Fiction – Muse of the month February Shortlisted story on Women’s Web

Ever since I started blogging, I also started nurturing the desire to become a published author. As part of my pursuit of dreams, I have started writing Fiction. I had begun contributing articles to quite a few websites since December last year.  Women’s Web happens to a personal favourite for lending voice to hundreds of women across the country. Every month the site runs a contest called Muse of the Month(MOTM) wherein a prompt is given for the authors to write a short story within 2000 words and submit it within 12th of the month.

My maiden attempt at MOTM for the month of February titled “But The Truth Is That She Is In Charge Of Her Life”had been shortlisted among of thousands of entries. While it didn’t make it to the coveted top 5, the fact that it came close enough to get into this list is a big booster and encouragement for a new author like me. Sharing snippets from the story here –

Rishita had missed the hostel bus to college yet again. This had happened third time in the current month. The distance from the girls’ hostel to JJM College was a good twenty kms. On a normal weekday, it would take forty-five mins to an hour to reach her college through public transport. Today was supposed to be the day when the minority groups were taking out a rally as a mark of protest against the atrocities committed on them. She realized that she had a very dim chance of making it to the department before the class tests started. She was literally in tears. If her Doctor father got a whiff of her missing the first of the periodical tests, he was sure to board the next flight to Kolkata and get her back to Delhi. He hated Calcutta as a city and more for the memories associated with her mother.

This is the city where they had met as batch mates, fallen in love, eloped against the wishes of both set of parents and shifted to Delhi where no one knew who the Roy’s were. Rishita had just turned fifteen when she passed away due to a major heart attack. Post plus two, when Rishita had wished to pursue English literature instead of the expected course of medicine, her supportive father was encouraging of her choice. All hell broke loose when she mentioned her dream of studying at JJM College, Kolkata. Her father refused to understand the reason of her choice. For him, it was a foolish path of choosing to struggle in a hostel dormitory two thousand kms away from home.

The shrill sound of the auto horn brought her back to the present. The man could only drop her till Jhamtala – that would mean half way to her college. But she could either take a taxi or a public bus from there. The auto driver, taking pity on a hassled Rishita dropped her a little further ahead of his destination. In a matter of seconds, she could see a mini bus approaching. The bus was almost full yet she managed to squeeze in. She wondered if her friends were also struggling to find space in the U-special buses in Delhi. She missed them at times. She was still struggling to fit in. She must have been lost in her own world listening to Boyzone playing on her walkman when the combined screams and shrieks around her jolted her back to the horror that was nor ahead of them. The streets were a shade of red and yellow.


Prince Street prided itself for housing the highest population of Muslims living in the city. Her daily commute to college had never been through this street. What she could gather from the broken conversations around was that a communal hate speech by one of the opposition leaders had sparked a riot like situation in the area. People were running around with sickles and knives. Flamed torches were passes around to burn the people and properties. The civilians were fleeing for life. She could spot some lifeless figures lying in a pool of blood. With twenty-eight passengers on board, the bus was caught amidst such a situation.

The complete story can be read on Women’s web by clicking on this link.

Author: Sonia Chatterjee

Who am I? An erstwhile banker turned blogger/writer/author. Any qualifications? A Post-Graduate degree in Chemistry followed by a second Post-Graduate Diploma in Management. I completed a one-year MFA in creative writing course from the Writer's Village University, U.S. in Dec 2020. Though I must admit that I am still trying to figure out how and when I can connect all these dots. Have I done any real work? If two years in market research, six years in banking as a branch head, three-plus years of blogging, writing, and publishing a book can be considered as real work, then yes! Where do I live? After spending life like a nomad for sixteen years in Delhi, Bangalore & Mysore, I am back to where it all started from - Kolkata. My favorite things - Books, coffee, travel, food, and my five-year-old son. What is this blog about? Through Sonia's musings, I intend to explore writing in various genres, create social awareness, spread laughter, and give words to emotions. Anything for readers? You can check out my book 'Deal of Death' on Amazon Kindle. If you like fast-paced thrillers, this Detective fiction introducing the woman sleuth, Raya Ray could turn out to be your perfect weekend read.

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