The Thursday Post Critiques 6.6.13


Here is my story: I am simply copying it below so you can read it here and leave your comments here. If you feel like it, please share your stories, or else just do me a favour and share your opinions about the story. What changes will make it a good story.





He checked his watch, it was nine in the night, where was she? As if his prayers were answered. The light on her balcony popped on.

He felt his world crushed down all around him by the strike of a monster’s hammer. There was someone with her. A handsome man with that special stink (he called it stink because he had none of them) money and aristocracy.

She came out, wearing a white chiffon sari, looking gorgeous, there was a white rose pinned to her hair, gently brushing its petals on her soft, brown cheek.

The look in the eyes of the man with her spoke of only one passion- pure love, so did hers whenever she looked at him.

He might have killed himself to see that look back in her eyes again. She did love him once but he fell for a rich girl, leaving her shattered to pieces. He did not even liked her then, she appeared so dull, uninteresting in comparison to the girl he married.

His love vanished when he realized the real reason why his dazzling girlfriend has chosen him. She was pregnant. All that warm welcome from her family even after knowing he was petty clerk. That shower of gifts everything fell in places. The thing that shocked him was his wife’s reaction on confrontation.

“Have your father ever dreamt of the luxury in which you all are living now because of my one mistake?” she has stomped out of the bedroom in the middle of night, her car roared in the garage and she was gone.

“You will have to apologize and promise a thing like this will never happen.” Her father has told him when he went there to complain.

He stomped back home, a police officer was waiting for him, he was instantly picked up and thrown in jail… his wife has shown quite a nice number of bruises on her delicate body.

The feeble protests of his underpaid lawyer were blown away by highly paid lawyer of his father in law.

An outside settlement was done. He will never utter a word about paternity of the child and his father in law won’t take back the dowry he has given him. He of-course will have to keep the child to keep mouths shut, in lieu of that, he will get a good job in the office of one of his father in law’s friends. That job will be his as long as he brings that child up nice. That job’s salary will be enough for him, his family and the child if he lives a decent life, if he does not his job will be gone and he will be sued, this time, no out of the court settlement will happen.

A quick divorce was followed by his ex wife marrying a millionaire.


He was not at all happy with the burden but the job was nice. Then one day he saw her, walking by, he noticed that there was no vermillion on her forehead that meant she was still unmarried.

He recollected how much she loved children.

He followed her in stealth and discovered she lived a little distance away from his present house.

He stalked her for days, without her noticing and realized she was truly charming. May be not beautiful, smart or fashionable but truly charming, well educated and humble!

The perfect mother and wife material!

He decided he will try his luck… miserably failed.

It seemed the love has simply evaporated; those eyes that looked at him with deepest love now looked at him the way someone looks at the grocer or vegetable vendor one buys from everyday.

“How are you? How is Sonia?” she asked casually.

“We have divorced.” He answered hoping that will cheer her up.

“But you married only five years ago… did not you?” she asked.

“Yes.” He answered, trying to sound miserable, “Today is fifth anniversary of that black day.”

He hoped that she will shower him with questions but she just shrugged and left without inviting him in. “See you later! I will have to go out to a relative’s home for a few days… will have to catch the train. See you when I am back…”

She was gone before he could say anything.

Well, the very next day he discovered she has lied. She was in the town leading her normal life.

He decided to wait for a week before bumping into her accidentally and inviting her out for a date.

He noticed her way of dressing up has changed. She was looking prettier every day.

“She is dreaming of me again…” he was sure.

But when he bumped into her she was cold and formal.

He in turn was desperate to marry her. He remembered how Sonia simply wrenched him out of her life, by seducing him, knowing very well that he was half interested in her. Now, when Sonia will receive his wedding card to her hated rival…. She remembered how jealous and spiteful Sonia was, how he thought he used that jealousy to trap her to marry him.

He will show her that his life has not changed either because of that ill-omened marriage.


He waited for that man to come out, and like before followed him to his home. He was not at all surprised to note that he lived nearby. He watched him entering his apartment building but did not follow for two reasons. One it had guards with visitor book and two it would have been dumb, if he turned around and noted him then everything might blow sky high.

He was quite proud of his looks, tall, fair with extraordinary features, there was no chance he will overlook him.

