The Secret – Chapter 3

Please read the previous chapter here

Author name : Gargi Dutta

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” If you want me to grovel, come and make me!!” Spat Shobhit.
It was evening and school had just goten over for the day. At the back of the school gym, Shobhit had found himself in a rough predicament. He was surrounded by several upper class men and it seemed like things were going to turn out in a way unfavorable to him.
” What did you just say Freshmen?”
The speaker was Kabir Sethi. A third year senior class men and the very unpopular school bully. Being the son of the mayor made it seem to him like he can bend any and everyone to his will. So when Shobhit refused him courtesy, lets just say, he didn’t take to it very kindly.
” You herd me.” Shobhit said quietly, ” I said it loud and clear!”
” Get him.” Kabir said to his henchmen.
Seven of the them lunched themselves on Shobhit.
” Quit it.” Came a sinisterly calm voice from somewhere.
Everyone looked around to see who it belonged to. There, at the top of the gym, stood a guy, his back turned towards the setting sun. It was only after their eyes adjusted to the light that they recognised him as, it was Kanishk. The haughty second year student who somehow was very popular among the girls in school, sometimes for his antiques of pissing of the female seniors in school.
“Almost too popular”..were the thoughts of Shobhit when he first encountered him at lunch break on his first day…All the girls in his class would go giddy and giggly and act stupid whenever his name was mentioned. The very thought made him sick to his gut. Some days later, he encountered him again and this time, it was in a soccer field between fresher and Junior year players of the club. The match ended in a bitter draw and since then Shobit had literally loathed him. A help from the school’s renowned pervert and Casanova was not what he was looking forward to right now.
” Stay out of it pansy boy!!!” he snarled.
Kanishk ignored him and addressed Sethi.
” If you don’t get outta here by the time I’m finished counting five, You’ll have a repeat of last year.” He told him coldly. ” You’re interrupting my nap.”
Back in Kanishk’s fresher year, Sethi had tried to do him in as well. Unlucky for Sethi, Kanishk had beaten the crap out of him and his possy. Sethi took the hint and scrammed for it, knocking his shoulder intentionally against Shobit’s. Shobhit responded with a quick punch on his face that broke Sethi’s nose. Bleeding, and swearing revenge, Sethi was finally gone. Kanishk retreated back to his comfy place of nap ignoring Shobhit’s continuous yells of ” Get back here!!!” and ” I didn’t need your help..” and ” If you interfere again, I’ll knock your lights off…” and some more stuff.

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Later that day, Shobit went out for a walk in town. It was only a little later that he realised he was being followed. It made him heave a sarcastic sigh.
” Talk about a busy day!”
He broke into a run and was sure that the followers were tailing him. He led them into a dark end alley and then turned.
” Took you long enough to get here boys…”
He stopped midway. His eyes tracing the things in their hands. They were not the school possys Sethi hung around with. This time, he was dealing with full fledged Gangsters with nasty weapons….
Half an hour later, and he was leaning against the alley wall, badly bleeding, and staring at several bodies that he knocked out, cursing at his injuries.
” At least, this night is over.” He told himself. But he spoke too soon. Before he could even stand up, thirteen more mobsters found him…They were accompanied by Sethi.
” You’re the Brat from first year who refused Mr. Sethi a courtsey.” Spat one of them.
” And what about it?” Shobit grunted.
” You little…!!!”
” Looks like I’m in serious trouble this time.” Shobit thought, amidst getting the hell kicked out of him. ” If only, I didn’t loose so much blood…”
Just when things had started to look really serious for him, the men hitting him started to scatter due to some comotion up ahead. There were people screaming and the sound of punches and kicks coming from somewhere. But Shobit was too far gone to care. He just wanted to sleep off the exhausion.
” Darnit..” He swore to himself.
and then there it was, that ssomeone who rushed to him and said in an echoing, concerned voice,
” Hey, Hang in there man..”
His vision was blurry and his ear was full of a faint buzzing sound. He was falling through a dark space……down down down….
When he opened his eyes, the lights blinded him and he shut them tight again quickly…Slowly, very slowly, he opened them.
He was in a hospital.
” I see you’re up.” Came a nastily familiar voice and Shobit prayed to god that the owner of this voice was not the person who rescued him last night….
Sure enough, Kanishk’s profile came to greater prominence and Shobit let out an enormous growl followed by an equally loud Swearing.
Kanishk gave him one of his sweet smiles and said,
” If you’re that energetic, you must’ve already recovered.”
” I didn’t need your help last night!!!!!” He said angrily.
Kanishk gave him a look and went to the window to pull the curtains off.
” I think you mean to say, last week.” He said kindly, smiling again.
The news blew a heavy deal to Shobit’s gigantic pride….
The two said nothing after that. Kanishk returned him his school bag and cloths and was at the door when Shobit finally spoke,
” Was I really out for a whole week?”
” Yeah.” Kanishk replied. ” But if it makes you feel any better, The nurse said, you’d be out atleast for a month, with the amount of blood you lost.”
” Damn!!!” Shobit swore to himself. ” This is pathetic!!!!”
” Wait till you get to school next Monday.”Kanishk intoned and Shobit felt a dark cloud waving over him. Maggie will know what happened to him and will knock his teeth off again…That girl’s been way too violent ever since she became friends with ” THAT PSYCHOFINE”….
He looked up at Kanishk and was about to say something when Kanish cut across him saying,
” No….. you don’t.” Kanishk smiled. ” You don’t need to say it.”
And Shobit sat there staring at him, and feeling more of loathing towards this man who saved his life, shattering his pride, than ever before. But at that moment, there was a mixture of gratitude mixed inside that feeling as well.

