Tag Archives: fiction


Dressed in rags, a mongrel at his heels, the man stopped before a busy chai shop at the station. The chaiwala took one look at him and turned away in disgust. The man sighed. With a loud whistle, the Avon heaved to a stop at Platform Nine and Three Quarters.

An old man with a weary face approached the tramp. He was dressed strangely, and the chaiwala noticed the motif of a queen with a crown on his cloak. The stranger took a close look at the tramp, and his eyes lit up.
“Ah, so you’re here. I have been going mad. But no, I shall not weep”, he said and quite simply thrust into the tramp’s palm a coin (Was that gold? thought the chaiwala) bearing the same queen’s face and left.

The chaiwala barely had time to register his surprise that a gentleman came along, humming a little tune to himself. He seemed to be looking for someone, and as before looked surprised and thoroughly happy when he saw the poorly dressed man.
“Oh have I missed your songs, for if it isn’t music that be the food of love, what is?” As before, the tramp made no comment but was quite richly rewarded with a coin (that had to be gold!) that had funny writing on it. The chaiwala could make out I-L-L-Y before the man pocketed it.

If he had been surprised before, what he saw next shocked him. A tall, hefty black man made his way to the little shop. He was accompanied by a woman, shockingly beautiful and dainty. He felt too weak to even wolf whistle; he was not sure if he was capable of whimpering then. The couple appeared to be bickering about something when they spied the tramp.
“I have not deserved this” said She.
“Rude am I in speech, how can I help that?” shot back He.
She sighed, nodded at the tramp, handed him an old hanky with (Wait, what!) gold embroidery and turned. Infuriated, the tall man nodded hurriedly and left as well.

The chaiwala turned open mouthed to the man in rags whose pockets now bulged with gold.
“Who are you?”
The man smiled, and in his eyes the chaiwala suddenly saw magical places far away and in a time unknown and surreal.

“I? I am but a fool”


A slimy memoir (of sorts).

He watched them leave him alone without any pain or remorse. They weren’t the first.

He had always been labeled an outcast. His father (or rather, the father) tried to keep him away from his mother’s wrath, who for no apparent reason was always trying to smack him. His childhood was spent in the agony of trying to run away from those he lived with, except that he seemed to enjoy it. A non conformist, he called himself.

His enjoyed the dark. Nobody in the family did, and that suited him well enough. He would roam through the house, careful not to wake them up; but then he was stealthy. He flinched at the glow of the night lights, wrinkled his nostrils at the flowers, stayed away from the whirring fans and marveled at the beautiful cobwebs. Once or twice he ventured close enough to mother, and saw the deep wrinkles on her face as she slept with her mouth slightly ajar. He would try his best not to get in her way while awake- he knew she hated him.

It was the little one he loved best. Simply because she was the only one in the family who was unafraid. She would squeal with joy on seeing him and spend hours talking to him about her imaginary friend, a bird (he would squirm), and recount stories of how her ‘friend’ caught worms(he would squirm again). Mother would take a look at the pair of them, and station herself somewhere close so he wouldn’t be up to his tricks. He could hardly plead his innocence to her. He was dumb.

He had known since a few weeks that they were leaving. The house was full of boxes and dust, and provided a lot of scope for exploration. When the last box had been loaded in the monstrous truck, he knew he would be alone again. The little girl cried bitterly and refused to be placated by the hassled father. Mother drove them away without a backward glance.

He watched them leave him alone without any pain or remorse. They weren’t the first.

The house being empty did not make him sad. The activity in the past few weeks had led to an upsurge of spiders. That delighted him. He slumbered through the day, and feasted during the night.

The house lizard lived on, oblivious to human presence, or absence.

Source : www.zoo4you.co.uk
Picture Source : http://www.zoo4you.co.uk

Just another day.

