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” I used to love reading as a kid. Tinkle and Amar Chitra Kathas were my favourite.”
                                                                                                                             – Arti Metroreader

 

After a long hiccup I am back with chat and coffee, my guest blog post, where we talk about the person, her passion, her dreams and her journey. Today we have with us the ace book reviewer, Arti Metroreader. She blog anonymously yet is winner of many hearts who follow her book reviews.

 

  • Please tell us about yourself ?

Hi! I’m Arti and I am based in Delhi. I am a qualified doctor and love reading.

  • How did you go on to become an ace reviewer besides your profession?

A- It occurred to me that there are books which, if I read reviews of, I may not even have bought let alone read. So I thought that as a reader, if I can review the books I read, write the review and post it on my blog, it would benefit those who are interested in the genres I read and could pick the books they want. So I started blogging in February 2013. I have posted reviews of over 1000 books on my blog of various genres such as contemporary fiction, memoirs, romance, chick lit, even mills and boon, Indian authors, short stories, etc.

  • Tell us how books made their way into your life?

I used to love reading as a kid. Tinkle and Amar Chitra Kathas were my favourite. My father was posted at places where there was not much to do in the evenings and the days were small, so my sister and i would go to the library and borrow books. Even when my parents went to watch a movie, they would get us ACKs or other books on return.

During the summer vacations, on our train journeys to Delhi, we would carry books and even buy from A. H.  Wheeler at the railway station.  And at my grandparents home, our cousins would take us to their library. Being the youngest of all cousins on both sides of the family, we inherited books from our older cousins.

So you can say, I actually grew up reading.

  • Tell us about your journey as a book reviewer and blogger?

A-  With studies, my book reading lagged behind and I started reading smaller books and magazines.

Then marriage and kids, so the books took a backseat.

And then one day, my student and now my friend gave me this idea of writing reviews of the books I had read. And thus started my journey as a book reviewer and blogger.

  • You have a very unique name for your blog?

Metroreader because i read mostly on the way to work and back in the Metro.

  • What kind of books you love to read?

I love happy endings.

  • Which books has remained with you forever?

My favourite fairy tale is The Princess and the pea. And Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books.

  • You have read many books so far. Who is your favourite author?

I have read many authors but have now started liking Indie authors. Maybe it is age catching up.

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Catch up with her @

 

Follow her blog

Follow her on Twitter

 

Last year I had clicked these pictures in my neighbourhood. Rangoli has always been a major attarction of the Diwali festival. On this auspicious occassion women make colourful patterns in their courtyard or front of the gates to welcome Goddess Lakshmi into their homes. It is believed Goddess Lakshmi is very safai pasand, cleanliness freak, and shall dwell in those houses which are clean and illuminated with lights. That is one of the many reasons on Diwali the entire house is lighted with lamps and colourful light chains. People decorate their homes with new paints, furnishings and home decors.

Rangoli is a part of home decor mostly done in the front of the house or also in the Brahmasthan of the house to invite good vibes. Earlier the ingredients used for Rangoli were natural resources like flower petals, turmeric, coloured rice, dry flour, Vermillion (Sindoor) but now it is colored sand and chemicals mostly. On Diwali even offices and shops are decorated.

Here are some of the beautiful rangolis I captured last year.IMG_20161031_083816IMG_20161031_083849IMG_20161031_083925IMG_20161031_083947IMG_20161031_084030IMG_20161031_084134IMG_20161031_084208IMG_20161031_084410IMG_20161031_084612IMG_20161031_084933IMG_20161031_085053IMG_20161031_085138IMG_20161031_085202IMG_20161031_085453IMG_20161031_085523IMG_20161031_085555IMG_20161031_085619IMG_20161031_090544IMG_20161031_091217

Lets have a safe and clean Diwali this year.

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  “I was never a book reader, just how we have acquired taste, reading became an accidental hobby when I used to travel for almost an hour in Mumbai locals”

– Kaushal Mahesh Gupta

In the last “Chat n Coffee” session of the year 2016 we have with us one of the top book reviewers in Goodreads and an eminent book blogger Kaushal Mahesh Gupta whose blog Errors and Kaushal has been home to many books both from newbie and renowned authors.

