10 Minutes Short Stories

Smruti Bodhi





Stars and the Moon…

A couple of weeks ago, I went for an interview. She was a lady in her late 50’s. Bob hair cut and each and every strand of her hair was white. A very charismatic woman.
Interviewer :- “So you are a palliative counselor?”
Me :- “Yes, it’s like counseling terminal patients and their family.”
She :- “You look quite young for a job like that… how old are you?”
Me :- 23!
She :- “That’s too young, how did you end up in this line of counseling?”
Me :- ” ‘Shoot for the moon, you will at least land among the stars”, is a philosophy I always follow. Though technically wrong, it motivates me.”
She :- “Were you able to handle such patients?”
Me :- “Yes… I have had my difficulties, like during the training I was having nightmares that my family members were burning alive… I could smell the flesh, feel the pain, I was scared to sleep. My colleague and roomie that time helped me with that. Later I was embarrassed of course, but it was necessary. Before that job I went for drug addiction and started my career in depression counseling. Death and suffering quite weirdly didn’t affect me much, I somehow managed to stay neutral or numb, so I thought why not start from here? Later I will find it easier to counsel people with general difficulties. Anyway I was always quite drawn to dark stuff, except batman so.. haha yes.”
She :- “We don’t have that sort of stuff to offer you… we conduct light activities and workshops for students like snakes and ladders games with parents etc. Will you be interested?”
Me :- “Job description was quite different from what you are saying now.”
She :- “Interested or not?”
Me :- “Interested YES, capable, No!”
She :- ” Why? Shouldn’t this be easier?”
Me :- “Turns out moon and stars are very far from each other. You can either twinkle like stars or glow like a moon.”

Stranger On The Beach

Somewhere in January, I went for an interview in Juhu area. As the interview finished sooner than I expected and as I had some time to kill, I went to this mesmerizing beach I have always been fan of.

It was around 2 in the afternoon but the weather was cloudy, my favorite. I was walking on the beach alone, thinking about things, smiling to myself. For more dramatic effect, I unclutched my hair. Now cool breeze was piercing from between my locks, pace of my walk slowed down with the song “O re manva tu kya sochta hai” in my head, imagining myself in a music video I would never be in (don’t judge me, every girl does that). Just then, I felt two taps on my shoulder from behind.

I turned back and saw a guy with a bright smile looking right at me.

“Umm.. okay?”, I asked.

“Hi, I have been looking at you from a while, now I don’t mean to creep you out but I saw you walking here… engrossed in  your world and how your hair were waving in the air… it just… can I sketch you??” , he said.

I was startled, like what the heck!

Now some background information, I studied in a Girls School, went to a Girls Junior College and the number of guys I saw in my UG and PG years were as good as studying in a Girls College again. So, you see, I had no clue or experience about handling situations like these. So I carried on by having a polite conversation.

“Sketch me? Haha, why?”

“Umm… you know, sketching is a lot about feeling. You see someone and feel what they’re feeling and that is what drives you to sketch them. In this case, You! Don’t get me wrong, this is like my hobby. I have sketched many people before, some of them had been published in bla bla magazine.”

and he started showing me his sketches. His hands were shivering.

I took a good look at him. He looked like a regular guy. Average height, average built, age around 24 or 25 and decently good looking. He looked like a guy who has a younger sister and they daily get into a fight on breakfast table over futile things. I thought maybe he was just nervous for approaching a stranger like that. But still it was bothering me, why he wants to sketch me? Now I know I’m pretty good looking, but definitely not “Lemme sketch you princess” kind of good looking.

He observed my expressions, how I was still skeptic, so he tried to develop an interesting conversation on how he’s relieved that I simply didn’t shoo him off like other girls with ‘backward’ mentality. He also mentioned how it was easier for him to sketch girls in U.S. and how hard it is to find an ‘open-minded’ girl in a country “like India.”

