Tiny Tales

Unusual love story – (1 min read)

His sated eyes steeped with the intoxication of love was searching her, groping past her. His lovesick eyes spoke volumes of his enchantment with the lady lying beside him. He turned towards her and gazed into her deep, maddening eyes.

She slowly got up.

‘Is this moment for real? or am I dreaming all the way?’ He wondered in his mind.

‘My time is up. I have to leave now. Please make the payment at the counter. And.. If you want, you can give me some right now.” She said, all in one breath.

His reverie broke.

He took out few pink notes from his wallet and handed over to her.

‘Thank you Saab’. The money brought a subtle smile on her lips.

She left.

While moving down the staircase of the VIP room, she wondered, ‘why does this gentleman come for me every time and doesn’t even reap his money’s worth?’

While driving down the ‘forbidden lane’, he thought to himself, ‘so what she lives in these lanes and asks for a little extra money every time, I Love her‘.

Not everything in this world can be measured with the yardstick of ‘logic’ certainly not Love.

– Speakometer

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Short Stories

Kavery’s tough love – short story (5 mins read)

Monisha had rushed to the hospital the moment she learnt of Mrs. Kavery’s heart attack early in the morning, through an sms from Ria, her childhood friend.

The patient is stable now, she learnt from her dear ones, much to her relief. It was the visiting hour, and as was the norm, only one visitor was allowed at a time.

As the other family members and close friends of Mrs. Kavery took turns to meet her, Monisha stood outside, in the waiting area, recalling fond memories of Mrs. Kavery Krishnamoorthy, her kathak teacher of 17 years, her guru, her god.

Kavery amma, as she was known by everyone was known for her strictness, impeccable discipline and a no-nonsense attitude. She was unbiased in her ways and always praised the one who deserved it rightfully. She lived her whole life with a lot of principles. A body that moved like a bird, was lying now in The ICU bed, motionless, with pairs of anxious eyes hovering over her. She would often reprimand her students for making mistakes in their dance steps, but then she would later on affectionately put her hands over their heads and with that rare, elusive smile tell them “well, that’s my tough love”.

Monisha looked at her watch. It is 10.30 am now. She raised her forehead to check if the relative who went inside to meet Kavery amma is coming out. She has to wait till he come out, so that she can move in. She slowly walked towards the a double chair set placed nearby.

As she folded one leg over another while sitting on the chair, one glance at that slight burnt mark around her right ankle brought back images of that day. She can never forget it all her life.

Years ago, when Monisha must not have been more than 12 or 13, Kavery amma was teaching some basic mudras to her girls. After teaching for hours at a stretch, she was visibly exhausted and took a cup of hot tea, served by her maid and sat down on a cane chair in their garden. Monisha was making a silly mistake again and again. Kavery rectified her many times, it was a very basic foot movement, however Monisha wasn’t paying much attention and repeated the mistake many times over. Kavery was watching her amongst other girls. When that particular step had to be done, she saw Monisha take the same wrong step once again. Her anger shot up like wild fire and bang she threw the hot cup of tea at Monisha’s foot. The small cup broke as soon as it fell on the grown, but the hot liquid had burnt a part of Monisha’s skin around the area it had hit. Everyone including the house maids who were moving in and around Kavery’s garden uptill then, were shell shocked. Monisha’s heart was thumping in her chest. Kavery asked everyone to leave, barring Monisha. The poor girl was shedding copious tears of fear by then. Kavery lowered her voice and said, “do you wish to be a world renowned kathak dancer one day? I see that potential in you. Tell me if you wish to be or not.” Monisha nodded in the affirmative, in between tears. “Then you have to pay a price for it. You don’t receive ‘jay jay kaar’ (appreciation) just like that. Come, I will apply some burnol on your ankles.”

Kavery amma had taken Monisha’s feet onto her lap and put the cream over her ankles that day. She had said that she lost her temper not because Monisha wasn’t being able to learn, but because she wasn’t paying any attention to her instructions.

Over the years, the burn had disappeared, but there remained a small mark, reminding Monisha of that day.

Kavery had been so cruel to her that day. But the respect and admiration she had for her teacher, never diminished even by a bit in all these years. Today, she is a renowned Kathak artist herself and owes every bit of her achievement to Kavery. It was Kavery, who had inculcated in her the two vital principles that shaped her into what she is today : dedication towards the art and sincerity towards one’s goal.

