Tag Archives: dipankar dasgupta

Waiting — Flash Fiction # 13

They had been waiting for weeks when a few of them pointed out that they had waited for months, and soon enough the months changed to years, till, finally, those who were still alive forgot what they were waiting for, even though they felt vaguely that they had been waiting. 






Granny — Flash Fiction # 12

Granny too was excited to hear the patter of feet coming up the staircase on that silent afternoon, but they passed by the closed door of her empty home, climbing further up and finally moving out of her hearing range. As always.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sequence — Flash Fiction #11

The man knew he was old, and so were all his possessions, dog included, and that, put together, the collectivity was beyond repair, but he didn’t know in what sequence they needed to be disposed of.







 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Girls — Flash Fiction #10

Hanoi. Inside a tourist bus hired by the university. I sat next to a student volunteer. Dressed in a pristine white uniform. Young and radiating health. She told me about her family. Her father was a doctor. Wasn’t he? Not sure. Could have been an engineer or an accountant. But certainly not a pilot or a restaurant owner. We were silent for a while, watching through the window roadside shops, simple folks walking their way back home. We passed by an aged woman with a shoulder yoke. She could have reminded her of her grandparents. The girl suddenly turned towards me and asked, “Do you have grandchildren?” I must have been pretty old then. But I have grown even older with time. How old is she today? Don’t know her name. That nameless Vietnamese girl may still be in Hanoi. If you see an attractive girl there with a lovely smile, that’s she. 

***

Hong Kong. I was walking down a long, steep stairway leading down the hill from my home to my office in the university. To my left stood the colossal shopping mall, Festival Walk. It began to rain and I prepared to get soaked. When a smallish Chinese girl emerged out of the huge mall. She briskly approached me and offered shelter under her open umbrella. We chatted as we went towards our common destination. She was an undergraduate student and spoke about the courses she was taking. Once inside the university building, she took leave and went her way. I never saw her again. Did I ask her name? Can’t recall anymore. Probably not. She should not be more than thirty five now. If you come across her do tell her that I can’t get her out of my mind even though I don’t remember her face. I wonder where she lives now. Her kindness has remained stuck to me like the empty smile of eternity. 

***

New York city. Afternoon, fifty years ago. Avenue of the Americas. Pavement in front of Radio City Music Hall. I was walking aimlessly, when a girl in a green dress rushed up and confronted me. To my total surprise, she said, “I love you.” Her intonation was strange. I thought I heard her saying, “Love you?” I didn’t know her at all and stared at her dumbfounded for a moment. Then I tried to smile. I said, “You do?” “Yes,” she said and stood blocking my way, as though she was waiting for a response. Her eyes looked sad as she stared at me and her face wore an expression that I couldn’t decipher. The sadness in her eyes was too deep for her age and the manner of her voice was vaguely painful. I managed to skirt around her and briskly walk away. I had probably assumed her to be a drug addict, even though, on hindsight, she didn’t resemble one.

Like the other two, I never saw this girl again, but those sad eyes and the puzzling countenance continue to live and the enigmatic words she had uttered keep ringing in my ears. Was she asserting or interrogating me about herself? I wish I had bought her coffee and spent a few minutes with her. Instead, and as always, I didn’t even ask her name. Somewhere, now, she is a very old woman. She will not recognize me. It’s best to leave her alone.

***

Girls vanish.

 

House — Flash Fiction # 9

He bought the house in a prime locality of the city, not to live there, but because he wished to sell off the property for a decent profit.

He sold it, as he had planned to. The man who bought it, did not intend to live in it. Instead, like the previous owner, he sold off the property for a decent profit. The next person who purchased the house did not plan to live there either, and sold it off for a profit as the previous buyers did. And so on.

None of the owners ever lived in that house. Liverlessly though, the house went on living where it was built to live. Till it was too old to live any longer.

Soya — Flash Fiction # 8


He stared across the Sea of China sitting inside a sushi bar in Otaru Port thinking absent-mindedly about that slim Chinese girl in Xidi Village when a tiny drop of soya sauce fell on his shirt sleeve and doggedly defied to be washed off for the rest of his life like the pretty, embarrassed face of the Japanese waitress.

 

 

Choice — Flash Fiction #7


He spent the day debating in his mind, should he or should he not, only to realise towards early evening that there was no third choice, and she arrived precisely at the same conclusion, but not before early next morning, which, needless to say, was most unfortunate.

 

 

Love — Flash Fiction # 6


He was madly in love with her though she was madly in love with him. But he was madly in love with her. Whereas she was madly in love with him. Yet, he was madly in love with her already, as we saw at the very beginning of this heart-rending tale.

 
 
 
 
 

Flying — Flash Fiction # 5


A baby caterpillar was slowly crawling up, its belly clinging to the bark of a tree. It had no idea that it was eventually meant to turn into a butterfly.

On a branch of the tree, a bird and its mate had built a nest. In the nest lived their young ones who had not yet learnt to fly. Their mother spotted the caterpillar. She flew down and picked it up in its beak and sped up to the nest to feed the young ones, hoping they will turn strong and learn to fly soon.

The caterpillar never found out about flying.

One of the small birds in the tree fell on the ground during its flying lesson. It hopped around helplessly not knowing how to fly back home.

In a hole in the ground near the tree lived a hungry snake. It watched the little bird for a while, slithered close to it and then swallowed it up.

The young bird never found out about flying.

One doesn’t know what happened to the snake.

Probably it never found out about flying either.

 
 
 
 
 

The Neem Tree — Flash Fiction # 2 (Transcreation)


Some tear away leaves for grinding.

Yet others fry them in oil.

To apply on ringworm afflicted skin.

A panacea for a variety of skin ailments.

Many eat the tender leaves.

Raw, uncooked.

Or, sautéed with eggplant.

Helps the liver.

Endlessly many chew the young twigs … to keep their teeth healthy.

Practitioners of traditional medicine praise it to the skies.

The wise are pleased to see it grow next to one’s dwelling.

“Breeze filtered through Neem leaves is good for health. Don’t chop it down,” they say.

No one chops it, but they don’t care for it either.

Garbage collects on every side.

Some build a paved platform around its stem. That’s yet another piece of junk.

Suddenly one day a maverick arrives.

He stares at the Neem tree with rapt attention. He doesn’t tear any part of the bark, nor the leaves. He does not snap a single twig. He simply keeps gazing.

Spellbound.

And then he says, “Oh, how exquisite the leaves … magnificent! How pretty the flower bunches … as though a flock of stars has descended from the blue sky on to the green lake below … Lovely …”

He stands staring for a while and then goes about his way.

He was not one for diseases to cure, but a poet pure.

The tree wished it could leave with the man. But it failed. Its roots had penetrated deep inside the earth. It remained standing in the middle of the garbage heap behind the house.

The condition of the docile young girl married off in the crammed household next door, brimming though she is with housewifely virtues, is no different.

Transcreation of a classic Bengali Flash Fiction নিমগাছ (neemgaach) by Banaphool. It was originally published in 1946 in a collection called অদৃশ্যলোক (adrishyalok, translated “invisible world”).