Saturday, 17 September 2016

Ruined by the bell

The man steers his car to left, into a shabby street after the grocery store. It has been fifteen years; still, besides a few new constructions, there aren’t many noticeable differences. The road is still without markings; Kids still play hide and seek among the trees in the community park, Mr. Mehra’s ambassador still parked in his driveway, and the garden restaurant at the end of the street still visible in all of its glory.

His family used to own this restaurant. After father’s death, his mother took it upon herself to keep the family business up and running. He was six years old then. He would come here with her every day. In the evening, his mother would collect the leftover food and distribute it among the homeless children on their way to home.

One of those days, they were on their way back. All of the leftover food had been finished and that is when they saw her. A little girl, about the same age, as he was. Hungry and alone. Her hair golden. Eyes like a cat. She wore a white T-shirt about double of her size. Her mother let her come into their car. She said nothing, only smiled in gratitude. Her smile as if half the full moon. They took the girl home and fed her. For weeks, it went on, until one day, his mother decided to adopt this little girl. She gave her a name. Mansi. He was happy. He finally had a sister. It didn’t take him much time to befriend with her.

A bump on the road! It pulls him out of his past. His eyes fix themselves towards the end of the road, onto a giant metal gate with iron bars. A sign hangs from one of those bars that say, “CLOSED.” He stops his car by the side of the road and pulls himself out. He stands in front of the gate, imagining how life used to be, before that storm. Before he was sent to an orphanage, before his mother stopped recognizing him.

He was ten years old then, playing in this same garden with his adopted sister. Their mother had bought a new artifact for the restaurant. An old brass bell, about 6 feet high and three feet in diameter. She had it put right in the middle of the garden so that every customer could see it.

“The bell has magic,” Mansi said abruptly, while they were busy finishing a bowl of noodles their mother had given them as evening breakfast. He laughed at her, teased her for an hour repeating the word “magic” in twenty different accents. He kept making several kinds of faces until she was angry. “If you close your eyes and take a complete round around the bell, it creates a double of yourself.” She said.

He did as she said. Only to make her happy again. In the evening when they reached home, he smelled something different about his mother. She did not hold him in her arms. She stopped him from entering the house and when he tried to remind her that he was her son, she cried for an hour. “I lost my son four years ago,” She said. She kept repeating it. Mansi said nothing. She just smiled and ran inside the house while he was out there in the cold for a few weeks. His mother didn’t seem to be in a state to face him again. Until one day, a man came. He took him to another restaurant, fed him with his favorite south Indian meal. He carried strange currencies. It didn’t work at the restaurant. He had to sell his shoes and watch to pay and some extra money. The man took him to Delhi and got him enrolled in an orphanage.

Fifteen years later, he returns, not as a son, but as a food journalist, covering an article on the oldest restaurants of the city. He opens the gate and enters inside the boundary. Few round dining tables spread across the garden at regular gaps. Slow, rhythmic music flows in the air. The trees around the fence create a sound as air flows through them, making their leaves slide over each other. There is a brass bell in the middle of the turf with some other artifacts. Again, besides a few new constructions, there wasn’t much to make this place alien for him. 

Seeing him entering the compound, someone approaches. A woman, about the same age as he is. Golden hair. Eyes like a cat. She wears a white T-shirt that fits her well. She pushes a wheelchair ahead of her that carries an old woman about sixty years old. She smiles as she comes addresses him and offers a handshake. Her smile like half the full moon. “You must be Amar,” Mansi says. “We received a call from the paper in the morning. They said you would reach by 12:00. What took you so long?”

“I was driving slowly,” He replies with a smile. “Is she your mother?” He asks pointing towards the old woman.

“Yes,” She says. “She met an accident a few years ago. Since then, she doesn’t walk. She stopped talking a few years before that. Now she only produces gestures when she wants to.” She says and then she shouts turning towards a small building by the grass. “Amar!”

“Coming,” A young voice replies from inside.

In a few minutes, a boy, hardly twenty, comes out running and takes the old woman on wheelchair away without even looking at him. The journalist looks at the boy with deep interest. As if, he has already known him for many years. He feels a familiarity towards this boy. An attraction. In that moment, he feels something in his heart. The boy looked exactly like him, only a few years younger. His heartbeat raises itself, and as it occurs to him, a statement begins echoing in his brain several times as if a tape playing itself in a loop. “If you close your eyes and take a complete round around the bell, it creates a double of yourself.”

