Sunday, October 26, 2014

An Old Visit to Murud Fort

Water waves crashed against stone. White foam frothed to the top of the wave signifying the salt of the sea. The stone blocks at the base were the thickest and though you wouldn't notice it, the thickness reduced as the black stone wall rose above the sea into air. The wall had four sides which made up the fort. Right on top, lining the walls were twenty pound cannons.  From outside, you would only notice the tip of the cannon protruding, but once inside you would see the cannon stretched across for 10 meters. A cannon that would surely blow an enemy ship that dared come near it.

The fort was well hidden and by three sides it was surrounded by hills. Though the fort was smack in the middle of the sea, the surrounding hills blocked any person’s view. Three sides surrounded by hills and only one side was open to a sea which stretched out and out. Thick trees, branches, leaves,
vegetation and wild animals were the only inhabitants of these surrounding hills.

Inside of Murud Fort
Buildings that had stood years ago proudly stood in ruins. A wall, two walls, three walls and one or two whole buildings are what you would see, beautifully built, brick on brick and some carved into stone.

Three thousand, that was the number of inhabitants that lived in the fort. A large pond of at least twenty meters in circumference gave them fresh water. In the future, that is now, it has a thick coat of algae covering it. A secret tunnel was built from under the sea bed to the land, a precaution that was perhaps never used.  Traders all the way from Africa came to trade at this fort.

The fort was not owned by Shivaji or Shambji, though the later tried to take it by. Neither did any other King, Prince or Emperor rule it. Instead, it was owned by a Raja who had only four thick walls of a fort to call his Kingdom.

Entrance of Murud Fort

One would think that such a structure, a fort which is only accessible by water would have a grand entrance. Indeed, from afar you could see the twenty feet entrance and wonder what sort of docking bay would be inside. But, no there was none. The entrance was impossible, yet possible. It was direct steps that walked into the sea. There was no ring or hook to tie a boat to the wall that would grant it some stability. The boat was pulled and pushed by the sea, never staying still. It was a wonder how sailors and merchants leaped onto the mossy, slippery steps.

On stormy nights and on monsoon days, it would take a mad Captain to command his ship to approach this fort for surely the rough water would shatter his boat to bits of wood and the sea would swallow up the sailors. The whole of monsoons, three months, three thousands souls of this fort would live with food stores and nothing to do... for none would dare attack them during monsoons.

Perhaps children would look down from the ramparts and stare into the dark, rough waters and watch the violent waves thrash against the wall. Perhaps, they would tremble in fear as they felt the splashes of water splatter against their check and wonder if the sea would swallow the Fort. How little they knew, for generations later into the 21st century , the Fort stood the wrath of the sea and envy of enemies.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Lament of Herc

Herc looked at his reflection in the mirror and asked himself the same question that he asked when he was coming here. He wanted to just lash out, a punch on the mirror causes it to crack, cracks spread,in seconds it shatters and glass pieces fall. “Hey man”, a voice called out to him and a shoulder nudged his own. A hand that was not his own stretched out beside him and washed him under a gush of tap water. “You mind?” the man asked as Herc stared at the face beside him. He was in the bathroom, there was crowd behind waiting to use the wash-basins. He took a few steps back and made way for the man.

Rays of multicoloured headlights poked into his eyes. Herc was angry at himself, no not at himself he decided. “Hey Herc, over here”, he could barely hear Rocky’s voice over the blaring techno music. His friends were sitting at the table, the waiter had already bought their drinks. Holding on to threads, that’s what this meeting was about. Friends trying to hold onto their friendship as life spreads them apart.

“This one’s yours”, Cass pointed out to a glass when he took his seat. In spite of that stupid question that made him angry, Herc was happy to be among friends. They drank, they danced, they drank a bit more. Once upon a time, they all would have said, the night is young, but now, it is more like the day is over. To each of their own home’s they went.

The next day may have bought on a new day for Herc, but there was still a lingering anger and it never effing went away. Yet, with that anger, there was a joy, a new day brought new opportunities.

To office he went, he did not hate his job, neither did he like it. It was something like... you rather relax at home, but work is okay. The work was something he like to do, but there was as much as he wished it, his rules were not abided here. It was the market rules and his bosses rules, but not his own... that was only in his head.

The sun went down and the moon rose up and darkness was put at bay with artificial lights. Yet, Herc chewed on his pencil completing work that never got done which pushed him to sit in office and get home late. He may be done with today’s work, but tomorrow’s remained and day after thats too. A list was there with his name – his to-do’s. He just wanted to get it completed.

His real work awaited Herc at home, but he would be too tired when he reached. Work that he did not get paid for, it was his passion and you get paid only for your passion when you get recognition.

The second hand ticked forward, the countdown for the next precocious minute. Getting off late made it difficult for his passion, for his friends. Oh, what would Herc give to change all that. Life would be much easier then.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Lone Woman and her Son

Her head rested on the on a make-shift pillow of a bag of clothes. Her eyes silently stared out, watching helplessly, knowing that right now, she has done all she could. Her son silently lay on the hospital bed. A needle protruded from his vein and an IV drip was connected to it. For the time being, he was asleep. A large plastic bag hung from the bed railing with a pipe connected to his body. She would have to call the hospital workers to empty it soon. 

