poem

The Insanity Land

I have witnessed many characters

I have talked to many

I have read their faces

Read their minds

And understood their souls

 

But it happens very rarely

That some of those

Leave a piece of them behind

For you to cherish and hold

For an eternity, probably longer

 

These are the ones

Who are probably more hurt

More cheerful

More experienced

And even more cruel

Than most of us.

 

The pieces left behind

Can change the life

The point of view

The sense of knowing things

And the reader itself

 

Me… Oh yes!!…

I’ve read a lot of pages

Pages that make a book

Pages that make autobiographies

Pages that make a course

Pages that make a novel

 

Somehow all of those

All the pages, novels combined

Have changed the way act

Have blurred the lines

 

To identify the difference

The exact contrast

Of what is black

And what is white

They left me in the grey area

 

The grey area….

Hard to explain really

Nothing makes much sense

Conflict at every point

Awesome and confusing both

 

Choosing between sanity

And what they call insanity

Both playing tug-of-war

With the little brain of mine

Uhh!!… So exhausting

 

I still remember though

That remarkable moment

That precise hour

The exact minute

And even the second

 

I crossed that arbitrary line

And ended up in

The Insanity Land

Just so overwhelming

Most beautiful place ever

 

I really want to tell you

How i felt being there

Not pretending

So many characters showing up

In my mind..

At very odd moments

 

But it’s just difficult

The tale can’t be told

It’s the one

To be experienced

To be lived

 

To be…..

Oooh!!!…. Cookie….

 

~K

Story

A Regular Revenge Story

It is said that home is the best place on earth to be. Leaving your home, your hearth and going to live in a place that you will be sharing with 500 more people of similar age, can be a daunting idea in the beginning. Even so, everyone comes to cherish their hostel experiences after a while. I am no exception.

My hostel life started when I was 16 and my parents decided to send me to a far away college for some ‘quality’ education. Frankly speaking that was the only place that I could get admission in, so I really didn’t have any other option but to go there. Being the youngest of three siblings, I had heard a lot about hostel life and was super excited to start mine. So on 18th of July, I packed my bags and moved to my new home for next few years.

I should mention here that not only was I the youngest but also the smallest of my three siblings. I was only 5 ft and 4 inches tall and on top of that I was extremely thin as well. It made me look meek and an easy target for bullying. Coming from a small town I never had any issue with bullies, so my past could not prepare me for the hell I was about to face.

It started out small. My dorm-mates were friendly at first and I thought I got the best pick of the lot. Then one day, someone spanked my behind while I was walking down the corridor. That had never happened to me and left me too embarrassed to even react. Then few members of the football team asked me to play with them. Halfway through the game I realized that they were more interested in kicking me than the ball.

When I came to my room in the evening, I found a lot of stuff lying there that didn’t belong to me. I looked around and thought someone must have placed it there by mistake. So I started to lift it and keep it outside the room. Just then a few guys came in, these were the same one who had been using me as a ball for the last half hour or so. They pushed me back inside my room and said, “A small thing like you doesn’t need this space. So we will be using it as our personal storage.” That was all the explanation I got before my stuff was thrown out of my cupboard and they kept their own boxes in it.

These things continued for next few months, they were everywhere to haunt me, while I was eating, studying, sleeping, or taking a bath. It didn’t matter what I was doing, as long as I was on campus, I was their prey.

It wasn’t all bad though. I had also made a friend, Sam. He was also in the same boat as me. He was not built like the jocks and came from a small town. So we both used to hide from them together and used to find our salvation in that.

One day, they found some dirt on Sam. What it was, I still don’t know. I just knew they were using to basically use him as their slave. He would clean their room, do their laundry, complete their assignments, and they even humiliated him in front of entire college by making him to demeaning acts (I would rather not go into the details for the sake of my friend). This affected Sam’s grades and health as he did not have any time for himself. I told him that it was too much and perhaps we should complain to the dean. But Sam was afraid that they would share whatever they had on him. We didn’t know what to do but we did know that we needed to make it stop somehow, anyhow.

We had seen enough movies and drama around revenge against bullies and had a lot of dark ideas. We just didn’t want to stoop as low as them. But I also couldn’t see Sam in such a state, so I dropped an anonymous mail to the dean about what these boys were up to and hoped for the best.

The very next day, while they were in the middle of snatching our lunch (as usual), the dean came thundering in and asked them to report to his office immediately. An hour later, we came to know that the four of them got suspended for a month. Those were the best 15 minutes of our lives.

15 minutes later, they stood true to their promise and posted incriminating posts about Sam’s mother on social media and college blog. It spread like wildfire and soon that was all everyone was talking about.

