PodCastle 788: An Anklet Broken

An Anklet Broken

by Chaitanya Murali


There is a man I am meant to love. He is the son of a sea-merchant, wealthy and well-connected. A friend of Karikalan, the Chola King.

And this man is my husband and a wastrel.

A sin it is for me to say these words, think these thoughts, but what else do you call a man who has pulled you from the sea and married you, only to then leave you for a courtesan?

Who bears a child on that courtesan, only to then leave her on the suspicion of her infidelity and come crawling back to you for forgiveness?

“Please, Kannagi. I was wrong to leave you — I know this now. The gods have punished me and left me destitute. I know now that I cannot live without you. Will you take me back?”

Left him destitute?

“Please. I cannot go back to my family penniless. I cannot bear that shame.”

What of my shame, Kovalan? Does that mean nothing to you?

But my mouth smiles, the expression warm and genuine, a beacon for this beleaguered cretin.

“Of course I will take you back; you are my husband, are you not?”

I reach down, unclasp the anklet around my right leg, and hold it out to him.

Kovalan stares at it, confusion etched into his face. He does not recognise it.

You gave this to me when we were first married. There are sapphires inside. We can pawn this for some money, start anew.”

The hand that reaches out to grasp mine is sweaty, and the feeling is of oil that will stick to my skin forever. When it retracts, it takes with it the anklet, grasping it the way a drowning man grasps a life-rope.

“Sapphires, yes. Your favourite.”

If my loving husband knew anything, he would know that they are not my favourite. I do not like sapphires. I have always been partial to pearls.

I am a girl of the open seas. I have lived upon them, and beneath their waves. What beauty would I see in rock and stone from the earth?

Sapphires in particular, I detest. Cheap imitations of water, fashioned from stone. They are false, and they are wrong — and a perfect representation of this marriage.

These sapphires are more than just a display of his indifference towards me — they are chains of fire, tying me down to this man, keeping me from leaving.

That was the bargain I entered into when I left the waves, younger, and captivated by a soul of the land. I bound my power within them, fashioned the anklets to store them, and gave myself over to him. I did this for him, to prove my love.

I am meant to love this man, but I am tired of love.

And because of that curse of love, I am trapped, tied to him. As long as either of the anklets is in our possession, we are bound to one another. But he does not remember this, does not care for the sacrifice I made, and so I make this gamble.

He beams, spinning the anklet to hear the stones trill. He does not look at my face.

Does not hear me whisper.

“May this gift be the ruin of you, Kovalan.”

He does not tell me of his escapades during the two years we were apart — he has sense enough not to do that. But the stories are easy to find; they are everywhere in Puhaar.

My dear, loving Kovalan had spent all of our wealth on Madhavi. He had given her lavish presents and lost himself in her beauty and her grace. Their love had been the talk of the court. Their child was already prophesied to be of unparalleled beauty. They had everything.

Then came the festival of Lord Indra, king of the gods. A celebration of his grace, so that his blessings may continue to pour over the Chola Kingdom. And on an occasion that even the gods open up the heavens to witness, what did my husband and Madhavi do but exchange poems accusing one another of infidelity?

I must admit, I laughed until tears ran down my cheeks when I first heard of this.

And even now, when Kovalan lies prostrate at my feet, begging for forgiveness, there is a part of me that wishes to do nothing more than laugh.

But this is my duty, the yoke to which I have been chained.

He is the hapless victim, a boy seduced by the wiles of a vile woman, and robbed of all his worldly possessions because he was lost in his passions.

There was nothing he could do to stop it.

And if I refuse him now, I am the villain, a shrew who cannot forgive her husband — to whom I am bonded for life — for minor transgressions.

I will not be seen as the villain in this.

And if for that I need to play this role a little longer, then so be it.

“Please, don’t close the door.” A woman stands before me, a small child swaddled in expensive silks held in her arms.

Madhavi. Red rings her eyes, though there is an angry set to her mouth that tells me she hasn’t been crying for the loss of my husband.

“Kovalan isn’t here — he’s gone to find supplies for our journey to Madurai.” I tell her.

“Good. I’m here to speak with you.”

He has been taken under her spell.

She is a temptress, descended from Urvashi herself to beguile men and lead them astray.

She is the reason he left you.

Friends, my mother, everyone had told me that Madhavi had bewitched Kovalan to steal him from me. She was the one I needed to direct my hate towards.