Taking care of her adult son made her realise how old she was. The grey strands of hair were pulled back on her head and always felt like they were just there, but all this worry, all this hassle seemed to be taking a toll on her age. Gautam, that was the name she gave her poor fool. Once, what seemed ages ago, he had plenty of friends. Then, in time, from an occasional alcoholic to a constant one, he pushed people away from him and now only she remained. 

His liver was weak, crushed by the constant alcohol. Every night, she lay in a room that was dominated by men. The patients were men and the ones who stayed overnight were men. My husband would have never allowed me to do this. A memory of handsome man came to her mind.  He would be disappointed in his son, maybe in her too for the way things turned out. Then, she recollect, ‘the sins of our children are not our own, it is theirs alone’. Was it that man from AA who told her that? She failed to remember. 

Gautam was her son and she was all he had. No one would come to help up, but she would always be there, she promised herself. 

“Aaaaa...”, he began softly moaning as his eyes flicked out from his sleep. The pain was back. Her feet swung off the bench she lay on and she stepped towards him. Her thumb jabbed down the button, calling a nurse, but she knew that was useless. Until the dialysis was done, her son would be in pain.  

As both of them waited, the mother opened her mouth and softly began humming a tune. Perhaps a tune will reach out to him and ease his sufferings. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

The old man in the Hospital

The needle was stuck in his arm for three days and through it drugs and medication was pumped in. Even now a pipe was stuck in the needle and liquid poured forth, pushing inside his vein and entering his blood stream.  Just like blood thickens to stop the bleeding of an open wound, so did the same thing happen and now the old man could not move his wrist without pain shooting through his arm. The doctors came and went, barely speaking to him. Always their stethoscope  hung around their neck and like some ritual they learnt in school, all of them would do the same thing.

The cold metal would press against his chest and back, and then they would ask him to breath. They would mutter a few words, speak to the nurse and vanish. 

Being bedridden the whole day was, without a doubt, a waste of time, a waste of a week. The fields back home awaited him and that’s where he deserved to be; labouring with the sickle, digging the mud, planting the seeds and chopping of the weeds. 

Yet, for no reason at all, he was tied here, drugs being pumped into his body. 

The food that is the worst part of a hospital, the moment he lifted that gruel to his mouth, he just knew it. Nutrition is the most important to getting better, but how can one get better if the food is tasteless, saltless and just plain unappetising. The hospital food was just plain horrible. Sometimes, for the old man, it was just so bad that his stomach rejected it and threatened to vomit it out. 

Imagine, eating the same dal four days in a row, day and night, that was the hospital food. 

The drip was almost over. His fingers crawled to the switch near his head and pressed it. From the open door, his ears picked up the blaring of the alarm at the nurse’s station. Soon enough, one of them entered the room, turned a knob on the pipe and pulled it out. 

The nurses here were the only ones who were worth a damn, but even they did not always respond promptly to the ring. They too were at times over burdened with the number of patients in the hospital. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Mother at the Counter

She was a single parent on at the ticket counter. One child tugged at her hand, while the small one hugged her shoulder as her hand wrapped around him for support. Her youngest child sucked his thumb while staring out at the strange world around him. The elder son who stood on his two feet was tired of waiting here and continuously tugged and pulled his mother’s arm, but his attempts only seemed to annoy the mother. She sharply looked at him, try to communicate a message across, a message to stop tugging and one of patience. He glance at her and stopped his tugging for a moment. 

The line moved forward and the family moved with it. The mother dragged the large trolley bag which was taller than her eldest son. Passengers and the general public starred glancing at her. All of them probably asking themselves the same questions – Where was the husband? Why wasn’t the husband here? 

However, if the mother hassled by such looks, she did not show it, she just hugged onto her child. The mother’s eldest son threatened to run off and she wanted to let him, but her fingers grabbed him arm. Without another pair of eyes she would rather not risk him running around a station full of strangers. 

Now, he was the one glaring at her with his small eyes. He tried to jerk his hand free of his mother’s grip, but she did not let go and neither did she offer her son any explanation for her action.  

The line moved forward and from the purse that hung around her shoulder, the mother extracted some notes. She paid the ticket counter and got the tickets. 

She began tugging the big trolley bag as the crowd parted in front of her, making way. The eldest child was swiftly stepping ahead and then stopping, waiting for his mother to keep up. Then for the mother, came the dreaded stairs which she had to struggle down with the humongous bag. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Doorway: Part II

She was dead, her body floated through. The last few flashes of her life had been the most painful. The ganging up, the violation and then her ultimate demise. Her phantom floated there in the darkness with no heartbeat, just a spirit.

Her body was milky transparent white and she hovered in darkness. Then, a large doorway appeared, it shone bright for a moment before the shine vanished. The, she could see the door clearly. It was carved of stone in a semi-circular manner. There were intricate designs on it.

Aware of her body float, she began to wade her hand through the darkness and swim to the door. It cracked open. A line appeared in the middle of the door and slowly, the door parted open. What she saw in there horrified her.

