Written Words Never Die
Historical fiction – India
*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan ***
I sort of agree..that when all has been said, the energies of the words uttered or said shifts, bringing new “meaning” to them. From trying to help, to frustration, to anger, to fear…and that just the word “Please”.
Good to see you return after the hiatus. Trust that all is well.
You’re right. The energy behind a word can convey varying meanings.
All good wishes,
Please can be a plea
Voice of anger, order, fear
It’s all in the tone
‘Please I said, I want more.’
It was David’s first day and the cook, taken aback, snorted in anger. She pointed a finger and gestured to David to move along.
On the second day, David was still hungry. He said,
‘Please, ma’am, don’t you see, I must have more.’
The cook sighed in exasperation and flicked the back of her hand, indicating that he was holding up the line and to move along.
But on the third day, David, unable to stifle the gnawing hunger pains any longer, pleaded.
‘Please ma’am, I beg you, can I have some more? Please.’
‘Listen, young man,’ said the cook, ‘there are five hundred of you in this orphanage and I’ve enough to feed only three hundred. This is the best I can do. Now, move along and eat your soup before it gets cold.’
‘Please ma’am,’ said David, with tears brimming.
‘Look here, David. Normal rations will be back on when the supplies arrive this weekend. Meanwhile, this diet will do you good.’
‘Please ma’am, I will not last another two days.’
‘You’re not just fat, but obese. Any three of these kids can get into your shorts. Now, move along.’
Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018
Wow! I am in awe of your creativity..just coming up with words like that! Loved the story 😀
If only wisdom did come from subtle word shifts, instead of confusion or a whole long list of unanswerable questions.
Another insightful haiku and thought-provoking haiku!
You’re right. Wise words are usually simple words strung together.
Thank you also for your compliment.
Simple words suffice
Why the veil and secret codes
Cluttered minds pretend
‘I will give you wisdom, Manitha,’ said the Luminous One, his voice was low and it echoed.
Thunder rumbled. The mountain top looked odd. One can imagine the boiling clouds. But the sky was a shocking apple green.
Manitha, on his knees and with arms outstretched, gazed at the apparition towering above him.
The Luminous One gave Manitha a box.
‘Alphabets?’ asked Manitha, his voice having turned from reverence to ridicule.
‘Watch your tone, you mortal made of mud from under my sandals,’ said the Luminous One.
The wind gathered strength. Manitha squinted and scratched his head. He said,
‘What wisdom is this?’
But the wind snatched his words and raced away.
‘Speak up,’ said the Luminous One. The sound of slashing lightning filled the air.
‘I said,’ shouted Manitha, ‘you gave me alphabets. And only twenty six. What wisdom is this?’
The Luminous One’s shoulders drooped. He lost his posture.
‘Cut!’ snapped the director. ‘Lights!’
The lights came on with loud snaps and bathed the studio with white brilliance, and the wind machine shut down with a tiny whine.
‘I agree with him, it doesn’t make sense, does it?’ said the now not so Luminous One. ‘Alphabets and wisdom?’
The director snapped his fingers and summoned the scriptwriter. The bespectacled man ran up and said,
‘Okay, I’ll break it down for you, Einstein. With just twenty six alphabets you can easily form more than a quarter million words. Now, if you move those words around, rearrange in sentences, you can express as many wise guy ideas as you wish.’
‘All it takes is twenty six letters for wisdom to bloom. Kapish?’ asked the director.
So funny, especially the Luminous One’s words ‘… you mortal made of mud from under my sandals.’
The problem is those 26 letters can also spell out a lot of rubbish. We need our wits to distinguish the wisdom from the dross.
By the by, you must be exhausted writing stories to all our comments.
Thank you, Sarah,
For your comment.
Yes, alphabets are multi edged swords. And it does take special abilities to form masterpieces from mud. Otherwise everyone will be a potter.
As for writing flashes to comments, I posted a recent comment on your blog that everyday I challenge myself to write stories. Will see how long I can keep this up.
Good luck with all the story writing and remembering to sleep.
I think the morphing of word meanings is everlasting and wonderful. There is a freedom to it.
You’re right when words take on new meanings, it is refreshing and adds new dimensions to our freedom of expression and enjoyment.
New meanings are born
Verbs, adjectives, and nouns morph
Fringe becomes the norm
He promised to make the country safe enough for a young woman to walk down the streets past midnight. He promised every citizen a job and a roof over their heads. He promised order, an efficient civil service, and a police that adhered to rules and regulations.
‘Power will be curbed!’ His voice thundered. He raised his arms.
The crowd packing the square clapped, cheered, and went wild. Men chanted his name. Mothers with babies in arms wept.
The people gave him a landslide victory and he remained true to his election manifesto.
He plugged the loopholes in the laws and gave the police strict standard operating procedures. Criminals were arrested and executed. But executions were carried out only under the signed orders of an officer. Crime disappeared.
