Category Archives: Stories

A morning with Sherry

The fresh morning sunlight glided into the office and there was a pleasant buzz around the space. The clock showed 9.30 am and slowly the staff started walking in. It is going to be a busy day, but a satisfying one, thought Sherry to herself. She loved this office, she has always been one of those people who was proud of the work she did. She was happy when there was loads of stuff to be done, articles to be written, poems to be composed.

She breathed in deeply of the fresh air as she looked out at the sea that waved to her from beyond her window. The sea took her back to memories of her earlier life as an advertising writer. It brought a wry smile to her face and she wondered why it has taken her so long to shift to creative writing. She could have done it at any stage in her life, and yet she had wasted so many years writing ads, and brochures – often rehashing some old content of clients. At the time, she believed that was what being a writer was all about.

But then slowly as a sense of disappointment, a sense of lack lustre routine began to gnaw away at her, something within her pushed her to create something new and she did. She began writing short stories as she had during her college days, she committed to creating a book of poems, a book of well researched articles on teenage suicides and why the teens are such a highly criticized species of the human race.

It was in these projects, these assignments that she discovered her voice, found the person she had lost touch with decades ago. She didn’t quite recollect when that last time was, but the more she wrote and easier it became to have conversations with this inner being. Silence was the secret. That was a huge challenge to Sherry; in her earlier advertising life, she was used to chaos and phone calls all day. She longed for a few moments of peace when her mind was not jumping around looking for things to do or say.


But over time, as she opted increasingly to write for herself, to create in the true sense of the word, she began to find peace. She could work for hours at end without feeling the need to exchange words with her colleagues. There was a stillness around her, within her. She felt she had even begun to move slower afraid of disturbing the inner stillness that had been gotten with so much difficulty.

Slowly, her thoughts came back to her room, to the sea. Having had her fill of the lovely visions of nature, she got her cup of filter coffee, sat at her machine and began her day’s work.

~ Bharti Athray


The little girl ran across the road, chasing a small brown puppy she had just fed. Cars on the road screeched as they swerved to avoid the little body running across the road recklessly. I stood at the bus stop nearby, my heart beating fast as I watched the girl narrowly escape accident twice. While the drivers yelled from behind their wheels, she crossed over to the footpath, and managed to get hold of the brown pup.

Her messy ponytails fell forward as she leaned to pick up the jumpy fur ball. She was scolding him for being naughty or so it appeared to me from where I stood. Slowly my heart calmed down, knowing the girl was safe. As the child continued reprimanding her little friend, completely oblivious of the chaos she had caused on the road, the onlookers slowly shook their heads and moved on.

The world returned to its busy-ness.

I wondered at these strange moments of life, where one wrong step, a second’s delay in braking from one of the many drivers could have changed so many lives in an instant. It could have become a day none of us there would ever forget, in a bad sort of a way. But it had not, the girl, her puppy and the drivers were all safe. And the sun shone pleasantly, making this yet another day I would soon forget.

~ Bharti Athray

The Poor Soul

The World is chasing a Poor Soul to the very ends of the consumerist universe. Somewhere along the way, the Poor Soul reaches the edge of a cliff. The rabid World came closer and closer, its loud ads, the life sucking entertainment, the terrifying mind-numbing apps are now within a killing distance. The Poor Soul must choose: to jump off the edge of the Universe as he has always experienced it or be murdered at the hands of these merciless capitalists whom he has rebelled against all his life.

He looks back, the madness in the eyes of those who make up the capitalist crowd is terrifying. In that second, the Poor Soul jumps off. He chooses death of life as he has known, leaping off into the unknown, arms flailing, his heart seemed to have stopped beating… yet the barks and screams of his hunter reached him… standing at the very edge of the cliff.

The cold wind of the unknown, the dark hollow of a space unexplored hit his face as he fell. Something burned deep within him, tearing his insides, cutting through his muscles, and it hurt. All he wanted in that moment was to feel the world he had left behind under his feet. He cried out loud as the realization that he had jumped into nothingness rose in him. He fell, uncontrollably, like a stone from a 30 storey high-rise. His arms tried desperately to clutch at something – anything, but nothing changed. He continued to fall, the cold dark wind coarsely brushing against his skin, when suddenly the fall slowed to a float.

He sensed a warmth of another atmosphere, not completely unlike where he had come from. The sense of familiarity, inspite of the darkness made him feel a little better inside. His chest was not burning anymore, the knots in his stomach loosened, he could control his movements. Even as he floated downwards, he noticed little dots of blue lighting up the pitch dark space around him. Gently, ever so gently the floating motion led him downwards, rocking him into a tired, exhausted sleep.

~ Bharti Athray

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When the moon shines…

She stood in the dark room, looking out at the night.

Her hand reached back to shake the ribbon from her hair. The darkness outside seemed bright to what she felt within. The moon shone its soft silver light. She smiled, the moon had seen worse, and it could still shine.

That gave her courage. She would shine on.

~ Bharti Athray

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The dog barked and raced at my heels. I ran as fast as my thin legs would carry me, my heart pounding with fear, blood screamed in my ears and rushed through my head. Dark spots before my eyes clouded my vision. Terror ofgrim_reaper700-2 the next moment had engulfed my senses.

I ran and ran and ran till I thought my heart would burst out of my chest. And then when I could run no more, I stopped. Panting, sweating, fear shaking me to the very core, I turned behind… the barking had stopped.

There in the middle of the road that I had just run across, lay a bleeding dog, hit by a car. I watched in shock. It was dead.

