[55 Fiction] – Six Pack!

I have always been curious to try my hand at 55 fiction.

Here goes my maiden attempt. The first six!

 Strange encounter

Insomnia drove him to office at 6.30 AM. He went straight to the deserted cafeteria.

He was sipping coffee alone, when his acquaintance from housekeeping caught up with him.

After chatting for a while, he went to his desk.

On opening the mailbox, he froze.

That guy he just met had died the previous night.

Breaking the ice

She was the cynosure of all eyes at that ritzy event.

Decked in dazzling black – she was an angel in devil’s color.

He couldn’t take his eyes off her; desperate to talk.

She was struggling with the ice bucket. He stepped forward to help, accidentally knocking the bucket off her hands.

The ice was broken!

Gifts of Love

Madly in love, they seemed to be perfectly made for each other.

Their heavenly bonding was well and truly beyond the trivialities of materialistic charm.

Yet gifts were exchanged in abundance – as a testimony to their affection.

The most memorable gift was, of course, the one she gifted him last.

It was her wedding invitation.

Midnight summer

It was past midnight. Sleep was lost.

He was sweating profusely; choking for breath.

He hated every moment of it. A torture akin to marrying that one person you despise, the most!

He prayed for deliverance.  But there was no escape. No place to run or hide.

Power cut in summer – a trip to hell.

The Lord’s Devotee

He quickly jumped up the ranks and was touted to be The Lord’s successor in His drug cartel.

He skillfully thwarted many an attempt on The Lord’s life.

As His faithful devotee, he wouldn’t let anyone else even hurt Him.

And it remained that way till His end.

It was he who killed The Lord!

Free Lunch 

One of the perks of his job was those free lunches.

He loved it, especially if it was Friday. He could return home directly.

Unfortunately, for him, the elevator in his block was not functioning.

He was on 16th floor and labored his way up to 15.

Before realizing he was in the wrong block.

PS:

* I couldn’t resist having Six Pack as the title. Had to use it somewhere !

[Poem] Across the stairway…

Image Credit : ConstantToker (Deviantart)

Never used to believe in love at first sight

Until I saw her across the stairway, other night

Eyes wide open, I stood there in disbelief

Pinched myself hard, oddly the pain was a relief

Alas, I have gone insane, the thought was frightening

Oh, her dazzling charm had truly struck me like a lightning

Took a step forward, with newly found courage

Drawn by the mysterious gravity of her stunning visage

Nowhere to be seen, my heart skipped a beat

Scanned all around, resilience never took a retreat

Now I definitely believe she was my love at first sight

Though I never saw her again, since that wonderful night…

Till death do us part – Final Chapter

– Chapter 1 –

– Chapter 2 –

– Chapter 3 –

– Chapter 4 –

 Chapter 5 –

How the mind perceives events during its nascent self ends up in shaping the way it acts/reacts to situations and the decision it makes. The course in which the river of life flows could be determined by a single action or that once decision. This is essentially what is described by The Butterfly Effect, which is a part of Chaos Theory.  Chaos – yes chaos.

December 6 1992:

Ameen’s mind, when young, unfortunately was fated to witness the cruel repercussions of heinous acts, of one selfish group of tortured souls, wreak havoc in his life. Someone’s act originating from a sole intent of spreading chaos took its wings and flew right into his tranquil life and brutally pecked away almost all traces of happiness.

When he rushed back home, he found out all that would be remaining is his life, besides the other sole survivor, were the memories and lessons that he learnt from his father. He had to find within himself the resolve to stick to the path of love and respect, that his father had pointed him towards, and not deviate from it.

February 14, 1998:

When Ashika’s friends had rushed to his doorstep with the news that she was caught in the midst of a clash that had erupted, it was déjà vu. It was at that moment Ameen had chosen to take a detour in the path paved for him, by his father. He didn’t want to lose her and vowed to himself that only people who love and respect others deserved to be reciprocated and the ones who didn’t had to be taught a lesson by being given a dose of their own medicine.

With this new found fury, he raced to the scene. Unaware to himself, the rage had given him a tunnel vision. He reached there with the sole intent of hatred and disrespect and didn’t think twice before striking Amar, who was there trying to save Ashika.

Ashika crying out “AMEEN” should have brought him to the right senses the first time around. But sadly it didn’t. Now there was blood in his hands. Blood that he wanted to wash away, but it refused to go. Everything had happened so quickly. Amar, on the first occasion had taken a blow from him.  And then he had taken a blow for him.

