Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Curious Case of a Marriage (Part-I)

Mr. K woke up from his treacherous dreams on one cold November morning to realize that he was married. Marriage as most think is not a function of going through some ludicrous rituals. A dog and a bitch can go through all the rites ever contrived by any religion but will never be married. Marriage is a state of mind. That morning as K opened up his eyes he felt different. He felt married. The brisk aroma oozing out of his bed, the absence of cigarette pack on the bed side, an impulse to hold someone, no desire to check email on his blackberry and above all just the way he felt he knew something was not the same. He knew he was married before he heard an enamouring voice say "Get up. I have cooked your favourite dish for your lunch". Now the expectation from a cynical K would be that he jumps out of his bed full of surprise and exhibits a shocking face but nothing of that sort happened. He felt something he could not define but he knew it was good and he was wise enough to let it be. When it's not broke, don't try to fix it. He quietly slipped out of his bed.

The house presented a picture he was not used to. A clean bed sheet, the books neatly kept on the book shelve, no beer bottles on the floor, no dirty underwear's in sight, an ironed pair of shirt and trousers along with socks and a handkerchief kept on the table, car keys and his office ID card lying alongside them, a new dining table, his laptop tucked in his bag and an old soothing Hindi song playing made him think for a while that he was not in his home. He pinched himself twice to ensure that he was not dreaming. He moved towards the kitchen. She was wearing a pink coloured silk night gown that was shining bright in the yellow electric bulb that lit the kitchen. Her hair were pulled away from the face tied to a butterfly shaped green hair clip. Like a seasoned artist she moved the wooden spoon gently in the frying pan. "Hi baby" she said in her melodious voice as she arched her slender neck and gave him a peck on his cheek. K noticed an adorable face, glowing skin, big and beautiful round eyes, wide forehead, small mole on a round nose, well formed curvy lips and a distinctive smell. The soft touch of her lips felt like two rose petals. He was aroused immediately. Incognizant of how married men react when their wives kiss them he could only present a gentle smile. "Go, get ready now and don't throw the towel on the bed".

The phone buzzed. It was Ankh, K's colleague and his closest friend back from his college days. After sharing initial pleasantries he said "I have good news. Aaradhaya and I are getting married".  "That is awesome dude. I am so happy for you guys" K replied. "You and Suvaasini have to be there" Ankh said. It was the first time K heard that name. Ankh must have been talking about his wife he thought. Suvaasini passed by and asked "Whom are you talking to?". "Ankh is getting married" K said. "That's amazing! Let me talk to him and wish him luck" she said and took the phone from him excitedly. K walked towards the shower noticing the friendliness in her voice talking to Ankh clearly indicating that she and Ankh knew each other very well. He got ready as fast as he could and raced through his breakfast that was served on the new dining table. Corn flakes in cold milk, multi-grained toasts with eggs served sunny side up. It was just the perfect breakfast for him. She seemed to know it all. By the time he finished his breakfast Suvaasini had dressed up in her business attire. Her shining hair were open now and hanging on her shoulders. "We have to go out to the sandwich tasting event. Remember to be back by 6" she said and rushed out.

K was the biggest cynic always oppugning everything around him. An engineering student it was natural for him to reason, to apply science and logic. Over a period of time he had added rationality, good, bad, right, wrong to his repertoire. As soon as he came out of his house and sat in his car he came out of the trance. The first thing he checked was the date. It was what he expected. No issues there. "Who is she? What is going on? Where am I? I need to get to the bottom of this matter. It must be a prank that someone is playing on me" he thought driving towards his office. He called up his mother. "How are you doing K and how is Suvaasini?". The phone almost slipped out of his hand. "Is she also involved in this stupid game?". By the time he reached office he had called up four people and a conclusion was reached that the entire world was conspiring against him. He met Ankh at the reception. "Did you watch the game yesterday? Federer is in to the quarters" Ankh said excitedly. "Federer is a spent force. Just as Nadal will be two years from now" he responded shaking his head. "You will never change dude. You are always cribbing. Why is it so difficult to enjoy his victory? Moreover have the faith that he will deliver the goods" Ankh said irked with K's reaction. He got to his cubicle and to his utter surprise he saw a picture of her on his desk. It took him a while but once he was settled in his cubicle K put his analytical hat on. The curiosity was killing him and he needed to know. He checked his email and saw thousands of emails from Suvaasini, none of them he remembered reading or sending out. His phone vibrated in his pocket. It was a message from Suvaasini. "Don't forget 6 pm. Love". She existed in his telephone directory as well he realized.  

"You are a lucky man dude. Suvaasini is such a great cook. I am going to send Aaradhaya someday to take some cooking lessons" Ankh said over lunch. K nodded as they devoured on K's lunch box. K almost bit his finger savouring his food and still pondering over what was going on around him. Back to his desk he could not put his mind to work. His mind wandered everywhere seeking a possible explanation to what was going on. He received an insurance policy by mail and the nominee on that policy was none other than Suvaasini. By 5 pm his brain had stopped working completely and that's when his boss called up "K, can you come to my office please? I need your help in filling up a tender". Once inside his boss's room he was able to focus on the job at hand. "Why don't you and your wife come over sometime for drinks?" his boss said after they were done with filling up the tender. He came of the office flummoxed and saw eleven missed calls on his cell phone, all from Suvaasini. It was 9 pm. He called her back but she did not pick up. He tried again but did not get any answer. He rushed towards home. "Enough of this mystery and these games. As soon as I get back home I am going to ask her who she is and what is it that is going on" he thought. He entered his house and called her name. "Suvaasini". He realized that it was the first time that he actually called up her name. He liked the esoteric tone of it. He found her in the bedroom sitting on the bed. She was dressed in an elegant black dress with her arms folded around the knees and her head buried in them. It did not take him long to understand that she was crying. He thought of asking her the ultimate question but realizing that she was probably crying because of him being late he changed his mind. She looked up. Her tears had completely smudged the eye liner around her eyes. K felt a certain sense of guilt. He was clueless as he did not know how married men handle their upset wives. All he could muster was "I'm sorry". She did not say a word. The silence in the room killed him.

"I know your work is important to you but you could have told me that you are going to be busy and I would have gone alone. You know I am crazy about chicken sandwiches" she finally broke the silence and kept on sobbing. "How can someone be crazy about chicken sandwiches" he thought. "I am sorry Suvaasini. It was completely unintentional. I completely forgot about the event buried deep in my work" K said. "That's the real problem K. It's unintentional. You don't care for me". K was agitated at that comment. He wanted to pull his hair apart. Why should he care for someone he just met in the morning?  He wanted to scream and pop out the question when she got up and moved out of the bedroom. K calmed himself down and followed her to the patio. "I'm sorry Suvaasini, let's go out for dinner" he said putting her arm around her shoulders. She chucked his hand and looked away. K took a deep breath and said again "Please". Suvaasini turned back and said "OK. The sandwich event closes tomorrow so we will go there tomorrow. No excuses for tomorrow. By the way how is this dress and how am I looking?".

