September 26, 2023


Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Short Story: Heartbeat by Shreya Dasgupta

1 min read

The faces, hair, and bodies in the humid metro train capsule are all a blur. But Arijit is here somewhere, according to the app.

My ears register the wails of two distinct babies, and the soft cooing of a third. I move forward, keeping my right hand firmly inside my bag’s front pocket where my phone and wallet are lodged. The metro is notorious for its pickpockets. 

All the babies I can spot look at least a couple of months old. Arijit was stolen from Pinewood hospital in Kolkata right after he was born, so he would be less than three weeks old now, and just beginning to pack on some pounds, if his newborn photos are anything to go by. 

Arijit’s parents are understandably distraught. Pinewood is a private hospital with high-resolution CCTVs and door locks linked to individual iris scans. But sophisticated technology needs sophisticated maintenance. You would expect Pinewood’s inflated hospital bills to pay for the security upkeep, but that the money funds only its board members’ pockets is a public secret.   

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