Friday, December 7, 2012

Made it

He was leaning against the gate and waiting for him to come out of the house. He took out his mobile to check on the time and saw that it was not even eight in the night yet. There would be enough time to get things done before sleeping. He heard the noise of someone rushing down steps and turned to see him come out of his house.

“What were you searching for so long?”
“I was searching for my watch.”
“What the hell do you need a watch for?”
“Anyway, while taking my watch out my eyes fell on this, so I thought that maybe we could have it today”
He pulled out a slender metal cylinder from his pocket and handed it to him. He pulled open the cap and inhaled a deep long breath, taking in the aroma of the cigar in.
“Romeo Juliet, good stuff. I thought you were saving this to enjoy on some occasion.”
“I was, and I will be leaving today. What better a time to enjoy it? Besides if I leave it behind, how is going to anything to it?”

Having secured a seat for studying statistics, Rajesh was to leave for Washington the next day and wanted to spend some time of his last day with his good friend and class mate Sameer. Rajesh wanted to go to the States for quite some time now, for he believed that not only a better education but also a better life style and standard of living awaited him there. Sameer had not shown such desires yet. Rajesh pocketed the cigar case and sat behind Sameer on his bike. Sameer pushed the start button on the handle, changed gears and rode off towards the road, careful to avoid the potholes on the connecting lanes from the society to the road.

It was a short drive to his place which was just about 2 kilo meters away. Rajesh got down so that Sameer may park his bike in the ground floor parking. He nodded to the watchman sitting on his steel chair next to the elevator and pressed the button to call the elevator down. Sameer was there with him by the time the elevator doors opened. They got in together and he pressed 6 for the floor on which his house was while Rajesh closed the grille which served as the inner door. 

“Have you got booze in the house or will we have to go and get it?”
“I think three or four bottles of beer and some of the vodka we had got the other day.”
“Should do enough. If there is any less you’re going to drag your fat ass all by yourself to buy some.”
“ Balls. I am just going relax on the bean bag while you bring it yourself. Who asked you to drink so much last time?”
“Oi, it’s not like I made a mess!”
“Yeah, that is all I need. Feed you free food and beer and then clean up after you throw up. Very relaxing.”
“Exactly, I don’t see why you’re cribbing about it.”

Both of them entered the house grinning. Sameer went on to the kitchen to bring glasses and bottles while Rajesh sat on the couch and turned the TV on. Sameer brought it all out on the table and while he was pouring the drinks out, Rajesh was emptying packets of salted cashews and dried figs. They took their first glasses of beer, clinked them, said cheers and drank it up. Soon the cigar came out and Rajesh and took two puffs before passing it to Sameer. He put it in his mouth and waited for the flavour to seep in before taking a puff and heaving a deep sigh.

“This is some real good stuff. Top Notch”
“Totally. Do you remember our first cigar?”
“Hahaha, yeah. We went to the other side of the city to have it so that no one would catch us.”
“It was one of those cheap flavoured cigars, but back then we felt so rich doing it.”
“Yeah, stupid kids.”
“Oye. Speak for yourself, mister.”
And then they went on to talk about some of other good times they had shared together in college and after it.

“So when do you leave for the airport tomorrow?”
“Around 12, want to check in a little early and go inside. You know how mum and papa are, they will get teary.”
“And will they be ok going back on their own?”
“ Yeah, my cousin will also come to drop me off. You should come too, you know. ”
“I wish, but I have a presentation tomorrow and boss won’t give me a day off.”
“Not to the airport, I am talking about US.”
“Now where did this come from?”
“I know I am going to do masters before getting a full time job, but it’s different there. You can save up from your part time while studying so you don’t have to ask your parents.”
“I know.”
“And other than that it is not like here. Over there people aren’t bothered about others. You’re only treated as good as your work. People let you be who you are.”
“Yeah, that is what Sonal told me too. It’s a great country that you’re going to, and I would totally love it over there. But you know how I feel about it. We all want to leave here because we say that this place sucks, but nobody wants to stay back and do something about it.”
“Dude, that is all nice to read about in the books you have. You’ve been reading too much of this philosophy crap. Someone as good as you would do great there.”
“Hmn.., which is I want to stay back here.”
“Whatever, if you change your mind let me know. Now come drop me off to my house.”
“Can’t man, can’t drive like this. I am a little drowsy. I’ll walk you down to the road and get you an auto.”
They walked down to the road and waited for a couple of minutes till an auto rickshaw came. They hugged each other and Rajesh left in the auto.

Sameer was sipping coffee with his back rested against the wall. He straightened when he saw the boss coming his way. He greeted him and told him that the presentation went well and the director was pleased with the results. The boss shook his hands on a job done well, gave him some updates on what was supposed to be done the next day and walked ahead. Sameer got back to his coffee with his back against the wall. He looked at the large wall clock in front of him. It was almost five in the evening. Rajesh must be in his flight by now. He couldn’t help but feel envious of him. He smiled and wondered if it was because he had made it.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Review: Hexagon by Ishaan Lalit

Hexagon is the second book by Ishaan Lalit, after TheBracelet. I will give you a gist of the story with minimal spoilers before the review.

