Let the words flow. Let the pictures speak

One Frame Stories

It is said a new year has to be started with a resolution.I know they are usually made only to be broken, but this one I am hopeful shall become a habit soon.

I used to love writing. Yes, in the past tense, because soon I found out fitting it with my work and study was something of a challenge. To make amends, I decided on writing something at regular. Co-incidentally I had been wanting to write for oneframestories which publishes a new frame each week. What better way to bring life to the resolution than a compulsive weekly submission.

This post is a compilation of my take on the frames starting from January, 2015.

I am not proud of them all, but there are some that I like, and others that have kept me writing.

If I have inspired you to start writing for OFS, please visit

If the inspiration isn’t that strong, there is the comments section below. Feel free to spam it 😛

ofs73Frame 73 : Lost Glory

“So this week’s theme is farmers’ suicide.”
“Why do you have to be such a spoilsport, dad? The crop looks so rich and beautiful.”
“Managing to get a healthy crop is only one of the concerns. When managing to recover the cost can itself be challenging, marketing it for a good price is more worrisome.”
“Instead of funding thousands of crores on consumer discounts, if someone funded agriculture, wouldn’t we have gotten back to our farming glory?”
“The ex-farmer turned IIM grad just got his next startup idea.”


ofs72Frame 72 : God is kind

I watched the stranger come, order, eat and leave in a jiffy. He seemed in such a hurry that he not only skipped change but also left back his bag in the process.
“God is kind”, I said.
“No sir! If I keep what is not mine, it will find a way to leave me one way or another.
By the time I could process the enormity of his goodness, he was already off, saying, “Please don’t leave, I will be right back. I know you are still hungry!”
Now I had to find another way to help him.


ofs71Frame 71 – fictional reality

“Look ma! You won’t believe what I found today! I didn’t know you were so romantic! When was this taken?”
“Oh that… It was our wedding day.”
“Wow! Tell me more…”
“Aren’t you supposed to be writing that story of yours?”
“Please ma, I will write this one!”
“Very well… I had the setup all planned and ready. As soon as he came, I pretended to have something in my eye and asked him to blow it out…. snap! We had our image…”
“Tell me once its published.”

Frame 70 – The beginning in the end

“Thank you for having my back out there. Might have been a little hard to wiggle out of that one!”

“You mean, saving your life? You are welcome. Although, it is the least I could do…”
“You couldn’t have done anything about that. Having her in my life placed her under the cross-hairs.”
“So you read my file..”
“I had time to kill while recovery walked like a snail..”
“Why are you telling this to me?”
“Your performance was being effected by your guilt. More importantly, she wasn’t your responsibility, they are mine.”

ofs69Frame 69 – The closed portal

She had always known she was different. Today’s encounter was a proof of it. She had been handed a ticket stub and told, “You know the way to the platform”.
“But I don’t have a passport to travel abroad”, she had countered.
“There are many portals to the station. The right pole your folks use to dry nets at your premise opens up to one”, the catlike woman had said before disappearing.
“Why on earth would you run into a pole?”
“Daydreaming about one of your fantasy books again, were you?”

ofs68Frame 68 – A chance encounter
“Good Morning sir, would you mind if I captured your image?”
“Would it feature my facial traits?”
“No. I was hoping to do it with my words.”
“What if I were to give you something better instead?”
“If it makes my story interesting, I am game!”
“I am here to intercept the republic day attack!”
“You are a spy? You got to be kidding! Why would you even tell me?”
“People love fictional thrill. Your words will be left at that. My face, on the other hand could compromise my mission. Also I can spare your life!”

ofs67Frame 67 – Something like that
“What do you think is his story?”
“I can’t seem to get any vibes off him. I must be having a reader’s block.”
“Is there even such a thing?”
“I am facing one now. He could be having a writer’s block for all I know.”
“Let me make an image for the others to fictionalise.””Can you folks keep your discussion to yourselves? A man is trying to find some peace here. And, you were bluffing about the block right?””No Mr. Akthar, I wasn’t.”
“You can call me Farhan. Pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mr…?



ofs66Frame 66 – Deja vu

It was that bright afternoon that they had parted ways. How long ago, he wasn’t sure anymore. He had made peace with it; but the realm of dreams were beyond his control. She visited him occasionally. They rarely spoke, but he felt they were happy. His mornings would later be groggy and he would wonder when had she gotten a tattoo done. Maybe she had now. It wasn’t strange, he could always talk to her without being present.

