Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Canine Crisis

Varun B. Krishnan threw a dog biscuit up in the air, and it was brilliantly caught and devoured in mid air by neighbour's dog Scot.

This was a frequent ritual - VBK visiting the neighbours, and passing time with their intelligent canine, Scot.

What VBK didnt know, and didn't have the slightest inkling about, was that Kabali, emminent soldier of the Community Of Stray Dogs in Mylapore area (CSDM for short) had been watching the ritual, jealosy flowing in abundance through that bony body of his.

"We are gathered here, ladies and gentlemen, to discuss the course of action to be taken against the individual known as Varun B. Krishnan, who spoils Scot the celebrity with biscuits of low quality. thereby reducing the lustre of his skin." Declared Maari, thalai of the CSDM establishment.

Kabali had reported.

The anti-VBK operation had begun.

7:25 am.

The gate of Mr R.B. Krishnan's house sprang open, and out stepped VBK, a sad expression writ large on his face as he thought of the worthlessness of another day of college.

As he reached the end of the street, there stood Kali, another assassin of the CSDM. Through her brown and perpetually alert eyes, she eyed VBK. Just as VBK rounded the bend, she emitted a low growl, and snapped at him. VBK the man panicked, and started running for his life, with Kali right on his trail.

VBK's run had been powered by the morbid fear of rabied assault and encountering an unbelievably sharp set of canine teeth.

A public execution of a human being by a set of dog teeth on a public road was avoided, thankfully, due to (un)timely arrival of the college bus. The ass driver had overenthusiastically arrived a few minuted early, and like a morning Suprabatham had started mouthing obscenities in telugu. (He's a golt.)

This driver, it has to be said, is a dimwit. An uncountable number of times he has asked the SAME people for their bus passes, an excruciating number of times they have shown it to him, and yet he torments souls by his persistence.

Man, he uses the damn indicator and horn so damn ruthlessly and pointlessly. I mean, if some chap honks at a signal with 50 seconds more to go for green, and if he starts flashing the noisy indicator 0.5 km before he turns, you KNOW he's a nut.

Anyway, coming back to the original thing, VBK was saved on that day by this loser of a driver. Funny how fate does such things.

After another infernal day in college,(Where he was verbally intimidated by teachers for flunking, electrocuted to near death by a 5 Volt power supply in the lab (!!!) and beaten up by his classmates for attempting to explain to them that loafing was the path to salvation), VBK alighted from the college bus, looked around, and spotted him.

A rather sly mutt lurked on the side of the street, amongst the beggars. Yes, unmistakably, he was another assassin of the CSDM, presently involved in the anti-VBK operation.

At a brisk pace, VBK walked towards the assassin, and suddenly steered himself into one of the narrow side streets.

Just when VBK thought that he was being clever, he looked ahead, and to his horror, he saw a few growling, menacing soldiers of the CSDM advancing.

He turned back, only to be faced by the assassin who had blocked the other side. It was an ambush.

VBK the man silently swore, thought what heaven would be like, and pondered over the feasibilities of after life.

Vengeance

Night crept slowly over the city, which consisted of perpetually habitated streets irrespective of the time of the day.

I detested parties.

The excessively sweet, yet venomous and devious hugs, kisses, and waves.

The drunk creatures, which turn you off with . . . what else but their drunkenness.

The people, whom how much ever you try to shun, keep coming on to you and giving you a taste of what hell might be like.

As I thought ruefully about all this, I realized that I was actually, voluntarily, going to hell. Err. . . Party.

Left to my own devices, I would have probably indulged in some less strenuous, more entertaining pastime like bouncing off the walls, or staring at a spider weaving its web, possibly.

There’s this peculiar, hypocritical quality about people. They don’t seem to notice you when you’re there. Why, sometimes, it gets so terrible they see right through you. Now that’s against some kind of opacity law which I don’t want to be even remotely associated with, so moving right along. When you’re not there, they throw up some fake stuff about missing you, something about how you missed all the fun ( when there was none) and what not.

I had to go. Just so people would remember I still existed on the face of the planet, and so I don’t get any of these Oh-My-God-You-Don’t-Party???!!!! Sort of looks.