Hexagon is primarily led by Rahul Oberoi who is an art thief along with this his girl friend Ria. Things go for a toss when they are caught in one of their chases and are lead to a secret underground facility (and yes it is an Indian government facility; Thank you, Ishaan), where to their wonder his grandfather worked before his death. The reason for this facility being so secret is the existence of an ancient hexagonal device which acts as nexus or gateway of sorts to access the six different parallel earths. From one of these earths comes the race known as Moths. They are on a path of world domination and know how to use the Hexagon to access other earths to conquer them.  Now it depends on how they brace themselves with such information and what they do about it. Do they use the Hexagon to access the other earths as well, and if they do will they find friendly races or more enemies?

The book is fast paced and surprisingly you do not get the feeling of jumping from one act to another but instead it seems like a natural progression only at a fast pace. It is like running up a flight of stairs and noticing the different doors and apartments on each floor. I like to see the book in two different aspects. The first being the story of the characters and how they act and change as you read on. The second is the sci-fi setting of the novel with the Hexagonal device, parallel earths, and the different races on said earths. Ishaan deserves credit for a job well done here. He doesn’t get carried away in either of the aspects. You won’t find him describing the universe his work is set in and not delve on the characters. He manages to strike a balance with his visual descriptions.

As mentioned, this is his second book and it is an added pleasure to read it after the first. I personally believe that the core structure of the two books is similar. A character gets involved in a situation; the existence of which is a secret, and how he in spite of being the newbie to it has to take initiative to see it through. This book has the weaves of story lines more intricate and how the writer is maturing his skills with more writing. The book however has its shortfalls. I found that the editing needs more work as there is one chapter that is repeated after its original apart from a few very minor slips.

The second issue I have is more of a personal opinion and should not be considered demerit at all. The book is too short for my liking. It is not short in general, as it has about more than 50K words, and has 232 pages. I personally enjoyed the style of writing in this book with its descriptions, characterizations and sci-fi elements. At the end of the book I was left with a feeling of wanting more. Make no mistake that writing such a piece of work must have been a very consuming task for him, and the book does end with a possibility of a sequel. I do hope that we get to read it. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Review: The Krishna Key

The Krishna Key’ is the third book written by Ashwin Sanghi, after having written The Rozabal Line and Chanakya’s Chant. Without giving out any detailed spoilers, I will give you a gist of the story as part of the review.

The driving character of the books is Ravi Saini. He is a mythology & history teacher who is on the run to clear his name in the murder of his childhood friend Anil Varshney. Before his death, Varshney found an object that with his theory can change how we know history. However before he can do much about he murdered by a man who calls himself Taarak Vakil, whose name when you play with spells out ‘Kalki Avatar’. However he is not the bad guy like You-Know-Who but a man who believes himself to be tenth avatar of Vishnu (Kalki Avatar) and must vanquish the wrong and bring forth the light.  Now Saini must prove himself innocent while not getting in the hands of Taarak who is trying to kill him as well and save himself from the cunning and competent inspector in charge of hunting him.

The book is in three layers. Layer one is the main story of Saini and Vakil and how their individual quests progress and sometimes merge like the branches of a river. Layer two is the back stories/ flashbacks of the characters which serve to add flavour and show their individual motivation. Layer three is Krishna telling his own story to the reader. Of the three layers I personally liked the second layer the most as it provides the background of the canvas against which the main story is being drawn on while Krishna’s words serve as the frame for the painting.

The book has been told by some be India’s answer to Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. Now I don’t know how to react to this statement, but yes the book is indeed of the same genre. A mixing of the past and the present, murder and mystery, facts and wishful thinking and some conspiracy theories. The plot has its fair share of surprises and predictable moments. I believe each reader will react differently to the book depending on the number of plot twists they are able to predict or be fascinated by.

I have not read his first book, but have read Chanakya’s Chant with much delight multiple times. Chanakya’s Chant also had two layers, one of the fictional retelling of Chanakya and Chandragupta Maurya’s lives and the second of the lives Chandini and Gangasagar in the present. The two layers were in perfect balance with one leading into the other stream lessly. Just like a well made lasagna or Danish pastry. The Krishna Key however lacks such finesse and at times the plot seems to be pushed ahead instead of progressing. I once wondered that this book had been written before and Chanakya’s Chant after assuming that as the author matured his way of balancing the layers did as well. It seems however Sanghi is a victim of the success of his previous work that I and others have compared this book to those before.

The book is however still a good read and I must appreciate the amount of effort and time put in by the author in the research required to write such a book.

This review is part of the Book Review Program by BlogAdda. Wherein members of the program can receive free books as long as they commit to post a review of it. Due to my own lack of energy owing to some projects I hadn’t blogged for quite some time. I knew that a review would be required when I got in to the program and my lack of energy is no excuse for the review to come so late that BlogAdda had to follow up on me. My sincerest apologies for that. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012


There are advantages of having friends who share your passion for reading and among other things you never run out of good great things to read. Today one such friend Ritu shared an article on facebook (which she was kind enough to tag me in).  It is “Which kind of book reader are you?” by the Atlantic Wire. The article goes on to describe different types of readers and their reading habits. Are you the one who will purchase books and then end up with a backlog or are the one who has them only to display them? And so on...  What about me, do you ask? (Well you are reading this, and should you continue to read this entry I gather you are interested in it.)