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The next author to be nominated soon

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Vriddhi – Chapter 4

Please read the previous chapter here

Name of the Author : Dr. Neha Jain

Notes on the author :  A ferocious reader but an indolent writer. Likes all things poetic. Believes in positivity unless it’s a bad hair day.

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The young fierce woman was anything but unnoticeable. Her stance carried both the grit of a warrior and the cry of a lover, starkly contrasting just like her contrasting eyes. The black eye standing for the wrath she could bring and the white for the love she could shower. But like all mortals in this world, she was neither a black nor a white. Strangely she was the exact shade of a twilight grey and tonight was the night of a stranger dawn.

Vista quickly stood up from the chair looking at this black robed woman.

The gazing crowd now circled both Vista and Viruddhi like an asymmetric wreath with hushed tones underneath their noses breaking the monotony of silence. Vista now remembered the words of the armless monk who had prophesied the second birth of Rudra.

Viruddhi’s ascent in a black robe with the dagger in her right hand at twilight was like a beautiful panorama proving every word of his prophecy right. Vista had waited for this moment yet now when it had come, he was unusually frozen in a strange delight.

The impatience among the crowd was rising. Vista quickly put the dagger in his right arm stretching it over his head and saying “Viruddhi has come, Viruddhi has come, long live Viruddhi, long live Rudra” and bowed down to her immediately.

The crowd followed their god-like Vista and within a second the whole army of people bowed down to her. Viruddhi knew the prophecy too but she was baffled at this gesture, something she had never experienced. Mockery and insults had been her siblings but here she was, standing like a lone island of strength in the vast sea of the people yearning for their rescue.

“What took you so long my child?” the old man struggled to speak as tears of joy had partially choked his throat.

She stepped forward and touched Vista’s shoulders to pick him up. Smilingly she said “Now that I have come, I will never go back again, I will get Rudra back.”

She turned to the entire circlet of people and gestured them to get up. “We are all one and we are all Rudra, long live Rudra”. The crowd was exultant as eons of their wait had finally borne fruit and their penance had blossomed into this day. Vista knew the time had indeed come.

For Viruddhi too, this was a barter her heart had assented unquestionably. The subtle smell of the Kadupul flowers in this wild land of Mayapuri reminded her of Rudra. She was now palpably closer to him. His brethren, their coffee brown skins and the unkempt long tresses greeted her like her own. Strangely everything in this wild land was Rudra. Everything was home.

“We must start at the earliest” Vista told Prajyapal, the chief of Mayapuri. The six heads of the armed forces were called and every force – the horsemen, the soldiers, the wolves, the hippeis, the jaguars and even the aboriginal Rakshasa came to the harnika.

Vista stood firmly in the middle of the wooden harnika and said “The prophecy of the armless monk stands true and our daughter Viruddhi is here. Her courage and fortune will be our armor. I nominate two chiefs, Prajyapal and Viruddhi who would lead all the six heads from the front and command on the planning.”

Prajyapal and Viruddhi came forward and touched Vista’s feet.

