By Neel Anil Panicker

“Hey, what’s this thing about being cool? Looks like everybody wants to be cool.”

Jackie stopped, turned around and looked at his friend of twenty fours hours.

 “Look err …what’s your name you said?”

‘Sandeep…Sandeep Bandhopadhyaya.’

“Now that’s the problem. With a name like that you can kiss your chances of ever ending up as cool”.

‘But that’s what is my name? What can I do about it? It’s what my father and mother gave me when I was born.’

Jackie raised his voice to say something but checked himself just in time. The two were in the school hall and Mrs Saxena, their sixth grade class teacher was walking by.

“Good morning, madam,”  the two belted out in unison  as the portly lady with the thick rimmed glasses and unsmiling demeanour stormed past.

Seconds later, Jackie turned around.

“Hey, Mr Sandeep Bandhopapdhya, so you want to be cool, really cool, right? Ok, so tell me, what’s my name?”


“Right but wrong. Confused? Well, let me explain. My name, the name my parents gave me is Jai Kishan. But guess what? I hated it ‘coz everybody hated it. They thought it was so downmarket, as if I came from some village. Thought I was a buffoon. So, I pondered over it and then something clicked my brain. I decided to be Jackie. Overnight, I become cool.

And now, you need to do that too, buddy”.

‘So…what do I do to be cool like you?

“Simple, modify your name. From today you are no longer Sandeep Bandhopadhyaya. Instead, your friends have a choice. They can call you Sandy, or Bandy, or even Sandy Bandy. Can anyone get cooler than that?”



neelwrites/guffaw/flash/shortstory/tuesdaychatter weekly/03/04/2018

With time people change. In his case, for the better. I thought so.

And so gave the shoulder to his tantrums, his pronounced and highly misplaced sense of self that resulted, more often than not in he displaying his famed, (here i shall it make ill famed) braggadocio, his false sense of entitlement to all that is worthwhile and therefore worth begetting for himself.

I even managed to reason myself to believe that all his gargantuan failings, his elephantine errors of in weighty matters pertaining to the hearty and mind were nothing but a work in progress, simply a reminder that Nature had to take charge fully on him and complete its due cycle of total metamorphosis of his personality, that given time he would too see reason and fall in line with the rest of humanity and accept the mind numbking heart wrenching fact that all are blessed with what are called grey cells.

But despite all this reassuring of my heart, there still remained one thing that rankled me no end.

And that was his guffaw: those wild as a boar open mouthed wide eyed vocal renditions that emanated from his larger than normal mouth everytime someone so much as even alluded to leave alone connected his abysaml behaviour to a lack of pedigree and the pitfalls of having a half, or worse zero education.

At such times I would my simply fold my hands and looking upwards, seek strength from the Almighty above to grant me the power to pick and choose my childhood friends.

#neelanilpanicker #fiction #charactersketch #guffaw : A guffaw is a belly laugh: a laugh that bubbles up with good feeling and plenty of volume. At the end of a stressful day of work, it’s good to have some guffaws with your friends.

Tuesday Chatter Weekly


Tuesday Chatter Weekly


Three Line Tales, Week 75

Welcome to Week 75 of Three Line Tales.

Hosted by Sonya at


Smart Moves

three line tales week 75: two bicycles in front of the ocean

photo by Meghan Yabsley on Unsplash


By Neel Anil Panicker

“Show that you love me by jumping into the icy waters right away?”

‘Hey! Most certainly, and why not; however, if I were to do so, would you then prove your love by jumping after me?’

“I guess it’s best if we simply admire the ocean from the deck.”

©neelanilpanicker2017 #ThreeLineTales #50words #fiction



© A Mixed Bag


By Neel Anil Panicker

Though well past sleep time, the questions keep flowing.

“Papa, will dinosaurs live again?”

‘No dear, the dead don’t come back,’ I say and turn off the lights.

An hour later, once Aarav finally slides into dreamland, Nina too goes to bed as she has an early morning shift, and anyways, sleep for her is an hourly indulgence thanks to the three-year-old’s metronomic wailings.

I amble to the other room and flick on the TV. A minister accused of gang raping his minor help thrusts his scruffy face and shouts, “Opposition parties want to destroy my clean image”.

The PM’s words the day he was sworn in ricochet off my benumbed brains, “I promise a corruption and crime-free governance”

“Maybe, this ape’s not heard of rape”.

Disgustedly, I flick channels.

A guy in a suit is holding something. In clipped English, he elucidates, “Guess what! Tech nostalgia is back. In this IPhone age of swishes and swooshes and swipes and taps, the 140 character Nokia 3310 is making a comeback.”

“Fauxtalgia”, I mutter and surf.

A man in a flaming orange tie harangues,“Walls…Immigration…Muslims…Terror…“

Exasperated, I slam the TV shut and slide into bed muttering, “Son, you’re right.

Dinosaurs are back”.

