Friday, April 17, 2020

O is for Ouch! #AtoZChallenge

Dear Readers,
You met Papadash and Artemis on The day of the M. They're back today.
Hope you'll enjoy their company.
On the last day of Spring, in the Great Garden of Doon, Papadash the Perfect was busy preparing for Artemis's graduation. A full year had flown by in the blink of an eye. 

Artemis's apprenticeship was going really well. She was now able to convince the seeds that their resting in soil was temporary. They were beginning to trust her as much as they trusted Papadash. So that when she poked holes in the soil to drop them, the seeds didn't panic. They went down peacefully.

For it is common knowledge that only peaceful dwellings sprout healthy shoots and this is the way of the world.

Even Bulbul of Red Whiskers didn't mind when Artemis spread out under the Mighty Mulberry to rest after a hard day's work. Everyone knew it was the Home of the Bulbuls. In fact, by the time Spring started blowing mulberries on the branches, Bulbul had decided that she'd even share some of the berries with Artemis when they ripened. She watched the little apprentice in the Garden and noticed how kind she was to all the molecules of life: leaves, dewdrops, petals, vines, barks of trees and even the greedy radishes who wanted milk as well as water. 

"Will I have to pass any tasks to graduate?" Artemis had asked Papdash in early Spring so that she could prepare well and get the best Blossoms anyone had ever gotten in all of the Valley of Doon in their First Year of Observing.

"Oh! No, dear child. There are no tasks to pass to become the Most Green Gardener of all times. One has to keep their eyes and hearts open and listen to the sounds of time. All you have to do my dear apprentice is to pay attention and to choose love--every time." counselled Papadash the Perfect.

Artemis was relieved. She would be fine. She dreamed of the Biggest Blossoms being strung in her Graduation Garland. She'd keep the Garland safe for many many moons, she decided with her eyes closed, lying in bed next to her little sister, Ceres. 

As long as she loved all the petals and roots and bumblebees around her, nothing could stop her from graduating with Fragrant Colours, thought Artemis as she nudged Ceres to the edge of the Most Fluffy Bed with her toes to get more room for herself. How she wished she had the whole, entire Bed to herself.

Graduation Day dawned pink and orange in the Sky of Doon.

The Great Garden Graduations were always well attended. The young, the old and the babies who had to be told to be quiet were all invited. Even important people like Beji the Most Kindest ruler of Kingdom of Kitchen was expected with her entourage of Ministers. And Darji of Land Across the Metal Gate had decided to tie his Most Special Turban for the day.

Artemis's family: her mother, father and her little sister Ceres stood alongside Papadash to welcome the guests when they arrived in bunches and bouquets. Some even came as single stems.

Ceres was so excited for her Big Sister. She couldn't wait to hold the Graduation Garland; to smell the Blooms. She crossed her fingers and her toes so Artemis would get the Best Blooms ever in all of Doon. She made a secret plan to go up to her afterwards and hug her, even though she knew that Artemis didn't like to be hugged by her.

Ceres longed for her Big Sister to play hide and seek with her in their Field of Wildflowers. But Artemis always ran away saying Roses and Thorns needed someone to listen to their woes and Sunflowers needed to be reminded to stand up straight or their backs would bend and ...and...and a million other things to see and keep her heart open to so that there was no time for her to play with Ceres.

The guests were ready. They sat under the Mighty Mulberry on Mats of Grass, except Beji the Most Beautiful who was given a Moodha to sit on by Papadash. 

"Thank you Bulbuls for letting us sit under the shade of your Mulberry. Thank you Roses for sharing your Fragrance. Thank you Sunflowers for standing up tall to welcome all our guests and thank you dear people of the Valley of Doon for your presence. Grapevine has very kindly suggested that as many of you have come from far away lands, it'll be better if you all have something to drink before we start the ceremony. Milk of Cow, Water of Spring and Juice of Grape will be happy to quench your thirst. Bowls of Brass and Cups of Mud are kept under the Tree of Guava, to your left. Please help yourselves. Thank you and when you hear Koel sing, we will gather to give dear Artemis her well deserved Garland of Graduation." announced Papadash.

Ceres followed Artemis to the Tree of Guava. She wanted Artemis to notice her new dress of Pink Balsam. Mother had asked the Balsam Clan if they could spare a few more of their flowers so she could weave a new dress for Ceres, too. They had been very generous to give Mother a basket full of Purples for Artemis's dress already. 

Artemis didn't notice. 

"Artemis." called mother. "Ceres is thirsty. Help her please."

