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Blog Short Stories

One in you

It had been a long tiring day for Martin, a professor at a prestigious business school. He had given three – hour long lectures and had faced a volley of questions from the students. He loved his job. He was good with words and that made him more endearing to the students. However, today’s sessions had made him tired. He longed to get back to the comfort of his home.
Just then his phone buzzed, it was his wife, Tammy. “Marty, can you come home immediately?” She sounded tensed. “It is Aria. She has locked herself in her room and refuses to talk to anybody.” He wondered what had happened, as he raced home. Aria was his youngest daughter. Tammy was a great mother and did everything to make a great family. Normally, the chief trouble maker would be his elder daughter Ria. He was used to getting complaints on Ria, but he used to laugh it off, as all of her pranks were quiet similar to the ones that he used to pull on his neighbors when young. But Aria, the younger one, She was more like Tammy, Quiet and Smart. She never got into trouble unlike Ria. The sudden aberration made him feel a bit tensed.
He walked in as fast as he could. He found Ria sitting out, she had been crying. Tammy was tired, shaken but still looked beautiful. He walked to Aria’s room. He could hear her sobbing. He knocked on the door, and called her out. There was no answer for a few minutes, and then slowly the door opened and out came Aria. The next minute Tammy ran in and hugged her. The relief in her face said it all. “You almost killed me was all that she could say as she held her tightly. Ria was noisier, cursing her and hugging her at the same time. He walked back to the couch and sat down. Martin was silent. Aria walked over to him and sat there with him. She did not saying anything, but he could see that she was crying. Tammy wanted to know what was wrong, but Martin gestured her to leave it to him. Tammy went to make tea for everybody. Ria too joined her leaving them alone. Martin looked at her and asked, ” It is like I have run a marathon….., age is catching up I guess. You want to tell me what that was about?” She nodded.
Martin got up and took her out for a walk. She walked in silence for a few minutes. She took out a slip of paper and handed it out to him his hands started to tremble as he read it. It took a moment for it to sink in. Tammy had a complication after Ria’s birth and the doctors had to do a surgery which meant that she could never have a baby again. Here was the statement which he had signed, approving the surgery. She had found that paper somehow, when she was trying to hide Ria’s necklace at the basement. She didn’t say anything. She stood there expecting him to give an answer. For the first time he was at a loss of words. He walked ahead, took a few deep breaths.
“The First time I saw you, you were so small that you could fit in the palm of my hand. Today I can see that you have grown, you have every right to know the truth”. He told her about her parents, his friends. He had been to a trip with them, when they were research associates. Martin was driving. A van, had veered to the right suddenly, Martin reacted a second late and the impact had thrown the car over. Martin managed to wriggle out of the car with their baby. Her parents had not survived the crash. He had brought her home to Tammy. “This is…Started Martin” “Our daughter” finished Tammy. Since that day that’s the way it has been”.
Martin felt his eyes moisten. He had always held himself responsible, for Aria’s parents. He had not talked about the accident to anybody, not even to Tammy. He looked at her. She just walked up to him and hugged him tight. That said it all. Father and daughter as always. She said. “Dad, and that’s the way it would be. I was sad when I found out that I was not a part of this loving family, but when I saw Mom, Ria and you outside when I came out, the look on your faces told me how much I meant to them. What more can I ask for in life? ” As they walked back home, Martin could not throw out the words in his head – His little girl had just grown up. “Family isn’t about whose blood you have. It’s about who you care about.”
Tammy and Rhea were waiting for them at the door, a tad anxious. They looked at him expecting an explanation. Martin, Martin’s question was directed at Ria – “You would not miss a necklace, will you?”. Rhea let out a “What..that..did she lose it……..” and started to chase Aria. “They are still kids, aren’t they” says Tammy and walks in. Martin smiles and says “How about that cup of tea?”

