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A collection of vignettes about spaces where we find safety, friendship and adventure. These stories have been narrated by adults and children from different ages.

 

We love how each space is a personification of the narrator's self or is contributing to shaping it. 

Doodles by Anushree Joshi

Tarang's L-shaped bunk bed

The L-shaped bunk bed with a green wooden ladder in my 8 ft by 11 ft room was loved by all. My friends would be thrilled by the idea of having a bed that stood 5 ft)  above the ground. Right above the mattress, on a chipped glass shelf, sat my stuffed toys - the yellow haired doll, the monkey with the long tail, and a hoard of little toys (courtesy of the many McDonald's happy meals that I’d devoured over the years). Visitors at home would be stunned by the possibility of two teenagers growing and living comfortably in a space so small… “This is the only way to live in Bombay,” they’d say, smirking in admiration.

 

For me, this bunk bed was my hideout -  warm, secluded, and cozy - it was my safe space…

 

…out of reach of the clasps of violence that roared in my house every single day. 

 

… where bad things wouldn’t be lurking around, waiting to barge in. 

 

…that bore witness to my whimpers, anxieties, hopes, desires, and to my desperate cries for help. 

 

… a home within a home that rarely felt like home.

When the demons in him unleash,

I’ll come to you,

for I know you’ll be there;

safe and warm - a refuge that never ceases to be.

 

I like that you’re up there - elevated;

just like the mountains I now call home.

 

You, have always been my safe haven…

one where I can

speak the poetry inside me,

holding grief in one hand,

and hope in the other;

 

with you,

I’ve always felt safe,

as light as a cloud,

soaring through

the light blue sky.

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Paati's lap
by Shubhashini Raju

Longings of my inner child~

As I would dwell inside her nine yards sari,

she would listen to me.

 

As I would find comfort in its softness,

she would caress me.

 

*

Now,

I am left wandering in search 

of the stories and answers 

she weaved for me.

Encounters with Kalia
by Abhishek Parichha

It was pitch dark and my father and I were walking to my Grandpa’s house. I was holding on to his left hand, while his right one carried the weight of our suitcase (filled to the brim with selected belongings that we would need for the two-month-long summer break).

A few meters before Grandpa’s house, our walk was interrupted by two dogs. They ran towards us and started jumping on me. I, in turn, jumped on my father. He held me as high as he could but I could still feel two wet snoots rubbing against my legs and shoes.

*

My summer break was spent sitting on a concrete slab that rimmed the thickest part of an old Indian Malabar tree’s bark. I think my time under this tree shaped an important part of who I am now (but more on that later).

One of my favourite memories of this space is the sound of paw-steps, followed with a cloud of dust, running towards me every day of summer (and many years after).

*

You would have probably guessed: Kalia is the name of the dog in these memories from my childhood. Thirty years later, I have my own Kalia, who also jumps at 4-year-olds in the park and makes new friends every day.

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Ritika revisits her adda
after 45 years

I am ten years old and living in a stilt house with my brother and our friends. Every morning after homework, we climb down our tall house and mount up the nearby hill to reach our adda. This is where our expeditions are planned.

 

Today, we plan to find the source of a trail of shiny crystal-like blue stones that seem to have been scattered all over the hill. After climbing up and down many slopes, we finally spot a stream in the distance. Along it's bank, there are even more bigger and shinier stones. Our mission for today is complete.

 

We spend a few hours basking next to the stream, before carrying today's treasures back home to add to our precious collection of things from the hills.

Heaven on Earth
by Aradhya (11 years old)

As I am growing up, there are times when I feel irritated with the people around me. Sometimes I even get bored of doing the same things every day.

 

When I get such feelings, I go to my calm and peaceful space. I made my space under a tree, beside my house. I remember the first time I went there, I noticed many old-looking stones surrounding the tree. So I decided to pile them up and make a cave-like shape. This was going to be the entrance to my space.

 

Over time, as I have spent more time in my space, jasmine and rose flowers have also started blooming around the tree’s bark. I’ve even put up some fairy lights there. I usually go there alone to read my book or listen to music. Sometimes I wish for everyone to have such a space, so they too are full of positive thoughts.

My secret place
by Prakriti (10 years old)

I discovered my secret place when I was 7 years old. It was an empty box-sized space with a hole in my house that no one used; mostly because it was too small for them to fit in.

 

But for me, it was the perfect size. I could easily crawl in the hole and sit in the space. I decided to decorate it with a small lamp and place a mat under it, where I would sit and play my guitar. Sometimes, I would spend hours drawing things too. When I did not want to be disturbed, I would cover the entry-hole with a towel.

 

My secret place was my own world where I had the freedom to do anything I wanted without anyone’s permission.

Arya's K-house
by Arya (12 years old)

There is an abandoned old house in my street with four rooms and a garden. One day, I decided to paint its dull walls with blue and green paint, and that’s how it became my space – a space where I would be away from the real world.

 

I often go there to play snakes and ladders with a stray dog that I take care of. Every time I spend time there, I end up thinking of great ideas. One of them is creating an organisation for helping dogs in my little world

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Home
by Swati (10 years old)

There is a spot on my terrace where many plants and birds live. And now I do too. Some days ago, I gathered red bricks and a yellow sari to build my own little home. It even has a sloping roof and I have decorated its boundary with small stones.

 

I usually spend my time writing poems and stories in my home. And sometimes, I just sit and listen to the birds chirping – this is my version of enjoying the moment.

Email us to pre-order a zine with more stories from this collection ~

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MYSTICETI AND FRIENDS:

 

Anushree Joshi is a multidisciplinary designer and visual artist based in Ahemdabad.

 

Tarang Mohnot is a freelance writer and full-time traveler, currently living in the Himalayas. 

Shubhashini Raju is an aspiring writer and art educator. She shares her doodles @myquirkydoodles.

Abhishek Parichha is a product designer. When he is not at work, he loves to spend time with his dogs and plants.

Aradhya, Arya, Prakriti and Swati are learners at Kenzen School in Varanasi where Little Mysticeti conducts art and storytelling sessions.

Stuti Sareen is Mysticeti's founder and curator.

 

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