A long time ago.

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Light sabers

In a galaxy far, far away.

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DO or DO NOT. There is no TRY.

Darth Vader

No, I'm your father.


You don't know the power of the dark side.

The Force Awakens


X-Wing Fighter

Long live the Rebel Alliance.

January 23, 2012

Knight and Dawn

Knight staggered to his SUV. The blast of cocaine he had a minute back made him feel like he had just scored the winning goal in the World Cup Final. He didn't seem to care about anything anymore.The whole world seemed at his feet.His heart thumped out a drum 'n' bass crescendo, and he felt an intense and powerful euphoria clouding his senses. 

Unfortunately the hit wouldn't last very long.Around 20-30 minutes.No fear. He had enough supply for a few more hits in his car.But this shit was damn costly. Thankfully,the inheritance from his deceased tycoon of a father ensured he never had to worry about money.
Regular cocaine usage was screwing up his nasal passages and smoking crack caused him acute chest pain sometimes.His lungs were paying the price for his excesses and he knew that. No soul to call his own,nobody to care a damn if he lived or died,he wondered how long would it be before life gave up on him altogether.He was waiting for his last day on this barren world with bated breath.Even hastening it in fact.Existence was a bane he wanted to get rid of desperately.
He pushed the key into the ignition and started his ride.
Dawn finished her work at the motel and walked out into a calm and beautiful evening.A light breeze blew and she felt immensely at peace.The calm gentleness of the evening reminded her of the nun who used to visit her at the orphanage when she had been young.The nun,her name was Martha,used to bring her candies and books to read.She made her feel loved and cared for.Dawn adored her.Her death had made Dawn weep for days.She could never forget Sister Martha,nor the beliefs she had instilled in her.It was her teachings which made her smile through all the vicissitudes of her life.She was confident that even the greatest of tragedies would not weaken her desire to live and her resolve to fight.Despite having no parents to care for her and no family whatsoever,her infectious smile and energetic blue eyes proudly proclaimed the strength of her spirit.

She got into her car and pushed down hard on the accelerator.She wanted to get home early so that she could prepare the dinner she had promised her boyfriend,Alan.She had met him two years ago,when he had come to dine at their motel.They made a good couple and Dawn was grateful for having him around.Time and again,she pictured the two of them sharing a happily married future together.She chided herself for being so romantically deluded,but she badly wanted to belong somewhere.Belong to a family she had been so cruelly deprived of for so long.

Thoughts of Alan and herself occupied her mind as she drove,when suddenly a SUV sprung out of a bend ahead at a break-neck velocity. Her eyes grew wide with terror and panic,as the SUV rammed into her sedan.Squealing tires and blaring horns deafened her as the realization of what she was getting into dug its claws into her.She felt a vicious jolt against her seat-belt,as her face crashed against her windshield,shattering the glass into a dozen screaming pieces.She felt the cold of blood running down her cheek.Her vision faltered.Blackness engulfed around the edges and finally filled her sight.Before she lost consciousness,she could smell gasoline.Her gas tank had ruptured.

"Save me Alan!" was the last thought on her mind as the front of  her car burst into flames.
"You are in deep shit,Knight!" Knight's lawyer hollered at him."Do you hear me?That gal can sue your last set of undies out of you.How the fuck could you be so irresponsible,Knight?The cops tell me they detected enough cocaine in your urine test which could put you in jail for a shit-long time.And on top of that,this accident!Do you know what condition you have put her in?My god!!It's terrifying even to look at her.Do you have the slightest fucking idea what hell you have brought upon yourself and the gal?"

"Is she going to be okay?" Knight asked his lawyer anxiously.

"She burnt for one minute in that car.Third degree burns all over her body.The docs are scared she might even lose her eyesight," the lawyer replied gravely."Her face has been burnt beyond recognition.I saw one of her photos.They were there in her purse.She was beautiful,Knight!And now you have fucked all that up completely.I wonder how she will ever look at herself in the mirror again."

"Christ!What have I done?!!" Knight buried his face in his hands.A tumultuous wave of guilt washed over him as he realized what he had just done to Dawn.He had ruined her life,blown her halfway to hell.He wondered why fate had brought them to such cross-roads.Here he was,alive and well,with just a few scratches and an injured knee-cap.And Dawn was in the throes of pain,her life incinerated,her existence charred,her glowing-20-something-young and beautiful self  tuned into a twisted mockery of burnt and eaten up flesh.Death would have been a blessing,but she just wasn't lucky enough to die.

Death.He would have given his own life up gladly.It held no meaning for him anyway.And yet,fate chose to spare him and punish Dawn.

"I got contacts at the District Attorney's office," the lawyer continued."I will see to it that the cocaine mess gets sorted out.You should be able to get your ass out of it just by signing some papers and coughing up some dough.But this woman,Dawn Paige.No judge in this country is going to exonerate you after what you've made her go through.Honestly speaking,I wouldn't have either.You deserve.."

"I will pay for all her medicals," Knight interrupted,his voice suddenly taking on a steely resolve."I did this to her.She is my responsibility.I don't care if I am bled dry trying to get her back to normal.I am going to fix this."

"It ain't gonna be so easy,son!" The lawyer shook his head sadly."The docs don't think she is ever going to lead a normal life again.Your intentions don't count for anything.Her life has been screwed completely."