The relative who was inside came out and submitted the visiting card to the warden. The warden signalled to Monisha for her to come and collect the same. She went up to his desk and took the visiting card from him. It was her turn now to go and meet her beloved Kavery amma.

 

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– Speakometer

Short Stories

The lonely house – short story (5 mins read)

(Pic Courtesy : Rajarshi Chatterji)

From across the long alley riding past the busy street shops of Heerapur, there stands an old dilapidated house, a few kilometres away.
If one looks straight from Dhaniya’s tea stall, where I often frequent ever since I have come to stay here, which is around a month back, one can get a diagonal view of this house. Apart from squirrels and rats rustling past the wild bushes encircling the house in the day and some jackals and hounds barking ominously in the night, the house is by far abandoned by humanity.

“It used to be a government house during the British Raj, which has been looted and raided by thugs of a nearby village, years ago”. Say some locals.

Others have an interesting tale about the house. Dhaniya, the tea stall owner falls in this category. He seems to know about this area, its history and its people quite well. He puts the big kettle onto the oven, points his chin towards the direction of the haunted house and speaks, “they say, in this house lived a ‘White Sahab’ (English man, probably a British official) who had a young and beautiful daughter of aroung 16-17 years. This girl had fallen in love with a local guy of this area. Nobody knows much about this boy. The father was strictly against this match and had warned his daughter to sever all ties with this boy. When the White officer realised that his daughter was adamant and wouldn’t listen to him, he imprisoned his daughter inside the house. She wasn’t allowed to go out of the house, whatsoever. The servants who worked in their house at that time where witness to this cruelty of the man. Once she had tried to sneak out to meet her lover with the aid of a trusted servant, both of them were not just caught red-handed, the servant was later beaten to death for his disloyalty towards his master.

Few days later, the young lad, the daughter’s lover was found dead on the road, his body packed inside a sack, badly mutilated.

One had never heard about the daughter ever again. They say, she never even tried to run out of her caged life after that. The officer was often seen in his car going out and coming into ‘this house’.”

As I sip my morning tea, sitting on the slender wooden bench at Dhaniya’s tea stall, thoughts meander through my mind. This white girl might have loved the local guy so dearly! Their love defying all barriers of caste, colour and creed.

Did she commit suicide after learning of her lover’s horrific death? Or was it her father who after getting the boy killed, finished his daughter as well? Was she sent to England, back to her family? Or did she live on in that haunted house, which once had light and laughter run through its every brick?

“Who knows what’s the truth”, said Dhaniya while serving tea from a big glass to smaller glasses on the tray. “No one strays past this area after 8 in the night. Once, a few years ago, the night watchman was on duty in this area and had heard some strange noises coming out of this house, he had fainted out of sheer fear.

Next day morning, when he was woken up by fellow passersby, he said he had heard a female voice singing from inside the house, on further probing, he said it was some English song that he had heard”.

Ever since that day, neither the night watchmans, nor anyone else have dared to walk past the lane beside the house at night. Even we had to put our stalls at a safe distance from that lonely house.”

Even years later, different versions of the story around this house hovers through the lanes and bylanes of this place. Will this cover of mystery ever be lifted from this lonely house? Will someone someday find out who sang the song that night? I sink into deep thought, startled and intrigued myself, while slowly sipping into my hot, masala tea.

Speakometer…

Book Review

Yoddha the dynasty of Samudragupta – a Book review

Though historians have produced varied versions of the different dynasties that ruled our country, by far the Gupta period has been considered as the ‘Golden era’ of Indian History. Rajat Pillai, the author of “Yoddha the dynasty of Samudragupta” tries to retell a complex episode of that period in an interesting and realistic manner.

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The story begins at a time when Samudragupta, after his lifelong battles and huge territorial success, is an accomplished king. However, he is an exhausted man. He has just won a battle, has his trusted loyal friend Harisena by his side, but his heart aches for something else. He is the king and the most powerful man of ‘Aryavrat’. But there are other things in life that he wishes to enjoy now, after years of hardship and bloodshed which being a king, he had to endure.

Samudragupta for all these years has kept both his sons away from common knowledge. His elder son Ramagupta has been raised as a normal boy in the military camps and his younger son Chandragupta or ‘Chandra,’ as he was fondly called by his foster parents, was raised as a village boy unaware of his ancestry. Samrat Samudragupta battled death conspiracies keeping his enemies at bay for all these years. He doesn’t want his beloved sons to become a victim of hatred, like him. Hence, he had kept them away, far detached from his kingdom. But now its time to bring them back to the kingdom and declare his elder son as the crown king.

