Short Fiction

Tuitions – Short Fiction by Nivedita N

Pinky wiped the sweat off her forehead with the sleeve of her blue t-shirt and looked at her elder brother, Sunny. He had been batting with her cricket bat since the last eight overs of the 30-over match in their apartment’s garage that doubled as their cricket pitch.  She listened as others complained to the captain of the team, their neighbour, Naresh, ‘When will we get a chance to bat, Anna? Every day Sunny Anna only bats first and keeps batting till end. I will go to Godha Nilayam from tomorrow!’ ‘You will play with our enemy team?’ Naresh, looked at them, his eyebrows furrowed. ‘No, Anna, we did not mean that. But every time, he only bats first.’ ‘Arey, we must win, no? And, inter-building matches are also approaching for Independence Day. Ok..Ok..Tomorrow you bat first, ok?’ ‘SIX!’ one of their team members shouted, removing his t-shirt and hurling it in the air. ‘Pinky, go and get the ball,’ the bowler scorned at Pinky. ‘Why me, always?’ ‘That’s the rule. The last batsman in opposite team should go. Plus, you are so small you can easily squeeze between the plants and the bushes and brought.’ ‘It’s bring. State Syllabus fellow! And I am a batsgirl. Ok I am going,’ she mocked and walked swiftly to the neighbour’s house. It was Saturday noon and the neighbours would all be sleeping. She ran towards the plants where the ball would usually be lying. There it was! The red ball among the green plants. She picked the ball and was walking out of the gate when she heard her mother call her name aloud from their balcony. Throwing the ball at the bowler, she ran towards the staircase that led to their flat. ‘I will come soon. Anna, get my bat, don’t forget.’ She ran up the flight of stairs and knocked at her door. Her mother opened it quickly. She walked in and saw her father, still in his formals, holding her mathematics paper. ‘So you hid it from us? Mummy met your Maths teacher and she told that the paper was sent long ago. We searched your school bag and found it.’ Her father held his head in his hand and sank into the brown sofa. ‘Why did you do this?’ he asked, looking at her with disbelief. Pinky hung her head. She did not know how to react. ‘I am asking you!’ her father shouted. ‘Answer me.’ ‘I forgot I got the paper,’ she said, her voice barely a whisper. ‘Lies. Lies. Lies. Who teaches you all this?’ her father hurled the mathematics paper on the floor, and continued ‘Stop playing with those rowdy friends. Why don’t you play badminton instead with Shilpa? She is such a good girl and she will teach you some manners also. Those boys are bad. Only because of your brother I allowed you to play with them, but from today everything is cut. No TV. No playing. Did you see the paper? You got 55 out of 100. And your brother? He got 90. I am not one of those fathers who will compare but this is so less, Pinky.’ Her father said, looking at her. Her mother, seated at the dining table peeling potatoes, nodded in agreement. ‘Sorr..y,’ she mumbled, tears flowing down her cheeks. ‘Sorry for what? The time for sorry is over. From tomorrow, you will do as we say.’ ‘Now, you and Mummy will go to Ramani aunty and book a slot. She is the best tuition teacher. Everyone who goes there always gets good marks.’ ‘TUITIONs aaah!...

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Kosi, me, and the Kairos || Story by Ninad Parikh

The stage was set, characters were defined and audience awaited. I was the audience. Show was to commence. The curtains of twilight were raised to give way to the uncanny fraternization of subtle darkness and silken moonlight. Homecoming of the birds was suggestive of the fact that it was time to return to the place where I belonged. The place, the state of life where ecstasy thrives. The place where one loses oneself and in the process reclaims the divinity of the moment… Everything in the vicinity appeared interwoven. The water conversing with the stones underneath, the wind whispering in the ears of the sky-scraping trees, the mountains shaking hands with the horizon, the misting of moonlight on the earth and the aura of that moment. I was contemplating the phenomenal swiftness with which the birds were dramatizing their acrobatics in the animated sky. The freedom they luxuriate bequeaths them with the ardor to speed up, the ebullience to live on and to fly away to the resplendent glory. A bird parked itself on a hulking stone. He gaped candidly into my eyes. I was surprised not at the fearlessness but at the calmness he flaunted. He seemed to be sure of enduring till I uttered something. But I felt as if I had been talking to him for eternity. There was no obligation to be prim and ask him about his identity on this earth and sky… I eventually asked him, “How does it feel to harmonize with this timeless aura of creativity?” He looked at me with unaltered tranquility as if he had expected such a question from me. He panned his sight towards the horizon and after a few prolonged moments, replied, “Mate, One always belongs to his own creation.” I was astonished not because of the unfathomable answer but at the ease with which he addressed me as “Mate”. “One always belongs to his own creation,” I said to myself and kept saying it for a while. “What do you mean? Is it you who has fashioned this aura?” I asked. “Partially.” “So you are suggesting that you have been instrumental in creating a quantum of this aura….” “Absolutely. Even you are a part of the same.” That didn’t exactly give me the sense of belonging I was craving for, but it did raise a flutter of hope within my mind that I am still there. I asked him, “Can you elaborate on your and specifically my role in this unimaginable creation?” “Well, there is no single entity that has scripted this aura and painted this panoramic picture. We all make it happen. We all are doing what we are best at and incidentally everything converges in a distinguished moment. A moment that lives for a life time. A moment that paints you in happiness and fills you with a perpetual sense of belonging. I am an avian. I live because I fly. And when I fly I fly with such pride and zest that this world falls in love with my flight. That’s the partial aura I am referring to.” “But how do I become a part of this…what have I accomplished?” I asked. “Some minutes back you would have felt that the mountains are shaking hands with the horizon…the winds are whispering something in the ears of those tall trees….That was a surreal feeling you created. Mate, the mountains don’t shake hands with horizon. It’s the perception you sculpture in your heart that transposes it into a prodigious entourage. You were the creator of that moment when you heard the whispers of wind. Now you will write about the...

