February 23, 2014

Untitled : Part 11

The big old shared auto was running with a speed which was known only to itself or its driver. Even the road condition was so bad, it felt we were sitting in a roller coaster without belt. I didn't know where we were going. And I didn't care. Saara was still with me. The auto was mostly empty except for those 2 old ladies sitting on the opposite side in front. They kept staring at me as if I was an extra terrestrial creature and they were NASA scientists. One of them smiled at me, and I responded with a goofy little smile. Then she turned to the other lady and said something in her ear, after which the other lady grinned widely while they both looked at me.

"Yeah bitch loudly Amma, I won't understand anyway", I wanted to shout, but it didn't matter. I was in a nervous situation and I didn't know what to do or say. I looked at my mobile. It was over 1 pm now. No call. No message. May be Parag and co really forgot me. I felt bad. If something happens to me in this city, they were the only people who would come to my aid. Not Saara. And today I ditched them for a girl whom I might not even meet again, ever in my life. I hoped they will forgive me. Yeah, they will definitely forgive. That's what friends do.

The first lady said something to me. I didn't understand. I shook my right palm signalling I didn't get a word. She understood and nodded and then both the ladies started talking to each other again, laughing at certain intervals. 

I wondered what they were talking about. Their main focus was obviously me, but they were looking at Saara also sometimes. May be they thought we were lovers. I wish you were right guys. Thanks Ammas, I smiled. May be they thought we were spouses. Hey that's getting a little too far ahead alright. Don't think a lot . I frowned. 

I looked at Saara. She was taking a nap. All that walk of last 30-40 minutes would have made her tired.

Aah.. how innocent she looked while sleeping. There was no sight of that unnerving mysterious anxiety on her face right now. As if nothing mattered in the world. As if the universe was the safest place to take refuge. I had an ache in my guts looking at her calm face. I turned my face to the other way and looked outside of auto.

The auto was still moving at an easy pace of 20-30 Kmph. It had started to drizzle now and the cold breeze was bringing a few rain drops inside too. I moved slightly ahead over the seat, to cover the open gate. So that the rain drops don't reach Saara and disturb her sleep. The Hero Rids was at work here. The ladies in front would have surely noticed this nice guy move of mine.

I looked at them and sure enough they both were staring at me. One of them smiled. I assumed she said "Nice gesture Rids. Well done!". I gave my "Thanks Amma" smile. Then both ladies looked at each other, and we all shared a grin, taking care not to wake up Saara. I imagined it was our silent "High - five". Who said you need language to communicate?

I wanted to look at Saara again, but her innocence was unbearable. I felt I would hurt her, just by glancing at her. I tried and tried but I wouldn't be able to look at her for more than 20 seconds. I was also afraid she would get up and find me staring at her. But I was never going to get another opportunity. I was never going to get another opportunity. The thought brought a feeling of sadness.

There was that enticing slight fragrance around her. I was sure it was not from a perfume. You can always spot smell of a perfume. They mostly make you dizzy. But this felt different. It was barely noticeable. That fragrance had pheromonal quality which felt known. I concluded it to be a mixture of sweet lime and lily. That's what Saara smelled like.  

As the auto took a sharp turn, her head came over my shoulder. Her butterfly clip scrapped my right cheek. "Ouch!", said the heart. But that didn't wake her up. If I had not known otherwise, I would have assumed she was drugged. Without realizing she held my arm for support. The ladies in front raised their eyebrows. The heart raised its speed.

I reminded me how it was pounding when we met those 2 men in the lane just half an hour ago...

February 19, 2014

Meri Bhains ko Andaa kyon maara?

Aka... Why did you hit my buffalo with an egg?

Well, I don't know....

May be I don't like you. (High possibility. I don't like a lot of people. I am a celebrated two faced)

May be I don't like bhains. (Zero probability. Bhains is my favorite animal. Screw you if you don't like Bhains).

May be I don't like Your bhains. (May be it's so cool that I am jealous. When I am jealous I do a lot of things.).

May be I don't like Andaas. (Of course, I don't like Andaa. I am allergic to it).

May be I had too many Andaas, I was throwing them out and your bhains just came on the way. (That's just a sad accident. But the bigger question is from where did I get so many Andaas?)

May be I just wanted to argue with you. (Which means either I hate you, or I like you a lot. Like really a lot).

May be I just wanted you to talk to me, so that I can tell you an important thing. ("Why didn't you call bro?" You ask. Well. Well. Well.).

May be I was just aiming at you, but your loyal bhains came in between to save her master. (Quite a possibility. I have a very bad aim. Besides numerous scientific researches say bhains is more loyal than dogs).

May be I was just practicing throwing Andaas. (Who knows throwing Andaas becomes an Olympic sports now that wrestling might not be.).

May be I saw a killer fly over your bhains, and killed it with my Andaa, thus saving your bhains. (In which case, you should thank me. And apologize for your bad behavior. In written).

May be I was just trying to feed your bhains by throwing Andaas at her. (As I said, I have a very bad aim. Have you ever eaten peanuts by throwing them in air?)

May be I was juggling with Andaas, and your bhains came in my way deliberately, making me fall down but taking all the Andaas on her. (I always maintain, Karma is a bitch!)

