Thursday, July 26, 2012


He feels the cold breeze on his face as the playful sea kisses at his feet. He stands on the shore, his feet digging into the wet sand as he softly treads on them. The sky above looks tranquil and inviting with the clouds blowing seductively alongside the wind. The evening sun spills its crimson rays all over the horizon as he sniffs at the air.

He closes his eyes and spreads out his hands into the air. He feels a touch; he opens his eyes. Sneha is holding his hand. Her hands are quite cold and there are tears floating in her eyes. She looks pale and weak. Her flowing white gown caresses the hungry tide. She whispers, ‘I will always love you’ before dissolving into the air. He looks around frantically, searching everywhere for her cold touch, for her soft body, for her watery eyes, for her fragrant breath, for her white satin gown. But she is gone….Gone as suddenly and as completely as she was gone on that fateful day…
‘You took her away from me,’ he shouts at the callous sea. ‘Bring her back…Please…Please…Please.’ Tears well up in his eyes, and a streak runs down his cheeks and falls by his feet where the sea devours it…just like it had devoured Sneha.
Memories come flooding back in their horrific vividness. The face of a smiling girl swarms before his moist eyes. She has thick, long mane of hair and bright bulb-like eyes. A dimple creases her face when she smiles. He keeps turning back to take a look at her. It’s the first day of the college and it is love at first sight.
“Err…. Hi….I am…um…Aakash,” he fumbles.
“Hi. I am Sneha,” she smiles.
“Do you mind having a cup of coffee with me?”
It is the beginning of a beautiful story…
Waves crash furiously at the rocks as he searches for his lost love amongst the swirling waters. Birds fly in the distant horizon as the sun stoops lower and lower. He gazes at them with forlorn eyes as tears continue to erupt…..
“You, naughty boy, give me my diary back, Aakash,” she runs after him.
“No. I won’t,” he teases. “Let me take a look at it. Let’s see, what secrets this diary hides.”
“No Aakash. NO! NO! Please…It’s personal,” she begs.
He opens the diary and flips through its pages. ‘I love Aakash’ is written in its page amidst the huge sign of a heart.
“I love you too, Sneha,” he breathes. She comes closer. Their lips meet……
He throws his gaze towards the sea. ‘There in your bottomless depths, my love lies buried,’ he whispers to the sea. The sea mocks at him as it lashes out furiously. The sun goes behind the clouds and the sky becomes darker…just like his life…
“Will you marry me, Sneha,” he asks. It is the final day of the college.
“Yes I will,” a shy smile splits her lips as her face gets lost behind her dimples.
The sea roars as the moon comes out. He stands by the sea feeling the breeze slap at his face. A young girl of about 5 runs up towards him.
“Papa, let us go inside. Why are you standing here for so long?”
He bends down and kisses his daughter. “Sneha, you go and play. I will come in a short while. Let me talk to your mom a bit longer.”
“Where is mummy? Even I want to talk to her,” she looks around with her innocent eyes. “I can’t see her, Papa. Where is she?”
“She is there,” he says pointing towards the sea.
“Why doesn’t she come, Papa?”
“No dear, she cannot come. They don’t let her come.”
“Who are ‘they’, Papa” she asks.
“’They’ are the stars. She is now one of them,” he smiles and kisses her again….
“Look at the news, Aakash,” Raghav screams on the phone.
“Why, what happened, Raghav? Why are you worried?”
“Sea has erupted,” Raghav barks hysterically on the phone. “A tsunami has come in Chennai. Ring up Sneha and tell her to vacate the city immediately. Take a look at the news.”
He tunes into several news channels at once. They are all blaring the news of a tsunami that has hit Chennai in the early hours of the day. ‘Oh God’- he thinks. ‘Sneha has gone to Chennai with her friends. I hope she is safe.’ He calls her up but her phone is not reachable. He is frantic, but it’s too late. The ocean has swallowed up his beloved….
“Papa, do you miss mummy?” his daughter pulls him back from his sea of thoughts. He looks down at her. Tears stream down his face.
“Tell na papa, do you miss her,” Sneha asks.
“No dear,” he says. “I don’t miss her. She is always with me.”
“Papa, was she beautiful?”
“Yes dear, but not as beautiful as you.” He kisses her again. “And do you know, what she whispers to me?”
“What, Papa?” the girl asks.
“She says that she loves you very much.” His daughter kisses his hand and runs away.
He smells the air and closes his eyes. Sneha appears before him and whispers in his ears, ‘You are not alone. I am always with you.’ She moves closer….their lips get locked in a tight embrace…….

