One God, One World

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Towards the end of the 21st century, the entire world came to an end. Man killed man, destroyed all the lands and tried to be God.

No one could make their way to the throne of the almighty, through their foolish ways. There was death all around and the destiny of mankind was unknown. There was huge traffic up above, Gods of all the religions and regions were very busy accounting the deeds. No one survived, everybody was accounted for their life on earth; expect one human.

One.

His name was One and he was the last in the queue, so last that his audit never came up. He waited for several hours, but somehow the Gods and their assistants were quite busy to entertain or rather audit him. He was confused and afraid. He did not know where his final home was; heaven or hell.

He shouted for help in front of the accounts office, but all in vain. He ran around, the majestic white palace. The palace made of clouds, with rainbows in the garden. There was a silver fountain which showered silver water. He was enchanted by this fantasy but wanted his judgment from his God. Just as he was waiting in distress, a masculine voice gave him the light of hope.

My little creation, what in heavens are you doing outside in the garden?

Father, everybody got their judgment, the world is over but there is no one to give me my judgment. Please help me finish my circle of life.

Don’t worry child, which country have you come from?

India.

The voice was very kind and told him the way to the office of Indian Gods. One reached there easily, but was shocked to see hundreds of them in a hall, attending a meeting. They were fighting with each other like a parliament session. One requested the divine peon to give him an appointment with the Hindu God of creation—Brahma.

The peon was divine but his habits were manly and he asked one for a bribe and only then will he let him go inside. On this one explained that it was written in the holy books that a man comes in the world empty handed and leaves the world empty handed, so how could he have anything to give.

The divine peon agreed on his thoughts and took him to God Brahma.

One bowed to the creator.

Father, please give my judgment. I am the only one left.

Dear child, please meet the man who took your life, the God of death—Yama. I am very sorry but I am very busy. The divine peon will help you.

One started looking for God Yama with the help of the divine peon. They reached the destination.

Dear child, I am a servant to the God of destruction. please go to him, he will show you the light. I am very busy. The divine peon will help you.

So again, he started his journey to meet the God of destroyer—God Shiva. One explained his problem. God Shiva listened to him peacefully, and then spoke.

Dear child, I can only give you a minute. Explain me what did you do in life as your profession.

God, I was an artist all my life.

Dear child, our Goddess of art—Saraswati—is not keeping well these days, so you do one thing that go and meet the Greek Goddess Minerva. Tell her I sent you and she will help you out. This divine peon who has come with you knows her address, he’ll help you out.

They both found and met Goddess Minerva, who in turn said the same thing that she was very busy. She advised him to meet the Egyptian God of fate—Shai.

Once again, the journey started to meet God Shai. One met the God, explained the same problem but the answer was same.

Dear child, I wish I had the time to help you. We Gods have to attend an urgent meeting now and I need to go. Meet me sometime later and I’ll surely define your destiny.

One was very annoyed and depressed. He asked the divine peon to explain this behavior of Gods. The divine peon could not see the poor man’s condition.

Human, the world is over now. It was a bad experiment and the Gods have decided to create something very different now. The concept of heaven and hell has been demolished by a new law. You somehow were left behind and now they don’t have time to deal with you as they have to deal with so many other much bigger things.

One was mad with anger and he broke into the conference of millions of Gods in the house. He asked the Gods for an explanation to the passing of the buck. He demanded an answer as he had been a God loving person all his life.

The Gods were mad by this behavior and one of them shouted.

Why don’t you give us a solution then? We made a beautiful world but you man messed it up. Who is responsible? Do you have a solution for the next creation?

Yes, I do dear Gods.

The hall was silent all of a sudden. The great Indian God of creation asked him to explain.

One was a common man and lips only spoke words which were true, from his heart.

Dear Gods, I’ll tell you what you should do. Create human but don’t give him a stomach. All the problems and miseries in the world were born out of hunger. Create human but give him two hearts, so that even if one is broken by a beloved, he can still live happily. Create human but give us an eraser to erase his old memories, so that he can live without painful memories. Create this beautiful world again but don’t encourage a concept of stronger God. Some communities have been slaves to others for so many years. Were the Gods of that religion sleeping or were they just weaker Gods, who couldn’t say that don’t use my creation for slavery. Create the world but let there be a universal God, so that people don’t kill each other in the name of different Gods. Let us make weapons but don’t give us a tongue, that’s the deadliest weapon in the world. This is all I have to say. Create a world this time and you go live there and let the common man sit up and decide the fate of mankind.

