The Shadow of the Sun

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Like the outcasted man,

Drenched deep till the bone.

Guilt, guilt you are

Forever standing alone.

Guilt, guilt you are,

With that ugly face.

Guilt, guilt you are

Ready to embrace.

Guilt, guilt you never,

You never give a choice.

Guilt, guilt you killed

Killed the inner voice.

Moments of peace,

Pieces of joy,

You  crushed all of them

Embracing the boy.

Guilt, guilt you are

Guilt you are the shame.

Guilt, guilt you are

You are the blame!

Guilt, guilt you are

Hidden within a suicidal man.

Guilt, you are within

The one who never can.

Guilt , Guilt, you are

Like the shadow of sun,

You were never there

But still can never run.

Guilt, you killed a soul,

You let it go free.

Guilt you are not guilty

Guilty for killing three.

The Life was ripped off

Ripped as you slowly came.

Let the souls rest in peace

With the guilt in my name!

The ‘Hoax Call’ Diaries – [ Episode 6]

 

Chapter Five.

“Are you guys next?” asked a 2nd year junior who had come to take back his instruments from the green room.

The question was directed to Deep. But the loud music from the stage made it impossible for him to hear. The guy repeated again.

“Hey dude, are you guys playing next?”

Deep was startled when he realised that they were indeed going to play next. The trance created by the weed was slowly fading away like a quick hangover. He didn’t know how to respond. He just nodded back.

“I wish to hear you guys” the guy said and left.

Deep realised, that the last show was indeed important.

From the first band contest to the last, the journey was not always easy.

Back in the music room, the cigarette was almost over. The auditorium had gone crazy. The whistles and the hooting were too loud to make any conversation audible. Dg looked at Sam. He was still thinking. Dg strained his voice.

“Why are you ruining our last performance?  What is it? It is about Rumi right?” asked Dg.

Rumi or Rumika was Sam’s girlfriend whose fidelity had always come under question in a year long relationship with him. It was not that Sam was bad. He was perhaps the best guy any girl would want. He did everything to keep her happy. But she was far too fickle minded to be with one guy it seemed.

“Rumi? Why would she even come into this conversation”?

“I have seen you all this year. How a happy-go –lucky guy like you stopped being happy and got into this new found love of yours called weed!!” replied an angry Dg.

“Stop this dude, let her go. You deserve better. Don’t just spoil our efforts because of someone like her. You had enough from her; it’s time to move on. She is not for you.”  Added Dg trying to hit Sam’s most delicate part of the heart.

“I have dude. I have moved on. She doesn’t make any difference to me. I have tried all means to make it happen. But it’s time to give it up. “ said a tired Sam.

“Then why are you doing this?” asked an irritated Dg.

“Doing what?” asked Sam.

“Ruining our last bloody show!” shouted Dg.

There was a moment of silence in the dark music room. Only the shouts of the audience were clearly audible. It seemed that the band on stage was really rocking it!!

“What is the use of performing well Dg? Any ways we are not going to win. “Sam pointed out.

“It was never about winning Sam. The first band contest in Rourkella, you remember? We never contested to win. We wanted to put up a good show. So, why not today? It is our last performance!” Dg added.

“Rourkella was never just a competition. It was everything that gave us the hope to be something big. It was where our lives changed” said Sam and flipped the last burning bud of the cigarette in the air.

“Rourkella was a hell lot of experience” Dg thought.

An amateur band turned professional in one night. The victory in the band contest was necessary.

Dg Speaks

The night was gloomy. There was a crowd of darkened clouds hovering over the sky. It appeared as if they were waiting for the right time to attack!

Rourkella was not a rock loving crowd. But still the turnout in the band contest was unimaginable. People of all age groups had come to witness the band contest. May be it was because this was something first of a kind.

Owing to the condition that not much people were into hard core rock music, we decided to go with a mixture of all time favourites and classic rock keeping in mind the criteria of the band contest.

Reaching Rourkella was however, a hell of a journey. None of us had our tickets confirmed and we ended up sleeping near the bathroom for 14 long hours.

We reached Daddy’s place in the early morning. His place was a typical “Marwari” place. His mom flattered us with all sorts of delicacies.

Her target was however Sam. Sam was quite thin then.

She would say,” Son, by the time you go, I’ll make sure you have gained enough weight”.

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The competition was 3 days later. We got 3 days to practise and understand the crowd.

Another important revelation was that, the winner of the band contest would be invited for a talk show in BIG 92.5 FM radio station.

We wanted to outdo ourselves in the contest. And to do that we devised a new plan to capture the crowd.

When we went to the stage, the crowd had already been charged up by the previous two bands.

We began with a heavy number. It was a cover of the “Joker and the thief” by Wolfmother.

The crowd took it well. The next song was a difficult one. We tried the cover of “Fade to Black” by Metallica. Though, the crowd might not have heard the song before, the judges seemed to acknowledge our effort with frequent nods and smiles.

The next one was what we definitely knew would be one of the crowd’s favourite number.

Sam started the “Summer of 69” with the same scripted dialogue he used in our first show.

The crowd suddenly got a number to sing along. They went mad.

People, especially the youths were shouting, screaming all around.

It was just then, Sam all of a sudden jumped in the crowd. He ran with his microphone just to a flock of young guys singing the song. People got even more excited. The song left the entire crowd shouting “Once More”.

But then we still had our “trump card” left. It was now the time for doing something new.

Sam took the stage again.

“Thank you guys, for you support. You guys rock. The next song is dedicated to all the beautiful ladies here tonight”, declared Sam.

There was a huge roar of appreciation from the crowd, especially, the female groups.

But we had different plans.

Sam continued, “The next song is an Original Composition by us. We call it Juliet.”

Just then Daddy interrupted as decided before.

“But Sam, I don’t feel like playing this guitar anymore”, said Daddy.

The crowd as well as the judges were suddenly confused. This was something unusual.

“Even I don’t feel like singing anymore. What do you suggest?” asked a tired Sam.

“Let swap”, I said from behind the drums.

The crowd still had no idea what was going on in the stage.

We, however, had everything well rehearsed.

I got up from the drums and took Daddy’s guitar. Daddy went and took my place behind the drums. Sam went and took the bass. And Deep took the mic.

The crowd now realised what had happened. And they burst into applause. This was perhaps the first time a band was swapping their roles on stage.

I had taught Daddy a normal four-by-four beat for the song, which he managed very well. I was also been taught the basic open chords for the song. Deep could sing and Sam had practised on bass.

The performance was good overall. The crowd really enjoyed our show.

But before the results, there were four more bands to perform.

“Lets, go out for a drive”, said Daddy.

We thought, we had a good one hour in hand. So we decided to go out for a drive.

 

to be continued….

(This is a semi-fictitious and more of an original account of a musical journey of four different souls who at some point in their lives dreamt to make it Big.

The result was Hoax Call, an alternative rock band which started well but could never end!)

The ‘Hoax Call’ Diaries – [ Episode 5]

The next one month was hell of a jamming session for us. The music room was not allowed to be open during class hours as it would disturb the ongoing lectures. So the time we had was from evening 5pm to morning 6 am. But then there were certain rules to be followed.

Firstly, there were just two keys for the music room. One key would always be with the cultural secretary of the college. The Cultural Sec. was a final year student who had been elected to the post. Now, the time available for practise has been equally divided in the form of a time table between all the registered bands of the college (including us!) and those who were interested in learning music (music classes). The other key would be circulated among the bands as they followed the time table. But the last band of the day should write their name and contact number for the first band in the next day to get the key.

It was a systematic process. But the problem was, there were few people who kept the key but did not turn up for their scheduled practises or were not reachable when needed. This was really causing a hell of a problem for us as we missed our slots in search of the key.

It was a Thursday night. I had retired to my cosy bed after dinner and was planning to watch a sci-fi movie when Dg called me.

“Deep, get ready. We will practise tonight from 11 pm”, he said.

I was not prepared for this sudden practise at all.

“But we do not have a slot today. We had it yesterday. Then how can we go? “I wanted to know trying to avoid the idea of leaving the bed.

