She would read to me from Marathi storybooks we would buy from the local stationery shop, slim offset printed books with two-colour illustrations. The book-buying was a ritual I looked forward to, we would go to the tiny shop on the busy road opposite my grandfather’s old four-storied Wada. One couldn’t enter the shop but had to stand on the street and ask for whatever one wanted. Dhumne Master’s store was painted blue and he had many jars of sweets and candy, pencils, erasers, notebooks, small diaries, schoolbooks, storybooks, sharpeners and little plastic toys.
One day, a boy called Diptarko was going to his school. To get to school, he had to cross ‘the river of quacks’ which got its name by the hundreds of ducks living in it.
He was late for school, so he ran across the bridge. But when he reached the other side, he tripped over a small rock. “Ow, lucky that was a small rock,” he said, going red in the face. While he was getting up, a duck hopped into his school bag pocket, without his notice.
Kavita was upset. She had just found out that her best friend Riya had been born from her mama’s tummy in a hospital, just like all her other friends and cousins. Kavita wondered why she wasn’t born from her mama’s tummy like them. Kavita had come from a Children’s Home.
Nani could read her granddaughter’s mind.
“Kavita come and have some besan ladoos!” Nani said to cheer her up. “No!” Kavita pushed the plate away. She was not in the mood.
“Alright then,” said Nani. “Come, let me tell you a story.” “No Nani,” Kavita refused again. But Nani insisted and drew Kavita near.
A story could do magic. And Nani had just the right story to make Kavita smile again.
The cracking sound of a gavel falling is never pleasant, and when the gavel in question is forged of the thunder, flame and fury of heaven, it sounds beyond grating on the ears. Particularly since said gavel was used to sentence mortals to hell – definitely not a good omen during my trial.
The cover illustration of this story has been done by the author’s four-year-old daughter Keiya Krishnakumar.
Once upon a time, many years ago the kingdom of Jeerpore, was ruled by a king called Raja Bada-Moochee. He was called Raja Bada-Moochee because he had a great, long moustache. Well, Raja Bada-Moustache was not his real name, his real name was Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd. This is the story of how Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd came to be known as Raja Bada-Moochee Dildaar.
A paracosm is a detailed imaginary world. The creator of a paracosm has a complex and deeply felt relationship with this subjective universe, which may incorporate real-world or imaginary characters and conventions.
‘Did you see the video? A leopard was roaming the campus at night!’
‘How did it even get there?’
‘Where was security?’
‘What about our kids who go to school there?’
‘They should hire armed security to ensure safety.’
The evening news and evening-after WhatsApp group-messaging binge make a cocktail laced with paranoia masking as a parental concern.
I re-read the messages, spotted a rat snake lick the window wire-mesh and after a boring while, slither down the wall.
I’ve become cautious with my watching – holding back on the immediate allocation of harmful intent – to a living creature I do not understand.
One of the most beautiful trees in the IIT Bombay campus (and it is hard to pick one!) is the Sita Ashoka (Sarca indica). There aren’t too many of them but one finds this tree in different parts of the campus – a prominent one between Gulmohur and the Staff Club and another strikingly beautiful one tumbling onto the road between Tansa and H5. The tree is arrestingly lovely, when in full bloom.
When humankind attained wisdom and knew all that is good and bad. There was born the teller of tales; a small tribe of people (men and women), who watched and observed what no one saw. Creative, imaginative, highly skilled and having a perfect understanding of the human psyche, these people have the ability to touch the human heart with their words alone. To weave tales, by laying the selective warp and weft of time and space. Piece by piece, word by word, they build up perfect universes out of nothingness. Like a conjuring artist. They transpose the partakers in a time and place removed from the present. This ability gives them immense power, for unknown even to themselves they can mould and shape the thoughts of an entire generation. Call them influencers if you will.
No, not that type of fan– the star-obsessed weirdo, the one who tried to attract Jodie Foster’s attention by shooting President Reagan decades ago, or the jilted look-alike trying to destroy his idol in SRK’s 2016 Bollywood release.
Not the old–fashioned wooden or cane punkha either. Neither the small hand-held ones we used during power-cuts a few years ago nor the majestic ones described in old novels – those that presided over the dinner table at parties and solemnly swayed to and fro when the fan-boy tugged on a rope.