When the blow was from him, Ameen was able to make amends and bring back Amar. But when the blow was taken for him, there was nothing he could do. It was fatal. Fate intervened yet again, with a message that hatred begets more hatred and easily destroys love. Death had done Amar and Ashika part.

Ameen had a lot of questions that needed answering, but no one would be doing it for him. Ashika never spoke to him again. She had decided to seek solace by distancing herself from him. She accepted her onsite assignment and flew far away. Whenever he mustered the courage to contact her, she never responded. After a while he gave up.

Ameen always believed in his heart that Amar would have been the ideal one for Ashika and wanted them to get married. He was furious because neither of them, he thought, trusted him enough. His plan was to tell them on that ill-fated afternoon. But destiny had other plans. His buttery effect moment, the decision to deal hatred with hatred on that Feb 14, actually had its roots in the events of that Dec 6. Chaos was the loss of Amar.

Now Ameen knew that only true love can overcome hatred. He was again left with memories and little bit of hope. Memories of what hatred had taken away from his life – first his father, then his dearest friend Amar. Hope for a miracle to bring some sunshine into his life.

Slowly, and steadily, the city of Coimbatore was recovering from Valentine day’s disaster of 1998. Ameen just wished that Ashika would somehow find it in her heart to forgive him, her brother…

 —— Life goes on with hope —–

Till death do us part – Chapter 4

Chapter 1 –

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

“Doesn’t it hurt when your friend decides to keep things secret from you, Amar?”  Ameen asked casually, as he steered the car towards the Coimbatore Railway Junction.

Huh?” Amar responded, pretending he did not hear.

“I have one such one unfortunate friend”

“I don’t think I understand what you are saying, Ameen” shot back Amar with a quizzical look, fighting hard to mask his guilt.

There was no reply from Ameen as he hit the sudden break and the car came to screeching halt.

Oops, I almost drove past the red signal” he said, after a few seconds of silence.

Which friend and what secret are you talking about?” Amar shot the question, hoping he sounded indifferent. But Ameen kept silence, as the signal turned green and the car slowly moved forward, gradually shifting towards top gear.

Skip it. You wouldn’t know. You are my most trustworthy one, besides Ashika” Ameen said, as he slammed the brake again. This time because he almost overran the railway junction. He took a sharp right and drove in.

Amar, go on and check if the train has arrived. I will park the car and be right with you

Sure”, said Amar as he got down. Ameen’s words of confidence still seared his heart. There was no hint of sarcasm in his tone, when he said it.

Does he know? Should I have confided in him? What is going on in his mind? All of this and more such questions were rummaging through Amar’s conscience for answers.

Raptisagar express was scheduled to arrive at 7:55 AM and Amar made his way to the platform where it was slated to arrive. He checked the clock it was 7.45 AM. He leaned against the wall, lost deep in thought, as he waited for Ameen and the train to arrive.

February 14, 1998:

Curiosity often wins over common sense. And it did, despite the fear that had engulfed Amar. He broke from his trance and started advancing (curiosity), instead of retreating (common sense), towards the direction of explosion. It turned out to be a timber store. Someone had thrown an explosive from a moving vehicle and the thatched roof was set ablaze. There was absolute chaos and panic. People had gathered by large. Amongst them benevolent or brave very quite a few, benevolent and brave were just a handful.

Luckily those handful of people swung into action, inspiring the rest. No lives trapped in the burning structure helped to an extent. Once the fire settled down, all it took was just a spark to ignite the differences between the masses. That is when a more common trait took over – prejudice. Someone thought out loud on which faith would have been responsible for this. That was sufficient to dichotomize the group. There were finger pointing and yelling and very soon a clash erupted.

Unaware of the melee, a gang of pre-teens girls had bicycled their way though that street. This instigated a couple of guys from the mob to turn their attention towards these innocent passers-by. While the swift among the females managed to flee from the scene, a fear-stuck young one stood there, immobilized. Amar was just a spectator from a safe distance, until he saw this.

Gallantry overcame fear and he sprung into action. He neither had a Plan A or Plan B, but ran towards that girl, hoping someone would notice and help them out. He planted himself between the girl and those guys, facing her with his back turned to the two goons. He shot a look of reassurance towards here, as he got ready to turn and face the advancing menace. Before he could do that, he felt a hard fist across the side of his face.

