The Unexpected

There was an open writing competition at the college of a friend of mine. She told me about it and it sounded fun to me. I needed a little push to write since I’ve been writing less lately. Maybe this was it. So the basic requirement for a fiction piece was for it to be under 2000 words. Here’s what I managed to cough up. Its not my best, I agree but I hope you like it. And just btw, the comment section could use some activity 😀 Thanks!


Derek presented his boarding pass to the woman at the gate. She flashed a warm and lively smile at him and took the ticket from him and having checked it, handed it back to him with a cheerful “Have a nice flight!” Derek thanked her and walked down to the plane.

Derek studied Physics at the city’s university and though he hadn’t exactly been a star student through school or early college, he came through when it mattered. He was headed to Cape Town to see his parents who lived there. His family was of South African descent. He had a seat in Economy and as he walked towards his seat he noticed how empty the plane was. He walked past three seats, which were all occupied by conspicuously well-dressed individuals, all in perfectly tailored suits.

***

Walter had just settled down in his seat in Economy Seat 52(G) in the 74-row plane. The aisle seat allowed him easy access to the aisle whenever he felt the need to stretch his legs a bit. He was pretty used to long flights now, but that need still hadn’t perished.

Walter was plugging in his phone into his laptop when he saw a kid walk by him. He looked like he was in his early twenties and he had a backpack on his shoulders. He held a book in his hands. ‘A Clash of Kings’. He wore thick-rimmed black spectacles and had a faint hunch in his gait.

Walter kept looking at him till he could no longer see him. He just wondered how many other youngsters and kids must be on the flight and what would happen to them if this all went south.

He switched on his mobile phone and pressed 7.

“You got something Bradley? There’s ten minutes to gate-closing time.” He asked to the man on the other side of the line.

“Negative. No network activity, no suspicions on the passenger list yet. Nothing much on the airport cameras either. I’ll keep you posted.”

Walter sighed and put his phone into his pocket. He decided to take a stroll and just have a look at the passengers. He buttoned up his jacket and corrected the dimple in his tie as he stood up.

***

Derek was sitting in his window seat and playing a game on his iPad. He had the urge to continue reading his book but he decided to keep it off till he was airborne. The airhostess came by to ask him if he needed anything, and he said he could use some water.

He heard the footsteps of somebody approaching from behind at a relaxed pace. He put his iPad aside just as the loud-footed, dark-skinned individual came into view. Derek looked at him and he looked back. They both smiled at each other. Derek noticed he was one of those guys in the back who he noticed earlier – the ones with the expensive-looking suits.

Walter noticed that the kid put away his tablet away just before he walked into view. He looked back at the kid when he had walked to four seat rows ahead of him. He had his tablet in his hands again. Almost suspicious, Walter thought.

***

The plane was four hours into its journey. Walter had finished his observational tour of the plane but hadn’t really caught anybody suspicious. He didn’t expect he would either. His phone screen suddenly lit up.

Continue reading “The Unexpected”

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The Traitor: Chapter Two

The Traitor

This is Chapter Two in  ‘The Traitor Series’. Haven’t read Chapter One? Do it now by clicking here!


“It wasn’t his fault and you know it!” Special Agent In-Charge, Miles Ellis pushed his palm onto the desk to emphasise his point. He was red in the face and was defiantly defending his own.

“Now, Miles. Calm down. This is the Deputy Assistant Director you’re talking to. Just think, you don’t want to say anything rash and…” he was interrupted.

“I know damn well who this is, Rob. And I’m not going to stand meaningless cruelty like this. The man deserves a second chance. We all do.”

Continue reading “The Traitor: Chapter Two”

From Your Sister, With Love

College has just started but I already have quite a few assignments to complete and a project as well. I don’t find it to be a burden at all, though. The subjects are also pretty easy and I actually have fun studying here. At least more than I did at school. It is a whole new experience and a new place and fresh air. And I don’t think this is one of those short-lived, just-at-the-beginning feelings and I feel it will last.

There was one assignment which I looked forward to getting my hands on as soon as we were told we had to complete it. We read this short story, ‘Bike Ride’ from our textbooks. Its written by an Esther Young and the story is basically about the writer’s relationship with her elder sister which is conveyed to us through how the sister teaches the writer how to ride a bike. We read the story in class and the assignment was to imagine ourselves to be the writer, Esther Young, and write a letter to her (our) sister thanking her for teaching her (us) how to ride a bike.

