By Neel Anil Panicker

‘Happy Birthday Charles’ she whispered, the words__an echo that reverberated all over the misty hill-top.

She stood there like that__unmoving, her eyes closed, soft hands folded in prayer, the lips uttering a silent invocation to the Almighty.

And thereafter she sat on down, placing the vase by the side, unmindful of the dew that seeped in through the earth and wetted her socks, and also the edges of her short white skirt.

Her eyes fell on the dried apricots, the two that she had carried while starting from her home that stood at edge of the slope.

A voice, her father’s, had forced her to turn around just as she was about to step out of the front gate.

“Stella, where are you going. It’s still not light.”

He was about to say something more but then must have seen something in her face, so full of sorrow and grief, that he simply retreated after simply saying, “Be careful my dear, and come back soon”.

He understood; not only he, but also her mother.

Understood and remembered.

Today was Charles’ birthday.

His twenty-fifth.

Had he been here he would have joyously sprang at the apricots and eaten them ravenously.

But before that he would have sided upto to her and planted her with a kiss__his trademark left peck on her dimpled left cheek.

And then he would have…

Stella’s eyes began to well up.

And then the skies opened, and the floodgates of emotions burst forth.

#ThuursdayPhotoPrompt #ThreeThingsChallenge #vase #apricot #sock #flash #fiction #shortstory #246words

Thursday photo prompt: Watcher #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt: Watcher #writephoto





“…A very useful book and an absolute must for anyone who wants to improve his English and take it to the next level. Highly recommended”.


“A must for every student who is sitting for a competitive examination”.

“The rules of punctuation have been explained in a very simple, easy to understand manner and students will find this book a very invaluable resource.”

This is a very niche book and such a book will fulfill a long felt need of the entire student community. The author deserves kudos for the painstaking effort and the extreme care with which he has explained the finer nuances of English punctuation.”
For home delivery, kindly click on any one of the links below:

BLUE ROSE STORE…/grammar-z-punctuation/


A CAT MASTERCLASS   (realistic fiction)

By Neel Anil Panicker

Professor Kumar was not a firm believer in the predictive powers of first impressions. Long years spent whizzing in and out of innumerable classrooms had wizened him up to the harsh reality that appearances could be, and usually are, deceptive.

And so it wasn’t a case of raised eyebrows when he commenced the morning Reading Comprehension class ritual for a batch of prospective B school students, all fresh graduates, mostly engineering, a few even post graduates.


His very first poser hit a wall. “So, how many of you are aware of Roman History.”?

Pin drop silence followed. There they were, some 40 odd young minds, their faces locked in incredulity, the eyes__two black holes staring into nothingness.

After what seemed like an interminably long wait, a wait long enough to put Waiting for Godot to shame, one smart alec, a shaggy long haired stud like persona with biceps that threatened to break free from the tiniest of Tees that one could ever imagine, (and also who looked as if he could do with an oil bath with an hour of vigorous scrubbing thrown in), cleared his croaking throat to grandly announce, “Sir, I am. I know everything about Rome and Roman History. I have seen the movie ‘A Roman Holiday three times’.

Instantly, Professor Kumar’s jaw dropped. Almost in tandem, the dynamics of the class changed too.


Umpteen feet began to shuffle and all eyeballs, as if by a strong gravitational pull, got sucked into the new epicentre of all action which lay somewhere in the extreme right corner of the rectangular air conditioned classroom.

Deciding to latch onto the sudden surge of interest amongst the students, the middle aged professor volleyed his next question, this time to the student at the centre of the unfolding drama, “Great, at least there’s one person who knows something about Rome, who can tell us about the great emperors, the pharaohs, the mummies, the masterfully written Greek Classics and the many tragedies that unfolded in Homer’s Illiad. And so, my dear friend, why don’t you enlighten the class about Athens, Sparta and Helen?”

As the seconds ticked by and as all eyes, which hitherto had shone bright, began to lose interest, came the reply, answered in a high pitched voice with a distinct nasal twang, a sound that by itself reeked of utter insouciance.

‘Sir, I don’t know about the others but I do know that Helen is Salman’s mother. I mean she’s the Bollywood star’s adopted mom.”

This rejoinder served to open the floodgates of crassness and crudity and thereafter, for the next couple of hours,  it was a free for all.

