One Of My Turns

"'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse."
Heh. She loves that poem. Used to sing it over and over again every Christmas eve. Got so sick of it. Makes me smile thinking about it now.
Oh, and the Christmas trees. We'd run around all over town to see as many trees as we could. Every hotel or park that she thought might have one. The light in her eyes when she saw it was ... used to make it worth it.
Have I told you how much you look like her? You could be mistaken for cousins ... I've seen so many people who look like her ... everyone tells me I'm seeing things. They actually suggested I check into an asylum ... they called it something else - a health facility! But I know what they meant...
You don't believe me, do you. You don't think you look like her. Would you like to see her picture? I have one in my wallet ...
See! See the similarities! Your hair is just a little longer .... and your nose is slightly bigger .... the lips are the same ... you don't have the mole above yours though. Hmm ... that's fixed easily enough.
Where is that black marker of mine? I knew I kept it here somewhere. Can never find anything when I want to ... she always used to help me search. Ah! here it is. Ok, now don't move. Mmmmm.... right, there we go. Lets take a good look. He he ... she'd always do this after putting on her make up .... put her thumb up and look at herself in the mirror ... like she was an artist painting a masterpiece.
Do you know why all the artists put their thumbs in front of their face when they look at their paintings or sculptures or .... or .... what else do artists make?
Hm.... almost the same ... I marked the mole in a little higher than it should be .... anyway, spilt milk, huh. This was her marker, y'know. You'd be surprised at how much a cheap wine glass can make you remember ... or a stupid brand of chocolate. There's a lot of her stuff that I just couldn't throw away. Too many memories attached to them ....
She gave me this pen knife a couple of years ago ... as a Christmas gift. I remember the look on her face when I was opening the present ... she was more excited than I was! All the little things ...
Used to get so wild with me when I tossed it around like this. Her eyes would open wider and wider as the knife came down ... Just like that! Just like yours did just now! Ha ha See, I know what am talking about. The two of you are similar. Don't bother struggling against the knot. They taught me that in the scouts ... she used to love that old beret of mine ...
Useful thing, this. I've used it a lot in the recent past. Keeping it sharp is a bit of an exercise though, have to be careful that the blade doesn't break.
Anyway, the hair is the next on the list. Hers was shoulder length ... I guess I'll have to take off about half an inch ... what do you think? No? Hm... you're right, it's about a quarter of an inch.
Am so sorry, I know that a knife isn't the best tool to cut a person's hair but I don't have anything else with me right now. I know how particular women are about their hair ... she was ... the others were too ... they tried to stop me .... but you can't really stop art, now can you? Now ... hold still.
Will you please stop squirming!! I can't do this right if you keep moving!
Fuck! Now look what you made me do. This side is too short! Why do all of you have to make it so difficult for me! I mean, what did I ever do to any of you? Huh?! Tell me!
I need a drink. Where is that bottle? Why can I never find anything when I want it!
Ah, finally!
Fuck! This is Vodka! Why is nothing going right today?! Her favourite drink ... Vodka. I'm a whiskey man myself. You like whiskey? Supposedly you can tell how good a whiskey is by pouring it into a glass and swirling it around .... I wonder if that's how you judge vodka. He he ... I don't really care anyway, all that matters is how drunk it gets me. You know ... some places serve their drinks in test tubes ... how cool is that, huh?!
I wonder what's on the tube ... hang on, I saw the remote somewhere .....
boing .... tch tch tch
Ooh! Ooh! Tom and Jerry! You gotta love Tom and Jerry! Have you seen this episode? This is the best part! All the dishes come crashing down .... wait for it .... wait for it ..... Crash
Ha ha
See. Didn't I tell you that was the best part? I like one of the other episodes the best. The one where they're having a war in the basement. Isn't that little mouse also in that one ... bubbles ... nibbles ... Are you hungry? No? Me neither. Anyway, there's enough vodka left ... um, ok ... so maybe there's not so much left. You shouldn't have made me angry. I get violent when I'm angry.
She would narrow her eyes when she was angry ... and they'd get wrinkles ... um ... wrinkled on the side when she smiled ... she used to smile a lot ... it was so easy for me to make her smile ...
Your eyes aren't very much like hers. Brown ... yours are black. You could drown in those eyes ... I used to spend ages staring into them .... sigh
Did you know that they found the genetic code that controls the colour of the eyes ... I wonder if they can change it after the person is born?
Crack Damn! What did I step on now? I really should clean this place. Oh ... I never thought I'd see one of these again! Here, look ... its one of her lockets. She liked lockets, the kind that are made of clay ... y'know, the kind that girls wear on a black thread. She liked them so much she even started making them after a while. I think this is one that she made ... here, see .. you can see the colours she used to paint it .... strange combination ... red, green and black. She used to collect these ....
You like to collect things? Stamps? Coins .... Ah, coins. Numismatics, right? I collect memories. Things that have been, things that will be ... after they've been. Sometimes .... sometimes, you have to make them be ....
The most difficult part about keeping my collection is that it's a little difficult to see it whenever I want to ... everytime I see it someone loses something ....

