Friday, February 15, 2013

A short story

                                               A Lesson learnt

         “Conscience defined by the elders, passed on to the next generations”, Miss Marguerite started
her fifth moral science class. It was a bright Friday morning. The second grade children were fond of
Miss Marguerite that they were listening to her in pin drop silence.

         “Can anyone here say what Conscience is?” she looked around the class with a small grin. A
lean guy from the third row raised his arm.

        “That’s good. Come on Ash, tell us about Conscience” she said.

         “It’s the inner voice which says what is right and wrong” Ash replied.

         “Yupp. But can you elaborate your answer with an example?” Miss Marguerite said throwing
curious looks at Ash.

         “When you crave for something what is not yours, you’ll feel something which hinders you
from taking that. That hindrance is what we call Conscience”, Ash replied with a loud and bold voice.

         “Smart answer” Miss Marguerite applauded.

         “Ash, I’ve another question”, she wore a curious look again.

         “Yes madam, I’ll give a try.” Ash responded with a confident expression.

         “How is your inner voice judging that it is not correct to claim whatever is not yours?” Miss
Marguerite stressed each and every word of her question.

         “Errrr..” Ash dragged.

          “Think. You can get an answer” Miss Marguerite said encouraging Ash.

         “Hmmm…May be the owner will be worried if he had lost something. It’s not good to make
someone sad” Ash gave a casual jerk. But Miss Marguerite was not convinced.

          “Fine. Did anybody tell you about Conscience, you’re do’s and don’ts in life?” She kept
questioning Ash.

         “My dad tells me stories every night. Each story ends up with a lesson. They are similar to the
things what you tell us in every Moral science class. ” Ash replied.

          “Excellent. You have someone to tell about the morals of life” saying thus she walked to the
rostrum. Students started to speak amongst themselves. Miss Marguerite got annoyed with the noise
and gave a thump on her table.

          “Silence. I don’t want you people to have your own forums.” She said, loud enough for the
entire class to hear. Her voice did work on the noisy class. The students became silent all of a sudden.

          “Let me start today’s chapter…”Miss Marguerite gave a pause and added

          “Nowadays, people’s quest for money and wealth has amplified. When we go behind money,
we forget our morals. We don’t read any of our holy scriptures which brings us back on our moral
track. So God gave us our elders to tutor the way we should live. As I told you in the beginning,
it’s your grandparents, parents, teachers who share their experiences with you to make you a better
personality. Hence it becomes your foremost duty to look up to them and adhere to whatever they
say”. She paused and looked around the class. A guy from the last bench raised his hands.

           “Madam, do elders know everything?” he asked with a gullible look.

           “Only God can define the word ‘Everything’. Elders are next to Gods and they know better
than you kids” Miss Marguerite tried her best to deliver the message to her students. The boy thought
for a while and asked again

          “Will I know more when I grow big?”

          “Of course your knowledge keeps improving, provided you are in a good company and you
don’t cease learning things from your elders.” She smiled and added,

          “Pritam, are you happy now?” Miss Marguerite was particular about clearing his doubts. He
nodded and got back to his deck.

            Miss Marguerite continued her class for some more time. When it was 10 minutes for the
session to end, she began her attendance duties. The bell rang and guys stood to wish her.

           “Thank you. Have a great weekend. Let us meet again on Monday”. She said, waving hands
to them.

             It would be a festive scene for anyone who would love kids. The school play zone was
teeming with children. The evening sky was clear except for few patches of clouds. The fruit trees
and the colourful blooms appeared to chuckle along with children. The duck pond was full of ripples
as the kids kept throwing stones inside it. Some of them were feeding the ducks scavenging for food.
Pranksters were running behind rabbits and squirrels trying to hit them with stones and sticks. Swings
and slides were used to their full extent by a number of laughing and squealing children. Parents, who
came to take their children back home, were seated on the benches adorning the footpath. They were
monitoring their kids with the focus of a mother bird nurturing her offspring.

             A handsome and well-groomed gentleman rose up from the visitor’s bench. He looked
around for the park for a minute and smiled at a guy. The kid’s face lit up and he came running
towards the gentleman.

            “Dad”, he exclaimed as he threw his arms around the tall, well-built body.

            “Ash, Enough of fun with your friends?” he asked the kid, reciprocating the love. The kid was
the one who topped Miss Marguerite’s moral science session.