The hall was silent and in the next moment the roars of clapping filled the hall. They all were amazed by this man’s guts and explanation. They made the greatest minds in the world but this simple, common man with a true cry and vision won their hearts. They decided to go on earth to start a new life.

They all vowed to make one world and One, the one God.

Now You Know Y!

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Shaman was a young, dynamic but confused man in his early 30s. He was an adventurous person, always looking out for variety, so much that he changed his name some years ago; for a change. His only problem was he could not be consistent.

That evening he had been waiting for his girlfriend. His room was dark, but a dim light cropped in from outside. There was a knock on the door. He knew it was his girlfriend, Ria. He opened the door and greeted her. She asked him why he had called her.

Shaman started to speak in a soft voice.

Ria, I know that all I have caused you is trouble and pain. I have never been honest and loyal to you. But, today I want to tell you why I got into a relationship with you in the first place. I only wanted to have a physical relation with you. That is the reason why I befriended you. I was very attracted towards you. I wanted you in my life anyhow, so I hoodwinked you.

I know that very well, Shaman. Your behavior clearly specifies this. You never wanted me as your life partner. You just wanted my body. that’s why you never met me outside and always called me to your home to meet you. Do you think I am so stupid not to understand this?

No but I love you very much.

Cut this shit out Shaman, I am not interested in you anymore. I need to go.

Ria, please listen to me.

She slapped him hard.

The room was still dark as she opened the door and left. Shaman was blasted and his spectacles had fallen down on the floor. He somehow found a matchstick and lit a candle on the table. The light was slowly killing away the darkness, while he found his spectacles and wore them.

The light showed up his face. He was all alone and deep in his thoughts. He looked up, showing agony, and all of a sudden, he put up a mysterious and mischievous smile on his face, sighed and said to himself.

What a bore!

He felt very tired and went off to sleep. In his dreams, a montage of all his previous 10 affairs ran across his mind, disturbing him all night long. All allegations by his ex-girlfriend came one by one; like a cobra’s bite.

You are a flirt, you only wanted sex, you were never loyal to me, all men are the same—bastards. Go to hell.

All such abuses which his ex-girlfriends hurled at him hit him strong in his dreams. Frustrated by all this, Shaman decided to meet his psychologist friend Pria, the next morning. He immediately rushed off to her clinic in the morning. Luckily, he managed to get an immediate appointment. He knocked the door and was welcomed by the doctor.

Good morning. How are you doctor?

I am happy and gay!

It was a weird answer but anyway, Shaman explained his problem that how he is never able to keep a relation with any woman. He mentioned his 10 previous and how every time in the end, he was left all alone. Pria understood the matter very well and started to explain him his problem.

You do everything so early that you don’t have anything new to share after few months. You spend your body, mind and money on her so soon that she knows your end and when two people know each other’s end, they are not interested in each other anymore, because there is nothing new to experience. This is your problem, Shaman. But that’s not only your problem; it’s a Y syndrome—a typical men behavior. You guys are hunters and that is the reason why you are always hunting for variety.

So, what do I do now, Pria?

Do something new this time.

Like what?

This time, when you are in a relation, do not be physical immediately. Give each other quality time, outside, not inside your house. This way there will always be something new every time you meet each other. Look at my relation, we share such a close relation but always give a space to each other. You can learn from my boyfriend.

Shaman agreed to all her advice, pledged to do the new thing from now on and left her clinic. As he walked out, his friend Prince called him. He cut the phone. After a while his—female—friend Shona called and inquired about the evening program.

It was a Saturday night, so they agreed to meet at his house for the party, along with another male friend named Aka.

It was evening time, Aka and Shona dropped in for the weekend party. They had a gala time eating and drinking. It became very late and they decided to sleep. So, they closed the lights, cleaned up the table and got into the room.

The door was shut.

Shaman, where are the washroom lights?

Inside the wash room, dear.

The nights got young, flesh was frail and the young bodies could not control the burning desire. They shared an erotic night and went off to sleep after a while.

The phone rang early morning. The caller was his old college friend, who just called up to say hello after many years.

What’s up with you Shaman?

Nothing much, was asleep, just got up.

Nice. Sleeping with whom, dude?

No man, just a friend.

LOL. You’ll never change bugger.

No man, I have changed a lot. I am not the same anymore.

He went towards the friend to wake him up again. Just then his friend—Aka—turned and wished him good morning.

How are you?

Happy and gay.

He suspiciously looked at him because these words were always mentioned by Pria and she even told to learn from her boyfriend. He leaned that Aka was indeed her boyfriend.

The very next moment he got a call from Prince on his cell. It was his friend who called up earlier. He was a gay and wanted to share a relation with Shaman since a long time but Shaman ignored him but this time he picked up the phone.

