Monday, October 18, 2010

Festivals and celebrations! Part IV

Chapter three
Date- Present day
Location- Hotel Park Inn, Berlin

I managed to get myself out of bed. Was there anything that I could do to get all that happiness back into my life? Will that color, joy and innocence come back ever again I thought. I managed to pick up the phone and made a call, home.

“Hey Amma, Happy Dusshera.” I managed to croak. It felt like there was a huge lump in my throat not letting me speak.

“Happy Dusshera to you too Kanna, what happened? You sound dull. Everything fine back there?” She asked with a note of panic in her voice.

“No Amma, I’m good, just woke up after a tiresome day. Feeling lazy, that’s it, missing home.” I said. Only mothers have the power to gauge your mood from a single word that you utter.

“Is it just that, or is there anything else that is bothering you?” She asked; the note of panic now replaced with a note of anxiety mingled with curiosity.

“I was just, lying in bed, thinking about how we used to celebrate the festival at home, how we visited our Kanaka Durga temple once. When I remembered all that, I just felt a little… Lost… Like I was missing out the happiness and pleasure of having a family to celebrate a festival with.

“I can understand how you feel son. It’s been three years since you came here for any festival. It’s hard to go on alone in life. You need people to share emotions with. Goals are important in life but, in order to achieve it, you must never let go of family, friends and the joy of being together in celebration.” She said. Always the wise words, I thought.

“Yes Amma, it took me this long to understand that. Now, I realize how much I’ve missed out in the process of chasing down targets in life. This will be an eye opener for me.” I said.

“I’m glad you realize that now. People, happiness and the sense of pleasure that you experience in the company of others is what gives festivals that air of magic. The sense of tranquility that you experience when you worship a force superior to you, makes the experience more complete and fulfilling. See if you can create that magic.” She said.

“I understand what you said Amma. I’ll try to create the magic you’ve mentioned. Thanks for making me feel so much better.” I said and cut off the phone, as a flood of new energy hit me like a tsunami wave striking the beach.
I strode into the hall and picked up the phone and called room service.

“Guten Morgen, Ich brauche ein Telefonbuch.” I said.

“Sie finden es in einer Minute, Sir.” The cheerful voice on the other end replied.

“Vielen Dank”, I said and put down the phone.

I picked up my phone and typed out a message to all of my friends. It went like this,

“Hey guys,
Today is a very important day. I guess most of you don’t remember why, but today we are going to celebrate. Celebrate together; celebrate the victory of good over evil. May sound a little crazy but I want all of you in my hotel by 10 AM sharp. All of you must dress in Indian clothes, the best you can find. You’ll miss out on an event if you don’t come, I promise.”

As I pressed the sent button, it started reaching the inboxes of more than 25 Indians, most of them my friends from graduation. Most of them were worried about my state of mind, but nevertheless, they were curious to find out the reason and agreed on coming.

In the meanwhile, room service got me the telephone directory that I requested for. I started browsing though, looking for the right telephone numbers. I found them soon enough and I started calling them.

“Yes, I need that photo, the biggest one you have. I also need the necessary things that we may require. Send in a priest if you can find one. Nine AM sharp, Hotel Park Inn.”

“Yes, a lunch for twenty five people. The best Indian dishes that you can find. I need them here by twelve PM sharp, Hotel Park Inn. “

Next, I was on the internet, looking for some information. Google proved as efficient as ever, giving me all the information that I needed. I was fishing out print outs. Now, I had all that I needed.

I looked at my wrist watch. It was eight thirty. I called in room service again and asked them to book the “Festsaal (Banquet hall)” that could accommodate some fifty people. I went inside the bathroom, took a shower and dressed myself in the “Kurta Pyjama” which has been lying at the bottom of my suitcase for such a long time now.
The things that I ordered came in by nine and the priest who came in wanted to know if it was a marriage or an engagement that he needed to perform. When I told him what I wanted, he was shocked and surprised.

“After all these years that I’ve lived in Berlin, this is the first time anyone has asked me to perform Durga Puja. I’ll do it with pleasure son. This is a very happy day for me.” He said, voice mixed with emotion and happiness.

People started pouring in at ten, All of them looking a little skeptical about what was on offer. As they saw the festive decoration, the priest and the huge portrait of Durga mata seated majestically on her tiger, they were shocked. As all of them settled down on the huge carpets on the floor, I went up and addressed my friends.

“Hey guys, as most of you don’t remember, I am going to remind you why this day is significant and what all of this is about. Today is Vijaya Dasami. The final day of the festival we celebrate as Navaratri. This day, we celebrate the victory of good over evil. This very day, Goddess Durga killed the demon king Mahishasura, bringing in peace and prosperity to the people of the world.”

As I was speaking, I was able to hear groans of recollection as it hit people. Everyone knew, but no one remembered.

“So today, we offer prayers to the great mother as a tribute to what she has done for us. We join in celebration, celebrating the victory of good over evil and the end of darkness that prevailed when evil reigns over the world.” I continued and took a pause.

Everyone was listening to me with rapt attention, hanging onto every word that I said.

“What does it mean today? Why did I call you here? I’ll explain. I woke up this morning to a message from my mom reminding me that today was a festival that was worth remembering. This reminder of hers sent me into a flood of memories that I had when I was younger, the joy and happiness associated with the celebration of festivals. I’m sure many of you must’ve had similar happy times with your families.”

I found many people lost in reflections and memories just like me when the news hit me. I found many people nodding their heads in consent.

“But, where has the spirit of celebration gone? Where has all the enthusiasm and reverence gone? What happened? We got so lost in building our careers and making a name for ourselves, we just ignored all these little things that gave us happiness and peace of mind. Today, when I realized all that we’ve missed over the last few years, I wanted to make up. I wanted to get that spirit of celebration back into our hearts. That is why we are here today. To celebrate our happiness, to worship the almighty in whose shadow we live. To pay tribute to the force that controls everything beyond our power.” I said, feeling emotional and charged as I ended my diatribe.

Everyone was silent for a long time as I handed them the sheets that had English translations of the mantras we had to chant in the course of the puja. The next hour, the room was filled with an air of holiness as everyone chanted the name of the god with a vigor and respect. The next hour was spent in listening to the stories of the goddess that every one of us had long forgotten. As everyone applied tikkas on their forehead and ate the holy Prasadam, the lunch arrived, there we were, one happy family. Everyone was smiling with content, serving food to one another, exchanging jokes and laughing together.

I looked out of the window at the busy Germans running around trying to catch up with the hectic life of today. I smiled to myself and muttered,

“Ich habe die Magie ( I created the magic), thanks mom”

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Festivals and celebrations! Part III

Chapter two
Date- 17th October.
Location- Kanaka Durga temple, Indrakeeladri hill- Vijayawada.

I was trying to maintain my balance as a hundred people propelled their bodies forward as the queue moved on inside the temple complex. We were fortunate enough to get a chance to visit the holy temple this festival. With some help from dad’s colleagues in office, we were able to secure special passes for the darshan. That did not help much as some of the most important people in the state craned their necks and tried to stand on their toes just to get a glimpse of the holy mother.

