By Neel Anil Panicker

Don Afzal Bhai was thankful the room was sound proof. He had ensured that.

That way when hard leather connected with soft skin and the shrieking and the wailing and the crying and the pleading commenced, it stayed and died within its four walls.

And as the hour rolled over into the next and the shrieks and wails gave way to soft whispered oohs and aahs, a whiff of fresh jasmine wafted around the exquisitely decked up curtained room that boasted of soft low lights peeping out of highly ornate wooden lampshades that otherwise would have enjoyed pride of place in a millionaire’s abode.

Placed at the four corners abutting the master bed that spread out invitingly like the spiralling waters of a giant oceanic wave full of froth and fury, the lights served another larger purpose.

Its beams fell directly on the massive master bed where lay the most feared mafia don of Old Delhi, naked like a new born, eyes shut, body and mind long lost to the sensual and sexual charms of the woman booby strapped to his body.

The woman, who matched the don every single measurable inch in nakedness, boldness, and naughtiness, was no ordinary woman. She was the Don’s mistress, his favourite stress buster, the   one who’s job it was to ensure his physical welfare.

Over the past decade or so, she performed her duties with a rare aplomb,

gaining besides Afzal Bhai’s trust and continued, a few prime properties in the heart of Lucknow, the place from where she originally hailed.

‘Ah, the pleasures of life’, Afzal Bhai moaned as expert hands worked their magic on his massive oak of a body, pressing a vein here, pulling and pushing a limb there, sending pulsating throbs of sheer pleasure scurrying through his loins.

‘Will you be staying over tonight, sanam,’ she asked, caressing his moustache strewn lips with a bunch of ripened berries, her hands finding solace deep down his lumbar regions.

Like a supremely satisfied cat having smacked clean all the milk, and now spread-eagled on all her fours, Afzal Bhai smiled satisfactorily as he pondered over the question.

Not a bad idea. There wasn’t much business to conduct early in the morning. The durbar could be postponed by an hour or two.

He was about to say yes when Salim’s words of last night reverberated in his ears.

“Boss, he’s trouble. Big time trouble. Ali’s bail application is due for hearing any day.

You need to do something fast. We don’t have much time on our hands”.

Three hours later, when he pushed aside the iron sliding gates of the third floor corner house appropriately christened Jannat Jahan, he was a changed man. Almost magically, his walk had turned sanguine, his kohl lined eyes had a fierce glow to it and as the noontime sun shone brightly on his jet black Mercedes, he slipped inside it through the half opened door, ensconcing himself comfortably in its plush interiors.

Looking over at Salim, who as his wont, was seated in the front seat, he barked “Ali mustn’t reach the court. Kill the bastard before that, preferably inside Tihar Jail.”

















FFfAW Challenge Week of August 8, 2017

Hosted by the wonderful PJ at


This week’s photo prompt is provided by Dorothy. Thank you Dorothy!

By Neel Anil Panicker

“How long have you been with me, Salim?”

‘Around forty years, Afzal Bhai.’

“Forty one years, three months and two days.”

Salim nodded his head.

His boss had an elephantine memory.

The two were at Begum Jahanara Park, the sprawling fifty acre green belt in the heart of Old City.

An oasis, a much needed succor from the daily heat and grind of existence that life in a big city had become, any city for that matter, least of all the capital city of India.

An avowed morning person, the don loved coming to the Park, located a stone’s throw from Sumer Manzil.

The chirping of the birds, the early morning dew on soft grass, the all around stillness__there was a ring of freshness in the air that the don found very invigorating.

An hour’s stroll through the tree lined cemented pathways past bright eyed dangling dahlias and smiling angel white lilies worked like magic for his mind, body, and soul, though of the last his detractors wondered if he had any.

It was Salim who had requested his boss to postpone the durbar by an hour.

“Ok now,  what’s bugging you?”

‘Boss…it’s Liza, your daughter.’

“What about her?”

‘Boss, she…she’s in love…with…Al’.

#neelanilpanicker2017 #partnineofdangerouslove #thediscovery#fiction












FFfAW Challenge-Week of 8-01-2017

Flash  Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by PJ at




This week’s photo prompt is provided by TJ Paris. Thank you TJ!

