Frame 6 – Stories


Photograph by Jan Photography


Cacophony by Alfaz

Every morning, the crows occupy the live wires, in this silent, posh, urban locality. They frequently break the surrounding silence with their loud, unbearable cacophony. No one gives a damn about what they want to say.
A hundred years ago, the trees were cut and a city was made. Their habitat was snatched and the crows cried in protest. It was the same loud, unbearable cacophony. No one gave a damn about what they wanted to say.
The tree is gone
Live wire is left
The pain is gone
Cacophony is left

The Caw Point by Nayan

The group of crows would usually gather on the rope and caw their throats out. I would shake the rope but still persistent as a dog’s tail, the flock would come back. Sometimes I did it for fun and sometimes out of disgust. But nothing that I did deter them from coming back to the spot, and by doing so, completely ridicules my efforts to keep them away.
Moral of the Story: Don’t let effin’ anyone deters you in your pursuit for your desires or goals. Even if it’s a piece of rotten meat you are after.

Guilt and Its Pleasures by Priyanka Paranjpe

Is it possible to gain happiness from someone else’s sorrow? Yes, there is a word for that – Schadenfreude. Is it the same reason why I am content watching you being sad? I guess that is a human tendency. But what about animals and birds? Do they have same thinking like us? Guess yes. That’s why the crows hover over cemetery grounds and sometimes wait for someone to die, so that they can relish the food served for them. Thank God! From now, I have less guilt feeling ill about you.

Soap Opera Carcass by Yedei

They spotted it faster than guys picking out an attractive female in a crowded place. This was also a question of hunger.
SwacchBharat campaign had meant that lesser rats were crossing the streets at night to nibble at garbage thrown out of vehicles. Lesser rats meant fewer roadkill.
They had to time it well, since once they launched earthward, others would follow in a swoop. A skirmish was best avoided.
They tensed for the plunge. Suddenly the old crow on the line, who they thought was dozing, said laconically, “don’t bother, it’s a discarded prop from a Telugu tele-serial.”

I am Beautiful by Leemi Keche

Being lost in the wilderness, away from his family and friends made Rex the crow to reminiscent those moments which were binding to his dear ones once again , having traveled miles and miles, crossing the unknown territories which marked the demarcation of human existence ultimately led him to ponder the reason behind leaving his family probably in search of food. Now his heart aches and he longs for his kids and his beloved wife fanny. At arms length he sees a group of his kind, decided he would rest for a while and continue his journey.

The Malayalee Crow by Ayaz Salim

A group of crows (I forget the word for it) sat on an electrical line discussing ways and means to find lunch for the day, and since crows are meant to be one of the most intelligent creatures, its imperative that they discuss lunch sourcing strategies at length, because nothing less is expected of them by the general public. During the course of this discussion, some of them were calm, some almost ready to launch at the word ‘go’, some pessimistic and sarcastic. This went on for an hour, during which time the line developed a current leak which in turn killed all the crows. Oh I remember now! Murder! That is what a group of crows are called.

Hue and Caw by Shakti Shetty

Once upon a time, the color black was banned. Nights turned navy blue as darkness had a shade closer to purple. Racism took a turn for the worse. Whiteness inspired resentment as Africa was no longer the (com)promised land. Reading between the lines became easier while the fire at the end of the tunnel made little sense. Things were fast changing but crows weren’t willing to conform. So what did they do? Well, the murder waited patiently for the sentence to end; adapting themselves to wisdom. They learnt nothing lasts forever—neither laws nor the ones who write them.

Revenge of the Crows by Ajith

“It is that Alzheimer guy’s son clapping out to us this time, the one who rotted on the banks of this Ganga forever and nobody turned up. His son would pass by him every day, feigning ignorance. Now that he’s gone, this worthy man wants to get it done and over with. Dare any of you even go near that offering. Let him keep clapping to call us in. We shall not go. Let him know that his father went unhappy, without memories but unhappy….”

Unexpected Guests by Riti A

She Lived All Alone in Their Ancestral House after Her Husband Passed Away & His Only Son preferred Staying Back in Chicago.
Her Friends Were More Than Humans around.
Her Wrinkled Hands Fed Crows & Pigeons in her Garden Like her Family.
Visits By these Lively Birds Worked Well To Take Her Blues Away.
Today she passed Away, Giving up Life to Age and Solitude.
Her Funeral Has Some Unexpected Guests lined up,
Murder Of Crows ..
Long before Her NRI son arrived.

The Crow by Pooja Sharma Rao

He hated living in this slum so close to the biggest garbage dump in Delhi. There was a persistent stink in the house, in all the things and even his body. What he hated most that the sky was never clear of the scavengers-the noisy eagles and the manner less crows. They fought for pieces of carcasses and often dropped their find on the roofs for the rats.
He hated this house and the surroundings. He had been living in this place since he and his whole family was burnt in a slum fire. He was a crow now.

The Omen by Sheen Millicent

According to people, crow is an omen. But then they say, God created the whole world, including every bird. If so, then why are crows considered as a bad sign? Aren’t they God’s creation? Are they created by devil? Does that mean devil created half of the world? It’s such a chaotic world that we live in, stuck between religion and facts.

The Black Messengers by Greeshma C P

I clapped thrice. I did, as a child, to scare them away. “The crows are messengers of god. When bad kids refuse to eat, they snatch their food and a big part of their mother’s love also goes away with it”. I remember gobbling down the rice balls keeping an eye on the messengers. Neither gods nor food mattered then.
Today, I invited them to peck the rice balls in front of me. Neither gods nor food matters, even now. But, this is the last encounter between the three of us, right amma? You, the crows and me.

Simona and her crows by Keerthana Varma

Simona’s grandmother always kept the first handful of her food aside for the crows. When asked why, “God eats through crows, silly”, was her reply. She laughed her grandmother off, but death has a funny way of changing perspectives. Simona loves crows now. On her way to school, Simona saw a crow sitting leisurely on a cow and hated human beings for not looking as harmless as that cow. While she was thinking about how they prefer an electrical wire over her company, a crow snatched the bread out of her hands and nibbled at it by her side.

Deliverance by Makhayaspeaks

Skin, flesh, hair, blood, filth, nails all absorbed by the terra. We watch as the saga unfolds; Birth-Life-Death, the stages of the movement of energy from one bodysuit to another. As the angel of death dawns upon the carcass to recapture the light and carry it to another suit; which can contain its effervescence. Only we can see, only we can hear; because we are his agents. The agents of Deliverance.
O’ Father sustain the light & deliver us from evil.

Marine Drives Tales by Pallavi Shastry

Ugh. This is ridiculous. Why are these people sitting in one place and pretending to love this force of a breeze? Why don’t they fight it? Why are they in peace? Especially this couple sitting below me. Don’t they see my struggle to get to the other side and that the breeze isn’t letting me? No one thinks about me and my need to flap my darker than night wings over the sea. I don’t want to be stuck here on dry land hovering over these couples. Poop on them? No wait. I’m not a pigeon!

Sweet Revenge by Monica Serban

Callas factor.
This is how they called that particular cell in the brain, which could turn every single human being into an opera diva, if stimulated by a strong magnetic impulse.
Callas energy.
This is how they called the infinite energy that could be produced if all humans sang simultaneously the same high pitched note.
Callas day.
This is how they called the day for creating that energy.
But nobody knew they would instantly turn into black birds with no chirp in their throat once they sang.
Mother Earth finally had her revenge. She could breathe and rest now.

Wired for Love by Moon Mukherjee

It was Wednesday once again. The girl came with her bag of embroidered pieces. The store cashier made her wait just a little longer than was necessary. He counted and recounted the pieces. The girl waited quietly with her eyes downcast. The cashier waited for her to look up before paying her for her work. She smiled and left. The cashier grinned at the empty spot. “He should have asked her today.” “He lost another week.” “The girl could’ve made the first move.” The crows started their weekly debate over a love story that never took off.

Chinnu’s Lunch by Sumi

The rookie looked over-eager, crouched and leaning forward. The older crows knew they just had to bide their time. Chinnu was late for lunch. Ah, there she was, with her mom this time. That was great; she wasn’t as skilled at feeding Chinnu as the grandmother, and threw more morsels to the crows in order to appease the toddler. Chinnu held out a piece of fish, and called to them. The rookie swooped close. The others watched it happen. The alarm on the mother’s face, the shocked-thrilled toddler, the ‘shoo-shoo’ sounds and the end to their many free lunches.

Nightmare by Srujana Adhikari

Sky was dark covered with black clouds. Rohit was walking on a lonely road. He looked up and saw a lot of crows sitting on the electric wires. The crows had a weird look on them. He started walking fast, suddenly he heard someone calling his name. He was too scared to look back. A hand touched his shoulder and called him again “rohit rohit”. He woke up realizing that it was just a dream. He got up from his bed to drink water, something touched his hand. He turned to see a ghost with crooked teeth staring at him with a crow on its shoulder.

Ravenclaw. Battlestar. by Salonee Pareek

Our eyes scanned all of the horizon as we waited. The younger ones were getting impatient – it was only a matter of minutes now. How these minutes passed like years! A greater war had never happened in all our history. The greater Ravens were engaged in a fierce battle with the nemesis beyond the eastern horizons.
Sbitgi spotted our messengers, the coming in on the far South-East – the brown owls. They were flying in unusual formations of 4s and 7s between the smoke clouds.
The news was depressing. We had to act fast. We had to act now.

