By Neel Anil Panicker

‘She lacks discipline,’ Senior Authorised Flight Examiner Paulose Abraham exclaimed as he looked over at the two trainee cadets ambling towards the tarmac.

“Well, that may be true, but she’s definitely not lax in her duties. In fact she’s quite eager. Ever ready for a challenge. At least that’s how it was when she first walked into my office and enrolled for the flying course.”

Paulose lifted his custom made Ray Ban all black aviator glasses and squinted his eyes as the mid-afternoon sun lashed down at the metallic sheets of the hangar, the third among an array of five that stood some five meters from the western periphery of Haralanka Airport.

The senior pilot looked over at Flight Instructor Ashish Tripathi a tad amusedly, his eyes cringing into a smile, before replying, “To lift a bird is easy. Bringing it down is the tough part.”

Ashish opened his mouth to say something, when a voice from behind beat him to it.

“Sir, Trainee Pilot Sharmistha Chaturvedi reporting for duty. Awaiting orders, Sir.”

The two senior airmen looked at the 21-year-old trainee who stood smartly a few meters from them, a never before seen steely resolve accentuating the high cheek boned angular face that was brimming with a new found confidence.

Barely looking at his mate, the senior captain commanded, “Ok, go ahead. I guess you’re  ready to fly solo.”

Minutes later as the small plane took off into the skies and completed a couple of sorties, the two men walked over to their command office.

“I told you she’s got talent”, remarked  Ashish as he placed his official airman’s cap on the hanger.

#neelanilpanicker #flashfiction #saturdaymix #274words

Saturday Mix – Double Take, 7 July 2018

lacks – does not have
lax – loose discipline


hangar – garage for airplanes
hanger – from which things hang





By Neel Anil Panicker

The 8: 22 halted, offload some weight, picked up a few, departed.

9:15 followed suit.

People clambered in, hurried out, their gloved hands dragging suitcases and bag, all heading to or heading back from the island, the one the glossy travel brochures highlighted as “Top  50 Places to visit before you die”.

Seated at a corner bench of the lone platform, Stephen watched with a weary nonchalance the merry spectacle of humankind scurry past him to experience Nature’s unadulterated bounties.

A pigeon flew in and rested on the precipice. He turned around and for a brief moment the two locked eyes.

Maybe there was something in his eyes, maybe she read him better than the hordes of backpackers who sped past him without so much as a glance, for, seconds later, the bird emitted a strange sound, and then fluttering her wings, flew away.

After she was gone, Stephen’s gaze hovered around the spot where she sat.

And there he saw__the gloves, rather, a single glove, an off brown near fading ‘left hand fit’ glove.

And with that came she, her memories, like a massive avalanche, lashing and hurling and cutting into every single sinew and nerve, hitting and hurting him relentlessly and mercilessly, until he was finally sucked into the bottomless oceanic pits of sorrow.

#neelanilpanicker #fiction #flash #shortstory #216words #photoprompt #mindlovesmisery

Photo Challenge #215





By Neel Anil Panicker

For a long time Venkat sat there, by the shore, motionless and emotionless, his tiny hands clasped tightly together as the waves crashed onto the rocky edges, each thunderous splash lathering his bare torso, drenching him with whatever the angry sea brought in__bile, froth, and salt working as a coolant all over his puny body.

Then, slowly, as the waters turned slightly warmer, he opened his eyes and gazed at his reflection on the waters below.

His face, come alive in the full moon’s golden streaks, had turned a flotilla of reddish orange. But it was the eyes that held his attention as he peered into them, the eyeballs, twinkling brighter than the brightest star, two floating dots in a mass of fluid.

It was then that he realised the full import of what he had done.

And with that came what he thought he had buried in the deepest recesses of his scarred mind__the memories, the horrendously mind shattering memories.

Like some monstrous unhinged ill formed sea creature, it came, the very same memories that stuck to his soul like and crisscrossed past his battered mindscape in all those horror filled sleepless nights of yore.

One among them persisted and bounced back, repeatedly smashing against the half broken edges of his mind, leading him to ultimately break into a long, heart wrenching cry whose virulence ricocheted off the rocks that abutted him, crashing into the sea with a dissonance that stayed afloat for what seemed like eternity.

It was the dead of night and he was in his room, a small dank and smelly doorless tin shed. He felt someone sliding up to him, first a hand, then the legs moving all over him, the lips, the mouth taken over by some brute force and seconds after began the hour long brutal crushing down of his dignity or whatever remained of it.

The sea hissed along angrily as another memory followed.

This time he had a knife in his hand and he was plunging it deep into his employer’s heart. He didn’t know how long he bored it down the man’s chest but he stopped only when there was pin drop silence and the only sound he could hear was that of his own self, his petrified heart beating faster than it had ever in the fourteen odd years of his sodden existence on this planet.

A light glowed in the dark, lighting up the horizon beyond the waters. He knew what it meant. It was time for the boat’s arrival. He had watched it every single night from the netted iron bars of his factory, the soap factory that was his home from the time he was four, bought and brought here to serve his master in more ways than one.

This was his first outing ever, the first time he had ventured out alone.

He looked upto at the sky and the twinkling stars. He had never seen the sun.

It was time he did; the moon would guide him to it.



Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

Photo Challenge #200

neelwrites/Grace/Saturday Mix – Double Take, 23 December 2017/poem/tanka/23/12/2017

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

Hosted at

This week’s Double Take has a ‘Christmassy twist’ to it! Our homophone sets are:

presence – the state of being present


holy – with religious significance
holey – perforated, with holes
wholly – fully, completely


Image result for CHRIST

By Neel Anil Panicker

Your presence makes sense

God’s priceless present are they

Holy thoughts fill me

Cleansing my soul_ so holey

Wholly I submit to you.



Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

Photo Challenge #192

Hosted by  at



– Image found on Discrete

By Neel Anil Panicker

She slipped into the semi-darkened room and quickly went about her business, stepping out of her clothes, the  off shoulder blue top first, then the brassiere underneath it, and finally the panties.

And then under his watchful, lustful eyes, she crept onto the lone corner window bed, and spread-eagled her lithe frame onto it.

She heard him heave and pant as he slid out of his pants and soon he was on top of her, his hands feverishly racing through the length and breadth of her body, tracing hollow crevices and scaling steep inclines.

She closed her eyes and began to recite the table of four. Four one’s are four, four twos are eight, four three’s are… Damn’t! She cursed herself. She was always poor at studies. No wonder she was caned the maximum.

She changed tack.

A day was 24 hours. She worked 16 hours every day, spending time in strange rooms such as the one she was at.

Each day she met ten men, and each man spent an hour with her,  and before leaving gave her Rs 200. Of that her share was Rs 20. So, how much money did she make in a month, assuming that she didn’t take any offs?

Unmindful of the shaking and the pushing and the thrusting, her mind went into calculation mode.




By Neel Anil Panicker

Below them, 
the dark streets beckoned
with crimson light.


Below them,

 lay bare their dignity,

or whatever was left of it.


 The dark streets beckoned,

Burying alive long lost memories;

birthing newer superficial ones


With crimson light,

  lives turned grimmer

under all that glitter.

 ©neelanilpanicker2017  #poem/haiku/troiku #01