Monday, May 29, 2017

The rotten menace

“Are you actually telling me that you guys marry your first cousins?” Alka burst out, incredulously, “you know it is like marrying your own brother,” she added. “Well, that’s the way it is in South. A girl marries her father’s sister’s son. Anant’s and my parents also want it that way”, Anusha replied hesitantly. “You mean it is a norm? Do you mean to say that if the brother and sister have a daughter and son respectively, they automatically are assigned to each other?” asked Alka, sounding astounded. Before Anusha could answer, Anju butted in, “Guys, give it a break. Each place has its own set of ancient customs. It is up to us to work the best fit out of all of them for the modern society. The veil, or the system where the woman is not supposed to go out of the house, is a norm in the North Indian societies; women are freer in the South and more respected. Female genocide is less prevalent. I do agree, consanguineous marriages do increase the chances of congenital disorders and hence are not to be encouraged,” she said. “Yuk! Imagine yourself with Anuj? Yuk,” retorted Alka, “Speaking of whom, where exactly are the boys?”

As if to put a stop to their discussion, the ‘boys’, Anuj and Anant just walked over. Anuj, Anant, Alka and Anju were classmates in school. Anuj and Anju were first cousins, but could easily pass off as twins, due to their close sibling like bond. Anant and Anju, who joined the same engineering college after graduating from school, had grown quite close to each other, after Anuj moved to Australia to pursue his graduation. Alka, who was pursuing her BA in psychology in the famous MH College, ended up becoming a holiday adjunct. Anju called her a poor little rich kid, as Alka had lost her mother as a child, and her father, who had remarried and now had a family of his own, showered her with plenty of money, but little love.

It was early June and Anuj had come home for summer; the four, along with Anant’s cousin, Anusha, who had come from a village in Tamil Nadu to pursue her BAMS, were at the mall, ‘chilling’.

“We did not get the tickets for the 2 PM show guys,” Anant announced, “so we instead picked up the tickets for the five PM show. Let us grab some lunch and roam around the mall instead. We probably can visit the house of horrors where Anusha worked for a short while”, he added. Before the girls could say anything, Anusha quickly paled and said, “Let us please not got there, that place is haunted. There have been deaths”. “Is that so? Then let us all go together and meet the ghosts”, said Anuj laughingly, before pointing out that it was almost 1:00 PM and they’d better move over to the food court.

At the escalator, Anusha stopped, hesitating. She somehow was still not comfortable riding them. Laughing at her discomfiture, Alka gave her a push from behind. An already wobbling Anusha fell awkwardly, hit her head and collapsed in a heap.
Anuj quickly rushed to her rescue. Thankfully, Anusha was not badly hurt except for a bruise on her forehead and some lacerations on her palms which she used to fend her fall. Her dress had gotten torn and her bead bracelet broke, with beads strewn all over. Anusha knelt down, and began gathering those beads, tears streaming down her face. Ignoring her protests, they quickly helped her to her feet, and took her to the MI room.
The doctor at the MI room who seemed to know Anusha well, did a quick check, dressed her wounds and prescribed her some pain medication. The nurse at the MI room was a friend of Anusha’s. She took Anusha and went off to the chemist’s shop to pick up the medicines. Anju dragged Alka with herself to the pick up a dress for Anusha, while the boys moved over to a shop aptly named ‘Crazy Costumes’,

Alka was unrepentant. “You don’t understand Anju”, she burst out, “Anusha is not all she seems. She is coy and all, but secretly has the ‘hots’ for Anant. Now that she knows Anant and you are a pair, she is throwing herself at Anuj. Have you seen that ridiculous red and black necklace and bracelet? They are made of seeds. See, I even picked up a couple!” She held out her hand. Ignoring the bright red and black seeds or beads, Anju said firmly, “I know about her feelings for Anant. Anant does not reciprocate them. He thinks of her as a sister. I am sure, given some time, she will get over them and move on. Her feelings and fashion sense, however do not justify your mean act at the escalator, Alka”.
The five of them met at the food court on the top floor, where both the movie theatre and the fabled ‘House of Horrors’ were located. Being connoisseurs of South Indian food, Anju and Anant went and stood in the line for the famous South Indian snack thali, while Anuj walked over to the pizza counter to order his pizza and Alka sashayed over to the dingy, dark health foods counter at the corner. Anusha excused herself and moved to the nearest washroom to change into the new attire that Anju picked up for her. Soon the five were busy gobbling a hearty shared lunch that comprised of pizza slices, dosas, idlis and salad.

