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

Those Beautiful eyes

August 8, 2009 2 comments

She was thinking of him today, of the little time she had spent with him. It was a long time back, it seemed much longer to her. She was very happy, she was going to meet him today after those long years. She wondered if he was as good looking as he was when they were fifteen. Of course he would be, he would perhaps look better. Men, she thought, looked more handsome as they grew older.

The first thing that attracted her to Raman was his eyes… those beautiful eyes. They were the most beautiful eyes, she had seen in school. Raman was popular in school, excellent in sports, good in making friends and was horrible in studies, but then a man or rather a boy can not be good in everything he does. Talking of friends, he had one friend who was always with him, she did not remember his name, he was not someone whose name one would remember. She called him the leech, and thought of him as a leech.

She would always find some excuse to meet Raman, she gave him subtle hints but she could never tell if he understood. During her tenth standard, her father got transferred and she had to leave school. When she said goodbye to Raman, she felt bad … she had so much to tell to him. She asked for his address, he perhaps realised what was in her heart and perhaps felt the same, she could see it in his eyes, she wished if he would say it, but he did not, perhaps he did not want to say it in front of his friend … that leech if he could leave Raman and her alone for some time.

She did write to him, she had to and she waited for a reply. The reply did come after what she felt was a long time. He had written how much he missed her, she was surprised at how well Raman could write. His choice of words suggested something, she wrote back to confirm what she hoped was true. This time the reply was quicker and that he had a crush on her was pretty evident. The communication between them continued for years, but she could never meet him. She wrote of a lot of things. She turned down love proposals and wrote of them to him, he never said of something of that sort. She thought perhaps he did not like to tell of the girls who sent him love proposals, she hoped he turned them down. She felt Raman was the right man for her, there was nobody else who she could be happy with.

When she completed her graduation, she felt she would give him a surprise by visiting him. He had never moved from his old place, she had been to many places and made new friends, but he was her most special friend and knew her better than all of them. When she rang the bell of his apartment, it was answered by his servant.

She asked “Sahab hai?”

“Sahab abhi aate hi honge? Aap kaun ?”

She replied that she was his friend. He asked her to wait for sahab inside. She did not see Raman’s parents around as she had expected, he had told her they would be going to their native place. She was wondering how he looked now and he saw his photo in a neat frame, it was him with his leech friend, it was possibly taken in their schooldays.

She was surprised when she saw him walk in through the door, it was the leech, he had not changed much, looked as ugly as before, but something about him had changed, what it was she could not tell. He had recognised her too and was as surprised as she was.

“I came to meet Raman, he does not seem to be around, so I was waiting for him.”

“I am sorry.” the leech replied.

What an idiotic response she felt, why does he have to be sorry.

“I have to tell you something, please do not cry.”

She did not know what he was talking about, she did not particularly enjoy being with him, but she surely did not feel like crying.

“What is it? You seem disturbed.”

“I have to say something about Raman, I know this would hurt you, but … Raman … He is dead”

She was shocked, she did not know what to say.

“He died a few days after you left.”

“What? He … He has been writing letters to me. Look” She had brought Raman’s letters and had them in her hands, she could never have given it to the leech, but she did.

“I wrote them.” he replied with his head lowered.

“But this is his address.”

“No, he had given you my address, he thought his parents would not let him receive letters from girls, they did not like those things. He gave my address, he could always get those letters from me. He … He trusted me.”

“And you …”

“I liked him too, as much as you do, and … and I liked you too.”

“What? You …”

“When I received your letter, I wanted to write back about what had happened, but … somehow I could not do it, I opened your letter and read it and …”

“And …”

“And I wrote back what I felt about you, I did always want to tell you the truth, but I just could not know how to do it. Perhaps I never wanted you to know.”

“I will always hate you. You lee… How did it happen? How did he …?”

“He died in an accident. I was there with him when the accident took place. We had taken his Dad’s bike and we were driving it around town. Suddenly a car came speeding towards us, we were on the wrong side of the road. We could not control the bike and collided into the car… ”

She did not know what to say, she was crying softly, it did not matter to her when Raman died, for her he had only died now, just a few minutes ago he was alive in her memories but he was dead now.

“I am sorry for what I have done.”, he had realised she was crying.

She knew he felt sorry and said “It’s alright, but it hurts to know that someone you loved is no more, was never there, but I would be so happy if he was …”

“Something of his is still here with me, I was with him when he died in the hospital, I had lost my eyes in the accident, his parents decided that his eyes …”

She looked into his eyes, the leech’s eyes, she realised why he had looked different the first time she saw him. It was those eyes … those beautiful eyes.

