Because Life is too important to be taken seriously.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

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The Prince of Yadu

Cover Image: Eternal Love by Deepika Kabe

Two teens were pitched against the greatest killers in the kingdom. The rigged match was however won by them. One of them grew up to become God, another founded the principles of Yoga. 

“Hurry up, Jaimini,” said the poor old farmer as he stepped out of the house. He tried to shut the door of his small hut but the handle was broken, “We should have got this handle fixed.” “Forget about it now,” Jaimini, his wife, said, “The handle is not the only thing broken in this house. The roof is leaking, we have food supplies only for a couple of more days. But what is it to you? You spend whatever you earn on booking tickets for those wrestling matches or drinking alcohol.” “Stop with your complains already,” he said, “Today the match is free for all. It is not always that the king invites the entire village to watch the match of Canura and Mustika.” “Aren’t those the two topmost wrestlers in entire Mathura?” asked Jaimini, remembering her husband speak about them. “Indeed they are,” the farmer explained, “Canura, the man with the power of 100 elephants in his arms and Mustika, the one who can stop a raging bull with his bare fist. It is going to be the fight of the century, we should hurry up if we need good seats.” “I have heard people from as far as Vrindavan have come for this match,” Jaimini broadcasted the local gossip as they rushed towards the stadium. As they hurried along the potholes laden dirty path towards the stadium, they saw many people gathering from the huts nearby. “Look at the state of our Mathura,” Jaimini said, “It was very nice when Ugrasen was the king. This new King Kansa has ruined...” “Hush,” said the farmer stopping her, “He has spies everywhere. Just keep walking to the arena or he will throw you in the wrestling ring.” “Today is like a festival,” spoke another man, who turned out to be village cobbler. Indeed, it was festive today. The wrestling ring was decorated and it was free for all. The marks and spots of drunken adventures were cleaned. Infact the wrestling arena was the only clean area in entire Mathura. People had come in hordes from different parts of the kingdom, even the peace loving village folks from Vrindavan had come. A group of ladies had just arrived in a bullock cart for the event. The girls wore garlands made of flowers as decoration. They rushed inside but not before grabbing the attention of every male on the way. They were the gopis from Vrindavan. As the farmer and his family made their way to the seats, they realized something was amiss. Indeed the wrestler Canura and Mustika were present in the arena but with them were two teenagers. They were new to Jaimini; she had never seen these boys in the district. She turned around to the cobbler's wife and inquired about them, “The muscular one is Balarama, Son of Rohini,” said the cobbler’s wife, Dusvasini, “From the garden village of Vrindavana. The other one with dark complexion is Krishna, son of Devaki, it is said that he single handedly lifted the mountain of Govardhan, calmed the venomous snake Kalia and is also the killer of Madhu.” “Don’t believe in hearsay,” said the cobbler sitting next to his wife, “No one can slay the three headed monster Madhu. I believe these boys must have done some mischief and are punished.” “But then why Canura and Mustika?” questioned the farmer, “Why the two most prized fighters in the city? These teens could be defeated by a normal wrestler. Mustika is a killer, he prefers to kill his opponents and Canura ,he gets sadistic pleasure in torturing them first.” The chatter around the stadium would not die down, people looked in disbelief as two skinny lads faced the mighty beast of wrestlers. Finally drums started beating and someone blew the royal conch. King Kamsa was here, he sat on the highest throne surrounded by the circle of Guards. Strange, people thought, the king never had so much protection. Kamsa ordered the match to begin. First Balaram and Mustika locked hand to hand. It was said that Mustika could stop a bull with his bare hands but Balaram on the other hand had dragged many bulls with his. Krishna smiled at Canura who grinned back. ‘Easy meat’, thought Canura. He rushed towards Krishna but being an active teen, Krishna simply jumped out of the path and Canura smashed his head against the railing. Rubbing his head Canura looked behind only to find Krishna punching him hard against the temple. Here Balaram had succeeded in pinning down Mustika to the ground. The later surprised by the strength shown by the teenager couldn’t get out of his grip. Both Balaram and Krishna were well versed in martial arts. Canura was still recovering from the punch when he saw Krishna sitting on his stomach pinning him down and punching hard on the chest. Nanda, Yashoda and Rohini were sitting in the audience looking at the match. At that moment Vasudev realized his son had gone way beyond his childhood pranks. Besides them Uddhava the fairer cousin of Krishna realized what his cousin was doing, by not giving Canura a chance to recover, he was tilting the balance of match in his favor. Behind a circle of heavy guards King Kamsa lay biting his nails, ‘it was true then, these were the kids he was warned about. The eighth son of his sister Devaki would come to kill him’. He looked across Kanaka, his younger brother who had come armed for the wrestling match. Kanaka assured him those boys would not reach the king. One mighty blow near the heart by Krishna and Canura had a massive heart failure. He died on the spot. Nanda gasped as Krishna simply smiled sitting on the chest of the dead wrestler. His son was no longer a child anymore. Balaram on the other hand was still dueling with Mustika, Balarama used his entire force and hit Mustika hard on his forehead. Blood started oozing out of the mouth and nose as Mustika collapsed on the ground. Looking at the fallen wrestlers the entire crowd became silent. Canura and Mustika had many supporters. As soon as both the wrestlers collapsed Kuta, Sala and Tosala came forward to tackle the boys. Balaram knocked Kuta dead with a brutal blow while Sala and Tosala had their head cracked with clever tricks from Krishna. Tired and sweating from the fights Krishna raised his hands to the cheering audience. The entire stadium screamed their hearts out. Angry and frustrated Kamsa screamed from his seat, “Take this villager and his brother outside Mathura. I want them killed... all of them, I will kill Devaki and Vasudev and I want Ugrasen to die. Kill them all.” Kanaka immediately sprang into action and ordered the guards to seize the boys. The guards put their weapons down. “The fight was unfair,” said the head guard, “We cannot raise weapons against unarmed teenagers.” Krishna swiftly rushed on top of the podium and jumped near Kamsa’s seat, “Look around you cruel King Kamsa,” Krishna screamed, “These guards are more loyal to your father than to you. These subjects are suffering in your city but you were only concerned about your own safety.” Kamsa drew out his sword while across the podium Kanaka and seven other brothers of Kamsa drew their swords and charged towards Krishna. Balaram raised the elephant tusk he was carrying and charged towards the brothers. Krishna tackled Kamsa and made him throw his sword on the ground. He dragged the defeated King in the middle of the arena. Balaram had killed all the brothers and was now dueling Kanaka. Krishna threw the limp Kamsa in the middle of arena, “Look around you, the angry tortured people. You were entrusted to take their care but look at their plight. You ruined so many lives, so many families. Why? Because you wanted to become a king?” The entire audience had their eyes on him and Kamsa looked around the area, they were jeering and cheering for Krishna. “You imprisoned your own father, arrested your own sister,” Krishna continued, “Why? To avoid your fate?” “You were warned long back,” Krishna said, “About my arrival and you were given a chance to change your ways. You were informed that I was going to come to smite you and that I had the power to stop you, yet instead of improving your ways you continued pursuing me. You killed my six brothers and tried to kill my sister. I would have not come in your path had you not dragged me on it. Look at your subjects, look at your people whom you exploited. Look at your Mathura, the one you were so desperate to have, look what you have done to it.” Kamsa saw his younger brother Kanaka getting killed at the hands of Balarama, he got up on his knees and pleaded, “I am sorry,” he said, “Please forgive me. I was wrong, you are my nephew.” “I am the son whose mother you have imprisoned for so many years. I am the boy who you pitted against two killers for your amusement. I am the boy who you pursued with so much aggression that you chose to destroy the village of vrindavan countless number of times. Every time you send a new demon with a new trick I had to stop them.” Krishna sat on his chest and pounded it with his fist. The heart gave away first and Kamsa died on the spot. Krishna looked around to the cheering crowd, the guards, the farmers and the every city dweller cheered at the defeat of their cruel king. Balaram now drenched in blood joined him in the glory The crowd cheered, ‘We have a savior’, ‘The princes of yadu are here’. Somewhere amidst the cheering and jeering crowd, Jaimini whispered to her husband, “This was indeed a great fight. What were you talking about super wrestlers, they got defeated by a bunch of skinny teenagers. I can’t believe you spend all our savings on these stupid fights.”

