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Thursday, December 30, 2010


I exist,
in heart and soul,
in half-truth and the whole,
in your thought and your scream
in your realisms and your dreams
I exist.

Not because I have to,
Not because you wanted me to,
and Not for the flowers or the pain or the colour purple.
Not for nothingness either.
I tried everything to define me
But couldnt.

I exist
in the empty ballrooms
by the dusty corridors
A cadaver of stories, of anecdotes
of secret thoughts that you never had.
I exist.

So you look for me,
Hope, color, perspiration
Fogging up your coffee of thought.
Prove me, un-prove, reprove.
I exist?

I exist,
in the moth eaten books
in dimming aftershower rainbows
in broken violin bows
in sunshine, blackened by the night skies
I survive.

Don't now. Stop.
Move over; you are standing on me
Under me, within me.
All over. Omnipresent.
Desecrate me, you cant.
I exist...

[The year finally draws to a close; and what a year it has been! I have become a published writer, got a new job and finally chopped my locks (after 3 years!). And you, my reader, have been my side, through thick and thin. If you still haven't laid your hands on my book, do click on the big, black cover and get it home delivered. If you like what I write, spread the word among your friends and do Like my page on Facebook. Thanks for stickin' around. Cheers to a fantabulous year ahead!]

Monday, December 13, 2010

The essence of weird...

“First man on the moon yo!” chortled Neil Armstrong, knowing full well that this statement would remain only his. Then with more seriousness, he said “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!” Claps, like static hit his headphones, but he ignored.

Over half a century later, the clock struck midnight and Mallika Sherawat, a Bollywood bimbette, turned forty. Heartbroken that she would look rather shabby in her skimpy clothes, she left her party in search of magic to turn her young again. “Stop dripping all over the carpet” she told a drenched undertaker, who had braved the rain and come to her party. She couldn’t care less.

A goat blocked her way and she ran into it without looking. “Move aside Kennedy!” she told her pet goat, who having found a liking to her dress decided to munch happily on it. It was her answer to Paris and her pet pooch; only, she had refused to divulge it to the media. She had started hating all that attention anyways.
She got out her umbrella and stepped outside. “You are going to die tonight!” the ghost of Neil Armstrong crooned as it floated above her.  “You are dead already!” she screamed at it and lightning flashed. She was suddenly standing with a broken umbrella, soaking, and a handsome John F Kennedy for company. “Always a fan” he said, bits of her dress sticking on to his drenched suit, as he locked her in a kiss…

[A 250 word exercise undertaken that starts with Neil Armstrong going on the moon
mission, and ends with Mallika Sherawat kissing John F Kennedy. Other characters in the
story should be a goat, an umbrella, and an undertaker. Oh, and if you like this, thank R.R. , who's
comment stirred me to get posting once again. Check out his rather awesome blog here.]

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I havent posted here in a bit, but that doesnt mean I am not writing...there's a lot of fresh stuff being churned out, and I am already on my way to come out with my SECOND BOOK!!! :D

But before all of that, heres whats happening next friday at Ramjas College, North Campus, Delhi University:

YES! be around for the workshop and there would be a lot of freebies too! Hope to see a few of you around there! Peace out! :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Birth

She was looking outside the hospital window when the cramps started. She knew it was time.

I admit he is sort of strange’, she would tell her friends, when she had started dating him. But isn’t that exactly what one looks for in his or her soul mate? Her friends at college had been apprehensive. ‘Steer clear of that one; we don’t even think he is the type to have a conversation with’ they had warned. But she, out of everyone else, was finally in love, or whatever fancy names the poets and storytellers gave it. ‘I am not trying to be different; breaking out of the crowd or something, when I say I like him’, she had repeatedly justified. Her friends were still not convinced. ‘I love him; just the way he is’, she had finally said with a stamp of her foot, and the chapter had not been touched upon again.

A tear streaked down her cheek as the doctor came and gave her a reassuring smile. ‘It’s going to be fine’, he said, getting into position to start wheeling her bed.  Tears were starting to leak down her face now, as she struggled against an overwhelming flood of memories.

He had always been the sorts who would avoid company; just the kind that she liked. She hated the boisterous showoffs who crammed every corridor of her college. She was quite pretty; prettier than an average girl for sure. Her looks had warranted attention from the crowd she had hated to mix all her life. They wanted to take her to pubs, wanted to treat her at various classy restaurants. One of them had even tried to gift a champagne bottle in college! They soon gave up and let random rumours float around, like dry leaves in summer. She hardly cared, for college gossip was the last thing that would get her worked up.

