Daily Prompt: Competition posted by ranu

I am not a person who is very competitive.I went through school,college and university without competing.I was mostly happy with my performance.Competition I feel causes a lot of stress. Nothing brings out my competitive streak. Having said that there was once  I felt it brought out my competitive streak full throttle.

My daughter Fatima was visiting me for a few days.One day she came and asked me,was I going to be busy that day.I told her I didn’t think  and was curious to know what was on her mind. She wanted to play a game of scrabble and she was wondering if I would join her.This daughter of mine hated to lose,she grew up winning everything,my husband was not particularly happy if she lost.Because she created a holy fuss which amounted to slamming the doors,stamping the floor and screaming. My other two daughters were told to let her win,they were not thrilled with the idea but they hated to see the repercussion,if she lost.

I had a perfect chance to teach her about winning and losing.Immediately I made it clear to her,win or lose she will have to control herself,she promised to abide by my rule. We proceeded to play the game,my dormant competitive spirit woke up.I sat straight and concentrated on the game.I looked at every possible nook and corner to see how I could make a word and get a lot of points.Luckily I also got the letters with high points.Fatima was keeping the score and also looking at all the possible angles where she could get the triple word score.We were at it for half of the day. I managed to use out all my letters she couldn’t. I let her add the score, I won by probably about ten points.I won both ways I won the game and also taught her  a very important lesson,how to lose gracefully. Remember this I told her,”Failure is the pillar of success.”

The Daily Post: “Local” Experience

Mini blueberry muffins.

Mini blueberry muffins. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The best “local” experience we had, when we all went ‘Blueberry’ picking.It was a day in August,it was overcast and cold. We found out from our neighbour,this would be a fabulous day for blueberry picking.The best spot to find a lot of blueberries will be near the old railway tracks.

We all dressed up in our casual clothes,took a few buckets and set off for berry picking. At first we could not find the spot,soon one of my daughters saw some people, busy doing something,we were not sure what they were doing .We decided to follow them.To our surprise they were picking berries,we were thrilled,we went slightly away from them.There were tons of blueberries.We started picking them as fast as we could.Soon we filled all our buckets.We carried the buckets and loaded  them in the trunk of the car and came home.

English: First blueberries of the season.

English: First blueberries of the season. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we reached home we realized we had picked too many. I used some of the berries to make a batch of muffins for us.

Recipe for Blueberry Muffins:

Ingredients:

1. one and three quarter cup all-purpose flour

2.one-fourth cup sugar

3.two and a half tablespoon -baking powder

4.three-fourth teaspoon –salt

5.1 well beaten egg

6.three-fourth cup milk

7. half-cup salad oil

8. 1 cup fresh blueberries

Sift dry ingredients into a mixing bowl; make well in the center.Combine egg,milk,and salad oil.Add all at once to dry ingredients, add the cup of blueberries,gently stir until the dry ingredients are moistened,use a serving spoon to stir. Make sure the batter is not beaten till smooth,this is to avoid muffins from becoming tough.

Fill greased muffin pans with batter,it should only be two-thirds full.You can also use paper bake cups.Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes or less if your oven is hotter. The muffins should be golden in colour. It will make about a dozen muffins.

We froze the rest of the blueberries and planned to give some to friends and neighbours.

Daily Prompt: Stranded Posted by Ranu

Bird's-eye view of uncrowded Kaaba, Mecca, Sua...

Bird’s-eye view of uncrowded Kaaba, Mecca, Suadi Arabia in 1910 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Supplicating Pilgrim at Masjid Al Har...

English: Supplicating Pilgrim at Masjid Al Haram. Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Français : Pélerin en prière dans Masjid Al Haram, la mosquée interdite, à La Mecque (Arabie Saoudite). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every year there are about two and a half million people from all over the world who congregate for pilgrimage.My family and I also went to Makkah for the same reason. One of the requirement is to go around the ka’abah seven times.This was a day when if you are not careful,you can get lost.It happened to me,I was so busy praying and going around I forgot to keep pace with my family.To my amazement I found myself separated from them.I moved around looking for them,I found me in a sea of people,there wasn’t anyone I could ask for help.Every second felt like eternity.