By Neel Anil Panicker

TIME: 4:30





The tears traverse the path of vengeance.

They stream down Liza’s face with great force; a fusillade of water bursts not unlike a long dormant volcano that finally erupts with brute centrifugal energy__hot molten lava seeping through the skin and burning the insides of her ravaged soul.

They slow down, ultimately forming into tiny little rivulets of salt and water that soak with the dank fairness of her soft skin, the usually crimson red cheeks turning  several shades lighter to an almost creamish grey, as if consonance with and announcing their solidarity with her fractious emotions.

As a cool breeze blows in through the half opened windows, she sits, her legs crossed, arms entwined to her chest, all body limbs as if in solidarity with the melange of emotions that run helter skelter in her head that’s neatly wrapped under thick, lustrous half golden hairs.

Amidst utter silence, time floats by unhurriedly as Liza warms herself in the comfy comfort of her soda cum bed by the wall, her beautiful arms extending out of an off-shoulder olive brown nightie, the soft as a tissue hands cradling to her chest a life sized all-white teddy bear.

Both the teddy and its owner stare at the world outside through the netted slits of the Mughal era styled old world psychedelic windows, the latter pondering and wondering at the topsy turvy events that have marked her short two score life on Earth.

The blare of the loudspeaker from atop the minarets of the Jama Masjid pull her out of her reverie.

It’s the call for Azaan__the prayer of the faithful; a time to renew one’s pact with Allah, a time to pay her daily ritualistic obeisance; a time to ask Him for mercy, seek solace, and perhaps acquire guidance for the dangerous life changing mission that she has planned for herself.

#neelanilpanicker2017 #episode#partfourofdangerouslove #dangerouslove#fiction#333words






Sunday Writing Prompt: Fly like a Falcon

Hosted at

You have a week to participate. Please tag your posts with MLMM and Sunday Writing Prompt. And be sure to ping back and/or Link to Mr. Linky – he is so friendly and capable.


Untitled collage 2

By Neel Anil Panicker

‘I want him dead. Did you get that? I want him dead.’ Sheena slammed the phone shut and smashed it onto the cemented floor.

The brand new Samsung broke into two.

Still raging, she stormed into the kitchen, raised herself up a stool, and searched the cupboards high above her head.

After some shuffling around, she found what she was looking for and stepped down.

She turned back to the bedroom and gathered the two pieces together and proceeded to smash them into pulp. In no time all that was left were tiny fragments of metal that she scooped off in her palms and deposited flushed out in the sink.

“Are you over? ”  a male voice called from inside. As if in answer she turned off the lights, furtively extricated herself out of the shimmering black nightie that she was wearing, and then, stark naked, hurled herself onto the bed, into the waiting arms of Harsh.

An hour later, her hunger fully satiated, she raised herself up against the pillow and lit a cigarette, blowing heavily into it as Harsh gazed into her sparkling eyes with unbridled affection bordering on adulation.

Or was that plain lust?

He would never know. All that the handsome hulk knew that he would do anything and everything for this woman beside him, this sexual predator, this virago, this unsatiable beast of a woman who  loved and lusted like no other.

He had known wild love before, but not of this intensity, not of this scale of mind numbing, body searing, soul stirring madness that had been his ever since he met her rather serendipitously while going to office three months ago.

“In a week we shall be free,”. Sheena’s words broke his thoughts.

As in answer he cupped her breasts and dug his teeth into her nipples.

A spasmodic wave of pure delight rippled through her entire gym toned body.

“Come… take me now…now”, she hissed and slipped under the sheets.

©neelanilpanicker2017 #fiction #it’splaytime#01 #sundaywritingprompt#328words


By Neel Anil Panicker

Places of worship are attractive to eternal optimists.

It took all of three weeks and an ardous personal pilgrimage which extended to all of ten temples, eight mosques, six gurudwaras, three churches, and a couple of Parsi temples and even the odd Jewish synagogue for Raghav to come to this realization.