She wiped her tears off with her hand. She looked like a devil in disguise in the black dress with the moon light falling on her innocent face that was now completely smeared with the eye liner. She looked beautiful. 

(To be continued....)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ctrl-Z (Part-III)

The phone buzzed. It was my wife. It was almost midnight and a call from her was the last thing I expected. I did not want the professor to stop but I was wise enough not to commit the grave sin of not picking up your wife's unexpected call. "Give me a second prof". I walked out and got myself into a small room that seemed like a small library with books spread all around. "Where are you? I tried the land line number and no one picked up" she said worriedly. I did not want to lie to her. "I am with the professor". She was furious. "I have asked you so many times to stay away from him". "He is a nice man Ankika. Besides you have met him only once so I am not so sure what have you got against him". I said turning few pages of an old book lying on the table. "I am never wrong about people. There is something mysterious about him, something about his eyes. Tell me, have I ever asked you to stay away from any of your friends?". "We will talk about it when you get back. I will leave from here as soon as I can. Please don't worry" I said calming her down. We exchanged pleasantries and I got back to the living room where the professor sat smoking a cigar. "Wives! I tell you, please continue prof". The professor offered me a cigar and smiled.   

Raatri's dead body was lying on the floor by the bedside brutally raped and murdered. Her eyes were open gazing at the ceiling fan. The head had almost come off after being slit by a sharp object. It was not the first time in his life that he saw a murdered body. As a police officer he had seen worse and had never twitched. This was different though. He crashed on to the floor and started to cry. He cried even after the tears dried up, even after the blood dried up.

The police investigations found that it was Babu's brother who had committed the crime to avenge his brother's loss. After spending a month at home, Control resumed his duties. It was only then that he remembered his key to unlock any universe, a key that had the potential to bring back his family from the dead. He knew that he could not cherry pick everything around him in the universe he would find himself in but he had the ability to pick at least one. At that point in time he wanted to see Raatri alive. He thought of travelling to a time from where he could avoid being face to face with Babu. His vanity did not allow him to. He did not want to be termed as a coward. He knew the risks involved in what he was going to do but then love is the strongest and purest liquor in the world. It gives you courage, it makes you take risks and break rules. It also does something that alcohol doesn't do. It gives you hope.

The gun battle was in full frenzy. He was lying sideways behind an old sofa shooting towards the kitchen from where the gun shots were coming from. He was certain that Babu was there. The plaster had completely come off from the wall behind him and was tormented by hundreds of bullets most of them still stuck in the wall. Most of the men on both sides were dead. He was ready to play the cat and the mouse game. Babu realized that he had to take a chance at some point as he would soon run out of the ammunition. The battle continued and suddenly there was complete silence, the silence of a storm just gone by. Babu was left with just one bullet. He dashed out of his hiding aiming towards the sofa and back stepped towards a window. He was in Control's line of sight. Control aimed at him and all it needed now was to pull the trigger. He did not. Instead he pushed himself farther back behind the sofa to ensure he was safe. Babu fired and jumped out of the window. A few splinters flew off as the bullet hit the edge of the sofa and one of them hit Control in his left eye. 

Raatri was sitting by his bedside gazing outside at the setting sun. He touched her to ensure that she was for real. His excitement was short lived as it didn't take him long to realize something was wrong with his vision. Control's career as a police officer was cut short after losing his left eye. He received a paltry sum of two lac Indian rupees and was offered a job as a government teacher which he promptly refused.

Raatri was irked with Control's decision to not take the job. "What will we do Control? We are running out of money" Raatri said. He ensured her that he will find a way. It was execution time. They had enough money to survive for a year but he wanted to get rid of Raatri's insecurity as soon as possible. He wore the OT, hid it beneath a hat and entered a bank. The plan was simple. Rob the bank. If he gets caught, he would undo the event and try again. He would keep on trying till the day he succeeds. After numerous attempts he did.

Money was no longer an issue, his life was. He found himself idle at home all day with virtually nothing to do. There was nothing he wanted to undo and nothing he wanted to do. He missed the adventures of his job, chasing goons, gun fights. It affected his marital life and he could feel a certain tension developing between him and Raatri. Making love if Raatri agreed was not as gratifying as it used to be. He missed Avakaash. All the pleasures dried up. "All my happiness lies in the past. What's there to do for me? I was so wrong. The real power is neither to undo, nor to do, the real power is to find a state of happiness. That's what Ctrl-Z will allow me to do. To relive the cherished moments of my life. I decide the universe I stay in and I choose a happy universe". From that point on Control was hooked onto Ctrl-Z twenty four seven. He felt love, made passionate love, chased thieves, beat up the rogues, won bravery awards, and enjoyed cricket games with Avakaash. The limited ten minute window was annoying but it was better than sitting idle and sulking. He felt blessed. He didn't need to alter a thing. Time passed.

He was making love. Was he or was he trying to make love? Raatri was irritated and pushing him away. "What happened?" he thought. He realized his dysfunctional left eye. "What is going on? This was not supposed to unravel like this? What happened to my left eye?" he thought. After ten minutes it struck him. He was in the present. He was not on any time travel. Over a period of time his ability to distinguish between reality and illusion had deteriorated. There is a thin line that separates right now and right now. He was standing on that line. Ctrl-Z was a drug that was chewing up his brain by the minute. He was losing it. Did he sleep with Veeraagana or not? Did Babu escape or did he kill him? Did he almost kill Zoraavar? Did he rob a bank or not? Was he caught robbing it or not? Was Raatri alive or dead? Was she still pregnant or had she given birth to their baby? Had he really lost one of his eyes? Was he promoted? Was he still in police force? Where was he? Travelling to the past or simply in the present? Was he happy or was he sad? He didn't know. He could not differentiate. There is a split second between when you wake up from your dream and when you actually come out of it. The mind needs that split second to conclude that it was a dream, to decide what's real. That split second for Control stretched for hours. He was living with his eyes closed and dreaming with his eyes open. He was addicted to it. Ctrl-Z was in control, Control was not. The journey that began with "undo", turned into "do" and finally became "relive" had taken its toll on Control.

He had realized he needed help; he needed to talk to someone. "May be my father had a friend, an associate who worked with him who can help me. I should be able to find his address from AIIMS and inquire further". Being an ex-policeman helped. He got through the patient record department. "Can you please share his address? Did someone come to take his dead body after he died?" Control asked. The old lady on the counter said "Died? He had complained of severe chest pain but the doctors could not diagnose a thing. Records say that he disappeared after staying for a day". Control's jaw dropped. He couldn't maintain his composure any more. "Can you look for anything else?" he said hurriedly. After scanning through the electronic records the old lady mentioned a small hand bag that was left on the hospital bed which was duly passed on to the lost and found section. Control got hold of that bag. The bag contained nothing but a small note.

"I knew you would find this. It was your destiny the day you accepted Ctrl-Z. It was my destiny to pass on the curse that you gave me".