A black mound of matter engulfed the insides of the door. There were black, dark shadow hands that started extending from the door. First, there five, then ten, twenty, thirty, forty and then she lost count. Her feet kicked and struggled to push herself behind away from the mass of hands. Her efforts were fruitless. They latched onto her, spreading their black fingers onto her body and they pulled her to the door.

There was nothing she could grab onto to stop them. Gently she was tugged into the black mass. However, her horror was far from over. Eyes, millions of eyes seemed to open in this black mass.

“She has been hurt”, a mouth suddenly appeared.

“Yes, she has been gravely injured”, another mouth appeared.

Then a hundred of mouth appeared on the black mass. “We do not deserve her”, they said in unison and her body was pushed away. The doors closed slowly faded away into the darkness.

Instead, another door appeared behind her. A single simple rectangle door which swung open and bright light poured forth as some unseen force pulled her in.


Anita had lived a full life, aged and then died. Her milky body floated in the darkness. The large doorway appeared and as it opened up, a growing swell of dark hands stretched out and grabbed her. Her legs kicked the darkness trying to fight against the pull, but it was of no use.

The million of eyes stared at her. Then a mouth appeared. “She has done no wrong”.

“Yet, she called and supported for the death of many”, spoke another mouth.

“She has not raised a hand on anybody”, spoke another mouth.

“She called for the death of many”, the same mouth repeated.

“She had done no wrong”, spoke the mouths in union, all expect one.

The hands let her go and she floated back into the darkness as the door faded away.


The executioner floated in the darkness. His time on earth was up and his frail body gave way. The doors appeared in the darkness and the hands grabbed him. He did not resist, he did not fight against the hands. The millions of eyes stared at him and he did not shy away from the look, instead he dully stared back.

“This one has killed”, spoke a mouth.

“Not once, but many, many time”, another mouth appeared from the black mass.

“But he did not kill of his own accord, sometimes a nation demanded it, sometimes it was an order passed from above”, a mouth pointed out.

“Aye, judgment made by others which he executes”, one mouth explained.

“It is no matter, his soul is damaged. He belongs to us”.

Like slippery liquid, the hands enveloped the executioner’s body, bringing him closer and before he could realise it, his pale milky translucent body was absorbed by the black mass.  

The Doorway: Part I

The mob cried for blood with their platcards and their screams, and you can’t forget their anger. “Death to the murderer, death to the killer, death to the rapist”, they chanted out. It was a large crowd which could almost as large as the city itself, except for the few thousand more of citizens who did not bother with the protests. “We demand death for his crimes”, cried one of the protestors to a journalist’s camera.


The gushing of water sounded out forcefully, slamming into the protestors who were put the city to a standstill. A police force as large, as the protestors, charged into them with their batons and shields. A police force ordered to charge on peaceful, angry protestors by incompetent leaders.

A child raped and murdered that’s what got the crowd gathered here. The anger and frustration piled up against people who thought they could get away because the lazy system allowed them to get away.

“We must have justice”, cried the television channels. However, while the city radiated of anger, the rest of the country slept, trying to work their through life, like they always do.


Anita stood among these protestors, banner in hand, her mouth wide open and her vocal scream out her cause, her ideals. She was here to say enough was enough, enough for those cat calls, enough of being taken advantage off, enough of being harassed and enough of a repressive culture. And with her calls, came the demand for the death of murderer. Her platcard boldly read, ‘An eye of an eye’.


Rahul walked tirelessly for the past few hours on the hospital corridor, trying to sooth his worry while his ears were alert for the slightest sound of footsteps, of news on what happened to his child. His wife sat on the metal bench, her body gently arching back and forth, her way of dealing of the wait.

Walking, waiting for the news, it was killing him. He wanted to do something.. like... like... running back to his house and pulling out his service revolver. He did not deserve this, his child did not deserve this. Yet, right now, she was knocking on heaven’s door.

Through his mind, the most violent images flashed through. Images of hammering down a brick wall, strangling the life out of a blurred face, his hands swing down, clutching the hammer and the sickening sound of crunch.

This would not be the first time he killed, it changed him, he could take the damage to his soul.

[No, I'm not done, I still have a point to make, please read The Doorway Part II here]

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pulling the Lever

My fingers pulled the black mask over his face. If he was afraid, he did not show it in his expression, but I recognized the stench of fear. It was in his eyes, it was always in their eyes. My fingers felt his skin shiver under the mask as the coarse rope was put over his neck.  It drooped around his neck exactly like I wanted. The loop was perfectly calibrated for his size and would give him a clean death. There was a small group of people, unusually sitting in silence. A few people sobbed quietly and a handkerchief constantly wiped the trickles of tears off their cheek. They were not crying for his loss, I knew that, they were crying because of what he took from them. Only the very brave, or a mother came to shed a tear for him. 

Sometimes, they are rapists, child fuckers, serial psychopaths, gangsters, but they all had one thing in common, they were murderers. My hand tightened around the lever. A judgement in a court was made and now this man’s final judgement would be made by me. Even so, many don’t realise it, but it is truly a host of judgments that start long before the court’s mallet smashes down. It’s the media, it’s the mob, it’s his victims, it’s the politician all there, and then I make the final judgement... no, not the final judgement, the second last judgement. The final judgement will be made by God. 