~Bharti Athray

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The morning comes

<< Previous Chapter : The night without end

il_340x270.175722757K. woke up the next morning and found herself curled up into a tight ball. Her body hurt from being crunched for better part of the night and sleeping on the cold floor for hours. Gingerly she stretched her legs and her feet touched the cold floor beneath.

The late morning sun peeped gently into her balcony, softly warming her aching body and soul. She sat up and looked out at the city that she could now see clearly. There were buildings, row houses, commercial buildings, little streets cutting across and dotted with tiny cars going about their daily routine. Life went on around her.

As she basked in the warm golden sun, slowly her mind sorted through the painful memories of the previous evening, her heartache, the pain, and yes, the voice in the mirror. She smiled at the memory of her argument with the voice in the mirror. The night out in the open had brought in perspective to her situation. She felt lighter and, strangely, freer. She leaned into the still dark bedroom and smiled at the mirror. ‘Thank you for last night,’ she murmured.

She turned her attention back to the city, looking at it over the edges of her outstretched legs and toes. As she watched the world live out its daily life, she noticed the nail of her left big toe had chipped and become sharp. Pulling up her foot towards to her, she examined it closely. Hmm, need to cut it before I hurt myself or someone else with it.

woman_praising_god..._spiritShe stood up, stretched her full self to golden rays of the comforting sun, threw her head back and just enjoyed feeling the pull in her spine. There was something powerful about the rays of the sun. She had always felt healed by the sun, when the world around her left her torn and battered inside. Eyes shut, she turned on her toes, arms stretched out welcoming the healing rays. Her long black hair fell back as she turned and somewhere deep inside her, she felt laughter rising. Like little bubbles rising in a glass of spring water, they rushed to the surface of her very being, and reached her lips. She laughed, a soft sweet laughter of girl, memories of her running home from school on the last day of the term flooded her being. Yellow flowers on the wayside, fresh green grass, the happy roads, the warm breeze in her wild hair… and the sound of her twinkling laughter rang in her ears. She was happy, and free. With a smile on her lips, she opened her eyes to find a butterfly flitting around the pink flowers of her ledge.

swallowtailbutterflyfloralaceo2.500‘Butterfly,’ she thought to herself, ‘time for transformation!’ She stood and watched the pretty yellow creature dart around between the leaves, flowers, rise up to the sun beam and fly away. In this moment, she felt happy, complete and ready to step into the world again. Sure, the incident had left her hurt, and definitely scarred, but she was a strong girl. She knew how to pick up the pieces and get on with her life again.  That is what she aimed to do now.

She stepped into her bedroom, walked up to her mirror, ran her fingers through her hair, and smiled at the face that looked back at her. ‘Good morning, K. You are looking better this morning! Are you ready for what the world has to offer you today? Good, get ready and get with it!’

~ Bharti Athray

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Fetal position: Etsy: CaryeVDPMahoney.
Woman and sun:


The night without end

broken_ice_woman_by_killersmemo-d5qlzgqShe stood there at the very edge of sanity, shaking and shivering with anger. The horizon was dark as she looked out into the night, far away a tiny snail of a train slithered with its little yellow lights. She stood there in the warm sultry night, her cotton shirt sticking to her back.

The conversation ran in her head again. She could hear his voice as clearly as if he stood right there in the room behind her. “I am sorry, K. Whatever we had, it’s over. It’s over between us. I have found someone else and I would like to be with her. I just wanted to let you know, so I came over. Bye.”

That was it. That is how her three and a half year old affair had ended. As bluntly as that. No, she had not cried then, not asked why. She knew whom he was talking about, he had mentioned her a few times, but she had never ever suspected that he was into her.

As she stood there, staring into the night, her throat and head hurt from the tears she had not cried. But they would not come. Only memories, only visions of her having spent the last three and half years of her life around this man who had walked out of her life as he would have walked out of a supermarket. It hurt. It hurt bad. She couldn’t help wonder what it was she did wrong – she had been loyal, loving, caring. She had always been there for him, physically, emotionally and even financially. And yet it had all come to naught.

‘What a fool I have been’, she muttered to herself. ‘Here I was, building these stupid castles in the air, when all along he had been cheating on me.’ She turned away from the night into her dimly lit room and walked to the mirror. A torn tired face stared back at her. ‘He cheated on you. He lied to you. And you… you were such a fool! You fell for his every lie, you sad thing.’

Slowly tears began to spill over her lashes and made their way down her cheeks. ‘You really believed he would love you… I had told you he wouldn’t, hadn’t I?’ The face in the mirror smirked. ‘You are a stupid little thing, aren’t you, falling for these silly promises…’ K. turned away from the mirror, she could not stand the taunting anymore. But the voice from the mirror continued to speak, ‘I had told you, there is no such thing as love. It does not exist, not in your world. But no, you would not believe me. You trusted that …  that jerk. Well, then, you got what you deserved.’

‘Oh, shut up!’ K. shouted back at the mirror. ‘Just shut up!’ The voice in the mirror felt like a hammer inside her head, her heart felt as heavy as stone, just there in the very middle of her. She dragged herself to the balcony, looked out to the night and sat down on the floor. It was cold. She pulled her knees close, she so needed to hug someone right now. She had forgotten what it was like to be alone, so alone in the night, with nothing but tears and a throbbing heart and stinging eyes for company. She sat huddled against the wall. It was going to be a long night. A night that looked like it would never end.

Silent sobs shook her body, more hot tears ran down her wet cheeks… she kept asking the night, ‘Why did you do this to me? Why did you cheat me? Why?’

The morning comes >>>

~ Bharti Athray

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