Alibhadra

In classical Buddhist literature and the five-thousand-year-old epic Mahabharata, there is a mention of a road called Uttarpath or the Northern road connecting the eastern regions of India to ancient Greece through Central Asia. Later in history during the 3rd century BC, Emperor Chandragupta Maurya rebuilt this mighty highway to reconnect India with Europe. Following him, Emperor…

Pallagram Pandemic Pandemonium

Deep in the heart of the ancient and mysterious jungle tableland of Ajodha Hills and reserve forest at the easternmost part of the lowest step of the Chhotanagpur Plateau and the extended regions of the Eastern Ghats mountain range, very close to the Chamtaburu mountain peak, at a distance of a day’s walk from the…

Priest Pundit Moulvi

Much before the rooster crowed at the crack of daylight and sometimes even before the sun peeped from the horizon to say good morning, three very distinctive loudspeakers blared to wake up the sleepy resident of the green and pristine village of Dhormosthol in the southern fringes of India’s most cosmopolitan and diverse Kolkata city….

The Tracker And The Desert Wraiths

Flashing sparks from two clashing flintstones landed on a small mixture of powdered camel dung and dried Babul leaves to spot a steady ember in a ditch dug three feet below the ground level to hide it, for a single flash leave alone a steady fire could be spotted a mile away in such a…

Bhuto’s Banyan Tree

On a chilly December morning, as the first rays of sunlight pierced through the veil of fog created by the condensing water vapour rising from the forgotten Adi Ganga river passing nearby, it revealed the silhouette of a massive and ancient banyan tree the likes of which perhaps nowhere else could anyone find. The golden beams of…

Tarachand And The Trembling Tracks

Tarachand turned over in his wobbly charpoy. The rickety bamboo bed meshed with handmade jute cord was just strong enough to support his enormous frame, however, it squeaked in protest with every twist and turn that the slumbering hulk made. At seven-and-a-half feet of stature, the sleeping man’s arms and legs jutted well beyond the…

The Boatman

Robi’s boat gently swayed in the cool evening breeze of the mighty Ganges at the mouth of the estuary as he prepared his supper in it for the night, a little bit of rice, a bowl of dal and two fried Tilapias. His life as a boatman in this part of the river, especially after dark…

Spy To Lhasa

Snow Leopard crouched and huddled himself shivering in the piercing cold winds that danced all around him and the glowing woodfire that did its best to give a little warmth in the dead of night at an altitude of seventeen thousand feet close to the Lanak La mountain pass in the Himalayan region. His mission…

Doctor Train

Srikant anxiously glanced at the time displayed on the HMT Sona strapped on top of a sweaty handkerchief wrapped around his left wrist. People all around him squeezed and pushed each other in a pile of obnoxious human fumes, sweat, and breadth. Beads of perspiration trickled down his forehead and nostrils falling on the shoulder…

Tarok

The unbearable cries of men being force-fed through rubber tubes inserted in their throats surpassed the sounds of the roaring waves of the mighty Bay of Bengal lashing on the rocky northern shores of Port Blair, the capital city of Andaman and Nicobar Islands on a summer night in 1933. The screams came from within…