Nina

Nina was found buried in the crook of a Wych elm deep into the forest. or perhaps what would have been deep into the forest before Sobha builders decided to make a home away from the city, in the lap of nature, eco apartments that were only five minutes from fairy falls, only fifteen kilometers away from the nearest school, hospital or office space; and only twenty minutes away from NICE road.

It was barricaded to the public; only Sobha resident joggers eroded it every morning and practically turned it into a freeway to the waterfall.

It was a dog that found her hand dangling like a T-Rex’s arm from the rotted core of the elm; one of those furry golden ones. I saw them often with the joggers, trotting along, burying their nose where it didn’t belong.

Devoid of skin, tissue or even rot, Nina’s arm had been licked clean to the bones. I was surprised that the foxes hadn’t ground the bones into a powdery puff, yet.

Nina - Wych elm

I stood among the few joggers, as the police pulled Nina out from the dark hole, one limb after another. Her torso came last and a small man was sent inside to fetch her head.

It was almost thirty minutes later that a head popped out, not Nina’s, but the man who was sent after it. He climbed out, panting and repeating, “Kuch nahee hai, Saab. There is no head.”

The Chief Inspector who looked like mosquitoes had made half a meal out of him, stomped his foot and shouted, “Where the hell is the head, then?”

“Kamraj sir…” said his deputy, smiling like a patient grandmother, “Where will the head go? It will be around somewhere. Mil jayega.”

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23:23

People believe I am mad, a crazy lunatic, obsessed with the time 23:23. But let me tell you something; I did not go searching for 23:23, it found me. It was relentless in its pursuit; it hounded me night and day, until I had no other choice but to acknowledge it. I tried everything, switched off my phone, tried to sleep when it was still a safe 22:22, shut my eyes and refused to look at my bedside clock. But somehow, somewhere I always managed to see 23:23.

I had such confidence in my sanity, my logic, my rationality; that I discussed about 23:23 with people, many people; my husband, friends, colleagues and believers in the paranormal. Some looked at me in awe, some even suggested I was a shaman and some strongly believed that I was ready to fall over the threshold of madness.

Before you throw away this paper, attributing it to the rant of a mad woman, let me tell you about me.

My name used to be Anu, short for Anuradha. I say used to be, because now, it is just patient no. 2323.

I was happy, once. I used to live in the bustling city of Bangalore, with its surprise showers and cool weather. I was married too, to the man of my dreams and I bore him two beautiful little girls, twins at that. In our uninhibited joy, we named them Thea and Rhea. Thea, Goddess of the moon and Rhea, the daughter of Gaia (Earth). Both my daughters orbited around each other from the time they were born. Oh how I had loved them until they were toddlers, their constant need to be with me, their constant demands, their unending cries for ‘Mumma’. That was only until they were old enough to realise that all they ever needed was each other. They had a look that was only meant for the other one, like telepathic Siamese twins.

Such strong was the connection between my daughters; that I became the ostracised mother who wasn’t privy to that bond.

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Detective Phansy and the case of too many women…

Detective Phansy knocked thrice on the gargoyle knocker and we waited for the massive oak doors to swing open. In five years with the murder squad, not many things intimidated me, I had seen it all, or I thought I had. But the three-mile drive inside the estate and finally parking my mini wagon among rows of Ferraris, Rolls Royce and Lamborghinis had ensured that I stand smaller than my five feet eight inch, in front of whoever opened that door.

“The Kains are wealthier than I imagined, Sir.” I spoke, tapping my feet.

“Of course they are, McLane. You Irish don’t know the meaning of true wealth now, do you?” Phansy said, roaming his disdainful gaze from my mop of waist long red hair down to my freckled face and a body that worked out, but did not say no to baguettes.

“Sir, we got wealthy people in Ireland, what are you talking about?” my voice took a high-pitched whine, the kind that appeared whenever I felt defensive.

“Not like the English do, McLane, not like the English.”

Just when my voice was about to reach a pitch higher than earlier, the door swung open and a stately woman of about fifty opened the door, and said, “Yes?”

Phansy jumped in to educate the woman of the house, “Oh Mrs. Kain, I am Detective Phansy, with a ‘Ph’. I know this would be terrible inconvenience but we have some questions regarding your husband’s unfortunate demise yesterday. I do hope you can give us ten minutes of your precious time.”

Detective Phansy

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Bad erotica…

Abhay paces the small one room kitchen apartment, it wasn’t a lot of pacing; four steps back and forth made up for his tiny dwelling. But then again what is a struggling writer, if not living in a space cramped with a chair, a bed, a foldable writing table, a solar powered lamp, a bowl full of cigarette butts and five day old pizza.

Abhay’s predicament wouldn’t be something new for you, but for him it was a dilemma that put him in precarious situation. You see, the next chapter in Abhay’s highly ambitious debut novel about four friends who had just passed out of IIM – B; was that one of those friends was finally getting lucky. And Abhay had to describe him getting lucky.

Now this shouldn’t be a problem to many writers, or maybe it would be. I would never know. But Abhay is still a virgin, which means, he has never gotten lucky. And the poor little peasant has no idea how to, either.

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Shall we eat Dick, instead?

“It is all about reiteration, recognizance and following up relentlessly to ensure that your work gets done. You feel me people, do you feel what I am saying here?” Dick looks around, his voice rising in decimals, his back straight and blood shot eyes wide enough to cover Rita’s generous boobs.

We all nod our unenthusiastic ‘hmms’ and scroll down the screen to the next point in the agenda.

“It is like my son, you know.” He continues. Rita, almost groans out loud but then saves her ass by pretending to cough. “Every single morning I lift my son’s sorry butt and plant it on that atrocious fluorescent green and yellow, plastic potty. I sit there with him for five, ten, even fifteen minutes, squatting just like he does and grunting loud and clear to make him poop in that potty. And when he does, only then does he get rewarded by his favorite fruit loops.”

A strong whiff of chicken steak, tiramisu and the smell of someone’s butt crack invades my nose and almost makes me throw up in my mouth. I realize that Dan, who is sitting next to me, has let out a silent, yet smelly fart.

I pick up a glass of water and cover my mouth and nose with it, while giving Dan the evil eye. He shrugs and whispers, “What?”

Ah, I think, the fucker ate before the meeting. This goddamned meeting was supposed to be only for half an hour, and already we are at the ninety-minute mark with sixty minutes of the single dad’s potty training anecdotes.

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Mother ate herself…

Are you asking for Mother?

Well, you won’t find her here. You can search all you want.

Go look into her closet that smells of rotten berries and starch.

Raze her bed; raze it off the sickly sweet whiff that permeates from the sheets.

Take a peek inside the kitchen; you won’t witness her breaking that soft loaf of bread,

Her ample behind busying itself around the kitchen, fretting over the crumbs, a sweet song lilting off her luscious lips while her legs tiptoe in a light tread.

You won’t find her here, just like the cops didn’t.

What happened to Mother, you ask?

Oh that’s easy, she ate herself into a tizzy and then dissolved in a whirlpool of pity.

Do you think I am joking, about my own Mother?

Oh, you didn’t see what I saw?

And you didn’t do what Father did?

At first, it was the song that perished on her lips. It died, died in her tongue because she bit it enough to bleed and burn.

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