Sides of Nature by Mehak Angothiwala

The sky was painted in a thousand shades of gray. Lightning, thundering, harsh wind blowing everywhere. The nature was violent that day. Each one had a roof on their head. Some fought this battle sitting on bare wires which passed no electric currents, and wishing how safe their lives would have been if ever they were humans.

A Tempted Murder by Shoumik

Flying in the air, dodging the electric poles and millions of naked wires running through it, on a hot and humid morning. A crow came and sat on the parapet of an old building. The crow tilted its head left and then to right and to left again for few moments. So many heads, so tempting, he thought. Finally, after spotting the target the crow lets it go. The semi-liquid tiny piece of blob travelled all the way down three floors and hit the target, which was my forehead. I looked up at tempted murder of crows..

One Who sees it All by Dhanya

The little one came out to his balcony. He had just stolen a cupcake from the fridge. He thought it was safe out there, where nobody was looking. It’s the first time he stole something. He couldn’t resist. They were beautifully red, tempting and looked heavenly! He was about to eat it and that’s when he heard the Crows. One, amongst the man sitting out there, was looking straight at him. He felt as if he was doing something wrong. He wanted to eat the cupcake, but couldn’t. He kept the cupcake back where it belonged to.

A feast in disguise by Harshad Mokashi

“Those fools, they really think we are their ancestors.”
“Good for us. We can eat it all. Why aren’t we eating already?”
“The trick is if you have patience and wait a tad bit longer, more delicacies will come.”
“I like samosas.”
“No I am more of a sweet loving crow…wait why do you like samosas?”
“Everyone likes samosas.”
“That guy’s granny liked samosas.”
“So? It’s just a coincidence.”
“Maybe it is or maybe not!”

The Good Man by Abhishek Das

My friends gather around and wait restlessly,
It is Thursday again and our joy knows no bounds,
Few have been flying recklessly,
And a few of us make impatient sounds.
The night grows purple and the moon, pale,
And the good man comes, in the dark’s veil.
And as he leaves, we jump, and we fly,
To feast on the meat, he left nearby
His generosity deserves our highest blessings, and nothing less,
For it’s a luxury for ravens, to feast on human flesh.

Fence by Avinash Shenoy

‘These humans will self-destruct, they don’t know yet’, thought the old one looking down.
It had been another intensive fight for survival today; the young ones were brave and were able to defend themselves. As, they inspect their wounds, the old one thought about the tougher times ahead.
Their shelters were vanishing, forest burnt; ugly humans. For long they were able to adapt around man-made things, buildings and wires instead of branches.
Humans though were heading towards destruction. Disrespect for nature is sure to fire back, thought the crow perched on a electric fence, the pain had long vanished.

I believe I can Fly by Anusha Rao

As I looked down, I could see a bunch of humans, as they call themselves, brushing their shoulders to each other. I noticed them smiling, tears, laughter and a lot more emotions which I couldn’t tell. So much confusion and hesitancy in the air they breathe in. Sometimes I wish I was a human..but then again, I’m happy with the way I am, they make quotes on flying and I’ve got wings.

Evacuate by Somethinger

“That’s the one next to ours.”
“Ssh! She’s next to us.”
“This is worse than I thought.”
“I remember her carrying that home.”
“And the time she nearly missed the cuckoo.”
“All gone. She lost her babies that month. ”
“Not so loud – oh look! It’s coming down.”
The trunk snapped.
“I think it’s slipping.”
“I can’t watch. I think she’ll weep.”
“Where’s her mate?”
“He left – oh goodness, they’re heartless! What do they want?”
“Her home. Why hers? Poor thing.”
“What use is – NO! NOT MINE! NOT MY HOME!”

Insatiable by Chandni Roy

It’s not a fable,though
A story,nonetheless about a crow.
Hopping branches ,raving with thirst and hunger,
Ravenous,the raven’s raucous,ranting desperation and anger.
The wood,shadowed by trees kissing the sky, breathes calm,
But the crow circles over it,shredding it to pieces ,the air warm.
The dry stony eyes roving to catch sight of water,if not a bite,
See,it’s tribe,encircling,perhaps a cadaver,veiled from it’s sight!
Swoops down and becomes one with the crowd ‘murderous’
Has it’s fill and takes wings…. maybe for another carcass?

The Witness by Agnivo Niyogi

The sky was overcast with clouds; it would rain any moment. The streets were deserted. Only a murder of crows thronged the electric wire crisscrossing the neighbourhood. Akram ran through the streets to save himself, crying for help. The murderous mob came running after him. The chants of ‘Jai Shree Ram’ filled the sky as they set him on fire. A ghastly smile decorated each of those faces. The crows flew away. Their tranquility was not for barter with temples.

A Promise by Priyanka Pradeepkumar

I stood by the riverside, facing the sun, tonsured and clad in wet dhoti. Rituals done and pindas were offered yet.
They lay on the ground untouched by the string of crows perched on the nearby branch because she left the world with dreams unfulfilled. Then slowly the ancestors descended down to the ground, pecking on the offering and liberating her soul for I promised her to take care of our newborn just the way she would have.

Tanu by Joe

“Will we see again Sir”? “Don’t know Hari, Varanasi will remain in my heart”.
Cab moved, Hari wept. Flowers floating in the great river. Ashes of dear ones dissolving in eternity. They smile, embrace.
Tanu always wanted to visit Varanasi. Our first anniversary, we will go to Varanasi. Her voice echoed in his ears. You are in Varanasi Tanu. Dissolved; forever, in this great river. He closed his eyes, he saw a murder of crows on the tamarind tree,waiting for the “Pinda”. One crow looked at him, a cold, lifeless look.

The Offering by Bindu Menon

He will come to you, his favourite, they said. Drenched in water, I go through vague rituals listlessly. Mind continues to be a bioscope of memories flashing by. Amid numbness, I feel his arm around me. Pining to lay my head on his invisible shoulder, I hear sounds of claps around me. Nudging me to clap along, a voice said,” clap, only then will he come”. Amid claps they flew down and away. Seeing everyone retreat inside, I clapped again. One came back and picked at my offering. I knew it was him. He would never let me down.

Crows are black, but… by Neil

#$%& you crow! Why have you deserted the wall? Winter’s coming and so are the wildlings.
Hey! Did you see my three-eyed raven? It’s been a while since I saw Shiva’s dance and some mushroom clouds.
So, which one is him? Third from left it must; the one nagging all day long, hanging on that wire, is your old man. Had it not been for the days of Shraaddha, who would care?
Cuckoo to a crow: Hatch well this time!
Well! Unlike the saying, crows are black, but not the same.
Which one are you?

Sparse by Priyanka Dey

The vast sky above hung over the crowded lanes of Kolkata; Durga Maa had just left for her abode and everyone was back to business, including Kalia, the crow who kept flinging back and forth from the pole wires across the street to a half-wrecked window hastily.
But the old lady was nowhere to be seen, who would ideally be seen holding fish in one hand and bread in the other. Vijay Dashami saw her take the last few breaths she was left with. Another being was orphaned that day, like the people of Kolkata. Maa was gone!

For All I know by Manoj M

“It’s all about perceptions”, I uttered for the nth time, to myself, and let out a huge sigh. It had been a week since I started to try this weird thing, to see if crows can ever seem beautiful to my eyes. It didn’t. A sense of failure covered me. It didn’t matter though, because for all I know, those crows don’t give a damn about what I think. ‘I wish I could be like them.’ Sigh!

Be the Crow or a Human by Parekhit

I am crestfallen, devastated with this world today for I can see nothing but blood all day.
All day long I fly, looking for pieces of dead meat. This is how I live; this is how my flock survives.
Without this, we can never thrive.
Far across the sky, I see the world crumple in fragments of dead flesh.
These humans fight, they kill each other. They have forgotten to live in peace as brothers.
Being a scavenger, I still am moved, why don’t you humans realize, what bloodshed cannot prove?

One Fine Sunny Day by Matilda Briggs

All these years, she had been aching to watch the last Harry Potter movie. When it finally released, she begged him to accompany her. He declined, “I am busy. Family Issues. Sorry.” Determined, she went there, all alone. As the theatre lights dimmed, she saw him happily sharing popcorn with a PYT in the adjacent row. In her mind, she Avada Kedavra-ed him a million times. When they “accidentally” bumped into each other outside the theatre, his pretty acquaintance exclaimed, “Bhaiya, she looks a lot like the cute girl in your phone’s wallpaper. Stop blushing already!”

Born to Fly by Ankita Chauhan

“No struggle for meal. No need to worry about where to stay. What a fascinating life that green bird has been living inside that palace.”
The Sun is up and I closed my eyes in despair.
But somehow I’m fortunate. I have the whole blue sky. I can feel that golden warmness lingering at the horizon. I am born to Fly. That moment of freedom is timeless while he can barely see the sky.
An absolute no no!
I have nothing to do with lace curtained cages.
I wink at myself. Let’s take a flight of a flamingo.

The Dharavi Crow by Hari Narain

I was born in a small nest atop the neem tree in Dharavi. In the nearby Matunga colony, housewives would shout “ka..ka” every morning and call us over for food. As I grew older, I fetched food for my brothers and friends. Seeing them happy gave me immense happiness. I would have never learnt the love of sharing food if not for humans. But they kill each other over caste and color. If they could share their food with a crow, why not with fellow human beings.
-Kaa Kaa

The Scared Crow by Ashwini Dodani

When it comes to me, I think I am being used as someone who would scare you and push you away, but if I look at the positive side, I am protecting your hard work, your efforts to make a difference.
Am I really doing that? I don’t know. Today, I am scared myself, scared because I am known for someone who would radiate a negative vibe which I do not, always.
Today, I am scarred and wanting to change the world, as every human is.

