Monday, October 3, 2016

[Short Story] Nine Minutes to Paradise

Nine


Bal'ur Badshah groaned as he sat in the sitting room of his ancestral house in Islamabad. He was getting bored of his confinement and wanted to step out. He was holed in this boarded bungalow as a house arrest. He craved fresh air. There was a time where he used to roam the streets of Islamabad like a tiger waiting to pounce, but those were simpler times and he was a simple silver smuggler. He did not get addicted to this new form of business- war. His connections and trade routes and logistic network that was built for the smuggling of silver, came in handy to supply and acquire ammunition. Things that could not be purchased on the radar, items that were not frequently available on the market. Not to mention, unlike silver, arms and ammunition were like drugs, once you have a customer, they would want more and more and more. He was happy to provide. But then as it happens, it was not always easy to acquire items without rustling few feathers and Bal'ur Badshah came in the sights of the international community. They wanted this twenty-something illiterate war dog in jail and the authorities had to oblige. Gah, diplomacy! he scoffed as if diplomacy is going to solve their problem. As if these walls are going to stop his network. He was like a spider sitting in the middle of a large web with big moving parts are independent contractors, he grinned.


Bal'ur Badshah grew up on the street and knew the value of honest work. Honest work was God's work and God's work must be perfect. He believed in perfection and perfection came from practice. Perfection to the tiniest detail came only from experience. He learned it the hard way. It was the reason he was given charge of handling the Paradise issue. The benefactors gave him a list of items to be supplied for multiple troops across the border. It was not easy to coordinate logistics of guns from an American dealership, sixteen hundred bullets from three Chinese manufacturers and route the illegal shipments via Russian back channels to the Indian shores. But he had achieved that, without moving an inch from his seat, holed up in this house and sixteen untraceable satellite phones. Perfection.

There were vested interest in paradise valley for last seventy years. Wars were fought for the land between the two nations. There were parties on both sides of the border who had their own agenda and Bal'ur was happy to provide weapons for everyone. As long as this guerilla war continued, he would keep getting a good paycheck. So what the price for the paycheck would be that he was forced to hole up in this house and stare at the butt cheek of the technician, who was kneeling under his television box, fumbling with a screwdriver. Months of planning and years of patience had led to this moment, only to be thwarted by the improper television connection. His expensive satellite television was not working, today, of all the days. He glowered at the thin husky man on his knees before the television. This was one of the cable 'boys' who was sent to fix his television. The boy did not inspire very big confidence when he stumped over the television using a screwdriver. On the biggest sale of his life. Gah, he exclaimed as the clock ticked.

Eight


They moved in synchronized steps as practiced and Rahim stumbled forward. The AK-47 gun was too heavy for him to carry, he was just a small and scrawny young kid. He heaved under the heavy helmet and pulled the gun closer and focused on the steps he took. Left. Right. Left. Wait was it left? Uh... there was a formation to adhere too.

The young stocky teenager standing next to him stifled and struggled to match his pace. Rahman was paired up with Rahim in their earlier recruitment drive. One bony teenager with one stocky large teenager. The irony did not die on the trainers who joked about them being the Laurel and Hardy of the unit. He was sure, they were paired together because somebody thought it would be funny to have Rahman-Rahim on the team. He could see no other reason why he would be paired with the bulky boy.

Rahim was going to make the valley a paradise again, just like old days. Back when he wasn't born, the valley was paradise, his Nana would tell him. Paradise comes only from the struggle. Didn't Karim Chacha tell this to his father? Rahim did overhear them speaking a month before his father went missing.

Rahim had no choice but to join the rebels, It was the only way he could get a school with better education. Karim Chacha, his father's best friend had told him that. He remembered the day Karim Chacha came to his doorstep, bearing the news of his father's demise. His mother was distraught and asked Rahim to leave the room but Rahim knew. He knew back then, now that his father was no more, he was the man of the house. Rahim listened to their conversation from behind the curtain. Karim Chacha told his mother what happened to his father. "It was those horrible soldiers," Karim chacha whined, "We were minding our own business in the valley when they ambushed us."

"Stealing, you mean," his mother replied curtly, "In the middle of the night, you went to burn the police station"

"You know I have the best interest of the valley in my heart, don't you?" Karim chacha asked, moaning loudly.

"Only you know what you have in your heart," his mother spat back, "I have lost my husband, just like many other widows in the valley. I don't see you losing your family?"

Karim Chacha wiped his tears and said nothing. His mother and sister did not know anything. How would they know the dealings of men? They were women after all. Behind his bullet was his path to a better school, a better life. He knew very well that once he got rid of the scum, he would make his valley a better place, Karim Chacha had told him that. And he understood. Therefore, he did not hesitate when they came to his school to recruit him on this important mission. He was a man now and he would prove it.

Seven


Abdul Bashir Bisht squinted his eyes from under the vizier of his helmet. His forefinger twitched on the trigger of his MP5 machine gun, a standard issue for all the CRPF forces, as it rested against his chest. It was dark and the visibility was near zero. He and his unit were warned by the intelligence report of a strike planned on the government armory by a separatist group. They had barracked the road and stopped the access to the armory. They waited in silence for an ambush.

Abdul twitched a bit in freezing cold under his heavy vest. He was nervous of who he would face today. Two nights ago, he had almost killed his childhood friend, who was joining the ranks of the terrorist. For as long as Abdul could remember, he wanted to fight for peace in his valley of paradise. Therefore, he had over-excitedly rushed to enroll his name when the call came from the Indian army. He would be part of the peacekeeping force and keep the terrorists from ruining his paradise.

But every single day, he regretted the decision. The job was turning difficult by the day. Initially, it was just a few unemployed boys with stones. Now it was full blown militants with sophisticated weapons. The dotted line between valley boys and the militants was getting thinner and thinner as the war continued. Not to mention, he was starting a family soon and that was taking another toll on him. How could he let another life in this world when his job was to take a life?

He had tried to convince his friend earlier, reason with him and tell the friend that war is not the solution. But the boy did not listen. Abdul squinted under his vizier, the visibility was near zero, he did not wish to engage tonight.
He was determined he would not engage tonight, come what may. He would not spill any more blood in this paradise.

Six


Shaila knew something was amiss when Rahim did not return from the playground. She had warned Rahim not to wander around outside dark. Shaila was a mother of two, a beautiful teen daughter, Rihanna and a reckless young son, Rahim. She regretted having to let him go to the playground alone, now, when her husband was no more. Shaila knew the area was infested with the likes of Karim next door, the valley was trouble, especially at night.

She was now more concerned before she was observing her four months Iddah, a period of isolation for a widow to observe after the death of her husband. She avoided meeting other men in the locality, especially Karim. But the absence of Rahim even as the clock struck 7:30 worried her.

She glanced at Rihanna who was fiddling with her hair looking in the mirror. As any normal teenager, she had aspirations, dreams that would be difficult to be fulfilled in this war zone. That was the reason Shaila had decided to make a run for it, now that her husband was not around. She would first go to Delhi and then make her way to Hyderabad where her parents would receive her. She had to tear Rahim away from the company he kept if she wanted him alive as a young adult.

She glanced anxiously at the watch and at the door, hoping Rahim will return. There was nobody at the door. Finally, she adjusted her dupatta behind her ear, covered her mouth and stepped out into the night. She had a clear suspicion where her reckless son would be.

Five


Karim Syed Walia was relishing on the spicy lamb curry prepared by his daughter-in-law. Being from the prestigious Walia family, one of the oldest family from the valley. The Walia's had a long history of being the advisors to the king and princes who ruled the valley. Theirs was a land of the peace and prosperity. His grandfather had told him tales of the paradise before idiots started ruling the land. He wanted to restore the paradise back to the way it was and there were no two minds about it.