So, why is this temple so famous? Why do so many people come here when there are so many other temples?” I asked dad, as we waited for a VIP to finish his special pooja.

Dad adjusted his voice and started telling me the history of the temple.

“Once upon a time, demons and humans lived together on the earth. It is said that the growing menace of demons became unbearable for the humans. A sage named, Indrakila practiced severe penance, invoked Goddess Durga. When the goddess appeared the sage pleaded her to reside on his head and keep vigil on the wicked demons. Goddess Durga agreed and made Indrakila her permanent abode. Later, She also slayed the demon king Mahishasura freeing the people from his evil. To celebrate the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon king Mahishasura and to worship the goddess, the temple was built and the ten day celebration, “Navaratri” originated.” My dad narrated as we moved further into the temple complex.

“What form is the goddess adorned in today?” Someone enquired my dad.

“Since it is the final day of the Navaratri, she will be taking the form of Sri Raja Rajeswari Devi.” My dad told him, as I looked enquiringly at him.

My dad started to explain what the form was all about.

“Sri Kanaka Durga Devi, the chief deity of the temple is portrayed as blessing the visiting devotees in various forms (avatars) during the ten day festival. A symbolic representation of the 10 forms of triumph of good over evil, this form (known as 'Alankaram') of the day is chosen as per the astrological star of each day, in accordance with the lunar calendar. The goddess takes on the forms of, Sri Swarna Kavachalakruta Durga Devi, Sri Bala Tripura Sundari Devi, Sri Annapurna Devi, Sri Gayatri Devi, Sri Lalitha Tripura Sundari Devi, Sri Saraswathi Devi, Sri Maha Lakshmi Devi, Sri Durga Devi, Sri Mahishasura Mardhani Devi and Sri Raja Rajeswari Devi during the course of the festival.” My dad told me.

I was wondering in awe at the richness of the history that created this place where I was standing now. We made it to the final part of the temple called the “Garbha gudi” where the main deity was kept. We were able to see the goddess for a very short span of time as the people pushed on. But the picture of the goddess froze in my mind in a picture perfect frame. A picture of tranquility and generosity showed on her beautiful face adorned with turmeric and fresh flowers. She was holding a sugarcane stick in one hand, the goddess who bestowed prosperity.

We came out of the temple and sat in the huge porch of the temple strewn with herds of people moving about busily trying to get into the temple. My dad got the Prasadam that we happily ate. The whole visit made me realize how people can be brought together in the name of festivals and celebrations. Everyone looked happy and radiant.

The drive down the hill was very pleasant with the huge flood lights reflecting in the rippling waters of the river Krishna. The devotees marched down the temple in huge groups as a ritual to please the holy mother and to wash off their sins. They sing songs in praise of the holy mother as we add chorus to the fervent chanting’s.

The rippling waves of the river Krishna and the chanting’s of goddess Durga fade away, as I find myself on the bed again, homesick and fed up with my current life. I have to do something to get myself out of this misery, I thought to myself.

Festivals and celebrations! Part II

Chapter one-
Date: 13th October.
Location: Home Sweet home, The city of destiny- Visakhapatnam.

“Harsha, wake up kanna. It’s nine already. You have to get ready for the Saraswathi pooja.” My mom insisted, trying to pull the blanket off me.

“Amma, Let me sleep for ten more minutes.” I retort as I try to pull the blanket back on.

“You are waking up. And I know how to do it.” She mutters to herself as she goes and switches off the fan.

I twist and turn, groan and moan and finally accept defeat as I get myself off the bed. I take some twenty minutes to the bathroom where my mom has the special head bath that I dreaded all my life.

First, she applies the preparation known as “Nalugu”. A semi solid mixture of Chickpeas and turmeric mixed in water.

“Why do you apply this to me? What good does it do?” I enquire mom as she continues to rub the paste hard on my body.

“This is a natural form of beauty maintenance which was used before any of these fairness creams or beauty soaps were invented. The chickpea paste acts as a cleansing agent which removes all the dead cells of the skin and the also gives a radiant glow to the skin. The turmeric acts an anti-septic which prevents fungal and bacterial infections.” She continues to explain like an erudite scholar.

“Oh, this yellow paste does this much of good?” I wonder as I try to visualize myself like a tiger with all the yellow paste.

“Now sit here like a good boy till the paste dries off.” She says and goes to the kitchen.

I sit there in the bathroom making moves like a tiger till the paste becomes super hard and it becomes difficult for me to move my jaws.

“Amma, it’s dried now. Can we wash it off now?” I manage to scream though the unmoving jaws.

“Wait, I’m getting the Soap nut. I’ll be there in a minute.” She screams back.
The mention of the word soap nut evaporates my happy mood.

My mom makes a reappearance as she mixes the soap nut in the hot water producing lather and a bitter smell that sends chills though my bones. I sit there, on the wooden stool, in a towel, rigid, too scared to move.

“Close your eyes.” My mom orders me.

I shut my eye lids as tight as humanly possible as she applies oil and starts to put the soap nut on my head. The bitter smell mixed with the touch of hot water on my scalp make me dizzy. I get through the ordeal without any of the bitter acid like juice of the soap nut getting into my eyes or mouth.

The next part feels heavenly as she washes off the paste and the soap nut juice with warm water. I step out of the bathroom feeling clean and handsome. I put on my new clothes and go into the family room where my sister, dressed in the traditional “Parikini Voney” comes running and gives me an affectionate kiss.

“You look great Annayya.” She says.

“You look great yourself sis.” I say, as we give each other a hi-five.

“Kids, get your books, we have to do the Saraswathi pooja.” My grandmother calls out from the Prayer hall of the house.

I select the Maths and the English text books, the subjects that I’m not good at school, hoping that goddess Saraswathi could help me a bit with my scores.
We sit in the prayer hall cross legged with our eyes closed and hands in a Namaste stance as we worship the names of the goddess in different languages asking her to bestow wisdom, strength of mind and character upon us.

It takes us about an hour to run though the pooja and we happily hop into the dining hall savoring the smell of the various special dishes that mom had prepared for the lunch. Some of our close relatives join us for dinner as we talk, chat and reflect on various things that are happening in our lives.

I and my cousins discuss the latest episodes of Swat Kats, bemused and stupefied at the heroics of T-bone and Razor, and how they manage to save Megakat city from the clutches of the wicked Dark Kat. The elders discuss current politics with the aunts sharing animated descriptions of the latest gossip and exchange information about new jewelry that they’ve purchased for the festival. It is all one happy family celebrating the festival that binds us together like an invisible chord.

The evening is a blur of color as dad takes us out to see the various Durga mata idols set up in the city. I and my sister stare in awe at the imposing idols of the goddess with ten hands, a different weapon in each, seated majestically on a tiger with the head of the daemon Mahishasura in her hand. People throng to see the idols as we wait to get the “Prasadam” from the priests offering special prayers. We return home late in the night to be treated to another sumptuous meal with the seasonal fruits to add to the delicious dishes prepared by mom.

I find my way out of the memory and find myself staring at the breakfast of scrambled eggs and bread going cold along with the coffee. A tear drops from my cheek as the memories of those happy moments unleash themselves on me. I was missing my family, friends and the joy.

