The Cage

I was sitting on a mat spread lazily on the lush green grass surrounding India Gate when the cage appeared for the first time. It was a sunny winter afternoon and I was in a mood to sketch. My ten months old son was sleeping in a pram besides me while I had sent my husband to bring me an ice-cream. My husband laughed as he closed his laptop and got up because he too loved to eat ice-creams in winters, although they were hard to get. As I took out my drawing pad and pencils and looked at the majestic India Gate, I saw the cage appear in front of it, hanging in mid air.

It was white and big enough to accommodate at least five men. As people noticed it, then dropped whatever they were doing and started to walk towards it, as if in a trance. I too got up when my husband suddenly appeared and took my hand to stop me. I turned and saw two ice-creams in his hand. The traffic too stopped moving after a few seconds. While the murmurs were gaining momentum, the sky suddenly turned dark. It remained pitch black for a few seconds and then all the colours of a rainbow were splashed all over it, moving like molted lava. Something very similar to the play of colors we see when we pour oil over water. And then that thunderous voice which appeared to be coming from everywhere and nowhere.

I have placed 100 similar cages all over the world. These cages will be utilized to cleanse the Earth. I have given all of you enough chances but a few more years and I can kiss goodbye to any hopes of a better Earth. Over the next few months, the world will be in a huge turmoil but I am sure that those who will be left behind will be wise enough to find a path amongst the self inflicted human complexities. The ones, of whom the Earth would be cleansed are those who are devoid of even an iota of love and respect for the fellow Earthlings. Terrorists, rapists, molesters, poachers, murderers, drug dealers, corrupt leaders and corrupt Businessmen are the ones who would enter the cages first. All those who have even a small fraction of purity left in them and whom I consider worthy of creating a better future, will stay. All the cages will always remain on the Earth reminding you of what you all have become! As a parting shot, let me also inform you that I am removing all the weapons from the world. Goodbye.

The skies cleared and for a second it seemed as if it was a bad dream but the cage was still there, hanging in mid air and emphasising the reality. There was such an eerie silence that it seemed as if the Earth had stopped rotating. They say that everyone on Earth heard that voice in the language they understood. I heard it in Hindi while the British tourist standing next to me heard it in English. That was the day when the world stopped and screamed afterwards.

Suddenly a man appeared from thin air inside the cage. He started screaming the moment he realised where he was. He was pleading and asking for help from the bewildered crowd staring at him. The cage started changing colours and turned to orange. Amidst shock and terror, we all realised what was happening. The cage was heating up. The man started jumping up and down to find a cool spot to stand but soon his skin started to stick to the hot base. He grabbed the bars to pull up his legs but his hands got glued to the hot bars. The cage was turning red and the man was melting sending an overpowering stench of burned flesh amidst painful screams for help. My son was wide awake by now and started crying. My husband took my hand and we moved towards our car to get out of there. We sat in the car for five hours before the traffic finally started moving. By that time, the cage at India Gate had taken 300 lives and the screams were ringing in my ears. 30000 people had vanished from the face of the Earth in those five hours. The cage was killing one person every minute. 

*  *  *  *

On the third day from the beginning of the killings, my husband confided in me. He told me that as an eminent businessman of the city, he has given and accepted bribes numerous times. I sat there and listened to what he had to say. I knew all this already but I had accepted him the way he was because I knew that he was beyond repair. 

“I am transferring everything to your name. I might be gone any second. Please bring up my son to be a good man. Not someone like me. I am sorry, sorry for everything.”, he said as tears welled up in his eyes. He cried bitterly that night. For the first time, I felt sorry for him and cried with him. All the property was transferred to my name within the next 15 days. Although I wondered about the worth of all that within a year. 

*  *  *  *

By the end of a year 52,560,000 people were dead. Many of them were notorious criminals and eminent politicians. The world was in a chaos. The stock markets crashed, armies of all the countries were now unemployed and a few countries were left completely leaderless. Some people tried to destroy the cages, while some turned into believers. Despite the chaos, there was a serenity. A tacit calm. People were good to each other. They were hopeful that despite of what they had done in the past, Gods would spare them if they behave themselves now. Fear was driving people to love each other. 

My husband vanished 14 months after the killings started. That day we were having breakfast and talking about our son’s birthday celebrations when he disappeared from his chair mid sentence. I stared at the unfinished toast and the half filled cup of tea for a long time as I didn’t had the courage to switch on the television and see him melt. Those fourteen months were the best time of our marriage. He had completely transformed and I had fallen in love with him.

