Friday, May 8, 2015

Accidents

I came out of the bar, dropped my cigarette and crushed it. On any other night I would've been too drunk to even walk 10 steps straight. Not tonight. I didn't feel like it. But I do not know what to do with the night either. I sleep late and I sleep little. Alcohol soothes me. But I guess I have been drinking a little too much the past few days.

The air inside was so intoxicating, almost choking. But I do not feel like leaving either. I wonder what other people do during the night. Everyone has their addiction. Things that they get high on. And then they hit the sack. There are lot less people usually when I come out. I then go to our apartment and climb up to the top of the building and look at night sky and the cityscape. There's a certain calmness to it. Tonight I came out while it is still young. I see people bustling around. Too much noise. May be I should go back in.

Sigh!

While I was in my dilemma I noticed a car coming too fast.

Punk! The idiot's gonna get himself killed.

And in a split second he hit a guy on a motorbike when he changed lanes without warning, to overtake the car ahead of him. The guy on the motorbike came to a halt after skidding for a pretty long distance. He lay there motionless. Mostly dead. Hit the road pretty hard. And the asshole in the car didn't slow down. He's not gonna stop. I know vermins like him.

I'm going to teach this fucker a lesson.

I quickly got into my car and pursued him. He drove fast. But it won't stop me from getting him. I throttled up. He kept changing lanes. Overtaking one vehicle after the other. A drunk guy behind the wheels. Or a burglar trying to get away quick. Well, he must have been a little more careful. He's not gonna get away after killing a human. Not under my watch. I almost got close to him. He tried to lose me by switching lanes again.

Run, you punk. Keep runnin'.

He almost hit a car. Avoided it by hitting the brakes. And that was my chance. I sped up and got adjacent to him. I looked at him. I knew from his looks that he was shitting in his pants, already. I signaled him to stop. But the moron didn't heed, and wouldn't stop.

Ok, asshole! I know how to crack the nut.

I went a little away from his car and then slammed into it. The car hit the sidewalk and almost toppled. But he managed to steer back on to the course. The look on his face now. He was petrified. He should be. He doesn't know what he's gonna get next. Then I slammed again. This time, much harder and much faster. His car veered off the the road and hit a light pole. My windshields were shattered. I hit the brakes hard and came to halt a little ahead. I got out of my car and walked towards the asshole's car. His car kept honking. Must have hit the wheel. The fool would've not used the seat belt.

He better be unconscious. Or else he's gonna get some more.

I opened his car door and peered inside. He sat there, unconscious, his face on the wheel, mostly bleeding. I took out a cigarette and lit it up. I had a few bruises myself.

Should I call the cops or the ambulance? Or should I just leave!? He left someone to die, after all.

I then noticed something inside his car. Between the front and the back seats. I reached in and turned on the lights. I was horrified. There was a woman. She was bleeding and was not moving. I wasn't sure if she was breathing either.

And...

She was pregnant.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Wedding Trousseau and Other Short Stories - Book review




So, the lovely Miss Ankita asked me to review her book, "The Wedding Trousseau and Other Short Stories". I don't understand why she wants me to do it; I write stupid posts and nonsensical stories. That is all I can do. And I'm not even being modest. Reviewing a book needs skills, me thinks. But then I also think all of our politicians should have common sense, I'm old fashioned that way. Anyway, I think I can review a book.

Ok jokes aside, I feel happy to do this. When someone is asking for an informed opinion about their work, you know they value it. And the other reason is, it's such a good read. Ankita's debut work is a collection of 11 short stories; all of them beautifully written. She is an adept writer. She knows how to articulate her thoughts and put them into words in an impressive manner. Her stories have soul, and almost always revolve around human emotions.

This book is no different. The 11 stories play with different human emotions, where the characters are an embodiment of that particular human emotion. The stories are also an intelligent mockery of the individual and societal perceptions and presumptions about the world around us. It questions our preconceived notions about the world in a subtle yet powerful manner. Love, pride, apathy, anger, sorrow, and so on. They are all there. This was the most striking aspect of the book for me. But then there is also humour, the kind that is very distinct and identifiable to Ankita, if you have read her posts.

The language is another great attribute. When someone uses the word 'Trousseau' in their title, you can be pretty sure that they have a strong hold over the language and an expansive vocabulary. But then I don't mean she uses words where you need to refer a dictionary every now and then. No, instead it's written in such a simple language but using the right words where they are needed. Also, at just around 129 pages, it's a breeze finishing the book. It took me a little over 2hrs to finish it. This is another strong reason to read it. It's short, it's crisp and it leaves you with a wonderful feeling.

