Category Archives: Flash Fiction

Prima Donna.

The red curtains were being pulled back. Dressed in a black floor sweeping gown, with sequinned black trimmings lining it, her wrinkled skin touched up by a pair of deft young hands on her troupe, she walked on to the stage. The soft light on the stage made her eyes twinkle. She could see a lot of heads in the audience but couldn’t make out their faces. Rushed silence welcomed her as her stilettos clicked on the wooden floor, until she reached the carpeted spot around the mike. This was her last opera. She’d chosen to retire Prima Donna before she was replaced by someone younger, more beautiful and maybe, just maybe, a better singer than her. The deft hands that had touched her up – she was retiring to her.

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Graciously Yours!

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Hurt.

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As he watched her walk away, he muttered abuses under his breath. As she walked farther, his voice became louder, hurling out the abuses loud now. It made him angry and unlike her, anger did not make him cry. Anger took him away from the pain, it made him feel in charge. He was no longer the helpless one. She may have broken up with him, but he was the one who would decide what he felt. And he chose to be angry. She looked back at him; the passersby were staring at her. She felt uncomfortable. Where there was pain in her eyes a few minutes ago, now there was shame and fear. Her confident gait was now hurried and skeptical. He broke her heart, twice now.

Graciously Yours!

Scarred.

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I scared you. The knowledge I had of you, scared you. I became the personal diary you never wrote. You could see the ghosts of your past reflected in my eyes, each time you looked into them. I became a reminder of what you were trying to forget. My comfort with you, scared you. You dreamt of coming out of your shell, greeting the world like you used to but the fear of being trampled upon pushed you inside again. You had lost the real you within yourself. You did not want to be reminded of it. Not by me. You thought it was easier to push me away. At least, you could still stay safe in your shell then. You wouldn’t disappoint anyone again. You wouldn’t worry about hurting anyone again. It would be just you and your memories. You wouldn’t have to owe anyone anything again. That was easier, wrong but easier. You chose to hide behind your scars. You chose to leave me behind. I was you. You were me. You chose to leave yourself behind.

Graciously Yours!

Breathe.

Her husband sat her down at the bed. She’d just taken a hot water bath. She placed her towel on her shoulder to soak up water from her wet hair. She inhaled deeply. This wasn’t the first time she had to answer the questions. This wouldn’t be the last.

“How did it happen?”

“What did he say?”

“How does it feel?”

“When exactly did it happen?”

“Did you see it all?”

Once again she closed her eyes and recalled the moment. In a flash, it was all over. One second she was at the pavement, the next she was on the road, the head of a dying man on her lap, blood drenching her clothes, tickling down her skin, shock overriding the bile building up in her stomach.

She opened up her eyes again. She was ready.

Her husband instead said, “It must be difficult for you dealing with the accident. Do you want to eat outside or should I cook?”

She breathed again!

Graciously Yours!

The Rose.

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“Ouch,” she uttered, pulling back her finger from the rose stem. A thorn had pricked her and a drop of blood lay on her finger, perfectly placed like it always belonged there. She smiled.

“Got yourself another prick, did you now?” her husband asked, as he sat in the hall, immersed in the morning’s papers on his iPad.

“Why can’t he just buy those traditional newspapers?” she wondered. She wasn’t an e-paper girl.

“Why don’t you hire a gardener for your plants?” he asked, the umpteenth time. “You keep pricking yourself.”

She didn’t answer. The umpteenth time. He wouldn’t be able to come to terms with it.

The first time she’d pricked herself was when her first lover had brought her some from his own garden, ten years ago.They’d never gotten married. But her love for him had not died.

He loved her rose garden. He was coming for dinner tonight.

The first prick had made her squirm. Now it made her smile.

Graciously Yours!

Of People and Things.

Naksh was singing at the top of his voice! “Papparah Papparah Papparah… Badtameez Dil Badtameez Dil… Ahh… Haan

“Oh shut that radio thing off and stop jumping on the bed,” Shailjaa scolded her eight year old son, Naksh!

No longer jumping, he smiled at her and stood there, the hand held radio his father bought as a gift, still blaring what people called music these days!

She was still angry at him but this child of hers could not be least bothered! He’d misplaced her earrings and she couldn’t find it anywhere. She was sure she’d given to him to go and keep it by the bedside table. She’d even boxed his ears two hours ago but he came back and sat beside her in no time! Now he was jumping on the bed unashamed.

“Get out,” she said, dropping the freshly ironed bed covers and pillow cases on the bed. “I have to change the bed sheet.”

“Mummy, I am sorry,” he said, and walked out of the room, forlorn and dejected, head hung.

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Shailjaa didn’t reply.

She pulled off the old covers angrily. Unfurling the new covers, she went to the headboard side and struggled to pick up the mattress alone to push the new covers beneath. Something fell from behind the mattress onto the floor beneath. She bent down and looked under the four poster bed. Two pieces of gold shone out to her. One within her reach, the other rolled off to the other end. She crawled under the bed and got her hands on both the pieces. She craned her neck upwards to look at the bed from under. A coffee flavored toffee was sticking out from behind the mattress, fighting gravity, pinched in place. She pulled it out too and crawled back out from under the bed. She sat on the floor, head resting on the bed, turning the earrings back and forth. They were the ones for which she’d boxed her son’s ears. She felt terrible, devastated almost. She now recalled picking it from the bedside table and having kept it on the bed. They must have gotten wedged between the mattress and the headboard during the course of the night. She lay her head on her knees and held herself close. She sat that way for more than a few minutes and swore to herself she’d put people over things here onwards.

Getting up from her place on the floor, she went out of the bedroom to look for her son. He was standing in the balcony, listening to the radio. She snuck up behind him and dangled the toffee in front of his eyes. He whirled around and smiled broadly. But then he saw her face and his smile dimmed a little. Her heart pricked.

“You want this?” she asked him.

He shook his head.

She felt sad.

But then he said, “I want the mango flavor.”

Her heart jumped with joy! “I’ll get you those later. Right now, will you please help me with covering the bed?” she asked.

He nodded her head vigorously. Then he raised a finger and asked, “Can I jump on the bed after that?”

“Yes, we both will,” she said, laughing.

Beaming with joy, he ran towards the room, and she noticed as she followed him, that his radio was lying in the balcony. She picked it up and placed it on the table – a lesson learnt.

Graciously Yours!

Lost and Found.

He was rummaging through old letters his deceased wife had written him during a long marriage and before. He also found his first and only Valentine Day card from thirty years ago.

Tears welled his eyes immediately when he read and re-read the sender’s name etched in crayons. He called her. This would be his first conversation with her in more than two years. “I want to take you out for dinner today. Will you be my valentine?”

She wasn’t sure if she should even receive the call but she did. “Me? But, Daadu. Also, today is the 21st of January,” said his recently divorced thirty eight year old grand daughter.

“I found the Valentine Day card you’d made for me years ago,” he said, not going into further details.

Eyes closed, she pursed her lips and barely managed to say, “I’ll pick you up at seven PM today,” before tears brimming with happiness rolled down her cheeks.

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Graciously Yours!