Sorry for a Poem

Author: Sulagna Dutta

Do you know what does a mother giraffe does after her calf lands on earth? She kicks hard, the calf cries, she kicks again, the calf cries louder, and she kicks again, and the calf starts running on his four feet. Such a calf was Pragya. Pragya was a girl like all of us. Young dreamer, seldom reasonable, mostly fussy and rebellious whenever meeting with a no from parents. But dad had hope on her. When she failed to meet all the expected expectations, Dad blasted on Pragya. Dad broke the dreamer Pragya and made her cry. Dad asked her to leave home and go to hell.

Dad was always correct, Pragya thought. But what replaced in her heart was momentary hatred for Dad. Pragya went up to the Ganges and decided to take a dip, and drown herself. One step, two step down the stairs into the river Pragya looked at her reflections. She heard a patrolling helicopter. The soul inside ranted and craved to talk to Dad once. Before she meet her end, she pulled out her mobile, opened the watsapp, and she typed remembering her dad who was once a pilot.

Dad and the airplane,

Used to stay in the sky,

And the guns and the roses,

Made me run all passers by.

If you can call back my days,

Of oblivion and bliss,

I could set all alright,

And place a gentle kiss;

And tell you all my stories,

And love you even more,

To call a lot of heart and pieces,

And heal all your sore.

But dad, days are gone,

And distance apart,

And I call you wrong…

May be the time and tides we sail,

Have gotten all in throng.

I try conspiring, try forgiveness,

I try forever a dementia,

But all I get, are heavier thoughts,

And a train to Bolivia…

And meet a man, whose far less better,

Whose far less what I thought…

But it’s all dad, it’s ain’t you, whom I have now got .

I saw maids, I saw peasants, I saw the meadows green,

Even if your world was wreck, or of thunderstorm,

I could have been your queen.

Seldom I say, my demands, and disasters,

All I hide in smile, all I see you, feel you always,

And I m in love with those of your style.

Even I am bad, even I am worse, I am a murderer at last…

I tried burying, all that agonizing, moments of your past…

Now I see them, Phoenix as in… travelling along light years,

and few darker grieves of seldom aggrieved,

 are still flooding in my tears.

The questions keep ranting in,

All through my nerves,

If I can go back, and cut and tear,

Few of nouns and few verbs.

Why does the past and the future,

Doesn’t lie on the same plane?

Why does wishes, and prejudices,

Doesn’t wash in rain?

Why I can’t see the butterfly fly?

Why doesn’t the clouds fly by?

All I see the broken failures,

Yet I struggle and try…

Not to repeat, and to repair,

Whatever I have broken,

I collect them all, and recollect,

Pieces of those unforgotten…

Clearer sky, and the airplane,

Dad, you don’t reside there,

Those were mystery,

Brain’s chemistry,

Those were happier desire…

If you were still like that,

If I was how I were,

I would have loved you,

Far, more, than I care.

Bit less anguish, more of laughter,

Lot of happiness green.

I would always love to,

Be that, smaller,

darling lovely queen....


If dad was angry on Pragya don’t know. But she received an instant call from Dad,

“Dear Sorry come home…We can talk over our problems I got angry”…

It’s been a year, Pragya has grown friendly with dad. The neighbours have not heard shouts anymore. I don’t know how is dad doing. But Pragya has cracked UPSC, dad has been bragging about his daughter.

In a family, we often don’t assert love to each other as we take it for granted. We often judge parents and their scoldings. Emotions remain prejudiced between expectations and results, hurts and silence, perhaps A Sorry, or a poem can heal many of the broken relations which we have been struggling to fix for years. Like giraffe calf, keep crying, the mother giraffe will keep kicking, unless you start running.


Baby and Cookie – The Duel

Author: Rajani Mohan
Meetup – Theme/Number/Host: Person based Narratives/#63/Sravanthi


The dog was relentless. Terrorising the bird, motivated, as if he was promised a heaven of chewy bones.

Baby that was his name. An inane name for a lumbering, lazy Bullmastiff. Apparently, the human’s then girlfriend had found him cute, sleeping, and drooling like a baby when he was a pup, hence the name. There was nothing baby-like about him now, though the continuous drooling and sleeping could make you think otherwise.

