2009 ~ Tales from the dark side

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


He looked around, there were a lot of them. He could see their faint, blurred faces looking at him intently. Old friends, new friends and family. They had all come to be with him in his last moments.

He felt sick of all those people looking at him as if he would perform a last minute miracle and suddenly come alive again.

These faces were the faces of people he had loved in his lifetime. He felt like a lab specimen. When death becomes a spectacle.

He tried to die, but he couldn't. He was hopelessly stuck in the space between life and death.

He tried to speak, there were a thousand things in his mind, but he didn't know which one to say. So he kept quiet.

He thought of all the things he hadn't done in his life, and he felt frustration.

He was going to miss his parents, and his ex-girlfriend who was with someone else.

So much was left to be done.

No college anymore, no petty politics, no complexities. He was being liberated.

He felt love rising in his heart.

His mother was crying at his side, he held her hand. Suddenly everyone started to cry.

He closed his eyes, and he was gone.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Risika the Slayer

There was a full moon in the sky and it would often be veiled by small strips of dark clouds. The winds were moaning in the forest, the rustle of leaves could be heard as the winds blew through the branches of the trees. The giant trees that bordered the forest looked ominous. Strange noises could be heard coming from within the depths of the labyrinthian woods.

The castle stood just outside the forest, a long winding path through the forest led to it. Three horses stood in the courtyard just inside the gates of the castle, the riders were two men and a woman, they wore hooded cloaks. The woman took off her hood to reveal her beautiful face and her long hair that ran back into the cloak. She tied her hair, and put the hood back on again. It was the vampire stronghold of Adon.

She gestured to her companions, and they rode out into the night through the castle gate. They rode into the forest. The woman was leading the group, her name was Risika. They rode like shadows, swiftly avoiding trees and rocks till they reached a ravine. They got down and tied their horses to tree trunks. Noiselessly they took off their cloaks and revealed their light armour. The moonlight bathed them and their armours shone in the darkness. Risika spread her arms out like an eagle and looked upwards at the sky, the two others knelt down at her feet. Her eyes started glowing red and her canines started extending till they were clearly visible, her beautiful face started getting contorted and her skin turned into a dead brown, two horns grew from the sides of her head and suddenly with a whiplash two wings sprouted out of her armour on the back. Lady Risika was now Risika the slayer. “Get up”, her voice had deepened and become throaty. The two vampires got up, their eyes were glowing red too and their faces had taken a beastly appearance, but they had no wings like Risika. Risika took her sword out of the scabbard and the men did the same, they raised their swords to the sky and Risika let out a screech that tore through the night sky.

Nearby, in the Lichen settlement, the screech was heard. There was panic at the camp, the women and children hurried into an underground cellar, while the men put out the fires and turned into fierce howling wolves. A pack of them started running towards the source of the sound while the others staid back defending the base.

“They’re coming”, one of the vampires said.
“See you on the other side”, said Risika and flapped her wings and flew into the night like a huge bird.

The wolves had reached the other bank of the ravine, they saw Risika fly into the sky and the two other vampires on the other side with their swords unsheathed.
“For Adon!”, they shouted and leaped towards the wolves.
The wolves leaped at the same time, and the met mid air over the ravine. The first wolf to leap was beheaded just seconds before the two vampires thrust their swords through the hearts of two others. They were standing in the middle of the ravine and the wolves had surrounded them, their backs faced each other as they looked cautiously at each glowing phosphorescent lupine eye staring at them. The wolves were circling them now. One wolf leapt at them and bit one of them on the shoulder and was hanging from there. Taking advantage of the situation four others leapt towards the two. The man who was bitten, with an extraordinary show of strength pulled the wolf from his shoulder and threw it away. He ducked, and simultaneously the other vampire rotated in a deadly circle around the spot he was standing in cutting the wolves who had leapt at them in half. There were only two left. They howled nervously looking at the two vampires and leapt at them, two swords went through their hearts.

The lifeless bodies of the wolves lay on the river bed, a small patch in the water had turned red, it was swirling with the current. Not wasting a moment the two vampires ran into the forest. Although the fires were put out at the camp, the vampires didn’t have any difficulty spotting the Lichen camp. Probably because Risika was already there, screeching and killing wolves. She was outnumbered, thirty to one. Occasionally she would grab a wolf and fly into the sky, there she would suck it dry of its blood and let it fall. The wolves would leap at her but she was too high for them. The vampires ran into the circle that the wolves had formed, thrusting and slicing with their swords. Soon all the wolves lay dead at their feet.

Risika landed on her feet.
“Well done *insert names here*”, she was smiling revealing her long fangs which were bloody now, the bloodlust in her eyes had now turned into a content crackling fire.

A baby wailed in his mother’s arms.
“Wait”, the expression on Risika’s face changed to tense concentration and anger was building up inside her again.
“Find them”, she said.

They looked for openings in the ground, and finally found the camouflaged entrance to the cellar.

“Let them burn. Let the blood of Romolus boil in the fire of our rage”

They lit torches that were lying around and put anything combustible they could find on fire and threw them inside.

Soon shrieks were heard.

They waited till the last one stopped and sheathed their swords.

The loss of faith

It was a beautiful winter morning in Calcutta. The sun’s golden rays caught the trees and the white buildings and they glowed like the newly wed bride. A couple was walking on the sidewalk holding each other’s hand. The cool breeze wasn’t so much as a sting on the skin, but a gentle, pleasant wind.

They were not looking at each other as they walked. Their relationship had outgrown the joy that physical beauty holds; instead it was as if their souls were entwined at their hands. The grip was neither too firm nor too loose, they had gotten over that phase in which they feared losing each other to someone else. They didn’t need to talk, because everything had been said between them, now they cherished the silence.

“Will you love me still, if I cheated on you and then came back?”, she asked.
“I don’t know. I have never thought about that”, he said.
“What if I did? Think about it now”, her voice was playful now to show that there was nothing behind these words.
“I’ll hate you forever”, she never forgot those words.

They had stopped for a moment on the sidewalk while they were talking. They started walking again. They passed some small empty parks which held memories for them, some tall intimidating looking office buildings, some restaurants. At every crossing they would swiftly cross the street looking at both sides, avoiding maniacal taxis and buses and his grip on her hand would suddenly become stronger, she felt safe.

