Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Thank you

Fellow Numbers,

I probably have web access for 37 more minutes, so I thought I'll be irrational once again, and make use of my flight that's delayed by 55 minutes and wish all of you a happy new year 3 days ahead of time.

Irrational Number has had an amazing last 211 days. Yes, that's exactly the age. You can trust my Maths. Irrational Number is an infant that has already gone through a set of highs and lows. I could have never imagined that I would be able to connect to so many interesting and wonderful people through this amateurish attempt of mine. If there is even one story that you liked, that'll be enough to make the infant happy.

I wish you all a prosperous and a rational 2012. A prime year goes and makes way for a leap year. I wish we stay connected, I keep up spinning new tales to sprinkle the irrationality and hopefully keep you entertained.

As much love as prime numbers, a hug worth 17 Newtons, as many cheers as the digits in pi!

Irrational Number owes you one.


Saturday, December 17, 2011


It's a Saturday morning that started with a phone call. A phone call that dehydrated me faster than the scotch last night. With nothing better to do I decided to compile the 140 character stories that I wrote over the last one week. I started this little game on Twitter where I asked people to give me a word and then penned a little story that could fit in a tweet (140 character limit). I'm posting 53 of them in no particular order. The word in apostrophe is the word that lead to the story. This has been a copy paste exercise only. There has been no editing, so pardon the use of modern SMS English (done to fit the story in) & other grammatical errors. Thanks to all who constantly fed me with words through out the week. I hope to continue this endeavor.      

"'You' don't make me laugh" she said and left me forever. As she walked past that gate I heard her laugh like never before.

He,"Close your eyes & you will see my 'ethereal' love". She, "Sorry. I prefer real love, can't keep my eyes closed all my life".

He quaffed a 'scotch' bottle & was down to last 7ml.The bottle,"Don't finish me". He,"Why not"? "Cause that's my job tonight".

He was on the 'staircase' to happiness. Tired he would ask "how many more" & hear "only as many left as u have climbed" & continue.

She,"How can you 'cry' and there are no tears"? He, "Just as you don't cry and there is a bucket of tears"!

Devil always won the 'impeccant' man trophy."Why u?"a girl asked."I'm never the mind that commits the sin.I just say it's OK".

He,"My life is no less than a 'drama'". She,"I'm leaving you for him". "Why??" shocked he asked. "Just playing my part".

She would change clothes in front of her pet 'rabbit' and it would get aroused crazy. Till the day it saw a doe in clothes.

121. The 2 was entrapped between the 1's. It contacted 11 & asked it to divide 121. 1's got together and 2 got it's 'freedom'.

The 'sniper' fired but the bullet crashed into a bullet. He looked up in anger, saw another one, fired again & died on the spot.

Stuck on a desert the goats devoured the 'mutton' chops by the day & mulled over the declining population by the night.

"Why r u sad '13'"asked a number. "I'm unlucky they say"."u are not", it hugged 13.The number line hasn't seen it since that day.

They made a pool of 'alcohol',swam in & drank from it all night.I found them next day,"that's what drowning in alcohol means".

God,"Today,u wore blue,drove bike,ate Thai,drank cola,helped poor.'Ergo',die". She,"What logic is that"?."u think I 'm logical".

His wife's picture on the wall was so 'faded' that he started seeing a new woman in it every day.

He, "Food is super 'delicious' when I eat with your hands".She took it literally & cooked a special lady finger dish in dinner.

He saw her lying on the bed and slit her throat with a razor sharp knife.No screams, no blood.Only silence.He said, 'dejavu'.

The executioner,"Your last wish"? "Give me a polynomial that returns a 'prime number'". "n^2-n+41". He could only verify till 40.

He,"u r a 'chick'". "Thus u pass test 1. I marry u if u tell me 31x31 in 3 sec". "u r a dick" she thought & said, "971" in 1 sec.

0 was 'indifferent' to anyone else. "Multiply with me & I turn u into me",it said. Then one day it shut up.It had learned to add.

They made out like rats. He was in 'love'. He, "Now I know what love is". "I already knew love is a 3-letter word", she replied.

The photograph was complete 'blur'. It always was whenever she clicked him. She didn't know why but he who died years ago did.

"Buy a red car" the reader said looking at the 'tarot card'.He died in crash & 1 hr later the reader was diagnosed with dyslexia.

The maroon text on his notebook smelled different after the 'ink' dried up. You would know why if you saw his left arm.

I found a deaf friend at a music concert. "I came here to find what I 'lost in the noise' last year they played".I couldn't hear him.

It took him 1 yr to finish the book he found 'abstruse'. It was then he realized that the book was in Spanish, a language unknown.

God, "Are you sure"? Ghost, "Yes, set me free". God nodded. He smiled & was 'happy' till he realized he had turned into a human.

The ghost turned man was stupefied. "Why God"? He asked 1079 more questions. For each one the answer he got from God was 'umm'.

The ghost turned man saw reflection of his pale 'yellow' face."Make me ghost again".God obliged & gave him toothache to die for.

After he vanished on the wedding day she jumped into the 'water'."If I knew you were gonna jump, I wouldn't have"a dead body said.

She was 'sleepy' but couldn't sleep. She wanted to dream. Dream about him. Still awake. Then she woke up. The real him snoring.

The letter she received from her son who was dead for 7 yrs was no longer 'mysterious' when she saw herself on the funeral pyre.

She,"ur pointless 'ego' is killing our marriage.Leave it or I leave u".He did. She didn't like the changed him so she left him.

His mom told him the question & the answer for 'exam'.15+76.He wrote 19 when he saw 76+15. "u will make a good husband",she said.

The strong 'wind' made him run for cover.No one else did.They carried on nonchalantly.He realized then that the storm was within.

"My love is true. 7 has just got an 'infatuation' on you", 3 told 21. "Look in your heart & sum up your feelings.u will find me".

The hospital ran short of ice beds after the 'ice' on which the dead body lay melted from it's warmth.

"Mom, I'll marry when I'll be able to multiply any two three digit numbers in 19 secs". Mom didn't understand her 'everest'.

"Life, you have always been rude to me. It's 'revenge' time" he said & shot himself. Life laughed and somewhere a baby cried.

All his problems led to the bar and the solution to each one of them was 'beer' till the day beer became one.

1 yr of DMs on Twitter & they decided to meet.She flew to London & he to Paris. "So romantic" he DM'd.The 'perception' lingered on.

He loved her & didn't care that he was the 8th hubby. On wedding night, "Whats this closet"? "Nothing,14 ears 'hidden' in it".

He played games all life to make 'dollar' bills for his last journey. He thought it was enough till he saw hell's conversion rate.

He,"I like 'winter'". She,"why"? He,"We share the blanket".She left him in the summer. He still waits for the winter & the blanket.

He,"Help me cause I can't get u out of my mind". She,"Think of 'Physics'". He,"What do u think I have been thinking about"?

God 'flips' a coin,"Heads u die of stroke.Tails, malaria & if..".He leaped,caught the coin & fell on his head."Let me complete".

The 2 midfielders planned a move & argued over who gets the 'credit' for the goal. The game next day sadly was a goalless draw.

The father asked the 'jaded' doctor to not give up on his 'comatose' son. "At least he is not 'blind', he sees darkness".

She jumped from the roof cause her 'vain dream' was to fly. She flapped her arms but crashed & became a ghost.The dream came true.

He has counted square root of 2 till 3878789778979 digits & continues. The 'wait' for it to become a rational number carries on.

They drove in the 'night' & fast. Then it was day. High fives.The night didn't come back. "You don't sleep in hell" a voice said.

In hell everyone she saw was in bright clothes & loaded with 'jewels'. "why only me in tatters"?They were all asking that question.

"Enough! Do you love me? Please state it absolutely clearly" he asked. The silence that entailed had the 'clarity' he sought.

"I don't want to live. I'm fed up of this life. I only 'see' demons around me", he said and shot himself.He started seeing humans.

Monday, December 5, 2011


The minister died seventeen days after I had shot him. Two bullets were fired. One tore apart his heart and the second one threaded through his left eye. He died on the spot. I read it in the morning newspaper sipping my coffee on a leisurely Saturday morning. The doorbell rang and I rushed to the door as I didn't want her to wake up. It was my immediate neighbour, Pranav. I noticed that he was immensely disturbed but he did not that I couldn't care less. He told me that his Pomeranian dog that had gone missing a couple of days ago had been found. What was found was a lump of carbon in our building's basement. Someone had burnt the poor animal alive. I was fond of Algebra, not because I like pets. Couple of years ago when they got him and couldn't decide the name it was me who had suggested the name. Algebra. I had shot it about a week ago. I calmed down a sobbing Pranav and rushed to the elevator. I wanted to ensure that it was me who woke her up. In the fifty nine seconds that it took for the elevator to reach the seventh floor my mind wandered off in all directions. I shot a man, he died. I shot a dog, it died too. Was it a coincidence? Miss Maple had said that a coincidence should never be ignored at the first place. I thought about Algebra and the minister. I entered my apartment, ensured that she was fast asleep and got in the kitchen.

Breakfasts on the weekends were my responsibility. It was something that I looked forward to because that was the only peaceful time I got to spend with her. You could either be married or in love. I was in love, and then I married her. Love now had a new definition for me. I loved her when I was awake and more importantly when she was asleep. I prepared a quick South Indian breakfast and coffee. When she was asleep she looked like someone who the God had made when He was on a vacation. Watching her sleep also proved that God is a male. Her face was a tranquil image of a bright blue sky. No moon, no sun, no stars - just the seamless bright blue sky. It was an ocean that was not affected by the state of the moon. I could watch her sleep forever but for that she would have to sleep forever and that thought would make me wake her up. Waking her up was a ritual. I would feel her warm breath and caress her short hair, she would smile with her eyes closed, I would touch her cheeks with my hands, she would make a noise that would make me smack my lips, I would then curl up to her and kiss her on the lips, we would smell each other, she would slowly open her eyes and then the reality would kick in. Love would evaporate, it would disappear like red from the grass or green from a rose. 

