Sarah Aineh

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible

Among Wildflowers


Only once did I see them up close

A three second breeze, a dither,

I chanced upon the wildflowers

Iridescent for my sake

So it was that I lay among them

And what a view had I of the sky

Bounding, boundless, from cloud to cloud

And if all of eternity I were to spend

Amid the blossoms, and abloom,

Forgetful of the daily presentiments,

Of the duties to which I am bound,

Of they who I must answer to..


What momentary insanity did strike me?

To believe I had the freedom to tarry

I have no business among wildflowers

But one last look before I go


Long after I leave this place

The beauty will remain

They will dance the same dance

And I will stay the inanimate.


New Book – Zeb and the girl


Hello! My new book titled Zeb and the Girl is available here.

You can also buy it on Amazon, Flipkart, and Shopclues.

Happy reading, and I hope you enjoy reading this story. I sure enjoyed writing it.



Amber Eyes


Eleven years we’ve left behind

Mellifluent songs she sang in rhyme

The lips she painted red as wine

And elfin gaze still stay in mind


She left eleven years ago

She said goodbye and shut the door

Melancholy sighs and nothing more

A hasty see-off by the shore


In a still second, I remember

That most perfect of all liars

But her amber eyes like ember

My heart, they set afire.


The Giant on the Balcony



Dear Earl,

I know you said not to write until after some months, but Mamma said at dinner last night that any of us could drop dead any second because no-one knows how long we’ll live, and I think it was leading up to the usual stuff about Heaven and Hell, but it got me to thinking well what if you suddenly drop dead and I never ended up telling you about the giant in the balcony, so I thought that even though you did tell me I should only write after it’s been a while or else the other kids would make fun of you for receiving a letter from home too early that I should definitely write to you and if the other kids do make fun of you, you can just tell them it’s cos we can’t decide when we’re gonna die.

Last week, I got real sick again, so sick that I had to be taken to the hospital, and I had to spend four nights in Room 101 on the third floor until I got well. Mamma stayed those nights with me, and I always fell asleep before she did and woke up before she did.

So the first morning, when I woke up pretty early, I opened the curtain just a little bit so I could look outside. You know how there’s an apartment building across the street and you can see the people that live there through their windows like as though you’re looking at dolls living in a doll-house? Well, I was looking straight across once, and I saw a man on the balcony, and I immediately got scared because he didn’t look doll-sized or anything. I mean, I don’t understand physics as well as you do, but I was sure if he was that size in that distance, then he had to be some kind of giant. The giant came out to the balcony and sat there reading the papers and drinking from a cup. I watched him the entire time he sat and read and drank and then he went back inside.

When mamma woke up, I told her about it and she said ‘uh-huh’ like how she says ‘uh-huh’ when she’s busy with something else and isn’t listening to a word you’re saying. Instead she told me to take my medicines so I could get well again. I kept looking out the window so that I could show mamma the giant but he didn’t appear again until about maybe 4 in the afternoon which was when mamma had gone down to buy some juice for me. He stretched out his big hairy arms and yawned and simply stood there leaning on the rail for a while. He caught me staring at him and he waved at me, and I didn’t want to be rude but I looked away as soon as he noticed me. I kept looking at the door and then back to the giant hoping mamma would come in just in time to see him but he went back inside and mamma missed him again. I told her so, but she couldn’t concentrate on anything other than making me drink the juice and take my medicines. In any case, the juice tasted even worse than the medicine, and drinking it almost made me throw up.

The next day, he came out to the balcony again, and this time, after he finished reading the papers and drinking his tea, he bent down to pick up something and then he put the thing on top of the rail, and the thing turned out to be one of those hairy dogs whose eyes you can barely see, I’m sure you’d know what they’re called if you saw it, Earl. It was white and grey and the giant combed his hair just like how Joanie combs her Barbie doll’s hair, and by the time he was done, the dog’s hair was all straight and not shaggy like he was when I first saw him, and he looked real happy, especially since the giant kept feeding him treats, and later the giant got a beach ball which he placed on the dog’s nose and the dog balanced it for a full minute. I told momma about it but when I mentioned how the giant’s brushing of his dog’s hair was similar to Joanie with her Barbies, she suddenly remembered that she had almost forgotten to ask Uncle Eric to pick her up from school and she didn’t pay any more attention to what I was saying.

