Short Stories

Death & Grief.

Death is always sudden. And no matter how much you expect it (of a terminally ill person), it’s always sudden when it strikes. But in the last 2 days the news of a dear ones’ death has removed the floor from under. I had always assumed that he will be at my funeral – giving a eulogy & not the other way around! When I heard the news, I didn’t know how to react! I know I was shocked, I know I grieved his loss but I just sat there – staring at a selfie the group had shared of him!

Grief has different ways of manifesting itself. And since the beginning, I was trained to bottle them up & “not create a scene” so this time also I shut up. More so because I was with a friend whom I was meeting after a long time. She was kind enough to give me my space & I went back to staring at all his photos, thinking of all memories I created with him, of all times I could bank on him to help me out! I remembered how he played Lumosity on my phone trying to beat my score, how he thought of an unconventional solution to any problem he had, I remembered the number of times I yelled at him for grammar mistakes! I lay there on the sofa with the phone in my hand & a clouded mind. Finally, I had no recollection of how I slept.

In past, I’ve found completely bizarre ways of demonstrating grief. It shows as anger pangs on someone closest to me, as an obsessive cleaning disorder, as a hunger strike, simply being distant/quiet or resorting to writing. And since the last 2 days, I’ve been trying to process this. I tried writing, I tried being with people, I tried talking to the one person who I knew felt the same way I did. And I have been unsuccessful! Like a true crab, I kept going back into my shell, going about behaving as “expected”, doing things I’m supposed to!

And then a 12 hour flight happened. I saw movies like chalk & duster, rough book – and while the people on the flight slept – I cried! I cried when something happy happened or if some sad scene came up. It sounds very cliched, very filmi but every boy with a dimple in these movies reminded me of him. Every time I saw the main protagonist fighting for her students, I wondered if I ever left an indelible mark on him by standing up for him. I was angry with God for being so cruel – that while he was fighting all odds thrown his way & by his sheer wit being smart, courageous, sporty – He cut his journey short! I kept thinking of circumstances & how one person’s stubbornness caused an untoward incident. And if I’m feeling all this, I couldn’t imagine what the family must be going through! I’m still reeling under this news. I guess only time can make things better or may be talking to her tomorrow.

But I’m hoping & praying with my every earnest breath that he’s at a happy place – with the person he wants to be – with no struggle whatever.. Because that is what he deserved!!

Short Stories

Story #31 – My Story of 31 Days!

Instead of a fictional story here, I wanted to write about my journey in the last 31 days. This experience has been as much grueling as it was enriching. I say enriching because this journey helped me understand myself, dispel some myths & overall made me more aware than I was when I started #31Days31Stories series

#Weekends – Not days of relaxing but the most tiring ones!

This realization dawned upon me as I tried to meet the story per day deadline on weekends. There are just so many things going on Saturdays & Sundays (meeting friends, socializing with relatives, getting work done, shopping etc.), that either I had to write 2 stories the next day or end up staying till late to meet the deadline I set for myself. Oh! the worst are long weekends (24th to 27th March) for any daily routines you set for yourself….

#Facebook stats & my blog stats do not talk the same story

Those who know me, know me as an analytical person. So, if I started this project – I had some metrics I set myself. According to a study by an agency, 80 – 85% FB users access FB through mobiles on weekends & there is a surge of traffic. But contrary to this study, the stats my blog (obviously, I do not expect people to keep visiting my blog every time they access FB) showed lower views on weekends as compared to weekdays*

*Why FB? Because that was the predominant medium of popularizing the blog…

I found my niche when it comes to #writingfiction

I realized that when I wrote, if the story needed a twist it was only possible if it had a dark plot. Is it influence of what I read in newspapers these days or just plain pessimism on my part – I’m not certain of the cause. But whenever I wrote happy endings, either they were predictable or just too impractical! Of course, I did go out of my comfort zone to write about happy endings*.

*I tried to keep these stories away from my experiences as much as possible

I really have dichotomous friends

Oh, those who DID read my blog came to me numerous times giving me feedback that my stories are too dark & I quote them, “I get depressed while reading your stories. As it is there is so much stress in my life, why do you want to add to it?”. The other set of friends on reading the happy stories said, “Dude, I got bored reading story #xx.. What is this predictable happy ending?” I tried to not pander to these readers but they kind of covered the entire spectrum amongst them 🙂

I felt like quitting but didn’t!!!