A couple of weeks later he plotted his plan and bumped into him. In the meantime he studied him in stealth, noticing he was rich but did not show it off, he walked to and from office that was in the same building with Lekha.

They did not walk back together, because their office hours were different. He met her in her flat after returning from his office, had his evening tea there, often dinner and returned home.

She was still old fashioned, he never stayed after ten. Even though none had any guardians or parents to scoff!

He smartly walked up to him and extended his hand, “I am Kaushal!”

“Do we know each other?” he asked.

“No! We have common friend, Lekha!” he smiled. “She is amazing, is not she?”
“Yes!” the unsuspecting man smiled broadly, “I am Rik!”

He chatted with him for a while, and before leaving requested him to not tell Lekha anything about their meeting.

“I once loved her! We loved each other….” He feigned a deep sigh. He noticed him shifting uneasily and realized the arrow has hit.

“Oh!” he mumbled, “What happened then?”

“I … I was poor back then! So I requested her to forget me… we parted….”

“Oh!” he repeated.

“Now I am rich, I know she will marry me if I request her now…. You are her friend, are not you?”

“hmmm…” he looked keenly at his face and then asked, “How much did you earned back then?”

“Ten thousand per month… now I earn that in two days!”

Rik smiled widely, “It’s a miracle she walked away from you on that ground… I earn fifteen thousand only and we are about to get married soon!”

Every hope shattered down in one second.

He stood there gaping at him … he walked away after warmly inviting him to her or his home.


He followed him to her home but in stealth and stood in the park opposite to the flat and stood there watching them laughing and chatting on the balcony.

“You love that woman, don’t you babu (sir)?” a husky voice brought him back to reality.

A woman was standing beside him, in lehenga and choli, a really pretty woman, dark complexioned, with huge eyes. The silver jewelry she was wearing along with the colourful attire made her look even prettier.

“I have something for you that can help you.” She said. “Of course there is a small fees for that but the love that you have for her… you won’t even miss that money.”

“You mean black magic?” he asked in a mocking tone.

“Yes.” Was her short confident answer, “It seems you don’t believe in magic, if you change your mind I live in that house.” She pointed her finger at a single story house across the street.

He left after thanking her for the offer. Well she was either a maid servant or else she makes quite nice amount of money out of black magic. That house was not a very small one, nor did it looked cheap. He would not have discarded it as a residence.

He went back home, the child was burning with fever, he called the doctor and passed a sleepless night tossing and turning, thinking how easy he thought his task was and how cruel fate was.

Next evening he strolled towards her office for the last time, that’s what he thought then he saw her coming out and his mind turned topsy turvy.

Now, the plain, ordinary woman started to look like Cleopatra, just because someone else loved her, someone far more worthy than him. He felt like being challenged.

He followed her to her house and then crossed it and entered the house of the mysterious woman.

There was a board outside the house, Lady Mystique, fortune teller.

There was an office in the lobby, with half a dozen persons waiting already. A smart young girl was sitting on the receptionist’s desk with three or four phone lines buzzing regularly.

An orderly seated him and handed him a form.

He filled it up and entered the chamber of the fortune teller.

His turn came an hour later. He noticed everyone came out of the chamber with a look of happiness and hope lingering on the face.

The room was amazing. He never thought a room decorated in red and purple can look good but it looked gorgeous.

The lady herself was sitting on her small velvet chair, styled like a throne wearing a purple lehenga choli.


“Sit down babu. So you have changed your mind…” she smiled softly without any tone of mockery. There was a glass of sherbet waiting for him.

“You look thirsty!” she smiled.

“Thanks.” He gulped it down, it tasted amazing. Cool and refreshing.

“Show me your palms” she stretched out her hands, they were soft like velvet.

Then she shared his past with utmost perfection.

She got up and went to a small cupboard behind her chair and brought back a small bottle with her, bubbling, glowing in her hand.

“Soak a piece of sweet with this and feed it to her. She will be your slave forever.” She smiled. “You want a test?”

Then without waiting for his answer she got up and went to a table on one of the corners of the room. There was a towel thrown on a small cage like thing. She opened it and a cat snarled at her, bristling up every single fur of its huge body.

She picked up a cat biscuit and dipped it in that potion and dropped it carefully in the cage the cat clawed at her hand but missed it. It ate the biscuit after sniffing it for a while, its very demeanor changed… it started to mewl and purr.

