Saturday, March 31, 2012

17 Things you didn’t know about Sachin Tendulkar

You call yourself a Tendulkar fan? But do you know him in & out? Here are a few lesser know trivia about him you would love to feed yourself:
      1.      In the team bus, Sachin always sits on the front seat at the window on the left. (Is that superstition?)
      2.      Yes, he is, indeed, superstitious. He religiously wears his left pad before the right one. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Sachin is possessive about his gear. He doesn't like anyone touching his bats and gloves. He is so possessive about his Ferrari that he doesn't let wife Anjali drive it. 
      4.     Sachin loves narrating bedtime stories to his children. He has even invented a character called 'Rohan', the protagonist of all his bedtime tales.                                                                                                                  
            5.  He helps his children with the homework whenever at home, sometimes taking son Arjun's spelling tests.
      6.      He's hooked onto Discovery Channel and finds it informative and fascinating. 

       7.      Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly were sent to Dennis Lillee’s MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai as schoolboys and instantly rejected. “You’d better try batting,” Lillee told them.
       8.      Tendulkar’s love for seafood is not a hidden fact. But did you know that on his day, Master Blaster can smash 15-20 prawns down into his belly in one sitting! Reportedly, he also used to have had vada-pav competitions with fellow-cricketers Vinod Kambli and Salil Ankola.

9.      Pasted on the inside of Sachin’s kitbag are pictures of Ganpati and Shirdi Saibaba, good luck message from his kids and the revered Indian flag. (Even the God believes in Gods).  
      10.  Believe it or not but the Little Master has a reservoir of knowledge about different wines. He once lectured a colleague on the correct technique of opening a bottle of champagne — explaining to him the precise number of times the cork has to be twisted before popping it.
      11.  Sachin is ambidexterous. He bats & bowls with right hand but eats & writes with his left hand (I guess you already knew this fact). 
      12.  Sachin likes to dip his glucose biscuit into his tea (yes, he is one of ‘us’).
      13.  You think Sachin hasn’t sledged? Tendulkar claims he has sledged only once, at Glenn McGrath during an ICC knockout tournament in Kenya in 2000, to put the quality quick off his game in helpful conditions. “The first thing I said was ‘Today I will hit you out of the ground’. He got really angry and sprayed the ball around. This was exactly what we wanted.” India won.
     14.  The first person to sledge Tendulkar was Allan Border.
     15.  Tendulkar is a fan of using computer analysis. “The computer does play an important role in today’s cricket. You forget so many things. With the computer you can store them. For me the biggest advantage is you can study the opposition. The computer provides you with that vital two or three percent difference,” he says.
     16.  During the days of his courtship, Sachin once went in disguise to a Mumbai theatre to watch Mani Ratnam's Roja with future wife Anjali. To make sure nobody recognised him, he sported a beard and a pair of spectacles. However, there was a disaster in store for the Little Master since he was recognised by fellow movie watchers when, during the interval, he inadvertently dropped his glasses. The couple had to leave the hall midway through the film.   

     17.  The Indian team has a system of monetary fines for players coming late (to the bus or a meeting or a function) and for flouting the dress code. But Tendulkar has never had to pay up in 22 years.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Let the tear escape

Let the tear escape
O callous eye
Why have you locked it in your prison-house
To dry up and then to die.
Amidst a stream of sorrow & a sea of sufferings
Amidst agony, gloom & desolation
A caged bird you have turned it into.
Estranged from its jungle of sky
It yearns & longs and dies to fly.
It melts and mourns its own death
And then it dies for lack of cry
It weeps over its own body
O you callous eye.....