For a few minutes, his eyes fix themselves on the bell. A state of stillness for his body. His brain tries to process it. His sanity now depends on the validity of this incident. The words still echo in his head, until a soft feminine voice attracts a part his attention. “Kids don’t lie,” Mansi says.
He takes his eyes off the artifact to his adopted sister. She smiles. “H…How?” Words barely flow out of his mouth.

“Doubles don’t come out of thin air,” Mansi replies.

“How did you convince my mother for a younger version of me?”

“She didn’t care for logics after her son returned.”

“Why?” A question again. It is as if his whole vocabulary has fallen shorter to a few WH words.

“Acceptance. I did it for the acceptance and I never regret it. When you look at me, you still picture me as a poor little girl standing under a bridge. Hungry and alone. You never accepted me as your sister and you know that. Him, he is you! Four years younger. He hadn’t met me before you brought him here. For him, I am his sister, not a hungry orphan girl.” She says.

He stares at her for a few minutes and then plummet onto a chair beside him.

“You might want to hurry if you want to save yourself, brother, and don’t forget your watch; Money used to be different fifteen years ago!” The girl with half-moon smile says and turns around towards her family restaurant, which still sprawls by the end of the street, in all of its glory.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

The Secret of Wealth: Revelation

(Please Click here to read part one - The secret of wealth: Investigation)

The security room at Ramkishan’s mansion is a turmoil today. Chaos. Clamor. Every black suit in here is rushing for something. Some are checking security footage of last two hours. Some are busy over communication devices. Some mull over the documents. Some aren’t doing anything but at least they seem worried. Ramkishan enters the room. A fair man with a decent moustache. Simple clothes. Convenient hairstyle. He is worried too. His eyes searching for the chief. “What happened?”

“We lost signal from one of the trackers,” The chief says. “We are still trying to figure out what happened, the chicken itself jumped over the walls or he had had help. But we are more lenient to the case where he might have had help.”

Ramkishan gaps at the chief. “Imbecile,” Ramkishan growled. “Get away from my face and search the village!”  

The banyan tree inside the Krishna temple looks like a corona today. Candles burn around it as if stars in clear night sky. A two feet high platform surrounds the tree and a sea of villagers surround the platform like an asteroid belt. Men and women. All eyes inquisitively look at the platform. Some kids play at distance, some whine in their mother’s arms. Natwar stands tall on the platform, all swollen of pride. These villagers once despised him and now they are all here to hear him. Even at this moment, Natwar is able to think something deep and wise. Had life been a sea, every boat would reach the land upside down. Natwar is wise. Natwar is humble. Natwar learnt humility in his mother’s womb, like Abhimanyu learnt to fight.

Today is the day of joy, for Natwar. For others, their heart burns. All those women, who once declined Natwar’s love proposals, could cook supper over their hearts. All those men who married those women be like – light a cigarette dude!

Ironic! All their kids want to be like Natwar!

Behind this entire envious crowd, where candle light doesn’t reach, sits a man, dark and bearded face. Sinister eyes and bare hairy chest. This is Lakha! The abductor of buffaloes. The consumer of Alcohol. His right-hand holds a bottle of rum. His left hand soothes folds of his shabby white Dhoti. His eyes follow Natwar’s movements on the platforms. His nose breathes fire. He hates Natwar. Not only Natwar stole the buffaloes he had stolen, he exposed him. Now a lamb goes missing and villagers come knocking at his door. Had Lakha carried a dagger, it would be hanging across Natwar’s heart right now. Alas, he doesn’t. He pours another sip of neat rum into his throat and all his rage washes away.

Meet Lakha – Lakha is chagrin but Lakha knows how to maintain propriety. Lakha stays calm. Be like Lakha!

“Friends!” Natwar’s voice travels. “For years, Ramkishan had been holding a secret from us. It ends today. A few weeks ago, I vowed to unfold the mystery. I stand in front of you, at this hour, and I hold the answer to all your questions…,” Natwar says. He turns around and village chief’s son, Raju, hands him a Hen. The villagers look curiously at the chicken. Suddenly, Natwar is not the center, the chicken is. Talent doesn’t count, the peculiarity does. It triggers a clamor among the audience. Some start despising Natwar already, some crack jokes from behind. “What does this chicken do? Does it give golden eggs?” A collected laugh rises.

