Monday, May 16, 2011

Last Day

"How long before they arrive?"

"Possibly an hour. Do you need anything Sir?"

"I will be fine."

That was an indication to my man friday to leave me alone. Having lived with me for the past 30 odd years, he knew me inside out. Might I say, he knew me better than my wives. He knew that it was a crazy request given the circumstances, but he did not want to spoil my last day.

My last day as a ruler.

I feel sad. I had built something new and wanted to move there quickly, but fate intervened. It looks like I will have to leave from my old fort. It holds so many memories. Some good. Most bitter. But then, like all men, I preferred clinging to power. At this ripe age, I should have passed the baton of leadership to my fueding sons, but did I?

Like most men, I was afraid that I would lose respect. My power. My position. For all these years, people have asked me for favor. I could not even imagine a situation the other way around. No wonder men hate to be retired. I can realize that they feel so....impotent. The strange notion that you hold other people's fate in your hands is like aphrodisiac to any man. But today, it was all about to change.

"That bitch." I cried aloud.

My man friday smiled. That was how I addressed her privately. While talking to anyone else, I would curb my instincts from blurting it out. I knew it would be inappropriate to reveal it publicly. I might be old and senile, but I am anything if not dignified.

But the resentment I felt towards her was inexplicable. Never has a day gone by when I have wanted to strangle her with my own hands. I wanted to see her eyes bulge out and her milk white skin flush pink with anger and pain. I would give anything to do it or watch it happen.

Heck, I am day dreaming. That's not gonna happen.

Like a game of chess, we had tried to outwit each other for so long. Seems its time to be checkmated. That cunning old hag. She had found my weak spot. My family.

She targeted my fueding sons and their ambitious mothers. In their own dreams for the coveted crown and throne, little did thay realise that they were playing into the enemy's hands. I remained vulnerable like a cornered bull fighter who watches a mad bull with its sharp horns aimed at his stomach. All you can do is to take your eyes off horns and keep away from looking. Its one thing to be deceived by your own judgement, and another to be denounced by the very people whom you expected to take forward your legacy.

"Aalampanah. They are outside."

Sigh. There it was, the inevitable right outside my door steps. A little birdie in my head was singing in a sweet cuckoo voice asking me to kill as many as possible and go down bravely. Perhaps, even at this ripe age, I preferred clinging to my powerless body rather than die peacefully.

Perhaps, death would indeed be relieving no matter how it comes. At least, when you are dead, people will start saying good things about you. Dont they always?

The officer, Major William Hudson, walked towards me and smiled. Perhaps, he wanted to be dignified doing this heinous act. He knew he was carving his name in the history of this country and that gave him an authority.

"By the power vested in me by the Queen of England, I hereby arrest you, Bahadur Shah Zafar. Have you anything to say regarding your arrest?"

I smiled. Hearing her name, I should be feeling angry. But why was I smiling? Part of me was sad, and part was happy. Maybe I wanted to rest. Perhaps, involuntarily, this was the best. I nodded and walked with him.

I looked back once at the tomb of my Mughal father and forefathers and a little pearl ran down my cheek. I thought to myself

"उम्र--दराज़ माँगके लाए थे चार दिन

दो आरज़ू में कट गए, दो इन्तज़ार में"

I asked for a long life, I received four days

Two passed in desire, two in waiting.

P.S: What were you thinking?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

மை சன்

"ஒவ்வொரு தடவையும் வோட்டு போடும்போதும் இந்த தடவையாவது நமக்கு நல்லது நடக்கும் நு மக்கள் நினைக்கிறாங்க". முதல்வனில் சுஜாதாவின் இந்த கூர்மையான வசனங்கள் மிக உண்மையானவை. ஒவ்வொரு தேர்தலின்போதும் நாம் நம்பிக்கையோடு விரலில் மை வைத்து கொள்கிறோம். ஆனால் ஐந்து வருடங்கள் முடிந்து மூஞ்சியில் கரி தான் பூச படுகிறது. கிட்ட தட்ட சலிப்பும் ஏமாற்றமும் மிச்சம் உள்ள தேர்தலில் களத்தில் "எவன் நின்றால் என்ன" நு சலிச்சுகிறது நியாயம் தான்.
இப்பொழுது இருக்கும் கலைஞர் ஆட்சியிலும் இதே கதி தான். மத்த ஆட்சியில மட்டும் என்ன வாழுந்துதாம்ன்னு நீங்க நினைக்கிறது புரியுது. "இதோ நான் ரிடையர் ஆக போறேன்"நு ஒரு அறிக்கையிலும் , "நான் அப்பிடி சொல்லவே இல்ல" நு இன்னொரு அறிக்கையிலும் மெகா சீரியல் மாமியார் போல்
மக்களை குழப்புகிறார். சரி ஆட்சியில் தான் அடுத்தது யாருன்னு குழப்பம்நா இவரு குடும்ப ஆட்களும் அவர்களின் சண்டையும் தமிழ் மெகா சீரியலில் வரும் சதிகளையும் குள்ளனரித்தனங்களை விடவும் அதிகமானவை.

