By Nee Anil Panicker

The clouds were white milky sheets. Set against the backdrop of azure blue skies with the slightest tingle of violet, the view from the top was magical to say the least.

Naina had never come this high.

But Akram was insistent.

“Believe me baby, it’s going to be cool. Plus, it’ll forever free you from your fear of heights”.

He was like that__words like baby, cool, wow, yippie…flowed easily from his thick nicotine stained lips that always curved up in a half mocking smile.

His thick mop of curly hair loosened its strands and like a dog straining against its leash, desperately tried to break free__tossing and twirling, daring the icy winds that blew over them.

Sitting on the edge of a rocky outgrowth two feet away, Naina looked down from the hill top.

All she could  see was a 500-metre bottomless pit of sheer green.

Her head turned dizzy as a whirlpool of disjointed thoughts began to swirl around in her head.

Had she really come this high? Could she have been such a fool to have acquiesced to this half boiled idea of this crackpot of a boyfriend of hers and tagged along on a Monday such as this when ideally she should have been in school

teaching tiny tots Jack and Jill and other arresting nursery rhymes. True, he was good. Good in bed, that is. I mean at her age, pushing the thirties, to get the undivided attention of a horny teenager ever willing to improvise was definitely a big boon, akin to someone bagging a lottery, she surmised. But then now this__ to come this far, to agree to climb a hill and stare down a rocky  fall? No, no ways was this cool. No baby, no way was she staying one moment longer.

Having made up her mind, Naina signalled to Akram.

“Come, let’s go. I feel dizzy…”

The words hung in the air as her feet slipped behind a loose pebble and off she went floating like a bird deep down the valley.   

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Thursday photo prompt: Summit #writephoto

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YOU’RE MY WISH COME TRUE  (Two minute read)


By Neel Anil Panicker

“It is a metaphorical tree”.

Katherine looked at her Indian beau in quizzical fashion.

‘What’s that supposed to mean__a metaphorical tree?’

In reply, Raj lifted his arms and drew a huge circular arc into the silvery cloud of skies.

“Look around you. What do you see? A land full of lush greenery, sprawling paddy fields, sheaths of pearly white water flowing from the mountains, people living peaceful, happy lives in beautiful, little hutments, their faces, all calm and full of contentment. Did you see…”

‘Hey, that’s cool. But what’s that to do with this tree’?

Katherine’s impatience seemed to be getting the better of her.

Raj looked at her and pointed towards the huge banyan tree a few meters from where the two stood in the middle of an open field that abutted the village in the northern fringes of hilly Assam.

“This is no ordinary banyan tree. This is the Kalpataru…the wish fulfilling tree.”

This time Katherine was intrigued enough to ask what that meant.

“It’s an Indian myth. What you see is the ‘Tree of Life’. For the villagers this tree is a metaphor for the celebration of hope, prosperity, and ecology. And that…”

‘And that explains all those long colourful threads that are tied around its various branches. They are all wishes of the faithful, hopes and dreams that they pray would come true, right?’

Raj nodded his head in affirmation as the two looked at the huge twenty feet high ‘Kalpataru’, its unnaturally large and thick branches and the array of panoramic tightly knotted cloths and threads softly swaying in the cool September breeze that was blowing in from the snow capped mountains that formed a protective umbrella all around the place known to both botanists and ordinary folk alike as ‘Heaven’s Garden’.

“Do you have a wish? If so, go ahead and tie yourself a thread.”

‘I don’t need to. That which I wished for has been fulfilled. It’s you’, said Katherine looking into Raj’s eyes.

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Thursday photo prompt: Wishes #writephoto

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By Neel Anil Panicker


The azure clouds, the ever changing carpet of kaleidoscopic hues, the endless span of blue heavens: all this and more is my abode.

Here the days and nights are one. I decide the time. I and I alone decide what to do, when or not to sleep, awake, fly, or simply enter into a trance.