He was right.Over the next two years,twenty reconstructive surgeries were performed on Dawn.They just managed to ease her physical trauma somewhat.Her upper body had been severely disfigured,mutilated and damaged.Her face could never be reconstructed again.Dawn spent her days in the hospital in unimaginable pain,emanating from her body as well as her soul.Alan used to visit her regularly in the beginning.But gradually his visits dwindled into nothingness.Her sense of loss at Alan's insensitive withdrawal,coupled with her rage and hatred against Knight pushed her to the edge of insanity.She didn't want to live.Not like this.She deserved a better life.She had hurt no one.Not borne any malice towards anybody.Then why did she have to suffer like a sinner?Helplessness and hopelessness clawed at her plundered soul and tore it to tatters.In those dark hours,she used to remember Sister Martha often.She prayed for strength just like the kind nun had taught her to.
"Remember,dear child," the nun used to say smilingly,in rhyming verse," Forget,forgive, and above all,pray.To see the dawn of a happier day."
Dawn wondered when happier days would dawn putting an end to the ceaseless night which had engulfed her life.

Knight watched her suffer and suffered along with her.He was clueless and had no idea how he could reach out to her,or how he could possibly lessen her affliction.Shame and remorse set his soul ablaze in a hell-fire just like the one which had burnt up Dawn's beautiful body.He felt as if life had made him vomit and then rubbed his face in his own puke.He paid all her medical expenses,but he knew that would not come remotely close to being enough.There was no one to care for her.Even her boyfriend had slipped away.Her loneliness often reminded him of his own.She never deserved this,he couldn't help admonishing himself cruelly.She deserved a happy,fulfilling life.And he had walked into her life and took her everything.Even worse,he could never give it back to her,even if he wanted to.He visited her everyday.But Dawn stubbornly refused to acknowledge his presence.Her indifference to him only escalated his inner turmoil.

Time flew.Dawn slowly became more accepting of her situation.Her bitterness towards Knight melted away gradually.She couldn't bring herself to forgive him completely.But she realized he was doing all he could to make life a little easier for her.Thoughts of Alan still haunted her every now and then though.While she realized that maybe it would have been unfair on her part to expect him to carry her burden,the way he stole away from her still felt hurtful and demeaning.

Five years sped past and she was finally discharged from the hospital.She had nowhere to go except state financed care-centers.Knight took her to his own mansion.All the surgeries which Dawn had been through had cost a fortune to him.Even with his inheritance,he had been finding difficulty meeting the expenses.So he had tuned his focus to his family business.A series of calculated risks and a few lucky breaks ensured his business kept on running smoothly.He shun drugs and alcohol like gangrene and plague.Sometimes,he used to stay awake at nights staring at the blazing fire in his fireplace.He used to ponder the irony of fate.That accident had brought him back to his senses,jarred him back to reality.His quality of life had steadily improved.And yet,he didn't deserve this life.He had been willing to throw it away just five years ago.And Dawn....she had been made to suffer in his place.Unfairly.In a cruel twisted mockery of every belief about reward and punishment he and she used to believe in.

It was on one such night,when he heard the sound of muffled cries from Dawn's bedroom.He peered in to see her sob with her face pushed against the pillows.She wept inconsolably.A torrent of horrendous memories and deep-seated insecurities regarding an unknown future chafed against her bruised soul.How she wished Alan were there to hug her.Hug her and whisper in her ears that everything is going to be all right.He always used to make her feel protected and safe.

All of a sudden,without warning,she felt someone's arms around her.Knight hugged her softly and gently.He was careful so as not to cause her any alarm or panic.He just wished deeply to apply a balm to her wounded tenderness.

"Don't worry," he purred in her ears,"everything is going to be all right."

 Dawn could not help herself.She let out a wail of anguish which sliced through Knight's heart.He hugged her even more tightly.And he remained that way,throughout the night,as Dawn's tears wet his shirt and her arms looped around his torso.Somehow the warmth of his body caressed the frigid iciness in her soul.

The next day,Knight came back early from work and anxiously looked into Dawn's bedroom.She was nowhere to be found.On the bed there was a note.He picked it up immediately.

"Dear Knight,
In the beginning,I hated you and I wished you rot in hell.But I now know, despite what you have done to me,you are a wonderful human being.You don't have to carry my burden all throughout your life.That will be too cruel.You deserve all the happiness life can shower on you,Knight.And don't feel guilty.I forgive you with all my heart.Goodbye and stay blessed."

Knight bolted out of the bedroom to find his bewildered house-keeper who informed him that she had seen Dawn taking a stroll towards the west just a quarter of an hour ago.Hearing this, he shot out of the mansion in Dawn's pursuit.Quarter of an hour.She couldn't have gone too far!

He pushed as fast as his legs could take him.After ten minutes he spotted Dawn in the distance,a muffler wrapped around her face.The fire had taken away her hair completely and despite all the corrective procedures,she still couldn't show her face in the public.

"Dawn,wait!!!!!" He screamed at the top of his lungs.

Dawn tuned back for an instant and seeing him,immediately turned on her heels to flee from his sight.But her legs got caught in some ground-hugging vegetation and she fell with a heavy thud.Knight was beside her in an instant,helping her up.