It was business as usual after she woke up. She didn't say a word and munched on her breakfast. I had to visit Lodhi gardens that day. The famous Bollywood actress Shauneeta was in town to promote her new movie. The rumours were ripe that she was going to marry a local business man. It was supposed to be big news. I was asked by the editor of my magazine to get a raunchy picture of her. As usual I got my favourite camera with me and rushed to the site. My camera was the only love left in my life. A guitarist wouldn't feel for his guitar what I felt for my camera. It was not a mere device, it was an extension of my hand. It allowed me to capture stories, the real stories. I have always hated the stories that I got to hear in the childhood. To me words could never tell a story. Only pictures made sense to me. That is probably the reason that I was good at Mathematics and Physics but could barely pass my History exam. Too many words kill me. My camera was my pen and my ink that I used to create stories. Every picture from that camera was a story, nothing less. A story without a picture is like a beach without the tide. All the words need pictures, only some pictures need words. I like pictures that don't need a single word. Such a picture is trustworthy when compared to words. How the bond between me and my camera developed is a mystery to me as well. After all love that can be defined or reasoned is not love at the first place. Can anyone define why grass is green? It just is. I am unlike any other professional photographer because I believe in the power of one. When I use my camera, it’s just about one click. One click and one picture. There comes a point in time of any given day for all of us where a picture can be shot that would tell the story of our day. I had the knack of finding that moment and capturing it to perfection using my camera. That's the only time you hear my camera click. One click is all I needed that day as well. I could tell by looking at that image of her that her marriage was a rumour only.

I came back home that evening and saw her silhouette in the balcony gazing at the sun that had almost set. She had a drink in her hand. She sipped the scotch slowly and as expected did not acknowledge my home coming. I made myself a drink, lit a cigarette and settled on my bean bag. Smoking the cigarette and observing the smoke patterns transcended my gloomy mood. She moved in and said "Hi" as she passed by me. I nodded. She was wearing a short white dress with pink polka dots. She made me a drink, handed it to me, got herself a quick shot, grabbed her car keys and disappeared. She was a teacher by the day and a writer by the night. Right after our marriage we used to have little conversations and it was then that she told me about her passion for writing. When I asked her to share some of her writings she made it absolutely clear that she wrote for herself only. She would always carry a small notebook with her penning down the random thoughts that came across her. Thousands of them that she had filled up with her thoughts were saved in a lockbox. I never made an attempt to break through the box. She wanted to be aloof when writing and thus disappeared from house at any time without any warning. There had been so many mornings when I had woken up and did not find her in the house. I used to worry in the beginning but then slowly I became numb to her absence. We were two lost souls swimming in two different fish bowls. The best moment as far as could remember of our married life was the wedding night when she gifted that camera to me. It was downhill from that point on. It was not always like that as there was a time when we were in love.

After four days I got a phone call from a colleague from the magazine. "K, did you hear it? We are flipping this week's edition. The Shauneeta story is going to be published this week instead of next. She is dead. Someone butchered her brutally with a knife last night". My cell phone dropped from my hand. When the apple fell on Newton's head, imagine if he had thought of things falling on earth as coincidence. The minister, the dog and now Shauneeta. I fixed myself a drink and got the camera out. I put the camera on the table and gave it a long stare. Was that a camera that I was looking at or a killing machine? My heart was pounding, my mind was racing and the hairs on the back of my neck were all very alert. I never believed in super natural powers. This was one of those moments though when I wanted myself to be proven wrong. Had I laid my hands on some sort of voodoo magic? The possibility itself had my hands trembling. Had I chanced upon the power to kill? Was that a camera or a gun? Was that round button a trigger? Was the sound of the click a gun shot? If it was all true then I could kill with a click. The possibility was remote. I picked up the camera and came out of my house. "Hi, K. Are you headed out for a shoot"? I had no idea what I was going to do next when I heard Pranav call my name and I formulated a quick plan, something that I am very good at. I really didn't like him anyways. He was going to be my guinea pig. "No, I was planning to go out for drinks. Why don't you join me?".         

There was a time when I was in love with her and she was too in love with me. I had known her before I was introduced to natural numbers, before I knew what love was. We both belonged to Dehradun, a city that we did not visit even once after our marriage. We lived on a hilltop, just three doors apart. We studied in the same school and were classmates. There was an old bus that would take the kids to and fro between school and the hill top. It was a forty minute drive. The seats in the bus were designated and we sat with each other. Despite of all of this we never spoke. I always thought that she was waiting for me to initiate a conversation but I could never gather that courage. She had been charming from the day I knew her. A pointed nose, almond shaped devilish brown beautiful eyes, boyish haircut, and the demeanour of a diva. She had an air of mystery around her and that's what pulled me towards her. Love is always in the mystery, in the unknown. She was as mystic as the n-degree polynomial with n+1 roots. I thought that when I was introduced to polynomials. We had a strange chemistry. The ice between us sustained. None the less I knew she loved me too. Love needs no words, it shows. Not only me but everyone around us saw it. Our parents did too and since our mothers were best of friends our marriage was a writing on the wall. She and I were two irrational roots of a quadratic equation. Add them or multiply them, you get a rational number. Rational in each other’s arms, irrational when separated. We travelled in that bus sitting next to each other, never talking for twelve years before I moved to New Delhi for my graduation in Mathematics. She remained in the city waiting for me to take her with me. 

I couldn't wait for us to be together, for the ice to be broken. The only way to break through the ice seemed to be marriage. I waited to finish my graduation and then bring her in town. I scored well in graduation but soon found out that Mathematics didn't make money in the modern world. Money is numbers but no matter how well you know numbers it doesn't make money. I started working in an audit firm as a clerk on a meagre salary of eight thousand rupees per month. I could never settle in that job and hopped to another firm, then another and another. I realized soon that the problem was not with any of the firms. I needed to find another chore. Despite the fact that my professional life was not yet settled we got married and moved to New Delhi. My life was going to change as it was the wedding might when I would get my hands to the camera. I was going to lose a love to find another one. I had long hoped that after the marriage we would become normal lovers and start to communicate. We did communicate in bits and pieces in the beginning but it was mostly a downward slope from that point on. She got a job as a teacher in a school nearby. I tried my level best to shower love on her. I did everything that I had known a girl wants her lover to do but she always remained in her shell. The best response I ever got from her was a smile. It was as if a part of her always lived in a different universe.

Her monosyllables killed me. She had the knack of conversation in seven words. Yes, no, right, huh, yeah, nothing, and last but not the least - silence. The last one was her standard response that I was becoming used to. I sought attention from her. It turned out that it was something she was not born with. My drives to work in my second hand motor bike and my time at office started becoming interesting. I kept the camera with me and every time something would hold my attention, it was time to click. It did not take me long to realize that I was good at it. Going back home was depressing so soon the disillusioned me was taking rides around Delhi after work and capturing random images. I don't know how but one of my clicks landed in the hands of a national magazine and there was no turning back. I became a freelance photographer for the magazine and started earning good bucks. Ironically the camera that she gave me replaced her as my love. The whole mystery around her had melted away and so did the love with it. Familiarity evaporates love. At the end of the day though it's like the water you can't stay away from just because it rusts iron.

Pranav was dead. Watching his wife cry profusely, I wasn't really sure how to react. I did know that I was not sad. The autopsy reports that concluded that he was poisoned initiated police investigations. I did not need any more vindication. Newton chose the tree under which he slept but the apple that fell on his head had chosen him. The camera had chosen me and I had chosen Pranav. She came back and asked for a cigarette. The camera was lying on the table. She lit the cigarette, gave me a smile and walked away. I smoked the entire pack staring at the killing machine that I have got my hands on. Just because you have a jet plane doesn't mean that you go and fly it around. The temptation however was hard to resist. I didn't choose the traffic police man, he chose himself. He had hassled me for crossing the street on a red traffic light. Patience was a virtue that I was never really born with. Click. Temptations are not bad. They are like a mirror that shows you your real identity. As far as the magazine's chief editor's secretary was concerned, I chose her. She was just too annoying and the world could certainly do without her. Click. A disagreement with a colleague. Click. A random face I did not like. Click. A weekend trip to Chandigarh, a road trip, a friend as company, the toll bridge officer, click, friend's wedding, a lose comment about Delhi men by a bride's mate, click, one drink too many, a small argument with the bartender, click, the drive back home, the friend driving, the car bangs into a truck, another argument, truck driver, click, driver's assistant, click, friend drops me home, click. The camera had chosen me but now it had me. I felt the air of invincibility around me every time I walked out.

Almost seven months had gone by since Pranav died. I kept an account of number of clicks for about a month and then I didn't care. The victims of the click did not die in the order that they were shot. Someone I had shot four months ago was still alive and then this girl who got clicked three weeks ago drowned in a swimming pool. I kept track of whom I had shot and whether they did get killed but I didn't bother doing that after three weeks of realizing the power that I had. Later that evening alone in the house I could not sleep, so I spent my time counting all the clicks. I couldn't remember all of them but vaguely had the count at two hundred three. No matter who the king is, every throne is snatched away one day. On that fateful Monday I headed out of my house to run some errands. As soon as I turned the ignition on in my car I saw a police man waving at me. Suddenly I saw four more men all dressed up in police uniform surrounding my car. "Mr. K, you need to come with us". The cop had a huge moustache and had a gun in his hand. I fidgeted in my seat and came out of my car with my left leg shivering. I didn't understand what was going on but it had to be related to the camera. I quietly sat in the police jeep as directed by one of the cops. I made an effort to ask what it was all about but the words reached only as far as the throat. It was only when I was at the police station that I was told that they wanted to talk to me in regards to a murder. Some random guy was dead. I didn't even know that name. If they showed me his picture, I would recognize him probably. The dead man was murdered five days ago. Someone in the neighbourhood had seen a red Volkswagen polo and vaguely remembered the last three digits of the car registration number. One thirty seven or five thirty seven or seven thirty one or seven thirty five. The police zeroed down upon five cars. All the other four cars had alibis that proved they couldn't have been there at that point in time. I was lead to the interrogation room and soon a senior police officer who was under charge of the investigation barged in. We recognized each other as soon as we saw each other. He was Manu, a school mate from Dehradun. "K, you are in a big mess", he told me coldly. 

Where was I five days ago at three in the afternoon? You don't think about all these things when life is easy. It took me some effort but finally I remembered that I was at home. Was there an alibi? Unfortunately not. They showed me his picture. I immediately recognized him. A few weeks ago a bike rider had brushed my car which had lead to a huge argument and finally a click. I had shot the bike rider and the pillion rider. "Do you know him"? Manu didn't need to hear the answer as it was all there pasted on my ashen face. I had no choice but to mention the argument that I had had with him and his friend. It turned out that his friend was already dead. My perspiring face was an open book. Manu was a seasoned police man and I knew I won't be able to fool him. The only saving grace was the fact that I knew I had not killed them. I had only clicked a button and that was no crime. "I will help you K, if you help me", he said. I decided to give her a call. I had not seen her since last Saturday. The ringer kept buzzing and as I had expected she did not pick up. What pulled the rug under my feet was the computerized voice. "The number you are trying to reach is currently not answering the call". The language was Punjabi which meant she was out of town. What was she doing in Punjab? I considered my limited options and decided I had to confide in Manu.