Alka took a sip of her ‘health drink’, made a face and said, “It tastes ugh! I can’t have it. Can I share your cold coffee instead?” “Of course”, replied Anuj with a display of false magnanimity, “you can take a sip from each of our glasses Alka.  In any case, you never have more than a few sips of any drink”. Anusha who was sitting quietly till then, said very seriously, “how can people waste food and drink. Don’t they realize the hard work involved? The amount of resources it takes to grow all the ingredients? The amount of effort that went into the preparation of this juice?” Before Anju or Anant could make any pacifying statement, Alka caught the barb and snapped out, “In that case, why don’t you drink it. You definitely seem to be in the need of some energy”. Seeing Anusha’s hesitant and shocked glance, she grabbed the opportunity and went, “Yeah, now that it comes to you, where has all your idealism gone? Or is this poisonous drink meant for me? You behaved almost like you prepared it - the effort that went in, the resources it takes, and blah!” Alka’s mocking words and condescending tone snapped something inside Anusha; she picked up the glass and emptied the evil looking concoction in a single gulp. Anuj whistled aloud and said “Anusha one – Alka zero”!!

Alka stood there looking stumped for a few moments, before gathering her wits and retorting, “yeah, big deal. If she wants to consume her own poison, let her. After all, if I remember right, she did work in that health-foods counter for some time”. Let us now go to the ‘haunted’ ‘House of Horrors’. Let us see who has stronger guts. Anusha first dawdled, but agreed. The five of them walked over, picked up the tickets and ‘entered’ the ‘House’.

It seemed derelict, except for a pair of lovers, who were making out in a dark corner. They walked past the hooded figures, opening coffins, screaming skeletons, locomotive ‘zombies’, walking suit of armour, giggling and teasing each other and reached the exit;  at the exit, Anju turned around and noticed that Anuj was no longer there with them. After waiting for a couple of minutes for him to come out, Alka suggested that they went inside and brought him out. “He probably found a girl to fondle. We can’t wait forever while he is busy enjoying himself,” she added. Anusha excused herself, saying that she was feeling a bit unwell. She went on sat on the nearby bench, while the other three retraced their way back into the ‘house’. Just as the four of them were going past the ‘zombies’, one of them rushed over and grabbed Alka from behind.

Alka let out a loud scream, extracted herself out and ran out of the ‘house’ like a crazy maniac. The ‘zombie’, who actually was Anuj in disguise, quickly removed the mask and the overalls and ran along with the others towards exit, laughing. The sight that met them at the exit, was comical. Alka had crouched down there, shivering and rambling, in a state of delirium. She refused to be calmed by Anuj’s ministrations and insisted that she was in a great pain and wanted to go home to her mummy. Ignoring her protests, they literally dragged her to the movie theatre. At the entrance of the theatre, they realized that Anusha had not tagged along with them and they had forgotten all about her. Anuj who went back to bring Anusha along, found her slumped on the bench, choking and frothing from her mouth.

The four, with the help of the mall authorities, immediately called for an ambulance and rushed Anusha to the hospital. By the time they reached, Anusha’s condition was so bad, that she had to be rushed to the ICU, where the doctor quickly inserted the tube into her stomach through her mouth, administered activated charcoal, polyethylene glycol and did gastric lavage. He then quickly got the contents of her stomach analysed, ascertained the toxin and quickly administered the appropriate antitoxins.

Anusha’s condition stabilized, but she stayed unconscious and critical. When the doctor came out of the ICU, the four along with Anju’s father and Anant’s parents, who had reached the hospital by then, crowded around him. The details given by the doctors came as a shock to all. A concoction of belladonna fruits and leaves, along with finely ground rosary seeds and oleander kernel were found in Anusha’s stomach. “She thankfully consumed it after a heavy meal. Else, she would have been dead by now”, he added.

