Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Digantar Workshop Working

And that’s Where the Workshop happened

An experience at Digantar is uncomfortable, awkward and close to being amongst aliens when you are not a teacher. It’s a good thing that I didn’t think a lot before going a Children’s Literature workshop run by Digantar in Jaipur. If I did, I would have been more than just nervous. An assumption was made that there would be other writers who interested in writing and children’s literature. Once again, good thing that I didn’t do in-depth research.

As it turns out, my assumptions was dashed, battered and broken against the rocks, or if you will – Digantar’s wall.

Turns out that Digantar was training teachers. Teacher’s I scoffed, I laughed, I was afraid – I knew nothing about teaching. Nothing to do but wade along with the workshop.

The shock

I heard stories about the educational world. These stories are more real than those ones I’ve read on a pieces of paper or online pages. These are stories from the movers and shakers of the educational world. Teachers and NGO workers all trying to make a difference in a churning and wheeling machinery that grinds students and teachers alike.

Stories from a Harayan teacher who is trying to get parents to care about education. Stories about a University professor who asks students to return the favour not through monetary means, but by getting more students. An NGO worker who is trying to convince students to just sit and read. Or the story of an NGO that futilely tries to convince a State Education head that the latest curriculum is more of a burden than a problem solver.

They are driven by a need to give something back to society. For some reason, they feel indebted to the goodness of society and teaching is a way to give back. For others, it is the pure joy of children that drives them forward.


I know a lot. I read a lot. I consume information of all sorts. Yet, in front of so many teachers I was humbled in a manner that I never imagined. The stories, the discussions, the ideas, the thought process – everything was foreign to me.

Imagine being in discussion between educationalists on why a child is not interested in a particular type of picture storybook. Ideas and suggestions are flying fast and hard, each as valid and possible as the other. These are suggestions and assessments based on experience. It’s all alien. All I could do was listen.


Even though I consider myself a good listener, the next three days of the workshop took my listening skills to the limits, because that’s what all I could do.

The amount of feedback or suggestions I can give is very limited. A simple story about a children’s story based on a math’s problem can be turned into a drama for children, while a slow story about a tribal girl trying to get school can be quite interesting. I had to change my thinking. 

What goes in the mind of the teacher is very different from a normal human.

The Passion

One thing that you cannot doubt – the passion. The passion shown by these teachers, these NGOs, these educationalists. This is a passion that stands the harsh cogs of the educational machine.

“Fresh water pond” that’s what one teacher called the workshop.

They all face an onslaught.

And even at the end of it all, at the end of the workshop – they are all excited. They can’t wait to take these new learning, these teachings, these passions, this creativity back to their children. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Dental Visit

I wish my father told me, “Fear the Dentist, son”, instead of, “Always visit the dentist once a year, you only have one set of teeth blah blah”. However, now I have the habit of visiting the dentist. There is nothing to worry about from the moment you walk inside the dentist office to sitting in the waiting room. But then I worry and fear hits me as I get seated on the dental chair.

The grey metallic implements are clearly visible on the table. “Open wide”, she says and the bright light flickers on.

“Any complaints?” she asks.

“No, just a regular checkup”, I manage with my jaws still wide apart.

Her hand stretches out and grabs the pick and mirror from the table.

It’s okay, it’s just the pick. She always starts off with the pick.

The metal implement scratches against my teeth as her finger keeps flicking the mirror side to side in an attempt to get a better view.

She says nothing, I knew she wouldn’t say anything. There is nothing wrong with my teeth. She puts the pick and mirror down and then, she picks up the drill.

That’s when I feel the jitters. It vibrates through me as I watch her select a long pin and attach it on and give it a spin. The noise is terrifying for what is to come. As always she does not tell me anything. There is the fear of the unknown.

The drill goes inside and begins chipping away at my teeth. It’s a scary feeling. I wait for the pain to start. You can feel it touch the edges, sending vibrations through the root nerves and my face winced… or winced as much possible when its jaws are stretched wide open.

She took a pause and I took a breath. I didn’t realise in my anxiety I held my breath.

The drilling continued and all that can be said was that it was terrible. I felt parts of my beautiful teeth being chipped away for an unknown reason. When she paused, a quick internal lick of the tongue, revealed a small hole drilled inside.

White matter was poured into the hole and just like how a pothole is filled up, a filling was added inside.

But, that was not the end of it. To my horror, she had a new implement in her hand, one that I hadn’t seen before. Some sort of flat brush which began rubbing against my teeth. “This will give it the white look it needs”, she proclaimed, for the first time telling me what was actually happening.

