Before you say sorry

Demand not forgiveness

Nor burden them with pleas

Say it gently but mean every syllable

Even before you say sorry

Get into their shoes

But expect not to understand

Give them some time to heal

Way after you say sorry

Leave them alone if you can

For they may have memories bitter

Desire not a lot of flowers

Just before you say sorry

Let the scent of love

Do the needful on its own

And try not to smell revenge

When you finally say sorry

Demean them not when they take time

Or judge them for the cold

Would you have forgotten so easily?

Ask before you say sorry

Say sorry out of deep regret

Not as another ego trip

Count their tears not yours

Before you say sorry

Keep not a record of their faults

Or plan a sweet revenge

It’s your need not theirs

When you choose to say sorry

Try saying sorry unconditionally

For forgiveness is a grace

Not a reward of your regret

Remember, when you say sorry

It’s okay if you are late now

Or were cold or cruel or bitter before

But muster up when it dawns

And say when you are truly sorry.


It just takes a moment to look up!

Pity yourself for a day. You realize it sucks. And the world will embrace your stronger self more easily. Heck, pity yourself for your own sake. To get your own hug. And before you know it, you would learn to laugh at yourself.

For a change, listen to a bunch of parrots chirping at night. You will know nights are as beautiful to them. Even they can be nocturnal like yourself. They may be finishing off an argument over equal rights to female parrots, started during the day. Or a couple parrot may just be fighting over who brings food for the kids. Thank God they don’t have internet.

Fight jealousy for just one day. And see how beautiful it is to see the guy you like being happy with that other girl. Don’t they look cute together? So happy and content. It feels great to be elder one and rejoice in their joys.

Caress a street dog and surprise him. Don’t lure him with a biscuit. Give him a touch, a slight petting. What medical science calls ‘therapeutic’ was never meant as a medicine. It was the vitamin you needed every day.

Be old school. So pick up an old classic even when your friends call you ‘girlie’. Find evidence of an era that seized to exist. Find a protagonist who is like you. Live her life for a week. Feel her feelings, love her loves, amuse her muses. Or better still, get that old blazer you wore as a kid. Mismatch it with random shoes and a rugged shirt. You will see the beauty of history, the gorgeousness of past.

Buy a gramophone look-alike or the 80s telephone. Push dial and play ‘phone phone’. Or if that inspires you enough, get matchsticks, threads and make your own. Your childhood will whisper in the travelling sound I promise.

Chuck the Gucci-duplicate bag and get a back-pack instead. Get a pair of those less fancy basic chappals. Take them to the beach. Spread a hand-stitched mattress. Make Bhel together with a bunch of friends. Make the guys cut onions and tomatoes et al. It would feel like Summer.

Fill a diary with your bad handwriting. But use a fountain pen. The one that leaks. Write random events. Write boring accounts of travels. Or scribble quotes you read years ago. Or just pen down the things some people told you.

On some nights, get out of your bed and look at the stars. And keep looking until you realize the randomness of life and learn to appreciate it the way it is. Look Up. And you will see life’s amazing script unraveling before your eyes.

The hospital canteen sequence

Another weird attempt at short story

Mukti Masih

Things do happen. The details around which you weave several fictitious sequences of life. It doesn’t have to be a beautiful place. Sometimes it’s a hospital canteen where they serve this amazing Chai Special. The smells of antibiotics make each sip heavenly. There’s a waiter who looks across from the serving desk. He bends a little from the upper partition of the steel desk and steals a glance. He always looks amused in this particular sequence. I always find myself sitting opposite him, sipping. Of course, there’s someone else sitting right across the table. He is with me. He has a common name. He, like the waiter, is a regular in this one. So we are sitting and sipping. I am struggling to control the blush of emotions on my face. In vain, yes. He is unfazed, staring and searching my eyes. We are in a serious situation that doesn’t…

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The boy in white shorts

He may be a Catcher in the rye
That you come across bye and bye
To tangle you in his thoughts
You know that boy in white shorts

At dusk, he floats in the free skies
While lying down on his back, with his eyes
That inquire in wondrous whats
You know that boy in white shorts

He loves watching fist-fights
Or playing Robinhood –the brave knight
And cooks up tales and what not
You know that boy in white shorts

He still makes castles in the sand
Often visits Alice’s wonderland
In dreams or when he sleep-talks
You know that boy in white shorts

He laughs oh so hard
That they hear it from afar
And never hushes the farts
You know that boy in white shorts

He flinches with every caning
And so despises training
But goes to school just for laughs
You know that boy in white shorts

He cries and soon forgets
When tough the going gets
And loves in all of the sorts
You know that boy in white shorts

He knows not if he is sad or happy
Or if life’s good or crappy
But jumps and sings and lives a lot
You know that boy in white shorts

Touched by blood

The story o the Bleeding woman retold!

Mukti Masih

She knew at once. She had touched the corner of his cloak in a swift movement. He had turned around, astonished.

A cool audacious breeze blew sand and brushed her curly tresses. Most people shielded their eyes. She caught the dance of the palm leaves above her. Yet her world had seized in that moment. His eyes moved in quick succession. She tightened her grip on the netted black veil that barely covered her nose and her scarlet lips. She started to turn but couldn’t resist. I must see him one last time. Amid a sea of faces, he found her acqua green eyes. He knew at last. He could see through her bare soul.


She was 21 when all the beauty in her world left her. Every single day since had she despised the wetness, the blood. The incessant flood of red liquid that often wet her under-clothes…

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This one is very very close to my heart!

