Milk Bundt Cake

(Photo Credit: Yinglan)

The windows afforded a clear view of the ‘pseudo-park-cum-makeshift-football-ground’ that was in need of some tenanting. A few scraggly trees with their slender branches and withered leaves stood as silent witnesses to the goings on in the park. What was once a jogging track was now obscured by the undisturbed growth of grass.

Joanne used the back of her hand to wipe away the beads of sweat streaming down her forehead. With her flowing locks of hair combed back and tied into a bun; a knee length apron preventing an assortment of ingredients from sullying her attire, Joanne looked out the window for a fleeting second before returning to the cake batter spread upon the table.

Her two young sons, her heartbeats, Victor & Richard were engrossed in kicking a ball with their trusted friend Francis for company. A luxuriant smile broke over Joanne’s face. The kids were in for a surprise. They had no idea that they would be welcomed back with the tempting aroma and delectable taste of their favourite Milk Bundt Cake!

(Word Count: 175)

This story has been written as part of the FLASH FICTION FOR ASPIRING WRITERS – FFfAW Challenge #200, more details about which may be found HERE

For reading similar entries submitted in response to the FFfAW Challenge #200 please click HERE

Thank You Yinglan for the photograph!

Mission Gandalf

(Photo Credit: Stefan Keller)

19 tired but determined souls weightily trudged along the barren land. A cold wind that cut like a knife blew right into their faces. Faces that were protected by fibre glass helmets that released a steady flow of Oxygen via ultralight cylinders ensconced within even lighter back packs. The howling wind whistled away like troubled wolves predicting a pattern of doom. The perfectly circular orb that was the moon shone in milky white splendor.

Venky’s concentration however was on the magnificently regal and natural formation of mountain made of ice. The indentations and cutting edges remarkably represented the image of a Socratic elder squatting on the ground and intently examining a patch of land with what seemed like an exquisitely sculpted arm. This jaw dropping spectacle reminded Venky of the mythical Gandalf. Gandalf, J.R.R. Tolkien’s immortal creation who in the blink of an eye could transform lament into laughter.

It was exactly such a messiah that Venky was in dire need of. He had plunged into what seemed like a reckless and suicidal mission just because it was – well reckless and suicidal. The first phase of colonization of the Planet was announced with spectacular pomp and shameless proclamations. The Joint Declaration by the 19 Presidents coming together under the aegis of “A New Eternal World” (“ANEW”), a lofty euphemism for crony capitalism, was welcomed not just with fanfare but with funds.

Venky could care less about either the advantages of living on the moon or the anxiety of losing one’s way on Earth. Since the time his Ash had left him in a huff, carrying along with her not a shred of material possessions but his very soul, Johnny Walker had become his confidante and John Steinbeck his comrade. Books and bottle occupied him during the daytime. The arrival of nightfall just had the order reversed. Hence when a call came from the Altruistic World Publishers Association asking for a volunteer to chronicle what was being hailed as a path breaking expedition involving Nuclear Physicists, Particle Physicists, Chemical Experts, Microbiologists and Botanists, Venky jumped at the chance like a drowning man clutching at a straw. He was not looking for either a resuscitation or a resurrection of his career. He just wanted closure, a closure that would finally bring him peace, quiet and fulfillment.

Taking out his all-weather stylus and electronic keypad, he paused went down on his haunches and wrote, “We all need a Gandalf in our lives. We might not find him if we consciously set out seeking him. We just need to be unconsciously aware of his presence when he finds us.”

This is a piece of fiction piece written for D. Wallace Peach’s monthly Speculative Fiction Writing Prompt. 

KGF Chapter 1: Rocky’s Rage

Image result for KGF

First things first, KGF – Chapter 1 is here to stay. A combination of cinematography, musical score, screenplay and execution on screen contrive to take KGF to levels hitherto unseen and heights previously unattained, in the annals of the otherwise illustrious Kannada film industry.

Coming to the plot of the movie, the genesis finds its voice in the year 1951. A confluence of two profund events in the form of the birth of the protagonist and the discovery of gold in the mines of Kolar Gold Fields (K.G.F) sets in motion a high octane, racy and rambunctious chain of events. Seeped in poverty Yash, a.k.a Raja Krishnappa Bairya (“Rocky”) heads to the city of dreams and dons, Mumbai to carve a niche for himself. Aided by a fearless nature and untrammeled ambition, Rocky soon becomes a don of fearsome repute. Rocky takes on the big bad boys whose synonyms are gold smuggling. After successfully warding away Inayat Khalil a menacing mafia don from laying down his marker in the bullion black market in Mumbai, Rocky is dispatched on what seems to be a ‘point-of-no-return’ mission back home where he finds himself face to face with the ruthless Garuda, the monarch of Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) who murders people for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Will Rocky liberate the enslaved miners from K.G.F thereby stopping Garuda in his tracks forms the crux and core of KGF.

