Murderer unknown: Mysterious deaths continue.

“Hello Detective Trivedi speaking. Yes Mrs.Clara, What!! another one, how many people? Which area? Did this person also die of a heart attack? Was he also under depression? Wait wait … Please be on hold.” “Hello yes Dr.Kakodkar Oh my God. Did the patient tell you anything before the heart attack? Oh.. okay that’s so pathetic.. okay doctor I hope we find a solution for this. Take care.”

“Yes Mrs. Clara I am sorry for keeping you waiting for so long.”

Detective Trivedi was tense. He had already spent a week with insomnia. This was the 60th person to die within a week in the city. All the victims were healthy just a week ago. The pandemic had nothing to do with them. They did not have any other kind of illness or accident. They were just found silent and inactive for a few days by their relatives. The relatives tried to speak to them and did their best to help them come out of the depression. None of these victims responded. They were referred to many doctors. Even Dr. Kakodkar tried his best as a psychiatrist to walk through the minds of the victims. Every attempt turned futile.

There were no ammunition or nuclear weapons. This threat to lives did not create any external wounds. There was no bloodshed. That ruled out the possibility of finding traces or fingerprints. The forensic department was never informed to look into any of the cases. Many people suspected a foul game like that with The Blue Whale. A few suspected that this could be due to the malignant exposure to dark websites and their vile theories.

The only common element amidst all the deaths was the way they died. Detective Trivedi sent messages in and out of the city. The country was already bound in the tight clutches of the pandemic. He even put up posts on Instagram which discussed the importance of mental health. He only hoped it was not a prank played by a psychopath.

He spent so many sleepless nights. He would only sleep for half an hour and wake up with a jerk as if someone had knocked his head with a golf stick. The collector had given him only a month’s time to solve the mystery as the cases had increased to 85 in a week’s time.

Detective Trivedi kept contacting Dr.Kakodkar for any kind of clues but none of the patients got back to normalcy to explain the cause of the depression. The victims did not belong to a particular age group. The young and the old, the rich and the poor were found in the list of victims.

One night Detective Trivedi received a call at around 2.30 am. It was Dr Kakodkar. He sounded tense and urged the Detective to reach the hospital as soon as possible. With all hope Detective Trivedi rushed to the hospital. A patient named Umar spoke to him. He was the first person to return to normalcy though he had also tread the same traumatic path as all others.

“What is happening to you people? Who is attacking you all? How do you people become like silent zombies? How did you survive it? Who helped you out?”, Detective Trivedi had so many questions. He couldn’t wait for an answer.

Umar broke the string of questions from the excited Detective. “Sir, I shall tell you what I experienced. I am an ordinary man who works on an agricultural farm. I have a happy family consisting of a wife and 2 kids and an animal farm. When the news of the pandemic reached my ears I was scared. My family was also frightened to move out of their house. I was informed to take necessary precautions and I did.

But the people around me and the media kept informing that the pandemic spread like wildfire. This aggravated the tension in my mind with nightmares of death all the time. I became horribly silent and I was tormented and tantalised by those two elements. I wanted to push them away but I couldn’t. I didn’t sleep or eat; neither could I work or even act normal.”

“Who are they? Who is pushing you all to this state of darkness? Have you seen them?”, the Detective went on. Umar looked at the Detective in surprise. “Who told you they are other human beings? We are the culprits. The two things that almost killed me are Fear and Stress. They kept haunting me. The fear that I may die and the stress to somehow escape from the pandemic almost took me to the gates of hell.”

“Then how did you escape from death?”, Detective Trivedi was more baffled and perplexed. “How did the others die? What helped you survive?” Umar looked worried and said, “I am not a research scholar Sir. I don’t know how the others died but I survived because I had Hope.

The animals in the farm showed no fear. I learnt a lesson from them. Maybe the pandemic doesn’t affect them. Yet, even they have their own sources of danger. They are more vulnerable than human beings. When they can be away from the fear and stress of death, I thought I should also train myself to be away from Fear. My animals weren’t stressed. The birds in the sky taught me to be fearless. I realized I have a family to care and I could not leave them.

For a few days I forgot about the threat. I turned a deaf ear to the media. I did my duty as a farmer and as a responsible citizen. I helped as many people as possible and decided to serve till death himself called me. I didn’t want to invite the two agents of death to take me in their custody. I was also in shock but only hope let me recover.”

Detective Trivedi covered his face with his hands and wiped the embarrassed look on his face. He had been hunting for something which was invisible yet omnipresent. If he hadn’t met Umar he would have also fallen into the deadly hands of Fear and Stress.

He immediately instructed Dr. Kakodkar to organize camps where people would talk to the ignorant and the depressed. The victims of the epidemic were treated with medicines but the silent patients were to be treated only with Hope. Detective Trivedi thanked Umar from the bottom of his heart and found his lost sleep as he retired to his bed.

Dear friends,
To live a peaceful life, both physical health and mental health have to be taken care of. Doctors and Vaccines are treating physical health. When one is taken care of we are letting go of the other. Be strong in your mind also. We have only one medicine prescribed by all schools of medicine to maintain good mental health. It is easily available. It is within you. You just have to recognise it and live life in its company. Don’t develop fear and don’t get stressed. They are more dangerous than the pandemic itself. Be indoors and be safe. Live life peacefully.

Difficulties in life is like the carbon di oxide in the air.

We don’t refuse to breathe though we know it is there.

Let’s learn to choose only goodness from the environment around us.

Deal problems with some hope without making a fuss.

The resonance of a comrade at peace

The first time you touched my head
I knew I would have only happiness ahead.
The way you cuddled me in your arms,
Made life so blissful like a magic charm.
Who else in this world could care as much as you?
You are an epitome of kindness; beings like you are very few.

Your eyes always overflow with smiles and loving looks.
I could sit and try to understand you like an encyclopedia book.
You taught me to eat, to smile and to sleep
We walked side by side and spoke matters so deep.
During our highs and during our lows,
Our only tremendous relief was from the fight with our pillows.