You know those drawings I used to make in kindergarten of the sun coming out from the mountains and birds shaped like ‘V’s’ in the sky? Well the giant made a painting almost exactly like that on the third day, except his birds didn’t look like V’s at all, even from afar, and his sun wasn’t yellow but more like orange-red, but I think he did a much better job than me. In the afternoon, I was crying because I felt dizzy and I really wanted to go home, but the giant hung a dart board on the wall next to the door that was as big as his head and I swear to God, he hit the Bullseye every single time, and I was so amazed, and I asked mamma later if we could get a dart board and she said it’d be the first thing we did when we got home!

On my last day at the hospital, I saw him again, and this time he was wearing a vest so I could see that he had muscles just like He-man’s. When he stood at the door, he bent down and lifted a barbell, you know, like the ones Uncle Eric has but these ones were bigger. After lifting about ten times or so, he put the barbell down, took a step forward and picked up a barbell that was even bigger than the first one, and it didn’t look at all like it was any effort for him. After this, he took another step forward, bent down and picked up an even much much bigger one. And at that time, mamma came in saying the doctor said it was ok for us to go home, and I said ‘mamma, come look!’ and she looked out the window just as the giant bent down probably to pick up a fourth barbell, but mamma didn’t have enough patience to look out the window for more than two seconds, and she immediately started packing my things and helping me get dressed to go home.

Just as we were about to leave, I saw the giant lean on the balcony rail. He was patting his dog with one hand, and waving at me with the other, and this time I made sure not to be rude and I waved back at him and he smiled happily at me, and I smiled too, and I thought he seemed like a nice person after all and not scary at all.

Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that much, I’ll write a longer letter next time. I’ve been playing darts these days and I thought it’d be easy but it sure isn’t. You gotta write back and tell me what boarding school’s like, I’m sure it beats being home-schooled anyhow. But mamma said I might come join you in some time if everything goes well. She’s gonna take me and Joanie to the circus this weekend, they’re in town for a month and Joanie wanted to go see the elephants, and I told mamma circus is for small kids and that I didn’t wanna go but she’s taking me any way and I’ll write all about it in the next letter, but only after you send me a reply for this one.



your brother Peter.


The Paralysis

A  nightmare forest

Under pouring rain,

My body is awake and asleep.

The throbbing, the pounding

Of this frightened heart

preventing repose,

Upsetting the balance

of the otherwise disciplined,

Spinning bed and raging head,

The universe set to explode,

And still I’m still.

In the midst of this consumption,

the looming presence of

The Fear;

My muted screams unheard

Help me, please wake me,

Comfort me even with nightmares,

Save me from the in-between.

Already the rain and rotation subsides,

Now I’m blanketed in evanescent calm.


(Note: This poem is about sleep paralysis, which I’ve experienced a number of times. What happens is I’m in this almost-awake-but-not-quite state, and my bed starts to spin with this loud whirring sound. I try to move but I can’t, and when it happens, it’s always accompanied by this feeling of terror. I scream but no sound comes out. Sometimes, but not always, there will be a presence in the room, beside my bed. I can never make out what or who it is, I’m just aware that it’s there, and I’m scared of it, even though it doesn’t move or speak. Most of the time, I know exactly what’s happening, and that it’s all in my head and none of it is real. But it’s still always terrifying as shit when it happens.

What was Yesterday


What was yesterday
But a distant daydream
Wooded shelters in rain
And shows of love near water

What if this lie was truer
than your most honest day

But again time beckons us
She grants no more favours
She wakes the sleeper and tells
that Grey skies will never be Blue

And the sun will still rise
and it will still set
As though the world never
did turn upside down

This time tomorrow
You will be far from me
and there just left to wonder
What was yesterday


black-moustache-clipart“You see that man over there selling pani-puri? He’s been sitting there for hours and he hasn’t had a single customer.”

