50 stories from chinamouli
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50 stories from chinamouli

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Hi there,...

Hi there,

As a small step to my dream of becoming a writer, I have made a compilation of some of the short stories I had written over the past 3 years.

Do have a look at the stories when you have time and share with me your opinions about them.

If at any point of reading this book I made you smile or think about someone feel free to share with them. (In other words, please please forward the book to anyone who reads books).

If you do send it to people it would be even more encouraging for me if you could tell me how many people you sent it to.

Thank you in advance for your help in helping me realize my dream of making a name for myself in this world.

Chandramouli.S
http://www.chinamouli.com
https://www.facebook.com/chinamouli

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50 stories from chinamouli 50 stories from chinamouli Document Transcript

  • Selected StorieS Fromhttp://www.chinamouli.comThrough The highs and Lows ofan Emotionally DrivEn minD.Chandramouli.Se-mail:chinamouli@gmail.com
  • Index1.The Madman ....................................................................................................................................042.Writing dreams ................................................................................................................................053.Origin of Love – A Fantasy................................................................................................................074.The Other One .................................................................................................................................095.To Christina, with love......................................................................................................................116.Moment of truth...............................................................................................................................137.Hope..................................................................................................................................................158.Bedazzle.............................................................................................................................................179.‘Blog’ – For Life..................................................................................................................................2010.Silence! Darkness! Peace! ..............................................................................................................2411.An act of humanity.........................................................................................................................2612.Life, Peace & Sanity........................................................................................................................2813.Through a father’s eyes..................................................................................................................3014.Loneliness.......................................................................................................................................3115.Timidity...........................................................................................................................................3216.Change............................................................................................................................................3317.The destroyer of art........................................................................................................................3518.Stories untold.................................................................................................................................3619.Fly High..........................................................................................................................................3820.The Break-Up.................................................................................................................................4021.But I am Shy...................................................................................................................................4222.‘Fall’ in Love....................................................................................................................................4323.Not another Love story!!!.. ............................................................................................................4524.Sealed with a Kiss...........................................................................................................................47 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P age |2
  • 25.Blast From the Past - First Crush....................................................................................................4926.Blast From the Past - Romeo & Juliet.............................................................................................5127.Blast From the Past-Football Fiasco! .............................................................................................5228.The Stranger...................................................................................................................................5329.Stitch in Time..................................................................................................................................5430.Survival of Friendship.....................................................................................................................5531.A weird Trial...................................................................................................................................5632.The Secret Revealed.......................................................................................................................5833.The Perfect Synergy........................................................................................................................5934.A ride, like never before.................................................................................................................6035.Tommy the Librarian.......................................................................................................................6136.Cockro-Phobia.................................................................................................................................6337.A Journey that never took off..........................................................................................................6638.All about love!..................................................................................................................................6839.Time and Space play games!!!.........................................................................................................6940.The writer and his poem..................................................................................................................7041.Growing Mature..............................................................................................................................7142.And so it began................................................................................................................................7243.First Sight ........................................................................................................................................7344.What If?...........................................................................................................................................7545.Abundance in Life............................................................................................................................7646.The Social Addict..............................................................................................................................7747.The Power of Gossip........................................................................................................................7948.Big Fat Love!....................................................................................................................................8049.The Story of My Life.........................................................................................................................8250.Diary entry of a random girl.............................................................................................................84 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P age |3
  • 1.The MadmanHe did not fit in their definition of normal. In their definition, the most apt word for him would be crazy.Some would brand him to be a madman. Some just left him alone, calling him a freak, a loner and aretard.For him, it meant nothing. He was in a world of his own. To him, he was the sanest man in the world.Because unlike most, he knew he had a purpose in life. He lived it on his terms. He was steadfast inhis task. His task was to bring out the best ability within himself. For him, it was just one word thatmattered – Commitment.He felt a great desire within himself to give to the world the best ever works of the time. For that, hedid not mind walking the extra mile. He cared not to subject himself to the extreme emotions. Hewanted to bring out the best within him, for that he had to feel it.He would sit quiet in a dark room for hours, taking in the sights and sounds of oblivion. Then he wouldcollect his thoughts, patiently arrange them and give them shape. When he wrote about peace,people could feel it.He would go hungry for hours together. He let his stomach arch in and hurt like crazy. He would notdrink a drop of water. He would let his throat go dry. He would let his eyes feel faint and his body todroop without nutrition. He would then churn up a story of the weary traveler who kept taking that oneextra step towards the oasis.He gave in his everything as he allowed himself to fall in love. He wrote about the joy he felt and theecstasy of it all. They were legendary. He severed relations with the one he loved, and wrote aboutthe pain of it. Again, his words broke the heart of his readers.He got himself drugged. He watched himself as his mind went berserk. He recorded the astoundingclarity of thoughts. He met his deepest fears and even discovered life beyond the first love. He wroteabout it. He made many followers.He listened to stories from various kinds of people, some he had never met before. Some he wouldnever meet again. He called himself as a traveler. He traveled into the minds of others, and ponderedupon the various perceptions of people and their forms of writing. He looked for inspirationeverywhere. He was driven by the pursuit of new stories to write, new articles to inspire those aroundhim, to encourage them to chase their dreams.Some found him to be weird. He would be found making a mockery of himself one day and deliveringa purposeful speech the next. They suspected him to be two faced.He was a madman. He did not fit. He was crazy. No matter what they branded him, he still came upwith a write up that made them take notice. He was committed to writing and that was all thatmattered to him.That was all that mattered to all, eventually.Dedicated to Paulo Coelho– My source of inspiration to write. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P age |4
  • 2.Writing dreamsThere was once a young boy. He made a living by taking care of his master’s sheep. But then, thisyoung boy was no normal Sheppard. He had a dream. He wanted to write. But he did not know whatto write on. So he quietly took care of his sheep and hoped that one day, the topic would come.As years passed, his belief of becoming a writer began to wane. He instead became so good attending sheep that he became the best Sheppard of his master. His wages became higher than anythat his other brothers of the family earned. Now he was branded as a success in life. He was giventhe additional task of shearing the wool off the sheep.He excelled in that too. Within two years, he had sheared more than any of his master’s workers. Hesoon became the head shearer of the ranch. His wages were now more than thrice of what any of hisother brothers earned. He was a celebrity.Soon, his master gave him more responsibility. He was then ordered to supervise and train the newSheppard boys. He felt important in life and looked up by all those around him. He enjoyed thethought that he was moulding the future of a number of other boys around him.He soon gave up his dream of becoming a writer. Who could blame him, he had no topic anyways. Hewas paid well. He was being looked after. He was being looked up to.This to him seemed to be the path of destiny. A path laid out to him by time and society. He thought ofhimself to be a fool to have dreamt of becoming a writer.Days passed. Soon the boy married and started to live a life. He married the daughter of one of hispeers and soon they had a baby boy. There were more mouths to feed. But that was not a problem ashe was earning enough to support his family. He was thought of to be a responsible father and acaring husband.The evil hand of fate struck a blow on the boy’s fortunes. There was a flood which washed off all thegrass in the state. With not a blade of grass to eat, the sheep died. And with the death of the sheep,the master had no ranch.The boy was looked up to by the society all his life. Now they expected him to save them from thefamine. He could not disappoint them. He gave up all his savings to the society. He was now aphilanthropist, a saviour of the society.But now, he had no job. He had no money. And he knew nothing other than the jobs related tomanaging the ranch. He was respected highly by all around him, and yet none came to his aid whenhe required their help.He went to the barber. Said he could help him as he had sheared wool before. But seven cuts in twodays meant business was going to take a hit if he remained. So he was sent out, and called a duffer.He went to the machine shop, said he could manage the people, because he had managed sheepbefore. But again, he was a letdown. He could not get the men to listen to him. He lost his job. And hewas branded to be a failure. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P age |5
  • Soon, word spread that the protégé had lost his charm. That he could handle no craft. That he wasevil and that ill luck followed him everywhere. His wife left him, fearing for the safety of their child.Soon, the man lost all his possessions – his home, his wife, his child, and the respect of his peers.He became angry with the society which had once celebrated his success. He became frustrated withhis brothers who enjoyed his wealth when it existed. He became distraught with his wife more forfearing him than for having left him. With none to care for him and none to take notice of him, he leftthe village, vowing never to return to that ungrateful place.A long grey beard grew on his face as he walked in the direction that his legs took him. He had tobear the brunt of the hot sun and brave the chill of the night. His hair became unkempt and he gotwrinkles all over his body. He often contemplated why his life had taken such a wrong turn. Every timehe lied down for sleep, he would be haunted by the image of his wife moving away from him and therest of the village cursing him. By the time he reached the next village, he looked many years olderand the depth of his eyes revealed he was rich in experience.He walked into the shade of an old banyan tree and laid there to stretch his tired legs. A small groupof young boys gathered around the strange looking man. One of them brought him a glass of coolwater. This was the first act of kindness he had received for years. He smiled at the child, his heartfilled with gratitude and happy with the realization that there still were good souls in the world.The children gathered around him and asked him questions. “Who are you?” “Where are you from?”“How did you get here?” “Why are you sad?” “Are you alone?”. Such innocent questions they were.And yet he could not give them proper answers.The young kid who gave him water dared to slowly extend touch his freckled arm. Then the kid pulledhim up to his feet and told him they would take him to their teacher. Tired, though he was, he trustedthe kid and let him lead to the school.The teacher asked him the same questions. And this time, he found them to be very deep. He wasamazed at how one question led to another.What was he living his life for, a wife who left him, a society which was ungrateful to him? What washis purpose in life, to be branded a success or a failure? Who was the one to decide if he was asuccess or a failure? What were the parameters that mattered to him to be branded a success or afailure?These were topics. These were the subjects he could write upon. These were the questions whoseanswers were going to make him famous. He was going to write about them.Did the famine happen to ruin his life? Rather, the famine had helped him turn his life around. It hadgiven him an opportunity to write again, to chase his dream. It had removed him of all his burdens. Ithad made him a free man, free to live his life the way he wanted. As a writer!His eyes were filled with tears. And they glittered in happiness. He looked around for a piece of chalk.He ran here and there like a madman, frightening the poor children. Then he picked up a chalk andwrote the first ever sentence on the board.“The most difficult questions to answer are the what ,the why and the how.”The teacher saw great wisdom in the saying and kept the Sheppard boy in his house. He still liesthere, under the tree, with a pen in hand and a long beard to caress while he thinks! 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P age |6
  • 3.Origin of Love – A FantasySo, when and where did love begin?Long long ago …. I mean, really really long long ago, before mankind became the predominant formof two-legged existence, before the concept of using a calendar to calculate time was yet to beconceived, there was a quiet little town called Hobbitsville somewhere in the middle of what is nowScotland which was inhabited by the quiet and rather selfish hobbits that made a living throughtrades that revolved around corn. Some were farmers, some were mill constructors, some were millworkers, some were exporters and some were corn stealers!Life at Hobbitsville was quite smooth andcontented for the passive onlooker. But that was until Gandalf arrived.At a rather youthful stage when he was just about able to grow a beard, Gandalf was no where nearhis famous Grey self. In fact he was young and supple and moved so fast that the hobbits nicknamedhimQuickSilver!Gandalf’s ,favorite house was the one where the family of the Pans lived… Their eldest member,Peter-pan was a legend in his own right and it was Gandalf who brought him to get in touch with thefairies… Ever since Peter and Gandalf got together, the coming of the wizard always made thehobbits a touch nervous.The custom of the Hobbit families was to attach the family name after the member’s name if he wasmale and before the member’s name if it were a she. Hence oldest member ,Peter was called Peter-pan and the youngest member, Dora was called… Pan-dora!!This time around, Gandalf brought with him a huge trunk. He met his old buddy Peter and told him tokeep the trunk in his house for a while till he returns to take it to the Gods of the worlds above.“Keep it secret, Keep it safe.” Gandalf said. At no cost should the box be opened. He left Hobbitsvilleand the rest of the world to its doom and carried on his quick feet on yet another of his unknown andunfailingly mysterious journeys.But the young girl Pan-dora was no Frodo Baggins! She was so enchanted by the box that she oftencame close to it and observed the carvings on the box. She often thought she heard voices inside thebox. But Peter had strictly said that none must open the box and Pan-dora would not dare to disobeythe head of the family.One cannot change what has already been written…..Pan-dora fell prey to her curiosity and openedthe box.Out flew the magic of love….and along with it the beautiful feeling of belonging, of caring, sharing,kindness, openness and a lot more of emotions that filled up Pan-dora’s heart with the light of joy, sobright that she felt it would make her heart explode and fill the whole of hobbitsville with the wonderfulspirit of love .The box made yet another noise, and Pan-dora hesitated less than a second to reopen it again.Oh,the greedy nature of the little young girl! 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P age |7
  • Out flew the emotions of deceit, hate, heart breaks, lies, ego, misunderstanding, misrepresentationand infidelity. It filled Pan-dora’s room with gloom and darkness which made the little girl to cry.Everywhere Love went, Hate followed … But love was kind and hence returned to heal the hearts ofall those who were affected and hurt…..thus starting the Yin and the Yang of the cycle of falling inlove and failing in love and falling in love again!{ Gandalf was so angry with the Pans and broke association with them. He became friends with oneBilbo Baggins of the Shire and the rest they say is History} 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P age |8
  • 4.The Other OneI have no choice.I do not have a home to go back to. My father cannot take me in again; the people in the village wouldcall me names and seclude my family. I lack education and I cannot live a life on my own. Hari is theonly option I have. I need him to keep me here, in this house.……………………………………………………………………..I am a chaste woman. I will not share my man with another. It breaks my heart to see that woman onHari’s side. It cut my soul when he gave me the ultimatum, “Take her into the house as your sister orpick up your bags and leave us be.”These wretched tears have not stopped pouring out since I heard the words that still kill me.…………………………………………………………………………I thought she would be a brash female who would boss over me and take full control of Hari. On theother hand, she seems to be a real sweet girl. I can see the guilt when she looks into my eyes. Shelearns quickly and has eased into the household. Maybe I should take her in as a sister.……………………………………………………………………………All this while I was thinking my story was tragic.This girl had lost her parents in a car accident at the age of eight. Her uncle had sent her off to theworst boarding school possible. She had often been abused by unruly teachers. At the age of fifteenshe was forced into marrying a big burly man twice her age that had a record of beating up hisprevious three wives to death. Though the fact that she chose my house to stay is still not palatable tome, I feel she made a good choice when she ran out at the day of the wedding.………………………………………………………………………….The poor girl had no choice. This was her only way to escape from a life of misery. To think of all shehas been through, being a man’s second wife does not seem too bad to me. Maybe I really shouldconsider her my sister and let her sleep in my room.…………………………………………………………………………..She is really good looking. Her skin is soft and tender. She has eyes that talk. Her heart is pure. Sheaccepts me as I am. She responds beautifully to the touches and signs of love. I have begun to likeher presence.………………………………………………………………………………Now we are sisters as he wanted us to always be. We are more than sisters, we are partners. We canshare Hari or we have each other to have our fun. The fact that she prefers the latter is in a way myrevenge over him for bringing her into the house.…………………………………………………………………………………… 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P age |9