So there. Party it was.

People, as of that time,(at the party) were quantized into 4 categories- Those freaks and wimps who sat at home; Those who were too drunk to dance; those who were excessively gyrating to the music; And the people who were involving themselves in . . . Other activities.

Ultimately, I figured I didn’t fit into any of the four categories, so I just sat, and looked at the categorized people with a martini for company.

There, I had the misfortune of spotting him. What was even more unfortunate was the fact that he spotted me.

He was the only sadistic character who I had been dreading to meet, owing to the fact that he was, and still is, I presume, in possession of one of the worst sense of humor I have ever come across. If it can be called a sense of humor, that is.

Name dropping is an infernal thing, and hence I shall refrain from doing so. Let us just call him . . . ‘It’. Not very proper, is it? I shall refer to him as Mr. I, then.

Titus, which happens to be my name, is quite uncommon.

Mr. I somehow managed to stop the music, and cried out, feigned niceness flowing thick in his voice,

“Mr. Titus will now entertain us with his tap dancing prowess!”

I was flabbergasted.

I kept involuntarily gesticulating, trying to throw up the words stuck in my throat.
People kept their eyes glued to the weirdly antic-making me.
Then, after a Herculean effort, I managed to splutter.

“Err . . . Ladies and Gen’men . . . I . . . I . . . I can’t tap dance! I can’t even dance to save a life!”

There was an awkward silence.
Mr. I clapped me on the back, and said, in a sympathetic voice,

“Oh, you poor imbecile. I was referring to Mr. Raj Titus here, dancing pro!”
And up stepped Mr. Raj Titus, smart, impeccable, confident.

Then it started. Ripples of laughter mushroomed out into the hall, all the while people pointing at me, staring at me, laughing at me.
I just wanted to run into the wall and blend with the wallpaper.

Even as I literally ran to the door to leave, Mr. I materialized from nowhere it seemed, with a plate of what looked like crap in his hands.

“No, you don’t have to leave because of that now!! Here, have some pastry.”

“No, I, err . . . Just have to leave, have another engagement.”

“Eat up!”

“No, really, this is ridiculous!”

“Oh. Waa!!! OOPS!”
Only a nanosecond after I saw a plate of pastry flying towards my face, my vision blurred and all I could see was some brown stuff all over the place. “I see brown people.” I muttered.

“Oh my God, my buttery, slippery fingers!” Proclaimed Mr. I, a malicious smirk writ large on his face.

Oh well, obviously the cake had not grown wings and decided to fly into my face, like some weird sci-fi tale. Just . . . gravity, I presume. And the malice of Mr. I, of course.

In that party, I was abused, made a fool of, and tormented. Even a full fledged Nazi torture session seemed a light and a bright prospect compared to this.
That party still remains etched in my mind, like it happened a few milliseconds back, though this was years ago, decades ago, maybe.

Our paths diverged, and thankfully I didn’t encounter any being from the party.

Now as I sit in the park which I have been frequenting for so many damn years and reminisce about that terrible chain of events, I look upon the entity which made me reminisce- Mr. I.Well, an elderly version of him, anyway.

Same malice in the eye, same smirk, same . . . oh, wait. He’s half bald.

I hobbled up to him.

“Beautiful day isn’t it!” I called out cheerily.

“Oh, yes it is!” he said, caught off guard.

“Mr. Rohan Denzil, right?” I said.

“Oh yes, and you are?” he said, alarmed.

I rubbed my hands in satisfaction. This was going to be my day.

Caught like a rat he was, you can be sure. Caught in my net. Trapped in my domain, where I know how to provoke all the crows to drop crap on your head while in mid flight.
Where I know how to provoke all the dogs to run after you, baring their teeth, flashing their incisors and scare you to near death. Of course, I would give Mr. I all these privileges.

Even after so many damn years, vengeance is sweet. It gets sweeter with the years, actually.

Vengeance is mine.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

In need of a needle

Drug rehab.

I look out of the window. I see trees.
I look at the floor. I see a blanket of concrete.