All in all, it's such a good read. It was a pleasure reading and reviewing the book. And even though I liked all the stories, I liked the "Site Visit" a lot. It's a spooky thriller. And I like such short spooky thrillers. So go now and place an order for your copy today. It can be bought at Amazon, Buy Books and Flipkart. I wish Ankita all the very best for her future endeavours and hope that she writes lot more books and becomes a successful author.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

180

"So, who's the girl?" Preethi asked Vikranth, sipping her drink.

"What girl?" Vikranth questioned, acting surprised.

"The girl that you like and want to show me. C'mon, you rarely attend your office parties. And on the rare occasions you do, you don't bring anyone. Unless you want them to know what a boring place you work at. You, the shabby guy, are neatly dressed, well groomed and dragged me to this party forcefully." Preethi smirked and said, "So, am asking you again, who's the girl?"

"Whoa! Stop reading my mind, Prof. X", Vikranth said and gave her a side hug. "See, this is why you are my best friend."

"Stop smooth talking me and show her to me", Preethi said.

"Ok, don't be very harsh with your criticisms. I kinda like this one." Vikranth said sternly.

"Fuckin' show her to me already", Preethi said, quite visibly irritated.

"Ok, there she is. In that black and blue dress. Talking to that bald guy." Vikranth told Preethi, pointing to a girl.

"Wow!! She looks beautiful. You have bettered yourself. I can't say this often about the girls you date, but, good choice." Preethi said.

"Thank you" Vikranth said and did a little bow.

"So what's the status?" Preethi asked.

"I think she knows I exist", Vikranth said and curled his lips.

"You haven't even spoken to her?" Preethi asked, surprised.

"I mean I have said 'hi' and 'bye', but that's it. She is from a different department. We don't bump into each other often. So..." Vikranth said.

"Then go talk to her now", Preethi said and gave Vikranth a little push.

"You mean, now?" Vikranth asked.

"Then when? Are you going to wait till she gets married to that bald guy? Go talk now." Preethi said.

"Hey! Pankaj is a good guy, and married. Also what if I go talk to her and she doesn't like me, or even worse, what if I don't like her?" Vikranth said, raising his brows.

"Stop guessing and go find out. Get your ass up there and talk to her. Or else I will go tell her that you love her." Preethi said.

"Ok, ok. I will go. But this one's on you. If something goes wrong, you're responsible." Vikranth said and started walking towards the girl, adjusting his clothes and hair.

Ten minutes later, Preethi stood there all alone, looking at Vikranth laughing and talking to that girl, being his charming self.

Six months later...

Preethi walked into the groom's dressing room. Vikranth was pacing around in the room quiet anxiously. He was wearing white silk shirt and veshti.

"Oh boy! You look like a million bucks." Preethi said.

"Only a million?" Vikranth said, smiled and hugged Preethi, "Thank god you are here."

"Why, whats the matter?" Preethi asked.

"I don't know. I don't know if I'm ready. Six months ago we didn't even know each other well and now we are here, going to be married. I know I love her, I do. But I'm not sure if I'm ready for this... marriage and responsibilities. This is so very stressful." Vikranth said and sighed.

"You will never be ready. No one is. You just take that leap of faith and let things fall into place. This is not an exam where you come prepared to answer a bunch of questions. You learn as you go, you live as you go." Preethi said.

"See? This is why I need you. What would I have done without you?" Vikranth said and hugged her.

"Ok, now stop being all sentimental and go to the dias. You have a bride to wed." Preethi said.

"Ok, be there on the dias beside me. I want someone to catch me if I faint", he said and smiled.

"I will be right behind you. You go now", she said.

Vikranth smiled and went to the door where his family members were waiting to take him to the dias.

Preethi went and stood among the crowd, some where behind. Preethi's elder sister came and stood beside her.

"So what next?" Preethi's sister asked.

"What, what next?" Preethi questioned, confused.

"Now that he is getting married to someone else, what are you going to do?" she asked.

"C'mon, don't talk rubbish. He's my best friend and that's it." Preethi said, looking miffed.

"Is that the lie you're telling yourself too?" her sister said and walked away while the wedding bells rang and Vikranth tied the knot. Once again, Preethi stood there, alone.

Six months later...

Preethi heard a knock on her door. It was almost half past ten. She opened the door and looked at Vikranth standing there, leaning against the doorpost. He looked shabby, tired and completely lost. Vikranth walked past Preethi and went into the house.

"It's all over", he said and slumped into the couch.

"What's over? Why do you look like this? What happened?" Preethi asked, with no idea about anything.

"She left me... We had a fight two nights back; a bit nasty than the previous ones. She walked out angrily with her things. I thought she will come back after few days, like the last time. But today she sent the divorce papers. She wants me to sign them and send back to her as soon as possible. I tried pacifying her, apologised to her, but she wasn't ready to listen. And I couldn't argue." Vikranth said with his head down.

