Posted in Love

At Fault

You told me it was in my best interest–

the yelling, the barely restrained anger.

Then,

You told me it was all my fault–

the yelling, the unrestrained anger.

Now,

You tell me I deserve it–

before all hell breaks loose

everyday…

Posted in Life and After, Twisted Tales

The Dress

Author’s note: This is a painting-promt story based on my four-year-old daughter’s painting ‘Stork in Dress’. Please don’t look for logic. There is none.

Long ago, a stork was in love with a princess or, to be more accurate, in love with the long, flowing dresses she wore. He wished he could have one for himself. He spent long fruitless hours standing alone in the pond in front of her window in the palace grounds, looking grumpily at the princess.

One evening, when the drowsy sun dipped its feet in the carmine horizon and an orange moon rose in the star-studded sky rubbing its eyes, he saw something that looked like a large insect near the pond. Contemplating eating it, he stalked closer. The ‘thing’ magicked the beautiful rose bushes to look like cactus with flowers–he realised it wasn’t an insect but a sprite. Sprites are eternal mischief-makers with magic. A plan formed in his mind.

Taking her by surprise, he caught the sprite in his beak by one arm. The sprite cried out in pain, “It hurts! Let me go.” With his mouth still closed to keep a grip on the fae, he muffled out, “Promise to give me anything I ask for?” Writhing, she cried, “I promise!” He let her go and sat her on a rock.

The sprite was angry but fae can’t lie–she had promised and would have to give him anything he asks for. But, there is always a loophole, so, she asked, “What would you like me to do?” The stork said, “I want a dress just like the one the princess is wearing today–the one with rainbow colours.” The sprite thought for a moment and smiled, “So shall it be, then. I will weave you a dress out of light.”

The stork was excited beyond words. The sprite quickly called upon her powers. The lake waters shined like crystals, splitting the light of the setting sun and the rising moon into thousands of colourful ribbons. The sprite quickly wove the ribbons of light in to a dress even more breathtaking as that of the princess. The bodice shined on its own and sparkled against the palace’s crystal windows drawing gazes of the residents.

At the sprite’s nudging, the stork greedily put it on, but his wings would not fit in.

“Oh! The dress looks rather weird on your thin waist and legs, and your wings cannot enter it’s sides. Would you like a human body to go with it too?”

“Oh! Of course!”

So, the sprite mumbled as the stork looked at his reflection in the pond, admiring his gradually changing body: human legs, stomach, chest, hands, neck, hair…

…and the sprite vanished. He still had the stork’s face!

He was irritated in extreme. Now he will have to catch the sprite again to complete the change. In all this excitement, he missed the fact that he stood in the palace grounds smack in front of the princess’ window as half a human in a dress that shined like a beacon. The palace servants had seen him changing his body without spotting the tiny sprite. Now all of them ran towards him, brandishing swords and pitchforks, shouting, “Monster! Monster!”

He attempted to fly away but his wings were gone. He tried to swim away in the pond but his dress, now wet, pulled him down, nearly drowning him. He came out of the pond somehow hoping to run away, but too many men surrounded him. No one asked him questions.

He never saw when his life-blood seeped into the rainbow dress he had wrested out of an irate sprite.

Posted in Life and After, Nature

My Housemates: The Mistreated

And just like that, they’ve thrown me out…

When I was brought home, everybody had rushed out to fawn over me. Ever since, it was all the way downhill for me. For years, I was the most abused creature in existence–people walked all over me. They threw things at me without faintest sign of remorse. In fact, one rainy day, when water seeped in from the windows, I was left to shiver in cold. Nobody thought of mopping me up until the next morning!

Now that I am old and frayed at the edges, they’ve left me out for the garbage truck to pick up. Life is so unfair!

Posted in Love, Nature

My Neighbours: The Conservative

It is slightly stuffy but it is home and I love it. There is a lot of room to walk around and food hangs from the sealing everywhere. It is rather dark for the lack of sunlight, but who needs to see anyway. It is unsafe on the surface, what with all the sunlight and the monsters that roam the earth. I hardly go up except when stormwater floods the tunnels. My life is quiet but safe. It’s a lonely existence but company is overrated.