They walked inside a shopping mall, which if not for the weather would otherwise be air conditioned to 23 degrees. They were still holding each other’s hand. People watched them, maybe enviously for they could not remember the last time someone held their hand in public. Both of them were good looking so they attracted some jealous stares. The boy felt insecure at all the eyes checking her out so minutely, and the girl felt pleasure that she was with someone who everyone wanted to be with.

They went inside a shop that sold men’s clothes. While he stood checking out shirts in one corner of the shop, she would go all around looking for clothes that might suit him. She loved dressing him up. That’s why most of her gifts to him were clothes.

They went out of the store and climbed the escalator up to the fourth floor, that’s where the food court was. They always went crazy over food when they were together, both of them liked to guess what the other person would like and ended up ordering things which they could not finish. Ultimately it was always a few scraps from the plate and two glasses of cola that would fill them up.

They ordered their food and had sat down at a table, looking at everything else except for each other’s faces. Suddenly she became very nervous and he noticed it, she was looking at someone. He turned around to see who it was. It was some guy sitting right behind them and smiling at her. He didn’t like the way the guy was smiling at her, she smiled a nervous smile back. The guy didn’t bother to come up and greet her, he just sat there and smiled. He was with friends.
“Who’s that?”, he asked.
“Oh, someone I met a few days back at Tara’s birthday. We spoke for sometime, his name’s Nikhil”, she dismissed the matter.
He went back to his food, convinced. But something was itching inside him, maybe she was not telling him the entire truth.
“I’ll be right back”, he said
“Where?”, she asked
“Nature calls.”

He walked swiftly into the washroom and set about his business. He heard the lavatory door open behind him, he didn’t look back. Two guys were talking with each other.
“Did you see the chick I was looking at?”, one said
“Yeah the one sitting with a guy”
“Met her at a party last week. Man what a girl!”
“Yeah, she’s nice”
“No I mean, what a slut! Took me five minutes to convince her into doing the grind with me, and she wasn’t even drunk. And today she’s with some other guy, looks like it’s his lucky day”
“Haha. No, seriously? Gimme her number man!”
“Why don’t you go ask her now? The guy’s gone somewhere. If you make it fast”

They washed their faces and went out.

He buttoned up, he had listened to the entire conversation. Tears were threatening his eye glands, but he somehow held them back.

He walked slowly out of the lavatory, and made sure noone was watching him. He saw the two of them talking to her, she was smiling more spontaneously now, since he wasn’t there. He could see the other guy taking her number on his cellphone, and then they went back to their table.

He slowly walked back to his table and sat down.
“How does it feel to be a cuckold?”, he thought.
She smiled at him, and said “Where were you for so long, I was missing you”

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The ninth immortal

Vishnu couldn't believe what he was hearing and seeing. He was sitting with men who are deathless, and he was being told he was deathless too. If this wasn't the strangest night of his life he didn't know what was.

