Fiction – I Get You

The alarm rang at 8 AM and Sarah woke up reluctantly.  She wanted to sleep some more as she slept pretty late in the night.  Being an Instagram influencer was not a joke with two million followers. 

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

Sarah ran a fashion handle on Instagram called  “OOTD – Outfits over the Diets”  She routinely grammed body positive messages that told her users to fret on their outfits instead of diets. In no time she had two million followers and was an Instagram influencer.

She enjoyed doing what she did but there is one aspect of social media that everyone hates is “trolls” and so did she . People who have no face, no identity or even worse sense of respect to people who follow and Sarah had dozens of them. 

Her strategy to deal with the trolls was to ignore them and most of the time she was successful in doing that.  But one day it changed. 

She was excited about a particular post she was working on. She captioned it “outfits you can wear when you are feeling fat but you are not” . It was a feel good feature where she talked about ladies going through their PMS days or menopause or just the day when they feel bloated. It received many likes and Sarah felt great and started scrolling down for the comments. There was a follower called  JusHon who commented –  “ what makes you feel you are fat when you are not” ? What rubbish? You should do a segment on glasses and caption it “Use these when you think you can see but you can not”  You are fat and you should feel fat. 

For some reason, Sarah was not able to ignore this and got quite upset with it. She remembered this follower well now and whenever she posted anything she would always find something demeaning written by JusHon. She tried to view his Insta profile but it was private and the profile picture also had a tiger in it. The only thing she got from his information was JusHon stood for just honest. I wish I could see JusHon and set things straight with him or her. What makes JusHon so sick. I wished I could get into his mind. 

The next morning alarm rang bu it was a different alarm then her usual one, so Sarah opened her eyes and looked around. She was bit disoriented and her surrounding looked different. Her phone was different, she was shocked and woke up. She saw a man lying next to her. It was 7 AM in the watch and the alarm continued to ring. The man next to her yelled at her “ Hannah, can you please shut the damn alarm? I want to sleep” Sarah managed to stop the alarm and was trying to make a sense of the situation. 

She picked up the phone and saw a picture of the man lying next to her and a woman.  Suddenly there was an Instagram notification on the phone “OOTD, Jennifer Lopez and Ellen Degeneres have made an Instagram post” . Inexplicably, Sarah managed to unlock the phone and opened the Instagram and saw her own post. She looked at the profile and she was shocked to see the handle name as JusHon. 

It was JusHon’s phone in her hand. She went through her Insta and realised JusHon’s husband was lying next to her. Sarah broke into the sweat and walked around the house she was in. After an hour, the husband “Marcus”  woke up and looked around in the kitchen and yelled “you have been up for an hour! Where is the damn coffee?”  Sarah got scared and scrambled to the kitchen and made coffee. Marcus took a sip and yelled back “ when do you plan to learn to make a decent cup of coffee? cant you do even one simple thing”  Sarah felt humiliated. 

As Marcus started getting ready, there was a continuous barrage of abusive words being thrown at Hannah.  Sarah realised Hannah was in abusive relationship.  While leaving for work, Marcus said “try to be useful if you can, don’t sit around and splurge my money. 

After he left, Sarah could feel Hannah’s situation. She was in an  abusive relationship, she did not have a courage to fight back and she felt powerless. Hannah just picked up her phone and started scrolling her Insta feed.  Jennifer  Lopes had posted a nude picture on her 50th birthday. A beautiful post by any standards. JusHon commented “ For a wealthy woman, this is all you can afford to wear on your birthday! shame”!    Ellen had posted a funny video JusHon commented “only you can laugh on your jokes. Lame lesbian woman!”  One by one Hannah wrote something nastier on each of the people she followed. Instagram, Facebook, snapchat she covered it all and then put her phone down and took a deep breath and filled a cup of coffee and lit a cigarette. Sarah witnessed Hannah’s day which was filled with despair, helplessness and dependency and abuse.

Next morning turned out to be normal and she woke up in her own bed. Sarah was relieved, she made herself a coffee and sat quietly reflecting on her experience being Hannah the day before.  JusHon was trolling her but it was nothing personal. It was a way for her to relive her stress. It made her feel powerful. It didn’t have repercussion as it was done anonymously.  Sarah felt bad about her. 

Then she thought about other trolls and wondered if they also had a situation like JusHon. She realised every troll does what he does as a release. Some do it as they are going through a tough life like JusHon and some do it out of sheer pleasure of pulling someone down or wanting to be mean, which is far more tough in real life and has its effects. 

“All I can do is to ignore these trolls and concentrate more on people who appreciate me and continue my good work”. She smiled and opened up her Instagram and scrolled to JusHon’s comment and replied. “Thanks and I get you ! “

January 14- Flash Fiction Challenge – As”mo”mi Returns

Charli’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge:

January 14, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about dressing up. It can be a child or another character. Be playful or go where the prompt leads!

As”mo”mi Returns

Asmi, a new mom, stood in front of the mirror and took a good look at herself. The pregnancy glow was replaced by stress of being a new mom. She sighed, “I need to look and feel like my old self”. She opened her wardrobe and then took out a kaftan. A glamorous  yellow kaftan in chiffon with beautiful grey motifs printed on it. She put it on, wore her favourite bead necklace and dabbed make up . Then she sprayed  her favourite Chanel perfume.  She wore heels, took a selfie in mirror, posted on Instagram  As”mo”mi returns 

#SOCS – Jan 16 -The first Thing

Linda’s #SoCS prompt:

Your prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “first thing.” Start your post with the words, “first thing” and go from there. Bonus points if you end your post with the last thing. Have fun!

