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Saturday, 10 November 2018

NaBloPoMo 2018: Day 10: Short Story: No leftovers for Guddi

I'm part of a South Africa based group of writers. We get topics (called prompts) and a word count to write a short story every month, which has to be submitted on the specified deadline. Here's the story I wrote this month. I'd request you to please let me know how you felt reading it. The reason why I'm asking, I'll explain in tomorrow's post.

Prompt: Leftovers 

“Good evening, sir. Here’s your pizza. Happy Diwali!” he said, pasting a broad smile on his face, injecting a note of enthusiasm into his tired voice, as he held out the cardboard box.

“Oooh, the pizza is here,” squealed a sweet voice, and he saw a girl, not much older than his Guddi, doing a little jig.

He felt icy hands clasp his heart once more. Diwali evening should have been spent with his Guddi, lighting lamps and bursting crackers, instead of delivering food to customers who couldn’t be bothered to cook dinner.

Glancing at his watch, he realized he had a few minutes before he was called up to ferry the next food package. Rushing through traffic, he made his way to the playground where crackers were being sold. Everything was so damn expensive these days. But no compromise when it came to Guddi’s joy.

He picked a few boxes of her favourite varieties of crackers – the mild sparklers, and the colourful flower-pots. He smiled, thinking of how, at first, Guddi would hide behind her mother, refusing to light the crackers but then, summon up the courage to join him. Next would come the demand for more crackers for tomorrow.

Pushing his purchases to the bottom of the carrier box on his bike, he rushed back to the fast food outlet to pick up the next order.

“Can I leave after delivering this order? My Guddi will be waiting for me,” he begged his boss, who paused barking orders for just enough time to give him a blank stare and a quick nod.

‘Only one more customer left,’ he rejoiced, as he hurried to the next delivery location. Just his luck. No one was home and when he called the mobile number of the customer, she apologized for being caught in traffic. She wouldn’t be able to reach in time to pick up the pizza.

‘Oh no, now she’ll cancel, and demand a refund, and my boss will chew me out over the issue,’ he rued.

The customer’s voice cut into his reverie. “I’m so sorry for bothering you on a festival day. Do you have kids at home? Please take the pizza for them – with my compliments,” she said.

Guddi didn’t like leftovers. But then, this was a fresh pizza, so perhaps she wouldn’t mind.

He drove like a maniac, weaving in and out of traffic, rushing against time to get home before Guddi had dinner and fell asleep.

All of his neighbours were having fun, joking and laughing, as the kids burst crackers that lighted up the night sky. He rushed into his silent house and saw Guddi sprawled on the bed.

“Hey, Guddi, I’ve brought pizza and crackers! Let’s enjoy the festival! Come on, now, get up, Papa is home early today!”

As he shook her limp form, his eyes refused to look at the line of maggots that wove their way out of Guddi’s open mouth.


  1. Omg! I am holding my tears as fear grips.

    1. That was exactly what I aimed at Shilpa! Thank you.

  2. Namaste Akka

    Sorry to have written such a big message probably as big as your article itself

    Your article made me think a lot on various things.

    To feel positive and start the day with creativity, I prefer reading your article first thing in the morning everyday. Your article on "No left overs" shook me at the first instance. But my mind denied to accept that it ended with a negative note. I took time again to read it in the later part of the day and understand if it was really negative. But When I googled the situation, it was not just negative, it was horrifying too. I slept at night with a hope that the continued article will surely be positive. Then I thought am I restricting the creativity of a person or restricting myself in accepting whatever comes.
    Doesn't this hold good to life too. With an urge of making things positive, am I neglecting the learning and beauty that negativity brings on my life.

    1. What an insightful comment, Sneha! I'm humbled that you chose to share your innermost thought with me. I can understand exactly the thought process, because I've been through it too in the past. It's true - we need to explore the things that repel us to learn some lessons.


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