People didn't understand, they never do. Our people were different. We were living in a paradise and he wished to keep it that way. There was no scope of any impure blood in the valley. They would be keeping it pure and pious. His son was hot-tempered and a religious nut. His son insisted they take help of neighboring nation and had even congregated a gathering of youth at the local mosque. Karim only came to know about his son's plan very late and he boycotted him from the area.

The paradise would be restored but without any outsider's help. His daughter-in-law, Roksana, served more lamb curry to him and he graciously accepted. She was blessed by God with excellent culinary skills. Roksana wanted to go with her husband but he would not allow it. How could he? His son was hot-tempered and she would not be safe with him. She was the daughter of his childhood friend after all. His son would be safe in the capital, cool off his head and return to the valley. He wanted his son alive for when the kingdom returned to the olden days, they needed a king.

He smirked at the thought.

Four


Rahman heaved under the heavy gun and tried to focus. His head was paining from all the walk but he soldered on. He was in his late teens and wondering how exactly did he land in this soup holding a gun bee-lining for a mission? It was in July last year when he received the result of the secondary school. He had not scored enough for a higher education and therefore his father suggested he should join their apple trade from next term. Sure, Rahman had thought back then, but he wanted to do more. He always wanted to be a DJ, a musician who plays music in big cities like Delhi and Mumbai.

Working for a trade with his father, meant traveling to Delhi, Mumbai and other big cities and that made him happy. But since childhood Rahman always felt hollow in his heart. Something missing in his life and decided to spend the summer studying his religion on the advice of his Brother-in-law, Bashir. But Bashir was weak, and he left the education and the valley soon afterward, send to Delhi by his father. Rahman scoffed. Weak.

Only through this education, Rahman, realized, that his father was really working for the traitors and disbelievers and playing music was a sin according to God. Rahman thanked God that he stopped short of committing the grave sin. He started taking an active part in the mosque, feeding the poor, helping the needy and praying with young people his age. He liked it, he had found a purpose. It was therefore, he did not mind them taking the war back to the impures tonight. His mind was pious and his cause religious. It was therefore justified to spill the blood. His father would not understand. Therefore Rahman had to sneak away from the house when his father was away for his business.

They could no longer let the impure blood run amok in their city. It was time for the pure-bloods to take over, to impose the law of God on the valley. The foundation of their paradise would be laid on the impure blood they spill today.


Three


Ahmed Khan pursed his lips and muffled a whine. The thumb of his left leg had just come out due to frostbite. With tears clouding his eyes, he glanced at the frozen wound that had a thumb attached to it before. He closed the mouth tightly and punched hard on the ground to bear the pain. He was determined to not cry and whimper but internalize the pain. He and his team were here for a mission and that mission was more important than his pain or even his life.

He closed his eyes to calm the heart that was beating hard. Was it always that he heard the heartbeat? He didn't know. His mind wandered to the old parents he left behind in his village. As a son of a poor mill worker, Ahmed had a simple life. His dreams of becoming a doctor were short lived when he realized that education costs money. Soon, he joined the tirade of unskilled workers who toiled endlessly to earn wages. He and his father, together, were earning enough for their house. That was until his father lost the job and whatever wages he earned were split between feeding himself or buying medicines for his mother.

That was the reason, him and his brother had to move to Islamabad in hopes of better wages. But toiling every day did not fulfill their needs and Ahmed was on the verge of breaking down.

He had no way out of his misery, until, he met Badshah. It was simple, Badshah had promised. Complete the mission and your mother will be treated in the best hospital in Lahore. His parents would be taken care of until their end. Only, Ahmed would have to sacrifice himself for the cause. His life was nothing, compared to the pain his parents felt. The only regret Ahmed had was that they would not see his corpse after his death.

A shrill noise filled the environment catching his attention. That was the signal, it was time. His team-mates arrived walking on their knees and nodding in unison. This is it. He pulled a tablet from the pouch around his neck. They all mimicked him. The tablet cooked by the combination of painkiller, caffeine, and drugs would give them enough adrenaline to complete the mission. And the tablet kicked in.

They screamed the God's name and charged.

Two

The air-conditioner blasted in full blowing over the sweat and humidity from the air. It was a blessing, Paromita Dutta thought or her expensive makeup would be messed up. Paromita Dutta was a known name across the country. At one time she would boast of having the ultimate political connections in the establishment. For a decade, she used to get the most exclusive stories right from the top of the food chain. But all her glory was shortlived with the new government that hated her guts. They closed all her loops into the government and she was left in the lurch like an ordinary senior journalist. She hated that. She had to switch three jobs just to survive.

Sitting on the uncomfortable swivel chair, all dolled up for tonight's show, Paromita was glancing at her twitter feed between the few seconds of her live broadcast. Her twitter was full of hate-mongering and trolls who exercised their freedom of speech a bit too much. The noise drowned any sensible communication she had with people that matter. She blocked a few of them but soon realized it was a fruitless effort, "Because People's opinion matter," she said, loud and clear, as rehearsed, winking at the producer behind the camera, who gave her a thumbs up, "Welcome to People's opinion," she continued, "as we analyze the top story tonight and go straight to you people for your opinion. Because it matters."

"Our heartbreaking story tonight comes from the troubled paradise up north as we lost one more youth today in a mindless cycle of violence. Our camera man managed to catch glimpses of the incident before he was evicted from the area," she scoffed, hoping to get more, "A few hours ago, it was reported that militants tried to attack the CRPF armory. The images of the militants are flashing on your screen." she took a dramatic pause, "We advise viewers that the images you are about to see are not for the faint-hearted." She chuckled, that message itself increased their viewership ten-fold.
She was glad she still controlled the message.

One

With the blip, the television blazed to life and Bal'ur Badshah leaned in to catch the news broadcast. He fumed to watch Paromita on the screen, "Six minutes?" he gruffed, "Six minutes, that's it?" he screamed and angrily threw the remote at the television set. The cable technician ducked in time to avoid the remote and jumped to the door. Something caught his attention from the corner of his eye. He wheeled around, transfixed at the television and the eyes widened with fear. He was watching the disfigured face of his elder brother, Ahmed flashed under the title of a terrorist.

The television blazed the images of shots fired into darkness. They could hear a woman scream but the producer had cleverly muted the wails of a young boy weeping on the cadaver of his mother to play the jingle of the most affluent benefactor. The advertisement would be linked to the news story, earning them millions for the sensationalization. One whimpering child was nothing compared to that.

But Rahim whimpered as the military police dragged him away. His body limp and his legs noodles from the horror he had witnessed in the darkness. Why did his mother leave the house? He asked himself but could not get to answer the question. The cadaver was turning blur as tears welled up in his eyes and he thought of Rihanna left behind, would she know? Would she know what he had done? Rahim whimpered as the cops dragged the body of Rahman who was shot in his head. He wished he had listened to his mother and packed for Hyderabad, instead of sneaking out. She would be alive and happy. Would Karim chacha take care of Rihanna now? He wondered.

But Karim Chacha was leaning in over his dinner plate glued to the television watching the broadcast. His daughter-in-law was serving him more curry when she dropped the spoon. The curried spoon clattered on the floor and the curry made a splatter pattern on the expensive rug. Karim glowered at her in disgust but she was hardly paying attention. He followed her gaze to the television and found in horror what had distracted her.
Blazing on the television was the face of her teenage brother Rahman disfigured and damaged with a wide gaping hole on his forehead and the ticker branded him as a terrorist.

