A Discussion on Midnight’s Children, A Fine Balance and Magical Realism

The origin of the post is the hours long thought process after reading A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry and Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (and the origin of the thought process is not being able to write anything for my blog for a long time).


Now comes the reason of this post and the reason of your wasting (Is it?) time on this fairly unpopular blog and its posts. The reason is this: according to me very few people have a good idea about what magicrealism means and what it is about and why the above mentioned books should not be called a hugely different books.

First of all, let me give a brief account about what the above books are about, which you can find in description section of corresponding Goodreads pages and of course we have wikipedia! And before proceeding any further, let me spell it out; if you have not read or if you have no idea or if you plan to read the above two books, then you can stop right now (and miss some arguably interesting observations).

So here are the short accounts of the books:

A Fine Balance: This is set in emergency situation in India during 1977 where we have a uncle and his nephew treading through different areas of India (both cities and villages) and experienced the awful things that people had suffered at that time.

Here, Rohinton (I’m calling him by first name because I love and respect him too much.) uses those two characters as a magnifying glass to let us see and feel what was happening at that time and how people’s mindset had been changing correspondingly. That’s all. (I now safely assure you that you have not missed much about the book if you are planning to read the same.)

Midnight’s Children: Here Salman (First name because he is admirable, funny and friendly) has apparently done something different. I’ll come to that in a moment, just hold on a bit.

Midnight’s Children is about India’s sociopolitical (mostly political) situations that shaped the nation as it is now. In this book too the central theme was the emergency situation and the happenings in that time (note: beautification, vasectomy etc you can find in the two books.) And a lot of awful events had happened with most of the characters in this book.

Now here I’ll spill the beans about magical realism and a comparison between the two books. In A Fine Balance, you’ll find a conventional, Dickentian style narrative, which is so finely (pun intended) done that it has almost universal appeal (note: just have a look at any random review of the book). It is raw, ripe and ruthless.

In Midnight’s Children, however, things gets a bit different. Here you’ll find people having flying, metamorphosizing, telepathizing and thus in total 1001 (Yes, it’s a fact.) such capabilities. Add to this happenings like dogs suddenly protecting a politician, mother visualizing all about her daughters’ dreams, monkey intentionally ruining a lifechanging deal, girl vanishing persons in her basket, a nation conspiring to make drastic changes in our main character’s life and thus affecting the fate of an entire nation. (Yes the main character is so godly and supernatural that anything happening in his life has reflected to the nation’s fate.) In short: it’s all very symbolic and extremely sarcastic. This is a new kind of writing process to hammer more boldly the same things in a new way.

Midnight’s Children could have been easily written like this: Saleem is boy born in a muslim rich family with no magical power whatsoever, and gradually with change in political situations of nation his life takes turns and he goes through an awful lot of sad things; he goes to places, always crying and invoking mercy in the reader, and can do nothing to prevent it etc etc(which actually happens in A Fine Balance).

Rather, Salman has chosen a hugely sarcastic and arrogant tone, making fun of the victims and readers and constantly referring to vast Indian mythological events. Without magical realism (A world where magic happens and none recognizes it as magic; a basic difference between fantasy and magical realism.), without assuming such outrageous and illogical facts in Rushdie’s book, could it be symbolized to depict history of a nation via merely life story of a character? Could the miseries of a nation be described in an utterly cruel and sarcastic tone by making fun of a character’s pain? It maybe possible, but it’ll be hugely boring and bigger and more difficult.

On a slightly out-of-the-track note: One Hundred Years of Solitude could never be written if there was no magical realism or perhaps, there would not be any Franz Kafka or Haruki Murakami.

The point is: Magical realism is NOT a GENRE of English literature, it is a literary TOOL, same like allegory or oxymoron. So don’t run away from a book because it is written in magical realism technique; it can be fun and it just tries to show a realistic world through a different magnifying glass so that you can recognize and understand the situation more vividly and tequilically (note: tequila is a strong alcohol).

P.S. My future endeavors in literature may cross a line or two with magical realism.



Steam by Anirban Nanda


*Provocative words are used with vivid implications.

*Do not read if you are easily offended by abusive words.


I am invincible, I am invisible, and I am everywhere. You can find me in morning while making tea, while taking tea and while fucking your secretary. It is a steam, a steam of prickly conscience. It accumulates on your face and that’s why it is moist when you fuck your secretary (and not to mention, you are moist the whole body, especially because of your thirsty shaft thrusting and drinking sexblood from the infinite pit). I’ll not take the whole credit of moistening your face; it was wet partly because of sweat. But your face is so hot that, the perspiration boils up and turns into steam, me; a prick in your mind, a constantly nagging presence of a thorn whose existence can only be felt in future. Funny it is though; recognising something’s presence in past. But actually, if you think that you can dry yourself in your fancy ac room after the sex, thinking that sweat will vanish and you will be same again like before the sex, then you are a miserable imbecile. Don’t you know I am invincible? While you are drying yourself in your ac room, I sneak past your body right into your soul. And you fool; you think I am gone just in a flick! You deceive yourself assuming that you’ve defeated me by sitting few minutes in your ac room and watching your naked secretary dressing herself, fully concentrated on the dressing procedure, without any expression. Each time you take her in, a small part of your soul will be replaced by me. From today, you won’t be having a sound sleep.

