Counting Voices


You, me, and our silences

By Neel Anil Panicker

If life is meant to be enjoyed then conversation is definitely one of its most potent drivers. You can have all the wealth in the world and still be poor as opposed to the person who may be materially poor but ends up the happiest soul on the planet thanks to the company he keeps and the conversations that enrich him.

The other day I chanced upon an interesting definition of what constitutes conversation.

Speak only when it improves the silence.

And guess who said these immortal piece of advice.

None other than an immortal himself_ the ever inspirational  Mahatma Gandhi.

An anecdotal reference is very much in order here.

A friend I know had after only a month of engaging an architect decided to go in for a replacement.
Three months later on bumping into him  I detected a perceptible glint in his eyes. He was walking around with a spring in his steps.
My curiosity aroused, I queried him about the source of his new found happiness.
His reply not only stunned me but also turned out to be an eye opener as far as the conduct of human relationships is concerned.
This is what my dear friend said and I quote verbatim:
“Friend, The old hire was only interested in building a house for me; but, the new architect did more than that; he was in the business of building dreams.”
That’s the power of conversations, my dear friends.

I hate to talk but love to have conversations. And to have one you don’t always need a crowd.

In fact some of my most joyous and memorable conversations have been with that special someone with whom you just don’t need to put on an act; someone with whom you can let your guard down and converse with your heart and mind and also without at times the crutch of language or words.
That to me is conversation when two or more people get together and then allow the silence to act as the catalyst for what turns out into a life enriching experience.
And of late I have had a few such ennobling experiences, albeit when I had only myself for company.


I wrote this in response to the

Counting Voices

A lively group discussion, an intimate tête-à-tête, an inner monologue — in your view, when it comes to a good conversation, what’s the ideal number of people?


RonovanWrites #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #85 Tight&Warm

My sky is blue

By Neel Anil Panicker

Beautiful girl

Warming herself with coffee

ice becomes nice.



Go in flow,

fly  high I shall so,

I sure know.


Out there await  dear dreams

I take wings

In here my heart soars.


Hold me tight

Light as a feather

Fly me high.



Today, Gods are mine

So are you,

And Nature’s beauty.


FRIDAY FICTION with RONOVAN WRITES Prompt Challenge #14 -You’ve been given a message.


A Child Remembers  

By Neel Anil Panciker

She read it one more time, her third in the last five minutes, and then she collapsed, face down into the bed.

They found her an hour later, her body all cold and when someone turned her over, they found the pillow covers all wet and the bedsheets soaked in water, her waters.

An hour of crying and she was not done yet. And still another hour on, when they had all left, and she was again all alone in that room, in that big house they mistakenly called home, she cried some more; and then later, much later, some more.

That night she had enough tears in her eyes to fill the driest of the dams this side of the Narmada.
Hours later when even her eyes had given up and gone dry, she assembled her tired limbs and crawled upto to the drawer.

She needn’t have switched on the lights. Her hands curled up underneath Mama’s medicine box, her fingers clasped the little red book, and then, shuffling through its inner pages, found what it were looking for: the dreaded one line scribbled note.

With trembling hands she retrieved it and taped herself to the corner wall.
With just enough light passing through the diaphanous faded-out curtains, and with
utter fear writ large on her by now fiercely sweating face, she read its contents for the umpteenth time that dark night.

‘Dear Shaifu baby, I have an off day tomorrow. There is a new children’s movie. I will be coming to pick you up. You are such a lucky girl. Your loving Uncle Patrick.’

She didn’t last the last word.

Her heart started pounding and she felt her chest suddenly very heavy and an agonizingly painful ache shot through her entire body and with a deafening thud she fell down, first on the bed and then her entire body started shivering and shaking.
Within seconds the spasmodic expansions and contractions had so taken over that she found herself flung to the floor. And that’s where she lay__ shaking, writhing, and frothing for the next couple of hours until they found her yet one more time.

Four hours of drug induced deep slumber coupled with a doctor’s visitation and the forced administration of a heavy dose of anti-anxiety tablets, the little girl had become calm, and now, as she she lay, all alone, in her bed__her hands still clutching the dreadful note__, somewhere from inside her heavily contracted stomach, an inner muscle started to twitch again.
She knew the signs by now. It was a precursor and soon would follow the shivering, the shaking, the sweating, the pounding, the palpitations, the…

With her back strapped to the icy scraped walls that desperately was crying for a fresh coat of Plaster of Paris, she thought, rather allowed the thoughts, to invade into her being.

And they came__slowly, surely, and shamelessly.

Her mind’s video captured the first frame.

It was a garden, a small garden, with beautiful red and yellow flowers and some a shrubs and also a tree.

A giant tree, with thick, leafy branches with even thicker leaves. And there she was playing, swinging on one of its branches, her hands, soft and tender, as is of a ten year old, gingerly holding on to the oiled coiled swing ropes.

And then the next frame… a hand  and now it slithers and weaves and then slips and then slides and glides and then hides deep inside her tiny legs… and then it happens.. the fingers, not hers…someone’s… they are going somewhere… where she doesn’t know but they are moving, swimming, diving, probing…

And then the third frame… a face, smiling, laughing, exposing teeth, rotten all of them and a few broken, yellowy and stained as well.

And then the words, a man’s words, her Uncle’s, Uncle Patrick, her father’s brother,

“My dear Shaifu baby, hope you had a swinging time”.


Hi friends, thanks a zillion for visiting by. This is the third part of my continuing series titled ‘ A FAIR AFFAIR ‘.

I wrote this in response to Ronovans weekly fiction challenge prompt which was this:

You’ve just been handed a message that makes you drop to the floor, trembling uncontrollably.

  • No more than a Word Count of 600. (SUGGESTED)
  • Using the above scenario, create a scene of what the note is about, and why it makes you react the way you do. (REQUIRED)
  • No external dialogue for this scene. (SUGGESTED)


Of last breaths and deathly silences
By Neel Anil Panickerimages

Life is a born loser
and Death
a born winner.

The unlikely duo
Life and Death
like chalk and cheese
strange bedfellows aren’t they
destined not to meet ever.

And men and women
mere bystanders
cursed to watching
like mute spectators
every waking day
and hour
and minute
holding on…holding out…
clinging, and then gasping
for each breath
only to lose
as has been ordained
to dear deathly Death

Poor Life
Just didn’t know
that when
life’s laughter ends
Death’s dance begins.

RonovanWrites #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #83 Gem&Flame


Love moves and heart grooves
By Neel Anil Panicker


It is Valentine’s
when love turns stones into gems,
the enflamed heart soars.

Cupid strikes Bull’s eye
watch lovers turn a blind eye,
and kiss all else goodbye.


Silly season it may be
of strange equations,
but love knows not much reason.

#FICTION: SHORT STORY# 1- Rain brings pain


#FICTION: SHORT STORY# 1- Rain brings pain
By Neel Anil Panicker

Nostalgia has a very bad habit of coming and knocking you out when you least expect it and especially when you are at your most vulnerable.

And just as well, Nature was playing games with her right now.
Perched on a low stool and staring upwards from outside her third floor street-facing
corner flat window, Shefali was feeling bad, very bad.

Bad and angry at herself. Bad at having fought with Aman and angry because she had allowed it affect her to such an extent that it had now triggered within her thoughts of Rishi.

Oh! Rishi, why does he have to be such a pain, a pain in the heart? And why does he keep coming back, he and his thoughts? And that too now, and more so, especially now… in such a weather? Dammit!


She caressed the…

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