He smiled mysteriously and walked away in another room, talking very intimately with his friend. He had accepted the new world he is in, where there are no expectations and commitments.

Variety is spice of life.

Mumbai

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Mumbai, the financial capital of India, is called the city of dreams. It’s the home to around 20 million dreams. Dreams glittering like gold and sometimes like fool’s gold. All lined one after the other like the queue of auto-rickshaws waiting for gas.

Mumbai is the city which never sleeps; with destiny. Action is destiny here—a man becomes what he does. Mumbai is proud of its multi-cultural citizens from all walks of life and is also famous for its traffic snarls caused by public transport, namely taxis and auto-rickshaws.

The love story of Gul and Golom bloomed here in the heart of the busy city in the auto-rickshaw.

A garbage truck banged on the garbage can loudly, on which it was written CLEAN MUMBAI, GEEN MUMBAI. This immediately, took away the attention of Gul, who was standing just opposite to the garbage collection point.

Gul was a bit late for work that day and had been waiting for an auto-rickshaw for a long time. He was getting very frustrated because he never got an auto-rickshaw to reach office if he was late and there had been several occasions where he came late at night and got up late in the morning. Finally, after waiting for half an hour, he managed to catch one auto-rickshaw for work. The driver turned the meter down and Gul‘s spirit turned up.

Brother, why don’t you guys only take shared fares?

Everybody wants private space. That’s why.

Gul understood the problem but was very concerned about this problem and he decided to find a solution. He had a constant late morning week and he observed that other people were also in similar problems due to the ever-increasing migrants to this city of dreams. So, he decided to share his travel with two more people, so that they don’t face the same problems.

He wondered what if everybody did the same thing; the situation could be handled to a large extent. So in light of this thought he started to look for a company. He would shout his destination—BANDRA-BANDRA—in search for same route travelers but to his surprise no one did join him.

Gul was very sad and cursed them of not being educated about energy conservation and time management but he never gave up.

One day, a beautiful lady, dressed in very corporate attire, was also hunting for an auto-rickshaw, near Gul‘s house. He was noticing her for a while now. neither of them got any auto-rickshaw. Frustrated, he walked some distance in the hope of getting one. Finally, he was lucky to find one. He was attracted towards the charming lady and decided to help her. So, he turned the auto-rickshaw towards her, to give her a lift till a place nearby his office.

Excuse me, may I give you a drop?

No thanks.

Miss, I am going towards Bandra and it’s very difficult to catch an auto-rickshaw from here.

She was getting really late and there was no sign of any other auto-rickshaw. So, she saw no other option other than taking a lift from the gentleman. She hopped into the auto-rickshaw.

Hello let me introduce myself. I am Gul and I work in Bandra.

What about you?

Hello, I am Golom. Well, incidentally I also work in Bandra.

Soon, it was a daily routine. Everyday Gul came to pick up Golom and they traveled together. They exchanged their phone numbers and slowly started long conversations; thanks to the spirit of Mumbai.

Golom was a very possessive girl. She had started liking Gul‘s attitude. She enjoyed Gul‘s company but the only thing she didn’t like was Gul‘s habit of getting late. But Gul was also innocent. No matter how much he tried to be on time, he just couldn’t; thanks to the traffic of Mumbai. All his estimates about reaching on time went wrong; every time.

This had started to irritate Golom very much. Moreover, Gul was worried that it was just the start of a wonderful relation and already he could not be on time to meet the girl he liked so much. He talked about this issue to his close friend but there was no sign of true solution for this problem, which was totally out of his control.

Gul was very worried about this issue, when suddenly Golom called him up and they decided to go for dinner on the weekend. He was really happy as it was the first time he earned an

opportunity to go out with Golom. He had been after this for a long time now but she didn’t answer him.

Finally, the day came when he decided to propose Golom. He decided to make the weekend dinner a big event. As usual, the day had come for Gul to win his lover. He didn’t want to be late for the dinner. He made a very good schedule in the morning itself and decided to leave an hour before. This was the first time that he had understood planning for meetings. It

was a very good plan. He wanted to reach the hotel earlier and decorate his table with some lovely flowers. He called up the hotel for reservation and decoration. He also set an alarm.

At 6 PM, his alarm rang. Gul packed his bag, wore a nice perfume and left his office well before time. He went down and asked the auto-rickshaw drivers if any of them wanted to go down town.

Nobody agreed.

