Poetry | ‘It’ by Rachel Deyis (18) | Student Writing

I feel it shift inside me,

this wild, furred thing

that has uncurled itself from the

slumberous warmth of my belly 

and climbed the rungs of my ribcage

to settle within my chest.

For weeks it has been still,

all flickering eyelids and gentle prodding, but

today its eyes blink wide open, awake-

silvered claws scratch at my skin, an itch like a

hundred-thousand blunt pinpricks from within,

Its steamy breath scorches and sears and

it is burning, burning, burning, breathing out

some exponentially expanding gas giant into my

Ballooning chest, with each heaving pulse

It hisses words into my head

and they swirl there, somewhere above and just

out of reach. It snarls,

and I wrench out the letters

curling round the slippery skin of my soul

And slice up the dim, unexplored corners of my heart 

And hook them as bait on my gnarled line of art,

as I fish for the whispers that it chases out of

reach. And when ink is splattered like blood 

across the page, and the flesh is spent and the clean sting of fresh paper

has been long forgotten, still it howls

and slashes at my lungs

Until I am drowning and it is laughing in long, stuttered creaks,

Until that dark liquid sloshes and spills over,

sliding into purple veins that

spider across my hands and press the 

bristles of a brush across paper

Until I print the sky and the sun and my rumpled bedspread

and pillows, and the dreams they catch, and my books and

my boots and my musings in the shower and the dust on my windowsill

and everything in between- Until every sense is purged 

And bled dry- Until my head has been cracked 

Open and spilt in acrylics and sweeping strokes

And the colour seeped out of experience and into ink

and then, and only then, does it sleep.

Rachel Deyis is an 18 year old high school student, currently drowning in her A-level coursework. She was awarded the first place for the Taleem Poetry Award, and when she isn’t reading brain-cell murdering romance novels, she enjoys the works of Oscar Wilde, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tom Holt and Neil Gaiman.

Short Fiction | ‘A Long Journey Home’ by Teevranshu Vashishtha | Student Writing

Raman and Prakash were sitting on the side of NH30 brooding over the setting sun. They had left Lucknow with a meagre ₹1000 each. The last full meal they had had was three days ago when they were leaving the city. They had been surviving on biscuits and water since. Raman was a native of the village of Umarpur in Amroha. He had been working in a construction site in Lucknow for the past few months alongside his cousin from his village, Prakash. On the morning of March 25, the two came to know of the nationwide lockdown due to the spread of the novel COVID-19. They both hurried to the bus station hoping to catch a bus home, but all transport services were already suspended. So, they both decided to embark on their journey home on foot. They were anxious to reach their homes for it had been 6 months since Raman last saw his 1-year-old daughter, Neha and Prakash his 3 years old son, Raju. Raman and Prakash had been walking for the past 12 hours, without any food. That night, they fell asleep on the roadside, the tormenting hunger lulling them. The journey was a laborious one and they still had a long way to go but were adamant and went arduously forward. The next morning, their prayers were answered for they found an open eatery. They had a hearty meal and bought some takeaways for the journey before carrying on. That night they reached a small settlement after a long and exhausting journey and took shelter under a tree on the roadside.

On that ominous night of the 28th, Prakash suddenly felt an acute pain in his chest. Raman was awakened from his slumber by the painful cries of his brother. Prakash had a known history of hypertension and Raman feared that it was a stroke. They were on the highway near the city of Bareilly that night. They couldn’t call for an ambulance because they had both sold their mobile phones before the journey in exchange for some extra cash to send home. The nearest settlement was 2 kilometres away. “I’m going to go get help Prakash,” said Raman, frightened yet sturdy. Raman rushed to the nearest house in sight and upon reaching there, rapped on the door of the house like a madman. A sexagenarian man answered the door. “Sahabji, my brother is in danger, he has had a stroke. Can you please help us Sahabji!” The man who answered the door with a stoic look on his face was Suresh. Suresh Sharma was a retired cardiologist from one of the most prominent hospitals in Delhi. Mr Sharma spent his childhood in the city of Bareilly and after the completion of his service, had decided to spend the rest of his days in his native city and bought a quaint little house on its periphery where he lived with his wife Radha and their cute little beagle, Mojo.

Fate had brought Raman to Suresh’s house for he was to be their saviour. 

“Who are you? Where do you come from?” asked Suresh with a vigilant look.   

“I am a construction worker in Lucknow. I am travelling with my brother towards our home in Amroha,” replied Raman with a broken voice.

Suresh took a moment and thought about whether he was telling the truth. He had heard stories of robbers who played out the same scenarios to rob people. Suresh took a good look at the man standing at his door and convinced himself of the veracity of the man.

“Where is your brother? What happened to him? What is his condition?” asked Suresh with the air of urgency you find in a doctor. 

“He is down the road 2 kilometres from here. He was fine when we went to sleep tonight but suddenly in the middle of the night he complained of having chest pains.”

Mr Sharma thought for an instant and then went inside his house. He returned with the keys of his car.

“I am a heart surgeon, let’s go and bring your brother back here.”

In an instant, both Raman and Suresh were on the road fleeing towards Prakash. It had been 20 minutes since Raman was gone and Prakash was unconscious when they reached him. When Prakash woke up the next morning in the house of Suresh, he saw his brother by his side with his sleep-deprived eyes full of tears of joy.

“Where are we Raman?” asked Prakash.

“We are in the house of this Sahabji who has saved your life,” said Prakash pointing towards Suresh. 

Suresh had indeed saved his life, for the stroke that Prakash had was a life-threatening one and needed the care of a brilliant doctor.

“You are going to be perfectly fine my friend,” said Suresh to his patient. “For how many days have you two been walking?” asked the doctor with a curious look at Raman.       

“We have been walking for 3 days straight, Sahabji,” came the doleful reply. Raman told Suresh all about their heart-wrenching journey of the past few days. Suresh’s heart commiserated with the two of them. 

“We are finally here,” said Raman full of mirth after stepping out of the car. They were parked near the Banyan tree underneath which the two brothers had spent their childhood playing. Their toilsome journey was finally at its end. Who would have thought that only 3 days ago, one of them was in a life and death situation?  “I hope you both are happy now,” said Mr Sharma coming out of the driver’s seat of the ambulance. Only 4 hours ago they were in a hospital in Bareilly, lamenting their misfortunes. The sagacious doctor had pulled a rabbit out of the hat to make their dream of reaching home come true.

The doctor had sworn to personally make sure that the two brothers reached their destination. He had planned a meticulous plan to carry out his intentions. 

“There are no adequate facilities here. I need to take him to Meerut for better treatment,” said the doctor intensely to his acquaintance.