"So much happened and you didn't bother to tell me? And why did you guys fight? You both seemed very happy last time I met. How did it come to this?" Preethi asked.

"It was all downhill from the moment we returned from our honeymoon. In the beginning it was for silly things and we would get back in few hours after apologising to each other. But after a point each and everything led to a fight. We put on our smiling faces when we met family and friends. Acting like two people madly in love. But it was just that, acting. And I guess it reached the tipping point day before yesterday." said Vikranth in a very low voice.

"I'm so sorry, Vik. I didn't have any idea about what you were going through. I should have. And I'm sorry for that. I'm here for you now." Preethi said, sat beside him and put her hand around his shoulders.

"When did all this go wrong? It was all perfect, or atleast I thought so. Now, everything's so blur. I don't have any idea of what to do next. I'm lost, Preethu, completely lost", he said and leaned over her shoulder. She gently stroked his head, comforting him.

Six months later...

Vikranth heard his door bell ring. He opened and looked at Preethi standing there. Dressed beautifully and with a smile.

"Hello, there! Still living in a cave? Do you know there's a thing called razor that helps you in getting rid your facial hair? There's also shower, soap and other things to make you get rid of the repulsive smell." Preethi said while looking around the house littered with cigarette butts, empty alcohol bottles and pizza boxes, and waste of every other kind.

"Are you here to make fun of me?" Vikranth asked.

"No, I'm here to take you out. Out of this stink hole you call house", she said.

"I'm not coming out anywhere. I have got company", he said and pointed to the alcohol bottle.

"Well, I will make sure that your company is present where we are going. Now go take a shower and get ready. We leave in half an hour", she said and pushed him towards the bathroom.

An hour later they were at their favorite bar, their dugout. Preethi was her usual chirpy self; talking and laughing and trying to have a good time. But Vikranth was not how he used to be. He just kept drinking. Other than the occasional smile for Preethi's jokes, he didn't speak much.

"What are you doing? I brought you here so that you can forget the past and start living again. But it's like you are still sitting in your house and drinking all alone. Yes, I understand that you got divorced, you're heartbroken. But that doesn't mean you have to drink yourself to oblivion. Come out of it. I want the old Vik back. Not this sorry looking, zombie like person, who I do not know." Preethi said and sat up straight.

"Old Vik. Ha! The fool who got married to a person he didn't completely know. I'm heartbroken, yes, but I'm more saddened by the fact how idiotic I was. All this would have never happened if I hadn't rushed into things. Or if I had known her better. But I have always been a fool." Vikranth said and gulped down the drink.

He signaled for another drink and then continued, "Yes, where I was... yeah, a fool. I was always a fool. But you were the sensible one. You always knew what was right, what was good for me. And even you didn't stop me from falling into this. Why?"

"I thought you were happy with her", she said, empathetically.

"I guess we both were wrong. You know what... no one should get married to a person they don't really know. You must first get to know them, become friends, completely understand each other, then think about marriage." Vikranth said, his words now slurring.

"Are you saying friends should get married?" Preethi asked, smiling.

"Yeah, friends should get married. Friends, like us. Us... us... you and me... Why didn't I think of that before?" Vikranth said, kinda lost in his words.

"Think of what?" Preethi asked.

"Us getting married", he said

"Ok, you had had enough. Now it's the alcohol talking." Preethi said, pulling the drink away from Vikranth.

"I know it's the alcohol talking, but it is true nonetheless. And I have never been more certain of anything else...", he said and got down from his seat. He then pulled the ring out of his left ring finger, got on his knees and said, "Preethu, my darling, will you take me as your husband?"

Preethi stood there, speechless, not able to move while all the other people looked at them, amused, and some cheering.

Six months later...

Vikranth knocked on the door. Preethi's sister came and answered it.

"You're not supposed to be here", she said and smiled.

"I'm here to talk to my best friend", he said and smiled back.

"Best friend?" she asked, raising her eyebrows.

"Always", he said.

"Ok. You guys make it quick. There's only little time left for the muhurtam", she said, let him in and left the room.

Preethi was sitting in front of the mirror, giving finishing touches to her makeup. She turned around and got up as soon as she saw Vikranth's reflection in the mirror.

"So, how do I look?" she asked, smiled, and winked at him.

"Like a billion bucks", he said.

She ran into his arms and they hugged.

"So, are you ready this time?" Preethi asked Vikranth, lifting up her head.

"I don't know. But if something goes wrong, I know I got my best friend beside me and she will always be there for me." Vikranth said and kissed her on the forehead.

"You know, you are supposed to act a little shy", he said, joking.

"Why should I? I'm getting married to my best friend", she said.

"Not even when we look at each other completely naked?" Vikranth said and winked.

