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Caffeinated attraction

Words jostled inside Anusha's head as she snaked her way between the tables to her favourite spot in the cozy cafe. She slid her laptop out, rested the bag beside her on the silver grey cushioned sofa and called for her favourite cappuccino. They made it just the way she preferred: the right amount of milk and coffee, the closest alternative to the filter kaapi her mom made.

Gazing out of the glass window, she sipped her beverage, letting the bitter-sweet taste linger, weighing her thoughts before her fingers could fly on the keyboard to give shape to them. The white fluffs of clouds against the clear blue skies floated gently with the summer breeze and they seemed, to the writer in her, like mischevious sheep that had strayed off the flock.

Oh, well, it's my mind that's straying now. Need to get my act right for my next submission. Anusha willed herself back to the present.

The cafe was Anusha's muse, the mecca she haunted during the weekends for the past three months…

Rotting humanity

Doc, there's an emergency!

The breaking news flashes the brutal carnage. Images and voices float in my mind as I drive in manic speed to the hospital.

Of sirens blazing. Of toys and limbs lying scattered on a carpet of red and brown.

Oxygen! I scream. Pump, harder.

Doc, there's no pulse.

Shoulders slump.

I witness grief fuse into flames that rise up collectively at the mass funeral. The ashes fall lightly on me.

Will the stench of hate ever recede?

*** Written for a prompt at

The call of the wind

Mira stepped out into the wide balcony on the 12th floor of the high-rise she and Mayank had recently moved into. Their new home had been a joint decision.

Leaning on the railing, Mira circled the outline of the cup she held and thought wistfully. Just a few months ago they had been so happy to start a new phase together. So much had changed since then.

Mira was up for a promotion at work and she had been looking forward to the long overdue recognition after several months' of hard work. The only catch was it came with a stint abroad. Mayank had been supportive of her decision to accept the opportunity while he stayed back.

Yet, Mira couldn't fully rejoice.

Mayank had not been aware of a third party angle to the whole arrangement and Mira felt anxious and guilty as she pondered over the recent developments. It was not going to be easy but Mayank had to know. Mira had imagined the scene in her head with all the possible permutations and it made her dizzy.

The wind hit her face…

The wedding

Holding hands under the inky blue bejeweled canopy, they swore allegiance to each other. Bedecked in a brown shimmery, the translucent veil flowing away from her coy face, she looked up nervously at him. He replied with an imperceptible nod that spoke volumes of quiet reassurance.

Family and friends had gathered for the ceremony that would bind the two lovers for life. The atmosphere was electrifying and the air abuzz with each of them signaling to the other in a frenzy of activity. A huddle in here, a huddle there, some grouping for a light tete-a-tete, some to discuss an important ritual.

The younger lot broke away from the crowd, not entirely connecting with the significance of the gathering, their individual frames dotting the arena like lost stars.

At the precise moment that would signify the sacred union, the chief called for everyone's unwavering attention. The scattered swarm, even the ones that had strayed, converged obediently towards the altar. Each member of the audie…

All in a day's work

Adjusting her beige monochrome overalls, Kaya preened into the mirror. A slim body that was accentuated by a blue belt, she quite enjoyed the smirks of envy from her peers. There were talks that some important tenders came in solely because of her looks. But, she didn't care. She knew she had the stuff to make the cut.

"Oh, come on, will you? We're getting late" pressed Lakshmi who was more down-to-earth, hardworking and a stickler for punctuality. She had butterflies in her stomach. The duo was chosen to give a presentation to the head of the department. And, Lakshmi instinctively knew that only she held the cards to crack the deal.

They charted their way hurriedly through the cubicles that were arranged in neat rows. Heads bobbed in and out of them, urgent calls being placed at some desks, complaints being answered patiently at some, while a few wore an uncharacteristic look of calm as though to mock the ones who were running at a frenetic pace of the office hours…

Outnumbered

She lay crouched in the dark musty nook. A lone streak of light shone in through the small hole in the makeshift wooden door to the tiny storeroom where she hid. The light diffused air particles in the line of her view as she strained to see outside.

The living room windows opened out on the first level just above the storeroom and she could hear their low voices.

She stifled a rising cough in the throat afraid to attract attention. The voices now transformed to chilling war cries.

Boom! Boom! Bang!

Shrapnel flew and came pelting on the tin roof of the storehouse followed by rapid footsteps. She shuddered. Fearing the worst, she flung open the door and dashed out.

A bile rose to her throat as she saw the damage caused and shook with vengeful rage.

Her favourite white bone china vase with indigo prints that once stood proudly near the window lay shattered in pieces all over the store roof and the ground below.

The two culprits jumped out from behind her displaying toothy grins and cri…

A new haven

"Papa!" squealed the little one, jumping up and down, jabbing his little hand towards the aqua blue clear water.

The father, a few meters behind, smiled wearily. His steps were slow and heavy from plodding through the ankle length snow. He caught up breathlessly alongside his son who was now beside himself with all the excitement of discovering something extraordinarily beautiful.



Despite the fatigue of setting out on a week-long expedition with the 5-year-old, the magnificent sight of the snow-clad slopes all around encasing a glistening water body right in between made the adult smile.

The chill at dawn break was prominent and in spite of being covered in thick black overcoats, they two expeditors shivered slightly.

Releasing the child from a bear hug, the father looked deep into those twinkling pair that shone with pride, happiness, and fascination.

"Papa, this place looks great. Can we move in here?" the voice was thick with hope and expectation.

"I'm…