Rumi Darwaza

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The Indian city of Lucknow is popularly known as the ‘The city of Nawabs‘.

Despite tremendous modernization, the city has managed to retain its age-old charm and glory.

The breathtakingly beautiful 60 feet high Rumi Darwaza marks the street leading to the old city. Constructed in the year 1784 by Nawab Asaf-ud-daula, it is also known as the Turkish Gateway since it is supposed to be identical in design to a similar gateway in ancient Constantinople.

It is said that on top of the Rumi Darwaza was kept a huge lantern that would light up the structure at night making it look absolutely fabulous. Little jets of water would rush out of the sides of the arch from beautifully carved flower buds thus making it look like a gateway to Paradise. The beautifully carved flowers and designs speak volumes about the unique architectural style and eye for detail.

Unfortunately due to the constant flow of vehicular traffic, it had developed several cracks. The Lucknow circle of the Archaeological Survey of India has been demanding that vehicular traffic through the gate be stopped so that repair work can be commissioned. But in the absence of a viable alternate route, the monument is nearing ruination.

Posted in response to Frank’s Tuesday Photo Challenge – Streets


Decapitated heads, bed’s wet, cuticles bleeding,

Dark secrets buried beneath hopeless eyes.

Innocence mutilated, humanity decimated.


In response to Sonya’s Three Line Tales prompt of week 69 based on photo by Carson Arias via Unsplash

Ash and Soot


Teaching concepts like racism and gender inequality are meaningless here, and it’s not because we have become more enlightened. When the water lines to the girl’s toilet were cut, we quietly made our way to the river. When our school went up in flames, all we voiced was relief that no one was inside. We are already living the chapters.

The politicians had come to inaugurate the school, to laud the milestone in social equality, to promise protection. Such a class act!

I should have known. If the serfs start to question, then the despot could lose his kingdom.

“An earthly kingdom cannot exist without inequality of persons. Some must be free, some serfs, some rulers, some subjects.”
– Martin Luther

In response to Friday Fictioneers challenge of 26 May 2017 based on photo prompt by J Hardy Carroll

The Parenting Game

You’re being silly!

But moms are allowed to be silly.
It’s the first time that my baby has been away from home and that too for three whole days. He’s gone with his school and there are teachers, but still…

He’s ten. High time you cut the umbilical cord.

I understand. At least my logical mind does. But a mother’s heart is beyond logic and reasoning. A million scenarios have plagued my mind. What if he gets hurt? Is he eating properly? He’s going to start his shower and then realise he has forgotten to take a towel!

So I arrive at the school, well before the bus is due, and what do you know, I’m not the only over-anxious parent waiting.

Inspired by Bikurgurl’s 100 Word Wednesday, Week 20 photo prompt

Those dimples

I remembered him as the kid who sat at the back of the classroom, always attacking the plump girl with his paper pellets. But when I would turn around to glare, he would disarm me with the biggest smile that housed the deepest dimples. Those darned dimples sent my heart in a tizzy every single time.

Now thanks to social media I was meeting him after almost 20 years.

The beach was his idea. I would have suggested a café. But then he was always a child of the winds.

He was still handsome, the dimples were just as mesmerising, his eyes still sparkled, and my heart still fluttered beside him. We caught up with the present, we caught up with the past, we spoke of possible futures.

My heart stopped fluttering and settled into a blissful calm that only childhood friendship could bring.

Written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, 116th challenge based on photo prompt by The Storyteller’s Abode

When the bough breaks

We were more than sisters. We were two halves of a whole. The neighbourhood called us the twins and considering how inseparable we were, we might as well have been conjoined. Whether it was playing, shopping, movies, or school, I can’t recall a time when we were not together. The summer when I fell of that stupid tree, broke my leg, and was stuck at home, she skipped camp to stay back with me. When her father left, it was me she came too. Only I knew that she knew what had happened and we pinky swore that no one else would ever know.
Life was perfect. We were happy. Then Robert Smith walked through the school gates.

Now all she thinks about is him. “Robbie loves this… Robbie likes that… Robbie’s taking me to this movie…”
Robbie… Robbie… Robbie… How could this guy who landed up just yesterday know her better than me? And now she’s doing the School Day play with him! With him!

Well if she wants to be left alone, I’ll leave her alone. Let’s see how she feels about these pictures on Facebook. When the School Play’s gone, and Robbie’s gone, let’s see whom she comes to when she’s all alone.

Written for the Sunday Photo Fiction challenge of 21 May 2017 based on photo prompt by A Mixed Bag 2009


Memory is a deadly disease; it is my cancer of the soul. It gnaws away at my heart, a constant pain that kills me every day just a little bit more, replacing living with a darkness that overshadows each moment. In this darkness I can’t get the sense that anything is important at all, neither life, nor death, nor pain. I yearn for the restful embrace of slumber, to be able to sleep just one night without the sound of pitiful voice drenching me in cold chills.

I look outside the window waiting for dawn to come and bring the world alive again, to remind my desolate heart that there is hope yet, that out there is a whole planet of sentient beings that live and love and laugh and grow. I wait for dawn to shed my world of its mourning black and dress it in the colours of sunshine again.

But for now all I have is this starless sky. Even the moon is not shining tonight, as if she too lay frightened, quivering, taking refuge behind unseen clouds. The vice on my heart keeps squeezing, unrelenting, and all that my heart can do is beat warm blood around my veins in a hope that the storm will eventually end.


The intelligence had been solid, the coordinates correct, our planning and execution meticulous, yet everything went so very wrong. The bastards had thrust guns in the hands of boys and left them as sitting ducks. I knew the moment the firing started. Those were not the screams of men. But there was nothing to be done. The target had moved on. We had to move on. That’s what I kept telling myself. We had to move on. There is always collateral.

And now the screams just won’t stop.

Written for Michelle’s Photo-Fiction #88

Goodbye love


I would have like to say that all I need is your love. But it isn’t.

Yes I need you to love me, but even more importantly, I need me to love me. I need to respect my desires, my work, my space, and my people.

I would have liked to say that you are my home. But a home on an island will eventually get lonely.

My home needs to have its special corners for my memories and my dreams. Its doors need to open wide to welcome my past and my future.

If loving me, requires saying goodbye to you, then goodbye my love.

Written for 100 Word Wednesday, Week 19, based on photo prompt by William Stitt

Diner natter

Sam’s chatting up the IT girls as usual. He has a way with them. From boss woes to boyfriend woes, from designers to sales, Sam gossips like he’s one of the girls. Which works for me; cause when the day’s done and we’re cleaning up, he’s rambling off to me. Who has a boyfriend or not, and whose going to be home and whose not.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a perv or anything. Have my own missus at home and she treats me real fine. But information is a useful thing to have.

Sam’s good people, but he doesn’t exactly pay a fortune, and the missus likes a few pretty trinkets every now and then.


Written in response to Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers of 19 May 2017, with photo prompt by Roget Bultot

In a Tizzy!


When I started they said graduation was the goal.

At graduation they tell me this is just the beginning.

If the end is also the beginning then… bloody hell I’ve been going in circles!!!

In response to Three Line Tales, Week 68’s photo prompt by Faustin Tuyambaze via Unsplash

As knowledge increases, wonder deepens.” – Charles Morgan