The story is a work of complete fiction. It is loosely based on the story of Death Of Kamsa in Bhagwat Puran and Mahabharata.

Monday, November 17, 2014

If you have never met the Runner, you probably are one of those people who live a fulfilling life. Have kids, play it safely till retirement and then wait for death. Not runner, nope. He has met Death, twice by some account, messed with God's, raced from stone age to the future and is running forever since the beginning of time. Runner is the messenger for those who did not want their messages to be read by Government, Gods and Ghouls. Extremely resourceful with the knack of escaping the law, bullets and even death, twice so far. All his adventures begin and end with one conclusion. He is mysterious.



This adventure began when the hooded figure arrived at Runners lunch table few days ago.

“You are here,” said the hood looking at the Kheema Pav, Runner was gobbling.
“What the f***,” Runner spat the morsel he was eating looking at the hood, “You again? I told you I am not available.”
“You come with good credentials,” the hood said, “My brother Death speaks highly of you.”
“Oh you are his brother,” Runner said, “I thought it was someone else. What do you want?”
“Help,” said the hood.
“You are Deaths brother you say? What are you?” The Runner asked.
“A forgotten entity, my name isn’t important,” the hood said.
“It is,” Runner replied, “Your family has a knack of disturbing me during my lunch hour, “I damn well have right to know who you are.”
“You can call me the Shiver man,” the hood replied calmly, “Because I can give you shivers.”
Runner considered for a moment and then replied, “Fine, that will do. What help do you need?”

The problem with these supernatural entities was that they were very egoistic with a flair of drama, thought Runner as he jumped across the boulders. Why can’t they pop into my office like the rest of the clients?

What was it about this dusty old book that he had to fetch, thought Runner. He was mounting the Desert Bike arranged for this adventure. He dialled the coordinates given by the mysterious hood into the navigation GPS. It was a simple task, in the middle of the desert was a dry well. The well was the secret opening to an ancient library that held many secrets, all Runner had to do was jump in the well, grab an ugly book and well... run.

“And tell me again, why can’t you do it yourself?” asked the runner at the lunch table when the hood was explaining the mission.
“Because there is a monster waiting for me inside,” Shiver man said, “Expert in illusions and it gives me the shivers. But don’t worry it won’t hurt anyone but me, it is bound by an ancient law.”
“I need a million rupees,” Runner said taking a stab, no one would give him a million.
“Done,” said the Shiver man.

If only life was that easy, thought Runner as he had entered the library through the well and realised that it was 20 floors down the ground with a gaping hole in the middle. Each floor having more than thousand books and some dirty looking statues and were spiralling towards the ground. He paused to examine the statues, mostly in supernatural horror movies, the statues come to life, but they were statues. Moving on, he realised that he had to boringly look for that book in this dusty library which seem to have no security at all. Or did it?

Runner turned back to double check if the statue moved but it did not. He was alone in the entire library. Its a small library, you will find the book on the bottom of the bottommost shelf of lowest floor. Instead of climbing down the stairs he decided to climb down a rope to the lowest floor. He secured a knot on the railing on top and tied the other end to his hip.

Slowly he lowered himself to the bottom-most floor and saw a firm ground. This is it, he said, firm ground. There were more statues on the ground floor and only one shelf. That is helpful, Runner thought to himself and he softly landed on the ground floor. He double checked the statues to confirm they were nothing more than statues and finally flipped a coin. The rest was easy, wasn’t it? Just grab the book and do the one thing you are good at,

“...RUN,” screamed a woman rushing from the darkness towards him.
“Wha....,” he didn’t get time to complete his sentence as he saw why she was so keen on running away. There was only a giant nine foot monsterish duck chasing her.
His mind raced fast towards the escape rope only to find the woman halfway up there. The duck did not bother looking at him but was chasing after the woman. Runner held his breath as the duck brushed past him and quietly he picked up the dusty old book.

