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Musings of a usual mind

Book By: Smiran
Literary fiction



The book is a collection of short stories. The stories attempt to understand the emotions, feelings and thought process of its protagonists.


Submitted:Sep 14, 2013    Reads: 7    Comments: 1    Likes: 1   


Musings of a Usual Mind

Smiran Bhandari

©Copyright 2013 Smiran Bhandari. All rights reserved

Dedicated to NST…. My love and my hope

Contents:

Gordon's Shadow 1

A day in a diary 4

Memoirs of a sleepless traveler 7

A dinner conversation 13

A story about cocks and bulls-Doggy Style 18

Hahaha 26

Roger's night out 32

Him 35

Raghav 39

Merchant of Soul 42

For your eyes only 49

Dan 51

Dan Part 2 54

A funny thing happened. 56

The story of Alfred and Christopher, one Nihilist and the other Philosopher 57

The curious mystery which happened on a tree 59

A happening thing happened. 61

What is the purpose of living? The purpose is theorizing anything and everything. 62

A modern fairy tale 64

Ram Mohan Roy 65

SAB Titled 68

Smiran's fable 70

Kyunki Killer 72

Robbie 75

Tom's day out 77

A bad hair day 80

The symphony of life 81

The axis of evil 84

Authors note

I was in two minds about publishing these short stories. I had a feeling that perhaps my stories are too negative and depressing and may exacerbate people's sadness. Nevertheless and as can be seen, I have published the stories. Not doing so would have overestimated the reader's fragility to disturbing thoughts and ideas.

But, I have done my duty by warning the readers of what lies ahead. So if you are the kind of person who gets too emotional by ideas of suffering and torment, reading further is not advisable.

Thank you. I hope you enjoy the reading experience.

Smiran Bhandari

Gordon's Shadow

Gordon had difficulty connecting to people. He could speak to people as long as speech was functional. But as soon as speech would convert into anything near conversation, Gordon would clam up. His mind would stop working, words would dry up and his outward demeanor would change for the worse. People would generally take this as a cue to say goodbye and usually made a mental note to avoid the awkward situation in the future. Gordon had taken steps to treat his social awkwardness but no amount of personality development courses could cure the mental breakdown he would face while conversing with people. Unfortunately, most people mistook his lack of social skills for mental retardation. His office colleagues made snide remarks about him even when he was within earshot not realizing that Gordon could comprehend and feel the pain. His expressionless face would mask the humiliation and the frustration but he would feel the pain nevertheless. Even though he was good at his job as a machinist, he could never make progress in his career. He did not mind the lack of career upgradation as much as he minded the lack of human contact. Gordon's age was 33 and let alone marriage he had not even dated yet.

The only reason Gordon had survived was due to his 4 dogs. All of them stray ones. Somehow, he could connect with stray dogs and he especially bonded with the 4 dogs he kept as pets. He had never talked to his dogs like he had seen the other dog owners do. But the dogs never minded. The dogs loved his company and this is what kept Gordon going.

Gordon was once feeding his dogs with milk and biscuits when he heard a meek voice behind him say "Can I play with the dogs as well, Sir?" It was his 9 year old next door neighbor. They had never met before but it seemed the kid had a liking for dogs. "Yes. Ofcourse" Gordon replied. "Wow. Thanks a lot. That's really nice of you. I love dogs. By the way, I am Steve. What's your name?

Gordon waited for the usual clamming up sensation which would engulf him and would make him stutter his name nervously. But this time something was different. "Gordon" he replied confidently and clearly and with a smile to boot. Maybe it was the kid's enthusiasm and his cheery tone of voice or maybe it was the shared affinity of two dog lovers. Nevertheless, Gordon, for the first time in a long while, did not mind conversing.

"What are their names, Mr. Gordon?"

Gordon had never thought of naming his dogs. The thought of calling out his dog's name had never occurred to him. But saying all of this to the kid would surely disappoint him. Gordon replied "This one you see here, he keeps scratching his ears. So I have named him Scratchy"

"Scratchy. Hahaha". Laughter. The sweet sound of laughter. Gordon had forgotten how to make anyone laugh. Steve's laughter was the sweetest sound he had ever heard.