And yet. There is something in her eyes that speaks to a kindred spirit.

One tired of being blamed, one way or another, for a man’s faults.

I let her into my house.

We sit on opposite ends of a divan, me fiddling with the tassels on a cushion, and her placing the sleeping baby on the couch and covering it again with the silks.

“Would you like something to drink?” I ask.

She shakes her head.

“I didn’t know about you. Not until he left,” she says, without preamble.

“Why would he mention me,” I ask, “when his head was full of you?”

It comes out bitter, jagged. Cutting the easiest target.

But to my surprise, she laughs. The same jaded, uncontrollable laugh that had spilled from me when I heard about them.

“What good did that do me? Kovalan’s favour is as fickle as the wind at sea. It flits back and forth, ever gentle, but also ever threatening to tear you down at a moment’s notice.”

“Your grip slackens for but a moment and you are ruined.”

The ghost of a smile plays on my lips, and I can see the same reflected on hers.

“The child — my daughter Manimekalai — is a bastard. And in the eyes of this court, I am now tainted. A piece of refuse to be discarded,” she says.

“In the eyes of the world I have ever been that, since he left.”

“And are you happy with that? Happy, then, that he has come back to you?”

I have been conditioned to say yes, to seek for nothing more than my husband’s happiness. If he is happy, then that is all the sustenance I need.

“No,” I say through gritted teeth.

“Then we are in agreement?” Madhavi asks.

I nod.

“What should we do?”

We show them our dissatisfaction.”

Kovalan and I leave for Madurai a month later. I told him nothing of my meeting with Madhavi, which had ended long before he returned home — having found some toddy while out preparing for our travel.

That preparation consisted of a cart covered with cloth and two bulls, both of which seem distinctly unimpressed with Kovalan. We pile what meagre belongings Kovalan hasn’t pawned away in these past weeks into the cart and climb up in front to leave behind the only home I have ever known.

I look back once, take in its grace, from the granite pillars at the door carved into steps, depicting Indra, Vayu, and the other gods in their conquests; then my gaze sweeps over the threshold and beyond, where the dawn light still faintly illuminates the frescoes that line the walls. Carvings and paintings I had commissioned, that I had overseen.

And I have to leave it all behind to cover for his shame.

My eyes settle on the mirrored murals of Kali and Durga, goddesses of vengeance and war, and I see in their fierce countenances the divine approval for what I am going to do.

He presents his sweat-glistened back to me now as he takes the reins and we begin moving away from the house. I think, madly, to stab him and then run back into the safety of my home.

But I will not be named a wife maddened by jealousy and ruled by her passions. I will not give him that power over me. And so I settle in beside him and wait.

Raja Karikalan, my husband’s once-friend, has provided him one last boon — he has purchased a small plot for us in Madurai, on the banks of the Vaigai River. A place for us to build our new life, once Kovalan pawns away my anklet. It is the king’s way of bidding Kovalan goodbye, for with his outburst at the festival of Indra coupled with his debt, Kovalan has made himself unwelcome at the court of the Cholas.

And so Kovalan leaves me at the plot with the bulls and rushes to the market to find a broker to give the anklet to.

I have some time now, so I tie the bullocks to a grazing post and go down to the riverbank. The Vaigai is this city’s lifeblood, a river formed from the locks of Lord Shiva’s hair, and sacred to the people here. I step into its waters, let inquisitive fish come to nibble at my toes.

But it is not the sea, and its tepid flow cannot compare to the rush of the waves out in the open waters. For Kovalan, this is a fresh start. For me, it is a curse that drags me further away from what I love. Further from my power.

With him, I have been shamed and scorned, or pitied then held to blame. But this, this is the worst of Kovalan’s crimes against me. He has left me landlocked.

The water bubbles around my legs, stemming from the one that bears my remaining anklet. I pull my foot from the water, see the gold there glow bright as the sun. When it fades, a new pattern has been carved into it. A woman with red eyes carrying a man’s head, dancing in the heart of a drowned city.

Kalima seeks vengeance on my behalf.

The evening bell draws me from this revelation. Time is short, if things go to plan. So I hide the anklet beneath my skirts and rush into the Lotus City.

Madurai is built around a temple to Meenakshi, the goddess of harmony and nourishment. The city’s blocks unfurl around the temple complex like the petals of a lotus, encompassing everything up to the river. And there lies the true humiliation in Karikalan’s “gift” to us.

