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Turning Twelve!

 As Alter Idem turns twelve today, one part of me wants to quit this space.... and, another wants to trudge along!!  Well--- the year I forget to write this obligatory birthday post , I will quit... Today's short story is from Zen teachings.  Four friends, on a week's vow of silence, managed to keep it for a couple of days.  And then, on a particularly dark and scary evening, Friend 1 asked a passing servant to light a few lamps. Friend 2 instinctively reminded him about the vow.  Immediately, Friend 3 chided both of them for breaking the vow, while Friend 4 gloated that so far, he had been able to keep the vow --- a story that tells us how important it is to focus our thoughts if we want to achieve our goals.... Now, most of you would have come across this story. What you don't know, of course, is a somewhat similar story I had heard as a child. I will share it --- even though it is an improper one and quite cringy.  Dear reader, please treat the following story as a refle

Eleven years old!

Alter Idem turns 11 today... and that means, story time !   It was a very cold, wintery morning, and, Akbar and Birbal were walking by the river. On a sudden whim, Akbar announced a huge reward to anyone who would spend an entire night standing in the river, neck deep in water.  The biting cold deterred all except an extremely poor man, with a large family (let's call him 'Bechara'). Seeing his best opportunity to change his life forever, Bechara decided to take up the challenge.   After completing the challenge successfully, the winner was taken by the referees to Akbar's court to collect the reward. Jealous acquaintances thwarted the reward by telling Akbar that the lamps from the buildings nearby would have kept Bechara warm. The dejected Bechara rushed to Birbal for help....   The next day, Birbal invited Akbar and the jealous acquaintances for lunch. An hour past lunch time, the invited guests began to get restless about the lunch not being served. Apologising for

Some Kharaabu thoughts!

Unfortunate times, people! So unfortunate that I have started watching TV for some time every day - changing channels every few minutes, actually! The anchor, in heavily anglicized Kannada was raving about the latest Kannada song to go viral....about how people across age groups were uploading their versions of the hero's dance steps on social media. She referred to the song as the Kharaabu song. You know, Sri.U.R.Ananthamurthy had once jokingly remarked that by adding 'u' (as in 'put'), you could convert a word from any other language into a Kannada word! Kharaabu is therefore the Kannada equivalent of the Hindi Kharaab ! I'm not sure if it was intentional, but everything about the rather tuneless song seemed unbelievably Kharaabu - from incomprehensible lyrics to dancing by unkempt looking characters. And the way they were treating the lone female in the sequence was unacceptably Kharaabu ! Reminding myself that it wasn't fair to judge a song

A Decade!

Alter Idem turns ten today! In a fit of nostalgia, I browsed through all that I have written since November 13, 2009! For the first couple of years, I have written quite a bit! With 4-7 posts an year, the mid couple of years have been not-so-bad. In the last couple of years though, I haven't written much. One thing I have not yet given up on is the blogiversary post! Keeping with my blogiversary tradition, I will be sharing a short story today. Today's story is from the Zen teachings.  I do not remember where I read this one - a newspaper, perhaps...   Two friends, walking down a path, were discussing their dreams. Friend A narrated that when he woke up, he was swimming in a pool of honey and nectar whereas Friend B was swimming in a pool of slush and filth. It was now Friend B's turn to narrate his dream. He said that he had the same dream as well! But, when he woke up, Friend A was licking his fingers and he, was licking Friend A's fingers! Zen stories alw

Nine years!

You know, Alter Idem turns 9 today! How time flies! Between the last b'day and this one, I could manage only one post. There seems to be a lack of time for everything!! That's why, without further ado, I'll share the short story for this year.  First time visitors ---- it's a tradition on Alter Idem - to share a short story that I have read and liked, as the birthday post. Click on the label 'B'day' at the end of this post if you want to check out the earlier stories. I'd read this story in one the weekend editions of the Kannada daily, Udayavani. It's a story from the Middle East - author unknown. Once upon a time, the ruler of a certain kingdom wanted to know how best 'peace' could be portrayed in paintings. Several painters of the land submitted their works - of mountains, blue skies, forests and lakes - all serene and beautiful. One painting, however, was a total contrast - dark skies, lightning and heavy showers.... at first g


Ideally, cherry trees require at least a month of very cold weather conditions for flowering. But, they are hardy enough to settle for less - until, they get used to the weather conditions they are forced to live in, i.e. More than 10 years after the promised 2-3 years, we finally saw some fruits on our cherry tree this year. Thanks to the attractive colour of the fruits, the tree was a sight to behold! But, of course, looks can be deceptive. This cherry has a sour taste and is made up of equal amount of pulp and hard pits. That's why, the monkeys and the birds decided to leave everything to us! For a while, we thought of letting the fruits be - allow them to drop off naturally and enrich the soil. Somehow, that didn't seem okay. It was like doing injustice to our long wait. Since the fruits have a low shelf life, I decided to see if I could preserve it. I'm not a stranger to making jams and preserves. For jams, I follow a standard recipe shared by a grand aunt