10 min read


In those years we heard a lot about it.

Bharadwaj Lake.

Tucked away in some corner of Faridabad. 

The surface still like faint glass, no wind, nor ripple about to crease its glistening body. Inscrutable. Unyielding. A mirror upon which we had been rendered askew. You see, it had beckoned us to it. It had known how to tantalize us, seduce us, with its unending stories of adventure and thrill and preternatural vistas. 

We were just kids. 

What awaited us there? A story we could tell ourselves and the rest of them in school maybe.

I think now of how it was formed.

Of Dynamite. Of shovels splitting the earth. Of explosions and their cannonading sounds, of the blasted smithereens of sandstone and lime, of their tiny pieces spiraling and hurtling through the sky like shrapnel from a lost war, of trees torn out of the earth and turned to sprinkled dust.

A vacant crater that seeped water until it was a beautiful lake.

That’s what had drawn us to it. The beauty. The mystery. Bamba, Ponty, Gillu, and I. Friends since KG and now set on an adventure at an age when hair had begun sprouting on our faces. Except Gillu that is. 

His face remained barren.


“Bro see this!” Bamba said, looking at Ponty.

He tossed the football to the ground and caught it on his foot. 

“Ronaldinho part two incoming!”

He raised his leg until the ball was a few feet above the ground. 

Then he slipped his foot out from under the ball, brought it over and around the football, and placed his leg underneath it before it touched the ground. We were impressed.

Bamba grinned at Ponty and said, “Around the world.”

“Nice man,” Ponty said.

I nodded.

“Dikha! Dikha! Let me try also!” Gillu said as he snatched the ball from Bamba. We watched Gillu as he tried to balance the ball on his foot. We watched as it tumbled down his foot and he said, “Sorry guys.” We watched as he finally got the ball to balance and then tried to do the around-the-world and tripped and fell on his ass and laughed. 

A squeaky laugh. A laugh unembarrassed by the patch of dust caked over his butt.

I gave a weak smile. Bamba looked at Ponty, who stayed silent, and then snatched the ball from Gillu and said, “Such a fucking loser man...”

The smile disappeared from Gillu’s face. Then Bamba walked up to Ponty and placed a hand on his shoulder and said, “You all want to reach the lake today or not!”

We walked on a mud pathway lined on either side with a dense thicket of trees. We had a vague idea of where the lake was. But it was early in the morning, and we had a lot of time. So we talked. About Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl—a film we had watched recently. About the plot, about Jack Sparrow, about our favourite action set pieces. But more than anything, we talked about Kiera Knightley. Her acting first, then her face, her beautiful, perfectly sculpted face, and how many of us had a crush on her (all of us). Then Bamba told us that there was a rumour that she and Orlando Bloom had fucked on set. We absorbed this information quietly, the silence aquiver with unease. Then Ponty said that they were lucky that Orlando Bloom did not study in their school. Because if he did, all the girls would run after him and they would get nobody. Bamba agreed. I nodded. Ponty said if Orlando Bloom came to school their low-waist pants and spike cuts would make no difference. No girl would even look at them. No girl. Not Maahi, not Khushi, not Yashna, not Saloni, not Simone, none of them. Bamba said he agreed and wondered aloud how many girls had a crush on him. He answered his own question by saying: “at least 3.” Ponty wondered aloud too and Bamba said, “bro you’re toh a full on chick magnet.” Ponty smiled and asked how many girls had a crush on me. Bamba and Ponty looked at me. There was silence. “I saw Konpal looking at you the other day,” Ponty said. “Haan bhai, possible, possible,” Bamba added. I laughed and said, “Chee yaar, who wants Konpal?” Ponty looked at me and said, “Bro, cover the face, fuck the base.”

I just laughed.

I wondered aloud how many girls had a crush on Gillu.

We turned around and looked at him. 

He was trailing behind us, his head down. I could push him once and send him flying. He’d probably fall. Probably sit there and cry like he always did. It was his go-to defense anyway. Teacher scolds him, cry. Low marks in Unit Test, cry. Got hurt in games period, cry. Insulted in the corridor, cry. Girl said no, cry.

“Bhai he’ll die a virgin,” Bamba said.

“Rub off his virgin energy on us too man,” I said jokingly.

Ponty looked at me and nodded.

The landscape remained relentless, the line of trees unceasing, an absolute quiet, save distant and occasional bird calls. Bamba was walking with the ball balanced on his forehead. Ponty just ahead of him.

