Friday, 28 November 2014


Snowstorm by Maurice de Valminck

He did not have many wants
He just wanted to be accepted as a member of the household but they were all scared of him and that hurt him.
He was as harmless as a new born baby, that he knew for sure. But he was unable to carry any conviction with any of the family members, notwithstanding the fact that some of them were his descendants. He could understand their apprehensions; there rarely was a ghost as humane and unselfish as he was. This made them nervous and self-conscious.
He did his best to befriend them; even without their knowing he was taking care of many of their problems and needs. Only a few days back they had all got stranded in their car in a snow storm. It would have been a disaster. But he had mustered all his power and strength and had saved them from a sure calamity.
At last, to his great relief, the little girl became his friend. He was happy as never before. But what a misfortune it was for the little girl. An exorcist made her life almost miserable.
Today again the exorcist was paying a visit. Exorcist made him angry. Later when he saw the poor little girl he almost died in remorse.  

A post for Two Shoes Tuesday, word prompts-wants or needs
And for Magpie Tales on a photo prompt

Thursday, 27 November 2014


She was sixteen and innocent. Her mutilated body was found in a desolate park behind her school. Police were able to find some clues to indicate that the crime had been committed by a local resident.
The murdered girl lived with her father’s mother; her parents had divorced and moved out of the town five years back.
It was a small town and everyone knew everyone else. The town had not witnessed such a heinous crime in many decades. But now the town was reeking with distrust. Everyone was acutely conscious of the fact that one of them was a brutal rapist and murderer. Everyone was suspicious of everyone else; everyone was scared of everyone else.
But this distrust somehow did not touch the old woman; the grandmother of the murdered girl. She knew everyone intimately; she firmly believed that they were all decent, easy going and tolerant people; she trusted each one of them.
As was her wont, she would go to the church every day; she would pray for everyone every day; light a candle every day; ardently hopeful that investigation would eventually clear everyone, for she was unwilling to believe that anyone known to her could have committed such a crime.
She died without losing her faith and trust.

Word prompts- Distrust, Tolerant, Hopeful

And as well for ABC Wednesday T for Trust 
The Library

                                                                                    Photo prompt-Copyright- Randy Mazie

It was exactly after thirty five years that I was returning to the town. Everything struck new, different and unfamiliar.
But the Library was unaltered.
As I entered the dimly lit hall, I encountered a stillness that I could not associate with any of my earlier memories. There were few readers and fewer books. Most of the cupboards were partially empty. All books were wrapped in neglect. Everything smelled of impending death.
“What has happened to the library?” I asked hesitantly.
“The right question to ask is, what has happened to the readers?” Librarian looked at me with pained eyes.

A post for Friday Fictioneers on a photo prompt.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014


He knew that he was no longer a kid; he was almost as big and strong as his mother.

But the mother would only treat him like a kid and chided him as if he was always in the harm’s way.

“How many times have I told you that such manoeuvres are not for the kids to try?” she said in an unrestrained irritation as he landed near her, brimming with pride, after a soul stirring flight.

He thought of his friends who had already flown to the distant island.

He looked at his mother with bleary eyes; he was dreaming of audacious flights he would try in the company of his reckless friends.  

Word prompt-Irritation

Sunday, 23 November 2014


Serendipity? What do you mean? I never heard this word,” he asked. He was baffled.
She did not answer. Perhaps she had not heard what he was saying. She was lost in her thoughts.
“Did I ever tell you that my grandfather and his father were in the army? They had fought many battles and in many countries.”
“So what?” he was still not sure where it was leading to.
“Last week we sold our grandfather’s house.”
“…..” he looked askance at her.
“We were to transfer the house on 17th. For no reason we decided to stay there on 16th and spend a night in that house. That house was full of our childhood memories…… I was not able to sleep. Just to while away my time I started going through some papers I had found in an old box. In 1917, my great grandfather had helped a rich Belgian merchant who had been arrested on the false charge of spying. In gratitude, the merchant had given him a precious diamond. War over; great grandfather wanted to sell the diamond but someone told him that it was the missing Florentine diamond. He got scared and didn’t sell it. He hid it.”
“Now I see why you are looking so lost. You must be wondering where the diamond was; you do want that priceless diamond but you can’t find it?” he said in a crudely mocking tone. Something hurt him deep inside.
“No,” she thought she could feel his hurt.
 “What does that mean?” he asked impatiently.
“We found the diamond. It was buried in the lawn of that house; buried under a plant of yellow roses.”
“I can’t believe it,” his eyes were brimming with greed.
“I wonder if I had quickly gone to sleep, what would have happened to that diamond,” she asked.
“Where is that diamond? His suppressed desires were overwhelming him.
“What does serendipity mean? Did I mention that word?” she looked a bit lost.
“Where is that diamond?” he almost shouted.
She just could not look at him.
A post for ABC Wednesday

S for Serendipity  

Friday, 21 November 2014

This Day

This day was like any other day.

