Adrift #Fiction

You are calm when I reach the hilltop. You watch the sunset peacefully. Your man from another star has left you and you are heartbroken. I don’t offer any words, just sit beside you and gaze into the horizon. I’m scared you’d break down any moment.

“Can I live with you? For a few weeks..,” you ask. “Sure, stay longer,” I offer without thinking. We pick your bag and hop in a ride for my one bedroom apartment.

I make room for your things, introduce you to Muffy- my feline housemate, show you around, make some fun talk as you perch yourself on the raised platform near the window. Your mind is miles away and you’re not listening.

We cook rice and fish curry for dinner, talk about the days of yore, laugh over Muffy’s adorable antics and I am relieved that you’re back to being yourself.

That’s the moment you explode, burst out crying. I try to hug you, hold you close, but you are inconsolable. “He thinks I’ve some issue,” you speak between hiccups. I know quite well why he’d think so.


Our campus has a lot of snails. Slimy, yucky creatures who love to die crushed under your feet. You have to walk carefully, especially in the evenings when they are out at large, lest you tread on one of them. I hate them. They have this disgusting smell. Yuck!

Yesterday I trampled on one of them. It was an unforeseen disaster, even though I was careful. I was walking with the torchlight on, taking small steps scrutinizing the path, still one managed to rest in peace under my feet. Perhaps they are suicidal. I didn’t have the guts to see the result. The crunching sound was enough to give me shivers. I could well imagine the crushed shell and the slime. I felt like vomiting.

I walked fast towards my dorm, without looking back for a second, without stopping to exchange pleasantries with anyone whom I encountered on the way. I discarded my sandals in the dustbin outside the building, and vomited big time, after perhaps a year. It was one of the yuckiest experiences of my life.

That night I dreamt about snails- I was vomiting snails. It was so disgusting that I woke up with a start, and vomited once again.

I warn you if you ever plan to visit our campus, beware of snails.



Every day you seem to be shifting orbits, changing directions, and jumping paths. I fear I might lose you one fine day. But you remain as close, open and confiding in me as you always have been. Your other aspects have taken a sharp curve, rotation and revolution. I wonder if your brain is affected- perhaps a psychological condition, some kind of an anomaly, something that is reason enough to explain this madness.

You want to colour your hair white. I am stumped and stunned. You go on to explain that white is the mark of wisdom, experience and enlightenment. White is unique and is better than bleaching the hair colourless. I enquire what knowledge and wit you want to acquire that you need white tresses to fulfil your purpose. When did you start wanting to gain recognition and attention?

Sometimes in life, we need to make way for knowledge to come to us- carve out paths, create roads, make shortcuts and invite chance occasions-serendipity, coincidence and luck. Colouring my long hair white will serve that purpose. I am studying life, and I want to do all I can to find enlightenment. The Jade Emperor in Korean mythology has white hair- long, straight, shimmering, cascading down his back; and he knows all that is to know about this world and its three partitions- the heaven, the hell and our mortal abode. I want to acquire as much knowledge, and for that, I need to begin early. You’ll like my look dear. I’ll make sure of that.


Our lives are interspersed with randomness. One day you look at the house sparrow and declare, “I want to be reborn as a house sparrow.” I ask why after a bit of silence because I think I’m supposed to. “So that they won’t vanish,” you grandly announce.

Another day you find a fly in your cup of tea. It is very hot, and of course, the fly was dead. Perhaps it committed suicide, you say. You stare at it about five minutes thinking what to do, pour the contents away in the wash basin, or sieve out the fly and drink the tea. It is a confusing scenario, you say. A tough decision. But by the time you decide what to do, the tea is already cold. Nevertheless, you scoop the carcass out carefully, wash it away in the basin, murmur a little prayer, and sit down to finally drink your tea. You take a mouthful, much more than a sip. It has a dull taste to it. A different, bitter savoury taste, like.., you’re not getting the right word, like death. Yes, it tastes like death.

You have been acting weird recently. You have changed. Something very fundamental and innate about you has vanished somewhere. I can’t even pinpoint it, that’s rather frustrating. You’re now all blank and stoic looks instead of mirthful eyes and jingles. I can’t even say when your mood would catapult next. You are not you anymore. You are lost, somewhere. Something changed you- everything about you.


  1. Dark and poignant. Nothing is constant, not even our minds. Loved the take on iterative state of minds. Very well written!

  2. There's something surreal about this post. Is it your ranting? From the heart?

  3. This was a beautiful story. I could feel the emotions and frustrations of the narrator as they see the protagonist's decline in front of their eyes. I liked the little letter smuggled in-between too. Gives a lot of atmosphere to the story. Well written, Pratikshya

  4. So deep and poignant.. life is like that sometimes..


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My Last Trip Before Lockdown

When Covid19 had just put its foot in the country with only 3 cases in Kerala, we had our Ooty trip planned. All tickets and bookings were done since the new year. With just three days in hand, four of us travelled from Mumbai, Pune and Bhubaneswar, to Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru, to join a few others staying in the city. And the excitement to finally meet one another after 6 months of that trip to Pune, the Lohagard Trek- we were kids excitedly clicking selfies in our face masks, hurriedly putting a quick dab of sanitizer before hugging one another.

Next day early morning we were to start for Ooty. Sleepy heads, gulping a bowl each of muesli, we started onward journey to Bandipur National Park. Devouring uttapams, dosas and piping hot cups of coffee for breakfast at a restaurant by the highway, chit chats were full on, as was the music and dance in the 12-seater vehicle. Funny anecdotes had us laughing our hearts out, gossips were such a thrill and cooking recipe exch…

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