daddy and his tail would go across to Defence Colony, to visit a family, distantly related to us, who had, in those ancient days, a television. We would, quite shamelessly, may I say, sit and watch the Sunday movie, whether it be good, bad, or indifferent. (In retrospect I am quite sure my mother hated us, and justifiably so). If Sunday had another name, it would be Daddy Day. If Sunday were a place, it would be Connaught Place, with all the shops closed, no traffic, a blue sky, and a little girl holding her father’s hand. If Sunday were an animal, it would be a warm, cuddly rabbit. If Sunday were a thing, it would be a soft shawl, wrapping you in warmth and comfort.
Growing up, however, meant washing your own clothes every Sunday, and helping out in the kitchen. Further growing up meant Family Responsibilities. It was, for many years, the only day that the spouse and I could spend any waking hours together. It was, therefore, a day of mismatched expectations and much taqraar. Our kids called it Sadan (Sulking) Day, If it was a place, it was a path meandering between Heaven and Hell. If it was an animal, it was a magnificent tiger, which could roar and maul at will. If it was a thing, it was a rosebush: beautiful scented flowers and very prickly thorns…
Covid days are all Sundays, now, but happier ones: a farmer’s field, where you slog for much of the day, and then relax with Netflix.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Rani, Guddu, Death

Today's prompt is easy:
-- Exactly 500 words
-- In dialogue form
-- Explain an idea (concept, theory, phenomenon) to someone who has never heard of it before.
The following words must appear in your piece - "wonder", "genius", "nevertheless", "red", "suave".
Rani (3 years old): Why is Dadaji sleeping on the floor?
Guddu (13 year old cousin): He isn’t sleeping, Rani. He’s dead.
Rani: Dead means?
Guddu (Muttering to himself): Kahaan phans gaya! Why did Chachi find me only to look after this genius kiddo with her endless questions? In this huge joint family of seventeen, sorry, now sixteen people, why me? I wonder how long I’ll have to babysit her.
Rani: Guddu Bhaiyya, batao na. Dead means?
Guddu: Dead means no longer living, not breathing anymore.
Rani: See Guddu Bhaiyya, I’m not breathing. Am I dead?
Rani holds her breath, her chest held tight in her little red dress. (In all the hustle bustle of the funeral arrangements, her mother couldn’t find a single sober dress. Red would have to do)
Guddu: You are only holding your breath, Rani. Dead means Bhagwaanji ke paas chale gaye?
Rani: How do you go to Bhagwaanji? I want to go too. I want to go and play with Dadaji. I want Dadaji to cuddle me, and let me sit in his godi.
Guddu: Do you remember Goldie? The goldfish in the bowl in Dadaji’s room?
Rani: Goldie was so pretty, swimming round and round and round and round and round.
Guddu: Please stop, Rani, I’m getting dizzy. Then one day Goldie stopped swimming, we found him floating upside down in his bowl.
Rani: I want Goldie, Bhaiyya. Let’s go to Dadaji’s room. Maybe Goldie has come back. Chalo Bhaiyya, chalo.
Guddu : Sorry Rani, we have to stay here, in your room, with all your toys and books. Your Mumma said you have to stay with me. Goldie can’t come back. When someone’s dead, they can’t just come back.
Rani: Okay Guddu Bhaiyya. Does Bhagwaanji have a nice big house? Will Dadaji have a nice room like his room here?
Guddu: I really don’t know, Rani. All I know is that our Dadaji is no longer alive. He isn’t breathing, talking, eating, drinking, moving around. He can’t even blink, baby. (Mutters to himself): God, please let her not ask where they are going to take him and what are they going to do with his body.
(Background sounds of ‘Ram naam satya hai’ and ‘Brigadier Sahib Amar Rahein’ rent the air. Nevertheless, Guddu maintains his composure. Rani, of course, rushes to the window.
Rani: Where are they taking Dadaji? Why is he covered with all those garlands? How will he breathe?
Guddu: Sweetie, he isn’t breathing. Come let’s play with Teddy. See, Teddy’s crying, he’s missing you.
Rani (Crying): Guddu Bhaiyya, let’s go and stop them. They can’t take Dadaji away.
Guddu (Holding Rani in his arms, standing near the window): See, baby, Papa, Chacha, Bade Tauji, they have to take him away. They have to take your body away when you die. Or else you rot and stink, like the dead mouse behind the fridge.
Rani: Haan.
They huddle together, crying, as the once suave Brigadier Kohli marches on his final journey.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Skies Are Opening Up

