Tuesday, October 21, 2014

10 Insane things you should never say to a Writer

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 don't think you have. Stop wasting my time and pick up my book.
 2. How much money do you make? That's 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 every-time 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 every-time 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 bull-crap, 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. Of-course 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?
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. If you have not already received a free copy of my book, your opinions do not matter to me.

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.

Friday, October 10, 2014

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

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
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Have you read my book yet?

Have you read my book yet?
An epic adventure across space and time