Storygram 37

Mamma? When would I play again?

Sahitya's mother remembered how she burst into tears upon hearing these words from her only child. It's been almost a month since he recovered from an intestinal infection. Since then, he had been bedridden, and there were very scarce signs of recovery. She used to caress his head giving a warm confirmation that he was going to be fine soon. She missed his contagious smile as if he had not smiled in years.

Sahitya laid flat on the hospital bed looking at the continuously moving ceiling fan having dusty blades. His pale face and sunken eyes were loud enough to scream out the pain he went through. But the days of misery didn't last long. His body began to recover and those positive signs were enough to rebuild the broken soul of the mother and refill a new life in the child who is yet to discover the world.

For the first time in a few months, Sahitya went out to play and relive those old days again with his friends. His mother accompanied him to share his joy and witness his smile, which was lost long ago. It was a warm and humid day. Patches of gray clouds blended so well with the orange bright sunlight that it looked like heaven was raining down to become a part of her happiness. The enthusiasm and excitement in his shining eyes made it look like he was running and throwing the ball for the first time. The trauma and the pain didn't stand a chance against the willpower of a nine-year-old!

24 Apr 2023
Storygram 3

Fairs bring fun, frolic, feasts and feistas. Amidst all the chaos and madness here comes our cotton candy vendor spreading smiles wherever he goes. Sweet, fluffy and pink both the candy and the chubby cheeks of the kids relishing it.This is what he lives on , ironically selling candy to other children when his own are hungry at home. It is no longer sweet for them because they know what living on a hungry stomach is."

27 Oct 2017
Storygram 4

Cool and calm breeze. A mic that breaks the silent atmosphere but evokes peace within you. A place to bow before the Almighty, and to become one by yourself as you part from a few of your pennies which means everything to some. A place to admire the beauty of your deity or idol, you may call it. But there is no idol here, except his dad, his hero who holds his son high above his head even if the world is slipping from beneath him.

24 Nov 2017
Storygram 5

What an exhausting day it was today. First of all, people at school expect you to memorize all the alphabets. Like come on, who can do it in one day? On top of it, the little monkey Riya, whom you are sure was picked up from a dustbin, ate your chocolate that you have been waiting to have since morning. There is only so much hardship one can take. But then your hero appears and scoops you up to the place where you can finally be at peace. Not to forget the pink delight that's not only eye candy, but soul food. And yes you heard it right, you can have it all by yourselves.

16 Dec 2017
Storygram 57

Death doesn’t sympathize. It takes whatever it wants or rather whoever it wants. One day, if it feels like throwing a feast, it takes away the president of a country, the other day an auto driver or two when it wants to have a chill day. Innocent people, the poor, the commoners suffer the most when death decides to have an easy day. On days like these, it takes away way more than just the breadwinner of a family. It takes away the family itself. Happiness, belongingness, hope.

So one day it happened, Mohan was taken away by death in his sleep leaving his wife and two little children with nothing but a jar of meager savings and an auto he used to drive to make ends meet. As it happens, the responsibility of fulfilling the needs of her two little kids now fell on Shraddha's shoulders. Raising two traumatized kids by herself in a slum in Mumbai at first felt impossible but impossibility is futility when it comes to motherhood. Shraddha cleaned houses, worked as a chef in a nearby dhaba, and made sure her children’s education didn’t suffer. After all, the world is capitalist and there is no time to grieve.

As one day she was helping her elder son, Aryan, revise for his science exam while cooking dinner, the lights went off and the whole street was just one dark abyss with complaining voices getting louder. Aryan felt underprepared and anxious and couldn’t wait for the power supply to be back to resume his revision. At that moment, Shraddha was determined to help him and so an idea struck her.

She took three servings of dinner on a plate and asked her sons to follow. She turned on the ignition of Mohan's auto and there sat the three of them. In a well-lit auto, eating dinner and Aryan revising his notes, not anxious anymore. And in the amber coloured lights of Mumbai city that night, this family felt complete once again. Whole and complacent.

25 Mar 2023
Storygram 6

My eyes are but a mirror to a beautiful soul,sublime My face , innocence itself in its prime.

A young bud I am waiting to blossom,

Looking all puny and impressionable.

The sparkle in my eyes,

The radiance of my face,

Sound proof of my intent,

Tender yet not frail,

And my hands, tiny yet worthy ,

Worthy of being held,

Because nothing there is that I can't overpower,

With your loving hand in mine.

23 Dec 2017
Storygram 56

In a country like India, law and order is necessary at various levels.

Kuldhara, known to many as the oldest village in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, was famous for being led by one of the finest five men you could come across.

The men would typically be found in their office, toiling day and night for the village’s welfare. The panchayat used to have weekly meetings under the common Khejri tree, where they worked together with the villagers to resolve their grievances. It was their dedication that got them re-elected the previous year.

That day, the Sarpanch and his men had come to the market with a mission. They were seeking justice for poor villagers who were scammed by a shopkeeper. They had heard that a fraud in the market was selling people fake products at a price more than the original. After a lot of complaints, they decided to take the matter into their own hands.

The men, all wearing turbans and white kurtas, walked through the market with their eyes scanning every shop. The narrow streets lined up with stalls of everything, people bargaining over the prices of goods and the wind carrying scents of sweets and fast food. As they walked, people stepped aside, almost fearful, sensing the tension on their faces. One of the men pointed to a small shop in the corner. The group quickened their pace and the shopkeeper saw them coming. He tried to run, but it was too late.

The men surrounded him, grabbed him by his collar and confronted him for his actions. The shopkeeper stammered trying to defend himself but the men were not interested in his excuses. They walked him to the police chowki, determined to take legal action and make up for the loss incurred by many innocent customers.

As the crowd dispersed and the market returned to its usual hustle and bustle, the memory of those five men dressed in turbans and kurtas walking through the streets lingered on in the minds of those who witnessed it.

12 Mar 2024
Storygram 55

There was a hungover dew of triumph in the town’s atmosphere. If one was to take a deep breath at any corner of Dehradun that morning, they could feel the sharp coolness of victory pierce through them and make them regard the town’s local FC’s victory as their own, even if they had a minimal or any engagement with football erstwhile. The much-regarded Dehradun city FC had managed to win the Football nationals, breaking the ten-year-old running curse of failure. The town’s bars were full of people, chatting and watching highlights of the match from the previous day. Young boys with the club’s jersey still on, fervently mimicked the winning goal celebration.

And then there was Manoj. The town’s disgrace. The loner, the unsuitable former captain of Dehradun city FC, who looked way older than he was. Regret, when left to marinate in one’s heart, does things unexplainable. Manoj grew up playing football, beating record after record. He was the most beloved footballer of his time. Back in the day, the wind seemed to blow in the direction he wanted it to. For a talent like him, he could get married to the prettiest woman in town, having fame and admiration only a handful had. But with great fame, came lurching its arch-nemesis- drugs, conceit, addiction, and disruptive indecision.

Fifteen years ago Manoj failed to pass the doping control test right before the finals. The team was set for failure without its captain. In a moment of spontaneous aggression, he had a fistfight with a federation official. And his leg wasn’t the only thing that got irreversibly damaged in that fight. Down went his reputation and his career. Permanently barred from the federation, his dream of playing for his country was taken away, more like self-sabotaged by his free will of substance abuse, which wasn’t very easy to let go of.

