My Beautiful Stranger (Poem)

Guest Post- A beautiful poem by a very beautiful person 🙂


Never seen before, never known before

I saw her, when these small eyes opened

She smiled at me, had fun with me

She touched my tiny hands, I smiled

She held me tightly, and fed me when I cried

Everyone around smiled, when I wept

Those faces are new to me,

I smiled, when someone tickled my legs

The world is new to me, and

everywhere I could see.., Strangers !

Yes, it was she whom I met first

Yes,  she is my beautiful stranger

I called her “Amma”, my mother…

My FEMINIST Mystique



This is a Muse,

People love their womenfolk, and are thrilled to comfort them.

Respects them too, but only till the sun lasts,

And when the light dims, their reverence turns to violence.

Rape, Murder and Marriage; they’re all the same.

Then comes the question of chastity, ‘Is she pure?’

He wants to know.

After that comes another question, then another, it never ends.

No, she shouldn’t ask Him anything; he wouldn’t be comfy to reply:

And in the end, she decides to fight back, but it’s excessively late.

That I composed.




Pavitra looked at the ceiling, drenched in thoughts. She had to get up, take care of the household and go to work. Yet, she didn’t feel like parting with the bed. It gave her a certain level of freedom that she’d never felt since college. She had wasted a lot of woman hours just cuddling with the spongy pillow during those days. I miss college- She sighed and sat up.

Of course, like every other regular Indian woman, she too savoured this tedium. Everyone hates a person who spend a lot of “useful” time on the tiny screen of the cellphone. That hatred doubles when the person under question is a woman. “What’s wrong with this girl? Don’t you have anything important to do?” sounds like a lullaby these days. But for her, it was a way of liberation. She beheld the world through the little machine.


Pavitra boarded the bus, wearing a vibrant face. Two men at the back seemed to be checking out her physique. Every women knows it when they’re being poked with sharp stares. She sat down near an old lady in the front. Soon, the bus started to move and she looked out the window; a glow in her eyes. Movie posters. A lot of them. Many women film-makers and screenwriters. She gave away a little smile and thought about the dreams that she’d cosseted during college. Pavitra had always believed that she’d be someone important to the society; a popular writer, thinker or a philosopher. Nonetheless, she was forced to be mollified with her job as a content writer at a Multinational company.


She did it, made a short movie with the help of like-minded people. Written fully by herself, the movie shattered the idea of arranged marriage in India. The elder age group hated the movie, but young India thought of it as their own. For a month or so, the media followed her and the crew like wildcats. She was happy once again. She felt important. She became an active member of a handful of literary groups and started tailing her dream again. Found friends at different parts of the country, concurring people. She shared her ideas with them, sometimes her vulnerabilities too. Pavitra was a feminist, and was woman enough to shout that out to the world.

Pavitra was a responsible kid too, she took care of her mother while her father was away. Speaking of her father, she never really liked him but loved him immeasurably.


She is successful now, and apparently happy too. One evening, she sat down with her mother in their living room, spread the newspaper and turned to the matrimonial page. I don’t know, she might have been doing that just to make her mother happy. But her mother seemed genuinely happy that her daughter is taking interest in getting married the “right way”.

I can’t help but wonder, what could have possibly happened to the woman who made a movie against arranged marriage?

That was a humour I wasn’t expecting. After all it is India. Anything can happen overnight. But, I’m sure about one thing though. She’ll come around stronger than before. Indian women are gifted in that way.


Ends well, so all is well…





A Killer Date (shortStory)


The tinkling of wind-chimes continued to disrupt silence. In a way, I thought, they did just what was necessary. The evening would have been an acoustic disaster if it weren’t for their lovely clangs. We had nothing to talk, or was it because we had a lot to talk? Honestly, I do not know. It had almost been an hour and still, neither I nor she uttered a word. The weather appeared pleasantly cold. The fact that we were ruining a perfect nightfall disturbed me. Taking a deep breath, I said “You look lovely”.

She smiled shyly, it appeared. I felt as though I was running hurdles. Now that the first obstacle was over, I decided to proceed with the talking.