Today he is going to share with us his journey and tips as a book reviewer.

  • Tell us about yourself
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    Kaushal Mahesh Gupta

    I like to call myself a biodegradable human, who doesn’t believe in being pollution in some other human’s life. My bread & butter, when not on a diet, comes from being a digital marketing professional. I am an I.T graduate, like many others who followed the herd and like many others; I am a Cricket & Bollywood fan too.

  • What is your take on books/ movies/music? Any favorites?

I am of the opinion that every single book, every single movie and every single piece of music has something valuable that can add to our lives. They are not only a form of entertainment, but also a form of realization. A book can take you on a journey that you may never be able to be a part in your entire life. A movie can make you love and live the characters on screen, understand them and the humans, I never leave my logic and brain behind while watching a movie. Music, what do I tell! In my viewpoint they are best pill against a headache. It would be difficult to name only a few favourites, but biographies and autobiographies are my favourite in books, “Anurag Kashyap” is one of my favourite genres and I like every form of music, but I am trying to understand EDM.

  • Given a chance what one thing would you like to change in your life?

Nothing. If I would have had anything different in my life, maybe I would not have been answering this set of questions here. Whatever happens, happens for good. It’s only one life that we have, so we should live it the way it comes, unless one believes in reincarnation.

  • You have been reviewing books. What kind of books you usually love to read?

Yes, I am reviewing books actively for more than a year now, but I think I write more about the book instead of being a tough critic and getting into the nitty-gritty of the story. I prefer to read non-fiction, autobiographies and mythological fiction. Also, if you have a look at Errors And Kaushal, my book review blog, you will notice that I have read a lot of debut Indian authors and that’s because we should promote their work unlike popular authors who get backed by the publishing house in their marketing and advertisement efforts.

  • Indian book bloggers have made a very important presence in the publishing industry. Did you always wanted to be one of them?

    Yes, the book review bloggers are making the presence felt now and that’s all because of the ease of creating a blog/website and then reaching out to the blog readers. No, I never wanted to be a book blogger, it happened by chance when I first wrote about my experience of reading Raghu Ram’s debut Book, Raghu picked that up and shared with his followers and this kind of got me excited.

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P.S:  I was never a book reader, just how we have acquired taste, reading became an accidental hobby when I used to travel for almost an hour in Mumbai locals, and I had nothing to do.

  • What was your feeling when you were first approached by an author or publisher as a book reviewer?

When I was first approached by an author, I had written only about two books on my blog. I was amazed at this incident of being asked to write about a book by the author and also excited to receive the book directly from the author.

  • As a book reviewer, what are the things that you consider while writing a review ?

I personally believe that no story is a bad story, and should be read for a perspective on living the characters and their lives. I look at the overall attempt of the writer in keeping me engaged with the story at some level or the other. It is all about the narration and the choice of words for me, and if the book is with minimum predictability than the author has won the reader in me.

  • What is your opinion on rating a book on a scale of five?

Ideally, the book should not be rated because for us it’s just another book, but for the author it was almost everything. Today, with the kind of book review mechanism and portals that have come up, the ratings have become an integral part of the review system. I rate them only when it is mandatory on platforms like Goodreads or Amazon, but I don’t rate a book on my book review blog, Errors And Kaushal.

  • Reviewing a book is a very critical task since it helps a reader to decide whether to read the particular book or not. Many book lovers are nowadays turning into book reviewers. What message would you like to give them?

Yes, it’s a very critical task because it is almost the make or break for the book. My message to fellow book bloggers would be, “We should appreciate the story and writing more than the author or publication house it comes from as there are many self published authors who are writing great stuff but are away from the readers world because they don’t have enough marketing or advertising budgets. If possible, do help them in creating awareness about their debut books.”

  • With so many books publishing every day, what do you expect from an author or a publisher regarding reviewing books?

I expect them to be more organized and when I say more organized, what I mean is that they should handpick book bloggers who write more often about the genre of their book. They should be open to honest reviews and should not ask for a positive review right away, because the book goes out to the book blogger for free. Remember a book blogger also puts in equal efforts to read the book and then write about it so no unjust expectations like the review should be made live within 3 days, no negative comment, mandatory post on Amazon, etc… As most of the book bloggers themselves understand the importance of a review on Goodreads and E-Com sites.

