Kabir was a fine man, the kind that was loved by everyone in the village, helpful to the poor as he was to the rich. He had only one fault. He loved his children, all four of them. A bit too much. And he would do anything for them. His youngest one, Muhassin, wanted a younger brother. Someone to boss around, the boy said, standing all of his five years tall before his father. Kabir laughed at the boy, pulling his snotty nose, “If my son wants something, I shall get it for him!” He promised.
But later, in the kitchen, when he bounced the idea off his wife Shahina, she bristled her nose, “Kabir Ikka, you have a litter of four! By Allah, if you want another one, I suggest you give birth to it yourself!” Now Shahina loved Kabir, but really, the man believed that child rearing was all about love and toys. What did men know about the troubles of a woman? Shahina meant business, and Kabir knew this in the way she squinted her eyes, and threw the rotis forcefully onto the plate, like a slap on his face. So he tried a different way. “Alright fine!” he said, “Then I am going to Chavakkkad to buy a teddy for Muhessin. That shall be his younger brother.” And Shahina threw another roti, saying nothing.
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
Hrithika sat cross-legged under the Bodhi tree. Well, at least as much as her leg would cross itself. Lakshmi, the facilitator for the day, not only crossed her bare legs as the wind ruffled her hair, but had a strange boneless quality to it, as if they could collapse into multiple folds if there was a pressing need for it.
“And the moment you find yourself lost in thought, observe the thought itself,“ said Lakshmi in a soft breathy tone, that drifted to her with the wind.
Jealousy, Hrithika summarized her thoughts in response. Suhaas’s eyes were glued to Lakshmi’s legs as if they were the point of meditation. Well, at least, he was concentrating on something. Even if it was at the cost of her own concentration.
“Just return your attention to your breathing.” said Lakshmi, nudging them. Continue reading
I was the Diwali Grinch.
The whole office is lit up. Everyone is in a damn sari. And as if to remind me that I am not in one, there is a sari strung up from the ceiling falling over my damn laptop…cos that’s the happy thing to do. And then I have people climbing up my claustrophobic workspace to tie a cutout lantern from the ceiling. It was cubicle decoration day, and we were competing with the liquor bottle team. They had placed around fifty empty ( 😦 ) beer bottles on each cubicle, dressed up of course, stripped off their earlier life, like reformed criminals, and now in Christmas lights: yes we beg/borrow/steal our traditions as per workplace constraints against fire, and nobody likes those fake fire drills, so we definitely can’t take the real deal. Continue reading
The truth of the matter is that I don’t know what I want for my birthday.
The truth of the matter is that I want you to find it out. Dip into my subconscious, read it like a book, and figure it out for me. Until you do that, I’m going to pretend I actually know.
Of course, I won’t tell you what I want. OK, now its my fifth birthday with you and you have consistently brought costly shitty stuff that you should know I don’t like. Its obvious you don’t love me as much as I do.
You want to know what I want? Why cant you just ask me. NO…not “shall I get you a necklace?” Because now I know what you are going to get me, and that is just unromantic. You are ruining my surprise. Just ask me something leading. Continue reading
“I don’t really get your premise. If they were just female vampires, why do your yakshis target just handsome virgin boys. Why not gorge on anyone at all,” said Neha “In fact I could gladly recommend a pervert or two as a midnight snack for the ladies.”
“Sexual urges, machi,” replied Nair, the self-appointed expert on the subject, taking a large swig of his drink.
“Bwaaaah….” whispered Viru, as a background score, a deep-throated growl.
“They didn’t get it when they were alive, so they want it when they’re dead.” continued Nair, “Some lover ditched them. So full senti, then suicide. But how anyone can jilt these gorgeous women, I don’t know. Long black hair, flying in the wind, large eyes like black pearls, lips as red as kumkumum…” Continue reading
Nine-year old Muneera’s eyebrows perched questioningly, as she combed Aïcha’s long silky black hair.
“So you have two living rooms?” she said.
“Yes. This room is where we greet men and our official guests,” said Aïcha. “My house is designed like a Saudi home, so this is what we call the Majlis. We always keep it clean because Saudis are very spontaneous and guests drop in all the time.” Continue reading
It was when Jack found his hands and legs tied unceremoniously to the gigantic cross, crumbling under its damned weight, sweating in the harsh June sun, that he realized something. He was in trouble, big time. The sentry nearby threw the whip again his sweating body.
“Ok, Ok. I’m hoisting up. It ain’t gonna happen if you keep slapping that damnation on my back. And, you don’t have all day, mate.”
He managed to stand up, his leg wavering like a ship on a stormy sea.
“How many leagues from here, matey?”, he asked the sentry. Continue reading