Sunday, 4 August 2013

Of Suave Hoops and Big Ears (For the Motion)

This post has been written FOR the motion:

Religion has done more harm than good to society.


Religions are cool. They have probably earned more revenue than any other franchise – wars and Justin Bieber included – in the history of this rather earthy planet that goes by the rather unimaginative name of Earth. Despite the fact that they have managed to destroy dozens of civilizations and thousands of goats and have still retained their X-factor speaks volumes about how remarkable a concept it is.

Things weren’t really bad in the early days. The Ramapithecus used to stomp around the Sivaliks and converse in grunts:

Young male Ramapithecus: Grunt1 (food).

Adult female Ramapithecus: Grunt2 (ask father).

Young male Ramapithecus: Grunt1 (food).

Adult male Ramapithecus: Grunt3 (get lost).

Basically, things were really simple, especially in the Indian subcontinent. This was in an era when the potter’s wheel was considered smart and trade was regarded as hep, so there were few hassles inside the society. Of course, there must have been squabbles regarding which adult female Ramapithecus owned the most suave tiger-skin, but things like these were usually sorted out over a matter of clubs.

In other words, it was a rather simple world where clubs were the only form of entertainment.

In India it probably began with The Vedas, which is a seriously imposing quartet of books that everyone was supposed to read but almost nobody did. As a result of this strange psychology there arose a group of individuals who decided to take advantage of the situation.

These were the people who had actually read The Vedas or could at least market themselves enough to convince the others that they had. The ignorance of the mass came to their aid: slowly this assortment of people began to gather power: they managed to acquire followers who would listen to every word they said (mind you, whatever they said was in Sanskrit, so it was imposing anyway).

These men were smart. To retain and enhance their power they incorporated two seriously strong devices among the masses: blind faith and fear.

Blind faith is when you simply are in awe with some solid superpower that governs over the Universe. This superpower was supposed to control commonplace events like fire and rain, and freak events like eclipses and earthquakes.

Fear is when the same superpower may suddenly have a bad mood turn against the humans who had refrained from worshipping him. Or maybe it may decide to do it to intimidate them – or even for fun.

As a protection against this double whammy, the ignorant people – who had been making love, inventing useful things and honing useful skills till then – were asked to do something completely worthless for the first time: worship.

How was this worshipping done? You needed to use the smart men of religion as a modem of sorts to convey your messages to the outer world that included the superpower these poor men were made to believe in. Performing good deeds and helping the needy were not enough: you needed to bribe the superpower.

Ponder over this for a while: you were being told that your performances were not good enough to earn you benefits at your workplace, but you needed to bribe the authorities. What was more, the bribing had to done through a handful of touts – people who ironically called themselves ‘religious’ people.

These men continued to acquire all kinds of niceties: this included money, neat gifts ranging from cattle to cabbage, and most importantly – power.

The religious people gained enough power to control even the kings. In those days kings ruled the world: they were emphatic men with crowns on their heads and impressive moustaches. However, like all common men, the kings also believed in the superpowers – and resorted to both bribe and fear the men of religion.

Things were shaping up the same way throughout the world. The Chinese, the Egyptians, and the Mesopotamians had their own pool of superpowers which were significantly different from those worshipped in India.

However, since these people lives thousands of miles away from each other and there was never really a clash between them regarding whose religion was the greatest. It was not that it would have affected the common man to the slightest, but the men of religion would definitely have loved to be involved in a battle of power and inflated egos.

Then, along came a big-eared man called Gautam Buddha. He explained certain things that the men, blinded by religion by now, had utterly forgotten. These were simple things: be nice to people, help each other, resist from being violent, and not succumb to ugly things like greed.

These principles obviously clashed with the intentions of the holy men: they did not dare to do anything to this man (whose simple thoughts had turned immensely popular by now), but his friends were imprisoned and his followers were slaughtered like livestock. The religious men, now aided by the military forces of the king and the blind faith of the commoners, had emerged victorious.

Mindless, atrocious acts were committed in the name of some obscure superpower that no one had actually seen, heard, or felt in person. And it had nothing to do with the size of the ears, either.

This was not a one-off incident. There was another nice, bearded man from Bethlehem who tried to explain others that being pious and simple was actually a rather cool attribute. He ended up being nailed (yes, literally) on a cross.

Then the men of faith did something even more neat; they called men like these (that Buddha guy and this Bethlehem dude, and many others) messiahs. They now had another means to add another convincing intermediate step to the entire process: they used real people.

This was what the three-step algorithm became: you worshipped these men (who had, by now, started to dress in robes of all sort); they would then send the message to the messiahs (who they themselves were responsible for killing); the messiahs would, in turn, transmit the messages to the superpower, to whom they were obviously related.

Funny things began to crop up, meanwhile. As the world progressed (if it can indeed be called that) the religious communities began to meet each other. They were now involved in serious, spine-chilling wars against each other – to prove that one’s religion was superior to another.

What they did not realise that the holy men who had instigated these tussles did not get involved in the bloodbath themselves; they had temporarily retired to the quiet shelter of some medieval resort, allowing them to assortments of non-alcoholic beverages.

Of course, they resorted to being more and more vocal, prompting ‘their’ men to pull of extreme acts of courage – which was to kill, rape, and capture as slaves people who believed in other religions. If you had managed to pull off such deeds you would be hailed as heroes; if you had turned up in the receiving end you would be hailed as martyrs.

In other words, it was a win-win situation anyway.

Fast-forward now to the current era. The men of religion still exist, as do the messiahs (who, despite being human beings, have been elevated to the status of quasi-superpowers – which is something they possibly had never intended to themselves); and of course, the superpowers exist as well.

In addition to this, several strata of minions have cropped up to act as bridges between the common people and the men of religion. In other words, religion had finally managed to convert itself into a franchise.

To make things worse, the people of religion have attained levels of authority they never had before: previously they had been ruling over people who were not equipped with the power of knowledge. Now, they are exercising their control over people who have knowledge, and worse, logical reasoning, in their repertoire.

There are few kings any more; they have been replaced by politicians. Unfortunately, the nexus still remains, and given that the men of religion and the men of power are seldom nice to anyone, people have forgotten the same.

Catalyzed by the two-pronged phalanx of leaders the seeds of mistrust for other religions that were reaped centuries back have now risen to their full pomp. They stand firm and upright, infallible and oblivious to the basic concepts of logic.

The concept of religion – created by a rather nice group of people ages back for the good of mankind with the aim to bind them to a group with peace and harmony in mind – has been brought down crashing to the ground.

As a result we have conveniently managed to forget the main characteristic that used to separate us humans from other creatures: logic. When a religious guru makes a stray comment on how women should be held responsible themselves for the sexual crimes committed against them (or something equally unreasonable) we frown at them – or maybe share the comments on social network: but while clicking that button we perhaps cast a careful glance at our fingers to check whether the ring used to ensure our success with women is still there.

That is precisely what religion has made us do: we have scowled at obnoxious comments and activities but never had the courage to act: what if these men were really speaking the truth? While putting the rings on we have forgotten to ask ourselves whether our lives can really be controlled by cute-looking metallic hoops with a stones cast on them.

The worst bit, perhaps, is the fact that despite having cringed in history classes at the atrocities committed over centuries we are still hoodwinked to take up weapons against people of other religions, overlooking completely the fact that we are simply taking forward the ‘deeds’ done by these esteemed men.

As we’re get sucked into the quagmire of loneliness and insecurity with the passage of time we feel the need to rely more and more on external sources. The chasm between the handful of logical and the ocean of illogical people continues to increase as the hungry vultures keep feeding on our existence, making us succumb to their incessant love for power.

