Thursday, 30 April 2015

Zebra Crossing

As she stepped on the zebra crossing a car came from nowhere and hit her. For a few moments everyone around was too stunned to react.

A couple of men standing near the bookstore rushed towards her. The car that had hit her came to a screeching halt. A tough looking man came out of the car and ran towards the injured girl and asked in a harsh, insulting voice, “Is she still alive?”

The question shocked everyone and invoked instant hostility. But the hostile glares did not deter him, “She is a thief; she had picked my pocket; my wallet must be with her. Search her, now.”

Now everyone looked at her and with suspicious eyes. Fortunately she was not badly hurt and was trying to regain her composure.

“What a pretty face this devilish woman has; who would even think that she could be a thief?” said one of the onlookers; there number had increased in the meanwhile. 

“I am no thief,” she said a weak, shaken voice.

“She is lying, don’t get fooled by her?” tough looking man shouted.

“Search her; call the police; she looks like a thief; I think I have seen her somewhere; she must be a thief, don’t let her go,” everyone had something to contribute in the situation.

“Please, if you wish, you may call the police, but I am no thief. This man...,” she looked around but the tough looking man was nowhere to be seen. He had vanished, leaving his car behind.

Onlookers were baffled. Everyone expected everyone else to take an initiative to break the impasse. But no one was willing to stick his neck out and slowly the crowd dispersed.

It was only later that many of the bystanders realized that their wallets had gone missing; their pockets had been picked.

Police found that the car left behind by the tough looking man was a stolen one.
**********


Letter Z for Zebra Crossing

You may like to read my earlier posts
                Y for Yawn
                X for X-rayed
                W for Wolf

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Yawn
(A story for kids)

The king yawned, once again.
“Fifty-three,” said the doctor.
“No, fifty-four,” mumbled the magician.
The king shouted in annoyance, “How does it matter whether it is the fifty-third yawn or fifty-fourth? When will I get sleep?”
“My Lord, it is just a matter of a few more minutes and then you will surely get a sound sleep,” said the doctor.
“My Lord, my magic has never failed. Just try to relax your frayed nerves and the magic will do the rest,” said the magicians.
“Throw these buffoons out of the palace,” the king thundered at his soldiers.
The king had not been able to sleep soundly for many months. He would yawn and yawn and yawn but sleep would not come. He would toss on his bed; he would stroll in his room; he would walk in the garden but sleep refused to oblige him. Doctors had tried their medicines and magicians had tried their magic but all to no avail.
The king announced that anyone who would help him sleep would be declared heir to the throne for he had no son of his own.
One day a young man, named Hewise, came to the palace and said to the king, “My Lord, I don’t need to be declared as your heir for I am a farmer and I love my farm more than your kingdom. But if you do what I tell you to do, you will soon sleep like a child.”
The king was impressed by his confidence, “Youngman, I promise that I will do what you ask me to do.”
The man left for a few minutes and came with a boy who was about five years of age.
“My Lord, you have to pretend that you are a boy as young as my son, Newise, and just try to do whatever he does.”
The king looked at the man and his son and laughed, “Are you serious?”
“Yes, My Lord.”
The king agreed.
Newise had never seen a king’s palace. His excitement was boundless when he saw the royal bed chamber. In sheer joy, he started jumping on the ground; next moment he was dancing on the floor and later he was singing as loudly as he could. Sometimes he rolled on the ground and sometimes he laughed for no reason.
The king pretended that he was a little boy and he started copying every action and every movement of Newise. He did everything that the child did. But he could not keep pace with the boy and soon he was tired and breathless. It was difficult for him to match the boy’s energy and enthusiasm but he kept trying his best.
The king finally gave in and raised his hands. He asked the boy to relax for a few minutes. Both of them lay down on the royal bed. Soon the king was sleeping like a child. The boy too fell asleep.
When the king woke up he told Hewise, “This is the magic I had been looking for. If I want to sleep like a child then I will have to live like a child and find joy in everything I do”  
*****
The king still yawns but rarely; he has learnt to live and sleep like a child.
********************

Letter Y for Yawn
I have a separate blog for poems and stories for children. Please do visit www.ps4kids.blogspot.in

You may like to read my earlier posts
                X for X-rayed
                W for Wolf
                V for Victory

