Fearless Nadia and The Dragon.

Fearless Nadia and The Dragon.

As a kid, I remember how I wished someone would follow me around with a handheld camera, capturing my bravado. My childish mind fancied being under the spotlight, for I believed I was Fearless Nadia.

I was around 7 then, a babysitter for my kid brother, who was three. The very protective elder sister who would slay dragons for her younger sibling. Sadly, there weren’t any real dragons then, except the one who breathed fire each time he roared out my name.

Dad.

So it happened that one hot summer afternoon, I was entertaining my kid brother in our tiny backyard. There was this wall that separated our house from our backdoor neighbours’. A wall which the cats used as a hunting ground at night.

Eager for an adventure of sorts, I lifted my brother and seated him on the wall. It wasn’t too high a structure–a mere three feet in height–and was right under a papaya tree that offered some cool respite.

After getting him settled, I climbed up, myself, to show him the very beautiful world that was our backyard. It being noontime, I wasn’t scared of any feline company to spoil the show. God, I hated those evil looking cats back then; particularly a tomcat, who seemed like the devil incarnate. His ugly, yellow eyes gave me a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach.

So, there we sat, a happy pair of kids counting papayas and enjoying some avian orchestra when all of a sudden, I felt a presence behind me.

I turned around to see HIM standing just a few feet away, glaring at me with his evil eyes. His tail up high and his stance–all ready to pounce on his prey. Or so I thought.

My stomach began churning like crazy as my mind began visualising every kind of horrid scene, with blood splattered all over the wall and me covered with scratch marks and bites.

My heart thumped madly in my chest. I couldn’t even hear myself yelling at him to go away. Was I really yelling? Or yelping? I can’t recollect.

But, I do remember picking up my brother and jumping to the ground, into mother’s tiny vegetable patch. Of course, the jump wasn’t timed perfectly. I landed on my back, with my kid brother on top of me.

I had saved my kid brother from the evil feline!

Oh boy, was I relieved or what!

Scrambling to get up and pick up my brother, all at once, I tripped on one of the tomato plants. But, I managed to flee the spot and rush indoors, with the sibling bawling his head off.

I was shivering with panic and fear, and yet feeling extremely brave and proud for having played the role of Nadia to perfection. But, little did I imagine the kind of reaction our little escapade would elicit from The Dragon.

Trembling with nervous excitement, I narrated the incident to dad and mother, proudly stating how I had saved the kiddo from the tomcat, and also from falling to the ground and hurting himself. I was imagining myself on the silver screen during the entire episode, being lauded and patted on the back by The Dragon, but was soon brought to my senses with a whack on my leg.

“Why the hell did you have to place him on the wall?” roared The Dragon. I gaped at him, openmouthed, unable to speak. I mean, unbelievable, right, after everything you go through for that kid?

The whack, the kid bawling, dad yelling–all of it wiped out all the bravado I had felt just moments ago. My shoulders drooped, I walked out of the room, dejected. I think I swore I’d never even touch their favourite child, ever again!

That was the last time I climbed that damned backyard wall. I stopped enjoying our backyard adventures, too.

I didn’t stop imagining being followed by someone with a handheld camera, though. Guess I must have been a silver screen star in some past life!

The Dragon mellowed with age, thankfully. Now he is the timid rabbit that I used to be all those years ago.

And, I am The Dragon.

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This post has been written for the YeahWrite weekly writing challenge.

Busting Cliches – Book Review.

Busting Cliches – Book Review.

Book: Busting Cliches.

Author: Mahevash Shaikh

Genre: Non-fiction

Format: Paper back & Kindle edition

 

About the book:   Mahevash Shaikh, in her debut, has collated 20  cliches that are (often) misinterpreted,  and used inappropriately, resulting in their true meaning being lost on us.  She has expounded on the  actual thoughts behind the cliches for us to understand and follow. She has also included anecdotes by people whose experiences could teach us a thing or two about how we need to  make amends in our way of following those cliches/beliefs.

She has included popular music references as well as stick figures  to drive home the point she intends to make in every chapter.  A chapter typically consists of first the cliche, for example, “Look before you leap”, followed by its intended meaning (weigh the consequences before you make the move) and then the misunderstood version (always be cautious and don’t take risks) and then a music reference ending with the stick figure cartoon.

At the end of every chapter, she has provided space for the readers to write down their thoughts on if and how they  need to change their beliefs  and their perspectives in order to handle life situations in a mature fashion and work towards reaching their goals.

 

My review:  The book, for me, was an eye-opener.  Every cliche discussed in this book is one that we use in our day to day lives. The ones that seem outdated, haunt us with their modern meanings, testing our beliefs at every step.  Mahevash states that the book is “for young people everywhere”. Well, I would say, it is for everybody, irrespective of their age or experience in life!

We form certain beliefs based on the knowledge we attain, or by what is passed down from generations. Seldom using our own discernment, we follow the “cliches” blindly. Then, even if we are required to “jump into a well” by these beliefs, we do it, without pausing to reflect if our actions make any sense!  It makes most of us look like the rats who blindly follow the Pied Piper and plunge to their death!

Here are a couple of cliches I would like to share.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Intended meaning:  People are a lot like their parents, in terms of habits, personality and appearance.

Misunderstood version:  The capabilities of a person are predetermined by their genes. As in, what you can and cannot do, depends on your parents’ accomplishments and failures. 

We often hear about people expecting certain things from their offspring just because they are their flesh and blood.  If the father is a doctor/engineer, then it is expected from the child to follow in his footsteps, regardless of the fact that he/she may have interests/capabilities different from the father. How many lives get ruined because of this line of thinking!  Rarely is it taken into consideration that each individual has his own unique personality. Their freedom to choose their destiny is snatched from them at an early age and so often we read about the outcome of all the pressure the child has to go through. Sad, isn’t it?

 

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

Intended meaning: Physical force will hurt me, but your insults will not.

Misunderstood version: This one is a classic example of misunderstanding as we take it to mean that harsh words don’t hurt.

We all know how powerful words are. A few good words can make one’s life, but a few mean ones can ruin one’s self-esteem for life! How often, before speaking our mind, do we pause to ponder how our words could affect someone? Rarely. But, when others hurt us with their poisonous barbs, we hold them responsible for hurting our feelings.

 

Mahevash has included quotable quotes at the end of every chapter, many of which I have jotted down to use as reminders for myself.

Here are some which I could so relate to:

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it.” _ Maya Angelou.

“People say sticks and stones may break your bones but names can never hurt you. But, that’s not true. Words can hurt. They hurt me. Things were said to me that I still haven’t forgotten.”  _ Demi Lovato.

And,

Money cannot buy peace of mind. It cannot heal ruptured relationships or build meaning into a life that has none.”_ Richard M. DeVos. 

Each of these quotes resonates with me. As do the words within the pages.

We all are a work in progress. There is really no harm in accepting our flaws and working on them. It will only help us  become better versions of ourselves. This book helps us do just that – better ourselves and set things right – for us!

Quibbles:  Frankly, I did not find a single point worth criticising in this book. It’s a short book with 20 chapters. I finished it in two days, but the amount of knowledge I gained from it, it’s going to last me a long time. Does it sound like I am exaggerating?  Well. I am not. The book makes you realise  how you need to work on yourself and change certain beliefs – some that may be holding you back from realising your goals.

Rating:  I give the book 5 stars. No, it is not a sponsored post. Read the book and see for yourself!

 

*I have posted my review on Goodreads and Amazon