Those with wealth and power, such as we had been, have homes just outside the temple’s outer walls, and the further you live from the temple, the lesser your status within the city. Karikalan has bought us a home outside the city, making us outcasts to Puhaar and Madurai both.

It is a grave insult, and that insult is what has spurred Kovalan into furious action. It is also the most beautifully petty punishment for the embarrassment Kovalan caused the court; if only I was not also included in its ambit.

But I am only a lowly wife to the man who has shamed the king and bespoiled his favourite dancer. Why would I be considered when doling out manly justice? If nothing else, I am equally at fault here, for not satisfying my husband’s needs and thereby driving him into Madhavi’s arms.

I shake the bitterness away. Is that not why we’re doing this? To tell them — or Kovalan at the least — that I will not accept this life?

I can see the temple’s four gateway towers now, rising like mountains into the evening sky, the golden shikaras atop them spears that seek to reach into the heavens. As the sun sinks beneath those shikaras, I rush to the south gate, where we had promised to meet.

Madhavi waits under it, staring up into the pillars and sculptures that rise beyond what my eyes can see, lost in thought. When I reach her, she points up into one of the lowest steps on the tower, where a number of women pirouette and contort before a man seated on an elephant. His eyes are blue-white, and the throne he is sitting on is made of bolts of lightning.

Indra, god of storms. King of the Gods.

He is not who Madhavi is pointing to.

I follow her finger to the woman at the head of Indra’s entourage. The lead dancer, Urvashi.

The sculpture has no face. Its body is broadly attractive, much like the other dancers, but while they each have distinct faces and expressions carved into them, giving life to their performances, Urvashi’s is left blank.

“My mother. An apsara, immortal and powerful beyond our reckoning,” Madhavi says.

“Why does she have no face?”

“Anyone who has ever tried to commit her face to art — be it in stone or in painting — has been visited in their dreams by Indra, to be reprimanded and then threatened for their attempts to steal away his favourite. Only he, he says, is allowed to guide her trysts.” She scowls at the sculpture of the god sitting smug on his throne.

“You have spoken with him?”

“My father was a priest. A penitent looking to fast in meditation until he earned the favour of the gods. Unfortunately for him, the only god who took notice was Indra. He feared my father’s penance would eventually earn him a place amongst the pantheon — something he abhors — and so he sent my mother to . . . discourage his efforts. She stayed with him until she had me, and then she was taken back by Indra. And my father, when he saw her in my face, cast me away.”

“So you tried to reach her?”

She nods. “Only for Indra to tell me when I was ten that if I continued my attempts, he would be forced to take away my vision, so that I could never see anything, let alone her, again.”

“Can she not escape?” I know the question is foolish, even as it leaves my lips. Madhavi does not embarrass me with an answer, only smiles faintly as she stares into the empty face that is her mother.

“Is it done?” I ask her finally.

She pulls out an anklet from where she had tucked it into her skirts and hands it to me. It is almost identical to mine, a golden band about an inch thick, and hollow in the middle. I shake it, hear the pearls within rattle.

“I took it from the queen’s room while she slept. The guards know better than to stop dancers from entering rooms past dark,” she says with a shrug, though the words are jaded.

“And they know of its loss?” I ask, handing it back to her.

“A crier offered a reward in the morning: Two hundred gems for whoever returned it to the palace.”

“Kovalan will have been caught by now, then.”

“More than that. King Nedunchezian will likely want him executed for this,” Madhavi says, sounding almost bored.

“Killed?” I ask, aghast. “You didn’t say he’d be killed!”

Madhavi shrugged. “The king is incensed that someone dared steal from him. I don’t believe he will be in a mood to only have Kovalan’s hand cut off.”

“We need to go to the palace immediately! There’s no use to any of this if he dies before we reach there,” I say.

“Does it matter? He will no longer be a stain on our lives. We can finally be clean of him.”

I shake my head furiously. “I do not wish for him to die like this. For a crime he did not even commit. That is not the justice I want. No, I have to stop this.”

Madhavi weighs this in her mind for a moment, and then asks, “Is there anything you can do?”

I feel my remaining anklet pulse against my skin.

“We should go quickly,” I reply, nodding.

The palace sits on the opposite side of the temple complex from us, and is dwarfed by it. To compensate for that, every surface barring the dirt floor within it is inlaid with gemstones, every relief plated in solid gold. We enter its mandapam, a many-pillared hallway that serves as a resting area or, as it presently is, an audience hall.