The usual ritual was carried out. He was asked to give his last words. He grunted, a last attempt to have the last laugh. Even in that I could smell his fear of the unknown, yet the fury in everyone’s faces showed they saw it as defiance. Some scream out for mercy to live, some would softly beg for the victim’s forgiveness, but all of them had the same fear of the unknown of death. 

The Prison Guard nodded his head. In my mind I said a small prayer for him, my lungs pulled in a deep breath, my chest feel the immense weight press on it and my hand tugged the lever. The flap of the wooden platform swung open. His body began falling through it, until the rope gave a jerk, his neck snapped and the murderer was dead. 

There his body stood swinging silently like a pendulum of a clock. Some howled, some looked hollowly on and some could not even look at what once was a living being. 

Killing a person changes you, it changed me and with every life I take I fall deeper into an abyss. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Funeral Band

A drummer, a trumpeter and a jazz player make up the band. Being a musician is not a full time job for them. It is something that they do part time, but when time calls, they drop everything and band together for their job. They have a dressed code for this job, a white shirt and black pants, always a white shirt and black pants, never changing, always constant. For what they do, is play soothing music to help those bid farewells to their loved ones. From the house to the church, they blow their trumpet and beat their drum, proclaiming to the whole world, the death of someone’s loved one.

The trumpet blows in a long drone, while the drum beats every two seconds. It is only when coffin in lifted into the grave that the beat picks up, trying to remind people, not to moan, but to celebrate for their loved one has passed onto the next life.

Just as death comes on unexpectedly, with no warning, they too are expected to drop everything and join in the moaning of the family. The service they offer is inexpensive, but it is not for the money that they do it. It is because, someone has to play music to bid adieu to the dead with solemn, beautiful music.   

Death Judgment

The day had come for him. Last night he had his last meal of butter chicken and nana. Today, there were marching him from his cell in the best clothes he would ever wear. Prisoners stared at him curiously behind their bars. Some grinned, some looked grimly on and one even tried to grab his arm to have a lathi smash down on his bone. He yelped and jumped back. Around him guards marched, attired in their fresh kakhi uniform, his escorts out of here. 

The metallic gate was already swung open and fat Ram stood at the door way with his belly pouring out his uniform. He shabbily saluted the officers with the marching prisoner and nodded his acknowledge the prisoner for the last time. 

From the shady prison house, they stood out in the bright sun. Instinctively his arm jerked up, his fingers all extended from his palms and he tried to block the light out of his eyes. His destination was not far away from the prison, his final freedom. 

Grieved relatives and parents all sat there. Not his own, but his victims. They led him up the wooden staircase and up the platform. 

“You are sentence to death…”, one the officers who was marching with him announced. His only reply was silence. A quick scan of the audience revealed no one of his blood, no one of his own.

“Do you have any last words?”, the question was asked. Once again, his reply was one of silence. 

His last thoughts were on his crime, on the lives he took away. 

A black cloth was put over his face. Then came the rough course noose that the skin on his neck could feel. Would it be a quick death or would the noose jerk miss?, thought the dead man. 


The floor underneath him swung open. His body fell down. The noose hit Adam’s apple, tightly wrapping itself around his neck. 

And just like that his life was extinguished… just like a mallet made the judgement for his death… just like a society clamoured for his death. A stain that would fade away into nothingness, only remembered by the hand that put black mask on his head, the noose around his neck and the final pull of the lever that killed him, the executioner. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Not Supposed to Happen

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I never, never wanted it to be like this.  My fingers tightened their grip on the .45 Colt butt. I wanted to cry, I wanted to let the flood of tears lose and pour out of my eyes, but I could not. It would blur my vision and right now, that was the last thing I wanted. My eyes revolved wildly around in my socket. 

The gun barrel pressed against the temple. My hand was wrapped around her, the victim’s throat. I felt the reverberation of her sobbing. I never, never wanted it to be like this. 

There was a child’s voice crying and for a mili-second, my eyes glanced at the five year old child crying on the black tar road. My son, that was my son. Why was he crying? He had me... Me? I’ve been away more than half of his life, too busy fighting demons. I never, never wanted it to be this way.

His mother, my wife, she was the victim, I was clutching her, she was the person on whom the gun barrel was pressed against. How did this happen. It just did not make sense. I had come here to talk to her. To explain why I couldn’t sleep, why I had to have the gun in under my pillow, why I hit her, to answer all the reasons she kicked me out and all the reasons why she was getting a divorce against me. 

The demons, the bullet ridden bodies, the faces, they never left me. My nerves.... they were shot, they would never be the same.  They always twitched. A loud bang, a loud fire cracker, a brown coloured man... trigger... then I would lose it. 

It was a cool night, but sweat was pouring down my face. A powerful beam of light came down from the helicopter that hovered meters above us. A bright light was shinning on me. 

The police, they wanted me to put the gun down and... I wanted to. But I know the stories, they would shoot me, they would kill me. No one loved a shell shocked victim. 