Control stood in front of the mirror gazing at the dark circles beneath his eyes. The chocolate colored circles reminded him of the man he no longer was. He wanted to find the man he knew existed in a parallel universe. There was only one exit.

He was sitting in his new office. The murmurs of two constables talking outside about the world cup semi-final to be played that night could be clearly heard. His phone buzzed. He kept on looking at it but did not pick up. The phone kept on ringing.

"Out of Memory Error" flashed the small screen on the TC.

I did not utter a word, in fact I looked straight into professor's eyes trying to see through them. I couldn't see anything beyond that fake smile. I could not see what Ankika had seen. There was pin drop silence in the room. I could sense a certain contentment in his demeanor, something that I had never felt in him before. "I am sure you are a happy man being who you are in this universe. It's a blessing. Not everyone's got it". I never took his eyes of him and said "Most definitely I am. Can I ask you something professor?". "I am sorry but it's getting late. You should be headed home" he got up and extended his hand. My phone buzzed. It was Ankika calling again. I did not take the call and walked slowly towards my car. "It was not the first time that the transport controller threw that error message. Good Night Mr. Khurana" I heard him say.

My phone lying on the passenger's seat kept on buzzing. I decided to pick up the call thinking of my last conversation with Ankika. It was then that I remembered the library and the third grade science book lying on the table.

~The End~

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ctrl-Z (Part-II)

The room was filled with the loud western music that was playing outside. He was at hotel Raj Palace in Jaipur with Avkaash and his wife to attend a wedding. He entered his hotel room after drinking more than he could manage. Avkaash had passed out already and was fast asleep in his room. "Control, you have to help me. I don't think there is anyone out there who can help me. You are his best friend. It's not working out between him and me. We are poles apart. It was a bad decision on my side to marry him. My mind is not working. I was trying to talk to you for some time now but could not. Avkaash is a control freak and it's very hard for me to live with a man like that. He is a good man but he is so insecure in our relationship. I cannot simply sit at home and become a house wife just because he is not comfortable me talking to or meeting other people" Veeraangana said sobbingly sitting on his bed. His head was spinning. He held her hand as she looked at him with her big weepy eyes. She looked beautiful. Control had never thought of sleeping with another woman but alcohol has the power to make you do things you never imagined. It removes inhibitions. It gives you courage, something Veeraangana needed to express her angst. It makes you see what you want to see. That night Control did not see Veeraangana in her room, he saw Raatri. She got up and hugged him. His shirt was wet with her tears. He caressed her hair and that's when he altered the course of future. "Please don't cry. He loves you very much and you know that. I will talk to him right away. Please stay in my room" he said and walked out.

He got in Avkaash's room and woke him up. "Avkaash, I just had a chat with Veeraangana. She is in deep pain. She might be thinking of divorce. You need to give her some space and spice up your relationship" he said. "And who the fuck are you? Her lawyer? Wait a minute, where is she? Is she in your room?". I nodded. "What was she doing in your room at the first place?". "I am just trying to help you guys". "So you are here taking her side. What are you up to? You want to see me divorced, don't you? What is cooking between you guys? You call me your best friend and then you have the courage to tell me that I need to divorce my wife", an emotional and furious Avkaash said, his wild imagination induced by alcohol. "No, Avkaash I am..."

The Beatles were still playing. Ten minutes were over. Control tried to remember the course of events. Avkaash and Veeraangana had left the hotel early that morning. He was not aware of what transpired between the two of them that night. He tried to approach Avkaash to explain to him that his intentions were always good and nothing happened that night when Veeraangana was in his room but all in vain. Things seemed to be coming back on track when Veeraangana called him up again to tell him how deeply she regretted talking to him that night. That was the final nail in the coffin. It was not as if he completely got out of touch with Avkaash. Both of them after all worked in the same office. He had lost his best friend though. It hurt him.

India won the inaugural T20 world cup. Control would have usually seen this high profile game between India and Pakistan with Avkaash but today he watched the entire game sitting at home pondering over what had transpired. "My intention was to simply resurrect a night gone wrong. I wanted to come out of the deep remorse. There was nothing wrong that I was trying to do". He got rid of one pain to find himself engulfed in a new one. Which one hurt him more? He could not decide. Pain at the end of the day is pain. He changed to a news channel that was going gaga over the Indian victory. Ajay Jadeja was on air claiming he had full faith that India would win. "Giving the last over to Joginder Sharama was a master stroke in my opinion" he said gushing. The news ticker flashed "Six billion US dollars rumoured at stake during the World Cup final in betting". Control made himself a drink and said to himself "Time to make some cold hard cash". He was back to his chair, the cockpit of his plane.

"Sensational start!" exclaimed an excited David Lloyd on air. Yusuf Pathan had dived into his crease to make his ground running a tight single on the very first ball of the match. Control picked up his cell phone and dialled a number. A good police man always has his connections. "What are the odds of an Indian win?". "It's 3/4 now that Sehwag is not playing", replied the man on the other side of the phone. "OK, ten lacs on an India win" said Control calmly. There were loud cheers from the crowd as the third umpire ruled Yusuf Pathan not out. Control put down the phone and smirked. He was not as excited as he was the first time he had seen the third umpire make that decision. Control clenched his right fist and pumped it in air as the debutant Pathan expectedly hit the fourth ball of the match for a massive six.

"You can't gamble that big in a world cup final, that too the last over. You have to go with what's tried and tested. Harbhajan should have bowled the last over". Control was sipping scotch and sitting in his sofa watching news. His cell phone was buzzing. Ajay Jadeja was upset over Dhoni's decision to give the last over to Joginder Sharama whom he considered to be a rookie and questioned his selection in the team. The drink slipped out of his hand. He was bemused. "How is this possible? India had won the game. What the hell is happening?". The phone was buzzing again. Control finally picked up the phone. "When do I send my man to pick up ten lacs?". Control could not sleep that night. He was restless and a bundle of nerves lying in his bed. "I must have missed something". He got up and got the instruction manual out once again. After a couple of hours of going through the instructions many times and thinking about what his father had told him he unearthed Ctrl-Z's unsaid law. "What a fool I have been? How could I? It was so obvious". All one could control with Ctrl-Z was one's own decision. You have no control over anything outside that. The transport controller would pick a random forward path to put you in a universe. The only thing you controlled was your decision. The universe Control found himself in was a universe where India had lost the finals and he had lost ten lac rupees. "I have to be very careful with Ctrl-Z. It is a double edged sword. I need to watch my steps closely".           

It was a poor start. The experience of losing his best friend and ten lac rupees had made him wary of the device. He was skeptical of using the device to undo a major event. "This device only gives a false sense of control. In reality I let the transporter decide the future path and make decisions on my behalf. Where is the control in that? What exactly am I controlling here? Who's controlling whom here? I am just a speck in the dust. Changing my little decision doesn't change anything in the overall scheme of things. I thought I would control the time, instead I let myself be controlled. I need to define my own rules to control Ctrl-Z".