“We should do this more often, don’t you think?” I said “Every date is the first date” and laughed a little fanatically. A gentle wind caressed her hair. It appeared that she was keen on hearing me rather than doing the talking herself. She smiled approvingly and adored the red flowers on her dress, it seemed. She looked elegant in that lovely white gown that I bought for her. The red flowers were in fact my contribution. But I didn’t tell her. I did not want her to think of me as an over-obsessed man who would dye his date’s new dress.

It looked as though her eyes were fixated on the bottle of French red wine. It was her gift for my 40th birthday. I have been saving it for a special moment ever since.

Clearly, she wanted me to pour some of that expensive wine.

“Let us have a drink” I said and sloped the bottle towards the glass with the maximum level of sophistication I could ever manage to fake.

I took a sip. It was fine, although it tasted a bit sour. A bird flew by, creating a sweet gust. It was getting late. I feared that she would want to leave before it is too dark. To make herself occupied, I talked about literature; her passion, as well as career.

“I’m sorry for not being an avid reader. But as per your instruction, I renewed my library membership” I smiled and patted on my shirt pocket. “Let us talk about your favourite writer”

It was Wordsworth. She would die for him, it seemed. I saw how her eyes lighted up when I mentioned the Romantic age. I envied Wordsworth.

“No offense, but I fancy macabre themes rather than romances” I said and took another sip. “I love the works of Edgar Allan Poe”

She nodded. A little cynically, I suppose. She has always been my guide in everything. Though dictatorial at times, she always made the decisions for me.

“Why aren’t you saying anything?” I asked, at last. She had been acting like this for the past few weeks. I was very much worried while asking her out. To my good fortune, she didn’t hesitate to come. But still, it looked somewhat unsettling to see her like this. Her eyes were nothing less than depressed. If it weren’t for the dress, she would definitely have looked horrible. For some reason, she didn’t keep an eye contact with me. I am and always have been a decent man. I never judged her, neither did I deliberately make her sad. I have everything that you would look for in a man. Folks considered me a doll in her hands; the one that got abandoned when the new one came. A more handsome one.

I stood up and stared at her. “That’s it.” I reached my pocket and took out the ring. Leaning toward her, I asked “Would you have married me?” She remained silent. The red flower on her dress had gotten wider than before. It was wet.

“No” I said “You wouldn’t have” And I strolled away into the night, searching for a new light. She sat lifelessly as I left. Drops of red trickled from the embroidered border of her dress.


As I walk through the pavement, something feels odd. The cool breeze does not make me feel chilly. I feel lightheaded. The place seems strange and morbid. The buildings on both sides look dull with few lights. I want to stop and sit for a while; but unable to do so. The legs are beyond my reach. I can see a light, a gleaming one, far ahead. I have to reach for it.

“Stop right there.” Says a familiar voice from behind. I turn around. IT IS HER!!

“What? How is this possible?” I shout. Her dress does not have red flowers on it anymore.

“You are a monster” she screeches “And you were right about one thing- I would not have married you”

I still feel chaotic. How is this possible? She is alive!

“No, I am not Alive” she giggles frenziedly “Neither are you”

Nothing makes any sense. I have nowhere to run; it is very dark. She comes closer and whispers into my ear: “The wine…” The pungent taste of the drink spreads on my tongue. I understand that I am nothing but a puff of smoke, just like her.

The End

MOuRNING TEA (shortStory)


A day is born again. Nothing to do. Time has become aged and ill-paced, reluctant to move. I sat up on the cot rubbing my eyes. The morning chill added to the roughness of my antique fingers. Pieces of fascination, they were to the eyes of grandchildren. They often said, “Achacha, your hands feel like sandpaper”. I used to have soft hands, but only at an age which I fail to recall now. Seems like it was my parents who invented child labour. The job at the factory, though hard, was pleasant. Had many friends who actually listened to what I said. The low wage was good enough to make ends meet. Believe me, it is easier to live poor than to live rich. The below-poverty-line fellow doesn’t need to pay income tax, he doesn’t have to worry about politics, insurance and the stock market. I examined the wall in front of me. The cracks were competing with each other in reaching the roof. An army of ants marched across one such crack, to the wooden shelf where I had kept some candies for the children. I hurried to the shelf inorder to guard the treasure. The troop had almost reached the small gap of the door which I swung open, hoping to rescue the candies. A pain in the forehead was all I got; as I had failed to notice the sharp hook of the shelf. Some drops of blood. The candies weren’t there, the children might’ve took it while I was asleep.

