Discover Prompts, Day 18: New

Day 18 Prompt: New

Ramadan will begin on the twenty-fourth of this month. It means eating in the middle of night, fast all day and the next meal will be at sunset. Eating and drinking stops for the whole day. It takes a few days to get used to it. After three or four days the department of hunger takes a breather for several hours.

It’s a time for prayer, be at our best, no feud, selfishness, just try being a New person.

Can a human train him/her to be generous on the month of Ramadan? I guess we all make an effort.

Years ago when my Dad was alive, to us Ramadan meant New clothes for us.

I remember the arrival of our favourite tailor, who’d come to take our measurement. We’d wait patiently for the month to end so we could try on our clothes. After thirty days of fasting we celebrate the day which we call, ‘Eid-al fitr.’ It is also called, ‘Festival of Breaking fast.’

The name of the month in Arabic is Shawwal. This religious holiday is the first and only day in the month of Shawwal when Muslims aren’t allowed to fast.

Going back to Eid, we wear new clothes on this day, visit family and friends, give alms to the poor people.

Another thing was our Dad would go to the bank to get some change for us. We loved having them especially those shiny new coins which we cherished so much.

Those were the days we thought will never end!

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Discover Prompts, Day 17: Distance

My first experience happened when I was seven. My father told us we’ll leave New Delhi, I was the curious one, I didn’t waste time asking, ‘why Abba we’d have to leave and where are we going?’

To Rawalpindi was his reply, he was transferred from Delhi to Rawalpindi. We arrived by train. It was a long journey, I was tired and hoped we’d arrive at the strange place in a jiffy. My dream did not come true, I had to endure the journey, where there were several stops. Eventually we reached our destination.

My Dad was concerned about our school. He was told the best school in the city was Presentation Convent. My older sister was given the responsibility of looking after my admission.

After registration one of my teachers took me to the classroom where I was introduced to the teacher who was my homeroom teacher.

There was one thing I enjoyed in this school was Music. The teacher taught us a lot of songs, one of my favourite was the song, “In Derry Vale.”

Many years have passed, I still remember this song. I knew the lyrics, I did not pay attention to the meaning, I enjoyed singing it quietly in a corner of my house.

After all these years I paid attention to the lyrics and realized why the tune of the song was so sad.

I will write a part of the song to let the reader understand why this song is my favourite here it is :

In Derry Vale Beside the Singing River,

So Oft I strayed Ah many years ago

And culled at morn the golden daffodillies

That came with Spring To set the world Aglow,

Oh Derry vale my thoughts are ever turning

To your broad stream and fairy circles lea

For your green isles my exiled heart is yearning

So far away across the sea.

I feel for those nuns who left their home in Ireland, to come to teach in a place so far away from their homeland.

I know now how it feels to be in a place which is so far away from my original homeland. There are so many things I miss which I cannot experience because of the distance.

No one forced me to leave my home, I made the decision myself. The song reminds me, I too think of how far away I am from the green fields, and the innocent people who live there!

Discover Prompts, Day 16: Slow

Journey by train
Chug a lug chug a lug in comes the train
The old man waiting so long
quickly swallowed the pill of pain.
Every one ready yells the conductor
No sir I need a second more
Replies the burly passenger.
What the crowd shout in unison
You need more time to do what
I have to swallow my last bite
Crazy people thwart me not.
The crowd watched in silence
As the man emptied his plate
Suddenly they heard a pitiful cry
how much longer do we have to wait
Mama, the boy sighed!

Discover Prompts, Day 14 : Book

Book Review : Kabuliwala, , Author Rabindranath Tagore, translated and posted by ranu.

Kabuliwala is a story of a poor man from Afghanistan. Life was difficult in his homeland, he left his country to try his fortune elsewhere. He took a few shawls and some nuts and raisins to sell. He came to Bengal with some of his friends.

His name was Rehmat which means compassionate. He was an honest and simple man , he trusted everyone he met. he let the people have the shawls, even if they could not pay, they promised they’ll pay later.

Some people took advantage of his kindness, they never paid him and accused him of lying.

During this time he met a little girl named Mini. He heard the maid calling her Khuki( a little girl) Khuki reminded him of his own daughter who was Khuki’s age.

He and Khuki became good friends. Everything was going well, until the maid told Khuki’s mother not to trust Rehmat because he was not a nice man and some day he’d take Khuki away and sell her.

