The Right Kind of House

When did you read last a O. Henry kind of short story?

Going one better, here’s the one that I stumbled upon, a sheer delight if you’re into the genre.

Chancing upon a post by Sujatha Desikan a reference therein (provided by the renowned Tamizh writer Sujatha) set me up on a search.

So here it is for your reading pleasure, a story by Henry Slezar:


The automobile that stopped in front of Aaron Hacker’s real-estate office had a New York license plate. Aaron didn’t need to see the license plate to know that its owner was new to the elm-shaded town of Ivy Corners. The car was a red convertible. There was nothing else like it in town.

The man got out of the car and headed straight for the door.

“It seems to be a customer,” said Mr. Hacker to the young lady at the other desk “Let’s look busy.”

It was a customer, all right. The man had a folded newspaper in his right hand. He was a bit on the heavy side and wore a light gray suit. He was about fifty with dark, curly hair. The skin of his face was flushed and hot, but his narrow eyes were frosty clear.

He came through the doorway and nodded at Aaron. “Are you Mr. Hacker?”

“Yes sir,” Aaron smiled. “What can I do for you?”

The man waved the newspaper. “I saw the name of your agency in the real-estate section of the newspaper.”

“Yep, I take an ad every week. Lots of city people are interested in a town like ours, Mr …“

“Waterbury,” the man said. He pulled a white handkerchief out of his pocket and mopped his face. “Hot today.”

“Unusually hot,” Aaron answered. “Doesn’t often get so hot in our town. We’re near the lake, you know. Well, won’t you sit down, Mr. Waterbury?”

“Thank you.” The man took a chair, and sighed. “I’ve been driving around. Thought I’d look the town over before I came here. Very nice little place.”

“Yes, we like it,” said Aaron.

“Now I really don’t have much time, Mr. Hacker. Suppose we get right down to business.”

“Suits me, Mr. Waterbury. Well, then, was there any place in particular you were interested in?”

“As a matter of fact, yes. I saw a house at the edge of town, across the way from an old deserted building.”

“Was it an old yellow house with pillars?” asked Aaron.

“Yes. That’s the place. I thought I saw a ‘For Sale’ sign, but I wasn’t sure. Do you have that house listed?”

Aaron chuckled softly. “Yep, we got it listed all right.” He flipped through a looseleaf book, and pointed to a typewritten sheet. “But you won’t be interested for long.”

 “Why not?” Aaron turned the book around.

“Read it for yourself.”

AUTHENTIC COLONIAL: Eight rooms two baths, large porches, trees and shrubbery. Near shopping and schools. $75,000.

“Still interested?’

The man stirred uncomfortably. “Why not? Something wrong with it?”

“Well.” Aaron scratched his temple. “If you really like this town, Mr. Waterbury…I mean if you really want to settle here, I have any number of places that’d suit you better.”

“Now just a minute!” The man looked indignant. “I’m asking you about this colonial house. You want to sell it or not?”

“Do I?” Aaron chuckled. “Mister, I’ve had that property on my hands for five years. There’s no house I’d rather collect a commission on. Only my luck ain’t that good.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean you won’t buy. That’s what I mean. I keep the listing on my books just for the sake of old Sadie Grimes. Otherwise, I wouldn’t waste the space. Believe me.”

“I don’t get you.”

“Then let me explain. Mrs. Grimes put her place up for sale five years ago, when her son died. She gave me the job of selling it. I didn’t want the job – no sir! I told her that to her face. I mean the old place ain’t even worth $10,000!”

“The man swallowed. “Ten? And she wants $75,000?”

“That’s right. It’s a real old house. I mean old. Some of the beams will be going in the next couple of years. Basement’s full of water half the time. Upper floors lean to the right about nine inches. And the grounds are a mess.”

“Then why does she ask so much?”

Aaron shrugged. “Don’t ask me. Sentiment, maybe. The house has been in her family since the Revolution. Something like that.”

The man looked at the floor. “That’s too bad,” he said. “Too bad!” He looked up at Aaron and smiled sheepishly. “ I kinda like the place. It was – I don’t know how to explain it – the right kind of house.”

“I know what you mean. It’s a friendly, old place. A good buy at $10,000. But $75,000?” He laughed. “I think I know Sadie’s reasoning, though. You see, she doesn’t have much money. Her son was supporting her, doing well in the city. Then he dies, and she knew that it was sensible to sell. But she couldn’t bring herself to part with the old place. So she set a price tag so high that nobody would buy it. That eased her conscience.” Mr. Hacker shook his head sadly. It’s a strange world, ain’t it?”

“Yes,” Waterbury said thoughtfully. Then he stood up. “Tell you what, Mr. Hacker. Suppose I drive out to see Mrs. Grimes. Suppose I talk to her about it, get her to change her price.”

“You’re fooling yourself, Mr. Waterbury. I’ve been trying for five years.”

“Who knows? Maybe if somebody else tried…“

Aaron Hacker shrugged his shoulders. “Who knows, is right. It’s a strange world, Mr. Waterbury. If you’re willing to go to the trouble, I’ll be only too happy to lend a hand.”

“Good. Then I’ll leave now…”

“Fine! You just let me ring Sadie Grimes. I’ll tell her you’re on your way.”

“Waterbury drove slowly through the quiet streets. The trees that lined the avenues cast peaceful shadows on the hood of the car.

He reached the home of Sadie Grimes without once passing another moving vehicle. He parked his car beside the rotted picket fence that faced the house.

The lawn was a jungle of weeds and crabgrass, and the columns that rose from the front porch were covered with flaking paint.

There was a hand knocker on the door. He banged it twice. The woman who came to the door was short and plump. Her hair was white and her face was lined. She wore a heavy wool sweater, despite the heat.

“You must be Mr. Waterbury,” she said. “Aaron Hacker said you were coming.”

“Yes,” the man smiled. How do you do, Mrs. Grimes?” “It’s awfully hot out here.” He chuckled.

“Hm. Well, come in then. I’ve put some lemonade in the ice-box. Only don’t expect me to bargain with you, Mr. Waterbury. I’m not that kind of person.

“Of course not.” The man said, and followed her inside.

They entered a square parlor with heavy furniture. The only color in the room was in the faded hues of the worn rug in the center of the floor. The old woman headed straight for a rocker, and sat motionless, her wrinkled hands folded sternly.

“Well?” she said. “If you have anything to say, Mr. Waterbury, I suggest you say it.”