Festivals and celebrations! Part I

I was a dragon with huge wings flying into space. My speed was blinding and the surroundings were dimming away into a passing blur.

“Are we there yet?” I found myself asking the voice inside me.

“No, we are still one strata away from reaching the top most layer of the earth” the voice said.

“Did we not beat the best already? I’m getting a little tired now, I’m missing my family, and I’m missing the pleasures of my planet. Don’t you think we should go back?” I heard myself imploring the voice inside me.

“You are yet to become the best. You become the best only when you reach the highest peak. Relative victory is nothing. You’ve worked for five years now, what is one more year. Push yourself, more. You are just a whisker away from being unbeatable.” The voice was encouraging and commanding at the same time.

I saw the target I had to reach, the luring idea of becoming the best makes me ignore the pain building up in my joints. I spread my wings out completely and give it a bigger heave.

All of a sudden something in my wing bone goes snap and I see myself plummeting down into the vast emptiness beneath me.

“Help me. Please help me.” I call out to the voice.

“You have not achieved the ultimate success. You deserve this, DIE!” the voice says as it fades away.

I wake up with a start only to find myself in my king sized bed with my forehead breaking into a cold sweat.

“You are Rajiv; you are in Berlin on a work related assignment. You are still alive and that was a bad dream.”
I mutter to myself. That makes me feel better as I survey the surroundings.

My job brought me to Berlin to deal with a supplier the prices of the equipment we needed for an upcoming project of ours. The operation of the equipment needed some extensive training and there I was in Park Inn Berlin-Alexanderplatz. The full glass windows with the curtains drawn out showed me a panoramic view of the beautiful city bathed in the dim light of the morning sun. I was staring into the landscape enjoying the emptiness in my head when a tower with a pointed edge with the rounded part in the upper quarter catches my attention. It sends an uncanny signal to my brain suggesting that today was something I should remember as important. I reflect for a moment, as nothing comes to my head.

I shrug the thoughts aside and look at myself in the mirror. I see myself, a disheveled man in his early thirties, still slim and well-built with a mop of curly hair that came close to my eyes. The stubble that used to give me an air of youth in my twenties looked ominous now. The random strands of white hair here and there didn’t help things much.

I hear my phone buzz with the missed calls and messages that I received over the last night. I sit back in bed, cross legged and open the first message from office. I breathe a sigh of relief was I read the contents. The message was from my friend.

“The transformer at the factory got fried last night due to an electric short circuit. It’ll take them a while to get the systems running again. We have a day off man. Give me a call when you wake up. We’ll go out and check what the city offers us today.”

The message was followed by the trademark wink, which makes a smile spread on my face. I read the rest which are work related details. I read the next which makes me remember what I was trying to recollect earlier. The message was from my mom.

“Son, today is Dusshera. I hope you remember the festival. I know you are busy in Berlin with your assignment. But take some time off and worship goddess Durga and seek her blessings. You’ll be amazed at the amount of satisfaction and mental relief you discover from it. Love, Mom.”

The message strikes a box of memories which opens up instantaneously sending me into a recollection of memories. They wash over me like a deluge as I go back into my childhood.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lost in the night!

On this full moon night,
I sit in this abyss lit only with her silver light.

As I let my mind go blithe,
I reflect on the lessons my past thought me,
I evaluate the challenges the present puts before me,
I try to assess the challenges the future would present me.

I think of the people who made a difference to my life,
I think of the people who left my life.

As I try to garner and collate my thoughts,
I only realize that my reflections are a garbled mess.

I look up into her silver light,
Take in the cold air of the night,
Forget everything about my current plight.

I let the feeling wash over my head,
Wash away the labyrinth of thoughts swarming in my head.

I end up staring stupidly into the night,
Just another person lost in the abyss of the full moon night.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Meetings and memories..

Some great philosopher once said, “You are born alone, you meet a lot of people as you grow older and finally you leave the world as alone as you’ve come.”
It’s strange how people come into your life, make an irreversible mark in your heart, make you go through a labyrinth of feelings that leave you dazed and amazed.Finally, they leave as suddenly as they come.

Time does strange things to relationships. Their beginnings are much unexpected. You bump into a complete stranger who never had any previous influence on your mind and life. Curiosity in some form drives you to them and you start developing a bond with them.

Every relationship starts off pretty much on the same foot. A little bit of inhibition, a little bit of apprehension and a little bit of formality and a high dose of good manners. As it starts to build, inhibitions are shed off, apprehensions are forgotten and the doses of good manners are replaced by jokes and backslapping. You become so emotionally attached to the person that life would seem bleak and lonely without a day’s meeting and the share of smiles. You believe that the other person feels the same about you and you believe in it.

As easy as it is to build a relationship, one small incident is all that it takes to reverse the entire process of building it. It makes you wonder,

“Is it the same person I knew a few years before?”

“Where has all the magic gone?”

“Where were those smiles that we shared and all the wonderful feelings that we felt?”

Then comes an awkward phase where the people accuse each other for spoiling a wonderful past that cannot be recreated. They get so busy analyzing what they had lost that they forget what they have to look forward to. They dig in so deep that they forget that there can be a path which can lead them back to that previous wonderland where they were blissfully happy.

When, at last they realize that there was a way that they hadn’t discovered, they realize that it was too late. By then their paths have forked and taken turns which would never make them meet ever again. Again, it leaves you wondering, is everything ephemeral in this human lifetime?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Wishes for a wonderful person

Life is a wonderful journey. You meet people, you make friends, you share some memorable moments with them, at some point of time you part with them and then slowly you lose touch with them. But some people create an impact on your life. They become such an integral part that, when you lose touch with them, life appears to be like a jigsaw puzzle with one vital center piece missing. Today, this post is dedicated to one such person, who will stay in my heart forever.

Three years back when I saw her for the first time, my impressions were negative. She looked to me like a haughty and arrogant girl who assumed too much about herself. It was by mere chance that I started taking to Rishita Allika. We were in the bus and we just shared an opinion about a topic. There began a friendship that would eventually change my opinion about her, and in addition gave me a wonderful friend, a sister, with whom, though not related by blood I share the same warmth and affection.

The thing about this girl is that, you need to know her before you can start noticing her good qualities. I can never forget how she wrote all my notes for two weeks in the third semester when I was suffering with chicken pox. I owe her my mid marks in Probability, which she very patiently thought me. One thing that I can never put in proper words is the emotional support she gave me in tough times.

One more thing that you can’t help but find amusing are her gestures and facial expressions. Narrate a story with creepy houses and emaciated old women; you will be surprised with her reaction. You may eve muse to yourself, “Now, was it really that scary?” Give her a reason to get excited, you’ll find the voices of the others disappearing into the background. Her opinions about people and her ideas are always interesting to know. :)

Chellemma, you are a very special person. For all the J bus journeys, for all the telephone conversations, for all the yahoo chit chatting, for the meetings, for all the joys that we shared and for all the sorrows that we shared, I love you and I can never forget you forever.

