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Have You Read My Short Stories set in The Blue Bar Universe?

Yesterday I sent out my first flash fiction set in the universe of THE BLUE MONSOON, the sequel to THE BLUE BAR. These stories have been very popular with readers, and it is my fastest-growing gazette.
This story featured a new character, based on a reader-prompt by wonderful friend, court advocate, and green warrior, Rachna Waddepalli.
“I’m a deep sleeper but something woke me up. A sound. A human sound. Someone is here. On other days it would be the most normal thing in the world, just my wife sighing before she got out of bed, her breath a prayer in the darkest moments of dawn. Not today though. It’s the twelfth day after she left, and the only weight on the bed other than my body is my heart, perched on the bed like it is its own little person. I’ve dreamt often of this heart in the past few days, a fist-sized thing but heavy as a log on a pyre, with the contained fury of a crime suspect knocked around for too long.
As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m not one for softness. I’ve heard it whispered in corridors by juniors and colleagues alike:  Inspector Desai is a hard man to cross. My superiors like that about me. I’m a Brahmin, upper-caste, man—it’s my role to keep society in line, so everyone follows the rules. This is why I wear my shendi. It might be a tuft of hair that’s supposed to protect my energies hidden under my uniform cap, but it also reminds me of my role as a leader in society. We the upper caste must do our bit. I wish everyone outside my office would also understand what I know as the truth, that this world is a hard place. You need a hard hand to deal with it, be it a suspect under interrogation; or your wife who forgot salt in the curry or baked your chapatis too hard.
Now that’s a place for softness—a chapati. Dough beaten and kneaded and rolled flat, fluffed up with hot air, that gives up its ghost upon a sigh when taken off the flames. Just like the sigh that had woken me up. Rama’s sigh, but not Rama. She wouldn’t dare interrupt my sleep even after her death.
Unlike Malati, that girl I knew in high school. She answered back. Her braid was neat, her salwar-kameez well-pinned, her eyes always focused on the blackboard or the path ahead, but you said one word to her, a common joke, and she flared. She called me a bully, but really all I wanted to see was the way her eyes widened and her posture straightened, making her look like a tilak, the flaming, vertical red mark we Brahmins draw on our foreheads when we’ve been to the temple. Only she wasn’t allowed a tilak, nor entry into our temple, my mother told me. An achoot, an untouchable, a scheduled caste. She had her own gods. It wasn’t fair, but that’s the thing to learn about the world. There’s an order to humans, and you must hold to it. Especially when it is in peril.”

Find the rest of the story here.


It’s my attempt to take an unbiased look at a supporting character in THE BLUE MONSOON universe: Inspector Desai. I don’t like him as a person, but I don’t have to. I merely have to tell his truth.

If you enjoyed the flash, drop me a prompt in the comments below, and I’ll try and write you a customized story in the Blue Mumbai universe the next time!

Have you read my short stories set in The Blue Bar universe? Do you prefer short stories or novels, or both?

My crime novel, The Blue Bar is out this year with Thomas & Mercer. Add it to Goodreads or order it to make my day. It is on a Monthly Kindle Deal in the US, UK and Australia, so now is a good time to pick a kindle copy if you haven’t already.
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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • cleemckenzie says:

    I loved this! Great flash fiction.

  • Natasha says:

    You portrayal of the characters transported me straight into their skin, D. Look forward to The Blue Bar.
    Happy tidings.

  • hilarymb says:

    Hi Damyanti – I’d learn so much from reading all your flashes and your chapters, books et al … you write so descriptively. I’ve never been to India or Mumbai – but as I’ve a contact who lives there and writes a newsletter from there … I can relate fairly well – especially being British – helps too. Cheers Hilary

  • I relate to your stories well having lived there for much of my working life. You have a wonderful way of letting me see visually with my minds eye what you write about.

  • Pam says:

    Fabulous writing as always, Damyanti. ♥️

  • Not yet, but I will.. Soon I hope.

  • What an intriguing exercise–flash fiction to support your book. I love that idea. There are great lines in this short snippet–like ‘the only weight on the bed other than my body is my heart’ and ‘this world is a hard place’.

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