I belong here; this splendorous endless spread of blue skies is from where I watch over; my eagle eyes scanning and skimming, scouring and devouring with hungry, precision-driven eyes the antics of all below me.

See that rustic red cliff over there. That’s my office. That’s from where I work every day; that’s the high point from where I watch the undulating landscape several hundred thousand feet below. My senses and eyes are in perfect sync: tuned as it were to the slightest of changes that occur.


A shift in the sandy dunes, an unheralded gust of wind, a sudden shimmer in the wind rippled lake bothers me, ignites my innate bestial instincts, incites me enough to fluff and flap my majestic wings. It is what goads me to fling my sharp talons and take off, soaring even further higher than where I am.

I am readying myself; warming up to do what I am ordained to do, what I was born for, which is to lessen the burden of all that lies below me.

Make no mistake: I am just a bird, may be a big one, but still a bird fulfilling my obligations to the Creator.

From a thousand feet above I touch down, swooping and sweeping my ‘labour’ off his or her feet, effortlessly, painlessly, clinically.

A few struggle but all give in, eventually, in acquiescence to their fate that folds up within the folds of my short, stubby beaks, my bright as sunlight eyes glistening as if they were black onyx beads.

And then I take off.

Tomorrow is just another day.

Another unburdening of earthly sorrows.

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Thursday photo prompt: Remains #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt: Remains #writephoto






By Neel Anil Panicker

‘You mean to say the money is there, right?’

Richard looked up at the beastly faces that hovered around him; two pairs of eyes stared down at him, the pupils split wide open, as if they would burst out any moment.
He looked at the swarthy man who reeked of hard country liquor, whose query he was supposed to answer, whose hairy hand rested uncomfortably on his reed thin shoulder, the long blade of a knife digging deep into his collar bone.

He was desperate, and dangerous too.  So was the other guy, who stood a feet away, his blood shot eyes surveying the mountainous terrain around him, much like a famished eagle scouring for her next meal.

Richard made an attempt to move his limbs as much as he could in the foetal position that he was, and cleared his throat of all bile, ‘Yes, you guys are right. The money is there, every single penny of it.’

A sense of elation surged in the eyes of his captors.

‘But there is a problem. It is stashed away high up the hill and…’

This time Richard held his breath and looked at his foes.

They were waiting, their ears latched onto every single word that he had to say.

A wrong word could very well see his end; the men, ruthless as they were, not hesitating in riddling his body with bullets.

‘It is stashed away in Drogma?’

“In the what?”

‘The Drogma. It’s a rock. A rock like no other. A rock with the face of a lion, the shape of an elephant, and a few other distinguishable features only I am aware of, and only…’

Richard waited to study the expression of his captors. All had their mouths wide open, frames half bent, ears cocked, eagerly hanging on to every monosyllabic sound that he uttered, the anxiety on their faces writ alarmingly large.

They had bitten the bait and fallen into the trap.

Richard went for the jugular.

‘Only I can help you get back the bag that is hidden inside the Drogma, the bag that we stole, the bag that contains ten million dollars. So, do what I say and quietly follow met’.

He didn’t wait for their response, but walked ahead. He knew they would follow. They had no option.

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Thursday photo prompt – Ahead #writephoto – Face Rock

Thursday photo prompt – Ahead #writephoto





By Neel Anil Panicker

It is a couple of hours after midnight, that still born hour when the entire world and its backyard have taken a sabbatical; that  pregnant pause, that briefest of brief interludes before the deluge begins all over again, before the rambunctious merry go round wheels of life start all over again, spinning forth in a furious abandon__ entrapping man, woman, and all manner of being in its wondrous cosmic cycle.

From the edges, Robin stares at the never ending carpet of blue that spreads out all around him. He cranes his neck and bores his eyes at the waters below. His face has come alive in a flotilla of little concentric rings ala a young girl’s floral dress as it swings and sways around in gay abandon.

For an interminably long time Abdul stands there, his frail body transfixed to terra firma, his dog eared mind in limbo.