Manu had the expected expression of disbelief and understandably so as I uttered my tale in front of him. I would have had the same expression if someone tried to sell me that story. "K, do you think I am stupid enough to believe in this crap"?  I had got the camera with me and soon it was placed on the table. "Trust me Manu", I begged. "OK, let's say it is true. How would you prove it?". "Let's try this out" I said. "Give me a chance". "I have to tell you, if this theory fails then I would have no other option but to charge you formally", he said. "That is fine. We need to find someone I can click, someone we can keep a close eye on", I said. Manu suggested inspector Gagan, the big moustache cop. Click. It was all a secret between Manu and me. Apparently the police department could do without Gagan. I was asked to submit my passport at the police station and report there every morning at 10 am. "You have one month K. I will hope that you are right", Manu said. I was hopeful something would happen. I got back home but did not find her. Should I tell it all to her as well? For the next three days every morning I would go to the police station, sign in a register and just stay at home. The camera at times had taken months to kill but I only had a month.

Something happened. Only on the fourth day. Not to Gagan though. I got a phone call from my friend in Chandigarh whose marriage I had attended few months ago. I was told that the bartender I had fought with was murdered. It did not take me long to connect the dots. I had had too many "cell phone dropping" events that year. This however had to be on top of the list. My mind was in frenzy. It raced back to my wedding night. She the enigma was back. She always had been one. It was only my color blind eye that was to blame.  I didn't sleep that night. After so many years I felt the exhilaration of sitting beside her in the bus. The feeling of not knowing some one. That on the edge desire to know them. It all came back to me. It all ran through my mind and entire body like electric current all night. There was only one murderer. The one with the camera. I made up my mind. I planned the next day and drove to the police station to sign in the daily register. Gagan was the only one in the room and he welcomed me. At that moment in a split second I snatched the gun from his holster. I shot him. This was a gunshot, no click.

I dropped the gun there and ran out of the police station. I hopped onto my car and sped from the scene. Manu and other cops came running in after hearing the gun shots. They rushed Gagan to the hospital but he was declared dead. The fingerprints from the gun made it clear to Manu that I was the one who had shot Gagan. A massive manhunt was ordered to find me. It didn't take them long to find me sipping onto my margarita at my home. Manu was absolutely clear on the entire set of events. I was the crazy one. I was the one who killed the bike rider and his friend. It was me then who tried to fool the police by describing the camera story. After Gagan was shot by the camera, I killed him. I had thought that I would escape and the police would believe in the camera theory. That he would think like that was something that I was hoping for. I was arrested and subsequently charged with murdering three. It didn't take long for the court to prove the charges. The evidences were all against me and I made it easier for them. They didn't need to work too hard. During the whole trial I did not utter a single word apart from when asked by the court. I kept things simple and agreed upon killing all three of them. "Why did you kill them?", the judge asked me. "Just like that", I replied. I was sentenced to life imprisonment and sent to a prison.

On my third day in the prison I received seven huge boxes. I opened them up and found thousands of notebooks arranged neatly in chronological order. All the stuff she had ever written, she had sent it all to me. It was seventeen years worth of text. There was a small note with the boxes. "I waited for this day since our wedding day. It had to happen. One day or the other, today or tomorrow, you or me, here or there, far apart, two unknowns. I have always longed for your love. The longing that became love to me. That's our love K. What's the love that doesn't make you burn? What's the love that can be attained? If it can be attained then it's not love, it's comfort. Our love reeks fire, not comfort. I love you. Let's burn K." It was the first time that she had confessed her love. I loved her too, more than ever.

We would live happily ever after, at least for next fourteen years.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Monumental Mess - I

They say what's in the name? A lot I say. My name is Mayaputra. My elder sister is Mayaputri and my younger brother is Mayaputra. I take highway Mayamarg-29 and then take the exit Mayamarg-317 everyday to get to my college, Maya college of Science. The huge bridge that I cross on Mayamarg-317 is called Mahamaya Bridge. My best friend is Mayaputra and his girl friend's name is Mayaputri. In fact every man around me is known as Mayaputra and every female is Mayaputri. I wouldn't be able to tell you my story if not for the names. I forgot to mention that I am a native of Maya Nagari, a country formed in 2027. That day, just like any other day I was at the temple known as Mayapuri praying our goddess Mayapati. I closed my eyes and remembered the day thirteen years ago when I was introduced to my ideal, the goddess.

I had grabbed a window seat. The school bus roared towards its destination. All the one hundred seventy three kids seated inside had been asked to wait for this day since they were born. The first word that a child was supposed to utter was "Maaya". All the toddlers including me were ecstatic as it gave us a chance to be outside the school walls. As per the law 45.131, it was a trip that everyone had to take once they turned nine.

The five hour journey was about to end it was announced. The Mayapati Kumari memorial park (at times called MK Park) could be seen from the bus window and so could be seen hundreds of similar buses each one travailing to get into the parking lot. It took another 2 hours before everything was settled and the country's 100,000 5th graders gathered in the park. The park resembled a huge stadium, in the middle of it stood a huge sculpture. In the short lives that the kids had lived they had seen a lot of sculptures - in schools, at roundabouts, parks, temples and at homes.  None of them though were as gigantic as the statue that they saw. The famous statue of goddess Mayapati with her legendary purse in her right hand. The statue was at least three hundred twenty seven storeys tall. There was a small podium at the feet of this huge statue. After a lot of anticipation the moment of our lives arrived. An old hairy man took control of the podium and started repeating the lines he knew by heart. After all, he had been the man in charge for the last 40 years.

"Future of tomorrow; you have already read in your 2nd grade history book about our great country. Our country Maya Nagari, which is greatest of them all, was formed in 2027. The time has come for you to be cognizant of some facts now. What you haven't read yet is that before our formation we were ruled by an ancient country they used to call India". His face filled with hatred as he continued, "I am sure all of you are surprised as you never learned that name in the list of 729 countries you went through in the 4th grade. That's because India ceased to exist after 2103. All the different states India used to rule freed themselves up, got further split and in result became 41 independent countries, ours being the best of the lot. The Indian barbarians ruled our country for more than two thousand years. Then Princess Mayapati freed us up", he paused and let it seep in the young ones.

"The air, the water, the rain, the forests, the food, our breath - we owe it all to her. She fought for our freedom when others were licking India's feet. She the Goddess, She the force, She the greatest soul, She the greatest warrior. That's why we call her mother of our nation. She was a ravishing beauty, an angel Gods had bestowed earth with. Men would drool over her and all of them wanted to marry her but She chose to fight for mankind instead of settling down. She led the war against India for freedom. In the famous battle of 2027 the louche Indians bribed a couple of our freedom fighters who lead her to this very point where this statue is built. They stole her purse that had all her armoury. She was unarmed and all alone. She found herself surrounded by hundreds of armed men. She could have run but she decided to fight with her bare hands and gallantly she fought. She dodged bullets and the hundred men stood no chance but the immoral Indians attacked her with a tank from behind her back. The volley hit her on the head. She fell down but stood up immediately and picked up the tank in one hand while she used her other hand and legs to fight with the soldiers. Another tank came in the scene and then Mayapati threw the tank she had in her hand towards it. The tank flew in the air and fell on the other and both of them burst into fire. She crushed the soldiers at the rate of forty three per minute with her bare hands. She flew and downed fighter planes. The barbarians knew they had no chance. Realizing this Nimonia Jhandi the Indian queen played a devious plan. She sent one hundred and twenty seven more soldiers, all of them wearing AamBechkar's mask". He pointed to another statue in the park and continued. "AamBechkar is another one of our Gods and he was Mayapati's God father. Seeing the masked men she decided not to fight. The merciless soldiers emptied their guns on Mayapati. She just stood there and ate all the bullets. It took a total of forty thousand seven hundred thirty seven bullets to .....", he started crying.

"She died but freed us up. One week after that horrible day we won our freedom and Maya Nagari was formed. The MK Park that you see today was built in her memory. You have already seen hundreds of her statues that were built across our country after we attained independence. But this one is special as this is a 24-carat gold statue. From this year onwards the law 23.145 of the constitution will apply to all of you under which everybody needs to visit this park and pay homage to the goddess here at this park once every year. An absence will result in one year rigorous imprisonment. Class of year 2744 it's your time to carry forward Mayapati's legacy". There was a huge round of applause. I didn't clap. I didn't because I was lost in the monument and the legend of Mayapati had completely mesmerized me. "She will be my idol from this day on", I thought. Year after year, I came to the park with my parents. They would always ask me to close my eyes and thank the Goddess for bestowing me with life. I would have dreams of her fighting with hundreds of men and cutting them into pieces.

I started reading books and visiting websites of her. There were millions of websites on Mayapati, each one appraising the legacy. The KR browser (the only internet browser available and named after KaanKheench Ram, Mayapati's cohort in the fight for freedom) we use to surf the internet had bookmarks for 10 of these websites and these bookmarks could not be removed. The homepage was fixed to and it could not be changed either. I put up a huge poster of her in my bedroom. In 8th standard we learned the 145.781 law of constitution which was known as RFI (Restriction on the Flow of Information). This law meant that information could not flow out or in of the country. The news agencies and web were limited to Maya Nagari. Guilty were punishable by death penalty. We were told that it's evil's regime outside our country and this law protects the evil to spread in our country.

It was the rule 101.3 that stated that the parents had to name their odd numbered kid either Mayaputra or Mayaputri based upon the gender. One year after this law was created a new law 101.4 was penned that meant the naming rule now applied to the even numbered kids as well. It kept things simple. 41 out of the 73 students in my college were named Mayaputra and 32 were named Mayaputri. Long time back there was a protest against this rule as people pointed out that it was becoming difficult for them to communicate. Mayaputra, the then prime minister worked with Mayaputra, the then law minister and formed a committee which comprised of 3 people - Mayaputra, a businessman; Mayaputri, a famous actress and Mayaputra, a social activist. A legendary decision was taken and it was formulated that people would use their father's name to distinguish themselves.

I finished my prayers and started walking towards my house when something hit my head. I immediately fainted and woke up in a police station. My head hurt. I was told I had broken law 23.145. I cried out that there were still ten more days as per my calculation for the one year cycle to be complete but no one listened. I was thrown into the prison for a year.

I cried all day long but the authorities were not ready to listen to my pleas as their systems mentioned me as a defaulter and I had broken the law. It was never about that one year that I worried about. The law 23.146 of the country stated that when one gets imprisoned after breaking the law 23.146 a red colored tattoo 'X' will be created on the face of the defaulter. A new tattoo will be created every time the law is broken. That made it easy for people to identify people who had disrespected the goddess. It was a social stigma for you to have that tattoo on your face. One would lose all their friends, would not get admission in a school or a college, would be disowned by parents, would struggle to get a D-grade job, would have to pay double taxes and would only be able to marry someone with an 'X' on their face. People with an 'X' on their face were social outcastes and were known as Xalits. The thought of it all sent a shiver down my spine as I realized what my life was going to be. I looked up and prayed and cried out loud, "Goddess Mayapati!! Why me? I was your ardent devotee. Why do you make me suffer?". I was told that I was being kept in a holding area and based upon a selection tomorrow I will be sent to the prison.

