The Midday Adventures of Zac and Jaz

“Psst… Zac!”

Receiving the signal from his sibling, the toddler rolled towards the mysterious chest, which was fixed on the west wall of the oblong room in the form of a cupboard. The bubble around his head had started to slightly suffocate him but he knew better than to rip it off. Jaz, his sister had described to him in detail how toxic the air was in this part of the spaceship.

“83 and 3/4 percent, to be exact”, he recalled his sister’s words, “another of her ways to kill us.”

Zac peeked at his sibling from his hunched position. She was running towards him at full speed. Swift, he thought admirably.

“Now don’t you dare make a noise, Zac”, she whispered to him as she put her left foot on his back, “Bear the pain, my brave comrade, for today we will defeat the foe and earn our eternal freedom.”

Zac wasn’t sure what eternal freedom they were after. The foe his sister was referring to was Abgelia Rozando and except for her few moments of wrath, she had always been rather nice to them — more than nice, actually. Yet, Jaz was confident that she was their enemy.

The only way to find the truth is through unlocking the chest, he thought. He didn’t entirely trust his sister either. These are dark times, after all, he used to justify his suspicions at night, right before sucking all his fingers and thumbs and falling asleep.

“Ahhhh…”, Zac couldn’t control himself. The pain was unbearable as usual and the fact that Jaz had recently gained weight didn’t help either. He realised with the usual sorrow that he had betrayed his sister again.

Jaz was standing on her brother’s back, all set to unlock the chest. This chest, she knew was a time capsule holding the secret weapon, which was to earn them their freedom from the tyrannical rule of Madame Abgelia Rozando.

If only her stupid brother had a little more patience!

“What in the world did you do that for?”, her voice was not a whisper anymore. She hesitated before adding, “You, traitor.” She knew it was a bad thing to say and the harshness of her words reflected in Zac’s eyes. She could see them brimming with tears beneath his transparent head wrap.

Before they could clear the premises of their rebellion, Abgelia had arrived.

“For the thousandth time, Jezebel, this is not a time capsule”, barked Abgelia, upset that her siesta was ruined.

“Then why don’t you let us open it?” demanded Jaz, mustering all her courage.

“Because I have just sorted this cupboard and you two will ruin it”, Jaz knew the woman was being evasive. “And for God’s sake, have some mercy on your poor brother”, she continued to shout as she hurriedly removed the plastic bag that was tightly secured around Zac’s small round head.

Trying to win him over, thought Jaz.

“Jezebel”, Abgelia was clearly struggling to keep her tone calm, “I am your mother and this is not the future.”

Jaz looked extremely disappointed.

“I think you need to take a break from your unhealthy dosage of Dr Who and intensive sci-fi reading.”

Jaz hung her head, “Ok, Mom.”

“Kach”, a chuckle in baby lingo escaped Zac but nobody noticed it. She will be back tomorrow, he thought. Apparently, he knew his sister better than their mother did.

“By the way”, their mother stopped Jaz as she was about to leave the room, “Who exactly is this Abgelia Rozando and why do you hate the poor woman so much?”

“Just a character”, mumbled Jaz as she wondered how mothers know everything about you!

Advertisements

XYZ

2282126177_4bb75b8e79_b.jpg

X ways to find this
Y tips to get that
Z things you need and want!
This is where I dwell,
Where everyone
Wants, wants, and needs.

I am no different either.
Have I ever claimed otherwise?
X ways to be happy
Y tips to find contentment
Z rules to lead a life of glory
I often try to find!

He had seemed different though.
Alas!
Only from afar.
His browsing history revealed,
The shallowness
Of the man
of my dreams.
X ways to appear intelligent
Y books you must read
Z tips to leave a lasting first impression
Oh the depression
What a pain in the back
Pathetic pseudo intellectual!

Want want need!
ZzzzZzzz
Sleep!!!
Nom nom eat!
Oh the never ending greed.
I, me, mine
The disease of pride.
Inglorious vainglory,
Vainglorious in glory.