And one day, just like that, she spotted him. He was sitting in the corner, and just…sitting. He seemed to be lost deep in thought; something she loved calling ‘spaced out’ in her own little universe. She had been forcefully snapped out of it by her friends and family a number of times, but she didn’t care. Here was the dreamer she had always wanted. That was when she had walked up to him for the first time, no violin music in the background, no choruses chortling whatsoever. He had looked up at her, and she knew that she had lost her heart forever.

“Almost there”, the doctor said, wheeling her stretcher, breaking into her comfortable school of thought.  The pain was almost starting to turn excruciating; she fought an urge to slip into unconsciousness, straining herself to stay awake. Moonlight flooded the hospital corridor in a milky flood of extraordinary luminescence. She wanted to be here, wanted to live the moment. Even he ought to be around; but where was he?

Love blossomed like a cheerful spring flower; what else could a bunch of late adolescents want? After college, they had soon moved in together, sharing a flat which was on the top floor. It was rather secluded. ‘Why didn’t you get a flat on the lower floors? Isn’t this a pain? It’s almost on the roof!’ she chortled, like a disappointed school kid. ‘Look at the bright side’, he said unperturbed; ‘we have the whole terrace to ourselves!’ ‘What would we need a terrace for? she had wondered, but never asked. After all, if he thought it was worthwhile, who was she to question it?

After living in for two years, they had married. Like all couples, they had their awkward moments. She had taken up work at a publishing house, while he worked in a bank. Strangely enough, she had never ever seen him carry any documents pertaining to his job or met any of his colleagues. She found this quite fishy, but she was hopelessly in love.  She found it rather demeaning to pry into his office life. Wasn’t he in love with her? That was reason enough, not to go trying to play Sherlock behind his back. It had all been fine till one day she had found feathers fluttering in his room. It was the strangest thing.’ Had been to a friend’s poultry farm dear’ he tried, quite unsuccessfully. She had seen through it, but she rather let the matter drop. A bunch of feathers, after all, were not the exact indicators of a steamy affair now, was it?

Her vision was blurry with tears, as her ride did not seem to be coming to an end. She finally spotted him, a teary silhouette of unruly hair and unkempt dressing, running towards her in slow motion. Looking like a gentleman had never been his forte and she never complained about it. ‘Well dressed snots’, as she loved calling them, were not exactly up her league.

Then, there were the dreams; or what she liked to believe. She would wake up on nights, bathed in sweat, thinking that there was a dog howling on the terrace. For a moment, she would imagine, that she was alone in bed, pale moonlight streaming through the window, and he had deserted her; but he was always there. His hand would run across her temple, wiping off the sweat and he would hug her. She would shiver lightly in his embrace and not say anything. Then she would finally blunder into an unhurried peaceful dreamless sleep.

She could feel the stretcher slowing down. She seemed to be slipping in and out of consciousness. A hazy blur, right in front of her field of vision, which she recongised as his face, peered down at her. She tried her best to try and catch snatches of what he was saying; ‘there is something you should know…secret…told you long time back…’

“Enough! Please wait here” the doctor told him, and wheeled her into the emergency. He quickly tried to peek inside the emergency room. Three people. Wouldn’t be that difficult. He had handled more before.
“You are doing great! Just a little more now…yes…here we are!” the doctor finished with flourish. Her face now lay damp with sweat and tears. She was finally breathing a little easy now. The room was slowly coming back into focus. It was perfectly quiet. Everything had gone perfectly; but there was something out of place…what had he said?

I am happy! Don’t you see it on my face? Don’t you see that I am happy?’ he had gone on, but she had seen through it. She had seen that he was flustered; maybe even troubled. She had hoped that it would be a mistake on her part; after all, he had been the happiest when they had discussed the prospects of fatherhood. During the months that ticked off her calendar, he had been around but seemed anxious; almost to the point of being terrified. She could sense there was something that he wanted to tell her, but words failed him every time he had tried, and they had changed the subject. Maybe, just maybe, it was the stress of stepping into fatherhood. After all, it was a new experience for him as well. After all…

“Ouch!” the doctor’s voice broke her thought process. “That’s a first! He bit me! What the heck! He has canin…”

He never finished his sentence, as a huge wolf stepped in, standing on hind legs, and silenced the doctor forever… 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Waking up

The sea of silence lingers,
against an anxious shore;
mysterious illusions walk around
waiting for a cure.

"No more, no more!"
he screams, in hate.
"no more!" he shouts,
a tad too late...
the sea, now lashing
of silent nights before.

The peace is gone
the shadows deep
the shore, now drenched in pain
he blames his heart
now torn apart
promising never to love again.

"I hoped for joy!
I hoped for bliss!
I hoped for yellows and pinks!
Now, heart of hearts,
We must depart
and for a moment, think.

The heart was meant
for blood well spent
to keep our bones alive
how was it then
that Love was when
it chose to lose its drive?