(c)neelanilpanicker2017 # fiction # short story #SUNDAYPHOTOFICTION # 200 words

Sunday Photo Fiction -February 19th 2017

Written for


Click on the image see a larger version.

get the InLinkz code



By Neel Anil Panicker

I hate New Year greetings. I mean I REALLY HATE new year greetings. It has been a slow build up over the years but when I see people still going around wishing all and sundry A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR it gets my goat.

But then that’s because I can see through the elaborate façade, the eye popping charade, the sheer falsity and thereby, futility of the whole damn exercise.

And I can spot these new age peddlers of New Year greetings from beyond a mile. There they come, their arms flapping and eyes popping and teeth flashing, having zeroed in on a poor hapless soul (read victim) from afar. Like a beautifully choreographed Shiamak Davar dance sequence, they make their slow, sinuous and dare I say, sensuous move across to you, waving an arm here and a leg there, their every single nerve and muscle and sinew stretched to a taught as they waltz upto to you and sing and ring in  A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR deep down into your stupefied ears.

OMG! If there was a law against such gross ramming down of impermissible decibel levels down one’s orifices, I am pretty sure half of humanity would be behind bars.

Take me for instance. The new year has happened and it’s a good 36 hours since the fortuitous event  made its foray into the world but all through the day and night all manner of people, a few known and a zillion unknown, are still handing out New Year greetings to me in a single monotonous scream and quite a few even live streaming their New Year pleasantries. And mind you, all of this comes in a tearing hurry that makes me suspect if the world is suddenly running out of stock of such stock phrases or in the alternative, they are soon going to get as extinct as the dodo.

So, all my dear friends and relatives, near and far, as well as people who I may know or not, I heard you once and I heard you twice but trust me it takes my goat if you sing it thrice__guess what!  A HAPPY NEW YEAR.



When someone let the CAT out of the bag
By Neel Anil Panicker
Examinations are a load or a breeze. That’s depending on which side of the academic scale you tilt.
For a serious student of life such as yours truly, it means a welcome release after months of burning the proverbial midnight oil, lying awake through days and nights coding, uncoding, and then decoding a near endless array of bewildering permutations and combinations, hoping to get bat through as many of the trickier than tricky bouncers (read questions!) that the head honchos that govern the test aim to throw at you at speeds that would put to shame the fastest of bowlers of world cricket.
And so it was the other day when I found myself inching into a rather expansive second floor examination hall located quite ironically in a mid-sized mall in a godforsaken back of beyond location some 50 kilometres away from sweet home.
The jostling continued but this time the shoulders gave way for cubicles as I found myself staring at a computer screen that steadfastly refused to wink back at me.
Humour was not its forte, I guessed.
I craned my neck left and right and saw only eyes, all eager and expectant. The future of the country, smilingly ready to put their collective heads on the chopping block.
And then the screen sprang to life, whispering start.
The race had begun and the Usain Bolts of the world began to run.
Thereafter, it was non-stop bombardment as question after question popped out of the funny looking screen made even smaller by the enclosed lines within which played out the jumbled, contorted and even twisted world of sweat inducing near unsolvable questions.
Finally, after a tortuous (and might I add torturous) three hour ordeal that I would wish the best of my enemies), the ordeal ended as I bid goodbye to the last of the questions.
The reverse troop down started and I joined the teeming mass of IIM aspirants on the outside, their facial expressions and bodily contractions and contortions conveying the entire gamut of human emotions ranging from the downright crestfallen to the supremely elated.
I looked around just in time to find my friend Harish, ambling towards me, his face squeezed in like a three-day-old mashed potato.
“Guess what, the paper has been leaked”
The words hit me like a ten tonne brick.
I blinked and stared into his face__ a sorry mash of fallen hopes. The mock test all India topper was understandably crestfallen.
A whirlpool of myriad images began to badger my mind.
Sheer darkness enveloped all over me.
The collateral damage to my CAT preparations over the past eight months had been immense.
A quick mental calculation brought out the losses:
Total man hours spent studying: 1800 (averaged over the past one year)
Girl friends left: Fifteen (Eight at the preparatory stages, two at base camp, seven at second stage, and three at the summit__well, almost)
Parties missed: twelve (including five outstation trips, with one to that land of utopia, Goa)
A flurry of noises brought me back to terra firma.
“Aree, bach gaye yaar”, shouted out a bunch of students.
They seem to have just managed to survive . Tomorrow is just another day.
I let out a smile.
Hopefully, next time around, they will be better prepared.
And, hopefully, there will be no more leaks.
As for me, I am going for a leak, right now.

(A first person account of an IIM aspirant)


9/11- not 9, this rat oops cat has 11 lives

By Neel Anil Panicker

The world is no longer Hillar(y)ious

Trump has climbed out of the dump

The female with the false email

was sent scurrying back with her tail.

Wow! the crotch grabber has won

shown who is the international don

without a bullet fired from any gun

his detractors have been truly done

Nothing in life is ever black ‘n’ white

God, please show US some light.