It took me a while to believe,’I am stranded’,I have no money,I don’t know Arabic,I am hungry and worst of all the thought that I  don’t know where I will spend the night,was killing me inside.I couldn’t even weep to feel better.My tears were dry.I kept asking myself, did I really lose my family? I started to walk and reached the front of the mosque,I climbed a few steps and sat down,I had no strength to climb up any more. In the middle of this terrible anxiety I heard my mother’s voice,she was telling me to  pray quietly.I was happy my mother was miraculously telling me what to do. I began to  pray,which I always did when I needed help from the,”Divine”.I prayed and asked God to help me,I was stranded in a foreign city. This is what I said,it is a translation from Arabic into English:

In the name of Allah,the beneficent,the merciful.

“Allah!There is no God save Him,The Alive,The eternal.Neither slumber nor sleep overtaketh Him.Unto Him belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is he that intercedeth with Him save by His leave?He knoweth that which is in front of them and that which is behind them while they encompass nothing of His knowledge save what He will.His throne includeth the heavens and the earth.And He is never weary of preserving them.He is the Sublime, the Tremendous”.

I kept repeating the prayer.My eyes were heavy and I fell asleep where I was sitting. I had a strange dream,someone was asking me, why I was there.The stranger had  a friendly face.It seemed this was what I needed,I broke down and tearfully related my story.Next moment I felt someone’s arms around me. Fear gripped me,I quickly opened my eyes, there before me was   the face of an angel,she assured me I was going to be fine.She was there to help me.Immediately I became aware of the fact,that I asked for ‘Divine’ help through my prayer and God has sent this person to help me.

She took me to her home,while on our way she kept reassuring me I was safe. We used sign language,she didn’t speak English and I couldn’t speak Arabic. Her family received me as if I was one of their own. Amidst all the sign language between us,the lady instantly remembered one of her son’s can speak English.This revelation brought joy to us.The son was brought in and the atmosphere became pleasant,he was the interpreter for me and the family.We exchanged pleasantries for a while,then as promised the lady with my help found my family.My husband was worried and told me how scared he was of losing me.My nightmare finally came to an end.I was grateful to God for His help.I was convinced that If one needs help,prayer is the best source.

Daily Post: Bedtime stories posted by Ranu

The moral of my story,I read as a child is: “A friend in need is a friend in deed”. I will write the story as I remember it.Two friends were walking in the forest one day.Suddenly they saw a bear coming towards them,one of them quickly climbed the tree and looked down.Not knowing what to do,the other friend thought it wise to lie down on the ground and pretend to be dead.The bear came and started sniffing,thinking the man was dead,it left him untouched.It seems bears don’t eat dead people. When the bear left,the man on the tree jumped down and asked his friend, “What did the bear tell you in your ears”? Without wasting any time he said,”Oh the bear said be careful who you consider to be your friend”.

Since then I knew it was a good lesson for a child to learn and  if I have a friend,I should do everything possible to help him/her. I do help whenever I can. Even today I do what I can to help a friend.

Bear in the Meadow

Bear in the Meadow (Photo credit: brewbooks)

Daily Prompt: NT posted by Ranu

“Parties” are celebration of many things,it can be a get-together at year-end or a birthday,a wedding ceremony and so on.It’s a social function.I love watching everyone dressed up in their finest clothes. Then there are some who are there to show-off their clothes,to me that’s okay too.when I go to these events,I find a spot where I can sit and watch the crowd.

