poem

Break

As the innumerable specs of dust

Adorns the dark walls of the sky

Countless the bubbles dancing, desperate 

To fly away from the water — ferocious

The scatter of ants buzzing away

As you drop into their equilibrium

The sandy rocks that roll down in haste

From atop the bite into the cookie

The blot of resilient colour in water 

Dismembered; piercing into molecules

The one white that paves light 

Torn apart to a band of seven 

Lying sharp, filled with glistens

From the past that as you step; slices 

Into you, leaving stained footprints

My heart that bleeds sugary syrup

Bite into the jalebi’s orange circles

Every step ahead that pulls you back 

The aroma that refuses to exit nose

Pictures dance past you — out of reach

The decibles that echo through ears

Shattering the bloody glass walls, weak

What keeps me alive. Today. 

Illustrations by Sitara VS ©
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short story

Psychedelia 

     [First published in Sweek]

The Tyndall Beam

She squinted through the hand-lens of her makeshift camera, and followed the golden stairway descending down all the way to the wet Earth. She was wearing her favorite pink pajamas and blue T-shirt she always wore the second day of her stay. 
It was a part of a set of dress that had been kept aside in the Narnian wooden wardrobe, in her ancestral home. She remembers the day she had discovered her Narnia, right behind this house —much before the CS Lewis one.
She hadn’t gone there in a long time,and after the death of her Grandpa, she stopped her rare one day visits too.
She walked further into the woods, the damp mud covering her feet, taking in long aromas of the rain. 

“Ammmuu…”

She could hear a familiar faint melody, and she rushed back towards the house. Just as she was about to step into it, through the backdoor, she felt a tight slap on her left wrist —which was at the hinge of the door.

“Where are your manners? Wash your feet before you step into my house.” said Grandpa.

****************

Mirror Ball 

She runs off to wash her feet under a tap,and rushed into the house with a glee. Grandpa gives her a stern look before slightly smiling to himself. 

She was busy playing video games with her cousins at dinner—her mother running around with a plate feeding her. Then it was time to sleep. She could barely see her face in the mirror atop the washbasin. After she was done brushing her teeth, she jumped — barely managing to see a fragment of her face for a second. It was Grandpa’s mirror. 

She squiggled into the bed between her cousins and closed her eyes. Mosquitos kept sucking the blood off her,and she managed to kill a few in her sleep. Then she fell into deep sleep.

She was wearing a pretty black dress,and standing at the centre of something, but there was too much smoke in the air for her to ascertain. She looked up at what looked like a glimmery moon in the night sky, rotating at a high speed; her mouth exhausting clouds of smoke into it. She was in the middle of a crowd of zombies,moving with great random rhythm —strangers. 
Or were they? 

****************

Floored 

The music slapped her eardrums,and she almost lost her balance for a while. All around her were people,throwing their bodies at the music against the glimmery lights, like lightning piercing the night. She stared so hard into blurred faces, searching rigorously for some glimpse of recognition. 

As the music dropped to a distant subconscious level, she felt a vague sensation of elevation; her body moved involuntarily as it wished. She walked backwards slowly, drifting away from the crowd, when a voice absorbed her back with great force. 

“Where do uh think you’re going?”

A hand slipped around her waist, pulling her closer to a handsome face. She was unable to observe his features further, but she did feel her lips break into a smile. She danced. Danced like a three year old, as if nobody else were around. She jumped, and revolved. She flipped her head in all possible directions, her hair defying gravity. Tired she walked away, and took a seat. The guy followed, and asked her wha she’d like to have. She failed to recollect the last time people around her had been so nice to her. This new kindness from a stranger, which she couldn’t completely digest,made her suspicious. Did she know him? Were they together?

A random girl walked upto her with a glass, and started talking, as the curtains slowly went down. 

“…..Dance……ther..K…mm……” 

She woke up with a start, and still could feel the foggyness in her head. She was on the cold floor with part of her blanket. She was panting.

****************

Wail

Her eyes finally adjusted to the darkness around her, and she gradually recognized her room. She held her head in her hands for a second, confirming that it was indeed where it should be. She let out a long sigh, a loud whisper in the dusty silence. 

She dragged herself up, kicking out the blanket entangled to her feet. The night lamp shed an eerie shadow of yellow in her room and she swept up the blanket, which had dutifully followed her as she fell from her bed. She swallowed mouthfuls of water as she sat on her bed, trying to recollect her dream. 

But she didn’t remember anything, not even the part where she rolled down. She stared into the ceiling of her room, pulling up the blanket upto her eyes. Weird, she thought, or perhaps she meant interesting. The fan just went round and round. It was least bothered about whether she was still on her bed or not, whether she was still breathing or not. 

It just went on and on, as long as it was fed with electricity. 

Round and round and round.

Round and round.

Round. Round. 

Round. 

She had to blink at least five times to be able to see anything at all, like when you stare into a tubelight for an undisrupted minute. She struggled to keep her eyes open. Her mortar skills were completely dead, yet she discovered her body was in motion. She could hear the wail of a white van. 

****************

The End?

She spotted red scratches on the van, and a few blots on a hand. A random force had transported her into the white van, which was becoming more white every moment. The wailing confused her — at one moment it was unbearable, and the very next it was barely there. Just when she would stop searching for the noise, it would blare into her ears. 

A while later, a force similar to the previous one, perhaps stronger, deported her to a mobile platform. There were a lot of shuffling around her — she was not sure whether they were people or paper. A cool breeze blew her hair, but part of her hair seemed to be stuck to her forehead.

Then somebody — there were probably more than one person — swooshed her through a long neverending road. Like a train passing by another train. But she was not sure anymore if she was the stationary train or the one in motion. 