Nights were awesomely secure with you by my side,
Days were so lively, though we had so many rules to abide by.
I thank dear God for sending me as your companion.
You are so soft hearted, though mighty as a champion.
When I see you worried during nights I don’t sleep,
I get more anxious as to why you love me so deep.

Do I deserve all this love and care?
Am I not a burden for you to always take a share?
A share of your attention, a share of your time;
A share of your emotions for every action of mine.

I am sorry, if I hurt you anytime,
I shall make it up to you by giving you all that’s mine.
Today I have put myself to an eternal sleep
I hope you are not angry for leaving you, i didn’t mean to cheat
I shall wait for you dear brother for ages to come
I shall wait in heaven with your cookies for a grand welcome.

Dear friends,
This is not the speech of a dog to his owner. It is a whisper heard from a grave. The speech heard by a dog from the grave of his fellow dog. A dog named Tommy passed away leaving his childhood companion Fluffy alone in this world. Fluffy was deaf from the day he was born. Today was the first day he heard the first sound and that was his friend’s voice from the grave. Tears rolled in the eyes of the onlookers when they saw Fluffy crying with the head on the grave. Little did they know that Fluffy was hearing the voice of his friend. Obediently and silently, Fluffy joined his dearest friend in heaven.

True love and true care can be felt in any way,
It need not be declared aloud, they can even come as whispers from the grave.

Prisoner of the mind

“Hey Popat, good morning”, said Mittoo, fluttering his bright green wings, holding a long chilly in his bright red beak. 

Mittoo and Popat were thick childhood friends. They were born to different mammas of neighbouring trees. Mittoo’s mom was killed by a cat. Since then, Mittoo and Popat were brought up together. 

“How are you? How is your new cage? Here is a gift for your ‘cage’ warming“, giggled Mittoo. As he plucked the chilly from Mittoo’s beak, Popat said, “Com’on Mittoo, stop teasing me. You know I did not want this life right. We were so happy together. I still remember the way we used to play in the corn fields and get chased by the farmer. You are so lucky. You still get to fly to our favourite spots, don’t you?” 

“Popat, don’t feel sad. I told you many times to fly high with me, wherever I went. I encouraged you so many times but you were so reluctant and you never wanted to come out of your comfort zone and try how it felt to fly high. You always felt you would die if you fly high. I know we cannot fly as high as the eagle but of course we can fly higher than the sparrows. You used to let yourself down very often and feel so low about yourself. You compare yourself either with those mighty eagles and say you can’t fly that high; or with those beautiful yet proud peacocks and say you cannot dance; or with our sweet voiced musicians- the cuckoo’s and the nightingales and say you can’t sing.

You kept comparing yourself with others and developed so much inferiority complex, that you became blind to your own talents”, said Mittoo in a disheartened tone.

“Mittoo, I tried once. Don’t you remember?”

“Oh yes I do, I do”, mocked Mittoo, “but what happened Popat? You broke your wing mildly. Just one or two feathers of your wings must have fallen off but you gave up so easily that you decided the sky was not for you anymore and happily entered the cage where you are right now. Do you know how many times I have fallen from the sky? Do you know how many times I have broken my wings? Do you know how many feathers I have lost? If a bird has to stop flying just because it loses one or two feathers from a wing it will always remain on the earth like a crawling snake. He’ll only have to look up at the sky and yearn forever. It will never get the happiness of flying high and looking at all the creations from that beautiful height.”

Popat remained silent and replied,”You are so right Mittoo I gave up so easily and now in this house in which I live, I find another person just like me. This human friend Vijay, who is actually preparing for NEET exams seems so depressed. Every night he keeps awake till 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. He sits near me and goes on learning but I don’t think he understands anything. Many times I feel he is just like me learning something and speaking it out without understanding its meaning. Atleast I get chillies and fruits for speaking those words. But I don’t think Vijay gets any mark for the way he is learning. 

He is like me in so many ways. He has caged himself in this house and never socializes. Just because he lost in his first and second attempt he has given up preparing for any exam. I wish he had a friend just like you who could give him a piece of his mind. By the way, how is your human friend Tina? Did you see her again?”

Mittoo shook off the seeds of the guava, which he was nibbling on and said, “Oh yes. Tina is fabulous. The other day she was talking with her friends and said that she had completed her exams and had got a job in a new firm. Nothing is going to stop her from being successful. Atlast all her difficulties in life have come to an end. I salute her for the way she stood boldly facing all the tempests in her life. I still remember the days when she used to cry under the guava tree. I really wished I could go and help her. When children came to the garden, she used to wipe her tears off and smile. She said she had signed the papers in the court and is a free bird.” 

Popat was impressed and had the longing for freedom in his eyes. When Mittoo interrupted his thoughts by asking,”Popat why don’t you try to make an effort to fly high at least now? By now you should have realised as long as you are in your comfort zone you will never succeed and you never achieve what you want to do. Look at me. Be like me. Come out. Come let’s fly.” He continued saying,

Popat got furious. “Stop making fun of me. Can’t you see I am caged and this is my new cage? How do I even come out of it?” 

Mittoo couldn’t control his laughter. He said, “Popat, I thought Vijay had caged you and made you a prisoner but I don’t think so. You have become a prisoner of your mind. You have got so used to being a prisoner in this cage that you didn’t even notice that this cage did not have a lock. One good push with your beak will open this cage wide enough for you to come out and breathe some fresh air in the open air in the open sky.”

Popat was shocked. “Oh my God! How is it that I didn’t even see that?”, saying so Popat gave one good push with his beak and the door of the cage opened wide enough for him to fly out. Nobody noticed that he was out. 

Popat and Mittoo happily flew to their favourite cornfield and then flew higher up to sit on the top of a tender coconut. Mittoo took him to a nearby village, just to enjoy the sweet guavas. He said, “This is my gift for you, my friend.”

This time Mittoo really meant the gift. It was not for his ‘cage warming‘ but for his true housewarming, which was a wide world filled with freedom.