*  *  *  *

It took the world 30 years to come back to order. Yes, we survived somehow. It became a beautiful place to live eventually. The generation who is running the world now is of my son’s age and they are brought up in an environment were “love” is the only word, the only possible solution. My son got married some years back and I am a grandma now. I had never believed in happily-ever-afters but I am living one now. Of course, I miss my husband at times. I still have that cup and plate in which he had his last breakfast.

And yes, the cage is still there at India Gate. Its a part of that monument now, a part of our existence. But I don’t remember if it has been used since a long time. I go to India Gate at times to have a look at it. To remember the day when the sky turned into a molten rainbow.

The Journey and the Inspirations

On 29 August 2008, I complete one year of blogging. It has been an exhilarating journey of a world I was quite oblivious to, until last year when one of my friend introduced me to WordPress through her newly created blog. Although her blog is long abandoned at present, she passed the germ to me.
During this one year journey, I came across a variety of bloggers who inspired and awed me in various depths. I haven’t written much posts in the last one year. I haven’t even reached a count of 80 yet but I was able to reach a lot of people. I connected somehow and that is all that matters. So, I would like this opportunity to thank everyone who read my blog and provided their selfless comments. I know that there are people who read my blog without commenting and I thank them too for their support. I love it when someone who has been reading my blog from a while finally decides to comment. I remember Manoj did that and also Preeti. 🙂

I came across many bloggers who encouraged me to go ahead and not give up when things got really tough, because they amazed me with their knowledge and zeal and are now a part of this new facade of my life. There were posts which made me laugh when I was feeling low and there were posts which made me think and ponder. In such a short period, this place has become an essential part of my life. Here is a list of my favourite A list of Blogs –

Ruhi’s Time and Again – It was through Ruhi’s blog that I came in contact with this loony bunch. I saw Ruhi’s post on the Dashboard once and clicked on it. I was wide-eyed and amazed with what I saw. It was my first – most amazing blog visit (although I saw many after that) and I was hooked. She is not regular nowadays but she still pops up at times.

Ish’s Dead End – I still remember my first comment on Ish’s blog : “You are one hell of a kid!!!”. I was so amazed to see a kid maintaining such a fabulous blog. If you are in a bad mood then Ish’s rants can really cheer you up. I remember how I was in splits when I read his “The Ruhi” post. And yes, I was the winner of the PFHOI contest on his blog. How can I forget that?

Nita’s A wide angle view of India – This woman is amazing. She writes everyday and there is not a single day which goes without one of her posts being published. Everything is so diverse and well etched – The topics, the research, the writing style and the professional way in which her blog is maintained. She is a true blue journalist. And don’t even look at her Blog hits. Your eyes will pop out.

Poonam’s Visceral Observations – The Ms Best Blogger!!! She is also quite infrequent with her posts(like me), but writes very informative and hard hitting posts. Her posts are well sketched out and sometimes full of uncountable links(I am talking about her link posts) 🙂 . She writes on two other blogs and juggles between her job and blogging with ease. A true inspiration.

Ashish’s Thunder of the Dragon – He can drive you crazy with his loony posts and his love for Rock music. In most of his posts, I end up writing a comment which resembles a – 😐 but I must admit that his crazy ideas have inspired many posts on this blog. The Randomizer and the Nebula Mindspin were spin-offs from his blog. He calls me – Zero the Hero and he has an illusion(??) of being the Next Geeky Emperor of the World. Rock on My Lord!!

Reema’s My Random Thoughts – The most dazzling debut in the past year. She climbed up the charts very fast with her sometimes sentimental, sometimes bold and sometimes journalistic posts. An intelligent blogger which I feel is stuck in the wrong city (??? 😀 ) where people are too nosy to be believed. I remember how all of us almost pulled her out of Blogspot’s claws and landed her safely in WordPress. 😆

RamboDoc’s A twist of word and Mind – The father of all “Don’t take them at face value” posts. Believe me, you can’t dissect humor better than him. You might be fooled in the beginning by the seriousness of his posts, but a few visits and you learn to take everything with a pinch of salt. A doctor by profession, RamboDoc has huge female fans following him his blog. Not to be missed at all.

Shefaly’s La Vie Quotidienne – The owner of the most “profound” blog on WordPress (according to RamboDoc), she is one of her kind. Her posts are thoughtful, deep and scholarly and sometimes have the Tongue in cheek quality which makes them immensely enjoyable.