“Well, ‘Ozone’ have cancelled their slot today. So we can use their slot.”, said Dg

“But what about the key?”, I was still desperate.

“Well, there is this secret. Last week when I took the key I made a duplicate out of it. So now on, we do not need to  keep looking for the key.” Dg relpied jubilantly.

I was not at all amused.

“What if someone knows?” I asked.

“Chill! No one will never know”, he said.

That night we practised well and in the coming nights, we sneaked in whenever we found the music room empty using the stolen key.

Days passed faster than night.

Everybody practised hard. No one cared about my fingers.

“Damn… I am playing a bass guitar for God sake! Look at my fingers. They have swelled up.” I shouted.

“Fine, we take a smoke break for Deep’s finger”, declared Sam in the music room.

“You guys will be smoking here?” asked Dg. (He didn’t smoke then.)

“Ya, why not? “ I asked.

“It’s not your room fatso! What if someone catches us? Are you going to answer?” asked Dg.

“Come on Dg. Do you think a professor would leave his bed and come to check us out in the music room at 2 am in the night? Daddy said, “We’ll smoke outside may be.”

We used the smoke-break properly but we were generous enough not to smoke in the music room. We went out the other door of the music room to the small open concrete ground which ended towards the gymnasium.

Well that day we started it and never cared of getting caught.

One month of practise had made us somewhat better than what we were. But apart from the proficiency in our parts, this one month was special for two more reasons.

As we prepared for the band contest, we realised that we needed to take up songs that were difficult and more specifically had some breath taking guitar solos. After much persuasion, Daddy was ready to practise his solo skills. But what was a problem was that we needed a support guitarist to play the chords while Daddy played the solo.

“We already have gelled well. I don’t think we can get another guitarist with the same thought process.” Sam said.

“But, without another guitarist, we cannot think of playing guitar solos in our songs”, I said.

“ Deep, I feel Sam is right. It was already hectic to get four of us together. Getting another head count in the band and that also in such a short notice will be next to impossible”, Dg said.

There was a pause in the small tea shop.

We all knew, we had a problem and the solution was tough.

Daddy took a long drag of the cigarette and said,

“I can offer a solution!”

Daddy always had this uncanny habit of creating suspense where he said a sentence which urged us to persuade him for more.

“How?” asked Sam forcing Daddy to pass on the cigarette.

“We are four guys in our band. Deep is already playing bass, Dg is already playing drums, and I am the lead guitarist. The only person without an instrument is you, Sam. So, why don’t you learn guitar enough to play the chords?” suggested Daddy.

Sam was busy pulling the last puff of the cigarette when Daddy suggested his name. He almost chocked off the last drag.

“What?”

“Wow! That’s a great idea “, shouted Dg.

Sam was really not prepared for this. He was also a lazy bum like me.

“Are you guys crazy? How can I perform with a guitar? And how am I supposed to learn guitar in a month?” asked Sam

“Just the way I learned Bass in a month. Besides you can perform better with a guitar”, I replied.

The decision was taken. Majority ruled. Sam had no choice. For one month he stretched his fingers under the harsh supervision of Daddy and Dg.

So, Sam B was the vocalist as well as the support guitarist in our band as we decided to take on the band contest.

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The second reason was really sweet. It was the day before we left for Rourkella. That day, after we practised, Dg decided to stay. And that was weird.

“You guys carry on! I have some work left”, he said.

No one cared what work Dg had until Daddy said on our way back,

“What work could Dg had?”

Sam tried but couldn’t resist a smile.

“What is it Sam? You know it right? Why did Dg stay back?” I asked.

But Sam wouldn’t say.

But when both Daddy and I forced him, he spilled the beans.

Apparently, Dg was mad about a girl in the college and had decided to woo her by promising her to teach guitar in the music room.

But once, such a secret thing is known and especially when a drummer decides to teach ‘guitar’ to woo a chick, it becomes the responsibility of ‘good’ friends like us to scrutinise the matter.

So we went back to the music room to see what he was busy doing.

When we reached, we saw Dg through the window. He was busy teaching the girl the basic “A major” chord. He was busy touching her hand and positioning her fingers on the fret board.

That was something that every guy would desperately want to do but in private.

And just then, Daddy said,

“This just can’t happen friends. I am the guitarist and I suggest let’s interrupt”

The fact that all the three of us were dead jealous of Dg at that point was evident from our action.

We stormed in.

On seeing us enter, Dg was astonished and in the process he left her hand. He really didn’t expect us there.

“Hi Dg. Are you teaching her guitar?” asked Daddy.

Dg was about to say something but swallowed it. For some time he didn’t know what to do.

Finally he hold back himself and said, “Oh yes Prashant. I was just trying.”

And that day we were introduced to the girl who soon became a part of our band. She was nicknamed “Lustoo”, the love interest of our drummer.

And that night, Sam really had to give a hell lot of explanations for letting out Dg’s secret.

The next day, we left for our first ever band contest to the state of Odisha.

 

 

to be continued….

 

(This is a semi-fictitious and more of an original account of a musical journey of four different souls who at some point in their lives dreamt to make it Big.

The result was Hoax Call, an alternative rock band which started well but could never end!)

The ‘Hoax Call’ Diaries – [ Episode 4 ]

We went in at about 7:30 pm, just before dinner.

Sam took the stage.

“Ladies and gentlemen, before I start with our first number, I have a condition. You know, I am a very bad singer and I really cannot pull it off unless you sing with me. So people, get ready to enjoy the summer back in 69”, screamed Sam.

The reaction to the above ‘well-scripted’ dialogue was unbelievable. People roared back to it getting a chance to mouth the song they know with the band.

And as the opening reef of the song echoed in the open air, I could sense a rush of adrenaline down by spine. Everybody in the crowd screamed rather than sing. And Sam, all of a sudden went in the crowd with his cordless mic. People jumped and people hooted as together everyone screamed the chorus part. The dance floor in all other departments seemed to be empty. People were rushing in like a wave into the crowd to see who was playing.

Once, we ended the first song, Sam came back and fixed his mic to the stand.

He shouted, “The next one is an O.C (original composition). This song is dedicated to all the beautiful ladies out here. We call it Juliet.”

The crowd, who had already screamed their vocal chords out screamed again, and this time, I somehow managed to hear female voices more than the male ones.

As the song went, to my surprise, I found the crowd clapping on the beats. It was really odd to see a hyper-excited crowd sober so well with the change of the song.

When we ended, there was a roar of applause and trust me, it was so hard that I couldn’t hear what Sam said next.

“You’ll have to repeat it”, I said.

Sam nodded and repeated.

“That was all we had tonight. Thanks a lot for your response. We are the Hoax Call with Dg on drums, Prashant on lead guitar, Deep on bass and me, Sam on vocals. Thank you”, said Sam and signed off.

There was a moment when all the four of us looked at each other’s eyes and we said the same thing in our hearts.

“Well done guys! We rocked! ”

As we were unplugging our instruments, I saw a group from the crowd, especially girls approaching Sam and congratulating him for the show.

“And I thought it was a team effort”, said Deep pointing towards Sam who was busy with all the attention.

“He is the vocalist dude. He would always get more preference”, laughed Dg.

I didn’t comment but I was equally jealous like the rest of the guys. “But that was just a part of the long journey”, I thought.

The brilliant performance of ours needed a celebration and so we went to the hostel terrace to celebrate it in our style.

We, were four of us and a school friend of Sam’s named ‘Demon’. His name was no way ‘Demon‘but must be something that we never knew; thanks to Sam.

He was forever a demon in our school. So we gave him this nickname”, chuckled Sam.

Demon had become a common friend of our band. He was not from our college, but I swear to God that apart from our batch mates, even the guards were certain that he studied here and lived in our hostel.

I was high on my beer. Deep was making pegs for the rest of the gang (I didn’t like whisky then); Dg went to create history by pissing from the terrace on the ground and Demon was capturing that moment; Sam was busy finishing off the last packet of chips.

It was just then, my phone rang.

Chapter Four

His phone rang.

“Your cellphone is ringing!” said Deep.

Daddy was lost in a train of thoughts and took him some time to react to the incoming vibration in his pocket.