So today as the town celebrated, Manoj sat with his fifteen-year-old loneliness and a walking stick he couldn't do without. He stared and stared at the forest of his mistakes, alone, self-repenting, between two worlds, none fully belonging, neither welcoming of him.

26 Feb 2023
Storygram 54

Every father desires to sive his son the bast possible life.Aarav was a young boy whose father used to sell momos on the streets of Manali. This had been their family business for generations, but his father had aspirations to study. Unfortunately, due to financial constraints, he was unable to do so and had to work at the stall from a young age. Knowing how painful it was to give up his dreams, he wanted his son to have the opportunity to study and choose his own path in life.

Aarav was a bright and joyful kid who always looked forward to going to school. However, after a reshuffling of students in his class, he began to come home from school looking sad. At first, his father thought he might be having trouble fitting in with his new classmates and decided to give him some time. But with time his joyful smile disappeared.

One day, Aarav didn't return home on time.

Worried about his whereabouts, his family started looking for him. After hours of searching, someone found him sitting at the family's stall. His father rushed there and saw him sitting there crying alone. In those chaotic market streets, everything went silent and he took a sigh of relief as his son was safe. He picked him up and hugged him tightly trying to comfort him.

Holding back his tears, Aarav asked his father, "Is it wrong to sell momos?"

"No", his father said in a very calm voice. He was carefully studying his son's teary brown eyes.

"Then why do people tease me for it?"

His father knew just what to say.

He sat his son down and explained,

"Your grandfather and even his grandfather, we have been doing this for a long time. The books you read, the toys you play with, the food you eat and everything else comes from these momos only. Instead of being ashamed of your roots, be proud of everyone's hard work and sacrifices."

Aarav understood the importance of his heritage and started to view his family's business in a different way after that day. He no longer felt ashamed or sad, instead, he bore it with dignity.

19 Feb 2023
Storygram 7

Me- The world around me is in chaos. Peoples' lives are ending by making ends meet. Yet, some others are living each day like it's the end. The choice is yours. They- What's your choice? Me- I guess it's evident by my face.

6 Jan 2018
Storygram 53


I love visiting my family in Delhi whenever I fly back to India. It’s mostly for work but this time it was because of dad. Upon being informed of his demise, I flew back to Delhi for his last rites. We didn’t have the best father-son relationship, but I loved him and I knew he loved me too. Being the only child of parents who were both brought up in Old Delhi, I grew up listening to ghazals and stories about Delhi which I have only now come to appreciate. My dad used to sing out loud this one quote while showing me around

"इक रोज़ अपनी रूह से पूछा, कि दिल्ली क्या है, तो यूं जवाब में कह गए, ये दुनिया मानो जिस्म है और दिल्ली उसकी जान।"

This city meant more to him than the megacities I have worked in as an IFS officer. He insisted on not moving abroad with me even on my multiple requests. He did agree to settle in a posh area where I bought him and mum a house. What meant even more to him than Delhi was his scooter, the scooter we went grocery shopping on, the scooter he bought right after I was born, from his years of savings. The very scooter I have slept on the backseat of as he dropped me off to school every morning, the scooter I have ridden as dad took me from Jama Masjid to Red Fort to Chandni Chowk, narrating stories I will never know were hypothetical or not.

A tempest of childhood memories came gushing in as I arrived at our old house the morning I was set to fly back. The scooter was carefully parked right outside our house. I felt an ice cube roll through my food pipe into my stomach. My chest tightened, as I handed over a duplicate key of the scooter I had earlier found in my dad’s things to Pankaj chacha, our long-time neighbor. “Dhyaan Rakhna”, I looked back and left, then looked back again and continued till I couldn’t anymore, till the street disappeared into an eerie morning fog of regret and selfishness, with the number 9388 etched to my heart as my fingers used to etch to dad’s shirt on that very scooter.

13 Feb 2023
Storygram 51


Every definition I have ever read of childhood painstakingly fails to capture my yearning. To me, it’s a foregone age, when I was so full of love, for no one but myself. If I could run across the ocean into my own arms back then, I would.

For me, childhood will always be about waiting for the cotton candy man every Sunday morning by the porch of my house or being coerced into narrating a poem in front of a bunch of relatives, or having my shoelaces tied every morning by my mom while I get ready for school. Being chased down by the neighborhood dogs, kitchen sets and doll houses, bruises and mud all over my face but never on my heart, kites on independence day and crackers on Diwali, chocolates and change only enough to buy two mango bites and a smile that could easily run across my ears. I was not the opinion of others, but a child who brushed off mean words like playground grass.

Jealousy, world politics, gender roles, career, climate change, morals, finances? I guess ignorance really was bliss, an ignorance my two rupees can’t buy anymore. So agonizingly startling it is to notice my self-image slowly being translated into a language of other’s hearts, I will forever fail to fathom. Now, I just sit in my room as a bundle of past recollections, other’s opinions of myself painted on me. I try to rub them off, but there’s nothing a candy can do anymore.

The cotton candy man is dead. I don’t paint the river red, or colour the trees blue on my canvas anymore. I don’t wake up at 7 and watch “Thomas and Friends” while getting ready for school. I instead stay up till 7 watching the ceiling fan with no thoughts, like a blood-sniffing shark. The child is gone, the volatility of whose innocence seems like a fever dream. Yearning of a lifetime, yearning of an administered lifetime.

22 Jan 2023
Storygram 50

Jaagte raho! Jaagte raho! yu chilata to nhi par raat bhar nazar sab jagah pe rkhta hu”

Hi, I am Ramesh, the security guard of this society. My job is to keep an eye on the streets at night, pretty simple, right? Yeah, I usually roam around on these streets in the night, in shifts with the other guard who stays at the entrance. These cold winter nights are very lonely and silent. There’s no one on the streets because people go to sleep early these days. But I don't feel alone since I have been doing this job for a lot of years now, these street dogs have become my friends and they walk around with me.

When they get tired, they go to the entrance where we have a fire lit to keep them warm. There’s not much to do here because the area is very nice, hardly anything happens here. I sometimes get lost in my own thoughts while walking around and think about the most weird and obscure stuff that doesn't even make sense later but somehow at that moment, it makes a lot of sense. I have never encountered a ghost but I do want to someday, like the ones they show in movies with their twisted feet, messy hair and in white clothes.

Haha, it would be pretty funny to see one myself.

When it's my turn to sit at the entrance I like to write stuff. Just like how I'm writing this and talking to myself to pass some time.

14 Jan 2023
Storygram 49

Friendship, perhaps is not like a forest fire or a quick flint. It's an ivy that grows on the front door of your heart. Shiny, dark, and evergreen, knocking gently every now and then. Such was the remarkable friendship of Abhigya and her teacher, Ms. Surbhi.

It's been seven years since Abhigya left for the US, breaking free of the shackles of her emotionally abusive family. Ms. Surbhi was Abhigya's sixth-grade English teacher, although she went on to become much more than that in the life of this lost, neglected child.

Abhigya was quite depressed and lonely as a kid, her only safe space being Ms. Surbhi, whom she would often go seek advice from whenever life rolled downhill. Over the years they had formed a bond so unique and firm, it was hard to figure out the age difference between these two talented women.

