Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Premonition of Death

Posted by at 10:42 AM
This post is featured in Blogadda's Tangy Tuesday Picks (Dec-3, 2013). Check out the whole list here.


I am going to die. Soon.
I was brought to this world by my mother who had high hopes for me. She put in all her effort, those sleepless nights, to make sure that I turn out to be a memorable entity. My father,her husband,  whom she used to call her true inspiration, always stood by her,  sensing her needs that she expected of him, whenever she was stuck with me not being the way she wanted me to be . My father would look into my problem , try to re-read my state of being, and while being in his usual friendly self - a different set of watchful  eyes- he would help me out with my shortcomings. Both of them brought me up well. Slowly, but steadily, there came the day when I was ready to face the world.
My moment came when I was exploring, and allowing people to explore me- my psyche, and how I functioned. Some thought I was too smart for them, some thought I was 'unfitting', and then came a group of individuals who started being with me. They approved of me, and I would approve of them. They introduced me to more people who would like my company, and enjoy hanging out with me. They shared their opinions,  and I would love to listen to them in silence. They would look up to me as a genuine buddy, that responsible friend who will always  ensure that they are taken down the right path even if they drifted away. I was happy. Life was good. It was difficult at first, but it was rewarding.
Then I met her. I realized I needed someone who would listen to me as well. And we hit it off instantly. She was charming, dynamic, beautiful, and caring. She was amazing , the way she would read my mind like no other person had done so far. She liked me even though I had my fair share of faults. Soon we were in love. And soon enough, as more and more people began to notice me in different walks of my life, I started becoming more successful in my life, and she was always there for me. I was making my parents proud. They were widely being recognised because they gifted me to the world. I couldn't thank God the way they were now being repaid for their efforts and the days of struggle and rejection they had seen while raising me. I was happy , the world looked happier, and the people around me looked the happiest.


I am the best-selling fiction novel of the past decade. And how I know I am going to die soon?


They announced last night that they are turning me into a major motion picture.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Time Travel to Childhood

Posted by at 9:21 PM
What if, we could time-travel to our childhood days?
Last night, I had a dream that I was granted a wish-  to be able go back to my childhood days. And I have been thinking ever since - What would I do if I could go back to that time? Would I fix certain things? Would I change a few things to make my life better?
And I have found my answer.
Nah. I would do neither of these.
My childhood was great in its own way. That growing up with the Potter books and countless mystery books, that playing of 8-bit games on TV and almost tearing off the cords of my console while trying to make Mario jump over a ditch, that coming back hone with unfinished lunch in my lunchbox and getting chided for the same, that reading of all the stories of the Hindi and  English  textbooks at the beginning of the session, that playing cricket for long hours under the scorching sun,  that collection of pokemon cards, collection of tazos- getting punished by the teacher if she found us playing pokemon  card games during the class, all of them, such good memories. I can add so many of these small but awesome things of my childhood but the most important part is that, it was awesome, in its own way.
So what if I could not always get what I wanted, so what if that teacher in 4th grade was partial to the other kid in class and gave him better grades than me, so what if I fought with a good friend of mine and we did not talk for 4 days after that, till we were ultimately made to take part in a 3-leg race (two of our legs would be tied) and we ended up tied at the first place, so what if I had so many embarrassing moments in front of my teachers, some strangers, girls, friends, etc, so what if I couldn't achieve many things that were expected of me.
I  realized, as I kept on thinking, that if only I knew as a child, that life is going to be so difficult and dynamic when I grow up, then perhaps I would have enjoyed my childhood even more.
And so, that is the only thing that I might do if I get a chance to time-travel to my childhood days- to tell the 9-year old myself to make the most of this life that he is living.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Pizzas and Side-Orders!

Posted by at 12:46 PM
We all are pizza lovers. Except for a few who 'claim' not to be (but I can bet their asses that they too eat pizza secretly) , we just love pizzas. We enjoy having a session of discussion over a pan of pizza.We enjoy watching a movie while a hot box of sizzling pizza is delivered at our doorstep. And it gets better if someone else is paying the bill. The best thing about a pizza is that a pizza loves you back. The cheesy perfection entangling with the chunky satisfaction- that's pure love man, pure and eternal love.
 
"I am so gooey. Eat me, eat me!"
Anyway, the purpose of this post is to share with you a small anecdote that I experienced , and I am sure you all experience at all sorts of  pizza outlets, when you try to do something like this:

You place a side-order, that is not a pizza.


Now by side-order ,what I mean is that it could be a cake, a can of coke, or just a plain simple pack of garlic bread. But the order would amount to somewhere around 100-150 bucks usually.

The other day,  when I was getting home from work, I stopped by the local food-court. Yeah food-courts are available locally here. I was hungry but I remembered that I have some food cooked and stored at home. So I thought of taking a box of Taco Indiana (God bless the Mexicans) from a pizza outlet Mommyknows (disclaimer: any similarity of the name to any brand in real is just a mere coincidence and a figment of your imagination). And so , this is the conversation with the guy at the billing counter that followed:

"Hello Sir, would you like to place an order?"
No you blithering idiot I am just here for the view. "Of course!"
"Great! Let me take you through today's special combos we have Sir. blah blah blah--"
"Hmm."
"..blah blah--"
"Hmm Hmm."
"..and , blah."
"Okay."
"So would you like to try one of these, Sir?"

"Err no, I would just want one Taco Indiana."

At this point, the counter guy looked up to me in a strange way.

"Anything else, Sir?"

"No thanks, this will do."

The guy kept batting his eyes and continued to stare at me in anticipation, a look mixed with apathy , angst and all those related a- words.

"Are you sure, Sir?"
"Yeah yeah."
"Would you like to order a pan pizza with this , Sir?"
"Err no that would be all."