Above all, a fresh soul is my favourite dish. I roam from people to people in search of a palatable soul. Once I see someone doing a thing he shouldn’t do, I enter into his body and wait, I‘ll wait for that wrong step, that one slip from conscience and my dish will be ready. I take a piece and eat it ravishingly, munching the crunchy thing. You should actually thank me, because the part I eat will soon be rotten and that one rotten piece will soon contaminate the whole thing, your entire soul. I eat a part, depending how much your soul is wasted, and then replace it by steam, me. So basically I save your soul. You can call me SOS too. Ha ha ha. Just kidding. The steam is just a fake replacement. Because you know, you can’t touch or see me; I take an empty place, exactly similar to air. And I forget one thing to tell you that, as you are enjoying your secretary and then you’ll return home and again enjoy your wife, a part of me in your soul will ooze out and enter into hers too. No matter, how much precaution you take, with each day of deception, I’ll cloud your wife’s soul little by little.

Do you know I have a twin brother? We are so much connected that; we can exist in one form, in one body. Ever heard of Schrödinger’s cat? No? It is a theory where one can be dead and alive at the same time. My brother is just like that. Let’s play a game. I will give you clue and you’ll try to identify my brother. Will you play? Yeah? That’s the spirit. Yes spirit means soul you moron, I am not in mood to praise you. Okay, clue number one; we can be both present in one form. I mean, you will either able to detect me, or my bro, not both of us at the same time. Got it? Now guess. Anger? No you fool. Let me give you another clue, there is fine line between he and I, we can convert into one another within moment. Still, we have many differences; we are quite opposite. Can you guess? It’s becoming boring. Either you give me the answer or today is the last day you fuck your secretary. Cool down, cool down. Don’t panic. Think and give the answer. Fear? You are quite close buddy. But rules are rules. You are done. Actually it is suspicion. You thought that? Yes you asshole, I know you got it because I am in your soul. You’ve forced me to call you an asshole. Yes you are a big arsehole. You can’t believe it is suspicion, because you are overconfident. Now take that and go home and there you will find your wife, suspicious. Do you think you can find another family in this age, at fifty? You had a complete family; a loving wife, two adorable daughters. Now you have exchanged them for another young body. What? You want to give penance. Okay what penance? Money? Shove that in your arse you and we’ll meet in hell. Give it to me then, you smugfuck. Today the cloud acquired in your wife’s soul for so many days will be converted into suspicion. And you will lose your family. Best of luck! You are to spend rest of your days alone and nights in restless, sleepless wandering.


©Anirban Nanda

MIRRORED by Anirban Nanda


The icy cold air of the reading room dried every sweat, tension and drenched me with relaxation and calmness. Tugging my laptop and a thin paperback copy under my right underarm I settled in a corner chair. I kept the laptop charger cable and water-bottle from my other hand on the polished yellow table. A curve-edged four-seater table, with comfortable chairs and racks full of magazines and books just beside to read.

Another laptop; a red Sony, open and gaping at me, and a spiraled copy were already resting on the table opposite to my chair. I desired a lonesome corner where I could scribble down something or read the unfinished novel I had been reading for few days and so I sought to seek any other more private seat. But unfortunately to my dismay, all the other seats were either occupied or even though few seats were empty, they didn’t have any plug-point facility nearby where I could connect my laptop charger. Hence, with no other option left, I sat down on the available seat.

The spiraled copy was on the very surface I had to rest my laptop. The other person must have kept it there unintentionally. I, suppressing the urge to see the contents inside, placed the copy beside the red laptop. Finally, being able to settle down successfully, I turned on my computer and while it was taking time to bring on lock-screen, I gazed out of the window beside. Before having lunch a few hours back, sun was burning and boiling everyone, making it impossible to walk outside even with an umbrella, but at that time, the weather became all cloudy and cold. Cold? Maybe the air-conditioned room had clouded my perception of world outside. It must be sulking hot outside, only to torment people more with sweat and restlessness. The welcome tone from my laptop brought me back to reality, a dull noisy din. When I had bought the laptop, the same sound was welcoming and melodious. I typed the password and quickly took a mental note about what I was to do that day. I made a list:

  1. Read A Fine Balance- chapter 3
  2. Watch the online lecture on digital electronics
  3. Start writing the technical paper(abstract and introduction)

As the laptop was ready for work, I instinctively opened the browser and habitually clicked on the facebook tab. I reminded myself: Didn’t have any plan to open facebook. So, I closed the browser taking a look at notifications and opened A Fine Balance; Chapter 3.

