Anxiety, Your Creative Loved Ones, and You.

Life

Life is a strange teacher. Untiring, relentless, and often merciless, it continues to heap tests upon tests on you. For the creative ones, these tests come with a continuous mulling over of every possible scenario that could result from every possible decision. This incessant churning of thoughts gives them heartburns, turns them into hysterical zombies, and gives them sleepless nights.

The Zombies

These creative professionals must use their energy to create or they’d soon find themselves out of work.

When anxiety takes over and hogs their energy, creativity slinks into a corner.

Unabated anxiety makes them neurotic and they struggle to keep their focus. Their creativity gets bundled up and thrown in a corner because Continue reading “Anxiety, Your Creative Loved Ones, and You.”

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Feminism in History: Enheduanna – The First Woman Poet.

Four thousand years ago, when the Akkadians (one of the ancient Mesopotamian races) invaded Sumeria (the southern part of Mesopotamia, also known the Fertile Crescent or  the cradle of civilization,) they realized that if they didn’t meld their religion with the existing Sumerian religion, they would never win the hearts of the local populace. The Akkad king Sargon the Great placed the burden of this difficult task upon the shoulders of his daughter Enhedduana, by making her the high priestess of Nanna, the Moon god, and bestowing upon her the coveted title of En or the priest.

My imagination shows me a young Enhedduana entrusted with the responsibility of combining the Sumerian gods with the Akkadian gods in a subliminal way. I see her researching, holding conferences, determining the key religious symbols of the new (Sumerian religion) and synthesizing them with the Akkadian ones. I see her as an organizer, manager, visualizer, writer, and poet.

And I see many cynical faces around her. These faces belong to people who wanted her to fail, and who, away from the prying eyes, come together to plan her fall. For over the last four thousand years, things haven’t changed all that much.

Recently, in a program that I conducted for some senior managers of an organization, a woman participant told me that a woman has to work three times more than a man to prove that she is equal to a man. I couldn’t disagree with her.

I see Enhedduana as a similar woman manager, who despite her privileged position as the eldest princess of the conquering people, would have to work doubly hard than a man, to prove that her father’s confidence in her capability wasn’t misplaced.

I see her reflecting upon her strengths and realizing that the matters of belief can only be worked through the hearts of the people, and only by evoking their feelings would she be able to bring about a lasting change in their religious beliefs. Her father Sargon knew that for the task of bringing the Sumerians onboard, his daughter was the right person for she had the empathy of an artist and the gumption of a princess.

In addition to discharging her other duties as the priestess, Enhedduana can historically claim to be the first poetess ever. She wrote forty-two poems, and three hymns to be sung in the praise of goddess Inanna, the powerful Sumerian goddess of love, sensuality, fertility, and war.

Image shows Goddess Inanna. Image Source: By Ramblings of the Claury [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Unparalleled. (Story)

The girl picked up the soiled and torn piece of newspaper that had streaks of gray, black, and brown – some of its text hidden under the streaks and some wiped away by the hoary finger of time, it still had quite a bit of it left. She handled it gingerly for the paper had turned brittle with age and when she had picked it up it had started to flake. A piece of newspaper, this big, with so much of the text still legible, could buy her family two full dinners, and the thought of mishandling it horrified her.

Inside, however, she struggled with another dilemma. She coveted the newspaper piece, she wanted to keep it in that little hole where she kept those other things she found – things that could each buy the family a meal or two or even five. Three mouths all waiting to be fed, all waiting for her to bring home something that could be bartered – three, and hers was fourth. She never questioned why she must be the one to worry about feeding them. This was how it had been for the last three years. It had begun when she had started accompanying Pa and Ma on their scavenges, and then, somehow, for no apparent reason, Pa and Ma stopped accompanying her on these trips.

They told her that her ability to detect things of value was unparalleled…that she was gifted, and all they did was slow her down, and so they had started staying home – first a little less, then more and more. In the beginning she liked it. She enjoyed being called unique – she loved all that adulation and praise that they heaped upon her when she returned to the fourth floor crumbling room of the dilapidated building they called home. But then after the first year, there was the baby. Ma had started to chide her gently for not doing enough for her baby brother, and Pa would only talk to her for a few minutes as he opened her tattered bag and evaluated the goodies. When the haul was good, he grunted; when it wasn’t so good, he criticized. Continue reading “Unparalleled. (Story)”

7 Short Stories – An Eclectic Collection of Tales that Twist and Turn.

This post is a collection of my short stories that have appeared on this blog. If you are a reader who likes variations, I have a feeling that you’ll enjoy these 🙂

Cracked Mirrors and The Grim Reaper 

When a mirror cracks, somewhere the Grim Reaper reaps a soul.

Window - the story - Cracked Mirrors and the Grim Reaper.
~0~

The Siren & the Banshee

When a siren and a banshee both call – whose call do you answer? Continue reading “7 Short Stories – An Eclectic Collection of Tales that Twist and Turn.”

