M's Musings

What follows is an A-Z story. (Don't know about A-Z? Check it out here.) I'm still working on the blurb. But if you want to, you can read something about the story here, and a prequel here.

I hope you enjoy the story. I would love to have some feedback in the comments section below. Also leave a link to your blog/website and I'll surely visit back as soon as possible!

Note: This story was written in a way such that each part (or entry) could be read as a stand alone piece of flash fiction/poetry. So, there will be some discontinuities between the chapters.

Chapter 1: About
This shall not be a diary. Some crazed girl's list of crushes and secrets. The pages of this notebook are sacred, not to be insulted by chronicling the mundane routine of a mediocre college student. Or so the professor says. Well his words per se were something akin to 'take this assignment seriously' but I have taught myself to read between the lines.
The first task of the said assignment is working on introductions. My partner, Maryam, is already unleashing her inner writer. Furiously scribbling down the best introduction ever, apparently. I know the probability of these assignments getting checked is somewhere around minus five so I'll just save my already-overused brain from the tiring task of thinking up adjectives and synonyms to describe myself. I always end up picking the cliches: reader, writer, thinker, socially-inept cheese eater. Speaking about me is difficult, so let's talk about the assignment. Because seven hours of grueling classes were not gruelling enough, the professors have devised yet another mode of torture. In the name of bringing us out of our 'shells' (by which I assume they mean smart phones) we are to do actual field work. Go to places and work on a specific social problem. The findings would be reported in this...err...diary/journal/spiral notebook with a grey cover. Of course mine would be filled with all sorts of random stuff which will never see the light of the day. That said I should get going. The class is almost over.

New beginnings

Don't pause until the end is in sight

Chapter 2: Befriended
“So, let's go to the metro station today,” Maryam speaks as if continuing a previous conversation, “we'll start close then spread out.” I am starting to like her already. For one thing she didn't start by talking about a random new shade of lip gloss.
“Yeah, but what are we working on exactly?” I ask.
“Oh didn't I tell you? Street kids of course.” And with this she starts speaking at length about the atrocities bestowed upon children, the cruelty, the injustice of it all, pausing only to tuck her hair back in her headscarf. I'm awed. How quickly her demeanour changes from bubbly teen to ferocious activist.
“Ok, ok calm down. I get you.” I say interrupting her. She stops immediately and looks abashed.
“I'm sorry, I get all excited when I talk about these things. If you want we can talk about other things like shoes and...lip gloss.”
That is when I know we'll be friends. That is also when I burst out laughing effectively disconcerting everyone in a five mile radius. That is also when we make our first mistake.

Chapter 3: Children
Their eyes regard us with open scrutiny. They notice the blue handbag I'm carrying and I can see how they start to gauge the amount of money they can get off of me. Maryam on the other hand, is already beckoning them forward.
I have got chocolates.” She says drawing out a packet bursting with candy. They rush to us; a pack of hungry street kids, a genuine smile spread across their faces.
So here's the deal.” I say before Maryam sabotages the entire operation by giving the candies for free. “You tell us your story and we'll give you candies.” Maryam frowns and withdraws the treats. A hush instantly descends on our ravenous little crowd.
Police me ho? Are you with the police?” Is the first question that they ask. We assure them that we aren't. Five minutes of convincing and a few more candy bars and we get our first story, well sort of.

Day 1
Her name is Kiran. Flaky brown hair cascade her face and she plays nervously with the ends of her skirt as she talks. Her voice comes in suspicious whispers but the candy is too alluring. She hasn't eaten anything since morning.
Her story? She was five when her drunk father lashed out at her. She ran away. She is seven now and she works... She stops suddenly. “Can I have the candy now?” She asks. Maryam of course gives it to her. She hurries off, followed by the rest of the gang, all interest in chocolates and treats suddenly vaporizing in thin air. It's strange. But the work for the day is thankfully done.

Chapter 4: Death

"Freak accident kills five kids"
Delhi, 4 April: A car ran over five homeless kids who were sleeping on the footpath yesterday. There is no clue yet of the culprit though the police...

For abducted, run away, disowned kids who find themselves on harsh, unforgiving Indian streets.
Hit us, use us, make us cry,
What are we but expendable low-lives?
Abduct, incapacitate, make us beg,
Till even our tears are no more ours to shed...
Parade us in dingy streets,
in alleys where even shadows weep,
Exploit us, fear not the sleeping law,
For we are but voiceless kids.

Chapter 5: Elite
“I know it's some rich, spoiled brat.” Maryam says, unable to control her anger over the accident that took the lives of five innocent, homeless kids. I try to tell her that things like these are commonplace in our country. She fumes and mutters all the way to the flyover, under which the accident happened and under which we were going looking for stories for our assignment.


The group of kids that greets us here is different. They are quiet, the deaths of their peers still hanging about in the air. They don't ask us for money. They don't rush towards us. They sit silently in groups and watch us; a dozen glassy eyes weighing our every movement. Attempts at conversation are met with a frosty silence. Attempts to bribe the story out of them are met with glares. Soon enough Maryam realizes the fruitlessness of it all and suggests we return.

Halfway back, she remembers something and tells me to wait while she rushes back. Fifteen minutes later she comes running, slightly out of breath.

Let's go.”

Day 2, wasted.


Chapter 6: Fate
"It could have been us, if we were born to a different set of parents.” Maryam breaks the silence suddenly. We sat in the college library, she reading “The End of Poverty” and I doodling aimlessly.
“Maryam, I can't believe you are still thinking about the accident! You do realize that the person who did that would never get caught! There is no proof.” I say. Her lips twitch and I can see the smile that she suppresses, very clearly in her eyes.
“Maybe someone will.” She whispers.
“What-” but the bell rings and she hurries off to our class.
What are you hiding Maryam?