அவன் அவன் ஒரு குடும்பத்துல இருக்குற வம்பயே சமாளிக்க முடியல, ஆனா இவரு திறமையா ரெண்டு போண்டாடிகளையும்(ஆபீசியல் நம்பர்) அவரகளுடைய வாரிசுகளையும் சமாளிக்கிறார். தன்னுடைய பேச்சாற்றலாலும், வசன பானங்களையும் தொடுத்து கிட்டத்தட்ட அரை நுற்றாண்டு நிறைய சம்பாதித்துவிட்டார்.....நான் மக்கள் நம்பிக்கைய சொன்னேங்க....நீங்க எதுவும் தப்ப நினைகல்லயே? இத்தனை ஆட்சி மற்றும் குடும்ப பிரச்சனைக்கும் இடையில் இவர் "கலைஞரின் இளைஞன்" மாதிரி வெற்றிகரமான(?) படங்களுக்கு வேற வசனம் எழுதி தரதை பார்க்கும்போது "இந்த ரணகளதுளையும் உனக்கு கிளுகிளுப்பு கேக்குதா" நு நினைக்காம இருக்க முடியல.

குடும்ப சொத்து வெளில போக கூடாதுன்னு அடுத்த வாரிசுகளுக்கு தயா"நிதி", அருள்"நிதி", உதய"நிதி" நு வெச்சுட்டாரு போல. இனிமேல் வரவங்களுக்கு அநேகமா கட்சி"நிதி", தேர்தல்"நிதி" நு பேரு வெச்சாலும் ஆச்சர்ய படறதுக்கு ஒன்னும் இல்ல. தமிழனின் பலவினமான ஆசையானது இலவசம். இருபது ரூபா சோப்பு வாங்கினாலே ரெண்டு ரூபா சீப்பு எதிர்பார்க்கிற நமள்ள சரியாய் புரிஞ்சு போன தேர்தலில் வெச்சாரு ஒரு செக். அதுதான் இலவச டிவி. ஆனா அதே டி வீ ல ராஜாவின் ராசலீலைகள் சென்றடைந்தது சொந்த செலவில் சூன்னியம் வெச்சுகிட்ட மாதிரி ஆச்சு.

அநேகமா இந்த தேர்தலில் இலவசமா IPAD 2 தருவாங்கன்னு உடன்பிறப்புகள் நாக்கை தொங்க போட்டு இருக்கிறார்கள். ஒரு இடை தேர்தலில் இவர் கட்சியினர் அறிமுகபடுத்திய "வோட்டு போட்டா காசு" திட்டம் பட்டையை கிளப்பியது. அட என்னங்க ...பின்ன என்னிக்கி நம்ம ஊருல 80% சதவிதம் வாக்கு பதிவாச்சு சொல்லுங்க? தமிழ்நாட்டில் தேர்தல் நடத்தறது பீகாரை விட கஷ்டம்நு தேர்தல் கமிஷன் வட்டாரங்கள் சொல்லுது. அநேகமா நாசிகில அச்சாகிற பணம் பூரா நம்ம ஊருல தான் செலவாக போகுதுன்னு நினைகிறேன்.

அநேகமாக நரிக்குறவர்கள் தவிர எல்லாரையும் உசுபேத்தி ஒரு பாராட்டு விழா எடுக்க விட்டார்கள். அதிலும் சன் டிவியில் இவர் அறிக்கையை இப்பொழுது படிக்கும்போதும் "மச்சான் இந்த வாட்டி நான் ஜெயச்சா என்ன பண்ணுவேன்...கேளேன்...மச்சான் நீ கேளேன்...மாப்பிளை நீயாவது கேளேன்" நு கெஞ்சற மாதிரி தான் இருக்கு.