But, wait, I didn’t want any of this. My teeth are prefect. That’s what I wanted to tell her, but in silence I sat on the chair and let her do the good work to my already good teeth.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mr. Khan - A man of this world

Mr. Khan is a man of Mumbai, a man of life and a man of the last age and this passing one too. Life treated him hard so he hardened his heart, but still kept trust in his soul. When his father died, he left college to take up the mantleship of a beard earner, all because his elder brothers were not willing to. He worked hard, a bit of this, a bit of that, learning his skills and eventually, setting up a small shop somewhere in Mumbai. With his small salary, he supported his mother and other family members and ensured they were fed, clothed and well. He took up his father’s job, while his brothers abandoned him. He left his dream of becoming a doctor, shed of his childhood and took up a job in the real world. It was tough, but with grit, a few good friends and unexpected help, he made it through.

However, Mr. Khan’s true love never went out of his sight, his love for education. When the business was set up and running well enough, he got back to college and went through a series of learning processes. From graduation, his thirst could not be sated and so he went on to finish his post-graduation. His did his BSc, an economic course and a few others too.

Then, he became the educator himself. To the Mumbai University he went to become a lecturer. As he poured in his heart and effort into the job a realisation dawned on him – that most students don’t care. They don’t want to study and they don’t know what to do in life. “Rather, they should get married”, he laments. That single line gives a look into an archaic thought of another age.

How many times have students come to him in the middle of the day, or at the end of the evening, all asking to be passed in their exams? The honest truth is that he couldn’t pass them even if he wanted to, one cannot mark a blank paper.

You may find Mr. Khan traversing through Mumbai with his hat on and a tuff on beard spread across his face. He has grown tired of his students who waste their money away dreaming and sleeping in his classes. Now, he resides in his shop, just living life and often… wondering what could have been and what will be. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Apologetic Old Man

He moved cat-like because that’s how you needed to flow when getting onto the bus. Little did our protagonist know that today was a day of old men. He leaped in, his broad shoulders fighting for space amongst other commuters. It was a tiring day of sitting in the office, going through documents and typing things out. One never realises how tired you get, until it’s time to return home, until it’s time commute.

The red bus was crowded as always. Our protagonist made his way through the crowd, shoving his body through the thin spaces and little gaps. Some people grunted and hissed out loud, others bore the grievance in silence, it was just the way of traveling. There were no empty seats, so he stood there by a crowded side. The bus, as always was a jerky one, it went over bumps, the brakes constantly creaked and not even minute passed by when it didn’t jerk.

The bus finally passed a main junction and made its way across. People got up, there was more shuffling and a line formed to exit the bus at the next stop. A seat got empty and our man moved in like a predator to take the seat in the hopes of having a relaxing ride till the end of his journey. However, just as his foot moved in, a tap was felt on the shoulder. A glance behind revealed an elderly gentleman with his thick white beard and sparsely populated bald head.

Silently sighing to himself, the protagonist stepped aside and let the man sit. A grin spread across his white bearded face and he gave out a thanks.

For the most part, the journey passed uneventful, until the elderly gentleman realised that he wasn’t sitting in a Senior Citizen Reserved Seat. Immediately, he started apologising. He assumed it was a Senior Citizen seat that he had taken. In fact, the senior citizen seat was right in front of the one he sat on, so it was easy to get confused.

Awkward is not the right word to use… odd would be a better description. Our protagonist felt odd every time the elderly gentleman turned his head and apologised.  

It was an odd journey of an apologetic elderly gentleman who was trying to figure out a Bus Reservation system. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Shoot the Cannon

Siege of Pyongyang (1593)

It was calm. A soft breeze blew across with various smells of death and sweat along with an intense tension. Han was not alone in noticing this smell. A unit of 50 soldiers stood on the parapet armed and ready to receive the attacking Japanese. He lowered his weapon for a bit and tightened his leather amour. Pyongyang is where the Koreans make their stand and Han was there to help them. He was so far away from home, him and another 30,000 Chinese soldiers were here to help their neighbour.

Negotiations had fallen apart and it was only a matter of time before the Japanese charged on Pyongyang today. Han’s thoughts went to his family who were protected by behind Chinese Walls and land. He would like to go back to be with his wife, children and till his land.

“Attention!” a voice screamed out amongst the unit. In a fluid motion Han picked up his weapon and laid it on his shoulder. A bulky looking soldier walked amongst them in steel armour. That was their Captain, his feet took step inches away from there and his eyes stared into each one of them.

Then, he vanished.

A few months ago, the weapon resting on his shoulder would feel heavy and burdensome, today his shoulder was used to that weight. His fingers were tightly wrapped around the wooden pole of his weapon and the heavy metal barrel was supported on his shoulder. Weighing twenty pounds, it was no longer than four inches. The gun powder and projectiles were already inside. Hand cannons were soon becoming a favoured weapon in the arsenal of Ming. Now, all they had to was weigh and bear the calm before the chaos of battle.