Stepping back, she forced a laugh too. “I don’t have anything. That’s why I came here in the night, for the sake of my child.”

“You have got something.” He put out his hand and squeezed her left breast. She struck his hand away. “I only have to shout once,” he warned, and slipped his hand inside her blouse. She shuddered at the touch, doing nothing this time.

Just then the owner of the red laptop arrived, holding a coffee cup in one hand and purse in other. She slowly blew the hot coffee from her curled lips and took a sip. Feeling uneasy, I closed the book and opened my copy. Why feeling uneasy? I scolded myself and then again opened the book.

He led her cringing to the cot and ripped open her top three buttons. She crossed her arms in front. He pulled them down and buried his mouth in her breasts, laughing softly as she tried to squirm away. “I gave you so many oranges. You won’t even let me taste your sweet mangoes?”

With that, I decided to close the book and as I faced up, I blushed. The girl was at me and she was late by one millisecond to remove her eyes back to her laptop. I felt uneasy to read the book in front of her and forcefully coughed to feel more comfortable. Perhaps it was the book that made me look odd? Who would read a fiction in a technological institute library where everyone was busy swallowing knowledge? Or perhaps my uneasiness was clear from my face? Or maybe…just maybe…  nah, couldn’t be.

Then I continued reading the book, feeling delight in every sentence. In between certain intervals, the girl was sneezing, each time covering her face with kerchief and blurting out ‘Sorry’. Why sorry? It’s perfectly natural to sneeze if someone catches cold. Vermillion-nail-polished fingers sparkled with mica was tapping on the keyboard as she was looking on her laptop screen intently. I knew it. So it was a different kind of staring then! The kind of staring when people find something or someone weird.

Though my face was sticking on my laptop I could feel occasional gazes at me. I desperately wanted to go the washroom and take a peek at my face. Is there something wrong with my face?

Getting courage from her repeated gazes, I also looked at her several times, to take revenge or to explore further why she was staring.

A faint smile was always lingering on her face as she typed. Must be her boyfriend. She should not stare at me then. Gazes are dangerous, it have the power to make heroes, even the strongest ones, fall. And I was mere a mortal geek who would jump in fright to confront a harmless lizard. Her overall round face with aptly placed eyes showed how focused she was on her chatting.

Tempted by so many emotions, I thought to write something. So, I instantly opened word-editor in my laptop and started typing whatever was coming into my mind. I had to steal glances of her several times to get a better idea of her face, because I was writing about her.

I was so engrossed in writing that I couldn’t recognize when my bladder was full and it couldn’t hold anymore. I ran to the washroom, and peed. My eyes closed themselves automatically in pleasure as my urachus was relieved of the pressure it was bearing. A faint numbness weakened my legs as I was at the end of my lengthy urination.

I returned to my table and found her gone again leaving the laptop. I could not help but peek at the screen. I was desperate to know why she was staring at me. As I looked closer, I saw a word document with nearly thousand words typed. I was dumbfounded to read the first few lines.

Today, as I’ve come back from my lunch, I see a boy reading ‘A Fine Balance’ just opposite to my chair. I have been reading that book too since few days. Such co-incidence is attention-pulling. He seems a bookish boy, a literary bookish type, not a technology freak.

My heart skipped a beat as I read those lines. It was impossible. I sat down on my chair wondering about the bizarreness of the things that was happening. She returned pasting her phone on her ear and talking agitatedly. I had prepared myself to introduce and talk to her but she hastily piled her belongings and left, still shouting at the phone.

©Anirban Nanda

(Partly based on true events)

Lines in the first two blockqoutes are taken from Chapter 3 of A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.

Thank you for reading, do leave your comments.



by Anirban Nanda


Rahul has the chance to prove his worth today. He’s been waiting for a long time for this opportunity. Ujjal has got out too early today and the opponent has scored 84 in six overs. This is it. It’s now or never. Two overs to go and 24 runs is required for victory. Rahul stands up beside the makeshift boundary formed by tentative connection points between pairs of shoes and broken bricks. Ujjal comes back trotting and swinging his bat with frustration. He shouldn’t have played that square cut too early, which has caused the cambis ball to get height and loft over the boundary. A six in short-cricket is as good as a wicket. He hands over the butter-scotch colored bat to Rahul; their most preferred bat in the whole team. Actually, they do not have many choices─ only Ujjal and Bublu have bats. Rahul marches through the 20 feet diameter ground with pride, looking around to get a glimpse of field distribution and also give his fellow teammates some hope. Rahul is always the last person during the team selection because he never has scored more than 10 runs and taking a wicket is too far-fetched for him. Once, a confident captain gave him an over despite everyone’s disapproval, and he was rewarded with 25 runs; the highest run taken in an over with six fours in all the six balls and one wide. Rahul stands straight in front of the wicket and taps the bat multiple times to smooth any probable uneven surface. It’s just for show. Everyone knows he cannot survive more than 3 balls.