Now that girlfriend was nowhere in the scene, but our dog was stuck with a cute name. Cute was not what he wanted, he saw himself as a fierce, protective warrior. In his head, it was his clever barking and running in his awake moments that kept his human safe.

Baby was happy, the world was a harmonious place – his human, the house, garden, trees, his special shrub, and even the cat, who he barely tolerated lived happily.

But the flavour of happiness doesn’t always stay as it is. Change in an evil fairy persona, garbed as the human’s current girl-interest had made her entrance. This girl did not like any four-legged creature, talk about bias! Baby tried his charms on her, by jumping up and placing his paws on her shoulder, and then going on to wipe her face clean of make-up, slobbering enough saliva to make the rains proud.

What did he get for all his efforts? A shriek that made him momentarily deaf, the evil fairy pushed him off and stumbled and landed on her unsubstantial rear-end.

“I hate dogs” she wailed “you have to get rid of him, baby”

Baby was confused; Who was she asking him to get rid of? The human hearing the commotion came rushing to help the evil fairy get up and then instead of laughing and rewarding Baby, looked at him angrily and shooed him.

‘Shoo!’ who says that to a ferocious warrior, wondered Baby. Shaking his head dejectedly at the sheer stupidity, Baby silently slunk away.

After close furtive watch, with aid of his close ally things became clear as the days progressed. Baby was informed that evil fairy wanted to replace him with Cookie. No, not the cookie that you ate though that would help – no day-dreaming of the types of cookies now.

Cookie was the name the evil fairy had given to a bird she was fond of feeding cookies to and was looking to domesticate. So far, the bird had resisted the overtures, just flying into peck cookies when it felt like. But since the last few days, there was a pattern emerging. Cookie was always around the house, perching on the nearby tree and window sills.

Baby’s ally had confirmed that Cookie was planning to roost here and once that happens Baby will be in the doghouse- literally and figuratively.

Now, this was an existential crisis for Baby and brought out all his dormant fierce warrior-ness, Cookie did not know what she was up against. Baby saw this as the mother of all battles. Good vs Evil. Independence Day and what-not.

To cut matters short and avoid frightening you too much, with images of bloodshed, ripped feathers, torn marrows, and broken beaks – that dominated Baby’s walking and sleeping life, we will come to the climax.

Irritated by the constant stalking, barking, growling, chirping, and whistling our two protagonists’ set-up a duel to decide matters once and for all. The wager was that if Baby managed to keep Cookie out of the house, yes the huffy had dared to venture into the house by now, he would win, and Cookie will steer clear of Baby’s domain, house, human, and even the evil fairy.

The day of the duel finally came. I would like to say the sun rose brightly on a momentous day, but no, that wasn’t the case, it was a dull monotonous day just like the previous day. Baby, advised by his sly ally, planned his move – moving, crawling, leaping, and barking to strike terror in Cookie. Cookie could not fathom how the dumb canine figured out battle stratagem, but she was getting exhausted. Since day break, she was unable to rest and perch at anyplace for long. This was just not worth it. As dusk drew near, Cookie hopped away from the house. The last image she saw was the dog wagging the tail on his way into the house. Then nothing. Cookie disappeared.

That was the end of one of Baby’s adventure. Mission accomplished. Baby won this battle. He is secure now and I am happy.

Who am I? I am Queen – the cat. Baby’s battle strategist, trusted ally if you believe it. I don’t eat family but I did have a ken for Cookie, resting in my belly now.

The Suit

Author: Satish Kache
Meetup – Theme/Number/Host: Randomness Redefined/#79/John


When I came to the room and saw my suit lying in front of me, I felt a chill run down my spine. But I was trained for this moment. The two men were waiting for my arrival. They greeted me by saying, “Welcome, Sir.” I nodded and felt a drop of sweat slide down my left ear, like my 4 year old daughter sliding down the slide. I know the consequences of wearing that suit, but I was the one who chose to do it.

As the two men helped me up, I put my legs through the 3 pound bottoms of the suit. As the gentle touch of the soft thermal insulators embraced me, I remembered my wife. As one of the men went to get the hanging boots, I silently murmured “It’s a long journey.” I could feel the perfect fit of the boots. The other man who apparently was a doctor, put all the tiny instruments over my chest. “They will monitor you.” He said. “I will monitor them.” I thought.