I made a vow
To live in this world
That is driven by desire,
A crumbling edifice
Of materialism,
surrealism.
What a schism!

The need
To rhyme
will stay with me
And so would
The itch
To stitch
A song
Of needs and wants.

I made a vow
Didn’t I tell you already?
I will stay with you,
And you with me
Oh my dear needs and wants!

X needs Wants
Y wants Needs
Z has wants and needs

Lets pluck the plants
And water the weeds

Wants breeds Needs
Needs breeds Wants

I want and need
Till death do us apart

Her and the Cat

cat-1507603_1920

Characters

LADY 1: A middle-aged woman with graying hair. She is corpulent and looks tired. She used to be a looker in her younger days. You could tell that by her twinkling, honey colored eyes. She is the wife of a decent and wealthy man. Yet, she never stops complaining.

LADY 2: An elderly widow with a small and thin figure. The Police had caught her husband smuggling money. They had taken him to the jail, but he committed suicide before being presented for a trial. He could not bear to see his reputation go to pieces. His widow became a snob afterwards. She denounces every person who dared to challenge the societal norms.

HER: A woman in her late thirties, she is not much to look at but has a cheerful demeanor. She is the spinster of the neighborhood. People are always criticizing her for her odd behavior because she is always happy. The society does not accept her. A unsuccessful person has no right to laugh without constraint.

THE CAT: A thin black cat


Scene I

Setting: Two women sitting in a lavishly decorated drawing room. The table in front of them is laden with delicious food items. The hostess is indifferent to the food. However, the other lady keeps helping herself, trying one item after the other. They are busy talking —

Lady 1: She keeps moving her fingers in her brown curls. She has a habit of batting her eyelashes after every sentence she speaks —

“So I was saying to dear husband last night we should change the entire designing of our house. I think it direly needs makeover. He never listens though. He is a miser if you ask me and yet I love him.”

She bats her eyelashes.

LADY 2 stuffs a pastry in her mouth and gulps it down with a cup of tea.

“Dear God! That is awful business. Does he not know one must keep up appearances?”

She shakes her head in disgust.

Lady 1“That is not his fault, you see. In fact, I only blame myself and my stars since nothing ever goes well with me.”

Lady 2“That must be the fruits of your elopement. You know what I say? Abide by the eternal rules of society and you will be fine.”

LADY 1 stares at her rude friend.

“Or else you might end up in the prison house, swinging with a rope, right?”

LADY 2 opens mouth to retort but stops as something outside the window catches her attention —

Lady 2“Forget our little quarrel. Look who is outside your window — so gay and bursting with optimism.”

LADY 1 glances in that direction. As she sees the spinster waving enthusiastically at her, she rolls her eyes and sighs. Reluctantly, she invites her.

LADY 2, facing the audience —

“I hate the guts of this unnaturally happy girl but I am glad she is invited. The sacrifices we have to make for the society!”

The spinster enters the room —

Her“Hello young ladies. You know I had been out on a stroll. What a lovely morning it is, isn’t it? You see I went hopping around the place, talked to some birds, enjoyed the wind as it played with my hair, and just loved the hell out of the delicious breakfast at Dennie’s. What did you two lovely girls do?”

Lady 1“Just talked a bit.”

Her“A bit? You two must have some gossip to tell, right? Come on share some with me.”

LADY 1, muttering —

“We are not a chatterbox like you.”

The Spinster looks hurt.

Lady 2“She means we were just discussing our problems and all. She wants to change the look of the entire house as it does not make her happy but her miser husband won’t allow. I say that is a blasphemy to not go by the current, which says this house needs renovation.”

Her“Oh but it is lovely just the way it is. You (she points a finger at LADY 1) just like being unhappy and you (points another finger at LADY 2) just want to please a society that does not approve of you either.”

This sudden outburst shocks the two ladies but the truth wounds them and they retort.

Lady 1“When are you getting married, dear? Don’t you think it is about time?”

Lady 2“You do know you shouldn’t be working like a horse all day long. It has made you less of a woman, you know.”

