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shitijsharma24

A story is only as good as the storyteller.

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Shitijsharma

A story is only as good as the storyteller. 19 years old. Author - The Girl From Rostov

PRISONERS AND MONSTERS

This is a story about two brothers who are captured and imprisoned by the secret police. Even though this is a fictional story, similar things have been known to happen. There may come a time when mother’s tell there kids- not that go to sleep or a monster will come lurking around but go to sleep because the monster may be the man who lives across the street.

He looked as if he had seen a ghost.His eyes were wide open and even though his gaze was upon me,his thoughts seemed far away.”They are here”,he finally managed.I raised my eyes only to find his conveying the fear I felt.The fear we all felt.

It is not the dead I fear for they have served their term in this Hell on Earth and now rest in peace.It is the living I fear for they can be far more inhuman.I am a prisoner here along with my brother.We do not know the reason for our imprisonment.My name is Ali and I am fifteen.My brother’s name is Hamid and he is seventeen.We share this cell along with thirty other prisoners.

I clearly remember the day we were brought here.We were roaming the market,searching for the items which mother had sent us to buy.The items weren’t many as we could not afford much.A couple of men smoking cigarettes stared at us as we passed by.Then one of them caught my brother by the collar and punched him in the face.My brother tried to fight back but there were too many of them.We were beaten in front of everyone.The men said they belonged to the secret police.They handcuffed us and brought us here.

No single person from our cell has been sent home alive.Our families usually receive our bodies in body bags and that is if they are lucky enough to receive a body.I am not sure our parents have been informed where we are.

We are tortured in the hope that we may agree to having committed treason,but most people here are innocent.The nights are the worst when the screams of tortured prisoners echo through the prison cells.

My brother looks at me as if he has seen a ghost.His eyes are wide open.”They are here”,he manages.His eyes meet mine reflecting the pain and fear in mine as I stumble through the door of the prison cell.He catches me before I fall to the ground .He knows they have electrocuted me from the rotten smell which rises from my burnt skin.I would like to tell him that it’s not so bad,except for the fact that they have cut off my tongue.

THE UNFORGIVEN

The unforgiven

Chapter  1 – The meeting

I first met her at my mother’s fortieth birthday.It seemed as if she had got it all wrong. She was still hugging me and my shirt was damp from her tears. She stepped back to look at me. She was now laughing and crying at the same time. “Abdullah”, she shouted , ”I found him, I found my little boy.” A refined looking old man who had been in conversation with his peers broke apart from them and rushed over to us. “I’m so sorry”, he said. He held the gently but firmly by the shoulders and turned her around to face him. “It’s not him”, he said. “What?”, she stammered. “It’s not him”, he repeated. She looked at me more closely, realization dawning on her face .the light went out of her eyes. “I’m sorry”, she said , “it’s just that you look  so much like him” , and then she collapsed.

I caught her before she hit the ground. I looked up at the old man. I had been speechless all this while. “I am sorry, I have no idea what she was talking about”, I said. He brought up his grief stricken eyes to meet mine. He asked if I could help him carry her to the car which was parked nearby. Together we lifted her out to the car.We put her in the back seat. He told me that he recognized me and was a good friend of my mother’s. He gave me an  address and asked me to meet him there for dinner and with that he got into the passenger seat. They drove off.

Chapter 2 – The letter

I arrived at his place a little after six. His house was huge, a haveli situated on the outskirts of Delhi.A servant opened the gate and led me inside. My host was there waiting for me but the woman who had hugged me was nowhere to be seen.

He introduced himself as Dr. Abdullah Zaffar . Over dinner he told me his story. The woman i came to know , was his wife Dr. Riya Zaffar. They had a son , he told me, his name was Suhail . Suhail had always been quiet as a kid. They had sent him to a boarding school in Nanital . He had been studious and sincere. He never complained. A few months after his nineteenth birthday, he left home. In a letter he told them that he was going off to fight for Islam.

