All posts filed under: Short Stories

Man’s search for meaning

When I returned to Ishbar that night, Shiban seemed speechless. But Dr Kaul looked at him with satisfaction giving an expression like “then he has seen.” And soon the moment came to explain to him what he had seen. We sat around fire, while waiting for the food to arrive. Open your ears, said Dr Kaul and he began speaking like reciting an over practised hymn. “The men in the east, he said, are trees; those in the south are flocks of animals; those in the west are wild plants. Last, those in the north like ourselves, who cried out while they ate other men, were the waters. When the collective sound of chewing filled the air, he started explaining about eating. The act of eating is a violence that causes what is living, in its many forms, to disappear. Whether grass, plants, trees, animals, or human beings, the process is the same. There is always a fire that devours and a substance that is devoured. This violence, bringing misery and torment, will one day …

Mangla and her magical milk

Mangla’s milk has been the best thing to happen in this sea ashram. But today even before I could taste it, Logar brought Papaya for the first time and we prepared shake for every one. I closed the dhuni myself today when Maharaj ji retired after keeping the planets outside out of rat fear. He seemed tired. We called different goddesses around sunset and went outside the premises along the foothills to buy rabbits for Gayatri. Later when we came back, Manavendra was sitting on his horse called gambler over the Thorn hill. For the night we were invited to a home where several varieties of food was being prepared. When we reached, a woman whose face I forgot as soon I met her as i kept looking only at her nose pin. She told me my caste, and while drinking the papaya shake left from the morning, asked me to slow down. Me? When i woke up in the night even though i didn’t have to, a man was seen going away from me …

In the land of Snakes

Twenty six days ago and three hundred fifty kilometers north I Moon I reached Aldona late in the night. It was Purnima, the full moon of Holi. Vishwan was away, gone to a border village, tsar. A place somewhere in the middle of the jungle at the border of Goa and Maharashtra. But I had no idea of that then, I was waiting. I sat downstairs at the bar. Grandmother was pouring feny to a local. She told me about Vishwan smoking too much. The room was lit with two cyan bulbs. He arrived. We kept my backpack at his place. He lit his cigarette. We sat. His hair had grown and white; beard thickened and black. Soon, we were off, feeling the dense wind of the leaving winter, scooting through the western ghats in the night going towards the moon. We entered the fair. Vishwan parked the vehicle somewhere outside and we started walking away from the lights towards the jungle. It was late. But it wasn’t dark. The night seemed to have dissolved with …

A Cactus in the Desert

  Photograph of a lost memory in flaring heat of Jaisalmer –  It is hot in Barmer. It is so hot that my lower portion feels different and apart from my head. My right cheek has swelled. Ulcers recognized heat. I am staying with amma here, a Bhopa. Last night we decided to attend Pabu ki phad. Happens rarely now. A local god. Reincarnation of Laksman. Bhopas sing and dance for Pabu. For two nights Bhopas from all across the region have come to sing and dance reciting Pabu’s story. Anada Ram was the most prolific Ravanhatta musician, who died 33 years ago. His wife, Amma vowed to never sing after that day. I am here to document her son. He never learnt Ravanhatta. He wanted to be a dancer. I have known him for eight months now. There were many other dancers from the community who had come yesterday. Veer was going to show me one of his acts dancing on the mirror glass with fire in his mouth. He does not dance in …

A monsoon in Bengal

State Highway number 9 Silda Football ground, West Bengal Sharing this letter i wrote to a dear friend while i was travelling for the first time through rural bengal. -. Rain was never far behind. This happened to be that moment of my journey. This tree felt home away from home. I knew it ended right there with this photograph. I realized home is calling. Travels have not been too comfortable but its liberating to learn that i could come to west bengal at this time. Clouds don’t seem to have much time to move ahead or to stop, they are moving in circles. Fields are just too green everywhere, and roads connecting villages too red. Pond’s are over filled, and women, girls in them makes me feel at times, its worthless to get educated and get conscious of your knowledge. The only thing one has to learn is the language of the world that has no place for words in it. And yes the cows, goats, buffalos, ducks, hen and chickens are in plenty …