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Blog Short Stories

The Dream

The Dream

December 1st 2007, Friday. It had been a long tiring day. My Roommates had gone out for the weekend, I was alone in my apartment, and bored. So I picked up a beer and sat before the Idiot box. Again nothing interesting. May be it was the beer; I soon drifted to what I call the heavy sleep. Thus begun the dream.

I was waiting for a cab to pick me up, I was supposed to go to the Airport, and my flight to the United States of America, the Land of Opportunities was at 2.00 in the morning. Till then I had never set foot on a flight, and my fear of flying was pushing me down. But I summon all the courage I had and go inside the tube. I manage to find myself in a seat and complete the first flight and land in Dubai to get my connecting flight. People always tell me that I have the looks of an Arab, but I always thought that the guys were pulling my leg, because of a Muslim girl I was talking to. So here I was in Dubai Airport, looking at my next flight timings when I hear an Old gentleman say something to me. I heard “Hakmish Al Zogrish” or something like that. I keep staring at him, and I manage to say “excuse me; I don’t understand what you are saying!!!” On hearing that, the old man’s eyes go wide as if I had shocked the wits out of him. He manages to say “What, you don’t speak Arabic”!!! He apologized for that and left me wondering what makes most think that I am an Arab. I still haven’t found an answer!!!

The scenes shifted; soon I was at Pittsburgh the Bridge city, PA, USA . The city was serene; the country side looked like a Picture from the Post Cards. The silence was eerie, and the Winter Cold brutal at times. But I found myself with a lot of friends back from India. So begun my life at Pittsburgh, it was different from the fast and furious pace of Chennai, it was calm. I wanted to settle down there. There was nothing special to talk about the work place, save three extra ordinarily beautiful women. Well they all had boyfriends or were married, so there ended things. Whoever thinks that America is a land where only sex matters, no culture, no virtues, are way off mark. I saw that most of the People really cared about their families, and took every opportunity to shower their love on their loved ones.

Another day, we decided to go on a road trip. We hit the road, and were on our way to Niagara Falls. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. The sheer power of the water hitting the rocks, the beauty of the falls made me stand transfixed there. Atlantic City with all its Casinos showed me what money can get one. Edison with its Huge Indian population made me see home away from Home, Trenton with all its universities took me to another world, and Philadelphia showed me the celebration of life. Each place made me wonder as how vast and beautiful the world is and what all is still left to see in this world. I was happy that could see so much in so little time.

So life was moving at full speed, when one day I met her. It was her eyes, It had everything about it. Happiness, sorrow, the emotions…wow, she was beauty personified. She sees me staring at her and tells me “Hey, it is not polite to stare”. I just mumble out a few words, not knowing what exactly to say. Still she holds my stare and asks me what I do, well it is the tell me about yourself question, that most Indians would have perfected for the interviews so I rattled of some things about myself and my job. From the look on her face I knew that she didn’t understand a bit. Just to keep the conversation going, I asked her what she did. She told me she was a Dancer at a club. It took some time to sink in but I knew what sort of dancer she was. I told her that I needed to go and meet someone, and that i would catch her around. She understood that I never intended to see her again. The eyes, they pleaded to accept her as what she was. But no matter what the Eyes did, there was a small voice that always kept sounding the warning “She is a stripper, you mean nothing to her. She is just looking for money”.

A few days later I met her again, this time at the Shopping mall. She looked beautiful. I waved at her, and the eyes beamed with a sense of recognition. I walk to her. She gives a dazzling smile and says “So we meet again”. We walk together for some time, talking about various things, and I realized that we had similar tastes. Time flew. I decided to go out with her. My friends all had the same thing to say “You are out of your mind!!”. I told them I knew what I was doing. She became very close to me. We went out a few more times, and we would walk back home every day. She had wanted to become a model, she left home to seek her fortune here, but ended up being a professional dancer. The eyes told me that was true. I did not know what else to do, so I kissed her.