She wanted a ‘life of adventure’. I had assumed she would see the fault in her ways and return to our molehill. Afterall, who likes to eat from dustbins when they can get fresh roots? But…

Sometimes, I walk to where my tunnel runs beneath the nest she built with an uncouth rat and hear the soft pattering of little feet that are her proginy. Those are the moments when I wonder if a life of adventure wasn’t as bad.

I guess, I’d never find out.

Posted in Life and After

The Plan

How much time would it take to build a coffin by hand?

He wasn’t fond of the job but, atleast, he will have one when he dies…soon, considering it was one of the last trees on Earth. So far, he had recharged his Oxygen cylinder using the tree that lived in his yard for the past 57 years but storm uprooted it last night. He wasn’t rich enough to afford buying Oxygen…

Even if the coffin is ready on time, who will lay him in it? Everyone he knew was already dead. Should he lower it in a grave and hop in while waiting for his cylinder to empty?

Who will cover it with soil?


Photo by Jeremy Hynes on Unsplash

Posted in Life and After, Love

The Long Walk

It is a long walk down the aisle. My father holds my hand reassuringly while my mom sobs in the pew. He stands with the pastor looking perfect as ever but I can’t bring myself to smile.

Is it too late to cancel?

Is it wrong to wish for something other than perfection?

I pass by her and, for a second, her entire face lightens up but, then, the lights go out again. Her red-rimmed eyes mirror mine.

Is it too late to cancel?

Posted in Love, Nature

Heartache

I picked up the flower that had fallen from her hair. It still held her fragrance.

Ever since she moved here, I followed her around, hoping she would look at me and never look away. Often, I would walk behind her, right past her, in front of her…

But she seemed to look right through me.

Then, this guy came and held her from behind. She squealed in terror. Naturally, I attacked him. But instead of supporting her saviour, she hit me with a stick and called me a ‘stupid bird’! Worse still, she kissed him!

I’ll never love again!


Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash

Posted in Life and After

Bermuda Triminiaios Periodiko (Bermuda Quarterly)

Summer Solstice edition

Month: Junius, Year: 593618 Anno Poseidon

Page 2

Is this the Beginning of the End?

In our last edition, we had revealed the heinous government policy of shooting flying fishes for target practice in a blatant infringement of Right to Life. The public uproar that ensued forced the government to change its policies, enforcing the use of mechanised manaquinns for practice instead. In this issue, yet again, we are raising concerns against mindless shooting by government officials for a completely different reason.

The concern stems from a recent report by Dr Hammerhead, a famous Ecologist claiming that the quality of water around the Atlantis Triangle has deteriorated greatly in the past couple of centuries. It now contains dangerous levels of Iron, Aluminum and Asbestos. Earlier last year, his team was contacted by the head of Coral Tribes Council (CTC) about the discolouration of their ancestral sites across Atlantis. Upon furthur research, it was found that that ancient Coral colonies that form the top spires of Atlantis Castle since the beginning of times are the most affected. A detailed study clarified the reason being the concerning levels of Asbestos, Iron and Aluminium in water.

The report has come right after last month’s environmental report on the changing ecology of Atlantis Triangle, claiming a twenty-fold rise in microbial infestation in the area in the past couple of centuries and swelling number of poaching and illegal hunting activities by rogue Sharks, raising the risk of biological imbalance.

While these reports may seem disconnected, they are linked closely together to mindless shooting and the Atlantis Ship-wreak yards.

Some of you might be aware that Atlantis Triangle has three large Ship-wreak yards, each situated on its three corners. They were created to dispose off the human ships shot down by King Poseidon to ‘safeguard his territory from illegal infiltration’. Now, these yards have grown large enough to look like iron islands peeking out of the sea because of the numerous ships and flying planes collected over the centuries. The spaces between ships provide ideal hiding spaces for poaching Sharks. Their woodwork and the stuff-humans-wear they carried has rotted for years causing microbial infestation in the surrounding areas leading to breathing problems and various skin and gills infections. The Iron, Asbestos and Aluminium from these ships are now part of Altlantis water causing the said Coral discolouration.

