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Srishti-2022   >>  Short Story - English   >>  The way destiny works...

Vighnesh A

UST Trivandrum

The way destiny works...

An aeroplane had to make an emergency landing at a remote airport in an istand due to deteriorating weather. Dr. Vinay, a well known heart surgeon was in tension, as he was in hurry to attend an important function which he was where he was going to be awarded for his contribution in the field of medical science. The receptionist informed him that the next flight to the destination was after 10 hours and adviced to rent a car and drive himself.


Despite his hatred for driving long distances, Dr. Vinay agreed to the idea as he never had no other choice. However, destiny had some other plans for him as the weather condition became too bad and he eventually lost his way and ended up

in a remote village. After hours of driving, he was too tired and began to look for any signs of humans. Finally he came across a small tattered house and he left no time to get out of the car and knock the door. A beautiful lady in her late 10's opened the door. The doctor described his condition to the lady and enquired whether she had any telephone which she replied she neither have any telephone nor electricity in her house, however invited him to have some tea and stay till the weather improves. The doctor accepted her offer and went inside.


While sipping tea, doctor noticed that the lady is praying in the dim light of candles as she prayed next to something appeared to be a small baby crib. She would start another one every time she finished a prayer. After watching it for some time, the doctor was amused and felt that she needed some help. In between the lady asked whether he want to join the prayers, which he replied he believe in hard work only.


As soon as the lady finished her prayer, the doctor siezed the opportunity to ask her what exactly she wants from the god and enquired whether the god will ever listen to her prayers, he also enquired whether it is for that small child in the crib, which she is making a lot of prayers. After listening him, the lady had a sad smile on her face and she said the child in the crib is her son who is suffering from a rare heart disease and there is only one Dr.Vinay who can cure him, however she doesn't have money to affrod his fees and more over the doctor lives in a very far town. She said that the god has not answered her prayers so far, however she was sure that the god will create some what way one day and she will not allow her fears to overcome her faith.


Dr. Vinay was stunned and speechless after hearing this and tears were rolling out down through his cheeks. He recollected the sequence of events... the deteriorating climate which resulted in aeroplane's emergency landing, the weather condition due to which he lost his way ite whispered: God is great... All there happened as the God did not just answered her prayers, but also gave him a chance to come out of the materialistic world and help poor people, who have nothing, but rich prayers...

Srishti-2022   >>  Short Story - English   >>  Brewing a Child

Balakrishnan Mohandoss


Brewing a Child

Tara missed her periods. It should have happened at least a week before. Tara and Aadhi got married seven months back.

Tara and Aadhi graduated together from an engineering college. Aadhi had a crush on Tara even since the first semester of college and never had the courage to express it. Tara bagged two offers, one from Infosys and another from Deloitte.  Meanwhile, Aadhi was still struggling with his backlogs and got them cleared a year after the course completion. He started with a BPO job and got into a small IT company. He then founded a riding jacket manufacturing company, and he was doing it along with his IT job while Tara was still unemployed, learning to cook and stitch. Her mother was a Headmaster of a government school, and her father was a government employee too; they had this noble thought that it was not a good idea for a girl to go to another city alone and work. Whenever she argues about going to work, they would say, once you get married you can go to work if your husband permits.

The biggest fear that Indian parents have is that what if the girl falls in love with a guy and what if he is from a different caste or faith. Tara’s family miserably failed here.  Aadhi confessed his love when they were together for a friend’s wedding.

No matter how safe you are locked up, love will find its way.

After three years of struggle their families finally approved of the relationship and they got married. Tara had only one wish that she asked Aadhi; she wanted to work after marriage.

She joined as an intern in a startup after a month after the marriage. She had completed six months and was hired as a junior data scientist a week back.  And now she missed her periods.

She was sitting on the sofa worried while Aadhi was back from the office. While Aadhi found out that she was upset. After hours of pampering, she told him that she could be possibly pregnant. Aadhi was excited but he decided not to show.

Aadhi asked, “Why are you so upset, isn’t it a good thing?”

Tara said,” I am confused. I am not sure I want the baby now”.

Aadhi asked, “Why so?”.

Tara said, “I was a rank holder in college. Ever since I received the offer letters, I had been dreaming of a job. My career has just begun. And now I fear this pregnancy might put an end to my career. I am equally excited about the baby. I am not sure what everybody in the family will say if I decide to abort. Even if everybody agrees, I am not sure if I can do it wholeheartedly without any guilt”.

Aadhi came near her and hugged her from behind. He said,” It is your body and your career. You have the complete authority to choose what you need now. You don’t have to worry about what others will say. If you are choosing to abort, I will stand by you. Or if you are choosing to get this baby delivered, I assure you that you will have my utmost support while looking after the baby and help you with restarting your career. There is no room for any guilt here.”

Tara hugged him and thanked him. The whole night they were talking until they realized it was their coffee time. Tara ran to the bathroom with the pregnancy test kit right after waking up.  After a while she ran back to Aadhi and woke him up to show the results. There was just a single line. Aadhi and Tara laughed for a long time without a word.


Aadhi had been a crazy bike rider. He had travelled at least half the country.  But this was the most difficult ride for him.

Tara completes two years at work. She loved her job. She loved every time she was able to complete a complex task. She loved taking decisions. She loved challenging the designs. She loved it whenever she was appreciated for her commitment.

She missed her periods again. This time, both were excited. The test kit showed up two lines. And she had a conference to attend. She was afraid to go in a cab. She asked Aadhi to drop him.

Aadhi was in cloud nine after the test kit showed positive. And when she asked him to drop, he couldn’t refuse. He knew he was a safe rider; riding a bike was one of the most exciting things in his life. That day it was not exciting.

He was so tense to make sure the commute was safe. Every time he would stop and turn back to Tara to check if she was fine. The conference was happening on a campus that was 18 kilometers from home; 15 mins was too much for him to cover the distance usually. That day he took 45 mins to reach the place. This was the scariest ride in his life. He waited on the campus until the conference was over that evening to take her back home. The return ride was even scarier and longer.

The following weekend it was their first hospital visit. He decided to hire a cab. They wanted to choose the biggest hospital in the city; no matter how costly it was. And the doctor told them that it was only an empty sac, and the baby had not developed. They had to abort. Aadhi and Tara were shattered. That was too heavy to handle. Aadhi would never forget that day in the maternity ward watching her bleed and cry; he felt so helpless.


"Why didn't you accept that girl's proposal?", whispered Tara suddenly; it was half past midnight.  

Aadhi, who was half asleep, removed his earphones and slowly turned his head towards Tara with a confused look.

Tara repeated, "Why didn't you accept that girl's proposal?"

"Which girl?", asked Aadhi.

Tara replied, "You are asking as if you have got hundreds of proposals so far and you lost track of it. In the whole of your life, you only got one proposal. The girl who asked you if you could be live-in with her. Why didn't you move in with her?"

Aadhi smiled and replied, "That was a mistake, I should have moved in. I will look for her contact. I will call her tomorrow and ask her if the option is still open".

Tara replied with an irritated gesture, "Go ahead. She would have already blocked you".

Aadhi laughed and asked, "Why did you ask about something that happened 5 years back?".

Tara said, "I watched this latest news of a live-in couple from Delhi. The guy chopped this girl into 35 pieces and threw the pieces in different places".  

Aadhi kept silent.

Tara added, "Are these talks of love jihad true."

Aadhi asked her," Rubbish, don't watch all that crap. It was an individual crime committed and that guy was arrested. Just because he is a Muslim by belief, these people want to cash in on the situation. There was another news of a Kerala Hindu girl who killed her boyfriend mixing poison in cool drinks, blindly trusting in her horoscope. What Jihad is that? Saffron Jihad?"

Tara felt silly.

After a while, Tara came back to her question, "Why didn't you accept that girl's proposal? Is it because you do not believe in live-in relationships or is it because you judged her because she made the first move being a girl?".

Aadhi defended, "Not at all. It was obviously exciting when she asked me. No girl has ever asked me this. Primarily, I was just gearing up with my start up then. I had no time for any relationship then. That too an experimental one. I was in a moral dilemma if this is right. To get that clarity that cohabitation is not something to be ashamed of. She was independent, practical and sensible. I was at the beginning of breaking my patriarchal mindset then; I was questioning and challenging my own beliefs. Maybe I was afraid that my patriarchal mindset would be exposed. Conversations with her were the beginning of my thoughts on gender equality and many more social issues. I felt I was too conservative for the person she is."

Tara interrupted and showed her belly saying, "the baby is kicking". It had been 28 weeks since the pregnancy kit showed up two lines for the second time.

Aadhi slowly placed his hands on Tara's bare belly and started talking to the baby. The baby responded back in the only language it knows.

Aadhi started speaking, "You are carrying the greatest gift that I will ever receive. A gift ticked under your belly what grows every day; wrapped by your skin that stretches beyond it can, nurtured by months of love and care. OfCourse a lot of pain! Do you know what makes this gift so special?".

 Tara responded with a smile and silence. She just nodded.

 Aadhi continued, "Gifts in general remain a surprise only to the one who receives them. But the baby is the only gift that remains a surprise to even the one who gives it. Unwrapping doesn't happen just in a moment like the regular gifts. It doesn't end right after knowing if it is a boy or girl. We are going to be unwrapping the gift every single day, amused at the way it eats, walks, talks, learns and what not. We do not know if the baby will be a boy or girl. We do not know if he will look like you or me. Tall, Short, Fat, Slim, Black, White; none of this matter. We already love the little soul; even before he/she is unboxed."

Tara struggled to bend down to kiss Aadhi. He helped her by getting up a little so that her lips would reach his. The kiss intensified and went on and on until she needed a breath.  

 Tara broke the silence with her question, "So do you say cohabitation is ok? I somehow do not feel that is right".

 Aadhi explained.

 "This is the choice of two individuals. All the problems that you see with Cohabitation can also exist in a typical marriage; except for some legal accountability. It all depends on how mature the individuals are. There are people who get hooked up with the culturally accepted arranged marriage system considering all the factors like horoscopes and rituals with approvals of both the families and later the couple decide to get divorced within a month of marriage. There are couples who separate after a child is born and the child ends up living with one of the parents. There are some who remain in a toxic relationship just for the sake of society.

A marriage doesn't guarantee anything in a relationship. Relationships are determined by respect, love, commitment, patience, accountability and tolerance. A relationship of any type that involves all these factors can be successful. Of course, everything cannot be perfect everywhere; but as long as these factors are not breached beyond a threshold; relationships survive."

 Tara replied, "I agree, maybe I was not able to accept it because of the cultural conditioning."

 Aadhi said, "Culture is a variable. It keeps changing from time to time and place to place. It constantly evolves and there is always chaos when there is a disruption. Chaos would always be the reason for the change."

Aadhi continued.

My grand-mom told me that she didn't like my grandfather. Nobody even listened to her. She had to live with him without even a choice though he was abusive; he later married my grand-mom’s sister also.

My uncle fell in love with a girl from the same caste and he had to move out of the family to live with his love; because the family did not approve of the relationship as their horoscopes did not match.

When I told my parents that I was in love with you, there was chaos because we belong to different castes. Finally, they had to agree.

My cousin is soon getting married to a girl from another religion; both the families agreed.

Disruption of the so-called culture has been happening continuously.  

You will never know; cohabitation could be the new normal in a few years from now. Maybe our son or daughter sitting in your belly would someday walk up to you and say that he or she is going to move out with his/her partner. Imagine the child someday tells you "I am a gay”. Or say he or she becomes a transgender. Maybe the child will get married and doesn't want to have a child. Or maybe they could choose to adopt a child instead. What if the child doesn't want to get married at all?

Tara replied, "Don't scare me".

Aadhi explained, "You don't have to be scared. But it is important that you understand. These are all personal choices. Choosing a partner is a natural choice and so is the type of relationship they are choosing too. The same way the sexual orientation of the child is a natural selection. Who are you and I to override a natural process. Every animal, bird and insect have this choice.

 This is what I said earlier. The child is a gift that we are going to unbox not in a day, but it is going to surprise us till our last day of life. No matter if the child is black skinned or white skinned, tall or short, calm or arrogant, introvert or extrovert, rich or poor, we will love the child and care for it.  So, you should consider the sexual orientation and choices of a child the same way.

Maybe not everything is a free will; of course, we are bound to adhere and be within the limits of the culturally sanctioned freedom. Maybe as time goes by; our children might think that we are conservative, just like how we think about our parents. We might realize only when there is some chaos that our children might put before us.

There is only one rule to stay up to the time; do not question a personal choice until that negatively impacts others. And culture or tradition or what the relatives will think of us, doesn't count in the negative impact that we are talking about. If what is cooking in somebody else’s kitchen or what someone chooses to wear is bothering you, then it is not considered as a negative impact. It is you who must change.

 All we must do is to teach the child to be more human enough. And when we have to educate the child and the importance and values of a relationship and guide them on choosing the right partner."

Tara smiled and said, "I understand it when you explain, somehow I am not able to accept everything. Maybe I should read all those books on your shelf to have a bigger picture of life."

Aadhi replied, "Certain books totally break and make you unlearn everything that you believed so far. When you look at the world from a broader perspective; none of these divisions or ego really matter at all".

Tara asked, "Which is your favorite author sitting out there on your bookshelf?"

Aadhi replied, "Alexander Von Humboldt. He is a geographer, a scientist, a wanderer who tried to understand the world. His theory says that all aspects of the planet, from the outer atmosphere to the bottom of the oceans were interconnected - a theory called the unity of nature.”

Tara smiled and said, "This tells me, we have to learn a lot as parents before we decide what to teach."

Aadhi said, "That's true. The schools will teach the child the language, science, technology, history and geography. There is one beautiful word called ‘Political Correctness’. We must teach the child to be politically correct in all aspects. If we don’t teach, he will learn things in his own way. They have more options than we have.”  

They played their favorite songs, and the baby was dancing inside her belly. 


It was the 39th week of pregnancy. She was admitted to the hospital; pain was induced, and it was decided as a c-section. Tara had been working too hard on her body; she took care of her diet and did a lot of yoga to make sure it was a normal delivery. But things turned out in a different way. They had to opt for a c-section as per the doctor’s advice.

He was waiting outside the operation theatre. The doctor walked up to him and handed over the tiny, beautiful girl. She was just the size of his palms. The doctor gave him a lot of instructions which fell into his deaf ears. Every sense of his was just filled with the little angel in his hands.


Maya was 11 years now. One day she ran up to Tara and asked, “Amma, what caste do we belong to?” And the reason behind it was a post in the WhatsApp group. The group was for the parents of Maya’s classmates. The post shared had an essay written by Maya’s friend Prem.  Prem’s mother Anusha had shared it in the WhatsApp group. The mom was proud of her son’s writing skills.

The write up was in praise of their caste, talking about the pompous history of the caste. How men from this caste who served as the finance minister for most of the kings in the South Indian history.

Tara called up Anusha and invited her for lunch the following weekend.

Anusha and Prem arrived that weekend for lunch.  After lunch, they let Maya and Prem play for themselves. Tara and Anusha took a walk around the garden.

Tara started, “I have known you for years, we have never discussed caste. I know you are not a casteist. But what was all that essay about”.

Anusha justified, “No, it was not about caste. Recently there was a historical movie about the locality that we belong to. He liked the movie and started researching more about the king. While reading about it he came across our caste name mentioned in many places. He got curious and wrote the essay. Trust me, it was not about caste. It was just a topic and history. I shared it because his language was good”.

Tara replied,” His vocabulary was exemplary for his age, but the content is a red flag. Mastering a language is good but what is it of any use if you do not know what to write about or write sometime that could hurt somebody. You can talk about anything for a pass time; but to write something it really has to get into his mind and to inspire he should have really believed and should have been proud of his caste.  An eleven-year-old boy feeling proud of his caste and writing about it; do you think it is a good sign”.

Anusha agreed, “Yeah true, I was just happy about his writing skills. I thought it was just polite and harmless”.

Tara replied, “It is indeed harmful. I will tell you why. Prem knows his caste; it was a privileged caste, and he has a history. Even Prem’s grandparents were well educated and had white collar jobs. Another boy from the same class could belong to a suppressed caste. If he goes and checks his history; what would he have? Only the stories of pain. Slavery was there until a few decades ago; still there are people doing manual scavenging and hard jobs. The child hardly has anything to feel proud of their ancestors. Wouldn’t this create an inferiority complex in the child. Of course, the child needs to know the pains for his forefathers so that he is not back to square one. But I don’t think this is the way.

We tell our children to share the food with their friends during their lunch breaks. Remember that day, Aadhi and I were stuck in a situation and couldn’t give Maya her lunch on time. Prem and their other classmates shared their food before we could reach the school. That is how the kids are naturally.  The pride of the caste in a child is like eating their food without sharing when a fellow friend is starving. That ultimately is the reason that in Tamilnadu most people do not attach the caste name to their official names. They were not suppressed by choice; the privileged ones were responsible. There is no glory in that.

Anusha agreed, “That’s true. I realize that now”.

Anusha continued, “I am asking just for the sake of understanding. The last time, he wrote an essay on his mother tongue. I am wondering if that is wrong too?”

