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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 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

BLOODHOUND-I

I used to think that I understood what this was about,what my life was about.But with the passage of time my perspective changed as well.Still it happened far too late. Had it changed but a year earlier I might have been on different road today, living a much simpler life. But then again we are all victims of time. So what right do I of all people have to complain?

I am a survivor.I used to think that was what life was about, survival, the strength to stand against the odds of the world to live another day. I was wrong.I despised heroes because most heroes tend to die young but survivors do not.

I having lived longer than most now wished that I too had died a hero rather than be branded as a coward. That however is a lie. Survival too takes courage but more than courage it requires cunning which heroes lack.

They had destroyed my way of life by killing the people who helped me live it.I had hungered for revenge but the survivor within told me that I would not survive the confrontation.

Now years later I have returned to take my revenge.I have not lived for I have not loved since the day they took away my ability to love. In that I am a coward for love is too painful….

I look around.The door is ajar which is highly unusual for the paranoid Mr.Hussie. I peer through the window of the living room which is slightly open, yet another anomaly. The room seems to be empty.I cautiously creep through the open doorway and up the staircase.
And there he is.The frail old man is sitting in his bedroom .His proud head is buried in his hands.His hands are shaking.

“What’ s the matter Mr.Hussie,”I ask.He sits upright all of a sudden, startled to hear the sound of my voice.

“Get away. You have taken everything from me,what more do you want now?.

“No not everything,” I whisper softly, taking in the surroundings. But maybe he is right, the only thing he has left to sacrifice is his life and that does not seem to be worth much after all, at the very least not to him.

His shirt is red and damp with blood but the blood does not belong to him. There is a human carcass lying mutilated on the rug . It’s his blood that is on Mr. Hussie’s hands and on his shirt but figuratively its on mine, the hands i mean not the shirt.

to be continued…….

While I am working on this story, you can check out my novel here – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LDFM9EK

JUST EVERYDAY STORIES – INSOMANIA

“I can’t sleep”, he muttered to no one in particular. It didn’t matter though because an annoyed voice answered him anyway.

“Maybe you would sleep if you just shut your eyes and stopped complaining for a few minutes”.

“I really am trying, you don’t need to be such a jackass about it”.

“And you need to stop calling me that. Anyways what’s the matter with you? You’ve never had trouble sleeping before.”

“How the fuck would you know if I have trouble sleeping or not?”

“I have  been sharing this room with you for the past six months, that’s how I know. Who’s the jackass now?”

“Whatever,” he grunted looking up at the ceiling.

 

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.”

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.

Coming down with Claustrophobia

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