A Game of Shadows

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was first held in 2010. The challenge is that we have to post every day of April, except on the four Sundays. April 1st is a theme with letter A, 2nd with letter B and so on till April 30th which will be Z themed. This year, I’m planning to do short pieces of fiction (not a series), or a poem based on a word with that letter.

A Game of Shadows

It was a game of shadows.

From when she was little, Chaya had been taught in shadow puppets. Her grandfather, who she fondly called Ajju, had been excellent at shadow puppetry and told her stories with that. While she sat spellbound on her bed, her ajju would switch off the lights, and with a big torch behind him, he would tell her stories of rabbits and birds and what not. He always taught her good things, like kindness. She, like her showman ajju, believed in the goodness of shadows.

When her ajju’s shadow left her home, she felt she had to continue.

“To thank him for all he taught me,” she said to herself one night, trying to bring the rabbit back on her wall.

It was a night soon after that she heard raised voices. Tiptoeing to the edge of the staircase, she listened carefully.

“Now look what your father has taught her,” her father’s voice rang through the halls.

“There’s nothing wrong in what he taught her, Ajay. She loves it.”

“I don’t want her thinking it’s her future, Naina. She’s impressionable, and you know it.”

“Don’t you accuse my father of being just a puppeteer! You know very well it wasn’t his job.”

Their shadows from the kitchen light fell on the walls of the hall, and Chaya watched them anxiously, waiting for the happily ever after. The voices flew, the tempers flared and finally, something her mother said crossed the line. Her father’s shadow fell on her mother’s and the sound of a slap echoed, followed by sobs. Chaya quickly went back into her room.

The next evening, the same thing happened. From the top of the stairs, Chaya watched the shadow puppets waiting for the happily ever after. Instead, she only heard the sound of a chair falling over. The next day morning, she saw her mother limping.

The third day brought no change either. The same puppets and the same end; only this time, her father had got a deep cut on his hand.

The days passed, the puppets worsened, and Chaya began to hate them. When she asked her mother, she only got a slap from her for her troubles. She dared not ask her father after that. When she saw the shadow puppets again that night, she wanted to go far away from them. So she did. She went where they couldn’t find her.

It was a game of shadows.

And holding her hands over her ears and screwing her eyes shut, Chaya melted into them.

Like last year, I’m taking the challenge along with my friend Bhavya. We’re writing on the same themes each day, and giving each other the themes on alternate days. Day 19, the word chosen by us was ~Shadow~.

(© 22nd April 2015)


Poetry & writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.

22 thoughts on “A Game of Shadows”

  1. She will have those shadows in her heart scaring her no matter how old she grows…

    Well written story Leo..

    • Perspective comes when we grow up I think, Jb. A small child is very impressionable. If someone is there to teach them about perspectives, they take it in. Else they absorb what is happening in front of their eyes.

  2. How sad!
    So many parents unknowingly do this to their children. When the parents fight and bicker in front of the children, it leaves such deep scars on their mind. I have a friend who doers not want to marry or love someone because his parents had a bad marriage and because he went through a lot of pain from all the drama that happened in his home.
    (Bhavya recently posted… Dear Son)My Profile

    • Yes. There are many who do, Ishi. In the moment, no other person is around them. They look only at the fight, and not those affected by it; that deepens the scars.

  3. So tragic. I wonder why parents fight in front of children. They are so impressionable. My heart cries for the little girl, Chaya 🙁 I wish your stories had more happy endings 🙂

    • Yes. They are indeed impressionable. Like I said to Bhavya, I think in that moment, there’s only the fight in their mind. Not the impressionable around them.

      I too wish for the happy endings, Prasanna 🙂 I don’t know why the sad endings come more often. I’ll try a non-tragic T story for sure :mrgreen:

  4. I strongly believe it’s the parents that shapes their child’s thinking and nature. The couple lacked understanding and forgot there was something (someone) more important than underestimating each other.

    I have seen this happening.
    (Sims recently posted… Save the Mother Earth)My Profile

  5. Well played with “shadows”, Leo. Such stories can never have a happy end. Parents shouldn’t fight in front of kids. If a couple is not completely happy with their marriage, they should part ways… not go on to produce kids. And if they already have kids, they should send them to boarding ASAP. That’s what i think.
    (Kaddu recently posted… A to Z of Blogging: S – SEO #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z)My Profile

    • Hmm. Yeah. I guess boarding school is an option, but I do think they can try to work out the differences. If at least one of the parents is understanding of the child watching on, then it’ll help I think, Kaddu.

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