People

people

The most we crib about all our lives? People. The most we want all our lives? People. It’s amazing how we, humans, need to be with people. The need to be with people is starving, always there and never fulfiling. And yet, that’s one need we cannot possibly live without. Where did this thought come from? Well, I was inspired recently by not so much my own life’s examples, but more about something that provoked this thought. It made me realize almost instantly, ‘Ah indeed! True but never occured to me’. It all came from these movies I watched recently – Gravity and Interstellar.

Where do we want to run? We all just want to escape. Don’t we? But escape to where? Let’s say you managed somehow. Somehow someway someday you got that ultimate opportunity to just fly out and go anywhere you like – on another planet maybe? Yeah, just like those movies. Exactly what was shown in these movies will happen to you too. You will die to get back and be with people again. People you loved, lost, fought with, even wanted to kill.

Apart from the amazing innovations and technology humans have been able to and may achieve in future that these movies teach us, they also tech us one important thing – what we want in the end is our people. So, don’t really worry so much when you don’t like some people. Imagine the world without them! And needless to say about the ones you really love!

The Conjuring Part 2 (End)

conj

Part 2

When Mr. and Mrs. Baker drove home that afternoon, there was shock on their faces. And obviously, intense concern for their child. The meeting had lasted four hours. The couple tried their best to seem confident to be able to convince Miss Thomas to let Ethen continue his schooling, but inside, they were both moved. Frank feared Anaida would break. She did not then, but now she did. Tear drops had reached her chin. “Why are you taking me home, mommy?” asked innocent Ethen from the back seat. Frank looked at Anaida. She wiped her tears and replied trying to be normal, “Miss Thomas thought you need some rest today, honey, as you have a check-up tomorrow. You’re fine. Don’t worry my son… don’t you worry.” Her courageous expression quickly changed to fear and worry.

Miss Thomas’s words reverberated in their heads as they recalled in their minds what she had told about Ethen. “… And then he yelled – I’ll kill you if you ever do that again…” “He shoved the pencil hard into the notebook, and… ” “Can you imagine an 8 year old slapping hard across his classmate’s face? “And then Mrs. Baker, he, he did something unbelievable.. its so embarrassing I am having to tell you this – he walked in front of the class, unzipped his pants and peed all over. That’s when we decided to call you and we had to resort to this final step. Please be strong Mrs. Baker but your son needs a doctor. A psy- you know what I mean.”

That night, Frank called one of his doctor friends and discussed Ethen’s case with him. When Frank had hung up, Anaida stood up from the couch and said, “Frank, my son is not crazy. He probably just needs some time off school to-“. “Anaida,” interrupted Frank, an 8 year old is not stupid enough to pee in front of the class.” “I know, Frank but-” Just then, the phone rang, Frank put it on speaker, “Hello?” “Your son needs me, Mr. Baker.” And the voice at the other end of the line broke into a crooked laughter – it was a little girl’s voice.

After a stunned 5 seconds Frank yelled into the mouthpiece, “Who is that? Don’t play these games, go to your mummy.” From the other end of the line, “I don’t have one. She is dead.” And then the laughter again. Her laughter transitioned into a winging cry and she continued, “Burn me. Please, please burn me.”

Frank hung up at that moment and looked at Anaida leaned against the wall, scared to death. She fainted.

The next morning, Frank and Anaida turned up in Ethen’s school to discuss the bizarre phone call. Miss Thomas confirmed they never shared phone numbers with students in school, unless Ethen gave it to her himself. “One of Ethen’s friends probably played a prank,” said Miss Thomas.

As they returned home, to mess up their already twisted heads, a serious shocker was awaiting them. While parking the car outside, there was smoke bellowing from the house. They both rushed in to find Ethen setting his toys on fire. “Oh God, Ethen! What the hell?” Anaida picked Ethen in his arms. There were tears in his eyes and he was crying out loud, “Burn her, mom! Please! Please burn her. She needs to be freed. Burn her.” At this point, Anaida was fully convinced that this was something beyond their reach and control. Something abnormal.

With a monumental struggle Anaida put Ethen to bed. She immediately picked the phone and dialed. Frank asked, “Who are you calling?” “The Church.” “What? Why?” “The Exorcist.” “Anaida, he is just sick, he-” “Oh, please Frank. Can’t you see? He was not even here when we had the phone call – ‘Burn me’. How could he possibly know?” The church answered at the other end of the line. “Father Stevens, this is Mrs. Baker. There is a problem.” Father promised to visit a day after.