Natwar smiles, he is about to say yes, at the same time, cohering with a shrill sound, something impales his shoulder. Electricity. It is a pin. It carries a small pocket behind it. Sedative. Now, no matter how much pro Natwar is, he cannot resist a sedative drug. Within seconds, His view begins to blur and he falls from the platform like a wooden log. Straight and lifeless.

Natwar opens his eyes in a perfect darkness. He closes his eyes again. Nothing! He opens, still nothing! It confuses him. Whether to open his eyes or close them. It doesn’t make any difference whatever he does. Natwar finds himself worried now. This situation has left him indecisive. Has he gone blind? A chill runs through his body. Well, only the morning can confirm it for him. All he can do is wait. He erects himself with the support of an invisible wall.

Natwar’s eyes open themselves a few hours later. He looks around. He can see his legs. He smiles. His eyes are okay. Light enters the room from a window near the ceiling. It makes frustum of a cone as it flow into the room, small particle shimmer as they scatter the light. He looks at the shabby wall around him. A deformation lies in a corner. It is not a deformation! It is human. A man. He stares at Natwar with his bony eyes. His beard as long as Leela’s hair. (Leela is a girl from village.)

“Are you from village?” Something reciprocates below those stone eyes.
“Yes!” Natwar replies, his voice cold and ignorant.

“How is my son? Lakha. You must know him. It is a small village.” He says. Natwar doesn’t reply. No way is Natwar going to tell Lakha’s father how Lakha is. He hates Lakha and now Lakha plus one. The man speaks again, “He was a dumb kid, you know. I tried to teach him the art of stealing, the way my father taught me. But poor kid couldn’t even steal a glass from Ramu’s tea-stall. I was so disappointed. I thrashed him that day. I feel guilty. How could I know I would never see him again? It has been six years.”

Natwar opens his jaw. It takes him moments to process it. Yes! He is Lakha’s father. He knows him. But no one noticed he had disappeared several years ago, except Lakha of course. Natwar smiles. There must be a reason Ramkishan is keeping him here. He knows something. “Well, you may feel proud to know that Lakha is your blood and now happily stealing things as big as a few buffaloes. You just tell me one thing, how did you end up here?” Natwar asks.

“Well, it is not that complicated,” The man says. “Back then, Ramkishan used to live in a hut. One day Ramkishan came to me. He said he needed to sell some gold, needed my help. I thought Ramkishan had also begun stealing things. In the hopes of expansion, I helped him sell some gold. But there was something peculiar about that gold. It was brittle, like a very thin layer of it, as if removed from a curved object. I tried to find out where it came from. That day, I sneaked into Ramkishan’s home, and  it was the last day I saw the sun.” His eyes turn pitifully sad as he says that.

“Did you find out about the gold? Why it was layered like that?” Natwar asks.

“Of course, I did,” The man says. “It was peeled off of an egg. Ramkishan’s chicken are not like normal birds. They give eggs with golden layer. Inside, there is a natural egg, which upon harvesting would give a chicken, which would give more number of such eggs. This is the secret of Ramkishan’s wealth.”

Natwar smiles. Is it possible? The existence of such creatures, which would give golden eggs. But if an object as large as the earth can rotate around a bulb as small as the sun, anything is possible. Natwar smiles broader. Now, he knows the secret. The mission is complete. He admires the way universe acts. It does not act in circles, but in spirals. You may think you are repeating the same path, repeating the same milestones. But no! You are not. You may be passing near the previous milestones but not through them. Eventually, you are going to arrive where it begins. Because it is a spiral after all.

But no matter how wise Natwar has become, he is still in captivity. Wisdom doesn’t break walls; hammer does, and no matter how much pro Natwar is, he doesn’t carry a hammer all the time.

Natwar stares restlessly at the walls. He tries to reach the only window, but it is too small. Only an infant can pass through it. He tries to jump and look outside. Nothing! He tries to rattle the steels rods that bar the prison. It doesn’t budge. Eventually, he gets mad and start kicking the wall.

“What are you looking for?” Lakha’s father asks.
“The thing you have been looking for last seven years–a way out!” Natwar replies irritatingly.

The old man spits. He slides from his place and turns around. He removes a chunk of garbage that is deposited along the wall and there it is! A cave! A narrow passage through the wall. Natwar consecutively looks at the cave and the old man. “It is a cave!”

