The Patriot #FridayFotoFiction


I had humble beginnings. Though I doubted whether I had the right to dream, something in me said I could.

Never did I yearn for luxuries like the penury stricken people around me.

Driven, I had a mission as steadfast as a shining star.

India was my motherland and since the day I studied in those history books as to how hard earned this freedom was, sitting in that dilapidated classroom, something in me stirred.

Alas, I was the son of a poor man who had all but a boat to earn his livelihood from.


Nevertheless, the patriotic vein in me made me set atop my tiny boat the flag which unfurled when I swayed the boat in those calm waters.

In my heart was engraved the name of my motherland and my humble origins did not deter me from being the Patriot as I was commissioned in the Army.

(150 words)


I am taking part in the #FridayFotoFiction – Weekly Flash Fiction Writing Challenge hosted byTina and Mayuri


Posted in #FridayFotoFiction, Flash Fiction | 1 Comment

I am the Voice of Draupadi




“Mai Samay Hu” (I am the Time); the husky baritone reverberated through the cream coloured walls of Akshay’s cramped apartment. His eyes were glued to the television screen and he was hooked. Watching B.R. Chopra’s larger than life rendition of the epic had become Akshay’s favourite pass time these days. He was all of eighteen and he had till now never bothered to delve into the mystical lanes of Hindu mythology.

Then, some days ago, as he was loitering through the towering but decrepit corridors of his college, his eyes inadvertently fell on the notice board. There in big bold letters was written – “A stage depiction of Mahabharata will be done during the college annual fest. Auditions for the various parts begin from tomorrow”. Akshay peered at the notice board already yearning to audition for a part. He had never acted before and he was an introvert of sorts who was happier merging in the crowds rather than standing out with all eyes steering through him. But, since the time he entered college, he came across myriads of people, who were uninhibited, confident and unapologetic about their true selves. This made Akshay retrospect and he felt he should come out of the shell that he had built around himself. The play looked like a godsend opportunity to him to push his boundaries.

On the day of the audition, he was so nervous that he shivered even though the auditorium was as hot as embers and the one AC that worked did not seem to do its job quite right. Akshay had read up a bit about Mahabharata before the audition and he hoped to get the part of either Arjuna or Yudhishtira as both were strong male characters as well as the most celebrated ones.

But, Akshay was gob smacked when he was handed over a script which read ‘Draupadi’ in big bold letters. He looked at the paper for a few minutes questioningly and the College Cultural Committee head figured out what puzzled him. He then told Akshay that since theirs was an all boys’ college, female parts were to be enacted by the boys. They did not have much choice.

Here was Akshay dreaming about playing a muscular and feisty Royal and now he had to play a demure queen. He had almost little knowledge of the character of ‘Draupadi’. He just knew she was the one with five husbands.

Still, he read her lines, trying to sound as feminine as possible. As he was good at mimicking people, he could easily speak like a woman. His short stature and slim frame too acted as a catalyst as he could pass off as a woman convincingly.

He was surprised when he got the part and he got all excited and charged up. What if he was going to portray a female character, what was important was that this was the first time he would be on the stage, facing a crowd.

Since then Akshay became fixated on Mahabharata and Draupadi became his muse. As he read about Draupadi, he was intrigued by the layers in her character and he realized she was a pivotal character in the most celebrated Hindu epic. She was more than just the woman who had five husbands.

Akshay had not yet mentioned about his selection in the college play to his parents. He did not feel the need to tell anything to his father. His father had always been the black spot in his life. As far as he could remember, he had seen his father drunk and unemployed, forever tormenting his mother and creating havoc in their lives. Akshay could not stand the sight of alcohol. He had accompanied his friends many a times to weekend getaways wherein everyone drank away to glory and made merry. But, Akshay would not touch alcohol. He somehow deemed it to be the root cause of his dysfunctional family.

His mother Krishna was a quiet victim who had grown accustomed to the agonies wrought by his father. She worked as a receptionist in a posh hotel. It paid her well and kept their lives going. She was a strong woman who had taken the challenges life had thrown in her stride and made sure that Akshay got the best education.

Akshay was very close to his mother. They had been there for each other through the most distressing moments. At times Akshay wondered as to why his mom continued to stay with the demon that his father was. But, he could never muster the courage to ask her. May be that was what our culture taught women, to carry the weight of their husbands on their shoulders even if it led them towards their own grave, he would wonder.

Meanwhile, the practice for the play had begun in full swing. Researching about his role became the focal point of Akshay’s life. He became obsessed with the character of Draupadi. Right from her birth through the sacrificial fire, to her matrimony to five Pandavas, to being put at stake in a bet and disrobed of her dignity, everything seemed intriguing about her. She was no ordinary woman and what amazed him was the fact that during those times when women had no voice of their own Draupadi came out as a fiery and opinionated woman constantly seeking justice for the wrongs done to her.

