Friday, November 22, 2013


The disciple prostrated reverently before his guru in the ashram. Three years back he had come seeking spiritual knowledge. After severe regimen of learning and penance he felt his tutelage had come to an end.
 “Swamiji, I think my learning is complete and wish to embark on my journey in search of god on my own”
So, you think you know it all and are confident?”
“Yes, Swamiji. Thanks to you I have the knowledge to realize the Ultimate”
“Are you so sure?”
“Why Swamiji? I have faith in my ability?”
“Wasted tutelage. You have not shed the “I” in you.

Written for 100 words on Write tribe

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A lesson learnt

The library contained only old and donated books with none for children. There was no one when I went.
I took a copy of Walter Scott's poems and another one not knowing what to take. There was no register to record.
When the smell of old books assailed my dad’s nose, he asked me where I got them.
"Are you a member?"
"It is free"
"Did the librarian lend these for a 10 year old?"
"I brought them .He was not there"
“You petty thief, return them tomorrow with a fine of 10 rupees and show me the receipt.

Fiction in 100 words written for Writetribe Wednesday. This time the prompt was the smell of old books.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The onslaught

The train slowly departed from the noisy junction. It was past 10pm.The compartment was not crowded. The passengers were getting ready to sleep. Some lights had been switched off already. Three young men who looked ruffians and who had possibly boarded the train at the junction walked through the aisle looking presumably for vacant seats. They were in tight black T shit, red scarf around their necks tattoos in their forearms and metal bracelets on their wrists. In one of the bays, they found a young woman in her early thirties lying on the berth with her body except the face fully covered by a bed sheet. There were two passengers sitting on the berth opposite to her. The ruffians saw her and stopped there.
“Go to another bay. We intend to sit here. Do you understand?” addressed one of them at the two passengers.
“We have been occupying these reserved seats from the originating station. It is ours” murmured feebly one of the passengers. While one ruffian pulled out a pen knife, another held his hand. There was a hard slap from the third ruffian at the passenger who demurred. He was lifted by his collar and pushed out of the bay. The other passenger stood up trembling in fear.”Get out fast if you wish to remain unhurt” bellowed one of the evil men. That passenger too collected his things and scampered fast to another part of the train. The few passengers on the side seats and from upper berths were shocked at the rude and violent behavior of the ruffians but had not the temerity to question them. Some of them pretended to be asleep while many others kept silent.
Emboldened the three bad guys sat on the berth before the woman and started talking among themselves while one of them lit a cigarette. They were all the time eyeing at the woman making small talk among them and passing lewd comments obliquely at the figure opposite to them. She seemed to ignore them completely and appeared sleeping as her eyes were closed. One of them lifted a bag and making it look accidentally rubbed her with the bag. Startled she opened her eyes and looked angrily at them.
“Sorry, madam, the bag came into contact by accident. I think I have woken you up from your sleep.”
She did not reply. Irked by her silence, he said “You seem to be upset. It was not deliberate. Anyway how far are you going?”
She stared at him still in anger but chose not to answer. The guy was determined to provoke her and said “You look more beautiful when you are angry. Sit down, we can while away time chatting. I am feeling bored” The other two companions laughed loudly.
When she adjusted her bed sheet to cover herself fully, the hooligan stood up and shook her shoulders to ask “Are you deaf-mute? I have been talking to you and you are indifferent”
“I warn you and that too only once. Do not mess with me. You will get hurt” she spoke softly but firmly.
There were muted giggles accompanied with apprehension of what is likely to follow from the other passengers. This infuriated the guy much. He said to her “Look here, you common slut, it is you who are going to get hurt when the train stops at the next station. Mind what and how you talk to us” and tried to lift her into sitting position by clasping her shoulders.
It was then her leg hit hard his head like a sledge hammer and the man fell down on the floor and lay unconscious. One of the other two hooligans rushed towards her only to be dealt with a similar blow with her leg around his shoulder and neck region. This man too crumpled down on the floor. Dazed at the sudden onslaught from what he considered a frail woman, the third hoodlum was cautious in approaching her. She was still lying on the berth and beckoned him to come closer if he had the guts. He looked around at the amused faces of other passengers and his ego would not permit him to retreat leaving his companions on the floor.
In a fit of bravado he approached her pulling out a pen knife and screaming with his hand raised “You bitch, you will pay dearly for this defiance” In a quick movement of legs she hit his hand that held the knife with one leg and the other leg whacked his back. The onlookers heard a slight cracking noise as the man folded up in acute pain and fell down with no attempt to get up.
The other passengers rose from their seats and tied the hands and legs of the three wicked men tightly with clothes and ropes that they could lay their hands on. A few dared to box their faces and slap them too when they were immobile. Someone went in search of a policeman and attendant
One old person asked her”Are you trained in any martial art? How bravely you immobilized them with your deft and quick attack when all of us men were frozen in fear? Do you belong to police?”
“No uncle. I am an ordinary woman and handicapped too. Look here” she said and lifted her sari to reveal two Jaipur legs made of wood attached to the stumps of her legs with metal and leather.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


