Monday, August 26, 2013

[Independence Special Short Story] Pis al-ler


Note: This story is written for Storizen magazine. I was watching the independence day parade when a little girl waved at the old man sitting in the audience. What was the man thinking? Who was he? Her grandfather? Did he have any role in our independence? My grandfather always used to talk about how he contributed for freedom struggle. An imaginary story was formed about what happened between the power walk and that you will be reading below. Do give your feedback and comment.

The independence day parade was going on in full swing in the local school. Parents did not fail to notice a four year old waving at the audience. Couple of the parents turned their head to notice an 70-80 year old man sitting at the back of the stadium waving at the girl back. Music continued playing as the toddler's sang national anthem and gave a salute to the national flag.


The old man looked at the flag and smiled, 67 years of freedom, ah freedom. He took a deep breath of the fresh air and got up from the audience. He whispered in his son’s ear sitting next to him, “Going for a power walk.”

The son nodded in acknowledgment and kept clapping at the parade in which his young daughter had taken part.

The old man took a stroll around the school and kept walking on the streets of the old city. “The city has changed a lot,” he thought, remembering the old city before independence. This was same street where he had chased seven british police officers with a lathi, he laughed remembering the incident. The funny part was the police officers were carrying pistols and had no idea he had no weapon on him other than the lathi.

His nostalgic thoughts were disturbed brutally by a scream, “Baksi you bastard.”

(Continued on Storizen magazine)


Thursday, August 22, 2013

[Short Story] Add a little drama to your death

It was over, truly over. Everything that was anything was gone. His life was gone. There was no hope at all. Aditya Singhal had given up on his life. As his legs walked towards the infamous suicide point, he kept murmuring to himself, 'It is over.'



Aditya Singhal led a very fulfilling life. Born to the politically powerful Singhal family with a silver spoon in his mouth. The Singhals were very close to a very famous family ruling the country more than 20 years. Aditya enjoyed a very good, lazy and egoistic life. His tables turned when his powerful father died of an heart attack leaving him a butt load of wealth but very less knowledge of how to use it.

The decline of Aditya Singhal was followed religiously in daily news paper. Right from his scandalous marriage to his deadly narcotics addiction. It took three years for Aditya leg to drag him to the suicide point hitting a new low in his life.

"It will be over soon," Aditya reminded yourself, "Everything will be over."

This will be news fodder for another four days and then over. He stepped closer at the edge of the mountain and took a deep breath.

"Quite a strange place to do breathing exercise," the voice spoke to him.
Aditya turned around to find a man sitting at the edge of the suicide point with his legs dangling in the air. The man wore a winter jacket even though it was a summer day. He had short uncombed hair and a plain black jeans completed his attire.

"Excuse me," Aditya replied, "I am about to die."
"Oh sorry," the man said, "Go on continue."
Aditya took a deep breath and looked in the chasm below.
"You know," the man spoke again, "It will be much easier to just jump than to look."
“who asked your opinion?” asked Aditya.
“Sorry,” the man said, “I was just helping you, anyways continue I won’t disturb you.”
Aditya murmured something under his breath and looked below. The valley was deep, Ok looking below was a bad idea. He took a deep breath and looked up. As the minutes went by the idea was turning bad.