I have never seen Sam as broken as that. I knew Sam was really close to his mother and could understand what he must be going through every time someone threw a slur at her.

As soon as my class ended that day, I ran to Sam’s room. I had unknowingly made his life even worse and I wanted to apologise to him for that. When I reached there, he was standing in his balcony and smoking. I had never seen him smoke.

Silently I went and stood next to him. He didn’t even acknowledge my presence. I apologized to him for mailing to the Dean. I didn’t know what else to say or do, so I just stood there quietly.

When he was done with smoking, he let out a last puff of smoke and flicked the butt off the balcony. “What exactly are you apologizing for? It really isn’t your fault.”, he finally said.

“But It was I who went to the Dean. Had I not, everything would have been ok. I wish I could do something to make things better.”

“Well I couldn’t have taken their shit all through college anyways. Now about making things better, how serious are you about it?”

That is when we formulated our plan. By releasing all that information on social media, those jerks had lost the only leverage they had on us and now we were free to do as we wished without any fear of retribution.

A month later, they came back to campus right in time for dinner and as we thought, went straight towards us. They snatched our food from us and sat on their place. They gobbled it up so fast that for a moment I thought they would choke on it and the entire plan will be wasted. Thankfully they didn’t.

That night we executed our plan and it went without any hitch.

Next morning everyone woke to the pictures of the football jocks engaged in some seriously ‘private acts’ together. Some of their friends ran towards their room to check on them, and found them lying in each other’s embrace adorned in nothing but their birthday suits.

Everyone was shocked to see the epitomes of masculinity display such open affection for each other. Later the shock turned into mirth and few moments later it was a full blown ridicule. And for once the jocks were at the receiving end.

They woke up to see their campus, their own turf, turned against them and laughing at them. It may be wrong for some, but to me and Sam, it was deeply satisfying the bullies being bullied for a change. But unlike us, they were too weak to take it and transferred to another college within the week.

Throughout their 3 years of college, wherever they went, somehow the entire college would receive pictures of their saucy night together. We ensured that their acts haunt them for as long as we could keep track of them. Two of them actually dropped out of college completely and started working small time jobs to get by. Was it right? Perhaps not. But it was what they deserved and what was just.

It is true that hostel life teaches all of us a lot. Sam and I are no exception. We also learnt a lot about sharing, caring and being independent but above all this, we also learnt that sometimes justice demands stooping to a level lower than you can imagine.

 

~P

Story

Epidemia

I used the fire that flames in everyone’s soul and burned an empire to the ground

It had been going on for too long. Longer than the time I was born, my great grandfather was the third victim, from there the body count never dropped.

We live in the gutters, avoid them by miles…live on their leftovers, still we get hunted. This had to stop. So I took the initiative.

I was already well on my road to dying, since I had been “cursed”, or at least that’s what the village leader told me. So I took it upon me to carry out my fate. Before the harbinger of death visited me, I wanted it to visit them.

It wasn’t easy, finding the right place for me to accomplish my task at. It mattered a lot where I started it, we did have many locations set up for a contingency plan, if I failed. But it didn’t matter if I failed, I was just the spark, and the catalyst to a reaction so great that it would be remembered for centuries to come. If I failed, somebody else cursed with the same fate would take my place.

Our first choice were the lower levels in Penrith. Since it provided us an advantage in numbers. Our next target was Constantinople, then Italy, Marseilles, nothing would be left.

My task you ask? I just had to die! That was the sacrifice needed to bring justice to our people. We were large in numbers but weak in the being and mind. They could crush us and not blink an eye, the only advantage we had were our numbers, which made some of us escape their clutches. By dying, I could let the harbingers carry over my curse to them, let them suffer as we did.

And so I waited, waited for my time to come. As soon as I knew it was close, I ran to the nearest house, I could feel it with my every breath, everything was waning, I was losing control of my limbs, every breath, taking more of a toll than the one before. But before I go, with all I have left in me, I leave this to you, my last words. You find these, you know my legacy.

I have to be the first, I knew if I succeed my comrades will follow. So let’s end this.

Who am I you ask? I have a name, yes. But after being given this quest, I was given another one.

I am their final call.

I am The Black Death.

Story

A Parrot on Roll

Dear Diary,

Today i saw her!….Again!

It was like living the dream even if it was for the tenth time.

 

Now being a parrot I travel to a lot of different places and witness a lot of different faces. I have practically seen the whole world except you know… Antarctica…it’s just too cold for my taste. But, in this whole wide world, she is only one that provides me that calm and happiness that no one else can. She feeds me, visits me at the same spot and takes care of me like no one else can.