It came as a shock to his parents. They had never been very religious. They both attributed more to Science than God the workings of the world. His father kept the news a secret from the world and told all their friends that they had sent him to study abroad. It had been five years since he left.

Mr .Zaffar suddenly became silent. He poured himself  another glass of whisky. My wife’s resting upstairs just in case you’re wondering”, he said. I did not reply. “ I received a letter from him a few months ago”, his voice was barely a whisper. “He said that Allah was nowhere to be found, only talks of him and acts that would repulse the only one true god, acts that he had been a part of”, he looked directly at me, “My wife does not know any of this. I burnt the letter but kept this”. He took out a photo from his pocket.

“I want you to burn it because I cannot.”

He slid the photo across the table to me. In the photo there was a skinny young man in uniform. He was standing on a chair and there was a noose around his neck hanging from a fan in the ceiling. I turned the photo upside down. On the back he had scribbled,

‘The forgiveness which I will never find in your hearts I go to seek in heaven’.

The Search

How are you today? What have you been up to? How long did it take you to answer these questions? I mean how long did it take you to give an honest answer and not the usual drivel that questions like these usually call for.

But of course the second of the two questions does not really entail much so lets take it out of the equation. Why did I ask you that question in the first place? Hmmm…..let’s think. Because it seemed like the obvious follow up to the previous question. Hmph..well small talk does make up for a huge chunk of everyday conversations.

All right…let’s get back to the real question. How are you today? How do you feel? Are you happy or sad? Maybe you don’t know how you feel, after all it’s all just chemicals anyway.The elusive quest for happiness, for your mental well being but then again mental health does not really have anything to do with happiness. I mean a crazy person can be happy can’t he. How would you know? You’re not crazy. You’re sensible. You fit in with the norms of society so why would people not love you. You are just like them. You must be so happy among these people who are just like you, upstanding citizens of a civilised society. People who are always looking for those cues so that they can smile or they can cry or feel whatever outside stimulus allows them to feel instead of just breathing and letting go, instead of exploring your own mind because everything that’s in there is a product of what is out there.

But how can you make sense of what is out there and your place among it all unless you look inside or look in the mirror and understand what you are? You are a building block of society but that does not mean that you cannot change your shape. That block does not have to be square, it can be a circle or a straight line or it can be ragged around the edges. Would it really matter as long as it supports the weight of the rest of the structure? You don’t have to carry the weight on your shoulders, you can place it on your palm or balance it on a fingertip. What is that burden after all, the one that society places on you? It’s intangible. It’s not really a burden at all. Gazes can be shrugged off, words can answered, fists met with fists and in all of it lies the seed of anarchy. But isn’t present society the very example of anarchy, leaders without a purpose, laws without basis and in the middle of it all you, still searching for happiness in a world where misery and confusion has made its home in every heart, fear behind a facade of confidence. Because we know that it is fleeting. Society is fleeting and so is anarchy, happiness is fleeting and so is misery. The only thing that remains is the search, because the search can never end, it must go on. The search for happiness, for purpose, for it is the only thing that gives shape to our dreams and for a moment peace lives in the heart that is plagued by turmoil.

THE UGLY TRUTH

In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of. – Confucius

There is an eternal truth, one with which Einstein, Newton, Hawking and even Aryabhatta would agree; numbers don’t lie. They don’t lie because human emotions never come into the equation. Thus, numbers are a ruthless representation of the truth, ruthless because the truth depicts a rather grim reality.

India is home to a population of 1.2 billion out of which 269.8 million were below poverty line for the period 2011-2012(Number of Poor Estimated from Expert Group (Tendulkar Methodology)). Uttar Pradesh had the highest population below poverty line at 535.73 lakhs.

1/3rd of the world’s hungry reside in India and over 25 lakh Indians die every year from hunger. More Indians have died from hunger in the past decade alone then the total number of people who died in World War I. India has an undernourished population of 212 million.