"I know this is a bit disconcerting, Vishnu. If this takes a little time to sink in, let it. I don't want to force anything on you", Barker said
"No, please go on", Vishnu said, he wasn't feeling well.
"Do you know what Devdatta saw on your thigh?"
"I don't know"
"Tell me Vishnu, have you never seen it?"
"The scar"
Vishnu remembered suddenly that he indeed had a scar on his right thigh, it was a birthhmark.
"Yes, but what about it? Why is it so important?"
"Before I answer that question I must tell you what we are"
The silence in the room seemed stifling.
"We are vampires. Descendants of the house of the Noble Zaroud", he waited for some sort of reaction from Vishnu but there was none.
"Thousands of years ago, the vampires were united, and our clan was ruled by four elders, the wise Zaroud, Amarande the warrior, Corbin the princess, and Risika the slayer. The vampires were the most powerful force on Earth then. Not even the Gods could stand up to us. We enslaved almost every powerful force on earth, the werewolves, some human tribes and some other carnivores, they used to build our castles and strengthen our armies. The world then, was controlled by powerful leaders, mostly human. But we were the only immortal race, and hence the most powerful. But we were too few in number, compared to the human forces we were fighting. They had the power of magic and science, and we had only our strength. Then one day, a great magician named Araknot devised a way to kill vampires. Our foremost strength, our immortality was gone. Till then it seemed like the world was ours for the taking, and suddenly our power was being taken from us. The lichens, the werewolves that is broke free and declared war against us. They united under their leader Romolus who was previously a slave. Their soul purpose was to terrorise the vampires. They would hide near our castles and kill those who passed their way. Soon we had to send enforcements with every caravan or carriage. Risika, the elder vowed vengeance, and she and her small troop would venture into lichen strongholds and kill their armies, and their women and children, she spared noone. The hatred between vampires and lichens grew even deeper", Barker paused to rest
"The humans on the other hand were growing stronger. Eight human kings had voluntarily sacrificed their lives, and the magic of Araknot had turned them into the undead. They were led by Lucius who ruled over the Kingdom of the North, and controlled winds that blew from the north, the others ruled the seven other directions and the winds that prevailed there. One day under the leadership of Lucius they united and rode on seven dead horses to the world's end to seek the help of Bahram, the God of Creation. Upon hearing that Zaroud, Amarande, Corbin and Risika too started a journey to the world's end to seek the favour of the great Bahram before the undead Kings reached", he paused again.
"Meanwhile Araknot raised the Demons of the North, West, East and South and under those demons he began forming huge armies, massive sentinels of destruction. War still had not been waged with the humans, but one couldn't be avoided for too long. But however, to our advantage several human tribes driven by their lust for immortality agreed to join forces with us, they were turned to vampires, like us, and their bloodthirsty armies became our own. For the first time the vampires were divided. Four clans, each ruled by one elder and the army of that clan controlled by a human king. Even though they had been turned into vampires, we never considered them as one, the distinction between pureblood and halfblood remained. We lived in castles and were protected by them. They were the warriors and we were the Nobles. The vampire-lichen war still continued and Romolus grew powerful each day, and their numbers multiplied rapidly. However something miraculous happened, and like us vampires the lichens soon got divided too, and their other faction was willing to cooperate with us, in exchange for power. And they were given power. All this time, in the absence of the elders a confederate was formed, and they took the decisions. Although humans and lichens had joined the Vampires, we still continued to rule over our clan and our armies and there were no human or lichen in the confederate. It was a peaceful arrangement, they never wanted our power. Meanwhile, due to the division Romolus' army grew weak, and they gave up their fronts and went into hiding, forming secret brotherhoods which still exist. The world was now divided into two main forces, the humans and the vampires. The erstwhile peace between us seemed threatening, war was like a dormant volcano waiting to erupt", Barker's face was lit with passion, and Vishnu was mesmerised by the story.
"So what happened next?", Vishnu asked
"The elders and the undead reached Bahram almost at the same time. Bahram was floating on the lake of eternity, meditating. They waited on opposite sides of the lake waiting for him to wake up. They waited for weeks and suddenly Bahram, who was floating through the universe creating planets realised that he had company. He woke up and looked at the vampires first and then he looked at the humans. He instantly realised what they wanted. He told them, "I know what you have come for. Though I do not support war I shall give you both a gift each. And to prevent the war that may happen I shall curse you both", he looked at the vampires and said, "The four of you shall be truly immortal, no force can ever kill you, and you will be joined by five other immortals of your race who haven't been born yet. They shall each be marked by a number on their thigh and will be born into humans, your job is to find them, they shall renew the glory of vampires. However, this is your curse, the four of you will return to your kingdom and tell your brethren of these five other immortals, while they search for them, you shall be turned to stone, and you will only be awakened when the ninth one is found." He turned towards the humans and said "You too shall be immortal, and you will be joined by a ninth immortal who shall be the most powerful of all of you. He shall rule over the humans for one thousand years after he is born. He will be a king, the king of all kings, though he shall not be born into royalty, he will be marked by the mark of the King on his forehead. He need not be found, when it is time, he shall reveal himself to you. And as your curse, the eight of you cannot go back from here until he is born. You will stay here till you are summoned by him, and then you will go join him under his rule." Saying that Bahram went into meditation again, and the vampires rode out of the valley, and as they rode out, the ground started shaking and huge mountains arose and surrounded the lake of eternity. The elders rode back to their castle, and in the court they sat down on their thrones and turned to stone. Bahram's prophecy spread among vampires, humans and lichens alike. New human Kings arose to take the place of Lucius and his fellows, the vampire confederacy was formed, the great war was avoided. The vampires waited for the last five immortals. The confederacy took an oath to remain hidden from the humans to avoid a war, peace was forged with the humans and they agreed to leave us alone. The lichens were too weak to take advantage of the situation, so a complete human rule was established on the world. The vampires started mingling with the humans and living human lives. Our existence was soon forgotten. Araknot disbanded his army, and the demons were returned to their realm. Peace was finally realised", he smiled
"However, to this day our numbers have infiltrated human governments and all other sources of power like the army, we still have control over the world. We signed peace, we didn't lose the war", he smiled
"And the confederacy still exists. Infact since our numbers are spread throughout the world, and the fact that we are still united under the confederacy, we are still the most powerful, although operating behind the scene. Although this peace may not continue for long, after the ninth human immortal is born and the eight kings are summoned, we may after all be fighting the great war that was avoided then"
"But how will they manage to unite the humans again?", Vishnu asked
"That is a question that time will answer. Because, I myself do not know. I personally don't believe that the humans can ever rise as a united force again"
"So that leaves us with the lichens", Vishnu said
"Them and Araknot, legend has it that he still survives"
"So I am the ninth immortal?", Vishnu asked, remembering the scar on his thigh
"Yes, the last one", Barker smiled
"So we can...",
"Celebrate", Barker laughed, he was joined by the others in the room.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Old England Gentleman's Club


The world is in turmoil. A world war has shaken the very foundations of every European country.

The colonial power of the Great Britain is being challenged all over the world, many countries are on the verge of breaking free from the commonwealth.

In the midst of that the Indian freedom movement has found a new voice in the form of a saint by the name Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Till then a war which was being fought by guerilla mercenaries against the British Government had suddenly turned into a peaceful movement. Non Cooperation was the new weapon that the Indian National Congress was using against the British Government. The spirit of complete freedom had engulfed the entire country. The British saw in this a beginning to the end, and they tried to avoid the day of reckoning by entering into negotiations with the Congress.

A path was paved out for the successors of the Indian Freedom Movement, by transforming the tyrannical British Rule into one that was willing to negotiate.

December 21st, 1920.

A lone constable was patrolling the streets near Churchgate. It was around ten in the night, and his duty had just started. He was Indian, six feet tall and well built, and had just joined the force. He had no family or relatives. His name was Vishnu.

Someone was watching him, perched on one of the spires of Churchgate station, he was looking down.

"Perfect", he thought.

He jumped.

He performed a perfect arc in the air, and landed with his feet on the square. The jump must have been about a hundred feet.

He stood up, and started walking in the direction of the policeman.

Vishnu hadn't seen the man jump from one of the tallest spires and land neatly on the ground. He just saw a man walking towards him, dressed oddly for the climate in a long black overcoat and a peak hat. The man seemed to be walking towards him, for reasons unknown to him. He was alarmed, and had one hand on his service pistol. The man was getting closer, his face was hidden by the hat he was wearing.

"Halt!", Vishnu shouted.

The man stopped. His face was hidden in the shadow of his hat.

Vishnu didn't have the courage to move any closer to the man. Even from a distance of ten feet the man seemed to overshadow in size even a person built like Vishnu. The man was built like the Gods that Vishnu had read about in the Epics. Vishnu stared at him for a moment too long, before he finally gained his composure.

"Where are you going?", he asked.

The man didn't answer, a cold wind swept Vishnu's face. It was going to rain. They stood like that facing each other.

"Vishnu Bhattacharya", the man smiled.

"How do you know my name?!"

"The question is not how, it is why?"

"I don't understand, what do you want?"

The man smiled again, the street lamps illuminating his jaw, the top half of his face was still in shadow.

"Come with me", the man ordered.

"Where?", Vishnu was regaining his confidence.

The man didn't answer again. He moved towards Vishnu, Vishnu was alarmed again, his left hand automatically moved towards the holster.

"There will be no need for that tonight", saying this the man grabbed Vishnu by the waist, lifted him up as if Vishnu's 85 kgs was no weight at all, and ran. At a speed which was impossible for a human being to run. They flew through small and dirty lanes.
"This man is the devil", Vishnu thought, but somehow he wasn't scared, his instincts told him the man wasn't going to hurt him.