Abhigya always wanted to pursue psychology at an ivy league college, having exceptional grades and unparalleled intellect. However, her family was just waiting for her to graduate high school keen on marrying her off to a rich man of their liking. Abhigya knew she had to escape and build the life of her dreams. But as clueless as she was, she also lacked the humongous amount of funds one needs to apply to these prestigious colleges. However, Ms. Surbhi was the one who was there for her through thick and thin and helped her figure out the university and scholarship application process, clandestinely so her family won’t know.

Abhigya received an acceptance letter from Princeton soon after applying and was off to the states, away from her controlling, abusive parents. After all, what is home, if not the first place you learn to run from? She was now free, happy, and ready to begin a new journey. On the day of her flight, she made sure to meet Ms. Surbhi on the same school bench they spent hours talking for six years, the sun shining down upon them like a blessing from heaven. They heard the voice of their hearts’ old brag, “I am, I am, I am”. Now they knew what the caged birds sang.

20 Nov 2022
Storygram 48

Since childhood, I've had this peculiar dream on my birthday. I used to wake up the following morning feeling odd. The last part of the dream would always be a pair of hands clutching a beaded mala, but I could never recall anything more. At first, I thought it was just a coincidence, but it started occurring every year. My parents advised me not to dwell on it, and it was just a dream.

When I turned 18, my parents decided to have a pooja at our home for my well-being. I got ready for it and sat down beside Pandit Ji. After the pooja was finished, I dropped Pandit ji off at his house. Later that evening, when my birthday party got over, my mom instructed me to go and give Pandit Ji a pastry as well.

As I headed towards his house, there was a dog wagging its tail.

The surroundings and the dog gave me a weird deja vu as if I had seen this before (but where?!). I pushed that feeling aside and rang the bell. Nobody responded. I was considering going back when the door to the house next to his opened. I stepped inside and asked, "Pandit ji, are you here?" thinking I might have rung someone else's doorbell.

The moment I walked in, and as I placed the pastry on the dining table, the place instantly seemed familiar. Despite returning the way I came, I got lost and found myself at the dining room table. I was in a perpetual loop and all directions led me to the same place.

I felt the temperature dropping and a bluish freezing hue spread across the room.

The hallway grew dark and as I turned, something moved. The next instant, two hands appeared out of nowhere holding a beaded mala, strangling my throat with it. I was choking.


A car drove past me and the same dog was barking at it. I was back in front of his house, but this time there was no house adjacent to Pandit Ji’s. Perplexed, I gave the pastry to the dog and went back home, never to come near that house again.

I haven't seen that dream again. Some things are better left unexplained.

6 Nov 2022
Storygram 8

So this is the new generation my friend was talking about. \nRunning for money, but away from hard work. \nRunning for love, but away from family. \nRunning for rights, but away from responsibilities. \nAnd kids, running on some screens using fingers rather than running around in parks. \nInspite of all this running, they can never be as healthy as me

13 Jan 2018
Storygram 9

Bicycles. Life. You won't learn to ride a bicycle without falling down. You may have complete control of your bicycle but accidents tend to happen. You have a support when you start learning to ride, but eventually you have to ride it alone.

20 Jan 2018
Storygram 10

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori' ( Translation from Latin : It is sweet and proper to die for the fatherland) shall be my last words. My last vision- hues of the dream,gloriously hoisting saffron,white and green My deathbed- the holy earth of my motherland.And as I lay on the altar my ultimate sacrifice To a bullet that just left the orificeMy last wish, oh! my fellow countrymen, Proudly draped in that tricolour are my sweat, tears, blood and painDo not let it go in vain, do not let it go in vain.

26 Jan 2018
Storygram 47

Prakash was a hardworking and content man. For a daily wage laborer by the day, and a Matka kulfi seller by the evenings, he had a peculiar perkiness about himself, one only heard of in unjustifiably optimistic fables and folklore. He would set up his stall at the same spot outside the central park of a posh colony where the elite lived, where the distinctions between the lives of rich and poor were sickeningly stark and apparent.

His regular customers included old people who came for their daily evening walks and little kids, some of whom Prakash had made good friends with given his cheerful and buoyant persona. All was going well until the 2020 lockdown kicked in, pushing the middle class into their homes and jeopardizing people like Prakash into poverty. However, he somehow managed to keep his Matka kulfi business afloat off of his decades of savings. But when the second lockdown hit us hard in early 2021, Prakash had no choice but to let go of his most prized possession, the stall with three bold words written on it like a piece of eyesome artwork. His savings were exhausted and business was unpredictably dangly.

The day came when Prakash had to sell all that remained of this treasured stall to the local ragpickers. The wall against which he used to have his busy stall, now has vaccine awareness graffiti. But he was not teary eyed that day. All he had was pride in his heart and hopefulness of an unshaken man. He looks at the wall reminiscing two gleeful decades, memories he will carry in his heart forever, the smiles of little children exhausted from playing all day, the praises of his kulfi from old men, and twenty years of cherished incandescent time.

9 Oct 2022
Storygram 46

Vipin lost his wife to cancer about five years ago. Coping with grief was an art he was never really good at, hence, in those moments of weakness he resorted to smoking to drown out the voices in his head, to fill the void his wife’s death left behind, with smoke. His son, a hopeful young soul, however, never liked this coping mechanism of his. He hated it when Vipin’s clothes reeked of cigarettes, of dying lungs and curtailed age. The house filled up with incessant coughs of despair and hopelessness. He was adamant that he will make his father quit smoking and finally after months of pestering him to quit, he was successful. Vipin promised he would never touch a cigarette again in hopes that he will see his son grow old in front of his eyes and be a good father.

But fate has its own ways. Sadly two years later, Vipin’s son passed away too due to acute leukemia leaving Vipin severely mentally ill, hopeless and hallucinogenic. He relapsed into chain smoking and had frequent deranged hallucinations leading to a distorted sense of reality. One evening, as he sat on the sidewalk, unable to walk due to an inordinate amount of nicotine in his blood, he heard his son’s voice muffled by deafening sirens and traffic.

“Why did you start again? Why dad? You broke the only promise you ever made me ” The voices grew louder and louder each passing minute. Vipin turned to his right to see his son sitting right next to him. He stretched his hand out to touch his son's face but it withered away into the glittery twilight, like retreating golden sun rays running to hide behind the horizon. Who was he? A fragment of his distorted, fragmentary imagination at best.

“I quit because it might kill me and leave you alone. Who do I have to live for now?" Vipin passed out on the footpath talking to an empty sky.

18 Sep 2022
Storygram 45

“Mohanlal and sons, since the 1950s”, engraved in gold letters on a board, stood a gigantic shop in the heart of Nehru Place. The shop possessed a legacy of more than 60 years, having a name for itself in the city. Mohanlal’s great-grandson, Heeralal was currently running the shop, smoothly and with grandeur. They were known for being the best in the game, one of its kind in the tailoring business. But then came the dark times as the pandemic kicked in, at the beginning of 2020.

Fast forward to 2022, one fine evening as Heeralal was packing up his things to call it a day, a man, an old customer and family friend of ‘Mohanlal and sons’ recognized him from afar, working on a small table in a corner of a bustling street. He came running towards him and gave him a hug. “Where have you been? I took a stroll around Nehru Place a few months ago. The shop is now a restaurant. I rang the shop phone number a couple of times, but no one answered. I have been searching for you, my friend.”