It now sits still,
against its will;
making people fall in love.
Through mush and kiss
and hugs and bliss, 
it randomly peturbs.

The beach now seems to melt away
the sea does ruckus make
I sit now, sleepy, thinking of love
leaving corroded dreams in its wake...

[I am no poet and I hardly understand poetry the way it should be understood...but do drop in a word about what you think of it; suggestions on improvement would be welcome as well.]

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Letting Go....

I have always loved dolls. The morning stands out like a well developed Polaroid, etched deep into the corner of my brain. It’s the corner which keeps my happy thoughts. I keep memories of walking through dead , scrunching leaves on a winter morning and cycling down a slope on a sunny day in there.

We are in the throes of a childhood memory; embracing the moment, hoping to never let it go. My hands are soft and pudgy, capable of holding only little things, meant for little hands, such as mine. The room is full of colours. I see bright oranges, sunny yellows and sparkling greens. They seem to be everywhere. And then I see the doll.

The doll looks deep into my eyes, caught in the moment of a Doll universe. Entrapped in an unknown Doll’s dream, the moment seems to stretch for ages. You sit there, at the corner, nose deep in one of your silly books. The walls stand around us, pale and faded, not interfering in our invisible games of hide-and-seek; the one which we play, without needing to move a muscle. My playthings are strewn all around; miniature pots and pans, a gas stove, even a little beauty kit. It is my world, and the doll lives with me here.  I want you to stay with me here, but I am afraid. I am scared of you turning my offer down. I worry about you turning up your nose from the book, crinkling your forehead and saying “what sort of a silly game is this?” That is when ma walks in.

“This cannot go on!” she says, irritation painted in a bright red on her face. I see her standing there, quiet now, without a word more. I just gape at her. The doll doesn’t look at me anymore at this moment. Its face has found something new to do; stare at the fading walls with a stone cold expression. I can’t see out of the window; not because it’s dark. It’s only because I can’t. Just.

I move my gaze and stare at the floor. The pattern on the mosaic is bright; almost alive. My mood is rotten now. I want the floor to open up and allow me to run down a flight steps, so that I can disappear forever. Ma doesn’t know all of this. She cannot read my thoughts. I sit there, a picture of grumpiness, with a million toys before me lying neglected. As she gets ready to shoot another of her verbal arrows, you finally take your nose out of the book and look at her. Then you say “Why do you have to bother her? She doesn’t want to go! Let her be!”

The silent room somehow turns more silent. It feels as silent as a grave now. Ma just stands there looking at you. She doesn’t say anything. I haven’t changed my expression, but there seems to be a toy train filled with pretty flowers running around in circles in my head.  The doll doesn’t seem to be interested in taking part at the proceedings, and continues to stare at the wall. You go back to reading your book. There may be guilt on your mind, but it doesn’t show on your forehead. Ma, perhaps in hope for some sort of a follow up, waits for a little while. When she sees no reaction from you, she decides to exit, stage right. She is gone for now, and with it, the room becomes a little brighter. I decide to go back to playing, considering you are back to reading. The doll now comes back from her doll universe and decides to spend time with me.

Ma is standing at the corridor speaking to another woman. I can’t see her face, but from Ma’s voice, I can make out that she is talking about the events that transpired a while back. I concentrate till the point I can hear her clearly. She tells her about how I don’t talk to her and won’t go back. She sounds perplexed. She says she doesn’t know how you know everything about me; what I want, what I would say or maybe wish for. Then I hear the other woman’s voice for the first time. It sounds like someone running a chalk on the blackboard. I don’t want to hear, but I have to. She says that there is only one solution to the entire predicament; and then she drops the bomb. She tells her that you must go back. You can’t talk on my behalf for the whole of my existence. You must be sent home.

I am so engrossed, that I don’t notice the walls or you or anything. I suddenly look around to find that everything around has changed. We aren’t kids anymore. The room is gone. We stand on the prettiest sea shore that was ever made. The beach is made up of sand which sparkles like diamond. We stand facing a emerald blue sea, packed prettily with a powdered blue sky. The doll is gone, and so are the toys; Ma cannot be seen anywhere either. That is when you suddenly break out “Go to the sea and never come back!” It almost sounds comical, but I am too happy to notice. I race down the beautiful beach towards the sea, the sand scrunching beneath my feet like coarse silk. The waves crash softly on the shore, spraying their foam in a soft caress, as droplets land on my face in soft unheard steps. I look back in a moment of elation. That’s when I notice that the beach is empty.

You are not there. In a moment of panic, I scream your name over and over. There is no reply. The sky darkens. The sea is turning into a deep shade of azure as I speak. The sand slowly heats up, like baking coals. I am still screaming.
And then, in the moment of desperation, I wake up...

(based on a real dream, which was narrated to me; the guy in the story is actually me in the dream...)

