• Freedom at midnight, Tapan Mozumdar


    Just a good life for his son, that’s all Shyamnath wanted. At least that’s what the fifty-two year old circle inspector of the city municipality would like people to bel […]

    • Tricky topic to write about, so good job doing it well. All the stuff about bribes, councils and so on felt a little above my paygrade. I had no trouble following it (just didn’t care about it), I guess you wanted to show what his father was doing to give his son something he didn’t want. The wife felt very weak as a person, and I suspect the father is very domineering. So many layers happening in this story.
      I can never understand why parents can’t just let their kids enjoy life and do what they want. As a parent your only job is to leave good memories for you kids (a quote from a movie). Not drive them away.
      Nice one, that’s the second story this month dealing with suicide under the freedom prompt. 😉
      Question: How does the astronaut image relate to this story? Or did you upload the wrong file… 😉 Or did I miss something.

    • I enjoyed your writing style here, the phrasing of your narrative. I agree with Michael that you could tighten up on the bribery end of the story. I liked how you show the mother speaking with a neighbor through the window, how you have her self-isolated from both father and son.I would live to know more about the son, more about the writing with bubbles – what is sketched there? I love these lines: ‘Freedom is costly,’ a character was saying. ‘If you can’t buy it,’ said another, ‘then steal.’
      Is this a standalone or the start if something larger? Either well, a great read.

    • Such a tragic story and not the ending I expected. The astronaut image sort of fooled me into thinking the son had either been abducted by aliens or run away to pursue another career path altogether.
      I think a small reference to the argument could have been mentioned earlier = something like ‘He was on familiar territory now, bargaining with clients, sidestepping their every move. If only the same could have been said during his argument with his son earlier that evening…’ that kind of thing.
      Your style of writing reminds me of an excellent author of years gone by – but I’m afraid I can’t bring the name to mind – I remember reading one of his short stories about a man with one of the fatal gastro-intestinal diseases watching a tiger drinking from a stream. Maybe you know who I mean….
      The use of the prompt is very good and quite subtle when I think back to the scribbled words in the notebook. I liked the title too.

  • Dear Jan

    I liked the world building and vulnerability of the characters which are mighty otherwise. As I have not read the preceding tales, it was not easy for me to place them in the world they are in. I will wait for this to be built up into a novel and enjoy the credible images you create through your words. All the best!

  • The story is well crafted. It follows all rules of a good story, well etched characters, interesting settings and a twist in the hand. The concept of a hunter head-hunting a professional to put her career at jeopardy, though, seems stretched. If a motive of Chuck to hunt the protagonist down and spoil her career through two things she can’t…[Read more]

  • “Didn’t occur to them they’re not identical and are opposite genders.” A gem of a line in its unraveling of mundane into funny.
    Enough has been written above this story. I will not add. This story can feature in a story writing class as it has everything right. Almost copybook in its structure (start to evoke curiosity, middle to settle with a…[Read more]

  • Dear Nina

    I liked the scene unfolding like an episode of a long web series. It sure has that potential. Use of store is creative and unexpected. Orphaned Soshona is portrayed well. I hope it becomes a longer and complete story on its now (sans the prompts). Thanks for sharing. It was quite educative for me.

  • Mucho gracias, Jan, to come back and read my story. I am glad that my words could speak to you

  • Thanks for reading it June. I am sorry that my intent couldn’t reach you

  • Gracias! I am glad that my intent could reach you Jennifer

  • Gracias! Your encouragement means a lot to me

  • Death is a reliever, ends all your worries—or so you were told. By that religious book in the puja corner Ma had, with covers of dried blood, in color, its mildewed pages those words in a language you never q […]

    • This is so rich and powerful, exploding with imagery. A prose poem compelling and provocative and so terribly sad and yet…exquisite.

    • Your writing is so poetic. I especial loved this sentence: “A finch tries to match the play of its tail with the amplitude and frequency of the oscillating paddies.” For its poetry. I also loved how you described his mother pleading outside his door until she lost her voice. “Ma pleaded till her failing voice could.” One phrase that I didn’t quite understand was, “on the roof of his landlord”. Very well written. My heart ached for your main character between his inner torment and his desire to just be accepted for who he was. His last thought of being ashamed because he was naked was very telling.

    • This is very dense, Tapan. Full of evocative descriptions. I can’t say I understood a lot of it, but it felt like you were writing a stream of consciousness, rather than a story. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Tapan,
      How are you? It’s been a while.
      This is a very touching story – layered in emotions and intrigue.
      I suppose yes, in death we are all equal. And death doesn’t care. How sad that in life that that can not be the case.
      I like how you used second person here for the narration, it makes it really close and personal for the reader. And beautiful imagery as always in your story.
      At death, the maya, or illusion is lifted – I hope our guy will find his place in the sun, and his happiness.
      Well done and thank you for sharing.

  • Thanks Gold! It’s an honor to listen to such encouraging words from a fellow writer.

  • Decadence was almost Roman! Gradual, spiraling down, till it reached abyss. I wonder how much of work was getting done there! Quite an amusing story! My setting this month is similar, and the tone is of decadence. I liked the pets getting center stage towards the end of the story and couldn’t help thinking about the privileged position some people…[Read more]

  • I enjoyed the ambiance! Ms Botha (not Mr) as the ever demanding client will stay in my mind. I smiled throughout the story, chuckled at a few places. The world of cerebra mapping to the virtual universe is quite a fun take! Well done

  • Narrative is anchored in reality. Sentences are well formed, good choice of words to explain Miranda’s situation. The narrative seems a part of a longer fiction, and thus, the end could have been more of a cliffhanger, an episodic revelation of death of a relationship. The narrative has potent ingredients to build up to an intriguing narrative. I…[Read more]

  • Quite a climax! An innocent victim, POV of a conniving crook, the exact details of a boardroom, all worked so well in the hands of an experienced writer like you. I learned a thing or two from this reading. Thanks for sharing!
    And Pleasance is such a contrary surname for the CFO! Those guys are anything but pleasant

  • It seems personal and loss is palpable through the words. Elaborate preparation builds up much expectation and put to rest, no pun intended, in the end. I felt emotional as a reader. Details are much and at one point, I was getting distracted. In another draft, is it okay to replace some details with a few anecdotes with the mother? It may make…[Read more]

  • Are you a practicing scriptwriter? For it sure felt like one fast paced scene. Powerful visuals, speed in telling. Nice!
    Just that it felt like a part of a larger story. I could not place the context right.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Thanks for your observation Nina. I struggle in keeping sarcasm concealed in my voice in real life, though! Hasn’t fared well for me in work life

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Tapan Mozumdar

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