"Shameless fellow." Preethi said and mock punched him on his chest.

They hugged and stood there, in the comfort of each other.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Valentine's day.

Akhil looked at the 16GB of HD porn he had downloaded and the box of tissues. He left out a huge sigh. It was Valentine's eve. He made plans to spend the night with his girlfriend of 2 yrs. But as fate would have it his girlfriend had to go on a business trip to another city. And she was to return only after a week. Akhil played the video and pulled out few tissues from the box. A few moments later as the video started to pick up the heat, he heard the door bell ring.

"C'mon!" he exclaimed.

He paused the video and put the tissues on the table and walked to the door to answer it. When he opened the door he was shocked to find Nisha, his girlfriend, standing there.

"Aren't you going to let me in?" Nisha asked, raising her eyebrows.

"Sorry. Come in. I'm just surprised. You were supposed to be out of town. What happened?" Akhil asked, while still looking puzzled.

"Well, it got cancelled. And I thought I would surprise you", Nisha said and walked in. "Why? Aren't you happy to see me?" Nisha asked and smiled.

"No, no!! I'm very happy. Just that this is very unexpected and I'm really surprised", Akhil said.

"That's alright, honey. I understand. And you're in for lot more surprises", Nisha said and started walking towards the bedroom.

Akhil then remembered the frozen naked women on his laptop screen.

"No, don't go inside the bedroom", Akhil said and tried to stop Nisha.

"Why? Are you trying to hide your other girlfriend in there? Is she naked on the bed?" Nisha said, laughed, and went in anyway. She looked at the laptop screen and the tissues. "Ooh!! This is why you didn't want me to come in here. Naughty boy. Although I don't think you will be needing this tonight" Nisha said and winked at Akhil, who was standing at the doorway. Akhil looked embarrassed although relieved.

"Why don't you take a shower and freshen up while I heat the pasta that I have got and set up the dinner table. I hope you are hungry" Nisha said and ruffled Akhil's hair and walked towards the kitchen. Akhil, still flummoxed, wondered how his night turned around from being pathetic to fantastic, in such a short span of time. Akhil wasn't complaining though, he was more than grateful for such an amazing girlfriend. He went into the bathroom to take a shower.

When Akhil came out after the shower the apartment was almost dark except for few low lit lights. And in that dimly lit apartment he saw Nisha, standing near the door, wearing a gorgeous black gown that only reached a little below her thighs. She looked sensuous as ever and the low light made the contours of her curves look ravishing. He was spellbound and his jaws dropped.

"Hello, there! Are you ready for dinner?" asked Nisha, in a sexy tone.

Akhil gulped down the saliva in his mouth and managed to mutter, "yes".

Nisha held his hand and walked him to the dinner table which was ready with the hot pasta, two glasses of wine and lit with candles.

"Wow!!" Akhil exclaimed.

"Anything for my baby", Nisha said.

She sat him down at the table and then settled down on the chair opposite to him. She served him the pasta and helped herself to some. They raised their glasses and clinked them.

"Here's to our relationship and many more years of it to come", Nisha said.

"Cheers!!" they said.

Akhil put some of the pasta into his mount. "Hmmm!! That's the best pasta that I have ever had", he said.

"I made it, what else do you expect?" she said and smiled.

They finished their pasta while gulping down two more glasses of wine and cheerful banter.

"You know, I thought this night was heading for a disaster. With us both being so far apart. But it turned out to be wonderful. Thanks for making it so beautiful and amazing. I love you", Akhil said holding Nisha's hand from across the table.

"Aww!! I love you too", Nisha said making a cute puppy face.

Akhil got up from his chair and moved near Nisha. He lifted her chin and gently planted a kiss on her lips.

Nisha smiled and said, "Wow, I like that."

"Then you're gonna love what's coming next", Akhil said and pulled her from the chair and closer to him. He lifted and put her on his waist, with her legs wrapping around his back. They looked each other in the eye. He then planted another long passionate kiss. She ran her hands through his hair and clenched them tightly.

"I wonder how you restrained yourself for so long", she said.

"The wait makes it even more worthy", he replied.

They both smiled and started devouring each other. He walked into the bedroom while still carrying her on his waist. He threw her on to the bed and jumped in. They started undressing each other, almost ripping off each other's clothes. They made love like there was no tomorrow. Their bodies entwined, perspiration cooled the friction, sheets crumbled and bodies rolled the length and breadth of the bed. And at the end of it, both of them were exhausted.

"Boy!! That was amazing!" Nisha said as she gasped for breath.

"I totally agree", Akhil said, panting and sweat rolling down his body.