Lady 1“Now I see all the wrinkles peeking form under the layers of your makeup.”

HER: interrupting LADY 2, who was ready with her piece of razor sharp jargon —

“I am happy the way I am. Thank you very much; I don’t need a man to take care of me. I can decorate my own house as per my wishes without having to beg to a husband and I do not care one dime about the society’s opinion.”

Despite her heated words she has not betrayed a shade of anger. They were addressed rather calmly and that irritates the two ladies. She smiles at the pair of annoyed women kindly and exits.


Scene II

The spinster enters a house — her house. Every inch of the tattered building is covered with gloom and dirt. She leaves her basket of roses at the door of her bedroom. There is a mirror fixed on the side wall of the room and a black cat is sitting in the corner of the room.

HER: looking in the mirror —

“Hi, you hideous creature. How was your day? It’s time you take your medicines, you know the darkness is coming to engulf you.”

She opens a drawer of her bedside table and takes all the pills form the bottle. Gulp gulp gulp, the water sends each pill down her throat.

HER: Standing with some difficulty notices THE CAT —

“Why are you still here? Don’t you think I am ugly? Look at my wrinkles. Come on why don’t you hate me like the others.”

THE CAT: staring at the spinster —

Meow… (softly), Meow… (soothingly), Meow… (reassuringly)

Her“Come here. Lets lie down here on the floor, just the two of us — the outcasts!”

THE CAT obliges limping towards the woman, revealing that her left hind leg is missing. The two stay together hugging each other as they take a nap.

An hour later…

The CatMeow…

Attempting to wake her friend up but there is no response.

The CatMeow… Meow… Meow

With confusion and anger but there is no response.

The CatMeow… Meow… Meow

With frustration but there is no response.

The CatMeeeeeeooooooooowwwwwwwww!!!

Forlornly.

The Secret Passageway

Jahandad Balkhi was wise beyond the few years of his existence in this temporary world. He was blessed with an element of mystique, which his disciples linked with his spiritual history. He belonged to a family of Sufis. If rumours were to be believed, Jahandad was 100 years old in reality, out of which only 25 years belonged to this world. He had spent the rest of his existence exploring the secrets of the permanent world — the one that preceded and succeeded this sojourn of a few moments.

Ever since his birth, Jahandad had received divine guidance in his dreams. Initially, the situation had terrified his mother as he could not narrate to her the subject of his reverie. Being a mother, she could sense the disturbance he was put through in his sleep.

Zulaikhan Bibi was a single mother as her husband had selfishly decided to die right after impregnating her with his seeds of fertility. Therefore, she had learnt to rely on her father for guidance in almost every matter. Baba Jan was after all a spiritual man as well as a figure of authority. Known to everyone else in the vicinity as Sufi sahib, he had the wisdom and knowledge to figure out the solution to every problem. She turned to him for Jahandad’s condition as well.

“My beloved daughter,”, his father had said, “You may not know but Jahandad’s paternal grandfather used to worship Ahura Mazda — the wise lord in Zoroastrianism but he had converted to Islam after his 40th birthday. He had received a sign and as a result of it, he had migrated from Iran to Balkh in Afghanistan.”

“You mean here?”, asked Zulaikhan. She adored her father. His company soothed her as she felt a calming energy engulfing her. She could believe the most unbelievable as long as it was uttered by Baba Jan.

“Your father-in-law was a spiritual man as well,”, Baba Jan informed her, “Mystique never vanishes, dear, it just moves from one vessel to another.”

“Jahandad is a vessel? My son is a vessel?”, She asked agitated, “What is he carrying?”

“That is for him to find. It is none of your concern.”

The meeting was over.


“Ma, the baby wants to tell me something but before it could, my dream ends.” Jahandad was not a baby anymore but his dreams were as disturbing as ever.

“This is somehow related to your stature, Beta. Your wisdom and spirituality create the most eloquent language I had ever heard. It is as if a supreme power is communicating through you.”

“Ma, I want it to stop controlling me.”

