FLASH FICTION BY RONGILI BISWAS
In the Meadow
In the meadow. Cannot take his eyes off the crow. Someone told him the crow could be tamed if he managed to sprinkle enough salt upon its tail. Contemplates the task at hand.
Pecking at some poor long-dead insect. Looking unconcerned. Not worrying about its tail or the possibility of being smothered with salt.
Cogitative silence. Looking the crow up and down. His patched pair of trousers along with the suspenders — sunburnt and dusty — are unable to keep his faded peasant’s shirt within its fold, and the latter balloons backward. His head looks like a harvested field whose stubble has gone white for some reason.
Still refusing to lift its head, implants its thin legs on the ground. Concentrates on the putrid insect out there.
Tries to put his hands in an old posterior pocket, and realizing that a big hole now exists there, withdraws. The substance for bewitching the crow may, after all, be in the stitched black extra pocket by the side of his right knee.
His hand reaches out for that, his bare feet digging into the somewhat-brown-somewhat green field with uncertainty. He takes a couple of steps forward. Wants to throw the salt at the right place and hug the crow but fails to do either.
It starts drizzling. A hard wind blows raindrops everywhere. The boy gets thoroughly soaked as well as the crow.
(Inspired by a painting of AKG)
The Glycerine Months
It was still spring. The widows-thrill flowers were still in bloom. But they were losing a part of their colour.
And their soul too. For, they looked emaciated. Looking at those withered flowers, I would realize that spring had arrived. And winter was far gone. And we needed our glycerine bottles nonetheless.
When winter came, my mother used to buy those bottles from some place. They tasted sweet, but lacked any visible colour. And they contained only a slight odour — an insipid one. In those days, we would dip ourselves in that dull liquid at all hours of the day.
For, winter and early spring were our glycerine months.
It is spring again. Now a moon sickle-shaped, orange. Palm fronds swaying in front. Terrace replete with deadened buds, ruined petals. The moon looks like a spoonful of tangerine marmalade. I look for my mother’s image in the glycerine bottle that still had half its content untouched.
I fail to see much. The liquid looks vicious under its innocuous paleness. Its smell must have faded long back. And the strange sweetness, I feel, has vanished with her as well.
I draw back with some effort. No one should taste death like her, I tell myself.
Woman with her Jewel-box
She holds the box almost like a biblical gift. It seems precious, but her interest in it is not far from a scientist’s interest in microbes. Her magnificent fingers lift a gem necklace amongst other splashy ornaments. She narrows her eyes, her lower lip protruding only slightly.
Her white fluffy gown — the curvature of her breasts, the redness of her chignon and her calm, detached look make for a strange dissonance.
(Inspired by a painting of GC)
The Dragonfly Dream
I was at the edge of a crag, and someone pushed me from behind. I did not tumble. I did not flinch. I started flying instead and soared so high up that my wings gave in unknowingly. The heathen soothsayers who poured incantation upon my ears were all smiling. A strange desire for volitation egged me on till my dragonfly body embraced the azure clouds and went up in flames. Long enough for me to wake up amid my own debris. Long enough to look at my singed body, charred wings, and smouldering legs. And to write this much, so you do not forget who I really was.
Self-portrait of HS
Her strokes rapid and her hints unfaltering. I still wonder how one can beget such death-like pallor with charcoal, silver leaf, and splashes of coloured water.
All I can see is grey. Hair bobbed and neat, glance strangely oblique, lips pressed hard.
The effects of her resolute chin, contours of her brows, firmness of her philtrum are baffling.
Her Mackintosh — its upturned collar — dim, dusky and dark. Wisps of blue above her head. Roseate for the lips.
She inhabits a space that is hoary, freckled and ashen. Much like her face – Pale. Thin. Wan.
And Splotches everywhere.
Beauteous. Broken. Brown.
Also, read Two Flash Fiction Pieces by Rongili Biswas, published in The Antonym: