A glitch in the matrix

glitch in the matrix

“Dude, how long have we been best friends.” Akhil wiped the sweat off his brow.

“Since forever, what’s up?” Prakash said.

“I need your help…” Akhil whispered.

“Let me guess, it is to bury a body?” Prakash laughed.

After a few minutes, they were in the basement of Prakash’s building, staring into the bonnet of his car at what looked like a body wrapped in a gunny sack.

“Are you fucking serious?” Prakash soured and looked around the basement.

“I told you I was in deep shit…” Akhil said.

“Why would you bring it here though? You could have just called me home…” Prakash stared at the body again.

“I panicked…” Akhil shrugged, “will you help me or not?”

Prakash kicked the car tyre, walked around the basement and looked back at the body, “who is it?”

“No, the lesser you know the better,” Akhil said.

“Ok…well I am already involved. Might as well see to it you don’t screw this up…” Prakash closed the bonnet and got into the car.

Half an hour later, they were on the outskirts of the city in an old graveyard, hip deep in a newly dug grave.

“That should be deep enough…” Prakash said. They pulled the body out of the car and carried it towards the grave. Read more

You are late

alarm-clock-analogue-antique-280345 (1)

Ah, why am I late? Well, in fact, there is a very interesting story behind that. But, do you think we have the time of that now? Oh, we do, is it? We have time for a long story, but we don’t have time for me being late by a few minutes, is it? Ok, I see how it is. Well fine, I will tell you the story.

Long, long ago before there was anything, Father time had just begun seeing Mother space. They had decided to go on a date that day. This was before they had moved in together and Father time still lived at his own place. Father time was very different then, not the busy, bossy, no-fun time we know now. He was young and relaxed. He had flowing black hair that needed a lot of care to style. And so by the time he took a nice long shower, styled his hair, picked out his outfit, and reached the venue of their date Mother space had been waiting for what seemed a very long time to her.

“You are late!” She shouted when she saw Father time. Read more

Insane remedies

 

babaji

“Ma, I am fine…There is no need for this…” Ajay said in a forced whisper as if someone could hear him. But there wasn’t anyone around in the old building or in the grounds around the building. Ajay couldn’t make out what the building had been earlier…perhaps an old government office. He thought he saw the remains of an old filing cabinet in one of the rooms. An owl hooted loudly in the building somewhere. Ajay searched around for it.

“This is really not needed…I am fine…Let’s go…” he whispered harder to his mother.

“You call this fine…” his mother hit him on the ass with her umbrella.”

“Ow, you can’t do that…I am a grown man…”

“Then behave like one…All you do is mope around all day…And look how long your beard has grown… there could be sparrows nesting in there for all we know…”

“Beard’s are in right now, ma…” Ajay drawled.

His mother shot him a look that threatened to mow down his beard then and there, “And is lying in your bed for 20 hours a day also ‘in’ right now…”

Ajay stopped walking and let his mother walk ahead. He was surprised by the change in his otherwise​ docile loving mother. Suddenly, she was an assertive person who knew what needed to be done. Her heart was in the right place, he just wished her brain was in the right one too.

“Ok, fine…but what are we doing here? What is this place anyway?” Ajay braced himself as a big fat rat ran past them.

“This is an Ashram…” his mom said charging ahead despite the rat. Read more

Blind Date

blind-date

Nisha could hear them talking about the wedding already. She plucked silk threads from the pallu of her saree. She could not remember the last time she felt her parents had been inconsiderate of her. She had always brushed aside the issue of marriage, but arriving back from work and finding a family sitting in their living room had shocked her. She had not realized her parents were so keen on her getting married. Not that she didn’t look forward to it herself. But a heads up would have been good.

When she had entered the house her mother had hurried her into their bedroom and handed her her mother’s favorite silk saree, the one with the swans swimming along the pallu. That was when Nisha knew they were serious about this. She had expected to be called into the living room for a while now. And having waited for a while she was getting restless. She paced up and down the bedroom and put an ear to the door to try and hear what was being said. When she heard words like ‘dowry’ and ‘cooking’, she shook her head, opened the door and walked into the living room.

Nisha walked directly to the empty sofa opposite the prospective groom and sat down in it. An awkward silence followed in which the prospective groom and his parents stared at Nisha and her parents as if to ask how she had walked into their conversation unassisted.

Nisha folded her hands and raised them to the groom’s parents, “Namaste!” “ Hello…” she said to the groom. They seemed too dumbstruck because no one said anything.

The overhead fan could be heard creaking in the awkward silence. Her mother’s bangles clinked as she folded her hands nervously. Read more

The Environment Engine

environment engine

Keerthi took a staggered breath as she rang the bell to Tarun’s flat. She watched a few holographic butterflies flutter in his garden as she could feel the ones fluttering in her stomach. “After all this time…” she sighed to herself. She didn’t have to look around to notice the old rusty wind chime that chimed squeakily in the artificial wind. She didn’t have to look up to remember the teal blue of the sky above his house. She had stood at this threshold a hundred times in her dreams and had never really crossed it. She opened her eyes just as Tarun opened the door.

He looked the same as he had in college. She scanned his tousled brown hair for any whites, his wide forehead for any lines, or his taut t-shirt for signs of a beer belly, nothing. He was exactly the same as he was in her dream where at this point he would gather her into him for a kiss.

“ Hey Keru, come on in…” he barely looked at her and walked back into the house.

She stepped into the house and back into all the summers of her college days. There was the same dimly lit room, the same half deflated bean bag furniture and the smell of Tarun’s musk that an ocean-scented room freshener was trying hard to mask. Nothing had changed except for the second bedroom of the house that had obviously been converted into an experience engine.

Tarun walked back with a bowl of chips and two beers and handed her a beer along with his lopsided grin. Keerthi suppressed the butterflies in her stomach. This was why it was so difficult with Tarun, he hadn’t changed at all and she knew he never would.

“So what is this about Tarun?” She took a sip of her beer.

Tarun drank his beer and stared at the wall behind her. In her head, it was a look of realization, when Tarun finally saw that his soulmate stood right beside him, always had and always would. She shook herself, hard.

“I needed her your help with something,” Tarun said, he walked to the experience engine and opened its door.

“If this is about defeating another boss in that stupid game of yours, forget it. I have better things to do.” Keerthi said.

“Please Keru, don’t pretend you have a life, it’s just me. We will get to the next level in my stupid game. But, this is about something else.” Tarun walked into the room.

Keerthi tried to resent his mock condescension and his confidence that he knew her life down to the dot, and for the thousandth time, she failed. She chugged the last of her beer and entered the room.

A warm sea breeze lifted her hair and her bare feet sank into the white sand. The door closed behind her, she turned to find a pristine row of coconut trees swaying in the breeze. A dreamy sun was setting into a lulled ocean, like a tired bather entering a hot tub. The waves crashed into the white beach a little too rhythmically. Tarun stood at the edge of the water wearing only swim shorts and a smile. Read more

Where’s the honour in that?

tea cups

“Would you like some tea?” Nusrat idly stirred the pot on the stove.

“Tea?” Zabin adjusted her hijab, “I couldn’t drink anything right now.” She stared at Nusrat, “you do realize what they are discussing in your living room right now, right? Or have you completely lost it already?”

Nusrat looked up from the pot, “ I know what they are discussing…” she continued stirring it.

“You already know what they will decide. We all do. I don’t even know what the point of this meeting is.” Zabin shivered despite the warm day.

“The decision is already made. They are just hashing out the details…the where and how of it…” Nusrat gave the pot a violent stir and some of the milk spilled out if it.

“Khuda…how has it come to this? What will they do?” Read more