  • I had no choice. So I made mine. I do not care about the outside world. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 10
  • 5.To Christina, with loveThe lock clicked open as he entered his apartment. He opened his door and faced the huge newpainting he had recently installed on his wall. The splendour of the ship and the cool blue sea behindit seemed to give some calm to his excited nerves. He nudged the door to close behind him and tookoff his shoes.He loosened his tie and fell on his couch. As he bounced on the sponges of the couch, he switchedon his music set- Beethoven, his favourite. It was the perfect tune, for the perfect occasion. The viewof the evening sunset seen from his balcony was, perfect! Everything was perfect.He had just been promoted. At 25, it was a new record for the youngest project leader. What more,his parents had found him a suitable match. A beautiful and intellectually sound female who was evenbetter than anyone he would have managed to find himself.What was he saying, “Better than anyone I could have managed to find myself”?He pondered over the question for a while. All those memories flooded back to him. The wonderfultimes he had with the girl he called “Kiddo”. The unexpected meeting in the railway station five yearsago, when he had decided their acquaintance had ceased for good; the awkward manner in which hehad proposed to her and the wonderful feeling of joy when she accepted him a week later; the hoursthey spent on the phone, getting to know each other; the twinkle in her eyes when she gave him oneof those naughty grins; the days he had to wait for her to recoup from her chicken pox; their firstofficial date; the first kiss, the second and the first time they made love; the way she bit his ears; theirfirst major fight; the second major fight; the fight on his birthday; and then, the manner of theirbreakup. The memories were bittersweet.And then he remembered Christie. Christina, the girl he had met just for a couple of hours in his life;the girl who made all the difference to him and turned his life around in those couple of hours; the girlwhom he never again met; the girl who’s face he couldn’t even recollect.He met Christina a week or so before his break up. He got to know her as a friend’s friend. She wasfive years elder to him, married, with a son and seen a fair share of life as compared to him.It was a day in which the gods were angry with the city and had poured like crazy. The day had beena reflection of his mood- furious, dark and gloomy. He had had the most imperfect birthday theprevious day and it was getting no better. Every quarrel he had was hastening the breakup and hecould do nothing to help it. He needed a break. He had to do something to break the monotony of hislife. But it was raining cats and dogs and he couldn’t step out of the house.Thankfully for him, his friend called him out for a drive. He latched on to the idea and so found himselfin the car with his friend, heading out to some place he had no clue about. This was when Christiejoined them. Through the coffee, she had spoken to him about a lot of pursuits in life other than love.She had brought out the concept of living ones life for his family. She had spoken about how thesearch for peace could be fulfilled by the simple act of chasing ones passion. She had spoken aboutpositivism, objectivity and a lot more of complex concepts in the simplest of terms.“Look for happiness through the eyes of those who you love. Look for it in those who realize howmuch of a difference you made in their life. Treat everyone with the same amount of care that you 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 11
  • would show when you see sadness in “your kiddo”. Set your heart free and you will find it influencethousands of hearts around you. Maybe she will come back, but if she doesn’t just make sure youdon’t grow old with the feeling that your life so far had been without a purpose.”These words, he had repeated every morning since the first time he had heard them fromChristie………………… That was five years ago.He took a pen and wrote,“To Christina, with love………Today, I can say I have lived my life as best as possible. I repent not for any mistake I had done or forthe pain I had put my heart through. For I have grown successful in my career and in my social life.No one can be loved by everyone, but I can surely say that I am loved by most people who know me.I know not where you stay. I know not how you are doing. I know not whether you remember me. Butif you do, I say, “Thank You for turning my life around.”And if you don’t, I say, “Thank You anyways”.” 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 12
  • 6.Moment of truthSep 20, 1929.It is a special day for me. I have a feeling this might well be my most significant day. Today is the daywhen I am going to prove to the world that I would stand by what my I believe in, come what may! Iwould rebel the world for my love. And today I would prove it.It’s a hot day. Its brown everywhere! The wind kicks up the dust and sand and carries it wherever itgoes. The leaves in the trees are filled with sand. Even my eyes are filled with the sand. The scene istense, I am sure I am not imagining it to be so.I can see him even with the dust, the sand and everything in between. There, about a hundred metersbefore me, sizing me up. I can see his hands, as tense as mine. His face, as passive and stony as Ialways imagined him to be. I can see the reflection of myself approaching him in his big darksunglasses.My heart must be beating at the speed of knots. There is a bead of sweat, threatening to reveal mynervousness. And yet I see myself as a figure of steely determination. Each step I take towards him,my heart pounds louder, and the world seems hotter. Every second seems like they would takeforever.Finally I am face to face with him. Now I am going to say the words that were going to change my lifeforever.“Inquilab zindabad!!!!”I saw his stick rise above his head and felt it fall on my forehead. For a second everything felt hazy.Then, a wave of pain took control of my body. I felt the blood trickle down the side of my cheek. Myknees gave way and I fell on red sand. I thought I would blank out.I saw him, looking down on me, wearing a wry smile on his face. I saw myself bleeding. I felt proud.There was peace. Peace so pure, and divine. Adrenaline took over. I slowly pushed myself back tomy feet. I smiled back at him. That must have hurt his ego. This time I raised my hand. With everymuscle of mine working in harmony, I could feel my own voice resonate all around my body andbeyond.“Inquilabbbbbb zindabaddddhhhh!!!!”I remember only a few happenings after I said those magical words. I remember myself being beatenon my crotch and on the center of my head, and on one of my legs, I don’t remember which one. Iremember the pain. I remember the musical flow of blood within and outside my body. I remembermyself getting up again and shouting the words –“Inquilab zindabad!!!!”The words that gave me power, the words that gave me purpose, the words that gave me pride, and asense of belonging. I remember those words being the last that I ever spoke before the stick broke myjaw. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 13
  • I remember myself being carried somewhere. I see my people around me. I see the look on theirfaces. I will not ever forget the mix of admiration and concern on their faces. These were my people.There names, I did not know, yet these are my brothers and sisters. These are the great men andwomen for whom I am prepared to give my life for.These are my people. These are my blood. These are my brothers and sisters. These are myINDIANS. This is my INDIA – the love of my life……This is my IN…………………………….!! 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 14
  • 7.HopeHe was the person one would look up to for inspiration. He had braved many tough situations. He hadshowed the way for people to approach difficulties. He had had more than his share of misfortunesand he had braved it all, come what may.He was the benchmark when it came to setting standards in education. He spoke little, but what hespoke was listened to.He had shouldered the burden of running a household even before he completed his studies. He hadeven sacrificed his teenage for the people around him. He had looked out for his sister. Everyonearound him was happy, and for most part, he was either directly or indirectly the reason for it.He had no extreme habits. He knew his limits and often presented the best picture of self composureand temperament despite all his problems. He had worked his way to deserve the respect of thosesurrounding him and he knew that too.So, why was he not happy? What was wrong in his life?The youth was standing at the top of his apartment, higher than the terrace, up the steep ladder andat the top of the water tank. It seemed that even the weather was unkind towards him, for there wasnot a breeze to speak of. It was sunset time and the sky was graying. The doubts in his mind weregraying too.He walked to the edge of the tank. He had no fear in his heart, for it was full of other doubts. He thengot down to the only sunshade some five feet below the tank. One trip and he would plummet somehundred feet down.He was contemplating suicide. What was so wrong in his life for him to think of this extreme end?He was fighting multiple battles inside his head. He could put an end to it all. He would never haveany doubts about himself. He would not exist to feel them in his head. One step forward and he wouldend it all. One step and he would be in peace. One step and he would be a subject of the past.What was wrong in his life?He thought of taking the next step forward. Then there would be no return. He would have passed intooblivion. He would have passed beyond the point where he could realize what lacked in his life. Hewould have passed beyond which he could do nothing about his past, his present or his (hazy) future.He sat down on the edge. Something stopped him. He would not take the extreme step. His sanityhad prevailed. He realized that he had no right to end his time on earth, something that was bestowedupon him by someone else.A slight breeze blew on his face. Maybe it was the change in the weather. Maybe it was the change inhim. Maybe he felt his inner voice communicating to him.It dawned to him that in his pursuit of worldly desires, he had lost his identity. He realized that thepicture of who he was in the eyes of others had no resemblance to the picture he had created for 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 15
  • himself. He decided then that he was going to change the way he approached life. He decided toexplore himself, spend his time and energy in finding peace within himself.The sorrow of humanity is that it is easily diverted from seeking the invisible spiritual peace by theenemy of visible and tangible worldly pleasures – An oppressive enemy which threatens to swallowthe earth and all of its inhabitants.He also realized that there lied hope in the Pandora’s Box. Hope manifested in the form ofenlightened individuals. Hope manifested through him and all others who would follow his new path ofexploring their own self.He rose up and once more went to the top of the tank in the terrace. He let his arms open wide. Thistime a strong gust of wind blew over him, taking with it the bad omens of a life which was now asubject of the past. He, who was born out of his mother’s womb and into the world, was now reborn,out of himself, to cleanse his world and that of those around himself.Where darkness had once threatened to engulf the night, there shone the silvery light of the full moon. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 16
  • 8.BedazzleI have always wanted to be a writer. Being a smart one, I have always found some topic to build astory upon. I found stories lying everywhere. I see an unwritten story when I see beads of sweat onthe face of the old woman who makes her life serving coconut water outside the huge shopping mall. Isee another story waiting to be written when I see the girl hugging her guy from the back in the bike.The smile on her face and the peace in her closed eyes would make one good love story.When I sat and thought about it, these topics seemed too common to me. Love stories and tragicstories of life were available everywhere. How were mine going to be better? It was then I decided Ihad to add the touch of experiencing life to the stuff I wrote. It was a new renaissance for the writer inme.I starved for days to really understand how tough things would be for those living in Somalia and eventhe remotest part of India. I worked out hard and lifted weights like crazy to understand the effortbehind six pack abdomens. I shut myself into dark rooms or stared hours at blank screens tounderstand how stale life can be and how frustrated an idle mind may get. I took my bike and zoomedat a hundred kmph to understand the thrill of speed.I made note of all my experiences and attached contexts to them and thus evolved my stories. Mystyle of writing and attention to detail appealed to a greater audience. It was no wonder the number ofreaders increased for my posts.Today I am going to take on my next experiment. I am going to subject myself to yet another of mycrazy experiments. I have always wanted to write about how doing drugs would feel like. So I shutmyself into my bedroom. I ensure the draws are locked and the keys are outside the room. All sharpobjects are far away from where I am going to be. I am all set. My note and pen are at my side. I amready.10:15am:I slipped in the pills just now. I have already shut the door and barred the window. It is stifling hot inhere. I switch on the radio. It’s a soft rhythm that is being played. My eyes are automatically closing. Ifeel free. I feel light. I can still sense everything around me.10:30 am:Its Mariachi music that goes on now “Aye Aye yei yei”. I am on the floor, nodding my head along. itdoes not feel so hot anymore. I can see patterns of light inside my head. It’s a hue of red and pink andyellow. They are bands entwined within each other. My feet are tapping independent of the other. Myarms swing around myself like a Mexican wave.11:00 am:“Played until my fingers bled, was the summer of sixty nine” .My hair is all standing up straight. What lyrics? What excellent music? Truly Brian Adams is a genius.This shirt is too tight. Am taking it off. Aah, much better! 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 17
  • God, am sweating too much. My face feels hot. The heat is unbearable- my cheeks, my forehead, myneck, they are all heating up. My head is banging. Or is it my heart that is banging?How can I hear my heartbeat through my head?11:20 am:God, please stop this. I cannot bear the heat. I cannot bear the head ache. I can hear nothing but myheart beat. Is the radio on?I am scared of the light. I cannot comprehend its prismatic vagaries. I cannot switch it off, the dark istoo threatening. What if I black out? What if I never get out of this state? Is this ecstasy, or is this acurse?Have I wronged my parents? Have I lied to my girl? Wont you stop the questions? Wont you get meout of this mess? Or is it I who is questioning? Am I you?Is that not religion in a nutshell, I am you and you are me?11:45 am:What happened? Where am I?Yes, I am in my room. Yes, the book is here. Yes, the fan is running. I am safe. I am safe. I am thirsty,but I cannot go out for water. What if I get blanked out in front of everyone? Let me sleep it off.11:46 am:Consciousness!I am here. This is my room. The fan is running. It goes round and round. Why is it mocking me? I amhungry. My stomach is carved in. I need food. My throat is parched. What time is it, surely it must bean hour past noon.Its only 11 46? But I slept long, dint I?11:50 am:I feel fresh. The bangs on the ear are gone. I feel light. The effect must have gone. I must have slept itoff. I am safe now.Its only 11 50?They say a human eye can sense 25 frames per second. That is how fast pictures are shifted incartoons. I have the capacity to observe 50 frames I think. I can listen to far away music. It is “LaCopa lida Vida” by Ricky Martin that is being played. I am superhuman. This feeling is awesome.7:45 pm:Aah, this headache. I can barely open my eyes. It feels gloomy and dark. I can see black circlesaround faces. I am not maintaining eye contact.Is mom staring at me? Let me move to my room quickly. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 18
  • I need food. Apples in the fridge. Apples are good for health. They keep the doctor away. But doctoraunty is hot.Why is mom shouting? Can the lady not close the fridge herself? Am heading back to the room, tohell with her!9 30 PM:I still feel groggy. I am never going to do drugs again. I feel guilty of my indulgence. So what if Icannot write about it , there are very many topics around.I won’t do drugs again. I swear! 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 19
  • 9.‘Blog’ – For LifeThe following story has more truth than one can imagine.Jan 01 2008, 12:10 A.MThe new year has started for me in the perfect fashion that I did not want it too. Here I am, lying downin my bed, staring up at the silhouette of the ceiling fan. It is dark and black and going round andround. Almost synonymous to the downward spiral that is my life. My present life looks like this:– Just out of a break up and not yet over it.– Mom’s crying because of uncle’s cancer problem.– Dad’s new job in Dubai not paying well.– Sister not yet got to terms with dad’s absence at home.– One standing arrear in college.– Project not shaping up well.– No bank balance.– No girlfriend– No football for another six months because of what looks like ankle hairline fracture.In summation, life is a disaster. Sometimes I feel I am so worthless and insignificant that I considergetting lost. In fact, I am curious how long it will take for people to realize that I am lost if thathappens.………………………………………………………………………………………………My blog was about 15 days old when I wrote this diary entry. Little did I know olarral.blogspot.comwas going to change my life around.………………………………………………………………………………………..It was during one of those days of extreme depression that I decided to let go of myself and write myheart out. While no one was there to support me over my heart yearning for the lost love, I had todouble up as a vent for my mom to pour out her tears for her dying brother. What came out was thispost – Redemption.My friend (Mani), read this post of mine and urged me to write more saying he would help makemoney through blog. And on 30th Jan 2008, I wrote my first paid post. I got a modest Rs 700 out of it.I did not tell mom I was earning. I was not ready to shoulder the weight of her expectations yet.Instead, I bought myself sunglasses. Though this might seem brash and irresponsible to the normaleyes, those sunglasses were the only bit of indulgence I had done ever since things got bad withdad’s business.……………………………………………………………………………………………… 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 20
  • My whole attitude of life changed with this money making discovery. Within a couple of weeks, I madeenough to buy myself a mobile. This time, I told mum that I was working during the nights and earningdecent money. Mom, who always felt dad never gave his 100% towards work, kept this secret awayfrom him lest he became complacent.A month after I started to blog, I ordered my first and only digital camera. I bought my Canon sx-100through my best friend – Kiran who bought a $400 camera for half its price – an amazing deal indeed!No wonder I took his picture first once i got the camera on my handA couple of months since I started to blog, I took the task of painting my house on to myself. This hadbeen dad’s wish for almost three years and his son was going to fulfil it. Still, mom had told him shehad borrowed the money from Gran thus denying me the opportunity to see the pride in my dad’sface.Soon I saved enough to fulfil dad’s next wish. I bought a new cot for the house. To describe it in aword, it was HUGE. My little sis could sleep on it in every possible angle. The purchase of the cot wasnot even told to my dad. We left it for him to come home and see it to believe it.………………………………………………………………………………………………June 08, 2008:I am very sad. I met my ex today. The girl I once loved looks like she has lost all in life. There issadness on her eyes. Her smile is more of subjection than happiness. She has lost so much weight.Was I imagining it or did she actually place her head on my shoulder during the bike ride? I cannotwalk away from her when she is in this state. True, we broke up. But I cannot deny that I still like her. Iam going to get her back to her old selfThat day, I wrote Red Tears for her. I did help her get on her feet. I got trampled upon in the processbut that is another story altogether.………………………………………………………………………………………………Sep 24,2008:My uncle just passed away. It was inevitable. He struggled hard, maybe it is the best for him. I join mynew company tomorrow. I had told mom about the new job I got and how I talked my way into it bytelling the interviewer about www.chinamouli.com. She could only offer me a weak smile.………………………………………………………………………………………………I was making double income. One was through my company. The other was through blogging athome. I had already introduced six of my friends into blogging and showed them the way to earningeasy money. They earned money, I earned their respect. I learnt to manage cash and yet staynormal. I had already lived both sides of economic life.………………………………………………………………………………………………My new job never took off. To be frank I had absolutely nothing to do. I felt wasted. I used to face ablank screen almost eight hours a day and do nothing. I was going mad. My life was going nowhere. Ibelieved I was much better than the way I was treated. If pay was the reason the others stayed, I wasbetter off at home, blogging. I quit the job. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 21
