Think Beyond-an anthology of short stories

An Extract from Short Story Collectives “Think Beyond”

The Author Madhumitha Murali is an MBA Finance with a growing passion towards writing. The short Story collectives include Novelettes and short stories that are a voice to the youth of today.
The first story is a short story, “A Peep into the Poetic Murder- Friend and Not a Friend- Recapping the Good Old Style”, that tells one to keep it simple.
There existed a man, who spoke in poetic verses. He witnessed a murder at night, the terrific night, he verses upon the tragic view with intensity of lines, but people don’t take him seriously. For one man understood him, he was a threat, one man tried to protect him, and he was his friend.”
There once lived a Man in Scotland called “Poemish Scott” who talked in verses. His playful nature and affinity for poems stole all his time in this engagement. He became a versant in poems, that he talked poems, walked poems and lived poems.
The second is a novelette,“You need not be from IIMs to embark success, if you are talented.”
“This is a novelette, a story, to develop passion for every reader, to move away from barriers evident from a village background. To kindle self- hope and come to truth from flying kites to the reality and develop in the reality to the goals marked, as dreams don’t make a person, it is the evident performance in reality that lives up. A boy lived in a remote village of Wardha, where he was from the lower strata, his English skills were low. He wanted a job in the city. He wanted to grab his dream job in KPST and his English and skills were a barrier. He joined as an Audit Assistant in MN & Co., to sustain his sustenance, and edge close to his dream career. This is a story of a village boy, who learns excel and English to near perfection and masters it and finds his dream job. He is interviewed at KPST two times firstly once and later after 6 months, meanwhile in gap he fights his latent and evident flaws and develops himself in these months, and how he uses his experience and understanding from his previous job to grab a job is what it is all about, in competition with an IIM Calcutta Student. In a heated debate with the Calcutta Guy, can he finally turn his dreams into a reality?

Next Novelette :Rustic in eyes, a wise-owl in life
“Abba, Listen, I can’t come to India. We are settled here, and bringing you here is very impractical Abba, the medical expenses, I can’t afford, but I can give you a peaceful place to stay, many people of your age will be there, and we will visit you, when we come.”
“I don’t want companions, All I want is you, Come back Abrar, Come back to India.”
“Abba try to understand…”
Abba hung up the phone.
In two days, He would have to vacate the house, the house was in dilapidated, in a to-fall condition, and no longer inhabitable. Abrar, had found him an Old age home to stay.
He had been abroad for 10 years with his family and never found time to…visit him, ran his thoughts..
Novelette : Morale Revolution 2025

5 August 2025, 10 pm
Lively India, with people bustling here and there. It is 10pm. Ladies are wandering about everywhere. India means safety and safety means India, a feel in every woman.
There were grand celebrations all around India, India’s celebration of 78 years was rejoiced by every Indian, both at home and abroad. The intellectual class now preferred to stay in India rather than abroad, because India had drastically developed over the years. It was peaceful.
At Delhi
In a cozy house, with a full family, went the conversation.
Granddad: Sleep Anil, its getting late. You have school tomorrow.
Anil: Grandpa, Story first!!
Granddad: Ah, I was wondering what story you would ask me today.
Anil: Today, In school, they talked about a Modern Gandhi and Gandhi.
Madhumitha Murali
I don’t know the difference. That modern Gandhi they introduced, didn’t look like Gandhi in photo. He was just like us. He was old, but talked to us like friends. Do you know him?
Grandpa: Do you want his story?
Anil: Yes Grandpa, Yes!!
Grandpa: The world I lived as a kid and parent was different, India changed from pure Gandhian principles to corruption led country, That man was the Change, His inspiration was the change.
Anil: What is corruption Grandpa, and what are bombs felling terrorists? I heard he cured Terrorism and made a peace paradise, thats what they told at the function. But, I didn’t understand.
Grandpa: I will tell you the history, the modern Gandhi a history Listen……..