 By now I was counting the blackheads on his nose. Can’t help, no regrets, there were plenty. He also added that this is just his hobby and that he works at Deloitte. Back then I was living in Elphinstone and I knew that there was one around which I read as ‘Dettol’ initially.

“Like in Elphinstone?”, words slipped from my mouth.

“Yes, actually I also live there so… it’s kind of easy you know. You live there too?”, he inquired.

“No… no-no, B..baldlapur.”, I stuttered as that was the farthest I could imagine. A little trigger and I might as well had thrown myself in Pune.

“Oh that’s far… I guess your boyfriend doesn’t mind that you travel this far alone.”, he asked expecting I would deny one and smiled creepily.

“Aah! No he doesn’t, he’s really nice. Great that you reminded, I actually had to call and confirm if he’s back from office as we have some plans”, I replied, hastily taking out my cellphone, hoping he would disappear at least now.

“So the sketch? C’mon it would be fun, it won’t take long.”, he insisted.

Seeing no way out to out-throw his politeness I agreed smiling meekly.

“So…” I said scanning his shoulders for an artist jhola, “where’s your stuff?”

“Oh, that? Actually I have a small studio across the road. We can go there and I assure you it will hardly take 45 minutes.” , he said with his hand half stretched in the air quite impatiently.

“So… you have to sketch me and for that you will need me to come to a studio with you? Sorry, I don’t think I’m that ‘forward’ (read stupid). I hope you can understand my hesitation in a country “like India”.

I just stared at him with a fake smile on my face also for a final confirmation of his genuineness but his annoyed face and grinding teeth simply confirmed.
He left. I thought I would feel better now knowing how years of reading crime news and watching criminal minds finally came to some use. Might even gloat! But no. Nothing. It actually saddened me a little. Knowing how easy it is to fall prey… how easily many people might have already fallen for this, but I can’t be sure… maybe that wasn’t the case whatsoever. 

Sometimes you take your chances, Sometimes you make your choices.

In any way, you have to assess your situation. 

Why does a mediocre sketch artist (hobby) needs a studio near a beach? 

If he’s genuine, how can a guy just ASSUME that stranger girls will go with him anywhere rather than bringing his tools to the beach in order to lessen the awkwardness? 

But no, why?

At the end of the day, we make a choice and always choose to stay firm by it. I make mine , I hope you do yours as well.

Depression : Let’s Talk

“Man I was so depressed yesterday but thanks for taking me to that movie… I feel so much better now!”

Just like this, we often hear use of the word ‘depression’, which people do quite casually, for almost everything.

Only if they knew severity of what depression is like.

When I say the word ‘depressed’,

you immediately pictured a person sitting in front of a window, all alone, sad, quite and occasionally teary. 

This is what we think depression looks like, BUT that is not ONLY how it looks like.

If you find your colleague in such state, you will for sure go to them, ask them, sympathize with them and even offer help if you can. In general people are that generous and caring, I believe. But will you do the same for a person who’s highly irritable, who’s ready to pick an argument, throws tantrum as you approach… 

no you won’t. 

That’s the person you don’t want to see.

That’s the person you will never want to talk to.

That’s the person, you know is unhappy but you’ll probably think he deserves it, is responsible for it.

You know it’s easier to console a snivelling person than a threatening one. You think that the latter is harmful, that they’re still strong and they can take care of themselves…

Well, they can’t.

A person who looks sad and a person who’s irritable, needs the same help. 

They are as vulnerable as the prior but they fail to show it or to express it in a more acceptable way.

 They’re highly defensive so it’s difficult to pierce that wall, but if you somehow manage to do that, you’ll find a helpless person craving for help, craving for comfort, craving for you to listen… just listen!

Today on the occasion of World Health Day, this is my tiny effort to help people understand Depression in a broader way, so that you give attention to people who are often ignored and isolated by others.

Going in depression is not something you someday wake up and find yourself in. It’s a process… easily identifiable if you pay some attention.