A typical Chinese Hand-cannon
Wanggeom-seong was heavily fortified. Hand cannons were not the only weapons that were on the parapets of the castle. There were soldiers armed with crossbows and bows, and if the tide of enemy soldiers weren’t stopped, there were several carts of rocket arrows. Han didn’t believe it at first, but rocket arrows had the capability of firing two hundred arrows at once.

Forts of Korea were much more different then China. Just like their Japanese brothers, the fort had a low and sloped wall, enough for an enemy to crawl up. It seemed foolish for a defending against enemies, but the longer he stayed in Pyongyang, the more he understood the challenge. The low walls were not a deterrent, rather a challenge to the attacker, a dare, an invitation to take the castle.

Han peered down, he could fall down from the parapet and survive with a broken arm, it’s known to happen. That’s when he heard it, the sounds of many hooves. Japanese warriors came pouring forth on the battlefield, a mass of demon soldiers. Each one of them was dressed in thick metal amour, terrifying face masks and their helmets protruded with horns. Truly, they are demon warriors.

Screams were heard along the parapets. Chinese and Korean soldiers primed their weapons. Bows were drawn, crossbows were loaded and hand cannons were stuffed with gunpowder, then, all of these weapons were pointed at the enemy. The archer let off their arrows first because of their long range. Japanese soldiers tumbled to the ground and those who were injured were trampled to death. Then, the bolts were let off, stabbing those demon soldiers and throwing them off their horse.

“First line ready!” screamed Han’s Captain.

He took a step forward with the rest of the line. The wave of Japanese soldiers was still rushing forward. His hands felt slippery with sweat as he clutched the pole, yet he felt confident, he couldn’t miss.


All it took was a simple clang on the wall to ignite the power on the nip and the projectile burst out. It ripped through at least three Japanese, but Han didn’t notice that the hand cannon was already revolving in his hand. The barrel was big enough to hold three shots and he banged the cannon two more times before stepping back as another line took their place. Swiftly from a wooden container, gun power was poured inside the metal barrel.

So the battle had begun. The air stank of death, the dying and gun powder from hand cannons.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Forgive and Forget Part II

(If you haven't read, Forgive and Forget Part I, go ahead and give it a read!) 

The family ate their grain, finished dinner and the night mat was laid out on ground. The moon already shone brightly in the starry sky and it was time to sleep. His daughter had already dozed away. That’s when he heard a soft tapping on his mud wall. Someone was peeping from the entrance. His face was older, but Hack recognised it. Josef was at his door.

Silently he exited his house, so as not to disturb anyone. A thick, white beard covered Josef 's aged skin which had more lines than ever. “I hope I've not come too late to talk?” Josef asked. The scent of alcohol emitted from his mouth, but it was just drink, he was not completely drunk.

“What do you want?” Hack asked wearily.

“I expected you to meet me as soon as I entered the village.”

“Your business here is no concern of mine”

“Are you sure about that? The past...”

“The past is forgotten. I care nothing for your reasons of being here, just do not disrupt the village life.”

His tongue took a big lick of his lips and Josef concluded their conversation, “I won’t do anything to endanger what you’ve built”. He walked off.


Days and weeks passed. Like every other day, Hack worked in the fields. News filtered on Josef just hanging around in the village, drinking every day. As days and nights passed by, the harvest festival came closer. Hack buried himself more into his daily work. Chopping down sugarcane and managing the village. Everyday talk of Josef came in, but it was nothing to worry about. Soon enough the former village chief became friends with the village’s local drunks. 


Music, dance, drink, food. This was the splendour of the harvest festival, a celebration to mark the final day of harvest labour in the fields.  Grape juice dribbled down his chin as Hack enjoyed a traditional dance by the village’s fair maidens.

All around him he could see joy and happiness. All of their hard work at the field paid off. Soon enough, his own wife was dancing and then his baby girl came running up to him and dragged him off to the dance circle.

That’s when it happened and not for a moment was Hack surprised.

Josef was sitting in one corner, enjoying the festivities of food, drink and entertainment. From his corner, he charged out, brandishing the machete in his hand. His charge led directly to Hack. Throwing his daughter on to the floor. Hack went out to meet him.

They met in the oldest dance of all, the dance of death. Hack leaped to the side, avoiding the swing of the machete. He rolled a few more times, avoiding the swing of the machete. The festivities had stopped and the villagers sprinted away, all attempting to evade the wild blows. “No”, Hack screamed, but it was too late.

Two men jumped in, trying to lend a hand and boldly attempted to end the fight. The machete pierced his naked flesh, stabbed his heart and a lifeless body fell to the ground. The other man had his torso cleaved from his shoulder. “Stay away!” Hack screamed. Josef’s face was twisted into a smile.
The machete swung forward. Instead of leaping back, Hack jumped ahead with his hands outstretched. Through sheer skill, his fingers gripped Joseph’s arm, stopping the blade inches away from his face. For a few seconds, there was a battle of sheer strength and will power. Both of them exerting their fullest muscles capacity and will their opponent to lose.