Paromita swiveled on her seat, gulping down the emotions as she read the disastrous report. This was her job. She could sensationalize but she could not let this emotion internalize. She paused midway, as the earphone cracked and her producer cracked in her here. Holding her index finger to her ear she nodded and turned her gaze back to the camera, "This just in. It is with sadness we are reporting, a CRPF jawan Abdul Bashir Bisht was found dead along with his pregnant wife in their house."

Zero

This is a work of fiction
Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are pure fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.












Saturday, October 1, 2016

[Short Film] Andc's Drama Called Death



Aditya Singhal had given up on his life and was contemplating suicide. His feeble attempts to die are foiled by a mysterious stranger, who explains him the value of life and gives him sound advice for the real cost of life. Armed with the new courage Singhal returns to the living world, will the newfound courage help him climb up? Will Aditya Singhal return a transformed man?


Starring: Shreya Rasam and Chaitanya Kabe
Cast: Madhuri Jadhav and Kunal Patil
Director, Editing, and Music: Chaitanya Kabe
Screenplay: Siddhesh Kabe and Chaitanya Kabe
Makeup: Supriya
Cinematographer: Kiran Aparadh
Associate and Production Controller: Subin Jacob

This film is loosely based on the Short Story titled, 'Add a little drama to your death'. And again featured a manifestation of death. Dharma or Death appears in multiple times in my multiverse and you can read more stories about Dharma here.

Friday, August 19, 2016

[Short Story] Fasting for the husband

Authors note: The following story is a dark humor and not palatable for everyone. The story has an adult shades of gore and graphical description of violence, readers discretion is advised. All characters and places are fictional. If you are someone who is sensitive to these things, read something else.



The first thing Sub-Inspector Pandey noticed when he entered the house of Gupta was that the wife was watching the repeat of the famous daily soap. It was middle of the night and the quiet neighborhood in Noida was disturbed by screams of a man, a few minutes back. Sub-Inspector Pandey was in a PCR van nearby and responded to the call.
The wife was watching the television show without turning around, Sub-inspector Pandey hesitated at first and then observed,


"Oh! So she finally wakes up," he said observing the daily soap, "That is really good. I really didn't like where the story was going and with the female lead in a coma for seven years, the story was getting dragged."

"I agree," said Mrs. Gupta, looking at the guest and nodding, "They were simply adding more and more characters to the story to pass out time, maybe for this day. Do you also follow this show regularly?"

"Only sometimes, when I am in a morning shift and go home in the evening. It is difficult to follow regularly on the evening shift as today but the story does not proceed a lot, so I do not miss a lot," he laughed.
"That is true," agreed Mrs. Gupta, "The story has not moved forwarded for the whole month."
Sub Inspector Pandey looked at the constable who shrugged and they both eyed the female, "There were reports about some screaming in the house, is everything ok?" he asked.
"Oh, that must be my husband, he is in the bedroom," replied Mrs. Gupta.
Sub-Inspector Pandey signaled the constable to check the bedroom and continued watching the show.
"They really have no sense in how they are expanding the story," he said, "Do they?"
"I guess not," she replied, "All these stories somewhere or the other look same."
"Sir," the constable screamed, "You need to see this."
The Sub-Inspector signaled the second constable to stay at the door and rushed into the bedroom. Indeed, lying in the pool of blood was Mr. Gupta and from what it looked like, his guts were pulled out from his stomach using a kitchen knife.

He walked into the living room and talked to the wife, "Do you mind telling me what happened?"
"Sure," she said, "Just wait a bit, there will be a break anytime now."

The Sub-Inspector glanced at the house and noticed the food was still on the dining table. The menu was delicious, pooris, potato rice, and kheer. Lying beside the food on the table lay a bloodstained wheat strainer. He signaled the constable to bag it as evidence.

"Yes, "  Mrs. Gupta muted the television and turned around, "What happened was, I murdered my husband and he screamed, so you guys came."

"Oh," Sub-Inspector Pandey said, "Can I ask you few questions?"
"Sure," Mrs. Gupta replied, "But be quick, I don't want to miss the last few minutes after the commercial break of the show."

"Right then, can you tell me why you murdered your own husband?" he asked.
"Today was karwa chaut, the festival where a woman holds a fast for the long life of her husband. Like all the woman on our block, I also was observing fast," she said.

"Alright," the sub-inspector noted down in his casebook.

"I was waiting for my husband till 8:45, the moon was seen brightly in the sky but my husband was late from office," she said.

"Was he always late from office?" asked the sub-inspector.

"Sometimes yes," she replied, "But most of the times he would be home and then work from home for few hours in the night."

"Is that why you killed your husband?" asked the sub-inspector.

"No, not really," she replied, "Around 9:00 I got a call from him that he will be late than usual and he will be dining with a colleague outside."

"That was really insensitive of him, is that why you killed your husband?" asked the Sub-Inspector.

"No, not really," she replied, "I asked him by what time he will be in and he said it would be more than 11:00."

"What time did he actually arrive?" asked the Sub-Inspector.

"He came around 10:30, because of which I had to miss my daily soap. He came slightly tipsy and was talking to his colleague about how nice time he spent with her."

"Do you think he was having an affair?" asked the Sub-Inspector.

"No not really no," she said thinking for some time, "You see he was incapable of understanding women. I don't think any girl would voluntarily fall in love with him."

"Please continue," the sub-inspector continued to make notes.

"It was around 11:00 we sat at the dinner table, he had already come having dinner but I was hungry since morning," she said, "So we were having dinner. I liked him for that, he was at least sensitive to my feelings. We were having dinner when his phone rang. It was a client from America. He got busy on the call as I continued my dinner."

"Is that why you killed him because he was always working?"

"No not really, no," she said and continued, "We finished dinner... I finished dinner and went to the bedroom. It turns his call was finished a long time ago and he just did not bother to come out in the dining room to join me."
"I changed in my nightgown and decided to call it a day, thinking about how I missed today's episode and making a mental note to watch the rerun tomorrow. It was that time when he touched me."
"He touched you as in..." the sub-inspector cleared his throat.
"Well like a husband touches his wife. He wanted it, but then I was tired and I really had no mental capacity to do it." she said simply, "but he decided he wanted it anyway."

"Is that why you killed him because he forced himself on you?" asked the sub-inspector.

"No, not really, no," she said, "See it was his benefit as a husband, he was entitled to it, you know. I was his wife and I was supposed to be ready whenever he wanted it. It was just my bad luck that he wanted it today when I was tired having not eaten the whole day."

"So please continue," he said.

"After that, we went back to sleep and he started snoring without even talking a single word. He had a small penis and it was not that great or good. It was his weight on me that was bothering me, that's all."

"Oh," the Sub-Inspector said.

"Yeah, it's the same thing since our honeymoon. Not a real superstar performer he is, not really. He thinks he is something great but I knew his secret," she smirked, "Anyways, as I lay in the bed a thought occurred to me..."

"What?" Sub-Inspector Pandey raised his ears.

"I had prayed for his long life today. I observed the fast whole day, drinking only water and nothing else. I did everything as my mother taught me to do, I wanted to know if my prayer was successful or no," she said, "There is no litmus test you see to check if your husband's life increases on the prayer. But then it is just one day wasted isn't it?"

"True," the Sub-Inspector said, "Then what happened?"

"I walked into the kitchen cut an apple for myself. I was still a little hungry or maybe tired or maybe exhausted. I looked at the knife and decided to test if my prayer succeeded. I walked in the bedroom and sliced his stomach again and again. How do you know if someone is dead? They make it sound so easy in movies, it was really hard. I didn't want to touch his heart because like it or no, it was mine. I removed his gut and opened his stomach. It was then I realized there was a late night rerun of my daily soap, so I sat here watching," she said.