Categories: Short stories

Back to old ways

August 8, 2009 Leave a comment

Watched the Indian cricket team lose to Sri Lanka today. Our cricket team seems to be back to its old ways.
No matter how easy it seems to win a game, our team finds a way to lose it. We were never the best team in the world, but a few years back were closest to being the best. But things took an ugly turn from then, From making a record number of consecutive run chases our team has now started making a mess of what would have been easy-to-win games. Some of the stars in our team are seen more in advertisements than on the cricket field and might not be seen in the world cup. From the games that India played, the difference in fielding standards are pretty evident. Compared to Maharoof who took a stunning catch to win the match for SL today, we have Munaf Patel, it would be a wonder if he could field the ball in his first attempt. Our best fielders are bad batsmen, the better batsmen are bad fielders. the next great Indian allrounder is out of form and the batsman who could smash bowlers at will is being tormented by them.

The prospects of the Indian cricket team looks gloomy. No things are not as bad as they seem. Let us all sing ‘ooh haa India, aaya India’ and send 100 SMSes to the team to increase its confidence. Let us buy bikes, eat wafers which will win us a ticket to the world cup, where we will boost the morale of our players. And if nothing works, let us all pray so that our team comes back in form.

P.S. The people in Kolkata who did yagna for Ganguly’s return seem to have done the yagna in the correct manner, if they could repeat the same for changing India’s fortune in the world cup …

Categories: Uncategorized

A story of love and friendship

August 8, 2009 Leave a comment

He was one of the brightest in his class, he was good at almost everything that he did, be it sports or studies. I say almost everything, because there was one thing that he was not good at. He was never good when it came to talking to people of the opposite sex. He was good at speaking, but he always found himself tongue-tied when he had to talk to a girl, and when he did say something it was ridiculously stupid. This was something that always bothered him. He was always grateful that Chandra did not have a gf. Chandra was his best friend, Chandra knew everything about him … almost everything. There was one thing which he had not told Chandra. There was this new girl in college who was now on his mind most of the time. The one reason that he could not talk about his feelings towards her was because he knew Chandra could never look at her the way he did. Chandra would never appreciate her simplicity, girls for Chandra were like commodities, they had to be of the right size. And he never wanted to talk of her as if she was some commodity. He knew she was the one for him and he also knew, he would tell this to Chandra some day, but that day had to wait.

One day in class during one of those boring lectures on communication skills, people were asked to state about the most pleasant experience of the semester. He knew it was the moment that she had smiled at him in class and he had just stared back like a fool. But again he found himself tongue-tied and he said something about getting a first class in his results. Getting a first class was something of a routine for him and he wondered if he could have said something better, something closer to the truth. She had not come to class that day, he wondered what was her most pleasant experience.

He was surprised when he saw her talking to Chandra later that day, Chandra called him as he was about to go from there. Chandra said “Hi, Could you give your ABC notebook to her, she missed class today and as you know I am not the best person to copy notes from.” She smiled. Chandra’s rotten sense of humour irritated him. He had his book with him, he gave it to Chandra, Chandra gave it to her. She said “Thanks”. But it was not meant for him, it was said to Chandra. The book was returned to him later in a similar manner. Again she thanked Chandra. He felt horrible, but his face never showed a trace of it.

“Hey champ, how did you find her” Chandra said that day in their hostel room.
“Who?”
“You know who I am talking about.”
“I feel she is OK.” He lied.
“You know your problem is that you can never look at girls as people. I mean they are just some commodity for you…”
“I am getting late for my cricket practice, I am in no mood to listen to your lecture. Are you coming?”
“No, I have got to study for the test.”
He left and he had a horrible day at practice, as he was coming back, he noticed Chandra with her. They seemed to be having a happy time. Chandra again called him.
“Hey she wants to study with us for the test tomorrow. I thought that it was a good idea, we could help each other.”
“Do you need my permission for that” His voice had gone dry.
“I will take that as a yes”

They studied together that day, actually he pretended to study while Chandra and she talked of their lectures, their professors and other such things. She never talked once to him. He wondered how comfortable people were when talking to Chandra, he could get anyone into a discussion with him. He had always admired this, but for the first time, he wanted Chandra to behave stupidly like he would have, but that did not happen.