The old man spits again. “I completed it about two years ago. But just when I was going to go, it occurred to me. I like this place more than I like outside world. I get free food and I don’t have to bath every day.” The old man shrugs.

Natwar never thought it could be this easy. He hugs the old man and slides through the tunnel. Within two hours, he was outside the walls of Ramkishan’s mansion.

Two weeks later:

About fifty percent of Ramkishan’s chicken are stolen. Every now and then villagers break into Ramkishan’s mansion and steal the hens. One day Lakha goes in. But he doesn’t steal anything, he comes out with his father. His father carries one or two of the chickens, though. Within few months, people who want to sell the yellow precious metal flood the market. It doesn’t take very long for the market to figure out that there is more supply of gold than demand. Soon, the price of gold crashes like an aircraft made by amateur engineers. In the first week of October, they said that onions were costlier than gold.

Does Natwar care about it? No! He doesn’t. Natwar is above pity things like money and onions. The villagers worship him. The kids hear Natwar’s stories every day before bed. Leela’s father wants to make Natwar his son-in-law. However, Natwar does not care about it at all. His eyes dream of bigger adventures at a bigger place. Natwar is ambitious!

The village kids, who study in town, they say, Natwar has left the village and gone to London. There he joined an organization known as MI6. He changed his name. They call him James Bond now and he has a package of seven lakhs per annum.

…and then they all begin to laugh.

Moral of the story: Morals don't do any good. Stop reading morals!























Friday, 25 March 2016

The Secret of Wealth: Investigation

Natwar sits in the air-conditioned entry room of Ramkishan’s mansion. A confidentiality agreement lies on his lap, written all in English. But the problem is, Natwar can't even spell English, let alone read ten pages of organized gibberish.

Natwar asks a fair, slender person for help. The man smiles and tells him that one must sign this document if one wants a job at Ramkishan’s mansion. He says that if any sensitive information leaked, the culprit servant would have to pay fifty lacs as compensation money. A lawsuit may follow, depending upon the information that has been leaked. “But Ramkishan pays handsomely to his servants and one must not have any problem signing this confidentiality agreement unless he is a spy,” The man adds, sarcastically.

...and Natwar has a problem signing this document because he is a spy!

He wishes there is another way to solve this case. There is none! The security here is the definition of tight. He curses himself for taking this task. But the village chief had himself given him this case. He couldn’t say no! It took him years to build the reputation and since last month when he had successfully retrieved the schoolmaster's lost buffaloes from Lakha’s barn, the villagers were finally ready to accept him as a sleuth. If he said no to this case, all that would be for nothing. All his reputation would die. The villagers would deem him as useless as a guard dog who ran into the woods when bandits came to raid the village.

There is a risk, but Natwar can’t deny one thing. The case is interesting. They say, about seven years ago, Ramkishan was nothing more than a village dweller who made his living by selling raw chicken and eggs. Suddenly, he was rich. He bought this 50-acre land and made an exquisite palace. Natwar had overheard some kids, who study in city, talking about this. They said the architects of the palace came from foreign, the ones who built Batman’s den underneath Bruce Wayne’s house. Why would they laugh afterward, is beyond Natwar’s comprehension. Natwar cut their laugh from the record as an insignificant section of an overheard conversation. Now, Natwar neither knew Batman nor Bruce Wayne, but the names did seem imposing to him!

Natwar’s task is to find the secret of Ramkishan’s sudden wealth. The secret that is buried somewhere inside this mansion and the only way to get inside the mansion is if the security let him go through and that is why Natwar had to come up with whole this being a servant plan. It takes a few minutes to occur to him that since he has come here with a concealed identity, he could sign the confidentiality agreement with a false name.

Natwar passes the interview with flying colors. Fortunately, with all his honesty, he possesses every quality of a dumb servant. Ramkishan, in dire need of such qualities, couldn’t say no to him. Seven years Ramkishan stayed away from the villagers and now he doesn’t recognize the only sleuth of the village.

A few days of work at the Ramkishan’s mansion and he got the story that fills the sumptuous corridors of the palace. The story goes like this – Ramkishan once had a hen who gave him a golden egg once a month. It was enough for him to make a middle-class living. Somehow, Ramkishan has found a way to multiply those eggs. Many of the servants said Ramkishan must have cut that chicken and retrieved the eggs, all at once. Now, Natwar here is clever enough to know that a chicken is not a warehouse. It is a bird.  It does not store eggs in her belly.

