Monday, November 27, 2023

Woman’s week at gym

This is not mine. I found this in my mailbox. I have no idea who wrote this wonderful but hysterical piece:)). I wish I knew for giving credit to the lady.  I am in splits and couldn't stop laughing for a full minute!!

Dear Diary: For my birthday this year, my husband got me a week of personal training at the local health club. Although I am still in great shape since being a high school football cheerleader 43 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try. I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Christo, who identified himself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swimwear. Friends seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress. 

MONDAY: Started my day at 6:00 a.m. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Christo waiting for me. He is something of a Greek god—with blond hair, dancing eyes, and a dazzling white smile. Woo hoo!! Christo gave me a tour and showed me the machines... I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which he conducted his aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring! Christo was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time he was around. This is going to be a FANTASTIC week!!

TUESDAY: I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Christo made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air then he put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile. His rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT! It's a whole new life for me. 

WEDNESDAY: The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot. Christo was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members.. His voice is a little too perky for that early in the morning and when he scolds, he gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying. My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Christo put me on the stair monster. Why would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators? Christo told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. He said some other crap too. 

THURSDAY: Butthole was waiting for me with his vampire-like teeth exposed as his thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn't help being a half an hour late—it took me that long to tie my shoes. He took me to work out with dumbbells. When he was not looking, I ran and hid in the restroom. He sent some skinny witch to find me. Then, as punishment, he put me on the rowing machine—which I sank.

FRIDAY: I hate that jackass Christo more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anemic, anorexic, little aerobic instructor. If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat him with it. Christo wanted me to work on my triceps. I don't have any triceps! And if you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the darn barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich. The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher. Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director? 

SATURDAY: Satan left a message on my answering machine in his grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing his voice made me want to smash the machine with my planner; however, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel.

SUNDAY: I'm having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over. I will also pray that next year my husband will choose a gift for me that is fun—like a root canal or a hysterectomy. I still say if God had wanted me to bend over, he would have sprinkled the floor with diamonds!!

A stranger's gift

Once in two or three months, Shanmugam visited a small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva situated inside a mini forest. Apart from the usual Linga, there was the idol of Mahadeva with his hair piled up, a crescent moon tucked in it and Ganga flowing down symbolically. With a coiled serpent around his neck and a trident on the left hand with a damroo tied to it, He was smeared with ashes and sported a Rudraksha mala. It was believed He was powerful and granted boons if sincerely prayed. Shanmugam’s sole purpose was to seek His blessings to save him from the morass of poverty. It was believed serpents moved about freely in the area but never harmed anybody,

As the sky was cloudy, Shanmugam wished to reach home before it got dark. He chose instead of a proper road, a shortcut from the temple through the mini forest that saved his walk by two kilometres. As he walked hurriedly through a narrow winding path amidst bushes, he found it very lonely with not a soul visible. He increased the pace to get out of the forest soonest. Luckily the sun had not yet set and it was not dark as yet.

When he turned on a bend, he saw to his relief a little away on this desolate stretch  a man standing at the edge of the pathway looking at him. As he neared the man, he found him to be tall, lean and dark and also appeared somewhat strange. His face was elongated horizontally between the ears and the head above narrowed at the top reminding of an inverted rhombus. His eyes were narrow but flitting brightly from one side to the other.

Shanmugam felt uneasy but still welcomed company in this deserted area.

The man saw a flask hanging on Shanmugam’s shoulders and requested him for water. The flask contained toddy, an intoxicating local liquor, that Shanmugam was habituated to. He readily gave a cup. The man drank with gusto. Shanmugam became less apprehensive of the guy and prodded him to walk faster.  But he could not keep pace with Shanmugam as he walked rather wobbly.

When they came out of the forest, they both sat down on the mud to rest and finish the remaining drink. Both soon became inebriated and lay on the ground prattling loudly. It was then the strange man gave Shanmugam a marble-sized stone saying,” You have been very nice and friendly. Keep the thing carefully for it is very precious.”

Shanmugam accepted the elliptical stone that was covered with mud and said,” Thank you very much for the gift. My house is nearby. Do come with me and have your dinner,”

“I will come with you up to your place but will leave immediately without having dinner,” the man replied.

“You must have something to drink at least if you are not ready for dinner. What about coffee, tea or juice?

“I will have a small quantity of cold milk. Preserve the precious stone very carefully and you will soon be rich,” he replied.

When they reached the small tiled building, Shanmugam’s wife saw him drunk in a dishevelled condition with mud all over his body.

 ” How many times should I tell you not to drink outside our home and drink whatever you wish to while at home? I do not want you to fall on the road and create a scene,” she yelled at her husband without noticing the stranger’s presence near the door.

Handing her the precious gift, he pleaded with her, “We have a kind guest. Do not get angry and I promise not to drink outside in future. I met him on the way from the temple and he has given me this valuable stone that will make us rich. As it is covered with mud, polish it gently with your sari and you will see it shining in red. Please get him a glass of cold milk. He declined to have dinner with us.”

She hurriedly swiped the stone with her sari and found to her amazement a gem shining a shade that was a mix of pink and red. She rushed inside to the kitchen followed by Shanmugam to get the milk. When they came out with a glass of milk, the stranger was not to be seen. Wondering at his mysterious disappearance, they moved towards the front door when they saw to their horror a long cobra slithering out through the door. When they gasped in fear, it raised its hood and stared at them for a few seconds before disappearing into the bushes outside.

