Friday, December 24, 2010

A season for giving

The teller in the bank was surprised when he saw a tiny hand proffering a few soiled notes in denominations of one, five and ten.He looked at the figure.A young boy of ten years in much worn and tattered shirt held together by safety pin was looking at the teller with some anxiety. “Sir, can you please give me 20 five rupee coins in lieu of that”’the small voice queaked .

“Why do you need the five rupee coins.They are in short supply you know”said the teller curious to know the purpose.

“Tomorrow is Christmas.I want to give to the poor who assemble before the church” he said.

“You don’t yourself look well provided.A new shirt would do good for you” said the teller and continued”how did you get this money, by the way?”

“Sir, I had actually saved the money only for getting a new shirt.But there are many needy even without a shirt.My teacher told me yesterday that Christmas is for giving and sharing” he answered.

The teller was overcome with emotion at the lofty young mind before him.He wiped his eyes and said “I will add 20 more coins to your 20 as my share.Please distribute to the needy tomorrow at the church.One more thing, please meet me after lunch here at the bank.I have a small Christmas gift for you.I am impressed with you.What is your name?”

“Thank you, sir..Santosh is my name.I will come to you after lunch” he replied as he collected 40 five rupee coins

In the afternoon he was surprised to see the teller telling him “Though young you taught me the true message of Christmas.Thank you very much” and handed him a packet containing a new shirt and shorts.

May the miracle of Christmas fill your heart with warmth and love. Christmas is the time of giving and sharing. It is the time of loving and forgiving.Merry Christmas to Everyone!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mangala’s tears

The dinner was over early today as Mangala’s husband was away on tour and expected only the next day.She was watching the TV with her children.The next day was Sunday and there was no school for Akash and Amrutha.It was nearing nine PM when she heard someone knock the door loudly though a bell was there.She peeped through the hole to find an elderly lady standing.She looked decent possibly from a middle class family.Mangala opened the door.The lady was past 75 in a clean sari with gold jewels on her hands, neck and ears.

When she did not say anything Mangala asked her “Patti (grandma), what do you want?”When she did not answer Mangala asked her again a little louder”Why are you silent? Whom do you want to see? What do you want?”

When she did not reply, she prompted her to talk by holding her hands.

The old woman said “I don’t know”

“Where are you living? What is your name? Whom do you want to meet? Please answer so I can help you” Mangala said.

“I don’t remember anything.I am hungry and very tired” she replied in feeble tone.

To Mangala she reminded her of her late mother and she felt some pity.She said “Please come. In.You can eat after washing your hands”She led her in and made her eat well.Meanwhile she rang up her husband and explained about this lady and her doubts that she must be stricken with Alzheimiers.When he suggested that she ring up the police,Mangala firmly rejected the idea telling that she would not like the old woman at the police station in the night.As he was returning next day, Mangala suggested she can spend the night in their house and they can together find a solution.He readily agreed to it.

Mangala’s attempts to find details failed as the old woman had lost her memory completely.She made her comfortable in a bed and left her to sleep.Mangala could not sleep for a long time .She was happy the old woman had come to her instead of falling into the hands of wicked men who would have readily slit her throat for the jewels she wore.

The next morning her son Akash was to leave around 8am for a cricket match he was playing.She hurried to make the breakfast.Akash’s friends who were also playing had come to accompany him.The boy was narrating to his buddies about the strange woman who could not remember her own name or where she lived.The boys out of curiosity peeped into the living room to see the old woman.One of the boys shouted “I know this patti.She lives close to my house.I see her almost daily there though I do not know her”

Mangala jumped in joy at the god sent opportunity to take her back to her place She requested the boy to accompany her along with old woman.Her house was in the adjacent street.As soon as the boy ran in to announce the arrival of the patti,the old lady asked Mangala why she brought her here.Meanwhile her son and daughter-in-law came rushing out and on seeing his mother he hugged her asking her”Why mom, why did you go away like this.We have been searching for you since last evening “. The lady continued to blink and asked Mangala “Who are these?Take me back with you? I don’t know them”

The son cried inconsolably.His wife ran into the house to fetch a picture of the old lady with her son and his family.It appeared that she was suffering from this Alzheimer since three years deteriorating progressively and this was the first time she went out on her own.

He thanked Mangala profusely and said”I am indebted to you for keeping her safely and bringing her back to us.I thank this little boy for showing my house.” As he led the lady into his house, the old woman clasped Mangala’s hands and cried”Do not leave me here.I don’t know them.Please take me with you.”

Mangala gently wrenched herself away and walked out with tears flowing from her eyes.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The secret mission

There was a gentle knock at the door around 9 PM.Who could it be, he wondered? Vinay had no friends visiting him.No neighbours in this complex ever called on him. He opened the door to find a young woman in her mid twenties standing. He had seen her many times in the complex but had never spoken.She smiled at him and asked with certain hurry in her tone.”My telephone isn’t working.The cell phone is also not usable.Can I please make an urgent call to my mom who I understand is not well”

As she was talking to her mom, Vinay pretended to be reading a newspaper but was overhearing the conversation. She was quite an attractive woman, petite and had a sweet voice.He could feel her genuine concern for her mom and learn that she was feeling badly in not being by her side. After she disconnected, she thanked him profusely.He introduced himself and asked her to be seated when he went to get her coke.She saw as he opened the fridge it was bare except for the small bottle of coke.She could see from the sofa where she was seated, the kitchen that bore no evidence of any cooking.When they were talking she came to know that he had lost his job about six months back and the money he had saved was spent, a sizable chunk towards mother’s medical expenses and the balance on his food and rent.He owed rent and was pressurized to vacate.He was frantically looking for any job but nothing was forthcoming.She expressed her sympathy and her wish that he find a job soon.They met each other in the next few days several times exchanging small talk that gradually became longer.

He was turned away wherever he went for a job He was at the end of his tether and even toyed with the idea of taking his life away. It was at such a critical juncture that she came to him and asked him” Are you willing to do a job for me and if you accomplish this well, it may possibly open the gate for brighter future.But there is a condition.You should not ask much details but simply carry out the work entrusted to you without any demur. Do you have trust in me? If you trust me fully you must carry a packet to another city safely with you.This is a secret and important
assignment.You must not discuss with any one and you should not carry any other luggage.The man who would be meeting you at the airport would deliver you a box with new dresses and other essential things. He would take you to the place where you are to hand over the packet”

“How will I know the man at the airport”he asked?

“My man will identify you and utter the password that I would be giving you.He will take you to the destination.You should not ask any question what the packet contained and whom you were going to meet.Certain secrecy is necessary.If you trust me you can agree not otherwise. I will give you air ticket and also some money for the help .Be assured that at the end you would be happy that you did me this job”’ she said.

Vinay thought he cannot be in any worse situation than he was now and the lady seemed nice.Infact he had taken a great liking for her and often spent time thinking of her.She was paying some money too which he badly needed. He decided to agree notwithstanding a lurking doubt about the possibility of drugs or some secret documents exchanged on espionage activities.He told her”I need a break from this depressing atmosphere.I have full trust in you and am aware that you would not put me into any trouble.I am ready to start any time.”

She replied “You may leave two days later.I will hand over the packet to you this evening along with tickets and pasword.Please do not try to contact me till the packet is successfully delivered.”

Vinay carried nothing except the secured packaged box .It passed through Xray without problem as he feared.He was thinking of her and her mysterious ways during the journey and knew he was in love with her.He hoped that this could be the beginning of a closer relationship.