He continued to fish. "We have this amazing offer Sir. If you take one medium pizza with this , you get a--"

"Nah not hungry really. Thanks. Could you please take the order?"
"Sure Sir."
*22 seconds later*
"Any soft-drinks , Sir? A coke, maybe?"
"No thanks, how much time will it take?"

The guy kept looking at me as if I have snatched his newly-bought smartphone and smashed it to the ground.

"A few minutes , Sir. "

*15 minutes later*

"Bill amount Rs 130, Sir."

"Thank you. Here you go."

I begin to take out the cash when he suddenly looks up.

"Would you like a carry-bag Sir?"

"No, I can take it in my backpack, thanks."

"Sir we have eco-friendly bags, just 5 rupees extra."

"Dude why the hell would I want to pay for a carry bag when I don't need one?!"

"Sir please calm down."
"Just give me my goddamn Taco and I will move!"

By this time, my appetite was dead. 

"Thank you Sir. Here you go."

He hands me the box. I begin to go towards the gate when he calls out:


"Sir your mobile number?"

"@#$^$#^#$$#$#$#!@@&*%!!!!!"

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

"Do Peacocks Exist?"

Posted by at 12:27 AM
The festive season is going on. And with the onset of the colorful mood of our glorious culture, we get a chance to get back to our roots, getting an opportunity to meet people we had forgotten to meet for the past one year and to be able to reconcile with our traditions.


I have got many cousins-a good lot of them. That's a good part of being an only child-teaming up gets only better, and sharing of opinions get fun at times. So one day, during the Durga Puja celebrations, one of them comes up with a question for me. Mind you, he is 6 years old. His question was-

" Dada, do peacocks exist?"


I answered his question with a casual "Yes indeed they do" at first, but then it got me thinking: what did he just ask? Does he believe that the existence of peacocks is merely inside that television and those magazines with colorful pages?

This got me thinking: What kind of a planet are we leaving for our future generations? Those species of flora and fauna that we used to come across quite normally as kids, are becoming objects of rare imagination these days. Maybe his scope of understanding and exploration was limited, but to think that we never asked this same question when we were of his age, negates that idea.

Seeing me pondering over his question, he came back to me and in an attempt to cheer me up, he said , "Don't worry Dada, even if the peacocks don't exist later, then they will come into the latest Angry Birds game (he meant an update) and then they will stay with us forever." I looked at him and couldn't do anything but smile back.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Damn, growing up..

Posted by at 11:17 PM
A popular online shopping website is celebrating Uncle Pai's Birth Anniversary by giving attractive discounts on Tinkle and Amar Chitra Katha titles. I had come back from a long but a satisfying day at work, and the first thing that I noticed after opening  Facebook  was this ad. Instantly, the gleam , that familiar gleam flashed in my eyes. This is the exact kind of euphoria I used to experience when I would see the latest copy of Tinkle delivered to my doorstep by the newspaper-guy during my childhood.

Memories began to come back to me. It's amazing how a particular memory of the past triggers a sort of a chain reaction that would connect and bring back all the related jovial memories of that time. Those days when I would read all the old editions of Tinkle digests from the archive of my school library, those afternoons before unit tests when a slim copy of the 72-paged colorful bliss would stay concealed in those huge textbooks which would be read in secrecy- all of that, started coming back.

I was so psyched and fascinated with Tinkle that I had also once recorded a series of stories , narrating the strips myself and thus I made my own version of Tinkle audio-cassettes. Suppandi, Pyaarelal, Tantri, Shambhu would mean the world to me. My summer would be spent reading and finishing the Holiday Special editions. I would save some stories so that I could read them during the later part of my vacation. I wrote a letter to Uncle Pai  as a part of the contest, and had won one of the 10 consolation prizes. I would come back from school every afternoon to inquire whether we received any reply from them. I even went to the post office one day to check whether it was misplaced. I remember that when I had eventually received a reply from the contest organizers, it contained a personal message from Uncle Pai , citing the fact that my letter reached them 17 days late  (email wasn't popular 10 years ago) , but since it wasn't in my control , and since I had posted it well before the deadline, so they had decided to give me the consolation prize anyway. I would keep that letter with me in my school-bag and would show it off to my school-friends with pride. Tinkle was the reason my English improved drastically, and was the precursor to me being an appreciator of creativity. I could never thank the team of writers and artists enough for what hey had gifted me and million other children like me , making me what I am today.

Excited, I went on to visit the website to order some issues of Tinkle. The covers, the pictures, the summary, they didn't appear appealing enough. It's as if they had lost the charm which would bind me, when I was a kid. The characters of the stories seemed pretty childish. The language seemed ordinary. I somehow couldn't place an order.

I have grown up , it seems. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Eastern Comedian

Posted by at 11:08 AM
'The Eastern Comedian'  was a well-known name in the alleys of Kolkata in the early 20th century. He used to do his shows for free and to entertain poor people. One day, he was noticed by some European tourists who were amazed by how he used his bodily gestures to convey a situation hilariously. These tourists took back the memories of his amazing performance with them.

Soon, he was signed up by a popular European theater house. The signing amount was a meager one; but money did not matter to our 'Teko Buro' -a name he was fondly given by the people back home when he had done a hilarious caricature of a bald old man. He used cheap props to look like the old man, and it emerged out as one of his funniest gigs. (Teko Buro means 'a bald old man' in Bengali)

His European tour became a success and he went on to do shows in other countries. People loved The Eastern Comedian. They enjoyed when he tried to offend the rich with his mimicry.He was touted to become a legend, until one night, he experienced a cerebral attack, that left him paralytic for the next decade. By the time he was fit to perform, the newer generation wouldn't recognize him anymore. Heartbroken, he returned to Kolkata and took up a job as a clerk.