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fifty Years Later

Vishal walked purposefully as the street took a bend. The light from the lamppost fell on his balding grey hair. There was a glint in his eye and a purpose in his stride as he walked along. For a moment, the horn of a passing car caught his attention but seconds later, he immersed back into his chain of thoughts.

‘Will he come? Will he keep his promise?’ he thought.
It had begun to drizzle. Vishal pulled open his black umbrella and trudged along the wet pavement. He crossed one street after another and walked past several rows of buildings. It had been a long time since he had been to this area. It was apparent that the place had undergone a sea change. The old coffee house that he remembered was replaced by a shopping mall with dazzling neon lights. The old post office was gone too. An official-looking building was standing in its place.
Rain picked up speed. A fierce wind was attempting to blow off his umbrella. He tightened his grip on its handle and continued his brisk stride. Several images flashed past his mind like a flicker of film. The image of a tall, thin boy took shape. “Will you remember me, after you grow old, Ashok?” Vishal asked.
“Yes I will. How can I forget you? You are my best friend na” replied the tall, thin boy. Both the boys grinned at each other.
“But, what if we drift apart? Time and distance may separate us in the future. Will you still value my friendship, in case we lose our ways and drift,” asked Vishal, straightening his glasses which were slipping down his nose.
“Yes I will, dear. I promise,” replied Ashok. “By the way, Vishal, when will you give up this habit of yours? Is it only with you that the glasses keep slipping? I have never seen anyone else fidgeting with his glasses as much as you do,” Ashok teased.
“Well, I guess this habit is not going to go in my lifetime. May be, after I die,” Vishal smiled. “But don’t divert from the main subject,” Vishal pressed on. “As I was saying, what if we go our own ways once we grow up? Will you, then, care for my friendship as much as you do now?”
“I will always care for your friendship,” Ashok replied firmly. “Even after ten years, even after twenty years, even after fifty years.” Both the boys smiled.
“Tell you what,” said Vishal. “How about meeting on this same spot, exactly fifty years from now? We don’t know where life would take us from here. But if we are true friends, then no matter where we are, and no matter in what condition we find ourselves in, we would not fail to turn up. Let’s mark this date in our memories. Today is 10th October, 1960. We must meet right at this spot, fifty years from now. That would be 10th October, 2010. You would come na?”
“Of course, I would come,” smiled Ashok.
“Then promise me, Ashok. Promise me that you would come to meet me here, at this same spot, on 10th October, 2010. Promise me,” Vishal pleaded.
“I promise. Hey, but what if I don’t live to see the day,” Ashok said. “Fifty years is a long time. Who knows I may not be alive by that time----“
“Don’t speak of it,” interrupted Vishal. “But I hope that even death won’t be able to part us. I will come here and wait for you at 10 pm on 10.10.10. I know you have this old habit of keeping people waiting but I hope that you will keep your promise, for I am positive that I would keep mine.”
Rain was beating down mercilessly by now. Vishal stopped by the lamppost and glanced at his wrist watch. It was 9:55. ‘Would Ashok remember his promise,’ he thought as he straightened his glasses. He resumed his brisk walk. The old spot came into sight but no one was around. The banyan tree was still there though the dilapidated building was gone.
Vishal positioned himself below the tree and waited. The street was pretty silent. Occasionally, a car or a bike passed but save that, the stretch of road was pretty deserted. He looked back at his watch. It was 10 pm and there was no sign of Ashok. Perhaps, he would not come. May be, he has forgotten his promise or grown too old to walk. Yet, his instinct told him that Ashok would come. Even though, they had not seen each other for the last thirty years, Vishal knew that Ashok would not betray his childhood friend. He was convinced that Ashok would come. And so he waited.
Rain pelted down heavily as he stood rooted to the spot. Seconds turned into minutes and minutes turned into hour. It was 11 pm. A stray dog whined in the vicinity. Vishal lost all hopes. He turned his heels and started to go when he heard the sound of a splash. He wheeled around. A tall, thin man, dressed in an overcoat, was walking towards him. His face was shrouded behind the umbrella he was holding and his boots were making a lot of noise as they hit the puddle of water. Vishal held his breath in anticipation. The man came closer and shifted his umbrella slightly so that his face came out of the shadows. Yes, there was no mistaking those twinkling, grey eyes. Ashok had finally arrived.
“So, you still haven’t given up your habit of turning up late. I thought you would never come,” grinned Vishal, as he straightened his glasses.
“I see that you too haven’t quite deserted your old habit, my friend. Your glasses still slip,” Ashok chuckled. “So, how has life treated you? Thirty years, since we last met.”
“Yes, it has been a long time,” smiled Vishal as he stretched out his hand. Ashok took it. His hands were icy cold, Vishal thought.
“Why are your hands so cold, Ashok,” Vishal asked, a frown creasing his face.
A smirk spread across Ashok’s face. “That is so because I am dead. I died 6 years ago. But see, I kept my promise.” Ashok chuckled. Vishal felt a spasm of shock, and moments later, broke into a fit of maniacal laughter.
“What makes you laugh, Vishal,” said Ashok in an amused tone. “Don’t you believe me?”
“Yes, I do,” laughed Vishal.
“Then, why are you laughing?”
“Because I was right. See, death could not part us. Both of us kept our promises. I died last evening. Let’s walk.”