But, somehow all my friends don’t believe me. They say that she’s just a figment of my imagination because there is no such thing  as a ‘caring human’. Maybe they say that because one day I ingested a funny substance that made the world go in a swirl and i was seeing things that normally is not seen by parrots like: I saw my friends playing cricket by making a fur ball out of a koala bear etc. After I had that, it made me cling onto it and in lieu of finding it again I ate some of the plants from which I was allergic to.

 

The human friend whom I was talking about is just like that funny substance. I met her in a park near a residency society in Somersville. She was really interested when she met me the very first time. That day she was with a bigger human probably her mother and they brought treats for all the birds there including some grains and water in a wide mouthed bowl. But for some strange reason she did not offer me any of those seemingly tasty stuff instead she had made some rolls full of different coloured grass. I must say that it was probably the strangest and tastiest thing i have ever had.

 

Since that day, I meet her every month in the same park on the same branch of the very same tree so she does not find it difficult to spot me. I really do not care if my friends think if she is real or not. I don’t care if I have to live in Somersville for my entire life.

But, yesterday when I saw her, she was not as perky as she usually is but the grass roll was tastier than ever. I flew right away and sat on her shoulder and nudged her so she would share the reason behind her sadness. I think she understood my signal and a little pearl of a tear fell from her right eye. She started speaking in a little quacky voice and thanks to ‘Old Owl’ for teaching me that I understood the human language. She told me that her family is taking her to some other country and I have heard that that place is not so ‘Parrot-friendly’.

 

After hearing this much of news, I was in shock and believe me if I could, I would have cried with her. She is literally the best person I have ever met and if she is moving to such a place which is out of my bounds…well…I do not know how I will comprehend with all this.

 

Yesterday she had ten grass rolls in her plate for me and I took the longest hour to finish the entire lot. I knew something was different about the roll as I told you it was tastier as compared to other days. As I was savouring every bite and every gulp, I noticed that yesterday she had handpicked the finest grass for my roll. Little did I know that it was my last roll.

I really hope that we meet again someday so I can hear that same perky voice of hers and taste the finest roll filled with the finest grass.

~K

Story

“Never Let Me Go”

I used to be daddy’s little princess. My life used to be perfect until I made a couple of mistakes that totally turned my life upside down. My first mistake, I made a boyfriend when I was 16. I guess making a boyfriend wasn’t that big a mistake as was sleeping with him. He always said he loved me and would never let me go. I was always comforted by those words which is why I didn’t mind going to bed with him. But then I got pregnant and that is when my life took a huge turn. My daddy stopped treating me like a princess. My boyfriend simply disappeared from my life and suddenly had nothing to do with me. So much for “never let me go” crap. I decided to keep the baby and that is when everyone I was close to in my life started to freak out. They all told me it was a bad idea and that I knew nothing about raising a child. They were right, I didn’t. I grew up without a mother so I literally had no idea what being a mother was all about. But I had made up my mind and there was no way I was going to turn back. My decision didn’t go too well with my father. He had a heart attack. He survived it but I realized I did not want to be a burden on him. So I left the house. Alone and scared, I had no idea what to do and where to go. It’s quite fascinating how in times like these all your so called true friends are nowhere to be found.

My second mistake, I moved to a new town. And not just any town, it was one of those places that people called “bad neighborhood”. I couldn’t help it though. It was the only kind of place that I could afford to live in. I met this woman named Samantha, my new roommate. She could have been anywhere between 40 and 60. The wrinkles on her face did not agree with her make up. Her eyes and her lips never smiled together. I lived with her for a few months before I realized that she was a hooker. I somehow did not judge her for that. Every crazy person has a sad story, just like I do. She took good care of me during my pregnancy. She got me food, took care of my rent and even accompanied during my regular clinical checkups. I was happy. I found an elder sister I never had. She was there clutching my hand real tight when my baby was being born. She was the first one to hold him. I named him “Sam”, after her own name Samantha.

I used to feel tired and restless a lot. Taking care of a baby was no joke. The feeding, the bathing, the pooping and above all the crying. Thank God I had Samantha otherwise I would have gone nuts. Sam was 2 when he started walking. I remember how happy we were. Our little boy was growing up. I realized that may be that was the right time for me to get a job and put Sam in a day care center. I wanted to help Samantha for all that she had done for me, for us. I applied to like a thousand jobs but sadly I did not have the right skills or qualification for any of them. Little did I know that darkness was around the corner and my life was going to take another plunge in a pile of shit. Samantha got sick, very sick. When I admitted her to the hospital I had made up my mind I would not let anything happen to her after all that she had done for me. She was hospitalized most of the time and I had to figure out a way to pay for those medical bills as well as for the nanny that I hired to watch Sam while I was in hospital. The bills were starting to pile up and there was still no luck with the job search. I knew well enough even if I did get one of those ordinary jobs, there was no way I could manage the expenses with that kind of salary. Finally that moment came where I had to take a stand to choose between the people I love or my self-esteem. I chose love. I looked into Samantha’s old mobile phone to find a few contacts from her workplace who could help me out. And they did.