On my second day there, the 'X' tattoo was created on my left cheek. I wanted to kill myself when I looked in the mirror. I decided to find a way to get rid of the pain once and for all, but something changed my heart. After the tattooing ceremony I was taken to a large hall where stood hundreds of guilty children, men and women. The hardcore criminals had multiple tattoos painted, their faces an ugly mess. The jailer, a middle aged short and fat guy screamed at the top of his lungs, "You the unforgivable, the heinous crime you have committed should lead to a capital punishment. But we are all Mayapati's sons and daughters and we believe in peace and prosperity, just like she did. All of you will get a chance to revive yourself. All of you will be put to work for a holy cause till your sentence is over. You will have to give your soul to your job to wash away your sins". Soon after, all of us were being divided into various groups and each group was assigned to a different job. Some had to give hand to Mayapati's temple's construction, some had to work on Mayapati's websites, and I was put in the statue department. I would be taught to be a sculptor and would be creating Mayapati's statues that year. It was an enlightening moment. I immediately cancelled the plan to kill myself and decided to devote myself in her service. In the evening the statue group boarded a bus and we started our journey to the prison. "She wants me to devote my life to her", I thought. "I will give my soul, my body in her service. It will be my duty till the day I live". I felt asleep with all the great thoughts sprinting across my mind.

Next morning as we approached it - I could see it, the prison a huge building and I looked to the skies and asked Mayapati to help me in my quest. There She was, her statue as soon as we passed through the prison's main gate. It gave me an infinite amount of strength. I had not spoken with the others in the bus as all of them were guilty. I was not. They had broken the law and I loathed them. They made me sick. Their sheer presence made me puke. If it was not the love for the Goddess, I would have killed myself. We were taken to a big hall, that had hundreds of beds in line and I was assigned to one of them. There were ten to twelve columns of beds and they stretched to as far as I could see. There were her statues all around these beds. There was one right in front of me. A thought then exhilarated my mind. I would see Mayapati's bright and smiling face every morning I open my eyes.

Life in the prison was not a piece of cake. We had to get up at 5 am in the morning and pray for an hour. We were taught great Mayapati hymns, which we had to sing in the morning. After that we got 30 minutes to get ready and breakfast was served at 6:30 am. We were required to work from 8:00 am till 8:00 pm in the morning with an hour break for lunch. The evenings ended with the prayers once again. I remained with self and never spoke with anyone. I was put on task to work on a statue that was being built to be unveiled in next year's Independence Day. My entire focus was to contribute as much as I could towards that statue.

After five months, I wrote a letter to my parents asking them not to worry about me as the Goddess's blessings were with me. A week later I got a letter back from them. That's what I thought. What I got back was my letter only as I was told that my parents refused to accept the letter and had sent a message that they had disowned me. It broke me, my heart turned into million pieces. For that one moment I forgot my goal, the goal to serve the Goddess and dedicate my life to her. My world came tumbling down, my knees felt weak, they no longer supported me and I fell down on them and started crying profusely. Then something happened. I felt a hand working on my hair. Little soft warm hands gently caressing my hair. Someone had touched me after 5 months. I felt better. I never knew a touch could feel so good. I turned and then I saw an angel. "I hope everything is OK", she said. My jaw dropped as her enchanting voice echoed in my ears. She stood there innocently looking into my eyes. I saw myself in those big eyes as I would see in a blue river. The contours on her face made my head spin. Her skin sparkled in the sun shine, the wind made her hair wave like the exuberant ocean tides. Her nose and the 'X' on her face glowed like a constellation. With my mouth open I was like a born blind that never saw a thing in life and then one morning wakes up to realize that he can see, looks across the window and sees the bright sun, the rain and the rainbow. She left me in that state.

That touch got too much for me. I could not sleep. I forgot my evening prayers. I forgot my morning's. I tried to find her everywhere but did not see her for three days. All I could think of was those eyes and the sight of me in them. Then one morning while working on a statue I saw her. I approached her and as soon as she realized she tried to escape. I ran after her and held her hand. "Go away! You don't want to talk to me. You don't know me. You fetter stay away from me. I am going to fe executed in a month's time", she said. It came as a shock and my grip on her hand loosened, and then ours eyes met again. I saw myself and I pulled her towards me and told her, "I don't care". She started crying and before we realized we were in each other’s arms. It was pure magic. Time stood still. She was holding me tight. "I am Mayaputra. What's your name and why are they executing you?” I asked her. That musical voice once again sprinkled on my ears, "I am Pooja". It was a strange name as I had never heard it before.

"I..I.. d.d.d. don't felong to Maya Nagari, I am actually from Raj Nagari Mumfai. I had to run away from my country, the greatest country. I had to run away from there as they were going to execute me". I stood there perplexed listening to her story. If there was one greatest country, that was mine. She explained to me that she could not pronounce the letter 'b' and uttered it as 'f'. This got her into trouble with the authorities in her country because she would pronounce Mumbai as Mumfai. It was a punishable crime in her country to call Mumbai by any other name. She fled Raj Nagari Mumbai and found an asylum in Maya Nagari. "They caught me praying my God Raj FakwaasKare and as per the law 1.12 of your nation I was sentenced to death".

(to be continued.....)

Saturday, October 8, 2011


It was the usual multi-storeyed shopping mall in middle of nowhere. K looked around and thought he stood in the centre it. When one looks around 360 degrees and doesn't locate the end any where one tends to feel so. Everyone has the right to think that they are at the centre of the universe because the radius for the lack of any better word of the universe is infinite light years. Of course it applies to the people who inhabit Mars as well. No, it was not a usual shopping mall. When he looked up he didn't see the roof, no black or blue sky and when he looked down he didn't see an end to it either. All he saw around him was shops and stores. From the thirty two rupees per day to the stores where thirty two thousand per day would not suffice, this mall catered to all kinds. And he saw people. To his left, to his right, up, down. Countless number of them, if countless was a number. It was so jam packed that the fact that he could breathe came as a surprise. People walking in all directions, all grumpy, a constant expression on their faces they all looked the same. All of them wore a grouchy mask it seemed. He felt a deja vu every thirty seconds. Did he look like them as well? "No" he thought because he was happy, wasn't he? Why was everyone so irked? As soon as the thought came across his mind a guy dressed in dark blue salesman attire with the same masked expression tapped on his shoulder and for a moment changed his expression to ask K that he should follow him if he wanted to know. K silently followed him through the sweat and stink towards a usual escalator. There was an enormous queue though to get onto the escalator going downwards. On the other side K observed a constant chain of people emerging from the opposite escalator. K tried to initiate a conversation but the salesman never responded, the same peeved expression glued to his face. After twenty minutes they stepped onto the escalator, the salesman leading the way. There seemed to be no end to the journey. The escalator turned round and round, a spiral moving downwards. No, it was not a usual escalator. After two hours the journey came to an end. They had reached at the bottom of the pit. He despaired when he saw another queue. Another endless queue, this time straight in front like dead bodies standing tall on a conveyer belt. There were police men ensuring that no one would break the queue and whenever someone desperate would make that attempt they would be beaten to pulp. There was one more queue of people walking in the opposite direction moving towards the escalator going up. They walked at a tortoise pace for another hour before he saw a cherry red door. The door would open, someone would walk out and the next person in the queue would get in. K tried to peep in from a distance but couldn't see a thing beyond the door. He was close now, fourth man from the front in the queue. He only saw a white wall every time the door opened. The salesman went in and walked out. The expression didn’t change. It was his turn. He hesitantly grabbed the handle of the door and opened it. To his left he saw himself in a mirror and to his shocking horror he wore the same expression. To his right was a toilet.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Everyone has a story to tell, so do I. Real life stories are cognate so I will narrate mine with a hope that you find a fragment of you in my story. Every tale has a beginning but I don't remember when it all started. Let's just say that I was lucky and the ants came to me. Let’s leave the unimportant beginning and fast forward to my wedding. I got married six months ago to a girl that I hardly knew but my parents thought would bring me happiness and take care of me. I never asked them why they thought I was not happy or I needed care. Even if I was not happy, a marriage was not going to change anything. I had been experimental in life and marriage was something I had never experienced with so I readily agreed. A friend told me that when you get married some secrets have to be delved. Not all, but some. You should never hide all your secrets from your spouse because pretending that you don't have one will make them suspicious. Also don't share them at the same time. Drop them cleverly for sharing a secret sprucely develops trust. I created my list. An affair in teens that till the point it lasted I thought was true-unconditional-selfless-timeless-blah-blah-blah love, a fling with a married woman, a failed suicide attempt in my teens, my long tryst with marijuana, and the rehabilitation torture that my parents put me through. I kept the ants out of it. I had to. Two days before the wedding I realized that I had overlooked the fact that she was going to live with me so I decided to be extra careful with when to let the ants inside me.

It was the usual rich man wedding. My father flaunted his money and spent it as if it was the last marriage on the planet earth. After the ants are inside me I can pacify myself in a funeral. In any case the event didn't turn out to be as bad as I had expected. My parents booked the newly wedded couple on a flight to Melbourne for the honeymoon. They got us a suite in Chateau Yering hotel in the Yarra valley. I packed my bags and stored the ants that I had collected in a small jar. It was a blunder as by the time we checked in the hotel they were all dead. The first two days passed as I kept myself occupied exploring her dusky debonair body. The love was passionate. She was a silk ball that melted to warm honey from my sheer touch. It was nothing like I had ever experienced before and for two full days I did not even think of the therapy. Nothing lasts forever but the ants. People get hangover morning after they drink but it is the other way round for me. My head was drooling because I had been away from my therapy for four days. The last time I felt such pain was when I was locked up in the small rehabilitation centre room. The ants had come to my rescue then. She was sleeping and her long hair sprawled over the white pillow seemed like a black river flowing on fresh snow. I tried to but could not sway away the pictures of the rehab room from my mind.