"I am sorry, I will have to arrest you for the murder of your husband," said Sub-Inspector Pandey.

"Yes ok," she said, "Can I finish this serial and come?"

"Sure," the sub-inspector said turning to the television. After a brief moment of silence, she replied, "Do they have a television in prison?"

"You get those in barracks, I have heard," the inspector said, "Or they allow you to bring your own if the jailer permits."

"Oh that's nice," she said, "But I don't think I'll miss a lot in the coming years, will I?"

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

[Short Story] A Broken World


Plop. Plop. Plop. She sat there looking at the drops of rain on the glass window. The gloom of the situation dawned on her. She was stuck here beyond the man-made walls as nature wreaked havoc in the city.

"No this isn't it," she thought while glancing at the drops of rain on the glass window, "This is not how I am going to give up. How can I? after so many days?"
"This relationship is as old as me itself..." she thought again, "Yes, that's it, I cannot let it end."
She walked to the dressing room to quickly changed, "No need to overdue it. This is no celebration, this is war. Yes, it is."

She took the first step out of the door and it felt liberating. It felt like freedom, she now knew how the freedom fighters felt when they were fighting for freedom.
The sky broke apart, thundering on her as a warning to step back indoors. She refused. She was determined today. She refused to be told what to do today, even by God.
She double checked her purse. This was the only thing she needed.
"Yes, rain-God," her mind agitated, "This is a war against you too... you took his side. I cannot let it."
Every step into the dripping rain felt a surge of an energy boost in her. She was winning, "Yes, I can" she proclaimed and she splashed her way through the mud-drenched footpath.

Plop. Plop. Plop. Her shoes splashed into the mud with little sprinkles ruining her favorite jeggings. "These jeggings will be sacrificed at the altar of love, today," she announced to no-one.
As she tore through the rain drops and walked on the rain-soaked street she had one goal in her mind. Only one.  And she could see her destination around the corner.
There he was, grinning in toothless smile looking at her.

"Shameless," she thought, as she walked closer to him. With every step, the distance between them reduced and her anticipation increased. Her mind raced ahead, at the prospect of what lay ahead and she took a deep breath. This is it.

The moment was here.

He could not believe she was here, he did not expect her too. But he secretly wished for her to come. This was their daily ritual, an unspoken, unwritten ritual. He was standing here in the rain under the tiny umbrella waiting- his end of bargain met, was she about to keep her? They never promised anything to each other, they were not even exclusive. But something told her, she will come looking and when she did, he wanted to be there for her. And he was.

Her hands were numb, her hair, her clothes drenched in water. She shuddered as the chill spread through the veins. The numbness was spreading across her body, she could feel the energy dropping in her limbs. She had few minutes left to do it. The sky thundered once more, but this time, it only agitated her, energized her.

Directly looking at his eyes, she finally moved her numb lips and placed the change on his counter,

"Two choco bars, please."

He obliged. How could he refuse the choco bar for his loyal customer?

Plop. Plop. Plop. She walked, carrying her choco-bars with her. And the distance between them increased. He watched her cross the street and hoped she would turn back once. As always, she did not turn back. He was not upset, she had left him behind as do the countless people who come to him. She was special for him, his loyal customer. And he was there for her. He closed the umbrella and let the cold rain wash on his face. Vehicles raced past him, ignoring the lone cyclist on the ice-cream tricycle climbing the steep hill alone. She was happy and in her happiness, he was too.
It was a long ride but he could not disappoint his favorite customer, could he?
She was back in her position near the window, she glanced at the world outside. It stood still, people were still as if waiting for the rain-gods to wash their sins. But she did not, she had won the war against rain-God. The two sticks in her hands proved it.

The nurse popped her head into the room, "Did you go out in the rain to bring your ice cream?" she asked, her voice raised in disbelief.

"Slurp," she replied, rejoicing her victory, enjoying the ice cream in the rain-soaked clothes.

The nurse rushed to fetch some towels to dry her but she didn't care, today, her ice-cream tasted better than ever.




Image: http://pexels.com
CC0 License
Image used for representation purpose only and is not related to the post in anyway.

Friday, April 29, 2016

So you have completed a manuscript, now what?

Entering the self-publishing versus traditional Publishing debate rather late but nonetheless, here I am. What would you rather do, would you self-publish or would you rather wait for traditional? Can you publish poems? Short stories? Novels and so on. Who will read my book? And many more questions.


Let's begin by addressing the big elephant in the room-

So you have completed a manuscript, now what?
Take a deep breath and spend a moment in reflection. Congratulations, you have done what majority of writers don't do- write. Kudos to you on completing one step in this whole journey that is going to consume the next six to seven months (sometimes more) of your life.
The next best guess is that you want to get it published, you want to see it in the hands of readers and you want to get praised for your effort. You know it is easy, obviously, look at Chetan Bhagat, he sells so crappy books. Stop thinking about this. In the next few paragraph, I am going to enlist the many pitfalls of publishing/ marketing and you will realize, getting a book published is not an easy piece of cake. You will have immense respect for Chetan Bhagat.

If that has discouraged you- here is the good news. There is a reader for every book, you just have to find one. You are just four degrees separated from everyone else in the world, finding your readers is not impossible... only difficult.

Pre-publishing stage
Edit Your First-Draft
Once you have completed your manuscript, time to edit it again. There are good, bad and horrible editors out there, each with their varied interest and skills. However horrible an editor may be, you still need one because you are not the best judge of your book. The editor will look for continuity errors, don't fret the best among us have made continuity errors, and you have too.

But shouldn't I be hunting for a publisher?
A publisher always has an in-house editor who can edit your book for you, however, the first draft of your book is not in a good shape to show it to the world. That's why you need an editor who can help you edit the book and filter out the obvious mistakes. Identify the grammar errors and dot your I's and dash your T's.

Start working on a Synopsis and a Summary of your story
A Synopsis is like the mickey mouse who stands at the gate of Disney Land welcoming the people inside. Your book may contain a lot of plots, sub-plots, twists and turn but all that needs to be trimmed down to give the publisher/ reader and an agent a good view of the whole plot. There are different views on how long should be a synopsis. Hence, I use two words-Synopsis and Summary, both are needed for your book. Think of summary as a jacket blurb, it is the one-pager (3000 words or less) summary of the entire book.

The Synopsis will be long, on an average one-page for every twenty-five pages in your manuscript.
A synopsis also shows your writing skills so do word it properly. Get it edited and reviewed by your editor.

Now you have a working manuscript, it is time to look for the publishers. 
There are three types of publishing options out there-

1. Traditional Publishing
The most common form of publishing is with the traditional publishing houses. These publishing houses offer publishing and distribution services for the book. In an emerging market like India, distribution is a nightmare, if you want your book to reach the crossword store next door- you have to opt for traditional publishing houses. To be fair, the other two options also deal with traditional distributors but the distribution in India is so fragmented that only select few publishers reach the tier-2 store. To get the attention of a publishing house is, however, tedious process. You can always send them the manuscript, the email address is right there on their website. Each publishing house has their own submission process but if they don't, Ideally you send them your bio, three chapters, and summary of your book. Generally, publishing houses take three to six months to reply. You can also opt for services like a bloody good book which provide crowdsourced reviews and draw the attention of publishing houses. In India, sadly, we do not have a big market for book agencies who will represent you. Not all publishers do print traditional books have good distribution model. However, make sure you clearly understand what the publisher is going to do about the book before signing the contract.

My book, Ragnarok, was published via a traditional publisher.
The upcoming graphic novel, Agatya, is also published by Fablery via traditional method.