Nitin’s Nikhil’s Mirror Cracked – The Funny guy on the block. He can make you laugh with his simple daily life experiences served with a comical twist. I remember how I rolled on the floor after reading many of his posts. He is a writer too and his first book is already in the market. To read more about the book, click here.

Arvind’s An Entertainment Blog – The Entertainment Blog owner who is apparently a die hard cricket fan too. His blog was full of cricket centric posts once. 🙂 His blog is a nice mix of personal mumblings and latest news with Calvin and Hobbes splashed in-between.

Kids zone – After being surprised by Ish’s creative posts, I came across many kids who were maintaining some very interesting blogs. Come to think of it, I was not even aware of the meaning of a blog at their age. Be it Allirekha’s beautiful poems, Bharat’s touching short stories, Prarthana’s examination woes, Perx’s apprehensions about his new abode, Priya’s bubbly and creative posts, all of them have something special to say and share.

The Balancers – These bloggers are married(well…most of them), they have a job(most of them) or are in colleges and they still blog. They could have easily shrugged and said that we don’t have time for all this.They are the true Supermen/superwomen. Anand’s Musings, Balu’s Chupchap, Dinsan’s Blog(hopefully he belongs to this group), Mehek’s Mind Flirting with thoughts, Harshasrisri’s blog, Joel’s blog, Lallopallo’s blog, Liju(recently married) Philip’s blog, Manoj’s Vagaries of my mind, RJ’s Especiality, Suda’s Life Love and Logic and Xylene’s Crapbook are such blogs, to name a few.

More Girl PowerLekhni, Sakhi, Nova, Pr3rna and Sulz have their own unique blogs. Lekhni and Sakhi are majorly into Short stories while Pr3rna’s posts are inspired mostly by the current happenings. Nova’s posts are vivacious and spicy while Sulz writes about her own life experiences in her own interesting style.

There are so many other bloggers I wish to acknowledge, but laziness is creeping over me. So please don’t feel sad if your name was not mentioned above. It was due to the yawn dripped laziness I am swimming in right now. I also wanted to award each of the above person and I (almost)promised Shefaly, but the sheer volume of links I have created above sent shivers up my spine.

I will do that. Someday…. 😛

Till then, a huge hug to all of you.

The Nebula Mindspin – Story and Epilogue

The Nebula Mindspin turned out to be a complete mindspin largely because my mind started spinning when I read the 20 comments which created the story. There were numerous dreams within dreams. Gandalf finally did his strip dance and Someone had the audacity to kill poor Kareena. The devil slipped over the hero’s pee which was peach in colour!!! Godzilla and a nine tailed fox also made an appearance while the protege slipped in and out of dreams, illusions and girlfriends.

Thankyou everyone for participating. Although I have warned that there might be a possibility that two people may write the comments at the same time, the story forked twice. I had to delete two comments because they came exactly at the same time and took the story in two directions.
So here is the complete story and don’t miss the Epilogue at the end.

The ship had started its descent on Planet AZ1104. We were 1000 strong with the state of the art Nebula Blue Laser Guns at our disposal. I moved the pin at the side of the gun to FULL. The blue coloured charge started to fill the sleek unbreakable glass container at the tip of the gun, ready to vapourise any form of threat. Planet AZ1104 was covered with a purple fog, which was going to make things more difficult for us. The ship landed smoothly as the hearts of 1100 army personnel inside that spaceship beat in unison. We were finally there. The doors started to open. It took 10 seconds for each of the 15 huge doors to open but it felt like eternity. The purple fog rushed in as we rushed out. Charging.

As we came out, to our surprise there was nobody in the visible distance. We were confused as we were expecting an attack immediately because our sources had informed us that the planet could give us a tough resistance. Then we came to know that our RADAR was wrong and we had landed in a wrong place which was very far away from the actual place. We started marching towards a nearby city to attack it according to our new plan. After some time we were facing a beautiful city which surrendered easily to us. We got a base on this planet very easily and our scientists captured the technology centers and started analyzing the enemy strengths and weaknesses. The enemy came to know about this attack immediately and started a counterattack. We were able to destroy many of their planes in no time. By this time our scientific group started attacking through viruses on their communication system.