"Don't you ever do that to me again!Do you hear?" He pleaded to her desperately as Dawn averted his gaze.
"You don't owe me anything.I owe you everything I have.My life,my each breath,you own it all.That day I took away everything from you,that day-you don't know it-but you saved me!!!I was ready to waste away everything I had.Shove it down the drain and flush it away with booze and crack.But you-you gave my shit-hole life a meaning.I learnt to care for something other than my stupid selfish self.You don't need me to survive.But without you I will just wither away and die.Please don't do this to me.I need you-I.."
Knight broke down into tears as he left his sentence dangling.
"Please don't leave me!!" He managed to say in between sobs."I don't want to have you around me because you make me feel guilty.I want you around because it gives me a reason stay alive.You are all I have.Please don't go away.Please don't punish me like this."

Dawn stood up on her toes and kissed his forehead.She wrapped her arms around him,comforting him as a mother does her child.She knew she would never leave him.She had finally found her family.

**The End**

January 19, 2012

Nothing more

He searched for her frantically- high and low,
But all his desperate efforts had no results to show.
She had descended in his life like the blessings of an angel ,
Her gentleness had moved him,her wit had made him cackle.
They seemed so same,like two peas in a pod-he and her,
A unique kinship,in his heart and soul she did stir.
But she was only for a moment,and then she was gone-
Baffled was he,he wondered where she had moved on.
To talk to her again,one more time-became his sole wish,
He writhed in agonized waiting,like a water deprived fish.
Suddenly one day,she was before him,shining like a rainbow;
Her dazzling purity reminded him of the blemish-less white snow.
He tried to resume where they'd left,but she pretended she didn't know,
Her answers terse,her aloofness and silence signalling him to just go!
Hurt at her coldness,he left with a numb mind and a sore heart.
It felt as if his hopes had been grabbed,stamped on and torn apart.
She looked on at his retreating footsteps,hurt a bit,guilty a little;
She had been cruel to him,damaged his fragile ego,made it more brittle.
But she didn't want him to fall in love with her,to dream a future together,
Coz she saw nothing in him,his love's wings she couldn't feather.
To avoid future hurt,she nipped the bud then and there,
In her mind,she wished he find happiness,he find true cheer.
All of a sudden he turned back and headed in her direction,
She hardened herself to dish out another dose of rejection.
He just passed her a note and went away again,
He regretted he had searched so long in vain.
She opened the note to see what was in store,
It was just written,"I only wanted your friendship,nothing more."

January 18, 2012


:-) I wonder what happened to the good ol' feel-good bubbly rom-coms here on blogosphere? Everywhere I direct my eyes these days,I see scathing commentaries on love,dark,morbid depictions of how love left people shattered and broken,or simply blogs which focus on some serious themes totally divorced from the happy euphoria associated with love.
I thought this is the season of love.Feb 14 is not even a month away.:-)
Now where are those stories?One hero,one heroine,3-4 good songs,foreign locales,a villain perhaps?No gyaan,no vigyaan,just pure entertainment. Something which leaves us smiling as our minds leave the theatre of the blogosphere.You know,with a song in our hearts,and a smile on our lips,and that sort of a thing.
Guess those stories went out of vogue...:-( Not surprising,I guess. Hearts are breaking.People are growing lonely and bitter.Chocolates have started tasting sour.
Pity though.I could use some light reads.Not sarcastic,not pinching,just a pure dopamine laden fun-ride on the roller-coaster run by Cupid.
But NO!People would rather write on melancholy stuff these days.Shucks.2012.Why did it have to begin on such  a serious note?

January 17, 2012


I whistled as I crossed a crowded avenue,
The air was mint fresh,the day was new.
A few clouds dotted the pristine blue sky,
Merry birds sliced through them,flying high.
Out of the blue, a Santro hurtled towards me,
My eyes screamed in horror,fearing what was to be.
A dull thud,and I found myself yelling and falling,
Hitting the road,I lamented meeting such a fate apalling.
The car door swung open,I saw a stilleto stepping out
Eyes like a doe,she was a beauty,a knock-out!
She gave me her hand,mouthing apology profuse..
I could slowly feel it short-circuiting,my heart's fuse.
With smile as blinding as a million billion fireflies,
In front of it,the stars they hide,the moon it shies.
She asked me sweetly if hurt I was and okay I shall be,
I found myself asking,"Would you join me for coffee?"

January 15, 2012


"I wonder how people do it. Stay happy all the time. Laughing away,drowning their miseries and plight in a sea of mirth and euphoria. I just don't get it. It makes me immensely jealous. My life just seems to me like an endless stretch of desolate barrenness. All the gymming in the world hasn't given my shoulders enough strength to carry the burden of my existence. Everything seems hollow. Pointless. Like something lodged in your heart, which you can never seem to get out. It just stays there, bleeding you, hurting you.Forcing you to serve a lifetime sentence in a prison of pain.

This living thing. Highly overrated,it seems to me. Maybe we should all just be born with a switch.Which we can turn off at will to shut down our lives. At least, that should be possible without inviting any further agony and affliction.If such a switch had been there,I would have flicked it off long ago.Then again,I reflect on what people tell me. Suicide is what cowards do. Think about how that would affect your near and dear ones.Well,I thought about them. And frankly,I am not convinced.Call me selfish.But when you feel every neuron in your brain just shrivelling up and dying every day,you really can't force yourself to think about others.I wish there were someone to hug me right now.Tell me, everything is going to be ok.Someone I could just believe blindly and weep in her arms just like a baby.Pity there is nobody in my life like that.Anyway,life had ups and it had downs. Thanks to my screwed up psyche,I always focussed on the downs more than the ups.But it is all going to end today.I don't know where the road leads to from here.I don't think there is a better place waiting for me at the other side.I would rather have my existence wiped off completely.

