“We’re talking about a life here!” With hands on her hips, Jane stood in the middle of the room, eyes and voice livid. She was addressing the lawmaker, her father, who sat smoking his pipe, cradling the arm of his couch.

“Calm down, Janet,” he spoke in a gruff, unperturbed voice, “Don’t strain yourself.”

“But,” she protested, “I’ve known Marigold all my life. They can’t slaughter her just because she’s growing. It’s unfair. We have to fight them!”

Her gazed at her teary eyes. “Don’t lose hope, yet. We’re in the right. The council may still reprieve your mango tree.”

Wandering soul


Great start to the week, James mused looking at the bleary-eyed fifth years rummaging their backpacks for paint and brushes. Art was the first class on Mondays.

He walked amongst students, now hunched over with brush strokes waltzing on canvases. Later at his desk, James was skirting through the paintings when he stopped at Jason’s. Jason’s family had fallen apart a few months ago, James knew, when his widower father had left, leaving Jason in his grandmother’s care.

James stared at Jason’s painting—a boat adrift the sun-kissing ocean— and realised Jason had drawn not a boat but his heart.


“Notorious stab at discrediting our culture…” the editor read aloud. With an impassive look, he cast Darcy’s article on his desk, along with countless papers lined with fine print. He had leafed through them all, but still hadn’t picked his copywriter when he picked up Darcy’s commentary on a teenager’s now-viral YouTube rant.

Darcy gulped. Had she nominalised a verb, perhaps?

Notorious,” he lingered, letting it ring through the otherwise silent room.

‘…mass murderer Sirius Black,’ her mind recalled the day she had learnt the word. But he smiled, “Great work.”

One story had birthed a new generation of storytellers.

National duty

Mina stepped out of their hut to discard leftover gruel. It was Sunday, and she’d prepare fresh gruel for the week. She searched the bushes for edible plants. Her son liked his gruel with boiled vegetables, but ever since the government arrested her husband for treason, they lived off the scraps she made from fishing by the sea shore.

Meanwhile in the palace, a surly man sporting a mahogany moustache looked at the man crouching in front of him. “What, Muttu?”

“Sir, the fishermen are here.”

“Well done!” The governor smiled through his moustache. “You’ll be rewarded for your collaboration.”


“‘Mazing!” the boss appreciated. “This is such a great piece, Stan. I might give you a raise right away.”

Stan looked up. He hadn’t had a raise in two years because of ‘unfavourable economic conditions’. “Now?” His heart swelled, but the boss just smiled, and lifting his belly, waddled out the room.

Stan’s interns sat next to him. “It’s going to be okay,” assured Mark, a rich kid whose parents had “purchased” his internship.

“Well,” The boss had returned. “Wrap up that maze of an agreement. It’s brilliant—so binding that people wouldn’t know what hit them. Jackpot!” He exclaimed.