Tara said, “That should be fine. A Malayalee can be proud of Malayalam. A Tamilan can be proud of Tamil and so with every other language that exist in the world. The languages and literatures are more like works of art. Anybody can appreciate and feel proud of the art that they like. There are some languages that are spoken by millions of people and there are some languages that are just spoken by a few thousands of people. No matter what, my mother tongue is important to me, and I will always feel proud of it. That does not make it superior or inferior.

In simple, we should remember that too much of pride in anything makes us fanatics. Once can be really proud of only his own accomplishment and no matter what we achieve we should remember that it does not make us superior to another human being.

The previous essay he wrote was about his religion. If I am confused and I need a let out I go to the beaches or mountains. When my husband is stressed out, he either hits the road or sits and meditates. My mother-in-law, her only let out on anything is just praying and visiting a temple.  Everybody has their own spiritual path, and that spirituality doesn’t always need to be associated with a religion. Somebody can find peace in music or painting.  So literally no faith is superior to other.”

Anusha questioned, “So you intend to grow Maya as an atheist like you two”.

Tara smiled and replied, “For the believer a religion is more moral guidance, a psychologically need. She is free to choose her belief. Faith is not like pyramidal schemes, it is not necessary that our children should adhere; even if it is atheism. Religion is as private as sex. In sex each one has their favorite position; it is absurd to say my favorite is the best, so is faith. Forcing sex on someone is rape; forcing a faith on someone is more similar.

We are all different. Every individual in the world is different. That doesn’t mean that we all should be divided. Humanity is all about understanding the differences, appreciating the choices and happily coexisting. I read a book that talks about a theory called “Unity of nature”. Literally it is like everything in the world is interconnected and we are all the cells of this mighty living organism called “Earth”. Maybe if we understand nature more, we will feel silly for how trivial are the differences that we talk about.”

Anusha thanked her for making her understand.


Tara was rushing to the bathroom again with the pregnancy kit. It was a contraceptive failure this time. The double lines showed up again. Aadhi was excited about having another kid. Tara was not ready for another baby; her age, her profession and mainly her health might not support her to look after another baby the same way she did to Maya. It was her body and she decided to abort the child.

Srishti-2022   >>  Short Story - English   >>  The Coconut Cutter

Gopalakrishnan R


The Coconut Cutter


‘Bang, Bang, Bang’ – that was the gate again, someone was knocking, or rather banging. Rajesh got up irritated not happy about being disturbed from his morning coffee and newspaper routine. He opened the door and peered outside. ‘Thenga vettano’ – do you want to cut the coconuts, a voice sounded. There he stood, the coconut cutter, his head raising above the gate, torso shirtless, his dark skin absorbing the early morning sun giving it a sheen, with a thick rope strung over his right shoulder. He gave a piercing, unsmiling look as he casually put his hand over the gate. Rajesh’s irritation grew more. How can these people speak so arrogantly he thought. Aren’t we the people giving them work, can’t they atleast give some respect?



Rajesh held out his palm and gave a single nod to indicate ‘wait’ and walked back into the house.



‘Kamala…’ he called out.


‘What?’ his wife yelled back, the tone clearly indicating she knew what was about to come and wanting no part of it.


‘The coconut cutter has come, should we cut the coconut, can you talk to him?’ Rajesh persisted for what it was worth, though he knew the answer.


‘Yes, this is long overdue, he has not come for a while, and no’ came the curt answer, tone indicating clearly that the conversation was over.


Rajesh walked back to the front door trying to adopt a stern face. He looked at the cutter and gave a curt nod, face upwards, to indicate go ahead. 


The cutter opened the gate and came in. Rajesh could see his blood shot eyes, his face expressionless. I can almost smell the toddy he must have drunk on the way, he thought disgustedly. Why do these people drink in the morning. The cutter casually flicked the bidi he was smoking to the ground, wrapped a towel around his head and looked up at the tree, narrowing his eyes to see through the bright sun. ‘Lot of coconuts’ he remarked. To Rajesh it sounded like a warning message. Will he ask for more money this time? Let me try giving him the usual he decided.


The cutter tied a short loop around his legs and climbed up the tree rapidly. ‘Chop,chop,chop’, in three swift swings, he cut loose a big bunch of coconuts. Down it came in a big thud scattering into different places, some banging into the gate, some getting dangerously close to the parked car. Rajesh became irritated again. Should I ask him to be more careful and make sure the coconuts fall on the empty space around the tree, he thought. What if he becomes angry? Last time he seemed quite drunk and was dropping coconuts all over the place. These guys think people like us who live in concrete houses are weaklings, Rajesh subconsciously started gnashing his teeth. But I cannot let him do as he wants in my house, let me warn him, he thought. Summoning all his courage, he looked up shielding his eyes with his hands. ‘Be careful’ he yelled, or rather that was his intention. But it sounded more like a squeak to him. 




‘Thud’, the next bunch came down, nearer the tree this time, but not near enough. Some of the coconuts broke from the branch and scattered around, hitting the gate. Rajesh gnashed his teeth even more. The cutter climbed down. He started picking the scattered coconuts, throwing them together in a small heap. ‘Lot of coconuts this time, I couldn’t come last time, so we have more coconuts now’ he remarked.




Rajesh looked at him. Why is he talking now, he wondered. This is definitely to get more money, let me be stern, Rajesh thought. He just nodded, not wanting to encourage more conversation. The cutter looked at Rajesh again ‘I couldn’t come last time’, he paused almost as if he wanted Rajesh to ask why. Rajesh stared back at him not responding, he definitely wants more money, he thought. ‘My twin brother passed away. He got a heart attack and died suddenly. We were together for the last 40 years’ the cutter went on.




Rajesh kept on giving what he thought was a stern look. I am not giving him one rupee more, he thought. The cutter paused and looked at Rajesh. There was a brief moment when their eyes met. The eyes which seemed blood shot earlier now seemed a bit hollowed out. Rajesh held out his hand with the money, no point in asking how much, he thought. The cutter took the money, unwrapped the towel strung around his head, gave it a good shake and put it over his shoulder. He gave Rajesh one more look and walked away.




Rajesh stood outside the gate watching the cutter go. He couldn't forget the way the cutter looked at him. Was it grief, was it disgust, or was it just plain world weariness, Rajesh couldn't make out. As he closed the gate, Rajesh wanted to feel happy that he didn't give any more money than he wanted to. But he couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that he held back more than money in the transaction.

Srishti-2022   >>  Short Story - English   >>  The Lie

Nithin Eldho Abraham

Fakeeh Technologies Trivandum

The Lie


" he here??"


"No, my dear..but he will be, soon enough"


"But you told me he will be here at night"


"He is on his way my dear..on his way"


"ooh is it?? and why is your nose red daddy? Were you crying?" 


"No, my love.You can see the snowfall outside. It's just the cold"


"How can we know when he is coming?"




"You can hear all the reindeer's cheering along the way and you can look for the Rudolf?"




"Who is Rudolf daddy? Is Santa's name Rudolf??"




"Haha..i will tell you then, the story of the Rudolf.Once there was a young charming reindeer named Rudolf. He had a very shiny red nose. "




"Like my daddy..."




"Haha..ya like me. and all the other reindeer used to tease him, laugh at him, never invite him for any games and call him many names. Our poor Rudolf was all alone and was always very sad."




"Why no one liked him, daddy?"




"Because he was different. No one likes being different. And then one fine Christmas eve when Santa came to pick reindeer for his sleigh, he saw our poor Rudolf crying. He asked him,'Hey young Rudolf, your nose is so bright, you should guard my sleigh tonight'. Our Rudolf was very happy and all other reindeer loved him since."




"Is Rudolf too coming with him? I want to see him, daddy"




"Ya. Rudolf will be guarding him.. With his bright and red nose, you can easily find him.Maybe Santa gonna give the Rudolf to you.Now, come on, get some sleep. I will call you when he is here"




"I don't want to sleep, daddy.I want to see Rudolf"




"You can see Rudolf if you close your eyes and sing this...'Rudolf the red nosed reindeer..had a very shiny nose..and if you ever saw would even say it glows..'"




"Daddy... is that him?"




"No, my darling. It's the Nurse aunty. She is here for your wish"




"Merry Christmas Aunty. Santa will be here soon and he is going to gift me his Rudolf. I will show you."




"Ya ok, my close your eyes and sleep.."




she continued her singing "'Rudolf the red nosed reindeer..had a very shiny nose..and if you ever saw would even say it glows..'" and slowly the music fades away.




A lie, a small lie and if that can give someone a false sense of happiness is better than a bitter truth. At least in their last moments!!.

Srishti-2022   >>  Short Story - English   >>  PARALLEL PERCEPTIONS

Vishnu Suresh

Speridian Technologies



It seemed like there were millions and millions of them and none of those giant creatures looked alike. Some looked very funny but this funniness was balanced by the frightening look on the other faces. I stood amidst these creatures planning out a way to get away and reach the place where I could change my choice of the path which had guided me to this drastic place beside a blood-red river.




One of these creatures started moving towards me and as it approached, my eyes started taking in every minute detail. It was wearing a pale green skirt-like shabby dress which was dusty and many tiny red and purple creatures were feeding on it. The eyes of the creature were blood-red and the veins seemed to be bulging out of its crooked neck.




It came close to me and thrust its sharp finger nails into my chest. You may think that the attack might have killed me. But think again. I was wearing my specially-designed metallic suit.


 No nail could go past it. It took out my sword and swung it wildly. It cut the creature at the wrist. The monster growled in pain. I took this opportunity to run past it and escape. But my way was blocked by many other such creatures. I felt like a fool standing amidst blood suckers, having no idea of what the creatures were doing or going to do. I looked up and closed my eyes cursing God who had put me in this dangerous predicament. Hot tears of despair ran down my cheeks. My watch showed 22:39 date 31 September.




I opened my eyes. I had to do something and do it quickly. There was a kind of round basket big enough to carry a person hanging on rusted chains above the river behind two very short creatures. I decided to jump, cut the chains with a single swing of my bloody sword and when the basket fell, jump into it and escape via the river.




Soon I was in the river without the basket. I had failed to cut the chains. The only way left for me was to swim down the river and escape. How do you think it would feel to crash down a waterfall? I experienced that too. I looked at the rock that was waiting to crush my head below me. BANG!!! I was there on the floor. Life just ebbed out of me.




Hey !!!Don’t get carried away. Think again. Does September 31 exist?

Srishti-2022   >>  Short Story - English   >>  Melancholy is my favourite word

Hanna Eldhose


Melancholy is my favourite word


   And that was the last day I baked for Lillibeth.You might be wondering who Lillibeth is ;well she was my neighbour’s nine year old daughter.The house opposite to us had no inhabitants for a long time.Then this young couple with a perky girl showed up.The day they came to visit us she told me smiling I am Lillibeth George,but you can call me Lilly.The girl was dressed up in a maroon checked pinafore with a schiffli peter pan collar, something that obviously I would have chosen for my daughter alas if I had one.Her hair was braided in two sides and then rolled up and tied with a lace ribbon,I cannot explain how cute the little creature looked!


“What is your dog’s name Mrs Wiley?” George asked.


“Oh he is Ryan,Wiley loves golden retrievers,they are fun,naughty and so much lovable.And I should say Ryan pretty much rules the house”.


They left home after tea and butter cookies.It filled my heart when Lilly was munching on them.I suddenly had an affection for that kid.I wish if she had visited me often.I felt an urge to bake her favourite pastries,nothing delights me more than a kid having what I had baked.I still have recipe book in the cupboard that I had collected while carrying for the first time.But my uterus was never productive like my oven.All those recipes turns into sinful pastries and cookies and later covered in parchment,kept in colourful boxes ends up in my relative’s and acquaintance’s houses.Extra boxes in Christmas!!People had asked me why don’t you bake and sell,we love your brownies or they had gone like your chocolate cake is the best that we ever had.But they will never know what I wanted.


 On their way back George asked Daisy


“Who on earth will name their dog Ryan?”


“It is not like that George,they don’t have kids”


“So you suggest that the dog is like a child to them?,hmm reasonable.”


But Lilly was happy about the dog .She had always wanted a playmate.But she hated cats.What an irony .Lilly had urged ,quarrelled and cried for pretty long time to get a pet.Even though Daisy had a slight change of mind George was so sure that doggy hairs or kitty hairs are not gonna be in his chesterfield.Finally knowing that papa is not gonna let her have one she ought to find one herself.And in the days that followed the cats in the neighbourhood was well fed.Lilly saved her milk and fish fingers from the table and fed that to the cats.Cats came and went by.And finally Lilly decided it is time to pick one and take it to her bedroom.She had already made a mat and written in crayons nearby ,that read ‘welcome kitty’.But Lilly desperately came crying back to her mother with scratches here and there.That day she decided to part away with cats,those scoundrels drank her milk,ate her fish and showed no affection.


 The next day after school Lilly showed up.”Mrs Wiley can I play with Ryan”


“Yes dear, he too seems pretty excited that he got a new friend.Aren't you hungry sweety ,what do you wanna eat?Do you want muffins or do you want chocolate chip cookies ,oh I can make mulberry pie ,our mulberry tree is well in her spring.”


“Will you make blueberry pie?,my mother never bakes says she is too busy.But I wanna eat blueberry pie.I like when my mouth turns all purple from the pie”


“oh it is not the season for blueberries Lilly,but do you wanna bake with me ,will make mulberry muffins,you can get your mouth purple with that too”


I don’t know to explain how lit up her face after hearing that.We went to backyard.Picked handful of mulberries.They looked so lively as if each glans like fruitlet had a life of its own.Ryan also came along.He too had a purple tongue after the evening.I made a cake butter .Lilly was so keen watching everything.I poured the batter in muffin mould and then it was her turn to add mulberry syrup that we had just made.She took a spoonful and added in the first muffin batter.And did the rest ,there was charm in the way she did that,so careful that not even a drop was spared to end up in the kitchen counter.I kept that in the oven.And what I saw next filled eyes more than heart.The little girl was on her knees in front of the oven glassdoor.I saw myself there,it transcended me to my childhood.While my mother used to bake pastries cousin Georgie and I would sit like that.So patient and mindful.To see the batter rise was blissful.Slowly raising gaining its shape ,and then deflating a little in the end filling the room with that buttery goodness.And my mamma would say in our ears ‘that croissant has like a thousand layers’ and we would giggle hearing that.I don’t know whether they had a thousand layers or not but they were just perfect from delicate tenderness to brittle flakiness.


“They are exploding Mrs Wiley,come and see”


I was back from thoughts and saw the glowy mulberry syrup oozing out of the swollen muffins.


“I think they are done Lilly”


I took them out, we had them with tea.Well that was an evening well spend.The days that followed Lilly became an daily visiter.She had so much to talk about.That fat friend who ate her egg roll,that pretty girl in her class with Disney princess bag,kid from another grade who smiled at her in the corridor ,Mr Oliander who took piano classes ,his pokey moustache and big glasses this is a very long list ,I used to feel as if I am acquainted with them all.




  One evening she came and told


“Mrs Wiley,somebody in our school’s lane, died.”


“How did you know?”


“Well apparently there were many cars and no flowers or decorations in the house,so my friend 


Issac told somebody might have died.It was like that only when his grandpa died”


I thought how different was the kids world.They revolve around a different nucleus ,their intimidations and intuitions are so innocent .And she left early that Ryan don’t even noticed her.He was pissed off that his favourite stuffed toy a monkey whom I named Poppy lost his one leg after I kept it in the dryer.


 Next day people from Wiley’s office visited us.There were few cars in the front yard.I could see from the window Lilly coming to the house.As I see her face turned red,tears started rolling from that pink cheeks I was frightened having no clue what happened.She came running sobbing asking for Ryan.


The poor thing thought that something might have happened in the house, as remembering what Issac had said.She had seen Ryan lying the porch end with his snout touching the wall not even waking up seeing her.I didn’t knew what to say she herself saw Ryan in the backyard with a new ’Poppy’.Her cheeks were still pink from all the crying I took her up and kissed in the forehead.


   It was almost the end of school year .Lilly came and complained to me about Mrs Morrison who was their faculty in charge of games and arts.Well she used to complain about Mr James who took Maths .Apparently he will pinch her if she missed an entry in the multiplication table that she was supposed to learn by heart.And then about Mary her bench partner who will complain to the teacher if she didn’t finish her lunch.Well my Lilly had so many problems to deal with.Today’s matter in question was about the word ‘melancholy’.Apparently all kids has to pick their favourite word and make a speech on that in the summer camp.


“My favourite word is melancholy,but Mrs Morrison told me to choose another word saying it meant sad.But I loved the way it sounded,m-e-l-a-n-c-h-o-l-y….”


  I don’t remember how it ended with Mrs Morrison.She had left for the camp.I felt so miserable without her.And knowing that she will be back tomorrow I went to pick blueberries .I had them all fresh .I just poked one to see that purple colour Lilly had loved.Made the dough.Made a pie crust.For me the difficult part in making a pie was braiding the dough to cover the crust.But I guess I made this one perfect.I couldn’t wait to see Lilly’s face while I show her this.My pie was in the oven.The crust was browning ,getting crispier without Lilly on her knees to watch.The air in the house was elevated with the fine blueberry goodness!! From the window I could see cars coming to Lilly’s house,and in the end a little coffin.A kid drowned in the river near the camp site.I saw her face for one last time,it was all purple.