Decades passed by. Our comedian was an old man now. He had a hunchback posture (the effects of the paralysis) and clear signs of old age. People called him 'Teko Buro' because of his appearance now. Nobody seemed to remember him as 'The Eastern Comedian' anymore.

But he had faith in himself that if given a chance, he'd gleefully reprise the role of 'Teko Buro' without any props this time.

 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Realizing Supernatural..

Posted by at 7:39 PM
A relative of mine had died a few months back. I never got a chance to familiarise myself with him but he was a very close relative belonging to my maternal side. Everyone in my family was deeply saddened, but was a bit relieved because of the fact that he was cured, well, in a way.

He had cancer.

I don't want to go into the specifics of the diagnosis but I had learned that the cancer had reached a very advanced stage before it was diagnosed, and to think that he was well and good when he saw through the wedding arrangements of his daughter, just a year back. My parents had attended the ceremony though I couldn't, owing to my college work. I couldn't attend his funeral as well. I did not want to.

Owing to the treatments and the recurring household expenses , his family had seen some serious financial crunch. This is where the central topic of my post begins.

My parents had coughed off a substantial amount of cash when they bought a new flat here in Kolkata last year. It was an urgency and wasn't being financially planned for years, as people usually do. Therefore, although the deal was a good one, the financial crisis had become mildly apparent. So as we were doing some cost-cuttings in our lifestyles, this sad demise of my relative had happened. And at the same time, I was in an emergent need of money for some work in my college. I usually wouldn't have to worry about it , I needed only ask my father for the same. But this time, I was short of some 20-30 grands, and as my family was in a bit of that financial crunch at that time as mentioned above, so my Dad had to delay the transaction for some time. Only that since I was unable to make the purchase, the people concerned with my college-work would ask me as to why I was delaying with the transaction. It was a casual affair so I did not worry about it much. Although, I would toss around a 'cover-up' story about my relative's demise-that my family had to aid them with some financial aid therefore my transaction was getting held up for some days.

I might have said this story 2-3 times to very few people, and when I did that, I had a certain eerie feeling inside me, that it was not a right thing for me to do, as in reality my parents weren't really helping the relative's family with some aid, as they themselves were caught up with that temporary short-coming. Today I realize in hindsight, that it was a terrible thing to do on my part.

Because I believe what had happened with me soon after, was nothing less than an act of supernatural forces. I am trying not to dramatize this, but trust me, I was so afraid after the incident that happened to me, that I haven't narrated this story to anyone till now. It was equally terrifying as it wasn't just a mere result of human error.

I met with an accident two days later.

It was 23rd Jan 2012, and as superstitious as I am with the date, here is an account of what had happened that morning. I was handling a company along with two other fellow coordinators. It was a mildly chilly morning. We were setting up the mini-audi where the pre-placement presentation of the company would take  place. At the last minute the laptop ceased to work. And we did not have another one at our disposal. So I decided to get my own laptop from hostel. I took the keys to my friend Sahil's activa and I drove off towards the hostel. Time was running out. I had to come back fast.

Of all my experiences in handling companies, I remember  keeping my composure , always. I never went astray with my actions, especially with my driving. We had faced worse situations than this, so it is evident that I wasn't supposed to drive rashly. But strangely enough , I did so , that day. It was as if I wasn't able to control my urge to speed up.

I reached my hostel in 2 minutes. I went to my room, took my laptop and before heading out, I checked it out just to make sure it was working. To my surprise, it wasn't. There was a serious display problem and it wasn't the problem of the screen, but of the graphic card. So I took my neighbor Pramod's laptop and started to drive back to the Placement Cell.

While crossing an intersection, there's a speed-breaker which is very much visible in the daytime. But strangely enough, as I drove, I couldn't see it from a distance. As I neared that intersection, I suddenly accelerated to a speed of 80. Unbelievable , yet true. No one drives above 60 in the college grounds. And yet I felt like going to 80. My cell was ringing. I paid no attention to it. I was 50 meters away from the intersection when suddenly that speed-breaker popped up. It was almost that it had appeared  out of thin air. Instinctively, I reached for the rear brake, but instead of pulling the same, my hands moved on to squeeze the front brake. So as the vehicle began stopping instantaneously, it hit the speed-breaker. Everything happened in less than a second.

I crashed, and flew away a few meters, leaving the activa behind. I went sliding on my chin. For few seconds I couldn't make sense as  I felt no injury in me. Then I got up, and one of the passers-by helped me to do so. There was a prickly feeling on my chin and as he looked at it, he gasped: 'There's a deep cut on your chin bro, we must--' and before he could finish his sentence, I saw drops of blood dripping out of my chin on my shirt and fingers. It was almost as if I had turned a tap of blood-storage tank on.

Shortly afterwards, all my friends who were there nearby, attended to me, taking me to a hospital , arranging for my transportation to the hostel room and getting my meds. Upon reaching my room, apart from informing my girlfriend and my father  (he informed my mother later, as I knew it won't be easy to handle it over the phone), I checked my messages. I saw there was a message from Sahil , who was also handling that company with me in the morning , that the mini-audi laptop had started to work and that there was no need for me to get a laptop. This message had come around the time of the accident (remember that ring I sensed while driving).
All in all, I had received four stitches on my chin, my palms were severed and were almost rendered useless-I could barely manage to hold a spoon to eat. I had to get the wounds dressed for the next two weeks , as they wouldn't heal so easily. I would wake up at nights with excruciating pain (it was winters, so Jaipur would be really chilly at night). It took me a month to recover completely. I could begin driving , two months after that.