My manager used to say ‘Indians are 95% people – they manage to do 95% of the job brilliantly but they slack off at the last 5% due to various reasons’. I showed this same behavior when in the last few days – I stared at a blank screen not knowing what to write! I almost thought of giving up & writing a note saying, “It was fun while it lasted but I have no more updates.” But somehow one of my key strengths (perseverance) came into play. Over last 31 days, I wrote dark stories, science fiction & happy stories – some of them good, some of them bad. But I am most proud of the fact that I DIDN’T QUIT!!!

Over n Out… Till I think of a new project OR write about the exciting events my son brings about in my life!


Short Stories

Story #30 – Not a place for me…

People generally stared at me whenever they passed by me. Because of my celebral palsy (CP) people either gave me pity or gave me stares. The only way I had to react to this, was by being angry with them. Why angry? Well, that was the emotion I understood all my life.

I was angry at the doctor; who couldn’t get me out safely because of which I had CP
I was angry at my mom; for going to him 
I was angry at my father; for not providing a better life to us! 
But most of all I was angry at the pitiful stares I got since my birth.

But I never got any pity from him! He didn’t lend me a hand but walked with me. Those 10 steps we walked together made me forget, I shake! He would read books in the library & give me company during lunch. One day he asked me to give access to the restricted section of this library. I turned him away as I would have lost my job for that! I feared he won’t talk to me again  but next day he came as usual.

Today was like any other day but he was unusually silent. On the final step, he asked me out – yes ME, the girl with CP! If I could jump & hug him, I would have but all I said was yes. It was just dinner I know but it was a BIG DEAL for me. He carried out the daily routine & after a while, tried to ask something but hesitated. When I inquired, he said he really needed a book from the restricted section for his project but didn’t want to put me in trouble. How could I say no today? I begged the librarian & got him those books. After all, this was the least I could do for him.

In the evening, after trying out tons of dresses, I got dressed for our date. I was ready at the time he asked, waiting expectantly for him. When he didn’t show up, I hobbled towards his place only thinking about his well-being! I saw him having a gala time with his friends. I was about to join him when I heard, “God! Can you believe she bought it & instantly gave me access to those books! I mean she really thought I will ask her on a date. And you thought I was wasting my time with that palsy girl. That nothing will ever come out of it. Here – in your face!” and he shoved those books into the other guy’s face.

I felt stupid but I needed to show him his place. I sped across the road (whatever that means in the context of CP) but fell in the middle of it. Just as I fell he saw me & instead of running towards me to help me up, he ran away. That was the last thing I remember seeing before the car hit me!

Why I write these stories? Read Here



Short Stories

Story #29 – Blood

When he was born, the whole family rejoiced. The happiest were the grandparents who got a way to spend quality time during retirement. His grandfather was his favorite – he would never yell at him, always get candies for him & tell so many stories.

Soon, it was time to go to school & then college. As he got busier, he found lesser time to spend with his grandfather. His grandfather asked him if he would sit & discuss with him & he would say, “Grandpa, I need to call xxxx or I have to play grand auto theft. Why don’t you join me instead?” A forever sport, his grandfather did try to play grand auto theft. He acted cheeky & videotaped this funny incident 🙂

Soon, he had many other interests like a normal teenager – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. He could spend hours taking selfies, tweeting, whatsapp-ing, snapchattting. The distance with his folks – mainly his grandparents – kept increasing. He moved to a hostel & hostel life drove him crazy. Late night parties, drinking parties, TV series marathons, going to clubs – so many things to do & so little time. So, wrapped up he got in his life that the only reason he came home was mandatory breaks in college. And even then, he spent significant time on phone & laptop.

He was in a session & he saw a missed call from his father. Later may be, he thought & got engrossed in the lecture. After lecture, he spent time playing volleyball & taking selfies with the team. Post lunch – his friends met for some project work (and half the time they snooped on FB profiles). Amidst all this, he forgot to call back & in the evening saw 32 missed calls – some from his father & some from his mother. Worried, he called back only to realize that his grandfather was serious & that he was expected to come back soon.

As he sat in the flight, he wondered. What kind of life is this? That he spent so much time on social media but didn’t find time to socialize with important people in his life. He thought about all his memories with his grandfather & prayed really hard that he is OK. He should survive this attack, he fervently thought. “There are so many things I have not done yet! I will finally open his account on FaceBook & teach him to tweet since he had been asking for a while. Just let him get out of this, God!” He reached the hospital & he was in ICU. They had kept him on a ventilator & were only waiting for him to come. With multiple organ failures, there was nothing left than to say goodbye. They pulled the plug & his favorite person faded away like the beep from the monitor did.