One day, he sees a chicken in the confidential backyard; she twists herself as she walks. Neck held about hundred millimeters above the ground. She straitens it ahead before she advances her feet. (This is the usual way a chicken walk) Suddenly, it jumps and 15-20 golden eggs rolls on the green turf when she has landed.

The rumor is true! Seven years ago, Ramkishan had found a way to multiply those eggs! Natwar looks sideways. No one is around. It’s he and chicken, all alone. Adrenaline pumps into his arteries. He doesn’t think much. Making a run for it, he quickly grab the chicken. A fifty-acre farm is a lot to cross. He passes through woods, through bushes, through mud. In the end, it ends at a fifteen feet tall wall that surrounds the mansion.

Natwar smiles at it. He knows the vital part of being a spy is to jump over the walls and he knows it very well. It is how he had rescued schoolmaster’s buffaloes from Lakha’s barn. Natwar spent two days in surveying Lakha's activities. The third day,  before Lakha went out for his regular supply of alcohol, Natwar hid himself inside the barn, only to come out when Lakha had been long gone. Lakha had locked the barn from outside. There was no way out. The entire place was surrounded by thorn-bushes and there was no way buffaloes could projectile themselves five feet high with a maximum range of seven.

What did Natwar do? Buffaloes couldn’t jump but Natwar is a pro! He jumped over the embankment and opened the gates from outside. The buffaloes passed through the main gate! (Yeah, on your face Mr. Lakha!)

However, this wall is about fifteen feet high, but of course, once again, Natwar is a pro!

He takes a deflated cushion out of his pocket and fills it with his breaths.  He climbs the banyan tree that grows along the wall. He lashes the straps that protrude from the sides of cushion on his waist so that he lands on it when he is on the other side of the wall. (Natwar got the gadgets, too!)

Keeping the inflated cushion on his side, he jumps over! Unfortunately, the cushion takes a blunt edge of the wall. A crack runs through it. With a blast, Natwar lands on his spine. It hurts, but Natwar is made of metal! He quickly rises, grabs the chicken and runs.

The night grows around him. Snakes lurk behind heavy leaves. Dogs clamor in distance. He focuses on is the sound of his own breaths. Inhale and exhale. Inhale and exhale. He wants to stop and look back. Somehow, he doesn’t want to. He is a millimeter close from solving this case. No way should he mess it up. He will stop when he has to, not when he wants to.


Village chief is a tall man with heavy mustache spreading east to west on his face. He stands outside his house wearing a blue Kurta and white dhoti going halfway between his knee and ankle. He has a thick stick in his hand and a white turban on his head. A triangular portion of his turban protrudes above from the folds. A loose strap of it hangs behind his back. He suspiciously looks into the bushes when something moves. Orienting his stick in a defensive manner, he moves towards them and Natwar falls on his legs, with a victory smile on his face. “I know the secret,” He utters. 

...To be continued

Moral of the story: If you don't socialize, you will never know if your neighbor was a spy.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

The Divine Wisdom

It is the third day of my college life and I, along with my thirty batchmates, sit in the mechanical workshop. Theoretically, it is a place which is supposed to be a temple for every Mechanical engineering student. Practically, it is a viable alternative to a gymnasium (Try cutting a cast iron strip with a high-speed steel hacksaw and you will know). I look at the clich├ęs that surround me. Lathe machines, shapers, drill machines, press machines, milling machines, vices, medieval tools, modern tools, hammers, and a lot more.

Until now, I am pure. Pristine. Innocent. I haven’t been ragged, nor have I abused any professor yet. I talk about percentage in class twelve. I talk about AIEEE rank. I still have faith in studies.

My head is a turmoil, though. The depiction of a college in Bollywood movies revolves in my head. It assures me. I am a hero and no matter how absurdly I behave, I am going to get the girl. One I have seen earlier this morning. She is in my dreams now. Her hair spread over the shoulders of her sleeveless rose-colored top. A small clip barely holds them together. Her eyes beautifully bordered. Oval face deforms as she smiles. Her hair dance as she walks, covering her eyes sometimes. Removing one of those evil strands before her eyes, she looks at me and I look at her. Yes! She is the one. She is my dream-girl and if she ever needed to go to a beauty parlor, a majority of us should start living there.

