Chai Lines with RJ Shilok – Grace’s Haiku Stories Seek Magic in Everyday Moments


Writing isn’t easy and writing well is even harder. But, we all enjoy listening to good stories. In this episode of Chai Lines, we listen to some of the extraordinary stories cooked up using human emotions, and a pinch of humor, by Toastmaster Grace.

‘Haiku’, as we know it, is the traditional Japanese style of poetry, but Grace has modified ‘Haiku’ into stories. She has written very short stories inspired by her everyday observations. First, she recites the story of the yearning of a visually impaired girl who is blessed with beautiful eyes.

This is followed up with the story of a woman whose heart craved to become a mother; she believed that the child could make her marriage more fulfilling. Facing rejection from her husband, she finds an alternate way through an extramarital affair in return for money. After a while, her husband admits to his mistake and wants to make love to her. She happily agrees, locking up her secret within herself.

The next story is about a girl who melts in happiness when she meets a kidnapper. This is her old love’s return, a sweet bygone love. She rushes into his arms and into his warm embrace. She forgets that she is married and that her old lover is, in fact, a reputed criminal.

The next tale is a true story culled from the life of Vasanthamma, the narrator’s maid. She was a young mother of three children when her husband left her. By working day and night, she raised her children all by herself. But after 25 long years, she went in search of the man who had deprived her of everything. Why did she do so? The answer is unexpected – it was to give him a dignified burial.
The succeeding story is a heartwarming one. In it, Grace pens down the memories of her lost brother, whose death snatched away from her her precious guardian angel. “The feather looked around in search of the plume; when it found none, it stood up all alone, all by itself.” This one-line story holds a beautiful inner meaning – however many hardships we face, we can learn to withstand it.

One day, during heavy rain showers, she was returning home from work. On the way, she found a girl selling balloons. She thought to herself that the girl probably did not sell any balloons that day. With this picture in mind, she made up a lovely story in which this girl makes a lot of money by selling tea and bhajjis instead of balloons!
Grace has even made up a two-line satirical story on some mosquitoes happily sucking the blood of a man, leaving him on his deathbed. The last piece by her is on quilting, an activity that Grace finds therapeutic. She had seen her mother distributing quilts during Christmas; one of those quilts had featured a beautiful illustration of family life. After many years, that memory still fresh in her mind, she made up her own story about quilting.
Through her stories, Grace portrays everyday experiences. They may seem insignificant in our day-to-day lives, but they shape our minds and our beings.

Listen in…

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