I posted at 4.49, smartly forgetting to tag Mathangi KrishGouri DangeParomita Vohra.
Here are the constraints: Exactly 500 words, write entirely in present continuous tense.
Title the piece: The skies are opening up
The skies are opening up
And how!
I am wondering about long term maidless survival. I am managing to clean and cook and launder. (Laundry courtesy washing machine. I am daily offering to all the washing machine gods my sincerest prayers that it may survive these critical weeks, since it is aging and not in the best of health). I am also managing to have an aching back, I am also realizing exactly how pampered my existence used to be. I am also wondering how my mother used to manage a household of four (my brother was away) without any help at all until she employed Sampoorna, a beautiful, ebony skinned Tamil woman, who would clean the utensils and mop floors bending from the waist down, like an inverted V. My older nephew, visiting from England at all of eleven months (along with his parents, of course), would be utterly fascinated by her. I am also remembering my sister and I being slaves to said mother during our holidays, while our father headed the domestic supplies department.
I am wondering when kneading the dough and cutting vegetables became tasks which I outsourced to the helper, with a concomitant increase in salary, of course. Along with drying and putting the clean dishes and utensils back in their rightful places, and then, the last great bastion of my domestic ‘independence’ (ha bloody ha) dusting the house. I was always the person wanting her thingmajigs to be at the precise micro-angle at which she chose to put them on whatever surface she so desired. I am now preferring to have the said thingmajigs and the surfaces they rest on clean. I am now willing to be ignoring imprecise placements.
I am also wondering at the amount of money we are to be saving by no longer having malls, restaurants and cinemas to visit. I am thinking that it can be quite substantial.
I am seeing that the pigeons who are sharing our colony with us are asserting themselves a lot more these days: they are dancing the Tandav in my pots and messing up the front balcony despite my coming out, several times a day, with a jhadoo in my hand and shouting “Ae, ae, hutt saale.” with total disregard for gender and species appropriateness of said epithet, or decorum. I am also seeing my late lamented parents nodding their heads sadly at each other at this breach of linguistic etiquette. And then I am also remembering family history, and thinking that I will be forgiven. The ancestors of these pigeons used to be tormenting my parents as well, by building nests in the verandah skylights, strewing debris all around, as well as dropping the occasional egg. They were chased away, but more politely, being addressed as ‘Ae Kabootar’. I am also remembering the time when my soft-spoken, gentle father chased a donkey up the hill. I am thinking that I am glad they are not here today, in this Covid ridden world.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