They travelled like that for sometime. And then they stopped in a narrow lane, infront of a small pub, a single light illuminated the board which said "The Old England Gentleman's Club".

"What are you?", Vishnu asked, amazed.

The man didn't reply, he walked towards the door, Vishnu followed him, the happenings of the last ten minutes made him question his faith in science, and human logic. The gravity of the situation still hadn't sunk in, and he felt as if he was dreaming. Vishnu followed the man like a zombie inside the club. Vishnu looked around, the club seemed all European. Men and women were sitting on the tables chatting loudly and laughing at each other's jokes, unlike the quaint exterior the interiors were tastefully furnished, the wood in the tables and chairs and the bar counter were obviously expensive, chandeliers hung from the ceiling. The people inside were dressed well too. Definitely not a club for policemen or soldiers.
Vishnu attracted some attention with his brown skin, but noone said anything, which was strange, Vishnu thought, he ought to have been thrown out. But this night's happenings had surpassed strange a long time ago, so Vishnu decided to give his logic rest. The man walked into a side door, Vishnu followed him. They entered a dark room illuminated by torches which hung to the walls by brackets, which was odd in the age of electricity, Vishnu couldn't help but think.

Three men were sitting in chairs around a round table. They looked up at the two of them as they entered. Two chairs were empty, the man took one, Vishnu took the cue and sat down on the other.

The men were dressed formally in suits. "In this weather!", Vishnu thought, but let it rest.

The men were looking at Vishnu, oddly they were staring at his temple. The man in the middle lowered his gaze, he was now looking at Vishnu in the eye, a slight lop-sided smile appeared on his face.

"Vishnu Bhattacharya. May I say it's a pleasure. The confederacy has been waiting for you for much too long".
Vishnu looked confused. The man smiled again. He looked at the man who brought Vishnu in,
"Devdatta, were there any obstructions?"
The huge man spoke,
"I got him before they could get to him, just in time, I think".
Vishnu could see his face now, he was Indian, like him, unlike the others in the room.
"Good, I anticipated problems". He now turned his attention towards Vishnu
"I am sorry, let me introduce myself. I am John Barker", he didn't bother to introduce the other two men.
"I imagine tonight has been full of surprises, Vishnu?"
"Yes", Vishnu said.
"You must be wondering why you have been brought here?"
"Before explaining that, there is something you must do for us, Vishnu"
"Take off your trousers"
"Do not take me otherwise, there is a reason for my request, indecent as I can imagine it must sound, I can assure you our intentions are pure"
Vishnu hesitated for a second, but then he pulled down his trousers. He was now only in his underwear.
"Check him, Devdatta"
The man named Devdatta bent down, and was checking this thighs, he started with the left one. Vishnu wasn't sure what they were looking for. Then he was checking Vishnu's right leg, and then he found it.
"It's there", Devdatta confirmed.
"We couldn't have been wrong", John said
"I hope you will excuse us for this inconvenience Vishnu. Now I must explain", he aplogised
"Do you believe in God, Vishnu?"
"I don't know"
The man smiled.
"Do you believe in death?"
"Do you believe in the deathless?"
"You mean, immortality?"
"Exactly, you have got my point. Do you believe that there are men amongst us, who don't die? Men who defy the only all pervading force of nature, death"
"I don't know. I have never seen one", Vishnu feebly attempted at a joke.
"What do you have in your pocket Jimmy?", Barker asked the man sitting on his left.
The man named Jimmy stirred at the mention of his name, he brought out a pistol from his pocket and placed it on the table, it looked like a Colt.
"Take it", Barker said.
Vishnu took the pistol.
"Now shoot me"
"Shoot me", he repeated
Vishnu wasn't sure. But he aimed the pistol at Barker's chest, his hands shaking. He pulled the trigger. There was a loud noise. Vishnu closed his eyes.
"Open your eyes Vishnu"
"What?!", Vishnu thought, "I just killed this man"
"Open your eyes, I am not dead, look at me"
Vishnu opened his eyes, and in disbelief he looked at the man's chest. The shirt had a hole where the bullet had passed, but there was no blood.
"This is impossible!", Vishnu said
"Tonight, your definition of impossible will be changed", Barker said, smiling. The three other men smiled at Vishnu too.
"But I killed you!"
"You thought you did"
"What are you?"
The man was silent.
"The question is not what. But who we are. We are immortals"
Vishnu was silent.
"There are nine of us. Four of us are sitting in this room"
"Four?", Vishnu was scared but amazed
"I can't see anyone else but the three of you"
"The fourth one is you, Vishnu", said Jimmy.
"Me?! That's impossible. I would have known"
"You do, Vishnu. Think"
Vishnu thought about the time he fell down from the terrace in his house in Kolkata, he had emerged unscathed, at that time he had thought it was luck. Now, in hindsight, he realised it was impossible for a person to have survived that fall.
"I still can't believe it", Vishnu said.
"You will", Barker said.
"You said there are nine immortals. If I am one, that makes four of us. Where are the rest?"
"Slow, Vishnu. Not now. I have other things to tell you"

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A dream dreamt of....Part 5

There are three kinds of people in Delhi, one who reach by air, one who reach by rail and another who reach by road. The auto fares are proportionate to the means of transport in descending order. And if you are a “Delhi virgin” (first time in the city) you’ll probably end up paying twice the regular fare That’s why it is always advisable to have a smug look on your face and speak in a Punjabi accent, and acting as if you know exactly where you are going. The latter is a bit tough at first because even proper Delhi wallahs don’t know the roads properly and have to recourse to these autowallahs for help. The Delhi auto system is a huge complex machinery based on deception, a racket that runs almost at a hundred percent profit margin.
Rachit and I both took an auto, though separate ones and both ended up paying a hundred and fifty rupees more than the regular rate. But we were least bothered about money then, the thought of joining university was so much more engrossing. I had seen Delhi University’s North Campus only once and that was when I came down from Calcutta to see my prospective college.

Delhi University is a beautiful place, picturesque and tranquil. The roads were clean, and the greenery was lush, with bougainvilleas adorning every street corner, oak trees and eucalyptus hanging towards the road creating a soft blanket with its leaves over one’s head, and the sunlight filtered in through it. The University Campus is a sanctuary for birds, one can always see flocks of doves flying from one college campus to another. And the college building stood like guardians in the campus, old and wise, all knowing but not all saying, inspirations for many like me.