On reading this, you might think why I talked about the supernatural forces at the beginning. I have a strong feeling that indeed it was an act of these forces, that came to me as a warning- for cooking up a false cover-up story. A story that I had foolishly and shamelessly conceived in order to not let out the details of my personal crisis. I used the demise of a human being as my element of the cover-up , and you can consider this as an honest confession that what I did was horribly wrong.

The things that happened that morning weren't in sync: Firstly, I was losing control over myself while driving which I never do- especially when I am driving in my campus. Secondly, my own laptop had broken down- which was an indication that I shouldn't really go back. Thirdly, finding Pramod and him readily agreeing to give me his laptop was something incredibly extraordinary- no hosteler can part from their sole source of internet connectivity for a some hours! Next, the speed-breaker wasn't visible to me when I was going back- this NEVER happened before, it was a clear day and there wasn't a tinge of fog. Also, me increasing my speed to 80 and using the front brake instead of the rear one to slow down, and finally , that text message I received exactly at the time of the accident.

I conclude by saying that what I feel is- there were two forces that were acting that day. One, which wanted to punish me because of my actions, and the other , which simply wanted to warn me of what I had done, while at the same time, prevent me from getting into the horrible accident( the breaking of the laptop, the text message that wanted me to stop going back ) . Almost as if these two forces were clashing with each other, and finally the first one won. You may also call this nothing more than just a string of coincidences, but for what I had experienced as a person, I sincerely believe that indeed, supernatural forces are out there, watching our actions , and they don't fancy us spreading a fact based on false premises, no matter what.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Lord Of The Rings #LOTRMarathon - Tweet Compilation

Posted by at 1:13 PM

Warner Bros TV India broadcasted the epic LOTR trilogy last night- back to back. And thanks to some fellow tweeps, I got to know about it just in time. I have watched the movies separately before and had heard from friends that watching all  three of them together gives the experience a whole new dimension.

Naturally, I pounced upon the opportunity on a calm, rainy Saturday. As I watched the movies, I kept tweeting (almost live-tweeted) the notable events of the movies. Here's a compilation of all the tweets (except the profane ones which had spurted out of excitement hehe) of #LOTRMarathon last night.








































































All in all there are 72 tweets in total. I also won a WB Slider-speakers set in the process (totally unknowingly), as part of a twitter contest organized by Warner Bros TV India. Cool surprise I'd say.

So it was a good day and well-spent 10 hours. #LOTRMarathon- will do it again in near future.


Monday, June 24, 2013

The Five Haunts: Five Things That Scare Me In Life

Posted by at 9:20 PM
This is an official entry written by me as a member of Team East under the category: Essay-2 in the ongoing Indian Bloggers' League 2.0  tournament. The topic was- Write an essay on 5 things that scare you in life. 
        
                                 
     
"Fear is the reason why we are here."

That rhymed.

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

1. Deadlines

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

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

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

2. Rituals


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


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

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

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

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


3. Epiphanies

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


4. Algorithms


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



5. Misunderstandings

A fight was going on over the phone call. She threatened she would hang up, but she wouldn't do that because she respects you; you continue with your rants because you think you are right and she is acting all wrong. This continues for the next twenty minutes until suddenly the call drops and when you try to dial it again, it won't get connected to her and you conclude that she did it on purpose. She on the other side thinks the same, and a cycle repeats.
At many points in life, we jump to conclusions. Before letting the other person finish, we conclude something that wasn't what he meant at the first place. As it so happens, misunderstandings crop up. They relish the destruction that they bring with them. Their roles are especially damaging in relationships- with your partner, your parents , your friends, and your siblings. I have seen many cases where mere misunderstandings resulted in permanent disconnect between two people. Safe to say that this is one of the most feared things by me in life.


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

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

Micro Fiction: The Package

Posted by at 6:59 PM
[This was originally submitted as an entry for @islejazz's micro-fiction collection for the theme- Instincts. Check out all the entries of the collection here]

The commotion of the crowd portrayed the onset of a busy day.Asif carried his box of shoe-polish with a strap, hanging on his left shoulder. He rattled it with a metal spool, alerting the people.Some would ask him to  get their shoes polished. Asif loved the business.

He had a job to do today. He was instructed by some people to run an errand. They had promised him five hundred rupees. Greed and need got the better of our 11-year old Asif and he agreed.They handed him a small package, to carry it to the farther side of the station( the busiest platform, that is) . He had to keep the package under the water cooler there and return. Thus he set out.

He reached platform-6, placed the package and waited for a few minutes. People looked at him,yet no one was bothered to ask. Being sure that he did that right, he returned from the platform. 

He waited for some time. The handlers came soon, gave him the 500-rupee note, and bid him goodbye.

"Now we wait." One of them said to the other. 

The day transformed to noon and proceeded to the darkness of night. Asif's handlers went to platform 6, retrieved the package, and three people followed them back. 

" We got the full recording of the day." one of the three responded.
"And?"
"and..many people saw him place the package. Even the guards did. But no one came to inquire about it. You can see the reaction of the people there. Here, take a look." 

He passed on the handycam. The first guy saw the recording, and sighed. His instincts were right. Nobody really cared.



He was now assured that his plan would work.



Friday, June 21, 2013

The Untitled Prose part- 2: Amalgamation

Posted by at 11:29 AM
(...continued from part-1)

I find the reasons that guide me here,

in this world, darkened with wrong,
you are the answers to the prayers of mine,
you are the reason the tears will dry.


When the time is scarce, fast and moving,

the window of opportunities, shrinking,
a streak of survival seizes me,
and only that one face I seek divine.




The separation settles the terms of slaughter,

the emotions that frame this mind,
a lonely heart longs for that familiarity,
the hope the dreams that were never blind.


For once the poet feels he is wrong,

the answers he seeks are not to arrive,
instead he amalgamates to her warmth,
their senses, latched and entwined..

