Monday, April 30, 2018


She taught me a song, in Apatani.

I was in Ziro as a student of agriculture, to learn about the sustainable form of farming practiced there.

I gifted her a chocolate bar. Unfortunately, we lost contact once I bid farewell. I missed her.

Decades passed. I became Dean of an Agriculture College. During the Cultural Program, a young girl sang the same familiar song.

Amazed, I asked her backstage, "Are you from Ziro?"


"Where's your mother?"

She smiled, and looked skywards. Those were the same eyes.

My voice choked. She held my palm, and gifted me a chocolate.


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Saturday, April 28, 2018


"I'm going to meet my friend," he used to declare, but he never divulged further details.

"Another woman?" His wife wondered. Even at 75, he had the exuberance of youth.

"Follow your Dad. You are his Doctor too," she commanded her son.

He obliged, and was surprised to see his Dad driving all the way to Yercaud Lake, and buying Chili Bhaaji and masala tea from a stall. Then, he gossiped with other people of his age.

Chili wasn't good for his health, but his Dad's childlike happiness made him smile. Today, he wasn't a doctor, but a son.


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Friday, April 27, 2018


"Dolphins? In Xelvona?"

"This is Goa. There is magic everywhere," he said.

They were meeting after 10 long years. He wished he had confessed his feelings at the right time.

"Mom, let's go," her daughter, 8, was excited.

Soon, they were all aboard his boat. The little girl leaning over the deck, suddenly slipped and fell into the water.

They were horrified. The mother wailed, while he prepared to dive.

Just then, out of the waves, the child emerged, laughing, safely perched on the back of a dolphin.

"You were right," her mother was relieved, "there is magic everywhere."


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Thursday, April 26, 2018


At what age he held a camera, he remembered not. What he recollected, though, was his first photograph - a pigeon feeding on porch.

Photography became his passion since then, and animals his love.

3 decades in an MNC pushed his hobby to the backyards. Post retirement, he drove towards his favorite destination, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.

Elephants were spotted, and deer. But where were the tigers? And vultures? And so many other species?

He had clicked them when he visited 30 years ago. Unfortunately, now only a few traces remained.

He sighed, dejected, his passion on the verge of extinction.


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Wednesday, April 25, 2018


He inhaled slow, and exhaled, his eyes searching for a spot in the busy Manikarnika Ghat. His 90th birthday brought him to Varanasi.

And the search for salvation.

He was tired. A week here, and he was still alive. Why wasn't he dying?

He observed deeply, and got the answer. The cremations took place amidst families and friends.

Who will cry for him? He had none.

He spread his food around. Soon, hungry birds, dogs and cats came . He watched them eating in content.

The next dawn he breathed his last, amidst his weeping friends - birds, dogs and cats.


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Tuesday, April 24, 2018


"You do like Rajasthani history, right?" she asked.

He smiled.

A boat ride on Lake Pichola seemed a perfect start to their post engagement vacation.

"I am glad our parents agreed," she sighed, relieved.

He came closer, and hugged her. The pristine lake reflected their bond in glittering hues.

Suddenly, the reflection changed. Image of a Maharana of Udaipur, and his Rani, who looked exactly like them, appeared on the lake.

He recognized the Maharana. He had read how much he loved his wife, but their marriage failed.

Was history showing him the future?

The dilemma enveloped their silhouette.


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Monday, April 23, 2018


The Venkateswara Temple, Tirupati, witnessed thousands of devotees everyday. Her parents came here too with their own share of 'mannat.' Nandini was too young to know what that meant. Her attention was fixated at a group of people shaving their head.

While her parents looked away, Nandini ran towards the spot, and pocketed a fistful of hair.

Later that evening, her parents conversed, "May God cure our daughter soon."

Nandini, however, was excitedly trying out different styles by covering her head with those hair. Chemotherapy had stolen her tresses, but she was happy again today.

Her 'mannat' was fulfilled.


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Saturday, April 21, 2018


"Are you a guide?"

"Yes, Sir."

"Can you show us around Srinagar?"


We passed through Dal Lake and Shalimar Bagh. The couple, on their honeymoon, handed me the camera, as they posed against beautiful backdrops.

The Apple Orchard came next, my favorite.

"Look," the husband pointed towards the bark of an apple tree. It was his wife's name, engraved within a heart.

She was surprised, "Wow. When my Dad was posted in Srinagar, I often played here with a friend. He made this mark. But I can't remember his name. "

I hid my name badge inside my pocket.


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Friday, April 20, 2018


I closed my eyes and chanted 'Aum.'

A revered spiritual guru had organized a 3 day Meditation Camp, and people flocked in large numbers. I was one of them.

I had come to Rishikesh for a special mission, to do what I was afraid of. I needed all my will power.

Three hours later, I was walking towards the bank of the Ganges with my friends. They were all excited about river rafting, while I was scared.