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Literature Studio’s Advisor Geet Chaturvedi gets Krishna Pratap Katha Samman

We are proud to share that Hindi author and member of our advisory board Geet Chaturvedi has been awarded the prestigious ‘Krishna Pratap Katha Samman’ for 2014 for his collection of stories Pink Slip Daddy, published in 2010. This was announced by the convener of the awards committee, Shri Narendra Pundarik. He said, the jury found the stories associated with the corporate world, enthralling; and many people can find glimpses of their story in these stories. These stories are ample evidence of Geet Chaturvedi’s mastery as a storyteller. His taut poetic language has a certain exotic shine and sharp freshness, and an abundance of dreams and thoughts, he added. Often regarded as an avant-garde, the 37-year old poet-writer has been nominated several times as one of nation’s best writers by various periodicals and newspapers. He was awarded the Bharat Bhushan Agrawal Award for poetry in 2007. Geet Chaturvedi has authored five books till now and his writings have been translated into nine languages, including English, Russian, Spanish and German. He lives in Bhopal. Geet Chaturvedi was one of the guest authors at the Te Aroha – Literature Studio Writers’ Retreat and has been a member of our Advisory Board since November 2014. In person, Geet comes across as someone who is humble and grounded. A powerhouse of talent, this young writer has the ability to leave his audience stunned with his mesmerizing readings. He will receive this award in November this year in a ceremony....

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Breaking Free || Short Story by Lily Sperber

Standing on my terrace early that afternoon, I look out at the palm trees and blue skies that surround me. It is past noon, and the sun is shining directly above on this hot summer day. Today, just like most days here in Los Angeles, cars pass, children play outdoors and many people are coming in and out of my apartment building. Among those who are coming in is my roommate Adam. No matter how many reasons I give him to leave and never see me again, he always comes back. I hear the front door open and close, and moments later, Adam is standing next to me. “Hi, Anna,” he says with some hesitation. “Hey,” I say. I know why he has been acting so quiet and strange around me lately; it is because of what had happened a few days ago. He got me out of two troubling situations, and it wasn’t the first time. I think he is seriously beginning to question whether or not helping me is the best thing to do. Whatever he has been thinking, he has been very careful not to let me know about it. “Adam, I’m sorry for the other day. I never meant for that to happen…” “But it still happened. And as always, I helped. But you never seem to appreciate that, or to make an effort to stop making these mistakes,” he sighs. “I just wish you would pull your life together and…” He is interrupted by the doorbell. He stands perplexed and walks back into the hall. We aren’t expecting any visitors, so who can this be? Moments later, I follow him inside, just as he is opening the door down the hall. ~ I wish the doorbell hadn’t rang just now. I was finally talking to Anna about the issue. I don’t know why my heart is racing as I open the door. And… before me stand two police officers. They hold up their badges and look past me into the apartment. Part of me wonders what Anna has done now, but I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough. “We are here for Anna Young. Is she home?” One of the officers asks. I look behind me and see Anna watching from down the hall. She has a shocked expression on her face and I wonder why. If the police are here, she has obviously done something wrong; she should’ve been expecting them sooner or later. The police seem to see her as well, and shove past me into the apartment. “Anna Young, you are under arrest for the act of arson and for endangering people.” What? Anna has done something seriously illegal this time. But arson? Endangering people? Since when does Anna do that? “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?” The officer continues. While the officer is informing her of her rights, the other officer is handcuffing her. Anna looks like she is close to tears and looks the most frightened I’ve ever seen her. She doesn’t respond to the cop, but rather to me. “Adam, I didn’t do it! This is a mistake! You’ve gotta believe me. I don’t do things like that,” she says, her voice frantic. For a second, I don’t know what to say, what to do, who to believe. Is she just trying...