Chapter 7: Guilty
DL 08 AA 1000 
The number that changed everything; that catapulted her from anonymous do-gooder to a full-blown activist. She didn't hide behind the garb of 'confidential sources' whilst declaring to the world the identity of the 'child killer' as he was dubbed. No. Sweet, innocent and ferociously determined Maryam gave her statement on national television. 
Her phone is engaged when I call. But her face is splashed all across TV along with the eight year old boy who is the only witness of the killings. I can't help but shiver at the thought of all the unwanted attention she is attracting. 
We still don't know who the car belongs to. Here's to hoping that it isn't some 'rich, spoilt brat' as Maryam so eloquently puts it. 

Crazy. This is insane. You shouldn't have interfered Maryam.
In a country where the law is literally blind,
It's foolish to think justice will always prevail...

Chapter 8: Help denied
The number belongs to a Mr. Raj. The very, rich, well-connected man that I had feared. Within minutes our child witness confesses to being bribed my Maryam to lie and the 'breaking news' changes.
"Young activist mentally ill." Scream the headlines along with a statement by a psychiatrist who claims to be treating her. And just like that both our worlds, mine and hers, begin to shatter.
"It's a lie M! They are making things up. I do visit the doctor once in a while but its nothing serious. And they must have held the poor kid under duress, forced him to change his statement!" Maryam says with tears in her eyes. "You have got to help me M. Please."
I know the smart thing to do is quietly back down. You don't mess with the powerful in this country. I try to explain that to her.
"He'll ruin you M. Be practical. This is not our fight. You have to think about-"
She silences me with a glare. Her eyes flash with betrayal.
"Maryam, listen to me..." I say.
"No. You're right. This isn't your fight. But it is mine." She turns around and stomps off. I almost yell at her to stop. But I know she would never listen to the voice of reason.

 Chapter 9: Innocence

Maryam isn't backing down. She says she fights for the lost innocence, for the plight of those who won't speak. She doesn't say this to me of course. Still not talking. She wouldn't see reason. But I still wrote her this. 


The eyes that were once,

brighter than a thousand suns
lie overcast today
witnesses of apathy
of life's slow decay
The lips that were once,
Forever twisted in an intoxicating grin,
lie sober today
Mute voices of hatred 
Of being cast-aways 

Minds polluted
Their cherubic souls tainted 
Robbed of their innocence
A precious few rise from the rubble, dauntless,
The unfortunate others 
suffer in silence...

I'll try and talk to her again. 

Chapter 10: Jaded

I'm the only person that knows she's missing. Other people believe the "note" she left, talking about how she has to "find" herself again and needs some time alone. I'm the only person who is looking for her. It's been two weeks since the media labelled her a psychopath. Her parents have accepted that she ran away. I have not. I will find her. I just hope its not too late.

I lurked around Mr. Raj's house today and almost got caught trying to sneak a look through the window. The man gives me the creeps. But no sign of her. I'm worn out but I won't give up. I'll try his other apartment tomorrow. I will find you Maryam.

Chapter 11: Killed
Something shrill is hell bent on depriving me of sleep. I realize its the phone and it has been ringing for the past five minutes. I groan as I "slide to answer".
"It's Maryam." The voice at the other end-who I recognize to be a friend says. I jolt up.
"Where is she? Is she okay?" I scream.
"I think you should come to the police station. Please hurry." 
My head is a jumble of thoughts. What did she do? I don't remember rushing out of the hostel at five in the morning, don't remember how I reached the police station, don't remember getting drenched in the storm. The only thing I remember is seeing her parents there, crying against the wall, and my friend whispering those three awful words. She's no more.
They say she jumped off a bridge. They say she didn't eat her 'medicines' on time. They say she was unwell. I...
Chapter 12: Loss
And if it is pain as intense
as a dagger tearing away at my insides
that propels me to compose
then I do not seek to be a poet...
Chapter 13: Maryam
I sneak a peak into her journal. Just to see how different it is from mine. I'm shocked. Its pages are devoid of words. Instead they are full of pictures. All our escapades sketched in black. Not even a word written. Just sketches. And those too, drawn in exact detail. The little girl with the ponytail. The chocolate wrapper I threw on the street. Right down to the clothes we were wearing. An exact replica. I flip the pages slowly, the memory of each day burning into my mind. The pages turn faster as I near the end until all I can see through my teary eyes is black blotches. The tears snake down my cheeks. I close the diary and weep.

Its not that hard after all,
to say goodbye.
Chapter 14: Negligent

I wonder whether it is possible to be negligent and not at the same time. I feel I'm that. Meticulous and negligent. My nails are timmed. My hair smells like lavender. I'm chewing mint. I'm going crazy. I'm going to break down. I miss her.
It's dawn.
It's dusk.
Its all the same...


  1. Oh wow. So glad to came back to continue the story. I am waiting on pins and needles for the next installment. Keep it up. Maria from Delight Directed Living

  2. Wow, this is awesome! I can't wait until April's over so I can finish reading it. :-)

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I did notice that you left a comment on one of my post a while back too, and I didn't see it until today. I am so sorry about that. Thank you so much for stopping by.
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

  5. I love the poem about innocence. I don't have time to read the rest right now, because I'm very behind in the A-Z – don't even have my post written for the last five days – but I'm sure I'm going to be coming back to read more. So glad to have met you through the A-Z. I am now your newest follower.
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com


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