"And what about this dog, Mr. Gordon. He is so monstrous. What's his name?"

'I have named him Little John" Gordon replied with a smile.

"Hahahahahaha" Steve broke into uncontrollable laughter "Just like in Robin Hood. And what about this dog Mr. Gordon" pointing to a completely black dog.

"Oh. That's Shadow. She is dark and she always follows me around. Just like me Shadow"

"Wow. That's so cool. And what about this dog. The one wagging its tail"

"That's Gordon Junior. He reminds me of me. You can call him Junior if you want"

"Yes. He is like you. Mysterious, but kind. You are an awesome neighbor, Mr. Gordon. Will you be my friend?"

"Yes, ofcourse. I will be glad to" Gordon replied happily.

"Thanks! Gotta run now Mr. Gordon. Mum might get worried. See you later!"

"Bye Steve"

Gordon could not remember the last time he had felt so happy. He went into his garage and quietly threw something into the dustbin. It was the rope he was planning to kill himself with.

A day in a diary

Tue, 21 Mar: This is one of those days where you feel the whole world conspires to ensure you remain bogged down.

After 8 days of sobbing over Ted and not leaving my room I had finally mustered the courage to go to office and face my colleagues. Ted was the most difficult person to face but even though I am weak, I did go to office. When I entered it was with my head held high. The 8 day break had sobered me up. I knew I had to put everything behind me and get on with work. Trust me, I had done my best and had wanted to put my best foot forward. But as I entered my office, I saw people glaring at me and staring at me and mocking me. Their face had that look where you try to control your grin when someone trips on a banana skin and makes a fool of himself. I instantly realized that people had been talking behind my back and most possibly making fun of me. But as I told you before, I was planning to put my best foot forward. I just tried to shake off the feeling of foreboding and humiliation that was engulfing me by brushing off the stares and the glares as mere office gossip. I just kept walking until I reached my cubicle.

I knew office work would prove to be a good distraction so I started organizing my pending work. Heartbreak, it seemed, was not a good enough reason to take a long break. Some people wanted to prove that point by giving me more work than necessary. But I did not mind. More work meant less thoughts of Ted. And so I got about my work. I prepared a report diligently for 3 hours but I reached a point where I just could not go on. I just had to see Ted. I was trying to convince myself that I had stopped loving Ted but it wasn't that easy. I had really loved him. Sincerely. Fine, he did not love me in return but we did share some special moments. How was I supposed to forget all of that? These were the thoughts that were going on in my head at that time. So I decided to take a 10 minute break and just go to the floor where Ted generally hung out. The coffee floor. I would just pretend that I was dropping in to have a cup of coffee. And if I was lucky I would see Ted and maybe even say hi to him politely. I had made up my mind I would be extra civil to Ted. And make sure he did not realize how much the break-up had affected me.

I took the lift to the coffee shop and there he was surrounded by a couple of his guy friends. He did not seem sad by any stretch of imagination. That was the first thing I noticed. Infact he seemed to be having a jolly good time. He was being really witty and humorous and was making his friends laugh heartily.

Ted's back was towards me and so he could not see me when I took a few steps towards him. When I came within earshot I suddenly realized I was the topic of conversation. "And she was wailing like a Banshee 'But Ted what will I ever do without you. You completed me. Please don't leave me. I love you.' And I was thinking to myself 'Ted, you really have to get rid of her. She is so clingy. The melodrama and the soap opera seems interesting for a while but after a point of time you feel like saying CUT THE CRAP"

Each sentence that he was saying was hitting me like a slap. Their laughter was nauseating me. I could not breathe. I knew I would fall if I did not lean against the wall. I felt like letting out a scream but the comparison with the Banshee was stuck in my head. The way he had mimicked me. All of a sudden, I realized the reason for the stares and the glares. It was not mere office gossip. It was something really disgusting.