They both looked at each other and laughed. They kissed again. Nisha put her head on his shoulder and wrapped her arms around his chest. Their heart rate came down to normal and they started breathing more softly. Akhil caressed her hair while Nisha slowly drifted to sleep. Akhil then suddenly felt an urge to smoke. He checked and Nisha was fast asleep. He slowly rolled her to one side of the bed. He got out of the bed and searched for his clothes on the floor in the dark. He put on his pants and searched for the pack of cigarettes in his pocket. He couldn't find them. He searched for them in his draw, silently. He couldn't find them there either. Akhil decided to go out for the smoke. He took his phone and slowly made way through the dark house with the screen light, so as to not wake her up.

Akhil went to a make shift vendor on a pushcart selling tea and cigarettes. The only place he can get cigarettes at that time of the night. He smiled to himself thinking about things that happened over the night. He finished the cigarette, paid the vendor and returned to his apartment. That is when he realised that he didn't bring the keys to the apartment and the door was locked from inside.

"Shit!!" he said to himself.

With no other way, he took out his phone and called Nisha. The ring went on but she wasn't picking up.

"I hope she didn't put her phone on silent", he thought and dialed her again.

After few rings Nisha picked up the call.

"Oh, thank god! I'm so sorry, Nisha. I just went out to get some air and I locked myself out of the apartment. Could you please open the door." Akhil said on the phone.

"What?!? What are you talking about, Akhil? Are you drunk?" Nisha said from the other end, flabbergasted.

"Hey, c'mon. Stop joking and open the door, please. I can't stand here all night." Akhil said.

"Ok, you listen up, asshole. It's Valentine's day and I'm in this god-awful city, working my ass off so late in the night. And you, my boyfriend, call me at such late hour, fully drunk, and do not even wish me, while talking nonsense and shit. When I get back, you better be ready with some good excuse. I have had enough..." Nisha kept shouting.

Akhil slowly lowered the phone as Nisha's voice faded on the phone and stood there staring at the door.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Of awards and such

The lovely Ms. Ankita from the Humming Words has nominated me for the "Very Inspiring Blogger Award" here. Thanks, Ankita. But I wonder, what was she smokin' when she did that. :P I mean, I must be one of the least inspiring blogger, ever. And I'm not even trying to act modest here. I'm a very lousy blogger. I have 50 blog posts(yay!) in 5yrs. That's less than 1 post a month. I know few bloggers who write more in a month than I write in an entire year. Anyway, thanks once again, Ankita. I feel honoured and as well ashamed. May be this will motivate me to be more regular and write quality posts.




The award requires me to list 7 things about myself and then pass on the tag to 15 other bloggers who I consider inspiring.

About the former. I don't think anyone wants to read 7 boring things about myself. So, let me give you an anecdote of myself and my fate with awards.

I had my fair share of awards when I was in school. But the thing was, I never won an award when I really want to. They came when I wasn't really expecting to win at all. So, once I had participated in a inter-school painting competition conducted by some club. I think I was in 6th or 7th grade. It was a huge event. There were several competitions happening right from morning till evening. The painting competition was held after the lunch, post which they declared that winners of all the competitions will be announced and awarded. All the other competitions were well organised, the participants had to register in advance and a panel was used to judge them. But painting, it was an open competition. Anyone and everyone could participate. We were just asked to bring our own painting equipments. It looked like that scene from 'Taare Zameen Par' during the climax. There were hoards of students sitting all over the places and painting their hearts out.

The topic given was 'Pollution'. I was like, "Whaaat?!?" I could write pages after pages about pollution. But what would I paint about it? I gave up even before I began. So I started wandering, looking at other people's creation. It ranged from down-right gross and ugly to incredibly detailed and creative. I observed that most people chose water pollution. One guy drew a guy taking a dump in the river and another guy drinking water from the same river down the stream. It was gross and ingenious at the same time. Then I decided to give it a shot. Make a small mark in a pool of dirty, nasty waters with beautiful lotuses here and there. I had already wasted 20-25mins in an 1hr competition wandering and wondering at others' painting. So I decided, my painting needed to be simple and straight. No grand, detailed creative endeavours. I thought I would take the less taken path. I chose air pollution in a meadow of water pollution paintings. I created a 4-panel layout and drew cars, motorbikes, aeroplanes and rockets emitting smoke in one. Industrial chimneys coughing out smoke in one. People burning wood and other stuff in one. And a lit-cigarette crossed with an 'X', like in a 'No Smoking' sign, in the last panel. It looked like anything but a painting. It was like a bad illustration in a 4th grade science text book. I loathed my painting myself. I finished 5mins before the stipulated time. I looked around at other children frantically giving final touches to their beautiful creations as the organisers announced that the paintings will be collected shortly. I contemplated writing my name and other details on the paper. Who would want to claim ownership to such an ugly-ass painting? Finally I handed over my paper with my name and details, hesitantly. There were some shows being performed on stage while the judges decided the winners of all the competition. I chucked it, climbed over the fence into the adjacent children's park with some other kids. After around half an hour the organisers announced that the winners will be declared and that everyone need to assemble in front of the dias for the award ceremony. I didn't want to go. But the other kids thought it would be fun to clap and cheer for the winners. Such losers. I went with them. And then they announced something that made me very happy. There were goodies(read chocolate) to be given away to all the participants in the end. I thought it wasn't a complete waste after all. They started announcing the winners, which was mostly won by children from other schools. And I was like, "Get over with it already and give us the chocolates." Then they came to the painting competition winners. And suddenly I was reminded of the boy who drew the pooping guy. I wished he would win. They announced the third place winner. A guy from some school. The claps and cheers were vigorous. After all he won amidst lot of competition. He received a memento and a certificate. Then they announced the second place winner. S... something. I didn't pay head. The guys beside me looked at me.