These things suck life out of me and make me suffer by just being the boring things they happen to be.


I do not recollect how long I've been in this torture chamber they say is for drug rehab.

Well, no place will be as bad if I just had my stuff and my needle, because when the stuff seeps through my veins through the needle, my brain speaks.

. . . From the hilltop where I stood, I saw life.

I saw the blunder of nature- mankind.
I saw the blunders of mankind- oh, they’re infinite.
I saw the blunder of . . . infinity. It doesn’t exist, and yet it torments.
I saw an infinite number of things, and my mind comprehended all of these.
As my mind, eye, and mind’s eye traversed all, a small creature played me music. Soft, simple music which intoxicated me as I drank it in.

. . . A dark cave. Bare of all life. I have it to myself. No one shall enter, and none shall leave, as there is none except I.
The music which I play materializes as a cacophonic set of noises, as I do not understand.
I understood nature, and I played music. The integrity was perfect, as nature is complete. I understood the song of the birds, and I played. Again, it was complete. Now, I try to understand man.
And I’m failing . . . The sounds continue meaninglessly, merging with the darkness like they’re meant to.

. . . I’m sitting in a motor boat. The motor sings and the boat slices through the water, the way they’re meant to.
The 3 men who sit with me and banter meaninglessly are not real.
Unreal . . . A hallucination.

SNAP.

Sometimes I wish I had the needle again. It makes my brain speak and see the things which I have described.

But I find myself in drug rehab. No use crying out that I want it all back. There is no getting it back, because I never lost it.

The need for the needle is gone, replaced by an insatiable need to understand the nefarious ways and complexities of the human mind, which was the initial purpose.

I’m going to be a bartender at the most sad-ass, run down bar in town . . .

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hyposcrisy

No, actually something on a smaller scale, but you do get the point, yes?

Unconnected. Some tag business and all this person has got me into. Seems to be the business which suits loafers such as myself, therefore.

‘Things which you did not know about me’ it seems. (Not 5, but fewer)

The loafers in college are so jobless that they formed this thing called ‘pissing committee’ and yes, yours truly chairs the ‘committee’ with all debonair. The duties of the ‘chairperson’ include escorting committee members to the toilet, advising them faithfully about which toilet is the best, etc.
I am sure you would want to know no more about this queer thing, so moving right along.

I’m superstitious. Not overly superstitious, and I form my own superstitions. For instance, my belief is that I will definitely flunk the exam if I do not spin my pen around my thumb thrice, clockwise and anticlockwise before the exam. (ok, no comments on that one)

I just started this personal project called write-a-thon. Swanky name and all. Every day of the year I’m going to write an article, story, or an anecdote. Maintaining a separate notebook for it.








". . . Money, like manure, starts stinking if piled up. That’s why people are called stinking rich. Have you ever known anyone to be aromatically rich?"

Ripple of laughter met the fraudulent humor which emanated from the bespectacled man with dull eyes.

She was bored stiff. She had heard too many crowd pullers like this one. They were all essentially the same. Their desire to impress overshadowed the point they were trying to put across, if any at all.

And the masses, jobless as they were and thick headed as they were forced to become, laughed when they were expected to. Applauded to what did not deserve to be.

It was not entirely the fault of the people. This was what they were fed, and consuming what is fed to you is much simpler than exploring and finding newer pastures to feed in.

She got up from her seat, and spoke. “Excuse me, for interrupting this session, there is something I would like to say.” The voice was devoid of emotion. Nothing.

Murmurs propagated, heads turned.

“There will be a questions session, young lady . . .” but she had already grabbed the microphone.

“I would like to speak to you about foolishness.”

The voice was flat. There was no proclamation, no glorification. It simply stated a fact.

“You, yes you, are a fool.”

Heads turned to see who she was referring to, but she suddenly screamed and they jumped.

“Don’t you turn your damned heads full of crap! I’m referring to every one of you hypocritical bastards!”

Four people got up. They had decided to interrupt the impudence of this woman who had interrupted a brilliant speech.

“Stop. Please listen to me. Stop, STOP!”

