FICTION

Malini was a prolific 'non-writer', in her own modest words.

 

This is a collection of her fiction, poetry and prose, most of it unpublished. 

TINNED FISH

A short story

...What’s in the space between brown and black? A vacuum. My brother didn’t care for such details of our divergence. He took after our father, stoic and tall and dark. Me? I almost pass as South African walking down Vilakazi street after a drunken braai - provided the sky was dark and the beer ran amber. Mostly I’m mistaken as Ethiopian. Men either find it exotic or offensive, depending on which part of the neighbourhood they’re in. Perhaps that’s why my mother sent us to leafy suburban schools. She didn’t know where to put her no-man’s children...

TINY MONSTERS

A short story

At some point in your early childhood, an adult had given you a little bud. It’s always an adult; always a little bud. They’re often very similar, these buds, but never identical. A small bruised-purple thing at first, tightly wound and intricately layered. As a child, you never really knew what to do with them, so you put them in your back pockets. Some of you were lucky enough to have them wither and die, or perhaps crushed by the boot of a person who cared enough to notice it. Most of you weren’t that fortunate. I know. Most of you held on to them in the hope that they would one day turn into something that would protect you. They never do...

JOE AND LINDI

A short story

Joe and Lindi strolled up the pathway holding hands. For five-year olds, it was a gesture that held no deep meaning. Nothing held deep meaning to them, because things were just what they were- cool, or nice, or mean, or fun. Friendship wasn’t a loaded word, neither was love. And they loved each other a lot. Their universe was insulated by innocence, and in place of silences there were stories and secrets, in place of loneliness there were trees with souls. In place of scars there were warriors and wizards; brought to life solely by the warmth of each other’s hands. They were gods here, until the day they would believe otherwise...

PATIENT ZERO

A collection

At the age of 15, my sister disappeared. It wasn’t a big deal. Girls disappeared all the time. As pretty and inconsequential as butterflies. Spring in Kerala would bring out the big ones; reaching feelers and lurid wings. My sister would grab at them with her tiny hands, plucking them out of the sky. Each time she would be confused as they crumbled, wings broken, unable to fly when she sent them free. Each time, she would return to our mother, full of remorse as she recounted hurting God’s creature. And each time, our mother would only sigh...

THE PORTRAIT

A short story

The paint on her face seemed to be gone. Dripped off during the post-mortems, the waits in between the arguments for and against burials or cremations, seeping out while the living quarrelled among each other. Yet she didn’t seem to wipe that almost-smile off her face. Even in death she seemed to be in on a joke that none of us understood. I wondered whether I had ever noticed that about her before...

THE EXTRAS (INTRO)

A short story concept

...And so Jonathan skulked along with his pleasant girlfriend and cat, auditing things and debating other things. One of the millions Deus created — ‘insulation’ the gods called it. Little dots and spots born everywhere, creating the blotchy background on which the stars of the show pranced...

BLUE

A short story

Blue. It’s a lovely colour on you. I can feel it in your heartbeat, stringy in the wind around you. Changing molecules, colliding with the air. I sat to watch you donning blue, like that dress you wore when I first saw you. You’d changed so much since, your pulse beating softly in the dip of your neck. I’d like to still remember you as you were then, the hair bouncing at your chin as you turned to say hello...

WORDS AND SHIT

A short story concept

I watched hour after hour of my E True Hollywood Story. We were never Hollywood, but E made an exception for us. Because that’s what people wanted to see, and we had become a commodity. It’s kind of like looking back at highschool dance photos and cringing. Except the cringe doesn’t quite originate from the ridiculous way you wore your hair, or that piece of overpriced crap you passed off for an outfit. It comes from seeing your 17 year old self, smiling back at you in disarming delusion  – believing in wholehearted completion that she looks fucking fabulous wearing a long bedazzled sock on a night that would supposedly be worth the bedazzled sock’s overpricedness. Stupid girl.

THE THAALI

A short story

It seems like decades now since the day of her death. For a long time after, I could still remember each dimple on David’s body. Each laugh line, each smirk and frown, every freckle – my personal painting. I’d slowly begun to lose him too, when I lost her. Suddenly the central point of my story had shifted, and with it, my characters. Our conversations became jilted. His empathy for my depression dissipated after a few months, and soon the colour I had painted into David seeped out the margins. I caught myself finding his touch and his moans irksome until, eventually, fucking became an obligatory kindness.

These are original works by Malini Mohana, collected from online profiles, digital and handwritten notebooks.

Where works are works-in-progress, they have been presented in unedited form.

 

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