He sat silently thinking! He should get a life! He should spend time where it is important. He decided it was time to kill. It was time to kill them all… He opened his laptop & deleted all his accounts – FB, twitter, etc. There was no blood that was spilled….

Why am I writing these stories? Read Here



Short Stories

Story #28 – Marriage

“I really really love you…” he said for the third time now.

She was in her wedding gown, waiting to be escorted by her father down the aisle. She was going to marry her best friend who had been with her for 10 odd years. The guy who stood with her through the worst times of her life, in a wedding which was planned to the tee & with the blessings of her parents. Every logical neuron in her body told her to shut him up & walk out of the room.

And yet, she found herself holding onto those 3 words said by him; like someone drowning holding on to a float thrown at them. Her heart rate had gone up just by having him in the same room as her. What he said had driven her precariously close to a heart attack. Words which she had uttered a long time ago that went unrequited! There is love & then there is chemistry. It is great if you have both with the same person but more often than not – you end up with a situation like this. She loved the guy she was set to marry but she fit like a perfect jigsaw piece with him.

“Nothing can be done now. You are too late! It’s my wedding day for heaven’s sake;” she turned to leave. He held her hand to stop her & she turned back, kissing him. The whole world blurred & it was a perfect kiss. “It feels so right here,” she said as she broke off the kiss & rested her head over his chest. “I wish it would be you on the other side of aisle but may be in my next life – if I get a human one that is…” She summoned strength from every corner of her subconscious & broke their connection.

“He is good for you ‘R’ but I am the best for you! Don’t settle in this aspect of your life like you always do. You always get complacent with the first option you have & then too risk-averse to try out any other option! You did the same with the choice of your college & now you are doing the same for your husband!” He was a great talker & she could listen to him for hours. But today, she had to deter him from doing anything foolish. She resorted to ‘their thing’ in case of an impasse. “I’ll make a pros & cons list. If it conclusively proves I am not taking a bad decision, will you leave?” He nodded.

Pros of marrying ‘R’:
1. He really loves me & takes care of me
2. My family loves him & his family loves me
3. We have been through hell & survived
4. He is understanding, smart, funny, handsome etc.

Cons of marrying ‘R’:
1. He is not YOU!

As soon as she wrote that, her decision was made. Instead of making a pros & cons list for marrying him, she wrote a note to her parents telling them how sorry she is to run away like this!

Why do I write these stories? Read Here



Short Stories

Story #27 – “I do…”

It was the happiest day of her life. She was going to get married. She was the cynosure of 500 odd people her parents & his parents had invited. She was going to start a new life with an understanding partner. The rituals, the laughter, the camera lights & the person beside her – everything made her life complete. The ceremony ended with a nervous bride expectantly going to the new house & to the new bedroom. The understanding husband said, “you must be tired right, let’s just sleep tonight” and she thanked her stars for bestowing such a husband. But 3 months after their wedding & she still didn’t know what it feels like to be with a man. Her husband either worked late or just didn’t come close to her. She was always shy & didn’t think a girl could be bold enough to get physical & yet, she found herself trying. He didn’t respond & then finally she broke down & asked him the meaning of such behavior. “I’m gay! I’m in a steady relationship with my boyfriend but my parents forced me to marry you. I will never be interested in you. You are free to ask for a divorce but I cannot go against my parents & tell them this!” After a few months, she was a divorced 30 year old virgin! She didn’t want to marry again but her parents insisted & see decided to see some guys!

He was a divorcee looking to marry again. He had a violent breakup with the divorce proceedings becoming ugly. Both the families had married these childhood sweethearts looking forward to a long lasting life together. But after the initial honeymoon period was over, the families realized that they had an arrogant, abusive guy marrying an insecure, possessive girl. The combination was lethal for any successful marriage & within a year after wedding, they were arguing in the court.

Both of them met online & decided to meet over a coffee. Marriage had changed her to become an outspoken girl & mellowed him down significantly. And as goes the saying ‘Opposites attract’ they hit it off quite well. For him, she redeemed some faith in women kind by being frank about her expectations. For her, he gave faith that he was really into women & that this decision would be his & he won’t be forced into it. 2 more meetings happened & as in every arranged marriage scenario they had to communicate their decision. Only when both of them agreed to marry each other, they were given 3 months to ‘date’ after a lot of insistence from them. Finally, 4 months after they met, both of them married in a small, non-pompous way.