So good-bye everyone.May you find the peace I never had."

As he penned the last words of his suicide note,he took one final long look at his surroundings.He hoped the familiarity of his room would provide some comfort in his last hours on earth.But just as all the hopes he cherished before,this too burnt out in the friction against disappointment.He sighed one last time.He popped the entire bottle of sleeping pills inside himself.And waited.

He wondered,if there would be a next life.And whether even that would be as messed up as this one.He smiled.What a joke this life had been. All calculations misfired. All expectations dashed. All anticipations neutralized.And now his entire existence.Neutralized.

He closed his eyes.He felt consciousness slipping away.A black cloud enveloped him.Wherever I am headed,here I come....was the final thought as he sunk into darkness.

*The End*

January 20th

Note: Don't know if something this crazy has been attempted before in the blogoverse,but what the heck!When a guy sitting in Kolkata and a girl sitting in Leeds,U.K. suddenly decide to pen a story together, you know what to expect.:-P A story which might not live up to your expectations.:-D But anyway, I had fun doing this. The story is majorly Rachika's. All the beautiful metaphors in this story belong to her. And all the crap and boring stuff,yep,you guessed it,they belong to me. This is a simple story. Hope you enjoy it.It has a soothing,unhurried style, all thanks to Rachika, who I just discovered,has awesome command over the language. Do tell me what you think about it.:-) Feedback and criticisms are more than welcome.
“Susan made me proud on a number of occasions, Thomas,” Jacob looked fondly at his son-in-law as he said these words,” but her choosing you has been the decision I have been the proudest of. It’s true. I couldn’t have asked for a better son-in-law. Am I not right, Sheila?” Jacob looked at his wife for approval.

“Yes,” Sheila’s eyes shone with an affection which melted Thomas’ heart.”You have become the son we never had.”

Thomas smiled gently at this lavish praise. Just like any doting father, Jacob Johnson had his fears and apprehensions about Thomas, when Susan had announced her decision to marry him. But over the passage of time, all those nagging doubts had been allayed. Jacob was now confident Susan couldn’t have chosen more wisely.

“Let me bring in the food, “Thomas said and went into the kitchen. He had made some lovely Beef Bolognese and cherry tomato salad, with Chardonnay and vanilla ice cream, for the Johnsons. These had been Susan’s favourite and it had more or less become a tradition now for seven years. Ever since Susan left them.

“The picture of your wedding day is still fresh in my mind,” Sheila mused after he came back into the living room. “Jacob was so fidgety that day. Frantically pacing the room and wringing his hands. Worrying his old self to death just because Sue was a little late in her preparations.”

“15 minutes is a little late, “her husband grimaced. “45 minutes is catastrophic!  Her bridal make-up session was supposed to get over 45 minutes ago. What on earth was she doing for so long?”

“Cut the poor girl some slack, will you?” Sheila barked at her husband. “It was her wedding day, for Christ’s sake. The day she dreamt about since kindergarten. She had to look her best.”

Thomas smiled inwards as he observed this quarrelsome exchange between the old couple. They were like two hamsters in the same cage, climbing on each other; you could still see they were children locked inside ready to jump out. Presently they started arguing about when was the first time Susan had started walking. And suddenly Thomas realized how she wouldn’t walk again in and out of their lives again.

How he wished Susan was with them right now. His mind went back to the day he discovered he loved her.

January 20th.He was 15 then. He wished Susan hadn’t missed school that day, he’d needed help in his math homework and she was the only one who could make him understand. Susan Johnson was a strange girl he’d always thought; maybe he’d drop by her house and give her  the day’s homework and schoolwork and in return she could just teach him those darned math problems. How he hated math in his younger innocent days, he thought.

After school that day, he’d gone to Susan’s to give her the work. As her mother shouted for her, she came down, and to be honest that was the day he realized why people said you only fall in love once.  She wore a blue cardigan, over a pair of plaid corduroys. Her hair was tied in a braid, she wasn’t a beauty but to him she meant everything that day. They exchanged the schoolwork and she taught him those problems. Susan was bright like the winter sun on his skin.

“And the proposal, “Sheila’s dreamy voice shook him out of his reverie. “You made the day so very special for her, Thomas. I am glad you two stuck to each other even through college.”

 Susan and he had ended up going to the same college; she’d taken up Art and he had taken English. They had become close, almost two peas in a pod. He had thought Susan Johnson was the only one who could understand his failures and achievements. After five years of being friends he had finally confessed his love for Susan Johnson, the one girl whose smile was brighter than the summer sun, whose touch was as heavenly as rain on a hot summer day. And to his surprise she had confessed her underlying love for him. He’d been the happiest that day .January 20th, 1978. It felt like the world was his oyster and he was the pearl ready to shine brighter than the big ball of fire millions of light years away. And this was possible only under Susan’s love, only under her care, only under her look.

He planned a simple on the roof top proposal with the stars and moon, the holy cosmos being witness to their liaison. He’d told her to come to his house roof that night, for he wanted to just bask in the moon. He knew how she admired the moon, stars and the cosmos. It was her big day as was his, and he wanted it to be perfect. That was one of those happy days when even being hit by a truck would not have stopped him from flying with the woman he loved.

“Could you bring me another fork, Thomas, “Jacob called out to his son-in-law, bringing him back to the present again. “This one seems to be a bit blunt.”

“Sure thing,” he smiled obligingly.”I have a new set upstairs. I’ll get them.”