A crowd has gathered here, lined up near the front of the hall, where King Nedunchezhian and his queen are seated upon thrones raised on a platform. The King holds aloft an item that glints in the torchlight.

An anklet.

We push through the crowd, come up to its front, just before the ring of soldiers thatseparates us from the king . . .

. . . to see Kovalan, chained and kneeling in front of Madurai’s rulers. A gag has been placed over his mouth, stifling his protests.

A man steps out of the shadows behind the thrones. He’s big, and carries a giant sword that curves like an ocean wave.

It’s starting.

“For the crime of stealing from the royal palace,” the court crier calls, “for the crime of stealing in the holy city of Madurai, the accused is condemned to death.”

They haven’t even given him a chance to speak!

The executioner climbs down from the pavilion, one earth-shaking step at a time. The king behind him yawns.

Death? The king has not even given the anklet to his queen to check if it is hers, and still he wants to sentence Kovalan to death?

They would steal even this small measure of justice from me?

Is there nothing in this world that will allow me this?

Their hedonism will hound me, curse me, until the end of my days. Kovalan was presented Madhavi as a gift, one given between rich and powerful men, a measure of the bond they held. Karikalan’s favourite dancer, given to his favourite courtier. An object to be traded and passed between men. And me, an object to be discarded in favour of something new and shiny.

And now, Nedunchezian’s verdict has little to do with justice — he is simply furious that a man other than he has entered his queen’s chambers, has gazed upon her as she slept. His possession has been sullied. And a part of him will wonder, will question, if this was theft at all — or if she let him in.

This execution stems from the jealousy of his loins.


When the god they worship is lauded for his hubris, why should his subjects be any different?

Kovalan deserves punishment. But he deserves it at my hand, and at Madhavi’s. He must live with that guilt, with the understanding of his sins. It means nothing if he dies.

Behind these rulers I see looming the figure of Kali, my patron, one hand holding the severed head of a man and another pointing down at my feet. The anklet, my remaining anklet, grows warm against my skin, possessed by the will of a wrathful god.

There is your answer. Break it and let my rage consume all those who have made you suffer.

And now, I can finish what I began.

I will not be the cause of Kovalan’s death.

And I will free myself of the shackles he has placed on me.

I pull my hand free of Madhavi and reach down to remove my left anklet. When I hold it up and step forward, the soldiers part in confusion. The executioner stays his blade, unsure as to how to react to my appearance.

“Who are you?” The king asks. His eyes flit between my face and the anklet raised above me.

“This man is not yours to punish!” I say. I feel Kali’s will surging within the anklet like the rush of water through rapids. The time has come for me to break it, to reclaim what was mine.

He waves for the guards, but they do not approach, cannot approach while Kalima’s glare is focused on them.

I take one more step toward him.

“Who are you?” he asks again, confused.

“This man is my husband, and it is not your queen’s anklet that he was trying to pawn but my own,” I say. “I ask you, check the gems within the anklet you hold — you will find them filled with sapphires, not pearls.”

“You think I do not know the gift I gave my own wife? That I would mistake it for the cheap imitation you hold?” he cries. “Thieves and liars both — you can go with him into death, then.”

He waves his soldiers forward, but before they can move, Madhavi pushes through them to join me in front of Kovalan, taking my free hand in hers.

“Madhavi?” Now King Nedunchezhian is shocked. “You too are part of this? You would betray me after I took you in?”

“You do not understand, Sire,” she says. “What this woman says is true.”

“You, a dancer, would dare to shame your king in his own court?” He rises from his seat, face red with apoplectic rage. In doing so, he drops the anklet he had reclaimed from Kovalan, and the queen stoops to pick it up as it rolls past her.

This isn’t mine,” his queen interrupts, and Nedunchezhian stops halfway from his throne.


“The girl is right, this is not my anklet. The reliefs carved into it are different, and it’s heavier than mine,” she continues. “But it is quite exquisite. Sapphires, you said? I always did like them better than pearls. Girl, would you give me the one in your hand? For it, you can take your husband and go.”

Her words catch me off guard, throw me from the trance I had entered. I stumble now, unsure of how to respond to her, and still feeling the power within the anklet struggle for release.

“Devi, you would have me release them?” Nedunchezhian asks. His face is turning a deeper shade of purple now.