“Unlike any other war, this is not about how many you kill, but how many you save. All the seven incarnations of Rudra in this century have to be saved and brought back on the next full moon night to the holy island of Javantra to bring him to life, again” he said gazing into their eyes.

Seven incarnations, six armed forces, two chiefs and one Rudra. The next full moon night was indeed going to be decisive.

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Next author to be nominated soon

Upheaval – Chapter 3

Please read the previous chapter here

Author name : Neharika Sethi Mehra

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Seshadri and Venkat still chose to grab a cup of tea and started walking towards Seshadri’s favourite tea shop. While they walked, both seemed lost in their own silence. Trying to put the pieces of this murder puzzle together, as they looked lost in their own thoughts. Taking a cutting chai, Seshadri couldn’t do without his fuel, his favourite samosa.

 

Suddenly Venkat as if in despair moved his hand. “we seem to get nowhere with this case, tying the loose ends with such little information is difficult without a doubt, but Sehshadri, I have seen you solving so many cases, I am sure we can do it together.” Seshadri have him a terrible look, he didn’t like being disturbed while eating even when it was a matter of life or death.

 

As they were done eating, they decided to dig deep and enquire further. After a few minutes of brainstorming Venkat suddenly came up with a suggestion, “Let’s meet Lipika, the landlord. I’m sure she’s been in touch with the couple and would know something at least.”

 

Lipika lived on 6th Floor of Vedika Apartments. A posh locality and with a few small gardens all around but as Seshadri’s luck would have it, the lift wasn’t working. Seshadri was out of breath as he took the flight of stairs. “Venkat, I am never working on a case that involves taking stairs, please call up your friend Chaturvedi next time you need help with a case.” Venkat looked at him irritated, “Seshadri you’ve lost your mind and patience with age I guess. Why do you forget the rewards these cases get you? You are known more as a detective than a lawyer and you can thank me later for that. “This argument won’t take us anywhere Seshadri, let’s get back to business buddy, both us want this case solved.” Finally agreeing to Venkat they proceeded to Lipika’s house.

 

As they knocked her door, a short fair woman opened it by a few inches and gave them a skeptical look. Lipika was in her mid fifties and lived alone while her husband worked abroad. Her two sons were married and lived in Bangalore. She let them in after Venkat showed her the badge, “Sub-inspector Venkat Phansalkar”, he said. “See, I know why you’ve come here, I got the news too. Please have a seat but let me tell you I don’t know anything.”  Immediately Seshadri responded, “We are only here to ask about any detail that you know given your interaction with her as a landlady. Without wasting any time please tell us all you know of the couple, especially his wife.”

 

“They’ve been staying in my house for last five years and over these years my interaction with them has been very professional and to the point. I won’t say they were madly in love, not that I knew them too well like I earlier mentioned. But with our brief meetings I could sense that. The husband had had issues in his business hence I wasn’t paid the rent in time. They had no kids.”

 

Venkat further tried to interrogate her and said, “Oh! That would have caused some trouble to you!” “Of course! I had been expressing my wish to sell off the house too but Sukanya wouldn’t listen.” Seshadri looked at her with all his detective instincts. He had been observing people all his life as a lawyer, and his observation had mostly been correct. He added, “Since you wanted to sell the house, did you tell them to pack themselves off?”

Lipika, almost shouting in anger and disappointment said, “I had been giving them warnings to vacate the house but in vain. They always wanted more time both for rent and vacating the house. I really lost it one day and we had a terrible argument. My buyer wasn’t ready to wait and Sukanya wanted time. This was the way god planned for me I guess. I can now have the house and sell it off. Is there anything you’d like to know, I need to carry on with my work.”

 

“Thank you, Ms Lipika for the help, we might trouble you again.” Both stood up and left.

 

On reaching the police station which was close by, they both sat with a file in their hands. Each of the three they had met, be it Sukanya’s husband, her club member or now the landlady, Lipika looked like a suspect to them. Sukanya had been the quiet kinds but Lipika quoted the argument they had and clearly Lipika was known for her revengeful nature, and that even the slightest of things would leave her filled with vengeance as she couldn’t take anyone not agreeing with her.

 

“Could Lipika be involved in the murder in some way?” asked Venkat, “She seemed to look quite satisfied with the news.”