He looked back at Gillu and said, “Oye Gillu!”

“What?” Gillu said.

“Come here na?”

Gillu jogged up to Ponty, who placed a hand on his shoulder and said, “You know what Bamba was saying?”


“You’ll die a virgin.”

“Bamba is a chutiya bhai.”

“Acha so he’s wrong?”


Then Gillu looked at Ponty and smiled. He walked up to Bamba and pushed him, making him drop the football to the ground. Then he grabbed the ball and walked ahead of us and started dribbling it with an affected air of indifference. Ponty jogged up to Gillu and said, “Abe kya hua?”

“Nothing man,” Gillu said with a smirk.

I think we already knew what Gillu was trying to tell us.

It was the smug look on his face. It was the smirk he had given Ponty. 

Bamba and I were listening closely.

Gillu kept dribbling.

“Bataayega ab?” Ponty said.

Gillu stopped. He turned to look at Ponty and said: “I won’t die a virgin because I’m not a virgin bro.”

It was a lie. Obviously.

I mean, it’s fine, I had also lied once. I had actually never kissed a girl, but I’d made up a fictional girl whom I’d hooked up with in my apartment colony. I know Bamba had also lied about a girl letting him touch her breasts once. We all lied. It was fine. But there was no way in hell any girl would touch Gillu with a barge pole.

Ponty looked right through it.

He laughed and said, “Abey raping Sherdill doesn’t count.”

Sherdill was his dog—a Pomeranian—and when Bamba and I heard that we started laughing. Gillu’s face fell. But then he smiled and said, “Acha theek hai, I won’t tell you who then,” and started dribbling again. 

“Haan, haan, don’t tell bhenchod,” Ponty said.

“He would have said Shakira for all you know.”Bamba and I laughed again.

“Arre Bamba, I’m telling you, must have been Priyanka Chopra, hai na?” Ponty said, slapping Gillu on the back.

“Or maybe it was Tori Black,” Bamba said.

“Yaar who knows what all Gillu hides from us?”

“True,” Bamba replied, “maybe it’s Katrina Kaif.”“Bhai maybe Gillu is a player.”

“Maybe Gillu has chicks all over him man. We just don’t know.”

“Goes home in a limousine full of girls.”

“Gillu the sex god.”

“Gillu the Porn star.”

“Bhai Gillu you have any tips for us?”

“I heard Johnny Sins calls Gillu for tips.”

“Bhai I heard Kama Sutra is just a collection of Gillu’s favourite positions.”

“Gillu, yaar have you done it with Britney Spears?”

“Ya Miley Cyrus?”

“Arre bata bhi de Gillu.”

“Why so shy?”

“Seriously yaar.”

Gillu stopped dribbling the ball and looked at them and said, “You both really want to know na?”

Bamba and Ponty looked at each other.

Ponty said, “But we know."

“Haan, probably some film star,” Bamba replied.

“Or like singer maybe.”

“Ya some out of his league chick in school maybe.”Gillu smiled and nodded. “Closer bhai, closer.

”Ponty looked startled and said, “Kaun bhai, Prakriti?”

Gill shook his head.


Gillu shook his head again.

“Toh phir what, Vidushi?”

Gillu patted Ponty on the shoulder and said, “Yes.”

Bamba and Ponty burst out laughing. I laughed with them.

“If Vidushi hears this she’ll kill herself man,” Bamba said.

“I’m not lying,” Gillu said.

“Acha bhai, so Vidushi?” Ponty asked.

“Haan bhai,” Gillu said.

Ponty shook his head and started walking away. Bamba followed.

I saw Gillu’s face change from smug to desperate. I could see Gillu thinking fast. “Bhai it was at her home,” he said. “I took math tuitions from her mother. She used to study with me too.” 

“Sure bro,” Bamba said.

“She said I was better than her last one.

”Ponty stopped. “Last one?” He said.

Suddenly Gillu smiled. “Haan, now you’ll hear me no?” he said.

“What do you mean?” Bamba asked.

“She told me who her last one was friends,” Gillu said. “It was one of you three.”

We were silent. Gillu looked at us. Then he said, “And I was better than him because…"

He stopped. I saw him relish the silence.

“Because doston the last one…couldn’t get it up. No matter how much she tried, just…didn’t happen…rocket didn’t launch.

”It wasn’t me.

I had never slept with Vidushi, so it must have been either Bamba or Ponty.