“She gets her husband, and I get these wonderful anklets. I see no reason why we shouldn’t release them,” the queen says. “What say you, girl? Is this fair?”

I want to correct them — I want to tell them that I have not done this out of affection for Kovalan. But I also want to be rid of this burden . . . so, so badly.

If only it was that easy.

“I cannot give it to you, my lady. My purpose is to break it, to reclaim the power within for myself — to cut myself free of my bonds.”

“You cannot possibly break something this beautiful!” The queen says, aghast. “I cannot allow it! Give them to me, if all you want is to be rid of them.”

Another who is used to having everything handed to them on demand. Who does not understand anything beyond themselves.

I turn to the crowd beyond our small circle.

“What is within these anklets is not meant for a city so far from the sea. Giving it away here would mean your ruin.”

I am met with vacant stares, my words falling on ears deaf to anything but drama.

The anklet warms in my hand now — Kalima is growing tired of waiting for her justice.

But the king has other plans.

When I turn back to face him, he is standing right in front of me, his arm raised. I hear the slap more than I feel it, at first. A thump that reverberates through my cheekbones and into my skull. It throws me from my feet to land against Kovalan. The anklet rolls free, towards the pavilion, where Queen Devi waits to pick it up.

There is nothing I can do.

Hands grab at my shoulders, pulling me around to stare directly into Madhavi’s gold-green eyes. “Are you all right?” she asks, her eyebrows crinkling in concern as she scans my cheek for injury.

“I’m fine,” I croak, taking her hand and stumbling back to my feet. Kovalan grunts somewhere behind me, but I pay him no heed.

The queen holds both anklets now, and she is enamoured by them. The sapphires tinkle as she twirls them, looking for signs of azure in the grooves carved into the bands. We are forgotten to her.

Nedunchezian, however, has eyes only for us. He stands where he slapped me, the back of his hand red with the effort, and glares.

“First you shame me before my subjects, then you reject the generosity of my wife? You had your freedom, and his — but you chose to spit in our faces instead. So be it, then. The original sentence will be carried out.”

His words are met with a gasp from the crowd, who do nothing else to intervene. The executioner does not move, still too stunned by the events of the past few minutes to act.

I smell it before I see anything. Salt-crusted wood, barnacles, and the reek of a seagull covered in its own shit. They pass me on a ghost wind and surge towards the anklets.

Those were mine — mine to give, and mine to break. She cannot control what I have placed within them.

The queen shrieks as the gold turns red hot, falling from her singed hands to clatter onto the floor. The anklets melt where they have fallen, fading into the earth and leaving behind only the sapphires, which glow with a light of their own.

I feel the weight of my bonds fade from my chest, and I gasp, gulping in air like a woman who has dived too long.

I am free. I am whole.

The gemstones fade and sink into the ground, soaking the dirt as if they were liquid. And from that dark patch, water spouts forth, first a trickle, and then more powerfully, a jet that cascades over the throne, forcing Nedunchezian to scramble back in an attempt to save his expensive clothes from the deluge.

But the water is not sated with just that. It turns the colour of blood, spreading out from the pavilion to encircle Madhavi, Kovalan, and me. I run my hand through the whirlpool that encircles us, relishing the feel of seafoam fizzing against my skin.

But this water is not mine to command. It has been turned to Kalima’s will — and that is not a force which can be denied. It pushes outwards from us, the whirlpool expanding towards the thousand ostentatious pillars that line this room, and soon the entire hall is submerged. From there, it will spread to the whole city. Nothing can quench her anger.

“What will you do, King? If you run, you will survive — but all your wealth will be lost. If you go for your gold, who knows what will happen?” I cannot help but taunt him now, for all he has said to me.

Shame commands Nedunchezhian’s face now, as both he and the queen run deeper into the palace to claim what they can before it is all lost.

Good riddance to them.

A path is opened for all to flee — to gather what they can and run from Madurai. All but one man.

And then, within the peace at the heart of this vortex, I turn finally to my husband and undo the gag placed over his mouth.

Kovalan has seen better days. It is evident from the welts and cuts that cover his skin that his punishment for our crime has been underway for some time already. But his face now is a strange mix of fright and pride.

“Both of you came for me?” he asks through puffed lips.

“We could not let you die,” Madhavi says, and Kovalan’s eyes widen. He presses his face to the dirt floor, and his back heaves with his sobs. When he picks himself up, there are tears running down his face.