I started making a lot of money. I was working all night, every night. While I was spending my nights with disgusting drunk freaks with breaths that smelled like dead rats, all I could think about was how could I leave my baby alone in the middle of the night like that while he was asleep? What if he has a nightmare and wakes up looking for me? What if he is hungry? What if someone breaks into the house? But I had to do it for him, and for Samantha. I had to swallow my guilt and do it for them. It was all for them. Then one day, the time came when Samantha’s body gave up fighting her disease. I never told her about my job. She never asked either. I thanked her for all that she ever did for me. Before she started walking towards her stairway to heaven she made me make a promise. She told me to move out of town to a new place. A place that would be more appropriate for Sam. I already had that in mind. There was no way on earth I was going to raise my child in that hell hole of a neighborhood.

After Samantha passed away, I took Sam and shifted to a new town. A town which was safe and filled with good people. I had raised enough money to pay for Sam’s new school (I got him into the best one). His education was always one of my top priorities. I got a decent job as a cashier at a supermarket and finally started living the dignified life I always dreamed of. Whatever money I had saved from that old rotten town, I put it in Sam’s college fund account for when he would grow older. When Sam entered his teens, we became good friends. I had to play good cop/bad cop to ensure that he doesn’t make the same mistakes that many teenagers tend to make and at the same time doesn’t distant himself from me either. I think overall I was an ok mother. When Sam turned 18 and was ready to leave for college, he asked me a question that I always dreaded he would ask. Where did all that money come from? I looked him right in the eye. I was a good liar but not to him, he always caught me. I told him the truth. Everything. About Samantha, the old town, everything. He looked at me like I was some kind of a criminal. He was furious. I thought I would get a slightly sympathetic reaction but it didn’t go down like that. He grabbed his luggage and stormed out of the house without saying goodbye. His last few words before he left were “How could you live with yourself? How could you stoop so low?”

I guess I had failed to explain him that I could not let the woman, who gave us everything she had, die like that. I did it for her. She was the angel who was there for me when all doors had closed on me. I did it for him too. I had to raise a baby all by myself when Samantha got sick. And I did it. I am not proud of how I raised the money but if I had to do it all over again for him and Samantha, I would do it with a smile on my face. My son is mad at me. I cannot blame him. Any normal person would be repulsed by me, including him… if only he knew what I had truly been through.

The doorbell rang. I opened the door. It was Sam. He dropped his luggage on the floor and rushed towards me. He hugged me so tight that this time I actually felt the words even though neither of us said them – “never let me go”. We both wept like never before. He softly whispered in my ear “I love you, mum”. That was the longest and the best hug I ever had. All my pains are history now just because of that one giant hug. What kind of life did I live, you ask? I would say the one with the happy ending.