The man cleared his throat. “Mrs. Grimes, I’ve just spoken with your real-estate agent…“

“I know all that,” she snapped. “Aaron’s a fool. All the more for letting you come here with the notion of changing my mind. I’m too old for changing my mind, Mr. Waterbury.”

“Er…well, I don’t know if that was my intention, Mrs. Grimes. I thought we’d just talk a little.”

She leaned back and the rocker squeaked. “Talk’s free. Say what you like.”

“Yes.” He mopped his face again, and shoved the handkerchief back into his pocket. “Well, let me put it this way, Mrs. Grimes. I’m a business man – a bachelor – never married, I live alone. I’ve worked for a long time, and I’ve made a fair amount of money. Now, I’m ready to retire – to somewhere quiet. I like Ivy Corners. I passed through here some years ago on my way to – Albany. I thought one day I might like to settle here. ”


“So, when I drove through your town today, and saw this house, it just seemed – right for me.”

“I like it too, Mr. Waterbury. That’s why I’m asking a fair price for it.” Waterbury blinked.

“Fair price? You’ll have to admit, Mrs. Grimes, these days a house like this shouldn’t cost more than…“

“That’s enough!” the woman cried. “I told you, Mr. Waterbury, I don’t want to sit here all day and argue with you. If you won’t pay my price, then we can forget all about it.”

“But, Mrs. Grimes…“

“Good day, Mr. Waterbury!” She stood up, indicating that he should leave.

But he didn’t. “Wait a minute, Mrs. Grimes,” he said. Just a moment. I know it’s crazy, but…all right. I’ll pay what you want.”

She looked at him for a long moment. “Are you sure, Mr. Waterbury?”

“Positive! I’ve enough money. If that’s the only way you’ll have it, that’s the way it’ll be.”

“She smiled. “I think that lemonade’ll be cold enough. I’ll bring you some – and then I’ll tell you something about this house.”

He was mopping his brow when she returned with the tray. He gulped at the frosty yellow beverage greedily.

“This house,” she said, easing back into her rocker, “Has been in my family since 1802. It was built fifteen years before that. Every member of the family, except my son, Michael, was born in the bedroom upstairs. I know it’s not the most solid house in Ivy Corners. After Michael was born, there was a flood in the basement, and we never seemed to get it dry since. I love the old place, though, you understand.”

“Of course,” Waterbury said.

“Michael’s father died when Michael was nine. There were hard times then. I did some needlework, and my own father had left me some money which supports me today. Not in very grand style, but I manage. Michael missed his father, perhaps even more than I. He grew up to be, well, wild is the only word that comes to mind.”

The man nodded with understanding.

“When he graduated from high school, Michael left Ivy Corners and went to the city. He went there against my wishes, make no mistake. But he was like so many young men, full of ambition, wild ambition. I didn’t know what he did in the city. But he must have been successful – he sent me money regularly. However, I didn’t see him for nine years.”

“Ah,” the man sighed, sadly.

“Yes, it wasn’t easy for me. But it was even worse when Michael came home. Because, when he did, he was in trouble.”


“I didn’t know how bad the trouble was. He showed up in the middle of the night, looking thinner and older than I could have believed possible. He had no luggage with him, only a small black suitcase. When I tried to take it from him, he almost struck me. Struck me – his own mother!”

“I put him to bed myself, as if he was a little boy again. I could hear him crying out during the night.”

“The next day, he told me to leave the house. Just for a few hours. He wanted to do something, he said. He didn’t explain what. But when I returned that evening, I noticed that the little black suitcase was gone.”

The man’s eyes widened over the lemonade glass. “What did it mean?” he asked.

“I didn’t know then. But I found out soon – too terrible soon. That night, a man came to our house. I don’t even know how he got in. I first knew when I heard the voices in Michael’s room. I went to the door, and tried to listen, tried to find out what sort of trouble my boy was in. But I heard only shouts and threats, and then…”

She paused and her shoulders sagged. “And a shot,” she continued, “a gunshot. When I went into the room, I found the bedroom window open, and the stranger gone. And Michael – he was on the floor. He was dead!”

The chair creaked. “That was five years ago,” she said. “Five long years. It was a while before I realized what had happened. The police told me the story. Michael and this other man had been involved in a crime, a serious crime. They had stolen many, many thousands of dollars.”

“Michael had taken that money, and run off with it. He wanted to keep it all for himself. He hid it somewhere in this house – to this very day I don’t know where. The other man had come looking for my son, looking to collect his share. When he found the money gone, he…he killed my boy.”

She looked up. “That’s when I put this house up for sale – at $75,000. I knew that, someday, my son’s killer would return to look for the money. Someday, he would want this house at any price. All I had to do was wait until I found a man willing to pay much too much for an old lady’s house.”

She rocked gently in the chair.

Waterbury put down the empty glass and licked his lips. He was having trouble keeping his eyes open, and his head was growing very, very dizzy.

“Ugh!” he said. “This lemonade is bitter.


About the author:

Henry Slesar (b. Brooklyn NY 12 June 1927, d. NYC 2 April 2002) was the son of Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine. After art training, he began his career writing ad copy and design at the young age of 17. He served in the Army Air Force during WWII.

He sold his first story in 1955. After that, he never looked back on a writing career that spanned decades. Although he is noted by genre fans for writing many science-fiction and fantasy stories, including both stories and scripts for Alfred Hitchcock’s magazine and TV show, he is most renowned for his hundreds of scripts that he wrote for daytime soaps.

To say that Mr. Slesar was prolific is a gross understatement. TV GUIDE once said of him that he was, “the writer with the largest audience in America”.

Notwithstanding his mainstream achievements, his genre literary fiction can easily stand beside the works of other great short story writers of the period, including Charles Beaumont, Ray Russell, Robert Bloch, Richard Matheson and countless others.

Like…O. Henry, his specialty was irony and twist endings.

“The Right Kind of House” was featured in the February 1957 issue of Michael Shayne Mystery Magazine. It was later reprinted in the March 1963 issue of Reader’s Digest. In 1958, it was adapted for an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents



So A Baba Was Born – A New Tale Of Comedy Of Errors

Part 1

It was about lunch time when Ravi got a call from Mohan.

‘Ravi, there could be a solution, heaven sent, to your problems!’

‘What are you saying?’

‘Look, I just heard a certain Mamooli Baba (a wise saintly man, a recluse) has come in on a bus from some place and is waiting for a bus to take him onwards to Lucknow. The word has gotten around and people are flocking to him to receive his blessings – it seems some of them know him from the past and they swear to his powers to bail them out of difficulties. So drop everything and rush to the mofussil bus-stand (serving rural areas) right away. With some luck you may be able to catch him before he goes away and seek his blessings and advice.’