The moment he picked up the book, the duck paused and turned back.

“Oops,” smiled the runner and started running in opposite direction. The duck having change of plan started chasing the Runner. But he used his skills to hop on the statue use it as a platform and haul himself on the rope. The dusty book safely tucked in his handy backpack.

Easy peasy, thought the Runner as he climbed his way up the rope. One big monstorish duck escape. He looked up for his escape route and found that two statues were looking down at him.

“Thats a cliche,” screamed the runner and climbed onto to the upper floor. The statues were all looking at him blocking his view for the doorway. The girl who had run out previously was held by those statutes.
Runner dabbed his hand inside his pocket and pulled out a black powder. “And we say the magic words,” with this he threw the powder in the air and it blasted into vibrant colours.

RUN...” he screamed charging at the startled statues and grabbing hold of the woman out of the open doorway.
In the next few seconds he was on his desert motorbike and she sat as his pillion.

“You came to pick the book from the bottom shelf?” she asked curiously, “You do know what that book contains?”
“No, not really,” The runner replied, “I have a service, no questions asked.”
“That is called the book of destiny,” she replied, “And it contains destiny of all the people in the world. According to legend the book was supposed to help Chitragupta on judgement day but he refused to be prejudiced. It was gifted to a lesser known demigod who promised to assist Chitragupta. The demigod took a pilgrimage towards netherworld. Since the book cannot enter netherworld he kept it here.”
“Thats nice,” the runner said, “Did the man ever return?”
“No not really,” she said, “But the monster is waiting for the man to return. Who send you to pick up the book?”
“Now that you mention, I don’t really know him but he said I will know where to meet him after reading the book.”
They reached a makeshift airport where his chartered plane was waiting for him. Once airborne, Runner opened the open on the bookmarked page.
“It is said that the book of destiny is written somewhere in the future and it travels backward. So things that are past for us are future for the book and things that are going to happen in future are past.”
“Thats...” The runner racked his brain but gave up, “According to this I have met him at the railway station next to the lottery centre on the 3rd day of the 4th month. That day the lottery number will be...”
Suddenly the girl jumped on his chest, “Don’t miss him,” she said in a hoarse voice, “I won’t leave him this time I will meet you at the railways station. Good bye.”
With the puff of air she vanished leaving the Runner confused as what happened.

Runner finding himself holding destiny in his hand decided to skip his meeting. The girl would anyways kill the hood won’t she? He decided to play the lottery and to his surprise he won the bumper price. Runner decided to exploit this further. A few million later the book predicted there was an impending tax audit on him. Runner decided to pack up and leave the continent in a private airliner.
As he boarded the plane a familiar voice startled him.
“Thank Goodness you are here,” said the hooded man said, “I thought you will miss the flight.”
“Sorry for that,” The runner said, “I hope the flight was not delayed a lot because of me? Damm”
“Nah,” said the Hood, “Don’t worry about it. Did you bring the book?”
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” said the runner.
“Really?” The old man said.
“Ok I know, but we had agreed upon a million upon completion of the task?” the runner said.
“Didn’t you win from lottery tickets?” The hood replied.
“Yes but didn’t the girl chase you at the railway station?” asked the Runner confused.
“I never planned to meet you at the railway station,” the hood said, “It was a ruse to throw her off my scent.”
“But I thought but I thought we were destined to meet that day?” said the Runner, “Did the destiny change?”
“The thing about destiny is,” said the hood, “It changes a lot, it remains as it is only if you believe.”
“And you choose to meet near the lottery centre to tempt me to play the lottery,” Runner said finally realising.
“I was hoping you would,” the hood shrugged, “I did not have the money to pay you back. I waited until you won a million from those lotteries.”
“That monster,” the runner explained, “She was the girl not the duck.”
“No, the duck was my faithful pet,” the hood said, “The girl was...a not so nice... past,” the hood said as he asked for the book, “I gave you the money and you gave her a lifetime of sorrow.”
“She is still mad is she?”
“...At me yes,” The hood said, “She is bound to that library you see, she will have to go back eventually.”
The runner handed over the book.
“This plane is yours by the way,” The hood said, “A gift to help me in my domestic issues.”
“Domestic issues,” Runner spoke, “Thats cute.”

But then as usual he was alone in the plane and a confused air-hostess was looking at him. He still had the plane.

"Sweet," Runner thought and ordered his private kitchen to prepare another Kheema Pav.

Did you know Runner has outrun his death too? Read what happened when he met Yamadeva

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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10 Insane things you should never say to a Writer

Cross posting from my writer blog.

1. Have I read anything you've written? Lets start with the obvious, unless you have good taste in literature I would probably say no. But then if you have you not read anything at all, I dont think you have. Stop wasting my time and pick up my book.
 2. How much money do you make? Thats plain rude. It is one thing to ask a CEO how much money he makes and completely different for a writer. Remember writing is a job like others.
3. Where do you get your ideas? I have a magical crystal ball that churns out ideas everytime I want. See this is kind of stupidity is why we writers write. There is no extra organs in my body that churn out ideas nor do I have a shrine dedicated to getting ideas. So where do I get my ideas from? I take that as a compliment, stop staring.

4. Will you write my great story idea or If you help me write my life story, I'll split the income with you after we sell the book? Unless you are Shahrukh Khan, the chances that anyone will pay for (and more importantly, pay me) for your life story are thin. You may have this awesome life about going about by your routine, doing routine things but unless you convince your own mother that what you doing is worth spreading, don't come to me.

5. I'm going to write a book someday when I have time. This is the most common sentence you hear as a writer. If I get a penny for everytime someone says this, I will be richer than Bill Gates. Essentially the person means two things, one, I am entirely jobless and have plenty of time to write a book or two, the task is so menial that anyone can do it. So let me break the bubble for you, if you are not already writing, the chances that you are going to ever write are marginal. Statistically many people never get past just talking about writing. Those who actually start never finish it and even if they do finish it, they will end it at that.

