On duty, all these years

Mekhri Circle, Bangalore, in 1995 was not a pleasant road to be driving a car or riding a two wheeler on. Given the post-liberalization boom, the availability of foreign brands in India and the slowly increasing levels of affluence in Bangalore, courtesy the new sunrise sector of Information Technology, meant that more and more vehicles were finding their way on the roads of the Garden City, but infrastructure development projects were not keeping pace with this growth. And nowhere was this more evident than the Mekhri Circle traffic signal.

masked girlStaying in one of the new localities of the city, Sanjaynagar in Bangalore North meant that Sita had to pass this signal at least twice a day, on the way to office and on the way back home. And the fact that she worked in a nationalized bank meant that she had to travel during the peak hours in the morning and the evening as well. While her trusty Kinetic Honda allowed her to zig zag her way through the traffic, the fact that there were so many more smarter riders and the additional fact that all of them seemed to be in a perennial hurry meant that Sita had to spent quite a few minutes at this particular traffic signal every day of the week.

forearm-tattoo-4On most days, during the third consecutive red light at this signal, she would notice the traffic policeman briskly going about his duties and regulating the frequent offenders who jumped the red light. What interested her the most about this particular cop were two things: the first was the fact that he was young and quite trim when it came to physique which is not something that the usual traffic cop looks like. In fact, he looked quite out of place in the traffic department without his potbelly and the nose mask which covered most of his face. And the second thing that she noticed him was his unusual tattoo of five stars that he had on his forearm.

The years went by, the traffic situation at Mekhri Circle only got worse with each passing month. And finally, the Bangalore civic authorities had to construct an underpass which would ease the traffic congestion situation, but by the time they actually planned and finished the underpass, the volumes of traffic had reached levels unmanageable by the underpass as well.

In the meantime, Sita grew old enough to retire from her job at the bank and settled down quite well in the Sanjaynagar area. And it had been around 12 odd years since she had actually ridden her two-wheeler through the Mekhri Circle traffic underpass.

Life in Sanjaynagar has settled down into a decent routine for her. She would get up in the mornings, go for her morning walk with her husband and a few other common friends of theirs, come back home, freshen up, have her breakfast and then go to a few spiritual classes (Bhagvad Gita, meditation, etc), and in general she kept herself quite busy. With this packed itinerary and her voracious love for books, she managed to keep herself engaged for most part of the day, and she was enjoying her retired life quite a bit.

guardBoth she and her husband always took their morning walk in the Dollar’s Colony Walking Track as it provided them with the opportunity to catch up with common friends almost everyday and it also provided them with a secure environment as the track itself was fenced with a polite Security Guard at the gates. In fact this guard was so polite that he smartly saluted her every morning and evening without fail.

On one of the days when Sita was enjoying her brisk morning walk, there was a commotion near the entrance of the Walking Track. When she reached near the place, she realized that a biker who had tried to snatch the chain of yet another morning walker had been apprehended by the Security Guard. She stood around and watched while the policemen arrived and took the chain snatcher away.

Impressed with the guard, she waited until the cops left and then congratulated him. He just smiled and smartly saluted her. Given that she was actually seeing him today, she noticed something familiar on his forearm, an unusual tattoo of five stars.

She had seen that tattoo before. If only, she could remember where.

Sitting down on the benches in the walking track, she furiously searched through her database of memories and then it all came back flooding to her. The Security Guard was the same smart traffic cop from all those years back. She went to him and confirmed this information with him. When he replied in the affirmative, it was then she realized why she hadn’t realized this before.

Back in the days when Ramu was a traffic cop, he had always covered most of his face with a nose mask to keep safe from the pollution. And now that he was a Security Guard, he always wore a full sleeved shirt. In the scuffle with the chain snatcher earlier today, his sleeve button had come undone which was why she noticed the unusual tattoo on his forearm when he saluted her.

It was then she realized that until people like Ramu still existed in this world, people who would turn up to work everyday and put in their best efforts despite rough weather conditions and bad traffic, the world would remain just that little bit safer.


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. This weekend’s prompt had to include the line She had seen that tattoo before. If only, she could remember where which is the reason it has specifically been highlighted in the post.


This post is one of Blogadda’s WoW picks for the weekend of Nov 17, 2013.