‘Aren’t you coming?’

‘No, Ravi, I would’ve loved to; unfortunately the guys from HO are here today breathing down my neck. And listen, he…this Mamooli Baba is in ordinary clothes and not robed in saffron, no matted hair, no scared ash smeared on his forehead, no kumkum decked trident in hand, no entourage of chela’s (acolytes)….in fact he looks ordinary in all respects like our fathers. Probably that’s why the ‘Mamooli’ (ordinary). Conversing with him however gets a little tricky, I’m told; for, he talks in riddles expecting you to make sense. Very unlike other baba’s we’ve seen. So, rush…all the best…will catch up with you in the evening.‘

‘Mohan, just a minute. If this baba looks so unlike a baba, how do I recognize him at all?’

‘OMG, how dumb can you be? No wonder…’

‘Oh, shut up and tell me.’

‘Man, the bus-stand is not a very large place. Look for the crowd and there he would be in their midst, I’m sure…Must go now, bye.’

Ravi thought for a moment: Should he go? How can a baba from nowhere find a solution to a problem he could not crack with all his mettle? But then that’s what baba’s are made of, aren’t they? It’s not for nothing people flock to them for succour. What harm would it do if he did go?

Ravi was employed in a small branch of a good-sized country-wide transport company. He along with four of his colleagues reported to a branch-manager. Over the years, by dint of sheer hard work, he had grown to be the key person in the branch. Customers usually asked for him. The manager, new in his post, relied on Ravi to keep the branch going, at the same time keeping a check. It meant working late hours and over week-ends too. It didn’t help that three of his colleagues were women and it was against the company policy to hold women back after regular work-hours. And the fourth was a superannuated old employee charitably retained with some light work. To handle growth, a post of assistant-manager was recently sanctioned by the HO and the search was on to hire a suitable candidate. Ravi was disheartened his well-merited claim to the position was being completely overlooked. While his manager passed the buck to the HO, the reality was he did not make out a strong case to his superiors for Ravi’s promotion. Ravi got this input from his own sources in the HO and mentioned it to his manager several times in several ways. The manager did not seem to get the cue and make the necessary moves. Perhaps he needed more time to assess supervisory capabilities of the aspiranti. Should Ravi go over his head – a risky double-edged manoeuvre with uncertain outcome, should he apply for transfer to a larger branch notwithstanding the disruptive relocation on personal front or should he simply quit and join another player in the same space, negotiating better terms? Ravi remained undecided on the course to pursue.

And he wondered how would the baba know enough to guide him.  Finally he decided to check it out for whatever worth.

busstandWhen he reached the bus-stand, he could easily spot his target sitting on a cemented platform raised around a tree on a kerb.  Indeed he did look like a mamooli villager. And he was kind of getting ready to leave, collecting things about him into a bag he was carrying. As Mohan said, a little away from him there were clumps of people standing around, seeming to have had their meeting with the Baba and perhaps now pouring over his intriguing pronouncements.


Part 2

Ravi had no problems reaching his unlikely saviour right away.


Baba, pranam. (Salutation to you, Baba)


Mujhe raashta bathaiye na. (Won’t you show me the way?)

Kahaan jaana hai? Wahan deko, information counter hai, jaake pooch lo. Abhi meri bus aanewaali hain, mujhe jaane do. (Where do you want to go? See the information counter out there – go and ask them. Now let me go, my bus is due any moment)

Sirf do minute. Badi ummedh lekar aya hoon. Aap to jaante hai man khi bhath, muje badi kursi chahiye. (Only two minutes of your time, Baba. Have come to you with great hopes. You very well know what’s in my mind – I want to occupy the big kursi (the big chair))

Kursi? Lucknow jaane wali bus pakdo, Kursi me uthaar denge. Aur, ek hi Kursi hai, badi choti do naheen.

(Kursi? You catch the bus to Lucknow and they’ll drop you off at Kursi. And, there’s only one Kursi, no small or big).

A word of clarification may be in order here: Kursi is also the name of a place (in Barabanki district of UP).

Majaak chodiye Baba aur kuch tharkeeb bathayiye. Ghar me yeh bol aaya hoon ki jab tak kaam nahin banega, ghar nahin lautoonga. (Please don’t make fun of me; and instead, show me a way. I’ve come to you telling my wife I’ll not return home until I’ve had a solution)

Arre, kaise aadmi ho tum, aurath se ladkar bhagte ho? Kursi vursi chodo, ghar jao aur biwi ko kush karo tho sab teek ho jayega. (Hey, what kind of a man you’re – quarrelling with the wife and running away? Forget going to Kursi and all that, get back home, make your wife happy and everything will be alright)

Sab teek ho jayega? (Everything will be alright?)

Shaadi karke kitne saal hue? (How long have you been married?)

Panch. (Five years)

Abhi thak seekha naheen? Jao. Jaise kaha waise karo. Paagal kaheenka. Jao, sab teek ho jayega. Sabka ilaj biwi ko kush rakne me hai. Chalo, meri bus aagayee, my chala. (You still haven’t learned? Go and do like I said. Crazy guy, go, everything will be alright. The cure for all ills lies in keeping one’s wife happy. Leave me now, the bus has come, must go)

Dhanyavaadh, Baba. (Thank you, Baba)

‘Obviously this Baba, if he was one, was out of his depth in dealing with professional matters. Here I’m talking about my long-overdue promotion and he’s telling me to make my wife happy. Is there a message hidden in it? Doesn’t seem so. May be he had his successes sorting out domestic squabbles. But my problem is different,’ Ravi thought to himself as he made his way to his office.

That was that and all was forgotten until the following morning….


Part 3

At the breakfast table, hot ghee laden mooli-parathas (flat bread with radish thrown in with a glistening coat of clarified butter on top) sat piled up on his plate with a katori of dhal (lentils).

Abs heavenly – Ravi devoured the three-high pile at one go before one could say 1..2..3.

Smacking his lips, he let out a belch – what the heck, there wasn’t anyone around save his wife – and for a reason scripted by fate – it could be attributed to nothing else – Baba’s not-so-profound words came to his mind as a trigger for what ensued. Quite uncharacteristically though justifiably, he went gushing over the parathas:

‘At this rate, meri jan (my life), I can safely kick my job off and start a takeaway tiffin-service. We’ll be all-sold even before the stove cools…and be the talk of the town in no time…Of course, we need to dish out more kinds like methi (a kind of spinach), aloo (potato)…and soon we can do with some hired help….’