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

X- rayed

He had been working as a cook at Kumar’s residence for last two months. But cooking was only a part-time profession for him.
He had been watchful from the beginning. He had very carefully identified everything that was valuable in the household; and then he began to wait patiently.
He did not have to wait long. The right moment came and he executed his plan with military efficiency. He was confident that, even if he got caught and searched, nothing would be found in his belongings.
But it was foolish of him to be careless while leaving; he slipped near the front door and injured himself. The pain was unbearable and he could not stop himself from shouting for help. Kumar came to his help and promptly took him to the hospital. The doctor felt that an x-ray would have to be taken.
“Sir, I am feeling better; I don’t think an x-ray is necessary.”
“Let the doctor decide,” Kumar said in irritation.
He insisted that he would rather consult a doctor known to him. Kumar reluctantly agreed to his request. But the injury made it difficult for him to get up and leave the hospital.
He was sent for x-ray. The report did not indicate any serious damage to the bones. That was good news. But it was part of the news.
X-ray had revealed a large number of metal pieces that were lying in his stomach.
“What are these things?” asked Kumar.
“Things he has possibly swallowed; necklace chains, rings, stones etc. etc.” the doctor replied
 Kumar rushed back to his home. He was shocked to find that many jewellery items were missing from his home.
***********


Letter X for X-rayed.

You may like to read my earlier posts
                W for Wolf
                V for Victory
                U for Ugly

Monday, 27 April 2015

Wolf
(A story for children)



A wolf had not eaten for many days. Poor fellow had failed to catch even a small rabbit.
Driven by hunger he walked into a village. He thought that he would remain alert and cautious and try to steal a goat or a sheep or a rooster to satisfy his hunger.
He sneaked into a house and saw a goat in a corner. He was about to pounce on it when the goat said, “Don’t even think of eating me. I am suffering from pneumonia. My lungs are rotting. If you eat me you too will catch pneumonia and die. Why don’t you eat the sheep that is in the next house? She is such a fat sheep.”
The wolf had never heard of pneumonia. He got scared and ran away. He entered the next house. He saw a sheep. He was crawling towards the sheep when it said, “Be careful of the hounds; any moment they would be here. Be quick and hide somewhere; they are real vicious hounds.”
Hunger was driving the wolf mad. But he was too weak to face a pack of vicious hounds. He chose to beat a hasty retreat. He went into another house and saw a big rooster.
The rooster looked at the wolf and angrily shouted, “I know you are the witch that walks in the garb of a wolf. My master has been looking for you. He wants to burn you alive. Let me alert my master.”
The wolf ran for his life lest he was caught and burnt alive. He was now disheartened and tired. He thought he would make one last effort to get something to eat. He sneaked into the next house. He saw a big, fat pig in that house and smiled at his luck.
“Did the goat, the sheep and the rooster make a fool of me?” he began to ponder while eyeing the pig.  “But I will not let this pig make a fool of me.”
The pig looked at the wolf and fearlessly turned his back towards him. The wolf felt insulted. He jumped on the pig. But midway he was hit by a blast of hot, stinking air; the accompanying sound was deafening.
The pig was suffering from indigestion and he had just farted.
The poor wolf could not survive the ‘chemical weapon’ released by the pig and collapsed on the ground.
************

Letter W for Wolf

I have a separate blog for poems and stories for children
You may like to read my earlier posts
                V for  Victory
                U for  Ugly
                T for  Traitor

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Missing

                                                                              Photo prompt-copyright- Douglas MacIlroy

They were thirty miles from the base camp when weather changed abruptly.

“We must leave, now.”

“You are over-reacting?”

“No?”

They left for the camp. Soon everything that could go wrong went wrong. They lost their way.

Out of nowhere a man appeared and waved at them. They were shocked to see him but stopped the vehicle.

“You need to go straight towards east,” he said pointing towards east.

“You can come with us.”

“I like it here,’ the man said and vanished in the blizzard.

“I think I know him; was he the explorer who went missing, years ago?”
*************


Post for Friday Fictioneers on a photo prompt

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Victory

When everything that could be destroyed had been destroyed, when every animal and bird and fish that could be killed had been killed, when every river and every ocean had been poisoned, when every glacier had been melted and every mountain had been defaced they heaved a sigh of relief.
It had taken them just one hundred years to achieve what their forefathers had failed to achieve in hundreds of years. It was a great victory and they were proud of it.
But one day, unexpectedly, the alarms went off. Everyone was up and agitated.
“How? Where? When? It can’t be true? It can’t happen? It has happened? What about the fail-safe systems that had been installed? Someone must have sabotaged? No? Must be aliens? Yes?”
A seed lying buried for years had sprouted and a beautiful flower had bloomed on the plant.
Troops were ordered to use anything and everything they wanted to use and to exterminate the plant that had challenged their ingenuity and had found a way to live. 
Troops executed the order with ruthless efficiency. They all gloated at their victory.
*************
Letter V for Victory
You may also like to read

