The Mantra That Kept Her Going

James and Lily Potter

It was a slow Tuesday at work and Chhaya had one of her familiar headaches. Her headaches had really worsened over time and the best part of the day was right before bedtime, when her husband gave her a head massage. Sitting at her desk and staring blankly at her screen, that was what she wanted now.

She glanced at her phone and spotted her Mom sitting inside, smiling at her from the wallpaper. Chhaya wished she knew how to turn it to an animated GIF, like those wizarding pictures in Harry Potter. That way, she could feign a “Hello, how are you Mom?” every now and then and Mom would actually move her lips in answer!

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The Woman In My Window

Woman in the Window

*Picture from http://www.123rf.com

I love sitting by the window when it rains, dilly dallying over my bowl of soup or cup of coffee. I strain my nose to catch a whiff of wet earth and stretch my ears to listen to the distant song of the birds in their nests. It is then that I spot the woman in my window, quietly boring her eyes into me as if she can look right through me and to the other side.

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All and Nothing

Meera looked around the living room. Several years ago, it had served as the auditorium for her impromptu dance performances, set to the tune of the latest Bollywood numbers. It was in the living room that she had cut her birthday cakes, pored over Christmas gifts and spent many peaceful hours with her pastel colours. Tired out from her adventures, it was here that she had contentedly dozed off in Grandpa’s lap.

The room had changed.  Continue reading

The Things we do for Love

It was plain bad luck that he was contemplating this barely a fortnight before Valentine’s Day, but come to think of it, he had felt it coming for a while.

He quickly glanced outside the window of the flat he had shared with his bride for six months now, and caught sight of their old, rather unfriendly neighbour staring suspiciously, a torch in his left hand and a cellphone in the other.

The only dustbin the flat had was in the kitchen and if truth be told, it was rather gruesome even by his own villainous standards, to visualise the chopping into tiny pieces; he was no accomplished criminal.

It wouldn’t be long before either the neighbour or the smell gave him away, and on second thoughts, the whole impulsive plan started to seem a bad idea.

Minutes later, he sat across the table from his cheerful wife, smilingly gulping down the horrible food that he had been unsuccessful in disposing of, and whose true character he hadn’t the heart to disclose.

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Five Sentence Fiction

Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week, Lillie McFerrin posts a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate can write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in the five sentences, and is just for direction. This week: VILLAINOUS.

Now every Friday on Saddi Delhi.

Matrimony

She had often sensed the extended family had a thing against her, though she could not pinpoint the reason behind their continued apathy towards her happiness.

Their cold-shouldering was endurable as long as the disregard pertained to her choice of career, style of dressing, and even her mental sanity, but when they started commenting on her relationship with her husband, it became unmanageable.

Her husband, bound to her by shyly enounced wedding vows many years ago, and love that had grown ever since, had always protected her from the woes of the world.

Although she knew her blessed matrimony aroused jealousy in some of the extended family, she thought it was unwarranted that they mask their true colours by looking at her suspiciously and proclaiming her marriage as dead.

Little did they know that every bedtime, when she had silenced the world’s judgment of normalcy and bereavement, he came to her in her dreams, rising from his funeral pyre to hold her close to his heart.

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Five Sentence Fiction

Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week, Lillie McFerrin posts a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate can write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in the five sentences, and is just for direction. This week: BEDTIME.

Now every Friday on Saddi Delhi.

A Considered Decision

It wasn’t that she didn’t enjoy living in her private house, located in a posh neighbourhood of the city, and acquired at a price so cheap it was almost ridiculous.

It was just that lately, the neighbourhood had started bustling with ill-mannered rogues that some people called innocent children, and they took liberties not only in pelting stones at her house but also in climbing up and breaking into her peace.

She knew some of her envious friends – did they still count as friends? – laughed at her behind her back and called her high-up accommodation a tree house, so snug they were about their cooped up homes in somebody else’s building.

When she woke up in the morning, the thought of inclement weather, unceasing ruckus and a hypocritical circle of acquaintances made her depressed and wistful for a change of location.

It indeed was time to abandon her nest in the society’s tallest tree, the pigeon thought as she flew away into the sunny sky, free as only a bird knows how to be.

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Five Sentence Fiction

Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week, Lillie McFerrin posts a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate can write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in the five sentences, and is just for direction. This week: ABANDON.

Now every Friday on Saddi Delhi.

Will-o’-the-wisp

She might have reconciled to being a divorcee if only the world, with its long and interfering nose, had left her alone.