Gul was mad at them. He told them that he was a regular customer, but nobody agreed to go. They explained that its rush hour and the roads are packed at this time. One of them agreed to drop him on the highway. He readily accepted. He thought it was a good idea to go on the highway and get another auto-rickshaw or taxi.

On the highway, there was no conveyance available again. Gul stood waiting for almost an hour. He called up Golom to explain the situation and said that he will be reaching soon. Some more time had passed and he was frantic by now. He shouted for help, but there was no one to hear him. Nothing was available. All the auto-rickshaws had just one person sitting in them. He wished that like him someone could share the auto-rickshaw but to his horror there was no one. he decided to walk his way down for a while.

It had been two hours now. Gul was almost running now.

Meanwhile, Golom was calling him up continuously and he explained that there was no auto-rickshaw or taxi available, so he is walking his way down. She was mad at him. She hated to wait, but Gul however kept her busy on the phone.

The traffic was showing no sign of reducing and there was no auto-rickshaw or even taxi available yet. Gul was running at top speed. He was panting badly and his clothes were all wet with sweat and tears. He had to make it somehow, otherwise he would loose the opportunity to propose to her.

He ran, ran like a bullet, overtaking the speedy cars, almost close to the speed of light, when suddenly his clashed a stone sitting like a king, right on the side of the walkway. He crashed and tumbled down with full force and hurt himself badly. He could not walk for a while but his

hands still waved to stop any auto-rickshaw. His eyes still waited for someone to drop him for his first meeting with the girl who he wanted to be his destiny.

Stop, somebody pleases stop. I don’t want to be late. There is still time left. Please stop.

Gul looked at his watch. It was 10 PM. Far later than the scheduled time. He searched for his phone, but it went off when he crashed. Suddenly, everything was over for him. He couldn’t make it. He lost. He got up slowly as an auto-rickshaw driver agreed to drop him till his home.

He reached home and tried calling up Golom several times but she did not answer.

Next day was a holiday. Gul was deeply hurt and went to visit his close friend who stayed on a small hill nearby. The way to the house was through a very shady slum. They reached on top of the hill and he explained everything to his friend. It was a beautiful view of Mumbai from the hill. For the first time Gul saw the huge city from the top of a hill. He was very frustrated with Mumbai. He was really pissed off and wanted to insult the city; somehow, He stood on the highest rock around. He faced towards the city and started to piss

This is bull shit.

His friend kept quiet. He just smiled and replied.

This is Mumbai.

Gul calmed down and understood what his friend had to say. He understood the nature of this magic city, the city of dreams and decided to try again and not lose hope. He found a chalk nearby and on the rock, he wrote all then names of the city since genesis—MAMHAI, MANBAI, MAYAMBU, MOMBAIN, MOMBAYN, BOABAI, BAOVIDA, BOM BAHIA, BOMBAIM, BOMBAYIM, BOMBEYE, BOON BAY, BAMBAI, SLUMBAY, BOMBAY, MUMBAI.

Life After Death

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Ali was in his late teens, when he lost his father, in a cross-border terrorist combat. His father held an important position in the border security force. He was a brave soldier and had an epitaph in a small cemetery in his hometown, which was a very small village. Every day someone or the other from the families of the martyrs would visit the cemetery to remember their beloved ones. An even did Ali.

Many years passed by but Ali never forgot to pay homage to his father. Every day he would visit the martyr’s grave and present his father with a rose, from his flower nursery. It was that day which was not like any other day for him. There was a notice in the cemetery about re-development of the land into a commercial space by a mega builder from nearby city. This notice was issued by the district collector. This surprised and shocked all the people in the small village but no one came forward to question this step.

The cemetery belonged to an isolated mosque in the outskirts of the village. No one knew the authorities because it had been there for a long time. The only known fact about the place was that most of the residents of the cemetery were the martyrs from the border security forces. Moreover, there was nothing in the village to boast about except this cemetery. It was the pride of the village which showed the patriotism of the villagers towards the nation. People were very annoyed but very reluctant to fight the notice but he stood up to investigate the notice of the district collector.

He discussed the matter with the village head, who encouraged him to meet the district collector. Ali found the address of the office of the collector and booked an appointment for the weekend. Simultaneously he jotted down the address of the builder to collect information about the notice. He had immense support from his community in the village. Next day, early morning, he visited his father’s grave to take his blessings.

Father, I will not let this holy land of martyrs become concrete jungle. Bless me father.

He kept the rose on his father’s chest and started off his journey to the unknown world of endless possibilities. He reached the district collector’s office well before time and after waiting for long hours, he did not get to meet him. The office boy suggested to him to come again next day. It was almost late evening, so he decided to come the next day. While returning home, he recollected all the happenings in the day. He saw so many people coming to see the collector. Some had complaints, some had proposals, and some wanted to abuse him, so many people, so many problems and only one man to address the problems.