“But he is perfectly fine Mr. Sharma,” said a doctor in his early thirties. 

“No, he is not. He is my patient and I want to make sure he gets the best treatment.”

“You stopped seeing patients a long time ago, Mr. Sharma. Why the sudden zeal for this one?” asked Dr Aggarwal with a cunning smile. “From the looks of him and the man he is with, he doesn’t strike me as the type of a person who can afford your treatment, Dr Sharma.”

This was factually true–Suresh was renowned to be one of the best and costliest heart surgeons in the country.

“He is my old childhood friend,” replied Suresh with a voice full of affection.

“Very well Dr Sharma, but you are going to have to acquire a written letter of transit from the DM.”

Suresh had forgotten that this document was almost impossible to obtain in such times of crisis.

“Yes, I have it with me, Vinod,” said Suresh with a little fear in his heart.

“Ok then, I will provide you with the referral certificate in 10 minutes.”

When Suresh reached the room of his patient, he told Raman all about his plan. Raman fell to the feet of the Doctor crying and weeping, saying that he was an angel of God sent to their aid.

“Yes, Radha I’m going to take him personally to the hospital in Meerut,” said Suresh lying to his wife on the phone.

“All the commuting in the country is at a full stop. How do you propose to take him there?” questioned the anxious Mrs Sharma on the other side.

“I have all the required documents for the journey. I am going to leave with him early in the morning,” he replied.

“I know there is no point in convincing you to not do this but please think about it again. The deadly virus is spreading at an alarming rate. Think about that too.”

“I know all about that Radha but they both need me too. I am fully prepared, don’t you worry, take care of yourself, I’ve got to go now!”

“Just be careful and be safe, goodbye!” replied the anxious wife.

The doctor ended the call and went to prepare for the journey. At the dawn of the first day of April, an ambulance was seen on the roads of Bareilly speeding towards Rampur.

“I am taking this man to a hospital in Meerut officer,” said a man dressed in a white dress sitting at the driver’s seat of the ambulance to the police officer at the checkpoint for leaving Rampur.

“For what reasons?” asked the officer.

“To be admitted there, he is going to have surgery there.”

“Where is this doctor Suresh Sharma whose name is written here?” asked the police officer looking carefully at the referring certificate signed by Dr Vinod.

“Here I am,” came a voice from the back of the vehicle. A man dressed in a doctor’s robe stepped out from the back of the vehicle.

“Hello, officer my name is Suresh Sharma, I am the doctor of this patient,” replied the man with an air of haughtiness.

“Hello, Doctor I am SI Sandeep Pal, the officer in charge of this checkpoint. So, you are taking this patient of yours for surgery in Meerut?”

“Indeed, I am, Officer.”

“What kind of surgery is he going to have?”

“He is going to have coronary artery bypass surgery.”

The reply was made so astutely that it put even Suresh in a dilemma whether the man portraying him was a doctor in real life or had he lied to him in the first place. Suresh had decided not to take any risks and took matters in his own hands, he became the driver of the ambulance so as not to leave anything to fate. He had made Raman an acquaintance in his plan and made him portray himself as the doctor and even taught him a few scientific notions related to cardiology to be used in a state of emergency so no questions would be raised to his veracity as a doctor and no objections at the presence of another person being in the ambulance apart from the patient as it was opposed to the law.

“Doctor, do have you the requisite papers for the transit of this patient to the hospital in Meerut?”

“I have them with me, Officer. Would you like to see them?” came the confident reply.

“No, I believe you, you are good to go, Doctor,” replied the officer after a moment of deliberation.

“Ok then, Driver let’s go,” said Raman suppressing a big smile on his face.   

Suresh said a little prayer under his breath and after closing the door of the ambulance, drove the vehicle towards its destination.

“Phew! that was a close one, you did a good job back there, ‘Doctor’,” said the ‘Driver’ with a cunning smile.

“Thank you, Sahabji,” replied the man wiping the few drops of sweat from his temple. Fortunately, it was the only time they were questioned throughout the journey.  

 It was at 10 in the morning when the ambulance reached the village of the two brothers. The plan of the doctor had worked miraculously, the brothers were finally at the end of their journey.

“You are going to have to take good care of Prakash for the coming days, Raman,” said the doctor to the man who was standing under the tree crying of joy. Raman took Prakash’s stretcher out of the ambulance and brought it under the shade of the tree and woke him up.

“Do you know where we are now Prakash?” 

“Am I hallucinating or are we really under the old banyan tree?”

“You tell me, Prakash.”

“It is the old banyan tree Raman. Are we home Raman?”

“Yes, yes, we are finally home, Prakash.”

“But how did this happen? When did you do this?” asked Prakash with a bewildered look.

“I didn’t do this, it was Sahabji who brought us both here,” said Raman pointing towards the doctor. He told his brother the full story of how the doctor had carried out a dangerous plan and brought them home.

“You must be God! You must be the almighty Sahabji!” said Prakash with his eyes full of tears.

“No, I am just a man who carried out the will of God,” said Suresh holding the hands of his patient. The doctor then helped Raman in taking all their luggage towards their home.

“Baba!” came a sound from Raman’s little cottage. It was Neha who upon seeing her father return home, let out a cry of joy. Raman took his little angel in his arms and held her tightly.

“I am here my child,” said Raman as tears rolled down his cheeks.

The wait was finally over, they were finally at the end of a harrowing journey. The doctor helped Raman in taking Prakash to his home. Raju was happy that his father was home with him. The doctor gave all the requisite medicine to Prakash’s family and informed Raman that Prakash would be fine in a week or two. The doctor then took his leave and went towards the ambulance. Just when he was about to leave, he heard someone calling his name.  

“Doctor Uncle! Doctor Uncle!” It was the sound of little Neha and Raju who had come to give the stranger a gift. It was a little clay statue of Goddess Lakshmi, the God of good luck. They wanted to give it to the man who had brought good luck to their family. Suresh accepted their pious little gift and went on. When Suresh said his last goodbye and left for his home, a few tears rolled down the cheeks of the man who was known to be emotionless.

Teevranshu Vashishtha is an 18-year-old student. He is a graduate of St. John’s Senior Secondary School, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. He is a dilettante writer who mostly pens short fiction and poems. His favourite writer is Ernest Hemingway.

Poetry | ‘Hope’, ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ by Deekshita Rajesh Athreya | School Student Writing


A shadow of darkness fills my gaze,
As the nightly air patrols around
The once lovely countryside all in a haze,
So deathly a silence, my heartbeats resound.

The moon appears to heal my wounded soul,
Emerging as a ray of hope through a gaping hole,
Sending a subtle hint straight into my heart,
If darkness comes, light is not far apart.