Sadness is mild and depression is it’s intense form. You can overcome sadness by a small talk with a friend, a movie or simply by engaging in your favorite hobby. They’re not helpful in case of depression.

 Overcoming depression requires immense attention, months of talk therapy and medicinal help too. 

If you’re helping someone to overcome this state of mind you must have patience, empathy and will to help. Helping someone like this can be a frustrating thing to do so it’s better if you watch for early symptoms and prevent this situation.

Suddenly eating a lot or loss of appetite is one sign or gaining and losing weight without any change in the diet are very crucial point to look for as generally it’s not linked with depression.
There are many general symptoms like feeling worthless, helpless, hopeless… not getting proper sleep or sleeping too much. Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy once…guilt can consume such people.

 Depression if left untreated will mostly lead to suicide and this is why you should help such people because suicide in not matter of one person but the whole family.

On the last note, 


Help such people because you know how it’s like, how it feels like as I’m sure you might have experienced something similar in your life. Just imagine the same feeling multiplied  by 50 times.

It’s not bearable, it’s not acceptable.

Depression is like floating in dark fog with no control… you desperately flutter your legs but you just can’t come down…

Help these people, if not much, then connect them with a good mental health professional.

Help, because someday you might need it.



Prachi was a good kid. She always obeyed her parents and respected her teachers. She was a good student too. Moreover, she was a kind person at heart. When she was only 11 years old, she saved a puppy from being taken by a dog catching van. She argued with the driver and cried rivers to free the  puppy. The issue became so big that the corporator had to intervene to stop this child from crying. Later everybody pat her back, telling her that she was a special child sent by god. Prachi didn’t believe in God, but she believed the part of her being ‘special’; that night she couldn’t sleep as the word ‘special’ overwhelmed her mind. Prachi was happy.
When prachi was a teenager, the plight of poor people throbbed her heart, especially of homeless people. Prachi often saw them on her way back from college. Their hair were matted and greasy. Their clothes looked like they haven’t changed in forever. Most of them even looked mentally unstable. She often wondered how she could help them but the thought that they will hit her the moment she says “Hello”, refrained her from doing so.
One day Prachi determinately thought of offering “the-oldman-near-the-bus-stop” a bath too. So she went close to him, that was when she smelled something terrible. He reeked of his own dirt. She stepped back. Prachi told herself, “I don’t have to do it now, I have my exam ahead. If I fall sick, my parents will be devastated!. For now, I should only focus on my studies and career; once I get settled in my life, I will help these people.”
26 year old Prachi, turned into a beautiful woman. She had a loving husband and a toddler kid. After a tiring day at office she came back home. Switched on the T.V. and was watching a news channel. Prachi saw a news on how an old woman was abandoned by her children was found roaming at Dadar Station, Mumbai.

“I should help her!”, she thought. Prachi hastily went to Dadar police station. Before entering, she saw the same old woman sitting on a tattered bench coughing her lungs out. She waited outside.

Prachi told herself, “I really want to help this woman but I have a toddler at home. I need to look after him, do the chores and work at office too. How will I spare time to take care of her health? She is already sick and my baby is vulnerable too… on top of it, we don’t have an extra room… what was I thinking on the first place! Hmm… right now I’m not in a positon to help someone; I better start saving money so that I can open a centre for women like her. Yes, that is what I should do.”
Years passed.

Prachi became a successful woman. She also had a younger daughter now who was studying in 10th std. Prachi’s bank account became quite heavy than she expected. Once in a while, she gave decent donations to reputed NGO’s; pictures on her facebook profile established that.

One day, while going through old stuff, she came across a diary where long back she had untidlly scribbled,

“ Save money for homeless centre”

That day she didn’t leave her room. Kept going on long walks for a few days. One day she came back home and saw her daughter and son playing together. Laughing carelessly… without a worry in the world.

Prachi went into a deep rail of thoughts and after some time mumbled to herself, “This is a cruel world. I don’t want my kids to struggle the way I did. I need to keep this money for their future… ah! Even if I have to sacrifice my dream for them, I will.”, she rationalized.