“Do not be ungrateful, my child. It is a rare gift.” The answer had never been able to satisfy him and it did no good this time either.

On Jahandad’s 25th birthday, Baba Jan requested Zulaikhan to shift from her humble abode to his Haveli — the place where she had spent her childhood. Jahandad’s two maternal grandmothers — Sufi Sahab had married twice — were to ensure that their stay was lavish and comfortable — a task they kept failing at but not because of lack of trying. It was only that Jahandad remained restless throughout his visit as he had a feeling of being haunted at the Haveli.

The two women from the Haveli were entirely different from each other. While Nano — Zulaikhan’s real mother was an ordinary looking woman with simple tastes, Bebe — the stepmother was a different story altogether. She possessed otherworldly beauty and was a woman of wit. Yet, the villagers claimed that she had lost it when her son was murdered at the tender age of 14.

For Jahandad, his uncle was just a character from Baba Jan’s narrative of the incident. It had happened before he was born and he had not even seen any picture of his uncle. Bebe had burnt every single photograph for some reason. Moreover, his mother could not tell him anything about his uncle either because she did not remember him at all. She was only 13 when the incident had happened. Jahandad had found it curious but there was nothing he could do about it since he was never provided with a straightforward answer on this topic.

Each night that he spent at the Haveli only brought greater discomfort to him. Then one night, the matter was resolved.

“Ma, Ma”, Jahandad woke up in the middle of the night. He was sweating profusely. Zulaikhan was confused. She could sense that the situation was graver than usual.

“Ma, the baby…” his voice was incoherent. “Ma, the baby was innocent… It was not his mistake, Ma.”

“Bete, what are you even blabbering about. There is no baby.” It only made her son more vehement in his claims that the poor baby was not at fault.

She knew she must take her son to Baba Jan but the west wing was too far away from where they were staying. She looked helplessly at his son who seemed to be possessed by a passionate frenzy that had made him raving mad. In her desperation, she remembered the shortcut…

“Come on, son”, she was dragging Jahandad now, “I know the secret pathway.”

Suddenly Jahandad was very still and then he asked her, his voice merely a ghost’s whisper, “Ma, who had told you about the secret pathway?”

“Why? Your uncle!” came the reply.

“So now you remember him?”

She looked stunned. Finally, she remembered… him… and everything else.

“Ma, the baby was innocent!”

Zulaikhan could see her world collapse right in front of her eyes as one session after another with Baba Jan played in her memory.

“You are being married to — ” Zulaikhan could see herself sitting across his father, clad in a bridal dress but there was no groom. Why was her belly so swollen, she was only 13…

Another scene came…

“Your husband is dead”, Baba Jan was telling her but the husband in question had never existed.

“Why is Bebe always worshipping Ahura Mazda? Who is he, Baba? Is he scary?”7-year-old Zulaikhan emerged in her memory.

“I will kill you, you rascal”, it was Baba Jan’s voice but different. It was scary and profane — the two things he never was! This time it was not his room and there were no sessions in progress but it was the secret passage way-her stepbrother had discovered for his secret activities.

Zulaikhan turned towards his son. There were no more memories left. Jahandad smiled at his mother. He knew that he was even worse than a bastard — the creation of incest!

 

This post was originally published on Medium

Patient # 102

Image Source

I was walking. It was a huge crowd — lots and lots of people. Most of them were adults — people in their 30’s and 40’s, you know. There were a few children as well — hopping along the crowd. They were too few, though, but it did not matter. Children only matter if they are going to grow up and this group here was not destined to be adults — lucky bastards!

The majority of these adults were women with a dozen or so males following them like slaves follow their masters. I think the only reason these males were kept alive was for mating so they could produce the children who would never grow to become adults.

She was there too — the love of my life, walking in the front row. She was their leader, being the most beautiful woman in the crowd. I, on the other hand, was stuck in the last row — among the ugliest men. I was not ugly, though. However, being handsome was not an advantage for me because I was made impotent. I was useless. Why were they keeping me alive? Perhaps she has told them to do it. Did she love me? But that was impossible. She was the reason behind my castration!