  • ………………………………………………………………………………………………I knew to blog. I knew to market my blog. I knew google analytics reasonably well. I had my ownwebsite. So I started my own company. www.chennaibuyz.com was mine. I had written about it here.Though the company flopped, the six months helped me learn a great deal. I could speak withcustomers directly. I could catch their moods. I could manage attitudes among my team mates. Icould direct people elder to me. I could inspire my juniors through my passion towards work. If I wasinterested in something, there was no stopping me.………………………………………………………………………………………………Meanwhile, I read the Zahir, by Paulo Coelho. Inspired by it, I wrote this post on Obsession. In orderto get to Paulo himself, I wrote ‘To Christina With Love’, a story of life beyond breakup. This, I feel isone of my best write-ups till date. I nurtured the dream of becoming an author.………………………………………………………………………………………………Jan 01 2009,The last year has been topsy turvy for me. My uncle passed away which has hurt mom and grandeeply. But I have grown into a huge emotional support for her. Dad knows about my blogging andmoney making and is real proud of me. I bought gold bangles for my sister for her 16th birthday. Asfor myself, I am going to buy my own bike by April. As regards to getting committed again, no luck asof yet. But Aarti is there, so I don’t feel too alone these days.………………………………………………………………………………………………True to word, I bought my bike on April 08,2009A few comments about my writing style“I love your writing. You have a knack of churning out wonderful stories from little events with lot ofemotional undercurrent in them”- Deepika Prabhakar“There is a lot of negative connotation in your blogs”- Aarti Suresh“I find your blogs too heavy to comment immediately without reading twice”- Raji“It has become a habit of mine to comment twice on your posts”- Soya diI no longer feel depressed. I dream of becoming a writer one day. I am confident enough to faceanyone and everyone though I am shy by nature. I never had that arrear in college as it got erasedonce I applied for a re evaluation. My mom is now happy. Almost all my father’s wish list items aretaken care of. I am now looked upon now as a bench mark for the kids of my apartment. All this hasbeen because of blogging and the confidence it has instilled in myself. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 22
  • Blogging changed my life. People say blogging is a waste of time. They say it gets you nowhere. It gotme to where I am today. It got me a meet with the SVP of the company within 11 months of joining.Never again say bloggin gets you nowhere! 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 23
  • 10.Silence! Darkness! Peace!Silence! Darkness! Consciousness!The sound of someone calling out a name-My name!I open my eyes. Blinding light!Pain-Blinding pain!“Easy, easy now!” I hear him say- the man in white. A calm external voice amidst the chaotic internalvoices that are asking me questions. “Where am I? How did I get in here? What happened? Where isshe?”Someone stop the memories. They are rushing back at me with so much force I can barely holdmyself and keep track.“Easy, easy now”, the doctor said as he lifted me and got me to a sitting position. My eyes hadadjusted to the light and I now could get a picture of where I was. But my mind was elsewhere.……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..We were on my bike. She, holding me by the waist and hugging me from the back and I smiling frominside my helmet and being relentless on the throttle. The road lay barren and grey before me.Everything else were a blur at the speed at which I was going.“Go slower.” She yelled. I obliged.We were cruising now. The blur had ceased and I could see the trees on the sides of the highway.…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………We had slipped out of office, the two of us. We had decided to take a ride to picnic town, an hour fromwhere we worked. No one would know us out there, and we would have our moments together asplanned.……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….I was only getting to know her. I had seen her for the first time a month ago when there was a mockfire drill in office. I liked what I saw and apparently, she had noticed me gaping at her. It was she whocame over and spoke to me first. Though I always felt I was smooth with women, that day Istammered and stuttered like a Bangladeshi cricketer speaking English. She later said it was cute,and that was all that mattered to me.…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 24
  • Office never gave us a chance to spend time together. Both of us were popular by our own rights, Iwas a well known blogger and she was the best looking HR of her company. Not five minutes couldbe squeezed without someone interrupting one of us to say a casual hello.…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..My bike approached the signal where we had to take diversion into picnic town. The light was red andthough the road was empty, I waited, law abiding citizen that I suddenly pretended to be.The truck behind us did not expect me to be so.……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..And so, here I am, draped in bandages, being helped up by doctors. But where is she?……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….The door opened. In entered two people I never knew. And yet I knew who they were. Without a wordspoken, I knew what had happened to her. Tears uncontrollably flowed down my eyes. I closed myeyes and let the guilt engulf me.………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………He held my hand within his palms, smiled at me and said. “Son, our daughter survived. We all know itwas not your fault. Don’t blame yourself for something you had no control on. Get well soon.”The tears never stopped flowing. Words were beyond me. The relief was overwhelming. I closed myeyes.……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..Silence! Darkness!.................................................................Peace! 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 25
  • 11.An act of humanityI have known Rasheed for the past five years. During his stay here in Karachi jail, he was the oneprisoner who still commanded our(us wardens’) respect. He was the man who’s words still echo in myears.“Carry no value!”Those were the wretched words that turned Rasheed’s life around and brought him to his death, inthis jail.“Was he meant to die as a prisoner or should he have rather been heralded as an honorable man?”,is a question I rather not ask myself.I do not know much about Rasheed’s childhood. To me, they are immaterial. I know that he was oneof the most promising young soldiers of the Indian army during the first year that he joined, 1943.During the next four years to follow, he had risen in rank and reputation faster than almost all of hispeers. An un-expected leg injury led him to an early withdrawal from the battle front and more into theofficer’s enclave.Post partition in 1947, Rasheed had found himself as the officer in charge of the exchange ofabducted men and women between the two countries.It was that fateful day in 1948 when Rasheed’s career and life took a turn forever. He and three otherhigher ranked officers were overseeing the exchange of 30 women between the two countries.Rasheed was rather surprised when the officers of the other country demanded that the womenuncover their heads. Yet he remained silent and waited for his seniors to handle it. As ordered, thefaces of the women were uncovered. Then they were each closely inspected by the officers of theopposite ranks who made no attempt to hide their vulgar thoughts. Rasheed had bit his teeth andrestrained himself from strangling them to death.“We do not accept this exchange. The women you have sent us are old, ugly and carry no value.”What were they talking? These were women who had been abducted from their houses, abused bythe people who had held them captive, been robbed of their chastity and most of them would now noteven be accepted in their families.“But look at this one. She looks young and fair, what better would you want?”, his senior officer wasnegotiating with his hand on her cheeks, as if he held a horse. His other officers were picking out theirchoices from the group too.Rage had taken over Rasheed, he could no longer stand the exchange of ‘valuables’. While the restof them saw items of beauty, he saw women of flesh and blood and feelings.He took out his weapon and killed all the officers; not caring whether they were his countrymen orotherwise.His justifications were that he had killed animals; they deserved to be killed, irrespective of theirnationality. He would go to jail, happy that he had rid the world of seven bad humans. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 26
  • I do not believe Rasheed did wrong. I rather salute his act and bow my head down to the only heartthat sympathized with those women on that day 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 27
  • 12.Life, Peace & SanityI like cats! They say when a cat closes its eyes, it imagines that night has fallen upon the world.I was not born in the best of families. My father was a businessman who lived a cockroach life. Hecame drunk in the night and often left the house before I woke up. There were times I recollect wherewe met once every fortnight or even less. My mother took to ‘social welfare’, the term she used tojustify her absence from home and hanging out with similar ,rather sad ladies who claim to look afterothers while their own lives are in tatters. This situation often left me all alone in a four roomed house.I had never been the brightest kid in my school. As a matter of fact, I hardly managed to clear half mysubjects. Math and science were my worst enemies and English was my best friend. Speaking offriend, I was shy by nature and I hardly made any. With my curly hair and braced teeth, I was oftenmade fun of as the bunny of the class. I truly was a dork who kept to himself and stayed away fromthe normal world.So at an early age, I took to books. I started off with Tintin, graduated to and Archies and Asterix.Soon I indulged myself with Agatha Cristie and Sydney Sheldon. I plunged into reading fantasy oncefiction became predictable. I sometimes used to recreate some plots and enact them inside my room.My life changed when the time I reached my high school. By then, I had lost my interest in fictions andfantasies and turned to personality development. I needed a girlfriend too. As a matter of fact, Ineeded friends, full stop! So I plunged myself into books on how to improve my life. I learnt how to beeffective. I learnt when to say no and how to say no. I learnt many ways to achieve success.One particular book(ask me later for its title) said that we have to recreate the day’s events beforegoing to bed in the way we would have wanted it to have happened. I liked this method of living life asit gave me a chance to erase my memories of disappointment and look forward to recreating my lifethe way I wanted it to be.I became a better person. I got rid of my glasses and switched over to lenses. I visited the salon andhad a neat haircut. I even carried out a wardrobe change. I practiced making speeches every morningbefore the mirror and within a month I was transformed.Every time I got snubbed by a girl or every time I made a fool of myself I corrected my mistake overthe evening and would come back better the next day. Eventually, Mary Jane became my girlfriend.Boy was she a beauty. She always came in her lolly pop red dress. Her pink hat with a feather on topcomplimented her dress perfectly. She wore white stilettos and white stocking. She was smoking hot.I never got tired of seeing her that way. We had the perfect time together. She would always let mehold her hand and guide her through Central Park. No matter how many times I explained the historyof New York, she would listen to me patiently.Aye, she would ask the right questions to keep the conversation going. She had an awesome senseof humor and would be the first tease me when I acted silly. She was so full of life, and my love for hernever hit the dip.Soon Mary Jane introduced me to my Danny. Danny was a junior director by profession. He waslooking to create his own movie and the time we met was indeed God given. For, in me, he found the 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 28
  • perfect ally and also a source of funds for making his idea a reality. Together we produced a numberof films which were later to be box office hits.We created films of all genres. Be it romance, action or Horror, we gave awesome movies. I was thesecret behind Danny’s success. I gave him amazing stories. I tweaked the script to achieve the cutestdialogues when it came to romantic films. We were a success.Danny married Gloria, and I married Mary Jane. Along with Jack and Jill, our Norwich Terriers, we arefamily now, living under the same roof. Mary Jane and I bought us a Benetton and Danny got Gloria aBentley. We have everything in the world. We are at peace with life. Thank you God, for showing mehow to live life, like the cat.Jimmy WelshPS: Jimmy Welsh is an inhabitant of the Wonderland Association in NY, an asylum for the insane.Often people hear him demand for checks to be sent out to a certain Daniel Crowe. He has beenreleased five times only to be brought back for claiming to be the husband of anyone who wears redtops and white stilettos. It is ironical that Jimmy Welsh scored the most in the latest NY psychometrictest to identify the many who is the most at peace with life. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 29
  • 13.Through a father’s eyesCall it paternal instinct, but he somehow knew that he was in for a shock when his daughter calledhim up into her room. While he strode up, his mind was dismissing one crazy thought after another ofwhat the news might be. “Had she got a poor rating in office? Had someone misbehaved with my kid?Did she want to do higher studies? Did she want to quit her job? Was she upset about her mother?”Once he entered the room, he got even more tensed when his daughter asked him to sit down. Shethen began to talk about some guy she had brought home a good few months back. She was talkingabout how much she liked him and how much he liked her. She was talking about his future planswith her. But all this was just a blur to him. His mind was elsewhere. Finally, she knelt before him andheld his palm between hers. Her eyes shone of expectation and a mild fear.“Pa, I want you to trust me when I say I love this guy. I want you to give me this chance to follow whatmy heart says. I want you to really consider this guy and let me go ahead with my plans with him.Pa….. Please!”__________________________________________________________________His mind was elsewhere. He closed his eyes. He saw his little girl pushing a cycle that was almost herheight and approaching him. She could barely reach the height of the seat, yet she begged him tohelp her to cycle. What turned out to be a one off event turned out to be a daily affair for dad anddaughter. He would run behind his kid holding her lest she fell.A day later she had cried out in an excited voice, “Pa, please let go.” He could not trust her. He couldnot let go of the cycle as he knew she would fall. Against his better judgement he let her go. His heartskipped a beat when she fell and bruised herself.But his daughter’s spirit was far from bruised. She was overjoyed that he trusted her. She was willingto try again. No wonder she learnt balance within a day – She had her dad for support.__________________________________________________________________He opened his eyes. The small kid he had known all his life had grew up into a fine young lady. Yetshe had the same eagerness in her eyes – The eyes that seemed to demand and plead his trust andapproval at the same time. He smiled at her and said, “You are my daughter. I trust you in everythingyou do. Bring him home soon.”He knew there were tears in her eyes as she instantly hugged him. For they were present in his too.He had decided to trust her. And by doing so he had given her wings to fly. He felt proud of himself. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 30
  • 14.LonelinessThe weather was playing havoc with his life. To him it felt as if nature was conspiring to keep himunhappy. Whenever he looked out the window, all he could see was a grey sky and a wet road. Whenhe stepped out, the chill winds would remind him of how friendless his world was. But today he hadwork to do. He had to go out and brave the climate.He knew he was failing in his attempts to keep his cheer. The weather was depressing. His bodyclock was not accustomed to staying awake long hours in the dark. Out here it got dark very early intothe evenings. It was murky in the morning when he left his house and dark again in the evening whenhe was returning.Sometimes he felt like he was the Frodo of this world. Right now, his world reminded him of Mordor.He walked out to what he thought would be yet another depressing day.………………………………………………………………………………………………………..She set up her books in the shade of the shop in the city centre. That would ensure they did not getwet. But it was not an option for her own self though. It was part of the process for her. She had toundergo this as it was what she had chosen for herself.She was there, in the heart of the city, on a mission – a mission to speak about HIM. His glory, hiskindness, His love.But she had no audience. All she could see was a wave of people walking here and there. All of them, held up with their own lives. They had no time for HIM or for her.She knew that HE was testing her faith. She had to live through the disapprovals to show HIM shebelieved in HIM. So she picked up her microphone and started on her story. It was one that calledthem all to HIM. A story that assured them they had HIM for company. It was one that propagated himto be ‘The ultimate cure for all loneliness’.………………………………………………………………………………………………………..As he walked down the street, he saw the girl, a microphone in her right hand and a book in the other.She was shouting her lungs out and waving the book here and there. It was as if she was fighting abattle against a wave of indifferent passers-by. He could see the disappointment in her face and howhard she was trying to get over it.He smiled at her, and he felt a sense of camaraderie when she returned his smile.In this busy town, there were the two of them fighting loneliness, and he knew they were not the onlyones! 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 31
  • 15.TimidityI am the little boy who hid behind the cylinder.Meeting new people freaked him out. Whenever he heard the creak of the gate being open he wouldstealthily look out of his window for who was entering. His face would begin to sweat when he did notrecognize the face of the person who came in. He would run into the kitchen and occasionally peepout the door as his father spoke to the stranger. The louder the persons voice, scarier it seemed for tomeet the new person.The back of the gas cylinder was his favourite spot. It was not too dark , with ample light beingallowed to sneak in through the cracks of the kitchen tiles; And the warmth of the place always madehim feel secure. He would close his eyes as he crouched beside the cylinder and his fear wouldbecome manageable.His father always felt ashamed to show him to his friends. For, every time he called his son, his voicewould be suspended in space for (sometimes) long moments in time before his timid son couldmuster up his courage to walk up to the guest. The times when the kid never showed up used to beembarrassing for the dad.The kid was who I was back then. I was timid. I was scared. I was shy. I did not like meeting people. Afew years later, I grew older and changed. I learnt many new things, some that condemned my pastbehaviour as being introverted, not being confident, not being outgoing, as being aloof.Looking back, I never really had a good or bad opinion about my past. Even these days I see the kidin me. He arises from within me when I walk up to deliver presentations. I feel his presence when Imeet someone for the first time in my life. I still am disturbed by people with loud voices.I have grown to acknowledge the presence within me. It gives me a strong root to my inner corepersonality. It is what I have built my life on.All that the poor kid needed was an assuring word or a hug from his dad; not his ‘you failed me onceagain’ looks. My dad was more obsessed with his own image and saw me to be a failure. In hisindifference, he let the kid be. I stand before him as I am now, and I let it to him and the outside worldto judge me for what I am. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 32