"Wait... was that my name?" I wondered. "Was it Srikanth or Srinath? Was it Srikanth something else? I think I heard R in the end. What if it was my name and I don't go on stage? That would be bad. But it would be worse if I went up to the stage for someone else's name." I was panicking. The guys beside me looked even more panicked. I didn't understand why, but it made me even more nervous.

Then they announced again. "Srikanth A R, second place winner, come up to the dias, please." It was my name. It was MY FUCKING NAME. The judges might have been high or something. But who cares. I won. Then I ran to the stage. I ran like someone might snatch the award from me if I didn't. I might have knocked down a kid or two, I don't remember. It was all a blur. I went up to the stage, panting, sweating, grinning wide like a moron. I received the memento and the certificate. Shook hand. Looked at the crowd cheering and clapping for me. Looked at the boys who stood beside jump, shout and go berserk. I wanted to do a victory dance. But held my cool and exited the dias like a sane person. Children known and unknown congratulated me. Some took the memento and looked at it longingly. I felt like a rockstar. And yes, did I mention that my mom was present there. I totally forgot that, like now. I went running to her. Showed her the memento and certificate. Unlike most Indian parents she didn't ask me why I didn't win the 1st place. She was proud, I was happy. I was so ecstatic that I didn't even notice who won the 1st place. But who cares, I won second and it was all that mattered to me. The award ceremony ended and we were all asked to receive the goodies and exit in a calm and orderly manner. The chocolate-distributor identified me as one of the winners and gave me extra chocolates. I was flocked by the boys for a share in the extra chocolates. And then someone told me that they have put up the winning paintings for display along with some other honorable mentions. I thought, "Why would they do that?" The public criticism petrified me. I went to the display board to look at the other paintings. There it was. My plain, dull, textbook illustration like ugly-ass painting among other beautifully crafted ones. Even the honorable mentions were better. It was like the public humiliation of the highest order. I decided to leave and not identify myself as the person who painted that, when I heard a girl who stood behind say, "Can you imagine that painting won second place? My 5yr old brother can do a better job than that." I wanted to turn around and punch her in the face. But then, she was right. So I let that insult pass. I left for home with my mom, feeling happy and discontent at the same time.

No, this is not the end of the story. No, nononononono no. My stories don't end with such little embarrassment.

This competition happened on a Saturday. I went back to school on Monday, feeling a little uppity, knowing that I was one of the few winners from our school and will be congratulated in the class. The bell rang. We assembled for the morning prayer and assembly. Assembly ended. Then our Headmistress took the mike to make an announcement. She said, "As many of you know, there was an inter-school competition held on Saturday. Few of our students won awards in some competitions and have brought laurel to the school." By this time I was fully pumped and my chest swelled with pride, which could have been easily mistaken for breasts that I suddenly grew. Not only was I going to be congratulated, it was going to happen in front of the entire school. Then it happened, they brought out mementos and certificates on a tray. "Wonderful", I thought. Two sets of awards for winning a single competition. How very amazing. But then there was something strange about the mementos. They looked similar to the ones given at the venue. I was like, "Wait a minute..." and then it hit me. They weren't similar. They were the original mementos. As this finally dawned upon me, my name was called. I walked to the stage feeling exactly how I should've felt. Like an idiot. Our headmistress shook my hand and asked, "You put up your award on your TV or fridge?" and smiled. The salt was rough and harsh on my wounds.

You see, after winning the awards, my other schoolmates went to our school teachers and handed them the mementos and certificates to be presented at the school assembly the following Monday. Me being me, I went and showcased my prize to the entire world and then handed it over to my mom, who duly put it up for display on the showcase in our main hall for all the guests to see.

