Little Petal in Shimla – A Short Story

Her Tiny Feet

Snow falls in a rhythmic pattern like dancing angels from the sky. The white cotton-like snow covers everything from Mall Road to Lakkar Bazaar, from the shady to five star hotels.
Strawberry chacha sells chai in winters with small cupcakes that his wife, Cherry chachi bakes. Himanshu often stops at his stall for the love of kadak chai and before starting the day at Wake & Bake Café, he chit chats about Shimla and his future travel plans with chacha.

Today, just like other days he stops at his shop for the chai. But something is different, there on the bench sits a little girl. Her cheeks as pink as a blossoming cherry flower. She sits there and sips the warm soup that chacha has cooked for her.

‘Who is she, chacha?’
‘She is my granddaughter, Petal.’
‘Her parents have left for Chennai, so she will be with us.’
Himanshu, instantly, connects and sits next to her. He watches her play with snow that falls from the roof.

Chacha, can I take her with me to the café?’
‘Yes, sure beta’
‘Petal, you wish to go with bhaiya?’

She grabs Himanshu’s finger, all set to go to a new place. On the way, they talk about snow and why it is not pink in colour. She shares that how much she misses her mum and dad and wants them to come to Shimla with her.
He listens to her talks attentively. Her tiny palm clasps Himanshu’s and he could feel the warmth and love of that of a sister.

They reach the cafe, Dhananjay is busy with the mise en place as Mesha arranges the chairs for the guests.
‘Oh we have a chotu guest at our café.’
‘What’s your name darling?’ Mesha asks.
‘My name is Petal’ she answers.
‘She is Strawberry chacha’s grand daughter.’

With Petal in the café, the ambience becomes childlike and innocent. Petal jumps from one table to another. The customers enjoy her presence and so does Himanshu and Mesha.

As dusk descends and Mall Road becomes quiet, Himanshu calls it a day.
Come Petal, I will drop you at chacha’s.’
‘Yes, Himanshu bhaiya.’

Tonight the night sky is clear as stars twinkle and sing the song of the night. Himanshu and Petal gaze at the stars as she tries to name the constellations.

Chacha, we loved her presence at the café; she is one chirpy soul.’
Chacha’s face appears sad.

‘What happened Chacha?’
‘Petal go inside, granny is waiting for you.’
She jumps and hugs granny.

‘Himanshu, Petal’s parents died in a tragic accident last week and she is unaware of this fact.’
‘I don’t know how to break this news.’
‘Will you help me?’
‘Please help me.’

Himanshu stands there, numb as if words are dead inside.
Chacha, don’t worry.’ he says as tears trickle down his cheek.
‘We will take care of Petal.’
‘Yes, we will.’

Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape to Agra

I fancy railway stations, trains, platforms and everything attached to locomotives. Fond memories of childhood days, when my brother and I used to wait for vacations are still fresh. We used to quarrel for the window seat and mum had to intervene with creative solutions.

Today, I relived those memories of the roaring engine, smiling faces on the platform, little kids running and asking for refreshments, families relaxing on the floor, (in India we don’t have enough space in the waiting room, so we make arrangements). Oh how can I forget the venders yelling Chai, Chai  (tea, tea); they have this amazing voice that has become a distinctive characteristic of Indian Railways.

Today, I had this urge to escape from the modern lifestyle that Delhi offers, I felt choked and the best way to release and break free was to head to a new city, and here I am in Agra.

More candid pictures of Agra in my next post.

Temperance Haiku

White snow on Fuji
as I try to look within
the temple bell rings

Today at Carpe Diem Haiku, we are celebrating the Temperance tarot card. My haiku signifies a tranquil state of life which can be due to the upright temperance tarot card.
As a gift to my Carpe Diem haijin, I have composed my first haiku in Japanese, please read here.

My First Haiku in Japanese

はる の ゆうがた に そよかぜ

さくら の えだ が ゆれる

そして かのじょ は ひとり

Romaji version-

haru no yuugata ni soyokaze
sakura no eda ga yureru
soshite kanojo wa hitori

English version-

Evening spring breeze
the Sakura branches sway
and she is alone

I am delighted to share my first haiku in Japanese. I have been learning Japanese for three and a half months now. This is my first creation in a foreign language.

The haiku is not following the 5-7-5 syllable pattern in Japanese as it is tough to contain the thought in just 17 or less in this language. But with practice, I will compose an authentic 5-7-5 haiku in Japanese.

I want to thank Ona sensei, for she was so kind and, patiently, edited my work. Arigato gozaimasu sensei. I have asked her to be the Japanese editor of my Haiku tale book which I am working on.

Also, I dedicate this piece to family, friends and fellow haijins, namely Kristjaan, Wabi Sabi, Bjorn, Magical Mystical Teacher, Amy (Cookie) Oliver, Yerpirate, Green Speck, Gemma Wiseman, Leo, Pranita, Black & White Heart, JRB, KZ, Mark, Siggiofmaine and more. Thank you so much for reading my work.

Unshaken Thoughts exists because of you guys.

Remain Unshaken. Never Waver.