Chaotic Alleys #ShortStories by Mahesh Nair

Please welcome my author buddy Mahesh Nair who has recently released his debut book – ‘Chaotic Alleys: Collected Works.’ I was enthralled by this book as Mahesh’s short stories unfold like opening a treasure chest; you have to delve deeper to find the gems hidden in the corners – such is his style of writing.

Chaotic Alleys: Collected Works is a fiction compilation of micro, flash, and short stories published, shortlisted, longlisted, and anthologized in journals and magazines.

“I appreciate expression that provokes my senses, causes my gut to rise or settle. If the words remain with me as images, it’s a winner. Mahesh’s writing has done this,” says Bela Johnson — Editor, Writer, & Former Host of Alternative Currents on WERU-FM

Purchase link

My Review:

True to its name, ‘Chaotic Alleys’ escorts you into turbulent lanes of life that diverge into unimaginable proportions. Some of them open into positive vistas but much depends on your own perspective and interpretation. Fresh and poignant, Mahesh Nair’s flash fiction says volumes in just a few words, each one loaded! His stories are close to reality yet unpredictable. They compel you to ponder, as the depth of his words is mysterious.

This book is divided into three parts: flash fiction, short stories and micro-fiction. You could finish it within an hour or keep returning to fathom some profound and chilling truths. Read how callous compassion is, what a sham some wishes are, what a mockery people make of their existence. These stories would shake you to search the exact meaning of life; the elusive realities would unfold with an alarming authenticity. 

‘The Budding 90s’ is layered in the mystery of words; it doesn’t speak about the relationship shared by Amit and Samir but lets you discern what his “walking partner” means to Amit. The symbols of ‘heat’ and ‘rivulets of rainwater’ may seem paradoxical but they add a brilliant dimension to the story. ‘Water’ that trickles from the window and ceiling complete the societal and religious constraints that threaten to weaken their souls.

A subtle comment on the plight of couriers, ‘Alert, Alert’ unravels the truth about parsimonious people. Do they even know what is gratitude? Could they ever understand what compels the couriers to keep going despite the callous attitude of those who sit in the comfort of their offices and get served with the food of their choice? The flashbacks of Samaira’s life add a touch of poignancy to her struggle.

‘A Distance Away’ stunned me, as it is completely unpredictable. Written in an unusual style, it sounds like a normal cruise date, as Randy seems to love Jane. Like a meandering stream, their thoughts don’t give any inkling where they are going to lead each other. This one is my favorite! No guessing would lead you to the truth that unfolds. 

While I sympathize with Samaira, ‘Breathlessly Yours’ left me spellbound. I smiled at the optimism of Jon; would his dreams of wooing a woman, two decades younger than him come true? You’ll have to read to find out.

Nair’s characters exude dynamism but something hides behind their persona that raises the story above the mundane. Whether it is Randy or Jon – two entirely different men, they are well defined and memorable; they may seem realistic yet they are not! The hallmark of Nair’s stories is variety and tone, so different from the traditional ones. Highly recommended.

Meet the Author:

Mahesh Nair studied creative fiction at New York University. He won Strands International Flash Fiction Award, was shortlisted for Bath Flash Fiction Award and Micro Madness NFFD New Zealand, long listed twice for Reflex Fiction prize, and highly commended twice at London Independent Story Prize. His work has appeared in Barren Magazine, Literary Orphans, The Bookends Review, Smokebox, Paragraph Planet, 101 Words, AdHoc Fiction, BlinkInk Print, and Crack the Spine, and is featured in three anthologies. He was a contributing author for a CNF anthology, Lady by the River.

Connecting links:

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Balroop Singh.

Anything for Dreams

There was a spring in her gait, an elation that propelled her, an eagerness to fly, a yearning to have wings! She had been invited by the university to receive her gold medal. She was the topper of the year. She had waited for this day.
How could she forget this day? The day her bones felt lighter. The day she broke some!
Now what?
“Let’s cancel the program. Your foot needs attention.”
“I am good,” Laila hid her pain with a wide smile.
She ignored the swelling on her foot and got into the car. No broken bone could deter her determination to receive the honor in person.

Thirty years after the fall that had changed her gait, she says, “Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy. Sometimes we take them for granted.”
“Do you regret your insouciance to injury?”
“Never.” Anything for dreams.

Louisa’s post inspired me to play with this prompt that I saw at Dare Boldly and followed the link: Prosery Prompt at D’Verse 

The rules and prompt are: 

“Write a story of 144 words or less (not including the title). The story must have a beginning and an end, and should not be poetry. Sounds easy enough right? Here’s the twist: You must use the poetry line I have given you within your story. You may alter the punctuation, but you must use the line in its entirety.”

Today, the chosen line is taken from Spring Azures from the book Wild Geese by Mary Oliver: “Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy.”

Hues of Peace

Brook surrounded by green cover
Sue Vincent’s #writephoto

An escape from the outside world, a realm of serenity beckoned him. Each time he visited it to calm his inner storms, the color of nature painted his soul. A cadence of flowing water gave him new hope. He immersed his angst in the water, shared his fears with the branches that tossed them away into the air.

Dora’s face smiled from the water that cascaded downhill. A soft hand touched his shoulders. An angelic voice spoke syllables that he yearned to listen.

“I don’t want to see you here, Ron. Go home.”

“I didn’t come to meet you. This is my haven of peace.”

“But you disturb my peace. Go away. Let me rest,” her smile vanished as Dora spoke with a smoky voice.

Crestfallen, Ron walked home to face his demons alone. Moments of life grew blurry. All love crumbled as he looked at the changing colors of Dora’s picture in his living room.

My first attempt at flash fiction. Thanks to Sue Vincent for an inspiring Thursday #photoprompt Span  

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