For the next week he did not use the device. Instead he spent all his time brainstorming how best to use the power he had at his hand. "I will perfect the art of using it". He penned down whatever he could remember from his conversations with his father and read the instruction manual again and again. Sitting in his office he would make notes and then trash them. "What are you up to Control? What has happened to you? There are at least five cases that are pending investigation and I see no progress in them. You come in late, leave early or don't come in at all. I wish I never referred you for a promotion" shouted Assistant Commissioner of Police Zoraavar Singh angrily. Zoraavar was Control's annoying tyrant boss. "Man all this guy wants to do it control. Everybody in this world seeks control but I will come up trumps" Control thought. He picked up his notes and said, "Sir, please excuse me. Just give me a couple of days. I will be back with a bang". With that he walked out of his office.  

Exactly after two weeks having thought through all the scenarios Control had the new set of rules. "These rules will allow me to control Ctrl-Z". He had neatly penned down these rules on the instruction manual itself.

9. The farther back you go in time, the more the possibilities that emerge out of the undo event. Therefore don't try to undo an event that's very old unless it is absolutely necessary.

10. Always remember that one event leads to another. In case you have to undo something that is way back in past, try to find the best event to undo. There will be other events that lead to the event you are trying to undo and it might be a better option to undo one of them.  

11. You only control your decisions, not anybody else's. The present does not indicate how other's decisions will shape up when you get transported to a new universe after the undo event. So don't ever rely upon them. 

It was not easy but over a period of time Control came to terms with how to best use Ctrl-Z. Raatri was 2 months pregnant and her desire for sex fluctuated. Control loved the days she was in mood. He felt the unborn and could not wait for the day he would become a father. Raatri had become irritable with each passing day due to her pregnancy. He hated to do anything, no matter how little that would annoy her. He cared for her a lot and wanted her to be completely stress free. If he did something that annoyed her he would immediately go back and undo it. He was contempt with what he could do with Ctrl-Z. The urge to go way back in past and undo something's that he regretted was there but he was able to suppress it. Everything was smooth. The way it was supposed to be.

"Control, you are a useless fellow. You sissy, you let him run away right in front of your eyes. You should wear bangles if you cannot catch an unarmed man. You could have shot him" Zoraavar screamed. Control was out to catch a drug peddler but his team had failed to nab him. "Sir, there was public around. I just couldn't shoot him and besides we wanted to catch him alive. He could have been helpful for us to catch the drug lords" Control explained. "Oh! Shut up! Don't give me these lame excuses. You could have aimed at his leg. A police man has to trust his aim" Zoraavar banged his fists on the table. The entire team was seated speechless heads down in Zoraavar's office. "You have not achieved anything in your life and neither are you capable of it. Are you sure you are a man?" Zoraavar squalled again. "What has this guy achieved in life? I can't think of a case he has solved. Just because I report into him he thinks he can make me sit here and listen to his bullshit. My time will come one day and I will give it all back to him. I am not going to take this humiliation. But right now at this moment I have no other choice but to bite the bullet" Control thought. He thought of Ctrl-Z and going back in time to shoot the drug peddler but he did not want to take that chance knowing very well the unpredictability of doing the same. "Ctrl-Z is useless, I should simply throw it away". "Say something you idiot" said Zoraavar. It was then that it struck him. 

Control got up from his chair. "Let me tell you something sir. It's not me who hasn't achieved anything. I caught Babu. He made you run like a toothless cat and you had no clue on how to get hold of him. That's when you gave that case to me. If there is anybody in this room who hasn't achieved anything then it's you. You became ACP only because you have licked everyone's ass in the department" Control said venting out all his frustration. "How dare you speak to your senior like that? Do you know what can I do?". Control laughed, "What will you do? Fire me, please go ahead. I don't fucking care". Zoraavar who had not expected such a reaction stood there confused as Control picked up a paper weight lying on the table and threw it towards Zoraavar with full force. It almost cracked Zoraavar's skull. Zoraavar crashed on the table. Control pounced on him and punched him in his nose. He struck him again and again with his revolver's butt and left him unconscious. His entire team stood there, not moving an inch. No one knew what was going on and didn't know how to respond. Control looked at his puzzled team and laughed. "Take it easy guys".

Back in his office he was ready for a small journey. The tension in the room was still the same. "Say something you idiot" said Zoraavar. "I am sorry sir, I promise you I will catch him soon". "I hope you do, otherwise I am going to be very hard on all of you". The meeting was dispersed.

Control rushed to his room and picked up Ctrl-Z's case. "What an idiot I have been? The power of undo is useless. What's gone is gone. Who cares? Who would want to control the past? It's the ability to control the present that matters. It's today that I found the real use of Ctrl-Z. I have cracked its code" he laughed. He picked up the instruction manual and tore it apart.

Every time after that day whenever Zoraavar annoyed him he would beat him black and blue and simply undo it. That was not the only thing that he used Ctrl-Z for. With every passing day he found new ways of using Ctrl-Z. Indian cricket team was in Australia and he had devised a formula to bet. A formula that would ensure that worst case he would not lose any money. It was simple. He placed his bet and didn't blink an eye if the team he put his money on won the game. In the event of the team losing however, he would simply undo placing the bet. The upside was huge and there was virtually no down side.   

Devil always finds its way. No one knows if there is God in each one of us but the devil does sleep with in. An opportunist animal that remains in deep slumber. It wakes up when the time is right. Control did not realize but the desire to do took him over completely. It also took over the desire to undo. Devil makes its offerings difficult to resist. "Control is not in the ability to undo, it's in the ability to do! Ctrl-Z allows me to do stuff. The way I want to" he would think. Cricket bets made him money but he didn't like the possibility of not making anything if his team lost. The matches anyways were few and far between. He started to hatch a plan to make millions in one shot.

Enjoying his ability to do what he liked he firmed up the modalities of his plan and got back from work early one fine evening. He was extremely happy and was planning to surprise Raatri by getting in early and wanted to take her out for dinner. Even before he entered his house he sensed trouble. The house was in total mess. It seemed as if some wild animals had trampled across it. Not a thing was missing but everything was where it was not supposed to be. He sensed a burning smell coming in from the kitchen. He got his gun out and slowly walked towards the kitchen. The gas stove was turned on and whatever was being cooked was completely burned. With the gun still in his hand he walked worriedly towards the bedroom. He peeped in. The room was painted complete red with fresh blood.

(To be continued....)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ctrl-Z (Part-I)

Control stood in front of the mirror gazing at the dark circles beneath his eyes. The chocolate colored circles reminded him of the man he no longer was. He did not want to be in control, he just wanted to be Control again. He wanted to find the man he knew existed in a parallel universe. He splashed the cold water on his face and moved his hands gently to feel his thirty day old gray beard. There was only one exit.