Then, it was just over. The blade moved back, Hack’s head arched forward, breaking his opponent’s nose, Hack twisted Josef’s arm hard enough and the blade slipped through his fingers.

“You know I actually forgave you when you drove this village to war, death and destruction. I even forgive you that night... when you tried to have my betrothed.”  The machete was in Hack’s hand now. Josef was on his knees and defiance shone in his eyes.

“My wife... even after what you tried to do with her told me, ‘Forgive and forget’. I tried to listen to that advice. I forgave you... but I never did forget. It would be foolish to forget. I knew you would try something.”

“Stop your blabbering and do what you will.”

“I can forgive, but I can’t forget. I forgive you for trying to kill me, almost injuring my daughter, killing those too good men. But... I can’t forget”.

The machete hacked down, slicing through flesh and bone. A head rolled into the mud and blood pooled around.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Forgive and Forget Part I

“I won’t forgive him”, he spoke.

“You have to”, she said. Her hands cupped his face and bought it close. They kissed for a moment and broke off.

“I can’t”, Hack repeated.

“If you don’t... it will consume you.”

They kissed again. He was on top of her.

“I’ll try”, he started to thrust.

“Hack, there is no try. Let go. There is no point of hating... forgive and forget”


How many years had passed since they had that conversation, Hack wondered. His baby girl ran with the little dog. The mud was soft from the last night’s rain. His wife came out from the hut. Her hand held swollen belly. “He’s kicking”, a big smile stretched across her face. “We thought it would be a ‘he’ last time”, Hack pointed out with a grin. “Well, we can’t call it an ‘it’”, she pointed it.

“Maybe we give it a name?” suggested Hack.

“No, no, we are not doing that even before we meet him”. There was no way he was going to argue against her.

In this village Hack was no ordinary man. He was the Chieftain, the village head, their leader.


Of all the times, of all the days, today he thought of a memory he rarely ever thought off. He was in the village field. His shoulder arched back and the machete launched forward and hacked into the thick sugarcane cleanly slicing it off. It was back-breaking work, but years at it caused his muscles to grow. Over an hour, he spent arching back and forward with the machete.

He was not the only one working in the fields. All around him, there were women and men working on the village fields. Some were cane crop, others were cotton , another was grain.

It was at the end of an hour that the boy came running. He sprinted across the field and Hack looked at him curiously wondering what the hurry was. Then he stopped in front of Hack. “He’s... back”, spoke the boy between breaths. He couldn’t have been older than eighteen.

Hack’s movement stopped and asked him, “Who’s back?”

“You know who” the boy spoke, “It’s him. It’s Josef”.

Instantly, the expression changed on Hack’s face. A deep furrow appeared on it and a grim look took over. “Where is he?”

“At temple, offering incense”, the boy replied.  Without letting go off his machete, Hack marched across fields and entered the village path.

News of Josef’s arrival soon enough filtered through the small village.

As Hack walked through the narrow streets between huts and arriving at the edge of the village, he felt strangely calm. That name did not evoke the emotions that it did a decade ago. It was as if he didn’t care. Then, he stopped walking and decided not to even go to the temple.

Hack turned around and headed back to the fields.


“I knew you stopped hating him a long time ago, why do you think we stayed together?” his wife commented.

The sun had set and Hack was back in his own home.

“I thought so too, but today... it was the final test.”, he noted.

“I told you before. Forgive and forget”. Hack nodded his head as the banana leaf in front of him was loaded with grain.

Go ahead and complete Part II of the story - Forgive and Forget II

Stay tuned if you want to read the end of the story. You can easily subscribe to A Writer's Asylum on through email or Google+. Forgive and Forget Part II will be up by next week.
And, comments and feedback is always welcomed!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Matter of Convenience

The irony of the French Revolution
Storming of the Bastille
It was like a school classroom. A single wooden chair hugged the corner of the room. It was like a seat reserved for the naughty child. A table and chair was in the middle and the other half of the room was occupied with rows of chairs. Now, imagine this classroom was filled with people, people from 17th century France because that’s where this story takes place.

The judge sat on his seat waiting for the next prisoner to enter for judgement. He flicked through the parchment paper reading the reports. The chairs were filled with people and even a few fellows stood behind the chairs because of the lack of them. They were either enjoying the entertainment or reporting it for a Journal paper. The grenadier bought the lady in. Chairs that were scrapping, voices that were chirping and gossip that was going around came to a stop.

Silence reigned the room as the lady sat down on the seat that hugged the corner.

The judge was tired and there were plenty more cases to go through. “You have been accused of betraying the revolution”, he stated without any further ado, “How do you plead?”

Her face held an iron clad expression. She did not wince, her eyes held steady in their sockets and there was a complete lack of perspiration on her face.

“I...I-I plead guilty”.

