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Swami Achoo was an up-and-coming godman. The red strip of powder ran down his forehead till the tip of his nose. It divided his uneven face into two perfect halves. The swami had a drooping eye and a cauliflower ear, a deviated septum made his nose swerve to the left.

But his powers were his defining asset. They made up for his unpleasant looks and people waited for hours to capture a glimpse of the holy man. He wrapped himself in a sheet, not white but purple. It did nothing for his murky complexion but the gold chains on his neck stood out on the aubergine color.

He carried a rock in his hand. It was white with rounded edges. No one knew what it was for, but it too possessed rumored powers. Such was the aura of Swami Achoo and all objects close to him.

His assistant chalked out his day in morning and evening sessions. The lines began forming three hours before the scheduled timings. People came with hope and offerings, a godman could not be appeased with merely smiles and tall compliments.

Whatever they laid at the swami’s feet was whisked away swiftly, and it depended on the man’s mood whether he bestowed a curse or blessing. That was the risk so many took while standing in the sweltering heat, licking their lips for some salty hydration.

And then came the moment each devotee had been waiting for. The swami opened his arms and lifted his head. The pretty, young girl stationed next to him removed the feather from her cleavage and tickled the holy man’s nose.

The act could go one of two ways.

Either the swami remained unaffected, restoring his gaze upon the unworthy one, who was then slapped and thrown out of the ashram.

Or the swami’s face scrunched up and he let it rip.


The devotee would get a nice spray of spit and maybe if he was lucky some strands of snot. He was then pushed to the gates but mind you allowed to walk out.

And for days he doesn’t wash his face, and the spit and mucus dries, and that is a blessed sign. His problems disappear, lost money reappears, and his wife now addresses him as – my loving dear.

He begins sneezing day and night. It might be a nasty bug.

Or an added perk of Swami Achoo’s blessing.

She insists on being called Cyn. A professional caregiver, her grim situation makes her Simply Guilty of Small Sins.

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44 Comments on “Swami Achoo – Flash Fiction Story

  1. 🤣🤣🤣
    At the beginning I was wondering why you named him Achoo for it seemed funny. After reading through, it makes complete sense 🤣
    You are funny Terveen!

    • Haha! Thank you so much, Vignesh!
      Humor is always welcome and makes a good impression.
      So laugh on. 🙂

      • Absolutely! And I badly needed that after you chose to chop off the poor guy’s legs a day back 😂 I still can’t get over that brutality 😂

  2. Good heavens….I am unfamiliar with Indian culture so may be way off track with below….

    Firstly, Terveen what are his rates? … Swamis consult for cash? card? or is this just a Western blight?

    To my mind the Swami would be more interested in his assistant’s cleavage than any healing…..

    • Don, I would say you’re quite familiar. Though many people who do believe and worship such godmen would probably want to kill me. It’s a sad story of exploiting mindless faith and superstition. And there’s no free worship or meal anywhere. And the cleavage would be an encouraging sight.
      I better shut up now. 🙂

      • You were wise not to throw up a pic of said feathered cleavage…that would have sent the thunderbolts down on you……zap!! what’s happened to my website?

        Doesn’t ‘It’s a sad story of exploiting mindless faith and superstition’ go on in any religion? …..

        I better shut up now….

    • It is definitely a deep-rooted belief. Hard to dissuade those who feel this way.
      Thank you Shobana. 🙂

  3. “Swami Achoos blessing”, that is a fantastic line, and the story is awesomeness, of course. I always appreciate your creations, Terveen. Fantastic. 😊

  4. “The devotee would get a nice spray of spit and maybe if he was lucky some strands of snot”
    Descriptive, and still very applicable.

    Well, such are the “blessings” we often receive?

    • Yes, and also very icky. Ewwww!
      I guess metaphorically some blessings just drip all over you. 🙂
      Thanks Matt!

  5. Yes…There are all types of Sadhus in our nation each having his unique funny way of blessing….I have not understood what people find so good in them but there is no dearth of visitors…,..You have narrated it all so realistically….such things actually happen…Stay blessed..

    • I agree with you completely. Blind faith is difficult to understand. Especially when it’s simply based on nothing but rumours and supposed outcomes. People need to think with their minds, but then these sadhus are well aware most don’t.
      Thank you so much for sharing your views. Appreciate it. 🙂

  6. It took me so long to understand the clever, literal usage of the word ‘blessing’ in this story XD. What a double entendre! This was once again a really enjoyable concept for a story. It was also one of the first times I’ve seen you use rhyme I think. I really liked this line: “His problems disappear, lost money reappears, and his wife now addresses him as – my loving dear.” It made it seem like a fable or an allegorical tale.

    • Thanks so much, Simone! Your comments are always so well thought and wonderfully phrased. You put a lot of thought into them. And that’s fantastic.
      The swami’s blessing method is quite a sneezy affair and the subsequent ‘achoo’ leaves one covered in a holy spray. So ‘bless you’ is the swami’s befitting catch-phrase.
      The rhyme just came to mind, added some lyrical color to the nasal bombings. Haha! 🙂

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  8. Hmmm, your posts haven’t been showing up on my reader for some reason. I’ll have to look into that. Now, it seems I have some reading to catch up on.

    Being the odd individual I am, I liked the visual of the red powder strip dividing Swami Achoo’s uneven droopy-eyed, cauliflowered-ear, swerve-to-the-left-deviated-septum-nosed face into two perfect halves. Equal parts of asymmetry.

    I, unfortunately, would remain unblessed, for I could never subject myself to a snot-rocket sanctification, no matter how powerful it was.

    The feather cleavage thing? I might hang around for that (for purely scientific reasons, naturally)

    • Haha! Such blessings aren’t for oddballs like you and me. Probably could never appreciate the insides of another’s nose. People are so blinded by faith and easy blessings, shortcuts to solving problems that would otherwise take some brains and efforts to resolve. And some ordeals are never meant to be solved. Why can’t people get that?
      But who can argue with a swami and his devotees?
      And I seem to have been blacklisted in your reader. I do know I had to resolve a problem of my comments going straight to spam. Is this a conspiracy theory? 🙂

      • Perhaps WordPress is onto something! I just watched a film (everything relates to a book, story, tv show or movie with me, so if you intend prolonged contact with me, you’ll just have to learn to deal with it) in which Alan Rickman is interrogating a children’s author (played by Madeline Stowe) who’s suspected of hiding subversive messages in her books.

        Is that what you’re doing? Hiding subversive messages in your posts?

        Beware! Beware! Thar be mischief at play here! Mischief!

        • Lol!
          I might have to check back again with you.
          It’s tough to get the story message across, I wonder about subversive messages. Maybe my subconscious mind is conspiring against me. 🙂

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