            “It was great today, both the classes and play time”, Ash said, picking his school bag and
lunch box.

            “Hmmm, I’m happy that you perform well both in your games and lessons”. He smiled at
his son. Ash knew well that his father focused more on his overall personality than his marks and

            “Yeah, Miss Marguerite complimented me for giving smart answers in the class”, Ash replied
with a proud smirk.

            “Ash, it’s easy to get complimented once, but very difficult to retain it throughout”, his dad
said interrupting Ash’s pride. There was a trace of disappointment on the kid’s face as heard his
father’s ambitious response.

            “Fine dad”, he replied in a lowered tone.

            “Get into the car, Ash”

            “Do we have any special program today?” Ash queried as he closed the car door.

            “Yeah, your mom has gone to meet your granny. She asked me to bring you there”. Ash’s dad
pulled the car gear to start it.

             “Oh! But how long will it take to reach there?” Ash’s brow rose. He put his hand on his
stomach, pressing it.

             “What happened dear? Is there anything ailing you?” he threw his anxious looks on his son.

             “Nothing dad, I was just hungry”

             “I got troubled after seeing your expression. We’ll refresh somewhere. Don’t worry”

             “Can we go to ‘The bakers’ for hot chocolate and muffins?” Ash replied in an excited tone.

              “Ash, do you remember what your dentist told you?” he disappointed Ash once again

              “Yeah, he told me not to have sweets frequently. But this is not frequent.” Ash stressed his last

              “I don’t like kids arguing with elders.” He replied with a firm voice. Ash believed his father to
be a stern disciplinarian and would not take back once he made his decision. But Ash didn’t give up.

              “I’m not arguing dad. It has been a long time since I had muffins”. Ash pleaded. His dad did
not respond. He kept concentrating on the car steering and gears. He increased the car speed when
they crossed ‘The bakers’. Ash looked outside the window with yearning eyes.

              “Ash, do you trust dad’s choice or you want me to turn the car for muffins?”

              “No dad, I don’t want to dishearten you. You know better than me”. Ash replied convincing
himself. His dad returned a smile. He felt happy about his son’s obedience. They stopped at a
highway restaurant which had attractive banners of meat and vegetables. Ash’s dad found him a
comfortable table beside the window. He showed the menu card to his son and said

               “Make your choice. I’m not going to let you down this time”. Ash grabbed the card and
started going through the foodie list.

               “Chicken noodles and orange juice” Ash showed his bright and white teeth.

               “Fine. Make your choice for dad also”

               “Masala dosa and coffee. I know you prefer South Indian cuisine” Ash smiled again.

               “Smart boy! I want you to go for meat and grains more than muffins and junk” his dad
accentuated the last word.

               “I love noodles also. But I want the waiter uncle to be fast. I’m getting hungry”.

                “Sure dear, just 15 minutes and you’ll have your food” His dad said brushing his hair. His dad
called the waiter and placed the orders. Ash picked up the menu card once again and took a glimpse
of the prices. Chicken noodles costed 60 bucks. He checked for Masala dosa, coffee and juice. He
strained a little bit to count the total cost. The amount was 150 currencies. He opened his mouth wide
when he estimated the money.

                “Still staring at the menu card?” his dad interrupted his thoughts. Ash dint respond. He just
nodded his head to say no. He threw the card aside and kept wondering how his dad could manage to
earn so much.

                Ash realised the value of money when he took part in his school’s kindness camp. Every
summer he and his friends visited mills and farms around their village. They involved in petty works
which helped a lot for the people working there. In return the workers rewarded them with some small
gifts and sometimes a few coins. Every year Ash won the activity with the largest number of coins
or gifts. His largest collection was 20 bucks, 5 packets of biscuits and 2 bars of chocolates. He kept
overwhelming at his own skill for making more rewards than his friends. Thus the total cash of 160
surprised him.

               “Ash, deep thoughts again?” his dad tried read Ash’s mind.

               “I was thinking about our kindness camp”

               “You’re going to your abacus class for this summer holidays and not kindness camp”

               “Dad, I can work well on digits. Abacus tutors teach the same what our mathematics teachers
do. But kindness camp is great. We can have fun with people as well as get some bucks for our

                “Rubbish! I saw you struggling to add up digits in the menu card. Abacus will teach you short
cuts in mathematics. Kindness camp is good, but won’t get you more than 20 bucks.”