Monday, July 23, 2012

The undead

The biting cold of December meant that most people were indoors, safely tucked in their blankets. The church clock chimed somewhere in the distance. It was 11 pm and Rita was heading towards nowhere. She trudged along the street, her head buzzing with a crowd of thoughts.
It had been an eventful day. She had left her home in the early hours of the evening in order to meet Stephen. She was brimming with happy thoughts as she pushed open the door of Barista Coffee House. There he was, fidgeting with his cell phone. How she loved that boyish smile with which he greeted her. But she wasn’t prepared for the words which followed the smile.
“Hi Rita. There is a good news. I got engaged to Sheetal. We are tying the knot on Valentine’s Day.” The words had pierced her heart like a warm knife.
“Oh, Congrats,” she heard herself saying. Her mind had gone completely blank.
Tears flowed down her cheeks into the dusty pavement as she trudged along in the dark. A cat crossed her path. She barely paid notice. Her mind was racing, rewinding the events of the evening.
“Aren’t you happy to hear this, Rita,” Stephen had asked.
“Yes, I am,” she whispered. ‘NO, I AM NOT,” she screamed in her mind. “I thought, me and you….” She broke off.
“Look,” Stephen said taking out a small purple box. “Here is the ring that I have bought for her. It’s good na.”
Rita cast a hungry eye on the ring and nodded. She tried to put up a smile though deep inside her heart was burning. ‘I love you,’ she thought and closed her eyes.
She opened her eyes and found herself standing on the edge of the bridge. She looked around in the dark. There was no one in sight. Tears were streaming down fast from her moist eyes. She threw a glance below the bridge. Water was swirling below, apparently celebrating its moment of high tide. ‘One leap and it would be all over,’ she thought.
She looked up towards the heaven. There was a dense cloud cover which had obliterated the stars. Her cell phone buzzed. It was a call from her mom. She must be worried. Rita didn’t pick up the phone. ‘Mom, I am going,’ she spoke to the air and flung her cell across the bridge. It fell with a splash and was devoured by the hungry tide.
 She inched closer towards the edge of the bridge, took tentative steps and climbed the iron railing and took a deep breath. She was about to jump when a voice from behind startled her.
“Don’t…Don’t do that,” cried a voice. Rita climbed down the railing and looked behind. There was no one. She whirled around and checked sideways. The entire bridge was deserted. “Don’t jump,” the voice came again. “Trust me. It’s easy to die but hard to live thereafter,” the voice rang.
“Who are you,” Rita mustered courage and spoke to the air.
“I am the undead,” the voice answered back. “This is the same bridge from where I had jumped 5 years ago. Now, I am neither alive nor dead. Those who commit suicide become the undead. I have neither form nor body. The gates of heaven are closed for me. I committed a sin by committing suicide. I don’t belong to the living world but nor do I belong to the dead. I am undead.”
“People who commit suicide, do they become undead,” Rita asked, tears still streaming down her face.
“Yes. They become undead. I committed suicide. I died before my time was up. Now, I am a lone spirit wandering aimlessly. Believe me, I am not happy. Now I realize that I shouldn’t have committed suicide. Go home, Rita.”
“But I don’t want to live,” Rita sobbed. “I love Stephen. But he is marrying someone else. I can’t live without him,” she sobbed harder.
“Believe me Rita,” said the voice. “Death is easy and instantaneous. You won’t even feel the pain. But what comes next is the difficult part. I am in misery. I do not want you to share my fate. We are all in misery.” And as she spoke, the air became filled with several voices, “We are the undead. We are the undead. We want liberty.” And then the air was filled with sound of several people crying. It was apparent that they were in great anguish. And then suddenly, the crying stopped. All the voices ceased and it became completely still.
Rita looked up. The clouds had drifted. The stars beamed at her. She wiped her tears with her hand and walked towards her home.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The reflection

A powerful yellow light and the reverberating sound of rumbling on the ground announced the arrival of the Dumdum-bound train. Oindrilla felt the thick waft of breeze as the train rushed in into the platform of Kalighat Metro Station. Being of petite frame, Oindrilla had to struggle through the sea of crowd as the automatic gates of the train slid open. Somehow, she pushed herself inside before the train zoomed forward.