May be it was not me who threw Andaas at your bhains. May be it was someone else. (Go figure out Sherlock. Go!).

May be your bhains watches too much Saas-Bahu soaps. It threw Andaa on herself and blamed me. (After all bhains is a female. Saas-Bahu brainwashes all females. All.)

May be I am a racist and so I threw Andaa at your "black" buffalo. (Yeah, I am a proud racist. I like to call my black friend "Kaalu".  But then Black is my favorite color. Not a valid reason to throw Andaas at a poor bhains).

May be you are just drunk. (Check tomorrow morning. May be I haven't hit your bhains with Andaas after all).

May be I just wanted to find out, whose bhains is it anyway? Who let the bhains out?(Ok, now I know, it's you!).

May be it's you who hit your own bhains with an Andaa and now are trying to put the blame on me. (What wrong have I done to do you? Please tell me. We can sort it out. No need to bring a bhains in between our personal matters).

May be it's not me. It's the hen, which gave an Andaa while flying high over your bhains. (Highly unlikely I know. But Impossible is Nothing. Adidas).

May be your bhains participated in a talent show, but performed very poorly. (It's customary to throw Andaas and Tamaatars in such situations. Don't blame me. Blame your bhains).

... There could be a million other reasons. As I said, I don't know.

Long back a great guy told me "An eye for an eye makes the whole world Bhains ki eye" (that guy was a drug addict and died prematurely).

Let's forget the past. Stop obsessing  over who hit your bhains with an Andaa. Let's have truce now... Friends?

'Colored' Lord Krishna with all 'White' animals. I take inspiration from him for racism. Picture taken in a temple of AP.

February 15, 2014

Aur Roti Fir Jal Gayi

Subah utha to sir ka dard kuch kam tha. Aaj shanivaar tha to ek ghanta jyada sone ko mila. Jab shanivaar, itvaar ko chutti milti hai to lagta hai is duniya me sach me bhagwaan hain.

Kal Valentine Day ka paawan divas tha. Is din ko kuch log bade chaav se manaate hain. Unke saathi to aksar badal jaate hain, lekin tyohaar ka din aur josh har saal vaise hi kaayam rehta hai. Aur ye log aapko yaad dilana nahi bhoolte ki aaj Valentine Day hai, jaise aapko calender dekhna na aata ho. Kabhi kabhi to aisa lagta hai ki ye din un logon ko jalane ke liye banaya gaya hai jinke paas apni koi personal girlfriend ya boyfriend nahi hai. Kaash, girlfriend-boyfriend bhaade pe milte to ek din ke liye saath rakh lete. Kam se kam logon ko is baat par bhi jaleel karne ka mauka to na hi milta.

Khair, mujhe in sab cheejon se farak nahi padta. Agar girlfriend na hone ki beijjati hi karni hai to aapko 14 February tak rukne ki jarorat nahi hai. Aap kisi bhi din sare aam jillat thop sakte hain. Mere ek param-vairaagi dost ka kehna hai, pyaar vyaar sab moh maaya hota hai. Aur mera maana hai ki maaya ke moh me hi Valentine Day manaya jaata hai.

Uth kar socha, bahut din hue, aaj chhole bhature khaaye jayen. Lekin wallet nikala to bas 10 hi Rupye the. Fir yaad aaya ki meri girlfriend na hone ki asli vajah kya hai. Lagta hai aaj bhi apne haathon ki jali roti hi naseeb hogi. 1 Km door ATM jaane ki jehmat ab bhala kaun hi uthata. Phone uthaya to dekha ek dost ka message aaya hua tha. "Yaar lagta  hai saali se fir breakup ho gaya". 

Kal maine din me use phone kiya tha. Uska kuch din pehle uski girlfriend se break up hua tha. Use santavana ki jaroorat thi, aur mujhe Valentine Diwas par updesh ke liye ek shrota ki. Maine phone kar uski girlfriend ko khoob gaaliyaan di. Socha use accha lagega. "Valentine Diwas bajaarwaad ki upaj hai" vishay par ek behtareeen bhasan bhi de maara. Usne bina kuch kahe sab chup chaap suna. Fir aag babula ho bola "Haraamkhor teri bhabhi hai. Uske saath mera fir se make up ho gaya hai. Agli baar use kuch kaha to goli se uda dunga. Aur baajaarwadi duniya nahi, tu baajaru aadmi hai." Kehkar usne phone kaat diya. Beech me kahin usne "naach na jaane aangan theda" muhvara bhi prayog kiya tha jo mujhe ab yaad nahi. 

Pata nahi ek din me uski girlfriend "saali" se "teri bhabhi" kaise ban gayi. Aur fir agle hi din fir "saali" ban gayi. Lekin main uski dasha samajh sakta hoon. Log kehte hain pyaar andha hota hai. Mujhe to lagta hai andhe log pyaar kar baithte hain. Kameeno ko ye dikhai nahi deta ki kaun si girt me girne jaa rahe hain.