The research team has suspicions that the same could also be the cause of tail-scales decay in the senior citizens, the expanding numbers of eye-problems in Cyclops population and early aging signs in otherwise immortal sea-nymphs. According to Dr Hammerhead, it would require a detailed study of entire population of Atlantis to understand the exact effects and funding worth several million sea-oysters.

When we contacted King Poseidon for his comment, his first reply was that of causal dismissal. In his own words, “I have read the reports and am arranging some strong waves to be sent to wash away the minerals from the area.”

When we asked if he finally plans to stop shooting ships and flying planes, he said, “I will continue to do what it takes to keep my territory safe. I can’t secure all oceans due to the amount of vigilance required but I will not let those pests infect my capital.” He also commented on human intelligence, saying, “They just don’t stay out. Even after losing so many ships and planes, they haven’t learnt enough to mark out our territory as hostile and give it a wide berth. Instead, they send ships that can deep-dive to search for their lost ships. Such Assfish!”

When we commented that humans can’t see the city hidden below water and have no way of marking the territory on waves, the King blamed us for supporting the ‘enemy’ and threatened to use his trident on us. While leaving, one of the guards escorting us threatened to turn us into fried fish if we did not cooperate.

Meanwhile, CTC has called out King Poseidon’s bluff saying that he is just missing old times when wars with Zeus came often; that he is itching to use his trident on someone or something. They are protesting against the mindless shooting and resulting ecological problems by building colonies in the middle of palace gates, blocking the main pathway.

We urge you to support them in their cause by joining the mass protest at the Whale Bone park this Dies Solis being arranged by the FishMatters organisation. Let us pledge our support to our fellow citizens and save our environment and cultural landmarks from desecration.

Posted in Life and After, Love

Why

Something was off.

I could feel it from the moment you walked in our room

on our honeymoon–

something amiss in your face, your eyes, your smile–

something vital.

I spent the night awake, wondering what it was

and why it mattered.

Every time I thought of you,

I felt it.

Every time you were around me,

I couldn’t find it.

I wondered what was amiss,

and why it mattered enough to give me sleepless nights.

Years later, I found it

in the eyes of another man.

It was Love.

Posted in Life and After

The Sacrifice

The sun hangs at the horizon leaving a trail of blood in the sky. The hot summer evening is thick with anticipation as the Sadhu casts a circle of protection in front of the Peepal tree. Unintelligible murmurs of incantations fill the silence as the old couple quietly watches the proceeding with apprehension. The goat they had raised as their own child is tied to the tree, bleating, pleading for its life. It is inconsolable, as though it already knows the impending doom.

The old woman sniffs and the man suppresses a groan. They have no choice. Their youngest daughter is now 20 and past the age of marriage. They have tried finding a groom but she’s a Manglalik. According to her star chart, anyone who marries her would die an early death. Of course, they don’t believe in any of it but other people do. They are desperate and ready to marry her off to anyone, even a widower with children, so that she would have someone to take care of her once they died. But no luck so far. Their sons, her brothers, had assured them that they would take care of her but it is hard to trust.

A couple of days back, this Sadhu appeared at their doorstep, asking for alms. At first, they were afraid to look at him–dressed in a black loin cloth, with ashes from shamshan (cemetry) on his forehead and a necklace of human bones. As soon as he saw their daughter, he had proposed a solution–a ceremonial marriage of their daughter with the Peepal tree and the sacrifice of a black goat to ward off the bad luck. Their daughter had cried for hours, declining to let her favourite goat die but it is the only black goat they have.

The Sadhu has chosen the old Peepal tree in the forest for the ceremony. As he started drawing the red circle, they had requested him to consider another Peepal tree with a better reputation but failed to convince him. In the day light, it looks harmless enough but the receding light leaves shivers down their spine. The stories of the evil spirits ring in their ears as they look at their daughter sitting in front of the yajna fire inside the circle. Prepared as a bride in a set of red blouse and Banarasi sari, and all her gold jwellery, she looks a picture of loveliness. Yet, there is no joy on her face, only resignation to the inevitable. Her palms still held wet henna that her mother had hastily applied last minute and never got the time to dry.