Shitty Crowd by Harshitashood

The long string of wire which humans are afraid of is officially an open and free garden for the crows. The fearlessness comes so inherently that it shocks them (literally). Yet, they continue. As for humans, such fearlessness is extinct. Nonetheless, probabilities sustain. Also, the reason we’re called a crowd is because we’ve taken up this habit from crows and eventually, made it a part of our humanly lives. Other than that, crowd suits crows with an added factor of shitting more rather than it does to us.

Hunger by Ravi Matah

It’s sunset time, getting dark by the minute. Dark clouds hovering overhead, could start raining anytime.
Few crows, perched on a wire are still hopeful of a bite for dinner before they retreat to their respective nests.
One of them is apprehensive that it might rain any moment and may be deprived of his evening morsel also. The other is looking down on the ground hoping to see something to eat on which it can pounce.
Time is really running out for dinner and soon they have to disperse. No one has any idea as to what to have?

The Shoes by Priyanka

An exceptionally crowded day at the mall. Additional discount on sale day. He’d promised her he’d buy her the pricey pair of shoes she had heart set on. He spotted the pair from a distance. It was stunning. How pretty she would look strutting in them! His eyes were firmly planted on the pair as he pushed around the crowd to them. He saw another girl eyeing them too. Sharp eyes. Like a hungry crow. Both reached the shoes simultaneously. Just as he was about to pick them, he remembered the accident. She couldn’t walk anymore. He gave up.

Cunning Me by Sejal Waghmare

Shraadh month is about to end. None of my fellow beings seem to be worried because they are stuffed for now. People who are feeding us today will shoo us away tomorrow as soon as we peep through their kitchen window as if we have turned into black witches.
Here comes a treat for me, the relatives of the old woman who died three years back, they think I’m her. Can’t they differentiate a Crow’s gender? Never mind, even I’m not going to touch the food unless I’m treated with some continental cuisines instead of the same old sabji-roti.

Wings of Stability by Richa Agarwal

The sun was going down.
It was the same as always.
Nothing changed.
Were they wrong?
These thoughts that he had been having for some time now. He didn’t want to fly to a destination. He didn’t want to soar the sky. He didn’t want to go back to his nest as soon as the darkness came greeting him.
He wanted to walk.
Walk like those humans. Walk without a care in the world. Walk without purpose. Walk without destination.
He didn’t want the freedom to fly.
He wanted the stability to stay.

They can foretell by Paru

She searched for the Ravens. In her school uniform, the teenager stood amidst the cawing crows….
One for sorrow, two for joy, three for letter , four for boy….She searched for two ravens.
There!! Two jet black ones!! Wow! two more joined . Her heart soared. So today she’d see her crush. She skipped towards school with glee.
The young man started his bike. He was already late but he wanted to see her, just a glimpse …… His bike picked up speed, turned sharply, straight into a car….Screeeeechhhh

Slowing her steps, she searched…..Ah there he was, limping…
The ravens kept their promise!

Dark Wings. Dark Words. by Febin Mathew

The sky crackled, pregnant and angry.
“Best get a move on.” One of them cawed. “Wet wings slow bad tidings.”
The others murmured in agreement, preparing to take flight. All except Cor.
Cor stared into the distance. Not one jet-black feather of his moved. He only felt the parasitic parchment on his foot, the sorrow inside screaming to be let out.
A flurry of wings exploded around him, sadness and despair headed out to darken the hearts of men.
Cor didn’t stir. A single drop stained his beak. He thought to himself.
“Tears can wait till after the rain.”

A Crow or A Black Crow? by Akshay Nigam

Kid: “See mumma, crows.”
Mom: “Yes, lots of black crows.”
Kid: “What does a crow see in a mirror? Crow or a black crow?”
Mom: “Birds does not understand colors.”
Kid: “So only humans can see colors? Would the world be a better place if humans are colorblind as birdsl?”

The Candidate by Gairo

“You are a mother” said the wise raven.
“What about that feast on that old balcony?” asked the crippled sycophant crow.
RAVEN: Hmm…well the family in house lost a grandmother.
CROW: Sir, I don’t think that anyone wants to become her.
RAVEN: Well do you see this WIRE? all the crows perching on it are Candidates and they will do anything to become wise like me. And to select among them what is better than the season of Shraadh.
“Disguise as their loved ones to get fed, kaa kaa. Brilliant!” laughed the crippled crow.

Few Lonely Spirits. Together. by Hemant

Eyes looking for love, they finally sat down, disappointed. Exhausted. Waiting for death to come do its part. Funny as you may call it, their eyes still had that little bit of hope. Hopes of finding love again. Hopes of flying again, higher this time. They were all shallow yet waiting to be filled with Happiness. The truest one in its form. Yes they’ve had heartbreaks but that’s something you can’t escape but what you can do is to still have that will to get up and look for your happiness. Who are they, you ask me. Well it’s us, the crows sitting on a wire, already crowded but lonely and morose.

Bright Darkness by Harleen

The dusk approaches her with a smile. It’s time for her to bid adieu to her fake smile. The moment the darkness creeps in, she throws away her mask. Darkness gives her freedom to be herself. She stands by the window and watches the crows flocking back. Just like them she returns to herself every night. The only difference is that her dreams cannot take a real flight.

Something to Crow About by Nawaz Shaikh

Caw!caw!caw!Its 9:45,startled,I wake up to hear crows perched on a rope fastened to the tree,brushing aside the agitation I head to the washroom,once there they keep reminding that they’re still there.their crowing seems justified as I see my wife tossing breakfast and why not,its cheese omlette,gulping my glass of milk and half eaten egg,the crowing’s faint but audible for me to scatter the rest of it on the parapet just to see the lucky one scooping down and fly away with cheese dripping from its beak.

You don’t wear my chains by Boshika Gupta

Sometimes, you find one person who changes everything.
The problem with us is that we’re never truly satisfied. We have one perfect moment; we play it over and over.
He was fleeting. I didn’t want to stop feeling infinite.
Separation is a bitter pill.
Your mouth is so dry. Your tears have dried up.
Nobody really knows.

To fall asleep in someone’s arms is not an overrated event.
It’ll make you feel like a child.
See you on the other side, A. See you in a place where our stars will align to form a perfect little constellation.

Look up at the sky my son. I’m watching you. by Vivek Tankaria

“To you. Daily I see, feel and call. Here up so high. I miss you all.
I’ll come flying to meet you on the land. It feels great to see all my close ones around.”
Crows in India are related to ancestors (Pitru). They are there looking at us, missing us and we too feed them their favourite food when they arrive on our terrace. They connect us with our ancestors.


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Frame 5 – Stories


Photograph by Jan Photography


An Evening Walk by Savitha

He made his way painfully along the rough path, in small, dragging steps. Something yellow had fluttered into his view, light and papery. He sniffed it, felt it. It smelt of darkness, laughter and emotions. It held the dampness of sweat… or could it have been tears? Either way, the snail decided it was nothing he could eat, and moved on, leaving a touch of slime on the torn movie ticket.

The Lost Theatre Love by Mehak Angothiwala

After much wait, it was the day for her to see her favourite hero on screen. He had booked tickets for them. She dolled up for their movie date. In his car he waited below her building. They were stunned to see each other. She got inside and experienced their first kiss. As he drove, she said, “If you we weren’t driving, I would have kissed you.” He stopped the car and she kissed him, lost herself to him forgetting every plan they made. Not sure about the movie but their story had a happy ending. May be a beginning.

Matinee by Dr. Sheetal Nair

“Sholay”…Why did I go to see a repeat movie which played around 4 decades ago? I hate living in Sushant’s house, it’s pitiable to live in such muggy conditions. I had to get out of the house. He doesn’t even have a proper rug on which to lie down to rest. The entry was easy, no usher meant that I could sneak in. Apparently my kind is not allowed to enter, anyhow the 3 hours inside an AC hall was refreshing; I even managed to pick up a stray ticket. All in the day of a dog’s life!!!

Unorthodox by Gairo

It’s a paper, laundry bill or movie ticket. It’s weird because she is usually accompanied by a 100 more. Wonder where her buddies were? She wasn’t a pass to a flick but a gateway to parallel cinema. No wonder she is a pariah. The chap who went on a date with her must have abandoned her a little after 10 minutes. We can’t blame him; people are raised this way, only having a hard-on for junk. She hoped that one day a real man will give her the respect she deserves. Meanwhile a rickshawala will spit red on her.

Polka Dots by Bindu Menon

She loved polka dots. Mom gave in, just at 8, that she was beautiful. One hand clutching her mom’s hand, the other a dripping cone she excitedly sat on the plush chair. Onscreen images galloped, her eyes widened with wonder only to be terrified feeling a hand grope her thigh. She saw a pair of heinous eyes looking at her. Fright snatched her voice, the film snatched mom’s eye. The rough hand rummaged her child body mercilessly. Polka dots cried with her helplessly. Somewhere in the dark hall with the film a dark curtain fell on her naivety.

70 to 7M by Hari Narain

“70” reminds me of those days. A 4th grade dropout dad and a BSc grad mom gave birth to now, 16 yr. old me and 13 yr. old sis. Dad was an A/C mechanic and got paid Rs70 for every repair- 10-15 repairs/month. 70 was THE magic number for us. A bunch of those receipts and my hard work helped me to chemical engg. and an IOCL job. 70 has become 7 Lakhs today and an own house with 7 ACs. I still see those receipts have happy tears.

