Alice knew she was running late when the March Hare overtook her, checking his watch and mumbling, “I am late..” to himself. Alice ran after the hare, she didn’t like being late for the tea party, but more importantly, she was hungry and would have loved some cake right about then.
She opened a door and walked into the courtyard where they always had their tea.
The Mad Hatter sat at the head of the table with the March Hare and the left and the dormouse to his right. The dormouse was busy typing away at his typewriter, though why a tea party needed its minutes recorded Alice did not really know. Alice noticed there were new guests at the tea table as she set her flamingo down and took her usual seat opposite the mad hatter.
The March Hare passed her a cup of tea and Alice thanked him as she took the cup. She snatched glances at the new guests at the table as she sat down again.
There was an angel with a halo around his head. And a bear who kept lifting his club up and down in one hand as he daintily held onto his teacup in the other. There was a large colourful parrot that was turning the pages of a book at a fast pace. Alice gave them all a smile and sipped her tea.
“Had a good round of your game, I hope.” The Mad Hatter said pointing to her flamingo.
“Yes, I did indeed. Managed my best score yet.” Alice smiled at the hatter.
“That’s my girl, the hatter smiled back.” Continue reading
Norman stood outside his mother’s room. He sighed and balanced the tray in his hand, he had made all her favorites, pancakes, sunny-side up eggs, and freshly squeezed orange juice. He knocked on the door.
“Come in” his mother’s hoarse voice shouted.
Norman entered the room and placed the tray on his mother’s bed, across her lap.
“About damn time. What is this breakfast or brunch?” Mother hissed at him, “ I thought you had forgotten about me.”
“Sorry mother, I had to go out to get the oranges, we ran out of them.”
“This is why I tried all my life to teach you discipline. God knows I tried. You used to be better when I could get out of bed and whoop your sorry ass.” Mother took a sip of the orange juice, “ and you still cannot choose ripe oranges. What am I going to do with you?”
Norman stared at his feet. He had to hold both his hands to keep them from shivering. His mouth was dry. He tried to lick his lips but there was no moisture in his mouth. Breakfast was the best time to tell mother. She would only grow grumpier through the day. And he had been wanting to say this for a while now.
“Mother…” he whispered. She did not hear him and continued eating the pancakes.
“Mother, I have decided to leave,” he said as if testing her hearing. Continue reading
Little Pinky jumped up in joy because it was Diwali. It meant she got to wear her brand new red ghagra choli. It also meant she got to visit her grandmother. Little Pinky got ready even before mommy told her to get up. When mommy came into her room, mommy was very happy to see her ready and helped her into her brand new glittery ghagra choli.
“Can I go meet grandma now?” Little Pinky jumped up and down with excitement.
Mommy’s face fell. She rubbed her eyes and sighed. She forced herself to smile and said, “Yes Pinky, you can go and visit grandma…”
“Yay!” Pinky ran around the house in joy.
Mommy gave her a large box of sweets, “give this to Grandma. Wish her a happy Diwali.”
Pinky nodded, “I have my own gift for Grandma too.” She ran into her room, pulled out her gift from her school bag and placed it inside the box of sweets.
Little Pinky noticed her mom sitting sadly on the sofa. Mommy liked grandma too, just like Pinky did. But grandma and mommy had been fighting recently. Pinky didn’t know why, when she asked mommy, mommy simply said it was because grandma wanted to give her cousin Pappu more chocolates than her. This had hurt Pinky, why would grandma give Pappu more chocolates? Pinky always thought grandma liked her more. But Pinky was sure when grandma saw her in her new red ghagra choli and ate her sweets she would love her again. And she would give her more chocolates than Pappu.