Looking at the pinkish-red ruby (manik) shining stone in her hand, the mysterious disappearance of the odd-looking stranger and the appearance of a cobra with its raised hood for a brief moment at the front door, made Shanmugam wonder aloud whether the Lord has, at last, answered his prayers. Inscrutable are the ways of God, his wife conceded.


Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Cynthia's thanksgiving

Cynthia was cycling early in the morning along the long stretch of road as a part of her daily exercise. She chose this lonely road very rarely as it was free from heavy traffic and was lined by trees on both sides giving a shady and cool ambience. Only some stray trucks could be seen at long intervals. When she started this day, she hesitated for a few seconds to take this route as the sky was overcast and cloudy but decided as she felt she could make it before the rain came.

As ill luck would have it, the sky broke loose when she was midway and what started as a drizzle became a downpour. She looked around and could see no houses or a shelter to escape the rain except one house a little yonder. She cycled fast, left the cycle at the gate and ran on the pathway to the door of the house that was deep inside. She was completely drenched. As she rang the bell and waited for it to open, she looked around. The lawn was uncared for with litter and leaves scattered all over. The windows were all closed indicating that the house was uninhabited. The downpour was torrential. She pressed the bell again and kept the finger long on the switch.

After a long interval, the door creaked open slightly. She saw with surprise a handsome man in his early forties, strangely well-dressed at this inappropriate time in a three-piece suit, smiling at her.

 “Please come in. I am sorry I made you wait. Make yourself comfortable. I see you are drenched but can offer you nothing, except a towel “he said.

When she looked around for a place to sit, she found the sofa and chairs all covered with dust. Cobwebs were hanging everywhere from the ceilings, windows and walls. The floors looked dusty and had not been swept for a long period. He looked incongruous in his smart dress in a place so despicable.

As if reading her mind, he said “Yes, I am sorry the place is not presentable. That was the reason for my hesitation initially to let you in. But the rain is so heavy that I had not the heart to turn you away.”

Are you living alone? The place looks uninhabited and desolate” she asked.

“Yes, I am living alone. I am sorry I am not able to entertain you with tea and snacks. There is water in the tap. Better you don’t use it.” he said

“Sorry for asking this. Aren’t you scared to live in what looks like a haunted house? Can you not get someone to keep the place clean just like you? Please excuse me for my reckless question “she said

“I am accustomed to living here. True, the place is not looking good. I am unable to get it cleaned as much as I would wish. If you have no objection, I have some work upstairs. I will go. Please be at ease and you can leave the place when the rain stops without having to take leave of me. Just keep the door closed as you leave” he said, taking the stairs to the first floor. As he was climbing, she could see him smiling at her as she mumbled her thanks.

After he left, she peeped into the kitchen on the other side of the hall. There were some unwashed cups with brown stains, cockroaches running all over and a few plates and dirty saucepans around the place. Here again, the whole place was filled with cobwebs with soot hanging all over. There was a stale smell that made her feel like vomiting. She closed her mouth and nose with her kerchief and came out hurriedly near the front door. She never liked the place and wished to get away as quickly as possible. Luckily for her, the rain had subsided and there was only a slight drizzle.

Cynthia opened the creaking door softly and as she turned to look at the staircase to see if he was there, she saw on the mantlepiece a large framed photograph 4x2 feet in size of a person in a three-piece suit. She looked intently and it was the same smiling gentleman who was talking to her. Stifling a scream with her hand and with hair that rose to stand on its ends all over her body in fright, she ran out to the cycle at the gate as fast as her legs could take praying to the Lord all the time. It was only after reaching home that she could breathe calmly.

When Cynthia opened the newspaper the following morning, she saw at a corner a news item,



She could not resist the thought that the suited man in the house could have been the ghost who helped the hapless woman and how gentle he was to her. As she read further, she found her surmise correct as the horrible incident had happened near the entrance of the haunted bungalow a short time after she had left. It was a narrow escape for her. She shuddered to think what could have happened to her on the road if she had delayed her departure. She crossed her chest with her hand grateful to the Lord for saving her. She knelt before the Lord’s picture with tears in her eyes and her heart suffused with gratitude and joy.

“God’s miracles are unbelievable.  He can make impossible things possible…Glory to God…”

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Joy from an unexpected quarter

Palani, an incurable alcoholic beat his wife Bhagyam daily in the evenings for money for his booze. A lazy loafer, he brought no money for the house. With three young children to feed, Bhagyam worked hard in many houses. Life was a humdrum daily grind with only back-breaking work. It was the last week of the month with not even a grain of rice let alone other essential ingredients to cook a broth. The leftovers she brought from houses where she worked hardly helped to keep even the kids from hunger at the end of the month. In desperation, she often toyed with the idea of suicide along with kids but would abandon such thoughts, when she saw their trusting eyes and start visualizing a better tomorrow.

This particular day, she made in the dim light a thin gruel from broken rice she had borrowed and diluted liberally with a small quantity of buttermilk that one household had given. Hardly adequate for all and it only kindled more hunger. Each one had a glass with a small quantity kept aside for the worthless Palani.  The chimney lamp, the only source of light in the hut, was flickering starved of kerosene.

As Palani entered, he saw the children along with their friends in the neighbourhood jumping with joy amidst peals of laughter. Bewildered, he saw a smiling Bhagyam with her eyes glued on a new but small TV placed on the rickety shelf in the corner, a freebie from the generous government, ahead of a municipal poll. He too joined in the gaiety for a few moments oblivious of the irony of a TV in the hut bereft of electricity but chuckled later at the prospect of some money on its sale for his booze.