The Cuckoo’s Calling

A fruitless day spent idling on the couch,
was made endearing by a cuckoo’s call on the porch.
A single note that rang out, pure and clear,
Enchantingly beckoning its near and dear.

Come on comrades! Let us rejoice,
Sans pollution, nature has regained her poise,
For, the heartless humans are still behind bars,
Just this once, we can truly see the stars.

A single voice with so much hope,
Of expressing it, no music has scope,
All the guilt the humans are stalling,
Has been brought forth by the Cuckoo’s calling.

Deekshita Rajesh Athreya is a 15 year old student at Udgam School For Children, Ahmedabad. She has a passion for the English language and enjoys reading. Her favourite authors are J.K. Rowling and Rick Riordan. She loves Robert Frost’s poetry.

Poetry | ‘Glass Grows’ & Other Poems by U. Sai Sruti | School Student Writing

Glass Grows

we live in a glass world
glass dolls and glass minds
growing out of glass jungles
glass bodies cracking and green
this glass shatters in this glowing stream
of green blood and green hearts
bleeding blackening grease
green governments eyeing the glass green
and piercing glass into these bodies
that spew their spleen of earth-shattering green
glass breaking, burning, brewing
glass minds that grow glass ideas
and pierce shards into these green goats
glass ministers take glass decisions
as the glass pushes through the
cracking earth sprouting out
of these concrete jungles
into the glass tongues of these
glass people silencing these glass voices
you are glass, and I am glass too
living in a world that is growing glass roots

lies my mother told me

mama said she saw the purple flowers decorating my back
she also saw pomegranate blood dripping from my thighs
she says that daddy loves me a lot
but mama why does it hurt so much
when he runs his hands along the whip
and paints my back with flowers
mama is wrong
this cannot be love
mama lied to me
and i only realized that when
i saw mama’s back littered with wild petunias

How to Get a New Heart

the thud of my footsteps
reverberates with the sound 
of my heart leaping 
out of my body
and falling onto the middle of
the road
I watch as it
vibrates with so much intensity
and finally comes to a stop
there is a cavity
in my chest now
where my heart once was
I look at it in desperation
waiting for it to
show me something
give me a sign
I try to pick it up
and put it back
where it’s supposed to be
“you are not supposed to be here,
go back inside”
and suddenly
a car runs over my heart
as I watch in horror
my poor crushed heart
now has blood leaking
from every cut
blood splattered on the streets
how do you feel safe
when the ones protecting you
are the ones inflicting this pain
tell me
teach me
how do I feel alive again
how do I feel alive again
how do I feel alive again
ink marks on my fingertips spread
as I keep writing
painting these pages
with my heartbreak and sorrow
one day I will scream these poems
and you will listen
someday, I will find
a new heart
waiting to beat
full of life
I will feel alive again
or so I tell myself

When the Reality Sets In

when the reality sets in
his buoyant veneer cracks
as the truth 
slowly crawls its way to him through his façade
cracking it little by little
as he clutches his little sister’s lifeless body in his hands
the soulless body (he is not used to saying corpse, please don’t say it)
staring into his being with beguiling chasms (please wake up, I love you so much it hurts)
his mother stands there and screams
as the reality is slowly hammering itself
into his brain (I am so sorry I couldn’t protect you, please forgive me)
screams lacerate his throat
he spills honey words into her ear
waiting for his love to manifest itself
in the form of a miracle
he wants a miracle to bring long-gone sister back home
as he shakes violently
hugging her close to his chest (can’t you see that I’m hurting? please come back)
the universe gyrated the day Esteban’s sister
put herself to sleep
fifteen years later, eidolons haunt Esteban as he sits on the kitchen stool. “Eat up Julia, we don’t want to be late for school now, do we?” he says, turning his head towards the empty kitchen stool next to him.

An Ode to My Past Self

this is an ode to my younger self
and to my present self
and to my future self
sunshine and candies sound marvellous
but that is not what
it will be like
tick, tick, tick
you see, time will not stop for you
and there will be days
where your voice will slither
and hide in a hidden curve
of a hidden place
in your intestine
where it will stay there
till what feels like eternity
and sometimes not
and your tongue will swallow
all the venom coated lies you tell yourself
that sometimes drip of honey
lies that will break your home
lies that will break you
lies that will forever remain lies
truth will stare you down
it will make you queasy
jittery uncomfortable
your neck will itch and your insides will twist
twist into a knot
the kind that takes patience to undo
and that day your mouth will run dry
your fingers cold
your body will be on fire
you will think of sacrificing yourself
and succumbing to the
but that day
stare your fears down
stare the doubt down until
you burn holes in its head and it stumbles
backing away from
the truth looming over you
find that voice
and tell yourself that you will be alright
that you will do this again
and again
and again
and again
till the truth seeps through the crevasses of your mind
and stays there
maybe it will never stay
but tell yourself
that you will fight this fight
till you feel alright again

Dark Girl’s Magic

Some days I wake up
Brush my teeth with anxiety
And braid my hair with pain
There are days I chafe at my dark skin
As insults burn holes in my heart as I walk in
The school corridors
A sense of alienation hammering into me
I carry anguish on my shoulders
I feel like my soul is being crushed by boulders
Boulders of my thoughts and your words
Standing in front of the mirror I scratch my skin
As the sin of me being dark-skinned weighs me down
You pointed at me and laughed
As I stood there staring at the ground
Waiting for the earth to split open and swallow me whole

Aunty tells me that I am pretty for a dark-skinned girl
That I have nice hair and that almost compensates for the colour of my skin
No, I don’t want your almost compliments
I suddenly forget how to breathe as it slowly dawns on me
That dark is an atrocity
I am almost convinced that the universe
Is making me pay for all my sins
My world gyrated the day I told myself
I can never be enough, not in this skin

One day I thought I finally found
A solution to my
White semi-liquid substance encapsulated in a bottle
My hopes and dreams died
As I frantically slapped it on my face
And rubbed it in until my skin was sore
I screamed
I screamed in rage
As I looked at the bottled in duplicity

You see melanin is only pretty
When it comes in tiny amounts
That day the oceans collided
and my cries were futile
But thank the Gods it didn’t work
My skin is not a painting open to your criticisms
I am not a doll sitting by the window waiting
to be admired by strangers
you see, I was taught that dark skin didn’t deserve to be loved
that I could never love myself
I blame the unrealistic beauty standards set
For young girls and boys
The perfect hourglass figure
The toned muscles
The plump lips
The doe-eyes
And the fair skin
And of course, just the right amount of curves
Stop this

We are going to claim our identities back
We are going to truly find peace in ourselves
So to all those who scratch their skin
And try to bleach it
I say don’t
Stand up for yourself and don’t you drown in dismay
For dark is magic
Dark is beautiful
Dark is elegant
Dark is powerful
Dark is the pupil which sees the world
Stars etched into the crevasses of your mind
And embedded in your arteries
You are made of stardust
My love, you were born from a magnificent supernova
Your skin is as wonderful as the limitless dark depth of the universe
Gold spills from your mouth
There is so much more to you than just your skin
And don’t you cry, o’ moonchild
You have magic running through your veins
Feeling beautiful is loving your thoughts
your mind and your soul
listen not to those
who tell you that you aren’t enough
for you are a child of the dark cosmos
you are more than enough

U. Sai Sruti is a student in her final year of high school at Tagore International School, New Delhi, India. Her writing has been recognised at several forums, most notably Katha Utsav, a national event where she was awarded the grand prize. Rudy Francisco, Nikita Gill and Porsha Olayiwola are her favourite poets.