A Haunting Love

The rippling Black lake looked surreal and inviting as she stood on its edge in profound silence. She had never witnessed a more beautiful evening in her 4 years at Hogwarts. Hermione threw back her bushy hair and gazed heavenwards. The dying sun had painted the horizon in a hue of colors and the Forbidden Forest in the vicinity had a tinge of gold amidst its usual green. Cool watery breeze caressed her face and she closed her eyes shut soaking in the ethereal beauty.
What Hermione did not know was that she was not alone…she was being watched. A tall, pale boy was observing her with stealthy eyes from close quarters. Hermione turned to go as Draco Malfoy emerged out from the shadows of dense bushes. A moment of uncomfortable silence followed as her cold gaze met his calculating eyes.
“Err… hello,” murmured Malfoy.
“Malfoy! Ha, you know what! You look a sorry figure without your two big cronies,” scoffed Hermione.
“You don’t sound right, Malfoy! Looks like you have learnt some politeness or is it some trick of yours….Ha….well, anyways…,” smirked Hermione as she turned to go.
“Hey wait, I…err….I need to tell you something…..umm…..something important.”
“Well, out with it then,” she shot back.
“Err…ya…Umm…You remember how you slapped me that day…In our third year…well, umm…It still echoes in my ears…, Draco laughed slightly. “And well….I realize that I was wrong….and I should not have fought with you…and….And you…. you are not mudblood…. And and…I have got one more thing to say……I well, need to confess something…err…..” There was an awkward hesitation in his voice; something very uncharacteristic of him and Hermione was quick to spot that.
“What confession,” she asked narrowing her eyes with a hint of suspicion.
“Hermione…Hermione…..Harry just confessed something to me… He fancies Moaning Myrtle…come quickly,” said Ron breathlessly as he ran in.
“Haha what rubbish…. Let’s see….Ouch…Ron, you are crushing my fingers,” smiled Hermione as Ron took her hand. Without another glance at Draco, she walked away with her close friend.
Draco numbly watched the two going towards the castle……going…. going……gone.
He stood there staring fixedly at their figures getting smaller and smaller….now just two little dots…two happy dots. He felt lost and hardly registered the fact that it had begun to drizzle. Heavy drops of rain that fell on his face faithfully mingled with the two streaks of tears.
He was soaking by the time he realized that he had been stupidly standing there when everybody else was inside their warm common rooms. He picked up his sopping robes and began to run through small puddles of water…. Suddenly, the heavens opened up, clouds exploded in a thunderous roar…there was a blinding flash of lightning and a pale man woke up with a jolt some 20 years later.
“Dad, what happened….You are sweating dad…Did you have a nightmare, dad?” asked Scorpius.
“I’m… alright, son…. It was just…,” Draco murmured with a heavy breath.
“Did you have a nightmare, Dad?”
“Nightmare? Oh… no! It was a dream…..just a dream…..yeah, it was really…..just a dream….my dream.”


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

3 Reasons why Virat Kohli is not the next Sachin Tendulkar

Virat Kohli has done exceptionally well in recent times and it is pretty much apparent that the talented lad will script countless fairy tales in the forthcoming years. Statistically, he may even do better than Sachin Tendulkar, but here are the 3 reasons as to why he will never be able to fill the Master’s shoes:

1. Passion: It will be wrong to suggest that Kohli doesn’t have enough passion for the game. But while he is, merely, passionate towards the game, Tendulkar is BORN for the game. Kohli had, has and, after retirement, will have a non-cricketing life, but Tendulkar knows no wood other than his willow. He didn’t even clear his class 10 board exams; he boasts of no college degree; he has had no scandalous affairs or anything of significance other than his cricketing achievements. Sachin took birth solely to play cricket and the day he quits cricket, a part of him (the real him) will die. Yes, Sachin Tendulkar will die the day he hangs his boots :’(
2. Conduct: Kohli may have the swagger and a positive and so-called aggressive attitude. But his ferocious approach will never be a match for Sachin’s demure serenity. Kohli swears, shows middle finger to the public on slight provocation and celebrates raucously in an arrogant display of pride. The cricketing fraternity will no doubt, admire & respect him in the future for his cricketing abilities and go-get-it attitude. But Tendulkar…..people don’t respect him; they ‘love’ him. He carries himself so well and, despite astronomic adulations, with such a humble dignity, that one wonders if he is, indeed, the God of cricket…..coz even the mythological Gods have been found wanting when it comes to humility.