The train was filled with weird-looking passengers. Oindrilla stood by the train, unable to find a vacant seat. She turned sideways and her glance fell on an old man standing behind her. He was staring right at her. For a moment, Oindrilla met his glance. His face, she noticed, was covered in red boils, as if someone had poured acid over it. His look reminded her of a man she had seen in a horror film. It was nauseating to look at him. She looked away. But the fact that his cold eyes were fixed on her did not do anything to ease her discomfort. She turned her back to him, making a slight shift in her position.
Her eyes inadvertently fell on a grumpy-looking lady who was seated nearby. The lady had a mole on her nose and was staring at Oindrilla with a transfixed gaze. Oindrilla whirled and scanned her surroundings. It felt oddly queer as she discovered that every single eye was fixed on her. They were all watching her keenly as if she were an actress performing on a stage. Their faces looked stern and unfriendly. There was an accusatory look in their eyes which sent a shiver down her spine.
Oindrilla allowed her thoughts to stray elsewhere. Turning her back on them, she turned to face the door. There was a glass panel on the door. As she looked at it, her reflection stared back at her. Oindrilla gazed at her own reflection. It rightly showed her her pointed nose and her thick crop of curly hair. But as she looked at it, she saw red boils growing over her face. Her reflection was turning into a grotesque and horrible figure. She was startled. Instinctively, her hand went to her face to examine its features. Her fingers ran over her face but could not trace boils or any other abnormality. But what was horrifying was that her reflection on the glass paneled door was standing still. It did not raise its hand. Moreover, it was still sporting repulsive boils that had grown so dense now that they seemed to be covering her entire face.
Oindrilla looked in horror at her reflection. And then, all of a sudden, without a warning, her reflection broke into a hysterical laughter. An ear-splitting sound of laughter was emanating from the glass as Oindrilla pressed her hands against her ears. The sound of her own laughter began to echo inside her head. It became louder and filled her lungs. The sound buzzed inside her body and seemed to choke her from inside. Oindrilla shrieked. The sound of her shriek muffled the laughter of her reflection. And before she knew, the laughter died away.
Oindrilla turned to take a look at her co-passengers. The old man with the boils had disappeared. The grumpy lady with the mole had disappeared. Instead, she found herself staring at hundreds of pale, translucent figures floating in the air. To her horror, she realized that they were spirits. All the spirits had their translucent eyes fixed on her. Oindrilla looked outside with a suddenness. Stone pillars were hurrying away as the train sped past. And then she realized with a jolt that the train hadn’t stopped at the next station. It was speeding on. Her eyes fell on her reflection on the glass panel and she saw her own self as a pale, translucent figure. A blood-curdling shriek emanated from her lips as she closed her eyes. Moments later, she opened her eyes and found herself on her bed. She sat up and smiled in relief. It was just a nightmare though a scary one. As she rose, her eyes fell on the mirror of the dressing table. A pale, translucent figure looked back at her. It was her own reflection……

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The sobbing woman

Mr. Roy, Mrs. Roy and their son Rahul were a family of three who lived in the city of Calcutta. Mr. Roy was a businessman while Mrs. Roy was a housewife. Their son Rahul was 11-year old and studied in standard 5 in a reputed school in the city. Mr. Roy owned two factories that manufactured garments. While one factory was in Calcutta, the other was in Jamshedpur. He had to make frequent trips to the town of Jamshedpur to manage the affairs there. He used to spend half the month in Calcutta and the other half in Jamshedpur. Mr. Roy was a tall man of good build. But he was a patient of diabetes and his hectic schedule was taking a toll on his body. Finally, he decided to shut down one of the factories to save himself the trouble of constant travelling. So, he shut down the Calcutta factory and the entire family shifted to Jamshedpur into a new house. Rahul was admitted to a local school in Jamshedpur and the family settled down quietly in their new surroundings.

