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A strange dream

June 13, 2012 Leave a comment

When I woke up today, I felt something was not right. Had I been in the right state of mind, I would have seen nothing was right. I was in a room that I had not seen before. However, I did not feel alarmed, strangely it seemed an ordinary day.

I had to go with my Mom somewhere, I do not remember where. We hailed a taxi, wait isn’t this too small for all of us. Now it was not just me and my mother but there were quite a number of ladies with my mother. I do not remember when they joined us. I got in the front with the driver. I argued with my mother how they could all sit. She said there was so much room for all of them. I realised there was no point arguing and turned my head around to the driver. ‘Chalo bhaiyya’, I say to him. I have not told him where to go, even I do not really know where I wish to go. It all seems normal though, it seems a vaguely familiar routine. As I look back to see how the ladies are doing, I see they are all seated comfortably. There is a lot of room, amazing that a car which looks so small from outside is so big on the inside.

It is evening now, I do not remember how I got here from the taxi. I look up at the sky at the birds. A couple of birds catch my eye they are going fast and one is chasing the other. ‘Look they have lights’ I say to the man standing next to me. He is my childhood friend who I am seeing after a long time. ‘What do you expect them to have, they are jet planes.’ I look up again, he is right about them. They are not birds but jet planes and they are not the only ones there. There are a lot of them flying around, some of them are flying too close to the ground. I ask my friend, are they supposed to fly so low. He says, ‘let the fireworks begin.’ At any other point of time, this would have made no sense to me and would have seemed so out of context. However now it made perfect sense. The next time I see him it is rather dark, he has a rocket in his hand, a real one.

The planes are flying as usual and I can hear them drone as they move perilously close to our heads. There are a lot of people there, it is a festive atmosphere. It is just like Diwali but with the addition of those ‘birds’ in the sky. Even this sounds vaguely familiar, normal. My friend shoots his rocket but he shoots it horizontally towards us. It hits my dad, I do not remember if he was there earlier. I am furious at my friend, but my Dad says it is ok. He is actually smiling. Wait, there are so many of them, the clones of my Dad smiling at me, all alike, all wearing the same type of T-shirts different colors though. I enquire what is this to my Dad look-alike who stands closest to me. He says it is ok, they all vanish after some time except one. He does not seem to care which one. I feel odd and go back to sleep, I have had enough for the day.

As I get up the next day, I get up in a familiar setting in my hostel room away from my home and away from the maddening place where I was yesterday. I have to take a bath to refresh myself from that strange dream. As I get in the bathroom, I see no mirrors. However there is some one exactly like me standing there. But then it is no big deal, one of us is anyway going to vanish in some time. And strangely I do not care which one it is.

P.S: I had this vague dream a few days back which I decided to write down as well as I could. I have taken a few liberties in the narration here and there, but it is still based on a ‘true dream’. It seems so strange now however it seemed very real when I woke up from my dream.

Categories: Short stories

The beggar at the temple

January 13, 2010 3 comments

He was not an ambitious person, he was happy with the little he got. He could have got anything he desired since, though he did not know it, he was God. He would sit outside a temple with a begging bowl in hand, the only thing he wanted was to sleep on a full stomach. Since his wish was God’s wish it would always get done. He would bless those who gave him food and his blessings would come true, then the blessed people would come back to the stone gods within the temple to express their gratitude. With God’s grace, scores of wishes were realised and the ‘gratitude’ kept on pouring in cash and kind and the temple and its priests became richer and richer.

The fame of the stone god who supposedly fulfilled all wishes grew far and wide. The true God was happy initially since more people meant more alms but then the crowd brought in more beggars and more competition for him. As he slept one night with the horde of ugly, diseased beggars who he hated very badly, he wished if the temple authorities would simply drive away these beggars. A few days later, God’s will was fulfilled. The temple authorities decided that the beggars were creating a nuisance to the people and decided to drive them away. As he was driven away from the temple which fed him, he looked to the stone god one last time and wished if only there had been no temple which made him dependent on alms, he would have worked and fed himself. He was old now and would get no work, the only wish that he had now was to take a long rest from all his worries.