The man who received Vinay at the airport was curt as he gave him a box.He gave him 15 minutes to change his dress.There were a pair of nice suits with shirts and other garments.He was surprised at the way money was spent on him when he was a mere courier and a strange fear came over him whether he would turn to be the sacrificial goat.The car took them to a posh apartment.As he was waiting at the drawing room he started sweating despite the airconditioners..It took ten minutes and no one appeared.He felt some eyes were watching him though there was none.He wished she could have been a little more open.Suddenly he heard a door opening and saw a figure approaching him.He stood up involuntarily wonder struck in total amazement and surprise when he saw the person.
“Are you surprised, dear, seeing me here to receive you? Please open the box yourself and see the contents” said the lady he had met at his place.

When he opened, he found it to his utter surprise stuffed with scraps of waste paper and wondered why at all this secrecy.

She laughed and said “The whole assignment is a silly test to see whether you have implicit faith in me.I am glad you passed it admirably well.I thought you may back out.Lucky for me that you accepted”

“Why this test at all for me?” he asked with some eagerness

“I don’t know really.I had this strange desire to test you for I have lost my heart for you.I do not know how you feel towards me.But I want you to help me in looking after my vast business.If you like me as I do, we may spend the rest of our lives together.You will start a new life.That is the reason I requested you to discard everything from that wretched place” she said.

He extended his arms wide open for her to fall into for a long embrace.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The give away

Detective inspector Thomson looked gravely at the body of a 6 year old boy laid down by the pool.He looked at the young man, Shylesh and asked him “Can you please repeat for my benefit how this happened from the beginning to now.I will jot down the points as you keep talking."

"My wife Paru left this morning to a neighbouring town to attend an official meeting leaving the boy under my care.I did not go to work and stayed at home.We were sitting by the pool side.He was playing with the balls.One ball fell into the pool and he started asking for it.I told him that I would retrieve it later for him and that we better go inside.I took him along with me.I switched on the TV for him to watch a comic.I went to the adjacent room and was working on my computer.I did not notice the time till a call came from my wife asking me how her son was doing and whether he was giving me any trouble” he said

“Sorry for interruption.Did you say her son?”asked the inspector.

“Yes, it is her son by previous marriage.She got divorced.She had come to consult me for some ailment and we became friends.I was a single.We fell in love and married 8 months back” he answered

“Are you a medical doctor by profession?”asked the inspector.He nodded his head in affirmative.

“Pray proceed” said the inspector

“When she called,I felt bad working without being by the boy’s side.When I rushed to living room,I found the TV on but the boy was missing.I then went out and to my great shock and dismay found the boy floating on the water.He had obviously gone to retrieve the green ball”

“Did you say green ball? Did you not lock the doors as the padlock is high and he could not have opened by himself” queried the inspector.

“Yes.He was very particular about the green ball and insisted I get him that.I think he must have been impelled to try on his own when I was busy with the work.I am not sure whether I locked.Normally I do.Frankly I don’t remember.I feel guilty in not making sure” he replied

“It is ok.It happens.Did you not rush him to emergency when you took him out?”
“No, he was already dead.I have asked Paru to rush back.She is on her way.We will take her to a clinic nearby to obtain a death certificate for a formality.I am shattered what Paru would feel as she had left the boy in my care”Shylesh said

“Were you and the boy very close?” asked the inspector casually.

“Oh, he loved me so much .A very pleasant boy, he called me papa.I am numbed with shock”he said in a choking voice.

When they heard a car draw up, ”please allow me to talk to her first in private..Plesae do not talk to her about the incident till I am done with.You can hug her to comfort her and express your moral support but please be seated till I have finished talking to her” the inspector warned Shylesh and turned to his assistant and said “Dave, please be by the side of this gentleman”

Paru came running with swollen red eyes and wailing “Sanju, my dear Sanju, Where have you gone leaving me behind”. Shylesh put his arms around her and took her silently to the body of the boy.After allowing her to let out her emotions, the inspector led her to a separate room.Shylesh stayed behind.

“I am very sorry for you.But there are certain routine questions to be clarified.Would you mind answering me truthfully a few questions”the inspector asked.She agreed with a gentle nod.

The inspector softly said ”It may be an accident but still I would like to get it confirmed.How did you meet him?Did you know him earlier?How was his relationship with the boy?The pool was behind the living room and the boy had insisted earlier on retrieval of the ball that had fallen into it, may be by mistake.I am not sure..When your husband had said he would get it later, the boy was very particular in getting that ball.Still when he brought the boy inside the house, your hubby had not locked the door especially when he knew well that the boy was keen on the green ball.This sounds odd.Did he accept the boy whole heartedly when he married you?Please think carefully and reply”

“Did he say the boy wanted green ball? Did he mention specifically the colour?”asked Paru

“Yes, he repeated it many times to show the boy’s interest in getting the ball and his foolishly getting into water later.Why do you ask?” questioned the inspector

“I am confused.I do not know how I would answer this question”she sobbed.

The inspector gently prodded her.She said “Sanjay was colour blind” and closed her mouth with her sari and sobbed loudly

“Just two more questions, madam.I would not trouble you any more.First,did he know he was colour blind?Secondly When you said you had a boy by previous marriage,did your hubby welcome the news and not object?Please answer carefully” he asked

“Now that you are asking, I see things in a different perspective.He doesn’t know my son was colour blind.He was insistent that the boy be left with my parents.He did not want him with us.When I said I would marry him only if the boy was with me,he relented” she said

“Thanks .That clinches it.We will be taking him with us for further interrogation.The dial of suspicion clearly points to him.The truth will be out soon..My own hunch is he is not a good man.You made a bad choice,sister”

The police vehicle left soon with Shylesh in cuffs leaving a shattered Paru behind.Dave stayed back for the homicide people to come.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

55 Word fiction

Fire in belly
Why am I always running behind others for my success?
Don’t I have any other way to shine in life?
Those ahead hardly care for me pushing themselves to the front.
I am determined to succeed..
God has been kind to give me sturdy legs and hands.
I finally gave up track races and chose wrestling for profession.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The stranger

It was a dark night, the heavy rain had stopped but it was still drizzling outside making Ranjana’s gloomy mood murkier.She was alone in her apartment watching the desultory serial in the TV.Her mind was not on it though she had been watching this one regularly.She had neither appetite nor felt snoozy. All on a sudden the wretched electricty department shut down the power due to water logging somewhere. She wanted to light some candles but didn’t know readily where they were kept

In the dim light of a pencil torch that she always carried she saw a figure sitting on the sofa.From behind it looked very much like her dad.He was not there when the light was on but must have entered the room when the light had gone.The broad shoulders, the bald circular head and the way he was reclining on the sofa indicated unmistakably it was her dad.But it cannot be and must be some stranger.He stood up suddenly and walked up to the window to draw the curtains open for some moon light to enter from outside.His gait and the walk was her father’s and there was no doubt about it.She was afraid to go closer to him for this figure can only be a stranger.How can she be so sure that he was a stranger?There was no identical twin of his.

She recollected the big accident on the highway when she and her dad were returning from the mall.His dad was cruising along at 100 miles per hour on the fast lane when another vehicle going in the second lane swerved to the first lane without an indication.Her dad manouvered the car to avoid the other vehicle and hit the divider.She could see before she became unconscious of a gaping wound in the upper region of his body and blood gushing out.She saw him slump and there was no movement thereafter.She was sure he was dead and gone.There was no doubt about it.Who could this man then be ,she wondered.