After the instruments, came the bright white top of the suit, which looked like an armour of a soldier. “This is no less than a war.” I thought. As the belt strapped tight, I could feel the hug of my mother. The gloves which were waiting on the table to be worn were picked up by one of the men. Then came another pair of instruments to be stuck on my head to monitor my brain. “You can never know my feelings.” I thought. Then came the gleaming glass head gear through which I am going to see what the world cannot see. The oxygen supply tank was then attached. As I looked at myself in the mirror, I remembered my father who taught me what education could not teach me.

The flight director in his stern voice said, “Time to go boys.”

As I looked at the letters NASA inscribed on my suit, I knew that I will never come back, because the journey to Mars is a one-way ticket.

The Infidel Pen

Author: Alam
Meetup – Theme/Number/Host: The Infidel Pen/#067/Alam


It was a lackluster pen, simply signifying its incessant usage. At least that is how she felt as she picked up the pen- a pen, an old one that had lost its shine. The pen had portrayed a lot. Some of her ingenious characters, some that fetched her the greatest accolades she never imagined. It looked shabby now; the pen. It had been a long time it felt festive, brimming with emotion it wanted to pen down-,ready to leak into its soulmate-the paper. She felt the same; sitting in the dark with the grim pen.

She stared into the abyss; an abyss that wasn’t dark. It was filled with colors , unlike the pen which only had one color- black. A colorful abyss, it was ironic. It had been a long time she was with someone, even longer since she was with her pen. The pen never complained. It was stoical.  Everyone else did, including the characters she penned, which were now playing before her eyes as she continued staring into the dark, a never-ending void.

She dragged herself to pick up the pen in an attempt to write. She could pick it up, couldn’t write. It wasn’t her. It was the pen. She never ran out of stories, the pen now ran out of patience. It was angry. Loyalty has a price. The pen already paid on multiple occasions. It was her turn now. She tried to move her fingers on a piece of paper clutching the pen. She was weak. It slipped out of her grip and fell on to the wooden floor. She looked at the pen, lying on the floor, angry. She liked watching it falling, the sound of a falling pen. She picked it up and dropped it again. This time the pen roller over to the rug spread in the corner of the room, under the bookshelf. Her attention diverted from the pen momentarily. She stared at the bookshelf. All her proud creations were biting dust. So was she.

Continue reading

I’m in my mind a lot. I live there. (A tribute to Charlie Kauffman)

Author: Suprabhath Kalahasti
Meetup – Theme/Number/Host: Stream of Consciousness/#074/Maia

“I’m in my mind a lot. I live there.” – Charlie Kauffman

EXT: Some godforsaken place, where people pay to laugh. This is the place where laughter is served as a medicine, at the expense of the stand-up comedian’s humility. Funny fact, stand-up comedians do enjoy humiliation. It’s a barter system, where people laugh at your embarrassments and sorrows.

Time: T-15 mins and its ShowTime

15 minutes and you are next Mr. Kiran. You better bring your A game or else it will be brutal.

What does she mean “A game”? I am a beginner for god’s sakes. Of course it won’t be my A game. I know that for a fact. I’ll probably bring my Z game – that too sub level 4 in the Z category. And please don’t assume that Z is again another top level category. There are these people who say, screw it. I want to give the alphabet A, the least weightage. I just hope that the audience is not divided on their preferences when it comes to categorising the products. Let’s just assume that A is the highest level and Z the lowest. However, I wish there were few more levels below Z………..I think it’s time for the English language to come up with new alphabets. Somehow at this very moment I want more alphabets. 26 absolutely doesn’t work for me. I can’t come up with words for what I am going through right now. What was I even thinking? Kiran, you think you are funny, but the sad fact is people don’t find you funny. Whenever you talk, people think of you as a kid who is talking dumb-shit. They look at you with pity. And here you are to prove the world that they are wrong. Out of 100 people, 99 think you are not funny. And at this very moment, the organiser wants my A game.  Right now, my nemesis, stage fright is having a blast. I have been suppressing him for quite a long time and by the looks of it he’s going to have a blast today. God, I am sweating. Of all the words in the English language why did she utter the word “Brutal”? I hope that I did not misread the event’s name. What if the event’s about “Roasting people for fun”? On a side note, I actually think that’s something I can tolerate. Getting roasted, is something which I undergo on a daily basis. Roasting! That’s a good thought. What if I just chicken out and go have a really nice roasted dosa. Hmmm…….not a bad idea Kiran. I can easily bring my A game. Roasted Masala Dosa…….Think about it Kiran. Think about the pros and cons. One hand, you participate in the event, it will lead to humiliation 99.999% cos, 99.99% because nothing is 100% certain in life. The theorems and axioms of statistics state that. For example, the toothpaste ads we watch on TV, show that post using the toothpaste, out of the 10-15 germs, 1-2 still remain. That’s what it means. No product is 100% perfect. Maybe today is auspicious day where you prove Math wrong. This is that particular event to which the outcome is 100% certain. You will get humiliated 100% for sure. Your name will be written in the history books. You will be inducted into the hall of fame. But, can it trump the taste of Roasted Masala dosa. Like they say, think about the memories, not the calories. I am not even sure if it’s the right phrase.

