MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the month “June, 2013”

When would you like to live?

VicCouple“I don’t like living in the 21st century,” uttered Alice as she gulped down a glass of cold water. The sun was stifling that day, and burning the back of her head so much that she could even feel it turn chili pepper red.

“Why?” said Paul as he continued to stare at his tablet, concentrated on how to best guide his hero-turtle along a leafy path, knocking frogs out of its way. “This is the best century in which to live! Well, except if in the next one we have flying vehicles and spaceships that would allow us to fly to the moon and other planets whenever we want! Yeah, that would be so cool!…Gotcha!”. Paul’s eyes never left the screen. It was as if his gaze was transfixed. And every now and then he would sway in motion together with the tablet, as if he and his hero-turtle were one and the same.

“Agh”, sighed Alice. She, on the other hand, was a romantic. She didn’t jump through hoops for all this technology available at our fingertips nowadays. Sure, it facilitates life and was definitely worth it. But our lives shouldn’t simply depend on them. They are supposed to serve us and not the other way around. Alice loved to observe the world around her, and she could not possibly understand why Paul was so mesmerized by a simple gadget, when on a lovely summer day like this birds were chirping away in the trees, flowers were blooming all across the garden, and the sea was lying right there, still and peaceful waiting for a splash. How could he just ignore it all? For a screen?

“I would like to have lived in the Renaissance. With those large, elegant gowns, swirling along with my every step. Those pretty hats and lace umbrellas. And all those gentlemen, discreetly courting me.” Alice made a twirl as she dreamt of how better everything would be.

“Pfff,” snarled Paul. Still not looking away from the screen.

“What? … Rather, what about Belle Époque or the Enlightenment? Aaaaahhh”, she let out a prolonged sigh, like a small bubble letting out its air, slowly and smoothly.

“You’re a dreamer. You do live in Wonderland after all!”

“So what? At least I realize the beauty of other times. You don’t even know about them!”

“Sure I do. I know about the time of dinosaurs. Or the prehistoric men. Or the time of the Crusades.”

“Why would you want to live in a war period? We have enough of that now as it is!”

“But it’s all about the action. And feeling important!”

“See, that’s what these stupid videogames do to you. You think everything is fun and games. Even when lives are at stake! …. I’ve had enough of you. I’m going for a swim, either way you won’t even know I’m not here.” Alice threw off her beach dress and ran towards the sea. She welcomed the soothing splash into the ocean, as she shook off the sun’s burning rays from her head and back.

She was already swimming 200 meters in, when Paul, eyes fixed on the tablet, said “do what you want. We’ll always disagree on time periods. Everyone thinks another time different to their own is always better. … Are you even listening to me?”


Partly inspired by Daily Prompt: 21st Century Citizen
Do you belong in this day and age? Do you feel comfortable being a citizen of the 21st-century? If you do, explain why — and if you don’t, when in human history would you rather be?

Also part of: Daily Prompt: Fly on the Wall – If you could be a “fly on the wall” anywhere and at any time in history, where and when would you choose?

Also part of Daily Prompt: One-Way Street – Congrats! You’re the owner of a new time machine. The catch? It comes in two models, each traveling one way only: the past OR the future. Which do you choose, and why?

That magical beat that keeps you ticking

music_notes21 June was World Music Day. And it was indeed fitting that the longest day of the year, the summer solstice, should be filled with tunes from all corners of the world. Worldwide events were held, open-air, under the stars, in gardens and concert-halls to celebrate that art, that harmonious tune that gives rhythm to our lives.

Music is defined as “an art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color”. People listen to different types of music, but they all feel a connection at one point or other to some song, tune or orchestral piece that reaches right to the cords of their heart. That makes you associate that very tune you hear to something in your life, a happy moment, a memory, a dream, an event. Put briefly, music is in itself, life.

Music is at times a refuge, a haven, a way out of pain, anguish and anxiety when reality strikes. Whatever your preferred theme or type – be it rock, pop, jazz, blues, R&B,  disco, classical, rap, hip-hop, ska, or whatever other genre there is – music, like Victor Hugo said, “expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent”.

Music is all around us and everyone has something to say about it: that it is healing; it is a prayer; it is a song to the universe; it is a revelation; the speech of angels; a truth; a treasure; it is expression; it is magic. Music is something to everyone. And perhaps what best sums it all up is that “music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life” (Berthold Auerbach).

