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Published stories, essays and reviews

The complete collection...well, almost

Here are some of my pieces published in journals, and now, books!

The price of a strong opening

Featured in The Hooghly Review, February 2024

 In bypassing the reader’s hunger for the story, in refusing to put in the work of sticking through an opening even though it may not hook us in the first five seconds, in passing the buck on to the writer instead, arm-twisting her to ‘impress us in the first one hundred words or else’… we pay a price. By shifting our work as readers of wanting to read, of being curious, on to the writer’s shoulder, demanding that she convince us to, we risk losing nuance, quirkiness and style.




Featured in QLRS, January 2024

 We couldn't tell if her comebacks were said in jest, or if she meant them seriously. Sure, the office shone after her. But it was like when she vacuumed the carpet, she sucked away the air too. The lights became brighter, they hurt the eye, the air became thinner, the air con became colder, which would have been a good thing given the oven it was outside, except it became so cold, it bit the skin.

Photo by Rayson Tan on Unsplash

I did not know

Featured in Women's Web, October 2023

 I shook hands with a monkey once. I wait for you to grow up to tell you this. I hope it will make you laugh. Like bubbles do.

Photo by Raspopova Marina on Unsplash


Freeing Rakshabandhan

Women's Web

August 2023

A festival that represents a sister’s love for her brother is great, but the brother’s vow to protect her? Not so much. For it presupposes two things, firstly that a sister needs protection and she is incapable of doing so herself, and secondly, that it is her brother’s duty to do so. Brothers don’t need protecting and sisters cannot offer it.

PC: Photo by Prchi Palwe on Unsplash

We Women

Out of Print

June 2023

Did you quit because they didn’t value your contribution or because your salary didn’t cover two day-care fees and the nanny? Did you squander away years of work experience just when you were at the cusp of bigger things because you finally accepted, like the rest of us, that you do not have it in you to have it all. 

PC: Photo by Molly Blackbird on Unsplash


Nine on ten


May, 2023

Although my compatriots and I had made it to Singapore, we were still running, jostling, trampling. We didn’t particularly want to associate with those we had left behind. If the workplace brought us face-to-face with our countrymates, we distanced ourselves from them and sidled closer to the other side.



July, 2022

Till as far back as she could remember, pigeons had hovered near her, flying too close to her head in the school playground, getting under her feet in college corridors, nesting in the crevices of the stairway in her office, mumbling officiously. They insisted on being here too, sullying the park with their poop and feathers, bobbing their heads, looking at her sideways with their pink, suspicious eyes.

Photo credit: Akram Huseyn via Unsplash


Beauty Queen

Gingerbread House

April 2022

A face stared back at her from the water. It had a wide forehead and large questioning eyes that twinkled when she smiled. But then she remembered the unsightly baby her mother found pretty. Either her mother had lied or her reflection was. She couldn’t tell.  

Photo by Serrah Galos on Unsplash

January 2022

A parents'-children's story about emotional acceptance

Sometimes we feel happy,

sometimes angry or scared or sad.

All these feelings are ours to feel,

no feeling is good or bad.


November 2021

A parents'-children's story on understanding boundaries

When I say no to you,

It's not because I don't love you,

It is because I do.

To buy a copy, click here:

Photo by Buddings



July, 2021

आज वरुण के घर जा कर अजीब सा लगा। आंटी का कमरा अब भी वैसा ही है। टेबल पर किशमिश भी रखा है। पर आंटी नहीं हैं। उनकी खुशबु भी नहीं है।


Nail Candy


June 28, 2021

It’s the blood from the left side of Jr. 's heart. Your right, don’t get confused, or you will end up with a darker shade. Come back here tonight, I can help you cut.

Photo by KARTIK GADA on Unsplash

The visit

Muse India

February 18 2021

When she told people that she was living with her relatives, away from home, she rose even higher in their estimation, like a shooting star fleetingly illuminating their world, whose brilliance had to be committed to memory before it vanished. She never once said who these relatives were or that the person whose room she was inhabiting was in the same school, in fact sitting on a bench behind her right now, listening. And when I took it upon myself to redress this act of omission and tell people that it was us she was living with, they looked at me not like a generous host, but like an undeserving sky trying to lay claim on some of her luminescence.

Photo credit: kabir cheema on Unsplash

The visit.jpg


Idle Ink

October 3, 2020

In theory, the lockdown should’ve suited him fine. He didn’t go out much anyway, nor did he meet a lot of people. He liked to potter about in the garden and shed. But the lockdown ripped his life open.

Photo credit: Mark Tegethoff

January 2020

Elephant settled on the couch and took a sip of water. The doctor, already seated, focussed on him with his unseeing eyes and waited for him to start. Elephant had concluded that the doctor didn’t do pleasantries not out of impoliteness but out of an overzealous watchfulness of time, and over months, Elephant stopped asking how he was and launched right into the session.  

“I left my herd and came here because I was tired of everyone telling me what I could and could not do. No one can see here, so I can do what I want, right? Wrong. Your city is no different. People decide, very quickly, who they think you are, and just like that you are trapped in their impression of you for the rest of your life.”   