After getting the fork, he rushed down the stairs accidentally knocking off a painting. He picked it up and put it back in place. Just as Susan had left it. He didn’t want to replace or re-organize it; he still felt her touch now and then, scraping the plaster of his clumsy work. He seemed to realize it had been long now, since he’d last looked at the painting, the one his wife had painted. Ah! Those good old days when life was easier, food was on the table, there were no worries.

Memories came flooding back to him. Just after she passed away, he would sit all day in his striped pyjamas. Drink tea in the morning. Gulp down whisky in the evenings. Just sit and stare and blame God. Not that he was a firm believer but he needed to blame, needed to make God realize what a big mistake he had done to take the one and only thing that mattered to him.

Now, seven years later, it felt good. Things felt good, the sun felt warm on his skin, not like in the dark days, the moon was good to him too, it was no more his friend, he’d sleep at night without dreaming about how empty he’d felt. He didn’t even see his therapist now. It had been too long, seemed like dog years since he last saw his therapist.

He put the frame back and moved to the dining room where his in-laws were waiting for him.

Today was January 20th. Seven years. For seven years, his in-laws have been visiting him on this very day. They had the same things prepared and talked about her and laughed and cried and just sat and went about it. Though the common thing they shared was the love for their daughter and his wife, the hole she had left in their lives, which had brought them together. A hollow place, filled with warmth and sunlight. Giving each of them, giving Thomas the will to go on and live. Live like there was no tomorrow.

Thomas had already started looking forward to the next January 20th.

**The End**

January 11, 2012

The Price

The following piece of fiction is written for KFC 'Sets you on fire' contest at details for this contest can be found here.

Simran stiffened as she noticed Radhika standing beside her at the coffee machine.She quickly filled her cup and retreated to her office,averting Radhika's gaze.Radhika looked on in the direction Simran left and an inaudible sigh escaped her lips.Barely a month ago,they had been inseparable;lunches,snacks,weekend hangouts-they clung to each other for everything.But four weeks back,things became..a bit complicated.
"A new person will be put in charge of finance,"Mr.Mehra had said,slowly scanning his eyes across the group of five executives assembled in his office."Seventy K salary plus perks.You will be pleased to know that management has short-listed you folks for the post."

Not able to contain her excitement,Radhika had nudged a still Simran while Mr.Mehra paused for effect.

"I will have the final say as to who bags the promotion."For some queer reason, Mr.Mehra's voice had suddenly started sounding ominous to Simran.For a split second,she sensed his eyes boring into hers.Or did she just imagine that?

As they had shuffled out of Mr.Mehra's plush office,Simran was awefully silent.Radhika had asked her what was wrong,but Simran merely shrugged the question off.From that day onwards,Radhika noticed subtle changes in her friend's behaviour.She didn't seem so eager anymore to co-operate in their assignments.She mailed the status reports to Mr.Mehra without keeping Radhika in the loop.She even started inventing excuses to skip going to lunches and snacks together.

For a few consecutive days,Radhika noticed her friend was staying back late in office.On being aksed about it,Simran had nonchanlantly replied that she was clearing off some backlog work.One day,Radhika entered office to find Mr.Jaiswal,Mehra's immediate boss,praising Simran profusely.

"What was that all about?"Radhika quizzed Sakshi,one of her colleagues.

"That assignment Mehra had assigned to both of you-Simran just completed it single-handedly.Mehra brought it to Mr.Jaiswal's notice and he was pretty impressed.He even asked her to work on some important client presentation.Looks like Simran just went a couple of notches higher towards grabbing that promotion,"Sakshi chuckled mirthlessly.

"Assignment?What assignment?"Radhika gaped at her colleague.A bewildered look clouded her face.

"What?"Sakshi stared back at her."You mean Simran didn't tell you anything?"

"Nooo,"panic crept into Radhika's tone.

Sakshi's eyes assumed a look of sympathy as the realization of what Simran had done to her dug it's teeth into both her and Radhika.
Her so-called best friend had just jeopardized her shot at the promotion.How could she sink so low?That bitch!!!!
After returning from the coffee machine,Radhika paced her cabin floor frantically.Simran was desperate for that promotion.But she needed it too.Direly.
"Eighty lacs,"the surgeon stated coldly.

"Eighty lacs?"Radhika's father repeated,aghast at the sum quoted.

"I am sorry,Mr.Sharma,"the surgeon's tone became a bit apologetic."But we are talking about a bone marrow transplant here.Your wife's leukaemia can't be treated otherwise."

Radhika slipped her fingers into those of her father's and tried to speak with as much conviction as she could garner,"It's ok,Dr.Dhawan.We'll arrange the money."

She had no idea how they would be able to arrange that kind of money.Hers was a family of modest means.Her father was retired with a meagre pension.They lived in a rented single-bedroom flat.When she had been younger,her parents had difficulty making both ends meet in their efforts to get their daughter through a decent school and college.She had still not been able to repay in full the loan she had withdrawn for her MBA.There was no way she could raise that astronomical sum through another loan right now.Not without somebody who could pull the strings to get the loan sanctioned anyway.And she knew nobody.
As the conversation with the surgeon replayed in her mind,Radhika clenched and unclenched her fists in nervousness.She knew she would hate herself for what she was about to do.But what choice did she have?
As Simran made her way back to her cabin,she was surprised to see Radhika slip out of it.

"What were you doing in my office,Rads?"Simran noted with dismay that her tone sounded more accusatory than she had intended.

