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.

Y – Yeah Write. #AtoZ

Y – Yeah Write. #AtoZ

A to Z Blogging Challenge

I discovered YeahWrite at Shailaja’s blog some years ago. She had written a post for the YeahWrite Weekly Writing Challenges.

Her post was flawless, as all of her posts always are. The language, the grammar, the tone of the post — all of it.

On visiting YeahWrite, I found how they have weekly challenges for fiction, non-fiction, and micro-prose, where you write for the one you are comfortable with and then share it with them.

The YeahWrite community helps you cultivate your writing; helps you polish your craft by critiquing and feedback that focuses on the areas you need to work on.

The first post I wrote for one of the challenges, I received a lengthy ‘love letter’ from them. And, it contained a detailed feedback that showed me where I had made errors and where I had scored.

That was my first such post that had been actually critiqued instead of just appreciated in the comments section as always.

It did come as a shock to me when I realised where I stood. I mean, I needed to work a LOT as far as my writing was concerned. It embarrassed me no end –that love letter– and made me think things over.

I needed to work on every aspect of my writing if I had to earn some brownie points from the YeahWrite team. I was ready to work, but at the same time, I was also intimidated by the whole ritual of getting the feedback for my work. A serious critique can pull you down from the pedestal you have placed yourself on!

It was Shailaja, who explained how criticism was necessary for me if I wanted to improve my craft. Without that, I would only be a mediocre writer!

Last year, I began sharing my posts for the Non-fiction writing challenges at YeahWrite. This time, though, they had done away with the love letters and instead shared the feedback in the comments section.

The thing with writing posts for YeahWrite is once you know what’s expected of you, you tend to put in extra effort into your writing. And, do you know what that does? It helps hone your writing to a degree you never imagined!

It holds a mirror to your work and shows you exactly where you err, and where you shine. And, that is what we writers need to know.

Our blogger friends will never point out our mistakes. Some of them are too sweet to even point out our typos! But, that’s the adulation we really do not need if we are to do well for ourselves.

So, if you are a newbie blogger, or an old-timer, and haven’t heard about YeahWrite, then I would suggest you pay them a visit. And, start participating in their weekly writing challenges. Yes, you will have to slog to present good work; you will also find it embarrassing having your mistakes pointed out in the comments section under your posts.

But, believe me, it will definitely be worth it!

Love,

SHILPA.

April 2018 A to Z blogging Challenge

My theme for the A to Z Blogging Challenge is all about my blog, Metanoia, and my blogging journey from the time  I started, 5 years ago. The lessons I learned, the tips and tricks I picked up from fellow bloggers and the guidelines I could have used back when I began.

You will find all of my A to Z posts here.

 

 

Happy pedalling!

Happy pedalling!

Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Few days ago, I spotted a little girl cycling  around my apartment complex, oblivious to the world. It was nostalgia for me as I remembered my childhood, when as a little girl, I had done the same, albeit a bit later than my friends.

Not adept at pedalling, I spent many an evening watching my friends cycling around our neighbourhood, laughing as they pedalled by.

Their happy demeanour never failed to catch my eye. The ribbons in their pigtails coming loose as they flew past on their cycles, their giggles echoing all around as they swapped jokes about this or that, or teased each other as they raced ahead. How I yearned to join them and experience the magic, myself!

No, they never teased me, or laughed at the lone figure  watching them (with a tinge of jealousy). Their laughter was born out of  the freedom they experienced on their two-wheelers. Or so I would like to believe.

An older cousin promised to teach me to cycle. Sadly, though, he lacked patience and was not very good at managing his time.

Dad used to be busy with his work, and expecting mum to run alongside  me as I cycled, was unimaginable! I remember wondering how long before I would be one of those girls, atop my own bicycle, shrieking with delight.

One fine day, the sun shone from behind the clouds of despair and Lady Luck smiled upon me. Uncle Shri, our friendly neighbour,  called out to me as I stood in my veranda, watching my friends cycle.

Why don’t you join your friends, Shilpa?” he enquired.

“I am afraid I can’t cycle, Uncle,” I murmured, embarrassedly.

“Uh-huh. No problem, child. I will teach you to  cycle. Believe me, it is the most easiest thing on earth! In fact, you can learn it in a day!” he gushed.

His excitement was highly contagious, because no sooner were those words out of his mouth than I grabbed his hand and pulled him towards the shop that gave cycles on rent.

A rupee for an hour was the rent for the rusty  bicycles. I was thrilled simply to be standing there, gaping at those beauties!  It was indeed my lucky day!

Uncle Shri paid the rent and urged me to climb onto a cycle. Gingerly, I perched onto its triangular seat and held the handlebar with my cold and trembling hands. My feet  firmly on the ground, I waited for the next instruction. Uncle Shri noticed the enthusiasm in my eyes, perhaps, because he had this big smile on his benevolent face.

“Now, Shilpa,  all you need to do, is place your feet on the pedals and, well, pedal away!   Oh, and remember,  do not look down. You must focus on the road ahead ,okay? “ he beamed, encouragingly.

“But, Uncle, what if I lose my balance and fall?” I mumbled, nervously.

“Don’t you worry, little one, “ Uncle assured me, “I will run alongside you and hold you if you fall. You just look ahead and pedal, okay?”

Trembling with excitement and nervousness, I began to pedal – slowly, at first, and then a little faster – wobbling and faltering, I manoeuvred my way through the busy street, with Uncle running alongside me, cheering on.

Try as I might, my eyes wouldn’t leave the cycle’s handlebar. I was too exhilarated to remember Uncle’s instructions.  Each time he said, “Look up, Shilpa! You might run into someone!” I would jerk my head up and look ahead, and then lower my head all over again, to gaze at the rotating wheel.

So mesmerised was I in the entire activity, I did not even notice when Uncle let go of my seat. I just kept pedalling on!

I cycled up to my house and called out to mum. Squealed would be the right word here, because she rushed outdoors to see what the matter was. My ear-to-ear grin was enough for mum to know I was finally  fulfilling my dream, thanks to Uncle Shri.

Uncle was so right. That day, I  had learnt to cycle!  Well, almost.  It did take some more days for me to learn to focus on the road. Days, and some mishaps, too.

But, I learnt to cycle, and  soon joined my gang of girls.

And, experienced that magic I had been longing for all those days.

All thanks to Uncle Shri.

Image source: PIXABAY

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