Quietly she tiptoed to her room to ring for help.She ambled through the darkness as she was not willing to draw the attention of the man by the light from the torch.She could find her way to her room when she heard a loud cry “Ranjana” from the stranger.It was more like a wail in distress than calling her..She waited for a few moments more before ringing up.Repeatedly the stranger was uttering her name in anguish.Ranjana being alone was scared to attract his attention.She could not run out of the apartnent as he was sitting in the drawing hall.

Luckily the power was restored.She heard the stranger coming inside her room.She hid herself behind the curtains.His figure she noticed was bent and he was slouching as if beaten by care and worries.He slowly looked around the room,touched her bed ,ran his fingers on the pillow and slowly moved to the dresser. He saw her big photo in the frame and was continuously staring at it wiping his tears now and then.She saw him take it in his trembling hands and wiping the glass with his shirt.As he took the picture to his mouth to give her a kiss,he groaned aloud crying”Ranjana, why have you left me alone?I could have died in that accident.You were so young full of a promising future while my years were spent.How cruel God has been” He went on sobbing and she could not bear the agony of the stranger in distress.He must be really her dad revisiting her.She went near him, hugged him and comforted him with words”Don’t cry dad.I am very much by your side. I will join you when my days are over”

He did not seem to hear her voice or notice her presence.After a few minutes, she saw him switching off the lights and getting out of the apartment driving away.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Surprises galore



I woke up to the non-stop door bell.It was irritating early in the morning.I wanted to sleep a little more as it was a Sunday.I opened the door to see Kavitha, the maid.She had come earlier than usual.I asked her with some irritability,”Why are you so early today? You woke me up from my sleep”.She smiled and brought her hands hidden behind her back and gave me a small bouquet of roses and said “Happy Birthday”.I was so touched by her thoughtfulness and generosity. I hugged her at the door itself to the amused smile of my neighbours taking their morning walk on the pathway.

“How do you know it is my birthday? Why did you spend your money on this when you seek loan from me every other day?” I asked her.

“How can I forget, amma.You are very special to me” she replied with a grin.

I was lost in thoughts about the good natured girl and her warm disposition.I was shaken from my reverie by her question.

“How are you celebrating today? Where is the master, Divya and Shankar?” she asked

“What celebration?” I said with some frustration.”Don’t you know that my husband has gone on tour.He said he would be returning today but didn’t tell at what time.Divya has gone on her college excursion and has promised to be here this morning.Shankar,I hope will come during the day from hostel.Only you remember my birthday and even gift me with roses.None else.They did not even greet me.But your gesture more than compensated for all their defaults” I said with a tinge of disappointment.

By 10 am all of them had come.Except what seemed a cursory happy birthday greeting and a tiny hug, there was no indication of any celebration or outing for lunch.They were in their rooms with husband busy on his mobile,Divya chatting with her friends on her lappy and Shankar in the basement presumably searching for something.It was 11.30 am and I was fed up with making a lunch at home even on my birthday.I felt shy of suggesting that we go out for eating and thought ”Don’t I for every birthday of their’s do shopping ahead getting them new dresses they would like,buy sweets,bake or order a big cake,get big costly greeting cards without their knowledge and even decorate the dining area for cutting the cake. How could they be so forgetful of all that I do. Forget the kids, what about hubby?” I was really upset and decided I would not cook come what may and atleast then they would remember their lapse in not giving me one free day from kitchen.

It was 12.30 PM.They would soon come asking for lunch.In frustration I went to the fridge and got some vegetables to cut.As soon as they heard the noise, all the three trooped in.They all asked in Chorus”What are you making for lunch?I hope the menu will be good.We are famished having been out of home for two days”

“I am not cooking anything special, not even the usual stuff.Am I a drudge working for the family?.I will make just rice.You can eat with curd” I replied with some bitterness in my tone..

It was then the door bell rang.Divya ran to open and soon came with a very large bouquet, a joyous assortment of garden fresh flowers.It was accompanied with packets of chocolates I expected them to hand it over to me but they quietly kept it on the dining table.

My husband said”I am famished.How long would it take for the rice to be ready?” How insensitive this man is totally oblivious to the sentiments needed for the occasion I thought. I suppressed my anger and asked him to wait for 5 more minutes.

There was another bell from the door.I was wondering who could it be when Shankar ran.He came back to my utter surprise with two large boxes of Pizza.My husband said “I don’t want your curd rice.I would prefer pizza.Hey Divya, open the box and see what pizza has been ordered by whoever it is.” .When the boxes were opened all of them saw two pizzas that were hot and steaming .The Pizzas were loaded with cruchy onions,crispy capsicum,juicy tomatoes, and jalapeno with a liberal sprinkling of exotic mexican herbs. Whoever had ordered had not forgotten the side dishes too .There were veg Mexican wraps, garlic breadsticks with two large bottles of coke.Meanwhile my hubby had quietly slipped away only to come back with a big parcel.

It then struck me there was a conspiracy of sorts.All the three took out the hidden cake, lit a candle and dragged me to the dining table.When I blew the candle they all sang happy birthday song.The bouquet was given by hubby with a flourish.Divya had opened the packet to display a gorgeous maroon coloured Mysore silk sari with a large zari border.
When my husband handed over the sari ceremoniously with a big bear hug,
Shankar let out the secret of the evening plan of a movie and a dinner at a famous restaurent.How foolish I was to think that my dear ones would ever forget my birthday.
Kavita who was a witness to the happenings was quietly smilimg at me.















Thursday, December 2, 2010

Who is my benefactor?

I was clad in my best sari to make a good impression at the interview that I was to attend that morning.I got this call after many of my applications failed to elicit any favourable response.I needed a job badly.The bus was crowded being office hour.I left home early to be a slightly before the time for interview.I could not get a seat and was standing by the side of seats earmarked for ladies.I could feel the heavy and warm breathing behind my neck.A young sweaty man was standing behind me too close to my comfort, that every time I shuffled my feet or moved my arms, my body came into contact with him.I pushed myself further towards the seats.He also moved closer narrowing the gap with his body almost touching my back.I squirmed unable to bear the sweaty stench and his contact.But there was little elbow room.When I turned to glare at him,he grinned showing his pan stained brown teeth.A rogue, his intentions were obviously not honest.I had a mind to get down from the bus at the next stop but the thought that I would be late deterred me.I moved a little forward and that scoundrel also moved in tandem.

It was then I heard a loud voice from the seat near me admonishing that man”Keep away from that girl.I have been watching you for a long time deliberately standing close to her.These are ladies seats.Go forward towards the exit.”It was from an old woman belonging to working class with a cane basket and shovel by her side.

He stared at her with hate as all the passengers turned their gaze s on him.None had come forward to help but when that old woman took cudgels there were murmurs of support.The old woman seeing him not moving away from the girl bellowed at him”Don’t you have a mother and sisters?Go away before I get angry?Hey conductor,are you blind and deaf or what ?Ask this crazy man to move forward”

Many passengers craned their necks while some stood up.The driver slowed down the bus at the next stop as the conductor inched forward towards the rascal..The young man dashed against that old woman as he hurried to get down.When the bus started with relief from everyone ,the old woman shouted “Ayyo, he has cut me with a blade.” I saw blood was coming and her sari was getting drenched.I asked the conductor to stop the bus.Without a second thought,I asked the old woman to get down along with me.I took a three wheeler and rushed her to the nearest hospital.The thought about the interview and that I would be late never occurred in my mind.I wanted to help my benefactor and not allow the blood to be drained from the deep cut.My sari was also much smeared in blood. After the dressing,I gave her some money and took leave of her with profuse thanks.