Then she saw the sun. In a room. A bulb? 

The sun melted into concentric patterns,and she heard somebody say, “We’re losing her…..nu…” 
Is this my end? 

Can this end be a new beginning?

Image by Neha Menon ©
poem

Geometry 

A lost trapezium with my sides

In this vast blue globe

Trotting away from stares from 

Each corner of the circle

At my uneven sides. 

The elephant in the room

That makes you so uncomfortable

The heat is unbearable, but they wait 

For the right moment — hit the iron 

When it’s hot. So I get curves; on point 

Tangible but incongruous, push me away

Laugh at my diagonals, and angles 

For circles do not possess them.

You envy, as I unaware, try

To build the facade required to fit

Bury myself. Once. Twice. Always.

Disperse away every segment 

From my lines, once well defined.

Perish, though what fault of mine?

Decided that all should abandon 

Then life, allow me first. 

Illustration by Sitara VS
short story

Interstellar Love

The galaxy was at unrest. The situation was such that Soorya and Chandra had to join forces, which was only possible during dusk or dawn. Together, they managed to banish the meteorite from the galaxy ; but Soorya was hurt.

Aysha was strength in beauty. She emanated everything she believed in. Whispers of her footprints echoed through the Palace of The Night. She left behind silver wisps as she twirled around the Palace —her home — and her long white hair obeyed accordingly.

A hurt Soorya had been resting in the Palace, when he woke up to the twinkling of laughter. That was the first time he saw her, the Moon Goddess; daughter of Chandra. Night was just about to set in. 

It was her birthday, and she was her brightest self. Fireflies adorned her hair, and he found her happiness empowering. She was the only one immune to the effects of night and day; and she created a temporary shield for Soorya  to protect him from the night – he belonged to the day.

That night his mind was in a storm — he could not rest. She sparkled in his eyes, and stirred his heart. The following dawn, he left to rise.

They met again often, and their lives instantly fell into place. She found a reassuring warmth in him, and she brought about a cool- headedness in him. They met at dawns and dusks, away from the celestial responsibilities and disturbances. They would talk effortlessly on everything and anything beyond bounds, but it was never enough. Then on a day when lightning illuminated the ambience, and the rain showered on them, they confessed their love to each other. 

Their love could no more be a secret ; Chandra was unhappy. He and his daughter belonged to the night, and Soorya belonged to the day. He was convinced that this union was a bad idea, almost forbidden. Aysha did not oppose her father, but she stated clearly that she could not imagine her life with anybody but Soorya.

After quite a delay, Chandra finally gave in. The two got married at a grand ceremony, and that was probably the best day of their lives. They were the happiest that day. 

Lightyears passed by, and their lives got busy — Soorya with his work, and Aysha with her heavenly chores. The dynamics of their relationship changed —it had become quiet, and they had fallen into a routine. Dates to the garden went down, and they often ran out of things to talk of. Or perhaps they were not required to speak up, they knew each other well. But with new founded leisure, Aysha found herself unimportant to the love of her life.

As time passed, the insecurities took a toll on her, she formed cracks over her body. This was a time when there was much turmoil around, and Soorya went away to protect the galaxy, fighting alongside Chandra. The fear of losing him made her realise that she still loved him the same, and perhaps even more. She had only got so used to him that her love had become latent, but it had never gone away. But this worry did much more harm to her.

The war had been over, and Soorya rushed back to Aysha. He held her in tight embrace the moment he saw her. She was overwhelmed by this gesture, assured that the warmth and coolness in their relationship was very much alive.

But by the time Soorya noticed her cracks, it was too late. He woke up to loud gasps. She lay near him— all ashened, shining through her cracks. The light in her eyes had shrunk, and her hair no longer had wisps. He held her face in his hands, looking into her eyes : “You dare not leave me.”

Tearful, she gave him a weak twinkling smile.

“I had to pay a huge price for rediscovering the magic I thought we had lost. Change is inevitable, but perhaps it does not mean love has to dissappear. You have to let me go.”

He watched as she disintegrated into shards, and slowly disappeared.

Day or night, she was always with him— though she was only visible in the night sky.

Illustration (and featured image) :
Baba Yaga.

poem

Haze

Loop around that pulls tighter

To things unsure of in this world

Hazy memories of the undefined,  once 

What had been water clear

The journey this path leads

Knows not anybody, even itself

Yet it carries on and on, a routine 

All those who want to break away

Perhaps does bring back very 

Lack in clarity to be avoided

Is it best to let be when even 

Thoughts rebel the greatest thinkers? 

Of what we think we have, but do we? 

Eloping with fears will perhaps 

Only lead to the be avoided

Boundless beyond this circle, I do not own

The first or last particle. Minds intertwined. 

Real and unreal, the illusion of the treasure 

All things at the perusal of time

That cannot be captured but in frames

Within minds of those have not forgotten

Lay my head, smiling in this smoke

Assured, in peace, that it need not fade away. 

Haze. (Image: Geo Paul)
short story

Habit

We all know your story, the long way you’ve come to have reached where you are now. But what according to you is a bad habit, or the worst one for that matter? 

The room blurred, ran out of focus but refused to fade away. Against this stubborn background, she was gently pulled into a memory all of a sudden. She smiled as she said: 

“Good or bad, habits are hard to get rid of. And I believe people are the hardest habit.” 

Blur
poem

Skeleton

The ghost of my minty home

Stood rickety in skeletons;

And that of the Tulsi rustled,

Who once had cured my knees.

The greens that once bore pinks,

Now was left all abandoned in brown.

The weathered walls lay in crumbs 

But the velocity beside it only increased

The roads that grew taller than the gates

All waved, as I breezed by.