Showing posts with label Short Story. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Short Story. Show all posts

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Fight for the Right to Live

"What shall we do?" they despaired. "Can God really accept this? So much suffering?"

"God helps those who help themselves," one rebel said and a few others nodded in agreement.

An elder was offended. "Do you think we have not done enough?"

"The world wouldn't have come to this state if you had done what you should have!" the rebel protested vehemently.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Miss Calculation

Ranjana looked through the file and glanced up at Jha, her PA. "Who sent this request?"A diminutive figure, the large chair in the Ministry of Home Affairs of the state vested in her authority that she seemed quite capable of handling.

"Madam, the state head of the Nation First party," the PA replied deferentially.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

My Beauty Queen

Every time you looked at me, I thought, ah, you love me. Love at first sight, it was, wasn't it?

But you were only seeing yourself. Did you like what you saw? That smile that caressed your lips, so slow, so full of love, admiring... Wasn't it me who made you feel that way? Made you feel like a queen? As if the world began and ended with you? Don't you owe it to me?

Sunday, January 5, 2020

And Thus Flows Life

Radhika and Satvik looked at the antique showcase they had just bought with immense satisfaction. Rearranging the room to make space for it had been challenging, and it was with great regret that they gave away two low chairs to accommodate this giant piece.

"All your books can come here," Satvik said pointing at the two sides. "All my showpieces can take the inside shelves. We can keep the big Nataraja idol here in the centre."

Saturday, November 23, 2019

The Voice From Beyond

"Hi honey."
The voice seemed so real that Priya jumped. Though she looked up instantly, she went back to reading the instruction for the pregnancy test.
"I thought you would have outgrown this behaviour now that you are older. Still behaving like a teenager!" the voice of her mother continued in that particular exasperating tone of amusement.
Priya had to look up and was startled to see her mother actually there. "I am seeing things," she told herself loudly and went back to reading.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

When the Music Stops

"Very impressive singing," the message made her look at the sender a second time. The sender was a good singer himself.

So she replied, "Thank you. You sing very well too."

"That means a lot. I didn't know the song, but loved your rendition. Wanted to join your collab."

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Possessed by Possession

"Do we really need this brassplate?" Suhas asked frustrated.

"It is ornamental and will look good in our dining room. And look at the price! It's a steal!" his wife Archana exclaimed. Suhas raised his eyebrows and rolled his eyes, knowing any argument against that logic was a waste of time.


Saturday, September 7, 2019

Embers That Start a Fire

Daya stared at the television and felt tears stab her eyes. The collective sigh of disappointment in the room revealed how much everybody was affected by the space mission's failure. She could hear her mother-in-law chanting, no doubt, hoping for some miracle to save it. Her husband Nitin loudly slapped the sofa as the headlines repeated the disappointing end - or hopefully, interlude - to this much awaited event. Her father-in-law shook his head and got up, clearly having expected some such fate.

But Daya herself felt as if it were a personal loss, a loss that had its roots fifteen years ago, when she gave up her pursuit of education to pursue Nitin and eloped to get married to him. Shalini, a friend she had reconnected with recently, told her, "I had expected you would be somewhere in NASA, working on some space mission! Never expected you to give it all up for marriage!"

Sunday, September 1, 2019

The Square Peg

Raksha glanced up as she cleared the dining table. "Don't you think you are a little too much in love with your phone?" she asked Arun.

"I don't come here to be nagged," he said sharply, without taking his eyes away from the phone.

She shrugged. "Not nagged, but surely, I can tell you when it starts hurting..."

He looked up with a twinkle in his eyes, "Hurting whom, you or me?"

