Closure @ Crossroads

3rd Oct 2022 Present day  6.30 am The orange-yellow, newly erected, temporary Puja Pandal at the busy crossing in Gurgaon, looks resplendent as it competes with the  autumn hues. It boasts of a conquest over the concrete hub of false piety built on pillars of deceit which flourished there earlier. Stricter adherence to hygiene and

The Executioner

He was the executioner. The robber of life. The giver of death. *** The king had announced yet another death punishment. The criminal was a young man in his mid- twenties. Handcuffed and blindfolded, he was shepherded to the execution platform. Hoots and cries of the crowd rose in the sky- Kill him, Kill him.

Achyut

“Achyut, I don’t want to live with you anymore. I am tired of trying to be perfect for you. And please don’t try to find me or send sleuths to trace me. Once I settle down, I will give you a call myself.” Read my letter to Achyut as I set about packing up my

Prowess

1960 “Anu . . . “ The sound of the anklets filled the air as Anupama, a thirteen-year-old girl came running to her mom. Her father worked as a temple priest in a remote village. She was a brilliant student and was the favorite of the school headmaster, Selvaraj. When her mother insisted Anupama to

A Kind Act

The morning light scattered through the white lace curtains, the only luxury in the sparsely furnished room. The bare turquoise walls feebly tried to lift the patients’ spirits. The hospice offered palliative care and death and despair were the side dishes on the day’s menu often. Maryam, in her decade as a nurse, had never

A Nebulous Episode

I sit patiently in the car with my fingers drumming on the steering wheel; their tempo increasing with every passing second – okay, so maybe not that patiently. “Sorry. Had to give clear instructions to hubby. Am I very late?” “No! Just 20 minutes,” I snap as she enters the car and buckles her seatbelt.

Head or Heart

From the large glass window of my office cubicle, I sit watching the snow fall outside. It’s warm in here, thanks to the central heating system. Yet I am shivering. With terror. “They have put Ma on ventilator. Come home fast.” My sister’s tearful plea rings in my ears and I try to decipher the

A 2000 Tribulation

I was jolting in a bus; so were my thoughts.  ‘This government has lost its mind. Demonetization is another issue. But introducing two thousand rupees notes…!’  ‘Does the government care about those whose daily transactions are limited to two-digit figure?’ ‘Wouldn’t it be easier to hoard black money now? Indeed, the governments are increasingly becoming

Scarlet Light

I see him every day or rather early morning. He halts his car and doesn’t move even when indicated. I know he lives in the big mansion just across where I stand. He doesn’t mind, my keeping an eye on him. “Honk… Honk…” the car horns blare and the driver storms out, spitting expletives. “Why

At Crossroads

“Rohan, I love you. I will talk to Dad about us. I know he will find it difficult to digest, but he will agree. After Mumma’s death, I have been his companion. I am his world. He cannot say no to me,” said Riddhima with confidence. “I love you, too, Riddhima. After you talk to

Arsenic and Old Lace

The old woman dropped her purse as she fell, spilling its contents all over the sidewalk. He rushed to help her, stopping short when he saw the back gun under the purse.  He was surprised to see an old woman, frail as her, brandishing a pistol.  “What’s the world coming to, or has already come to,

Country Roads, Take Me Home

25 October 2019, Kupwara, Indian-administered Kashmir. Slithering through the endless roadblocks and carefully avoiding the prominent military check posts, I furtively moved towards the bus stop.  The air smelt fusty from months of forced lockdown.  The usual inviting smells and sights of the golden autumn seemed to have blurred into a stunned paralysis. The perpetual

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