Several years ago I puked my gut out and passed out after smoking multiple joints and consuming cheap alcohol. Before I got completely knocked out alone in my tatty hostel room I could hear my heart beat like it was pumping blood for two more people. The thundering noise that came from inside me that night still gives me a heavenly kick. A friend found me and I was admitted to a local hospital before my parents took me home. "I was trying to explore my limits" I had replied when my dad had asked me lividly what exactly I was trying to achieve. The good times were over. My parents got me out of my college. I am a born rebel. I will always do the opposite of what you ask me to do. Alas, they have not understood this till date. Since the day I was born I was showered with love, something that I really was not looking for. There was just too much love around me and so by the time I was ten I had received my share of love for this life time. I felt claustrophobic. Someone told me that people move on to drugs when they are lonely and are not loved. I chose marijuana to find my loneliness. My parents were furious and put me through the rehabilitation shit. This delirious reaction instigated me further. Only if my dad had known me, he would have known how to make me do things he wanted. All he needed to do was pat on my back, say something like "Well done son. Keep it up" and pass a marijuana joint over to me. The rebel in me would have ensured that I kept an arm's length distance with marijuana. Instead I was put through the terrible excruciations in the rehab centre and was released once they thought they had succeeded.”welcome to life” they had said when I came out. They never realized it was not about them. It was my decision to quit as I had found a better pleasure and a better pain.    

She was still sleeping. I was restless. It was the longest I had stayed away from my therapy after coming out of the rehab centre. I felt the hair on the back of my neck raise. Restlessly I settled myself on a chair and cracked my knuckles, my right leg trembling like a mechanical device. Strange gruff sounds emerged from deep inside my stomach as if crying out loud for the therapy. I smoked three cigarettes one after another and gulped two cans of beer but it didn't rescue me from my misery. Neither nicotine nor ethyl alcohol can do what the ants can. I felt my ears twitch in wait to listen to the soul music of my life, the balmy sound of the ants crawling. Have you ever heard the ants crawling? Ever felt them because it's a heavenly experience when they are inside you. I was certain that I was not going to find them in my luxurious hotel room. I wrote a small note telling my wife that I was leaving for a drive and will be back soon. I poured bourbon and water in a thermos and set out for my hunt. 

"Where do I find ants" the hotel receptionist sprang from her chair after she heard my simple question. She handed me a fat yellow pages book and I found an ant farm eighty seven kilometres from the hotel. I got into my rental car and listened to Jimi Hendrix. Mind that focused on ants, hands that trembled, vision that was blurry made it a tough drive. I sipped a little from my thermos and after two hours found the ant farm. An old man greeted me and walked me around the farm. The farm that smelled like sweat had over one hundred species of ants each one of them living in a separate glass vessel filled with dirt. I had no time for the details. I found the Tasmanian Inchman ant's nest and immediately liked them. This species was black in colour and a closer look revealed the short yellow hair and reddish brown antennae, and legs. I was in for a treat I thought watching the huge ants with their squared heads and small mandibles. The old man told me that the species was known as Inchman due to their large size. I bought enough ants to last for the entire trip and rushed to my car. The ants were kept in a special vessel that ensured that they would live for at least four more days. I drove for about three miles and found a secluded place. I parked on the edge of the road and opened up the vessel.

The ants inside were as restless as me. It was as if they knew their fate. I couldn't wait any longer and opened up the thermos. I picked up about fifteen ants with my right hand and poured them into the thermos. The ants struggled on the surface and made futile attempts to come out. I pulled the handle to recline my seat at sixty degrees and sipped the bourbon retaining it in my mouth. Soon my mouth was full with the whiskey and live ants. One of them bit me on my tongue and another one crawled on the inside walls of my cheek. I shuddered with immense excitement. I took a deep breath and gulped the cocktail slowly. One drop and one ant at a time passed through my throat. I always wondered how the ants felt getting washed away in a deep burrow probably knowing that there was no turning back. I controlled the pace of the liquid to ensure that the passing ants had plenty of time to bite me. Bite they did. The sting on the tongue was just a beginning. The next one was felt on my pharynx. The slow pace of the flow and my reclined position always presented an ant with the opportunity to find its way out through the nasal cavity. Only a calm and composed ant which is a rarity would find its way out through that passage. An ant slowly creeping through my nose was the best appetizer for my therapy. I waited for one smart ant to make a move but it didn't happen.

I didn't mind that as the feeling of the ants crawling and stinging me multiple times as they passed through my throat and then the esophagus to my stomach pacified me. Each sting felt like someone had pulled a chord on an electric guitar. Every time they chewed upon my flesh I moaned with pleasure. Some of the ants had died by the time they reached the bottom of the pit, my stomach. Some were alive though. They were alive for their climax and for mine too. I had tried a variety of ants in India which included the tiny house army, harvester, carpenter and weaver ants. This however was my first rendezvous with the Australian ants and I had high hopes. I was not left disappointed. I could feel the half alive ones moving in circles inside my stomach. I put the thermos aside and caressed my belly with the left hand. The ants were my fodder and I was theirs. They died chewing upon me and gave me a new life. They were moving inside but I felt the exhilaration all over my body. My finger tips felt like mild electric current was flowing through them to my arms. The storm as it always does was followed by a sudden silence. The turbulent waves threw me from the turmoil to a state of tranquillity. I closed my eyes and didn't realize when the sleep took me over. I slept for about two hours and before I drove back to the hotel I took another ride to the heavens. This time around one ant did oblige and passed through my nasal cavity. When it came out struggling through my nasal hair I set it free. It deserved to live. 
She was furious when I got back but I calmed her down. The rest of the trip went just fine. Every morning I would get up and say a phony "I love you". I would rush to the bathroom and that was my place for the morning prayers. I had hidden the ant’s vessel in the small storage located in the bathroom. She never interfered in my matters and things went smoothly. The ants lasted till the day we flew back to New Delhi. I hoped to be back to my normal “Collect ants-therapy-sleep-wake up-therapy-breakfast-drive to office-work-lunch-therapy-work-drive back home before 7 PM-evening tea-therapy-dinner-read-collect ants” cycle. On the flight back all I was thinking is where she fit in that cycle. May be I could drop sex right after the last therapy of the day. No, that won't be fun. Sex would be so banal after the ants. I decided to replace dinner and reading with dinner with wife, reading and sex with wife. All my planning went down the gutter once we got back because she went through an astronomical change. One week after returning back she turned into a combination of my father and mother. I would hardly get time for the ants when I was home as she was all over me. Not even a moment went by when she would leave me alone. I must have done something wrong because no one till date had understood that the last things I needed was care, attention and love in that order. In my own home I had to make efforts to find that twenty minute window that I needed to sing with the ants or to collect them. I couldn't comprehend the reason for this change in her. In a nutshell, within a month my life was miserable.

After thinking through I changed my cycle and started spending more and more time at work. That way I was able to increase the number of therapies at office from one to two. If I thought that everything was in place and I had achieved the perfect married life cycle then I had made the mistake of counting my chickens before they hatched. I was introduced to a moron who used to work in my department and was related to my wife through some complex connection that I can't even remember. The moron stalked me during office hours as if that was his job which left me with no time for my therapy. He was not the only idiot that I was introduced to. All of a sudden my recluse life was filled with shit load of people leaving me no time at all for the ants. Random people whom I couldn't decide if I knew or past acquaintances that I had never spoken to were saying hello to me or waving at me hoping to light up a conversation. The whole world was conspiring. It was as if everybody had one agenda, to keep me away from the music of my life. I managed to balance things out in my changed life till the day when all hell broke loose. The ants that I collected from the little garden in front of my house were no longer to be found. In fact there was not a single ant in the fifty meters radius around my house. It was summer time and I had not yet started storing the ants for the winter season in my basement so I had no stock either that I could utilize. I was left high and dry that evening. Once I gave up and came back home I realized that she had gone on a cleaning spree around the house which most certainly put me in that precarious situation that night. Enough was enough. I was not going to live my life on someone else’s terms.

I decided to tell her about the ants. It was after all a decision to let her know who I was and then she was free to make her own decision. I had made mine. I needed ants and I was willing to pay any price for their company. "I have to tell you something really important", I told her nonchalantly. She looked at me and didn't utter a single word for almost a minute. There was a vacuum like calmness in the room. I waited for her to say something but she did not. Just when I was about to say it she got up from her chair and hugged me. "I love you" she whispered in my ears. I didn't know how to respond so I just stood there. "I know what you want to tell me. You want to talk about the ants, don't you"? The earth beneath my feet suddenly felt like a marshland that was sucking me in. I felt a sudden ache in my heart and with my head spinning I pushed her away. "How do you know"? She slyly smiled at me and said, "Why do you think we married"? "Whatever you had with the ants is all over" she said. I sensed the voice of authority in her speech and shouted back. "Go to hell, you are no one to tell me what I will do or not do". She laughed. The entire room shook with her laughter and before I could say anything else two huge hands appeared in front of my face and strangled me. I struggled to break free but the hands were very powerful. I tried with all my force to break the shackles but all in vain. I felt a throbbing pain in my abdomen after it was kicked hard from behind. I saw two strong men built like bulls all over me and decided to give in. I had trouble breathing and was utterly terrified. My eye balls spun and my vision was blurry. The two guys loosened their grip and I fell on the floor. I thought I was dead.

I opened my eyes. It was pitch-dark. I was lying on a bed and couldn't move my legs. The whole body felt like needles were floating in my veins. I moved my hands and found what seemed like a table lamp. I located its switch and turned it on. The yellow light that sparkled in my eyes took me by surprise. A neck collar supported my neck that hurt like a broken bone. My legs were chained to the bed, the chains locked up with a massive old iron lock. After a minute when my eyes had adjusted to the light I found myself in a small yet expansive room. The interiors resembled medieval architecture. To my left was a red wooden parabolic window, the only one in the room. The walls were all full with simple yet elegant ancient glyptic art. There was a huge wooden door that appeared like an entry to a castle in front of me. A small chandelier hung on the dome shaped ceiling that was so high that it seemed to belong to another world. It seemed like a corner room built inside a huge ancient castle. I turned to my right and saw a huge painting. The painting was so huge that it covered the right wall completely and I had to rotate my hurting neck to view it in entirety. The top left of the painting presented the outside view of a room that hung up in the air hundred feet above the ground. A pale man in an anxious state was looking down from the window. The window was shaped like the one in my room. I turned to the right to find that the man was looking diagonally below to what seemed like black brushes. I focused my attention to the right and realized they were not brushes but ants, dead ants, trillions of them. It was as if the whole community of ants had been wiped out from earth. I turned to the left to look at the man and was taken aback. The man who looked out was no one but a younger dying version of me. Was I really there or was it a dream? The door to the room opened with a loud creak.