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Residents at 4, Ice Cream Cone

Its not that hard to imagine. All you have to do is put your mind and a freezing soul into it.

When the residents moved into house number four, no one really paid attention. People by now were pretty used to people moving in and out of houses on the ice cream cone all the time. While most claimed that living on an ice cream cone was easy, they soon realized that it wasn’t as easy as it looked.

The first thing about living on an ice cream cone was that it was always cold. There was no scope for any other weather. You always walked around in soft, slushy ice cream and couldn’t complain. While the kids enjoyed the experience, the older folk got a little irritated with all the slush around. They could not do much about it, for an ice cream really wouldn’t look different for them now, would it? So they walked about in the slush without complaining much. It seemed that the people living on candies, taffies and chocolate bars were not having that great a time either.

The family which had moved into house number four had three people; a kid with parents. They had come in with their skin, a light golden, and smart wavy brown hair.  A month on the ice cream cone, and they would start looking white like the rest of the inhabitants. In the beginning, whoever came to stay here mostly stuck out as sore thumbs. Over time, they soon became a part of the system; but if you decided to leave the ice cream cone and move elsewhere, the entire process of acclimatizing would start again. There was a very loud couple living in the house before the new family moved in. People hated them, every time they crossed their house. While the snow and the slush never let sounds travel far, the ice cream cone was not big after all. What you did in your house was not much of a secret anyways. Sooner or later, the whole neighborhood knew.

The first problem came to notice when Mr Smith, from seven, Ice Cream Cone was headed to the house of Mr Jones, who lived at two, Ice Cream Cone. He had to cross the house where the new people had moved in. It was late in the night and the street was empty. As he neared the house numbered four, Ice Cream Cone, he felt a strange sensation. It was one which he had not felt in years, since he had moved into the Ice Cream Cone.

He felt warm.

He had almost forgotten how it felt to be warm. The thing with certain feelings is you don’t know how it feels, if you haven’t felt it for a long time. And then, when the feeling takes you over, you, for a better part of it, are surprised. Sometimes, it fills you with dread, or it washes you over with a spirit of happiness and gaiety. For Mr Smith, it was the latter, and he welcomed the feeling.
He stood in the darkness, soaking up the feeling of warmth. His skin prickled and he looked at it in the soft moonlight, a big grin on his face. His footsteps had slowed down and become more sluggish than before. They sank in the slush softly and came back out in a hushed rhythm. When they decided to start sinking in deep and not come out, he almost did not notice. He was still caught in his moment of warm rapture. He finally noticed when half his body sank in and he was waist deep.

Panic seized him. He tried to thrash around initially but gave it up soon enough. They hadn’t been taught lessons in personal disaster management. He just stood still as he sank deeper. The place felt warm, so he really did not feel like complaining. It was a sensation that made him feel like he was somewhere else. Infact, it was so overwhelming, that he did not fear death, incase it decided to rear its ugly head, and shake him out of his warming fantasies.

And then it froze.

He stood chest high in the slush outside 4, Ice Cream Cone, not knowing what to do. The feeling of warmth was gone. It was cold all over, and he could hardly stand it anymore. He slowly moved his shoulders and brought out his hands. They were almost blue due to the cold. He hated how his hands looked. He managed to extricate himself from the slush, and realized he was soaking completely. He did not like it anymore. His Ice Cream Cone days seemed to have come to an end.

The next morning was special. Mr Jones from 7, Ice Cream Cone was leaving the neighborhood. Everyone was surprised; after all, Mr Jones had been living on the Cone for years now. When people asked him about why he had decided to leave the place, he just clamped his jaws and nodded his head. He decided to keep his reasons a secret, because the last thing that he wanted on the Ice Cream Cone was unrest.

But alas, that was not to be. The next incident happened two nights later. When Harry, the kid from 9, Ice Cream Cone was getting home from his friend Angela’s house, he happened to cross 4, Ice Cream Cone. He spotted a faint orange glow surrounding the house. It made him feel warm and happy, just like Mr Jones. He settled next to the wooden fence of 4, Ice Cream Cone and closed his eyes. Soon, he was fast asleep.

The next morning turned out to be chaotic. Harry’s parents came out, searching for him. There was no police, so all they could do was knock on doors and ask as to where their kid had gone. No one ever went missing, for if they were not at home, they were generally at someone else’s house. They knocked all houses till they found him blissfully blue on the side of the fence of 4, Ice Cream Cone. The cold, it seemed had done him in.

Harry remained sick for a week, during which more incidents occurred outside that house. Two more people left, who were soon replaced by new inhabitants.  Houses in Ice Cream Cone were pretty sought after, but the present spate of people leaving caught them on the wrong foot. Soon enough, people decided to avoid the house altogether. Interestingly, no one ever remembered talking to the inhabitants of the house ever. They couldn’t even agree upon how they looked. There was one thing that they had a unanimous vote about though; they were one family that no one wanted to be friends with.