The storyline widens after this, as we come to know that a mysterious ‘source’ has deployed a secret spy to kill Samudragupta.

To read the full review, click here.

 

 

 

Book Review

Ikigai, the Japanese secret to a long and happy life – Book Review

First things First. Does the book actually give away the secrets to a happy and long life as is promised on the cover? Well yes, it does. And in doing so it goes on to describe more and more about this mysterious Japanese concept – “Ikigai”

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What is an “Ikigai”?

This Japanese concept, (pronounced Ick-ee-guy), which translates roughly as “the happiness of being busy doing that we like to do,” in a way explains the extraordinary longevity of the Japanese.

This book authored by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles illustrates the concept by studying the lifestyle of the inhabitants of Okinawa (an island in Japan), where there are 24.55 people over the age of 100 for every 100,000 inhabitants, far more than the global average.

 

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“Your ikigai is at the intersection of what you are good at and what you love doing” – Hector Garcia

 

According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai. Some people have found their ikigai, while others are still looking, though they carry it within them.
Our ikigai is hidden deep inside each of us and finding it requires a patient
search. According to those born on Okinawa, the island with the most
centenarians in the world, their ikigai is the reason they get up in the morning.

The book then goes on to explain this Japanese concept in more detail and how people in certain parts of the country following their ‘ikigai’ are happy, blessed with a long life.

The authors also mention about the “Blue Zones” or the geographic regions of the world where people live longest. He mentions five such places, where topping the list is Okinawa, the island in Japan that lives by the concept of ‘ikigai’ followed by: 2. Sardinia, Italy 3. Loma Linda, California 4. The Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica and 5. Ikaria, Greece. These people are mostly centenarians and have a number of interesting facts about them:

  • Many of these centenarians enjoy enviable levels of vitality and
    health that would be unthinkable for people of advanced age
    elsewhere.
  • Their blood tests reveal fewer free radicals (which are responsible for
    cellular aging), as a result of drinking tea and eating until their
    stomachs are only 80 percent full.
  • Women experience more moderate symptoms during menopause,
    and both men and women maintain higher levels of sexual hormones
    until much later in life.
  • The rate of dementia is well below the global average.

 

Though the author does give due credit to the diet (80% concept), ‘moai’ (the philosophy of community living), some moderate exercise and art of relaxing, the focus of this book remains searching and then nurturing one’s ‘ikigai’

Garcia and Miralles lays down pointers that might help us reach our ikigai. They write, “Follow those things you enjoy, and get away from or change those you dislike. Be led by your curiosity, and keep busy by doing things that fill you with meaning and happiness. It doesn’t need to be a big thing: we might find meaning in being good parents or in helping our neighbours.” 

Victor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor says, “There is a passion inside you, a unique talent that gives meaning to your days and drives you to share the best of yourself until the very end. If you don’t know what your ikigai is yet, your mission is to discover it.

I finished this book in 2 days flat (i.e. after office hours) as its a perfect page turner with numerous examples and case studies which adds value to it even more. I am sure it will be an amazing weekend read for you’all as well.

How many books make us pause for a moment and think deep? Well, this one does. After reading it, you are definitely bound to question yourself, “what is my ikigai?”. That, my friend is the purpose of this book.

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Book Review

21 Dimensions – a small milestone

My short story “Sushila” is one of the winners of the “Fiction writing competition” conducted by StoryMirror. 21 top stories have been now made into a compact ebook called ‘21 Dimensions‘. So, friends, Romans and countrymen, this marks my debut (albeit in a small way) in the world of books.

Sushila, the protagonist of this short story could be any of us. She is a wife, a mother, a regular woman out there. But what differentiates her from the rest is the journey she undergoes towards her ‘real’ calling in life after years of mundane domestication. It’s this amazing journey of her’s that would surely touch your hearts. ❤❤

There would also be 20 other equally interesting stories in this anthology for you, my readers to cherish and devour.