As they entered the new phase of their life for the second time, it felt good. Is this relationship ‘live together, die together’ one or ‘it was fun while it lasted’ one – only time would tell. They weren’t hassled by it as of now!

But somehow, saying “I do” for the second time grounded them significantly!

Why do I write these stories? Read Here



Short Stories

Story #26 – Friends for life…

Whenever she saw great friendships on screen, she would long for one. When she looked at Meredith – Cristina (Grey’s Anatomy) or Rachel – Monica (F.R.I.E.N.D.S) or when she watched any episode of Sex and the City, she wanted to have one such person who would be always there for her. Someone who supported her when she cried and who was always there – never judging & always forgiving! You can always have relatives/family. But you need that one person you can call if you have darkest of thoughts. And when you do call them to say something bad – like murdering your ex, your friend won’t give you a lecture on morals but instead ask you a logical question like where would you bury the body; deterring any further thoughts in that direction!

She gleaned through her 1125 contact list and she had no one to call at this moment – except her. But in her case, ‘R’ had messed things up & burned the bridges long time ago. ‘R’ was 16, possessive & highly suspicious of people’s actions! At that age, she took some really bad decisions & one of them cost her, her friendship. Before the dire circumstances like today, she had multiple occasions to rekindle her friendship but she didn’t have enough courage to see it through. She often wondered with what face could she ask her to take her back?

She still remembered that day they stopped being friends. She had treated her very badly in front of her friends, told her that she was holding her back & had finally completed the monologue with, “I wish we would have never met!” The hurt in her eyes was visible so was the strain of fighting back the tears. It had been 5 years, 7 months & 12 days since that event but the scars were still fresh. But she needed her right now more than any other time in the last 5 years! Right now – when she was going through her worst nightmare. She just wanted her around, wanted to keep her head on her lap & say the darkest of things. She wanted to plot revenge & curse only to feel lighter, only to feel in control with the shit that is happening. And she had the confidence that her friend would handle her better than anyone else. That like old times, they would cry each other to sleep & wake up the next morning with a fresh hope & rejuvenated strength.

Talking about strength, she used up some of it to dial her number. Luckily she answered & the last iota of strength left was used to say, “Hey, it’s me. I really need you right now!” She hung up the phone & ‘R’ cried hysterically. What did she think? Would she have gone for her rescue had her friend behaved so badly with her? “No, you cannot hold it against her, she has every right to behave that way,” she thought.

About half an hour later, the bell rang. Must be the pizza guy she thought & opened the door. She would have collapsed had her best friend not held on to her!

Why do I write these stories? Read Here



Short Stories

Story #25 – Travel – Story 2

Read Part 1 of Story here (if you have reached this place before reading it)

The idea was conceived but implementation was a challenge since physicists needed help when it came to making a real life machine. And the partnership for this was crucial since something on paper had to be translated into a real life implement. By a stroke of luck, one of the people who approached her during the conference was a right partner to make this machine a reality. The deal was sealed & both of them started on the phase 1 of this machine. She was very excited to be the first person to travel to a parallel universe. And the place she wished to go was where she wasn’t a quantum physicist. She still remembered the day she decided to be one & therefore, idea of being anything else eluded her.

After a year of painstaking effort, phase 1 was ready. This machine transported any person to a desired parallel in phantom phase. So, a person could observe an event from a distance by keying in the incident & time for which he/she wished to be there. She entered the machine, entered the decision ‘not being quantum physicist’ & entered a week’s time to observe. Time is a tricky thing & their calculations couldn’t determine the exact time that would pass in the current universe as she traveled to a parallel one so keeping it short was probably safe. And whooosh went the machine! She felt the phantom phase enter a quaint cottage in the countryside & she saw a much prettier version of herself. She was with a husband & 2 kids. Day 1, she was a typical housewife – seeing off her husband, getting breakfast done, sending kids to school. The phantom’s first thought was, “What a colossal waste of a life this is? You have a science degree. Why aren’t you using it? How can you go from seeing chemical reactions to kids reactions?” But she seemed so satisfied with herself. She seemed so happy, confident and content! She was never alone & holidays were actually days to look forward to for her instead of getting depressed. The joy of seeing her kids perform for her was many times bigger than the phantom’s joy when the parallel universes were discovered.

