Fiction · Little stories

Arsee’s little stories 50

“Look for the pattern, there is always a pattern.” The professor of criminology had drilled the maxim into my head and yet in this case I could see no pattern. It started with the disappearance of a young girl, aged 19, no body found as yet, please note. Then the psychiatrist who was treating her, aged 41, male, again no body found. A week later, another patient of the same psychiatrist, aged 52, male, no trace of a body. It was two months and we were at eight disappearances and counting. The obvious pattern was someone who knew the Psychiatrist and his patients but then the motive kicked in or the lack of it, in this case. Every disappearance was preceded by a type written message in the form of a rhyme. I looked at the rhyme that had  just come in, “All tired of being second best, had to give their misery a rest. The second will second recognize, common sense will get you your prize!” And then it struck me! I laughed out aloud. Every serial killer, at the end, wants to reveal himself!


Fiction · Little stories

Arsee’s little stories 49

Everybody is somebody’s fool. I was his. Loved him when he did not care. Loved him when he laughed at my tears. Loved him when I was the butt of his jokes. Loved him when he slept with other women. Loved him when he humiliated me. Loved him when he beat me. Loved him when he threw me out of his life. Loved him when I when I roamed the streets like a vagabond. Loved him when I had to do drugs to forget him. Loved him when the doctor gave up on me. I begged him to meet me once, just once. He met me. I looked my best for him. Like he liked. He slept with me. In the morning I did not want to wake him so I wrote on his mirror with my lipstick. “Love you too much to die alone. Welcome to the world of positive HIV, asshole.”


Fiction · Little stories

Arsee’s little stories 48

As the hour grew late and the last of the revelers departed, only two sanyasis remained. Meera’s temple in Chittorgarh glowed in the light of several oil lamps, ethereal. One Sanyasi placed a beautiful necklace of exquisite gems at Meera’s feet and she smiled, “You shouldn’t have Jahapanah!” “You recognized me?” Emperor Akbar was shocked. Meera nodded, “You and Mia Tansen, as well.” The two men looked at each other, speechless. “Why do you come so far from Fatepur?” Meera inquired softly. “To Listen to your music.” Akbar replied smilingly. “When you have the world’s best, Mia Tansen at your court?” she chided. Tansen spoke with his eyes cast down, “I will be remembered, my music will not. Yet, your bhajans will live long after you. I have the love of music. You have the music of love.”


Fiction · Little stories

Arsee’s little stories 47

He was rich enough to afford it and heartbroken enough to try it. It was two years since she was dead and everyday the regret only kept growing. He should have told her he loved her. Yet, he did not. She kept waiting, pining and then one fine day, crash and it was all over. He had to tell her and there was only one way! He would get the doctors to kill him and the resuscitate him! They said when you die the people who loved you came to receive you, she would come and then he would tell her he loved her! And he would keep at it till she came! The doctors told him it was crazy but he did not care! They had killed him and brought him back five times but he had yet to see her. This was his sixth time.

He died…  He came back.

And when he came around he began to cry. The Doctor asked him if he saw her and he whispered, “I met God instead. And he said, when you let love go even I can’t bring it back.”


Fiction · Little stories

Arsee’s little stories 46

Outside the hospital window he could see the clouds, grey and low, refusing to part with rain. How much like her situation, he thought, looking at his wife riddled with tubes and wires on the hospital bed. Three months in a coma with no explanation that the doctors could give, they were still probing and testing. His cell phone buzzed and he checked the number. It was the same one, had been troubling him all week.  Some crank breathing into the phone. He switched his phone off, no patience with nonsense, wanting to stay with his thoughts. And then it rang again! Probably did not switch the phone off? He had! How the hell was it ringing? A software malfunction perhaps? He took the Sim card out of its tray to reboot completely when the phone rang again. The temperature in the room fell, was suddenly icy and there was a strange stench. He felt a chill in his spine. The phone kept ringing. He answered. There was a deep breathing sound and then a voice whispered, “Est apud nos, et non revertitur.” Three weeks later, the Exorcist told him it was Latin for “She is with us, she is not coming back.”


