Message in a Bottle: Jostling Jealousy & Other Stories

30 Aug

[This one was scribbled for a four-year-old audience. The language has been modified for adult reading. Feedback welcome. And any mommies/daddies reading this, feel free to narrate it to your babies. 🙂 ]

Sascha’s bathroom, like the rest of her home, was spotlessly clean. Her Mommy made sure that it was cleaned every day and always smelled fragrant. You could call it a bit cluttered, I suppose, for Sascha loved her cosmetics just as much as the next tween. And the window ledge was more than a little packed with bottles, tubes and jars of varying dimensions, jostling for a foothold.

They were quite a sorority, those bottles. Every night, after all was calm, they’d huddle together and crib about Hair Oil who lived among them.

“She’s so drippy and icky and green!” gurgled Shampoo in disdain.

“Not to mention smelly,” sniffed Bath Salts.

“She really shouldn’t be here amongst us,” cried Baby Powder, who was particularly vain about her appearance and partial to taking a peek into the mirror every chance she got.

And so they whined and carped and grumbled about their unsavory company, until one day, fed up of their complaining, Soap suggested a plan.

“We’ll wait for Friday night,” he whispered, knowing that was the time Sascha’s hair was oiled. “And, since she’ll be the last one back on the ledge, one of us can nudge her over, and splash, she’ll be in the pot below!” Much excitement and cheering later, it was decided that Condi (short for Conditioner) be the one to Do the Deed. Being the tallest of the lot, he had more leverage, and could move swiftly and effectively to get the job done. Hands shaken and backs slapped, they settled down to await the end of the week.

On Friday night, Nanny grabbed Hair Oil as usual and took her off to the kitchen to be warmed. 20 tense minutes later, she was back, whistling tunelessly at being the flavor of the night and having gladdened the rather traditional Nanny’s old heart. At precisely ten past midnight, at the pre-determined signal, Condi swung into action. A quick bump of his plastic bum later, Hair Oil was floating dismally in the (thankfully) clean water of the dazzling white pot, gazing up ruefully at the sniggers above her. Shutting her eyes, she prayed fervently that no drowsy family member would use the toilet at night. That, in her book, would be the ultimate ignominy.

The night passed peacefully. Or as peaceful as it can possibly be with a dark drain mere millimeters away. With the morning sun came Bai, Harpic in one hand and brush in another, ready to do battle with germs, stains and sundry offenders. Hair Oil cringed, waiting to be doused in blue soapy liquid, but none descended. Instead, after what appeared to be the longest time, she heard a cluck of annoyance and felt a calloused hand gingerly lift her from the cap. The bottles were all agog, hanging about innocently with their eyes peeled to the unfolding scene. And this is what they saw:

Hair Oil was given a thorough rinse in lavender soap by a brisk, mildly annoyed Bai before being swabbed with Dettol and patted dry. Other than a wrinkly wrapper, she looked none the worse for wear and the smirk she wore on her face infuriated them. The last straw was seeing her being whisked off to the bedroom and given pride of place on Sascha’s dressing table, in full view of the exciting programs on television. Only the bottles knew that the slightly puffed look that Hair Oil wore for the rest of the week was not a result of that dunking in the water.

22 Responses to “Message in a Bottle: Jostling Jealousy & Other Stories”

  1. Sonal August 30, 2008 at 9:39 am #

    Rudolph go home.

    As I read the story, kept ear out for some possible suggestions or comments, but I got nothin!

    Loved the pace of it most; kept attention rapt.
    Language is used well and progression of piece is nice.

  2. rajni August 30, 2008 at 3:21 pm #

    I liked it!

  3. Amrita August 30, 2008 at 6:56 pm #

    It’s really cute! I think the language is a little advanced – but then I really hate to be stopped and asked “What does that mean?” so it could be just me. The pacing is great. If you want to up the attraction a bit, then develop a pattern of some sort that you can rhythmically repeat throughout the story – either sounds or phrases or structure. Kids that age respond really well to repetition, I believe.

  4. Dadoji August 31, 2008 at 2:45 am #

    I could use this…just need to wait a few more months. 🙂

  5. Orange Jammies August 31, 2008 at 10:54 pm #

    Sonal: Thanks babe. Big hug.
    P.S. You still need to call me about next weekend!