On your 20th birthday, I wish you have a wonderful birthday and more wonderful moments to come in your life. I wish you cut a hundred cakes made of everlasting happiness topped with everlasting health and wealth with a candle of success that cannot be extinguished by wind or by time.

Lots of love,
Harsha :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What is it? Part 4

One very intelligent heartbroken person quoted that, our brain contains a box of compressed crappy memories. Each time you see a person or something that reminds you of that crappy memory, an entire chain of interconnected incidents come back into you head and you feel nothing but miserable.

I carefully nursed the left arm on which I landed on the floor. The dream was a bad one, a crappy one to be more precise. I thought time and age would make me see the funny part of my love for Sanjana. But that never really happened. Three years post all that I still felt bad and I still felt angry for her stupidity. I scratched my head and tried to get back into the present. I focused on my surroundings.

Everything was in place. I stood up carefully and walked to the point where I last remembered standing. I spotted a part of the carpet jutting out of its fixture. It looked dangerous, the reason for my slipping. I saw a little mark of blood on the pedestal on which the big oak bed was mounted. I looked at my own reflection in the mirror and spotted a little mark of clotted blood.

“Nasty hit!” I thought to myself.

I was not feeling good. My head felt messed up and giddy. My reinitiated thoughts were not helping me much. I was still not convinced if the voice was my imagination. It felt so real, so enthusiastic, the restless tone, it was deliberate for sure. What if the voice was normal? It would sound like someone, a voice I heard recently.

“Oye Sanju! Come fast ya. . . I’m getting late.” Maggie was screaming. Her voice sounded breathless.

“Come fast . . . Come fast . . . Come fast . . .”

Why the hell was she getting so restless? The sound of her voice gave me chills. It sounded inhuman. It sounded like that . . .

Before I could place my thoughts, I saw a parade of ants on the carpet. They were marching in two perfect sets. I had a sudden urge to locate the start of the line and the end of the line. I retraced the line backwards to locate a half eaten Snickers bar lying on the floor. Yesterday night, I was eating; I put this in my pocket and climbed up the steps. I forgot all about it. It must have fallen off when I made my great fall I thought. I picked it up and put it in the dustbin. I saw the line still marching in its two perfect sets. I wanted to test the little guys and I created a little confusion by disturbing the line in the center. The little guys ran helter-skelter for a while but soon they were back in their perfect sets, marching placidly towards their destination. Their march proceeded up the wall and went behind one of the oak panels. I moved the panel aside to spot the little hole into which the ants were diverging in. It was not the ant hole but the object beside the hole that caught my attention. A little speaker and a microphone caught my attention. From my Air force training I could guess that they were high capacity receivers and transmitters.
Why did Anita aunty get these things installed? And moreover, why here? I sat on the bed and stretched out my left hand. The panel was within hands reach. I was wondering where it led to when the loud ringing of the door bell started me. I walked out of the room carefully and sprinted all the way to the door jumping two steps at a time. Maggie was at the door.

“Hey man! Had a nice nap? God! You look totally messed up. What’s that patch below your hair? Is that blood?” Her voice increased a note higher and her eye brows ached up as she tried to lift up my tousled hair to look at my injured head.

“It’s nothing Maggie, just a small scratch, tripped over the carpet yesterday night. I’m fine now, don’t get all worked up about it, Anyway what ‘s up?” I said trying to distract her attention from the patch of dried blood on my head.

“Are you sure it’s okay? It looks quite nasty. Actually I was wondering if you could give me a lift till the next bus stop. I know it’s quite some distance but my damned Scooty got screwed. And I’m so late for work.” She said.

“No it’s quite alright now, and yes I can give you a lift. Wait up.” I said and went
inside to fetch my bike keys.

“I thought you and Sanju worked in the same company.” I said, taking in a lung full of fresh air.

“Yeah, but different in shifts though. The company provides a car for the people who work in the night shift. Sanju is a part of that team.” Maggie answered.

“Oh. . . “I said as her face came into my head.

“She keeps telling me about you. I must’ve listened to your college story like a
thousand times you know. Sanju is a little idiot when it comes to relationships.
It’s almost like she enjoys the pain of being separated from the person she loves.” Maggie said, her voice transacting into sadness with each word.

“I don’t know. I always tried to understand her, failing miserably each time.” I told Maggie. The topic made my heart as heavy as a stone of lead; I hoped my voice sounded normal and emotionless.

“Sanju’s parents brought up some really good matches for her you know. Highly qualified guys, rich and well settled. She rejected each one of them.” Maggie was saying.

“What is she looking for, man? Is she still stuck with that “person-I-cannot-live-without”, shit? She should get real. It’s simply not going to happen with her. She’ll remain unmarried for the rest of her life.” I said my voice heavy with sarcasm. I wished she was married to a fat dude with some three painful kids, so that I didn’t feel this little hope inside. I accelerated in disgust.

“You know, she asked one of the guys to write a poem for her. A PhD from IIT, he was shocked and said he couldn’t write. Sanju then gave him an imaginary situation where he had to propose to her. You know what he said?” Her voice began to break as she tried to control a surge of laughter.

“What?” I really wanted to have a good laugh myself.

“Okay. . . He went like, Sanjana; I’m so and so from IIT Delhi, employed in so and so company earning so and so income per year. I have everything you need for a comfortable life. Will you marry me?” Her voice transformed itself into a fully fledged roar of laughter.

“It was really practical of the guy you know. What else do you expect from arranged marriages? You expect romantic shit from a person who knew that you existed three months ago, heard your voice one month ago, seen your face ten minutes ago? You got to get real Maggie. When you don’t have the guts to accept the feelings you have for someone. Adjust with whatever you have in life.” My voice became loud as agitation mingled with frustration.

Maggie who had sobered down by then let out a big sigh and said, “She regrets it Neeraj. She regrets not having you in her life.”

My stomach gave an uneasy jolt as Maggie’s sentence registered in my head. Why did she even remember me? Was I not a dark shadow of her past? Wait, she regrets it? That tone of voice—why did it sound familiar?

“I’ll get down here.” Maggie’s words broke my train of thought and I braked.

“Make your presence felt Neeraj. She was so stupidly happy when she saw you last night. She doesn’t know how to articulate it. She was confused and is still confused about her feelings to you. But she likes you, this much I can tell you.” Maggie said as she got down from the bike.

“Why should I still care for her? She turned me down years ago.” I questioned Maggie.

She turned around, gave me a little smile and said, “You will. . . Because no matter whatever you say, you still love her”
She turned around and started whispering, “She loves you. . . She loves you. . . She loves you. . .”

I felt an uncontrollable urge to see Sanjana. I turned my bike around and reached her place.I was worried when she didn’t answer the door for ten minutes. Finding it open I pushed it open slowly and peeped inside the house.

Sanju was curled into a ball on one of the bean bags and was weeping with the phone in her lap.

Something was really wrong, really wrong.