“Where do I start?” said Heeralal with a doleful sigh.“The pandemic wasn’t so easy on us. The shop was the first one to go. Babuji went next. And then my wife. I have only my children to live for now.”

Heeralal’s friend’s face turned to the darkest shade of blue, his mouth wide open.

“Everything turned into a nightmare from a dream. I had to sell the shop. Babuji and my wife’s treatment exhausted all our savings. I was too depressed to keep the business running. I couldn’t manage to give the staff their bread and butter anymore. Practicing my art of tailoring on this small table now.”

“My condolences to you. I never thought you would be in this state right now. I cannot even imagine what you have been through. Life is so unfair. How do you keep going? How have you not given up on life yet?”

A soft smile escaped Heeralal’s lips, looking like an embraced battle wound scar, he whispered in the bravest voice known to humankind, “To continue being alive is also an art, beautiful and grotesque.”

4 Sep 2022
Storygram 52

Life isn't all about the hustle and bustle. Sometimes taking a break can make you feel more alive than anything else. It's only when we slow down that we truly appreciate the people and things around us. You realise the value of those who stand by your side once you have lost them. Wealth, power, fame, a man can attain it all but in those moments of your life when you feel empty and lonely, nothing can fill up that void.

I am afraid of being alone. Not like I fear ghosts or that I am weak but I am afraid of myself. I am afraid of what my demons might do if I lose my control even for a minute. My fear binds me, it restricts me. But I guess fear binds us all. Afterall, the only thing restricting us to our limits is fear, right? Like, imagine if you didn't have to fear about food or money or love then would you be doing what you are doing? If you didn't fear death or the aftermath of your death would you be alive right now? If you didn't care what's going to happen tomorrow I guess we would start to live in the moment itself and yes this moment is exactly what makes me feel like that. Questioning everything about life, looking at my mistakes, and finally accepting who I am. I'm at the ghat amidst this chaos of birds, yet there is tranquillity and order in that too. All these chaotic thoughts that have been in my mind, I don't care about them anymore.

I don't know much about life but what I can say for sure is that in this moment, I am ALIVE.

29 Jan 2023
Storygram 44

A hunch might not always be simply that.

Summer afternoons are the hottest, especially in Delhi. Most people are inside their homes trying to avoid the scorching sun, leaving the streets deserted. Ansari, a 57-year-old auto-rickshaw driver, was taking his break, busy reading newspapers after lunch. He would deny a ride to any customer if asked for, during that time.

One day, a man came along with a small girl in burkha asking for a ride to the railway station due to an emergency. He denied their request. The man and the child stood on the road waiting for another auto-rickshaw. After a few minutes, Ansari saw that they were still waiting and the kid was hardly able to stand up straight. Seeing the poor kid struggle, he gave in and asked them to hop in. While the kid was getting inside he asked, “Hey kiddo! What’s your name? Are you fine?” She was born deaf and dumb, the man replied, adding that she had injured her leg when she stumbled over a stone.

Something didn't feel right. He saw scars on the kid’s hands when she was entering. Ansari tried inquiring if something was wrong, but the man's responses seemed sincere, as he was at a loss of words to reassure his heart that everything was okay. While they were busy talking, a fast loo blew and lifted the veil. To Ansari’s surprise, the kid's mouth was tapped. The man immediately put down the veil and looked toward Ansari, who continued chatting while acting as though nothing had happened.

Ansari’s suspicion of the duo became stronger, as he remembered reading an article about the increase in kidnappings in the neighbourhood. Determined, Ansari took a turn claiming it was a shortcut. Later, he stopped at a public washroom and promised to come back in a few minutes. A few minutes later, sirens could be heard everywhere.

Seeing the police, the man attempted to flee. But, it was too late. When the police lifted the burkha to reveal the child’s identity, they discovered a boy. The boy’s mouth was taped and he seemed weary, almost lifeless. The boy returned to his family and the police awarded Ansari a certificate for being a good Samaritan.

Ansari was glad he didn’t take his break.

21 Aug 2022
Storygram 43

[Happy] -adj

feeling or showing pleasure

Can I always be happy? Tanya never had an answer to this question.

As a single mother-divorced right after having kids, she was still hurting. It had been a year since her marriage fell apart. Despite the support from her family who loved her so dearly, a 6-digit salary from a very demanding IT job, and lovely 4-year-old twins-for whom she would give up the world, Tanya felt a bottomless abyss inside her. She was depressed.

Her therapist, whom she had been visiting for the past year, suggested she should take some time off from everything. A trip to the mountains could help. With second thoughts and being pushed by her mother, who promised to take care of the kids, Tanya finally claimed her travel allowances for a trip to Manali. Assured, she packed the required itinerary along with her favourite novel.

Manali was beautiful. For the first time, she felt free.

She was herself, free of responsibilities, free from the kids, free from the mundane office, free from the expectations she set.

She went for walks in nature, in her resort, and in the mountains. She wore lilies in her hair, smoked cigarettes, and would sit at the hilltop for hours, looking down upon the moonlit snowy forest. She would call to speak to her kids, but was assured that they were taken care of.

This time, there was something untamed about her, as though she had temporarily set aside the morality of motherhood and divorcee hood. Her walk changed from a safe mother walk to a wilder carefree one.

She prayed to God at the Hidimba Temple and even clicked pictures of the people, the Yaks, and the white rabbits there. She walked the hills along with all sorts of people listening to their life stories.

There was more to her. The solo treks, the alone time, spontaneous planning, random conversations with strangers-whom she'll never meet again, a renewed passion for photography, and river rafting made her realise that. She lived in the penumbral shadow between two worlds, one where she is responsible, so busy that she doesn't even have time to think, and the other where there is rage and chaos like a suicide bomber.

She still didn't have the answer to her question. But she knew she wouldn't be asking herself that question for some time.

7 Aug 2022
Storygram 42

The year was 1999. Kargil conflict had taken its most sanguinary form as thousands were martyred every day. Weeping families filled the streets of India as mothers wept for their dead sons and children innocently waited for their fathers to return home.

But Sulma, on the other hand, had not shed a single tear in twenty-three years on the loss of her only son, Tashi. Every day she would sit on the porch of her home, innocently waiting for her brave son to come back. The neighbors would repeatedly tell her how her son was long dead, and that waiting was futile. They would urge her to go inside as she could fall gravely ill in freezing temperatures, heavy rains, or severe storms. Children in the locality often bullied her and called her names like “the mad woman” they had picked up from adults around them. She would shoo them off and ask them to stop lying and playing around with her.

“You see this chair, this is my son’s. He used to sit here and massage my feet every day. For now, he is gone and fighting for our country. But he will come back. And I will cook him his favorite kheer, with dried makhane, just how he likes”,

“Stop speaking ill of your country’s soldiers”, she would scream at the children angrily.

Sulma was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease years ago. No amount of persuasion will ever get her to believe that she will never see Tashi’s face again. She continued to keep the makhane to dry in the sunlight, hoping to cook her son’s favorite dish one day and eat it with him like they always did. Little did she know that it had been 23 years. Her yesterday is history for the world and her waiting, pointless.

The chair will always be empty, the makhane will continue to dry.