  • And now in the end, how can the readers and others contact you.

I am just a tweet away; I can be reached at @gupta_kaushal. I am active on all social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Goodreads. The readers can connect with me via my Book Review Blog, Errors And Kaushal at guptakaushal.in.

“Cooking was 1 thing I hated most. But I loved when my Mom used to bake our birthday cakes. ” – Aparna Nayak

In the “Chat n Coffee” session we have with us an avid reader, blogger, dotting mother to a special child and an awesome choco baker Aparna Nayak, the founder of

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Aparna Nayak

, a homemade chocolates and cake made to order.

Today Aparna is here to share with us her journey from a housewife to a home baker with Chocodisiac.

  • Tell us about yourself

I am a full time mother of a 12-year old special princess, part-time home baker and chocolatier, book reviewer and blogger. I love to cook and am a true foodie. I like to unwind day’s stress by listening to music or by reading a book or sometimes just curling up on a bean bag n watch some rom-com.

  • What gift would you prefer on your birthday?

Gift…hmmm….let me think…what gift a lady usually prefers??? I would prefer books, flowers from my loved one… baking goods, perfumes and/or trinkets which every women love…not necessary costly one… or may be on second thoughts I would prefer 1 day off on my birthday n go n bond with nature n get rejuvenated …. J

  • What is your take on books/ movies/music? Any favorites?

Books are woman’s best friends I believe… they don’t throw tantrum or demand attention….but do catch our attention… a good book is good stress buster… u can relax yourself when u had a bad day just settle down with a good book, your favourite hot cuppa in favourite cosy corner of your house n get immersed in the world of fantasy… i have nothing in particular but recently i liked Mrs. Funny bones, Devdutt Patnaik n Anand Neelkanthan’s mythology, The Palace of Illusions, Sumana khan’s Encounters and the revenge of Kaivalya, Kavita Kane’s Menaka’s Choice and Anupama Garg’s The Tantric curse.

 now-a-days movies n music have lost their charm except for some rare ones which did impact me in a strange way like Angry Indian Goddess, Pink, taare zameen par.

Present day music is just ….. no meaningful lyrics just senseless ones n some blaring hip hop background score which we get to hear during festivals n gets people dancing on it. I like to listen and unwind or start my day with some old music which peps up my mood and drives away day’s tiredness.

  • Given a chance what one thing would you like to change in your life?

Many things from my past from my childhood especially that 1 incident which changed my whole life..Not only mine but my whole family’s life.

  • You have been reviewing books? What kind of books you usually love to read?

Recently I have taken a love for reading mythologies but I like to read suspense, thrillers too n good romantic one too

  • You have started, Chocodisiac, a homemade chocolates and cake made to order. Did you always loved baking and cooking? What made you take the decision?

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    My family

Cooking was 1 thing I hated most. But I loved when my Mom used to bake our birthday cakes. That aroma which used waft in our house was just too tempting. After my daughter was born and had to go through a life threatening sickness at age of 8 months her doctor had advised her not give any outside food. But whenever on her birthdays we got shop cakes she used to fall sick and I always hated the aftertaste the cakes used to leave on my palette. Once when I went to attend my birthday party of my friend’s kid she gave me homemade chocolates. And that was like my stepping stone in world of homemade chocolates and cakes. I wanted to do something for myself as taking care of a differently abled girl is not an easy job for any mother. Luckily in July 2015 I attended a basic cake workshop wherein I learnt various icings and fillings. That gave me the necessary information and confidence to start something on my own from comforts of my house and that’s how Chocodisiac was born.

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My first order cake

  • Could you share some of your most popular cake recipes?

 

One of most relished and popular cake is Apple and oats cake which is super easy and yum too. It’s a Nita Mehta’s recipe.