A Walk In The Park

Morning, a sun that seems to have forgotten that it shouldn't be shining, a winter that remembers to be cold all too well, a steaming cup of filtered peaberry and a walk in the park.

A mother fawning over her sleeping newborn child. A little angel, sleeping ... sunbathing in the bitter cold. Not a care in the world. She covers him with a bright blue baby blanket. Ah, it's a boy.
I smile and sip my coffee. The dry, yellow leaves crunch underfoot. The fresh morning air sullied by the pollution covering the city.

A doting grandfather marvels at how his granddaughter's hand fits in his. All of her concentration on a little ladybird crawling its way up a shrub. He tries to get her to wear her coat. Smiling and shaking his head as she sticks her arms out for him to put the coat on but not looking away from shrub.
I smile and sip my coffee. Another yellow leaf glides to the ground.

A toddler runs past following a huge yellow ball, almost as tall as he is. A triumphant shriek as he catches up to it. He picks it up in his arms, unable to get them all the way around, it doesn't matter. The smile on his face says it all.
I smile and sip my coffee. I stick my hand in my jacket pocket to keep it warm.

A young boy in a school uniform frowns up at his unheeding father as they walk to the exit of the park.
I smile and sip my coffee. I hated going to school too.

A pair of adolescents coughing up smoke as they try a cigarette for the first time. One of them shakes his head frantically.
I smile and sip my coffee. One less person who'll die of cancer.

A teenager sitting on a bench plucking the petals out from a rose. A dejected look on his face.
I smile and sip my coffee. In each life a little rain must fall.

A young couple occupy a bench, their attention reserved for each other, murmuring softly into each other's ears.
I smile and sip my coffee. The silver lining.

A proud father watches as his young son walks on unsteady legs towards his open arms.
I smile and sip my coffee. What will he turn his son into?

A middle aged, over weight man jogs past me. His earphones set deeply in his ears, talking into a mouthpiece, glancing at his watch.
I smile and sip my coffee. The perils of success.

An old couple out for a stroll. He grabs her hand ... she looks at him with a smile on her face.
I smile and sip my coffee. 'Till death do us part.'

A group of old gentlemen sitting around the small fountain, reminiscing about times gone past.
I smile at the few men I've seen before. I walk out the exit.
The aspects of life .... a walk in the park.
Ok, I know this post is out of character, but I just needed a break.
Regular transmission will resume from the next post.

A Pinch Of Soul

The bell above the door to the small cafe jingled as the stranger walked in. Tall, head bent low, face covered by the broad brim of his hat, dressed in greys and blacks, he walked toward the far corner of the cafe. Dropping his large duffel bag into one chair and himself in another he placed his hat on the cracked marble table and looked around at the rest of patrons.
He seemed to see more in them than met the eye. Upon some, his gaze lingered longer than others.
"What would you like, sir?"
Startled out of his reverie he stared at the young man in a checkered apron with a beret perched on his head.
"Espressos, son. And keep 'em coming."
"Sir, that is a black cof.."
"I know", he interrupted the young man.
The band on the opposite end of the cafe completed setting up. Sound tests.
He continued his survey of the people in the room. Observing them ... as a hawk observes its prey.

He observed young Mr. Kaunds. Slouching in his chair with his legs spread out in front of him, eyes closed, thinking about the interview he just had. It went well, of course it did. What if it didn't? What if I don't get the job? How am I going to pay the rent?

The young man in the checkered apron brought him his coffee.

He observed young Anchit, sweat on his brow, fidgety. He kept picking up the cup in front of him and putting it down, the coffee in it cold and bitter. His hand found its way to his pocket every few seconds, touched the diamond ring in there and came out, reassured. Today's the day! I'm going to propose to Joyce! Three years we've been together! Our parents will have a lot to say but we can handle that. We can handle that!
Anchit got up as a young girl walked toward him.

He sipped the dark, bitter liquid, savouring the taste as it stagnated in his mouth for a few seconds.
"We'll start with 'Coffee House Blues' by Lightnin' Hopkins, ladies and gentlemen." That got a few laughs.
"We hope you enjoy the evening. If you have any requests for the blues or jazz, please let us know"
The band was good. Even managed to improvise in places, just like Hopkins had back in Houston.

He observed Ms. Naik, bent over her coffee. Staring into it as though the answers to all her questions, the balm for all her aches and pains lay in there. He saw her writing on the napkin with her expensive fountain pen. He saw her shake it furiously to get the ink flowing. He heard her curse as the ink fell on her new silk blouse. Dearest Sirha, Why did you leave all of a sudden? I know that you're at your mother's. We could at least have talked about it. We could have figured out how to make it work ....

The harsh guitaring of Santana's version of "Black Magic Woman." The young man in the checkered apron brought him a refill.

He observed Rajiv and Neha Bansal, sitting at their table cooing to each other. He watched as they touched each other and quickly drew back from each other. He saw the revulsion on their faces as they looked away from each other. Two years I've been married to her! At least her father made me MD of the company. Am sure that two bit driver will come to see her tonight. I wonder what Nikki is doing now? Maybe I'll go over there tonight....

Louis Armstrong's 'Heebie Jeebies.' He lit a cigarette, the fresh cinnamon flavour spreading in his mouth.