6. How long does it take to write a book? The maths somewhere is, the amount of time it takes for you to reach orgasm multiplied by the number of days it takes for you to build starship galactica plus one. Basically bullcrap, writing a book is not a manufacturing thing were you have an assembly line and you have product and workers. Its a haphazard process and no fix time involved. Ofcourse if you stop wasting my time, it will be sooner.

7. Do you have e-book for your book? When are you sending me free copy of your book?
Ouch.
I am so grateful for you to ask. I am so desperate to seek approval ,your highness, that I will give give away free copies of my book, that took me a year to write, for you to read and give me a one line of comment on it. Well played.

8. You should write on XYZ topic. I like reading about that That you for your suggestion but no thank you, while I appreciate the knowledge of what you would like to read, but I will write what I feel like writing. That being said, if there is something popular worth writing, I will choose it whenever I wish. You could give it a try.
9. Has your book been made into a movie yet? Yep and a flying pig just popped out of nowhere to delivered the fat cheque for that. This question seriously implies that you are too lazy to read and you would want to watch the film instead of the book. I don't have a clever response for it yet.
10. You must be rich
Ha ha ha ha. Ha. The last Ha is a snort. Yes I am rich in creative ideas. Lets leave it at that.


Monday, October 13, 2014

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[Short Story] The Trial of Ravana



On the southernest peak of Bharatvarsha the army of monkey kingdom Kishkinda camped near the ocean bank. Few were busy preparing food for the rest, while others were sharping their weapons. There was a murmur among the army about crossing the ocean.

At that time four people huddled at the beach discussing their option. Ram, Lakshman, Hanumaan and Jambavana discussing the strategy for crossing the ocean.
"We need to find out if Ravana is holding Sita captive in that kingdom. I do not wish to battle the king without any sort of proof," Lord Ram said.
"King Ravana rules Lanka. He is one of the most powerful and the richest king," Jambavana said.
"But is there is a way to confirm if he has held Sita captive there and..." Lord Ram spoke, "... I need proof that he holds her captive against her wishes."
"Brother!!!!," Lakshman gasped, "Do not doubt Sita mayya please."
"I do not but as prince of Ayodhya and the leader of the army, I need definite reason to attack." Lord Ram said.
"Perhaps," Jambavana explained, "I can help. I know the ancient vidya of leaping high but since I am injured I cannot do it myself. I would be happy to tell one willing participant the secret to flying."
"I can do it," Lakshman volunteered, "if anyone can fly, I would like to do so."
"No brother," Lord Ram said, "You are a prince of Ayodhya. Stepping inside the kingdom of Lanka will put both kingdoms in an awkward position. A third party should do it, someone like Hanumaan."

Hanumaan looked at his mentor and bowed.

"Hanumaan," Lord Ram said, "I know it seems herculean task but if there is anyone who can do this, its you. I believe in you. You have to jump across the ocean and find Sita. Once you find her, give her my ring as a proof that you are my companion and inform her that I am on my way to save her."
"Why can't Hanuman bring Sita Mayya back?" asked Lakshmana, "If we have the knowledge of flight. If he can leap across the entire ocean, he can as well bring her on his shoulders."
"Yes he can," Lord Ram said, "But that won't do justice to Ravana. By kidnapping my wife from my own house, Ravana has challenge me to defend my house. By sending Hanuman I am asserting that we are going in the correct direction and we will build a bridge across this ocean to cross it."
"But brother, with all due respect, we have a band of monkeys. If our knowledge is correct we will be facing a horde of monsters, demons and what-not in that kingdom."
"Perhaps we will," Lord Rama said, "But we cannot let that deter our efforts can we? We can fight the battle with best of our efforts and hold Ravana in my court. It is not an easy task, I agree, no one has defeated the King in so many years. He is good but by taking my wife against her wishes, he has made the battle personal."
"Ravana is evil," Lakshmana spoke, "Ravana is evil and his trickery knows no bound. Why do we even fight the battle in just way."
"We fight the battle in the just way because Ravana is evil and we are not like him. He used trickery to kidnap Sita, we cannot use trickery to bring her back. That way there will be no difference between him and us. We will follow the procedure, protocol and we will bring him to justice."

"Are you ready Hanumaan?" Jambavana asked.
The revelation troubled Hanumaan, can he leap across an entire ocean? He though to himself. Jambavana was the wisest among all, he was the advisor to Sugriva in the kingdom as well as Prabhu Ram. What if he failed? What if he never reached across and died in the way? He would let his mentor down.

He looked Jambavana in fearful eyes, "I know what you are thinking vaanar raj." Jambavana spoke, "The task is difficult. You will be having a lot of questions now but this is a leap you have to take on faith. Just believe Vaanar raj, just believe. It will all come to you from now, you will be able to enlarge or reduce your body as your will too. But for once, answer me this?" he asked, "Do you trust me?"

All the doubts, all the questions Hanumaan had vanished at the question and he answered, "yes, I trust you."

"Then jump Vaanar raj," Jambavana said, "Jump."

Friday, October 10, 2014

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Chapter 27 : Xombie Apocalypse

The final chapter in this journey is upon us. The ultimate conclusion for the ultimate plot for the ultimate power. The sixteen hour concludes from Team Supernova. You can read the previous chapter here or you can go to the begining on our facebook page and read in sequence.



"He just has to make things harder for me," Jennifer said as she struggled to open the door that Sasha had bolted. She got inside the cabin closing the door behind her, "Damn it. One spoilt apple can ruin the entire apple pie."

"All along Sasha was planning the biggest coup of his life, dethrone me. My grandfather established the Xombie empire by using his military connections.