Srishti-2022   >>  Short Story - English   >>  Justice?

Sanju N




The roads were wet with rain water and sewage. It was one of those cloudy days when the city turns chaotic with traffic noise and water-logged pavements. The usual buzz in that tea stall was absent, due to the rains. However, the regular customers never let a day go without our Anna’s tea. It is that ideal tea stall we visualize, when someone mentions about an Indian tea stall. Two parallel benches with a few sets of newspapers, a boiler and a tea-master dispersing orders in seconds. Some savories and snacks laid open to consume the dust from the traffic and pollution. The usual customers were inside the stall, some with a tea glass and others with some snacks, gossiping about politics, cinema and sports. A fore thinker rightly predicted “Politics and economics in India start at tea stalls”. The one described here fits the saying, together with a few naughty comments and misleading debates.


Raghav was one among the persons inside the stall. He had a newspaper in his hand and seemed to be the center of attraction. As Raghav kept reading the news, the crowd responded with comments and gossip. Raghav was a clerk in a private firm with a meagre salary and often found comfort spending time in the tea stall. There he was surrounded by persons who seemed to believe him and were ready to invest their time and energy in him. The situation in his firm was the other way around. He was often belittled and made fun of. He was even threatened and abused occasionally. And the situation in his home? Well, we will get to that part later.


“Petrol prices hiked by Rs.2.50. To come into effect from Monday” Raghav read from the front page of the newspaper. “Fill your vegetable baskets as early as possible” commented one among the gathered. Politics and economics start at tea stalls, indeed! The crowd laughed for a few seconds and turned silent again. This seemed to resonate with the thunder outside. Raghav turned to the second page of the paper and continued reading. “21-year-old college student raped by her friend. Police have begun search for the missing accused”. As soon as he read that news, an old man near Raghav commented “Who knows what provoked the guy? Girls these days dress only to seduce boys and later complain of rape and sexual abuse.”. Raghav, along with others laughed at that cheap remark. “Even you will be provoked by the way the girls dress now-a-days" Raghav added another indecent comment for his part. As expected, the whole group laughed, showing their approval.


Raghav then took out his wallet, handed over a Rs.10 note to the tea-master and bid goodbye to his so-called tea stall mates. Taking an umbrella out of his office bag, he shook it off to remove the wrinkles, opened it and started walking home.


Raghav was a typical conservative Indian pal in his late 20s with a muscular stature and wrinkles all over his face. Ironically, he fell in love with a girl from another caste and had to elope to this city from his village, due to heavy opposition from both of their parents. Ananya was an educated girl, who wanted to pursue something for herself. Though Raghav was conservative, he never showed that attitude to Ananya. Ananya always wanted to start a career. Raghav would also accept her demand, but she knew he wouldn’t be happy about it. “When right time comes...” she often consoles herself.


Raghav and Ananya had nobody in the city, except Raghav’s kind uncle, who rented them a house and even took care of their finances during their early days in the city. The village that they grew up, seemed to be a distant dream now. The sad reality of many Indian couples who wish to live with a partner they actually love!


“I’m home” Raghav announced as he entered his house. The house was little secluded from the main city, and no public transport could have access to it. “How is my love doing today?” Raghav flirted with his wife, catching his breath at the same time. He was half wet and exhausted from all the walking he had to do to reach home. Ananya entered the hall from the kitchen, which was actually the same room, separated by a small wooden beam. She smiled and replied “Just a little greasy from the cooking oil”. He pulled her and kissed on her cheek. He knew how much she had sacrificed for him. She left all her riches, her family bungalow in the middle of the village and the wealthy life, all for him, just for him. She crossed her hands around his neck and kissed his cheek too. The two remained in that stance for a few moments. “Should we stay like this forever?” Raghav broke the silence. “I wish I could” Ananya replied and took her hands off him to get back to her chores.


The couple sat down for dinner. Raghav could see the smile on Ananya's face. She always had a smiling face, but today it was way too visible. He wanted to ask her about it, but decided to wait till dinner gets over. She made him his favorite Idly and Drumstick sambar. The couple usually have porridge or leftovers from lunch for dinner. But today, Ananya made something special. “What could be the reason?” Raghav’s curiosity increased. Then after dinner, he asked her “I know today isn’t either of our birthdays nor is our anniversary. What is the special occasion?”.


Ananya blushed; her face turned more beautiful than before. “Well. Let’s say someone else in our family will be having their birthday 7 months from now”.


Raghav was on cloud nine. Yes, it is going to be super expensive months or even years ahead. But who cares? Raghav’s idea of a complete family always had a kid in it. Ananya also dreamt of having a baby. After all, she was all alone in their house. Raghav’s smiles and happy tears seemed to compete with each other to expose themselves first. He hugged Ananya and lifted her up. Then they started talking about several things regarding the baby; names, dresses and more such things before going to bed. The couple slept happily after several years.


From the very next day, Raghav cared for Ananya like she was the baby. Many evenings, he sacrificed his tea stall chit-chats to reach home early. On the other hand, he also worked multiple shifts to save money for his future child. Raghav was always responsible, but now he is becoming a responsible father. Ananya started a small tailoring job and saved money from her end too. The couple was busy, but their love and happiness never faded.


Two months went by. By that time, Ananya was a healthy pregnant woman. The baby had turned into a football-sized fetus. That day, as usual the couple went to sleep after completing their chores. It was a little past midnight. Ananya was having her iron tablets and Raghav stood there with a glass of water. Suddenly, he heard a loud bang on the door. His uncle was shouting from outside “Maapla (son-in-law), open the door!”. Raghav rushed towards the door and opened it. “Your mother... Your mother...” Raghav’s uncle was desperately out of breath. Raghav gave him the glass of water that he was holding in his hand. His uncle refused it and continued “Your amma seems to be in a very serious condition. Your thangai (younger sister) called me and asked me to inform you. Your amma wants to see you!”


Raghav had not contacted his family or any of his relatives after he ran away. His uncle updates him about the happenings of his village that he receives through Raghav’s sister.


“But how can I take her with me, mama?” Raghav asked, with apparent pain in his face.


“I will stay here, Raghav. If there is any emergency, aunty is there to take care of me. You go visit your mother. Don’t worry. She will be alright” Ananya replied, trying to console Raghav.


Raghav quickly packed his bag with any clothes that reached his hand. He and his uncle left his house early in the morning. He was worried about both his mother and his wife.


After Raghav reached his village, he rushed to the hospital. He saw his sister standing there. She embraced him with all the love she had for him. She missed him all these years. Raghav kissed her head with tears rolling down his chin. Then, out of nowhere, she gave him a tight slap. “Couldn’t you contact me, at least?”. Raghav felt her love in that slap. He again embraced her and asked about his mother.


“How is amma? What happened to her?”


“She is out of danger for now. But doctors said that she had a minor stroke yesterday. From then on, she kept uttering your name. Even now, she was asking whether you have come to see her.”


Raghav ran inside the hospital and went straight to the ward in which his mother was present. The whole room seemed silent. Or maybe that was how Raghav felt. The hospital had a pungent smell. Doctors, nurses, patients and visitors made a commotion that made the hospital feel like a bazaar. But, to Raghav, the room was silent. His mother, the woman who had given her everything for her children, was lying there. He was ashamed and felt a pinch of anger in a corner of his heart. “If only she had agreed to our marriage...” was one of the many thoughts that crossed his mind at that time.


He took baby steps towards his mother. She looked at him with tears and love. She was weak and thin. Raghav felt delicate seeing his mother like that. But he gained courage, went near her and held her hand. “Raghav...” she said in a faint voice. It was this voice, the voice of the angel that he longed to hear. “Yes, amma” he replied.


“Is that really you? Have you really come to see your amma?”


“Yes, ma. Please don’t strain yourself. Take rest” Raghav replied as he noticed how hard his mother was trying to talk.


“Please don’t leave me again” his mother cried with tears in her eyes now rolling down her ears. “No. ma. I will not.” Raghav assured.


“Where is she? Where is Ananya?”


Suddenly, Raghav’s anger turned into fear. His face and palm started sweating. His mother on one side and his wife on the other. What if his mother asks him to leave Ananya and be with her for the rest of her life? What if he said no and it worsened her health? These thoughts kept flashing in Raghav’s mind like flickering stars. Suddenly his amma’s voice brought him back to reality.


“Did you not bring my daughter-in-law to me? I wanted to have a last glimpse of her.”,


Raghav was surprised to hear that. His mother continued.


“I really don’t know if I could accept your marriage. But, trust me. I want to. I want to see you live happily. It’s just... just that I have seen the society around me like that. We were bound by many things. We know only that world.” his mother said with a small guilt and remorse in her words.


Raghav was happy again. His face was filled with tears again, this time it was out of happiness. His face turned bright. He laid near his mother’s shoulder like a child. He was weeping. Suddenly, out of nowhere, he jumped up and said, “I will be back tomorrow with her, amma”, as he left the room in a hurry.


He wanted to bring Ananya to his mother. He didn’t know how he was going to do it. Maybe through a taxi or some other means. He wasn’t sure. But it has to happen. And the sooner, the better. He kept calling Ananya, but she never picked the call. “Her medications. They must have made her tired. But can’t the medications wait till I tell her the happy news?”, he blamed her medicines.


He even forgot to take his bag from the hospital ward. He just wanted to reach the city and bring Ananya to his amma. He met his sister on the way back, grabbed her hand and promised her that he will be back with Ananya. He even took his wallet out and gave her some money to take care of their mother. His sister was happy to see him like that. He bid her a goodbye and was actually ready to run back home.


 He boarded the next bus to the city. It was the only way he could reach his home from the village. Each second passed like a year. He even approached the driver twice to raise the speed. Crazy, yes. But that’s how excited he was to make his two favorite women meet. And when his mother comes to know that Ananya is pregnant. How happy that would make her! How she would arrange for a baby shower and make Ananya wear all types of bangles and smear sandal paste on her face. Just these mere thoughts made him go insane.


At last, after what seemed like ages, he reached the city. He quickly boarded an auto rickshaw and reached his home. As said earlier, his house was in a secluded area in the city. The driver charged nearly twice the normal charge. Raghav didn’t care even to argue with him. He was actually surprised to see the gate and door wide open. It didn’t matter. He wanted to share the happy news with Ananya. He stormed inside his house. He shouted “Ananya. Where are you? Leave whatever you are doing and pack your bags. We are going back to our village. Ananya...” he continued his call


He searched the entire hall and kitchen. She was nowhere to be seen. “Where has she gone leaving the house wide open?” Raghav murmured to himself. He went through the back door of his house and shouted the same call again. Still no response. He went to his uncle’s house and kept ringing the bell. No response there either. Suddenly, he was angry at Ananya. Probably it was the first time he was angry with her. “The news I’ve brought. How exciting it is! And where is she?” he kicked his front gate in anger.


He quickly noticed the trail of blood in his front porch. He was shocked. “NO!” he thought to himself. He followed the blood trail. It went from his front porch, through the footpath laid around his house and reached the backyard. His hands started to shiver, his fears shot up to sky level and his forehead sweated profusely.


The blood trail continued till a small distance away from his backyard. It was a no man’s land, filled with some trees and bushes. He searched around the point where the blood trail stopped. “ANANYAAAA!!”, “ATHAIII!!” he called out continuously. Suddenly he heard a low voice responding to his call.


“Raghav!” He realized his aunt’s voice. She laid at the bottom of a tree covered by bushes. She could barely talk.


“Are you okay, athai? Where is Ananya?” Raghav asked in a shaking voice. He imagined several thousand scary scenarios in his mind by that time.


“There. Behind the bushes” his aunt showed a direction towards another bush a little away from them. Raghav didn’t want to know what was behind the bushes. He was afraid. His legs trembled. His voice broke and made him speak words that nobody understood. He started walking towards the bush, each step increasing his heartbeat by ten times. He finally reached the bush. He started removing the leaves and fell on the ground on seeing Ananya there.


She was unconscious, drowned in blood. A log covered with blood lay near her, but Raghav couldn’t look at anything but her. He couldn’t move from there. She was bleeding out of her private parts. He saw scratch marks all over her body. Her pregnant belly, which Raghav kissed every day since he knew she was pregnant, was covered with scratches and blood. Her soft fingers, which ran through his hairs whenever he slept in her lap, had scars with skin peeled off. Her forehead, which he kissed everyday, was covered with blood and mud


After a few minutes, as if a fire startled him, Raghav started to act. He quickly checked her pulse. He was able to feel it. He immediately called an ambulance and went to his aunt. He gave her some water and carried Ananya and his aunt to his home. He tried to wake Ananya by sprinkling water on her face, but in vain. He was broken completely and only Ananya could fix him. There were several questions which hovered his mind, but none of them dared to reach his tongue at that moment. All he wanted now was to hear Ananya’s words, to see her eyes look at him, to feel her touch on his hand.


The ambulance arrived in about an hour. Two stretchers were unloaded quickly and some paramedics carried Ananya and Raghav’s aunt in the stretcher to the ambulance. Raghav didn’t even care to close the door of his house. He quickly boarded the ambulance along with the others and held Ananya’s hand throughout the way towards the hospital.


Several memories began flashing in his mind. The first time he saw Ananya in college, the moment he proposed her, the silly things they did together in college, the time they decided to elope, the situations when she stood by him, the way she spoke against her father for him, the dinner she made before revealing her pregnancy, all the happy and sad events crossed his mind. He smiled, cried and shivered at the same time. His mind seemed to defy all humanly possible emotions during that trip.


At last, they reached the hospital. Raghav rushed to the receptionist with his hands and clothes covered in blood. The receptionist put together his vague words and arranged for an immediate emergency room. His aunt was taken to an ICU and Ananya was taken to another one. Raghav was given an admission form. He filled it out with what little he remembered in that panic situation.


It took nearly three hours for the doctors to come out of Ananya’s ICU room. Raghav quickly visited his aunt before returning to Ananya’s room. The doctor called Raghav inside his room. As Raghav entered his room, he gestured to Raghav to sit down and he sat in a chair adjacent to him.


“I will start with some positive news. Ananya is out of danger. She needs complete rest and some medication for a few days. However, she is out of danger”


Raghav breathed a sigh of relief. “But ‘start with positive news’? Means there is bad news too?” he thought to himself.


“And coming to the bad news. Sorry Raghav. We tried our level best. We couldn’t save your child. There was no way out other than abortion.”


Raghav’s world seemed to stop. All the things he and Ananya planned for the child crossed his mind. Picking names, picking schools, planning for a bigger house with a separate room for the child, and hundreds of other things they discussed crossed his mind in a fraction of a minute. And before he could even stop those thoughts, the doctor continued,


“And one more sad news, Raghav. We were able to see signs of brutal rape by more than one person. She tried to resist and they hurt her badly. And they also used metal instruments in her private parts. It was the primary reason for the abortion.”


Raghav broke down after hearing this. He seemed to have run out of tears. He couldn’t hear anything which the doctor said after that. He seemed to have gone insane. He didn’t reply to anything the doctor said. Suddenly the doctor shouted


“RAGHAV! RAGHAV! I’m sorry for what happened to Ananya. But you should stay strong at this moment. There is no other way. You have to be there for her.” Raghav nodded his head, without uttering a word.


After a few hours, he reached Ananya’s ward and held her hand. He should not cry in front of her. He had to hold his tears at least till he leaves the room. “RAGHAV! Our baby! Our precious baby” Ananya shouted. Raghav lost his resolve. He embraced her and tried to console her, though he was himself crying. He had no words to console her. He kept hugging her till she fell asleep. He then lay on the bed beside her. Suddenly Ananya shouted “PLEASE NO. DON” T HURT ME. I WON’T. PLEASE”. Raghav jumped out of his bed, hugged her and consoled her.


After a few weeks, Ananya was discharged. She wasn’t back to her normal phase of life. She had bad dreams, fell sick almost every day and even tried ending her life a few times. ‘After all, I lost a life within me. Losing my life wouldn’t be worse’ she often thought. Raghav was there for her. He took care of her for several days after. He did all the chores as much as he could. This continued for a few months.


Ananya went through multiple rounds of counselling before she was able to be back to be herself. And herself, doesn’t mean the old dynamic, energetic, ever smiling Ananya. She became dull and seemed to be lost. Raghav was lost too but he had to be there for her. He tried whatever he could do to make Ananya’s life a little bit better. He too knew that she could never move past what had happened. But he had to keep trying. Luckily, Raghav’s insurance policy covered Ananya’s treatment.


Time flew by. The police took DNA samples and started an investigation. Three years went by. Raghav took Ananya to their village. He thought a change of place could do her some good. And it did. His family was supportive of her and did everything they could to make her happy. Little by little, the wounds started to heal. Life seemed to turn to its normal side.


The police completed their investigation. Three men of the same locality were arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment. Though the judgement had no effect in Raghav and Ananya’s life and meant nothing to them, they were happy to hear something positive after a very long time. While returning home from the court, Raghav stopped at the tea stall and ordered two special chai. It was his way of celebrating the victory.