First thing that I do every morning, is switch off the alarm and curse it without fail. Obvious for most people like me who like their mornings to start in neutral gear and then take the speed slowly. 

By no means I hate mornings. I love to sit with a hot cup of my aromatic ginger tea and a newspaper in my patio.  Pune, where I live is blessed with a crisp weather for most of the year and it is quite a pleasant atmosphere. For me thats the best things about morning and it kind of sets me for the day.  It is my zen time.  

I especially love my mornings on weekends as there are less demands on the time for getting things ready for husband and daughter. Its my day off from exercise so I am not in the rush. The newspaper carries more stories and features to read as bonus. 

The weekend mornings are blesses as the alarm doesn’t ring in the morning. That is the last thing I would want to start my weekend with.

#SOCS- Jan 9- Sky is the limit

The SOCS prompt is back! This week’s prompt- Sky is the limit . This is what came to my mind.

Sky is the limit 

For you to spread love, 

For you to spread  kindness, 

For you to be creative,

For you to speed positivity,

For you to spread hope,

For you to spread knowledge, 

For you to spread peace,

For you to spread faith. 

Sky is infinite, so is your limit.  Go! unleash yourself!

If you would like to participate in the prompt here is the link https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/24840312/posts/3116535475

Mumbai-Pune-Mumbai With Deccan Queen

As part of my creative writing course with Udemy, one of the writing prompt made me write about Deccan Queen.

Deccan Queen is an emotion for people travelling between Mumbai and Pune.The train recently was in news for celebrating its 90th birthday. There were many articles printed in newspaper. It is only when I was doing this writing prompt, I got nostalgic about all the journeys that I took with Deccan Queen. Most of us have memories travelling in this train, hence I decided to share this write up with you all. 

The train is famous for many firsts, being a fast train with few stops and being always punctual. Named after Maharastra’s famous  plateaus this train definitely enjoys a queen’s  status in Maharashtra. Passengers still take pride in travelling by Deccan queen. But the words that came to my mind with Deccan Queen were Pune, grandparents, cousins, summer vacations, mangoes and of course the journey itself which was full of must dos while travelling on this train. 

I haven’t travelled by train from Mumbai to Pune in ages and my memories date back almost 35 years.As a kid, most of my summer holidays were spent in Pune, as my  Aaji stayed there. It was an annual ritual of spending the month with her and travel to Pune by Deccan Queen. The excitement would start from the moment we came to know we got reservation in Deccan Queen. 

Travelling by Deccan queen meant our journey would start two and half hour early, as we lived in Jogeshwari and it was quite a drive. However, catching the train from VT station, now CST, had its own glamour. All inter city and state trains departed from there. Watching those trains at the backdrop of magnificent architecture of  VT station was a major attraction. 

Passengers managing their luggage, families, kids was fun to watch. It wasn’t the era of  bottled water, so almost every family travelling would have those big flasks, invariably a Milton.  If people were travelling overnight, they would carry those bulky hold-alls too.There were “coolies” in their red uniform and badges carrying luggage were everywhere.  Then there would be an announcement about train arrival, the announcer would request the passengers to maintain a safe distance while Queen was arriving at the platform. 

Once the Queen was at the platform, flurry of activities would take place. People with reservation and a lot of luggage just ran towards their seat, not to sit but to get more space to for their luggage and that too right under their seat. Those who couldn’t do the running around hired a coolie to do the job and there was no beating them in that department. The last ones to enter were the frequent travellers, who would do daily “up-down” as its called. 

The real fun started when the train left from the station.  In 20 minutes or so, the man from pantry would come and took orders for the snack. Deccan Queen was famous for its tasty snacks!  All they offered was omelette bread and veg cutlets and tea/coffee. They were legendary though . It was mandatory to order these snacks for us – omelette for us and veg cutlets for my mom. Most of the passengers placed order and I remember if any passenger needed to use restroom before the pantry guy came, they would request their co-passenger to place an order for them. Everyone cooperates as you just cant miss the snacks in Deccan queen. 

After 30 minutes of so, the smell of the snacks would waffle through the train and everyone is praying for the pantry guy to come and he makes an appearance! He carried a big tray with the snacks neatly packed , with list of orders and distributed them. Omelette or cutlet with bread and butter, chips and reddest of red tomato sauce. I don’t know what they serve in the train anymore, but frankly those chips wouldn’t stand a chance with todays Mc-generation but we loved them. It was a novelty at that time. I still have the taste of those omelettes and cutlets with that sweet sauce and oily chips.

If you were lucky you got snacks served in half an hour, which gave opportunity to eat the famous vada Pav at Karjat, the first stop for the Queen. Buy chikki at Lonavala. Aah! The joys of being a kid and eat guilt free!

If you think , all we did was munch all the way to Pune then No!  We managed to play some antakshari or read a book or sleep.  Appreciate the city of lights, Khopoli.  It was a site to watch the lights in the night. My favourite passtime , however, was definitely observing other passengers. How they dress, how they talk, their body language, how they carry themselves. There was always someone you would notice for their typical demeanour. There was always someone irritating. 

Most of the time we travelled second class and the journey would get cooler from Lonavala. Being a Mumbaikar even a difference of three degrees made us shiver as the climate was definitely cooler that time. 

After Lonavala, almost everyone waited for the journey to end. Thankfully, it was just an hour more. Before Pune station, the train stopped at Shivaji Nagar, where most of the passengers would get down and train got emptier and then our final destination Pune! Start of our summer holidays!

It was just a three hour journey but I have taken many trips and each trip has been enjoyable and memorable.