Piano Man

(Written for Friday Fictioneers – 100 word story)

An artist needs that, he thought. The constant dissatisfaction and artistic eccentricity which gives impetus to the want to prove oneself.

His art never seemed enough… just falling short of touching the aorta – leading straight to the heart.

That day, he played like a man possessed. His fingers blended with the piano keys. His clothes, famously flamboyant.

He crashed hard, just in time to not see his first standing ovation. Firemen found it difficult to separate him from his piano. He was one with his music. Literally.

He wanted a dramatic catharsis. And he got one. With just a ‘stroke’ of luck.

Photograph by John Nixon

She Stands Alone

She stands there alone.
In the middle of a crowded street.
Wispy. Willowy. Gently swaying in the sparing wind.
Chimney smoke creating a halo around her.
She’s brown. So brown. Her supple torso creased with years of folds.
The world wears a dull gray coat.

Her lush green leaves dewdropped in the early morn.
Cars chugging poison from their vacant mouths.

The sun reflects from her glistening body.
The two-legged beings wiping sweat from their brow.

She looks up at the pretty pink flowers on her branches.
Then at the ugly garbage bin standing against her.

A hearty smile escapes her. Towards the new sapling opening its eyes.
While noisy children bawl to be fed by their bearers.

A calm spreads through her limbs.
An everyday cacophony shouts around her. 
She stands there alone. Happy. Brown. Green. Pink.
In the middle of a crowded street.

Goodbye, Friend.

Absolute White. Quiet stillness.

You lay there without a care or worry,

While your father stood with the weight of the world on his shoulders.

You lay there with just a rose tint,

While your mother matched the colour of the sheet they covered you with.

You lay there with your eyes shut,

While sleep seemed to have deprived your sister’s swollen eyes.

You lay there with a serene calm,

While your loved ones were lost in tumultuous thoughts.

You lay there seeing future transitions,

While we held on to past memories.

Moments. Conflicting moments.

The Thin Line Between Two Ends

Bright bright light. Hurts my eyes suddenly. I try to close my eyelids but they refuse to close. As if they are stapled to my forehead. The bright light. The light so bright.

I want to turn away from the glare. Turn away. Close my eyes and sleep to the soothing sound of water dropping in the distance. Tip-tap-tip-tap. But I can do neither. The neck feels stiff. Unmovable. As though crucified to the cross. My arms and legs feel like lead. Heavy branches hanging from a dying tree. I can’t flay my arms like a rockstar or run my way out. I am the running rockstar. But now a sleeping rock. It’s a strange feeling – no pain and no movement. Like I have woken up from a deep slumber but my body hasn’t.

I feel like a vegetable. Non-expressive, non-communicative. Just a mere vegetable with a thumping heart and beating brain. Vegetable reminds me of my favourite curry that Ma makes. Culinary magic. Ma’s a magician. 

I don’t know how long I have slept. I feel a slight pressure on my hand. Fleeting, but present. My heart leaps – I could Feel. I had felt like I would never feel again. My ever open eyes catch a glimpse of a draped kanjeevaram. I see Ma. Beautiful Ma. Dressed in her best to cheer me up. She always dressed up when she was low- said it made her look at the brighter side of life. Baba and I found it funny. But today I felt cheerful. I tried to catch as many colours as I possibly could.

Baba. I see him sitting listlessly by the window. Crying eyes full of water. But the man he is- he won’t allow a single drop to fall. As though they are his cherished memories that he doesn’t want to let go of. That laughing smile is fixed upside down. Sunlight streaks his face. He looks a decade younger than the last time he gave me a bear hug. Baba. My superman. Now fighting with reality, not the demons of my nightmares. But he is a strong man- my Baba.

Suddenly a revived energy flushes through me. I blink. Move my arms. Wriggle my toes. Stand up and stretch my back. I feel the breath of fresh air. “Independence from the wretched bed”, I want to scream. My reverie is broken by a loud wail. Ma. And a heart wrenching cry that chills me. Baba. It kills me to see my superhero broken.

But I smile now. “I can feel my body now Ma”, I silently scream. “I am free now Baba”, I silently implore. I turn back one last time before leaving- as they crowd a forever static me.

In Coma. A Comma. A Full-stop.

I fly away with the angels.

I Believe You

I believe you when you tell me the world is a beautiful place

Of blue skies, mighty mountains and the gushing breeze,

Of the colourful birds and the open fields

Of windswept deserts and lush green trees.


I believe you when you tell me nothing can go wrong

But you miss the roaring seas waiting to devour me,

And the colourful rainbow that is but a farcical fantasy

Or that endless dreams are not a part of my destiny.


