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The unusual bride

Bharadwaj sat anxiously in his wheelchair, which had been placed in a shady corner of the Chidambaram temple. He hoped that all the arrangements were being carried out smoothly, although there really wasn't much to organize because he couldn't afford it. He gazed at the golden rays of the sun, which was set to set about in an hour's time. He knew because the priest had said that moment would be an auspicious time. And he didn't want to delay this any further.

Senajit ambled over to where Bharadwaj sat. He and Bharadwaj had been friends since childhood so it was naturally he who was out in charge for all the wedding arrangements and most importantly, for the procurement of a suitable bride. 'Well, are you ready?' asked Senajit lightly as he clapped his friend's shoulder. Bharadwaj looked at him nervously. 'Are you sure everything's ready? Is she here?' 'Yes, yes my friend she is here and don't you worry. Everything is on schedule. We're just waiting for the priest to summon us and for the bride to get ready.' 'Where is she?' asked Bharadway, straining his neck to get a look around his friend. 'Hey, hold on, you're not supposed to see what she looks like. Don't worry yaar, I picked her up myself, she's a beauty.'

Bhradwaj settled down again. 'However there is one thing though' said Senajit after a little while. 'Some reporters are here from a news channel, I think from a foreign news channel because one of them is white…' 'What?! Why? What do they want?' asked Bharadwaj, visibly agitated. 'Take it easy. It's nothing. I asked them what they wanted and all they said was they had heard about this unusual marriage and wanted to write a report on it. I asked the priest about it and he's okay with it. He says the more people know the better. Perhaps they'll be less apprehensive about these things from now on.'

Bhradwaj chewed on his lip. 'Aright. As long as they don't disturb.' ''Course not, I'll see to that. Now come on, it's nearly time.'

He rolled Bharadwaj's wheel chair to the center of the temple where the mandap had been set. Everything was ready, the priest sat solemnly in his place of honor, already reciting religious chants and his close friends and family sat nearby. Bhradwaj leaned on his friend and sat down with some difficulty. He had nearly no feeling in his legs anymore and was also experiencing some loss of hearing.

'Is the bride ready?' asked the priest in a loud voice. 'Yes she is' replied Senajit. He disappeared and after a few minutes a small line of girls appeared all wearing bright colored saris and singing religious songs. One of the girls in the middle was holding something that looked like a leash. And on the leash was a female dog, brown all over with white feet. And she was wearing an orange sari.

There was a click as a camera behind Bharadwaj was switched on. He looked around nervously and hoped it would be over soon. The dog was made to sit beside Bharadwaj. The priest starting chanting even louder and soon the newlyweds were married.

As Bhradwaj placed a garland around the bitch, he hoped fervently that it would work. Fifteen years ago, he had been an active and healthy man. But then he had attacked a pair of dogs and since then he had lost sensation in his limbs. He had tried nearly every cure but to no avail. Finally an astrologer recommended marrying a bitch to throw off the curse. Bhradwaj had never been very superstitious but he was ready to try anything. After Senajit fed Mrs.Bharadwaj a bun, the crowd gathered outside cheered as the newlyweds emerged from the temple.

Based on a true story of a man who married a dog in Tamil Nadu to throw off a curse after he stoned two dogs to death.

By Nisma Elias

"The Corridor”

The corridor is left empty,
The window is open,
Only a bit of light
And a ray of hope.

Dark at both ends,
Where I stand
And where you stood
Two points emerged in loss.

The thundering sound,
Of a soft step,
The echo, the emptiness,
The loss and the lost.

Two points at two ends,
Leaves, old and dry,
By the open window,
Then a lonely laugh.

Then a lonely laugh
And a sob outside,
The sun does shine
But its dark inside.

The corridor that knew us so well
Has forgotten the roses smell
Forgotten, lost time has gone,
And I am left alone.

By Sarwat Tahsin Khan.

Hands of Blood

Lights out in the valley of sweet memories.
A pathetic crone will tally out the days,
I've left to live.
Past regrets and chances lost,
Will matter the most now.
So much so I won't mind if the devil took me down.
Give me a single chance!
To wipe her blood off my hands!
Her whom I loved and damned.

In the Dark

Afraid of the dark.
Afraid but not alone.
For the reason hides in the shadows,
Silent and unknown.
Could it be in the closet?
Or under the bed?
Alas the scare comes from overhead.
A figure unseen with black tentacles shimmering,
Writhing from the head of grotesque.
What things may lurk
In fears, in darks,
Forever in thoughts, in dreams.

By Nafis Khalid


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