“I will read over your case and then pass judgement. We are done”, the judge proclaimed.

The grenadier marched her out of the room.


Back to the prison she went. A prison that saw light only in the morning, but as soon as the sun set, pitch darkness filled it. There were a few lucky few whose walls had cracks and gaps, and rays of moon light poured in. These souls did not sleep in their hay beds, rather slumbered on the ground, gladly receiving that tinge of light. She lay on the hay bed, in darkness. She was not one of those lucky souls. Her clothes were still the same ones that she wore when they came to arrest her. In her heart, she knew she was guilty.

Her vision drifted out into the darkness of the prison. This was the first place to be liberated, but no one was freed, not a single soul. Instead, more souls, who were wrongly and righteously accused, were put in here. The irony.


She sat there not in defiance, but in wallowing in her guilt. It was that same room.

“I have no pity on you”. It was another judge, but the faces in the crowd were all the same. Curious faces, but none that she remembered, none that she knew....  she was abandoned her by everyone.

“You are accused of betraying the revolution, while you were actually the one to advocate it first through your leaflets. Yet, when we came knocking on your door, for refuge, for advice... for help, you refused us and lives were lost. What do you have to say?”

“You... you don’t understand, I wanted to... with all my heart I wanted to”.  The frown on the judge’s face deepened, but he did not interrupt her.

“I asked friends, I took counsel, I... wanted to steel my doubt. You don’t understand” her voice began to rise with a pleading tone, “With all my heart I wanted to help the revolution.”

In her passion she jumped to her feet, “It is my failure that I didn’t take part in it, that I didn’t follow through, that I-”

“YOU’RE PATHETIC!” the judge’s voice roared over her argument, “It is wise to take counsel from your friends but ultimately, the decision is yours to make! I sentence you to death.”

Her feet felt weak and she almost buckled another her weight. A hand gripped her shoulder. It was grenadier holding her up. She was marched out of the room.


The Common way to execute someone during the French Revolution and Rein of Terror
Death by the guillotine

Was it today? Was it another day? Did I go back to prison? Her thoughts did not matter as stepped up the wooden platform. A black mask as pulled over her face, a priest said the prayers, the sounds of the crowd carried through the cloth.

Sophistication, darkness, incoming death... that what she felt. Her head was placed on the guillotine. It felt heavier than ever.  The sound of a blade slicing through the air.

The crowd roared.

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Falling Circus

Something you normally wouldn't see

He was sitting on the aeroplane and then, he was not. It was not like he had stepped out of the jet. Wind hit his face, harder and faster than you can ever imagine. His skin and hair was tugged back. His lips were forcefully tucked inside his mouth. His lungs found it difficult to catch a breath. Sam was falling through the air. One moment he was sitting in the aeroplane, a comfortable economy seat, the next, a vacuum suction and he was plummeting through the air. It almost seemed impossible, but that's what was happening.

Things were happening so fast, yet things were happening slow. Wait, how's that possible! That's when the bout of panic hit him. I'm going to die. Oddly enough, he didn't mind accepting it. His body spread apart, attempting to embrace the feeling, the pressure of falling down... but you can't really do that.

Winds of that pressure don't allow you to do that.

Sam turned his head to the right, an elephant was crashing down through the air. Its trunk was stuck up and like a whistle in the wind, the blow of his trumpet was heard through the air. On another side, there was a whole wing section rushing down and Sam could swear there was two mimes who were actually pulling themselves up with an imaginary rope.

Then came the clowns falling down, or cycling down if you will. They were on a single wheel cycle. Their feet worked furiously on the pedals and the wheels spun faster through the air. And as they descended down, the balls in their hands were juggled with even greater flexibility.

It was only then that Sam noticed the makeup on their faces. The white, black and red mix was running down their faces. They were scared just like him, they were afraid just like him, they all knew they were going to die.

The vast expanse of blue was growing stronger with each passing second and it was only a matter of time.

Then, splash.

Sam’s face felt wet. Like twitchy nerves, he jumped off his bed. His roommate stood there with a mug in his hands. “You need to stop dreaming”.

“It was the same nightmare over and over again. A circus falling in plane crash”, Sam spoke with a look of grave horror on his face.

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

In Control

The Setting
“So you’re going to kill me?” Jake spoke, putting iron in his voice and not showing a hint of fear. He was barely past his twenties, the last few weeks would make any person loose to the fear of death. 

“I’m afraid I have to”, the elderly man spoke with a clipped voice. 

Anyone could make out the anger burning in Jake’s face. He was strapped to the chair. His t-shirt was bloody and torn and his face was battered and bruised.

On the opposite side, sat a thin gentleman attired in an overcoat and a hat over his head. They were in a small empty room. Except for a single bulb that hung in the middle, it was in darkness. 

“You don’t have to kill me. I didn’t do anything wrong”, there was a cold calmness in the boy’s voice. 