High in the Sky

Today's prompt.
A meets B (Name them in your narrative if you'd like; fiction or non-fiction; your pick).
B says: Have we met before?
A says: I'm not sure, but I think we may have...
Continue the tale. 500 words.
Share; tag us.
#lockdownwriting #notlockingdownmywords
Mathangi KrishGouri DangeParomita Vohra
High in the Sky
For once Reena was travelling business class. Her husband had earned enough points with all his business travel to get her tickets to Houston via Frankfurt upgraded. She was going to stay with her daughter and son-in-law, for the final month of her daughter’s pregnancy, and, of course, for a few months after the delivery. Her husband would be joining her a couple of months later, when, according to him, the baby was more human and less mouse-like. Someone you could pick up comfortably.
She had settled down comfortably, watching the other passengers enter. A middle-aged gentleman sat in the seat next to hers, and nodded pleasantly. He seemed vaguely familiar, but then so many people in Delhi looked familiar. She had lived in cities all over India, and was, finally, back “home’ in Delhi. So many people looked like people she knew, or ought to remember knowing. Something kept bugging her memory, an unscratchable itch.
She asks him, knowing that this sounds like a cheesy pickup line, except that she is a venerable grandmother–to-be: Excuse me, you look very familiar. Have I met you somewhere?
He says, Sorry Ma’am, I don’t think so, and turns back to the book he is reading.
She turns back to her magazine, pretending to read, still bothered by his unplaceable familiarity.
He gets up to use the washroom, leaving his book face down on his seat.
She curses herself for being an old nosey parker, and picks it up. His name is on the flyleaf. Rohit Singh.
An innocuous enough name. But what rings a bell are the circles with which he has dotted the “I” in both his first name and surname. He had been a couple of years her junior in college, and was assigned to her as the subject for her Case Study of an Adolescent. She had interviewed him and his family, administered various tests, during the course of which she became familiar with his handwriting, his signature, and had submitted a case study she was proud of. She had treated him to a Chinese lunch as his reward for being her subject. That was over thirty five years ago. Did she care to renew that brief but fairly intense acquaintanceship? Did she even care to spend the next few hours sharing life details with a virtual stranger?
She puts the book down, and returns to her magazine.
Rohit Singh emerges from the washroom. He takes a good look at Reena as he walks toward his seat. She does strike him as familiar, but is completely unable to place her. It bothers him, that itch to know who she is.
Reena has, out of the corner of her eye, seen the look of slight bewilderment on his face.She hugs her secret knowledge to herself. She has the duration of the flight to decide whether or not to enlighten him. She feels, foolishly she knows, powerful.

A Day in the Life in the Time of Covid 19

In response to Mathangi Krish's rather espionage-y prompt: 
And what shall we write today?
Here's a more formalist framework.
a. Use second person only! (As in "You don't know what you are writing")
b. Shadow someone (in your imagination! social distancing y'all!) for a day identifying them only as a "you"and detail all that they do.
c. Write 500 words.
Happy writing, folks!

A Day in the Life in the Time of Covid 19
You wake up at 2 a.m., despite the two drinks you had had the evening before. You try not to toss and turn, so as not to wake up your wife, a self-proclaimed light sleeper. You grab your mobile phone, check mails and messages, and play online Suduko, until you fall asleep again at 5 a.m.
When you finally wake up, it is nearly 8 a.m.
You go downstairs to pick up the newspaper from the security guard, as there is no longer door delivery of newspapers. You and your wife have your morning tea and biscuits, the tray on the bed between the two of you. You pick up the tray and put the mugs in the sink.
You make the bed, while your wife does the washing up and starts preparing things for lunch. You are told to make yourself an egg and toast for breakfast. You and your wife are trying to simplify things in the (corona virus) forced absence of the daily helper. You go into your study and try calling the airline regarding the flights you had cancelled last week, trying to get a confirmation of the same. They put you on hold to some dreadful music, and you proceed to microwave yourself a poached egg. You put the toast in the toaster, and are startled by a sharp rap on your hand. You were trying to take toast out of the toaster with your bare hands, while the toaster was on. Apparently you had been distracted by the ping of the microwave. The airline finally connects your call, and assured you that your cancellations had been implemented, after which you have your cold egg and soggy toast.
You tell your wife that you are going to the general store within the housing complex’s precincts. Your phone rings before you can step out, a call regarding a credit card purchase you had made yesterday. You had ordered some gifts for your grandchild’s upcoming birthday, and the amount the credit card company was billing you for didn’t match the cost of the articles purchased. You spend a good forty minutes sorting out this issue, and finally go down to the shop. You buy some cola, some snacks, some breakfast items, toothpaste. You come back home and ask your wife to check out her kitchen supplies, and to go and buy whatever other essentials she needs.
You go back into your study and go through some files and mails. You come out and watch some TV. You put on Netflix, and then get back onto various office calls. You have lunch, and meticulously wash your own plate. You also take down the laundry and pile it onto the guest room bed. Your wife tells you that she wants to withdraw some money from the bank, so you both get into the car. You stop at the colony ATM, which fortunately has cash. You decide to drive to the local market and see what shops are open. Most shops are closed, barring the provision stores and the fruit and vegetable stalls. You buy some vegetables and some fruit and come home.
You answer some more emails, go to your bedroom and lie down. Your wife tells you that it was very nice of you to take down the laundry, but would you please remember, next time, to shut the balcony door!
You snore.