At midnight, the ringing phone broke Anaida’s half sleep. Frank was asleep next to her in bed. She got up with shaky feet and reached the phone. There was no number on the display and she knew who it was. After about 20 rings, she picked it and held close to her ear. The little girl was sobbing at the other end, “Thanks. I only like to talk to those who want to listen. I know that you want to.” “Go on.” Anaida responded firmly. “I need to be burned.” “Oh shut up!” Anaida composed herself, caught on the bridge between the normal and the paranormal. Her conscience had overcome for a split second over her fear and she continued, “I don’t know how you are hiding yourself, but please leave my son alone. Stop playing these stupid games.” “I am not playing any game,” the girl replied firmly. “Go to school.” “What?” “Go to school, enter Ethen’s class. Topple his desk over. And burn me.” And the line went dead.

Anaida woke Frank up. Only to prove her wrong and to keep her word, Frank agreed to go to Ethen’s school. Now. They locked Ethen’s room from the outside, and drove to his school. With torchlight, they searched and reached Ethen’s classroom. ‘Topple his desk over’ – the words Anaida was waiting to turn into reality. As Frank turned the desk upside down, there were scratch marks on the wood. Gashed out of bare nails.

Like an instinct, Anaida seemed to simply know what to do next. She held Frank’s arm and ran into the school office. “Find the records for last few years,” she said to Frank. They began searching.

“Here, Anaida.” “Under the torchlight, they read a student’s name from Ethen’s class last year. Her roll number, desk number and seat number was exactly the same as Ethen’s. “Kelly McGee.” Anaida read out loud.

The next morning, Anaida searched ‘Kelly McGee’ on Google and Frank went to the police. Anaida’s search went in vain, however, Frank had returned with something solid. “Kelly McGee, 8, had gone missing from school since last year.” They opened the door to Ethen’s room. ‘Burn her’, ‘Burn her’, was written all over on the walls and Ethen lay on the floor with the markers in his hands.

“Does anybody know where is Kelly McGee?” Miss Thomas had an astonishing look on her face as Anaida asked her this question in the school office that afternoon. Miss Thomas stammered while speaking, “I – Sorry, how? I don’t und-understand how you came to ask about Kelly?” “Please Miss Thomas, it’s very important for us to know.” “Well, she, uhm- the last day she was seen in the school was November 3, last year. And then- and then she was never found. She never reached home that day. But why do you ask? The police, they-” “They don’t know anything, Miss Thomas. We already enquired.” “Oh, I see.” With that, there was an expression of a certain relief on Miss Thomas’s face, something that she clearly tried to hide.

In the car while returning Frank said just what was on Anaida’s mind, “She is lying.” Anaida responded as if she was only waiting for Frank to say that first, “Exactly. What do we do now? How do we find out?” “My gut feeling says, Kelly will lead us,” Frank said that.

After dinner, Anaida put Ethen to bed and waited with great anticipation in the living room. Frank poured a drink and lit a cigarette. Now, they could only wait. Every now and again Anaida looked at the phone, expecting a bell. Hours passed. At 2 in the morning, a loud bang came from Ethen’s room. Frank and Anaida rushed in expecting a surprise but nothing compared to what they were about to witness. On the study-table, gritting his teeth in fierce revenge, Ethen was strangling a doll with bone crushing force. Two pencils were shoved into her eyes. “Oh fuck!” Frank had to use gigantic force to pull him back and control him. Anaida was too scared to even touch the doll or her son. Where the hell had he got it from in the first place? Ethen was a boy. Eight now. And never had a doll anyway. Ethen was grappling in Frank’s arms trying to get off him and tear the doll apart. That’s when he said something that would unlock the door to the mystery. “Kelly! You fuckin’ bitch! I’ll rip your eyes out, rape you and bury you in the playground!” Just then the doorbell rang. Anaida rushed to find the Father outside. “Father! Just the right time! Come in, quick!” Father Stevens and Frank controlled Ethen after a while.