“No, I don’t have to kill you and no, it’s not your fault, but you still have to die.” 

“So why don’t you do it? Why don’t you kill me. Put a bullet in my head!”, he screamed with his voice gritted.  

The 9mm pistol with a silencer waved in the wrinkled hand, “I’d like to explain something before I do that. You see, people believe in order, that someone is in control. Whether it be me or the President of the world. You understand that more than I do.” 

“You’re the most powerful person in the city, you can do anything you want. You can let me go”, Jake pointed out. 

“You see that’s what I mean. I just run the most powerful organisation in the city, but control... that’s beyond even me”, his shoulder shrugged as he continued, “I can control people no more than you can. You understand that better than me. That’ how we got here... Check the conspiracy theories of the world. They come up from the Illuminati to the Mason, all with the belief that these people all have control, that they swit-”

“Michelle and that god-damn Roderick!” Jake cut in. 

“Aye”, the elderly gentleman agreed , “I didn't control Roderick when he raped Michelle, just like I couldn't control you when took matters into your own hands.” 

“Your god-damn code is for you”, Jake countered, his brows furrowing, his anger multiplying as his mind recalled the horrors of the past few days. 

“Ah! You may say that. But, the city is on the verge of tearing itself apart. Killing you would be one way to put things in order.”  

Suddenly, the pistol appeared up like a snake that rears its head up. “So now you know, now you go”. 

Jake suddenly jumped up and charged forward with the chair strapped on his back. Two steps that’s all it took for him to reach the elderly man. 

A pull of the trigger was all it took for the most powerful man to end it.  

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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Life of a Bus

Wheels on the bus go round and round

Once everyone sang my song, now, few do. Or maybe I just don't hear it. Well, it does not matter. My wheels still go round and round. The roads have become bumpier and my joints groan, but still I run true as time goes by. 

Once I was painted yellow. Children jumped up my frame and ran through my corridor with crying plenty of sounds like bird calls to monkey hoots. Restless hands rattled my window planes. Heads constantly creped out of my windows, only to jerk back in when a man called Chacha shouted at them. My thoughts went gaily to my years as a young bus. Those were good years.

Then, the accident happened. I cried, I roared, my exhausted wildly spurted out smoke and my engine clattered .... it was all in vain. When there's a driver at the seat, controlling you, What can you do?

She died, that little child. Her head was first knocked by my bumper, throwing her on the ground and then... then... round, rotating wheels crushed over her. I don't know if any one heard it, I don't know if anyone felt it, but I did. My tires crunched her bone and the sound rang out.

The bus driver ran out, he escaped somewhere far. Another man drove me to a relatively quiet junkyard. True, for the most part it was quiet, but occasionally I heard something. Cutting and crushing of metal. Even in the corner of the junkyard I heard them crying out. They cried to be saved, but what could I do? Buses, vans, cars, all of them cried out. With no driver how could I do anything?

One day they came to get me after gathering dust and rust. It was not the first time I've seen them. When I was new born, they were the first one to board me. 'Inspection' they called it.

In their shirts, pants and their writing pad, all of them nodded their head and then, once again I was driven.

What joy I felt. Breeze brushed against my windscreen, skidded by my sides, my old tired rumbled on the ground.

I was built brand new again! A new paint coat, new set of tires and a fresh layer of grease.

From rusty yellow, I took on bright red. Oh boy, I can tell you I was beaming.

People started using me. It was no more just children, they were adults, students and kidoos - a wide variety of people. The conductor was called Master. He squeezed through the crowd, always clattering away with his ticket puncher and haggling for change.

People charged to get inside and around the city I travelled. It was good, I was supposed to live forever helping people get from one point to another.

I died in a burning blaze. It was some political protest. Metal, plastic, paint, cushion, everything burned, everything part of me. I died.

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Exploding Rockets II

Tipu Sultan's Rocket Demolish the British Army
(This is Part II of last week Blog Post Exploding Rockets I, so if you haven't read it, do go ahead and read that one first.)

His hands worked swiftly grabbing the powder and musket ball from his ammunition bag. David Baird crouched as he reloaded his weapon, pouring gunpowder into the barrel, shoving the musket ball inside and finally lining up the flintlock with a little gun powder. Then his rifle rose in the air and with a bit of aiming, he pulled up his iron sights just above the target’s head, he squeezed the trigger. A puff of smoke blew out, a Mysorean soldier fell of the fort’s parapets and Baird repeated the process of reloading his weapon. A quick glance behind revealed Colonel William Baillie holding the rear and firing off commands. Scuttling forward, moving closer to the fort with his fellow comrades, Baird took aim once again.

He was about to pull the trigger when a light streaking across the dark orange sky distracting him. At first it was only one, but then several more appeared and then even more. The sky was suddenly lit up with lights. “Rockets”, cried out one of the soldier’s on the battlefield.