 

“People with vengeance can look very intimidating but we can’t be sure. This does look like a murder to me, blood oozing out from hands and legs shows the murderer was heartless and intended to give a painful death”, added Seshadri. “Venkat, I feel there is a missing link to the whole story. I don’t get this feeling too often and I can bet a hundred samosas on this.”

 

Venkat laughed, “Seshadri, can we ever talk about anything beyond samosas, your soulmate?”

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We are yet to decide on how to take the next chapter.

 

Judgement – Chapter 6

Please read the previous chapter here

Name of the author:  Soumyo Mandal

Note on the author : Born and brought up in Calcutta, got my finer instincts while I stayed during the wild years in Bangalore, I look to crack jokes in the most serious moments, and mostly it backfires. Big fan of Liverpool FC, Boston Celtics, indie music, Orhan Pamuk/Stephen King and improv or comedy in general. Currently residing in Orlando near Disney World, but regretting not being a kid no more.

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Chapter 6

How cold is the uncle?

 Silence. Apart from the tick tock of the clock, there was not a sound. Kwon was interacting with the latest subject, earlier. But for the first time in his life he is really scared. He is tired, withered. Who is to stop him if he jumps from the balcony into the water fall. His years as a marine and then as a FBI agent, taught him a combination of toughness and as well as to always keep his mind open and look for the right moment. But he’s been looking for that moment for 25 years! He cracked a wry smile and looked at the surveillance camera at the corner of the room. Rusk Thelmes was a little startled.

It’s been so many years since Rusk Thelmes saw his father’s dead body. Even now the sound of rain, and the smell of chemicals, brings back the memories of the fateful night. While Rusty Thelmes, was immersed with his work, Rusk was terribly proud as his father always used to say “I am trying to change the world, but you WILL change the world. Don’t look at the stars my son, look within the world, a lot needs to be done to alter the human instincts.” Rusk was never close to his mother, Melissa. After the first few years of marriage, Rusty got very involved with work, and Melissa could notice the whisperings and rumblings, receiving of a package occasionally, when her husband will just stay at the lab till days.

Once upon a time Kwon was in love. After his first tour to Afghanistan, Kwon came back to Rusty’s place. He was young, and Melissa was lonely. This went on for years, and young Rusty walked into them once, but then his mother sat him down and explained “she’s doing a project with Uncle Kwon just like dad, and this needs to be a secret as all of dad’s projects are” Kwon was a bit uncomfortable with this situation, but young age and lust took over his conscience. And then lust turned into love. This “love” for Melissa turned out to be his biggest vice of all. Despite knowing about this affair for years, Rusty was unperturbed. For him it was an eventuality, but not for young Rusk, who grew older and wiser with a fierce anguish against the world and especially his Uncle Kwon and his mom. “Then came the fateful night where his dad died because of an accident in the lab. Coincidentally Kwon was there when it happened. He watched with his very eyes, how the red chemical in the test tube tumbled against the glass and as Rusty leaned closer to examine it, it vaporized and “consumed” him! Unsurprisingly the predicament did not bother Melissa. She seemed freed from the shell of her own doing, and she promised Kwon that she will sell Rusty’s belongings and promised to get rid of every trace of the lab and it’s godforsaken chemicals. Within days she was dead, then Kwon knew, that the hollow abyss in Rusk’s expression was not stoical or indifference, rather it was of a resolution to avenge his father by taking his mother’s life and who ever else comes his way.

 

Kwon was lost in translation for what seemed like forever, when a gentle knock on the door broke his trance. “Come in” Kwon’s voice crackled. Varnia, walked in and smiled at him. “Ready to meet the boss?” she said. Kwon nodded. Once they stepped out in the corridor devoid of Rusk’s prying eyes, Varnia whispered “your training served me well, everything is going according to the plan.”  Kwon sighed “It better!  I did not give half my life in Mwallisso22 and recruiting you for nothing! This is about keeping the United States of America safe, this is about judgement no matter the cost!” He closed his eyes, knowing for the first time in a long time he is lying to himself.

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Next author is Nithya Sreenivasan. All the very best , Nithya 🙂

Virrudhi – Chapter 3

Please read the previous chapter here

Author name : Roopesh Kumar

Note on author : Love going circles in search of the straight line. May be that’s what weaving a story is, may be it isn’t? Namastey!