"I wanted to be a painter but became a civil engineer. Then I learned a programming language and joined a software firm. I wrote software programs, then I managed people who wrote software, then I managed people who managed people who wrote software, then I managed people who sell software, last month I got promoted and now I manage the entire company. What next? This is a rat race. I chose a wrong career. I was better off becoming a painter" I said pouring black label in my glass. The professor sat benumbed in front of me sipping his vodka and smirked. I was trying to learn guitar at a local school and that's where I had met the professor. Our similar penchants had made us friends and time permitting after the music class we would drive to his house and talk over drinks. He was a nice man and I enjoyed his company. "Mr. Khurana! Relax, I am sure you are painter in some universe, may be a dead one whose work became popular posthumously. Who knows? Right here in this universe you are an IT manager. Beneath that fagging skin of yours you are nothing but a product of all the turns you took in your life's road and of all the people whose roads collided with yours. In a nutshell, you are a moving destination of your decisions. Stay happy with the universe you are in" he said. "What are you talking about?" I asked. "Parallel universes!" he replied. "I have heard of them many a times. Don't really believe in them though". The professor looked at his watch and said, "You got time Mr. Khurana because I have a story to tell". "Why not? Go ahead prof, always game for your company". My wife was away with our kids and I was not going to lose an opportunity like this. He poured another drink, took a deep breath and started narrating.

One of the prime reasons Science came into foray is man's desire to control. Man has always wanted to become God, to control nature, to control the present, to control the future and to control the past. Aavishkaar was a brilliant boy and he knew that he would become a scientist the day he put his hands on his 3rd grade science book. While others read comic books, his childhood was spent reading science fiction books. After completing his PhD in Cosmology from MIT he setup his own laboratory in Chennai and started working on the subject that had fascinated him since his childhood - time travel. He had married only because his parents wanted him to, his only passion being his lab where he would spend most part of day and night. His relationship with his wife was always strained. She needed time and he needed to travel time. He could not care less for what she wanted. "Once I have made this machine, I will control the past" he thought. Five years went by without any success. He never lost hope. On the personal front the relationship deteriorated but despite the friction his wife got pregnant. His research was his priority as always and he was not around to support his wife during the pregnancy. Aavishkaar first major breakthrough came the day his wife gave birth to a baby boy. It was a humongous machine that allowed him to time travel. The machine was unstable and he could not sustain in the past for more than two seconds but nonetheless it was a breakthrough. He was happy and thought of his son being lucky for him. He named the machine Control and rushed to see his son. He named the boy Control as well. Three months after he was born, Control's mother left his father and moved to Delhi taking him along.

Control was thirty years old and was married happily to Raatri, the love of his life, the woman he loved more than anything else in the world. His mother was no more. He didn't know who his father was and had never met him. As per his mom he had left them after he was born. Control was a proud man. He had worked hard to realize his goal of joining the police force. He was a fearless man and had risen quickly through the ranks. He had won many bravery awards and was destined to be a top police officer. It was the September of 2007 and he awaited the birth of his first baby.  It was the day after Control got promoted to inspector in Delhi Police after he had killed a local mafia Babu in an encounter that he received a phone call.

"Hello! Control this is your father Aavishkaar. I am admitted in AIIMS. I am dying. I want to meet you son. I have to give you something". He hated his father but he was kind enough to meet the dying man. He met him in the hospital itself and realized he looked like his father.

"Control, I don't have a lot of time. I might have failed as a father but I am not a failure as a scientist. I devoted all my life to build a time machine, to be able to travel back in time, to be able to control the past. My research allowed me to travel back in time but only for short time durations. You must be wondering how is it possible? It's very simple how I built this device. At the time of big bang there was only one universe that started to expand. Apart from expanding, every split second a universe multiplies into infinite number of universes. Each one of these expands and gives birth to infinite universes and the chain reaction continues. So in a way, apart from the first universe every universe out there has a parent universe. The very first universe is known as the first generation universe and all universes that emerged out of it are called second generation universes and so on. The universes that belong to the same generation are known as sibling universes. All of us feel as if we are moving in this world, but in reality it is simply a transition of the universes. A universe never dies and thus the past and the presence coexist in form of these universes. There is a universe out there where I am reading my 3rd grade science book. We move from one universe to another through universe orifices. These orifices are everywhere around us and connect a universe to its parent and all the child universes that came out of it. I built a device that can hook up to your brain, read the event you are thinking of at that moment and back trace the exact path, the exact parent orifices from your current universe to the universe in which that event is taking place right now and transport you there". He opened up a small case. The case had a silver headphone like device and a small white remote control along side. "I give you Ctrl-Z, this is my gift to you. You will find the instruction manual in the back pocket of this case. If not for this, I wouldn't even have called you up. I can now die in peace". Control's mother hated science as much as she hated her husband. That's why she always ensured that he never studied science. Control couldn't make a lot of sense of what his father had told him that day and unaware of the power he had with him he drove back to his office.

He got home later that evening after having a couple of drinks with his colleagues. There was no electricity. It was the last day of paying the bill and he had completely forgotten about it. Raatri had lit up the house with candles. She was visibly miffed. "I knew this would happen when I asked you to pay the bill in the morning. You always procrastinate these things. It's always me who has to take care of it. For you it's only about your work and your friends". He knew no words he said would calm her down. He said a mild sorry and ate his dinner quietly. After Raatri was asleep that night he quietly slipped out of bed, picked the case he had hidden in a drawer, lit up a cigarette and got the instruction manual out from the back pocket. 

Ctrl-Z Instructions
Device Usage
Ctrl-Z is probably the most complex device in the world, yet the easiest of them all to use. Ctrl-Z allows you to travel back in time and undo an event. It consists of two components. The OT (Orifice Tracer) and the TC (Transport Controller). Please follow the instructions below to use the device.

1. Wear the OT. The two pads are supposed to rest on the two sides of your temple.

2. Press the yellow button on TC. This button initiates the OT. Wait for two minutes. Your entire skull will get covered in blue light.

3. Now think of a past event to where you want to travel to and once that memory is firm in your mind, press the green button on TC.

Device Rules
There are some simple rules that you need to follow to be able to successfully use Ctrl-Z.
1. You should clearly remember and be able to resurrect the situation in your brain to be able to undo it. You can't undo something you don't remember. This also means you cannot travel to a universe or a location you are not supposed to be part of.

2. Undo operation is just one piece of the puzzle. You need to complete the event when you perform an undo. The void needs to be filled. You can of course alter the decision you made at that point in time.

3. You can only fill the void with an option that you had available at that point in time.

4. You can't modify the physical attributes of the surroundings. E.g. you cannot introduce a new object or remove an existing one.

5. You cannot exist in the universe you traveled to for more than ten minutes. After ten minutes you will be transported to a new universe which is akin to the universe you traveled from.

6. The tracer is able to keep track of all the universes you have lived through. The forward path it creates for you from the event you traveled to is based upon that trace. In a nutshell, in the new universe you are transported to every choice you made before and after the undo remains the same. However there is no control over the new choices that have emerged because of the undo operation. They just become part of your memory. You have no control over the new universe you are transported to. If you travel back and kill someone, you might find yourself in a jail.