A week passed uneventfully. Mr. Roy was now attending to his affairs at the Jamshedpur factory. He was glad that he was now exempt of constant travelling and could lead a more peaceful and quieter life.
One day, somewhere in the middle of the night, Mr. Roy woke up from his sleep. He got up to drink some water before heading back to sleep. He threw a glance at the grandfather clock and saw that it was 3 am. He was heading back to bed when, all of a sudden, he heard a sound. It appeared as if someone was sobbing. The sound seemed to come from the other side of the house. His wife and his son were fast asleep in the same room where he was standing. So, who was weeping at this time of the day? Stirred by curiosity, he went to examine. He left the bedroom, crossed the drawing room and cautiously approached the guest room. The sound of continuous sobs was now coming louder and clearer. It was the voice of a woman. He crossed the threshold and entered the guest room. It was immersed in pitch black darkness. And there he saw a figure standing by the window and facing the wall.
‘Who is it,’ he called. But the figure did not respond and continued to sob. Mr. Roy groped around the wall for the switchbox and turned on the light. The figure disappeared instantly. The blood flowing inside his veins seemed to freeze in terror. It did not take him long to realize that he had just seen an apparition. He did not want to trouble his wife and son. He quietly went back to bed. But he could not sleep. His heart was drumming fast. Was this house haunted?
It happened the next night as well. Mr. Roy woke up in the middle of the night on hearing a wailing sound. He was once again drawn to the guest room where he saw the pale figure of a woman facing the wall and sobbing. This happened for the next few nights. Mr. Roy would wake up to the sound of the woman sobbing. Even his wife woke up one night and shrieked in horror at the sight of a wailing woman in the guest room. The remarkable thing about this ghost was that it never made an appearance in any other part of the house. Every night, it would appear in the guest room, stand before a particular wall and sob.
Mr. and Mrs. Roy got increasingly worried. They were a God-fearing couple and were afraid of spirits and ghosts. Even the thought of living in a haunted house petrified them. Mr. Roy confided about it to a friend who suggested that they consult a local priest. The priest was called. Mr. Roy told him everything about the weeping apparition. The priest decided to pass the night in the guest room to see for himself how and when the apparition appeared.
So, as night fell, he lay down on the bed and waited. Minutes passed into hours. Darkness and silence engulfed the room. A mouse squeaked somewhere in the kitchen. Before he knew, the priest dozed off. And then, some time later, he was woken up by a sound. He rose from the bed and saw the wailing woman staring at the wall and sobbing. It did not take the priest long to understand that this spirit had some unfulfilled desire. She wanted something done and would not rest in peace until that was done.
The priest said aloud, “Who are you and what do you want? Why is your spirit wandering around? What troubles you?”
 The woman stopped sobbing and looked up at him. She was nothing more than a pale, translucent figure. The priest saw that her eyes were red with crying and she wore a sad look. He thought that the woman might say something. He expected her to confide her troubles to him. But the woman only looked at him with her misty eyes. And then, she raised her hand and pointed at the wall. The priest was perplexed.
“I want liberty,” the woman spoke in a barely audible whisper. “I am imprisoned. Free me. Please let me go.” And with these words, she evaporated in the air and disappeared.
Next morning, the priest said to Mr. Roy, “There is something behind that wall. She is a troubled, restless spirit. She is not at peace. She wants something done. We need to dig up that wall.”
And so, men were called and the wall was dug up. As the men pulled apart the top bricks, they saw something white glisten. As more and more bricks were removed, to their horror, they discovered a skeleton. Someone, in the past, had buried a dead body in that wall.
“This must be the body of that woman,” the priest announced. “It appears as if she was murdered and her body buried here. She is looking for salvation. We must cremate this body with proper rituals. Only then will her soul feel at rest.”
The priest then conducted an ‘anusthaan’. The body was cremated with dignity and all the rites performed.
One month has passed since then. The ghost hasn’t made any further appearance. The dead woman now rests in peace and Mr. Roy sleeps soundly. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The window

I can see her standing by the window ledge smiling serenely at me. She is standing there, now trying to clutch the bars of the window with her tiny hands. She is my 2-year old daughter and she is dead. She died a month back due to heart failure. For the past few days, she has been smiling at me from the window ledge. It used to be her favourite place in the house where she used to play all the time when she was alive. She still plays there all the time but I can see her sometimes wincing in pain. Perhaps, her heart troubles her still.