What were so many rockets streaking across for? Baird asked himself. Usually, Indian rockets made of bamboo were harmless and just used for signalling. From streaking up in the sky, the rockets changed direction and plummeted to the ground. As gravity pulled them down, the rockets spun out of control. Their guidance stick whipped through the air. Guidance sticks were mainly made of wood. Those guidance stick aren’t wooden, he realised, watching a sword attached to the rocket cut through soldiers before exploding.

An explosion rang out, enough to create a crater on the ground. Baird watched in horror as over fifty rockets crashed on to their ranks, sending out fireballs. His body froze. The sky looked empty for a second before more lights filled it and rockets once again, plummeted down.

Fear gripped him and Baird wanted to run, to escape, to flee, to find cover, to hide under shelter, but in an open battlefield, there was none. The smell of burning gunpowder never smelled stronger and came along with the smell of with burning flesh. It sickened Baird to the pit of his stomach.

An explosion rang out louder than the rest of the rockets and Baird glanced behind. The army’s whole rear was gone in a blaze of burning fire. The Colonel was nowhere to be seen. The ammunition cart was blown to smithereens. The soldiers stopped advancing, threw their guns and began to flee. Baird wanted to join them, to escape, to live; but he saw no escape. Rockets slashed soldier and blew them to bit. Arrows and musket ball rained down. The fort’s door creaked open and a cavalry force charged out. The Battle of Pollilur was over and the use of rockets as military force was introduced. 

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Exploding Rockets I

“Here they come”, that’s the message that ran through the troops. Dinesh felt nervous as his sword slid out from its sheath. It was a curved blade that would have glinted in sunlight, if it had been there. Instead, the sky was painted with a bright orange shade as the sun set down.  He felt a little sadden looking at the beautiful craftsmanship. Today, his sword would not see blood.  Pollilur Fort was what stood between the Firang enemy and their homeland. Dinesh looked on proudly at his fellow soldiers dressed in their orange striped colours of their army. They stood on the parapets of the fort armed and ready. Bows were drawn out and the musket rifles were loaded. However, for some reason (which you will soon discover), the parapet in front of Dinesh was quite empty. Only a few soldiers stood on the edges, ready for the enemy. 

With a few steps forward, Dinesh peeked and stared at the marching enemy forces. Soldiers walked forward in a line with a few cavalry officer behind them and a large cart being tugged. Their dark red uniforms were easily noticeable and their fair faces told of their race. English, East India Company, Firangs, that’s what they were called. Half of the continent was taken over by them and this is place where we stop them! 

His arm rose up and his sword shook in the air, trying to send a menacing message across to the oncoming army. That’s when the first shot rang out and that’s all it took for the battle to start. Dinesh ducked on to the ground. I can’t die yet! 

From his position, Dinesh watched the battle unfolded below and bided his time. His blood boiled, he wanted to jump into the battle brandishing his newly forged blade, yet he restrained himself with a reminder, I’m a Corporal. Tipu has given me a role to play. 

Musket balls and arrows poured out from the fort. The enemy marched forward unhindered. Some stopped and crouched to take a shot or reload, while others marched on covering ground. For every inch they moved forward, plenty of red dressed soldiers just collapsed to the ground with a musket ball or arrow pierced through their tunic.  

However, neither were Tipu’s soldiers untouched.  Soldiers were shot, some slumped to the ground, while other fell from the parapets, and another soldier came from behind to occupied the empty position of the dead soldier. 

Soon enough, the stench of gun powder and the sounds of dying men dominated the air. The enemy marched forward closing in on the fort and leaving behind a trail of dead and moaning men. Their discipline was exemplary. 

Then Dinesh decided it’s time. Ignoring his enemies, he stood up, sword raised in hand, “Now we attack”, he screamed. Standing well behind the parapet his troops let out a roar. The burning flints in their hand were put forward, lighting the threads. 

Finally, the Sultan’s weapon would be used and these, on coming, Firangs would be slaughtered. The 9 inch metal tubes of rockets lit it up and launched into the air. Dinesh watched, with pride, as over fifty rockets cut into the air, rising above and beating the record of any previously set bamboo rocket. The British won't know what hit them! 

Find the second part to this blog post on Exploding Rockets II.  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

When Death Calls

Death called to him. The wound hurt him, it pained him, but it would not be long since that death would come to him. The blood had almost stopped flowing from his wound. His body lay in the mud that had soaked in all the blood, otherwise he would have been floating in a pool of his own blood. And then the final cold wave swept over him and he was no more. 

His body lay still on the mud, the shivering had stopped. The sun glinted through the clouds and trees onto his body, the last of the yellow sunlight had a tint of orange just before it set. 

And then once the sunlight went under, a sudden gush of warm air was pulled through his nose Like a miracle, he breathed life again. His back lifted up from the ground and he took a few more lung full of breaths, assuring himself that he was alive. It was always like this... death called to him, but never took him. 