The mood inside 4, ice cream cone was definitely not of merriment. At this very moment, the elders in the house were busy trying to find all the commotion. With the first report that came in from the neighborhood, they had figured it was a coincidence that occurred outside their house. As the incidents turned more frequent, they knew that there was someone or something inside the house, which was definitely responsible. They did their math and zeroed in on their son, who had lately been keeping to himself.

The son now sat on a chair facing his parents. Like every early teenager, he was a picture of discomfort and fear. His parents had repeated the question innumerable times, but he did not have an answer. He felt responsible for whatever was happening but could never figure out as to what was happening. So he decided against taxing his little mind.

His parents finally gave up on him, and soon it was time for bed. He lay on the bed thinking. What was it that was driving people to behave the way they were? What was it that was leading people to vacate the place? His head was spinning. He felt sleepy. Outside, Mrs Jones struggled to get out of the ice cream slush, but soon gave up, for she felt warm. She had never felt so good before. Next morning, no one would find Mrs Jones, and they would be bothered for a while. Then, forgetting about her, life would go on as normal, even in front of 4, Ice Cream Cone.
His droopy eyelids soon won the war with him and he felt blissfully asleep. There was a smile playing on his lips. Unseen to any, the frost around him seemed to disappear and an orange glow filled the room now. Mrs Jones was gone by now. He was dreaming of roasting marshmallows over a bonfire.


[A cousin of mine told me that she flunked drawing in her upper KG when she drew a house over an ice cream cone. I wish I had been correcting the paper! :) ]

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Point of view

You know what they say about dark alleys and little girls? They should never be friends. Never ever.

The clouds rumbled loudly as she stepped into the alley, either going someplace or coming from somewhere. A bright colored raincoat adorned her little frame as she walked on the pavement. There was little light, since the moon was cosied up comfortably behind charcoal clouds. The streetlights did little to improve the situation. Trees swung back and forth a little and occasionally nodded hard in agreement. She did not care. It wasn’t raining cats and dogs yet. More like kittens and puppies. The thought made her giggle.

As she walked on the pavement, she did not notice a pair of eyes sizing her up, like a wild animal. She walked along, uncaring, occasionally doing a step here and a step there. The pair of eyes now appeared out of hiding and stood under the pale, jaundiced streetlight. Supported on a ragged frame, it stood complete with a ragged shirt and a pair of ragged pants. The thumb of his right foot stuck out of a torn pair of canvas and secretly licked a small puddle on the street before being complete drowned. He let out a string of curses as his right foot came out soggy. There was no moon to be seen yet. The streetlight continued to light up the scenery.

Water made him irritated. Water damaged his temper. Water dissipated his inner peace. Since the time it started raining in the afternoon, all he had done was get soaked in the rain. He hated it. And now his canvas had managed to find a puddle and get soaked in it. As one of his shoes squelched, he had seen the little girl, walking quietly, occasionally skipping. She even seemed to be humming a song now. He had the answer! It was all her fault! He did not know how, but he knew one thing for sure; she was the one who would pay for it.

There was an alley lying in wait for her. A few rotten banana peels and an occasional stray cat made up for its everyday livelihood. It encountered an occasional druggie or someone who had lost his way. Sometimes a drunkard would come and crash, and wait for dawn to arrive, when he would finally get up with a splitting headache and mend his way home. Today, a little girl in a bright raincoat decided to grace the alley. The alley stood there, surprised, and decided to let her walk through. As it stood there, admiring the cute thing, the ragged man stumbled in. The alley frowned and let a discarded can in his way. The man kicked it and realized he was about five steps away from her.

The little girl heard the clanking can and turned around to see a ragged man with a ragged expression. His face was streaked with rain water and grime and he looked really mad. The light in the alley was dim. Just then, lightning tore across the skies and revealed his shabby attire. “Don’t come near me!” she bleated. While her voice was soft and sheep like, it strangely did not carry any tones of fear. The shabby man was too drunk to care and he realized that this was the moment which would turn his day a little better. Just a little better. Maybe, a lot better.
He lumbered towards her. She stood still, her eyes like black buttons fixed on his face. “Don’t come near me!” she said once more, almost making it sound like a warning now. There seemed to be a shift in her tone as well. The man was either too drunk to notice, or too naïve to take a little girl like her seriously. As a result, he now stood right over her, breathing down her face.
“Come to daddy!” he said and broke into shabby laughter. The joke seemed extremely funny to him for some reason. She still stood there, her face set like stone. He finally looked at her eyes. Black and stony, they seemed to be staring right at his soul. He ignored the fact and placed his hands on her waist to pick her up. She did not struggle. A rat quickly ran past his foot and hid behind a trash can by the corner. She looked at him one final time and did something totally unexpected.