The wife came running, “What happened? What was that noise?” she had a spoon in her hand. Spoon in the morning, in my house, meant rice gruel for breakfast.

“Nothing. Just tripped over something” I said, covering my tiny “bloody” wound.

“Why don’t you get yourself cleaned up? You look sick” she said.

“Where is everyone?”

“Padma went to her house along with the children. Mani and Kannan went for work” she said.

“Tea?” I whispered.

“Yes, but first wash your face” she hurried back to the kitchen. Poor woman, she maintained the financial equilibrium of the family. Adjusting and compensating was all she knew. I still remember that time, when I caught a bad fever and couldn’t go to work for weeks. She maintained the household without the slightest tiff. I walked out to the verandah. From the panel below the thatched roof, I dexterously took the tube of toothpaste and squeezed the life out of it. Something came out or not never really mattered. It was customary to squeeze the tube before brushing teeth.

The thought of a warm cup of tea enhanced my brushing speed. I washed my face and dabbed using the lower part of my dhoti. Being seated on wooden stool, I waited. Time went on and still there was no sign of tea.

“Is it ready yet?” I yelled.

No reply from the kitchen, other than the rattling of steel vessels. She might have forgotten. I couldn’t blame her; she worked like a slave.

I waited for some more minutes before going out to Gopi’s tea shop. Gopi served tea along with all sorts of information on the neighbourhood.  Although as young as my elder son, Gopi liked to keep company with older folks like me. It has always been a pleasure to talk with him.

As usual Gopi was busy chattering with the customers. On seeing me, he said “Hey Nanu etta, why so early?”

“Nothing. Just felt like drinking some of your tea”

“Very well” He smiled proudly. “How goes Chechi’s diabetes? Mani had been speaking about the worries of medical expenses, the other day.”

“Yes, his earnings go straight into the hands of his wife. He has got children to look after.” I sighed.

Gopi nodded as he overextended the “string” of tea from one vessel to the other.

My wife, she’s been struggling with diabetes and many other ailments from time immemorial. Our two sons Mani and Kannan worked at the factory; married strict women, they hardly spent anything for us. But we never protested. My pension, which bought nothing more than rice for two weeks, kept us going. She sewed something and sold it whenever there was a need for more money.

I turned the pages of the newspaper. Nothing remarkable; just the usual politics and movie posters. Some among the customers were in a serious discussion about the Loksabha elections. Some favoured NDA while some stood for UPA. I stood for my cup of tea, which was my necessity. The tea arrived with a thud on the wooden table. A good one indeed, cleared my head. Although Gopi’s tea tasted better than my wife’s, something was absent; was it love? I left the shop after saying “Note it down” to Gopi.

I reached home, removed my shirt and suspended it on the nail behind the door. The siren from the factory could be heard at a distance. For thirty years of my life, this siren  defined my existence. The siren used to speed up my household activities, that is, from packing lunch to sending children to school. But now, it meant nothing more than a reminder of the past.

The rattling of steel vessels could be still heard from the kitchen. Curious about what she was preparing, I went to the kitchen. A team of cats ate rice and fish gravy from the salver, causing a lot of noise.

She lay flat on the floor, motionless. A steaming cup of tea sits on the window ledge, waiting for me.


The Martyrs of Love (shortStory)


The girl held onto the thorny stem, of the red rose which he had just given her. He looked into her eyes, which had become wet, and wore the most fetching facial expression he could ever manage to produce. I, he and she knew very well that “yes” was written all over her face. But still, silence sustained.

