by P. Muralidharan

Double the market price offered by the hospital won over
the neighbour bungalow owner’s sentiment for his father’s peepal tree
he handed over possession
and vacated instantly
The skilled labours felled the giant tree
and wondered why suddenly a variety of birds
swirled around and chirped continuously

Inside the hospital an aged mother couldn’t understand
what the doctors were discussing between themselves
in English repeating the word oxygen and was anxious
The next day her breadwinner son’s body was handed over to her

P. Muralidharan’s collection of short stories, Draupadi’s Only Partner, was published in 2021 and his novel, Boomerang, is ready  for publication. HydRaW chose a few of his short stories for its anthologies. He is currently in the panel of judges for an ongoing interactive novel contest. Several of his short stories have been included in anthologies. His nonfiction BUBBLES BURST was well received. An active member of many global literary societies, and a poetry/book reviewer, he has translated two books, including Shashi Tharoor’s  Why I am Hindu, into Tamil. Varada J.M is a 9th-grader based in Kerala’s Koyilandi, studying at Rani Public School, Vadakara. After hurriedly doing homework, Varada divides her time between practicing classical dance and watching horror films. She loves dogs but nobody at home wants one.