Maine thaali pakdi aur fir usme 3 katori aata daala. Canestar me aata bhi ab naa ke baraabar tha lekin aaj ka kaam chal hi jaana tha. Kal ki kal dekhi jaayegi. Jab aate-daal ka bhaav pata chalta hai to fir pyaar ko koi bhaav nahi deta. Jo log kehte hain ki vo sirf pyaar ke sahare reh sakte hain, shayad vo log roti nahi khaate. Pyaar khaate hain. Khair mujhe apne haath ki jali rotiyaan hi pasand hain.

Aata thaali me daalkar maine usme gilaas se naap kar bade dhyaan se paani milaya. Aur fir aata goonthna shuru kiya. Pichle kuch dino se maine paani ki sahi matra pehchaan li thi. Varna hamesha aata gila hokar halwa ban jaata tha. Aur fir apna khud ka haal bhi, gareebi me aata geela jaisa hi tha. 

Pados ke Mishra ji ko radio tej avaaj me sunane ki aadat thi. Agar kabhi unhe tok do to vo aavaaj aur badha dete the, fir kehte arrey maine suna nahi. Aata goonthate goonthte radio par khabar aayi ki Dilli ke mukhymantri ne gat raat apne pad se isteefa de diya. Sunkar bura laga. Mukhyamantri ji Dilli vaalon ko Valentine Day par Jan Lokayukta bill ka tohfa dena chahte the. Vo baat alag hai ki pyaar karne vaalon ko bhrastachaar se koi farak nahi padta. Unka dimaag to pyaar ne pehle hi bhrast kar rakha hai. Lekin kuch logon ke liye unka isteefa bhi Valentine Day ke gift se kam nahi tha. AAP vaale apni faaltu raajneeti se Dilli ke logon ka BAAP banana chahte the, lekin Dilli ke logon ne  dikha diya ki yahan asli baap kaun hai. 

Maine apna aata ghoonthna khatam kiya aur tava stove par chadaya. Aata sahi nahi guntha tha, lagta tha Congress aur BJP ka gathbandhan ho. Aadha  geela aadha sookha. Lekin Aap ko kya parvaah thi. Apne ko to bas is gathjod se nikali rotiyan sekni thi.. 

Pehle ek chota sa nivala nikaal kar tave par chadaya. Maa ne sikhaya tha ki pehli roti bhagwaan ko chadai jaati hai. Achaa hi hai bhagwaan ko bhookh kam lagti hai. Varna itne aate me to ek hi jan ki bhookh mit sakti thi. 

Doosre stove par chay ka pateela chadha diya. Sabji, daal ki jaroorat nahi thi. Banane vaale ne Jam bhi acchi cheej banai hai.  Fridge se nikaal kar Jam ki bottle table par rakhi. Dheemi aanch par teen chaar rotiyan bel kar sab saath me hi chadha di. Ab bhookh sehen nahi ho rahi thi. Jo bhi tha jaldi pakaana tha. 

Is mahine TV, akhbaar, gaano se tauba kar rakhi thi. To time paas karne ka jariya hi nahi tha. Gussa aur badh raha tha. Apne aap ko aise ool jalool pachdon me daalne ke liye 4-5 baar kosa. Fir jaakar, kursi par baith kuch fal kaatne laga. Fal kaatata kam aur khaata jyada. 

Fir Roma ka phone aaya. Baachen khil gayi. Din me usase ek baar baat na ho to dinn hi poora nahi hota. Aap soch rahe honge ki Roma meri girlfriend hai. Chee chee, aap aisa socha bhi kaise sakte hain. Nahi aisa bilkul nahi hai. Hum to sirf ghanist mitra hain. Ek baar maine Roma ko kaha ki main tumse bahut pyaar karta hoon. To Roma tunak kar boli, "No, we are just close friends". Tabse Roma meri ghanist mitra bin gayi.

Roma ko shor pasand nahi tha aur Mishra ji radio band karne ke mood me nahi lag rahe the, to maine chhat par jaakar uska phone uthaya. Oopar halki halki baarish ho rahi thi. Phone uthate hi chillane lagi ki phone uthane me itni der kyon lag gayi. Jab bataya ki main rotiyaan bel raha tha to kuch shaant hui. Fir boli ki kal ek bhi ladke se use phool nahi mila (dhatt tere ki.). Sun kar khed prakat kiya ki meri ghanist mitra ka koi boyfriend nahi hai. Fir use bhi "Valentine Diwas bajaarwaad ki upaj hai" vishay par apna bhaashan sunaya. Use kuch samajh nahi aayi. Boli, laal phool na sahi koi peela vaala hi de deta. Main samjha gaya bhains ke aage been bajaane ka koi faayada nahi hai. 

Bola ki shaam ko milo, chalke tumhare liye ek gamla khareedte hain. To vo hans ke boli nahi aaj to bahut kaam hai, kal milte hain. Fir usne kal ka ghatnakram vistaar poorvak sunaya. Usse baat karne me khud bolne ka mauka kam hi milta hai, lekin mujhe bhi uski avaaj sunana pasand hai to main kabhi sikhayat nahi karta. Aakhri me usne "Happy Belated Valentine Day" bol kar phone rakh diya. 