"I..I needed the stapler,"Radhika stuttered."Mine just ran out of pins.Sorry."

Simran noticed Radhika was trying to evade her eyes.Must be damn uncomfortable after the way I have been treating her,she thought.A flood of guilt was about to sweep across her,but she steeled herself and fought it back.
I can't let that worry me now.Sorry,Rads.I hope I can make it upto you later.

"Good night,Rads." She forced a smile as she wished her former friend.

"Good night,Sims." Saying this,Radhika walked away briskly.Simran looked at her watch.Eleven pm.She stifled a yawn.She would have to call the office cab now.The presentation Mr.Jaiswal had asked for was ready at last.She had been slogging her ass off for the last two days to get it done by tonight.Tomorrow,she would show it to Mr.Mehra for his approval.She was pretty confident he would not have much to add.She had prepared the presentation with meticulous care,ensuring absolutely nothing was amiss.She hoped after this Mr.Mehra would be impressed enough to let her have the promotion.

Simran and Mr.Mehra weren't exactly on the best of terms.She had caught him throwing lecherous glances at her many a time.He complimented her on her looks often.He had even gone to the extent of expressing his crush on her stating that he dreamt about her every now and then.She had felt her skin crawl at his promiscuity.She had told him summarily to forget about it and he had not pressed the matter further.

I don't need to sleep around to move up,you horny bastard!She thought to herself as she got into the cab and left for her home.
"The figures are all messed up,Simran!" Mr.Mehra bellowed at her next day as he went over the presentation."How on earth could you be so careless?"

"Wh-what?"Simran's mouth dropped open as Mr.Mehra's harsh words registered in her ears."They can't be!"

"Here,look for yourself."He turned his laptop towards her with a hint of menace."The Operational Expenses matrix is configured all wrong.So is the Financial Income statement.You expect me to show this to Mr.Jaiswal?"

She peered at the screen.He was right.The calculations were all screwed up.But how?

Suddenly it hit her like a bolt."My god,Radhika!" She gasped.

"What?" He cocked his head towards her.

"Radhika.She was in my cabin last night.She must have tampered with my presentation."  She trembled as the words left her mouth.

"Stop blaming others for your lapses,Ms.Mehta!" He admonished."Are you aware what kind of an accusation you are leveling against her?"

"Sir,you have to believe me," she answered in a shaky voice."Radhika.."

"You can say good-bye to that promotion,Ms.Mehta.There is no way I can recommend a careless person for that post."

"Sir,please.You have to listen.I am not making this up." Simran felt herself on the verge of crying.

"Do you entertain even the slightest hope that Mr.Jaiswal is going to allow your promotion once I tell him about this?"

"Sir,please.I am not lying."She choked.A lump was forming in her throat making it difficult for her to speak.She started sobbing."Please don't do this to me." She begged between her sobs.

"Why shouldn't I?" He smiled with malicious relish."Until and unless you make me an offer I can't refuse."

Simran looked at her boss with tear-filled eyes.Her soul revolted.She wanted to throw up.

"Please excuse me,sir!"She fled from the office room.
Simran wept in her cabin.What would she tell her parents back in her hometown?They had never sympathized with her ambitions.When she was in school,her father always wanted her to back home before eight,while no such restrictions were placed on her younger brother.Throughout her growing up years,she saw her brother getting the stuff she wanted desperately even without asking for them.While she was denied those outright. Despite her qualifications, her parents ultimately expected her to fall into the traditional mould of wife, mother and homemaker. Her parents had wanted to discontinue her education right after school but she coaxed them into sending her to college and she did her MBA from a prestigious business school.But despite all this,she was under intense pressure from them to get married. To her sheer frustration,it didn't seem to matter to her parents that she was doing so well in her job and that she had certain career aspirations. Marriage just did not figure in her plan right now. And she just knew that they would see no harm in her being expected to give up her career if her prospective husband makes that a condition.

She had pegged her hopes on this promotion.She would finally have something concrete to show her parents and convince them not to push her into marriage.But now she had nothing.


Twenty minutes later Simran strode into Mr.Mehra's office.As he looked up at her,she said in a matter-of-fact tone,"My place or yours?"
Two days later,Mr.Jaiswal announced Simran's promotion.After everybody finished congratulating her,she noticed Radhika staring at her from a distance.She walked over to her,smiling contemptuously and asked,"So Rads,was what you did really worth it?"

Radhika's face clouded.But the corners of her lips still twitched into a smile and she said,"Congrats,Sims!You deserve it.After all you have been through for it."

Simran's brown eyes narrowed.Did she know what went on between her and her boss?

Radhika didn't stay.She turned on her heel and left.Simran's question rang in her ears.Was what she did really worth it?
Three days earlier
"So I screw up her presentation.You refuse to believe her I did it.You threaten not to promote her.She needs the promotion so badly,she will definitely give in.You promote her afterwards.She gets what she wants.You get what you want.Simple." Radhika smiled as he summarized her plan to her boss.

"What if she refuses?"Mr.Mehra asked,steepling his hands.

"Then you don't sanction my loan." Her eyes gleamed.

"Eighty lacs is a huge sum.Even with my contacts,an interest-free loan on that scale might be difficult to arrange."

"Oh,cmon,Mr.Mehra,"she pursed her lips."Both of us know,with your influence at the bank,they will give you anything you ask."

"Even then,why on earth should I promote her?There are four other candidates,including you."

