Short Fiction

To my daughter

Dear Naobi,

I saw the girl speaking on social media. She must be of your age. She spells out her anger well, with guarded words. Such poise. I thought she would burst out with anger. But no. I feel good that she could speak up. Wonder how her parents must be feeling. The cowardly creature who spat on her face must be celebrating. Somewhere in the dark Delhi lanes. He must be sharing his spoils of spitting on a ‘Chinese look-alike’ girl among his friends. He knows well that he will not be reprimanded or punished. For he and his fellow creatures have thrived in an ecosystem. In such an ecosystem virus of hatred and prejudice flourish. There are no vaccines for them yet. Perhaps they will never be found.

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Thunderbolt from the Dark Clouds

Sanahanbi’s husband Raghu works as a peon. They lead a cosy life with three lovely children. Neighbours are envious of Sanahanbi. They consider her fortunate for having a husband who isn’t a spendthrift. But ever since an officer who loves to drink and gamble got transferred at Raghu’s workplace, his house has become a party den. It has been a daily affair. Quite unexpectedly Raghu has started drinking regularly. Day by day he has become more violent and abusive. Sanahanbi often pleads, “This is home not a workplace. Neither am I an employee under your officer. Rather one honour-bound by marriage. Attending to the care of husband and children, maintaining a home needs all the time in hand. It is below your dignity to entertain their biddings in this way. It would affect the children. Don’t make a devil out of me, please have some sense.”

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Melting Heart

Rahmat Ali offered me a plateful of sweets –muri laddoos (balls of puffed rice stuck together with sticky jaggery). As I leaned forward to pick up the cup of tea from the table, my eyes strayed to land on a few old issues of the Assamese magazine, Prantik, lying underneath, along with a bunch of letters bearing the letterhead of the local branch of the Asom Sahitya Sabha (A literary body of Assam). Those letters too seemed dated and quite old. The wall in front was held together by wooden battens and a number of pictures were seen hanging on it. There was an old  black and white photograph of the iconic Assamese singer Bhupen Hazarika, singing with his hands on a harmonium,  a nicely framed map of Assam, chain-stitched on a piece of cloth and close to that was a framed photograph of Mecca.  A plastic flower vase, lustreless with age, was standing on a table in the corner. The glass panes on the book case were broken and one could see through them a collection of books – Malik’s novels, the complete works of Borgohain, a couple of booklets on Assamese spelling and so on.

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Imphal Express Bus

I feel the coldness on my back. I shudder a little. As the chill of the rainy morning seeps into my skin I automatically move closer to him. My body touches his backside in perfect alignment from head to toe. There is barely any part of my body which doesn’t touch his. My left hand lies across his soft and warm belly. I always crave for this part of his body; soft, smooth and somehow always inviting. I might have gotten used to putting my hand there, for some time now, when we sleep together. But I seem to be pressing into him slightly tighter than usual today. It makes me conscious also, so I check if he is still asleep, unaware of my stubborn hands on his body. At the same time, I can feel warm sensations triggering inside my body; a stronger urge than usual. This spurge of feeling, something like an adrenaline rush taking the shape of a desire inside my body, seems to thrust me closer to him. I hold him tighter and my hands automatically start rubbing his soft belly in circles. All the while I’m also scared that I might wake him up. But the sensations and urge are powerful to the point of overwhelming. Even as I try very hard to stop myself from doing whatever is about to happen, the sensations take the better of me. My hand slowly touches his nipples, groping his breast and squeezing it a bit and rubbing it softly. Then after a while I find my hand touring down slowly and slowly, rubbing his skin as it goes down, towards the lower abdomen now and I perfectly know my hand is not going to stop just right there.

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