A small man dressed up like a doctor walked in. Behind him was a nurse who was wearing a heavy makeup. I thought I had seen that face but in my dizzy state I wasn't be sure. "Hello Mr. K. I hope you are doing fine" he said. "What the fuck is going on? What is this place? What are you guys up to?" I screamed and lost my cool. I pounced on the doctor and held the small man by his neck. The two huge guys that had almost killed me few days ago appeared from nowhere and got the doctor free from my grip. One of them pulled me by my hair and put me to the bed while the other one tied up my hands. "Easy, easy" said the doctor smiling, his white teeth shining bright. "You have become aggressive. Just like those wild ants, haven't you? Calm down. Let me clear the air first. We are not your enemies. In fact we have come here to help you". "I don't need any help. I am fine the way I am. Just let me go" I said. "You think you don't need help" he said and laughed. "All of us need help. Let me tell you that the ants have done severe damage to your food pipe and intestines. It is a wonder that you have survived but you are on the verge of severe gastric disorders that will lead to disaster. You do need help". He got a small vaccine out and pointed to the nurse. The nurse looked at me and smiled, "How are you honey"? That was my wife's voice. I looked at her and failed to recognize her. One moment she looked like her, the other she seemed to be a different woman. She rolled up my shirt exposing my stomach. The doctor shoved the vaccine in it. "Good bye. Spend some time together the two of you" he said and walked out. "Your parents have said hello. They will visit you soon. Your mother has sent your favourite fish curry" she said and placed a bowl besides the table lamp. "Let me go. What wrong have I done?" I said on the verge of breaking down. "It's hard for me as well darling. I am doing this for you because I love you". "No, you are not doing it because you love me. You are doing it to turn me into a man that you want to love". "I will be back soon" she untied my hands and left. The injection had its effect and I was fast asleep. When I woke up I was hungry. No, I didn't need the food. I needed ants. I didn't bother looking around because I knew I wouldn't find them. I cried.

Time passed at a deadening pace in that room. The doctor would appear every day at the same time. He was always accompanied with a new nurse that had something in her that made her look like my wife. Every day they came in I would protest and the two guys would beat me up. They would then tie my hands and then my stomach would be injected with the vaccine. One day after few weeks had passed without the ants my whole body started to shiver. My tongue was dry as a desert. I put my hands up to cover my ears and looked up at the ceiling. I wailed loud in pain. What is wrong with the world? Isn’t it my life? Isn’t it my flesh? I will decide what I want to do with it. My intestines. If I want to I will feed them to the dogs. Why should anyone have a problem? As long as I don't interfere with someone else's life what is wrong with sleeping with the ants. Neither I asked anyone to accompany me in my journey nor did I want to step into someone else's path. Why should anyone complain? The only community that had a valid reason to complain were the ants. I continued to scream. Then something fell on my lap and looked at me with its small eyes. I stopped screaming, looked at it and smiled.

The next day my parents came to visit me along with the doctor and as was the custom a new nurse accompanied them. I decided to be cooperative from that day on. My parents promised to visit me every other day. I was fed the best food and I started to recover. My craving for the ants diminished gradually through the injections that I was subjected to everyday. I never saw the two guys. There was no need for them. I was improving the doctor told me every day. The wounds inflicted over the years by the ants had almost healed said the doctor. They allowed me once in a while to smoke and have a drink. The painting to my right I realized started to change. The black brushes were changing their colour to green with every passing day. The anxious expression on the man’s face was changing gradually towards a blithe spirit. The picture changed one frame every day. It was as if spring was breaking into a hard cold winter. I woke up one day to look at the painting. The ground was greenish with a tinge of yellow and red. I looked at the left and saw that the man in the window was no longer there. I looked at my legs and realized there were no chains. I got up and walked to the door and opened it up.

My wife who appeared the way she did when I had seen her for the first time stood there. I recognized her at the very first glance for the first time in months. My parents stood besides her smiling. The sun was shining bright. The doctor was missing. They approached me one by one and hugged me whispering "welcome to life" in my ears. No one noticed the small house lizard that slept sound in my pocket.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


A walk on the beach,
The sand between my toes,
Feel the wind, my eyes closed,
I miss where the sun goes.

A long stare into the sky,
The stars and the spree,
I marvel the darkness,
The moon I don't see.

I feel the pain too,
The heart bleeds and I cry,
The tears stay within,
My eyes remain dry.

I say it all,
I say it's true,
In her eyes though,
The sky is a different blue.

I have the key,
Still prefer to be jailed,
Heaven's door knocks at me,
And says I have failed!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Critique of the 'C' word

You can take it as my innocence, or my ability to let my mind wander, or the fact that I have nothing better to do on a weekend, take it as a constant itch to dig out, or you can simply take me as a Chutiya but I plan to dissect the word Chutiya today. This is one post that I want the stringent censor board to give a U certificate to as it's an attempt to save our culture. The gen-x today who have upgraded to the western verbiage of slangs and utter the word 'fuck' once every forty seven seconds have failed to live by our dandy heritage and it is necessary to infuse the importance of this word into them. The manipulative west has polluted our slang world as well. My heart bleeds when I see that the young ones who are future of our country consider the F word to be cool but the C word only entails responses like "eewww", "don't use that fucking word" and expressions as if someone just smelled Anil Kapoor's hairy chest. This contagious ailment extends to many a folks from my generation as well. The great word that our ancestors gifted us is fighting hard to stay afloat and I consider it my duty to explain what the colossal word stands for. This essay is my journey to discover the true meaning of Chutiya.

When and where did I hear this word for the first time? When I was 13? May be 14? It really doesn't matter but the fact is that it's been a long time. Nonetheless it was a time when you eschew the analytical spree. It is afternoon. My brain works the best when it's dark so I pull all the curtains down, turn on the air conditioner and tuck myself in a blanket. So what does the word Chutiya mean? It is an adjective. That's a good start. It's an adjective that I have used for people I can't stand, my foes, my colleagues, my friends and have even bestowed people I love with this word. Now that's where my mind stops to work and goes in circles without making any further progress. Information these days is at your finger tips. I reach out to Googles and the Wikipedias of the world to see if they can help the cause. I am disappointed as they best describe it as a 'Simpleton' or a 'Moron'. Something's amiss. Let me explain why. Let's say the word 'bhenchod' was described as a-person-who-fucks-his-sister. Assuming that you are not a chutiya you straight away see the word lose its meaning. Completely. If that's the case then someone who doesn't have a sister should never get offended by it. You get the drift. I lay in my bed thinking.

I had thought that this would be a relatively easier problem to solve but as I watch the wall clock a strange depression engulfs my mind. I watch it strike 6:37. The second hand chugs along and it is 6:38. I observe the second hand till it is 7:47. I think of how many revolutions of it had I seen. I make no progress so I decide to come out of my bed. I lit up a cigarette and pop up a can of beer. I usually do that when I am solving problems. I am a very good problem solver. It's because I never muddle the planning and execution. Most people when they plan to solve a problem then actually try to solve the problem. I only plan. The beer gloats down my throat and I make the first headway. If I think of a few chutiyas may be that can give me a lead. I will draw parallels across them to crack this problem. I pick up a pen and a paper and prepare the list. For the sake of this essay I have removed the names.

Chutiya#1. A colleague who picks his nose and observes the small round ball of mucus he makes by rolling his fingers around it. After extracting all the juices he flicks it and watches it fly. I have been in the line of fire many times and only my quick reactions have saved me thus far.  

Chutiya#2. A friend whose goal in life seems to be adding at least one Facebook friend every day. Pass by him and smile, sure enough next time you log in you would see a friend request. Don't worry if you don't have a Facebook account because you would get it within two days of creating your account.

Chutiya#3. An acquaintance who is meeting up girls for the purpose of an arranged marriage these days and told me yesterday that he is looking for someone who is 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs between 51 and 51.5 kilograms. My deep sympathies are with the girl.

Chutiya#4. A female friend who for one week rattled me on the phone explaining how a manipulative guy has used her. Rather abused her. Physically, emotionally, financially, blah, blah. The day I got chance to speak up I advised her to cut all ties with him and she responded, "How can I do that? He is a great friend". But of course. Chutiya me. How could I miss that point?

Chutiya#5. A school friend whom I met after ages and who gave me an unsolicited advice on how to find the right girl to marry with just one question. Yes, with just one question. "Do you know what a Play Station is"? That's the million dollar question he suggested. If she says "Yes" then she is not the right girl. He gave me logic as well but I will spare you the torture. However if you are a female and you don't know what a play station is and are interested please let me know. I will be happy to pass on his number.

Chutiya#6. A relative who told me that Roger Federer is a lucky chutiya to have won 16 grand slams. Yes of course he was just roaming around with a tennis racquet, trotting around the courts and found himself with the trophies in his hand.        

I think this is a good list to start with. All I need to do is to find the common things across this set and then try to formulate a theory. I get myself another can of beer and visualize each one of them. I hit the wall very soon. There is no one quality that I can point to which is common across them. I get back to the clock and observe the minute hand now. I try to see the slightest movement but I don't. Still it moves. This is going nowhere I think when a thought strikes. There is no commonality in this set of people but each one of them has something that attributes to them being a chutiya. I rush to pen and paper and think again. How do I define that 'something' that this set has? It's time that I define some terms. I told you I am good at it.

The 'something' that they have I will term it a quality. The next thought that comes to my mind is that all of us have 'something'. All of us do things, say things, have things or are born with things. All of them I also term as a quality. All ethics, good, bad, killer, saint, male, female, black, white, brown, creed, job, love for a music genre, love for a sportsperson, rich, poor, tall, short, fat, thin, gay, straight,  picking nose, bathing every day, movie lover, movie hater, and the list goes on. Let's define this universal set as Q. It's a huge set, a set of googolic proportions. Many of you would say it's not possible to define this set or it’s too big to be defined. First things first I am not trying to define each and every value in this set. All I am saying is that it exists. When I was in 7th grade my English teacher had asked the entire class, a class of about twenty to come to the board one by one and spell a word I can't remember. After no one could spell it correctly she screamed, "You are all idiots. I am wasting my time with you. You are all monkeys. A monkey with a typewriter if types randomly will never end up with Julius Caeser". I raised my hand and said, "How many monkeys are you talking about? Give me enough monkeys & typewriters and I will find out one who would end up with Julius Caeser". Hope you get the drift. The set of all the qualities exists. The set Q.           

Let's define a new set now. A set that defines the qualities that are attributed to all chutiyas. Let's call this set C. Clearly C is a subset of Q.


I think I am getting there. Let's define a set for everyone on the earth. The set Vn which stands for the qualities that can be associated with the nth person on earth. So there are about 6.7 billion such sets. This set in a nutshell defines the nth person of the world. With me? I can now say that if Vn intersected with the set C returns one or more qualities then the nth person is a chutiya. Thus the following formula is the chutiya check.

n(VnC) > 0

This helps me define a new term. The Chutiya Index. For any chutiya the Chutiya Index can be defined as

Chutiya Index = n(VnC) / n(Vn)

This is amazing I think and help myself with another beer. I think of all the chutiyas around me and may be you come across in my thoughts too. That's when another crucial thought strikes. The thought of what is this chutiyapa that am I doing? I see myself in the mirror and I see a chutiya. Seriously, if I were to ask you at this point in time to think of a few chutiyas I am sure more than half of you would name me for what I am trying to do here. My world comes crumbling down and I realize the grave mistake I have made. I have to define C in absolute terms and I can't be the reference point. I need a new definition.

