Category Archives: Short Story

Bloody Northies!!!

By Joybrato Dutta

northies in bangalore

That’s what I heard most of the time in the span of 3 years that I stayed in Bangalore. A small-town guy by birth, I moved to Bangalore to pursue higher education. Well, I guess that’s what 90% of all small town aspirants do. So, is that a mistake? It turned out to be one. Since our (Northies) first day we were told that, this city is not our home and it can never be. We are not allowed to ‘disrespect’ any ‘Localite’, or date a local chick.

All that was taken into consideration, but there was one important thing we didn’t know. “We aren’t supposed to perform well”! In case you did, your teachers will make sure it doesn’t show in your results. Of course we all passed.

Coming back to the “Disrespecting a Localite” part. One of my Northie counterpart pushed a Khatta (that’s how we addressed them) while playing ‘pitto’. Inculcated with ethics my friend helped him get up. But, what does he get in return? A couple of abuses and a slight mishandling of the collar. Now, we small town guys can tolerate every bloody insult, but, someone holding our ‘Girebaan’ is something we can’t stand.

The result: A fight for dignity and self respect. Bruised faces, uprooted shrubs, torn T-shirts, a fractured thumb and a couple of half-murder cases followed. One of my friend got 17 fractures in his thumb and till today (incident happened 4 years back) struggles to bend his thumb.

We thought we won the fight, but we failed to realise the fight wasn’t over. 2 hours before his first semester exam my friend (with a fractured thumb) was denied a writer. All of us were denied a place in the hostel. Most importantly since then whenever anything went wrong we were called for interrogation, doesn’t matter if you weren’t in town. “Saaley humey talcum powder samajh ke rakhe the, jab khujli hui bula liya” (Courtesy – Sanjay Gupta’s Kaante).

I don’t really hate the city because it gave me fantastic friends and taught me many lessons. They have their reason for their actions. They are jealous of the fact that we achieve as much as they do in their hometown. They feel that because of us, many of their people are unemployed. Most importantly the population density has increased. May be they have a point, but don’t they do the same. I refuse to believe that none of them move out of their cities for a better future. How can we point at the western nations for being racially biased when the same shit happens in our country?

The Bitter Truth

By Titas Mazumdar

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Books, music, movies and the afternoon siesta after a heavy Bengali meal, is all that I crave for on my Sundays. Once the evening sets in my heart starts becoming heavy with the thought that another week to toil in office.

I always wanted to be free just like a bird and to some extent I enjoyed the taste of independence during my college days. But once I started  working my life felt all in chains. Everyday I reach office 10-15mins early so that I am not marked late and a part of my salary gets deducted. I can feel my phone vibrating in my jeans pocket yet I cannot pick it up or even check who had called up. Scared to open the news site, lest my IP address is being scanned through and my evening break is munching biscuit while researching for my next content. Ah that’s my life in office , working as slaves for some billionare.

Whenever my colleagues and I feel sleepy for working hours in front of the computer we take refuge to the nearby tea shop. The owner of this tea shop sell such a refreshing cup of tea that most of us simply ignored our office coffee. He might own a small tea shop by the roadside but the conversations with him are always  interesting. This man downloads films from the internet and watches them . To our surprise he even discussed Rittwick Ghatak and Rituparno Ghosh films with us. At times the topics would revolve around politics, current affairs and even spirituality.

On a gloomy Monday when one of my colleagues and I visited this tea shop found it to closed. Disappointed at this we had no other option but to sip the infamous ‘phenyl tea’ of our office. The next day when we enquired why he didn’t open his shop, he answered that he just wanted to stay at home with his family. We were quite surprised that he incurred a days loss but this man was unperturbed by it.  And the next thing he said simply got etched in my mind and I think its going to be there foreover.

‘My life is not like yours!! For the slightest mistake or absentism you people always in the tension that your boss will shout at you or in the worst case sack you from your job.   But here I am the boss no one is there to tell me anything. It might be just a small tea shop by the road but at least its my own’.

A Morning Walk!

By Devjani Bodepudi

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He lay there, eyes closed, mouth open. She closed his mouth, lifting his chin to his top lip; he looked better that way. He did not move.

She climbed off the bed and padded her way, barefoot to the en-suite. She washed her face and looked into the mirror. Oh, she felt better!

Slowly peeling off the layers of clothing, Emily began to think about all that there was to do. She would need to book some tickets to somewhere snowy, but she would do that in a few months, there really was no rush. Before that, perhaps she would buy some new clothes and get her hair cut shorter. At the moment, Emily kept it tied up in a neat but perfunctory bun at the nape of her neck. She felt like a change! Her birthday arrived with much promise this year, she reflected as the steam rose from the shower and veiled the glass with a cloak of grey.

