What if(but not really)

Priya looks at him. He’s just a stranger sharing the same blanket now. She lies awake wondering why she let Him go so many years ago.

She doesn’t know him is actually Him after he lost his memory and got plastic surgery to look like Him.

She’s always wondered why her name is spelt with three silent K’s.

The Noise

I’ve grown up in a very old house. You know, the kind where the floor, the wall, the cupboards…everything creaks. I’ve long been used to the creepy sounds they make. One interesting side-effect of growing up in such a house is that I’m never impressed by the so-called horror movies Hollywood churns out. If you really think about it, ninety percent of the scares are just that – creaky furniture. Hah. I’m not losing any sleep over that.

But, tonight’s different. I was jarred awake in the dead of night by something I’d never heard before.

Complete and utter silence.

When I look up, my eyes catch something pacing the room. Yet, I don’t hear the floor groan in complaint. It stops to scratch something onto the wall. But, the walls don’t screech.

As the silence becomes deafening, I slide back into bed, and pray for something…anything…to creak again.

The Heist – Work in progress

“We need thirty-one of those,” Rahul pointed inside the store. “The Boss was very specific about that.”

A well-aimed brick sailed through the helpless glass window with a loud crash.
Rishi tiptoed in around the glass remains and picked up the loot with her gloved hands, careful not to drop any of it, and stashed it away in an airtight container inside her backpack. She wished she could contain her nervousness too, but her trembling hands didn’t listen. After all, The Boss had personally asked for these. One mistake and her partner would have to deal with a gooey mess. Not a pleasant thought. Her hands trembled a little more.

“Nice job back there, Rishi. How many did we get?” Rahul asked between deep puffs of breath after they had put a decent distance between themselves and the crime scene.
“Thirty,” Rishi replied, with a mix of disappointment and fear. She knew that The Boss never settled for less, even if it was only one less.
“That was all of them?”
Rishi nodded.
“Not good.”
Rishi nodded again.

Rahul paused to catch up with some more of his breath and thoughts. The Boss still hadn’t approved his request for company conveyance and he was too old for these post-heist sprints. He looked at his mobile phone’s clock. It was an hour to midnight. Not only was he already too old, he constantly continued to get older. The last of his twenties would sail out of reach in another ninety minutes. He should have been partying with his friends, getting sozzled beyond recognition, yet here he was, carrying out dangerous nocturnal heists instead. The thought of his friends jolted him out of his musings. Most of them had been bumped off over the years because they had failed to carry out The Boss’ missions. He needed to focus, regrets could wait until he sponsored the next instalment of The Shrink’s obscenely generous pension plan.

“We must find one more,” Rahul said.
“But…from where? We just got every single one, didn’t we?. We’ll have to wait until the next batch.”
“We can’t wait that long. We have less than two hours to get these to The Boss. He explicitly mentioned that he wanted them by midnight. He even had The Glint in his eye when he mentioned it.”
“Not The Glint, no,” Rishi backed away instinctively.
“Yes, The Glint”. Rahul assured her.
“Do…do you have a plan?”
Rahul looked at her square in the eye. “I do. And we’ll need another brick.”

The second well-aimed brick of the night sailed through the Jaguar’s windshield, making the obligatory loud crash. The security alarm wailed into the night. Rahul and Rishi receded into the belly of a particularly dark corner in the driveway and waited.

The Maker, as his patrons called him, stirred in bed. Years of paranoia, arising from a mix or real and imaginary attempts to steal The Formula, had turned him into a light sleeper. The frantic cries of his Jaggu did not go unheard for long.

The front door of the duplex house soon opened with a thud. Rahul waited intently behind the bush. A generous belly poked out of the door as if to scout the area, before being followed by the rest of The Maker’s middle-aged figure out into the adjoining driveway. The Maker let out a scream as he surveyed the grisly remains of his Jaggu’s windshield, or at least he tried to, before he was ambushed by an age-defyingly-nimble Rahul. A quick tap on The Maker’s head by Rishi, using the multi-talented brick, brought the driveway scene to a close.