I have picked up books for various reasons. Quite a few of these books are in my cupboard because Landmark (the book store) is exceedingly close to my apartment. So every few days I find myself strolling in to the store because I ran out of stationery supplies, or need something for work, or am drawn to the large number of books there.  If there is a sale I pick up some of the books I have been wanting to read and since there’s a neat deal I stock them in my cupboard. Sometimes it is because I visit the store out of boredom or habit, and flipping through the books I find something that amuses or touches me. Then of course there are the recommendations from friends.

This has lead to a huge backlog of reading for me. Books that have been read for only a few pages before they were put on the table and then inside the dark forbidding chambers of my cupboard because I got busy with something, or found something else to read. Evil, I know. This is not just fiction but books on engineering and science that I picked up because I enjoyed reading about the subject, some management books that I refer when work gets boring and philosophy for my desire to study more upon it.

Right now I am reading ‘Krishna Key’ because I got it for review (yeay) from Since I am to post a review on it for receiving said book, ‘Fifty shades darker’ has been put on hold along (because I enjoyed reading ‘Fifty shades of Grey’, and wanted to continue the story). There is also ‘The Toyota Way’ which I am reading to learn different approaches that I can use at work. There is ‘God is not Great’ lying on the table as well which I had picked for light reading (and mom got scandalized).

Then there are a select few unique books that have not been completed for particular reasons. I received ‘The girl who kicked the hornet’s nest’ as a gift from Ishaan Lalit, and I read the first three chapters before I felt that there was too much a back story being referred to. Wikipedia enlightened me with the fact that since it is book 3 of a trilogy I got the feeling of missing the story. Although I thought the story would be revealed in detailed flashbacks, I have kept it aside for after I finish its chronological predecessors. There is ‘Love, Loss and Acceptance’ by Shail Di which I am keeping aside for reading when I can do its verses justice.  And finally there is Thermodynamics because I can’t wrap my head around the change in heat of the room when an air conditioner is turned on while a draft exists on the other side of the room. The AC is on, it is cooler, I am thankful, please get lost. Maybe It has also to do with the idea that I flunked the subject the first time I took it in college.

And before signing off for this, I would like to tell you about this little thing I have. I just love caressing and smelling books. Sometimes I pick up books and ruffle through the pages and smell the air as the pages flip by. The rustling noise and the sight of the pages go by is just so wonderful. I don’t do it all my books, but one day the mood strikes to do so and it always manages to make me sigh.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Same Pinch

I take the company bus to work every day. Well every day that I wake up on time that is; otherwise I have to request one of the senior managers who live around to give me a lift in their car to which they comply. My stop is at a Domino’s near my house where I catch the bus from. The other day I got up particularly early and instead of spending time in the bath tub or sleeping I got ready, made myself some green tea and left early so that I could wait at the stop and catch a read.

So there was a group of kids nearby standing outside their school (on the way to my stop) and since I didn’t have my ear phones on as I usually do I could hear what they were talking as I passed. One of them ended up doing a ‘same pinch’ to the other. To those of you unaware of it, this is what you do when someone has something same as you do or does something same. Should you call dibs on it, you can pinch the other person and say ‘Same pinch’. Kids in my time used to do that often. I was in one of my better moods and the following conversation came to my mind and I thought that I should you know, give it a shot.

Me: Hi, How are you?
She: Fine, you?
Me: So far so good. Do you have a boy friend?
She: Umm.... No, why do you ask?
Me: Neither do I... Same Pinch (in a voice of glee)

Now I have spoken of this to only two of my female friends, both on chat, and they both LOLed at it. This could be however for the fact that we were on chat, and they were probably staring at the screen with a wonder as to why they haven’t gone offline or invisible yet. Or maybe they just share my sense of humor. I gather it’s that and that in person they wouldn’t beat the crap out of me.
On the way to work in the bus, I could think of two other ways how this conversation could lead to

Me: Do you have a boy friend?
She: No, why do you ask?
Me: Neither do I... Same Pinch (in a voice of glee)
She: Ah... Do you have a girl friend?
Me: No, Same pinch?
She: No, but now you know why you don’t

And the other one:

Me: Do you have a boy friend?
She: Umm.... No, why do you ask?
Me: Neither do I... Same Pinch (in a voice of glee)
She: ... Do you have a girl friend?
Me: No
Together: SAME PINCH

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I dream of death

Everyone dreams, and some dreams are more memorable than other. I dream loads and some of the most wonderful stuff (though not of genies, not yet that is).  While there are dreams that are older and more memorable, I will however share with you one that I had today in the morning as it one of the few dreams that I was able to do things in; a lucid dream of sorts as I could talk and move as I pleased in some cases.

I was sitting in Landmark that is close to my place in Baroda. I was comfortably seated on a couch and reading a book I had just purchased while a cup of coffee lay on the table. Now I know that this landmark doesn’t have a coffee joint in it anymore, but hey it’s a dream and I didn’t want to nitpick on free coffee. I notice this man walk past by me towards the washroom. I couldn’t help but think that I had seen him a couple of times before. He was wearing a fedora hat and that is a rare thing, in India for the least. So the dream me tries to remember, and has an image of him walking by my mom’s house while I stood outside in the veranda talking to a neighbour. After he comes out of the washroom I go and ask him if we have met before since he seems familiar to me. The man nods and says that he is the angel of death and that we have met a couple of times before.