Please read more his blog here

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“It’s beautiful that sometimes things happen when you least expect it. It kind of leaves you with an impression that one could savour his entire life time. It was no different for Rudra either; love was in the air for him but sadly the time wasn’t.” The grand old man, Vista, a man with over 2 centuries of experience continued to speak in a distant town of Mayapuri, one of the few secular places located on the equator.

Hundred years ago, in the fields of mahogany and chestnut trees where Viruddhi and Maya took their daily strolls, a stranger happened to pass by. It was a rare occurrence to find a white eyed man in the lands of the black. He seemed weary and lost while the giant skulls around his neck said a thing totally different.

The Rajani tradition is such that every man and every woman live for themselves and themselves alone. They are left abandoned by their very own as soon as they have the strength to survive, after that it is all about one fight after another for survival. Thus, the number of skulls a Rajani man owns, that great a warrior he is called out to be. This stranger was not anything but extraordinary, the one who evoked both reverence and fear among the others.

The stranger looked fierce in his appearance, carrying many battle scars on his bare body as he brazenly walked past the dewy grass, open chested and flamboyant in his own belief, while finally shrugging his shoulders to ground as he witnessed his own spectacle, the twinkle eyed girl who he had a dream about, many muhurts ago, she was finally there. She was sipping the nectar of a blossoming young flower when Rudra finally caught a glance of her, the women of her dreams, the shining moon of his quest, Viruddhi. He stood there staring, right into her eye and she walked past him as if he never existed.

He camped there for weeks; he stole glances with her companion, Maya, but for Viruddhi, he never seemed to exist. It felt day after another as if she walked right through him without emoting a single change in expression. But Maya, on the other hand, was smitten by this dark skinned white eyed muscular Rajani. She looked out for him, every now and then, awaiting a reciprocating smile and an alluring look which would suggest he is hers, and she is his. But that never happened, not for the seven weeks he had stayed close to their place. She always found him in reverence for Viruddhi, with his eyes looking out only and only for her. It was beyond her understanding why Rudra would have fallen for someone who doesn’t even notice his presence; it was sheer hopelessness, atleast for Maya.

“Everything seems divided but the sky.” Viruddhi spoke absentmindedly towards the twinkling stars, garlanding the two moons that have existed since the eternity with pride.

“You don’t understand Viruddhi, the Rajani man is leaving!” Maya shouted.

“I had never asked him to stay in first place, for me to feel bad at his departure.” Viruddhi whispered.

“But he is madly in love with you.”

Viruddhi remained mum despite Maya’s on-going rant of how selfish she is being. Maya seemed to only notice the arrogance her friend displayed but failed to find the tear drop that slid through her friend’s cheek as Maya looked away and walked out from her life forever.

If the rumours are to be believed then it would go on somewhere like this, Maya met Rudra before he left and professed her love for him, and how Viruddhi wasn’t the right one for his affection. She thought she could win him over but as the rumours further go, it is believed he left her without saying another word. Maya dejected and lovelorn, walked east to the place yet unexplored, a place which we call today the beautiful “Mayapuri”.

Vista stood up while stretching his hands towards the toddy tree where he gulped in the toddy serum as the crowd waited with their questions but in vain. The old man shooed everyone away as he wasn’t in the mood to continue, how could he possibly be? After all, Rudra was his son. Estranged, yes, yet he was his own blood. The strongest of all the Rajanis, the conqueror of the new lands, the one who had promised to conquer the Diptis in seven holy weeks but returned empty handed with a broken heart to nurse. Vista saw his son only once then after, but he did hear the murmurs of his son being flogged to death for his arrogance and for now his failure.

His platoon of bards wrapped up the covers and dismantled the tent while collecting the alimony the people had kept out to offer. There were diverse range of presents, from a simple bowl of fruits and flowers to the ludicrously woven silk clothing. The bards gathered them all with a silent nod and a simple thank you to one and all. In one of the bowls they carried back to Vista, there was a peculiar thing which left no one but Vista perplexed. It was his son’s dagger, the one he had kept at Viruddhi’s feet, a century ago. Before he could enquire further, he found a woman cladded in black walking swiftly towards him, and then finally bowing in servitude to Vista.

“Rise my child. Rise.”

“What can I do for you?” Vista asked as the woman stood up.

“I am Viruddhi and I have been dying to meet my Rudra for a century now.” She responded with a straight face and with tears in her eyes which left everyone including Vista in deep silence.