I desperately tried to control my tears and almost ran to the restroom where I burst out crying immediately. It does not feel good to write all this. But I can't help it. Nobody else cares to listen and I can't suppress it anymore...

Memoirs of a sleepless traveler

I have a particularly mixed record of sleeping during train journeys. In some fortunate journeys, I fall asleep instantaneously. Almost as soon as I put my head onto the pillow. But not so in most journeys. During these journeys it's a constant battle between sleep and just tossing and turning restlessly in the rather smallish bed you find in Indian railways. This particular journey that I am recounting was one such battle. It was three AM and sleep thus far was successful in evading me. The more I longed for sleep the more it ran away from me. Like a wily temptress. For some obscure reason I always think of sleep as a feminine entity. Perhaps, due to the unpredictable nature the better sex commonly possesses.

I finally gave up longing for sleep and decided to venture out to the station that had just arrived. It was a chilly night and I had an irresistible urge to purchase a steaming hot cup of tea that was being sold in the station. The tea was excellent but whatever semblance of hope for sleep I had were dashed. The tea had made me wide awake. Instead of going back to my allocated bed I decided to sit near the entrance of the coach. When the train would start, a gush of windy fresh air would strike my face. It's quite a pleasant experience especially if you are in a reflective mood deep into the night. But it seemed I was not the only one with the same idea. The person who was sharing my cabin in the train was already seated there. I sat next to him, slightly irritated because I was looking forward to some solitude and reflection.

"So you are not able to sleep as well" He asked me cordially

"Yes. Sleep has been elusive tonight. You are Manjunath if I remember correctly" I replied. We had already exchanged pleasantries and made small talk in the evening. I wanted to test whether I could remember his name. I generally have a bad time recognizing faces and remembering names. So I preferred to sort out the issue at the onset rather than get corrected later on.

"Yes. My name is Manjunath. Sleep has not been kind to me either. So I thought I might as well get some fresh air"

"You look especially tired. When was the last time you had some good sleep. Because it looks like you could do with some"

"Hehe. I would love some sleep. I haven't slept a wink the last 4 days to be honest"

"No wonder you look so tired. What's bothering you if I may ask"? I have generally noticed that people do not mind if you are intrusive in a train journey. So I felt it was a perfectly legitimate thing to ask.

"Well, there are things of the past that bother you. You know something that keeps haunting you"

"You mean something of the past that you regret now". There is something about train journeys that makes you talk. In one instance, a person had revealed to me his darkest and most intimate secrets. Maybe it's the fact that you may never meet the stranger again and that makes people tell stuff to strangers that they would never dare to tell anyone they know.

"Exactly. You have the right word. Its regret"

"Regret? What sort of regret?" I was kind of piqued. These sorts of things make me really curious.

"You know, general things" he said vaguely. He was suddenly becoming uncomfortable. As if realizing that I am a complete stranger rather than a confidante. I did not want to pester him but my curiosity was getting the better of me

"Even I have regrets" I replied "Had I studied harder for the entrance exam I would have secured a better college". I hoped me stating my regret would tempt him to reciprocate.

"I do not mean any offense but I advise you to not lose sleep over that. It is a bit childish if I may use the word. Is that all you regret about?" He asked me in an obviously envious tone

"It may seem childish to you but it is something I regret. What about you. What's your regret?"

"The thing I regret happened a long time back. Around 6 years ago. When I was around your age"

"Back when you used to worry about exams" I said tongue-in-cheek

"Yes. Those were the golden days when I had still not grown-up. I had gone to visit a friend in a neighboring town. I remember we had gone to watch a movie that evening. While we were coming back we witnessed a bunch of people with swords and sticks in their hands going after a man carrying a child. It was a mob. The mob was chanting religious slogans continuously and in front of our eyes they managed to catch up with the man they were chasing"

He began to hesitate at this point. This time I was not keen on goading him to talk. Even I remained silent. I had half a mind to terminate the conversation and go back to my bed. While the other half was resisting the temptation and wanted to hear the whole story. Before I could decide he got over his hesitation and began again.