“What made you come at this time, father?” Asked Frank after the situation had calmed down and he poured down a drink. “Miss Thomas had come to the church this evening. I knew Ethen and you would be in great trouble tonight.” “Excuse me, what?” Asked a perplexed Frank and Anaida, expecting a more elaborate explanation from father. “Miss Thomas told me about your meeting. I know about Kelly McGee’s disappearance.” Father picked up his drink, got up from the couch and walked near the fireplace and continued, “Kelly was a sweet child. But she feared someone greatly. Two of them, in-fact – Eddie and Kris Thomas, Miss Thomas’s two sons.” “What?” said Frank, “But Miss Thomas isn’t married. She couldn’t. She is a-” Father interrupted, “You are right, Mr. Baker. And that’s why she is a ‘Miss’. Eddie and Kris are her illegitimate sons. They studied in the same school. None knew they were Miss Thomas’s sons. It was all a secret. When the kids grew little older, we realized they had a problem. They were mentally ill. They remained aloof, quiet but only exerted their dominance when nobody was around on the person they could overpower – Kelly McGee. Miss Thomas and I once caught the two children abusing Kelly and threatened to expel them. That’s when she told me they were her children. We had them go to another school in Canada. We were relieved Kelly would be fine now. Only to know later that she went missing the same day when Eddie and Kris left for Canada. Miss Thomas feared they might have done something to Kelly and so she never really followed the case further.”

“I think I know what happened later,” said Anaida and got up, “Let’s go.”

They reached the school and Frank began finding the weaker spot in the playground using the torchlight. There was a crack in the ground which seemed unusual. Frank grabbed a shovel and started digging the earth. Father Stevens gave a helping hand without raising any questions. After about a foot of earth was dug out, they hit it. Kelly’s body.

May 22. Six months after Kelly’s body was found. Eddie and Kris were sent to Juvenile home for rehab. Miss Thomas was slapped with a hefty fine for negligence and jailed for 5 years. Kelly was now free. And so was Ethen.

The End.

The Conjuring

conjPart 1

The doctors had no explanation for little Ethen’s condition. Nothing medical at least. All the reports were fine and there was no reason for them to keep him in the ward. Ethen’s mother Anaida was relieved and happy they would be home tonight. Although everything was indeed alright, why Ethen had fainted in the morning still bothered her. Ethen’s father Francis was not going to be in town for another four days. She called him to update, “Thank god, he is okay now, Frank. But I can’t understand why he fainted.” “It’s alright, honey. Don’t worry about it now. Take him home. I’ll call later,” Francis said. Anaida hung up and was looking out the window as Ethen was asleep. But he wasn’t. When Anaida turned, Ethen was staring at the wall behind the side-table on which some medicines were. The sight of Ethen staring at absolutely nothing rocked Anaida a bit but she calmly sat beside him and ran her hand through his hair, “Ethen, you’re okay dear. We’ll be going home soon.” Just then, the nurse entered the room, “Mrs. Baker, could you please come over to pay the bill and make some signatures and then you may leave.” “Oh yes, sure, thanks.” Anaida got up and followed the nurse. Ethen had not even blinked his eyes. Any of this activity did not seem to bother his attention. He was still staring hard at the wall – or a figure. It was a little girl, some 6-7 year old in a white netted frock, beautiful brown hair carrying a doll in her hand with her eyes closed. Everything was normal about her. Except for the fact that only Ethen knew she was there. After about ten minutes Anaida returned with a file in her hands, “Come-on, sweetheart. Everything’s done. Let’s go home!” Ethen was still staring the wall. That tensed Anaida a bit, “Ethen,” she held his hand, that finally brought him back to the world, “Yes, mummy. Is everything fine?” “Yes, Ethen. You are completely fine. We are going home now.” Ethen walked behind Anaida holding her hand as they left the room. The door behind them shut with a bang – the little girl had banged it. She knew her job was about to begin. Her target was found. Her playful face creased into a wicked grin – two of her teeth were missing and a few had turned black. She held her hand down – the doll hung by a string around her neck. She opened her eyes – the eyes weren’t there.

The house chores next morning got Anaida occupied and the day started progressing as usual. Ethen went to school by his bus and Anaida got ready to go to her boutique. Life was normal over the next few days.