She opened the door of the cage and it started to rub its body against her leg. She picked him up and returned to her chair.

She sat down on the chair, gently rubbing his body.

“How much?” he asked.

“Fifty thousand rupee.” She answered, “I would have charged twenty five if I was spared of the trouble of testing and this pet…” she giggled in a very seductive tone. The cat was sleeping like a baby. He was quite sure that this one was a wild cat, not a stray. That meant this magic worked.

“Will it change her nature?” he asked.

“No, only she will become your slave.” She answered.

Well that meant he will not have to worry about bringing up the child anymore, he will make her stay at home and will get rid of the ayah. Apart from that she will run the household… a single man’s den with a child is really expensive.

“Will I sign a cheque or you want cash?” he asked.

“Cheque will be fine.” She smiled. “No one messes with a witch. I know where you live, where you work….”

He signed the cheque, she handed him over the bottle with a sweet smile. “All the best for your future life!” she got up and escorted him to the door. “Mona take this cat upstairs and leave him in my room.” She handed the cat over to her secretary. The cat instantly clawed her and sprang to a corner of the room, scaring everyone.

“NO!!!!” Lady Mystique widened her huge eyes at the animal; he whimpered and crawled back to her. “Don’t claw Jagdip!” she picked him up and handed him over the orderly visibly uneasy to take the cat from her. It hissed but allowed him to hold him.

He left amply satisfied.


He poured the entire potion in a sweet and packed it up with some flowers, a bel leave smeared with vermillion and left for her home (In Hindu pujas food is offered to deities, mostly sweets and fruits, believing that they accept those and eat it, we eat their leftovers calling them Prasad, bel leaves are leaves of holy tree, essential in almost all pujas, vermillion powder is again used rampantly in puja).

He walked to her door and knocked it.

She opened it and smiled faintly, looking at him intently.

“How are you?” he asked after expertly controlling his uneasiness.

“Fine…!” she answered, without inviting him in.

“I went to Vaishnodevi…. You know… to offer puja for my son…” he smiled sweetly. “This is for you!” he handed the packet to her, “Today is Friday, have it by today itself!”

“Hello!” A voice interrupted their conversation, “We meet again!” it was Rik “Come in!”

He faintly protested but Rik blew his protests away, to his surprise Lekha listened to him and invited him in with cordial smile of a host.

“Call your home and tell them that you will have dinner with us.” Rik said the minute they entered the drawing room and gestured the phone.

His attempt of turning down the offer was again blown away. He called up home and told that he will be late.

He prayed that Rik won’t blurt out anything about their meeting and the conversation they had, he was relieved that he did not, actually he seemed a very happy fellow, not much of a talker but a good listener and intelligent one.

He got up after dinner and reminded her to take the Prasad before midnight.

She nodded and they left together, he and Rik.

“I will give you lift!” he gallantly offered him a lift in his air conditioned luxury car.

“No!” Rik smiled. “I always walk back home you know it’s better for digestion and sleep!”

“See you around!” he smiled before driving away.


He knocked her door early in the morning. It was a Saturday and he knew that she will be at home, courtesy their conversations of previous night.

She opened the door and a cloud of annoyance formed on her face.

“Hey!” he shoved in before she could say anything, “Did you had the Prasad I left for you last night?” he asked.

“No I forgot it.” she shrugged.

“Have it now!” he said, “I had a nightmare last night, very bad…. About Rik… that the mother goddess is annoyed at you for not showing respect and is punishing you with all her fury…”

Her face blanched a bit. “I will take it now!”

“Go sit in the balcony, I will brush my teeth and come there!”

He sat down there; she came there after a while with the packet in her hand. She gently touched it with her forehead to show respect to the Goddess and picked up the sweet.

“Let me see it!” he stretched his hand; he wanted her to eat it after being offered by him directly.

She placed it on his palm, he pretended as if there was something in the sweet and feigned picking that up, “Here you go…” he stretched his hand.

Something else snatched it from his hand…. It was a big hanuman. None of them has noticed it sitting on the branch of a mango tree that almost touched the balcony. In another second she was munching it. Then the unimaginable happened. The huge creature charged towards Kaushal.

Lekha screamed and ran inside.

The monkey snuggled up against him and started to rub her body against his shaking legs.



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