Now that definitely doesn’t sound like something you’d be told to write in the 11th Grade. It sounded to me like something I’d done a hundred times in the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Grades. And even then, I couldn’t wait to get to it. The teacher explained our assignment to us and gave us the rest of the class (twenty full minutes) to write the letter.

Informal letters are more or less like writing an essay, only you’re addressing it to a single person and there’s a comparatively more rigid format to go about it. But in my head, out of this whole definition, the word ‘essay’ sticks out. Why? Because I LOVE WRITING. I practically wrote the letter-assignment in seven minutes flat. The words just kept flowing out of my pen.

I’m going to stop blabbing and here’s the letter I wrote (in the 11th Grade Board prescribed format):

7th August, 2014.

 Dear sister,

                         I heard you got selected for the college cheerleading team and that you will be performing next month during the college football match. I’ll be there when you trip and fall on stage.

I know we live together in the same house, but there are some things you can’t say to each other without ruining a tediously constructed image. One of those things is saying ‘thank you’, in this case, for helping me learn how to ride a bike.

Before you stepped in I though I’d never be able to ride a bike and do my part in reversing global warming. You know mother had labelled me as a lost cause because I just couldn’t cycle (though I think its because she’s just too old to run around holding the bike) and I’ll admit I was a bit of a headache back then. I remember how you saw me crying and, without a word, put me back on the bike. Those three hours probably set an eternal record for the most time we have been together without turning the place into a figurative boxing ring. Jokes apart, I am really thankful to you for helping me out and I hope I can repay you some day, in some form.

Again, congratulations on making it into the cheerleading squad and all the best for your show. Don’t forget to smile and enjoy because they’ll probably never pick you again. Lastly, let’s keep this letter confidential, because, as I said, it will destroy as much of your image as mine.

Yours sincerely,

Esther.

If you managed to not smile or laugh even once, sir/madam, you must be superhuman and have to, as a general rule, let me know you exist in the comments below. If you ended up cracking up or couldn’t help breaking into a grin, you’ll let me know nonetheless.

Thanks all 🙂


Somehow, just the first paragraph of the letter got indented and began under the ‘dear sister’ and the remaining paragraphs got left out though I didn’t write it that way originally. It appears and then sometimes not. Its supposed to start under ‘dear sister’ since that’s the format we are to follow. Sorry about that glitch.

Notification: The Elapsed Eventuality

I had published the first chapter, titled ‘Dawn‘ of a long story I was beginning to write (The Elapsed Eventuality). This post is about that.

I had mentioned in the introduction of the new story, that I would publish new chapters as soon as I was done writing them, which may take from a few days to more than that. Its been some time since I published that post and I have started working on the next chapter and then some more but I haven’t published them here.

I gave this a fair amount of thought, and I’m now going to write the whole story at once and then publish it as a whole probably as an e-book or something, which I haven’t really decided. So I guess you’ll have to regard the previous post as a preview to my story, though it is most probably going to be the first chapter of the final draft.

This will obviously take time (the first long story I started writing was back in 2010, and I wrote it for almost three years before finally abandoning it. This won’t turn out that way, though).

I just want to thank everybody who maybe read the first chapter. Do stick around when I finally publish the story. I will let you people know once I do.

Thanks 🙂

The Traitor: Chapter One

The Traitor

This post contains a fair amount of police codes, the meanings of which I have listed at the bottom of the post.


 

A bullet whizzed past Wesley’s left ear and he saw it flattened itself against a pile of scrap metal. Wesley kept running but took a brief glance to his right, to look at from where he thought the bullet had been fired. All he could see was a short, burly man holding a pistol in his hand, trying to find a good aim again. He wore a green shirt, with lighter green stripes and black trousers. He had a cap on his head. Wesley lowered his head as another bullet flew past him. Wesley tried not to lose sight of who he was chasing while turning around corners.

Continue reading “The Traitor: Chapter One”

Chapter 1: Dawn

The Elapsed Eventuality is the first long story that I am beginning to write. I will publish chapters as soon as I am done writing them, which may take from a couple of days to maybe a little longer, but I shall try my best. I won’t disclose too much about the plot here, just the essentials, stuff that won’t ruin the suspense.