Soon after, the memories came hurtling by much like a not so welcome guest that’s long overstayed one’s hospitality.

An oft repeated scene, albeit in painful slow motion, plays out in his mindscape. There he is, a young boy, rail-thin, the bones jutting out like broken down bamboo shoots from around his waists, an apology of a khaki half pant wrapped around them, his hands, equally frail and trembling, desperately holding on to his mother’s fingers as the two, along with his father and his two elders brothers and a sister and a host of others, all relatives and cousins and people from his village run forth, ducking and dipping as all around them ring the thunderous blast of gun shots. A scream and a thud follow. Someone’s fallen, the ground under his feet turns a carpet of red. The last words he hears before he blanks out are, ”Kill them all, bloody immigrants”.

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Thursday photo prompt – Blue #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt – Blue #writephoto


Thursday photo prompt – Thaw #writephoto

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By Neel Anil Panicker

Richard stood, his trekking boots rooted to the rocky edges, his mind stilled by the mesmerising sight of pearly white mountain peaks jutting out into the cloudy skies. Below him, sparkled a carpet of cedar and pine trees, clothed in eclectic colours and dotted around them were heart stopping bottomless crevices alongside which drifted gorgeous waterfalls__froth-filled skeins of white lawn.

‘Some other day, some other time, he would stave off a day or maybe a week to soak in the indescribable pleasures of the Himalayas,’ he promised himself.

Not today, not now, he reminded himself.

For now, he’d a job to do.

He had climbed this high, a staggering 8,000 metres above sea level; come this far, criss-crossing continents, hopping in and out of planes, all the way from distant Detroit, not for nothing.

He had come to bury a memory, a bad memory that began a decade ago, and now threatened to last an entire lifetime.

He turned around to look at Irene. Her mouth agape, staple buck tooth smile in place, she gazed in wonderment as the ghostly river below them turned an amber.

She was his memory, his bad memory, the one he had come to bury.

But for that he had to first kill her.

©neelanilpanciker2017 #ThursdayPhotoPrompt#fiction #flashfiction #somethingtobury#209 words


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By Neel Anil Panicker

Raymond looked down at his feet and kicked Jack’s once muscular body, now just a crumpled mass of tissue turned ‘cold as winter’.

It had taken him a good hour to get rid of his best buddy, and more specifically partner in crine.

Good riddance, he screamed out in gay abandon, a cry of unbridled joy, absolutely aware that standing where he was, at the promontory that stood atop a gargantuan rock at the extreme right edge of the mile long deserted beach, none would hear or even see him as far as the eye could see.

He flicked a Marlborough from his inner baggy pockets and cupping his large alligator hands struck a match as an icy wind swept by.

Three quick inhalations deep into his lungs and he was a calmed man.

Slowly his gaze lifted far into the sea towards a solitary speck of land__Sir Albert’s Island.

His wrinkled eyes sparkled with untinted joy.

He had made it. Well, almost.

Nearly five months of threadbare planning, three murders, a couple of shootouts, and a daring mid-day bank robbery later, he had managed to lay his hands on a pile of money.

The spoils of the day added upto a staggering five million American dollars.

He touched the peak of his felt hat in acknowldgement of the success of the mission.

It had been worth it, the sheer daredevilry, the bizarre risk of crash landing a two seater rented aircraft and hoisting his band of four robbers straight into the bank’s inner santum sanctorum, the exact hexagonal area where the huge vault lay, and then fighting and shooting their way out into freedom, the massive steel trunk full of hard cash acting as a much needed shield.

Raymond’s mind suddenly flicked back to the present. He had double crossed his way to a pot of money.

But knowing the ways of the Spanish Police well enough, he knew that if ever harboured any hopes of enjoying all that wealth he had to get to the island and thereafter beyond to be absolutely safe.

His mind went into a tailspin as he stared out into the ever darkening sea waters.

(c)neelanilpanciker2017 #fiction #flashfiction #ThursdayPhotoPrompt