I looked at both of them. They were quiet.Gillu could have stopped there, should have stopped there, but he went on, “Sorry but the girls in school know about this. So, seriously, dekh lo guys, who will really die a virgin here.”

And then he turned and started walking away from us.

Under normal circumstances, if Gillu pulled something like this, he would be on the ground staring at his bloodied teeth. 

But we didn’t know whether what he said was true. We didn’t know if he had actually slept with Vidushi, if she had really told him what he claimed to know. To protect ourselves, we had to believe—or pretend to believe—that what Gillu had said was a lie. For if one of us got mad, and went to beat him up, the rest of us would be inclined to believe that the rumour was about that specific individual.

So we couldn’t even fucking hit him.

He had us.

The fucker had us right where he wanted.


We walked on for what seemed like an hour. Each footstep raising soft clouds of dust. Droplets of sweat aquiver at the tip of our noses. The mud path unwavering, relentless, bearing the remotest evidence of others passed through—a singular footprint standing lonesome at the edge of a steep drop-off, the tire mark of a Pulsar dwindling at a cratered incline, the broken shards of a Kingfisher-Ultra peeking out through the dry earth like the remnants of an ancient ruin.

So quiet. 

We heard only our steady breaths. We heard Gillu’s slight, carefree hop. The tune he hummed, a bit too loudly. The times he stopped and gazed at the unremarkable sights, a bit too dramatically. His oohs and aahs. His forward stoop as he plucked a flower. His loud and noisy movements.

Bamba, Ponty, and I walked quietly. I looked at both of them. Their faces were stone; they gave away nothing. And yet the silence they walked in was uneasy, unsettling. I wished then that I had never come here. But I obediently trailed behind everyone. We crossed a fallen log, an egret perched upon an emaciated cow, undulating hills in the distance. If we were lost, nobody wanted to admit it. 

We reached a point where the path split into two. 

“Ab kya bhenchod?” Ponty muttered.

“You don’t know?” Gillu asked.

“Why would I know?” Ponty said.

“Because it was your plan bro.

”Ponty didn’t say anything. Gillu turned and looked at the divergent paths. “I’m going to go that way,” he said, pointing to the right.

“Why?” Bamba said.

Gillu shrugged and began walking. We watched Gillu walk along the path and disappear into the distance where the path took a sharp right. We stood there not knowing what to do. 

“Should we also go?” Bamba said, looking at Ponty.

Ponty didn’t say anything.

We heard a scream. 

We ran down the path and took the right and saw the lake at the end of a rocky descent. But Gillu was nowhere to be found. “Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck,” Bamba said, as he and I looked everywhere frenziedly. Ponty however just stood at the edge of the descent and looked down the decline quietly.

We heard another scream. We turned around, startled, and saw Gillu emerging from behind a tree.

He was bent over in laughter and clutching his stomach. 

I felt consumed by rage but before I could do anything I saw Ponty walk up to him and grab his collar and wrestle him into a stranglehold. He leaned his weight into Gillu. He made Gillu bend his knees and his torso, a singular thread of spit slowly unspooling to the ground from his lower lip.

“Sorry bol gaandu!” Ponty said. “Bol sorry!”

Gillu grasped at Ponty’s arm and tried to wrench it off his neck. But his arm did not budge. Gillu gasped and choked for breath and finally croaked out a raspy little, “sorry.” Ponty let go. They stood there looking at each other. I watched Ponty—his unblinking, unwavering gaze challenging Gillu to do something, say something out of line.

But Gillu just patted Ponty’s arm and said, “Chill yaar, just a prank bro, just a prank.”

And saying that he turned away from Ponty and walked to the descent and eased down the slope towards the lake.

There was no path downslope, just a few rocks jutting out of the mud that we used for proper footing and a few weeds crawling out of the dry earth that we grabbed at to keep ourselves steady. It took a while. It took a near fall, a stumble, an uneven and slippery bit of descent that offered no support, but we finally reached the lake.

The shore was blanketed in rocks and boulders—remnants of the dynamited earth that had lain there for years. The lake was still, so still, its surface distorting all that fell upon it. A sun melted. Trees twisted like serpents. The cliffs warped into dancing figures. 

Gillu ran around the shore with his arms outstretched, whooping with joy. I walked up to the lake and bent down and touched the water. It was very cold. It felt good to have finally reached the lake and I was eager to step into the water. I looked at the others: Bamba, like me, was bent over and staring at the surface of the lake. Ponty was sitting on a rock and smoking a cigarette. 

Gillu took off his shirt and pant and jumped into the lake.

