Photo Challenge #273



By Neel Anil Panicker

“Whats’s your favourite bird or animal”?

‘A what?”

“Amu, yes, tell me which is the one bird or animal you like the most?”

Crease lines appeared on Amruta’s forehead as she thought about an appropriate answer.

A moment later, she blurted out, ‘doves. Because they are symbols of love and peace. And what’s yours?”

Seated beside her, Pranay turned his gaze at the empty bench a feet away. The two youngsters were seated on a park bench near the banks of the scenic Damdama Lake.

“You see that cat over there,” he said, his fingers pointing towards the edge of the bench.

Her eyes followed his gaze.

An all white cat sat, unmoving, her eyes staring in their direction.

“The cat__yes, cats are my favourite animals.”

“Well, it’s not that I don’t like them. I mean they mind their own business, isn’t it”?


“True Ammu. Besides, there’s one more thing that makes them very attractive.”

“And what’s that, Pranay”?


“Look at her, Ammu”. How peaceful and quiet she seems. A fluffy pure white soft as a teddy bear creature that, when she walks emits not the slightest sound save for the occasional purring. She looks so serene, so calm, so at peace with herself, isn’t it? But then, Ammu, just peer into her eyes, and what do you see. Ever vigilant, piercing eyes turned wide and outwards picking the subtlest of signals like a strong waved television antenna.  These eyes catch everything, every single detail that happens in and around her radii, her immediate world.”

As Ammu looked into the cat’s still unfazed, steady eyes, Pranay continued, “See that gorgeous fluttering purple hued butterfly that rests on the bridge of her nose. The cat’s even aware of  that. Look at her eyes___the silhouette of the winged creature floats in her iris. That’s the level of observational and attentive powers a cat possesses. Nothing escapes a cat’s eyes. She is ever vigilant, and that’s why she’s my fave creature. She teaches us, lovers, lovers who have cocked a snook at society, to be ever vigilant to oncoming dangers, imagined or real.”

In answer, Amruta simply raises her lips and plants a kiss on Pranay’s cheek.

The two love birds lock eyes and hearts.

Their hands cup one another’s and soft fingers Amruta hold onto the wooden handle as they continue to read love notes birthing from the other’s hearts, only occasionally looking  up to watch as ducks quack and float around, leaving behind concentric kaleidoscopic concentric circles on the waters below.

At that instant, the skies explode and soft showers rain down on them.

Taken aback, the two unfold an umbrella and now, ducked inside, proceed to watch its rim from which cascade puffed droplets of wind-washed waters that make a splash on the rain splattered grounds below.

Amruta’s heart goes pitter patter.

Beside her, Pranay watches her watch the unfolding of Nature’s pristine glory.

His palms lock hers as waves of spasmodic delight run through the spines of the two lovers.

From a distance, and from under another umbrella, a man watches them, then spits on the earth.

#neelanilpanicker #flash #fiction #shortstory #love #romance #Photo Challenge #MindLoveMisery’sMenagerie


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