Screen Shot 2020-04-13 at 6.12.29 PM.jpg
Shady tree

'Call centre' featured in Singapore Unbound 2019

January 20, 2019

We were a survey company and our job was to ask questions. I was in a team along with three others, Raymond, Lucy and Siti. There were twelve or so others who worked on different projects. All of us worked on a system called HeartToHeart. All we had to do, every morning, was to log in to our systems. From there on, the computer all but took over. It dialled the phone number of the people we had to interview. If the person was busy, it showed us how to arrange a call-back. If they were free, it told us whether to say good morning, afternoon or evening, how to introduce ourselves and what questions to ask.

Photo credit: Shireesh Vasupalli

'Dear Singapore' featured in Litro

December 2018

Dear Singapore,Looks like it is time to say goodbye.It was thirteen years ago that I set foot on your shores, as a starry-eyed, newly married, first-time expat.I vividly remember my first walk to the East Coast Park. I made an animated call to my family back home to tell them how unbelievably clean the city was. There was no litter and no stray dogs. Even the dried leaves fell from the trees gracefully and carpeted the ground in a beautiful pattern.I remember standing at a pedestrian crossing at a quiet road, feeling silly waiting for the man to green.​Photo credit: Shireesh Vasupalli


'It's in the eyes' featured in Out of print

September 2018

Megha learnt to read early. It was a month before her sixth birthday when she finished her first big book. It was The Mystery of the Hidden House by Enid Blyton. She had discovered it in her father’s bookshelf, sandwiched between his thick medical journals. The pages had turned a bright ochre and came off easily. Her grandmother said that one of her cousins had left it behind many years ago, and she had saved it for Megha for when she started reading.
Megha was drawn into the world of the Five Find-outers and dog. She read about the mysterious goings-on in the British village of Peterswood with envy. She imagined herself in her their midst, holding secret meetings behind her parents’ back and looking for clues. Unlike them, ‘things’ never happened to her in the northern Indian town of Kanpur. Most of her afternoons were spent in the dispensary at her father’s clinic.

Beach with footsteps.jpg

Flotsam featured in Burningword Literary Journal

January 20, 2019

“This started when I moved to Amy’s house,” Judy said, as she and James set out for their evening stroll. It was the same stretch of the East Coast Park that they had walked every evening, for the last forty-seven years. James was still in his work clothes, a navy-blue Coast Guard uniform. Judy wore a beige top over black trousers.

“A churning in the stomach. Heart hammering loudly into my chest, drowning all other sounds. It grows faster, like going downhill on a roller coaster. My hands shake and go cold. See…”

Photo credit: Shireesh Vasupalli

The bigger sin in Nanoism 

January 20, 2019

He dithered at the church door as his mother lay in the hospital, wondering which would be the bigger sin, lying to her or to himself.​(This is all of it, really)​Photo credit: Shireesh Vasupalli


Comings and goings featured in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal

October 2017

Bahadur came to the Sharma household on Narender's tails. He wore a black t-shirt and a navy blue trouser that was too big for him, which was kept in place with a brown canvas belt. He carried a small satchel which looked almost empty. His light brown eyes were narrow, and puffy and he hardly spoke. By general consensus, his age was pegged at ten years.

Photo credit: Shireesh Vasupalli

Stray dog
Singapore street

Love in Singapore featured in Quarterly Literary Review of Singapore

July 2017

Veerpal was thinking what to make for lunch when the doorbell rang. She worked as a helper to Maya Aunty, who was herself an agent for domestic workers. At the door was a new girl who had just arrived from the airport, with a handbag and a single suitcase in tow. She was in her early twenties, like Veerpal. She looked exhausted from the overnight journey. Veerpal let her in and walked her to her own room, which they would share for the next few days.

Photo credit: Shireesh Vasupalli

Weight featured in Thrice Fiction

April 2017

The gentle king was gripped by a frenzy of reclamation. Having gnawed at his own hills and rocks, he turned to his neighbouring kingdoms, buying their sand for its weight in gold. “We cannot claim what isn’t ours,” his councilmen forebode.

Photo credit: Shireesh Vasupalli

Sand and sea
Baby hand

I did not know in Mothers always write

December 2016

I did not know that it would be like this.That a part within would grow and climb out of me and become something so beautiful.That someone weighing 3.74 kilograms would make my world dance with a flick of his little finger—your entire hand the size of my thumb, your fingers delicate as a baby grape, long and slender like an ape. I shook hands with a monkey once. I wait for you to grow up to tell you this. I hope it will make you laugh. Like bubbles do.​Photo credit: Shireesh Vasupalli

Summer Song

March 2016

As their taxi pulled away from Changi airport’s spotless arrivals hall, Agnes was struck by the dazzlingbrightness of Singapore. Bathed in sunlight, the highway shone like a mirror, zipped together with animpeccable row of white, mauve and magenta bougainvillea running through the middle, flanked bygreen trees arching towards each other in the sky.

Mango tree
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