Shashibala, The Brave Servant Girl!

I felt as if I had walked along that bridge, a long time ago, in a different age. Strange! That was my first visit to the historic Fort in a small town called Monger.

The guide went on and on describing every little detail about the kings and queens. But I was not listening! The lake was holding me in a trance.

I was seeing a pitiable face down in the lake, crying out to me, asking me to rescue her. 

Instinctively, I screamed, “Hang on girl, I will help!”. 

“Who needs help? Are you okay?,” the guide asked me. I nodded with some embarrasment.

Later in the tour, the guide showed us the portrait of a brave servant girl who had drowned in the lake while saving a princess from drowning. 

It all came back to me. I looked closer and whispered – Shashibala!!!

(This post is dedicated to the maid, who saved my grandmother from drowning. When my grandmother was a little girl, she used to swim using an inverted earthen pot (matki), which slipped out of her hand on that fateful day. The brave girl died saving her.)

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 Joy Pixley for the image!

Khakhra


Little Brinda could not comprehend how it happened! All she saw was a jar containing some spice getting attracted to the old lady’s fingers. Her hand seemed to be sort of magnet! Was this lady a witch?

She watched as the scrawny lady grinded all kinds of spices. She kept murmuring something and Brinda got scared to even breathe in that strangely aromatic house.

“I shouldn’t have listened to grandma,” Brinda thought. But grandma had bad cough and the doctor’s medicines were ineffective. That morning granny said to Brinda,”Only old Khakhra can help me. Can you get the cough mixture…but don’t tell your parents.”

She agreed for grandma’s sake but knew that Khakhra was weird!

The mixture was almost ready and Khakhra smiled revealing crooked teeth. Brinda accepted the medicine bag and planned to run.

But Khakhra clutched her hand. Brinda held her breath as she pressed something into her palm and released her. 

Once home, panting and jittery, Brinda opened her fist – it was her favourite orange candy! 

(The character of Khakhra is based on a lady in my maternal grandmother’s village. She was rumoured to be a witch but actually she was quite nice. I met her when I was little.)

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 Maria for the image!

Three minutes to six!

I admired this timepiece the moment I set eyes on it at an old antique shop. 

“He will love it,” I thought as I observed the craftsmanship, hoping to gift it to my husband.

But two things seemed odd here. First, there was no price tag on it. Second, the watch was set at around 3 minutes to 6 and that made me wonder. 

I went to the old shop assistant and enquired about the price.”It is priceless,” she said. I said I wanted to buy it. 

“Well, then take it for free,” she said mysteriously. I heard her mumbling, “The watch has chosen you. Good luck to you.”

I had an eerie feeling as I reached my car. I checked time on my phone. It was 2 minutes to 6. 

I could hear two distinct sounds now – tick tick from the timepiece and thud thud from my heart! I felt I needed to make a decision…!

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 Louise for the image!

After Twenty Years…

  

He felt disoriented on seeing the picture. After rubbing his eyes, he looked again. Yes, there she was…prominent in her white bag and blue jacket, studying something.  

How could this be true? His mind was probably playing tricks on him. When he had clicked that picture, there was no one  around.

He was aging and she looked just the way she had looked on their last day in college. 

Twenty years back, they had parted, ready to pursue their separate careers, fully aware that they would never ever meet again. 

But she had surprised him by extracting a promise. They were to meet exactly twenty years later at this favourite haunt to celebrate their friendship.

He had remembered the promise and had gone to that spot. But how could he expect her to be there? He knew she had long been dead… soon after she left college! 

(This is a tribute to ‘After Twenty Years’-a lovely short story by the great O Henry)

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. For more information, click HERE

The legendary caretaker of the hidden castle!

  

“Few knew about the castle hidden inside the island.” But whoever visited it marvelled at the history and architecture of the place.

Almost everyone noticed him too. A grand old man, busy cleaning and polishing the floors. He looked a part of the setting – cold, dark and mysterious.

He knew more than anyone else about the untold secrets of the past. But he chose to be quiet for the sake of his masters.

His young masters had migrated to a foreign land and he was not expected to work anymore. Yet, he continued doing what his forefathers did centuries ago.

Locals spread all kinds of stories about him. The scariest one was that he had been long dead and his loyal soul was serving the castle!!

He never reacted to any claim or story, he just worked!

(This story is a tribute to Satna, the caretaker of our ancestral home in a village in Jharkhand, India. He was a short, dark man who spoke very little. Since boyhood to old age, he served our family. He was a loyal and dutiful person, who reported daily to work come what may. He embodied the very essence of Karma Yoga – to attain perfection in action to live a fulfilled life! He passed away a few years back but we will fondly remember him always.)

This story is a part of the wonderful ‘Mondays Finish The Story Challenge’ by Barbara Beacham. She provides us with a photo prompt, the first sentence, and approximately 150 words with which we are to use to write our story. To take up the challenge click here – MFtS

The strange dream house!

“The A&B Building was made entirely from driftwood.” My grandmother informed me, pulling me closer. “And it would crop out of nowhere overnight at any secluded area and lure innocent victims inside,” she informed. She warned me never to venture inside such buildings as strange things happened there.

I believed her every word but forgot the warning. I earnestly wished to enter that driftwood house so that I could see those ‘strange things’.

One day, as I was playing along the beach near my home, I saw the driftwood building materialise near the shore. My parents were talking so I just slipped away. I entered the inviting house.  And was I delighted? It was every child’s dream house. I played on and on and ate and ate….

After a while, when I missed home.  I looked for an exit and walked out of the house. To my horror, the world had changed and I had grown very old!

This story is a part of the wonderful ‘Mondays Finish The Story Challenge’ by Barbara Beacham. She provides us with a photo prompt, the first sentence, and approximately 150 words with which we are to use to write our story. To take up the challenge click hereMFtS

Anne Bell – The Spirited Prankster

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The only residents remaining in the small town of Miners Hill are spirits. Humans don’t go to that side of the town for the fear that something ill may befall them. There have been cases.

Last month, Industrialist George Mehra ventured into the ghost town with an exorcist. The town was the perfect place to set up his industries. But he had no inkling as to what was in store for them!

They stealthily entered the town to begin their ritual to exorcise spirits. But Anne Bell, the spirited prankster, saw them. It was time for some harmless fun!

Unseen, she set George’s beard on fire while he was lighting the holy fire. And simultaneously, she slapped the exorcist. They looked alarmed. Next, she started tickling the exorcist’s armpits. He laughed and rolled around while George gulped saliva. Anne Bell then exorcised the intruders out by her final move – offering them her head on a plate!

Since then, no one has dared to go over to the Miners Hill.

This story is a part of a Mondays Finish The Story Challenge by Barbara Beacham. She provides us with a photo prompt, the first sentence, and approximately 150 words with which we are to use to write our story. To take up the challenge click hereMondays Finish the Challenge