Cover Photo: Harsha K R via Flickr
Harsha K R via Flickr

I Had A Muslim Friend Once

In a small town divided along religious lines, can two teens—a Hindu and a Muslim—be friends? Fiction from India.

Four months after my sixteenth birthday, Papa bought me a Honda Activa. I didn’t know anything about it till the moment he drove it in and parked it in our front yard. For the first few minutes, I believed that he had bought the scooter for himself, and that was happiness enough, for I imagined that I would get to use it every once a while. Then he called me closer and demo-ed the electric-start mechanism. The scooter settled into a low hum. Meanwhile, Mummy had started the process of finger-painting an orange swastika just above the headlight. She smiled at Papa once, and since a smile was something rare between them, I knew immediately that the moment was special. Then the two of them looked at me and laughed together, and I understood that the Activa was for me.








Will I get married to her,

He shouldn’t have said that,

My friend Daanish,pulped,Save him,

Why did he have to pick a fight,

My friend Daanish,My friend Daanish.

My friend Daanish.

The probability of a man hitting a target is 1/4. He tries 5 times. The probability that the target will be hit at least 3 times is _______.

Four boys and four girls sit in a row at random. The probability that boys and girls sit alternately is ________.

and his friendsHindu girls.

stable but not out of harm.



real world.


The woman might be Daanish’s wife,

Tanuj Solanki’s first novel, Neon Noon (HarperCollins India, 2016) was shortlisted for the Tata Lit Live! First Book Award. His short fiction has appeared in Caravan, Business Line, DNA, Out of Print, and other prominent Indian publications. His second book, a short story collection  titled 'Diwali in Muzaffarnagar' (also by HarperCollins India), came out in January 2018. The story here is a part of that book, where it is titled 'My Friend Daanish'.