“Huh, angel of death? What are you doing in a book store then?”
“Doing my job, taking people off my list to see that they die.”
“Is it now, you must show me how it works then.” And he stared at me for a moment as if I had told something that he couldn’t understand.

For future reference if you’re in my dream, and if I tell you to show me how something works, you will show me how it works. You’re in my dream, and well that is how I dream. I will extend the same courtesy to you should I ever come in to your dreams. Although I don’t know how it works if you dream of me. Would I be lucid too? But you know I lose all memory of it once you wake. Anyway, moving on...

“Ok, I have names in my book as part of a list that I must ensure die.”
“So how do you do that?”
“I strike their name of, and think of a way they must die and they die.”
“Oh, like that anime Death note I saw on Animax?”
“Manga too, they pretty much got the concept right.”
“Teach me, how it is done.”
“See that woman over there? Her name is Radha Varma. Now this is her name on my list, and I strike it off. Now I want her to buy a DVD for her grand kids and watch it with them over a good meal. When she sleeps she must think that it is just some indigestion, but it will be a heart attack instead.”
And then there was a montage of us going around take people off his list. So while we were sitting in a place and I was going through his book, I saw my name on a page with an ellipse around it.
“Tell me, why my name is written here like that. What does it mean?”
“A circled name means that I was supposed to knock off the person, but didn’t”
 “So why did you let me go that time.”
“Six times in all, I had orders from up top that told me not to do so.”
“Like a close shave you mean? But I don’t remember six instances like that.”
“Only two, others were orders. A word of advice, you really need to start working out.”
“Dude, what the hell?”

And then he smiled and I woke up from my dream. It was around 0830 in the morning because I check for my mobile and spectacles when I get up. I called for mom and she was in the other room sweeping. So I told her that I dreamt of a ‘Yamdoot’ (the closest Hindi translation of an angel of death I could think of) and that he was told to let me off six times so far, and that he asked me to work out. She looks at me (probably thinking why of all possible kids, she had to get me) and tells me that I will listen to a Yamdoot, but not her. I had a sassy reply ready but seeing the broom in her hand, I did not push my luck for a seventh time.

Now I wonder if I can write my training as angel of death on my CV. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I have a higher purpose in my few visits than to meet you. It is the journey itself that is more exhilarating than the end destination.  Time becomes flexible in my travels to meet you as I think of the time we have spent together. Not the conversations we had, but how they make me feel & how I hope they would make you.

People say that love is blind, and that when in love people don’t see other things. I never could understand it, and it never happens to me. I become conscious of everything around me. Of the wind that blows across my face as I sit near the window of the train and how I remember you adjusting the windswept bronze hair away from your eyes. Of the road on which the car runs and our drives on it while your body jerked when there were potholes while your bosom which reminds me of parabola and its equations jiggles on such roads. Of the bread that you ate, and how your lips spread into a smile of delight after they contorted themselves on it while you nibbled on the bread in glee.

My face betrays the high that I feel when I see your face for the first time on our meets. It makes me think of how obvious I become and wonder if you notice it. I like to notice things when we meet. The motion of your lips, the force with which you grip the spoon while you eat, the angle your legs make, and the curves of your body. How the expressions in your eyes change when I say something that makes you laugh, how you grip the handle of the door when you want to open it and clench your fingers about it. Gentle, yet determined. As if the door becomes an extension of yourself when you touch it, and there is no effort that you are applying to open it more than the effort you would take to move a step ahead yourself.

I like it when you start describing about what you do at work. How you can get lost in explaining something because of how much enjoyed being part of it. Part of creating something, of discovering something that was till yesterday unknown to us and how you unravelled it. The joy of being good at it, and not being sorry but passionate about it because it is what you want to do and how you want to do and that no other reason would suffice. Makes me think of how I feel like after a particularly tiring and productive day at work gets done. That I would want to be with you and talk to you about it. I wouldn’t want to teleport to your side to do that, no it would be too quick. I had this idea once that I would have something like Tony Stark’s armour as part of my case, which I would wear and fly up to meet you. Or maybe a blue lantern ring, that I could use to fly so that I can even feel the wind blow across my face while I fly to meet you.

One of these days I would like to take up one such trip to meet you, and then not meet you at all. I would just enjoy the journey and go to one of the places we would have, and sit all alone and amused at the possibilities the moment presented. I could continue sitting there, and over a cup of coffee write something like I am writing right now, or maybe through a stroke of chance you would come in and see me and call me stupid for not telling you that I had come.

I think of the moments just before leaving you. Of how I wish that time actually were that flexible, and I could hold on to that moment when we both embrace the finality of it, that we would both have to leave. I gather that since neither of us have such a control over time, we continue to appreciate such moments.
I. You.  

Friday, August 17, 2012


I was not born in to a poor family, but yet I know what it feels like to be poor, and rich. Well it depends upon on what time of the month you’re talking of.