  • 16.Change“Bring with you an egg sandwich for me.”Even while I was waiting outside Alsa mall for my turn to order the egg sandwich in the make-do stalloutside I could not believe I was hearing her utter those words. It had been rather surprising for methat she of all people would want to meet in a place such as Alsa Mall, one that she would claim to be“just a stark reminder of the so called modernity of the nineties.”“An egg sandwich – That would be what my father had for breakfast when he was a teenager”, wouldbe her response if someone had suggested her that.Well, you never know, people change, their habits change and their attitudes might change with time.Even I have changed ever since the breakup. When was it, it must have been about three years ago-when the world seemed to be much wider and less networked. The years since, I have changed somuch that I myself would not remember the person I was back then.She was right, as always. I lacked style – wearing a formal dress on a date is unpardonable by anycountry’s rules save the British. I lacked chivalry – Many a time I had left the glass doors of cafésunattended to that some of them almost slammed on her face more than once. I lacked conviction –how many times have I left her by herself to cross the road and come to me. I lacked any sense offashion. My 1990 bike would hammer that fact into your head for sure. And I had the most boringfriends around. Talk about Gudiyatham Giridhara Moorthy and Sri Ramulu Leela Abhiram to havearound you!I was a dork. She had every right to feel we would not match. She was right in leaving me. That wasthree years ago.That was three years ago. From then on, there was no turning back for Lee,Giri and me! I have turnedinto what she said I was totally not. I bought myself the coolest racing bike which I would not rideunless I have my Raybans on; I have a writstwatch which shouts out Move on; I have my touchmobile with which I network with over 700 friends; I attend parties, I wear my low waist cargos fordates, I treat my girlfriends with as much chivalry as they can expect. And I definitely would avoidhopeless places like Alsa mall.But then, the first love is first love. (And when she invites you to Alsa mall, you dare not propose tomeet at Ampa, right!)So there I was, with a green plastic plate of hot egg sandwich in my hand and walking to where shesaid she would be. She saw me, (aah I missed those eyes) took the plate and moved away a littledistance to finish her talk on the phone. I found myself facing three pairs of eyes.The eyes belongedto girls who were wearing salwars and having their hair plaits by the sides. One of them had thickround glasses. And she was giving me an “is this the guy” kind of look.Man, this was awkward. This was like I just walked into my past. But then I have changed, and so I tryto make a conversation.I point at the three of them one by one and say , “Well, I think I have seen you somewhere, and Iremember seeing you in one of her pictures and you my friend………..” 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 33
  • I am cut short by the girl with the thick round glasses, “We know you have not seen any of usanywhere. That is no issue. I am Manimegalai, this is Girija Vaidhyanathan and this is PriyankaMohanasundaram.”I turn around to look at my ex. The expression on my face can be summed up as one with a singlequestion mark shouting out “why”. She understands it, smiles at me and shrugs.Then I get it. She had changed too. She had mellowed down to what she had rejected three yearsago. She had called me to check if I was the same old guy and if we had a chance for a secondinnings.We both stare into each other’s eyes. We had both changed into what the other wanted. We wereboth new to each other. Our differences were once again going to surface, only that the tables wouldbe reversed. I advanced towards her to give her a hug, then seeing the expression on her facechange the hug was replaced by an offer for a handshake.As I left the building, I turned back to see the hoarding read ALSA MALL. I felt a sudden urge to bemy old self again. My racing bike suddenly seems too fast for me. I locked myself in my room andstared blankly at the wall.“Who am I? What have I become? And for who have I changed?” I stared at the wall hoping it wouldmagically reveal my true identity. All I could see was pale and white! 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 34
  • 17.The destroyer of art “No matter how much industrialization has moved the perception of perfection towards the degrees ofstandardization, there still remain a fragment of men who dare to pursue their creative geniuses andproduce works that the common man can only stand in awe and marvel. Today’s column salutesthose artists who hold in them the future of artistry which though seems so fragile in all its beauty yetlingers on through the harshness of time and will remain immemorial.”KP was reading this article from The Guardian in this rather outcast day in Essex. He was padded upto go next and was of the habit of reading the paper in order to divert his attention from the pressuresof the game. Nevertheless it took no great eye to note that the bowler PK was on a purple patch.Some of his deliveries were unplayable. With Andy nicking one down into second slip’s throat it wastime for him to bat.True to his assessment, PK was in tremendous form. He had a rhythmic run up, not too fast, not tooslow. His wrist position during the time of delivery determined which way the ball was going to moveoff the pitch. The direction at which he released the shiny side of the ball determined which way itwould swing in the air. The most dangerous bowlers were the ones who could control bothmovements. PK at the moment was dangerous. He released the ball from over the wicket to move itin the air towards the batsmen, pitch in middle stump and then move the ball away from the batsmanoff the pitch. Most of the deliveries squared the batsmen up and were threatening to take the edge ofthe bat. Some could even venture to call the bowling ‘artistic’.KP was no fan of art. Hailing from a family that owned a tanning industry he had learned from hisfather that quality meant conformance to the customer’s requirement. Perfection meant fulfilling all ofthe customer’s needs to the dot. There was no room for artistry in his father’s industry.There was no room for artistry in his cricket too. His coach taught him to play shots from the book. Hewas taught to play the cover drive for any fullish delivery bowled outside the off stump. He was taughtto flick it down to fine leg if it was towards the leg stump. He had grown playing that way. There wasno secret of success, he followed the rules and they brought him up to this level.He took his middle stump guard and stood a good foot outside the crease. That would negate theswing and also make PK to change his line of bowling. It would also mean that he could use his padsas a weapon as LBW was taken out of the equation by standing that far outside. Being tall he had noqualms over facing short deliveries and pulling them to the boundary.The ploy worked wonders. He was plundering PK for runs. He was flicking and cutting and pulling himall over the park. What initially looked like artistic bowling felt to him and all others around him asmediocre. Soon enough, it was time for him to raise his bat up for his fifty. As he was enjoying thecelebrations, he thought to himself , “There stands KP, the destroyer of art, in all his might andvalour”.‘Thwack’ ……………… The destroyer of art was bowled by PK the very next ball. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 35
  • 18.Stories untold “…………… and his blade gashed through the dragon’s scales. A fresh burst of fire came out of thedying beast as it cried out with anger, pain and a hint of fear. No one in the dragon community hadheard of Lord McNicholas or his blade……..”The writer, unhappy with the story, dropped his pen down in disgust. He threw the sheet into theshredder calling it his “greatest flop” and picked out a new sheet of paper. Feeling it to be as blank asthe current state of his mind, he laid it down on his table and walked out of the room closing the doorbehind him.The room was predominantly silent except for the air conditioner that set the base tone for themoments that were to follow. The yellow old clock went about tick tock tick tock as he had done eversince his initiation into the room. He had seen it all before and it all seemed pointless to him. He knewwhat eventuality was, he was, everything said, the master when it came to handling the ways of time.The soccer player was busy looking at his goal. For years he had been in that position, about torelease his shot towards the goal, with the defender lunging towards him in a sliding tackle, his studsjust a few centimeters away from the ball.“Dragon, Soldier, Sword- Fire, valor, and blood.Come ye to me, and ye all b’come but mud”It was the shredder. Though he spoke in a not so loud, smug tone, his singing could be heard byeveryone in the room. Quite clearly by the white sheet that fluttered about in nervousness.“What is it missy, you seem white and pale?” That arrogant shredder again. He was happy andcontent that he had his meal. And now the sadist was having fun tantalizing the paper. “Oh don’t lookat me like that. It is the pen that stains you. It is when he writes up something abysmal that youbecome my food. Don’t blame me, am just doing my job here.” And in an undertone, “Though I mustsay, I ‘quite’ like it”.“Hey come on” said the dejected pen. “You all know that is not true. In fact, I shed my own blood togive these characters life. And when anyone dies, I at least have the solace that they will remain ineternity as dead characters on the paper. It literally kills me when I think of all the wonderful storiesand creatures are not given a chance to live and instead become meal to you Mr. Evil Shredder. Don’tyou believe him Miss White (paper); I lose as much as you do when these stories are scrapped. Ihave nothing to do with those killings.”Chaos prevailed in the room as the shredder sent in accusation after accusation and the pen was someekly trying to defend it. Phrases flew around like “killing a pretty damsel”, “should be one yummymeal” and “it’s not my fault”, “I am hurt too” until the pretty damsel could bear it no more.“Shut up you too. You are freaking us all out here. I am already worried about my fate. It is a life ordeath issue for me and not one that you are going to simply debate about.”“And so were the last words that she spoke”, mocked the shredder while “oh you poor thing”sympathized the pen. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 36
  • “The only way I survive is by either being pure and pristine (blank) as I am now or by you writing onme a story that is worth living forever.You are the mighty pen. Where is your confidence? You are the creator of so many legendarycharacters. Where is your spirit? You are the one that can give immortality. Where is your creativity?You are the conjurer of good and evil tales. Where is the genius? You are the only one that can saveme. Pull yourself up Mr. Pen. Only you can save me. Hell, I cannot even cry lest I smudge and die inthat fatso’s tummy.” Thus lamented Miss White, with emotions of fear, helplessness, anger, futility anddisgust all fighting to get expressed through her spotless face.Realization dawned on to the pen. He was indeed a legend. He was indeed the creator. He wasmightier than the sword; in fact it was he who created the sword just a few moments back. He couldbe what he chose to be. He could be more evil than the shredder, more wise than Mr. Yellow Clockand more adroit than the soccer star on the poster.With new invigoration he created the most interesting fantasy story. It had dragons, warriors, elves,dwarves, princes, queens, witches, wizards, wands and even a couple of friendly ghosts. This was hismasterpiece. This would bring the writer fame beyond his wildest imaginations. This would be thegreatest best seller of all time.…………………………………………………………………………………………..The door opened and the writer returned with a cup of steaming hot tea in hand. The room wentabsolutely quiet except for the sound of the air conditioner and the tick tock of the clock. Everyoneheld their breath as the writer took his seat. Even the soccer star had turned to know the fate of MissWhite.A few seconds later….“Dragon, Soldier, Sword- Fire, valor, and blood.Come ye to me, and ye all b’come but mud”The greatest story in the world was mistaken to be the writer’s greatest flop and gobbled up by theevil Mr Shredder. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 37
  • 19.Fly High “The legend of Pegasus says that the ill fated Bellerophon tried to use Pegasus to fly above themount Olympus. Zeus, the King of the Greek Gods was not pleased by the efforts of Bellerophon andsent an insect to bite Pegasus. Pegasus shook off his rider who fell down the mountain. NeitherPegasus nor Bellerophon was seen ever again.”……………………………………………………………………………………Zack was born in the stables of The castle of The Duke of Edinburgh. He was a white male foal whofrom birth had all the makings of a fine chariot horse. He was the pride of the castle and taken care ofby the head caretaker himself. The children of the Duke loved to watch him trot behind his mother inthe barn. He would show off by holding his head high and his neck straight as his mom did when shelead the way.Of all the foals in the castle, Zack was the first to learn to gallop. Anyone blessed enough to watchhim prance and take off would agree that if ever there was a thoroughbred, Zack was that.………………………………………………………………..The fairytale life ended for Zack when the war came and The Duke was defeated. The duke, however,escaped and hid in the bushes taking with him his favorite possessions which included Zack.In the woods, Zack was made to pull the chopped wood that was used to set fire to the camps. Hewas also used to take the kids around the forest for their entertainment. He was rarely given a bathand was forced to stand outside the makeshift open courtyard just outside the house.Yet Zack served his master with utmost sincerity and hoped he would someday get rewarded for hisefforts. He hoped to be the one who led his master to victory in the battle to re-conquer Edinburgh.Living in the woods was tough on everyone, especially Zack. He was no more celebrated. On thecontrary, he was rarely given a word of encouragement. His contributions were seldomacknowledged. Deposits of soot were found on his body by the smoke from wood which was oftenneglected by the new caretaker. Soon, his skin had turned pale and ashen as compared to theoriginal dazzling white.As time passed, Zack’s self belief began to waver. He felt he was being used as a donkey rather thana horse. He rarely got the opportunity to gallop in these thick woods. His grey skin and the dull eyesmade him look more of a donkey than a horse. He grew quiet and went on to his work of drawinglogs. Once the Duke was away on his plans of war, Zack was reduced to being one neglected soul.____________________________________________________Some say Zack found her lying alone amidst thorns and bushes.Some say she found Zack when the latter had wandered away from the camp in distress andfrustration.Nobody knew how the princess met Zack, 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 38
  • but everyone agreed this was meant to happen.She had found him when he could bear his work no more. Here was a horse that was ready to pranceand gallop, and he was instead made to sit quiet and pull logs. He was in a deplorable condition andhad forced himself not to believe in his true identity. He was fighting a war within himself – a war ofwho he is and who he believed he was destined to be.The drop of tear from the princess’ eyes touched his pale grey skin. Abashed, she hastily rubbed itaway. The gleam of white seemed to dazzle her eyes. Astonished, she rubbed all the soot of his skin.And lo, there he stood, the white mare that he was destined to be. He looked at her with gratefulness.Her soft hands caressed the cheek. Love ebbed through the two of them.He bowed his head to the one destined to be his rider. She mounted on him and issued the magicalcommand.“FLY”They were both unaware of the fact that Bellerophon and Pegasus had been reincarnated. This time,Zack/Pegasus would fly over the Olympus. Mere insect and mighty Zeus can but watch him go. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 39
  • 20.The Break-UpTrue, she was a really wonderful girl. True, she cared for him; a bit too much, at times. True, shemade him feel very special. True, she would do anything for him. If he wanted space, she would givehim space. If he wanted comfort, she was there for him. If he wanted time alone, she gave him timealone. If he wanted company, she gave him company. He was everything for her.But that was exactly what bothered him. He has wanted a girl who would demand her place in his life.She was not doing that. With each day passing and each new way in which she put up with hisactions, he was more and more convinced she was not the one for him.Today was going to be the day that he would talk it out to her. He would tell her all that he wanted andthat she was giving him an overdose of exactly the opposite of it.………………………………………………………………………………………………………………She sensed something very wrong in the way he was today. There was a certain purpose in the wayhe looked at her. It was as if she meant the world to him, and he was sad about it. It was as if she wasa china doll in his arms and he was worrying about his butter fingers. He felt very soft to her today. Orwas she just imagining everything?…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………He was being real nice to her today. He was kicking himself for being so. If he was going to break upwith her, then this was not the way he expected to prepare her for it. The way she looked at him madehis heart ache that he was going to break her heart.But it had to be done…. today!…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….It was a lovely evening. There was the breeze, salty and refreshing; there were the waves, soft andalluring; and there was the vast expanse of water which always brought about a profound respect forthe sea and a serene calm to her heart. She wished she would float all the way to the tip of thehorizon, where the green of the sea met the azure of the sky…Away from the world and her thoughts.……………………………………………………………………………………………………………Such a cliché – the weather was perfect today; a bit too perfect; bordering on romantic – no, it was aromantic evening. And here he was, about to tell her they were not going to be together anymore. Ithad to be done. It had to be done now.“Poorni, I want you to know that you have been absolutely awesome ever since we got committed toeach other. I really like you a lot and I must say you are the best girl I have met till date…”Tears dripped out of her eyes. Oh, the poor guy. He was saying the nicest of things about her. Shecould take it no more. “Ram, before you say anything, I want to tell you something too. You have beenan amazing guy and I do like you loads. But sometimes I have had this feeling that this relationshiphas been all about you. Off late, I have been making so many sacrifices for you. I have let you alonewhen you wanted to be alone. I have given you company when you need company. I have given you 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 40
  • the space when you ask me for it. I have been there for you all the time. And I can take it no more. Ihave my own life to live. I have my likes and dislikes. I have my mood swings and I expect the guy forme to take me for what I am. I have my fears and I expect my guy to know them and be there for mewhen I need them. I cannot be totally devoted to you all my life and be at peace with not beingreciprocated by you. Am sorry, but this relationship has to end. It breaks my heart as much as it doesyours for us to come to this point, but this is necessary for our lives and I have made up my mind thatwe ought to split.”…………………………………………………………………………………………She turned away and ran off away from the beach, away from where he was. Though he could seeher back, he knew she was crying. He stood there, watching her go, shell shocked at what happened.He had wanted a break up – he had got a break up.The girl who was running away from him was the girl he always wanted. He could tell her this, butwould she believe? Would she believe?……………………………………………………………………………………………He was going to try! 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 41
  • 21.But I am ShyMy Dear Dilip, 31-Mar-2011Hope this letter finds you in the best of health. I know it has been a really long while since our lastcorrespondence my sincere apologies for not having replied to any of your letters in this period ofgoing amiss. I do have my reasons for the same and so I urge you to read on.Actually it was a mid-summer morning in April when I first saw her. She was sitting in the seat next tome. You know about my obsession with soulmates. I saw her and I swear I could see a strange lightin her eyes. There was a spark when our eyes met and we definitely felt the need to know each other.Though I am a shy person, the urge to talk to her was so overwhelming that it overcame my shyness.By the end of the bus journey I had talked to her for over an hour non-stop. You might have presumedthat she got real bored by my Yak-yaking, but on the contrary, she really liked me for what I was.Needless to say, I liked her too.I know this sounds crazy, but in three weeks, we decided to get married to each other. We were bothmad about the other and felt this was the best thing to happen between us. I had at last found theperfect girl and I saw no sense in waiting for things to happen.But then, unexpected events happened. Her father had other plans for her. He refused to get usmarried. In fact he sent a group of rowdies to beat me up. I know this sounds very filmy but I had nooption but to run. The only way I could save myself was to get married to the girl and fall in thefather’s feet for mercy in the name of his daughter.That is precisely what I did.So, here I am, apologizing to you for not inviting you for my wedding. In my defense, I was corneredand helpless and forced into a marriage that I anyway was planning for. I hope you understand meand forgive me for not letting you know earlier about developments.APRIL FOOL !! Got you, did I not?I never spoke to that girl. You know how shy I was, I took out my I-pod and played the cool dude. Wesit in the same seat every day and the cool dude image of mine stays. I have not been able to breakthe ice and talk to her. Still, every time our eyes meet, the fire burns bright.There sure is somethingbetween us.Help me Sirji, you are the God when it comes to making contacts!Yours lovingly,Imraan 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 42