T-0 mins.

Kiran, you are next.

Ladies and gentlemen, our next performer for the night Mr. Kiran. Give him a round of applause.

T+24 hrs.

A Buzzfeed article on Facebook reads.

“Stand-up comedian loses his shit. Ends up laughing at his own jokes.”

Maia goes Birding

Author: Arun Vasireddy
Meetup – Theme/Number/Host: Stream of Consciousness/#074/Maia


Walking in, Purple Bauhinia. A carpet of flowers made by little Sunbirds peeling off delicate petals. Must be pollen in the air, cannot see them though – invisible but to the nose.

White clouds, cirrus and cumulus. Warm sun but muddy track. 4 feet walk, stop, walk, wonder, stop and continue to wonder. 4 eyes search, find leaves, grass plains, green-green-trees and a bird here, a chirp there – wonder. 6.30 am.

A bamboo grove, I look for the Sulphur-bellied Warbler as usual. All empty walls today. Eucalyptus to the right. Where is the deadly Shikra? A shriek. Left. Unpleasant. Right. Shriek. Louder, more unpleasant. We are curious. Left. Jungle Babblers babbling to Large Grey Babblers’ babbling. Quarrels of the bird kind. ‘Is its rump reddish’, ‘yes, to these but not to those’ ‘Now you know what a Jungle Babbler is and what is a  …’ ‘Haa…’ wonder in Australian accent.

Binoculars hanging right. Field guide hanging in the binoculars’ bag to the left. Pen. Paper. Noting behavior. Showers of a thousand stars – Millingtonia hortensis. Sweet scent of garlands under our feet. Trample it to feel or gently lift a flower and smell it.

Doves, hybrid ones. Little brown ones, pied necks, green, brown, white. Many more doves on wires and trees.

A song, of the flycatchers. Is it the Tickell’s blue or the Asian brown? It is quick and behind the wall – busy speaking, so much. Tailor birds joining the orchestra with Prinias. Is it a chatter, perhaps? Whistles. Calls. Love songs. And then alarms. Is there a snake around? Can’t cross the wall. We two move on. Sun is up. Sunlight streams through the tall Neem trees, lights up the road, colours the birds. Good morning. It is 7 am.

Enter forest trail. Much more green. Kans grass, fairy grass wave with the wind. Hidden pools, water weeds, moss, noted Ashy Prinias calling. Sighting. Spittle bugs’ spittle like nests. Garden of fairies. Waving. A Small Egret flies past us. Another pond, hidden, discovered. Water Striders dancing on the waves, waves that give form to the gentle wind blowing across. Would have stayed much longer but did not. Moving on.

Subabuls shading the track. Cool breeze fills in. Birds want the sun, so they avoided thee shade. Ants line up, workers mostly, one behind the other, busily. Ants line up dots of paths, small, big. Soldier ants’ guard and workers build. Big lines cross our track, again and again. Bored tunnels cross the tracks, again and again. War with humans, self-defense! 7.30 am.

Meander. Check out the Robins. Busy, tails up. Squeak squeaking a song. Check my read arse, be warned. Trespassers will be shown more of my red arse. Tail up. Hop. Chirp. Hop. Red. More Red. We move out.