I followed Gillu and Bamba followed me.

He turned around and looked at Ponty and said, “Aaja bhai!” Ponty nodded and tapped his cigarette and said, “Let this finish.”

We swam around. We stayed close to the shore for we didn’t know how deep the lake was. Then Gillu hurled water at Bamba and Bamba retaliated and so began a water fight. My vision became a blur. I felt sharp slaps of water against my body. I heard laughter and I laughed too. I hurled water at everyone I saw. And I was soaked and I was grinning and I did my best to keep up. 

When we stopped and I looked up, I saw Ponty standing with the three of us, grinning oafishly.

Bamba stood in front of me and tightened his stomach. I saw the outline of his six-pack abs. 

“Like Shah Rukh or not?” he asked.

He was referring to Shah Rukh Khan’s six-pack abs in the song Dard-E-Disco.

“Bro exactly,” I said.“Gymming bro gymming. Guess how much time I spend in the gym?”

“…one hour?”

“Two hours bro…also fifty grams whey protein every day and four boiled eggs…diet is very important man…you keep gymming and you eat chips every day jhaant kuchh ho paayega tumhara…”

I looked over at Ponty. He slowly stepped into the lake and started moving away from the shore.

“That day even Khushi said, you know what? Broooooo, hand on my chest and said, you should wear tight shirts only! Scene on man, scene on!”

I watched Ponty move deeper and deeper into the lake, I watched the water level rise from his knees to his waist to his stomach.

“Aur dude guess what? FB par friend request…Advantages of boiled chicken for dinner man…boiled chicken and lunch mein daal and all…chaawal I’m not eating man, not even roti. At least not now.”

I watched the water rise slowly from Ponty’s stomach to his chest up to his shoulders. I saw Ponty just stand there for a while. 

“Ponty!” I called out.

He turned.

“Bro sab theek?” I asked.“Yes,” Ponty said and swam back to the shore.

The four of us sat by the edge of the lake for an hour. We smoked Classic Milds and talked about anything and everything. About Rupali—the geography teacher—who had never liked us; about Shreyan, whom we suspected to be gay; about our favourite films—The Mummy franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Dhoom 2—; our favourite teachers—Rana Sir, Vicky Sir, and Pankaj Sir—; some porn Bamba had seen—double penetration—which made us wonder which girl in school would be into it (we all came up with different answers). Then Bamba suggested a game wherein we had to name the top five teachers in school we’d like to fuck. Even though the list varied, the number one spot, by unanimous decision, was taken by the Business Studies teacher in her late twenties. We discussed her husband and how lucky he was and what we’d do if we were her husband. Ponty didn’t participate in the conversation beyond a few grunts, and the occasional laugh. 

Then Gillu stood up and walked to the edge of the lake.

I saw him lean forward, bend his knees and jump into the lake.

Ponty was watching him. 

I saw Ponty stand up slowly.

I saw him walk to the lake and look at Gillu. For a while Ponty and Gillu just stood there, looking at each other. Then Ponty bent his knees and leaned forward and jumped too. He landed a foot further than Gillu and then looked at him and laughed.

I don’t know what Ponty had meant by that laugh. I’m not sure how Gillu read it. But he looked at Ponty and smiled and said, “Seriously?”


Gillu waded to the shore while Ponty stayed rooted to his position. Then he stood at the edge of the lake, faced Ponty and bent his knees and jumped. He landed half a meter beyond Ponty and said, “Fuck you man!” Ponty nodded appreciatively and swam to the shore. He then got out of the water and turned to Gillu and jumped. He flew past Gillu, landing in waters that grazed his belly button.

They kept at it.

Each pushing the other to jump further and further into the lake, each pushing the other to inch closer and closer to the unknown depths of the rippling waters. I saw the lake snaking up their bellies, rising towards their chests as they leaped through the sky ceaselessly. I saw Ponty bury his feet into the ground and swing his arms back. I saw him bend his knees and then release himself like a spring and land in waters that reached his chest. I saw him turn and grin at Gillu and say, “Give up?”

Gillu made his way to the shore. He jumped again.Then Ponty jumped again—grunting as he lifted off from the ground, throwing his entire body into the leap, tucking his knees into his chest as he approached the rising peak of his jump, and then hurling his legs outwards as he dropped into the lake. He landed half a meter beyond Gillu.