But it was our genetically engineered super viruses that decimated the inhabitants of the city. Horrific combinations of Ebola and genital herpes left the city folk highly embarrassed before the inevitable bleed out left the city streets slick with crimson goo.Some of our people felt remorse for the horror we had unleashed, but most of us chuckled like demonic children as we watched the evil mess transpire over and over again on our collective mega-screen. We were humans after all,weren’t we? Well Mr. God, see, you might create so many other things, but we are plain smarter. Humanity rocks dude! Well what is that?  No way!!! This can’t be. There is a huge nine tail fox in front of me. The fox gnarled and charged at us, singing the haunting tunes of Cher’s new album, causing our un-shatter-able glass containers on the Nebula Laser Guns to break. We were helpless. In the distance, we could hear the horrific sounds of disease and illness that we had caused, sounds that added to our fear. Just when we were about to surrender to the foxy fox, we realized that there were 100 stowaways within us!

The purple fog turned denser reducing the visibility as we saw the fox’s eyes glow like thousand LED bulbs.I turned around but realised that we were engulfed by the thick fog when I suddenly saw a trajectory of the flash created by the two eyes of the fox as it jumped over us. Hell broke lose and we started running. Dead bodies hurled and flesh scattered. The fog vanished dramatically and we couldn’t see the fox anymore. To my surprise, all the dead people were the 100 stowaways and I saw a note stick ed on the flesh of a body – “These 100 damn rascals already carry Herpes with them”. I took the note in my hand and turned back to show it to the other crew members when I felt a sudden thud on my back. I saw a thick furred animal pounding at me. I took a deep breath and thanked God! All this was a dream and the thick furred animal is my sweet little doggy trying to wake me up!

I woke to find everything unusually quiet in the house. The dog had started howling and following me everywhere I went. I freshened up and dressed ready to go out now; the maid hadn’t come yet, she had fallen into this habit of coming late everyday now. When I switched on the TV, the language on the TV channels was strange. I couldn’t make out anything from it when suddenly the TV went off. I decided to take a stroll outside. Just when I came out from the building, everything outside was a mess. There was not a single person in sight. All the building, houses, stores, restaurants were burned up and smoking. Just then I heard a huge crashing sound behind me. I turned around and saw a huge Godzilla with a burning tree in his hand which he was using to burn buildings. It came charging towards me and I started running. Making my way through alleys I was trying to escape when I suddenly heard a girl’s cries coming from a car. I reached the car and to my surprise it was Kareena!! Apparently the door lock was jammed. I broke the glass windows with my bare fist and rescued Kareena. The Godzilla had come upon us by then.

We ran into a nearby building, trying to open one door after another. I knew that we would find resistance so I put my hand in my pocket and I found the very same gun from my dream. Finally a door opened and we barged in. There in the room was Gandalf strip teasing to Touch Too Much by AC/DC as dwarves looked on. Just as the last garment was coming off I fired my gun and zit! all of them vanished. I took Kareena inside, we looked into each others eyes, and then we kissed. Suddenly I heard a weird noise, my gun powering up! Zap! And Kareena was nothingness.My act left me shocked. I was filled with remorse. I reduced Kareena to nothingness. Oh my God! I was wondering what would I tell Saif! What would the entire film industry do! My mind was buzzing with Herpes virus, if that’s possible. I felt like aiming the gun at myself and turning to nothingness in hope of kissing Kareena once again. Suddenly, there was a loud explosion and a bright light filled the room.The light was so sharp, it blinded me for a minute. I opened my eyes slowly and was surprised to see what was in front of me.

I had had a dream within a dream. I was actually not on my own planet. I had dreamt the waking up sequence, and even the Kareena kiss and the Kareena death. The reality was this: We were on another planet and we had destroyed the inhabitants. Our guns had done strange things to them…and worse. We ourselves had changed. I looked around and saw that all of us had changed into an animal. That fox we had seen was actually one of us! We could not differentiate the aliens and my own mates. Suddenly I had a flash of memory triggered by something i could not make out. They were images of disaster .. buildings burnt down and earth in the hands of the aliens. I then realized that this was the way the aliens attacked. They superimposed images in the human mind so that it becomes confused and dazed.

Superimposed images! Yes, that was it. My mind had superimposed Kareena and Saif’s images on the images of aliens. Uff..We are so taken by our movies that we can’t think straight to save our own lives. Not only this, my imagination or is it my sight could conjure a time machine. Did I say I could make out a silhouette of time machine? But I have never seen one. Yet I can think of an image! It must be those Hollywood flicks. Here I am saddled with world’s biggest problem at my hand and I think of Hollywood and Bollywood. Shucks! How dare I even think of “Bollywood”! People will ostracise me of using this word Bollywood. It is degrading word, Amitabh Bachchan says so.