By the end of the class the teacher had become the taught and as   Professor Kumar bid adieu to the students, he thanked them, one boy in particular, for delivering a master class on Indian History, both Ancient and Modern, including a brief aside on culture, more specifically Bollywood culture.

#neelanilpanicker #CAT-ology #B-School #students #flash #ThreeThingsChallenge #realisticfiction #sarcasm #494words

Three Things Challenge, 29 August 2018

Today’s things are: Roman, Athens, Sparta





(Genre:Realistic Fiction)

By Neel Anil Panicker

She’s the antithesis of a politician.

Well read, articulate, with an accent to boot.

Quiet__it’s the modifier that best describes her.

That ways Atishi, her first name, is a total mismatch.

My pigdin reservoir of Hindi (or is that Urdu?) tells me its English equivalent’s fireworks.

That’s another universe away.

A name mismatch if there ever was one.

Why then, did she drop the Marlena, I wonder.

Her answer’s in poetic form:

Mirror mirror on the wall,

who’s the cruelest of them all

The ones demanding that I drop my name?

Or, the ones questioning why I dropped my name?

#neelanilpanicker #fridayfictioneers #india #politics #AAP #name calling #name dropping

31 August 2018

REF NOTE: AAP hits out at Delhi chief secretary and Centre over CCTV project

AAP leader Atishi Marlena drops last name, party denies forcing her to do so

While Atishi’s Twitter handle has changed from @Atishimarlena to @AtishiAAP, her name has also been amended on the AAP website.

AAP leader Atishi Marlena drops last name, party denies forcing her to do so





By Neel Anil Panicker

Though unlettered he still loved to call her his Venus.

One night, in the initial months of their dating, she had disclosed to him her deep interest in Greek Mythology, especially about Greek Gods and Goddesses. He had listened with rapt attention as if he were a budding scholar, and then at the end of the monologue, announced that henceforth she was to him his Venus__ the Goddess of Love.

Now, staring at the limpid blue ocean waters, his mind’s in limbo, the thoughts all frozen in a time capsule whose keys lie tossed around in the choppy seas of life.

A seagull hovers above the tidal waves; somewhere in the far horizon a fisherman’s boat fades into oblivion; a sudden swish of the breeze carries forth more wind and salt; besides, an avalanche of deadened memories.

As the slow night advances and shadows crawl all over his frail body, Prashant uncorks the bottle and caresses its mouth with his lips.

It would take a while; forgetting her, he knows, would not be that easy.  

#neelanilpanicker #ThreeThingsChallenge #flash #fiction #love #memories #starystarter  #175words

Three Things Challenge, 28 August 2018

Today’s things are: Venus, ocean, frozen




By Neel Anil Panicker

Look at it__a tweenie weenie porcelain doll, a mere statue that sits all day long astride my glass top table near the window that opens to the sea.

All it does is grin, and rather cheekily at that.

But, is that all? Or, is it that appearances are deceptive?

Does Al and this doll have a connection?


Then why is that ever since Al’s leaving  all I see in that miniature Queen Victoria look alike with a delectable chocolate cake of a hat that all but covers her golden brown crowning glory is a priest strumming a violin?

Why is that such thoughts turn even more macabre as the night turns inwards?

And why the hell do I also see blood?

Yes, you heard that__real human blood streaming out of those big black buttons that pass off for her eyes?

Why? why? And hell! even more whys?

Is it because I know that Al’s not coming back ever is all due to me?

That I have his blood on my hands?

#neelanilpanciker #FFfAW #flash #fiction #flashfiction #storystarter #ThreeThingsChallenge #172words

FFfAW Challenge – 180th


Three Things Challenge, 27 August 2018



By Neel Anil Panicker

Seven year old Animesh held the octopus shell in his tender hands, gently caressing its soft hollow, imagining in his mind’s eye the eight long tentacles of the sea creature.

Coming to the fair was turning out to be a delight, the ‘no milk, no street festival’ threat of his mother notwithstanding.

‘Momma, can I have this?’ he shrieked, his squeal reverberating all around the jam packed village road.

Lisa, who was inspecting a cute tote bag that had caught her fancy, turned around and matched his effervescence, “Why not, sweetie! Now go ahead and see what else delights you.”

#neelanilpqanicker #flash #shortstory #ThreeThingsChallenge #100wordwednesday

For multiple fiction prompts:

Today’s things are: tote, octopus, milk

100 Word Wednesday: Week 85

100 Word Wednesday: Week 85