Dark days lie ahead. Very, very dark days.

And it still isn’t about those ears.


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'The Call for Internet Censorship' (Against the Motion)

This post has been written AGAINST the motion : 

The call for internet censorship is completely justified and should be implemented immediately.


It is amazing how a project that was intended for internal usage within a research organisation began to be used later for a defense organisation and slowly emerged as a powerful tool that has well and truly bridged distances. Yes, it is the 'Internet,' the all encompassing network that connects us together.

The rise of the internet is synonymous with the growth of the computer - from huge complicated machines from the ENIAC to the personal computer that seems to shrink with every passing day and now the mobile-phone, which offers the world in our hands.

The very premise of the title 'A call for internet censorship' makes one wonder how can we be sure that the government is already not spying on what I am doing when I am connected to the internet. This is not the blabbering of a paranoid schizophrenic - this is the reality of the affairs that led to the earth-shattering revelations of Edward Snowden and how the National Security Agency spies on unsuspecting people - hand and glove with the giants of technology like Microsoft and Google.

Snowden is a man who is unsure of his future but he is the symbol of truth and rebellion who is now wanted by the USA - I am ashamed that India did not offer him asylum; we cower at the might of BIG BROTHER, the great nation of the United States of America. Russia has offered him asylum for a year! But the future remains uncertain.

With projects like the Aadhar card wherein every citizen of this great land will be reduced to just a sequence of numbers and everything from subsidies related to the purchase of cooking gas cylinders to bank and tax-returns all in the name of an all-in-one identity card - the government of India is hell-bent on learning all about you and this data is not secure!

In such a scenario, it is but natural that we shall be Talibanised and there will be censorship! Look at West Bengal - a professor gets arrested for a cartoon on Mamata Banerjee, the sovereign didi; when all of Maharashtra came to a stand-still for the final rites of the great Bal Thackeray - a tweet and a post on Facebook led to the arrest of two college-going girls and more damage.

Where exactly are we heading to....?

Social Networks offer a power of posting information immediately; if I see a traffic cop asking for a bribe - I can take a photo and post it; any injustice that I notice - the frustration of delayed trains, impolite public servants; every bit of ire can be put up online. I can also use it to share inspirational true stories of a poor orphan overcoming odds to secure a gold medal in high-school; a young girl designing an innovative machine.

The power of the social network is limitless and with great power comes great responsibility! Like every other sphere and medium, a black sheep shall exist on the social networks as well; that does not mean that a watchdog authority examines our posts and censors our posts and pictures!

As and when censorship happens, groups like 'Hackers Anonymous' will wreak vengeance! The government needs to worry about more important things like generating employment, protecting the environment, ensuring the safety of women, tackling poverty and malnutrition; the list is endless.

As civilized adults and responsible citizens censorship if necessary should come from within - not from an external agency. Anything that offends the sensibility of a group or an individual should be posted only if it is absolutely necessary. What may appeal to you might not necessarily find favour with someone else.

An Orwellian and dystopian future is what I see - though I may sound pessimistic, the way we appear to be headed - it seems that all our actions are being monitored in one way or the other and censorship of the internet is something that will happen in the not too distant future.

It is time that the internet-using community of this generation takes up cudgels against the dystopian and Quixotic rulings passed by those in power!

We do not need censorship - we need freedom - forever - in word, deed and action both online and in day-to-day life!


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Semi Final Results

So we have been cruising through the IBL journey beyond the expectations of many people. However, the organizers and judges have been kind enough to appreciate our posts which have been an outcome of extreme hard work and dedication by our team.

Here are the semi final results and we are through to the finals with the second highest score.

Wish us much luck for the final, dear readers.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Déjà Vu

Early in the morning

Corpuscular rays of sunlight

Filter thro’ the trees—and

touch me fleetingly

I can’t hold myself, slip into the veldt;

Foliage almost topical on the forest-floor

Entwine around my feet- what luck!

The rustle of the stag-ferns, the murmurs

of the torrent stream rushing with bushes,

twigs through the ravine; all play together,

to enlighten me…initiate me

- Puzzled, I peek around the bushes;

Whipping affinities, analogies…

And progress….

Time rolls by, as I keep picking

The mysteries through the gossamer

caught in yesterday’s frames; and


For a sip of that stupor or trance

I enjoy being released into the

Musty images of yesterday…

Screeches of birds, the gushing water,

the smell of moist earth,

the mass of green velvety moss ,

bird-burrowed holes on tree-trunks; they all

help me taking off the blinkers at last,

I spot the wooden arched bridge over a creek

And recognize…goodness me!!

A bubbling stream fleeting, swinging,

crashing over the boulders; transforms

my hearing and seeing –

Silence follows~

Play of sunlight rolls over the boulders

Gets hazy for a second…

Lo! It disappears again…

The old bridge opens windows of another world

I've been here before, I grasp - -- a dream Déjà vu..?

The yellow sunlight gets intense,

Each stone seems more dazzling than before

'Yes, such awakening is possible,

Déjà vu moment pitches in because images

dwell in our consciousness, as long as we live.


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No More Us

It took me four years to go back. Four quick years, all this time, I avoided facing what I knew I would have to eventually go back to. I was through with my mechanical engineering, there were stuffs, I needed to see through. Confusing and complicated was my life. More than my life was my emotion. So far, I had excused my absence back home with studies. Surprisingly everyone believed me.

Raurkela, my adopted city had devoured me, physically drained me and had me occupied. There was always something happening, always some lecture to attend, some projects to prepare or some movie to see. There was always someone to crowd my life. Friends in the canteen, batch mates in class and roommates in the hostel.

However, my village never left me. What they say about, “You can take the man out of the woods, but you can't take the woods out of the man.” My village slumbered somewhere between Bhubaneswar and Cuttack: tucked deep into nowhere. There were fifty houses and a high school. There was an all season stream and countable water pumps. A few street lights and no proper hospital. Surprisingly, my father, mother, uncles and aunts all were healthy and robust. There was no case of any serious disease or unnatural death that I heard of. Except the accident that choked my life.

In the name of a bus stand, there were a couple of tea stalls on the high way. It was 9 pm and I had dozed off, when I was shaken and shown the bus door by the conductor. I thanked him profusely and got off on a sour note.

No one was around, not like I was expecting an entourage. I had not bothered to inform my parents. I took the wiry track to the now famous wooden bridge and the stream underneath. Summer usually had more visitors to this place. The path remained muddy and slippery. This was the route for villagers to carry fresh water. It was a moonlit night and I could see each tree. I pulled at some branches to disturb sleeping birds. I spotted a few rabbits or were they mongoose; I was not sure. Yet their presence assured me of company.

It took me all of twenty five minutes to reach the wooden bridge and yes I was keeping track of the time. Once, I reached it, I knew I would lose my sense of time. Time took a timeout. This was where I had played hide and seeks as kids. Here on these planks, I had sat for hours telling stories. I had slept on this bridge at night looking up at the stars.

I walked to the bridge and watchfully chose my spot. Not too far from the center and not near it either. The barricade stood perfectly broken at the middle. I found the bridge damp as I rested my hands beside me. I hung out my legs and sat on my denim back. Water gurgled and made a contended sound. Early, rains had pepped the place with greenery. I wished, I had carried a few pebbles to throw aimlessly into the water. I sat there doing nothing. I had no clue how long I sat there. And then I saw her.