Stepping in, Emily delighted in the drops of hot water on her skin, on her scalp, on her breasts! Her senses felt keener, she felt newer, like she had awoken from a deep sleep and just this simple act of taking a shower was an experience she had missed for a long time. The rich shampoo filled the bathroom with a fruity scent that made Emily crave strawberries. What had gotten into her? She giggled at the thought as scrubbed and rubbed and dabbed and lathered and stroked.

Stepping out, Emily moved around the bed in her towel, careful not to disturb her husband who still lay on the bed, motionless. “My, what a deep sleep!” she remarked, wryly.

She dressed with care. She settled for a skirt today, with a sleeveless top. She hadn’t worn these clothes since the month before her wedding. She smoothed down the pleats and remembered her best friend’s words, “You’ll be fine! You’re starting a whole new life, but never forget who you are.”  Her friend, Swetha, was living in India now, she had heard. It was funny how friends grew apart. A million miles away from the here and now, she wondered what India was like. She wondered if she should visit.

Smiling with the possibilities, she dried her hair with a hairdryer and tied it up in the way she always did. Then she changed her mind. She let it fall about her shoulders in a smooth, fluid sheet of gold. She glanced at the bed again. Still. No movement.

Hmmm…she was ready but where should she go? She contemplated making the phone call first, but decided to leave it a little longer. Perhaps this afternoon, at lunchtime would be the right time, but for now, she would take a walk in the park, feel the sun on her shoulders for the first time this summer.

It was decided then, as she closed the front door behind her, the park with the ducks and the swans and the geese. It wasn’t a very scenic walk but it was during this walk when Emily finally saw what she had refused to see in the all of her six years as resident of this tiny village. Things could be beautiful. The grass could actually smell sweet and rich like mint and chocolate. And the sun could be warm on her skin without burning. She saw the neighbours smile more openly suddenly and she heard the bird song had a melodic pattern of question and answer, up, then down. There was order and calm and as the grocer arranged the fruit and vegetables outside his shop, she saw there was order in that too. And yes, she saw the strawberries and yes, everything was as it should be.

She wasn’t wearing a watch so she relied on her stomach to tell her when she was hungry. She stopped off at the local bakery for a sandwich and then headed home. It would have to be now, she thought. She would make the phone call and get it over and done with and then she could make a hair appointment.

But Emily still wasn’t quite ready to walk back into the house. She knew he was still in the bedroom and she knew he was not going to be up and about but as she neared her front door, like Harry Potter’s lightning scar, her bruises began to burn. Her thighs began to tremble and her hand, ever so slightly shook as she held the key to the door.

But enter she must. She turned the lock and held her breath. It was an irrational fear she knew, but it had become a habit, a technique for survival. It was dark inside. In her haste to walk out of the front door, Emily realized that she had not opened the curtains. She opened them now, allowing the sun to catch the dust, like tiny specks of silver floating together in a beam of glitter to the carpet.

She dialed the number that every child knew and she waited.

“Ambulance, please,” she said, her voice trembling slightly.

My husband’s not breathing, he’s not moving. I left him in the morning, to go for a walk, I thought he was sleeping! He took some sleeping pills last night!”

The words came out in a rush and as she said them, she realized what she had said. He was dead. Finally, he was dead.

“What’s the address, Madam?”

Emily completed the formalities and put the phone down.

She went back up the stairs to her bedroom but her stomach lurched as she opened the door.

The bed was empty. Her husband was not there.

A hand was clasped firmly over her mouth and she was pushed on the bed. Her legs were forced apart by his knees. He pulled her hair back and stifled her scream with his mouth. He bit down hard, drawing blood and as he moved his mouth away he snarled.

“What were you thinking, Bitch? What the fuck did you put in my tea, last night?”

She couldn’t answer. He wasn’t really looking for an answer. He just pushed his way inside, like he did last night, like he did every night. She closed her eyes, left her body where it was until she heard the sirens, the banging on the door, the calls through the letterbox. Her husband went down, opened the door, told them everything was all right. But no one answered her calls, the ones she screamed in desperate silence from inside her. Eventually the voices faded and it was quiet again. Emily came back into herself and shook violently, cold and in pain. Her husband had gone out.

She just managed to hear the door close before she closed her eyes and gave into sleep.

Raja Bhoj And The Crow: The Story Of The First Whistleblower

raja bhoj

By DP Sakunia

Once Raja Bhoj was encircled by his nobles who were chanting eulogy as they always did. Suddenly a crow came from nowhere & scratched at a noble cum poet. Raja Bhoj became furious & directed to execute the crow. The crow prayed for a last hearing & took Raja Bhoj & his noblemen to a cave full of diamonds.

