FRAME 28 STORIES

The Pawns

Y.Padmanabhan

'Rama fought Ravana to bring back Sita, but my father is languishing in Lankan jail and nobody is there to get him freed' grumbled Velu.
'They were rulers. We are ordinary people, mere pawns. Now they talk of Ram-Rajya only when they need our votes. We may have to wait till next election or for a summit when we can hope Lankans to release your father as a goodwill gesture' said Subbu.
'It is getting dark. Let us go home. We have to leave for fishing before dawn tomorrow' said Velu.
Pawns have no choice.

Fair Ferry

Vikas

"Few more days and the Jetty will be restored, then we can restart our ferry service."
Shiva said to his younger brother. The brothers were sitting on the broken jetty of the Sasawane Village, just across the sea from the glittery world of South Mumbai.
"Is it so necessary Bhai?"
"Hell yes." said Shiva, "Those Rich people throw all kinds of garbage in to the sea, which lands up at our shore. Someone needs collect, ferry it back and dump where it belongs."

What's Black is White

Richa Agarwal

'Do you see them?'
Vivek started and turned around, looking at Mr. Bansal, the schizophrenic patient he was taking care of.
'See who, Mr. Bansal?'
'The demons. They are rising from the sea, trying to climb up the bridge.'
'There's no one here Mr. Bansal.'
The patient just shook his head and started gazing at the sea again.
'Is that why you killed that woman? Did you think she was a demon too? Trying to come into our world?'
Mr. Bansal gave a sinister smile.
'Of course not. I killed her because she was trying to stop them.'

Pulp Fiction

Matilda Briggs

"When we go for fishing on our boat, we will dump the body in the sea."
"As always. Meanwhile, sit next to me and enjoy the daybreak."
"What did he do?"
"The less you know, the better."
"I know. I was simply curious."
"Curosity killed the cat."
"Only because the cat was stupid."
"Perhaps."
"Pay up. He is late. You lost the bet."
"No. It is you who must pay."
A relaxed Gokul stabbed Rehan in the chest. Their spurious activities had been traced to Rehan. In their line of business, mistakes that jeopardized everyone's anonymity yielded fishy consequences.

The last ramp walk

Shoumik De

I am part of adventure group, which goes around seeking thrills. On one of the tours around the city, we toured the haunted houses, allegedly inhabited by ghosts. Disappointed at the end I declared that there’s no such thing as ghosts. One of the guys from the group offered to take me to a really scary place. I agreed. He took me to this old ramp on the sea. The sound of the waves in the night was eerie. I asked him jokingly “so who was murdered here?”
He said with a large grin on his face “You!”

Waking up to setting sun

Payal Phayde

"They got down from an Audi. They should have a lot of cash on them."
"This place is closed for civilians. They could also be thieves."
"Like us?"
" More high profile. Politicians or with such connections maybe"
"Its Amma' birthday, we can't go empty handed. "
"Our knives are no weapon to their guns. Let’s buy her favourite flowers after picking a few pockets in the market."
"Can we come here tomorrow? It’s such a view. "
"Course we can. Maybe we can loot some couples like the other day."
"If we are lucky."

And Then It Dawned

Sambit Dash

Sameer asked 'Why is it that every good thing has to come to an end, why do we have to live with darkness, why cannot the sun shine all the time?'
His teacher Sujoy answered ‘Because without darkness we would not appreciate light'
'And what about suffering?'
'It is in our deep consciousness that we have so much negativity towards suffering that it really is a suffering'
'Can I be then all normal with the fast spreading cancer inside me?'
Sujoy took a moment and said 'Yes'
The sun by then had set.

Just a drop

Tanvi Nagwekar

The clouds were slowly being painted golden. They sat admiring the sea. The sea which employed them. The vast expanse of water with minerals in its bosom. They were mere labourers extracting these minerals. Before today the three of them had sat here at the same spot, after the day’s work. But fire had claimed his life.
Now he lay peacefully in the sea. The wisps of smoke still rising high reminded them of the friend they had lost. Their sahab had told them once “Your lives are just worth a drop of the sea.” The accident proved it.

Awaiting Yuiblex

Alex

"I see you here each sunset awaiting the return of an Old One. Aren’t you?" I asked the man. His legs folded beneath him.
"That’s right. Yuiblex Dreamer of Forms called upon me from distant deeps 5 years ago. Told that mindful meditation would be rewarded 1 night. Yuiblex would come & set my mind free from decaying body".
I looked out at sea “Are you not concerned about losing your mind?"
His eyes opened “fish-hooks & the naked eyes of fish. Now that is real horror. To be honest the loss of my mind cannot come soon enough."