A first, she was a mere shadow. When I focused on her, she came into light. She stood at the edge of the water bed. I was relieved that she was there. I was getting fed up of myself. She wore an orange shalwar suit that looked like burnt red in the night. Her hair was tied loose in a pony and she was bare feet. I had often teased her that she had prettier feet than face. Right then, I realized, I was wrong. She had a most fascinating face. Her skin was silk and her eyes were pools of water.

I saw a touch of excitement in her eyes and some madness in her smile as she came and sat next to me.

‘I was kind of hoping you would be here’ I said.

‘I wouldn’t be anywhere else’.

‘You look unreal’.

‘What? I take good care of myself’ she burst out in giggles.

‘Strangely funny’ I joined her in laughing.

‘How have you been, Su?’ I asked.

‘Susanna is my name. Su is no more’ she teased me.


‘Do you miss me? Did you miss me in the city?’

‘What kind of a question is that? I loved you…deeply.’

‘I did not understand you like I understand now’.

‘How so?’

‘Now that it is all over, it does not matter whether you loved me or not, belong to me or not’.

‘Oh’. I was pensive.

‘I know, I love you and nothing could change that’.

‘You still love me, after all the trouble I put you through?’ I looked into her eyes.

‘Trouble does not trouble me but love still weakens me’. She looked away. Was she crying?

‘You weaken me, Su’ she did not mind me calling her Su again.

‘I know, I am here to tell you, it was not your fault. It was nobody’s fault’.

‘I should have caught you. Better still, I should have jumped after you’

‘Yes, you could have. The bridge is low height. Fear did not stop you, shock did. There is a difference’.

‘Low height, hun? How come, you were hurt’?

‘I hit on a stone, that one over there. Some people are plain unlucky’.

‘Did that hurt a lot’?

‘Nope, it was quick. My last most dominant emotion was the excitement of your mouth on mine’.

‘But…’I tried to reason.

‘It was an accident, accept it’.

I love her, I had always loved her. Our homes were as entwined as our destinies. Our parents worked in the same farming field. We went to the same school. We were born a few days apart. We grew into adolescence together. She was the one for me and I always knew that. Often, I would force myself on her, in the field, near the bridge, in the river. She would threaten to spill the beans but she never did. I knew she loved me too.

My engineering admission was done with. I had always been a bright student. I did not want to go away. I did not want to be away from Su. She was upset and had not been talking to me for almost a week. That was my last night; I had plans to get close to her.

At night, we met on the wooden bridge, our common meeting place. I was all excited. She was still upset. I was impatient and she was awkward. She did not realize time was running out. We ended up fighting. She tried to detangle herself, I caught her and pinned her hands behind her. I pushed her into the barricade as she struggled and tried to bite at me. When I kissed her, she eased against me.

The entire village was sleeping and I was living my dream. I felt all grown up. I release her hands to cup her face and then she kicked me. I got all worked up and pushed her back. The old wooded bridge creaked and complained. I was too far gone to care. The middle of the barricade opened up and she fell, her back facing the river.

I wanted to hold her back, to collect her into my arms. Instead, I could only balance myself from falling. I had let her fall and hit on a stone, while I stood there breathing abnormally. She hit her head first and there was a distinct sound of death that came from her.

‘I sat there looking at your body, until morning.’

‘I know.’

‘I never confessed to anyone about how it happened.’

‘I know.’

They believed it was an accident. Everyone knew, we kids always came here at night’.

‘I know.’

‘They found me on this bridge, too. I had not moved from the spot’.

‘I know.’

‘There was a big scandal. Some people said you were pregnant’.

‘A scandal or two does not hurt the dead. It only makes them famous’. She was smiling. I could not take it anymore, I needed a hug. Tears were forming in my eyes and clouding my vision. I turned to her after wiping my tears and she was gone with the winds. Soon, it was going to be another day. I got up, dusted myself and was on my way home.


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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Round 2 Results

The results for Round 2 of IBL 2.0 were announced on 14th July. We are an extremely proud team right now on achieving the second place and cruising to the Semi Final which will be held from 15-18th July.

Check out the results and wish us all the luck, dear readers!

The Human

(The 3 ingredients used in this story are - An Orphan, A Building on Fire, The Last minute[of my life])

“Are the reports out Doc?” asked Pooja as she took longer than her normal strides, trying to catch up with the head of Neurology at ARC [Advanced Research Centre].

“We are baffled, his brain is one that every human would love to evolve to,” said the doc.

“Are you telling me that he is not human? “ asked Pooja and the doctor stopped and looked at her for few seconds and said with a smile, “He is more human than what humanity accounts for right now.”

Two Days Back

The MAANAV neighbourhood that is generally desolate had turned into a live wire with the sudden blast that was reported early in the morning. What people believed to be an uninhibited farm house now housed corpses of an old couple and an unscratched and unconscious teen. The whole town was talking about the teen now, as reports of every electronic device malfunctioning within his vicinity started to spread like a wildfire.

“I knew that a devil lived in that house, things moved on their own and I would often hear strange voices,” spoke the area postman into the reporter’s microphone. There was not a single channel that wasn’t reporting about the MAANAV mishap and the mystery that surrounded it.

“The doctor said that the boy is breathing normally and his pulse is normal too, but for unknown reason he is unconscious and we cannot electronically monitor anything… Forget MRI even an electronic watch won’t work around him,” quipped Inspector Gautham into his mobile and right then the nurse arrived with the news that the survivor has gained consciousness. That was exactly what Gautham had been waiting for, so he immediately sprang into action, grabbed his notepad and started walking fast towards room number 314.

“Patient is still under shock, just 10 mins Inspector,” said the nurse and left.

Gautham was looking an athletic teen around 6’1”, jet black hair that were curly beyond explanation, deep and well set eyes with high cheek bones and a long pointed nose. As he was wondering how to address him,

“Mithun” said the boy, as though he as reading Gautham’s mind.

“What? …. I mean .. Hi, am inspector Gautham, Can I ask you a few questions?” words stumbled from the inspector.

“I have no place to go in this realm, no parents, never knew them. I also know that my caretakers are dead, so am all yours.

No, I am not responsible for the blast but what I know is that it’s not advisable to keep me here for long.

Yes I have lived in the farm house all my life.

Yes I am fine and will always be.

So you can tick the last question on your notepad , I have answered them all,” said a smiling Mithun, leaving Gautham gaping like a gold fish . He wanted to ask many more questions, but he simply couldn’t and for once he was scared.

Few minutes after Gautham’s report , Ms Pooja Vishwanath from PET [ Paranormal and Extra-Terrestrial Wing] arrived.

“Hello Inspector, let this be something solid and real as you claimed,” said Pooja in an authoritative tone.

Room 314

“So .. Mithun is your name, eh? How old are you?” asked Pooja with a plastic smile.

“It’s not advisable to keep me here for long, you are risking lives.. I would be more than glad to answer you in a less populated, rather secluded place,” said Mithun and right then the hospital lights started flickering . “Too late already,” he quipped.

The static screeched in Gautham’s walkie talkie.

“716 reporting fire, 2 blocks from ARC , SICAL warehouse, over.”

Gautham immediately responded with “I will be there in 5 minutes,” and stood up to leave when Mithun called out his name and like an insect attracted to a light source, he moved towards Mithun. As Pooja watched he held Gautham’s wrist and the inspector twitched, not in pain but as though something very bright and blinding hit him.

“Are you OK inspector? Let him go, kid,” panicked Pooja.

Right then she heard herself saying “Its OK .. He knows what he is doing,” as if her subconscious was talking to her and she couldn’t help but keep quiet and watch.

In a few seconds , the inspector nodded and left the room. He was on his way to become a national hero .