Searching for freedom around you is like searching for a needle in a haystack.

Look for it inside you. It will be there untouched and intact. 

Death by a sentence

“When he was ten he asked for an air gun and a nunchaku when he was 12. I wonder what he would want for his 18th birthday”, wondered Yashwanth Singh. As he was driving back home from the bank, where he had been toiling for the past 20 years, Yashwanth pondered about his son’s choices in life. Arjun Singh was his second child.

Yashwanth had lost his elder son Karan Singh, in a stampede at Bhopal. The dacoits had ambushed the village in Rewa district, which was Yashwanth’s hometown.The houses were plundered and many innocent people were slaughtered. Yashwanth had gone to the nearby cow shed to get milk for the family. As Karan was restless, he took him along. Little did he expect the sudden attack of the heartless savages. Karan had run a little away to the meadows to play with his favourite calf. After the brutal dacoity, Yashwanth came back home with the corpse of Karan and swore never to get back to Rewa.

Yashwanth was now worried, as very often Arjun was found fighting with his friends. He was quite violent and showed great interest in extremism. Yashwanth enrolled Arjun in a karate class bearing the dialogue from the movie The Karate Kid in mind.

Kung Fu is for knowledge, defense. Not to make war, but create peace.

By the time Yashwanth reached home, he had decided on a gift for his son. But the moment he stepped into his home Arjun demanded his gift. “Daddy, could you please get me a katana.” Yashwanth was shocked. He agreed but decided to speak to his son that evening.

After a very enthusiastic and joyful day, Arjun was called by his father. “Arjun, could you please get the black paper bag from my table? Be careful not to drop it.” Arjun ran to his dad’s room just to get back quickly to continue his favourite Ninja Warrior Sword fighting game on his mobile. Yashwanth opened the bag and handed over a red box to Arjun.

“Here beta this is a gift I chose for you for this special birthday”, he said. Arjun scowled at his dad, “What is this? I did not ask you this. I am sure a katana will not fit into such a small box. Daddy, I asked you something which looks like a sword. What is this? Is it some kind of a joke dad?”

Yashwanth stayed calm till his son had poured out his teenage anger and replied, “Beta, this gift which I have for you is mightier than a sword. You may not realise its value today. But mark my words son, this weapon will stand by you during your worst times and your best times. I want you to use this pen and understand the reason why I gave you.”

Five years later there came a blow that shook Arjun very badly. His father passed away in his sleep after receiving a news that broke his heart very badly. Yashwanth suffered a cardiac arrest. The bank for whom he had toiled for 30 years fired him and had registered a case with the CBI for embezzlement of funds. The CBI conducted their enquiry in the most horrendous manner and found nothing against Yashwanth.

Though Yashwanth was innocent he was not absolved of any crime. Instead, the newspapers wrote nonsense and websites published a news stating,
“A special court has convicted a former employee of ***** for embezzlement of funds. Mr.Yashwant Singh, now 50, has made “pecuniary gains” of over 20 crores in his time. He has been sentenced to six months in jail.” This news spread like wildfire. Heartless relatives and envious neighbors kept calling just to find out the address of the prison. Yashwanth Singh could not withstand any of this. His last talk with his son was, “Beta did I not tell you, a pen is mightier than a sword. A PEN could Put an End to a Name and had the Power to Exaggerate the Normal.

Only after this tragedy, Arjun took the pen out of the box. Though he had the urge to kill all the people who were responsible for his father’s death he couldn’t move a muscle. He understood that the pen would help him get justice for his father. He wrote a series of letters directly to the judge, the Chief Minister and the then Prime Minister. He didn’t lose hope. He chose all sources of communication. Few agencies took his articles and a few rejected.

It took two years for him to realise the fruit of his determined labour. He received a letter from the bank inviting him for a discussion. He demanded the presence of a judge, a panel of lawyers and of course the Press. There was a heated argument against his demand but the bank had to abide by his demand as they had already burdened their shoulders carrying the blame for the death of an honest innocent bank officer.

The following day newspapers bore the following lines, “Late.Mr. Yashwanth Singh found innocent. **** bank absolves him from the embezzlement case. The court along with the CBI register their apologies for the mental harassment caused. All the retirement benefits and documents under custody have been returned to the family members of Mr. Yashwanth Singh.” Tears rolled down Arjun Singh’s face. As he sat on his father’s favourite chair, he recollected his father’s words that a PEN is mightier than a sword.

It is your hand, that operates the sword and the pen.
One instrument kills slowly, another puts an immediate end.
Instruments of any type are like double edged swords;
Decide when to use them and create no pain or woes.
Words are more powerful than any form of cyanide.
Be cautious when you use it, as a word uttered once can never be denied.

The accidental lesson

Mom: ‘Shall we all plan a holiday? It’s been long since we stepped out of our house. Come on everybody pack your bags.’

Sooraj: (jumping from his bed) Oh my God… Is this really happening?? I had given up on travelling. I doubted if we would ever hear these statements any day? I was waiting for somebody to ask us these questions. 

Grandpa: (looking out of the door longingly) Even my heart yearns to get out of this door and explore the vast world around me, which is waiting with surprises and wonderful things to love and cherish. 

At this point, we could not resist and we decided to step out of our house with one small bag in each hand. The bag would be just enough to keep our tickets and a few cards. In another bag we had decided to take around 4 to 5 sets of dresses. We did not want to burden ourselves too much because we wanted to return to our house with a load full of memories. 

Sooraj: Let’s start searching for the best mode of transport. It should be the most exciting, yet safe.

Mom: When I look through the roadways I don’t feel safe. There is the danger of accidents because none of the drivers drive sensibly on the roads. Each driver follows his own set of rules and I do not want my long journey to come to a quick end. 

Sooraj: That sounds sensible. Then my next choice would be an aeroplane. Though the rates are quite high I think we would be safer flying in the air amidst the clouds than among vehicles and unbothered people. 

