Let’s be honest that most of us have at some point in our lives searched online the benefits of reading or have heard the clichés like ‘reading is the exercise of the mind’ from our teachers and elders. What I often find to be omitted is the fact that book reading is a very entertaining activity. As an avid book reader, I can testify that reading enriches my soul and provides me with immense joy and pleasure. Book reading is one of my favorite hobbies and leisure activities.

Quite peculiarly, there seems to be an innate realization among most of…

Oh, thee serpentine-like dragons

Thine fire shan’t smolder us

We wield the Excalibur

Thine doom inevitable

Gather ye demons, while ye may

Thine poison arrows can’t provoke us

Do as foul deeds as ye may, corrupting thine souls

We hold our ground in the wake of the tsunami

Ye can’t provoke us, try as ye may, despite thy spite

As resolute as the divine rock, the citadel of our divinity

Thine kingdom shall fall, the inner blazing fire to dust

Thou shall not pass, as iron rusts into harmless smut

Why are thee so cross? Why can’t thee stand happiness?

Oh, thine corrupt soul, obscene, the abyss of darkness

Ye aren’t the center of the universe; it was never about thee

Learn to see others’ divinity, the architecture of belief

See the version published in ‘Friday Flash Fiction’ →


What does freedom mean to you? An often asked question, whose answer usually depends upon the current predicament an individual is facing. When this same question was asked to a group of students in an English reading and writing class, in which I was serving as a teaching assistant at the time, the answers varied on the lines of sleeping, happiness, no work, no assignment, money, food, and pets. In my opinion, true freedom and liberation can only be attained through discipline; all else is secondary scaffolding to add meaning to our lives.

At first glance, freedom and discipline may…

The sweet air on a bright summer day,

Waving my hands over the violet fields,

The summer fragrance, enticing, sweet like honey,

Ah, what a pleasure to be alive, to be surrounded with beauty

I hear the cellos in the distance, magnificent and bold

A pleasant voice, guiding me through the flowery pathway

I see a floral, yellow, flowing, summer hat gliding in a distance

The jet black hair, flowing, majestic, a goddess in disguise

All that glitters is indeed gold; who said otherwise?

The honey is sold, the life’s story being told,

Birds chirping, the sun glancing, insects chittering…

The monotony daunting, soul-crushing,

Wake up, shower, eat, work, repeat.

The slaves toiling away till the night-time,

The high-rise, a sanctuary, or a prison?

Students work hard and study,

For what, to become a slave or a slave-master?

The sole dream of earning big bucks,

As hollow and inferno-like as the devil’s abyss?

People selling their souls to the devil, compassion on the back burner.

Zombies coming out of their dens on the weekends, like ants emerging from a hive.

Soulless beings walking the nigh-time streets, raving in the clubs,

Booze overflowing, music blaring, humanity non-existent.

The architecture of belief…

Existentialism is a major philosophical school that attempts to decipher the human condition and reasoning without being tainted with preconceived ideologies. Existentialism has been popular in the western world, with this school of thought reaching widespread attention after the second world war. The time may be ripe to introduce the existentialist worldview to the eastern world, perhaps to serve better the upcoming younger generation suffering from the existential dread in our rapidly changing modern society, often characterized by its lack of compassion and individual depravity.

The greatest asset of existentialism, in my opinion, is its central concept of ‘existence precedes…

The fog over the bog, choking

I stand on the edge, taking in the natural splendor

The silence paralyzing, the smell overpowering

The dewdrops twinkle, the grass as shiny as the stars

The frog’s baritone-like croak disrupts my trance

I wonder what the other world looks like

The land beyond the fog, ethereal

I take in a deep breath, touching the foggy wall

The sulfurous smell engulfs me, madness

Volcano or magic, land or water?

As I walk, I see a dragon’s silhouette, swallowing me whole

Fire, lightning, and thunder, the land down under

And now, when I look back, I realize

The fog an illusion, life’s labyrinth?

The dragon, friend, or foe? The frog, king, or jester?

Will-o’-the-wisp, magnificent, magical, life’s essence

See the version published in ‘Friday Flash Fiction’ →


The pitch blackness, absolute terror

The heart as heavy as a boulder

The bottom of the ocean, desolate

Not a soul to be seen, not a whale in sight

The boy freezes in the absolute cold

His heart frosty, almost rocklike

The repugnant odor of his dying flesh

The flagrant and overpowering stench of his dying thoughts

The loneliness crippling, the desolation absolute

The boy is a fish out of water

Gasping for breath, wriggling with pain

It’s as if there is no oxygen in the ether

In a flash, the ocean opens, the shimmering sun rays everywhere

The flesh restores, leisurely, taking its time

The hands embracing the boy are warm, tender, and delicate

Tears roll down his face, pellucid, a drop in the ocean

See the version published in ‘Friday Flash Fiction’ →


Everyone wants to be happy; we all know and understand that. There is even a movie starring Will Smith that celebrates the pursuit of happiness in its title. Our global culture is experiencing a phenomenon wherein all the self-help books claim happiness as the ultimate destination. Nevertheless, if you genuinely think that happiness is the goal, attaining it will always be that, a pursuit that is never realized.

I’m not saying that happiness in itself is non-desirable. One should always welcome it with open arms and be grateful. However, if you solely pursue happiness, you are bound to be trapped…

The cloudless, blue summer sky in the heavens above,

The air still feels recycled, almost artificial

My trance-like state, broken by the songs of the cicadas,

Yes, I would instead call it a song, not a cry or scream

The cicadas provide a welcome break,

Otherwise, the demon in my head would have eaten me alive

The hot summer air scorches my face as I walk through the lush green meadow,

Mother Earth talks to me noisily, like an orchestra

Is the meadow alive? I ask mother Earth!

One of the cicadas talks to me, hey you! Welcome dear visitor

Kumar Vikrant

Doctoral candidate at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (Air Quality and Materials Application Lab), Hanyang University, Seoul, South Korea

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