Stop it. Concentrate. Think what should be my next step?

Closing my eyes, I said a secret word and summon the Devil. On seeing the Devil in front of me I got mean and summoned God as well. I tried asking for advice from both of them, but they got into a damnation fight. They hit each other and after five minutes realised that I had summoned them.The devil was pissed off with me as he had to leave the creation of a new sin and mailing to the religious heads for later. God was angry because he was cleaning his house and his girl friend might now ditch him as she was a cleanliness freak. Peace. Peace. Yes, so here we were, in a room, God, devil, God’s girlfriend and me. We all are having this heated discussion about who will give me an advice and the reasons behind it.

God said, “I made the world, I know what to do next.”

Devil said, “You can create any world, I will destroy it in a minute.”

Gods girlfriend said, “I am with God.”

I said, “Freeze!”

I couldn’t believe I said that. It must be the fear of Herpes moving to sacred Gods. But devil and God’s girlfriend could do with it. Now I was thinking like God, I chided myself.

Meanwhile, all of them were staring hard at me. Devil lunged at me, I tried hard to remember where was the Herpes Virus petri dish. Fool, it does not transmit through petri dish. Before devil could reach me, he fell with a thud at my feet. My mouth opened in a perfect circle, barely registering the recent events. I realized that in my fear, I had lost control over my bladder and pee’d all over the floor. The devil has slipped on the slippery pee and fell down, now covered in a layer of stink. I wrinkled my nose and tried hard not to laugh at him, but I couldn’t. I burst out laughing. I laughed till my sides ached! Meanwhile, the stink was becoming stronger and stronger. The fluid on the floor seemed to glow. There was something… something was terribly wrong with the pee… It was changing color and slowly, it became a shade of light pink. It wasnt pee anymore; it was now the colour of peach! I was shocked. I realised I am allergic to peach. They cause my eye to itch! And then I saw the devil furiously rubbing his eye! And i realised…the devil, in his attempt to destroy goodness in the world, had taken over my soul. But me being the powerful God, had cheated him. All he had now was an itching eye! And when that smile of victory slowly pulled at the corners of my lips, i could see the defeated devil’s expression.

Just when I was preparing my victory, the devil rose up as the peach color pee gave him strength to fight with me. He blew fire from his mouth and due to the fear I peed more. The more I peed, the more the color of peach the more the devil grew stronger. I had to find a way out to overcome my fear and not to pee. What should I do? Thinking..thinking, I saw a pool of water. I touched it and After that what all I could see was creatures who looked neither like monkeys or humans , but not surely unknown creatures,somewhere in my weirdest dreams I have seen .They wore metal covers which had alternate blue n white paint patches and soon they disappeared from our vision and then appeared the most beautiful ladies !!!!! All the chicks from bollywood were there. So I first moved towards Ashi and bingo they all turned into little devils, trying to pull me to the abyss. Now I needed some serious help. So I called the Vodafone help line and boom! everyone ran away. We had Captain Pug to the rescue, so I decided to switch from Airtel to Vodafone permanently but then the devil called the brand -Ambie of Nokia and that idiot started doing a stupid dance…and I fainted.When I woke up,I had my girl friend smiling at me telling me that I shouldn’t watch too much of Naruto.

Epilogue :

I had a sharp pain in my temple as I focused on my girlfriend. She was tied to a huge machine and there was a metallic pipe coming out just below her neck. I moved my neck sideways and felt the pipe behind my neck too.

“What did you say?”, I asked.

“I said, you shouldn’t watch too much of Naruto.”, she said and smiled. A sad smile.

“What happened?”, I asked Kareena.

“Don’t move your neck much. Its just a power failure. You won’t remember anything after a few seconds.”, she said and smiled again.

“Where are we?”, I asked, still groping with the sight of huge metallic pillars full of humans in front of me. It was a scene straight out of one of the classic movies which came 1200 years back. I could not remember the name of the movie. I guess it was Matrix…

“We were taken captive. Don’t you remember? After we rushed out of the spaceship, the enemy overpowered us. We were given false tip regarding their strenght.”, Kareena said as tears welled in her eyes.