Short Fiction | ‘The Change I Want to See in the World’ by Anshika Kodukula | School Student Writing

“Congratulations! It’s a boy, Mr Rohit!” The doctor conveyed the good news to my Dad. That tall man looked quite like Iron Man with curly hair, a long nose and arched brows that seemed to make a rainbow. His delicate peach lips formed into a wide grin as I stopped crying upon seeing him. He slowly put me in my cradle when a stout two-year-old girl with a plump face appeared in front of my half-opened eyes. Her bulbous nose was grotesque compared to her beady eyes, soft lips, knitted eyebrows and fringed hair. She saw me and left. I missed that face as I lay awake for the next few hours.

At the age of two, my parents made the biggest decision of my life–enrolling me in school.

“Roshni, I think DPS is the right choice for Aadarsh. What do you think?” my Dad asked.

“That’s okay, but what about Aadhyaa? You can’t afford to send them both to such an expensive school,” Mom answered.

“Aadhyaa, do you like this school?”

“Yes Dad, of course! There is no other school like DPS in the city. I just love it!” my innocent sister answered.

“Oh, that’s really nice, Aadhu. I have a surprise for you! You’re going to join a new school, okay?”

“Really, Dad?” her voice choked. She stopped the tears from rolling down her cheek.

“Aadhi, you’ll be going to DPS from now! Are you so excited?” Dad asked.

“I can’t wait!” I said. Smiling hesitantly, I turned towards my sister. I’m sure she wasn’t pleased with what our Dad had done. She immediately went into her bedroom and closed the door. It was dark as I stepped into the room. She was lying on the bed, her tears flowing freely. As I switched on the lamp, she immediately wiped them away and said, “Hey Aadhi, nothing happened. It’s just dust. You’re happy right!” 

I asked, “Why are you crying? Shall I tell Dad you want to study at DPS?” She hugged me tight in response, barely leaving any space for even air to enter.


I know I was not good at academics and that Aadhya was the real gem. I told my Dad that one day but he simple defended me, stating: “If your sister can do something, so can you!” I hated the way they always put me on a pedestal and neglected Aadhya when she was the one with far more potential. 


“Aadhee, Aadhee! You sleeping donkey. Get up Aadhi!” She kicked me off the bed for reasons that elude me.

When I threatened to call Mom, she put her hand over my mouth and whispered, “movie” into my ear. I immediately knew what she was getting at and started grinning like the Cheshire Cat. We bunked school and headed straight to the cinema to catch the latest Marvel movie, still clad in our school uniforms, our heads hanging low in fear of being recognised. We got away with it that day and for the next six years until she graduated, it became our ritual. Aadhya was always better at sneaking around than me. She came up with the most believable lies on the spot and our parents never doubted her stories.

In the coming years, we made a lifetime of memories together; from staying up all night on the balcony and climbing trees to find the best mangoes to planting saplings and competing in cricket, Aadhya was my best friend.

She was also extremely popular in the neighbourhood. She wasn’t recognised as “Mr Rohit’s daughter”, rather he was recognised as “Aadhya’s father”. Her kind nature had won her a place in everyone’s heart—she was always ready to lend a helping hand. The children adored her for her playfulness and she would always patiently clarify any doubts they had from school. She was my role model in every sense.


“Aadhi, come on we have to go grocery shopping. Mom’s orders. You’re not getting out of this one,” she called out to me.

“Okay fine, let’s go. But I’m getting myself a Cadbury.”

As I trailed behind her towards the supermarket, I noticed that she’d taken an unusual turn. She never makes mistakes like these so I was sure that she had a trick up her sleeve.

“Aadhu, a surprise for me?” I asked curiously.

She just smiled in return, a twinkle in her eyes.

Soon we arrived at our destination: the local hospital. I learned it was to donate our blood. I was a little nervous at first and found myself slowly backing towards the door, but Aadhya assured me that it would be fine and I began to grow confident.

On our journey back home, we met with a small accident. Unfortunately, my sister was badly injured–her right hand was scratched up and bleeding. She covered it up with a cotton scarf so as not to attract our parents’ attention and lied, saying that all shops were closed.


Her grade 10 exams started in three days. Despite her injured hand, she was sure to do the best among her peers. I was enjoying myself in grade 7. Not putting in any effort, kicking back and relaxing as my sister spent sleepless nights with her nose buried in her textbooks.

Weeks later, she finally received her grades and they were just as good as I had predicted.

“Papa! I topped my class,” Aadhya screamed.

“Oh, congratulations, Aadhyaa,” he said without looking up from his newspaper.

It was a proud moment for us all. Being the daughter of a middle-class family, it was no easy feat to top such a competitive examination. She was working hard towards improving our parents’ future but they didn’t even bat an eyelash.

My academic performance, on the other hand, was in the gutter. All the money they had invested in me was down the drain. Yet, I was the one to be enrolled in an international college while my sister at a local one.

Though they continued to ill-treating her time and time again and gave me their utmost importance, she never treated me with any viciousness or jealousy. Whenever we went to a temple, she wished for the wellbeing of my parents and I, never once thinking about herself.

One day, in a fit of rage, I finally plucked the courage to ask her the question that always weighed on my mind:

 “Aadhya, why do you bear all this? Why don’t you tell to parents?”

 She gave me a glass of cold water, “drink first,” she muttered, her cheeks red from embarrassment.

The cold water calmed me down and I settled down on her bed. She caressed my head and smilingly said, “You are all mine!”


The day finally arrived when Aadhya received her grade 12 exam results. She’d secured an unbelievable 98% and her future looked bright. My GPA, on the other hand, started with a one. Although my parents were dejected upon hearing that, they didn’t acknowledge any shortcomings in their ways.

Aadhya approached my father with the hopes of becoming a civil servant.

