Holy man

“Don’t you know holy men can live without food or water for days? They never need glasses or medicine. We never get sick!”

The doctor stared. The holy man urged, “I’ll need a few pills and a new pair of contacts to convince my followers- for a few days tops.”

The cave man

He was a clever caveman. The fire would keep the cold away. No predator would come close while it was still lit. He’d stored up all the wood he could find to stay warm.

It was a hard days work, made harder by the winter that he knew would soon catch up with him. The trees had lost their leaves, the caves and burrows had new residents and the earth above seemed empty. His footprints were the only ones for miles. He drew his furs closer while looking at how far back his trail seemed to lead.

Fire wasn’t the only thing that warmed him. The grassy plains and clear sky he’d seen made him feel the same way. But that was long ago in a distant past. The memory seemed to grow colder with every fire he lit. The sky above was dark and littered with rain clouds. All around him was white snow, nothing like the plains he knew.

Staring into his bonfire it was hard to explain. Why did he decide to walk the way of the nomad? The fire had lit up the dark cave of emptiness and  purposelessness the same way it lit up the night. He was smart. He felt the coldness inside. He lent in closer to reach the warmth. Ouch!

The real Ella

I knew the real Ella M.

A face on the wall, the plaque in the hall

The great dame of corruption

A legendary center fold.

But I knew the real Ella M

Her wit quicker than a whip

And deep seas of doubt that haunted

Her iron clad pronouncements

I knew the real Ella M

Her dark eyes hiding

Our shared​ happiness

A great moon over an ocean













And I killed her.

Fortune Teller

The astrologer gave me a wicked smile as he called me closer. Even the poorly painted palm that advertised his presence seemed sinister.

His office was tucked away in a narrow lane with many houses bearing down on the road, but I saw no people. Inside it was painted red and the only light came from a dirty, shut window. He gave me a rusted coin box while he prepared his cowrie shells.

He smiled when I dropped a whole heap of coins but gasped when he looked at how his shells fell. I looked at him hopefully but he only said “I don’t like looking at my own future.” and returned my coins with a grimace.

Three pebbles

The problem with the old watchman was that he was too hard to read. He left people no choice but to smile uneasily at his unchanging face. So all people the people at the housing colony knew of him was his love for radio soaps.

He’d walk up and down with it held against his ear until he made a swift escape at dawn. Like most watchmen he was a little more than a part of the background in most peoples minds. Unfortunately not everyone had forgotten the old watchman and he was compelled to train a new heir. The colony was on the outskirts of town where leopards were still seen and was build like a maze, so experience in navigating it was mandatory.

The new watchman was happy enough but could hardly take the boredom or the old watchman’s love for soaps. His uneasiness put them both on edge. To make matters worse monsoon brought with it many other problems. A few days in he was saw the old watchman walk through the rain.

He was about to follow when he heard someone throw rocks at the main gate. He saw nothing when he went to investigate. But he knew the loud clang he heard was deliberate.  This place was too far away from town and too isolated to be of much interest to any miscreants. But his complaints were brushed aside.

The old man’s face showed no change as usual. He took a long look at the calendar. He turned his radio off and motioned for the young watchman to sit.The rolling of thunder and the rain only made the young man more agitated. He looked at the old watchman and told him he’d rather go out again. In all honesty it was the old watchman who made him uncomfortable.

The old watchman grunted and the storm thundered outside, as if in agreement. The young watchman sprang to his feet and seemed to be trying hard to think of something to shout about. The old man, noticing the panic that was overwhelming his companion, sighed. He began to narrate a story, for the first time showing for the first time the wight of his age and drawing up his wrinkled face.

His companion shifted in his chair very indiscreetly.

The old man began “When I was about your age there were a few houses nearby. The farms were gone but people didn’t want to leave their old houses. I didn’t know them but one of them always interested me. He never seemed to sleep. If he wanted to find me he’d throw stones at the gate till I turned up. He’s the one that got me interested in the radio soaps. Well one day he just stops turn up. I was more than a little annoyed. A few months later I hear a pebble that was thrown against the gate. I was still angry so didn’t bother going.”

The old watchman pulled out a beedi as slowly as he could and took his time lighting it. He continued “The next night I heard two rocks being thrown. The night after that three. It was only next week that I heard my friend had died after a long illness . The poor man must have spent all his energy trying to contact me.”

The old watchman waited for the next thunderclap and said “Yesterday I was certain I heard one stone being thrown. I have no doubts about what will happen after the next three stones tomorrow.”

The young watchman was not willing to find out what really happened after that, much to the disappointment of his would be employers and his drinking buddies who had been told the story a million times. But he did not count it as a total loss, after all this was where he had picked up a love for radio dramas.