(to be continued...)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Movie Review: Man of Steel

Posted by at 6:57 PM


Blurb: A young itinerant worker is forced to confront his secret extraterrestrial heritage when Earth is invaded by members of his race[IMDB]


Screenplay & Story: David S. Goyer, Christopher Nolan 
Directed By: Zack Snyder 
Stars: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe

When Warner Bros. decided to reboot the franchise after the disappointing Superman Returns (2006) , much was speculated about the lack of possibilities in the iconic superhero's plotting. Cut to 2011 and Nolan, coupled with screenwriter Goyer decided to give the origin story a fresh look, with few twists here-n-there, and delivering a high-on-action movie. Did they succeed in doing so? I would say, yes. 

The substantiation of the movie was specified to such well extent that the makers ensured the reboot doesn't end up becoming another understatement for our favorite superhero. Where there is plenty of fresh action sequences and CGI ( don't you DARE call it 'set-pieces' ) to keep your adrenalin pumping, there's a brilliant human quotient coupled with a good story, that fortunately NEVER makes you feel- "oh man, when will the next fight sequence follow?" . With direction under "the" Zack Snyder's command, the flow of the movie was well maintained, never getting you off the screen. Kudos to Nolan and Goyer for making a digestible plotline that would make sense and help you accept the dark premises of the movie more. The scenes of planet Krypton was a treat to watch(won't explain more so as to avoid giving out any spoilers) . 


Discussing the cast, I would say, except Fishburne, all the actors were superb in their roles. Henry Cavill has improved a lot from his "Immortals" days, and has convinced the viewers to such an extent that many are calling him "the Superman of the silver screen for the next decade or so". Take a bow. Amy Adams as Lois Lane looked good , was given a more substantial role than the usual Lois Lane we have seen. Michael Shannon as General Zod was a good fit for an antagonist whose intentions were more viable (as to why he attacks Earth, etc. - the story wins again here). Russell Crowe played Jor-El pretty well, giving more power to the character.

About the background score, full marks goes to Hans Zimmer though thanks to the poor editing of the score, the music remained slightly repetitive throughout the movie. The "Ideal of hope" track fully develops only after the climax and through the credits. I would have loved to see that track play in the middle of the movie as well.

In a nutshell, Man of Steel is bigger than you think- it has more in store than what was shown in the trailers, a good back-story and tremendous action that will ensure it forms sets the stage for the upcoming Justice League movie pretty well. Go see it-WITH expectations. 
My rating: 9/10
IMDB rating: 8.4/10
Metascore: 55/100

Friday, June 7, 2013

Micro Fiction:The Competition

Posted by at 10:30 PM


[This was originally submitted as an entry for @islejazz's micro-fiction collection for the theme- Hope. Check out all the entries of the collection here]
"I hope he wins." She prayed.

"I hope she wins." He prayed.

A contract with a popular music studio, two world tours in three years, and a huge cash prize- yes, this is how a dream should begin. For him, it was all about winning for the money , for the fame , for the prosperity that it will bring. He did not care for the art; music and singing came to him naturally, almost as God's gift. She, on the other hand, loved to sing. Music shaped the essence of her livelihood. The recognition was secondary for her.

They had come a long way- from growing up together, attending the same school, sharing a liking for each other but hiding it all the time- yes, the path was never so easy, but the journey made both of them wiser. And then arrived the news- a competition that will blow the senses of the nation away, that would bridge many gaps, and would bring so many new divides. And as the judgment day came closer, the divide between those two became wider.

The night of the finale was here. The two finalists were waiting and in a few moments, their fate would be decided.

"I hope he wins." She prayed.

"I hope she wins." He prayed.

At this moment of immense anxiety,she decided to hold his hand and close her eyes.

"And the winner is- Suhasini Arora!"

Fireworks followed immediately. The outcry of the audience was deafening.He came closer to her and whispered:

"I won it this time."

"You surely did, huh! Okay, my treat, but don't leave a hole in my pocket okay?"

He smiled at her, and they started getting up from their seats.

"And turn the TV off, my head hurts with that stupid Suhasini's singing!" she smirked.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Micro Fiction- The Gift

Posted by at 6:54 PM
[This was originally submitted as an entry for @islejazz's micro-fiction collection for the theme- Choices. Check out all the entries of the collection here]

"The red one or the green one?" Sam was finding it difficult to choose. He came with his mother to the supermarket , and had saved two weeks of his pocket money for this. He wanted to gift a diary for Gina, the girl in Sam's "study-group"- as he had proudly announced after coming back from school one day. "Yes Ma, Miss Skitters had asked us all to form study-groups to learn team-work!" he had exclaimed.Gina , the smartest girl in Sam's class would often drop by and help Sam with the art n craft assignments. Sam felt glad about it. He loved her handwriting and tried to imitate the same.

"It's getting late Sam!"
"I don't know mom, she likes green, but once she had told me that red is a very cute color!!" Sam was having a real hard time.
"Hey buddy!" he saw his dad, returning from work and taking a detour to join them. "Sammy is having  a tough time choosing a diary for his friend Gina" his mother chirped,stressing on the word 'friend'.
"Well I tell you what, take the red one."
"But Dad, how can you be so sure?"
"Trust me bud. Go for it!"
"Erm...okay."
Sam reached for his pocket for the cash, when his Dad stopped him. "How about we did something with that later? This one's on me." he smiled at his son. "Awesome!!" Sam was elated. He ran towards the toy-zone. His parents exchanged glances.
"Red..remember this, Anna?"
"Yes..."
"Our first date, and the exact same difficulty to choose. When you had philosophized  it, saying 'Green means envy, so I'd go for red instead!' hah!"
"Well you still remember that?!!"
"Yes, I do."
They smiled at each other, and started walking towards the toy-zone.