“Now you give up?” Ponty said when he emerged. In answer, Gillu waded to the shore and walked to a distant rock. He leaned into a running stance. He exhaled. He bit his lower lip. He kicked up some dust as he started running. He picked up momentum as he approached the lake, the hair on his head pulled back by his sheer speed and by the unyielding whistle of wind.

I watched him closing the gap between himself and the edge of the lake—a few meters, a meter, a foot, an inch, and then he let go, and then he jumped. His grunt, a near scream. His trajectory through the air almost as if he was soaring, almost as if he had, in that moment, learnt how to glide—across the water, over Ponty, so far from us all.

When he landed, he disappeared into the lake for a moment. When he emerged the water was above his shoulders and all we saw was a head. He looked at Ponty and said, “Beat that bro!”

Ponty swam to the shore. Ponty stood at the edge and looked at him. 

“Okay Gillu, you win.”

I saw Gillu’s face slowly break into a grin. I saw Gillu’s arm rise from the surface as he screamed, “Yes bhenchod! I win!” Gillu must have jumped. You see there was a slight shift in his position, a slight up and down bob to his head. His feet must have slipped from underneath him. He must have grabbed at something, anything, but found nothing but water.

For Gillu vanished.

As if the lake swallowed him, as if it grabbed onto his leg and yanked him down to its depths. I sat there for a while, waiting for Gillu to emerge but he didn’t. Ponty looked at me, at my concerned face, and then said, “Chill yaar. Probably just a prank bro, just a prank.”

“But…we should…” 

“Abe he’ll make a chutiya out of us again,” Bamba said. 

I looked at the lake. The surface was still. I looked at the shore. A long, crooked branch lay a few meters away from me. I could pick it up. I could slowly extend it over to Gillu and he could grab it and I could pull him back to us, to safety.

I ran to the branch. I lifted it and took it to the edge of the waters.

A hand emerged—a solitary, gaunt, trembling hand that broke through the surface of the lake and flailed about in desperation. 

The hand was much further away than where I had last seen Gillu. I started inching the branch forward over the lake. 

“Oye!” I heard.

I turned around. 

Ponty was looking at me. He said, “You do something like that and he’ll tell the entire school how you behaved like a chutiya.”


“You want to be known as a chutiya?”

“No, but…”

“You can find some other friends then bhai.”

I opened and closed my mouth like a fish. Then I looked at Gillu’s flailing hand. Maybe it was a prank. Maybe if I tried to do something, help him, he would re-emerge from the lake and laugh at me. Maybe he would humiliate me in school. Maybe I’d be known as a loser, a fucking virgin chutiya.

I didn’t know what to do. 

So I did nothing. 

I didn’t drop the branch; I didn’t inch it over to him. 

I just watched him until his hand sank into the lake again and I prayed that this was all a prank.

Moments passed in silence. The three of us just stood there, waiting, motionless like statues. Then his hand emerged again. As tiny as a toothpick now, trembling weakly, like the final limping gasps of a fish pulled out of water.

Then it slowly descended into the water like a sinking ship. 

I sat down on the ground. I was certain now that this was no prank and that even if I wanted to help, there was nothing I could do. I looked at Bamba and Ponty. Their faces yielded nothing. I looked back at the lake.

His hand rose through the waters again. 

A mere speck now. So distant, so frail in its swaying motion, as if bidding me a tiny, lonesome goodbye.

I watched on. 

When his hand retreated into the lake, it never rose again.And the silence that followed was so absolute, so desolate, I wanted to bury my fingers into my cheeks and peel off my face.


I met Ponty again last year. 

I stumbled upon him on Instagram. He had thirteen thousand followers and most of his photos were pictures of him working out in a gym or sitting in a bar with a Hoegaarden in hand. He had one of those haircuts, short sides and a neatly gelled, uncut top. I scrolled through his account, and looked at his bio. It read: 

“6 foot 2 

II Taurus II Model II Actor II Adventurous ;-) II”

And then a line underneath it which said: “We’re all beautiful but not everyone can see.”

I went on scrolling through his photos. I saw one picture of him in the gym, lifting his shirt and showing off his six-pack. The caption of the picture: “I’m the guy your girlfriend told you not to worry about.”

I Dm’d him and asked him whether he remembered me. He said he did and asked me how I was. I said I was great and whether he would want to meet up. 

We met at a bar called Clique (his suggestion).