AMEEN” the girl screamed and that was the last thing Amar heard before passing out.

“AMAR” he heard someone calling out. He realized the train had arrived and he turned around to see Ashika standing there, with an expression of pleasant shock. She didn’t expect to see him there and with it went her plans of surprising him.

While Amar, in his confused state, couldn’t think of a response, he heard another familiar voice.

So, are you guys up to something that I shouldn’t know?” It was Ameen

This time, Amar didn’t turn back to see what Ashika’s expression looked like. He only wished that he would pass out right there and hopefully wake up to realize this was just a bad dream.

—— End of Chapter 4 —–

Till death do us part – Chapter 3

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Evil has the immense potential to make a head start in the race against Good. In twisted minds lies its abode – where it takes guilty pleasure in forging wicked ideas, which it easily spreads with the ability to take advantage of naïve minds. The tool used varies – it can be money, lust, religion etc., all of which indicates the vulnerability of spirit.

The scars within Ameen ran deep. It made no sense to him how religion became one such tool to forge the most destructive of weapons, served as a ground for many a war and instigated diversity among mankind. Wasn’t it meant to be the exact opposite? Somehow there were too many fragile minds that were compromised by wickedness of twisted minds.

When Ameen was a kid, his father always taught him to believe that every creation of The Almighty is here in this world to respect and love each other. And none of HIS creations would have the slightest of intent to hurt another one. Ameen took it to his heart and resolved himself that he would never ever hurt even an ant.  He learnt the hard way that the world need not think the way we do.

December 6,1992:

It was a peaceful Sunday afternoon. Little Ameen was playing Cricket in his neighborhood maidan. The kids were oblivious to the ill fated happening of that morning. Right now, the only thing that concerned Ameen was winning this game. The previous contest was lost by one run. It was his fault not to have run back for that second run, which would have tied the scores with one ball remaining, and ended up running his partner out.

As he took guard, with perspiration dripping down his forehead, he was determined not let things get out of hand this time. With 6 runs required of the last over, Ameen could not score of the first three deliveries.

“Come on Ameen. At least take a single and give me the strike”, shouted Chinna from the non-striker end.

Ameen steeled himself. Relax. Concentrate. Take a deep breath. Focus. 

He drove the fourth delivery for a 4. That brought down the equation to 2 runs of 2 balls.

“Awesome shot. Take a single bhai. Don’t screw up this one too!” screamed Chinna

The next one was a yorker and Ameen just managed to dig it out at the last moment.

OK! We are going down” went Chinna in a typical “I-told-you-so” tone

Ameen prided himself in being able to thrive in tricky situations. Messing up the previous one had dented his pride. He was not going to let his team down again.

Relax. Concentrate. Take a deep breath. Focus. 

Adversity either brings out the best or the worst in someone. Fortunately, for Ameen, adversity seemed to have brought out worst in the bowler. He bowled a wide, which made it 1 run from 1 ball. Tension was mounting within Ameen as the bowler came running in to bowl the last delivery. It turned out to be a full toss and Ameen whacked it for another boundary and started celebrating.

At that moment, Charukesh, ‘Charu uncle‘, Ameen’s neighbor came rushing to the ground.

“Ameen, you need to come home now”

From his serious expression, Ameen could sense something was wrong. He tried getting an answer from Charu uncle, but he refused to say anything. Ameen found the answers, when they reached home and life was never the same again.

Tears rolled down Ameen’s cheek, anger surged within him, every time the images of that day replayed in his mind. He just wished that he had the ability to rewind the clock and set things right, back in time. The only glimmer of hope, in his depressingly dark life, was Ashika. That was until Amar became his friend, of course.

Ashika had called last evening. She confirmed that she will be starting the next day and will be here on Saturday morning. Ameen had relayed this to Amar. He knew Ashika had plans to surprise Amar. Not only that, both Amar and Ashika had something else they were hiding from him. Only that it was no secret. Ameen knew it.

If Ameen was asked to choose to salvage something from the wreckage of his life, it would be Amar and Ashika. And to think they have belied his trust by trying to keep things under the wraps did not make him happy. He was furious.

—— End of Chapter 3 —–

Till death do us part – Chapter 2

Chapter 1

Murphy’s Law (anything that can go wrong will go wrong) prefers to prove itself at the most unwelcome times. Ashika would vouch for it. It was Friday and she had walked in to office at 7 AM, a time when she would be hitting the snooze button to catch those two extra minutes of “Maggi Nap”, to have her work wrapped up early. She was leaving for a vacation that night and didn’t want any mishaps. Skipped breakfast, lunch at her desk and strictly avoided breaks later she was all set. Or so she thought, when that message flashed on her communicator.