This was from a man who never looked away from his morning newspaper while eating off his plate at the table.

The wife was not very amused at the compliment and the visions of airy castles of entrepreneurship. The parathas had been the handiwork of a kind neighbour.

Feeling hot under her ‘collar’ and not being one of those vocal kind, the lady of the house presently decided her man – who remained completely oblivious of his blooper effecting quite the opposite of what the Baba had suggested – deserved nothing more than vanilla rice upma for lunch. For those of you not in the know, it’s an easy-to-make dish in South Indian kitchens, prepared by near-dry frying of broken rice embellished with, in its plain version, mustard seeds, finely chopped green chili and a smidgen of asafoetida for taste and flavour – a dish lowly ranked in preferences in many households. However what made to the lunchbox finally was more than rice upma and chutney, it was a left-forgotten-on-the-fire-for-a-while-longer upma along with – yes, you got it or rather Ravi – all those thin burnt scales lining the insides of the khadai (khaandhal in Tamizh, eaten with relish by some!) scraped out with evil-laced glee.

rice upma pinterest

It was a very busy and trying morning at the office. Finally when a completely exhausted Ravi dropped into his chair and pulled out his lunchbox, he was thwarted. The office attendant cum helper informed  him, in a manner of not-my-doing, of the manager’s new decree of the day – there was a reason you’ll see later for it to be issued on that day: lunch should be had in the small meeting room and not at one’s desk – of course after the manager had had his and cleared. To be fair to the authority, the reasons were reasonable – the scents and scraps left around were an open invitation for the rats to invade from outside, sure to cause havoc in that paper-inundated office.

The sharp edge of authority did nothing to improve Ravi’s foul mood. Visibly irritated, nevertheless left with no choice, he asked with faux politeness if the manager had finished his lunch and he could go now. The attendant could only shrug his shoulders to say don’t-shoot-me.

He took his box to the meeting room and opened it to find upma topped with khaandal.  Today he didn’t feel up to it. Closing the box and pushing it aside, he stomped out, in an apparent show of defiance against agents indeterminate, to find an eatery.


Part 4

Nothing unusual happened post-lunch at the office. Ravi returned to work with his steam somewhat spent seeing reason and time doing its trick.

At end of the day, he decided to shut shop – no extra hours today. When he packed up, he forgot to collect from the meeting room his lunchbox.

It was also the time for the manager to leave. An attendant, a different guy this time, collected the manager’s lunch-set from the meeting room, taking it to the latter’s car – managers in our land, like politicians, are wont to let someone else carry their stuff except when cash was involved.  New to the task, he could not tell Ravi’s box from the manager as he gathered the lunch containers from the meeting room; result: box too got a ride to the manager’s residence.

As it happened, the day had not started off well in the morning for the manager. The matter had been smouldering for some time now raising its nascent ugly head now and then. Just three months into the new posting for him, the wife did not like the town. She wanted him to move out. That organizations don’t move their people around so fast because their spouses did not take a shine to the place failed to make an impression on her. The manager was obviously reluctant to pop up the request so soon on the heels of his promotion-posting. These blow-up’s – had not moved to the centre-stage yet – always ended inconclusively with a promise to be back on the agenda at no notice.  This was it – the bad start, and the reason for those decrees to go out on that day. Happens to even the most seasoned among us, no?

While cleaning up the lunch-set for use the following day, the wife spotted the interloper. When she opened it and saw its contents, she squealed in delight recognizing it for what it was.

‘You mean you got this just for me? How? You don’t get them around here. Who gave you? So sweet!’

The positively-not-sweet easy-to-make rice upma, a poor cousin of the more seductive rava upma, with its kaandhal was/is not a commonly served dish outside of a South Indian kitchen, ironically making it a rarity. Forget about being served anywhere, none but an ardent gourmet, outside the community, would not even know of its humble existence.

Our lady, a first-order foodie, took a mouthful of kaandhal right there, crunching and savouring it to its last, scaling new heights of sensory bliss. She also saw immense possibilities beyond the immediate.  It was a no call to Holmes to deduce the presence, in their circle of acquaintances, of a hitherto unknown household preparing authentic South Indian dishes. In this ‘Ah’ moment, even the discovery of an alien civilization on a distant planet would elicit no more from her than a raised eyebrow. Obsessed with South Indian preparations, she was already seeing visions of idli-molagapodi, vada-sambhar, chutneys, adai, sevai, puttu, kai-mrukku, payasam, bisibela, pongal…All –  products of a thoroughbred South Indian kitchen that had become a distant dream for her thanks to this woebegone new posting far removed from all those South Indian friends she had to leave behind.

si snacks.jpg

Now it was the manager’s turn to see potentially interesting possibilities. He would, first thing in the morning, rework the case for Ravi’s promotion. For a price, of course – nothing as crude as money changing hands, only an extra lunchbox even if small and occasional, for him from Ravi’s kitchen. House visits and woman to woman tête-à-tête would not be far off to happen.

Needless to say Ravi became a convert overnight and swore by Mamooli Baba. Amazing, how his not-so-profound words – in fact downright ordinary – when followed changed his life like a miracle! May be it was a miracle. How appearances could be so deceptive…this Baba packing power like a dynamite and yet…!

He hoped he would be able have Baba’s unhurried darshan once again someday.


Part 5

About three months later, one day, Mohan called. Ravi was thrilled to hear Mamooli Baba was coming into the town for a visit.

Ravi with his wife carried a tray full of offerings (fruits and flowers) to where Baba was put up. When they reached the head of the queue, they humbly laid down the tray at Baba’s feet, paid their obeisance’s with bowed heads and had darshan to their heart’s content. Pressed by the queue from behind, they had to move away, his wife suggesting they seek a private audience with him, if possible.

If this was Mamooli Baba, Ravi wondered, whom had he meet. Surely he too was no less a baba after the miracle he had wrought in Ravi’s life.

That instant marked the birth of Anjaan Baba (Unknown Baba), collecting over time stories of his immense grace and prowess.

While Ravi kept his eyes peeled out and ears pricked up for any news of Anjaan Baba’s whereabouts, the man last seen sitting on the cemented platform at the bus-stand months ago, perchance taking Mamooli Baba’s place moments after the latter had taken off to continue his onward journey, was presently playing with his grandson in a small village to the north of Lucknow.