Violence

A trade union leader had been killed. Political leaders who were in the wilderness did not waste even a minute to fish in the troubled waters. 
Rival groups were incited; they were told that the people in power were mere puppets on strings and would do anything to crush the workers.
Town exploded like a volcano. People were killed and injured; shops were looted; houses were burnt; vehicles were destroyed.
Everyone was stunned by the ferocity of violence.
Leaders who were in power and leaders who were thirsting for power met and decided that the violence has to end. They agreed to share the spoils equitably between the haves and have-nots. Every leader was given some office of profit or other. Those who pretended that they were not hankering for power were given government contracts to supply this or that.
Violence ended; it ended as quickly as it had begun.  
Peace restored, every worker came back to his treadmill. Those who had suffered were soon forgotten.
**********

Letter V for Violence
You may like to read my earlier posts
                U for Ugly
                T for  Traitor
                 S for  Scream

Friday, 24 April 2015

Ugly



Princess Rena was an ugly girl.
On her twentieth birthday, the king decided to marry her. Messages were sent to kings who had sons of marriageable age. But, excepting Prince Ebraan, no one was willing to marry her.
Rena did not want to marry Ebraan, for he had only one eye. But the king, who disliked her, would hear nothing of it; he was adamant and she was married to the one-eyed prince.
Few months later, Ebraan became the king; his father had died in a freak accident.
Now no one wanted to become the minister of the one-eyed king; everyone thought that he was an unlucky man. He appointed Rena as the minister for, in the few months they had been together, Ebraan had come to know that she was an intelligent and clever person.
Rena was truly an intelligent woman. She would always give a sound and pragmatic advice to the king, who soon became popular among the people for his fair and just decisions.
Since the day Rena had been appointed as the minister, she had zealously involved herself with the people of the kindom. She had devoted every minute of her life trying to find ways and means to improve their lot and to bring happiness in their lives. People adored her as much as they respected their king.
One day an old man came to meet the king. His horses had been stolen. He had come to submit his complaint.
When he saw Rena he said, “My Lady, I have never seen a woman prettier than you.”
Rena was taken aback. She thought he was mocking her. She glared at him but quickly saw that he was genuine in his praise.
“Perhaps you have not looked at yourself in the mirror for a long time, have you?” he asked Rena with a pleasing smile.
“But you would have noticed her beauty, My Lord?” he addressed the king.
“To be honest, I did; but I was scared to mention lest she might think that I was mocking her. Rena, you are truly beautiful.”
She rushed to her room and looked at herself in the mirror. What she saw left her amazed. She realized that she had actually not looked at herself for almost five years.
She came back and thanked the old man for making her aware of herself.
“My Lady, your beauty is but a reflection of the love and affection of the people you have made happy in these years.”
Rena was bubbling with joy. Ebraan felt proud of her.
They looked at each other and blushed.
*****************
Letter U for Ugly
You may like to read my earlier posts
                T for  Traitor
                S for  Scream
                R for  Rebellion 



Thursday, 23 April 2015

Traitor

I had not imagined that he would turn out to be a traitor.
I was walking in our neighbourhood park when he quietly started following me. It was early winter and morning was slightly foggy. Sun was yet to wake up. There were few walkers. But that did not bother me. I like walking by myself, setting my own pace. If I come across any acquaintance, I dispose him off with a casual nod. I dislike companions while walking for I believe that there can be no better companion than the fresh and beautiful morning itself; anyone else is just a distraction.
For quite some time I was not even aware that he had tagged along me. It was only when I sensed his heavy breathing that I noticed him. I tried but vainly to shake him off.  He looked at me piteously when I said that I disliked his company.
He followed me to my home. He started strutting around like a rooster in a hen house. I live alone and he tried to show that he was doing me a favour by choosing me, and not any other morning walker, as his host. With some reluctance, I assumed the role of a decent host.
Days began to pass quickly, till he vanished without any forewarning. Even though I was unwilling to accept, it hurt me for I did not expect him to be that disloyal.
Or perhaps he could not be disloyal to someone else, for next morning I saw that beagle playing happily with a family.  I later learnt that that family had shifted away from our neighbourhood. They had lost their beagle while they were busy shifting and settling in their new house. They had all been feeling miserable without him.