A DAY Before

What was regional news yesterday has become a national sensation today, Inspector Gautham saved 19 students from a burning warehouse.

They were not mere students, they were the intellectual elite picked from INDIA as “Child Prodigy”, a part of the ruling party’s anti brain drain campaign that was initiated a year back and was a grand success. Everyone in the country talked about it. Gautham has become a national hero by saving the greatest intellectual asset that the country possessed. Little did people know that the whole rescue mission was planted into Gautham by Mithun!

“Are you serious? He literally showed you what to do in your head?” asked Pooja with utter disbelief. All Gautham could do was nod.

“We have to run tests on him, but how? No equipment would work on him.. What is he?” Asked a frustrated Pooja.

“Maybe ask him his permission, this was his last note to me,

‘You have to ask me when you need something'
That didn’t make much sense then, but now it does,” said Gautham without looking up at Pooja, his gaze fixed on the question mark pattern that the marble flooring had.

They both walked to room 314 and as they entered they realized Mithun was not in his bed. They knew very well what Mithun is capable of and knew he can walk out anytime he wanted.

“He kept saying it’s not advisable to keep him here for long, we didn’t listen, now …”

Before Pooja could finish the sentence Mithun walked out of the restroom and smiled at them, “What? I am as human as you are” said Mithun with a wink , “…and yeah… You have your permission” he winked again!

“Permission for what,” asked asked pooja with PUZZLED written all over her face and Gautham gently squeezed her forearm and said.. “To run tests”!


Pooja and Gautham sat right opposite Mithun and he spoke,

“I'm afraid I might not speak to you again and have very little time, your tests would tell you facts from what is known and I am not from there. To reach to the unknown you have to travel in unchartered waters and you map won’t help you there.
What am I? A mere projection of the same thing you all are made of, but from a different part of this multiverse, to speak in a language you better understand you can call me a time traveller . If you tread right, all would evolve to be me”

“You sound like Lord Krishna ! Are you quoting from Bhagavat Gita by any chance?” Asked Gautham.

“Oh ! Do I? Maybe your Krishna too was a time traveller” Mithun grinned and winked.

“How much more technologically advanced should we become to evolve like you,” asked Pooja.

“True evolution can happen only when Humanity surpasses Technology and not the vice-versa,” smiled Mithun.

“Are you God?” asked Gautham unable to come out of the KRISHNA STATEMENT that was made few seconds back.

*Knock Knock*

As Pooja and Gautham turned, their last minute with THE HUMAN was over.

Good that he didn’t answer that. For it would have forever remained a gaffe!


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My Three Concubines

(The 3 ingredients used in this story are - Dead Tiger, Wine Bottle, Superhero)

I am called a disbeliever of love; they don’t know I am not. They don’t understand why I prefer to live alone, nevertheless I do. They say it’s ludicrous that I stay away from love; I am not away from love. They say I need a woman, a lover; they don’t know I am in love.

To be honest, I was never loveless in my life. Love came at various times, well of course to me, and not to the other side. After the death of my mother, I was probably never loved back in return. But love would never leave my side. Like a little plant coming out from a planted seed, love would always arise in some corner of my heart and in no time, it would fill my entire heart. But unrequited love is difficult, to say the least, if not homicidal. And all my life, I have craved for love only to be turned down by my fate.

The only love I ever experienced was from my mother.

My father was a good man, socially. I wanted to study and grow up to be like him. But I knew I couldn’t, for I wasn’t half as bright as he was, or as any of my classmates.

“But, you will have a brighter future” my mother would tell me when I used to cry for being dull in studies. It’s needless to say that my father didn’t think so. But my mother, she would always protect me whenever my drunken father would try to raise a hand on me. “Brainsick” he called me when I repeatedly failed to pass my exams for the third standard. Tireless efforts of my sick mother made me pass in the exams of the second standard. And when the results were declared and I returned home to tell my mother that I am eligible to sit in class III now, I found my mother lying dead on her bed. She had finally succumbed to the lung cancer she had been fighting for years.

“Mother, open your eyes, I am finally in class three.” These were the last words I spoke to my loving mother’s cadaver.

Ever since that day, ever since I reached class three, I was never loved again.

Class Three.

The word three holds a deeper meaning for me. For today I divide my heart and the love in it, into three. Yes, I had two concubines in my life. Tonight, I will have my third as I sit on the chair looking at her conveying my love for her and telling about the love we will make tonight.

I will be a man tonight, an adult, eighteen year old and I celebrate my birthday reminiscing my last two loves and I promise to love my third as long as I live.

I was an eight-year old when I fell in love with my first. Like I said before, I am not a disbeliever of love. I believe in all forms of love. I believe in the love of a mother for a child, I believe in the love of a child for a toy, I believe in love at first sight, I believe in love well-thought-of, in manipulated love, in material love, in unconditional love, in bounded love, in well-reasoned love, and in mindless love.

I saw him on the TV. Helping people, loving people, He was the proof that good wins over evil. He was the proof that if you believe in something it will come to you. He was the unsaid promise that if something bad happens to you; he will come to help you. And if for any reason, little children of my age or older take the wrong path, he will, without fail, come to stop them. He would teach lessons of morality. He would teach that we should always love the poor, the needy, and the weaker ones. He would say that treachery, theft etc is bad and you should never choose such a path. He would always say to love animals, for they will never harm you if you don’t harm them. They will always help.

He was the superhero of our country christened “Shaktiman” by the people, meaning a man of power.

It took me four long years to realize that he was just another fictitious character of the Television, a fake, a lesser mortal like all of us. He didn’t come when I had called for him innumerous times to bring my mother back or to come and love me and stay with me. Nor did he come when I had expected him to; to save my second beloved at her moment of dying.

It was love at first sight, my second love which somehow crept into the house of my heart, pushed the images of the Superhero aside and found its place to sit forever. Alas, the love was ephemeral. I didn’t even get an opportunity to know if she loved me back; I just imagine now that may be she did.

I was fifteen then and she was beautiful. The first thing I noticed about her was her pair of divine green eyes. Next her hair, brown hair yet black in some parts. With great serenity she looked at me back and walked towards me. I stood there dumbfounded by her beauty, by her presence. I knew I was in love with her. She walked towards me and I fell in love with each step of hers. She was only a few inches away when I heard the loud sound of a gunshot. It was our guide, Tiwari ji, who had fired the gun to kill the tigress in front of me, the tigress I fell in love with, and probably the only tigress we saw in our whole trip to Corbett National Park.

I had cried that day, I had cried for a month; and I had argued with our guide, with the teacher who was with us as an escort and with father.

“He went to jail for killing that tigress. He went to jail to save you. You are to be blamed. Don’t you get it?” My father had scolded. But I didn’t understand. I thought the tigress loved me. I thought she wanted to be loved in return, for a change, just like me. I thought we were supposed to love animals, like my fraudulent superhero had preached. I thought they don’t harm you if you don’t harm them. Either by my former love or by my father, I was lied to.

It took me a year or two to forget her, my second love. It took me another year to hate my first love. My heart till now was divided into two – the fake superhero whom now I hated, and the tigress for whose death I was to be blamed. It’s pity that I never got to know if she loved me back like I loved her, if she too fell in love at first sight.

Sometimes people fall in the wrong company, sometimes in the wrong love. May be the choices I made were faulty. May be I fell in love with the wrong ones. But God knows that I never could love anyone else. I was made to love them; and I was made not to be loved in return. I was made to live a melancholic life. I was made to beat myself up for somehow killing a poor tiger. I was destined to hate the Superhero I so believed in. And above all, I was destined to hate myself.

