Book Review

21 Dimensions – a small milestone

My short story “Sushila” is one of the winners of the “Fiction writing competition” conducted by StoryMirror. 21 top stories have been now made into a compact ebook called ‘21 Dimensions‘. So, friends, Romans and countrymen, this marks my debut (albeit in a small way) in the world of books.

Sushila, the protagonist of this short story could be any of us. She is a wife, a mother, a regular woman out there. But what differentiates her from the rest is the journey she undergoes towards her ‘real’ calling in life after years of mundane domestication. It’s this amazing journey of her’s that would surely touch your hearts. ❤❤

There would also be 20 other equally interesting stories in this anthology for you, my readers to cherish and devour.

So do visit the link above (21 dimensions) and show some love to this endeavour by StoryMirror Books and to Sushila.. 😊😊

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Short Stories

Zindagi, I will rule You – Short Story (2 mins read)

Meera was 35, spinster, heart broken 3 times & bankrupt innumerable times. At this point of her life, just one thing mattered to her. Her OWN self. Honestly, she cared a hoot about the world around. And why should she? Did anyone care for her? No.

On her bedroom was a huge wall poster that read in big letters the biggest stress-buster line that one can wake up to. Every morning she looked at these words, smiled to herself and kicked off the day.

The day she was fired from her previous office almost without notice just because she went late and wasn’t properly dressed most of the time, she had made that poster herself staying awake the whole night. She had tried to argue with the Human Resource Manager that even though she reached late, she always completed the required number of hours, so how does it matter? Also she was working as a back-office executive, so her dress shouldn’t be a point of concern at all! Well no one heard her.

She joined another company the following week and this time, it turned out to be quite good for her. Life is pretty sorted for her now. She goes to her office, does her work and comes back home. She cares a damn about who thinks what. During moments when life pulls her down, she has her hand-made poster that screeches loud from her bedroom wall – Zindagi, I will rule You!

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Short Stories

Yesterday – Short Story (2 mins)

It was their 5th anniversary yesterday. No, not of the wedding, of something even greater than that. ‘Love‘. They had met 6 years ago and the guy had proposed to her 5 years ago on this day.

Unlike all other years, this year there wasn’t any holiday plans around the day. It was rather a formality to sort the remaining stuff between them. They were parting ways.

5 years of staying together meant quite something. Not everything can be returned though few important things were given back to each other. House keys, albums, laptops, bank accounts, all of this was discussed yesterday. They bid a final goodbye to each other.

Did she shed some tears after reaching home? Did he not cry for her? Well, who knew?

On the radio was playing this song as she slowly unpacked her bags in her new apartment.

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away,
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay,
Oh, I believe in yesterday.”

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Short Stories

Xavier’s Phone call – Short Story (2 mins read)

Xavier had left his home in Goa and had settled in Mumbai for good. It’s been few years now. However, each time he thinks of his hometown, his heart skips a beat, thinking of his loving mother. How must she be now? He often thought to himself. Has she become old and weak or is she the same woman, chirping around, the way she was all those years ago?

His father had a Bakery business and wanted him to join hands as he was the only son. Their business was doing quite well, they got most of the orders from the area during weddings and other occasions. Christmas was one season when Frederick, Xavier’s father had no time to even breath. But Xavier never wished to join his father’s Bakery business. He had his own dreams of making it big as a screen writer. So one fine day, he wrote a letter addressing his father and left the house.

Years went by, in all these years, neither did he approach his dad nor Frederick. But he often thought of his mother. The bubbly, caring and extremely loving woman. Violet, his mother, was never the same after the fallout between her husband and her son.

This morning Xavier was eagerly waiting for a phone call. He had submitted a script through a friend to an upcoming filmmaker. If his script was liked, his friend would be informed about it. Both he and his friend were waiting for the call anxiously. Finally the phone rang. Not his friend’s but his. It was his father.

Xavier was flooded with emotions on hearing his father’s voice after such a long time. His father’s tone was calm and unaffected. He said just two sentences.

“Violet left us last night. She had a massive heart attack.” Saying So, he disconnected the call.

Xavier’s eyes welled up, through the mist of his tears, he could clearly see the smiling face of his mother.

Short Stories

Window Letter – Short Story (2 mins read)

I was sitting at my study table and trying to concentrate on the most difficult and awful subject of all – Geography. Even though my face was buried inside the books, I could sense those large eyes staring at me from afar. There was something in her hands today, some sort of an envelop that she was carrying, trying to hide it from me, between those furtive glances. I stole a look at her and quickly went back to my book. She threw the letter at me all of a sudden. I sensed something hitting my nose briefly before falling down at my table. One look at the terrace and she was gone. I could see her pink dupatta vanishing in a jiffy, as she ran inside.