There are so many problems around, my problem is so small in front of them. Poor people don’t have enough to eat or live and I am fighting for the dead? But, no they are not dead people, they’re the pride of nation. They fought for us when they were alive, now it’s my time to fight for them, for their souls to rest in peace.

The next day, Ali was in the collector’s office on time, but yet again he could not meet him because he was now out of town for an important meeting. He was extremely frustrated. He decided to share his feelings with the peon.

I had an appointment with the collector, but he fails to show up. Is this the way of his office?

It’s very difficult to meet a collector, mister.

Ali felt very dejected, but this did not stop him. he decided to meet the builder directly. He immediately took a bus to reach the builder’s office, which was on the outskirts of the village. He was very nervous and spent his entire journey in preparing a dialog with the builder. He had so many things to tell them. He really thought that they will understand his feelings and help him. He finally reached the office in evening. The receptionist immediately arranged a meeting with the builder.

The builder was a powerful and cunning businessman who was only interested in making money. Ali told him everything about their village and how the cemetery was the only pride of the village but all in vain. He was blasted by the builder. He warned him about using his power if anybody comes in the way of his business.

Ali was quite broke by these series of happenings. He really wanted to meet the district collector to report the matter, but he was unaware of the worst which was still to happen. After few days of struggle, he finally was able to meet the collector. He explained everything. He cried for how he was treated by the builder and pleaded him to show the path of justice. However, the collector explained the fact that none of the villagers had the legal papers of the land, on which the cemetery was built and how big business tycoons can buy everything to reach their dreams.

The collector suggested that Ali file a case against the builder and was ready to provide any help needed. He was a poor village man, aloof from all these legal matters. He immediately hired a lawyer, who took huge amount of money as his fees. Ali was unaware of the quicksand into which he was pushed. It was the racket of the builder along with the collector and village head to finish all the resources of Ali, so that he has nothing left to fight with; very silently. The lobby of these powers was a big one and Ali was a small pin in-between the swords.

Days and months passed by, but Ali still kept fighting like a soldier. But now as planned, all his resources were finished. He slowly could understand the game. His heart was broken but his hope was still searching a light. He had nothing left but only his father’s teaching—A SOLDIER NEVER QUITS TILL HE IS DEAD—and hope also came searching for him, with a twist in the story.

Ali’s fight was becoming quite a popular event in nearby villages. Soon a very famous news channel came to know about this saga and they immediately approached him. In a few days, he was getting quite popular and at the same time, a nuisance for the builder. The builder, very irritated by his popularity, decided to end the Ali-chapter forever. He burnt his own office, murdered an employee and got Ali arrested for the crime. He had bought each and every man in the chain who could help him finish Ali. After a few days, he planned an escape for Ali from the jail.

Ali thought that it was one of his friends who helped him, but he didn’t know that it was a trap. Later, the builder pressed the police to convict him as a frustrated notorious killer and issue a shoot at sight order.

He had understood the game very well by now, but his courage was at its highest flight. He knew that the cops were after him like mad dogs. He also knew that by now he had the support of many villagers for his fight. With all this in his mind, he went to his father’s grave. He cried a lot and asked upon the heavens to help. Just in time the police officer found him and shot him on his head as he was praying to the lord.

In the morning, Ali was finished but his fight had taken a big turn, unknown to the builder. The media was aroused by the common public and forced a law and order probe into the matter. Very soon the power of the public demolished the powerful lobby of the merchants of the society. The builder, the collector, the village head, the police inspector, the judge; everybody was found guilty and punished.

A new sun was born the other day on the land of the martyr. A new grave was the pride of the holy land. Ali was the chosen one to save their land. The soldiers sacrificed their life to keep away death from the alive and he sacrificed himself to give them life after death.

Truth always wins but as nothing lasts for ever, the builder was out of the jail very soon.

Language No Bar

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Bhoomarlal Bhammarlal Johri was the bohemian of the village. He attended school, up to nobody knows what grade, but he was very interested in geography. He wasn’t employed anywhere as such but earned some money by doing odd jobs. He was a very talkative person and very popular in his village, but he wasn’t famous for anything more than his hilarious name. No one in the village had such a funny name.

This name is a native Indian name; usually from Rajasthan. It was considered a royal name in the past but now-a-days it sounds funny. Upset with this our bohemian friend changed his name to BJO. This sounded very contemporary to him and everyone else. He often used to travel to the city for his routine work and irritate his neighbor, whether he enjoyed his conversations or not. Whatever said and done, he was an interesting and helpful personality.