                “But…”Ash began.

                “You need shortcuts for performing faster in mathematics. Studying mathematics is very
important for earning more money”. Ash’s dad explained him. Ash thought for a while and tried to
understand his dad’s justification about mathematics.

                “Grandfather used to commend your skill in handling digits. I wish I were better than you”
Ash said accepting his dad’s reason. He evoked Miss Marguerite’s lesson about elders. Also, he
admired his father for his knack in calculation and management. Hence his dad’s instruction made
him sway from his opinion easily.

               “I’m happy that you trusted me again”, his dad said with a happy smile.

                The delicacies arrived. The hungry kid flushed all his thoughts and fell on his food. His dad
admired him using his fork on the noodles and thrusting them inside his tiny mouth. He put his rosy
lips on the straw and sucked the juice with a loud noise.

               “Follow your table manners dear. I know that you’re very hungry” his dad laughed at Ash’s
silly behaviour. Ash threw a glee and continued eating.

               The waiter came with the bill. His father gave him a hundred rupee note.

               “Thank you. I hope you’ll visit once again”, the waiter said.

               His dad smiled at him and prepared to leave. Ash was nonplussed. He took the bill from
the table and went through the list. The waiter had not counted 60 rupees for chicken noodles while
summing up.

                “Dad” he said, loud enough for the waiter to hear. His father just grabbed him and walked out
of the restaurant.
                “Now I can understand your maths shortcuts to earn bucks. Miss Marguerite's lesson was wrong. Dad, I will never trust you again” Ash whispered to himself, understanding his father's motives

Poem - A stroll on road

I strolled on the road, amongst huge crowds

         Bearing a heavy heart, trembling limbs and wet eyes.

The festive scene, with people making alarming decibels of sounds

         Made me feel more and more desperate and lonely.

My heart was longing for one single face

         Brushing out hundreds walking beside me.

I did realize, I was bound only to a silly craze

         And the face was gone and would never see it again.

I drove back to my past days, when he was on my way

         And his whistling breath, embracing me with its obscure intentions.

The curve on his lips and the eyes showering darts, did lead me astray

         By speaking volumes, but of a language unheard.

The worst thing he ever did to me, with such ways was, making me fall

         When he had no motives of catching on me.

His fascinating tactics and motions did make me yield to the cupid’s call

         And I did it, despite knowing the painful reality.

I kept walking on the busy path, not knowing the destination

        And his face popped in front of me and vanished at the same moment.

It was really delighting to get drowned in the pools of hallucination

        But dreadful to disown my dream forts built for him.

I was ready to extend my love across hills, mountains and seas

       Not expecting in return, love or trust, which is too much to ask for.

A true smile would be a fortune to furnish my love sick heart with peace.

       But all I could do is to walk quietly, bearing the most tormenting misfortune.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A thoughtful short story