A few weeks passed and Francis got a call from Ethen’s school. “Mr. Baker, I am Miss Evans calling from St. Xaviers, we would like you and Mrs. Baker to come over and meet us tomorrow. Can you make it at 10:00 am?” Francis replied, “I am sorry, not both of us, but Anaida can make it. Will that be okay?” “Mr. Baker, this is not the regular parent teacher meeting. We need to talk to both of you.”

At dinner that night, Francis alerted Anaida about the call from Ethen’s school. What could be the matter, she worried. Anaida had easily forgotten Ethen’s staring incident at the hospital. “Don’t worry. We’ll find out tomorrow. Let me call Daniel to postpone my meeting,” Francis said and asked, “Ethen’s in bed?” Anaida replied, “Yes. I wonder what it could be about?” She spent a rather restless night.

Ethen went to school by his bus and Mr. and Mrs. Baker reached the school office exactly at 10:00. The staffer took them to the headmistress’s office. “Good morning Mr. and Mrs. Baker,” Miss Thomas greeted them, “Please, please take a seat,” Miss Thomas warmly attended to them and she called into the intercom, “Please send-,” she gently covered the mouthpiece and looked at Mr. and Mrs. Baker- “tea or coffe?” “Uhm, coffee, since you insist,” Anaida said with a grin. Mrs Thomas continued into the phone, “two coffees, please. Thank you.”

The coffee was only meant to calm them down as they were about to listen to shocking accounts of Ethen’s behavior in the school over the last few weeks.

The story will continue in Part 2

 

 

 

Face Off

Face Off

She knew it was him when the doorbell rang at midnight. Who else would appear at that hour when it was pouring outside with the winds reaching cyclonic speed? It rang again. Had it been a stranger seeking refuge for a night from the hostile weather, he would have been in by now near the fireplace. Weather department had issued the warning and the authorities had urged people to help others in drastic situation. Grudges and pasts creep in when the known come for help. Tina wished this man outside were indeed a stranger. The situation reminded her of the day when she had seen him the first time. Only the wind was calmer then and the rain gentle. She had opened the door with a smile which beamed even more when she saw her favorite daffodils in his hands. The memories vanished and she closed her eyes tight in sheer disappointment as a drop of tear ran down her cheek. She crawled out of the bed and realized it was warmer in the comfort of the duvet. Although the body was warm, she felt shivers inside. The thunderstorm inside her heart was growing ferociously as she climbed down the stairs to open the door. The doorbell rang again and the sound hit her like a lightning bolt. With shaky fingers she finally opened the door to find him drenched. He stood like a shovel stuck in earth. Unmoved. They gazed into each other’s eyes for a minute.

“Why are you here now?” she said bluntly.
“Tina, please don’t do this to me. I am still the same. Still your–”. She cut him short instantly, “You aren’t, Jack. You aren’t mine. You aren’t the same anymore. You are a changed man. I don’t give a damn about your face and I don’t care if it changed. It’s your heart and the man inside you that I had loved. And that has changed, Jack.”
“It hasn’t, Tina. And please don’t say you had loved me. You still love–”
She cut him again, this time raising her voice a little, “I don’t. Not anymore. I did once. But not today. And never now.”

Jack stilled. Something inside him said she will melt. It’s only a matter of time. She will understand. She must. Why should he bear the burden for a mistake he never committed all his life? All he could ask for now was this one night, to convince her. To win her back, again. “Tina,” he said, “let me in. Please.” And he walked inside without her approval. Tina closed the door behind and the wind hushed. The stormy night wasn’t going to rest anytime soon. She hoped the storm should subside until morning and Jack would be out. And Jack hoped it should last for at least three more days without losing any intensity. He really hoped for the forecast to turn right.

“I’ll get you a towel,” Tina said and went upstairs. Jack looked around the living. Everything was the same. At the same place where it had been four years back. He went closer to a photo frame on the shelf – Jack carrying Tina on his back with her arms swung around his neck with broad smiles on their faces. The frame’s glass cast his reflection back at Jack. Jack’s face in the photograph and the one in the reflection weren’t the same. He cursed himself. But Tina’s words came back to him – it’s not his face. It’s the man inside that had changed whom she hated.