The Elapsed Eventuality is about a man, who doesn’t know who he is, where he is, and why he is there. All he knows is that he doesn’t know anything about what is going on in his life and how he woke up in the hall that he woke up in. What happens after he wakes up just confuses him further. He sets out to do his best at reconciling with the fact that the world he now faces is one that he has never seen before in spite of it being the world he was born and raised on. He sets out to get back to his senses and find out why he – a man clearly out of time – is where he is.

Join our struggling hero on his journey of self – discovery and also one of discovering the secrets of the new world he finds himself in – the secrets he was always meant to discover.

Continue reading “Chapter 1: Dawn”

The Early Break

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“Cameras at the front of the store and those at adjacent streets that he used, got satisfactory photographs of the culprit’s face and the number plate of the car he used”

The whole room was a mess. Papers covered the desk and much of the floor. The cabinets were overflowing. Files were precariously stacked on top of said cabinets. The whole scene indicated utter laxity.

“So, here it is,” said the hefty lieutenant.

“This is my cabin, sir?” the young policeman was apprehensive.

“What is it? Too cramped for your liking? You’ll get used to it, boy!” The lieutenant thumped his fat palm on the youth’s back and waddled off, still laughing at his own joke.

“Sure I will.”

Sarcasm. It was Mayank’s alter ego. Sometimes he used it more often than he knew. It’s probably a mixed bag when you want to be a detective. Useful at times and sometimes sarcastic is probably the last thing you want to be.

Mayank looked at the state of the room, wondering how its previous occupant managed to not choke on the dust. As he recollected, he had in fact choked. Not on the dust, obviously, but at the hands of a drug lord who the said occupant had tracked down. The family pleaded in court but the evidence, thanks to the drug lord’s heavy bribes, had been burnt. That’s just how the criminal law system works nowadays. You either deal with it or it deals with you.

Most of the files were outdated and many more were filled with cases that had been closed. They had to be moved to the archives. Mayank found a cardboard box under the desk and filled it with all the files he could fit in it.

“Hey! New guy! The boss man’s calling you,” said a fellow employee to Mayank just as he was emptying the cardboard box in the archive room.

“Oh. Okay thanks.”

“I’m Jai, by the way. Over at forensics.”

“Hi! I’m Mayank.”

“I know. Everybody knows. You topped the test.”

“Yeah. You’re new too?

“Pretty much. Been here two months.”

“Okay then. See you later!”

“I’ll catch you at lunch if you’re free. Vada pav?”

“Yeah that’s cool”

Mayank felt slightly less tense now that he’d made a friend on the first day. He knocked on the Inspector’s door and went in after a resounding “COME IN” emanated from within.

Continue reading “The Early Break”

All’s Well That Ends… Oh Wait…

Image Courtesy - www.wallmild.com
Image Courtesy – http://www.wallmild.com

There can only be two reasons for looking at the sunset. And by looking, I mean actually sitting there, enjoying the breeze and appreciating the alluring, vibrant hues of yellow, red and vermillion. These reasons are: 1. When we’re really happy and 2. When we’re not. In rare cases there is a third (like, you’re out at the beach with your family so instead of building lousy old sand castles with your younger sibling you’re looking at the sunset), but the state of mind ultimately boils down to these two reasons.

The other day I found myself looking out at the sunset. A lot of thoughts drifted through my mind and I usually have a pretty long train of thought that doesn’t last beyond the moment so I can’t really recount those thoughts here. Surprisingly, I don’t remember whether I was particularly happy or not at that moment. It was definitely a mix of both. The circumstances in my life would make me think that it was more of not-happy than the opposite (my 10th Grade results are under a week away).

I’ve always had a positive approach to life to the point of being called an unabashed optimist. I’m certainly not ashamed of that despite my optimism not materialising in various situations.

I believe failure doesn’t deserve the amount of hate it receives. People are not supposed to fear failure. They are certainly not supposed to go hunting for it with axes and clubs but at the same time one must always reserve a margin for possible failure. It is in this aspect that I regret being the brazen idealist that I was.

I used to believe that even when I did not give my best effort, everything would turn out fine and that my effort was ‘just enough’. Obviously, it turned out to be far from enough and this would make me doubt myself. This self – doubt would deprive me of self – confidence and anxiety would creep in. I started setting unrealistic goals for myself and I always thought that whatever I did was not enough. It was a vicious cycle. It had to be broken sometime.