He pulled out the cellphone to check who was bothering him at that moment. It was Kriti.

“Damn! Why does she need to call now and spoil my mood!” thought Daddy.

Deep could not help but smile at his irritation.

Pick it up dude”, suggested Deep.

Daddy gave a disgusted look and answered the call.

As Daddy was busy talking to Kriti, Deep looked at his phone. He had the Hoax Call logo as his wallpaper.

“The last performance”, he murmured to himself.

“Four years are way too less”, he thought.

Deep

Deep Speaks.

Daddy spoke for the first time after hanging up the call.

We were all curious about the call after he signalled our attention while talking with someone about something that sounded interesting.

We were all looking at him expecting him to say something.

But he was busy finishing his bottle of beer which was no longer ‘chilled’.

So after about 3 minutes of suspense, Daddy, finally broke the ice.

“We guys have been selected to participate in the battle of bands, in Rourkella !”

“Rourkella?” asked Sam, “When did we apply?”

Even I had the same confusion. When the hell did we apply for some band contest in Rourkella?

“Well, Delhi Public School in Rourkella is organizing this contest and I had asked my friends to see if we could participate. The answer is yes; we can.“ Daddy clarified.

 “When is it?” asked Dg who had been pissing off the terrace few minutes back.

“Next month” said Daddy.

So, you guys should begin practising. What’s the first prize?” asked Demon

“8k it seems”, winked Daddy.

Where do we stay there?” I asked.

“In my place”, Daddy replied.

to be continued….

(This is a semi-fictitious and more of an original account of a musical journey of four different souls who at some point in their lives dreamt to make it Big.

The result was Hoax Call, an alternative rock band which started well but could never end!)

The ‘Hoax Call’ Diaries – [ Episode 3 ]

 

Chapter three.

The music room was always small. But in the dark, it looked like a huge coliseum ready to welcome the wounded gladiators. The amplifiers, the keyboard and the huge drum set looked like treacherous monsters hiding a secret that was never to be told. Dg squeezed in trying to figure out the darkness giving his pupils enough time to see through the dark. A small ray of light entered from the other door. It was open. The street light near the other end of the music room which directed towards the college gym was responsible for the slight illumination. Dg tried to switch on the light when he heard Sam from outside the back door. He was sitting near the gym.

“Don’t switch on the lights please”

Dg did not switch them on. Instead, he followed the trail of light outside the door where Sam sat.

What is the matter with you?” he asked.

He did not respond. Instead he threw a question back.

“How did we get the name btw?”

“What?” Asked an irritated Dg

“How did we get the name ‘Hoax Call’? I was trying to remember. This weed kills your memory cells you know. Do you remember?” Sam asked.

Dg knew it would take time. So he sat beside. “Do you have a smoke”? He asked.

Back in the green room Daddy was restless. This was his last performance in college life. He wanted it to be great. But what suddenly he realised was that the journey so far was not that bad.

As he sat there fixing his processor, he went back in his memory lane. A simple jam what he thought had installed a hell lot dreams, a dream to make it big.

 

 

Daddy Speaks.

“How is the name, ‘Hoax Call’?” I said.

“Not bad.  But why such a name?” Sam asked.

“You don’t always have to have a reason. Why are ‘Scorpions’ called ‘Scorpions’? Is there a reason?” Deep wanted to know.

“There might be a reason. Besides, if you want to know why we want to name ourselves Hoax Call I have a reason!” Dg added.

 

Daddy 1

 

 

Well, I was the one who suggested the name and truly speaking I didn’t have an answer to Sam’s query because the name was just a random name that came up in my mind. Besides, I felt this name was far better than “Rubber Band” which the other three had zeroed.

“Go on Dg”, I wanted to know what he thought.

“Well. If you see our band, it’s nothing but a miracle. One month back we didn’t think we could make it. But tonight’s jam made me realise we can really go far. And that makes us unpredictable; just as unpredictable as a hoax call.” Dg said.

That was not a bad justification.

Truly speaking, I had been with different kind of people in my life so far, but these guys were different. They had the wish to do something out of  music. And the worst part for me was that they thought me to be a pro guitarist and so I had to overdo my abilities.

But whatever it was, the band kicked off really well. The first performance on stage was rather unusual. It was not any cult fest in our college or so. The plan was something that came out of Deep’s mind. A perfect plan for the perfect launch. Till now we had been practising in the music room. The people in the college had no clue of our existence. It was the mid of August.

Metallurgy dept had shortage of fund to organize a DJ night like the rest of the other branches. It was what we called, “Departmental Gathering”.  So, in order to cope up with other branches they needed something to make it “cool”. Deep came up with the idea of a rock show instead of a DJ night. The idea was well accepted by the organizers. And in return for Deep’s favour, they agreed on giving us a 20 minute time slot for our performance.

“This is just what we needed. We will go just before dinner. Crowd will be more then.” Said an excited Dg.

Dg was never wrong in his planning. He was like our Manager.

But the problem was, we were not the only band performing. There were many more. But they were already recognized in the college. We needed to do something different to catch the attention of the audience. The question was, “How and what?”

“We are not a heavy metal band guys. We are not even punk rock. What are we?” asked Sam.

It was true. I am not ashamed now to admit the fact that we were not that good at that time. Not that good to blow people’s mind with a growl or a guitar reef or a double bass drum solo. But we had one thing that the rest of the guys didn’t have.

I had always felt that in a live show, it’s always the performance that comes prior to the musical part of a song. The rest of the bands were very good with their music but lacked a front runner who could sway the audience with a performance. In a live show, when the crowd is busy banging their heads and raising their voices, it really matters how well you can gel with them; how well you connect with them.

Sam, unlike the rest of the vocalist was very energetic on stage. He had this special talent of making the stage alive.

“We are an alternative rock band. But what makes us different from the rest is you Sam.” Said Deep.

“Yes, you have to make the audience sing with us”, said Dg.

I agreed. The first time we perform in front of the crowd, we all wanted it to be the best. So we zeroed in the cover of the most common song by Brian Adams, “summer of 69”. The reason was that we wanted the crowd to sing with us. Apart from that we had an original composition named “Juliet”. It was a romantic Hindi song that Sam wrote about two years back.

The night was beautiful. There was a slight breeze just after a heavy shower. It was an open air concert. The lights were fit in and the monitors where checked.

We went in at about 7:30 pm, just before dinner.

Sam took the stage.

 

to be continued….

(This is a semi-fictitious and more of an original account of a musical journey of four different souls who at some point in their lives dreamt to make it Big.

The result was Hoax Call, an alternative rock band which started well but could never end!)

The ‘Hoax Call’ Diaries – [ Episode 2 ]

Chapter Two

Sam B speaks.

“Let’s make a band. I had dreamt of it every time since school!” I said.

“Even I wanted to do something with music. But are you sure? We are no way ready.” Asked a doubtful Dg.

“You are a tabla champ dude. And it’s you who told me that you can deal with any kind of percussion instruments. Then why not drums?” I insisted.

“Am not worried about drums dumbass! I’ll manage the drums. But can you sing? And besides, we do not have a bassist or guitarist yet.” Said Dg.

It was just 2 years since we joined college. I was already famous as a singer.

But what Dg said made absolute sense.

I had never been a singer my entire life. It was only when I was eleven, my mom realised I got her genes. She was a trained classical singer. She tried teaching my sister but couldn’t succeed.

“She couldn’t manage scales”, she used to say.

I was never an option.

One fine day, my mom found out that I could sing. Then on, I sang during various functions in school but always in chorus.

When I came to college, nobody cared about my background. It was in my first year, that I shook the entire auditorium with a daring act of singing “chatura naar” from “Padosan” all alone.

I managed both the parts of Kishore Kumar and Manna Dey so well that I was instantly famous as a singer in the college. But what I lacked was proper exposure to rock. Till now, I heard sufi bands and some Bengali pop songs. Dg’s question about my ability was just.

“I’ll manage. But what about the bassist? Will Shrek be ready?” I wanted to focus on other important things.

“Shrek” as he was famously known was the best bassist in our batch. He was a NRI from Middle-East. But what separated him from the rest of the lot was his down-to-earth nature.