Saturday, June 29, 2019

For Whom the Wedding Bells Toll

It was a simple affair, exactly as Rishi had desired. Only the closest family and friends in his favourite Krishna temple to witness his wedding to the lovely Sharmila were invited. His parents had arranged the match and he had met Sharmila informally in a cafe. He had communicated his willingness the same evening, but Sharmila's family had taken some time to respond, citing her professional commitments and travel as reasons for being unable to decide quickly. After the informal 'fixing' of the wedding too, her parents had preferred to conduct the wedding right away instead of delaying the actual event with a 'meaningless engagement'. "Can we have a simple wedding but a grand reception as we are going at breakneck speed," her father had asked politely, much to Rishi's mother's dissatisfaction. "We didn't ask for the wedding to be rushed! He is an only son, so we would like to call our relatives..." she had insisted.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Master of Destiny

It was the March of 2050. He felt as good as new. "Medical technology is amazing," he told his friends. "You must try it. In fact, there is an app that tells you the condition of your organs, whom to contact, and even fixes an appointment with specific doctors who have the right equipment. They scan you, find you a match, grow new organs and replace old ones. That's it! That part is good to run for another fifty years!" he said.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Time to Go

"What more is there to live for, ma? It is time for me to go," 90-year-old Gagan told his daughter Shriya.

Shriya, herself 65, felt a stab in her heart. "Don't speak like this, papa!" She still turned to him with questions and his wisdom was a beacon light she couldn't do without.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Twist in Fate

Sona got up from the bed but had to flop back because of the way her head reeled. She called out for her husband Nilesh weakly and then shut up, her discomfiture aggravated by the pain that shot through her heart. There was no Nilesh to respond to her. She should have got used to it, given the way he had been travelling because of work. But he had still been just a phone call away.

When had the distance grown. When had they drifted so apart that she couldn't even call him anymore? How had she missed the signals? Or had he camouflaged them so well?

Friday, February 8, 2019

No. 101

Shraddha looked at the message from her brother Shankar with a frown. "Paapu is unwell, it seems. Mom told me today. Please visit, if you can."

She was puzzled that her mom had told Shankar this but not her. Was it because it had slipped her mother's mind that she also knew Paapu; was it because her mother didn't think the news would matter to her; or did her mother think that she couldn't be bothered with it? Why tell Shankar the news? What could he do, either? He had simply passed the buck to her, after all.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Flipped Image

Ragini put the book down, a certain melancholy settling in her heart. Memories chased each other, leading to that moment of nothingness - the anti-climax when truth came calling, when reality proved to be far simpler and much farther than her imagination. Staring at the emptiness ahead, she had wondered at the power of her own mind in projecting a future that had no basis on the present.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Behind Closed Doors

The moment Raksha entered the house, her two aunts who were visiting her parents slunk out of the house. She turned to look at her mother askance. Her mother slapped her forehead and went in. Her father sighed and said, "It looks as if we are keeping you getting married... So that we can enjoy life from your income."

Raksha didn't bother to reply, knowing how far she had travelled and how she had to just ignore these petty insinuations.

The moment flashed before her eyes, when she had stood alone, trembling, facing her greatest dread.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Infidel

"What!!!!" squealed the girls. Reema sat with a smug smile, accepting the congratulations. "How? Where did you meet him? You dark horse!!! Sankalp! The hot actor! God, how, how, how?" They demanded that she share everything from the first meeting to their becoming a pair in great detail.

Reema obliged, adding all the little nuances - real and imagined - that she knew would gratify her friends' curiosity and also increase her popularity. The evening stretched but the questions remained unending. Still, mindless time compelled them to finally call it a day and leave. Reema walked with her friend Sahana to the two-wheeler parking and sat behind on the pillion. She had observed that Sahana had remained silent throughout and now couldn't help egging her friend, "Are you jealous?"

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Poster Boy

Govind walked down the lane a couple of times, working off the steam of disappointment. He had been rejected yet again for the job he had applied because he did not have the right qualifications. And any attempt to start something on his own also became difficult due to the lack of the right papers and permissions.

As he took a turn, he felt hungry. He looked around to see if there were any food stalls and could find none. He stood at one corner and observed the people who passed by. He did the same at various points. Finally, he felt he had found what he could do - set up a food cart that would cater to the workers of the nearby mall. He started offering a simple fare, expecting only the cleaners and helpers to use it from. But as even the white collar employees started frequenting his stall, he added dishes and found his clientele increasing even further. He had to extend hours, as now people working on all three shifts sought his stall out. He employed two boys to assist him with the expanding business.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Be All

It was a dreary day. Parul was glad when she shut the computer and got up from her place at work.