Like the hero in most movies, I fought my demons (and I’m still fighting them), but life’s been much better since that teensy – but – oh – so – ginormous epiphany about a year back.

Well, this ain’t therapy and I’m definitely not looking for a shoulder to cry on (like I would ever do that). Usually I just keep writing when I do, so one thing kinda led to another.

Anyway… thank you for bearing with me and here’s a little story (like a potato at the end of long memes :P):

Continue reading “All’s Well That Ends… Oh Wait…”

Of Inspiration and Imagination

Me when I sit down to write
Me when I sit down to write

Today, probably everybody listens to music. I do too and while I am not fanatically hunting for the latest music I do enjoy good, meaningful music. Sometimes, that means listening to stuff that’s ‘old’. Over and over. If that’s what it takes to get motivated or inspired.

Now, when I say ‘old’, as soon as I even drop a hint of ‘old’ there’s usually a lot of people who go, ‘seriously?’ and ‘whaaaaaat?’. But seriously, don’t get me wrong, but I find this so – called ‘old’ music much meaningful than most new – age music, be it Bollywood or the West. I mean, if people say that a piece of exceptional art or a good joke never get old, then how does a good bit of music get old? Just because it was composed long back? Today, even six month old music is deemed old by some. I just don’t get the concept.

Coming to the point, I recently started listening to old American music. Stuff like David Bowie, Hall and Oates, Jose Gonzalez, The Arcade Fire, and the ilk. As I listened to more of their songs, I discovered so many songs that actually have a story to say and though these stories may be really wacky and far – fetched at first you really come to appreciate and laud the creativity and originality over time, especially if you’re looking for meaning in music. The recently released movies ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ and ‘American Hustle’ are really good examples of movies having an awesome collection of the good ol’ retro music, and while music from the latter is quite crude as compared to to ‘Walter Mitty’ it is still really good.

It is this kind of music that really gets me motivated and inspired. I usually listen to this kind of music while I take walks or I am in the bus or the car. I’ll probably have a playlist of just 10 – 20 songs I really love, but I wouldn’t mind listening to them over and over and I don’t get tired of them for a long time.

Three songs that always inspire me are Heroes (David Bowie), Space Oddity (again Bowie) and Far Away (Jose Gonzalez). There’s also a 30 – second – or – so piece at the middle of Maneater (Hall & Oates) that’s also really good.

When I listen to upbeat and just positive – sounding (I don’t know how else to put it) music as this, when any of us listen to such music we picture ourselves sailing through life, accomplish all we’ve dreamed of and achieve what we’ve aspired to achieve (I sure hope I’m not the only one who does this!). I particularly, see myself emerging from a negative point in my life, and rising against the odds and, you know, saving the day, so to say. That’s what our daydreams are probably filled up with too!

So, after about 480 words, here’s how I think that would look on paper:

Continue reading “Of Inspiration and Imagination”

The Occupational Hazard

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Image Courtesy – http://www.flickr.com

Jonathan trundled along, leaning into Steve. He pressed the blood – soaked napkin onto his right hand and held it in a sling made from his left hand.

He could already feel the onset of spasms deep in his belly. His occasional groans would echo in his ears for a while and then fade away into the dense undergrowth. He could still see, that speckled band, hissing. Should he not have been dying, Jonathan knew that that image would haunt him for a long, long time.

A sparrow, chirping its lungs out, flew above them with another in pursuit.

The spasms grew exponentially over the next couple of minutes and gave way to delusions. “Why am I so stupid, Steve? Huh?” he would mumble. He would keep mumbling for several minutes and then stop as suddenly as he had begun.

“Just hang on Johnny. We’re getting there. I just need you to hang in there, okay buddy?” Steve held back a tear.

Steve understood the gravity of the situation. He knew what was going on. He knew what was going on even before it happened.

You know that tingly feeling you have before you do something exciting? That feeling that people call the adrenaline rush? And then when you look back at how awry things went you realise that that feeling was mixed with a tinge of fear, of apprehension. This was the feeling Steve had. This was the feeling he dreaded. This was the feeling we all shrink from.

He saw the mornings events replay in his mind.

Continue reading “The Occupational Hazard”