As War laughs in the face of mankind

Leaving widows, mothers, and children to cry.

24 Jul 2022
Storygram 41

The only path to realising your dreams is surpassing your limits.

Amandeep Singh aka ‘Muchh wale sardarji’, the man who gained worldwide recognition after entering himself into the Guinness Book of World Records for using only his moustache to lift a weight of 60 kg, now sells sabzi kachori in the streets of Chandni Chowk.

When he was younger, he wanted to be famous. He was captivated by a man he watched on the television who was lifting weights using his beard. So, he decided to use his moustache to break his record and acquire fame. He did some studies on strengthening facial hair and started working towards it. His family would often get anxious and ask him to stop and instead work on their family shop in Chandni Chowk upon seeing his injuries. When he returned home one day covered in wounds and blood, his mother begged him to stop hurting himself, she couldn't bear to see her son in such a miserable state. His friends and family members would often talk to him about how absurd his dream was and why he should give it up.

He came to the realisation that his goal was no longer fame; rather, he was intent on breaking the firewall and convincing everyone around him that his dream could and would one day come true.

Breaking and hurting himself for months and years he ultimately set the world record. His video of lifting 60kg with his moustache went viral online. He was all over the internet and on the television. His friends and family acknowledged him when they saw how highly regarded he was for his unbelievable accomplishments and how he never gave up in the face of opposition.

He then decided to continue making his family recipe and sell sabzi kachori for a living. Even today, he takes pride for believing in himself and in his moustache for accomplishing what seemed impossible to many.

10 Jul 2022
Storygram 40

Living on the outskirts of Tamil Nadu, Shyamlal was a usual fisherman like most people in his neighborhood. A regular, simple life, a wife he adored deeply, and a warm house with a garden in the posterior. When not fishing, he would often sit in this garden with his wife, playing songs they both grew up listening to, or gardening, one of his favorite hobbies. Everyday he would leave the house in the morning to go fishing in the nearby coastal waters. He was a happy and content man, having everything he could ever wish for and more.

But this happiness didn't last long when one day he got caught in rough waters that overturned his boat, leaving him gasping for breath. Fortunately, or so he thought, a boat came to his rescue and saved him from drowning. As Shyamlal whispered a prayer under his breath, he suddenly found himself surrounded by the Sri Lankan naval police.

'You are under arrest on grounds of smuggling, surrender yourself or we will have to use other methods'.

Shyamlal was confused and begged the police to let him go, repeatedly telling them how he was completely innocent, and that he had nothing to do with this gang of smugglers. But because voices of the weak are never heard and their files are buried in some corner of courts to rot, he was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment.

These 10 years did not go by very easily. Every moment felt suffocatingly frustrating to both of them. Being away from each other felt like being caught in a vicious cycle of indefinite misery.

But time somehow passed. Shyamlal was released and reunited with his wife soon later. Life started to feel normal. They would sit in the garden every evening, listening to their favorite songs, like the old times. The flowers bloomed on the tree Shyamlal planted for the first time in years that day. And in that moment, they were infinite.

3 Jul 2022
Storygram 39

Divyansh noticed a man reading the same newspaper every day as he crossed the street on his way home from work. He would usually walk by and ignore the man.

One day when he left for home early, he came across the man and decided to ask him, "Why do you sit here and read the same newspaper every day?". The man turned towards him, looking astonished. “It’s been a while since anyone has talked to me”. Pointing towards the paper, he said, “This youngster here is my grandson, but my son moved to Mumbai with him, and I haven't seen him since. I just wish to see him once again.” Divyansh recognised the child in the photo. The child was an upcoming actor. Coincidentally, the boy was scheduled to shoot a scene in their area for his upcoming film the next day. Divyansh decided to fulfill the old man's wish and asked him to meet up at the metro station the following day. He took the next day off from work to take the man to meet his grandson. The man was overjoyed to see his grandchild, even through the crowd. Upon returning, the man apologized to Divyansh for wasting his time and expressed gratitude for fulfilling his wish, to which he replied, "I also had fun, so it wasn’t a waste of time."

When Divyansh was returning home the following day, he noticed that the man's spot was vacant but the newspaper lay open, with a picture of the child actor he saw yesterday. Divyansh took up the newspaper and saw an obituary that was written right beneath that article. The photo's resemblance to the man he had spent the previous day with, astounded him. He quickly turned to the front page and saw the date on the newspaper - 26 April 2022. The paper was dated 2 months back! Divyansh kept the paper down as it was and went back to his home, scared.

26 Jun 2022
Storygram 38

It was a bright Tuesday morning. I had left my house at exactly 7:30 AM for my boring job in an office so depressing, I despised every second I spent in it. I proceeded to halt at a tea stall to have my regular cup of ginger tea. In this usual series of events, something strange caught my eye, a child, with eyes so deep it almost felt like he could pierce right through my flesh and read my soul. I walked up to him. Why I did that, I do not know. It was as if a magnet was pulling me towards him. As I approached the sidewalk, he became as lively as a morning bird and immediately asked me if I wanted to know what my future holds. At first, I was confused. But then I saw a bunch of tarot cards in the little pouch in his hands and things started making sense. I answered in affirmative, not because I believed in fortune-telling, but because that child had uncannily intrigued me.

He placed three cards in front of me and asked me to pick one. I did. He looked at me and smiled, rather derisively. “What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Everything. You see this cycle behind me? It's my father’s. Look at its wheels. When he rides it, the wheels start rotating and they only stop, by force, when papa presses the brakes. Your life is like this cycle’s wheels. You are caught. You desperately want to escape but you are scared of pressing the brakes, Aren't you?”

“I don’t understand what you’re talking about. I don’t have any more time to waste. Here is your money. Thanks for your service” I left. But not for the office. I opened Gmail and hit “send” on my resignation letter that had been in my drafts for quite some time now. I had hit the brakes. I was free.

12 Jun 2022
Storygram 36

It’s the little moments that make life big.

He never went to a school to read this quote, but he learnt to live by it. A home that can be barely considered as one, non existent footwear and ragged clothes. It was easy to pass him as just another victim of his times, but for that contagious smile that never left his face. What one would call adversities were his musings. Eventually, he learnt how to be happy with them. A muddy puddle in between the road on a hot day, a nuisance to many, an opportunity to get his feet some relief from the heat. A kid not liking food on the streets, an opportunity to get his stomach filled. An elder person sitting in the park aimlessly, an opportunity for him to strike a conversation and know the tales of the world.

Going about his merry ways, one day he found a balloon that was unable to hold air in it due to a small hole near the open side of it. Seeing him eye the balloon intently, the balloon-seller gave it to him for free as it was anyway useless to him. After getting fully satisfied that no amount of stretching and filling it with his own air would work, he settled on filling it with water. In a hurry to go home and show his elder sister what he found, he stumbled, fell on the ground, and the balloon burst, wetting his only pair of dry clothes along with his feet and hands. Sudden outburst of the balloon attracted a little attention on the busy road, but laughter from the kid grabbed everyone’s heart. A situation that would be embarrassing almost universally was just a moment to enjoy. A passer-by couldn’t help but ask how he was so happy, he simply replied “My name is Farhaan, I am destined to be happy”.

The kid with no education knew happiness is a choice.