"Why me?" 

"You are her Big Sister Artemis. This is what Big Sisters do." Mother didn't look too pleased.

For it is common knowledge that Big Sisters must always look after Little Sisters and this is the way of the world.

"Uh! Okay....Hurry up Ceres. Quick." ordered Artemis.

Ceres took a Bowl of Brass and kept it on the Ledge of Grey. Artemis poured Milk into it without paying attention. She was dreaming of her Garland. The Milk came to the very top of the Bowl.

"If I pick up the Bowl, it will spill Artemis. Mother will be sad if Milk spills." Ceres looked up to her Big Sister for help.

"Just bend down to the Bowl and drink like Cow drinks her water from the trough." suggested Artemis. 

Ceres smiled and bent down towards the Bowl.

"Slurp....slurp..this is very tasty Milk Artemis." Ceres looked up. Some Molecules of Milk had decided to jump out from the bowl and paint a Moustache on her upper lip.

But Artemis didn't notice. 

"Hurry up Ceres. Koel will sing soon....I have to go!"

The Koel started singing.

"Finish you Milk quickly!" ordered Artemis.

"Hmmm..." nodded Ceres with her head bent on Bowl.

Koel rang out a few more melodious notes.

Artemis couldn't wait any longer. She slapped her hand on Ceres's bent head to make her hurry up. 

OUCH! AH! Ah......Loud painful cries shot out from Ceres.

Koel stopped singing. 

Silence sat heavy like wet cement all around the Great Garden.

Time stopped.

Artemis didn't know what was happening. Mother was holding Ceres's face in both her hands and tilting her head back. Bright red Blood of Ceres was trickling down her nose.

Papadash looked at Artemis with sad, disappointed eyes.

For it is common knowledge that kindness to all molecules is the only way of the world.

Bulbul of Red Whiskers, perched high on Mulberry, saw the Best Blooms wilting behind the Bush of Roses and felt rather blue.

Artemis will have to spend another year of summer, autumn, winter and spring to learn her lesson that little Sisters have molecules just like Roses and they can feel pain too. Ceres's cut will heal but a dash of a scar will sit on top of her nose for a very long time. And every time Artemis will see the scar, she will feel sorry for what she did on her Graduation Day.
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Yes, I did manage to give my sister, Seema, a scar that day. We were five and four years old and we were pretending to be cows outside Beji's kitchen while drinking water from steel katoris. I have no idea why I did what I did. But, the scar --a dash across her nose- took long years to fade. I hope my sister has forgiven me for my silliness now. I wasn't a good big sister to her in our childhood. Only when my brother was born, four years after Seema, did I understand the love a badi behen (older sister) feels for her younger siblings.

Thankfully, Seema and I are very, very close now. 
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Are there any injuries you inflicted on your siblings--knowingly or unknowingly?
If you'd like to share, I'd love to know.
Are you enjoying this style of writing? It's very new to me so any pointers/tips/feedback is welcome.

31 comments:

  1. All the scarfs my 2 sisters and I have are not the fault of anybody, just ours ;)
    O is for Oya

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    1. That's a very balanced sisterly equation:)

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  2. Sorry, one extra letter, scars of course ;)

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  3. Being an only child, I didn't have any siblings to play. But once I bit my elder cousin because she wore my favorite dress without my permission, lol. I'm quite possessive that way.
    Love your story. These make wonderful children's tales. Are you planning to publish them?
    <3

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    1. Thank you for sharing your story.
      I'd love to publish my stories Srivalli. Thank you for appreciating them.
      Considering how much I enjoy your work, reading your comment makes me very happy.

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  4. I think sibling caused scars are somewhat inevitable in childhood. While I don't have any as a direct result of my brother, some of mine are from our childhood adventures causing mischief together. Glad you and your sister are close now. Weekends In Maine

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    1. Thank you--Yes, scars are indeed trophies of an adventurous childhood.

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  5. I poked my kid brother's nose with a pencil. He's a grandad now and still has a piece of lead visible beneath the skin! A delightful tale.

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    1. Thank you Keith. Knowing what little I know about your sense oh humour, I'm not sure I believe that thing about 'lead' being visible!!!

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  6. My brother has many scars, but none of my doing. He could do that all on his own. I enjoyed your narration and the storytelling

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    1. My kid brother had that capability too. He was far, far naughtier than the two of us put together.
      Happy to know you enjoyed the story.

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  7. What a beautiful analogy! I have an older brother who was mischievous but never hurt me in any way. I guess sisters take their time to bond the way they do.