However, it was a different experience today. I never knew I could befriend water so easily.

I had finally captured my fears.


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Thursday, April 19, 2018


They reached Quilon by noon.

"Welcome aboard," the Captain greeted.

Backwaters! She felt at home.

The houseboat waded along Astamudi Lake. Suddenly, a thunderstorm erupted out of nowhere. With no time to anchor, the boat overturned.

The crew hung on to their life jackets. Her husband was caught unaware, and struggled to stay afloat.

She swam faster, and brought him on shore. Her husband was unconscious, but he would be fine.

She was, however, worried he would know her secret. The mermaid had to dry herself before he regained consciousness, so that her tail would again turn into legs.


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Wednesday, April 18, 2018


I was 15, he 10. Our parents had taken us for Rathyatra, the biggest festival in Puri, and the crowd pulled him away.

Frantic searches lead to nowhere. My brother was lost.

I got married a week ago, and my husband insisted we take our blessings at Lord Jagannath's Temple. So here I was again, reluctant.

We offered our prayers and came out, when we saw a young man distributing food to poor. Those eyes. That smile. I knew them. His face turned towards me, and our childhood returned.

I found my brother, and also my faith in God.


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Tuesday, April 17, 2018


I have counted mists like pearls on seabed, careless, beautiful. A slight drizzle, and my counting broke.

I woke up with a jolt. Nathan was sleeping peacefully beside me. It was just yesterday that we reached Ooty, but it seemed a lifetime now.

I walked towards the mirror. Outside it rained. Inside, parched. I touched the glass, and the surface reverberated. As the ripples died, Nathan was smiling at the other side.

I stepped into the mirror, our souls met. Behind, two bodies rested on bed. Lifeless.

We should have held on, trusted ourselves. In death, however, we united.


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Monday, April 16, 2018


It was Sam's first day at SmartTech, a Noida based IT firm. He was surprised as he entered. There were robots all around. He was greeted by one such robot and taken to a cabin.

Suddenly, the cabin door shut, with Sam inside.

"Hey. Open the door!" he shouted.

"Welcome to SmartTech, where AI meets Reality. Please hang on while we extract your brain, and replace it with AI," the robot replied.

He was scared, and then noticed, the robots walking around were actually humans, with their brains replaced with AI.

He was going to become one of them.


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Saturday, April 14, 2018


His movie was releasing all over the country. He took his Mom for the First Day First Show screening. Being from a poor family, his mother had never visited a cinema hall. He wanted her to witness his success today.

The cinema hall was packed. Audience clapped in almost every scene.

Post the climax, his Mom asked, "The movie was nice, but where are you in it?"

He pointed towards the screen. The end credits rolling out had his name in bold: "Spot Boy: Vikas Anand."

His Mom had never been happier. Her son had made it into Bollywood.


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Friday, April 13, 2018


Rohan, 13, was on a trip to Lucknow with his parents.

At Bada Imambara, he rushed towards Bhool Bhulaiya, a labyrinth of  thousand passageways.

"Mom! Dad! I am going in."

He walked through various pathways, when suddenly he realized he was lost. He got scared.

It was turning dark. The sound of 'azaan' from a nearby mosque calmed him. After a while, he noticed a flicker of light. He walked ahead, and saw his parents standing beside a cake with burning candles.

"Happy Birthday Dear," they chorused.

Rohan was delighted. He found his best birthday surprise, after being lost.


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Thursday, April 12, 2018


The Rabindra Sadan auditorium was packed. This was her first time in Kolkata, and she was nervous.The soliloquy she had practiced now seemed jumbled.

She began, but realized she had forgotten what her act was. Her eyes welled up, and she cried.

Suddenly, a person started cheering for her, and the entire audience followed suit. Why?

Nevertheless, it gave her confidence. The lines returned, and she performed with aplomb.

She looked out for her Saviour, but He wasn't there. Instead, she found Him in a portrait on the wall. Tagore - her Messiah, smiled back.

Art never failed in Kolkata.


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Wednesday, April 11, 2018


They couldn't speak, but that didn't stop them from entertaining hundreds of audiences everyday in the busy Bapu Bazar of Jaipur. He was the Prince, she the Princess.Songs and narrations were played, and they performed to the tune. They were happy, and so was their Master.

One unfortunate day, a little girl requested, "Can I take the Prince?"

The Master readily agreed. He received Rs 200, with which he could buy another one.

The Princess cried, and pleaded, but who would listen to a puppet? She might have a new partner tomorrow, but all she needed was her Prince.


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Tuesday, April 10, 2018


I met her for the first time at National Sports Academy, preparing for the Commonwealth Games.

"You are from North East, right? I've heard it's beautiful," I tried to strike up a conversation.

She smiled, "I'm from Imphal. North East is a direction, not a city."