Akshay was no longer inhibited in playing this part. In fact, he felt alive whenever he played her. As soon as he got on stage, it was as if he was another person. His college mates too were spell bound by his performance during the practice sessions and he reveled in the adulations and looked forward to the D- day longingly.

He had been living the character of Draupadi since last ten days. He had never kept any secrets from his mom, in fact she was his confidant and the dark menacing shadow of his father and her husband had brought them together in a way only the two of them could understand.

But somehow he had restrained from telling her about the part. May be he was apprehensive as to how she would react to him playing a woman. He waited with bated breath as to how his mom would take this information. But, her reaction took him by surprise.

“Wow, Akshay, this is great news. Congratulations! When were you going tell your mom? And Draupadi’s character is one of my favourite characters from Mahabharata. I also used to act in various plays during my college days. But, I did not know my shy little child is fond of the stage too”.

Akshay was pleasantly surprised at his mom’s enthusiasm. He could see her lost in a reverie of sorts. He at once knew she must be reminiscing the good old days of her life when she was not the wife of an alcoholic and abusive husband and when life was beautiful.

“Mom, I have kept the invitation card on the table. I want you to be there to watch me perform”, Akshay said excitedly.

Before Krishna could respond, there was a loud thud on the front door. Both of them ran towards the door hurriedly. Kamlesh, his father stood there with two other men and all three of them appeared disheveled and disoriented.

His father grabbed his mom by her hand and pushed her towards the wall. The two men who had accompanied him looked at his mom lecherously from top to bottom as her sari slid in the scuffle.

Akshay felt nauseated. He moved forward clenching his fist. But, Krishna, his mom held his hand and looked at him pleadingly. He was rendered helpless. He helped his mom stand up and shot a glaring look at his father and the two men who were still eyeing his mother lustfully.

“He has started bringing promiscuous men to our house now. I cannot stand this mom. Why do you stop me always? I would have thrashed those bastards”, Akshay cried vehemently while his mom looked at him with a faraway look in her eyes.

The next few days were emotionally tumultuous for Akshay. He couldn’t sleep properly and when he did he saw images that were vivid and strange. He saw the image of Draupadi being disrobed and then all of a sudden, instead of Draupadi he saw his mother’s face. Then both the images conjoined. Draupadi became his mother Krishna who stood amidst the crowd being disrobed of her dignity. He even saw his father standing at a corner laughing uproariously. He woke up with a start and beads of sweat trickled down his forehead. What was happening to him?

Finally, the D-day arrived. Akshay struggled to keep his sanity intact so as to do justice to the role.

The stage was set. Everyone wished each other. “Break a leg Akshay”, his friends chanted. There was already a buzz in the college as to how well he played the part and so there was a lot of anticipation.

The play began. Everything went on smoothly. The crowd cheered on. The costumes were magnificent and the sets were grand. Finally, it was time for the most important scene of the play. It was the scene that Akshay found the most challenging. It was the famous ‘Cheer Haran’ or ‘disrobing’ scene of Draupadi.

As Akshay stood centre stage he suddenly caught a glimpse of his mother. She beamed at him but even from a distance it was difficult to miss the bruise near her lip. Akshay felt something in his stomach. It was as if a knot had been formed in the pit of his stomach making him dizzy.

As a fellow actor marched forward to undertake the act of disrobing Draupadi, Akshay held of his hand and stopped him.

I refuse to be at the receiving end of your abuses. I refuse to be bereft of my dignity. I do not need the help of any God to come to my rescue and save me from the wrath of this patriarchal society. I am Draupadi but I am also Krishna and I can be any woman whose soul is trampled and is forever put on a pedestal. I am expected to be selfless but I cannot be the sacrificial lamb while you are drunk on arrogance. I cannot be bogged down by the dogmas laid down by this hypocritical society. Henceforth, I will become my own saviour”.

An eerie silence pervaded through the auditorium. Akshay stood still. He knew he had messed up. But, he feels relived. It was as if those words stumbled out on their own through the labyrinths of his heart.

Just then, someone claps. Akshay glances towards the crowd and he is overwhelmed with emotions when he sees that it is his mother who is standing with her head held high clapping away, oblivious to her surroundings. Soon a thunderous applause follows. Akshay is stunned. Instantly he knows, deep down, that he has done justice to the role and unwittingly he became the voice of not just Draupadi but the voice of his mother and of every woman who has within her the power to be her own saviour.