Fiction · Little stories

Arsee’s little stories 45

The blood has dried on the side of my face. The flies don’t buzz around it. My throat is sore from screaming and my side hurts from being kicked. I don’t know how many days it has been since he grabbed me from the car park late that night. Ten, maybe fifteen. The cops won’t find me. They would if they could. But it will end today. I feel the weapon in my hand. Took me one thousand and eight nine repetitions of Lenon’s Imagine to fashion it out of an aluminum spoon. The problem was the blinding daylight when he opened the trapdoor. But I have studied the trajectory. Can’t miss. Won’t miss. I hear him. The trapdoor is opening. I hold the spoon tight. The light blinds me. I spring towards him and jab the spoon into his throat. When I get used to the light I see a man in a khakhee uniform lying at my feet, a spoon sticking out his neck, I hear him laughing, a blur against the brightness.


Fiction · Krishna · Little stories

Arsee’s little stories 44

The captain of the guards announced that Mother Kunti was there to see him. He had been afraid this would happen. He had been hoping this would happen. The morning light shone on her stately form and her greying hair looked platinum. He touched her feet. She caressed his hair. “So you have come to see me?” he questioned, his voice choked. She nodded, unable to speak. “And you want to ask something of me?” Kunti nodded again. “Can I ask something of you first?” he managed a slight smile. “Yes,” she replied. “Can I put my head on your lap?” he requested, almost child-like. Kunti took a deep breath and sat down. He put his head on her lap. For a moment, nothing. Some more moments… She could not help bending down and kissing his forehead. And then they both cried. Kunti for the son she could not call her own. Karna for the mother he never had. Torn apart by fate, brought together for a moment by a terrible war. Both knew they would never meet again.


A letter from a father to his daughter · Little stories · Short stories

Arsee’s short stories 43 A letter from a father to his daughter

My story today is a special one. Here’s the most precious gift I could have asked for! In a way it is the sum of my father’s various experiences or in other words, the essence of his life’s stories put together so it can be of some use.

24th April 2018
Dear Riddhi,

It is a very special day today. At the stroke of midnight you turn twenty-one. Which is a remarkable feat considering the klutz you are! I am also overjoyed by the fact that you can finally cross the road and make difficult calculations in regard to velocity and acceleration of moving objects, we call cars, and negotiate a crossing by adjusting your own speed. Belive me, that’s very advanced calculas.

Jokes apart, I am happy you are now in adult land and boring adult things will be expected out of you. You have fought so many battles and come out victorious. Yet, when I think of the juncture of life that you are at I cannot help but think not of the battles you have fought but of the battles that you will need to fight ahead. As your father, I can only enlist my life’s learnings as a ready reckoner for you. So here goes.

First off, remember that you are unique and beautiful.

God is a great concept. Sometimes He works, most times he does not. Have faith in God but you will have to fight your own battles.

How do you fight these battles? Choice! Your choice will determine your future. We are nothing but the sum of our choices, the roads we decided to travel. Choose wisely.

Never trust the person who says,“ Trust me, I know”.

Nobody knows anything for certain. The only knowledge that people have is dependent on the experiences they have. Learn from your own experiences.

You will have secrets. Never share them or one day someone will use them against you.

Never Will away anything while you are alive. And this means to no one!

You are what you desire. There are no extra points for being frugal. Desire the life of a Queen. Travel first or business and stay in good hotels. People will treat you the way you treat yourself.

Life is not fair. You will never get what you deserve. You will only get what you negotiate.

Failure is ineviatble, learn from it. You may think that failure is an event and not a person but the world seeks to hang the blame on someone. Take the blame gracefully.

The only revenge is success. The rest is just airing of failed ambitions.

There is nothing like loyalty and gratitude in others. Find it in yourself and that will be a great victory.

Don’t be too nice all the time. The world mistakes niceness for weakness.

Heartbreak is ineviatble, don’t fear it. Defy it.

Age and sense are not directly propionate. Don’t listen to nonsense from an older person. Starting with me and this letter. Decide for yourself.

Be charitable. Don’t lend money expecting it back.

Don’t borrow. Please don’t steal.

Don’t get into politics. Anywhere in life. Cunning people are those who cannot be courageous. Choose courage over cunning.

Don’t marry in a hurry. Don’t marry to suit someone else’s deadline. Ideally don’t marry at all, its a defunct institution but make your own decision on that!

Assholes are everywhere and they have various kinds of disguises. Keep them away.

Be wary of the ones who flatter.

Don’t ever enter a door that opens before you knock, figuratively speaking, of course.

Don’t be honest when it might hurt someone. Honesty is a virtue not a weapon.

As you grow older drift away from the vices. There are better ways to kill yourself.

Work at being self reliant.

Don’t look for someone to make you happy. That always ends in disaster. Happiness is a habit. Don’t mistake it for a person or an eventuality.