That night was beautiful. I forgot everything around me, as she lay there in my arms crying softly. She fell asleep in my arms. Time flew. She joined an aerobic training center, and she got a job as a part time trainer there. The eyes, the sorrow in it had vanished. Her eyes shone with happiness. One day as we were strolling around, she said she wanted to buy something and asked me to wait at the Coffee shop outside. She came out a few minutes later. She had a gift box in her had. The gift was for me. It was a beautiful crystal stone. The eyes said everything she wanted to. She was in love with me. She had quit her job at the club and got another one as the aerobic center. I heard the voice in my head again “stripper, culture, family, India……”. I couldn’t look at her. As I walk away from her, her eyes scream at the betrayal.

I am on my Flight back home and I think about her, and what I have done to her. But I was trying to console myself saying that it was for best. But I couldn’t stop thinking about the pain in her eyes. She hadn’t uttered a word, she stood there with tears streaming down. The eyes they haunted me. I closed my eyes to shut myself in darkness. I hear the pilot announcing us to fasten our belts as we land in India. As the tires touch the Runway, the plane skids and the engines let out a scream as they scrape the ground.

I wake up screaming, am sitting before the idiot box again; the finished beer is at my side. I thank God that it was a dream. I slowly get up from the chair stretching, wondering what to do on a Saturday morning. I see the calendar the Date reads February 2 Saturday 2008. I am stunned. I feel something in my jeans. My hands trembled as I pull out the crystal stone that she had given me. I am sitting alone in my apartment again with a beer in my hand now.

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Blog

My pursuit of happiness

We meet so many people in our lives; we hear a lot about some; and we read about so many others. We get to know some of them, while some of them are just an acquaintance and the remaining whom we never get to know. However, all these guys do affect our lives in some way. We may realize it or be completely oblivious to it but that’s the way it is. In Short, our lives are “dependent” upon so many others. “Influenced” may be the correct term.
I am not a regular Blogger. Nevertheless, I do write about certain events which have influenced me. So many things happen around us. The Events which we see or hear about can have a big say in one’s life. A small incident can change the course of one’s life. This article is about one such incident that I would like to call a defining moment in my life. Its about how an character in a Novel whose words influenced me a lot.
With time, I begun to see the world as a totally different place from what I had imagined, it was nowhere close to the perfect world with clean streets, zero crime I had imagined, it was vile and bad. The Cities stank. The villages were parched and dry. Television had murders to report every day, Murderers were justifying their Killings in the name of “jihad” and that’s when I understood good and bad was a relative concept, what was good for one was bad for another and vice versa.
I had a bad feeling about this. Not knowing what is good and bad can leave you stranded. It can leave you distracted, emotionally withdrawn and make you indulge in the Worldly pleasures that give you pleasure but not happiness. I did some things like that, because I did not care about anything else in the world. I knew I was not happy.
I got a book “Shantaram” written by Gregory Roberts, it depicted the experiences of the Protagonist “lin”. The book was laced with amazing view points on Religion, God and Life.


In the book Khader khan, a character explains to the protagonist the difference between good and evil. The philosophy behind this is quite simple, according to him, “The truth is that there are no good men, or bad men,’ ‘It is the deeds that have goodness or badness in them. There are good deeds and there are bad deeds. Men are just men–it is what they do, or refuse to do, that links them to good or evil. The truth is that an instant of real love, in the heart of anyone–the noblest of man alive or the wicked–has the whole purpose and process and meaning of life within the lotus-folds of its passion. The truth is that we are all, every one of us, every atom, every galaxy, and every particle of matter in the universe, moving toward God”. He tells us that all things in this world move towards God, an ultimate complexity, anything that moves towards the ultimate Complexity is good, and anything moving away from the Complexity is bad. This line, I tell you will be a defining moment in my life. I did not know Khader Khan, Shantaram or any one mentioned in the book, yet they left a deep impression in my life.
That Quote made me think, as how my actions affect the lives others around me. I wanted to know whether my actions helped others in any way. I begin to empathize, started caring about others and begin to see myself in a new light. In short, I felt as if I understood what Life meant.
I sign off with one final Quote from Khader Khan “There’s no believing in God…We either know God, or we don’t.” So now, here I am, looking at life with renewed hope, hoping that my actions of love, hatred, kindness, anger would help us all to move towards the Final complexity. Now I am happy. This is how my pursuit of happiness ends or rather begins.