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Please read the next chapter here

Yang is the new Yin- Chapter 2

Please read the previous opinion here

Author name : Jeetwan Tripathy

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Chapter 2

Queen

“Pessimus” she called out loud, gazing sternly at the first of three men standing before her in rapt attention. “What do you have for us?” The other two exhaled and shared a concerned look, as Pessimus stepped forward. “Your Grace, to put it simply, we’re fucked” he said, in a tone true to his title. “We were never supposed to last here this long anyway. It was just a matter of time before we were sent back to our true place in this world”. She looked away, sighing. “You may be right, Pessimus. But your negativity isn’t helping here” she said, looking to the other two for an alternate opinion.

“W-we can still weather this, Your Grace” offered the second man, stepping up, trying to gather his courage, and his wits. “Yes, go on, Optimus” she said reassuringly, her tone betraying her indulgence toward this man’s opinions. The man paused for a second, glancing at his unsmiling compatriot, before continuing with characteristic cheerfulness “We’ve come this far, haven’t we? All your life, at the brink of every battle, you have wondered if you can win. While Pessimus here tries to weigh you down with doubts and fears, I have always been by your side, reaffirming your faith in yourself. And see where it has gotten you so far! You are now the Queen of us all”.

“That’s true” she said softly, seemingly regaining some of her confidence. The first man, red from the snub wasn’t done yet. “Oh yes?” he asked menacingly, his voice loud now. “Where were you when all your flowery plans and dreamy ideas were shattered by the harsh reality of war?” he said, glowering. “When your blind faith in uptopian bullshit led our Queen to nothing but disappointment and betrayal? Where were you, then?” Optimus, not one to back down easily, countered “Watch your tone”. Not so cheerful any more, he continued “Have you forgotten the Great Depression? The horrors that your perpetual paranoia inflicted on our Kingdom’s economy! Not to mention our Queen’s peace of mind!”

The third man cleared his throat. “Gentlemen” he said, but his attempt to intervene was met with more salvos of blame. With every passing second, the exchanges become louder, more heated and increasingly distasteful. “You worthless coward” yelled Pessimus. “WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE US DO NOW, IF NOT RETREAT?” he challenged. Visibly shaken, Optimus looked at his Queen. “Your Grace. If we c-could simply w-wait this out. I’m sure the universe has s-something planned for you. For us! It will all turn out well soon” he said, as Pessimus rolled his eyes, sarcastically quipping “Oh, tHe LiGhT aT tHe eNd oF tHe fucking tUnNeL?”

By now, she was more conflicted than ever. Optimus and Pessimus had brought forth their ideas of war and peace, but neither had provided a solution that was both reasonable and effective. She turned away from them, facing her sigil, her back to them. “I’d like to know what he thinks” she said. Optimus and Pessimus looked at each other and then at the man behind them, realising that he hadn’t received his due in voicing his opinion. The third man cleared his throat, and with subtle confidence, recounted the situation for them all. “Your Grace, we were surrounded, the enemy was at our gates. For obvious reasons, I couldn’t wait for this council’s approval or consensus. I hope you will all forgive me, but I had to take some… measures of my own” he said, looking over his shoulder as the door opened and a soldier approached, carrying a scroll.

As his Queen and compatriots looked on with eagerness, he glanced at the scroll and returned it to the soldier. Looking back at the others, he said “It would seem the measures were successful. The enemy has retreated…”, as the room erupted with joy. He finished his sentence “… for now”, but it was drowned out by the cheers of Optimus and Pessimus as they ran to embrace him. Enveloped in the arms of two men who, moments before, were almost at each other’s throats, he nodded to the soldier, and then at his Queen. She was teary eyed, her face betraying a rare instance of affective emotion, reserved only for her strongest and weakest moments. He smiled at her, as she regained her composure, sat back at her throne, and mouthed, “Thank you, Pragmatus”.

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Chronicles of Medu Vada – Language is a subject matter of interpretation…

Because life comes in a full circle. Like Medu Vada.

Capture6

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If you have chronicles in your life that are funnier and worth sharing, please share the write up at indiawritestogether@gmail.com under 1000 words. I will post it in this blog. So, this is like the Sit-down comedy (and I just make that word from Standup comedy) of the blog!