Dad: I don’t think an aeroplane would give me as much excitement as a journey by train because it will be boring. How long would I watch the clouds, how long would I see the same passengers’ faces? Would they all wear masks? How would I see them smile? I won’t understand a word they speak. That is a big problem. Our journey would get monotonous and the spirit and joy of  travelling would be lost. 

Mom: (in a serious tone) Ship is out of question because basically I am very very impatient. I want things to happen quickly and by the time I reach the destination, I fear I would lose the love of travelling and lose the thirst for exploration. There is also a fear in my mind of the ship being redirected to some other direction, to some other country, due to natural disasters. 

Grandpa: (hesitantly) Though it sounds funny, I think trains will be the safest for so many reasons. It is surely economical, the natural calamities don’t interfere much and we will be amidst trees and hills rather than the suffocating clouds. It is more disciplined than any other mode of transport. Where there is discipline there are zero chances for accidents and chaos.

Sooraj: What dadaji??? Where does discipline come in a train?

Mom, Dad: (in a mocking tone)  We know you like to travel by train but don’t try to merge your military discipline with your mode of travel.

Grandpa: Hey millennials listen to me. I may be a ‘defence’ person from the previous generation but I don’t want you to think I am obsessed about discipline or that I have turned insane due to my old age. Sooraj, how do trains move? 

Sooraj: Dadaji, trains move on the rails. In fact only on them. Oh….. yes, now it makes sense dadaji

Grandpa: (smiled) Very true.. They have tracks and so they move in a disciplined manner. Maybe that’s why they are called trains. They are long vehicles trained to move in a certain direction in a very systematic manner. If you take the train off the track, it will be free. But where would it go? Won’t it go off track? Anything which goes off track will end in a disaster. 

Sooraj: (excited) Dadaji, is it like a flying kite? I always felt the string pulled the kite downwards and didn’t let it fly. But today when the string broke, the kite flew away to the neighborhood. It was then that I realised, it was the string that kept the kite disciplined and let it fly steadily.  

Dad: (with raised eyebrows) That is rather wholesome. Awesome observation Sooraj.

(Turning towards his father) I agree papa. Without discipline none of us would have a safe life. You laid the track for me and I believe I am laying it for my son. 

Grandpa: You are and you will beta. Sooraj is very disciplined and is on the right track. (Laughs) 

Mom: I do understand papa. Within a few minutes you refreshed our mind. You are great papa

Dad: A very vital advice in the most unexpected circumstance! 

Grandpa: (smiling) I would say you learnt an accidental lesson so that you could avoid accidents in life. (Everyone laughs) Come beta lets book our tickets before they get sold out. 

Dear friends, 

Don’t you think grandpa was right? Isn’t our life like those long trains? We start our journey happily with so many dreams and aspirations. We keep adding carriages and pull them all through our lives. Sometimes we halt to add people to our lives or when we lose some people, when they get off from our lives. 

A long train surely needs a strong reliable track. It has the responsibility of over a thousand lives. The track should not be disconnected in any place. It can’t be too short too. The rails have to bear the weight of the train. Our discipline does that job really well. It keeps us sturdy and makes the journey of our life pleasant and successful. Never fail to work on your tracks. Have you ever heard of a train accident due to the train being overweight? I haven’t. It is always derailed. So be disciplined and dont get off-track. 

However heavy your train may be,

If your tracks are sturdy you never have to worry. 

Lay your tracks well and flag off a peaceful journey.

Discipline isn’t exacting, it’s saved the lives of many.

The unwelcome guest- the tale of masked life

Elders and scriptures taught me, ‘Atithi Devo Bhava‘ which means ‘Guests are equivalent to God’. Unfortunately they failed to tell me the maximum duration for a guest’s presence in the house.

Do you know, I have been residing in my house with a guest whom I did not invite? Not 1 week or 1 month; he has been here for the past 371 days!!!! I am baffled at his guts. He has no plans of moving out! Do I still consider him as a guest and let him stay or should I work on strategies to courteously ask him to leave my house and go to his house? 

He is of no use to me. He does not let me speak peacefully. He is always in my way as an obstacle and my lips are literally sealed because of his presence. He doesn’t help me in my work but is a hindrance in whatever work I do. Even breathing has become a Herculean task because of this guest. The climax was when he celebrated his anniversary in my house. A celebration to commemorate his existence for 365 days which is his 1st birthday. His cake had the wordings 

Happy birthday ‘Mr.Mask’

Hang along and live long

Now don’t you think I have to get rid of this fellow at the earliest? 

23rd March 2020 is considered a day of evolution when the lifestyle of people underwent a drastic change. This year almost every being celebrated 23rd March 2021 with videos and memes overflowing with emotion. It was the day when students attended their last physical class, not realising that they wouldn’t be able to see each other for another year. It is a significant day which is added to the pages of world history as it inaugurated the era of a Masked Life

Don’t you think these Masks are slowly trying to become a part of our lives? I fear the answer is an immediate ‘Yes’. Masks were always dreadful to me. During my childhood a masked man was either a bad doctor uncle, who would give me a painful injection or a cruel robber who would kill me if I did not give him what he demanded. But today, when I look at my face in the mirror I end up with a smile because my trained mind asks me “Are you the doc or the thief?”  Leave alone my mind, even my dog refuses to accept me as his owner, making me feel guiltier and turning my doubts of being a thief; to an assured truth. 

Masks are saving lives. It is not a libel. But it is also not a libel if I say, ‘Masks have changed lives.’ When I wear a mask, I feel I have built a wall between the world and myself. When I speak to people or even to animals, the warmth of my words is missing. Isn’t emotion the basis for any kind of conversation? 

Sadly, masks have masked the portrayal of reality in a person. Feelings of every kind have also got masked. The basic happiness derived from a pleasant smile is lost. Words which play magic and act as catalysts for various squabbles are so incomprehensible when spoken behind these fibrous walls

For instance, a child finds it difficult to converse with his teacher because he is totally unable to predict the mindset of his teacher. He is no more able to see that most important medium, which created the rapport. He is not able to see her SMILE. Even the teacher misses those minute expressions and responses which were given with an understanding look or a confused stare. If our life has to continue with masks, a chart like this may have to become mandatory, on every classroom wall, to improve the quality of the student-teacher rapport.