A few days later, the temple was razed to the ground by the civic authorities since it was found to be illegal, the priests and the devotees could not stop the demolition since it seemed that some powerful authority wished the temple demolished. Little did the priests realise that the powerful authority who wished the demolition done had been driven out by them from his own temple and he was sleeping a peaceful sleep outside the temple gates, never to wake up again.

P.S. The idea of a God who does not know he is God comes from the rain God in “The hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy”

Categories: Short stories

Polymorphism

August 12, 2009 1 comment

I used to read science fiction a lot in my childhood, now I read C++, the concepts here seem closer to science fiction than reality. Take the example of polymorphism. I have cooked up a little fictional story starting with a trace of polymorphism. I hope you will like it.

This is a fictional philosophical discussion between a human and a creature of a more advanced species.

Creature to human: “We are called polymorph people. When you look at us, hear us, feel us and paint a picture of my people in your mind. That mental picture could be very different from what some other species would think of us. We project ourselves to other people the way we want to.”

Human to Creature: “Hmmm, we are not an advanced race of people as you are, but yes we too do this in our own little way. If you were to ask two people of my own race about myself, you might hear two different tales about me.”

C: “True, I have noticed this polymorphic behavior in your people too, but it is not as evolved as it is in us.”

H: “You know what I wonder is when I hear two contradicting tales about me, I at times have to accept both of them to be true. I then wonder about who the real me is, I wonder if I will ever find that out. Do you know who the real you is?”

C: “That is a question which none of our people, in spite of the millions of years of evolution and introspection, have been able to answer.”

H: “I guess the question will remain for eternity.”

C: “We have people amongst ourselves, who your people would call philosophers. They tell us that the day we find out who we are, we end. By end they do not mean death. They believe that the purpose of a person’s life is to find his true self and when he finds it, he has no purpose to live. This purpose is believed to be the driving force behind everything that a person does.”

H: “I believe this is to be true. Some people would think over who they are, while others would hunt for food without bothering about such philosophies. But yes they are all in the quest to find themselves and they do it all their lives knowingly or unknowingly.”

To be continued …

Categories: Short stories

A technical proposal

August 12, 2009 1 comment

He had to put the question now and he really did not know how to put it. He had a discussion with his friend on this. His friend said, “Just tell her man, give her a flower and tell her. If you are scared, call her up. But I personally would suggest the flower trick. All women fall for that.”

“How do you know that?””Experience boss … Experience”

“What bloody experience are you talking of, you almost got thrashed.”

“What?”

“I know, everybody in college knows. Leave that for now, can you suggest me at least one way to say this. I say you come along with me.”

“What the F, what will I do there and what does everyone know.”

“Nobody knows a thing, it is only me and …, let that go, I have a bigger problem to face tomorrow. I say you come along with me tomorrow, just hide somewhere, in case there is a problem you come and rescue me.”

“It has been an year since you know her, nothing which requires me rescuing you will happen. I suggest you think over what to say and say it. Hey, I have got to go, phone call from home.”

“Chalo Bye, I will have to think over what to say.”

“It is not what you say, but how you say it that matters, it is all about style. I will talk to you later. Naa mamma aapse nahi dost hai …”

He decided to leave his friend there, he never knew when his phone call would end and he had realised by now that his friend would not be of much help in this matter. But yes what his friend said about style did make sense. He wondered what could be his own inimitable style.

When he was in his room, he thought of how it had all started …

It had started with her asking for help for some math problem, he did not have much of a reputation of being a math expert but she was really horrible and needed help for the simplest of things. After he had solved her doubt, she replied, “Oh thanks, I really think I will not be able to get through this subject. You can help me out. We can study jointly if you do not mind?” He could hear his friends taunting him in whispered tones now. This to him was not a request, but an offer, an offer he could not refuse.

And so it all began with joint study sessions. The more he came to know her, the more he felt that this was the girl for him. She was good at everything she did, ofcourse except for solving math problems. Eureka, that was it … math. It had to be math. He had entertained thoughts of impressing her by solving a very difficult mathematical problem, but it did not take him much time to realise that this was not the way a girl falls for a man. But if there was a way, it had to be a mathematical solution to this problem.