3 Apr 2022
Storygram 35

Accidents are life-altering events. Severe mishaps might have lasting effects on the body but there are also mental repercussions. One's outlook towards life might change after a life-threatening injury. And that is exactly what happened to him.

He wasn't always on the streets. In fact, he once was well off enough to fend for himself and even send some money back home. But it didn't last long. Call it fate, but he got involved in some dirty business and ended up losing everything. Addiction quickly followed and soon he found himself sleeping on the streets. He survived on the little money that generous trespassers gave him. He wasn't alone but he was always lonely. One evening, he got hit by a speeding car. Moments before passing out, he thought he was dying and was surprisingly calm. But he woke up the next day to blinding hospital lights. Much to his disappointment, he was alive. The person who hit him was the one who brought him to the hospital. He had paid his bills and also left some money for him.

He was given good care at the hospital. People were nice to him! He was constantly told that he would be as good as new in some days. It took him a long time to accept the fact that apparently, he wasn't as unworthy as his situation made it appear. He came to an understanding that he could still turn his life around. Yes! This was a wake-up call. A message from the divine!

After his discharge, he did go back to the streets. But it wasn't the same man. Oh no, this one had a different perspective towards life. And a weighing machine! A weighing machine wasn't much, but it was all he could buy with the money left for him. It was something to start with. His body might appear like that of an aging man, but in his mind, he is as young and as prepared as ever!

19 Feb 2022
Storygram 34

If someone asked Priyanka how to take good pictures, she would recall what her instructor at NID told her 10 years ago.

“Technical perfection, story, meaning and feeling are valuable to judge any photograph.” Whenever she took pictures, Priyanka tried to perfect at least three of these values.

Waking up at 3:18 am to see the first ray of sunshine at Konark Sun Temple wasn’t easy for Priyanka. After snoozing off 3 alarms(each snooze costing her 15 minutes), drinking a cup of hot mocha coffee and an exciting drive of 2 hours, she arrived just in time to witness the pink-blue sky. The temple slowly developed an orange hue and transformed into its bright sunlit splendour in about twenty minutes.

Priyanka crouched on the Khondalite stone and looked around. Her mind went blank. She could perfectly capture the scene with suitable sharpness, low noise, background lighting and contrast. Technical perfection.. check, she thought. The stone-carved wheels serving as sundials, the horses, the ruins, the moist air, uncanny silence, everything at that moment seemed a tribute to the sun god. She needed to convey something through the photo. Make people look through her eyes, direct their heart and mind with precision and truth. She wanted to give her photo a story.

It was photography that kept her dedicated, passionate and almost half-crazy to make others feel what she felt.

18 Nov 2021
Storygram 61

In the bustling streets of Mumbai, Ahmed, a devoted father, worked as a vegetable transporter, with his son Ali faithfully accompanying him on their daily deliveries. The air carried a scent of spices and despair. Together, they maneuvered down narrow alleyways and vibrant marketplaces, their lives intricately woven into the fabric of their daily journeys. With unwavering determination, Ahmed bore the weight of sacks filled with fresh produce on his stooped back. This day held a special significance for both father and son, marking a new chapter that would deviate from their usual path.

As they cycled through the neighborhoods, passing luxurious high-rises where laughter echoed from balconies adorned with flowing curtains. Ali gazed at the streets and passersby. His innocent eyes held dreams and longing as he asked, "Abbu, will we ever have enough money for new clothes?" Ahmed's heart ached, his grip tightening on the handlebars. With a voice heavy with hope and sorrow, he replied, "Soon, my son," he assured him, his voice trembling with emotion. Glistening with unshed tears, Ahmed's eyes carried the weight of their unfulfilled dreams, a testament to the hardships they had endured. "One day," he promised, his voice filled with a resolute determination and a glimmer of hope, "we will have a home where laughter replaces tears, where our hearts find solace." Unbeknownst to Ali, their path would soon be altered, as he would accompany his father on a small yet significant journey—to school.

Perched on a worn-out sack of garlic, Ali clung tightly to his father's back. Ahmed smiled, his eyes reflecting pride and joy. "Today, my son, I will fulfill a promise I made to you long ago. I am enrolling you in a school."

"Remember, my son, education is the key that unlocks doors to many opportunities," he continued, conviction lacing his voice. "Never let anyone tell you that your dreams are out of reach. While we may lack the luxuries of a big house or new clothes, education is a beacon of hope, a chance to break free from the chains of poverty. Your dreams, my son, carry the weight of our hearts."

28 May 2023
Storygram 33

Captain Somar Sharma might be commanding the 4th Jat unit of the Jat Regiment, but for his 6-year-old daughter, Chavvi, he was her world.

He would contact his family every alternate day from Bareilly and even come to Delhi to celebrate their special days. Somar narrated stories of his quests and hardships to his wife and daughter. Every second night, one could see an eager, big-eyed kid begging her father on call, to tell the stories of the valour of soldiers who thwarted and tricked the enemy forces.

His wife, Rashmi had to follow a protocol of strict privacy and confidentiality, where she didn't share any details about Somar or his posting. Rashmi had endured countless sleepless nights worrying for her husband. She put up a bold face to support her husband, no matter which adversities came. Things were going like they had been for the past 5 years, when a piece of news swept them off their feet.

Somar was promoted to Major, a week before 15 august and had to relocate to the army camps at the Sino-Indian border within the next week. Most parts of Arunachal Pradesh were sparsely populated, with poor signal connection and heavy precipitation making it a herculean task to keep the enemy at bay. This also meant that Chavvi wouldn't be able to hear her father speak for weeks. But, this week was special. Somar took the whole week off to spend time with his family. The black thread his wife tied to his wrist gave him the courage to face -20 degrees Celsius at a height of 14,000 feet. These fond memories of his family will help him make it through any hardship.

Chavvi still remembered the last thing his father said, "No matter what, I will always be proud of you."

Indian Army — When we utter these two words, our mind fills with respect and gratitude to their sacrifice and nobility. JAI HIND

5 Sep 2021
Storygram 32

In the moments just before the commencement of the play, the whole backstage was chaotic, yet, Subhash, the veteran theatrical actor who had given this exact same performance in 15 states prior to today’s show was quiet and lost. He knew all his dialogues by heart, in fact, he even remembered the dialogues of others too. Still, after doing all of this, he could feel the cacophony of his throbbing heartbeat gradually rising in the ears, and soon, the only thing he could hear was his own heartbeat, louder than the noise of trumpets. It was a plight he had made his peace with now. He came into the world of theatre to overcome this stage fright and soon he found himself in love with this art. But he could never overcome this anxiety of performing before the crowd.

Today was no different. The make-up artist was giving his final touches. He was a young man, trying to talk to him to move his face up so that he could fix the beard better, oblivious of the fact that Subhash couldn’t hear him now. All the noises were just a chaotic sound of ‘dhak-dhak’ to him now. Sometime later, Subhash found himself behind the curtains, staring at them without blinking until someone shouted to dim the lights and raise the curtains. He heard it. The cacophony started turning into a melody and started receding like a sea wave. And as soon as the curtains were raised, he found himself, again, as he had all these years.

The show had begun.