7. You will remember what you had undone using Ctrl-Z but will not be able to resurrect the event clearly in your memory. This also means you will not be able to travel back to an event you had undone already.

8. You die in your current universe if you are killed in the universe you traveled to.

Happy undoing!

Control lit another cigarette. He doubted that the device would work. This is impossible he thought. A couple of street dogs were barking outside. Control settled himself on a chair and got the OT out of the case. The small instrument was quite heavy for its size. He put the OT on as described in the instruction manual and pressed the yellow button on the TC. The OT started to churn like a small mechanical toy and slowly started to glow blue. It seemed to him as if he was wearing a blue lamp. He closed his eyes and pressed the green button.

"Control! You are coming with me to the sports bar for the India Australia game, right? I think Yuvraj is going to crack it again" asked Avkaash. Avkaash and Control went back a long way. They had grown up together and were always seen together. They defined the term "best friends". Control did not respond immediately. It was as if he just came out of a spell. "No dude, I have to pay the electricity bill today. Sorry I can't make it, you enjoy". "Alright, you are going to miss this cracker of a game. Hope we make it to the finals" said Avkaash.

Raatri was sleeping. Ctrl-Z was neatly tucked in its case. The living room lights were on and Beatles were playing. Control was speechless. He almost fell off his chair. "The damn thing worked! This thing really works. I can't believe it" he jumped with joy. "I can use this machine to undo anything". He started to think of all the things he could undo, things he had done, things that he repented. He thought of lies he had uttered, promises he had broken, things he had done willingly which could have been avoided, things he could not do. With Ctrl-Z he could undo them all and how much simpler his life would be. His mind was racing with all the infinite number of possibilities that lay in front of him. "Destiny controls the world, I will control destiny. I will be my destiny. My father named me aptly. From now on I own the time. I will turn it back at will".

He wore the OT again and closed his eyes. He tasted beer, his head started to spin, loud music playing and then he saw her cry.

(To be continued....)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The News Man

K was a handsome lad in his early forties. He had been working as a top executive in a fortune 500 company for many years. A well known industrialist, enough money to burn for multiple generations, a loving wife and a daughter, good health, a fancy bungalow in the most posh locality in New Delhi. He had more than what most people only dream of but he felt a void. He knew deep inside that some things amiss. He wore a shoe and didn't know where it pinched. What pleased him before in life did no more. Not the tenderness of his wife's body, not the innocence of his daughter, not an exotic holiday, not the delectable food, not an expensive wine, not his convertible Mercedes, not head banging to rock music, not golf or conversations with friends on the golf course, not being himself. His life had been way too easy and predictable. Predictable is deadening. He had the knack of achieving anything even before he wished for it. K had always got the kill but never did he experience the thrill of the chase. Wise say who say that easy come is easy go need to meet K.

He was "bore to the core". In search of redemption he started to keep a close eye on his daily routine. What he did, how he did it and the words he had uttered. When he got up, brushed teeth, ate breakfast, drove to work, attended meetings, had lunch, took coffee break, drove back home, made love, hugged his daughter, played golf, went out with Mrs. K. What he ate, whom he met, which meetings, how many coffee breaks, what music did he listen to, how he made love, what he wore. Breakfast table conversations with Mrs. K, the good morning to office receptionist, chitchat over coffee, the raunchy whispers in bed. He saw a stark pattern. His life that to most seemed a scripture was an ordinary seven page book, each page titled after a day of the week. It was a seven song play list and he detested each one of those songs. "Who trapped me in these chains? These chains, how do I set myself free from?  These banal colors that define my life, how do I alter? This tiring tune to which my life is dancing, how do I change? How do I save myself?"

That night he twiddled around in bed all night and considered his options. How does he set himself free? "A world tour? What good will it do, there is no place in the world I haven't been to. A new business venture? What thrill will it give? I have already won these battles. An extramarital affair? What pleasures will it give? the pleasure of body is not what I seek. Materialism is not what will please me, I have had all those joys. I have got my hands dirty with spiritualism, it was a bore. There is no water left in this world to quench my thirst. What's the point lingering on with this miserable life? I should just kill myself. Let this soul be free. It's the only plausible option". As soon as that thought crossed his mind, it gave him a shiver, something that he had not experienced for years. The goosebumps and the tickle he felt in his stomach provided the adrenaline he sought. Making quick decisions was a quality that had helped him rise up the ranks in corporate and that's what he did that day. It was settled. "No one should get the slightest idea that it is intentional to ensure that my family gets the insurance monies". He slept off thinking of various suicide options.

Next morning, he munched his breakfast slowly in a rhythmic manner, reading a newspaper and suicide still at the back of his mind. He wouldn't have known that the newspaper he was reading was going to change the course of his life.  

"Car crash on the Noida express highway, four dead"

That evening after work instead going back home K went to Turquoise Cottage, a famous bar in South Delhi. He ordered a bottle of Shiraz Cabernet and started sipping the wine slowly. "I have lived my life to the fullest and there is nothing else for me to do. I haven't had a reason to smile for years. In a few hours I will be free from this world that's unworthy of me. I am glad that I read that news in the morning."To save myself I have to kill myself". He paid the check and drove towards the Noida express highway. Half an hour later he entered the highway, the Judas Priest song 'Beyond the Realms of Death' playing at an ear bursting volume. He sang along. "Yeah! I've left the world behind. I'm safe here in my mind. Free to speak with my own kind. This is my life, this is my life. I'll decide not you". The guitar riff played and he said "To save myself I have to kill myself". He banged his head and said it aloud many times. He was ready. He got rid of his seat belt and pushed onto the gas, as much as he could. After a minute he was zipping on the road at 150 km/h. The road was poorly lit and at that speed he could barely see any buildings or farms. To his left about 500 meters ahead, he saw a huge tree. It was time. He took one deep final breath and turned the steering to the left. After few seconds he would be free, so he thought.