The Thaw (Story)

Marianne awoke groaning. This is how she’s been waking up this whole month – her body a tense bundle of aching muscles. He didn’t beat her, he didn’t scold her…and there were times when she hoped he would – a blow that would leave a cut on her brow or lip, or an angry avalanche of curses would be infinitely more welcome than his cold indifference.
He had stonewalled her.
Nothing reached him anymore.
When he looked in her direction, it was as if he was looking through her, like she was made of glass.
No. glass was classy.
Plastic would be a more appropriate metaphor to describe her.
Plastic, brittle with age;
plastic with stains and scratches;
plastic that would keep rotting endlessly.
He looked at her like she were made of plastic. When she tried to talk to him, he heard nothing. He wouldn’t even bother to up the volume of his headphones. When she poured her heartache on paper and left it on his table, he tore it away, and then told her that he didn’t give a damn.
Marianne was stonewalled.
And yet, she couldn’t give him up. Helplessness swirled around her, pulling her down by her ankles into the dark abyss that promised a vast emptiness. Marianne would be glad to lose herself into that deep well if only the nothingness wasn’t temporary. She had been there, and she knew well that this tempting nothingness would soon leave her in the company of despair laced with self-pity – and that it would make her cry and squirm. Her aching shoulders and stiff neck would twist and turn to the terrible music of her anguish and leave her more broken than ever. She knew that Inside that deep abyss of helplessness, she would be tossed about by self-pity, self-righteousness, self-doubt, self-castigation…
Once or twice…just once or twice, she had even considered suicide. Continue reading “The Thaw (Story)”

“The Price of Nofret’s Nose – Honor and Murder in Ancient Egypt” Published.

Dear Readers and Fellow Bloggers,

I’m glad to announce that “The Price of Nofret’s Nose – Honor and Murder in Ancient Egypt” is now available on Amazon both in eBook and print formats.

The Price of Nofret's Nose - A Murder Mystery set in the New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt (Reign of Rameses IV) - Author: S.R. Anand.

Following are the links:

eBook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078ZJJTQC/

Print: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1980404461/

If you are interested in Historical Fiction and/or thrillers/mysteries,  I believe you’ll enjoy reading this thrilling mystery set in Ancient Egypt. Head over to Amazon to read its synopsis and sample the first 10% of the story.

I leave you with the first review on the book:

Screenshot - Review of Price of Nofret's Nose - Honor and Murder in Ancient Egypt

Now “Menkhaf’s Scrolls” are screaming for my attention. While I figure out what’s troubling those ancient scrolls written by the Immortal Menkhaf, please head over to Amazon and check out Nofret’s Nose.

The Perfect Costume (Story)

Mark tipped the valet and got behind the wheel of his Mercedes. As his car shot out of the porch and glided down the incline, he glanced at the digital clock. It was 6 AM. It would take him an hour to reach his destination, and then another hour to prepare himself for his day’s work. If he missed the peak rush hour of 8 to 9, his entire day would be wasted.

—()—

The dilapidated cottage was a portal into his parallel universe. He would pass through it every morning on his way to work, and return through it every evening – six days a week. He parked his Mercedes in the garage, and went up the steps that led into the living room. The living room connected to a small bedroom upstairs, one in which he had never once spent the night – a few afternoons may be, when business had been good in the mornings.

There he changed into his costume. He had about a dozen of these, each tailored to a particular locality and designed to appeal to a specific gentry, and each improved and enhanced over the years. He loved to Continue reading “The Perfect Costume (Story)”

A Mother’s Soul (Story)

He was her only son. Her only child.
It wasn’t any wonder then that she had always been a concerned mother, and she did what concerned mothers always do. She kept an eye on him. No, she wouldn’t want you to get her wrong. She didn’t smother him with her motherly love, nor did she harass him continually by demanding to know what he had been doing and why. She didn’t take the whole credit for it anyway, because her son, she believed, was a model child.
At least until three days ago. It was Christmas eve when she had first noticed something amiss in his behavior. He didn’t even look at all the Christmas decorations that she had so painstakingly done. The first thing she noticed about him was that his eyes were red and puffed. It was clear that he wasn’t getting enough sleep. Then she started noticing a few other things – he would lock himself into his room for hours, and then he would stagger out, make himself a pathetic sandwich, grab a coke, and return to his room.
At first, she thought that he was suffering from his first heartbreak, and that talking to him would help. So she had tried, but he had ignored her completely. Like she wasn’t there.
All her attempts to talk to him failed.
And then the party was the last straw.
Her son, who couldn’t be bothered to go to parties, had thrown one! Without telling her about it.
She was heartbroken. The boy who was her world had stopped talking to her, and now…
It was an odd gathering. She had expected only her son’s friends to be there. She wanted to talk to them – perhaps they could help her understand what was going on in his life, and help her deny or confirm her suspicions. But the guests were an odd assortment – their relatives, his friends, and even some of the neighbors.
Perhaps her son was growing up and learning the ways of the world.
Her chest filled with pride, when her son began speaking… Continue reading “A Mother’s Soul (Story)”

The Mist Maiden (Story)

For a fleeting moment, he saw her, and then there was just the mist that rose from the Nile and hovered over the calm surface of the water. She had disappeared. Just like that. Was she a wisp of memory rolled so thin by time that it had transformed into a shimmering film of nothingness? Or was she someone his tired imagination had conjured?
“No, she wasn’t a figment of your imagination,” said the old man who had once been a priest of Amun.
“A memory then?” he asked, anxious that the man might confirm it.
“No. She was something else,” replied his old hunchback companion whose eyes were nearly hidden under the lose folds of his lids, and who appeared to be as ancient as the necropolis at Saqqara.
“Then who?”
“She was a woman,” he answered.
“A real woman?” he queried, confused. “Where did she go?”
“She didn’t go anywhere,” replied the old man. “She is still there, on the bank of Nile.”
“But then, why can’t I see her anymore? Does she still live?”
The old man chortled. “Oh, she is. But you can’t, because you don’t.” Continue reading “The Mist Maiden (Story)”

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