Mukti Masih

JENNA had made them angry again. Suddenly there was silence as they all shot her a furious look. A strand of hair flung across her face, her eyes dripping of arrogance. A dab of blue ink made an erratic shape near the front pocket of her white shirt. As she looked down at her canvas shoes, her two ponytails made an awkward bent. She was pulling at the loosely hung grey tie now.

“You are sixteen for heaven’s sake. Teens don’t go home right after school. They hang out, have fun, go to movies and……” said one. “I have to be home by 2.30. It’s important,” she said. Friendship is beyond reason. Yet often how hard it is to speak your mind to friends, she thought.

“Don’t tell me you have a date with your nanny,” remarked another triggering a jeer. Jake wasn’t laughing. He looked at her gravely. Too…

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Of drizzles and downpours

He saw her as Athena inside Parthenon that stands on a rock smugly looking down. She was the symbol of reign, a protector, a force still unfathomable to human. The temple illuminated his world as he lifted up his eyes. His feet froze in praise. She was the Aphrodite of his nights that blessed him with ethereal dreams. Every morning he found himself lying down on the footstool of her memories. He was a composer.
Tonight as they sat opposite each other on the floor, the glass house gleamed in moonlight. The crew was asleep in fatigue. They were performing at the opera next day. As she ran her fingers inside her tresses, he looked in reverence. “I want to play your song on speaker phone and watch your face,” he had prayed once. Tonight it was granted. He found her staring back at him in amusement. He craved for her words, not flesh. He wanted her curves dipped in poems or longed to kiss the symmetry of her thoughts.
“Hey you have got something on your forehead,” she said. He brushed it before she moved. The scar on his face twitched. He felt several knives cutting his temple. Good it was dark, he sighed. “Don’t distract me,” he said.
All he wanted to hear was her voice. He felt like the song could colour her beautiful face. He studied her eyes and sought protection. It was the concert that he had waited for many Sundays.
But he couldn’t dare cross the aisle between them. He was content standing at the bottom of the alter, a devout. He feared her. She was the source of her life, the singular element that ruled his songs. She was a Euphony that got him victory over noises.

The creases that coloured her forehead when she looked at him in worry. They were like the empty gaps on a musical note. He wished to fill them with sonnets. Her singular glance was the miracle he needed to breathe, and to bleed. He worshiped her drizzles.

She wished for once he would lift the weight of beauty and recognise the ugly crumbs. She wanted to bare her soul, undress her fears. She has waited all her life to be held, to feel weak in his arms. He was a monarch who would reign over her. Serving him would be her joy. She would please him by her profuse love. She would fill his cups with the nectar of her desires. She would let him rule. She would sing in her longing of him.

Something changed last night. She had carried him from the bar and laid him on the bed. She had found him for the first time, as he drifted away in stupor. The innocence of a child. The honesty of a man. Why didn’t she see him before? He was asleep. She sang a lullaby holding his face in her hands. She held him like her own child. She wouldn’t let nightmares cross his dreams.
Tonight she sought love in his eyes. She was desperate for the verbosity of his intimate desires, his dreams. She searched in the deserts and on the hills.

“I am not trying to distract you. I am wanting you to see,” she said. Several storms hit her, trying to shake her faith. She held on to the feeble flask she knew only he would break. She wished he wouldn’t keep the rose inside his notebook to freeze its beauty. She longed he would let it live for two days and watch it wither in peace. She craved he would crush her with his love. And reign on her soul arrogantly. And hold her till it hurt. And compel her to surrender. She would wait for him to come. Until then she would keep thirsting for a downpour.

Old Mays

Be a futile quest, know no aim nor rest
Or be an enquiry in oblivion, a heart’s cry in vain

Let it fade on the horizon, and find it’s own hymn
And scatter in sands, or sing deep in lands

Dwell in minutes that tickle, in words so fickle
Let a memory be born, let an image dawn

Long far and wide, and long deep in tides
Not pretend and connive, or in lies thrive

Come into me or walk away forever, bind it anew or once sever
Be a memory that gleams, so content in its sheen

Dissipate like the dew, only to be born anew
Let me be that leaf above, that withers soon in love

Drift away like morning rays, only to return to old Mays
Entangle in embrace, of memories, of dew, of haze


She imagines amid the dark clouds

that hover on her mountains of sorrow

to be a beauty, not the beholder


Her agony rains, and downpours

in cold seas and cutting waves

And drops a drought in her soul


There’s a nectar that flows

in a stream nearby

and leaves her eternally thirsty


She imagines while lying

on a meadow, looking up at the sky

to be the protagonist, not the creator




A song from a distant radio

Unveils a time gone by

Or words woven tastefully

Unlock an old key of memories

A brooding violin sings

Unbuttons the bosom of sorrow

A slight touch on the fret

Undresses a wound forgotten


I hear a prelude every morn

When the breeze plays

A bird then takes it to soprano

And in cadenza goes the day

The tiny ones have their own symphony

When all’s dark and no one’s listening

They talk to each other in lyrics

Till the Sun shines a spotlight


Or sometimes I hear a group

Singing with all their might

And reminds me of school days

Of playful reckless days

The anthem much hated back then

Renews its words in my heart

And jogs my memory

To the child I am not anymore


A few songs have stayed

Stubbornly in my playlist

And create new memories

Each time as they touch my ears

Others I sing in the bathroom

And still try very hard

To fit them in the texture

Of my often failing voice

A love song moves me still

The words seem to caress my soul

The notes are synonymous

To my feelings, to my being


Fortunate are the hands

That slide on a piano

And blessed are those

That direct the bow on a violin

How beautiful is the voice

Of the heart that finds excuses

To sing at every moment

And make the symphony last

Blessed is the God

Who composed such a melody

Blessed be His name

Through a Hosanna in a song.

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