His eyes fixed on the tree, one moment it was all he could see and the very next his eyes fell on an SUV. A young couple who probably hadn't found any other place to make out that evening had parked it there. He instinctively pushed on to the brakes. The wheels made a loud screeching noise, the car circled around the rear wheels, he banged his head on the steering, darkness all around, sounds of metal, the hissing sound of airbag opening, crashing glass, a loud thud, a girl screaming. After a couple of minutes, in his half conscious state he saw a tall man banging angrily with his fist on the window pane. The Judas Priest song was still playing but the music seemed to be coming from far away. He felt the warm blood trickling from his forehead and managed to unlock the door. The man outside hurriedly opened it, got K by his collar and pulled him out. Before anybody uttered a word, he punched him hard on the nose. Blood gushed out. "I'm sorry, I didn't me.." before K could complete his words he got kicked in his balls and felt a shrieking pain. He fell on the ground like a lump, knees folded and hands clutching onto his balls. The tall man started kicking him left and right. Pain is like poison, it cures itself. The physical pain took him to a different horizon. K gathered some energy and held the leg that was about to hit his abdomen and pulled it off the ground. The tall man fell on the ground and banged his head on the concrete. K got up and kicked him in his stomach a couple of times. In that split second, the tables had turned. The screams of the man on the ground were exactly the music his ears were waiting to hear for ears. A mystic trance had hijacked his mind. He pounced onto the man like a tiger and kicked him in his face. He bent down, bit his ear and tore apart a huge chunk of it. He kept on hitting him even after the man lost his consciousness. "Stop, stop" he heard a girl scream and hit him from behind with all the force she could muster. Unperturbed by the soft blows K stood up and turned back. Still in the frenzy he held the girl by her hair and dragged her for a few feet. "You bitch". One of her molars flew when K punched her in her teeth. There was a loud thud of the girl falling on the ground and it was followed by utter silence. All he could hear was his own heart beat. Then it started to hurt. His forehead, neck, legs, right shoulder, knuckles, left eye, everything was in pain. He lit a cigarette and stood there smoking his eyes fixed on the two bodies lying unconscious on the ground. He kicked the man one last time and got back in his car having completely forgotten what had led him there. The car fortunately was not completely broken. He drove back home.               

He got into his bathroom and looked in the mirror. The mirror lies often, but at that moment it didn't. It presented a gory face, blue skin, red cheeks, brown blood, black eye, swollen lips. He didn't take his eyes off it. What transpired that evening was playing in his mind heavy. "What was the last time I hit a man? Probably in school and I was thrashed and lectured by my parents not to do it again. A woman, never in my life. I have lived a bookish life, a book written by society that has been passed from one generation to another. I am not only expected but demanded by this book to walk on the path it prescribes. Study when you are a kid, score good, get thrashed if you don't, get into a college, get a good job, serve your company, work like a donkey, marry before thirty, have kids before thirty two, buy a house, raise your kids, pass them the 'society' book, become religious. Be honest, be loving, respect your elders, be kind, be loyal, be good. I was not born but bred with these percepts. So predictable, so boring". He started smiling. The smile soon turned into laughter. "Oh Lord! Thanks for this life. Thanks for giving me this chance. What a day. What joy. What was the last time I laughed like this? Who says I don't have a reason to smile? What a fool I have been to end my life? I kept on complaining of the darkness. I lived in a cocoon, the cocoon that You burst today. In a way I did die today. This me who stands here is a new born. It's my rebirth". The laughing continued, followed by a shake of the head and silence which entailed a loud laughter again. This pattern continued for hours. "You made me realize today that the dark I see is not dark, it's just that my eyes were closed. Society corrupted me, it wanted me to keep my eyes closed. No more dear Lord, no more". "To save myself I have to lose myself" he said as the dawn broke in full fervor.

He made himself a drink and his eyes fell on previous day's newspaper. He picked it up and read the car crash news one more time. He immediately felt like picking a fight. His mind wandering, a thought struck him. "If not for this newspaper I would have not experienced what I did today. It is no less than God's signal. I have got to embrace it and pick cues from it". It was an "Apple falling on Newton's head" moment. It was what made Archimedes run out of his bath tub naked. "The newspaper is my guiding light. It is what will help me lose myself".

"I am the News Man!" 

Mrs. K was away for some social event and he did not need to explain anything about his bruises. K got bandaged and after a couple of days of rest was back to work. Since that fateful evening, he had only thought of one thing. "How do I pick my next fight?". The very first evening of his return, he banged his car intentionally on to a rickshaw. "You bastard" he came out screaming of his car, got hold of the rickshaw puller by his hair and vented out his life's frustration on him. As it often happens in these cases, the meek rickshaw puller probably used to these thrashings offered no resistance at all. A little fight makes large crowds gather and watch the show but despite it being the rush hour only a handful of people gathered around. After all, who wants to watch a dead woman getting raped? That month K got involved in as many as twelve fights. His desire to pick up a bout increased with each passing day. Apart from banging his car he started using other methods. He was ready to do anything in an attempt to let lose. The will finds a way always. Walking on the street he bumped into another man, pretending to take a phone call he parked his car in the middle of the road, shopping in a liquor store he claimed he had paid the bills when he had not, buying cigarettes he claimed that the Benson & Hedges pack he got was a local duplicate, walking in a shopping mall he grabbed a woman's ass who was accompanied by her husband. At times these combats would result in K getting on top, other times he would get the beating. The penchant didn't allay though, it only grew.  

"Thief creates havoc in East Delhi, Police helpless".

K was once again enjoying his breakfast when he read this news and a new seed was planted in his head. With billions in his bank account the thought of stealing had never crossed his mind. He went to his bedroom. Mrs. K was taking bath and her hand bag was lying on the bed. He picked it up and took all the cash out of it. He placed the bag back and rushed towards his breakfast table. Once he had reached office he got a call from Mrs. K complaining about the theft. She said that she was sure it was their house maid who had done it. K expressed concern, asked her to calm down and get rid of the maid. In the evening while coming out of his office he saw one of his engineer Manish working and two family pictures of his placed neatly on the desk. The first picture was of a small kid dressed up in a funny hat and the second one of him with his wife holidaying on a beach. He thought for a moment and then retreated his steps to get back to his office. Every now and then he would get up to see if Manish was still at his desk. The next day morning both the pictures had disappeared from the face of the earth.  

Next day K and family were invited by a friend for a small get together at his home. His friend and wife were perplexed to find that the next morning their toothbrushes were nowhere to be seen. K was a smooth operator and he loved to steal on the edge. "What's the fun of stealing when no one's around" he would often think. He would walk to a shopping mall and picked from all kinds of shops. He enjoyed a walk to the temple with Mrs. K on Mondays and picking up shoes under her nose. He even was successful when he picked two rupee change from the temple right in front of the priest. His store room started filled fast. With cash, cell phones, French fries (from McDonald's), books, panties (the same night he stole toothbrushes), laptops (from his office), wallets (pick pocketing in bars), jewellery (from Mrs. K's friends), shoes (from temple), keys (where ever he saw them), cutlery (where ever he dined), comic books (from her daughter's school bag), towels (from hotels), scissors (from barber shops), apples (from local vegetable vendor), badminton rackets (from his health club), golf clubs and even dustbins (from his office). 