When she was dying, she had clung to me tightly. I could hear her whisper to me softly with her dying lips, ‘Mummy, I will be back. I will come back.’ I wept for the whole day clutching her lifeless body in my arms. ‘Mom, don’t cry. I said I will come back na,’ a voice inside me spoke to me.
Her father cremated her body next day. But he did not know that my daughter had left her body behind and had returned. She had come back to me. I was overwhelmed with ecstasy on seeing my baby back. There she was, standing by the window fixing me with her innocent eyes that appeared to say, ‘I told you na Ma, that I will be back. See, I have come back. I have come back for ever. I shall never leave you again.’ I cried with joy and laughed with delight. My daughter burst into a fit of giggle as she saw her mummy laughing hysterically. Ah, my daughter had returned to me. My joys knew no bound.
My husband got increasingly worried. I don’t know why, but he began to fear for my sanity. I told him he was being stupid. I haven’t gone mad. I am just delighted, now that my daughter has returned. I leapt high in the air and clapped my hands gleefully. I told him to celebrate as well but he looked at me with inscrutable eyes and wept. I told him ‘Why are you crying. You ought to be celebrating now that our daughter has come back to us.’ But he continued to sob. I don’t know why.
They organized a 12-day ritual for my daughter. They thought she was gone…..gone for good. I mocked at them for their foolishness. The priest arrived to perform the last rites for my daughter. He was a pot-bellied man and was wearing 7 rings on his fingers. I counted them eagerly. My husband sobbed inconsolably. I grabbed him and shook him hard, ‘What happened dear? Why are you shedding tears? Look, our Sarah is playing there, by her favourite window’. He did not answer me but continued to sob. I don’t know why.
The next few days passed hazily. All of our relatives turned up everyday for the next 12 days. They wore white clothes and looked glum. My sister also came with her husband and her 4-year old son Aarav. She patted me tenderly on my shoulders and gave me a sad look. I turned to Aarav and told him, ‘Go, play with Sarah. She is standing there by the window. She is calling you. Look…’
My sister wept on hearing my words. She held Aarav’s arms tightly. I think she did not want her son to play with Sarah anymore. I wondered if it has got something to do with the fact that she died. May be, she does not want Aarav to mix up with a dead girl. ‘But, Sarah is his cousin,’ I pleaded with her. ‘Look there. She is standing by the window desperate to play with Aarav. Why is he not playing with her anymore?’
A few more days passed slowly. After the rituals were over, our relatives stopped coming to our house. Only three people were left in the house- me, my husband and my daughter. But I felt lonely. My husband hardly talked to me these days. And my daughter only smiled from her place by the window side. She never spoke. I missed her sugary voice. I told her, ‘Why don’t you speak, Sarah? Say ‘Mummy’, ‘Papa’. Say say.’ But she only looked at me with her mystical eyes and smiled….
Today, I am thrilled. My daughter has finally spoken. I heard her say, ‘Mummy, come here…come to me.’ My husband is not at home. He has gone to office. I and Sarah are all alone. She is beckoning me towards her. But I find that my legs are tied with a rope which is tied to the bed. I can’t go towards her. I don’t know why but my husband bound me with thick ropes before going to his office. I don’t know why he is doing this to me. I heard him talk to the doctor last evening. The doctor told him that your wife has suffered mental imbalance due to trauma. I didn’t like the look on my husband’s face when the doctor spoke.
I am chained to my bed. I am not liking it. My daughter is calling me from the window. Please let me go towards her. Please let me go……..

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The werewolf

Vinay dialed Anita’s number.