Images: Himachal Pradesh – Chamba – Bus Stand from Flickr, An old man in Vrindavan from  Flickr photos tagged jitender, Upma from Pinterest and South Indian snacks from

Theory And Practice (A Short Story)


It was early morning on the 16th day of Margazhi (the month). The day’s discourse concluded on the 16th Thiruppavai paasuram (see note on Thiruppavai at the end), peeling away its literal sense to uncover its manifold metaphorical allusions:

*naayaganaay ninRa, nandagOpanuDaiya
kOyil kaappaanE!* koDit tOnRum tOraNa
vaayil kaappaanE!* maNik kadavaM taaL tiRavaay*…   

The audience dispersed, some to the adjoining temple for darshan and some spilling onto the street heading homewards.

The man and the woman, the first to emerge, paused at the gate where footwears were left behind on the outside before entering the temple.

She saw here and there and said: ‘I can’t find my chappals. Had left them right here.’

The man: ‘Look carefully, it must be somewhere here.’

‘I’ve seen all around…it’s not here. It is a new one.’

‘Whoever told you to wear a new pair to the temple?’

Losing one’s footwear, especially new, at public places like temples is not uncommon.

The man turned to the meek looking Nepali in a crumpled ill-fitting khaki standing at the gate: ‘Watchman, did you see anyone take off wearing her chappals?’

The poor immigrant was used to rudeness: ‘No, Sir. No one was here in the time I’m standing here on watch. You’re the first to come over here.’

Giving him a disdainful look reserved for an erring domestic, the man to his wife in Tamizh: ‘Who knows, this fellow may have swiped it himself. You can’t trust them at all. Days are such…’

The Nepali guessed they were talking about him, none of it complimentary. Mumbling to himself: ‘Don’t they know I’m here to guard the temple’s things and god’s against theft and not for keeping a watch on footwears left outside?’

Just then the woman cried an excited ‘Eureka’: ‘Oh, I found them…thank god. Some mutt had left his jumbo shoes on top of my chappals. That’s why…’

They left, not looking back.

Back at home, his mother to the woman: ‘So how was it today?’

Every day when they returned from the discourse, his mother always wanted know. It would not be out of place to mention she had been to at least half a dozen discourses on the subject before her knees gave way. Still…

The woman summed it up for her: ‘Amma, it was very nice today. In today’s paasuram, the thOzigal (cow-herd girl-friends) are up and ready – they have assembled in front of Nandagopan’s palatial house, also Krishna’s residence. And you know what? This is so much like what happens today…to gain entry into the house for Krishna’s darshan, they try to enlist the support of others who matter – first, the guard at the main gate, then another watching the courtyard and the inner door. That’s not all – once inside, they now appeal to Krishna’s elder brother Balram too and mother Yashodha. Even here, see how smart they’re: when they address the guards, it’s not by their names, but by describing the important job they are doing – remember how Krishna is under constant threats from asura’s assuming unimaginable forms – massaging their professional pride! The operating principle here’s: ‘When you go to seek favors (god’s grace), don’t offend others on the way. In fact it helps to get them on your side!` Just like what we do today, isn’t it? Digressing briefly at this point, the upanyasakar (the speaker at the discourse) pointed out, how many of us understand and appreciate, whenever we go to temples, the job dwarapaalakaa’s (the two iconic door-keepers depicted on the doors at the entrance; full-sized stone moorthy’s (icons) in bigger temples) do – keeping watch on in-comers – and are worthy of our serious devotion as noble servants of god?  And, we hardly notice them much less bow to these watchmen…’




Source: Image from United We Blog!

On Thiruppavai (from Wiki):

The Tiruppavai is a collection of thirty stanzas (paasurams) written in Tamizh by Andal, belonging to the pavai genre of songs, in praise of the Lord Vishnu. Andal assumes the guise of a cowherd in these 30 verses and is intent upon performing a particular religious vow to marry the Lord, thereby obtain His everlasting company, and inviting all her girl-friends to join her. Sri Vaishnavas sing these stanzas every day of the year in the temple as well as in their homes to bring peace, prosperity and Divine Grace. This practice assumes special significance during Margazhi: each day of this month gets its name from one of the thirty verses. There are references to this vow in the late-sangam era Tamil musical anthology Paripadal.


This Too Shall Pass (Short Story)

Based on a mushy story in Tamizh making rounds in WhatsApp, running its course quite predictably, here’s my effort, muddying up the waters a wee bit along the way:

Oratechsolve old_people_India

‘Last month itself I had warned you when you sent hundred rupees. Now this letter. This will not end here, I’m telling you again. Once it’s falling roof, this time it’s hospital charges…who knows your dear sister may be behind all this.’

She paused to regain her breath.

‘Don’t forget we have two children of our own growing up. There’s fees to pay once the school reopens, new uniforms…’

‘All right, all right. I’ll write to them. Will you please stop now?’

‘Please do that first thing…One thing you do well is to shut my mouth.’


It became the lot of utensils in kitchen sink to bear the brunt.

Normalcy returned over next couple of days helped by the week-end outing with the children – it was the last before the close of summer vacation.

A week later, one evening when he returned from his office,

It was all quiet in the house. The children were heads-down into their books – quite unusual so early in their term. No usual greetings and hugs. He could see through the open door her feet on the bed.   It wasn’t time yet. At the end of a long day he was in no rush to find reasons for the calm. He peeled off his pants and shirt to wear a comfortable dhoti and banyan. There was no coffee on the table. So be it. As he looked around for morning newspaper before settling down in his easy-chair, his gaze fell up on an opened envelope sticking out from under a magazine on the table, quite unsuccessful in its attempt to be elsewhere aided by the draft of the ceiling fan.

As he picked it up, he knew it was his mother. It was always so ever since his father’s fingers had turned stiff some years ago. Schooled up to sixth grade before going off to her in-laws’ house, she could write though not tidily.

He sat on the straight-backed chair never designed to suffer its occupant for long, and read:

Dear Son,

We’re sorry and concerned to hear about the sickness of our dear grandson. The young lad still has a long way to go. Tell bahu (daughter-in-law) to give him lots of vegetables and fruits and milk…of course she knows.

Don’t spare any expense in getting him treated. Along with this letter there’s a check for five thousand rupees. Hope it helps. If you need more let us know.

Do not worry yourself, this money is legit. You know we had this small patch of land at the back of our house, the one we had willed to you? Luckily for us, we could sell it at short notice to be able to send you this check and keep some for treating your father. Our neighbor had his eyes on this land for long. He was good enough to pay all of ten thousand readily across the table.

