[Reddit Writing Prompt] Everyone is told 10 minutes before they die that they will. You’re on a plane, and everyone panics at once. You didn’t get that message.

This is the first time I am writing a prompt. I have never stopped to ponder my writing style but am pretty sure that I have a tendency to repeat words which I try to counter by using a lot of synonyms. Also, some of my sentences might be pretty long for a normal person to make sense of. In that case, I would advice you to please suggest me alternative ways to make them shorter.

Woke up this morning with light in my eyes


Someone was surely moving with haste. I have been sleepless long enough to not care about what was happening around me. These were the perks of travelling with business class. The disturbances were minimal and long flights could be used as an excuse for sleeping at odd hours. And my music collection was good enough to lull even a insomniac to sleep.

Thump! Thump!

Oh these people ! I have been trying to make up for my lack of sleep while all the world’s fools were to be hoarded together in my flight. I am pretty sure that opening my eyes now would only make the problem worse. Better turn my head towards the window.

Boom !

What in the god’s name are these people up to.

I open my eyes to see that the over-wing emergency exit is now replaced by the blackness of the sky outside. It is quite clear that the world is up to no good with my desire to sleep. Had it not been for the fact that this was supposed to be a morning flight, I would not have even stood up from my seat. I check my watch to see how long I have been sleeping.

It’s three in the afternoon.

And then realized it was still dark outside.

Music works in mysterious ways. I ask the guy in front of me about what has been happening since I decided to drop out of this chaotic world. He looks back craning his neck over his seat.

“We are all going to die man! It’s all coming to an end.”

Death is no better than sleeplessness but the question of the dark sky in a normal summer afternoon still bugs me. I walk towards the emergency exit. There have been many moments like these when I have came to ask a more fundamental question about myself. Why is it that I am comforted more by the idea of non existence instead of no sleep. These are dark times indeed.

The sky is quite clearly devoid of any kind of sources of light and it seems like we are flying over an ocean. This is when I remembered that the flight was supposed to be an inland one. Where are we exactly?

Slowly, as if to answer this question, one of the air hostess approaches me.

“No ! It cannot be! How can everything come to an end so easily ?”

She grabbed the seat and almost fainted.

Complementing my realization of the fact that I was not breathing was an appearance of lights outside the plane. The intensity easily gave away the fact that it was not sunlight.

It was a light comin’down from the sky
I don’t know who or why

It was a million times brighter than the sun would ever be.

And it was the sun.

The man from down below

This is an old poem I wrote during my astronomy obsession days (not to say that I have lost interest now).  Most of the imagery in the poem was inspired my urge to observe the Orion nebula through a telescope. While I did get a glimpse at ring nebula and the Hercules clusters soon thereafter, I still have to aim my telescope at M42. Hope you like it !

A photo of the Orion constellation captured by one of my friends during at night out at the International Center for Theoretical Sciences, Bangalore.


One day, while lying on the bed

I heard a sound emanating from the floor.

Knock ! Knock ! Knock ! it followed

like an uninvited guest on a lonely door.

In the midst of the night,

it indeed scared me.


outside the window, the moon

shone brightly and was quite a sight to see.

Knock !

Quite a commotion

in a night devoid of motion.

And still,

my curious mind could not recall

why I decided to remove the floorboard

and welcome that guest

out of my bedroom into the desolate hall.

Quite normal for a ghost of night


Quite strange by human standards.

But he was biologically human alright.

With a gait that made me recall, the

troglodyte on “The Descent of Man” illustration.

It was quite a challenge to find a seat for him

in my unfinished sleep,

and hence the frustration.


At this point the reader may remark

where were my host’s manners.

‘Cause I stopped him, before he moved

and told him to sleep right there,

on the cold floor.

The reply to this inhumanely request was,

strangely quite human

for while he spoke no language, his

sign language was not a thing to miss.

He gestured me to go and sleep

and I was quite startled by this realization

that he had more humanity,

than any human could wish to keep.

For hours he slept,

eight hours- no less, no more

on the wooden floor.

It was a Sunday and so I felt

a part of me still in the bed

waiting with my body under the sun,

to melt

away from the room toward the guest

only to be blocked by the floorboard

displaced from its place

between the aforementioned floor.


As tulips in a steady wind

on a carpet of black grass

under my legs

stretched infinities of space and time

in an infinitely tangled mess.

But it was no dream

just a void where the floor

was present before.

Stars filled my horizon

from shore to shore.

I blinked, swept my eyes away

toward the roof and gently

placed the floorboard on its

universe in a hole.

As neurons in my brain fired

and my consciousness aptly inquired

whether this was an old friend

taking a joke to lengths

where boundaries of mental stability end.

Or whether,

it was something I have consumed

the night before and

so my senses were still doomed.

Yes, it was real, it was true

The guest was not from below my feet

but from a place far away

where winds of plasma and hydrogen blew.