The letter that she aimed really well, fell into my study table right through the open window. I opened it with all my heart.

Words braced me like soft flower petals. I was drowned in them.

Dhaniya, our servant called out to me. He placed the evening tea on my table.

I came out of my reverie.

I looked across the window. An old, dilapidated house stood in front. The windows are broken, moss growing from every part of the shattered bit that’s left of this house.

They had left many years ago. Their house too had no one to look after it. Nothing remained of them anymore, except those letters that she aimed at me through my open window.

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Short Stories

Vacant Chair – Short Story (2 mins read)

It’s 6.45 am in the morning and Murlidhar has already reached his workplace – Kaushalya Prathamik Vidya Mandir. He is the peon of this primary school.

Everyday morning, it is he who arrives the school compound first, sweeps the entire school, which includes the principal’s or Head sir’s (as he is called here) room. Hariprasad Jha is the principal of this school. Murlidhar was very young when he had lost his parents. An orphan, he used to beg at the railway station. Hariprasad, then a senior teacher had given had spotted this boy at the station, felt pity at his sorry state, gave him shelter and later on this job. Today Murli is a man of worth, earns bread for the family and father of 2 sons, both of whom study in this school. And he owes all of iy to his Hariprasad. Whenever he speaks of his “masterji” his eyes well up in gratitude. “Had masterji not been there in my life, all of us would have drowned in the sea of life.” He would philosophies to his sons.

Like all other days, today too, Murli has reached his work on time but the regular zeal is missing today. He generally begins his sweeping work from the Head sir’s room which is the first in the row of rooms followed by 4 classrooms and a staffroom in the end. However, today he chose to sweep the staffroom first, quite the opposite of what he has been doing for these years.

After sweeping all the other rooms, Murli finally reached his “masterji’s” room with his broom. He stood at the threshold of the door. His heart heavy with the thought of the ‘new’ person who would be coming today. Hariprasad Jha has retired yesterday. A farewell ceremony was organised in the school premises. Murli was shedding tears as his favourite ‘Masterji’ gave his farewell speech. There were others also who felt sad at his exit, but none was affected like Murli. Hariprasad had affectionately put his palms over Murli’s head and said ‘Murli, nobody can stay here forever. Each one who comes has to go one day. Whoever comes in my place, be good to him. Help him whenever he needs you.’

In between copious tears, Murli had said “Masterji, I hear from other teachers that this new Head Sir is very rude and moody. I am a mere peon, I don’t think he will ever speak to me the way you did. No one can take your place Masterji.” He had cried.

A drop of tear welled up around the corner of Murli’s eyes thinking of his dear Masterji. He stared at the room. The table was kept neat by Hariprasad for the new Principle. The wall hangings of Rabindranath Tagore, S. Radhakrishnan and Swami Vivekanand were securely placed just as usual. Nothing was different from other days, yet a huge unfamiliarity struck him deep. He entered the room. Infront of him ‘that chair‘ stood erect. The chair that seated his Masterji, his saviour, his idol for all these years, is now lying vacant. Murli looked at the vacant chair, something sharp pricked his insides. His Masterji will never sit on this chair ever again.

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Short Stories

Usha had a dream – Short Story (2 mins read)

Usha came to the drawing room with her hot cup of tea. Her newspaper was waiting for her on the table. It was 6.45 am and her family was fast asleep. It was this time of the day that she enjoyed the most, she with her tea and the paper, the perfect combo, ready to brace yet another day. She turned the 1st page of The Times Of India. A beautiful housing complex with lush greenery on the 2nd page instantly lured her eyes and her heart.

“Live the way you have always imagined, amidst the finest integrated township.” It read at the top.

The tall buildings were beckoning her.

“Ready-to-move-in 2.5 & 3 BHK apartments with exclusively dedicated swimming pool and gymnasium.”

The lush greenery of the complex looked so alluring to her. She opened the gates of the building and ran into the premises. She flung herself over the finely pruned grass and looked up into the azure blue sky. The sky from the window of her small 1 Room kitchen looked dark most of the time.

She took the lift and pressed the button ’24’. Usha always wanted to live in these high rise buildings. The lift reached the 24th floor. Usha pulled out the keys of her flat from her handbag and unlocked the door.

A gush of fresh air welcomed her into her sprawling 2 BHK flat. The white curtains flew with the wind coming in from the balcony. The ‘ting-tong’ of the fengshui hanging from the door reverberated across the room. She went and sat in her sofa. The soft cushions of the sofa pulled her into the seat. She drowned in comfort.

‘Usha, where is my tea?’ She could hear her husband scream. But how come he is in this house now? He must be in his office at this time. She thought to herself.

‘Usha, Ushaaaa…”. Her reverie broke. Alok her husband was standing in front of her. He was screaming into her ears. She still had the paper in her hands. She got up, went to the kitchen and planted the cup of tea in Alok’s hand.