My father expanded it to smuggling but when I took over they raised questions. How can a woman lead a criminal empire? I had a singular focus since my Engineering days, I knew I was good at one thing. Computers, the modern equal of oil and gold. Information passing along at tremendous speed on the information highway. I decided to expand it to the Internet. Made Xombie the biggest hacking organized effort ever. I had foot soldiers like hackers, rebels and leakers from many organizations. We waited, we watched and we collected information. How stupid I was to not know that Sasha all along was gathering information on me. He used his own band of followers and even used postal service to gather evidence against me. You know how much nuclear codes from a country cost in black market?" Jennifer asked, "I can buy this train and hundreds like that with that." 

"Sasha gathered a lot of information against me. Even I do not know what it contained," she continued, "...But your wife outsmarted him. Seduced him to get information from him. Snatched all sensitive information and contacted Sarkar with it. Stupid fool, when he learnt what my organization was up to, he came up to me blackmailing me to help him become PM. All men are bastard; they just do things for money, power and lust. Double cross me, expose me." 

"Had to play along with him till I could," Jennifer said, "he was resourceful but Sasha was clever. He faked his own death to get himself involved with us. There was even a fake death certificate on his name in the system."

"When my boys came to know about your trip to Delhi," Jennifer said, "I realized the extent of the troubles I was getting into. But I came to know about it late, you were already in Delhi by the time I came to know. My boys lost track of you from Mumbai. Cyrus was already a pain in my neck; I decided to take care of both of you in one shot. Sasha came back with a story of remorse and revenge. He told me about your wife and her betrayal. He was convinced that Roohi was his child, a replacement for his dead child. Your wife strung him along till she could dry him out of information. He offered his help to get information from you, and in return he wanted to see you dead.”

"Why were you crying earlier?" Cyrus asked.

"I am the boss of a criminal empire," Jennifer said, "I don't have the luxury of crying but yes I had a moment of weakness on meeting Sasha in the train. As per our plan, I had to play along as a passenger caught unaware with the hijack, but I saw a very different and scary side of him. Something I hadn’t seen ever before. I doubted his loyalty. The train had no communication with the outside world. He was going to make you a scapegoat for the hijack and at the same time expose me. Brilliant genius. I wanted to kidnap Roohi and use her as a leverage to make you hand over the file. Sasha’s friend Ravi and yet another neighbor of yours from Lonavala meddled in that kidnapping and all this while I thought Ravi was on my side. Men, tsk. Ahuja was good, he never trusted Sasha but that man gives me creeps. He is on nobody’s side but himself. As long as he is paid well, he is on my side. Now that’s the man I can trust."

"Anyways, where was I with you two?" she looked at Cyrus, "You feel cheated do you? Do you feel cheated when the government takes away almost fifty percent of your hard earned money? Do you feel cheated when you as a lawyer rob people of their life savings?"

"You are heartbroken Cyrus," she continued, "That teaches you a lesson on trusting people. Now Shekhar."

"See let’s not make it harder than it is," Jennifer said, "I could have you shot dead the minute you got on this train. Buried your body so deep into the ground that nobody could find you. The only reason you are alive is because we needed a scapegoat to pin this hijacking on. Your face is currently flashing on all news channels as the hijacker of this train."

"Shekhar," Jennifer said, "I want to inform you this as gently as possible. There is no way out of this. This is it, the end of line. You are not getting out alive from this train. In few minutes there will be a diversion, a blast somewhere on this train and by the time people realize what has happened I would be long gone. You could give me the file before I leave or it burns with you. The train will stop and authorities will have their hijacker gift wrapped for them. Tara gets discredited and whatever information she has on me is useless. All the work she has done is gone."

"I will never give you the file," Shekhar said, "You can kill me now but you are not getting that file. Only I know where is that file on this train, when I ran with the bag and hid it. But you could stop this train and tell us where the bomb is and perhaps you will not get into deeper mess than it is already."

"That is not going to happen," Jennifer shrugged, "It ends here. The end of line. In fact I am bored, I don't want the file. Sasha has ruined my mood."

Shekhar and Cyrus looked at each other.

"The file you have, it already has a lot of information about my organization. That's three generations of criminal empire raised by my family. If I can't get it, the train is going to blow."

"Jennifer," Cyrus said, "No matter how far you have gone on a wrong road, turn back. I saw you cry a few hours ago. I know you are playing with things beyond your control. Turn back Jennifer, turn back. This is not justified. Prove you are a better person."

"I...oh... Cyrus," Jennifer explained, "I... can't...it’s over."

"No Jennifer," Cyrus held her by shoulders, "It is never over until you think it is. You still have time to do this right. It’s OK, Jennifer."

"There is nothing I can do now Cyrus," Jennifer said, "I am locked into this room and Sasha has gone to stop the train. Soon there will be a swarm of military over this. We cannot reach the bomb in time anyways."

"We can," Shekhar said, "The train is not stopping till we reach Mumbai Central. There is something you do not know. I don't have the file with me, I never had it."

Jennifer looked at Shekhar stunned, "I was just a decoy to help her plan the whole thing. Sasha betrayed you, he wanted your organization. He was gathering intelligence and evidence against you but none of that was enough to arrest or implicate you. There was no mention of who ran the organization. There was no mention of who was the ring leader and without that information the rest was of no value." Shekhar spoke, "That's where I came in. I wrote this plot. We kept fake email and mobile chains to let Xombie know that we were up to something big. We provided you evidence that would cause panic. We knew that will force the head of the organization to come chasing after us. I was the decoy to bring you out in the open."

Shekhar knocked on the door, "All I did today was buy time till we could reach Mumbai."

The compartment door sprang open and in walked Sasha handcuffed and carried by a team of plain clothed police men. Jennifer pulled out her gun.

"Sorry Jennifer," Shekhar said as police officers surrounded him and Cyrus.

"Ma'am, these are six excellent marksmen from Mumbai police, you cannot take us all out. It is better for you if you put down the weapon."

"Inspector," Cyrus said, "There is a bomb on this train."

"It was set for sixteen hours since the train started," Jennifer said, "If you don't let me go, it is going to blow."

"You are bluffing," Sasha said, "There is no bomb on the train, my men searched the whole train. We didn't find anything. We have been doing that for last sixteen hours."