When she met him the next day she asked him, “So, how are you doing?”

He replied, “Not so good.”

“Why, what happened.”

“You know, I was reading something about how you need to have a balance between your work, play and your social life.”

“So …”

“I think I do not have that balance in my life. I am not sure if you understand this.”

“I think you have been reading too much these days.”

“Wait I will explain, get me a pen and a paper.”

So he started drawing figures on the paper as she wondered what he was about to tell.

“So this is it. This is my problem.”

“What? It is a Venn diagram.”

“No, this is my life. this A here is my work life, this B is my personal life and C is my social life.”, he said pointing to each of the three blocks that he had drawn.

“Hmm, are you alright? Have you drunk something?”

And pointing to the intersection of the blocks he said, ” … and this is the intersection which is the problem. It makes me think all the time and hence I can not keep my A and my B and my C separate from each other.”

“Oh, the solution is so simple, you cut that out from the Venn diagram …”

“No, I can not do that, that leaves a void in my life.”

“So what is this intersection … to be more precise who is it?”

Years later …

A kid asked, “Mom why was I named Vennu?”

She replied, “Go, ask your father.”

P.S. This post is inspired from this xkcd comic.

http://xkcd.com/112/

Categories: Short stories

A lot can happen over coffee

August 12, 2009 Leave a comment

It had all started with that debate, he felt. That was the first time he had heard her speak. He had noticed earlier that she was beautiful, but it was only in the debate that he actually fell for her.

The topic was “Are beautiful girls less intelligent?” … a very sexist topic but that made the debate more interesting. It was a guys v/s girls debate and a guy came up with this brilliant theory of the beauty and brains product being a constant for women, so if a girl was very beautiful, she had to be dumb. It was to this remark that she had replied.

She had said “Yes, you are correct when you say that beauty brains product is a constant for girls, but I extend it to say that it is constant even for guys, but unfortunately for them, it is a negative constant because both beauty and brains in a guy is imaginary.”

It took him a while to comprehend what she had said, but when he did, for some reason he felt he had found some one with a high beauty brains product. He found some excuse to make small talk with her that day, they then along with the other debaters went for coffee. There he found something strange about her, she did not like coffee but took plain milk instead. He was a coffee lover and could not help but ask, “Won’t you take coffee?”

“No, I do not take coffee. I find it bitter.”

“What? You are missing the best non-alcoholic beverage in the world.”

She did not reply to that but went along with her friends to have her cup of hot milk.

The next day he found her again in the cafeteria, actually he was waiting for her to come. His friends had bunked class and he had pretended to leave for home and then he came back to the cafeteria.

As she went to the counter, he went next to her and ordered for coffee and said “Oh hi, so what … plain milk.”

“Yes, I guess I can live without caffeine.”

“I cannot”, he said taking his coffee. ” By the way I liked what you said yesterday, you seem to be an angry feminist out to take revenge against men who …”

She cut him short, “That was just for the debate. Hey, let us sit somewhere and talk. I do not want to stand here.”

And then they talked about coffee then about their lectures and professors and then complained about their college and so things started. He thought they clicked, they spent a lot of time together and were seen together so often that people fund it unusual if they saw any one of them alone.

He felt that this was his first serious relationship. He was on a high which he had never felt before. Things were going rather smoothly till one day they had a serious discussion on what they would do next.

“I am going to give my GRE, I hope I get a good score and go to a good university.”, he said.

“and leave me alone here.”

“Do not worry dear, when I come back I will have loads of money and you would be marrying a rich man.”

“I am serious, have you ever thought of what we will do next, I do not really have any intention of studying, I am doing a job and hopefully find some useful guy and get married to him.”

“So, am I useless. Maybe I am, but I cannot imagine life without you sweetheart.”

“You need to be serious, we are not going anywhere.”

“No, I am and I intend to come back for you.”

“When? How long should I wait? My relatives have started suggesting suitable grooms for me.”

