Another 100-word story, “The Retreating River“, is now up on A Story in 100 Words. Like “The Conductor“, which was written on a chaotic bus ride from Thrissur to Kozhikode, this one was written on a train ride between the same two towns. Specifically, the description of the river was inspired by the sight of the Bharathappuzha near Shornur, which has deteriorated into a river of sand splattered here and there with trickles of water.
[Illustrated by A.V. Sherine]
Sunil’s adolescent fantasy of being a bus conductor was now fulfilled. Nubile women pressed against him in strategic spots, he smirked.
At Valanchery, a horde of schoolgirls boarded. Sunil could barely squeeze through to sell tickets. This was heaven.
At Vattappara, thirteen aunties got on. Commuters. Other passengers were in hell. Sunil attained paradise. Though paradise was slightly suffocating.
At Kakkad, the tension eased slightly, but before Sunil could exhale, twenty quavering old biddies surged into the bus. A handbag knocked against Sunil’s temple.
When the bus pulled into Ramanattukara bus stand, Sunil was no longer in this world. Literally.
UPDATE: This story has been published on A Story in 100 Words. You can view it here.
I thought it would be easy to write a story in exactly 100 words, but it was the “exactly” that foxed me. It was an exercise in economy. I first wrote the story, and then kept slashing and slashing till I got it down to the requisite word length. Every time I pressed the ‘Delete’ or ‘Backspace’ key, it felt like I was erasing a piece of my soul! But I persevered, and finally “Voodoo Graffiti” got published on A Story in 100 Words. This was my first real story publication. Hey, it might be just a 100 words, and maybe it’s slightly weird (heck, I know it’s completely weird but that’s the point!) but it’s still a story!
I stole the idea of writing a 100-word story and publishing it on this site, from my cousin and fellow writer Namitha Varma’s experiment in writing a 100-word story. Namitha’s story “Guilt” is a sombre and sobering meditation on ethics in the face of chaos, while mine is just a fun-fest!