Today I saw an old woman at Kolkatta railway station. She looked delirious and was startled every time any person passed by. She was tearful and terrified. Her hair were almost white and slightly covered with grease. Her frail body made her look unbelievably small and pitiful that I wanted to cry. I touched her shoulder and called,
She didn’t recognize me, and kept staring suspiciously.
That once ‘special’ kid, her dementia didn’t allow her to even regret.

Featured post

“Are you eating well?”

“Are you eating well?”, mother asked on phone.

“Yes mom….”, she replied as she tore another packet of Maggie noodles.
“It’s a big city, you’re taking good care of yourself right?”

“Yes mom…” she said reassuringly as she hung on the door of a crowded train back from work.
“Have you made any friends yet dear?”
“Yes mumma…” she said tiredly as she poked “talking tom” on her cellphone and stared at his reaction with a pissed off face.
“Beta, are you satisfied with your job?”
“Ho g mummt………”she replied tiredly

 as she created another excel file with her monotonous data entry work.
Another day,

full of lies…

and people thought mother was the only one who cared.

Because it Hurts…!

He:- Creatures like us… we don’t have another option. We can either be Great or miserable for someone… and here I’m desperately trying to balance both as it falls back.

She:- Hmmm… so what would you choose? Be the one or blend like the rest?

He:- I don’t know… what do you think?

She:- I think about how you feel… how do you feel?

He:- I feel… I feel hollow. I feel like a crack on a glass window, that is how people picture me coming. I feel… I feel like I can do a lot many things but I can’t… coz I don’t want to. I’m capable to do so but I don’t want to. Why do I not want to? There’s something which stops me… something which doesn’t allow me to stay happy. Why, why can’t I be like others… stable, calm like an evening sea. Why there is so much inside… a storm always on a hunt… why??

She:- Because that’s not what you are. You’re the force… which pushes the world with his energy. You’re a storm, destined to bring peace, later…. you shall not feel bad about what you are, you’re what you are, your aim is what it is!

He :- I feel lonely, you understand? I don’t want this, I never asked for this-”

She :- and yet you became that. Our thoughts shapes our actions and actions shapes our personality… are you sure you never wanted this?

He :- I… I just never thought I would feel this… it feels so… so..

She :- Real?

He :- Yes…

She :- Lol, so Alice, waiting for your wonderland or something?

He :- Shut up you! I didn’t came to you so you can mock me too. You’re the only one  who can understand me well, always been. Help me dear…

She :- Uhh, spare me from this lifeguru trouble, at least now?

He :- Nope! Tell me what to do?

She :- Kill yourself!

After some time…

He stared at her photo on the wall as he dragged the knife over his neck. A longing smile on his face was there and eyes watered with regret.
Been years she died,

still gave the best advice.


HE :- “Breaking up with you because staying alone is what you like, what you prefer… freeing you at last.”

A few days later her body was found dangling from the ceiling fan in her cold apartment; words scribbled on her wall were…

“….alone not lonely!”

Why Tomboys will always remain single!

She saw him sitting in the library, couldn’t take her eyes off him. He noticed. She noticed that he noticed. Shit! No, I won’t. 
Hardly 10 seconds had passed and here were her eyes trailing his torso again. Uhhhh! He caught me again.

Dumbo dumbass dumbshit! Can’t you be a little careful?

Out of curiosity, he came near her. Some excuse of switchboard it was. With a hesitation in his tone and nervousness in his eyes, he tried to break a small talk.

She :- Umm I… I know what you’re thinking and also what you’re thinking that I’m thinking but I just want to tell you that it’s nothing like what you’re thinking that I was thinking because what I was thinking is way out of your imagination of what I was thinking…



 I was just… I… I really like your shirt you know and I’m a sucker for cheks… can you, can you tell me where you bought it from, like the shop? Or is it available online? Does it come in black too? tell me it does,


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