The woman in front is still standing steady and upright like the Rock of Gibralter; her body posture not once slackening. Positioned immediately behind her, Raghav would occasionally catch her turning around and scanning the sea of humanity that snaked behind them, as long as the Nile.

Looking at her cadaverous frame draped in a much used and abused initially off-white but now a dirt-yellow cheap cotton saree; her heavily lined mouse like face scarred with more crisscrossed lines than would show up on a map of the most congested bylanes of Chandni Chowk, and at her eyes__ eyes that were sunk so deep into their sockets that they reminded him of the ever faulty still    overworked elevator in his office building that everybody feared could any moment give way and disappear into the abyss __, Raghav guessed that it had been quite some time since she had entered the hallowed club of septuagenarians.

As the harsh rays of the afternoon sun bore down, refusing to show the slightest of mercies on the human congregation below, and scorched the earth with vengeful rage, much like a mythical dragon spewing fire and brimstones on helpless earthlings, the woman squinted her eyes and scanned the crowd again and again, occasionally dipping her lips into the fast diminishing plastic bottle of water, which Raghav suspected, and rightly so, was contaminated to the core.

In her other hand she held a small wicker bowl, which contained kumkum, a garland of marigold flowers, incense sticks, petals of some yellow coloured flowers whose origin Raghav was unable to decipher, a string of red and yellow threads,  and a very tiny-sized bottle full to its neck with castor oil.

The line moves at a pace so slack that were, Usain Bolt, the fastest man on earth, here, he would die__if not of exhaustion caused by sheer ennui.

All of a sudden there is a wave of murmur and some pushing and jostling. The resultant effect: the  line moved, albeit barely, though not more than a quarter of an inch.

It was then that he noticed it. Her legs. The woman had no legs! It was just a stump___both her legs, or where they once stood.

She was handicapped from knee down; the wooden contraption fitted onto where her legs once were.

And when she walked, even those bare few inches, it made a creaking noise, and he saw, looking over from where he was, her eyes squinting and her lips constricting as a near agonizing gasp of sheer pain escaped her wafer thin lips as they bit into non-existent teeth.

No legs, no teeth, pushing well into her seventies, old and emaciated, almost at the last leg of her life, and  there she is___ standing upright, gaze unflinching, eyes full of devotion, and a heart still filled with hope and optimism, bearing all with a smile and innocence. In queue since morning, without food for the past four hours and may be more.

And all this hardship and pain only so that she just as countless others who stood patiently braving the elements gets to pay obeisance to her lord, her Ganpati, Lord Vinayaka, the much loved, much worshipped, elephant head God__the God of all good beginnings as also the God who helped mankind tide over all bad happenings.


Watching this deep symbiotic relationship of trust and faith between man and God, Raghav suddenly came to the brute realisation how much of a misfit he was.

Like a bolt of lightning the epiphanic moment him numbed his senses. All of a sudden he felt dizzy. The giddiness continued for some more time and he felt as if his legs were giving way, getting lighter and lighter.

He thought he was about to blank out.

He had to do something and do it fast. Or else, he feared the earth on which he was standing would open up and pull him inside its bowels any moment.

He had to find his inner soul, his peace, his sanity__if he had any hope of survival.

Cursing himself, he turned his back and walked away from the line of worshippers.

Neither this place, the most hallowed Siddhi Vinayaka Temple in the heart of Mumbai__the financial heart beat of India___nor any other place of God anywhere was a place for pessimists like him.


(Chapter 24 of continuing novella A FAIR AFFAIR)

A Pilgrim’s Progress- Around Haji Ali Dargah

By Neel Anil Panicker

Raghav felt a tug and turned around to find sickly fingers pulling at the edges of his shirt sleeves.

The free hand, twiggy to the bones, were clutching a half broken yellowed plastic bowl with more holes in it than the dirty pock marked bylanes through which he had come.
The girl, nee, a child, looked as if she had breathed in all, barely at that, no more than six summers; her cadaverous, bare boned frame, wasted and emaciated, and her skinny legs shone through what looked like a mere apology of an ultra short and faded, much worn and torn, thrice stitched dress of uncertain antecedents.