As the sun threatens to drown over the horizon, they step towards the circle of protection. But the Sadhu waves them out. “The circle protects only one person apart from me. Your daughter is part of ceremony, so she must stay. The rest of you must return to the village right away before night falls and spirits awake.”

The girls eyes widen with fear, “Amma, don’t leave me alone!”

“Of course, we won’t, dear. Baba ji, you never said that we have to leave…”

“And what will you do here? Protect her from the evil spirits?” Suddenly, comprehension dawns over his face, “Oh! You don’t trust me around her…the man who spent the past 25 years rejecting all his body needs–sleep, food, clothing…everything…in pursuit of God’s way…You dare blame me of wanting to befoul your daughter.” There was an edge of menace in his voice that brings them down on their knees.

“Please, Baba ji, don’t be angry. You must understand the predicament of parents of an unmarried daughter. If we leave her behind, tongues willl wag.”

“In that case, you can take her back. But the ceremony has already started. If she leaves midway, I cannot guarantee her safety. The spirits of the Peepal will haunt her forever…” The Sadhu lowers his voice lightly to hide the rising temper, “If you stay outside circle, the spirits will possess you. If you step inside, I will not have enough power to protect any of you and it will endanger your daughter as well.”

The last beams of sunlight fall on the bride’s face streaked with tears. She seems petrified with fear. Thay can’t stay and she can’t leave the circle. The Sadhu commands with all the force he can summon, “I am not here to waste my time. If you want me to help her, you leave now. Else, you can take her and damn her to a life with demons. I don’t care either way…”

The silence that ensues enrages him further. He gets up to leave but they hang to his feet, begging, “Please forgive us, Baba ji. We are leaving. We will return in a couple of hours…”

“Do not return before dawn until the spirits are asleep again or I do not guarantee your safety.”

They hang their heads and leave immediately, promising to return for the crying girl with the first light.

The night is spent pacing around the house waiting for the day to break. When the anticipation overshadows fear, they return with their sons long before the birds wake. The forest is still dark and the yajna’s fire is visible from a distance, cackling with power. The Peepal tree is a monster with open jaws daring them to come closer. A limp, thin, ravaged girl with torn red clothes hangs from a low branch, her Banarasi sari tied around her neck. The Sadhu lies outside the circle of protection with the ceremonial knife stuck in his throat.

The goat bleats in mourning.

Soon after, the village talks in hushed voices about the spirits of Peepal tree who have now acquired a taste for young female flesh. As for the torn red cloth in the fist of the dead Sadhu and henna on the hilt of knife–such things better be left unspoken…

Posted in Life and After, Love, Twisted Tales

Down to Cinders

The Merchant

I’ve never been so wrong footed in my life.

Last Saturday, at the party, I was sure the duchess was flirting with me to secure her third husband. Her first marriage had left her a rich widow and the second made her a widowed duchess. Now, with no sons, it seemed natural to look for a third husband to take care of all the accumulated estate…someone like me with tremendous wealth but no title. I had spent the golden years of my life building myself from a nobody to a prosperous businessman and the next few enjoying the success and money. I had been with numerous women but none of them really left an impression, except their lip colour on my shirts and their hands down my money pouch. At 41, I’m running out of choices. It’s high time for me to find a wife too, so I lead her on. I knew I’d never love her but she had class.

But as she invited me home for lunch, she moved the topic to her daughters who, according to her, were both the finest specimens of the fairer sex–beautiful, charming, intelligent, well-read and well-versed in arts. She mentioned looking for grooms for them and ‘hoped I would find them agreeable’.

Something did not add up. If they were even half as good as their mother, they would have a long line of suitors of their age. Why would she want them to marry me who is double their age? For my money?

Curious, I accepted the invitation.

Today, as my carriage drives into their estate, I see a long-running crack in the magnificent garden statue; unkept flower beds; a water fountain that has long dried out; and the wooden floor under the porch creaks…the beginning of the end.

So, money it is…

I knock and a rather pretty girl in her best house-help uniform answers the door. Ella, as she introduces herself, bids me to enter. Her eyes downcast, she informs me, “The Duchess and her daughters are out for an ‘urgent chore’. She has requested you to wait for them. They’ll be back later this afternoon.”

