I have heard that the closest thing to you is your shadow. But have you ever wondered what happens to your shadow when the moon comes out? Where does it go? Does it hide away, biding it's time till it thinks you need it - when a light's nearby? Or does it heave a sigh of relief at the much needed break and escape to fantasy land where it gets to lead it's own life, so to speak. i think that's a journey for another day. For now, let me tell you about the time my shadow changed shapes and began to resemble, not me, but somebody I wanted to trade places with.
From what I have heard and what I remember, my grandfather was a very loving human being. I have always wondered what his life must've been like when he was a movie star. Yes, he was a movie star years and years back. A tamil comedian even - and a good one at that. But growing up, I never had the chance to see the glamorous life he had once led (or so I hope). I grew up listening to stories of the good old days and how I wished I had been alive then. I guess this deep seeded desire filtered into every pore of my being and by extension into the grey scales of my shadow.
I was lying in my bed, reading a book and suddenly I noticed a dark shape moving on my wall. I jumped out of bed and noticed that the dark shape on the wall remained rooted to it's spot. It was long and elongated and wait, did it look like a female? Could it be? Yes, it was. My shadow. Disjointed. A separate being. And before my very eyes, my shadow grew bigger and bigger till it encompassed the entire wall. Next thing I knew, I was being pulled into the wall. I now knew what people meant when they said outer body experience. I closed my eyes for when I thought I was about to crash into my wall, but the next thing I knew I was in Chennai, India in the old house I visited when I went to India for summer vacation. I was seemingly invisible as I drank in my surroundings. I saw my grandmother, my great-grandmother, my mother running around with her sisters, and my shadow. Only my shadow had now conveniently gone and attached itself to my grandfather and in front of my eyes, transformed itself to be his shadow. ( I guess at the time, his original shadow had decided to take a vacation). I was able to remain hidden but yet partake in whatever was happening in the house at the time. Guests were arriving and who was that walking through the door - the Great Sivaji Ganesan? I remember feeling really happy to see Shivaji and I had conversation floating through my head of what my grandfather was actually talking to Shivaji about. They were reminiscing about having acted in the movie 'Thilana Mohanambal' together and where they were in their lives today. Cut to the next scene, and I was transported on to a set for 'Aditha veetu pennu' where my grandfather was the hero. I stood rooted to my spot and saw how people loved being around him and how respected he was. Adoring fans garlanded him, people ran up to him to shake his hand and through it all my grandfather smiled generously and accomodated most people's wishes. The next scene had me attend my mother's own wedding - where I experienced a range of emotions from elation, to wonderment, to sadness (all the emotions thatha was feeling because his youngest daughter was getting married). I stood and stared in awe at the line of celebrities attending my mom's marriage - Sivaji, Manorama, Gemini Ganeshan, Sivakumar...to name a few. My mom was looking absolutely gorgeous and I remember feeling a strong sense of pride. The last scene transported me a few years down the line after I had been born. I was being carried by thatha and walked up and down the street. His dogs stood guard watching his every move and awaiting his return. I was enveloped by the feeling of contentment. And then it was time to leave this journey back in time.
I was back in my room and my cheeks were wet with tears. One of my most important wishes had come true and as odd as it may sound, I had my shadow to thank for it. She had not only transported me back to the good old days, but had let me experience the emotions and life that my grandfather led by showing me moments that encapsulated what I had always thought it must've been like. I felt comforted and even though I missed him madly, a pain had subsided.
What if your shadow didn't look like you? Describe the shape your shadow would take and incorporate it in a story.
GO! CAR! GO! CAR!
I was driving to Seattle in my car. It was very silent, until I heard a noise. At first, I thought it was from a flat tire but, then I realized it was from the trunk. I looked inside and much to my surprize, it was Frankenstein! He was trying to break down the car engine but, when I showed my little dog spotty to him, he ran off somehow. I went back in the car and continued my journey. One hour later I heard the same sound and I looked in the trunk again, FRANKENSTEIN "I...I thought that you were somewhere else. OK. Why are you here?"