“He’s already playing for ‘Morphine’, besides he wouldn’t play with amateurs like us. He has a class dude”, said Dg.

“Then?” I wondered.

“Well Deep was interested in learning Bass from some time. Let’s boost him up. May be he will be a saviour”, said Dg.

Dg always had a softer corner for Deep. After all, Deep was his first roomy as well as his first friend in the college.

I had no option but to agree. I accompanied Dg to his room where I saw Deep fidgeting with his brand new laptop.

“Hey Guys, wassup? Look what I found on LAN. A new MMS scandal.” Said an over-excited Deep.

“Deep, we need to talk.” Said Dg firmly.

Deep was not the serious kind of guy. He was always casual. But the best part was that he was innovative. Whatever he did, be it watching movies or dressing himself, he was unique. And that’s what made him special. He was that fair, fat, bi-spectacled Bengali guy who could change your mood in seconds with some stupid joke.

Within seconds, I saw him getting serious for the first time.

“Well, I’ll start taking lessons from Shrek today itself. I’ll try to learn asap!” said Deep.

And suddenly, there as he spoke, I saw a different zeal in his eyes. I knew at that very moment, he was the guy our band needed.

After having sent Deep to learn Bass guitar, the next hurdle was to find a guitarist. And that was tough.

For weeks we tried the stalwarts famous with the six-strings in our college. But none of them agreed. Either they already had a band or thought themselves to be too professional to jam with amateurs like us. We had almost lost our hope.

“Let’s wait for next year. May be we can get some new first-years to play for us.”  Dg said.

Sam B

But deep inside I did not have the energy to wait another year or maybe I felt that getting along with a junior would not be easy in a band.

But then, God had different plans. It was a Sunday night. I was enjoying the chocolate ice-cream, Shukla ji had given me after dinner in my college mess, when I saw him. I had seen him play the guitar during our “Freshers” eve in our first year. But I didn’t speak to him ever.

He was sporting a long hair and a full length beard. He was wearing a Nike T-shirt and something that was a bit more than underwear but way too less to be considered a short-pant. He had a table tennis bat in his hand and was giggling like a fool with some fat guy near the mess.

I always had an ego problem right from my kiddo days. And that look on his face made me feel he might show some attitude. So I decided to go for some background study before approaching him.

Two days later I had all information I could gather. He was Prashant Agarwal, Metallurgy Dept., Rourkella and a “trained” rhythm guitarist.

The last part especially the “trained” word resulted in an extra urge to approach him and forget the word ‘ego’.

So, Dg and I decided to talk to him. We were going to his room when we saw him on the way itself.

“Damn! He was wearing those pants again. Doesn’t he have a better pair of shorts?”  I wondered.

“Umm.. Prashant!” I called him.

He was busy giggling again. On calling him he came towards us. We were expecting some tantrums and some extra pleadings from our ends to coax him to join us. But he surprised us well.

“Well, a band seems a great idea. But I am not that well a guitarist guys. I can just play chords. Let’s jam and see how things turn.” He said.

We were surprised that he agreed so easily. And we were really impressed but the impression he gave us was short lived when he decided to turn and add,

“And by the way guys, call me Daddy. My friends call me so”, he winked.

We didn’t know how to react.

“Daddy? Seriously?” I thought but decided to stay mum or else he could change his plans.

“What do you think? Can he manage?” I asked Dg after ‘Daddy’ left.

Dg didn’t answer but gave me that same look which he gives me during exams. It meant, “No bloody CLUE!”

It took another three weeks for the three of us to prepare ourselves to jam with a trained guitarist.

My part of the journey into the world of rock was a little bit tricky though. Some friend of mine whom I had opted for a suggestion to try some rock bands as starters had some unknown hatred towards me. He didn’t tell me on my face but I guessed it when he suggested me to listen “Lamb of God”, “Marilyn Mansion”, “Slayer”, “Bullet for My Valentine” and similar likes to start.

As a sufi-fan and zero rock idea I ended up listening to Gothic death-metal bands. For nights I couldn’t sleep as the heavy music jammed my ears completely. It was after few days of ‘torture’, I took the help of my ever-friendly companion named “Google.”

Slowly I started with alternative rock starting from “Guns and Roses”, “Pink Floyd” slowly to punk rock with “Green Day “, “Dashboard Confessionals”, “Fallout Boy”.  The world of rock suddenly seemed to be so thrilling, so soothing that I realised what I had missed all these years.

For weeks I tried singing trying to change the texture of the voice I had, which to some extent was possible. Then one day Dg calls me to inform that we would jam for the first time.

It was our first step. The first day at music room was pathetic.

Daddy started playing some famous Hindi songs which either I didn’t know or which Dg couldn’t manage in drums. And forget Deep. He was busy figuring out the notes on the Bass guitar with each chords Daddy strummed.

Finally, after repeated trials, we did “Adat” from “Jal”. It was Daddy’s favourite song and so was mine. Dg gave a normal four-by-four beat to save the day. And I couldn’t hear the bass even though Deep promised to have played throughout.

Two nights later, Dg called me.

“Dude, listen to the song ‘But It rained’ by Parikrama. Try getting the lyrics and the song. Next week we will try practising that.”

Next week when we met we had a song in our mind. And each one of us had prepared our parts.

The chord shifted well and so did the beats. In all, the cover of the song was nicely done. For the first time I felt, there was a side of mine not yet discovered.

And that night, we realised, we had that “different thing” inside us. What we needed was a pinch of luck and a tea-spoon of experience. The recipe for the dream band was ready!

That night the only question we had in our minds was, “What do we call ourselves? What could be the name of our band?”

to be continued….

(This is a semi-fictitious and more of an original account of a musical journey of four different souls who at some point in their lives dreamt to make it Big.

The result was Hoax Call, an alternative rock band which started well but could never end!)

The ‘Hoax Call’ Diaries – [ Episode I ]

 

Chapter One

 

“Let’s burn it down baby”, he smiled.

Deep looked at him with a doubt?

“Are you sure Sam? We are already two joints down. We need to be on stage in another 15 minutes.”

Sam was desperate. He needed to separate himself from the real world. He wanted to be in a state of trance.

“I can’t resist”, said Sam.

With one blow on the matchbox, he lit up the third joint.

As he inhaled the thick smoke of the weed (ganja), he realised, he was letting off all worldly attractions.

Deep was too scared. So, he let Sam relish the third joint himself. He wasn’t scared of getting caught. He was scared of screwing it on stage. He was the bassist after all. And he very well knew that Dg, the drummer wouldn’t spare him for any mistake on stage.

Dg was very particular with his band. It was he and Sam who had dreamt of making a group to quench the thirst for music they had.

Sam, however, lately was lost; lost in his own life.  Dg knew him well. It was only he who understood Sam completely.

“Stay with Sam, do not let him get high!” warned Dg as he sent Deep to monitor Sam before the show.

But Deep was himself a little more attracted towards the sinful paths of glory.

As he saw Sam, take the last puff, he knew he was in trouble.

As the last rush of weed mixed tobacco entered his blood, Sam sensed his heart beat rising. He could hear his own heart beats as loud as a thunder racing ahead of time, trying to make out a song with a very different beat. His eyes very getting closed. There was a constant smile on his face. (The side-effects of Weed. You just can’t stop laughing.) His cheek bones were paining because of the constant stretch of the muscles as he couldn’t avoid an obvious smile.

Deep saw his eyes turn blood red.

“You can sing right? You won’t screw it?” asked a worried Deep.

“I need to stay alone Deep. I am locking myself on the other side of the music room. Call me when you have 5 minutes to go” said an already-high Sam.

 

band_pic_(4)

 

 

Way back near the dressing room, Prashant (who was better known as “Daddy”) was tuning his guitar, when he saw a worried Dg come.

“What’s the matter Dg?”

Damn. Both Deep and Sam are missing. We have another fifteen minutes to go. I needed to make sure that Sam remembered the sequence of the songs.” Said Dg

“Don’t tell me they are getting high!”

Dg didn’t reply. He just shrugged.

“Damn. If Sam comes high and screws the show, I am going to look for another vocalist for the band. If he has personal problems, he better solve it. I can’t always be a laughing stock on stage. You better tell him!” snapped “Daddy”.