Image result for haji ali dargah

Seated on the rickety wooden bench outside Hameed’s Lajawab Kabab, Raghav sipped into his cup of tea. At that instant, the sun fought its way through sky high walls and landed on her bare legged feet illuminating whitish red perforations on skin that had long gone diseased. And when the rays bounced upwards to hit her face, Raghav was all of a sudden struck by the magnitude of callousness on display by an increasingly self serving world that cared two hoots about the sheer pain and agony of childhoods such as hers gone awry.

Setting aside his cup on the bench beside him he called for the waiter.
Later he watched as the little girl smilingly dunk her disease-ridden fingers into the plate of vegetable biryani, ravenously emptying its contents into a fully stretched mouth. The heart wrenching spectacle once again reminded Professor Rags of how cruel life was, and more acutely, how cruel had man allowed it to remain.

‘What man and what society would allow children as young and vulnerable as this one in a near relic of a skirt that barely covered her frail frame to beg’, he pondered to himself.

It was then that he was reminded of a typically expected of but still an utterly opprobrious, sexist comment of a professional politician who recently had wondered aloud if short skirts were not the reason why young girls were raped and molested in this great land of our ours.

‘If hurling heartless comments were an Olympic sport, then this one would certainly bag a medal, if not surely the gold, ‘ Rags chuckled with more than a trace of sardonic humour.

He fervently hoped somebody would walk up to the politico concerned and pull his ears and shout into it that in this country that he avers to represent, women of all categories get raped including girls who shun skirts and wear other ‘respectable’ and ‘socially sanctioned’ attire; girls who wear skirts out of choice; as also girls like this little one who wear them out of compulsion.
Still shaking his head at the irony of it all, he turned around and walked through the narrow bylanes, his steps guided by the sound of the brackish sea waves as also by the sight of the white washed minarets ahead of him that shone bright and resplendent in the mid-August afternoon blue skies.

In no time he joined the ever burgeoning milieu of the faithful all of whom edging forward at breakneck speeds muck like huge armies of ants racing down a hill; men, women, and children pushing, pulling, shoving, edging, nudging, thrusting, bursting, and when required, even kicking their way through the byzantine pathways that led to their destination, the grand Haji Ali Dargah__that majestic islandic patch of faith that beckoned one and all; a tantalizingly towering beacon of hope for both the believers__who come in hordes to wish for the fulfillment of their wishes__ and, the non-believers__who come to figure out what exactly is it in life that was worth wishing for.

As delirious sounds of Allah o Akbar escaped the parched lips of the pilgrims and resonated and reverberated over the arched dome to finally become one with the hot mid afternoon air that blew in from the Arabian Sea, Raghav knew he had come inches close to the sanctum sanctorum.

All of a suddenly the crowd ahead of him broke ranks and raced through as the imposing façade of the world famous mausoleum slowly loomed into vision; a grand mid-fifteenth century monument that was built in memory of a rich man; his chequered life a saga of great riches and magical realism and then much later, mystical atonement and redemption.

As the sea rumbled and grumbled all around him, Raghav joined the multitude and entered, his head bowed down, into the over 600-year-old Sufi saint’s shrine, his mind alive and buzzing with a plethora of questions, answers to all of which he hoped would be revealed to him here.

( chapter 22 of continuing novella A Fair Affair)


By Neel Anil Panicker

The girl stepped off the pavement. With measured steps she made her way past the rush hour crowd of morning office goers mindful not to bump into anyone barring, of course, the not so infrequent brushing against the shoulders by male species of all ilk, the opportune act immediately followed by a quick mumble of an apology  ‘sorry’, or even the audacious ‘sorry ma’am’, invariably followed by a sheepish, impish smile.

Not that she minded that too much.

To her it was all par for the course.

For all girls, that is.

It came with the territory.

Especially for one as beautiful as she.

A straight gait, thick flowing luxuriant jet black hair that swayed seductively from side to side as she walked sanguinely carrying a lithe and voluptuous frame, employing her endlessly long as the great Nile legs to good effect__legs that looked as if it were born and bred in a high end gym.