The Maker woke up a couple of minutes later, a little groggy, and tied to one of his own chairs.
“Give us The Formula, if you want to live,” Rishi growled on cue.
“Yes, give us The Form…um…no, that’s not what we want.” Rahul scowled back.
“No! What’ll we do with The Formula? He’s The Maker, not us. Only he knows how to make more of them the right way.”
The Maker, interjected at this moment, “Are you saying that you’ve broken into my house, at this ungodly hour, to make me make you a…”
“Yes, and it should be done in the next twenty minutes,” Rahul interjected.
“What if I refuse?”
“That car of yours still has a few windows left, I notice,” Rishi replied.
“I’ll do it! There’s no need to get loved ones involved.”
Rahul untied The Maker and walked him to his workshop.
“Now, don’t you get any ideas. Just do as you’re told and no one or thing shall get hurt,” Rahul spelled out the standard threat.
The Maker rolled his eyes, “Who do you think I am? Iron Man? I assure you that I won’t create suit-of-war in there. Now leave me alone. I need to concentrate.”
Rahul stepped back with his hands raised in a mock gesture.
“Sheesh. This one has a temper, doesn’t he? I certainly wouldn’t want to break into his home again anytime soon.” Rishi said.
Rahul looked at his phone’s watch. Ninety minutes to midnight. They might just make it in time.

That’s when another one of the clearly overworked brick fraternity made its way through the workshop’s window. They knew how to make an entry, one had to give them that. They could have taught a thing or two to the three burly men in masks, who ungainly followed the brick in, negotiating the remaining bits of glass.

The leader of the burly pack scanned the occupants, “Rahul? What are you doing here? You know you aren’t supposed to be part of this mission.”
“Don’t tell me what I can or cannot do, Sharma. You’re not the boss of me.”
“Well no, but The Boss is the boss of you, isn’t he? Didn’t he explicitly forbid you to mess with this heist?” He threw down his mask, “Oh, and thanks for outing my name, you idiot. So much for my disguise.”
“Right,” Rahul rolled his eyes, “The Maker now knows that his house has been broken into by one of the two million Sharmas in the city. You’re done for.”
“Yeah, whatever.” Sharma retaliated as best he could.
Sharma looked at Rishi’s backpack and eventually two and two were put together, “Hold on. What’s in there? Is that the loot? Were you responsible for the break-in at the Master’s store?”
“I should have known. You’re always trying to one-up me in front of The Boss. Well, not this time. Hand it over.”

To be continued…


“How can you not believe in yourself?” The others always ask me. They find it amusing.

Maybe they have a point though. I can fly like a bird. I’m faster than a train. Bullets don’t even tickle me. I can perform feats which no ordinary man can. Why do the doubts still persist then? I’ve tried to push them away. I’ve tried to see what they do when they look at me. But the doubts always return. I can’t do it. I can’t get myself to believe in ghosts.

Happy sixtieth birthday Pops!

My dad(or pops as we called him!) turns 60 today. If he were here today, we’d be watching the cricket match and having detailed discussions about it’s nuances on a phone call(if we were in different cities) or over a hot plate of pakoras(if we weren’t). It’s moments like that, which I’ll always cherish, and miss, Pops.

I don’t think we ever truly realized how lucky we were to be able to call someone like you our dad. I guess we never think about those things until it’s too late, especially us sons. But, I hope you knew, you understood, how much you meant to us. Every little good thing that the world sees in me, in my brother, is a reflection of how you brought us up, the examples you set, the things you opened our eyes to, and the belief you had in us. I hope we’re able to let those parts of you live on within us. On a related note, the jar-opening trick you taught me never fails to impress people 😉

I’d like to believe that you’re still watching over us somehow. Have a great 60th birthday, Pops! Our world’s always going to be a poorer place without you.

Best book I discovered in 2008

It’s that time of the year again – the time everyone makes ‘Best of the year’ lists. I thought I would make mine with a small change though – the items on my my list won’t necessary have released in 2008, they would be things that ‘I’ have come across this year.
With the explanation out of the way, I’ll begin my list with the ‘Best book I discovered this year’ category.

And the award goes to… A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. I was introduced to this brilliant read by my brother and have since recommended/gifted this to a multitude of people and they’ve ‘all’ become instant fans.

The book is an absolutely fluid guide to how the various fields of science have evolved to their current state over the years. It’s replete with fascinating anecdotes involving little known as well as the famous giants of science that helped shape science and the world as we know it. The book should earn its place on the bookshelves of any reader with ease.

It’s highly recommended, especially for children that are ticked off by the dull science texts that they’re forced to read at school.