The crow told the entire kings caravan that the wealth dates back to Lord Ram’s time. She narrated the story that was as follows. A rich person of Oudh invited Sri Ram once for lunch at his place. After lunch the rich person presented Sri Ram with these precious stones. Lord Ram, the gracious self that he were, left the same at the verandah of his palace for someone in need. Time passed fast but no one came forward to take it and in course of time the wealth got hidden in the cave.

After narrating the story, the crow came to his point & prayed Raja Bhoj to search his so called noblemen who had already unscrupulously pocketed some of the valuables. These were the same folks who harped eulogy at Raja Bhoj and kept harassing and looting the subjects. The crow scratched at such a nobleman-cum-sycophant who was actually coaxing Raja Bhoj with self-ill motive.

Raja Bhoj immediately sent the noblemen to prison and asked him to be given the harshest punishment. He also called for a detailed investigation and personally went about asking his subjects who are the culprits and made sure all was happy once again.

Moral of the story: Alas there is no place for such whistle blower in todays time because Raja Bhoj and the noblemen have become equally corrupt towards the subject.

The Love Cartridge: The Unforgiving Bullet – Chapter 6

By Joybrato Dutta

the love catridge

Day – Friday, June 13, 2008
Time – 8:30 PM

Harsh regained consciousness. Vikrant was not at home. On a post-it he had mentioned that he is going out for some work and will be back by 9. Vikrant had left his car for Harsh. Harsh took the keys and ran out of the house. He was driven by anger, by fear, by sadness, by vengeance but at the end it was regret that overshadowed every other emotion. He stopped at a medical store and bought a bottle of rat poison and drove away to his house in Birsanagar.

Neha was already there, hiding behind a tree, waiting for him. She followed Harsh as he climbed up the stairs. She hid herself as soon as Harsh was unlocking the door. Vengeance blindfolded her. She blocked the lock.

Harsh didn’t realise. He poured the tablets in a bottle of Old Monk. He switched on his laptop and started typing.

Neha knew this was the opportunity. She entered the room and shot Harsh on the head. She went closer to check his body. She looks at Riya’s photo fires the remaining 5 bullets.

Cartridge Over!!!

Hard Work, Determination And Dreams Succeed: A Short Story

dream hard work quote

By Ganesh Subramanian

It was a hot and dry afternoon in Laxmangarh in the Sikar district in Rajasthan. Rampal was driving a nail into one of the legs of the broken wooden chair which he was trying to repair. Oblivious to the beads of sweat forming on his forehead, Rampal was focused on mending the chair.

“Dharampal, Arey, Oye Dharampal”, echoed a voice from the gate. Rampal shifted his gaze towards the gate in the direction of the voice which had called his father’s name. He saw the landlord Dharamveer entering the compound pushing the wrought-iron gate.

Dharampal, Rampal’s father came out of the house. He was a frail man in his early sixties and wore a pair of spectacles right on the edge of his nose that it threatened to fall down at any moment. “Namaste, Dharamveer Ji, Aayiyae” said the old man.

“It has been two months since you paid the rent. I am not leaving this place unless you pay me now”, Dharamveer said with a firmness in his tone. “Give me a week’s time, Dharamveer. As I told you, business had been dull for the last 2 months. Our regular buyers have not placed their orders yet” pleaded Dharampal.

Before Dharamveer could say anything, Rampal interjected, “We have been paying the rent regularly without delay for the last 2 years. It is only now that we are asking you to give sometime. As Papa says, give us a week’s time”.

Dharamveer thought for a moment. “Alright. If I don’t get the money in a week’s time, you better look out for a new house to move into” said the landlord and left the place.

Now Dharampal makes and sells handicrafts like jute bags, purses etc. to mostly foreign tourists who visit Laxmangarh. These tourists repeat their purchases either for new designs or they buy products for their friends and family. Due to the hot weather, Dharampal’s business suffered a dip in the last two months.

“Father, why don’t you pay the rent with the money that you have set aside for my education?” Rampal questioned his father.

The old man gave a weak smile. “Son, the money that I have saved for your higher education will be used only for that purpose. We will find another way to manage the rent. You are the brightest graduate in our whole town. Let all these troubles besieging our family go with me. I want you to do your post graduation and get a good job so that you will have a comfortable life thereafter.”

Rampal quietly nodded. He decided against saying anything that would cause displeasure to his father. Rampal is a science graduate and has been hailed as the brightest student in his college. Now Rampal’s dad and the family believed that with a post graduation, he will well be on his way to leading a trouble-free life.

