By Neel Anil Panicker

Alex says he doesn’t want the doll house. Lisa wonders not for the umpteenth time if she had made a mistake. They were about to be married. She twice. Her childhood home. Recalls the golden memories. No, her mom would never have done it. And now that she is gone, her step father wants it removed, calls it an eyesore. Wants to convert it into a room and make money Make but she was going out.

Toime to end her doll day and get into the real world.

“I don’t care what you do with it, I just want it gone,” Alex said, pointing at the dollhouse.

Lisa stood at the entrance, her slim frame shuddering, her limbs slightly shaking as the sheer harshness of those words seeped in through her tender skin, skittered down the veins, and knifed through her heart tearing it asunder.

How could he, how on earth could a man change so soon, she wondered.  It had been barely a week since her mother’s death and ‘Uncle’ had changed, was showing his true colours.

She couldn’t believe how her mother, a smart and intelligent woman could ever have fallen for such as a man; this selfish, vain man, her step father, the man who had forcefully ingratiated himself into the Kapoor household after her father had died, first posing as a distant relative, a do gooder, a beacon of hope, and then slowly ingratiated himself to such an extent as to propose marriage to her mom.

Perhaps she was fooled in by his overarching ‘care’ and ‘man around the house’ persona, or maybe, she was too starved for love and companionship to have given him the benefit of doubt.

Isn’t that every woman does, barters her life and gives her all to the man in the fond hope and belief that she would change him to her way of thinking, make good of him and thereby make good of their shared lives.

But all that was water down the drain now, thought Lisa as she looked past her ‘Uncle’ at the doll house one last time.

Gennie, the bear eyed her from under a taped bright red wooden table, toy trains and baby dolls attired in frilly girlie frocks with buttoned eyes that smiled resplendently under the glare of multi-hued electric lights made her feel misty.

This miniature doll house was not just the place that she and her mother built box by box with a lot of care and love but this was also her oasis, her childhood retreat, the haven she turned into whenever the pressures of growing up seemed a wee bit overwhelming for her.

And now that haven, that one place that she thought was her and hers alone was also lost.

Lost for ever, its contents to be thrown out and the room itself refurbished and converted into a rental, just one more means for ‘Uncle’ to make money.

Well, she reasoned if that’s what he wants then let him have it, not just the doll house but the entire house and its belongings.

It was time for her to leave, it was time for her to hit the streets, to risk her chances, to step onto to the big bad world, and so what life has in store  for her.

Without that resolution in mind she turned around and walked away, carrying with her only memories, happy memories of a life well lived, a life when everything was perfect and she, and her mother and her father walked and loved and laughed like small little dolls.


First Line Friday – February 16th, 2018





#01 Hasty Generalization

By Neel Anil Panicker

Valentine’s Day is one big marketing scam orchestrated by money chasing marketers.

Or, I know of a teenaged couple who was harassed last year during Valentine’s. I myself suffered the same. I believe Valentine’s Day should be renamed as Harassment Day because that’s what it has come down to.

Two different statements, two different situations, and unfortunately two flawed conclusions.

These two instances are classic cases of the kind of hasty generalizations we make.

And we make them almost every single hour of our lives. And we make them of people, of places, of things, even of emotions.

For instance, take my friend Amit Kumar. He believes all  South Indians are kind and well mannered people. Now how did he arrive at this. Well, my good friend, who incidentally hails from Bareilly, a small town in Uttar Pradesh secured admission into the premier NIT and was offered to take his four year engineering course in Kozhikode, a beautiful average sized Indian town in the Malabar belt of Kerala.

Now, despite not knowing one word of the local language Malayalam he says he had a great experience and received the love and friendship of the Malayalis, be they his classmates or local shopkeepers, auto drivers et al.

In fact so moved was he by the red carpet welcome and honour that was rolled out to  a rank outsider like him and having partaked of the generosity and benevolence of Keralites, my friend turned emotional while on his last day of college and stay there and grandly announced to the whole world and its daddy that “South Indians are the most kind hearted and cultured people in the entire world”.

Now, sentiments aside, I wondered whether what my good friend has said was true or had he said something in the thick of the moment, overwhelmed as he was by his beautiful experience.

It so dawned on me that he had said of Malayalis and South Indians was a flawed conclusion.

A conclusion that may or may not be correct in the absence of more, better, and concrete verifiable data.

As goes the idiom “One sparrow does not a summer make”.

In the world of logic, more specifically Inductive Reasoning we have a name for this kind of flaw.

It’s called the Fallacy of Hasty Generalization.

Let me define it for you.

It’s “making assumptions about a whole group or range of cases based on a sample that is inadequate (usually because it is atypical or too small).

Making assumptions that are inadequate. About whom? About a whole group or range of cases based on a sample.

Or, how well we go about making them. We meet someone from another group or region or place or religion or region and find him so and so… you can fill that with rude, dishonest, shy, aggressive, insincere, drunkard… and thence draw a conclusion that the class or category or region or religion that they belong to or hail from is also like them.

How very faulty and wrong of us to think so.

So, how do we overcome this and ensure that we don’t fall into such traps and pass sweeping judgements about things and people we are not fully aware of.

Simple, just ask yourself what kind of “sample” you’re using: Are you relying on the opinions or experiences of just a few people, or your own experience in just a few situations? If so, consider whether you need more evidence, or perhaps a less sweeping conclusion.





By Neel Anil Panicker

The incandescent purplish hue of the snake headed mercury vapour lamps formed concentric patterns on the sandy drive that led all the way to the twin duplex bungalows.

Beyond, loomed large, like a canopy, the majestic Cassia fistula, its crusty yellowish bark sprouting forth long stemmed branches that entwined all around the red bricked roofs__the flowers, sunflower yellow, the petals, half kissing the wide misty windows.

From the outhouse, eight year old Nisha soaked in the memories of a lifetime. Come morn, she would have to leave her birth place now that her father, the family gardener, was no more.

©neelanilpanicker2018 #fridayfictioneers #fiction #shortstory #100words

16 February 2018


Air’s windswept with love

Sea of hearts floats all over

Dive in and enjoy.


Hearts go wild

emotions collide

love turns blind.


Heart”s on a flutter

She awaits her Valentine,

Hopeful of his ring.


Lonely heart

craves for love’s embrace

shower grace.


(c)neelanilpanicker2018 #poem #haiku #love #valentine