          3.   Magic: When Vernon Dursley remarked, ‘There’s no such thing as MAGIC’- perhaps he had never witnessed the on-field display of the Little Master. Kohli may have the flair, the style, the charisma; but Tendulkar has the magic.  When a layman shows a card-trick to his friends, they may show a keen interest as to what he will do. But when a magician shows a card trick on stage, the audiences are more than just interested. They are transfixed, hypnotized and even breathless in jaw-dropping anticipation. Same is the case with Kohli & Tendulkar. When Kohli bats, people will watch jubilantly and expectantly. But when Tendulkar bats, he seems to weave a spell with his wand of a bat…. as the entire country pauses & postpones its mundane chores to witness a magical spectacle that the GREAT man has promised today……..

100 word story: Bedroom eyes

Rohit’s saliva-dribbling lips caressed her inviting neck….his seductive set of teeth wolfishly nibbled at her aroused ears…his tentative touch sent ripples of excitement on her ocean of pleasure. Shreya had bedded only two men in her life and, in her mind, there was no doubt as to whom she found better.
Beep! Her cell buzzed! In her euphoric state, she barely took notice of the text, “Where are you, my love. Missing you much, muah.”It was a text from her husband. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Interview with a Vampire

Ritika was fond of Twilight movies and vampire-based TV shows. She fancied meeting a vampire some day but knew that she may never meet the like of him.
One day, as she was strolling along the edge of the forest, she bumped into a stranger who had lurked out from the deep forest. He was tall, handsome and had a chivalrous appearance of a knight. He had fire in his eyes and she felt becharmed.
He came closer and held her hands. She meekly submitted. Introductions were exchanged merely by the battling of eyelashes. There was a whispered murmuring in the air as breeze flirted with the leaves. Closer and closer they came till only a breath separated them. Their hairs brushed against each other as their lips met. His hand worked on her back as she felt his neck with her lips.
Suddenly, the air was filled with his screams as he woke up from his dreams. He felt a blinding pain as he felt hot blood oozing out of his neck. He looked at the mirror and saw a trickle of blood flowing down his neck where there was a deep cut & teeth marks.
Hundreds of miles away Ritika woke up from her dream. Her reddened lips were smeared with blood and a sinister smile was playing on her lips.....

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Beauty of the Dawn

[Note: This piece was drafted on the morning of 11th September, 2009 when the author (that’s me, of course) opened his eyes and looked out of the window.]

It’s 5:18 am. As the light is peeping out of its hideout, the darkness is fading away…..As if the sun’s rays shot like an arrow are chasing away the terrorized darkness….Trees are stretching themselves into a wide yawn trying to brush aside the laziness and be freshened up for a new day….Birds are full of mirth & merriment and at their loudest best. After hours of silent sleep, now they are taking a morning-walk (morning flight) and looking here n there for what more life has to offer.
The dewdrops are melting away into emptiness and the chirping of sparrows fusing beautifully against the barking of the crows….Sound of few buses & scooties is also coming in from time to time and the silent footsteps of the Magician Sun can be heard distinctly as it is making its way to the stage of the world pushing apart the curtains of clouds to cast its magical spell on the world looking up in awe……

Saturday, March 24, 2012

55 word story: Murder of a Murderer

Rakesh lay sweating on the couch.
Stabbed…killed…chopped…buried- he had done all these to his wife Sheetal over the past hour.
A loud CRASH (in the adjoining room)! A sharp pain in the chest….
Sheetal’s pet cat tiptoed out of the adjoining room…It paused at his dead body…And then it smiled…. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

100 word story: If Tomorrow Comes

Rheeya sat by the window-sill inadvertently discerning the parting message of the dying evening sun….. a forlorn look on her face as she thought- Tomorrow, Mr. Sun, I shall unravel all your secrets….Tomorrow I shall step into the shoes vacated by Kalpana Chawla…Tomorrow---
“RHEEYA, It’s time,” her mother’s voice shook her out of her fantasies. It was time for her chemotherapy session.
The sun outside sank lower & lower but just before it faded out, it sneered and called back- Yes Rheeya…but, if Tomorrow comes….. 