She placed her right palm right on his nose.

The man took it as a sign of defence and it tickled his funny bone even more. He broke into a fresh peal of laughter and tried to shrug his head sideways to shake off the hand from his face. Strangely enough, the hand remained. Suddenly he felt something hard closing around his nose.


He screamed in agony and let her go. The hand stayed, not moving, as she continued looking at his face with the same stone expression. He stood there, bent, unable to take his face off her hand. Blood flowed freely now, dripping down, mixing with the rainwater. The cats and dogs were finally coming down. His scream kept reverberating through the alley, but no one heard him. The hand soon let go off his nose and worked its way across the rest of his face. He finally managed to push her away and fell backwards. His face, by now, was a bloody mess. “Fuck off bitch!” he managed to utter through a mouth full of blood and a few broken teeth.  Then he ran.
She looked at him till he disappeared down the far side of the alley. He was gone. The rainwater washed off all the blood and gore from her hand. She looked at her palm. A pair of thin lips looked back at her.

“Thank you hand.”

“Hey no problem. Can we get another meal before we retire for the night? I am still kinda hungry.”

“Sure thing. Lets go check up a few more alleys!”

The rain kept falling in sheets as she trotted along the alley and stepped out of it. A frog croaked somewhere nearby. A few crickets chirped. No one had noticed the encounter; none of any consequence at least. No one would believe a babbling roadside idiot anyways.  The night, it seemed, had just started to get better…

Friday, September 10, 2010

Change of seasons...

The ship rocked as a wave came and slapped the north side. Was it really a ship? It could pass off as a glorified boat, but it was a ship to us. We pretended that the ship was more than a state, a country, or a continent; we pretended that it was the world to us. Because that’s where we lived. Like you have a choice in the sea.

“But why are we searching for that worm mother?” I cried in frustration as we searched around the entire boat.
“Because winter is coming! Don’t you see?” she mumbled as she continued upsetting furniture and other knick knacks on board.
“How has that got anything to do with it? How did you lose it in the first place? Couldn’t you keep it under something? Like a tumbler or a bowl maybe? This is a stupid exercise! How could you look for a fucking insect in a ship!”
“Shut up and look for it! Don’t stand there and argue like an idiot!” she snapped as she pulled up a chair and threw it on the side.
“How would I know that I have found it? I am sure there must be a million bugs in here!” I cried in frustration, as I look under a pot which seemed like it had not been used in a hundred years.
“Look at its eyes. You would know it’s the one” she whispered, almost secretly, as she continued scuttling around, quite like an insect herself.
Just as she was about to put a steel cage down after having looked under it, something scurried from one side to the other. As she set the cage down, the end of the worm came under one of the sides, with the worm totally inside the cage.

“Look! There it is! I told you we would find it!” she cried as the worm tried to wriggle free from under the cage. Once it did, it was securely inside, now moving around in a sluggish manner.
The worm was a dull golden in colour, and looked bigger than most worms would have. She was right about knowing it was The worm if I came across it under the table or some other place. It had huge red bulbous eyes, sticking out of its head like dragonfly eyes. You never missed worms like these when you came across them.

Then the strangest thing happened.

The worm started sprouting wings. Huge butterfly wings. They were the most beautiful things that you could ever see. Crimson, with huge motifs and extremely velvety, they just sprout out from its body and filled the cage. I had my apprehensions about the worm wriggling out when it was…well…just a worm. With such huge wings, it wasn’t going anywhere for sure. Everything seemed fine till my mother started pulling out those wings.

“What are you doing?” I screamed, shocked at what she was doing. The wings came off like they would come off a rain-time insect and the insect would be free to wriggle away. The insect did not seem to flich or feel any pain. None that I could discern at the moment.

She took the huge wings and stacked them neatly in her hands. They looked like oversized palm leaves, only crimson and pretty. Tears streamed down her cheeks freely. She was smiling.

“Why ma?” I tried one final time.

“Winter is coming son…and these shall make our blankets”, she said, smiling through ragged hair, dirty cheeks and renewed hope.

Outside, the boat rocked like it had never known us…

[I had the weirdest dream last night, and I am sure you can see that!]

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Killing time...

Crayons. That's how it looked. It looked like someone had rubbed crayons
all over the entire sky.

I sat there on the grassy stretch, looking out into the skies, the stars twinkling like glassy orbs of enchantment, stretching out over a marble universe. I did not have a home to go back to, no meals to swallow. No pets waiting for me. Occasional trees looming in the distance exchanged secrets among themselves, knowing fully well that I wouldn't go around asking about it. I decided to close my eyes and dream for a bit.

