Enchanted (original fiction)

Already enchanted by the chatter of the sea triggered by the joy of its curls being ruffled by a caressing breeze, Edgar, an old man with millions of memories with which to muse over the mysteries of nature, gazed with both rapture and some mystification at the tulip in his hand.

How beautiful an object, how generous of nature, he said to himself, even as he was more than keenly aware that the tulip he held was made of glass. He pondered further; how could he perceive a scent seemingly emanating from a manufactured object? Had the wings of a scented fairy known to frequent the foothills of the mountains of Bhutan been crushed and infused into the glass being blown? How terrible, he said silently to himself.

Even as he felt deep sorrow for that fairy (for he was certain of the origin of that wonderful scent), he thought that he glimpsed the improbable – a slight movement within the centre of the glass tulip. In his confused mind, wherein consternation was mingled with delight, he felt that he could see a tiny figure. Peering deeply into the tulip, he did discern a perfectly shaped female figure. He was gratified to see that she had wings, and that they were intact, folded demurely as only a fairy can, close to her body. Obviously, his first unthinking concern was for the safety of her wings.

So great was his joy at having his very own scented fairy cocooned securely in glass, that he did not become aware immediately that she was waving frantically at him. Unthinking, he waved back. That seemed to annoy her. She stamped her feet, obviously in anger. That made him more confused than he had ever been through the effects of what he chose to refer to as galloping middle age. His children thought him a doddering old fool pre-occupied with the failures of his life, including fighting in other peoples’ wars, which always ended in defeat.

That is, he had a conscience. Yet, the worrying prospect of a rare scented fairy being imprisoned unfairly, unethically, in a glass tomb on his bookshelf was overtaken by the pleasure of possession of something ever so rare and so beautiful. Greed overtook conscience, until the fairy decided to act.

She pulled up her skirt and displayed her shapely little bottom, then waggled it, while simultaneously looking back at him with despair underlined with anger. The waggle did not bother Edgar, for he had forgotten its implications. The despair, however, touched his soul.

That was too much for Edgar. He knew all about suffering. With tears in his eyes, he broke the tulip most carefully. The fairy came out, did a little dance on his hand, and flew away briskly, leaving a scented trail. How Edgar wished he could retain that scent for posterity.

Sighting her departure, the sea now turned ebullient with joy for the fairy, its waves clapping clamorously to speed her flight. Edgar, however, continued to weep silently in a confusion of an undeniable Christian charity, and deep sorrow for that which was lost.

(Raja Arasa Ratnam – unpublished)

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Live, and let live

The internet shows wonderfully uplifting pictures of inter-species friendship. A cat and a duck walking together; 3 young animals, each of a different species, displaying a close friendship; a tiny doe walking up confidently to a group of 3 leopards and sitting with them, leading to one of the leopards seemingly patting the head of the baby deer; and a kitten and a budgerigar playing and sleeping together; these are a few examples. Does this not indicate that there is no natural animosity between the different species, except when hunger drives a carnivore to seek a meal? When sated, normality (co-existence) returns.

So, what drives predatory behaviour between nations, evidence for which through both history and in current times is certainly overwhelming; ‘collateral damage’ involving death, mutilation, and the dispersal of thousands and thousands of innocent people from their lands all over the globe is now also commonplace. Predatory behaviour by corporations operating in foreign territory, through something called ‘globalisation’ promising greater economic efficiency in the use of the target nation’s resources, is also commonplace; but who benefits?

Christian churches seek to expand their flocks through conversion of foreigners. The rationale? ‘Only through me shall ye know God,’ allegedly uttered 2,000 years ago. But, did not the Hindus’ Krishna say (roughly translated) ‘Whatever God you pray to, it is I who answer’? Then, media owners seek to influence the way we think about politics. Politicians, unable to see beyond the next election, allow powerful financial and religious interests to influence policy, thus making Western democracy a bit of a joke (the national interest taking third place).

When all is said and done, do we not enter Earthly life alone, only to depart alone, empty-handed in both directions? As well, religious institutions, like all other man-made structures do have use-by dates (something to do with planetary circuits). What then is durable? Ideas and values!

What value should predominate in the context that we are all connected, with the objective of moral growth, with purpose, and balance?