He observed Mr. Kariwala staring at the yellowing photograph in his hand, remembering his dead wife. Staring at it as though it would bring her back. I wish I was with you. Everyday, I wish I was with you.
He closed his eyes, trying to find his dreams ... the only place he could meet his wife. The stranger observed the small smile as Mr. Kariwala found his dreams.

Wynton Marshals, Billie Holiday, Ray Charles and a host of others, he heard them all. Lopez, Patnaik, Dhakad and many others, he watched them all. A number of cups of coffee, a number of cigarettes. The red sun gave up its glory to a rusted moon. The warmth of the evening dissipated into mist.

"Folks, we'll be taking a short break now. Be back in fifteen minutes."

The Stranger opened his duffel bag. Amid the collection of clothes, two boxes, one white as snow, the other black as a witch's heart.
Which would you choose this day, the power to give or the power to take away?
He placed the white box on the table in front of him and opened the catches. The flute inside seemed more than just black ... deeper. It devoured the light that touched it. A sharp contrast with the moon metal caps covering the holes in the shaft. A study in contrast, the shaft of the flute felt warm against the flat of his palm, the metal caps ... cold against the ridges of his fingertips.
The Stranger meandered through the tables and preoccupied patrons to the band stand unnoticed.

The soft notes drew everyones attention to the tall man playing the flute. Mr. Kaunds peeked through the fingers covering his eyes. Anchit and Joyce tore their eyes away from each others face to look at him ... they couldn't stop smiling. Joyce stroked the diamond ring on her finger. Ms. Naik closed her pen. The Bansals let go of each others hands. Mr. Kariwala opened his eyes to stare straight ahead. The music seemed to seep through everyone pass through everyone, it resonated with them, touched them. The notes seemed to tumble on top of each other, a hammer and a feather at the same time and yet ... it sounded beautiful.
The band joined in. Guitar, bass, drums, keyboard and trumpet. The musicians trying to match the skill with which the flute was played.

Music is said to have a stimulating effect on human emotion. The sweet, soft notes made by the flute had that effect on the patrons. Smiles broadened, frowns deepened, eyes tightened. The rhythm changed, speeding up.
Each note fanning the fledgling sparks of emotion to bon-fires. The band struggled to keep up.
The trumpeter fell first, being the oldest member. Out of breath, tears streaming down his face.
The keyboards next as two of his fingers broke on the keys, laughing as he remembered a daughter he hadn't seen in three years.
The drummer, one of his sticks broke through the membrane covering the drums. His forearms sore from the effort of hitting the instrument, the tattoo he received in prison standing out against his tanned skin. He cried remembering how he got it.
The guitarist, fingers bleeding from strumming the strings, looked down at his hands but couldn't stop playing. Finally, the bone caught on one of the strings. Falling to his knees with a smile on his face, too tired to stand.
The music from the flute became faster. The notes no longer discernible.

Laughter and sobs filled the room, but nobody heard anything other than the music from the flute ... pure and polluted at the same time ... beautiful and terrible at the same time.
The flute filled the audience with the contrast that it portrayed, pushing them all over the brink of sanity, the happy into euphoria, the miserable into dysphoria. No middle ground, just like itself.

Mr. Kaunds laughed in spite of himself, the eviction notice to his house in the table in front of him, the bills from the hospital in his hand. He gasped for breath through peals of laughter.

Anchit and Joyce, held their beautiful baby girl, staring into her dark eyes, seeing in them all of the dreams they hadn't fulfilled in their lives. Tears stopped at their lips, held wide in laughter as they dreamt of their child.

Ms. Naik, still trying to hold onto the last vestiges of her sanity, stopped herself from stabbing her hand with the pen again. A spot in the pool of blood on her hand washed away by a tear. She leaned back in her chair. She saw Sirha, a hurt expression on her face. She saw Sirha, packing her bags. She saw Sirha, banging the door behind her as she left the apartment. The tears stopped. Blood streamed down her face.

Rajiv Bansal cried as he was pushed out of his own office. He cried as he heard the laughter of the woman sitting in his chair. He cried as he Nikki ordered him booted out of the premises.

Mr. Kariwala saw his wife dancing in the rain, as she used to do so long ago. This time he danced with her. Their laughter was the only sound he heard. He choked on the words he never said.

The stranger stopped playing. He picked his way back to his duffel bag. Replacing the flute in its case, he pushed it into his bag. Left a hundred on the table and walked out of the cafe.
Nobody saw him leave.
There was nobody left to see him leave.

Knight of Yore

The distant rumble of thunder, like a low growl, permeated through a gray sky.
The kind of day I'd like to be home with a good book and a strong cup of coffee.
His eyes were fixed on the three people walking the path toward him. The man in white, flanked on either side by men in brown, had a small smile on his face and a spring in his step. He walked faster than the two men.
How can I do this? Time after time, I stand here and watch these men walk toward me. How much more of this can I take?! How many more men?
I should just quit.... they'll just find someone else. Someone has to do this.
Somebody has to clean this mess up.
I'm doing the right thing! The right thing!
I am doing God's will. I am serving the people of my country … of the world.