One day, when he was standing in the queue for the bus to the city, he noticed a foreigner sitting alone in the rear seat. He was very excited and wanted to meet this man and talk to him to know more about his country and culture. He pushed his way through the line, like a rat, and somehow got into the bus. He saw someone trying to sit next to this foreigner and out of anger he shouted and ordered the man to get away from the seat as he wanted to sit there. BJO always acted authoritative wherever he went.

He sat next to the foreigner; fixed his colorful turban and stated a conversation in his local language.

The foreigner couldn’t understand a word of what he was saying and moreover was not even sure whether BJO was talking to him or someone else. He did not pay attention to what BJO was saying. This embarrassed BJO but he tried again. There was no answer this time either. BJO did not know a word of English and the foreigner did not understand the local language.

The utmost question now in BJO’s mind was how do I communicate with this foreigner? He decided to first start trying to help the man. He helped him get change to pay the bus fare. In the villages, usually the bus fares are very less and one needs to have good amount of change on them. So, BJO took advantage of this situation and arranged for some change for the foreigner.

The foreigner was happy, he smiled at BJO. But this was not what BJO was looking for. He was looking for a full-fledged conversation. He was constantly looking out for events where he could help the foreigner. He got his next chance when the bus halted at a village bus stand, the foreigner wanted to go to the toilet, but was worried about his luggage. BJO somehow managed to communicate to the foreigner not to worry about the luggage, he would take care of it and he really did sit like a snake on a treasure, guarding the luggage.

The foreigner came back and repeated the same smile. BJO was very uncomfortable because there was no one there to talk to, so he pointed out to the book of India he had in his hand and by using sign language asked him where he was from. the foreigner showed him a book on Europe and pointed to England. So much for BJO, but he was still unsatisfied.

He thought of an idea. He wanted to find a person who knew his local language as well the foreigner’s language. To his misfortune, he did not find anyone, but didn’t fail to carry on with his conversation using all kinds of gestures. It had been an hour and the bus halted for lunch. They had lunch together and as the bus was to leave, he saw his friend, the school teacher entering the bus.

BJO was thrilled, finally someone who can be a translator he thought. He requested his friend to ask the foreigner what his name was, where he was going, what did he see in Rajasthan and all sorts of curious questions? The friend did exactly as BJO said.

He threw the questions on the foreigner all at once. The foreigner was confused. He looked at the school teacher for a while, pulled out a card from his pocket and gave it to him. The card said JOHN J WHITE: Mute by birth.

It was actually a handicap certificate. The school teacher explained the man’s situation to BJO, who was shameful and lost for a while but still contended deep down because he realized that they had communicated so much using gestures that language was no bar for them.

 

Hoodwinked

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It’s said that there is no better judge than our own conscience, but some people in this world still try to cheat others. At the end of it, they do not know whether they cheated the other person or cheated themselves. The silence of a person is often taken as his cowardice, but the conscience is the best judge. Young Zara found herself in a similar situation today.

Zara was just 16, when she had developed a flair for chatting on the internet. She was from an unprivileged family. Her parents had separated and she was living in the college hostel. The age was tender, the knowledge was half, desires were like a soaring kite and the world was full of colors. She was the only child, who like every single child longed for a blood relation, especially a brother. She would envy her friends who had brothers who stood like castles in front of them. She was quite religious and always complained to god for not giving her a brother.

Rakhsha Bandhan is an important festival in India, especially for sisters. On that day, the sisters tie a colored thread on the wrist of their brothers. This thread symbolizes the duty of the brother to protect his sisters forever. In return, the brothers take an oath to protect their sisters till the end of time. Zara had never celebrated Raksha Bandhan. Every year she would curse her life for not having a brother.

It was a beautiful evening and she logged into her chat messenger. She came across a very interesting person. His user name really impressed her. She contacted that person. He was a simple man staying very far away from her world. He was an artist and his conversations were very different. There was not a hint of any selfish motive. This really intrigued her. She asked for his telephone number and decided to call him up once.

A few days later the artist received a telephone call of Zara. They talked for a while on general things. He definitely won her heart. Many days passed and they decided to meet once. He was on a vacation and planned to visit her city. Things happened as they were planned. They met. The artist was quite older than her. He talked to her as his own sister. Maybe it was a co-incidence that he too longed for a sister all his life. He accepted her as his younger sister.

