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Updated: Dec 9, 2023

Calling a dumb man dumb doesn’t cause much harm, as the one accused of stupidity doesn’t bother. However, calling a spiteful and cunning man dumb again & again isn’t just harmful but lethal.

“Envy” by Likhita Balaga tells the story of Abhi after he finds out that his best friend died in a car crash and his supposed finance is getting married to someone else, and his brother just returned from the states.


It has been a busy day in the office. Abhi is feeling so exhausted. He said weakly, “I should go to bed early tonight!”

Soon, he fell asleep. At 3 o’clock in the morning, there was someone knocking on the door continuously. Abhi woke up hesitantly, and he rushed to the door. As soon as he opened the door, he was startled for a second.

Abhi shouted, “Vikram, what are you doing here?”

Vikram rushed into Abhi’s living room while shouting, “Don’t leave them! Don’t leave them, Abhi!”

Abhi was shocked and did not know what to do. Vikram is Abhi’s best friend. They studied together. Abhi got the campus placement, and Vikram took over his family’s business after his father’s demise. Abhi and Vikram met each other whenever they were free. However, due to their busy schedule, they hardly met in the past year.

Returning to his senses before long, Abhi tried to calm his friend, but Vikram was not in the mood to listen. He said strenuously, “Don’t leave them! They are the reason for my death.”

As soon as Vikram completed his sentence, Abhi felt a jerk in his spine. He didn’t know what to reply. He said in a tiny voice, “Your what?”

Vikram paused. Abhi ran to the fridge and brought ice water. Soon he reached the living room, and he couldn’t believe his eyes. Vikram was nowhere to be found.. At the same time, the alarm rang, making the horrifying incident a dream.

Abhi, however, could not treat the situation as a dream. Everything seemed real to him. Without any hesitation, he dialled Vikram, but the connection failed, with the message saying the user was not in the coverage area.

As Abhi was too tired, he soon nodded off. He woke up when the phone rang. The call is from his friend Fahad. As soon as he heard the news, his heart skipped a beat for a second. Abhi pleaded with Fahad to tell him that it was a lie. Abhi could not digest the news of his best friend’s death. He shouted, started throwing his things and hoped that it had to be a dream.

He went to Vikram’s house, and reluctantly, his eyes became red. He started crying by holding the cold palm of his friend. Everyone became silent as they knew the bonding between Abhi and Vikram. It became difficult for everyone to calm him.

After the cremation, everyone sat in the living room of Vikram’s house. Everyone started memorising Vikram’s intelligence, charm and the role he played in developing his business after his father’s death. Abhi went to console Vikram’s brother, Sid. He observed Sid’s eyes were swollen, and his face looked so tired. But Abhi couldn’t control himself until he knew the truth behind his best friend’s death. He asked Sid in a helpless way, “What happened?”

“It all happened because of that witch,” screamed Sid.

Cover Photo by Manohar Koviri

“What?” Abhi asked him confusingly.

“You know that Natasha and Vikram have been in a relationship for almost four years, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I know. They are so serious about their relationship. What happened between them?”

“She refused to marry and humiliated Vikram in front of everyone. To forget that nightmare; he started drinking alcohol. He always used to think about her”.

“As I stayed in New York for six months, I didn’t know much about it. How could she do that? After all, he helped her a lot. He supported her modelling career even though their family objected,” groaned Abhi.

“Yeah, Abhi. She got a marriage proposal from the top actor, Kabir. Without any hesitation, she accepted, such a shameless person.”

“Did Vikram know about this?”

“Yeah, he did. Yesterday, both of their families officially announced it in front of the media. Even after I insisted that Vikram shouldn’t go, he pushed me aside and drove the car after being intoxicated and… and…” Sid’s voice trembled.

“It happened. The car hit the tree and brought sadness into our lives,” said Sid as he started weeping. Abhi calmed him and returned back to his home.

On the next day, he went to Natasha’s home. “Natasha’s mam is not at home. She went for a walk,” informed Natasha’s maid.

Abhi waited for her on the lawn. Natasha came back from the walk and greeted him, “Hey Abhi, it’s been a long time. How are….”

Abhi interrupted her by saying, “Stop it, Natasha. How could you? You know how much he loves you. Why did you do this to him?”

“You only know one side of the story, Abhi. You don’t know how he treated me and kept picking up fights with whomever I talked to. He treated me like a puppet. I tried to change him, but I failed horribly,” replied Natasha as her voice shook terribly.

Abhi calmed her, “I don’t know anything about it. Sid claims that you cheated.”

“That moron forced me to love him. I said this to Vikram, but he didn’t believe me. That was when my trust towards Vikram broke down, and we separated.”

Triggered, Abhi left immediately and went straight to Vikram’s house and dragged Sid down to the hall.

Vikram’s mother freaked out and shouted. “What are you doing, Abhi? He is my son. Leave him”.

“I wish your words were true, maa,” said Sid with tears rolling down his cheeks.

“I know that I’m not your son. I feel thankful that you didn’t show any bias, but papa always shouts at me and treats me like thrash. The girl I love chose Vikram over me. I’m a failure, maa.” yelled Sid.

“Everyone praised him, learn from your brother blah blah… he too feels the same and treats me like I’m dumb. So, I showed him what his dumb brother could do. I made him drink too much and lied about Natasha’s marriage. Poor Vikram believed me and drove the car...” confessed Sid as his weeping turned into a demonic laugh.

A little while later, Police handcuffed Sid, and everyone thanked Abhi.



This contribution is reviewed by R. S. Chintalapati, edited by Tarun Chintam, proofread by Akansha Pandey, photographed by Manohar Koviri & acted by Durga Prasad.



This short story is available in a paperback & ebook.

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2 commenti

Valutazione 0 stelle su 5.
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20 feb 2023

A good first attempt. Good plan of events and explanation to emotions. The story lacks a lot of explanation in terms of characters and in terms of scene building. The end was very absurd. Good idea but not so good execution. All the best for further writeups.

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Sindhushree K M
Sindhushree K M
20 feb 2023

Overall a first good attempt, the story was moderately engaging with fewer twists. Vocabulary and sentence formation could have been better. Effective proofreading would have helped in eliminating the grammatical errors.

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