He stared at the three men walking toward him, each step they took kicking up the dust from under their feet. Each step they took bringing the man in white closer to him.
What if I’m wrong? Every religion in the world says that I should not be doing what I am? Every single cell in my body says otherwise.
They were now close enough for him to hear the soft sound the made by their feet touching the ground. Two pairs of feet hitting the ground in perfect unison and a third pair at erratic intervals. The man in white moved at a faster pace than the other two, realizing that he was getting ahead of the others, he slowed for them to catch up.
The man in white stopped, just realizing that there were more people in the courtyard. The man in white sneered at one of the men, an expression of pure hatred … of malice … a promise of retribution for wrongs done. Once again, the only sound was the rumble of a distant thunder. Everything just stopped, as though someone had taken a photograph and replaced reality with it.
Come on, I don’t know if I have the balls to do this. Come on … before I lose my nerve!
The three men started walking again, led once more by the man in white. One of the group watching the procession started chanting in a low voice.
The three men came closer.
There’s nothing in his eyes …he seems almost … excited. Why would he be excited about the situation he’s in? Does he believe in himself? Does he believe he’s right?
Am I wrong? Are we wrong? Should he be here at all? Should I be here?
He was trembling now, and not entirely from the cold. He lay a shaking hand on the wooden post next to him. Old and worn, there since time immemorial. He drew his hand back as if burned.
Is this an instrument of evil or good?
The three men had reached the worn granite steps, pitted now, after years of use. The man in white climbed the stairs alone. His slow, almost cautious steps seeming to take forever. The expression on his face, expectant, the look in his eyes, calm. His lips curled in a smile that became wider as he climbed.
Every action has its consequences. You are here because of yours. What about the consequences of my actions?
He touched the photograph in his pocket. Imagined his daughter playing in the garden.
No! I'm doing the right thing. No god would judge me in the wrong for doing this.
The last step. The man in white walked around the post and stood facing the way he had come. Stood ready, stood waiting.
“Do you have anything to say?” he asked.
The man in white looked at him and simply laughed.

How could you?! Those poor children! You bastard! You Monster!
He turned and fastened the noose around the neck of the man in white.
You raped and killed three little girls! How could you?!
He grabbed the lever hard. Hard enough to force a splinter of wood into his palm. He barely even felt the pain.
I don’t kill people … I slay monsters!
The sharp crack of a neck breaking.

The Silver Line

"Every cloud has a silver lining."
An age old adage whose banality borders on being almost nauseating - at least in most cases.
In ours, however, it was true ... more than true, as a matter of fact. In the dark cloud that hung over four years of our lives, the time that we spent memorising various strange symbols for the exams whose answer sheets we would fill out by vomiting all that we had forced into our brains. This, however, was an advantage, there was never a subject which built upon the concepts we had learned earlier - a topic once vomited, stayed that way.
Still here? Excellent! Now that I've made you run to the bathroom with my rather graphic description of what engineering is all about, let me tell you about one of the things that made it all bearable - "The Silverline."
No, the quoted phrase above is not a pun on the adage, it is in fact the name of the bakery that all of us used to frequent. By us, one would think I mean most of the students of said college, I, however, lived in a world of limited space and restrained by finite faculties, noticed the presence of only certain people, namely member of 'The Herd'.
A discussion inspired by this post of Furibundo's led Sketcher, Rize, Furibundo and yours truly to the conclusion that leaky memories like mine are no place to store all the events that have taken place through the time that we spent in college. As a result of said conclusion, I was nominated (for no fault of mine) to inflict upon you my perception of the times we spent at our favourite hang out. Hopefully, this will be a series, starting with Furibundo and going on with the others (maybe I can tag someone else with it [[[muhahhaha]]]]).
Silver line as a bakery was at best mediocre, but we never went there for the food. There were similar such bakeries scattered all over the country side (when we were inmates there, it really was country side, things seem to have changed a lot since then) near college, but for some inane reason we chose this one upon which to perch.
Witness to endless hours of discussions on topics ranging from why we had become friends, our individual pasts to technical details of how the gentleman behind the counter preparing our juice had managed to make even a simple order of a dozen lime juices seem like a task fit for Hercules himself, the place lacked the charm that one has come to expect from the shiny city that Bangalore represents to those who haven't been here and yet, there we were, day after day, hour upon hour, sitting in the bright sun or taking shelter from the pouring rain, enjoying the water on our face in the light drizzle or huddling up in our jackets to beat the bitter cold.
Puffs, cold and hard, buns with a filling of potato, that just refused to be chewed upon, formed the cuisine of said watering hole. We devoured it all with a fervour unmatched by any we know of.
The mango juice deserves special mention - this seasonal concoction that the rather inexperienced culinary expert behind the counter decided to prepare was possibly a masterpiece the likes of which are unparalleled in the bakery/juice industry thus far. A very thick mixture of mango pulp(?) and milk that tasted positively heavenly. I'm fairly certain the only thing better would be ambrosia and am sure that Pixie will vouch for that.
I'm sure we cheated the proprietor of the place out of a fortune over the years, we invariably forgot what all of us had ordered (the drawbacks of going in a large group) and of course, he couldn't keep track of it. I'm also certain there are a number of times that we forgot to pay and just walked out as well. :-)
It formed a place of shelter in more ways than just the physical.
How many classes have we missed and spent them sitting on the rickety yellow chairs strewn haphazardly around the place?
How many subjects have we forgotten sitting under the yellow and red striped awnings after completing the tests for them?
How many confessions have we made to a friendly ear sitting on the brick red steps?
How many times have we worried for our friends (and our bikes) who have gone riding for the first time, standing there on the broken grey concrete?
How many tests have we prepared for walking around in the muck surrounding the place?
The answer to all of these questions - we don't really care, be they three or three million, each hour .. each second was an experience to which we were all privy, an experience which while teaching us nothing of importance forms our solace ... our Silver Line.