Jon 'n' Snow: Trippin' Together!

Posted by at 1:19 AM


The constant murmur of her voice startled him. He stared towards his left. There she was- in dazzling red and black clothing, her eyes staring him back with longing and wait.

"I am coming for you my louuuuuuuvvve!" he started running towards her, arms wide-spread, as everything around him started swirling in slow-motion. It appeared as if she was moving away from him."no..no please...don't go, don't go!!" he started panting, as he ran faster. "Babyyyyyyyyy!!!" he cried out loud, and she stopped moving away from him, and in that moment, he forgot everything about his own self.

Soon, he could feel her heavy breath falling on his face, and as soon as he advanced to kiss the love of his life, she purred.


"meaoww"
"Err..babe?"
"meouuwww-" she purred a bit more and slowly started pawing his face. Now it was his turn to run.

Far far away from this land of love, a man in his undies was drooling on his new-found bed, and his cat was pawing him with regularity. The cat was probably famished. And the man- well, he was in his own world , dreaming about his love again. The cat gave one final blow and almost managed to make a D on the man's forehead, and that was enough for him to wake up.

"WHAT DA--"

Jon hurled his cat in a fit, thinking it to be some kind of a ghoul that was trying to tear his soul apart. It went flying across the bed yet it still managed to land on its limbs. In style.

''A cat has nine lives'' Snow purred to himself. "Why do you always have to mess with my face, of all the other parts of my body?" Jon screamed. "Yea right, feed me or next time I will mess with the appropriate parts of your body you useless scum!" Snow purred. Jon sighed , while trying to rub the scratchy D off his forehead. "I know buddy, I am of no good. Not in a place like this, where everything is so different. I want to go home!" Jon yelled and dropped back, his eyes red, not because he was crying.

                                                    *                     *                        *

Things were not this different for Jon & Snow. They too had a great life to live-girls, booze, TV , their Wii and most importantly, the huge farmhouse their eccentric uncle had left for them. Eccentric to the world, but a genius to Jon. He worshiped the man. "One day, I will take you to places where you will be the King!" his uncle would tell him when Jon was young. Jon did not know that his uncle was up to something- for real.

It was Saturday night. Jon's buddies went off to catch the latest adult movie that was a rage in town-Wife of Pi. They said it has got some never-seen-before scenes - with a Tigress in water and what not. Damn tempting it would seem. But Jon decided to stay back with Snow and do things that he always enjoyed doing when he was alone. It required skillful use of his left hand, sometimes the right, some screwing-unscrewing and the likes.

Yes you got it right, he would roll fat joints and toke with Snow. Snow would just stare at him, usually unable to decipher things that would follow -a night full of deep, philosophical ramblings, a night devoted to ruthless gorging.

    But that night , Jon had other plans as well. Ever since they had moved to his uncle's farmhouse, they had not really explored the place properly. His uncle once decided to go off to an expedition and never returned. Soon afterwards he was declared dead. Jon couldn't make it to the funeral, but he wished he could see him off one last time. "Remember Jonny boy!" he would tell Jon.  "The world is ruthless, the world is crazy! They call me mad, you know why? Because I am doing exactly what will make them run for their money."

Jon's uncle was an Experimental Physicist who also had a cool sci-fi blog. "One day, Jonny boy, you'll see! You will be the King!" he would declare Jon king almost every time Jon visited him.


So where were we? Ah yes, Saturday night. As Jon had moved to this new place, he learned that the place is a child's dream. There were so many stuffs- gadgets, books, instruments, more books and a great stock supply of binge food. Jon was intrigued by the fact that his uncle managed to put all this up together. He was a bit proud as well.

The place was huge- it was enough for at least 20 people to live together. Snow would as usual play with his ball of wool. Jon did not really worry much about Snow. To him , he was quite a smart cat who would give zero fucks as long as he was well fed and had a ball of something to play with.

"What's this?" Jon exclaimed as he came across a door leading to an entrance, hideously covered with a drape. Almost as if somebody wanted him to find it.

At the top of the door, there was a sign that looked suspiciously  similar to Jon's favorite hand gesture. Yes you guessed it right again- it looked like a namaste . "Wonder when did uncle take fancy on Indian mannerisms huh!!?" he thought. He figured that the door was locked. He started ramming the lock but it wasn't giving away. It added dirt on his tee, though.

Irritated, he went back a few feet and with his left forearm nudged forward, he started running towards the door. Only this time as he was about to hit the shackles of the door, Snow, his so-called 'smart cat' pounced on him from one side, trying to catch its flying ball of wool, and off they went  crashing on the door as it surprisingly opened normally. Jon had heard a brief *beep* sound while they crashed the door.

"Snow you stupid cat! Owww my back hurts."

Jon managed to sit up and took a look at his surroundings. It was full of shady posters of movies he had never seen before. Chicks in skimpy clothes, fat women with guns on them, hooligans groping  women- they all were there. "What the hell are these movies?" he wondered. A typical poster of a man in disco suits caught his eyes. "Disco Dancer..hmm..who is this actor?" he tried to recall.

 Suddenly, a voice came cracking from the ceiling.

"HAH HAH HAH HAH HAH!"

It was his uncle's voice. Jon was startled.

"JONNY BOY! YOU MADE IT IN HERE!" the voice screamed.

"If you are hearing this recording, then it means I have left this world for the place beyond the imagination of the people of this world! Yes my boy you are right! I have found the place- the place where you will be the king and I will be your guardian! WE WILL RULE THE LAND TOGETHER! HA HA HA HA!"

Jon looked at Snow. "Tell me Snow," he asked. " Are my eyes red?"

"purrr..."