The only problem with Bhaskar is his inferiority complex. A highly qualified and well employed guy, he had everything a young man would wish for. He had an exceedingly charming wife, a nice apartment in relatively posh area and a couple of good cars. Tall and with good physique, he would have passed off as a handsome guy but for his big beak like curved nose that stood out prominent in the otherwise good features like a well aligned teeth, twinkling eyes, broad forehead and curly hair .The nose acted as a blot attracting unwelcome attention. Since his young age, he had the habit of covering his nose on some pretext with his palm or averting others gaze by turning his face sideward.
Bhanu his wife who worked in a foreign bank was bubbly and extrovert by nature. She had many friends and fond of social gatherings and parties. She would insist that Bhaskar accompany her but he mostly found some excuse to stay away. On a few occasions he had gone, she would be swarmed by both men and womenfolk attracted by her intelligent conversation, genial nature and witty banter. She would invariably introduce Bhaskar to one and all. There would be an uncomfortable silence for a short while before the noisy conversations resumed. Bhaskar hardly missed the amused look on their faces and Bhanu’s feeble attempt to suppress her embarrassment. Some of them would continue talking to him in an affable manner but most would slowly move away.
One night when they were watching TV lying in the bed, Bhanu said”Bhaskar, if you promise not to mistake me, I wish to tell you about the conversation I had with Kausalya this afternoon.”
“Why this prelude? Spill it out” he replied
“I don’t care what others think but I love you from the bottom of my heart. You are a blessing and gift to me” she said.
“You were talking about Kausalya. What is this then?”
“Okay, she was telling me about her cousin’s husband who had got his nose rearranged like the Tamil actress. It seems the deformity has gone and he looks totally different and looking very much better”
“Oh, you consider this as deformity. I never knew that you harboured such a feeling. For your information I had already checked with some top cosmetologists and ENT specialists. I was advised to leave it as it is as the outcome of surgery may not always be satisfactory especially in my case. I thought you never minded it as you had seen me before agreeing to marry me. This seems to bother you now, is it?”
“Oh my god!! That is why I asked you beforehand to promise me. I should not have spoken on the subject. Your nose does not bother me. I like you for what you are but thought if there is a way to make it straight why miss it. I will not talk on this subject anymore again.”
“You have said what all you wanted to teil.I know I am an embarrassment to you in your circle.. That is precisely why I avoided coming with you. If you so wish, you can find a better looking man for you. I will not stand in your way” he spoke in anger and stomped out of the room. He did not return but slept on the couch in the living room with the TV on. She came down after sometime, pleaded with him for forgiving her and finally took him with her.
Ever since his complex made him see unintended messages in her every action, he became quieter and kept farther than usual. She attended less parties and was closeted before TV. The usual gaiety was missing in the house. It was a stultifying and humdrum life.
One Sunday after lunch, she sauntered across the hall to the French window and was seen watching outside intently with her eyes wide open.Bhaskar curious went behind her and saw a green parrot sitting on the branch of a tree and pecking at something. She turned to him and asked innocently “Isn’t it beautiful?”
His face became red thinking she was taunting him and left the house without replying. He was seething in anger thinking that she disliked him and possibly her heart had turned towards someone else. He could see these days she had become cold towards him and rarely talked unaware that he was the one who had distanced himself from her He started suspecting and began to eavesdrop her phone conversations. When she was not around, he saw the calls she had received and made. He even stalked her couple of times.
It was then he saw an advertisement in a magazine. It read ‘Learn Hypnotism in 15 days. You can unravel the inner thoughts of the person you love. You can hear firsthand what is in her/his mind. You can use it to influence  too the way you want.’
Bhaskar knew this is harmless but sure way of finding out the truth without involving outsiders. The man who was to teach cautioned him that hypnotism worked best where the subject has trust and confidence and not in hostile situations. Bhaskar joined the class. He changed himself to appear loving. He cajoled her to return to her happy mood, took her out to films, had dinners at restaurants, and showed his affection in many other ways. Things became normal and happiness seemed to return.
After a month one Sunday afternoon, Bhaskar said in a jocular tone “I am going to hypnotize you for fun. Are you ready to subject yourself?”
“Why not? I never knew you are a hypnotizer. Where did you learn? What should I do? Why don’t you ask questions directly?” she asked
“No, I will induce to sleep and ask questions that you would respond from your subconscious mind. Are you willing? I learnt it long back”
“Yes, I have nothing to hide from you”
“Okay, lie down and relax all your limbs and body.Look at my eyes as  I  count one to ten. By then you will fall into slumber, deep slumber, sleep and deep sleep. I will ask questions thereafter”
“Bhanu, Bhanu do you hear me? You are asleep but subconscious is awake. Answer me, Bhanu”
There were some unintelligible guttural sounds.
“Bhanu, do you hear me?”
“Yes” she said in feeble voice
“Good, can you hear clearly what I say?”
“Tell me, do you love anyone?”
“Yes, I love a handsome man”
Shocked Bhaskar asked “How long have you been loving him?”
“For last three years”
“Does his company make you happy?”
“Very much, he keeps me very happy”
“Can you describe him?”
“Tall, strong, muscular and handsome”
“Any distinguishing mark about him?”
“What is his name?”
“You can call him,Surya, Aditya, Ravi,”
Shocked again “Tell me what his particular name is?”
“Bhaskar, my husband”, she said and suddenly sat up on the couch and asked in a bewildered tone “Hey, why  am I lying here on the couch. What are you doing? Did I sleep off or what?”
He smiled happily and hugged her showering kisses.”You were under hypnosis for a short while” he said
“Did I blabber anything?”
“Nothing except professing your deep love for me”
She jumped and embraced him without telling him that she was feigning all the while and that she never was lulled into sleep and that whoever taught him hypnotism was a fake.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Free consultation