Eucalyptus again. Yuck, Australian trees. But not made or meant for India. Lines of them. Change. Meander. Off course into the forest. Dew drops on grass. Grey Francolins, quail-quail-quail, the sound. And suddenly, kree-kree-kree, notice me, one more red-arse rowdy the Red-vented Bulbul. He is the king, he has the crown you see. Walk through Teak leaves. Patterned, delicate, large, beautiful, crisp Tectona grand-is.

A Small Green Bee-eater rises up in air and grabs a damselfly. Be aware visiting beauties, the butterflies that arrived – Common Crows, Plain Tigers, Striped Tigers and Jezebels. More grass, tall grass. Waving to and fro with the life inside them. A chirp, here and a chirp there. More dragons in the air. Butterflies all around our feet. Orange, green, black, yellow and more.

Capture the butterflies from a cell phone. Stealth attempt. Three steps to catch the Bee-eater with a fly in its beak. 2 more steps, 1 more – off it goes. 1 step too close is 100 steps too far. Rejection. Dejection.

Black-shouldered Kite says hello and don’t worry. I don’t move much. Sits and preens. Casual. Ruby-red eyes. As if to fight the pose, a female Koel gets out of its shy bush life and poses in the sun. Binary-dotted speckled, pied beauty. Gorgeous. Frozen.

The Bees are not. On yellow pollen they fight, grab. Wheee whee sounds. More models for a small camera. Too busy, they grasp stamens and pistils while shooting goes on click, click, click. They just don’t care.

So does a lizard. A White-throated Kingfisher spreads out its brilliant blue wings and grabs it. Pond’s edge, a dead tree, a branch. There it perches, snaps it hard till it is either cold or dead or both. Swallows head first. Tail hangs out of its red beak for a second. Gobble. Yummy breakfast, perhaps. Thrilling, surely.

Cactus and Adansonias all around. Red flowers on thorns. Pink and White elsewhere. Succulents stand still. Sunbirds chirp off again. Large Peacocks that amazed us, along with the lucky Peahens, said ‘good bye’. 8.30 am. Time flew.

A good day starts like that.

And When She Drew The Last

Author: Hiranmayee Saipriya
Meetup – Theme/Number/Host: Medieval Setting/#072/Ashwin


It all depended on the princess’ moves now. The heavy red drapes seemed apt for the situation. She drew the topmost card from her deck. Four of spades. Four rose petals rose from the bowl in the middle of the room. They gently floated across, going beyond the red drapes and straight into the left enclosure. The princess shed a drop of tear. On the grand unfinished tapestry that hung on the right wall, colors gradually started filling in as invisible needles started embroidering four hounds on the lower left corner.

The witch let out another puff of smoke from her hookah. She seemed to be rather enjoying the ritual. Whether it was animals or people, it didn’t matter to her. It was her new project, after long. The king, who was too distraught to decide who had to be killed had sent a royal messenger to the witch in the dungeons. She had then put forth her demands. She would need a chamber and four personal henchmen from her trade. No more, no less.

All those years in that dark dungeon had prepared her for this day. After the necessary arrangements were made, she set herself to work. She created ottomans, drapes and a grand framed canvas. She conjured a dewan out of the finest wood. The plush cushions and throws matched the level of the ruler. Although it was a slap on his pride, the ruler agreed to everything. He hadn’t even worn his royal robes since the night his minstrels had sung to him.

Even the lack of provisions, water, shelter and textiles had not driven his subjects out of the land. Now the supplies were too less and people too many. One cold night, his minstrels had sung to him, “The time has come, the time has come, for the other side of you. Let them look, let them see, the face that is true.” The ruler who had always appeared in front of his subjects as a benevolent father figure, had failed them. He had proved himself unworthy of his people’s love and respect. Misjudged and miscalculated moves now stared him mockingly in the face. And it had all boiled down to this decision. Now he couldn’t brace himself to face them with his current intentions and thus sought the witch’s help.

The witch of course had her own mysterious ways. When the stage was set, she let a game of cards decide the fate. Clubs for cattle and wild beasts, Spades for pets, Hearts for women and Diamonds for men. A shuffled deck was then handed to the princess.

The princess was still solemn when the witch’s voice broke the silence. “Go on, pick the next one.”