2. Self-publishing
While traditional publishing has its perks, it is a nightmare to get into. Moreover, the traditional publishers do not accept submissions for short story anthology or poems. They will not accept upfront any manuscript which does not suit their marketing plans, they don't accept science fiction as there is less market for that and so on. If you come in this category of, a. you are impatient and b. you are not accepted in the traditional form of publishing- you can choose to opt for self-publishing. When it comes to self-publishing people quickly jump the bandwagon of Kindle. However, let me clarify, self-publishing need not just mean e-book but a print version as well.

There are few options you can explore when going for self-publishing. Personally, I host it on
- Amazon Create Space (for amazon.co.uk and amazon.com)
- Kindle and Smashwords for e-book format
- Pothi.com (for printing and distributing to Amazon.in and Flipkart)

Why? Because the more devices you can reach, the better. For my upcoming book, I have planned for release on Google play store and Apple store. Will let you know how it goes.

Recently, I was told about this services http://cinnamonteal.in for the upcoming book, I am going to avail their services. I released the mythological short story book, The One who stood against Shiva and other stories, via self-publishing.

3. Vanity Publishing
This is a sensitive topic for the majority of authors and there are a lot of scams going on for the same. To know about the scams, hop on the self-publishing queen Rasana's blog. Vanity publishers are not bad, they are heavily misunderstood. Publishing is a thankless job. The distributors don't pay on time, the book seller brow beat the little guy, the authors are not grateful and so on. Vanity publishers charge you an upfront fee for printing x amount of copies of the book. They also offer editing and distribution services for a price. The price may wary for different people. I often recommend this to people who do not want to run around themself for self-publishing. However, be very careful as there are many publishers who deal with vanity but advertise themself as traditional publishers. Many big publishing houses also offer vanity publishing services via their sister companies

Which publishing should I opt to? Always- and always go for traditional. If that doesn't work out, try learning about self-publishing. Remember, its your book, its your call. The rights ALWAYS remain with you.

This is just ten percent of what will take for you to bring the book out. But this lesson is enough for today. Have any questions? Comments? Feedback?
Shoot in the comments section below.

Monday, March 14, 2016

[Short Film] Ginger Chai



Two completely different people, Shailaja- confused, complicated and confounded, Moncy- Simple, Smart but speechless. They meet in an unexpected moment sizzled like the spice of a hot Ginger Chai.
Can love blossom over a cup of tea?

Based on a Short Story 'Ginger Chai' published on Sidoscope.

Jump to


Teaser


Song




Music Team:
Music: Yogesh Potdar & Sabalil Das
Lyrics : Vikas Singh
Singer : Shreya Kkhole

Watch the film



Starring: Pratika Zute, Mohit Mane, Samuel Dhilpe

Special Appearance: Rachna Gupta
Director, Editor & Screenplay: Chaitanya Kabe
Original Story & Dialogues: Siddhesh Kabe
Associate director & Makeup: Avanti Pillai
Cinematographer:  Samuel Dhilpe
Voice: Snehal Joshi, Saurabh Shiral, Subin Jacob & Shobhana Kabe
Casting: Roshani Punjabi
Creative Director: Subin Jacob

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

[Short Funny Story] A ‘Manhood’ tale




Before Chirag Raghuvans Rai Bahadur Patil was born, Raghuvans Rai Bahadur Patil was in a big dilemma. As the oldest and the noblest family in the village of hoshiyaarpur, he had chosen a wife in the best possible time of all the possible wanna be Mrs. Patil’s to give him a boy. He fed her all sorts of churans, medicines before the honeymoon so that she would give him a son.

Still fearing she will give birth to a girl. Raghuvans Rai Bahadur Patil went to the tallest mountain on the highest peak of the planet. He started Tapasya (sitting idle for a long long time, so that finally God has to come and wake you up)

He stood there for thousand days and thousand nights (actually his watch was broken so like in the mountain there was no cuckoo clock, so we cannot be sure how many days he was there.)
Finally God was very pleased with the man and appeared before him.

‘God, I have all the riches in the world, I have all the happiness in the world, but I want a son, I want some heir to the Rai Bahadur Patil tradition.’
‘Don’t you know a girl or a boy have equal weight in the whole world. How do you reject a girl child and ask God to send you a boy? All my creations have equal value, how can you choose one over another?’
‘God,’ said the man, ‘Finally, a boy is a boy and a girl is a girl. A boy will be manly like me, will support me  in my old age, he will carry the name of my family ahead for many years to come. He will rule the village in his manly sense…’.

…and the man continued praising the boy.

Finally getting bored, God yawned and said, ‘You want a boy? And you will get a boy…’
Raghuvans Rai Bahadur Patil puffed as his chest on outwitting God and started descending, unknowing to him, God smirked.

Patil finally got his wish fulfilled and he got a baby boy, and very proudly he named him Chirag.

Chirag grew up in loving care of Patil household, every woman in the Patil family took the boys care. As the only boy born after so many attempts, he was given extra attention. The father made him an engineer and send him abroad for higher studies. His khandan ka Chirag was studying in the states for last five years.
God peeped down from his cloud to watch them.

female-foeticide-1_thumb Chirag was coming back to India and Patil send a Banjo Party at the airport to receive his son. A large garland of 5 crores 20 lakhs (on insistence on our lawyers, we hereby announce that it was 20 lakhs only) was prepared to felicitate the Chirag. That day even the US convoy was coming to visit India and they felt like ordinary people seeing the preparation for the Khandan ka Chirag.
Raghuvans Rai Bahadur Patil stood at the Limo waiting for his son to step out of the airplane. All the passengers stepped out, but not his son. Patil was worried and started looking here and there. Finally as all the efforts to search for his son ended, a woman approached the man,

‘Father,’ she said.
‘Get away from me,’ Patil growled, ‘Who are you?’
‘Father its me,’ the girl said, ‘Chirag, your Chirag.’
‘Chirag,’ the father glanced at her chest…the girl folded her hands, he realized the mistake, and glanced up, ‘Is that really you?’
‘Yes dad, its me. You know since childhood I was different, I did not know what was wrong with me. I felt like I was a woman trapped in a boys body. When I went abroad, I realized there are many people like me. I contacted different psychiatrist to see if what I felt was right, and they agreed with me,’ she explained.
Each word hit Patil’s ear like a hammer on rock.
‘Finally I met this doctor who dealt with Sex change operation and I went there. After the operation I felt complete, I felt true,’ she explained.
‘You mean…’ Patil legs started weakening, ‘You mean…’
‘Aren’t you happy dad? Finally I am what I am?’ she smiled and she scooped out a man from the crowd, ‘And I want you to meet my soul mate, Raul, I met in the states. We both are made for each other.’
‘You mean…’ Patil collapsed on the ground flat on his back.
High above him clouds changed shaped and turned, ‘LOL’

Moral of the story: Female foeticide is as bad as sand in your swimsuit. Stop it or God is watching you.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

[Short Story] The Last Breath On Earth


A bug is a computer anomaly that is generated usually because of developer’s ignorance or environmental factors. The former is more prominent in computer programs. The term debugging means to find the cause for the bug and fixing it. The term debugging has a humorous origin.
In 1947, Grace Murray Hopper was working on the Harvard University Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator. On the 9th of September, 1947, when the machine was experiencing problems, an investigation showed that there was a moth trapped between the points of Relay #70, in Panel F. The operators removed the moth and affixed it to the log.
The word went out that they had "debugged" the machine and the term "debugging a computer program" was born.