People often start their day with birds tweeting (the original type) outside their window, then with earphones singing in their ears, radios blasting in their cars. Have ringtones at the sound of their favorite artists. Go to concerts to hear them live. Watch programs showcasing new talents, revealing new voices that will prove ground-breaking to the music industry’s perpetuation. And then at the end of a long day people often chose to relax by turning on some music when they get home. Music is naturally an integral part of our entire day. And it has radically evolved from the simple beat of self-made drums and other instruments, to the complex electronic sounds of today (even if at times some of these sound more like noise, rather than rhythmic melodies).

Music is even part of demonstrations and mass rallies. It is the common language that everybody knows and that unites people across countries and continents. It is the bridge linking differing views and opinions. Music is above all a unifying force. One that can bring the so-desired change everyone is looking for. For music extends its grasp to the very core of people’s soul. It brings light to the everyday darkness simply because it fills the silence and masks the noise that surrounds us. And for this, music is indispensable.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Eye of the Beholder

Murder on the rocks

MafiamanShe noticed him as soon as he came into the clubhouse. He was dressed in a sleek Armani suit (or was it Hugo Boss?) from top to bottom, with shoes so shiny he could see his reflection in them. His fedora with a silver star gleaming on the rim seemed brand new, as if he had worn it simply to make an impression that night. And the smoke emitted from his Cuban cigar made him fit right in to the foggy atmosphere at the club.

“Hey Al, how ya doin’?”

“What’s up Al? How’s the missus or should I say who’s the new one?”

Everybody knew Al.

He was a frequent patron at the clubhouse and one of the founding members of the club. He was responsible for screening new entries and evaluating existing ones. His word was law. Everyone respected him out of fear of being on the receiving end of his rage or displeasure. And everyone knew you should never anger Al. Not that anyone ever saw him angry. But Al was like a silent river; you never hear it coming. And the way he acted in order to clear his anger was unexpected. That is why it was so efficient. And why he (still) had never been caught.

“Hey doll. Gimme a whiskey, will ya?”

Even his voice was charming. At least that is what Lola thought, as she went behind the bar to prepare his drink. The usual, on the rocks. Because that too was one of his trademarks.

Al could draw all eyes on him the minute he walked into a place. Let alone a club he partly owned.

But tonight was different. Tonight he wanted to pass unnoticed. Because what people couldn’t see was the revolver hidden in his left inside pocket. It was fully loaded and ready to take revenge on Anthony. He had betrayed Al. And no-one betrays Al. That was a lesson he was about to learn.

 
Also part of the Trifecta Writing Challenge. The prompt word was CLUB:

3a : an association of persons for some common object usually jointly supported and meeting periodically; also : a group identified by some common characteristic <nations in the nuclear club>
b : the meeting place of a club <lunch at the club>
c : an association of persons participating in a plan by which they agree to make regular payments or purchases in order to secure some advantage
d : nightclub
e : an athletic association or team

The last stance

11275856-confused-emoticon“No, no, no. Not the last stance, the last dance! That’s what it’s called. Because it’s the last performance of one of the senior choreographers who’s retiring”

“Well if he’s so tiring, how will you even last a performance then?”

“Not tiring, he’s re-tiring. He’s old!”

“Old? And he’s still dancing? Heck, I get tired walking out on the balcony!”

“Well, he’s not exactly the one dancing. He just directs the rest. So you’ll come, right?”

“I’ll try, dear.”

“Great! You’ll love it, I’m sure. Now I have to go get my costume. Do you want me to bring you anything?”

“No, dear. I’m fine. Thank you.”

“Sure? No, ice cream, no pie, no sweet of any sort, nothing?”

“Sweet? My sugar levels are already up the roof!”

“Ok then. I’ll be back in a jiff!”

“In a jeep? Where will you get a jeep from?

“In a jiff, grandma! Not a jeep! Am I not enunciating right?”

“Of course, it would be emancipating, dear. Just not for our times. In the 60s perhaps, yes.”

“Emancipating? But I said enunciating! Oh, anyway. I’m off! See you later, grandma!”

“Ok, dear. Just be careful with that jeep, it’s not as liberating as you may think! I would know!”

