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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Killing time...

Crayons. That's how it looked. It looked like someone had rubbed crayons
all over the entire sky.

I sat there on the grassy stretch, looking out into the skies, the stars twinkling like glassy orbs of enchantment, stretching out over a marble universe. I did not have a home to go back to, no meals to swallow. No pets waiting for me. Occasional trees looming in the distance exchanged secrets among themselves, knowing fully well that I wouldn't go around asking about it. I decided to close my eyes and dream for a bit.

The sky came in the dream, and so did the stars. Only, they were bigger. They flickered like big yellow lamps, hung out in the open expanse, to guide unseen spirits traversing along the galaxies. The occasional clouds curled into strange spirals and floated about gently. I raised my hand and floated upwards, borne by the winds like a secret feather. The crayon sky continued to change around me, clouds turning, swirling, undulating like native snakes, brought out in the rain washed fields. That is when I felt the sharpness on my skin.

There were teeth on my arms. I tried to see them but couldn't. I tried to take my arm away, but the teeth seemed not to budge. The colors started changing now. The black slowly was giving way to a very deep red and the clouds danced, as if under a spell. I shook my head violently, hoping for the teeth to go. The stars shone with a deep fire within, lighting up the sky with renewed fervour.

"Let me go!", I said, and snatched my hand from the stupid mongrel dog. The moon shone in the sky, right among the clouds and blackened skies. The dream was over. I killed some time. The sky still looked the same, as it did the last time. I think I want to go home now.

[random picture prompt writing]

Monday, August 23, 2010


” Wow! where did you get this one from?”

“Got it off the SETI project.”

“Wo! The one where they are trying to find extraterrestrial intelligence?”


“Hey! Wait a minute…this looks familiar…isnt this…”

“(sighs) Yeah…It is. But how does that make a difference now?”

“Er…I don’t know…shouldn’t it? I mean…don’t you feel anything anymore?”

“You know what? I don’t know! I mean how would it matter now?”

“I don’t know…It should have…it does to me atleast!”

“Yeah whatever!”, he said, firing up the engines now. “We anyways have a long way to go…next I know, you would be cribbing about this place too! What does the picture do to you anyways?”

He looked deeply into the picture for a while and placed in in front of the dash. As they strapped in and blasted off, he finally said,
“It makes me feel homesick…”

(originally written for flashfiction.in, where I have recently started contributing. Check the site here. )

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I remember being on clouds since I can remember.

The older folk say there existed land below, once upon a time long past. You could set your feet on it, feel the warm, moist soil and tiny inanimate creatures called grass stick to the base of your foot and walk upon hard reality, filling your mind with a constant sense of heightened realism. There were hard structures, made of material called wood and softer growth on them called leaves, which sprang up high towards bright skies, embracing the openness, swallowing every bit of the atmosphere that they lived in. Creatures like us had extensions called limbs, which enabled us to walk upon this surface, among those green and brown creatures and a host of other animations. Life, had been “beautiful”; a word that the older folks used to describe something that could be looked at for long durations with a certain amount of elation in your psyche.
Alas, all of that doesn’t exist anymore.

It’s all white around. Expanses of soft, woolly, cotton-like clouds litter the skies as far as the eyes can see. You can perch for a little while, before it gives way, turning into wisps of shiny water droplets, twinkling in the light of the sun like a sea wave of a million diamonds. We have wings to keep us in the air all the time; suspended. I try to imagine what it must be like under the last layer of clouds. Does the land underneath still exist, like it is talked about in the legends? No one has been able to go down willingly. The stimulus ingrained in these wings of ours makes us take flight as soon as we start nearing the final cloud layer in the lower strata. They tell me that our ancestors had their own legends where they imagined people like us living among the clouds and christened them “fairies”. It was supposed to be their ultimate ideal of freedom. I smile to myself at the ignorance of the lost tribe and continue gazing at the wooly cloud tufts, floating by, as if in a dream.

I have always wanted freedom.

I want to break free of the monochrome circle of light and dark and venture into the unknown. I want to give up on the bales of clouds that our tribe has been surrounded by since eternity. I want to escape the legends of yore, the make belief heavens and abstract utopia. I want to reject the perpetual state of suspension and set foot on to reality, letting me feel the weight of my thought and flesh. I want to surrender the façade that my ancestors tagged ‘freedom’, and set upon an actual path of knowledge and wisdom. I want to explore the pathos attached to the lost emotion of ‘sacrifice’. I want to do all of this and so much more.
I don’t feel anything as I tear apart my wings; only a heightened sense of consciousness. I am too excited to feel the emotion they call “pain”. Maybe, just maybe, I shall be able to feel it once I have made it to the place below the last layer of the clouds. My mind is full of thoughts which seemed to have gained “feet” and finally seem to be moving around on them, instead of flying. I have started to descend at a rapid pace. The torn wings are still acting on impulse as I work hard to detach them from my existence. I don’t know if I shall live to see the wonders that I hope to see. I don’t know if my tribe would notice my disappearance and wonder at it. Streams of crimson flow upwards as I start to gather speed. My eyes feel moist. I know I have committed folly. I know I keeled over. I am aware of the thin line between servitude and self illumination that I overstepped as soon as the thought crowded into my mind. As I let go of my wing and fall through the final layer, I close my eyes and let a comforting thought, like the feel of grass, seep into my senses;

I am free…

Monday, August 16, 2010

Room For Rent

The chirping of the birds on the lone tree near the door rose to a shrill cry as he turned the key into the lock. A thousand things played on his mind as his gaze caught a rather dreary looking cat jumping over the wall and disappearing on the other side. A few ruddy looking chicken played hopscotch nearby. Not the kind of neighborhood that he would want to stay in, but real estate was pricey. This was the only setup he could get. Afford.

I hate empty rooms. I have always hated them. They don’t scare me; they only make me uncomfortable. I remember the first time they had asked me to stay in one; I had probably been around seven years old. Young enough to be not taken seriously, old enough to remember every detail. It was in my mother’s village and we had gone there to attend a funeral. My parents decided to stay in one room and asked me to sleep in the other one which was vacant. I had decided not to complain and sleep in it. I slept pretty well and woke up to a bright and fresh morning. Everything was perfect; until the moment I overheard some elders saying that it was the same room that Shashi chacha committed suicide three days ago.


The room opened up and drowned him in a sea of dampness. He stood for a while surveying the place. The landlord, it seemed, had tricked him. Nothing complicated though. He had told him that the room would be his. Only his. And here he was, standing, looking at someone else’s luggage. He was sure that the house had been sold to the other guy with the same assurance. There was no use fighting about it; he just might lose the only abode that he had finally managed to get. He would have to figure it out with his new found roommate. He was a little disappointed. But more than that, he was happy. It wasn’t an empty room.


While growing up I always avoided empty rooms. They always reminded me of the room that I had spent the night in at the village. Once, during recess, as we played hide and seek, I went and hid in one of the empty unused classes. Some kid noticed it and latched the door from the outside. I screamed for about half an hour before fainting. The next memory I had was of four hours later, sitting with my parents’ worried expressions boring down on me. Obviously, I did not tell them anything.


“Hello! Will you be sharing my room?” a voice called out behind him as he stood there with his bag still slung over his shoulder. He turned around to see a decently built guy, sparse hair and smooth expression in place, standing at the door looking straight at him. “The other guy”, he thought. Half his problem seemed to have been solved. The other guy had taken him to be his roommate without even being asked. The landlord had probably given him a different story. No problems.

“Yes, looks like it”, he said finally, after doing a quick run through in his head. He would stick in now, and ask the landlord later. Not that he was complaining about the room not being empty. But the matter had to be sorted, sooner or later.


After we came back from the village, I could never sleep alone again. My mother never figured out the reason but she made it a point to sleep with me everyday. One night, she promised she would come in a bit. She was crying for some strange reason. She never did.

Did I tell you I hate lies?


I went and confronted the landlord, just as the sun decided to splash out of sight in the distance and drowned the whole place in darkness.

“What are you saying? There is no one in that house! The last guy who was living there passed away some two years back. Nice chap he was, well fed, looked from a good family! What a loss!”

I did not say anything. Strange, you might add. But I will tell you what bothered me now. If he was not staying there, it only meant that I was the only one. It also meant there was no one staying with me, which was kind of obvious. I tried my level best to take the supernatural angle out of it.

It meant the room was empty.


He slapped his knee, throwing back his head in a jerk and laughed. “ He told you I was a ghost?” he asked, eyes shining.

“Yes” I said defiantly. I was not used to having spirits laughing at me.

“And this guy, you said, rented you this house. His name was…let me remember, Manohar?”

“Ofcouse!” I replied, starting to feel a little irritated with his behavior now.

“The wit of that guy! Why don’t we go along and have a quick chat with him yes? Let him say that on my face! I hate people calling me a ghost behind my back!”

We walked to the door of the house where I had the conversation with my landlord the previous evening. He went boldly and knocked the door. A lady, in her mid fifties came out. He folded his hands and greeted her. She returned the greeting.

“Doesn’t look like she thinks I am a ghost unless she is one herself!” he whispered in my ear and asked her loudly, “Manohar ji hain?”

She nodded her head and seemed to looked through me. Then she looked straight at me and questioned at length “ Did he ask you to go and stay with this boy?”

“Yes” I replied, a little bewildered. “ I met him about three days ago at the very spot where we are standing!”