The test got over and when the results came Chandra was surprised to find his friend scoring badly and that too when he thought that his friend had studied the whole day for the test. Chandra was about to go to him, when she came to Chandra and they started talking, they had important things to talk about… things which they could not say in front of him. But he found them outside class and they had to stop talking. He sensed that he was not wanted there and was leaving. He felt miserable. Chandra came to him “I know you are disappointed but these things happen. This test is not everything, you can always score well in the next test. Come on do not be so disappointed, there are more important things in life than tests.”
“Yes, there are more important things in life.”
“Hey I have a pleasant suprise to tell to you.”
“Can we talk about that later.” He had guessed what that surprise was going to be.

He felt he was losing his friend and losing him to the girl of his dreams. He had to do something … something really drastic. That night there was some commotion outside the girls’ hostel. Chandra woke him up, it was not necessary to wake him up though. He knew his plan had worked. Outside they found the watchman of the girls’ hostel holding Ronit by his collar. He was pleased with his choice, he always chose the right people. (Boys were not allowed in the girls’ hostel after midnight, the school had strict rules and could expel the students involved, but such rules are never followed and Ronit knew this by experience).

“Who is it this time ?”, the watchman asked. Ronit named her. She looked shocked, she looked at him. He could not look at her, he looked away. He feared if she knew, but there was no reason to fear, his plan was perfect. “It was not me, he is lying” she said. “Everybody says the same, if I could catch you redhanded, the people here ought to be more strict with shameless people like you” the watchman replied. She could not take it anymore, she left crying. He was pleased, Ronit had done his job well. He had once helped Ronit out of a mess, other than them only Chandra knew of this. Ronit had paid back what was due on him. They left, Chandra kept a hand on his shoulder and said “I am sorry, I do not think you would want to talk about this today.” Yes, he did not want to talk of this, but how did Chandra know, had he guessed. No, his plan was perfect, it had worked.

The next day she did not come to class, she had left college. Ronit sat there with his head bent down in shame. It was not something new for Ronit, but for some reason for the first time he seemed sorry for what he did. Chandra had not talked about the incident to him. The day passed by and Chandra seemed depressed and he too put up a face which showed that he was sorry for Chandra. The day after, they came to know that Ronit too had left college. He had not expected them to leave college, Ronit had been through this a lot of times before and none of Ronit’s girls had left college. But this unexpected events provided relief to him. He wondered if this was what people called “a perfect crime”.

In the hostel room, Chandra said to him “I never expected that she would do something like that, she did not look that kind of a girl.”
“Yes, but appearances can be deceptive, people need not be the way that they look to be”
“Hmm, I think you are right, do you know I wanted to say something about her to you”
“What?”
“The day she borrowed your book, she did not actually want to borrow your book, and the day we studied together, she was not interested in group-study. She had come for something else.”
“For what”
“For you, I mean she wanted to talk to you, one day she had come to me and told me that she had a huge crush on you, I offered that I would convey this to you. But she refused, she said she wanted to say this herself. She wanted me to get you near her, but when you were around she seemed so nervous that she could never even look at you and ended up talking with me.”
“What”, he said and fell back on his chair.
“Hey do not look so disappointed, you can always get a better girl and anyway she did not deserve you. That bitch …”

He did not pay any attention to what Chandra said after that. There was a lump in his throat. It was after quite a long time that he wanted to cry. He had always felt that he could always open out his heart to Chandra, but he felt that he was missing his best friend even when he was standing right in front of him.

P.S: I have tried the style of having nameless protagonists as in “The nameless detective” by Bill Pronzini, here. The style of having nameless characters is real exciting but difficult to write.  Sketching a character without giving him/her a name is an art, and I do not think I have done too well. But then,  who cares 😦

Categories: Short stories

The art of film-making

August 8, 2009 Leave a comment

I have been too sarcastic these days, I complain a lot about the system. But lately the “Rang De Basanti” effect crept into me … Now I want to join the system instead of criticizing it.
Politics was never my cup of tea, I think I will go to Bollywood and make our movies better than the kind of crap that they are (oops … sorry no complaints from now on).
You might wonder how I can go into Bollywood just like that, you need contacts for that, but you forget my dear friend Mugambo. He has been working in the movies, he will give me a break. I have a story which I wish to be made into a film. I went to Mugambo and together we discussed the script. Our discussion has been mentioned here for the benefit of people new to the field of script-writing.