A thought unspoken, a word unsaid.
A promise unbroken and yet never kept.

Gazing at the rain through an amber glass,
The desert I see, bereft and sparse.

A mind that's broken, a soul unprepared.
A conscience unscarred, delusions of a spirit repaired.

A smoky haze so thick, the wind can't push it away
Voices, once crisp and clear, now raspy whispers and rustling of leaves.

A throaty laugh, a childish giggle,
A siren's voice, a decision oh so fickle.

White powder falls on glass, obscuring what lies beyond
Prophecies of events to come, Memories of fantasies unbound.

A nightmare come alive, reality it claims to be
In the dead of night, in the light of day, an apparition haunting me

A face in the vapours and flames, as I chase the dragon deeper into darkness,
The chimaera takes control, the shining knight I couldn't be.

The sounds of a beating drum, the feel of the strings I thrum,
The stench of sweat, the taste of metal, a sight I cannot trust.

The green fairy comes when I call, despite the bitter price she brings along
Lauding her with sugary praise and louche promises, yet her wings I fail to clip.

I realise that there are a lot of things in this that are more than a little obscure. I will publish an explanantion for this soon. In the meanwhile, use Wikipedia. :-)
I'm sure Wren and Furibundo have already figured most of it out.

Explanation posted.

He Spoke ....

He spoke of hopes unfettered
He spoke of dreams being shattered

He spoke of perceived perfections
He spoke of pale reflections

He spoke of you
He spoke of me

He spoke of saints and mothers
He spoke of monsters and murderers

He spoke of autumns in the park
He spoke of whispers in the dark

He spoke of you
He spoke of me

He spoke of the stars we would reach
He spoke of the lies people preach

He spoke of conclusions we derive
He spoke of the helpless we deride

He spoke of you
He spoke of me

He spoke of a soul set free
He spoke of a goal unreached

He spoke of the bridges we burn
He spoke of the corners we turn

He spoke of you
He spoke of me

He spoke of heaven on earth
He spoke of the funeral dirge

He spoke of the fears we conquer
He spoke of the tears we dry

He spoke of you
He spoke of me

He spoke of walls to break
He spoke of steps to take

He spoke of the living retreating to their caves
He spoke of the dead turning over in their graves

He spoke for you
He spoke for me

He spoke to you
He spoke to me

The explanation of the poem, as requested, is posted in the comments.

The End Of Innocence

Running through the ruins of my town ... my beautiful little town where everyone knows ... knew everyone else. All gone ... everyone's gone ... everyone's run away ...
Where the fruit vendor on the side of the street nods to me every morning as I follow the meandering streets to school. Nice old man, even let me take an apple from his limited stock every now and then ...
I wonder if he's alright.
Where the trees shower me with yellowing leaves.
Where the red sun setting on the horizon turns the sky a beautiful violet.
Where the days roll by under a deep blue sky ...
Where I laid my head in tall brown grass swaying in the wind ...
Where ....
They shouldn't have come. They shouldn't have done this ... anything but this. My town ... my home.
They've poisoned my fairy tale...
So much dust, making things hazy. If only there was more light. Never realise how much of a difference a candle makes until you try running around in the dark.
Footsteps, each one like a nail being hammered into a coffin. Loud and sure. Behind me, ahead of me ... surrounding me.
Echoes ... whispers in the dark. Distinct. Calling me to him ... slow, drawling accent ... he's had too much to drink... Please, please, please, let him have had too much to drink.
Maybe he won't catch me then.
I won't let him catch me. I won't ... I won't let him hurt me. I won't be like the other boys ... I won't!
My slippers are useless ... the soles making too much noise. Am sure he can hear me. Sure ... sure. I'm better off without them. I'll come back for them later.
Yes, yes ... later! I'll come back for them later...
I hope I can come back for them later.
Dropping the slippers was a good idea. Moving faster. Moving quietly. I hope he doesn't find them...
Oh no, rain. Not now. Not now. Have to keep moving. Have to get away.
I hope he didn't hear that ... the creak of that door sounded too loud ... I hope he didn't hear that.
Ouch! What did I step on? Too dark.
Glass? Thick ... spectacles. They left the spectacles behind. How will he see?
It's bleeding .. I should've looked where I was walking ...
They left in a hurry ... left a lot of things behind ...
Tea cups with the handle broken off, shattered saucers ...
They even left the boots behind ... walking sticks & umbrellas ...
I wish I had that car ... with the remote control ...
I wonder if they'll mind if I take it ... I don't think they are coming back ...
I'll come back for it later. Need to hide right now ... I hope he didn't hear the door.
Why would they tear open the mattresses? Why are parts of it darker than the rest?
The door! He's found me!
Under the bed ... he won't find me there ...
He's coming up the stairs. The other side of the bed ... maybe he won't see me.
Uh! They left something on the floor ... no, they left someone on the floor!
"Miss? Miss!"
She's ... she's dead!
What's that in her hand? Black ... too dark ... Oh!
"Let go, Miss! I need this! He'll leave me alone if I have this! Let go!"
Why is she holding on so tight?! Let go, damn it!
"Come here, kid. What you shaking your head for? Come here now or I'm coming there to get you!"
No ... no.
"Don't come any closer ... don't ... (sniff) ... please."
The recoil should have broken an arm, instead, it broke a spirit ... it broke a heart ...