"You did not look in one place," Jennifer looked outside the window, a helicopter was flying close to the train. She unbuttoned her jacket to reveal a wired bomb strapped to her torso, 

"This bomb will blow this train to bits with me and everyone in it."

"My ride is here," Jennifer said, "Perhaps you have won this battle Shekhar. Your wife she is smart but remember Xombie is everywhere. Now gentlemen, move out of the way. I have a helicopter to catch."

Jennifer rushed outside as the policemen gave her way, "We can't let her escape," Cyrus said.

"There are two thousand people in this train," the inspector said, "I don't want innocent blood on my hand."

"She can't escape," Sasha said, "My men are riding that helicopter. She will get her on board diffuse the bomb, if we make a deal I can get it parked wherever you want. I want immunity from arrest. I walk free you get Jennifer and Xombie"

"How do I know you are telling the truth?" the inspector asked.

"You don't," Sasha said, "We can work out the details later but Jennifer is not going to escape for a long time."

"If we get her," the inspector finally said, "We can talk about that."

The police men took over the train and the train was finally brought to a stop at Mumbai Central station.

"Look at that," the inspector said, "Sixteen hours of non-stop running and this train is on time today."   
One last thing, it does not end here. There is an epilogue to go through isn't it? Hop on for the final epilogue over here.
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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

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Chapter 23: The Sixteenth Hour Begins

Team Supernova at it again. We are a bunch of bloggers who have decided to write this massive story called The 16th Hour. You can read the previous chapter here. Or go to our brand new Facebook page to read all the chapters.

The first light of dawn shone brightly in the distance. The sun was not up yet but it was promising to see the speck of bright light shine. Shekhar glanced at the rising Sun and realize the time was coming to an end. Soon the sun will rise and brightly bringing their safety to a standstill. Shekhar realized that in a few minutes he had to decide if he was going to go down or take the fight back to the hijackers. He knew he could trust no one for what he carried was more important for safety of his country, his family and future of all children in the country. There was only one thing to do.

Cyrus was glancing at the end of the door for some time now; there were two guards at each end of the compartment. Even if they snuck past them where would they go? Jennifer was thinking, there were only two directions they could run and either way there was no escape.

The walkie talkie of the guards buzz and he walked in. "Your time is up," said the guard pulling Jennifer by her shoulder, "Come with me."

"Nooo..." Jennifer screamed, "Please...I ... please... I had..." she clutched Cyrus collar, "help me please."

"Stop that," Cyrus stood near in front of the guard, "If you want to take her, you take me as well."

"Your turn will come," the guard smashed the butt of his gun on Cyrus head, "Don't meddle in our affairs." Cyrus collapsed on the ground and the guards dragged the screaming Jennifer out of sight towards the next bogie.


Shekhar knelt down besides Cyrus who was dizzy from the blow to his head. When the guards left two passengers gathered around them, “They are targeting you, why?”

“It’s a long story but if we want to live to see tomorrow, we need to fight back,” Shekhar said.

“They said they will leave us once they capture you,” said another.

“They want something from us,” Cyrus replied, “I don’t have what they want with me. We are as good as dead.”

“We need distraction,” Shekhar said, “There is only one way to get out of this problem. We have to give him something, it will buy us time.”

“We need to save Jennifer,” Cyrus whispered, “They will torture her.”

“We can help you,” said one passenger. Another one stood up from behind, “Yeah we could take over.”

"We need to take the guards at our gate first then walk over to the other side where they have taken Jennifer," Cyrus said. “There is one guard at this gate but we do not know many on the other side.”

“Let’s deal with one problem first,” Shekhar said, “Lets tackle this guard and we have one side open.” 

Shekhar sprang into action and grabbed his shoulder bag from the rack.

“Why do you need it for?” Cyrus asked.

“Leverage,” Shekhar said, “Let’s go.”

The guard was getting irritated standing near the smelly toilet of the train. His job sucked. First he had to stand in a train outside a bogey to keep an eye on three people. Second there was foul smell of the toilet and since nobody was going to clean it, it was disturbing him. Third, there was AC inside the cabin but his boss had asked him to stand outside the door. There had to be a better job, he thought to himself. If only he had studied, he could have got better jobs. But it was too late for that.

The next bogey was empty, for some reason his boss had not placed two guards on the other side. Only one bogey had two guards on each side, others had few placed. But of course working in this organization he knew, physical security didn’t matter. His company owned data and information. They were good at misusing it. Even if someone did escape this train, their data won’t be safe, will it? 

Lost in his own thoughts the guard yawned, nothing exciting happened since he came on duty today. Such boring days. Wham! A big knock on his head jolted him back to senses. He looked around for source of the attack. Turning around, he saw Shekhar holding the shoulder bag. Shekhar had some weight inside the bag with which he had hit the guard.

“That hurt,” the guard said pulling out a semi-automatic gun, “I have a gun.”

A group of four people jumped over the guard, one of them snatched the gun from him. Someone smashed the guard on his head and he fell unconscious. Before anyone could react, Shekhar dashed out to the next bogey ignoring them. He had no clue how he was going to face any guards on the way. But he had a plan. Or maybe a part of the plan. 

Cyrus looked at Shekhar running away but decided on saving Jennifer, “He clearly planned on running, took his bag with him. Let me focus, I need to rescue Jennifer.”

As the group headed towards the door they became dead quiet and positioned themselves next to the archway. There were four guards in this passage, perhaps guarding someone else too. “We need to take them all by surprise,” said one whispering. 
“Let’s attack fast.” said another.

They all were busy staring at the door that none could see two mask men standing from the passenger seat tiptoe behind them. “You think,” said one of them standing near them. He was pointing a semi-automatic MP4, “That we will take over the train with help of few illiterate guards?”

Everyone froze and turned around, “Hands where I can see them, my hand are shaky and this is an MP4.”

Three more masked-men stood up from the seats. “Xombie is all about deception,” one of them said, “We are everywhere.”