I was never brought up in poverty, it’s just that things were either worth spending on, or not. So if something was needed it was bought, otherwise it was not thought of. The family consists of only mom and me, and back then she was the only earning in the family. Some time before college started she resigned from her job. It was a combination of the commute, work issues and her ailing health that lead to the decision. Besides, she had put in enough money in savings to put me through college. So it seemed like a sensible decision. Now that we look back, it still is. Even in college there was this certificate course I took up for learning Pro/E (which now that I think didn’t teach me any more than what a friend who knows how to use it), but I remember talking to mum about it and saying that it would add ‘weight’ to my resume (Sigh, pity) and the next day she asked me how much it was worth and gave that much to me and told me to pay the fees with it if I was interested in doing it. Similarly when it became necessary for me to purchase a laptop, she bought me one. Although I do remember, for the lack of a better word, nagging her for a new phone shortly after college started. I ended up purchasing a Nokia N72, a good phone, but a bad way of acquiring it.

So after I got my interview cleared and before job started, I thought that when salary starts coming in I should divide it in five parts. One part would be my own allowance and I spend it how I want without answering anyone. Second part would be an allowance for mom and likewise no questions asked on what she does with it. Third part would be for the expenses of the house and fourth would be saved up for something like a future education or a car or a house, whatever would catch my fancy. The fifth would go towards an emergency fund for those unforeseen times. If you look at it, the so called planning makes sense. It started out well, before as the use of past tense suggests, it went to nothingness. I have touched on this before, but soon I developed more expensive tastes and lesser inhibition. So my love for coffee would find me making daily visits to Barista for multiple cups of coffee (oh and they make some great coffee), cheese burst pizzas, gym to burn off the pizza and so on. Soon it developed in to a habit, and month ends would be accompanied by a decreasing availability of funds.

Sometime last year I got in the inevitable discussion of finances, and seeing my state of things and some of the poor decisions I had taken she asked questions that I could not properly answer as to where all that money really went. It was of course a not so neat discussion (forgive my use of the euphemism). Of course some time afterwards, better sense prevailed and I religiously siphon off money every month for saving. Sometimes it is not as much as I would like it, not as much as mom would want it, but then again I am now ‘richer’ than I was a year ago.

My so called improved habits are however a result of deliberate and conscious decisions. Some of them every day. Do I still want to go and have loads of coffee, pick up every book, movie and game that has my fancy? At the back of my mind I do, and it is a decision with the thought that “No, that money must be saved for something else. Something larger”

Sunday, July 15, 2012


He was standing near the hospital entrance waiting for the rains to stop. The sudden rains had brought things to a jam in the city. Since he hadn’t brought an umbrella he couldn’t walk and the traffic was too slow moving to take a cab. He reached into his pocket for a cigarette and the lighter. Out of habit he ran his fingers along the length of the stick before inhaling it in before flicking the lighter open and lighting it up. He hadn’t been smoking for a while, but today he had remembered to pick up the pack and lighter from the drawer in the office up in the hospital. He was feeling tensed, scared for himself and for her. He half had a mind to call her up to check up on her, but he had already done that a couple of minutes back.

The ambulance came in to a screeching stop near the entrance, and the orderlies rushed towards it as two patients were brought out of it. It was a young man and a woman both seemed to be in their early twenties. Both seemed to have been beaten up pretty bad. The boy had bruises and assault marks all over him and seemed to be bleeding from his mouth. His shirt had been ripped apart half way through and he winced every time someone touched him to support him while he was being moved on a stretcher. The girl seemed to have had it worse. She was beaten up as well, but had bite and scratch marks all over her naked body. It wasn’t that she wasn’t covered up, there was a sheet covering her body but her clothes were missing, and the sheet slipped when she was lifted to be put on the stretcher. One of the female nurses stepped back when she was being wheeled through along with him to the emergency room. He threw the half smoked cigarette and put on his apron as he ran through with the stretchers, ordering the orderlies to prep the room and the supplies he would need.

He and the team tried to work the best they could through the two hours that followed, but the girl did not make it through. Apart from the marks visible on her body, she had suffered two broken ribs, severe trauma on the head and her vagina. She had been raped. Gang raped, brutally. She had tried to put up a fight like anyone would do defend themselves, but was over powered by the men who had gone down on her. Turn by turn. The boy it seems had tried to intervene to help her but was beaten up brutally by the same men. He would however go on to live. He was standing still standing there in room slightly taken aback at the condition of the two. He was pulling of the gloves off his hand to wash them when a man came running in. “Please doctor, please save Riya. She is the only daughter I have.  She has been through enough for a life time. Please doctor, please save her!” He didn’t know what to say. Almost robotically he started “I am sorry sir, but we did all that we could. I am afraid the injuries she has had are far too severe.  She has had too much blood loss and I am afraid there is nothing we can do to save her.” 

The father kept on speaking as he tugged at his scrubs. He didn’t hear a word of what was being told, but could only see the expressions on his face as it contorted with pain, anger and helplessness. An orderly came in and lead the weeping father out. He walked out after them. A group had gathered outside the room, probably friends and family of the two. He kept hearing while he stood there. It seemed that the boy and girl were engaged, and had gone to a bar in the city to celebrate. They had run in to a rowdy group of men when they were leaving the bar. The same group proceeded to beat them before proceeding to rape the girl. He couldn’t stand there anymore as more people tried to ask him if anything could be done for the girl. He changed into his clothes and took a cab to home. It was early morning now, and she was still sleeping when he came in. He did not wake her up but just lay next to her and kept staring at her till he dozed off to sleep. When he woke up in the evening she was predictably not there. She would have gone to her shift in the hospital but he still called her up to check up on her. He felt a sense of relief when she answered. She had come to know of the case too, and asked him to come and check up on the boy was sleeping now.