My son... he was still crying, crying for his mother. I slackened my grip. This was not the right way to get them back. I was broken. They didn’t deserve me. 


The sniper on top of the helicopter had the criminal in his cross chairs. He was waiting for the order to go. He knew how these situations went. They went with victim’s brain splattered all over the place. “You have a go”, the Police Chief’s voice whispered in his radio ear piece. 

He took a deep breath and then held it in. The criminal had not moved. His finger pulled the trigger, but it was too late. 

The victim, she moved, the criminal, he let her go. She moved her head. He wished to God that he could change the trajectory of the bullet or stop her from moving her head, but it was already on its way. A mili-second after he pulled the trigger, the victim’s brain was splattered all over the place. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Chai Walla

He got up in the wee hours of the morning. In the darkness, he looked at the shadow of his wife sleeping beside him and the twisting petals of the fan that poured wind down on them. So as not to disturb her, he silently went to the bathroom and began the day. A brush of his teeth, a quick shower and then he was out to get dressed. 

The bed was empty and the creases on the bed told of the place where his wife was sleeping just moments ago. A step outside his small bed room and in the pale morning darkness, he saw the yellow flame of the stove. He stepped back into the bedroom. With his single hand, he picked out a shirt and pant to wear from a second-hand wooden cupboard he bought from a scrap dealer. As he undressed, his wife appeared at the doorway, “Tea is ready”. 

He nodded his head. She stood at the doorway, her eyes gazing at him and asking herself the same question that she asked everyday, should she help her husband get dressed? But, she knew the answer. Her husband was a proud man and he did not like help, it just reminded him what he was missing. Yet, he never failed in his husbandly duties, she could testify to that. 

He came out of the bedroom with trousers on and his shirt loosely hung on his shoulders. His right hand was busy as the fingers expertly buttoned his shirt. “You didn’t have to”, spoke the husband as he sipped the tea and ate the parata that his wife made. Silence was her reply. 

With breakfast done, he left for work. 


The key was shoved inside the lock. With a twist, the lock opened. Putting the key in his pocket, he pulled of the chain around the gate and tugged open the bars of his shop. Darkness had almost faded and morning was almost upon today. His eyes proudly glance up to his shop’s title – ‘Raj Tea Shop’. 

It was in the corner of a lane of shops. 


Ahead on the lane, he heard the sound an early morning local train charging through an empty track. That was the same place where he lost his left hand. Now, only a short stub remained at from his left shoulder. He brushed off the thought and got inside his shop. 

His right hand turned the tap open, put the kettle under the gushing water and then, placed it on to the stove. With a twist, the tap was shut and the tea box was open. He poured a sufficient amount of tea powder  inside the boiling water.

So his day began as he waited for customers to line up outside for his cutting chai. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sore Eyes

In another planet, somewhere else apart from earth, possibly another universe… who knows, you’ll have to ask the scientist for their gibberish equations, there live humans. Same as the ones that you see around. Humans with hair, eyes, legs, hand, the whole picture, even the minute hair in the hidden places. The only difference is that they have red eyes. 

Once a long time ago, in an age forgotten by even the old, Hal looked up to the sky, stared into the star filled night and maybe… just maybe, he saw a glimpse of our earth and the most contagious illness passed through that hole he saw. And then his eyes became red! 

At first he did not notice it, but in the morning his eye lids were glued together, stuck with some thick paste that had obliviously secreted out of his eye pores. He washed his eyes and did not know what was happening to him. Though his eye throbbed a bit that was no reason to stop him from going to work. So to work he went. His eyes stared at papers, stared at his lunch and stared at people. And like the contiguous disease it was, it began spreading. 

However, unlike our earth, the human’s of this earth did not recover from this illness. Forever they were plagued with it. By the time they reached their senior years, their vision was blurred and their eyes had to be replaced by bionics. From the time a child is born, after every nap, their eyes had to washed of the goo that over laid the eye lids. They wailed even more than usual for the throbbing pain that it caused their eyes. 

On our earth we are lucky, not because the illness is any less painful, but our strong bodies are able to recover from it. Yet, even on our earth, all it takes is for one person in a house, in a room and that would be more than enough for everyone to go home and get up with goo gluing their eye lids together. 

We call it, conjunctivitis, sore eyes. In the far away neighboring earth of another universe, it is called forever illness since it stays with you forever once you get it. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Fine

Rubble lay outside the shop - a mixture of cement, dirt, wood pieces and rubble. It was waste from today’s work of renovating the shop. The rubble was not supposed to lie outside the shop on the footpath. It was illegal. This man had a vague plan of temporarily pushing out the rubble so there was space inside the shop for him to work and besides, within a half an hour a tempo would arrive and pick it up. Two men were patrolling the streets. One dressed in a white and black pant which could be his uniform and the other was dressed in a coloured checkered shirt and blue jeans, maybe because he was off duty, he did not wear a uniform. They were employed by the Municipal Corporation to find violations. 

And lo, they stumbled upon such a one. They caught hold of the man who put the rubble out. The man himself had no money with him, for he was poor man, earning daily wages from the contractor who employed him. The two Municipal men crowded around the man and told him he had to cough up 10,000 bucks or he would be in trouble. Be in trouble thought the man, but he was already in trouble. His fingers fumbled out his phone and called up his contractor. 