You can call me a counselor, a shrink, a psychiatrist or even an agony aunt. It is up to you and will not affect me. I am not one of those who have big consulting rooms with flashy boards and upholstered furniture. I don’t flaunt my degrees to impress my clients and attract them. Instead I seek them where they are and who are mostly abandoned by family and society. They live their own lives in a cocooned corner of drugs, alcohol or whore houses. It is easy to spot them and you don’t need any special skill.
I leave my home at 9 am in the morning to go on my daily rounds to the park, mall, bars, drug hide outs, red light areas and isolated places even funeral homes. In what I consider a social work, I don’t need well-cut suits and expensive leather bags. I am content with my rather old blue serge jacket and slightly faded jeans. I do not pay much attention to my looks and I am aware the long hair needs a cut. My work is important to me and not my appearance. I cast my look across the places I visit. I can invariably find the individual(s) who need my professional help.
I was in a large grocery store where I found this middle aged man with bloodshot eyes filling the basket with half a dozen bottles each of whiskey and beer, vodka besides I think rum and tequila. There was also a lone bottle of wine. You don’t need any further proof of this man’s addiction to liquers.No one buys so much unless he is a alcoholic. I gently approached him and smiled at him. He returned the smile but continued to look for some other variety. I coughed slightly and when he turned I said “liquor is harmful and it is difficult to break the habit. Not so much at one go.”
He ignored me. I considered it my societal responsibility to wean him away from this weakness.
“If you can spend 30 minutes with me, I can cure you of this dependence without any obligation for I consider this as my duty to society” I said softly.
He looked at me contemptuously and bawled out “What shit are you taking? Get lost before I lose my temper”
Even as I was saying “Do not get upset. I am aware it takes long time to break the habit”, he punched my nose hard with blood oozing out. In a short while the security led me out with a warning not to harass customers. I do not get disheartened by such violent rages or failures in my attempts. I keep looking for the next client.
With a band aid on my bloody nose, I happened to see a zombie sitting on a bench and smoking what I was certain hash. I went closer and as I feared, his eyes had a vacant look and his cheeks were shrunk. He was oblivious of my presence close by his side or my salutation. It was evident he was hooked to drugs. I could sense a sweaty smell of one who had no shower for a week or more. He moved away from me. I do not give up easily and followed him.
“Leave me alone. Why are you stalking me? I have no money with me” he said with some irritability
“Cool down, I have gone through this hell but could shake it off though with difficulty” I said gently.
“What do you want? What are you talking about?”
“Let us sit down for a while. But tell me what are you into, Ice, LSD, cannabis, opium or ecstasy or any such stuff? I have done all these. I know you get high, into a world of heaven if you have a female partner to boot. I have come to save you from the hell you are sliding into.”
“You wish to save me, yes by all means. I have been without a job for four months and need one immediately. Can you fix it? My wife and child are starving” he said
“I have heard this refrain countless times. Come on, let us go and sit on the bench over there” I said in persuasive manner.
The man pushed me down and started hitting me with such ferocity for a weakling like him. Soon a crowd gathered to save me with a policeman also joining. After hearing him and despite my protestations that I was trying to help him, the police took me to the station and look at the irony, searched me to see whether I carried any drugs. After confining me for the whole day they sent me away with a warning not to harass people with my help.
I was disillusioned and remained at my place for two days. Then on the evening of third day I went round the bazaar area around 8pm. It is not far from the red light area and was busy with people. I saw a good looking well built young woman standing under a lamp post. She wore jasmine on her head and the large bindi went well with her round face. She looked decent. I wondered why she was standing there like ‘other’ women. I wished to check whether she needed my help despite the warning from police.
“Why are you standing here alone at this hour?”I asked
She did not answer. When I repeated the question she said “I am waiting for my man”
I assumed she stuck to one person unlike others and said “Glad that you are sticking to one man unlike others of your type. Even then it is a vice. Better get married to him instead of standing here daily’
She let out a shriek saying ayyo when a two wheeler with a man and a girl of 6 years with a bottle of coke screeched to a halt before us.
“What happened?” he asked
“This idiot thinks I am a woman of shady character waiting for some customer.”
Soon there was a crowd and some manhandling and I was taken to the police station. They did not let me go home this time.
Someone came next day and talked to me about the incidents. When I told him in detail that I am a counselor doing social work voluntarily in saving people caught in vices, he laughed aloud. He asked me lots of questions and had my blood sample taken.
I overheard that man telling the inspector “That smelly guy needs a shrink as he is slightly deranged and suffers from hallucination that he is a doctor. May be he also requires de-addiction and some medication for an acquired ailment.”
Now I am in a mental hospital and the fun of it is doctors are treating me. I laugh at them but revel at the opportunity to help the large number of inmates here. The moral I learnt is never do anything free as you are mistaken for a fake.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Soul Mates