The North Campus and many other parts of Delhi had recently been connected by a metro network, and this is the only major change that had happened to it for atleast a decade. Otherwise the old world charm was like a musky perfume which caught your nostrils even from a distance away.

The North Campus would be my temporary home for one year, and probably the witness of the best time I’ll ever have in my life.

A dream dreamt of...part 4

“Passengers are requested to put their seat belts on…” the public adressal system droned. A pretty airhostess was miming how to exit the plane in case of an emergency, he looked at her and she looked back for a fraction of a second, and that was it, she went back to her duty of explaining to a whole economy class full of middle aged people how to save their butts if the plane lost its own. Noone was really paying attention, some were flicking through magazines and newspapers provided onboard, others were busy putting their luggage up, and still others were fiddling with the seat belt, wondering how to put them on. Only Rachit was eyeing the girl, continuously, he knew he would catch her gaze again, he did. She faultered for a second and regained her composure, but this time a bit nervous she was. “What a flirt”, she thought. She was feeling uneasy, but it was not bad, she was enjoying it, “Maybe he will ask for my number. But I won’t give it to him straight away I’ll make him work for it”.
“Oh look, there he goes again”, she thought and her heart skipped a beat.
“Probably I won’t make him work as much as the other guys, but yes he definitely has to work for it. I am not easy”.
Two hours passed and she served three fruit juices to Rachit, two more than normal. But still Rachit didn’t make conversation, he was busy with his laptop, looking up only when she said “Sir, your drink”. And each time he would smile, take the drink and get back to whatever he was doing on his laptop.
“Must be something important”, she thought, “otherwise he would have definitely spoken”
Rachit was playing hearts on his laptop.
There was this thing about Rachit and his laptop, he never went anywhere for long without it, and he loved it as much as he loved himself. The laptop was his life, it was almost as if his entire world existed in that laptop.
The public addressal system came alive again to announce the landing of the plane in New Delhi, the captain announced the temperature outside and thanked everyone for flying with XYZ airlines.
Now everyone was getting up, taking their hand baggage out. So did Rachit, he took his sling bag and his laptop bag and stood in the queue for the exit
The pretty airhostess smiled at him, “That was a killer”, she thought. Rachit smiled back and descended from the stairs. The airhostess hadn’t felt worse in years, one should have seen her face. I did. She smiled a half smile at me, and had a look on her face which clearly said “Fuck off. Don’t expect me to greet you”.
“That was really polite”, I thought.

A dream dreamt of....Part 3

Now, a bit about me. I’m Bengali, born and brought up in Calcutta, sensitive from birth, and practical. I am that sort of guy who likes to tread the middle of the road, like midnight standing on the edge of time, too afraid to place a foot on either side. I like to maintain an equilibrium in everything, which means I hate any kind of excesses. I like reading, playing the guitar and singing. Not a very interesting company, because I don’t crack the best of jokes or reply to something very fast and witty. I am obsessed about the idea of being in love, when it happens, I’ll make it perfect.

Otherwise there is nothing much to know about me, as I mentioned before(something that Charulata wouldn’t believe no matter how much I tried to convince her)

The first friend I made in college was Rachit, not only because we shared the Bong connection but also because we shared the same passion, music. When I started hanging with him I realized that he was the most eloquent person I had ever heard, and also had the best knowledge of history that I had ever seen. He liked the finer things in life, he tried to sniff wine and tell its make and date, but since he was so young and drinking for so little time it didn’t work out everytime. But he had an extensive knowledge of cigars and spirits from all over the world. Also, he took interest in learning up about uncanny subjects which most people wouldn’t bother with, like the Monster of Loch Ness or the Abominable Snowman(the Yeti), secret brotherhoods planning to conquer the world and establish a new world order, the Free Masons, the Vatican Secret Archives, the Doomsday Theory and the emergence of The One(almost every religion mentioned him/her and the Hindus called him Kalki, the tenth avatar of Lord Vishnu). All in all, completely unlike me Rachit was an extremely interesting guy to hang out with, you could learn about so many things you had never even imagined existed before!

And when it came to music, you just had to utter the letter ‘M’ infront of him and he went into a frenzy asking me about the songs I had heard (which I admit got pretty irritating at times). But he was one genuine music lover if I’d ever seen one.

But hanging with Rachit was not possible at all times, firstly because he was so popular, everyone hung with him. And the fact that I didn’t like being overshadowed much also helped, and walking next to Rachit was like walking next to the Empire State Building(not because he was tall, which he was). Also I kind of detested some of his habits, he was a compulsive flirt and tried to get every decent looking girl he’d see in bed. Also at times he turned very strange, from a smiling face you could actually see cold anger burn in his eyes for apparently no reason. He was eccentric, that much I understood, but sometimes he went beyond his limits.

A bus is winding through a desolate highway, it’s high noon, things outside seemed to be steaming in the heat. The bus passes by small dhabas on the sides of the road, it wouldn’t stop there, why should it if some dhaba was paying them five hundred each trip just to bring customers to their dhaba. There’s a boy sitting by the window, and that is the only place he would sit in, he would rather take another bus than travel in a non-window seat. He had to push, shove and even curse at a few people before he finally got what he desired. He is now listening to music, his earphones blocking the sounds emanating from within the bus, children crying, women shouting, men snoring and goats bleating( Yes, there were goats too). His friend who was sitting next to him was staring at the back of the seat before him with a stony eyed concentration. Neeraj and Aniruddha, brothers from different mothers. The scenery outside was fast changing, small shrubs on the side of the road to empty fields, small settlements and mandirs in the middle of nowhere. The wind outside brought dust in but Neeraj didn’t really give a damn, he had his shades on. He couldn’t be least bothered about what was happening around him as long as he had the wind in his face and the music in his ears Aniruddha on the other hand was getting royally bored, he wasn’t much of a conversationist, so he couldn’t strike up a conversation with some of the other passengers, and he had realized long time back that there were no good looking girls on the bus, so now he was trying to be friends with the back of the seat.