Her hands trembled as she reached out for the deck. She pulled out the next card; the Queen of hearts. “Oh mother….” the princess broke down as a single rose petal arose from the bowl and floated away. The needles started sewing the queen onto the tapestry.

“Next”, went on the witch.

“No”, pleaded the princess. “I can’t, I give up.”

“You can’t, pick the next.” insisted the witch, with a stern look.

The princess reached out again. Jack of diamonds. “How can you take the Magus away from Father? Who will watch over him now?” wailed the princess as another rose petal floated away.

“That’s not for us to decide, pick the next”, said the witch, puffing away.

“Oh you wretched witch!” cried the princess with the King of Diamonds in her hand. This time a magnificent rose floated out. An invisible seamstress worked her expertise and stitched the king onto the tapestry. He sat on his throne, in his full glory. She was an orphan now. She looked up to the tapestry, it was complete now. With the benevolent king, his faithful Magus and the four hounds, and his loyal queen. The people will always look up to the king. Nobody would ever know how they had fallen prey to the witch’s treacherous game. Seething with rage, the princess started rising from her plush purple cushion.

“Stay put”, commanded the witch. “Wondered why no subjects died?” She laughed a sarcastic laugh. “The reigns are in the right hands now. It’s time for me to leave. Flourish the land, you’re not your father.”

You Come to Me

Author: Shazia Ahmad
Meetup – Theme/Number/Host: Poetry/#079/Rebecca

You come to me

Like I wish I could to the world

Strong and unapologetic

Strutting around in a two piece, made of wave and waves of disdain

Bouyant, and fluid

Still soft around your egde

Still willing to mould yourself

To me, to my whims, to my words, to my fury.

I, I, I stand here, wishing to be you,

Wishing to be more

To stand in my own vastness and scream




TO THE LENGTH OF “teri aankhoN meiN samandar samayeiN haiN”

OR TO THE BREADTH OF “teri sansoN meiN doob jaane ko jee chahta hai”?

I want to stop.

Instead, I let you flow through me,

Ink to page, staining, blotting

A taint that envelops

Drowning the noise around me, until we are one,

You and I, in a two piece swimsuit,

Standing here, asking,

“How dare you?”

The Mermaid


Author: Siddharth Naidu


He looked at her walking beside him. It was just unnatural but never unreal. She could walk. Of-course, Her flapping tail had turned to trembling legs, once he helped her on to the shore. Scales dropped off into the sand, and her eyes turned a little darker. Her heart lay with him and that would never change. He turned to face her, but her slender naked torso was a beauty he couldn’t yet comprehend. His eyes though glanced at her hips which still remained dewy from her origins. Her hands involuntarily reached out for his. Once their fingers were intertwined it did not matter if, she could walk or He could swim.

He had first seen her stand-up many years earlier. When they were just children. Unmindful of where they belonged or of what they’d become. It was a cloudy morning at the shore, and the small fisher-boy hadn’t had a catch in the last two days. He placed the hooks along the rope twirls and tied them into a knot. Leaving a simple gap for the unassuming fish to enter the pocket. Enough fish and the pocket would close by itself. The clouds rumbled silently and the tide got higher and stronger. As he was about to whirl the pocket into the sea, he heard something. A crackling voice. From behind the piles of rocks a few hundred feet from him. He ran to them to check if something had washed ashore. And there she was. A little frightened girl who crouched behind a thick rock. With her tail flapping on the sand and tears flowing down her cheeks. The boy stood there hesitantly looking at her but somehow managed a smile. She was after a part of the local fables.

11 years later their love was consummated. The mermaid had decided to come live with a man. The man had decided to give her an ocean of happiness. An ocean, he smiled within himself. Days passed by, and the mermaid made the small fisherman’s hut, her home. He wondered at his fortune and awed at her beauty. But as days turned to months, the man felt alone. He would wake up every morning, in her loving arms. Collect his nets and wade to the ocean. The waters felt distant. The persistent gushing, the mysteries which bode well in the heart of the ocean, all seemed very much distant. It was as if he had known everything there was to know. He had the ocean’s most wonderful secret sleeping beside him. His catch everyday meant nothing. He would just stand at the shore and stare at the oceans for someone to hear his plight. He would walk back home, and silently cuddle up with his wife.