Tomorrow is their wedding anniversary. Unknown to Sundar, Sita bought a few books at Landmark. She also got a pen set while daughter was skimming through a pictorial book.
She saw at cash counter Sundar standing with a big box of art materials and card to surprise her. Both exchanged loving glances and sheepish smiles.

Friday, October 25, 2013


Cowering in much shame when disrobed -9
her cringing  appeal went in vain-8
elders mum, husbands silent-7
her hands went up to Lord-6
her robe grew long-4
rogue fell limp-3
to her-2

This is the story of Draupadhi married to Pandava brothers
who went through untold suffering for a princess
and whose unalterable faith in Lord Krishna
enabled her overcome  many times.
The efficacy of total surrender to God is conveyed here.

The rain 
The grey clouds in mournful darkish sky (9)
swaying branches in blowing wind (8)
flapping birds seeking safe nooks (7)
people rushing to home(6)
kids playing in joy(5)
blinding lightning(4)
loud thunder(3)

Living in a tropical city,Chennai,rain has always held
my fascination.It is much looked forward in a state that is mostly
rain fed for its water and agriculture.

These were written for

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My last day there

It is my lot to work in the minister’s secretariat. I have had no problem with his predecessors as I was not intrusive. Trouble started with this new minister who had shady past.
Last week a businessman was in his room. I had to go in to announce the arrival of some media personnel just as a suitcase was being delivered. His face turned red.
Today he was with his lady officer specifically forbidding anyone inside. Unexpectedly his wife came and barged in without my permission. When I heard the shocked scream, I knew it was my last day there.

Written as a part of 100 words on Saturday 7 at Write Tribe. The prompt being I knew it was my last day there.

100 Words on Saturday - Write Tribe

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Blissful ignorance

Ranjan is a loving husband and an affectionate father to his two children. He invariably spent quality time with his wife Sunita and children whenever he was in Delhi, his head quarters. He enjoyed taking them to top class eating places, cultural programmes, picnic spots, watching TV with them or playing board games on holidays.
Being a vice president of marketing, his job took him on tour of a day or two for more than fifteen days a month. A jovial and handsome personality with a gift of the gab, he was given to amoral tendencies when away from home. He had kept this weakness of his unknown to his wife or colleagues. He had come to Mumbai from Delhi in the morning for a long meeting that day. He had booked his flight the next day evening.  One even suspected whether he arranged his flights in such a manner to have a long day free. After a discreet call from his mobile the next day morning, Priya arrived at his room by 10am. She had come a few times earlier. Ranjan took a special liking for her who was in her early thirties but maintained a trim figure. A very passionate lover she gave him pleasure more than the money’s worth. They spent the whole day enjoying each other’s company. When it was nearing 3pm she readied herself to leave.  
She saw on the table a box containing an attractive Freshwater cultured pearl strand and Bracelet set and let out a cry ‘wow’. Pretty, a heart-shaped clasp in sterling silver accent, each piece is an ideal gift for a young woman. Ranjan was in such a satisfied and happy frame of mind that he readily offered it to her without a second thought as his memento for the company given. She was so overwhelmed with this unexpected gift she smothered him with kisses and hugs and reluctantly left. He had bought this set to surprise his wife but decided to buy something else in lieu.
He made a call to his old buddy Saxena whom he had not met for almost five years after the latter’s marriage. Ranjan agreed to meet him at his office around 4 PM on his way to airport. Saxena had put on lot of flab and was very obese for his age. After the initial pleasantries, Saxena sighed and said “I envy you. You still maintain a handsome figure and look a lot younger than your age. I could see you are enjoying your life to the brim.” Ranjan nodded his head in affirmative.
Saxena continued,” You are already in a senior management position at this young age. You have a pretty and loving wife and two children .What more does one want in life than a loving wife who can give her time and company to her husband when he returns home after a heavy day?"
“Why, what is the matter with you? You have told me that you have an attractive and talented wife though I haven’t met her.”Ranjan knew they had no children but felt this did not in any way affect the bond of love between the couple.
Saxena said “True, she is beautiful. How does it help? We lead a humdrum life devoid of love and affection. We respect each other and appear happily married. She is frigid and gets stiff whenever I approach her that even our occasional physical relations are mechanical. I am no doubt fat and clumsy for the slim and energetic woman that she is. I get out of breath even on slightest exertion. I come home tired most of the days after hard day’s work in a famished condition and after a heavy dinner doze off to sleep. She watches serials or keeps chatting with her friends on mobile or on internet."
“What does she do in the afternoons” Ranjan asked.
 He replied “No idea may be she is visiting her friends or attending kitty parties. I think she also helps blind students reading lessons. But she makes it a point to be back by 6pm when I return from office. She is otherwise very loving and ensures that I am well fed. She does not bother me with petty household problems. Perhaps she is missing children.”
Ranjan sympathized with him and suggested that he consult a doctor to reduce his weight and increase his zest for life. He took leave of him promising to visit him at his house next time.
 When Saxena reached home at 6-15 he found his wife listening to music and in a happy mood. She came rushing towards him and hugged him. The maid brought tea and snacks. As he settled his heavy body on the easy chair, she came close to him and snuggled.
“How was the day? Could you read the lessons to the students at the blind home? How was the baby shower at your friend’s place?” he asked.
 “I had a very enjoyable day after a long time at my friend’s place. Look at this set. I got this for a steal. Do you think this will give me a lift?” she replied producing the open box containing the cultured pearl set.
“Wow, how gorgeous you would look in them” he said as he kissed her hand.
'Ignorance indeed is bliss', she thought to herself.