So, I stood there, on the dias, along with other winners. While they stood there with their mementos and certificates in hand, I stood empty handed, and a stupid looking face. And my stupidity was on a grand display in front of all the students, who clapped without giving any fucks about the competition or its winners.

There, that's my anecdote. Now coming to the second part of the tag. Nominating 15 inspiring bloggers. Here too, I'm going to take a deviation from the actual rule(Not the best person to tag, I know.). I think 15 is a small number. Every blogger I follow and read has something special and unique to offer. And they are all an inspiration in one or the other way. So, if you are reading this I urge you to accept my tag. I can add it to a list and link it back to you if you want. And once again I thank Ankita and all of my amazing fellow bloggers. You make this space beautiful. Thank you.

PS: Sorry, Ankita, for delaying this post. I'm a very lazy person. :-)

Monday, January 5, 2015

The crying girl

It was half past 11. Ramesh - the security guard doing the night shift - was doing the rounds in the mall. All but few lights were off. He flashed his flashlight on either side of the hallway as he walked striking his long bamboo stick on the floor.

All of a sudden he heard a faint sob. Perturbed, he stopped striking the stick to the floor and followed the sound.

When he reached the end of the hallway, he shone the light to the left. There was nothing. He then turned his flashlight to the right.

There, in the corner, was a little girl; sitting in a fetal position, sobbing with her head down.

Taken aback, Ramesh moved slowly towards the girl.

"Hey, kid! How did you get in here? Did your parents forget and leave you behind? Why are you crying?" Ramesh asked softly, trying to pacify her, as he crouched slowly in front of her.

The little girl lifted her head up, "I'm afraid", she said, tears rolling down her cheeks.

"Of what?" Ramesh asked inquisitively.

"Of that", said the little girl pointing her finger behind Ramesh's shoulder.

Ramesh stood up and stepped back to turn around when he stepped on someone's foot. And his blood froze.


PS: Been long since I wrote anything. Wrote this just to put up something. Pardon me if it's too lame or clich├ęd. :-)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Farewell, my love.

"Did you pack your migraine medication?" asked Arjun.

Sandhya, his wife, thought for a while and said, "No. I guess they are still in the draw. Could you fetch me those?"

Arjun handed her the medicines and also gave her the ear-plugs. "Keep these too. I don't want the noise and the cabin pressure to trigger an episode of migraines on your flight."

"What would have I done without you!" said Sandhya and hugged Arjun.

"I will miss you when you're gone", said Arjun.

"I will too. I feel guilty for leaving you alone. I tried so hard to avoid this travel. But they wanted someone with good knowledge about the project to go. I will come back as soon as possible. And we will Skype everyday."

"Every night you mean?" Arjun said and winked.

Sandhya smiled and mock punched Arjun and said, "Naughty boy."

"Do we still have some time? You know, for a quickie?" Arjun asked.

"Aww! My poor darling. Karan will be here anytime now. But don't you worry, when I come back I will make it up to you. For every single day I have been away from you." Sandhya said and planted a kiss on Arjun's lips.

"You could have atleast let me drop you to the airport."

"You'd have to drive for 40kms and drive back again. Also you have to go early to the office tomorrow, remember? Anyway, someone is picking up Karan's car after we reach the airport. So we felt it's much better option than hiring a cab or you dropping us. Now, stop worrying about me. When I'm away you take better care of yourself. No junk food, no binge drinking, no staying awake till late night and most importantly, don't bring your friends and create a mess out of this place. Ok?" said Sandhya.

"Yes, madam!" Arjun said and smiled, when they heard a car honk.

"Looks like Karan's here. Come, let me help you with your luggage." Arjun said and picked up her bags.

They walked to the car. Arjun put Sandhya's bags in the trunk. Sandhya sat in the car and lowered the windows. Arjun came to her and said, "Have a safe and happy journey." He then looked towards Karan and said, "Hey, Karan! Good seeing you. Take good care of her."

"I sure will", Karan said.

They waved each other good bye and the car drove away.

"So, did you kiss your husband goodbye?" Karan asked.

"Aww! My poor baby. Are you jealous? The unfortunate guy is going to die soon. The least I could do is to bid him farewell with a kiss. Now, come here." Sandhya said and pulled Karan close and gave him a long passionate kiss.

Karan looked at her and smiled. It was as if Sandhya had cast an enchanting charm on him.

"Eyes on the road, mister. Don't get us killed." Sandhya said pointing to the road.



Few days ago...

Sandhya called the contract killer from a second cell phone, one that was not on her name.

"Hello. Is this 14482?" Sandhya asked.

"Yes", said the voice from the other end.

"I heard that you offer very special kind of services for the right price."

"What kind of service are we talking about here?"

"The one that results in dead people."

"Who is the target?"

"My husband."