Zara’s life suddenly took a different turn. She was happy that day. She distributed sweets to the entire hostel. Days were happier now. The artist celebrated her birthday very lavishly. He invited her along with her friends to a famous restaurant in the city. The owner of that place was a good friend of his, so he decorated the entire place with red roses, as she loved red roses. That was the best birthday ever for her. She was filled with happiness.

Brother, thanks for making me so special. I love you.

Dear sister, I take an oath on your love and will never betray you.

The artist was now a demigod to Zara. He was indeed a good motivator. Whenever she was depressed, he brought her out and made her feel on top of the world. On her 18th birthday, he presented her with one of his finest poems. He narrated the poem to her.

In the song of flowers and stars, lives the divine love of ours. Here is a birthday song for you from the brother of Mars.

He threw a lavish party for her in the most expensive hotel in the city. There was music, dance and dinner. He wanted the world to know that it was his loving sister’s birthday. The party was great and all the guests really enjoyed themselves. The artist was a rich man and by now, Zara knew this very well.

The winter vacations approached when the artist came to meet her in the college. She was all alone as there was nowhere to go. She was neither willing to go home nor did she have money to travel anywhere else.

Dear sister, please tell me about your dream place. I will take you there.

I want to walk in the clouds, brother. Can you take me in the clouds?

Yes, I can. I will take you to the country of clouds.

Where is the country of clouds? Brother.

It’s far away from this city. Way up in the north, near the highest mountain range in the country, the Himalayas. Yes, there is the country of clouds. I know the king. He is my good friend. His kingdom is very huge and the countrymen are so loving. Let’s go there; today itself.

She readily packed her bags and they started their journey through the rough weather, for a temple up above the highest peak in the mountain range. The artist visited that temple every year and this time he took along his sister to share the heavenly experience. The weather was very cold and the clouds covered the roads of hills.

Zara’s dream of walking in the clouds was fulfilled by her brother. She was the happiest person on earth that day. Days passed by and the winds of change did embrace her, as she grew up.

One day suddenly she called her brother up and asked for a monetary favor. She said that she had met with a bad accident. The artist was very worried but unfortunately could not visit her. He sent the amount readily. It was of great help to her. She said that she was not able to attend an exam due to a fractured hand. He attended her very lovingly, but this favor made her a very dependable person, the worst part was that she became overconfident about her brother and started asking for more frequent monetary favors. The brother was generous and did not know her intentions. Even if he knew, he would not mind as for him the most important concern was to keep her happy.

As time flew, there was a considerable decrease in communication between the two. Zara had finished her college and found a job in a distant city. She found a new lover too. She remained busy with him. She now hardly communicated with her brother who was very concerned about this new behavior. He called her up many times but she tried to avoid him. So, the brother decided to go meet her one day. They met finally and she introduced him to her lover. He was a nice young man. They had a nice time together.

A year passed like this. There was very less communication between them. Time had changed young Zara from a loving sister into a cunning woman. She had different plans. She had decided to exploit her brother in all possible ways and run away to make her career because she knew very well that he was a simple person and never asked any explanations.

He had anticipated some problems in the relation but knew it would be tough to solve, due to distance. He was planning to visit her soon, when one fine day; he received a letter from Zara.

Brother, I am off to Singapore for my further studies. Will study and work there. Thank you very much.

Lightning struck the brothers heart. He was stunned by the letter. His heart was shattered into pieces. He never expected this to happen. He had apprehended some negative responses from Zara, but this act completely bowled him out. All the good days came as a flashback to him and pierced him like thorns. He tried to contact her, but all in vain.

The artist however managed to be calm and not react. Nothing could be done now. After a year on the thread festival, he received a letter from Zara.

I am sorry, but I have hoodwinked you. I exploited you for my cunning needs. Do you remember the first time I asked you a monetary favor? It was not an accident; I needed money to throw a party to my friends, in your friend’s lavish restaurant. I really apologize for all favors I asked of you in these years. Thank you for everything. Please forgive and forget me.

A beautiful relation between them was ended. He was very sad about it, but who can fight destiny? He just sent a small reply back. Zara received the letter. She had no feeling of regret as she had done what she wanted. She opened the letter with a smile on her face. There was a small note in that.

Dear sister, I will never be able to forget you for you are the one I love most. If the teeth bite the tongue, no one breaks the teeth. My relationship with you transcends all monetary matters. Even if you have asked me for it, I would not have said no. you will always be in my heart. Tell me why? Are we so blind to see, that the ones we hurt are you and me?

There was a photograph. It was the photograph of the party she arranged for her friends some days after she lied to her brother about the accident.

The photograph was clicked by the restaurant owner, who was a good friend of the artist brother. He sent this photo by email to his entire friends group, in which the artist’s address was also added. She turned the photograph. On the back, the brother wrote—HOODWINKED?