Inside the stall, he was able to hear some laugh riots. “Final verdict in the gang-rape case today. The brutal incident happened 3 years ago” he heard a voice. “Who knows what she did to provoke them?” shouted another voice. Raghav looked at Ananya. Her expression changed, showing that the verdict was no longer a victory. Raghav put his head down too, but for a completely different reason. Shame and guilt took over other feelings inside his mind. They kept the glasses down and started walking towards home.


“Faith in justice restored. All convicts of the rape case granted life sentence” Raghav heard a news anchor shout from a salon.


“Justice succeeded. But society failed.” Raghav thought to himself and grinned.

Srishti-2022   >>  Short Story - English   >>  A Terrible Surprise

Sreepa Sumesh

H&R Block

A Terrible Surprise


She loves sleeping but if you wake her up, brace yourself coz you will witness a woman turn into a monster that’s deprived years of sleep. But for him, there is no better time than to reveal his little secret.

It is way past 2 in the morning she is sound asleep. One needs to make sure not to use any harsh methods to wake her up as she is the most unpredictable at this time of the night, but he knew very well how to do so. He nudged her slowly, whispering her name in the ear.


 “Hey, wake up, I need to tell you something”.

It’s not easy to bring her into consciousness nevertheless he continued his plight. She started to show signs of awareness.


“Hey what happened?” she replied in a low and languid voice

“Oh…” he heaved a sigh of relief; she didn’t seem violent.

‘That’s a good start’, he thought.“I‘ve been wanting to tell you this for so long but I couldn’t make up my mind. You need to listen to me carefully”

Her eyelids felt stiff. She struggled to have a glimpse of his face. “Dint you sleep yet”

“No, I just couldn’t. Unless I tell you this, I don’t think I ever will”

“Why? Is it something serious? What is it?”

He started to breathe heavily and she could almost hear him inhale. He kept twitching his eyebrows restlessly. Struggling to keep a straight face he took a deep breath.

“I think I like someone”

Her heart stopped for a moment, unable to move or think. What is he saying? Did she hear it right? Was he joking?

“What do you mean like... What kind of like?”

He looked at her helplessly and said “I don’t know”

She sat up and rubbed her eyes mercilessly to remove the last shred of weariness, “You can’t be serious.” She paused and took a good look at the man who meant the world to her. “I mean, it’s okay to like someone. It’s bound to happen, but you just need to ignore it and move on.” She felt ridiculous saying it, “There isn’t anything wrong in liking someone, you just forget it…

“But I tried…It’s been a while that I've been trying. I just can’t stop thinking about her. It hasn’t been easy for me”

She wanted so badly to know who it was. What if it’s someone she knows? What if it's someone close to her? How could she ever face that woman again? No! it’s dreadful, she thought. “It’s okay… it’s absolutely normal to like someone else but you don’t have to give it much thought. You just like her right... It’s not like you are in love, or are you?”


He looked puzzled.


Her face turned red looking at his quizzical brow “Why aren’t you saying anything?


He nodded… A chill ran down her spine. She felt like the entire world came crashing down on her.


She shouted, “No! you are lying... I don’t believe you. You can’t just be in love with someone you saw, I don’t believe you. Please tell me you’ re lying. Oh God! I can’t handle this” She covered her face in her palms.


“I wish I could… but every moment with her has been magical and at the same time I have been mentally tormented to do all this behind you. I feel like I’m cheating on you. It’s been suffocating. I don’t know what I should do I am so confused”


Her throat felt heavy. Trying to fight back her tears she struggled to talk.

“Listen… You don’t have to think too much, just forget all of this…okay… you love me, don’t you? I know you love me”


He seemed rigid and unmoved by her words.


She has never seen this side of him. Just yesterday, she remembered they cuddled next to each other under the warm blanket, it was perfect but now… What has happened? Never did she imagine, a day like this would arrive. This is the worst… ever. The love of her life, the man she loved more than anyone in the world loves someone else. She looked at him intently for a response. He turned pale.


“I don’t know”

Tears rolled down her eyes. “What do you mean? We have been together for four years. You do love me. We were there for each other through the worst. We wouldn’t have lasted if we don't love each other”


He looked down, trembling


“I’m not sure if I love you anymore”


Her eyes filled with tears she couldn’t control anymore sobbing bitterly she asked him “Are you going to leave me? Please don’t even think about it. Oh… God!! Please don’t leave me” She begged him, holding his arm tightly, crying on his shoulder. He looked away from her.


“Please don’t leave me. Is there something wrong with me? I can change all that. Is it because I gained a few pounds recently? I can lose it or is it me complaining about your mom, I can stop that too. I would do whatever you want. Just don’t leave me”


“Even if you do, I am not sure if I still love you. In fact, I don’t think I do anymore.”


“You know…” She stopped abruptly and she couldn’t find words to convince him.

She felt terrible, so terrible inside. The love of her life wants to leave her. Her world around was crumbling and moreover it’s come to a point that she must beg him to stay. She felt even more terrible when he said he didn't love her anymore.

She tried once again. “Hey… Please listen to me… How can you just leave me…huh? You know how much I love you. We can forget this. I will never ask you anything about her. We can make this work. We sure can. Just tell me that we can.”


He didn’t budge. He hardly even moved.

He isn’t the same person she met four years ago... Things have changed. There isn’t much she could do. He has gone too far away from her. She laid on the bed covering her face with her elbows, wailing, like a helpless little child.


The morning, he found himself waking up in an empty bed. He woke up in panic.


‘Where did she go?’

He checked the toilet, the kitchen, the other bedroom and the balcony. He couldn’t find her. He opened the cupboard and realized that she had emptied her stuff. Later he found her, outside locking her suit and packing the rest of her stuff. He called out to her


“Where are you going?”

She didn’t respond. She walks out sliding the glass door behind.

“Listen…Where are you going?”


“Back to my house”


“Wait! Let’s finish our talk”


I don’t think there is anything left to talk about. We did that yesterday and your opinion is quite clear to me.


“Listen…why don’t we just calm down. You don’t have to do this”


Sorry? … Do you have any idea what you told me last night? Now you want me to listen to you. I can’t believe I begged you to stay with me.


“No...” He said softly. “Listen to me, just don’t do anything rash now. Be calm. You don’t have to move out just now”


“Which means... I don’t have to move out now but later…right? Well, thanks a lot for your consideration. I can live without that.” You know, I was wondering… just why is it that you couldn’t open your heart sometime in the morning about your little misadventure but now it makes sense. You know that I’m the most vulnerable right after waking up from sleep… right? If you would have told me now, you know that I would have never begged you.


Her phone rang, she answered “Yes? Please wait... I will be right there”


The cab was waiting outside the apartment. She opened the front door, pulled her trolley bag behind her, and walked towards the lift. As she moved further away, she wanted to take one last glance but resisted her urge. She so badly wanted to stay with him but no.

She placed her trolley behind and got inside the car. As they moved further away, she saw him standing outside the gate. Her eyes filled with tears once again, not being able to register all these new changes in her life.

You would hear other people, the stories of their cheating partners, but never expected to go through one yourself. People and their ways can be unpredictable. You think you know them after spending all those years but realize they are not what you thought. All those moments you had with them seems futile. You feel worthless, ashamed, and stupid.

Her tears didn’t stop pouring down. Will she ever be able to accept and move on? It doesn’t feel like she ever will

The car turns a sharp U. Now 3 blocks more, she thought. Her heart raced.


‘What will I tell her?’

She couldn’t think of any reason.

‘Should I tell her or act like nothing has happened? What’s the point in hiding? She will have to know at some point. How long can I hide? Anyways she decided not to cry in front of her at any cost.’


As the car parked outside the gate, she opened the car trunk and removed her baggage. She could hear faint sounds from her mother’s favorite TV show.

She moves inside quietly and her mom sees her “Welcome…welcome. How are you? Did you miss Amma?”


With all her strength she gave a faint smile back. Mrs.Latha sensed something was not right.


“Are you okay? What happened? Where is my son in law?”


“It’s just me”, she shrugged. He stayed back”


“Is everything alright? You don’t seem very happy. Did you guys fight?”


“No Amma… It’s nothing… thought I wanted to see you, so here I am”


Latha was alarmed, “Hmm… why do I sense something else? You are not telling me something. What is it?”


“Why are you panicking? I said there is nothing, right.”


“Your face is telling something else. I know you too well, your face never lies”


“Okay… I just don’t feel like we’re on the same page so…hmm…we thought we should take a break from each other.”


“Wait... What? Just like that… What happened? Latha looked concerned. How long are you going to take a break?”


“Amma… Please stop it. I just got home and the only thing you’re worried about is, when will I go back? Won’t you let me breathe a little?”


Latha looked perplexed not knowing what to do and she kept quiet. She realized that her daughter needed some space.

Her room is well kept and dusted. Nothing looked out of place. It remains just like how she left it, except last time, he was there too. They were happy, at least that’s what she thought. She couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with those memories. She remembered how they watched a late-night movie on his laptop happily in each other’s arms. Their first kiss in her room, cuddling under the blanket. How happy she was. She couldn’t understand what went wrong. She lost it again and broke into tears.


‘At least I kept my promise of being true to him.’ She thought


She decided to stay in her room all day, escaping her mother’s confrontation.


Latha couldn’t help but feel worried. She has no idea what happened to her little girl. She couldn’t imagine her getting hurt. ‘What could he have done? Must be something silly… She has been inside her den for hours now’. She knocked on the door.


“Hey aren’t you hungry? Lunch is ready... Come on”


“I’m not hungry, Amma”


“What? No way… You better come out now. It’s been too long. What are you doing there?”


“I just want to be alone for some time more”


“You better come out and have something. I’m waiting here and am not going to have without you”


“Amma don’t worry about me. I am fine. Please don’t skip lunch, you need to take your meds too.


“Alright! I will not skip lunch unless you open this door. Let me just see you”


Bundled in her wooly blanket she walked up halfheartedly to the door and opened it. Not wanting to give her mother a chance to take a good look at her swollen eyes, she turned her face away.

Latha sensed it wasn't some silly little fight. Her daughter looked in unbearable pain. She isn’t someone who easily gets emotional. This must be something serious.


“What happened? Please tell me dear. I am getting worried.”


“Dint I say it’s just a break?” She snapped.


“Yeah, I understand, but you know that I’m always there for you no matter what.”


How more can she keep it inside of her? She had to confess. There was no way out. It was obvious that she looked unwell.


“Amma, how does it feel when that one person you give your all does not love you back? What would you feel?” Her voice broke into little sobs, and she burst into tears.

Latha felt helpless, she knows how strong her daughter is. All these years, after the death of her husband, it was her daughter who kept her sane. She knew at once, something grave must have happened between them.


Her mother held her face, wiped her tears and hugged her. “Don’t worry, no matter what I’m always there for you… Okay? Amma is always there for you.”

It’s almost midnight and they could hear some voices behind the door. Just then the bell rang. Latha was alarmed. She wondered, ‘who could it be?’


Latha knocked on her daughter’s door. She whispered “Someone just rang the bell”


She came outside the room. They exchanged looks and the bell rang once again.

She hesitated for a moment then thought.


‘What more worse could happen?’ After all that she went through, she felt like there wasn’t anything more to lose.

She moved closer to the front door, leaned towards the handle and slowly turned it.


“Surprise!!” She could hear something pop and some confetti falling over her.


‘Who are these people?’ They sound familiar. It was dark outside; she could not see clearly. ‘Ohh… It’s the gang’

‘Why is he here with a cake?’ She couldn’t make sense of what’s happening. ‘Is it a dream?’

That’s when she realized it’s her birthday today. She completely forgot the date, who would remember after last night.

Latha behind her was astonished. She knew it was her daughter’s birthday but seeing her misery she couldn’t bring herself to wish her. She could see some familiar faces. Oh yes, it’s her old friends.

Aishwarya, her college mate and best friend was there too but looks like she has no idea what her friends have gone through. If so, she would have never agreed to this. She came forward and gave her a tight hug.


“Happy Birthday girl!! Did we scare you? I’m so sorry girl”

It was awkward with so many people inside. She wanted them all out of the house. It seemed unbearable. Overwhelmed with emotions she wanted to scream on top of her lungs.


There he comes from behind. He smiled at her holding a cake with a candle lit.

“Happy Birthday love” he kissed her on the cheek.” “Come on blow the candle”


She stood still in disbelief; she couldn’t absorb the whole idea. Wasn’t she supposed to feel happy? That he is there now, right next to her but she wasn’t, in fact she was dumbfounded. She couldn’t bring herself to enjoy the moment or forget whatever he said to her last night. This was unbearable. She didn’t know how to react. She did not want to make anyone upset and worry. She didn’t want to make a scene, yet she couldn’t bring herself to smile either. 


“Um… I think we need to talk” she said “Let’s go outside”


His face turned grim. He slowly moved towards her and whispered,“I know last year I forgot your birthday but see… I told you, I would make it up to you. I am so sorry; I knew it was a little harsh but it’s just a prank. I wanted to just scare you, that's all. But you just packed up all your stuff and…” she cut in…


“Could you just listen to me for once”


“Yes… oh... yes”


“I really had a hard time I don’t know if u were aware of it, but I couldn’t process what was going on”


“Yeah, I understand, can we do this later, I mean they are all waiting for us. We can do this later when all this is done”


“I think they can but I’m afraid I can’t. I would like you to leave me now”


Latha had a hard time wondering what was going on. ‘What were they talking about? Did they make up?

Guests started murmuring to each other. They were taking quite a long time. He followed her into the living room, looking rather disappointed.

She looked at the crowd and said “I am so sorry to have bothered you all, but all this was never planned. I feel terrible saying this, but I need you guys to leave. Him and I need to talk. I hope you all understand”


They looked at each other and shook their heads in wonder and slowly moved out with their little party buckets.

Once all left, she felt relieved. She spoke to her mom“Amma, I have decided to separate from him”


“What do you mean? Are you listening to yourself?”


“Amma, when he said he found love with someone else I was devastated. All my life, I have never felt this lonely. I could not help myself to understand what went wrong. I have always managed my life to cater to his needs. I tried to be someone he liked, I changed my likes to his, I learnt to cook what he likes, listened to him, and supported him and stayed next to him like a rock even though it may not have been the right thing too. Why? Because I loved him. I wanted to stay beside him no matter what, and did whatever I could, just to see him happy”


She then turned towards him

“These last few hours, I was just thinking…what went wrong with our happy life? I was committed, ready to do whatever it needs to, always ensuring that you were comfortable and well cared for then what went wrong? That’s when I realized that I was blind all along. You never took an effort to make me feel the same. Maybe this may come off as if I am not thinking straight and I’m just being emotional and not thinking about the consequences, but no... Do you know why? I never felt like you valued me ever. Even when you insensitively told me that you loved someone. You saw how heartbroken I was. Yet, you never made a point to clear it out. You were only bothered about the surprise. My head spun through the last four years with you and let me tell you it wasn’t the kind of give and take I wanted. I have been disappointing myself and letting myself down being in a relationship with someone who only valued themselves more. I meant no value to you because you didn’t even think twice to say something so nasty and leave me like that for a silly surprise, don’t my feelings matter?


“Hey! I am sorry, please let’s just forget all this. We don’t need to think about this ever again”


“Do you remember it was you who asked me to resign my dream job so that you would be able to meet your schedules? Also, you would always ensure that I would be a laughingstock in front of your buddies telling every little embarrassing detail to a point where I would need to excuse myself to be as far away from them. You knew it made me uncomfortable, yet it was of no significance to you. All this was nothing until u walked out on my dad’s funeral, a moment in my life I was the lowest. Do you remember that?”


“But… but… that was because I couldn’t move the dates to our Bali trip”. His lips trembled. “You knew how much I wanted to go there with my friends… right? You know what? This is what’s wrong with women… when there is an argument, they dig up everything from the past as leverage”


“Hmm… that’s right… The fault is still mine. I mean what more could I have expected. Let me get this straight, I really tried to understand you even though I knew you never cared about me the same way I did. There were red flags everywhere still I never once wanted to see you unhappy. It never mattered to me how I was treated by you because you were my priority. Guess… I was just scared of ending up alone, so I never once thought how you made me feel. 


He was stumped. He has never seen this side of her ever. “You are still mad at me; I know that but listen, I can make this right. Don’t you think you are taking this too seriously? Come on, it’s just a prank and I gave you a great surprise doesn’t that make up for it all? It was all for your birthday you do realize that.

“I know it’s for my birthday, but my decision seems right after all you still don’t get it”


“What do you mean? How can you be so insensitive? Can’t you give me another chance?”


“Oh…no… I have given you plenty but now I think I need to give one last chance but to myself to clear this mess”


“This is hurting me and it’s not something I’m ever going to forget. If you say no now, you do know that there is no coming back” He looked at her furiously.

“I know… and I have never been this sure about anything, ever” She replied with a smirk “Thanks for letting me realize what I missed. This little shock has been lifechanging”

Srishti-2022   >>  Short Story - English   >>  AMELIA



Being sworn by the icy cold air of mid winter Amelia stood in her balcony with a cup of brewing coffee.

