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shitijsharma24

A story is only as good as the storyteller.

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dreams

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’.

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

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

REALITY CHECK

distorting-reality03

source – google images

“We never stop to consider that our beliefs are only a relative truth that ‘s always going to be distorted by all the knowledge we have stored in our memory.”-Miguel Angel Ruiz

The man was already there when I arrived. There was a gap among the railings where the man was standing. It seemed as if something had crashed through the railing carrying away a part of it. I passed by him unnoticed and moved on to the other end of the bridge feeling secure under the cloak of solitude.
He stood there for a long time. He looked like a statue frozen in time. He didn’t move a muscle, didn’t even move his neck. He simply gazed into the distance to whatever was waiting for him. Then he took a small step forward and plummeted into the darkness or maybe light. I felt a cool breeze brush against my skin and then I was falling. The still sheet of water parted like shards of glass as my body hit the water. I was drowning. The murky waters of the river were surrounding me, trying to blanket me in their embrace. How did I get here? It was the man who was had jumped not me. I tried to fight against the pull of the water but I was no longer in control of my body. My limbs no longer obeyed my brain.
I woke up, gasping for air. I was drenched in sweat. The fear of not being in control smothered me. After sometime my breathing returned to normal. I took a sleeping pill along with the glass of water kept beside my bed. Sometime later i fell into an uneasy slumber.
I woke up feeling light-headed, the fears of last night forgotten in anticipation of a new day. I called out to my wife but there was no answer. She must have already set out to drop over daughter off to school. I prepared breakfast for myself and then set off to work. I was the professor of history at the local college whereas my wife taught in school. She usually took the car to go to school and come back with our daughter while i took a cab as our destinations were in the opposite directions.
While sitting in the back my thoughts again wandered off to my wife and only child. She was a lively twelve year old. She was an excellent musician and could already play the piano quite well. Her music teacher called her a prodigy and said by the time she was old enough, She would be able to get into top institutions for music.
I ran into the Dean while walking towards my class. He looked sad and surprised at the same time on seeing me. He gently put his hand on my shoulder. “How are you?”, he asked me. I told him I was fine and touched by his concern for me. He looked sad but for some reason he always looked sad. He simply patted my shoulder and moved on.
For some reason I did not have a single class that day. I decided to speak to the Dean over this matter the following day but was content for the time being grading essays based on the French revolution. All of my colleagues were in a somber mood and more than one of them enquired after my welfare.
I returned home that evening only to find that my wife and daughter had not yet come home. At first I was worried but then remembered that it was a Tuesday and she had music lessons.
But as it grew late I began to worry. I tried to call my wife but she didn’t pick up. I decided to take a walk in the direction of their school.
I recognised the bridge from my dream as it was very similar. I walked towards the railing like a man in a trance. My thoughts returned to my family once more. What did my daughter look like? Why couldn’t I remember what she looked like? I had reached the railing by this time and was climbing over it when someone caught hold of my collar and pulled me back. I turned around to look into my father s face.
“The dean said that you visited the college today” he said,” I was worried”

.
I tell him that I was worried because my wife and daughter were late from school. He looks bewildered and says” There was an accident two weeks ago, your wife is dead”. I feel sick as if I am about to vomit.
” But what about her, where is she?
“ Her?”
“ Yes my daughter, where is she?”
He looks at me with pity and confusion,“ You do not have a daughter”, he says.

The ground shifts beneath my feet as I collapse.
Twelve years ago my wife gave birth to a daughter who was still born. We were unable to have any more kids. It was traumatic for both of us but we moved on, our love only grew. My wife died in a car accident which took place on the very bridge where I collapsed a week ago. The accident took place two months ago. Her car steered off the bridge carrying away a part of the railing while trying to avoid a collision with another car which had stopped in the middle of the road.
My psychiatrist tells me that it was the death of my wife which finally tipped me over. Reality was too harsh so I created a distorted version of it in which I had a daughter and my wife was still alive.
My father has moved in with me after the incident on the bridge. He looks after me. Most days I bear the crushing weight of my loss and come to terms with reality. But some days the weight is too much to bear. I call out to my wife and think of the daughter who is a figment of my imagination.

Moment

I rolled down the windows and let the air caress my face and soothe my aching thoughts. She sat there in the seat right next to mine yet she was farther away than ever before.
Her head rested on the window’s edge and the wind messed up her hair.I wanted to say something but the words caught in my throat. All I can think of is her trying to smile at me through the tears streaming down her face.

 

 

 

SIX WORD STORIES

He cried, blinded by his insight.

Of WORDS AND BROKEN HEARTS

“Do you have something that you wish to say to me?”
“A lot of things actually”
“Then why don’t you say them?”
“I’m afraid that my words will drive you away.”
“I could be no farther apart from you than I’m right now”
“I don’t want to lose you”
“You never had me in the first place. You do want us to be closer, don’t you?”
“Yes I do.”
“Then say what it is that you wish to say, if it pleases me I’ll stay and if not, well then it would not really make any difference for I was never here in the first place.Now what are you afraid of?”
“My mind knows the truth but the heart is such a frail little thing, easily broken.”
“Well then, this is goodbye. Protect your little heart while I wait for someone who loves me enough to risk having it scarred.”

EPIC ONE LINERS -BOX VIEW

“THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX,” HE SAID.

“WHAT BOX?,” SHE REPLIED.

STRANGE PEOPLE AND STRANGER CONNECTIONS

People tend to connect over the strangest of things

shared misfortune

music

a misplaced smile

circumstances

likes

dislikes…..

shared hometown when in another city/ country(Somali K Chakrabarti )

 The same UNREQUITED love..(Divya)

that unknown helping hand amidst the crowd.. those random smile which are similar to mine (Divya)

the same heart beating around 24*7 but divided amongst borders!(Divya)

the same tears which are unstoppable upon the death of our Martyr!(Divya)

You are free to add to this list in the comments section and I will periodically update this post along with your input.

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