 

Ingredients

 

½ tin milkmaid (200gms)

50 gms (1/2 cup) oats

15 almonds – crushed roughly

25 gms (1/4 cup) whole wheat flour (atta)

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon cinnamon (dalchini powder)

½ cup oil

1 teaspoon Vanilla essence (optional)

1 big red apple dekinned and finely chopped

2 tablespoon maida

 

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Apple and oats cake

Method

 

  • Grease well and line with paper 6-7’ cake tin of your desired shape.
  • Sieve wheat flour along with baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon powder.
  • Add oats and almonds.
  • Beat milkmaid well. Add essence and beat well.
  • Add oil and beat till well mixed.
  • Add flour mixture gradually and mix gently with wooden spoon.
  • Coat the chopped apple with the maida and fold it into the batter.
  • Transfer the batter into the prepared tin and bake it in preheated oven at 180’C for 40-45 min or till tester comes out clean

 

  • What do you take into account while taking any orders for Chocodisiac?

Many things… what the client likes/dislikes, if he/she is allergic to something… when do they want the delivery? Whether they want home delivery or they will pick up themselves so on and so forth.

  • How can it be used with books?

Hmm… I am not sure, as the recipes used by me are either adapted from some cook book or from some experts. Maybe, if you are planning some storyline on a baker or chef, then some recipes can be incorporated along with the plot.

  • What points should one keep in mind while ordering from a home baker/chocolatier?

People always complain about pricing… why are we costlier than the shop??? The reason is we make on order. We don’t buy ingredients in bulk as shops do. We use fine quality ingredients. Also if you observe shop cake usually has more of cream/filling than the sponge whereas we have a

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My first home made cake

balance of both. Shop cakes are prepared in bulk and are stale but we cater to your needs and start working on your cakes 1 or 2 day prior to day of delivery.  My daughter always use to fall sick after eating cream of the cakes from the shop but since I have started baking at home I give her cakes with cream without any fear as I know the quality of the ingredients used, no artificial colours or flavours used, so I am sure that my daughter is eating good quality product.

Also people should also consider that we are housewives turned baker. We have a family and their responsibilities to take care of. We have our kids to look after, kids and family members to be fed. It would be appreciative if the order is placed well in advance rather than in the eleventh hour. It actually gives us time to be more creative and give the special touch to such orders. Even though we love baking and it’s our passion but we invest our time, energy and also money so it would be awesome if someone respect that.

  • How can one contact you for the same?

One can contact me either by giving me a call on my mobile at 9320128433 or whatsapp me at same number or by emailing me at aparnanayak2008@gmail.com or by dropping a message on my fb page https://www.facebook.com/chocodisiac01

 

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Here is one of my article that was posted on THE BOOK CLUB dot com.

We have been talking about women’s independence and liberation. But are we doing that to our body? How much time do we spend in knowing own body. To be frank, hardly. Unless something terrible starts haunting us we take it easy. Our body too does the talking every time if only we have ears to lend. If at initial stage we could read and understand the sign our body is giving us it is half the battle won already.

When I talk of body freedom I mean no bra. It might sound funny, but then 13 Oct is celebrated as National No Bra Day under Breast Cancer Awareness Program all over the world. A woman’s biggestbeauty asset is always kept well guarded by the biggest brands of lingerie companies. Every woman dreams of finest brand that she can afford on her wedding day. She wants to look sensuous and tempting on her big day. And there is no doubt in that. Read more

Misry watched her mother admiringly. The young woman looked so fresh and beautiful after the bath. The little girl was standing beside the dressing table as Madhavi wiped her wet hair with the towel.

“Misry, What are you looking at Sona?” Madhavi asked.

“Ma, you have such a long hair. When will my hair grow long?” MIsry replied looking at her piggy tail in the mirror.

“You got to take care of it sweetheart. Brush, put oil and keep them clean. Then you will see you have long hairs just like me.” Madhavi replied.

“But it hurts when I brush, Ma.” Misry complained.

“Hmm I know. But you got to take pain for gains dear.” Madhavi advised.

Misry nodded.

Madhavi brushed her wet hair. Drops of water fell off her hair on the floor. Few drops fell on Misry’s face too. She tried to lick it. Then she watched Madhavi make a small vermillion dot on her forehead with a small silver pin jewelry and put a small amount of vermilion on her head partition too.

“Ma, why do you do that every day?” She asked innocently.

“Because Hindu married women do this. It is our ritual. When you get married you will do it too for your husband.” Madhavi replied.