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Blog

The F.R.I.E.N.D

The day started like any other day bright and sunny, I was feeling good. A friend of mine had come over the weekend and we were discussing his plans for the future. The earlier night me, my roommate and my friend were talking about the good old college days, when we were free of all worries and responsibilities. We sat there recollecting the good old days. Amongst friends, you tend to be a different person. You can be you without being bothered about anything in the world. If a person who is around you can let you be you, he is your FRIEND. I heard this from “Kiran Madhu”, my roommate in college. This day I was myself among these people, and was waiting for my day to begin.
As we sat in our hall with steaming cocoa and the news on, we got a call from another friend in the United States; somebody had scrapped him in Orkut saying that “Kiran Madhu” had met with an accident. The news came as a shock, because I had called Kiran up the day before and as usual, he was playing host to a group of friends from college who had gone to Bangalore. As he was busy, he had told me that he would call me up on Monday. Then came the shocker that Kiran had been killed in the accident. The mood in our house changed. There was a sense of discomfort; silence had taken over the place. I sat there stunned, my soaring spirit had been brought down by a phone call.
Kiran was somebody who was there for everyone. When you were in trouble all you had to do was to call him up; he would have an answer to your problem. Now we didn’t know whom to turn to. I sat there thinking about the numerous times that he had helped me out. He had played a huge part in making me, the person I am today. He showed us what it was to live free, do what one liked without being bothered about what others had to say, he taught us what friendship was by being there for friends when they were down and out. Just then, I realized how much his friendship had meant to me. I had lost a friend, a brother not by blood but by bond. I couldn’t bring myself to cry, but my heart was heavy.
We couldn’t understand why this had happened; here was a boy who was the most cheerful among us, who had high hopes in his life, lying cold and lifeless. Something was telling me that he was there then, trying to tell us that everything was fine and not to worry. One of us says let us uphold the spirit of Kiran Madhu by vouching for eternal friendship and upholding all values that he stood for. Each of us stood there thinking about the wonderful memories he had left behind. As the flames engulfed his body, I see my other friends break down and mourn. I take a deep breath manage to say, “Farewell my brother, find Peace”, before the tears start flowing.

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Blog Opinion

The Little Gods



Is He willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then is he impotent.

Is He able but not willing? Then is He malevolent.

Is He both able and willing? Whence then is evil?