“Papa, I want to become a civil servant. I need to study in a big city to secure a better future. Will-“

Dad interrupted her, “What? A big city? A civil servant? What are you talking about Aadhyaa? Are you okay? Have you gone mad?”


“Look, you’re intelligent, I know, but stop being so absurd in your demands. You’re not going to convince me. Take these and relax,” he said as he handed tickets to Chomu to her. Chomu was where my aunt lived and where my father had decided Aadhya would pursue her bachelor’s degree.

With her dreams crushed, Aadhya was off, leaving me all alone.


“Hello, Aadhyaa! It’s a decade since I’ve seen you! Look at you all grown up now. How is everybody doing?” said our aunt with a wide smile.

“Hi, Auntie! We’re all doing good. Hope it’s same with you all too!” My sister answered.

“Yes, we’re all fine! Come inside!”

Auntie and she got along well. She loved the home. But told me that she majorly missed all our mischief.

A few days into her stay, Aadhya finally told her aunt, her true desire:

“Auntie, I’m interested in civil services but Papa is forcing me to pursue an insignificant bachelor’s first. I need your help to prepare and train for the exam—you know how tough it is. Please help me out and don’t tell Papa at any cost.”

“Aadhya, you can’t make such a major decision without telling your parents and seeking their approval. It’d be better for all of us if you let go of this dream. I hope you understand where I’m coming from,” she replied with an incredulous look on her face.

“Auntie, please, I’m not at all interested in what Dad is forcing me to do. I only came here without a single word of protest because of you. I was sure that you’d understand and help me out. You’re my only hope for a brighter future. I could study in Jaipur–it’s right here and so much better than this village. I’m a good student, please trust me. I can do it but I need you!”

Auntie got emotional at her words and agreed to it. “You’re exactly what your Dad was three decades ago!” she exclaimed.

I’d been sent to California to complete my higher education but my grades didn’t budge in the new environment either.


After dedicating a year to her preparation, she received the first “fail” of her life. The constant back and forth between Jaipur and Chomu, the long bus rides, the sleepless nights…they’d amounted to nothing. Aadhya’s resolve was in shatters.

Our aunt stayed strong, though. “Aadhya, you have to fail before you succeed. No one cracks it in their first attempt. Look how far you’ve come, you can’t give up now. Don’t worry, I’m here for you. I know you can do it, I’ve seen your dedication. Don’t stop now!” That proved to be the need of the hour. Aadhya wiped her tears, sat up straight and fervently returned to her routine.

Finally, Aadhya got the letter she had desperately hoped for! The state emblem was printed on top of the envelope and she felt just as strong as the lions in it. Incidentally, her first posting was as a collector for Bhanswara, my father’s native home.

“Congratulations, Aadhyaa, I always knew you’d do it. I’m not a normal woman anymore, no, I’m the aunt of a state official!” she gleefully shouted.

Aadhya had a different expression on her face. She was pacing nervously and her voice was trembling, “But what are we supposed to say to Dad? I’m terrified of how he’ll react. I don’t want to leave them, especially not Aadhi! I need your help.” The urgency in her voice was growing, “Oh, his dislike towards me will only grow!”

Our aunt reassured her and invited my parents and me to Chomu on the pretext of the opening of her new boutique next month.

The 30 days passed quickly and soon I would be able to see my sister in person.

We were on our way to what we thought was my aunt’s shop but the car pulled into a huge government building. The place was riddled with security guards that all saluted us as we entered. We were confused, to say the least.

We were soon led into a cabin by my aunt.

“Ma’am, may I enter?” my aunt asked, knocking on a blurred glass door.

“Yes, please, come…Oh my god!” my sister exclaimed upon seeing us. “All of you are here? I just can’t believe this!”

We were in shock. Our eyes were wide and jaws hanging open. She was here for university but was now the collector of an entire district! A government official! Mom and Dad were overjoyed; they finally saw her true potential. The four of us hugged after a long time and even my father got misty-eyed.


A daughter is not a tension.

A daughter is equal to ten sons. 

I know that there are many girls like my sister who don’t get the education they deserve. This is the twenty-first century, and women can do anything. I hope that girls with circumstances like my sister’s are rare and few.

I now miss the late-night movie sessions with my partner in crime!

Anshika Kodukula, 13, lives in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. She is a student in grade 9 at Slate, The School. She is an avid reader of mystery and adventure novels. She loves travelling and is a travel photographer. She admires Ruskin Bond and Sudha Murty.

Short Fiction | ‘I Love You, My Tim’ by Shreya Anil (14)| School Student Writing

I did not have pets. I did not want any either. I had never felt any true emotional attachment with animals, especially the ones you keep as pets and tend and nurse so prudently. I had always thought that it was simply a dumb showcase of internal love because they couldn’t possibly say that they loved them too, could they? That was my belief until a few months ago. Things have changed now.

One of the most terrible things I had to encounter on my way to school was passing a house on the roadside. Through the way I am describing it, I don’t want you to misunderstand that it is haunted or dominated by evil spirits. It is just that there is a very unwelcome guardian over there with thick brown skin and vulgar red eyes, tongue hanging out, upper canines and what not! He would make my heart thud loudly every time I would see him that I felt close to fainting. 

Every time we were ten feet within reach of that house, I would clutch my grandfather’s hand tightly.

‘Appu[1]…’ I would say. ‘I don’t think I will be able to make it this time.’

‘Come on, Ponnu! Don’t be so silly. It is trapped behind the gate. It couldn’t possibly jump over and bite you!’

‘Appu…. Please don’t take his side! I can’t take another step. My feet have gone numb. I just can not!’

‘I am not taking anybody’s side. After all, it is just a dog, Ponnu… It won’t kill you.’ 

Just a dog! How well said, I thought sarcastically. But I dared not tell Appu.

‘How do you know it will do no harm? Did it say so to you?’ I replied instead.

‘I am a veterinarian, Ponnu. I know animal psychology.’

I did not know whether he spoke the truth or not about knowing animal psychology as I failed to notice the childish twinkle in his eyes, but he had caught me there. He really was a veterinarian and my innocent mind was forced to believe him. The incredulous ways in which our elders fool us, innocent stupid kids…or was it just me?

He took hold of my arm and started walking. Now and then, I pulled him back, an expression of cowardice and fear overcoming my face, but he clutched on with power, lest I run away. 

I saw him near the gate of the house (on the other side, to my subtle relief), which bore intricate carvings, the sculpture of lions and two gargoyles. One could not be blamed if one believed that it really was a haunted house!

He knew I was there. He knew the smell of the person who was most terrified of him, of the person who even shut her eyes and chanted mantras while she passed him to prevent herself from falling unconscious. He took a deep sniff and spat out his tongue. Yeah…he knew I had come.