Mbo : So whats the story?
me : This is going to be the sequel to the English movie Speed.
Mbo : The one with Keanu Reeves right?
me : I do not know, they all look same to me, but how do you know so much about English movies.
Mbo : I know about movies in all languages … English, Hindi, Chinese …professional requirements.
me : Whatever. Anyway, you see, our hero is a doodhwala by name Rahul whose competitor Kallu is very jealous of him. He has placed a bomb in his box which will explode if he drives his cycle at a speed less than hmmm…
Mbo : 80 km/hr
me : WHAT!
Mbo : Come on our hero can bash up 10 people at a time, he should definetely be able to ride at 80kmph.
me : but … but …Ok can we make it 40kmph.
Mbo : Ok
me : And …
Mbo : Let me continue. I can cook up a better script than you.
me : But …
Mbo : No arguments, you want your movie made, don’t you ?
me : k you continue, but you are giving me credit for my story.
Mbo : When have I ever copied your idea. Anyway you see as Rahul is driving his cycle, he gets a call from Kallu on his cellphone. Kallu tells Rahul about the bomb in his box. The camera now zooms into the troubled face of Rahul. Rahul now speeds up to 40 kmph.
me : but …
Mbo : Do not interrupt me. I think we need a good heroine too. We will have her dropped from a plane and Rahul, the good man that he is, speeds up to catch the heroine.
me : He is already travelling at 40kmph.
Mbo : So what. He is not travelling at the speed of light. Is he? Now Rahul looks into the eyes into Sonia (our heroine) and they both fall in love. Rahul does not know that Sonia is the daughter of Mr Bajaj who owns his dairy. True love never sees boundaries of wealth, age etc. Love is Blind you know.
me : Yes.
Mbo : And we will have … you know … “those” kind of scenes on the cycle .
me : Hey, why do you need that ?
Mbo : We need to be different … No … whats the word … We need to be … yes bold. we need to be bold these days to make a good movie.
me : I think we will have to keep it, who will watch the movie otherwise.
Mbo : Good, you are learning fast.

Hey, do you you think that I am so stupid so as to put my brilliant script (with a little input from Mbo) on my blog for you to copy. I will not tell you any further details, but I can tell you that our script has 20% action 20% romance, 20% family drama, a hip-hop title song, its remixed version, a sad version of the same song and 3 other songs. The title of the film : Hmm it will be called : “Kycle Ki Kahani — A true love story.”

We had to decide now about the cast. As for the cycle, we decided to use the old cycle of Mugambo. The further discussion on the casting between me and Mugambo has been put below. (I know you are bored now and want to stop, but now that you have come till here, you might as well finish it.)

me : Who is going to play the role of Rahul.
Mbo : Who else … but me. All the ladies and the kids smile at me. The kids also lovingly call me superman.
me : Let me correct you, nobody smiles at you, they laugh at you and the kids call you superman not out of love but because you wear your underwear over your pants. You are …
Mbo : Stop. I got the point, we will take someone else. How about this Imran guy who bowls maiden overs.
me : You mean Imran Khan, but why him ?
Mbo : No, I mean the one who plays the serial kisser.
me : Oh, so who is this chap who bowls maidens over.
Mbo : Look there, he is on TV.
me : Hmmm … Can we not take the Hruday Khopda guy.
Mbo : Good idea. I think he will be better. (I meant that to be sarcastic, but you can see acting in Bollywood movies has had its effect on Mbo)
me : Ok, Now who is going to do the playback singing.
Mbo : Come with me, I have already taken an appointment with Him.
me : Who ?
Mbo : Come along.

(We rode on Dhanno (Mbo’s cycle) and went to this creepy place. I am sure I heard a wolf howling(or perhaps a werewolf), but then I saw this chap with a cap supposedly singing. I was relieved, this one couldnot be a werewolf, come on who has seen a werewolf who wears a cap.)

me : Is this Him?
Mbo : Yes
me : why Him?
Mbo : He sings at wholesale rates, I think, since every one seems to be queuing for him. He is the only one whom we can afford and then we get a music composer for free.
me : Oh and what about that other chap with the cap turned the other way, what is he doing.
Mbo : He is singing. He is the rap artist, he sings for a few seconds in every song.
me : He is horrible and it is all gibberish that he sings.
Mbo : Yeah I know, but he is the son of the financier of our film, we will have to do with him.
me : Hmmm I think there are a lot of things which we have to do with and I thought filmmaking was easy.

I realised the kind of things that people have to face to make a movie, from now onwards I am not making fun of these film people.

This post is my tribute to all the great movie makers of our era, when we grow old and we look back at these movies, I am sure we are all going to feel proud and wonder what made these people the genius that they are. BTW Kcubed (Kycle ki kahani — a true love story) will be releasing shortly at a theater near you. You do not want to miss it, do you?

Categories: Uncategorized

Om Ganeshay Namah

August 8, 2009 Leave a comment
The lord Ganesha

The lord Ganesha

Categories: Uncategorized