Phone par Roma ki tasveer fir se dekhi. Kuch pata nahi chala ki khus houn ya dukhi. Baarish bhi tej ho chuki thi. Fir yaad aaya ki main to neeche rotiyan chadha kar aaya tha. Bhaagkar neeche pahuncha to dekha ki chai kaashi nadi ki tarah ufaan par thi. Aur rotiyan jalkar koyla ho chuki thi.

Aur kuch is tarah aaj fir roti jal gayi. Aaj rotiyan aur dino se jyada hi jali hui thi. Inko khane ka matlab apna shanivaar aur itvaar dono kharaab karna tha. Rotiyan dustbin me fainki aur kitchen saaf kiya. Ab to chai peene ka  bhi mann nahi kar raha tha.

Ab ek hi chaara tha. Maine bhagwaan ko roti khilai thi, ab unke karz utaarne ka samay aa gaya tha.  

Paas ke gurudwaare me langar ka samay ho raha tha. Maine ghar ke darwaaje par taala lagaya aur gurudwaare ki aur chal pada. 

February 14, 2014

"Happy Valentine's Day, Love"

14th February was less than 2 hours away. Naina was going to raped and killed. She knew that well by now. She was just grateful they hadn't touched her yet.  She could hear them laughing and hooting, as the animals had found their prey for tonight. She guessed there were 4 people in the jeep that was running fast into the jungles. 4 men, who were going to rip her apart soon. But she didn't know what to feel. She had stopped crying and screaming for help. It was clear now that no one was coming for help in the deep dark jungles of Assam. Even her captors had tied her hands and legs but did not bother to gag her. The trees and snakes and occasional leopards weren't going to be her savior. She just wanted the inevitable to happen now, so that she could die and be done with all this.

She tried to remember, what she was doing here thousands of Kms away from her home in Bangalore. She had come here for a little vacation with her friends. Her 'normal' friends. Friends who wouldn't be so stupid to stray away from the camp at night, when you cannot see anything. 

She just wanted to 'see' them one last time, so that they could deliver her message to her uncle - "Sorry Ammana". She didn't have a mother and father. They had left her an abundance of money, but what she wanted the most was them. Her Uncle was both her Amma and Nana now.

They had all come here to celebrate Valentine's Day. Of course she didn't have a lover. Who would love Naina? But she thought if she could just stay close to the couples in love, may be she would feel loved herself. Besides she just wanted to get out of home for the first time in so many years, and feel the fresh air. Her uncle tried to persuade her, almost pleaded to not go with her friends all by her own. He even offered to take her some place "better" (she knew he meant "safer") on a family vacation. But she was 22 now. She felt she was entitled to be independent. Even though, her uncle didn't feel so, she was confident she could take care of herself. And who wants to go on a family vacation when you are 22?

The jeep stops after jumping up and down the barren tracks of the jungle. From the smell and breeze she sensed that they were near some kind of lake. The men get out of the jeep and start talking something. They were probably deciding "their turns". They had been saying a lot of things to each other all through the road, but she couldn't understand a word. It was their local dialect. They were most probably tribal people who had come to their favorite adda.

After a while they stop talking and start unloading the 'package'. She starts crying again, desperately pleading them to let her go. She even tries to speak in her broken Hindi, hoping against hope that they might understand. One of them gives 3 tight slaps on her face, and kicks her on the abdomen and orders her to shut up. Two of them start dragging her from her hands while 2 others walk behind spitting at her. The path was full of gravels, and Naina was hurting, but who cared?

After dragging her for about half a KM, they throw her in a shallow pit. Naina understood they were going to dump her body in the same pit after they were done with her. She was going to be raped in her own future grave. Naina won't stop shrieking, trying somehow to get out of that muddy pit. And they all were laughing uncontrollably, enjoying her struggle.


Suddenly a loud echoing noise and one of the men was down on earth. Before anyone could understand, another loud noise and another man was smelling the soil. The other two started running in one direction screaming like mad. Two more sounds and everything was silent now. 

Naina was scared. She did not know what was going on. It was a full moon night, but she could not see anything. It was dark for her. Very dark...

There was silence everywhere now. No more laughing, no more chiding, no spitting on her. But she was too afraid to move. She lay there waiting for someone to come save her.

After about 5 mins, Naina hears some footsteps approaching her. Her heart starts beating loudly. Did the men return. No, no, they were dead. Then who was coming? Who was coming? She starts crying again. 

The sound of footsteps stop after a few seconds. "Who's there?", a deep husky voice penetrates the silence.

"Please don't hurt me, please. I want to go back to my Ammana. Please don't hurt me. Please don't hurt me.", Naina kept repeating loudly.

"Stop crying lady and identify yourself", the voice was monotonous, but had a British accent. 

"My name... My name is Naina. I... I live with my Ammana in Bangalore. I came here with my friends on 2 days vacation. These men...", Naina stops and  takes a few deep breaths. "These men, they.. they kidnapped me from near our resort... It's on the outskirts of the jungle." 

The man puts a torch in the pit. There was a slightly chubby girl, lying in mud curled up like a baby. She had curly charcoaled hair, like little snakes coming out of her head. She had a muddied light blue shirt and a pinkish skirt on her. Her shoes were missing. Her black sweater was half torn from all the dragging and she was bleeding from her back, knees and ankles. She was Naina.