When the Tap runs Dry

Today morning, I woke up to a dry day. No, I am not talking of beer or rum. I am not addicted to wine. Rather, I’m addicted to obsessed with water. So much so that when I cut myself last week while shaving, you-know-what oozed out of the cut region (Hint: It wasn’t blood). By the way, I like to sport a stubble and can be lethargic when it comes to shaving. And at times, I don’t shave for weeks! And my face gets really hairy during those times like a Hagrid or a Dumbledore. And….oh gosh, you are now making me divert from the original and far more important subject. So today in the morning, I found, to my intense horror, that the tap had gone dry.
I felt helpless….as if marooned on a far-away desert with nowhere to go. In my feverish anxiety to look for an oasis, I ran towards the kitchen hoping for a happily running tap there. But alas, it was a mirage.
 I cried aloud demanding public attention. I prayed to Almighty to quickly fix the problem or tear apart the Earth for me to sink in like Goddess Sita. And I was about to call the police when my conscience pulled me back. Prudence & common sense won over frenzied madness as I realized that calling the police would only be a waste of their and, more importantly, my time. I needed to call the KMC (Kolkata Municipal Corporation). Balance was low. I gave a missed call but the bastards didn’t call back. Huh!
You may be wondering why does a waterless environment bother me so much? Let yourself be known that I have something like an extra dry skin which needs watering every hour. Also, I have bouts of head-rushes due to which I have to wash my face & head throughout the day. In short, I have a strong affinity towards water. Water & I share a great chemistry (even in the absence of a catalyst). I vividly remember how the tap went dry 2 winters ago and I had to empty the icy water-bottles from the refrigerator in that frigid weather conditions. I can brave the chill, I can pay for doctor’s bill; but nothing can keep me away from water for a very long. After all, me & water have vowed to stay together….till death do us part. Amen……..!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

55 Word Story: The rheumatism

Despite her rheumatism, she braved the spiralling staircase to take the dinner tray to his room. Vicky had shut himself in his room since evening’s heated argument over Sneha. She landed outside his closed door.....paused....then pushed it open.....A spasm of pain pierced her chest as those ageing eyes saw her son’s lifeless body hanging limply.....

Monday, March 19, 2012

My date with Tendulkar’s destiny

[Author’s Note: The author of this article is a tireless fan of Tendulkar. Hence, the emotions he went through cannot be precisely manifested through mere words.]

Sachin Tendulkar rewrote history books past Friday, 16th March, 2012 (hitherto, an historic date) as he slammed his 100th international century against Bangladesh in Mirpur. The hype & hue notwithstanding, this century felt sweeter than it actually was owing to the fact that it came after an unforeseeably agonizing wait of over a year.
I, on my part, had been indefatigably watching all the matches (especially when he was on crease) as I have been doing ever since I started watching cricket (1996 World Cup) in order to not to miss the historic moment. However, Tendulkar’s willow had been teasing me and millions of his devotees for so many months before surprisingly falling prey to our collective prayers in Mirpur. (PS- I even woke up at 5 am during the Australia tour. He had fallen for 80 on that occasion L L).
This Friday, however, I was on the brink of missing out on this much-awaited moment since I had an appointment with a doctor. It so happened that I had left my house at 1 pm, half-an-hour before the match was due to begin. The chamber of the said doctor was on the other side of my city and I was expecting to return home by around 5 pm. I was aloof & uninformed about the condition of the match as I waited impatiently in the doc’s chamber for my turn to arrive. Of course, I had no inkling of the fact that India was put to bat and that Tendulkar had begun his show.
Surprisingly, before long, my turn arrived (a few minutes earlier than I had anticipated) and the diagnosis procedure got over in no time. Then my Mama (uncle) who was escorting me took me to the adjacent ‘Haldiram’ (an eatery) to help me fill my belly. As I munched on my favorite Masala Dosa, I thrillingly saw Sachin & Kohli batting together with the scorecard just getting past 100. It became evident to me that Sachin must be close to his half-century and this may be the day the country has been waiting for. I had a premonition that today, he would get past the jinx and strike that ton.
Egged with a sudden sense of urgency, I gobbled up my Dosa and then hurried out to return home (which would take another 30-40 minutes or so). I just wished to reach home before he struck his ton. Though my Mama insisted that I go with him to his house (which was not as distant as mine), I politely refused since I wanted to attack my personal TV remote. A metro (underground rail) and an auto journey later I reached home and immediately tuned into channel number 33 (reserved for cricket). My heart leapt with joy as I saw the same pair (whom I had left at Haldiram) still on crease. Sachin was on 87 and Kohli slightly behind. Though Kohli departed soon much to my thrill (I didn’t want the limelight to be shared my someone else), Sachin was tentative as he inched from 90 to 100. He crawled, snailed and moved only gradually-but in the end, he was home. That nudge on the leg side made the stadium erupt, the commentators were raving, I was over the moon. The mundane world didn’t exist anymore for me……That moment had frozen itself to eliminate every trivial worries of life….. …The curse of 99 had been overpowered….. Sachin had finally drunk the elixir from the goblet.

