By Neel Anil Panicker

three line tales, week 129: a friendly robot – or is he up to something sinister?

She’s honest, witty, speaks over a hundred languages, cooks lip smacking multi-cultural delicacies, looks a million bucks, is good in bed and makes all your fantasies come true in bed, and what’s more__ never ever talks back, gets upset, checks your cell phone messages, snores like a pig, smells of garlic, or rushes off to her mom-in-law after every silly fight.


“ But Vikky, she’s so perfect, like an automatic machine, in fact she’s one, an automated lover at best, a silent spectator to man’s discomfiture at worst.”

You duffer, when will you realise that real people are programmed to combat, at times unsuccessfully, with life’s myriad and gargantuan problems; but she’s programmed to ensure that such problems never ever take birth.

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Three Line Tales, Week 129

Three Line Tales, Week 129





By Neel Anil Panicker

Maria craned her neck out from her cabin window and her eyes fell on the distant horizon as ten feet below her the amber dusk reflected its sombre darkness on the limpid waters; the silhouette of the ship’s massive hull cutting through the eddying waters of the midnight ocean.

The events of the past week skirted through her mindscape like one colourful kaleidoscope and she soon found herself swimming in the high tide of emotions as her body, mind and soul transported into the heavenly world that she had lived in and experienced.

The incessant wails of the ship’s siren forced her back to reality and as she extricated herself from the comfy comforts of the luxury liner and lined up along with other holiday revellers waiting to deboard ship, she realized with numbing intensity that some dreams, even if they last for a mere week, are worth their weight in gold.

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Three Line Tales, Week 126


Three Line Tales, Week 126



three line tales, week 124: two colourful doors that lead to ...

By Neel Anil Panicker

There are two doors in front of me; one red and the blue; and both beckon me, equally__staring invitingly at me, attempting all  within  their powers, cajoling, coaxing, attracting, luring, even threatening me, using all manner of bait to get me to somehow bite the bullet.

I for one, though thoroughly bowled over by such passionate unrelenting prefer to bide my time, in the interim mulling things over while time races past the past, and rushes through the present, in a bid to be on time for its date with the future.

I wish I had more choices, that there were more doors to chose from__my misguided mind harbouring the impression that multiplicity of choices would lead to me taking better well informed decisions, but I guess that’s  a fallacy for since when have more choices translated to better outcomes?

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Three Line Tales, Week 124

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Three Line Tales, Week 124



three line tales, week 123: a strange reflection in a puddle

By Neel Anil Panicker

His feet firmly implanted to the edge, the brand new off grey canvas shoes pointing inwards towards the mouth of a an ill formed puddle full to the brim with last night’s inexplicable deluge, Wendell___his ill famous heavily lined visage heavily covered under the forbidding shade of a ‘black as a bat’ hoodie___, watches intently the trajectory of the plane as it wings past the twin Petronas Towers.

Five…four…three…two…one…the thumb finger inside his baggy trouser pocket reaches and presses the soft push button of the remote.

Instantly, the until now languid skies break out in a deafening moan 3000 feet above as Malaysian Airlines Flight No. ML 739 carrying 379 passengers blows up into smithereens.

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Three Line Tales, Week 123



SET TO SAILthree line tales, week 122: a canal, boats and colourful houses

By Neel Anil Panicker

Crouched on the wooden planks of the single seater canoe, its top helpfully covered in blue plastic sheets, Richard squinted his eyes and peered out into the dark, his sleep deprived eyes scanning the imposing heights that rose and enveloped the narrow stream from all sides; at the red bricked assembly line of row houses stacked one on top of the other.

His X-ray vision zoned in on one particular direction, and particularly, at the match-sized third floor corner flat to his left, and soon enough his midnight vigil paid dividends as he watched the curtain lights fade out and then a slowly, like the parting of the mythological Red Sea, the curtains parted and out there, stood__a smile dancing on her almond shaped visage__his lady love Angelina, her shimmering white silhouette reflected in the crystal clear waters below.

He found himself swimming in the high tide of emotions but quickly regained composure and mulled his next move; which was how to escape with the love of his life before dawn when the pier would come alive with early morning chatter and the pitter patter of fishermen and seafarers getting ready for the day’s business.


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Three Line Tales, Week 122

Three Line Tales, Week 122




three line tales week 120: a ballerina in a dark underpass

By Neel Anil Panicker

The child in her was still born; never did she knew the everyday unalloyed pleasures of frolicking with her seven siblings and their gang of neighbourhood kiddies, not for her the squeals and the laughter; the serpentine anxieties and the meaningless worries; the ubiquitous peccadilloes and the near endless pangs of regret thereafter that are the calling card of teens straining at the cusps of youth.

Instead, she preferred the solitude of the dark, choosing pitch dark bunker like stony walls as her bosom friends in whose benign company she flowered and revelled while they stood by in monk like silence__silent appreciative sentinels__ while she practised her pyrotechnics, honing her skills for hours together until perfection became her calling card.

A decade later when she burst onto the dance scene like a rare meteor, taking centrestage in the most rarefied of environs all over the world, it took a while for her to bask in the full blown glory of the spotlight, acclimatised as she were to a lifetime of dancing in the dark.

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Three Line Tales, Week 120

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Three Line Tales, Week 120



three line tales week 119: colourful rocks in the desert

By Neel Anil Panicker

Come weekends and the beach was the go to place for the two as little Stella loved them, those stacks of coloured ball-sized stones, one on top of the other, that rose into the azure blue skies.

Making himself comfortable on the sands, her father Tom would keep an eye on his six year old as she played hide and seek in the sandy shores, frolicking around her ‘Five Uncles’,  laughing and screaming and shouting her lungs out as children of her age are wont to do.

After a while, when the sun came down, the two would head back home but not before Stella planted her customary kiss on each of her ‘Uncles’ blissfully unaware that under one of them lay buried her mother, a victim of the massive tsunami that blew away the coastal town a couple of years ago.

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Three Line Tales, Week 119