On hearing the words ‘rosary seeds’, Anju gave a start and looked at Alka – the bracelet that Anusha wore, was made of rosary seeds and it did have an oleander kernel as a charm. She immediately asked Alka where the seeds she had picked up were. When Alka looked a bit nonplussed and told her that she threw them away, while waiting for her health drink, Alka’s mind took a double-take. It was Alka who got the drink that possibly contained the poison.

Anant, who seemed to have caught on to the same idea, asked Alka dubiously, “Are you sure you threw those seeds away and did not get them included in the drink?” Alka paled on hearing Anant’s question. “Why would I do that? Why would I get something obnoxious included in my drink? Wait, a minute! Are you by any chance insinuating that I got the drink for Anusha and tried to kill her? Why should I do that? Why on earth would I want to kill that miserably crazy girl,” she wailed.

Anju’s father, Mr Mathur, an IG of Police, calmed everyone down. “I am sure it must have been an accident. Let us not go about accusing each other and spoil the situation further. Anuj, I suggest you take Alka and drop her back home,” he said, in a strong authoritative voice that brooked no argument. Anuj looked nonplussed, but complied immediately. 
After they left, he took Anju aside and asked her, if she could come with him to the Mall. “I want to get to the bottom of this matter as soon as possible. I do not want the happiness of you youngsters marred due to any misunderstandings”, he added.

At the mall, they quickly went through the CCTV footage. Alka’s claim that she threw the seeds turned out to be false. The footage clearly showed her handing over the seeds to the person at the health-food counter. 

On Anju's father's request, the mall management called that person down to the CCTV room and questioned him regarding the same. He looked surprised. “Yes, I found those red and black beads pretty. The lady was playing with them while waiting for the order to be delivered. She readily gave them to me, when I asked for them. I have them right here, in my pockets.” He then explained that he merely took the orders for the drinks and entered them into the system. The ‘drink maker’ reads the orders, on the large screen in the kitchen, makes the drinks and places them on the kitchen window, for him to simply collect and serve. “The drink maker and I hardly interact, sir, except when there is a delay. Even then, I just give a missed call to her. You see sir, she is expecting, and hence goes to the restroom quite often”, he clarified. He confirmed that he saw Alka for the first time, that day, and definitely did not know her from before.

Mr Mathur and Anju visited the counter, the kitchen and the workers’ restroom area. The kitchens and the restrooms were segregated from the general mall area, to ensure that the workers, cooks and the others could work and rest without being disturbed or disturbing the visitors or the shoppers. The area even had lockers, shower rooms and couches for the comfort of the workers. Mr Mathur noticed that the area did not have any CCTV cameras, advised the Mall management to get the same installed, took their leave and drove back to the hospital.

At the hospital, they learnt that Anusha had regained consciousness and had been moved to a private ward. Smiling in relief, Anju ran into the ward; Mr Mathur followed her, with a grave expression on his face. Inside the ward, he found Anant and his parents around Anusha’s bed. Their expressions indicated that they were unhappy about the whole affair. They clearly still suspected Alka. Ignoring their angry expressions, Mr Mathur went straight to Anant, and said, “Anant, it was not Alka who made that poisonous drink. It was someone else. You would be shocked if I tell you. The guy at the counter saw that person mixing the drink”. Before Anant could answer, Anusha gave a start. “That is not possible; he is lying! He was too busy chatting up with that female Alka”, she blurted out.

Anant’s expression muddled for a second, before comprehension and wrath took over. “How could you, Anusha? And Why?” he asked, his voice reduced to a shocked whisper. Anusha burst into tears, “Because that girl is a real menace. She is a bully. She hurt me and made fun of my love for you; she made fun of our traditions; that rotter deserves to die”, she bawled.

Before Anant could answer, his mother butted in. “Anusha, the girl is a bully, I agree; she did hurt you; I also dislike her for disrespecting our traditions; but by plotting her murder, you proved that you are the real rotten menace! I am ashamed of calling you my niece”, she said, her eyes flashing.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

False factories

Crazed bodies, spewing filth, putrid, toxic, rancorous and deadly...