There was silence all around. I was looking into his eyes and he into mine through the railed gates of the house. Nobody moved. Nobody spoke. The only sound to be heard was the dog’s heavy breathing (and perhaps, my rapid, overlapping, unusually loud heartbeats).

Abruptly, my grandfather gave me a pinch and gestured me to move. Paralysed by fear, the sudden revival to the present world by my grandfather’s pinch made me yelp.

No sooner did I open my mouth to let out what seemed like an unfathomable scream, the dog did the same. It began to bark and growl.

That was too much for me. I freed myself from Appu’s clutch and ran. I ran as if the world knew no bounds. I ran until the end of the world, till the end of time and the end of my weird imagination, screaming all the way, while poor old Appu stood there, his palm on his head, fed up of his little girl and her indecipherable tantrums.

This was the reason I hated pets, especially dogs! Amma[2] used to talk about a dog she had in her ancestral home when she was a kid and the love they shared. I would see her eyes well up with tears as she drowned in the painful reminiscence of her loving dog. But I had never understood any of it, nor had I been able to feel the love she felt.


One day, my parents were going to visit that house–that scary looking, enormous house with its wide gates protecting an even more enormous and intimidating being–for a leisurely house visit. It had been a long time since they had gotten together and thought it only reasonable to call on them.

They called me but I said that I wouldn’t go as I was afraid of their dog. But they cajoled me stating that ‘it is just a dog’, ‘it can cause no harm’ and so on just like Appu did until, at last, I could take it no longer and decided to go and courageously confront my destiny, no matter the outcome. So, I set out like a brave soldier willing to risk her own life to uphold the name of her tribe, to fight face-to-face with her formidable enemy. 

It was in the afternoon that we went. The dog was not out of his kennel, much to my unexpected pleasure. Before stepping in, I glared at the kennel with the look of a winner who had ruthlessly defeated his enemy and embraced victory. I saw the dog looking back at me with his ferocious red eyes and growl. I put on a heroic grin and walked away, completely sure that I was at a safe distance.

The family took us into their cosy living room and served us hot tea and snacks. I also got to see my old friend, little Ammu over there. She was now in the sixth standard and had been a great playmate when I was young.

‘Ponnu chechi[3]!’ she called out to me. ‘Would you like to see Tim? I know that you would surely love him.’

‘Of course! She loves him a lot,’ my mother forestalled me. ‘She talks a great deal about him at home and the sweet way he greets her every morning with a friendly bark. Isn’t it, Ponnu?’

‘“Friendly bark!” I think Amma doesn’t know what “friendly” means.’

‘Oh, is it? Just wait, Ponnu chechi. I will bring him in.’

Without waiting for my reply, Ammu ran out, excited about the whole business. 

My heart began to pound. My hands grew cold. I didn’t know what to do. I was overcome by an unusual sensation. I wanted to run away from there as soon as possible. At the same time, another invisible force glued me to the chair. Oh! What will I do? I wished that a veil of invisibility could fall over me and shield me from the sight of everyone and most importantly from my greatest enemy, the intimidating Dog! The only emotion in my mind was fathomless hatred towards Amma. How could she do this to her lovely little girl? I did not expect this from you, Amma, I never did! You don’t know how disappointed I am in you, Amma. You can never imagine how much. 

I looked at her. She was smiling ingratiatingly and sweeter than ever. That smile could not soften my furious heart. It could not; it never could.

I heard the dog growling.

I looked back startled, my heart beating at its fastest rate ever (at that moment it could have entered the Guinness Book of Records. But there were other more important things to be looked at, at that precise moment.)

There he was–in the same monstrous outlook–coming to scare me.  

Nervously, I said, ‘Hi…’

 ‘Come on, Tommy, my boy. See who has come to meet you,’ said Ammu and brought him close to me. I felt something rise through my heels and up further through my nerves. The dog smelt it and grasped at his opportunity to growl. 

I, of course, screamed in return.

Everyone in the room laughed at me. ‘Oh, come on, my boy. You wouldn’t growl at your dearest playmate, would you? Come on, say hello to Ponnu chechi! Come on.’

The dog looked sharp into my eyes. I hated this look. It warned that something bad was going to happen. I smiled nervously. 

There was silence again. I was expecting a tremendously loud bark any minute. I was preparing my well-awaited scream which would succeed the bark. 

‘Come on, open your mouth and produce your most popular roar!’ I chanted in my nervous mind. 

But his unprecedented gesture surprised me. Instead of barking at me, he gave a little whine and wagged his tail.

‘Oh look at that! He says he loves you,’ said Ammu.

I was pretty sure that he did not mean that, but I decided not to retort and spoil that wonderful moment. 

But I knew deep in my mind that Tim meant something good. Perhaps, he had put forth a hand of friendship. Perhaps he realized that I was an opponent too formidable to defeat when he had heard my earth-shaking scream! Peace is always better than war. Keeping that in mind, I decided to return his gesture of friendship.

I patted his head and smiled. He continued wagging his tail.

‘He wants you to hug him,’ said Ammu excitedly.

Peace may in every way be better than war. But that peace where I had to dangerously touch and specifically hug my new friend did not seem appealing. Moreover, I didn’t know how my friend would respond to it. Thus, it was better to remain at a safe distance. Therefore, I wistfully warded off the proposal with a disguised smile and a veiled twinkle of the eye.


From then on, I began crossing their house without that usual throbbing heart and uneasiness. Now that Tim was my friend, I did not fear him. But I did not escalate to a position as to magnanimously love him either. But the one thing I was certain of was that I no longer feared him and he no longer wanted to scare me. 

Every morning as I would go to school, he’d greet me with a friendly bark, now more like the one Amma had mentioned that day. Every evening, I would peep through their side door to see him take a nap in his kennel. Have I really begun to love that dog? I would think sometimes. But then, I would shrug that notion away and move on. All was going well and good, until one day.


I was returning from school and peeped in through their side door as usual to see Tim. But he was not there in the kennel. I was too tired that evening to go in and check on him. So, I decided to go straight home and did not bother until the next morning, when he was not to be seen at the gateway to greet me. I decided to inquire in the evening on my way back.

At around five in the evening, I went into their house and rang the front bell. After a long wait, Meera Aunty, their maid came and opened the door.  

‘Hi Aunty,’ I said.

‘Hi dear. Do come in. I’ll call Ammu.’

I placed my schoolbag on the floor and sat down on the rocking chair. 

Ammu came out from her room wearing a pinafore, her hair carelessly tied in two small pigtails.

‘Oh, hi Ponnu chechi. How are you?’