Simple Meet: Clash “A Married Woman and Willingly Unmarried “

A Dwindle of Confusion” said Rithick. , “Do you love me or not?” Sandy starred blank. He urged on, “Tell me Sandy, Do you love me or not.”, He pressed. She meant a lot to him. She was his childhood buddy, but overtime, the affection for each other, turned into love. Now, he felt his life was void without her. She was engulfed with storm, in her mind, racing over the memories of happiness complementing with her life’s ambitions that stood strong with each emotion. Now, she had to select the strongest. Her mind raced, “I can’t let him know, she fought with her tears, trying to hold them back. Sandhya Swaminathan, was her name, but people called her Sandy. Maybe, because she had a Sandy hair, or may be because, it was the trend in the office with US system. Her US clients preferred to call her Sandy, so, it became universal around the office. Rithick was her childhood friend, they finished Graduation together, and they were engineers. Though they had feelings for each other, they didn’t let each other know explicitly, When Sandy had plans for her future, and Rithick felt proposing without sureness, would ruin their quarter century friendship. “Sandhya” , He called. She came instant, from the black hole that sucked her feelings into her head…
Novelette: Time Travel with Twins.
“It was a car, which looked like a glass model, with sensors and four passenger seats. Guess what, it is the vehicle, the time travel machine. There it stood proudly, the epitome of all success of human race. It caught the eye with every passerby in the Smart Tech lab. It’s pilot would be run today. To satisfy the rule of balance with the available four seats, with Lewis, Kent and two more were required. Lara had agreed to come along. One seat was yet to fill. Scientists stood watching…All decided three would suffice. Nobody wanted to be a lab rat.”
Lastly, Short Story: The Round Clock of All Times That Zeroes down everything.
“It is a clock of History, the oldest civilization’s history”, said Ashuthosh in awe… Touching it and continued…” Do you believe it clocked right from history to now? “
Nithi said, “We have yet to prove that it is really what the scriptures claim, it could be a hoax,”
Ashuthosh said, “ Maybe, but If it is true, we will be the richest in the world Nithi, and carrying it around is not safe at all, not at all.”
“The trouble is on how on earth are we are going prove it, without attracting attention, which anyone letting know our possession….”said Nithi, strawing out the juice with a slurring noise.
The waiter walked over with an order book, and Nithi slapped the straw back to the plate and said, “Oh man I am yet hungry, why don’t we order meals?”
Ashuthosh waived the waiter over to him, and said, “Two North Indian Thalis then…”
Ashuthosh said, “Hey it says, the Tribal head of the region was the first to use the watch, that means it is as old as Harappa culture, it says, or its competitor, we may have a catch, it might be older than the Harappa culture…”
Nithi hushed him, and said, “Not here… Not here, there are people around, people already have started noticing us…”
Why wouldn’t they? Who frequented seeing two twelve year olds in the City’s most expensive restaurant, on a table, surrounded with so much food that the older adults could not manage.
With Nithi taking a bite of all, and not more and Ashuthosh having appetite a normal teen would have, it was a rare site.
Nithi pulled her bag and said, “Let’s get out from here…”
Ashuthosh slapped a thousand rupee note at the waiter’s hand and said, “Keep the change”. The waiter stared blankly at them, it was the first time ever in life, a kid had tipped him and that too so much money.

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An anthology of futuristic stories