Self respect is good. Ego is not. Be arrogant with the one who is arrogant.

Don’t ever pity yourself. Everything that happens happens cause you let it.

It’s not possible to seek fame without being in love with yourself.

There is nothing like the “art of living”. There is no art in a dog eat dog world.

Spirituality is also a painkiller.

I have yet to see the effect of karma on a bad person. Do good because you should and not as a celestial trade off. God will punish you, is nonsense.

Love will never last. That’s the bad news. You will fall in love again and again. That’s the good news.

You are free to chuck all this advice out of the window.

If I had taken all this advice I would have been a rockstar and not writing a letter to you on your 21st birthday but if the humiliations and setbacks of my life are not useful to you then it would be a real waste of insight.

Lastly, I love you unconditionally. Regardless of your choices. I would love you even if you choose to join Al Qaida or be a self detotonating terrorist, though I seriously urge you not do that. I also think that is a serious waste of well put together protoplasam.

Happy Birthday my darling. You are the embodiment of all my dreams.


This letter will be my Temple. Pa, you’ve indeed been the best father one could ask for. Thank you for being my role model, my best friend & my loneranger. Pa, love you beyond words can express.

Fiction · Little stories

Arsee’s little stories 42

The roads were desolate like she felt. Rain washed and abandoned. She saw the road sign that said international airport through the refraction of the rain spattered window. This was it. It was over. He let her go so easily. Seven years of togetherness and over in a week. She had to be in Singapore for a year and he couldn’t do long distance he said. Just a year she pleaded. He was adamant. The bane of being a woman? Always have to decide between ambition and love? She let him go. Tears and check in, no call from him, immigration, still nothing, flight announced, he had let her go too. It was before the flight attendant asked them to switch their cell phones off that the message popped, “Dear K, it dawned on me today that when we talk of ambition, strangely we never talk of love. I have decided to take a year off. Took the earlier flight to Singapore. Will see you there with the welcoming committee!” The passengers in business class had no idea why the woman on 6K was sobbing so loudly.


Fiction · Little stories

Arsee’s little stories 41

Everything was going wrong for the Queen of France, Marie Antoinette. The revolution, the new politics, the specter of death and yet as she sat by the window of the palace on a cold December day and watched the guards who kept her under house arrest, there was on her lips a smile and a tear in her eyes. Her husband, Louis XVI, wondered what brought a smile to her lips. “There was a boy, a little boy, who asked me to marry him when I was a little girl. Was really a sweet unforgettable moment.” The Queen smiled and said. “And yet what brings a tear to your eyes?” The king inquired lovingly. “I heard he died last week. Almost penniless.” The King seemed saddened, “Oh my God! Who would this be?” The Queen wiped her tears, “I don’t think you have heard of him. He made music in my hometown of Vienna. Wolfie they called him, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.”


Fiction · Little stories

Arsee’s little stories 40

It was a tough case. Kidnappings always are. Endless negotiations and the frayed nerves of the near ones. Throw in my stubborn cough into the mix. It was day three and I was engaging the kidnapper pretty well, I thought. One final call would do it. We all waited holding our collective breaths. The call tracing geeks, us hardened cops, the asthmatic father, sobbing mother, the mother’s supportive brother. The dull lights, night crickets and the ticking of the grandfather clock. Tension. I cough. The mother’s brother decides to take his sobbing sister into another room. I agree. More ticking. The phone rings. Five million or they would kill the girl. Line goes dead. The time for negotiations was over. I had to find them and get the girl.
In my dingy office I run the phone recordings again and again. There was a dull grating sound behind the kidnapper’s voice that troubled me. It was faint. Very faint. What was it? And then I knew what it was. It was me coughing, in the distance, in another room….


Fiction · Little stories

Arsee’s little stories 39

He seemed nice, except for one strange quirk. He insisted on being home everyday at eight in the evening. All their dates had to be worked around that and it was beginning to get on her nerves. She told him either he leveled or she was off. “Fine!” A monosyllabic response. The next evening she arrived a little before eight and sat waiting. At eight the phone rang. He answered. “Hello Uncle. Yes, he is better. Yes I told him. Yes I will give him your message.” That was it. He hung up. “Who was that?” She asked. “My Grandfather’s childhood friend. Friends for eighty years. Calls everyday to ask about him.” She looked wide eyed. “Your grandfather has been dead for two years!”. He nodded. “But his friend does not know. He calls every evening to make sure he is fine. He is only alive because he thinks his friend is alive….”