The Aftermath

Pooh

We met at our favourite place. Today was different. He seemed restless and the sea calm.
'This needs to end', he finally spoke.
'I can wait' was my plea.
With a light hug and whispering NO, he walked away leaving me all Alone.
It made my heart drown in a sea of pain and left a hurricane of bitter-sweet memories behind. With uncontrollable tears, I prayed for strength to help me cleanse the Aftermath and hope that this end also meant a new Beginning.

Some Criminals Introspect

Lonevolf

The distraught delinquent walked to the end of the deserted wharf. His gaze met the horizon, searching for another place. A place where he would be free. Free to be himself. Why should he stay here where he is upbraided for everything he does? Maybe there’s an island out there where he could live all alone, happily. As the sun set into the grey sea and turned the sky purple, he realised, his happiness was as ephemeral as the sun’s position in the sky. Will taking another step forward and letting the sea consume him make his happiness permanent?

Sea of strangers

Akhila

We met on shores, we lived in hearts, We are always each others strength. He believe in me and I believe in him. That's all matters. We are two different but when we are together we are one. We remain as one. That special bond. We are the sky and everything else is just a weather.

Forever

Woman Abandoned

To hold wrinkled hands
Caress the old papery skin
Stare into sunsets in the sea
He would cook for her
While she poured the wine
Their dreams of forever

She sat on the jetty alone
Staring at her wrinkled hands
Tears wetting the papery skin
She waited for the sunset of her life
Dreams of forever were words on sand
Washed away easily by a high tide.

Bridge The Distance

Sobia Moon

'Nothing to worry about sister, its just another day,' said Tara to Meena,'We shall soon cross this gigantic ocean,do not lose hope.'
The siblings have been victims of human smuggling a month ago and their lifeboat is now sailing towards unknown shore. Every sunrise is the revival of their reverie to beat the waves of unfathomable distance that sets apart their destiny. In the darkness of night they fight the phantoms of fear and uncertainty.

No Catch

Madhavi Pujari

"Hey did you see over there, what little pesky kids", the fisherman commented.
Leaping over slippery rocks, a bunch of city slickers didn't even care. Everything seemed new to them, but for the fisherman and his son knew the very nature of the waters.
Here, they struggled to make ends meet, surviving on some cheap fish, while the brats licked clean their plates off of surmai fry, not before leaving the beach littered with beer bottles.

Rendezvous

Monathais

It was going to be The Interview of her career. While permanent cold hands had tormented her since birth, this time unusual warm waves made her palms sweaty.
She had no idea why he picked her. The most famous painter in the world, who lived a secluded life, decided to open up.
Maria got close to him and uttered a trembling “Hello”. He was just adding a final touch to a mesmerizing landscape.
“Happy Birthday, Maria! And forgive me for growing up without me!”
He handed her the glistening painting which perfectly depicted the sky, the sea and them.

It was Her

Deepak

I can see her approaching me slowly, she was never so silent and slow. we meet, we run, we fall, we play, we laugh, we cry and finally one last goodbye. Never she met me again, Today I am here with my kids, the kids we both found here in the same place I am standing now but the funniest part is neither my kids saw her mother nor did my parents their daughter in law.

Invocation

Arnab Chakraborty

“Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream..”
The shoreline echoed in his ears. Each deep breath filled his lungs with freshness of the pristine surrounding.
The rustic bridge overlooking the crimson skyline laid a perfect setting for their daily séance.
He assumed the lotus position and gently closed his eyes. With each passing wave, his body resonated at a higher frequency.
The Guru smiled at his disciple’s allegiance.
Now repeat after me.“I am not the body, I am not even the mind”
Several moments later, He submerged into the vast ocean of consciousness.

Life-Death-Time

Confused Sperm

"Is death is the only answer to our sorrows?" he asked while staring at setting sun.
"What you think?" Master asked.
"Death is beyond the thought hence permanent so how we can think which is beyond our thoughts."
"Did setting sun die or just give a time for renewal, mutation."Master asked.
"He just make empty of himself from longings, pleasure and agonies. It’s like purification of self to start new life," he replied.
"You got your answer my child. Freedom from known is death, and then you start living without sorrows" Master smiles.

