Looking After

Genre: Urban, Slice of Life

“Sweet ma’am, 10 Rupees please, I’m hungry.”  He tapped the car’s window till the traffic signal turned green.

“Not so sweet ma’am, eh?” Latika teased as he ran back to the footpath amidst traffic.

“She was a fat whore! I made no money today.”  He lit a beedi and sat next to her.

“I made a good deal. Bunch of guys liked my gymnastics; gave me 100 Rupees. We can split it” She said, taking the beedi from him.

“Horny bastards! They touched you?” He asked.

She took a long drag of the beedi. “Only with their eyes.”


98 words for Friday Fictioneers this week.

For the uninitiated, in case you are wondering what is going on here, read on. Friday Fictioneers is an excellent forum for people looking to have fun as they learn the nuances of writing. Every Friday a bunch of us write 100 words (no hard rules there) for prompts posted by Rochelle who runs the show.

This week’s prompt comes from Claire Fuller. Amazing art form, there is so much said in it, that words fall short. I felt a strong connection with the prompt the moment I saw it. But my heart sank at the same time, wondering what I would be doing with it!

I tried to write something different, something more real than fiction, at least in the part of the world I come from. Beggars are very common in India, and while it is very easy to feel sorry for the downtrodden, things are never as simple as they look. Nothing is black and white, only grey and greyer.  The story alludes to the prompt, albeit vaguely. Not sure if anyone else would feel the connection too.

The Prompt:

Copyright – Claire Fuller

Shorter way to get to the other stories:

44 thoughts on “Looking After

  1. I liked this a lot, Parul. You really gave your characters life! I can’t explain the connection between the sculpture and the story, but I get it. It’s almost like these two (in sculpture and in story) are bound to one another in some raw, imperfect, yet somehow wistful, way…

  2. An amazing story describing the symbiotic relationship between the two young souls depicted in an amazing sculpture. Very poignant ring of truth in this story.

  3. Great story .. I used to smoke beedees when young, a few times! Your last paragraph in your explanation was a gem, yes, everything is grey and greyer. I do know what you mean. I could swear you wrote your story with a feather, by the way. Not the nib, the plume..so subtle and delicate was your touch, and ideas. And that is true.

  4. brilliant story, Parul! harsh reality. and i love that last line “Only with their eyes”. ^^ my aunt used to tell me how to deal with men’s lecherous looks. she simply said, “they can look. but it’s not like they an take it.” LOL such a unique and great take on the prompt.

  5. A very beautiful story, and I certainly saw the connection between the couple and my sculpture. They’re both looking after each other without saying so – she with sharing her money, he with worrying about that the men have touched her. Lovely.

  6. I didn’t get the connection but was so immersed in the story that I forgot all about that old statue! Connections are personal so we won’t all see the same thing and that’s the beauty of FF 🙂 Really loved this story – I thought your writing was wonderful.

  7. Dear Parul,
    As I’ve said on numerous occasions. The prompt is the jumping off point. Whether you use it as an illustration or a faint inspiration is up to the author.
    I said that to say how much I love your story. A slice of urban life that most of don’t see. Thanks for giving me a glimpse of a world far from my own. Nice job.

  8. Dear Parul,

    This is it!
    This is your strength!
    This is the world you can share that half of your audience will never see.

    I absolutely loved this story, totally got the connection to the prompt and applaud your writing throughout.

    Can’t say enough about this, Parul. Wow.



  9. You brought your special ooint of view and experience to this story, which is why it’s so powerful. Our younger daughter told us about the beggars in India and I remember my first experience with them in Ireland back in the 70’s, not a comfortable experience. In Chicago, there are homeless people begging in many places but they don’t do anything but hold out cups.


  10. I love these characters. They are both so full of life despite their circumstances. Very well drawn. I know this was a change for you, but have you got plans to develop their story/ use them again?

  11. Bridge Over Troubled Water: He ain’t heavy, he’s her brother/lover/boyfriend. She will comfort him. She’s on his side. When he needs a friend. She will lay herself down.And vice versa.

  12. Unique use of the prompt, P. I liked how you did not identify the connection to the two beggars. I can form my own idea… young kids, not lovers, not related, just friends, maybe living on the street, maybe not. Your words did not fall short.

Would love to hear what you have to say about this! :)

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