The guards standing outside had now stepped in followed by Sasha behind them.
“What is happening here? A revolution?” Sasha exclaimed, “Cyrus, you break my heart. I thought you were smarter than this.”

“Where is Jennifer?” Cyrus asked.

“Ooh,” Sasha exclaimed, “You came to rescue her, is it? With this band of boys? This day is getting better and better.”

“And all these heroes,” Sasha said, “Round them up and stash them in the food compartment. I like heroes, I really do but I like my mission more.”

“Sasha,” Shekhar’s voice boomed on the speakers, “You made a mistake didn’t you? You didn’t come here to get evidence from me. You came here to cover your tracks. Xombie made a mistake, didn’t it?” 

Shasha ordered the guards, “He is in the control room, hurry up get him.”
“You see all this while I was wondering why you were after me? After all Tara had the information about Xombie not me, why me? I am just a writer; I did not meddle in your affairs. First, I thought you were here to pressurize Tara. She has sensitive information about Xombie and she can make it public. But then the information is your domain, you control the internet don’t you? Why was it that you choose to hijack the Rajdhani? What was the one thing this train didn’t have?”

“What about these people?” the guard asked, “Shekhar is priority one. Just keep these people contained, we need four guns here.”

“Communication,” Shekhar continued, “You isolated this train from the outside world. No internet, no phone and no communication. See Sasha, you guys were perfect. You Hijacked a train, you endangered my family and for what? For some information, no, you wanted something more. See Xombie does not need information; you already have more than you need. No Xombie needed a platform, a massive hijack. That was a brilliant platform. But then at the end of it, you need a fall guy, don't you?”

Sasha dashed through the compartments after compartments. He knew where the voice was booming from, he had used it before.

“Imagine the sensation; a lone group hijacks a train right under the nose of the government. But there is one thing you underestimated Sasha and that is the power of a common man. You are a prisoner on this train just like us aren't you?”

Heads turned from passenger seats as Sasha made way to the control room.

“See, there are 2000 passengers on this train and by now I think they realize that they are stuck here till you guys say so. What do you think they will do when they realize that you are less than fifty?”

Sasha paused in his tracks and so did the guards, passengers start looking at them. Guards pulled out the guns.

“Protect me,” Sasha ordered his guards as passengers started looking at them.
“I know what you want Sasha and I know what you will do to get it,” Shekhar voice boomed across the train. “And perhaps by the end of today you will get what you want but I am going to make your life harder from this point.”

Escaping the agitated crowd Sasha reached the control room only to find Shekhar had his phone next to the mic. A voice recording app was playing the message and Shekhar was not there in the room.

“You want to capture me; you will have to find me first. Peek-a-boo.”


Sasha grabbed the phone and walked away, pissed out and angry. Shekhar was a dead man now.
 The gloves are off, the time is up, the situation heating up. What will happen next? What is Shekhar planning? Can he save his family, his country and his self? Will Roohi get her ice cream? You have to continue reading next
Me and my team are participating in "Game of Blogs" at Blogadda.com"CelebrateBlogging with us.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


There is a discussion on the role of Ravan and Duryodhana and their role in the giant epic of Ramayana and Mahabharata. I have also adopted the pen name as 'The Ravan' and naturally people assume I am part of the group that believes Ravan was wrongly defeated. A common argument on Ravan goes, 'Ravan was the best king of the region and Ram attacked him over his wife,' or another one, 'Duryodhana was denied what he deserved, he was tricked into defeat by Krishna'. If you are one of the people described thus, this is a post for you.

Well there is no nice way of saying this but, 'What have you been smoking?' while it is completely understandable for younger generation to question their roots, the best option to clear any doubts you have is to read. There are countless books written on this topic and only when you read a couple of them you come to the true meaning of the books. The thing about Hinduism is that it has got many layers and once you start peeling the layers, underneath you find an idea, a concept, a metaphysical ideology that blows your mind.

Lets start from one, lets talk about Ravan. The justification that Ravan was good and just king is that he protected the people of Lanka from many Persian invaders. That the Lanka he had was richest of the land and the subjects were content and happy. 
These all facts are true, Ravan was indeed a just and noble king. He also had the impeccable reputation of being the most feared king in south-east Asia. Lanka did prosper under Ravan's rule but that made him even more arrogant. His constant conquest made him arrogant of him being supreme. Lanka was rich in weatlh even before Ravan took it from Kubera, the God of wealth. But during Ravan's rule, corruption increased, misery and arrogance increased and so did egos. There was no law left in the land and hence him being just king and all, he was a good leader and a amazing warrior but he was a poor administrator.

Ram attacked him for kidnapping Sita.
If Ram had to attack Lanka to rescue Sita, he would have snuck into Lanka picked up his wife and leave the place. Don't forget without Hanuman, Ram and Lakshman were much powerful than Ravan himself. But Ram chose to act like a true king and by not sneaking into Lanka chose to attack the ideology of Ravan. The rest of Ramayana was just a battle of ideology. Ram being the prince of Ayodhya commanded an army from monkey kingdom Kishkindha Kāṇḍ against the mighty army of Lanka. This showed that Ram chose a political battle rather than personal one in this. This bit is not popular among the feminist, who talk about Sita and her troubles. But in that moment Ram automatically won the battle, not because he was God but because he was acting between the law (Dharma).

So Ravan was not justified in his action, neither was he defeated in trickery. He was a just king who led a kingdom to war for his personal conquest, which was again not justified. At the end of Ramayana, Ram asks Vibhishana to establish the law of people instead of law of nature (matsyanyaya) in the kingdom of Lanka. Thus during the course of Ramayana, Ram establishes law of people in two kingdoms.

Why do I choose the name 'The Ravan' as pen name for my articles?
Ravan with whatever his flaws was a remarkable person with a remarkable personality. He choose to follow his path irrespective of whether it was acceptable with society, people or even God. Ravan was called 'Maha Brahman' by Ram himself and he was the knowledgeable in the Vedas and scriptures. The name 'Ravan' means the one with the terrible roar, which I insist on having through this blog and my stories. And hence the pen name 'The Ravan'.