Written as a part of Write over the weekend an initiative for bloggers byBlogadda.
The theme is 'Ignorance is indeed a bliss,he/she thought to himself/herself'

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Rangan was busy with urgent report. His toddler son came crying saying “Daddy, daddy, come with me quickly”. He ignored the boy and continued with his work.
The boy raised the volume of crying and said “Daddy, listen to me”
“Idiot, don’t you see I am busy? If you don’t go out, I will beat you blue”
“Daddy, please come with me now itself”
Rangan gave a whack and the child stood wailing at the door telling ‘Mom has fainted in kitchen and gas is burning big. I am afraid for mom.”
“You fool, why didn’t you tell me quickly?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Who did it?

“Amma, I don’t want to take ordinary graduation course. I wish to do engineering in computer science. I have topped the school and my admission letter has been received. We have only to pay the fees by month end” pleaded Janaki
“. Don’t I know you are very smart? I am also feeling frustrated that our financial circumstances do not permit us to do what we wish. Where can your dad go for the astronomical fee that we have to pay? Be understanding, my dear child. God willing, you can succeed in any line” said Lalitha
Aware that her dad held a small position with monthly income hardly adequate to make both ends meet, Janaki quietly started moving to her room, when her mom said “Come with me to the temple. I am sure goddess will listen to our prayers.”
“No, amma.I am not coming. Please allow me to stay at home”
“It is alright.I will be back in 30 minutes. Switch off the cooker after three whistles.”
It is not a big temple but had several sanctums for Kothandaramar, the presiding deity, His consort Janakavalii, Anjaneyar and some minor deities. Lalitha visited the temple daily at 11am.She spent longer time praying before the goddess .It was not crowded except on weekends or festive days. She would pour out to the goddess her disappointments, grievances, her wishes and even share the little joys as one would do to one’s bosom friend. Once done, it would lighten her heart immediately.
This day she pleaded with Goddess her helplessness and deep disappointment in not being able to meet with legitimate aspiration of her only daughter. It was not that she expected Goddess to fulfill her desire by a miracle but only to salve her troubled mind. Once done with moist eyes she turned to go back home.
It was then she heard a voice” Can you help me get up, young lady. I feel giddy” It was from an old lady of about 80 seated against a pillar. She was well dressed in traditional nine yards with some jewelry and seemed affluent.Lalita saw her almost daily but never spoken to her. She rushed to her side, held her in arms and slowly lifted her up.”Patti (grandma) how can you go alone? Can I drop you in your home in auto?”
“That is not necessary. Take me to the entrance. I am fine now”
As both came out Lalitha asked “Are you far from temple? How will you go? I can safely escort you. Do not feel obligated”
The old woman smiled as a big car drew near the entrance and a driver held her hand towards the car. Before getting in, she said “You are so sweet and lovable. What is your good name? We will meet daily here“
In a week they became close to each other but Lalitha never discussed her personal matters. One day as they came out of temple, the old woman expressed a desire to visit Lalitha’s house that day itself if it was on ground floor. Lalitha felt shy of taking her to her small portion on the side of a house. It was three roomed portion with a small hall, smaller bedroom and very small kitchen. The hall did the duty of drawing room living room and dining space. The house was faded in colour and dark. She could not refuse as the old lady directed the driver to take them to Lalitha’s place.
Lalitha hurriedly put a stool for the lady to sit and brought a glass of cool water. The old lady could see poverty writ large in the house. She drank the full glass of water and seemed pleased. She saw a young girl of around 18, lean and emaciated.
The old lady asked the girl “Are you Lalitha’s daughter? What is your name? Where are you studying?”
“I am Janaki.I have finished 12th and topped the school. I don’t know what I will be doing.”
“What a funny answer. Have you applied in any engineering or medical college? If you are good at studies they would be willing to offer you a seat”
“I have received admission for BTech in computer engineering from XYZ college.Amma wants me join ordinary graduation course in a nearby college.”
“Lalitha, what is this your daughter telling? When is the last date for payment?”
“True Patti. The last date is month end but we cannot afford even ordinary graduation course. She can succeed in life even without an engineering degree if god wills it”
“I understand your difficult position. Let Kothandaramar and Janakavalli bless her” Patti said before she took leave of them.
Patti was not seen the next day and succeeding week. Lalitha got concerned and asked the temple manager whether he knew why patti was not visiting.He said that the old lady had fever initially, then a stroke and is bed ridden. I do not think she will be coming”
“Mama (uncle), do you know where she lives? I wish to go and meet her” He gave her the address. When she went straight from temple to the place that was closeby, she found a very large bungalow sitting deep inside a large ground. The gate was guarded by security.
As she was standing hesitantly near the gate, the security asked her what she wanted. She said” I came to meet the old lady whom I meet daily at the temple since she has not been coming for a few days”
The security took her name and came out with a young lady of her age.”Patti has had a stroke. She cannot speak and her left side is paralysed.She is mentally alert. Her eyes brightened when I mentioned Lalitha from the temple. You can just see her for a couple of minutes.”
As she entered the room, Patti made an effort to smile and with eyes beckoned her near her. Lalitha could hardly control the tears flowing from her eyes even as she caressed patti’s arms. Patti asked with her right hand by sign why she had not brought her daughter”
“Patti, I will surely bring her tomorrow. I will pray for your recovery to the goddess. I want you back at the temple daily as before” Lalitha said
Lalitha could discern tears from patti’s eyes even as she was led out of the room.
The next day when Lalitha went with her daughter, she saw dozens of cars inside and outside the house. She knew something was amiss when the security approached her and conveyed the demise of the old lady the previous night.
Crying inconsolably Lalitha returned home with her daughter when a courier boy was waiting with a letter for Janaki.It was from XYZ College informing her about receipt of fees in full for four years as also the college bus charges from a benefactor who wished t to be unknown and that she can join the college on the scheduled date. She would also be entitled to some scholarship