Spouting, of ash and smoke, an obnoxiously poisonous medley...

Creating expedients for breeding Gaia rendered impure and barren

Green expanses forged into concrete tomb laden endless warren

A vicious cycle, a downward spiral, a terrible endless maelstrom

All the way to the abyss, to drown, and to mar and deform

Lines drawn, promises in scrolls, stacked, unfulfilled and broken asunder

Burnt at stake, a shackled Gaia, in fake factories, the mercenary's plunder

Monday, May 8, 2017

Quick Adoption

Keval stood at a corner, lost in thoughts, trying to shut-off the noise and pandemonium around him. He recalled his college days, when he, Amit, Anita and Chaya were a gang. He remembered how his modest background and a lack of family came in way, when he proposed to Chaya, who later married an NRI and moved to the US. Anita and Amit however did not let the difference in their backgrounds come in the way of their love. Soon after their marriage, Anita’s father financed an IT services venture, which Keval and Amit had jointly started off. Last year their organization recorded a revenue of 30 crores. They recently acquired a small dying firm.
Keval’s thoughts came back to the present, Things were going great for Amit and Anita, till a couple of years ago, when they lost a baby, conceived through IVF, at birth. Since then, their personal life had become a series of visits to doctors and therapists. In the last three months, after a failed attempt at surrogacy, Anita had been fixated on adopting a baby. She wanted a baby to ‘flaunt’ at Amit’s family get together, the coming month. She forced Amit and Keval to accompany her to the well-known orphanage he currently stood in, as it excelled in quick and clean adoptions.
“Thank god I never got married”, Keval thought aloud, before his thoughts were interrupted by a loud argument. When he looked up, a strange scene assailed his eyes; after sifting through many kids, whom she had found too big for her tastes, Anita had zeroed in on a six day old infant. She had picked him up and was checking him out, when the baby began wailing loudly, attracting the attention of a lady, who had come running and begun admonishing Anita.
“You are hurting the baby; give him to me now”, she shouted in an authoritative voice. Instead of complying, Anita pulled the wailing baby further towards herself, yelling crazily, “I am adopting the baby. He is mine”!! Amit and Keval, along with the ‘Father’ who was in charge of the orphanage, quickly pacified Anita and handed the baby over to the lady.
Watching the lady holding the bawling infant close to her bosom, rocking and cooing, while in parallel checking him out for damage, Keval instinctively rushed over to her, his heart filled with concern for the tiny wailing infant. Thankfully, nothing seemed seriously amiss, except for a tiny bruise formed by the rubbing of Anita’s ring on the baby’s sensitive skin. Within moments of reaching the sanctuary of the lady’s arms, the baby quietened down. After pacifying the baby, and settling him back in his crib, the lady pointed the bruise out to him and said, “Jewellery and motherhood don’t go well; see, neither I, nor any of the workers wear any such nonsense here”.
Keval glanced at the heavily bejewelled Anita, who was busy arguing with the father and turned back towards the lady with an apologetic smile. When the lady smiled back in return, his heart went fluttering. He quickly lowered his gaze and apologized on behalf of his friends. She smiled and held out her hand in a gesture of acceptance and said, “I am Renu, I volunteer at the orphanage over the weekends. Someone, who probably knew that I work at this orphanage, left this baby at the doorstep of my apartment. I named him Shamu; you can take it as an anagram of Musha - Moses, or as a rustic way of pronouncing Shyam; both were given up for adoption in baskets”.
Before Keval could respond, his friend Amit called out to him; just as he turned to leave with a grimace, Renu told him flippantly, “Don’t worry, I will not let that horrible woman touch baby Shamu again, even if it means that I have to take him away from here”.
During the gruelling ride back home, where Anita kept wailing to Amit that he should pay whatever was needed and ‘buy’ the child for her as soon as possible, Keval  barely managed to maintain his sanity. The soulful eyes of the lady Renu kept haunting his thoughts; to shut them off, he concentrated instead on the activities he needed to complete, to ensure a smooth takeover at the newly acquired organization, which was due, on the upcoming Monday.
Monday started off as Keval planned, with a round of formal handshakes and introductions. Keval assessed each one in silence, noting their respective weaknesses. The introduction session was followed by a stand-up. Keval’s eyes that went sweeping across the new team, gathering expressions, stopped with a start – Renu, the lady from the orphanage was there, looking equally surprised and shocked.
After the stand-up formality got over, Keval was shown his new office by the outgoing team. After spending a few minutes in the quiet sanctuary of his cabin, Keval took his laptop to one of the corner desks and began chalking out the strategy, when a strange conversation caught his attention. The delivery head, apparently trying to impress Keval, was telling his team that they should do a rollout of the new product that weekend. Renu was arguing with him. She was trying to tell him that though her component was done, others’ were not; moreover, one round of end-to-end integration and testing was needed before any rollout. The delivery head along with another chap, whom the lady from the orphanage was addressing as Sumit, closed the topic that it was necessary for them to finish to rollout by the weekend, at all costs. Making a mental note of meeting Renu offline that evening, Keval went back to his work.