It doesn’t make sense, unless they have found someone richer. Or may be, the announcement of the King’s ball to find a bride for the Crown Prince has averted their gaze to greener pastures.

I should just leave. But Ella is clearly apologetic. Her eyes are pleading me to understand that she isn’t responsible for all this. She is embarrassed at her employers’ indiscretion. I had been there too many times. In my early jobs, when I was a nobody, my employers put me upfront to deal with angry customers. If I leave now, she would think of me as arrogant. For some unfathomable reason, I don’t want her to think I’m arrogant. So, I step inside to wait for the hostess who wouldn’t return for a couple of hours.

The Maid

It’s all too weird. My stepmother has kept me up all night to finish my endless chores before he’s due. She ordered me to get presentable to wait upon this guest while they all dealt with this ‘urgent chore’, whatever it is. Why even one of them couldn’t stay back is totally beyond me.

Why are they avoiding him? Doesn’t he have enough money to their liking? His two-horse-drawn carriage is certainly worth four times our own. He looks regal, right from his formal suit, diamond cufflinks to his silk tie. His brown wavy hair has a slight sprinkling of greys.

Maybe, they think he’s too old to consider…Well, they are wrong. He’s quite handsome and fit, unlike their noble suitors whose age you could guess from the size of their girth. When he introduced himself, his smile made me gasp. He smells like the Arabian perfume that father used to love.

Right now, I feel for him. Once I gave him mother’s message, he looks downright embarrassed for being so easily dismissed. He was clearly expecting to meet my step-sisters. May be, it is better he doesn’t. Marrying them would lead to lifelong shame-facing. I serve him tea and try to be good company.

We talk about books that my sisters have placed strategically in the drawing-room to be able to brag in front of the suitors that they have read them. I tell him of my favourite place in the world, my father’s library. He’s curious, so I take him on a tour. He looks around the library in awe, touching book spines like they were made of flower petals. His fingers are hardened with old marks of callouses. I wonder if he’s had a past like mine. We talk about more books. He laughs. It’s a nice, open laughter without pretence; one that I can get used to. I offer him my favourite book to pass the time while waiting.

Back in the drawing room, he points at the piano, curious who plays it. Too lost in his voice and too busy trying to not stare at him, I blurt out the truth, “It was mine before father passed away…” I clasp my mouth at the admission.

“Yours? Are you the daughter of the late Duke?”

I nod quietly, glancing at my clothes–clean but far below the status of my family, knowing how far-fetched the story seems. Will he mention it to mother? She will burn me at the stake…or in the oven…

But his eyes hold no judgement, only understanding, “So, after your father died, she took over the estate and turned you into housemaid?”

I nod again.

“Is there anything I could do to remedy your situation? I could request an audience with the king. He is just. He would ensure you are provided your share in the property.”

My eyes well up at the unexpected sympathy, “Thank you for the offer. I, too, could have applied to the king. But I’d rather stay home and sweep the floor than drag my family through dirt.”

The Merchant

Ever since I saw her, it has been difficult to look elsewhere. My eyes had been drawn to her face. But now, I see her in a different light.

Is she for real? She cares for a family that reduced her to a maid. Her little hands in the lap are full of calluses from the daily hard labour. I can see the blue marks peaking out of her shirt sleeve where she had been hit with a cane over and over. And she doesn’t want to change that for her family’s honour?

I cross the distance between us to where she stands. She looks so vulnerable as she looks at me with surprised gaze. I take her hands in mine, as gently as I can, “You know, Ella, I always thought that women like you had ceased to exist.”

Her hands fit in mind perfectly and her face is a picture of subdued beauty that comes from forgiveness and love. Suddenly, I know I will not be able to forget this face or walk out of this place leaving her behind. It is clear what I have to do.

“I came here seeking a bride. I think I’ve found one–if, of course, you’ll have me. Will you?”

She’s surprised and hesitant, “I’m afraid, it won’t be appropriate, considering I am just a maid. I won’t have my father’s name or property to bring along.”