“Did you see those birds in flight? I know what my tattoo design is going to be!”
“Come again?”


ofs65Frame 65 – It isn’t permanent
I was late, yet again.
She was simply happy to be blissfully free, not really concerned about my timings. She knew I would be there sooner or later.
“The website had too much traffic. We needed the filing to happen, like yesterday. The client would lose…. erm, Sorry, I got delayed!”
“Its ok. But do you ever wonder where your life is headed?”
“You see that tree there? Its barren now. It isnt permanent.”
“And here I was just wondering, why I can’t stay angry with you.”

ofs63Frame 63 – Empty spaces
It had been a great day. He was able to connect every delivery. His flight and slow deliveries were unbeatable. To lead a team at that age, people saw a lot of promise in him.
That tired but triumphant walk, reminded me of myself. I no longer had the stamina. I was rusty and hadn’t played for years. These days, I clicked pictures. The blues were mesmerizing, the subject was spot on. It was a perfect image.
I cast a lazy glance at the frame that hung on the wall, and went back to finalizing the consolidated financials.

ofs62Frame 62 – Extended Vacation
“Dad, why don’t we ever get Bappa to our house?”
“Can we please invite him over this year?”
“Why doesn’t he stay longer?”
“Is his vacations as small as ours?”
“Stop pestering and look! Or you will miss the view! We can’t stay back for long, its already late.”
“This should make him happy. Hopefully Bappa will change our fortunes too”, I thought, as I picked the unbroken idol from the debri carrier that had just arrived from the beach side.

ofs61Frame 61 – Hide and seek
The festive season was round the corner. The area would always be filled with mammoth idols, all in varied postures, colors and variants. It was their ground zero for endless fun of hiding and seeking.
As she watched the teenage couple walk by, she couldn’t help but smile at the memory of how she had met him around that very intersection. She could hear giggles now. She grinned at the thought of new age hide and seek.

ofs60Frame 60 – Flying in blue dreams

The damage caused by the calamity was incalculable. I caught myself wandering aimlessly, beaten by the thought of having lost my entire project when I came by the duo, who I found, now only had each other in life.
Ricky’s owner had woken up to see his house being one mother earth. Life had come back to square one. And yet, here he was sleeping as peacefully as ever.
I walked up, hoping to find out his secret, waking myself in the process.
The scene was mesmerising. As I made the image, I could bet I caught Ricky smirking.

ofs53Frame 53 – Reflecting upon

After a long day at work, she leaned back and streched. It had been a while since her last stint at writing. The deadline pressure had her so worked-up, even a cup of coffee wouldn’t make the image speak.
She blinked, and there it was, the image she was supposed to see. An old framed canvas with two distinctive wears and some-more. It wasn’t the whole picture. It was simply a little detail in the grand scheme of things.
And it struck her. Deadlines were no different. Her tomorrows were going to be so much better.

ofs42Frame 42 – Of perspectives and truth

“Was she trying to hide her face after she caught you pointing your bazooka at her? Or was it an effort to gain some respite from the heat? Don’t tell me she was wiping sweat off her brows and you timed it!”

“You can take it anyway you like for that story of yours. If you want the truth, she is a scarecrow.”



ofs41Frame 41 – Disturbing the equilibrium

The diagnosis felt a little harsh to me. For a person who made his living by running fine strokes of colours on a canvas, Parkinson’s was the nightmare of nightmares. I could no longer sign my artworks.
For days at stretch, I stared at my canvas, wondering what I would do next. I could only see retirement staring back at me. It wasn’t until I made peace with the nightmares that I realized; I could use it to my advantage.
I used to paint with colours. I paint with light now.
And I am an inspiration to the masses.

ofs39Frame 39 – Eyes only

“I have one request to make of you”, the lady said. “I know you will write about us, all I ask is, when you do so, please don’t portray us a symbol of poverty. Let us convey a little more.”
The subtle suggestion coupled with sufficient blandness, made the request sound very generic at the time. A hint of smile crossed his face as he signed off the defection report and sealed the file.



