September 29, 2023


Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Short Story: Civilized Company by Prashila Naik

2 min read

Prashila Naik’s story makes you pause and ponder as she takes the minutest slice of life and presents it to the reader, with enough room for interpretation and thoughts.

At first, he had almost ignored the commotion on the street and whizzed past it. He had a long day to wind up before he’d board the midnight flight. But soon there were enough people on the street, almost out of nowhere. He was forced to slow down and then pass a glance in the direction of the crowd. It was a woman. She was sitting on the road, slightly hurt, or probably just dazed after being hit by a biker who too was trying to reason with the woman, asking her questions she did not seem to be answering. But she did look up and, in his direction, and he realized it was someone he knew. Shabana, the maid. He pulled over and got to where she was. Seeing his crisp clothes and impassioned face that seemed to know what he was doing, everyone backed, even the earnest biker who up-close seemed disgustingly young, probably an unlicensed student out bunking school. Curbing his instincts to rough up the poor sod, he turned to Shabana who seemed embarrassed to see him, but also relieved.

“I was on the way home, Sir. This boy came out,” she was saying when he cut her off with a wave and helped her stand up. Against his 6 feet and 75 kgs, she seemed girlish, though he knew she was not much younger than he was. Upon her feet, she seemed unsteady, and he was worried that she had hurt herself more badly than he thought. “I am OK Sir, just a sprain. It will get alright soon,” she said as if she could see through his mind.

Stealing a quick glance at his watch, he wondered if she should drop her back to her home or take her to a doctor, even as a part of him decided to take her assurance of being alright at face value and let her find her way back. But something in the manner in which she was clinging to him, her frail body refusing to stand for itself, made him decide that he couldn’t leave her that way.

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