“I don’t care about the title and I have enough money to last several lifetimes. All I care about is whether you like me? Would you like to spend your life with a man like me who doesn’t have a family title, but who fell in love with you the moment he saw you?”

She blushed a deep red and nodded sheepishly, “I think, I did too.”

The Duchess

“Of course, you have my blessings, my dears. I’ll arrange the two of you to get married this Sunday. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be much of a fanfare because the time is short…”

I don’t think they cared for the size of celebration any way.

When we had returned, Ella was in his arms, as I had expected. She’s captivating even when covered in cinders from the oven. Being dressed decently and left alone for two hours was more than enough to bring a marriage proposal. As for Ella, she couldn’t wait to be shot of us. She would have married a horse, had it proposed her, just to get away from us.

So, now that all has gone according to my plan, she will be married a week before the Royal Ball. Thank goodness for that too! Of course, we will need to hire household help, so it wil be a little inconvenient, but with her out of the way, my beautiful daughters are sure to win the Prince’s heart.

Posted in Love, Nature

My Neighbour: The Diva

My mom always said, “Never judge a bird by its feather.” So when the time came for building a nest, I thought I’ll give humans a chance. I didn’t like judging them based on their feathers, or the lack thereof. I am not really averse to humans…just a little wary because they are so large and uncoordinated. They flap their wings all day for no reason but never take flight. Though, some credit is due because they continue trying. They never really give up, unlike most other creatures who are now using their wings to walk.

I also appreciate the way their trees are always breezy. I often sit on the branches of their open window and the breeze is just there when there is none outside. Someone told me it is because of the three-legged sloth that hangs from the top of their tree and the breeze comes when it moves round and round. I tried talking to one of them if it was true but he seemed a quiet one.

Well, it’s hot right now and I don’t fancy staying outside in the sun while sitting on the eggs. So, when I started property hunting for a nest, I thought I’ll build it inside one of these breezy hollow trees. A couple of mynas referred me to this tree mentioning that the resident humans were rather gentle on other creatures ever since the last revolution and their recent treaty with the resident mice, spiders, bees and wasps. Also, they had mentioned that the owners offered free food to feathered neighbours. All this seemed rather too good to believe. But again, I wasn’t judging them yet. So, I thought, I’ll check out the property to see if it was worth the risk.

It is one of the usual hollow trees where humans live–very thick trunk, no leaves, no fruits, huge open windows, full of useless stuff. You can hear the constant dripping of water that seems to be ever present for humans. At the window, I could not feel the breeze and the three-legged sloth on the top wasn’t moving.

The humans were still asleep (Lazy bones!) so I decided to take a quick tour and then wait until the sloth wakes up. I sauntered inside. The branches on the top seemed promising for a nest. As I started to check them out one by one, one of the larger humans woke up and saw me. He woke up his mate and pulled out his camera. I thought, well, if that’s what it takes to please them…I posed for him. Big mistake!

Meanwhile, the smallest one woke up and started giggling. I was glad they approved of me; that would make them good neighbours. Or so I thought. I was so wrong!

After some time, the largest human got up and touched one of the square mushrooms that grow from the inner wall of the tree, said something about a ‘fan’. Well, I was rather glad to have him for a fan and I would have accepted the mushroom gift, but the female shouted, “No”.

Jealous!

Then she shouted something that sounded like ‘bird wud hurt’ and the first guy dropped his hand never plucking the mushroom. I would say, I was rather dissapointed by the lack of hospitality. Now, as I continued checking the branches as earlier, this female wouldn’t leave me alone. She started waving her hands menacingly, shouting “Shoo” on the top of her lungs.

“Shoo, yourself woman!” I decided, I wouldn’t be driven out by a jealous female. So, I hung around waiting for her to give up. The male placated her once and all three of them went out of the space closing the opening behind them. I was so glad for the peace and quiet. I tried waking up the three-legged sloth just to see if the breeze of this property was worth the hassle. I tweeted at him. I pecked him. But no use.

Then the female returned brandishing a pitchfork at me…

Okay, not a pitchfork, but one of those long branches these humans weild at times–‘wroom’, I think. She started pestering me with the soft side up, swiping pretty close but never making contact. I was startled at her hostility, I must say. You would think, I had stolen her seeds or something! At first I jumped around from branch to branch. Then I decided to fight back.