He took an hour to get ready, had a long hot bath to come to his senses before he left for the hospital. The police were there in the boy’s room with both the families when he entered.
“Yes officer, I had kissed her before the three of them started calling names at us.”
“What time was it? Were you drinking?”
“It was slightly past eleven, I remember paying the bill around eleven. We had been drinking, yes, but only a beer or two while the match was on.”
“Any other description of the three people who raped her?” He winced when he heard that word. “No, all that I remember of them I have already told the officer who came in just before you.”
“Very well, the bar has a CCTV camera near its entrance where you were attacked; we will try to pull up some useful footage from it. I am deeply sorry for your loss. I understand that you were recently engaged, and you have my word that we will try all we can to catch the men responsible for this. Doctor, will you please come with us, we need to just go through your statements as well.”

He left with the cops to give his statements in a different room. The officer had the presence of mind to not take his statements in front of the families thinking that they would it hurt them even more. He went down to her section to meet her once. He waited for her to come out of a patient’s room. The two of them did not talk much, but just sat together for a while before she went off on her rounds again, and he to the boy’s room.

“Why were you drinking and kissing her on the street? Have you no sense of shame, how to behave decently?”
“Decency, you ask me to behave decently father? So it was indecent in kissing her as we walked out of the bar? Just a small innocent kiss. Yes, that was indecent of me. Do you know what they did to her?”
“Of course I do.”
“You weren’t there when it happened. The three of them were drunk silly. They called us names, and when we walked away, they ran after us. We called for help but there was no one nearby.
They beat me first while one of them held her. She tried to fight as well, but the guy holding her, he pulled her hair and kept slapping her. When they were done with me they went on to rape her. She fought, but they bit her, punched her and one after other raped her.
I had only kissed her, but they stripped her naked and beat her before raping her on a street. Where is the decency in that? Where is the decency in that?”

Everyone went silent. He asked them to leave the room so that the nurse could change his dressings. The nurse was not due for another hour, but he felt that the boy could do with this little comfort.
“You know doctor, I loved her and she loved me back. We were so happy to have been engaged. Even our parents approved of it. I still remember the kiss she gave me that night. Her lips were so soft and moist. I still remember it like an old memory that you keep thinking of, because she always kissed me like that. I don’t think I have the will to live much longer. But I must tell you this because I am told you tried to save her. You did more for her than the rest of the world could. That night we had planned to save up to buy a house for ourselves to movie in to when we would get married.
I still cannot understand why they did this to us. Why do they hate us so much? Ours was an act of love, why did they do this to anyone...”
“Hush now, you need to be quiet and rest. The nurse will be on her way soon. I will give you a dose of sedative to put you to sleep. You need more rest to recover.” He gave him a shot before calling the nurse in.

He was standing near the hospital entrance waiting for the rains to stop. The sudden rains had brought things to a jam in the city. Since he hadn’t brought an umbrella he couldn’t walk and the traffic was too slow moving to take a cab. He reached into his pocket for a cigarette and the lighter. Out of habit he ran his fingers along the length of the stick before inhaling it in before flicking the lighter open and lighting it up. He hadn’t been smoking for a while, but today he had remembered to pick up the pack and lighter from the drawer in the office up in the hospital. He was feeling tensed, scared for himself and for her. He half had a mind to call her up to check up on her, but he had already done that a couple of minutes back.

The boy had taken a blade and slit his wrists in the bathroom. He was dead minutes before his family had noticed that he was taking too long in the bathroom. Today was his funeral. It seemed odd that it should rain today in the winters. He finished smoking his cigarette before he threw the stub on the ground and crushed it with his heel. He pulled up the collars of his jacket before walking off. He was going to attend the funeral.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Two days ago

Two days ago was Friday, and Fridays are fun. I like the notion of weekends, where in you can kick back and enjoy the fruits of the week that went by. I didn’t understand it when Mom tried explaining to me when I was younger that I cannot enjoy something if I have not worked for it. Normally Friday night is spent catching up on the latest movie in the cinema with friends and chatting away till the wee hours. This Friday I came back from work a bit late due to some trials that I had to do to understand something. I have this huge bathtub in this new apartment I have rented with a friend and I thoroughly enjoy it. I lay in it as it filled up with cold relaxing water. Since it was a particularly tiring day, I filled it up till only my nose was above the water so that I could breathe. It is a wonderful feeling, everything just goes silent. Then slowly you can hear your own body, your heart and lungs pumping, the blood flowing. Soon the environment follows and I can hear sounds from the home below: a trace of the song the kid is head banging to, clanging of some vessels and I wonder what is being cooked.

This Friday most of the friends that live nearby were away for some reason, but I was not alone. I spend the time talking away with a friend on the phone. (Such a wonderful thing the phone is, I take it for granted some times. No matter where I am, I can message, talk, surf and do many more things with it. A wonderful thing about the people I like is that I can talk to them for hours. Sometimes it’s just being with them, not talking, just being.) Talking away till either of us feels sleepy or bored. Friday evening was also spent drinking ice cold water as the cold wind blew in from the window. I first noticed the ice cold water in The Big Bang Theory in one of the episodes where they are eating at the cheese cake factory. A glass of water filled with cubes of ice and then water in whatever space is left.