Faith in numbers


Paul has been named so by his devout Christian parents after Jesus’ favorite apostle and his most ardent believer. But apart from the name, there was nothing even remotely religious about Paul. In fact, so much so that he even stopped believing in the concept of God and religion and lost all faith in even religious agnostic things like fate and destiny after he lost both his parents in a fatal car crash when he was only 16 yrs old.

Given that he was prodigious at math right from a very young age, he tended to rely in the comfort of the wonderful world of numbers. He instinctively understood and correlated all of his life with math. Here everything was a clear case of cause and effect, just like numbers were.

His math teacher always told him “2 and 2 always add up to 4, and similarly everything in life has a clear cause and a clear effect, it’s just that we have to put in the effort to understand the variables and draw up the equations carefully.” Paul had understood, admired and lived by this credo ever since he first heard it when he was 6 yrs old, but all of his faith in the cause and effect relationship was shaken by the loss of his parents. He couldn’t quite comprehend why his parents had to die the way they did.

His dad was not a rash driver, his mom was not the type of person who would disturb and distract her dad by incessantly talking to him. Then why did they have to die the way they did? Why did have to be their car which was pushed off the narrow mountain road by the drunk driver of the trailer truck? Why not any other car?

Even probabilistically speaking, the chances of a fatal accident occurring on this particular expressway were only 1 in 9,325. Paul had calculated this using the statistics gleaned from the Motor Vehicles Department website. Not knowing how to deal with the tragedy, he tried finding ways to figure out the causes for it to have happened in the first place the only way he knew how, by resorting to his world of numbers.

Despite his best efforts to do so, neither could he figure out the reasons for the accident nor could he reconcile himself to the fact that he was all alone in the world. He therefore decided to take the most drastic step of all, kill himself.

Given his height, weight and Body Mass Index, he correctly calculated the amount of cocaine it would take for him to overdose on and ultimately die. He managed to procure the cocaine from a geeky friend of his who used to help him out with his computer assignments. The stage was set, and he decided that he would end his life tonight.

He prepped the syringe with the required amount of the drug and set it on the table by the side of his bed. Although he had decided to take his life, it wasn’t quite as easy as he thought it would be. He lay down on the bed, closed his eyes and took deep breaths trying to calm himself down and be convinced that this was the only choice he now had. He kept hearing a constant buzzing in his ears, but dismissed it as the effects of his nervousness.

Ten minutes passed by and he was finally ready. When he got up, the pillow fell off the bed and it was then he noticed his phone below it. He then realized that the buzzing sound in his ears was that of the phone ringing in the vibrating mode. He was amazed when he saw the phone. 38 missed calls in 10 mins! He wondered what was going on.

After all, he didn’t even have any friends who he considered close enough to call him. The only people who called him on his mobile phone were both dead anyway.

And then the phone rang again.


This was the number that flashed on his screen. And any math aficionado worth his salt would immediately notice that this was the famous Fibonacci sequence. His hands shivering, Paul answered the phone.

My son, are you sure you want to do this? Is taking your life the only solution to your distressed state of mind? Think again, your gifts have not been granted so that you give up on me so soon, my son” a soothing voice on the other end spoke.

Paul was immediately jolted back to his senses. He then realized that he had been asleep all this while and it had been a dream. More than a dream, it had been a revelation. He immediately got up and checked his phone below the pillow. It was on the vibration mode, but there were no missed calls, no call logs from any number at all.

Paul was born, again, and this time he was a believer!!!


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian bloggers by Blogadda.

The prompt this week was to include the phrase 38 missed calls in 10 mins! He wondered what was going on which is the reason why it has been specifically highlighted in the post.

The intention of this post is not to promote any particular religion or faith but is just a fictional post attempting to explore the psyche of a person who is about to commit suicide. It also explores the metaphysical possibility of divine intervention in such situations, that’s all. It was never my intention to hurt anybody’s religious sentiments with this post.


This post has been picked by Blogadda as one of the WoW picks of the weekend.


The vengeful Ashwatthama

Ashwatthama in a Javanese Wayang shadow puppet
Ashwatthama in a Javanese Wayang shadow puppet

During the combat of maces, the Gadhayuddha between Bhima and Duryodhana, Ashwatthama was enraged when Bhima cheats to defeat Duryodhana. The act of Bhima striking his opponent’s thighs which was clearly a violation of the rules of the Gadhayuddha made him extremely angry and he swore revenge on the Pandavas for this.