 ofs37Frame 37 – Of rich. And poor

“No ma, I still want the cycle. I will wait for it.”
Every year on this day, he got to make a wish, that they would try and fulfil within a year, failing which he got an option to stick to the same wish or make a new one.
Watching the scene unfold in front of me, I felt like I was back at work. My firm helped corporate houses negotiate the extension of their debt commitment period, their conversion or refinance. I couldn’t ignore the stark similarities. I wondered who was poorer, as I gifted him one.

ofs36Frame 36 – Consumed

Alone in the room away from the rest of folks, she knew her special powers were being respected. She soon built a reputation amongst her fellow inmates for her superficial knowledge on a wide array of subjects. The only one who dared speak against her was the, “wise old one”, who she had mockingly nicknamed as such, for taking objection of her words of wisdom.
Post a scheduled meeting with death, in an afterlife conversation, the wise old one asked, “Were you tested for intelligence before being consumed?”

 ofs35Frame 35 – A Lead Victim

“I don’t want any glitches to foil my plans.”
“Yes boss! Everything is ready as planned. Wheels will be set in motion, the moment you give the go-ahead.”
“I have a few crucial agreements to make before we can execute it. The timing has to be perfect. Any miscalculation could lead it to backfire!”
The placement of the bug had served its purpose. It only took an open window in the area to get the mastermind infected on his holiday. The epidemic botched the timing.
Elsewhere, people continued sating their hunger in two minutes. Nothing had changed there.

ofs34Frame 34 – Nature’s Verdict

“So, what game do we play today?”
“What’s it with you and these games? House, Family, Life. I want to do something new. Lemme see, we have finished hide & seek, catch, dodge-ball, jinx, and treasure hunt.”
“He loves me; He loves not; He loves me.”
“So what was the nature’s verdict finally?”
“You knew? Finally! The frame had to hang on for dear life, a good seven years for you to bother!”
“Who plays with shards of grass, like that, every single day? Yes, I knew.”
“Then you already know the answer.”

ofs33Frame 33 – Shared Dreams
To the world, it was the place to be. A firm that inked more deals than any firm managed in its initial days.
The interiors weren’t as pretty. There was chaos. They were staring at defaults. Infringement would mean death of the Company. The inflows were on a drought. The bridge financed wasn’t going to last.
The waters looked inviting. She jumped. The water soothed her senses. She gave up on her dreams.
Then, she gasped for air.
She made it to the headlines next day.
The start-up had a new partner on board. Dreams could be shared.

ofs32Frame 32 – Alter Ego

“Why the long face kiddo?”
“This frame is so hard. I am feeling utterly blank.”
“Come, let me show you something.”
We walked to our attic, and for the first time in my life, I found a section, I never knew existed before.
“Wow dad! These pictures are purely magical. You were a rock star!! Why didn’t you pursue it further? What went wrong? Do you still miss it? Did you have a break up? Do you miss her….”
“Isn’t your story supposed to be in less than 99 words?”
“Dad! I can never win with you, can I?”

ofs30Frame 30 – Bulb-ology
“We had talked about this. It has to be me because Sparkplug is still very young and needs you to take care of him.”
“Hey kiddo, don’t trouble mommy too much, ok? Be good. I will miss you.”
“Me too!”
“Why do we have to do it?”
“So that the rest of us can survive. We get electricity only if we burn on the altar.”
“Ma, what will happen when there is nobody left to burn anymore?”
“They will dispose our colony and replace it with a new one.”

DMU graduation publicity picture. The students on the picture all know what the image might be used for, that is, advertising, posters, internet etc etc

Frame 29 – A missing trophy in the shelfYet another batch of students had graduated.
The happiness and joy on their faces completely overshadowed the sadness testing their well forged bonds. The enthusiasm to kick start a professional life masked the untimely death of a care-free life.
Yet another batch of imaginative minds would lie untested.

