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.