“I have to reach office by eight; I will use the bathroom first.”
“I will just take ten minutes. I don’t want to miss the train, not today.”
“No, it’s never ten minutes with you; I know you well, you can’t fool me now.”
“Why don’t you understand, I have been missing the first train every day of the week,” he had almost shrieked.
“It is not my problem.”

He shrank within himself for he knew that both parents would keep arguing till one of them left for office.

This day was like any other day.

Every morning he would get up and wish that it would be a different day. Sometimes it did start differently. The rays streaming in the room would appear warm and bright. A butterfly would come and flutter near the window. Squirrels would jump and play on the walls and even on his wheelchair.  Air would smell beautiful.

But, more often than not, it never ended that way.  Something or other would happen and they would be at each other, like two sworn and tired enemies; unaware that he was observing them; that he was acutely sensitive and could feel even the slightest vibe floating in the air; that every moment of life he was shrinking within himself. 
A post for Two Shoes Tuesday
Word prompt- Observe

Thursday, 20 November 2014


                                                                                       Photo prompt-copyright-Claire Fuller

It was not a great car but he loved it.
He had inherited it; his father had spent his all savings to buy it. Father loved it more than anything else in life.
But his wife and children derided him for his love for this “junk”; yes, that’s what they called it.
“When are you taking out the junk for repairs? I wish we could go on a long drive; get it repaired soon.”
He knew what she meant. She would not even look at it.
“I have already sold it.”
She was stunned; for once, she felt his pain.

A post for Friday Fictioneers on a picture prompt

We all knew that he was notorious for making fiery speeches. But this time he had crossed all limits. What he had said was not just fiery, it was toxic; he was spewing venom like a viper.

And unsurprisingly he was inciting his band of followers against the media.

We were all nervous; all of us. We had all been highly critical of his actions and speeches. We had repeatedly exposed his hypocrisy; while he expected his followers to live like mendicants he himself lived like an orient king of yore.

Why his followers could not see that he was nothing but a farce was a mystery that none of us could unravel.

We had, all these days, been waiting for him to act against us. Therefore, his speech was not surprising. But what shocked us was the level of his anger against us.

We could feel the poison in the air; we could feel the eyes of his loyal followers. These were not the eyes of men.

Every one of us felt a shiver down our spines.

Word prompts- fiery, notorious, toxic

Monday, 17 November 2014

Ghost Town

The train was late by two hours. He was getting worried. He had asked Ess to come to the railway station in his car for he was scared of traveling in a taxi late in the night.
The train should have reached the destination at 1030 PM; it was already 1230AM and the train was yet to reach.

“Ess would have gone back by now. How long could he have waited?” he said to himself. “If he is not at the station I will have to hire a taxi.”

His nervousness increased with passage of every minute, “It will be first time in my life that I would be travelling in a taxi in the dead of night.”

The train reached his destination. He quickly got off the train and rushed to the exit gate of railway station. But he was surprised to see that he was the only passenger who had got off the train.

“It is really unusual, I am the only person getting off and I thought that more than eighty per cent passengers were travelling to this place. But why are not these people getting off?”

Railway station was totally deserted; not even one person could be seen there. The silence of the railway station was loud and frightening. 

He almost ran and ran out of the station; hearing sounds of his own thumping heart and his fleeting footsteps.

Outside, the city was as deserted as the railway station was where he had got off. There was no one anywhere around. There were no vehicles on the roads. There were no voices or noises in the air. It was an empty city he had come to.

All lights were shining and shining brightly. But he did not find the lights heartening; the lights made the emptiness of the city stark and terrifying.

“Have I come to wrong place? It looks more like a ghost town,” he muttered to himself and rushed back to the railway station. He looked at the board on which name of the station was flashing.

He read the name and shrieked in horror.