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Groupthink

Also part of Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue               

Life is an ocean

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100 is a milestone. In every respect. And this is my 100th post. So to celebrate, here’s a life-embracing, heart-warming, hopefully-inspiring (!) story…

rainbow

Tina had just finished braiding her pigtails. She loved the feeling of innocence, carefreeness and childhood that these emitted, and in these hard times for her, she so longed for something lighter to lift off the weight of the world that had rested on her shoulders.

She was stuck at a job she did not like, in a city she despised, living in a neighbourhood with people she didn’t even talk to. Her only true friend was her Maltese dog, Polly. And today, it seemed she was the only one who remembered. The one who rushed into the room this morning slapping a big, juicy slurp on her as she prepared to get out of bed.

Tina wasn’t looking forward to a day at work today. She didn’t really think her presence even mattered there. And her colleagues…they were nice, but…really? Just “nice”? She was hoping that all those kitchen conversations would lead to something more. That she would find friends in that group who demonstrated they cared.

She arrived at the office, looking brighter than usual. It was her day after all. And she tried to embrace it. As she opened the door, certain it was going to be “another day at the office”, she heard a loud tooting of party horns accompanied by enthusiastic cheers wishing her a happy birthday. She walked in and found her colleagues in party-wear, the room decorated joyfully, and a large mouthwatering cake waiting for its candles to be blown out.

What a surprise! Tina was enthralled. Just when you least expect it a light appears in your darkness.

Life is like an adventure. And there is always a party waiting for you at the end! There is always land across a boundless ocean. You just have to be patient and bold enough to weather the storm to get there. After all, the only way to see the rainbow is to endure the rain.


Also part of
Trifecta Writing Challenge – the prompt word was LIGHT (noun)

3: a source of light: as
a : a celestial body
b : candle
c : an electric light

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Exhale

Twelve years and counting…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATwelve years had passed and her pain was as solid as that very first day. His screeching still echoed in her ears, as she felt the weight of that train thrashing against her chest. And every time this painful thought came to mind, she would stretch out her hand in vain, hoping that at least this time she would be able to grip the handlebar of the pram in time.

 

This is a response to the Trifextra Writing Challenge. The weekend prompt was to write a complete story in only three sentences.

The Power of Illusions

Perception-3There is a popular saying that “all that glitters is not gold”. And it is true. What appears to be one way, doesn’t necessarily mean it is truly so. A pretty house may hide inside it deserted rooms covered in cobwebs. Just like a big smile, may be masking unexpressed pain. Illusions have a huge part in our lives. But we often fail to realize how great their power actually is.

What appears to give a location or a person wealth, luxury and comfort does not completely cover up the fact that behind the expensive stores and villas, people may be found living out of makeshift homes, just like the favelas in Rio de Janeiro. Just because this is not publicized enough, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Recently, for example, with the ongoing demonstrations in Turkey, CNN Turk was avoiding any news on the matter and instead broadcasting cooking shows. Yet, just outside their door a riot was breaking out and overtaking the headlines of international news media.

The amount and type of publicity something takes, greatly impacts on your psychology too. Advertising a destination as rich, colourful and luxurious, creates the illusion that there can be no wrong there, no danger, no risk. And yet, when a tsunami hits the very shores you are bathing at, you are caught unprepared, as that crystalline illusion is washed away in a surge of a tidal wave.

In crisis-struck countries of southern Europe, such as Greece, negative publicity creates an image in tourists’ minds that streets are filled with unbridled immigrants who are waiting for the opportune moment to attack, steal and plunder. That shopping streets are closed and deserted. That nationalistic sentiment has overtaken the calm and peaceful mentality that once was. And that no one is safe in a country full of crime, corruption and offences. But that is not the case. And it is truly a shame that such negative propaganda is what wins over the reality of a country as beautiful as Greece. That despite the crisis, and the unavoidable impact it has had particularly on small businesses, it still maintains its pride and life still goes on as usual, as people try to cope with the new laws, the additional cuts, and the extra taxes. But this negativity spreading internationally does not help. For people enter the country with the illusion that they might get attacked any minute now, and fear overwhelms them, as they look at all those faces travelling alongside them in the metro, and create conspiracy theories in their head. To the point that in the end they become afraid of even their own shadow.

Illusions work both ways. Not everything publicized as bad exists without any hidden trace of good; but neither does all that is advertised as perfect not bury something bad. Just as there are two sides to each coin, there are too sides to each story. And even though looking for both may risk you being dubbed a skeptic, it is better to know the whole story, rather than half the truth.

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