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assam

sarees tell stories

maharanis, construction workers, ics officers – a saree wearer’s longish ramble

six yards, five and a half metres, sometimes nine yards, of material. you have to wrap it around yourself. tuck here, tuck there, make the pleats, hold the pallu in place. it must be so difficult. one must sit still or move around in luxury cars or palanquins if one is in a saree. yet a saree has never demanded that. not really, not ever. in fact, if your palanquin is late, you can simply hitch up your saree a…

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sarees tell stories

muga and memories

there were always butterflies to chase after and try and catch; powdery colour left behind on your fingers as the winged one found a way to escape your clutches. not just the usual yellow and white butterflies. they were blue and black, brown with large eye like patterns, some had purple streaks, some ornate wings with frilly edges. in the reserve forest there were many more. and there were moths too. big ones, tiny ones, in the house, in the…

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indi

on the road with a memory

that year my father was the happiest man in all of assam, i’m quite sure. he had bought himself an ambassador mark II, a black one, and had driven it all the way from calcutta to duliajan in upper assam. somewhere near guwahati, the gear had seemed a bit unreasonable, but that hadn’t bothered him. a brand new black ambassador with upholstery in grey and red and that feeling of latest technology releases a sort of joy that a little…

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Espresso Shots

the steps: a ghost story

if you happen to live in bungalow number 7 in digboi, you’ll know you have to climb sixty steps up the tila to the house. this being digboi in upper assam, the terrain is dotted with tilas or hillocks; on top of many of these sit bungalows built by the assam oil company. the company’s officers live in them. digboi, if you’ve never heard of it, is a town up in the north east of the north eastern state of…

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Arshi OS/SS : Short and sweet

ncofl… never on a new year: chapter 10

the sun had almost disappeared beyond the tea estates and the faraway mountains. the last rays of light remained, there was an orangey purple hue in the air, on the green tea bushes, the winding paths, and far flung homes and hamlets. khushi’s tiny diamond nose pin glinted for an instant as she turned her face to take a look at herself. she would have walked away after a cursory glance at the mirror, but then her eyes seemed to…

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Arshi OS/SS : Short and sweet

ncofl… never on a new year: chapter 9

khushi wondered why the green looked hazy, out of focus. something warm and wet touched her cheek, her vision cleared. it was a tear she realised. that choking sensation near her throat was still there. khushi shook her head not quite conscious of what she was doing… her breathing was getting irregular again. how would she make arnav ji understand? it wasn’t safe here, anything could happen. as the words filtered through, a darkness seized some corner without name, a…

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Arshi OS/SS : Short and sweet

ncofl… never on a new year: chapter 8

kanumoni held the end of the chadar and with deft, quick fingers twisted the material. in an instant, a series of three triangular folds fell across the edge of the fine white cotton with motifs in black and red, the tassels bobbed playfully. she tucked the point she was holding from where the pleats started, into khushi’s petticoat, over the mekhela. then she leaned closer to take the rest of the chadar around khushi, letting the other end fall over…

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Arshi OS/SS : Short and sweet

ncofl… never on a new year: chapter 7

it was soft and cool against his fingers. he stroked the fabric feeling its smoothness, its supple texture. the yarn had a natural golden sheen, a deep innate gold that didn’t need to flaunt itself or glitter too obviously. it was rich and comfortable with its beauty. asr held a fistful of mooga and then slowly let it go… watching it fall. “can you make it as light as chiffon, weave a fine transparency in? what do you think, salman?”…

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Arshi OS/SS : Short and sweet

ncofl… never on a new year: chapter 6

“kk! you look dazed… are you hungry?” salman asked khushi from the front seat of the ambassador car taking them toward margharita tea estate where they would be staying at the guest house. salman’s parents were at a garden nearby, he had wanted to make sure his boss stayed at the best place around here. salman had grown up in assam. he loved the place, in fact, he was almost proud of it… it’s natural beauty, the richness of the…

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Arshi OS/SS : Short and sweet

ncofl… never on a new year: chapter 5

asr gripped the secateurs firmly. he looked at the tip of the stem, brow scrunched, lips pursed, willing his mind to focus. he was not going to think of anything else now. he would snip the stem just where he knew he must, he was… “am i speaking to mr raizada… mr arnav singh raizada?” she had a poised voice, he could tell from the way she said his name, especially the “r,” that she wasn’t indian. she sounded… asian?…

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