I believe you when you tell me that I will always be loved

But you don’t tell me about the black monster out there,

I see it watch me as I go through the chores of life

Wondering if the monster is a giant cuddly bear.


I believe you when you tell me that there is a world of opportunities for me

But you don’t tell me how hard I will have to fight and still fail,

How society casts a roving evil eye

Leaving me, at every step, to fight tooth and nail.


I believe you when you tell me it is the safest place to be

But what do you say about the shadow that I am pushed towards,

I try to ignore the discomfort by singing my favourite song

But how can I when the monster clamps me shut inwards.


I believe you when you tell me that a prince will come and whisk me away

But shouldn’t it feel like I am on cloud nine,

This cruel shadow leaves me by the road, ashamed of myself

I feel unworthy of living, doubting what in this world is mine.


I believe you when you tell me the pain will go away

Though I can’t ignore it, try as I might,

I see the helplessness in your eyes as you watch life ebb out of me

But I want you to hold on and continue this fight.


I believe you when you tell me it is just a bad patch

But I cannot forget the dark night and the way it changed me,

The constant losing battle with life begins to take a toll

The only wish is to be set free.


I believe you when you tell me the journey beyond will be smooth

But I can’t keep my eyes awake to see your smiling face,

I want to soak the sun in my bones and run in the wild

I still believe you when you say the world is a beautiful place.





My Life Colour..

If life were to be defined as a single colour, mine would most definitely be black.

No, not because I’m gothic, attracted towards the darker side of life or am deeply depressed and beyond repair. Neither do I follow the fashionable trend of having a eerie fascination for the dark.

It’s because black is all-encompassing. Unambiguous and to-the-point. Standing apart from the crowd of colours, not a hint of emotion shown. No bias, no affinity to groups of warm or cool.

Having a long standing identity of its own. Distinctly different – at the end of the spectrum.

A slight change in composition – and it remains unaffected. A larger intrusion – and it is a different personality.

Alas, I can’t find a deeper shade of black.

It Just Takes A Moment

She knew it had ended.
Like a simple switch which was turned off.
No regrets. No sadness. No jealousy. No remorse. No guilt. No longing.

Hoping for years together to get out of this mess – going away from people, into unknown corners of a bruised heart.
And just one singular moment which took it all away.
One moment when her life went by in a flash and she heaved a sigh of relief.

It was one thing to convince herself that she was ok.
But another ball game to truly know that circumstances would no longer affect her as they did earlier .

A sudden lull came over her.
Like a heavy load lifted off. Like finding a stream of clear spring water while walking in a parched desert. Like finding the end to a long, dark, snaking tunnel.

So giddy headed with happiness, she began to laugh uncontrollably. And everything around seemed to join in the mirth.
Trees shook with renewed vigour, the earth emanated a hidden warmth, the stars danced in the dizzying sky – as she basked in the hazy glow that surrounded her.

There was no looking back now.
A feeling of elation clouded her mind. A feeling of satisfaction found place in her heart. A feeling of freedom embraced her soul.

Liberation. Emancipation. Redemption. 

The Call

“Come back”, she heard a voice.
She turned back to see who it was, but the road lay empty behind her.
She continued walking aimlessly.
Lost. Disoriented.
Watching her world crumble around her. Bit by bit, fading away.
“Come back”, she heard again.
Still no one around.
Panicked, her steps gathered speed.
Away from the call.
“It’s alright. Come back to where you belong.”
A persistent beckoning.
Eerily familiar. Oddly personal. Invoking déjà vu.
And so she knew who it belonged to.
Someone she had known all her life.
Through ups and downs, smiles and frowns.
It was her own voice.
A faint ghost of the person she once was.
Of a person she wanted to be.
Of a person she was looking for in this chaos around her.
Piercing through the remnant sanctity of her mind.
It came from within her, yet seemed miles afar.
A ray of hope to move towards.
A survivor’s rope to hold on to.

“Come back.”

The Man He Is..

He stands tall and proud as a man self-made.  
The advancing of years is a witness to his gradually stooping back, 
But with a head held high, he never once loses his poise. 
He is reduced to a mere vegetable, but the dignity he commands belies all other prelusions.

Unbeknown to all, he gently glides into the deep black corridor. 
Not knowing what he is leaving behind, not knowing what he’ll find ahead.
A thrilling excitement of adventures is to come or an underlying fear of the unknown lies in his wait?

It is a rough road to traverse.
The winds seem stronger and the sun seems harsher.
But there is an unnatural calm inside.
An answer found to all of life’s worries.
The only stable factor in an unstable universe.