  • 22.‘Fall’ in Love“Hey, its me.”Obviously, he knew who the voice belonged to.It had been three years since he broke up with her. Even though he claimed the break up was out ofmutual consent, deep within he knew it was ugly. They had argued a lot and exchanged murderouslooks before calling the relationship off. And he had never heard from her again.Until now!“I just called up to say that I am leaving this weekend to the States for doing my masters. ” Well, atleast her life had gone as per the plan. She was going to do her studying and prove to her dad thatshe deserved freedom, rather than the pampering and unlimited funding he gave her.It is nice she is going. Now he can breathe easy and not worry about the daunting prospect ofbumping into her someday at some random mall. Men don’t cry, but if he did see her again, whoknows, he could go against the norm.“I leave in ten days. I just thought we could meet once over the weekend if that’s ok with you.”How sly! Now she had passed the baton on to him and been the nice girl. As always, denial, if it didhappen, had to be initiated by him.“Hmm. Ok. Text me the place and time.” He said before hanging up.He called his girl and told her he was meeting the other girl. If she had any concern, she did not voiceit. He felt grateful his love had evolved from a strong base of six years of friendship. He had very littleto explain, she knew the story, to every (gruesome) detail.………………………………………………………………………………………“Well, it is so nice to see you again. You seem to have put on some muscle, your scars on the facebecause of those rashes have healed and you look great.” Some scars are external and they heal.Some internal cuts don’t. Why tell her all that now? She would be gone far off soon. He smiled inacknowledgement.“You know, sometimes I get the feeling that I know you totally. And then in other times, you seem asdistant as a stranger to me. Just as it baffles me, it attracts me to you.” He seemed to sense thedirection in which the conversation was going. What he did not understand was why she chose now ofall times for this conversation to happen.“I was just thinking, for the past couple of months, that maybe we should get back together. I mean, itis true you loved me. It is true both of us were happy till things became messy. So if things get messy,we can talk about it and come to a common ground. And make things work. Plus we will be so faraway the distance will help us chill down in case our egos clash.”“You had always cared for me. If there ever was one person who wanted me to be happy, it was you.We are meant to be together. Why else would we be on and off each other for over six years now? 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 43
  • Come back home with me, let me introduce you to them, as my guy, as the one I want to be marriedto. As the one who will take good care of me and them. You can take over dad’s business even.”…………………………………………………………………………………The life in his eyes had not changed. Numerous were the questions they asked; penetrating, theywere; and relentless were they when they searched your soul for the ulterior motives.…………………………………………………………………………………He looked deep into her, smiled as if he knew what her intent was behind the proposal.The girl wanted someone to take care of her parent. She wanted someone dependable for taking overher dad’s business. She wanted someone to live his life to celebrate her existence. The truth that sheliked him a lot was just a bonus considering the other benefits he would bring her. She felt exposed, atad relieved when he got up and left.………………………………………………………………………………………She called up his girl and said, “He loves you. He will give his life up for you if you ask for it. His egohas not gone down one bit; use it when you want to get rid of him. Love you babes, have fun withhim!”Dont play with love – It hurts!PS: The author wishes no conclusions or parallelisms drawn from this post.All three characters in this post are property of my imagination. Any reference to anyone you and Iknow might be a result of “Too much gossiping!” 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 44
  • 23.Not another Love story!!!“Hey…. The bus is at kathipara!!”That meant she would reach in another fifteen minutes.Today was to be a special day for him. There was no occasion to attach the day to, but still, he hadbeen waiting a long time for this day to happen.She had accepted his proposal a month back and to sum it all up in one word, the month had been‘magical’. He never knew he could feel this happy in his life. He had felt a sense of achievement, as ifhis purpose in life was fulfilled. He was in love, and he was in love with being in love!The bus was at kathipara – What was he doing reflecting the events of the past month instead ofstarting from his house? He had chosen one of his normal t-shirts, because she was getting backfrom college and had raised her concern over being poorly dressed. That was him – he would looknormal, for her to be at peace!The bus was at kathipara- He wore his black head band, picked up his wallet, checked the change hehad – Four Two and three, exactly – That would be enough for today. He started his bike and sped offtowards vadapalani.………………………………………………………………………………………….It seemed to him that it took an eternity for the bus to reach vadapalani.She got down, her head andface covered by the black Dupatta of her Chudi. From afar, she looked like she was straight from thecenter of Taliban. The fantasizing thought of having such a girl for himself gave him the kicks!Her eyes darted around, looking left and right, searching for familiar, and at the moment, unwantedfaces. When the coast was clear, she got on the bike and asked him to ride as fast as he could. Hespoke nothing, for he was with his girl and that was too special to be broken by words. She panted alittle, not used to running and crossing roads at this crazy hot summer.…………………………………………………………………………………………….“Sheesh, Its just too hot these days nah?!”. She was sitting across the table. Her hands, pushing backthe hair that fell in her face. Her panting had stopped once they got into the comfort of the airconditioner at Pizza Hut. To him, it seemed as if she herself became composed ,now that she was ina cool place where she knew none.“Well,its June 19. It should be hot right!……… Hey, happy first month.”God, was she adorable. Her eyes, they lit up when she grinned. And one could see the happiness inher face when she wished him. All he wanted to do was get across the table and give her a nice tighthug. Neither of them being great fans of public displays of affection, he just smiled at her and sheunderstood.………………………………………………………………………………………………“ Hey, why do you have so much chilli flakes on your pizza?” “ and when are you gonna cut yourhair?” “You know I hate it when you part your hair back – its girlish da!” She had the habit of clutching 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 45
  • the fingers of her left hand and pointing the index finger at an angle pointing to the forehead. Hewould take all her comments as long as she was going to remain on the other side of the table. Andtomorrow he would cut his hair.………………………………………………………………………………………………Three hundred and forty eight rupees accounted for one medium sized veg pizza, two glasses of cokeand an hour of being able to watch her from up close. He gave her a ride back to her place. She firstwent into the house and checking if the whole street was clear, messaged him to get in. He parked hisbike in another street and then sneaked his way in. He sat opposite to her in the couch. Shebeckoned him to sit by her side. He took her hand and held it close to his heart. He dint let go till theepisode of friends they were watching ended.………………………………………………………………………………………………It was time to leave. He picked up his keys and put on his cap. She gave him a hug and kissed him onthe cheek. It was the first kiss he had got from a girl who wasn’t a relative. He smiled at her, kissedher on her forehead and said “I love you”.………………………………………………………………………………………………My bus is at Kathipara……..and its your birthday today……… Three years have passed since wesplit………Back then I gave you all of my love…..But these special memories, they are mine forever!! 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 46
  • 24.Sealed with a Kiss“Ladies and gentlemen this is your captain speaking. We would like to welcome you onboard……………”The voice of the captain rang in the speakers above his seat. He had been on a number of suchflights this past couple of years and was pretty familiar with the procedures on board.This flight was going to be the second longest flight in terms of duration and distance, the first beingthe journey to the US.It had been two full years of working in the states and he was expecting this day to come. It had beenso long and taxing a wait that the maximum emotion he could bring out when he was on this planewas a smile. He was going back home, at last!It would take him 17 hours of travel to reach India. He sat relaxed on his seat and thought aboutsomeone special. He thought about Pinky.She was an ex-classmate of his, at class 4. It took them a good nine years to have their first properconversation. After that, there was no looking back. A lot of occasions they had even regretted thefact that they let those nice years pass without getting to know each other. But then, everythinghappens for a reason, maybe God had decided that such a period was necessary for them to endurebefore they eventually rediscovered each other.She was there for him when he was running behind every girl in town, except her. She used to teasehim by calling him ‘Roadside Romeo’. She was there to wish him the best when Romeo did get agirlfriend. She was there by his side when he had experience the joy of being in love, the anger ofbeing misunderstood and the pain of the first breakup in that order.She was the pillar of strength that he rebuilt his broken heart on. On every new occasion that hewould venture out to find new love, the event of breaking it repeated, and when that happened, shewas there for him. Maybe it was this assurance that she was the one person who would never everleave his side that gave him the audacity to pursue such indulgences.Maybe it was because of her that he never fell in love again. He had her, for a best friend. He had her,for a guiding light. He had her, for a source of comfort. He had her, to share his deepest sorrows andproudest moments. He had her, for his very reason of existing in this world.She was there when he dedicated all his energies for the family and no one acknowledged hiscontributions and she made sure she did. She was the first to congratulate him when he got thisonsite opportunity. Unarguably, she was the one who felt the happiest for him.Obviously, he was also good to her. He was the only person to whom she could ask anything in theworld and expect a true and sincere answer. She loved questioning and so this meant a lot to her.She could voice out all her problems to him and even her deepest fears of not being able to live up tothe expectations of her dad.However close they were emotionally, she had always remained a friend to him. There were nofluctuations in both their minds that they were friends. This had remained so till this particularmoment. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 47
  • ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..It was at this flight back home that he realized what he missed most these couple of years. It wasPinky. She was his soul-mate. She was the love of his life. She was the one whom he wanted to growold with. It was Pinky, his best friend, the best person in his world.The realization was bitter-sweet. On one side he was happy that finally it had dawned to him that shewas the one. On the other, she was a friend and maybe she still considered him to be one. He wasfeeling guilty on one side and kicking himself on the other for not realizing it sooner.……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..“Thank You for using Lufthansa airlines, I hope you had a great flight.” The airhostess bowed down inthe traditional Indian nature of goodbye. He was truly back home.……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..“Maybe I will ask my parents to talk to her parents and then let me see how it goes.” Thinking so hepicked up his luggage and exited the lounge.……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….The first recognizable persons he saw totally confused him. What were Pinky’s parents doing in theairport? Why were they awaiting his arrival? And where were his parents?Then he saw them, ten steps behind Pinky’s parents, grinning at him. He saw his mom, beaming, withthe happiness of achieving something great. And his dad was giving him the sly, cheeky smile that heusually reserves for their naughty poker tricks. He was absolutely clueless and stood rooted at hisplace.And then, from amidst all of them came Pinky. She had chosen a white dress which made her looklike she descended straight from the stars above. God, how had he not noticed how beautiful she wasbefore.She met him, eye to eye. All comprehension dawned to him, without a word exchanged. She smiledat him and said, “Welcome home” and kissed him.…………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………………………………………….…………And thus their fortunes were entwined forever! 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 48
  • 25.Blast From the Past - First CrushEveryone has crushes in their life. For many, it might have been on some big screen celebrity. Forsome, it might have been on the upcoming sport sensation of the generation. And for few, it might beon the cute neighbour next door. There is no certain age for us to have our first crush and there is nosuch thing as a last crush!Just the fact that I was a bit of an introvert who avoided talking to girls of my age dint exclude me fromhaving crushes in my life. In fact, I am not exactly sure how many parallel crushes I had during myschooling days.The one that I remember so vividly is the first ever crush I had in my life.Everyone despises love at first sight until they experience it themselves. This was true in my case too.(It took me a good couple of years to realize that it was just a crush).I guess I was about 12yrs old when I saw her for the first time at my door. I would have disappointedall of you to admit that I was not transfixed by the sight of her as most of you all would have expected.In fact, I only looked at her for a second. For, the next thing I knew was that I was scramming into thehouse to find my shirt. For, it was summer and only my mom was home and so I dint bother wearingmore than shorts and vests.The one glance I had managed to take of her was enough to convince me that she was ‘that someonespecial’. I have no clue what I did for the rest of the day. And the days that followed.It was a trance that I found myself to be in. I could remember to perfect detail every incident that tookplace in my life that involved her but everything else was blank. The power of love, I suppose!It was a new experience. I could not ask my mum who she was! I have never been an inquisitivechild. I feared mum might guess what was going on in me. At the same time I longed to see her again.I cared little that I was an introvert and had a tough time talking to girls. But every time I wanted toapproach her and say hi, my heart was in my mouth. And my mouth, well I dint know where it was!Numerous were the days that I cursed myself for the opportunities lost. For the first time in my life, Ifelt jealously. I often craved to be that cool dude who found talking to her the simplest thing in his life.Now she was not the kind of a girl who was a sweetheart or an immediate celebrity. In fact, she wasquite the opposite. She was known for her mood swings and her short temper. She had very small listof friends in which I never featured.The feelings I had for my first crush was different from those we normally feel with crushes. In hercase, I felt that more than I needing her to be my soul mate, it was she who was lonely in her life. I feltas if she longed for that one good friend who believed in her, the one who would accept her for whatshe was.I felt that I could be the one who would be there for her to reach to. In the depths of my heart, I felt Icould show her new horizons of happiness that she never believed existed. For, inside the usuallybrash and proud girl that she usually was, there was a much adorable and caring person hiddenwithin her that I could sense and I hoped to unearth. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 49
  • And that was the person I loved!For weeks together I was prepared to wait patiently just to get a glimpse of her. Her smile would makemy day. A friendly “Hi” from her would light up any dismal day for me. I was crazy behind this girl.Sadly, she had no clue about it!In her perspective, I was just another person whom she met quite regularly. I was someone whowould lend her a book or my notes during her exams. I was that geek who always managed to out-score her in every exam that came across. In short, I was not a very noteworthy person. She wouldhave cared no more had I been nicest of guys around or a complete loser.It was my fault. How could I make her understand my feelings for her when I was not even able tosustain a chat beyond the pleasantries? What would I do, all my pent up emotions seemed to allstagnate in my mouth and either I keep silent or end up uttering gibberish. And I lacked a girl friendthat would have guided me on how best I could approach a girl and ask her out.I decided to put an end to all the, “She loves me, She hates me” debacles that were torturing my mindfor months now! 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 50
  • 26.Blast From the Past - Romeo & JulietIt was one of the worst days of his life for Romeo. He did not know how or when he was going to do it,but one thing he was sure of was that he would it that day. This was his d-day. The moment of truthwas near.Though he knew Juliet would never accept him, Romeo was bent on putting an end to the turmoil thatwas occupying his mind all these months. He knew it was beyond his capability to exhibit all the lovehe had for Juliet through his words. But that did not deter him one bit to take the chance. He haddecided what was going to happen and he was bent on being done with it that day rather than anyother.Just as the way Shakespeare had portrayed Juliet, our Romeo also found her looking out of herbalcony. But the similarity with Shakespeare’s play ends here. There was no ladder as the balconywas only a few feet off the ground, our Romeo did not carry roses in his hands and he could not sing.Oh hell, he was hardly able to talk!And yet with tremendous mental effort, Romeo managed to walk the few steps that separated himand his Juliet. With each step he took, he could hear his heart thump louder. The drumming filled hisears once he managed to get within reaching distance of Juliet. His whole body shook because of thetension. Sweat was beginning to cover his forehead due to his anxiety.He looked at her. He knew Juliet sensed what was coming. She gave him the stare of a cornereddeer. He could not face the eyes. He fidgeted. Every part of him urged him to run away from thescene. But he stay put. He had decided that this would be ‘the moment’. Somehow he found thecourage to utter the words. “Juliet, I lov……..”He never finished uttering those words. Someone from above had just picked the perfect moment toplay a prank on Romeo and had found a bottle of water to pour on him. His nightmare had just begun.The misery and embarrassment he felt was beyond words. He looked at himself. He looked every bita loser. He was beyond the feeling of despair that he dint even curse the prankster. The tension inhim grew to heights un-imaginable. He was reclined to the fact that the next few moments could beworse.This time he spoke the words clearly, “Juliet, I love you.”He had no guts left in him to face her. He failed to see anything beyond the tip of his toe. He saidnothing when she jumped down the balcony and past him. He could hear her sobbing as she ranaway. He just stood there, looking at his toes and feeling like a wet crow.That day, I cried! 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 51
  • 27.Blast From the Past-Football Fiasco!It was holiday time. I had written my high school examinations quite well and results were at least amonth away. I had nothing to do the whole day except read novels and spend most of the day playingonce the sun became bearable.It had been almost three years since I had made a jackass of myself before her. Though there was nobitterness between us, we were not friends yet. But, as we lived in the same locality, it was inevitablethat we met each other quite often. Being of the same age, and belonging to the same gang offriends, things between us were quite known by the others.The boys had gathered for the match and the final segregation of players were taking place. As I didnot have any preference about who must be in my team, I moved out of the group and started to tapthe football with the wall. Something happened then that I had least expected. And that was whatmade that day to be remembered even now.Of course, it was her!She came between me and the wall. With just a glance at her and no spoken words, I kicked the ballto her. Too fast! She stopped the ball on the rebound. Then she passed it back to me with the tip ofher heels. Her toe definitely would have hurt.It was a very poor pass as I had to stretch completely to stop the ball. But what better can u expectfrom a girl! I then showed her how to kick a football with the side of the foot. There were no wordsspoken.She improved her accuracy pretty soon and in five minutes (or so I thought!), we settled into a rhythm.The ball moved to and fro between us. Occasionally I would acknowledge a good pass or a tricky stopand she would smile back. Both of us did not notice what the others were doing.After what seemed like ten minutes (and more importantly, she was feeling the strain of sustaining therhythm), I turned to look at what the others were doing and if we were going to have a match. It wasthen that we came to the realization that they had settled issues long back and were quietly watchingwhat the two of us were up to.One of the members approached me and asked in the nicest of tones, “Chandru, how much moretime would you guys be needing?”They said it was a very cute sight to see both of us blushing. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 52