Yash, as Rocky, scorches, and sizzles. He is suave, sleek and sensational. A gun toting, witticisms mouthing, human-wrecking machine, Yash holds his audience in absolute thrall as a brooding hulk who neither brooks opposition nor obstinacy. Breathtaking in all his stunt sequences, Yash has in one fell swoop and one single clean stroke, bid goodbye to his stereotypical romantic chocolate boy next door image. This paradigm shift is more than just welcome. There is a definite finesse to his performance that is refreshingly non-linear and electric. Even though at times the plot becomes thick and heavy with layers of complications and a plethora of characters, Yash manages to hold his own with a ridiculous ease that is frightening.

Ravi Basrur has reinvented himself with a background score that is easily the best in Kannada cinema over the past few or even many) years. The contextual and thematic scores are lilting and haunting leaving a scarring impression.

Prashant Neel excels in his screenplay and direction. Of especial mention is the climax which blisteringly sets up the excited viewers for the much anticipated sequel. The assiduous employ of monochrome, colour and VFX is a troika whose brilliant coalescence is one which till now has been alien to Kannada cinema.

The cinematography by Bhuvan Gowda is melancholic, simmering and impatient.

The veteran Anant Nag as the narrator and a senior journalist is his usual expected effortless self. Srinidhi Shetty as Yash’s accidental love interest just manages to hold her own even though the script has nothing spectacular or significant for her to deliver. Ramachandra Raju as the antagonistic Garuda is scary enough commensurate with the needs of the script.

KGF however is Yash and vice versa. This movie is sure to mark a renaissance in the acting career of this promising young star.


Jay Gatsby & Daisy Buchanan

spf 12-9-18 fandango 3

(Photo Credit: Fandango)

A clear blue sky afforded an unsullied view of the skyline across the blue brooding expanse of water. The undulating and uneven line of skyscrapers bore mute testimony to power, wealth and an uber coolness that was characteristic of 21st Century capitalism. But does prosperity also mean peace? Venky could care less.

The skyline and the expanse of water separating it made him the modern day Jay Gatsby. A Gatsby who knew the exact location of his Daisy, the Daisy Buchanan who made him laugh and lament, cry and celebrate. His Daisy who did not even know about his unblinking focus on the gray steel and glass structures one of whose confines represented her home. Well, given her obdurate nature she couldn’t care less either.

Venky was the Jay Gatsby of facade, fun and frolic. Dispensing cheer, camaraderie, cordiality and cocktails he was an epitome of effervescence and enthusiasm.  But very few knew that these were a futile attempt at escapism. A feeble effort at coming to grips with the absence of Daisy.  A hope which would never materialize and an event that was sure not to manifest.

Didn’t matter she was named Ash. She would always be his Daisy.

(Word Count: 200)

This story was written for Sunday Photo Fiction hosted by Susan Spaulding. For more details visit Here.  To read more of the stories based on this week’s prompt, visit Here.

A Symphony Of Scars

(Photo Credit: Sue Vincent)

Honor the very badge he sacrificed at the altar of love

Paying scant heed to pleas fervent and threats forceful;

The obstinate heart that ignored every why, what and how

The soul that felt with such abdication, so light and delightful.


Dignity and valour metamorphosed into concepts remarkably trivial

Self-esteem and standing eviscerated by a radiant and dazzling smile;

A twirl, a curtsy and a bow for him were spectacles singularly surreal

To catch just a glimpse of her bewitching eyes, he was ready to walk the last mile


Now he wallows in misery known to none since he is a recluse

Racked by pain and remorse, he watches the setting sun and the shining stars;

The Faustian bargain which he unwittingly made offers but no truce

Only time will be the unbiased healer, even though he will be left with his scars.

This is a response to the #writephoto Prompt – Honour curated over at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. Click on the link to read other stories inspired by the image.

Professor Quah Hock Gin

(Photo Credit: Priya Bajpal)

It was yet another variant of the famous “Marshmallow” Test. The topical question of instant versus delayed gratification had become the Holy Grail of Behavioural Psychology and Economics. The 4 year olds trooping in were instructed to pick a straw a clip and 2 conch shells. If they could restrain themselves from picking more of any of the assembled objects for five minutes, their share would be doubled. Their reactions and restraints were secretly observed by Quah Hock Gin the greatest living psychologist of his time.

Dr. Gin’s report when completed would topple received wisdom on its head!

(Word Count: 98)

This story was written as part of the FRIDAY FICTIONEERS challenge, more about which may be found HERE

 For the complete list of entries, please click HERE

The Presence of a Pattern

cromer under sea

(Photo Credit: Crispina Kemp)

Water had this unreserved quality about it. It always hid more than what it revealed. Call it haughtiness or humility, condescension or caution, arrogance or angst, but the fact remained that what you saw was definitely what you got. The still, serene and serendipitous mass of enticing blue contained within it wicked whirlpools, vehement waves, and vicious sharks. It was as if one of Mother Nature’s favourite children was imparting an indispensable lesson in deception to humanity.

Standing atop the stone steps with his arms crossed together, Venky stood in a contemplative fashion unblinkingly staring at the ocean. Some people too could be like water. Gentle at times, grumpy the very next minute, inherently compassionate yet innately caustic. “Is it flow that weaves a pattern or is it the pattern that induces a flow?”

Ash’s parting words resonated in Venky’s ears, “Hope while being indelible can be false too.”

(Word Count: 149)

Written as part of the Crimson’s Creative Challenge #9 More details regarding this challenge may be found HERE.