He was still bleeding when they found him. The gruesome weapon in his hands was shining with crimson blood. He was sitting on the toilet seat. The rescuers could see a severely mutilated reproductive organ but there was no acknowledgement of pain in his brown eyes. They were empty — he was a vegetable!


A doctor and a patient’s family were deep in discussion. Patient #102 was their main concern.

“I think some event has triggered his otherwise inactive gene, which is responsible for creating a chemical imbalance in his mind”, the doctor was saying, “Are you 100% sure he had never had any traumatic experience of being sexually assaulted?”

“Never”, said the father, his voice betraying a shade of hurting pride.

“I am not sure”, intervened his wife.

She looked around. Everybody was staring at her now. Her eyes were brimming with tears of pain and hurt.

He is so young — only 18, she thought and a sob skipped her.

“I…I think it has something to do with Katrina”, she was shaking all over her body as she said this. Her son had been staying at the house of his recently widowed aunt. They had sent him to comfort her and her little daughter and help them around, as they were new in town.

“You mean to say”, her husband’s paternal love was transforming into intense anger as he said, “She did something to him to…”

He failed to complete the sentence.


On the dark curtain of his mind, the same film was being played on repeat. He was the star of this movie — the hero and the villain.

He was standing in a dimly lit room — naked, ready to commit the felony again. The beauty standing in front of him — scared out of her wits, was not his aunt. It was his angelic cousin — the love of his life!

Then something happened!

She exposed his villainy. The penalty was to suffer from insufferable madness. He was to stay stuck in one horrific moment for the rest of his life.

 

Originally published on Medium

On Imagining Sisyphus Happy =D

Too brave to die;

Too coward to be alive,

I am Sisyphus, with my stone.

Can’t despair; can’t hope.

Not knowing, not aware,

Still conscious of the flavors

I devour.

One thing I tell you; Once and for all.

My decisions- all two of them,

Do not concern me

or my soul.

Sisyphus (the stone feller as I am called down here in the underworld) is at your service. I know you know me. I am often discussed among the intellectuals. This reminds me of an existential joke I had heard somewhere:

What does one drunken philosopher say to another?

Am I, who I am?

And

Who am I? If I am!

That was not really a joke and by the expressions on your face, I can tell my ramblings are not having any impact on you. I promise that these were so eloquent in my head, this morning when the demons were talking to me. We had a nice chat but there was no coffee or tea and they were talking so fast. I had nothing with me to note down the wisdom they were bestowing on me except my lousy brain. How much one can rely on an organ, though?

This reminds me of another important point. You all have spent enough time on the earth to know how fragile the organs are. You do not need Sisyphus to break this one for you.

Do I see any acknowledgement on your faces? Very little! Let me explain. By the way, I do like the sound of my own voice so I will just ignore those hands rising and those faces shining with new found intelligence. I tend to have that effect on people.

Not really though I am a loser and this is the first time anyone is even listening to me. They adore that handsome French philosopher too much to hear me out. Being a philosopher, he must be insane too. Handsome and insane! The generous atrocities of God sometimes do baffle me.

Forgive the intrusion of my hooligans of thoughts. Let me continue my explanation:

You think you are special………that you are not a machine. You are a person with feelings and desires and all sorts of shit. Fascinating, right? Not really!

Here is a case for you:

Recall that friend of yours-the girl who was always brimming with energy. Just suppose a persona if you never had the experience of meeting someone like that. Anyways, lately she had not been feeling well and one day she discussed her ulcers with you. Trusting you enough to tell you that one of her organs was not functioning properly and a part of the ulcer in that organ had been cut and sent to a lab for a biopsy. Admit that underneath the several layers of sympathy, you will find yourself pondering over a new thought; are we humans or just a sample to be tested?

The answer is simple you are nothing but a set of mechanisms! You are part of a system and you shall be destroyed with its destruction.

Meanwhile, you are, too coward to live…………too brave to die!

“Roll the bloody stone, Sis!”

Shit! That’s him — my tormentor!