He positions himself to face the first ball; legs apart and bat in between and forefinger of his right hand over the joint of handle. The Britannia sign has worn off like a crescent moon. He looks up at the bowler; the green ball is zooming towards him, twirling and spinning. He transfers his weight to his front foot and swings his bat in a circular curl. The ball bounces off the tow of the bat and sprints through the boundary. He stands there for a second, with his left leg floating in air. The ground remains silent for few seconds. And then everyone sitting cross-legged at the boundary jumps in shouts and cheers. The happiest moment for Rahul. He comes back to the crease, feeling more confident. The bowler, who has now disgraced his team by getting hit by someone like Rahul, throws the next ball with ample velocity. No sooner has the ball dropped a foot away from his leg than Rahul finds the ball in wicket-keeper’s hand. He takes a single in the next ball.

Thus, staying at non-striker end, he survives one over and three balls. That is kind of a record for him. Never has he stayed this long in crease. Ten runs to get in just three balls. He has to hit now, he has given too much hope to his team. Now he cannot back out. This time, the bowler flings the ball targeting the gap in between his leg and bat; the yorker. Rahul somehow manages to move his bat an inch causing the ball to kiss the edge of the bat and roll behind the stumps. Another boundary. Everyone whooped and danced with excitement. The next ball is a dot. Six is needed in one ball, which is impossible in short cricket. Everyone has sat down with hopeless faces. The last ball. Rahul has to hit, for the sake of honor. The ball is thrown so fast that it whizzes past his ear whispering something. The match is lost. Face down, he leaves the bat and walks out to join the team waiting with condemning eyes.

NO BALL! The umpire has declared. It’s an over-bounce. Rahul brightens. Five runs to win and four to draw. He still has a chance. At least he can give them an honorary tie, if not a victory. He runs to the crease, and lifts the bat in excitement. The bowler, worried to see the match slipping out of his hands, holds the ball tightly. It will be a yorker. He taps his bat and concentrates on the green ball. His entire world now is concentrated on that ball. He can’t hear anything, the shouting of the team mates or the swearing of the wicket keeper. The ball is released. It is becoming bigger and bigger with every second, swirling slowly. He blinks and then closes his eyes while swinging his bat with full vigor. The ball hits the sweet spot and runs towards long-off, jouncing and ricocheting on the uneven ground. He sighs in relief. He has become the center of attention as everyone comes down to congratulate him by patting his back. He doesn’t care then if the match has been won.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~THE END~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


A Lagaan to be Paid by Anirban Nanda (Inspired from the movie Lagaan)

A Lagaan to be Paid

Anirban Nanda

Inspired from the epic Bollywood movie Lagaan

Note: Due to copyright issue, character names are changed. However, if the reader has seen the movie he will easily be able to relate to the characters.


The naked children remind me of them ─ splashing water over each other, closing their eyes tight when the droplets try to invade into their eyes, jouncing like mad and laughing like the morning coo of careless birds. Thin red ribbons wrapped around their waist which have rather beautified their naked bodies than symbolizing tradition or superstition. How I have missed this country! This mad rush, this underlying harmony in total pandemonium; this is what I love most about India.

It had been fourteen years, and Beth was returning from fourteen years of self-imposed exile. But there were differences, differences between the epic exile of Sita in Ramayan and this. There Sita was with her love; she loved and was loved back. Mortal lives, most of the time, don’t follow epics.

I am Beth and India is like home to me. But things have changed. I can’t see people travelling in bullock carts or handcarts with an umbrella-holding-servant now. Roads are reigned by roars and honks of motor cars. Still, need a lot to travel; to Champaner. It’s been eons that I’ve seen him. What other reason do I need to come back here? How would he be now, how many children has he fathered? Wonder if he remembers me now. No, don’t think so.

Beth travelled for hours; her eyes were distant, lost in lovely thoughts. How he always mispronounced her name and well, she was not so good too. Sometimes Jagat becomes Jaghaat or Jaghaah. Smirked and she’s realized her co-passengers were becoming curious. She wanted to travel in local train, where she would be able to get closer to Indians, their earthly scent and oddly simple thinking. But a British Mem was not allowed to do that. After all, a ruler couldn’t be allowed to sit with his natives, who were not as simple and tolerating as was in 1893. Sabotages, murders, highly united groups with complicated plans had shaken the entire British Empire. Though Bengal was in lead of all these extremist activities, British took action for India as a whole. But as a ruler they were too clever, and thus they divided Bengal into two expecting a subjugation of uprising. That decision backfired; causing tumult and more extreme rendezvous by rebellious groups. Somewhere, an eighteen years eight months old boy had happily accepted death sentence for his involvement in a plan to assassinate some magistrate. He failed in that mission bombing mistakenly his wife and daughter instead. It was an exemplary incident that ignited more violence and unrest. It was 1908 and previous hatred and abhorrence of the British to natives had transformed into fear and vengeance.