She went inside the kitchen once again and started with her daily chores.

Even though for a few seconds, Usha had a dream, a dream she could die for, a dream she would love to live for. The dream of owning that house.

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This is my Day 20 post for the #BlogchatterAtoZ challenge organized by Blogchatter.

My theme for the challenge is ‘Short Stories’.

Short Stories

The Temple Classroom

This is my Day 19 post and I am Re-Blogging this story for the #BlogchatterAtoZ challenge organized by Blogchatter. 

My theme for the challenge is ‘Short Stories’

Speakometer

temple classroom

Kipula was a small hamlet in the Koraput district of Orissa. With no more than 6,000 people residing in this village, it didn’t boast of many amenities. The people in Kipula made their ends meet by doing odd jobs at the local factories and mills while their children mostly remained uneducated. Lack of education would in turn not fetch them jobs in cities and the standard of living remained just the same. This was a vicious circle. Though kids went to a local primary pathshala (private school usually having a single teacher who owns it), they could not continue their education further despite a high school being available in the nearby Debghar town, as there wasn’t any proper transport system from Kipula. The non-availability of schools in the village was never a concern for the locals though, who had more pressed issues like feeding the many mouths at home, until…

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Short Stories

Sushila – Short Story (7 mins read)

sushila

Sushila Mishra is the daughter of Tarun Kumar Tripathi, a school teacher from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh who was known for is magnanimous nature and liberal outlook towards life. Her beautiful childhood in Phoolpur, the township where she lived all her life is witness to many memories that she thinks of now and sheds a tear or two sometimes. Why? Well, she doesn’t live in Kanpur anymore; she is married to Jatin Mishra, a banker with the United Bank of India, who is currently posted in Vadodara, Gujarat. Sushila had to come to this new city of Vadodara, after marriage leaving her beloved Phoolpur town behind. Initially she had difficulty in adjusting to the life in this city. The language was different, so were the customs and the food habbit of the local Gujaratis. But gradually, she adapted to the life of Vadodara, and with the little Anshul coming into her life, she felt her life was complete.

However, after few years, she started feeling a deep vacuum inside. With Jatin in his office and her son in pre-school, Sushila felt terribly alone in the house. She would finish all the household chores of the day by 10.30 am in the morning itself and would just sit and idle around the house for the rest of the day.

She would sit by the window and think of her childhood days, she found a lot of comfort in reminiscing those good old days. Sometime it would be the school days that she would fondly recall, sometimes her escapades from college with her friends to watch movies and sometimes she would think of the lovely cakes that she would bake at times and surprise her folks each time with a different flavor of cake.

Sushila had learnt to bake cakes from her grandmother and right from her childhood, she loved baking yummy cream cakes for friends and family members.

Fate so had it that Sushila was married off to a rich and conservative family through the age old, tried and tested “arranged marriage” way. The ‘rich’ part was what her family was proud about, it was the ‘conservative’ part that bothered both her and her parents. Often she would complain to her parents that she is finding life difficult with a rigid and orthodox family, but every time she would be made to understand that it’s always the woman who needed to compromise and adjust and mould herself as per the requirement of her in-laws. She always desired to work and had an M.A in Home Science as well, but with the consistent resistance from her in-laws it became very difficult to pursue her dreams of making it big in the outside world. And then arrived her son, within 2 years of marriage. With a little child by her side, her own desire of making it big slowly dimmed as she realized the practicality of it all. Her mother-in-law emphasized that there was absolutely no need of thinking anything other than raising her son, the ‘chiraag’ (heir) of the family, thereby further pushing her dreams to the corner and sealing them permanently. Even Jatin was relieved that finally his wife was not talking about ‘working’ anymore.

To read the full story please click Here.

 

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Short Stories

Root – Short Story (10 mins read)

This is my Day 18 post and I am Re-Blogging this story for the #BlogchatterAtoZ challenge organized by Blogchatter. 

My theme for the challenge is ‘Short Stories’

 

Speakometer

readomania

Manorama checked the test kit one more time. It clearly showed two distinct pink lines. This is it, she thought. This can’t be wrong anymore. A sense of immense happiness was shooting up her stomach, going past her throat and now almost touching her ears. She felt out of this world, she felt euphoric!

What happens when too much of happiness gets into your head? Doesn’t it make one a little numb for sometime? Manorama is feeling that numbness somewhere deep inside. A sense of calm is descending upon her.

It is 8 am in the morning and the city of Mumbai is already buzzing with the days’ chores. Manorama has taken an off today, while Dilip, her husband has already left for work. She wasn’t feeling that great this morning and travelling all the way to Lower Parel from her Navi Mumbai residence would have only made her doubly…

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