Lalitha wailed aloud with tears at the thought of the kind soul that had bestowed this bounty on her daughter out of great compassion.Whether the happy denouement was due to Lalitha’s daily prayers to goddess or the generosity of the old lady is beyond the purview of this story.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The anthill

(A weird story.Don't look for logic)
The sky was overcast and it was windy too.Vanamali went to the window overlooking the backyard to close it. He saw his wife Vasuki standing about five feet away from a big anthill at the corner of their fenced compound. She was looking at the anthill intently. A newly married, he wondered why she went near it. He had seen some neighbourhood ladies coming and pouring milk inside it on some special occasions. But this day was no such one. He rarely went to backyard much less near the anthill. He suspected some snakes were inside it. When he wanted to have it removed years back, his mother had dissuaded him saying that it was there since his grandfather’s days and that no harm would come to anyone. She also warned him that if it is removed there would be a curse with no progeny in the family He was still scared and was wondering why his wife had gone there.
Vasuki was tall, very slim and lithe in her movements. She had long hair coming up to hips and walked very gracefully like an accomplished dancer. Extremely fair she had narrow but long eyes that were very black. She looked beautiful even from distance. He called her “Vasuki, why you are standing near the anthill? It is getting dark. Come away” She was so engrossed, he had to repeat before she turned and looked at him with a weird expression.
“Don’t you know snakes are inside it? Infact I would have shifted long back but for this being ancestral house”
“What if, the snakes do not harm anyone unless they see a threat?” she replied
He did not pursue the subject but was a trifle intrigued at her response. A week later on a Sunday afternoon; they were watching TV in the living room. A strange smell assailed his nose and he turned to look around. He saw a cobra inside the hall with its raised hood staring at them. Immediately he jumped up on the sofa and cried out to her to do likewise. He turned to find a stick or something long to beat it. Holding his hand and dissuading him from such foolish thing she said ”Don’t panic. Just stay put. I will handle this”
She stood where she was a few feet away from the cobra and looked at it intently even as it stared at her. Though for a few minutes, it looked like eternity before the reptile slithered its way out through the door. Dumbstruck at her unflustered reaction and unaware why the snake receded as if commanded, he asked her “Aren’t you afraid of snakes? How do you know by staring at  it, the cobra would go back?”
She did not reply but looked at him with a smile in her face. He felt some strange fear creeping him but continued watching the TV for a while before switching it off. He asked her to come out for walk but she declined. He went out pondering over the incidents. He was ill at ease and not comfortable.
That night as they were in bed, she snuggled close to him, put her arm around him and leg on his and brought her face close to his. He saw her glistening dark narrow eyes with a twinkle close to him when a chill went through his spine. He pushed her away but she was in no mood to let him go and enwrapped his body to bring it closer. He let out a shrill ‘No’ and moved away as if in front of danger.
“What is it? We are hardly married for six months. Why are you doing it to me? I have been seeing you behaving strangely since a few days  and looking at me as if I am a weird person” she asked.
He kept quiet for a while and when prodded for an answer, he said “Nothing like that, I am tired today.”
She turned to the other side while he too turned. This went on for a few days and there was no discussion on this. She cooked the food, he went to office, watched TV and everything was done in routine. There was no quarrel but the intimacy was absent. In the nights when they slept in the same bed, he was like a scared animal keeping his distance away.
One night he suddenly woke up and found Vasuki looking at his face intently from close quarters. The glassy black eyes that flitted from one side to the other reminded him of the cobra. As he tried to get up, she pushed him down and kissed him on his lips. A shudder passed through him even as his body shivered.”Be quiet. Why are you like this? Am I not your wife? Hug me and kiss me. It has been several days since we had been intimate”
“No, leave me alone. I beg of you. I am scared” he cried like a child.
“I think you need to see a shrink. Something is bothering you and you are not open” she said looking at him with contempt as she left the room with a pillow in hand.