The streets became safe for women and children.
Everyone secured a job and a roof over their heads. The work camps had hot water during winter and air-conditioning during summer.
The civil service proved itself efficient and the trains ran on time. No one complained.
There was no one to complain.
Many words that we phrased in a certain structure and accepted commonly do not mean that we have given those words the correct interpretation.
New words are also invented in every generation and carry a different meaning. Example we hear “The party was lame.” Previously we would say “The party was boring.” Perhaps people just twist the word to become a slang. It is contagious and you are “cool” if you use it. LOL.
I have also seen some cute words that we have stopped using, like “lollygag” and “bumfuzzle.”
No wisdom here, Eric. Just that you made me laugh when I think of how we often mutilate English to become Singlish.
Glad that my haiku provoked a laugh. LOL. Great way to start the week.
AAMOF languages are always evolving. Though IMO, I don’t care for abbreviations. It does not WFM. And as for Singlish—I don’t use it, even when speaking let alone writing.
Over time words morph
Elements do not evolve
Constant change the norm
‘I don’t understand why my book was not even longlisted,’ said Praveen.
‘The judges’ decision is final and I’m afraid we have nothing more to say, Mr Jagnath.’
Praveen Jagnath, a self-published author, had won four of the five annual book awards given out by the local newspaper. This set back would have a telling effect on his book sales.
He walked down the steps of the newspaper office, his foot falls heavy, and got onto the dusty road. He turned the corner and recognised the small bookstore.
The owner, Bai Singh, was one of Praveen’s foremost fans and has read all his novels. Praveen found Bai sitting behind the counter in the cluttered bookstore.
‘You always writing dramas. Family stories, with some romantic love,’ said Singh. His head shook as he continued.
‘All story covering a few months or most a year or two. Nice. But now you’re writing not family drama but family epic.’ Singh’s voice peaked, as if in exclamation.
‘I don’t understand, Bai,’ said Praveen.
‘The story of your hero, Mahaveer, is starting from young to now. How old now?’
‘Acha! Seventy-five years old,’ said Singh, shaking his head in that adorable way. ‘When he is growing and growing for seventy years, the language is changing, he is maturing, but in your book, his dialogue is remaining the same. Five years old he is saying something, and now also saying the same thing, the same way, and using same words only. How can that be—aise kaise ho sakhta hei?’
What is “aise kaise ho sakhta hei?”
Hope you have a good week ahead too !
Given in the story – “How can that be”. Perhaps I should dispense with the Hindi. But I was trying (poorly as I now realise) to render the dialogue as authentic as possible.
Oh sorry Eric, it was my oversight. I thought it was a continuation of Singh’s speech. I assumed he was making another remark in Hindi following “How can that be.” For me, a touch of foreign language always add flavor to the dialogue.
No worries, Windy. It sometimes happens with first readings.
There is a difference between the acquiring of knowledge and the acquiring of wisdom isn’t there Eric? Infinite wisdom of course takes us far beyond human capabilities, but we all hope to get there some day as far as that is possible.
I agree. Knowledge is important and forms a base from which, through life experiences and discernment, one acquires wisdom. Infinite wisdom is infinite and by that measure, so are our lives. And for our purposes, it is a never ending quest, I agree.
All good wishes for the week ahead,
A mere nutrient
Knowledge, one dish for wisdom
Eat a balanced meal
Pang was a lawyer-turned-banker from a wealthy family. When his friend, the country’s prime minister, invited him to sit as Chief Justice, he accepted.
‘Society has been good to me and my family,’ he said. ‘I look forward to serving the nation.’
Pang, who earned several million dollars a year in banking, settled for the modest salary of a chief judge.
‘It’s impossible to find people prepared to make such sacrifices,’ said the prime minister.
Pang brought the brutal efficiency of the banking industry to the Bench.
‘Don’t waste the court’s time,’ said CJ Pang. ‘If you lodge frivolous appeals to the high court, and if you lose, I’ll take that as frivolous and enhance your sentence.’
The first few appellants ended up paying double their fines or spending double time in prison. Every single person facing the death penalty met their end.
Appeals dried up, the courts’ back-log cleared, and some lauded CJ Pang as a great judge who brought efficiency to a lumbering system inherited from the British, and a literal meaning to the term ‘swift justice’.
On his death bed, Pang asked to see a priest.
‘Have you been just?’ asked the priest.
‘Yes.’ Pang whispered in a weak hoarse voice.
‘Have you been wise?’
‘Yes.’ Pang’s eyes flickered. ‘Who are you? Where is my priest?’
‘According to the law, the only law that matters, you have been found unjust and unwise,’ said the priest. ‘You will pay the penalty of damnation as prescribed by the tenets you embraced.’
Pang’s eyes opened wide and he recognised the Thing sitting beside him.
‘No.’ He cried. His voice feeble. His eyes terror filled.
‘You were judged by none other than Chief Justice Pang.’
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