The Characters


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.

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The Wasteland


This is a wasteland; the scavengers hunt on indefinite rhythms
Grounded around our erratic sun.
This is a wasteland; the nightmares we dream haunt our visions
While all our horrors are eternally spun.
This is a wasteland; its history demands no account and no preface
Hoping a better tomorrow will come.
This is a wasteland; its barrenness steady, its challenges endless,
Till our humanities slowly succumb.

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A Room For Death


(Inspired from the lives of a few real people)

In April evenings, when the skies dimmed and sprinkled stars on our grassy cricket fields, we dropped our playthings and our concerns to lie down awhile. We had known our entire lives that these stars immortalized people long dead. To us, they were peepholes into the afterlife of those we were taught to love. Abhi would often point out one that was his grandfather. I knew of one which was my birth mother. If only I ever learnt how she died, she would become less a star and more a human. I turned sixteen in the moist months of twenty-twelve, the year Mr. Remarkable last caught me her star.

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The Romantic Mr. Remarkable


— Dedicated to a friend

(Inspired from the lives of a few real people)

An amorphous rain stifled the city, wetting us with pixie dust of an otherworldly romance. A few cars slid past in the wake of an earlier torrent. The streets were mottled with the vestiges of withdrawing umbrellas and blurred neon lights. The dying notes of Für Elise closed behind us. She smiled one last time, started to say again that it was nobody’s fault, but stopped when the departing bus caught up. Then a flash of light signaled another impending downpour and I was left alone on the kerb for a long time.

I remember sitting at Mr. Remarkable’s oblong dinner table as a child, my legs swinging like twin pendulums under the wooden tabletop. Not long after, Maa had whispered to me that I needed to stop that annoying habit, and everybody had whispered to one another that it was not okay for Mr. Remarkable to marry someone at his age.

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The Death Of Peacocks


Dear Friends! In modest tones, I hereby speak
Of certain deaths of birds of vibrant hues.
A little while ago, I saw them fly
Discreetly out of cages which trapped them
In lives of bondage — free, to roam the sky.
The sun that burnt their magnificent plumes
Could NOT, in death, ensnare their cherished cries
Unspoken — felt by crows who, newly here,
Could see no tinge of freedom; on each bough
Now hung a noose for any erring crow.

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Dead Ends


What goes around comes around, in some shady back-alley in the middle of nowhere, clubbed to death and left to soak in one’s own pool of blood.

“Forensics,” she said, thrusting the coffee cup into my bare hands with such vigour that I could hardly reject the offer. “Keeps you focused,” she explained, and left with the gait of someone who has had enough caffeine for the day.

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My Thoughts At His Funeral


Perspective distorts; thus shrouded in robes
Professing dreams of life, my neighbour died
In sleep. Relinquishing all assumed roles
In society, shrouded in death, he lied
On a deathbed professing dreams; his wife
In tears inconclusive, with cheeks moistened
In mirth or strife; moistened for want of life,
Moistened just, but alive; all friends reasoned
That this death in sleep saved him pain; dying
In dreams is painless; but it’s just dying.

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