Mid Life Solace

Ashwini Dodani

Every life needs an early morning to realize the darkness of night but what it actually means is to experience all the struggle and end up being thankful. Throughout your existence, you will meet a lot of people and they will leave you incomplete. What do you do with such a consequence? Accept. At some point of life we all tend to run away from ourselves to find us in someone else. Could be a mentor, could be friend, and could be a lover or just a parent. Then, we know what true love is and devotion could be.

Life Goes On....!!

Rahul

Heyy saniya !!... How are you?
What are you doing here?
Just came here for vacations
(she replied)
Rahul: You remember last time when we met, you were exactly sitting there, where you are now.
Saniya: hmmm !!
Rahul: nothing has changed here same bridge, sea, beach.
Saniya: But everything between us has changed.
Rahul: We can start afresh, i still love you
Saniya: No!!!
I am married now.
Rahul(takes a deep breath): can i sit here for a while!!?
I want see the sunset with you, I missed it last time don’t want to miss it now ...!!

Like a Pheonix

Megha Ghosh

Aggressive. Strong. Proud. Competitive. Assertive. Pushy. Blunt. Rude. Blatant. Insensitive. Cold. Uncaring. Terror.
The words haunted him, playing in his mind on an endless loop.
That’s what people really thought of him! When did it get so bad, he wondered.
He was hurting. He wanted to run away, he wanted to leave it all behind but how could he? It was a lot of wrong to leave behind.
Sitting there, with no one but his conscience, he knew that his time ahead was more daunting than ever before but he also knew, once again, he would emerge victorious.

Two Voices

Ankita Chauhan

It was cold and tenuous evening
Moonlit scattered in the whole misty sky
While clouds gobbled up the warm sun,
Two voices standing on the sea-shore
Surrounded by mute silences
Brushing away the moments of feeble sadness
Restoring the beauty of life,
Reviving the delicate trust
So what if there are few mishappenings
Who told them life would be a cradle of sunshine?
Waves of hope tangled in their heart
No more tears No more sighs
Couple of lips with radiant smiles.

Kiss of Life

Chandana Roy

I am waiting under the changing lights of the sky and by the sea that is on fire. I know not what I wait for. I see my life, a mere speck hanging on to the orange sun that is fast fading. The day sinks like a wingless bird. It looks like my spirit. But I am not dead. I hear a survivor, sitting next to me. He tells me about the impending birth of the moon. I No, I am not yet ready to cross the bridge. I too, am a survivor!

Taking the plunge

mildwave

As he stared at the image, his thoughts went back to the memory of their last meeting.
After watching the sun set in all its glory, they had taken a vow; if they couldn't be together, it would be suicide.
She had lived up to her part of the vow. He would take the plunge too.
The date had been fixed to coincide with the date on which they had first met.
Tomorrow would be the day.
He was going to get married.

Agneepath Returns

Onkar

“I had no choice. The rage just blew up seeing him harassing that lady near the construction site.”
“But murder?”
“Forget it! I’ve managed everything.”
“Unreal, dad! So our poem is worthless?”
“No, Son! I just brought it to life. It was indeed a great spectacle, him crawling over this bridge drenched in sweat, tears and blood. Only, it was Paanipath eventually instead of Agneepath!”
“God!”
“Aye saala, Vijay! I, Dinanath Chauhan, won’t let someone contaminate our Maandawa. This time, I’ll rewrite our fate.”
“And me?”
“You deal with that irritating Krishnan Aiyyar M.A.”
“Arrrgghh! Kill me.”
“Remember, AGNEEPATH!”

Brotherhood

Mehula Prasad

The teen brothers, took the war drill assigned by their father diligently, exhausted but elated with their triumph sat on the shattered pier.
Younger one's eyes fixed on the light in the sky, a signal of their arriving starship. "I'm tired of waiting brother. The drill at Alfheim has worn me out."
"Positively. Slaying the Light Elves has satisfied me for a year at least. "
"Into the infinity." The older one commands their interstellar chauffeur.
Two pairs of eyes twinkling.
Unknowing of the future, the same pair of eyes will be filled with stark hate for one another.

Acknowledgements

Fictitious

"I confess. I can no longer write as I used to be able to."
"It is good to see you have moved on."
"I don't understand. You seem to not have heard me."
"She doesn't trouble you much these days, I understand."
"Limited to occasional guest appearance in your dreams, I hope."
"But... I had begun to love writing."
"You are rediscovering happiness; the hangover shall soon be a thing of the past."
"Trust me, you will write again. A lot better this time."
- To my dear friend, without whom, this book would not have been inked.

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