The man enters the pit and comes closer to her. "Naayna, my name is Arthur. I am a tourist here from England. You need first aid. I am going to touch you to help you get up. Please don't be afraid".

As Arthur tries to grab her arm, she shivers and clutches herself tightly. "It's alright, it's alright. Shhhh... They are gone. They can't... hurt you anymore. You are safe... from them. Now can you raise your left arm for me, so that I can hold you".

Naina stays still for a minute, while Arthur waits patiently. He knew, she was traumatized and had to be dealt carefully. Naina slowly raises her left arm, and Arthur grabs her and pulls her up carefully. He asks Naina to put her arms around his neck for support. But Arthur was too tall for her. He was over 6 feet in height while Naina barely managed 5' 4. So Arthur holds her from both sides and helps her get out of the pit.

"Naayna, if we take the lake it will be easier for me to take you to your destination.  I came here by my cruiser boat. It's parked in the lake about 1.5 Kms from here. I had already blown the tyres of their jeep, so they can't run away. So we will have to walk up to that place. Can you do that for me?"

"Ya... yeah. Yeah".

"OK, so let's take baby steps. We don't need to rush". They start walking slowly back through the gravel path. Who knew, she would be able to go back through that path again. Naina was limping but Arthur had held her tightly.

"So, Naayna, tell me who all have come with you? You said you are from Bangalore, right?", Arthur wanted to keep her talking so that she doesn't get to think about the nightmare that she just went through.

"Yeah... it's called Bangaluru now". Naina's voice had started to mellow down now. It was a good sign.

"Oh, is it?"

"I came here... with 6 of my college friends. They wanted to celebrate... Valentine's Day. I tagged along with them. Ammana... didn't want me to go", she starts crying again.

"Hey, hey, hey... It's alright. Shh..". Arthur hugs her tightly. Arthur was too huge and it felt he was hugging a teddy. 

A hug from a complete stranger, alone in the middle of jungle was too weird, but Naina could care the least. She just wanted to feel safe. And Arthur's embrace felt warm in that chilly night. She didn't resist. 

After about 2 minutes, Arthur breaks the silence. "Are you alright now, Naayna?". She nods slightly.

"You are shivering girl. Here... take my jacket". Naina doesn't move. So, Arthur helps her put on his jacket. It came up to her knee, but she felt better.

"Ohhh.. wait. Damn it, I forgot something down at the pit. I need to go back and take care of it".

"No.. No No Arthur, please don't go. Please don't go.". Naina felt she was in danger again.

"It's important Naayna. Do not worry, you will be always in my sight. We have hardly walked 10 mins. I will be back in a jiffy".

"Please Arthur, please". She wanted to clutch his hands and not let go, but something stopped her from trying to do that.

"Here take this whistle, if you feel you are in danger, just blow this once. I will be here within 10 seconds". Arthur helps Naina sit down under a tree and puts a whistle in her hand.

"Nobody will hurt you today Naina, it's my promise. I'll be back before you can blink an eye". Arthur says and moves away.

Naina sat there, covering herself from Arthur's jacket. She knew those men were dead, but she didn't feel safe. The winters were still not over and it was a breezy night. She could hear the sounds of animals coming from a distance. February 13 was still not over. They had all planned to party at exact 12 am tonight, but she knew right now her friends would be desperately searching for her. The men had already broken her phone, so there was no way they could find her right now. She had ruined everyone's plans. Why are you so stupid Naina? Why?

She put her face between her closed knees and shrunk herself a little more. She felt there was something in Arthur's jacket. Something heavy. She put her hands in its pocket and found a big knife in one of them. She deduced she was a hunter. But he had just killed 4 Indian men, won't he be prosecuted? No, no I won't let anything happen to Arthur. I will tell Ammana everything, he will definitely save Arthur. Nothing will happen to him. 

The sound of someone approaching startles her. She immediately takes out Arthur's knife and wields it. "Who's there, tell me who's there?".

"I asked you to use whistle girl!", Naina recognized that voice.

"I... I..". Naina didn't know what to say.

"It's alright, now can you put that knife back in the jacket? Let's move". Arthur helps Naina get up again.

"Naayna, I will have to carry you up to the boat. It's still about a Km from here and I know you are not able to walk." Arthur meant it. Naina didn't have much choice either. She was walking bare feet on the way full of  gravels and sharp shrubs and she had a deep cut in her left knee.

Naina nods slightly. Arthur gets forward and extends his hands. Naina doesn't move. Probably she was still deciding. But Arthur didn't want to waste his time. So he gets near and lifts her up slightly taking care not to touch the wounds on her back. 

Naina was slightly heavy but Arthur's strong arms wouldn't have felt anything. He starts taking big strides in one direction. 

"We are just about to reach... It's just nearby... I hope I am not hurting you.." Arthur kept saying something throughout their 10 minutes journey to keep Naina's mind busy. She understood that too. She was feeling drowsy. May be she was too tired. Or, may be Arthur's arms were too comfortable. Naina wasn't interested to know either.