I was getting flashes of the past. The purple fog, the huge goliath sized enemy force, the swift attack and the defeat. But then what happened afterwards? The dream, the takeover of the city, the fox, Godzilla, Gandalf, kareena…dying, the Devil, the God. What the hell was that?

“They have joined our brains together. And they put all of us to sleep by some mechanism. What you were seeing was just a superimposition of the dreams of the thousands of people lying here. Your brain was just picking up random dreams from all of us. The problem is that they are having frequent power failures of sort and we all wake up at times. The power will be up any time and we won’t remember anything of this talk till we wake up again by mistake and that might be – never.”

“But why are they doing this?”, I asked.

“Don’t know. But there are thousands of us here. All the spaceships which vanished before and all the missing people are here.”

“Can’t we….”

A painful spasm rose in my back and everything went dark. I was lying on a bed filled with white petals covered with white silk bedsheets. The bed was lying on a beach where the waves were coming and going beneath it. Then I saw Kareena, all dressed in white, coming towards me with the sunset bathing the whole white canvas into orange.

*                        *                        *

I woke up 6 years later when we finally defeated the inhabitants of Planet AZ1104. Kareena and I got married and lived happily ever after with our two kids.

The Nebula Mindspin

I got the idea of this post from an amazing post from Ashish, the Geek Wrestler, who a few days back wrestled the urge to empty his bladder. Sorry my Lord, couldn’t help it. 😀  So I am inspired(by his post, that is) and thus I am taking the liberty of using it. 😛
If you really want to have the laugh of your life, read this post by Ashish.
This is a harmless test of your wits/creativity/luck. Luck because the story will end on the 20th comment.
Those of you who can’t understand what in the name of Beelzebub I am talking about, here are the rules (Again copied from the Geek God‘s post with some minor changes) :
1. I start a story, you continue it in the comments.
2. Your comment is limited to TEN sentences. Please ensure that a comment does not exceed 10 sentences. [Arrgg!!! The IT language]
3. You can write any number of comments [within the limit of course] but you cannot follow your own comment with another one i.e. for example, Poonam can’t comment right after her own comment unless someone else posts a new comment just after her previous one.
4. The maximum number of comments is 20. I will post the 21th comment [an epilogue] so its the job of the 20th commentator to finish the story off.
5. Take the story wherever you want to [comedy, fantasy, even erotica!] just one thing, you are not allowed to finish it off unless you’re the 20th commentator.
6. It might be possible that when you are writing a comment someone else might be writing it too and both of you might fork the story. So it is advisable to write your comment in a notepad first and just before posting it, refresh the page once. Hence you would immediately come to know if someone else has just posted a comment.
7. Please don’t post any off-story comments till the 20th commentator finishes the story.
8. Have fun!

Here goes the story :
The ship had started its descent on Planet AZ1104. We were 1000 strong with the state of the art Nebula Blue Laser Guns at our disposal. I moved the pin at the side of the gun to FULL. The blue coloured charge started to fill the sleek unbreakable glass container at the tip of the gun, ready to vapourise any form of threat. Planet AZ1104 was covered with a purple fog, which was going to make things more difficult for us. The ship landed smoothly as the hearts of 1100 army personnel inside that spaceship beat in unison. We were finally there. The doors started to open. It took 10 seconds for each of the 15 huge doors to open but it felt like eternity. The purple fog rushed in as we rushed out. Charging.

That’s it. Get started people. Spin your minds. 🙂

I love you too

First of all, my apologies to everyone for not being a very regular reader of the posts of all my buddies for quite some time now. The reason being that I have shifted base to a new place and my office is an (un)comfortable two hours drive from my home. So, I end up being in the lap of my bus for four precious hours everyday instead of being in that of my lap-top. I have to iron out my life but don’t know how.

Having said that, this post is a short story which was lying in my drafts from the past three months. Its being a while I had written one but this one popped one fine morning in my brain due to a cerebral short circuit. I started wondering on the silliness of it and then thought of bestowing the readers with it. 😛

The title of the post, of course, belongs to the short story. 😀

Here goes :

What started as a drizzle was now turning into a downpour. She was standing at the entrance of her office, forcing the umbrella to stay above her head and waiting for a cab to materialize amidst the shards of water breaking from the clouds. She saw a car approaching but it was not a cab. The black Mercedes stopped in front of her and she saw her image roll down with the window. What appeared from the other side was one of the most enchanting faces she had ever seen. He was smiling with one corner of his lips curled up and ending up in a deep dimple.

“May I help you? Can I drop you somewhere?”, he asked.

