Dear IL Readers, I love short stories... I collect short story collections.. and I love reading them. I tried my hand at a lot of short ( some very very short ones...) Some were a part of a game... Some reader would give me three totally unconnected words...and all who are interested would write our short stories using those three words... Then there was a fellow blogger who would ask questions and we had to write stories answering that question. Since you all responded wonderfully to my other writings....I thought I'd now post some of my short stroies... Hope you enjoy reading them as much as I loved writing them! Kalyanasundaram faced a cul de sac. The very thought of going home for dinner filled him with dread. Another paratha to eat and I’ll scream, he thought. Amma had been right. Think twice before marrying a Punjabi, she had said. Their life style and ours are not the same. But his love for Sarabjeet had been blind. Funny how she used to remind him of a tall glass of chilled meethi lassi that he used to order in Parmeet di Dabha…and ... that was another thing he couldn’t stand any more. His patted the layers of lard that had accumulated around his waist in the last three months of wedded nightmare! Being posted in Jalandhar, it seemed a good idea to move in with Sarabjeet’s family, once they were married. Besides, she was the only daughter of doting parents. Once the rose coloured spectacles of newly married life were removed, reality struck. The toughest thing to compromise on was the food. Chapathi for breakfast, paratha for lunch, tandoori roti for dinner….Oooh! His palate just longed for some pazhaya sadam (leftover rice) and katta thayiru( thick curds) accompanied by kadugu mangai ( spicy tender mango pickle)… But… no way… His mother in law could not even boil rice properly. When he had placed the desire for eating rice before Sarabjeet, he had been served a plate of ghee- dripping, half-cooked, basmati rice tempered with jeera. He did not bother them again. He bought himself a rice cooker, one which worked on electricity, which he hid in his office. Every morning he’d make one cup of rice for himself and gobble it around 11.30 with curds and pickle bought at the local Foodworld. Sarabjeet personally brought his lunch to the office everyday. Sinfully rich parathas and aloo gobhi or palak paneer or if in a mood to punish him…,sarson da saag. He would take a deep whiff of it and feign to drool…just to keep her happy. After she left, once the coast was clear, he would throw the whole thing outside the compound wall, exactly at 1.30 p m. The local curs would be waiting for their lunch and there’d be no trace of his lunch left over. Since he suffered the punjabi breakfast and dinner, he felt justified in indulging in a little madrasi deceit. Today he felt very deceitful! For a week he had been attracted by the newly- opened Udupi restaurant on the other side of the town. Today, irresistibly he was drawn into the Kamath restaurant. “Sadadosamasaladosaidliwadasambharoottappamkarabhathchowchowbathmeduwa-damasalwadaakkkirotiuppumaaaaaa!!!” announced the server in one long breath. He trembled with joy! Oh! Good old hotel jargon…! Even the way they announced the menu was appetizing! Kalyanasundaram said, ‘Idli vada sambhar and oothappam' and closed his eyes in bliss… 'and one filter kaapi', he said hurriedly before the boy left. He rang home and told Sarabjeet, ‘Oye! Have an urgent meeting…You have food, Don’t wait for me… Madraasi clients to deal with!’ That settled, he tackled the steaming idli wada sambhar that was plonked before him. All’s fair in love and war! He consoled himself… He loved Sarabjeet…but he loved his madrasiness more. Diversity in Unity!