So what did you do two days ago?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

If I Had My Life to Live Over…

The logic of this always makes me think. If I go back and change things would I continue to do things the same way I would have done, or do them differently based on the new insights I would obtain from the change. Doing so would also put others around me at a disadvantage, since I am changing what I had done with a fore knowledge of the original outcome to a new way which comes to happen in a result I want or is to my advantage. So hypothetically speaking, let us talk about high school, and I go back to study better and get more marks so that I can enter in better college. Not only now it is easier to prepare for exams because what I had found difficult at that time is much easier for me now, but I have more motivation to do so. Now that I get more marks, I jump over few people who otherwise would have been getting this better college. So I am taking from them what they had, and make it mine.

So for all major effects of my changes do I end up creating alternate realities? And there could multiple realities out there each with a different version of us where we are better, worse or just different people in different scenarios created by our actions. I tend to look back at some of the more difficult times I had, and what I learned from them. If I am to go back and undo that time, since I end having not gone through that time would I buckle under another difficult situation which I would sail through right now?  
Moving on, I guess things broadly come under to categories: What I wanted/should have done and didn’t do, and what I shouldn’t have done and I did. So here goes:

What I should have done:
  • Not given up volleyball. I used play volleyball regularly in my high school up till college started. Now I wasn’t all athletic and slim, but I was fitter. I could run more without panting, had quicker reflexes and it was something that I was good at and enjoyed doing.
  • My hair. Till college I had this wonderful long hair that came till my shoulders and I would tie in to a ponytail at times. Then something happened that it started to fall around. I would get that checked out

What I shouldn’t have done:

  • Spent so much money in cafes and pizzerias. I love coffee, and I love pizza. So when I started earning, I started frequenting pizza places and cafes. I used to spend loads over there. An entire day in the cafĂ© with a book to finish and movie to watch and cups of my favorite coffee to give me company. Coming back from work to a dish of hot pizza or taking it back and keeping it in the fridge to enjoy the cold fridge pizza the next day. And in turn these became my habits, which I have after some conscious effort put under some control. Those are good times, but now that I think of it, all that money could have been saved and used for other purposes.
What I don’t want to change:
  • Asking a friend out. Some time ago in a discussion with a friend I was asked if I wanted to change it. I have this friend whom I asked out, and she said no. I mean you cannot force someone to reciprocate what you want. Of course initially it was difficult to take it in. I had just accepted the idea that she would say yes because it would be me asking. But I have a sense of clarity about it, a certainty. I will not be lost in thinking of what if scenarios that should I have asked her, would she say yes and if she would have had yes, how different things would be. Sometimes nothing beats a sense of clarity
Edited to add:

What I want to live through again:

How can I forget about this. Long time back after meeting a friend, I had written: "There are moments that you wish you can capture. Not just the visual memory of it, but the sounds, fragrances, sensations and the thoughts. A time bubble to revisit them again." 

If I had to live my life through again, I would want to live through these moments again. I don't want to change anything about them and let go on through how they went, but experience them again

  • The first day I spent as a shift in charge at work. It dawned up on me, that now I run this place. That when there were problems it would be me who had to respond and take care of them. I was answerable for each and everything that was going on that day and that I could do it how I wanted to. The feeling was immensely pleasurable. 
  • One day while travelling from home to the hostel with friends my bag got stolen in the train, which contained some of my clothes and my monthly cash. And the next day when I woke up went to have  breakfast with friends. When it came to pay up, one of us paid for the group and didn't ask me for my share knowing that my money was stolen.At that moment I felt a sickening feeling. He did it with all his good intentions, but I felt that as if I was handed over something, and that I could be better than this. How could I have done something stupid and get my bag stolen.
  • Spending time with Sonal. She had come back from america during a break, we spent some time in the chocolate room talking about things. We didn't talk about something major, just the small little things.  Niyati was not expecting to be there and she had her mouth open when she opened the door of the cafe to see us sitting  there. Talking about the littlest of things with the best of friends, I enjoy them. 
  • When high school got over. I was told I was supposed to feel a wave of awe because of the big change. I waited. It never came. I smiled at this and went and met all the friends and teachers again for the last time. That day I realized that you can't feel a sense of longing of something, if you never belonged to it in the first place. 

