Stories

The Fort

There was an eerie silence with just distant cooing of pigeons at the hilltop. Suddenly some of them flew away flapping their wings. Nandini was startled but chose to look past it. Melodious bhajans and chants with ringing of temple bells could be heard from the valley downhill. Sunset was close. The sky was painted in hues of red, crimson and purple. Within minutes dark clouds converged in welcoming the calm night. Nandini could feel a chilling hollowness in the air. There was a bizarre feel to the breeze that grew cooler as they climbed. (Click here to read more)

Flash Fiction: The Discovery

Ray copied all the questions from the question paper and looked out of the window. Twenty minutes had passed, and he wasn’t able to answer any question. Mathematics had always been very difficult for him. He always failed in mathematics but passed other subjects. He managed to get promoted to higher classes. He had reached the highest class of school with the lowest grade in mathematics. (Click here to read)

Flash Fiction: Maya and the Dolphin

Ever since Hasan came to Cox’s Bazar, he noticed a child in a vegetable shop, close to his residence, sitting by her father. He always praised the child to his colleagues. He felt her eyes were the repository of all kindness in this world. She was, maybe in between seven or eight, a thin, brownish girl with her hair in a bun. She wore an off-white T-shirt with night pajamas. Hasan always looked at her when he passed the shop, and she looked back till he merged into the distance. (Click here to read)

New Masters

The “animals” were happy.

The Ape was their chosen leader, as he was considered by the rest of the heterogeneous assembly, the nearest cousin of the people who had terrorized them for centuries but were now behind the bars, refusing to come out of their hide-outs, due to the pandemic. (Click here to read more)

Litmus

He did not like animals. Or so he said. In any case, the children were discouraged from harbouring dreams of ever having a pet. He was an asthmatic. Viewed from that perspective, it made sense. “Father’s allergy will be triggered by pet fur,” they were told. ( Click here to read)

Nazuk

The old man fell ill and stayed in bed for around eight days. He recuperated later, but remained quite frail and weak for a few more days. Nazuk looked after him like her father. Whenever she did him a favour, she would recall her father. But she was surprised to notice that sometimes the old man would slide into deep thoughts, and tears stream down from his eyes. (Click here to read)

House of the Dead

When Shefa Nanu died, I was about fourteen years old. It was an awkward age to be honest. I was neither a woman, nor a girl. When people said, “O my, isn’t she all grown up,” I felt awfully conscious of myself. Sometimes I wished to be invisible, and half the times I didn’t want to go visiting. But Shefa Nanu’s death was an unavoidable occasion and I had to tag along with my mother and grandmother. (Click here to read more)

Line of Control

Snow. All around us. A thick blanket of barren white broken by faces of rocks that dare to peek out. In this snow cold grows fangs and fingers and a snaking tongue. The tongue slips under the collar of your parka, the fingers slide down inside your shoes, freezing, and the fangs rip through your wretched bones. (Click here to read)

The Awaited Mother’s Day

Surabhilata was beside herself with joy as she strode up the stairs of her elder daughter Anuradha’s residence on Park Street. Anuradha’s husband Soumendra was an eminent lawyer, good looking and well-respected. He lived in his ancestral house striking a happy balance with his parents. Anuradha cared for her in-laws, looks after their needs, and had taught her own children to love and respect their Dadu and Thamma. ( Click here to read more)

From a Lockdown Diary: On the Lightness of Being

I continue to soar above a city made better by the sights of strays being fed by solitary men; migrant workers being given rations or meals twice every day; cops served with tea and water bottles; the medical professionals presented with flowers — new unsung heroes and heroines — by strangers; trees and flowers grow fast; rivers cleaner; streets quieter; visibility increased: stars appear clearly before my startled eyes. (Click here to read this)

Flash Fiction: The Guava Tree

The guava tree always stood in seclusion. The lemon tree also grew beside it. The potential of the lemon tree was curbed by the sharpness of its thorns. Jubilant children did not care about thorns on the lemon tree and swung beside it on the guava tree where their swing was attached. The potential of children was one thing and that of a tree with respect to its thorn was another. Ah! The sharpening of the senses and the sharpening of thorns, two things related in Nature, but created differently by Nature for two different subjects. (Click here to read more)