Tina came back with the towel and stood behind Jack. He saw her reflection on the frame and turned. The floor where he walked was all wet. Tina handed him the towel and gazed at the photograph and then said, “Jack and I had taken this when we had gone to-“. Jack cut her short, “You and I, Tina, You and I. And ofcourse I know where we had taken this photograph. I am still the same Jack. Your Jack. I still love you.” He walked a few paces towards her as she paced backwards and said, “Jack, please dry yourself up. The storm should subside by dawn.” Jack watched her go upstairs and wondered, is she right? She is still the same – looking beautiful as always in this purple nightie. Incidentally the same one she had worn when they had made love for the first time. But me? I am not the same anymore. Not for her at least. And that’s what matters. I must go and talk to her.

The storm brewing inside the house seemed far more fatal than the one outside. Jack had to find a way to calm it down somehow. If he lost her again tonight, she would be gone forever. He wiped himself off with the towel and opened the closet near the fireplace. His white bathrobe was still neatly kept there. He wore it, lit up a cigarette and sat on the couch watching the fire. The flames drew him in and engulfed his thoughts back to the time when he had parted ways with Tina. It all came back. Still fresh as if it had all happened yesterday…

Jack was getting restless, checking time every few seconds that May afternoon in the bar. He was eager to meet her. He had only found her number last night following a confrontation with his father. Jack had had to blackmail his father to get her number. The beating he used to get from his father still scared him and he had not forgotten any of it. The mark on his forehead when Peter, Jack’s father had gashed with a broken beer glass when he was just four, was still visible. Jack could feel its depth even today brushing his fingers on it.
Re-checking the message on his phone resting his elbows on the table, Jack was reassuring himself he was at the right place at the right time. Karen should be here by now he thought. And as he looked up, there she was. Looking all grown up and cute, she walked towards Jack, smiled at him and said, “Hi, Jack.” Jack could not find words at first. He stood up and emotions had taken him over. A moment later, he smiled back at Karen and said, “Long time, Karen. Very long. How’ve you been?” Anybody around could tell they had met after ages. Before she could realize, Karen’s eyes welled up as they sat. Jack put his hands on Karen’s and gently caressed them a bit and said, “Please don’t cry, Karen. I am glad we at least met. I thought you were dead.” “I was surprised he gave you my number”, said Karen. “I blackmailed him. I finally found evidence against him. Now he knows that I know what he did to you and mom.”

Karen could not hold back her tears as Jack uttered those words. But she composed herself quickly, wiped her tears and said, “Let’s not talk about it, Jack. I’ve decided not to bring back any memories. I don’t want to be hurt anymore.” Jack obviously agreed. He changed the mood, “So, boyfriend?” Karen grinned before replying, “Yes,” and added, “We are not living together yet though. Let’s see. I’ll take life as it comes. No long term plans.” Jack appreciated that. He nodded in agreement and ordered something to eat. They were lost in conversations as there was so much to catch up. After all, they’d met after two decades. Jack’s phone rang a few times but he completely ignored the calls. It was Tina.

They did not realize how hours had passed. “It was wonderful seeing you again, Jack. Next weekend again?” “Yes, I missed you a lot, Karen. It’s still hard to believe I got to see you again. Thanks for coming.” “I love you, Jack,” Karen got up, picked up her purse, kissed Jack on his cheek and hugged him tight.
Jack checked his phone after Karen left. Twenty one missed calls. Tina was obviously worried and angry when Jack returned her call. He thought his lie, that he was stuck in an elevator in a building would work. It would have, had Jack’s father, Peter not been outside the bar secretly clicking Jack and Karen’s pictures to revenge Jack’s blackmail on him.

The next morning, Tina was still upset and the fear that Jack had lied to her crept in her mind as she knew Jack never lied. Never, ever. Just as she was about to convince herself that it must have been indeed an elevator Jack was stuck in, the bomb exploded on her that confirmed her worst fears. Peter had printed Jack and Karen’s pictures and sent them in a sealed envelope that landed on Tina’s desk in her office. The shock had not even sunk in when her phone rang. It took her gigantic efforts to pick it up and say hello. Her body was numb and her mind quiet. “Jack is having an affair.” The voice on the other end of the line said, “Come to central park cafe tonight at seven to see for yourself.” And the line went dead. Tina collapsed on the chair. She was sure this stranger on the phone was damn right. He already had a proof that was lying on her table staring in her face. A blunt lie.