“Hello”, he said in his mind.
“Hi”, whispered the seat, “Don’t let anyone hear me”
“I promise I won’t”
“You are beautiful”, he said
“So are you, very pretty”

Aniruddha kept his promise, and told noone. Neeraj gave him some odd stares when he saw him eating up the seat with his eyes but that was it.

A dream dreamt of....Part 2

One girl with the prettiest green eyes I had ever seen was sitting in a middle bench, trying to grasp the conversation going on around her, everyone was trying to speak at the same time, and the resultant noise was like disturbed radio frequency. She turned her head often to listen to the speaker. One would imagine that any normal person would be confused, flabbergasted or even mindfucked in the midst of this chaos. But she kept her natural temperament of being graceful in the most mundane of circumstances. This is the girl I fell in love with, and this is the girl that almost killed me, but never even once lessening my love for her.

The friendly boy had a friend, I now realized, he was keeping quiet, but from his face it was obvious he wanted to take part in the conversation, it was obvious that he was being overshadowed by his counterpart, and this was probably causing him some ego deflation. I got to know him later, Aniruddha his name was. The seniors came, to make a fool out of the freshers, but like every other year they made huge ass fools of themselves and left feeling elated at the thought of making a couple of first years dance.

Rachit- The first year who didn’t take the flower.

Rachit was Bengali, well brought up, cultured, well mannered and intellectual. He liked to stray off the beaten track, never once doing the same thing he had done before. He liked to take chances and risk everything he had. He liked poetry, music and literature and abhorred people who didn’t take interest in any of these. He was tall, fair and “cute”, as most girls would like to believe. An idealistic lover of sorts, he liked to be with many women, and gave each one (an almost utter impossible task) his undivided love. How he did what he did and why never ceased to amaze his friends.

On the other side, Rachit was given to intoxication and the occult . He was evil, he knew it, and he prided himself in it. He was a king in his own right, an impulsive child even in his adulthood, and liked the whole world to listen to him while he was speaking.

For the better part, he was a fool.

But Rachit, for some reason or the other had some animal magnetism that naturally drew people to him, he didn’t need to work for it, and thus he grew complacent. He was an enigma, as suggested by many of his friends, a good poet, a good singer, and a good lover.

Rachit wasn’t romantic, neither was he practical. He just loved himself more than anything else. He would have long married himself if it was feasible, but for the time being he had to make do with kissing the mirror.

All these being said about him, he was emotional, sensitive and caring. He couldn’t stand to see others in pain, maybe because he had suffered too much of it. He was almost one with nature, a bright sunny day or the sun’s golden yellow on the green of leaves made his heart melt. He would stare for hours at the sky, either at night or in the day. He would talk to trees, he would listen to birds sing, or fly in clusters. He reflected on the pattern of their flight, and wondered where they went, or probably why one or two birds were falling back. Infact he was so in tune with nature, he could actually tell the future by just looking around him, for signs. He felt that the earth was one whole power box of energy, and everything on the planet was a part of that energy and thus each object was linked to the other. So, the future was linked to the present, present to the past and vice versa. Anyway, I never much understood what he said, but he is probably the only one I have ever seen crying after listening to a song (The man who sold the world by David Bowie). I asked him later, he said that there was nothing wrong; no one had said or done anything to upset him, it was just that the song reminded him of something he’s been dreaming about all his life.

Rachit’s parents were concerned about his son’s activities and school of thoughts, which they thought were too independent and iconoclastic, but they were only aware of half of Rachit’s eccentricities.

Charulata or Charming Charulata from Chandigarh(CCC) as she was better known in her college days was the girl who took my breath away with her sparkling ocean green eyes. Her skin was the purest white tinged with pink, and her hair was light brown with soft curls at the end.

Charulata was very aware of the fact that she was from a small town, now living in a big city like Delhi. She tried to fit in, and it wasn’t a problem at all, people wanted her company, her attention. So she got to choose. And she adapted very fast.

Now Charulata amongst all the characters I am going to mention was the most curious and mysterious of all.

Charulata practiced black magic, and noone knew about it except for Rachit. That too because he was interested in the Occult and he told me. He said he had got signs and vibes from her, that led him to believe that.

Well black magic was one thing, we were all going to delve in, but that’s for later.

Charulata was not at all as kind and generous as she seemed. I felt there was a monster hiding behind that beautiful face, prepared to eat up anything that came in her way. And her way was straight up to the top. She knew what she wanted to do, while we were still reveling in the thought of having finished school and entered university.

She was caring only when she wanted to be and only with people of her choice, otherwise she won the “bitch of the century” award hands down. There was something probably troubling her, but I will never know. Or would I?

A dream dreamt of... Part 1

It was the first day of college, for many it was just a return to a purgatory they never imagined to live out of, and for others it was a first step into adulthood. TV channels and newspapers were cashing in on the event, with live TV crews infront of every college, newspapermen with flowers in their hands and the respective newspapers, infact harassing the freshers more than their seniors would on this day of metamorphosis.

We are watching one particular college, the second best in the city. One boy walks in, refuses to stand infront of the TV cameras denying his 15 seconds of fame, refuses to take the newspaper and hence was not handed a rose like everyone else, silly boy.

Hundreds of other people walk in, get their roses their 15 seconds of fame each. Now the driveway to the front porch of the college is lying strewn with roses, some trampled upon.

The boy goes up to his designated room, finds a class full of unknown faces (as if he didn’t know any better), sits down in the front and tries to act sleepy and bored of all this excitement. Everyone else around him was buzzing, faces were lit, friendships were being forged, people were being judged on their dresses and their grammar (but of course only in the mind). Noone spoke to him, and neither did he bother to.

Another boy, had walked in through the same front gate delivered his 15 second speech to the entire nation received his roses and had dutifully littered the college grounds by throwing it on the driveway. He was now socializing, getting to know people, his friendly demeanor got him along well with everyone, and on that day itself it was decided that he would be socially “accepted”.

From a blind man

Noone talks to a blind man. I mean not the way you would like them to talk to you, like light gossip or friendly banter. No sir, noone thinks I am capable of that. Maybe you are not allowed to talk about the world if you can't see it. Everytime someone talks to me, I can sense the pity in his/her voice, or the urgency to end the conversation. I can't sense the expressions on their faces, I'm not psychic, but I'm sure I get patronising looks all the time. I mean seriously, I have come to accept the fact that I can't see, and it's okay not like I have a terminal disease or something, the way everyone treats me. I am a normal human being people!