However, it all shatters the moment I see my roommates talking of her. One more example of Bollywood movies failing at the school of reality. They show if there were more than one heroes, they would always fall for different girls but in reality, every guy (including neighboring colleges) falls for the same damn girl and that too at a speed thousand times faster than the girl would fall for any of them. Maybe she does not fall for any of them because she is already engaged to an NRI. (Ask me!)

In my thoughts, I forget what is beside me - metal and stones. My eyes throb of the peril as he enters the class. A shorter, darker and fatter man in a white Safari-suit. His eyes red. A heavy mustache covers his face from east to west. His voice the grunt of a lion, hard and assertive. He looks at us, lambs in human skin.  He tells us a lot about Mechanical Engineering. Fortunately, I no longer remember the larger part of it, except this – “Seven minutes! Seven minutes are all I need to make you a Mechanical Engineer. Welding in three minutes, lathe in one minute, casting in two minutes. Rest you already know!"

And the democracy ends here. We have no say in what we know and what we don't know. The dictator has decided the same for all of us. Our fate is punched on a mild steel strip.

“So," He snorts. "Now I want to take your words on how to drill a hole on a workpiece. Come into my room one by one,” He says in his thick voice.

Unfortunately, the first name is mine:

“So, dear son, tell me what do u think?”
“Sir,” I reply, stuttering. “First we will take a workpiece, put it in front of a drill machine...”

hat majdoor kahi ka," He roars. "Ye to majdoor ka kam h. tu to engineer h. What has happened to this generation? Where are the brains?” He roars again. His face feigns the pain of desolating standard of Engineering students. 

His pain digs into the heart of every other student. Many of them are ready to flee as soon as they hear it. None has the power. None has the courage. They have taken the admission but they are not the engineers yet. Not until they feel that, it is okay to bunk the class. It is okay to abuse the professor. It is okay to copy an assignment. It is okay to have nothing to say in vivas. It is okay to scan a girl until she proclaims you a pervert. Yes! This is the price to pay. Forfeit the idea of shame and discipline and you will rise as an Engineer.

One by one, each student walks into to maelstrom and one by one they all feel the heat.  The professor repeats the same words to every student as if it is a mantra. At last, when all the self-respect is shattered and every face hangs like a withered rose,  he himself comes out of his nest and starts again, his voice a bit softer this time.

“Students,” He addresses us. “You are engineers. NIT students. are padho, fayda uthao iska, sabse badi problem hi ye hi ki tumhara dimag majdooron ki tarah chalta h. Now I will tell u how an engineer will work. He will take a scale and mark for the exact spot he wants to drill the hole at and  then he will hand it over to the labor to drill a hole," He pauses and spreads his arms like a magician. "And that is the way an engineer works!” He closes his eyes. 

By the look on his face, I feel it is his best performance ever. His face glimmers with satisfaction. Our faces shimmer with an awe as if we have found some kind of divine enlightenment. He raises high among our eyes. A perfect role model. Let us be like him. Let us learn from him. Let us be the greatest engineer ever lived!

Considering how it all went down in a few months and years to follow, it was no more than the excitement of a child who has seen an airplane for the first time. It is completely different now. It makes me doubt as to what have I become. 

Am I an engineer?

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Unpleasant imagination

(Set in the near future, when the earth’s atmosphere no longer holds a breathable amount of oxygen, the following imitates a possibility in a private company’s office)

Keyboards clutter. Landlines rumble. The ceiling fan squeals for an early retirement.  Papers slide over the wooden table and that is when a man clusters all his courage to plunge from that lavish blue chair. His eyes target a dull white cubicle at the end of the hall where sits a man, known as boss, who finds all his glory exercised when he strips an employee of his/her pride.

His every step slow and inconspicuous, to him, as heavy as his demand. His heart throbs as if a festival’s drum. He is the first one to make such a demand in two years. Sweat trickles through his head, blocking his view. He removes some of it by his left thumb. “If you are not going to tell, nobody is going to come and hand it over to you,” He assures himself. He pats his chest slowly. “All is well,” He mutters as if some old trick from an unrealistic movie could come and save the day for him. A suppressed laugh entertains his ears and he turns around to see if anybody is laughing at him. He sees no one. A private joke perhaps, vanished as soon as it was cracked, flickered only for a microsecond.