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Experiences of Mukundhan Muralidharan

Please read his blog here

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Please read the Tamil to English to Hindi dictionary carefully before communicating!

Dude  ————————–दूध————————–தூது

(Referring to a man)           (referring to the drink)                (Referring to the envoy)

Usage: Eg. The dude was gulping down his दूध when the தூது brought him his important news.

 

As a parent, there are multiple decisions you tend to take for your kid. The name, cloth or nappies, whether to pass on the family tradition of woodwards gripe water or to believe frightening WhatsApp based scientific papers of the product, schools with the brand or school with a playground and so on. But none is tougher than the greatest choice of them all – selecting your kid’s second language!!!

My parents made that decision for me. The logic in their head was simple. Tamil can be taught at home. Hindi, however, requires specific external treatment. Now see, this is the problem of coming from a family of teachers – your special classes are scheduled much early. Am sure, if the Wachowskis were prominent in those days, they would have quoted this to me:

“You’ve already made the choice, now you have to understand it.” – Oracle, The Matrix Reloaded

The choice was in no way simple or logical. It so turned out that my primary school Hindi teacher too had similar choices enforced on her as a kid. With no Major Sundarrajan type translations (Yeh Teek Nahi hai. My walking stick is not made of teak”), the transition from Thamizh Thaatha to Rahu Thaatha was a painful process. As though adding new vocabulary to the repertoire wasn’t enough, came the thunderbolt. “In hindi, objects had genders”. I lost it when I realised “Pen was masculine”. Tamil Nadu’s elaborate anti-hindi movement now made complete sense.

However, thanks to not having questions like, “If Aanjum Chopra played the on-drive, would it be called the pen drive? Or should she have been called Penjum Chopra in the first place”, I scraped through my exams in school!

Reprieve, finally….

Or so I thought. The first assignment I was posted to at work was at Nagpur. Excited, I had made elaborate preparations in the build up to the trip – questionnaires were prepared, multiple relevant reports were studied, guesthouse for stay booked and the American tourister that had remained my faithful travel companion for over a decade now purchased. One (not so minor) minor detail was however missed.

The guesthouse caretaker, the client counterparts that I met and even the car driver who took us around spoke and understood only Hindi. And my spoken hindi was, at its best, “thoda thoda aatha hai” range. I think the first conversation, with the driver who asked me if he should bring the van or the car to the airport, had me referring to the festival of lights that follows Diwali (Car-teek-hai). The travails did not stop there. As a typical tambrahm, “curd/ more” was a critical part of any diet. When a polite enquiry for more was made to my guesthouse caretaker, it resulted in him dumping a little more poha into my plate. I knew he was symbolically telling me that I was full of hot air (Pohai).

Handling the client therefore called for a back-up – a colleague whose mother tongue was Hindi. The first few meetings went well. Me asking the client the questions (in English), the client answering in Hindi and my colleague making notes.  Divide and conquer. But then, there was one meeting where my colleague kept constantly nudging me from behind as I went on for over an hour putting questions to this gentleman. Not to be distracted from a meeting that according to me was going very well, I ignored those nudges until the end of the discussion. The proud me was confronted outside the door by the colleague and the nudge this time was almost a punch. “Dude.  The guy was speaking in Marathi and I have zero notes from the meeting!!!”. Damn it. Just when I thought I had figured a workaround!!!

From then to now, I have come a long way. So much so that in Chennai, a place usually known for people’s reluctance to respond in Hindi, for some reason, mistake me for a North Indian speak to me in Hindi. “Anna. Indha road ku epdi poganum” is usually responded to with “Dho kilometre seedha chaliye. Uske baadh left maaro”. Maybe my tamil, they figure, is worse than my Hindi!!

The mis-adventures with languages have not been without its advantages. I am now a multi-linguistic punster (wherein pun is interpreted in its tamil form by those subjected to my literature). Which is why, when my son showed his punster glimpses by pointing at a bird pictured from one side and asked “why is it called a toucan when it has only one kann”, I knew I had to put him through the same drill that I went through!!

I will teach him one day to repeat the following dialogue meticulously, so that people understand the limitations of Tamilians learning hindi:

Naaku                 Hindi                    Aatha         Nahi  (meaning) Hindi is not my mother tongue.

(Tongue)          (the language)   (Mother)     (No).

There are multiple debates around languages and their enforcement floating around. I have realised, language is not important, but communication is.