But, I am in love again, and I will make love tonight. I have parted my heart into three for her. And she sits tonight in front of me, flaunting proudly herself to me, telling me that I can’t help but fall in love with her. I am now looking at her entire body; I am planning to make love tonight. I am planning to make love with the beauty in front of me. I am planning to make love with the color red that she contains within her. I am planning to be in love with her forever. I am planning to love her - the bottle of wine, red wine, forever.


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The Metal Box

(The 3 ingredients used in this story are - Old Metal Box, A Reclusive Billionaire, A Recurring Memory)

It has been quite a long time since Mr. Morrison’s death, but it still feels like he talks to me in his usual grumbling manner. Mr. Morrison’s story is the only crawling truth that I’ve ever come across in my whole working life. I am a psychiatrist by profession and I have dealt with many kinds of mental illnesses, but Morrison’s was unique, I must say it literally challenged my education and practice. I don’t exactly remember who referred Mr. Morrison’s case to me, but I owe a lot to him.

My first encounter with Mr. Morrison proved to be a fiasco. As per his wish, we were scheduled to meet at a strange, unheard of café at the end of the town. Well, I usually do not start the sessions anywhere outside my chamber, but Mr. Morrison was an exception. He happened to be a member of the elite-class, and of some billionaire clubs, owned some antique gold pocket-watches, suited in the most expensive linen, owned several Ferraris, Limousines and, of course, Rolls Royce. Keeping his aristocracy in mind, I decided to fulfill his wish, but I was dumbfounded when I came to know the venue of the meeting. Why a rich and affluent person like him wants to meet me in an obscure place was beyond me. Maybe, he was afraid of being recognized.

When I reached the café, I saw some people pushing Morrison and trying to get him out of that place. I chose to watch from behind one of the huge pillars there. After the whole hullabaloo, I quizzed a waiter about what happened. He informed me that Morrison was caught red handed while stealing their cup-cakes and donuts. I was confused to comprehend why a respectable person like Mr. Morrison had to steal the food. I was aware of his misfortune; of the fact that he was bankrupt, his estate having been snatched from him, and how his debts engulfed his nest egg. I didn’t meet him that evening, but tried to sit back and think the incident through.

The very next day, I woke up to Mr. Morrison’s call. He spoke uncouthly in a muffled voice, and told me that he wants to meet me at my place. I wasn’t too keen to, but agreed nonetheless. The moment he entered my house, I was taken by surprise to see the change-over in him. He was profoundly different from how he had appeared at the café the previous day. He was very well behaved; attired in a suit which was, though old, scarcely ruffled. Taking his seat, he asked me for a cigar. But I wretchedly satisfied him with a cigarette instead. After releasing the first ring of smoke, his tale began.

‘I have had a bad past.’ he said, ‘that still haunts me everywhere; my dreams and even in real. It ruined my life, my successful life; I now am nothing but a destitute, penniless, pitiable eighty-years-old lunatic.’ That was the time I got to know about his age for the first time.

He continued his anecdote. ‘I was almost twenty or twenty-two; dynamic, vigorous and a very bright young lad when I started studying in New York. I had always been very sharp as a student, so my parents wanted to send me off to the city’s best college. My life was very mundane, I prepared my own meal, cleaned my own dishes, laundered my own clothes; the amount of money my father used to send was very little to be invested in restaurant-bills or paid laundry. I was very displeased with my stereotyped life. But then I met Sally Moore. Sally was the wife of Ronald Moore, a well-to-do business tycoon back then. He had a couple of industries to his name and owned a palatial estate-cum-house on the outskirts of New York. Mr. Moore was in his late sixty’s then, and Sally was a third his age. Sally and I were classmates, we were friends, and gradually we fell in love with one another. We used to hang around, talk a lot and have our meals together. She took good care of me, lent me money whenever I needed, fed me, cleaned my dishes and laundered my clothes, much like a committed ‘wife’. Neither of us had the guts to marry or live together, partly because Mr. Moore was at the peak of all powers. He had the money, and the connections to kill us. So, we waited for his death, which was expectantly not so far.’

He stopped suddenly, stubbed out the remainder of the cigarette and asked for one more. I hurried gave him another, as I was so very excited to hear the next part of his story. After lighting the second cigarette, he resumed.

‘Where was I? Oh, yes, Mr. Moore did not really know what went on, but he had his own suspicions. Whenever I went to the house, mainly to take my books back, he had several questions in store for me.

One day, in Mr. Moore’s absence, Sally invited me over to her house. That was the only time when we were so close; I felt her from every dimension. We made love, relentlessly chatting and caressing all along. Sally drew out a metal box from a chest underneath her bed and placed it in front of me. When I asked about it, she said that her father had given her the box when she was married. The box was filled with precious antique jewelry. She had never mentioned this before. She even went on to say that after Mr. Moore’s death, we would not need to touch any of his valuables; and that we could happily live with the contents of that box.

All of a sudden, the door flew open. Mr. Moore was standing, anger seething across his face. I thought this was my end; my life was about to draw to a close. But, strangely he let me go. After that day, Sally did not come to college for a while. Sometime later, I received a call from Mr. Moore, who said he wanted to meet me. I was both worried and excited to meet him. When he told me what he actually wanted from me, I was astounded. He actually wanted me to kill Sally and grab that metal box, which Sally had hidden from him for long, for him. And, he also offered me a huge amount of his fortune and a palace to live in. I staggered for a few hours after he left. Then, I brutally decided to go for the fortune rather than love.

On that very day, I blindfolded Sally and kissed her, then thrust the sharp blazing knife into her chest vigilantly. Her gown was drenched in blood in no time. As per Mr. Moore’s command I took her body to the woods and carefully buried her without a trace.’

‘So, this is how you become what you are now’, I quizzed him. But he didn’t say a word in reply, but merely continued his monologue.

‘Now, it has been almost fifty years, I have almost forgotten about the old days. But she has not forgotten me.’

‘Who is she?’ I asked.

‘Sally, she is back, and she is haunting me all over. A few months back, I got that metal box at my doorstep. All of this started after that. I am about to become insane. I lost all my riches in drinking. Please save me, she will kill me. Every night she calls me by the name she gave me, ‘Billy’. She leaves everything that I gave to her on my bed-side table; a red scarf, piles of letters and a few dove-feathers. Please save me, save me.’

I was not so amazed to hear his problem; I met several people every day with the same problem. But what made me amazed was his story of gaining the royalty. I knew it was nothing but his hallucination, maybe because at this point of lonely life and over-age, he was repenting his atrocious deed. Maybe his conscience badgered him. I gave him a few anti-depressants and told him to plan a vacation. But, he would not listen. The next day, I got to know that he got suffered a cardiac-arrest and passed away. I felt sorry for him; he was a very noble man, apart from the heinous crime that blackened his past.

I was invited to his funeral. Many aristocrat, ministers and socialites were there to pray for him. I was zealously moving around his house and suddenly I saw something at his bedroom. There was a metal box, aged but still dazzling, a red scarf, a pile of letters and a few dove-feathers lying on the floor.


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Friday, 28 June 2013

The Island

The Z-series assault-sniper is one of the deadliest weapons created; easy to use and assemble. A design that allows it to be disassembled and stored in a small backpack, thus making it the weapon of choice for many an assassin. Although the production of the Z-1, as it is known as has officially stopped, clandestine armourers from Israel to Thailand and Pakistan to Russia still manage to procure this weapon.