When I reached the venue for interview it was 11-30 am.I explained my predicament.The receptionist told me that my name was called and .the interviews were almost over.She said she would however check with the committee..Soon she came back to send me in.When I walked in all eyes were on my blood stained sari.They assured me not to worry and to relax.A glass of water was given.

Then the head of the committee asked me “What happened?”

I narrated briefly and expressed my regret at being late despite my starting very early.After a few questions on my experience and why I needed the job badly, the chief said”Actually there is only one vacancy.Since you had not come in time we had already finalised on the candidate.” He paused for a while looking at my crest fallen face with a smile..
When I stood up saying, “It is Ok, sir.I am unlucky”, he asked me why I was in a hurry to go and be seated.

Another member of the committee said with a smile on his face, ” We changed our mind to finalise as soon as we heard about the reason for your delay.We need people who are compassionate and who can understand the needs of others.You have demonstrated this trait in you amply. You are selected and can take the appointment letter, if you wait for 30 minutes.”

I had no words to express my gratitude except bow my head, even as I was wiping the tears of joy from my eyes.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gossip

" Vinitha, are you aware that Neeraja eloped with her lover last evening? "asked Viji

“How come, she seemed good and was hardly married for a year.Her husband also looked decent,”said Vinitha to Viji.

“How do I know,she must have been compelled against her wishes to marry by parents”said Viji

“Once married, should she not cut off her relations with her lover,"inquired Vinitha

“Who cares, I have seen him visiting her on a few occasions.All old values are changing topsy turvy,”lamented Viji

Vinita said in a hushed tone, ”I must concede one thing.Her lover looked very handsome like Tom Cruise while her hubby looked so ugly.Had I been in her position I would have also run away from such a hideous guy.”

Viji laughed saying,“Do you know Neeraja was carrying? Whose child it could be, I wonder.”

“Oh my god,,I hear a horn,my husband has come.Sorry Viji..I will have to make coffee.I am dying to hear the rest..I miss the serial after the recent scam.My husband is glued to the only TV we have.”

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Taming of the shrew

Sharmila was standing last in the line at Enquiry counter in the post ofiice.There were about half a dozen people ahead of her.The clerk in the counter was slow.Just then a well dressed young man sauntered towards the counter ignoring the line and tried to catch the attention of the clerk.The others kept quiet though annoyed.

Sharmila shouted “Mister, Don’t you see the line.Please come and stand in the line behind me”

He turned surprised and said “I have not come to do any business.Just wanted to enquire about some address in the area”

“Do you think we have come to exchange pleasantries with the clerk in the counter.We also have some enquiries to make.Please fall back in the line”she said curtly in an angry tone.

“Sorry, You can tell me softly.Why do you have to raise your voice.Others have not objected” he replied even as he came back and stood behind her.

She then noticed that he was a tall handsome guy with chiseled features eminently suited for hero’s role. He did not look at her evidently unhappy with her rude outburst.She felt remorse for she is a gentle preson not given to such rude ways.Some tension and the urgent work at home must have triggered her temper.

She looked at him and said “I am sorry.You wanted to know some address.I live in this locality and can tell you about the roads.please tell me which place you were wanting to enquire”

“How sweet of you.I am new to this town.I landed at the airport just an hour ago.I have an appointment at a house in 3rd cross,21 st Avenue.Would you be knowing the place?” he asked with a smile

“Any land mark for the place given by them?”

“Yes, they said there is a KFC outlet at the corner of the main road” he replied.

“Surprising.It is just a stones’throw from here..I live in that road. I can take you there” she said

“Just tell me the route.I am required to go only at 3pm.I will have my lunch meanwhile at a restaurent ”he replied.

“Go straight about 200 yards and take a left at the signal.That is 21st avenue,then turn right on the third street and that is 3rd cross.Which number?”she asked

“Sagar apartments.I think the number is 22.”

“OK it is the 4th building on the right side.” She said in a tremulous voice.Suddenly she left the line in a hurry as if she had forgotten something to bring.

At 3pm when Nirmal entered the apartment, he was greeted by en elderly gentleman.There were a few well dressed ladies and gentlemen.After the pleasantries, an young girl entered with a tray of coffee annd snacks.Her father said “She is Nandita and is with Oracle after her B.Tech.”

When he looked at her he was very much surprised.He smiled at her and asked “Nandita, did we not meet at the post office a couple of hours before?”

Startled she said”No, I never went out today.” Her father and others present were intrigued by such a question.

“How could it be? You fought with me and raised your voice objecting to what you perceived as my jumping the queue.How can you forget so soon?It is really funny”he said

Her father then called “Sharmila, Sharmila” When another girl entered the hall and saw the bewildered young man looking at her and her twin sister Nandita, she could not suppress her giggle.

Her father asked her rather loudly”Why are you giggling? Did you go to Post office this morning and had an exchange of words with him”

When she lowered her head, Nirmal said “Yes this is the one I met.The two siisters are very much alike.I am sorry, Nandita, for my confusion.”

To her dad’s surprise Nirmal said with a mischievous smile ”Sir, I have a score to settle with Sharmila.If you have no objection I seek her hand.I can wait till Nandita is married”

Nandita laughed and taunted her sister “Serves you right Sharmi.We have got the right man to tame the shrew. I am happy.”

Friday, November 26, 2010

55 Word fiction

Obsession
He made sure to see her thrice daily.


Her blue eyes, the way she spoke and her smile made her his obsession.

She never knew his love for her.

She talked a lot but never to him .

She just ignored him.

He hung on to her words till his mom switched off the TV


Monday, November 22, 2010

Aruna’s faux pas

The telephone rang. Aruna was busy in kitchen.Madhav had gone to gym.

“Is Mr Madhav there? I have been trying his mobile.It is switched off”asked a young lady’s voice
“He is not at home.Who is calling?” asked Aruna

“Tell him that the meeting at the Neelankarai resort is on.He should be there by 8am.Tell him I will be there

”’Does he know about this and the place? What is the purpose of the meeting?”Aruna wanted to know

“You just tell him what I told you now.He knows. We have discussed about this already” the lady at the other end replied

“Any objection in revealing your identity?” Aruna asked with some acerbity in her tone

“None.Tell him Miss Shalini rang”

“Oh, does he know you? Have you met him?”Aruna asked

“I have met him a couple of times at my place” Shalini replied

“What is this meeting about? “ Aruna asked with some curiosity
.
“Madam, we do not disclose our client’s personal matters.Sorry.”she answered back

“I am his wife. I think I am entitled to know about my husband”said Aruna.She didn’t like that voice.

“Many husbands keep things secret from wives and reveal only when the time is opportune.I cannot divulge unless specifically told.It is professional etiquette” Shalini curtly said

“What is your profession, may I know?”asked the angry Aruna

“I am sorry.Just pass on the information.I would not be able to talk to him again for the whole day.He would be eagerly waiting for this news.We have been trying for long and it could materialise only at this late juncture for tomorrow's meeting.Bye bye” she disconnected.

Madhav and Aruna were married just a year ago.The day after tomorrow is their wedding anniversary..Though they loved each other they were different in many ways.Madhav was a handsome man with a smile at the extremities of his lips.She had to her chagrin observed most females turned back for a second look.He was an extrovert and talked easily to all strangers mostly good looking females in Aruna’s thinking.He had face book account and chatted with many unknown women..

She was a very shy type and reticent by nature.She never befriended starngers and had no facebook account.She would chat only with her parents, sisters and cousins.She had no male friends.Initially she was worried and suspicious whenever a lady rang for Madhav.There was however nothing specific to trigger a doubt.