There is an estimated population of somewhere between a 100 million and 1 billion individuals that are homeless (2011 census). The value of human life is deteriorating even as the cost of survival in the form of food and medical aid skyrockets.

According to a study carried out by the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS) a few years back, nearly 836 million people, which constitutes roughly 1/3rd of the Indian population, live on less than Rs 20   per day.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the monetary fence; there are approximately 14,800 multimillionaires residing in India who account for only 0.00123333333% of India’s population. Even then the top 1% holds close to half of the country’s wealth leaving 1/4th of the total wealth to the remaining 9% of the top 10%; which further leaves the remaining 90% also with only 1/4th of the total wealth.

Mumbai in itself is home to not only the most number of multimillionaires in any city in India at 2700 but also approximately 90 lakh Mumbai residents living in slums. Dharvi, home to somewhere between 300000 and 1 million people, is the largest slum in Asia.

Economic disparity is just as visible among the various states of India. According to a list compiled from the Annual Report of Reserve Bank of India published in 2013, Goa ranks the best with the least poverty at 5.09% and Chhattisgarh the worst with 39.93% of people below poverty line (report based on MRP consumption).

Chanakya, in his Arthashastra, states that, “the king shall not act in such a manner as would causes impoverishment, greed or disaffection among the people; if however, they do appear, he shall immediately take remedial measures.” The ugly truth is that this economic gap will not be filled at the end of this year or even this decade. India is not the only country which suffers from the problem of economic disparity; it’s a problem that plagues the entire human race. The richest one percent of this world hold nearly half the world’s wealth where as the bottom half of the global population owns less than 1% of the total wealth, which begs the question – Is everyone born equal and if so where did we go so wrong that some people’s dogs are fed better than a third of the world’s human population?

A LETTER TO MY READERS

A LETTER TO MY READERS

 (It would mean a lot to me if you took the time to read this particular article.)

It’s five in the morning right now; I’ve been awake since three. The thing is I have been thinking, worrying mostly. I would like to say that I’m worried about poverty or income inequality or world hunger or even terrorism, but I’m not, I have matters closer to home that need my urgent attention. I’m worried about my future. It’s not like I don’t worry about the other stuff but the other stuff doesn’t break me, it doesn’t cripple my desire to live my life the way it’s supposed to be lived. It doesn’t stop me from being the person I wish to become; it drives me to want to be more.

You see I’ve been alive for nineteen years now and I like to think I see things different from most people. I’m not saying that I’m smarter than anyone else or that I even know how the world works. I’m not making any grand claims of some innate knowledge that is forbidden to others. Heck I’ve always been an average student who sucks at math more notably than other subjects. What I am trying to say is that I try to think about the stuff that I see other people ignoring. The bottom line is I like to think, you can call it daydreaming or whatever else that suits your perception of me developed through your assessment of the way I write.

I enjoy blogging because it provides me with a platform where I can convert my thoughts to something useful rather than remaining idle thoughts. It provides me with an opportunity to transform my dreams into works of fiction which I think other people enjoy reading. It gives me joy to think that there’s someone halfway across the world, a stranger, who smiles at a joke I made or who cries because of something inexplicable in my writing that may have touched something inside him or her that made that person feel something or help him identify a feeling he/she hadn’t realized was there to be felt. That’s all I wish to do. I want to make people feel; to share in what were once idle thoughts running through my head. That is what blogging is to me. That is what writing is to me. And that is the work that I wish to do. I wish to be free to think and to write. I may be young but I like to think I am wise. I may be careless but I like to think that’s its simply because the things that mean so much to you mean nothing to me, but for you I’ll try.

But reality has to intervene at some point. I can’t keep on blogging simply because I wish to. It’s not a hobby for me and as yet I don’t think that I have approached it as a professional. But I’d like to keep on going, simply because I enjoy doing so. There are tens of thousands of others like me that use platforms such as Word press to share their thoughts with the world and I have to say that it’s a thriving community. The blogosphere is full of talented people who spend years honing their craft and yet true success is a rare thing. There are many people who blog just for themselves. I am not one of those people and at the same time I am one of them. I blog so that other people know what it is that I would never have been able to convey in front of a microphone but can easily do so on a sheet of digital paper, something which I believe is worth sharing, something beautiful and useful and a product of my mind.