(This story was also published here: )

Image Source: Youtube


Posted in feminism, Short Story, Social Lens | 6 Comments

Intruders #FridayFotoFiction



Mount Kailash was meant to be a safe haven, an uninhabited place where no man would venture.

“Whoosh” and I wake up with a jolt. At a distance I can see a huge ball of fire.

I stand astounded.

What brought it here?

After some days the place is occupied by the remains of a humongous metal object. It appears familiar but I cannot make much out of it as we can merely see its dilapidated remains.

I often sit there gazing at the stars and wondering what brought it to these unconquered terrains.

Now, we fear for the possibility that the humans might arrive.

The thought makes me shudder.

I have loved these tranquil terrains which were left unscathed by them unlike anything else on this planet.

We have been living blissfully on the apex of this mystical mountain for years.

Is it time to fly to another planet?


(150 words)



(Mount Kailash is said to be the abode of Lord Shiva.  Very few people have trekked to the top of Mount Kailash out of veneration for Lord Shiva and also owing to the difficult terrain. There are numerous theories around Mount Kailash and there have been reports that state that there have been sightings of UFO and that there is extraterrestrial life there. There are so many mysteries that the colossal Himalayan range engulfs.)

Posted in #FridayFotoFiction, Flash Fiction | 16 Comments

Perils of being an ‘Unromantic Wife’


‘Men are from Mars and women are from Venus’, they say. Women and men are considered diagonally opposite when it comes to venting out their feelings. Men are deemed as the ones who rarely express themselves and women are the ones who put themselves out in an unassuming manner and crave for a partner who does the same.

Whenever I meet a group of women and the conversations lead to their respective spouses, the general rant is that their husbands are unromantic who forget their birthdays and anniversaries. During such occasions, I grin and try to look as if I am also one of them and that I am also bitten by the usual ‘unromantic husband syndrome’ like them. But, boy, I am a hopeless actor and somehow they see through my lie. And then I have to admit the truth that in my case it is not my husband who is ‘unromantic’ but it is me. They look at me agape when I tell them that my husband is a thoughtful and sensitive person who has never once forgotten my birthday or our anniversary in the last decade. On top of that he surprises me with gifts and even pen a poem or two to express his love. While they give me an appalling expression of ‘You lucky woman’, I wish I could hide my head in the ground like an ostrich.

Well, you may judge me for being a cold – hearted soul but today I would admit that I am not the quintessential wife who is expressive when it comes to displaying her love.

Now, this is not something which is cringe worthy but when the other half is the one who never ceases to sweep you off your feet with his thoughtful gestures, then you retrospect. Let me first enumerate some instances which will bring out my callousness and non- mushy side:

  • I do not remember buying or giving a bouquet of red roses on Valentine’s Day or birthdays.
  • Gifts? Well, past the dating days, I moved on with the ‘gifting phase’.
  • Cards? I did buy those love-laden Archies cards and even penned many a rhyming verses that did give the man a peek into my heart. But, haven’t done that for a long time now.

So, you get the picture. I am guilty of being the ‘unromantic wife’. Was I like this from the start or it is the outcome of sheer indolence?

I have been married for more than seven years and as time flew by my relationship with my husband became as comforting as an old pair of jeans. It may have borne the tests of time but once worn it fits like a fiddle and becomes as if a part of our skin. So, in the usual humdrums of life, I turned a blind eye to all those gestures of love which break in the monotony of the weary days.

But, fortunately for me, my other half was there to make up for my callousness. But, I have realized that though we may say that, as you grow old there is no need to showcase your emotions to that special someone but doesn’t it feel nice to clearly sketch out to your loved one once in a while that you brighten my days ?

What do you say? Love is what makes the world go round. So it wouldn’t be bad if at times, I keep off the garb of the ‘unromantic wife’ and sprinkle some love.

What say?


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Courage #FridayFotoFiction



He could sense it. The bizarre noise was enough to make him see the imminent danger.

His heart skipped a beat. His hair stood on their ends.

He knew the procedure under such a situation.

He peeked down.

He was above the bustling town. The moment he glanced down, he could see cross roads.

Was that a sign? He was on cross roads too.

He could go right out or he could make that last effort.

He took the call in a flash.

He sprung into action with all his might.

He was losing control.

He knew it was too late.

He closed his eyes.

“A Mig 21 aircraft crashed in the outskirts of the city of Ambala.  The pilot Flt. Lt. Akash Mehra could not eject but he made sure to take the aircraft at a safe distance from the densely populated area, thereby saving thousands of lives.”


(149 words)


Posted in #FridayFotoFiction, Flash Fiction | 17 Comments