Small Things #8 – The Legend of Latu Bhai

“Latu Bhai hid Vava’s glasses,” declared my Little One as we were rushing to find my Older One’s glasses this crazy morning. I was lecturing the older one on his carelessness as he was getting late for school. But my three year old came to his rescue. “It is Latu Bhai!,” he said with conviction.

So, it was Latu Bhai again! Latu Bhai and his ‘partner in crime’ Undistynx are responsible for all the mishap in my house. They hide things, make the closet messy, drop water bottles and even tickle kids. We have been hearing about Latu Bhai for quite sometime now.

And surprisingly, Latu Bhai sounds so similar to my ‘Paper Bunny’, a character I had created when I was 6 or perhaps 7 year old. He was a naughty person who would throw paper all over the house. How kids recreate their parents’ second childhood! I had created another character called ‘Ms Jealousy’, who was jealous of everything and would chase everyone.

This legendary Latu Bhai (I don’t know how he comes up with these names) brought back so many beautiful memories of us kids running all over the house, wildly and happily, being chased by ‘my’ imaginary characters.

I am not done with Latu Bhai yet! It does not matter how many mischiefs are done in his name! All that matters is he brings innocence, story, creativity and magic in my house. I want Latu Bhai to stay because the day he leaves, my kids will grow up!

(Art by Adiraj)

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From Mad Man to Mountain Man

Dashrath Manjhi sat viewing the mighty mountains surrounding him. They were the barriers, the hurdles, who had played with the lives of so many of his loved ones.

The mountains arrogantly stood between his village, Gehlaur and the nearest town blocking medical and other facilities. And not long back, the love of his life had slipped from one of these rocky terrains, leaving him alone.

He wanted revenge now! It was his will against the daunting mountains. Angrily, he took out his hammer and chisel and began to hurt the mountains. 

The villagers called him mad. But he just stopped listening. For twenty two years, he single handedly struggled against the mountains. 

Finally, he succeeded in carving a path 9.1 metres (30 ft) wide and 110 metres (360 ft) long through a hill 7.6 metres (25 ft). The distance between his village and the town got reduced from 55km to 15km.

Today, the world knows him as the noble Mountain Man!

(The picture reminded me of the poor labourer Dashrath Manjhi from India, who spent his entire life doing a noble task. His life has inspired many documentaries and films as well as stories.  In August 2015, a Hindi movie Manjhi – The Mountain Man, based on his life got released and was well received.)


(This is my entry to the flash fiction challenge, Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by the lovely Priceless Joy. We are given a photo prompt and approximately 75-175 words with which to create our stories. This challenge is open to all who would like to participate. Please CLICK HERE for more. Thank you Grant for the image!)

A lady from 60s!

I have created this Indian lady keeping the stylish 60s in mind, when flamboyance, colours and exuberance dominated the silver screen. 

Hindi film actresses like Hema Malini, Saira Banu, Sadhana, Asha Parekh, Mumtaz, Sharmila Tagore went bolder and experimental with dress and make up during the era. Ladies extensively used winged eyeliners while beehives and fringe cut went on to be a rage. Old teen age pictures of our mothers say it all.

I have once again used pastel pencils and chalks here. As I worked on it continuously for about two hours, I felt I needed a lot of practice to understand the tricks and techniques for blending colours. Do you have any idea how to blend pastels?


Here is a black and white version of the same sketch after putting the charcoal effect through an app. Which one do you like better?

In search of a story idea!

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Not far from where we live, there is a patch in the sky that holds ‘Thought’ clouds. You can call it the Thoughtland!

Whatever thoughts you’ve had today or in the past, travels to this place and sticks there. To be frank, it is quite a confusing world comprising of jet black, white, grey, orange and blue clouds.

Dark clouds comprise of sad or wicked thoughts while white clouds are inspirational. Grey clouds are filled with tragi-comic thoughts pertaining to ups and downs in our mundane lives. Orange clouds hold thoughts by people from the past while blue clouds, which happen to be my favourite, hold brightest ideas.

That day, like most thinkers, I unwittingly entered the ‘Thoughtland’ while looking for a story idea. I got carried away, flew and flew, and reached the cloud patch. It was totally chaotic there…as thought clouds flew past me whispering of bitter sweet things.

I found myself amongst the grey clouds first and read a few thoughts of a teenager – “Why do my parents keep finding faults with me? I will grow up and take up a job and live far away from them!” Then, there was a housewife’s thoughts – “Thankless job I have been doing! Since morning till night, I am working. Cooking meals, washing, taking care of kids. But no respect, no joy! I will have to do something about it!”

I steered myself towards white clouds and read a few happy ones. A girl was going on a date with the guy of her dreams and she was thinking – “May the fairytale I am living today never ends.” And then there were thoughts of a little boy who was going to Disneyland and he was dreaming – “Tomorrow is going to be the best day of my life”.

I read a few black thoughts too and felt revolted. Stopping myself from reading further, I attempted to catch one of the blue clouds because I intuitively knew they held the story idea I was looking for.

But the blue clouds were the naughtiest ones! The moment I tried to get near them, they vanished, and my own dark and grey clouds, blocked way. Some of the dark clouds screamed, “It is useless to look for ideas and inspiration. Get used to your mundane existence. It is stupid, tiring and hard to try. You are born unlucky. Just give up!”

It was difficult to breathe when the dark clouds started bombarding me with negative thoughts. The naughty blue cloud had floated away. I felt like being trapped in an ocean of depressive thoughts.

Somehow, a lone Orange cloud appeared out of nowhere and whispered – “All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark. Never think there is anything impossible for the soul. It is the greatest heresy to think so. If there is sin, this is the only sin; to say that you are weak, or others are weak.”

I remembered reading this quote somewhere. I guess it was by the great spiritual leader Swami Vivekananda! His lofty thought had stayed in the universe to inspire people like me. I chanted the thought like a drowning person holds on to a branch.

After a short while , I felt something wriggling in my hand. The tiny blue thought cloud was resting calmly on my palm. It had come to me on its own! I understood! The idea got pulled to me when I was chanting a positive thought. A bright frame of mind attracts great ideas!

I came out of the ‘Thoughtland’ holding the precious tiny blue cloud. An interesting story idea was already taking shape in my mind. I resolved to work upon it as soon as possible…because guess you know, great ideas often vanish quickly without a trace.