September 25, 2023


Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Short Story: Jam by Barnali Ray Shukla

2 min read

In this short story, Barnali Ray Shukla captures what goes on behind the glamorous lives of actors who constantly struggle with who they are in front of the camera and what they see when they look into the mirror.

Jamini liked the warmth of familiar hands working on her face. Mandar was getting better at staying detached yet more involved in working his art on her.  The persistent powder puff dabbing the sweat on her forehead before trotting along the cheekbone felt assuring. The tips of pencils contouring her face spoke to her in Braille, along the nonexistent jawline. She liked the discomfort of being in someone else’s skin as an actor. Lately, the days when she faced the camera had become rare like blossoms on cactus.  She liked that Mandar never gave up on her, and neither did she. 

But last week he was found smoking in her car. She had asked him to leave that very moment and asked not to return unless he had a good reason for why he’d breached her trust. The fourth and last scene of the day was a difficult scene to shoot. She would have liked to hide behind pancake but told herself that she didn’t need a makeup artist, she would just take off her glasses and the blemishes would evaporate.  The camera liked this too, it could tell that she was all vulnerable and let herself be seen. At the call of wrap, she even overheard words of praise, she chose to believe that was for her, even if it wasn’t. 

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