Hiding himself, he gently peers inside the cubicle. The man inside is a villain. Death dances on his face. His eyes tearing into his laptop. His face as frigid as an iceberg. He hums an old Hindi song, legs patting the floor at its imaginary beats. The employee knocks on the inside wall of the cubicle. The boss doesn’t look up. He knocks again. “I am not deaf, Rakesh,” The boss says, still looking down.

Until now, nobody has noticed where Rakesh went. One or two people may have seen him, but they were too busy to notice it as a significant phenomenon. Until the moment, an agitated roar eradicated all of their concentration. It echoed through the walls. From the glass windows to the notice boards, transcending to the far ends of the hall. “ONE MORE BREATH!” It said. Men and women shift from their seats. Few female employees, not being stoic enough, cups their both hands on their faces. If they closed their eyes, tears would fall. Few happy employees even laugh at the ludicrous attempt of this idiot person.

Rakesh walks out of the boss’s cubicle, his face a destitution of color. Boss’s words echo in his head. “Twenty years!” He had said. “Twenty years I have been in this place and never asked for another breath, even saved few. Not only you have finished your five hundred breathes, you are asking for more? You have some nerve! Get out of my face before I fire you.”

As soon as he walks out, suppressed whispers sublime from behind the desks. It fills the air, propagates through it like a longitudinal wave, and rams on his face through a friend. He does not reply. He pulls a chair and plummet onto the cushion like a fallen warrior. What could lead to such travesty? What could possibly be the reason? Has he not been careful enough? How could he spend all of his breaths before the end of the day?

He introspects. He first blames it on his friends who kept him awake and talking for an hour last night. He blames it on his girlfriend who desired an ice-cream five kilometers away from the ice-cream parlor. He blames it on himself who wasted another fifteen minutes on his favorite TV show before going to bed. He blames it on the alarm clock. Wait! You cannot blame the alarm clock. It worked on time! It’s the snooze! Five minutes multiplied by three, and he woke fifteen minutes past his usual time. He tried desperately to cover, even skipped a few morning rituals. Skipped the breakfast, but couldn’t make up for those fifteen minutes. He even had to climb the stairs fast. Wait! The stairs! Being late is no excuse! He shouldn’t have leaped on stairs like rusted Iron-man. It compelled him to take a few heavy breaths, which in time, led to a shortage of them.

A smile renders on his face. He has found the root cause of his problem. He makes a flow diagram, puts all activities he performed last night on a not-to-do list and restrains himself from taking a deep breath.

He sits back and relax. Now all he needs to do is to figure out how to collect those extra breaths to stay alive and make it through the day.

(Above is purely a work of fiction. It does not, in any way, models a realistic atmosphere)

Friday, 26 December 2014

Extreme Irony of Earth!


Lord Krishna had a cousin, Shishupal, an annoying tyrant king. Krishna gave his word to Shishupal’s mother that he would not kill him until he make hundred mistakes. Once, in a royal court, Shishupal started saying offensive words to Krishna. He counted them till hundred and at the hundred-and-first, Krishna beheaded Shishupal with his own weapon, Chakra and there emerged a concept in Hinduism called “Paap ka Ghada” or “crock of sins” which when is completely occupied for a person, he has to face a divine punishment for his sins.

But, is it true? If it was, it creates a contradiction in some frame of view. Hundreds of people have been killed by terrorists and naxalites till date, and we are still waiting for god’s reaction on this. Doesn't this make god selfish? Perhaps this is a question for another time. I have another one, which nags me every time anything happens in the world.

Does god even exists?

Believers say he does. Non-believers say he does not. I find non-believers more logically rational on this subject. They have proof, hell they do not even need to provide me the proof, I have seen the proof with my own eyes. On the other hand, theists only have arguments or weird questions on the existence of universe that if not god, then who is sustaining the universe, what keeps it going, or what lies beyond it. Obviously, I don’t know but it is a topic of research, as before Science did not have a vital proof, theists used to say that the earth is stable as a turtle, or supported by a serpent or earth does not even rotate, that it is stationary. However now that they are all proved wrong about earth, they have settled on universe. Clearly not until we officially find what is beyond the universe, they are going to keep this argument.