~KK

Story

My Star

This is my story. It is story of how life has always given me enough to live with. There has
always been hope even in the worst of times. And even if I could, there is not a single thing that
I’d ever change about it.
I was little when my parents died. Like my saviour, the old man next door took me in. He would
take me to construction sites. But his intention was always to simply keep an eye on me while
he worked. I used to call him bapu and he always let me.
Slowly I learned the work and started helping out at sites. The construction manager had also
just started working at that time and he took a special liking to me.
He would give me simple chores and would pay me a little amount at the end of the day.
It used to make feel important, like a proper grown up cause I was contributing towards running
the home.
I grew up in these sites. Working as a daily earner and taking pride in the buildings completed
by us.
I know it doesn’t sound special or exotic, but to me, my work has always been like a religion. I
have full faith and pride in it and never believed it to be small or menial.
It was through this work that i found Mimi. My little miracle.
After completing another day’s work, I was returning home when i saw a little kid scavenging for
food near the trash cans. I called her and offered her whatever i could spare, but she refused it
by saying “can’t accept it as i haven’t worked for it”. Looking at her innocent face, i knew i just
couldn’t leave her behind. So i brought her home with me.
12 years later, my Mimi had grown up to be a really intelligent girl and was appearing in
entrance tests for engineering colleges. I had been promoted to the position of site coordinator,
so my income was enough to support her studies and our lives as well.
We were a team and we always planned ahead. We had two special funds. One for Mimi’s
college fee and another for operating on the slowly developing cataract in my eyes. And we both
were relaxed knowing that we were safe for future.
Then the results for college entrances came in. My Mimi was selected in the best college in the
country. She was going to study civil engineering and build the monuments for her dad.
I was just too overjoyed but Mimi was not happy. “Our savings aren’t enough to support this
college’s fee. We will not be able to afford it”, was her reasoning.
I told her that I’ll talk to the college people and see if they can help us out. She wasn’t satisfied
but let me go anyways.
I went to the college (it was in another city) and talked to the admissions in-charge there. They
said that they can’t do much as it is a private institute. Though if Mimi scores high enough, they’ll
give her a scholarship from next year onwards.
That re-assured me. Both my saving funds added together were enough to cover the admission
fee and i knew she’ll always be the best and will definitely get that scholarship next year.
So i paid the entire amount and confirmed her admission.
When i came home, i told her everything but instead of being happy, she was furious.
“You’re going to lose your sight baba. And i won’t be able to help out at all. How are you going to
survive? What will you do?”she kept on being stressed.
That night she cried for hours on end and there was nothing that i said which would comfort her
in any way.
Next morning she woke me up with my cup of tea. I noticed her puffy and red eyes and hugged
her tight.
I made her promise to go to the college. To do her best while there. To become an engineer. In
return, she made me promise that I’ll always have faith in her and that she’ll return and we’ll
build not just structures but our life again.
Now she’s gone. The light in my eyes has waned almost completely. It is like an eternal night
and the only source of light is Mimi. She’s my star, the star that I stare at all night, every night.
And wait for the day when she’ll be back and bring sunrise with her.

~P

Story

The Usual

Every day I walk out of my apartment at seven o’clock in the morning for a walk. I love walks, I sometimes even walk to my college. One day I walked all the way to the next town to my favorite burger shop…but that’s a story for some other day.

It’s always the usual here at Simiville. The usual weather, the usual beggar at the end of my street, the usual grey buildings stranger to me than the colorful and not-so-strange people living in them, the usual black street dog that greets me when I walk out of my apartment all year long. The dog plays with me till the end of the street I live at, just a few blocks away. I named the dog Jack, we play and play till we are both sweating. Takes almost half an hour out of my schedule, but I don’t mind it at all.

Yes, I am a very outgoing person. I meet and greet people all day long so it’s not inappropriate if you see people hi-fiving me and talk to me even if I am in the next town

Well, where was I going with this? This isn’t why I wrote to you!

From all the things I was used to, change was the most inconsistent thing in my life, so if something like what happened that day, happened to you…you might not even be surprised. Or will you be?

As usual I went out of my apartment at 7’o clock, expecting to be pounced upon by Jack.
I stop for a moment and look around, no Jack. I started walking towards my usual route.
At the end of the street I see Jack. For a moment, out of excitement I pace towards him, but stop right in my tracks the next moment.

Looking at him had always made my pulse race…but today the reason behind the quickening of my breath and the sweat on my palms was much different.

He was drenched and trembling. Drenched in a red liquid, didn’t take me much to recognize it as blood. He was trebling with fear and not moving from his place.

I…didn’t know how to react, probably because something like that had never happened with me, probably because Jack was alive and didn’t have a single cut on his body, as much as I could make out from seeing him. Probably.

Jack was alright…he didn’t have a single cut on his body. Then whose blood was it?

That’s when it struck me like lightning, the emotion. It surged within my body, filling me to the brim… making my hair rise out of their sockets, the only emotion I could feel at that time, fear.

I looked at my hands, they were trembling and red.

Red? My hands were red? Blood? Whose blood? Mine?

Before I could answer all that, my brain did the only sensible thing it could do at the moment.

I screamed and ran backwards as fast as I could, only to be hindered in the process by an object and falling on the ground. I turn around to see what it is.

It’s the arm of the beggar. I panicked and threw it away, stood up while running and stumbling, but I regained my balance and ran again.

I locked my apartment’s door and closed the windows. Tried calling the police but the line was dead.

The line was dead.

This isn’t how my day was supposed to go. As I was trying to hide, trembling and denying any possibility of further changes in my schedule, I heard a knock on the door.

More than a knock, it was a constant bang of the fist on my door. It came every few seconds, I slowly realized it was eerily periodic.

I went to the door and looked through the hole to see who it is, I saw no one at the door. But I could still hear the constant knock.
It was all too suspicious, but thoughtlessly I still opened the door.

Opening that door might have been the biggest mistake I made in my short life.

 

(To be Continued)

~A