Covid lockdown writing Monday 23rd March: Downtown

Paint yourself a fantasy life scenario with the help of the lyrics of a chosen song.
Post on your feed, tag us.
When you're alone and life is making you lonely
You can always go - downtown.
When you've got worries all the noise and the hurry
Seems to help I know downtown.
Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city
Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty
How can you lose?
The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares
So go downtown
Things will be great when you're downtown
No finer place for sure downtown
Everything's waiting for you.
I am neither alone or lonely, and there is no downtown to go to at the moment.
But, in my mind, we can watch a play at India Habitat Centre, followed by dinner with friends in Khan Market or at one of Lodi Colony’s tony new restaurants. Or just a romantic dinner for the two of us…
If that is too far to go, (and Delhi’s borders are sealed, by the way, in reality, not in my fantasy world), we can always drive down to The DLF Mall of India and watch a movie. Irfan’s latest, English Medium, was released last week, with reasonably decent reviews. (And then the movie halls closed down). This particular mall also has two decent bookshops, so perhaps we can go and browse there. And a quick potter in Fabindia, maybe, just to see what’s new.
Don't hang around and let your problems surround you
There are movie shows downtown.
Maybe you know some little places to go to
Where they never close downtown.
Just listen to the rhythm of a gentle bossa nova
You'll be dancing with 'em too before the night is over
Happy again.
The downtown of my youth was Connaught Place, where a bunch of us would scrounge through our pockets, and pool in our meagre resources for coffee at India Coffee House, keeping aside our bus fare home, of course. The first discotheque we knew of was The Cellar. Going there meant an occasion, or a rich friend who could treat you to a meal and a dance out there. The five star hotels had their discos, but they were too rarefied for us to ever aspire to. Dancing was more likely at our college festivals, or cast parties after the annual college play. And as adults, colony dos, club shindigs, new year parties. One time, on holiday in Goa, we won a prize for the liveliest couple on the floor, two pairs of two left feet notwithstanding…
And you may find somebody kind to help and understand you
Someone who is just like you and needs a gentle hand to
Guide them along.
So maybe I'll see you there
We can forget all our troubles, forget all our cares
So go downtown
Things will be great when you're downtown
Don't wait a minute more, downtown
Everything’s waiting for you
We are both senior citizens. After all the housework sans helper and accompanying fatigue, a very satisfying downtown would be our favourite local Chinese restaurant, a mere 4-5 kilometres away. I can see us enjoying our favourite soups and dimsums, while we decide on our main course. I think that’s the first downtown we’ll opt for, when life comes back to normal.
Please, Life, please?

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Three Lists!