That evening, thanks to an official dinner hosted by the outgoing team, his plans of meeting Renu did not materialize. The next morning, when he reached the office at nine, he found that there was no one. The guard told him that other than ‘Renu madam’, who landed up every morning at 8:45, nobody came before eleven; Shaking his head at the lack of office discipline and resolving to meet Renu for sure, that afternoon; Keval went to his cabin, hung his coat, went to the same corner seat of the previous day, and began his day’s work.
Keval watched stoically as the folks strolled in lackadaisically, roamed around having coffee and kept chatting till lunch time and only sat down to begin serious work at 3:00 PM. He waited in vain for Renu to come in and was just about to check with someone if she was on leave, when he got a frantic call from Anita, who wailed that she had just got a call, that someone had kidnapped the baby she had wanted to adopt, from the orphanage.
Before Keval could gather his wits to go and inquire further, the head of delivery walked over to his desk, a young developer in tow. “We will do our rollout tonight and you will have the new product to market by the end of this week”, he announced flamboyantly, before going on to add that the developer Sumit, standing next to him singlehandedly developed, fixed and integrated the whole code, under his guidance and deserved the whole credit. He cajoled Keval into the VC room for a demo. His curiosity piqued, Keval asked if he could see the code. Almost as if he anticipated it, Sumit opened up the code repository and started a walkthrough. He showed how he had kept class and method well commented, with his name as the author. While going through the comments, Keval asked Sumit if he was the only developer; before Sumit could answer, the Delivery head quickly butted in, “Well sir, we have a team of five, three junior resources and a senior techie called Renu, besides Sumit; Renu is a shirker, who wastes her time on trivial pursuits. Even today, she did not come to office, despite knowing about the rollout”.
Thanking them and advising them to do a thorough check before doing a rollout, Keval went back to his cabin, called the HR manager and asked her to come in with Renu’s file. The surprised HR manager complied. Keval noted Renu’s address and other details from the file, before inquiring with the HR manager about her performance. The HR manager’s feedback was a bit contrary to Sumit’s. She said that Renu was quite hardworking and meticulous. The previous delivery head gave her a good feedback. She took extra initiative and even reviewed others’ code in addition to working on her own. The new delivery head, who joined four months ago, somehow had issues with her style. “If I am not wrong, the lady probably might be looking out. She is technically sound and a great asset to the organization. You need to find ways to retain her”.
Keval nodded his head thoughtfully. Going by the code that he reviewed earlier, either Renu’s performance went down over the last six months, thanks to her ‘other pursuits’ or she had plagiarized others’ work in the guise of reviewing it. “Either way, I shall get to the bottom of it”, he thought, “If she had skipped office that day to kidnap the baby, as she had promised, then I might have to terminate her employment. I do not want a rebellious plagiarizing zealot in the organization”.
Deciding quickly, he drove down to the address, which as per the HR file, was Renu’s. It was a studio apartment in a large secure multi-storied building. As per the neighbours and security, Renu left home at 7:00 AM and had not returned. He made a quick call to Amit, before rushing down to the orphanage.
When he reached the orphanage, he found a couple of cops in the scene. This was the first time a baby was kidnapped from there. The police seemed almost disinterested. If someone wanted to take an orphan whom the parents had abandoned, who were they to make a hue and cry; there were many serious offences which involved much larger stakes and hence needed higher focus. To make them take the case up seriously, Keval told them the whole story about how his friends wanted to adopt the baby, and how one of the volunteers Renu had threatened that she would kidnap if need be, to prevent the same.
The police then relented and agreed to make a report and investigate. The testimonies of the ‘Father’ and the nurses were quite simple. It was true that Renu did not find Amit and Anita suitable to adopt the baby. However considering that she had raised an objection on paper for the same and considering that such objections were good enough to delay, if not prevent the adoption, there was no need for her to kidnap the baby. They refused to accept that Renu could be a suspect. “She regularly takes children home during festivals; if need be, she could have taken this baby too. We definitely would have allowed, especially considering that it was she who brought the baby in and hence was very close to him”, the Father added vehemently.
The CCTV footage also revealed nothing. No one but the nurses and workers went near any of the babies – not even Renu. Something suspiciously flashy in the raised left hand of one of the workers caught the attention of Keval. Crosscheck revealed that it was just a ring. The last footage of baby Shamu was when he along with the couple of other babies was taken to the bathing and cleaning area. He simply seemed to have disappeared from there.