After being manhandled and thrown out of the auditorium, where some bastard had actually felt her up in the process, she walked to the museum. Hypocritical and opportunistic too these people are, she thought sourly.

Reconstructed dinosaur bones, she laughed and passed on.

Fossils on display, she sneered and moved on.

A guide was speaking to a bunch of interested looking people, and she stopped to listen.

They were obviously hypocrites, she thought. The very fact that they came to a museum, acted interested and listened to crap was proof enough. On second thought, they might not all be that way. Some may be fascinated by history; some might be listening to find out to what extent crap existed in the world. She was one such soul, so she walked up and listened.

“. . . The dead speak through history, and we listen. History is the foundation on which we live on, and we are the foundation on which our future generations will exist. Therefore, the roots are our past . . .”

Not bad at all for a guide, she thought. He had a different approach, and he was convincing. But he spoke crap anyway.

“In 1762, . . .

Oh dear, he had started crapping again, and it was getting worse and intolerable.

“Excuse me, but why again do we need history?” She barged in.

A few of the hypocrites gave her cold and rude looks. Typical. But she wasn’t looking at them, as she didn’t care. She looked at the guide.

“So that we can learn from the mistakes which have already been made in the past. That’s just one thing.”

“What other things?”

“I’m not here to talk about why we need history. These people here are interested in history, and you don’t seem to be. So we will all appreciate it if you will say nothing.”

“If you’re not here to talk about why we need history, why did you start saying things like the dead speak through history? Why the embellishments?”

A tall, haughty looking woman spoke.

“Go away, you mean woman! We want to listen to this man who is nice enough to take us around and tell us interesting things.”

“Yea, bitch get yer ass outta here before I throw ye out maself.” This man was huge. And intimidating enough to make her pee in her pants, so she made a hasty exit.

She sat at home, and wrote.

“People, initially, are empty. They fill themselves, or are made to fill themselves, with things which they will not benefit from at all. They fill themselves with crap, basically”

The moon shone. But that statement is hypocritical in itself, she thought. The sun shines and the moon reflects. Hypocrisy is all there is. . .


and the moon reflects. Hypocrisy is all there is. . .

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Internment

The dark skinned squeaking lady began interrogating the unsuspecting pillars of the future.

The pillars of the future, i.e. the students (yes, praise does nurture a ticklish sensation at times) battled to suppress monstrous, uncontrollable muscular spasms of the lower jaw. In short, yawns. Yawns and much less were all the squeaking lady deserved.

The lady, who squeaked and could not speak, was not content with extracting life out of pitiable subscribers of education, in a relentless manner. With her meaningless squeaks and more, she attempted to establish a dictatorial regime, and had to be stopped.

The squeaks sometimes evolved into shrieks of high frequency, thereby disarming any notions of peaceful sleep.

It was torture due to the fact that sleep was so close- eyelids involuntarily shutting off the eyes, the brain closing off to all sound and rational thought.

Kept awake and made to experience pain due to the shrill cacophony, they looked at what kept them alive, their watch hands which moved, oh-so-slowly.

“What do you mean, Roll no. 36, by a Register?”

No response. Roll no. 36 had apparently entered the other dimension, that of dreams and nightmares.

“36!”

No response.

“ROLL NO. 36! VARUN B. KRISHNAN!”

A sudden jerky movement, like someone being suddenly shaken from sweet slumber.

A bearded, bespectacled man stood from the last bench.

“What is a Register!?”

His reply was laced with innocence, and spontaneity it possessed.

“That vile, repulsive entity which records the demon-spawn known as attendance!”

The class seemed to have stirred at last. Murmurs erupted.

“Don’t you act smart, 36!”

“My name is Varun B. Krishnan. Call me by the name, if you wish to address me at all.”

“Answer the question!”

“I already did!”

“That wasn’t the correct answer! I asked, with respect to computer architecture!”

“Well, that still is my answer, and the only one I have.”

The bell rang, finally. The squeaky woman squeaked a few ultrasonic obscenities and scurried away.”

An eye for an eye. After all that torment she had delivered.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Grand Theft

I observed the people who had gathered there.