His eyes glanced at his wound, not even a scratched remained. It was completely healed. His clothes was in tatters, only a part of his pant remained. He stood up and his shoulder fell upon a tree. His body could barely stand up. A few seconds ago all the blood drained out of him, but now it was probably all back. He did not know how it worked. He wondered if he should go search for his murderers or like the countless other times, not bother. They could try to kill him infinite times, but it seemed like death did not want him.... he was resurrection man. 

PS: If you're a comic lover, put Resurrection Man on your list. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Don't Know

The only reason I touch the toolbox is to work on my PC, and I only use the screwdrivers. 

“I’m sorry dad”, he apologised.

“It’s okay, it’s okay”, the father repeated as his fingers were busy turning the tap handle. His back was bent as he was engrossed in his work.

“It’s been leaking for almost a week now”, the son commented, “I tried to fix it, but I just can’t make out head or tail”.

The father loosened the handle and pulled it out. A bit of grime got on to his fingers and he cursed silently.

“It’s about time you started learning you know”, the father commented.

“I know, I know”, the son spoke helplessly, acknowledging the futility of his situation.

“Pass me the spanner”, the father requested.

There was a tool box at the son’s feet and it’s from there, he dipped in his hand and after sometime of digging, he produced a stainless steel metal with two tiny claws.

“Here you go”, the son spoke as he handed it over. Without glancing up, the father took hold of the spanner and began rotating it back and forth, loosening a nut. Afterwards, more of the tap was dismantled.

“I think the nut's a bit loose”, stated the father, “Hand me the tube from the tool box.

Once again, the son’s hand vanished inside the tool box and a second later, a small tube was gripped between his fingers. The father took it and with a slight squeeze, a little gel slid onto his finger. He applied it inside the nut and put the tap back together.

“There, it won’t leak any more”, the father pronounced with a tinge of pride in his voice as he stood up.

“Thanks dad”, the son spoke as he walked his father out the apartment door.

“I know you were too busy with college and now, you’re busy in the office, but you need to learn all this. There is no certification for it, but these simple tricks will help keep your house together.

The son stood there silently brooding to himself, that he should have learned these tricks when he was at home, but he didn’t.

The father sighed silently to himself waiting for the elevator to arrive. His son, what would he do if he had to run a house of own with his own family. I won’t be here forever. There was a time once that his son would just absorb everything, from how the bulb turned on to how the plugs in the house worked. Somewhere along, that curiosity died out and he never bother to pick up on those thoughts again. He was just never there at home, maybe I could have thought him something!


The father’s thoughts were cut with the elevator parting doors. He stepped inside and sighed again silently to himself.

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Savage Man

Over twenty people stood patiently and impatiently at the bus stop. All of them waiting for a bus to reach their destination. In front of the bus stop was a road packed with vehicles zipping away. In the distance a red bus appeared and suddenly, everyone was edging forward on the road. A slight tensed feeling seemed to float in the air among the waiting crowd. The bus rolled onto the stop. At least a dozen hands, taking the shape of claws, must have shot out, grabbing the railing inside the bus to haul themselves in. 

A dozen hands acting at the same time, all for their own gain. 
It must have been 30 seconds, that’s how long the bus stood there before the wheels began moving. A small number of people were still trying to shove their way into a bus that was already full of people.

Janwar !”, screamed out one man, “You scratched me! Should I throw you out of the bus”. The screamer was a thickset man who stood inside the bus, just in front of the entrance. He was shouting at a thin, lanky man who had a confused expression on his face. “You scratched me when you jumped into the bus. You savage!”, the thickset man accused again.

His hands were raised, elbowing several passengers, as he showed a few slim scratches on his hand. The thickset man had an accusing glare.

“I... didn’t do it”, the lanky man managed to answer against his accuser’s aggressiveness.

“You savage! You liar”, cried out the scratched man, not giving a care of the passengers around him, both his hands shot up and grabbed hold of the lanky man. “Janwar! I’ll throw you off this bus”.

In a mad rage, he started pushing the lanky man out of the bus. The poor souls behind the lanky man battled for their life against the anger of thickset man as they hung out from the bus.

“Oye! Oye!” the bus conductor shouted from the front, but his voice was far from them, had no effect, and there were just too many passengers in the passageway to reach and stop the man in time.

“Stop this!” a shrill voice of a woman called out as she was shoved down the bus’ staircase. Her feet were struggling to stay on the bus and her hands fought to keep hold on the railing. All it would take was a slip and she would tumble down the staircase, out the bus and so would everyone else in front of her.

A dozen hands move in unison, all with the same purpose. They grabbed the thickset man’s collar and jerked him back. Now, you can guess the rest of what happened to the savage man who gave in too easily to his anger.

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