Tag: Short story (page 1 of 1)

Adrift

Longlisted for Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2019. First published in Himal Southasian: https://www.himalmag.com/adrift-mir-arif-2019/

Over the last few days of that tortuous journey our boatman developed a taste for human flesh. He hid the old man’s carcass under a tarpaulin. It was to save the flesh from getting soaked in rain. Poor man! He would have died anyway if he had stayed back home. Would have been killed by the blood purifiers: the army, the angry Mogs. Worse, his own folk were eating his flesh now.

I remember things in pieces. I cannot tell you for sure if Yunus killed the old man. Or he had died of hunger. But he was starving for weeks. So was I. We were lost in a watery wilderness weeks ago. Our engine broke. Our food depleted. Our clothes rotted in the heat and rain. And one day we saw the sun rising behind … Read more “Adrift”

The Astrologer’s Monkey

First published in Himal Southasian: https://www.himalmag.com/the-astrologers-monkey/

Early in my youth, a slightly clubfooted man, whose parents had abandoned him – and not only for this defect – came to our locality. With a wooden crate slung over his shoulder, he entered Nawab House. He was invited there, in fact. The attention he attracted from onlookers, however, was not for his limp but for the strange attire he wore – an unwashed black caftan almost touching the ground, a densely-beaded chain with a pendant of obscure metal hanging from his neck and a dirty turban wound on his head like a woman’s bun. He also wore a pair of black shoes that he himself had made years ago.

He was received with the least hospitality in Nawab House. For it was known that the long illness of an old man in that house, whose death was awaited by every person … Read more “The Astrologer’s Monkey”