They positively reeked of false emotion as they proceeded to greet each other overdramatically; hugged themselves for the heck of it; and complimented one another on the fragrance of their perfumes irrespective of the fact that they were not worth being complimented; and as they planted surface grazing kisses sans feeling on each others' cheeks.

How did they choose not to see through false emotion? Probably because they were exhibiting the same themselves and did not want to be seen through.

I observed them till the movie started, Great film.

Habitation on the streets was minimal when I reached the place known as Bawa street. Darkness enveloped it, and it was characterized by sleeping watchmen and menacing looking dogs.

Streetlights gave off yellowish orange photons that bounced off the windshields of a few cars parked on the sides.

This was all I saw as I walked, and unfortunately I did not see more.

The Punnaiagi Mannan tune invited me (forced me, rather) to pick up the phone from my pocket and answer a call from my mom who told me to come back home ASAP, and take an auto if necessary.

Even as I endeavored to lock the keypad and replace the phone in my pocket, a rowdy duo on a shady looking two wheeler approached me at high velocity from behind.

Before I could even comprehend, the pillion rider grabbed the phone from my hand with sudden, savage force.

I went into a sudden state of shock for a few seconds, shaken by the assault from behind.

I attempted to pounce on the bike just a second or two later, but even that was too late.

They had vrooomed off into the distance, and into the intricate areas of TTK road.

As they were speeding away, i ran behind them screaming Wattha Aei! Dai, Dai phone! etcetra which might have sounded intimidating under normal circumstances.

I thought I was being clever by thinking of noting down the number on the license plate of the vehicle, but the rowdy duo had thought of it as well and the pillion rider was blocking my view of the license plate with his palm.

As I sprinted desperately behind them screaming, dogs barked their lungs out and sleeping watchmen slowly stirred and asked me what the hell was happening.

"Phone, phone!" I moaned in frustration.

Dialled home from a booth and mom reprimanded me for not having taken an auto, and threatened me that they would next grab me and take off, and sell me along with the phone. (For how little, I wondered)

What a life. My second phone. Oh well, if I were to get my hands on those two, I would tie them to a chair and play endless repeated tracks of various forms of the wattha aei dance. . .

Fire

Perpetual research on the intricacies of the Titan watch which adorns
my hirsute wrist is what I pursue for three-fourths (or possibly more)
of the day.

I am happy when the two hands of the clock commune at the line marked
12. It signifies that half the day is over, I have survived half of
hell, and that only one half remains.

When the hands depict 4:20, I'm elated, you might say even ecstatic,
because it means that I have survived another day of hell.

Dammit, I don't even get paid to live through hell.

The monstrous people who skulk into the classroom on the pretext of
imparting knowledge are all phony beings who consume one college
student for lunch each day.

So here I was, in the corridor, brooding over my misfortune of being in hell, and appreciating my fortune that I had not yet been gobbled up by some monster prof.

On the railing I leaned and contemplated jumping off the parapet wall and onto the softness and gentleness of the green lawn below, where sprinklers everlastingly nourished the greenery with water. This sprinkler could be heard all the way up to the 3rd floor and was often used as a weapon against the blatant feigning of imparting knowledge. ‘We can’t concentrate because of that, you see!’ Exclaim bright students who have also been through hell.

Coming back to point. As I stood there leaning, a hand materialized from behind and positioned itself below my jaw. It took me a few fractions of a second to realize that the hand was holding a cigarette lighter. And a few more fractions to realize, that MY DAMNED BEARD WAS ON FIRE!

With an ignited beard I panicked and sprinted helter-skelter. Knowledge of what to do in the situation did not come to me and by instinct I was smothering the mass of burning hair on my lower jaw with both hands.

Thankfully the ‘fire’ abated, but from my lower jaw emanated a smell, such a terrible smell, a whiff of which was enough to fell a well built adult elephant. Burning hair was definitely a lethal weapon.

With a reeking jaw and determination to subject the miscreant to all forms of Chinese torture, I marched to the men’s room, where I watered my jaw and constantly abused the hand with the cigarette lighter.