Crumbled Beginning of Future by Insomniacriti

There he stood waiting for her outside the theatre where

She had promised to reach in sometime.

He planned a perfect night together,

Her favourite movie followed by a wedding proposal at dinner.

All nervous yet excited waiting & staring at the movie tickets.

Been an hour, she hasn’t reached

Her cell out of reach

Worried he calls up her bestie, heard of something that left him trembling.

“N, she met with a fatal accident on the way to theatre, she’s no more!”

Insanely he rushed to hospital.

Here lies this crumbled ticket on the road,

Crumbled beginning of the future they dreamed together.

Never Again by BarnabyHM

The descent into hell was made willingly. I even paid Rs. 70 for the pleasure.The goonda sitting in front of me reclined his seat all the way back onto my knees. The Dolby Digital sound system blasted Tamil songs at full volume. The driver weaved through traffic like a demented Charon. The air conditioning froze my moustache. I tell you, coach travel is the worst.We reached Chalakudy, and there was Soumya’s smiling face, beaming light back into my damned soul. I crumpled up my ticket, threw it onto the asphalt, and walked over to join her.

Ecstasy by Harshitashood

He knew the ecstasy of being neck deep in cinema. From the past 29 years, he was enjoying it without a hint of doubt. While making himself comfortable in his second home—the theatre, he thought about the movie he was going to watch. Today, he was going to watch The Shawshank Redemption. One of those movies, that took a toll on him every time he watched it. He sat there, all happy, like a kid with his new gift and enjoyed his ecstasy all over again.

Kissa kiss ka, keys ka by Roshan D’Souza

Vinay was ready to take his relationship with Pushpa to the next level. He was sure she felt the same. Their first kiss would happen tonight, he felt. The local cinema hall was the only place where they’d get the privacy for such a romantic evening in this town, he sighed.When they met, she waved a bunch of keys at him which were actually the keys to her friend’s place but were the keys to heaven for him.“What had you planned?”, she asked.“Nothing much”, he replied as he crumpled the cinema tickets in his pocket.

Please Check DM by Yedei

The train swept past what seemed like all the shades of green he thought he’d ever see. He was blue though. Pensive. Thinking how the clickety-clackety of the train sounded so much like the sound, a projector reel made in the cinemas. He realized now that he was still clutching the movie ticket he had bought. A movie he’d never see. He had waited. She hadn’t come. The rendezvous he’d hoped for, never happened. All the late night Direct Messages on Twitter had come to nought. He unfollowed her, and opening his palm, he let the ticket flutter away.

Reel and Reality by Shakti Shetty

H: “Let’s catch a movie.”

S: “Sure…but it gets too cold in there.”

H: “Hmm.”

S: “Anyway, which one would you like to watch?”

H: “Forget it.”

S: “Well, do you remember the last film we watched together?”

H: “Hmmmmm…I don’t.”

S: “I do. It was on my laptop and we were both lying on our sides… watching the film sideways! I remember your chin resting on the top of my head and your arms enveloped my bosom.”

H: “How come I don’t remember this?”

S: “You fell asleep in the middle holding me.”

H: “So that wasn’t a dream?”

Transporter by Chandni Roy

For some, I am just a piece of paper, but not for those who pay a price to lay their hands on me. I am literally the ticket to their fantasy world; they so eagerly wait to escape to, from their mundane existence. When the movie goers palm me, I can feel their excitement at the prospect of being transported to the glittering world of cinema, while seated in the darkness of the theatre. True, I bite the dust once they’re done with me, but not before I give them a taste of their virtual heaven. Not bragging, but my life as a movie ticket is worth it!

Love in The Time of Smartphones by Sumi Thomas

Nazia hurried home, conscious of her creased clothes. Thank God for the ‘shawl’ her family insisted on! She blushed, thinking of the movie she had gone to. Not even her favourite superstar could hold her attention once Vikram had put his arm around her. All she could feel was his warmth, at the cinema and later in the secluded rubber estate. She wished he hadn’t clicked her pictures on his mobile phone. But he did miss her so much! She had thrown away the movie ticket; she didn’t want to carry home any telltale signs of this outing.

The Stub by Nipath

He played around the ticket stub with the fingers in his hand, his mind wandering to the incidents that had taken place a while back. A mother’s tears, a father’s anger and a sister’s dismay, all which he had left back at home. None of it mattered as the bus rushed to city of his dreams, the passing wind grabbed the stub from his hand and onto the grass at the road side, as the tires squealed and the bus toppled within seconds, and his thoughts again turned to his family as life slowly ebbed away from him.

The Debut by Michelle

Tia had not met him since a week; hence a movie was planned. Thrilled by each others presence they went, he kissed her forehand & said,”I want you to meet my friend”. She turned all the more excited to meet daddy’s new work friends. She greeted & was well composed like her mother. Half way through the movie she got a bit curious as father & the friend held hands to watch the end. Early lessons of life, the first man she loved, miserably cheated on her…

Between the train and the rails by Greeshma C P

Between the train and the rails, was a cinema ticket, yellow and unused.

A little ahead lay a body, ragged and unknown.

 Hoarder by Bhargavi Dev K

3 years since he left. All she had were cards, dried flowers, gift wraps, paper napkins of various cafes with doodles on them, tickets to museums, movies, fountain shows as memorabilia of their time together. She decided to let go & took them to the lake where they had spent many evenings. She lit them all. That stub of movie ticket, their first movie together, had managed to fly out and land by her side. After several hours of debating with herself, she took the stub back, thinking of the precious memories they held & walked back home.

 बासे लम्हे by Harleen

तेरी याद के कुछ लम्हे उस लोहे की टर्ंक में छिपाए थे ना जाने किसने आज उसे खोल दिया तुम्हारी यादें बिखेर के रखदीं वो सुरभि टॉकीज़ की टिकिट जिस रोज़ तुमने इज़हार किया था उसे छूते ही बासी लम्हे सब्ज़ हो गए

The Last Movie by Ashwini Dodani

His favorite movie. Hers, not really. Time passed as he awaited her presence. A summer afternoon with scorching heat. Time flew and it was evening already. He crumpled the ticket and threw. Movie was almost over and it started raining. Raining tears from his eyes as he waited for her. She never came. Her phone out of reach. Her home locked. Little did he know, she left forever.

The Story by Alfaz

It was another morning at Surabhi Talkies. The morning show had begun, ten minutes later, you could spot two souls making it to the corner seats in dark. For the next two hours, those two souls, unaware of the story going on, on screen, wrote their own stories, the ones written by fingers and lips on bare human skin. They rushed their way out before the movie ended. Their tickets were left behind, along with the smell of their respective perfumes. The cleaner started cleaning the theater for the matinee show and for another story waiting to be written.

Memories in March by Agnivo Niyogi

Roop was going through his bag, cleaning it up before transferring stuff to the new shoulder-bag he bought. Rummaging through the pile of paper, he suddenly found the old ticket for the Matinee show of Harry Potter at… The theatre was dark, magic transcended the screen and reached Vivek and him… A little after interval, Vivek gently laid his hand on Roop’s; a shiver went down his spine. Vivek looked at him and smiled. The kiss that followed was celebrated by fireworks on the silver screen.

Ticket to Love by Zubin Rawal

It’s not easy to ask a beautiful girl for a movie date, especially when you are fat, ugly and poor (simultaneously). As always, luck favoured me and there we were for a ROMCOM (more comedy, less romance). In no time, sparks flew, not between us but in the theater. People ran helter-skelter, so did my wallet. The money was gone, so was power. “When it rains it pours” and it did quite literally. With no money, no umbrella, love destined us to stroll in the rain, and as they say “Some love stories have happy endings”.

Saturday Evening by Ravi Matah

It was Saturday and we were at home. With nothing much to do, I switched on the Idiot Box. Nothing interesting there either! My wife suggested that the best way to pass time was to go for a movie. I drove down-town, parked the car in a vacant slot & bought tickets for a comedy movie. Came out of the hall after wasting three hours, dejected, as it came out to be a totally tragic story. Only good thing that day was the coffee during the interval. I took out the Cinema ticket and threw it on the gravel.

Cold Turkey by Neil

He loved watching movies alone, kept all the stubs of nights when he met beautiful women sitting next to him, burnt rest of them. He called them preys; debauchery became his way to attain nirvana. And then he met her, she became his drug; a cold turkey that he never felt before. The predator turned into prey. The only stub that remains with him now, is of that night. He no longer watches movies, forget alone. Addicted to her, he takes out that stub every night, rolls a joint and inhales her while she’s away, watching movies, all alone.

The Sign by Archana Rao-D’Cruz

“Give me a sign, Lord.” She prayed. “I don’t know how much longer I can bear this.” Leave, everyone said. But how could she? Until death do us apart- she had promised before the Lord. And then she saw it, half-buried in the ground, barely visible. She picked it up. She couldn’t see the destination for the tears but it was a one way ticket out of town. She flung the shawl away and shivered with pleasure as the cool breeze caressed her bare arms. It didn’t matter. No one could see her bruises in the dark.

A souvenir of unrequited love by K Sahasranaman

Why do I preserve this ticket? And that too in my shirt pocket so close to my heart! My poor heart, which she so ruthlessly crushed, on that warm October evening. What was that movie? But I distinctly recollect the warmth and fragrance. I had imagined that finding love would be easy in the dark. Did I even know what love is? But I still wanted to find it. The crumpled ticket makes me smile and moistens my eyes at the same time. A worthless scrap of paper, with priceless memories. A souvenir of unrequited love.