 

Homeless Again

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I am crying. I have been since morning. All night I witnessed my house being demolished and I just stood there, a helpless feeble creature. So feeble, my existence did not seem to matter to the destroyers of this world. I could not even save my house.

How am I supposed to save the nature?
How many more days I will walk like this direction-less?
How do I stop this greedy mouth of urbanization?

When I was a child, I spent half my life in my home made of straws and cow-dung. It was a small house but his heart was big enough to accommodate my whole family. My home was the biggest home in the village. A fence ran around it to safeguard our hens. The hens had many chickens who were my constant companions. They looked so cute like cotton balls. The upper part of the house was like a castle. I had made a flag and unfurled it on a pole on the terrace. This announced the highest point of the village.

There was a blue river which embraced my home like a garland. There was a rose garden inside the compound. I loved my roses. They were my best friends. During spring, they formed a rainbow around my home. They defined the colors I knew in life. The birds would announce the arrival of the sun every morning and my friends stood up to salute him every day. Once dawn broke the birds made our roof their meeting point. I used to feed the birds wheat grains. That’s why one would find wheat grains scattered around my house always.

I had made beautiful tribal drawings on the walls. They depicted dances performed during various festivals. Every day, I used to sweep the compound twice and my anklets sang the song of my happiness. My home to me was a living creature. It had two windows and a door. They symbolized two eyes to keep a watch on us and a mouth, to let us in and out. The fencing was its hand through which it held me tight in its arms. The compound was its heart, full of love. The flag atop was its crown. The plants around were its pride and there was a temple at the back, the masthead of my home.

In the evening when the world turned golden, my home also seemed to be made of gold. The birds would fly away from the roof to their homes. As the sun would set, my home turned larger and larger. As night set in my home would put on its favorite blue dress with the silver garland. On the full moon night, it almost blocked the moon rays and formed a beautiful silhouette when seen from a distance.My home was a life, which gave life to me. It took care of me since the day I was born. It was the perfect face that I can never forget.

Once urbanization set foot in my village, I lost my home. It was converted into a dead structure which became more a house than a home. The river was made to take a diversion and converted into a road but what remained was my favorite maple tree across the road, which was now a highway. That huge tree was not under the urban development scheme, so it stood there like the last action hero of that land.

The maple tree was the biggest tree in the village and a home to hundreds of birds. The birds collected straw by straw and built their nests on the branches of the tree. There was a colony of nests on it. There were so many varieties of birds that stayed together. The cuckoos, sparrows, pigeons, parrots, doves were some of the birds I know who resided in the tree colony. The sunrise hour was like an orchestra, when all the birds sang the morning song with unity. The sweet voice of the cuckoo was my morning alarm and the melodious song of the nigh tangle was my lullaby. The huge canopy provided a home to so many birds. The passing travelers would rest in the shade for a while or wait for the bus to arrive.

I made a swing on the branches of the tree and played hide and seek every day with my friends. During the cold winters, we used some wood for making a bonfire. We would sing and dance under this maple home. I used to watch the tree from my new home every day and relish my old days. I enjoyed watching the father sparrow collect each straw to build their home and the mother sparrow feeding her children watching the sunset, after the day’s long labor. I enjoyed watching the flight of new birds. The tree was almost like an aerodrome for these young pilots.

I loved how the leaves metamorphosed tiny worms into lovely colored butterflies like time turns a baby girl into a charming young lady. They were thousands in count. They were like a flying army of colors. There was a family of love birds. It was like my own family. I had even kept names of so many of them. I remember the lovers walking hand in hands on the streets, filled with red maple leaves during autumn. I remember everything; everything how the maple tree used to bear the brunt of the scorching sun but gave us shade and oxygen loaded breeze.

But last night, the workers of the municipal corporation chopped off the last action hero. A new housing colony plan had given birth to deforestation in my village. This act has surrounded me with thousands of questions and instilled a fear in my heart.

What will happen to the family of the love birds?
Where will the young pilots learn to fly?
Where will the passing by traveler take rest?
What will happen to the youth of the butterfly?
Where will the orchestra play now?
Whose sweet voice will wake me up and make me sleep?
Where will the lovers find a quiet romantic place?
Where will the children play hide and seek?
What will I see and cherish in the years to come?

I am terrified by all these thoughts. I am just starring at the broken empire all my life I have lived like a parasite on them; I lost my village home some years ago and now suddenly everything. Although, everybody is homeless; it’s not them who have lost their home, it’s me. I am homeless again.