Rather bored with this melodrama, I set focus on the rose. Quite unaware of the fact that it had just become a symbol of love, it seemed not to bother. Or was it crying? I knew not. The petals were wet and had become dull; dark wrinkles deterred the beauty. It was probably dead. Red roses have a short span of life, I must say. They have been formally avowed as the emblem of adoration, the one which involves bodily fascination alone, and is available in every corner shops in the month of February. When the poet said, “My love is like a red red rose” did he mean that love is red in colour, and has thorns, or that it is momentary? The bare notion that roses are “love” may have risen from their abundance. Not many flowers are found universally. No matter what we say, this trend will continue till the sphere stops spinning.

She still hadn’t given an answer. It is not that I was curious about her reply, I just wanted to see what would become of the rose once the drama is over. If, unfortunately, the relationship flourishes into a marriage then to a child, and then to the sweet solitude of old age, will the rose be reminisced? I watched myself, rather unfeelingly, and saw my quivering heart. Loveless and hopeless, I equated myself with the red rose. People stared at me, like foxes, and walked away as if they had changed their mind. Timidity is a feeling which can never be explained. The mere thought of death drains everything out.

“Yes” she said finally. I observed the rose, which had already begun to fall off from her hand. He smiled and took her hand. The rose fell onto the ground. For a second or two, I imagined that they would take it with them, as a souvenir of their love. I have seen people doing it before.

The couple walks away, leaving their icon behind. It lay motionless, one or two petals broken off, and the wind caresses the remaining. Slowly, it would become one with the earth like everything else. Mortality applies to everything that can breathe, and we remain blind to the fact that one shouldn’t necessarily die for the other. Lovers consider dying together as a better option when living together is unlikely. Then what would become of the thousand roses, who met glorious deaths, which had qualified them to love each other? Devaluation is much worse than death.

As I keep on speculating, a question is heard “How much for that big one?”

I turn around and look; yes the young man is observing me with a smile.

“That would be twenty-five” the shopkeeper replies.

My time has come, I think. My guess is, this adolescent would buy me, go after a girl, kneel down and with a smile say, “I love you” or “will you marry me?” and if the girl says no, he would put all the blame on me and smash me onto the sidewalk. But if she says yes, I may have a chance of survival.

The Silent Twilight (shortStory)




They stared at me with an expression that I couldn’t interpret. Even the kids. For a second or two, I thought that I had lost the ability to hear. The place was so silent that I could hear my own heartbeat.

“You’re the quietest bunch of people I’ve ever seen” I yelled “hats off to you”

Still, they didn’t utter a word. But their eyes were directly fixated on me, Doubtful. I waited for a reply.

“Let’s have it your way then” I shrieked “If you don’t speak to me, I won’t either”

I hummed a tune to myself and acted as if I wasn’t interested in them anymore. Sitting down on the couch, I looked at Priya; she too wasn’t interested in talking to me. What was in their eyes? Contempt? Or was it pity? The kids were always happy to have me around; but they too weren’t interested in me anymore. What has happened? Have I done something wrong?

“I know that I’ve done things that I shouldn’t have.” I said at last. “I know that I’ve disgraced our family’s honour by joining the bunch of thugs.”

Varun had been watching me with suspicion. “Yes, it is true that I lied about it the other day” I admitted. I knew that they would forgive me. After all, joining the gang isn’t a crime. Or is it? I noticed that Priya’s lips were on the verge of cracking a smile. But somehow, she managed to keep it bounded. I looked at dad’s face. He, as always, wore a made-up seriousness on his face. But I knew that he’d not be able to shut me out. Mom was not happy; for some reason, her face remained gloomy and fearful.

“Okay then, I don’t want to talk about this anymore” I stood up “Got to take a shower”

I walked through the corridor, into my room. My feet were tottering. I am drunk- a sudden revelation. Those thugs has a magnificent collection of antique liquor. I had Cocaine too, I guess. My head wasn’t straight.