“I don’t want to get married, Ma” pat came the answer.

“Why not sweetheart? Every girl has to marry one day.” Madhavi reasoned.

“I wouldn’t. I don’t want to leave you and Daddy.” Misry replied.

“But wedding is a great experience in a woman’s life. She gets lots of new sarees, jewelries, gifts, and many more things on her wedding.” Madhavi explained.

“And what else?” This had aroused Misry’s interest.

“She is dressed up like a princess with a lovely red Banarasi saree with a broad zari border. Her hair is done in a bun with lots of pearl pins. She wears golden tiara, a nose chain, bangles, necklace set too. Her feet and palms are designed with Alta. She puts on a red dupatta and a white crown on her head to complete her bridal makeup. She looks the prettiest thing that day and everyone keeps looking at her.”

“Were you also dressed like that for your wedding too?”

“Yes dear. And I looked very gorgeous that day. Your daddy could not take his eyes off me. People said that I looked like Ma Lakshmi Devi.”

“Ma, will I also dress up like that on my wedding day?”She was curious to know.

“Of course my darling! Even better than that.”

“Fine, I will marry then.” She disclosed. Then thinking a little asked, “But who will I marry, Ma?”

“We will choose the boy for you, Okay?”

“Fine. But I will check on him first.” She was little doubtful.

“Why? What you want to check?” Madhavi asked.

“What if he doesn’t know climbing trees and swimming in the river. Our team will be a loser team then!” She was very concerned.

Madhavi smiled and said,”Oh! We will find an all rounder boy then. And you will make the best team ever.”

“Promise?”

“Promise.”

Misry went out of the room thinking about her wedding.

***

Later in the evening.

Misry put on her half saree, applied vermilion on her forehead and head partition, put on the lipstick and blusher. Then she took out her imitation jewelry set and put it on. It had a tiara, nose chain, necklace set, bangles and anklet. She did some designs on her feet and palms with the Alta. Then she put on a red dupatta on her head and sat down in the middle of their bed.

By the time she finished the room was a mess. When Madhavi came in she was surprised to find the floor smeared with the Alta and talcum powder, her makeup kit disarranged and her dressing table a mess. But when she looked at her daughter, her heart melt.

“Ma, Ami Bau. Do I look like Ma Lakshmi Devi?”Misry asked innocently.

“Yes my sweetheart. You look more than that, My Durga Ma. Wait I will call Daddy”.

When Anurag came in the room he was speechless. His little daughter had taken so much effort to dress like a bride. He took out the camera and clicked her pictures.

Madhavi hugged her daughter and whispered, “When will you GROW UP MESSY!”

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Bengali Bride: Google photos

 

Glossary* Sona-Darling

Banarasi saree-  A variety of silk saree from Baneras

zari work– an intricate art of weaving threads made of fine gold or silver

Alta – is a red dye which women in India (specially Rajput, Bengali and Oriya women in Eastern India) or Bangladesh apply with cotton on the border of their feet during marriages and religious festivals.

Dupatta – a long piece of cloth worn around the head, neck, and shoulders by women in India

Ma Lakshmi Devi- The goddess of wealth and prosperity

Ami Bau – I am bride

***

This is #day9 of the AtoZblogging Challenge throughout April.

26 stories in 26 days. I am attempting very very short stories series with GROW UP MESSY – The sweet sour story of a 5 year old girl. Follow my blog for the next story of Messy.

You can read the other post in the series here

 

Misry pushed the stool near the wash basin and climbed on it. She took a quick scan of the surroundings.

Happy to find that no one was watching her, she opened the cap of Colgate toothpaste that was lying on the shelf, above the wash basin and pressed the tube gently. A small amount of toothpaste oozed out of the nozzle. Misry put it on her index finger. Then carefully she recapped the tube and climbed down the stool.

With all the time in her hand, she sat down on the stool, closed her eyes and licked the toothpaste on her index finger. The peppermint flavor had transported her to a different world.

Mashi see, Misry is eating toothpaste again!” Raju caught her red handed.

“Misry!!”

Before Madhavi appeared from the kitchen Misry ran out of the house.

Mashi, she ran that way?” Raju told Madhavi.