I want you ‘dear reader’ to share this article with the world. I want you to help me continue what I am doing because you have the power to do so simply by clicking a button. I want you to share my thoughts with that stranger halfway across the world. You’ve seen me come this far, for you I’d like to go farther, because it is for you that I write and you that I thank for allowing me to come this far.

Yours faithfully,

Shitij.

(Please share this article, I want the world to know the value of our words)

PS – I wrote this article a year ago and since then a lot has changed. I published my first novel this year and am on the brink of finishing the second one. I’m thankful to all the people who encouraged me and made this possible.

Here’s a link to the book in case you would like to take a look

#TGFR QUOTES I

He remembered gazing at the sky in wonder as a child. That was where they told him the dead went. They became stars in the night sky, an insurmountable distance away..png

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LDFM9EK

https://web.facebook.com/shitijsharma24

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15191017.Shitij_Sharma

MUDMEN – The Quest for Humanity(OUT NOW!!!)

This is my second book and the first in a new series that I’ve been working on. I published my first novel when I was nineteen, been a month since I turned twenty. Either way – do read, review and share!

What if you thought you could play a better god than God?

Mudmen is a story unlike anything you have ever seen before. It all starts with a half-crazed dwarf scribbling furiously on a piece of paper while the world outside his little cottage is ravaged by a great storm. There is an artifact in his possession which gives him power over all else, but that artifact is stolen by the very creatures that he gave birth to in his frustration – these creatures are what we come to know as the Mudmen.

The first book of the series will be available for purchase on 1st February, 2017.

Excerpt-

And for the first time in days he dreamt. He was climbing up a hill. It was the dead of the night and moonlight was his only guide to what lay ahead. His short legs carried him up the hill at a far slower pace than he had expected to cover.

Wait! What had he expected to cover?
All of a sudden the ground beneath his feet began to shake and a grumbling sound emanated from the top of the hill. It was almost as if the great giant that rests beneath the earth had finally decided to move and he was standing directly over him.
Why were there no trees on the hill? Why was the ground so barren?
He saw a light at the top, an orange glow that seemed to be taking on a more solid form as each second passed by and every step he took brought him closer to it. It was almost as if the night sky was on fire.
Oh no. This was not a hill. It was a volcano, one that was about to spew forth molten lava and rocks.
He fell down as the earth beneath his feet shook even more violently. A black cloud of smoke blocked out the moon but he could see the world around him a lot clearer now in the light of the fire that rained from the skies above. He turned around, willing himself to run away but his feet would not obey him. And then he remembered that he had to get to the top of the volcano no matter what happened, for what waited for him at the top was the only thing that mattered.

Amazon link – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N28AVAP

Amazon link (India) – https://www.amazon.in/dp/B01N28AVAP

Goodreads link – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34093278-mudmen—the-quest-for-humanity

MUDMEN – A Delirious Tale

What if you thought you could play a better god, than God?

Mudmen is a story unlike anything you have ever seen before. It all starts with a half-crazed dwarf scribbling furiously on a piece of paper while the world outside his little cottage is ravaged by a great storm. There is an artifact in his possession which gives him power over all else but that artifact is stolen by the very creatures that he gave birth to in his frustration – these creatures are what we come to know as the Mudmen.

The first book of the series will be available for purchase on amazon on 1st February, 2017.

Book                                                                           Release Date

MUDMEN – The Quest For Humanity.                              1st February, 2017.

MUDMEN -The Dream Guide                                              1st March, 2017.

MUDMEN – The Essence of Darkness                               1st April, 2017.

Click on this link to read Mudmen (The Quest for Humanity) – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N28AVAP

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