As the technology progresses it advances towards perfection and minimizes its flaws, unfortunately, this was not true for computers. The bugs and errors increased exponentially with the advancement of computers. What earlier was a mere moth trapped in the points, became complex lines of code.
Computers were our future, since the day Charles Babbage invented the abacus machine we always prophesied a brighter future, more and more systems came online. I cannot definitely say what went wrong, but maybe it was the 2nd world war that made armies put defense control on the computer, or maybe it was the creation of virus by hackers. 
Today, I sit here on the threshold at the end of humanity. Everywhere I look I see nothing. Void. I cannot tell you what day it is because all the time is gone, the entire calendars dissolved into nothingness.

I don’t know what actually started it, maybe it was the developers fault or maybe the testing was not proper, whatever it was now, there is no way of finding it now. Maybe it could be prevented, maybe not, it was a simple bug. A simple bug.
The guided nuclear missile program relied heavily on the computer. It was built with maximum precision and minimum errors. They were programmatically locked into a button so that if someone accidentally fires the switch there was a fail-safe program to prevent the holocaust. Somehow they missed the find the computer bug.

There is no way of knowing what actually happened, maybe the code went wrong, maybe the computer intercepted a command wrong, maybe it was a virus or maybe a simple bug. A simple bug.
The missiles took flight before anyone could actually understand what was happening. It was all over in a matter of minutes.

The ocean level rose to an enormous proportion, the wall high tsunami drowning half the planet in one splash. Japan never stood a chance, as the boiling ocean drowned it completely, neither did Australia.

India and the sub-continent were vaporized like placed in a giant microwave. Every bit of matter liquefied into the atom. The oceans evaporated superheating the atmosphere, creating a globe-spanning firestorm that destroyed the atmosphere.

The rest was drowned by radioactive water falling from the sky as the ocean came down as an endless downpour. No dogma could prevent this, no sacrifices for the sins of humanity could prevent it, no law could justify. Noah could not even build his ark. Manu could not save anyone.
Everything simply was destroyed within seconds.
Nothing remained just the traces of humanity in the form of the dead.

Humanity perished.

Except me.

I was working in the international space station at the time it happened. I saw the whole destruction of the planet with my naked eyes. I tried hard to maintain contact, but nothing worked. After the long day ended and the radioactive dust settled, I decided to come back and find out if any life is left here.
I came here last month and what I see is horrifying, piles and piles of dead bodies. Everywhere I see is destruction, no trace of mankind. No trace of any lifeform. I wonder had God prophesied this before? Was it planned or unplanned? If it was unplanned it was a big flaw on his part. If it was planned, here I was, a flaw in his plan.
But some part of me tells me, this was all planned. He, the almighty, planned all this. Well, that must be the religious part in me. All the boundaries, religion seem distant shadows now. No preacher, no believer.

I slept under the poisoned sky for the night, for the first time, I do not am not afraid of anything. I am not afraid of monsters under the bed, not afraid of robbers robbing me.
I am pretty sure the radioactivity in the air has entered my lungs. I am going to die of radioactive poisoning soon, but today I have decided to muster the courage to travel.
Travel to see if there is someone alive other than me. If all those religious dogmas were true then my perfect half must be somewhere, or maybe I will stumble upon the almighty on the way.

I do not know where this journey will lead me, nor do I know how things are going to shape up for me. I do not know why I have survived the holocaust, but there be some purpose in my life.
I am keeping this note, in hope that maybe someday; someone will come across this and learn what happened here. Maybe some alien species will send an expedition on the planet.
Today I commence my journey into nothingness; I commence my journey into the void, in search of a company and to find the purpose of my life.

I am the sole survivor of planet earth.

The last breath of humanity.

Photo: Creative Commons. http://stocksnap.io designed using Canva.com

Saturday, February 20, 2016

[Short Story] Dharmachakra must spin

King Ram arrived in Ayodhya with much fan-fare. The stories of his conquest and victory over the Demon King of Lanka had reached Ayodhya through Vanavas or the exile in the forest. His step-brothers Bharat and Shatrugna ordered cleaning and decorating the city of Ayodhya. The city was brightened by the lighting of thousands of lamps throughout the city.

The Prince and his queen had now settled in the kingdom. Soon there would be a coronation of the new king. He will perform the Ashwamedha yagna, the ritual of the horse, to be crowned as the king.

His queen Sita was resting peacefully beside his side in the chamber. From the window, he could see the Durban or a messenger for the court running towards the living hall. Something worried him, the durban looked disturbed.

He got dressed and stepped out. His loyal brothers Bharat and Shatrugna were talking among themself. Bharat always the humble stood as soon as Ram entered the chamber, "Greetings big brother. We do not have any royal court proceedings today," he informed.
"I saw Durban coming this way earlier," Ram spoke as softly as he could, "Did he bring any message?"
Bharat and Shatrugna looked at each other and hesitated. The Durban had brought a bad news.

"Bharat," Ram asked again, "What is it?"
"Brother," Bharat began, "Durban came with a message that there is a doubt creeping among the subject about Chastity of Queen. Some people overheard the washer-men talking about it."
A sharp pain erupted in his chest on hearing the news.

"We can capture him and throw the mischievous washer-man in prison for the rest of his life," Bharat's suggestion disturbed his thoughts and he was brought back into the court.
"And what will be his crime, brother?" Ram asked, "That he spoke out his inner fears?"
"Sedition," Bharat said, "We can throw him in jail under Sedition law."

If a small amount of doubt crept in any of his subjects, they might start disrespecting their queen. It would not be good for the Kingdom of Ayodhya. A small trickle of tear washed his cheeks to think of his Trial every day as he sat on the throne. The best option was to leave the kingdom for the forest.

"And how many people are you going to throw in jail?" Ram asked, "Everyone?"

"You can punish the man, not the idea. By throwing him in jail, we will dishonor the law of the land. You will sow the seed of distrust among the subjects," Rama said, "I think it will be better for me to let go of the throne and spend the rest of the days in the forest."
Bharat and Shatrugna looked petrified at the thought.

While Rama was a young prince, he was getting trained in politics and problem solving under the great Sage Vishwamitra. One such problem came forward when they learned that the sage Gautama had cursed his wife to remain invisible to everyone until eternity.
Rama's teacher Vishwamitra called her as mahabhaga or extremely unfortunate. He requested Rama to free her of her troubles. "But why call her as mahabhaga? Gurudev," asked the young prince Rama, "Didn't she cheat on her own husband?"
"As a king, Oh Rama, you will have to bridge the gap between the crime committed and punishment for that crime. The bane of every civilized society is to find an optimal gap between crime and punishment. Sometimes the punishment exceeds the nature of the crime and thus a just decision can be injustice."

"What are you saying, brother?" Shatrugna almost screamed, "We kept the throne empty for fourteen years because you are the rightful owner of the throne. You are kind, you are just and you are the most brilliant king this kingdom has ever received. Why would you leave a kingdom because of what some washer-man thinks?"

"For the same reasons you mentioned before. I am a just king and I cannot punish someone from voicing his insecurities. Sedition law is in force if the person doubts the integrity of the kingdom, not if the person doubts integrity of his royal family. I understand that having Sita with me will cause more trouble to Ayodhya and the peace. A distrustful king cannot rule the kingdom in peace. It will be more..."

"... do not event think about it," Lakshman announced walking into the chamber, "I was listening to you speak. Do not even think about leaving us again. Last time I was begging you to stop going in the forest when the father ordered you, this time, I will not let you go."

Ram considered his options for a moment. Who would rule the kingdom after he left? Lakshman was hot-headed and would never rule Ayodhya properly. His eagerness and hot-headiness had cost them more than once in the forest. Shatrugna was a brilliant administrator and had handled the civic responsibilities well during his exile but he had an anger issue. Didn't he drag Manthara out of the garden in an attempt to kill her? Bharat, oh the dear brother Bharat, he stayed in a hut near the Sarayu river for fourteen years when Ram was exiled. No way he could convince him again.