He was angry. And his anger was just. It had been thrice before this that Sam had gone up on the stage dead high and ended up fooling the name of the band.

Daddy had been patient till date thinking he was playing his part well. But soon he realised, that at the end it’s the band and not individuals who ride the show.

Dg knew such a point would come when there could be a disrupt in the band. “When people lose their ways, their priorities change,” he thought.  He wanted to help Sam, but he wasn’t ready to let it out.

Deep came in some time and informed that Sam had locked himself up.

“Ask that Romeo to come here soon Dg or else I’ll start packing my instruments and head back to the hostel.” Daddy gave that disgusted look.

Dg had no other option but go.

“What’s wrong with him? How can he be so damn foolish?” He thought.

As he reached near the music room, he heard the performing band scream on stage,

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is our last song. Hope you enjoy it.”

He knew, he had a maximum of five minutes to get him back on stage.

He took a deep breath and used the key he had stolen back in his second year for easy access to the music room. The door creaked as it opened. It was dark inside.

 

to be continued….

 

(This is a semi-fictitious and more of an original account of a musical journey of four different souls who at some point in their lives dreamt to make it Big.

The result was Hoax Call, an alternative rock band which started well but could never end!)

The Spooky Honeymoon

“I really wished she opted for a hair removal”, I thought.

Well she was ‘almost’ pretty but those wolfy arms really looked scary now.

We got married a week ago. An arranged marriage you see. Guys like us seldom get a chance to woo a girl. I am one of those typical IIT-IIM nerds with spectacles busy with books and codes whom the girls would not even care to notice. So in all my life, I had managed to speak to two ladies so far other than my cousins and mother. One was my boss, whom I think is the lady re-incarnation of Hitler and one is this “weird” lady who shares my surname now.

It was my first night on our honeymoon. I was really excited, especially after all those planning I had made after watching the videos my colleague had suggested me to watch. The videos were too bold needless to say, but it really gave me the confidence on my first night you see.

But all the planning was in vain. Just after dinner, when I thought I should make the move, she said,

“Can we go for a walk”?

“Walk? At 11 o’clock in the night?’’ I thought.

But suddenly I remembered, “It’s all about their mood. Build it up!”  My colleague had said.

So, I thought, may be a walk will be worth it to open ourselves up!

But then things turned weird to weirder.

Firstly, I was desperate to go to Kerala for a honeymoon. But my wife wanted to see Goa. She said, “It would be unique”.

And now, all of a sudden after walking around a kilometre, instead of romancing in the beach, she wanted a little thrill by sneaking in this graveyard on the way.

“Damn! Women are really moody”, I thought.

Bats flying in the night

It was a full moon night. The graves shone like mighty armours of brave soldiers ready to attack. Generally, I am very brave, but right now, with this unwanted glow of the hairy arm of hers, I was feeling a little uncomfortable. And then there was this spooky chill breeze which from nowhere was blowing beside my ears. As I was trying to maintain my calm, some wolf or a jackal or may be an owl had to shout to prove its existence. “Stupid creatures”, I thought.

My wife, on the other hand seemed to enjoy the view, the shouts and the spookiness as if they were so natural. She carefully found out a tomb and sat there.

I wish I could sit as casually like her, but the breeze, the moon, the graves and those hairy hands suddenly urged my bladders to let loose. I wanted to go to the bathroom urgently as it was getting difficult to control.

And amidst all things, I could not but resist staring at her hands.

She saw me noticing them.

“You think I should have shaved them right?”

“Umm.. Well that would have made you prettier”, I wanted to justify my shameless stare.

“Well you see, I have some secrets”, she said.

Though the place was really not suitable for any healthy conversation, but I found that she was opening up. Though, that was good news, but I still couldn’t concentrate as I felt there were shadows around the trees. The spookiness of the place really made me sweat.

Can’t we talk in the hotel? It’s late. Let’s go back

“Late?” she mocked. “Everyone here is late.” She laughed, “Beneath this seat of mine lies Late Robin D’souza. And there in front of you is Late Danniel Joseph. And you say we are late!”

I was really not prepared for a joke at this hour. So, I didn’t know how to respond.

“Well, I said I have a secret. I am a scholar in grave digging and I have this great obsession for ghosts. The reason I didn’t shave my hands is because he likes it this way”. She said.

Trust me; I could not get a single word she said. But whatever she said made me nervous.

“He …? Who is ‘he’?” I asked.

Oh he..! I met him three months back in this graveyard itself. He was so eager to meet you when I told him about you. He is my boyfriend, you know; my very ‘late’ boyfriend, Robin Dsouza. He stays here in this grave”, she laughed.

And as she finished, I swear to God I saw the shadow that was bothering me come towards me. And I heard a heavy voice as the shadow approached.

“How is my girlfriend as a wife..huh?”

My head was spinning like one of those Shane Warne deliveries. And the last thing I could see was a hand, a dead cold hand that touched my shoulder. Then there was a Black Out.

When I opened my eyes, the bedside clock showed it was 2:30. I woke up to find myself in the couch. My wife was sleeping in the bed. I must have dozed away after dinner.

“What a nightmare! “, I thought.

I looked at my wife. She was in deep sleep. Her hand was on her face trying to cover her eyes. “Thank god! It was a nightmare”, I thought. There was a sense of relief. It was really the worst of a nightmare. I walked towards the bed to see her closely.

The moonlight had lit the entire room. As I walked close to her, the bangles in her wrist lowered down and just then I saw her hand. Those hairy hands lit by the moonlight reminded me of my dream.

“Damn! I really wished she opted for a hair removal”, I realised.

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The Man Without Fear – Final Part

Trek

We started walking again the next day. Hunger and thirst was making it difficult for us to survive. We did not have a compass. All we had was a hand drawn map from a guide in Lhasa. Tsering’s condition worsened. I started carrying him on my shoulder. For another week I walked carrying him, stopping at times to rest.

“Leave me. I am becoming a burden Tenzin. You move on. Or else we both will die”, pleaded Tsering.
I was way too tired to respond. I signed him to keep shut.
That night, Mother Nature turned cruel. Tired and hungry, the snow storm hit us like scavengers craving our flesh. I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I sensed my body burning with fever. That night, I thought I would die. I did not hear anything from Tsering either. I prayed as long as I was in my senses. And then, there was a black out!
When I woke up, I realized I was in a village.
My prayers were answered. We were rescued by a group of Nepali farmers. We seemed to have crossed the border at some unmarked point. We were in Nepal now.
I felt better but was not completely fit. On seeing me awake, a lady rushed with a glass of water. I drank it in one go.
“How long was I out?” I inquired.
“Four days”, she said.
I thanked her for her generosity when I suddenly recalled about Tsering’s condition.
“How is my friend?” I asked.
She did not say anything. She took the glass and went away. I tried to go behind her but was too weak to walk.
After sometime, a man came inside.
He looked at me and smiled.
“You are a brave man. You and your friend have done something that requires a lot of guts!” he said.
I did not know what to say. I smiled back.
“Your desire to reach India seems very strong. That’s why you survived the storm.”
Then he paused. He pulled a wooden stool and sat beside my bed.
“Unlike your friend!” he concluded.
For a moment, my mind was blank. “What was he trying to say?” I thought.
“Your friend couldn’t take the storm. He breathed his last breath yesterday. I am sorry. But his condition was very bad when we brought him. It was little we could do for him. But before he died he had asked me to deliver a message for you. ” he said.
There was a pin-drop silence in the room. I looked at him blankly.
He continued, “Your friend said, he got back what he did. It was Karma. And he also said that his prayers are with you to fight back for your country.”
I could not hold back my tears. Tsering was no longer alive. I felt responsible for his death to some extent. I shouldn’t have included him in the journey.
That night, they carried me to his funeral. And as his last rites were carried out, I promised him to fulfil his desire. “This journey and your life won’t go in vain.” I sweared.
I stayed there for almost a month. The villagers were very helpful. Once, when the Nepali police came looking for escapees from Tibet in the village, I was made to hide in a small go-down for two nights until the danger was over.
After a month, with the help of a few villagers, I boarded a bus to Kathmandu and arrived unharmed at the Tibetan Reception Centre.
There, I was registered and given food and shelter. After two weeks, I was sent to a Tibetan Refugee home in Dharamsala, Northern India.
My journey was over. But what still haunts my mind was the answer.