19 Jun 2020
Storygram 31

The sun isn't up yet. The birds are chirping, as if heartily inviting dawn. The old man is turning off the solar lamps which were recently installed in the parks. As he walks along the path turning off the lamps, the young cricketers greet him as they enter the park. They are followed by some elderly men, all ex-servicemen, who greet him warmly for he has been the loyal caretaker of the park for many years now. People soon start pouring in from the second gate too. The lush green park is soon bustling with people from all kinds of age groups. The park has become a grand sports arena, featuring kabbadi, badminton, football, cricket and loads of made up games too. There are a few runners making their way among the throngs of walkers on the gravel path. Everyone seems to be enjoying, except for one little man who seems to have lost his red ball somewhere near the benches. The benches are the popular spots among the elderly. After their morning walks, they retire on the benches and talk and laugh, reminiscing their youth. One seventy year old woman with rich grey hair finds the red ball and hands it to the overjoyed little boy. Just like my grandson, she thinks and smiles.


The grey-haired woman is a retired doctor. When she sees the news, it breaks her heart. It has been two weeks and she hasn't stepped out of her home. She misses her friends, their morning walks and the stories they shared on the benches. They often call each other, but she dearly misses the fresh air and the fragrance of the flowers. The park gives an abandoned look. The fallen leaves have covered the gravel path. The grass has not been trimmed for weeks now. Ever since the outbreak of COVID-19, the number of people started thinning daily. No one has been coming since the lockdown. The benches stand lonely. It seems like they have been this way for a long time now. Nobody knows for how much longer will they remain this way.

The sun isn't up yet, but it will be. The sun will shine on us again and we will win this fight against the coronavirus. It takes a group effort to energize a park and it will take a group effort to fight against this virus! Let us stay strong and stay indoors!

28 Mar 2020
Storygram 30

Humanity wept, justice trembled.

Souls scarred, bodies dismembered.

It struck again. It massacred again. Ruthlessly, it tore apart families. A mother sobs on her boy's corpse. An inconsolable daughter begs her father to open his eyes. A brother carries her sister, crying for help. Innocence is lost. Fear is all there is. Fear that it will strike again.

It is merciless.

It is blind.

It is terrorism.

Terrorism has no face, no identity. It's lurking among us, as one of us, seeking revenge. And we, the lucky ones, are the audience and the victims. We must no longer kneel down to its madness. We must no longer bow our heads helplessly. It is high time to stop it for good. It is high time to heal the world, to make it a better place.

26 Apr 2019
Storygram 29

The street lamps shone and the moon wasn't there,

And the cold wind blew with the cold cold air.

A haunting silence crept in in this eerie affair,

The solemn steps passed, mutely, in their lair.

The path was rarely trodden on at night time. The seclusion of the scene captivated the few who sought a distraction from the bustle of.

Indeed, the shadowy path provided the solace that some desired.

19 Apr 2019
Storygram 28

It's bricks and stones and that's all it is.

He had been here countless times and wondered what attracted all these tourists to this ruinous fort. He had seen thousands of new faces every day. Faces of different colors, different ages, and different races. Where these faces came from, he didn't know. But all the faces had the similar expression of awe for the ancient monument. The boy, like many others there, sold traditional souvenirs. But unlike others he dared to dream of getting away from this place. He yearned to know where the tourists came from. He desired of exploring that other side of the world. After all, what good was this old ruin?

It was bricks and stones and that's all it was.

12 Apr 2019
Storygram 27

Being an octogenarian had taken a toll on his body. His knees were weak, back stooped and arms frail, but he still managed to join his hands for a heartfelt prayer at the Madurai temple. The memories of when he would come to this very temple with his grandfather are foggy, but he distinctly remembers the last time his grandfather accompanied him. From that day forth, his father used to walk him here. Through his thick-lensed spectacles, he looks upon at the idols of the gods he has obediently prayed to all his life. His grandfather is no longer there. And his father is no longer there. But the idols are still there, like they always have been.

5 Apr 2019
Storygram 26

Though animals cannot express their feelings linguistically, they express their emotions through actions. The two goats, bound with ropes, stand timidly in scorching heat. They care for each other and their affection is shown with their actions. Despite the fact that they are bound, they support each other.

29 Mar 2019
Storygram 25

A woman plays many roles in a family – daughter, sister, wife, and mother – throughout her life, always prioritizing others before her. A mother's care is the purest form of love, while a sister's support is unparalleled. A daughter whose parents' eyes gleam with pride, and a wife whose sacrifices are the backbone of a family. A woman is many shades but not a hue of weakness. Her poise expresses both dignity and grace even in the harshest situations, and that's what defines her.

Happy Women's day!

8 Mar 2019
Storygram 24

Heal the world

Make it a better place

For you and for me

And the entire human race

There are people dying

If you care enough for the living

Make it a better place

For you and for me

2 Mar 2019
Storygram 1

To them, their world is within the boundaries of their slum. In spite of being poor, they are happy.

But are they happy? We easily assume that the poor are happy and praise their good attributes, their thankfulness and conclude from these smiles as evidence that they are happy even after being caught up in the most vicious lifestyles they live in. But doing this only removes our burden of guilt, the burden of being involved in something which is morally wrong and all the forces that urge us to act. Why is it that despite knowing the carefree nature of childhood, we tend to neglect the actual reality behind these smiles? Why is it that for us, poor are happy is an easier narrative to go with than the fact that the poor are vulnerable and will smile back if provided with some short-term benefits? We have to understand that poverty is a lack of options, choices & autonomy which basically means diseases, children dying young, illiteracy, hunger, child labor, oppression and the fact that nobody can be happy in such circumstances...

Picture Credits - Sunny Rauniyar

Story Credits - Raghav Bansal

15 Jul 2017
Storygram 23

She was frantically searching through a list of 42 names

and reading the name beside number 39,

she was plunged in a cloud of despair,

her heart wrenching with pain,

blurred images danced in front of her teary eyes-

'All dressed in his uniform. Oh her handsome man!

With a backpack on his shoulder he left and never looked back.

And how she waved him goodbye little knowing that it shall be her last.'

While her friends were busy celebrating the day of love

Her husband also lay his ultimate sacrifice for his beloved; his motherland.

How he provided a shoulder to his nation to fire arms

Will now himself return home on four shoulders

Shrouded in the tricolour, wrapped in martyrdom forever.

15 Feb 2019
Storygram 22

The Bofors Howitzer stood strong in all its glory, and in front it stood two people. The little boy was in absolute awe of the grandiosity of the machine. The giant wheels and the extended barrel left him in wonder. His grandfather had felt the exact same stream of emotions some thirty years ago when he first operated on the beast. It was a long time ago, but being in the presence of the Howitzer again had sent him down the memory lane. He smiled as he remembered some of the most cherished moments he had spent while serving in the Army. It was a cold morning, but warm nostalgia comforted him. It was a cold morning, but he felt at home.

10 Feb 2019
Storygram 21

A cold and dark December morning. A thick mist hangs over the dawn. His boat pierces through the calm glacial waters. The mist does not deter him, for he has rowed in many such mornings before. What most dearly awaits him, is not the destination nor his duty, but the migratory birds. Over the years, they have become his most cherished friends who come to see him once a year. The only sounds heard in this serenity are that of the flapping of wings and of him sprinkling sunflower seeds around him. The birds create a symphonic chaos around him as he disappears into the mist.