My friends in England rejected me as soon they have come to know that I am in love with him. Hearing his name from my mouth, their face contorted; as though some filthy stinky food had been stuffed into their mouths. I can’t believe I’ve called them friends since my childhood. But forget that past. I am here now, and I am happy that I’ve left England for good.

She reached her residence, the mansion where she once lived and how merrily she had lived! She entered her room and closed the doors. In balcony, she breathed to her lung’s content. That smell, it was different; so different from England. A heavy, moist affection engulfed her, mixed feelings of pain and nostalgia overflowed in her heart and rolled down from her eyes. She hugged the sturdy pillar in balcony, closed her eyes; humming a tune that was very close to her heart.

Hm..hm..hm.hmm.la.la. What a song! Lila is so good at making songs out of nowhere. She is perfect for him. I had to leave. After they won the cricket match in 1893, I left and reached my home in England and no sooner had I entered England than I felt a void inside me. It was maddeningly rueful; I couldn’t concentrate on anything. Friends came; they insisted me to go to plays, concerts and all. But the only thing I liked was cricket and India. Mother and Father even considered consulting a psychiatrist, for they thought I was ‘infected’ with black vices of India. With constant state of depression and indifference I had to become a vagabond. I also could have chosen to kill myself. That would have been far easy and much quicker. Sadly, I wasn’t brave enough to do that.

The first thing that came into Beth’s mind when she thought of leaving her home was: she must visit India. People warned her, advised her to take a better place; like Paris or Russia or Greece. But they were neither cursed with unquenched love nor blessed with enigmatic beauty of India. After taking rest and a little food she decided to take a tour of Champaner, the village that made her fall in love with India and him; her Jagat.

Though basically it was a hot and solemn place, but it had beauty. The cliffs, the wind, the moon and the village. Wearing a white frock dappled with polka dots, she reached the village with expectations to see few familiar and grateful faces again. But it was not in a state she had expected. The whole village was empty, with furnaces still burning, cottages open like some monsters with their mouths agape; waiting for her to enter in anyone of them, only to be swallowed. She lingered around inspecting some broken bamboo sticks or a burned saree or a bloodstained lower edge of thatching. It was noon and heat was already burning her skin. She stood there and looked around, as though if she concentrated better, she’d discover some pranks were being played at her; like all the villagers already knew she was to arrive and prepared a surprise to welcome her. Her tongue poked out a little and touched her lips, and it became parched to moist her lips. She gulped air in her throat and went further into the deeper much familiar realms ─the opening where Lila used to dance and villagers used to celebrate ─ and then she trotted further, towards Jagat’s cottage. With repeated look backs, she stepped forward, wiping her face. As she neared Jagat’s home she heard dull thuds. Heart skipped a beat. She hid herself in someone’s cowshed, with putrid smell of rotten cow dung burning her nostrils. She clutched a bamboo pole nearby, suddenly feeling cold and nauseous. Thuds came closer and louder when she tried to listen more carefully. She couldn’t help but peep to witness something horrible, something she didn’t want to see. It was blank, bright and beautiful as daylight. Nothing. Then a light tap on her shoulder. She shrieked. It was so deafeningly high pitched that even vultures that were circling atop her head flew a bit higher. The fact that the vultures were waiting for her couldn’t touch her mind; she was more petrified and attentive to turn back and see the one who blessed her with the mortifying touch.

Beth found her finger was not trembling, for she at once recognized the tapper was none but one poor British soldier who looked like was on patrolling duty from his outfit.

“Madam, what are you doing here? You must not roam around in these places. Not in daylight and definitely not in night.” The warning and advice both were incapable to reach her. She numbly followed the soldier as he led her to the mansion.

With further interrogation and investigation at the mansion, Beth came to know what happened at Champaner.

As British kept increasing tax even when rain decided not to be kind enough, people started pleading. But they ignored their plight and sent more men to collect the tax forcefully; and things got out of control. Villagers’ pleading first became complaint and then protest. They started capturing British men and vandalized their tents and offices. In return, British took stricter actions. They went with armoured army in the village and captured married women. They striped and tied them with their striped dresses on a platform, summoned their husbands and children to gather in front. Husbands screamed, children squealed to see their wives and mothers raped in turns with critical commentary on their wretched bodies.

Uproar emerged. Unsparing slaughter spilled blood on earth making grass flowers and catkins bloom red. Villagers crept inside offices and slit throats and stomachs inserting chaos in every pore of every living being there. In return, a more elaborate and ruthless action was called by British officers and the village was set to fire a few days before arrival of Beth. Only vultures to feed themselves on charred corpses and dogs to chew the blackened bones and then again to be eaten by vultures dwelled in Champaner.

