Wind Haiku

Whispering winds,

Sent me a secret today

But I’ll never tell!

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Fortune Teller

The astrologer gave me a wicked smile as he called me closer. Even the poorly painted palm that advertised his presence seemed sinister.

His office was tucked away in a narrow lane with many houses bearing down on the road, but I saw no people. Inside it was painted red and the only light came from a dirty, shut window. He gave me a rusted coin box while he prepared his cowrie shells.

He smiled when I dropped a whole heap of coins but gasped when he looked at how his shells fell. I looked at him hopefully but he only said “I don’t like looking at my own future.” and returned my coins with a grimace.

One night at a park

The park was always in ruins. No one knew if it had ever seen better days but you can be sure that the colony’s respectable residents would never be seen there.

I would always scheme with the other residents about it. Especially that Naik. No one would ever think we didn’t get along. 

Living near a place with such a bad reputation can do us no good. The atmosphere is never right but these other fools will never understand. Everything that is bad happens because of atmosphere. It is why dictators who smoke get their countries in trouble. They make for terrible atmosphere. Just look at Cuba.

Now we must do something about those dam hooligans at the park. Everyone nods when I tell them this but are happy to sit at home with only the light from their TV’s  leaving their houses when the time is right. How many time have I told them of my plan? That gatekeeper is terrible. I keep telling him to get the other servants together and paint those dam fences.

Those rusty fences would give you tetanus if you even look at them. My plan was perfect. It was simple, and the intelligent could see that this rainy night was actually the best time for it. Just a few knocks on the head would send those idiots at the park away. They were better off at home rather than hanging out in parks so late. Well, so I thought.

 There’s the gateman now. His smile always unsettels me. It seems to be mocking me in its unusual whiteness. Maybe I should give him a knock on the head too, now that I know the measure of my blows. He wasn’t wearing a watch. More time would always do me good.

No, I just have to get back to the east gate. I was right, the atmosphere was perfect. In the rain all you could see was the blue and yellow glows from the apartment windows and the lamps that would only fliker like the insects that flew past them. 

I looked at my watch carefully.

Hmm. I didn’t mean to do it honestly, but I think it will be for the best. All I saw was him shuffling around aimlessly, suspiciously. I should have noticed that bent gait but I was a bit too excited to be honest. I took my walking stick and aimed.

It should have hit his arm buy he stumbled across nothing. That dam Naik. What was he doing in the park without me? I was the one of started the whole clean park business and now he goes off without me? 

I nearly felt my pulse go when his did but I realised that atmosphere was just right. I made sure to tap my walking stick extra loud and even leave a cough or two as the gateman walked by. I didn’t want to oversell it.

That fool was always blind, might actually take him a few days to find Naik. I looked at my watch carefully in the orange street light and memorised the exact time again. 

Who could know if I came home at 8 or 9? No one other than the gateman would know I was at the park and I would have many ready to testify how I sat by the TV all day. When the police come at least there won’t be anymore idiots at the park anymore.
 

 

Moonstone

This one’s been a long time coming. The Moonstone is an excellent Victorian detective novel cum thriller with a bit of oriental flavoring.

I was supposed to finish reading this for my course but I never finished it as I heard of the ending before I was halfway done. The fact that I was able to finish Bleak house and Middlemarch in a few days and took months to finish Moonstone had a few of my friends questioning my humanness. Their concern isn’t all that unwarranted.

Wilkie Colins’ The Moonstone could easily be mistaken for something written in the early 20th century. The language is simple, far removed from the intimidating wordplay that puts most people off Victorian writing. The story is narrated through journals written by the characters. This doing away of the omniscient narrator does wonders for the story. The reader often knows little more than the characters and is on his or her toes the entire time. It also helps cut away any flab that might slow own the story. The story and mystery take their time to unravel but this is never really a bother for previously mentioned reason. The unceasing exposure to the characters’ thoughts and deviations fleshes out their personalities and make everything that’s said more relevant and very often- endearing.

The mystery that the story revolves around is engaging and the narration manages to slip you a revelation just before you start to get impatient. The story is undeniably well written and it would be a very pleasant thing to finish on the high note that is Betteredges’ endearing epilogue. There are plenty of memorable lines, characters and quips I doubt anyone is likely to forget. If you ever find someone who has read the moonstone, threaten to quote Robinson Crusoe and I guarantee a laugh.

However, there are the three Indian and the Moonstone that steal attention at the end of the book. It would have been very easy to have just forgotten about them after the epilogue but Collins decides otherwise. In doing so Collins seems to draw attention to the story of the Moonstone, the Indians, Hinduism, faith, caste and list of other things.Stories that had been hidden away under all the drama. Why? I’m not really sure. It work’s beautiful, yes. But why?

This fascination Collins brings to everything from the Moon to Tipu Sultan adds a little something to the book, that just invites you to wonder. Was Collins enamored with the idea of duty and the cycles of time? We can never really be sure, but there’s no denying the Moonstones brilliance.