Friday, March 5, 2010

What is it? Part III

I was a shadow now, travelling though a vortex of emptiness. Is this death? My entire body felt weightless and empty. My heart didn’t seem to beat anymore. I was rather hollow; I was a shadow I remembered. The figure that I saw right before I died was floating right in front of me. I felt a sudden urge to go see what it was. I tried to steer myself forward with greater speed my hands spread out in front of me to catch the fleeting black shadow that killed me. Slowly and steadily, I reached the shadow and touched its side. I felt an electric shock that shook my feeble system. The scene changed abruptly.

Wish you many happy returns of the day. . . I hope you have a wonderful life :)

I wished her at exactly 12.00 AM in the night. I was not expecting her to be awake and I was not expecting a reply even if she was awake. I was about to doze off, when my phone vibrated the sleep out of me. The name of the birthday girl on my screen took me by surprise.

Thanks a ton! Btw, why are you so invisible these days? You hardly come to college. . . She replied.

Actually, I’m busy with a few projects and I had this little accident also, so taking rest . . . :) I said

Why are you so careless? And why the hell didnt you tell me? She was pissed.

You don’t go around telling people that you had an accident I thought to myself. I wanted to change the topic.

I’m going to throw you a surprise tomorrow morning. . . I’m hoping that you’d like it. . .

You are giving it. . . So I will surely like it. . . But come only if you are feeling alright!

After exchanging the ritualistic good nights and sweet dreams, I went and saw the gift I made for her. The cover felt a little clumsy but I liked it. ‘You, me and our memories’ it read. After all, it is the love with which you give it that matters, I thought.

I was about to doze off when this thought entered my head. Did I do all this just for a girl who was my friend? Did I want her to be with me throughout my life? What was I expecting from her? The thought that I wouldn’t be seeing her pinched my heart. For the first time in my life, I felt that I would be missing someone if I parted from them.

I shifted uneasily in my bed as the thought process continued. What about the promise I made to her? Did I not promise her that I would be only friends with her forever? How could I betray her trust in me? How could I fool my own feelings for her?

Question kept popping up in my head, questions for which I was not able to find a solution. The night’s sleep was filled with confused thoughts and jumbled visions of the future.
“Go home and see it. Don’t open it here. “I told her.

“Hmm. . . I wonder what this box contains. . .” I looked at her face as she revolved the present which was wrapped up in a square box. Her eyes deep eyes sparkled with excitement as she pressed her lips together in concentration.

“You’ll find out dude, why so excited. But this is like extremely personal. You should make sure that no one else gets to see this.”

“Of course, right then! I will get going then.” She carefully put the box in her bag and walked off.

“You are fooling yourself. You are in love with her. If you don’t express it, you will regret letting her go for the rest of your life.” A voice inside my head warned me.

“But I promised her. I don’t want to hurt her and become a problem for her to face” I questioned back.

“Is your promise to her worth your love?” The voice shot back at me.

“No!” My heart said in reflex. I didn’t want to lose her.

Your gift is simply the best gift I ever received in my entire life. Thank you so much. I cannot tell you how much I liked it. I’m so glad I found a friend like you. I get scared sometimes. .

“You are misleading her. You are masking your real feelings.” My stomach twisted with a pang of guilt as I saw her message that night.

Glad that you liked it, but why are you scared? Scared for what?
I replied, still feeling guilty.

It’s just that I keep losing my best friends, Im very unlucky when it comes to friends. . . I dont want to lose you Neeraj

That’s the end I thought. I couldn’t mislead her anymore. I couldn’t break her trust in me. I decided to kill my feelings. I started avoiding her from that day onwards. I didn’t talk to her in college and took a different route home. It was killing me, not seeing her smile, not staring into the depths of her eyes. But I was ready to do whatever it took not to break my promise.

“Hello! Do you remember me? Why are you not talking to me? What’s wrong with you?” Sanjana was at my place one day after college. We were talking on our terrace.

“If I told you the reason, you wouldn’t like it.” I replied.

“What the hell? Tell me the reason” She screamed.

“I love you Sanjana. I’m crazy about you. It’s just that I didn’t know what to do after I realised this. I never figured out if I should break my promise by telling you how I felt or if I should break my own heart by acting like a friend. So, I tried escaping from you. But today, since you asked me why, here I am. . . Sanjana, no matter what I promised, my heart yearns for you. You make my life beautiful. I want to live with you, grow old with you and die with you. I love you!”

She looked startled. She retraced a few steps. Her voice started quivering as she tried to say something.

“Stop it Neeraj, you can’t do this to me. You promised me. . . This changes everything. . . “ She ran off leaving me as the loser who finally broke his promise.

“I cannot love you. For me, love is when you think that you cannot live without that person.” She told me two days after that.

“There will never come a point in live where you cannot live without someone. God gave us this wonderful gift of forgetting the bad things that happen in our life. We are designed to live, not to die when someone we love dies.” I said.

“I don’t know. . . I will go to those extremes maybe. . . I don’t know. . . “She said.

“I respect your feelings. If that is what you think about love, I respect your opinions. I’ll never bother you again. But someday I hope that you realise your concept about people and relationships is wrong. Life is always an optimisation. Genuine love is not about life or death with someone, it’s about living your life with a person who loves to live with you, Sanjana” I said and left.

Though I convinced myself that it was over, my heart never stopped hoping that she would understand my feelings for her one day and she would love me. But that day changed it all.

“It’s becoming difficult for me to keep this with me. Take it back.” She gave me back the scrapbook of memories that I gave her on her birthday. I tried to get a grip over my anger before I spoke.

“If you want to get rid of me and my memories, you could have done it in a much easier way by destroying the memories yourself. “

I walked off, resolving that I would never speak to her again.

The surroundings of that evening faded away into a blur of colours and soon I was in the empty vortex again, floating.

“She regrets it. . . She regrets it. . . “The shadow sang.

Wait till I catch you I thought.

I jerked my floating shadow in one violent motion. Just as I was about to catch the shadow, it disappeared and I landed on the floor. The morning sun shining brightly into my eyes.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What is it? Part II

I’ve always heard that Palak residency created headache for the people who lived there. But this time, I got to experience it for myself. Satish said that he couldn’t make it there that evening as he had to take his parents out on a medical appointment which was that very evening. So, I was stuck with my mornings slightly damp clothes. The afternoon’s rain had settled into a nice bright evening. I moved from an easy chair in the lawn to the interiors after I heard my tummy rumbling. Food! I needed to eat something to survive the evening. I got out and walked to the cosy little restaurant at the end of the road and had some hot Aloo Paranthas. I got some more packed for the night and came back to Palak residency.

I settled myself in the drawing hall. Since no one ever remained in the house for a very long time, Anita aunty tried to make the place a better bargain by not moving any of the furniture that they installed in their house. I sat cross legged in one of the dark leather sofas that had an inch thick cushion. I connected my music player to the music system and was almost dozing off into a tired nap when the trouble began. The lights started flickering and soon, there were short power failures each lasting a minute or so. I decided to go out and check if there was any problem with the fuse. After a painful search in the hall, I located a torch and made stumbled across to the main switch board to find out that the fuse was absolutely fine. The weather was turbulent again. The wind was blowing hard and I found out that the branches of one of the big Jackfruit trees were brushing against the wires making the supply discontinuous. The branches were too high up and there was nothing I could do till the morning to get the problem solved. So, I came back inside and started searching for some candles only to find out that there were none in the house. I decided to call on the neighbours to ask them if they had any.
I was in for an utter shock when I saw her as she opened the door. She didn’t change much from the last time I saw her. Last time brought back sad memories which didn’t seem too sad now.

