Flash Fiction 1: Cumin Seeds And Stolen Dreams

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This collection of fifteen flash fiction pieces titled, ‘Cumin Seeds and Stolen Dreams’, transcends mere storytelling techniques
This collection of fifteen flash fiction pieces titled, ‘Cumin Seeds and Stolen Dreams’, transcends mere storytelling techniques

Imagine a story spun in just six words, a universe laid bare in a single tweet, or a life-altering moment encapsulated in a few words. Flash fiction transforms these potentials into art, not through magic, but through the power of conciseness. A solitary sentence can ignite your imagination, unlock a kaleidoscope of emotions, and leave you pondering long after the fading of the final echo.

 

Flash fiction, with its bite-sized tales also known as micro-stories or nano-tales, boasts a surprisingly long and rich history. 

 

While popularized in the 19th century by literary giants like Walt Whitman and Ambrose Bierce, its roots stretch back even further, finding kinship with ancient traditions like fables, parables, and even enigmatic wisdom pieces like Aesop’s tales and Zen koans. These miniature narratives have long served as proof that conciseness can be a powerful tool, delivering profound messages in a compact form.

Unlike the sprawling landscapes of traditional short stories, flash fiction flourishes in the fertile ground of brevity. It can change its size from a minuscule six-word story, a literary haiku capturing a universe, to a more expansive 1,000-word tale, depending on the platform. Each format, whether the concise characters of Twitter or the limited space of a postcard, presents a unique challenge – crafting a captivating story into the fewest, most impactful details.

Brevity, however, does not equate to simplicity. Flash fiction demands sharp prose, evocative language, and a central image that ignites the reader’s imagination. Whether it is a single, dramatic scene or a story unfolding across a handful of key moments, flash fiction succeeds with a limited cast of characters and a strong voice to define them. The focus here is on creating an emotional resonance, often achieved through a startling twist at the end, an unexpected line that overturns the narrative and leaves the reader pondering its deeper meaning.

 

Forged in the fires of a St. Xavier’s College Kolkata creative writing course for fourth-semester English Honours students, this collection of fifteen flash fiction pieces titled, Cumin Seeds and Stolen Dreams’, transcends mere storytelling techniques.

 

Bursting with imagination, ingenuity, and narrative power, it leaves a lasting mark on readers. Each piece is a testament to the power of storytelling in its purest form. Through unexpected twists and surprising turns, these miniature narratives create an emotional resonance that lingers long after the final sentence. The deeper meanings hidden within these stories invite the reader’s imagination and contemplation.

What makes ‘Cumin Seeds and Stolen Dreams’ truly remarkable is the fact that, except for my contributions, all stories preceding my editorial refinement were crafted under pressure. Written within the confines of exam halls as impromptu responses to flash fiction prompts, they showcase the students’ exceptional ability to think creatively and weave compelling narratives on the spot.

To my students, heartfelt congratulations on your creative spark! Readers, embark on a captivating journey through these flash fiction pieces. They will not only ignite your thoughts but leave a lasting impression that lingers long after the final word.

During the ensuing elaborate breakfast, Fatima Rahman, a childhood friend of Mary, asked the priest with curiosity, “Father, what is the significance of the cumin seeds in this prayer service?”
During the ensuing elaborate breakfast, Fatima Rahman, a childhood friend of Mary, asked the priest with curiosity, “Father, what is the significance of the cumin seeds in this prayer service?”

Cumin Seeds

 

The day after Mary Cheriyan’s funeral, her family, relatives, and friends congregated in the sombre atmosphere of her home’s drawing room. A framed photograph of Mary adorned the table, veiled in white, alongside a Bible symbolizing the word of God and a crucifix representing Christ’s redemptive sacrifice.

The arrival of the parish priest infused a glimmer of reassurance into the sombre air. Warm greetings preceded his focused gaze upon the table. “Cumin seeds,” he declared with authority. “Why have they not been placed? They are integral to the prayer service for the departed.” Promptly, a small container of cumin seeds joined the tableau at his behest.

With reverence, the priest initiated the prayer service, invoking blessings from the trinitarian God and guiding the assembly through solemn prayers. Turning to Chapter 11 of the ‘Gospel of John’, he illuminated its significance, offering solace and hope to those mourning. He blessed the entire household with Holy water and concluded the service by distributing the blessed cumin seeds to all present.

During the ensuing elaborate breakfast, Fatima Rahman, a childhood friend of Mary, asked the priest with curiosity, “Father, what is the significance of the cumin seeds in this prayer service?” The priest, with a modest smile, confessed, “I cannot say for certain, but within the Syrian Christian tradition, they hold a profound significance.”

Curiosity swelled among the townsfolk, prompting questions about the reluctance of the monks to resume their once-cherished role in the community
Curiosity swelled among the townsfolk, prompting questions about the reluctance of the monks to resume their once-cherished role in the community

Self-preservation

 

As the COVID-19 pandemic ebbed away and life cautiously tiptoed back to its pre-pandemic rhythm, the gates of the ancient monastery continued to remain closed to the outside world. Inside, the monks continued their daily rituals and prayers, but they were extremely hesitant to resume their customary spiritual discourse for the people outside.

Curiosity swelled among the townsfolk, prompting questions about the reluctance of the monks to resume their once-cherished role in the community. The Rector of the monastery, a man known for his sagacity, addressed the concern of the townsfolk in measured words saying, “Our duty transcends the present. We must safeguard our lives to serve our society’s spiritual needs in the future.”

At the monastery gate, the cynical gatekeeper kept saying, “Those who have renounced the cares of the world have missioned themselves to self-preservation so that they can attend to the spiritual needs of the world in the future – a future they may never witness.”

The next part of the Fash Fiction series will appear on 23.5.24 (next Thursday). 

All Images: pixabay.com

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