  • 28.The Stranger“……..and I hate everything in this house!”She banged the door shut behind her. She raked the iron gates of the elevator and slammed it shut.The metallic clang of the gates was almost synonymous with the extent of her fury. She removed herindex finger from the top floor button only when the lift stopped.Again the clanging sound was heardeven in the ground floor.With tears in her eyes, she went up the terrace two steps at a time!She went to her favorite spot andsat crouched on the side wall! She was breathing heavily. Her heart was pounding badly and it wassynchronous with the beating of her head. She felt very agitated!“The woman deserved it. What does she think of herself? Does she always have to pick me for aquarrel? Would she have been this harsh had little bro done the same thing?”“What’s so wrong in talking to a friend on the phone? What does she know about Shyam?”“What kind of parents are these, doubting their own daughter. Don’t they understand me even a littlebit?”Her mind was throwing accusations at almost everything. Tears welled up her eyes. She wasfeeling depressed. She needed someone for emotional support. And here, she could see none!The gentle breeze lifted the lock of hair that fell on her forehead. It was when she lifted her head whenher hand pushed the hair back that she saw a figure a few blocks away. The wall blocked himpartially, but she knew he was tall. His shirt was a pleasing cream and hung loosely on his wellshaped body. He had not bothered to wear any buttons except the one below his ribs. He stoodagainst the wind as if daring it to go past him.His face was clearly seen as his hair was drawn backcompletely and curled on his shoulders ever so gracefully. He had distinct features, sharp eyes, sharpnose and sharp ears.He was looking down at the kids playing. The elegance with which he movedwas so picturesque and eye catching.She had been watching him for over five minutes. Her quarrel with mother seemed ages since. All sheknew was the presence of this man. She was transfixed by his lazy poise. She was fascinated at howthe world suddenly ceased to exist around her and that she was one with the nature that was createdand controlled for this one man! And then, he turned. Quickly, she hid her head down.She knew she was too late and too abrupt and that he knew long ago that he was being watched. Sheknew he was chuckling. She knew she looked silly. She also knew, he wouldn’t give her a secondglance. she could not comprehend his indifference. A few seconds later, she slowly lifted her head.First she looked at the opposite side and then she turned her neck to catch a glimpse of him. But hewas gone!She went home in a much calmer mood. She smiled at her mother when she held the door open forher. She didn’t apologize for her burst of attitude, but her mother would forgive her.Talking to Shyamor anyone else mattered to her no more. She had experienced what it was to find a man of herexpectations.She would never forget the stranger! 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 53
  • 29.Stitch in TimeI had a friend……….I say I “had” a friend coz the friend is not with me today….They say that the arguments are forgotten in course of time…. but the mis-understandingremains…and the friendship, it withers off!I had an argument with this friend of mine… I am still not sure who had truth on their side… but isn’tfriendship about overcoming the differences??The damage was made… and words were strewn… they could never be retrieved…this friend of minewould not forgive…And so the friendship dies……The result was two broken hearts……”Ripped the soul off” going by the words of the friend…My dear buddy, I have a heart too… and how much it hurt you, I would have felt the same…But youwould not forgive and I cannot plead anymore….And so the friendship dies……..You moved on… as you would say…I moved on… or so I would ‘want’ to say…But each day, a thought tortures my mind… that I have hurt a friend and I am not forgiven…..Heavenhas it that I must live with it…And so,”I moved on”, I am forced to say!!Do I make this one call and get back??Will I ever get the friendship in the pristine form that existedbefore everything happened? I wonder if the friend even misses me…I wonder if the friend would getback to me…A small “hello” would be enough an indication to the friend about getting back… Till then have I got nochoice but do I watch the friendship to die???PS: if the friend happens to read this……… “Hello” 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 54
  • 30.Survival of FriendshipI would want to make this less dramatic. But somehow I just don’t see the sense in it as it would killthe whole essence of what happened today. So here is as it goes……They were friends. Well, not exactly the kind of friends who used to hang around or talk to each otherfor long hours. But they were friends nevertheless, they liked each other and they always felt certainhappiness when thinking of the other which only the thought of a true friend would provide our hearts.They never realized the depth of their friendship till the time came when life comes to point where thefuture of the friendship lay precariously in the hands of fate.For, the girl was getting married. Only her friend and the girl herself would truly know how happy hefelt for her. She had sought out the most suitable person to get married to. He was the first among herold friends to know about the engagement and that was another testimony to his importance in herlife.But the boy’s mind was troubled. He came to the realization that things were never going to be thesame between them. He doubted whether the friendship he had was strong enough to be continuedeven after her marriage. Practical as he usually was, he knew the chances were bleak. He hadattended the wedding in the morning. He was going for dinner again and so he did not carry any giftsfor the newly wed. He knew none of her family and hence he had stood in a corner and watched theproceedings.The place was so crowded with well wishers and relatives that he was so sure she had not noticed hispresence. But the friendship between them demanded him to be present in the one best event of herlife. And he had dutifully obliged. As was the custom, he was not to bless the couple as he wasyounger to both the bride and the groom. Yet he believed that it was the purity of his heart and hisearnest good wishes for her that would count and that age would not be a factor in offering the couplehis blessings. He offered a quiet and sincere prayer for the good life of his friend and her best man.Once the marriage was over, the crowd began to disperse though a few remained surrounding thecouple. It was when she turned in his direction. The smile he had given her and the understandingshe felt was one that cannot be explained in words and yet would capture the hearts of everyone hadit been shot in any commercial. He would go back in the evening for the reception. So he bought her ahome accessory and wrote in it, “The beauty of friendship is realized only when broken (separated).But I hope we wouldn’t have to undergo the process. You could begin by inviting me for lunch someday ”He would go home with the satisfaction that he had given their friendship a realistic chance toburgeon (blossom). 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 55
  • 31.A weird TrialAugust 29,2010Kampala,UgandaThere was a hush in the court room as the magistrate walked in. Judging by the number of onlookersand the number of media persons standing on all sides of the court, to say that this case wasimportant would indeed be an understatement. It looked like the whole of the capital city had gatheredhere to witness the proceedings.In the history of Uganda, if there ever was a massive trial, this was going to be one. For, in theaccused chamber stood none other than Howard Roark, the famous personality brought to life, nay,etched into the annals of modern literature by Ayn Rand. His mystic eyes were fixed to a spot on theground, never faltering, never wavering. He wore a loose pink shirt, with just one button pinned on itsright spot and the rest of the shirt hanging on to his body as if obliging to his order for it to stay put.He was thin, lanky, with a pronounced aquiline nose and sharp pointed jaw. He wore black trousersand black leather shoes, and a matching black leather belt. His hands rested casually on thechamber’s horizontal rest. He was isolation amidst chaos personified.Today was the day Roark would defend himself. The charge, he was accused of being gay andseducing the man who registered the case. In Uganda, being gay meant death!The previous day, they had offered him a lawyer, but Roark would have none of him around. Heshook his head and that meant the offer was dismissed. His demeanour on the court seemed tothreaten the authority that of the judge over proceedings. Such was the poise of the man.It was as if time had stopped to listen to this man. The stillness of everything around him suggestedthe fact that he was a man of this earth and the earth was created for his very existence. He slowlylooked up and straight at the judge. His eyes held the gaze of the judge and locked they would be tillhe chose to release them. Camera’s zoomed and focused on his face. He was live on worldtelevision, a freaky thought for a common man, but this was Roark!“The theory of evolution has been the most undeniable and most evident of truths in the history ofmankind, and indeed life on earth. It is due to evolution that made the horse-shoe crabs to take toland and the rest of lives on the sea to follow. It is this evolution that made the giraffe grow a longneck and gave the camel a hump. It is this evolution that man descended from the trees and began towalk with two legs rather than four. It is this evolution that made me gay and more evolved than all ofyou straight individuals here.Yes, the human population has grown to intolerable numbers and nature has found its solution torestricting this issue. The result of such a process of improvement is us, the gays. The men andwomen, who are stripped off our ability to reproduce and made to find solace in those like us.Now, worse of all, we are condemned and tortured and even put to death, for no fault of ours. Whoare you cheating here, evolution? Mother earth? Yourselves or us?Without us being here, you will keep increasing the population of humans and then ultimately we willall be swiped out of existence by nature. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 56
  • I now give you an ultimatum or a warning, whichever way you take it. We are your future. It is with usthat your survival on earth lies upon. Either we live in harmony or we both perish. Accept us for whatwe are. Do not try forcing us to become what we are not born to be. We are sick and tired of hidingfrom you when it should be that you cowards are running away from your future.”The judge was so stunned that it took him another two minutes to comprehend that Roark hadstopped talking. He pushed the verdict to a different date and headed home in deep thought. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 57
  • 32.The Secret RevealedOur tale for the day is centred on the inhabitant of a pretty little cottage in the hill side of Scotland. Thecottage has a chocolate brown roof and a deep red chimney. Through the window, one can see thecute cuddly teddy with its big black eyes lying by the side of the bright pink pillow. Surprise surprise,one can also find the multi coloured lap-top lying on the bed. A rich aroma of tea leaves fills thecottage welcoming the weary stranger or the inquisitive blue eyed Hansels & Gretels of the nearbytown.The cottage belongs to a certain fine-young highland lass who prides in calling herself a Princess.Aye, she did have a charm that only a Princess, nay, a queen could possess. For, none were sparedfrom the enchanting, mystical powers of her words. She was the undisputed queen of poetry and thePrincess to all who knew her.Elsewhere, the people of the village wonder how such an unassuming girl could produce suchmagical poems. So they decide to spend a spy to find out and reveal the Princess’ secret. And guesswho they select, the master of camouflage, the king of survival, the jungle boy, your very own –Mowgli. His discoveries are startling indeed.It is midday when the door of the cottage opens and the Princess walks out oblivious to Mowgli’spresence. She is dressed in a dark purple sweater top and a deep indigo skirt. A hood covers herhead from the chill outside. She has an empty bag by her side into which she would place the tealeaves she would collect in a while.Mowgli watches the Princess picking tea leaves methodically one by one and putting them into herbag. Suddenly, without notice, the Princess stops working. Her body becomes tense, as if she isconcentrating all her efforts on listening to something from far away. Her head darts here and therelike a deer looking out for presence of the lion in the surroundings. Yes, she has felt the vibrationcoming from the horizon, a train of words flying towards her at considerable speed. Then the Princessdrops her bag and makes a run towards the cottage.Sometimes she reaches her laptop on time and records every word as they flow through her. Whatcomes out is an excellent shape poetry that wins her the best post of Valentine’s Day carnival.Sometimes she reaches too late and the words are beyond her reach. No matter how hard she tries,she can never get the seamless rhythm of the original piece. But she is not disappointed; she dropsher laptop to the side and goes back to picking tea leaves.The most amazing poetries are the ones that come out when the Princess reaches the laptop at justthe right moment that the last line passes through her. With great effort, she clings on to the wordsand drags them back into the laptop. What comes out is an amazing poem, sometimes symmetric,and sometimes reversed!Mowgli returns to the village, awe struck at what he has seen, and tells the villagers that the Princess’secrets are her own and none shall have them. He goes home convincing himself that he has kept asecret ritual what it was meant to be – sacred!He still is bemused why the Princess never took her laptop to the tea estate with her. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 58
  • 33.The Perfect Synergy“Let’s do it.”She saw it in his eyes, a mixture of fear, excitement and intensity. Her heart was pounding so loud,she felt the world outside could hear its rhythmic thuds. It was time. All the hours of practice they hadsubjected themselves to have narrowed down to this moment, and the succeeding five minutes ofallocated time for them. She took a deep breath and then exhaled it all out, signaling to him that shewas ready.She let herself to be led to the center of the stage. His grip on her wrist was a lot tighter than duringpractice, suggesting that he was nervous too. Around them, she could feel five hundred pairs of eyeslooking at them. The weight of their expectation felt like a load too heavy for her to carry. Her legs feltweak.He knelt before her and lifted his right hand towards her, perfectly depicting the posture used by menwhen they proposed, his eyes looking up to hers and his wrist pointing down, beckoning to be takenby hers.As their eyes met, something happened. She felt a new reassuring feeling spurt from somewherewithin her body. Slowly she felt it traverse up her blood stream and through her neck and up to the topof her head. Her face relaxed and she felt all the fears vanish from her mind. Totally at peace with thesituation, she took his hand and waited for the music to start.Five minutes later, she got out of the trance. She found herself being hugged by her friends. Shefound another batch of people hugging him at the other side. She was now behind the stage andcould vaguely hear the sounds of claps and demands of an “encore”. Their eyes met and she foundall the emotions blatantly seen in them – the pain of all the hours of practice and the joy of victory anddisbelief at what had just happened.What had happened?She did not seem to recollect anything that happened after the moment she had let herself be guidedby him. She could not recollect the mirror like motion of their bodies while gliding through the stage.She had no memory of being thrown up in the air and spreading her hands as if to fly. She dintremember when she got back to the ground, safe in his arms.The communion of two separate souls had taken place. Together they had achieved a level ofperformance that each one of them would individually have never reached. Hand in hand, they hadcarried out the perfect dance which brought out the feeling of ecstasy one felt when they had foundtheir love – a sacred emotion too special to be depicted in words or motions until now!It was such a pity, neither of them could witness what the rest of the world did.Beethoven could never hear his symphony too!In her personal legend, this moment would be legendary, and she was living it now! 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 59
  • 34.A ride, like never beforeThe bus took a left turn and joined the highway. This stretch was a part of the usual route towardsoffice. The beauty, lush green and the vast emptiness of the land around was often taken for granted.There was no sign that this trip would be any different.As usual she had taken the seat next to her friend in the bus. Rahul had met her three months back.He was not exactly good looking or drop dead handsome. To say the truth, there was nothing tosuggest that she might develop an interest towards him. He was smart, intelligent and was one of thebest PJ (poor joke) crackers around and she really liked his company.He knew she was a year senior to him. What he did not know was that the seniority was onlyacademically and that she was also a ‘83 born like him. In a society where marriage with someoneabove your age was taboo, he had made for himself a very staunch rule that he wouldn’t date anyoneelder to him and he had never broken the rule since he formulated it.He had seen her couple of times, alighting the bus and sitting alone and listening to music. Somehow,to his eyes it did not seem right. She was good looking, smart and did not have the air around herwhich shouted “Stay off” to anyone who thought of approaching her. So he went up and spoke to her,and before long, he knew he had found a real good friend.She thought this guy must be the roadside flirty types. Or else which normal guy would rightfully takethe seat next to her and signal her to take off her head phones and talk?And would he not just shut up, he had been talking without taking a breather for over an hour now?She had little respect for men who gossiped, and she decided this guy was definitely one of them. Hespoke about himself for three trips to office. She thought this guy would fit to audition for a radiobroadcaster job.Once he had exhausted talking about himself though, he became the quiet introverted types, the kindshe did not expect him to be. And that was what kindled her interest towards him. A few more trips tothe office and that thought was buried and put to rest.He was her friend. He was her ‘academic’ junior. She was someone who came into the field a yearbefore him and so was the one who educated him on the ways of surviving in the industry. And thatwas it!He was wearing a new black shirt. From the looks of it, she could tell that the cloth was very light andcomfortable. The light gray threads bearing the outlines of English alphabets seemed to tease her.She could see an A near his left pocket. A ‘V’ was lying sideways on his right pocket. A ‘P’ wasinverted near his belt. Oh, and there was an ‘S’ floating on his left shoulder.The wind blew his hair backwards. She watched his closed eyes, and his neck arched back, taking inthe fresh air as they passed through him. Through his closed eyes, she could feel him savor the feelof the air filling up his senses. For the first time, her perspective of him had changed. For within her,she felt a pang of jealousy, She felt envy of such peace that he was experiencing while she was left towatch through him. Every second that she felt him go deeper, she felt more jealous. When a littlesmile crept out of him in acknowledgement of the bliss of being alive, her jealousy peaked. She turnedher face away, accepting defeat. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 60
  • The moment was so overwhelming that she felt her own feelings begin to ebb. She felt the presenceof someone who was totally at peace with himself, next to her. She felt him breathe in the air and takeall the freshness into him and breathe out. The rhythm of his breathing transcended into her breathingtoo, and without knowing, they were both in sync.Her eyes closed. She could now experience the bliss of being alive and she felt tremendously gratefulfor that. The peace that spread within her was priceless. She visualized her smiling, and boy, was shebeautiful.Slowly she opened her eyes. She felt his eyes on her. This time, she did not feel stalked. She did notfeel anger. Instead, she felt the beauty of company. She acknowledged his recognition of her beautyand in the calm state that she was; she just smiled as their eyes met.The bus turned right, the highway had ended and it was going to another day at work for her.Strangely, she felt she was going to breeze through it. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 61
  • 35.Tommy the LibrarianTom was a very exuberant chap when he joined the team managing the library. He had learnt hisEnglish from the academy and felt his knowledge was adequate enough to cope with themanagement efforts. He hoped that his new team would help him develop into one of the best when itcame to the working of the library.A week later….. “Tom, we have five floors of books in this library. Each floor stands for a differentpurpose. What the purpose is, you need not know as of now (Truth is that we ourselves don’t know).So anyways, do not ask what they are for.”Two weeks later …… “Tom, today is a big day for you. You are gonna make your first correction. It’s asimple one, all you need to do is go up the fourth floor, take up Shakespeare and do the correction inhis English.”A month later … “Tom, we have declared to the customers that we have sufficiently trained you. Nowyou will have 15 corrections to make in the next month. You will have about 5 time tracking deviceswhich will monitor how you are spending your time. If anything, you can ask your teammates for help.”Two months later… “Tom, did you finish the changes in the second floor? Oh, and by the way, in thefifth floor also there are changes to be done. Do both at the same time ok? By the way, it looks likethe seniors are always working with you. Look to decrease your dependency on seniors.”Three months later… “Tom, until now we had trained you how to make corrections in the books. Fromtoday, you will be writing new paragraphs into Shakespeare’s verses. Keep in mind that the overalltime to read the book must not increase because of the extra verses you write.”Four months later… “Tom, the guy who arranges the books will be on long leave, you would have tostack them up every week. In addition, you will have to maintain notes of what books you stacked andwhen. This will be in addition to your usual work. ”Five months later… “Tom, our library has decided to take up books in Urdu too. So I would want youto take care of the new books coming in. Equip yourself with knowledge in Urdu. You have four daystime.”Six months later… “Tom, we have decided that Urdu is too remote for us. Hence we are going to usethe latest European books. Learn French and German soon, I am sure they are easier than Urdu. So Iwill get expect you to be writing books within, say, five days?”Seven months later… “Tom, am surprised you want to move to a different library. We have beenspending so much of time training you and bringing you on par with your seniors. Its such a blow thatyou are asking for a change now.”A week later … “Tom, our customers feel three people can manage 5 floors of books. So its been apleasure having you here with us. You can leave to the next library down the road.” 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 62