“No thanks. I will prefer going by a cab.”, she replied as her brain received a smack from her heart.

“You would be needing a boat after sometime. Don’t worry. Just hop in and I will drop you where ever you stay.”

She hesitated for a second but the dimple was at display again. She smiled back as she sat in the car and closed the door.

“Thanks.”, she said tersely.

“No trouble at all. I am Daniel.”, he shot back.

“Margaret.”, she smiled back.

He drove silently for a few minutes and then suddenly shot a glance at her.

“What?”, she asked.

“I can drop you at a place only if I know where the place is.”

“Oh!!! I am so sorry.”, she laughed back.

She told him the address and soon the car screeched at her doorstep after snaking through a few water clogged roads.

“Would you come in for a cup of coffee?”, she asked as she picked up her umbrella. She was smiling and she was not looking at him.

“Yeah sure. Its damn cold and coffee would certainly do me good.”, he said giving his dimpled smile again.

She felt a warmth in her heart. She looked at him and suddenly she couldn’t remove her eyes from his face. She just wanted to be near him. Just wanted to feel his warmth…

She unlocked the door of her apartment and asked him to come in as she switched on the lights. The apartment was spacious and very tastefully decorated with artifacts and paintings from across the globe.

“God!!! You are rich. Why don’t you have a car?”

“Thanks. I had one. I sold it last week. Got bored or it actually. I need to buy another one this weekend. Make yourself comfortable. I’ll bring the coffee.”, she said as she took his coat.

“Can I come in the kitchen? If you don’t mind.”, He asked when she was halfway across the hall.

“Sure.”, She looked back and smiled at him.

He sat at the small dining table in the kitchen and watched her make coffee. Soon she was staring at the droplets of rain slashing across the kitchen window, lost in thoughts, smiling. Suddenly he got up and stood behind her, with his hands on her shoulders, squeezing them lightly. Then he moved one of his hand over hers and cupped her slender fingers.

“My husband might be at home anytime.”, she said.

A lightening bolt flashed across the window as she said this. His grip loosened instantaneously. He went to the drawing room, picked his coat and left the house. She stood in the kitchen and laughed.

* * *

The bell rang a few minutes later. She opened the door.

“Hi hon. How are you doing?”. It was her husband.

“Great. How was your day?” , she said flashing one of her sparkling smiles which her husband really loved.

“I was thinking about you all day long.” He said as he took her in his arms and kissed her.

“What!!! Aren’t you tired?”, she asked knowing very well what was about to come.

“Not yet. But maybe, I will be in an hour.”, He said as he smiled and picked her in his arms and moved towards the bedroom.

* * *

When she woke up in the morning, her husband was already up, fixing breakfast in the kitchen. She showered quickly and entered the kitchen.

“Breakfast is served.”, her husband said as he presented her with scrambled eggs, fruits, juice and bread.

“Thank you so much dear. What would I do without you.”, she said kissing him.

They ate the breakfast, chatting happily and later he went to drop her at the office in his car. As she got out of the car, he caught hold of her hand.

“What?”, she said turning around and laughing.

“It was fun last night. Wasn’t it?”

“Yes it was. But come to think of it, what the hell were we doing?”, she said as she laughed out loud.

“Just remembering the first night we met. Come on, its been exactly five years yesterday. What’s wrong in being a little playful?”, he said as he entangled his fingers into hers.

“Yes, but five years ago, you didn’t turn around and leave and I was not married.”, she said and winked. He looked at her for a few moments, playing with her fingers. Then he pulled her into the car.

“You are the best wife I could have asked for. I love you, Margaret.”

“I love you too, Daniel”, she whispered slowly in his ear as she hugged him and looked at the diamond ring on her finger, which he gave her last night. There were tears of happiness in her eyes.

She waved her husband goodbye as he drove away in his black Mercedes, giving her another one of his infectious, dimpled smiles.

A Thousand Splendid Suns – Book Review

One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,

Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.

While I was reading The Kite Runner, I wondered how much pain the author himself had to go through in his life to write this story? Its said that you can’t understand the pain of another human if you have not been through the same situation yourself. Each and every word of The Kite Runner made me realize how much pain and anger must be pent up inside the author. And then I read “A Thousand Splendid Suns”. The Kite Runner was not a book and neither is A Thousand Splendid Suns. They are outlets, vents to tell the world about what happened to the Nation which was once so prosperous and happy. They are outlets for people to know the story of a nation destroyed by its own people.

