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Drabble 2015 Shortlist

Below, the valley holds mist like a bowl of cotton; Mingma needs some to nurse the untraceable wounds of his life. He breaths aloud for a few minutes, tries to sit up on the promontory, but the land crashes like a soft anthill. Nervous, Mingma calls out his grandmother only to realize that he has missed her breath by half a minute. A cold flash stitches his muscles inside. His face, a decapitated glow-worm…

Linda Ashok
 

For the third time in 6 months, I spent several sleepless nights tending to his high fever, bodyache, nausea and other Malaria symptoms last week. All because of the promise I gave to his dying mother: I will always be there for him, in sickness or in health.

Today he and his girl-friend fought in muffled voices in the corridor. He came back to class, visibly disturbed. Ushering me to a corner, he whispered, “From today, please do not come to my house to while away your time. My girl-friend disapproves of it. I hope you understand”.

- Aditi Sahu
 

The water hyacinth was a perfect swing for white Flamingos.
My eyes were stationed precise and deliberate. Without a single flick, these watched them dance as couples.
The Kettuvallam houseboats cruised forward making the cerulean waters so jubilant that it gushed to reach us - seemingly to plead with us not to leave…
These kept gliding with humility and esteem even though the sunset stippled them with shades of grey.
Somewhere inside my head, I made an unwritten contract with this place for enduring visits. To repay my debts to this refueling base, I penned one drabble and bade adieu.

- Bindu Saxena
 

Nancy was just about to doze off when she heard her daughter crying on the baby monitor. She groaned.

"I just put her to sleep," she said not wanting to get out of her cozy bed.

"Do you want me to go check on her?" asked Steve.

Nancy smiled, "When have you ever been able to put her to sleep? No, I'll do it."

She put away the baby monitor and walked to the baby's room. Oddly enough, she couldn't hear her crying anymore. Puzzled she opened the door.

The cradle was already rocking and little Beth was fast asleep.

- Neha Malude

 
There was a bottle; a broken one. Two wine glasses; unbroken.
He sat there on the chair staring at the ticking of the clock.
The constant ticking of the clock held back the room to reach hundred per cent silence.
On the spur of the moment it was accompanied by a knock on the door. He rushed to open the door. But much to his dismay there was no one.
He drank another then another. More bottles followed. More knocks followed.
And no one opened the door ever since.
She felt sorry for playing pranks on him that night.
- Amen Benjamin
 

She writes clandestinely when he is not around. Freedom, love, hopes, passion and ambition is what she writes about. The words are fiercely sharp slicing through the reader’s heart. There are deep yearnings in her writings. A pen name accompanies all her works. No one knows about this other side of the meek woman. Tattooed on her wrist is a bleeding pen and on her shoulder, a swallow in flight. One day she “accidentally” drops her wedding band in the toilet and it gets flushed away. From then on her ring finger bears a white mark at that place.

- Yesha Shah
 
We play a little game every day, Maya and I.
I cook rice with sand, and make a dish of Tulsi leaves. I then call out to her.
She does not appear, until later in the evening, after I sleep.
But that is fine.
I can wait, until one of us forgets she is dead.
- Vidya Panicker
 

Wake up. A morning. Greyish, depressed and personal, with the clouds almost dripping from the sky; the city’s chaos utterly muted.
News and tea, black and white, and grey and grey and grey and ashen grey. Sips of prodigal warmth, shield against the wet wind.
Life bound in mundane routines. Seems unbearable, until a sharp stab of pain at the edge of the lower lip.
Bitten, with love.
Nothing changed.
Only, I smiled...

- Shakya Bose
 
She taught different classes in the light of the day and in the dark of the night, with the same name. Strict in generous measure, the cane was used with equal deft and skill in the classroom as it was in the bedroom. She had no pupils in common between the two classes as the petite, bespectacled, soft-spoken and loving yet firm, pig-tailed high school teacher in the morning let her hair loose at night and indulged in her fetish. Both classes fell silent at the echoes of her approaching stilettos. They both called her the Mistress of Coorg.
Arjun Shetty
 
Anticipating an evident accident, a lady on Honda Dio managed to chase the Honda City at 80 kmph and shouted, "Your car's rear, left tyre is swinging loose!" to the lady on wheels. The 'City' girl pulled down the car and realised it to be true and called her mechanic in a panicked tone. She hugged her saviour and bid goodbye. Having nothing else to do, in the meanwhile, she informed her dad, brother and husband about the incident, in detail. The mechanic came in half an hour and like a skilled professional, smiled and changed the rear right tyre.
- Piyush Kumar.
 
The house was empty. Like her mind. Hollow echoes of silence drifted down the corridors, trying to find companions. They reverberated from wall to wall, feeling claustrophobic, struggling to find a gap in the walls to escape. She stirred in her sleep, and a small breach appeared in a lonely wall. The echoes wasted no time – they susurrated out of the mind-house in a jiffy. The gap dragged in random wisps of memories into her mind, and created vivid images on the walls of the house. She shifted gently from deep sleep to dreamland, a smile budding on her lips.
- Namitha Varma-Rajesh
 
He abandoned all things to travel the world in search of home. He scaled mountains, rode the waves, worked in wineries and restaurants, danced with men and women, and lived in many houses and buildings. None of them became home. Decades later, sitting in a make-do hospital of Africa, surrounded by unfed children and bloody civil war, he felt longing for the mother he had never seen, the father who was now dead, and a brother he hardly knew anymore. On his deathbed, the traveler discovered Home- it was where lived his people: some of them countries, others were islands.
- Arka Datta
 
She walks from one room to the other; cosmetics, jewelry and clothes spilling from both arms. She wants to know which of them looks the best. The black blouse with the off-white saree? Should she accessorize with oxidized jewelry? Should her hair be tied in a bun? Or just a few strands that are allowed to arrange themselves of their own accord? Is she overdressed? I’m not allowed to answer any of these questions. So I just nod my head and watch her play out her monologue.
- Shloka Shankar
 
Time passes languidly seconds to minutes, minutes to hour’s lastly devouring the luminous hues welcoming eventide. I wait, night after night idly perched on the chilled window seating gazing ahead with longing filled eyes. You don't arrive and I turn on my left to see the brilliant moon shining all radiant and bright. And hoping, just hoping you were like that astronomic sky enveloping me in its warm black inky blanket. But with a sigh I realize you are but a star, looking fragile yet blindingly intense and I am a mere moon silently lonely yet solely surrounded by you.
- Fatima Hasan
 

She’d promised that she’d come at the appointed time. There’s almost nothing for me to ponder about. After all the nights lying awake like an insomniac, I feel a dread gnawing deep within. She, my fiancée, is a reputed person and I am an ordinary mortal, eking out a living by dent of hard work.

I saw her crossing the street. I waved. She too waved in return. But it was to another man standing just next to me at the cafe entrance. The smile that spread over his countenance bespoke of time spent together, without me.

- Haimanti Dutta Ray
Saima Afreen Poetry
 
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