"What I saw next was unbelievable. The mob caught up with the person and in their frenzy started brutally assaulting the person with their swords. And they did not spare the child as well. It was a little girl. Both were being butchered. Their cries were like scared chickens shrieking during their deaths. Luckily, as it was dark, my friend and I were not noticed. After around 10 minutes, the mob started walking away from the scene. My friend and I were shaking heavily during the carnage. But once everyone left we came out of hiding and approached the man and the child. The man was writhing in pain. He was not dead yet but we could see he would not survive. He had been viciously slaughtered. Inspite of the pain the man was pointing towards the kid. His daughter. As if pleading to us to save the kid. The girl was bleeding as well but not as much as her father. I asked my friend 'We should take the girl to the hospital. I think she may still survive'. My friend thought for a while and then replied 'But they started it 2 weeks back when they had slaughtered one of us. Why should we spare these idiots? Its better we leave'. And do you know what I replied"

"What?" I asked

"I said 'You are right. Let's leave at once. The idiots need to be taught a lesson'. And I left that little child, that little girl lying there in the pool of blood. I just left her. Heartlessly. Mercilessly. Mindlessly. I even conveniently forgot about it and successfully removed from my mind all traces of guilt that I should have felt. Until a few days back. A few days ago a little girl was born to me. To remind me of my sins.

And he started sobbing thereafter. A grown up man sobbing in front of a stranger. My mind had become blank after listening to his narrative. I put my hands on his shoulders and tried to console him. He withdrew his shoulder and wearily retreated to his bed trying hard to control his sobs.

A couple of hours later his station had arrived. Before leaving, he came towards me, nodded his head and gave me a slight grin. With that silent goodbye, he unloaded his luggage and climbed down into the platform of the station.

A dinner conversation

"Robin, Pass me the juice"

"Sure Mama"

"Did you taste the Risotto Robbie? It is just the way it's made back home"

"Absolutely Mama. It reminded me of Aunt Teresa's cooking"

"Yes dear boy. Did you read the thank you letter sent by Chatterjee? It was so sweet of him don't you think?"

"Yes Mama. It was nice. It's good he has not forgotten us after becoming President of this country. That's sort of humble"

"Forget us? My foot! He will never forget us. Not because he likes us. But he knows which side of his bread is buttered. He is a wily cat that Chatterjee. But he is always loyal to the family and you have to grant him that. That's why I chose him for Presidency"

"But Mama, if he does not like us why did you make him the President"

"Because you cannot be an emotional fool. Robin, hasn't Politics still taught you that trust no one, like no one and respect no one except your family. This decision was for the family. Even if Chatterjee loathes us from the bottom of his disgusting heart, which I think he does, I would still reward him. He has been loyal to the family and that's what matters. Judge everyone by their loyalty first and last. I know that Chatterjee will choose our family over his country any day"

"That's true Mama. Chatterjee deserves a promotion after all the doggie work he has done for us. I have to appreciate your thinking Mama"

"Plus, he knows things. If he had not been such an invaluable soldier for the family I would have considered disposing him. In Chess, it is sometimes important to sacrifice minor pieces like soldiers so that other important pieces get a superior positional advantage"

"Other important pieces like the Queen. Right Mama? Can I watch the news, Mama? Please."

"Not today. The news is too depressing. The Saffronites are hounding us again today. That new scam which they uncovered must be all over the news. Put on something nice and pass me the roasted Lamb"

"What do you want to see? Can we watch some soccer?"

"Yes. If you wish. And Robin, you still need to learn to be discreet about Rosemary. Tell her to quieten down. She cannot be all loud and belligerent. The Saffronites are always on her lookout so this kind of behavior is not tolerable. One slip and our reputation goes poof into thin air"

"I am sorry Mama. I will inform her you were displeased with her behavior"

"And be discreet about Tanya as well. You see, I don't want Rosemary to ever know. When you displease a woman you risk your whole empire falling apart"

"But how did you know about Tanya?"