This difficulty is faced not only by teachers. Business slackens when customers don’t find the shopkeepers and salesmen friendly and responsive. Masks muffle sound, making it more difficult to understand speech and some higher-pitched voices. They take away our ability to read lips and see facial expressions, which help us better understand what we’re hearing.

Doesn’t every expression seem similar when a mask is worn? The problem of misunderstanding of talks sans emotions has become a threat to relationships of all kinds. Conveniently, the mask has enabled many introverts to remain as silent as possible. It acts like a cop who says, ‘You have the right to remain silent‘.

Health issues have also multiplied due to lack of free oxygen supply. Dermatological issues have increased. It doesn’t stop here. Masks stimulate respiratory suffocation and have claimed many lives. Disposed masks have become a major source of land pollution adding to the threat, which is already present in Nature. Though masks act as a firewall against the pandemic it is not a thing which could remain on our body FOREVER. Mr.Mask is to be treated as a guest and not as a family member.

In recent days, masks have been manufactured in all colours and textures so that people could wear them to match their garments. Isn’t this ridiculous?? Has a doctor’s mask ever been designed so beautifully any time before? Why were those surgical masks in green, white or blue? It was because it was a use and throw mask. It wasn’t meant to be used as a beautiful matching accessory. We are trying to get aesthetically close to an object which is meant for a single time use! 

It would be wonderful if all citizens around the world realized their responsibility and took measures to reduce the pandemic rather than getting used to these frustrating masks. Let us get back to those golden days when no one was masked; no feelings were hidden and everyone could breathe easy. In short we got to stop believing that abnormality is the new normal. 

Learn to resolve problems and stop getting used to them.

It is futile to lament over creaking doors, if you are not ready to oil them. 

The Silver Cascade

“Mommy….. mommy…
How are you? Can you hear me? Even if you don’t remember me, you are always in my prayers. I know I aint very significant or renowned that you should remember me though we have had memorable times together. Those were the days when I was a part of your physique. I was the reason for your attractive looks. During your youth I intensified your stark features and made heads turn. Hope you remember me. I am that thin long strand of hair who was always so close to your heart and I lived my life listening to the rhythmic beating of your beautiful heart.

Hey…mommy… are you coughing??? Wait let me call for attention..”

(The long strand of hair felt the old lady on the bed was her mommy. She could not bear to see her cough and flew from the pillow side and fell near the nose of the old man who was snoring in his armchair. Poor man! He was already weary. Last night, he had hardly closed his tired eyelids)

“Aaa Choo………” (the old man sneezed)

“Thank God daada woke up. Now he will hear mommy coughing.”

(The old man struggled to straighten his bent knees and with a mild moan he moved towards the old woman who was bed ridden and counting her days. Actually hours.)

“My mommy is a cancer survivor. The doctors have given up but mommy hasn’t. She smiled at daada when he ran his palm over her hot forehead. The repeated chemo sessions have made mommy feel excruciatingly hot. Whenever I touched her neck I felt a prick. Oh….!!! How does she even bear the radiation? My mommy has been give 4 sessions of radiation. The last time I heard the doctors say, “she will not need them anymore.” I felt happy. I thought mommy was recovering.
But Alas, I was wrong. Mommy was incurable. I heard daddy saying it to his friend when mommy was asleep; that deep sleep she gets after the painful sessions.

Today I feel like speaking so much because just now I have been separated from my mom. My friends and relatives had fallen away long back. They were burnt in their roots and they lost their shape, lusture and crawled themselves to the floor. This is the only picture I have.

My mommy had long beautiful hair that covered her back like a beautiful curtain and flowed smoothly like a silver cascade. Yet I was the closest to my mommy’s heart and she pampered me with shampoos and oil. I was the best part of the cascade that swayed along her spine. I was always her favourite. Fortunately, I could stay with my mommy for the longest period. I am the last one to leave and so before I am swept into the trash can I want to spend my last moments with my mommy.

Dear God, please don’t be cruel to my mommy. Let her be at peace. As an after effect of the medicines I lost my strength and my length. With every dose of chemotherapy I was reduced by half a centimetre. The heat shrunk me. Mommy couldn’t care for me. Initially, when my friends left her, she cried. Today she did not. I do not feel bad. I feel proud. I feel a sense of relief that I am able to be beside her during her last moments.

Ohh wait… daada is rushing helplessly. Oh oh.. Why is daada crying? Did mommy just …..Dear me…. there goes my mommy’s soul. Look at her sleep without any pain…. I wish I had tears to cry. Mommy, May your soul rest in peace.”

(The strand of hair flew near its mommy and felt her cheeks for one last time. When the window was opened, she flew away. She did not want to live a moment without being able to see her mommy. As she landed, she fell on the pile of hair inside the barber’s shop. She was swept and taken in a huge box. She did not fight back. She didn’t try to escape. She had no one in this world who would love her and admire her as her mommy.
She was mailed to the place in San Francisco where hair was collected from all corners of the world to make mats of hair to absorb oil spills. She didn’t mind where she went. But wherever she went she turned useful. The life of this strand of hair was purposeful before and will remain purposeful forever.)

WEALTH becomes a waste when you use it without a purpose.
WASTE becomes invaluable wealth when it fulfills a great purpose.

When the anchor drops…

“What the hell is wrong with you? Are you out of your senses? No… just tell me, are you even educated? Did you steal the license or did you bribe the officer to get one? Just get out of the car you slut. You are seriously good for nothing.” 

All these words poured out of the foul mouthed Mr.Brutus. Instead of turning left Jessica drove straight, thereby missing the cut that led to the playground. He grabbed the steering with his left hand and yelled STOP STOP STOP. Brutus yelled so badly, it was as if his voice had shut all the senses in Jessica. Instead of applying brakes, she applied complete pressure on the accelerator. The rest was a disaster. 