A post for Magpie Tales on a picture prompt
Managing Crowds

When I heard that Mr Modi is taking crowds from here for slogan shouting during his foreign visits I saw a great opportunity for myself. I had no reason to believe that this was a mere wild allegation for the statement had come from the mouth of a seasoned political leader.

I immediately contacted someone who knew someone in Sangh parivar. That someone spoke to someone in BJP. That someone in BJP called someone who was related to someone in PMO.  Eventually my request was placed before Mr Modi (I was later told that every decision about crowd management is taken by Mr Modi himself) on the side-lines of G-20 summit.  

And since Mr Modi is a quick decision taker, I promptly received a 10-page questionnaire; Mr Modi wanted to know everything about me; how many times I had been part of managed crowds in India; what had been my substantive contribution as a managed crowd; what were my views on Ram Mandir; did I do NaMo jap, if so how many times a week; so on and so forth.

After I had satisfied ‘him’ with my crisp answers (I had been warned that answers had to be brief and to the point, I was to use not more than five words per answer) I was given four options but no lifeline to help me make up my mind. I thought that was insulting; if I was volunteering to be managed as a crowd then I deserved the courtesy of at least one lifeline for choosing one option out of four.

My anger and reaction unnerved many people who were not prepared to raise this matter with ‘him’. Eventually Sangh Parivar had to intervene; there is rumour that Sangh Pramukh was displeased with the poor management of crowds by the BJP. On their insistence every volunteer was given two lifelines, phone a well-wisher and double dip, before he exercised his option. Those who were being compelled to be part of the managed crowd were not given these lifelines. I thought it was a fair decision.
I willingly used one lifeline and called a well-wisher and on his advice I opted to go to Germany during the next visit of Mr Modi and be part of the managed crowd; I would be initially part of Hamburg Bhangra Group and later I would have to travel as a resident of Munich on a train to Berlin and cheer him at a public function that would be organised there.

But there are no free lunches in the world. Mr Modi being a true Gujarati had extracted his pound of flesh for this favour he had done to me. I had to give an undertaking that I would be part of managed crowds if and when Mr Modi decided to visit Timbukto and Burkina Faso. In Timbukto I would be a member of Timbukto Indian Association and in Burkina Faso I would be part of Indian Dance Group.

But let me say one thing quite candidly. I can’t help but admire Mr Modi’s crowd management and long term planning; he is truly a great leader.

Friday, 14 November 2014

First Flight

It was his first flight and he knew that if failed he would land on the rocks below and die.
He had been preparing for this flight for many weeks; nay, he had been dreaming and preparing almost from the time he opened his eyes.
He looked at the blue sky above and the deep blue sea below; both were just magnificent.
His father had already taken off and now he was gliding majestically like an ace flier.
As he took off he felt a lump in his throat and recalled what his father had once said, “Respect the fear rising in your heart, don’t be afraid of it, and it will make you an ace flier.”
 A post for Five SentenceFiction

Word prompt- Flight

Thursday, 13 November 2014

A malignant fear was spreading through every house.

In last three days seven girls had been attacked; every girl had her face badly scratched; every girl was too scared to remember who or what had attacked her.

No one knew who was attacking the girls. No one knew why someone was attacking the girls. There was an enemy out there in the forest but no one knew who that enemy was or how to fight that enemy. This ignorance made them vulnerable and nervous.

At this crucial juncture everyone was thinking of the old man. He was a wise man, even though he was somewhat quirky. He could talk to birds and animals and the spirits of the forest. He was fearless and even ghosts were scared of him. But they all had been foolish; they had annoyed him and he had left them. He just wanted to marry that girl. But the Chief had his eye on her.

The old man was sitting under a tree. He chuckled at the little monkey who was eating little berries from his hand. These berries were the best aphrodisiac he had ever tried. The monkey, like the old man, had taken a liking to the berries.

The old man said to the monkey, “They must all be yearning for me. They are scared and don't know what to do. Fear and apprehension is always killing. Should I help the ungrateful people? They are scum, don’t you think so? But if you agree I will help them.”

The monkey looked at his empty hand and growled; he wanted some more berries.
A post for Three Word Wednesday

Word prompts- crucial, malignant, yearning.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014


                                                                               Photo prompt-copyright-Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

She stood still for some time; then she raised her finger and pointed towards the sky.
Everyone stopped and looked up. They could see nothing but deep blue sky.
She shrieked and started trembling, “Its happening. Yes, it’s happening.”
Everyone felt a scare. Everyone stood unsure of himself.
“There is something shinning in the sky, I see it over there,” said a girl. She was behind the woman who kept repeating, “It’s happening.”
One by one people started moving away; everyone appeared apprehensive; everyone expected something unseemly to happen.
The woman asked the girl, “Did I prove my point?”