Seven year old Rohini sat next to her dog, Bittu on the steps of the verandah as she watched the man across the road sitting idly on the pavement next to his pani-puri stand.  She ran a brush over Bittu’s long coat, and said to him “Maybe his pani-puris aren’t so tasty.”

Bittu yawned and rested his head on Rohini’s lap. He didn’t care much for pani-puris.

A little later, Rohini was getting ready to go cycling to the  park. She opened the gate, pushing the cycle along by its handles. Bittu followed excitedly. The pani-puri vendor hadn’t moved an inch. His stall held a wooden box, three pots covered with lids, and a large bowl stacked with puris which he had covered with a transparent plastic sheet. She felt sorry for him, and reached into her pocket for the ten rupees she had been saving to buy ice-cream for herself and Bittu later.

“Five rupees worth, please” she said to the man. He stood up, and she saw that his shirt had a number of holes in it, and that his shoes looked as though they would fall apart any moment.

The man smiled without saying a word, and began to prepare the first pani-puri. He crushed a puri with his left thumb and almost at the same time, put the filling of potatoes, sprouts and onions that he had prepared beforehand. He then added a spoonful of tamarind chutney in the puri, immersing it in a small bowl filled with flavoured spicy water and handed it to Rohini. As soon as he did this, he started preparing a second one with equal speed.

Rohini took the puri and broke a bit of it to taste it.

“No, no” said the man, looking at her and shaking his head. “Not like that. You eat it whole. Go on.”

Rohini did as he said. It was the most delicious pani-puri she had ever tasted.

The man prepared four more pani-puris, which Rohini devoured. She handed him the ten rupees; he smiled and opened the lid of the wooden box on his stand, placed the ten rupee note in the box, and took out a shiny five rupee coin, which he handed to Rohini.

“Thank you” said Rohini.

“You’re welcome. Have a nice day” replied the man. He sat down again on the pavement, wiping his forehead with a red rag that he had hung on the side of his stall.

Rohini said “Let’s go, Bittu” and as she turned around, she saw a strange, dark man across the street, standing next to their gate. She stared at him because he had the longest and blackest moustache that she had ever seen. It looked almost as though the moustache didn’t really belong on his face.

A second later, she heard a loud bang, and the man fell to the ground. She turned around and saw the pani-puri vendor aiming a revolver in the direction where the man had stood.  He deposited the weapon somewhere in his dhoti and ran across the street towards where the man lay on the ground.

Just as he bent down to examine the man, a white van stopped in front of the gate, blocking Rohini’s view of the two men, and a few seconds later, the van sped away. The fallen man was no longer on the ground.

The pani-puri vendor walked to where Rohini stood, frozen, Bittu by her side. He knelt down and said to her “Rohini, what were you about to do this evening as you came out the gate?”

“I was going for a walk with Bittu till the park.” She didn’t ask him how he knew her name.

“And what did you do?”

“I bought five rupees worth of pani-puris from you.”

“And what else?”


The pani-puri vendor smiled at her kindly. He had big brown eyes that reminded her a bit of her own father, who was presently at his office, and would come home at 6pm as always, asking Rohini’s mother for a nice, hot cup of tea.

“And then I went to the park” she said. “Come on, Bittu.”

She walked along with Bittu and looked back only once to see the pani-puri vendor pack up his things. She wondered where he hid the revolver now, and then realized that must have been what the wooden box was really for.

Rohini had a feeling she would never see the pani-puri vendor ever again.



They are angry

All parts of this reluctant whole

Nutcracker put to use to find

I am not poetry

No valiance, resilience

Instead the hazy scenes

Of electric chairs and tethers

Looking glass with no lies to comfort

Never was I beauty

I would no more heed the voice

If not stifled by such silence

One more dip in the icy lake

My poor blue feet..

Drops of Dew


Drops of dew upon the green

Cottage by the deserted street

Dim, the light in the quiet room

Not a soul but me and you.

Purple is the evening sky

Old but gold, that lullaby

Close the windows, hear the rain

Listen as the music fades.

Now the last light takes its leave

Blinded, so to better feel

Nature helps to heal the wounds

A single soul, she makes of two.

Drops of dew on my bluebells

Bells in hair adorn me well

Morning birds are flying through

Set as free as me and you.

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