For the last five years of my life, every single day and night I have kept my Z-1 close to me. Living all alone on this remote island - one among the many that make up the Mergui Archipelago. I came here five years ago as a hunted man, a rogue agent. I had revealed a nexus between the 'Agency-head' and a small defense-contractor who had supplied defective weapons to the 'Agency'. Attempts were made to silence me with gifts and promises; but I refused to budge; went ahead and leaked the findings of my report to a newspaper. I was branded a traitor and charged under the 'National Security and Official Secrets Act'. With great difficulty I managed to sneak out of the country in a fishing boat and reached Mergui. As I contemplated my future, the newspapers in my country had turned against me. All allegations raised by me were dismissed as fabricated and I was painted as 'Enemy of the Country'.

This was the reward for being the top-notch assassin of a powerful intelligence network; for believing in the greater good of the country; for never having loved anyone and just being a shadow that would travel around the world; to eliminate those individuals who posed a threat to the progress of my beloved nation. This was the price of my pursuit for both truth and justice. I knew that the long hands of 'The Agency' would use every possible resource to track me down. I did not have too much time.

Years back, when I was a small boy, I loved reading 'Biggles Air Commodore's Adventures' and some stories featured the Mergui Archipelago. When I was not killing people, I would visit these small islands and atolls that made up the Mergui Archipelago. During one of the many trips, I discovered a small island. This island had a small network of caves that actually went below the surface of the earth and eventually merged into an undersea-cavern. I knew a day would come when I would require a sanctum. So I built a small retreat here, midway into the cave away from the eyes of the world, ensuring that none of the locals in the mainland realized what I was doing. To the locals I was just another crazy scuba-diver whiling away his time.

The island was self-sustainable with some coconut trees, fish were abundant in the sea, and I had stocked up on salt and spices for a long time. Like Robinson Crusoe, I survived for five long years, away from the glare of those who hunted me. Even I was surprised that no one had managed to figure out my hideout. But 'nothing lasts forever.' Early this morning at about 3AM there was a slow hum of a motor. The unmistakable sound of the 'Amphibian plane', landing gently on the beach.

I took out my solar-powered Magna-binoculars - and focussed on the beach - it was a three-man team and a pilot. The pilot relaxed and decided to smoke a cigarette and began playing a game on his mobile-phone. Ah! How the years have flown - not having used a mobile phone or a computer for five years - the device in the pilot's hand looked something out of a science-fiction movie.


I then focussed my attention on the three commandos - armed to the teeth; special night-vision goggles, smoke-grenades, assault-daggers, and a M-5 sub-machine guns. There would be some more weapons hidden in their compact backpacks as well. Each left in a different direction. Commando - 1 - C-1 headed straight towards the hill and walked up slowly. It was almost as if he knew there was a cave. He took out of his Zigmaster climber and fired it up on to the rock-face. The climber found its mark and stuck on to a crevice. C-1 tested the strength of the rope and climbed slowly. This was going to be child's play; I smiled as C-1 climbed the rock-face; I crept out slowly and noticed that it was the darkest hour 4 AM before dawn when the sun would rise about 4:30 AM. I took out my Z-1 and fired at the crevice where the climber's holder was stuck. The bullet found its mark and I focussed my binoculars on C-1, as he fell down the 200 feet with a surprised look. By the time he met terra-firma, he was dead by the wounds on his head and neck.

One down!


Apparently the commandos carried walkie-talkies and were in constant touch. For, within 25 minutes of C-1 crashing, C-2 and C-3 had rushed to the remains of their compatriot. In anger they took out their M-5s and shot madly at the rock-face. This noise brought the pilot out. There seemed to be a meeting between the commandos and the pilot. The pilot was to stand guard over the fallen man's body. C-2 and C-3 started climbing the rock-face from two different directions. I let them climb the rock-face and reach the top. There was a strange sense of joy - something that a psychoanalyst would describe as madness. For me, it was a question of survival - kill or be killed. As C-2 and C-3 approached stealthily, I threw a rock into a rain-puddle, my stalker immediately fired at the puddle. I smiled at myself. Then I shouted - 'Boys - do you really want to do this?'

By now C-2 and C-3's frustrations were evident as they began to fire randomly. I calmly took them out with one bullet each aimed straight at the heart - no soldier deserves to be shot in the back! The Z-1's bullet can pierce even the toughest vest. The bullets found their mark and C-2 and C-3 fell down dead.


It was precisely at this time that I felt a massive tremor. I looked at the sea - and the rising sun - something seemed wrong! The waves were lashing at a ferocious space and they seemed to be ten times normal than usual, the Amphibian had no chance as it got battered to pieces; the pilot stood still lost and resigned to his fate; the waves carried him away as well.

Then I felt the ground below my feet shaking as I rushed to higher ground. I realized a tsunami had struck! The massive waves returned thrice and then all went calm and silent. The sea was its usual impersonal self. I buried the men who had come to kill me and I looked at the damage that the ocean had unleashed.

This too shall pass!

I looked at my trusted Z-1 and walked slowly on the beach reflecting on how a true agent is always an 'expendable'!


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Mahesh's Blogs : memories , Punarjanmam


Sailing alone, far from the shore, towards the high and mad sea

A melancholy strain touches my eye; I feel a sense of qui vive

I see sun sloped down the clouds; brilliant brightness of the sky going pale
I hear the silence raspy requiem, Singing in the sky

I see no nightingale. There is stillness in the air

the whirling wind has suddenly given his frown

The sanity of the sky comes to a standstill

As if it would take years to reach down

The arid arena shows no signs of life

as if waiting for a stirring storm

I see no bird or beast pass by; the bluntness beyond any norm

Bones infested with growing fear, realization gives me a serpent kiss

Till now under a spotless cloud of ignorance, I was asking for bliss.

Once free from manacles of birth, the beauty in beauty never wanes

No bed is warmer than grave; without mutual acceptance love is vain.

Every things that are and were, now just waves on eternal time flow

One by one everyone bids us; fades away like a mere shadow.

Has the fate decreed this as inevitable, or this pain is just my pleasure’s loan?

Sailing and fighting what continues to hound, even my reflection do I own?
Redemption is what I need, is this a revelation of something else?

Or is it my misanthropic mind, that hates, loathes and repels...


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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Street Food


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The Five Haunts

"Fear is the reason why we are here."

That rhymed.

As much as I love to make such instant quotes, today I am here to write about the five things that scare me the most:

1. Deadlines
To be frank, this the scariest entity that I have come across in my life. And it keeps coming back over and over again! True that, without a deadline, you cannot achieve targets on time and, you will have no sense of managing your day well, but what happens at the end of the day is: only because of deadlines, we run away from our commitments, and try to finish only the night before the exam, the day before the final presentation and the moment before the final call.

That is exactly what scares me the most. Because I feel that a human mind is wired to work the most under pressure situations. But what many of us miss is the fact that to cope up with the impending pressure which will come only the day before the deadline, our brain - our lovely, scumbag brain, commands us to stop working on the other days. This is true for most of the population of the world- at least for engineers like me!

Therefore, my hatred for deadlines still stays strong. And my fear for the same stays even stronger.

2. Rituals

Yes, I will start my discussion on this with marriages. As much as I love the union of two souls bound by the sacred means, I fear the rituals surrounding the same. Because when it comes to rituals, relatives often pull off things which usually make no sense. Why would they cook this before that? Why would they make us eat that before this? Why this cosmetic treatment right before the marriage? Why would they make the groom as well as the bride feel like a Mongolian (the haldi ritual) right before the D-day? Seriously, rituals are scary. And as much as they used to be the means of nifty funny incidents for the guests of a ceremony, they become the reason for some of the most embarrassing experiences when a person is at the receiving end.