Word count 98

A post for Friday Fictioneers on a photo prompt
Call of the soul

Almost everyone disapproved of his idea.
“At your age you should not even think of climbing any mountain, least of all K2.”
“Well, if you want to enter history you may very well succeed; but you won’t succeed in your climb, you will enter history as the oldest man who died while climbing K2.”
“Last time you had to abort your climb when you were not even half way through; and that was seven years ago. This time you would not even reach that height.”
“Is something wrong with you?  Why can’t you live like a normal man of your age?”
They all said something like this or other. They all did their best to dissuade him; even his team members. 
But no one understood him; not even those who had been with him on many of his climbing expeditions; those who had tasted success and failure with him; those who had seen him suffer after every failed climb.
No one understood why he desperately wanted to make one more attempt to climb K2; that made him even more miserable.
He was aware of his age. If he succeeded he would be the oldest man to do so. He was aware that his ageing body could not take any more punishment. He knew that the climb could be killing. And, worse, it could be heart-breaking.
But he had to take his chance. Something within him had been, for last so many years, pushing him to make one last attempt to climb K2 or die in the effort. He had resisted this call of his soul for so many years. But now it was almost impossible for him to resist this call.
The team had been anxiously waiting for his signal. Time was running out and they could not wait indefinitely. They had to either leave within next five days or drop the expedition this year. They all wanted to leave without him; they were worried that he might not come back with them.
But they did not leave and kept waiting for him to decide.
He chose to heed the call of his soul. He left with his team. The expedition was a success. All six members of the team reached the summit. At last he was at peace with himself; nothing remained to be achieved in the life.
The team came back; he was not with the team.

A post for Light andShade challenge on picture prompt (given above) and a quotation prompt give below:
                              It’s hard to beat somebody when they don’t give up

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Minimum Government Maximum Governance
Ever since Shri Narendra Modi expanded his Council Of Ministers, some experts have started  criticising him for not practising what he had been preaching all along.

During the election campaign Shri Modi had repeatedly talked of ‘Minimum Government Maximum Governance’. And when he had formed his government in May 2014 it was said that he was actually trying to give the country minimum government. But now, it is being said, this is slogan will only evoke sarcasm.

Council of Ministers, UK
I just looked into composition of ministry in UK. There are twenty two cabinet ministers including the Prime Minister. In addition there are eleven junior ministers who also attend the cabinet meetings. UK has a population of only 65 million people and an area of 243000 sq km and a council of thirty three ministers to govern the country. 

Minimum Government in India
India has a population of 1250 million people and an area of 1270000 sq km. How many ministers would form an ideal council of ministers to provide maximum governance to a population which is twenty times that of UK? It can be a debatable issue.  But a council of sixty five ministers would not necessarily imply a shift from minimum government to maximum government; the caveat being that every minister is required to do some meaningful work and not to just fill a billet.
The problem at the level of ministers is not primarily of numbers but of competence and commitment. A small council comprising of corrupt and or incompetent ministers can do more damaged than a large council of competent and honest ministers.

And in this discussion we seem to ignore issues  at the level of bureaucracy and the bigger issue of plethora of laws, rules, regulations, orders, bye-laws, instructions, directions, guidelines etc, written or otherwise, that are in force and are implemented by the huge bureaucracy as per their own understanding and will.  It is the bureaucracy and the laws etc that generally make the life of an average Indian almost impossible.
Bureaucracy thrives on empire building; there are inter-departmental and inter-service rivalries. Innovation and improvisations are not favourably looked upon.  Very few people are willing to take decisions and stick their necks out. Even those who are not corrupt are more concerned with their career and growth and less with professional integrity

Rules etc
And of rules etc less said the better; I will just quote two examples to make my point.
While examinig a representation of a scheduled caste officer we found that Department of Personnel & Training (DOPT) had issued two orders on the same subject and that one order contradicted the other. Both could not be implemented concurrently. We took up the issue with DOPT to find out as to which order was valid. DOPT advised that both orders were to be applied harmoniously. How two contradictory orders could be harmonised in implementation, that they did not explain.  We were in a quandary; matter was resolved when it became sub judice.
In 2008 my son wanted a passport on Tatkal basis. We went to the passport office, waited in one queue and then second queue. After two hours of waiting our turn came and we were disposed of in less than thirty seconds. The official threw the application back at us saying that people born in…….. were not eligible to get a passport on Tatkal basis. Why was not that mentioned in your website, we tried to argue but to no avail. I literally bulldozed my way into RPO’s office and convinced him to issue passport on Tatkal basis.
I was holding a responsible position in government and could find access to RPO. But what of millions of people, most of whom have no understanding of systems and procedures, but who have to deal with different authorities, day in and day out; anyone can show any rule and make the life of common man miserable.

