A Thanjavur bobblehead doll

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Mrs Kumar was unsure of everything as she entered the market. The hustle and bustle of the market felt removed from her as if she had been left behind from it. She realized that each of the thousand times she had entered the market she had always had a to-do list or a list of ingredients to collect for a recipe. And here she was at this late hour of the evening, without a list of ingredients for her life or a recipe for how to cook it.

Mrs Kumar decided that she had wandered into the market because it was familiar. She hoped that the tired alleyways and the small shops of the market remembered enough of the items of her life that she may be able to pick up a decision about it in the next shop around the corner.

The smell of the fresh flowers wafting from the flower vendor reminded her of her husband. She had never really liked Jasmine, but he liked them so much that she had grown to like them too. The memory of a thousand intimate moments made her blush in the fading sunlight. She could always go back to him, her husband. The fight they had was just a fight, everyone fought. She could just go back to him and it would all be back to normal. She looked at her phone, it had been two days and he hadn’t called even once. Mrs Kumar covered her nose and moved on.

The toy shop down the road reminded her of her son. She would save up money each month for his birthday so she could buy him his favourite toy. And it was always worth it to see his tiny face light up. She could always go to him, he was a dutiful son and would always take her in, but she could never fail to notice how her presence dimmed his eyes just a little nowadays. There was no toy she could buy to fix that.

The bangles on the bangles vendors cart twinkled like her daughter’s laughter. Could she go to her daughter? No, it was too early to even consider that.

And then she saw it, in the window of a fancy shop, a Thanjavur bobblehead doll. Mrs Kumar froze in place, as she watched the doll nod her head and sway her hips. She had had the exact same doll when she was a little girl. It had been her most prized possession. When her father would play songs on the radio, Mrs Kumar would run to the table where the doll stood and nudge her gently, and she would join the doll in her dance always in tune with the songs. Continue reading

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The Polls

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A warm morning sun shone into the courtyard of the school. The tree that stood in the centre of the courtyard came to life with the cries of birds. Shiva sat in the shade of the tree, hard at work on a thick rope that he was tying into an elaborate knot. He had been up and working for a long while already. He had set up a stage that now stood beside the tree. He had brought out chairs from the classrooms in the school and placed them in neat rows in front of the stage. As the school peon, it was his duty to set up the booth on election day and the stage on the counting day. It was also his duty to prepare for the results. He inspected the knot that he had tied, he pulled on the rope to make sure it held in the correct manner. He tied the loose end of the rope to the tree and hid the other end in a nook behind the trunk of the tree. No one liked to think of the rope before the results were announced. He inspected the stage one last time and went outside the courtyard to smoke a bidi before the counting began.

As the sun climbed in the sky, the courtyard was slowly filled with the buzz of the villagers gathered there. They greeted each other and sat in small groups among the school chairs exchanging news and gossip. The women sat to the right though there was no rule that they had to. Their whispers were loud but quickly suppressed like a bee caught in a bell jar. The men gathered to the left of the stage, they greeted each other loudly at first. But their conversations grew quieter, like a bullfrog that had grown tired of its own mating call. The children ran around the playground that they were so familiar with. They found it funny that they had to visit the school on a holiday and the empty classrooms rang with their shouts and laughter. By the time the appointed hour arrived the whole village had gathered in the school courtyard. Continue reading

The scavenger

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‘It stinks…’ the voices whispered in Aryan’s ear.  ‘I can’t breathe’ a voice choked in his throat, Aryan bolted upright in his bed, trying hard to catch his own breath. It was way before sunrise, the sky outside his window was covered in a thick carpet of dark clouds and the carpet was leaking. It wasn’t a strong rain, the sky wasn’t weeping and shouting at the earth, the sky was murmuring obscenities and threats. And it had been going on all night long. And that meant the ground was overflowing with the rainwater and that meant the drainage was clogged. Continue reading

Romeo and Juliet, A Comedy

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Princess X was wedded to Prince Y at an event of significant revelry at the faraway Land of Orange Mist. Like all weddings, it was essentially a joyous one. Kings and queens from far and wide, arrived to meet, eat and tweet with the loving couple, whose romance was one that could make another tale, for another day. But essentially, it was pretty Romeo and Juliet, except for the catharsis at the tragic end.

Yes, this is the story where Prince Romeo marries Princess Juliet, with the Capulets and the Montagues at least in partial attendance, and with minimal damage in terms of body count, (drunken brawls and other accidental deaths not included). All in all, a very happy affair. Until of course, they start living together, Romeo and Juliet that is, ruling their land, as king and queen.

Although the land of Orange Mist was essentially a happy one, it was of poor means, with many a farmer starving or leaping to death depending on his terms with the money lenders of the land. The rains were cruel, and the neighbours stingy, as stingy with their waters as the moneylenders with their patience. Continue reading

We just published our second book!

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Hello, Everyone!

We are ecstatic to announce that our second book, a collection of humorous short stories has just been published! It is titled, ‘The Case of the Punctual Phantom and other Silly Stories’. The stories are about the craziness and comedy that we face in contemporary Indian life.

A young man attends a job interview for the umpteenth time, a writer eavesdrops on a conversation at a pizzeria. A social butterfly tries hard to keep her clique under control, a disgruntled mother gives her honest opinion of motherhood. A bunch of boys in a hostel scare an unwanted roommate away, a busy working woman runs for president in her apartment complex out of need. A young employee makes a risky move in office politics, a young girl who is being blackmailed uncovers the identity of her blackmailer. A successful businesswoman is forced to marry a dog by her street smart mother-in-law and a fake psychic tries to exorcise a real ghost.

This collection is about ordinary people dealing with the tantrums that life throws at them and being able to nod their heads and smile along the way. We are sure you will relate to the characters in this collection and will definitely chuckle along with them.

You can get a kindle e-book here: http://amzn.to/1VogCjU

Indian readers can grab a paperback version here: http://bit.ly/1TQHJ5v

We will soon be launching an international paperback version!

Do check out the book and let us know what you think. We look forward to your feedback.

LitLatte Team.

 

 

Cock – a – doodle – doo by Soniya Kulkarni

The sky was on the verge of turning crimson. It was time for Surya to start his day. Madam had never owned an alarm clock and at it was up to him to wake her up. Surya had diligently fulfilled this responsibility for the last seven years. Rain or shine, and through sickness and in health, even on the days when his majestic midnight blue tail drooped from the symptoms of a pesky ailment, Surya never once missed waking Madam up.

With resounding “cock-a-doodle-doo” that echoed through the trees on the mountain, Surya nudged madam out of her slumber.

The soft, tangerine plumes that covered his stately neck glistened in the early morning light as Surya ducked out of his coop. He strutted across the front yard at a languid pace and hopped onto the front porch. Surya examined his reflection in the glass shutter of the main door. He first checked in legs and then his mouth. Continue reading