I have been subjected to a lot many rituals. No, the marriage part is yet to come, but I was subjected to Annaprashan ceremony ( infant being force-fed rice for the first time in front of drooling cousins and stiffening elders) , the Thread ceremony ( the adolescent hipster look attained with a shaven head, a sacred thread around the shoulders and the body , pierced ears and saffron 'wraps'- the worst part of it was that the person subjected to this would not eat a single delicacy from the grand feast at night) and let me tell you, the rituals make me nauseous.

Apart from the cultural rituals, there are social rituals as well. You get into a decent college run by the Government, and your mother makes it a point to follow the daily ritual of bragging in front of the neighbors. You get placed from campus with a decent package and your father makes it a point to follow the daily ritual of bragging the same in front of his colleagues. The worst part of these episodes- exaggeration. Yes, our parents tend to exaggerate things to such extents that at times it becomes difficult to even remember what they had claimed I was , the last time.

There are certain rituals that even we follow. The ritual to stay up late at night watching movies on your laptop, the ritual to update your Facebook status at least once a day, the ritual to call your gf/bf three (?) times a day, and the ritual to post tweets throughout the day.

Apart from the usual humiliating experience, the reason why rituals scare me the most is- what will happen if one day I am asked to come out of them all of a sudden?

3. Epiphanies

When God made humans, he himself wasn't sure what he had done. My belief is He was probably high when He created us humans- high up in the skies. I know that was a bad one. Anyway, when He ended up making the most perfect creation of His, He decided to put in an ability in them. That ability was- to think. And with thinking, comes a thought-process. With thought processes, comes an epiphany. And they always come unannounced. They'll come at such a point of time when you would be performing a crucial task- taking a decision, taking chances, taking a dump etc. And when epiphanies arrive, they just have to change to you. A while back you'd be thinking of taking a step to improve your performance appraisal, and the next moment you are gleefully drafting away your resignation letter. Most of the time , epiphanies give you a rush to do something unimaginable; but the moment you have done that, *poof* it goes away, leaving you wondering- 'What do I do now? Why didn't I think through to the end of this?' and that's why, I fear epiphanies a lot. They have the power to turn our world upside down.

4. Algorithms
Algorithms are a logical outlining of a solution to a problem. This fear of mine is completely concerned with my studies. I guess you, my dear reader, might yawn a bit on this one, so I'll keep this short. As much as easy and harmless algorithms appear to be, trust me, for a computer engineer , they are the reason we still bribe the Gods. A code is implemented based on an algorithm, so when after writing thousands of lines of code, you test it and see that the output is as messed up as the curry you cooked last night, you wonder what went wrong even after the algorithm seemed to give the correct output. Naturally, days pass until when you are about to smash your head on your computer screen, you realize that the second-last step in your algorithm is the root cause of all the troubles. Bloody Red-Bull!

5. Misunderstandings

A fight was going on over the phone call. She threatened she would hang up, but she wouldn't do that because she respects you; you continue with your rants because you think you are right and she is acting all wrong. This continues for the next twenty minutes until suddenly the call drops and when you try to dial it again, it won't get connected to her and you conclude that she did it on purpose. She on the other side thinks the same, and a cycle repeats.

At many points in life, we jump to conclusions. Before letting the other person finish, we conclude something that wasn't what he meant at the first place. As it so happens, misunderstandings crop up. They relish the destruction that they bring with them. Their roles are especially damaging in relationships- with your partner, your parents , your friends, and your siblings. I have seen many cases where mere misunderstandings resulted in permanent disconnect between two people. Safe to say that this is one of the most feared things by me in life.

To conclude, we all have different reasons to worry, different conclusions to draw and different means to forget and forgive. Facing our fears is important, not because beyond fears there's win (I just translated that Hindi punchline to sound original), but indeed that would solve many problems in life.

On a happier note, if you take the first letter of each of the five fears in order as they are, then you will find what I love the most. Could you see what that is? *winks and plays Gifted Hands by Lynyrd Skynyrd in the background*


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Tuesday, 25 June 2013


Thunderbolts reprove,

Amassed mist wail timidly,

Tears drip like white pearls.


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Sunday, 23 June 2013

How I Lost It

So I was beastly drunk the night before and I was beastly hungover throughout the day, and as I was on the second last home bound train, her texts started pouring in. It was a deluge and I felt like killing Alexander Graham Bell.

Now she was in her forties, was a teacher or something somewhere, and she writes poetry, and like 99.999% self-professed poets who fart out nuggets of their creativity on Facebook, she should die.

Now she was on friendly terms with our editor-in-chief, a fact which made me despise our editor-in-chief, but I needed the money and I needed the honey. Ergo, I had to edit her submission, on the rape and brutal murder of two women in a downtown neighbourhood.

By the time I reached home it was quite late and even our neighbor had fallen asleep after beating the shit out of his wife, which was a regular routine. My head felt like Gaza Strip and I had to edit her write-up.

It began with “My heart bleeds in severe agony to depict the desolation that surrounds the homestead of Miss __ and Miss ___ today.” And it ended with “and thus, their parents, their pets (one had a cute spaniel and the other a bright parrot who has lost her voice and can’t sing anymore after the grueling ordeal that had befell her mistress), their dearest friends and their neighbours lie in agony, no hope at hand, no shoulder to cry on”. In-between these two, there stretched an endless ocean of pure, unadulterated textual torture inflicted on the mind, the psyche and the intellect. My headache went up a few notches, I felt pukish, I wanted to die.

As I was going through the three thousand and fifty nine words of relentless bashing of sanity and intellect, my headache kept on increasing beyond reckoning. After a point of time, my brain, at least those portions of it which perform the functions of reading and recognition of written language, built a cocoon around it. That’s the most natural reaction of self-preservation, imbibed through centuries and generations of torture. The words slipped by my eyes and my eyes slipped by the words, without any impact. My mind took its flight to distant lands and times, to the realm of the absurd and beyond. I thought of my childhood, my grandmother, of Archimedes, of Sourav Ganguly, and Popeye the Sailor-man. I fought with the Spartans, rode with Chengis Khan and I flew with the Wright brothers and et cetera.

After fifteen minutes of delirium, the weight of reality brought me crushing down headfirst into the sewer of disgusting mutilation of Shakespeare’s language. I realized that I hadn’t edited a single letter of it, and I couldn’t get myself to do it. The deadline was approaching in steady paces and I knew that it was impossible for me to survive the whooshing sound it would make as it passes by, because I was neck deep in debt and had two months of rent due. I looked up at the merciless clock. It was half an hour to midnight, by which I need to mail off the edited version. The clock hands were mocking me like anything. I focused on the intolerable words and they sat on my brain like the heaviest rocks ever. I fought for five more minutes and could not get beyond three sentences, each consisting of fifty words of which at least forty would be something like ‘flabbergasted’, ‘maladroit’, ‘paradigmatic’, ‘puisilence’, ‘atavistic’, ‘jejune’ and so on. Each of these words would jut out like the rock of Gibraltar and conspire to penetrate through my medulla oblongata.

It was then that I felt like Sisyphus, and I smiled. Finally, I was losing and I had nothing to do but give up. Pending laundry and electricity and grocer’s bills ceased to matter. I switched on my phone and saw fifteen text messages from the writer of the masterpiece which had slain me. I cleaned my inbox without bothering to go through any of the unread texts. I texted her, saying that she should give up writing for the sake and in the name of humanity. I texted the girl I had a massive crush on since my University days but could never get the gumption to confess. Last I heard, she married a stockbroker and is expecting in a few months. I was invited to their wedding two years back. She looked wonderful in a red saree. I told her how much I have always loved her, and switched the phone off once again. I had one little thing to take care of. I mailed my resignation letter comprising of four words broken in two sentences. The last sentence was “I quit.” The second word of the first sentence was “You” and it was followed by a mark of exclamation.