"Oh, Robin. I thought you would be more sensible than your sister but you have a totally different set of problems. You are turning out to be so gullible, so naive and so innocent which just does not befit the man in the family. Try to understand that even if you want to let go of Tanya she will not want to let go of you. You are the goose that will lay her the golden eggs. Really Robin, I am getting sick of your affairs. You think you can hide things from me. If I was so stupid I would not have been in this position. You should be ashamed of yourself. Hiding things from me like this. And make sure you keep your hot-bloodedness in check the next time"

"But Mama, she was saying things like she cannot be without me and that she worships me and is devoted to me like no one else can ever be. She said she could not live without me"

"You fool. You get suckered into those things. Next time she contacts you inform me immediately. If you cannot tackle a silly girl how will you be able to handle your cunning party people and those horrendous Saffronites?"

"I will be careful next time Mama"

"Just remember that when you rule this country you will need to have your wits around you. You will be attacked from all corners. One goof-up and they will tear you apart into pieces. You have to sober down and be more aware. If you don't get smart quickly even your Mama will not be able to save you"

"I have cut down on my smoking and my drinking"

"Yes, but that has not stopped you from acting stupid already. Buck up baby. It's very important. Look how our village has become more prosperous. Look at our family back home in Italia. You have to carry on the legacy and make the family proud"

"I promise you Mama that I will take care and be more careful. I will be really smart and cunning as you want me to be"

"That's like my good boy. You are finally showing signs of ruling this country."

"By the way Mama, the violence seems to be escalating in the eastern part of this freaking country"

"Don't worry Robbie. Our dear old Sampath Singh is working at it. And Subramanian is always there. I have informed him that if need arises he has to divert the issue"

"Ah. Subramanian Uncle is on it. Then there is really nothing to worry about. What would we have done without him? I don't think old Sampath is capable of handling anything let alone anything violent. What do we have for dessert tonight, Mama?"


A story about cocks and bulls-Doggy Style

It was around 6 in the evening when I had finally completed my work in office. I was all too eager to seek the company of my bed at home with other companions being a book and a cup of hot tea. It had been a difficult and tiring day at office.

The place where I was staying was a 10 minute walk from office. But the route was beset by unfriendly dogs who hated the sight of me. Me especially for some reason. The other day, I was walking back home and minding my own business when this dog came running towards me and before I could respond took a bite at my leg. It was almost a playful bite but it did hurt later. After the bite, the dog stared at me mischievously to see how I would react. I just stared back. The dog eventually got bored and galloped away somewhere else with its good deed for the day done.

So, basically I was not much of a popular figure among the dogs, which was a pity. When I was a small kid the dogs used to be pretty friendly with me. The puppies especially loved me while the parents acknowledged me with an approving nod. Those were the days. But with the erosion of time, as I grew taller and bigger the dogs first ignored me and then started collectively hating me. That's life.

Anyways, the distance between my office and that comforting bed at home was 3 dogs. 3 goddamned dogs. Two of them were stationed a few minutes away from office and the other dog, whose ferocity was matched only by its disdain and hatred for me, was a few minutes away from my home. I set out towards my journey watchfully and cautiously. The thing is, all that caution and watchfulness kind of makes you want to pee. It's one of those mysteries of life. A little bit of context is necessary here. I was walking on the streets of India. There is a saying that in America you can kiss on the streets but not pee. India on the other hand, you can't kiss there publicly. No sir. But when you pee on the streets hardly anybody gives a damn. Now I find peeing on the road particularly distasteful. Its shows lack of civic sense and all that jazz. But there are exceptions to the rule. Especially when I am the one who is peeing. This time around it was kind of an emergency so it had to come in the exceptional category. The next step was to find a private place to pee in. The ideal location was a dog free and people free location. And there it was. The perfect place. The oasis in the desert. I hurriedly walked to the location and started the process. Ah, what bliss. Unfortunately, before there could be a happy ending, I heard a dangerous growl a few meters away from me. And then incessant, obnoxious barking from another dog. It was the 2 dogs. The pair of lunatics who had undying loathing towards me. I was literally caught with my pants down. A strange philosophical insight occurred to me at that moment. If you search for something really closely you will tend to miss it if it's right under your nose. I had miraculously managed to miss looking at the dogs when I was finding a place to pee. I was abruptly jolted out of my philosophizing of fundamental arguments when the two dogs started approaching me in an unfriendly manner. I instinctively pulled up my zip and bolted from the scene as fast as I could. I somehow managed to get lost in the crowds and was able to outwit and outrun the dogs who were chasing me as if their life depended on it. It was a close shave and I had come out of the battle unscathed. Well, to be honest, almost unscathed. In my hurry to flee from the battle scene I was not able to complete the business that I had set out to do in an orderly manner. The dogs had interrupted when the fountain was flowing in all its glory. The end result was an event that normally occurs to small kids when they are sleeping. I believe that a storyteller should never forsake realism and should always safeguard it. But some details can be omitted, especially in exceptional circumstances, if you know what I mean.