Free to Good Home: collected short storiesFree to Good Home: collected short stories by Anne Kelleher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Human civilization has progressed beyond expectations in the recent times and so has increased the complexity of life. Society has undergone a radical change over the last five decades or so. It will not be an exaggeration of facts if we say that the definition of relation between human is on the verge of a question mark. Particularly after the internet being the controlling force of the world-every definition of terms that defines human psychology are virtually redefined. Today friendship does not mean an emotional relation-but friendship in social networking sites means a bunch of unknown individuals ready to provide likes for the most ridiculous of posts. Gone are the days of romance when there was another type of thrill in biting the forbidden fruit. It is the age of speed dating now. We are virtually heading towards a blind lane of evolution. No doubt we the human species are the fittest till now, but are we making a firm stand on the question of survival? Or we are heading to a point of no return? If the pace of ‘progress’ remains unaltered for the next couple of decades or so-then what will be our future?
‘Free to Good Homes’ by Anne Kelleher is an anthology of short stories. There are seven stories in the collection namely-Free to good home, After the rapture, Enhanced, Conjuring Johnny deep, Finding south side journey, Raising Jerry Garcia and Walking with Elvis. All the stories are portrayed on a futuristic background. But they are not science fiction stories. Anne has made a picture of the world of a future where all the human emotions, all the human sentiments are no longer the same. It s a world where the old values, the ethics have been replaced by codes of conduct, more suited to humanoids. It is the story of the future –projected by the present.
Let us start the discussion of the anthology with the very first story-Feel to Good Homes. In our society we are seeing a radical change towards the outlook of the old. Particularly after the Second World War, family values have been started to be redefined in the west. Even in the eastern countries-the concept of family is getting a new perspective. It is now the nucleus family-where the family members of the generation Y no longer consider the elders as an inseparable part of the family. Elder family members are forced to live a life of the destitute-sometimes literally. Particularly in our Indian society there are daily instances on newspapers where the son or daughter drives away his or her parents out of house, forcibly takes away their possession. And believe me –they are neither instances of horror stories nor exceptional. Nobody these days looks after their emotional needs. They are now truly burden of the family. They are forced to create a life of their own and lives within a cocoon.
In this backdrop Anne glances towards the future-the future where the older generations are literally considered orphans and can be put up for adoption. Anne has a fascinating style of making ideas clear-where a harmless looking advertisement tells the whole story
‘He glanced down as the dino-bot places a plate with a slice of lemon meringue pie in front of him. The pamphlet reads-‘When it’s time to sever the cord’ and features a photograph of a smiling gray haired woman embraced by a younger couple and children, as another younger couple drives off waving the background.’
However our protagonist had some initial hesitation, which means some residue of old values are left within him-but his wife-who is rather interested in raising kittens than children did not have so. However they were not feeling the pinch as their mother was not with them. However, soon he was forced to reconsider his decision amid a rather emberracing situation for himself. He got a call from the cops and discovered that his mother was detained for selling her legal medico drugs in an illegal way. And in the way back home-or rather that should be a home-he had a firm decision.
But could he convert that decision into reality? Or rather still-was he given any opportunity to convert his wish into reality? The reader was compelled to stand on the mirror-to have a look at him-to themselves. It is a crude reality when humanity has been merged into an all prevailing hollowness. The last quote from the mother says it all
‘We are so lucky it’s not the old days.’ She says ‘when people thought the only way to make a family was with blood.’
Anne has a direct approach of saying her things-an approach that can hurt her readers like a sharp pointed arrow. But that does not mean she is a pessimist- she does not think in all negativity. She has only showed the blunt reality-where the wheels of progress can lead us into. The truth is more barely represented in the second story of the anthology-After the rapture.
Many writers have written stories-possibly science fiction stories on the days of holocaust. How it might come-how it is going to hurt the people-and so on. Very few of them have lived off the expectations. ‘After The Rapture’ is the story where the days of holocaust have taken up a new dimension. Throughout the whole story the writer has played with the psychology of the protagonists. It is the game of uncertainty-the theory of improbable that dominates the story. Even after finishing the story the readers minds starts swinging between yes and no-the reader can not get certain whether he had finished a story where the main characters passed through illusions or it was reality. This makes it a remarkable read.
Overall the futuristic stories have all the recipes of being a perfect anthology of short stories.