Ashika, I want you on the status call with Brian. We can join from my desk”. It was Bose her Delivery Manager.

Bose, I triple checked all the deliverables. They are perfect :-) ”, she replied

This is something else. Quick, I am dialing in

Oh! I am about to leave for my vacation :-( 

That’s fine. Shouldn’t take long… hopefully

God! This definitely is Murphy’s LawWhy does this always happen to me? She mumbled to herself, adding a dose of expletives.

As she raced towards Bose’s desk, numerous worst-case possibilities was flashing through her mind. She could feel stress coming. So she decided to activate the time machine in her mind to take a trip down the memory lane and revisit some of those happy moments. It was a combat mechanism to ward the stress-attack off.

April 2004 

Ashika was a hopeless romantic. Just that the Juliet in her hadn’t found Romeo yet. In a way ‘hopeless’ was more than apt. She always had fairy tale dreams about her prince charming – about how he would descend straight from the skies, bend on one knee, look straight into her eyes, flash the most romantic smile ever and offer her his hand. Once she takes it, he would rise to his feet, sweep her off hers, take wings and fly with her straight to heaven. This was not just a dream in her sleep, she would dream about it even in broad daylight, with eyes wide open.

Engineering entrance exams had just concluded. And it demanded undivided attention, thanks to the education system. So for months, Ashika had managed to curb her day-dreaming episodes and focused on cramming, which was supposed to help her have the edge over the rest in the herd of engineering aspirants. Now that the exams were done with, she could unwind and rethink about her fantasies. There were no high school romances, as she had the privilege of schooling in the leading Convent of Coimbatore.

In reality, situations seldom coincide with dreams. That held very true for Ashika. When she opened the door that day, on hearing the calling bell, and saw Amar, standing with Ameen, little did she realize that he would actually turn out to be her prince charming. She had seen him before, never really spoke or taken a good look at him. So when their eyes actually met for the first time, she felt mild tremors of excitement coursing through her. Her vocabulary failed to find the right word to describe it. Blame it on the contentment of the exams that had just got over, she told herself.

The same strange sensation reared its head when she saw him again, a few days later. There weren’t any just-concluded-exams scapegoats to blame it on this time around. From that day on, the very thought of Amar made her feel the same. She wondered if he was going through something similar. When she actually found out, what transpired bore little resemblance to her fantasies. But she would take it.

She was woken up from her open-eyed dreamy slumber when Bose tapped on the desk to catch her attention.

Ashika is definitely among the best we got. Excuse me for a minute Brian”, she heard Bose say, as he muted the phone.

“In case you were day dreaming, Brian was appreciating your impeccable delivery, day in and day out”

“Oh yes, yes. I was listening to every single word”, she bluffed

“So what do you say, ready to travel?”

She was taken aback. Where? When? How long? The state of mind she was in right then, the last thing she could do was to make a decision right there.

I would be more than glad. But can we talk about this once I return from vacation, please?”

Sure, think over and let me know as soon as you come back

Thank you. I will

Brian, Ashika is on vacation next week. I will get back to you on this the week after that.” Bose said unmuting.

 “Sure. That’s it for today. Thanks for joining”

 “Thanks and have a nice day” Bose hung up.

 “Shall I leave now Bose? It’s getting late”

 “Yeah, sure.. Enjoy your vacation”

Just in time. Ashika didn’t even say thanks in response, as she was rushing out from there. There was a train to catch. Though it was good 4 hours away, she did not trust the traffic in Chennai. As she boarded a taxi, she thought about her ridiculous idea of surprising Amar by showing up unannounced. When they were talking the previous night, she told him she will be in night shift next day and will call him the following morning.

The taxi came to a screeching halt in front of Chennai Central. The only person she had told about her arrival was Ameen. He would be there to pick her up. A wave of mixed emotions was running through her, as she got on to the train. Excitement of seeing Amar and guilt when she thought of Ameen. Ameen doesn’t know about Amar and her. She was sure he wouldn’t be happy when he found out. She convinced herself that he will understand.

As the train chugged along, she repeated to herself “I will make him understand”.