இந்த பண பலத்தையும், ஆசை வார்த்தைகளையும் மீறி 2001 போல் இந்த தேர்தலிலும் தமிழகம் ஆச்சர்ய படவைக்குமா? அக்னி நட்சத்திரத்துக்கு பிறகு தெரியும் சூடு யாருக்கு விழ போகிறது என்று.

பெயர்: கலைஞர்
வயது: அசைபோடும் வயது
பிரச்சனை: ஆசைபடும் மனது
பலம்: பேச்சாற்றல்
பலவீனம்: மெகா சீரியல் குடும்பம்
பிடித்த கதை: பராசக்தி
பிடிக்காத கதை: ஒரு ஊருல ஒரு "ராஜா" இருந்தானாம்.....

Portrait: Kannanrajiv

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I Hate Luv Storys

"How long do you think?" asked the bearded man.

"Must be another 30 minutes" replied the man with the scar honking with disgust. He got irritated when someone pestered him with questions. At the age of 12, in a fit of rage, he had broken his teacher's head and ran away scared of police. The same anger earns him his bread with regular dadagiri and occasional murder.

"Bhaiyya. Stop for tea. I am feeling sleepy." the new recruit chottu just added salt on the scarred man's wounds.

They stopped outside an old dilapidated tea shop where Sardar drivers and their puny assistants drank tea and ate Parle G cracking vulgar jokes and laughing loudly. Chottu grabbed 3 biscuit packets and ordered 3 masala tea.

"So what is the number?" asked chottu.

"What number?" replied the irritated scarred man.

"You know. Like 'Ab tak chappan', do you keep count of the number people you tanked off?"

The scarred man had never given it a thought. The only thing he remembered clearly was his first cold blooded murder. That was thrilling experience. But the later ones were more mechanical and he just went through the motions. He probably got used to it.

He made a mental note to keep a score of his victims henceforth. Maybe like the Count of Monte Christo.

"Are you sure that our targets would be there as expected?"

"Yep. The source is quite reliable. They stay in a small apartment in the next city." replied the bearded man.

"What do you think they might be doing now?" winked chottu mischievously.

She lay her head on his hairy chest playfully wriggling them. He looked over the ceiling and saw the fan which was loud enough to hide the sound of their love making. He was not sure if he should be relieved or troubled about it. They were still getting used to each other physically although they could read each other's train of thoughts at that moment.

"Do you think we made a mistake?" she asked.

Like most women, she felt guilty and doubted her actions after an act. Like most men, he remained silent and neutral. The only thing he had learnt from his parents' marital life was to stay silent when in doubt. He knew that they were past the 'mistake' borderline.

"I dont think it makes any difference to our parents." He said bitterly.

He was angry with his parents and hers' as well. They had treated them like a piece of dirt and he knew that they deserved better.

"My papa would understand and forgive us." she tried consoling herself rather than answering him.

"Yeah. And Hitler had siesta with Jews. How long are you going to fool yourself?"

"How long can they hate us? I am their daughter and they love me."

"Do you even realize that they were going to get you married to someone you never knew just for the sake of society and pride?"

"Almost every second parent does that in our country. Your parents were not an exception as well."

"Well, mine were the second parents in this case."

They smiled weakly at this remark. He ran his fingers and adjusted her hair behind her ear. They knew that the first few months were going to be very tough emotionally and financially.

"You should have been living in a castle like a queen. Look at you now." He felt guilty.

"You dont understand. Its not a castle that makes a women a queen."

"Then what makes a women feel.....queenly?"

"Its....." she moved near him slowly and kissed him gently on his lips. "The King".

"That’s so corny" smiled Chottu seated on back of the car referring to a lyrics of a love song played on the radio.

The bearded man got irritated and lowered the volume. He sat upright as if he was going to deliver a sermon.

"Remember. As much as possible dont use the gun. It has to be used only if you find them out of your reach. Use your knife."

"But knife is so crude. And why should we use a knife when we have a gun?" asked Chottu still itching from using the gun in his hand.