So do visit the link above (21 dimensions) and show some love to this endeavour by StoryMirror Books and to Sushila.. 😊😊

Short Stories

Zindagi, I will rule You – Short Story (2 mins read)

Meera was 35, spinster, heart broken 3 times & bankrupt innumerable times. At this point of her life, just one thing mattered to her. Her OWN self. Honestly, she cared a hoot about the world around. And why should she? Did anyone care for her? No.

On her bedroom was a huge wall poster that read in big letters the biggest stress-buster line that one can wake up to. Every morning she looked at these words, smiled to herself and kicked off the day.

The day she was fired from her previous office almost without notice just because she went late and wasn’t properly dressed most of the time, she had made that poster herself staying awake the whole night. She had tried to argue with the Human Resource Manager that even though she reached late, she always completed the required number of hours, so how does it matter? Also she was working as a back-office executive, so her dress shouldn’t be a point of concern at all! Well no one heard her.

She joined another company the following week and this time, it turned out to be quite good for her. Life is pretty sorted for her now. She goes to her office, does her work and comes back home. She cares a damn about who thinks what. During moments when life pulls her down, she has her hand-made poster that screeches loud from her bedroom wall – Zindagi, I will rule You!

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Short Stories

Yesterday – Short Story (2 mins)

It was their 5th anniversary yesterday. No, not of the wedding, of something even greater than that. ‘Love‘. They had met 6 years ago and the guy had proposed to her 5 years ago on this day.

Unlike all other years, this year there wasn’t any holiday plans around the day. It was rather a formality to sort the remaining stuff between them. They were parting ways.

5 years of staying together meant quite something. Not everything can be returned though few important things were given back to each other. House keys, albums, laptops, bank accounts, all of this was discussed yesterday. They bid a final goodbye to each other.

Did she shed some tears after reaching home? Did he not cry for her? Well, who knew?

On the radio was playing this song as she slowly unpacked her bags in her new apartment.

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away,
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay,
Oh, I believe in yesterday.”

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Short Stories

Xavier’s Phone call – Short Story (2 mins read)

Xavier had left his home in Goa and had settled in Mumbai for good. It’s been few years now. However, each time he thinks of his hometown, his heart skips a beat, thinking of his loving mother. How must she be now? He often thought to himself. Has she become old and weak or is she the same woman, chirping around, the way she was all those years ago?

His father had a Bakery business and wanted him to join hands as he was the only son. Their business was doing quite well, they got most of the orders from the area during weddings and other occasions. Christmas was one season when Frederick, Xavier’s father had no time to even breath. But Xavier never wished to join his father’s Bakery business. He had his own dreams of making it big as a screen writer. So one fine day, he wrote a letter addressing his father and left the house.

Years went by, in all these years, neither did he approach his dad nor Frederick. But he often thought of his mother. The bubbly, caring and extremely loving woman. Violet, his mother, was never the same after the fallout between her husband and her son.

This morning Xavier was eagerly waiting for a phone call. He had submitted a script through a friend to an upcoming filmmaker. If his script was liked, his friend would be informed about it. Both he and his friend were waiting for the call anxiously. Finally the phone rang. Not his friend’s but his. It was his father.

Xavier was flooded with emotions on hearing his father’s voice after such a long time. His father’s tone was calm and unaffected. He said just two sentences.

“Violet left us last night. She had a massive heart attack.” Saying So, he disconnected the call.

Xavier’s eyes welled up, through the mist of his tears, he could clearly see the smiling face of his mother.

Short Stories

Window Letter – Short Story (2 mins read)

I was sitting at my study table and trying to concentrate on the most difficult and awful subject of all – Geography. Even though my face was buried inside the books, I could sense those large eyes staring at me from afar. There was something in her hands today, some sort of an envelop that she was carrying, trying to hide it from me, between those furtive glances. I stole a look at her and quickly went back to my book. She threw the letter at me all of a sudden. I sensed something hitting my nose briefly before falling down at my table. One look at the terrace and she was gone. I could see her pink dupatta vanishing in a jiffy, as she ran inside.

The letter that she aimed really well, fell into my study table right through the open window. I opened it with all my heart.

Words braced me like soft flower petals. I was drowned in them.

Dhaniya, our servant called out to me. He placed the evening tea on my table.

I came out of my reverie.

I looked across the window. An old, dilapidated house stood in front. The windows are broken, moss growing from every part of the shattered bit that’s left of this house.

They had left many years ago. Their house too had no one to look after it. Nothing remained of them anymore, except those letters that she aimed at me through my open window.

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