‘No, he is not a traitor; he is where he ought to be,’ it was me telling myself.
**************


Letter T for Traitor
You may like to read my earlier posts
                S for Scream
                R for Rebellion
                Q for Quagmire

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Scream


She was sure that she had heard a scream. It left her bewildered and nervous.
She had just shifted to the town and it was her first night in her new home. She had wanted her mother to come with her; but mother had declined, “I have lived in your father’s home for more than thirty years. Now I won’t be at ease anywhere else. You don’t have to worry about me; I can look after myself.”
She had shifted to this place because she had got a job as a college teacher. Besides, she was engaged to a man who was working in one the companies in the town. He had arranged the house for her when she had flatly refused to move to his flat, “Not till we get married.”
It was a beautiful, small house but slightly isolated.
She again heard a heart-wrenching scream. She was certain that the scream had come from the backside of the house; but she was too timid to venture out and investigate.
She called her fiancĂ©, “Would it be okay if I stay with you, tonight?”
“I would be there in five minutes,” he could not hide his joy.
He was at the door in just two minutes. She was surprised and her searching eyes made him uncomfortable.
“My place is not that far and there’s hardly any traffic on the roads,” he mumbled without conviction.
They reached his home. But he didn’t open the door.
“Let’s go back,” he said abruptly without looking at her.
“Why?”  She asked. He could sense that she was sounding totally unfamiliar.
“I will explain when we are there.”
Back at her home, he confessed that it was he who had screamed. “I badly wanted you to stay with me. I had screamed to scare you; I was at the backside when you called me. But I realize it was foolish of me.”
She kept looking at him; it was a distant, uncertain look.
*********

Letter S for Scream
You may like to read my earlier posts
                R for Rebellion
                Q for Quagmire
                P for Plan 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Rebellion




He was an old and frail man. But that did not deter the rebels from declaring him the emperor.

It was his misfortune to be so chosen; the rebellion against the Company was to end in a colossal tragedy. But, for the moment, he was the man of hour, leading an enslaved nation to freedom from those who had come as traders but had deviously transformed themselves into rulers.

Company’s army took some time to organize reinforcements. But once they were prepared, they crushed the rebellion with unbelievable ferocity. Thousands of people were killed. Even those remotely connected with rebellion were hunted down and hanged. Village after village and town after town was brought back into subjugation. Eventually Company’s army entered the capital city after a fierce battle.

Hapless emperor was on the run. He took refuge in a tomb. But the ancestor, resting peacefully in the tomb, could not avert the ensuing events.

Company’s soldiers threatened that if he did not surrender he would be shot inside the tomb. He surrendered.

Next day his sons were caught, stripped naked and shot in cold blood.

Emperor was tried and exiled for life. He died an ignominious death in a far off land.

Rebellion had ended and traders had become the legitimate rulers of the country.
****************


Letter R for Rebellion, Rulers 

You may like to read my earlier posts
           Q for Quagmire

Monday, 20 April 2015

Quagmire



He had placed unalloyed trust in Raj and that was a mistake.
Raj was a simple boy, from a poor family. He was not well educated and had been hired to do routine clerical work. But he was hard working and sincere. He was ever eager to learn something new. Soon he had won the confidence of everyone in the office.
He had begun to trust Raj, not because he was a distant relative, but because it was in his nature not to distrust anyone. Impressed by his performance and desire to learn, he had allowed him to handle the accounts. Raj was a fast learner and, within weeks, he had started handling financial statements.
Exactly one year later, to his shock and dismay, Raj vanished with everything that was in the cash chest. He was the custodian of the cash. But, for last few weeks, he had allowed Raj to handle it. He had conceded his folly when he was confronted by the investigating police officer.
“Don’t you worry, we will catch him,” police officer had said with a glint in his eyes.
‘Why should he do such a silly thing? Why did he commit such a serious crime for a petty amount of fifty thousand rupees? What will become of his family if he is caught? How long can he evade the police? He is so young and he has spoiled his life, why? How could I be fooled by such a simple follow? Or was he just pretending all these days?’
He felt bogged down in a quagmire of doubts and unanswered questions.
**************

Letter Q for Quagmire
You may like to read my earlier posts

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Strike

                                                                                  Photo prompt- copyright-Roger Bultot

The house was on fire. Fire brigade had arrived but the firemen were not fighting the fire.