“What were you doing standing here? Now go and find her.” Madhavi was losing her temper.

“The guests are just about to arrive. Should I take care of your cousin or the kitchen?” She sounded angry.

Raju knew it was better to leave before he was thrashed too. He ran after Misry.

Madhavi went back to her work. Few officers from the Head Quarter were visiting the camp and were stopping over for lunch at their place. So Madhavi was pretty busy with her assistants in the kitchen. She was glad that the drawing room was done, the dining table perfectly laid out and the children properly dressed. All she had to do was get dressed and be ready to receive the guests. Anurag would walk in any moment with them.

***

Misry hadn’t been very far from home. When she saw Raju coming after her, she started running.

“Wait don’t run! Wait for me!” Raju shouted. But Misry didn’t listen and kept running.

She finally stopped in front of a pool of muddy water. The water was inviting.

Since it was not very deep, she just wanted to dip her legs. She neatly wrapped up her dress on her lap and took off her sandals.

By that time Raju had already arrived. She was about to waddle into the muddy pool when Raju stopped her. He was pulling her hand. Misry put in all her strength to let go.

Suddenly Raju gave up and Misry fell down in the water with a big splash. She was drenched from head to toe. She looked up at Raju who was watching her with his jaws dropped.

“I didn’t do anything. You slipped down.” He retorted.

She smiled back at him and said, “Thank you.”

“Come out right now. What are you doing? This is dirty water, you will catch cold. OH MY God Mashi will kill me today. Get out right now, I said!” Raju begged.

“Don’t worry. It’s okay! Don’t panic. Ma won’t say anything. She knows I want to learn swimming. You can join in too. See I can swim now.” Misry replied kicking her limbs back and forth.

Swimming was another lesson she wanted to learn besides climbing trees to equal up with her friends. They swiftly swam across the river while she sat back on the bank watching their clothes. She despised it.

But today she was all set to learn swimming and surprise everybody.  She put in more efforts. Since the water reached just about her waist she was more or less afloat and that gave her the confidence that whatever she was doing in the name of swimming was absolutely correct. She was sure that few more strokes and she will be competing with Phulwa and Bheero in swimming the next day.

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ficker photo

Raju kept watching her from the periphery without saying anything. After sometime he returned home without Misry.

After about an hour of playing in the muddy pool Misry retraced her path home.

***

The drawing room was buzzing with people. Anurag and Madhavi were busy attending the guests.

“Where is your daughter, Anurag?” asked one of the officers.

“Oh she must be playing somewhere, Sir. She will be home any minute.” Anurag answered.

“She is a very intelligent kid.” The officer complimented. “Last time when I met her she didn’t hesitate to ask me how many children I had and when I was going to bring them over.” He laughed.

“Oh!” Madhavi feet embarrassed. Her little daughter had no reins on her small tongue. She quickly excused herself and went to the kitchen.

At that moment Misry made her entry. She chose the main door to enter hearing all the laughter and voices inside.

“Namaste Uncle!”

All heads turned towards the door. There she was smeared in mud and wet like a cat drenched from head to toe.

For some moments nobody knew what to say. The kid looked terrible. Then they burst out laughing.

“What happened? You had a fight?” One of the officers asked pulling her inside the room.

“Nope! I was swimming.” She replied promptly.

“Good Lord! Where? Did you go to the river alone?” asked Anurag.

“No, not there.  I went swimming in the roadside muddy pool.” She answered with pride.

“No doubt about that, girl. Now go and change before you catch cold.” Anurag said and took her inside the house.

When Madhavi saw her daughter in this condition she almost lost her temper but kept her cool for the sake of the guests. Once they were gone, she spanked Misry with a cane till the child was red and blue.

Misry swore never go to roadside muddy pool again.

Later, when Madhavi cooled down she felt very sorry for losing her temper. She cuddled Misry and said with a broken heart, “GROW UP MESSY.”

*****

This is #day8 of the AtoZblogging Challenge throughout April.

26 stories in 26 days. I am attempting very very short stories series with GROW UP MESSY – The sweet sour story of a 5 year old girl. Follow my blog for the next story of Messy.

You can read the other post in the series here

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Google Images

“Phulwa I am coming too,” urged Misry.