                                                    A fruitful wait
                          “Life is beautiful only for those who have got a good financial support” I thought as I was seated impatiently in bus. I felt frustrated about spending five valuable hours travelling, doing nothing but grieving over my past. It was a pleasant evening and the path from Salem to Pollachi was quite refreshing. But would definitely be dreary for anyone who is trying to swim upstream in perplexities of life.  I've heard many philosophers brag about human mind. They claim that successful people have their minds like a pigeon’s cage. It has got many partitions which are compared to different scenarios of life. Mind has to be flexible enough to get changed according to each partition without being influenced by ups and downs occurring in different phases of life. But I mock at philosophers as laggards who do not dare to combat with different throes of life. Instead they keep spinning stories to transfigure somebody else’s life. But I can argue that it is highly impossible for a person to enjoy every moment of life concealing his troubles.
                           I took a deep breath inhaling the fresh air that gushed inside the bus through the windows. I would have dozed off; getting lulled by the cool breeze. But the pits on the road and nasty jerk of the bus interrupted my sleep. Now I had no other option other than getting drowned in pessimistic thoughts.
                          The bus was silent except for a kid who was wailing at the top of his voice. Almost everyone seated in the bus appeared frustrated because of the noise.
                          “What does your baby want? Why is he crying?” I threw two questions together to the baby’s father who was seated adjacent to me.
                          “He wants my cell phone. It’s a new one and I’m scared if he would throw it down” he said trying to pat his back.
                          “Oh!” I said and turned towards the window silently. Everyone has got something to cry for, I told to myself.
                           I leaned back on the seat, closing my eyes tightly and tried to sleep. Though my body was at rest, my brain waves were hyperactive. I regretted for some of my decisions which not only dwindled my monetary health, but also sucked out my morale. 
                           As a student I enjoyed solving word puzzles, vocabulary building, taking part in debates, writing competitions etc, while all my friends were working on their mathematical skills, aiming for top grade engineering colleges. But I always stuck on to my concept, “work is pleasure and not pressure” and I opted for English literature despite having a good engineering entrance rank. My love for English what had sprouted in me right from my childhood grew into a strong desire to be a writer. I did believe that one day I would be an appreciated writer even if not renowned. My scripts would handle social issues, attempting to infuse moral values, responsibilities, vigor in the minds of people. Thus I chose to be an English lecturer and believed that this profession would make a plenty of time to handle my scripts, rather than those tedious engineering courses and tiring IT jobs. As usual I had a group of people to drain my zeal, mocking at my decisions regarding my career. In recent times almost everyone wants to follow the herd, scoring a good engineering percentage and getting to be computer professionals or some sort of jobs parallel with engineering. I dint want my health, time and peace to be butchered in such kind of guillotine. So I kept writing short stories, novelettes, poems and had trials at every editor’s door, to get them published in popular magazines and books. The result was only disappointment. I really had no one to show me a good track for my creations. Even the very few people, who were supporting me, were losing their hopes on me. All my friends who took engineering are very busy, getting bungalows built and marrying lovely girls. Now my plight was worse than a beggar, skipping my meals to save money for paying the editors.
                         As I sat thinking about my wrong decision, I stroked Santhosh’s wedding photograph. Santhosh was my school topper. He had chosen mechanical engineering in a top grade engineering college and was placed in Indian Oil Corporation for a handsome pay. Many successful business people wanted him to marry their beautiful daughters. And this morning he was married to a crorepati’s daughter. It was a very grand luncheon at Salem and the invitees were treated with a wide variety of delicacies. Almost all my school mates were invited and they were all professionals with a sufficient income. Some of Santhosh’s closest associates tried to brush me out, because of my bad financial status. I realized that a man is recognized only by money, and only that could earn him respect. Santhosh had booked a return ticket for me in an air conditioned bus, with his associates, from Salem to Pollachi. But my conscience forced me to avoid the company of those money monsters and take an ordinary bus.
                        I bent down and looked at my robes. It was definitely not those to be worn for a wedding feast. I compared my status with that of Santhosh’s and tears started welling down my cheeks. I pulled out my hanky and rubbed them off quietly as I dint want to put a sorry show to the people sitting around me.
                       The kid beside me seemed to inflame my frustration by crying out very loudly for his dad’s cell phone.
                       “Mister!  Why don’t you do something to stop yours baby’s tears?” I said with my eyes turning red.
                        “I’m really sorry sir. He doesn't seem to get convinced. He wants my cell phone”.
                        “Why don’t you give it to him? I don’t think he’ll throw it down”, I said.
                         The man nodded his head and gave the cell phone to his baby. He took it and looked at me with a glee. For a moment I dint know what had happened to me, the hurdles which were fastened tightly within me got unleashed. The kid’s smile delivered a message to me. Of course everyone has got something to cry for, but only the person who cries untiringly will attain it. The kid had set an example to me. It is really not good to try up to one’s level best but to try until one attains it. I remembered an inspiring speech given by a famous orator. "When a panther is chasing a deer for its prey, the deer has prey. But for the deer it would mean its life". Thus, victory is attained more by determination than prowess or strength. I jerked my shoulders with a new energy and promised myself that I would never give up until I’m recognized as a good author.
                          After a journey with bizarre experiences, Pollachi bus stand arrived. It was around 8pm. I got out of the vehicle as a transformed man, refreshed with new hopes. I approached an auto driver to take me home.Usually I bargain a lot with the auto drivers, but that day I paid him as much as he asked. He dropped me at my simple doors and waved his hands with a broad smile. I reciprocated it and moved towards my home. I bent down to take my foot wear off my feet and noticed a small parcel and a letter lying near the door. The letter was from a popular publication. The editor had published my novel and my works will soon be in famous book stores. The parcel contained a red book entitled “Love, Lost and Found” by Ram Narayan, the first copy of my book.