Thursday photo prompt – The tunnel – #writephoto

Hosted by the talent Sue Vincent at

Man caught in the light at the end of the tunnel


By Neel Anil Panicker

Nature’s elements hold sway here, man a mere slave to them, his senses long gone


Raghav cocks his ears against the dank walls but hears nothing. He extricates his hands from the folds of his back, towards what he believes is his face.

Nothingness stares back at him.

It was as if he were gone blind, his eyeballs mere black dots surrounded by blacker contours.

Something slithers around his feet. Cutting through the jaggedness and the overall dampness, he feels a slight sensation.

Something, he has no means of knowing what that could be, crawls its way up his ankles.

Furiously, his hands jab out at the intruder that’s worming up through the folds of his baggy shorts.

The effort’s disturbed, as all of a sudden, the feeling disappears, as if by magic.

Mystified, his logical brain warns him there is no such thing as magic. That what he’s experiencing is stark life, unfolding, albeit in slow motion, set to rhythmic music by the metronomic beats of his crazily palpitating heart.

It was then that cold fear envelops him. His eyes stab into the darkness; his senses in full vigil.

He feels a deep, searing despair as if he were an utterly defenceless rabbit, caught by its neck and gasping through the very last breaths of life; its predator, a ferocious fox sinking its sharp as nails teeth deep into soft skin, tearing asunder the delicate fabric of life.

The icicles of his brain scream out one word: death.

©neelanilpanciker2017 #tunnel #thursdayphotoprompt #250words



Thursday photo prompt – Twilight – #writephoto


Written for weekly flash fiction photo prompt challenge hosted by Sue Vincent at


By Neel Anil Panicker

For Pramila nothing’s changed, or so it seems. The sky above is bathed in the same golden brown hue that she’s been seeing for twenty years or so. That’s  roughly the time she’s spent, all by herself, in this bare boned one roomed hutment sans any electricity, heating or other discernible appendages of modern living.

Here she lives, in near seclusion, in this quaint old fishing village so far cut off from mainland Bengal that it would fail to show up on even the most advanced search engines.

There she’s out, in the open, under the stars, below the blue skies, her bald head glistening a silvery white under the glare of the half moon. All she sees is the silhouette of the waves; the tumultuous crests and troughs of the high seas reminding her of her own topsy-turvy existence.

Standing there, her frail self a sodden figure in the twilight afterglow, she travels back in time to those halcyon days when she ruled the streets of Kolkata as a gangly fire spitting knife wielding all woman gang leader. Murder, kidnapping, extortion, bootlegging…you name it, she’s done them all.

Pity she ended up in Tihar Jail, the place where they send you when your crime dossier would make Al Pacino look like God’s chosen messenger of peace and love.

In the twilight of her life, does she ever ponder, wonder, or even look yonder?

Honestly, she cares a damn fig.

Been there, done that.  Know what I mean?

©neelanilpanciker2017 #thursdayphotoprompt  #fiction #250words


Thursday photo prompt – Wings #writephoto


By Neel Anil Panicker   

 “Oh my little baby, do you know how lucky you are! Mrs Sinha proclaimed, unabashed delight overriding an otherwise phlegmatic demeanor.

‘Yes Aishu, your mother’s right. We’re most fortunate the proposal has come from the Guptas.’

Aishwarya looked across the room at her parents.

The wall clock chimed eleven; it was well past their regular sleep time.

 “Ashu, count yourself immensely lucky. This is your golden chance. Think about what’s going to happen. You’ll be living in the lap of luxury. London, Paris, Switzerland…all the beautiful places you dreamt about visiting will now be a reality. Oh! I am so happy for you, my dear. They have fallen for your simplicity, your values, and your grand success.”

Grand success! Ah! For sure. Momma was alluding to her bagging the first rank in the IAS, the country’s elite examinations.

Besides the obvious prestige and power, the position brought with it enormous responsibilities. One stroke of her pen, one signature of hers could send many a corrupt person behind bars; protect the poor from exploitation and safeguard the rights of the marginalized.

No, she had made up her mind. Her hard work and education, her simplicity and values was not meant to be sacrificed at the altar of outdated family obligations.

Under no circumstances would she allow herself to be blackmailed and manipulated to end up as a trophy wife of some unappreciative businessman.

Her education had given her wings. It was time now for her to fly and conquer the skies.

©neelanilpanicker2017 #thursdayphotoprompt #fiction #shortstory #250words



Thursday photo prompt – Green #writephoto


Thursday photo prompt – Green #writephoto


By Neel Anil Panicker

Inspector Iqbal Khan was in a bad mood. He had never been inside a jungle.

The closest he had come to a wooded experience was when as a kid he and his cousins had scaled the seven-foot-high walls of the sprawling farmhouse adjacent to their ancestral village house and scurried back again, the pockets of their cotton half pants bulging with ripened Alphonsos, the King of Indian mangoes.

‘Sir, be careful. There are a lot of snakes around here,’ said his prisoner, adding, ‘every year quite a few people die here of snake bites.’

Inspector Khan felt froth forming in his mouth.

A stab of pain shot up his chest.

Though only mid afternoon, darkness had descended.

The two were in the heart of a dark jungle. All he could see was a thick coating of green as giant leafy trees, theirs barks twice the size of an elephant’s legs, ate up every square inch of the earth.