"Am I high?"

"purrr...."

"I am asking questions to my cat. I am definitely high." Jon sighed. "But I don't remember smoking up! When did--" he was cut short by the recording.

" Time to join me, Jonny Boy! 3! 2! 1!"

And the next moment, Jon saw the walls of the room rattle. They started folding up like window blinds and the shady movie posters started mixing up to ghastly red hues everywhere. "What da--?" he exclaimed, and before he knew it, he felt a massive push on his shoulders and he went flying towards the wall that had that 'Disco Dancer' poster. He could hear Snow purring madly alongside him and in the next moment , the poster in from of him vanished to nothingness. It was replaced by darkness ahead, as they kept getting pushed in the forward direction. Suddenly the force behind them stopped pushing. Jon panicked. He was panting heavily and looked at his cat.

"Mew.."

Snow's pointy whiskers indicated he was scared to death. And just then, the ceiling below them gave way and they started falling.



"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA"

Jon was laughing, crying, puking, and sweating at the same time. He even farted a little. Snow was vigorously  throwing his limbs in every direction it could. Suddenly they landed on a base full of trash- in a conveniently slow motion.

They woke up after a few hours. Jon got up, he was shocked. He looked around. It was night time. The place looked funny. The littered roads, the smelly alleys- there was a strange harmony of filth in the air. He could not locate Snow anywhere. He started getting up and walking towards what seemed like a bar nearby.

The bar was shadier than he had expected. It seemed to be full of potheads. 'I am a disco dancer!' a song was playing in full volume, though he couldn't figure out the rest of the lyrics. And then he saw something that blew his balls away.

Snow was sitting on a high dais on what seemed to be like a richly decorated throne. There were a gazillions of attendants around him  , taking care of his whiskers like a newly crowned king. All of a sudden, Snow's attention went towards Jon. "Mew!!!" it shrieked and started moving its paws in Jon's direction.Everyone turned their heads towards Jon's direction.

"OUR KING HAS DESCENDED!" they all cried in unison. They got hold of Jon , took him up on their shoulders and placed him on an even bigger throne next to Snow. Jon got confused. But then he saw two pretty ladies who were apparently the king's official escorts, and all his confusion faded away.

"Welcome to Merrytopia, my King! I am BS,your humble Prime Minister" a middle-aged man appeared from the crowd.

"Err..Hello BS.." Jon was finding it hard to control his laughter. "H-how are you?"
"Finest as an old wine, your Majesty!"
"Good good. Er..do you know anything about my uncle?"
"I do, your Majesty!"
"Well then take me to him! Can you take me to him?"
"I would and I can, your Majesty. But first I must lay down the rules of this land that a King must follow."

BS took out a scroll, opened it, plucked out a USB drive that was taped at the center of the scroll, dropped the scroll on the ground, took out his tablet from his robe, and plugged the USB in.


"(ahem).. O King of Merrytopia,
Live Long and Prosper! (brief applause followed)
Merrytopia is the land of awesome, it plays songs in the key of awesome. Everything here is merry, everyone here is merry. There is so much merry here that the system runs all by itself. The King doesn't need to bother about anything at all, the King inherits the rule and that's it, life goes on, no trouble, no damn given, no damn taken, everybody stays merry, tokes merry and sleeps merry."

"For the sake of taking over as the King of this land, a King must follow the Golden Rule: Impose one law on this land. Only after that will he be able to rule Merrytopia."

"And what if I don't follow the orders?" Jon quipped.
"You cannot do that your Majesty.." BS said calmly.
"Why not? I can just refuse to do this! Coming here was not my choice at the first place!" Jon protested with made-up effort.

"What's done is done. You must follow the rules. That's how Merrytopia works. If you fail to do so, you shall be put to the dungeons where you would be made to watch Ram Gopal Verma movies."

The crowd let out a long gasp in unison, upon hearing this.

"Who the hell is Ram Gopal Verma?"

The whole crowd gasped in unison on hearing this.

"You don't know RGV? You don't know nothing about Bollywood?!!!" BS asked.

"Err..I know Hollywood..where is Bollywood?"

The whole crowd gasped in unison, once again.

"Bollywood! The Hindi Film Industry! That's in India! They make the coolest of movies! We survive on their songs, their dances are our folk dances, their tragedies is the reason for our grief..BOLLYWOOD IS THE WAY OF OUR LIVES!" BS was almost choking with emotions.

"Ha ha. What crap.." Jon murmured.

"WHAT DID YOU SAY YOUR MAJESTY?!!" BS exclaimed while stopping the crowd with his hand, before they could begin gasping in unison.

"I said where's the CLAP!" Jon was beginning to understand those shady posters at his uncle's room now. He saw that playing along was the only way out.

"Alright, if I must follow the rule, then very well."

The crowd became expectant, this time in near-perfect unison.

"So tell me O Wise King, what law would you impose on us?" BS was excited.

Jon cleared his throat, looked around, and smiled.

"The law that I shall pass is: Legalize Marijuana!"

The crowd was puzzled. Snow gave a brief "mew" while looking at Jon.

                                                        *                     *                        *

Weeks passed. The people embraced the new law. Now what happened is that people started getting high all the time. They stopped giving a shit about anything in their world except arranging for weed and rolling the joints. Philosophical opinions started flooding everywhere. Some would agree on to an opinion and the next moment an outsider would come and oppose, and suddenly everyone would start agreeing with the him.

Jon observed that administration was getting out of hand. Even BS would now talk nothing but BS. Jon couldn't believe that even Snow would show up with red eyes at times. Weed used to be Jon's way of life but now, it seemed that his law was not fully accurate. He needed to do something about it.

"I want to change the law."  he called BS for a counsel one day.