"There. You see. That's our cruiser!". Arthur points in one direction. Naina doesn't look that way. She was examining a skull shaped locket in Arthur's  neck.

Arthur takes her to the boat and puts her on a recliner. "Feel comfortable, Naayna. Let me bring the first aid box from the cabin". 

He returns with a can of water and a first aid box. Naina drinks some water from his hand. Arthur then washes her wounds and does dressing. 

"There. We are done. Now let's take you to your final destination!". Arthur says probably trying to cheer her up, but Naina kept looking one way towards the water.

Arthur notices her for the first time under moon light. Naina was traumatized, but she still looked so beautiful. The only thing more round than her face were her eyes. She had perfect cheekbones, and her nose looked like a Chinese date. She puckered her lips, eyes still glued in one direction.

"So, tell me about your uncle, Naayna." Arthur starts up the engine of the cruiser.

"You mean.. you mean my Ammana". 

"Yeah, sorry, sorry. I mean your Amanaaa", Arthur corrects himself quickly.

"My Ammana is the only person I am left with. My mom and dad passed away in an accident when I was very young. But my Ammana never let me feel that I was alone. He would give his life for me. "

As the boat starts to race deep into the lake, Arthur slowly picks up a baseball bat from the floor and moves to the other side of Naina.

Naina keeps talking unchanted, "He didn't marry himself because he thought his wife would never be able to love me as her child. My Ammana is...".

Arthur lifts the bat and quickly throws it towards her, stopping just inches from her face. Naina doesn't buzz an inch. "... the only person I trust".

"YOU ARE BLIND. YOU ARE BLIND!", Arthur shouts at the peak of his voice. "NO, NO NO...". He falls down with a thundering noise.

Naina gets startled from the noise and gets up from the recliner. "Arthur, Arthur, are you alright? Arthur where are you?". Naina tries to search him in the full moon light.

Arthur grabs her hand and helps her sit back in the recliner. "It's alright Arthur. I lost my eyes in the same accident in which I lost my parents. May be this is what God wanted. But he sent my Ammana to take care of me. My Ammana says I will be able to see again one day. Ammana is consulting the best doctors in India. He...". 


Naina gets silent. There was just the sound of breeze and motor now.

"Your Amanaaa just wants your money. He didn't kill you all these years because then the money would have gone to the trust. ".

"NO, YOU ARE LYING. YOU ARE A LIAR", Naina cries hoarsely.

"This is the truth Naayna. You will have to believe me". Arthur's voice was monotonous again.

"But my Ammana loves me. He loves me more than anything else in the word", Naina was almost pleading now. Every inch of her wanted to deny what she just heard. Because if that were true then her life of 22 years would become meaningless.  

"He doesn't love you. He never loved you. All he ever planned was to give you a death where you would disappear completely. After a few years you would be presumed dead, and he will become the natural heir of all your property. Nobody would know where you went, and how you were killed. The perfect death."

Naina was crying now. Arthur continued, "He wanted to kill you by taking you on a family vacation. But you won't buzz, so he had to change his plans. He contacted me about 2 weeks ago, and informed that you are going on a vacation in the jungles of Assam. I have been keeping an eye on your group for past 1 day."

"So who are you really? Is your name really Arthur or is that also a lie?", Naina had lost her faith in everything she knew about the world.

 "My name is Arthur Naayna, but I am not a tourist from England. I am a Russian hitman. People call me a serial killer, a mass murderer, a kill-contractor among other things. I have killed 78 people in past 11 years. Never missed a target. I am the best at what I do."

"But if you wanted me dead, why didn't you let those 4 men kill me? Why be a hero then? Why?", Naina shouted out loud.

"I wanted to give you a death of dignity, Naayna. Those men wanted to not only kill your body but your psyche too. I wouldn't have let that happen. I have given them what they deserved Naayna. I am coming after mutilating their body beyond recognition. The animals are going eat away their meat now"..

There was a minute silence. Naina thought she was going through a nightmare. It was just a bad bad dream. Everything would go away once she opens her eyes. But her eyes were wide open.

"Besides, I don't want you dead Naayna. It's your uncle who does so. I am just hired to kill you."

Naina's cries had turned to muffled weeps. Her world was turned upside down in last 10 mins. And she knew she probably had less than 10 mins to live now.

"But what that bastard didn't tell me was that you are blind. I would have never taken your contract otherwise.."

"Arthur... can you do one thing. ", Naina interrupts him in between. Her voice was eerily calm now. She had already accepted her fate.


"Can you let me go?"

There was silence again. "No... No Naayna. I can't do that. I am hired for a job and I must complete it.".

"Ok, I thought so...", She pauses.  "Then please tell my uncle, I forgive him. Tell him I would have given my life myself if he had asked once". Naina was mentally preparing herself now.

Arthur was clinching his teeth. He never felt so helpless in any of his kills before. The cruiser had come in the middle of the lake now.  Arthur halts the cruiser's motor. There was nothing but water on all the sides.

"What are you thinking Naayna?", Arthur enquires.

"I am alone Arthur. I have absolutely no one in this world. I am going to die alone.  I don't want to die. I.. "... Arthur didn't want to kill her either. But he was duty bound. There was nothing more important to him than his contract.