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The Emperor who Loved Clothes – A Short Story By Nishant || Yay! It’s Fiction Friday!

This little story by 8-year-old Nishant Sharma, who attended Literature Studio’s “Naughty Monty Goes for a Walk” – a creative writing workshop for children, is a spin-off from the legendary “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” In 1990, there was a king who loved new clothes. He wore new clothes for breakfast, for lunch, for tea, and also for dinner. His wife told him all the time “dear, please wear the same clothes for the entire day.” But he didn’t listen to her. The soldiers of  the Kingdom also supported the King. They used to tell him, “वाह महाराज वाह! क्या कपड़े हैं|” Listening to praise made the King proud and he started believing that he is the king of the world. In 2001, he became so fat that he wasn’t able to walk and he  kept on falling down again and again. His clothes didn’t fit him anymore. So he had to buy new clothes. In 2007, he became very thin and the old clothes had to be thrown out again. In 2008, after eating well and exercising, he came back to his normal size. The old clothes were again wasted and he bought hundreds of new clothes. By 2009, no one believed that he was the king. He was so poor that he wasn’t able to rule the Kingdom. He was now thinking that he should have listened to his wife. Moral: We should not waste money. 8-year-old Nishant Sharma is a class III student from Delhi. When Nishant is not playing with his friends or studying, he likes to try his hands at new things. Blessed with a natural sense of humour, Nishant enjoys jokes and also likes painting and experimenting with various musical instruments. Helping his parents in the garden ever since he was a toddler, he has developed a deep affinity with nature. He aims to write several new stories during his vacations this year....

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Gross – A Short Story by Aashutosh || Yay! It’s Fiction Friday

Huff… puff… huff…. The gazelle ran away. Gross lay on the ground, tired after running the whole day after a gazelle. It was getting dark. He strode towards the den. Heavy strides. Head drooping. Eyes watery. Mother was waiting for him with a freshly killed gazelle. His two brothers too had managed a mole. They welcomed him with an anxious complaint, “You are too late, Gross.” Gross was silent, still looking down. “Don’t be sad Gross. I know it’s not easy. Keep trying. You’ll be able to do it. You still have time,” Mother purred, softly scratching his back. “Oh! let’s have dinner,” Alfred pulled at Mother’s tail. “I’m starving”. “Yes, dinner please!” said Fred. Gross did not feel like eating anything. But he sat with them and tasted the catches. The family decided to sleep outside, under the solitary tree in front of their den. Fred and Alfred had made Mother’s abdomen their cushion. Gross also cuddled near Mother’s head. But sleep was nowhere in his eyes. The twinkling stars in the clear sky were beckoning him. A star cheetah. That is what he wanted to be. But he hadn’t caught a single gazelle so far. “Why can’t I hunt at night?” he wondered. “Because you are a cheetah!” Gross was taken aback. He hadn’t realized he had been thinking aloud. And Mother was very much awake, with him, to tell him that it is okay to fail, but one should be brave to try again. “We are cheetahs, Gross. God made us this way. We need to learn to live within our constraints and work hard to fine tune our skills. That will make you a real cheetah. A star cheetah.” Gross felt Mother lick the back of his head. He closed his eyes. He would wait for the next day. — Gross and his brothers had recently celebrated their first birthday, when Mother gave them the ultimatum. They had only about six months after which they he would be shown the door. Gross was not scared, rather very excited. He would be catching gazelles on his own! He would be an adult cheetah. But so far, he had caught none. Only some small rabbits. The excitement was slowly giving way to fear and shame. But there was a silver lining. Every time a gazelle escaped, he became more determined to catch one the next time. Mother had told them many stories of hunting a gazelle. “It is not a child’s play. Only the best of the cheetahs can do it.” Gross had always watched his Mother closely. How she stealthily approached the unsuspecting herd, all the time taking care that no lion or lioness is simultaneously targeting the same herd. He remembered everything by heart – how to choose a target, how to tip toe, how to attack, how and when to speed up. But every time something wrong happened and Gross was left empty handed. Gross had started wondering whether he would ever be able to do it.! — The sun was quite high, far above the horizon. The family was ready to hunt. But Mother noticed, Gross looked weak. She touched his forehead. It was on the warmer side. “Gross, if you let your disappointment make you sick, do you think you will be able to ever catch a gazelle?” Gross was embarrassed. Yes, he was not feeling well. Mother licked his face clean and asked him to rest in the den. “Fred, Alfred, take care of Gross. He has not been eating properly. I’ll get him something to eat for now.” Gross was...

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