The Gift

“Let me think… what could it be,” she taunted once her cruel callous laughter ebbed, “a Stormtrooper who has laid down his gun to pick up a paintbrush could be, let’s see, yes, ‘Make art not war’, and the blank canvas… Oh I know, the future of my creativity if I receive any more gifts from you!”

I stared dumbfounded at the heartless woman who stood mocking my sentiments without a second thought (weren’t painters supposed to be gentle sensitive people!) and the shades of blind worship that I wore slowly slipped away, exposing the truth instead of the image of perfection that I had created in my head.

I had intended to give her a gift of courtship, instead I had received a gift of clarity, and thank God for that.


Written for Three Line Tales hosted by Sonya with photo prompt by Daniel Cheung via Unsplash


The Perfumier

He took my hand in his as he led me through his perfume laboratory, explaining the art and science behind it.
“Perfumery is a complicated art. Perfumes are foods that reawaken the spirit.”

And awaken it did.
The gentle hum of his passionate monologue was combining with the complex aromas swirling around me, rapidly turning this sensuous journey into an olfactory erotica. I feel my mind fall into a languid stupor despite every nerve ending in my body firing in amatory awakening. My pulse quickens as my core temperature rises to rush to my cheeks and for some inexplicable reason I am drawn towards him with the heady trance of a butterfly drawn to nectar.
I summon enough mettle to meet his gaze. His grey eyes are twinkling. He knows what this is doing to me. He is trying to make me feel this way!

With a gentle finger he reorients my face to look at the vial he now holds. “This is Musk,” he continues, gently pulling me against his chest, “No other natural substance has such a complex aroma associated with so many contradictory descriptions.”
I inhaled deeply, another whiff that puts my mind into a frenzy of sparks. The feelings rock my head backwards and he starts kissing my ears.
“Isnt it wonderful, like the smell of baby skin. Do you know where musk comes from? I don’t use any of that synthetic musk. That’s not pure. I get mine natural. From the musk deer. First I trap the deer, male, only the male, the female deer is of no use to me. Then I take out their musk pods.”
I let out a tiny gasp and squirm uncomfortably. I don’t like this part of the story.

But then I feel his lips softly graze my neck as he pushes his body into mine. His arms engulf my senses and steal away my worries. In that moment I was only alive in the present, all thoughts of past and future melted away.

“Your scent,” he whispers into my ears, “you smell beautiful. I’m going to bottle you, the Scent of a Woman, the ultimate aphrodisiac. You will be my most priceless fragrance.”

Another vial, a different scent. I feel myself slip into blissful oblivion as his voice gently drones on…
“Extracting the androstenone will be a little like extracting musk, I suppose. You see, the female pheromone is excreted from the apocrine glands…”

Turning Tables

This is a continuation of The Deadly Orchestra, an earlier blog.

Close enough to start a war
All that I have is on the floor
God only knows what we’re fighting for
All that I say, you always say more
-Adele (Turning Tables)

When you started locking me up in your gilded cage I should have known. While you were systematically isolating me from all my friends, I should have known. When you discouraged me from going out but encouraged me to spend time online, I should have known. Time online was time indoors and that was what you wanted. You saw my loneliness grow steadily and that pleased you.

Start gardening, you said. Make our home a paradise. But the devil does not lord over paradise! Try home-brewing, you suggested. When her man returns home after a hard day’s labour, a good wife helps him kick back and relax. What of the good wife who has toiled all day – just the kicks.

I cant take it any more. I’m dying here. My reality and dreams have meshing into one unending nightmare that I cannot wake up from. But I’m not dead yet. Not yet. If I can’t get out, then you, my lord and master, must get in. I’ve thought long and hard about it. Thought and re-thought . It’s time to turn the tables.

You do admire my pretty foxglove flowers, don’t you? Do you know how poisonous they are? Poisonous enough to have killed 69 people in Mozambique when their beer was contaminated with it. I read about that in Forbes magazine online.

And today I am going to serve you my home brewed beer.

Gone Baby Gone.

The deadly orchestra

Close enough to start a war
All that I have is on the floor
God only knows what we’re fighting for
All that I say, you always say more
-Adele (Turning Tables)

When did my happiness become offensive to you?

The same wit and smile that you once claimed to love are now the tools of Satan. When I dress up I’m a whore, when I don’t I’m a slob. If I laugh too much I’m a temptress, if I laugh too little I’m a wretch. Every conversation is an opportunity to establishing dominance and everything that you have ever given to me or ‘allowed’ me to have is a debt. Everything I do is a transgression and nothing I do is right. I’m cornered and denigrated and when I ask you why, your deadly orchestra starts. The deep timpani of your allegations interspersed with the loud drumming of your accusations. You know that the strident chords of your crescendo will silence all my words. Your eyes light up with a perverse glow as my mind starts to shut down.

