(A short fiction by Sidharth Vardhan April 7, 2018) I am imagining what a tree would think if it could. How it would look at the seasons as they come and go – the spring that brings with it flowers and birds, the winters that take them away – how with death of every flower would be for it like dying a little too and how with birth of new one, it would be reborn to that extent. Does it get tiring for trees, this perpetual cycle of little births and deaths? Is that why their branches are hunched so often?
(First written as a fun review of The Prince (1513) by Niccolò Machiavelli on Goodreads August 4, 2016 by Sidharth Vardhan) I don’t know how come I never reviewed this one but recently I was visiting this friend of mine in south India, Pramod (yes, the one from Goodreads), when he showed me this not-so-popular smaller piece, allegedly written by the author in his last days, ‘Le Gente’ and never published – for common people about how they can succeed in social life using diplomacy.
(A short fiction by Sidharth Vardhan March 3, 2018) He had to ask her out the very day she was having her ‘those days’ – that is what she called it in her mind, the technical words and other euphemisms were too alien or repulsive for her to even use in her own mind. She took the wrapper of sanitary napkin she had just put on and buried it deep with the dustbin covering it over with a polyethene – a habit her mother had taught her, or “Ravi (her younger brother) will be asking questions.” So these are what they call ‘old wives tales’ she had thought wondering at the secrecy of it all – she had often wondered what they mean by ‘old wives tales’ – how come they are only about wives or women? Why not men? She knew, of course, of other more-fun tales – when in their women-only meetings they will act mischievously, flirting with each other, spanking each other, talking about men as if they are some sort of consumable dishes etc. Even her mother who, as soon as a man entered the room, was the picture of a lady.
(A Short Fiction by Sidharth Vardhan February 2, 2018 Part two of two – the first of this story can be read here.) Back in their home Daya had kept returning to the subject of the corpse for a while and mother had kept asking her to not think about it until finally mamma was irritated and told her to never mention the subject again. Of fear of her mother’s scolding the child didn’t mention it though she kept thinking about the corpse. Then finally she was distracted by her favorite cartoon serial. Though the memory of the corpse kept on seeking the attention of her consciousness but, with time the later find it easier to not give too much attention to the memory as the physical evidence was no longer there. It was while she stepped out of the car upon their return from shopping trip (her mother had avoided the corner where the corpse was when leaving for the mall and while coming back) that the central event of this second part of this story took place. She saw Toffee running towards her to greet her. And in its mouth was what she thought to be a polythene. (He
(A Short Fiction by Sidharth Vardhan February 4, 2018 Part 1 of 2) “Come here Daya, he will bite you” “it won’t mamma, it is so cute” but the mamma still watched with concerned eyes, she disliked Daya’s love for animals. The eight-year-old girl can’t see an animal without also going “ooo”, wanting to touch it and hold it – whether it be a bird, stray cat, dog or cattle. Once mamma had been just in time to ask her to step down from window frame of their third-floor apartment which she had climbed in order to reach out to sparrow sitting on the branch of a tree in the park of their building. Ever since Mamma won’t let her out of eyes (except for school) and she was right in that attitude. It was as if Daya could get high on mere sight of animals. Daya’s love for the puppy she was holding at the moment only increased over time. She named it ‘Toffie’ and even trained him to some extent for such simple things like ‘sit’, ‘stand’, ‘be quit’ – the English words that is, for she was one of those city children whose English-medium educated parents always
I have been wondering about how come people of this hell-hole keep getting attracted towards. One reason, I guess, is because I too am in this hell hole – perhaps more deeply sunk then so many else. But they do not generally like each other as much. Why should I be an exception? Perhaps because I am the only one talks about solutions -about getting out of this hole. People sunk here do each one of them think that he or she can’t get out of it. But perhaps I give them hope – of being understood. That is all the hope I find in their eyes. Not the hope of being helped out of the hole though – most of them never ask for it. As if the very idea of doing so will shame them. I don’t know what sort of civilisation does that to people – even the most primitive animal screams for help whether or not it has hope of getting any and, among humans too, children are quick to scream when in need of help – that is, before the shadow of civilisation has conditioned them to believe that asking for help is a shameful
“Only an animal worries all the time about the next meal.” – Naguib Mahfouz 1. How could he judge her? Who was he to judge her? Hadn’t she been patient enough? Mariah still remembered how she had lost her son, her only child, and it seemed to have only increased her faith – perhaps exactly because her son was taken away. Once when she was a young girl, she thought how strange faith was – the very reasons – the loss of a dear one, floods ruining everything one owns etc that should cause one to lose one’s faith often end up increasing it. Her own life had a similar trajectory – she first gave a serious thought to religion after the death of her mother who was killed by her master’s whip and by the time her father died a few days later of starvation, she was seriously religious. He had managed to marry her to John in his last days thus ensuring that she won’t be left alone.
I was standing at a bus stop, not waiting for my bus though – had just spent many boring hours in my room and wanted to be out to answer seductive appeals of the lovely weather outside with its cold winds blowing and clouds overhead, the kind of weather that created music in air and set peacocks dancing. Not everyone danced though; people were already looking for shelter when the rain had started.
…………………. Mrit feels a pain, he can’t tell what from, in his left temple, a strange feeling of desperation as if he is getting late for something and an equally vague agony as he hears his mom from other room telling him that it is time for his bed. He really wants to see the cartoon serial, his favorite to the end and it will be only a few minutes longer and he decides to let her keep calling until he has seen the end of the episode and to later excuse himself by saying that he didn’t hear her.
(A Short Fiction by Sidharth Vardhan April 15, 2017) Shaheen had looked forward to the meeting with the kid, her nephew, Sahil with hope. The only time she had seen him was two years ago before leaving the city for studies. He was only a few days old back then – a beautiful tiny mass of skin that didn’t seem to have much of bones inside it, which seemed so vulnerable that it scared her. She remembered how when her sister, Fatima, had offered the baby for her to hold, she had felt a shiver run through her body just a moment before Fatima had dumped the baby in her hands, overly-conscious as she was in those first few moments of the responsibility that was suddenly thrust into her hands, an image had popped up in her mind where she saw her hands tremble and seeing the baby fell towards ground. The vision ended before the baby had reached the ground but the terror it created lasted for a few very long seconds. She had stood there not wanting to show how she was feeling, looking at her hands which held the precious thing and willing them hard not to