Actually they were supposed to be on a strike. They had received the emergency call and they had rushed to the house on fire, almost instinctively.

But when they realized their mistake, they chose to heed the call of their union.

Moments later their union leader arrived; he was hysterical, “What are you doing here? Why don’t you fight the fire?”

“Aren’t we on strike?”

“I call off the strike.”

“What? Why?”

“Stop arguing. Do something before my house gets totally burned down.”
***************

A post for Friday Fictioneers on a photo prompt

Word count 100

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Plan



Everything was happening as per the plan. He smiled at his partner; it was a smile which revealed less and hid more.

They had to track the movements of the van for about one month before they could decide as to when and where they would hijack it.

Hijack was successful and the booty was beyond their imagination. They had looted cash worth fifty million; they were not expecting the van to carry more than ten million.

They celebrated their success at his partner’s place; but the celebrations were muted, for they did not want anyone to get even a whiff of what they had pulled off.

His partner was drunk but in control of himself. He kept on prodding him to drink and the partner, who was unusually happy with himself, willingly obliged. He bided his time and, when his partner had to go to the loo, he poisoned his partner’s drink and smiled at his own cleverness; he had chosen a poison that would not leave any trail.

The plan had been executed successfully.

To begin with, he had cut out his other partners-in-crime from the scheme; only two of them carried out the heist. But he did not want to share the booty even with that sole partner.

He had already made arrangements for leaving the country; he would lead a decent life abroad.

He was enjoying his drive back to his home when the brakes of his car failed; the car crashed into a stationary truck.

He never came to know that his partner too had been quietly working on a plan of his own; that he was a skilled car mechanic who could fiddle with any car in no time.
*******************


Letter P for Plan

You may like to read my earlier posts
                O for Outrage
                N for Nightmare
                M for Man-eater

Friday, 17 April 2015

Outrage


Her outrage was more contrived than real.

But he genuinely believed that he had hurt her; he was too innocent to think otherwise. He adored her and could not hurt her, not even in his dreams.

“But Sara is madly in love with me,” he said as meekly as possible. He refrained from saying that he too was madly in love with Sara.

“How does that matter? No one can love you as truly as I do. Mark my words, if you accept her love you will regret one day; you will come back to me.”

“I could have just married her; but your love for me was a hurdle that I couldn’t cross. You know I can’t do anything that will hurt you.”

“Don’t flatter me? How could you even think of loving anyone else? Don’t break my heart?”

He was almost in tears for he truly loved Sara. She was unmoved, but only for a few moments.

“Now don’t cry like a kid; grow up. Fine, tell her parents to meet me.”

He couldn’t find words to thank her. But his sparkling eyes said everything.

“I hope Sara doesn't disappoint me.”

“No, she won’t.”

“I am sure you would have chosen the best girl to be my daughter-in-law.”

And she laughed; unlike her contrived outrage, her laughter was warm with motherly affection and truly genuine.

**************

O for Outrage

You may like to read my earlier posts
                N for Nightmare
                M for Man-eater
                L for Love Bites

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Nightmare



I left my office. The streets were flooded with rain water. I was worried that I would miss the bus. I tried to walk briskly.  My wife was rushing behind me.

‘Why did she come here?’

I stumbled; lace of one my shoes had come untied.

“Keep walking; I will catch up with you,” I said to my wife and stopped for tying the lace. But I could not manage it and that irritated me. I rushed to the bus-stop. Wife was not there. It was quite dark. I looked around. Couple of women were sitting on a bench.

“Did my wife come here?’ I asked.

They kept talking among themselves.

“She is your wife? I think I saw her there,” someone came forward and said pointing to nowhere.

But in a flash I was there. My son and his wife were also there. He was telling someone, “If you close the doors properly water will not seep into the car.”

“Why don’t we give them a lift in our car?” my wife suggested.

“We can accommodate only one person,” I said.

“But why don’t we ask them; it is dark and the bus may not come,” she insisted.

The water was everywhere. I was worried that we would surely miss the bus.

“But why has the bus not come? Let us leave by the car, no use waiting here. All roads will soon be flooded.”

Something hit me on chest.

I woke with a start. Wife had just turned and her hand had brushed my chest.

“What a nightmare?” I mumbled and tried to go back to sleep.
****************



N for Nightmare


You may like to read my earlier posts
                M for Man-eater
                L for Love Bites 
                 K forKitchen Knife