Love yo’self

Self-love training. Pfft.

Don’t they know forcing it only invokes hatred? Like mother did.


A few days ago, I came across a challenge—write a story about love in 14 words. Since half the world is celebrating Valentine’s Day today, thought I might post it here. What 14-word love stories can you come up with?

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Mornings

“Good morning, Sir,” the guard touched his cap as he greeted Jake, the regional manager.

Suited up with pointed shoes, he clutched his laptop bag as he strode along the campus pathway towards the open doors. What a great way to start the day, he though to himself as a second guard paid him a salute. He’s only been at the company a few months, but he’d already garnered the respect of all the men in guard duty. He couldn’t even enter the office without five to seven men acknowledging his dry-cleaned coat and trim beard.

Glowing in pride at himself, Jake approached the office doors. He pulled out his phone even before he’d stepped in, checking for views and comments on his latest Instagram story. His mind was already whirring with an idea for the next one.

Jake didn’t notice the security at the reception, who stood up to greet him a good morning and remained standing until Jake had walked passed him. Stifling a yawn, the security took his seat again looking forward to the end of his shift—sleep and home beckoned him dear.

Arriving at his destination, face alight by his smartphone’s brightness, Jake set the bag on his desk and fell back on his chair. He leaned behind in comfort, now scrolling through his Facebook feed, smiling every once a while at a cat video or a child’s tantrum over cereal. Then throwing a swift glance at the large clock on wall, he plopped his polished feet on the chair next to him.

He was early—according to the office timekeeper, he still had seven minutes before official hours began. As he scrolled on, someone else strolled in. In a black suit and pointed shoes, holding a laptop case, stood before Jake, his manager. Jumping to his feet, stumbling as his shoelace caught on the chair’s armrest, Jake stood up, perspiring. “Good—good morning, Sir”

East and West

“You know what, Mildred? I can’t wait for Kevin to leave for college. I mean, I love the kid, but to be honest, Rick and I haven’t had the house to ourselves in almost 20 years.”

“It’d be nice to be alone with each other again.”

“Oh, yeah,” Mildred agreed her mouth full of Julia’s fresh-baked blueberry muffin. “I get it, Jules. You and Kevin need some time off. The kids are grown up now, they have their own lives to take care of.”

“You two should go on a second honeymoon or some’n,” She added as an afterthought.

“What are you watching, Raj?”

“It’s this new American sitcom, Ma—Rick & Julia. Everyone in college is talking about it.”

“Ok. Here—drink this juice. Do you want anything to eat?” Mrs Patil asked as she cleared up Raj’s empty breakfast plate.

“Nah.”

“Alright. I’m just in the kitchen chatting with Geetha aunty. Let me know if you want anything.”

“Ok.”

“So… how’s it like having Raj back home?” Mrs Patil’s neighbour asked as she entered the kitchen.

“Oh, Geetha! It’s wonderful! I was so bored and Raj’s father doesn’t come home until dinner time—he’s always busy with his business. I was starting to feel depressed.”

“Oh, I wish Raj had a longer holiday,” she stopped chopping onions and turned to face Mrs. Geetha, “with him around, it’s like my life’s got purpose again.”

“I’m making his favourite biriyani today,” she announced without apparent reason her eyes beaming with joy.

The new child

He listened as the midwife crooned words of encouragement. It was as if she was calming him instead, while his darling, moaning and shuffling about in gentle motions, braved on.

She was in pain, he could tell, but she’d given birth before. And she was managing far better than he had the previous four times put together.

About ten heavy breathing and a couple more shrieky minutes later, out plopped his new baby. With buttery legs, a mild mane, and eyes battling against the afternoon sun, his fifth treasure—the one that completed his farm—the jet black calf lay on the warm hay.

Survival of the fittest

Two-by-two, the students of Jasper High lined one after the other, following their creative arts teacher Ms. Richards who, in turn, followed the museum guide. It wasn’t the first time that eight graders took a field trip to the Museum of Ancient and Modern Art. It was part of the annual curriculum, and there was always something new each time.

This year, it was a pining mother lamenting her stillborn child. Visitors queued all along the hallway, awaiting their turn to see the well-guarded portrait. World renowned artist, Huge, had replicated humankind’s most primitive emotion—love—in its unadulterated form. The enthralling special exhibit was on loan the art museum in New York. To all this information, Ms. Richards nodded with polite curiosity.

“Love like I’ve never seen before,” read the placard. Students oohed and aahed when it was their turn to ogle at the art. Ms. Richards couldn’t help agree with the artist—she had never seen love so pure.

“I apologise for the delay,” the guide was saying. “We had to increase security ever since someone tried to steal the portrait two weeks ago.”


Back at the police station, the policeman’s eye gleamed with joy. He’d apprehended the culprit—a twenty-two year old unemployed art graduate.

He admitted to the crime, “I don’t care about love. I’m trying to survive.”