08 September 2013

A Plate of Rice

“He’s a wise little boy.”

The words uttered by the wrinkled old man sailed across the entrance of the compartment, staving off the oncoming gush of wind that was blowing in as the train furiously glided through a narrow bend in the tracks.

I was lost in thought, having surrendered to the stifling heat which nevertheless demanded beads of sweat as humiliating evidence of its influence. The old man pointed, and I followed the direction of his finger.

Next to the entrance at the other end of the compartment was a small boy. Given the opportunity of a bath and a visit to the tailor, the kid would have looked charming. Presently looking like any other street urchin, dressed in a dirty, yellowish white banyan that exposed his pencil thin arms, his face was pockmarked with dirt stains that did nothing to diminish the self-assured, arrogant look that he wore. With silky black hair that flopped onto his forehead, he seemed happy as he leaned against the compartment wall.

The Armchair Soldier

It is possible that Satish Gupta did not think of ‘The Armchair Soldier’ that evening, as his Chevrolet Cruze purred up the driveway of the plush hotel. After all, it was a story his communist-hating grandfather had told him several decades earlier. Besides, the lady in the passenger seat had his full attention. 
The Hyatt Hotel had over the years swung open its electronic glass doors to countless couples, but none might have matched the beauty that Esha Gupta radiated that evening. Dressed in the royal blue salwar that her aunt had hand-picked for this occasion, the 24 year old nursing graduate knew her husband had been floored. But he was charming enough to not show it too blatantly. 

14 August 2013

The Silver Atlas

Without crumpling his neatly pressed black suit, Butler Meyers managed to place the last set of champagne glasses on the entrance table and entered the dining hall, where a contemplative Mr. Anthony D’Souza was peering at the mountain side from behind the thick, reinforced life size glass window.

“All ready, sir. The guests are getting dressed now, and will be down for dinner shortly.”

The owner of the freshly burrowed enclave turned around, and flashed a pleasant smile.

“Thank you, Meyers. You have performed your duties this weekend brilliantly.”

The butler smiled. “And you’ve still overpaid me, sir.” He bowed and took his leave.

The prematurely retired scientist turned back his attention to the mountain side, which was presently filled with deeply overcast skies that turned a murkier shade of dark blue by the minute.

The worst hurricane in the history of North America, the CNN anchor had predicted earlier that morning. His British counterpart was instead directing viewers’ attention towards devastating earthquakes in Asia.

11 August 2013

10 Treasures of A Happy Childhood

Lately I've been gaining weight like the Library of Congress gains books. Which has, sadly, made me transition from the right to left side of a Loreal Anti Aging Poster.

In a bid to combat the increasingly worrying queries from relatives who are considering turning my future hunt for a bride into a nail biting, almost impossible sounding reality show, I've decided to seek refuge in the past.

Like most of you, I've been blessed by God Almighty with a wonderful childhood. Or, cynically speaking, I was allowed to experience what pure bliss felt like, before having to face the other, murkier end of the spectrum.

So I've decided to list down the ten biggest influences, memories, relics, moments - or in short, treasures - of my childhood. It would serve you well to keep in mind that I was born and brought up in Qatar, as an NRI kid. Just saying, don't expect 'Milking the cow' to be in the list.

So without much further ado, allow me to take you down memory lane. Perhaps you've had similar fond memories as well...

16 July 2013

Vote for A Short Story

After countless short stories and articles being posted, it's finally time for an announcement.

I've been shortlisted as a finalist for the 1st Indireads Short Story Contest, held to select the best short stories in 4 genres from South Asia. Now that I've been shortlisted, the best short story will be decided by voting.

This is where your help comes in. I've come to believe that over the years there are about a handful of secret readers of this blog. If that belief is valid, then you must be reading this right now. Well, I need a favor.

Click on the link here, read my story, and if you deem it worthy, vote for it. The winner of this contest will get a book contract, which means I finally have the means to fulfill my life long dream!

Here's to hoping for success. And your cooperation. Thanks!

03 July 2013

Chasing Parisa


I grabbed the phone from Varun’s hands before he could react. Holding it tightly, I stared at the picture, feeling envy growing within me.

“How the hell – so it’s true, huh?” I said, trying to sound casual.

Varun’s face turned a shade red as he tried not to blush.

I looked at the photo again and let out a low whistle. She was beautiful. It was a picture of a girl in her early twenties, who was facing slightly off camera, with her hand in the air as she perhaps tried to stop the photo from being taken. She had fair, creamish complexion, and her thin, red lips curved upwards, causing his cheeks to swell lightly. Combined with the slight reflection of her thin long nose, she looked almost angelic. Serene, I thought.

14 June 2013

The 18th Man - Chapter One

The 18th Man is India's first online serialized novel. A chapter will be posted on the Facebook page www.facebook.com/the18thman every Friday and Tuesday at 6 P.M. IST. The following is the first chapter of the novel, which is technically a science fiction thriller.

New York City, 11 : 13 P.M.

Arthur Wallace took a deep breath and opened the door. He sighed in relief. The alarm didn’t go off. Now only if the next three doors were just as easy.

Tiptoeing across the tiled floor of the bank’s back office, Arthur reached another, far more imposing door. He would have to break the lock in under five minutes. He glanced at his watch. Damn it, just over half an hour left.

As beads of sweat trickled down his forehead despite the frigid air conditioning, Arthut Wallace’s mind was racing. The fingers were stubby, he thought angrily. And he was pretty sure the ears weren’t as sharp as they should have been. Thankfully though, the legs seemed to compensate. Yes, he thought, surprisingly fast legs.