“Hey! Oh. . . Wow, now this is a very big surprise” I said trying to sound pleasant, not quite sure what my facial expression conveyed.

“Neeraj? Is that really you? What are you . . .? Wow! Yeah, I’m surprised as well” She said, she looked utterly flustered and her face was that of a stunned cartoon character.

“You haven’t changed much. You gained a little bit of weight and your hair grew out a little bit, but you look pretty much the girl I remember” I said.

I could have tried to make more formal conversation especially after our last face off but then my natural instinct over powered me and I could not help but notice how she looked, given that I was seeing her after six long years.

She responded with a big embarrassed smile flashing her dimples. College memories started flooding my head as she started speaking.

“Yeah, I guess I put on a little bit of weight. But, god! You’ve changed a lot Neeraj. You lost more weight. Your tan is worse. Where have you been?” She said leaning against the door locking her deep black eyes with mine.

I lost focus for a while. But long experience in college made me good at not getting lost in that deep glance of hers.

“Well me? I am working here in Cochin in the IAF as a Flight maintenance engineer. And what are you doing here? I thought you would never leave home. Can I come in?”

She reacted in her usual manner when she forgets something routine like calling people inside when they came to her place.

“Oh yeah! I just forgot. Come in come in. She said and opened the door fully. I heard the latest Telugu songs issue in full blast from somewhere inside the house. I glanced around the flat as she went inside to call someone. It was a single bedroom flat neatly arranged. Girls I thought. She must have been working somewhere here.

“Neeraj, this is my roommate and my best friend Manisha. You can call her Maggie.”

Maggie was also Sanjana’s age with a round face and medium built. She looked quite warm and friendly. I could instantaneously make out the reason for her nickname. Maggie had long black hair that looked like her nickname. She greeted me in a nice deep melodious voice.

“Oh! So, you are Neeraj. So good to see you man! I’ve heard lots about you.” She extended her hand and shook it vigorously without giving me a chance to introduce myself.

“Oh! So you already know me huh? Well I’m not sure what Sanju told you about me, but good to see you.” I said and smiled.

Sanjana then went on to explain how she got tired of sitting at home after her engineering and how she managed to convince her parents to allow her take up a job. She worked as a systems engineer in one of the MNC’s there in Cochin.

“But, they sent you here all on your own?” I said giving her a quizzical look. I knew her parents quite well.

“That is where I come in, Sanju and I are like second cousins and we got selected into the same company and at the same time, so we like got a joint permission and we landed up here.” Said Maggie making a gesture of a plane landing.

“So, how is everything else? Your parents haven’t started husband hunting yet?” I asked looking at Sanju and then turning to Maggie to avoid the awkwardness.

“Well, I’ve found a guy here in Cochin. We like each other and he happens to belong to the same caste so no problems there. We’ve already notified our parents and the wedding is like a few months away” Said Maggie in an as-a-matter-of-fact voice.

“What about you Sanju?” I asked, in a flat voice.

“I’d rather not talk about it” She said and turned away towards the window. A mask appeared over her face as she tried to hide her emotions as she always did.

“I guess you haven’t found your I-cannot-live with-out guy, is it?”

There was this awkward silence for a minute or two. Memories started flooding my mind as I remembered college. It’s strange how an entire chain of unconnected events that have been long locked away in my heart came back to my mind after I saw the subject of those memories.

“I came for candles. I’m staying in Palak residency for the weekend. I have some problems with the power connection there. I’ll be glad if you can give me a few candles.” I said and stood up. I had this strange feeling in my gut and it didn’t feel good.

Maggie who was quite unperturbed with my awkwardness went inside and fetched three candles and gave them to me along with a match box.

“Do come over for lunch tomorrow afternoon. There are hardly any recent restaurants around this place.” Said Maggie with a nice little smile.

“I would love to, if that would be okay with Sanju.” I said, turning to Sanju.

“Why am I being the jerk here? I don’t have any problems.” She said, and walked off inside.

Palak Residency looked darker and scarier with the wind howling though the place. I lit the three candles in the hall and settled myself to sleep in one of the bean bags lying in the hall. My appetite had long died after seeing Sanju there in Cochin.
The day I proposed to her, the day she rejected, the day she finally broke my heart. A record that I thought had long ceased to exist in my brain started playing itself all over again.

“Not your mistake, not your mistake, not your mistake. . . “
Was it a voice in my head? It seemed to come from the outside.

I listened more intently. It seemed to come from one of the Eastern bedrooms in the first floor.

“Not your mistake, not your mistake. . . “Sang a steady voice, breathless and hushed.

I brushed it off as my imagination for the first twenty minutes. But as I tried to sleep, it started getting to my head. I was now pissed and irritated.

“Not my mistake?” Hold on for a second I shouted and grabbed the torch lying on the table. I climbed the steps two at a time and looked around. The voice became clearer as I reached the landing on the first floor. It seemed to come from my left, Anita auntie’s bedroom. I stormed off towards the room, my head spinning due to a splitting headache that I had by then. The steady hum of the voice that seemed to come from nowhere was irritating the shit out of me.

I slammed the door open and the voice stopped all of a sudden. My eyes were blurred with tears that started running. Damn, headache and sleeplessness.

I scanned the room with keen eyes. The big double oak double cot looked impressive even in the darkness. Pictures of Anita aunty and her kids, the shining wooden cupboards, the 30 inches flatiron television, were the things that adorned the lovely room.

It was all of a sudden that I saw it coming towards me. It came out so suddenly that I had no time to react. Even before I could make out what it was, everything blackened out and my mind went blank.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What is it? Part I

I moved to the left with speed, still holding my crouching position. I hurriedly removed the bead of sweat from my eye brows that threatened to block my view at the most critical point of time. I threw myself at the yellow object that bounced before my eyes. As I moved towards it, the direction changed and it spun to the right. Stopping myself from moving further to the left, I jumped to my right, just in time to catch it. I stretched my shoulders fully, eyes still on the ball and gave it a conclusive stroke with my bat and watched it as it bounced off the other side of the table in the blink of an eye lid.

“23-21, you win the game dude”, Satish announced, sticking his tongue at my opponent.
Swathi made a face and turned away from Satish.

“Chill guys! You did well Swathi, you’ve really improved your game”, I said and gave her an appraising nod.

“See, you need to encourage new talent Satish”, Said Swathi and gave Satish a smack on his head with her table tennis racquet.

“Hey, but you still lost your arrogant bet dumbo”, said Satish and gave her a short jab.

“Whatever guys, I’m out of here.” I said and walked outside.

The salty humid smell of the early morning sea filled my nostrils as I stretched myself on the lush green lawns of our Sports club. This was one of the activities I really enjoyed doing everyday ever since I got posted in Cochin for my new job. I searched for my mp3 player and found it in one of my pockets wires all tangled up in a mess. I settled myself down on one of the rocks facing the ocean and started fiddling with the entangled wires. After a minute of struggle, they opened up and I switched on my music machine, listening to the early morning trance music that I do every day after a round of table tennis.