“What, so early? you will just finish college.”

“People marry early in my community, I had told this to you. You should have done something.”

“What can I do? What are you talking? Why are we talking this? We can …”

“You just stay quiet, sit here and yes go have your coffee. I have got to leave.”

“So are you meeting one of the prospective grooms today …”

She left without replying. He knew that she would come back the next day there at the cafeteria, but she didn’t. He called her up but her phone was off. A day later she came to cafeteria, she seemed very serious. He felt she might cry anytime and she did. In between the sobs he heard how her parents had found a suitable boy for her. The boy was settled in a foreign country making loads of money. They would not get a better match for her later. He asked her if she had told them about their relationship and then she said, “Please, you will have to forget me, we have been good friends. I do not think I can wait for you, my parents will not approve and it would be best for you if you concentrate on your studies, since you are interested in pursuing MS, you should do that. You can find a much better girl than me.”

She left him and said it was best for both of them if they avoided each other. Things had happened so fast, he just did not realise how he should react, he had just not thought of this. He felt terribly low, he needed coffee then. But his coffee did not taste as it used to, it had tasted salty that day.

His thoughts were disturbed by a “Your coffee is ready.” It was his wife. As he looked at his wife, while sipping his coffee, he realised her beauty brains product was not very high, but then she made wonderful coffee.

P.S: The comment on beauty*brains = constant (if gender = female) is not mine, but I have heard it from a friend of mine.

Categories: Short stories

A story of spiders and kings

August 12, 2009 Leave a comment

This is a retelling of an old story which you might have read earlier.

Once upon a time, there lived a brave, clever and kind king by name Gospidy. He was the best king of his time, possibly of all time. There was no king as kind, as brave, as clever as him at that time, possibly at no point of time would you have found a king more kind, more brave, more clever than him. Inspite of all his bravery, cleverness and because of his kindness, he was by the deceit of his ministers overthrown and sent to exile forever. (I could tell you how he was overthrown, but that I leave for a later blogpost)

The king roamed away from the country into the forest. When he was tired, he decided to rest in a cave. While he was resting in the cave, he saw a large spider weaving a web, the spider fell down a number of times, but he did not give up. Seeing the spider, the king remembered something. He remembered he had not had food for quite some time now and finding nothing else around he had the spider. The king found the spider really delicious, none of the royal delicacies could have matched the exotic taste. The king developed a taste for spiders and ate spiders for breakfast, lunch, dinner for a number of months. One fine day while hunting for a rather huge spider, he found it really difficult to get hold of the spider. He asked himself what he could do to get hold of his prey. Voila! He had to just think like a spider and do what a spider would do while hunting for prey. He did get the spider through this thinking, from that day he decided that he would think and act like a spider.

One fine day (things always happen ‘one fine day’ … love this phrase really), he realised he actually had special spider powers, he could spin webs, climb trees and had improved reflexes and sharper senses. The king now had ‘the power’ and decided to payback what he had got from his ministers. He went back to his country and there with the help of his special spider powers got rid of the deceitful ministers and regained his throne. After regaining his throne, the first thing he did was to order the cleaners of his palace to not clean cobwebs but let the spiders be there and to get them to him. He then taught his cook some special recipes. The cooks were surprised at the king’s requests but had to keep quiet for letting on a royal secret would mean certain death.

The king, through use of his secret powers, ruled for years and his country remained prosperous under the shade of his benevolence. The legacy of the king would have been lost in the cobwebs of time, but for me who unearthed the story of this real spiderman. And for all those folks trying to be spiderman, come on, how do you believe that being bitten by a radioactive spider can give you special powers and then where do you find a radioactive spider. The easiest way to become spiderman is all here, it has not worked for me yet, but I believe I am close to getting a breakthrough. I just need the right spider or possibly I lack a certain rare gene. I suggest you try this, you never know the spider there on the wall behind your computer screen could be the right one.