The story revolves around Mariam and Laila. Mariam is an unwanted child born out of wedlock and lives with her mother in the outskirts of Herat in Afghanistan. Her wealthy father visits her at times. When Mariam is 15 she visits her father’s home against everyone’s wishes. She ends up being married to Rasheed, a widower in Kabul who expects a son from her. When she fails to deliver a baby, she is faced with verbal and physical abuses. Laila, on the other hand, is the daughter of a High school teacher. She had two brothers who are killed in the fighting against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Laila is in love with Tariq, her childhood friend. Things take a bad turn when the civil war comes to Kabul after the victory of the Mujahideen and Tariq leaves Kabul with his parents and Laila is left pregnant and an orphan after her parents are killed in a rocket attack. She lands up in Rasheed’s house and agrees to marry Rasheed for the sake of the child. Mariam is now in Rasheed’s house for more than a decade now and resents Laila but fate has something else in store for the two women.

The most beautiful part of this book is the way the relationship develops between Mariam and Laila. By the time Laila becomes a part of the household, Mariam has endured too much at the hands of Rasheed to bear his second wife. Soon after Laila gives birth to Tariq’s daughter, both the women realise that they are sailing in the same boat. The book is also a story of a nation in transition. It encompasses the political upheavals and what the people went through when the Russians finally left. It tells the story of a beautiful dream which turned into a nightmare. If Hassan was the unforgettable character in The Kite Runner, then Mariam’s doleful life will leave a lump in your throat in this book. And there was one feeling that never left me while I read the book – This could have happened to someone…

Comparisons with Khaled’s earlier book is inevitable and I agree that A Thousand Splendid Suns does not have those kind of twists and turns but it has the same quality which The Kite Runner had. It turns you into a more compassionate, a more understanding and a more humane human. It makes you understand that you are blessed in every sense. And, it makes you understand that there are people out there who deserve a life similar to yours.

Rating – 4.5/5

Author – Khaled Hosseini

Your Jaw drops when…

…you notice a guy in your office who is wearing a white shirt with sky blue polka dots on it. A FORMAL SHIRT WITH POLKA DOTS!!!

…you wake up in the middle of the night and find two of your best friends(a boy and a girl of course) kissing. They are sitting next to you in a bus while returning from a school trip and have vehemently denied any sort of a relationship.

…your project leader sends a mail to the whole team without doing a spell check re-reading(*thanks Poonam*) and has misspelled list as lust.

…your project manager sends a “Happy Birthday” mail to you by copy pasting it from the sent items list in his mailbox and forgets to change the name of the earlier recipient. So you get a mail with a “Happy Birthday Vishnu” written in bold instead of “Happy birthday Amit”.

…one of your female friend tells you that a friend of her had a misconception that the male reproductive organ is 1 foot long and is coiled.

…your mother throws a brick at your neighbour’s house because she wants him to stop singing at the top of his voice on a loudspeaker, because your final board exams are going on and because she is cooking food and does not have time to go and talk to him!!!

…you spot an employee of your company sitting in the discussion room and reading Hanuman Chalisa.

…one of your friend at the office comes to you and tells you that she got engaged in the weekend. She was told about the engagement by her family on Friday and the ceremony took place on Saturday. She saw the guy for the first time during the engagement.

…after being verbally battered and bruised with Physics theory questions by two panels for P.hD entrance in JNU and after loosing all hopes of even being considered for a selection, you are selected.

…your grandma tells you that her father was a very rich man and had just finalised a huge land deal in Delhi for a big bungalow just before he died.

…your grandma(again!!!) tells you that she was offered movies when she was young but it was considered inappropriate in that era for girls to act in movies, so her father refused. You feel like going and yelling at your grandma’s dad that if he would have not interfered with his daughter’s destiny, you would have been launched by now and would have won a handful of awards and would have done some movies with Kareena.

…your cousin drops her towel(followed by a scream and slamming of the door) when she is dancing to “Mere khwaboon main jo aaye” as she moved from the bathroom to her room.

…you come to know that one of your roommate whom you considered to be worthless and irritating and someone a girl will never touch with a barge pole, has a girlfriend.

…your classmate in class eight comes one fine morning in the classroom and declares that he had lost his virginity last night and continues to tell his tale after the gasps had died down.

…and finally, when your parents declare that they are not going to search for any girls to marry you because a moron(read astrologer) have told them that their son is going to fall in love soon.