The cops then began questing the guards and the shopkeepers from the nearby shops, if they saw anything odd. The guard at the entrance of the compound gave a positive ID of Renu. He said that he saw the lady Renu walk in around 7:45 AM, with a large packet and leave within 2-3 minutes carrying the same large package. “Most probably diapers sir, she usually brings them over for the kids”, he added. Keval nodded doubtfully. If she indeed were carrying diapers, why did she leave without giving them at the orphanage?
Just as he was about to inquire further, Keval received a frantic call from the office, saying that the servers were hung and a restart was needed. His intervention was sought, as the restart would affect the production systems of the clients in Europe and US. Cursing his day, Keval gave his contact details to the cops, requesting them to keep the inquiry on and let him know, in case they found anything, and rushed off to office.
Driving like a maniac, Keval reached office in a record timespan of forty five minutes. When he reached there, he found that the developer Sumit and the Delivery Head sitting there with the server team, wringing their hands. Ignoring their claims of server issue, Keval, did a quick system check, gauged that certain procedural calls in the newly implemented system were the culprits and quickly killed them. Assessing that the issue most probably was caused by the latest implementation, Keval quickly ordered a rollback and called for the code for a quick causal analysis.
The analysis showed that the problematic calls were for procedures with a particular data-type called Enum, which apparently seemed missing. The programmer Sumit began desperately trying to find them muttering under his breath. Something in Sumit’s tone made Keval take a look at the problematic code, himself. As he went through the names of the missing procedures, he found one common aspect – part of their names spelt the word ‘renu’. To ease his mind from her memory, he blindly typed the word Sumit and hit the search button. The results shocked him. In the called procedures, the phrase or word ‘renu’ was replaced with the word ‘Sumit’.
Speechless, Keval looked up at a stuttering Sumit and a sheepish delivery head. Sumit burst down and accepted that he plagiarised Renu’s code and added that the Delivery Head made him do it, as Renu did not come for the rollout. The server team, who till then stood silent, also vocally expressed their issues with the Delivery Head. “Renu was the one who took care of all the previous rollouts”, they said vehemently, “these guys know nothing but finger pointing”.
At the verge of losing his temper, Keval advised the whole team should just leave for the day, while everyone is still sane and get back together the next day. “Hopefully the lady Renu also should be in, and we can all discuss, make the fixes and close the issue, together”, he added. The server support team seemed surprised at Keval’s statement. “How can Renu come sir? She met with an accident this morning and is lying in the hospital, unconscious”, they said.
Finding out the hospital details, Keval quickly rushed there and found to his chagrin that the cops had already reached and were questing a semiconscious and gravely wounded Renu, who seemed in too poor a state to answer their questions properly. Seeing Keval, the cops quickly said, “Here sir, we found the lady. She is mumbling something about wrong size diapers, new code and rollout. We would have arrested her, based upon your complaint, but the doctor says that she has sustained a skull injury and hence could die if we moved her”
The diapers were of the wrong size – that’s why she was taking them back with her. Too shocked to react, Keval stared dumbfounded at Renu’s heavily bandaged head, when the doctor and nurse walked in. Seeing the cops, the doctor severely admonished them for endangering a patient’s life; he then checked Renu’s vitals and told the nurse to anesthetize her immediately. Unable to contain himself, Keval asked the doctor what the prognosis was. “She is improving”, said the doctor, “but she needs to be constantly anesthetised for the next eight hours to minimize movement, agitation and trauma. She also needs someone vigilant at her bedside for another twenty four hours. I however believe she is an orphan with no relatives and the cops scared off the two colleagues who had come to take care of her in the evening”
For the first time in his life, Keval felt tears welling. As the nurse started the drip, his wet eyes automatically went to Renu’s hands. Something about those bare hands and the shiny needle, triggered a memory in his head. He immediately sobered up, turned towards the cops, apologized to them and requested them to go. He told them that he would get in touch with them, if need be.
After the cops left, Keval made a quick and short call to Amit, before sinking into a bedside couch, his head buried in his hands. An hour later, a flustered Amit landed up, with a miserable looking Anita in tow, carrying a wailing and distressed baby Shamu. Keval gently picked the baby up and said severely, “Anita, Renu was right. You are a horrible woman who definitely is not fit to be a mother. Why, in all your smartness, you forgot that jewellery and motherhood don’t go well! Your attire was perfect, but your ring gave you away”. Amit and Anita apologized profusely. They never intended to cause any issues. They never thought of implicating Renu or anyone. It was a just a sad coincidence that she visited the orphanage around the same time when Anita picked up the baby.
Keval relented, recollecting those days when they were all young and happy together, He could empathise with Anita’s pain and desperation. Smiling wearily, he said, “I can forgive you, if you could, as the only family I have, help me convince Renu to take me as her spouse and let me be the adoptive father of baby Shamu”.