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STORIES OF LIFE

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is a rainbow of emotions.
It is a collection of moments of everyday life.
It is a short story.
The art of writing a short story is not easy to be mustered-it should evolve with everyday moments of life-simple, defining and priceless moments of life –moments so simple of everyday life that they may seem worth forgetting. Short stories are like a downpour to a dry soil-whose impression to the soil of the human soul is long lasting. The theme comes from ordinary life-the protagonists are ordinary people-the dialogues are from our simple daily life-yet the collaborative assembly is so extraordinary-it is like a beautiful orchestra conducted …………
Elvis’s Dog…Moonbeam-And Other Stories by Robert Moulthrop-an award winning anthology of twelve short stories-stories that are full of aroma of life. Here the protagonists are no extraordinary people-they are from our much known next door neighbors-they talk in languages that we have heard thousands of times-the turns of events are always as spontaneous as the flow of a wild stream-natural, uninterrupted. There are twelve stories in the collection-Uncle Louis,A sense of Place, Zip Code, Mom as I remember, Hinges, From stories from the quiet, Elvis’s dog-the one named Moonbeam, Death, Miss Honey touch takes a dip, Peru-with a tinge of ice, The dire case of the skulking E mail and the Wendy Paper. We will fix our attention to the first and the last story of the collection.
Uncle Louis –is the story of transformation of a man whom the world long been faded up considering’ the jack of no trade.’ In the words of the narrator-‘the old Uncle Louis was boring and scary. Everybody called him ‘Looey.’ ‘A crab salad without the salad.’ my father said about nine times a year. He would follow it with, ‘A San Francisco joke, like your brother in law.’
The uncle was a very run of the mill-very common-very boring and sometimes very irritating to the outside world for. His profession is just like the person himself-showing movies at garden clubs for an oil company. The real story has begun after the death of the wife of the uncle-the aunt of the narrator. His apparently reluctant expression at the time of death-or in other words his emotionless emotions-his silence –surprised many-shocked many and angered many. But it was like shock after shock for the poor man-too much death after the demise of his parents in a car accident-‘looking back, I think Uncle Louis had just gone into himself because, after his own mother and father had died, there was just too much death. But at the time, when all the grown-ups are in the room, all I heard were the silence.’ Nobody takes his apathy easily-not everybody is a philosopher to think death from a Hindu perspective of philosophy-like the mother of the narrator. But as they said time is the best healer-the ripple begun to settle down. Life is on the main track once again.
To the world outside, uncle continued to be a puzzle. His behavior-his expressions-everything continued to be considered weird by his acquaintances. But changes are yet to come-like a splash of rain to uncle Lewis- but to the world –even to his near and dear ones-the act of a lunatic. He suddenly decided to quit his job-and take to a new job. And from then the story does not get confine itself to the narrow boundary of the whims of a so called eccentric man. Ultimately it turned out to be the dream of a man-a man who has lost battles throughout his life- gets the fuel to live the rest of his life happily from his dream. And it is his emotion-that drives the individuals surrounding him who had earlier considered him crazy-considered him lunatic –to a deeper understanding of his psychological change.
Smeared with light hint of wit-the story offer a glimpses of a man who have learnt to live within himself-who have ultimately realized that the life can be lived to its fullest when the life is sailed in his own way. A personal narrative that turns out to be a memorable read!
At first I thought to discuss about the last story of the collection –the Wendy Paper –but it is such a classical story that I leave it to the reader to enjoy the story. However as a consolation to the reader –it is a story of a couple devising all types of possible, impossible, probable, improbable ways of trying to get rid of their funny neighbors-because ‘ everything is possible.’
Instead let us fix our gaze to the short story ‘Zip Code.’ The protagonist is a mail delivery assistant at a small postal facility-where one day he encounters a beautiful lady. He was eager to help the lady-but she was reluctant-and even rude in refusing his help. At this time the protagonist discovered the inner mettle of one of his colleagues whom he had always considered rather a low profile character. It is a story about how easily we misjudge individuals –how easily outward appearances elude us.
True –the plots of the stories are rather simple-but simple plots are so neatly fabricated-and the intricate patterns of the characters are so vividly described-the canvas becomes colorful-rendering a contrast with an unity.
Just like the life is!