Many escaped their morbid fate when the village was burning to ashes, with Jagat leading his fellow farmers and families to a desolate far corner of their village. They stayed all night up, moaning for their burned houses, sons, daughters and fathers and groaning holding on to their own burned flesh. The yellow gleam at horizon reminded them of their fuming heart, ticking like a time bomb only to burst any moment. They stayed hidden there for days without food or drink.

Hearts ablaze, survived farmers decided to plan something bigger, harsher. On the other part, in the mansion, Beth was aware of the recent developments in her much loved Champaner. In the night, bribing few servants and ignoring their warnings, she went to the hiding spot of the villagers.

He must be old and matured, wouldn’t be boyish like before. How will he react? Will he even recognize me? Will even they? Oh my goodness, what have happened to this place? Have they gone mad? How can one burn a whole village? Do people know outside of this state? Wouldn’t people become more rebellious from this heinous incident?

Mumbling on her own, she didn’t know when she had reached to the scattered group of bodies littered on sand. Had their chest not elevated a little, she would have thought they were corpses. Only few half-asleep persons registered that someone arrived. Suddenly, the whole clan woke up and started shouting, bringing out spheres and swords. They seized her and roped her near the fire. With this unexpected outburst, Jagat came and silenced all. The moment he saw Beth, he ordered to free her. They protested but at last freed her reluctantly. Few others recognized her too and felt ashamed to welcome her like this. But most of them doubted her to be a spy from British searching there hiding spot. Jagat asked her to sit and have some water and then apologized for not having anything else to offer.

“Don’t say sorry. I know your condition,” Beth replied looking around.

They discussed about everything, about how British showed their brutality, how they carried away protests and how their happy lives were ruined.

“You must return to your country. India is not safe anymore,” Jagat said. “We are happy to see you Memsa’ab, but you must go.”

Jagat stood up. Beth stood up too, with anxious and pleading eyes. Her heart was praying for him to understand her real reason for coming in India. But he went to sleep instructing his friends to show her the path to return. She followed him anyway and kept her hand on his shoulder.  He turned immediately and then hid his face ordering his men, “Take her to her home.” His eyes were shimmering with tears.

They almost forced her to return, and while talking with others, she came to know many things; like Jagat studied hard to get a better job at British administration but was refuted; like he was the best English speaking person in the village. And suddenly she remembered that her proposal in English many years ago was not obscure to him anymore.

He knows. He knows that I love him.

Then she realised he intentionally forced her to return. Her heart ached. Further enquiry revealed blacker truth of Jagat’s life. It was then she remembered Lila. She hadn’t seen her around. Lila was not burned in the recent incident, rather shortly after their marriage, she slipped and fell into the village well. It was noon and none was around to save her. She died with her first child inside her.

Jagat loved her and her only.

It was hard for her to accept the truth.

In her bedroom, Beth cried till her eyes swelled, roamed around muttering indistinguishable words and shouting to her servants without any reason. Miles apart, Jagat changed sides several times in his bed; heart pounding. Next day was crucial as they planned an attack on the British. Swords, spheres, kerosene-filled pouches and drums were ready to be used. He couldn’t sleep.

Next day arrived with more determined and calm Beth. She had decided about her life. She would return to England the next day after meeting Jagat for the last time.

The afternoon sun filled the sky with ochre and Beth went to meet Jagat. As she came closer, she saw a row of burning torch approaching towards her. She froze and was too dumbfounded to decide what to do next. She ran towards the mob shouting and screaming to stop. So excited those mob were that they jumped with thrill and joy to see their first prey, a white skinned lady. They ran with swords and before Jagat could know what the matter was, a sphere already pierced though beside Beth’s navel. Jagat shouted and threw them from Beth with abusive words and he clutched her within his arms. Her face remained agape struggling to breathe and tears were rolling down from her eyes. She gripped his hand for the first and last time.


© Anirban Nanda

This story has been published under Readomania’s ‘To be Continued…’ contest where it has received special mention by the jury. You can find the story in Readomania here.

The fox and the forest

One day, a fox found a shiny, glossy mane. It was so beautiful and attractive that it almost made him look like king lion. So, he wore that mane and went to the forest. Everyone immediately declared him as the king lion and started appreciating his knowledge and understanding and he got his fair share of admirers too. After several days, few started doubting his greatness and ability. Gradually, that few had increased to many. Then, even before everyone consider him as a legend, he declared himself a legendary king. This solidified everyone’s doubt and they rejected him as a fakologist. The fox couldn’t bear it and started questioning everyone’s sanity and knowledge. But then it was too late for the animals in the forest to consider him even as a king.