By the time I was done with the above and walked back to the corridor, the news had spread like a forest fire. (Thankfully the fire in my lower jaw did not)

Everyone was talking about the ‘Fire Accident’ which caused ‘Air Pollution’ By smelling so bad, it hung in the atmosphere miasmically; And how, if ignited once more and given the slightest chance the fire would spread to all parts of the body and burn the whole of Varun B. Krishnan to ashes.

I attempted to find the hand with the lighter, but it was nowhere to be found, attached or separate from a body, but failed in all attempts. Possibly I ought to get in touch with the police.

What audacity, what guts it required to do something like this to an object(or objects, you might say) of great reverence and greatness?

Agreed, it was just some Mairu, but it was reverent mairu! (ok, no more double meanings)

Is this the end of Varun B. Krishnan’s famed, notorious beard? Possibly.

But I do not bother myself excessively about it, as things of greatness never fade, and remain etched – on my jaw.

I admit that this tale was infested with vetti scene, but well, its been quite some time, you know.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Business of Stress

The concept I'm talking about already exists in the West; a story based on this.

Tom the journalist stood in front of the giant hoarding which proclaimed:

THE DE-STRESS YOURSELF CENTER

As he approached the electronic gate, a security guard in a crisp blue uniform addressed him in a polished manner.

"You have an appointment for causing unprecedented damage to property, sir?"

Tom smiled his toothy, nice-guy smile which was reserved for sour humour.

"No, I'm here to meet Mr. Jerry. I'm Tom from the Metro Mayor newspaper."

The guard tried very hard to suppress a giant grin, but failed.

"If you will excuse my impudence, sir. I find Tom & Jerry highly amusing. Go right in, sir. Its the first room inside the first building you encounter."

As he entered, Tom could hear high pitched shrieks, screams, and other cries of anguish being produced by humans in distress.

In the non human department, he heard glass shattering and other sounds which objects produce when hit with immense force.

If the objects were living, they would wish that they were dead.

---

"Ah, Mr. Tom. What a pleasure to meet you. Can you imagine Jerry actually saying that to Tom?" ... High pitched laughter. Toothy smile in return.

Out came the writing pad and the pen.

"So, Mr. Jerry. Successful businessman. What's your story, sir?"

"It was the 5th day of August in the year 1956, when my mother..."

"No sir! I meant, the story of how you started this... This... Center."

"My, my. You are quite impatient for a journo, Mr. Tom!"

"You can't expect much from Tom, eh Mr. Jerry?"

Toothy grin. No high pitched laugh in return.

Mr. Jerry extracted a piece of plastic pulp from his drawer.

"This is how it all started." And then, Mr. Jerry cleared his throat and began a well rehearsed speech.

"It was a day when stress corroded my brain. You know how acid corrodes anything it comes into contact with? Like that. Only, worse. I could take it no longer. I took from my table a 500 milliliter bottle, glugged down the contents to the last drop, and stepped outside.

I started beating the crap out of the bottle. I beat it with a thick stick, jumped on it, stabbed it with a pen 500 times maybe, twisted it and did all sorts of heinous things possible. All the while, I pictured my boss' head in the bottle.

Stress began to loosen its grip and ease away. And at that time, Mr. Tom, I smiled.

Later while driving back home, I realized what a big business this could become.

---
Tom & Jerry were watching the CEO of Cheese Unlimited on camera. This was a company which produced everything from cheese - Cheese Bits for a snack, cheesy hair cream, cheesy jam and Cheesecohol (fermented cheese variation of alcohol)

He didn't know he was on camera, but it looked like he wouldn't care even if he knew.

In his hand he held an iron rod. With ferocity, with animal savage intensity, he was shattering glass, battering car bonnets and flattening mobile phones which lay around him in the vastness. There was nothing but a ground, objects to break, and a weapon.

That is all people needed to relieve stress. It was so simple. So amazing.

Tom scratched away on his notepad-

For beating the crap out of non living things, people are ready to pay half their day's earnings. Instead, they could choose a less stressful job with half the salary...

The CEO of Cheese Unlimited stopped. He was still huffing and puffing, but slowly, his manner relaxed and finally, he smiled.