"I don't want the promotion.I just need the money.And you know as well as I,Simran is much better at what she does than any of Sanjay,Kishore and Rakshit."

Mr.Mehra lapsed into silence as Radhika tried her best not to fidget in her chair."Alright,Radhika,"he broke his silence."We have a deal then." He stood up to offer her a handshake.

"It's my pleasure,sir!" She smiled as she took his hand.

As Radhika left Simran,her cellphone beeped.It was a text from Mr.Mehra."Your loan has been sanctioned.Congratulations." A smile of satisfied accomplishment spread across her lips.

Radhika was well aware of Simran's family situation .She couldn't bring herself to take away Simran's promotion from her.That would be too cruel.She hit upon a plan where everyone got what they wanted at the end.Of course,she still had her conscience to grapple with.And she felt a pang at their lost friendship.Deception and betrayal..neither she nor Simran had seen that in the friendship contract.But as they say,you lose some to win some.

Everything comes at a price.
**The End**

January 7, 2012

:-) Versatile Blogger

I always used to look on in envy at whoever who used to bag a Versatile Blogger award.I used to wonder why no one considers me eligible enough to bestow such awards on.:-P
But anyway,thanks to Dawn Zhang my wait is at last over.Here is my award,yoooohoooo!!!!!! :-D *Back-flip,somersault,cracked crown,ouch!*
I already told you guys about Dawn Zhang,didn't I? Strong,confident and a brilliantly beautiful writer.Thank you so much for giving me this award,Dawn.

So anyway,this awars comes with a rulebook.
Here are the rules:

· Thank and link to the blogger who bestowed the award
· Share seven random facts about yourself
· Spread the love by passing the award to five other bloggers and to let them know

Seven Totally Random Facts about me:-
1.I am an atheist.
2.I am a stupid romantic who still cherishes the naive belief that it is possible to find and fall in love with that one single girl who I can spend the rest of my life with.You know,the one you grow old with,quarrel over who is gonna do the dishes this weekend,crib about how our teenager children are growing  more rebellious each passing day,and all that sort of a thing. :-)
3.I love movies.Especially action and comedy.I love romcoms which have more of comedy than romance.
4.I dream of writing a story one day which is going to make everyone laugh and cry at the same time.
5.I like my job but not my salary.:-P
6.I like disassembling stuff and then putting them back together.
7.I will take a smart girl over a sexy one any damn day.

Now the difficult part.Only five people to give the award to?Shucks!!There are so many on my mind who deserves this award.But okay,let me try.
1.Radhika One superb,sensitive and smashing writer.
2.Rachika A person with a tongue of silver and heart of gold. She is the reason I am still blogging. I am so thankful that blogging afforded me the privilege of getting to know such wonderful human beings like her.Just like her name,she is a bright explosion of creativity and passion.
3.Princess Fiona Poetess supremo.
4.Shreya Pure awesomeness in prose and poetry.
5.Serendipity Now she deserves special mention.A lot of bloggers already know she in one powerhouse of a writer.But she has a 24-carat genuine gilded heart filled with sympathy and sensitivity as well.You should check out her last entry.It is for the KFC contest at IndiBlogger.You won't be able to help yourself.You would just have to become her fan then.She is that good!!:-)

January 4, 2012

All right,ol boy!

In an old age home,two men were talking.
"I tell you Ronit,I hate these group photo sessions. When we line up for the picture we look like the snow-covered Himalayas,"the first man cursed."I am seriously considering shaving my hair off and turning bald like you."

"I won't recommend it," the second man replied."Being bald doesn't make me look any younger, it just makes my head look like a fossilized dinosaur egg."

The first man smiled.

"You know,Sanjay," the second man,Ronit,coughed a bit and continued to speak,"I miss those days when we used to roast the hell out of all the newcomers here.All the jokes we cracked at the newbies to lighten the somber mood .It's hard to make fun of someone else's age when you're the one exhibiting all the symptoms of dementia.Why the last time fresh meat was brought in,I forgot half of what I was going to say, and I think I combined the wrong punch line with the wrong joke.Judging by the reaction anyway. It made me remember when I didn't need glasses or any other medical aids to perform the simplest of functions.And pulling others' legs has always been the simplest of functions."

"Yeah,congratulations.We officially graduated to being the grumpy,senile old men who become the butt of everyone's jokes,"Sanjay chuckled.

"Grumpy,huh?" Ronit's weary old eyes flashed momentarily in amusement."You know what makes me grumpy? If I see one more Viagra commercial somebody's gonna get hurt. I don't need someone promising me that my hour hand can be at three o' clock instead of six o' clock all the time. Especially when it comes with serious side effects."

"A friend of  mine tried that stuff,"Sanjay lowered his voice,smiling slyly."He experienced a painful erection lasting longer than four hours.It became so bad,he had to get himself admitted.Hell of an embarrassment.Can you imagine that kinda thing happening to you?"

"Hah!Like I'm actually going to go into a crowded hospital waiting room and inform them that my missile is stuck in the stratosphere. I'd rather tell them I'm having irregular bowel movement  and say -Oh, by the way, could you check below, my flight is experiencing some landing difficulties," Ronit replied with a smug smile.

Sanjay burst out laughing.