She breezed through three impromptu traffic intersections; at the last, stopping just in time, to allow a speeding monster SUV with tinted glasses to pass by. And then, as if she spotting something, made a mad dash, sprinting past the everyday humdrum hustle and bustle of life.

Within seconds she reached her destination_ the entrance of ‘Delights_ the cafe with a heart’.

Her arms locked into his and she gave him the full benefit of her luscious lips. The delectable spectacle lasted a good two minutes much to the amusement of awe struck onlookers among whom included suited and booted and crested young and old executives besides other similarly affected, infected and afflicted specimens of the male variety who gaped, gawked, and then vigorously nodded their heads in appreciation, which soon after turned morphed into exasperation.

Or, was that frustration?

Why? And at what?  Or more appropriately, for what?


As the two lovers walked, arms entwined, hands claspe, and hearts united, Raghav watched it all from the skies, high above four floors, from a barren broken down window of the hospital building that was his temporary abode for the past one week.

His eyes stalked them through the betel stained glass windows as the two moonstruck love birds once again locked eyes and lips and arms, each guiding the other as the two ambled past near empty tables; their bodies, so young and frothing with desire, as it swayed back and forth in synchronous fashion like little baby-white dahlias teasing and whispering sweet nothings to one another come springtime.


Can life be this idyllic?  Can two people be ever so happy with one another?  Is it possible, this love and its wanton display? But more importantly, is this sustainable?

And then the question: if so, for how long? Does love come with an expiry period as with all other perishable commodities.

Is it then,  a much hyped dystopian mirage that people, at least  some of them, consider an Utopian fantasy__ simply aspirational, and thereby possibly achievable?

A plethora of such questions bombarded Rags frail brains.

It didn’t leave him even much after he had stubbed out the Wills Filter Kings cigarette (his third of the day and inhaled much against the kindly doctor’s advice; ‘You must stay away from alcohol and cigarettes completely if you are looking for a quick recovery’ were his stern warnings) into the apology of an ashtray that rested on the stool beside his bed that overlooked the busy street below.


Yes, life can be this idyllic. It had been so for him once though long back in time. Or that was what he had thought so when he married Archana and came to Mumbai two decades ago. True, initially, at least the first couple of years, they were happy.

Life, back then, with his newly minted bride, was all about going on long walks by the beach, even holding hands, at times eating out in far off exotic restaurants, attending music concerts, catching the weekend blockbusters either in classy single screen theaters, or when not in the mood for any external outing, in the comfy air conditioned comfort of sweet home.

All was great but then, he recalled, things started deteriorating.

First, it started with the usual everyday bickering that are pretty much a part and parcel of any couple trying to come to terms with the fact that a child of their own, of their own blood, may not come to fruition.

Soon the as the frustrations piled up so did increase the frequency of the fights, nonsensical all, at first over trivial issues such as tea not being served in a steel glass or over whose turn it would be to fetch groceries or milk or the monthly provisions and also whether rice with sambhar would be ideal for the entire month or should there be a change of menu every other day, and if so should it be vegetarian or the occasional non vegetarian.


Raghhav, being the meek one, couldn’t keep pace with the fast turning acerbic nature of the bickerings which in the next few years soon turned into full blown verbal spats.

Busy as he was with increasing work pressures what with the University adopting the dictum ‘perform or perish, Raghav, too entrapped by all this unforeseen official rigmaroles, failed to see that the once beautiful woman he had married and loved to distraction had slowly but surely turned into a psychosomatic nut, a raging bull, a hot virago with the loosest of tongues from which escaped the choicest of street filthy invectives.

The past two decades had been a hellish existence and as he sat alone, all forlorn, and virtually discarded and uncared for by all_known and unknown, near and dear as well as far and wide__, Raghav, the once kindly professor of humanities wondered how long would the cruel hands of fate play along with his life that had turned all so inhuman.

Wiping off nonexistent tears he picked up the remote and witched on the television set.

The small 14 inch black and white screen came alive with grainy images of Kashmir.

‘When, why and how did beauty end up this ugly?’, he wondered.


( chapter 21 of  ongoing novella A FAIR AFFAIR)