Monday, September 29, 2014

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The End Is here!!!!


Cross posting from my other blog
Halleluah!!!!
Three years of writing effort, 80,000 words.

First edit, 79,000 words (Doesn't seem a lot but trust me it is)

Second edit, 67,000 words (Phew and getting rid of one of a nice piece which had dinosour in it. **Sulk**)

And finally typing the two words that would perhaps make sense of it all.

-- The End --

But then if only things were as simple in that crazy brain of mine, no they were not. So here is what I ended writing
THE WORLD WAS NORMAL OR AS NORMAL AS IT POSSIBLY COULD BE.THIS WOULD BE THE TIME TO QUOTE A ‘THE END’ ON A BOOK BUT THEN IS IT? FOR WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT DON’T WE? 
TIME, AS THEY SAY, IS A FUNNY THING. IT WANTS US TO BELIEVE IT MOVES FORWARD BUT SNEAKILY MOVES IN ALL DIRECTIONS. 
FINALLY, IT WAS NEVER ABOUT THE ENDING, IT WAS ALWAYS ABOUT THE JOURNEY.

Is the end, perhaps not. But a three year effort is laudable. During these three years I..
  • Got married
  • Moved city twice
  • Went into a writers blocked twice
  • Deleted the entire book in frustration 4 times
  • Gave up finishing this story, one time, starting a new one only to jolt back by my wife, Deepika.
  • Missed deadlines 9 times (and counting)
  • Gave excuses to not publish the book 6 times
  • Erased 3 characters of existence (two because they bored me, one because I had to edit it out)


Finally, the book is an awesome journey through space and time. It has got dinosaours, robots, werewolves and people with IQ more than average human being. It does have a man with the blue box but that blue box is tiny.
After brief celebrations, Ill come up with more updates about the book soon.

The End. For now



Saturday, September 27, 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

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Chapter 16th: Capital Crime

This is the 16th part of a story written by Team Supernova. I hate people who walk into a movie hall during climax, this is not where this story begins. Go read the previous chapter here. If you have missed a lot, go back all the way to starting following the links on the blog.

Chapter 16th: Capital Crime

Tara had acted swiftly after she had subdued the guards. Both of them were tied safely with the curtain ropes in their bathroom. She had secured Roohi room and dismantles the guards gun. Why was Sarkar in Lonavala? She wondered, this safe house was her and her alone, but now Sarkar knew this place. It would not be very safe to stay here for a long time. She decided to pack and make a run for it. But if Shekhar escapes them he will make way to this safe house and walk into the trap as she did.

Time was of essense and she decided to leave Shekhar a coded message about her whereabouts and a little surprise for her captives when they return.

And indeed in few minutes she say Sarkar tracer had moved towards the guest house. He was returning, not this time, this time she was prepared. Wasn't she? This time she had a plan. But it was not Sarkar who walked in the house and the security system did not even beep once as Aryan Ahuja entered her house.

"Hello old neighbour," Aryan Ahuja spoke, "We need to talk. Funny thing about safe houses really, they give you a sense of security that you are safe. You are not. Do you have some more tea?"

"Do you know how much time does it take to kidnap someone in this country?" Aryan Ahuja asked Tara as her offered her tea, "Don't worry, I won't spill it on you like you did to those guards and this," he pulled out the tracker that she had placed on Sarkar from his pocket and placed next to the tea cup.

"Have some tea," Aryan Ahuja spoke, "This is one of the most rarest blend formed from a unique mixture of herbs made only in one farm near Darjeeling. I own that farm."
"As I was saying by the last known record it took seven minutes for few teenagers to kidnap a dozen of girls," Aryan Ahuja said, "But my record is much less than that."
"For dinner last night your husband ate at Karim's, splendid cook and amazing food, he then went on to get a box of sweets from Gupta sweet mart for you, very nice sweets, make sure you try their Kaju Katli. Today morning your husband was eating dosa at the local eatery near the Nizamuddin station," Aryan Ahuja said, "I own that restaurant.," he leaned over the table, "Point being, I could have kidnapped your husband from anywhere but I choose to set this up during his train journey. Do you know why?"

"Why?" Tara asked.
"To make a point," Aryan Ahuja said, "If I can hijack a Rajdhani train of this country just to scare one passenger, you can run anywhere or anyplace in the world, i'll always find you. Now to business."

He turned on the television, "The quality of news programming has dropped hasn't it nowadays?"
Tara nervously glanced at the television, the news reporter were going live from Kota station and different theories were floating around about train being hijacked or brakes being failed. There was another news story about a terror plot suspicion.

"Let me give you a lesson in journalism," he picked up his phone and dialed a number, "See journalism is hard working journalist collect stories to show them to the world, hand them over to an editor who corrects for political, diplomatic and for stupid mistakes," he spoke on the phone, "Run the story."

"And then there is me," he said calmly, "The news maker, I make news for them to air."

The news anchor on television suddenly paused and spoke, "We are going live with a breaking news. The rumors are true, Rajdhani express running from Delhi to Mumbai has been hijacked. Police have just released picture of the suspect from CCTV footage at the Delhi railway station."

Aryan simply flipped another channel and all the news channels were showing same picture over and over again.

"Like a bird trapped in a cage," Aryan said, "Beautiful. There are more than 2000 passengers on that train fearing their fate, fear in the biggest motivator, fear of unknown is greater than that. They all know your husbands name and are looking for him. In about ten minutes, there will be a high level meeting of National Security Advisor with the army generals and the president. They will decide on ways to capture or kill your husband. In the next fifteen minutes, your husband will be labeled enemy of the state," Aryan smiled, "I hijacked a train to make a point, you really think a wooden door is going to save your daughter from me?"

"From the bottom of my heart ill tell you Tara," Aryan said, "It really pains me to do this but you have something I need and only I can save your husband and daughter."

Tara entire world came crashing down as she saw Shekhar picture flash as the hijacker of Rajdhani express on national television.

To be continued head on to Chapter 17 Curiosity killed the cat
“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”