"Can I do something for you?".

"I am afraid Arthur. What can you do for me? What can you possibly do? Tell me!", Naina barked.

Arthur drops on his knees in front of her recliner. "All I can offer you is a hug right now. Come here." Naina feels two arms opened around her.

Naina was really alone. No one loved her. Her killer was the only one who was there to listen to her. She just wanted to feel safe for a few moments.

She moves ahead and hugs Arthur tightly. Arthur closes his arms behind her. Naina breaks down completely, "Why Ammana, why did you do this? Why?... Aaahhhh..." Arthur hugs her a little tighter.

Several minutes pass, but Arthur doesn't move an inch. This was the only thing that he could do for her. Naina felt the same warmth she felt when Arthur hugged her the first time. She felt safe. Her nerves start to calm down.

After about 20 minutes, Naina speaks slowly, "Arthur".


"I am ready". But she doesn't let go of her grip from him.

Arthur looks at his watch. It was 12.19 am now. Naina's first Valentine's Day. And her last Valentine's Day.

He takes out the knife from the pocket of his jacket which Naina was wearing. 

Arthur removes the hair against her hair, takes his mouth nearby and slowly whispers, "Happy Valentine's Day, Love".

He quickly grabs her mouth with his left hand and stabs her in her upper back with his right hand. The knife pierces Naina's heart and Arthur's jacket together. A stream of blood spills over Arthur's face. Naina's blind eyes scream out, as he slowly cuts her open. She was struggling, but Arthur's hold was too strong for her. Not even a single voice could come out of her gagged mouth. She kept struggling for 2-3 minutes and then she got still. Forever.

Arthur had a ritual to cut out the right eye of his 'targets'. He would preserve them as trophies. But he didn't want to do that for Naina. She was blind.

He got up and looked at Naina's moonlight drenched face one last time. She was dead, but she still looked so beautiful. There was no trauma, no anxiety, no pain on her face now. She looked calm.

Arthur picks her blood soaked body and takes it to the edge of the boat. He looks at her again and then throws her in the lake.

He then starts the motor of his boat again, and moves towards the other side of the lake. While Naina's body gets buried in the water. Never to be found again.

February 08, 2014

Devil's advocate: Love will make you Bankrupt

So let's talk about Love for a while. I have been "in Love" quite a few times. Some of them turned out to be short term flings, others proved to be a catastrophe. It has given some blessed times, and has also shown me how it feels to breakdown completely with no hope of recovery. I have fallen in Love, then fallen some more, until I hit rock bottom. Only to rise up and try all over again. And after years of in and out of all this, I have come to one conclusion "Love is a Business in Loss".  

I am going to be 100% honest here. I am not against Love (and by "Love" here I don't mean the Religious, Devotional or Parental kind. They are all great too, but here I talk about the Romantic Love mixed with Obsession with a tinge of Lust. The one that we the Aam Aadmis do.). In fact, it's important to fall in Love at least once in your life.

But then, it doesn't change the fact that you will always be in loss if you Love.  More often than not, it will push you to the verge of bankruptcy, may be not in monetary terms but in terms of physical, mental emotional, spiritual well being. Don't believe me? Of course you don't. I don't want to believe myself too. But then... Read on...

Let me first enumerate some of the Benefits of Love:

1. Love makes you strong : Love does make you strong. It gives the strength to do things that you never thought you were capable of. Love cannot accept you to be weak. You cannot accept yourself to be weak when you are in Love. You cannot give excuses anymore. You will have to get off your butt and DO things, even if you are scared to hell to do it. Because now if you don't, Love won't forgive you. But don't worry. Love gives the courage to face your scariest of demons. Have faith.

2. Love makes you care : Suddenly the health and spirit of another human becomes more important than your own. You cannot sleep, if they cannot sleep. You are obsessed about the happiness of another person. You think about ways to make them laugh, to entertain them, even if it means ridiculing yourself. It makes you less self-centric, deflates your ego, which is an absolutely fantastic side effect. If nothing else fall in Love for this. Become more caring humans. Give me a better society to live in.

3. Love makes you creative : This one is my favorite. Love makes you an artist! One day you wake up and find out you are a musician or a poet or a painter. You discover that you can write the most beautiful of love letters, the most charming of good morning messages. And if by chance you are the most pathetic "uncreative" person in the world, you haggle your friends to do it all for you.  You show your creativity in convincing them to do it for you. You pay them if that's what it takes.

4. Love brings a kind of freshness in the mundane : I hate the mundane. That's one of the reasons I keep on doing all kinds of "stupid" stuffs and experiments on self. Nobody likes to maintain the same routine of bath-work-internet-sleep everyday (with bath, work and sleep being optional). When you are in Love it breaks the pattern. It makes the day a little unpredictable. You do not want this day, this time, this moment to end. But, you also cannot wait for the next day to start, when the same time, same moment will return. 