She somehow did not like this Shalini a wee. bit.Her drawl and unctuous voice irritated her much.She didn’t like the secrecy she tried to invest to the meeting planned for the next day.She believed that office meetings were held in offices or five starred hotels and not in a secluded private resorts.Shalini had also said that she had met him a couple of times on her own admission.Something fishy Aruna felt.

It was past 10PM.as Madhav was watching TV. He pulled her towards him.But Aruna pushed him away and went out.Soon she brought a tray with two large cups. “I wanted to have hot horlicks.I made a cup for you too”.. She did not mention about Shalini’s phone call..When she got up at 6am she found him in deep sleep.She switched off his mobile and kept the receiver of landline off the hook..Aruna smiled with satisfaction when she saw him snoring heavily under sedation. When the clock showed time past 10 am, she kept the receiver properly and switched on his mobile.He woke up at 11am.Being an early riser he was very angry with himself.for being late.

During lunch he asked her whether there was any call.She said none since morning.He tried to ring some numbers. He became pensive and kept quiet.It was around 5 pm he had a call on his mobile and after the call shouted “Aruna, Did Shalini call yesterday and asked you to convey some information.Why didn’t you tell me?Do you know how important it was to me? You have buggered up a good chance.”

“How do I know how important calls from different ladies are to you?.There were three or four calls and most did not reveal their identity when I said you were not there.This Shalini said that you know everything about your meeting at a secluded resort and that you two have also met.She didn’t tell me the purpose of the meeting despite my asking.Why should I facilitate some rendevouz for two love struck people? That is why I added a sedative to your drink"Aruna exploded

“You fool, Do you think Shalini is my secret lover?.Shalini works for a tourism company that owns a private beach resort. I had asked her to book a suite for us from today morning for three days to celebrate our wedding anniversary quietly away from the city and near the beach.All the rooms were booked .She had promised that if there were any cancellations,she would book it for me .I had asked her to keep it a secret as I wanted to surprise you.I never knew that it will misfire like this.You blew it all by your stupidity and suspicion” Madhav spoke in disgust.

Aruna was devastated by this revelation and felt very sorry for suspecting and drugging him.She apologised profusely..Madhav hugged her and pacified her saying that he was only upset for missing the opportunity.

It is a different matter that Shalini could find a room for the couple to celebrate their anniversary.




Thursday, November 18, 2010

Who did it?

“Amma, I am always feeling that someone is talking to me and telling me to do this or that.Even when I am in the school listening to the teacher, I hear someone talking to me.I am scared amma” said Anasuya to her mom.

Her mom with a concerned look put her arms around her shoulders and said softly“Don’t be worried.It is just a mental fear, a hallucination like.I will take you to a tantric and he will tie a rope on your wrist.The fear would vanish immediately”

“Amma, it is not only someone talking.I always feel somebody standing by my side always.I can even feel the warmth of his breath.It is scary.i did not tell you all these days afraid you will think I am getting insane and get scared.But it is unbearable.”the girl said amidst sob.

“Anasuya, do not sit alone.Be always in the hall.Watch TV and tell some prayers. I will ask appa to take you to a doctor for giving some tranquilisers.Have this vibhooti (sacred ash) on your forehead” said her worried mother though she put up a brave face.

“It is not when I am alone.Even now when I am with you I can feel someone nudging me” she said

“Where, nobody is here” said her mom as she waved her arm around the girl.”I think Pinkoo your cat you are fond of is always with you most of the time snuggling by your side.it is that only that gives you such a feeling. Appa will be a little late from office today.I will ask him to take you to aTantric and doctor tomorrow.Don’t be afraid.Sit by my side in the sofa while we watch TV” she comforted her

The clock struck nine.”Amma, I am feeling sleepy.Let me sleep.” Anasuya said

“Why don’t you sleep with me?I will ask your dad to sleep in your room tonight”her mom said

“No, no.I am alright.Pinkoo is also by my side.Don’t worry”the girl said.Her mom covered her with bedsheet and put the night lamp after adjusting the fan.She slightly closed the door and left her to sleep

When Anasuya’s dad came later her mom expressed the urgent need to take her to a doctor.She said “I am worried about her hallucinations.There is a scared look in her face.You must take her to the doctor the first thing in the morning.”

It was 6 am there was a scream from Anasuya’s room.Her mom and dad rushed in to see Anasuya shrieking like a mad girl.The bed was soaked in blood with a kitchen knife stuck deeply on Pinkoo.When she saw her mom she came running to her and clasped her and started crying and telling her “Amma, Please do not look at me like that. I did not kill Pinkoo.It is the someone who I told you was always around me.He is not there now .I think he has run away like a coward”
"How did the kitchen knife come here"asked her mom
"I kept it with me for use in case someone touched me"replied the girl

Her dad gently put his arm around Anasuya and said “Come, let us go to see a doctor”

“Appa, I did not do anything.Why do you take me to a doctor?”she cried

Her mom was sobbing inconsolably as her husband dragged the unwilling child towards the car

Swarna's encounter

The departmental store was unusually crowded today .Swarna had actually left office 30 minutes before closing time to buy the groceries she urgently needed.She stayed alone in her one bed roomed apartment and the shelves along with fridge needed to be replenished.She had been putting off doing this chore for the last three days.She had picked all her requirements and was in the long line with her trolley at the billing counter.

She saw a tall and handsome fellow with a trolley containing hardly three items standing behind her.A shock of hair fell on his well chiseled face making him more charming.He had a twinkle in his eyes. How lucky his wife should be, she thought.It was then he smiled at her and said Hi.She mumbled back a faint Hi though her heart started pounding faster and pretended as if she was looking at the line before her. It was moving very slow and she did not mind it.The other counters too were crowded.As she came near the end with just two persons ahead of her, she suddenly remembered that she had forgotten sugar and cheese. She looked behind anxiously about her place in the line if she moved away and saw the tall guy looking at her with amused interest.

“Would you mind if I fetch two things I had forgotten.I will be back before my turn comes”she said

“Please do not worry.I will hold the fort till you come.Take your time.I will not budge.” he said with a smile.

She ran back to the shelves.She could not find the cheese easily till a sales girl pointed out the new shelf where they had been stacked.She collected them and hurried back to find the guy placing all her things on the table for billing.She was overwhelmed by his gesture.The billing clerk after punching the items said Rs.401.She rummaged in vain her bag for one rupee coin and said “Sorry I have a 50 rupee note.Will it do?”

Before the billing clerk said no, the young man behind her put a rupee coin on the counter smiling at Swarna.She thanked him and started moving towards the gate.As she went to parking lot to her car,she found her mobile missing.She talked to her friend while in the store.Wondering where she left it, she decided to go back to the store after putting things inside the car.

It was then the young man came running towards her shouting”Hey, you seem a girl in a tearing hurry.You have left your mobile while you were searching for one rupee coin.Luckily I noticed it when my billing was done.I was worried you might have driven away.Luckily I could get you.Do you live far away?”

“How sweet of you and I have no words to express my gratefulness.I am Swarna and work in KT Technolgies.I live in uttar mantri close by” she said

I am Durgesh working in the adjacent building to yours.How come I have not met you even though we are so closeby”he replied

“I came to Pune just a month back. Glad to meet you” she replied

He gave her his card with his mobile number.She said she had no card readily but gave him her number.”Can I call you or may be meet you to collect the one rupee I advanced” he said with a mischievous guffaw.