There are a variety of tasty foods,which I enjoy eating.To me it takes about an hour to find my quiet spot.This is when the crowd  is noisy,their conversation to me is meaningless.They look at me as if I am from a very different planet than them.Let me explain why,I stay away from small talk.The behaviour of some becomes intolerable.If I am attending a get-together party in someone’s home. I start getting restless after an hour,I guess it shows up on my face,my host comes to my rescue and asks my most favourite question: ‘Do you want to go home?” I try to be courteous and tell her, ‘No I’m fine.’ Although at heart I really had enough and home is the sweetest word for me. I do not mind parties if the duration is an hour,which is not possible.People just are beginning to warm up and I am ready to leave.

Big social events are not for me. The noise is deafening,I have a hard time dealing with it.I don’t feel energetic in the middle of a crowd.It does send me scrambling for peace and quiet.

Atmatran “Defending One’s self” by R.Tagore translated by Ranu

English: Photo of Rabindranath Tagore, taken i...

English: Photo of Rabindranath Tagore, taken in 1905 or 1906 by the poet and artist Sukumar Ray, father of Satyajit Ray (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a song from Tagore’s collection,named ” Rabindra-Sangeet”

Oh Lord , my prayer to you is not to save me from danger __

but to strengthen my mind so I am not afraid of danger.

I do not expect you to console me when I am in pain or  suffering,

I need the courage to conquer sadness.

If I am unable to get a companion     make me able enough  to carry on alone_

If I suffer loss,    because of deceit,

give me the resilience to protect my mind.

I am not praying to save me___

I want help so that I do not give up.

DO not console me by lightening my burden,

but inspire me to carry the burden gracefully.

In days of happiness  humbly I will recognize you__

In my nights of sadness when the world deceives me

keep me from doubting you,my Lord!

Daily Prompt…Menagerie

We had three beautiful cats.They were JD,Alex and Thursday.We had them for a number of years.They brought joy to our lives.JD was my husband’s favourite , they seemed to understand each other well.Their affection for each other started after JD was spayed. When we brought her back from surgery we were advised to make sure she did not climb the stairs.I put her in a room in the basement and shut the door. My husband came home and the first question from him was ,’Where is JD?’I told him where she was. He looked disturbed and immediately went down to see her. JD meowed the loudest as if she was complaining,my husband picked her up and started talking to her,”Okay JD no one is going to leave you in this room,I will take you upstairs.” And thus began their friendship.She loved to eat cod fish,it was bought especially for her.I baked the fish and gave it to her.You could see the satisfaction in her gorgeous face. She liked our bed and slept in the middle,if I moved a bit,she would complain by meowing. She knew my husband’s routine,of praying and his prayer rug. One day a friend of ours came for a visit,when it was prayer time he asked for the rug,he laid  the rug on the floor and stood up to pray.JD immediately appeared wagging her tail,she stepped in the middle of the rug and looked up at him,as if telling him,’you cannot use this,it belongs to my master’. No amount of calling her made any difference,she stood there challenging him. At last the friend had to go to another room to pray.

We had her for a long time,she got sick ,despite all our efforts to get her better, we failed .JD left us on a cold evening in November.

We still had two others,they were different.They did not have the same personality like JD, our love for them was not any less.Alex loved my daughter Anita,she always followed her wherever she went. When Anita left to go to the university,she was devastated,every morning she sat in front of her room,hoping to get a glimpse of her. After waiting for four weeks,she realized  Anita was gone.

Alex showed symptoms of diabetes,we took her to the vet.,who confirmed our fear.She was under treatment for a year.Her condition got worse.She too died.Our cat Thursday missed the two cats and seemed to be quieter.It was unusual for her. Sometimes we fail to realize that even though they are animals they too feel sad .

Thursday was a friendly cat. She had a very mild disposition,she loved everyone. She was very fond of me and loved to sleep on my chest,when I was lying on the sofa watching TV. She loved to eat both her food and ours. She looked exactly like our blogger Terri’s cat,when Terri posted some pictures of her cat,I had to reblog it.Thursday was the only cat left,we had her for another year after Alex died. Thursday developed urinary tract infection.She died of renal failure.