‘Ammu, you look dull. What happened?’

‘Nothing. It has been a tiresome day.’ But I knew from her voice that she was lying. The usual energetic, excited, all-time-ecstatic Ammu was missing.

‘Well, where’s Tim?’ I asked.

She looked up but did not answer. As she strained her eyes towards mine, I saw something shaky within. Her eyes were welling up with tears. I saw tears of love of a tiny child who was struggling her way through depressing solitude.

‘What is it, Ammu? Tell me where Tim is!’

‘Ammu’s Tommy has gone, she said in a broken voice. Tommy has gone. He has gone. Oh! He has gone!’ She began to scream, a helpless look on her face. ‘Can’t you hear me? He has gone…Ammu’s Tommy has gone.’

She sank onto a nearby sofa and broke into fits of tears. The uncontrollable outburst of emotions engulfed her and she was finding it hard to fight back.

I got up and walked towards her. I sat beside Ammu and hugged her fragile figure gently. Her little mind found warmth in my affection, but she continued weeping.

I did not ask her any more questions but waited for her to get back to her usual self.

‘Since Saturday night, he had been showing some kinds of restlessness and impatience. We thought it to be one of his tantrums and ignored it.’ She sobbed in between. ‘Yesterday noon, his condition grew worse. I had gone to school but Meera Aunty was here. She was worried and rang up Amma. She advised Aunty to take Tommy to the hospital. And then, the doctor, he said, he said, he….’

She broke down again. I sighed. ‘Poor thing!’

She took a deep breath and uttered words which nearly made her collapse. ‘He said that my Tommy wouldn’t make it.’

I gasped. I didn’t know why, but I felt a huge weight on my heart. I didn’t know why, but I felt emotionally unstable. It was just like someone so near to me, someone who made up a part of my soul had suddenly departed from it. 

‘Amma and Acha[4] felt that if he died in my presence, it would be a horrible shock to me. The doctor knew an association which housed old and weak dogs.’ She breathed hard and sobbed. ‘It was he who advised them to send…’ she whimpered. The poor soul was truly shaken into bits that she couldn’t control herself. ‘To send Ammu’s Tommy to that association. We gave him away, Chechi! I didn’t know about it all till yesterday night, Chechi. Amma and Acha were not at home when I came. It was only at night when they came that I knew of it. My Tommy had gone, Ponnu chechi…Ammu’s Tommy had gone…’

I did not say anything. Instead, I took my bag and walked back home. I turned around once again to look at his kennel, every part of me hoping to see the lovely figure of Ammu’s Tommy in it, with his sweet brown skin and his cute red eyes, his tongue hanging out, showcasing his childish canines. But it didn’t come into view. Instead, I saw the lonely kennel weeping in silence in the absence of its playful companion.

I felt an unusual pain deep in my heart. It was beyond words to explain. I did not know the reason behind it. I never knew whether I had loved Tim. I did not want to believe that I did. But now this news about him was depressing me, bringing intricate and indecipherable feelings which I had not experienced before. I didn’t know why. I really didn’t know why.

I sprang open the door to my house and was confronted by my mother. ‘Where were you so long Ponnu? Don’t you…’

I didn’t wait for her to finish. Nor did I reply to her. Instead, I ran to Appu’s room, an unknown force pushing me from behind.

‘Appu,’ I called. ‘Tim’s gone.’

I finished it all in one breath lest someone stop me.

Appu gestured me to come and sit near him. I went without another word. 

‘I know Ponnu. I know about it all. I didn’t know how to tell you.’

My face welled up with tears. My heart pained hard. ‘You knew,’ I stammered in a faint, broken voice.

Tears trickled down my weak face. Appu held me close to him. 

‘I am sad, Appu…I don’t know why! I really don’t know why…’

‘I know why.’

I listened without lifting my head. I didn’t want Appu to see my meaningless tears. 

‘You had learnt to love him, Ponnu. You had learnt to love his cute animal psychology without you knowing it. That is the power of animals, dear. They influence you so much that you begin to love them with all your tender heart.’

I lay down on the bed, staining the bedsheet with my tears of love. I closed my eyes. The only figure which saved me from the eye-pinching darkness was that of ‘my Tim.’ No…no, it was ‘Ammu’s Tommy’ I corrected myself desperately. But some unknown voice continued to chant the words ‘my Tim’ within me. ‘My Tim,’ I repeated loudly. ‘I loved you.’ No. I corrected myself again. 

‘I love you, my Tim.’


To my Tim of my wonderful imagination: You live here today in my heart as tender and fresh as I had first imagined you. Wherever you are, remain happy and healthy and remember that your Ammu and Ponnu Chechi would always love you.

1 Grandfather
2 Mother
3 Elder sister
4 Father

Shreya Anil is a 14 year old student from Trivandrum, Kerala, India. She is an author, blogger and public speaker. Her works have been published previously in The Bangalore Review and the leading supplement of The Hindu. She is also the author of ‘Where the Pen Kisses the Paper’.

Poetry | ‘You Will Never Know’, ‘I Was Not Born This Way’ by Priyanjali Negi (15) | School Student Writing

You Will Never Know

It has been almost a year since you left us alone,
And here I lie on my bed recollecting our last conversation over the phone.
Far away from each other,
But the emotions in our hearts were the same. 
My own little brother, 
And I never knew how well he played this hiding game.
During that silence, I went down memory lane.
It seemed quite pleasant then,
But now it pricks my heart causing a severe pain.
Remember, how once in school you were dressed as a fairy 
Is it okay to say that your absence has now become hard to carry?
These old videotapes of you with dad,
Just makes me more helpless and profoundly sad.
Do you know? I still send you messages on the phone.
I still make coffee and listen to “Here Comes the Sun” until dawn.  
No one knows that I sleep with your photo under my bed,
So that when you go to sleep you come to kiss me on my forehead.
I guess you will never know that I still divide my Maggi into equal halves of two,
And trust me.
There are times; I wish I were dead instead of you.

I Was Not Born This Way

I was not born this way
I know I am not unique,
And my thoughts do not belong here.
That is what makes me unable to speak,
And people think I don’t care.

I like to be alone,
I like to stay quiet,
There is an unseen pain in my tone,
As if each day my survival depends on a fight.

A fight not with the people,
A fight not with the world,
But a fight with the evil,
Which on my behalf is truly undeserved.

I sometimes wonder what I have grown into,
And wish for the child in me back.
The child who was always happy,
The child who was never sad.
The child who would be probably be laughing at me,
Looking at the things that I now lack.

Priyanjali Negi is a 15-year-old student from Delhi. She studies at Carmel Convent School. Her favourite poets is Alfred Tennyson and her favourite writer is Ruskin Bond.