You see the sole purpose of his existence is to torture me. “Do this, do that”, is all he has ever said. In fact, there is never ‘that’. It is always this — rolling stone from one side and then from the other.

I will let you on my secret though. Sometimes, I decorate the stone with the color of my choice. It brings me as close to happiness as is ever possible in my case. Sometimes, I challenge myself and roll the stone fast enough to break my own previous record and the adrenaline rush accounts for some satisfaction in my stone rolling life. There are other times, when I just take delight in working at one push at a time. I cover my journey in a leisurely manner enjoying the uniqueness of my task without missing a thing from my surrounding. I have that much control at least, I think. That is exactly when my tormentor comes again with his shouts of, “Roll it baby and roll it fast.”

That does not make me happy at all!

And yet, there had been situations in my life, when I was allowed to continue shoving the stone as per my desires, without any interruption. You wouldn’t believe how terribly bored I was!

That was when I would look for him because I missed the troubles he gave me. I had no idea what pain he would throw my way next but as long as there was some unpredictability around me, I knew I could live.

This is how my monotonous task is driven.

You ask me if I am happy?

I say, “Yes and no.”

You ask next,

“What do I want?”

But I do not know.

Chaos, my friend is the natural course and way,

The desire to classify is yours yet age old.

It had travelled from one single chromosome.

I swear it was all straight,

And made sense,

but only in my head.

Now that it’s on paper,

It’s worthless and dead!

But

You must know,

I am Sisyphus,

And so are you.

Together,

we roll the stone.

Too brave to die;

Too coward to live.

Too tired to enjoy;

Too alive to give up.

Originally published on Medium 

The Shark’s Den  

Once upon a time, sharks flew across the sky and what a sight it was!

Hue — the painter produced the finest painting of his life while Click — the photographer captured an inspiring shot. Bard — the poet crafted the most memorable couplet of his life.

Finally, Cloe decided that something must be written on the beauty of this view as well and Cryptr was hired to write an awe-inspiring piece on the magnificent scene.

In short, everyone was so busy in imprisoning the moment that they failed to notice the happenings that unfolded next. Had it not been for a small girl standing on the shore, the vanishing act of the sharks would have remained a secret. However, as it so happened, Zaph — a 6-year-old, inquisitive girl witnessed and reported the incident.

“MYSTERIOUS VANISHING ACT OF FLYING SHARKS, REPORTED BY A KID”

The headlines of the newspaper next day were definitely far from routine.

“Mommy, where did they go”, asked the little girl from her visibly shaken mother.

“Now, now dear”, her mother had replied, “Sharks do not simply vanish into thin air. I wish you had not inherited that ghastly imagination from your father’s side. Sometimes you talk exactly your Aunt Muriel and God forbid she is 26 and unmarried. What a disgrace!”

Hogwash, thought the little girl, the sharks had definitely gone to some place fun and mommy just simply do not want me to go there. I will find the place though.


20 YEARS LATER at THE SHARK’S CLUB

Image Source

Shuh shuh shuh

A woman with a perfect hourglass figure was swimming in a corridor that was full of water. Suddenly she stopped in front of a room as a tingling sensation engulfed her. She inhaled and an acrid metallic smell welcomed her nostrils.

Blood… raw blood. She realized.

I will probably just throw up, she thought but she could not give up now. She had waited and worked for 1.75×10^5 hours to prove to her mother that all of it had been real and she was not going to let it slip through her hands now, even when what she saw was more disturbing than her mother’s demeanour. The scene was shocking enough to rob anyone of their senses — a group of sharks were playing poker in one corner while the others were tangoing. The dancing made them look even scarier than their usual appearances.What really made her hair stand on end was what they were eating — steaks — human steaks! She knew this was the place the mysterious sharks had come to when they had vanished 20 years ago. She could see a portal in the room and every now and then, sharks were zapping in and out of it..