A joyous Anita, immediately hugged Keval and gushed out, "We definitely will! See, I was right! The orphanage does specialize in quick adoptions!"

Friday, May 5, 2017

Whispering gales of untold tales

Tales of love and of lovers on the run

Families in a journey of togetherness and fun

Longing hearts rushing to hold the ones so dear

Sad ones, looking back, choking over every tear

Of people long gone, their stories lost in time

Of heinous deeds and many an unsolved crime

Then of heroes, selfless lives and sacrifice noble

Perished, yet eternal, in many a song or fable

Words whispered, vows taken, of love or otherwise

Echoing through ages, soft voices, of advice so wise

Loud screams and wails of hatred, anguish or dismay

Or laughter and mirth of merry meetings along the way

As I sat by the roadside, eagerly savoring the untold tales

The winds hurried to narrate, rushing down as gales

Soon it was time to embark, loud the horn blew

To share their story with the world, I assured as I bid adieu

A boat ride

I took a bus to the noisy harbour

Where the gulls soared in full ardour

Swooping down for a quick juicy catch

Or from laden net, a slimy snatch

The boat rocked atop a rocky sea

They seemed to be awaiting me

I ran towards the pier in a haste

It was late, and a delay was a waste

As I embarked they bowed in propriety

And welcomed me to their world of gaiety

Happiness abound, I could see plenty

The mood was of fun, frolic and jaunty

My heart was set on a bout with nature

My tired soul sought some free adventure

Recklessness took over in this dreamy realm

I gave in, and moved over to the boat’s helm

The sea roared with all its might

The boat pitched from left to right

As the boat caught a wave and dipped

I caught myself flying as my hold slipped

Off I flew into the vast windy skies

Amidst of dismay, my fellows’ cries

As I fell sloppily into the raging deep

My dream ended, and I woke up from sleep