Short Fiction | ‘An Unexpected Rendezvous’ by Simran Aneja (14) | School Student Writing

It was a moonless, rainy night and I was curled up on my couch under a warm blanket, sipping a cup of steaming hot chocolate filled to the brim with fluffy marshmallows on top. I was reading The Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie which perfectly fit the mood of the evening.

The book’s sense of mystery and suspense was what invited me to it in the first place. Today’s evening was a relatively pleasurable one when compared to other recent ones, considering the late-night shifts at my new workplace.

Outside, the rain came pouring down, as if a celestial dam had broken open and the Gods were celebrating. It resembled the sound of a thousand sticks hitting the surface of a drum all at once.

I switched on the radio to catch up on the latest news. The signal was weak, owing to the heavy showers. As soon as the radio was able to catch a slight signal, the speaker announced, “We have been notified by concerned authorities, that there is a serial killer on the loose. We request you to stay calm…advise you to stay indoors…lock…doors and windows…go outside only if it’s an emergency…the serial killer is described as a m–”

I’d lost the signal! I was petrified as I realised that I wouldn’t know if the serial killer was in my neighbourhood. Tensed, I got up and paced around the room, thinking of a possible solution. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the ancient sword that had been in my family for centuries. I felt slightly reassured–if I were to have an unexpected rendezvous with the serial killer anytime soon, I could use the sword in self-defence.

Satiated with security, I walked back towards the couch. As I was about to slip under the warm blanket and return to my book, I heard a loud, firm knock on the door. Horror struck, I plodded towards the door. I looked through the peephole and saw a man. He was crying and looked as if he had no money on him. I opened the door and asked him how I can help him.

He cried out, “Madam, I’ve heard that there is a serial killer on the loose. I am an innocent beggar and I sleep on the pavement. I have got absolutely no place to go. I am extremely terrified, Madam. I do not wish to die.”

Wailing, even louder, he continued, “Madam, I…I’ll…I’ll give you whatever I have. I request you, Madam.” He handed me a fifty pence coin from one of his pockets. My mind told me I shouldn’t be doing this, but my heart felt differently so I invited him inside. I sat him down on one of the sofas, and ran to get him a blanket and something hot to drink. I returned soon, only to witness a shocking sight. I was at a loss for words.

The beggar was holding the ancient family sword, as he flashed me an evil smile and said, “In your next life, on an eerily silent, moonless, rainy night, never let a stranger in.”

Simran Aneja is 14-year-old student at Mayo College Girls’ School, Ajmer. She enjoys writing poems, essays and short stories. Her favourite writer is Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.

Poetry | ‘Dauntless Dreams’ by Subhanjali Saraswati (18) | Student Writing

Paranoia glared through the windows,
She started melting under the heat
Inch by inch,
She lost pounds, sterlings, dollars.
The counties were long gone,
It was now time for the countries.
Gone were the days the ice melted.
It was frozen still today,
The roads, the ravages, the restless pace.
Crossed by a bullet would have been easier
Simpler even.
Wrath ran through the veins,
Just as throats stopped croaking,
The stomachs synced to a stop.
Pouring thoughts dried up,
Even the moments demanded to be unfelt.
Grains had at last churned death.

The drains were pouring,
Flesh, bones, blood seemed united.
Borne or Born,
Pinned onto a single thought.
Plagued minds ruled the worlds.
Twists, turns, all were straights.

Perfect lines. Dotted I’s.
Traces of laced life.
Dashed through the vigilance.
Worn nails varnished in the pages of history.
Bane? Liquor drove the healthy.
Myriad magic, the sane.
Trash cans lifted to tables,
Torn paper traced into perfect circles.
Lives un-longed for, deaths de-glorified.
Demands dressed in dreams,
Doused in amnesia,
Arousals arrested in anarchy.

Drought was scarce,
Sanguine floods crashed humanity.
Fierce Fire forested in few farms.
Passive lives ran out of machines.
Mannerisms murdered,
Streaked past Survival.

Uncouth vehemence vandalised
Deep sweet darkness.

No light, no right,
Not a penchant of twilight.
Midnight hues were well past.
Paranoia ruled Paris tonight.
Her dust opened doors.
Damsels had departed distress,
Doom was thus ‘daughter-ed’.
Dimensionless depth swept clean,
Directions diverged into allegiance,
All to the beats of her breath.

Subhanjali Saraswati is an 18-year-old first year undergraduate student at University of Hyderabad. She is studying Political Science. Her favourite poet is John Donne.

Student Writing

A new section showcasing young voices in fiction, poetry and non fiction; featuring writing from students in schools and universities aged 19 or below.

Student Writing | Latest Pieces


Poetry | ‘It’ by Rachel Deyis (18) | Student Writing

I feel it shift inside me, this wild, furred thing that has uncurled itself from the slumberous warmth of my belly  and climbed the rungs of my ribcage to settle within my chest. For weeks it has been still, all flickering eyelids and gentle prodding, but today its eyes blink wide open, awake- silvered claws…

Poetry | ‘Dauntless Dreams’ by Subhanjali Saraswati (18) | Student Writing

Paranoia glared through the windows,She started melting under the heatInch by inch,She lost pounds, sterlings, dollars.The counties were long gone,It was now time for the countries.Perhaps,Gone were the days the ice melted.It was frozen still today,The roads, the ravages, the restless pace.Crossed by a bullet would have been easierSimpler even.Wrath ran through the veins,Just as…

Poetry | ‘Fate of the Forgotten’ by Chandana. D (15) | School Student Writing

There goes the isolated fishermanIn his desolate wooden boat,Trying his best to be restrained fromAll the misery that poverty connotes. The sun has set,The incessant time goes.Lost in the sea of the forgotten,The abandoned fisherman rows. Maybe if it was not him,That hope had parted so badly within,He would have probably been laughing,With his beloved…

Poetry | ‘Glass Grows’ & Other Poems by U. Sai Sruti | School Student Writing

Glass Grows we live in a glass worldglass dolls and glass mindsgrowing out of glass junglesglass bodies cracking and greenthis glass shatters in this glowing streamof green blood and green heartsbleeding blackening greasegreen governments eyeing the glass greenand piercing glass into these bodiesthat spew their spleen of earth-shattering greenglass breaking, burning, brewingglass minds that grow…

Poetry | ‘Clueless Nights’ by Ashaani Taneja (15) | School Student Writing

I sat on the muddy brown boulders,to watch the sun go down,to see the beautiful night,I felt the calmness as my hair swayed with wind,and my wings, which were collapsed earlier,rose and flapped in the wind,cutting the current with its black feathers,which came out of my wings,blew towards the setting sun.Through the cracks in the…