Now there is a reason for me punishing the readers with an in-depth analysis of my ill-mannered bathroom exploits. There is a very practical lesson in store for the reader who paid attention to the story. The lesson is that, do not, intentionally or unintentionally, pee in a dog's territory. No matter what the urgency or emergency. And especially if they harbor deep, inexplicable and murderous resentment towards you. Dogs don't take too well to competition in territorial matters. You pee on their territory and you are asking for trouble.

After that brief but scary encounter with these two dogs I carried forth with my journey. Now only one dog separated me from my destination. And there it was. Around 100 meters away from me. We looked at each other. Neither of us making any move. It reminded me of those western movies where 2 enemies keep looking at each other and are about to pull a gun any moment. Basically, I had two options. The first option was to be brave and walk past the dog anyway. Hoping that the dog gets confused with the apparent foolishness and lets you go. The second option was to be safe (Or be a coward. Depends on the way you see it and which side you are on) and take a longer route to my home which would circumvent the dog. Obviously, I opted for the safer route. The dog, as I had previously mentioned, was pretty ferocious.

Even though the safer route would increase my travel time by 5 minutes it would ensure that I would land up 200 meters ahead of the dog while taking the lane to my home. I congratulated myself for being a sensible person and for outwitting another one of the dogs once again. I had almost reached the lane to my home when suddenly out of nowhere that giant, unfriendly, monstrous and ferocious dog leapt into the road with only a few meters between us. It was an ambush! I was completely taken by surprise and was virtually caught with my pants down yet again. The last time the dogs chased me, there was a teeming crowd which helped me get away. But this area was almost deserted. Also, this would be my second sprint in a matter of minutes and thus would not be able to sprint as hard due to tiredness. Taking everything into account, the odds of me evading that dog were on the lower side. If I had to bet, I would give myself a one in twenty chance. I had to shake myself off from my mathematical meditation as the dog started approaching me and I could almost imagine a grin on its face. I sprinted away as fast as I could. But as I had foreseen, the dog was winning the chase and would be on me any moment. Just when all hopes seemed to be lost, a kid on a bicycle came to my rescue and threw a handy stone at the dog. The stone missed, but the dog was startled by the entry of a third force. This called for a change in strategy. The dog had not accounted for allies who would come to my support. If you see it from the dog's perspective, the bicycle would seem like a tank and the stone would seem like a bullet. The dog made the tactical decision to go for prudence rather than valor. And quietly and sulkingly retreated to its territory.

I thanked the wonderkid for his unexpected help and support and awarded him with an ice-cream for his valiant efforts. The kid was happy with the ice-cream but I have a feeling he felt sorry for me. I was hoping that the kid could accompany me till my home but unfortunately our paths diverged at a park some 300 meters away from my home. We shook hands graciously and separated as friends while parting. All alone, I decided to sit in the park for a while. I was tired with all that sprinting and running around and wanted a breather. And, uh, I was waiting for the coast to get cleared. You never know, the dog might be lurking around for another ambush.