Brutus had to reach the ground on time to play a team match with his friends. He was busy talking with his friend who had called the tenth time since morning. Now with a broken car and mind bursting anger, Brutus had no plans to go anywhere. He yelled at Jessica and asked her to get out of the car. 

Hearing the scoldings, Jessica had only one thought in her mind. SHE WILL NOT DRIVE THE CAR. Not that she could not but she believed instantaneously that SHE WAS GOOD FOR NOTHING. Especially the thought that she was not fit for driving was engraved in the bleeding walls of her heart.

As she was driven back to the house she was accused and humiliated. Jessica had tears in her eyes. She was scared that they may roll down. Brutus never liked to see her crying, no matter what the reason was. He would scold her for being a cry baby! She controlled her tears and thought why all this happened. The truth was Brutus had forgotten to set the alarm as it was a Sunday. 

Jessica was up before him; prepared breakfast and washed the car sparkling clean. Brutus was late and tense and asked Jessica to drive. She got her license only 8 months ago. She wasn’t too good nor too bad. All that she required was some peaceful driving practice on the roads, which wasn’t too feasible as her final year projects were too demanding. Jessica was just out of her 5th semester. The final year in her college was not easy. 

Life was also not very kind with her. She waged a war with her family, her final year subjects, her feelings and finally she finished her education. Years rolled by and with an awesome career she lightened the depressed burden in her mind. Her life had changed. Brutus found her good for nothing at all and left her. This was a blessing in disguise. The dark shadow of the dark power had at last moved from Jessica’s life. But one wound remained fresh as ever. 

She didn’t dare to touch the steering wheel. Whenever she touched the gear and the steering she would shiver and the same numb feeling would haunt her. She would turn on the engine and switch it off. She preferred walking 3 to 4 kilometres than driving her car. 

It took ten years for her to get behind the wheel. A friend who had confidence in her led her into the streets of freedom. It was ……

He showed her that the road was not the trail of a roller coaster where the tantalising dips and turns wait for you with dreadful accidents. He made her see the road as the path to eternal freedom, where she could float at peace and breathe the free air. The steering was not just a piece of machinery, it was a friend who would take her in whichever direction she wanted to go. It took 6 months for him to lift the anchor of fear and help the girl resume her journey peacefully. Today, she drives happily and has finally realised that she was not good for nothing. 

Dear friends, 

Have you seen huge ships halting in the mid ocean or by the shore? How does it stop? It is because of the anchor.

The small anchor is a device, normally made of metal, used to connect a vessel to the bed of a body of water to prevent the ship or boat from drifting. Have you seen the size of an anchor? When compared to the size and weight of the ship, an anchor’s weight is lesser. Yet, how does it stop that huge ship? 

Maybe it has a lot of science involved. Science says that, when an anchor penetrates the surface of the seabed, suction generates resistance, created by the bottom material plus the weight of the material above the anchor. As the boat pulls on the anchor rode, the anchor digs in deeper, creating additional resistance. 

Don’t you think abuses and rude behaviour along with accusations of certain people, at certain times, belittle a person? However strong the person is, the accusations and blames act as an anchor and stop the strong, bold mind from moving forward. The mind comes to a halt and refuses to move on

An anchor can prevent the ship from moving forward. Let us not be that kind of an anchor. An anchor prevents the ship from sinking. Isn’t this a better use of an anchor? Your words and deeds should never discourage or hurt a person. It should always encourage and show them the brighter side of life. 

The huge Titanic broke down by scraping alongside an iceberg,

An airplane crashes due to the entry of a small bird.

When huge things of iron get demolished with things so small

Imagine what will happen to a human heart which is the most delicate of all. 

Things of iron can be rebuilt in no time

Remember, We still don’t have adhesives to join the broken minds.

A Tale told twice

Mrs Rashi could hear the faint whistle of the milk cooker and the rustling of the newspaper pages which were turning in the breeze of the fan. Though her ears were quite indifferent to the surrounding acoustics, her eyes were alert. Her eyes were fixed on a photograph which was 8 inches long and 5 inches broad. Her eyes were keenly searching for certain interesting faces which triggered her old memories to bounce and flash right in front of her eyes.

The smell of the spicy pepper on the steaming hot omelette diverted her attention. She turned around to see Arjun standing with his handsome and captivating smile holding a plate. “Omelette ready jaanu, chalo let’s finish breakfast. Don’t you remember you have to be in the court at 9.30? Get ready soon. I shall drop Aditya and you and get to my office”, said the ever caring love of her life.

She slipped the photograph on the teapoy. She held Arjun’s manly hands and leaning on his strong arms said, “What will I do without you? You are the sweetest husband. I am the luckiest woman in this whole world. How wonderful it would be if every human being is as caring and loving as you!”

Arjun gave his normal smile and patted her head like patting a puppy. “And you are the cutest wife. The world will be a better place jaanu. You ought to have patience. With an awesome judge like you, the world will slowly have its justice and witness an improvement. Now stop pondering too much as I have a meeting to hold.”

Rashi was a judge; a very young and competent judge, who was 35 years old. She was a dutiful wife too. She had met Arjun during her school days and the love that bloomed then had its fresh fragrance even today. They had a son named Aditya who was in the 6th grade.

Rashi called out, ‘Aadi beta… are you ready? Daddy is dropping you today. Take your lunch box from the kitchen.” “Mom… wait wait… give me 20 rupees please. I need to buy some chips and a soda”, screamed Aditya, as he was tying his shoelace. “Not again Aadi, I have told you so many times. These packed chips and junk food have a lot of chemicals. I have made good rotis for you. I shall not give you money today. Too much bad food will make you a bad boy. Maybe we could buy something healthier some other day, next month”, was the stern reply from the worried and caring mother.

Arjun successfully dropped his wife and child and held his meeting with a free mind. But Rashi could not concentrate on her work. Something troubled her. The photograph in her hand, that had made her feel numb, had the picture of her 12th grade classmates. The previous day, Rashi had received a file of a criminal who had slit the throat of a middle-aged woman in order to snatch her gold chain. The moment she saw the criminal’s face she felt she knew the person. That night, she couldn’t rest peacefully till she rummaged in her cupboard and successfully found the album of her school days’ class group photos.

