Arranged Marriage

Priya, how will MummyDaddy react?

Radha, do you want me to go through with this arranged marriage and spend my life in misery?  You’re my cousin-sister.  I thought you’d understand.

We have maintained the lie till now, but we both know that by morning, I will be gone.

Read More

Durga Puja

Om Ayim Hreem Shreem…

Eyes closed, palms together, I give in to the murmurings of the meditative mantra.  Wisps of sandalwood incense invade my nostrils, transporting me to the innumerable other times that I have sat like this, blanketed in the bhajans and bell tolls of a temple celebration.  Aromas of soap, talcum powder, hair oil, and human bodies band together with the usual temple smells, seeping into every pore until they become a part of my own odour.

Ayim Ka Ee Ila Hreem Read More

Letter to My Sons

©Asha Rajan

My Darling Sons,

Today, in the aftermath of a violent, unhinged man holding people hostage in the Lindt chocolate cafe in Sydney, killing two, causing physical injuries to more, and unseen psychological damage to so many more, I am heartsore.  In the aftermath of a young, unarmed African American man being shot to death, ostensibly for changing lanes illegally while driving, by Houston police, I’m searching for the humanity in human beings.  In the aftermath of the Taliban attack today on a school in Pakistan killing 141 people, I am despondent.

Read More

A Suitable Bride


The cacophony of clamouring cars, inching and nudging slowly forward assaults my ears.  Poised pluming tendrils of dust and diesel fumes lurk in wait for any exposed airways.  I pull the edge of my sari tighter across my nose and mouth, then flick it over my head to cover my ears.  An arm snatches out, grabs my elbow, and yanks me sharply backwards away from the barrelling lorry, horn blaring, tattooed in garish yellow-red-blue paisley prints, sign in three foot letters announcing its ownership.

Read More

Number Crunching Life Choices

“They’re offering me a job in the US,” he said.  My wanderlust choir harmonised in the background.

And so began our jarringly brief consideration of the pros and cons of an international move.  We have never been ones to allow the dust to settle on us, and we were in the seventh house, in the third city since we got married, when this came up.  Just a year prior, we had toyed with the idea of selling our house, buying a boat and sailing around the world.  We had seriously considered this a viable option.  So, the possibility of an international move wasn’t as confronting as you might think.  We’d talked about the potential for many years, but somehow, this time it was more immediate, more certain, more urgent.

Read More

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor

Tin Soldier

The old man, eyesight failing, peered intently over the glasses perched at the tip of his nose. His hands were steady and gentle. He turned the tin soldier over. People no longer bought such trinkets for their children. It was all plastic in garish colours with accompanying instructions, now. Children had lost the ability to use their imaginations.

Read More


Larni’s fingers grip the steering wheel, knuckles whitening. Nanna didn’t sound well on the phone. She sounded old and tired.

A large shape on the road catches her eye. A full-grown wedge-tailed eagle picks at the bones of a mangled carcass, the latest road-kill victim of a hurtling road-train. She doesn’t have time for this.

Read More

Redemption Missed

The old woman smacks her now toothless gums. It is her anniversary today. Forty years have elapsed since that fateful day when she left her family, left all she had known, for the man she loved. He had been kind to her, and loved her in his way. He had been patient with her, holding her as she burst into wailing, keening tears, her whole body quaking, as they made love.

Was it only ten years ago that he thoughtlessly died, leaving her childless and alone?

Read More

The Unceasing Rain

The rain falls unceasingly. Corpulent drops, ponderous with the weight of their watery load, tumble and roll from the heavens. They pound on the roof tiles dampening all other sounds, creating an impenetrable blanketing silence. A world devoid of look-here distractions.

I sit on the stone bench surrounding the central courtyard, hugging my knees close to my chest. Delinquent droplets ricochet off the pillars and walls, and pock my face. The beads band together at the peak of my cheeks, then streak their way down my face. Tears are hidden in their tracks.

Read More

Paved With Good Intentions

Path to Hell

A flash fiction piece I wrote this week elicited unexpected observations on the motivations of a character, and started me reflecting on comments made to me over the years, and the intentions behind them.

When I was a very small child, I lived in a blissful world. As children do. Differences were barely noticed, and didn’t warrant mention.

When I was a bigger child, differences jackhammered into my consciousness.

Read More