“Eat dirt,” I shouted and pushed down the dirt that was collected on the branches right on her eyes. She rubbed them and they were all watery. We faught like that for quite sometime until both of us were breathless.

That’s when she retreated never to come back.

I stayed there another hour but the three-legged sloth slumbered on. Then I just left. I was tired and hungry, and honestly, I couldn’t live in the presence of a hostile female. What if she blames me for leading her mate astray. What impression would that leave on my guy? I wish I had brought him along. Then, her guy would have seen right away that I was taken and he wouldn’t have hit on me in the first place.

Sigh! Jealousy, thy name is woman!

Posted in Life and After

The Bus Shelter

I drag my feet to the bus shelter. The night was nearly over and I had nothing to show for it. I push the gnawing hunger down until…

There was a time when men would throng this area after the late-night movie in the hall close by, eager to get behind the bushes with anyone who showed the slightest piece of skin. It was a life of plenty then. But not anymore.

The virus had changed it all. Movie halls are closed. Men are wary of strangers. The mask makes it difficult to bare my supple lips, the biggest draw in otherwise petite frame, but without a mask, they would be even more vary. No one is ready to risk the disease for the sake of pleasure. I really can’t hang a board in my neck declaring that I am vaccinated…

Not that I am vaccinated anyway.

A pang of hunger pushes me to quicken my pace towards the bus shelter. There is always someone there, returning from a late-night job or a soiree…

I turn the corner and look expectantly. A lonely figure is huddled on the bench waiting for the next bus that wouldn’t be here for a bit–a woman! I sigh, but I have to try. I step forward from the shadows, flash cleavage towards her and make a ‘follow me’ sign towards the shadows. She visibly cringes and averts her gaze.

I sigh again.

I hate the bus shelter’s light, but I’m hungry and desperate. So, I make a mad dash, hold the girl’s face in my hands and dig my teeth in her neck…


Inspired by Lop-sided moon by John Melon

Continuation of Blood Red Moon

Posted in Random Thoughts

Published Our First Book!

“After an year of toil and tears, it is finally here! Our very own short stories collection…”

-Manpreet and Shaily

The Forest Bed and other short stories

Our book is now available in India in print on Pothi.com. 😊 😃 They deliver across India through courier.

Soon, it will be available worldwide as ebook and in print.

Spread the word!

Share the post, if you will. Please, pretty please! 🥺

Posted in Life and After

The Taboo

A girl walks on the road wearing a long dress that fits her snugly.

A second girl looks at her clothes longingly, mentally comparing it with her own loose, unflattering clothes.

An old man ogles, his eyes resting in places they shouldn’t. A young guy wolf-whistles, while another touches her backside ‘accidently’.

So, a couple of old women begin gossiping among themselves about the vices of unashamed modern girls who invite rapists to themselves.

The second girl groans inwardly, hiding her longing to be free to dress…

Posted in My life

Negotiating with Intelligent Beings: Act 2

Author’s note: I recently had this conversation with my daughter. Note how priorities change with time.

“Mom, Make me a fairy. I want to fly.”

“Baby, I can get the wings from the market for you, but I’m afraid that won’t help you fly. You need hollow bones.”

“Fairies don’t have hollow bones but they fly.”

“First, you don’t know that yet. You’ve never met one. Second, fairies are born as fairies. You were born a human. Maybe you can grow up and become a pilot. Then you can fly.”

“Who’s a pilot?”

“Well, you saw those aeroplanes the other day? Pilots fly them.”

“But I don’t want to fly inside an aeroplane. I want to fly like fairies.”

“Well, there is hand-gliding. You hang on those gliders tied to the wings and fly.”

“I don’t want to hang to anything while I fly. It’s dangerous.”

“Okay, then become a pilot.”

“Fine, make me a pilot.”

“Well, to become a pilot, you must study a lot…for many years…”

“How many years?”

“15-16 years…maybe more…”

(A pregnant pause)

“I think, I’d rather have the scooter you offered the other day…”