“This cup of hot coffee would turn into iced coffee in no time.”, Amelia thought to herself. But she can’t resist to watch out the beauty of the white cold desert that laid right in front her. It was a barren land. The sight of a tree can’t be even seen. It laid quiet and peaceful like an ocean that hid mysteries of life. It seemed to her that even the horizon was frozen to a ball of ice.

“It was a tiring day, but a good cup of coffee and this endless beauty of white ocean of snow would never stop me from gazing it for hours or maybe for days. “, Amelia said to herself with a smile.

“But don’t you think life is better with people. “ Amelia’s thoughts was all interrupted for a moment. She turned around in bewilderment to see who it was.

“Here life is just like this barren land. Empty!”. The anonymous voice came out again from an area of unknown. In the shock of a voice that broke into her silence was eating her with fear. She carefully placed her coffee on the kitchen counter and moved on slowly to check over the source of the voice.

“The Beethoven” the anonymous voice came again. This time Amelia gathered her consciousness and tried to find out more details about the voice. A very deep manly voice. His sound echoed all over the house. She tried to keep herself hideous and kept listening for the from over a distance.

“The name sounds heaven. The name of an eternal and classic musician. But it’s so empty here. The anonymous kept complaining. To Amelia’s shock she could only hear a voice but the person who was behind this play can’t be seen. Amelia living in a single storey building there are no much space for an intruder to hide in. It was a small and compact home with a cellar.

 “THE CELLAR!! “. Amelia exclaimed. Since her moving in to this new place in the undisclosed location of Russia. She didn’t have much to do in this home. She was living in the trauma of Ukrainian holocaust. And this home was a hideout passed on to her by a friend. Amelia remembered about her life in Kyiv before the holocaust. She was a people woman. Always centered by friends and relatives. An outgoing woman who is now casted by the curse of solitude. She slowly moved on to the stairs that took her to the cellar. She doubted whether to move down on to the cellar to find the intruder or….

“Are you a fan of Beethoven symphonies? Oh maybe not. If you were ever a fan of this classic you would never throw it in the cellar. But how can one even just leave out this eternal music ignorantly?”

Amelia was humiliated with the questions raised against her by a stranger. Almost broken into her home and raising questions against her was not something that was invited. Glowing in the fury of arrogance Amelia screamed down the cellar,

“Whoever you are I don’t mind but you have broken into my home and your taking and messing up things that belonged to me. Nobody has given you the rights to do so. If you’re not surrendering yourself right now am ringing down the cops.

The answer to Amelia’s fury was a laughter. “Are you sure of calling the cops. If then go ahead. I would wait for them to come. And let’s see who is going to the cell. Is it me or you..” the laughter continued.

Amelia couldn’t believe her ears. Amelia eloped from Ukraine to Russia during the holocaust. And in this solitude of desertation, she lived because she never wanted to be pulled over by the Russian military. He knew something about her. Amelia grew more panic. With no one to help around she felt awfully helpless.

“How did you make in here? Who are you? “ questioned Amelia

“umm.. That’s a friendly approach… well I am Ezekiel and I am actually from Kyiv. I was trying flee from Ukraine to Germany but I was tracked down by the Russian arm forces and I needed a place of stay . WHILE wandering I found this place and I thought of quick shifting in here, just for a few days and I would leave.. Am not here to trouble you. This looks an old torn out place and the police wouldn’t hunt me down quickly. In couple of days I will leave the place. I am not going to bother you.

“How can I believe you.? What if you’re an undercover agent of the Russian police. What if you’re here to hook me up? What if you strangle me up?? You are well aware that there are no close calls here and no matter what happens inside this place it wouldn’t come out am sorry Ezekiel I don’t want to risk my life out.

“Oh young lady if I wanted to do any of these I could have done that in no matter of time. It’s not that hard to knock out a women. Believe me for I have no such intentions. I only want is a temporary place to hide over for a couple of days. Please young lady.

Amelia didn’t want to say a no to Ezekiel. Since both of them are on a hideout of the holocaust. Deep down there was something burning inside her. It was the thought of her home country, it’s people and their sufferings.

“Calling out Ezekiel to the ground floor from the cellar is a risky business. Maybe continuing a healthy conversation and providing him something to eat and drink wouldn’t cost much”, thought Amelia.

“Ezekiel” Amelia called out. “Are you freezing down their?? Are you in good health condition?”

“Thank you young lady. Well am glad that you would give me a chance to stay here for a while. “

“Yes”. Amelia responded back. “As long as you are not getting into my nerves. “

“I promise you. I am not going to bring you any hurdles in my name. “

“Alright then. Tell me that whether you need some jackets and sweaters to keep you warm. “

“Well if you don’t mind I need some. Mine is a bit worn out. And if your fine can I have some hot water too. “

“Sure” Amelia moved on to her room and got some jackets, socks and gloves for her uninvited guest from Kyiv. She arranged them in a basket and filled a flask of hot water that had been brewing in burning heat at her fire place. She also arranged and filled the basket with some crackers and bread for the man.

“Maybe this is what patriotism also meant of. You can never stand back to witness a man of your land struggling to live through the holocaust caused by the people just in fiery quest of power.

“Hello” Ezekiel’s voice broke through her thoughts.

“Yes” Amelia responded with no delays.” Are you OK in there? Do you need something else? I am arranging some necessities for you. Well do you have light to see?”

“Yes am so far fine. I just doubted your silence. I beckon your apology. But I need you to understand my condition. And never do take this a an issue of low trust issue.”

Amelia felt his pain. “ Ezekiel I totally understand you. You can trust me. If it’s my silence that bothers you am sorry. Am not doing this with intentions but solidarity gave me this. Maybe I will try to keep up to talk to you and enjoy ourselves with some company.”

With that Amelia has filled a basket with all requirements that he would need.

She tied a rope to the handles of the basket and reached near the cellar. The cellar was designed in a way that it looked completely detached from the house. An internal route through the house is what it looks like. The door to the cellar is hard to be distinguished from the flooring done. It could be identified only through the hollow sounds that arise while walking. The cellar door goes on to one of the corner of the house. Amelia went over to the kitchen corner that shared the adjacent side with the balcony and kitchen and opened the door to the cellar door. Three steps down and you will reach a platform of landing and a long way down of stairs is built to reach the bottom of the cellar. The darkness that went straight into the cellar have lit the light of fear in her. For a second she doubted her decision of letting Ezekiel in. Amelia slowly placed the basket by holing on the rope tied over to the basket’s handles. And wondered if their would be any light down there. She closed the cellar door and called Ezekiel.

“Ezekiel.. Oo Ezekiel. I have kept a basket of necessary things for you. On the landing at the cellar door steps. And I wonder do you have any lights in there?”

“Oh young lady, thank you for your generosity. Don’t worry there is an old lantern here. “

Amelia sat near the cellar door and heard the footsteps of Ezekiel coming up to get the basket. His footsteps gave her memories of that a wild beast coming down to eat his prey. Though she was happy helping out a poor man her gut instincts kept her from enjoying such pleasure. She sat their wondering about the reasons of her being detained in enjoying even the slightest form of happiness, and that’s when Ezekiel once again broke through her thoughts

“Oh young lady thank you so much. I had been starving for 3 weeks now in this abandoned land of snow. You have given me the comfort of life. May God bless you. May God bless us all.”

In Ezekiel’s words of gratitude Amelia’s eyes welled up she thought about her loved ones back in her homeland. She couldn’t even think if they were alive or not. At a point she even thought the whole point of running away from the cursed war. Is it to live the rest of the life in the doom of fear of being caught by the Russian military? With no loved ones near, life is dead even with you being alive. Tears rolled down Amelia’s cheeks. Amelia walked over to the balcony to see the white desert. She could hear the distant sounds of firing and bombing. The cold twined her spine and her tears frozen up.

“Hey you.. You could freeze down by tears but not my agony of loosing my love of life. You swirl down with icy wind that could turn any being into a globe of ice. But why didn’t you stop the people who began this war. Why you never stopped them from bombing lakhs of innocents souls. You wanted us to see lead our lives in the no hope of living? Didn’t you? What did we do to you? I challenge you to stop this human from causing further harm to others. Don’t you think we all hail from one eternal power which means we all belong to a family. You harm your family for financial gains and power.

Amelia fell on her knees and broke down into tears while questioning about the bitter truth of life.

They say nature is the mightiest but not mighty enough to stop these humans from doing such things. Amelia cried out to the nature. Since her prolonged hours of solidarity it’s the first time since her hide out in the last 9 months Amelia cried her heart out.

*knock* *knock*

Amelia was startled at that door knocks.

Hey came a soothing voice. Don’t be afraid this is Ezekiel. Are you alright in there.

The response Ezekiel could hear was Amelia’s a huge sigh. Amelia in broken voice enquired “Ezekiel are you alright?”


I don’t think I’m. But sometimes we become the scapegoats of fate’s game. I have seen worst. I have seen my dear ones die in front of me. My brother called to inform me that there is a severe case emergency and we need to hurry of from Kherson. He shifted my pregnant wife and his family with their 2 year old child to our parents home at Kyiv. We didn’t want to leave the city all by ourselves. If we are saving our lives then we thought of saving more with us. We couldn’t stay back to hear the cries of thousands of children and injured. At the end of the day when you are at your safety the hunting of the pleas will eat you alive. Parents handed us over their loved children. Kissing them their one last kiss, they knew maybe they would never see their kids again and wanted them to be safe. The cries of the heartbroken people is far more fierce than anything.

 We got over with people we could take up with us. We thought we were safe. But we’re not. We soon ran out food supplies. We had to rob supermarket to get our basics. Kids were traumatized with the sounds of firings. We knew that the Russian arms forces were now in run for a Kyiv and we left with no options but elope from Ukraine. Nowhere in the Ukraine was safe. Fear of death is the worst imprisonment. We gathered up the plans of shifting everyone to Russia and from there to Germany. But things will never happened like we want them to be. Russian arm forces traced us out and fired us. They didn’t show any concern to anyone. I saw my parents my brother his family and and and (crying heavily) they fired my wife who was 9 months. I never knew why I was left behind to face all this. I will never know why did people act gruesome. I lost everything and everyone. The only people I could save was 5 kids whom we took with us while shifting from Kherson and my 2 year old niece.For that I had to sacrifice my whole family. But even then I could die in peace that I was able to save those little ones. The only living member of my family is my niece. I need to reach out to her. I want to live with her. Now that’s the only thing left for me to do. (sobbing).

Young lady I am sorry. I have gone too far. I haven’t intended to indulge you in more sorrows. While my hideout at your stay I have heard you sorrows, bursting out with frustration. And now I have heard you dampen down to tears and cries. We all have lost something or someone. At a point we could only stand to see our loved ones leaving us. And that thought of being helplessness kills you every moment every day until your last breath.

Move on! I will never say that it’s easy but that’s the only possible thing left to do.

Young lady do you hear me???

Young lady???

Are you there?

 Why are you not responding?

Ezekiel amidst the cold felt a hot blow in his surroundings. A sense of tension grew. An unknown feeling of something odd had happened have covered him up. A similar feeling that embraced him when he had to witness his home at Kyiv was air bombed while shifting the children to another point of safety. In the frozen cellar Ezekiel was sweating up as if he was put into a preheated oven. He stood up from the cellar and took up the lantern and moved up to the stairs. A doubt of risking his life was under a question. Kiara his little niece is the only treasure that God have left him with. The fear of death before reaching her engulfed him.

“Do or Die. I am bound to find out if the grateful woman who have willing shared her hideout area and fed me with the necessities is fine or not. The good deeds I do will definitely bliss over Kiara. “

Without a moments hesitation Ezekiel started to move forward with his firm steps of determination. When he reached at the stair he had seen something unusual and odd flowing down. He examined it closely. A thick dark red colored fluid. Ezekiel was taken aback. The only prayer he had was that it should not be blood. He followed the flow and reached at the landing of the cellar. Ezekiel could hear his heart beat louder. The fast thuds of the heart made him feel that his heart would now blast into pieces.

Ezekiel slowly moved his hands to the cellar door. He knew death was near him. The thought of fleeing down never came in his head. He felt more obliged to the great fullness done by an unknown lady. He put over his hand at the cellar door handle to push it open. But even before he could open it he saw the cellar door opening by itself and a flash of light fell over his eyes. Ezekiel squiched his eyes in shock and terror. He could hear man speaking in Russian.

Ezekiel had a flash of his life in front of him. The only wish left will never be done. His promise to Kiara will never be made. She will be waiting for him at his friend’s home. In the last message he received from his friend was an audio note from Kiara saying that she is waiting for him to come. And she will wait for him everyday until she fall sleep. Until she meet her uncle.

Tears fell over his face like spring.

“Am sorry Kiara. My child I love you forever. You will be always blessed.”

Ezekiel stood at the landing in surrender position. When he opened his eyes he saw a man standing at the cellar looking at him in wonder.

“My friend I am here to help you. Come on up. Give me your hand. Is there anyone else down there?”

Ezekiel looked at them in shock.

“What?” Asked Ezekiel.

“Yes. We don’t have much time we need to get down from here. Come on fast.”

In no time Ezekiel was lifted up. When he was lifted up. He saw a lady laid near the cellar door shot dead. A flabbergasted Ezekiel asked the man “Hey no. Wait! Did you kill her? What happened to her? “

“We have no time for explanation come on lets go.”

“No” said Ezekiel. “She she helped me. I need to save her. “

The man only replied him with a command, “We need to go! “

Ezekiel was dragged out of his hide out when he saw the young lady being bled to death.

Ezekiel remain silent for the rest of the journey. He never asked any questions. He was in search of answers. When Ezekiel and the man reached Tegel Airport at Germany and was about to part ways, Ezekiel repeated his question once again, “Who are you and what happened that day? Who killed her? Why did you wanted to save me from there? “

“I am Amelia’s colleague. She was in that hideout for 9 months. I had asked her to stay there over this time while I got arrangements in Germany done and take her here. That day when we met was I asked Amelia to pack necessities up to move to Germany. But nothing goes as we planned. An undercover Russian army identified the hideout and charged inside house and fired her.”

Ezekiel couldn’t say anything but listen to it helplessly.

“Earlier that day I received a text from her “ I may not make it to Germany. The military is here. But you need to save a man from the cellar.”

Ezekiel sometimes you can’t save everyone. Amelia might have purposefully stayed near the cellar is what I think at times. If not they would have searched and would have caught you from were you were hiding as the cellar is a hollow space. With her body there the military wouldn’t mind dragging it around to see further area.

I have lost my friend. But she is a fighter. She fought solitude and she won the battle in saving your life.

Wish you good luck mate.”

The man walked past Ezekiel with teary eyes. Ezekiel looked at him as he walked away from the corner of his eyes. He have never seen or asked the name of the young woman her name. Sometimes it’s true that we across certain people for a reason. Amelia sacrificed her own life for me regardless of my identity and my purpose. Ezekiel remember Amelia breaking down that day. It was to console her he entailed his story. But even though Ezekiel wasn’t convinced by the story Amelia’s friend had told him. He didn’t hear any firing nor any footsteps charging in nor any commotion that took place inside that discarded house.

“Regardless of identity and purpose she let me live. But why? “

Ezekiel looked up high at the sky and said, “At times we can’t force on getting answers to the questions that arise in our lives. It’s always better live it to the way that it was meant to be.”

From the desert of white, Ezekiel have come to the shore of Germany ins search of destiny and fortune. Kissing Kiara’s forehead with teary eyes Ezekiel saw a book lying on the table and it read “Amelia” by Henry Fielding.

Srishti-2022   >>  Short Story - English   >>  The pale blue home

Jaidev Chandrasekharan

UST Trivandrum

The pale blue home




I stood there, bewildered. I could not remember how I arrived at this place.


The sky was clear and starry. The place was deserted except for an object that stood at a small distance from me. I walked towards it.


It was an astronomical telescope.


I leaned, adjusted the telescope, and started exploring the sky. Jupiter got my attention first. I enjoyed the magnificent view of Jupiter and its moons.


Then there was Saturn. I savoured the sight of the beautiful rings that encircled the planet.


That was when I noticed another planet. At first, I could not recognize it. I focused my telescope and zoomed in.


As I kept looking, I felt a chilling sensation! 


I couldn't believe my eyes!


I was looking at the earth!




I woke up to the sound of the alarm. It was 6 AM in the morning.






"So, another dream?" Rekha asked, holding my hands as we walked through the beach.


I nodded.


"Ok. Tell me about it." She demanded.


I felt relieved that Rekha was with me. Perhaps, she was the only human being who believed that I was not crazy.


"This time, the dream was very clear and vivid. I was at a deserted place, observing the sky through an astronomical telescope. I could find earth in the sky." I said.


Rekha walked along, listening with attention.


"Jupiter and Saturn were much bigger and closer than how they would appear from earth. One more curious thing was that I could not find Mars in the sky." I said.


Rekha nodded, realizing the implication of what I just said.


"So, putting the pieces together, most likely I was standing on Mars in the dream". I concluded.