After the first 3 days, the phantom realized that this life was slowly growing on her.. The predictability of it, the crowd associated with it, the lack of ambition. People say that grass is always greener on the other side but having seen 15 years of just focusing on her ambition, she was quite OK with moving to this other side now. This focus had resulted in getting estranged from her parents, not having any love life and no friends as everyone she tried to befriend either betrayed her or was not interesting enough to be her friend. The phantom could get used to the love of her husband, the devotion of kids & the ordinary-ness of this life – each aspect seemed appealing!

And just as she made up her mind that this life could be hers, time to go was here. She felt an intense tug and the suction of her machine dragged her back to her atrophied body. She got up, famished as her body didn’t have anything for a week she was there.

The house didn’t have warm waffles like the house she just visited. Instead all she had was a frozen pizza!

Why do I write these stories? Read Here



Short Stories

Story #24 – Travel – Story 1

It had been last 5 years that she worked in the field of quantum physics. She was the geek of the 3 siblings and she was proud of it. Her last few years had been dedicated to study of existence of parallel universes. In simple terms what it meant was, that for every decision/event in your life, there exists another universe which operates with the premise that the event/decision didn’t happen. So, by this logic; there exists a universe where dinosaurs are still alive (the meteor / ice age etc. didn’t happen), there exists a universe where twin towers weren’t bombed & zeroing on her life – there is a universe where she isn’t a quantum physicist. The thought itself was so invigorating – having a chance to see what you could have been had these decisions not happened to you!

When she presented this paper of existence of these universes – she was met with stony silence. May be no one got it, she thought. After all quantum physics is not for everyone. But this audience had an IQ of 180+. If they didn’t get it, may be what she presented was thrash. She was about to get very dejected & spiral downwards in self doubt, when the whole auditorium gave a huge round of applause. She was also approached by a couple of people to work with her on her thesis. “So, I am not crazy after all!” she mused.

Now that she had established firmly – the existence of parallel universes, she devoted herself to find a way to travel to them. She was certain there could be 2 ways to do this

  • One way would be to be like a phantom in that universe. You would just observe, learn but you would not be seen to the naked eye.
  • Another is a complete swap of an individual between 2 universes – at the same time or in past. Imagine going to the universe where you don’t get selected to a job OR sending Obama to a universe where JFK wasn’t assassinated!

The possibilities were endless. If she could move this topic from being just theoretical to practical application, her project financiers would be ecstatic. The power she would have or they would have should this be done was limitless. She was consumed with this idea & she decided that her entire life is worth it if she manages to get headway in this aspect. Good 10 years passed while she kept doggedly working the hardwork of 15 years bore fruit.

It was THE ‘Eureka Moment’ for her. She wanted to rush out of her proverbial bath to tell someone about this. Hell, she wanted to be the first person to travel to a parallel universe….

Why do I write these stories? Read Here



Short Stories

Story #23 – Holi…

She always had the fondest memories of Holi!

Being an early riser, she was always the first one to be ready & down with loads of colors & lots of water. It was so much fun to go to every house, wake people up & smear color on their faces while they were in bed. Every year, they would play until 2:00 pm & there would be something new each year! And as they got older, the new things got wilder…

The first year oil colors was a big rage. Why? Because those colors didn’t come off for a week after Holi. The year after that, they created a mud pool and dunked everyone inside it. Obviously, most girls cried after pushed in there but not her, that just wasn’t her style! Next year, they went on terrace and played Holi in the water tank itself. The yelling they got for doing that, lasted weeks (till colorful water kept coming in toilets). The year after that, tearing guys’ tees became the fad & she tore the highest number. The year after that, eggs…

But this year, Holi was supposed to be special. After all, it was the first Holi after her wedding. She was looking forward to it. On the day of Holi, she got up and as her wont, she put color on her husband’s face while he slept! Soon after, her friends were at their doorstep to color them up. When the ‘celebration’ ended, there was a family intervention. Every member of the family impressed the expectations from her! “We do not play Holi like hooligans on the street. We expect you to adhere to this as you represent this family now. Let’s hope next year, the same things don’t happen as they did this year.”

Years passed by & slowly she wasn’t called for playing as her friends got the hint. Holi became just another holiday with nothing special done. So used to she got to this new way of playing Holi, that the earlier way became a faint memory. That was until her kid turned 5. At five, he was the first one up and he painted everyone’s faces red. Just like that, his gang of 5+ kids got the craziness back in their lives. The family rules changed & Holi became the time to display most colored faces.

Who knew Holi genes exist & get passed on from the mother’s side!!!

Why do I write these stories? Read here