These are words of the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus. For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to attain the happy, tranquil life characterized by the absence of pain and fear, and by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends. He taught that pleasure and pain are the measures of what is good and bad, that death is the end of the body and the soul and should therefore not be feared. He also said that gods do not reward or punish humans, that the universe is infinite and eternal, and that events in the world are ultimately based on the motions and interactions of atoms moving in empty space.Not many of us in India think along these lines we are brought up in an environment where Gods and Godmen have had a special place. I still remember the numerous stories my grandmother used to tell me based on Mahabharata, Ramayana, and the Gita. All these stories had the same theme: “Triumph of good over evil.” Nobody told me what was good or evil, and I was never bothered to ask. I was told that Godmen represent God, so as I grew up with a respect for anyone in khavi (orange robes) or the sanyasi robes.Soon that respect turned to anger when I started to feel that in the name of God the Godmen were cheating innocents.With time and experience my anger changed to awe, I could not believe that a person could pose as God and so many people could believe it.In fact, going by today’s scenario, the “Babas” would easily be among the richest people in the country. Recently, in the span of a week, four Babas were arrested from God’s own country, Kerala. “Swami Amrita Chaithanya” was arrested on charges of fraud and possession of pornographic CDs. The police carried out the raid on his 16-suite ashram after a Malayalam weekly established, in an expose, that Chaithanya and Santosh Madhavan were the same person, and wanted by Interpol.Swami Himaval Bhadrananda, a college-dropout-turned-faith healer was booked by the Kochi police for using a beacon light on his car and trespassing into a local newspaper office and threatening journalists. Bhadrananda is out on bail now after he staged a suicide drama in jail to protest his innocence. The swami claims to have predicted the tsunami and Chikungunya outbreak.In spite of hearing about so many allegations against these “babas,” people go to them, worship them, and call out to them in the time of need. The sheer volume of devotees, and the donations made in their name makes one wonder as what Maya is causing the thousands to throng to these Godmen. I call these Babas the “Little Gods.” The people too have fallen for the gimmicks. The Little Gods use mechanisms such as Mass prayers, grand poojas, pulling fruits, holy ash, statues out of thin air, predicting vague catastrophic events to get crowd attention. The act is so convincing that many start to believe that the Little Gods are indeed manifestations of God. An increase in the number of followers, increases the baba’s popularity. The baba’s respond with a bigger and better act and thus the cycle repeats.Some neighbors of mine are ardent devotees of a local God woman. Now this God woman has been in our locality for quite some time. Earlier she used to go on a frenzy and dance around the place yelling something. Then came the pattern—she begun to get these “fits” on the third Tuesday of every month. I still remember as a child, my friends and I used to go there to see the fun. Today she has a mansion with a separate temple and, if not thousands, hundreds of devotees who come to see the “divine happening.”When I spoke out against this, my parents and neighbors said, “Oh no! What’s happened to you nowadays? You never pray, and you speak against God…”I am not against God.I am just against the Little Gods who call themselves manifestations and make a living out of it.I am against people who can offer money, gifts, and food to the God men, but would not spare a thought, forget a penny, for the needy.I am against the people who do all they want, and then pray and say God will forgive their sins.I am against people who do nothing and blame everything on God.I have always believed in God. God is life, energy, music, and the passion with which we associate ourselves. God is in us, guiding us in what to do and what not to. It’s up to us to accept the guidance and strive to make lives better, or just blindly follow others and hope our lives will become better.I recollect a quote from a movie in which the protagonist tell his friend that God exists in all of us, and when all realize that, the world will be a better place to live in.

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Blog

Staright From the Heart

Each and Every thing associated with this amazing country has a dash of Emotion to it. Just take a look at things happening around you and you will know what i am talking about.
Candle light’s the way
After Rang De Basanti, and Munnabhai’s Dadagiri “The Candle” has captured the attention of people and media alike. Candles were lit as a mark of protest against the accused in the Jessica Lal case and the Priyadarshini case. With the accused sentenced in both the cases, it has been a hard fought victory for the victim’s kin, and friends. The media highlighted the power of the common man and media, wrote about how faith in justice is restored, and also took out the Defense counsel on a one on one.
Justice was served because it was demanded for not by one but thousands, the sense of support was because a person had been wronged and the emotion in the others surfaced as signature campaigns, slogans raised, candles lit and what not.

Candles lit for Jessica have shown the way for Priyadarshini, Meher, Nitish and so many. Will this lit candle lead us to the path “where justice prevails”. Only time will tell.

India Winning its First Cricket Test Match in South Africa

The Indian Cricket team which was at the mercy of the South African Cricket Team in the One Day Series, Won the opening Test with flair. The team played cricket well, but what will stay in everyone’s minds is Sreesanth’s war dance after smashing Andre Nel out of the park. It was not about the aggression showed, it was the response by the young lad to the big South African’s verbal assault that won hearts. Comeback men making a point — another headline and another emotional moment. Laxman and Ganguly played well no doubt, but the fact that they did it when they were not expected to makes it special. The man who said they were unfit was forced to eat his own words. The People loved it.