I sat on the first bench I could reach. Two small kids and a maid were sitting on the bench next to me. One of the kids was a boy of around 3 years and his elder sister was around 6. The boy seemed like a pain in the neck. A bit like me when I was a kid. His sister on the other hand, seemed to be in love with that rotter. She played with him, told him stories and held him affectionately. The rotter, on the other hand, was a jerk. He would make a big scene when his elders told him to not play in the mud. When nothing worked, his sister pulled out her trump card- a packet of chips. The rotter's eyes were wide open now and he was greedily eyeing the packet. The sister was struggling to open the packet. After eventually opening it, she took a couple of chips in her hand and offered it to me. "Here Uncle, have some chips." she said sweetly. Though I was a bit offended at being called an Uncle I was touched by her offer and thanked her for the chips. The rotter was staring at her furiously for distributing the treasure to strangers. While she was handing me the chips, he had grabbed the packet and was guarding it close to his chest. He gave a few chips to the maid but refused to give any to his sister. The sister was trying to cajole him but to no avail. The maid offered some of her chips to the sister but she steadfastly refused even though I could see she was tempted to have one. I then heard her saying "We should offer it to everyone should we not". The punk responded by giving one more chip to the maid but none to his sister. I thought to myself "I really hope I have a daughter. Sons are nothing but punks and rotters"

The sister was then telling the maid "You know how the other children at school make fun of me. They say I am Ak Ak Ak Akshata. As if they are sneezing". The rotter had a sadistic smile on his face as if enjoying his sister's torment. That's when I decided that enough was enough and intervened. I approached the sister and said "Thanks again for the chips. And Akshata, you are a good girl". "Thank you Uncle" she replied shyly but happily. Then, with as much depth in my voice as I could muster I told the rotter "You should give some of those chips to your sister". The rotter turned from bully to pussy in front of authority and immediately offered a handful of chips to his sister. "That's like a good boy" I replied and left from there. When I looked behind my shoulder, Akshata was happily putting chips into the mouth of that rotter.

I carried on my journey towards my home. It wasn't too far now. The bed and the book were beckoning. I was looking around carefully for another ambush from the ferocious dog but the surprise came from another source altogether. A cow and a smaller bull were galloping straight towards me!

"Woooooooooooooooo" I cried and jumped away in the nick of time while the cow and the bull passed me dangerously closely. The Cow and the Bull were excited because the smaller Bull was trying to hump the larger Cow. And the Cow was either not interested and was looking to avoid the Bull or it was trying to find a private spot in a hurry. The Bull was making repeated attempts to climb the Cow. The Bull's penis kept coming in and out and was sharp and pointed. It reminded me of a Swiss Knife I had seen. In and out. Sharp and pointed. "You bloody motherfucking Bull. That Cow is old enough to be your mother" I thought and proceeded towards home. I finally reached home and opened the gates to my apartment while warily checking for crazy creatures around the corner. It felt good to be home and to be alive and kicking.

Hahaha

"I am gonna have lots of fun with you, my boy"

"Wha"

"Hahahaha. Oh yes, I am gonna have a good time all right"

"What are you talking about? Didn't I just kill myself"

"Yes. You did. And that's why you are with me. Those who kill themselves end up with me. And that will teach you to have killed yourself"

"Is this life after death?"

"No. And it is neither heaven nor hell and neither is this judgment day. And nor am I a devil. Though I am something even worse. Haha haha hahahaha"

"Why am I here? My back really hurts"

"You, my boy, are going to be roasted and boiled like you did to all those eggs and meat. You are going to feel how they felt. Hahaha"

"But I was a vegetarian"

"Were you? Then I may not have done my homework properly. Then let's look at your last days before you killed yourself so brutally. That would be fun, wouldn't it?"

"Why are you tormenting me?"