The only thing that could spoil her sister’s wedding, her middle-class parents’ honour in society, and the next generation of children in the family, was the presence of a young divorcee at home, probably let loose because of her lack of virtue.

While signing the divorce papers, she had seen freedom at close quarters, and had been thrilled to be finally discarding the loveless, tortuous relationship that had offered her nothing but pain.

A year later, she was married to a former widower, hailed by her parents to be the best match any tainted girl could expect, and to be honest, he did shower her with riches upon coming home drunk every night.

She held on to her new-found riches with utmost care; they had come at the cost of the freedom which she had tossed away, like an offering into the fire.

*             *             *

Five Sentence Fiction

Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week, Lillie McFerrin posts a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate can write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in the five sentences, and is just for direction. This week: OFFERING.

Now every Friday on Saddi Delhi.

A Winter Surprise

Wow badge

He was originally from Kolkata. When I was little, Mum told me this was a place several kilometres from home. “Have I ever been there?” I asked her. “No. Neither have I. You need to take a train to go there.” I remember wondering then how it would feel to ride in a train. I didn’t think I would like it too much. I preferred gambolling in the backyard at all hours, even though I would get a fright every time a street dog appeared.

“How did he manage to come to Delhi then? Is he allowed on a train?” I couldn’t imagine how someone so vile could be let loose in public.

“Of course. But he is clever and good as gold on a train.”

Months had passed since he had first come over to Delhi, but there was little love lost between us. It seemed he made an extra effort to be mean to me. When the wind blew across the sky, he would make fluttering noises as loud as – well, fluttering – and it would scare me to death. Even the birds detested him. When he would be asleep in the sun, down would come their droppings. Mom told me he would get a good thrashing whenever that happened – served him right.

I once wondered if he could be sent back to Kolkata. “That can’t happen.” Mum sighed when I asked her. “He used to go with the old man in the house who has now retired from his job.”  I knew who she meant. In winter, I often saw the old man climb up the stairs to the sunny terrace in the house. When he wasn’t looking, sometimes, I would follow him and hide behind the potted plants.

Winter had been particularly loathsome this year. While I managed to keep myself warm under the sun at daytime, night-time was intolerable. Mum and I earlier slept in a decrepit bamboo basket which rain had one day destroyed beyond repair. I didn’t know where to locate those night shelters the government had built. All I felt each night was the cold, damp floor. Sleep came to Mom and me in disturbed little shivers.

One morning, I noticed the world around me was white. The fog was dense and thickening even as I looked. Strangely, I felt rested and warm. The floor wasn’t cold anymore and what I saw warmed my heart.

He was there, looking at Mum and me, no tricks up his sleeve this time. For us, he had embraced the chill of the floor. Never before had I had such comforting sleep. I glanced up to see the old man smiling to his wife.

“You wanted to throw away my friend from Kolkata. But look, there’s still something that old shirt is good for!”

Winter Surprise

I cozied up to Mum and gave the couple a photogenic smile. The morning, though white, was turning out to be beautiful. My foe of several months was now my friend.

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This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

The Unusual Suspect

She should have sensed there was danger the moment the door creaked, but the winter afternoon was deceiving in its temperament.

He inched closer from behind, while she pored over her book, oblivious to the danger that lurked in her household in Delhi – the city her parents had warned her against.

He had no motive but cold blood, and sneered as he clasped the weapon, silently picked up from her kitchen, tightly in his palm.

Though horror-struck, she could not scream; the weapon was effective, painful and shock-inducing.

The wall, painted fresh an hour ago, now sported a large blob of tomato ketchup, emptied carefully from a sachet.

Her five-year old son had feet as sure and silent as a cat.

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Five Sentence Fiction

Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week, Lillie McFerrin posts a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate can write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in the five sentences, and is just for direction. This week: FRESH.

Now every Friday on Saddi Delhi.

The School-Bus Ride

School bus

*Picture from paintersoflouisville.com

To be honest, Piyali’s throat felt a bit funny. What was worse, she could not clear her throat without turning red in the face, or attracting attention from the other children in the school-bus.

Drat it, she had done what she had always been forewarned not to. Aanchal was to be blamed for it. She had spoken in glorious words of the joys that resided in the cart outside the school gate. “There are all colours you can imagine. Red as bright as tomato; yellow as bright as the sun! I like the orange the best though.” 

Mamma was insistent on staying away from that cart. Continue reading