The Final Showdown by Bhavini Shah

She was ready. He was waiting . As she stepped out , her phone rang. It was a short conversation. It was 4 years of her relationship and the phone call was tough to believe. Time flew. It was yet another phone call and she decided to pursue to prove herself right. She cancelled their movie plan. Yet he was there at the theater. She was shocked . Her world collapsed as she saw her brother getting intimate with the love of her life. It was the final showdown.

Surabhi Featuring Darr by Snehal Sute

The ticket’s crisp. Not crumbled or nothing. Because it should be produced on demand. And because the ticket is to be preserved till the end of the show. There’s no row number or seat number. They shouldn’t matter in a single screen movie. Or maybe the movie’s a dud. So, no matter where you sit because the theater’s empty. 70/- for air conditioned. Must be from the 90s. Such good filters. Must be from 2013.

Ashley by Mohit

Ashley, a young at heart, energetic and handsome 24 year old who is fascinated with cinema. He discovers and falls in love with the characters that he wish he’d get a chance to live his life with. That Friday he bunked college, skipped his lunch to watch a movie sequel that was close to his heart. As he ran through railway tracks towards the cinema hall he met with an accident which ended his life with the faded last view of the movie ticket.

Ticket to Fantasy by Sejal Waghmare

They were strangers sitting next to each other in an almost empty theatre. Their hands touched accidentally and her fantasies threw sparks. She felt a drop of sweat running down her spine and shuddered on finding him staring at her. She closed her eyes and he got his cue that he was waiting for. Started with kiss but lead to things that left her fantasies look like zilch. He kissed her forehead and left.She sat there, her thoughts echoing what just happened with a total stranger. Unsure if all of this was just a figment of her imagination.

Just a Kiss by Paru J

It must have surfaced when someone cleaned the attic. My mind winged back to my teens. Those days a lot happened in the cinema halls. No internet booking or online love. Girls and boys found their love in those long queues for tickets. I met my first love in one such queue. Another day, two tickets and a dark movie hall was our first clandestine date. He wanted a kiss. I froze. Refused. We broke up. I touched that old, dusty ticket and… if I could see you again I’ll give you a thousand different kisses, I thought wistfully.

Cinemately by CGBalu

It was good to visit the philately exhibition with my friends when I was in my Pre-University days. I bought a pack of stamps. It was a wonderful collection. My shrewd friend said:” Hey this is not the way to collect stamps. You have to collect cancelled stamps. ” I was hurt. I did not have the resources to make a collection of genuine stamps. I began collecting cinema hall tickets. I visited all cinema halls in my city to collect cinema tickets. When I showed my collection to my aunt, she gave me a curt smile.

Her Lies by Akshay Nigam

Him: I am booking tickets.

Her: My roommate is also coming, she will book it.

Him: OK.

While flipping the printout in the queue at ticket counter he saw the name, ticket was booked by Rajeev. He watched the whole movie without uttering a single word.While she was sitting holding his hands tight.


Frame 4 – Stories


Stylus_009411 copy-2

Photograph by Jan Photography



He Remembered by Deepak Chandrasekharan

He remembered going to the market every Sunday. His father and him. He checked off the list while father got what mom ordered. He remembered them hauling all that groceries back home. He remembered them racing up the last few stairs. He remembered smiling because he knew he was let win. He grew up in his father’s eyes, each time he let him carry less. He now lay next to his father, all grown up, remembering all of this out loud for his father’s eyes didn’t remember him.

Found and Lost by Harshita Kumbhar

She was contended of finding her soul mate. She wouldn’t let it go away ever. She was firm about it. One thing that still terrified her was what she would do if she lost it and to add to her already succumbed probabilities, she did lose him. In a crowd. In those few minutes, she lost herself too. It was as if her existence had suddenly turned gloomy—even if for those few minutes. When they found each other, he could sense her vulnerable state. He embraced her and instantly, she was all lost again.

Faces by Bhargavi Dev K

The local market bustled with activity. Everyone wanted to buy the best of vegetables, fruits & flowers for the upcoming festival. She stood in a corner of the crowded market, watching the people. There were sad faces, angry faces, tired faces, worried faces and faces that expressed hastiness to get out of the crowded market. She wondered why there isn’t one happy face.

She shrugged and moved ahead to buy things to cook a feast for herself, making a mental note to smile. It didn’t matter, she’d be celebrating alone.

Mujahid…by Dr.Sheetal Nair

Its Onam, the rag-picker bought the greens from his daily sale, people from all strata are here; commoners, technocrats, bureaucrats. The Market is a commonplace for all to “buy”. To fulfill their wants;needs they don’t recognize but wants. So am I been placed here just for this moment , my whole life I have waited for this second to be attune with my Allah or so I have been told. They will take care of Umma & Hosaina after I’m gone. The cop seems to be staring at me , I think he is suspicious. Its time to click the button.

To market, to market, to buy a fat pig by Dhanya

When I see a market place this age old nursery rhyme just starts waltzing in my mind!

A market is a lifeline of a city, a place that is diverse yet same everywhere. You get all sorts of people in the market – from chefs of a seven star hotel to a daily wage worker. For a vegetable vendor it doesn’t make a difference who you are. Sometimes I feel he must be feeling like God, no matter who you are and what you pray for, for him all of us are just another complaining soul.

The Regret by Shivendra Shivam

Murthy, on his bike, in regret, of being physical with Sudha for no fault of hers. “ all stops.”

Rakesh, a widower on the phone unable to reach his daughter, regrets sending Gudiya to Delhi. “she wants to live with me and pay heed to my concerns.”

Ragpicker Nathu regrets the night’s gambling. “Didn’t pay Raju’s fees. Disappointed him again.”

Meanwhile a bus falls in an abyss taking with it Sudha ,Gudiya and Raju away from the mortals forever leaving the three men bejeweled with regret for the rest of eternity.

Lost by Manoj M

They walk past strangers, each day, with endless thoughts, as confusing as they were yesterday.

No, they don’t laugh. They’re restless, hungry, honest. And yes, they’re angry. About everything. About themselves.

Yet, they’re kind. Beyond their dirty looks. Beyond you, beyond us.

And they do smile. Rarely though, for reasons unknown to them.

I see myself in each of them, Lost. Yet not.

Where I am visible! by Sreejith P Sreenivasan

When breath is denied by the burden of secrets, people dash to those gloomy coffee cafes or lonely beaches. It is then I take my cowboy hat and search for my bike key because I know, what I need is not a place to bury my face in my palm. I want to walk through that busy merchant street where everyone look into themselves. I want to see those loud bargaining and stinking survival-ism and there I earn my divine revelation of having existed.

Sometimes, I prefer my soothing lies to agonizing truths.

A Joker in the Pack by Adeel Ahmed

And one more day is passing me by with all the hustle and bustle. The cacophony is making me unconscious of the people walking around me. Every face tells a story, some real others surreal. I am just another taboo who picks the jerk likewise a homeless bird who collects twigs for a living. Noticed by none but abused by everyone. I stand in the corner of the frame, snubbed and pariah.

Souled by Chandni Roy

She noticed the stranger staring at her from across the street.The jostling crowd and the honking traffic did nothing to make him take his eyes off her.Her own eyes riveted, watched his drip laughter, as if mocking her for not being able to look away. The glint in his eyes was setting her soul on fire. She shivered.  She tore her gaze away. Without a backward glance, she threaded her way through the crowd and fled. But could she really escape those eyes that stared out at her from every single page of her sketch book?

Routines of Love by Anusha M

The sun was setting when he entered the market. Shopkeepers all around were giving into bargaining by the customers, as their brows were knotted in anguish. A day with unsold vegetables is worse than a half-filled cash box. The lane was mingled with the scents of tired men, and the air was filled with echoes of birds returning home. He jostled for space on his motorbike, straining his eyes through the crowd looking for something. Like every day, he took off his helmet and waited patiently in the middle of the hullabaloo, for her.

Out and About by Shakti Shetty

People like you and me—not houseflies—put the buzz in bazaar. Strangers who gather for an event that doesn’t need introduction at all. Everyone is separated by a common purpose. We notice, bargain and buy while making way for everyone to move. Somebody is earning a living while the other is spending his livelihood. And while this unscripted drama is going on, bikes try to grab our short attention span with their loud honks. They are seldom allowed space THAT easily. Usually, their patience along with grip on the clutch is tested. It’s more about adjustment than movement.

Odd Man Out by Prasad Kulkarni

“What the fish?”

“Err, where is the fish?” Anna was trying to locate a basket of fishes while trying not to hit anyone in this overcrowded market. Slow speed and near to perfect maneuvering helped him till now, but he was losing patience.

There are just lot of people in this market. Where do they come from? No space to drive at all.

Then he thought,

“Am I not the odd man out here?”

“I’m the only person on the bike, everyone else is walking”.

Then he spotted another helmet wearing soul and thought, “Now, there are two odd men out.”

The Glorious Dearth of Longing by Sweta Kumar Gaur

I am engulfed in this mass of humanity, I do not feel alone. You never noticed how happy I was when I returned home; all you cared about was the “fancy” life of your hypocritical society. I loved you; I proved the same to you whenever you wanted me to leave my village behind for your star-struck fantasies of Bollywood. I loved you, I proved that to you. I know you loved me back, because you let me go, without bothering me with dictated-norms of formalities. You left me feeling lonely, but look at the humanity I have found.