The next morning she took out the file and identified the criminal as her classmate. He was Janson. He had studied with her from her 5th grade. Janson was a notorious boy who was a kleptomaniac. Rashi had caught him red handed when he shop lifted erasers from a stationery shop. She advised him so many times. She had also spotted him stealing cash from his bench mate’s pant pocket. Immediately, Rashi got him punished by the class teacher. During the 10th grade he had stopped stealing and had promised her that he wouldn’t steal again.

But as he moved on to a different school for his 11th standard, he lost touch and Rashi got busy with her studies and career. Now after seeing the photograph, she felt guilty. Even while she was hunting for the album, she had wished her hunch was wrong. But alas, it was Janson. She felt she should have stayed in touch and had a track of his whereabouts. But now it was too late.

Till the court hearing commenced, Rashi was restless. She was anxious, upset, scared and ashamed. The wait seemed like a lifetime. It was a moment of mixed emotions. When Janson was summoned he entered with handcuffs.

Rashi’s eyes welled with tears. She couldn’t see his eyes, when he lifted his hand cuffed hands to the judge. When Janson lifted his head and saw the judge, he became stiff as a corpse. He grew cold and immediately put his head down. He recognised her as his long forgotten best friend; a good soul who had tried to refine him but unfortunately ended up being the person to judge him.

For the first time in the last 6 hours of remand he felt the seriousness of his deed. He had committed a murder. A boy who was so childish and playful had turned to a monstrous and heartless man only because of his lack of willpower. If only he had obeyed his friend, he would have been a decent man.

Rashi could do nothing but follow the rules of the law. The court proceedings went on for about 30 minutes. After the verdict of lifetime imprisonment, Rashi stepped out of the room for a break.

Rashi decided to talk with him one last time. She wanted to meet him not as a criminal but as a friend. Before she could open her mouth Janson said, “I am very sorry. I should have obeyed you. I never got a friend like you in the new school or at college. I was turned down by all the companies I tried to work for. With a frustrated mind I took to stealing and petty robbery. When my greed increased, I took to chain snatching. I had become so hideous that it didn’t bother me much to kill the lady.

But do believe me, I felt as if I was chopped to pieces when I saw you after such a long time not as my friend but as my Mirror. The shame in your eyes pierced my soul. From the way you saw me, I realized what a horrible human being I have become in all these years. Today was the first day I felt guilty of a crime. I know I am not worthy of your forgiveness but please do accept this final promise. In the future you shall never have to feel ashamed because of me. Let me rehabilitate. Please give me a chance.”

Rashi could not control her anger and her tears. She didn’t expect this confession from him. She silently heard all that Janson had to say and handed over two books to the constable and told them to place it in his cell. One was The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, a Gothic novella by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson.

The other was Les Misérables, a French historical novel by Victor Hugo. Looking at Janson she said, “You are no more innocent and no more my friend, at least try to be my good and obedient prisoner.” Janson let himself be dragged with the chains. His hand was cuffed, his mouth also seemed chained but he felt a weird sense of freedom. No more would he be a slave to his greed. He will be the master of his life. He knew very well that he would always be under the strict vigilance of his ever caring friend.

As Rashi got into the car that evening, she felt a great sense of relief. Her friend had at last come under her safe protection. When she reached home, she saw Aditya having a bowl of salad. “What is this? Am I dreaming beta? Arjun came from the balcony and winked at Rashi. He went near her and said, “I told him a story and this is the consequence.” Before she could ask the name of the story Aditya said, “Daddy told me a story about a good doctor named Dr.Jekyll who became a monster named Mr.Hyde after consuming a lot of chemicals”. I shall never eat fast food.

Rashi couldn’t contain her emotions. She was shocked. She chuckled at Arjun’s trick and felt heart of hearts she felt proud about their wavelength. They had chosen the same book. The same tale had served both of them to save two precious lives.

There is always a Mr Hyde inside all of us who has to be kept under control. Do good and think wisely even during challenging times. Once you let the ‘Mr Hyde’ control your life, you will lose complete control of your life from your hands. We all know
When wealth is lost, nothing is lost.
When health is lost, something is lost.
But when character is lost, everything is lost.

It takes a lifetime to earn a good name,
But it takes just one second to get defamed.
A person doesn’t gain respect, not just with PERSONALITY
But he gains it by being a good PERSON DURING TROUBLES AND CALAMITY.

The Broken Promise

An old man was hit on the road by a car. This expensive car belonged to a very rich man and it was the owner, who was driving the vehicle then. The old man, who was a retired school headmaster, was rushed to the nearby hospital and admitted in the ICU. The doctors had a meeting with the very wealthy man along with a group of ‘famous lawyers‘ and the judge himself! After a 3 hour severe meeting an FIR was ‘prepared‘…. 

The doctor, the police and the judge left their significant tools outside the conference room. When the bearers of the tools were conferring about the case, the tools ( Mr.Steth of the doctor, Mr Ham of the judge and Mr.Gunny of the police in charge) had their own meeting. A meeting to identify who was the most ‘powerful’

Steth: Hey Ham, Whats up! How is life? What brings you here? 

Ham: Hey there, I am good just that I get too banged these days. My Lord knocks my head quite often but no one in the court gives a damn. What’s Gunny doing here? 

Gunny: When have I ditched you Ham? Haven’t we been together since years? What’s up with this new case?

Steth: (Terrified) Oh man that was horrific. When i first touched the old man’s chest I couldn’t hear anything. I couldn’t reach out to the faintest beat of the old man. I thought things had turned red and bloody. But thank goodness, after a few shocks from the defibrillator, I could hear the stressed beat of his weak heart in a muffled manner. 

Ham: Do you think he has scopes of survival or will Gunny and I have to play our cunning tricks again?