“Hello,” a female voice spoke.
“Hi Anita, Vinay here,” he replied.
“Oh hi Vinay. So where are we meeting tonight.”
“How about that lake by the forest where we had our first date?”
“Yes okay. But be careful. There are dangerous creatures that prowl the forest during night. I have even heard tales of a werewolf,” said Anita.
“Haha, do you believe in all these fairy tales,” laughed Vinay. “I am an engineer madam, and I am completely against these superstitious beliefs. You know that, right?”
“Yes dear, I know. But still, there are wolves to take care of. Do not come by the usual path. Take the alternative route. It’s better to avoid the forest after sunset,” persisted Anita.
“Do not worry about me, dear. I will be safe. By the way, I have something special to present to you. Don’t be late. Bye,” he hung up smiling at the thought of the ring that he was about to present her.
Vinay and Anita had been dating for 2 years and Vinay had decided that the time had come to pop the question.
‘Will you marry me, Anita’
‘Yes, I will’- he imagined her happy face beaming with joy.
Vinay pocketed the ring he had bought for her and allowed himself the luxury of a few happy thoughts as he imagined the ring slipping into Anita’s slender finger.
As the evening came to a close, Vinay set out for his date with his ladylove. Today, he would be meeting her after an entire one week. Even the thought of a stray wolf did little to suppress his unbridled enthusiasm. Vinay trotted along by the woods, heading towards the lake where he imagined himself spending some happy hours with his girlfriend.
It was getting dark. The forest was unusually quiet today. Even the usually-chirping birds appeared silent. Everything was still except the occasional rustle of dry leaves as he stepped on them. And then he heard a howl. It was definitely a wolf and seemed to be somewhere in the vicinity. Vinay quickened his pace. After all, he was seeking a date with Anita. He had no intention of saying hello to an untamed wolf at this hour of the day.
Vinay continued his brisk pace. He looked at the watch. It was ten minutes past seven. He was already late. He had promised to meet her sharp at seven. She won’t be too pleased if he turned up late again. He doubled his pace and began to jog towards the direction of the lake. There was a gush of wind and cloud drifted apart revealing the refulgent moon. Vinay looked up at the sky bathed in silver. And then it happened. There was a loud growl and something heavy and hairy pounced over him. The wolf dug its teeth into his legs and then ran away in the opposite direction. Vinay caught a fleeting glimpse of the animal. It was a grey wolf and had an ugly scar across its left eye.
Vinay pulled himself up. There were teeth marks around his ankle where the wolf had bitten him. Thankfully, he didn’t sustain heavy injuries and found, to his relief that he could walk without much difficulty. Cursing the wolf for gnawing at his flesh, he resumed his journey….
There she was, standing serenely in a pink floral dress. A smile broke across her face as she caught sight of Vinay.
“What happened? Why are you limping,” she asked.
“Nothing. I just fell down on my way,” he dismissed.
“So, what’s the special thing you wish to present to me,” said Anita with a coquettish smile.
“This,” he said as he fished out the ring from the pocket of his jeans and presented to her. And then the moon peeped out again. Its silvery ray fell on Vinay’s face and he felt a jerk in his navel. Hair grew all over his body and sharp, pointed fangs popped out of his jaws. His nails were turning into claws as he realized, to his utmost horror, that he was turning into a wolf. And then he looked up. His blood froze. A grey wolf was standing on the same spot where Anita was standing a minute before. It was smiling wickedly and had an ugly scar cut across its left eye……
I turned the final page and shut the book down. I looked out of the window. The full moon emerged out of the clouds as I transformed into a wolf…..

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Revenge

I switched on my laptop and logged in to, my favourite chatting website. I connected.
Me: Hi
Stranger: Hello
Me: Hello, I am Maanav. What’s your name
Stranger: Hello Maanav. I am Mehek.
Me: What do you do, Mehek
Stranger: Nothing much
Me: Are you married?
Stranger: Nopes
Me: Have a boyfriend?
Stranger: I had one before I died
Me: LOL. You have a great sense of humour.
Stranger: Have you forgotten me, Maanav?
Me: What? (I was a bit puzzled)
Stranger: You are going out with Priya
Me: Yes, but how do you know that (I was taken aback by this piece of information)
Stranger: I know everything
Me: Do you happen to know Priya
Stranger: No Maanav. I happen to know you.
Me: But??
Stranger: Why? Have you forgotten dear?
Me: Forgotten what?
Stranger: You used to date me till a year back. But then you took fancy to Priya. I was possessive about you. I would keep an eye on you. You wanted me out of the way. So, you killed me. Is that right?
Me (aghast): But Mehek, you are…
Stranger: Yes dear, I am dead. Don’t you remember how you shot me with your dad’s pistol. You dumped the pistol into the lake and buried my body in the garden. Yes, my body still lies there rotting and decaying. But my soul wanders free, hungry to take revenge.
Sweat broke out on my face. I logged out nervously. My hands were trembling. I shut down the computer promising myself that I would never again go to that site. My heart was pounding furiously. I took a glass from the kitchen and poured myself some water. I was shaking badly. In my nervousness, the glass slipped from my fingers and fell with a crash breaking into several pieces. As I bent down to clean it up, I saw a face reflected on the glass pieces. I froze. It was not my face. It was Mehek. I could suddenly feel tension in the air. I could feel someone walking in the room. I could hear someone breathing heavily. I gasped and muttered under my breath, “Forgive me please.” And then I heard a bone-chilling laughter. An invisible woman was laughing hysterically. I screamed. But there was no one in the house to hear my scream. Then a piece of broken glass flew up and pierced my chest. Blood oozed out and I moved no more.
She buried my body in the garden, in the same garden where her own body lay. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The astrologer’s warning

