One Day: Mid-Afternoon

The fifth of ten microstories, following the lives of ordinary people, set over the course of one ordinary day in an Indian metropolis.

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This is the fifth in a series of ten microstories. These stories — vignettes, to be accurate — are set from dawn to midnight in an Indian metro. They follow different people in different settings over the course of a single ordinary day. Two of these stories have been published / accepted for publication in literary magazines. I’ll be publishing one piece per day over the next ten days.


An hour after lunch, pleasantly drowsy, they congregate in his cabin for tea.  It’s a cabin he shares with half of them.  So he can’t object to these mid-afternoon tea-parties.

He has work to do.  Back broadly turned to the tea-partiers, he concentrates on the glare of his monitor.  He has better things to do than have a tea-party every two hours.

He keeps thinking he’ll complain.  To the faculty: “My fellow-students’ tea-parties are distracting me.  Do we come here to work or to drink tea?”

He doesn’t complain.

Perhaps, vaguely, he realises.  That the silvery clink of spoon on china, the rustle of voices, the occasional raucous guffaw when they forget to keep it down, the necessity for him to look hard at work before these slackers – keeps him, too, awake through mid-afternoon drowsy hour.


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By Amita Basu

I'm a writer based in Bangalore, India.

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