"Because a knife is silent. Also, knife causes more pain. I want to see them shiver with pain and fear before they die." The beaded man mentally pictured killing them with his bare hands.

"I can understand your anger for the boy. But we can abduct the girl right? After all she is your relative."

"Dont even talk about that bitch. She ditched our family for that useless bastard. It will serve as a lesson for all the girls in the family. Also a reminder for the boys to stay away from our girls."He winked as if he had just shared the joke of the year.

Chottu made a mental note to check if any girl he loved or pretended to love had such crackpot relatives.

The man with the scar smiled to himself. After all this, people still called him savage for his grizzly appearance and behaviour.

These bastards were killing their own daughters and sons in the name of honor. Ironically, man had invented all possible gadgets and covered himself with fashionable attire, but still the age-old animal instinct to kill and relish was left untouched inside.

"Dont you think that the police will trace you? After all, your family will now be the direct accomplice in this case." asked Chottu as if he had just passed Bar exam in Loyola.

"Hmm. How many cases in India do you think get delivered hailing truth and justice? In most cases the accused and accuser die out of depression and old age. And the rich in jails are supplied everything including carnal pleasure. The police might be hot on trail for one week. The news channels will run it for 2 weeks. By third week, the public will be looking at some other hot murder like this or forget it in midst of an Indian team's victory over Bangladesh. So you can jump with joy and say "Fuck the justice system.""

"Hmmm. Sounds logical to me. Hey, what is that?"

"Thats salt. If I am not wrong, you add sugar when you make tea. Maybe your dad adds salt in his tea."

He made no secret of his hatred for her dad. Her dad had sent some gundas and got him roughed up in a hospital for only talking to his beloved daughter. And that is when he also started to fish out for grooms outside the city who did not know about his daughter's love affairs. And even if they did, the heavy dowry, Jewels and Maruti Swift car should make him forget it.

"You have never laid your foot in your kitchen, have you?"

"Except when I wanted fresh and hot parathas."

She missed her mom and her parathas. Her mom would miss her too. Atleast she thought she would. How many women even had a say in such a savage society?

He came and hugged her from behind. He knew that she missed her parents and he wanted to make her forget the pain. Forget the anxiety. Time as they say is the best healer.

"Hey, what’s the name of the theatre near our house?" he asked trying to change the mood.

"Alankar" said chotu.

"There it is." said the man with the beard. It was dilapidated theatre with possibly 10, 20 Rs tickets and where old hindi movies with sleazy titles used to run.

"Did you see the name of the movie running there?"

"No. Do you think we are here to watch some stupid yuppie flick?"

"Well. Ironically, it is called I hate Love stories."

He winked and laughed uncontrollably. The bearded man gave him a beastly look which promptly shut him up. They parked their jeep outside the shop next to the theatre and walked towards their "spot".

"So, are we all clear as to what we need to do?"

"Well. I hope to get that accountant's job for which I interviewed yesterday. The Manager seemed quite happy."

"Yeah. Lets hope we move out of this dungeon soon."

"Then we will enrol you in some college here."

"Why? You don’t want me to work?"

"No. Your mom wanted you to have Master's degree. Atleast someday when we show up at their door with a Master's degree and a kid, it should make them happy."

"You know, even after all this shit, you want to make them happy?" she asked quite relieved.

"Well. I hope someday we all live in peace. After all, everybody's life is short. And why make it shorter with anger, grudge and hatred."

"You know, I think of this and this song comes to my mind. Tum Bhi Chalo Hum bhi chalen"

They start singing together

"Chalti rahe zindagi.

Naa Zameen Manzil Aasmaan....

Zindagi hai...


They smile and embrace each other.

They hear someone knock on the door.

She walks to the front door and opens it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Goodbye Thanksgiving!

“Stop!” he yelled.

She sped out of their room, unmindful.

“You are dead, my lady!” He screamed, sounding venomous.

Why do you think I got a house on this haunted hill 50 miles from the city?”

His words hardly reached her, when a shovel plowed into her head and painfully split her skull into two.


It was thanksgiving for the entire neighborhood. But he had no smoked turkey, just a dead wife.

His eyes fell on her wedding ring. That’s when he noticed her open palm holding on to a call dialed to 911.

The police siren grew nearer.

-By Harish & Preethi

P.S: Thanks to Priya for introducing us to Magpie.