My Opening Farewell

Who cares?! Nobody I know for sure.
He stuck another pin into his already bleeding arm ..... the blood spreading slowly across his skin, a low giggle escaped from his mouth.
The pain was real ... pure. It didn't judge him ... didn't hurt him ... didn't ask him to be anything. It liked him for who he was. He reveled in it... made himself feel alive, animated.
It complemented him ... added itself to who he was ... made him something more than himself ... made him larger than the pathetic life he was leading.
The blood was real, true. The scarlet against the wheat ... the contrast almost made him laugh and another low giggle escaped through his lips.
As daylight gave way to another evening and the stars began to peek around the corners of their nooks and crevices in the black velvet of the night ... he sat with a tiny bottle of the best whiskey he could afford ... a treat, gift for himself ... something he had always wanted to try ...
That tickles ...(snicker)
Another pin ... stuck with a trembling hand into an arm beginning to look like a pincushion.
The now familiar scarlet stain spreading onto his white shirt ...
Fuck! Mom's not going to be happy with that
He fell onto his side, laughing ... a maniacal laugh ... a sad laugh ... a laugh no teenager was supposed to laugh.
He reached into the small box of pins ...
That's convenient (giggle)
The blood spreading across his index finger ... a pin stuck in the tip.
A swig of whiskey ... a drop of blood ... a low chortle ... another pin ...
Teeth bared ... half smile ... half grimace.
Swaying, he got to his feet ... staring out to the horizon where the sun went to sleep ... losing its glory to a moon yet to show itself ...
Tears slid down his face as he surveyed his empire of dirt ...
Its yours ... all yours! Do with it as you will!
A child's drawing ... on the ground ...
A whole lot of squiggles ... three people in a green field ... a house with a red roof behind them
My mommy, My daddy and me in our new house ...
His eyes focussed, staring into the shining sun made with a yellow crayon ... she had tried to use orange and given up.
A maniacal laugh, muffled by the bottle touching his lips ... he fell to the ground, unable to keep himself upright any longer.
Ironical. It would do ... it would do well.
Unsteady hands reached into a coat that fit all too well ... the pen got stuck in the silk lining ... pulled out with unnecessary force that tore it ...
Sorry Mom ...
laughter, loud and hoarse ...
The crowning piece in the small box ... a blade ... thin as a hair, sharp as a knife, light as a feather and as heavy as a mountain.
giggle ...
His tongue stuck out the side of his mouth as he concentrated on his wrist ... holding the blade against it.
A flick of the wrist...
He tries to repair his broken thoughts ...
The pen scraped against the paper ... "Goodbye, cruel worl" the 'L' dragged across to the end of the page ...


World Suicide Prevention day is on 10th September.

Another 55

..... And we're back!!!
I spent half an hour reading what had been written earlier (sequence provided below) and the next half quite literally seeing stars.
It started with me and finally got to Sketcher as follows:-
Stargazer > 'Smee! > Rize > El Furibundo > Sketcher
Now that its come full circle, I'm at a loss...
Given the stars these guys have made me see ... I decided to introduce a few of my own.
Here goes.....

He craved the comfort the green leaves provided.
With trembling hands he rolled up another cigarette.
Long drag ... visions - clearer ... confusion - lost in smoke.
Noon to battle the witching hour ....
"The Bard shall guide me! A rose by ...."
The left eye smaller than the right ... who is she?

Right then. Sketcher, hope I've reached a new level with this. ;-)
Adding a new blogger to the fold.
Leena, will thou meet the challenge set forth?