Your father was very much against it. He doesn’t understand. You needed the money right now and we needed it too. He maintained it was worth many times more – it could even fetch as much as a couple of lakhs, if we wait a little longer. But, how could we? You sounded so helpless. Of course, he could be right – these days freehold land prices are suddenly shooting up unbelievably.  He says our neighbor unfairly knocked us down for a pittance knowing our urgency.  I had to press on him very hard to go ahead with the deal. Last couple of days, he isn’t even talking to me. Don’t worry, he’ll come around. I hope you too don’t think I’ve erred.

And don’t lose sleep over his health. Now we have the money to pay the doctors.

Once again, take good care of the child. We’re sure you’ll. Do keep us informed. And tell us if you need more, we’ll manage.

Yours affly,


The letter slipped gently onto the floor from where it took off to the far corner, greatly relieved, its job done.

Feeling like a loser, though he wasn’t sure what was it about, he got up to make some coffee for himself. He needed it.

He’ll come around.







A Tale From A Mango Tree (A Drabble)

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As the sun dipped out of sight below the horizon, the feathered folks were finding their way back home..

The Wise One saw a forlorn Kaga and knew at once not everything was right with the latter.

‘Kaga, you don’t look your usual self.’

‘Yes, my friend, you guessed right. These days when I go out, I’m not sure if I would be back in the evening with hair and hide in place.’

‘Why so?’

‘Well, you know I love those berries on the lone tall tree behind the mirasdar’s house.’

‘Yes, I’ve seen you stuffing yourself nonstop with those little things I don’t particularly care for. Am not surprised you’ve problems taking off after your fill.’

‘You with your evil eyes – it isn’t going to happen anymore.’

‘Why? Has the tree stopped producing berries? Has some one hacked it down?’

‘Mercifully, no.’


‘All this time, no one paid any attention to those trees in and around – they were on no-man’s land. Suddenly the mirasdar is now claiming the trees are his.’

‘Still there’s no way he can fence them off to keep you away from the berries high up on the tree. Can he?’

‘An evil mind is devil’s workshop. He has a dog and a man to keep watch. Whenever I alight on the tree and take the first bite – mind you, I do it absolutely noiselessly that would not awaken an insomniac – the blessed dog somehow catches sight of me and starts howling his head off. This gets the man to the spot from wherever he is and whatever he is doing to launch a fusillade of stones and pebbles with his slingshot. He’s quite good with it – he almost brought me down earlier today… frightened the blazing daylights out of me. So, my friend, my favorite feeding ground is now out of bounds for me. Don’t know where the next meal is coming from.’

The Wise One commiserated: ‘So sorry to hear. It’s cruel to snatch the food off someone’s mouth.’

There was silence with either having little to say.

‘I’ve a suggestion to make, if you care to listen and do as I say,’ spoke the Mango Tree so far passively listening in on Kaga’s sad story.

‘Anything for those juicy berries, dear sir, as long as I live to see the sun set.’

‘Tomorrow, when you alight on the tree, don’t be sneaky. Make a show.’


‘Yes, no cawing – that’s not what I meant. As soon the dog begins to announce your arrival, tell him you’re not amused, display your temper by vigorously shaking the (tree) limb you’re perched…jump up and down on it like you were on a hot brick, push with your beak like you’re fighting off a vulture…whatever to show your annoyance. Keep at it for a minute and you’ll have a peaceful meal. After a while your friend on the ground may open his loud mouth once again. At which instant you repeat your act. If it ever gets hot at anytime like today with pebbles and stones beginning to fly around you, make an immediate exit without losing a moment. Go back if you must not before allowing an hour or two for matters to cool down.’

‘Well, sounds quite doable…no harm in trying it out. Anyway things can’t get any worse from here.’

Once Kaga moved away for the night, the Wise One threw a quizzical glance at the Tree saying ‘Man, have you gone senile?‘ and received a signal in response to wait and watch.

The following day was like any other day – the birds lodged in the leafy Mango Tree headed out early in the morning seeking food and adventure, and returned in the evening flapping their tired wings looking to a night of repose.

And there was Kaga gliding in gracefully. The glow on his face said it all. He thanked the Tree profusely: ’You know, after a few rounds, strangely the dog appeared to be amused by my act more than anything else. I almost got a feeling he opened his mouth now on purpose to get me going and entertain himself.  In the afternoon he even went so far as to wag his tail a few times! Thanks very much, sir, for restoring my lifeline.’

‘Just as I expected. Keep the show on and note all that jumping and pushing helps your digestion too.’

After Kagha took leave on this happy note the Wise One turned to the Mango Tree:

‘Just as you expected? All this song and dance – mind telling me what’s all this hooey?’

‘Nothing out of the ordinary…it always good to share…’


‘Soon Kaga will figure out for himself why it works for him. They are a team now –  the dog is hooked on the berries that Kaga shakes down!’



The Strange Case Of A Problem On Four Legs

Part 1


One day, a distraught man turned up at the court of Rayar (Krishna Deva Raya) seeking justice.

His story came out haltingly amidst a lot of sniveling:

‘We are four sons to our father. On his death, we divided his property, cash, jewels…everything into four equal parts, one for each of us.’

Rayar sought: ‘Excellent. That’s how families need to be. So, what is the problem?’

‘You know it is this blessed cat that was dear to my father.’

‘Don’t tell me you divided…I don’t see the cat.’

‘No, no, we didn’t harm the poor thing. And it isn’t here. We claimed one leg of the cat for each of us.I got the right foreleg. So it was all settled…’

More sniveling.

‘Young man, get hold of yourself. No one goes away from the court of Vijayanagaram Empire without getting due justice. Proceed.’

‘Everything was fine, my Lord, until the day this creature had a fall and  broke my leg.’

‘Broke your leg…a cat did that?’

‘No, my Lord, I mean it broke its leg that was mine.’

‘Man, come to senses – its leg is your leg?’

‘Yes, my Lord, if you recall its right foreleg belonged to me.’

‘Oh, yes, you did mention…the strange arrangement.’

‘My brothers said since it was the right foreleg, it was on me to attend to it. So I had the leg swathed in an oil-soaked cloth as prescribed by a vaidya.’

‘You did the right thing by the poor animal.’

‘Yesterday evening there was a bit of chill in the air. The dumb cat laid itself near a lamp for warmth.’

‘Can’t blame – it was a bit nippy even here for us, I remember.’

‘Unfortunately a spark flew from the fire and landed on the oil cloth setting it ablaze.’

There was a collective gasp in the court.

‘The cat panicked, ran helter-skelter before jumping into a water tub.’