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Pages from life

Everybody has a story... These are ours...Everybody has a story… These are ours… by Audrey N. Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Like they say-‘what’s in a name?’-It can similarly be asked-‘what’s in a successful short story?’
A short story is a collection of passing moments in life-thousands of moments that are sunk into oblivion everyday-moments that are as priceless as the drops of pearly tears-priceless as the bright sunshine like laughter.
And a short story will never ever get finished. Because it is the glimpses of the dynamic life-and life never ends-always it keeps on moving-in joy and in grief-in hope and in despair.
A short story is like the reflection of the surroundings in a pond……………
Everybody Has a Story-Here are Ours by Audrey N Lewis is an anthology of seven short stories-like the seven colors of rainbow. All the shades of color have been painted by the writer with bold brushstroke-thematic imagination and gripping narratives. Her writing exposes the psychological traits of the species called Homo sapiens. Stories are narrated in first persons-because the stories are truly from the pages of life. Some will merge us into deep melancholy-some will shock us with the climax. Overall it is a well managed orchestra-symphony revealing every shades of life.
Let us start us our discussion with the first story of the collection-the Closet. The story starts with penning of the picture of an adoring child-a doting mother and a happy family-giving us no clue to which direction the story will head to. The narrator of the story loves her family likes a miser loves his wealth-and to her motherhood was the most precious thing. She was thrilled when little Marcus came into her lap.
Marcus is close to perfection-he was tolerant, intelligent, patient-if a baby is capable of realizing the true meaning of these high sounding human qualities-but truly he was and ‘he was the baby that god gave you first so that you would want a second’. But this time it was not smooth sailing-everything has to be tried-fertility drug, semen analysis, medical tests-before she became pregnant for the second time.
And after the coming of little Katherine to the family-she was not as easy to be treated like Marcus. She was hard to handle-cried so much that they began to wonder whether it was medically all well with her. From every possible corner strange advises started to downpour like torrential rain –and after a little bit of time she realized her dear husband, is not with her in the battle of controlling Katherine. But like dawn comes after the night, Katherine had started to be normal. ‘Soon she giggled as often she had screamed. She quickly went from crawling to pulling herself up and on her birthday we not only celebrated her training 1, but she took her very first step independently. Within a day or two she was running. Life was good.’
Or was it?
Katherine proved to be a difficult child to be talked-by her parents-her brothers-her teachers-her friends. Neither had she tried to adjust herself to the social periphery- nor her acquaintances tried to adjust with her. Her uncontrollable rage had made her unpopular in her friend’s circle-teachers felt her outbursts disruptive. And after a painful series of efforts on the part of her parents-there was a temporary stop of her school life. But she had proved to be increasingly difficult to be controlled-rage, fit, weeping, crying –everything made her parents decide-enough is enough. And she started her school chapters once again-this time in a new school-in a new environment. ‘At the school meeting she shined. She was little Miss Personality .sweet, attentive and engaging, the staff and teachers were excited to have her.’
And then she had a passion –well, you will decide later-what would have been an apt word for Katherine’s interest towards hamster. She impressed her mother with a comprehensive knowledge about the mammal-and got one as a pet. She named her Blinky. All seemed fine until one day the narrator discovered Blinky was dead’ her head cocked in an unusual position almost separated from her body.’ Her parents suspected that she might have some hand in her death. But she convinced everybody that it was her innocent curiosity that was responsible for her death!
Her attention then got diverted to insects-specially bugs. And she made a nice colony for them. The conclusion of the story is shocking-will sent a chill down your spine. After you discover the last twist-you will think in horror-is it possible? Can she do it?
The story telling style of Audrey is so absorbing that your interest will soar like the temperature of a feverish patient. She is capable of creating a perfect ambience that will take the story towards the end. She has proved herself master craftswoman in craving the character of Katherine-a lady avatar of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide. Katherine has made everybody fooled by the façade of her character. But what will haunt you after finishing the story that what is the cause? Usually such deformation or deviation is caused by the social unacceptability-childhood trauma-memory of torment. But she had loving parents-caring brother-social environment of higher etalon. Then why?
No doubt only a powerful writer can come to that depth of human psychology with unmoved pen.
The last story of the collection ‘ If only you could hear her sing’ is a touching account of the experience of the narrator in a controversial so called ‘well managed’ nursing home. Like all other stories of the collection the writer cared a lot about narrating the surrounding-creating an ambience of contrast. She recalled her experience with the home-where the first two floors give the impression of heaven on earth-warm, cozy environment, professional staffs, ample scope for entertainment for the patients. But once you just go at upper stage-you will find hell on earth. It is simply because the patients of the third and fourth floors are seldom visited by their keens-the floors are a little away from the media attention-and so the patients are neglected.
But even after all these neglects, apathy on the part of the management to the residents of the third and fourth floor-the residents have stolen her attention.
‘When I returned on the 4th floor, I immediately heard Mabel’s singing. She was sitting up in her wheelchair behind her closeddoor. I attempted to introduce myself, but she was in her own world, so I just listened for a while. She wasn’t singing songs but instead was singing conversations. Conversations full of details about her past…..’
It is a quest of the narrator-of discovering that indomitable force that made our life so beautiful in spite of all the grief, despair and dejection. Like a skilled scuba diver she has explored the depths of life for her pearls.
And as I have told at the beginning-the stories will echo to the readers after finishing thee book- like a song that takes our life from the hustle bustle of life.
A song that perhaps ended with a drop of tears.

