55 word fiction

I watched her as she came up the beautiful stair case. She was tiny but beautiful. Her face held the same shocked look that I generally see on any newcomer’s face and in these last ten years I’ve seen thousands of them. She could not believe she had not been allowed to live. Her hope, dreams and joy had been dashed to the ground in a single surgical procedure.

She came near me perplexed and asked “why? What did I do?”

“You did not have the Y chromosome, so they aborted you” I replied as I was told when I first came up those celestial stairs.

(This is a tribute to those 20,000 daughters have gone ‘missing’ in Tamil Nadu in the last 10 years, according to the Campaign against Sex Selective Abortions (CASA).

Voldemort meets Cullen – What ifs #1

Silent. Dark. Eerie. In the middle of the night, those few hours when both the owl and the lark are asleep and the humans are at last behind the safety of their locked doors an ethereal figure flew silently in the air. It resembled the shadow of a human, transparent, smoky and pale, deathly pale. Passing through the city in this inhumanised form was Tom Riddle, known in the magic world as Lord Voldemort.

He has been in this state for the last 23 years when a teenager rendered him helpless and had torn him out of his own body to live the life of a shadow. Suddenly he felt a gush of wind and bumped into a solid, cold object.

Edward Cullen had decided to hunt alone today. Bella was with Alicia and Jacob was babysitting Nessie. The air had seemed thick and suddenly smelled pungent. Not entirely human but similarly so. Since he had long since stopped being affected by human smell or blood, it did not bother him as he quickly dashed through the woods his legs so fast, it barely touched any ground.

But he could hear thoughts through the mist, and frustrated ones at that. Suddenly he came to a halt at the centre of the shadowy mist and heard a hoarse voice.

“Who are you?” Voldemort  hissed.

Cullen was not sure if the shadow had actually spoken or was he hearing the thoughts. It was eerie enough being a vampire, but encountering another human like thinking mist was stretching the realms of fantasy too far.

Edward Cullen. And who and what are you?” Edward asked.

I am Lord Voldemort” the shadow hissed. By now Voldemort was convinced that if he could use this strong steel like human’s body he could be alive again. Only he had tried it on other humans and animals but in vain.

Edward was not sure if he should stay there. May be he needed the help of Alicia to foresee things and probably also the shield of Bella. But as tried to get past the Voldemort shadow, he was stopped.

“Avada Kedavra” murmured the shadow. Edward was sure the shadow wanted him dead but he was not sure why.

Voldemort was surprised to see his most trusted of spells not working on this man. He grew furious. Hissing loudly he asked again “Who are you? How come you don’t die?”

Cullen laughed “Is that what you were trying to do with your murmurings? Sorry misty, I cannot be killed. You see I’ve been dead for 150 years.”

Voldemort slithered away in fear.

Coffee and writing

The robust flavour, the complete aroma, those addictive little beans ground to perfection, to wake up daily to this heavenly brew… that is life. Mine at least. I am a coffee addict, have been since childhood. Have loved every moment of my school years, waking up to mummy’s hugs and a mug of freshly brewed filter coffee… the drip,drip magic of south India. To wander in the silent morning, to lose myself in the innocence of my desire, before the day began. This was before I realised that not everyone made coffee like mummy.

But that did not stop me from tasting the instant coffee that makes even fresh milk taste stale, or the watery nauseous puddle that passed for coffee at hostel. I have even gulped the railway station brew that somehow tastes like a chemistry experiment.

Was it a surprise when a coffee maker became my first independent purchase years later, only to realise I cannot wake up to its aroma, I need to get up before to brew it.

Today the same little beans with its simplicity, freshness and constant companionship have become my soul mate. Through the aromatic cup curled up on the sofa with my husband watching the sunrise, the relaxing cuppa later while sitting alone with my laptop, sipping slowly as I watch my thought mingle with the fragrance of coffee. Other times I have depended on the caffeine buzz to give me a fresh idea. A quick break at Starbucks after shopping while the kids munch on muffins, many a day has been saved by a substancial amount of this redolent brew.

But the choicest memories are those silent moments with my laptop, writing to my heart’s content sipping away into the night.

Coming Home

The dousing squall greeted me with soft sweet drops on my face and a churning sludge around me feet, spoiling my slippers. I quickly hurried to the car park. Rain, sludge or bog, this was home.

The smell of the city is always the first thing I notice stepping out of the Chennai airport. I revel in my olfactory trail trying to separate individual scents – the various trees, shrubs and flowers, the humid air, exhaust fumes and a unique scent of civilization; of having lived on this part of the Earth for more than 2000 yrs.

A taxi was waiting for me. After dumping my belongings, two massive suitcases and folding myself into its frayed seat, smelling of diesel we set off.

“Shall I turn on the AC?” the cabby asked

“No. I like the city air” said I.

We sped on towards dawn, through my city that was still asleep. The soft rain created a gauzy curtain and blurred out the details but I saw through my mind’s eye, memories of this busy city that would spring to life in a few hours. A rush to work, school, and college mixed with the shouts of vendors, kirana stores and little temples at every street corner.

As we came towards my street corner, I knew my mother would be waiting, filter kaapi freshly brewed, smiling from the balcony.

An act so simple yet so profound in its permanence. Do I love my city for the journey it is or for the destination – my mother’s smile?

Rats on the bus

They seemed normal people. Early morning tension creating furrows between their eyes as sweat trickled   slowly down their backs. Mobiles, handbags, tie gave them ample room to fidget in impatience. Our bus approached and promptly stopped a couple of yards away from the stop. People rushed in.

The commotion began then. I could see their faces elongating, eyes darting, feet scurrying as they suddenly took on rodent like forms.

“Rats!” someone screamed.

A slim girl with too much lipstick that seemed to be melting and oozing in the heat looked up and said “do you know they are infectious?”

I made a startling discovery today. Our deeply etched genetic memory through the evolution process especially the ones got from our rodent ancestors gets triggered the minute we enter any public transport. Suddenly we mark our territory, call our friends and give hostile looks to the others.

The rats continued to scurry, occupy seats and wait for their fellow rats to follow. The bus stopped. I stepped gingerly among the rodents and got down. A few fine hairs got stuck on my bag.