Each drink overpriced, the whole place lit in soft ambers, soft and sultry jazz playing over each conversation. I sat there and waited. When he entered, he was almost unrecognizable. He wore a brown trench coat with large collars, a black turtleneck underneath it. A beard with a perfectly trimmed, unwavering outline that was slanting down his cheek and cutting towards his jaw at a sharp angle. Round sunglasses tilting gently over his nose, offering the barest glimpse of his dark brown, foxlike eyes. Each stride firm and wide, his coat fluttering behind him like a cape.

When he saw me he grinned widely and waved. He came over and shook my hand firmly and sat down across me at the table.

“Long time no see man!” he said.

“Yeah,” I said,“How the fuck have you been bro?”

“Good man, you?”

“Rise and grind bro, rise and grind.”

I smiled.

He grinned a lot. He grinned constantly. He was never not grinning. He snapped his fingers at the waiter and the waiter came over instantly. He ordered “his usual”—a Bloody Mary because he didn’t drink beer—and I ordered a Corona with a slice of lemon. We talked, we drank. He did most of the talking, I listened. He talked about his college days, his modelling career, the women he had dated, the woman he was dating. He said that the relationship was open, that he was polyamorous and that his partner understood that. He showed me her picture. It was a picture from her Instagram page, fifteen thousand followers. He told me that she was an Instagram model and an influencer.

I was barely listening.

I waited for the right moment.

I waited through his lengthy spiel about product endorsements for other companies, through his morning routine—listening to ten minutes of the audiobook ‘The Power of Now’ at the crack of dawn to feel empowered, practicing Wim Hof’s breathing method as a part of his meditation, drinking green juice, taking a cold shower, taking out time for his skincare routine, having his vitamins, etc. I waited through his lecture on why “having a high-quality personality was more important than having a high-quality style.” I waited through his opinion on the man bun as a fashion statement, through his recommendations for clothing stores.

There was a pause in the conversation then.

“Listen man.”


“There’s just…like…something that I keep thinking about.”


“You remember, that day with Gillu.”

His smile wavered.

“That day,” I continued, “when Gillu was drowning…did you really think it was a prank?”

“What are you trying to say man?”

“I just…what happened that day?”

Ponty looked down and said, “We really fucked up man.” Then he looked at me and smiled and said, “Bro, it’s so wonderful of you to bring that up. We really should have been more careful. We messed up. And, bro, I think it still haunts us no?”

“No…but...,” I said, “Did you think it was a prank?”

“Yes,” he said. “Did you?”

I paused. 

“Yes, of course,” I said.

He smiled solemnly and said, “Bro, if there’s one thing I learned from the Power of Now it’s that the past is for suckers. You a sucker bro?”

I watched Ponty’s eyes boring down upon me. I felt nervous, jittery, and despite myself, I said, “N-No.”

“Good,” Ponty replied.

Then Ponty snapped his fingers at the waiter and asked for the bill. Until it arrived he kept on talking, just like normal.

When we stepped out of the bar he gave me a warm hug and said that we should catch up more often. I nodded. In my cab when I tried to search for his Instagram profile, but couldn’t find it, I realized he had blocked me. 

I never saw Ponty again.

That was the last time I saw anybody from those days. 

And that was the last time I talked about that day.

It was time to move on.

I have friends now. 

I have a girlfriend now. 

I have a good job. I live a good life. A normal life. A healthy life. The past is for suckers and I am no sucker. 

I believe in the now and the now is everywhere and is everything.

Now, I feel the sun on my face and appreciate its warmth. Now, I eat my breakfast every morning and enjoy its taste and freshness. Now, I enjoy the way the warm water drenches my body in the shower. I enjoy my job. I savour the feeling of money rolling into my bank account at the end of each month. I savour the cool breeze and the smell of moist mud after rainfall. I savour the dry leaves that crackle underfoot in the month of spring.

These are the small moments that life is made of.

And I strive to savour each of these moments forever before they become the unshakeable, unchangeable relics that they are destined to be, before they become mired in the swampland of one’s unwieldy past.

Abhishek Basak is a writer and actor based out of Delhi. He is a graduate of Kirori Mal College, where he studied English Literature, and has a Masters in Performance Studies from Ambedkar University, Delhi. He has acted in plays for companies like The Tadpole Repertory, Crow and The Third Space Collective, including their production Dastaan-e-Bhookh for which he won Best Supporting Actor at Thespo, 2017. His plays and short stories have been published by The Dhauli Review, The Beyond Magazine, and have also been staged and performed by The Tadpole Repertory, Crow and the NGO Navdanya. Currently he is part of the Theatre Faculty of Shiv Nadar School, Faridabad.

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