PS- This century was carved out only out of sheer grit and that 4-hour optional practice session. Only Sachin could have struck a ton at a time when he was going through a miserable form. ‘Sach’ a magician!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My bittersweet memories of Rahul Dravid

Today my morning commenced with an unusual amount of emotion & nostalgia. I unfolded ‘The Telegraph’ to find those ubiquitously haunting eyes of Rahul Dravid staring back at me from the main page. The eyes, so piercing and quintessentially focused on a cricket pitch, told a different tale today. There was a tinge of sadness in those eyes which had perhaps never betrayed the man over the past 16 years as he stood firm & resolute on his crease, solid as a Wall.
Dravid was retiring today. The Great Wall of India was finally melting away to let the flood of younger blood stream through. The likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwari & Cheteshwar Pujara had been snapping at his heels for quite some time now. And the great man has chosen to pass on the mantle to them, little realizing that none of them has feet as large as to fill his shoes completely. The void left by him will never be fulfilled in its entirety. The holy slot of number 3 which was Dravid’s all these years, will now, in all probability, be claimed by Kohli, and rightly so. But Kohli may only plug the hole to an extent but never will he succeed in creating that aura of a halo which enveloped Dravid throughout his career.


I looked back at the headlines screaming allowed the mournful news that every cricket lover knew beforehand. Even as I allowed time its prerogative to make the feeling sink in, a crowd of memories rushed over me, trampling my thoughts with their emotion-laden footsteps. I remember vividly how I used to envy Dravid a number of times when his heroics eclipsed the failings of Tendulkar (my personal favourite). I remember hazily how I used to pray, over the years, for Tendulkar to score a century and for Dravid to fall short. I remember vaguely still, how I feared that Dravid may eventually surpass Tendulkar’s milestones and leave behind an even greater legacy than the Master when he hangs his boots. Fortunately (or unfortunately), Tendulkar’s milestones are secure and under no immediate threat by other living greats. But I wonder if Dravid has, indeed, left behind a greater legacy, a larger imprint on the sands of time! I remember, quite clearly this time, that after Tendulkar’s cheap dismissals, how I used to frenetically pray for Dravid to see us through the victory line. And Dravid, almost always, fell prey to my bait of prayers! Perhaps, there was a bit of selfishness on my part but the unassumingly great man willfully gifted me some sugar-sweet memories against all my bitterness.

I looked back at the newspaper, and on to his smiling face (albeit tinged with sorrow & mellowed with age). His hairline had receded and I could make out quite a few strands of grey hair. This was in complete contrast to his chocolaty-boy looks of his exuberant youthful days. I turned the newspaper over. There, on the back page, they had published a much more impressive picture of his younger self. He was, indeed, charming, attractive, sexy and gentlemanly. I have always admired his intelligent-looking handsome features (even though I am not a gal). I am sure, I would have definitely been head over heels in love with him, had I been a member of the opposite sex. But does that matter? I can still love him despite all my boyishness.