The Bazaar by Priyanka Pradeep Kumar

The bazaar stood like a pretty bride in the evening Sun, with people swarming its streets and admiring the shops studded onto its either side. Having bottled up colourful lights in tiny glass globes, they proudly exhibited wares and exuded the smell of hot jalebis and chat. But amidst all this glory no one noticed the five-year old crying for her mother.

The Bombardment by Gairo

With a clump of Sabzi-Tarkari hanging by his hands he found himself in a strange place. He knew what this place was as he has been coming there since times immemorial but the epiphany was so acute that it knocked him out of his dream of reality. He identifies himself as a part of a chain reaction, a bombardment of atoms resulting in nothing. “Saab paise wapas toh lete jao” said the fruit vendor and just like that he was asleep again.

Her World by Paru J

There he was, talking on his phone ,angrily. Is he never calm? she wondered. Her eyes darted here and there. The same rush hour, noises, familiar faces yet it never seemed to tire her. The smell of fruits, vegetables, fish, fuel, smoke drifted up to her.She inhaled deeply. Everyone was at their usual jobs. She smiled. A pretty face here, a wizened one there…..

“Your breakfast”. She turned from the window of the tiny room that overlooked the market, from a corner of the street. She covered her lifeless legs and accepted the tray. Her world can wait.

Somewhere in Between by Ashwini Dodani

“Between the hustle bustles of the city, here I stand talking to myself, thinking where has life brought me? But I am thankful.”


“I still remember the silence of the ICU, the beeps, the IVs on my hand and the swing between life and death.”

“I am back; today I am alive, buying grocery for my family.”

“Today, I am aware about the importance of my existence.”

“I choose safety, here with me.”

“I was saved. I overheard that conversation in half consciousness.”

“The helmet saved his life.”

Vengeance by Vishakha Bhosale

A jungle by the bay converted into a market. It’s one of the most crowded areas of the city. Even at midnight, you’ll be amazed to discover that this part of city never sleeps. Simply because, it earns hawkers their daily meals. It supports their children’s education. It gets their sons-daughters married. It makes them endeavor in this competitive world. This busy-noisy street is their everything. But today it was all freakishly silent. The tyrannical tsunami had washed-out their entire world. The only remains were a few coconut trees sobbing wryly at the corpses. The nature had retaliated!

Rush Hour by Diya Johnson

The market scene resembles the daily rush in a man’s life.The one who buys things and the one who sells things, all for a living.

A Stack of Memories by Mustafa

It had been a year since I had stepped out of the white walls which had been touted as my deathbed. The first place I had gone to after being discharged was the local grocery market. The colors of the vegetables, people and their emotions, and the distinct aura of the place meant more to me than what my camera had captured. I had barely been able to digest the loss of my father in the accident which left me in a coma, only to be brought back to a world which encouraged me to move on.

Perception by Sumi Thomas

Praveen gritted his teeth as he held the phone to his ear. His wife was speaking in a torrent. Their son Ujjwal had been playing truant. He had missed school the whole of last week! The school principal suspected him of drug abuse.

Praveen muted the call. He hurried to meet Ashok, who had promised him a good roll of ganja. He saw Ashok loitering in the alley. The boy seemed to be barely out of his teens… why hadn’t he noticed it before? Praveen stopped in his tracks and turned around, slowly tracing his steps towards home.

Uncertainty by Anusha Rao

It was a Sunday morning and my laziness was taking over me. My mother asked me to go to the market for groceries. So many unfamiliar faces creating a havoc of a place. Explicit emotions screaming a sigh of hope and I was feeling a sense of comfort with strangers around me. Everyone’s eyes had a story to tell, it was the pain, felt like we all met at a place called ‘uncertainty’.

Dream on your Own Terms by Priyanka

The beauty of this city is, it does not distinguish. In fact, it blends its components in such a way that anyone with a bird’s eye view will witness a street not crowded with people but as place where hope flows freely, smiles never run out and determination always takes the last call. This city was always ahead of its time and continues to be. It allowed everyone to dream – irrespective of where you came from. If you have a wish, come here, work hard and let your success speak for itself. Till then, keep walking, keep going!

A Part of Something by Akhil Cherian

He stood in the rush, the joy of a man who found a treasure on his face. He had been dependent on institutions and masses to survive all his life. From kindergarten to high school, from coaching centers to college, Mondays through Saturdays which he spent in office. Just an insignificant number on their muster rolls. Not noticed. Not wanted. Sundays were the hardest, all by himself. Without the crowd he was lost, and lost in this crowd he found himself. He took each step, realizing it was now a noise of this market. His life was complete again.

Blasting Memories by Milna Antony

He grew up hearing and watching the bustling activities. Right here, in this archaic and crowded market. Fondest memories of accompanying his mother to replenish stocks of the meager meal they could afford is what had him still. But now, he’s here. Just as he imagined – to turn the noise into shrieks and wails, and to reduce this place to mere soot and dust; he fastened the girdle and was ready to detonate.

New Strangers by Pallavi Shastry

This is a messy, crowded, noisy, dirty city, and I’m comfortable. This is my city, where I belong from. Although, it isn’t about the city, but my routine. I’m not learning anything new. I’m not doing different things. I’m doing the same things differently. But it’s time to step out of my comfort zone. It’s time to breathe new air. It’s time to break the shackles. It’s time to brush my shoulders against new strangers. It’s time for a new routine. It’s time to belong to someplace else. It’s time to move to another messy, crowded, noisy, dirty city.

Somethings wrong with Indians by Snehal Sute

Guy in the red shirt is wearing a helmet when he doesn’t need it- entering the market. Guy on the bike is done shopping for his veggies and he’s leaving but doesn’t bother to wear the helmet which he has. Homeless looking man at the front seems the richest in the frame when it comes to his veggies. If thrown away stuff counts he is rich, sure. The guy in the white shirt has misplaced the list for the veggies, his wife gave him. He’s calling her. Something’s wrong with Indians.

Superstar by Salik

His mother wept when he came from Delhi with a cardiac arrest instead of CA degree. He was cured but his soul was broken. First star of the village was a burden now. He consumed himself in prayers 7 times a day and did whatever he could from household chores, agriculture to forget his miseries. He grew vegetables and went to the Mandi on his bike. Being called a star farmer he felt calm because that reminded him of his forgotten dream. He is still a STAR but for farmers who ask him which pesticide to use for peas.

“She” lost in the Market by Sukhada Belekar

Every single day she’s up to something. She is always on her toes for her loved ones. From the day she was born till the end she becomes a sacrificing deity. She makes compromises at every step in life; initially for brothers-sisters, parents then for husband, family after marriage, children, etc. The list goes on. In this process, she forgets her own existence. And her life becomes analogous to a busy market place, where everyone conveniently wears a ‘care a damn’ attitude without actually understanding others feelings.

Chaotic Calmness by Harleen

Sitting on the corner of a busy life, I watched it pass by. The path it ran on wore a chaotic mask yet I felt calm inside. My life strolled lazily along with many others’ who kept running. It didn’t understand the rush. What was the hurry? Life will eventually lead to an end. Stop. Take a pause. Calm your nerves. Smile. And watch life smiling back at you.

Come and sit with me in a corner of a busy life someday and watch it pass by.

Out of Stock by Neil

It rained familiar strangers that day, soaked the concrete jungle, washed down the street full of living graves with smiles plucked from their faces. Somewhere between them, I found us; two strangers, hauntingly similar. Laid side by side, no wreath and names on our tomb stones. Finally! smiling and at peace. The rustic sign next to us, below that flickering lamp-post read “Out of stock: Not available to sell.”

The Gift by Megh Shah

She held his hand tightly in the hustle-bustle of the busy market. And then two things happened simultaneously : His mother left his hand momentarily to take out the purse and he saw something. Before they knew, separation happened. Few seconds passed and his mother met with the realization. Her eyes struggled for a glimpse of him in the human sea ahead of her. And suddenly she felt a familiar touch on her hand. It was him, with a wide smile on his face. Before she could say anything, he exclaimed, “Happy Birthday,Mummy!”, handing her an ice-cream… and his hand.

Calmness in Chaos by Sejal Waghmare

Market yard or the farmer’s market is a place where you get to know some amazing things about life and liveliness. These people might not have the cleanest hands and their clothes may seem less than ordinary to us but they have the richness of affection and understanding of life.

You will experience the raw flow of emotions and well placed arguments. Some sounds will sooth while some might irritate you, yet there is this deep serene calmness despite the chaos.

The Lost Kingdom by Deepak Jamle

There was a kingdom. Kingdom of spices, tea and rubber. It attracted a lot of emperors across the globe. The kingdom was renowned for its highest human development index, highest literacy rate and highest sex ratio. It was also awarded as the least corrupt kingdom at that point of time. Now, the scenario has changed. As other trade routes have opened, everyone has sidelined this ancient kingdom. People are migrating to Gulf countries. Those who stayed back are relying on fishing and rest are selling tea, pepper, spices and coconut in the daily market.

Voices on Sale by Agnivo Niyogi

The hustle-bustle of the market suddenly came to a halt. People stared in wondered amazement, curiosity filled in their eyes, at the bizarre yet gory sight. A lady was shouting for help as two men, riding on a bike, tugged at her saree. The market of statues stood still as the lady pleaded for mercy, cried for help. Their voices were on sale.

 Choose Life by Barns

I bought this two-wheeler with my wife’s dowry. “Better you pay one agent to arrange ticket for Gulf,” Amma told. “Go earn some real money.” But Kannan told they are putting twelve men for one room in UAE. Too much work, too much hot. No life. Instead I am driving this two-wheeler every day for tourists. (Sometimes ladies!) Every day, little money saving. Also, I am having second mobile for calling girlfriends, and fresh fish from market every night for dinner. No stress, happy family. This life is better.