Over the phone, the contractor abused his employee, cursed him for getting caught and told him to borrow money from the shop owner. 

The owner of the shop was a widow. Through a phone call from one of the workers at the shop she heard about the incident, dropped her household work, grabbed hold of her 23 year old son and rushed to the shop in a state of panic, wondering what was happening. To their dismay as they reached the shop, they found that they the Municipal men and the worker had gone to their house. 

So swiftly, they marched off back to their dwelling. A red post office stood on the street where their abode was and that is where they found the three men. Though one of the municipal men was on the phone, the mother did not wait, her lips gave a burst of opposition against them, questioning their actions. A moment later, the municipal man on the mobile phone had put it down and was explaining the situation to the two of them. The municipal men claimed that the worker was in the wrong and he would have to pay the fine, however the fine was lowered from 10,000 to 5000 bucks. The mother and son knew that they could not reason against this violation, they gently, without abuses cursed the worker and then agreed to pay the fine. The mother marched to her house with the worker hesitatingly following behind.

One of the municipal men put an arm around the son, and told him a strategy on how to get his money back from the contractor – for it is a contractor who really must bear the brunt of the fine, not them – the owners. The son nodded, guessing that perhaps the municipal men were feeling slightly guilty for charging the fine. 

The worker came back down with the money. The municipal men promised that they would write a bill for the fine. Without letting the worker out of their sight, they walked out of the lane to probably meddle in the affairs of others. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Architect III

I am the architect and I’ve lived here in this room for so many years. It’s been so long, I can’t even remember when I was not an old man. An inkling, an urge entered me, I wanted to grabbed hold of the mechanical device’s head and shake it. Anger! Immediately I pushed the emotion aside. The solution was there in front of me, I was just not seeing it. The black rectangular core was a mistake, it was death. There was chance that the yellow triangle and brown square cores would have worked, but they didn’t. The circular one had to work, it was a circle, it had the colours of blue and white, water and soul and it should have worked. 

Instead, only its head swivelled on the neck.

I had to get this working. This device was my child, I never had my own. I knew all the secrets of the universe, yet here was a problem I could not solve. I pressed my face onto the chest and positioned my right eye to peep inside the cavity, but all was darkness. I sighed and was about to pull my face back when I saw the darkness glimmer. I looked again, there engraved in the cavity, through the darkness a line shone out, ‘Life is not made, it is given’. I don’t remember putting that there.

 Given I brooded to myself what did mean. I had given this mechanical device everything I had. The material I made and pulled out of the books. The designs I drew with my hand and my delicate fingers moulded the parts and placed them together. This mechanical device was the sweat of my brow and the work of my magnificent mind.

What more was there to give I asked myself, as I attempted to ignore, to silence a growing voice in my heart. To give a life... I have to give my own.

This mechanical device, no this mechanical being was to be my son. If there was no other way... I wouldn’t want centuries of work to go to waste... this child was going to be my imprint on the world, my mark of immortality. 

My fingers rolled into a fist and tapped against the right side of my chest. Flesh and bone parted to the side, revealing a cavity. This would have to be fast, before the last breath departed from me.

I dipped my hand inside my own chest cavity and pulled out a circular core. As the yellow light reflected across it, I paused to admire it. The circular core was much smaller, with smoother curves and the blue and white swam around each other. I could feel my chest becoming tighter and without wasting another second, for the last time, my hand thrust the core into the mechanical being, my child. 

Immediately, it began to whir to life, but my body was already falling of the chair I sat on. Everything was becoming dark, but through sheer will I forced my draining life to stay a bit longer. I could glimpse the eyes revolving to life, the hands moving and new legs growing and a device evolved into life. The dull gleam of the being erupted into a powerful glow, like the one you would see in a new born babe. 

Things were getting darker, no! I could not leave, just a few seconds more; I have to see this, my creation. Its hand was raised in front of its eyes, the fingers... they were flexing themselves. The nerves were being tested, electronic signals were being transferred from the wires to the mechanical brain. 

Instinct took over, the hands clutched the chair and taking support of it, the being attempted to stand on its two feet. The knees were straight, the back was bent, but by God, my creation was going to stand on his own two feet. 

Collapse. He collapsed back into the chair. 

My eyes lips there were almost shut, the darkness was not calling me anymore, it was dragging me off and my mind fought tooth and nail to hold on to my life force, I had to see this, my creation. 

His hands were once again straining against the chair, the knees were slowly rising up and the back was ascending. He was up! His foot took a step forward; he lost his balance, his body lurched forward to my chair, quick reflexes, his hands held my own lifeless hand taking support. 

His eyes, blue glass eyes, there were alive and stared into mine for a moment.  Darkness was dragging me. “Father”, the word was whispered out of his mouth. My son, I tried to speak the words. Darkness was tugging me with great force and whatever chain that held me here, snapped and sent me down. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Architect II

If you've not read The Architect I- better it read before starting. 