The sky came in the dream, and so did the stars. Only, they were bigger. They flickered like big yellow lamps, hung out in the open expanse, to guide unseen spirits traversing along the galaxies. The occasional clouds curled into strange spirals and floated about gently. I raised my hand and floated upwards, borne by the winds like a secret feather. The crayon sky continued to change around me, clouds turning, swirling, undulating like native snakes, brought out in the rain washed fields. That is when I felt the sharpness on my skin.

There were teeth on my arms. I tried to see them but couldn't. I tried to take my arm away, but the teeth seemed not to budge. The colors started changing now. The black slowly was giving way to a very deep red and the clouds danced, as if under a spell. I shook my head violently, hoping for the teeth to go. The stars shone with a deep fire within, lighting up the sky with renewed fervour.

"Let me go!", I said, and snatched my hand from the stupid mongrel dog. The moon shone in the sky, right among the clouds and blackened skies. The dream was over. I killed some time. The sky still looked the same, as it did the last time. I think I want to go home now.

[random picture prompt writing]

Monday, August 23, 2010


” Wow! where did you get this one from?”

“Got it off the SETI project.”

“Wo! The one where they are trying to find extraterrestrial intelligence?”


“Hey! Wait a minute…this looks familiar…isnt this…”

“(sighs) Yeah…It is. But how does that make a difference now?”

“Er…I don’t know…shouldn’t it? I mean…don’t you feel anything anymore?”

“You know what? I don’t know! I mean how would it matter now?”

“I don’t know…It should have…it does to me atleast!”

“Yeah whatever!”, he said, firing up the engines now. “We anyways have a long way to go…next I know, you would be cribbing about this place too! What does the picture do to you anyways?”

He looked deeply into the picture for a while and placed in in front of the dash. As they strapped in and blasted off, he finally said,
“It makes me feel homesick…”

(originally written for flashfiction.in, where I have recently started contributing. Check the site here. )

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I remember being on clouds since I can remember.

The older folk say there existed land below, once upon a time long past. You could set your feet on it, feel the warm, moist soil and tiny inanimate creatures called grass stick to the base of your foot and walk upon hard reality, filling your mind with a constant sense of heightened realism. There were hard structures, made of material called wood and softer growth on them called leaves, which sprang up high towards bright skies, embracing the openness, swallowing every bit of the atmosphere that they lived in. Creatures like us had extensions called limbs, which enabled us to walk upon this surface, among those green and brown creatures and a host of other animations. Life, had been “beautiful”; a word that the older folks used to describe something that could be looked at for long durations with a certain amount of elation in your psyche.
Alas, all of that doesn’t exist anymore.

It’s all white around. Expanses of soft, woolly, cotton-like clouds litter the skies as far as the eyes can see. You can perch for a little while, before it gives way, turning into wisps of shiny water droplets, twinkling in the light of the sun like a sea wave of a million diamonds. We have wings to keep us in the air all the time; suspended. I try to imagine what it must be like under the last layer of clouds. Does the land underneath still exist, like it is talked about in the legends? No one has been able to go down willingly. The stimulus ingrained in these wings of ours makes us take flight as soon as we start nearing the final cloud layer in the lower strata. They tell me that our ancestors had their own legends where they imagined people like us living among the clouds and christened them “fairies”. It was supposed to be their ultimate ideal of freedom. I smile to myself at the ignorance of the lost tribe and continue gazing at the wooly cloud tufts, floating by, as if in a dream.

I have always wanted freedom.

I want to break free of the monochrome circle of light and dark and venture into the unknown. I want to give up on the bales of clouds that our tribe has been surrounded by since eternity. I want to escape the legends of yore, the make belief heavens and abstract utopia. I want to reject the perpetual state of suspension and set foot on to reality, letting me feel the weight of my thought and flesh. I want to surrender the façade that my ancestors tagged ‘freedom’, and set upon an actual path of knowledge and wisdom. I want to explore the pathos attached to the lost emotion of ‘sacrifice’. I want to do all of this and so much more.
I don’t feel anything as I tear apart my wings; only a heightened sense of consciousness. I am too excited to feel the emotion they call “pain”. Maybe, just maybe, I shall be able to feel it once I have made it to the place below the last layer of the clouds. My mind is full of thoughts which seemed to have gained “feet” and finally seem to be moving around on them, instead of flying. I have started to descend at a rapid pace. The torn wings are still acting on impulse as I work hard to detach them from my existence. I don’t know if I shall live to see the wonders that I hope to see. I don’t know if my tribe would notice my disappearance and wonder at it. Streams of crimson flow upwards as I start to gather speed. My eyes feel moist. I know I have committed folly. I know I keeled over. I am aware of the thin line between servitude and self illumination that I overstepped as soon as the thought crowded into my mind. As I let go of my wing and fall through the final layer, I close my eyes and let a comforting thought, like the feel of grass, seep into my senses;

I am free…

Monday, August 16, 2010

Room For Rent

The chirping of the birds on the lone tree near the door rose to a shrill cry as he turned the key into the lock. A thousand things played on his mind as his gaze caught a rather dreary looking cat jumping over the wall and disappearing on the other side. A few ruddy looking chicken played hopscotch nearby. Not the kind of neighborhood that he would want to stay in, but real estate was pricey. This was the only setup he could get. Afford.