—— End of Chapter 2 —–

Till death do us part – Chapter 1

The eyelashes tightly held onto each other, refusing to let go, while the eyes struggled to wrench them apart. It was a directive to the eye, from the brain which had sensed a mild pounding. It had gone quite for while and had started again. This time the eye succeeded in breaking up the romantic embrace of the eyelashes.The light of the breaking dawn, which was partly veiled by the haphazardly drawn curtains, managed to scrape through the gap between the two pieces of curtain cloth and hit the eyes.

Amar, squinted instinctively and drew the blanket over his head, cursing under his breath. His already broken sleep was rudely disturbed, this time by the sudden flash of brightness, the appearance of which made no sense to him. As he tossed and turned, he could clearly hear the pounding, which had grew from mild to intense. He realized it was his mobile ringing and groped for it.

HELLO!” he bellowed irritation evident in his voice

Hey buddy”, the voice at the other end responded

Who is this?” Amar shot back, making no effort to identify the voice at other end

Wake up dumbo, it’s me”, the caller shot back.

Running out of patience Amar, sat up from his bed, just about to hurl abuses, when he decided to a look at caller’s identity. The display was flashing the name Ameen, his best friend.

Ameen!!! You have given me a headache man

Get out of bed, you lazy bones. It’s getting late”

“Late for what?”

“You have 15 mins to get ready Amar, unless your face wants to feel the impact of my fists”

With that the call got disconnected. Amar unsure what this was about, dragged himself lazily to the bath, pretty sure he didn’t want his face to meet Ameen’s fists. The memory of their first encounter was still fresh in his mind, and he was very aware how destructive that blow could be.He hurriedly brushed his teeth, and stood under showers. As the jet of icy cold water hit face, his mind drifted back to that day, years ago, when their friendship was forged, amidst chaos, with a fist blow.

February 14, 1998:

It was Valentine’s Day and the unlike the other 364 days of the year, love very much seemed to be in the air. Love-stricken young ones would look forward to this day, more than any other festival on the calendar. Adolescents smitten over someone would eagerly devise plans to open up their hearts. The city of Coimbatore, though not as urbanized as the likes of Chennai or Bangalore, was no exception because Feb 14 was akin to Diwali, Christmas, Eid and every other festival rolled into one and celebrated by the universal followers of the faith called Love.

Amar, in his teens, had no special plans for that day. Fact of the matter is, he was equally attracted to every second girl he came across and it was tough for him to specifically choose the special one. He was merrily walking back home from the neighborhood grocery store, after having picked up a couple of household items for his mom. He glanced around and saw greeting card/gift stores, adorned with varying hues of pink, with hearts of all shapes and sizes hanging everywhere. That brought a smile to his face and he kept marching towards home.

Suddenly, he heard an explosion at a distance. Though he tried to convince himself that it must have been a firecracker going off, Amar noticed his arms were trembling. He wasn’t too sure that fireworks were part of the Valentine’s Day celebration. Nervously he decided to turn back towards to the direction from where the explosion came and saw smoke billowing up into the sky.

No firecracker this”, he realized as he stood transfixed, not able to take a step forward.The voice inside him urged to turn back and run towards his home, which was barely a few blocks away, but his body failed to react.

THUD THUD, he heard a loud bang. It was Ameen banging on his door, breaking Amar out his retrospective journey bringing him back to the present, where he was still standing under the shower.

“MAN! YOU STILL NOT READY YET?” Ameen was shouting from outside his room.

“Give me a minute. Will be out in a flash” Amar replied

“MAKE IT FAST”

“Yeah, in a minute”

Amar turned off the shower, dried himself in a haste, wore his dark blue jean, washed probably a month ago, grabbed a clean White T-shirt from the wardrobe put it on, sprayed liberal doses of perfume, unlatched the door and stepped out.

Come in Ameen

What took you so long? Forgot what day it is?

I know. It’s Saturday

That’s very funny! Stop kidding will you?”

Man, I seriously don’t remember

So it slipped your mind she is coming for holidays today and we have to go and pick her up

Then it stuck Amar. Awww! How could he forget, she was coming back today…Ashika.

If a group of angels had decided come down to earth, there was no doubt in Amar’s mind that there would be fierce competition among them to be incarnated as Ashika.

On Feb 14, 1998, Amar made this vow that he will be friends with Ameen, the same vow he made with Ashika, when she came into his life a few years later – “Till death do us part

 —— End of Chapter 1 —–