"As you see, Mr. Tom, stress is good. Stress is what makes me a living. Stress is what is needed to live."

"That, Mr. Jerry, is what your photo tagline is going to say in tomorrow's papers..."

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Soldier

The soldier closed his eyes and through his mind’s eye, saw what the plain had looked like three years ago before the war had started-

The soil had been baked by the sweltering sun except in places where it was shaded by trees; bushes and pebbles lay scattered across the vastness; a soft glow of serenity had characterized the expanse and when one looked across the plain land, one would want to keep sprinting across without a care in the world, stopping only for breath.

-Now the soldier opened his eyes- to death.

The plain lay raped by the massive tanks, bomb scars; it was marred by the blood and bodies of the dead.

Three years the war had lasted, and even now it went on, causing morbidity among people of both sides.

The enemy had wanted their lands-they were greedy, filled to the brim with boundless avarice.

The soldier thought that it was highly ironic that this war was costing the enemy more than what he would get by conquering them.

Conquest would make the soldier’s people slaves. It would ruin their values and their way of life, and their culture would be lost forever.

Their identity, their footprint would be erased and superimposed by the enemy’s ostentatious mark.

Even if I die today to save my people, my people will live on to preserve our race. We shall not be violated, and we shall not submit!

But three years of warfare had taken a toll on resources, and their lease was running out. One day they would be conquered, as the enemy seemed to be in possession of an infinite amount of resources.

The enemy’s resources came through a heavily guarded pass behind the enemy’s camp. It was impregnable from the front and anyone who attempted to penetrate the back was fatally gunned down by sentry snipers.

Once they captured an enemy soldier and tortured him into revealing the password which merchants used to gain entry into the enemy camp. They had once tried to disguise themselves as merchants who supplied food and ammunition to the enemy. But the enemy was smart. They changed their password every single day.

Now their only hope was to block the pass through which supplies came to the enemy.

There was only one way to do that, and that was a landslide from the cliff above into the pass below.

The landslide had to be triggered with twenty five kilograms of firepower; the sentries guarding the cliff would certainly detect the movement of that much of dynamite.

That day, the soldier decided to smuggle twenty five kilograms of dynamite into one of the crevices on the cliff, and light the fuse.

When it exploded, it would cause the massive rocks above it to shatter; there would be a landslide, and the pass would be blocked.

Without reinforcement of resources, the enemy would have to surrender or die, and either would be a victory for them.

It was 1 a.m. when the soldier strapped on the last fragment of dynamite onto his body.

When he stood up, his legs almost gave way under the weight, but he staggered forward, determination writ large on his face and in his mind.

He slipped, but did not fall. He cried in pain, but he did not ease his grip.

His body weakened, but he did not weaken his resolve.

All the while, he prayed really hard that the sentries above would not spot him. Adrenaline pumped within him and he was breathing heavily, and sweat was beginning to seep through his Kevlar vest and moisten the dynamite.

When he reached the top, there stood sentry no. 1, back towards the soldier.

The soldier threw himself on the sentry with full force, the weight of the dynamite aggravating the impact. The sentry succumbed to the sudden onslaught and fell heavily to the ground.

Before the sentry could raise an alarm, a gun barrel flew towards him and made contact with his jaw. He blacked out.

The soldier was exhausted. He sunk to his knees and crawled towards one of the crevices. Before he could reach there, he felt a sharp blow on the head which temporarily blinded him. He turned and saw the blurry image of the standing Sentry no. 2.

Pain engulfed him, and his world was falling into darkness…

My people. My lands. FREEDOM! Cried the soldier within his aching head.

Not heeding the excruciating pain, and his determination feeding him strength, he scrambled at high speed towards the crevice, and when he reached inside the crevice, received another blow from sentry no. 2.

The soldier spat blood. He was dying; he needed a lighter. He could make out that there was some sort of disturbance in the distance, and he could vaguely make out sentry no. 3 running towards him.

He couldn’t move. He couldn’t get his lighter. I can’t die for nothing, he cried. Tears of pain streamed down his fear contorted face.

In the distance, he could make out that sentry no. 3 was pointing a gun at him. He was about to fire. At that time, sentry no. 2 started screaming.