While the discussion of theism and atheism has been around here for thousands of years, and still there is no tell of the winner, I find the whole concept of religion a ramble. Just imagine a world with no religion, and automatically 95% of world terrorism has no reason to exist at all. Religion created every boundary that exists around us, even some of the world countries are made only on the basis of religion, with other significant substance of division. If religion disappears, automatically there would be no honor killing, love-jihad or the jihad. Clearly, everyone is busy defying the poison but no one is ready to cut the poisonous tree growing in their own backyard that is feeding them poison. It is the greatest irony on earth that the basis of all the muddle is still being embraced as a savior.

Most of the religions have god at the center of their origin, a belief in a theology, on the name of which they base their religion’s characteristic and teachings. My question is, If at some point of time god used to come or send his relatives to earth to save his precious humans from so-called sins, why cannot he manage to do this now, for now, we need his presence among us more than we ever needed. Maybe we have scared god, he thinks we are hopeless. Wait what? God is scared! This is not supposed to happen! What has happened then? Nobody knows but still they care, enough that it had led people to violent fanaticism and extremism. So what is the root of all the violence? God. And if thousand years ago, he could come to earth and guide the people for light, why cannot he now? We are like desperate for him these days. Why he is not coming?

There are two explanations, which I can think of - One, he does not exist, and second, that he has abandoned us, not today, not yesterday but a few hundred years back. If he does not exist that we are all living in a blind illusion and we must get out of it. However, if he had abandoned us, then there is no reason in worshiping him or living with a religion that he has guided us to live with.

Religions were once created to show a way of life to people, to impart a conscience into them since not many people were educated at those times. Therefore, the people who were educated, they made a set of rules, united their people in the name of one divine power, so that they live by those rules leaving the savageness. Those educated people who did guided people, they were probably known by Ram, Krishna, Mohammad, Jesus or other great names. People revered them as gods or angels, and they deserved to be revered for they were great people. With time, the world took it so seriously that they imposed their opinion on others, fought in the name of those great souls, spoiling everything they ever lived for.

I say, it has been enough. Let us stop living in fear and fairy tales, and start living in reality. Now that we do not need religions to show us the path, we must break those barriers since even Lord Krishna himself said in the Shrimad-Bhagwat-Geeta – “For me, everyone is same and I resent to discriminate people on the basis of caste, color and gender.”



Thursday, 18 December 2014

AIM OF LIFE?


I was in an ISKCON lecture, when a girl stood up and asked a question to the sage, speaking on spiritual solutions, the question was – what is the aim of our life? For the sage, it was a very-good-question, easily linkable to god and spirituality. However, I feel this was the crappiest question to ask while a lecture. What is the aim of our life? Really? Isn’t it obvious? The aim of life, is ‘to live’, which is why the term life is coined, because it means living or they could have called it anything chair, table, laptop and hundred other names. Why life? Because we are bound to live it, no matter what happens and how it happens. So why don’t we live it then, live it the way we want, do the things which makes us happy, work hard to get all those resources to reach at such stage and stop living in nightmares but start living in dreams.

Now, I, here by, am not declaring a war of the words with the existing fashion of living, but I have my allegations to it.

Since every other religious institute in the world has his own interpretation of Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta. I, in my conscience, resent to follow those interpretations as those are interpretations inspired from only the motives of the interpreter. For example, for a murderer, Geeta could bestow him with a divine consent to kill, just like it bestowed the same on Arjun-“By killing these people, you are freeing them of worldly illusions, as the ultimate thing is soul, a part of god, invincible in all aspects.”

The most famous quote from Geeta is “Karm karo, fal ki chinta mat karo” (Do you duty, without concerning about results). Therefore, as a human bearing almost a century of life, I found the simplest interpretation of this statement - that you should live, live your life the way that makes you happy and stop worrying about God, Moksha, heaven, hell and fifteen other afterlife worries, and think about it, why the god would give us such a long life if he would have wanted us not to live it with true freedom and spend our days and nights chanting-cum-dancing on songs which, literally, harasses the whole concept of melodious music. However, if one is really into whole this old men terrifically repeating same lines fifty times in a song, he has every right to do it.


Also, while we are on it, I would also like to point it that life is too short if you want to enjoy it and too long for believing in blind-faith-bearing illusions. I am not implying to stop believing in god, I am implying to start respecting the gift of god. However, if someone is looking for a debate, my gates are always open for a fair discussion.