Ram could not let his kingdom suffer again. Neither could he let Sita suffer again. She was a princess and yet endured the forest for him. And now he knew why his teacher had used the word abhaga for Ahalya.

"How can a justice decision be injustice, teacher?" Young prince Ram asked.
"The Dharmachakra is a complex justice wheel, oh prince, while the act of justice requires strict adherence to law, the principle of justice is about treating everyone the equal. So while Punishment vetted to Ahalya was in adherence with the law, she was treated unfairly by punishing for her desire. Do you think she deserves to be punished any longer?"

"Who can really tell, oh teacher," Rama said confused, "Who can really tell how much punishment does one deserve for the deed? Isn't that God himself that will decide? Isn't what is Sin decided by the God?"
"God isn't here at the moment but you are. And as a King, you are the next best thing to God. Your entire life you will be judged upon moments when you will have to weight in the crime committed and punishment vetted. Sometimes it might not seem fair but you have to take the call anyway. Sometimes your own loved ones will be on the other end of the law and you will have to be decisive. To carve the perfect Kingdom, oh prince, you have to walk the thin but sharp edge of the law but at the same time maintain the principle of justice. If there is a gap, tilting to the side of crime or of the punishment, someone always pays the price for miscarriage of justice. The Dharmachakra should always spin. As a king, it is your duty to keep it spinning. Keep the Dharmachakra in balance and you will win all the battles."

Rama looked at his teacher horrified but now he knew what he had to do. He freed Ahalya from her curse. The principle of justice was restored.

The dharmachakra must spin. Lord Ram thought. If he does protect Sita from the doubt of the commoners, how would he be different from Ravana? He let his own son get slaughtered in the war just to fulfill his own lust. His brothers were looking at him hopefully for a decision.

"No sedition, no punishment," Lord Ram finally said, "I will talk to Sita myself and ask her to stay at her father's place for a few days."

"Brother!!!" Lakshman was horrified at his brother's suggestion, "You cannot punish Sita Mata for the commoners doubt."

Lord Ram touched his hot-headed brothers shoulder, "True justice in this case would be that we both leave the kingdom, only then the dharmachakra would keep spinning."

Lord Ram hesitated, the decision was just for the kingdom but injustice for Sita. Hence the principle of justice, the dharma, was not on his side.

The young prince had asked his teacher one question all those years ago, "What happens if the dharmachakra stops spinning? What happens if there is injustice in the kingdom?"
The wise king, who had now turned into a Sage, smiled and said, "You find out."

As King Ram walked into his private chambers to talk to Sita, he knew, he was finally going to find out what happens on the other side of Dharma.

The dharmachakra stopped spinning.

Note: Lord Ram will place the golden statue of Sita on the throne of the queen in her absence. The kingdom of Ayodhya grew prosperous but the Dharmachakra was misaligned and hence Lord Ram could never complete the Ashwamedha Yagna, the highest honor a king could get. The man who defeated an undefeated kingdom by just commanding a band of monkeys was defeated by two children in the next war.

The dharmachakra should always spin, if it stops, you find out.

Photo credits: Photo layout done using Canva. Abstract art by Deepika Kabe 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

[Thriller2k16] The Appointment


Seven bullets, seven dead. Trisha counted, did she miss anyone? She scratched her head to think back, she usually got carried away when firing a gun. Let me see, she did count eight when she entered, didn't she? This was Sleepy and here is Jackie, I think this was loopy and this blown up face was Happy... oh poor happy, he had a smile. She starting counting the dead bodies and matching them against the made-up names she had assigned. Yes, there were eight and the Big Bad Wolf is missing, init!!! she concluded.

She stood up, brushed her long hair with both her hand. The hair-end looked a bit brittle, need to book an appointment for a Brazilian blow dry, she made a mental note. She loaded a new clip in her gun and cocked the hammer, well let's see, where is this big bad wolfie?

She climbed up the stairs of the dance bar. Three girls were curled up in the corner huddling together. They wore skimpy clothes with a bright coloured blouse and matching churidar. Their dresses were laden with shiny beads and piece of glass. The girls were shivering in the massive Mumbai heat, stuck between the cross-fire. Trisha rubbed the barrel on the gun on her brow-

“Oh get a life,” she told the girl who was looking at her, "If you want to doll yourself up and dance for these assholes, at least, kill some of them," she handed her spare pistol to the one, "This will help you liberate yourself. Now tell me, where is the big asshole?"

Still shivering, the girl pointed to the door, eyeing the barrel of the gun. "If you are thinking about shooting me, you better pray you can get your aim right," Trisha exclaimed, "Because if you miss, I am going to turn around." The girl did not take the gun and Trisha shrugged, "Pussy."
For anyone who saw Trisha for the first time would mistake her for the underwear supermodel. Long straight hair with beautifully done eyelashes. Manicured hands and legs. With a perfect hourglass figure that would put many actresses to shame, no one would believe that she packed a solid .55 magnum pistol underneath the dress she wore every day. Trisha Das was a gun for hire, a sharpshooter with an itch to kill. She was available for hire to anyone who could afford her services, which were very premium. Very very premium.

As she walked on the warm streets of Mumbai, her iPhone buzzed to life, ‘Beauty appointment in 30 mins,’ it displayed. 30 mins, dammit, she exclaimed. Today was the appointment for the Turkish Bath, she was looking forward to this one since she had heard about it. But now with one person missing in her kill, she will have to miss her appointment.
Not if she could find and slay this missing man in the next 30 minutes.

The man she was looking for was called Janardhan on the streets. A small time hustler wanted for many robberies and few unreported rapes. Janardhan was also the leader of a local illegal moral police called ‘The Moral army’. A small outfit who wanted to get into big politics and ended up disrupting parties that ran over midnight.

Her phone buzzed to life again, this time, it flashed an ‘Unknown Number Calling’ on the screen. She adjusted her hair and put the phone to her ears.

“What have I ever done to you?” the voice on the phone was coarse. The person who was speaking was very scared. She could hear the voice shaking a bit but then he would recover, summon all the strength and connect the next word.

“That depends on who you are,” she asked honestly, she was used to these phone calls. She could think of at least seven men who would want to know what they had ever done to her.

“You know who I am,” Janardhan’s voice was now clearer, “You just offed many of my men since morning.”

“Oh, that. Hello,” she said, “I have no personal grudge against you Janardhan, I simply love to off few people like you once in a week.”

“Listen, bitch, go away, go away from here if you know what is good for you,” Janardhan said summoning all his strength he could. She guessed he found the gun he was looking for, “You don’t know the trouble you are in. Go settle with some man and make him happy by making babies for him.”

“Thanks for the suggestion, why are you running scared from a woman?” she provoked.
There was a pause and a click on the phone. Trisha was familiar with the click she heard. Her years of training made her an expert in the sound. It was the sound of loading a sniper. With an agility of an animal, she moved from her location as a bullet breezed past her long hair. Rolling on the ground, she looked at the direction of the bullet. There were three buildings behind her and anyone of them could be the vantage point for the shot. And then she saw it, the flash of the sun shining through the lens of the sniper rifle. Amateur, Trisha sniggered.

