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Writer. Storyteller. Indian. Queer. (he/they). Reach me at artemisshishirwrites@gmail.com.

Melancholy of a rainy day

Public domain image from PKist

If I stand in the balcony of our old house, I can still see the empty swing swinging slightly in the breeze. If I close my eyes, I can see a grandfather sitting in the swing, his grandchild squeezed behind him, pretending to be the master of the boat guiding it through tumultuous waters.

Oh, how much I…


Lil Nas X, hell, and Hinduism

Satan looks into the camera while Lil Nas X licks his ear. They are in Hell.
Satan looks into the camera while Lil Nas X licks his ear. They are in Hell.
A still from Montero (Call me by your name)

Lil Nas X set the world on fire on 26th March when he released Montero (Call me by your name). I’ve been obsessed with this song since it came out. But it was the video that caught my eye. I’m not the only one affected by it, judging by the number of articles, posts and reaction videos on Montero that have popped up in the last few days. …


A reflection on my identity

Public domain image of south Asian boy in traditional dress from Snappy Goat.

I look into the mirror and grin widely. A small face with sparkling black eyes covered in soapy lather smiles back at me. Dadu, my grandfather, glances at me from his chair. “What are you doing?”

“I’m shaaaaaaving,” I sing back.

He shakes his head at me, amused. He takes the blade out of his razor and lets me fake-shave every day.

“I am going to have a beard like you and shave. Like real shave shave.”

“Okay. We’ll see. Now hurry up!”

After finishing my facial grooming, I wear the clothes I carefully chose for today’s outing into the…


Looking back at the past year

Finally, it’s 2021!

With the hellish year that was 2020 behind us, everyone is hoping for a better year without Covid restrictions. My social media is full of people rejoicing that 2020 is finally over and counting the good and bad things of the last year. I know I’m a few days late to the party but allow me to jump on the bandwagon and look back at the past year.

Personally, I feel this year has taught me to appreciate the little things in life. It taught me how important spending time with people you feel comfortable with is. When I was…


A culture fixated on white skin

A hand holding a poster which says “Black Lives Matter”

The killing of George Floyd by a policeman in broad daylight has been the matchstick that set fire to the gunpowder of anger and dissatisfaction already brewing in the hearts of many Americans. Their protests have touched millions across the world as more and more people are speaking up about their experience with racial discrimination. The social media circuit in India is not quiet about this topic either. Celebrities are posting black box on Instagram with trending hashtags like BlackLivesMatter.

But not so surprisingly, very few of them are found when the issue hits home. While celebrities protest immediately against…


Thawing hearts on a firelit night.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

I saw her one winter morning. Sitting on the floor, leaning against the door, yellow boots muddy from the football practice she’d just come from. She looked at me and smiled. And that one smile on that one winter morning managed to steal my heart.

I would sometimes get a glimpse of her in the halls in between classes, or in the dining hall chatting with her friends. I never talked to her. She was quiet, and I was too shy to approach her. …


Growing up different

People from the LGBTQ community of India look up as balloons float in the background
People from the LGBTQ community of India look up as balloons float in the background
YouTube screenshot: From Swabhimaan Yatra invitation to LGBT event

“I never thought you’d turn out this way.”

I looked at my mother. Behind her glasses, did her eyes look a bit sad? I had pulled a picture album earlier that day out of a stack of old clothes. In one photo, 3-year-old me smiles at the camera wearing a saree designed from a gamchha, a traditional cotton towel.

In another, a micro Artemis stands with a shaved head wearing a dhuti out of the same gamchha, holding his doll.

Most of my childhood pictures have me holding a doll. My mother says I used to carry them all around the house, taking them to bath with me…


Christmastime and lost love

Two women standing on Kozhikode Beach

The children sang in unison and moved their heads to the music as the teacher played the piano.

Kora tried to keep her head down and scribbled in her notebook furiously to stop getting caught by Mrs.Chakroborty. The teacher had been keeping an eye on her ever since she came to know Kora couldn’t understand a single word of the lyrics to the songs she taught in class.

But luck wasn’t on Kora’s side that day.

“Kora! If you don’t like my class, get out.”

Tears welled up in Kora’s eyes…


Find yourself

Silhouette of a girl in the woods
Silhouette of a girl in the woods
Photo by Gustavo Alcantara from Pexels

It is a silent night. The moon shines dazzling bright.

A piece of beautiful music drifts through the open window. I can’t recognise the melody, but it is something that tugs at my heartstrings and sets off a wave of emotions. Sadness and despair surge through me.

Intrigued, I slip quietly out of the door in search of the owner of an enchanting voice. I turn back once as the moonlight from the open door falls on the faces of my friends, but they are fast asleep, dead to everything.

I walk along the winding path that leads to the…


Artemis Shishir

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