Sushil woke up to find that Shreya was not in bed beside him. He smiled at the memory of last night. He would have slept much longer and maybe even had some coffee in bed, he was on vacation after all. But he did not want to keep his in-laws waiting for breakfast so he got ready and went down to the dining table.
As he had expected the whole family was gathered at the table for breakfast. “Good morning everyone!” Sushil said as he took a seat at the table. No one replied. This was strange, his in-laws were always very polite and welcoming, that was the only thing he looked forward to in these trips. Perhaps he had not been loud enough, “Good morning!” he said again and felt an awkward silence descend on the room. His father-in-law was hidden behind the morning newspaper that was stretched tight to the point of tearing apart. His brother-in-law was dipping the same idly in the sambar again and again so that it kept melting and less and less of it came out each time.
His mother-in-law was holding her copy of the Ramayana like it were a life jacket and was reading it as if she desperately needed to resuscitate someone and it gave instructions on how to give mouth to mouth.
Shreya and his sister-in-law kept going in and out of the kitchen like a pair of windup dolls. They kept piling everyone’s plates with idlis as if they had a competition to see who would make the tallest tower of idlis. Read more
Pooja checked to see that the road was empty and pulled her hood closer over her head. She took a deep breath and went into the basement of the building. Her footsteps echoed through the giant parking space as if a whole army was marching behind her. She paused once just to make sure she was the only one around. Silence covered the basement like a shroud. She continued walking deeper into the darkness of the basement parking lot. It was an office building that was empty at this hour. She walked past cars and bikes scanning the semi darkness for any signs of life. There were none.
She finally reached the place where they had agreed to meet. It was not cold but a shiver ran down her spine. She checked her phone and waited, he should have been here already. She checked for her purse in her pocket. She could feel the weight of the cash she was carrying. She adjusted her glasses and took a deep breath. This had to be done. Where was the guy?
She caught a shadow in the corner of her glasses and turned. A large man in a black hoodie stepped out from behind the car. Pooja gave a small scream and muffled it with her hand. He was here already. He simply stared down at her, “You are late.” Read more
Varun returned to his laptop to find he had another message from Asha and that his headphone wires were tangled, again. He sighed and began to untangle them as he read Asha’s message, “What did you mean when you said that people should not date outside their own leagues?”
Varun was taken aback. When had he said that? Had he even said that? He knew better by now than to ask Asha what this was in reference too. That would only make her mad and earn him a lecture on how he never paid any attention to what she said. It did not matter that her current train of thought was delayed by a few weeks. He thought back to all of their conversations over the past few weeks trying to remember where this thought was coming from. He looked at the tangle of headphones in his hand. How did it get so entangled in the blink of an eye! Read more
Ajit hit the TV remote hard on his head, as the commentator on the TV declare what a great delivery the last ball was. “Once a year, you take me out to a fancy restaurant for dinner and then expect me to work like a slave for the rest of the year!” Swati was saying from the kitchen, she was far enough that Ajit should not be able to hear her over the TV and she was not shouting either, but somehow her voice carried itself safely to his ears droning in them like an incessant malarial mosquito.
Ajit knew she was going to start though, she was consistent whatever else she was. Every game that he watched Swati would start complaining at the end of the first over like a clockwork wife. “You never feel like you have to help out around the house, oh, no! I am a man I have to sit and watch the game!” She said doing a good mockery of the way Ajit spoke. He cringed and hit his head again with the remote. “I go to work so I will come back home and plonk my ass on the sofa and eat and fart until I fall asleep. It doesn’t matter that my wife works too, she earns less than I do so she will do the housework…”and on and on she mocked. Ajit increased the volume of the TV to the maximum and yet he could hear every single word she said in Dolby digital surround sound. Read more
Swati sighed as she ran her hand down Varun’s muscular chest, “You have no idea how long I have waited for this!” “Not nearly as long as I have been waiting…”Varun whispered in her ear. He looked deep into her eyes, “Are you sure Ritesh is out of town…” Swati ribbed him for reminding her about her husband, “Yes, I am sure, he has a business meeting in Delhi, he will be back only on Monday morning! What about Ramya? Are you sure she will not disturb us?” Swati winced asking about her best friend and Varun’s wife. “She is on a spiritual retreat at some ashram outside the city…she can’t even be reached on her phone.”Varun smiled at her, “ So that means we have the whole weekend to ourselves…” Swati smiled back at him, “And I have a detailed itinerary of how we can spend it.” She leaned in and kissed him. Read more
Tanya is browsing through the swimwear collection on nile.com her favorite shopping website. It’s true that father has said she cannot go to Goa and there is no way he will let her buy a swimsuit, but Tanya is sure she will figure it out, she always does. Her phone rings, it’s Manju, her best friend for the season. Tanya takes the call, “So I was wondering, what would be a better shade for my swimsuit? Should I go with the turquoise one or the peacock blue one? The peacock blue on makes my skin look…”
“Tanya, babe…” the urgency in her voice gives Tanya pause, “it’s Ananya…she’s…just check the college website…”
Tanya opens the website to the image of a glowing lamp and ‘shraddhanjali’ written in a somber font besides an old photo of Ananya. There is a second where Tanya feels a sensation of transition, as if a dying sputtering candle in a large dark room was finally snuffed out. Then she gathers herself with remarkable ease, “what has the nerd gone and done now?” she asks with mock contempt. Read more
(Image source :http://www.flavorsofmumbai.com/wp content/uploads/2014/03/Mumbai-Cutting-chai-2.jpg)
The sun was setting on another sultry hot summer day in Chikkadpally. The main street came alive with the squeals and shouts of the evening rush hour traffic. The Bismillah Irani chai house was beginning to buzz with its evening clientele. Imran the middle aged proprietor, his face framed by a smartly trimmed beard and his round taut belly barely hidden under his slim cut kurta sat behind the counter. He was lost watching the cricket match on the old tv set that sat on the wall opposite him.
“Oye chotu, char chai aur aght osmania biscuit lana..” one of the college kids shouted from the table that was stuffed with six of them. One small looking kid scurried into the kitchen. Read more
Praveen had the sudden urge to pull his boyfriend towards him and kiss him violently right there in the middle of all the guests having dinner. He wanted to flip them all off and shout “ignore that, fuckers!”. He did none of that though, he just violently tore his rumali roti in half and chomped on it. A cook behind him slipped a puri into hot oil and it simmered, he could completely empathise with that puri. What he was simmering at though he was not very sure. He was angry at his family, but he was also pissed at himself. It had been a desperate idea to begin with, bringing his boyfriend to his cousin’s wedding and hoping to get some kind of a reaction from his family. Read more