"Speaking of side effects, there are some pretty interesting ones for the medicine I take for my constipation as well," Ronit continued with enthusiasm." The medicine that is supposed to provide you relief while you relieve yourself....has two side effects; It gives you a runny nose and your sperm count goes down. Now any medicine that affects my sperm count while it's fixing my sewage disposal is going to make me wonder if the medicine really knows what it's doing down there. After all, it's supposed to be unclogging the drain, not turning  the tap on top into a leaky faucet. And I certainly hope the runny nose isn't a missing link to where the missing sperm are going. I don't want to have to worry about getting some poor girl pregnant every time I sneeze."

"Ha ha,"Sanjay was roaring so hard by now that he had started coughing.

"I could go on but I am feeling drowsy," Ronit smiled wryly."It's the drugs I guess.I am not getting any younger,that's for sure."

Sanjay's coughing didn't stop.

"Hey,Sanjay,you okay?"Ronit asked in a concerned tone.

The coughing showed no signs of lessening.It only grew worse.Sanjay's face contorted in pain as he clutched his chest.Ronit watched with horror as his friend suddenly became unconscious and fell off the chair.

**Five days later**

"Pneumonia?"Sanjay asked in a slightly incredulous tone."You mean to say just a teeny-weeny pneumonia knocked me out?Sheesh!!I was thinking it would at least be a heart attack or something.How on earth am I going to face the guys back at the home,Ronit?I am a blot on the rich heritage of our home's inmates getting knocked off by severe,incurable maladies.Damn!"

"Do me a favour and spare me that sense of humour,"Rohit spat back.

He looked haggard and spent.Spending five nights without a wink of sleep does that you.He was tirelessly doing everything in his power to nurse his friend back to health.Sanjay's condition had been critical.The medics had been apprehensive about his chances of survival.If it had not been for Ronit's indefatigable efforts,and even the doctors had no qualms admitting this,Sanjay probably would not have made it.

"Spare you my humour?Do us both a favour and buy one!Ronit!You look like someone just run you over with a steam-roller.This old nutjob made you go through hell,didn't he?"

"Yes,you certainly made me slog my ass off,you bastard!!Why,even the goddamn nurses on this floor started whispering in hushed tones that there might be something going on between the two of us."A naughty smile crossed Ronit's lips.

"Really?I wonder what they might be thinking.Two gay old men.Inseparable.Staring lovingly into each other's eyes,holding each other's hands and watching the sunset together through the hospital window.Tch tch.Straight out of a Mills and Boons novel.No wonder the nurses are all excited about it."

"One of those nurses is a bomb!"Ronit's lips stretched back to reveal a toothless smile.

"And you were ogling her like anything,weren't you?You lecherous dawg!Say,was she the reason you put your arthritis-ridden back into caring for me?Man,she is one half of half your age.It's going to take a lot more than that to get into her..whatever it is you want to get into,"Sanjay's eyes lit up in wicked amusement.

"Bye,Sanjay," Ronit got up from his seat grinning."I will come down tomorrow.They will let you go in a couple of days.I am waiting for that day with bated breath. I soo want to beat the crap out of you and get you admitted again."

"No doubt so that you can have more staring time at that nurse,jerk.See you tomorrow,Ronit."

As Ronit turned to leave,Sanjay called out,"Hey ol chum!"

"Yeah?"Rohit turned back,that smile still plastered across his wizened face.

"You were never going to give up on me,were you?"


A year flew by.Good times came and went.So did the bad.Until one day,Ronit was diagnosed with liver failure.The doctors announced that there was nothing they could do.He had a couple of weeks left at most.He was put on ventilator.His son was informed.

As Sanjay stared at his friend's still body ensnared in a mesh of medical equipment,an intense grief overcame him. Pain, memories, and questions sttarted haunting him. He wondered if he would ever be the same again.Whether he could ever really laugh, ever recover, ever be able to joke again. He felt that life would never be the same because this gaping big hole where Ronit was would swallow him up and never let him see the funnier side of life. His family had forsaken him five years ago.Left him to rot in an old age home.It was Ronit and his humour which made every passing day bearable for him.And now,even that would be snatched away.Ronit had saved his life more than once.He was more than a friend.He was the family which cried and laughed with him,when he cried about not having a family to laugh with.And now he could just watch him die.Helplessly.Hopelessly.

A week later Ronit passed away.

The nurse came and handed Sanjay a letter."It's from your friend,"she said.

Sanjay opened it immediately.Ronit must have written it during the little spells of consciousness he had in the past couple of weeks.
"Hey chum,missing me already?Cheer up,ol pal!Look at the bright side.You are now the undisputed chess and bridge champion of our home now.The only person who could have whipped your butt in those is pushing the daisies by now."

Sanjay's eyes swelled with tears.Ronit had sucked at both.And yet he had always stuck to the opinion that he was a better chess and bridge player than his friend.Sanjay wiped away his tears and continued reading.

"Now don't feel so glum,chum.I know you are feeling messed up.But for this old cronie's sake,just let the pain go.Don't even think about being disloyal to my memory and all that baloney.My dear wifey always used to say-the ultimate loyalty and honoring of what is lost is in remembering well and forging ahead by taking with you the best of your memories to inspire your way forward. Remember well to live well and you honor both yourself and me.

Good-bye old chum.I didn't give up on you.Don't you dare give up on me now.I would have to come back to haunt the living daylights out of you otherwise.You wouldn't want to give so much trouble to an old spooky arthritis-ridden ghost,would you?"

Despite himself,Sanjay smiled.He neatly folded the note and put it into his pocket.He looked one last time at the room where Ronit spent his last few days,patted the note in his pocket and said,"All right,ol boy!"

**The End**