Turning the paper back to the frontpage, his ageing face seemed to remind me of the eternal law of Nature. He looked wiser, calmer but mellowed & slightly worn out. Life had come a full circle. After a glorious journey, he had finally walked  into the sunset……the dark evening had come over onto the Indian cricket….And as he shut the door quietly withdrawing into his room, the sky above will feel all the more darker… without its brightest star……

55 word story: I Hate Teas and Coffees

Jovana sipped her coffee waiting for her unfaithful husband to pick up his poisoned tea. ‘You know dear, I have taken a strong dislike to teas and coffees since yesterday’s indigestion’- Peter reasoned pushing aside his cup....... And she slumped forward as Peter contentedly realised that the cyanide in her coffee had done the damage.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Remembering Steve Irwin

Stephen Robert "Steve" Irwin (22 February 1962- 4 September 2006)

   After saying goodbye to my night-duties of Facebook, I have gone back to TV. And what better than my favourite ‘Animal Planet’ to spend the final hour before collapsing to the bed! Past Sunday, as I tuned into ‘Channel 19’ (which is the auspicious number housing my bestest ‘Animal Planet’), I was greeted by the ever-smiling face of Steve Irwin. Also known as the much-loved ‘Crocodile Hunter’, Steve passed away following a tragic accident on 4th September, 2006. It’s so ironic that the man who dedicated his entire life fighting for the rights of reptiles & birds got killed by a sting ray. Several sting rays were reported dead following his tragic demise (result of a public wrath), but the great man, himself, wouldn’t have wished for such a vengeance.

It was 12 midnight and Steve effortlessly got me engrossed into his show. The more I watched….the more I wondered! His smile was so infectious, his presence was so revitalizing; it was hard to believe that the man is no more…..that he left us over 5 years back. Watching him on the TV screen looked so real, and so ‘live’. Was he really dead? Yes perhaps, but only to those who have never seen his shows, never watched him cuddle a cub, never admired his effervescence, never saw him risking his own life to rescue an ailing alligator, never saw him hug a baby bear, and certainly never saw him weep over a dead crocodile! 

To me and to his fans, and perhaps, even to you, he is still not dead. How can he be, when the entire animal kingdom is facing a dubious future? How can he be, when the tigers are being skinned and the crocodiles being hunted? Only he had the right to hunt them down, not to kill, but to love! The ‘Crocodile Hunter’ lives on…..The Messiah of our jungle-friends, certainly, wouldn't leave before fulfilling all his promises…..
Steve Irwin (22 February 1962- 4 september 2006  Present)

I switched off the TV. A tear trickled down my face…..Was it a tear of sorrow, or of dejection, or of some eternal ecstasy? I wondered as I sank into a quicksand of emotions…..

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Cuckoo came calling again…….