P.S. This story is inspired by a story I heard from my friend about his friend who by the lure of 500 Rs. was made to eat a live spider. I know what you are thinking, I am not that friend! I never do things for the money … I do it for the joy of doing them 🙂

Categories: Short stories

The Emperor, his queen and their son (To say nothing of the dog)

August 12, 2009 Leave a comment

Today I am going to tell you a ‘very moving’ story about an emperor, his queen and their son and yes the wonderdog Tommy in a very special appearance. You are not human if this story does not bring tears to your eyes, I cried the entire night as I wrote this story. I see you are already moving … Oh no! please do not touch that damn mouse, come on … reading a short story never killed anyone.

Ok to continue with my story, you see in those days it was fashionable among emperors to go for hunting expeditions and our emperor was returning from one such hunting expedition. A few soldiers had returned earlier with the news that the emperor had killed a large tiger. Ofcourse nobody in the country believed it, but then who could dare to openly challenge the emperor’s bravery.

After the usual welcome ceremonies were over, the emperor came back to the palace. The emperor could silence the sceptics outside the palace, but there were some in the palace who could question the truth in his story. As the emperor boasted to his queen, of how he charged towards the fleeing tiger, sword in hand, and that too when he was barefoot, the queen asked him.
“How do you chase a tiger which can run ten times faster than a man ?”
The emperor replied :

“Ordinary men can not do these, my dear, it takes an man of extraordinary strength and courage like me.”

“I do not think even our fastest messengers can outrun a tiger.”

“Yes, my dear queen, our fastest messengers cannot do it, but I can, you do not know the limits of my strength and bravery.”

“Is it so ?”, the queen replied sarcastically.

The emperor did not like this, he replied “You do not believe me, do you? Alright then I will prove to you how good I am. We will have a race of the fastest runners in the empire tomorrow and I will participate too, then you will know how wrong you are.”

“Alright, I would like to see that.”

The emperor had not expected this, but he knew that he had the advantage of being the emperor and he could do anything he wanted. He summoned his servants and ordered them to arrange a race in the palace grounds. When the queen was not there, he had a private meeting with the other runners, they were briefed about the consequences of winning a race against the emperor and were sent off. As the emperor returned to his queen, he thought “Let me see how the old bitch beats me this time.”
(Note: The emperor does not say this aloud, even an emperor does not dare to call his wife old.)

The next day, the palace grounds were a sight to watch, on one hand you could see the lean, mean looking competitors and on the other hand you had the emperor who it seemed was two people rolled into one. However this was nothing compared to what happened during the race. It seemed that the other runners had forgotten how to run, they were running in super-slow motion mode and the emperor well, as one saw him run, one felt sorry for mother earth.

The queen was not going to let the emperor have his way. As the race was going on, the queen’s servants brought the emperor’s son to the race, very close to the starting line. The boy had not the shrewdness of the queen but had inherited all the stupidity of his father. He stupidly stood there praising his father (if there was one person who believed in the emperor, this was the prince). Some of my readers (I have someone other than me reading this blog, I hope) will wonder what happened to the wonder dog that I had mentioned in the beginning. Well, he makes his entry now (drum rolls in the background). The wonder dog was the trained palace dog and for some reason was very fond of the prince, the prince however dreaded dogs and could not reciprocate the dog’s sentiments. The dog was let loose towards the prince, the dog out of love for the prince ran to him, the boy got scared and ran as fast as he could and ran in the same direction as the other runners. In just a few seconds he overtook all the runners including his father. The soldiers placed to take care of anyone who overtook the emperor could not shoot their arrows at the emperor’s son. A rather smart soldier tried to shoot down the dog, but was stopped from doing so by one of the queens attendants. He was reminded that he had orders to deal with the other runners and not with dogs.

When the race was over, the prince had to be declared the winner. The race was completed in record time and the prince and his achievements in the race were the talk of the town for years. The emperor had his illusions of “king of all I survey” broken once again and the queen lived happily as queens usually do. Wait … what happened to the dog … well he had to return to living a dog’s life. Poor dog!

P.S. This story has been ‘inspired’ by a story that I had read in Tinkle when I was younger. I actually plagiarize a lot in my blog, unfortunately this one was caught by a reader. (Yippee, there are people who read my blog )

Categories: Short stories