Tag Archives: Creative Writing


She took her seat and sat among the hundred other pupils who had their faces buried in their books in an optimistic but futile attempt at developing eidetic memory. It was almost half past eight in the morning and Jane’s eyelids were as heavy as they could get. She opened a can of Mr. Brown dark coffee and chugged it down instantly hoping the caffeine would keep her alert. Minutes later, the question booklets were passed. Everyone in the room raced to turn the first page and read the questions whose answers would determine their lives, their fates. Jane did too. She traced her finger across the first question and read aloud the words in her head:

“Explain the notion of ‘free will’ and discuss how individuals exercise their free will in their daily lives.”

“Easy,” she thought.

She picked out one of the blue ball-point pens Mrs. Davis had asked everyone to bring and spun it around her fingers. She liked the feeling of having it in her grasp, moving around the way she wanted it to. But she felt a tinge of uneasiness.

Jane read the question again, and again.
“Free will is the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate,” she repeated to herself.
She had studied the textbook religiously and would have been a fool to not know what it is, but she still couldn’t explain how people exercise their free will. She thought harder, but to no avail. She let go of her pen and watched it bounce before it fell flat on her desk. The clock was ticking. Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Tick-tock. And then it hit her.

She sat up straight and looked around the room quizzically. Everyone else had their heads tilted down and eyes fixated on their papers. They looked like robots hardwired into doing the same thing, writing the same words. She let out a laugh.
“How could I have been so stupid?” she exclaimed.
One of the invigilators gestured her to be silent, but she took no notice. It was so clear to her now. There was no such thing as free will.

Then everything came rushing back – the hours she had spent doing projects and writing papers, the extra tuitions, the sleepless nights, the ballet classes, this exam she was sitting, and the other things she had to do. She had nodded to the demands of her parents and teachers thinking it was a choice she was making when in fact, she had simply been following through on the decisions they made for her. She was only deluded into thinking she had a choice, into thinking she had free will. But now, everything was so crystal clear.

It had hardly been fifteen minutes into the exam when Jane got up and left the hall. Her paper lay on her desk, untouched by the nip of the blue ball-point pen that inked all the other papers.



I stood there, 500 feet up high on a pyramid of rocks that overlooked the vast ocean. The night was dark despite the illumination from a crescent moon that had just surfaced. But even in the darkness, the silhouette of the hilly, snow-capped mountains could be seen from afar. And up above were shimmering glitters that were generously sprinkled to fill the night sky. Everything was so still. The only sounds that could be heard were the crashing waves of the ocean, the whooshing of the cold winds, and the rustling leaves in the distance. I gathered the wood I had brought with me on my way up and ignited them. And soon, they were ablaze. The fire grew stronger by the second and danced ferociously as it drove out the cold. I lay by the blazing wood, all alone in the middle of nowhere. The solitude, however, was oddly soothing. I locked eyes on a constellation. It looked like a pigeon. Or maybe a sparrow. Then I saw another that resembled a hat. They felt so close, the stars. Maybe they descend from their galaxies every night to entertain and bemuse us.

I saw a bright light out of the corner of my eye. I turned around to see thin, luminous streaks of bright green emerging from behind the mountains. The streaks thickened as they slowly spread and swayed elegantly in the dark sky. I was dumbfounded for what I was seeing was a visual representation of an orchestral piece, symphonized in heavens unknown to the human realm, formed after the graceful waves of a conductor’s baton. Words could not ever do justice to this magnificence. Then a dash of yellow poured in, followed by a faint shade of red. It looked as though a child had dabbed paintbrushes in watercolor and run them across a dark blue canvas. The resplendence was breathtaking. It was a spectacle like no other; one that was put up by Mother Nature herself. She had painted the night for all to see. She had brought the night to life.


Dearest Grandpa,
Today, I turn twenty-one.
“A year older, a year wiser” you say,
but I don’t agree.

Because when you are around,
I still feel like the little, naïve girl
that you protectively held
in your arms.

You used to throw me in the air
and catch me,
so you could hear the laughter
that erupted from my mouth.

You lifted me up high,
bore my burden
and endured the pain, so that I
could see the world from above.

Then one day, you stopped.
I cried and wailed for you to lift me
just once more, not knowing
what had struck you is irreversible.

Your arms grew weak.
Your fingers bent sideways.
I silently watched as you struggled
to even lift yourself up.

I blamed myself for your frailty;
if you hadn’t spent your strength on me
you wouldn’t be like this.
You would be – you.

Even then, you were there for me
to wipe my tears, and tell me
it’s okay, that I can once again see
the world from above with you by my side.

I smiled at the thought and asked “How?”
You held me close, and told me
to follow my dreams, for one day
they will bring me to the stars.

I took your hands, those very hands
that once held me, looked at how
delicate they’ve become,
and I made you a promise.

I’m here now, grandpa!
Twenty-one, but still the same little girl.
Here, take my hand!
Let’s head for the stars!

Faristha Kanakkapillai



I see it in the distance
flying slowly, but steadily
with its soft, orange wings

It lands on a marigold
that dances in the wind
The beauty dances along

Then the yellow and orange
miraculously fuse
into a surreal sunset

I fix my gaze and pull myself closer
cautiously, step by step
I leap and try to cup it with my hands
but trip and fall

I look up to see the elusive beauty
fly away, flaunting its pretty wings
I watch it float across the garden
and join the others of its kind

Within seconds, its orange wings
disappear among the others
And there I Iie, watching in awe
as a rabble of butterflies
paints the sky

Faristha Kanakkapillai