My shutdown!
The nightmare of my reality and the nightmares of my dreams have started meshing together and I have become so blasé that I now clinically analyze myself.
Just like the stages of depression, my shutdown too has its stages. At first I’m shocked that you could take my simple words and twist it into something ugly and hurtful. It makes me angry that can perceive an infraction where none is intended and unleash such venom. My feeble protests are no match for your rage. You know that I am incapable of being heard above your voice, which is probably why you rant so loud. In the middle of all that white noise that’s seizing up my brain I wonder- Is the boy asleep? Can the neighbours hear? How will I face them tomorrow? Will this shouting ever stop? Will this shouting never stop? Then comes the depression. You have crushed my self-worth with such nonchalance. I realise that there is neither hope nor escape. Your crescendo has bludgeoned my shattered soul into acceptance. I know that there is neither hope nor escape. I collapse within myself and wait for the final mercy. Glorious death – the ultimate symphony.

Written for Daily Prompt: Bludgeon
and November Notes

Would you make the mistake of liking a snake?

Trust your intensions? Pray tell me why?
Isn’t that what the spider said to the fly?
I cannot feel safe even though you are around
Cause Kaa to Mowgly made that very same sound.

Jasmin trusted Aladdin with her hand and her heart
Yet it was his secrecy that ripped them apart.
The poor little mermaid almost dissolved in a puddle
For the man she loved himself was a muddle.

The dwarves told Snow White her suspicions to keep;
It was her foolish kind heart that put her to sleep.
And even when mum warned – don’t talk to a stranger,
Red Riding Hood’s trust put her and grams in danger.

So pray tell me why, when I’ve been warned as a kid,
I’m going to repeat the foolishness each of them did?
Call me a cynic, a skeptic, say I’m cussed;
It is only in The Good Lord and myself that I trust.




Shattered promises
Slivers of glass
Distorted reflection
Contorted life
Callous words
Hope’s debris
Piercing Cutting Bleeding
Stains where I tread
Aching memories
Cancer in my soul
Last straw
Final nail
Desolate exhale
Veiled in Shroud
Smile of death
Shattered promises
Slivers of trust


The charming Dish

“Here, let me bring those bags in for you.”
She had seen him around the neighborhood a few times, talking to some of the other people, but had never really taken a close look, or even noticed where he lived. His boyish bronzed face boasted of keen grey eyes, pouty lips over perfect white teeth and a charming smile. Her daughter would have described him as ‘a dish’. Such a gentleman too, she thought. Not only did he hold the door open for her but he helped put everything away. When she offered him a drink, he accepted most graciously, glad for the opportunity to get to know a beautiful lady such as herself. Not many young men would take time out to chitchat with an old lady. “Old? Nonsense! You’re at your prime,” he kidded her. He swore that she baked the best cookies in the state. He even noticed that she had monogrammed all her napkins. She bathed in his attention and flattery. Soon she was telling him all about the grandchildren, showing him pictures and inviting him to share thanksgiving with them. The dear boy had been travelling and had not been home in so long; much like her own son, always busy, always on the move. They barely realised how much time had passed as he shared stories about the non-profit organization that he worked for, the wonderful work that they did to help poor impoverished children in third-world countries, and the deep satisfaction he felt when he could arrange sponsors for them. When she offered to adopt a child, he almost had tears in his eyes. He called in her credit card number, all the while squeezing her hand tightly in gratitude. Once the transaction cleared he dropped her hand and rubbed his own together in glee. Suddenly his smile vanished like a thief melting into the night. Tapping his watch he recalled a forgotten appointment. Declining her offer to stay for supper, he hastily swept out of the front door, without a backward look or even a goodbye. It was as if she had altogether ceased to exist.


Just this once

He looked into the half broken mirror, at the face he could barely recognise any more. Constant exposure had made his skin thick and tanned, with so many furrows running across his forehead that you could almost count his age by it. His pale eyes were covered with lids that drooped in submission to gravity. The cataract was getting worse and with it the vision in his left eye. The plastering work was almost over. The engineer wanted him to finish up with some decorative moulding. He ran his calluses and raw hands through his sparse sandpaper like hair worrying about how he would manage if the design were too intricate. With his failing vision it would be hard. The engineer had been screaming at him to have his eyes operated. But operations were expensive. He had promised to send extra money home this month, to build an attached bathroom. His wife had slipped on her way to the common toilet a few times. Her vision wasn’t what it used to be either. He had promised her a toilet, and after all the let downs she had endured, he would not subject her to another. He knew that on his paltry salary of hundred rupees per day, that was going to be a real challenge, but he had given his word.
A feeling of abject despair began to consume him as he started listing the pending expenses in his head. And what about the loan that he was paying off! It had been six years since his daughter’s wedding, and he simply couldn’t settle the loan. His face broke out in a sweat. He felt like he was going to throw up. Tremors started in his hands, and his legs began to turn to jelly. O God! How was he going to manage? The tremors were getting worse. Now, his head was screaming for its daily fix. He wanted to resist. He had resolved to resist. He had sworn that yesterday was the last. But he felt worthless, hopeless, optionless. It was the only way to feel a little bit better, to get through the night. Just tonight. Just this once.
He crumpled on to his creaking cot and began counting out money for some rum.