She fumbled with her shapeless bag for her digital camera and found it after a while. It was waterproof. Holding tightly on to it, she took several shots. Some were vivid enough to serve her purpose and satisfied by her efforts, she decided to call it a day and swim away from the lair of danger. Her oxygen/nitrogen mixture was depleting fast and she knew she must hurry up to reach her crew in time in order to avoid detection by the shark bodyguards protecting this mysterious underwater club.

However, before she could so much as take a step, she saw 50 rows of teeth. She was tempted to swim right inside her.

Is that a smile or…? Her thought just trailed off as she heard the deep manly voice.

Source

“Henrie I smell a human”, declared the most handsome Shark sitting on the throne, “Catch the prey, bring me some fresh food and do not forget to play with the prey!”

She was caught and tied soon. You cannot out swim a fish, for god’s sake.

“We are about to eat you, Miss”, said one of the sharks.

Now they are stating the obvious, thought Zaph. Finally, they told her to sign a document, which was written in proper English. This was an educated lot. She read the document. It was an undertaking:

Dear future Homo sapiens,
I, a breathing human of my time, confess to have brought the wrath of nature upon you and myself. All your miseries are a direct manifestation of my careless liberties with the Mother Earth. Now all the creatures are raging a war on you because of my atrocities. I pray you lose.
Yours not-so-truly,
A loathsome human.

Zaph blinked in disbelief.

“I’m not like the others, Sir”, she began but had no idea what name to use for addressing the gigantic shark sitting in front of her. He bared his teeth giving her a clear view of his power. Struck by inspiration she said, “Sir Mighty Fangs, you are the owner of the best and the sharpest cutters in the world. May all the fine edges of the strongest swords turn blunt in the face of your fangs. Please, let me go and I promise I will work for your cause.”

There was a pause.

“She is a human and they are naturally shrewd and cunning creatures”, counselled one of the sharks.

“You should not mind planting a spy among my kind.”

“You must return our photographs”, said one of the Keeper sharks and snatched away Zaph’s life work away from her.

Reluctantly, they relented to let her go.

“Look at how your double chins are showing in this picture, boss”, chuckled the Counsellor shark as he commented on one of the photographs captured by Zaph.

That was the last she had heard of the Shark world.

A FEW YEARS LATER

“Zaph dear, eat some. It is just fish you know.” Aunt Muriel was saying.

She replied with a “No, thanks.” It has been a while since she had been declining such invitations. Every time when she even pretended to dig into any form of meat — red, white, or any other, her knife would break. Apparently, the curse was real.

Dissuading her Aunt, however, was not easy, she realized after being tempted to relish the seafood for the third time.

She finally said, “I’m a vegetarian, Aunt Muriel, so no thank you.”

Zelda — a Venus flytrap was growing nearby but Zaph did not notice its presence even when it caught a spider and emulsified it with its digestive juices. The vicious plant communicated something to the cultivar thriving nearby. The news broke fast.

“So she thinks we’re delicious?” said the old Mr. Elm.

“I would love to show her my delectability”, said the Cactus.

 

 