"Hmm. I only accept cash. 15 lakhs. Single payment. I will let you know about the place where you can make the payment. Also put all the details about the target in an envelope and place it along with the cash. After the payment there will be no further communication between us. You will know when the work is complete. Is it clear?"

"Yes. And there's another thing. It has to look like an accident."

"It will cost you another 30% extra."

"How about some discount?" asked Sandhya

"How about I kill another person for you for a 20% discount?"

Sandhya cut the call.



45 minutes after Sandhya left for airport...

Arjun's cellphone rang. The sound of the ringtone reverberated around the entire house. The call was missed. An eerie silence filled the house. Few seconds later the phone began to ring again. As it was going to be missed again, Arjun picked up the call.

"Hello!"

"Hello. Is this Mr. Arjun?"

"Yes, speaking."

"This is Vikram. The expressway patrol officer. Is Sandhya your wife?"

"Yes. What is this about?"

"The car your wife was driving in met with an accident. The male passenger accompanying your wife died on the spot."

"What about my wife?" asked Arjun, worried.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Arjun. She passed away while we were transporting her to the hospital."

Arjun slumped to the bed. And his head hanged low.

"I'm deeply sorry for delivering this terrible news. I know this must be very difficult for you. Is there anything we can do? Do you want us to send someone to come pick you up?" said Vikram, with a very sympathetic voice.

"Hello? Mr. Arjun? Are you there? Are you ok?"

"Yeah, yeah. I'm here. It's ok. I will come down there." said Arjun, sniffling.

Arjun cut the call. He slowly sat straight from his crouched position. He looked at his reflection in the mirror and let out a wry smile.



Few days ago...

Arjun called the contract killer's number, from a payphone.

"Is this 14482?"

"Yes."

"I'm your next target. My wife paid you to get me killed, remember?"

There was a silence from the other end.

"Don't worry. I'm not calling to bust you. I called you to make you an offer. An offer better than that of my wife's."

"I'm listening", said the voice from the other end.

"I will pay you double than what my wife has offered you. And you can keep the money my wife has already paid you. You let me go and kill her instead."

"What made you think I will accept your offer? I have already committed to her's."

"Well, you kill people for money. I didn't think you were big on professional ethics. I'm trying to get a person killed who is trying to get me killed. It shouldn't be a moral issue. I'm offering you more than her. It is good business. Also if you accept my offer she is not going to come question you for not keeping your part of the deal. She will be dead anyway. It's a win-win for all."

"I will have ask you one thing, just out of curiosity. Why are you both trying to get each other killed?"

"Do you ask these kinda questions to all your clients?"

"No. Only to the husband and wife who want each other dead."

"Well, I guess there's no harm in telling you. It's not like you are going to go tell someone else. Also it may feel better to shed some load off my heart, you know. Ours was a marriage of convenience. Both of us didn't want to get married, but had to due to our parents' pressure. We didn't get along well after our marriage. We even slept in separate bedrooms. And frankly, I didn't mind it either. But all of a sudden she becomes this mushy, overtly loving wife, smothering me with love and affection. And I thought, may be this worked out for good. Marriage is not that bad after all. And I reciprocated to her love. We were happy. But it was too good to believe. So I stalked her. Found out she was having an affair. Not just that, but the bitch was trying to get me killed. And here we are now."

"Couldn't she just leave you and go with him?", asked the voice on the other end.

"Ah! That is where her brilliance lies. You see, if she were to divorce me, she would be the bad person. She would be the one who broke our marriage. Everyone would blame her. So she wouldn't divorce me. And I wouldn't divorce her either. But if I were to die somehow suddenly, accidentally, then she would be a widow. She would act like she is mourning, for a few days. Few months later she would find a man who loves her. The same asshole who is secretly fucking her now. They will declare their love to the world and get married. Not only will she get the sympathy of the people, but also their blessing. Imagine that, a young woman, who is a widow, heart broken and sad, when a prince charming comes around and picks her up and loves her with all his heart. A fairy tale built on lies that every fucking moron would believe. He gets to be a hero and she gets to be guilt free. Bloody brilliant, isn't it? I would have let her go happily if she wanted to leave me. But when she decided to get me killed, that is when I decided to get her killed. Survival instincts, you see. So what do you say?"

"Well, you make a strong argument. I will let you know when and where you need to make the payment. It was nice doing business with you, Mr. Arjun", said the voice and the call got cut.



A week after the accident...

Arjun stood in front of Sandhya's tomb. He placed a bunch of flowers on it. He stood there, looking at the tomb, blankly. He felt nothing. Just like when they got married, when he found out she had an affair, when he found out she was trying to get him killed, when he decided to get her killed and when he got the news that she was dead.

"If only things had worked out well. Sigh! Farewell, my love, farewell", Arjun said, turned back and walked away.