I settled myself pretty comfortably, head in my palms and elbows resting on my legs which were settled into a cross legged stance. The last three years have been wonderful. I found a good job that paid me a decent salary, gave me time to pursue my other interests as well. The new city gave me wonderful new pals who never made me miss home. Just as I was entering into a trance where I was really not sure if I was awake or asleep, the vibration of my cell phone brought me back to my senses. I pulled it out and flicked the green button and Anita aunties voice came over the phone.

“Neeraj, how are you doing son?” She said in her always warm voice.

“Doing good aunty, life here is going great. How are you doing? Everything fine?” I said trying to figure out why she called this early in the morning. Was anything wrong?

“Everything is fine beta, just wanted to ask a small favour from your side.” her voice sounding vexed.

“Of course aunty, what is it?”

“There are some people coming over tomorrow to see our property there in Cochin. Can you just go there and show them around the place and tell them the price and other details” She sounded unsure of my response.

Anita aunty was gifted a beautiful estate in Cochin by her husband on the eve of their first marriage anniversary. But later, they found out that the place had some problems associated with it. Locals believed that the property was haunted. Though Anita aunty and her husband were rational modern people, they faced problems whenever they went to Palak Residency. Many a times, one of their daughters used to fall sick or one of their servants used to meet with small freak accidents when arranging things for their arrival. They were in the process of disposing the property to someone else but it kept coming back to them with the same problems again and again.

“Did you tell the people about the place aunty?” I enquired, though I knew that Anita aunty would never tamper with the facts.

“Yes beta, I did tell them about the place. But, they sounded pretty dismissive about everything. They also further added that some of their relatives were experts of Vastu and recommended the place as good for them.”

“Cool! I’ll go show them around then. No problems, I’ll take the day off tomorrow.”

“Thanks beta. Why don’t you come over to Bangalore for this summer? Kids would enjoy your company a lot”

“Sure aunty, I’d love to come if ma permits me to leave her alone this summer.”

“I’ll convince her to leave you this time. But, thanks again for taking the pain.”

“Arey aunty, stop it now! I’ll catch you later” I said and cut the call.

I was on my bike the next day, traveling through the suburbs of Cochin. I reached Palak residency at nine thirty in the morning, though the winter morning was still dark. I pulled on my jacket closer to get rid of the cold. Rubbing my hands together, I opened the gate and entered the property. Situated in a plush residential locality in the suburbs of Cochin, the property was an awesome place with a well attended lawn and a three storey building. The people who wanted to buy the property arrived at ten and after an hour of looking at the place, they agreed on buying it. They thanked me for showing around and left at eleven, telling me that they would move in after a week.

I told Anita aunty about the deal and she was pretty happy about it. Just as I was about to leave, it started raining heavily, making my return journey impossible. By the time it stopped, it was late in the afternoon. Just as I was about to leave, I had a call from Satish.

“Dude, my parents came over from Delhi on some urgent business, I was not able to find a proper hotel for them, and can you share rooms with them for today?”

“How long will they be staying dude?” I enquired.

“They’ll be here on tomorrow and day after. They’re leaving on Monday morning.” He said, sounding uncomfortable.

“Chill, Weekend only no. I’ll stay here at Anita aunties place tomorrow and day after. Let them be comfortable.” I said.

“Are you sure that you don’t have any problem, we can look for any alternative. . .“

“Arey yaar, told you no, I’m absolutely fine. Relax. Take good care of your parents. But make sure you get me some clothes and my brush in the evening”

“Thanks dude. Sure, I’ll get your stuff by six or seven” he said, and hung up.

So I had a weekend to spend in a place which I was not so familiar with, I thought to myself.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Night's Hunt!

Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who visited by blog till date and thus helped it in making a thousand hits. So, I would like you all to keep visiting and keep giving me suggestions that would help me get better as a writer. So, why wait? Let’s enter the dream world. : )

My dreams, right from my childhood have been very fascinating. Inspired by hundreds of cartoons that I used to watch day in and day out, my imaginations were inspired by huge dinosaurs, gigantic machines and impressive haunted forts. The common element of all these dreams being that, nothing in my dreams is small. Right from the animals to the forts, everything is huge and powerful. So powerful that the commonest of frogs in my dreams can take down an entire house with its sheer weight. ;)

Another feature of my dreams is that, they follow a pattern. I once in the first year if my under graduation had a series of almost twenty dreams set in the same surroundings but with different characters. This is the dream that I’m going to tell you in the subsequent paragraphs. The most important of all, I always remember most of my dreams. I narrate them to my friends to make sure that I never forget the important ones. So, let me induce you into my dream world where impossible is nothing. And rationality is considered irrational. : P

It is a chilly night. Everything around me is dark and rustling. My eyes open like they were shutters and not lids. I look around at the darkness that engulfs me. I hear myself hissing. I’m angry for some reason. I try to get up to have a better picture of where I stand. My hefty frame feels heavier than ever. It takes me a while to get up. As my eye level elevates from the ground, I get a better picture of my surroundings. Tall green grass forms a beautiful pasture around me. It’s a midsummer night on a full moon day. I hear a rumbling sound somewhere in the background. My head turns a 180 degree with surprising speed and ease. I spot the source of the sound, the river that is running along the meadow. As my senses tune to the surroundings around me, I hear the rumble grow louder by the minute and finally the sound stabilizes to a gentle roar. The water looks brilliant, radiating silver from the shining full moon. I swallow in a dose of fresh air that fills my lungs with a hiss. For the second time in the night, I hear a second rumble. But the sound this time, seemed to come from within me, a rumble that set my insides on fire. I was feeling hungry. I wanted to hunt. But why should I hunt? Should I not satisfy my hunger with the fruits that I see on the trees nearby? Should I not satisfy my thirst with the fresh water running in the river? My senses said I needed something bigger, something more delicious. And the liquid should be more than just normal water. It should be more vitalizing and energising, something hotter, something with a taste to it. I scan my immediate vicinity, my senses sharper, and my brain working faster. I could almost sense the vibrations in my surroundings. I wanted to hunt, to kill. I find something moving in a distance. Ah, food. Impulsively, my muscles contract and my body becomes rigid. I can feel the wetness oozing in my mouth. But the smarter part warned me to think, think of a plan that would ensure that the prey shouldn’t slip away. Slowly, I start crawling though the grass like water on a plane. So swift were my movements that, even the sharpest of ears couldn’t make out the faint rustle that my movements made. I was an invisible enemy plane hiding in a cloud bag, waiting for my chance.