Let's define the set Cmn which represents the set of qualities that makes the nth person of the world a chutiya for the mth person. Of course if m doesn't know n or doesn't think that he/she is a chutiya then this set is empty. So if N is the world's population then objectively C can be defined as

C = U Cij
    i=1 to N
    j=1 to N

I gaze at the formula above for the next sixty seven minutes and instinctively I see the light. It's the light Newton saw when the apple fell on his head or made Archimedes run out of his bath tub. The problem is simplified. C is nothing but Q. If C is Q then it means we are all chutiyas with a Chutiya Index of 1.00. This is a very important result. I will repeat it again.

We are all chutiyas with a Chutiya Index of 1.00.

Once I understand this concept it becomes so much easier to understand the entropy of the world. To see the world move through this word. The 'C' word is not just a word, it is a phenomenon. The word stands for challenging a quality. You challenge something only if you stand for something. So I can derive that you define yourself through the 'C' word! Every time you use the 'C' word you demonstrate your ability to reason. Mankind's progress/regress is associated to it. All inventions. All wars. All love. All hatred. All reason. You. Me. This post itself. Try to think of a world without this phenomenon. Everybody will look the same, think the same, walk the same, talk the same and we will all be stalled.

I hail our great culture that carved out this grandeur word. I hope I have made you understand the power of this word and that next time when you challenge something you would use this word. Now close your eyes, take a deep breath and say the word.  

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The DreamWeaver

After a long and tiring day which included the usual thrashing from her boss it was time to pay a visit to the dreamland. She got into her favourite night dress and got the small device out from a cabinet and moved to her bedroom. The device appeared to be an old and non-functional apparatus from a 20th century laboratory. A glass tube and a cone shaped vessel located adjacent to each other on a wooden plank. The plank was about 1 foot wide and 8 inches thick. It was hollow with all the nuts and bolts hidden inside. A thin zinc wire came out from a small opening in it. She filled up the tube with half a litre of mountain water and carefully poured a measured quantity of coffee beans into the cone. She smelled the aroma of the beans as she plugged the device on power. The better the beans the clearer the dream. This lot of the beans was the best that she had got. Imported from Africa. It was the first time she was going to use them and that called for a very special dream. The small machine churned as soon as it was turned on. When the device was quiet she rubbed her index finger on the left wrist. This was the hardest part. She picked up the loose end of the zinc wire and closed her eyes hard. Then she rammed the zinc wire into one of her veins as if an intravenous therapy. A blood drop trickled down. She could see multiple marks on her wrist that have been formed by the various trips she had taken to the land of dreams. She rested the left arm on the bed breathing heavily and thought of the dream she wanted to have as dessert that night. It was time to fly on a plane called DreamWeaver.      

Location: Somewhere in or around New Delhi. He knew because that's all a forty minute drive from his office in South Delhi could do in the peak hour. Time: past midnight. He no longer had his watch but he knew. His instincts told him so. There is more, lot more to night-time than the dark. More so for him. He hadn't seen much light for some time now. He recognized midnight by a depression that engulfed him completely. A storm outside, a silence within. Or was it the other way round? Unsure he laid there tied to a bed. How long had it been? More than a month? Possibly two. He couldn't tell. He didn't know that she was watching him. That was her favourite past time. To watch his wretchedness. He tried to feel for his limbs. The knot around the left leg had troubled him since that afternoon. He arched his back an inch, which was the most he could do and twisted the leg in an attempt to get the blood circulation going. This movement made him feel the sweat on his back. Thin air passed between his sweaty t-shirt and back easing his misery momentarily. The leg though hurt him even more and after a couple of futile attempts he gave up. In any case it was about time that she appeared. Mithya. Mithya 'bitch' Sengupta.

The door opened with a creaking sound and rays of yellow light passed in along with her. That was the only time he saw light and heard a sound. Scarcity does wonders. Living in that room, lying in that bed for the last two months had made him love and look forward to the creak and two seconds of a light bulb. He saw her silhouette before the door closed. "Can you please loosen up the knot on my left leg? It's troubling me." She walked towards the leg and with one quick jerk tightened the noose. He squealed. "Why are you doing this to me Mithya? What have I done? Please for God sake let me go." She lit a cigarette and stood there watching him. Her face if he could see wore thousand expressions of angst. He started to cry. She let loose his left hand and served him food. She stood there and savoured every single second of his misery. "You have got what you deserved K. This is for ignoring me. This is for all the harsh words" she thought and lit another one.   

She woke up with a smile. It was a dream vivid than any dream she had had since she lay her hands on DreamWeaver. She pulled the wire out of her vein carefully and tucked the device in the cabinet. She looked at all the blue and black marks on her left wrist once again but that didn't impede the smile. The smile was placed on her face even when she showered and hurried through the early morning traffic to work. She rushed to her office and was immediately summoned by her boss. It was that then that the smile evaporated. She expected the lashings from the last day to continue. K the boss. K the bastard. K the dog. He was immersed in his laptop when Mithya entered her room. He looked up. "Good morning! Mithya, that's a very nice dress. You are looking good." he said as if that was the most natural thing to say. Mithya was taken aback by surprise with what was unmistakeably a huge grin on his face. "Thanks K" she replied blushing. What had happened? It was as if he had completely forgotten where they finished last evening. All these years he had never paid any heed to her existence. His sheer presence was enough to make her feel weak in the knees and this sudden praise swooped her into a trance. She had always known that he was aware of the soft corner she had for him. She also knew that he completely ignored it intentionally. 

That day however was different. K the dog had nice words to say about her. What is his sinister mind up to? "Have a seat please. How about some coffee?" he asked. "Yes". "How many sugar cubes?" She didn't need sugar that day, so sweet was K. "What games is he up to?" she thought. He handed her the coffee cup and started with the project report that had lead to her thrashing the last evening. The politeness was evident. She watched him with affection, her eyes glued on him, her mind completely enchanted, and the dream from last night forgotten. "Very good. Keep up the good work. I will talk to you soon" he ended the meeting. He stood up to open the door for her. She came out literally jumping out of his room. As soon as she settled on her seat however she saw the wretched him crying profusely. That dream had taken her to higher scales of ecstasy. She was reminded of years and years of humiliation she had suffered at his hands. Five minutes of smile was too small a price. How could she forget it all? The storm within was back and she immediately wanted to drive back home and take a DreamWeaver ride.

She loved him. Just how she fell for her tyrant boss she couldn't explain. The only daughter of her parents who passed away in her infancy she was brought up by her autocrat grandmother. She was a single parent who had raised Mithya's father singlehandedly after her husband fled chasing other pleasures in life. Mithya was put in a girl’s only school and as a young kid always longed for male company. Even in her professional college there were strict rules set by her grandmother that she needed to abide to. She was to maintain distance from boys. Men are evil. She had to curb all her basic instincts or face the wrath of her grandmother. She did well. A feeling for someone here and there was natural but she nipped the evil in the bud. Despite the autocracy she loved her grandmother. She was the only one Mithya could cling onto. Mithya started working still living her life by the norms set by her grandmother. Then one day she passed away. The void she created broke her apart before she was moved to a different department and K was appointed as her boss. 

K the dog. A dictator who would define all the rules and listen to no one. He would not let a chance go by to humiliate or curse her every time she crossed a line that he had drawn. It was all so similar to what she had seen all her life. He was so much like her grandmother. The male form of her. Love was the most natural thing to happen. She worked with him for three years, the years spent in wait, in wait of an iota of attention that he would bestow upon her. Justice wasn't delivered and when K ignored her completely after they accidently bumped into each other outside office hours she was left livid and gave up the pursuit. A gold medallist in his university and basketball team captain, K was always popular amongst the females and had had many girls falling for him throughout his life. Mithya was just one of them. He couldn't care less. She was just another one of those girls whom he could have at leisure. He detested the category that didn't offer any resistance. Years of success had turned him into what the world knows as an arrogant bastard. He enjoyed thrashing and abusing the "no resistance" category. They were all spineless in his opinion. You have to put a price on yourself was his firm belief. It was during the phase that Mithya was going through a sea change in her feelings that she got the gift of her life. A gift that had the ability to turn her daydreams into dreams. Dreams that were dearer to her than reality. Dreams that she could cling onto and take her to a world where she could for once make the rules. A gift that the old man had called DreamWeaver.     

"I was told you are a great cook. What have you got for lunch today?" her chain of thought was broken by K who stopped by her desk. "I didn't get lunch today. Just some fruits". "I understand that. Someone as good looking as you must go through these hardships" he remarked and left her smiling. She couldn't get him out of her mind with fluctuating feelings of love, anger, and bitterness. Every change in the emotion would want to make her cry. Late that night she decided to not dream about his misery. He had been good to her that day and deserved a break she thought. She decided to dream of Istanbul, the same dream she had had many a times. She had always been fascinated by the town seeing thousands of its pictures clicked by her colleagues who had paid a visit to the megacity because the company's headquarters were located there. She had longed to get a chance to make a trip to the city and even expressed it but K the dog had never pushed for her case. She set the DreamWeaver up and with the zinc wire in her vein once again was ready for the adventure ride. A trip to Istanbul without a visa, in fact without a passport.

She found herself on top of a skyscraper and took a 360 degree view of the city. It was night time and the city was blazed with colours. Lights so bright that a dead man couldn't keep his eyes closed. She got onto the edge of the building and jumped. The feeling of a freefall can never be explained. It can only be felt and she felt it that night once again looking at the streets below, the whooshing sound, the reducing gap between her and the people walking on the street, and the cars that with every split second became larger in size. She was falling down but in her head the freefall only took her higher. A hundred feet above the ground she touched her back with both her hands. As soon as she did that two large wings protruded from her back. She flapped them and in that frame everything went still. She stayed there flapping her feathers enough to keep still and observed the night traffic. People, cars, trams moving in all possible directions. She enjoyed the madness. She flapped her wings and up she went. She flew over the buildings, some modern some old. She paid a visit to Hagia Sophia and sat on top of a waterfront house. Finally she went over the Galata Bridge and then rested on the Galata tower sipping martini and gazing at the Golden Horn. She rested on the top till she woke up.