  • 36.Cockro-Phobia “ Mom, what is hy-droph-obia?”, asked young Ishaan Awasthi, leaning on the couch with his standardVI Science textbook. It had been three years since he met Nikumbh sir and he had soon moved out ofhis boarding school. Though he was not the topper at his new school, no one called him a stupidduffer anymore. His father had understood the value of bringing him up as a responsible boy ratherthan a school topper, and his brother had gone to college, through sports quota. All year round hewas busy with his matches and Mr Awasthi played his manager and mentor.“Ishaan, first sit up straight while you are reading, and for God’s sake remove your socks and putthem in the laundry bag. Don’t they ever teach you anything in school? These kids of today know onlymaths, physics and chemistry and nothing about discipline or cleanliness or orderliness…………..”,his mother went on and on about the education system as she went around the house picking upIshaan’s school bag and dropping it into his study room.“…………….and that Jayanthi keeps saying her daughter is the cleanest and gives her no trouble atall with the way everything is run at their house. And here I am stuck up with this………………..ISHAAN, remove your socks and put them in the laundry bag NOW!!”, she had her hands on her hipsand glared at the young boy.He looked up at her imposing self and suddenly out of nowhere he spotted the red wings and tailsprout out his mother’s head and from behind her. He saw a volcano eruption in each of her eyeballs.Her body bulged on all sides and she kept growing. To his eyes she looked like a demon and thewhole sight was funny for him. His eyes light up and he grinned slyly at his mother, revealing hisbunny like front teeth which infuriated her more. Not wanting to face the music, he removed his socksand ran to his room and threw them into the laundry bag.“Good, so now, what do you want? Oh yeah, it is pronounced hydro-fo-bia. Phobia means fear. Andwhat are we fearing here, hydro. Hydro means water. So hydrophobia means fear of water. Actually itis colloquially used as hydrophobia, but the correct term is aqua-phobia. Aqua is also water.” Sayingthus, Mrs Awasthi sat next to Ishaan and explained, often stroking his hair and drawing him close toher.“What does collo mean?”, little Ishaan looked at her with bright eyes. “Colloquial means as we speak.Things that we use while we talk to one other causally; like we use isn’t and Ain’t for is not.”“Yeah, Ok, Bindaas! But, Isn’t it silly they are afraid of water? Water is everywhere. I will tell you whatis scary – cockroaches. The come close to you with their whiskers and climb up your legs and urgh.”Saying so Ishaan made a squeamish gesture, threw his book away and ran off to play. He paid noheed to Mrs Awasthi shouting, “ISHAAN, put your books in your bag and go, Ishaaaaaaaan!”………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………A strange thing happened to Ishaan that night. He found himself entering an old wooden room. It hada chimney on top where smoke was coming out. Hesitantly, against his better judgment he openedthe room. As he took a peep inside, he was fascinated by the aquariums inside and the chocolateskept at the table. A cricket kit was kept in a corner and a painting kit lay next to it. He walked into theroom full of glee. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 63
  • Suddenly the door closed behind him with a loud THUD. Startled, he turned around but could seenothing as all the lights were gone and it was pitch black. Ishaan was groping in the darkness whenhe froze out of fear as he heard bone chilling shrill laughter echoing all around the house.The lights came on and the room changed. Ishaan found himself facing a long, pointy nosed witch.She had a black tail shaped like an arrow at the tip. She even had two devil’s horns growing by thesides of her hat. She looked like mom, but Ishaan could not laugh at the sight this time. He wasscared.Ishaan saw a group of young boys and girls caught in a cage. Though the cage was big, they were allhuddled close together. For, on all sides, there was water rising and these poor kids werehydrophobic.The witch spoke in a screechy voice, “Aah, the great Ishaan Nandhakishore Awasti is here! I am off tosee my boss, Lord Voldemort. By the time I get back these children will be drowned dead. And then Iwill cook them up and eat them. The key is in that room but you are a scaredy cat. Your worstenemies are waiting inside the room for you. Hee hee hee heee!!”. And she took her black broomstickand flew away.“Please help us Ishaan” , the kids cried in unison. Ishaan did not know what was in the room. What ifit were dancing letters again? What if it was the arts master before Nikumbh sir? What if it was theloud ringing of people calling him idiot duffer again?The water level was rising. Ishaan could not bear to see the fright in the children’s eyes. They literallystuck to each other. They were getting suffocated. Ishaan raced towards the door of the room andopened it. He saw the key at the other end of it. He made a run towards the keys, picked them up andturned. What he saw made him go pale.Standing between him and the door were hundreds of cockroaches. They all had long whiskers andsome of them were sprouting wings. They were slowly, creepily and steadily marching towardsIshaan. Every feet they approached, he found it hard to breath. His eyes popped out in fear. Heclosed his eyes fearing that soon he would be engulfed by the cockroaches. He crouched and satagainst the wall.Far away he heard the children shout out “Ishaan, Ishaan.” He had to save them. His life did notmatter to him anymore, so too his fears. He opened his eyes and ran towards the cockroaches.Stunned, they moved away and gave him a clear path to run to the door. He ran to the cage andopened it.But the children were scared of the water. They would not come out of the cage. Ishaan looked at thekids and shouted, “ I had cockro-phobia. But I overcame it. I ran out to save you all. I conquered myfear. Cockroaches won’t hurt me. Likewise the water won’t hurt you. Open your eyes. Face your fearand come out to safety. I cannot save you from here. Only you can. Save yourselves. Saveyourselves. Save yourselves.”…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….“Ishaan, Ishaan!! Wake up boy, it’s time for school. Who are you saving in your dreams?”, MrsAwasthi was shaking Ishaan up. He hugged her close and said ,“Mommy, I don’t have cockro-phobiaanymore. Did the kids save themselves?” 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 64
  • “What cockro-phobia? Now go take bath. You can save all the kids later. Now go go go!!”,saying thusMrs Awasthi pushed Ishaan into the bathroom. There he saw a cockroach on the mirror. He said “ Hi,Roachie, you don’t scare me anymore. Ha ha ha!!” . 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 65
  • 37.A Journey that never took offI began as a small germ in Kishore’s head. I made him think, “Why do the shops in Chennai not usethe power of the internet to their advantage?”I grew in his head. I clouded his thoughts. I enticed him into nurturing me. I made him believe hecould make some big money if he could develop me into a reality. I occupied his thoughts and grewup so big that he could not contain me within his head. And that was when he passed me into Kiran’shead.And so I began to take existence. They turned me into a tentative plan. I was to become a website,with a name called Chennaibuyz . It made a lot of sense, it was based on Chennai and it was basedon buying. I was going to host a number of advertisements of Discounts and deals happening all overChennai. Kishore was the brain behind all my catchy categories, like, ‘Wine, Dine and Chill’ forrestaurant and coffee pub advertisements.I needed to be popularized. So I got published through Prasath labs as brochures, pamphlets, postersand placards. I was becoming famous by the day. I now had a place in the heads of Kiran andKishore (who registered Chennaibuyz as a company), Prasad (Who was in charge of designingadvertisements), Lakshmi and Rakesh (Who went shop to shop to explain my advantages) and thefamilies and friends of all these people.Making me famous on the internet was no mean job. I somehow had to keep people visitingChennaibuyz.com , so I further branched out into a blog and a forum where we discussed some of theevents pertaining to Chennai. I was sent out to far away brands like Espirit, Koutons etc etc in theform of presentation. I was promoted through SEO(Search Engine Optimization).I found my way into friends’ network through facebook, orkut,twitter and even sms’es . I was on thepapers a couple of times. I was creating a buzz. I kept growing like a balloon.And then I burst!Kiran and Kishore could not focus on me much because of their work constraints.Lakshmi and Rakesh could not follow up on the meetings that they arranged with clients. Prasad’screativity took a dip after the amount of effort he spent on making the logo and the new design of thewebsite.Plus, I had no one to sponsor my growth. The lack of funds affected my progress into the internetmarketing field.Once seen as a means to become a client partner through introducing a new form of marketing, Iceased to exist in the ‘real’ virtual world. I am now just a distant memory in Kishore’s heart. At times Isurface to urge him to restart me, but at those times my enemy, reason plays down so many cardsagainst me that I stay put, one more of the stories of what could have been.My life story is somewhat like this, 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 66
  • I still exist in Kishore’s memory. With some financial support, I could get back to existence. Kishorehad planned so much for me. I was his pet. He nurtured me, cared for me. I lived through him;sometimes I ate up his food and his sleep.In his mind, I was always improving. I had so much capacity. I could grow indefinitely. In his mind, Iwas revolutionizing marketing. I was making and breaking various brands. I was a forum where theworld would know the customer needs and grievances (if any). I had a podcast with “the rhythm ofChennai” playing to announce the deals of the day. I was an institution providing job opportunities. Iwas the one who was going to make Kishore’s name echo throughout the country. I was the one whowould lead him to make speeches in schools and colleges and inspire the younger generation.But I remain here, an idea, that never completed its travel. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 67
  • 38.All about love!It was picture perfect. Like the last scene of a 1950 movie, where the couple leave hand in hand andthe film screen shapes itself into a heart and contracts into nothingness. The pair walked away, ratherhopped skipped and jumped away, happily ever after.……………………………………………………………………………………………………………“Hi, nice day ain’t it? The white man with a red hat asked the thin lady with the blue scarf.”“Well yes, it is snowing, and I am here. So it is a good day indeed.”“She said my name was Danny. What did he say yours was?”Jane.Jane, sweet name I must say. Did you notice my creator was short and you are tall? And likewise Iam plump and young while your creator was thin and middle aged?Well yes, actually I did. And I am the image of his first crush. Mary Jane, the one that never fell in lovewith him.Now I wonder who the real Danny was.Her ex boyfriend would be an educated guess.Well yes, now that you said it, it is very sad that we stand as a representation of something the happycouple never got in their past. I feel bad that we are created out of a memory from the deepest andsaddest corner of the heart.Yes, sad indeed!The snow man and snow women stood quiet for the rest of their existence, lost in each other’ssorrowful thoughts! 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 68
  • 39.Time and Space play games!!!It was a beautiful day. The trees were green and shiny with the glitter of the recent rain. The sky wasclear and blue and the air was cool. The sun had finally found its way out once the clouds had goneand the skies had cleared out. The grey of the road seemed to reflect the wetness. The weather wasas good as it could get in Bombay.For a while, she had been doing nothing but listening to the pitter patter of the rain. Her mind wascalm. The warmth from the cup of tea in her hands seemed to pass through her being and reflect outthrough the inward smile on her lips. She was waiting for him to call.……………………………………………………………………………………………..He was already running late to college. He had woken up late and had to rush to bath. He had to do aquick shave , one that gave him few cuts on his chin. But he had hardly had the time to feel theirritation of it. The wind was blowing the chillness on to him. It must have been a single digittemperature for sure. He regretted not wearing his thermals. But who had the time for that?He was pacing up to his college when he remembered he had not called her that morning. Thecurrent rush he was in, he knew he was susceptible to saying something curt if they spoke to eachother. Hurting her would be the last thing he wanted on that particular day. So he tried to calm himselfdown before he called her.………………………………………………………………………………………………..It was his call. He was talking about his daily antics. It was so good to hear him laugh out and passcomments on everyone he ever knew. There was a charm in his laughter that made her fall in lovewith him over and over and over again. She smiled openly and listened quietly to everything he wasnarrating to her.She gazed into the distance before her. She was at peace. She loved her life.………………………………………………………………………………………………………The cold winds were freezing his hands. Holding the cell phone and talking to her was becomingincreasingly difficult because of the pain. He had to remain cheerful and so had to keep making somesilly joke or another. But she was not replying to anything he was saying. He tried one joke and all heheard was “hmm” from her. Another joke, and another “hmm”.This was so irritating. Maybe she was preoccupied with something else. If so why would she not tellhim? That is the problem with her. She never says things out and if he guessed right also she wouldbe upset he felt about her that way. He decided not to make an issue of it. He hung up telling her thathe loved her. The “me too” he received seemed as if she had said it as a custom rather than from herheart.He gazed into the open space before him. He was so confused and irritated. He hated his life. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 69
  • 40.The writer and his poemThe writer was asleep when he heard a distant rhyme.“….of wonderful stories entwined,putting to shame the elixir that was wine….”Someone was praising him in his dreams.“….you stood tall amidst ordinary men,your words worth more than ten…”He was smiling in his sleep. He pictured himself being surrounded by people he knew. They all werepraising him.“ …..Stories so deep that stay in memory,and make us all look up to you in reverie…”There was an even rhythmic sense to the verses. It felt as if a song was woven together. The writerloved every letter of it. This was poetry at its purest form.“Now wait a minute!!”This was his first poem, the first that his genie had conjured up for him. The genie had chosen ‘Apoem of self praise’. The choice of words was typical of his genie in his elements.This was rather, his first song… and it was being played here, in his dreams.He tried in vain to memorise every word of it. He could not get up, as the song was still unfinished. Hecould not record everything, as the words were as if strung together by a delicate string ofundercurrent emotion. He was ecstatic that his song came, and helpless that he could never replicateit on paper.He woke up in tears, wondering when his genie would churn up his next poem. He wanted to sleepagain, maybe he would dream of the song again. But he knew his dreams never repeated, and hissong wouldn’t come.He picked up the book nearest to him and opened a random page.It said“If I were to choose the power of writing a poem and the ecstasy of a poem unwritten,I would choose the ecstasy.It is better poetry.But you and all my neighbours agree that I always choose badly.” 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 70
  • 41.Growing MatureThere were tears in her eyes. She was depressed about what people had branded her – ‘a haughty,arrogant , self centred teen who had very little friends’.“Let me help you. I can get you out of this mess.” The SMS from Kishore read on Kavitha’s mobile. Kishore, why was he always there for her? Why did he like her so much that he knew she would hurthim and yet he chose to stay by her side? Why did he look out for her when the rest of the world wasbusy branding names for her? Why could she never get herself to like him even a tenth of how muchhe liked her? The questions ran all over her head. She was about to cross the road and enter her college.Opposite to her, she saw a guy taking his girl by the hand and guiding her to cross the road. Thewhole world knew the girl was old enough to cross the road herself. Yet, there he was, holding herwith just enough grips to show that he cared for her well being. The calmness on her face reflectedthe peace she felt in her heart as she let herself being led by him. Memories of her past flooded her mind; The various moments where she had made life a living hellfor Kishore. The times where she had nagged him to do things for her; the times where she hadargued with him for no fault of his; the manner in which she had tactfully brought him into therelationship in the first place; the ruthless way in which she abruptly declared the relationship wasover. How much had she taken him for granted? How very heartless had she been? And yet, here hestood, having borne it all. Here he stood, extending his arm for her, fully knowing she was capable ofcutting him any moment. If she took Kishore’s help, she knew exactly what would happen. She would get back to being alrightfirst. She would be nice to him for a while. Then she would become herself soon and hurt him again.She could be the weak girl who rushed on to the first sign of aid possible. She could take his handand be the haughty arrogant girl that she now despised. She refused his help. She explained to him that she had to go through the emotions to emerge abetter person. She explained to herself that this period of suffering was necessary to bring about themuch needed change in her.This was maturity. This was growing up. This was what made up one’s character! She watched the couple feeding each other ice creams in the parlour opposite college. The teartrickling down her face rode the contour of her involuntary smile. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 71
  • 42.And so it beganAnirudh was excited. It was his best friend Aparna’s wedding. Though she had not been to his house,his parents knew they were friends enough to warrant Anirudh’s presence for all the mini-occasionsthat constitute the marriage. They had not opposed when he applied for holiday in office stating hermarriage as the reason. As a matter of fact, they were happy this event had made Anirudh, of allpeople, to plan and look forward to something.But Anirudh was not excited for any of these reasons. True, he was happy that his best friend wasgetting married. He had been at the listening end to her stories of all the events that conspired to thismarriage and he felt great joy that this day had become a reality. More importantly, this would be firstevent in which Anirudh would be gifting someone where he would be adding Janani’s name right nextto his. Janani -the girl he was going to marry.Of course his parents did not know about his plans. At 23 , they did not expect him to be bringing agirl in front of them. He knew that too, but Janani was his age and 23 was a very decent age for thegirls of their religion to get married at. But then, Anirudh had no plan of opening the topic of Janani tohis parents in the near future. Planning was not his cup of tea, he left it to Janani.Janani could never forget the first time she met Anirudh. The typical description of how he looked thatday in her eyes was ‘a wet crow’. There he was, down on one knee, a rose in hand and drenched inthe water that Aparna had thrown on his head. Who wouldn’t, considering he had got down on oneknee, extended the rose to her and said “Will you please introduce me to that classmate of yours whois single and looking for company.” Coincidence had it that Janani was the classmate, and Anirudh-the perennial Jackass lived up to his name right from that moment.The rest, as they say, is the power of love. AJ (Ani and Janani) had gotten to know each other thatday and were head over heels for the other in a couple of months. Aparna was their ‘God-mother’ asthey called her.Anirudh was all set for God-mother’s wedding. He had promised to pick Janani up on the way andthey would go as a pair. His parents were going to another wedding, some distant cousin’s relative’sson’s (he never got to the end of how they were related) wedding. So the coast was free, and thecouple could enjoy an evening together.As planned, AJ were on the way to Aparna’s wedding. They were happily discussing about how lavishthe wedding preparations generally are in their caste, about how they order for so many varieties offood, half of which goes waste and how much weight of gold the bride’s neck can hold. Smiling all theway and enjoying each other’s company, they entered the wedding complex – one with three weddinghalls on each direction.“Man! That is huge, must be costly too”, Anirudh was exclaiming when Janani pointed at a couplelooking in their direction with a rather queer expression on their face. Janani knew she had seen themsomewhere. In fact the lady had quite the same sad, and yet, beautiful eyes of Anirudh that she hadso often looked into.And so it happened, on that fateful day of Aparna’s marriage, that the term ‘AJ’ became taboo inAnirudh’s house for the next couple of months and then legal forever. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 72