“Anand, you need to be careful. Your life is in danger,” said the astrologer in a grave voice.
“Danger? What harm can befall a 25 year old strong and healthy man,” said Anand in an amused tone.
“I warn you,” the astrologer shot back, his powerful eyes affixed on Anand’s palm as he examined it. “You need to watch out for a woman.”
“A woman?” a frown appeared in Anand’s puzzled face. “I must emphasize that I stay miles away from girls. I don’t even have a girlfriend. And I have no immediate plans for plunging into matrimony.”
“Yes, but the woman I am talking of is no ordinary woman,” said the astrologer. “I, hereby, speak of the DEAD.”
“You mean to say that a dead woman is after me,” said Anand, his tone sarcastic.
“Don’t take my warning lightly. Wear this sacred thread,” the astrologer replied tying a black thread around his neck. “Now go home. And remember- do not turn to look back if you hear someone calling you.”
Anand touched the astrologer’s feet in reverence and went home, slightly perturbed. He was not a superstitious person but, nevertheless, the astrologer’s warning had left him slightly shaken.
Two days passed without any incident. Anand had begun to think of the astrologer as an old fraud. Then on the third day, it happened. He was walking down the street heading to his friend’s place. It was twilight and the street was shrouded in semi-darkness. As he walked past the peepal tree, he heard a voice. It was a cold, faint whisper. It seemed as if someone was calling him.
‘Anand….’ The voice called again. It was the voice of a woman! Anand was about to look back but then he remembered the astrologer’s warning- ‘Do not turn to look back if you hear a voice.’
‘ANAND….ANAND…Come here, Anand,” the voice called again. Anand stood rooted to his spot. His heart was drumming madly inside his chest. He looked ahead. The entire stretch of road seemed deserted. It was quite dark. The voice from the tree came again. This time it was louder and more seductive. ‘Anand…won’t you look back. I have come back only for you. Look at me. Turn around, Anand. Come to me.’
Anand’s heart seemed to come out of his mouth. His face was covered in sweat. He seemed to decide that he would have to run for it. His mind was becoming blank and he was conscious of the fact that he was alone in this deserted lane. The voice came again, ‘ANAND’….. But hey, it was his mother’s voice this time. Relieved and glad that his mother had come, he turned to look back, his face breaking into a smile. ‘Oh mom-‘ But he broke off and looked straight into a face so beautiful that he was hypnotized. He stood there transfixed for several minutes gazing raptly at a face with dazzling eyes and a bewitching smile.
Hypnotized, he stood his ground as the smiling maiden walked towards him…she came closer and closer….till only a breath separated them….her lips moved closer…. And then they kissed.
Today, Anand lies sick in a mental asylum muttering only a few words, “I love you Payal, I want you Payal.”

Monday, July 2, 2012

Who murdered my wife

They caught me with a blood-stained knife which I happened to possess I don’t remember how. They said I stabbed my wife, my only wife, my dear lovable wife. But I don’t remember. I vaguely remember the day. I was watching television. My wife was asleep in the bedroom. It was a crime-based show in which I saw a man stabbing his wife in the sleep. That scene stirred me deeply and something happened to me. I don’t remember the subsequent events. My mind goes completely blank whenever I endeavour to think about it. I don’t remember taking the knife from the kitchen. I don’t remember tiptoeing into my wife’s room. I don’t remember when and how I stabbed her. All I remember is that she screamed in her sleep and I found myself standing by her side holding a blood-stained knife. My wife was lying in a pool of blood and I was covered in sweat. My wife’s scream alerted the neighbours who alerted the cops. The officers rushed into my residence. I was still standing by my dead wife’s side tightly clinging to the culprit knife. I stood frozen unable to comprehend the situation. I was charged with the murder of my wife, my only wife, my dear lovable wife. I was falsely accused for I did not murder my wife. No, I could not have murdered her. I loved her too much. I….I …I think I am losing sense of time….
Hello, there. I am the other side of me. I confess that it was me who murdered my wife and not my simpleton and gullible counterpart. I hated my wife. She used to nag at me all the time. I loathed her for nagging at me; I detested her for fancying that Hollywood actor; I hated her for spying on me. I had been conspiring secretly to kill her for the past many weeks. I remember the day vividly. I witnessed a man stab his wife on the television. That egged me up. My mind was made up. I rushed into the kitchen, picked up the knife and quietly entered my wife’s room. She was snoring. How I hated her snores! But tonight, I told myself, I would put a permanent end to her snoring. I held the knife high in the air and plunged it savagely into her heaving chest. A shriek emanated from her lips, hovered in the air for a second, and then all was silent. She moved no more…….
I… I don’t understand certain things. Today I shall be tried on court for the murder I did not commit. I swear I did not murder my wife. I think I am being controlled by someone else. There are blank moments when I don’t remember what I did. They are saying that I am showing symptoms of split personality. All I know is that I loved my wife deeply and I haven’t killed her……….

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