"Looking for a gay partner, wear a red tie at Rajiv chowk metro station"

K was sipping his afternoon coffee in his office when he read this bizarre news. All his life the thought of sleeping with a man had never crossed his mind. He put his right hand in his underwear and caressed his ass. He thought of kissing another man, holding his penis, mouthing it, entering his hairy backyard, letting him enter his own anus, sucking his semen. He felt like eating raw eggs. "That's because my mind is closed. The society has corrupted my brain but no more". He knew what his new avatar was going to be. Wearing an Armani suit and a red tie that evening, K drove to Connaught Place. After parking his car he walked towards the metro station and stood there nervously waiting for something to happen. An hour passed by uneventfully. "May be the news was a hoax". Tired of waiting and disappointed, he started to walk towards his parked car when he heard a voice from behind "Hello old man, looking for some action, are we?". K turned around and saw a well built man, spiked hair cut, pierced left eyebrow, his biceps and chest bulging out almost tearing apart the T-shirt he wore that was two sizes short for him. He must have been in his early twenties. "Ammmm yeah". "I am Kumar. I am a law student studying in JNU. I have a room in Katwaria Sarai. You want to go there?". "Sure". K led him to his car. "Man! you are rich". Once they were seated, K felt Kumar fiddling with his hair and fidgeted in his seat. Kumar lit a cigarette. K did not utter a word during the thirty minute drive to Kumar's room. Kumar held his hand as they walked through the narrow streets to reach his rented one bed apartment on the second floor of an old and shabby building. "How about some grass dude" Kumar said and got a joint out of his pocket. They smoked and Kumar poured the good old Old Monk in two glasses and offered it neat to him. K gulped his drink in one shot and said "Kumar, I am a virgin. Please go easy". "Don't worry, you will not forget this night I promise" Kumar smiled.        

They were seated on a couch and after a couple of hash joints and drinks only thin air separated them. Kumar put his right arm around him and started playing with his ear. The touch and the tickle helped a stiff K relax a little. Kumar pulled him nearer, kissed him on his lips and started sucking them. K was trying his best to let lose but Kumar could feel the dissident. He tried to force his tongue inside K's mouth. K clenched his teeth and the incoming tongue could only go as far as the teeth. "Open your mouth, give me your tongue" said Kumar and tried again. K gave in this time around. Enjoying the ganja he closed his eyes and thought "let go".

The two tongues met finally, twisted and turned around each other like two passionate snakes making love. Kumar unzipped K's trousers and started playing with his balls while the marathon of the two tongues continued. He started stroking the penis and engulfed it in his mouth completely, his hands now back to K's balls. "Man! This guy does a much better job than my wife" K thought. If you close your eyes does it matter whose sucking it? The tongue after all is unisex organ. They moved to the bedroom and were naked soon. With his middle finger Kumar started poking his hole. "It's so tight, do you want me to apply some Vaseline". "Yes please. That will be great". K took the Old Monk bottle and started gulping it neat as Kumar tried to force through the gate. After some initial hiccups it was smooth sailing. The gates were unlocked for the first time. The pain came first, followed by immense pleasure. The liquor, the ganja and the warm rod inside of him was a heavenly combination. Kumar started spanking his buttocks. "Slow" he moaned. Kumar came inside him. Later that night K took the aggressor role and tried to penetrate. After two futile attempts he did finally succeed. He did not enjoy this role as much as the former. It was only after 5 am next morning and three ejaculations that he drove back home.

Over the next one month K went berserk. He seduced his house cook, a young engineer Ankit working in his company and a nephew Sachin in his early teens. He always strove to play the role where he just had to lay down and let the other male spoon him. "Have I always been a bisexual? Is the entire world a bisexual? It's the book, the book that I am trying to burn that curbs these instincts". These acts also led him to adventuring into anal sex with his wife. "Wish she had a penis" he said to himself one night.

Next few years went like a charm. K played all kinds of roles the newspaper could lead him to. A bully, a gay, a thief. He took bribes and moved the millions he made to his new Swiss account. He played a social activist. He went onto a fast for eight days protesting against the Indian black money in Swiss accounts. He mowed down a kid driving drunk after he read similar news.  

"Famous movie star rapes his house maid"    

Mrs. K was out of country. The house maid was in the kitchen cooking food unaware of what was brewing in K's mind. K kept the newspaper aside and got out of his bed. He stood at the kitchen's door gazing at the maid dressed in an old saree cutting vegetables. K felt ants crawling on his skin. He pounced and grabbed her from her waist and started biting her neck. Before she could make a noise, he shut her mouth up with his right hand. He pulled her hair with his left hand and dragged her to the bedroom. Once inside he let her go and locked the bedroom. He felt like a tiger ready to attack the hapless. "Let me go" she cried. Her screams filled the room and K felt all so powerful. He tore apart her blouse and grabbed her round breasts. She kept on screaming and tried to break free but all in vain. He slapped her multiple times and with some effort got rid of her saree. She had spent all her energy and lay there like a dead meet, naked. K took a breather and got rid of his shorts. He mouthed her breasts and started caressing her buttocks. He spanked them real hard and with every spank he shouted "I am the news man, I am the news man.".

He was inside her. He was stroking with all his power and with every stroke he shouted "I am the news man". Suddenly there were loud noises outside the room and the next moment three guys barged into it breaking the door. One of the intruder pulled K and then the three of them started beating him. K on his part kept on laughing and enjoying the thrashing. With every punch, with every kick the laughter became louder and louder. K's driver had heard the screams and after gathering a couple of more folks had caught him red handed. In the court he only had one thing to say. "I am the news man. I am simply following God's will. I do what He says. No more, no less. He asked me to rape the maid". He had the legal resources to fight his case and after only staying for 4 days in jail and paying an undisclosed amount to the maid's family the news man was free. Free to enact in God's play once again.

Mrs. K was nowhere to be found during the trial. "She must be angry" he thought driving back home. "It's not anyone's fault. I am the news man and only doing my job. I will explain it to her. I am sure she will understand. May be I will be able to convince her to play my counterpart. The news woman". He got home and heard laughter coming in from the bedroom. He walked slowly and peeped in to find Mrs. K in bed with another man. "There is no need for me to be away for parties or social event now that son of bitch is going to rot in jail for years."

The picture of one's own wife naked in someone else's arms is bound to send shivers down the spine. K was after all only human. He bit the bullet and decided not to tell his wife that he knows the truth. He burned from inside, lost his appetite and sleep. He stopped reading the newspaper and was back to normal chores of his life. Three months passed by. K was K again. A dead man walking, the news man forgotten.   

"Brand new Tata Nano goes up in flames"

"Sir, have you seen this news?" Manish asked him over lunch. "I was planning to buy one for my nephew but I am not gonna do it now". K ignored him and continued with his lunch. On his way back home that evening he saw a Nano on the road. It was raining hard. Lightning struck, twice. First one up above in the sky and the second in his brain. "The news! The car! It's a sign. I need to accomplish what I could not earlier". A quick decision was made as always.

He parked his car in his garage and stayed inside it. He closed his eyes and pictured that day and Mrs. K once again. It was time. He got a matchbox out of the glove box. "Damn! just one match stick" he said in disgust. He could not take chance with just one. He got out and looked around. He saw some old magazines and newspapers lying in the garage. He picked all of them and threw them on the seat and got back in the car. K struck the match. He looked at the newspaper picking up fire and gazed at it and was about to close his eyes but something made him open them real wide.

He came out of his garage and looked up in the sky. The rain fell down on his face even harder. With arms wide open he finally closed his eyes and smiled.

Inside his garage the burnt newspaper was lying on the floor. It was almost burnt but the headline was still intact.

"Man murders wife for infidelity"

K was born again.