Inch by inch, I close in onto my prey, a fully grown animal dressed in some colours that didn’t suit his natural appearance. It seemed to be humming something to itself. Poor thing, didn’t know that its life would end in a few minutes. As I raise my head from the darkness to reveal myself to my victim, my head reaches a towering ten feet from the ground. My victim senses my presence as I’m about to strike. It runs on its legs his instincts of survival aiding it to gain speed. I get back into the grass and I start moving through the grass once again. Eyes were of little use to me when I was able to sense the distance with the sound my prey made. I hear a creaking sound and the unhooking of a heavy latch in the distance. I raise my eyes above the grass and almost smile to myself. The prey did his move just according to my plan. He entered my castle, the chamber of death for my victims. It manages to secure the lock before I could manage to gain entrance. I hear a low hiss escape my chest with fury. My swift senses manage to spot a hole in one of bigger walls. I remember making it myself one day. With one lucid movement in creep in though the narrow slit and enter my castle. The huge central hall was glistening with the light that came from a thousand candles lighted all around the place. The sparkles were added by the reflections of the crystals that hung from my chandelier. I see a dark cloud engulf the moon though one of my windows that extended all the way to the ground. As my sense of smell drinks in the surroundings, the fragrance of my Lillie’s hits my nostrils and I experience a momentary high, forgetting my hunger. Another rumble issues from my stomach and I focus back on the work at hand. The stench of my victims sweat seemed to lay a trail to me in the deep fragrance. I tip toe on the spiral staircase at the end of my grand reception hall, making almost zero sound.

I spot my victim standing hesitantly on the bridge of my death chamber. The bridge was narrow and didn’t support weights of the victims if they were not swift in their run across. Below was a gigantic iron ball with spikes long enough and thick enough to drill in holes through the bodies of the victim. The victim seemed to take time in measuring his chances of survival, too late. I emit a hiss and raise myself on my lucid body. The victim paralysis with fright and takes an automatic step back in cover. The victim makes a choice and decides to sprint across the bridge. With almost zero effort, I throw a part of my body across the victim blocking him from the opposite direction. That part of me seemed to float in mid air. The victim, completely castled by my sudden move, paralyzes completely and his senses freeze. Dead senses meant half dead. Only the physical force needed to be taken out of him. My head now suspended in mid air, raises a few feet higher with little effort, my body moving like a liquid below me. Adrenaline rushes though my blood and my teeth start emitting a low viscous transparent fluid. I open my moth wide, two pointed razor sharp teeth showing, dripping with the liquid. I dig in my teeth deep into the victim, as my body wraps itself around it, arresting its final facilities of motion. The blood of my prey enters my mouth, still warm and fresh just as I liked it. I squeeze the prey dry before I devour it. I crawl back across my hall, idle and lazy after a tiresome hunt which didn’t prove to be futile. As I come back into the lawn again, to gaze at the bright moon and the shining stars, I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the cold black water. My midsection looked bulged and my forty foot length seemed shorter. I give myself a satisfied hiss, my snakes’ hunger satisfied, not wanting to eat till I feel hungry again. I look for a place to sleep with no fear of anything. I am a snake, a hunter made by nature. I kill only when I’m hungry unlike my recent prey which eats without reason.
When I wake up in the morning, I find myself totally disoriented and confused. What was with this whole snake episode? Maybe it’s time we changed and stopped unnecessary hunting and killing. I try to get my bearings back and align myself before I begin to college. Maybe, someone or something did try to send a message across to me.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I sat in the groping darkness looking for a means of escape. My fading strength and growing anxiety only made things worse. My brain started clouding and my thought process became slower, the first sign of impending death. I heard a low grumble from somewhere under me. The predator was fast approaching and I had no idea on how to face it.

“Don’t run! It will spot your foot falls with ease”, one of my brain warned.

“If you don’t run now, you will be hunted down sooner or later”, the other part countered.

The grumble transformed into a scream of vigour and anger. It was close approaching. I had to do something immediately to save my life. Then, the scream ceased and I spotted something lurking in the shadows behind me. My instincts to survive over powered everything and I broke into a run. Fuelled by pure adrenaline I run across the darkened wide hallway. As I ran, blind with fear, I felt wetness on my dry lips. It tasted like iron. My nose was bleeding from the exertion. But I did not have time to stop. Rest would mean death to me at this point of time. As the screaming of my hunter drowned away, my knees faltered and I collapsed, face down. My legs ached terribly from the strain and my head was spinning. The whole world was a blur of colours to me at that moment. Why was I here? Why was I being hunted down like this? Questions began to swarm my brain as I started breathing though my mouth to supply more oxygen to my aching heart. Life had not been easy for me defending myself from the demons that tried to conquer my world. But I always fought, never trying for a compromise with the demons. I lost everyone and everything in the process. My loved ones, people who fought for me and people who fought with me. Why was I running now? When all that I could live for has been reduced to a pile of rubble? I was selfish. I wanted to save my own life when so many others could give their life for mine. What would I achieve from survival?

I heard footfalls approaching in my direction. The time has come, death was approaching and I had two options. Run and survive like a prisoner for the rest of my life. Fight and die like a hero, just like my brothers who fought for freedom till their very last breath. I felt a seething anger rise within me. My muscles tensed and a low roar rocked the insides of my body. Fear was replaced with recklessness, a recklessness that made my entire body numb and made the pain a nonentity. I looked around and found my sword hanging from the door. I smiled to myself as a shaft of moon light made it glitter. I was almost as if it was joining hands with me, for the cause of destroying the enemy. I lifted the sword and felt a wave of emotion pass within me. My brain felt light and clear. It had a single thought. KILL OR GET KILLED! The door unhinged with a loud crack and the predator came inside. It raised itself on its hind legs and opened its mouth, showing razor sharp glistening white teeth with saliva dripping from them. It was hungry and didn’t look in a mood to wait. It moved forward with lightning quick speed and pounced onto me with its full strong paws opening. I stood there, unmoving waiting for it to come. I flattened myself on the ground just as it was about to strike me on the face. The demon took a while to come to rest, its heavy frame finding it difficult to lose momentum. Meanwhile, I brought myself back to my full height and launched myself onto the demon. I caught hold of its rough scaly back and dg my sword deep into its back. The whole room shook as the demon fell to the ground letting out a scream of agony and pain. My vision blurred as the demon shook violently to get rid of me. I held firmly onto its back sinking my sword deeper and holding on tight to the hilt. It recovered soon enough and got back onto its full height. I pulled with all my energies and the sword which was stuck deep came out, bringing a blob of green sticky fluid along with it. I rolled onto the floor as the demon spun back with blinding speed and struck me in the ribs almost crushing them with the impact. I saw the living daylights being knocked out me as the pan began to spread through me. I landed a few hundred feet away, sprawled across the floor, blood issuing from my mouth and head. The demon was sure that it had me dead. It started running across the hall growling in anticipation for the tasty meal that lay in front of it. I had only one chance. The sword was still in my hand. I could still move it though I was not sure if it was in a single piece. As the demon ran to me, I saw everything slow down and my vision could focus on nothing but the moving shape. The demon that destroyed my world, the demon that destroyed my family, the demon that made took away my happiness. I felt desperate. Was I to die in its hands? I lifted myself just as it was about to pounce on me. It caught the demon surprised and without time to stop. I raised the sword and stuck it deep into its throat. It dropped to the ground with a dull thud, dying instantly, more out of shock. I stood there, swaying for a second. My heart filled with contentment. The moon looked brighter than it ever did in my entire life, before everything blackened out permanently.