Gaurav Monga


Apart from the Radha I regularly know, there is another Radha who surfaces sometimes. Not just in dreams but in so to speak real waking life. This Radha is cold, detached, consistently cheats on me, even with my own friends. This Radha, unlike the one I spend most of my waking life with, drives a car with impeccable accuracy, almost as if she has eyes at the back of her head. This Radha, though cold and calculating, has been having sex with many men behind my back. 

Radha was born of parents who were fighting with each other even before she came out of her mother’s womb, which is not so unusual. She is convinced that the reason she came out so late is because she did not want to enter the world. She said she could hear them fighting, even from deep inside. They say that whilst in the womb, a baby has complete wisdom but as soon as she comes out, she forgets everything. 

This Radha, my everyday Radha, is scared and sweet and associates most of her waking life with the failures of her birth. She has even been to a hypnotherapist—admittedly a lovely man— who led her into a trance and provoked her to be born again, the purpose of which was to enter those lost recesses of the psyche in order to erase traumatic memories in the womb and replace them with happy ones. Perhaps, these hypnotherapy sessions are the cause of this split personality. Perhaps, they have resulted in a two-track Radha. The one whom I spend most of my time with, the scared, meek Radha loves me unconditionally; it is this Radha who is the result of a faulty birth. The other Radha who had a lovely childhood — unlike this Radha who spent most of her childhood as a young maid, a kind of contemporary cinderella cleaning after her depressed mother— played happily with her dolls, was pampered by both her parents, who till today have not left each other’s sight, unlike the Radha I regularly spend time with. Her parents left her when she was a mere child and started new families of their own. I took her in as an orphan girl, telling her in our first few weeks together that she was now a part of my family. 


Radha appears at large parties, dressed in pretty white frocks and doesn’t say a word. People often even ask me if the poor girl were not mute. Although she was a good student, one could tell early on that she was condemned to the classroom, that she could only be taken seriously as a professor or some writer of books, religious scholar or even astrologer. In her idle time—when she is not contemplating Simone Weil, Hannah Arendt or Susan Sontag— she dreams of becoming a business person, much like the uncle whom she looks up to, the one who had started successful businesses in a foreign land.

I only wish Radha  the best, which is why I hope that she continues with her hypnotherapy sessions and I will perhaps go to the extent of urging her to go out on dates with other men, for it is the other Radha whom I waiting to spend my life with, the one who drives a car, is self-confident, acts on her word and shoots like an archer—she is a Sagittarius, after all. Although this Radha does surface sporadically, she can only sustain herself for at most the duration of a single night. In the morning, she returns to her melancholic, dour self, sulking in a dimly lit room, wearing rags.

GAURAV MONGA writes prose poetry and short fiction. He teaches creative writing and much of his literary work is inspired by fashion. More about him can be found online at


Excerpts from A Fashion Dictionary in B O D Y
An excerpt from Ruins in B O D Y
An excerpt from Costumes of the Living in B O D Y
Buy Costumes of the Living on Amazon
Prose in Fanzine
Prose in Juked
Prose in Spurl Editions