It was only an year later that he realised that she would bear him a child. What he failed to realise was that Mermaids only gave birth to Mermaids, irrespective of anything. And that one life seeped into the other no matter what. She of-course knew this, and yet chose her death with him. He had no say in anything. He was silent. The mother gave birth to a child, who had the most luscious hair and the bluest set of eyes. One mermaid died and another took her place. That was the Nature’s law.

As the child grew up, the fisherman saw that it wasn’t only the life that had been passed on. His daughter looked exactly the same as her mother when he had first met her as a child. The fisherman became a father who was never a good husband. But an unexplainble emptiness bit into his soul part by part. He used to walk to the shore and scream. Scream his lungs out. He would sit on the sand cross legged and threw pebbles with all his might into the water. The girl child would wake up after an hour or two, and he would return before that. There wasn’t a hint of doubt. She was a mermaid. He had seen scales form on her thighs whenever they got drenched in rain or otherwise. He had seen two Mermaids in his life while the entire humanity had hardly seen any. And he had loved both. But then what was that inching hole in his crying heart. Was it the fact that his daughter was in no way his daughter? Or was it that he had seen enough of what only existed in folklore? Or was it just the Mermaids curse as the old witches said ? A curse which left no man happy when he forced a mermaid on to the land? Maybe it was all of them. Maybe it was none. No one know exactly. All that was known was he raised his daughter with all the love his soul could muster. But never took care of her. He would just be at the shore all day. Not fishing. Nor screaming. Just existing.

Then one day as his daughter came to the age of being a woman, his father walked her to the shore. His boat was tied up a feet away and rocked around with each coming wave. He requested her to get in it, following which he did the same. And then he rowed the boat. He rowed till the ocean deepened it’s horizon and the water ushered silently. The fisherman took his daughter’s hand into his. He stared at her fingers for a while. And then pushed her out of the boat and into the sea. She gasped and beat her hands and cried for her father to help. He couldn’t. For her sake. She had to get away from the monster he was becoming. Slowly but surely her eyes turned paler , and her legs contracted to form a tail. Her hands thickened and her hair turned rusty brown. And then there it was. He felt a strangeness in his heart. One that made him smile. He saw his daughter and he saw the Mermaid behind the rocks from decades earlier. As his daughter swam away towards a distant sound that called her out, the fisherman lay on the boat’s floor. He didn’t have to row anymore. He just lay there, smiling and staring at the stars which meant nothing to him.


Author: Aparna Malladi


You know you are different when your life experiences don’t match any of those in the zeitgeist. The TV shows, the movies, the contemporary novels and the gossip within your sisterhood.

You feel the alienation from the world you exist in. You hide and do not share your stories and experiences. You make up stories to fit your world because you are ashamed of your unique uniqueness. You become a liar to seem normal and to be part of this flow of humanity.

At night when the doors are shut and windows closed and the lights are off, you become your true self and you feel relief. And then you feel sad that perhaps you are alone and the only one of your kind. Perhaps you are a mistake or that you are born 100 years too early or perhaps you are the last of an extinct species.

The loneliness is scary and killing. Your insides call for someone who might not even exist. You hope that the longing will force the universe to manifest another – One of your own kind. Someone who will not just see and accept your so-called imperfections but recognize and celebrate them.

I am a ghost sometimes when I haunt the nights. Sometimes I walk in the night searching for someone and when I don’t find anyone I come home tired and disappointed. I am dying a slow death. One caused by a beautiful and empty world. This is my pain – To live in a beautiful world and no one to share it with.

I have tried to connect as normal do and every time I come out feeling the futility of doing so. Acutely aware of my so-called imperfections and my alienation.

I often fantasize about meeting my own kind – That moment of recognition when there will be no use of words and gestures or even action. When it will undeniable. When I will feel whole and I can spill and spread like water. When I can be shameless and reveal myself completely. Yes, I indulge in that fantasy as I roam this earth aimlessly.

Sometimes I fear that I will destroy this universe so I can die with it and hopefully create one without my loneliness. I have even thought of splitting myself in two so I can have another. Sometimes when the pain of it all becomes unbearable I dive underwater and sit there holding my breath in silence. I become so still so no one knows I exist. One day I want to become so still so even I don’t know I exist and then – I won’t.