Next day, Rampal was sitting in the footsteps of his house reading a newspaper. He saw a small group running past his compound gate. When he asked a person in the group, the person replied that Vikas met with an accident and before he could be rushed to the main hospital in the city, he died. Rampal could hardly believe his ears. Vikas is his closest friend and hails from a not-well-to-do family. He was sincerely preparing for his Civil Service exams and was hoping to get a good posting so that he could wipe away all the problems in his family.

Rampal rushed to Vikas’s house along with the group. The scene there was nothing short of traumatic. Vikas’s parents and sisters were wailing in grief. When Vikas’s mom saw Rampal, she hugged him and started sobbing uncontrollably. Rampal’s heart sank. His initial sorrow turned to anger. Why should this happen everytime? Is basic medical facility a luxury to be afforded only by the rich? Questions kept flooding his mind like a torrent.

He was determined to start a hospital in his town so that no one faces the same situation ever again. Rampal’s dad vehemently objected. His mom shouted at his foolish decision to be an entrepreneur. Rampal started speaking to bigger hospitals in the main city for tie-ups. He lobbied with the government agencies. After two years of struggle, his efforts bore fruit. People from nearby towns also visited his hospital for excellent facilities at a very cheap price. A year later, the hospital was one of the most thriving businesses in the town. The national newspaper carried an article about Rampal citing his resilience, never-say-die attitude and hailed him as a visionary. Rampal’s father read the article and was proud of his son. Tears flooded his eyes. He apologised to his son for not listening to him earlier. Rampal smiled a contented man.

The Love Cartridge: The Deceitful Bullet – Chapter 5

By Joybrato Dutta

the love catridgeDay – Thursday, June 12, 2008

Time – 10:15 PM

Harsh was on his way to Ram Mandir. Enthused spirit. Alacrity in the heart. . Although it was a rainy day but the adrenaline rush glued Harsh’s feet to the accelerator, while his palm answered Vikrant’s call.

“Haan Vik wassup man”

“Wassup ke bachhe kahan pahuncha hai”

“Bas aur 10 minute mein pahunch jaunga

“Sahi hai Riya ko pick karne ke baad call karna”

“Pukka karta hun”

“Chal best of luck. Happy journey”

Harsh disconnected the call

Thud!!!!!!! Screeeeech!!!!!!

Harsh’s vehicle hit something. He manoeuvres the steering as fast as he could and stops the car just before it could crash against a tree. He steps out of his car. To his misfortune he finds a little girl lying on the street. He runs towards her. She was unconscious and covered in blood. Panic struck. He lifted the girl and put her in the car. Amidst this chaos Harsh drops his phone on the road without realising.

He takes the little girl to the hospital, where she is taken to the emergency ward. Harsh looks at his watch which was wrapped around his blood stained wrists. It was 11:30 PM. He looks for his phone, but is unable to find it. His clothes were soaked in the little girl’s blood. He runs out of the hospital, gets into the car and drives as fast as he could. He reaches Ram Mandir. He notices Riya’s car. He searches the car all over. He does not find her. “Riya’s father must have taken her back”, he thinks to himself.

He sits in his car and drives away. He returns to the hospital. The doctor tells him that the little girl is ok. But her family needs to be contacted. By the look of the clothes she looked like a street urchin. Harsh took her responsibility.

He goes to the hospital’s reception and calls Riya. Her phone was not reachable. He calls Neha. She didn’t answer. Harsh had Riya’s landline number, but he didn’t have the guts to call. He called Vikrant and explained everything.

Vikrant rushed to the hospital. He paid the bills and took Harsh with him.

Harsh cried all night. He had no idea what had happened to Riya. He could not contact Riya or Neha. Unanswered questions didn’t let him rest.

Next morning Harsh finally had the guts to call Riya on her landline. A rugged voice answered.

“Uncle Riya hai?” harsh asks politely

“Tu wahi launda hai na, madarjaat tu kata, teri wajah se Riya gayi, abb tu bhi katega, tu nahi bachega, saaley neechi jaati ke madarchod.

Riya gayi matlab? A cold shiver passed through Harsh’s veins as he asked this question?

“Abbey uske baap ne usey katwa kar uske tukde wahin Ram Mandir ke agey jheel mein phenk diye. Abb tu bhi jaageya madarjaat

Harsh hung up. He could not believe his ears. Riya was dead. She was murdered. Brutally. His love killed her. He cried out loud, but no voice was heard. His shrieking shout scared Vikrant who came running to him. Harsh collapsed.