This incident further fueled the fire that Ashwatthama had for the Pandavas when he had found out that the illustrious Yudhisthira had lied (or at least hidden the truth) about killing an elephant which bore his name, which led to his father, Drona, laying down his weapons on the battlefield [Link to my earlier post on this story]. This act of deceit by the eldest Pandava had led to his father being beheaded by Dhristadyumna and had given Drona a dishonorable death.

That night Ashwatthama went to the injured Duryodhana and made a vow to kill the Pandavas by any means. “This I will do to avenge my father’s death and also to avenge the acts of deceit committed” he swore.

That night when he was planning his vengeance, he noticed that an owl which had been attacked by a group of crows in the morning was now in turn attacking and killing the crows in the night. The owl was playing to its strength, the ability to see in the darkness. Suddenly an idea struck him and his plans for fulfilling the vow were formed.

He crept into the Pandava camp at night and first killed Dhristadyumna, Shikhandi and other Pandava warriors in their sleep, all the while muttering “This I will do to avenge my father’s death and also to avenge the acts of deceit committed”.

He then beheaded the Upapandavas, Draupadi’s five sons believing them to be the Pandavas themselves, once again uttering the same words “This I will do to avenge my father’s death and also to avenge the acts of deceit committed

It was only after he took the five heads to Duryodhana that he realizes that he had not killed the Pandavas and his vow was incomplete.

Ashwatthama who upto this point believed that his vengeance was valid as the Pandavas had used deceitful means to kill his father Drona and wrong his friend Duryodhana, suddenly realized the magnitude of his mistake. By attacking the Pandava warriors at night, when they were unarmed and helpless, he had broken many laws that were held sacrosanct by Kshatriyas of the time.

He therefore took refuge in Veda Vyasa’s ashrama and sought salvation for his sins committed on that one fateful night when his anger, passions and thirst for vengeance turned him into a lunatic.


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. We give out themes for creative writing each weekend for Indian bloggers.

The prompt was that the post had to include the same sentence repeated at least thrice and the said sentence has been highlighted separately in this post.


This post has been selected as one of Blogadda’s WoW picks of the week.


Good filter coffee


Santhanam Gopalakrishnan Iyer (let’s call him Sandy for short) was proud of his Tamil Iyer heritage. After all his grandfather (too long a name, let’s just call him Thatha) was Director General of Schools in Kerala. His father (another long name, let’s just call him Appa) was an IAS Officer from the 1976 batch and had a long distinguished service. Sandy was no less an achiever. He had completed his Chartered Accountancy when he was 22, his Cost Accounting credentials were proved when he cleared those exams when he was 23, and as if this was not enough he also became a Certified Company Secretary when he was just 25 yrs old.

Sandy was more than convinced that along with the wonderful gene pool which he inherited from his achiever grandparents and parents, the secret to his success was a strict regime that he followed on a daily basis. Getting up at 5 AM, brushing his teeth and completion of his morning ablutions, followed by a cup of hot filter coffee was the secret to his sprightliness in the mornings. Sandy was a worshipper of caffeine in its purest form, the decoction concocted by having the same filtered through a stainless steel coffee filter, and he had to have filter coffee in the mornings, no matter what condition the rest of the world was in. This and the fact that Sandy was a strict vegetarian as was the norm for all TamBrahms also reinforced his belief that filter coffee and vegetarian food were the secret of his success.

By the time he was 30 yrs old, Sandy was a globe-trotter in every sense of the world. His high profile Management Consultancy job took him to extremely offbeat places such as Bosnia, Ethiopia, Liberia and closer home, to the South East Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. And irrespective of whatever else he packed, he ensured that his faithful Salem Stainless Steel coffee filter made all these trips with him. In all the cities he went, he made it a point to taste the best local coffee, buy a couple of hundred grams of the same, and prepare and drink his early morning filter coffee without fail.  He also made it a point only to have strict vegetarian food in all these exotic countries as well.

And as fate would have it, his fortune and fame only increased, which reinforced the faith in his strict morning regime and vegetarianism.