“Sure,you can.I do not want to die a debtor” she said with a smile

Even after she reached her home, his smiling face lingered in her mind.She was not dating any one.In fact she had no friend.She felt she was a little fat for her age though she was tall and it not show.Nevertheless she was reticent to make new friends and was with drawn.A couple of men suggested by her parents who had seen her did not evince interest.She told her parents emphatically not to look for any one and that she was not contemplating a marriage soon.

It was then her mobile rang and a voice said “ Durgesh here,your creditor.Can I come over to collect my dues?If it is ok with you we can have a dinner at the Chinese restaurant close to your place.”

Her heart beat fast.She could not believe that he would follow up after the meeting at the departmental store.”Give me 30 minutes.I will be ready.Apartment 504 on block B.”

It was a leisurely Chinese meal.They shared lot of information about each other and were impressed.At the end she said “Frankly I did not expect you to give me a ring.I thought you were just being chivalrous to a lady.I was surprised when you did call”

“Why were you not expecting me to call you.Tell me the truth’’ he asked

“I am a fat woman and this has put off many men whom my parents had approached” she said
“To be frank, I hate skinny and lean people.You are perfect and also very beautiful” he said with a wicked grin.

She smiled back shyly when Durgesh asked “Where is my one rupee?”

She coyly replied “I would like to remain permanently indebted to you.”

When they left the restaurant hand in hand, theyfelt they had found their soul mate in each other.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Annamalai chettiar's kindness

I drove along the narrow road in that village.Things had not changed much.Except for a few brick houses the thatched ones still remained.The walls pasted with cow dung in the form of pan cakes gave an unpleasant odour.The stray dogs and hens running hither and thither under the wooden carts parked on the road were typical of an Indian village.I felt thirsty and wanted a coke.I stopped at the only grocery shop but also selling bakery items and vegetables.The coke was not cold.The shopkeeper said the fridge was not working and that he had no money to get it repaired. I then found the shop was almost empty with most of the shelves bare.The various drums where rice, pulses, sugar and many other items were kept seemed almost empty.There were clear signs of the shop being in doldrums with the prospect of being shut down permanently.

I asked the elderly unshaven ragged man who was sitting on the stool beaten by age and worry.” Do you know of Annamalai chettiar who owned the shop two decades back?I think this is the same shop as the well opposite to it is still there.”
"I am Annamalai.The shop has not changed hands.May I know who you are?” asked the old man.
“Oh,oh.you used to look young and healthy then.I see the ravages of time and worry on your face.I remember your shop used to be crowded early in the mornings with many villagers buying their small requirements from here and you were doing good business.Why, what happened?You seem to have fallen into bad days.”I asked“
You have not said who you are”persisted the shopkeeper“
I will tell you later but I used to live in this village in my younger days”
Annamalai chettiar after a sigh started telling.”My wife fell seriously ill.I could not attend to the shop and her simultaneously.I employed a boy known to family but he swindled money and never took interest.I sold my land and the house to meet the debts and mounting medical expenses.But she finally died.With no money I could not buy the provisions to stock in the store and improve the business.People do not come to me these days. I am afraid I may have to call it a day and pull the shutters down”
“How much minimum money would you need as working capital to bring the store back to normal working” I asked“
Who will lend me money?I am a pauper.”he said with a wry smile"
“Tell me.We will think about it later.”I said“
I would need Rs25000 to buy the various provisions.I should not send a customer away saying I do not have the thing he asks for.I need to have a good inventory.I would need another Rs.10000 to repair this shop as it leaks during rain and spoils the goods “he said
“Never mind.Here is my card.please come to the next town and visit me.I will advance you Rs.50,000 from my bank”
“What are you talking about? I have nothing to pledge except my honour.Loans are not given on honour” he laughed loudly.He added “Tell me why do you do all this to an unknown stranger?Are you making fun of me, seeing my miserable condition” he asked in a choking voice
“Chettiar, you may not remember me at this distant date.But I remember you as the guardian angel coming to our succour everytime we approached you.I am the son of Singaram.My dad Arunachalam was a drunkard and spent whatever little he earned on his liquor.He only knew to beat my mom daily at nights.He later deserted us. My mom was sick and yet she worked as a farmhand.We starved on many days, me and my sister.But my mother spent her money on our education.There were countless days when she would retire to bed on empty stomach.It was then when things became unbearable and we approached you for some rice and essential provisions on credit,you unstintingly gave us without the slightest demur despite the huge old dues.I suspect now that you gave us the food items more as charity than as business.Your kind act time and again had kept the hearth burning in our hut.My mother was ashamed to approach you for help but would send me when she saw us hungry.But for your munificence, she would have committed suicide after killing us .We owe our lives to you.
Today I am in good position.I can help you.It need not be charity.You can pay back to the bank whenever possible.I will stand surety for you and see it is sanctioned.Come and see me tomorrow itself.” I replied
Tears flowed from his eyes as he said”Yes I remember your mom and how she struggled with her alcoholic husband.She was like my younger sister as we grew together in the village.I think your name is Mani.Am I right? Where is your sister?”
As I drove back I found that my thirst had vanished despite the warm coke.But my heart was suffused with happiness and I switched on the recorder for the music.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A secret well preserved

Mahadevan had four sons and two daughters.His three brothers were IAS officers and retired from high government positions.One son is an IAS and working as joint secretary .Two sons had done B.Tech in IIT and have obtained management diploma from IIMs.They were recruited in the campus by top notch companies and working in managerial positions.Talent seemed to run high in his familiy with two daughters being doctors with MD,DM to their credit.Only one thing has been worrying Mahadevan.His youngest son Suresh did not evince much interest in academics and after his commerce degree entered in stock broking profession.But he showed keen acumen in business related areas and became highly successful stockbroker.He had no interest or knowledge in any matter other than stocks and movement of prices..

He was also different from his other children.He was fair and tall unlike the others with their medium height and dark complexion.Though income wise he did better than his other siblings ,Mahadevan would have liked Suresh also in high government or private service.But he was discreet enough not to give vent to his disappointment.

It was then he went to Mumbai to attend a wedding of relative’s son.There he chanced to meet his old friend Mansukh bhai of Bangalore days.They were so happy to see each other after more than two decades.Mansukh insisted on Mahadevan visiting his home to meet his family members over a lunch.

When Mahadevan went the next day to his sprawling apartment in Sion, he was received with great warmth.When both friends retired to a separate room after the lunch, they exchanged the happenings during these long years.Mansukh had made big in his family business of coal trading and his sons save the last were in it. Mahadevan came to know that Mansukh also had a large family of three sons and three daughters.The daughters were married off to rich business families.The first two sons after graduation took to business like a duck to water.The last one Ajit however was bright in studies did his IIT and obtained a doctorate in aeronautical science.Mahadevan had already observed that Ajit was different from his brothers and sisters being dusky in colour unlike his fair and tall brothers.It did not fail to strike Mahadevan at the similarity in the two families with one child being very mcuh unlike the others.

As they were conversing Mahadevan pointed out this odd feature to his friend..It was then Mansukh suddenly asked “Maha, when was your youngest born?”

“Why do you ask?It was in Feb87, 16th “ mahadevan replied

“Oh my god.my son Ajit was also born on the same day at Kamaladevi hospital in Bangalore.You had also visited our home after a fortnight”

“Could this coincidence be possible.Suresh was also born at the same hospital on the same day around 10PM” said Mahadevan

“Oh oh, Ajit was born at 9.45pm. I am pretty sure now that they had mixed up the babies.I lshifted to Mumbai after a month to look after the business when my dad died.It was too early to notice the difference.” said Mansukh

Mahadevan said”Let us not rake this up at this distant date.it will create only mental trauma.Let the secret die with us, my good friend.”