Khuki’s mother did not pay attention and ignored the maid. She was able to convince the mother, but the father liked the man and did not have any problem trusting him. The maid succeeded in breaking this innocent friendship.

The father told his wife it was wrong to think ill of this innocent man. The mother realized her mistake in the end, she gave Rehmat some money to take home to his wife and child, she saved for her own daughter’s marriage.

Though the story had a happy ending . The author pointed out the fact that human beings are very cruel, they think that if someone is poor, he/she are not worthy of trust.

I loved the story , it became popular and was made into a movie.

The story was written in Bengali, therefore I translated it.

Kabuliwala story by Tagore, translated and posted by ranu

Discover Prompts, Day 13: Teach

In my undergraduate course I found Economics a tough subject to master, I especially had problem with, “Quantity Theory Of Money. “

I asked my brother, who had completed his Honours degree in Commerce, to help me understand, Quantity Theory Of Money. He was delighted, he asked me to get my book. He sat down with me and kept repeating certain words that bored me to death. After putting me through this ringer, for two hours he asked me, Ranu do you understand?

Let me tell you, I promised myself I’ll never ask my brother to teach me anything.

Years later, I completed my teaching degree, I got a job in the local town. One of the subject my Grade four kids had trouble with was Spelling, believe it or not.

All they had to learn to spell was 20 new words in one week. One mother called me in the evening and complained she had a lot of trouble teaching her little boy with the twenty words I gave to learn.

I asked, ‘How long do you take to teach these words?’

Two hours, she replied.

Two hours, no you only need five minutes each day.

She toiled hard, and she was tough with the kid, he was sick of it.

Friday was the day I gave all the kids a Spelling test. The kid who spent two hours a day made the most mistakes.

One evening while thinking of the kid’s problem learning how to spell. I thought of the day when my brother took as much time to teach me.

My conclusion from this experience is there is a right way and a wrong way.

Both my brother and the mother of the kid chose the rote method, which hardly works.

Discover prompt, Day 10: orchestrate

The Most Delicious Dinner

Three months ago I invited a friend of ours to dinner. The menu was simple I cooked pilaf, chicken, a mixed vegetable, beef curry and a salad.

My daughter was responsible for putting together the right vegetables for making the salad. This dish had sliced cucumber, tomatoes, green and red peppers, red onion and some spicy chillies.

Selina sliced and diced the vegetables, put them together, and sprinkled some lemon juice and a pinch of salt.

I took the task of cooking beef, chicken, vegetable and rice.

Beef takes more time to cook than the other things. I had the beef cut in small pieces, then diced three onions. Put the large pot on the stove, heated it and added some oil, then poured the diced onions, when the onions were soft, I added the spices such as ground cayenne, coriander, cumin and ginger garlic paste. I let the ingredients fry for five minutes. Last I added the beef and salt, and I waited till the water in the beef evaporates. Then I put the beef mixture in a pre-heated oven to cook for an hour.

After taking care of the beef I turned my attention to chicken which was marinating for half an hour with yoghurt and some mild spices. I used a large onion diced it and put the onion in another pot. After a few minutes I added a few spices and then the chicken. The chicken only takes half of the time compared to beef.

When both meats were cooked I put them in serving dishes. The last item was mixed vegetables, I buy frozen, therefore it takes a short time to cook. I only use a sprinkle of black pepper and salt and two tablespoons of vegetable oil.

Rice was the last item on my list. It’s an important dish, you need rice to eat the meats and the vegetable dishes.

The food was ready before 6 pm. Our guest arrived on time and we had a delicious meal.

For dessert I served ice-cream which all of us enjoyed .

Discover Prompt, Day 9: pairs

Rafael and Gabriel
Two handsome brothers , sitting side by side,
One has a voice enough to scare you,
The other one’s voice can put you to sleep.
That they came from the same litter is not believable.
When Rafa is hungry his meow is hoarse,
Gabriel ‘s voice is sweet of course.
Their eating habit is not the same,
Gabriel will eat the same food everyday,
While Rafa likes food changed every day.
When Gabriel is in the living room he sleeps like a baby,
Rafa climbs all the furniture
until we go crazy.
All in all they are an interesting pair,
Who are two fine felines
fit for an exhibition in any fair!