Minimum Government 
It is here that we need to have minimum government and not in council of ministers. We need far less laws and rules and instructions and guidelines. And every rule etc must be carefully worded, ensuring that scope for interpretation and litigation is minimized, if not totally eliminated. And we definitely need a smaller but competent bureaucracy.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Why is youth connecting with Narendra Modi
I recently heard an expert in one of the TV debates saying, that as per some study Indian youth under the age of 35 are conservative. As per that expert youth are connecting with Narendra Modi because they are conservative.
Before I discuss further let me confess that I did not see the complete debate, for I am generally averse to all TV debates; I find them more entertaining and less enlightening.
Is Indian youth connecting with Modi? Obvious answer is yes. Without the whole hearted support of youth, BJP could have never won such a huge mandate as the party has won in the last general election. But why are youth connecting with Modi and not with Rahul Gandhi or even with Arvind Kejriwal?
Is Indian youth conservative? As per the Oxford dictionary, conservative means ‘opposed to change and holding traditional values’. Indian youth is surely conservative for most of them still respect parents and, even after marriage, don’t mind living with them; they still rely on parents to get them married; many go to places of worship; many, if not most, are unable to break the caste barrier. One can go on and on.
Broadly speaking, by these standards, youth of every part of the country can be categorised as conservative; even those who followed Kejriwal in series of dharnas organised by him and eventually voted for him and his party; and also those who still have some faith in Congress party and had voted for that party, the part received about 20% votes in the last election.
Youth is attracted to Modi not because they are conservative but because he dared to present a vision to Indians and the vision appealed them. The bane of Indian political system has been the rise of political families. Nehru- Gandhis, Abdullahs, MSY and his family, Karunanidhi and his clan, Lalu Prasad, Badals, so and so forth; it is sad tale of families  ruling Indians like feudal lords of the yore.
There has not been even one person from any of these political families who had some vision that he could present before the young Indians.  Every family is surviving on caste, religion, language, and region politics. These families have lived and thrived in pomp and glory while every average young Indian has to struggle to achieve anything worthwhile.
Lakhs of student compete year after year for few seats in IITs, Medical Colleges and IIMs. In last fifty years they could not even create one IIT in each State, and many if these states are bigger than European countries. And when they pass out of second, third and fourth grade educational institutions, they have to struggle to get even a clerk’s job.
The bright ones who get an opportunity to go abroad are shocked to see the standard life enjoyed by the common people of those countries. It hurts them for they know that Indians could also have enjoyed reasonable standard of life but for the corrupt and venal political elite ruling the country.
Indians below the age of 35 may or may not be conservative but they are definitely more informed than the youth of 60s and 70s. They know what is happening in every part of the world. They know what could have been achieved in last sixty years.  And, therefore, they have less patience with leaders who are bereft of ideas. Lineage means nothing to them. They want to get on with the job.
Modi, like many other heros of Indian youth (we all who they are), has risen by dint of his sheer hard work and ingenuity. His success gives hope to those who are not born with silver spoons in their mouths.

No, it is not conservatism that attracts youth to Modi. It is his own success in an unjust system, perpetuated by political families, and the dream that he is presenting to the youth that connects Modi to Indians below the age of 35.

Saturday, 8 November 2014


“I don’t envy anyone for, in my opinion, no one is worth envying; every man desperately longs for something or other.”
“Well, then you must be the only person on earth who is above envy?”
“But I did not say that I am above envy for I too am envious of…..of many things.”
“Like what?”
“For one, I am envious of birds; they are not bound by anything; how I wish I had been born as a bird.”
A post for Five Sentence Fiction hosted by Lillie McFerrin

Word prompt-envy. 