There was an unparalleled dedication in her practice sessions. "Seems you will earn a number of Golds this season," I winked.

"I have to. Today, I'm just a girl from North East. A Gold for my country, and I'll be hailed as an Indian athlete. Indian - that's the identity I need, and deserve."


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Monday, April 09, 2018


"Can you cook?"


Their families had contacted each other through matrimonial sites.

"That's great, because I'm a total foodie."

"Me too, and I have a surprise for you."


"Come with me."

While the elders were talking inside, they ran to the roof.

It was a full moon night. Right at the center was a small table for two.

"This is what I've made for you, ma'am," he pulled the chair and handed her a plate.

"Wow. I love it. How did you know it's my favourite?"

He knew. It was easy.

No one can dislike Hyderabadi Biryani.

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Saturday, April 07, 2018


The evening shone brightly, and all the five malls, lined sequentially one after the other, looked inviting. Having successfully cleared a telephonic interview, he was offered a job in Gurugram, and he grabbed the opportunity instantly.

He didn't know anyone here, and thus befriended Tinder, and here he was, on his first ever date.

"Hey! Where are we meeting?" his phone vibrated.

Which mall should they go to? Each of the malls outshone the other. His head spun in confusion.

He made his decision.

Tinder was uninstalled.

He roamed the malls, excited, all by himself, embracing his new life.


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Friday, April 06, 2018

Fatehpur Sikri

"They say you get whatever you wish for in the sacred Tomb of Salim Chisti. I just want our family to be complete. I even tied the thread of faith on the holy screen," she rested on his shoulder, tired but ecstatic, after their trip to Fatehpur Sikri.

He felt his left pocket. He had untied the thread. He didn't want her wish to be heard by the saints.

A sudden guilt enveloped him, but did he have an option? He liked her, but he had to convince her for divorce.

His secretary, Maya, was his new love now.

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Thursday, April 05, 2018


"Camera Photography - Rs 100."

"You hide the camera in handbag. No one will know," said the husband to his wife, standing outside the Kerala Folklore Museum, Ernakulam. They were celebrating their honeymoon in Kerala.

Once inside, she took out the camera.

"Stand in front of that statue," he clicked.

"Why don't you pose with that weapons cabinet?" she flashed the camera.

Delighted, they came out, "We saved 100 bucks. Let's check the snaps."

They scrolled through the pictures, shocked. None of the artifacts  were captured.

Instead, all the pictures had a common background, the signboard - "Camera Photography - Rs 100."


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Wednesday, April 04, 2018


10 years as an engine driver of Delhi Metro, and I was still excited by the noise of the platform and the rushing crowd. Today too looked no different, and I started the train at Samaypur Badli.

7 stations passed, and as the train approached Vishwavidyalaya, I was jolted by a sudden horror. I applied the brakes hard. Someone had jumped on the track.


"Is he dead?"

"Call the ambulance."

There were loud instructions everywhere, deafening me.

Did I just kill someone?

I got no answer.

I walked out of the Metro. I could never drive it again.


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Tuesday, April 03, 2018


"Where did you get this money from?"

She didn't reply. She wanted peace after a hard day's work.

His husband had other plans though, "Did you steal from my wallet?"

Her eyes welled. Her strength didn't.

"Remember Rock Garden we visited last month? It was created from trash. Rubbish like you. A good for nothing woman, staying in the house and stealing my money."

"These...these are mine. I earned them," she retorted, loud and clear.

He was shocked.

"Remember Rock Garden? Trash can be beautiful too."

The home made pickles in her kitchen counter were ready to be delivered.


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PS: While I was wondering over what to write for Prompt 'C', my wifey, Anusha, came to the rescue and suggested me the idea for this post, which I penned down. Thanks wifey.

You can visit her wonderful blog here:

Monday, April 02, 2018


"I'm glad I am out of Bhagalpur. Phew! I'm born to reside in a big metro, and not some small town."

I heard a haughty voice on the opposite side of my train berth. I leaned. A young lady, clad in gorgeous silk saree, was demeaning her ancestral place among her friends.

I couldn't stop myself. "Ma'am, excuse me, but your saree is beautiful."

"I bought it from a mall in Noida. It's the world famous Tussar Silk." She boasted.

"Do you know where Tussar Silk Sarees are manufactured?"

"No," She shrugged.

She watched dumbstruck when I answered, "Bhagalpur."


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Sunday, April 01, 2018


It's beautiful. It has always been my dream to visit the Taj," she said, a radiant smile emanating from her lips, as he sat beside her, satisfied.

The Agra sun was breathing down heavily, but that didn't deter the couple from their expedition.

"All the seven wonders, we would see, one by one," he said, pressing her hands.

"Yes," her voice excited, "We would see, one by one."

Gradually, she stood up, holding his hand, and her walking stick. In her world of darkness, this was the light.

She didn't need eyes to admire the beauty of the Taj.


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