I hate empty rooms. I have always hated them. They don’t scare me; they only make me uncomfortable. I remember the first time they had asked me to stay in one; I had probably been around seven years old. Young enough to be not taken seriously, old enough to remember every detail. It was in my mother’s village and we had gone there to attend a funeral. My parents decided to stay in one room and asked me to sleep in the other one which was vacant. I had decided not to complain and sleep in it. I slept pretty well and woke up to a bright and fresh morning. Everything was perfect; until the moment I overheard some elders saying that it was the same room that Shashi chacha committed suicide three days ago.


The room opened up and drowned him in a sea of dampness. He stood for a while surveying the place. The landlord, it seemed, had tricked him. Nothing complicated though. He had told him that the room would be his. Only his. And here he was, standing, looking at someone else’s luggage. He was sure that the house had been sold to the other guy with the same assurance. There was no use fighting about it; he just might lose the only abode that he had finally managed to get. He would have to figure it out with his new found roommate. He was a little disappointed. But more than that, he was happy. It wasn’t an empty room.


While growing up I always avoided empty rooms. They always reminded me of the room that I had spent the night in at the village. Once, during recess, as we played hide and seek, I went and hid in one of the empty unused classes. Some kid noticed it and latched the door from the outside. I screamed for about half an hour before fainting. The next memory I had was of four hours later, sitting with my parents’ worried expressions boring down on me. Obviously, I did not tell them anything.


“Hello! Will you be sharing my room?” a voice called out behind him as he stood there with his bag still slung over his shoulder. He turned around to see a decently built guy, sparse hair and smooth expression in place, standing at the door looking straight at him. “The other guy”, he thought. Half his problem seemed to have been solved. The other guy had taken him to be his roommate without even being asked. The landlord had probably given him a different story. No problems.

“Yes, looks like it”, he said finally, after doing a quick run through in his head. He would stick in now, and ask the landlord later. Not that he was complaining about the room not being empty. But the matter had to be sorted, sooner or later.


After we came back from the village, I could never sleep alone again. My mother never figured out the reason but she made it a point to sleep with me everyday. One night, she promised she would come in a bit. She was crying for some strange reason. She never did.

Did I tell you I hate lies?


I went and confronted the landlord, just as the sun decided to splash out of sight in the distance and drowned the whole place in darkness.

“What are you saying? There is no one in that house! The last guy who was living there passed away some two years back. Nice chap he was, well fed, looked from a good family! What a loss!”

I did not say anything. Strange, you might add. But I will tell you what bothered me now. If he was not staying there, it only meant that I was the only one. It also meant there was no one staying with me, which was kind of obvious. I tried my level best to take the supernatural angle out of it.

It meant the room was empty.


He slapped his knee, throwing back his head in a jerk and laughed. “ He told you I was a ghost?” he asked, eyes shining.

“Yes” I said defiantly. I was not used to having spirits laughing at me.

“And this guy, you said, rented you this house. His name was…let me remember, Manohar?”

“Ofcouse!” I replied, starting to feel a little irritated with his behavior now.

“The wit of that guy! Why don’t we go along and have a quick chat with him yes? Let him say that on my face! I hate people calling me a ghost behind my back!”

We walked to the door of the house where I had the conversation with my landlord the previous evening. He went boldly and knocked the door. A lady, in her mid fifties came out. He folded his hands and greeted her. She returned the greeting.

“Doesn’t look like she thinks I am a ghost unless she is one herself!” he whispered in my ear and asked her loudly, “Manohar ji hain?”

She nodded her head and seemed to looked through me. Then she looked straight at me and questioned at length “ Did he ask you to go and stay with this boy?”

“Yes” I replied, a little bewildered. “ I met him about three days ago at the very spot where we are standing!”

“He prabhu!” She said and looked up, paying her respects to someone in the skies. “ It’s high time he stops renting out the house to people when its already occupied!”she sighed.

“After all, it’s already been five years since he passed away!”

[ Another successful writer's meet down. New writers, newer writing, an overcast sky, the steps at Habitat Center...if you are in Delhi, you wouldnt want to miss this!The story above was written to the prompt of "an empty room". Also, add Disturbia and Devil's Advocate to the weekend affairs. More writing soon!]

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