As she threw back her head and laughed, she saw him. Her laughter caught in her throat, she froze. He stood slouched against the wall. He was hardly heart-stoppingly handsome- broad forehead, a mop of curly hair, close-set eyes, and lips that sloped up on one side when he smiled. However, it wasn’t his face but his demeanor that caught her attention. He just stood there, with his hands in his pockets, nodding in that way of his. He looked up suddenly, and their eyes met. An electric zing passed through her from head to toe. She wanted to tear herself away from his unfaltering gaze, but like the moon that resolvedly keeps revolving around the earth, held on. Did he feel that jolt too? She tried to fathom from his expression, but only met his deep blue eyes, eyes that seemingly gave nothing away. How she wished she could read them at the moment. The boy held her gaze. He looked supremely uninterested, but then, he still held her gaze. Was he intrigued? She wanted to know very much. He looked cool and calculating. She suddenly felt very self conscious. What was she wearing, she tried to remember. She couldn’t risk looking down and breaking eye-contact. After what seemed like an eternity, the boy looked away. The girl looked away too. There was chaos around her and resounding silence within. The thumping of her heart could clearly be heard in the din, and if she thought people could hear it, she didn’t care. Everything looked hazy, and if there was one point that had definite form in the place, it was where he stood. He was a focal point now, and everything around him seemed overshadowed by his sheer brilliance. She shook her head, trying to clear away the myriad of emotions that had suddenly sprung up, but to no avail. She gulped. No, do not look at him again, her conscience told her. She looked at him anyway. It was then that she saw it. The smile that took her breath away. Their eyes met again. Before she knew it, her feet had carried her towards him, and there she stood before him, blushing and furiously trying to hide it.

A few gazillion feet above them, Cupid ticked off yet another name on his list. Sighing contentedly, he glided away, his golden bow glimmering against the radiant sky.



I remember when I first came home, I smelt fresh paint all around. There was a big wooden bed with a beautiful headboard. And the baby! Gurgling, giggling and gleefully babbling away in that tongue that only other diaper-clad members of her race could understand. I could fit the whole of her in me!

She grew up into a young girl as I grew old and shriveled. She would hug me close and pour out her troubles and I would comfort her  the best I could, soaking in her tears and holding her tight. I was perhaps the last she sought before she turned in and I looked at her all night while she dreamt, her face a picture of calm and excitement, laughter and sorrow, reflecting her dreams. I would carefully collect her graceful brown locks and gave them up only when she insisted.

She got a job.

She met someone.

They made love all night, and I felt perverted. Though I was embarrassed, it was always me she chose to sleep with last, and not him. There was some smug satisfaction in that.

Suddenly, she left.

I was all alone for nearly a year. The cobwebs were my sky and all I saw was the dust grow on the bed and the mites multiply. I grew older and more shriveled by the day- my time was near. I had but one last wish.

Then one day, just as she  left, she returned. A blast of sunlight and chirpy talking woke me up. She was not alone. He was with her. And there was someone else too.

A baby girl.

I looked into her eyes and saw my girl in them, the girl I had loved deeply all these years, the girl who had grown up to be beautiful and elegant and now had her own baby.

My girl and her baby together, one a replica of the other was the last thing I saw before I closed my eyes.

A pillow’s life comes to an end.



Serendipity, the misnomer



Sometimes, things happen out of the blue in life, like an avalanche or a flood, or even the sudden lice infestation women so much worry about. They probably have their own reasons for existing. They may even be mere pieces in the great games God is often playing with us, but to the common man and woman, they appear as random occurrences that might arrive like a blast of wind, knock off their hats and leave; but most often result in some kind of epiphany.

The winds were blowing hard that Wednesday. Swara sat huddled in a corner, a petite figure, her newly cut hair outlining her heart shaped face. Now and then she looked up from her book at the clock and brown eyes shining, went back to her book. An hour passed thus and she shut her book and sighed, with the air of a person who has just ticked off everything in their things-to-do-before-I-die list and realized that they were not dead yet. It had been two months since she had come home from university on her summer break, and she had read every book she wanted to, sung till her throat ached, jogged till her thighs screamed and talked till her vocal cords protested.

Born into an orthodox Hindu home, Swara Subramanian had been trained in every art that the society demanded of a Hindu girl, except that of cooking. Her aversion to mastering culinary skills arose from her feminist ideals that she kept safely buried inside her. A woman is not required to cook if she doesn’t want to was her belief, but of course, as she did not want to spend the rest of her life being lectured by every elder in the society, she kept the thought to herself. Instead she spent her time burying her nose in every book she came across, learning to sing, and just existing on the earth. At other times, she logged on to Facebook, looking through updates ranging from “My dog kissed me” to “I am feeling sad” and wondering why she was there in the first place.

It was one such Wednesday when she came across a contest on a Harry Potter fan page. It was about an Omegle hunt.

Omegle, she typed out furiously, and the Google search page (10 million results in 1.5 seconds) showed her it was a chat house for random people. Swara sighed. She wasn’t cut out for speaking to people she had known for ages. Talk about random chat houses.

“Swara… Come help me with lunch kanna”, Swara’s mother called out from the kitchen, using the sobriquet as a mark of affection.

Swara’s mind performed a quick mental calculation. If she helped out mother now, she would surely be called a second time for a similar monotonous chore. Worse, she might like the process, and the little Indian warrior in her who wanted to wield a sword against any and all form of chauvinism wouldn’t approve at all.