The next day Vanamali during lunch time asked Ashok, his close buddy, “Do you believe it is possible for a snake to take human form?”
That friend was shocked at such a stupid question and asked him “What has gone wrong with you? Have you been seeing some Vittalacharya’s films?” Vanamali gave a wry smile and did not pursue the conversation.
The next day around 11 am someone came rushing to Ashok and said “Have you heard the tragic news? Our colleague Vanamali was bitten by a cobra last night and had died”
It hit like a sledge hammer as Ashok recalled the question Vanamali had asked the day before. He rushed to Vanamali’s house. There was a small crowd of neighbours. Someone said “It is unusual for a cobra to bite on his lips. There were two distinct marks. The cobra must have crept to the bed. Normally the snake bites the legs. I think Vanamali has beaten the snake dead before he passed out. The cobra was lying there dead with blood all over”
“What about his wife? Where is she? She must know what had happened” asked Ashok
“No, she is not seen. The neighbours say they saw her even late at night at the back yard. But she had vanished. It looks strange. The police are expected any moment”
Ashok was in a quandary whether the dead cobra could be Vasuki.A shudder passed through his spine too..

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The sleight of hand

(I enter my old story for the contest Sound-expressions)
It was dusk and getting dark. I was standing on the bridge over the river watching the gurgling water and enjoying with a tinge of sadness the fading skyline. The park in the distance with dazzling lights and varied plants and flowers looked alluring. A boat was seen swiftly moving down the river splashing water along. I had no interest to rush home as my wife was away at her parent’s place. She was expecting.
I heard a soft voice by my  side ”Sir, sorry to disturb you. Are you inclined to see a little magic?”
Startled I turned around to see a middle aged man in a much worn out jeans and a faded T-shirt with a coat that had seen much decay. His face was slightly long but there was a twinkle in his eyes suggesting a pleasant personality behind. He wore a Hawaii chappal that must have been in long use.
I asked him “What do you want?” even as I put my hand in my trouser pocket looking for small change.
He smiled at me saying ”Please don’t bother. I am not a beggar seeking alms. I just wished to show you a magic if you are in a mood to witness.”
Feeling bad that I had hurt him I said “Why not? I would love to see your trick”
“Good. Give me a ten rupee note. I will transform it into a beautiful butterfly” he said with a faint wink of his eye.
Intrigued as I was as how he can change a tenner into a butterfly, I played along and proffered a ten rupee note watching his movements carefully. I thought I heard a sweet humming tone and as my attention was distracted for not more than a second, he produced a multi hued butterfly in his hands with the tenner vanishing in thin air. The insect fluttered its multi colored wings as he handed it over to me. I was bemused and totally taken by surprise by the sleight of his dexterous hands.
I asked him “Where is the ten rupee note?”
“It is in your hands, sir in the form of butterfly” he replied with a smile.
As I sheepishly smiled back at my naivette, he said he can transform a 100 rupee note into a 500 rupee one. I thought he did produce a butterfly as promised for a tenner and why not trust him for a 500 rupee note that surely would be in my hands.. Greed overpowered my caution. I parted with a hundred rupee note.
But this time I decided I would be extremely careful in focusing all my attention on him. As he took the 100 rupee note and asked me to watch carefully, I heard for a second a hissing sound of a viper by my feet and involuntarily I jumped to see nothing near my feet. Meanwhile he held in his hand a crackling new 500 hundred rupee note. I took it with eagerness and turned it several times. When I asked him whether he can change one more hundred rupee note, he declined saying “It is my promise to my guru that I would not use this magic for profiteering or for personal benefit”
I walked back home happily thinking of my good fortune. I rang up my wife and told her of my good luck.
It was three days later when I met my good friend at Adyar and related to him about the man transforming a tenner to a butterfly, he interrupted me and asked whether I got a 500 rupee note fin lieu of a hundred. Surprised I asked him whether he had spoken to my wife, he chuckled and said “You are a sucker. That fellow has been cheating all gullible folks like you. The 500 rupee note you have is a counterfeit one. Go to bank and check it”
It was then that I remembered the sounds of the tune and the hiss and became aware he was a ventriloquist too besides being a magician.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