“Peek a boo,” she spoke on the phone, “Ready or not, here I come.”
Standing on the unfinished terrace of an under construction building, Janardhan tried to locate the girl from the crosshair. Janardhan was a mountain of a man. With strong square jaws and twice the muscles of any average man, he was born to become the rowdy of the area. With the ambition to become a successful politician like his uncle in the future, Janardhan was collecting as much money as he could to pay the way. One of the expensive things he purchased was this M24 Amercian Sniper rifle. It was a handy tool to keep an eye on his opponent and enemies, plus the view from the crosshair gave him the confidence he always needed. Janardhan was known to observe ordinary people through the crosshairs from this building, he had fired this weapon for the first time. He did not know the wind would divert the bullet slightly and he missed the shot.
Where the fuck did she escape? he wondered. Just a moment ago, he had her. The bullet was fired but she escaped. That was inhuman, the way she moved. He admired her ability for a moment. But where is she? She had to die, he thought, women should not wield the gun, they should cook and clean, leave the mess to men.

His phone buzzed and he turned to look at the screen, it was Trisha. Not in the mood to chat with you lady, he disconnected the call hard and continued to look for her from the crosshairs.
"Where is she?" he asked, aloud, stomping the feet on the ground in frustration.
“Here,” whispered Trisha in his left ear. She was standing just behind him but her pistol pointed at his knee. One bang took a major chunk of the right knee bone and flesh. He collapsed on the ground and the rifle got pushed away from him. Holding the open wound, Janardhan cursed loudly.

“So where were we? Yes,” Trisha started, “I have no problem with you but people like you try to force your crooked ideology on others. I hate that,” another bang took one more major chunk of the left knee.

“What is your problem with me?” asked Janardhan, agonising in tremendous pain, he was almost screaming, “I have a political career to maintain.”
Trisha crouched near his leg and pushed her finger on the wound. He screamed more loudly.

“God, you men never listen. Do you? I have no problem with you,” she said pushing the finger on the wound even harder, “No seriously, you are a fool. But you have committed a crime, and you kinda deserve this shit. I am just cleaning the country you know. It's a good think to clean the country, didn't you hear the prime minister? Cheer up, you are going down for a good cause.”
“I don't deserve this, please,” pleaded Janardhan and folded his arms, "What have I ever done to you?" He first looked at his broken knee caps and then at the blood spread on the floor.
"This building belongs to your uncle right, the one who works for that big loser party?" she wondered loudly, "You and your loser boys raped a girl in this building a fortnight ago, remember?" she pushed her finger deep into the wounded knee, Janardhan screamed loudly, "What had she ever done to you dude?"

Janardhan looked at his assailant in horror and realized, “Her family hired you? I can give you money, lots more, please," he wallowed in pain.
“No, her family no,” Trisha said scratching her chin with the barrel of her gun. She got high with the smell coming from the barrel, “I just read that in the newspaper, you boasted some shit about she deserved it because she was out at night with her boyfriend. I was bored today so I though I'll take a walk.”

“Please...,” Janardhan was losing blood and energy at the same time. His eyes were desperate to close but he was determined to survive this. "Let's make this festive. What say?" she smiled and fondled in his pocket.
She found what she was looking for, a quarter bottle of whiskey, "100% fucking right," she exclaimed loudly, "I knew it."
She poured the whiskey all over him, “What are you doing?"
Trisha pulled out her iPhone and turned on the video filming. Pointing the camera on the exhausted look of her victim, she spoke to the camera.
“Start respecting women, or I am coming for you.”
She pulled her cigarette lighter and set the wounded Janardhan on fire. He struggled and shivered for a moment as the flames engulfed him completely. At each burn, a chip of his flesh was burned into oblivion. Finally, he stopped struggling. And instead, of a strong, hunky build man were the charred remains of flesh and bone.

Trisha jerked her neck and lighted a cigarette. Putting the gun back in the holster, she checked her iPhone. She still had six minutes to make the appointment.

Yay, she exclaimed and walked down the isolated building, she was going to get scrubbed clean. How exciting. she said.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Deducing the fate of Moriarty in The Abominable Bride


On the first of January, almost the whole of the English-speaking world was glued on to their television sets or computers to catch the glimpse of a Sherlock one-shot special 'The Abominable Bride'. As the cunning writers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have proven time and again that they cannot be trusted, we all were cautious about what the episode actually would be.

If you are someone who has not yet seen The Abominable Bride (oh dear) and does plans to watch it at some point in the future, be warned, this post contains spoilers and I won't proceed further if I were you.
For the lazy people, there is a TL;DR version below, scroll down to hell to read about it but a true Sherlock fan will never do that.

Let us first establish if Moriarity is really dead or no.

Fact 1: During the Abominable Bride, we meet the devil himself. Moriarty walks into Sherlock's mind palace (a lot of blogs refer to that as the dream, it is offensive). He enacts the same scene on top of the hospital as seen in the Reichenberg fall. If you observe carefully you will hear Moriarty speak the same sentence, basically, it is the reenactment of his death. But here he does something else, in the mind palace, Sherlock can see the back of the head that is blown off. So we can safely say, Moriarity did blow his head off, he was mad like that.

From this, we can deduce that Moriarty is absolutely dead and there is no doubt about it. There is no other point why Sherlock would imagine the turning of head in the mind-palace (And again this is not a dream. Also sidebar: Mind Palace is not something Sherlock invented, it has been practised for ages, you just didn't know about it.)

If we agree on this point, then the next question is- who broadcasted the 'Miss Me' message on the television screens across England? Surely, it is not Mycroft, who else has the resources to pull such a thing? 

Before we begin to decude this let us take a stock of what happened towards the end of series 3 when Sherlock goes after the Napolean of blackmail - Charles Augustus Magnussen.

Fact 2: Magnussen was a media baron, he owned a newspaper and was notorious for blackmailing people. Sherlock had to trick his assistant, Janine hawkers,  into an engagement to gain access to his private office. 

Fact 3: Towards the end of His last vow, Sherlock shot Magnussen in the head against the orders of his brother, which was the cause of his exile.

From the two facts, we can deduce the following things - that Magnussen had a large network in the media and Janine had access to the same. You can't become the king of blackmail without having a media network.

Now we have established that, let's return to the episode in hand.

Fact 4: In the Abominable Bride, During the stakeout sitting in the shed, Watson and Sherlock discuss relationships and his physical needs. They also talk about Irene Adler, who, as we know, is hiding out in America. Remember, we are still inside his mind-palace and Sherlock is extremely high.

We can safely deduce that Sherlock is feeling lonely in his time. He is yearning for companionship. This fact is also highlighted when he observes the empty chair of Watson in his mind-palace.

Fact 5: During the conclusion of the Abominable Bride, Sherlock gives a big lecture of how we always forget the one person who is always there in the house. There is only one suspect- During that speech, his subconscious mind brings up Janine- his bride to be, that was abandoned.

When you eliminate all the possibilities, what remains, however improbable, is the truth. Thus, we come to the conclusion of the show when Sherlock says- a. Moriarty is definitely dead and b. His enemy has returned and is waiting for him at Bakers Street.

Final Hint: The title of the show was not the Invisible killer, it was not the mysterious death, it was Abominable Bride. Rather in another term, a diabolical bride, a cunning bride who has done some evil thing. There is one bride in the show who has risen from the grave to punish her husband and another to save Sherlock from the exile. Unlike the end of the Final Problem, Sherlock is not alone this time. There is someone waiting for him.

For the Lazy people out there- TL;DR

The episode successfully proves that Moriarity is dead and however loud the fan girls will scream, he is not coming back. Janine, however, is coming back and She with her media resources planted the 'Miss me' message to remind England of the value Sherlock brings to the country.
In conclusion, Sherlock and Janine will pick up where they left off.

P.s. As it is with these things, you can start hating me now. 

Have you read my book yet?

Have you read my book yet?
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