Pinky went to Mommy, “Don’t worry mommy. I will make sure grandma loves me more. I will take good care of grandma.” Continue reading
Samir reached for his phone just as he opened his eyes and checked the status of his last released book as was his habit. It was still first on the bestseller list even after all these weeks. He picked up the newspaper, an article on the lower right-hand corner read, “Health of the hugely successful and controversial writer Samir Shastri rapidly deteriorates.” Samir put the paper away and wondered how much of the book’s sales were due to his supposedly sudden demise. He had wanted to finish another book before his time was up, but he found the constant headaches made it difficult to write. He had known the devil had a good sense of irony but had not predicted that he would have a brain tumor because of it. Well, as far as cancers went it was a fast way to go. He looked around himself at the five-star hospital room where he had spent the past few weeks of his life, it wasn’t a bad way to go.
Samir was sure it would happen that day because the same day ten years ago he had signed the contract.
“You can show yourself now you old hag, we can have a chat before you cap me off…” Samir shouted to the empty room.
The window on the right of his hospital bed darkened. The darkness seemed to pulse and percolate into the room where it gathered itself just a few feet from Samir’s bed. The darkness grew until it seemed to feed on the light in the room. It condensed into large leathery wings, a face that had the large eyes of a fly and lion’s mouth and a snake’s tongue. Its body had four arms with long claws and the body ended in the tentacles of an octopus.
Samir rolled his eyes.
“You will show more respect when you talk to Beelzebub, Duke of hell.”
“Hey, there you are Beelzy, you old fucker. He wants respect it seems, and what you going to do if I don’t show any, kill me?” Samir laughed and began to cough. Continue reading
“Would you ever hurt your own mother?” Mr.Om glared at the audience, “Would you let anyone else hurt your mother?” Impassioned spittle flew into the microphone. “No” Mr. Om answered himself, “then why is it okay to let our gaumatas get hurt? Why is it ok to allow them to be killed just to feed Ome adharmic rakshas somewhere?” Mr.Om shook with feeling.
“Are we not here today because of our gaumatas? I know I am. I have enough calcium in my bones today because of all the milk I drank over a lifetime, from countless cows. I have enough strength in my muscles,” Mr.Om flexed a hefty bicep, “because of all the ghee I have eaten thanks to the generous gaumatas. Monsoons are here, the weather is changing, I can see a lot of you are sick with the flu, and yet here I am perfectly healthy, talking at the height of my voice. How is this possible? This is possible only because of the gomutra I drink every morning.” Continue reading
“You are joking, right? You have got to be joking.” Ria’s laughter echoed in the basement parking lot. She sounded amused like he had actually cracked a joke but Samir could see the shadow of fear in her large brown eyes.
She pushed her hair behind an ear and Samir stopped. He hated that she could still make him stop.
“But, why? Why would you even be thinking about it?” there was that voice again, like a feather caressing skin.
“Come on Ria, you have always known someone had to go.” Samir scratched behind his ear with his pen.
“Yes, of course, someone has to go…but I thought we agreed it was going to be the other woman…” there was just a small shiver in her voice like the feather had passed over a razor. Continue reading
Nisha could hear them talking about the wedding already. She plucked silk threads from the pallu of her saree. She could not remember the last time she felt her parents had been inconsiderate of her. She had always brushed aside the issue of marriage, but arriving back from work and finding a family sitting in their living room had shocked her. She had not realized her parents were so keen on her getting married. Not that she didn’t look forward to it herself. But a heads up would have been good.
When she had entered the house her mother had hurried her into their bedroom and handed her her mother’s favorite silk saree, the one with the swans swimming along the pallu. That was when Nisha knew they were serious about this. She had expected to be called into the living room for a while now. And having waited for a while she was getting restless. She paced up and down the bedroom and put an ear to the door to try and hear what was being said. When she heard words like ‘dowry’ and ‘cooking’, she shook her head, opened the door and walked into the living room.
Nisha walked directly to the empty sofa opposite the prospective groom and sat down in it. An awkward silence followed in which the prospective groom and his parents stared at Nisha and her parents as if to ask how she had walked into their conversation unassisted.
Nisha folded her hands and raised them to the groom’s parents, “Namaste!” “ Hello…” she said to the groom. They seemed too dumbstruck because no one said anything.
The overhead fan could be heard creaking in the awkward silence. Her mother’s bangles clinked as she folded her hands nervously. Continue reading