"You..haha how do I put it..heeh..cannot!" BS had already stopped adding 'Your Majesty' a few days back.

"Are you high, as we speak?"

"No no Jonny Boy I am not!"

"Then why would you-- wait what did you call me?!"

"Jonny Boy!"

Jon was surprised and confused. He had his doubts initially about BS but power, freedom and the immense amount of smoke in Merrytopia had blinded him. BS gave out a crackle of laughter, a loud and wide laughter. A familiar laughter.

"This is why I had to create this world of mine! Our world would not take me, so I wanted to escape!" BS began his tale , which you all must be dying to know by now.

"On my journey with my experiments, I had finally found a way to a parallel universe. Only that it was in ruins, as if it was abandoned by its people. I was happy to find the resources of this world-all at my disposal, but after a while, I started getting bored. Bored because, I missed conversations with another human being. I was upset about this, and realized something should be done! Then I thought , why not get some people from our world, who wanted to escape , to break free, and to live as equals, without caring much for survival.

 And I knew just the people to pick. I took up all the slum-dwellers of every populated countries of the world. This might sound outrageous , Jonny Boy, but trust me, nobody cares if a certain amount of these people suddenly disappear from the face of the Earth! My plan was perfect- I was to give these people a new place to live, a new world where they would face no limitations, and of course I planned to rule this world along with you."

Jon did not know what to say. Snow purred a little to give a fitting background effect as BS' words sank around them.

"Why do you look so startled? Did you not always want to live in a place like this?!!!"

"NO Uncle! I have my friends back home! I have a life that's full of excitement!"

"Oh c'mon, your life blows. I have seen how you live- borrowing cash from your friends, roaming here n there, trying to be with a chick but ending up with your cat at the end of the day. You call that an exciting life. Hah, your life blows--" he concluded with a raspberry blow.

"I don't care! However bad it is, it is MY life! I can choose how to lead it, how to run it, how to mess it up!"

His uncle remained quiet for a while, before he spoke.

"Well, now that you are here, you cannot go back. Because I haven't yet designed a way to get back to the other side..."

Jon wanted to punch his uncle on throat.

".... and since you have revolted, it is important that you are put away somewhere, where you cannot create any problems..." BS smirked.

" You cannot do that! And wait a minute, why could I not recognize you all this while? Why not on the day I came here?"

BS smiled.

"Because, I had mixed a 'synthesized' form of weed in the air of my farmhouse by the vents. You see I got inspired from that 'Balam Pichkari' song from that  latest Bollywood movie. So anyone who entered that place would unknowingly get high and stay that way. I had developed the specimen in such a way that it would not interfere with your day-to-day functioning, but if you encountered any illusion, your mind would go on a heavy trip. The illusions would work as a trigger. Hence I had them put in place when you had entered the 'Portal Room' . Those Bollywood movie posters, they have immense effect on getting you baked you see!"

"Stop with your Bollywood references already!" Jon was angered. Suddenly, he saw Snow pouncing towards his uncle. This is it. He had to make a run for it. As BS fell on the ground, Jon grabbed Snow under his arm and ran away from the bar that now masqueraded as a fully functional Palace.

Now you'd wonder, 'Dude! That's bullcrap! How could he run away so easily? Why would BS not do something to make things difficult for Jon and Snow so that they couldn't escape? What BS are you feeding us!', or you might tell yourself - 'Whatever this dude is toking, I need some of that.' Either way, ain't leavin' ye until we are done!

Thus, Jon & Snow ran . They tried to hide, to stay in disguise for days. They begged, borrowed, stole, and tried doing whatever they could from getting caught. This is how they landed in a single-room apartment.

*back to the present*

 "...IWANNAGOHOMMMMMMMMMMME!" Jon sobbed. He knew his efforts were futile. The only thing that he failed to understand is that his uncle had elaborated everything in detail, except for the Portal Room. Could it be because it was a weak link? The Achilles' Heel of his uncle's plan?

"What a madman.." he murmured. Suddenly he realized, he wasn't high anymore. He checked Snow's eyes. They weren't red as well. This actually gave him some motivation. "Perhaps the hunger...tones down the effects ?" he wondered. " I don't believe the fact that uncle has not developed a way back to our world. He is crazy but he is not impractical for all I know, Snow."

"purrr.."

"And so, the portal to the other side has to be here somewhere! THAT'S IT! We have to find the portal, Snow!"

"purrr.."

"Yeah I know I  am in my undies. Let's get covered up and start searching." Jon was determined. And in few minutes, they took off.

Jon roamed on the streets of Merrytopia. The streets looked highly under-developed. Obviously, the people here did not care how they lived, where they lived. They just wanted to live as equals, get their hands on day-to-day resources and stay merry. Also, the whole city looked extremely bland, except the bar-cum-Palace areas. They looked -how to put it- very colorful. Almost like those posters that he had seen earlier.

And he failed to understand when did his uncle pick up this liking for Bollywood movies. "Could be when he went to Asia to collect people.." he kept wondering as it suddenly struck him. He had seen a poster of Disco Dancer, the one similar to the poster in the Portal Room. Only that this poster was there at a public theater- which would remain jam-packed day and night.  "They screen the same movie everyday, yet these weirdos keep visiting the place again and again." He tried to test his theory. With a convincing disguise( he did not need much work as the guards were stoned out of their minds) , he entered the movie theater premises. Snow was tucked inside his robes, and he pushed the swarm of potheads as he inched closer to the poster.

He was blinded with hope so much so that he failed to notice that it is getting too easy for him and Snow to escape.

Back in our world, in the farmhouse, Jon's friends were trying hard to get him back from his 'trip'. Jon was drooling and murmuring gibberish in his sleep, as Snow kept purring and pawing him for food.

                                            

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