Rayar saw it for what it was: ‘Under the circumstances, most sensible thing to do, I say.’

‘But, my Lord, that’s when my troubles began.’

‘Don’t see how…’

‘The mutt got into the tub not before running wild through a couple of neighbors’ houses setting them on fire.’

Rayar saw the underdog’s point of view: ‘Well you would do more if it was your leg on fire.’

Ignoring Rayar’s levity, the woebegone man carried on: ‘Now the neighbors are holding the cat responsible for the damages. And my brothers are laying it squarely outside my door since the houses were torched by the cat’s right foreleg.’

‘Well, looks reasonable to…’

‘My Lord, you’ve got to help me out of this mess.’

‘It’s certainly an improbable sequence of events. But I can’t see how…’


Tenali Raman stood up: ‘My Lord, I’ve a thought. If we can call his brothers and the neighbors to the court…’

Beleaguered Rayar glanced at Raman with gratitude; he knew enough to take Raman’s suggestion seriously. Instructions were issued to round them up and produce them in the court.

Part 2

When the court reassembled after a while with all the stakeholders present, Raman summed up the matter based on what the man had told the court earlier. Everyone agreed those were the facts. The neighbors stood their ground demanding compensation; and the brothers holding the injured right foreleg and hence the complainant responsible.

Raman addressed the King and the court: ‘My Lord, unfortunate but undeniable is the damage wrought by the hapless creature.  The claims of the affected neighbors cannot be disputed a whit. But to hold this man responsible…that’s a different matter. In fact the shoe is on the other leg. Let me explain – pause for a moment and think who carried the cat to its incendiary activities?’

Frowns on faces. The man had not said anything about anyone making a torch of a cat on fire.

Raman dispelled the fog that had momentarily enveloped the court: ‘It’s those three healthy legs that set the cat on the binge.’

A mild flutter at what was hinted.

‘It’s my submission the owners of those legs be called to account instead.’

The ensuing commotion took a while to die out.




Source: Seeded from and images from daily and

Wrong Turn

The story is not what it seems at first glance! It’s children’s and more. You’ll figure it out if you read it until after the end.  

Part 1

As in any other civil society, rats thrived and over time multiplied to menacing proportions finally awakening the collective concern of the subjects of a certain rajyam (kingdom) in the western parts of Bharat (India).

The growing public outcry moved the Raja to convene his court of mantri’s  (ministers) and officials to look at  the problem of rats that had assumed menacing proportion. Though he didn’t quite understand what was the hullabaloo about – for he saw no rats around his palace.

The proceedings were kicked off with the Raja’s ‘Is it really serious as it’s made out to be?’

Rats Crawling around the Floor of the Karni Mata Temple near Bikaner India

‘Yes, Raja, we cannot take a step forward without squashing one if it doesn’t run up our legs.’

‘But I never saw one coming to this court from my quarters.’

Thinking to himself ‘We were stupid not to have posted road-signs to the palace,’ the mukya mantri (the chief minister) clarified: ‘That’s because we maintain a pandal outside to lure them away from the palace with a constant supply of food with the fare varied to avoid boredom.’

‘Why didn’t you alert me earlier?’

‘Well…we didn’t want you to be troubled by these trifles.’

Their concern mollified the Raja. ‘Oh…so what do we do?’

Words were shot out thick and fast:

‘Let me caution you, mooshika (rat in Sanskrit) is the transport of our revered Lord Ganesha. We’ll incur His wrath if we cause harm to them in any way.’

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‘So what do you suggest?’

‘May be we catch them all and release them far away from our city.’

‘What if those guys out there wherever don’t like it and decide to do the same in our direction? Or the vermin’s, with due apologies to our beloved Lord Ganesha for the unflattering reference, decide to find their way back on their own? You can never trust them to behave.’

‘Why don’t we open pandals likewise all over and keep the rats away from our houses?’

‘Doesn’t it occur to you all to simply deploy their natural enemies – cats, I mean. These rats – they would be decimated in a trice.’

rat cat reddit com

‘If you haven’t noticed, be informed there aren’t enough cats around. Also these bullies have grown big and bold enough to give nightmares to poor cats – lucky they aren’t eaten up yet. On occasions don’t you see our kids running for the hills?’

‘Simple, let us ask people to bring their rats killed and we’ll pay them a reward of, say, a silver for ten. Nothing like the shine and jingle of silver for our folks. All we need to do is to count and disburse. No sweat.’

rat www.michaelfreemanphoto com.jpg

‘Yes, that’s better than asking them to do the gory stuff.’

‘A silver for a bunch of rats? Mmmm…Okay…and how do we do it?’

So the Raj-Vaidya (medicine man in the royal court) was summoned. He confirmed the non-availability in the jars of his back-room of any potent herbal mix that would clean up the conscience and do the dirty. At the risk of losing his home, hearth and possibly head, he was tasked to concoct a suitable solution.

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A month later, the Vaidya, the master he was of his trade, delivered on his commission exceeding himself, just as the public clamor for relief turned shriller.

The mukhya mantri advised the Raja to take the plans to the public without further ado.

A full court was convened with the crowd spilling to the fringes of the pandal of feasting rats – them (not the rats) on their toes not so much for catching a better view of the proceedings as for presenting a smaller obstacle to the frolicking rodents on the ground.

On behalf of the Raja, the minister unveiled the scheme. And for those who were in need, a sturdy trap with a capacity to catch ten average-sized rats was also made available for a silver. A total solution with no loose ends stopping shy of including the bait – though fail-proof recommendations were made for the latter.

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Silence reigned for a little while before the coin dropped (never mind there were no coin operated machines in the days of Raja’s and Maharaja’s).

Commercial instinct came to the fore ahead of other matters (now you know why the story located the rajyam in the west!):

‘Would the payment be immediate – like cash and carry, nay, carry and cash?’

‘Would any rat we catch would be counted as one or it depends on its size, weight…’

‘Can we bring dead ones too?’

‘Is the compensation proportional or there are slabs? Is there a minimum?’

‘It’s not fair to those catching more of the large ones. Rats and mice must be treated differently.’

‘The breakeven should be set lower at five rats.’


Then there were quality issues: ‘If the trap loses the bait and fails to trap? Has it been tested enough?’

‘What happens if the rats chew off the trap? Tough customers, you know.’

Metric issues: Can we not be paid by weight?

Governance issues: ‘What happens if your count is less than mine?’ The other way round was not an issue.