Rekha faced me and said, "You are an imaginative guy, Anand. It is great to be able to see such vivid and diverse dreams. I hope this will inspire another Science fiction work from you."


She was right. Most of my fiction work was inspired by my dreams. But I had a gut feeling that these were not ordinary dreams. Though it did not make any logical sense, my intuition kept telling me that these were real memories. I had a nagging feeling that the incidents I was seeing in dreams actually happened at some point of time. 


"Rekha," I said. "I know I am sounding crazy again. I still have that feeling that I do not fully belong here. I had a forgotten past, in which I lived somewhere outside of our planet."


Rekha held my hand again and chuckled. "Yes, you are sounding crazy again, but don’t worry. I know you are not crazy."


She added in an assuring tone. "Anand, you can talk to me any time. I will help in keeping you grounded."


"But you need to connect one more dot, Rekha." I said, "Remember what I told you about my past? I was found unconscious in a forest as a small boy. I had no memory of who I was when they found me." 


Rekha nodded.


I said. "That means, none knows who I was, or how I ended up in that forest. So, we cannot rule out the possibility that I had an extra-terrestrial past."


Rekha would not give up. "Think again Anand. You know about Mars. You know that the Martian atmosphere is not suitable for human life. So, there is no chance that you could have lived in Mars."


I said. "Well. Mars is not habitable now, but it might become habitable in future. Some scientists have envisioned a process called Terraforming, which aims at conducting controlled nuclear explosions on the Martian surface to transform its atmosphere in such a way that humans can live there. This might become a reality in the next century."


"But that is in the future." Rekha argued. "But you are referring to a past memory."


"Who knows," I pondered with a grin, "that my memory is actually a memory from the future?" 


"What do you mean?" Rekha frowned.


I said. "What if I time-travelled from a future point of time where Martian life is possible?"


Rekha held my hand again and said. "Anand, what you are looking for, is a sense of belonging. I can understand the pain of being an orphan and growing up as a loner. Your subconscious mind is making up such vivid stories so that you can escape this pain."


After a pause, she said reassuringly. "But I want you to know that I am always there for you. If you choose to embrace reality, you will never be lonely again. There is no need to escape into a make-believe world to ease your pain. You are being loved in the real world."






I stood before the telescope, still bewildered. I knew that I was dreaming.


That was when I noticed that my body was smaller than usual. I was not the grown-up man I used to be in the real world. I was a small boy. I checked my reflection on the steel plate that was part of the tripod that supported the telescope. There was my ten-year-old self looking back at me! 


I turned my attention from myself to the telescope once again. I started zooming in the telescope and appreciating the beauty of earth's oceans and continents.


"Beautiful. Isn't it?" A voice said from behind.


I turned back in shock. There stood a tall lean old man wearing round spectacles.


"What sight is more beautiful than viewing our long-lost home from an unreachable distance? What longing is stronger than the longing to get back to the warmth of home?" The old man spoke poetically.


"Who are you? What is this place? Why am I here?" I asked


"So many questions." He remarked as he walked towards me.


Extending his arm towards the telescope, he asked. "May I?"


I let him grab the telescope. He zoomed in and looked.


The man said. "It all started when the ice caps in earth's poles melted due to global warming, causing the sea level to rise everywhere on earth."


He continued speaking, while taking effort to look through the telescope. "Oceans swallowed many major cities. Many islands disappeared into the ocean. In every continent on earth, people from coastal areas flew to inlands as refugees."


I listened in shock. The old man was speaking about incidents that happened on earth as if they happened in the past tense.


He continued. "But the inlands were not safe either. Sharp increase in temperature made living almost impossible in tropical regions close to the equator. So, there was another migration of people from equatorial regions to north and south. Poor souls had to leave everything behind and travel to lands where they were not welcome."


Looking towards me, he said. "And that triggered the climate wars. Instead of working together, countries invaded other countries in desperate attempts to gain more land and resources for their people."


"To add on to the misery," he continued, taking his attention back to the telescope. "Air and the oceans became so polluted that many animal and plant life forms became extinct."


His face became grave "The final blow to humanity was delivered when a country misfired a nuclear warhead. The country on the receiving end retaliated with another nuclear warhead. The allied countries who had nuclear power joined the brawl and the situation escalated to a nuclear holocaust which eliminated half of the human population."


He came near me and put his hand on my shoulder as he said. "The dust and smoke covered the earth's atmosphere blocking sunlight, thereby triggering a Nuclear winter. Those who were left, eventually died. And trust me boy, they had painful deaths."


He concluded. "Mars had been terraformed and made habitable. I am the descendent of the people who migrated from earth and settled here in Mars. While every human being on earth perished, we, the Martian humans survived."


The man became silent.


Slowly, I gained my composure and I asked him. "What year is this?"


"As per the earth calendar you follow, the year is AD 2322." He replied calmly.


Then I unleashed all the questions that I had suppressed in my mind.


"Who am I? Is this a dream? Or is this a real memory stored in my head playing out as a dream? If this is a real memory, does that mean I am a Martian human? If yes, how did I travel back in time and lived in the 21st century?"


Old man stood up with a thoughtful face. He said. "You deserve an answer. Don't you?"




Once again, the alarm bell woke me up. The time was 6 AM.


"! Damn it, damn it, damn it!" I yelled.


I wanted this dream to continue. I wanted to hear what the old man had to say. I felt desperate.






Impatience and helplessness took over me. I paced through the bedroom.


I found my mobile phone, and dialled Rekha. Rekha's energetic voice answered the call. I guessed she might be in the middle of her morning workout.


I gave her the full account of the dream I just had. I described the encounter between my ten-year-old self and the mysterious old man in vivid detail.


Rekha was silent for a while. Then she asked. "Anand, do you remember how we fell in love?"


Before I spoke, she answered it herself. "It started when I read your science fiction Novel "The pale blue home".


I listened intently.


“The pale blue home” was a novel into which I had put my heart and soul. I chose that name for the novel as a tribute to the famous photograph of earth taken by the Voyager 1 space probe in 1990 which is named “The pale blue dot”. 


She continued. "Apart from presenting a thrilling plot to the readers, the novel delivered a touching message to humanity that, in this vast universe, our earth, our mother planet, is and will always be our true home. Amidst all weirdness and injustice in this world, your story stressed the imminent need for human beings to unite and work together to solve the common problems that threaten the very existence of our species."


I felt touched by Rekha's words.


"You have a gift, Anand." Rekha said. "These dreams are nothing but whispers from your heart. Don't let those whispers go in vain. Capture them. Write them down. Share it with the world. That is what you need right now. And trust me, the world needs it too."


I felt happy after my conversation with Rekha. I made myself a cup of tea, took out my laptop and sat on the couch with the intention of writing down my dream.


But in a few minutes, I drifted off to sleep.






The old man and I sat on two adjacent chairs. It was the same desert, but the telescope was at a distance. The old man was pouring me a cup of tea.


With shivering old hands, he extended the cup to me. I accepted it. He settled himself with another cup.


He spoke. "My name is Roger Bernes. I am an Astrophysicist. My area of research involves developing the technology to create artificial wormholes."


I nodded.


I recalled that wormholes are portals that could connect different places and times in the universe. For example, suppose there is a wormhole connecting Delhi in the year 2022 with Athens in BC 300. The Delhi end of the wormhole would appear as a mysterious dark circle. You might just walk into it, and onlookers will see you disappearing without trace. But you will reappear on the other end of the wormhole, and you will find yourself in Athens in 300 BC.


In the 21st century, a wormhole was just a theoretical concept which had its foundation on Einstein's theory of general relativity. But apparently, in the 23rd century, Mr. Roger Bernes is talking about creating a real wormhole!


I once again regained my focus and asked my burning question. "Who am I? And is this just a dream, or a real memory?"


Old Roger zipped his tea and said. "I am sorry my boy. I know you partially, but not fully."


I asked in a confused tone. "What do you mean?"


Mr. Bernes pondered what to say for a moment. Then he said, "Well, I do not know who you are in my world. But I know who you were in the 21st century."


He looked at my further puzzled expression and went on explaining. "There is a high chance that you are a Martian boy born in the 23rd century who travelled to 21st century earth through the wormhole I created. Other end of my wormhole opens up to the forest where they found you unconscious as a ten-year-old boy."


I felt goosebumps in my stomach when I sensed that the dots were slowly getting connected by themselves!


I asked in excitement. "So, you know who I was in the 21st century? Then tell me about it, so that I can be sure that you are telling the truth."


Mr. Bernes shook his head and said. "Who you are matters so little my dear. But what matters are the gifts you gave the world. What matters are the lives you touched with your work. What matters is the positive impact you created on the progression of human civilization."


I was growing impatient hearing old Roger's poetic, but unhelpful answer.


Roger continued. "You touched many lives, Mr. Anand Kumar."


I was shocked hearing him uttering my name. But Roger continued, ignoring that. "Especially, you touched the life of a Martian boy who read your book and got curious about decoding the mysteries of our vast universe, so that he grew up to become the Astrophysicist who created the first artificial wormhole."


I shouted out loud, "You mean, you...."


While I was searching for words, Mr. Bernes took out a paperback book from his small duffle bag. With shivering hands, he handed it over to me.


It was a copy of "The pale blue home"!


Mr. Bernes put an arm on my shoulder and continued. "But it is a pity that you wrote only one book. I wish you had written more. Maybe if you did, a million people could have read it. Out of the million, a thousand could have realized the urgency of doing what they can to save planet earth by fighting climate change, by choosing clean energy, by not polluting land and oceans and above all by treating our fellow species on earth with compassion."


He concluded in a shivering voice. "If that happened, maybe, I wish, maybe, the tragedy that hit earth could have been avoided, or at least delayed a little."


Mr. Bernes sighed deeply and leaned back on his chair. My excitement gave way to an unusual calmness that my mind had not experienced in years.


There were a few minutes of silence.


I stood up and said. "Mr. Bernes, I still do not know who I am. But I know what I need to do."


He looked at me with hope in his eyes.


I asked. "Where is the wormhole you and your team created?"


Roger pointed his hands towards his right. I looked in that direction and found a two-dimensional shape floating in the atmosphere. It was a giant dark circle.


"Goodbye, Mr. Bernes" I bid him farewell.


"Goodbye, my dear boy." Mr. Bernes greeted me back.


I started walking towards the giant wormhole. But I stopped halfway and turned towards Mr. Bernes and said. "I promise Mr. Bernes. "The pale blue home" won't be the only piece Anand Kumar would be writing."


Mr. Bernes nodded. His eyes reflected hope.


I turned and walked towards the wormhole. I knew that I would reappear in the 21st century earth. The Forest guards would find a boy lying unconscious in the middle of the forest. Everything would start over again.




I woke up to the sound of my phone ringing. Display in my phone read "Rekha calling".


I answered the phone.


"Hello Mr. Dreamer," Rekha teased. "I’m off work today. Why don't we meet?”


"Sure. We have a lot to talk about." I replied.



Srishti-2022   >>  Short Story - English   >>  At the Crossroads...

At the Crossroads...


Today is just another Saturday morning for everyone. But it is a crucial day for me. I am Saahir, a migrant worker from Kolkata and working in the Mumbai outskirts.


My eyes feel cold and puffy, and I can’t see anything clearly because of my sleepless nights.


“Bhai, are you ready to leave?”, asked my roommate Munna.


I tried very hard to hide my tears and said, “Yes bhai, I am gonna leave. I don’t know what will happen. But whatever happens, I have to reach my home by today. Otherwise, all my efforts will be in vain.”


After taking my dull bag, I walked out of our small room. I walked through the darkness as it is 5AM in the morning. I am not going to my hometown for a holiday. My son is in hospital and he’s having a heart surgery tomorrow. I have to get there before tomorrow morning, to pay the bill for surgery.


I reached the railway station after a 20 minutes walk. It is a strange scene for me as the railway station was deserted. I entered the entrance and went to the ticket counter, there was also no one inside the counter. I stood there without understanding what’s going on. Suddenly, I could feel a hand over my shoulder. Yes, that’s a Railway Police officer.


He asked me, “What are you doing here?”


I replied, “Sir, I am looking for a ticket to Kolkata.”


“I think you are not aware that all the train services are stopped due to the pandemic.”, The policeman told me politely.


Those words went like lightning through my body.


I begged him, “Sir, please help me anyhow. I have to get there by tomorrow. Otherwise my son will die, he is sick.”




“Do you have sense?” The policeman’s tone suddenly changed, “The train is not mine to operate according to your wishes.”


After a long conversation and argument with that policeman, I realised that he is helpless. But he told me that only the freight trains are using the tracks now. When I started to walk back from the railway stations, my mind was full of that freight train.


I was thinking that if I could get on one of the freight trains, I can get to my home even if it’s a bit late. Late is better than never. So I decided to get on one of the freight trains. I walked parallel to the railway tracks by road. Then I entered inside the track and started to walk through the track.


I kept walking for hours. My only thought was to reach my son. I would even walk all the way to Kolkata if I have to. It’s almost 11.30 AM. The sun seems to be angry at me as the sunlight is at its peak. I started to feel so tired. I knew that I cannot enter any railway station to drink water or take a nap. So I kept walking.


Suddenly my phone started to ring.


“Hello, where are you now? I hope you’ll be here by morning. Everything is ready for the surgery. Everybody is waiting for you to come with the cash.” My wife Sarifah is on the other side.


“Don’t worry dear. I will be there on time.”, I said to her after wiping a liquid from my face. I don’t know whether it is my tears or my sweat.


I hung up the phone and started to walk even faster as I have to keep my word and save my kid.


I am aware that I could be attacked at any time as I am carrying a big amount of money with me. I couldn’t send it home through banks as the banks are under lockdown. So I decided to bring that money with me to home. But I didn’t expect the railway to be under lockdown.


I started to feel hungry as I was walking from the morning and now it’s almost sunset. I could hear the sound of a freight train from a distance. My mind felt like there’s a rain coming in the desert. I stood by the track waiting for the train. But the train was coming in the opposite direction, that is towards Kerala or somewhere south. I felt disappointed and started to walk again.


I could picture my son lying on a bed in the ICU in the hospital waiting for me to come and save him. At some point of time, I fell down on the track and became unconscious. But after some time I woke up and started to walk again. Again I could hear the sound of the freight train. This time, it is from the backside. The train reached near me and it stopped after seeing me on the tracks. The loco pilot came to me and asked me what am I doing. I told him about my situation and my son.


The loco pilot said, “This train is going through Kolkata. I could give you a ride.”


I felt like I was on the moon. I hugged him with tears flowing out of my eyes and we started our journey to Kolkata. I reached the hospital in the morning and I paid the bill first then went to see my son and hugged him tightly.


Suddenly my phone started to ring. It was my wife. I looked into my phone and then looked at my wife who’s standing nearby me.


“Sarifah, why are you calling me? I am right here next to you.”


“No, you are not. Please wake up. Our son is gone.”, she said with a river flowing out of her eyes and her heart.


I was stunned, “ What are you talking about? Our son is fine. Look at him, he is comfortably sleeping in my hands.”


I looked at him and he was not there in my hands anymore. And all of the people and things around me started to vanish away. All I could hear was my phone’s ringtone. I suddenly opened my eyes and looked around. I am still at the place where I became unconscious. My phone was ringing. It was her, Sarifah. Before I could answer that call, a freight train ran over my body....




Now I can see a garden of clouds and rainbows. I am not feeling tired anymore. I started to walk slowly through that garden. At the end of a corner, there was a boy picking some flowers. I went to him and he turned to me with those flowers and that was my son.


He asked me, “Papa, why didn’t you come to save me?”


I hugged him tightly and said with tears, “Sorry my son, I didn’t make it.” He hugged me back.


Now all the hallucinations aside. I am with my son now and for eternity....................

Srishti-2022   >>  Short Story - English   >>  Escape

Rugma M

EY Trivandrum



Hurtling through the black abyss which seems to be a forgotten path to an unknown place, he went beyond, what remained of the little sparks of streetlights. Deeper he went silent and darker the surroundings became, but his mind raged, and heart was also racing to catch up. “This world is mad, its people are mad, must escape” he kept repeating. His conscious self was waging a war to hold on to the last ounce of sanity that was left. “Sanity” he thought with contempt, “Why be sane in this mad world!”


Work, home, workouts, weekends, life has been going round in the same circle for a while but the world around him was blooming with news every day. News on assaults, cheats, murders, what not! Cutting off the news channels and newspaper helped at first, but not for long. Starving half dead forms by the roadside, lust filled pervert eyes on buses, smacking hands blinded by ego and greed, hate mongers, all were too much to tolerate. World was being engulfed in absolute selfishness with people shrinking to just themselves. He had to get away and find peace, he was ready to run to the very end until he can close his eyes to a moment of serenity.


But there were only so much his weary legs could carry him. He was tired and paused to rest. Suddenly from the depth of the night, he heard a laboured breathing. His eyes fell upon a form which was barely human.


The man (or so he assumed) was sitting beneath a tree and had his eyes half closed. His limbs were reduced to just skin and bones. Tattered clothes, locked hair and hunched posture suggested a ‘Bhikshu’, but most peculiar was a hole or rather a small pit on his forehead, a remanent of a past wound, he assumed. Despite the looks, there was something holy about the man which he couldn’t quite place.