“I agree with you totally.Luckily both the boys are healthy and doing very well in their fields.Let us accept it as God’s will” agreed Mansukh bhai

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chotu’s liberation?


It was Children's day..The minister spoke passionately amidst applause on the bane of child labour and wanted a relentless war on it

It was midnight when he went to bed.His legs were aching much.Chotu was massaging his legs till 1am when the boy fell asleep involuntarily.Bang came a slap on the ten year old.




Friday, November 12, 2010

Kokila's cool

Kokila had an early dinner afraid that with the incessant rain the power may be cut any time. She had the candles ready on the dining table. Luckily her fears seemed unfounded as there was no power cut and she could see her favourite serial till the end. It was 8pm. There was a knock at the door. She wondered who could call on her at this time. After her husband’s demise, she continued to stay alone in this house. Her only daughter who was abroad had come to visit her old mom and left only the previous month. Kokila opened the door keeping the safety chain intact to see a young lady of about 35 standing there drenched in rain. Her clothes were completely wet with hair dishevelled.
When she saw Kokila she said “Sorry to trouble you. Can I stay in the portico till it stops raining? I should have left my office a little earlier.”

It was dark outside and she saw the lady alone. Taking pity Kokila said “Please come in and dry yourself.”

The lady smiled with profuse thanks and entered the hall. Just as Kokila was about to close the door, there was a lightning and she saw in the glimmer of light a car parked outside the gate. She immediately felt she had made a mistake in allowing a stranger inside but did not reveal in her face her thoughts. She gave her a towel asking her to wipe herself while she made hot tea. She started making tea and decided not to betray her scare. In the rain no one in the adjacent houses would hear her scream for help. News papers were abuzz daily with the news of old people who were alone being mercilessly murdered for monetary gain and warning against letting strangers in when alone.

She gave the hot tea to the lady who was comfortably seated on the sofa. She looked strong and a big built woman. Kokila’s mobile was on the dining table. She wanted to get it but did not want to create a doubt in the lady’s mind. Instead she chose another sofa a little away from her.

“Thanks a lot. Do you live alone? Any servants staying with you? I do not see any. Any children living with you?” she asked softly.

“I am not alone.I have a cat to give me company. I think the rain is almost gone. Do you have far to go? Did you come by walk?” asked Kokila wanting to test whether she would tell her about the waiting car.

“I came by walk and will presently leave in a few minutes. I have a question to ask? You don’t know me. You are old and alone. How could you trust me and let me in?” she asked

“Your face looked innocent and your bearing indicated that you are from a decent family. You were completely drenched. I did not think about anything then except to make you comfortable. I think I have not made any mistake in my judgment” she said with a laugh.

“Oh, I am sorry madam.You were not wise but you have been very nice to me.I would not like to hurt you.You are like my mom. Please hand over the cash and valuables without any protest. Any attempt to draw the attention of others would invite immediate death to you. I hope you understand.” she said like a snake hissing.

Kokila did not lose her cool. She said “Please do not do any physical harm. Whatever you want take it. Let me get up and fetch the keys after a few minutes. The shock makes my head reel. Please give me just five minutes. I will cooperate with you fully.”

In three minutes they heard the shrill blaring of sirens from police cars and one screeching to a halt outside. The lady was struck with fear and asked whether any exit is available by rearside
. Meanwhile there was loud knocking on the doors and voice over mike that the house has been surrounded by police. As Kokila opened the door, a constable with a gun in hand walked in and asked in an amiable voice “Where is our intruder?” The young lady was promptly hand cuffed.

When the young woman as she was being led ton the car turned towards Kokila with hate and anger in her eyes Kokila triumphantly smiled at her and showed the hidden buzzer on the side of sofa to the shocked woman.The wicked woman did not know the security arrangement Kokila had made already with police.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Speak in haste,regret in leisure

Lavanya rested a while as the crowd had thinned down.She worked as supervisor in the perfume store in the mal.When she was pondering whether to go for lunch to the restaurant,she suddenly saw Abilash entering her store.They were together in college and were very close friends.She loved him a lot.He looked handsomer, even a bit taller and with his hair well groomed than when she had last seen him four years ago.He too loved her.It was her mistake in forcing him to marry her immediately when he had pleaded some family commitments and wanted some time.She accused him of lacking in sincerity and commitment and used harsh words.He left her without one word.Later she regretted her foolishness and wished to express her regret.But sadly he had left the town to another city for higher studies.There was no contact thereafter.

“Hey Lavanya,I came specially to meet you.I knew you worked here.I came to this city last evening.So how is your anger towards me?” he asked smilingly

“Abhi, how sweet of you to have remembered me.I am extremely sorry for my silly behaviour that day.Since then I have been looking for you to express my regret.But you had left leaving no address.”They shook hands warmly holding one another for long.

“Oh it does not matter.I really had some pressing family responsibilities and could not propose to you then.Much water has flown under the bridge since then.Are you married?” he asked

There was a flutter in her heart.She still had the same attraction for him and hoped he had come to express his also.She then saw a tiny parcel in his hand from the jewelers adjacent to her shop.

She said “No,I have not married. Are you married? What is that parcel you have.?”

“No,Not yet.I want you to see the content in the box and tell me whether it is nice and you like it” he replied

When she opened the tiny red velvet box, she found a cute diamond ring with one stone sparkling in blue colour.There was a palpitation in her heart and the warm blood rushed all over the body.I Is he proposing to me after the long wait, she wondered

“yes, it is very cute.I love it” she could hardly speak

“Thank you,Lavanya.Just wanted to make sure that the ring is appealing”he said with a twinkle in his eyes and a smile in his lips

“Is it for me,Abhi? she asked expectantly

“Sorry, it is for my fiance.I thought you would not wait for me after that quarrel and your insistence that day.”

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Who is the mad beggar?

I had been recently to a temple in Southern India.The entrance was as usual lined with beggars entreating with pleas for giving alms.I normally give them some coins on my return after the prayer at the temple.When I entered inside the temple this day, I saw a man in a dirty safforn dhoti that covered upto his knees and a small towel swathed over his back and his shoulders.He must be around 40 years old, lean and lanky, a bit dusky in complexion..His dark hair matted in some places hung up to the nape of his neck. When I walked past him,I heard him muttering something to himself and smiling.He made no demand for alms and his eyes shone brightly..There was a tiwnkle in his eyes.His face was unshaved with an unkempt beard and mustache I lingered a little thinking him to be a beggar different from others.He was sometimes dancing with his hands on his hips and sometimes singing with his fingers of both hands playing on a non existing drum.He even gave me the impression of a man gone soft on his head.

As it was closing time for the temple I hurried to have the darsan of the presiding diety.Luckily there was no crowd with hardly two or three devotees in the sanctum.The priest enabled a good darsan of the God and His consort explaining in detail the specialities of the temple and the benefits of praying Him.I prayed to the God with my usual shopping list of desires that included the well being of my children and grand children.After doing the rounds(Pradakshinams) of the temple I came out.

When I saw the ochre robed man still dancing and singing, I stopped and proffered a ten rupee note.On seeing my extended hand he moved away quickly waving his hand exclaiming”Go away ,go away”.

