Shalaka Kulkarni's Stories


Aurangabad, February 2017. The summer roses were smiling as spring was taking baby steps. Woollens were back in the closet and whites were ready for the sun's show. Kids were busy in end-term exams and mothers were busy managing their routines. Finishing his work a little early, 41-year-old Rizwan packed his satchel and boarded the train. He was happy and nervous. Mixed emotions intoxicated his thoughts. Restlessness overpowered him as the train was running behind schedule. He couldn't afford to be late today. Had to wish his wife 'all the best'. It was her first board exam paper. English..

The Embrace

Nagpur, 20th May 2026. Fourteen years down the line, the place had experienced transformation. Google had given him some pleasant surprises. To his awe, the technological progress had failed as the caress of the land remained the same. There was no rush today. Raaghav abruptly stopped on his way as the half broken wooden bench looked very comfortable. A slim, tall young lad kept a cutting beside him. Nostalgia grabbed him more, as Kesari patted his back and said, "No Advance today?" The friendship exclaimed, "Cheers!" The tea, the cigarette and the city broke into tears. .


Air turns into a puff and the dark clouds begin to flock. The petrichor is spreading smiles around but this pluviophile is low. The Rain God is wondering if his plan of filling dimples with rain drops would work today. "You know, there's only lethargy due to college and this part time job. And it's getting difficult to manage things on my plate. See I forgot to carry my umbrella! Why didn't you remind me today?" It has been months. This lover-boy still visits Marine Drive and talks to her. 'Heaven'-ly, isn't it? .

The Gyration

Mumbai, Holi 2016. "May it be masks, religion, caste or creed- everybody looks alike with colours on their visage. Colours don't hide, but make each individual equal. And that's why Holi is my favourite festival." A busy bee in the media, deep in despair but merry on the front Kedar was. But forgetting the baggage, he rejuvenated himself with the colourful spirits around. This time the stubborn colours failed. She recognised him. His sister secretly listened all his podcasts. Her gyration of acceptance had made this Holi a happy one indeed. Just like him..


Rebecca was one of a kind. Her some notions were archaic, some far out. She always wanted to be in two provinces at the same time. In adolescence, it escalated more. She married a lad from the state, on the border itself. And celebrated her first kiss at Vaalserberg- the tripoint of Netherlands, Belgium and Germany! Her beloved said, "The world is not for populace with eyesight but for individuals with caprice! So exhale the melancholy and inhale the glee, thus DEAD to the world; live thy reverie! .


December 1996 wasn't good to this Bengali lad. Happiness was the rarest thing he knew. The climate was cold, his body, colder and his heart, coldest. Countrymen came and went. But he didn't move. There was a spark in his sleepy soul. And there was optimism in his lethargic eyes. That was the very spot where they met; where they played football, fought over petty things, laughed over their miseries, shared their tiffin boxes and what not! Anirban, the eternal flame, still awaits in hope. He still believes that the Brahmaputra mail is late. .


Princeton orange colored sari and the beautiful dark mehendi made Kaavya look a little younger today. Her eight year old had assisted in applying nail enamel too. The old imitation ring still looks new. The one he slid down the finger proposing her in twelfth standard. It is her decennial today. Every year she dolls up as a bride, celebrates the love and rejoices in pain. Salutes her young Colonel and plays his persona. Not the emptiness but the bare finger spaces are filled as she completes the nuptial knot, as she holds her hand, herself. .


Christian by birth, he was. Hindu by name, she was. But love was their only religion. First day of honeymoon, the very first post wedding kiss, on the very terrace where their eyes met. Where they laughed and giggled. They deciphered the languages of shapes of the nature. They danced in the rain. Enjoying coffee and her homemade delicacies was their idea of an ideal date. He is an eminent author today. Because she wrote for him. She is an admired dancer. Because he danced with her. The universe always maintains balance. Her Mr. 'RIGHT', he completed her..


Whole world had come to his footsteps. He brought Zupra and Omag to the province. Zen was tirelessly working on his fantasy child named Neven, the only hope of finding Omag again. His energy gave up and he dozed off inside. Miracles do happen. The story of two sleepy unconscious movements it is. Neven was now fluttering his wings on cloud ninety nine. The time had changed its orbit to a sphere of 0.769 gravity. And Zen, in his unconsciously discovered parallel world was looking at her from a 'distance'. .