top of page

Brown Worms

Updated: Apr 27

Two orphaned siblings who mostly relive their happy memories from their sad past are bound to serve an unkind foreign Lord to repay their debt. When their lives seem hopeless, they meet a stranger with whom they change their life course.

“Brown Worms” by Harsha Modukuri is a tale of three individuals willing to pay their lives as a price in the pursuit of liberating themselves.



This contribution is edited by R. K. Chamarla & Tarun Chintam.



This short story is available in paperback & ebook.


Every Sunday, as soon as Raghav comes from Lord’s Bungalow, they would go for a walk. Raghav and his little sister Lakshmi, who was three years younger than him. They would turn to the left, crossing the paddy fields, visiting the path that led to Lord’s other Bungalow called Guest House.

They walk as if they are on a march, and when the thatched roofs become rare and rare, they would pick up the pace a bit more and settle on the shore of Champavati. The river, his mother told him to worship and his father’s livelihood till he was hanged or killed by the Lord. Raghav never knew how he was killed or on what charges, but when a couple of White police accompanied by Indian guards came to his home, he knew he would be working for the Lord for a very long time.

Both the brother and sister were small and thin in their clothes. Raghav had to wear whatever he gets at the Bungalow and the little money he saved goes to buying things for his sister. They both have brown eyes and brown skin, and whenever Raghav worked in the fields of the Lord, he was usually covered in the mud till his hips and the Lord would bark, “You brown dogs, look at the colour of the mud and your skin, fitting jobs you’all got didn’t you?” and walk away.

Raghav and Lakshmi never spoke during these walks to the shore, because they always saved the words for the night. They would sit at the shore, playing with the water and Raghav trying his best to catch the fish. Lakshmi builds castles of sand every week, but not one of them is sustained till the next week. When it gets dark and Raghav lights up the lantern, Lakshmi would say, “It’s like with Amma and Appa, just like in the home.”

“Just like those days,” Raghav would affirm.

And then they would trace the same path, side by side, often Raghav holding Lakshmi’s hands and their minds full of warm memories of their past.

For one week, Raghav would work on the farm or if he gets any luck, he would work in Lord’s Bungalow. Lord Andrew Silverman, was the Special Collector sent from England to the Visakhapatnam agency to curb the eschewing militancy. It’s been some four months, and the last militant was shot dead, so Andrew took up torturing the Indians he could set his eyes on and a lot is composed mostly of his workers.

Andrew would pass comments of loathing and disgust on Raghav every time he sees him, but Raghav has no choice as he would never get any work on any farm if he angers Andrew. But Andrew on one fine day, coming out of his room, saw Raghav cleaning the chandelier light, and asked him, “What do you want to do when you grow up, you brown worm?”

“I... I would like to buy some land, my Lord. If that’s not possible, there’s always my father’s net and the river,” Raghav said, curtsying.

“I would give you the money if you prove to be faithful,” Andrew said and walked away.

Want to read more?

Subscribe to to keep reading this exclusive post.

Subscribe Now
36 views1 comment

Related Posts

See All
bottom of page