 

III

“Fire!” Tenzin said after opening his eyes.
Dalai Lama looked at him.
“It is fire I fear the most. Fire took my entire family.” He said.
Dalai Lama did not say anything. He allowed him to continue.
“Why is fate so cruel my Lord? I believed in Karma. My friend thought he died because of it. He died because he killed one of them. But what was the fault of my family? Why did they die?”
Dalai Lama shook his head.

“Karma doesn’t mean that you will pay for your sins at that very instant. Those people who killed your family and many of those innocent people will face its consequences. You always get back whatever you give. May be not now; not at this moment, but you can’t escape from Karma! Your friend was lucky to realise it before he died. What you seek Tenzin is not an answer but revenge!”
His voice echoed the Hall. A bird which was chirping from sometime nearby flew away.

“You were a Monk. You were taught to love humanity and not destroy it. Vengeance will lead you to be one like them. No one can ever win with vengeance and hatred. You have disgraced yourself!”  Dalai Lama said in a firm voice.

Tenzin understood his mistake. He stared at the marble floor. He could not raise his eyes in front of Him out of shame.
Guilt had wrapped his soul just like a plastic wrapper which covers a candy. You need to remove the wrapper to enjoy the candy. The chains of guilt had captured his soul. And he desperately wanted to reach his soul.

“Remember that a Monk’s life is only for the betterment of mankind!” he recalled the words of the head Lama in the Labrang Monastery.
“How did he forget his vows as a Monk? Was he really so disgraceful?” he wondered.
Dalai Lama sensed the storm within Tenzin.

“You are not God Tenzin but just a mere human being. You are bound to make mistakes. But the choice is yours how to undo it. You want to fight for Tibet. Fight like a Tibetan. Fight like a warrior whose sacrifice would add glory and not shame,” said Dalai Lama.

Tenzin looked at him slowly.Tears were rolling down his cheeks. He folded his hands and asked,

“What should I do?”
“Fight your fear first. And then let the Monk inside you answer! ” smiled His Holiness.

For months Tenzin stayed in India joining the other Tibetans in various protests to free Tibet. But he still did not find a way for atonement of his sins. It was then he heard that the Prime Minister of the Republic of China was coming to New Delhi, India to discuss some nuclear deal.
Tenzin made up his mind. He prayed that night, and decided to leave for Delhi. Next day, he shaved his head and after almost a year wore the saffron cloth. He looked at the mirror. His eyes were calm. He sensed, he was about to gain enlightenment today.
When he reached Delhi it was almost noon. He reached the venue where the meeting was to take place. But to his surprise, he saw there were hundreds of Tibetan refugees with placards shouting to free Tibet. The media was already present. There were a few monks too.

He walked slowly to reach the centre. People gave him way as a sense of respect for a young monk. Tenzin reached the centre and waved his hands to pacify the crowd.
The media saw as well that a Monk was asking the crowd to maintain silence. Every camera focussed him.
When the crowd was quiet, Tenzin took a deep breath and said,

“I am a Monk from Tibet. I am here to tell the world that the most peaceful country of the world needs your attention. My people are suffering. And you know why! We are not like them. So, we cannot harm them the way they do. What we can do at best is to question the Humanity. Is our suffering just? ”

“No!” shouted the crowd.

Tenzin did not say a word. He was about to face his fear. He took out a bottle of kerosene from his bag and drenched himself in it. In front of the entire crowd and media, he took out a matchbox and lit himself into fire.
Pandemonium broke out. Media got live coverage of something they say “jaw-dropping” and “sensational”.
Tenzin sat down and closed his eyes. His body was burning. He did not shout a bit as he faced his fear. He was giving his life for his country. He did not harm anyone but was still about to turmoil the hearts of millions.

Police jumped into the scene. But nobody knew what to do. Ambulance came in some time. They managed to put down the fire and took the burnt body to the nearest hospital. Tenzin was declared dead.
His soul was now free from the burden of guilt. He had lived the life of a true Monk.
The footage of a Tibetan Monk who had self-immolated was broadcasted all over the world. What resulted was a widespread protest everywhere. From celebrities to ordinary people, everyone advocated for the cause all across the world. Chinese Government felt the pressure.
Thousands of Buddhists joined the “candle rally” in honour of Tenzin a week later.

Monk

He was a knight who sacrificed his life for the betterment of Tibet. Nobody knew the name of the 23 year old Monk who had caused a widespread attention towards the sufferings of his country. So, the world gave him a new name. He was now called, “the Man without Fear”.
95 persons have self-immolated so far in Tibet since Feb 27, 2009. Out of them, 82 were men and 13 women.
Let their sacrifice not go in waste.

Save HUMAINITY. Free TIBET.

This is a fictitious story inspired from the life of a 23-year-old Tibetan refugee named Tenzin who in 1994 survived a harrowing escape from Tibet to come down to India.

 

The Man Without Fear – Part II

Phase 3: (The Transition)
I still can’t forget that scene. It was devastating. The Chinese have started to shut down our culture in Tibet. We, Tibetan people are very non-violent. We do not wish to cause any harm. But they do not understand. I am 22 now. 15 years have passed since I have started to live a life of a Monk. It has been years since Dalai Lama had left Tibet to stay in India to continue his protests to free Tibet. But after what I saw today, I have very little respect left on this system of non-violence.
My dad was a true Tibetan at heart. In order to force the Chinese culture in Tibet, their Government has started re-locating their citizens to Tibet. It wasn’t a problem. But is it fair to shut down all monasteries and Tibetan Institutes and compel us to learn their culture or Mandarin?
My dad was one among those people who raised their voices against the communists when they started infiltrating Amdo Plains. Labrang monastery was already closed for few weeks. We were hiding ourselves to avoid arrest.
Last night, I and my friend Tsering decided to hide near our home back in Amdo. But when we reached there what I saw was unbelievably cruel.
The entire village was on fire.
I located my house and saw my parents trapped inside. They shouted for help. They were being burnt alive.
I wanted to rush there to help them. But Tsering stopped me.
“You can’t go Tenzin. Look the Chinese soldiers are standing there to capture us.”
“My family is dying Tsering. I don’t care!”  I was mad at him by then.
But then Tsering let his hold on me and quietly said, “So is mine!”
I looked at him. He was crying.
That night we sat near the bush watching our family die. That night I realised, being a monk was really very difficult. It was tough to forget all worldly pains and still keep your faith on Him. I wept like a child when I realised it was little we could do to save our families.
By the time it was morning, the houses were turned into ashes. They must have died by then. I sat there still crying like a child. The hangover of the tragedy was like a dirty nightmare to me.I looked at those Chinese soldiers who laughed blatantly after killing those innocent people. I wanted to kill those bastards right there. But something strange stopped me. Something I never experienced before. Something I thought I had already overpowered as a Monk. But that moment I realised I was wrong. I was shivering with fear.
I realised that I was not yet a Monk. I still couldn’t overcome my fear. But why couldn’t I?
I tried a lot to answer myself but in vain. I knew only He can answer me. So, I decided to leave for India to ask His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
“I have decided to leave for India. Are you coming with me?” I asked Tsering.
“What will you do in India Tenzin? Tibet needs us.” Replied Tsering.
“I know Tsering. And I will come back to free Tibet, to fight for my country. But before I start my journey I need answers. I do not know how to start the fight.” I said.
Tserin seemed concerned. He thought for a while, and then replied.
“Okay Tenzin I will come with you, but before that you have to do me a favour. I cannot live my life fighting without causing harm to those who killed my family. Last night I have decided to kill those Chinese murderers. I want you to accompany me to the check post down the plain. I promise you, I won’t put you in danger. You just keep a watch while I kill them. ” said Tsering.
He had a different zeal in his eyes. He was a different person.
I thought for a while and decided to accompany my friend.