“Busy ma…”, she screamed and clicked on Omegle. She would take on random people any day.

Interests?, it asked.

Meh, she thought and left it blank, opting to speak to a stranger she had no common interests with.

After a few milli-seconds, which Swara used to switch on her stereo, she was connected to an absolute stranger.

“Hey… 26 male here!” typed the stranger.

Great. An unemployed person. Which other 26 year old would do this anyway?

“Hello there, 20 female here.”

“Cool, where are you from?”


“Whoa, really? That is so cool!”

No, it isn’t.

“I guess… spiritually, visually blah. You get the drift. Where are you from?”

“Canada. And sure I do. Also the land of beautiful women. I’d like to visit someday”

Flattery. For the umpteenth time that day, Swara sighed.

“Yeah well, sure. We may even end up meeting.”

And so it went on. Before Swara knew it, she had discovered that Dave was a student of optometry, which he had abandoned for Psych studies and gone on to join a hospital for children, which he had abandoned for advertising. He loved soft music. And he loved cooking.

That had her hooked, and that was how it all started.

Swara poured out her own interests, and was surprised to find that she could speak to the stran..Dave with no inhibitions. Common sense restrained her from exchanging an email id or a number, but as the conversation proceeded, she found herself enjoying his company more and more.

“So many! Chinese, American, even French girlfriends. Every time, my mum’s eyes roll higher and higher!” typed Dave, when Swara had mildly enquired about his love interests.

Swara smiled, conjuring up an image in her mind’s eye.

“That must have been interesting”

“I wonder what she’d say if I took home an Indian girl”

Swara froze. She wanted to giggle and gulp at the same time.

“I know this escalated quickly for an Omegle chat, but do you want to meet up again?” typed the stranger, when Swara hadn’t replied for a few milli seconds (which she used to gulp down some water).

Hit the disconnect button, screamed her upbringing while the mini swordswoman in her heart pranced about doing a little dance.

“I know, I’d hate not to know you better. We should talk againJ”

And it was done. They devised a devious method by which they could meet each other again in Omegle, where no stranger could be matched twice. At least that is what Omegle thought.

They spoke every day, and soon Swara looked forward to the rendezvous every evening the most. As it goes with such things, it was not long before the inevitable happened.

“So I was wondering… You’re 26 and I’m just 20. Why do you keep coming back?”

“Do you really want to know, Swara?”

She had never been a stickler for melodrama all her life, but Swara suddenly wanted to know. And know very badly.

“Yes, Dave, with all my heart.”

“It’s because I’m in love with a stranger. A stranger I have never seen before. A stranger called Swara.”

There was no milli-second pause this time.

“You have never even seen me, Dave.”

“I don’t need to, I’m in love with the woman in you, and she is smart, funny and beautiful. That is all that matters to me now.”

Swara, the advocate of being single, the hater of lovey-dovey romance, a person who single handedly wanted to destroy people who put up sappy statuses on facebook. Are you really going to do this?

“I love you too” she simply wrote back.

The realization that she wasn’t single anymore struck her as being rather pleasant. She had a boyfriend. Take that, orthodoxy. Both Dave and she realized however, that the relationship wasn’t going anywhere. It would end someday, as a white Jew man had as much chance of dating an Indian Hindu girl as the Titanic had had of not sinking. They agreed to spend their days enjoying the feeling they had for each other, until the day came when they had to finally”disconnect”. Swara still refused to give him his Id and he didn’t persist either.

Swara should have heard the peals, but then, she was literally, blindly in love.

It happened suddenly one day that Dave didn’t come online. Swara dismissed it as nothing of importance, after all, he had to work and he might have been busy. The second day passed thus too. When on the third day, Dave was missing, Swara fretted in a corner of her room the whole day. A week went by. Maybe he was on a tour? Two whole weeks passed before she realized Dave wasn’t coming back.

There was no love story. There was no Dave. Omegle was done playing cupid.

Hoodwinked by a man of 26. Who might not even be 26. Heck, he might not even be a man.

The next day her status update read, “Beware of the internet. It can give you heartache.” She went back to being her old introverted, single self. The swordswoman in her still swung her sword, though with restrain, as if she was apologetic.

In another part of the word, 26 year old Dave, recovering from a terrible motor accident had just managed to get his hands on a computer. He had been bedridden and unable to move a limb for the past two weeks, but he knew his Swara would be there for him, waiting. Breaking into a soft smile thinking of her, he eagerly logged on and waited.

Beware of the internet. It can give you heartache, indeed.