Author Archives | umashankar

About umashankar

The question then is, am I a writer? It is true I wriggle a pen to colour my notepad, or tap at a keyboard to darken the pixels of my desktop screen. If the strings I weave paint a canvas to my readers, borrowing the hues of their own vision, maybe I am.

Shakespeare’s Email

April 6, 2014



‘The evening is still, the birds silent, the wind dead like a tramp, flopped on a footpath. The sky is dressed in dust and dusk.’ (From my short story: End of Dusk) I look at my face in the mirror and a dung-cake with a frog at its centre for a nose stares back. It […]

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Sorting Out Sid –A Review

April 1, 2014



A man may put his foot in his mouth once in a while and then a man may stick it there forever. Can it get weirder than that? What if that lean, clean-cut, boyish man of 36, with carefully gelled hair and a Black Panther tattoo on his arm, is a blathering oaf? A henpecked […]

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Dancing in the Dark and a Dedication

March 23, 2014


Thank you, my friends!

Acknowledgements to More Than a Wisp of Fog Except when I was deep in the woods of ignorance as a young someone, and I was sure that some path will lead me unto the light someday, I have never made New Year promises to myself. It is another matter, however, that from the depths of […]

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The Scarecrow from East

March 18, 2014


Painting by Ryan Bourret

(It all began here. Read the previous part here.) They moved along a track in the grass to the north. A flock of ravens burst from a nearby tree, intent on killing one of their own, filling the air with a harsh war cry. She sat on a forlorn bench, watching the maddening fury of the night black […]

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The Killer in Alcatraz

March 11, 2014


The Killer in Alcatraz

(It all began here. Read the previous part here.) A dense mass of tall cowboy hats bustled about the Embarcadero, just beyond the Ferry Building. The faces buried under the wide, panning brims, their hands waved towards him, many of them holding whiplashes. There were sharp hisses and cracks now and then as they whipped the air about […]

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Bridge of Sighs

March 2, 2014



(It all began here. Read the previous part here.) ‘You are going to rue this, officer.’ Vernon’s voice was getting the reedy edge, a sign he was about to explode. ‘It’s my job to put aliens and saboteurs across the Bridge of Sighs. Never repented that,’ the policeman chewed out, leading them to a patrol car. ‘Please be […]

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Forbidden City

February 23, 2014


Fred Eng San Francisco Chinatown

(It all began here. Read the previous part here.) They entered The Presidio through Marina Gate, redolent of minty tang of eucalyptus trees, mixed with whiffs of fresh sea foam. The breeze blew soft, laced with salt, whispering moistly in the tall tree tops. The Letterman General Hospital stood primly on Lincoln Boulevard, with a quiet urgency under […]

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Under the Orange Bridge

February 16, 2014


underOB_1com - Copy

(It all began here. Read the previous part here.) Paul Barker came from a family of ranchers and cotton farmers, proud of its herd of quarter horses, from the South Plains of Texas. When the conscription act of 1917 came into force, Paul’s father, only twenty then, bluffed his age and registered for military service, in […]

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If You go to San Francisco

February 3, 2014



(It all began here. Read the previous part here.) Unknown to Amar, his onerous passage through a Naga backyard was reported by the night-prowlers to the head of the tribesmen. A freshly baptised Christian who had foreclosed the skull-houses of his territory, he decided with a twinge of regret that the intruders be returned to the […]

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Planet of Gibbons

January 26, 2014


Image credit: 20th Century Fox

(It all began here. Read the previous part here.) Part of Vernon’s right foot was gone with the roof of the aircraft. His boot was missing and so were his toes. A limp mass of red and white was dangling flimsily from the ankle, losing blood like a burst drainpipe. Amar had dragged him away […]

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Chattanooga Choo Choo

January 13, 2014



(The story begins here) Mark pulled level at three hundred feet. He had flown enough around to know no hollong tree grew up that size, giants that they were. Buffeting was nasty so close to land and it was going to get worse when they would pull up into the mountains. Flying low and fast […]

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More Than a Wisp of Fog

January 9, 2014


San Francisco

Prologue The war was over for those who lived. Those who didn’t, they were still on the battlefronts, crouching in bunkers or planes, or breathing water on the seabed. It was an endless night for the sun never rises when you die. And this was how they’d be remembered, at war forever. He paused briefly […]

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