Phase 4: (The Sin)

Sin
Tsering , as planned went down to the check post that night to avenge the mass murder of our families. He had this long sharp steak knife he borrowed from a butcher friend of his. I was standing at the top of a hill from where I was keeping a watch. We had to change to normal clothing so that the soldiers did not find out that we were monks. After 14 years, I had left the saffron cloth for the first time. I looked weird in the new outfit though. I was wearing, some running shoes, a jeans and a long coat over a few sweaters. We had packed a backpack with Tsampa [roasted barley flour], butter, meat, two blankets and one book on Buddhism for the journey. Before Tsering went, he said,
“If I succeed then meet me on the other side of the hill. And if I don’t then proceed alone for your quest.”
I watched as Tsering reached near the check post. There was a soldier sitting inside while a group of three more were sitting nearby in front of a fire. The sight of fire made me weak. I sensed that “feeling” again.
Tsering slowly went through the backside of the check post and with one blow stabbed the soldier sitting inside. He shouted which in turn alarmed the rest.
I knew I had to do something to help my friend. I started throwing stones from the hill top. The soldiers were in a state of panic. The stones kept them distracted for some time which was enough for Tsering to flee. I knew, I would be in danger if I didn’t hurry. So, I took the backpack and ran towards the other side of the hill. As I ran I heard them fire a few rounds.
That night we hid in a cave near the foot of the hill. Tsering was happy. We decided to leave for Lhasa the next morning.
Phase 5: (The Journey)
It was already a month we were walking. The food we brought was almost over. The frequent snow storms and the constant freezing cold had made us weak. Tsering had frostbite. He could not move an inch. So we decided to camp in a cave that night.
From the foot of the hill we reached Lhasa without much trouble.From Lhasa we had headed southwest towards the Nepali border. We decided to reach Saga and from there try to find a path through the Himalayas to Nepal. We were sometimes walking, sometimes hitching a truck ride. On one such ride, we boarded a Chinese truck.
“Where are you guys going?” asked the Truck driver.
“We are on a pilgrimage to Mt. Kailash”, I lied immediately.
But the answer didn’t seem to please him much. The entire journey he looked at us with a doubtful face. It was important to hide the truth as the Chinese soldiers were everywhere searching for Tibetans trying to escape their rule. I was praying my best to avoid any more suspicion. The truck driver, however, dropped us near Saga and wished us luck for our voyage.
From there we kept walking. We slept in shifts to avoid the danger of getting caught by the Chinese army. Slowly we encountered snow as we started climbing the mountains.

Trek
We were finding it very difficult to walk. As we were climbing a height and against the slope, even two or three steps made me feel exhausted. After few days of walking in the snow, Tsering’s feet began to swell from frostbite. Our tsampa was nearly finished, and we couldn’t find wood to make a fire in order to melt the snow to drink some water. As Tsering couldn’t walk any further, we decided to spend the night in that cave.
“I do not think we can make it Tenzin. The food is over. I am thirsty! ” said a tired Tsering.
“We will Tsering. Have faith. We have to”, I tried to assure him.
I prayed that night to stay alive.

to be continued……..

(This is a fictitious story inspired from the life of a 23-year-old Tibetan refugee named Tenzin who in 1994 survived a harrowing escape from Tibet and came down to India.)

The Man Without Fear – Part I

 I

Beautiful-Prayer-Flags-in-T-229

It was a bright winter morning. The snow had blissfully covered the city of Dharmasala. The bright morning rays were infiltrating the large transparent window as they reluctantly kissed the marble floor. The statue of the great Buddha shone as another band of those rays fell on it. There was a different kind of peace in the hall. Tenzin sat straight as he looked in His eyes.

He had come all the way to meet His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.

-“What is the answer that you seek my son?” asked the Dalai Lama. His eyes radiated a sense of peace and harmony.

Tenzin looked at Him; a cold shiver ran through his spine, he was nervous. He cleared his throat and asked,

“What is Fear, my Lord?”

Dalai Lama looked at him. He was trying to see something.

After a minute’s pause, He took away his glass and replied,

Fear is the inability to cope up with one’s weakness.”

Tenzin seemed to be confused. He looked at Him blankly.

Dalai Lama smiled a bit and then said, “Fear is within you! What is that you fear my son?”

Tenzin thought for a while and then replied, “Defeat.”

Dalai Lama looked at him and said, “Think again, what is that you Fear?”

Tenzin realized that Dalai Lama was hinting something deep inside. He looked puzzled.

Dalai Lama quietly said, “Close your eyes my son. Leave yourself to His mercy and go back in the flashback of your life to see what is that you fear! The answer is within you!”

Tenzin closed his eyes, took a few deep breaths and then prepared himself to get lost in his own past.

The eerie silence, the morning rays and the beautiful snow acted as a catalyst. He was lost in his life to get the answer he wanted so long.

 II  (The FlashBack)

Phase 1:  (The Introduction)

It was a frosty morning in the plains of Amdo. I was just seven. I was the third child of my parents. I had two elder brothers and a younger sister. My dad was taking me to the Labrang Monastery. It is quite a tradition among Tibetan families to send their kid to live the life of a monk, as it becomes difficult for them to raise all of them. My eldest brother was luckier than me. He got the elementary education from Labrang Monastery but came back to help dad with our family occupation. I wanted to learn but I did not want to stay in a monastery. I did not want to be a monk!

My mom was already busy wiping her tears. She always had a little say in the family decisions.My younger sister was way too young to understand the gravity of the situation. My dad seemed unmoved. He was determined that becoming a monk was the best option for me.

“Dad, please! Even I can be like brother. I will learn everything. But please, I don’t want to be a monk!” I pleaded with watery eyes.

“Tenzin my son, you should understand that it is the best for you and your family. We do not have enough money to raise you up” said Dad in a firm voice.

I had a thousand of replies juggling in my brains.

“If you didn’t have money to raise a son then why did you give him birth?” or “Is it so easy for a seven year old kid to leave without his mom”?

But I decided to stay quiet. My destiny was already written; not by god but by my Father.

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Phase 2: (The Realisation)

The first day at the monastery was pathetic. They shaved my head. I was made to wake up quite early. Then there were more 15 bald fellows of my age who were made to wear the saffron cloth. We were made to sit in a row. The head Lama came to address us.

“Before you start your journey to enlightenment, I must tell you that the life you lived before today and the life you would live from the next day will make you realise what this life is about! Bodhisatwa is in each of us. It is up to you how well you can bring the Buddha out of Him. Remember that a Monk’s life is only for the betterment of mankind! ”

I looked at the head Lama as his voice echoed the hall. I felt a sense of meaning in my life. I was amazed. I was ready to become a Monk!

to be continued……..

(This is a fictitious story inspired from the life of a 23-year-old Tibetan refugee named Tenzin who in 1994 survived a harrowing escape from Tibet and came down to India.)

Is INDIA really Democratic?

It has been 65 years since Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru hoisted the tricolour for the first time in free India. It was 15th August 1947. 3 years later, the Constitution of India came into existence. The Constitution declares India to be a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic, assuring its citizens of justice, equality, and liberty, and endeavours to promote fraternity among them. And it is written that there are six fundamental rights:

1. Right to equality

2. Right to freedom

3. Right against Exploitation

4. Right to Freedom of Religion

5. Cultural and Educational Rights

6. Right to Constitutional Remedies

Well, that is what is “written” in the Constitution. But following certain incidents happening around the country, a question has started haunting my mind, “Is India really democratic?”

What is Democracy?

Democracy is not just the power to exercise your vote. Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Now the question is, do we have an equal say? Or do the decisions our Government take affect our lives in a positive way? The answer is very hard. Because even though we know the answer is a big “No” still we do not have the courage or guts to say it on the face. And that cannot be blamed. No one can risk a sudden arrest on charges unknown by some political party because of such comments! The constitution which boasts of the “Freedom of Speech” as one of the 6 fundamental rights is defamed! The people of the country have been shut down by the monsters with great powers.

How Is India different from USA (Root Cause)?