Tina and Jack had a huge fight that night. Jack knew instantly those pictures were sent by his father. Who else would have done something so cheap? There were reasons that kept him from telling all the truth to Tina. She kicked him out and slammed the door. Jack kept knocking but Tina wouldn’t budge. Why would she? She deserved at least an explanation which Jack never gave. His silence ascertained his guilt. Tina peeped out the window to find Jack waiting outside. Just then, his mobile rang. It was Karen. He stared at it for a few seconds, thinking he must tell everything to Tina. That was the only way. Now that his past had flashed back in front him, there was no place he could hide. He saw Tina peeping from the window; she had tears in her eyes and was terribly upset. It was obvious to her that Jack’s mobile was ringing for Karen was calling. Jack leaned closer to the window and said, “Tina, I love you. Everything will be alright. Tomorrow.” He had decided to bring Karen over to Tina’s place and tell her everything. Everything he hid from her, until now.
When Jack answered Karen’s call, she was crying for help, “Jack! He is hurting me Jack, please come, Jack please…” and her voice faded into a loud scream. Jack rushed into his car and drove straight to Karen’s place. He knew who was hurting her. Karen would be slapped all over her face and perhaps even have cigarette burns over her cheeks, he feared as he drove with F1 speed to reach her place. Jack reached her house and banged the door. “Open the damn door, dad. Open the door you horrible maggot.” Peter opened the door and Jack stormed in pushing him back looking for Karen. “Where is she?” He yelled. Peter did not respond. He narrowly cast his eyes over the pistol lying on the couch. Jack went ahead, picked up the pistol and thrust his elbow on Jack’s throat and yelled in his face again, “WHERE IS SHE?” Karen heard him and slowly walked out of the kitchen with trembling feet. Jack was relieved she did not have any burn marks on her face, but she had been beaten badly. She collapsed into Jack’s arms. Jack dropped the pistol and took Karen outside and sat her in the car. Peter was watching everything from the door quietly.
Just as Jack lay his hands on the steering and revved the engine, Peter did something Karen and Jack had always feared from their childhood – he calmly drew handkerchief from his pocket, picked up the pistol Jack had dropped and placed it on his temple. Jack and Karen zoomed out of the car to reach him, “Dad! Dad, no–!!” By the time they reached Peter, he was lying in a pool of blood. Karen collapsed on her knees. A stark realization shuddered Jack and he said, “Oh my god! No, no. No–ooo. The pistol has my fingerprints on it.” A perfect crime by a mentally ill person. Karen was abused; Peter lay in a pool of blood, Jack’s fingerprints on the gun. No escape.

Hearing the gunshot, neighbors started peeping out of their windows. Karen knew someone would have called the police by now. She made a quick plan. She rushed inside the house, grabbed her mobile and called someone, “Maddy, you remember you said you’d pay back one day? The time has come. Help my bro Jack. He’ll call you.” She shoved her mobile in Jack’s hand and said, “Call Maddy and tell him the truth. And trust him. Go! Go, go, NOW!” Jack left as fast as he could.

Maddy was a fit biker with beard and tattooed bulky arms. They met near an old dilapidated abandoned building site. Maddy heard Jack’s story and there was no question of not trusting him. He took Jack home and figured a plan. He made a few phone calls as Jack stood near the window contemplating and visualizing the future. Even if he managed to convince the court of law that he never killed Peter, it could take months to prove his innocence. And there was no guarantee. Maddy’s suggestion was mind boggling but a life saver. What he said would change Jack’s life forever. Maddy had finished making all his phone calls and he said, “Look, Mr. Innocent, you’ve been framed by a mentally challenged person. Your mom never took the effort to register your father into any of the rehabs ever. There is no proof he was mentally ill, first place. There is no reason why he would have killed himself. Trust me, if taken to court, you will face trial and land in jail. I have a plan. All arrangements are done. You just have to follow, lad.” “What must I do?” asked Jack. Maddy replied, “You go to Mexico. And there you kill the man who could be jailed for your father’s death.” “What the hell do you mean?” asked a perplexed Jack. “You kill yourself, sonny,” said Maddy. “What? Are you crazy?” “Easy, ladyboy. You kill the face that the police could find. Not the man. Plastic surgery my man. Best doctors. Tried and tested. Success guaranteed.” Jack looked completely awe struck. All his dreams and future shattered to pieces. Maddy continued, “Anything else on your mind, don’t even think about it. This is your only way out. And I can’t let you rot in jail for a crime you never committed. I am doing this for Karen, not for you.”