Steth: I don’t think he would survive. He is unconscious and has bled a lot. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. If he passes away the rich man will escape with your dirty tricks. 

Gunny: (with a frown) I hate it when our bearers get richer and more powerful by misusing their powers.  We have so many rich, strong-headed brats bowing their heads in front of the police, lawyers and judges just to save their heads from rolling down the floor. The criminals are ready to fall at their feet just to escape from punishment.

Ham: That is true and obvious. My Lord keeps banging me on the desk to maintain silence and order. But it’s futile. Every person in the court is deaf; including the law. I thought we were symbolized with the blindfolded lady to signify fair judgement. Today I feel, somewhere she must be wearing earmuffs too. 

Steth: (Furiously) The rich bathe my bearer with tonnes and tonnes of billfolds. All to turn an innocent man to a guilty criminal!!! 

Gunny: What is happening to us? Are we getting more powerful or are we losing our dignity? My other friends who have been transported to the borders of our countries across the globe are so proud. Those Guns take away lives but they do it with justice. They feel honoured to serve the country. Why am I in the hands of this corrupted officer? 

Ham: Shhhh… guys I can hear footsteps. 

Rich man: (with immense gratitude) Thank you so much Sunil, I will never forget this help for the rest of my life. Do not worry about your family. They are my extended family, from this moment. We have made arrangements to prove that the old man was drunk. You need not serve for too many years. I will use my powers and get you released at least on the longest parole.  I just wish the man dies. If we do not have witnesses, I will be safe. Till then please save me. I feel like touching your feet and thanking you but you know if  people see it, they will misunderstand me and doubt me.

Sunil the Driver: (shuddering) Oh no Sahib. You are very great. Don’t think of doing all this. You are going to pay for my child’s education. My wife will slowly adjust to live without me. You go Sir. I will take care. 

Rich man: Thank you Sunil. Take care. 

Ham, Gunny, Steth: (in unison) Whaaaat???? 

Gunny: What is happening here? Why the driver? He wasn’t behind the wheel. I remember seeing the rich man inside the car when my owner rushed towards him. Hey Ham, has your owner played his tricks again? 

Ham: (with rage) Yes, he has done it again. How sick of him!  How did he become a judge in the first place? Don’t the judges and lawyers take an oath before they set their foot into these divine services? Isn’t a lawyer or a judge equivalent to God? 

Gunny: What do you think my bearer does before he becomes a full-fledged officer? He also takes the law enforcement oath of honour. Can’t he be true to his oath?

Ham: (in a tone of shame)  So did my Lord. He also took the judicial oath and see what he is doing here? I wish he were true to those divine words. The poor driver is in trouble. Who will help him? Hey Steth, how did your bearer have the conscience to blame an innocent man? 

Steth: (yells outrageously) Money Money Money… what else? My bearer, the doctor, is a shame to the noble service. People like him are black marks to the noble service. They deserve to rot in hell. I doubt if he even took the Hippocratic oath. We are helpless. We are just tools and puppets in their blood filled hands. What can we do? Wait… I hear someone crying. 

Chalk: (sobbing) Hey people, how come you are here? (Angrily) Oh yes, now I understand. Your owners have done this act. 

Steth, Ham, Gunny: Please don’t blame us.  Our owners have lost their minds. How did you reach here? 

Chalk: I rolled out of my bearer’s pocket when they changed his blood stained clothes. He always carries me with him so that anytime and anywhere he would be able to teach anyone. He is such a sweet person. He has done no harm to anyone. Why is all this injustice done to him??? 

Steth, Ham, Gunny: Please don’t cry friend, we are equally ashamed by the wrong deeds of our bearers. We wish they were true to the words of their oath and true to their conscience. How is the headmaster? Has he recovered? 

Chalk: (worriedly) I overheard the nurses. They said he has regained his consciousness. That was a big relief to me. He was so good and a true follower of the oath he had taken. 

Steth, Ham, Gunny: (shocked) Whaaaat?? An oath?? Do teachers take an oath? We weren’t aware of it. 

Chalk: That’s ridiculous! Don’t you know about the 11 point oath given to us by our former President Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam? 

Steth, Ham, Gunny: No we haven’t. Could you please tell us the oath? Do you know it? 

Chalk: I will never forget it.

Steth, Ham, Gunny: Great heavens! We shall remember it forever. Hey.. Look.. the Doc and that horrible rich man.

Doctor : I am very sorry Sir. I cannot prove the patient drunk. All your plans have failed. Our chief doctor, who happens to be my headmaster’s student, came on a surprise round and caught all of us red-handed. He knew his headmaster very well. Moreover, the headmaster has given a statement to the Police that it wasn’t the driver who drove the car. The Lawyers did not expect the headmaster to survive. They have denied your plea. The Judge has been informed and very soon you shall be arrested. I am sorry Sir. I have been fired from my job and today I take another oath, never to break the Hippocratic oath and never to go against my conscience. Goodbye sir. 

Steth, Ham, Gunny: Yaaaaay… Justice never fails. Thank God. Our bearers have at last done their duty the right way. We are proud to be theirs. We hope they learnt a good lesson for life.

Chalk: Thank God. My owner is alive. I am so proud to work for my headmaster. He is just like the tool he uses. He gives his heart and soul whenever he teaches. A chalk is a tool that breaks down and powders itself to serve its duty. I have always been proud to be in the hands of the teachers who melt their energy and themselves in the process of educating the children. Every profession is noble. I hope nobody gets corrupted anytime in the future. Anyway, thank you so much friends for your moral support. Bubye. 

Steth, Ham, Gunny : You are dear. We hope our bearers have changed forever. We hope they never break the oath and always remain true to their mind and their promise. Bubye Chalk. 


Steth : Stethoscope of the doctor

Ham: Gavel of the judge

Gunny: Gun of the police officer

An oath is taken not for fun or just to learn by-heart.

It is a promise to be written with a knife in the heart. 

Whenever you make a promise to people, your country or professions,

Remember to keep up the promise and pass it on to generations.