Monday, May 28, 2012


I like to see the lights from my window on the sixth floor here. There’s something about a light away in the darkness that just cheers me up. Maybe it’s the idea that there’s someone out there. If you go to the terrace of the apartment building, you can see a fertilizer factory in the far. It has these flames that shoot up every now and then like a girl that giggles when someone is whispering something flattering in her ears. There’s Iggy Pop playing on the laptop with AC DC to follow. I like them both. I remember once I had a particularly bad day at work. So I got down from the bus a couple of stops before my stop, and started walking in the centre of the road divider because it was breezy. I had my ear phones on with Highway on Hell playing at that time. I broke in to this mini jig and people from the bus were staring at me. I just smiled back at them and some of them laughed back. We have a tea break every day at work now, and they take me more seriously at work now. Funny how that worked out. But I like that J

Mom isn’t a fan of Rock. It’s too loud and some of it has too much of yelling for her liking. She doesn’t listen to any English music though. She likes more of old school hindi music. She still has most of her tapes she made when she was young, and they are many. She plans to transfer them all to a disc sometime in the future. She asked me to teach her how to do so.  Mom has done loads for me. But right now things are not that great between us. Strained. It’s not her fault, she’s just hurt by some of the things I have done in the recent past. She just wants me to get married and settle down soon, so that things pan out well for me. I don’t want to get married so soon, I haven’t even found a girl yet. There’re so many chocolates and coffees that are still to be shared after I find her. Lying on a carpet on the terrace and talking while staring at the stars as the cool wind blows by. Silly of course, it is the wind that blows. Had it been stationary it would have been just air. There’s this friend that I like who loves chocolates, but nothing mixed in it. No Nuts, no fruity flavours, just plain old rich chocolate. I haven’t met some like that yet. I find it interesting. If you’re reading this, I hope you blush. That would be a nice sight.

But then don’t we all have such things, things that make us exquisite. Like how I talk to myself and laugh at my own jokes in the bath. That freaks mom out by the way, but she’s used to it now. Oh and some of my friends after reading my last blog entry thought that something is wrong with me. I mean yes, quite a bit of the story hits close to me, but that is because it is easier to write that way. No I am not considering suicide. I just get all morbid ideas at times. I find that fascinating. I love myself too much to think of killing myself. Nuh uh. Wish you were here is playing now. It’s my favourite Floyd song. It is soothing to reach out to some one, to wish they were here. It’s almost 0230 in the AM now. Looks like I will be spending the rest of the time listening to music till I have to get ready and leave for work. I will catch a wink on the bus to work, so that I don’t doze off at work. That would be embarrassing. I will take a nice window seat and sleep as the cool morning breeze caresses me. I always find the wind soothing. Of the classical elements, it is my favourite.

Oh well, that is all about me. Do tell me about yourself too. I’d like that, some one reading this and writing a bit about themselves. Getting to know random people. Wonderful.

This is in response to WEEK #54 (5-27-12 to 6-2-12): Self at BGE2

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Courage to face a lifetime

He was feeling uneasy today, again. He had been feeling so for the last few days now. He stood up from his chair and walked towards his window to slide it open. The view was wonderful. In the night he could see all the houses ahead with their lights as stars on earth. In the far one could make out a power plant with its silhouette of more tiny lights, like a cluster of stars. This was one of his favourite sights, and on a particularly good day a cool breeze would blow across. Today it didn’t have the relaxing feel as it normally did. He looked at the book in his hand and wondered where he had gone wrong.

He was reading Fountainhead when he paused upon a line. “He did not know that he had given someone the courage to face a lifetime..”. He brushed his hair with his hands as he thought of it. Courage. Courage had changed its meaning. It once meant walking across the hall in the dark, or crossing a street full of dogs on his own. Now it meant doing something to come out of where he was. Few weeks ago his mother had seen his bank statements. He had taken a loan some time back that was half way through. He hadn't told her anything about it. Nor could he explain to her where he had spent it. In his defense he thought, he had taken the loan so that he would not have to take money from his mom for the expenses and investments that were due. But then he had no ways to explain how and where he had spent them away in the past few months, with some thing being bought every other day. It is a good thing he thought, that she hadn't seen his credit card statements. That would have lead to hell, whatever of it was left to see.

Things were sour between him and his mother before. If they didn't get along that well before now was a miserable time. He didn't blame her, she lived alone in a different city, and the fact that he didn't trust her with things hurt her more. Every discussion would end up in an argument. He wanted to change how things were, but end up walking out of each argument with his fist clenched or biting his lips so that he would not speak something he would end up regretting later. It was not that his mother had raised him in poverty. They were a well to do family, but money was spent only on the necessary things. Now that he had a good job, the sudden influx of money made him spend at things he wouldn't have spent before. Now that he thought of it, that money was only as good as the person who was controlling it. This is not who he wanted to be. He thought himself to be great, and now had only great mistakes.

A week later after the first argument with his mother, he was almost run over by a car. He was walking around the park for some fresh air with his earphones on, trying to be away for some time. He didn't pay attention to the car that was coming his way while crossing the road, but was lucky that the driver braked in time. It did give him ideas. He walked back to his home and picked up the chef's knife. He had always admired it, all 8 inches of it with its smooth sharp blade. He was particularly fond of it as it cut vegetables of all sorts with great speed. He wondered if it could cut through his veins too with it. Maybe that would a way to end it all. He would not burn out as he had always thought, but would silently bleed through in the night. To be found later in the morning when his room mate would come back from his job. He took a moment for it to sink in, before the the horror of the very idea of taking his own life struck him. The knife fell with a clang as he began to take in deep breaths. The idea that he could even think of something like this was revolting.

A month had now passed since that incident. He got back to reading from that line. He thought the line was right. He needed courage, courage to face a lifetime. And he had to find that courage in himself.

This is in response to WEEK #53 (5-20-12 to 5-26-12): Pick a Line from a Book and Write from There. My entry is based on a line from The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.