Alright #lockdownwriting challenge folks, here's your second prompt:
500 words by 5 pm, written and posted on your FB feed.
Tag us.
1. Today's prompt is a list.
2. Make three lists of anything you want. Title each list. Populate each list.
I make lists as aides-memoire, mostly To Do lists and shopping lists, and menus when I am expecting guests for a meal. I can't cook for a party if I haven't planned out the menu and requisite shopping on paper. Then there are the endless mental lists, like lists of
1) Things I am Perpetually Planning to do, and Don't Actually Do like sort out the million papers in the several shelves and drawers that I possess, (not even thinking of those in the spouse's study: I value my life!), dispose of now defunct leather handbags, text books that I used in my long ago college years, cassette tapes that hold wonderful music but have been lying in our basement for years now, with no system to play them on: the spouse has been aspiring to get them digitized, also for several years now. (I recently learned that Goonj uses old cassette tape to make some rather interesting wallets). This is a merely aspirational list, with no great intention or ambition of fulfilling it, but, nonetheless, a list. Of acts of omission, if you so wish to call them, of acts which may never take place. I have always aspired to leave my affairs in good order, so that my heirs are not inconvenienced unduly. (Yes, I did throw out all my old underwear a few months ago, when Covid 19 wasn't even heard of). I still hope to do these things someday soon, if Time Is With Me.
2) Things I used to wish for:
Pretty crazy ones, beyond the usual romantic dreams of enduring love and a happy family life, which, I am happy to say, have largely been fulfilled.
I had very specific requirements for my next janam! I was never tall, nor thin. For the longest time, well into adulthood, when motherhood and greed had added to the avoirdupois, I asked to be tall and slender in my next birth. Unhappy feet rendered making myself taller with heels in this janam not really practical, and I was too lazy/greedy to lose weight. Since giving specifications for my next birth seemed eminently doable, I also asked for a good singing voice. It took me years to accept that I couldn’t sing. For most of my life I inflicted my tuneless renderings upon an unfortunate audience, mostly my family. I am happy to say that little children, (at least my little granddaughters) like what I sing, and I do remember several wonderful children’s songs from my own childhood. But, as a music lover with a discerning ear, I want to be able to offer aalaaps and ragas and exquisite Kabir and Meera bhajans to discerning listeners, whose encores echo in my delighted ears!
3) What I Wish For Now:
A future. For humanity. For love. For this beautiful world we have so sadly mistreated. For the world's children to forget what masks are. For air purifiers to become defunct. For a happier world, where there is kindness, compassion, and humanity towards all life forms, as well as our beloved Mother Earth.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Hope in the time of Covid 19

I thought to myself that hope is knowing there is a tomorrow, a next week, a next month, a next year... Hope that is essentially uncertain, given that nobody is guaranteed a tomorrow anyway.
Ask me, I lost both siblings to extremely sudden natural deaths, and both parents to long drawn out, slow departures.
You get my drift. Hope was having the luxury of time to plan for, places to visit, people to meet, meals to enjoy. Hope was what we ordinary mortals based our lives upon. Not just mere mortals: business, industry, election campaigns, banking, agriculture, the stock market: you name it, everything in our allegedly civilized world was based on the presence of hope, the hope of the planet and its people collectively having an infinite number of days in which to live their lives.
We had booked tickets and accommodation for a trip, for a wedding in the family. The spouse had business related travel. Family was coming in from abroad. There were gatherings planned. All was cancelled, and we were happy that the spouse and I, both senior citizens with our inevitable medical conditions, had enough medication for the next few weeks. Groceries and daily needs were available. We have piped gas. I have books and social media and more than enough housework to keep me busy. The spouse has been working remotely, and relaxes with Netflix. He has stocked up on the necessary relaxing beverages too!
For much of our married life, there had been, of necessity, spaces in our togetherness.
Post-retirement, there was a phase of too much togetherness, made especially difficult by hearing issues and TV volumes! Wireless headphones didn’t agree with the TV viewer. Closed doors in a medium sized apartment were not very effective. Fortunately, business opportunities arose, and travel happened. The new normal for our two-person household became a longish weekend together and a four day work week apart. There were so many things that had to be fitted into the week end, that I would take a much needed break the day the spouse actually left. Departures were usually early morning, arrivals late night, adding to our collective fatigue!
We have, after some years, spent an entire week together. Homicide has not happened! That gives me tremendous hope for a future that we might or might not have! I went downstairs last evening to pick up some milk, and on my way home I was greeted by a young couple pushing a pram. I did a double take, as I hadn’t realized that a baby was imminent in this particular family! (Their first child is about seven now, the baby is six months old). I think of the state of the world that this little child has been born into, and I wonder. What was normal for us will perhaps never be normal for my grandchildren, or for the babies born in and around the year of Covid 19 (never having seen masks of any kind in common use till my sixties, for example).
I realize that hope is, willy-nilly, part of the human condition. Without it we are as good as dead anyway. 

Mathangi Krish #lockdownwriting challenge.
Thanks for getting me to switch on my desktop and actually write something, Mathangi!
This is the prompt:
500 words by 5 pm, written and posted on your FB feed.
Tag us.
Begin your piece with:
I thought to myself that hope is....

End with:
I realized...