© Anirban Nanda

[Recently Read] Memoirs of Love

Memoirs Of LoveMemoirs Of Love

Edited by Arkaprava De and Jonali Karmakar

Completed this book a few days ago. A really compact and wonderful book. This book contains a collection of 20 love stories set in recent India and with theme of pain or joy in love which have an indelible imprint in our memory. That’s why the title ‘Memoirs of Love’. Now, let me go straight into stories. Not all the stories are awesome here and so I’ll point my favourites from the collection.

         Memoirs of Love

1. Love letters by Mitali Meelan :
This one is a real gem. A real eye opener. This is really important for it has handled a very sensitive and important topic and that too in a very nostalgic style of love letters. The ending shock is the central attraction of this story.

2. The Second Date by A Raja Rahul
Another innovative piece. Imagine you are the famous cupid in heaven and your remembering a love story that you organised and made happen. Got the idea? S, read it as it has real fun elements and an interesting plot.

3. Whispers of the night by Neeti Banga:  

WOW! this one, I love this one. Some literary aspects that matches with my mindset makes it one of my favourites.
a) Characters don’t have any name. (I love this idea. Even my story Dust from a butterfly have nameless characters.)
b) Poetic style. The language is poemlike.
c) Short, compact and emotional story.
What other reason one need to read this story?

4. Macaroons by Aniruddha KR
A very good story on childish love. A story encompassing two generations.

5. A letter from the past by Chandrapal Khasiya:
A fatherly love-story that will make you smile till the end.

6. The ignited passion of long lost emotion by Aparna Mukherjee
A nice love story. The angle with which a known emotion is handled is unique.

7. Rain- elixir of love by Aabha Pandey :
A winner for its language and emotion. A fine story.

8. Memoirs of love by Harshita Goel :
A unique story. How motherly love can become a wonderful experience is the key to this story. Small and nice.

Also stories like Never Again by Kavya Shah ; An Incomplete Heartbeat; Jab we met & A special day will have a special place in my heart.

This book demands a applause for its wonderful collection of love tales that will touch every human being.

View all my book experiences
Buy it here

The Wet Railing by Anirban Nanda

I wrote this story to fight with my writer’s block participating in #1000wordsmarathon. I wrote it within 50 mins. Hope you would like it.


by Anirban Nanda

What will you feel if you are tied to an iron for your whole life? Pretty bad, nah? Well, think about me. Yes, me. I am a railing; a thin cylindrical metallic rod to prevent you from falling off from a metro. I am too old now, a bit rusty and fragile. Maybe I am no use to you, but still you can lend your ear for a few minutes to this old man’s ─sorry, not man, old railing would be more appropriate─ meaningless ramblings.


This is monsoon you know. And for me, monsoon comes to me with bittersweet feelings. Bitter because it gifts me rust on my body and corrode it bit by bit; and sweet, yes; not because I am very romantic or something ─I even never read a poem─ and also not because I love to be wet all day. It’s because coolness of monsoon keeps my body in real shape. Shape means you know, I get inflated in summer ─same as you people get─ due to simple physics, and I get shrunk in winter. It’s the monsoon that keeps me in actual shape; like zero figure. I hear zero figures are very popular among you. Is it so?

Are you getting bored? Yes? Please bear with this old iron, my mind doesn’t work straight in this age. Will you listen? Thank you. You are travelling, nah? Where? To find a job? Oh! That’s great. You know we all find something in our life. We keep doing that till our last breath. But you know the sad thing? The moment we find the thing we want, we start seeking something else. And it goes on in a circle forever. Like those Tom and Jerry cartoons.

Okay, let me tell you an interesting story. Not much interesting if you come to think of it. Just my daily experience. You know, like a page from my personal dairy ─don’t look at me like that, I don’t have a dairy though.

It was Sunday. My favourite. You know why? Because unlike all other weekdays, on this day, people travel for different reasons; not like going to same place, dropping on same stoppage. So, it was a Sunday morning and a family ─mummy, papa and their daughter─ boarded in beside me. The girl was very cute, maybe of age five. And it seemed like she was travelling in metro for the first time. Her parents sat in seats but she refused to do the same and rather stood near window, gripping me tightly, with her chin touching my neighbor below and her forehead touching me collinearly along her hands. Her eyes were gleaming. The moment, the carriage started moving from a stoppage, she giggled. So cute. And she kept asking her father; what was that building? What was that bridge? Why that dog was lying like that? The dog was lynched, by the way. She couldn’t understand that in that age in anyway. So, she just kept asking questions after questions about different trees, malls, structures and I kept answering her in my mind. Then she pointed her finger to a crippled beggar near a dustbin. My heart sank. Ask why. There are so many beggars I see each day, why would I care about that beggar? Because I was a witness of that accident. Yes, he was a good, working young man like you, seeking for job every day. We talked a lot like I’m talking with you now. But on that day, it was late in night and he was returning to board and go back to his residence. He was crossing the high way and that truck; yes, that truck. It was ridiculous. Know what was the speed? I got a pretty good idea as I travel 24 hours. It was nearly 95 kmph. Nothing was there in his left leg from thigh. Totally bloody stuff. I had to leave right then and I could not wait to see if anyone took him to hospital immediately. All I knew after that, that he never boarded again and sat beside me. It felt pretty sad you know.