The Mask

Green all around, shades of green actually, that seemed to smile at her as she looked out. The tall moringa tree that seemed to reach up high, its small leaves dazzling in the play of sun and rain. That tree that met her eyes each morning as she looked out of that large window always made her feel nice. The rusted iron grills, the wooden window shutters broken here and there, did not shut tight, the latch rusted too, some bit of concrete laid bare a little of the masonry – her eye moved along. (Click here to read more)

Flash Fiction: A Curse

It was shadowy in the forest. No sounds at all. Only some living creatures were crawling in the undergrowth, producing inaudible sounds. An inquisitive young man entered the forest with a smile on his face. He fancied that there might be some hidden treasures in the forest after browsing through a recent book on treasure hunting. (Click here to read)

The Lost Coin

It was a summer day. The sun was up in the sky. Early in the morning he left for the sea and sat on the shore. There was still a touch of coldness of the last night left in the sands. He cast a look at the tides generated by the wind that blew over the other night. (Click here to read)

Too Much Light; Too Much Trouble

The moment he stepped into the office he was astonished to see the distorted features of his colleagues. Someone’s eyes were bulging out of their sockets. Someone’s ears were stretched out. Someone’s tongue was sticking out. Someone’s lips had swollen. He stared at them with bewilderment. (Click here to read)

The One Rupee Taker

Every day he visits my home and takes only a one-rupee coin. Not more and not less. If I try to give him a two-rupee coin, he asks, “Do you want me to take this coin?” and he won’t take it. He is in the habit of taking a one-rupee coin from my home and perhaps many other homes. I can only see him coming to my home to take a coin. I do not care if he visits other homes and collects coins, for I care about his visit to my home because of his regular habits. ( Click here to read)

Metropolis

The day when his second novel was rejected in the same cold cursory manner the earlier one had been, Pavish Reuk decided to take a stroll across the city. He didn’t have much in his mind then, except a half-bitter tingling that always grew out of his failures.  As he stood at the crossing with a crowd of scared masked men waiting for the green that summons pedestrians to march across the throbbing cars, Pavish Reuk realized that his whole life had been a string of failures. (Click here to read)

The Savage

The Common Tiger butterfly (D genutia) lured him into the deep of the scrub jungle. The orange wings with black veins; double row of white spots of a Danaus genus can be as alluring for a camera-n-backpack-laden young birdie from Mumbai, as a call of the sea for a sailor! (Click here to read more)

Flash Fiction: Strangers

The African man selling trinkets looks less out of place than me. In jeans and slippers he lopes over the sand, going between beachgoers calling out, “Signora, buon prezzo”, promising a “good price” in an accent that will never sound Italian. His smile is docile but nervous as he approaches three elderly Italians, plump and soft, golden and wrinkled, walking along the sand in their bikinis. He calls one of them by name. Regulars. (Click here to read)

The Wooden Horse

It was his first flight. The first flight in twenty crawling years. He sat at the Departure Lounge of the Quetta airport waiting for the final boarding announcement. He was delighted but at the same time a bit nervous too. He feared that the plane would crash. He sat impatiently on the sofa. (Click here to read more)

Flash Fiction: A Fight

A line of rocks marks a ridge overgrown with heather which leads down to a sandy bay at the headland. On an elevation, behind a patch of marram grass, a dilapidated cottage.

The walls are made from natural stone, the roof shingles are covered with moss, the frames of the small windows are jammed and swollen having been exposed over years to moisture and rain. In the nearby water bobs an open boat with fishing lines and nets. 

Close to the house stands a rusty fish trap and a few lobster pots. (Click here to read more)

The Potato Prince

Parul sat on the narrow bench of the veranda looking at the two potatoes in her hand. They were small, brownish, and round — very ordinary potatoes. But Parul looked at them endearingly. One bore her name, while the other was inscribed with a heart-shaped hole. Parul’s body and soul were enraptured with feelings she had never known. She felt like singing and dancing. Saleha was busy in the kitchen and there was nobody else at home. That meant there was no one to obstruct her from enjoying a little respite from her daily chore of sweeping the floors of the sprawling fourth-floor apartment that had been her home for the past two years. (Click here to read more)