Narcissist by Balasubramanian

I wonder. Who I am? Love myself too much? No time to wonder now. I hate to be in the crowd. Always. But this shopping list is to be completed. What sort of onions I shall take? The smaller ones. They are bit costly. My wife does not agree with me to buy costlier things. I have to hear a ton of scoldings when I buy the smaller onions. Oh, the sambar made out of small onions would be wonderful. My mom used to cook a delicious small onion Sambar. Ok. Some other time. I will buy the bigger onions.


The Market by Akshaya

The market is always a crowded place. He knew that. All the hustle bustle never got to him. One fine day, he decided to visit the market on his brand new bike. The one he was very proud of owning. Life would be much easier with it, he thought. But not in the market. He realized it was easier to walk than to be going around in a bike. The difficulty was getting to him. And that is when it dawned on him – in trying to make life easy with machinery, man has only made it more difficult.


Frame 3 – Stories

unnamed (1)


Photograph by Jan Photography



Smoking pain by Harshita Kumbhar

She was tired of being wounded physically and mentally. She had a choice to leave it but how could she leave something she wished to cherish forever. She couldn’t and she wouldn’t. Lighting her first cigarette, she expected her pain to soothe. It didn’t. The second one didn’t do any good. She finished her third too. Physical harm didn’t soothe her mental pain. She then took her blanket, lied to herself all over again that everything will be fine and closed her eyes only in a hope that tonight she might watch a beautiful dream instead of a nightmare.


Kicking the Butt by Pallavi Shastry

She was on a road trip. She unchained herself from her desk and took off with a bag of clothes. The pack of cigarettes were her only companion. The deeper the drag, the warmer she felt. She traveled, moved from one city to another, one stop to the next. The deeper the breathed, the more liberated she felt. By the end of her trip, she was still alone. But so was the last cigarette she never touched. She loved her enough to let her companion go. She was home. Alone, yet not.


I Don’t Smoke. Honestly. by AliShahbaz Halari

“I am not a chain smoker. It’s just sometimes, when I am with friends.”

“I used to smoke. I was addicted to it, once. Not anymore.”

“I loved smoking, once upon a time. Not anymore.”

“I quit a long time ago.”

I thought of all the times anyone had ever asked me about smoking. Not that I’d lied to them. But, it all came back, when I purchased a whole pack, at once. And then, they all turned to lies. Until, one day, I became just like the smoke, which finds abode in air, never to be seen again.


Mr RW by Dhanya

Boring meetings would turn into a laugh riot when he used to attend them. He would ask such basic and fundamental questions that it would often cause the big jargon users to take cover. His skill of intelligence combined with wit was amazing. He would always sit on the nearest chair from the exit, because “I am an old man and don’t want to walk too much”. He was a chain smoker, sitting nearest to the exit meant he could sneak out easily. Miss you Mr RW, and thank you for making those meetings bearable.


The Distance by Adeeba

I held the slender torch, between my manicured fingers, my third one this hour. With a drag I felt the chemical like taste spread through my body like how words would spill off the tip of your tongue when you got angry. A familiar burning sensation arose within me, but it doesn’t matter because all I can concentrate on is the smoke that escapes my lips and the promises made to you with it. I can feel you glaring down at me from the heavens, but my love, don’t be mad I’m just shortening the distance between us.


Singed by Chandni Roy

Just as he lit a cigarette, after his morning cup of tea, he found himself an audience to an argument ensuing in that tea stall, over national politics. His silent observation that the diminishing length of his cigarette was inversely proportional to the volume of the argument amused him. Did they realise the heart burn their futile ranting was causing them? However, soon, his cigarette’s burnt end reminded him that his lungs needed his attention more than their hearts. He flicked it away —guilt ridden, for depriving his lungs of a few gasp -free breaths in a comparatively healthy body.


My Bus by CG Balu

Puff. Puff. Yes my bus has come. one more puff. Throw the butt safely. I rush. Oh no…this bus will not go to my destination.


Black Reflects White by Devisri Soni

It is only grotesque things that can reflect infallibility. There are something which are not good for us still they sooth us in some or the other ways. My comrade smokes but only when she is angry. The smoke obscures her perception of the reasons which make her angry. Her turbulent nerves feel relaxed only when they get the company of a cigarette. As it burns, the level of relaxation soars. Irony, right? How a killing thing can make us feel alright? The gravels of anger reflects her dark white color of smoker.


All too often by Hemsagar

He told her that he didn’t love her anymore. On the way, she saw three kids playing football. One of them was wearing a Nike gear with Adidas boots and a bottle of Gatorade that he drank from every time he got tired. The second was wearing casual clothes with sandals and a bottle of water. The third one was on foot and had a short on him with three holes near his bottom large enough to see he was wearing no underpants. She broke down crying holding a picture of a beautiful newborn.

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Frame 2 – Stories

Frame 2 Final


Photograph by Jan Photography


Daddy Cool by Pallavi Shastry

Daddy bought a new book, filled with pictures of colourful drinks.He made two of those last Sunday afternoon. Boney M was playing in the background. He said those drinks weren’t for kids. I believed him, like I believed when he said Boney M were the coolest. The song was stuck. I went to it’s rescue. Took the cassette out and got my pencil – smartest tool I had. I stuck it in that hole on the cassette and rotated it, till I straightened the crumpled tape out. But my favourite song didn’t stop playing in my head.


Starting Over Again by Dhanya

29 years of staying in the same house, with the same people, same neighbours, same fights, same food and then one day you leave all that behind and fly off to an unknown land with an unknown person to an unknown environment. Flashes of good times and bad come knocking by- one of which is the time when you used to record your voice on the humble tape recorder, that feeling of listening to your voice. Well, everything would be left behind. Yet everyone is happy, because after all you are married and going to start a new life!


Memory Tape by Ashley Barboza

I remember the times, all those years ago; when I waited for my favourite song to be played on the radio, until I could finally record it on my cassette. And later how mad I was at you, when you accidently pressed the record button on the tape recorder while I was listening to it again; and how your voice got recorded in its place. The memory is faded now like the voice on the cassette. But today it has become something I hold closest to my heart. It is the only piece of you I have left now.


Call from Beyond by Sidhardha V. S

This particular stretch of tape is sufficient to unhinge me. It houses not merely a sound but an emotion, for a dreadful memory has been etched upon it. Streams of tremulous words followed by sudden squeals and clinks which amplify with every passing second are heard. The voice in the tape shrills, screeches with pain and slowly evaporates. I grew up with that voice which is now disembodied. Its owner, my brother is no more. It is an accidental recording of an accident. Someone left an empty cassette in the car, certainly unaware of what it could seize.


An Old Harp by Greeshma C.P

She threw them one by one. There is no return to anything. To home. To herself.

The spiral strings of this weird instrument will never rewind.

No nostalgia will spill out from the cacophony. No memories persist.

Fingering the outline of the last cassette, she thought,’each crack grew weary and older than the ones within.’

Resonated.But no arpeggios oozed out for her to unlearn. Should she save one and let it rot over time?…

Throwing the last one,she leaned back in her sluggish chair. Listened.

That night her fireplace sang the sweetest of elegies.


Side B by AliShahbaz Halari

She was once, a bouquet of flowers, now just a faded picture. He was a basket of surprises, now a stale-mate. Whenever they used to meet, they’d get lost in each others’ eyes. Now, they sit on the couch, beside each other, as if neither exists. They used to look forward to spending time with friends. Now, they purposely avoid public gatherings, preferring to sit in their individual rooms. Those, who once used to whisper sweet nothings, keep shouting at each other.

Welcome to “Side B” of the relationship.


The Memory Reels by Agnivo Niyogi

Asit was sitting on the couch, clutching his diary in the hand. Constantly fidgeting with the worn-out yellow pages, he was gripped with a feeling of unease. Birendra Krishna Bhadra’s Mahisasurmardini was playing on the tape recorder. He could not bear it anymore. He threw the diary away; pages were flying in the room. Asit took the cassette out and threw it at the wall. Lying on the ground, the cassette bled, as it kept playing the cries of mercy… Asit was transfixed as memories of Subimal flooded his mind. It was time for Visarjan again…


The Last Tape by Narendra Shenoy

It was the last one. The only other tape had jammed in the player and had to be thrown away. Panditji refused to let me play it.

“It was my guru. The Khansahib. It’s his only recording. Too precious”. Panditji’s words were increasingly growing feeble

“Don’t you want to hear it even once?”

“I don’t need to. Khansahib lives within me”

“What shall I do with it then?”

“Cremate it with me.” He coughed really hard and fell silent,

“Sorry, son” said the doctor. “It’s over”

We cremated Panditji. And the Khansahib.


Evidence by Pooja Sharma Rao

Finally after a decade long legal battle Ria had won the rights to her mom’s property and lockers in Shimla. Since morning she had been looking for an old fashioned cassette player, because one of the lockers had only an audio cassette.Ria found one with a friend’s grandfather and borrowed it for a day. Alone in her room she played the cassette. The recording was long over .The night was long, difficult and full of bad memories. The next morning she called her lawyer. At last she had evidence to nail her dad for killing her mom.