Awakened as if by the piercing stare, the man opened his eyes and spoke “It is I, Ashwathama, the bearer of sins”


Hi thoughts flooded with his paatti’s voice “and thus, having sinned incomparably by directing his wrath towards an unborn life, Ashwathama was cursed for 3000 years of penance by Lord Krishna, deprived of his source of power, the mighty gem in the forehead, he was to wander along this earth carrying sins one and all”. ‘That explains the mark on his forehead’, he thought.


When he spoke, he spoke with full conviction, “You do not have to hide away from the world, you may just walk among the crowd and will not be noticed. All have their fair share of sins.”


To this, Ashwathama replied, “I carry in me such repentance that the world would be filled with guilt and heads would weigh down in shame forever; I carry such rage in me that the world would be burnt to ashes; I carry such grief in me that the world would forget to smile again. I carry hatred so deep that the even a drop of love cannot penetrate. I am here for you to unburden, not to spread around. Do you not realise what these feelings have done to me? Its eating me from inside. I am cursed, but this is my path to salvation. I am, but a blessing to your world. Your world, maybe wrong, but remember, you are a part of it, there is no denying that.”


“The path is yours to choose. If you step beyond this point, the forest will swamp you and drain out the last of life essence until pure evil remains, which shall go into me ultimately. Be known, the world will never be at peace, free of suffering, that is heaven you are thinking about. But you can find peace within you and within the people around you. You have the freedom to let go of your burden here, with me and return a sane man, ambassador to love, compassion and kindness, which is what your world needs the most now. Be a warrior in the forefront or be a martyr who died without taking the sword, the choice is yours.”


What path did he take, alas that is a story for another time.

Srishti-2022   >>  Short Story - English   >>  The Roommate

Lidiya B Varghese

GD innovative Solutions

The Roommate


In my 1st year of college, I shared a room with a girl named Anamika. She rehearsed Carnatic music, but her mainstream was Indian classical. We had a confined room on the 8th floor in the hostel. Because it was so small, her song practice and vocal training would usually keep me awake. A few months passed by and due to my lack of sleep, I convinced her to move the practices to the music studio that was situated 6 blocks from our building. Even though she was annoyed, she eventually agreed to it.


Around 9 one evening, Anamika informed me that she would be rehearsing for an upcoming music festival in the college and wouldn’t be coming back until midnight. Great, I thought, that means I don’t have to open the door for her today. I gave her the room’s spare key and told her to unlock it when she returns. She said good night and left with a fake smile on her face. I was left alone with my coffee, books, and music. It was almost drizzling outside because the monsoon season of torrential rain was just about to begin.


I made some hot corn soup, guzzled it down, and immediately began to prepare for bed. As it was a hectic day, I decided to take a quick warm shower. By the time I got out of the bath, my eyelids were heavy with sleepiness. I pulled on my nightgown, climbed into the top section of our double-decker bed, and dozed off immediately.


As time passed, I could vaguely hear the thundering sound, and the lightning flashed across the room, which was completely dark and bleak. Even with my eyes shut, I could still sense the entire scenario going on. The rain poured on, thrusting the windows that thumped against it. Suddenly, a loud creak echoed in the room. I woke up, terrified by the dreadful uproar that alarmed my whole body. I checked my phone, and it was precisely midnight. Everything was noiseless at the moment. I rolled back and closed my eyes again to slumber.


A while later, I heard someone opening the door. It should be Anamika as only she has the keys. I saw a faint silhouette of hers standing in front of me. Checking to see if I’m already asleep, perhaps, I thought. She dossed down on the bed below me, which was strange, as she was adamant about brushing her teeth and washing up before sleep. Didn’t want to think much as I needed to get up early tomorrow for the class. There was a complete, eerie silence in the room. I couldn’t even hear her moving or breathing.


I started to drift off slowly and was at the edge of deep sleep when I was startled by another creaking noise. The pitch-black atmosphere was impenetrable, and I sat rooted to the spot, trying to stretch my eyes as wide as possible, but I could barely make out a feeble outline. Instantly, there struck another lightning, illuminating the room out of its darkness for a second. That’s when I saw the same umbrageous figure standing very close to my bed. My body trembled. With my shivering hands, I tried finding my phone below the pillow. I turned on the flashlight immediately to see what Anamika was pulling off, but she just disappeared. The smell of an inhuman presence was making me petrified.  


In a bit, I became aware of someone sitting at the corner of my bed. Anxiously, I moved my flashlight beside me to see the distorted face of Anamika. Her eyes were bloodshot red, devoid of emotion. The cadaverous appearance was sending chills down my spine. She gave a wrathful smile looking at me. Before I could understand my horrendous fear, she slithered over to me. I dropped my phone abruptly and screamed at the top of my lungs.


Just then the door’s lock clicked open and Anamika entered humming a musical tone. She switched on the light to see me sitting on my bed, frozen and paralyzed.


“What’s wrong Diya?”


I looked down at her in panic. A cold breeze brushed over my body, shaking my soul, and gradually taking away my sanity.

Srishti-2022   >>  Short Story - English   >>  Eclosion

Sreeja Surendranath




I sat upright on the chair, eye to eye with the two pairs of eyes across the table..


This was the second questioning session of the week. I prepared myself to give the same answer I had already given a hundred times by now. "It was just an accident and a kind gesture after that. I do not personally know him."


Unconvinced, one of them left the chair, as if to try the next set of tortures to make me accept the crime. I was right, she gently came up to me with a warm outside, but fuming inside smile(that's her speciality), leaned towards my left ear, and whispered: "Beta, you know, I am your mom, I understand everything, you can tell me anything in this world and I still would only love you..." and waited for an answer.


Time ticked backwards in my head. I was in 2nd grade, and the Environmental Studies class was going on. The teacher advised, "So children, you should help others in all ways you can, you are the future citizens... "(blah). Later on, the way back home that day, a hungry kid appeared on the street. Before I knew the future citizen in me took out the snack box from my bag and offered it to the kid, and the future citizen in the kid ran away with it. A similar interrogation took place that day, only to bring to my realization that I had lost the 'expensive' snack box. Taking all the sweetness in my mom's words for face value, and trusting "I still would only love you" to be true, I blurted out the entire episode. The next thing I knew was getting entangled in a verbal tumble dryer and being thrown back and forth. The charges on me were multi-fold: 1. Interacting with strangers 2. Losing my snack box 3. Believing teacher's words without consulting mom (yes, seriously). How I wish I had this talent of hers to list out every argument in concise bullet points during exams!


"Do not feel shy. You can tell everything to your mom. Do you need daddy out of this room?" Okay. It is time for a lie. "Mom, sorry for lying earlier. It was my friend Puja's cousin's friend's boyfriend. We've met in a party before." Someone else's boyfriend... I heard the sigh of relief fall straight on my ear with all the warmth.


"See, I told you, I have raised her right." and they walked out of the room.


I have never been able to say if it was some sort of pressure of 'raising right' that was making her so much of a pressure cooker to cook me every now and then judging each minute thing she "finds out" about me. When I was a kid, it was about missing pencils and unfinished snacks, in high school the level was upped to "promise me you will not love art more than science" and now in college, "who's that boy". How I wish, of the umpteen times I have screamed saying "I do not have time for all this", at least once it went into her head instead of echoing endlessly inside our house.


Though all these happened, I had learned to make clean shots behind her back and do things I love. I helped people out of my pocket money, I found time for art, I even have had boyfriends, though none stayed on steady. Medicine was a hectic course, and it claimed most of my time, even the sleep hours.


The professor went on and on, and while dozing off a bit, I heard him say, "In the course of a lifetime, not all people will experience a mental illness, but everyone will struggle or have a challenge with their mental well-being". Interesting... I managed to pull my eyelids open without the help of a wedge, though I thought at first it might be necessary. It was easy for me to think about my mom after hearing that statement, as I compared her with Joker and other villains who behaved weirdly, just like her. Is mom, like those villains, in a life-long mental struggle? Well, this is disturbing. This may be a new angle to her behaviour. Though I can never accept that my mom is mentally unwell. She's perfectly alright except for the irritating behaviour.


I decided to go home that weekend, as for the first time in my life, I felt bad for mom. I wanted to meet her for her, not for myself. I tried to imagine how she might be living her life. She has never gone to work. She has been to college, but got married before completing her graduation. And then she got pregnant which made her quit her studies halfway through, and the complications it brought along ended up in me being their only child.


"Ma, did you have friends back in school and college?". She seemed alarmed with the question: "Why?"


"You are my mom. I share everything to you. I am also a grown-up now, can't you share with me? Don't you love me? Trust me?"


Well, weapons do backfire at times, right? And she knew she lost the game there. She wiped her hands on her saree and came sat near me in the kitchen corner, my favourite place where I used to sit and munch on whatever interesting I could find in the kitchen. A smile, which wasn't fuming inside, which wasn't filled with love to me, but something different, spread on her face, so contagious that the sparkle in her eyes made my eyes well up...


"I had a lot of friends... In school, I was the gang leader, you know. You was a nice girl when you were little, I wasn't. I was very naughty, teachers even used to say you should have been a boy instead." Then she went on about the day she hurt the neighbour by throwing stones at the mango tree and a boy who passed by got all the blame, how they got even with a boy who teased them by pouring water in his seat, how she threatened kids who tried to be mean to her friends, how she stole jaggery from the kitchen... her stories were creating monochrome scenes in a screen in front of my eyes. It was hard to believe that the tomboyish girl in these scenes was the same person, who, other than raising her voice for scolding me, is so silent that it is hard to find which part of the house she's in.


She continued with her college stories, how she formed her own 'gang' as soon as she got in, how they teased and pulled pranks on toxic boys who made fun of girls, when everyone else were busy falling in love and flirting... and then... in the middle of the second year... I felt like her voice was choking. Her eyes welled up and her far gaze went even farther. I felt sad too. I took her hands and gently squeezed them. "Ma, was that when you got married?"


The wells in her eyes started overflowing without control. "Not got married, forced to get married."


After a long pause she continued. "I had lot of dreams, but at that point, marriage was never one of them. In fact, marriage was so powerful that when it fell on my dreams, everything got shattered. Back then phones weren't popular, I lost touch with all my friends. My wedding day was the last time I saw them. After that, I tried to convince your father to let me go back to college, but then pregnancy came as a villain. That was the end of that part of my story."


She was no longer crying. I felt like her eyes were so deep now that it could fit in the entire world in it, and still have more free space. I rose a little, and held her head against my chest, like she used to, to console me when I fell and hurt myself as a kid. While gently stroking her hair, I could imagine her pain. Suddenly being pulled away from herself and being forced to be someone else. I wondered how hard it would be to go to some other house, live there with a person whom she barely knew, learn his tastes and cook for him, get pregnant soon... A person who wasn't even ready for a relationship, holding a baby in hand and having to take care of it, when in another world, at the same time, she could have been pulling pranks on naughty guys and being a hero of girls. Feeding the baby and conducting the funeral of her own self in her mind, wondering where her friends would be, with no way to know.


She sprang up suddenly when her head was wet by a drop from my right eye and wiped the left eye even before it could start rolling. She cupped my face in her arms and smiled. "Don't you want to hear the rest of the story?" Without waiting for an answer, she continued. It was my turn to lean against her chest now.


"I got pregnant and was scared. I was just 19 then. But as months passed by, you started kicking in my belly. It was an ethereal feeling. Something in me told that I was going to get a friend, and as I liked it, a girl. You came into my dreams, we ran together down the grassy hills, we caught fish in the running stream and set them free again, we danced to our fullest in closed rooms with no one around to judge. Just that, you did not have a face, but I knew you were beautiful. The delivery was complicated, and I could not see you for a couple of days. Once I came back to senses, the first thing I asked was about my daughter, they say. I did not even know whether it was a boy or girl at that time, they say. They did not know that we knew each other for ages, right, Beta? And everyone was very upset and scared to let me know that I can't have any more babies. Well, who wanted more anyway, I had you. My life took the next turn there, dear. I started enjoying cooking for you and taking care of you. I was selfish, I was preparing you to be my friend. The best friend of them all. I had this pressure of 'raising you right' from all sides. I showed off that I am concerned, just to convince them."


"But I also made sure that you lived your life to the fullest. I stuck in extra snacks when I knew you were sharing it. Have you ever wondered about the unlimited supply of papers and pencils and stuff you need for your art, that you 'accidentally' found around the house? I did not want you to miss out, but the decisions were not mine to make. I tried to help in the ways I could." She had a wide smile when I rose to look at her.


"Beta, I know I have been tough on you, sometimes on purpose, sometimes, under pressure. I have always wanted to know everything going on in your life, consider it my selfishness. But of all the selfishness I had, was this wish that, one day you would come to me and have this talk. To share my life with you, to release the pressure and be myself with someone again, not just someone, you."


I felt like I did her a favour as she had done to me twenty-two years ago. I gave her a rebirth. A release from the cocoon she was in...

Srishti-2022   >>  Short Story - English   >>  Promotion

Sujith Dan Mammen

UST Trivandrum



Kiran was thinking he was dreaming when the mobile rang. It was 2 A.M and he was deep

in sleep when the mobile started its loud country music ringtone, breaching the silence.

Kiran noticed his colleague and HR Deepak's name on the mobile display and he attended the call;

calls at these times are usually escalations or bad news, so he was tense.

"Hey Deepak, what happened?"

"Sorry Kiran to call you late, but Anish had an accident on the highway and is admitted in hospital.

Just wanted to let you know. He is in a bit of a critical stage."

"Our director Anish right?Oh God, it's so tragic."

"Yeah, so tomorrow you may have to take care of the client call in the morning. Anish won't be available and clients may not be able to postpone"

"Yeah sure, I will take care."

"Okay thanks..let me get to the hospital as his family may need some help. We will assess the situation and keep you posted"


Kiran held the mobile for a few moments as he was getting the impact of the news. Anish was the company director for their section

and the clients had high respect towards him and so did the people in the office. He was a leader in all ways and was really good

in language and could handle any tough situation with a smile, making him able to get many new clients/projects every year for

the company. Now the "biggie" has fallen and won't be able to come to office for a few weeks at least. Are there chances that

he won't recover? Then the director position will be open for fulfillment and the most experienced person in the company

has chances to get the same. Kiran knew that he was one of the fore runners if such a case rose and that would mean his salary

and social status will drastically improve. Soon he brushed off the feelings and got up to switch on his laptop to work on

the presentation for the clients in the morning as Anish won't be able to present the same. Kiran knew what was at stake.


He was sure by morning what all he had to keep in mind during the presentation, he must project himself capable enough to'

be the next director of the company. It was not easy to get a promotion with all massive layoffs and economic crisis that is

happening around the world, so this must be a chance that God has given him to prove himself, or that is what he wanted to

believe. He was thinking and rethinking the choice of words he would use and not use during the presentation to

make an impact, even while brushing his teeth.


Also, he reached the office before time and went to the board room for the presentation setup. Shirley was already arranging her

laptop and she was also a senior candidate who joined after a week from when Kiran joined the office. She was pretty close

to Anish and they used to go for lunches together and many had called her "Dummy Director" for her close friendship with

Anish; they had worked in another company together and their spouses also knew each other.

"Ah Kiran..I hope the presentation is ready right? I have a meeting with Charlene just after this. Anish would want me to

be very careful with the new project as it will be our biggest deal yet."

Kiran was not very happy to see Shirley but he smiled and nodded. He knew he had competition for the promotion.


Right then the board room door opened and Cyril came in. Cyril was the manager of few projects and his projects were doing

extremely well and making profit but his attitude was hated by many as he had a go getter nature and never thought about how

his colleagues felt and just wanted the work to be done, no matter the cost.

"I had gone to the hospital, they have done a major surgery and he is still in a critical stage. Not sure whether we can hope."

Cyril blurted out as soon as he slouched on the office chair. Shirley was nodding but she didn't seem very pleased. Cyril

was a few years junior to her but his ambitions were high and this made her worried. Kiran was feeling anxious, not just

about the meeting but possibly about the number of candidates who might be aspiring to be the Director in Anish's absence.


After the meeting, when Kiran came out of the boardroom, he could see heated discussions among his colleagues, some were

hoping that Anish recovered, some were worried about his family while a majority were already picking their favourites

for the next director post. Although hushed voices, sometimes the employees were in such good spirits to clear and clarify

their points that Kiran could hear part of their arguments." Anish was perfect, but mostly God calls the perfect people

first. The company would never be the same in his absence" sighed one person. "I think Kiran would replace him as he

knows the clients and has a good name in the management side. He has also been with this company for longer." Kiran understood

that the replacement for Anish was a hot topic among everyone right from pantry to the restroom. He closeted

himself in one of the cubicles of the restroom, sitting on top of a closed water closet. He could hear the doors of the

restroom opening and many people entering, using the wash basin and the dryer and almost everyone was discussing the same.