Edit: Leena responds here

The truth about ... truth

"All our knowledge has its origin in our perceptions."
Loenardo Da Vinci, a man much wiser than I once said that. He was, or should I say is, undoubtedly correct.
The last post on this blog was a series of three sentences, a total of fifty four words, woefully out of context leaving the reader to fill in the blanks. More accurately, it provided the blanks asking the reader to fill in the sentence.
Not entirely the aim of the exercise, an interesting side effect made itself apparent.
Nine of ten people who told me what they thought of it had different (putting it very very mildly) views on what the sentences meant or were supposed to convey.
Opinions ranged from the romantic (saying that the woman the smoker loved was on the train. This is the view that was duplicated, in a way, the second person said that something precious to him was on the train) to the metaphysical where the train represented a "train of thought."
Another person looked upon the smoke as a sign of hope in the midst of sadness and gloom, represented by the "blackness surrounding him."
An opinion that came as a surprise to me, was on a tangent to all of these, namely, a vision of green fields and the smoker, a happy man.
Each of these disparate views of the same fifty four words took me back to them and each time staring at them with an incredulous expression the question would be asked "Could it really mean that?"
The answer - absolutely!
Each of us marches to the beat of a different drummer and will do so in spite of the best efforts of those around to change the tune. The drummer plays in the most private and sacred of all places ... our heads.
The fundamental ingredient of knowledge is truth. Each person saw in that passage truth as perceived by him/her. The implications of this, while very clear in everyone's mind, has not found voice or come to the forefront. To see an example of this is .... humbling.
Empirical evidence of the individuality governing each of us can be seen in the continuation of the story by 'Smee! and the others.
Coming back to what Da Vinci said. If what we know is based on what we see how do we know that what we see is absolutely correct?
The concept of questioning ourselves never finds a foothold in our minds. Why not?
The arrogance and complacence that comes about with admitting that we can never be wrong is a common pitfall that more than a few of us have fallen prey to.
All stimuli one is exposed to are sentences with blanks in them. The blanks being filled up, sometimes incorrectly, by intuition or based on prior experience. Does this mean that the conclusion arrived at based on that educated guess is the best that can be arrived at?
More often than not, the passage of time, accretion of knowledge and growth, in general changes the opinions formed in the yesteryears to ones more apt to the situation. Experience, knowledge and maturity play a greater part in determining how one thinks than one wishes to give it credit for.
One's opinions are like a pot set in clay, if found to have a leak, to be broken, molded and shaped once again into a different pot, to hold water .... this time, losing less.

Words - 55 of 'em

Inspired by chamique and a tag I once found on Profound Gibberish am trying my hand at fiction, in 55 words.

The train pulling away under his watchful gaze, the light from the match played across the hard planes of his face.
A wisp of white smoke, let out with a sigh, a stark contrast against the surrounding blackness.
As it slipped out of sight, he fell to his knees, the weight of the world.....

Ok, ok. So its 54 words. Am a terse man.
I want to see what the others will do with this.
'Smee!, thee shall I charge to pick up where this hath left off.


Edit: 'Smee! has continued the story here

Lost for Words

The staccato sounds, like gunshots, made by the rain on the smooth surface of the helmet.....
The water running down the once dirty visor ..... making rivulets in the dirt that's been there for weeks.
A hazy curtain of water that doesn't part even when one tries to push it away.... appears like the screen in a movie theater, a canvas for an imagination stunted by months of disuse and abuse, struggling to hold onto the last vestiges of an individuality lost over time ....
The images come unbidden .... vivid, lifelike ..... the gunshots vanish, replaced by the sound of soft laughter ...... the ghost of a smile, dredged out from the mired reflection of a corroded mind .... reality fades ......

A young girl ..... woman, playing in the rain - dancing to the song playing in her head, humming wordlessly the bars of a song only she can hear .............

A light in a window ..... burning bright like a star ..... red eyes, blinking against the rain, looking toward it in the hope of guidance ..... with regret, with guilt ...............

Looking up at the sun through the rain, bright against the dark clouds surrounding it ........ thinking of foxes and crows.............

The rhythmic thump of thickly soled feet as they land on freshly laid asphalt slick with the falling rain ........ splashes made as they land in puddles made by the rain ....... a cellphone ringing somewhere in the distance....... a promise of admonishment to come.....

The throttle turns in an effort to outrun the visions ........... the memories.

It lurches forward, as it has so many times in the past. Forward ......... follow the road ... almost like a tunnel .......

They still come ...............

The feel of someone riding shotgun, arms wide ..... open to the drizzle coming down ...............

Sweet sounds of soft laughter ............... an even softer rendition of “Raindrops keep falling on my head” ...............

Sounds replaced by a roar loud enough to make a man deaf.
Almost there ...............
A door slams shut .... the sonorous sound of a bolt being thrown .... footsteps walking away ......

The rain’s letting up....