On one of these trips to Indonesia, he happened to come across a coffee which was called Kopi Luwak and based on the recommendation of his local host, he bought some of it. And true to its reputation, the coffee was nothing short of extraordinary. In fact, Sandy liked it so much that he immediately bought a couple of kilos of the same and took it back home. And as if the stars were aligned in his favor, this Indonesian trip gave such a fillip to his already successful career that Sandy was soon ascending the stairs to stardom in his given field. He was made partner in his firm, the youngest person in the firm’s 300 yr history to make partner, he got married to the daughter of one of the country’s biggest automotive component manufacturer’s Board of Directors, his good fortune just went into orbit.

And all this time, he credited it to the wonderful effects of Kopi Luwak which his local host used to regularly parcel to him from Indonesia every two months or so. Sandy became a fanatic of the coffee and loved it so much that he modified his morning regime to include a second coffee after breakfast as well. He also gave equal credit to his strict vegetarian diet as well, for his streak of good luck.

His next assignment in Indonesia was with the Government department for Spices and Cash Crops. And when he reached there, by virtue of his assignment he was invited by one of the biggest producers and plantation owner to his coffee estate where his favorite brand, Kopi Luwak was grown. In the six years that Sandy had started drinking this brand, his fortunes had soared so much that at some levels he felt obliged to the coffee bean itself to make the visit to the plantation.

And when he reached the plantation, he was invited to the processing plant where all his notions about the brand and his strictly vegetarian diet came crashing down on his head.

Kopi Luwak in Indonesian local  dialect meant civet coffee, and these were beans of coffee berries that had been eaten and excreted by the Asian Palm Civet.

All these days Sandy’s fortunes were because he had been drinking animal shit. And that is why ignorance indeed is bliss, he thought to himself.


All the points in the above post about Kopi Luwak are true. Read this Wikipedia entry to know more about the coffee.

I first heard about this coffee in the movie The Bucket List starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.


This post has been selected as one of Blogadda’s WoW picks of the week.


Free, at last


The earliest sound that Django remembered from his childhood was the sharp and sudden foooootisssh, the sound made by a whip lashing on his and his mother’s back and obviously the ever present clink clink of the chains that they were both fettered to. Django and his mother were slaves on a plantation in Texas in the 1850s, and these were sounds that were common to their kind in those days.

Django had all but resigned to his fate of spending a lifetime in servitude and was one of the most obedient slaves on the plantation. But the last three days had changed all that. Three days ago, his old mother was tied to a post and brutally whipped to death by the supervisor for having tried to prevent him from raping one of the young slave girls who worked there. This incident awakened something in Django and things just couldn’t remain the same again.

As a precaution his supervisor had chained him to the wall of the deepest dungeon in the big house and tonight Django only had the drip drip sound of the water seeping down there for company. What the supervisor who was new, didn’t know was that this was Django’s favorite hangout as a kid and he and his friends had managed to saw away 3/4th of the hook holding the chains to the wall as kids as part of one of their crazy games.

Given that this was the deepest part of the house, nobody heard him break the rest of the hook and unchain himself. The next order of business for him was to locate the gunpowder kegs kept outside in the barn and strategically spread it all around the big wooden house of his masters. He chose the darkest part of the night to do this so that no one would notice him do this. He then set fire to the edge of the line that he had created using the gunpowder and quickly started running in the opposite direction of the fire. After a while the only sounds that he could hear was the crackling of the wooden walls of the big house. He had also ensured that nobody could escape from the inside by bolting all the doors from the outside.

Django ran across the plantation to the railway tracks at the far end. By the time he paused for a while and caught his breath, he heard the rumbling chug chug of the steam engine coming his way. He allowed the first few cabins of the train to pass him by before he ran and hopped on to a wagon which was loaded with logs. Exhausted with the night’s adventure, he lay down and started sleeping.

The next morning he was woken up by a sound he had never heard in his life. He was woken up by the gentle chirp chirp of a small blueberry which had flown and sat upon one of the logs on the wagon when the train had come to stop in a nice shady wooded area of the Texas landscape. He was free, free at last.


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by Blogadda. The prompt was that the post had to include at least 5 sounds and that is the reason the related words have been specifically underlined in the post.

This post has been loosely inspired by the plot of the movie Django Unchained.


This post has been selected as one of Blogadda’s WoW picks on 15-Oct-2013.