What was his mood going to be today? That question drove her early to work that day. "Mithya, Can you come to my office please?" K called her up before lunch. "I have good news for you. I know how dearly you have been waiting to hear this. I recommended your name to accompany me for the next board meeting in Istanbul. I have got all the approvals today. It's a two week trip and I am sure apart from work we will have some good time in Istanbul. This is for all your hard work and dedication. Congrats. I am looking forward to the trip" She couldn't believe what she heard. "Thanks K" she said excitedly. "This I believe is your first international trip so let me know if you need any help" K said. As she walked out of his room he stopped her and said "Sorry for being rude all these years. I am trying to make amends". Mithya was for a second day at crossroads. One trip to Istanbul was not enough to wash away all the pain she had suffered. K however had mentioned himself that he was making mends. Better late than never she thought but then wasn't he too late? Perplexed she spent all day waiting for the sun to set and a chance to sail to the far oceans.

He was still there tied to the bed, asleep. The creak woke him up. The light wasn't there when he opened his eyes. He cursed himself having missed his only chance to wash his eyes with the light. Mithya moved to his left leg and put her hand on it. "Does it still hurt"? He groaned. Then he realized the enormity of those words. They were the first words she had spoken. She let loose the knot around it. "Feel any better now?" She lit the cigarette and observed him. "Do you want one?" He nodded. She let loose his left hand and handed him a fresh cigarette that she had lit. Smoke and silence are a heavenly combination. No one spoke. "So why this sudden change today?" K spoke handing her the cigarette butt. "Just the after effect of a good day spent with you at work and the Istanbul trip that you promised" she said serving him food. "What? Please tell me why have you put me here? What do you want from me?" Laughter was what he got in response. "Please let me go". The laughter continued. Then there was silence again and she tied his left hand again after he finished his meal. "I am sick of eating the same food again and again. Can you get me something else? Please" he remarked. She didn't say anything and stood there watching.

"Can I have some of those fruits?" K asked smiling. Mithya turned around from her desk and stood up. "Please sit down. I was just kidding. In fact I was thinking maybe we could go for a lunch today. I know a great kebab place around the corner". "Sure" she said trying hard to hide her happiness. That was the best lunch she had had in a long time. K was all jolly and spoke about all his plans for Istanbul. He had the entire agenda jotted down. He had of course been there before. He even asked her if there were any places where she would like him to take her. "You know better" she said completely mesmerized. He mentioned once again how sorry he was for her insensitive and boorish behaviour. "How about I take you out for a movie this weekend?" he asked. "I'd love to. Thanks K". The weekend was still four days away and K took her out for lunch every day. From K the dog to K the saint. What was he up to she did not understand. Every moment spent with him would make her forget years and years of loutishness but as soon as he went away she was reminded of the pain. "I have to observe him closely. He is definitely up to something" she thought frozen on her seat in the movie hall where for the first time he held her hand. The Istanbul trip was two months away.

"Thanks" K said munching the goat leg. "This mutton tastes heavenly". He gulped the beer and kept on thanking her. He could only use his left hand which made him switch between the food and the beer can but at that point in time those were the details he didn't care about. "I'll leave some more of the meat and few cans of beer. I will leave your left hand untied and tie your elbow so that you can move your arm. You deserve some fun". "Why are you doing this to me? I don't understand. Please let me go Mithya. Do you want to go to Istanbul? I will take you there. I promise. Please let me go". Once again all he got was laughter as his answer. She went silent and stood there once again watching him.

The next morning she got up to realise that she was soon going to run out of coffee beans and a new supply was needed. She decided to buy some from the local store and also let her friend know so that she could get some imported ones for her. Like any other coffee lover, coffee for her was a catalyst. A chemical that could trigger a change in her mood. A few sips that had the power to open up the neurons that have been dead for years. A cup of coffee can wash the clouds away and present the mighty shining sun, even in the night. She however never knew that the same coffee could motor an engine. An engine that could fly faster than light and visit the entire space in a matter of seconds. She realized this power few months ago. 

It was a day that started like and chugged along like any other day. It would have ended like any other day had she not found an old man dying on the road side. The wretched old man who no one came forward to help was bleeding profusely. She parked and with the help of a couple of gentlemen she got him inside her car. She drove him to the hospital where he was declared dead. Before he died however he gave her the power that she would live by. "My child, I can see it in your face that you are made of tears and sorrows. You have waited endlessly for love, passion and companionship. A wait that is your only friend and will accompany you even after you are dead. Your life is a daydream" he stuttered lying in her car's backseat. She looked at him from the car's rear view mirror. How did he know that all her life she had chased smoke and every time she folded her fists to get hold of the smoke she caught nothing. He handed her a note that contained a safe deposit box details. "I will not live. You are a kind soul who despite of her pains and sorrows came to rescue me. Go and get the package form this security box. It contains hopefully the lotion that can heal your life. Please park the car and listen to me carefully" he said gasping for breath. "No, you can be saved". "Trust me, please stop". She obliged and turned around after parking the car on the roadside.

"The package contains DreamWeaver, a device that will let you dream the way you want to be". "They are not that far apart. Only a miniscule line of slumber separates them but for reasons better known to the wise men a daydream is rated much higher than a dream. One aspires a different world in a daydream but a dream is a world in itself. Sturm und Drang and exhilaration that explores sub consciousness that’s deeper than the Pacific and jaunts beyond the Milky Way". "Sir.." she started to speak. "Please let me speak. Time is of the essence" he interrupted her and continued his monologue. "After you get hold of DreamWeaver all you need is water, coffee beans and electricity. Water that is crystal clear and the rich coffee beans will result into a clearer dream. Clearer than reality. Any impurities will lead to hazy dreams. Also, please ensure that you have a quiet place to sleep for if there is anything that disturbs your sleep during the dream it will disturb the dream pattern and present to you fuzzy scenes you didn’t imagine". Before he died he explained how the device was to be used. The water, the coffee beans and the zinc wire. One needed to imagine scenes that they wished to be their dream with the wire stuck in before going to bed. The required ratio between water and the beans. More the water, longer the dream. 

It all seemed a dream to her. She got to the security box and sure enough found DreamWeaver. She used tap water and filter coffee. She imagined her grandmother baking her cookies, and taking her out to buy her a dress. The next morning she knew she has had that dream. It was not clear enough and seemed to have happened in a land far away from earth but she was certain she saw the old lady. Thus started her pursuit to happiness. Her pursuit to inflict pain into the ones who had all but given sorrow to her. "Its time to abandon these castles" she said. It felt like twenty tequila shots in one shot. There couldn't have been a better time. She had struck gold in her darkest hour.       

"If only you had been good to me the way you have been these days there would have been no need for me to put you in this condition" she said handing him a cigarette. The room was lit. For the first time in the last few months she had turned on the light. K looked miserable. His beard looked filthy and he stunk. Dark circles loomed beneath his eyes. He must have lost a lot of weight. He started to cry again. "Shut up" she screamed. "You have humiliated me for years. You knew I loved you and you didn't pay heed to my affection. You cry today and ask me to let you go. Why should I let you go? For a trip to Istanbul? You think that's enough? No Mr. K your sins can't be washed away with a simple act of kindness. Besides I am not really sure what you are up to? What games are you playing with me I have to find out".        

"Can I take you out for shopping this evening?" K asked with an air of confidence knowing that she would agree. Later that evening he bought her an expensive bag. They walked hand in hand and she wanted time to stand still. Even if K was playing a game she was ready to fall for it. It was the best evening she had spent. They decided to catch a movie that night before K dropped her home. She adored the bag. She could hardly sleep that night getting up from her bed like a small child and looking at the bag as if it was toy. K asked her out every day. Lunch if office schedule permitted, dinner dates, movies and shopping sprees. K the gentleman. It was a couple of weeks later that Mithya got the gift of her life. A gift that surpassed even the DreamWeaver. Her door bell rang ten minutes after he had dropped her. There he was on his knees with a wedding ring in his hand. "Will you marry me"? She could hardly believe it and started to cry. He got up and held her in his arms. "I love you Mithya". "I love you too" she said sobbingly. They kissed that night for the first time. For Mithya it was the first kiss of her life. "Let's get married before our Istanbul trip. We will extend our trip by two weeks and stay there after the work is done".

The next day Mithya was introduced to K's parents who immediately had a liking for her. She loved them too. She was going to be part of a loving family. The marriage date was fixed to be three days before their planned Istanbul trip. K picked up Taj Palace hotel for the wedding ceremony. Mithya's to be in-laws kept her busy with frantic shopping. They showered her with love, bought her clothes, diamonds and gold jewellery. She had aspired to be loved all her life and it was in abundance. She didn't have any one that she could invite but K had a huge set of family and friends who were going to attend the wedding. An estimated five hundred people were supposed to attend the grand event. The air of doubts around K were clear and she anxiously waited for the day. K was definitely in love with her and the love was no game. K had redeemed himself. K the love of her life. She didn't need to visit the dark room anymore. 

The next month went in wait of the big event. Like any other bride she wanted to look the best and spent four hours getting ready for the wedding ceremony. She wore a beautiful red saree that her to be mother in law had gifted her. A diamond necklace around her slender neck and laden with gold jewellery she looked stunning. Time stopped when she entered the wedding hall. Everyone turned their heads and was visibly mesmerized by her charms. She blushed watching their reaction. K got on his knees and asked for her hand. He looked enchanted himself and couldn't stop gushing. "You look beautiful" he whispered. It was going to be a perfect wedding. The marriage ceremonies went underway. The pandit started chanting mantras as per Hindu rituals. He asked Mithya to put her hand on K's as part of a ritual. She raised her hand but it was at that point that the pandit screamed, "Stop!!!".

"What's that smell?" he exclaimed. She smelled it too. It was a strong odour of a dead animal. Everyone got their handkerchiefs out. Suddenly there was a hush hush in the crowd. The next moment the gathering started to disperse. The big crowd disappeared and only a few near and dear ones remained with their nostrils covered. "What is going on?" K's dad shouted lividly. He got up in search of the source of the bad smell. One of K's friends who still stood there vomited. The vomit spewed all over her saree. At that moment everyone started to laugh. She looked to her left and found that K was no longer seated there. "Where are you K? What is going on?" she screamed. She could hardly hear her own voice amongst the laughter. She looked up at set of people laughing like mad. She saw K's mother bursting with laughter. "Whore" she screamed. Then she saw K who unzipped his fly and started peeing into the holy fire. He laughed frantically as the fire extinguished. "I trusted you. You set me up, didn't you?" tears started falling on her cheeks. K had betrayed her. Once a dog always a dog. The ear bursting laughter was too much for her to handle. She fainted.

She found herself in her bed. She could smell the foul dead animal odour. She drew her left hand to cover her nose. A metal wire winged from the battered arm and fell on the bed.