“Why did you come up with such a bad idea?” the man asked.
“Listen,” screamed Aditya, “I do not remember asking you for an opinion, neither am I disturbing you in...” he looked at the man, “...whatever you are doing. What are you doing here by the way?”
“Me? I just like to come here for the view,” the man said, “I am on a break. I love this place.”
“This is a suicide point, people kill themself on this cliff every week,” Aditya said wondering why would someone like this place, “This place stinks of death and murk.”
“I know,” the man beamed, “That’s why I like this place. No stupid optimism, no meaningless pursuit of capitalism, no hope of survival and no chance of living. One jump and you are on the other side.”
“Man, thats depressing,” Aditya sat on the edge of the cliff, “Thats really, really depressing.”
“Oh well,” the man said, “Thats death for you.”
“I had a good life you know,” Aditya began, “I was born with golden spoon and lots of money,” he took a deep breath, “I lost it all one by one. First was the money.”
“Ah, money,” the man smiled, “The biggest parasite in the world. I don’t like it very much.”
“Its too late for that. Money has gnawed me completely. I lost the one I loved, I lost my friends, I turned my back to my family and now I am all alone, with no money, no respect and this lousy life.”
“Ah, Life,” the man said, “the worst sexually transmitted disease out there.”
“I am such a lousy person, I can’t even die properly.”
“But you don’t have to die for these petty issues,” the man said, “So what you are poor now or that you have lost your friends. Those friends were never your friends, the love was bullshit. It is a good start anybody can get in his life. Why do you want to checkout so easily?”
“I...” Aditya stammered, “...Why are you wearing that heavy woolen jacket its sweating hot here?”
“Never let anyone dictate what you have to do,” the man said, “Not even the weather. Don’t change the topic.”
“I am useless,” Aditya said, “I have no ambition, I have no skills and I have never done any work in my whole life. I am useless.”
The man put hand inside his jacket pocket and pulled out a bottle of whiskey.
“Take a sip,” he said, “In my entire life, I have never met a single person who is useless. We all have our purposes, we all have our mission. You may think your life is useless but not for all. You have just not found the purpose in your life and thats ok, you just have to strive hard, keep looking. Sooner or later you are going to find that purpose. Till that time...,” he took the whiskey bottle, “...You keep looking.”
“You are right man,” exclaimed Aditya, “I get a fresh start on life. Thank you, thank you very much.”
“My pleasure,” smiled the man.
Aditya walked down the cliff, yeah, he thought to himself, yeah, the man was right, whoever that was. Aditya was rude not asking who the man was. He should go back and thank the man but he already thanked the man didn’t he? He should thank more...
With a renewed spirit he turned back to the cliff excited to talk more about life. The man was not there.
“Hello?” he exclaimed, “hello anyone here?”
Did the man jump? Was he here to commit suicide after all? He should have stopped the man who saved his life. So selfish of you, Aditya, after all these years, after all these years, you are still...
Growl.
A tigers growl made him turn around. He found himself staring in the eyes of three hungry tigers walking towards him. Stress on three. Stress on hungry. He put a step behind and realized he was standing at the edge of the cliff. There was no behind. Loose soil slipped under his legs and fell in the big chasm below.

He closed his eyes tightly as the tigers leaped on him.

"Well that was fun," the man was standing at the corner of the cliff, "Wasn't it?"
"What... what?" Aditya exclaimed, how did he survive the tigers?
"You didn't," the man said.
"What I didn't?" asked Aditya.
"You didn't survive the tigers," the man shrugged, "No seriously that was like 101 of death, you stand on the cliff facing three hungry man eating tigers. There is no moral to that story also. Its naked display of..."
"What?"
"Death..." the man grinned, "So anyways, welcome to the other side."
"Other side?"
"Other side of life, you are dead mister," the man said, "And allow me to introduce, I am Death."
"I am dead?" Aditya asked, "You are death? But... but... you saved me?"
"Oh c'mon," Death grinned, "I did not save you, what was fun in that? I wanted a much better dramatic death for you. Three tigers on a suicide point, that was dramatic wasn't it?"
"You are sick, man, a sadist."
"And here I thought we were friends, " death said, "Tsk, I am merely making my boring, mundane job interesting," a clock on his arm buzzed to life, "Well duty calls. Time for the judgement day."

Poof. They both vanished out of the blue.

Aditya Singhal's body was never found, actually no one bothered looking for him once they came to know he had nothing left. Legally he was declared dead in seven days of absence.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

[Short Story] The Land without Stories

Thousands of years ago on the shore of the great bay of Bengal lay a small kingdom ruled by the brave King Dharmaraja. This small kingdom was blessed and prosperous in all the aspects. The subjects of the kingdom were content, no one slept hungry at night. The King Dharmaraja was called the wisest ruler that ever was born in the land.