The Story was originally published on Medium 

When a Cat Calls

This happened a year ago.
We were in the third month of our marriage and life was grand. I loved her to bits and surprisingly, she doted on me too. When I said surprisingly, it is not just my low self-esteem screaming for some kind of validation but an undeniable truth. The thing is my wife is what you would call perfection–she is tall and beautiful without being vain or contemptuous! As if that is not enough, she is extremely intelligent as well. The only time I had doubted her thinking capacities was when she’d agreed to marry me. By the way, I am an average looking guy and fate has not left me with an attractive inheritance from a dead relative to make for what I lack in looks. So our marriage is a mystery to me!
Now as she was a permanent resident of the space that for the purpose of ease, I would like to call ‘way out of my league’ I had often imagined that at some point in life, I will have a competitor. However, it was a shocker when my rival came in the form of an animal–a cat!
It had happened so fast that there was nothing I could do to prevent it. One day, she had gone for shopping and when she returned, the monster was perched in her lap.
“Darling, what is this?”, I had asked my voice turning meek, as I dreaded the answer.
“He is Tiger–our cat”, she had answered in a very matter-of-fact tone.
I observed the beast–gray fur coated numerous layers of fat. Then I made the mistake of looking at his face. Slowly, he opened his green eyes and I could see all my nightmares coming to life.
I must clear a fact here. When I was a little kid, a stray cat had bitten me. Instead of turning into a superhero, I had developed a never-ending fear of all things feline.
“Dear, could we not do this?”, I tried making an attempt at rectifying the damage. Two pairs of glaring eyes answered me and I gave in.
As I had known all along, the new addition to the family didn’t work out for me. Apart from the obvious bone of contention chewed with equal force at either side by both parties, I had to endure sleepless nights as well. The cat had literally come in between me and my wife (he slept on our bed). Everyday, I would wake up on the carpet with scratches on my back, while Tiger enjoyed my spot on the soft bed. All I could get from my wife after relating his atrocities was, “Aw, our Tiger is so intelligent.”
I had to take naps at work to make up for my lack of sleep at home. Life couldn’t get any worse.
Or so I thought, for one day, my wife announced that she was going out, leaving the monster with me. Alone!
“Promise me you will be nice to him”, she said. I just nodded and she left.
Now, here I was with my worst nightmare settled on the carpet. I was lying on the couch pretending to watch television while all my attention was directed towards the monster, who was silently matching my hatred for him.
We kept at it for a while but then the sheer amount of negative energy floating inside the room forced me to move. So, I went to fetch something to eat from the kitchen.
When I returned, Tiger was resting on the couch wearing an ‘I own this place’ expression. I checked the time–it was 4:00 P.M. My wife was to return by 6:00 P.M. I realised that I had 2 hours to achieve eternal happiness by eliminating this hideous villain from our lives. I put my food on the side table, rolled the sleeves of my sweater, took a deep breath, and lunged for him.
What happened after that includes sharp claws and a lot of meows embarrassingly from both parties. After that, I lost consciousness.
“What in the world are you doing on the door mat?”
I heard an angelic voice. I must be dead, I thought, or rather hoped.
Deep down I knew I couldn’t be that lucky. It was my wife with her numerous shopping bags.
“It is the cat”, I began, ready to articulate in the most eloquent terms all the injustices done to me but I checked myself just in time. I knew it would be of no use.
“What has Tiger got to do with your sudden desire to explore the wonders of our door mat?”, she asked, sounding on the verge of losing her temper.
My 6th, as well as several other senses, informed me to refrain from telling her the truth. I used the first intelligent thought that came into my mind.
“I wanted to relate to Tiger on a deeper level”, said I, and when she continued to look suspicious I added, “You know in a ‘walk in his shoes or lay on his spot’ way.”
“Aww, this is so silly yet so thoughtful of you”, she burst into a warm smile.
This was the second time I had had doubts about her intelligence.
We went inside. The cat was sitting there like he owned the place. I accepted my defeat by offering him a foolish smile and he acknowledged it with a swish of his obnoxious tail.
A year has passed since, and I have stopped trying to get rid of him. It took me long enough to realise that a cat sits above us all!

As the Pink turned White

 

spirograph-1982563_640 The other day he was telling me that I could count on him. 

What a liar!

I have seen death. I know you can’t rely on mortals. No matter how nicely the fabric of their intentions is stitched, there comes a time when it is ripped off.

Sometimes, it fades too, that is, before its guaranteed time. It’s better to just throw the garment off. There is no point of wearing something so outdated and out of fashion. Something that has lost its hue.

 

“I accept you with all your shades”, he had said.

 

“What about the darkest of them ?”, I had asked.

 

“Especially those”, had been his reply.

 

I had refrained from making a similar vow to him. I was not going to accept the color of the morgue.

 

“What is the colour of the death?”, his daughter had asked me years after his demise, “Must be Black or Grey”, was her answer to her own query.

 

I had shaken my head violently. “It is the brightest pink”, I had almost shrieked, “because it stands out.”

 

She hadn’t heard me though. Apparently, death was colorless–transparent! She could not see me. Her dead mother.