"Cyril is showing he is a better manager by going to hospital as well as maintaining office work. He might be good as a

Director as he is young and enthusiastic. I don't think Kiran will make it this time", someone was telling in the washroom, the

sounds felt like a bee buzzing to Kiran. "Shirley also is there, she has been on very good terms with Anish. Many trade secrets

she only may know, it would be hard for both Kiran and Cyril. If Cyril becomes director, then the others will be shocked

as he is bit junior to them, I hope whoever it is , they increase our salary; house rents are skyrocketing and so are

the living expenses", the other person was telling.


By the time Kiran was out of the restroom, he was feeling suffocated. Deepak was standing outside talking on

the phone and he signalled Kiran to wait for him to finish and he needed to talk. He quickly ended the call.

"Hey Kiran, the man of the hour. It was the MD on the phone, he has asked to give you interim duties of what Anish used to

do while they decide who will be replacing Anish. Even if he recovers, there will be some time before he can resume work."

Kiran nodded, he didn't know whether to be happy or sad. By the time he reached his cubicle, he saw Shirley going to the

board room with her laptop; she made an awry smile and closed the board room door. Soon he realized the tension Anish must

have been going through every day, we all had just seen the positive sides of the job and never thought of the envy his

colleagues had towards him. Now that he is hospitalized also, everyone has resumed work, including him, like 'the show must

go on."


Kiran logged in to his system again though he was sure he would not be in a position to fully concentrate on work. He thought

whether to visit the hospital like Cyril did, but somehow felt he was not mentally ready and all the work in Anish's

absence was on his shoulders and though it looked like a great achievement, he was carrying an interim cross. Soon the news would

spread that he is taking Anish's role even if temporary and this will add fuel to fury for everyone and he would be "Undesirable Number 1"

in the office. He realized that the very job he aspired for is literally burning him and he had flown to the

lamp just like a firefly.

Srishti-2022   >>  Short Story - English   >>  ONE SUCH DAY

Praveen Ramachandran

H&R Block



Are you going home this weekend?


It was this inquiry from my colleague that stirred the thrive to go home on a late Friday


night. After a good sleep i woke up to what was going to be one of the most significant


days of my life. After all I was secretly cherishing to have one such day. Not that it


requires any special skills or essentials but i was not trying to build that 'one such day'




It was only 5:45 in the morning and as set earlier with my child hood friend Unni, i went


straight to his paddy field. On the way to the field i could see the old oil mill which is still


functioning and from where we used to steal coconut oil cakes in our golden days.


There stands my once favorite 'Asha hotel'. The hotel stands alike without much change


but the mill has undergone major renovation. I met Unni at the field who was already


ploughing the land for his red spinach cultivation. He made the much awaited and familiar






'Machu..' i responded.


After our initial conversation I asked him about me trying to plough the land.


'Thaanguvo..?' he smiled back.


I carried my so called ploughing which Unni had to re do at several places. We


discussed about the climate, the temple, the pond, the GST and what not.. we even


ended my arguing on Rahane not getting a fixed spot in the current Indian Cricket team.


We took a break. We sat on the banks of a canal where water was kissing our foot. I sat


there watching the grass resisting the water from getting pulled off. Unni continued


'Parayada...How is you wife..kid all well?'.


I was literally counting the moments for Unni to ask this question. I said


'All are good. Let it be there. Eda I was not able to come when your mother passed


away'.Unni looked at me and said


'Ahh..Why telling this now? After all you were there with her on most of the nights at


hospital sharing with her our child hood mischievous and memories. Those are enough.


She was happy at her last days. She never complained. She just left'.


There was a silence and i could only hear the water trembling down through our foot.


Unni stood up


'Eda let me plough more before the rain gets harder'. We both avoided the glance as we


both knew we were hiding our tears


The strong bold lady i knew, his mother who single handedly brought Unni and his sister


up. The lady who worked the whole day at cashew nut factory and at night cooked


delicious fish ,kappa and Kangi. The share of which, i got most of the next day


evenings. I had seen her fingers gone black with the cashew stain and i remember


holding her stained fingers at hospital few nights. How much days of stain was i holding


on those particular nights..?But the lady was never aware of all these external bruises.


She used to call me




The night when me and Unni were caught red hand trying to smoke a cigar ,the way she


told us that it is all up to us and do always take care of our health. Ohh memories are a


photo flash and i purposefully avoided them...Iam too weak for those memories now.


We decided to take bath at the canal and i told Unni spontaneously


'Eda i don't have a soap'


He just looked at me and laughed


'Oru valya Engineer. Poda...Use mine'


I remembered...did we ever have separate soaps while we used to bath at this canal.


Time has made me idiot and selfish. I took Unni to home. We had breakfast and i told


him that i need to visit his sister. On his bike we went to his sister's home.


Another lady who makes a mockery of the so called life struggles. When we arrived she


was stitching a bundle of cloths and i saw the board... 'Whole sale stitching center


Ladies/Gents'. I had a smile on my lips. On seeing us she asked


'Enthinada nee ee thaadi valarthunanthu..Entu kola ada ithu praveene. Vaada vaada'


Her husband inquired about a mathrbhumi news that reported about a layoff of IT


employees. I enveloped a dry smile with a pathetic gesture.


His sister loved me and Unni equally and she was always kind at both of us at several


occasions She once secretly took us to a temple festival drama that our parents


rejected. She drew my 10th and 12th lab records. I remember my teacher saying


Praveen has a nice skill to draw. I had never told this to Unni's sister. But today i


decided to say..


we all busted out in laughter. I remembered how for a ONAM she stitched two similar


shirts for me and Unni with a blue flower on the pocket. On the day before her marriage


I still remember the words she told to us


'Eda makkale. Take care of your health and always do what you like most'


I swear i had no clue then what was the meaning of those words. We all had lunch and


her elder kid who is a +2 student stepped in from school. With a jinxed face i


remembered that i didn't buy anything for the kids. I pinched Unni and said.


'Eda kuttikalkku onnum vangiyitilla'


'Onnu poda'


Yes iam an idiot. Have i ever brought anything to this home and kids. Unni was


mimicking my formalities. The elder kid was asking her father about a entrance


coaching center and the ways to join. The father replied back to the mother..


'Edi appo enganeyanu..Entha cheyyendethu..?'


I realized how beautifully she manages her family in midst of all sufferings and how


small a weed am i in front of this lady.


Evening while taking bath in the panchayat pond me and Unni were engulfed with the


memories of our drinks sessions,movies,love,Travel and all those good old era. Unni




'Heard melodies are sweet. But those unheard are sweeter'


I came back home and sat with my mother for around 2 hours and we were talking a lot.


To my painful surprise i realized i have never talked to her for this long in the past 15


years. Our conversations were short and precise only for the mood of situations and


needs. I remember that old day when i was some 6 or 7 years old and my mother


educated me the importance of vision. She explained me that our eyes takes a photo of


whatever we see and stores in our brain..Yes mom my eyes has taken several photos


of you bringing me up. Those were in my brain's dark room. It had to wait till this day to


get processed into real color photos. My father who usually talked very less to me joined


us for the conversation.


Painfully rather with a smile i remembered my colleague's words..


"Nammude parents nammude mukathe nokkiyittu anu chirikkano karayano ennu




I paid a thousand gratitude to my colleague in my mind.


Sunday evening i drove back to Trivandrum and my eyes were taking photos of the


fading image of my father and mother through the rear window till i took the final curve.


But my eyes didn't stop. It kept on taking the photos of the paddy field...the pond...the


mill...the canal...Tears rolled down my cheeks and then I realized how good a soul was


my colleague to stir such good things in me. Thank you dear!!!

Srishti-2022   >>  Short Story - English   >>  A Day in Thiruvananthapuram

Jisha Das

Acsia Technologies

A Day in Thiruvananthapuram



Latha loved the breeze on her face,the gentle sway of the trees, and the “Oruma”* in the streets.


Places that reeked of beauty and plenty of stories.


Stories of lives lived and magic she loved.


*Oruma - Malayalam word for Unity and Oneness



Palayam :


A place where the God’s get-together for gentle banter.

A church, a mosque, and a temple coexist peacefully in close proximity to each other. Latha closed her eyes, she felt the blessings of the Gods rain down on her.

Blessings of love and kindness.


Napier Museum & Zoo :


Latha tugged at her mother’s sari, as the monkeys screeched in delight.The animal cages leaned into Latha, to speak to her.


  They were built in the year 1857.


The Maharajah of Travancore had ordered animals from the nearby jungles to be brought in, to fill up the cages. The cages remain, but the jungles do not.


The Bengal Tiger bared its sharp, sparkly teeth and roared at Latha.


She jumped, just like she did when she watched the movie, “The Life of Pi”


Yann Martel was the author of the Booker Prize-winning book, that also became a movie.


He chose to do his research at the Trivandrum Zoo, closely observing animal & human behaviorto write his book.


She wandered a little and squinted her eyes up a tree, a squirrel ran up in abandon, avoiding her sharp gaze.


The rubber tree, the squirrel scurried up hurriedly, was almost 130 years old.


Gifted by the British & planted by Vishakham Thirunal Ilayaraja in 1880, the then ruler of erstwhile Travancore. The saplings were gifted by the British.


The Rubber tree whispered in her ear, how lonely and quite rubbery he had felt at first because there wasn’t another rubber tree around!


Latha then headed to the Reading Room, Jawahar Nagar, where she listened to stories and snuggled in with a book.


One of the poshest parts of town, Jawahar Nagar was called “Marichini Vila” in the 1980s, probably because there were more Tapioca plants than big houses. (Marchini was the local term for Tapoica ) 


She also picked up her favorite homemade chocolate “Mathew’s” cake, before heading back home.


She fell asleep dreaming of adventure, Maharajas, books and rubber trees.A Day in Thiruvananthapu

Srishti-2022   >>  Short Story - English   >>  THE BOUQUET

Shilpa Sara Sam



Living room. The one where no one really lived. It was a passage to the verandah, a room that demanded regular footfall at night to check if the front door was locked. The windows were opened at the crack of dawn, curtains were drawn, and the block-printed cushions were aligned diagonally on the sofa, which was a perfect contrast to the teal walls. All these felt alive with the basket of flowers on the teapoy. Not plastic, not professionally arranged. They were fresh with an expiry date.  


They were brought from his office every two days; the day before, there was a replacement. Those which weren’t worthy of the dustbin, those which could enjoy a few more days of life, of praise in the name of the prettiest pink and the yellow that brought sunshine even on the gloomiest days. It wasn’t a regular thing. She liked how the pastel shades of the gerberas and the contrast of the carnations lifted the heaviness of the silence that lurked. She would pick a few at the extravagant weddings they went to together, arranged at the aisle, or even at the reception which followed, where everyone eyed at a seat, crushing them if it fell during the hustle. She wrapped the ones on her table in the tissue they gave and picked a few more undamaged ones on the trail while heading back from the empty tables. The pallu of her sari would be held around her waist, with its tasseled end holding a small bouquet now wrapped in silk, slightly smaller than the one the bride carried.  


She wasn’t ashamed of pick and hoard; he liked that about her. He knew how she would make their cramped apartment look plush with those, even if it was for a few days. Over the years, they grew from their cramped flat to the one that hosted a living room; he grew from an office without cabin walls to a cabin with walls and fresh flowers on the table. He picked the flowers first when he slammed the door and rushed to work one day after a row. He was at fault, so she didn’t speak as he handed over the flowers and talked about them on his table and how they are regularly replaced. Over dinner, she talked about how fresh the flowers were and maybe he could give them a new home before replacing them. He did that without fail. Some days they were equally amused at the purples and peaches of the same flowers and discussed how they travelled cities to reach their small town and took pride in the costly bouquet their living room hosted without them having to spend a penny. Her slightly wrinkled face blushed when the living room hosted guests because there would be an obvious question about whether the flowers were fresh and how they sourced them. 


 When she passed away quietly in her sleep one day, he wailed uncontrollably. Years ahead, however long or short it was for him, seemed empty and clueless. But he did not doubt the funeral wreath she would have wanted. He assembled one with the flowers from his office, all her favourites, and placed one in the coffin. The last thing that would go in her grave was the flowers he got for her, just like every other day.

Srishti-2022   >>  Short Story - English   >>  APOCALYPSE- Day 1


His eyes were closed. He was reciting a prayer, but his mind was not focusing on the words.




It was 4:30 pm at a children's park. A beautiful evening. Kids running. Parents talking to each other.


Suddenly, a man shouted, "What the hell!".


"Language, please. You are surrounded by kids, can't you see?", said another.


"I know", the man said. "But I thought I felt something. Like a distant earthquake".


"I felt it too. And it's not an earthquake. It's the end of the world.”


“What?” said the lady in the wheelchair, her eyes wide open.


“Don't you watch TV? The news lady said they had begun the bombing. We were lucky we lived this far. Not anymore, I guess."


He was right. At exactly 4:35 pm, the park disappeared from the face of the planet.




6:15 pm. Jack Willburg from the Special Forces was standing in the park, looking at the corpses around him. Innocent civilians, who died only to balance global political instability (at least they tried). Jack looked down at his hands. A few hours ago, his fingers held the triggers that launched the Air Strike. Of course, he was following orders, but that doesn't justify his role in killing these innocent children. That thought was too much for him.


At 6:45 pm, Jack put a bullet in his head. One less soldier for the Allied forces. But nothing changed as there were thousand left to complete the ‘mission’.




10:30 pm. Mission Control, undisclosed location. Two soldiers holding their posts.


"So what do you think? Will there be another attack?"


"The war has just begun, my friend. I bet the president will order the southern front to advance tonight itself."


"That sure, huh? Why?"


"Because, my friend, he is now in the prayer room. He must be asking strength from the almighty to do the sin. He must be thinking sacrificing the lives of millions will save billions in the future.”


"So that's it?", sighed the first soldier. "This is how it ends?"


“That is correct. The first angel has already sounded his trumpet. Now there is no going back.”


Inside the presidential suite, the leader was on his knees, winding up his prayer.





Srishti-2022   >>  Short Story - English   >>  DO YOU WISH YOU HAD SUPERPOWERS?

Shejimol R



Do you sometimes wish you had the power of flight? Or the power to control someone’s thoughts? Or even the Lasso of Truth? Having superpowers is great, isn’t it? I would have had lesser sleepless nights during my younger age. My name is Riya, and this is my story of surge.


India is a progressive country, where as women, we are most popularly trained to take up the domestic household burden on our shoulders. That is a natural gift of your kind, I once heard my father tell my mother. She seemed to resonate with that thought! No wonder, they were a match made in heaven. Just like any typical lower middle-class girl, I was sent to a school where education was a laborious process for the teachers, and a joke for the partaking students. My older brother, on the other hand, had a completely different structure of education. Almost as if, we were living in two parallel universes. Of course, he had to. He was, after all, the retiring investment plan for my parents. And I was to enrich my future husband’s male ego.


It is a big deal when the Chief Minister of your state comes to your school to give out honours. So, when I was awarded a memento for creating a model with the contents of the black hole, the Minister asked me, “I had the chance to take a look at what you built. It is quite remarkable. Do you wish to become a scientist?”


The answer was obvious, considering my keen interest in Astronomy. It was a stroke of luck that elections were around the corner, providing free education to a poor child who could not afford it, is the perfect recipe for votes! I wasn’t too bothered as I got the platform I desired.


I was thrown into a whole new world, where people hailed from a different world, spoke a much fluent language and lived a completely different life. And I took the challenge to blend with them, head on. I made friends, most artificial, few genuine. I learnt their language and their ways, but not before being ridiculed at least a million times. But I made it. In three years, no one could differentiate me from them.


With a lot of hard work, came scholarship, and with that came an in-depth exposure to aerodynamics. My interest started to shift from travelling in space to creating the machine that took people to space. I took a keen interest in learning the specifics and by graduation, I had an offer from the largest manufacturer of aviation equipment, Space Corp.


We’ve all heard the saying, do what you love. But how many of us actually get to do that? I did. And it seemed like a dream run. I worked 16-hour shifts and I excelled. We moved into a bigger house in a larger city. And as my career grew, so did my popularity in the company. My rapid rise in the organizational chart gave my colleagues a headache, and the increasing age, to my parents. I was introduced to Karan, a man who ran a software company of his own. By 35, I had everything that any woman is this country could dream of. I was appointed as the COO of Space Corp. I had a happy family and I was to address the media on our first ever launch of a product that had found interest from ISRO and NASA alike.


As I sat in my cabin looking at that memento which I received during my school days, I realised it had lost its shine. I wondered, had the election campaigns weren’t at its peak, would I be here!


I wish I had superpowers. To just hone my career and passion. I would have conjured up a story as perfect as above. But then, reality hits you.


In the real world, the Chief Minister just shakes hands with you and smiles for camera, to never look back again! The dreams and passions of a Riya gets crushed under the crowd of children waiting in queues to eat their mediocre lunch. And Space Corp only becomes a website for her to browse. And that rusted memento which potential, is just left lying in a store room somewhere, waiting to be thrown out when her parents find the perfect husband who can take care of her needs.


Yes, the world has seen a surge in women empowering the society. Yes, the society in itself has had an open-mindedness in their outlook to women. But yet, we are far from where we need to be. Until even a single Riya’s dreams are crushed, we would be far away from the goal.

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