“DON’T SHOOT! HE’LL EXPLODE! IT’LL TRIGGER THE DYNAMITE!”

A rifle shot rent the air. At that moment, the soldier laughed at the thought of the enemy committing suicide by shooting at him.

Just moments later, a deafening, thunderous explosion shook the roots of the cliff; rocks rocketed out, boulders rolled out, and along with these were thrown up tons of soil. All displaced by that gigantic explosion.

The landslide came crashing down, not only upon the pass but also upon the enemy camp, causing unprecedented damage.

The soldier’s side had won. His sacrifice will remain etched in his people’s minds forever. And tales of his valor will be told and retold.

As generations pass, people’s storytelling abilities will make him a superhero that had come to save the people. A legend that will never be lost.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sin

This is one the stories which I wrote a long time ago. One of my favorites.

The Priest stared at the manuscript in front of him. It had been unfurled with two cylindrical metal objects of solid gold.

The reverence attached to the scroll was such that it was not to be touched by the human hand.

A thin pointer stick of pure gold was made to point at the holy word being read.

The Priest announced the following in a rich, deep voice, to none in particular. It was more a reminder to oneself.

"Sinners we are born, we are born due to sin. . . "

". . . Lord in Heaven, cleanse me of sin, for I am infested with it",
proclaimed another deep voice from the distance.

The Priest gently laid down the gold pointer and turned to confront the man. A bearded man stood in front of the Priest with intelligent, intense eyes.

"I believe you are right", said the Priest.

"Ha, I KNOW that I am not. Belief is all you possess. "

"Faith is what drives us."


"It drives you to stupidity."

"Stupidity is not a troublesome virtue for many like me."

"It is not a virtue at all. It is a disease and people such as you have made it reach epidemic proportions."

"Why so?"

The man with intelligent, intense eyes made a move to touch manuscript.

The Priest sprung out in front of the man and blurted,
"Touch it after I am dead!"

"Why so?” asked the man.

"It is holy. I thought you would know- You completed what I was reading!"

"FOOL!" The intense eyed man began to pace around. He gradually reduced his pace, and slowly the atmosphere became casual. The man composed himself and spoke.

"Do you realize that you carry two solid golden cylinders and a stick of gold?"

"I do."

"What if I kill you now and take the gold?"

”I would gladly give them to you without bloodshed. It does not require murder."

"I see. Would I have to kill you then, if I had to take the manuscript?"

"If you treat it with reverence then I would be pleased to give that up as well. If not, then bloodshed is necessitated."

"Don't you see your foolishness man? Don't you value your life more than your manuscript? Why don't you?"

"The manuscript was written by the Holy Hand, and it shall be respected by me."

"FOOL!"

"I really wish you would stop that screaming. What service may I be of to you? If you do not require anything of me, then we shall depart as brethren; if you choose to allow me to depart at all."

"The gold, man, the gold! Religion is one of the simplest ways to amass and legally carry wealth. Do you not see that many use Religion as a subterfuge to carry wealth?"

"It does not concern me. If a dacoit materializes in front of me with a dagger and says your life or your gold, I would give up the gold. Not because I value my life more, But because the gold means nothing to me."

"So what does matter ultimately?"

"What matters is the pursuit of freeing oneself of things such as greed and malice."

"I shall free you, then."


So saying, the intense eyed man produced a dagger; a deft stroke occurred; The Priest lay on the ground, a peaceful harmonious expression writ large on his face. He was dead.

"I have allowed you to depart, and to the destination you wanted, I presume. Nothing but death can free you of your negative ness. We can but minimize them and live on."

So spoke the intense eyed man. He looked once again at the peaceful body which lay beside him.

"The Holy Manuscript is not to be worshipped or revered. It was written to be understood, it was written so that we live an ideal life, so that we act accordingly. It existed and still exists only to guide us."

"And I, my brother, have guided you to your most blissful state. Your Gold will guide me to mine."

The man began to recite, and as he said each word, he nourished his soul with it.

"Sinners we are, Sinners we shall always be, we cannot be otherwise, unless we are dead."