When Music Rolled by Shakti Shetty

Materialism seems harmless when you’re a child wanting to own a piece of music. This boy from the ’90s had similar plans. Having been recently promoted from a worn-out radio to the fancy world of tape-recorders, he hoped to play something he—not others—wanted to listen to. And for that to happen, he needed money. So he started collecting coins for almost two months before he saved enough to buy a recently launched cassette by his favourite Pakistani band. When he pressed the play button and the device exhaled ‘Sayonee’, he was undoubtedly the happiest kid on earth.


How I learnt French? by S(t)ri

It was year 1998. The 8-year-old me was curious when my mom found some tapes, which dad had brought from France, where he had gone for an official trip. I stealthily took a couple of them. When I played those in our BPL radio, I didn’t understand anything, but the music was mesmerizing. I somehow got addicted to it, and from the cover I came to know that it is French. I bought a French to English dictionary, after nagging my mom, and started deciphering the meaning of the lyrics. That’s how I started to learn French.


Less is More by Destination Infiniti

There was a time when I was listening to the same songs again and again from my cassettes. I loved each song I had. I had only those songs I loved. There was no Internet. There was no Online streaming. There was no pen-drive. Now, I have access to every song ever made. But I don’t remember when was the last time,I forgot myself over music.


 Locked Away in Love by Shameem Rizwana

Her son’s wedding is the next day, and she still looked ravishing as ever. She was rechecking the guest list while her maid scurried around the house cleaning every nook-and-corner. The maid handed over an old box containing some junk from the basement. She sorted through the box finding old photographs, school badges and an audio cassette. She had never seen this before and curiosity pumped inside her to play it. Shuffling through the loft, she found an old Sony Walkman and played it. It was late now. A little too late. And her life was never the same again.


 The Melancholy Story of the Cassette Tape by Uma Maheswari Anandane

I was the companion of the lonely and the crowd. People exposed their emotions through me without a word exchanged and I felt loved. And whenever I get messed up, she comes to my rescue. Tall and thin, the sharp eyed damsel always puts me back to shape. We don’t meet often, but I felt safe until he came to rock the world with digital music. Shortly, I saw my folks being abandoned one by one. I checked to see whether she had the fate as mine. But, I saw her flying to name on my rival’s back.


A sweet proposal by Padma Kabilan

“What’s this Thatha?”, asked 11 year-old Ryka to her Grandpa. Smiling, Grandpa said, “Ahhh, this cassette contains songs of my time. Wait I’ll play it for you”. His old tape recorder came to life then. “Why does the singer end all songs with “my darling”?”,  Ryka questioned. “Well..the singer wanted to propose through the cassette”, smiled Grandpa as he closed his eyes and hummed the songs. Ryka slipped away. “You shouldn’t be saying all these to a kid you know”, said Grandma. “You did propose to me through the cassette didn’t you?”, Grandpa’s eyes twinkled. “Right, my darling”, giggled Grandma.


Priority by S.Sruthee

My little son never knew the value of this cassette. I told him how precious it was because I had got it after fighting hard with my brother on who should have it. He became silent, thinking. Later, he came near me and whispered, “Mom, I now know its value.” “How?“ I asked. He said,”I think you two have never fought on who should have our grandparents at home because they are in an old age home now. But if you have fought over this cassette, this should be really more precious than them. Right mom?” I was dumbstruck.


Tape Recorder by Sahithya

There may be ‘I-POD’ and ‘MP3’ today,but this was the first hi-tech gadget that i used that day!The tape that used to come in cute little box,with the printed lyrics,made me to wait for its release to get it first,and put my friends in hysterics!The beauty of the two wheels rolling, when the song played,made me keep looking at it, and made the surrounding fade!This brought out the engineer in me,repairing the tape was my favorite task,and the only tool used was the pencil ,which made me bask!


 C as in cassette by Shoumik

It was year 1999, Sleeping child was playing in the background. “Input/Output error” constantly blinking on my DOS screen. Cancel. Recheck the code. Enter! “Input/Output error” again. The cassette was stuck third time on “oh my sleeping chi..” Irritated I took out the cassette and threw it on the ground. It hit the wall and broke open. That’s when I noticed there’s a tiny knot in the reel. Then it hit me I was missing one extra “&” sign. The program worked, I picked up the cassette put it back, and went looking for a pencil.


A Final Hymn by Milna Anthony

After years of winding down melancholy lanes, sharp noises and contemplative silences, she laid to rest with memories wound so firm and so deep that it is far from being etched. No lore to relate to. No sense of belonging. Far from feeling abandoned, she felt futile. Not a soul yearned to listen. Only dust and dirt wanted to gather and feed on whatever she held onto. Now, all she wished was…her epitaph played what she had to voice out, this time at least.


His Mother’s Voice by Sumana Pai

She did not have very long. She needed something that would stay on forever, a living memory, an imprint of herself, a recorded journey. She did not want to be a stranger to the shining bright eyes that expectedly looked up at her from within her arms. A tape. That is it. All he would need was a recorder. He sat at the window with the box in his hands. He finally overcame the anger and the guilt to listen to his mother’s voice. Her life in one plastic case. All he needed now, was a recorder that played it.


My 15th Birthday by Zubin Rawal

I was turning 15 and like always, Mom was the first one to wish me. I never really asked for a present, but she always surprised me, this time with a gift I wish I had never received. “You are adopted” she said, she revealed that my parents (not real ones) found me in a dustbin among flies and trash, probably because some thankless jerks saw girl child as a disgrace to their family. I was shattered, I felt unwanted and my mind bombarded with questions. I turned towards her and she was gone, the cassette had stopped playing.


The Lullaby by Mahesh Iyer

The guests and relatives had left. Little Pinky was sad. Amma had gone far away. Daddy had hugged Pinky and cried. Pinky was not able to sleep. Daddy played the cassette, Amma’s sweet lullaby played. Pinky fell asleep.


Sati by Dileep Nair

She was determined. She peeked out of the window, looking for a fire to immolate herself. She has been a loyal and devoted wife all her life. The cassette player was thrown to trash that morning.


Remains by Sishir Challa

People barely notice. They are ever so busy, running around, ensuring their survival in this world. They go on, endlessly. They want to touch the sky. Pluck the stars from the sky, open them up to see what mystery lies within. They want to see the far corners of the universe. Become God. Conquer all that one can see. They want it all. What did I want?.. Just that smile on her face, my daughter’s. Not war or victory. Instead, all I have is her first words on an old tape. Time does go by. Now, so shall I.


Listening to silence by Poulomi Mandal

“Are you sure you don’t want to keep them?” she asks pointing towards the box full of old cassettes.

Her cassettes.

Not Kavita’s.

My mother’s.

I can still see her here. Feel her presence. Sitting on that corner chair, a look of dilema cast on her face, as she pondered over what to play next. Some days, she would just sit with that box, holding one cassette.

No sound, no music. Listening to silence.

Silence is here.

Around me.

“No”, I reply.

As we walk out of the apartment, I hear it.

My mother.

Listening to silence.


The Link by Chandni Roy

She sat there listening to his voice.It was like a daily ritual and she has been performing it for the last 20 years.Not a day went by when she wouldn’t insert the audio cassette into the player and hear it over and over again.No,it was not a song.But for her,it was the finest music she’d ever listen to.All it had in it was just one line,”Mamma,I love you.” With tears shimmering in her eyes and a smile,she’d mouth “I love you, too.”Later,she’d caress the cassette with infinite tenderness.It was her last link to her long gone son.


The “B” Side by Megh Shah

She closed the door and thought once again before taking out the box in which all the fond memories she had shared with him were kept intact for all these years. Her old trembling hands went through the black & white photographs, the letters, the pebble blue stones and finally she took out the cassette. She had listened the “A” side hundreds of times but somehow she chose not to listen the “B” side, until that day. With the heavy breath, she played the side “B” and his voice was in the air : “And I still love you, honey”.


Old is Gold by Prasad Kulkarni

Old days always have some memories associated with them. Some electric, some magnetic. Like that of an audio cassette. Even with the scratched reel there’s some music attached. It might not be as efficient, as friendly and as big as new age technology, but it has a certain charm. To rewind using a pen, pencil, screw driver or just a finger. Simple. More efforts might be required to correct them, to realign them, but there lies the satisfaction you get of achieving something. Of being in third world. Of finding solace in simple yet beautiful things.

Never-ending Melody by Jitto

The beautiful melody seemed strangely familiar. She was right in front of him, where she always stood. So close yet so far. She smiled and his head started spinning. Noticing the shiny rope, he thought, “if I pull hard enough, I can get closer”. And so he pulled, with all his might. The melody played on softly. The rope was nearing its end and so was the melody….. Click ……He couldn’t pull anymore, his head stopped spinning. A strange sadness prevailed. A finger reached out to hit the eject button. The spokes would never meet.

A Magical Experience by Sejal Waghmare

I felt the need for music that would match the rain outside. I started searching for the cassette that my old friend, a famous Psyche, gifted me recently. It surprised me as it seemed that the songs were playing to my mood and the slumber crept in. Today, drowned in sadness, I walked into my room with a need for some music that would calm me. Played the same cassette and once again the songs were playing to match my mood but before the music could drown me, I realized that this time the songs were different. Magical Indeed.

Always dig for the memories by Monica Serban

The cigarette was smoking itself in an already full ashtray. The case had been tormenting the detective for over 5 years. Police could not identify Louisa’s “killer”.

Her family insisted to hire him, as they were pretty convinced it must have been somebody close to her.

They were right. The 25 years old tape he had just listened to was the proof.

“If by 40 we are not married to each other, I will strangle you with this red scarf you gifted me. This is my pledge!” said the boy gravely.

Her sparkling laughter seemed so full of hope.



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