• The Missing Day

    It was a day like any other when the five friends decided to go on a camping trip. Sam was the wittiest of them all. She was skinny, with a round and freckled face. Her dark brown eyes were always covered with dark long wavy hair. Mike, however, had a chubby build and had large eyes on a long oval face. He had short spiky hair and pale skin. He was always found eating and no amount of food could fill his appetite. Anne was frailly-built, with a square face. She had small eyes and her long hair w…

  • The Portrait

    “How much it would cost?” Sheetal asked. “Forty Thousand Only!” came the response from the salesman. “Isn’t it too much for this portrait?” Sheetal tried to negotiate. “You can buy some other portrait, madam. This one is special.” “What’s so special about this one?” she couldn’t take eyes of the green eyes of the man in the portrait. “Do you know Raja Kishan Singh of Rajgarh?” “Heard about him!” “Well, this is his portrait.” “So what? Aren’t their other King’s Portraits in this world? What’s s…

  • The Hungry River

    [A story for Gabriel Garcia Marquez, to his memory] Never been able to quench her thirst, she perennially remained dry and the villagers had aptly named her Bhookhi Nadi, the Hungry River. Often she would compare her name with Bengal’s Subarnarekha or Mayurakshi and would feel aggrieved about her name! But bhookhi she always remained! Once in a while if rain gods were in good moods, Bhookhi would turn voluptuously mad. Flooding! Chhasara is a village of my childhood memories and therefore it e…

  • Magnetic Forces... and Beyond

    "Don't you dare ditch on me bro, I can't travel those roads alone at night", I was yelling at my friend Harry over the phone. He chuckled and confirmed that he won't ditch and that he too was eagerly waiting for this trip. Harry was my childhood friend and I have always thought of him as a pillar of support, someone whom I can always count on in dire times. Harry was a media professional working as an event manager with a team of 25 reporting to him. He was a great company to be, a guy with a su…

  • The Ghost Who Walks

    It was a cold winter evening. My house, made with bamboo and thatched roof, offered some protection from the cold. My father had built it with his retirement funds, and it was a cozy den in this winter. I was in casual shorts and t-shirt, studying hard for my exam the next day. I shivered a little at the thought – so much to study, in such a short time. It was Monday, as I remember. My father had gone to the Somvar Haat (Monday market on the streets), a few miles from the house. My brothers had …

  • Allahkatti

    Located in the haphazardly planned surrounding of Bohri mohalla in Mohammad Ali Road is a small two-storied house, the look of which tells you it has seen better days. The rusty staircase, paint peeling off the wall in too many places, it didn’t look like an inviting house at all. In it lived a usual girl with an unusual name, Allahkatti. Break the words into two, Allah meaning, well, Allah and Katti meaning upset. The mother of this girl, Anjum had just delivered her fourth daughter in a househ…

  • Grandmothers’ Vision

    Storytelling grandmothers or grandfathers are just a familiar stereotype to me but not a biographical experience. When I was a child only one maternal grandmother was still alive, but I cannot recall any stories or fairy-tales she would have told me. Most of the tales my own parents narrated about my grandparents are overshadowed by the dark times of the Great Wars. My father lost his parents when he was still very young. One particular story is outstanding for me because of its strong emotional…

  • What an Afternoon!

    Back in 1990s, I was growing up in a nuclear family in Riyadh. The children in the area were from different nationalities, mostly Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi, and they were students at my parents’ school there. Since we were the Principal’s kids, we weren’t allowed to join them for the street games usually. So it was just us, four siblings, who played together in our house or sometimes in the park under the careful watch of our parents. Although we were enough for each other and had an ama…

  • An Ode to my Children

    Life will bring to you Stony paths to walk through Worry not for your wounded feet For I'll put my palms beneath But, fragile- you shouldn't be. Whenever comes a dark zone You may have to walk alone Don't let your spirit fall a notch My soul will be your guiding torch But, fearful - you shouldn't be. Adventure to brave, to weak, mayhem Art of living, you must fathom Success or failure, you be stable I endeavour to make you so able But, quitter - you shouldn't be. As on grass, not seen but…

  • O-mic, My Amplified Humility

    I was in high school and home for my study leave before my board examinations. My parents were stationed in a quaint laid back steel city in the eastern part of India at that time. It was a very hot summer night and I had just finished cracking the intriguing complexities of the various puzzles of the Anglo-Saxon period. It was well past midnight and as I took my usual before-bed shower, I slipped into a tiny cotton nightie, turned off the lights, and sat on my bed for a while. I had washed my h…


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