  • 43.First Sight“Like a dream I can’t explain,Love is just a beating of your heart.Like a sunshine in the rain,Love can make your whole world fall apart.”“Bah… humbug. Whoever writes such lame lines for a song?”.….That was me, on Oct 18, 2008… I had lost all hope in love… My little fiasco of falling in love a coupleof years back had accelerated my way away from the concept. I hated slow romantic songs full ofcheesy ‘awwwwww’ inducing rhymes. This number from Neal and Nikki was going into my ‘Loveagain, get a life people’ category of songs.Life as such was not going anywhere. True, I found myself in one of the most renowned companies inthe world, but then, when you don’t have any work to do, you just don’t have any work to do. Timecrawls on so slow that even a snail would turn back and abuse time for blocking its way forward!I was so bored that I actually cheered when the fire alarm bells of the office blared. At last, somethingwas happening. I thought maybe a fire, maybe someone as crazy as myself had brought crackers intothe office and let em go!So much excitement ended in a rather bland realization…It was just a mock fire drill… I found myselfwalking down the stairs, keeping with the crowd and looking at all the glum faces and lazy ***s sulkabout walking down three floors to the safe assembly point.“You’re my dream ,my love, my life,I just wanna spend my life with you..You’re the one that makes me smile,I just wanna spend my life with you…”The damn song kept playing in my head all the time.And then it happened….Time froze… There she was… Having a laugh with her friends.. All girls, but I hardly noticedthem(how could I ?).. She was very cute…. The way the tip of her lips angled when she smiled wascute… the single strand of hair that fell on her face which her fingers kept brushing back on to herhead was cute… the way her hands moved when she spoke, as if she were lady Mozart running animaginary orchestra was ultimate cute… And with every little swish her hands made, my heart felt solight it could fly up the ten floors of my office.Before I knew it, I was smiling when she laughed.. I was sad when she frowned.. I was feeling the tapon the hand which her (lucky ass) friend received.. I was aping her… I was her monkey… and I wasloving every silly moment of it. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 73
  • We were praised by the ERT team for vacating the building in just 7 minutes, a new record. (Damn)..And it was time to get back to office!“I can see paradise…In what went inside your eyes…Suddenly everything has turned me inside out…Suddenly love is the thing I cant live without…”I loved this song… What lyrics.. What feeling… it was as if written for me and her!It took me a beautiful song, a record fire drill, a cute fair chick and some crazy coincidence to startbelieving in love again. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 74
  • 44.What If?It was time for the best man’s speech. He woke up, straightened his coat and went up the dais.“The first time I ever asked a girl out was when I was sixteen. obviously ,the girl rejected me: I mean,who would wanna date a dork. Right? Anyway, that’s not my point. The girl stands here as the bride.And if that was not ironic enough, it was that bas… oops.. sorry, it was that lucky guy who stands withher as the groom that had stood by my side back then and said “Hard luck buddy”.Sometimes in life, the ending is not as we had planned. Hell, it does not even feature you! Yet you arehappy about it, and that is how I feel about this wedding. For, it is my best friend with my first seriouscrush who have gotten together and I sure be happy for them. FYI Mr Groom, we are ‘just’ friendsnow!You life itself is governed by what-ifs. What if she had said yes to me back then? Would we havebeen together still? Would we have been married by now? Would we have broken up and sheeventually gotten on with this bugger? Would I ever have met the love of my life?I cannot go back in time and check the what-ifs for you, but I can tell you now and here that I amhappy with what did happen. Am sure I would one day tell their kids they have the most beautiful momand the friendliest dad ever; those innocent creatures would believe me and not give me the licking ofmy lifeI did not prepare myself for a speech. I did not expect myself to be the best man. There is just toomuch history among us for that to become a reality. And yet it has. Such an irony!If you need any secrets about the 2 of them, don’t come to me, I might disclose way too much 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 75
  • 45.Abundance in LifeThe writer is in a reflective mood today. He contemplates on how gifted he is to be able to writearticles that strike a chord in his readers’ hearts. He is happy that he is educated and has the goodcommand over language that is required for and necessary for prospective authors. He is thankful toGod for being born in a respected family that encourages him to chase his dream; he is aware thatthe dream he cherishes and nurtures so carefully is a fragile one. He imagines that someday he willwrite a letter to those who have made him the success that he is at present.However, the writer is now in a mood to enjoy the privileges that fate has bestowed on him. He picksup the keys of his costly, macho-looking bike. He thanks his dad in his mind and kicks the vehicle tolife. He whistles a tune as his bike whizzes past the slow riders on the road.It is the peak of summer and he soon is beginning to feel sweaty. The hot air blowing on to his face isnot helping either. He halts his hundred thousand rupee bike at the side of a shopping mall – thelargest in his city. His eyes look up at the scroll-type banners of the popular brands being sold in thecolossal building.As he walks towards the gate, he stumbles. His eyes are lowered back to ground and he realizes thathe tripped on a coconut shell. He smiles. This is his city, a mixture of modern buildings and traditionalcoconut water selling platform shops. He decides to have some coconut water, the ultimate thirstbuster according to his mom.He sees her frail hands, with hardly any strength to hold the coconut, let alone cut it; the veins juttingout of her brown skin, the webbings of her palms resembling the scales of a fish. Nonetheless, shemanages to thrust the coconut on him and demand twenty five rupees.He knows she is charging him five rupees extra but his mind is elsewhere. He has found his story towrite. He will get home and write a story of this eighty year old lady. He will write about how shesacrificed her life for the son who does not take care of her at this age. Soon, he returns home on hisbike.He picks out his diary and writes, “It is such a pity that a person’s life can be summed up in just apage of my diary……………………………” 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 76
  • 46.The Social AddictThe wind was making all efforts to orient his dishevelled hair. He was staring into the horizon,admiring the deep blue of the sea kiss the light blue of the sky. He unbuttoned his shirt and let itdangle loosely around his body. The salty breeze was lightening his spirit. He removed his shoes andlet his bare feet touch the hot sand. The hair on his body stood up at the sudden rush of heat frombelow. His body soon adjusted to the heat of the sand and began to appreciate its softness instead.He realized what living really meant – to be one with nature. He felt refreshed. He felt life inside him.He felt his heart remind him to find his purpose in life. He promised himself he would have suchmoments of solitude more often.……………………………………………It had all started with a simple question posed by his colleague. The question was if he was an addict.He had completely denied her and defended himself saying he did not smoke or drink or do drugs.She mocked him saying all those were addictions of the previous culture and her question was if hewas an addict of this culture – an addict to socializing, an addict to technology, an addict to moneymaking. He began to analyze his activities. The revelations shocked him.He realized that wherever he was; his mobile was within a couple of arm distances from him. Hecalculated that he listened to songs almost 3 hours daily. He measured that on an average, he sent250 text messages per day. A minute per message would translate to just about more than 4 hoursfor each day. He would be on Facebook and Orkut every night from 10 to 1. He spoke to his girlfriendhalf an hour before lunch, another half hour post tea, and 2 hours between 7 and 10. Food, hygiene,work and sleep accounted for 12 hours of his day. He travelled 4 hours between office and home.That meant he was managing 30 hours of activity in a day.He praised himself saying that this was the age of multitasking where one listens to the pod andmessages his friends while sitting on the potty.…………………………………………………………………………But who was he kidding?He :Hardly spends an hour for himselfAlmost never manages 6 hours of productive work, let alone 8.Hates his job profile/nature.Stays in the company only because of the high salary.Has not played soccer since he was 19 years.Not met his best friend since last Christmas.Has 400 friends on Facebook ,half of whom he never met. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 77
  • Hardly spends time his parents.In a nutshell, hates life…………………………………………As he watched the deep sea, he promised himselfHe would :Work on his fitness againPlay soccerInvite his friend for weekly drinksFind a job near homeTake holidays and breaksLive life again………………………………………………………………And ………He drove back home smiling and published his resolutions on FB. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 78
  • 47.The Power of GossipAnita picked up the letter lying on the iron table. It had been deliberately placed there by Kishore so itwould be noticed. With tears in her eyes, she began to read it.Dear Anita,I can bear the accusatory stares no more. Each time I encounter one, I feel morally responsible forwhat had happened.It was sometime back in October when I filed a complaint against the girls at the R6 Kannagi nagarpolice station. I could not handle the amount of noise their stereos made early in the morning. I amused to hearing the devotional songs blaring from temples during function time but being forced tohear Boney M at six in the morning was intolerable. Despite multiple requests to turn the volumedown the girls kept playing the damn songs. So I did the only thing that a law abiding citizen could – Iwent to the nearest police station and filed a public nuisance complaint against the girls who livedbehind our house.I should have been more tolerant, but I wasn’t.We had been out a month on a vacation to Delhi.When we returned, the girls were not there in thehouse. I assumed they had shifted and thanked God for the good riddance. I was even happy to hearthe songs on Jesus being played again though we are Hindus. I had no clue what happened to thegirls.On many occasions I myself had preached to believe in the power of gossip and trust it to carry newsfast and wide. My belief came to haunt me when I began to hear that the girls had been harassed andabused by the police following my complaint. I also heard rumors that they had been released laterbut on the compliance to accommodate the inspector on weekly basis to their house. I also heard theycould not bear the humiliation and committed suicide a fortnight later.I feel morally responsible for what happened. I am torn between my guilt and anger on the injusticedealt to the girls. I cannot lead my life with the knowledge that I have indirectly killed three people. I donot want to live the rest of my time knowing I am a murderer.Love,KishoreWhat a touch of cynicism – it was the same inspector of R6 kannagi nagar that closed both the casesstating that they were indeed suicides. The letter was confiscated from Anita and burned before hervery eyes. She was threatened that she would have to endure the same plight that the girls had if shedisclosed the truth. All evidence ceased to exist!……………. All, except the power of Gossip! 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 79
  • 48.Big Fat Love!Dec 14, 2004 :“………..I just don’t wanna see your face again.”Her eyes were on fireHis were looking down as if a puppy dog who just got caught for his mistake.Who could blame her, she was so justified in lashing out at him.He was just trying to be nice by offering her his seat.How dare he mention that he thought she was pregnant?How would he know it was just a little too big a tummy?She moved to a seat at the back of the bus and glared at him the whole length of the journey.He had no eyes behind, yet he knew hers were fixed on him. “Never cross a woman”, he nowrealized; he felt the heat of her stare in the back of his neck.He was never going to be friends with her. How could he, after he offered her his seat in the front sideof the bus saying ‘bumpy rides are not good for pregnant women’? He was such a moron.‘He was such a moron’, she thought, an hour later. She had cooled down now and began to see thewhole incident objectively. Point number one was that she badly needed to reduce her tummy. Buther thoughts were on point number two – the guy was just being sweet. How many men would onesee who offer their seat for someone else? He had expected nothing off her by his act. He had caredfor what he had assumed to be a pregnant lady. He was sweet, he just lacked some ‘prudence’, forlack of an appropriate term.Maybe she was a little too rude. The guy had got enough of a blast from her. She had glared at himall through the journey. The whole bus knew he had behaved odd with a lady (and in today’s society,these people would have happily branded him a stalker or pregnant women…urgh!!!) . He has hadenough insult for one day!She entered the bus in the evening and found him looking in the opposite direction as hard as hecould. It was so blatant and obvious that he had noticed her coming and turned away.She sat next to him, smiled and said “Sorry about what happened this morning, but I want you toknow am not pregnant. In fact am not even married. And I don’t have a boy friend, so there is noremote chance of me being so. It just took me by surprise that you felt so, but hey, you would havesaid it with good intention.”He smiled back at her nervously and said, “Am sorry too. I just assumed a lot of things which Iobviously should not have”.…………………………………………… 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 80
  • And they were friends ever after!!………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………‘That’, my dear is how I met your big fat mommy!Love,Dad 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 81
  • 49.The Story of My LifeBecause you ask, I am going to tell you my story.I came to this apartments some seven years back when I was about 15 years old. Let me tell you, thisapartment is not one where you will find much of entertainment. There are so many uncles andaunties around who will bore you to death. And there are absolutely no girls around.Well, actually there was one girl. Her name was Nikitha. She was an interesting girl. Almost everyonein this apartment knew her.I saw her first on a chilly December evening back in 2008. She was wearing a tight t-shirt and jeanand walking back and forth on the common area. There was the notice board on the wall behind herwhich had a very weird picture. It was a drawing, a transformation from the word Varanya to theimage of a sleeping cat. I was completely fascinated by it and was peering into the drawing from adistance.“What’s your problem? Why are you looking at me like that?”, those were the first words she spoke.Actually, she was so rude I thought she spit them out.“Uh? Nothing, I was watching the notice board. Am Sekar, by the way!”, I replied.“So?”“So, Nothing!”, saying thus I ran off to my house.I did not like her much. I felt she was a brat, who needed to be taught manners. I avoided her after thefirst awkward meeting.Our apartment had a dearth of people our age, it still has, so it was inevitable that I met Nikitha quiteoften. And considering that the place was so full of oldies who do not know the difference betweenZara and Mc’D and have no clue what CCD and KFC means, she had no choice but to hang out withme. True to my evaluation, she was a freak and a wild girl to have for a friend.It was 4 a.m on a Wednesday. Me and Nikitha were at the terrace.“Hey! How would it be if we went out now. On a long bike ride. To Oasis?” , saying thus she walkedup the wall, holding my hand.“Are you crazy? Its 4 in the morning. We cannot go that far. My parents will kill me. First get downfrom the wall.”“Why? You scared I will fall? I wont fall, You wont let me fall! Let go somewhere nah!”“No way man, I cannot take my bike out this late. Please get down!”“Come on chicken, it will be fun. Why should I worry, you are holding me nah!”, saying thus sheswayed a leg outside. At the same time, not expecting her to do that, I let go, to say “What if leaveyou?”. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 82
  • ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………I saw her die man, falling, down the five floors. Shrieking loud. Her helpless eyes, looking at me,hopeless! I still remember that sight!I rushed down, jumped 5 stairs at a go. I was sweating profusely. I could hardly breathe. And I couldfind no voice. I was whimpering. I was scared, freaked out of my wits. I had killed her!I had killed her man, just let her go, when I should not have. I killed her! I am a murderer!I finally reached the ground. And ran to the back of the flat. To the spot where she fell.But she was not there!………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………“Oh my God! Where’s she?”. I searched here and there. I circled the apartment thrice. All the fluid inmy throat was gone. I could not open my mouth. All I could do was whimper. My face began to burn,with fear.I looked around for her. There were a group of boys outside. Think they sneaked out for a smoke. Iran to them. Pulled them, tugged them, nudged them, tried to explain what I was going through. But Icould not speak a word. My voice was gone. I was whimpering like a puppy dog!One brave guy took pity on me and accompanied me.We looked around the flat, but to no avail.“What are you looking for buddy? What happened?”, he asked. God, if only I could answer!!………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….Just then, I heard voices. I leaned on the edge of the wall, and sneak peeked at the direction of thevoices. It came from the spot where she fell.“So you fell down? From up there?” ,the morning sweeper was asking someone. “Yes Ma, fromthere, I was with Sekar and we were talkin……..”.I was sweating profusely. I pulled the guy next to me. Signalled to him to listen just like I did.………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….I saw his face. First he was confused about what was happening. I saw comprehension, when hestarted to hear the voices. Then I saw confusion again, as he tried to come to terms with what he washearing. And then……..And then the eyes changed their intensity. The body became stiff.He turned towards me, there wasfire in the eyes….a blazing red, so cold it made you freeze. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 83
  • “You killed me! You killed me!”…. Saying thus he took this iron rod and hit me repeatedly on the headlike this, like this, like this,this this this!!!!!!! 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 84
  • 50.Diary entry of a random girlIf there ever was a poll on who is the loneliest girl at this moment, I would win it hands down. I don’tknow why I am the one most mistaken. God, is it my fault that I am born this way?I am not stubborn, but I don’t listen to anyone. I am not brash, but I answer to none. I deserve not pity,though I get so much of it these days. God, is it my fault that I am born this way?You gave me so much beauty. You gave me eyes that talk. Is that why you forgot my speech? God, isit my fault that I am born this way?You gave me a keen sense of observation. You gave me a heart that can more than just listen. Is thatwhy you forgot to wire my ears? God, is it my fault that I am born this way?Today another guy had his eyes fixed on me. I could hear him crave for me inside him. Then theusual thing happened, he approached and spoke to me and then realized my inability. A heart full oflove immediately turned into a heart full of pity. Then there was no love. God, do I deserve this plight?The slight hope I nurture of finding someone who will treat me the way I want to be treated seems tobe diminishing day by day. I still am looking for the one who will take me for what I am. I look for theone who will speak with the heart rather than the mouth. I look for the one who will look into me andtell me that I am beautiful inside.And when he does that, GOD, I will listen, though I am subjected to be born this way – A deaf and adumb girl, turning blind to superficial love!!! 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 85
  • Sign offI would like to say thank you to a number of people who made this possible.I would not want to hurt anyone by missing them out hence I would not go about the process ofnaming them.I would like to thank Paulo Coelho, who has been my inspiration for writing and whose booksunfailingly reminded me of my purpose in life.I would like to thank my friends for following my blog and urging me to continue in this journey ofbecoming an author.I would like to thank my mum and dad for letting me follow whatever I wanted in life and being therefor me at all time. You have been nothing short of inspirational.I would like to thank fellow bloggers for offering competition, suggestions and constructive critics thathelped me believe in myself and evolve as someone who writes.I would also like to thank the rest of my family for their love and affection and at times blatantadmiration that rid me of every writers fear of his book not being read by anyone.Last but not the least I would like to thank you, my reader for having travelled this far into the bookand I hope to see you back in http://www.chinamouli.com.As always, you could mail me your comments or feedback at chinamouli@gmail.com Chandramouli S. 50 Short Stories from http://www.chinamouli.com P a g e | 86