But the kingdom had a problem, no one had heard of any other stories before. No one had heard any other tale before for the King Dharmaraja had banned story telling from his kingdom. If you believed in the local gossip, King Dharmaraja had banished all the storytellers from the land many years ago. The local bartender would tell you that the King was haunted by stories all his childhood. He will also tell you about the kings Gandharva caretaker that told stories of distant lands, monsters and demons. The bartender would also tell you that bartenders should not be trusted for they are creatures of deceit and cunningness and they lie.

"But what made the king so angry towards the storytellers?" asked Sadashiv to the local bartender.
"Shsss boy," the bartender spoke to his ward, "Do not ask questions that could get into trouble. I see great future in you, you have potential to become the gardener at the kings garden. Don't spoil your future."
"He asked no question that could cause him any trouble," spoke the man who was sitting quietly at the bar, "Questions do not get you in trouble, answers do."
"He is my ward," said the bartender, "What is it to you. You could be those spies of the king."
"Nay," said the man, "I am no spy, I am just a story teller travelling through the land."
The bartender shrieked in surprise, two people sitting at the table stood up and walked towards the bar.
"If I were you, good fellow, I will run. Run for your life."

"Did you not read the board at the gates of the Kingdom," asked King Dharmaraja in presence of full court, "Storytellers are not allowed in the kingdom."

"Indeed," said the storyteller, "I did read such a notice, I was pondering over it on my way inside."
"Then you dare," the king said, "Disobey an imperial decree. Tread on the path not allowed by the king and disrespect the imperial order and...," the whole court took a deep sigh, "...disobey me."
"I do no such thing," the storyteller said, "I am just a wayfarer passing through the kingdom seeking food and beer. I tell stories for that is my profession, I charge monies for them that pays for my food and survival. I do not see what I do wrong to be tried like a common criminal."
"Storytellers are liars and deceivers," said the king, "They scare little children by telling them about monsters, demons and other things that do not exist. They make stories of distant treasures that do not exists. Storytellers are evil."
"Nay," the storyteller said, "Storytellers do not deceive, they dream. They dream of worlds and places that may not exist. Bartenders deceive and so do Kings for that is their nature, we storytellers only tell stories. You, king, can only rule until the kingdom lives or you live. Storytellers are forever, for we have no face, we have no name. We tell stories, we immortalize the mortals like you oh king."

The king looked at him with a grin, "...and, we storytellers never scare little children by telling them about monsters, demon and other thing, oh king," The whole court held their breath, "Storytellers do not scare the children, nay, the children already know there are monsters, demon and other nightmares, they do not need stories for that, they already know monsters exist. Stories tell them that monsters can be killed."

The whole court was silent. Everyone looked at the king in fear. No one had dared argue with the king before.

"You amuse me," said the King, "You amuse me well. I hear your point and I laugh. Pray tell me then storyteller, why do we need you? I have my administrators who write everything that happens in our kingdom. I have documenters who will document every factual information about the kingdom, why do we need you then?"

"Indeed, you have nice documenters and they will indeed document your entire kingdom and its accomplishments but will they ever create your legend? Even Gods need storytellers for without stories legends are not created. Without the stories of a miracles, people will cease to believe in God. You have your administrators but they will never be able to create history for history is also someones story."

There was a hustle-bustle in the court, everyone started talking in whispers. The whispers were so loud and the king had to shout, "Silence."

Silence felt in the court. The storyteller looked at the king in a piercing gaze, the king in turn stared at the storyteller. Someone coughed in the court, but everyone chose to ignore it. Finally after a long silence the king laughed, the king laughed out loud.

He got down from his throne and kept laughing till he reached the storyteller. The court jester watching in awe as the king put his arm across the shoulder of the storyteller, "Come, dine with me and while you are at it, tell me a story..."

The storyyteller smiled one more story was getting shaped. One more story would be told.

We are all stories in the end, some are told, some are heard and countless others are to be lived.



Have you read my book yet?

Have you read my book yet?
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