Chapter 2

Written by: Anna Zhigareva

Miles away, in the heart of Bangalore, the moonlight washed over Ashok too. He sat at his desk in his empty flat, absently staring onto the streets below. The dimly glowing lights seemed so far away, starting and stopping as the night traffic made its way through the city. He never liked having curtains in his room as he preferred to wake up with the sunrise and always feel close to the natural elements: the wind, the sky. 

The moonlight bathed his skin in silvery light, illuminating his face yet keeping the rest of his body in the shade behind his silent computer. As a little boy, Ashok had never been able to close his eyes and succumb to sleep on nights like these, when the moon was at its fullest, big and round and looming above the earth like a giant otherworldly source of light, picking and choosing the things it illuminated and those it kept hidden in the dark corners of a night city.

Work was going well, but he missed home. Home in Mumbai, where he knew an unchanged room always waited for him, so long as his mother remained living there. She wouldn’t go anywhere else. She couldn’t leave years of fond memories tucked away in different streets and corners of the huge, packed city, and the apartment which they had both loved so much.

Work was going well, but he missed home so much. 

Yet he couldn’t return. Not when the most enchanting girl had appeared at work. She was secretary to the company’s CEO. Melvina was her name. She was English, blonde, with grey-green eyes. He was immediately drawn to her genuine, smiling eyes, her face framed into a heart shape by her straight hair. There was nothing particular about her, and yet it was everything about her that drew Ashok to her. Only mother wouldn’t understand: a white girl who did not yet know how to form a single phrase in the language of this city. She had caught his eye one afternoon at the office, and there hadn’t been a day since then throughout the whole month that they hadn’t stayed behind after office hours for coffee or dinner out at the little traditional restaurant below. 

Perhaps the locals frowned upon these meetings, strange and unconventional to the elderly couples sitting at the other tables or making their way through the crowded streets as Ashok walked Melvina home arm in arm. But it hadn’t moved past that. Perhaps it oughtn’t. Perhaps Ashok ought to seek out the advice of the person who had raised and nurtured him, perhaps he should visit and see how she was doing. After all, it had been almost a year.

But as the pale moonlight seeped into his skin, the cold realisation of this morning began to build in his thoughts once again.


I really like the way you continued the ambience of the story and the way you introduced what could be a major challenge for Ashok and Melvina. Can this relationship survive the pressures that their unconventional relationship arouses? Ashok's mother had broken with tradition so how will she react to Ashok's stance? This chapter flows and you captured Melvina in a sentence. Excellent