India at Asian Games
Leander and Mahesh’s win at the Doha Asian games. The win fetched the Gold but the drama off court won our people’s hearts. Every news paper covered the “fight” on and off court. The Final word was they should play together for the fans and for the country, which they surely will.

And if I were to cite examples I would be never finishing this. Everything from the land acquisition problems to historic achievements, have an emotional side that warms our hearts and makes us relate to it more.

Perhaps, some might feel that we take things too seriously but when u think about it anytime this is the reason that makes me, you and anyone else feel at home and realize “Yeh Dil Maange More”

India Rocks…………

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Blog Short Stories

Have I Changed

I was sitting with a coffee, reading a Mario Puzo novel in my Apartment’s balcony, when my neighbors’ wife Jia came out with her two month old kid Ashmita. It was drizzling slightly and she wanted to get something from the nearby store. Her husband was not home and she didn’t want to take her kid out in the rain, so she wanted me to (take care) hold the baby while she was out. She wanted me to Babysit!

My record with kids was tremendous, I could make the sweetest of them cry. All I had to do was wave or smile and they would go wailing till their parents picked them back. So I was like uh no Jia… However, before I could complete the sentence Ashmita was in my hands. Her mother said she will be back in ten minutes and left.
I bet she was wondering why her mother had left her with me and was hoping that she would start the war cry before her mother left. As i hold her in my arms she touches my face and goes goo…. The kid was actually smiling, trying to say something and not showing any indication of crying. With new found confidence I tried talking to her. I have seen my mum and cousin sisters try the koochi koochi stuff with kids, and that’s what I did. I spoke gibberish to her. She gave me a look that was like “Hello, you seem to be a nice guy, but what the hell are you saying?” and then she gives me yet another dazzling smile. I stopped making weird noises and started to do everything to make her smile. She enjoyed my company so much that she was not ready to go when her mother came back for her. Euphoria at Ms.Smiles.When she left, there was a strange feeling inside me. Maybe it’s just the euphoria of being successful at a job i sucked at before, maybe it was the way the baby smiled at me. My thoughts went wild, i was thinking about being a father. You know it sounds idiotic, but there at that instant I was feeling different and thinking about the day when I will have my own kid, whom I can share my love with. I started to wonder what had happened to me, spending 10 minutes with the kid had shaken up my outlook on life, I wanted to be someone who could care for and feel loved. My thoughts went to a girl whom I knew for some time. I was thinking about settling down with her. Even though i thought the whole idea was crazy i wanted to talk to her about this.The next day at office i see my colleague setting his sons pic as the computer desktop background. He tells me whenever he feels bad, all he needed to feel better was to look at his sons picture. Today, his statement made sense. I guess euphoria has still not left completely. I was browsing through the web and came across a community, “I will have a daughter someday”, I didn’t know why, but I became a member of that community. I told my colleague this and he told me, listen you cannot be a boy always someday you will grow up and be a different person from what you are now. You will Change. These words made me think that the universe was sending me a message and I decided it was time and to ask her if she would be the one.

I started to move around with a new zeal, stopped being the cool dude, started to make subtle changes that made the difference between a who’s who and who’s he! I thought I had changed. She was waiting for me at her favorite coffee shop. I walked up to her with a big smile and we talked about old friends and other happenings. I was feeling excited cold and racy, and was about to talk about the feelings when I see a girl (you know the “model” type who can make heads turn, and make your jaws drop). I let out a small whistle; she gave me a heart wrenching smile. Euphoria Man! “That was rude!! you cannot do that”. I was being brought back to reality by the girl. We got coffee, and we talked for some more time. After a while I left saying I would catch up with her later. Next day, I walked in to my office threw my back pack over and go about my business. My colleague looks at me and asks “So have you changed”? Almost” I say, as i set a Monica Bellucci picture as my wallpaper and wink at him ;).