    Rajni: 🙂 I’m glad. Even though N & R may be a tad too old for it, no?

    Amrita: About the language: It has been modified for adult reading. About the repetition: Yes, that does work, I usually slip it into my kiddie poems. 🙂 Thanks a ton for the feedback, girl.

    Dadoji: Oh my, are we that old already??? 😀 I still have her ‘before haircut’ picture and I think it’s the cutest ever!

  6. Unmana September 1, 2008 at 10:00 am #

    I liked it, and I’m a bit older than the intended audience, I believe…

  7. Thinking Cramps September 1, 2008 at 1:54 pm #

    I’d say it’s an awful bedtime story – because it didn’t put me to sleep – it woke me up and kept me engrossed in the adventures of the bottles!

    Loved it 🙂

  8. Orange Jammies September 1, 2008 at 3:09 pm #

    Unmana: Hello! 🙂 We’ve met on UV. Welcome here.

    Thinking Cramps: 😆 It wasn’t intended to be. My kiddies come to school in the morning.

  9. Unmana September 2, 2008 at 9:21 am #

    OJ, I wandered over to your blog on yahoo too, a few times, but couldn’t comment. was glad to find you here.

  10. the mad momma September 2, 2008 at 5:06 pm #

    🙂 I like it. the brat liked it too. but i had to use smaller words. oh well – he is a year away from four so i guess it would work for your babies !!

  11. D September 2, 2008 at 9:36 pm #

    Very like an animated movie. Loved it. And I’m still a child at heart 😛 so that should count.

  12. Anindita Sengupta September 2, 2008 at 11:23 pm #

    Loved it!

  13. Dadoji September 2, 2008 at 11:25 pm #

    We can tell you all the planets from and after Jupiter. And sing songs and poems. We learn big things from our brother you see. 😀

    And we find SRK irresistible.


  14. Orange Jammies September 3, 2008 at 1:24 am #

    Unmana: 🙂 Oh. Now you can!

    MM: My note above does mention that it’s been modified for adult reading. So glad Brattie liked it. I still can’t get over him asking me “Sal wee go?” 😀

    D: At heart is where it always counts! 😉

    Anindita: Just a humble schoolteacher offering, really. 😳

    Dadoji: Goodness! [pleasant surprise at the first two, horror at the last] If it means anything to her, tell her he bumped into my precious mango cake on my birthday.

  15. Gulshan Aunty September 3, 2008 at 6:17 pm #

    This piece, OJ, is really quite cute
    The jealous jostlers struck a-mute
    How ironic that she’s green
    Whilst the others were mean
    Come-come, let more such stories flow from your flute!

  16. Orange Jammies September 3, 2008 at 6:35 pm #

    Aunty G: You’re getting better and better! Spectacular, Aunty G! 😀 And that’s some observation!

  17. dipali September 5, 2008 at 12:23 am #

    Loved this, OJ!

  18. Orange Jammies September 5, 2008 at 10:41 am #

    Dipali: If you get to try it on some children, do let me know the response.

  19. Nino's Mum December 10, 2008 at 1:40 pm #

    hahhahahahhahaha 🙂 I’m laughing so hard my blood office staff thinks I’m finally bonkers.
    Printed and will be read to sonny boy tonite! Oh OJ, master weaver of wordly webs!

  20. Orange Jammies December 10, 2008 at 11:08 pm #

    Nino’s Mum: It’s about survival, girl. Must necessarily be a step ahead of the antsy preschoolers. 😉


  1. Message in a Bottle: Condi Saves the Night « Wisdom Wears Neon Pyjamas - December 10, 2008

    […] may remember the story of Sascha and her jostling bathroom friends who bumped off poor Hair Oil into the toilet bowl. Not much has changed since, and the bottles […]

  2. Message in a Bottle: Starchie Unbends « Wisdom Wears Neon Pyjamas - January 29, 2012

    […] been a while since we visited our friends in Sascha’s bathroom, hasn’t it? Them of the bottled feelings and mostly well-meaning hearts, they’ve lived […]

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