I fancied the idea of going with the gang again. But swiftly changed my mind as I thought about the family’s honour. I got into the tub of warm soapy water and sank into the world of bubbles and closed my eyes, leaving the torments of life outside. I thought about my childhood; the luckiest kid in the house. Got access to all the latest gadgets and even got my own separate room. Varun and Kiran was always jealous of me. However, Priya, the only girl-child got more attention than the boys. Dad had offered her a room, but she preferred to sleep next to grandma. But, things have changed now; as Kiran and Varun both got married and have two kids each, our house has become more like a joint family. Priya has an affair with Patel-ji’s son, which only I have the knowledge of. She doesn’t have the courage to discuss it with anyone else in our family. Mom and Dad both enjoy the retired life, sipping coffee in the morning and gossiping with the neighbours in the evening.

Someone’s scream woke me up. I was still in the tub, the water had turned cold. The wall-clock displayed the time as 7:34 am. I couldn’t believe that I had slept in the tub for nearly twelve hours. Wearing my towel, I walked out from the bathroom. A massive headache flew around within my head.

The scream was clearer now, it was Patel-ji. He stood near the hallway, holding a box of sweets. I didn’t have the slightest idea of what was happening. But, to my surprise, I wasn’t fearful, even after hearing him scream.

“Patel-ji… What’s wrong? What happened?” I approached him.

He looked at me with horrific astonishment. “Son…” he couldn’t manage to speak anymore.

He pointed to the dining room and held tight onto my arm. I freed myself from his clasp and walked towards the dining room.

My family, they were all there, just as I had left him before I went for the dip. There was nothing to be afraid of or scream about. As I was about to turn away, a sudden chill of revelation crawled onto my spine. They were still silent, like the other day. Varun had blood all over his bosom, and so did his kids. Kiran and his kids were laying back on the chair, their eyes wide open. Priya and the two in-laws had their jaws broken and their breasts cut off. Mom and Dad seemed normal, but they were motionless.

I was about to blackout. The other day’s incidents popped in and out of my head.

“Son… Did you?” Patel-ji came closer.

“What… No.” I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t.

I felt a sudden urge to throw-up. I dashed out of the room; fell down and a strong piece of metal bashed onto my head. For the first time in my life, I sensed another person within my head. The voice said, “I have cleared the path for you”.

“Son… are you alright?” Patel-ji tried to wake me up. His voice faded into some corner of my brain.

‘I am not me anymore, I can’t even mourn for my loss. Maybe it wasn’t me. Maybe it was Patel-ji. Or maybe it’s all in my head; when I wake up in the morning, Mom would still be making coffee, while listening to the radio. I couldn’t think for one second that I was the one who had made them silent.”






Just Dreamin’ (shortStory)

just dreamin








“He had come really close;  landed on my chest like a crazy bear. You can do this- I encouraged myself. I tightened my grip on the stainless steel letter opener, which I had carefully kept hidden.”

“It is normal to see these kind of dreams, especially for a vulnerable mind like your’s”- the doctor smiled.

“Yes, I know. But I can’t stand this anymore; his cry still remains in my ears”

“I hope you are still taking the pills that I’d prescirbed”

“Yes doc. I am.” I sighed (Doctors; they never change. We say our issues and they give us good for nothing pills. They always want to be the smartest one in the room)

“Well, these kind of dreams are normal at this level of treatment. It really is a positive sign”- he smiled.

“Okay, but why murder? why do I dream about murder alone?”

“You had mentioned in our earlier sessions that you were abused as a teenager.” he continued. ” That memories might’ve created a subconscious defence mechanism within your mind”

I listened carefully.

“And every time  a man comes into your dream, you kill him, just in case”

“I get it” I sighed. “But last night in my dream, I got a cut on my hand while I was struggling with him- It was a terrible- I woke up suddenly and could sleep no more”

“It’s quite normal, no need to worry” the doctor shrugged.

“Normal? This is normal to you?” I said and rolled up my sleeve, exposing a deep cut on my forearm.

The doctor seemed to be shivering. Words refused to come out of his mouth. He swallowed thin air as I stood up.

Taking out my letter opener, I asked “Doc, am I dreaming now?”.