I have only one good friend, P. She says she understands me. I don't know, but I prefer to believe her. Sometimes she describes the sunset to me, and clouds and rains. I can feel the rains though, cold icy drops which hit you first and then spread sending shivers down your spine. I am not allowed to get wet in the rains, not because I can't but because I'm blind and that doesn't allow me to catch a virus, obviously!

Well, P says the world's an evil place, and I'm lucky that I can't see and what i would have seen would have changed me, into something evil too. But I told her, in a void there is no light and dark, no good and evil, in a mouldable space all that exists is matter, not good and evil. I don't really believe there is good or evil. There's anger, there's lust, there's jealousy. But what's evil?

P says I'm talking like the devil. I told her I am the devil, and my horns were invisible, only my blind eyes can see them. P says I am funny, but that's the sad part the stuff I tell her are real incidents, jokes cracked at other people's expense. I guess the funniest jokes are about someone else's misery.

Sometimes I close my eyes, and I can see light, not something that can be explained. It happens when i press my eyes too tight. Its like a lit corridor. Not real light though, an illusion. But I like to see the light, even though it fades after sometime. A couple of seconds of the lie of vision.

Won't you run

I run, when I hear the bells on the church ringing, by the beach. I run, when I see a kite falling from a sky. I run and in the blur around me, I see people staring at me, in disbelief, I run and I see people pointing at me. These people cannot believe that I run, because all their lives they have sat and watched others run by. They laugh at me and crack jokes and wish I stumble on a rock and fall. Sometimes I fall, all bloody but then I get up and run again, looking back at these people and laughing, "You can't catch me".

I saw her standing by the road I asked her "Won't you run?", she looked scared, her parents had told her that if you run you might fall and cut yourself. She said "No", in a terrified voice, and I smiling ran past her, I ran into a bush of roses, I smelt the incense and cut myself on the thorns. I ran and ran. I saw the sun set and saw the sun rise, I smiled at many on my way, and asked them won't you run? They all shook their heads and said "No, the path is too long". "Haha" I laughed to myself and I ran.

The heavens broke down, and it started raining, I got wet, and I slowed down. I had a fever. In my delirium I ran off a cliff....

I fell, I broke my bones, I almost died. I saw the light fading, and there was darkness.

I woke up, the pain was there throughout my body, pulsating in my nerves. But I stood up, I looked at the sky, it was a hard sun burning my skin. I looked at the sun, and I cried. I cried for my pain, I cried for falling. But then I looked ahead, and I saw greenery, I smiled, I wiped my tears and I ran again.

Won't you run with me? Will I run alone? Won't you know what I am like? Is passion dead? Won't you love me, and let me know that you are there? Won't you give up everything you have and run with me?

Who are you? Where are you? Won't you come and hold my hand? Won't you run?

Monday, June 1, 2009

It's your birthday

He sat alone in the room, on the sofa. The curtains were drawn, but still rays of sunlight peeked into the room like a desparate lover, illuminating a single long strip on the floor. That was the only light in the room.

He was forty, his youth long left behind, his hair had greyed and there were wrinkles on his forehead. His head was slightly bowed as if he was listening to something, but there was no music. The aroma of joss sticks floated in the room, it came through the small hole in the closed door, pausing as if to ask for permission.

He thought he had built an impenetrable wall around him. But life wouldn't leave him alone. The scent of the joss sticks brought images to his mind...

He was six years old again, it was his birthday, he must have remembered. He was waiting, for something... Yes, his father, he was late. His mother had permitted him to bunk school for that day, and he had spent the entire morning in his new fashionable clothes, getting accustomed again with small happenings in his house, like the way the cook took instructions from his mother every morning, the newspaperman chucking the newspaper at the steps of their front door, the milkman crowing early in the morning on his bicycle with two heavy cans on the side, things he had stopped seeing since he had started school, things he had almost forgotten. Suddenly, in the comfort of his old life, everything seemed alright again. He was happy, but he was still waiting for something.... Yes, Baba. He said a little prayer to God to send Baba home on time. He spent the entire afternoon poring over his birthday gifts, the new remote controlled car his uncle gave him, and the books, so many of them! He loved reading, his favourite protagonist was Ray's Feluda, and his mother had gifted him an entire collection. There were so many toys, and other little things. But his father hadn't gifted him anything, "Yet...", he reminded himself.

He fell asleep among his many gifts which lay scattered on the bed.

He woke up at four. He couldn't wait to show his neighbourhood best friend all the gifts that he had received, he had come back from school by now. They spent two hours fiddling with the remote and reading comic books, and soon it was time to say goodbye, it was getting dark.

It was his birthday, so he didn't have to study. He yelled with joy when his mother told him that. His mother tried to hide her smile.

"Mumma when will Baba be home?", he enquired casually, with the remote in his hand. His mother was working in the kitchen, "How will I know? He didn't tell me", she said, secretly she was irritated too, it was her son's birthday, how much work can he have? "He'll be here soon...", she added as a soothing afterthought.

The boy said nothing, he was watching cartoons.

The clock seemed to move rather erroneously, sometimes he felt as if he hadn't blinked and fifteen minutes had passed, and sometimes he kept staring at it, but still it didn't move.

With every growing hour, he was growing impatient, tears were slowly building up in his heart.

"He does this everytime", he thought, "everytime I really want him to come soon....", his thoughts were interrupted by the doorbell. He was excited, and wary at the same time, could it be Baba? He walked slowly to the door, not betraying the way his heart was jumping and pounding. He opened it.

There he was, with a huge smile on his face and a package in his hand. "I have come", he said. The boy was angry with him, he didn't say a word, he just went back to his sofa and his remote. The boy's father was confused, he went into the kitchen, even his wife wasn't speaking to him properly. "What's the matter? Why are you two behaving so strange?", he asked, his mind exploding with frustrated curiosity. "Do you have any idea of the time?", his wife said in a sarcastic tone, her eyes spoke of sarcasm in volumes. He understood, he stood there for a moment, looked at his feet, and then went to his son, he sat beside him and was watching TV with him. After a while, he said, "I have brought you something, won't you see what it is?". The boy contemplated silence for a moment, but then, he decided against it, he was curious too, "What could it be?", he went up and took the package from the table, it felt heavy in his hands, oddly shaped too. He didn't rip it open like the rest of the presents, he took his time, and neatly unwrapped it. It was a violin.