"Because I am a tormentor. You have just killed yourself. That's where I come in. You have done a grave sin by killing yourself and cutting that soul's life short. I have to teach you a great lesson by tormenting you. And it gives me great pleasure to do so. Oh, don't give me that sad look. Come on, we haven't even started already"

"What are you going to do?"

"Now, my boy we have the privilege to watch your life backwards. I love doing this. This way I will get to know you better. Hahaha. Three days before you shot yourself in the head, you in your desperation to stave off your financial crisis, bought a lottery ticket. You checked out the results the next day, found out you had not won anything and then you continued being dejected with life, didn't you my boy?"

"Yes"

"Hahahaha. Wouldn't it have been nice had you won the prize dear boy?"

"Ofcourse"

"Do you remember that before buying that lottery you met an old beggar in the street and you gave him some change"

"Yes"

"Well, my dearest boy, that nice little gesture of yours lost you a bunch of money. The person who bought the lottery ticket just before you did, won the lottery. Had you not spent that extra time giving money to that beggar, you would have got that winning ticket. Hahahahahahaha. And we would not have been here together Santosh my poor chap"

"Unbelievable. Fate raped me again"

"Hahahahahahaha. Funny! Isn't it boy? It is. It is. It is my boy"

"The first prize was 15 Crores. Even after paying my loan I would have had more than enough. I would have had a great life afterwards"

"Oh yes. Absolutely. Have to agree on that. Now let's go further back into your life. When you were 16. You dated this girl for a few months, didn't you boy"

"Yes. I remember her. Her name was Shweta"

"Yes. She had killer herself too. And she had killed herself because of you Santosh"

"No, she did not. I didn't do anything"

"Hahaha. Oh, you poor kid. You give me so much pleasure. Two weeks after you two stopped dating each other she killed herself. She even called you three days before she killed herself. Had you been considerate in that conversation she would have been saved. Instead, you shouted at her and told her to go to hell. Poor girl. She was so obedient. A few days after talking to you, to hell she straight went. And now she must be burning in hell. Hahahahahaha. Oh, am I funny. Hell, yes I am."

"I am sorry"

"Do you know why you dated her?"

"I liked her"

"No"

"She was beautiful"

"She was beautiful yes. But that's not why you dated her"

"She was caring"

"No my boy. It was because you were horny and stupid as well. Like any other kid your age. But, you cost that girl her life. Do you want to know how she felt before she put fire to herself?"

"Yes"

"Now, that's an unusual answer. Most people attempt hitting me and screaming at me by this time. Nevertheless, your words please me immensely. You see that girl Santosh. There, about to light that fire. Let's get into her head my boy"

"I am so ugly. So ugly. He hates me. I wore that pink dress when he ditched me. I used to think I look good in that dress. Oh, I am so worthless. I cannot make anyone happy. And nobody can make me happy. Ever. Never. Now light that fire. Now! ....."

"Hahahaha. My poor boy. You are not used to it. Are you not. It was brave of you to have faced this but this is not punishment enough for killing that girl"

"Why did she do...?"

"Befuddled you are Santosh. I have more news for you. There is more punishment in store for you. You can't get away with it just like that my boy"

"Now what, I am ready to face it, whatever it is. I deserve the punishment for what I did to her"

"You think you are brave, don't you boy. But you were not brave enough to face that world of yours. And you ran away by killing yourself like a fool. Now, listen. You think that wife of yours, whom you love so much, was working at office while you were shooting yourself in the head"

"Yes"

"Hahahahahaha. No she was not. She was having mind-blowing sex with her colleague Rajeev. The best sex of her life. Hahahahaha. Hahahahhahahahahahhahhahahahhahaahaha"

"Aaaah. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Nooooooooooooo"

"What happened Santosh?"

"Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. No. No. No"

"Santosh. Look at me. It's ok. It's just a nightmare. Listen to me"

"Huh. What?"

"It was a nightmare Santosh. A bad dream while you were sleeping. It's Ok Santosh. What is happening to you?"

"Yes, Latha. It was a nightmare. Yes"

"What was the nightmare about? You seem so scared?"

"Nevermind Latha. Nevermind"





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