“He prabhu!” She said and looked up, paying her respects to someone in the skies. “ It’s high time he stops renting out the house to people when its already occupied!”she sighed.

“After all, it’s already been five years since he passed away!”

[ Another successful writer's meet down. New writers, newer writing, an overcast sky, the steps at Habitat Center...if you are in Delhi, you wouldnt want to miss this!The story above was written to the prompt of "an empty room". Also, add Disturbia and Devil's Advocate to the weekend affairs. More writing soon!]

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hometide musings...

A roller coaster trip, spanning three cities, three modes of transportation, countless relatives, changes of weather, and so much more, finally wraped up today morning, as I set foot into the City of Djinns. What caused the entire whirlwind of events and occurences? The Big Fat Indian Wedding!!!

It started with a flight from New Delhi to Kolkata on the fourth of August. With just about three hours of sleep in my kitty, me and my brother landed in an extremely sticky/sunny Kolkata at about ten in the morning. Close to an hour later, I was finally united with my family and a gazillion relatives. Most of the remaining trip has been trying to piece together the most complex jigsaw of the extended Indian hierarchial family. The only other high point is anybody's guess; people tryin to get me set up with some "sweet girl who sings like an angel!" Your's truly has managed to return, if I am allowed to use the word; "unscathed"! If anyone of you actually wants to know what transpired in the ten missing days, lemme know, and I shall endeavour to post about it. No guarantees about how it shall turn out. Looking forward to a writers meet this weekend and a quick meetup for the graphic novel. Also in the offing is fresh fiction fiwting. Sorry, writing.
In other news, Clarity of Night turned out to be a flop show this time.I managed to get into the forties club though. The Forties Club, is a special system of marking where to qualify as a finalist, you gotta make a forty out of forty five. Thats the only accolade that I managed this time. Any which ways, here is the entry that I sent in. If nothing else, its gonna be a part of my next collection of shorts! Presenting, The Maker.

The Maker

Make it shine…

Light bouncing off the million faces, sunshine is a sliver of broken glass meant to cut through your defenses. Shimmery, radiant. Let it slice through the barriers of your psyche, like melted butter. You must. You will.

Every single one screams.

I block it; it’s my job. Bawling, screaming, a pile of thrusting limbs, a growing confusion. Material. Raw. I create their Nirvana, I design their enlightenment. I am blocking every single emotion trying to clutch at me, as I work on them, one at a time. The rest continue screaming, a desperate mass, but I ignore them. I am paid for this.

They look me right in the eye before going.

I am a preserver; I have never killed. I separated what you did not want; would never have wanted. You will never see those eyes; all you would see are the colors and a respiring brilliance. ”No stone”, you said…”something real!” I only delivered what you asked for. I turned the mundane into a masterpiece. The ones that go are never missed; they really don’t go now, do they?

Turn, turn, turn. Shine. It’s nothing but a stone now. It won’t scream anymore. Won’t look you in the eye. Won’t question your purpose. Glitter. You never need to know what it was; all you see is what I turned it into. I did it for you. Stones never have a heart, unless it’s a heart of stone.

Forget your useless jewels now; wear a soul...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Of Weekends and Wishes...

Phew! Thats probably the perfect word to choose from the English language that would best describe the weekend gone by. Let me wrap it up quickly before you get bored. Saturday saw the Writer's Meet take place at Cafe Coffee Day, Outer Circle Connaught Place, registering a decent attendance by old and new. The highlight of the event was Nigerian author Onyeka Nwelue, author of the award winning novel, The Abyssinian Boy. While he chatted along about his book, his works underway and foray into crossover films, we sat there, bug eyed, glad to have met another of our ilk. After exchanging books with him( my 'autographed' copy with his!) we finally bid our goodbyes. The next day proved to be more bombastic than the first. A Book Club, an initiative by some of the best of the Delhi Univ frat managed to rope in none other than Tasleema Nasrin! While I sat and chatted with her, yours truly died. Here's why:

Tasleema: So you are a writer?
Me: Yes.
Tasleema: Do you read and write Bengali?
Me: Yes ofcourse!
Tasleema: Will you translate my works?
Me: Dies!!!

If that was not all, I also managed to grab a copy of her latest work No Country For Women and got it personally signed by her. A candid chat with her proved to be more illuminating and inspiring than most wikipedia trawlings and random reads that I have done in my life.
Oh, and before you dismiss the blog for turning into a "Dear Buggardly Diary" kind-of-a-place, here's promise of bringing in fresh fiction shortly. I have become active on twitter( please refer to sky colored box in the right side) and my fiction has managed to manifest itself there as well. I have started something called "Twitter Flash Fiction" and the experiments can be seen in the box on the right. Besides, Mere Yaar by Advaita has finally made an exit. There is fresh music!! Temme how you like it! :)

Adios till next time!
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