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Won own world

How many are these ?How many are these ? by Kalyan C. Kankanala
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

To them the world is a combination of sounds and some sensory feelings.
To them all the world is a shade of pitch black colour. It is eternal darkness- no light visible at the end of the tunnel.
How will it feel to an individual –if one day all the lights have been put out in an instant- all the stage is now under a cover of darkness?
Grief- depression-despair- a suicidal attitude- what will be the reaction of the individual whose lights are off one day. From Deepest in his mind- the individual knows that no longer will the dazzling brilliance of the butterfly wings be visible-the emerald green sea water is a mere description- the sky is now black.
Still the individual has to live- live amid the shapeless, colourless feelings.
To the visually impaired individuals the world is presented in a different perspective- perhaps from a different dimension. Devoid of any light- will there be only darkness?
Or a light of the heart will enlighten the individual?
How Many Are These by Dr. Kalyan Kankala is a quest in search of identities of those who are visually impaired- there is one common factor- in this anthology of short stories-all protagonists are visually impaired. There are ten short stories in this slim looking anthology-1. Old man by the firm, 2. the letter 3. Love story 4. First Flight 5.Voices 6. scribe 7. the woods 8. black out 9. job and finally The Cane.
Let’s come to the stories. The first story Old man by the Firm deals with the psychology of the helplessness of the blind of an individual. Our protagonist is resting in a country cot in his farmhouse. He could not see the world-but the eyes of his mind-his inner sense can still tell him many a things-
“Through his mind’s eye, the old man saw twinkling stars in the clear night sky and wondered how long it would take before he joins his dutiful wife, who had the good fortune of travelling to heaven a year back.”
He becomes a bit nostalgic- memories get crowded in his mind. Old memories-of joys and of tears elevated his mind- may be to away from this earthy world.
A careful footstep jerked his journey to the barren world of reality. Intruders are there in the farmhouse –and he is alone. They may plunder him-rob him or even kill him. He is helpless in face of a possible attack, first of all he is aged and secondly he has no idea whatsoever his possible attackers may be!
His alert mind calculated a million calculations within an instant. After all it is life and death question and his primary responsibility are to save his life. He saw his road to escape –of course in the eye of the minds. And when his heart is threatening to leap to his heart……
Well-here comes the suspense-here comes the thrill. The writer will never pardon me –if I reveal it now.
It is noteworthy that even if the stories are directed to a certain specially abled section of society-still no way the natural traits of short stories were forgotten. It is the snapshot of moments and as you finish it-your heart will never be content. You will think- it ends, but does not end!
Suspense and ram have their part throughput the stories, for example from where the mysterious voice that Vindod heard in the middle of the night –originated? And don’t worry-it is not a ghost story! The conclusion of the story Voices comes as bit of a shock to the reader.
It will be a fairly injustice to the reader if I forget to add one last sentence- that the writer was able to see the world from a different angle as he is one of those who had undergone the same mental turmoil that all the protagonists had undergone.
When the light has been put off…..

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