"Hey Yamuna, how about a cup of coffee?" she asked her colleague on her way out.

Yamuna looked up with tired eyes. "I really have to meet this stupid deadline tonight."

"Come, a coffee can't hurt! You look like you need it too," Parul tried to persuade her colleagye. She herself was not eager to get back to her lonely apartment, though she didn't want to linger in the office either.

But a Yamuna with a deadline was as good as having a monkey for company. She was jumpy, restless and constantly distracted. Well, maybe monkey wasn't the right comparison. They could sit still doing nothing, but not Yamuna with a deadline!

Sighing, Parul decided to take leave. Yamuna too seemed equally pleased to see her go. A chuckle escaped Parul as she realised that just for one moment, both had felt relieved to see the last of the other.

That only redoubled her sense of poignance, reminding her she had no one in this vast city that she had chosen to find work in. What a war she had waged with her mother to win this freedom to pursue her dreams, do her own thing, to make her mother realise that marriage was not the sole purpose of life.

But while work life wasn't bad, she missed her family, her friends, having familiar faces around her. She couldn't face the thought of yet another lonely dinner in her small house she had taken hoping to entertain family and friends. She stopped by a bar and ordered herself a drink and dinner. She shut her eyes to savour the drink, imagine for a second that she had company, and absorb the ambience.

When she opened her eyes, she choked on seeing a man sitting across the table.

"Hi, sorry, didn't mean to startle you! Do you mind if I join?"

She bit back biting words and nodded. "I don't think you gave me a choice there," she took in his appearance. Dressed in cauals, he looked smart. His accent was polished. And though he had taken a seat before seeking her permission, he seemed well behaved.

"I am sorry, I didn't mean to intrude but everybody else seems to be in a group. You are the only one sitting alone and with a chair to spare," he said smiling, taking the sting out of the insinuation that she seemed lonely.

"So are you," she pointed out defensively. "Alone, I mean," she clarified.

"Yes, so I am." He signalled to a waiter and placed his order, graciously asking her if she would like to order anything else. She shook her head. She may have ordered a second round of her drink, but she was not about to take that risk with a stranger sitting across her.

"I am here on business, have a meeting tomorrow," he launched into an explanation, telling her his name, the industry he worked in and the general purpose of his visit. She waved it away. "You are not obliged to explain. I am done anyway and shall leave in a few minutes," she said, trying to act cool.

As he waited to be served, he put her at ease by talking of general things. Soon, she was ordering her second drink and was deep into discussion about the merits and demerits of brands. When he invited her to share the meal, she helped herself to a small part just to keep him company. She didn't mind waiting for him to finish, and when he insisted on paying for her dinner and drinks, she agreed reluctantly.

She was exhilarated as she strolled down the streets aimlessly with him, glad of his amusing company, glad of company, glad to be out with someone other than her colleagues who politely included her in their jaunts during tea breaks but left her alone most evenings to fend for herself.

"You must be late, I am so sorry!" Puneet, that was his name, apologised.

"No, it's ok. I can get back whenever I want," she said.

"No curfew?" he asked with a chuckle.

She looked at him enigmatically, and changed the topic, "I would like to rest my feet a bit."

"I am staying nearby, we could go for coffee at the restaurant there," he offered and she nodded. From there to his room and to his arms...it seemed like natural progression.

Breaking away with great reluctance a little later, some of her loneliness abated, she refused his sleepy offer to spend the rest of the night with him. She stepped out of his room, headed home, shocked but not regretting that one moment!

When she got out of the cab and looked at the dark, silent house she lived in, her desire to run back to the near-stranger was a strong impulse that she fought hard. Those few moments with him had not changed anything for her. It had been at best a diversion, but she was back here, to this lonely place she had chosen.

When she called her mother that morning, she stunned herself as she reluctantly told her mother, "You mentioned there was a boy in this city... I would like to meet him."

Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Missing

Thirty-year-old Ashwin checked his watch impatiently. He was excited, beyond words. He was going to spend time with his classmates from the first school he had studied in till class 8. They were going to spend a couple of days in a beach resort. It was not the resort that mattered, but the time he would be spending with these long-lost friends.

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