  I was shutting down my computer after 4 long hours of social networking when a mellifluous voice of some far-away bird tiptoed into my ears. A memory twitched, “Cuckoo….It’s a cuckoo, son.” The melodious voice had a seductive effect. It awakened me from my technical revelries as a sudden pang of guilt & repentance swallowed my senses. Born & brought up amidst oodles of natural sunshine, how could I and why did I let myself become a victim of technology; a slave of the posh modernity.
Wrapped around these introspective thoughts, I slipped on to my bed. It was a sultry summer afternoon, my favourite siesta time. I collapsed into the mattress in anguish as the sudden ‘click’ of the fan announced the onset of a scorching power-cut. In dismay, I threw my head back against the pillow and my eyes inadvertently fell onto the whirling blades of the fan, slowly retarding towards a screeching halt. My eyes began to droop….The fan was still whirling…….But it was fading away and away and away…….A new image was taking shape….
A small boy was walking excitedly, his tiny fingers firmly clutching the comforting hand of his father. The boy must be around six or seven and looked ecstatic with so many birds & animals around. There was a spring in his stride as he scurried briskly from one enclosure to another. His minute eyes looked busy as they scanned the natural surroundings, feasting on the tempting sight of the Royal Bengal tigers and the imported Kangaroos. He hovered a long time over the snake’s enclosure wanting the python to raise its head but the sleeping monster was too lazy to budge. Zoo was his favourite place in the world and this was his 3rd trip in the last one year. As he stood by the breezy pond observing a myriad number of fishes and the far-away sinking sun, there was a hint of sadness in his twinkling eyes. The dreaded time of closure of the zoo had arrived and he was already planning, in his mind, how best to coax his father to bring him to this heavenly place as early as next week only (he would, somehow, manage to survive 7 non-zoo days, though it would be a tough ask).
As the father-son duo began their walk back to the main gate, a shrill, sweet cry pierced the dense canopy of trees and woke the child from his fanciful reveries.
“What bird is that, Papa”, he enquired.
“Cuckoo…..It’s a cuckoo, son!”
How was he to know that the same bird would disturb his thoughts again…some 20 years later?
The scene dissolved. A mist seemed to descend. It grew heavier and out of the mist, the child reappeared. The same boy, now a year older, was riding a swing. His friend was pushing at it with all his strength and the whole garden was brimming with their mirthful chuckles.
 A cool breeze was blowing gently; at times, gathering speed in an audacious display of its power. Trees were happily laden with leaves who appeared busy in polite conversations. Above, dense clouds were hovering, casting dark shadows on the partly-lit faces of the 2 little boys. Sun was peeping out occasionally from the curtain of clouds but the toads beneath could smell its defeat. Buoyed up by a sense of euphoria, the child jumped wildly from the oscillating swing crashing satisfyingly onto the grassy ground. His friend thumped him on the back and they both rushed over towards the slip, and finally on to the see-saw. 
Evening grew deeper as they fluttered about like the elusive blue butterfly which they failed to catch. The Neem tree began to sway dangerously….breeze was taking over. Heavens opened up and it began to pour. The child held up his hands and felt the raindrops on his face. He whirled and whirled around as rain gathered speed. He closed his eyes…..his heart was on fire…..a cuckoo was playing in the vicinity.
I opened my eyes. The fan was whirling at top speed. Power had come back. I rose from the bed with the cuckoo’s song still lingering in my ears. Some vague images flashed by! Power-cut, in my childhood, meant going out in the dark, with my gang of friends, to chase the fireflies. Now the childhood was gone……so were the friends…..and so were the fireflies. Only the darkness remained…….
I looked out of the window. The sky looked inviting. The dying sun had painted it in a rainbow of colours. Certainly, it desired grandness for an epitaph. Drawn by the beautiful evening settings, I left my window, left my room, left my house and rushed upstairs. I hadn’t been to the terrace for so many years now…..but now I realized it’s a window to my childhood. Thanks to my disgruntled landlord, the entrance to the terrace was padlocked. But I was in a vindictive mood and climbed over the gate to land onto the other side, in a perfectly satisfying manner (just like the crashing child who was pleased with his flight from the oscillating swing onto the grass).  
The sun & the sky greeted me, embracing a long-lost friend, finally found. Clouds merely nodded in silent acknowledgement, though later I heard a far-away roar of approval. Much like the sun, my heart was a rainbow of emotions. I walked towards the edge of the roof and looked deep down into the recesses of the courtyard. It was replete with dozens of bikes & scooters that had been parked there. Little did they know that the parking area they occupied once used to be the playing ground of small children! Commercialization & money-mongers had robbed today’s children of the simple joys of playing in open areas. Memories flickered past my eyes. The same boy, whom I had left whirling in the rain, was now running alongside his mates in a game of ‘Lock and Key’. He slipped and was caught and locked by the denner. “Key me, key me! Somebody please key me,” he helplessly appealed to the survivors as he stood frozen in a corner. Will someone ‘key’ him; will he get his liberty, I wondered?
A blinding flash of lightning & a resounding thunder pulled me back from my memories onto the edge of the terrace, where I had been standing. I threw a glance heavenwards. The sun had finally got buried behind the dense, dark clouds which wore a look of mourning, ready to burst out in tears. Within moments, I was surrounded by rain. I blinked, chuckled, cried and stayed rooted to the spot. Rain turned into a thunderstorm and lashed hard at me. But I didn’t budge. The true essence of life had finally dawned on me. It was my moment of homecoming. As I got engulfed in wind & rain, I closed my eyes and spread out my hands…..My heart was on fire…..A cuckoo was playing in the background………...


*This is my entry for the Indiblogger 'Kissan 100% Real Blogger' Contest.
(By Ritesh)

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