Next, I went to the window and rolled up the curtain. The moon was shining big and bright. I remembered a midnight family picnic in a forest watchtower. My dad had a moustache back then and even my mom was happy. The moon was as big and bright back then. Outside, a couple of dogs were sleeping in peace. I did not feel envious. I lit a cigarette. Then I moved away from the window, opened my drawer, took out my pistol and loaded it.


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Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Anniversary of Disgust

As the sun goes down, burying itself deep into the west.

I struggle today, and just today, to bear the murderous unrest.

I shake my head vigorously and clasp my hands tight.

But today I just cannot overcome the dread, the fright.

Darkness prevails in this room where I scornfully lie.

And all that I can think of are different ways to die.

I am all teary-eyed, but all that I manage is to sulk.

It feels as if my soul is being auctioned in bulk.

No, this is not the way I am, this is not the usual me.

I never let the situation decide how it is going to be.

But, I see the sun go down and bury in the west.

And I remember the eve before my fourth grade English test.

I wanted him to show me again how to write that letter.

But he, my own uncle, found molesting me an option better.


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The Girl I Last Kissed

The background trance music was loud and unsettling. I felt cramped and crammed from within. It seemed like the party was touching its prime. Men and women in bizarre green masks held each other and danced in slow motions. For some reason, my head was on a constant throb. It was like there was a bomb inside ticking. There was a friend with me, which one I could not be sure. He whipped a tall glass of powder green liquid from a passing waitress and handed it to me with a wink. I dropped the glass on seeing baby reptiles crawling out onto my right hand. Walls of the room were also lined with reptile cages. I could not see much in the dimly lit room except these traps that were illuminated in dark green shade.

A strange numbness that comes after millions of needle pricks on your body took over me. I fell down to my knee almost hugging the fake marble floor. My eyes carried me to across the room, where I saw her. She seemed calm, at home with everything. Her white dress was long and covered her slim body well. Our eyes met and she smiled. Did she remember me from last night?

I wanted to go to her, to touch her, to talk to her but she turned away and I lost her. Sitting on the floor, I wept like a teenager who had been freshly dumped. I wanted my friend to help me and to my utter distraught, he was nowhere. In his place, a person in a giant lizard costume stood. I screamed my loudest and woke up to early morning sweat.

Aircon was breathing life into my dead bedroom. I pulled away the sheet to allow my sweat to dry. My fists were knotted and my nails had dug into my palms. I sat up, shrugged off a nightmare so real that my reality had seemed like a distant dream. Last night…

Last night flashed before me, when I had met her for the first time. Since then her visage had never left me for a moment. Some faces live with you, forever. I was at ‘Someplace else’, a hangout for guys like me, who would rather be someplace else then currently where they were in their life. A live band was doing their bit at performing covers of English classics. The only part, I had liked in the entire gig was their song selection. ‘Please don’t go’ floated around. Unlike the original, a woman sang the song. I had not cared to turn away from my drink on the deck of the bar to check who was singer at helm.

The dance floor was spilling over with scantily clad women, wrapped around their men friends, mostly colleagues. There was this woman; I had spotted some half an hour before who had my total attention. Yet, I pretend concentrated on the glass shelves opposite me over the bar filled with show cased bottles, mostly wine. I caught my reflection on the mirror frame that bordered it. One could safely call me good looking, if one liked curly hair and down slanted mouth. I wore a formal shirt, open to expose a toned chest. I am six feet plus and carried myself in ‘cotton world’ pants and dark work ties. A voice trainer at Wipro, I had girls coming onto me, for both professional and personal support, which I provided depending on my whims and moods.

I had kind of surprised myself by getting worked up over a girl, a strange girl at that. Never in my entire twenty eight years did my wild side go ballistic, like it was the John of the Jungle over a random girl. Her black kameez looked like it was made by a tailor, who knew all her curves intimately. Her neck line was a deep ‘v’ exposed by her chiffon dupatta that was hugging her neck closely. The tan on her skin seemed from a recent holiday by the sea. Her eyes were set wide apart, giving the impression that she was easy to surprise. Her mouth was arresting, small and full like a ripe plum.

Like she read my mind, she came straight to the counter beside me and leaned over. She had ordered a Bacardi and insisted on freshly squeezed orange juice to go with it. I could not help smirking and then our eyes met. I had a embarrassed smile to offer and she smiled like we were friends. I saw a slight flicker of recognition or was that my drunken imagination. I allowed myself to hold her gaze more than it was socially decent. She did not seem to mind.

‘You work for Wipro, right?’ She asked.

‘We know each other?’ I came forward as the music was loud and also because I wanted to know if she was wearing any perfume. I liked what my nose picked out but could not place it. It was lemony and very appetizing.

‘Nope, I have seen you at the Wipro café’.

‘You work for Wipro too?’

‘Heck no again, I am next door. We hop over to Wipro’s café during break for awesome pakoda and amazing guys’. She talked naturally and puckered up her mouth in a way that was a cross between a pout and a pucker when I spoke.

‘Thanks that I take as a compliment’. I was animated. She was served her drink. Wonder how the bartender managed freshly squeezed orange juice at that hour. He threw a smile at her and placed her glass neatly on the counter over a napkin.

‘The other day, I saw you getting out of the elevator. You were sand witched like a burger’.

‘Funny but how do you mean?’ I was seriously getting drawn to this one. She turned around and waved at some people sitting around a table to a corner to our left. I put two and two together; she was with a gang of friends and had come over to order a drink. She probably had jealous boyfriend somewhere out there and that should have held me back. It did zilch to my ardor.

‘Those two girls you were with were soft and round. You were like this beef in between’. She looked at me without any amusement in her beautiful eyes and rested her mouth gently on the glass ring to sip her exotic drink.

‘You are a babe, aren’t you’? My breathing was irregular and I was feeling a little high. I had an urge to drink what she was drinking, to go where she was going and to be with her, generally.

‘Babe? I am just an admirer; you have in your closet’. She was flirting. I turned around to check, if anyone was keeping an eye on her and when I found that her gang had left the table, I leaned over and kissed her. Her pulpy mouth opened in shock reaction, giving me a false sense of response and killed me further.

‘I am sorry, something came over me’, I apologized, ready to accept all the dirt. She stepped away from me. A man came between us. He was short with a face that looked like a rotten potato.

‘You guys know each other’? He asked her casually. He obviously was not a very aware person.

‘Yes’, she covered her alarm better than me. One could easily tell, her friend was rich from the way he dressed, not taking into account the thick gold chain around his fat neck.

‘Good, in that case, let’s invite him for our anniversary. Take his number, will you?’ He patted her lower back, collected his Johnny walker and excused himself within a minute.

‘Your number please, Ashim would like to invite you for a party’, her eyes were casted down and she looked like she had just lost something very precious.

‘Give me a miss call, that way I get to store your number’. I suggested.

I dictated and she dialed my number. I gave her time in between to press the required buttons. She disconnected soon as my phone responded. I wanted to ask her name to store her number but she was out of there.

I saw her again only in my early morning dream. I took a shower and walked to the café, downstairs for coffee and sandwich. It was here, I received a call from a Sub inspector, park street branch police station. He asked me to come straight over. He needed me with respect to an investigating of a young model’s suicide that took place last night. She was all of twenty four and was engaged to be married. I was on the list of suspects. Mine was the last number dialed on Ms Rabia Khan’s cell phone.


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