5. Love helps forget the pain : We all have the pain points in our lives. We all have mental wounds (if you don't, do tell, I have been desperately looking for you). Broken relationships with family members, an expired loved one, a long lost friend, a big debt, failure after failure in career. Love (at least momentarily) makes you forget all that. Getting just a glimpse, hearing just an alphabet sends a strong shiver down the spine. It's kind of a non-sexual orgasm. Love is a drug of strongest of qualities, except that it's legal (in most countries, and regions). It's seductive and it's addictive. But anything that helps you feel more human should be welcomed, isn't it?

Won't it be wonderful if we could be in love 24 hours a day, 365 days an year, 70 years in a life span? Yeah Love is great, Love is awesome. Until, you start counting the Downsides of Love:

1. Love makes you weak : You tell me whom you love, and I will know where to hurt you. I do not care how strong you are physically and mentally, if I hurt the one you love you will feel pain. Because you are so protective of the person you love, you are virtually naked yourself. And here's what's worse than that. When you truly love, you give your psyche to another person. That's a scary thing to do. They now have the power to destroy your life, and turn you into a piece of meat over bones, who shits every day. You are screwed now. Unfortunately, you can't love without making yourself vulnerable first. I am sorry.

2. Love makes you delusional : Better phrase would be "Love makes you Stupid". You start doing things, that a sane person would never do. And if a friend or family tries to advise you, boom! they are gone! They aren't a friend or family anymore. It's like being under influence and not knowing what you are doing and the consequences you will have to face. Of course, love gives you the courage to do things, and but it also takes away the ability to think and judge if this is even the right thing to do. And when you come out of the trap of love, you start to see how much of an idiot you were. You start to hate yourself for doing all that. I told you, you are screwed.

3. Love disappoints : Love makes you expect things. Expectations always disappoint. Always. You send a message and wait and wait and wait for them to respond. But they don't. Or do it very late. You want to Facebook chat with them for hours. But they don't. Or do it very less.  You expect them to care the same way as you care for them.  But they have other important stuffs to do. You try calling them, try to plan a hangout, try to meet them after office hours. But they are too busy to do all that. You get the pattern, right?

4. Love changes you (sometimes for good, but mostly bad) : When you are in Love, it changes you as a person. I suspect down to the molecular level. And many times that change is permanent. Before the love came knocking down your door, you had your own aspirations, goals, dreams, plans, hobbies, passion. But once love enters your life, it affects every aspect of it. You need to modify your aspirations and dreams according to the convenience another person now. You need to ditch some of your goals, because they are incompatible with your goal to be in love forever. Here's the kicker: the aspirations of another person now start to take priority. You lose your own identity. I am not sure if that's a good thing.

5. Love distracts : This is my personal problem with Love. I am very particular about my productivity day-on-day. But love makes it impossible to be productive. You cannot focus. You cannot perform to the best of your abilities. Love diminishes your thinking capability. Love is all you can think of, while brushing, while excreting, while speaking, while eating, before going to bed, in your dreams and after you wake up. It start from being a part of your life, then it becomes the only part of your life.

6. Love asks for sacrifices : And sometimes your friends and family are part of these sacrifices. People can juggle between family and friends, or friends and friends. But I do not know any person who can maintain a balance between their "Love" and the others they love. We all have 24 hours in the day, most of us have finite resources (read money, energy, will power etc.). The more we spend these on one person, the less we are left for others. And you will be surprised, Love usually wins over family and friends.

7. Love gives you pain : When love hurts, it hurts badly. So badly that it makes it impossible to get out of bed and face the day. It makes it hard to even breath. You want to run away somewhere, but it won't help. The haunting memories would follow you everywhere you go. Every second, every moment, there will be tremendous pain. Sometimes you will hurt yourself physically to momentarily save yourself from the mental agony. What makes the matter worse is that it affects your near and dear ones too. They can't see you in this situation. Alas, there isn't a switch that could stop you from hurting. That could somehow instantly make you "normal" again. Somebody should invent that switch.

8. Love Kills : Time is the greatest of all healers. For most people, it gets better with time. Depending upon how much of yourself you gave into love, it takes weeks or months or sometimes years to heal. Scars will remain; momentarily you will break down once in a while. But bit-by-bit, you will make yourself whole again. Unfortunately, some people are not able to reach that point. The torture reaches to such an extent that taking their lives (and/or the one they loved) seems to be the only solution available. Love kills.

Now, I am a mathematics person. And anyone with elementary knowledge of integers would agree 5 - 8 = -3 is a wrong place to be in. You will lose in love. That's a fact. The faster you accept this, better for you. Love is the "One Ring" from The Lord of the Rings. One day, you will find it somewhere, get obsessed with it. But slowly it will turn you into Gollum. Call it "My Precious". Call it.

So what am I suggesting, should we not fall in love? Oh, I suspect if that's even in your hands to decide. My job here was to at least caution you of the perils of love. So that when eventually you do go fall in the ditch, you know the kind of shit that's coming your way. (But of course, whom am I kidding, you already know all this).

Contemplate on what I wrote for sometime. Till then, I will go find someone to love.

February 01, 2014


Books Read so far

  1. Unprocrastinate - Leo Babauta - 67 pages (a short book on Procrastination. Writer bets you will read it later!).

Skills Learned So far

Accomplishments of this Year