The architect stretch out his hand and rolled it into a fist, knocking twice against the right side of the mechanical device's chest. He waited a moment and then the mechanical device reacted. Slowly, the outlay of a rectangle appeared on the chest and pulled back. A cavity appeared in the middle. The cavity had enough width and height to allow a being’s complete hand to fit through comfortably. The mechanical device would not work until he filled that cavity. 

He scratched his brows for a moment and thought. Like a bolt of lightning, an idea struck him and swiftly he stood up. His hand stretched up, his feet went up on his tiptoes and his fingers touched the yellow bulb. His face grimaced with pain and as his fingers struggled to clutch the bulb, but his toes gave away. At his full height of four feet and one inch he failed to grabbed hold of the bulb hanging above. He took in a few deep breaths and pushed the chair in front. His right knee pressed against the chair and clamoured over the top of it with his two feet. This time as he stood on the chair, his hands easily grabbed the bulb. With a flick of his wrist, the bulb was twisted about and shed light to one side of the room. Swiftly, he rotated his wrist and for some time, each of the four walls was lit with dim yellow light. His eyes squinted and observed his surroundings.  

His hands let go of the bulb and he climbed down. Hobbling over to one corner of the room, his feet kicked down piles of books to reach the table. He knocked aside a building of books and plunged his hand behind it. A rectangular device, no bigger than his palm was clutched in his fingers. It was completely black. His feet hobbled back to the mechanical device and his hand thrust it inside. He took a step back and waited hopefully. A whirring sound of mechanical tools could be heard from the device. And then, the hand shot out and clutched his throat, he felt cold finger squeezing his wind pipe, driving the breath out of him and making him light headed. Struggling, his arm stretched out and pulled out the rectangular core. The cold fingers let him ago and the hand dropped back down. 

His own warm fingers massaged his throat and took in a breath before he hobbled to another side of the room. This time his hand cleared piles of books under the table and was shoved inside. A yellow triangle device was wrapped around his fingers. When he thrust the triangle device in the cavity, the eyes whirled about in their socket. He waited for something more to happen, but nothing did. The eyes just revolved. His hand dipped inside the cavity and tugged out the triangle core.

Disappointed, he went to another wall of the room. With a sweeping swing, his hand toppled over all the books on the table and swiped it off clean. He hopped on the table and his outstretched hands removed a brown square device. His hand once again thrust inside the cavity and placed the device. The jaw dropped down... he expected it to say something, and then the jaw jerked back up. And again the jaw dropped down and a moment later it jerked up. He pulled out the square core. 

Finally, he hobbled to the last side of room. This time he did not have to topple any pile of books. On top of the first pile a circular device with a mix of blue and white lay. His hand took it and thrust it into the cavity. 

This was it he thought to himself as he took a step back. The whirring of the mechanical tools from the torso once again sounded through the air. And then, the head just started violently swirling around the neck. If he had not removed the circular core, he was sure that the head would have spun off. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Architect I

The architect sat alone in a small dark square room. A single bulb hung down from his ceiling by a long wire, stopping a few inches just above his head. He sat on a wooden chair and his hands rested on a table in front of him. On the walls around him stood four tables and four shelves which hung from the stone walls. Books were unevenly placed inside the shelves, some stood, some slept and most books popped out unevenly. The books overflowed the shelves and piled onto the tables. They slept on top of each other and formed towering buildings which seemed unstable and would collapse if the table was shaken even in the slightest manner. This was because the books had failed to be neatly arranged, their edges haphazardly popped out and if one had to look straight from above (at 90 degrees) the book pile would like an asterisk of some sort, with no organised edges.  

The architect was a thin frail man and his eye stared ahead. Set on the table, in front of him was a being... no a mechanical device. You could make out the mechanics – the tiny nuts, the tiny chains, the tiny wheels. And they were all golden, or perhaps it was bronze, but all could agree that it was some shade of yellow. Across its face, you could see the curves and groves of the metal. All of it was in the same colour, except for the eyes which gleamed of black glass with an outlay of white; perhaps it was not a glass, but a gem. 

You may ask why such confusion of the materials? This writer will tell you. The architect is an architect, he is not a miner, he is moulder, but here he lay with one of the rarest material in this universe, and he has made them into something. These materials are rare because they have never existed before, but like a magician, the architect pulled out the materials he needed and built this metallic being. Never before these materials existed and now in this small, square room was the only place that they did existed. 

The mechanical device had a pleasant circular face. It has a square solid shoulder with an arm and fingers extending out for the right shoulder, while the left shoulder stretched into a two inch stump. The mechanical device had a full torso with a smooth chest which lacked nipples and tapered down past an empty crotch which was smooth with a gilded bronze-like-metal and the device finished off with two inches of stumps for legs. Any being would be mesmerised with the blue glass eyes of the mechanical being, but the architect was not. 

He was has almost finished constructing this being... no, this mechanical device, but a problem had presented itself. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Cold

Death is cold and death seems unmoving. However, for Kevin death should have come to him a long time ago. Around his body, thin sheet of blankets covered him, but it he would need for than to save him. The blankets were all wet, except for the one next to him. The falling snow and the biting frost had made it wet. It would take more than a few blankets to save him. If Kevin could see look in the mirror, he would shiver; shiver of the cold, shiver to see his frail body. He vibrated and shivered even more, his body quivered, reverberating desperately to create warmth in him. Already, his usual dirty skin had a tinge of blue.  