I watched with a mixed set of emotions, for, I could never truly fathom the idea of that life. It felt ironic when I received a text from my secretary, telling me, I had not yet signed their offer letters.

ofs28Frame 28 – Taking the plunge

As he stared at the image, his thoughts went back to the memory of their last meeting.
After watching the sun set in all its glory, they had taken a vow; if they couldn’t be together, it would be suicide.
She had lived up to her part of the vow. He would take the plunge too.
The date had been fixed to coincide with the date on which they had first met.
Tomorrow would be the day.
He was going to get married.

ofs27Frame 27 – Racing clouds

“You are not supposed to race ahead of the boat.”
“But too much of uniformity isn’t natural. We can’t let them know of our intentions. Our limited resources will then not make any difference.”
Just as the five passengers on-board, came into the open, the skies opened up.
The reds and yellows had vanished. The darker blues, that donned the skies now, didn’t do much to hide the rainbow.
Nobody found anything amiss in the whole episode. Meanwhile, the new epidemic that would plague the city had been averted.





He walked into my studio late one night requesting for a portrait session. We fixed an appointment. I set up my equipment and said, “Say cheese!”. He replied, “meow!”





She liked the awkward silence between two stranded strangers. It fueled her thought process, helping her get through the wait and the weather, which had a mind of its own, off late. The clouds opened up before her ride arrived; the pleasant, dewy petrichor flared up her senses. Inhaling deeply, she mused about being a muse; two victims of a million fiction variants.




A week ago, hiding behind the boulder, I aimed my super zoom and managed to capture one frame before being made.

I cannot hide from him forever. I knew it was a mistake to transgress privacy without permission. I am doomed. The rumors were true. A person, meta human as some would term, with the ability to produce data embedded bubbles. This one had my image captured within.




Searching for notes, pieces of paper jotted upon, he stumbled upon an old post he had ignored over his crazed experiment. “You have always been my guiding light. In the darkest of times when life denies me light you made me believe there was hope. You taught me light was just the absence of darkness. Don’t give up. You will light up many more lives. Auf Wiedersehen”. She was alive. Somewhere. The bulb was glowing. The dry cell had been invented.


“Look ma! This is the place they are going to take us for excursion this year. Can I please go? All my friends are going. Please ma, can I?” She didn’t have the heart to tell her kid that they could not afford it. “When is the last date to enroll?” She asked instead. “Next Friday.” “Ok, I will talk to your father about it”. “Thanks ma”, the kid chirped. Two days later, a terrorist attack rocked the place and all visits were called off. The trip had to be cancelled.


To the outside world, this was one of the oldest light house structure around. Even though public entry was strictly restricted around the island, it didn’t raise any flags, till now that is. It all started a week ago, when a little known author published his first book of fiction; Alcatraz. Three days later, the author was found dead under mysterious circumstances. A day later, further publishing of the book was strictly prohibited and all copies in the market sold. It was the Government’s worst nightmare. A piece of fiction that was true.


ofs24  CONTENT

I am happy and content being me. I don’t see a need for anything else at this point in time. My mother will be cooking my favorite dish and I always help her do it. He politely excused himself from the conversation, but not before inviting me join them for a humble but exquisite meal. I left. I didnt have words to describe those eyes of hope. I felt my experience as a journalist came to a naught. I was stumped. I posted a verbatim conversation that stole hearts.


His characters no longer surprised him. It was like he knew what was going to happen of every moment, and every scene. He had become predictable to himself. He was facing a writer’s block. As he sat there reading his favorite piece of writing, the new librarian walked up to him and said, “We will have to consider suspending your membership until all your dues are cleared”. The old librarian had been too fond of him to bother. He had found a muse in her. She was Libra. He was Aries. It was a celestial nuptial.


ofs26  REUNION

The sky had a graduated orange merging with the wavy waters along the horizon. He watched as the kid enjoyed his moments with his mother. He didn’t know how long it was as he watched them indulge in happiness… The screensaver changed. This one was a picture of his family. He picked up his phone and finally made the call. He was going home to them, again.

One Response to “One Frame Stories”

  1. […] it to arrive at it, I choose laziness* I read about an initiative called one frame stories (Read: One frame stories) where one had to write short stories in 99 words or less. For the next few days, I tried to […]

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