Back foot, front foot ... Back foot, front foot ... Back foot, front foot.
The rhythm of it was driving me nuts.
I could smell the sweat that seemed to be flowing from every part of me.
The metallic taste of the blood in my mouth seemed a little out of place. Didn't really notice.
The tooth was shaking a little too much, distracting me.
Southpaw, keep your eye on the left arm.
There goes the tooth.
"Left shoulder, NOT left arm, damn it." Keep the gloves up. This guy's good.
He's big, fast and he's been at this for a lot longer than I have. Maybe this was a bad idea.
Back into the rhythm - Back foot, front foot ... Back foot, front foot ... Back foot, front foot.
Almost hypnotic. Driving me nuts.
His arm coming at me. Gloves go up. Pressure against the gloves. He's goading me!!
Three rounds, a tooth, a split lip and he's goading me!
Boxing is supposed to be a sophisticated sport. Not at all like street fighting.
"Keep your emotions under control. Anger is your worst enemy."
Damn it! The rhythm is driving me NUTS!!
Can't see him too clearly through the gloves. Sounds? Coming from him? He's laughing through his mouthpiece!
He sees the kid I am, he doesn't see an opponent. He thinks am a kid playing at boxing.
"Keep your emotions under control. Anger is your worst enemy."
I keep hearing the coach telling me that.
Jabs - can feel them coming one after the other against the gloves in front of my face.
Red - there's something red on my gloves. Blood from the spit lip I gave him.
Pressure's gone. He let up. Why?
A couple of more steps and I would be at the ropes.
Curious. Gloves come down.
"Don't ever let your guard down."
I wanna see why he let up. He's standing there, ready .... waiting.
I just gave him the opening he wanted. His gloved hand comes through, right up until my nose. Everything's black.
Pressure against my nose. My eyes were closed ..... waiting for the punch to land.
He flicked my nose ..... backing away.
I can see the amusement in his eyes.
"Keep your emotions under control. Anger is your worst enemy."
"Shut the fuck up, coach!!"
Walking to the center of the ring.
Back foot, front foot ... Back foot, front foot ... Back foot, front foot..............
The rhythm is still driving me up the wall.
There's more to it this time...... he's not amused anymore.
We are both dancing to the same song. Its almost choreographed..........
Back foot, front foot ... Back foot, front foot ... Back foot, front foot... Back foot, Back foot!

That's it. Arms goes up. Left, right, left, left, right, left.
Technique's gone out the window ..... back to basics
Sophistication is for people with class. Power is raw.
White canvas, white canvas, white canvas ...... feels soft under my hands...... probably the padding protecting his hands.
Stumble forward ...... my hand's through his guard ........... keep going .......... left, left, left - he's a southpaw.
Bone is a little hard ................. punch .............. punch .............. jab ............... punch ..............
jab .............. flesh makes it seem soft .......
Hand goes forward a little more than it should ....... (?)
Where is he ............... Ah!! ...... punch........ something in my eye ............. punch ........... punch ........... punch ....... PUNCH!
Arms not moving ............. Turn around ............... coach?
Look down .................. red ........... eye isn't opening ....... blood running down the side of my eye .......... not mine ......... his.
His nose ....... jaw ............... eye
He's under me.
"Keep your emotions under control. Anger is your worst enemy."
Control - man or animal?

Days of Gold

Ever have one of those days on which you have Midas' Touch, one of those days where you can do no wrong. Of course, its another matter that generally the very next day is probably the worst day you've had in your life up until that point. All the things that were supposed to wrong on the perfect day decide to pay you a visit on the next day.
There was a time in which the Days of Gold were continuous and plentiful and the fruit they provided sweet and satisfying. I think that if you've had a long stretch of the good days you are bound to have a long stretch of the bad ones as well. Think of it as the universe balancing itself out like a math equation (read as Murphy's laws).
Now, onto what I really think. Fate and destiny are of your choosing, they aren't determined by the circumstances around you. Sure the circumstances cause you to make certain decisions in a predefined manner, but they are still your decisions, meaning that you have to take responsibility for them.
The "Days of Gold" are just those days on which you make the right decisions all the time. I had a lot of them and a lot of "Days of Fool's Gold" as well, the days on which I thought I was making the right decision and it turned out that I wasn't. These are the days which are followed by a lot more bad ones than good because some of the decision we make have repercussions that we can't predict and those decisions can't be taken back or erased.
I've been out of college for a little over a year now which has had a considerable number of both of these days (the last one of the latter kind, I'm still reeling from, and I think I will for a long time to come).
The problem with people is that they don't learn until they fall down or get a kick in the pants. :-)
If only we could turn back time to prevent either of those from happening in the first place.............

Courage is Destiny

Three words that I heard everyday for 14 years, 10 of which I spent just hearing them without understanding what they meant, the time since then I've spent trying to live up to what I think it means.
Three words which I find comfort in. Three words that are my sanctuary.
Destiny is not something that a wise old man sporting a long white beard sitting up in heaven writes on a parchment. Its something we create for ourselves. Where we end up at the end of the day is something we decide for ourselves. Risks are not something that we are accustomed to taking all the time, but sometimes, maybe every one out of a hundred times, such a risk is worth taking, even if the odds against us are insurmountable. Its these times that define where we will end up at the end our lives, its these times that will define our destiny.
Each of these risks represents a choice that we have to make, choices that are more difficult than most things should be, even though its just a choice between two things, a 50-50 chance. Yet, what each of the options entails could change how the rest of our lives are determined. Knowing that and still having the courage to make those choices are what life is about. There is no purpose to it. Its just there.
Sadly, there isn't a rule book or a guide to tell what one should do when one is faced with a situation one doesn't want to be in (I wish there was, would make my life a lot easier). There is no guarantee that the option you choose is going to get you what you want or that it is the right one for you to make, knowing that, acknowledging and still making the choice is what my school motto means to me.
There are things that I've done that have scared the living daylights out of me and I do more of them every so often, but I still did them. Some of those I would have done differently if I got the chance today, but that's the advantage of time passing, it gives you 20/20 hindsight. The problem with it is that it also causes the manifestation of some regrets that you have to live with, lets face it, life doesn't give all that many second chances.
Lets just hope that it gives us enough of them that we don't have to live with any regrets. :-)