“No. We are not taking you along. You don’t know climbing trees.” The elder girl snubbed. She was two years elder to Bheeru and the captain of their small team. All the children for some reasons believed in her leadership. And she had never failed them too.

This time they were on a mission. They had to pluck Amiya for pickles from the landlord’s mango grove. The mission was dangerous because the landlord had hired two new Chowkidar to take care of the grove. So the kids didn’t want to take any chance. Moreover Misry was the youngest of all. There were total eight kids including Bheeru and Phulwa and all were two or more years older than Misry.

“But I can run. And I run faster than all of you guys together.” Misry reminded the Captain.

Phulawa sat down to think of the option. It was true. None of them could catch up with Misry while she raced. She was another “Flying Sikh” for that matter.

“Okay. You can come along. But no climbing trees okay. And you will run when I say so. Okay?”

Misry nodded.

The grove was on the other side of the village near the river. It had both mango and litchi trees in abundance. The kids entered the open grove and looked for the Chowkidar. They found only one of them on duty that day. He was a middle aged man with a big pot belly. They found him sleeping peacefully on a cot, near the machan, after having his lunch.

The kids knew well that after lunch was the best time to invade as sleep over powers most of the people. They quickly distributed themselves in smaller groups of two or three children and started working. One kid would climb up the tree and pluck the Amiyas while the other stood under the tree picking up the fruits in a gamcha.

If any of them caught sight of the Chowkidar, he would whistle and alert the others.

Misry was teamed up with Phulwa and another village kid. Phulwa was up on the tree and the two stood beneath to pick the Amiyas from the ground. They were hurrying up least the Chowkidar woke up.

While picking up the Amiyas, Misry noticed two big baskets full of litchis on the machan. The machan was not on a very big height and the Chokidar slept just beside it. Since she could not climb the mango tree, she thought of contributing to the team with litchis from the basket.

She tiptoed there when the others were busy and climbed up the bamboo ladder placed near the machan. It creaked a little under her weight. She quickly glanced down and saw the Chowkidar sleeping peacefully. She sighed and toppled up over the machan. Right in front of her were two big baskets full of ripe mangoes and litchis.

By now the others in the team had already seen what she was up to and were signaling her to come back. But Misry wanted to be a part of the gang and bridge the gap that existed because of her failure to climb trees.

Others had already started climbing down the trees and ready to flee least something worse happens.

Misry picked up one ripe mango from the basket and showed it to them. Then very carefully she threw it at them. One of the kids took the catch. She did the same again and then again. The kids got interested and assembled near the machan.

Their footsteps on the dry leaves woke up the Chokidar and he got up on his feet with a jump. He was startled to see the bunch of kids stealing the mangoes. He cussed and looked for his cane to thrash them.

“Run Messy!” Phulwa shouted and all the kids grabbed whatever little they could lay their hands upon before running for their life.

Messy was the only one held up on the machan. The Chowkidar hadn’t noticed her yet and was running after the kids. Messy tried to climb down as quickly as possible. The ladder gave away and she lost her balance.

She tried grabbing the shaft and fell down with the machan on the ground with a thud.

The Chowkidar turned back and saw the basket of mangoes and litchis toppled over. The fruits were rolled down on the ground and the kids were quick enough to come back and pick them up.

“I am not going to leave any of you. Wait and see what I do,” The Chowkidar ran towards Misry with his cane.

She was still sitting on the ground after her fall. Phulwa was quick enough to pull her up and drag her along before the Chowkidar reached. And along ran all the kids shouting on top of their voice.

They were all panting by the time they came out of the grove. Everybody was looking at Misry for this episode.

“What? I didn’t do anything.” Misry appealed.

Together they shouted, “GROW UP MESSY!”

*****

 

Glossary*       Amiya- small unripe mango                               Chowkidar- guard

Gamcha- traditional cotton towel found in India and Bangladesh

Machan- a platform erected in a tree for watch

This is #day6 of the AtoZblogging Challenge throughout April.

26 stories in 26 days. I am attempting very very short stories series with GROW UP MESSY – The sweet sour story of a 5 year old girl. Follow my blog for the next story of Messy.

You can read the other post in the series here

 

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