“To have two women so devoted to me that they call the seas to my rescue!” He throws his arms up into the sky. “Praise be to Indra for the loyalty of my women!”

I cannot keep up my charade. Nor do I need to, I realise. Madhavi and I exchange a glance, and we see the same disgust reflected in each other’s eyes.

I take the queen’s anklet from my waist and break it in my hands. The pearls, I let fall one at a time to lie in front of Kovalan. His sermon falters in sudden confusion, but for all his faults, Kovalan is not a stupid man. Understanding takes root in him quickly.

“You set me up.” He swivels on his knees to Madhavi. “The king knows you. Is this where you came, when you disappeared from Puhaar?” He turns back to me. “Was everything then a lie? You took me back. Wanted me back.”

I kneel down in front of him, press one hand to his cheek, feel him wince at the chill of it.

“All I want, husband, is justice. For me, for her, and for everyone wronged by the arrogance of men.”

“So you had me framed for this crime? Had me sentenced to death?” he asks.

“Framed, yes. But then we intended to come with the queen’s anklet and receive her reward — and you would have been free to go where you pleased. Your execution was not part of the plan.”

“We wanted for you to learn a lesson.”

“Why not just let me die, then? If you both hate me so, why not leave me to this fate?”

“Because we are not murderers,” Madhavi says.

He crumples into himself.

“What will you do now?” he asks, his eyes turned downward, away from us.

I pick up the executioner’s blade from where it was discarded and use it to cut his bonds, and I smile softly at his wince.

“What should I do?” Kovalan asks, rubbing his wrists.

I wave out into the drowning city. “Go where you will, Kovalan, it is not for me to tell you what to do.”

“Sending me out there is akin to a death sentence, Kannagi! Please, take me with you. You cannot just leave me here like this!”

“Like you did to each of us?” I ask. His mouth works, but no words come out.

“No, Kovalan. I owe you nothing anymore. Our bond is broken — my freedom from you was the cost for your life. And with that freedom now, I will not spend another minute in your company.”

He slumps to the floor, defeated — until a pillar falls near us, its crash startling my once-husband into motion. His battle lost, he flees from us, turning back once to plead, but whatever he sees frightens him, and he runs as if his life depends on it.

Madhavi looks at me. “I left my daughter in a monastery a little way outside the city. Would you like to come with me to get her?”

There is nothing I would rather do more.

Host Commentary

…aaaaand welcome back. That was “An Anklet Broken” by Chaitanya Murali, and if you enjoyed that, you should go back and listen to episode 723 from last year, Just One Last Mango, which was Chaitanya’s professional debut, and a stunning one at that.

Chaitanya noted that this one is an adaptation of a story from an ancient Tamil epic called the Silappadikaram.

Thank you, Chaitanya. So it’s probably not spoiling too much about how the proverbial sausage is made to say that I usually record two or three host spots together, and I’m recording this one at the same time as last week’s flash bonanza, where I talked about inactive protagonists, particularly for marginalised folk. And it’s maybe my pattern-matching getting a bit overactive, but it feels like that applies here too: Kannagi’s path through court, and through all her troubles, is so constrained and narrow. It is no more than a thread that she follows. And, just like a thread, it is made far stronger when entwined with another. This, to drift away from the story itself for a moment, is what allyship is: entwining your thread with those for whom it lays on a sole and slender path. And there may be times when walking that path becomes exhausting and difficult for you too, and you are tempted to step away; but think, then, of those you chose to walk alongside, who can’t step away, who have only this single path. In this story it is very much the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and that is what binds Kannagi and Madhavi together, but those of us who bear more privilege in this life, and can be more active protagonists, can make a choice on where we entwine our threads. Choose carefully, and with courage.

About the Author

Chaitanya Murali

Chaitanya Murali is a writer and editor based in Bangalore, India. He has spent the past decade moving from one profession to the next, cycling from law to publishing, and now, to game design – where he will remain. This is his first pro sale.

Find more by Chaitanya Murali


About the Narrator

M. L. Krishnan

M. L. Krishnan originally hails from the coastal shores of Tamil Nadu, India. She is a 2019 graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop, a 2022 recipient of the Millay Arts Fellowship, and a 2022-2023 MacDowell Fellow. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming in Diabolical Plots, PodCastle, Baffling Magazine, The Best Microfiction 2022 anthology and elsewhere. You can find her on Twitter @‌emelkrishnan.

Find more by M. L. Krishnan