He then laughed hysterically and said loudly “Oh Lord, look at this person giving me a paper thinking I am a beggar.Am I a beggar? Yes I am a beggar, the worst beggar.You know what I beg of You”

He turned to me and asked “When you went inside what did you beg of the Lord.You too are a beggar but a mad one at that.”
I said “I am sorry I thought you were also expecting some alms like others as you are here along with them“

“”Answer my question.What did you beg Him for? Did you really beg Him for one thing He is there ready to give? I am not a mad man.You are a mad beggar asking for cheap things like wealth and happiness.You don’t even know what to beg for ” he admonished.He then started jumping in ecstasy making wild motions with his hands towarsd the sanctum and imitating as if he was playing a drum or a flute .

It struck me then that I had squandered the few moments before the God in asking for material possessions for my children and grand children and never sought His grace to bestow me with true knowledge to deliver me from this earthly bondage and give me the wisdom.I had failed to invoke the presence of God in my mind.There was no humility in me by shedding all my pride.My mind was wandering hither and thither...I failed in His presence to surrender totally unto Him.My prayer was nothing more than sheer beggary and a fake devotion..

I realised then that the dancing person is no beggar and that I am the real mad beggar asking for foolish blessings.When I looked at him, I found he had totally ignored my presence and dancing feverishly thinking of God. After this unexpected encounter with this starnge man I was humbled, chastened and made a different man. I was very uncomfortable there after. I felt sure that the strange man must be an evolved soul nearer God teaching by his attitude those who cared to observe him.He truly awakened me from my deep slumber atleast for a shortwhile.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The blue balloon

The young boy of ten years was at the window from the fourth floor watching down the busy road.The only door to the room was locked outside.A scary man with scarier mustache was sitting outside and peeping in once a hour.The boy was crying thinking of his mom,papa,his younger sister and the dog.It must be more than ten days since he was locked up.The only mistake he did was to stop on his way from the school to answer an unknown man asking for directions.The next moment a van pulled up by his side and he was dragged inside.He did not know where he was taken and why they brought him.

it was then he saw a blue balloon floating in the air wafting towards the window by the gentle breeze. He saw the balloon fellow on the road filling gas and letting them fly above after binding them to the cart.This one had escaped from his hands somehow.The balloon rested on the window sill when a breeze started moving it.The boy acted with alacrity in catching hold of the thread to retrieve it. it was quite big.for bringing in through the grill.He tied it there.He tore a sheet from the notebook in the school bag that was also dumped along with him in the room.He scribbled some note, tied it to balloon and let it fly.

Little Rohan who was dragged by his dad to the hairdressers for a haircut saw a blue balloon resting on the tree.He stopped by and insisted that his dad gets it for him if he were quietly to get the haircut.His dad managed to get a hold on the hanging thread and slowly got the balloon..The note was in his hands.

In the evening the boy heard hurried footsteps and loud noises outside his room.The room was broken open and policemen entered to rescue the boy. The scary man along with his accomplices in this ransom bid were seen in their custody.The scribbled note could not give the exact location but the boy was smart to describe the view from his window and the McDonalds shop across the park.

But then who is the real benefactor- is it the balloon, balloon man who let go the balloon by his carelessness, the unwilling Rohan for his haircut,his dad, the Mac Donald’s shop or the policemen?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

55 Word fiction

Identity

Policeman stopped the car

‘You jumped signal.Pay me Rs100’

No,I didn’t.It was green

‘I dunno.Either pay up or take the challan]

OK give me challan’

‘Show me your license’

‘See my ID card’

Guruprasad
Vigilance commissioner
Government of ……”

Sir, excuse me.I didn’t know

Never mind.Show me your identity card

Kiss
If you kiss her, you get the money you wanted

I don’t like it and in public

Take it or leave it

She may not like

She will say nothing and is within your reach

Why do you insist?

So you will not ask again

OK I need money

He produced a frog to kiss

Sunday, October 24, 2010

55 Word fiction

A weakness

A high ranking elderly politician though happily married with grownup children had a weakness for beautiful women.
Constant tours provided him opportunities.

In the sprawling meeting ground he saw the young beauty approaching him being stopped by his security.

He shooed them away by beckoning her .

He lifted her happily as she bent down.

Boooom…she was a suicde bomber.
Innocence
The worried elderly woman brought the young beauty with her dark eyes .

The doc came out with grim face after examination.

“She is pregnant” he said

“Oh my god, I never allowed her alone without one of us.A sweet innocent thing ...How did it ever happen?”

"With dogs around, the bitch is never safe”

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The guilt


Every Sunday the blue car would pull up sharp at 6 PM at the parking lot of the nursing home.A young man in his mid thirties would emerge ,a routine that was never missed in the last few years.He would bring a basketful of fruits and spend an hour with a young and charming lady patient.There would hardly be any conversation.She was in no condtion to talk.She would be sitting on her cot with a vacant look in her eyes or even if she chose to look at him there was no sign of recognition.Sometimes she would excitedly scream as if she was passing through a nightmare but would become quiet soon after he gently caressed her with his hand. .He would be seen constantly wiping the tears flowing from his eyes.The nurses the orderlies and the doctors attending on her knew him as her guardian..But they had no more information whether the lady in question was his wife or a lover. Her general health was excellent except that she had lost her memory and senses..She has been here since the last eight years.There has been no sign of improvement.

One evening the chief nurse who was retiring from the next day came on her last round along with her successor, briefing her about the patients.She explained the tragic illness of the young lady due to an accident and how there has been no progress in her condition.When the new nurse saw the young man in tears and looked at chief nurse questioningly, she quietly led her away.

It was next Sunday.When the new chief nurse saw the young man in the lady’s room smiled at him and said”Can you kindly come with me to my room? I wish to talk to you.”

Once in her room she said “I am told that you are her guardian and that you are the only one visiting her for years.I can see the pain in your heart and have not missed noticing the tears in your eyes. I learn she gets excited after seeing you but subsides after you gently show your care for her.As one who is interested in her well being, I would like to know more about you in relation to her and why you cry every time..”

The young man was quiet for some time as he tried to recapitulate the happenings that took place long ago. He then slowly said” She is not not related to me.It was years ago in one January night I was returning in my car along the highway.It was dark with poor visibility due to fog I was in a hurry to reach home. She was travelling with her husband and her small baby and approaching from the opposite side.It was then the accident took place when my car collided headlong against hers.Her husband and child were killed on the spot.We were rushed to the hospital by the passing patrol.The shock of losing her dear ones affected her so deeply that she lost her senses since then”

“Why should you feel guilty as the accident took place due mainly to darkness and poor visibility?.Have you a feeling that it was due to your fault? You seem to have done your duty as a compassionate man by getting her admitted here and bearing all the expenses.Besides you have shown your care by regularly visiting her.Truth to tell, it is somewhat strange for someone to take such abiding interest in the victim of an accident..Is it that you have a feeling of love for her” the chief nurse asked.

“Yes, I have held myself responsible for taking away her happiness at such a young age when she was in early twenties by killing her husband and the baby and pushing her into such melancholy..No amount of my help or care would wash away my guilt” he said

“What guilt you are talking about? I heard you started visiting her only during the last two or three years and that initially you were not seen” she asked

He kept quiet till he was prodded again.” I was in prison serving sentence of five years for rash driving.I have started coming thereafter” he said

“Why do you cry everytime you come? Accidents happen despite best care..Do you hold yourself responsible for her sad plight?’she asked

“Yes madam, I am fully responsible for this situation I wish to make amends”

“Are you married?”she asked

“No, I am not married.I wish to give her a new life once she turns normal.I am waiting for it”

“Why do you cry? You have not said anything about it” she persisted

“I was the culprit.driving the car when fully drunk.I wish to atone for the grievous wrong I did to the lady and the two souls I killed" he said finally