I am here because, no where else to live he moaned. So, that day on he lived with me. OK so we went to Seattle, Why? because I have to go to school. We went to Seattle and slept because it was midnight. Next morning, I went to school and guess what? when I came back from school I found my dinner right next to me! Oh! I forgot that he had no where else to live. Years went by and by until I was 17. I heard a noise it was the noise of a lawnmower, nobody heard it except me and my dog. It was ..it was a lawnmower. I went outside and I found a bottle, inside was a note saying-
I found a new place called Monster Island.
I said "Ya! baby!"
Upset, I picked up my car keys, that I had only moments earlier flung onto the coffee table, and stormed out of the house. I needed to go for a long drive to cool off. It's one of the things I do. Drive, endlessly drive - windows open, songs (appropriate to the mood) blaring and having a cathartic reaction to whatever needs to be felt. One of my favourite stretches is not far from where I live and I couldn't wait to get on to that peaceful street, get engulfed by the darkness and simply let my thoughts filter out. That's when I heard it - a noise from the car. I couldn't help thinking "great, perfect timing".
Not thinking twice about it, I pulled to the side of the road, left the lights running and got out to check and see if it was a flat tyre. Everything seemed fine, but then I heard the thumping noise again. It seemed to be coming from the trunk and immediately urban legends flashed into my head. I told myself to stop being silly and gingerly opened the trunk of the car. In the darkness, all I could make out was a figure making panting noises. And then the figure lurched out of the trunk and I screamed.
"Get off me Jackie. Off!" My 55 lb German Shepherd almost knocked me over when she jumped out of the trunk. "How in the world did you get in there, Jackie?," I wondered. And then I had a flashback moment where I remember storming out of the house and shutting my car trunk which had been slightly open. My poor baby was in the trunk all this while. I berated myself and then got into the car, with Jackie in the passenger seat. I continued on my drive and Jackie gave me wonderful company by sticking her head out the window and enjoying the cool evening breeze.
What had upset me earlier was forgotten. It seemed silly and trite in that moment. Jackie, the healer, had done her trick again just by turning up. She was showing me what life's simple pleasures were all about. Yes, fighting is not good. Carrying it inside you is worse still. Live in the moment is what Jackie was teaching me. And for the first time in my life, I did just that.
This Week's prompt
I am changing the prompt, considering one of the contributors is still a kid :)
The new prompt:You're travelling in a car, down a silent road when you hear a noise. You get down thinking it's a flat tyre and that's when you realise it's coming from the trunk of your car.
Use the above situation and you can take the story anywhere and in any manner you like. No rules. Let your imagination soar!
Here are two more takes on the prompt.
Li'l Guest Writer
A rousing welcome to guest blogger Vin
, who will add more treasures to this site with his wonderful stories, as often as his hectic schedule permits :)We are crackers
Thank you, Vin!
The Garbage Collector
I'm a bit of a raging lioness when it comes to strangers; strangers who knock on doors and demand a part of my life. Like him outside. I looked through the peephole of our front door, one more time. Disheveled hair, stained teeth and shifty eyes stared back at the door. Every year I told myself I will not give in and every year, a nameless stranger broke my resolve. This time my spine would stand up for its right. The knocking persisted. Would he go way if I stood still? How do they show up on this day, every year,with uncanny precision? Why do I feel the need to justify my actions? As I stood with my back to the door, I took in our living room, with its flat TV, imported artefacts, Persian rugs and fancy lighting.
I looked at him through the peephole, one last time. What exactly was I trying to prove? Did it really make a difference in my life? Will it change his? Maybe. I opened the door. He scratched his head and said, "Pongal Inaam*, Madam."
I thrusted a twenty rupee note in his greasy palm and closed the door before he could thank me.
It changed nothing, except maybe an extra glass of liquor for him. Or toys for his kids, if he was in a good mood. Our streets would be as dirty as ever, until the next festival. Until something scratched the dirty palms of the garbage collector.
I looked through the peephole at the retreating figure. Something gnawed within. Dirty baggage left at my heart's doorstep. Uncollected and decomposing. I turned away.* Inaam -- Gift