It would take a nice warm house to save him. But every since the bank took his house, living and scavenging on the streets had become the life for Kevin. 

And as death came for him, not even Kevin realised it. His eyes were shut and he was in a deep sleep. His metabolism rate slowing down to a tiny pulse, and eventually it would stop and he would take breath his last. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Police and the Law

Abdul just felt frustrated. His fingers tightly clutched the paper, crumpling the edges a bit. He was always a man who followed the legal rule book, but right now, he was in a dilemma. Slow wind blew from the rickety fan above him. With every swirl, the fan threatened to just fall off from its hook, but it didn't. The top button of his khaki uniform was unbuttoned and his lips gently blew wind inside trying to cool off his sweaty body. Today, after hunting the streets for over a month, another scum was in the lock up, another scum that caused pain, but as long as he was behind those bars, he couldn't hurt anyone. 

Six months as station officer and he already knew what was going to happen. Next day he would be presented to the court, bail would be granted and then he would just vanish. The same thing happened last month with another scum criminal. That was the system and Abdul knew he was in it. 

The scum in his jail was a rapist and a child fucker. Yet, tomorrow, he would walk out. Only, if the legal system was stronger, more sufficient. 

“Chai, sahib” a voice interrupted his thoughts. A fifteen year old child placed a glass of the hot beverage on his table. His head nodded, his hand put down the FIR that supposed to be filed and picked up the tea. 

“Saab”, spoke up Sameer, “You don’t need to think much about it, let me do it”. A constable with a large waist breath sat on a stood near the office entrance. His hand were wrapped around the stick which tapped on the floor. He was obviously annoyed at the Station Officer’s decision making process. 

The officer heard about such circumvention at the Academy, but he promised himself, it wouldn't turn out this way.  

The last of the hot tea drained down his throat and the office jerked his body up. “You’ve decided?” questioned the constable. The officer did not reply. 

From his office, past the small waiting area of the police station, he stood outside the lock up. A few petty thieves stood inside with the scum. “Get them out of there”, he ordered the constable. The fat constable charged inside and chased them out of the lockup and put them into the spare one. 

“Give me the stick”, the officer called out another order. The stick was placed in his hand, his feet charged inside the cell and his arm swung back. But the blow did not land on the scum. 

He couldn't do what needs to be done. 

Someone was tugging the stick out his hand. “Go home”, the constable suggested, “I will take care of this. Go home to your family.”

The stick slipped off his hand and into the constable’s. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Working Class Hero

The mornings would be difficult for anyone to wake up and once upon a time, it was difficult for Jim to wake up too. Even before his alarm rang, his internal clock kicks in and he’s up. The tea is on the kettle, the tooth brush is in his hand and his eyes keep glancing at his watch. Soon enough he is done with his breakfast, dressed in his formal wear and he’s off to work.
The crowds crushed him, shoulders brush against his own and elbows nudge him. The public transport was teetering on the edge being over-whelmed with the population of the city. Then, he reaches work. From 10 – 7 he works. Well, not exactly, Jim’s got to account for the give or take of time. On paper, it's 10-7, but there is always a slight stretch of time. Work never ends. He packs up and heads back home, braving the thick crowd in the public transport again.


This time, Jim needed the ring of the alarm clock to wake him up. The tea was put for boiling, toothpaste brushed against his teeth. A sip of tea, a bite of sandwich and he was dressed in his formals and off to work. At the station, his eyes kept glancing at his watch for the train. Jostling crowds, people diving into the train, words bad mouthing people and then, he was in the train off to work.

At work, paper work swamped him. A pen in his hand and spectacles on the bridge of his nose, he dived into it. Start fast, finish soon; that was the idea. 1 o’ clock, 2 o’clock a quick lunch break at the office canteen. 7:30 done with work, time to head home for Jim. As always the trains kept jerking on the train tracks when it is just supposed to zooming by. Then, he reaches home.

Bang, the airplane engine explodes and he’s plummeting to the ground. Jim rolls of his bed, sending sensors to his brain. He wonders if he could have skydived in his dream. The toothbrush was stuck in his mouth as white minty lather dribbling out. The tea whistle rang out and quick hands switched off the gas. With breakfast churning in his stomach, crisply ironed clothes on his body and black polished shoes on his soles, he was off to work.   

Work place politics, assholes and good souls was what he met at office. Another lunch meeting of trying to convince higher ups. Work breathing down his shoulder, Jim got done at 8:30. He prayed that he would get powers to just fly home, but God didn't grant his wish. As usual, he battled the crowd, all trying to get home.

The alarm rang, he did not bother to open his eyes. His thumb jabbed the button and it stopped crying out. Saturday-Sunday, the only good in his life.

A day to introspect.

The professional industry is such that we work from 10-7, 10-7, 10-7 – day in and day out. A habit, a format, a work life schedule in exchange for money. For some the timings vary, but on some level we all work on a schedule format.

The industry forces everyone to work that way and it sucked for Jim.