The mukhya mantri somehow managed to persuade his audience to go back to their homes with the scheme offered, largely helped by the growing restlessness of the Raja and his hardening glare at the relentlessly vocal section of the audience.

Some weeks later

Part 2

An overpowering stench gradually enveloped the palace and its grounds.

On making enquiries, the Raja learnt it was from the dead rats piling up into a big mound before their pit burial.

rat www.liveleak com.jpg

Why was the rat-o-cide committed near the palace grounds?

The mukya mantri explained it was so for a good reason: Well, the potion had to freshly brewed to be effective. With the herbs for the same sourced from the gardens behind the palace, administering the potion could not happen at any place far.

The Raja was not pleased visibly and vocally.

The mantri’s and officials went into a huddle

It was collectively decided to make a small change to the scheme: Henceforth it was sufficient to produce as evidence only the tails snipped off the dead rats to claim the silver. Never mind how the de-tailed rats met their fate.  Were they dead at all when they parted with their appendages? Raja-Tantram (The Official Book on Tricks of Rulership) clearly emphasized ‘While solving a problem, stay solving the problem.’ Others can take care of themselves, wait out, go elsewhere, lived with, whatever…

So that was it.

The tails made smaller mound and were easily dispatched before turning malodorous.

Peace returned, the sun shone in all its glory – the Raja and his ministers went back to whatever they did ruling the rajyam.

After an unimpeded run of six months disquiet reared its head in the shape of the peshkar (CFO) when he perceived a-silver-for-ten significantly denting the treasury. The inflow of tails continued unabated and was, in fact, threatening to graduate into a torrent and a flood as a distinct possibility. It was as if some piper was luring all the rats of the world to their doom in this rajyam in an unending stream. How could this happen?

rat babies www.aaanimalcontrol com.jpg

Strangely, meanwhile, the tails were turning up young and rarely twitched. Perhaps the virile adult population with the propensity to procreate was already wiped out and the trend would soon reverse – a thoroughly welcome and encouraging augury.

The Raja conferred with his ministers and officials. Was it the unseen hand of some ill-meaning neighbor to destabilize the rajyam pumping rats through underground tunnels across the borders? Or something more sinister?

They decided to send out an investigation team to uncover what was happening. Who was rolling out this diabolical plan?

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It wasn’t long before the team returned with its findings none could imagine!

Part 3

The team reported the operation of an entirely new industry that had sprung up in the rajyam – rat farms!! Using adult rats they bred and sold the young fifty to a silver. The buyer sold the lot (the tails) to the state profitably at ten to a silver. The demand far outstripping the supply.  If their sources were to be believed research had reached an advanced stage to breed a rat whose tail could be periodically harvested without killing the ‘goose’.

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Not hard to guess what followed.





PS: Seeded by a very short piece from Gautham Iyengar (here) on unintended consequences of state subsidies!

Mixed metaphors and some inappropriate ones and a few neologisms may be excused.

Sources for images: Rats Crawling around the Floor of the Karni Mata Temple (Rat Temple) near Bikaner, Rajasthan, India from sharingtheglobe,com,,,,,, Album of Mysore Maharaja from kamat com,, and

Nasiruddin, The Outliar

Mulla Nasiruddin’s tales like Akbar-Birbal’s and Tenali Raman’s are short and witty and some  downright outrageous, all the same enjoyable. Here’s one such:

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On a particularly cold night, Nasiruddin was stretching his legs in front of a dying fire,

He was joined by a villager given to gross exaggeration and sometimes outright lies. Much as he would have liked, Nasiruddin could do little to avoid him. It wasn’t long before the villager launched himself in full flow.

‘You know, these don’t bother me,’ he said punching the hard mattress Nasiruddin was sitting on.

‘Don’t understand why should my mattress bother anyone save me.’

‘This kind of dried grass is quite beneath me.’

‘But that’s where a mattress belongs – beneath you?’

Nasiruddin’s levity or naivety, whatever, was roundly ignored.

The villager rolled on: ‘Under the circumstances, I sleep over the air.’


’Yes, I simply levitate.’


Obviously it called for an explanation that was supplied without any encouragement: ‘I learnt it a few months ago from an itinerant Baba!’

‘Very interesting! And what a coincidence it would be if he was the same guy who taught me to see in the dark. Was he one eyed, toothless and in white robes?’

It was villager’s turn to be nonplussed: ‘Seeing in the dark? Really? Then…why would you do that?’

‘Do what?’

‘But I’ve seen you go out in the night always carrying a lighted lamp in hand – never without it.’

‘Oh, at my age collisions could be nasty, you’ll agree – a fall can break a bone or two. So the lamp – it’s for others to stay clear off me.’

The villager suddenly remembered at that instant he had to be elsewhere.




Source: Adapted from and image from

Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars

‘Josyam parkaliyo josyam,’ her booming voice

offered to foretell life’s many sorrows and joys.

Strongly vouched for by lawyer’s m’am –

his success rightly told before its time.


‘Why not this once? None will be wise about…’

– lady of the house all by herself thought,

Men battling at the court on the day of reckoning –

surely the end for them, their evil designs of usurping.


Them – would learn not to covet the house,

that lit a fire of greed difficult to douse.

Where it was sited, long ago, in town outer,

now in the midst of a bustling pricey center.

One married to a girl of city mayor,

held himself above laws of commoner.


Pleiades keyword-suggestions dot com.jpg

So the woman was called in and asked what the stars said.

Mantras chanted, cowries rolled, eyes closed–

a smaller house is an inexorable destiny, she pronounced.

‘What came over me to ask?’ the lady regretted teary-eyed.


Hours later…

She was pulled out of swirling thoughts.

Men came in with raucous rejoicing and welcome sweets,

Finally, truth would prevail, she always knew. .

She must tell the lawyer’s wife…what a day, phew!


Outside the door, lay an envelope unopened yet

from the office of the mayor, the seal on its face said


Its contents –

About his initiative on congestion far gone

and plans to widen a road over their pretty lawn.







Image from


The Interview (100 Words)

When the grueling physical finished, two candidates made it to the face-to-face.


The first guy went in.

Family background and social affiliation checked out; and, now on health and habits.

‘When do you go to sleep and when do you…?’

‘Oh, all of seven hours. Luckily, no kids’

‘What I wanted to hear.’

‘Yes…can’t say about him,’ throwing his hand back to the guy waiting outside.


‘He’ll probably tell you – has disturbed sleep and wakes up groggy. Advised him to see a doc’

‘You know him?’

‘Oh, neighbors, sort of.’


The other guy joined as a night watchman.






Source: Adapted from net and slide from