Silhouette: The Narrator
This story has six main characters. I am one of them.
I am a shapeshifter, currently disguised as Hope. I have that weakness for positivity in spring. I do not like to talk about myself a lot, so I tell other folks’ stories. I will tell you about them now.
Madhikala: Bird of Freedom
She zooms past Namma Metro’s polished panes without being reflected. She sings in open skies, her sacred thread and sly feathers swishing like a shark’s happy tail. Her diet is sattvik, IISc-approved, one that ensures that those around her think that her lyrics are their thoughts.
7B.C3: GenderQueer Post-Robot
They were born the world’s first artificial stupidity, programmed with emotions, not reason. They do not act but react. Recently, they read contemporary political theory and chose to be called a genderqueer post-robot. They frequent Ranga Shankara plays and poetry slams.
Ruby: The Solo Trekker
At 81 (last year), she made an itinerary which would carry her across South Indian hills, from Nandi Hills and Yercaud to Kakkadampoyil. When asked what keeps her going, she points at her wheelchair over a dry smile. Her most recent plan halted when her favourite shoe was stolen.
Zig: A Textbook Kangaroo
The Note to Teachers in Eklavya Publishers’ Grade 3 Maths introduces Zig as “The Facts section is womanned by Zig, the fact-phile.” Zig memorised eight-hundred-odd sums that appear in the text, but when she overhears the newspaper characters speaking, she wishes to speak like them.
Abdul: The Bookstore Ghost
Abdul knows that he is dead but he does not remember how or when that happened. He can only be seen in Select Bookstore, in the deepest hidden room on the ground floor; he is invisible otherwise. The stench of burning books keeps him awake at night, like people do in daytime.