After the death of our three cats,I didn’t think of getting any more.I felt terrible when they all died. They were a part of our family. I could not bear the thought of replacing them.

The picture of the cat below,looks exactly like JD.

Cat, with its mouth open

Cat, with its mouth open (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daily Post: Six impossible things I believe in posted by Ranu

Peace on Earth

Peace on Earth (Photo credit: █ Slices of Light █▀ ▀ ▀)

Here are the six impossible things I believe in: 1. Everyone will speak the same language,if this happens language will not be an issue.

2. Poverty will be erased from the face of this earth,result would be, there will be no beggars,no thieves,no one hungry for food it will be a world of peace and tranquility for us all.

3.The end of wars: there will be no need to build weapons of mass destruction,we all will be safe.There will be peace everywhere.

4. Truth will triumph:  The word lie will be erased from the dictionaries.

5. Christmas will be celebrated every month.

6. The whole world will be one country.

These are my six impossible things I believe in.

“Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates,you never know what you’re gon na get” Forrest Gump.A title from the movie

I am thinking I picked the coolest title to write about.Did I just admit that? Now wait a minute,Ranu ,why do you think that? Is your imagination perked up, nothing is automatic in life? Yes technologically we are way ahead with machines,they all seem to have that feature called,”Automatic”.I am sad to admit my brain does not fall in that category.

I was always advised not to talk or write shop,but this is my only hope.I have spent countless moments teaching,surely I can find  something befitting for this title.

It was the month of September,a new school year,like my colleagues I was waiting to see the kids that were assigned for me to teach. Soon enough I hear the vice principal’s announcement, ‘You are in Mrs. Asgar’s class’ these words were followed by a line of thirty kids marching into my classroom.I watched them as they walked past me.Like a box of chocolates,they were assorted,boys, girls,happy,sad,indifferent ,they were in different sizes and shapes. My job was to teach them and not worry about their size.There was one thing that caught my eye,the indifferent girl.This meant either it was my impression or she really didn’t look excited about school. Could it be, I did not look like the other teachers, I was from Bangladesh,wearing a sari,which she did not see before,then again my pronunciation may be a problem. I thought about all these things in a matter of seconds.

I took out the register and called each ones name.Nearly all of them acknowledged their presence,except miss indifferent. I always knew,if there is a problem,’you nip the evil in the bud.’ I tried to put my brain in auto mode,but nothing was happening,if it was a machine all I had to do was click to ‘On’ position and the machine would do the rest. My brain refused to co-operate. A week went by and I couldn’t find an easy solution. I did what I thought was the best way of dealing with the situation.I told the principal about my concern.He looked at me and smiled,(I was thinking is he smiling because it’s too early to be confronted with this kind of problem?) I don’t know what he thought but I am faced with a kid who might become a problem for me. His suggestion was to make an appointment With her parents. I saw the parents a week later,,without losing a second I told them what was on my mind.Her mother smiled and told me, she expected a call when her child first started school,five years ago,since no one called she thought her daughter was doing fine.For her it wasn’t something she didn’t expect,but why it took so long. It seems she did not like school,since she was five years old.She could not enjoy the summer months,after summer she will have to go to school,thinking about it made her feel unhappy.this was the case every year. I didn’t have to feel it was my dress or anything else,it was the word school that gave her the feeling of nausea.With the help of her parents,I was able to change her ill-feeling of school. After this I saw ,’Miss Indifferent’ with a beautiful smile on her face every morning,always ready to do her school-work.

My box of chocolate had a tiny one that gave me a bitter taste in my mouth,but became sweeter as the days and months went by. “Mama dear I agree life is like a box of chocolates.You never know what you’re gonna get”, I lucked out mine had one bitter chocolate,but I was able to fix it before it became too late!