Author Archives | umashankar

About %s

I am just a watcher then. Sometimes I watch life. Sometimes I watch death. Many times I watch in between...

The Silence of the Scrolls

August 30, 2015


Image credit: Jan Steiner

It’s been a while since the nightingales sang in the darkness, fidgeting on boughs swaying in the night-wind. It’s been a while since the fingers splattered on the keyboard like an impromptu rain. There is this dike thin as rice paper, holding back rivulets of waste and repentance that I dare not let loose on […]

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Ayesha’s Face (Sandhurst Road)

June 29, 2015


Image credit: Eli DeFaria

(The story begins here) I wouldn’t meet Ayesha for many days after that. Shipra had taken ill on our way home from Nashik. It began with convulsions in her stomach and soon she was vomiting fitfully as the taxi entered the outskirts of Bombay. We stopped the car and let her step out in fresh […]

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The Spanish Witch (Sandhurst Road)

May 11, 2015


Image credit: Julia Caesar

(The story begins here)  As the taxi wound its way back through unfamiliar streets, a steady downpour beat on the roof and slid past the windows. A wiper kept drawing a dull semicircle on the windshield. The driver kept his head cocked to the left, focusing on the road with the good eye, coughing from […]

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The Pallbearer (Sandhurst Road)

April 12, 2015



(The story begins here.) The little rendezvous over dinner was skidding to an abrupt end. She was eating a tad hastily but with a grace that seemed natural to her. I had to perk up my act, trying hard not to chomp. Or gulp. “The trick to beat the junk pedalled on streets is to […]

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Sandhurst Road

March 23, 2015


Sandhurst Road

As my decade long stay in this city draws to a close, a prescient thought sets in like an invisible mizzle. It will not leave me, this feeling, that I may never set foot on this turf again, but I am not sure what it means to me. Will I miss the mossy whiff of […]

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The Pentagon Down

February 1, 2015


The Pentagon Down

The commander of the forces of associate provinces barged through the door of my tent two days before the clash of the legions. His chubby face was ashen with nothing less than volcanic fear; his fingers shook like peepal leaves in high winds. A deep guttural moan escaped his ample belly, suitably enough. “Senator,” he […]

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A Pony in a Carousel

January 28, 2015



Like a pony fettered to a carousel, I’ve been travelling miles after circular miles and yet not have moved a millimetre from the pole I am suspended. I am not in charge of this motion, nor do I control this stasis. I cannot even choose the music or the riders that cling to my back […]

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The Bungalow by the Tracks

December 29, 2014


Image credit: Joshua Earle

Five years after she fled to Delhi in an unreserved coach of Lucknow Mail the evening of her marriage, Miranda returned to the town where she had grown to be a woman from a blob in a womb. She found an accommodation in the neighbourhood of the house that used to be home. Mrs Mukherjee […]

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The Naked and the Mad

November 23, 2014



“You can think clearly only with your clothes on.” ~Margaret Atwood Somewhere down the evolutionary hill, or up the vertigo inducing precipice if you rather have that, we lost the ability of thinking clearly in our birthday panoply. The moments are fraught with some latent reflex the instant we unsheathe our limbs. A yearning, a […]

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Unnameable Things

October 29, 2014



Hailing from a childhood both untainted and unenlightened by television, I have fond memories of the whole bunch of siblings huddled up in the box room that our parents had converted to a common study, which also served as a hothouse of succulent stories, or an impromptu theatre. Best were the nights with electricity outage […]

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The Crusted Slice

October 3, 2014



Always on Dussehra, my sister who is a rung up in the family ladder would remember the older one who lived with us briefly. She was not too old when she fell ill on a winter night that thundered and wept with rain. By the morning she was gone, a few days short of my […]

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The Palace of Illusions —A Review

September 20, 2014



‘Love comes like lightning, and disappears the same way. If you are lucky, it strikes you right. If not, you’ll spend your life yearning for a man you can’t have.’ ~ Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni  It has been raining stories set in historical and mythological pasts, retold in startling perspectives and flavours. Novel methods and innovations […]

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