1 Feb 2019
Storygram 20

My journey begins from when I'm cocooned within my parents and when they burst open, I was left alone for the wind to take care of me. It was only a matter of time that I was buried deep in the ground to sprout to life from there. Once this hard work was done, my friends and I went for a leisure ride at the weaving place and ended up looking all lean and funny. We couldn't stop laughing at each other that day. But the next day separated us for the different kinds of work we were destined for. I was painted all red and was entrusted to this man. God knows where I'm going to go next because I don't seem to have a settled life.

23 Sep 2018
Storygram 19

The very embodiment of contentment is when you live amongst such chaos and still call your workplace 'paradise'. When you are sure about your own opinions and choices, despite that certainty missing in obtaining the indispensables.

20 Jul 2018
Storygram 18

Everyone wants a good kid who listens to what they say and behaves maturely.

But ultimately it's those innocent, yet naughty monkey-like tricks and tantrums that would be missed.

27 Apr 2018
Storygram 17

Reality and feet that tie her firmly to the ground- Her vehicle has 3 wheels.

Expectations and heart that reaches the skies- Just one more wheel to lose to soar like an eagle above.

6 Apr 2018
Storygram 16

At times I sit solitary

Nursing my wounds,

Embracing my fears,

Introspecting; Contemplating; Reflecting.

Looking for hues to enliven my life with,

Little realizing that the umbrella of the spectrum of colours is just round the corner.

30 Mar 2018
Storygram 15

And thus I walk through the sands of time,

Escaping dark shadows; facing the sun,

Hoping to create an impression.

Leaving footprints intense enough,

Just to be a debossed memory

With a sole desire to escape oblivion.

23 Mar 2018
Storygram 14

Just the perfect timing to burn the Holika residing in you.

Just the perfect timing to wash away the residue.

Just the perfect timing to give some color to the world around you.

2 Mar 2018
Storygram 2

What an exhausting day it was today. First of all, people at school expect you to memorize all the alphabets. Like come on, who can do it in one day? On top of it, the little monkey Riya, whom you are sure was picked up from a dustbin, ate your chocolate that you have been waiting to have since morning. There is only so much hardship one can take. But then your hero appears and scoops you up to the place where you can finally be at peace. Not to forget the pink delight that's not only eye candy, but soul food. And yes you heard it right, you can have it all by yourselves.

Story credits: Ashwani Senapati and Shalini Duraisamy

21 Oct 2017
Storygram 13

Split I am,

A part of me wants to take risks wants to breakthrough

while the other wants to stay secure and thus I sit

here dual-minded and restless forever.

25 Feb 2018
Storygram 12

From once upon a time, to they lived happily ever after, not all stories are printed on colorful picture books. Some are etched forever in our memories.

10 Feb 2018
Storygram 11

Forget all grief, all sorrow,

For there's always a new tomorrow.

A new morning, a new sunshine, a new day

Is waiting for you to find your way.

3 Feb 2018
Storygram 60

The bustling marketplace was alive with the sounds and smells of commerce. The vendors called out their wares, enticing customers with their colorful display of fruits and vegetables, clothes and shoes. In the midst of it all, a man could be seen making his way down a narrow alley, his arms laden with six heavy containers of drinking water. As it has been rightly said, “the status of the job doesn’t determine its worth; the effort you put into it does“, this man has tried to live by those words his entire life.

The man's name was Sunil, and he was a water seller. He made his living by delivering water to the vendors and shopkeepers of the market for their daily use during the working hours. It was hard work, but Sunil took pride in his job and the essential service he provided to the community.

As he made his way down the alley, Sunil's muscles strained under the weight of the containers. He was careful not to bump into the vendors and their carts, navigating the crowded space with practiced ease. He knew that a spill could mean contracted profits and angry customers.

Despite the heat and physical exertion, he remained focused on his task. He knew that his family depended on him to provide for them, and he took that responsibility seriously. He also took pride in the fact that his work helped to keep the market running smoothly, ensuring that everyone had access to clean drinking water.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Sunil reached his destination. He carefully set down the containers, wiping the sweat from his brow with the back of his hand. As he looked out over the crowded marketplace, he felt a sense of satisfaction wash over him. He knew that he had done his part to keep the community healthy and thriving, and that was all that mattered.

14 May 2023
Storygram 59

"Rohan! Get a passport-size photo clicked, today is the last date to paste it in the diary" Rohan's mom screamed from the window as he rushed towards his dad, who was waiting for him. He just gave his father a guilty smile, and his dad sighed, revving the engines of his 'Bajaj Chetak'.

"Nawab sahib, hold on tight, anyways today again I will be late for office because of you." With that, he held on to his father, leaving light creases on his ironed shirt.

Rohan recalled fond memories of

his childhood at Gopi Kaka’s studio while waiting for his passport-size photos. Almost a decade has gone by since he has known this place, and nothing has changed. Old cameras still decorated the windows, and his tools were spread all over his workspace. But there was one very old, rather captivating photo that caught his attention.

"Kaka whose photo is that?"

“Oh, that! That’s a photo of my childhood vacation from Haridwar. My father took me there considering my love for travelling. That’s why I love cameras so much. Ye chhota sa dabba bina kisi saadhan ke kaahin bhi hone ka ehsaas dila deta hai."

On his way back home, Rohan couldn't help but remember Rick Riordan's quote, "It's funny how humans can wrap their minds around things and fit them into their version of reality." Gopi Kaka wanted to travel the world, but the shackles of financial responsibility didn't allow him to. He then manipulated his perception of his family business and accepted it as an outlet for his dreams to grow. Life might have made him a character in its treacherous joke, in which a lifeless object got to travel more than a human waiting for his turn, but he outsmarted life and made inner peace with it. Maybe it is what we all are doing with ourselves, creating our own image irrespective of the shapes and sizes of the puzzle pieces.

7 May 2023
Storygram 58

When Kahlil Gibran wrote “Your children are not your children, they are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself; They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you yet they belong not to you”, what he meant was not just that a parent can’t force their thoughts and opinions on their children, but also the fact that children like birds, can't, and must not, be caged in. Else they either develop a bitter resentment or partake in rebellions-often without a cause-against their parents, resulting in a turbulent childhood.

Sheetal’s husband passed away from liver cirrhosis when her children were nine. He was a drunkard, not interested in his family or children. His death left the family broken and bereft. She then decided that her children will not inherit their father’s fate.

Thereon, she practiced uninterrupted control over her children in all forms. From what they wore to what degree they pursued, from who they became friends with to monitoring their every move. Her intentions, although presumably righteous, slowly and surely distanced her children from her. Sheetal being unaware of her toxicity, blinded by an urge to build a bright future for her children, forgot to give her kids the space and liberty to experience life from their own lens. Not surprisingly, both her children moved out as soon as they graduated college and got decent jobs, keeping only minimal contact with her.

So now Sheetal sits alone in the bright sunlight of her home, hoping to drain out the darkness in her life, waiting and waiting for the postman to bring the money her children seldom send home. Was she really so erroneous for wanting the best for her kids? When did she become so ignorant of everything that was happening right in front of her eyes? The guilt is consuming, the remorse is incessant.

But every now and then there is a soft voice, a knock on the door of her rusted heart telling her she tried her best. She keeps on living for the voice, but that too will drain out gradually. With age, she knows everything that’s right and everything that was wrong.

23 Apr 2023