The images started evaporating like snow, and soon it was the dark room that he could see again. The music was still in his ears. Everyone who had heard him play had admitted he was a prodigy. But somewhere down the line, the music faded and caught rust. He tried to fight his tears, but he couldn't.
He stood up, walked slowly towards the window...

He tried to think, but there was nothing to think about. He pulled the curtains, and sunlight bathed him. His unexperienced eyes closed for a second. Then it was alright. He was suddenly filled up with enthusiasm again, he ran towards the door and opened it. "Baba", he shouted, "I will change, I promise Baba". His Baba heard him, he came running towards his room. He saw him with tears in his eyes. It was an awkward moment for both of them.

Slowly they walked towards each other, and Baba held him in his arms, his head was on Baba's shoulders. His tears slowly stained his Baba's kurta, and they stood like that.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Part 3. Revelations.

The year is 1980. Across the world, some special children are born, each with their own special capabilities. They all grow up waiting for someone to arrive. They were all about nine years old, when the child of destiny was born into this world on a stormy day in a hospital building.

They knew their King had arrived.

Since then, they all started a subconscious search for him. Every new place they went to, they were looking for a man they had never met in their lives. They never found him. But they didn’t lose hope, they couldn’t lose hope, it was the only mission in their lives.

In 1980, twins were born to a Japanese mother, and their father who was a famous politician at that time. They named them Kitty and Kitty.

Kitty and Kitty grew up, went to private schools, where their primary interest was martial arts, although they were ace students in their class. Kitty-Kitty learnt every form of martial art known to the east. By the time they were fifteen, they could take on their instructors. They won numerous medals in martial arts competitions, and the word of their mechanical prowess spread far and wide in Japan.

One day a letter arrived at the Narioka household. It invited Kitty and Kitty to join one of the best boarding schools in Japan at that time. Their parents were delighted, and couldn’t wait to send them there.

Kitty-Kitty left for the boarding school one windy morning, their mother stood at the doorstep to wave them goodbye after she had kissed each of them on the forehead. There were tears in her eyes as they got into their father’s car and closed the doors. They looked back once at their mother, Kitty felt a single droplet of tear running down her cheek. Their father drove away into the busy bustling streets of Tokyo.

They reached the boarding school, which was situated in the country after a fairly long journey, but their enthusiasm wasn’t marred by that. They said their goodbyes at the gate, where someone had come to pick them up and their bags. With two trolleys in their hands, and the rest of their luggage being carried by their temporary porter, they walked into their new lives. Lives they never imagined they would lead…

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Part 2. The Underdog, the arrival of the King.

A smoking city, within the dust and fumes arose like a sharp sword, a hospital building. The sky was broke, and rains pored down like raging armies from the heavens. There was fear in the air. The light was red, if the Gods were fighting in the heavens, blood had been drawn.
The faint hearted knelt at their altars, and praid to the heavens to forgive them for their sins.
God’s wrath was everywhere… in the streets overflowing with water, in the lifeless bodies that lay inside cars on which trees had fallen. The menacing storm purged the soul of the earth, killing all evil, reminding humanity of who the most powerful is.

Amidst all that destruction, there was creation, a mother’s scream…

Several contractions later, a boy was born, on this fateful day… God’s vengeance in his soul, and on his forehead was the mark of the King…

The messiah had arrived.

His birth wasn’t easy, his umbilical chord had wound around his neck. Several seconds later, he would have died. But as fate would have it…

The doctor looked at the woman’s face, which was now contorted in agony. He felt nervous. He felt a miniscule presence of the grand plan in his mind, and the future that lay ahead. He panicked.

Within seconds, he had a syringe in his hand, he injected it in the veins of the screaming woman. The pain was gone. A child’s cry was heard.

The doctor was smiling as he looked at the woman, reassuringly. The woman looked up at the heavens, and thanked God for this blessing.

Her tired body had given up, but still she saved up enough energy to look at her child, he was bawling now, a small reddish human being. And something in her mind said “Mother I have come…”. She felt a prick on her arm, and soon the whole world seemed to be contracting to a point , she tried to fight it….
She fell asleep.

The boy had won his first war, he was born, he had defied death for the first time.

The boy’s father received news, via telephone. He was ecstatic, he was a father…

A warrior was born.

Part 1. The God of War.

God was looking down on humanity. Microfocus. A young man, curly hair, Bengali. He was walking swiftly, defiance in his eyes, arrogance in his face. Three bidis in his mouth, his accomplice struggled to keep pace with him. The crowd was waiting for him, near the pandal.

“Ranju bhai ashche…”, they murmured.

The crowd felt uneasy looking at this one man, the defiance in his swagger, and his faithful accomplice at tail.

Ranju was nearing the crowd in fast paces. The whole world seemed to shake with his slight swagger.

He took out two pistols, which were neatly tucked in, on the sides of his Bermuda. He emptied the barrels, in a flourish.

He spit the bidis out of his mouth, bust his knuckles, and ran into the crowd.

Legs, and fists flew at him, but they didn’t seem to hurt him. He was taking one man out after the other. Blood trickled down his cheeks, but it didn’t bother him. He was more intent on destroying the person infront of him.

He was hurt, but in the rush of his adrenaline, he couldn’t feel it.

His accomplice stood and watched, with crossed fingers, his heart jumping with every fateful punch that Ranju landed on his attackers.

After some time, it was all over, blood was on the streets.

Some unconscious bodies lay on the streets near the pandal, and the way they lay, it was tough to discern them from each other.

Ranju, walked out of the mess, the fire in his eyes fizzled.

He picked up the bullets from the streets one after the other and put them in the barrels.

“Let’s go home”, he said to his accomplice.

His accomplice looked at him amazed. “No wonder I worship him”, he thought.

Suddenly the whole world turned black, Ranju felt his head reel. He was falling, but he held on to the fern infested wall on his side.

“I’m alright”, he said. And his eyes closed.

God was perturbed. Something had to be done.
His accomplice, Pocha, was terrified, he held on to Ranju’s hands and started crying, “Ranju da! Tumi amake chere jeo na”.

Suddenly Ranju’s eyes opened. He was alive. He shook his head and stood up.

Ranju....larger than life.
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