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    1. Thank you Nisha. Your theory about sister could be right. Our mother believed that I ignored Seema, my sister, when we were little because we were only a year apart.

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  8. "Mumma, Why are reading so late? AND Why are you reading Greek Mythology?" asked my son, when he came to say good night to me just now. He read the names suddenly was very interested in what i was reading. ha ha I havev to read this story to him tomorrow morning.
    Yes indeed a very interesting way of expressing Arti. When did you earn your Graduation Garland?
    We were just the two of us. She was sharpening a pencil, i had my own but i wanted to use that very same pencil. And she refused, we fought & OUCH! That sharpened Natraj pencil poked my forehead (Khoon Bhari Maang types) and there was a huge blood pool! Too much drama followed but once the Dr. attended he gave me chocolate, i asked for an extra to share it with my sister.
    I was the second one in our house, like Seema i too was in awe of my sis. So much that i never tasted few vegetables just because she never did. I miss her so much suddenly!

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    1. Sending you warm hugs darling Vidya.
      That knoon bhari maang simile cracked me up:)

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  9. I simply love this writing style of yours :)!!As an elder sister I have troubled my younger brother a lot too and yes gave him some scars too but that till date I maintain wasn't my doing...!!

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    1. Phew! good to find an older sister on this page Ira. I'm sure you understand badee behenon ka point of view:)

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  10. The only sibling I every fought with was my younger brother (18 mos younger.) He loved to tease me until I pummeled him then he would get mad and throw something at me. Once the handle of a spoon caught me just above the right eye, and I still wear the scar. One time on a go-kart my younger cousin was playing and running around. Somehow I ran over him and he was dragged in the gravel. He still carries pieces of gravel on his stomach. Kids do extreme things! I loved your story, told so well, and glad you and she are very very close now.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your memories with me Jade. Goes to show how fearless kids can be.
      I'm happy you enjoyed the story.

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  11. Haha good one...i dont think my sister has any scars but yes we did beat each other up a lot. Surprising our elder brother never really fought!

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    1. And we didn't beat each other up but have scars:) Ha! ha! that's funny.

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  12. Oops!... I only gave myself a scar as a kid, when I leaned over a microscope and burned my forehead on the lamp that was providing the light for it...

    The Multicolored Diary

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    1. Ooo..that sounds like a real Ouch! moment.
      Did it leave any scars?

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  13. Oh yes! I'm the elder sister. Invariably I was assigned to do all the essential tasks for both of us. Polishing school shoes was one. On one such occasion as I sat fulfilling my duty the sibling wouldn't stop giggling at my deplorable condition. In a fit I threw the brush at her. Not at her, but just to scare her. Unfortunately it hit her on the upper lip and something similar happened, just as it did here in your story. The saddest bit was nobody said a word to me. Enough to make me feel guilty. The scar took a few years to fade away.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your story Sonia. I understand your 'badee behen' feelings really well:)
      You must've been a sudhra hua baccha for not being told off. My family, on the other hand, believed that if I didn't get daant-phatkaar for my karastanian, I wouldn't be able to digest my food. Yes,discipline was dished out very, very regularly:)

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  14. I am very much enjoying this style of writing Arti - and was glad to see a continuation of the story. Childhood is full of ouch moments, but luckily it's full of resiliency too.

    I imagine being big sister is a challenging role most of the time, so I give credit where it is due. I was the little sister, and looking back I can see how annoying I must have been. And i started that role young. My mother always told the story of how my sister, who was 10 years older than I, begged for a baby sister, and when I was born couldn't wait to take me out and show me off to the neighbors. When all I did was cry, she brought me home and demanded my mother return me for a better sister. :-)

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    1. Aww! thank you for sharing this sweet, sweet story Deborah. Love it.
      When I started this challenge, I had no idea I'd end up diving into so many childhoods spent in far off places all at once.
      It's been a great run so far. Loving the sharing that's happening in April. Thank you.

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  15. My brother and I used to fight a lot. A lot! But luckily for us, it's a thing of the past now.

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    1. That's good to know. Siblings can be precious friends--of course, one has to get on to start with:)

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  16. Oh! that was a harsh lesson for the little Artemis, who wished to be the best green Gardner. This often happens with us, when we do get carried away to achieve our ambitions and dreams, that we become insensitive to our most loved ones. Nice and valuable share Arti. Love Nisha

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    1. Thank you dear Nisha.
      Lovely to read all your comments in one go:)

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