So that girl got off after few stoppages and new people arrived. A couple sat by me after that little girl. They kept to themselves all the time and I was enjoying the sweet rain as I am enjoying now with you. You know, when for the first time I was fixed here in this window, I was spellbound to witness countryside scenery. It was so beautiful! Those shiny buildings, chirpy people. Everyone was running, like his life depended on it. I couldn’t wait in those times to travel all the day. Now it has become boring. Who would like to see same thing for years? Too mundane. So, I talk to people like you, who had none to share his feelings. If you are an author, I could be a good source of inspirations. Are you listening? Thank you. So, pretty soon those lovers also got off.

In this way, the whole day many people went to different places. None held me that day except that little girl you know. I mean, who holds a railing these days? I was just observing people in different stations without giving an ear to whoever sat by me. Thus came the last round, and I would be heading to depot. Then that girl again boarded and sat beside me. Guess that girl? No, no, not that cute little girl. The girl from that couple. Yes, that girl. She sat there beside me and kept gazing outside. I was sure that she was not staring outside to enjoy the night scenery. How could she? Her eyes were brimming with tears. Then she came closer to me and held me. Second time it was on that day. Rain had stopped by then. I know she was sad. It may seem selfish to you but I was very happy, because someone cared to hold my rusty body. Who would hold this filthy metal anyway? When wind flew hard as the carriage sped up, she could not help but blink and teardrops fell on me. I was wet again.

©Anirban Nanda



By Anirban Nanda

[All the characters used here are fictional. Author has no intention to offend anyone.]

When he was a child, he saw people, including his parents, discarding his well-thought talks. When he went to play with his playmates, no one gave a shit about him. He tried hard, very hard, to hit that six, to get that wicket, to go in top order and get a scope to play more. Most of the times, he was rejected, obviously for his inability to play well.

But sometimes he got one opportunity in a million, one chance to play well and show them that he could play, he was worthy of praises. But it remained a tragedy; he never could do well. Years later, when he will be typing some facebook post, he’d remember how ludicrously he was mocked, how painstakingly he was ignored. He cried in rage at a corner, he screamed in hope that someone would listen. He became an introvert; in fear of rejection, in fear of humiliation ─not from his friends, but from situations which were beyond his control. Years later when he will be falling in love, he’d remember his insulted, tormented face; when he had looked in the mirror in his childhood ─to his lousy and ugly face.

So he had converted his rage, alleviated his frustration to another way; to a path where introverts would do well: to study. Yes, he studied well. He took an oath to become first in every class, every examination. But he failed again. He picked up some praises scattered here and there for his above-average performance. His friends had said, “Someday he is gonna show this world what he is.” They hoped. He hoped. He pushed harder, he tried with more determination. This time he came closer: 4th, 7th. And that’s where he faced stalemate. He never could become third; he always had been losing by millimetres, by inches. Years later, when he will be receiving a second position, he will think how fake those positions are, how unimportant those praises are.

He thought, human is never going to stop wanting. He will always want to be on the other side of river, where people seem happier. These strings of thoughts led him to yet another path. He suddenly wanted to think more. To think more, he went to his lifelong friends: books, novels. Few years later, when he will be writing his first short story, he will think that those authors also felt like him, they were also introverts. The more he read, the more he felt. Too much thinking made his brain full of ideas, emotions, brimming out of it. But as previously was said, he was an introvert and for this, he could not gather courage to express his feelings to anyone.

Meekly, cowardly, he picked up his ball point pen and his old mathematics rough copy. He tried to write his first poem. When he will be sixteen, his heart will beat in the same thunderous way while proposing his first love, as it had beaten when he was composing his first poetry. After finishing it, he peeked at the poem, re-reading in fear, as if he was doing sin, as if he had been caught red-handed for stealing something. He tore that page of poetry in shame. But he was also feeling a strange excitement for being able to create something.

Unknowingly, he became fan of writers like Richard Yates, Sylvia Plath; because he could relate himself with their writing tone, their frustration with their life and their tragic characters. Years later, when he will be publishing his first novel titled, “Me and my solitude” ; none will read his book because it will be too boring to waste their time and he will feel like same when he was writing that facebook post: frustrated and alone. In the end, he will accept the stark reality; that he is a mediocre; always were. Then he will stop dreaming and resign to oblivion. Years later, when he will be taking his last breath, he will mock at his soul, blaming it of its high hopes, of its dissolving into unknown abyss of mortality and he will find a queer similarity of his thoughts when he was writing a facebook post years back.

©Anirban Nanda