Capturing the Navarasas in Flash Fiction

It’s a celebration of fiction at Spark this month. For, isn’t fiction a wonderful way, apart from poetry of course, to explore human emotions? When the editorial team decided that the theme for the September 2012 issue would be ‘Navarasas’ or the nine human emotions, one of the first ideas that we had in mind was to invite some well-known flash fiction writers to interpret the different rasas through their stories. We have been lucky indeed, with providence being on our side. Spark is proud to feature Abha Iyengar, Anuradha Kumar, Dr. Dipika Mukherjee, Fehmida Zakeer and Hema Raman – writers whose works have been published in literary journals all over the world, writers whose works have won great recognition in the form of awards and writers who have achieved many other milestones in their writing career.

Fehmida Zakeer

Bhayānakam & Kāruṇyam | ‘Silent World’ is the story of a mother, whose world is, well, silent. In this silent world, vibrations set in, unleashing some kind of a horror. The story explores the rasa, Bhayānakam (Horror). ‘Crossings’ is a moving story of school children off for an excursion. It touches upon the rasa, Kāruṇyam (Tragedy).

Dear Mother

Vīram | A daughter writes to her mother on a very important decision that she has taken in her life. In a story structured in the form of a letter, Gauri Trivedi celebrates the rasa, Vīram (Courage) – the bold decision of a woman.

Nine-Bow Rain

Navarasas | When the rains come down, it unleashes the navarasas or the nine human emotions in different parts of the country. Vinita Agrawal captures the magic of the Nine-Bow rain in her poem.

Operation Katpadi

Hāsyam | A man on train meets yet another man, whom he finds a very interesting personality to observe. In a story that embodies the rasa, Hāsyam (Humour), Aravind Menon takes us on an interesting journey marked by interesting observations of a curious traveller. In the end, there’s a little message too. Here’s something to make you smile.


Bhayānakam | A student weak at Math, a professor who might be crossing the line, and a row of tamarind trees on a college campus – the perfect setting for Bhayānakam (Horror), don’t you think? Meghana Chandrashekhar pens a story.

Abha Iyengar

Adbhutam & Bībhatsam | Abha Iyengar’s ‘Blue Sky’ addresses the rasa Adbhutam (Wonder) and is a story of hope after misery. Her second story, ‘Inner Room,’ focuses on the rasa Bībhatsam (Disgust) and is set in a beauty parlour. Read on.


Kāruṇyam | What happens when two very close friends who have always been there for each other have an ‘unspoken love’ between them? They restrain confessing their love to each other worrying about a tragic heartbreak, in the process living with heartbreak every day. Jessu John writes a poem that captures the rasa, Kāruṇyam (Tragedy).

Empowering Emotions

Navarasas | The nine emotions play a very important role in our lives, particularly children. It is therefore important for parents and teachers to help kids identify what they are feeling and why they are feeling so, opines Priya Gopal. This helps them grow up into emotionally-strong and confident individuals, she reasons. Read on.