Thursday, 6 November 2014


Age-old-machines realized that time was running out for them. They had to either reinvent themselves or be prepared for a slow, agonizing death.
There was a heated and long discussion; after all they were not communists. 
Eventually some machines agreed; some did not.
Those who saw the challenge staring at them got on with the job. Those who did not opted for status quo.
Machines that reinvented themselves kept on reinventing themselves; they survived the onslaught of robotics and nanotechnology. Those who failed to see the writing on the wall died a slow death.
A post for Friday Fictioneers hosted by RochelleWisoff on a picture prompt.

“This is the third girl you have given birth to. It should have been a boy; at least this time.”

He had almost barked at her. A finger probed the baby; and it probed harshly. She was a new born child but still a tiny wave of shame rose in her tiny heart. The mother cringed and looked other way.

As months passed by the wave rose higher and higher; she was often left gasping for breath.

It was her thirteenth birthday. She was fragile as gossamer. But there was no respite for her. He had since plummeted to the zone of beasts and mere probing left him angry. He regretted not killing her at birth.

It was her thirteenth birthday and she lay devastated. She looked at her mother. She saw her eyes; eyes that were bereft of tears. She heard her muted cries; cries that lacked courage.

The wave of shame engulfed her. She wished she could drown for ever.

Word prompts- devastate, gossamer, plummet

Wednesday, 5 November 2014


image credit: Dick Blick Art

When everything that could be destroyed had been destroyed they all gloated in immense satisfaction.

Every wild animal and every bird had been exterminated; all plants had been poisoned and all trees had been cut and burnt; every river was dead and all glaciers had melted; oceans were nothing but pools of filth and air was reeking with smoke and fumes.

They rejoiced at their great victory over the unbounded power of nature.

But one day suddenly an alarm went off somewhere. It shattered their confidence.
“What? Where? How? It is not possible? Yes? It can’t be true? No? It has happened? Yes? No?”
Troops were given an explicit order, “Use whatever you want to use, chemical, biological, nuclear, known or unknown, but this plant, this flower must be destroyed. How can it dare to challenge our ingenuity and our strength?”

And soldiers destroyed the plant that had found a way to sprout in the land of dead.
A post for Magpie Tales on a picture prompt.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Stone Soldier

Everyone in Vairavia believed that the statue of Zaraan would protect them from the enemies till eternity. They only had to ensure that the statue was well looked after and well-dressed all the time. Nothing more was expected of them to protect their beautiful town and its beautiful people.
Zaraan was a giant of a man and a ferocious warrior who had, a thousand years ago, laid down his life defending Vairavia.
Vairavia was surrounded by steep mountains and could be reached through a narrow pass. Zaraan was standing guard at the pass when the enemy struck. There were more than hundred soldiers in the attacking party. Zaraan fought like a tiger and killed or wounded almost every enemy soldier.  
The enemy attack was repulsed. But Zaraan was fatally injured. Before he breathed his last he told Vairavians to install his statue at the place where he had fought the enemy.
“Let them not know that I have died. Let them think that I have survived my wounds. I have put fear in them and now they feel fear even my statue. They will never dare to attack Vairavia.”
Vairavians spent many evenings rejoicing at their victory. Rejoicing over, they installed a statue of Zaraan at the place he had died. Every few days they cleaned the statue and change its dress. Anyone who saw the statue from a distance thought that it was Zaraan was guarding Vairavia.
The enemy continued to believe that Zaraan had survived the attack and was still standing guard, ever alert and ready to repel the enemy. For years no one dared to attack Vairavia.  
Vairavians began to believe that the statue would protect them from enemy till eternity. They became complacent; no one thought of becoming a soldier; no one sharpened the swords; no one trained the war horses.
They began to believe that they were invincible. They began to enjoy fruits of life without any restraint. Vairavia became nation of fun loving and comfort loving people.
But Vairavians were living in a fool’s paradise. The enemy had all along been burning with rage. For years they had been thirsting to avenge their martyrs. For years they had been planning and preparing for a battle.
And then the enemy struck. Some enemy soldiers were still scared of Zaraan. But they were desperate to challenge him. They attacked Zaraan with all the might and ingenuity they could muster. They were prepared for the worst but this time Zaraan could not fight back. In moments he was shattered into hundred pieces.
Vairavia was overrun. Vairavians paid for their complacency and for their blind reliance on a stone soldier. It dawned on them that they had acted like fools all these years. But it was too late.

A post for Light and Shade Challenge on a picture (given above) prompt and a quotation (given below) prompt:

Every man is guilty of all the good he didn't do.