Friday, October 11, 2013


green yellow,orange
ripening fruits, varied hues
an enchanting  fall

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The interview

(It is a bland story with no big twist)
The large door was pushed open by a security as I entered the imposing building. I had an appointment for interview with MD for staff officer’s position for the CEO. It was a middle rung position that carried enormous clout and influence from what I learnt from insiders. I had an impressive profile with a   famed B school diploma and experience in leading companies in the industry. I was taken to a large room where five others were waiting.
 I had a cursory look at them. One was short and stodgy in an ill fitting suit with buttons at the waist waiting to burst. Another one with two days stubble, a long side burn with disheveled hair looked like a zombie. There was another that stood out by his height a six foot plus something, a vacant look and lean like a scare crow giving the impression of getting blown away by a strong wind. The fourth seemed to be a character, highly tense biting his nails nonstop and twitching his lips, possibly worried about the interview. The fifth seemed a bit of a rival with a smart face but dressed horribly in a hurting yellow shirt, a tie that was askew in his collar and a trouser that could have been two inches longer. I am tall, curly hair, square jaw, sharp features and a mix of Hrithik, Salman and Ranbir all rolled into one and in a smart suit. A popular dude attracting females like ants to treacle, I had a way to push myself ahead of others in the work place.
Across the room there was a small table with one young lady in mid twenties seated in a chair and two other young things standing by her side. The lady in the chair was strikingly charming but there was an air of insolence by the way she turned and looked around. A clerk from HR she must be checking perhaps who had all turned up with the names in a list in her hand. I was the last to be called by her.
“Your name?” she asked
“Sandip, Sandip Saxena” I said
“Where is your profile, I mean CV?”
“I had sent it when applying. I haven’t brought it”
“Oh, should you not carry it when attending interview? If they ask a question about the profile, where will you refer?” she asked with certain irritability
“I had not thought about it”
“You seem to have a casual air about this interview and are not adequately prepared” she said
My temper rose as I heard muffled giggles from other guys and a stony look from the two girls. I thought to myself why this bitch from a lowly position in HR is making snide remarks. I quickly controlled my anger and put on a charming smile before saying “I hope you wouldn’t send me back. As for questions from the interviewer, I can handle him. Leave it to me and not be concerned”
“Far from it. Why should I be concerned when in fact you should really be about your gaffe?”
“Measure your words, Miss.As a reception clerk I would expect of you better civility in dealing with people” I said curtly and returned to my seat. The girls by her side were gaping at me, when the young lady left the place insouciantly with a leer in her face.
After about 30 minutes, the girl who came to announce the commencement of interview said the MD was busy elsewhere and that CEO would meet the candidates. One by one they were called in an interval of about 15 minutes and the candidates left by another exit. I was squirming in my seat waiting for my turn. I rued my forgetfulness to bring the CV and was seething in anger at the taunt by that young woman.
I was the last to be interviewed and was not sanguine about the outcome. I wished it ended fast. When I was called in, as you would have rightly guessed, it was the young lady, who was at the desk screening candidates’ papers, who was at CEO’s chair. I was shocked and started perspiring. As I wiped my face and neck with hanky, she said in pleasing voice “Mr.Sandip, please take your seat. Make yourself comfortable”
As she signaled someone, a glass of cool water was placed before me. She patiently waited for me to drink the water before she asked “Shall we start?”
“In your resume on page 2 you have mentioned about role responsibilities and in the second line you had mentioned…”she stopped with a mischievous smile in her face.
“What did I say?” I asked
“You should know better” she answered with a smile that did not fade.
“Sorry Madam. As I had mentioned I forgot to bring the resume” I replied with my face down
She let out a loud guffaw and said “it does not matter”
After many searching questions and answers about the various aspects of my work experience, she asked “how soon can you join? I need quickly someone to assist me, someone who is not forgetful but alert. Nothing uncivil I suppose in my expectations”
As I smiled rather foolishly, she extended her hand and said “I will give you a fortnight. I look forward to a  happy and fruitful association with you”
“Sorry Madam, I was indiscreet talking about incivility. Kindly excuse me” I said
“No, it was your anger that clinched the position in your favour.I hate timid guys” she remarked and accompanied me  up to the foyer as a gesture of goodwill.