There was no choice. It all happened as planned. For four years Jack lived away from his past, even Tina. But he had been seeing Karen all these years. Karen always wanted him to tell everything to Tina, but Jack never agreed. He wasn’t the same Jack Tina had loved.

When Jack learnt Tina still loved him and had never actually moved on, after much persuasion from Karen, he decided to get back into Tina’s life.

One morning, a visitor stopped by Tina’s office. He met her and in the midst of the conversation said something that threw Tina off the hook. He said, “Tina, I am Jack.” And showed her the ring she had gifted him. Tina was stunned. The next moment she realized, yes, this visitor’s voice is exactly like Jack’s. And the ring, that was the ultimate proof. Her head spun with amazement that Jack had come back. But who? Which Jack? This man? Who looked a total stranger? This man who betrayed her and to ditch her even changed his face? This man? She stormed out of her office as Jack followed her. It was tonight that the storm was about to come and Jack turned up at Tina’s house at midnight in the midst of the storm.

It was dawn. The storm outside seemed to have gone quieter. Jack was still awake staring the fireplace. Tina walked downstairs and said, “Jack, the storm has subsided.” Jack knew it meant he should leave. The time had come for Tina to know the entire past. The doorbell rang. Tina opened it to find the person she had hated and never wanted to see standing outside. It was Karen. Tina did not know how to react. Why had she come over?
Karen entered and Jack stood up. Tina looked at Jack, then at Karen and before she could say a word, Karen spoke, “Tina, Jack loves only you. I am Karen. Jack’s sister.”

***

Prime Factor

1

Yeah, that reminds me of the ‘prime factor’ term from mathematics (algebra, to be precise) which I was never really good at in school or later. Still managed to become an engineer. Here the connotation is different, ofcourse. Since this is my first post, it ought to be a good starter to make you read further. Hence the ‘Prime Factor’. Poor numbers, by numbers I don’t just mean exam marks but even poor in number science, can never stop you from becoming an engineer. Engineering is a mind not a study or a degree. Even a cobbler gets a one-off odd case to fix a shoe seemingly impossible to repair. He does the job with super perfection with his tools and brain. That is engineering. Please don’t undervalue yourself. After all, your Mechanical engineering degree landed you a plum job in IT. Even I am an Electronics and Communications engineer working IT. I know how tempting it can get to somehow fuse a string with a stupid syntax error, or to fix a ‘bug/defect/issue’ by a spanner. Can’t help it. Everything seems so abstract. Anyway, the whole world is – abstract, full of maya and mithya. So, keep going.

Took me a little while to search for that restlessdreamz. At first I thought it was a marketing gimmick to make people buy their cherished domain. Not everything is fake or made-up-to-fool-you in this world, I thought, the moment restlessdreamz was available for free. Reason behind that name? Yes. Strong one. Ultra hyper active dreams float in my sleeps every single night. That connects with you instantly? Welcome to the world. Even a ten minute nap shows me something. Sometimes amazing, sometimes disturbing, sometimes absolutely random. Its a constant struggle throughout the awake part of the time to decipher their meanings and explain the happenings. But the world beyond closed eyes is simply awesome.

People asked me, and were even surprised, how come I never had a blog even when I had published my first novel. The Devil Within, self published in November 2013 is still selling well and the reviews are fantastic. I still enjoy reading sequences that thrilled me when I wrote them. Finally, sat down with the laptop to create my first blog with my two year old daughter trying fiercely to snatch it away from my lap to play with it. She feels all grown-up to bang the keys and work like dad. But I have to bang them gently even while replying to angry emails. Pays me well, you see. How easy it gets to automatically value things that are associated with money.

Alright, want to keep it short and simple for a starter. Usually if starters are too heavy the main course becomes totally unenjoyable (yeah, red line under unenjoyable. Not sure if it is even a legit word, neither was ‘selfie’).

Will come back. Thanks for reading. None of the posts will be a waste of your time. I promise. I am Alhad Kulkarni from Pune, India. Hitting the alphabets of the laptop I never really wanted to through the day, and grazing my fingers over them in the night with thoughts in my head.