If you love, adore the moon. If you rob, steal a camel.

Stories for the Long Silk Road

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Michelle D'costa: The Newscaster

When Dai was young she would stare awestruck at the news channel, in love with the newscaster’s confidence. How they relied on their memory to announce the news! She was bad at remembering lines. Even though later she did learn of teleprompters, the magic of the newscasters didn’t fail to awe her.

“Dad have you noticed ‘Priya Mirza’ is no more reading news for DTV.”, Dai said this and looked behind her shoulder at Mr Rathore who was having his evening tea, the tea cup precariously balanced on the teapoy.

“Yes I have. Why do you think she left?”

“No idea. Maybe she got poached. Anyway, Let us google it. I’m sure others have noticed it too and are wondering about it.”

‘Former newsreader of DTV, Priya Mirza is keeping a low profile nowadays after she left the leading news channel. We wonder why.’

Dai frowned, she had missed her so much already.

 ‘What could have happened to her?’, she asked her Dad who was now peaking over her shoulder, at the mobile screen in her hand.

‘For all you know she’s doing it for publicity, making others worry for nothing.’, he said and shrugged.

‘She is famous Dad,’ Dai rolled her eyes. ‘Besides she didn’t do anything controversial…. she just disappeared. And that’s a big risk. You can get easily replaced and forgotten nowadays.’

‘You think she will be replaced so soon? Not if people like you keep her alive through media.’, he winked and left to change for work after glancing at the grandfather clock they had in the living room.

Dai’s brother, Jayant, was a regular viewer of Priya’s show. He missed her too.

“ She had a pleasant face. It was easier listening to her. Her replacement sucks.’’, he said.

A day passed….then two….Priya was forgotten…she was occasionally remembered by her loyal fans…like Dai…

 Dai was at Kol’s- her favourite ice cream parlour.

Its blue and white exterior reminded her of Twitter’s theme and she felt at home there.

Dai got out of the parlour with a strawberry scoop dripping from the cone, snaking down her fingers.

She had her eyes fixed on a group of people crossing the road approaching her side when she saw Priya or she thought she had seen her...

She had heard that Priya lived nearby.

Priya crossed the road cautiously and the veil from her face slipped just enough for Dai to spot her tarred cheek. Dai recognised Priya from her thick fringe and cloudy eyes right below the veil’s hem. She didn’t look very different from TV except for her cheek.

But before she could shout out or say anything Priya slipped into a car and disappeared from sight.

Dai cursed her fate, on days when she had to reach somewhere urgently, the traffic had a stubborn match with her but today when she had just spotted her idol, she had been betrayed by it.

But she didn’t give up, her eyes couldn’t have played tricks on her, could it?

She hailed an auto rickshaw and on the way she tried to digest what she saw.

She was so pre-occupied with her thoughts (Priya’s tarred cheek kept flashing in her mind) that she forgot to pay the rickshaw walla and sprinted off as the rickshaw halted by her house.

The driver came out of the vehicle cursing about how customers were always ungrateful for all that the drivers went through, a long list.

She had almost reached her gate when she heard him, she wasn’t in the least embarrassed as she was still pre-occupied, paid him and said, ‘Have a nice day!’

He stared at her as if she had just apparated from thin air.

She reached her main door and slipped her slender fingers into her pocket when she realized her pocket was flat, where was the bulge that her key bunch created in her pocket? Oh damn!

She must have forgotten it in the rickshaw?!

But she didn’t run after the rickshaw.

Her fingers were itching to find the truth about Priya.

Atleast she still had her phone with her.

She sat down on the stairs, the sun rays fell directly on to her eyes, she rose a bit and parked herself on the step above.

She checked for the wifi connection. It was on. Thankfully, once when she didn’t regret not switching it off before leaving.

Her weapon-Twitter was accessible to her. She immediately tweeted


She instantly received various reactions from her numerous followers who enjoyed media as much as she did or even more.

So no one knew the real reason. Was she attacked with acid by a jealous viewer? If not what had happened suddenly?

Maya started a twitter campaign to force DTV to reveal the real reason for her resignation and that her supporters wanted her back.

After millions of followers and appeals, DTV arranged to have a live session with Priya just for her viewers.

Live On air,

‘What is the real reason for your resignation?’

The planned answer was ‘I suffer from a skin disease and I wish to stay at home.’

Instead she said, ‘I was asked to leave as I look hideous now.’


‘I would love to continue to be a newsreader as long as I’m allowed to.’

This brought out a cheer from her fans as they didn’t mind her scarred face. She was the best at her work.

However the rest of the world protested, ‘How can she? She’s so ugly..’

Anyway thanks to social media she resumes duty.

People got used to it or they didn’t. Life went on and Dai realized the change that she had created.

She thought it would be the right time to send her C.V. to news agencies to apply for a newscaster role.

She did and one agency replied, ‘You need to be good looking for this role. You will be the face of our agency. Sorry you do not fit the criteria. Maybe consider using a fairness cream or maybe a surgery, that is if you really want the job that much.’ 

Michelle D'costa has had her work published in journals such as The Bombay Literary Magazine, Hackwriters International Magazine, The Commonline Journal, Big River Poetry Review among many others. She blogs at pikoomish.wordpress.com

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Silk Road Mantra

by Suchoon Mo

bury me not

in the lone Silk Road

I go and go

from west to east

I go and go

from east to west

bury me not

in the lone Silk Road


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