“How far is it?,” he shouted out his, his legs knee deep in slush, his brand new khaki police uniform now all wet and lathered with muddy soot.

‘Sir, over there, see that undergrowth. I’ll go down and get it’.

A mere ten feet ahead of them lay a stony bridge. Under it, half hidden from view, stood a gaping hole, just enough for a person to slither through.

‘Bastard, what a place to hide fifty lakh rupees’.

Inspector Khan pulled out his pistol.

Pointing it at the thief, he barked, “Ok, you go and get the money”, adding “any tricks and I’ll blow your head off”.

The lanky old criminal smiled and entered the tunnel.

‘Let the fool wait for eternity while I vanish through the secret chamber’.

©neelanilpanicker2017 #fiction #thursdayphotoprompt #writephoto #287words


Mona’s Abode

By Neel Anil Panicker

“You said you wanted to know me better. Well then, welcome to my abode.”

Mona opened the tiny two feet high metallic door and ushered Oscar in with an elaborate flourish of her long manicured hands, his golden haired head half bowed in mock deference.

Oscar smiled in response and stepped in.

In the two years of their courtship, he had been at Mona’s house on a number of occasions, though it was the first time she had invited him into the basement, into her ‘childhood den’ as she called it.

“This is where I spent my childhood, a large part of it,  at least, “Mona said, her expressive blue eyes on time travel mode as Oscar took in the minimalist ambience of the colourfully set up ‘girlie room’.

His watchful eyes took in her childhood weapons of pleasure__ cute colourful animal dolls including her favourite__the ubiquitous pink Barbie doll__scores of drawing books, crayon boxes and tracing papers that still shone hints of glitz and shine, the edges, though, slightly frayed and torn.

In the corner, beside a small folding chair, was a small collapsible bed almost pushed to the cream coloured walls that were embellished with netted sky blue curtains.

Overall, the room exuded an overwhelming feeling of utter warmth and serenity.

Oscar spied Mona from the corner of his eyes.

Her saw happy smiling eyes, a radiant face, and a bubbly spirit.

He resolved then and there to give up his criminal ways__for her, for their future together.

©neelanilpanicker2017 #fiction #thursdayphotoprompt #250words

Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt

Child’s Play #writephoto




ELIXIR  (250 words)

By Neel Anil Panicker

When I finally told Shabana about wanting a divorce,  she laughed and said, “You must be crazy. Where will you get another woman, rich and beautiful like me?

I replied that I wanted peace.

To which she had shot back, “ No one can get peace.” It’s all in the head. Either you have it or you don’t.”

People say that all the time, especially those close to you, as if it’s all so very obvious.

But is it?

That’s the problem with people. They think peace is related to the acquisition of materialistic pursuits; to the construction of an earthly paradise on the most prized landmass available; of coveting things beyond an ordinary man’s grasp.

They envy what I have: a fancy bungalow, a stinkingly wealthy heiress for a wife, one whose external beauty needs refurbishing through quarterly botox shots in the face, chest and God knows where.

But if one were to think of peace as the avoidance of such acquisitions, they’d understand how achievable it is.

Take me for instance. It’s been a week since I divorced Shabana and escaped to this shack by the sea. There’s only me, the sun and the sands.

And man, am I at peace?. Truth be told, I am dripping in peace.

And if that’s possible for a week, then it must be possible to string together one entire month of peace, and then an entire year of peace, and then several years of peace.

Well it’s difficult, but it’s doable.

©neelanilpanicker2017 #fiction #THURSDAYPHOTOPROMPT

Written for

Thursday photo prompt – Shore #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt – Shore #writephoto



By Neel Anil Panicker (299 words)

If ever a survey were to be conducted to find out the most friendly couple among the residents of Silver Oaks, the tony neighborhood that abutted the southern banks of the river Ganges that served as the informal line of demarcation between those who had made it in life and those who hadn’t in South Kolkata, then the Banerjees would have won it hands down.

The two were charm personified, Kaustabh and his beautiful wife, Ira.

Individually, each stepped out armed with an omnipresent smile and a liberal serving of kind words, ever doling out ounces of benevolence and lending grace wherever they went and whomsoever they chanced upon.

All partook of their goodness, right from the Johns, their next door neighbours, to the rather boisterous Oscar family that stayed two lanes further, to Martha, the hawk eyed one armed septuagenarian widow who kept house, ensuring that the guests who flocked to their much anticipated weekly parties were well looked after.

The ambience around the Banerjees was always one of warmth and happiness and laughter.

All this despite the fact that the two, who had been married for close to a decade and half were not on talking terms with each other.

For when the merriment would end and parties wrap up, and the last of the guests would have left the sprawling bungalow, they would hurriedly repair to their own separate rooms and stay closeted there as darkness descended all over.

Come mornings, once Martha had served them their breakfasts, they would leave, almost simultaneously but on individual cars, Kaustabh for Art Carat, the diamond cutting firm that he headed and Ira for the downtown Animal Rights Inc. of which was the chairperson and single largest individual patron.

Statuesque to all, statues to themselves, that’s what the two were.

©neelanilpanicker2017 #thursdayphotoprompt #fiction
Thursday photo prompt – Enigma #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt – Enigma #writephoto