Being an Indian, we must be proud to know that India’s GDP is among the top ten and India’s PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) is among the top three in the World.  Then why is that Indians still have to look up to America which has a “not so good” economy to take any major decisions?  America’s “boss” attitude was not known or acknowledged by the world till World War II (Remember the surprise attack on Hiroshima & Nagasaki?). Few days back, the entire media, the entire country was busy speculating the presidential elections in America. Have you ever thought that how many Americans would care for elections in India or how many Americans at all know our country’s Prime Minister?

Why is India still not up to the level to be at par with America?

I thought and could think of two main reasons. There might be “n” number of such reasons though.

  1. There are just two parties in America, Democratic Party and the Republican Party. However, in India, you fill find a party in every nook and corner. Almost every symbols are used it seems. And if this continues, we might have a “Chacha Chaudhari” or “Shaktiman” as party symbols soon. With so many number of parties, the competition to the throne increases. And these parties start searching for new propagandas to fool the mass because ultimately, whoever comes to power, personal profit becomes the foremost priority than the country.
  2. There is a minimum educational qualification required to stand for a President’s post in America. In India, there seems to be no educational qualification for politicians. No matter how educated you are, you still have the authority to rule the country. So damn strange!

What may be the Solution?

Firstly, before we jump into the solution let us understand where actually the problem is. The problem is, though India has allowed its people the right to vote, thus declaring it democratic, the citizens can only choose among the selected candidates from the party. In other words, the citizens do not have a choice of the candidate. So, in India maximum percentage of votes are based on party and not individuals. There might be a completely uneducated guy with few criminal records, who has been chosen by a party for a particular location. Citizens who support that party would go and blindly vote resulting that criminal to win and allowing him to enter the system. So, we actually are choosing a ruling party and not the rulers!

But then how can we prevent such a thing? How can we choose good and ethical rulers when we are already biased with a particular party?

The solution though might require a revolution for a century, but I think, the solution can ease out the problem India is facing now.

1. First, the number of parties should be reduced to a max of 5 for the entire country.

2. Just like ICS (Indian Civil Service) and other competitive exams, there must be an exam called Indian Political System (IPS) of the same standard.

3. The minimum educational qualification for candidates appearing for the exam must be post graduation.

4. Candidates while filling the form can fill a maximum of 3 preferences for joining a party starting from first to third priority. A candidate will get his top priority party only if he scores above a pre-determined cut-off.

5. Once the candidates clear the exam, there would be a GD (group Discussion) & PI (Personal Interview) to judge the candidates personality. And the marks obtained in these rounds along with the written round will make the final score.

6. There should be no criminal background of the candidate.

7. Once the candidate clears the exam, he becomes a part of the party depending on his score and preferences.  He is eligible to contest an election only after serving the party for 5 years. Because otherwise, young people greedy for power will keep shuffling the parties to get into elections.

8. Once, a candidate is chosen by the party to contest his elections, his background verification is mandatory and would be looked after by a separate committee who would report to President.(Thus giving the president some more role in the democracy!)

9. Every listed MLAs or cabinet ministers or party members would retire at the age of 60. Thus by this, we give chance to more youth to take part in the system and end the system of “too old” ministers.

If such a system is possible, then it will not compromise with the voter’s choice for party or individual as the voters can be assured of the candidate’s quality.

I am not a political guru or someone who knows everything. I am just a youth of the country tired of the wrong done continuously. The idea of IPS might be very impractical to some as it may take years to implement such a system. But instead of waving it out, we can at least think of improvising it. It is very easy to say, “Politics is dirty” but it is hard to clean it up! The corruption, scams and forced respect that the country rulers are busy with is just because, the rulers of the country aren’t enough educated to rule a country like ours. When our forefathers got us Independence, they thought, “Let our country prosper, who cares for a life!” And now, our politicians think, “Forget country, let our life prosper!” If only we could raise our voices through all possible means without fearing “the men in power”, perhaps we can bring the change; the change that seriously is needed right now. Let the youth stand up now. Let us bring a change, let us redefine our Country! I Hope to see a new INDIA, a better INDIA.

Is North-East in INDIA?

 

Before I choose to explain the reason for such weird and controversial title, I have just one question. How many of you readers can actually name all the states along with their capitals in the North East? Try it. You’ll understand what I am talking about.
The reason for this blog post is because of the utter disgust due to the ignorance of people about the place. I am from Agartala, Tripura. (Wonder where?) It is the last tip of the North-eastern stretch surrounded by Bangladesh on 3 sides.
It has been 5 years now I am staying outside of my hometown. And believe me, in the entire 5 years the only thing I hated the most was when I was asked, “Hey, Shamik where are you from”?
The reason is because I am tired of the blank look I get on the faces when I tell them about my place.
Some say, “Oh! It must be in Assam.”
Some drag it to Burma. And some thinks it to be a different country.
My question is “Why?” Why would my fellow Indians be so negligent about this part?
Please for God’s sake, Tripura is not in Assam and Mizoram is not Manipur.
It’s like, “oh! Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is the same thing!” or may be, “Haryana is the capital of Punjab!”
Does it make sense?
I have grown up reading murders and useless killings everyday in the newspaper. When the entire country was busy with Pakistan and Osama Bin Laden, people in North East were killed, their houses were burnt down. We talk about insurgency. I bet, the government doesn’t have the count of the population expansion because of the easy access from Bangladesh. I have seen India-Bangladesh border in Tripura where there are pillars for about 1 km but no barb wires. How do you expect some 3-4 BSF jawans to guard the entire area properly?
People might know about PoK(Pak occupied Kashmir). But do you know about the part of Arunachal Pradesh illegally captured by China since the 1962 war? In a recent display in China, Arunachal Pradesh was included in the Chinese map and was named “South Tibet”. People living in the border get all their daily requirements from China but are called Indians. Think of their confusion!
When I talk about terrorism, Kashmir comes in our mind. Quite natural. It is because that is where media is more interested about. But for Assam, the problem is from 1970. ULFA did it all. Now bomb blasts and killings are like viral fever there. Every one or the other day someone is the victim. But still rest of the India has no clue.
NLFT was the terrorist group that led to many innocent killings in Tripura, including the health minister of Tripura Bimal Sinha. Though these days they are not much efficient, but still there was a time when the entire state fought a mini-war, a war for survival.
I cannot blame the citizens completely. The government and the media are equally involved. When big cities kept getting promoters to build KFCs, Mc Donalds and beautiful malls, Agartala got its first railway station in 2008,61 years after Independence(though meter gauge).
Well, I am not asking the rest of the country to feel pity for us. I am just asking them to stop turning their back towards us.
India is a land of diversity. Very true. And in north east you can find them so beautifully proved. Tripura has 19 different tribes, each having different custom and different language. Yet we stay together.
Then why is that North East not known to the country. Each state has its own beauty, own dish, own culture different from the rest of the country. Yet the tourism department of the North-eastern states doesn’t earn much. It’s because, though tourists know about its beauty, they do not find it friendly enough for a vacation. But that is completely a myth. People are friendly in Northeast and happy to help. But can friendship be one sided?
I am not requesting the people to love us. I want people to know us; because once you know us you will love us automatically!
Finally to help all the readers who struggled in the first question, here is the answer:

  1. Arunachal Pradesh –       Itanagar
  2. Assam                          -        Dispur
  3. Manipur                     –        Imphal
  4. Meghalaya                 –       Shillong
  5. Mizoram                      -       Aizawl
  6. Nagaland                    -       Kohima
  7. Sikkim                         –       Gangtok
  8. Tripura                       –       Agartala

 

 

Obama and America’s future can be learnt later. Let us KNOW about our OWN country first. Let our culture flow. Let us be friends. Northeast isn’t different. Northeast is INDIA!

Khaleda

The time had come. There was a rage of fury everywhere. Pandemonium was in every nook and corner. And it was expected. People were running for their lives. The platform was full of people. Everyone had the look of despair. Their future was uncertain.
In the crowd, in the 3rd platform, she sat. She sat with all the necessary belongings she could gather while leaving her dear home. A woman of her age, she had witnessed everything except this. She was Khaleda Begum, a 58 years old woman, sitting in the platform waiting for the last train to Hindustan.
Khaleda was surprised at the situation. It was the August,1947. The so called educated people say, there would be two countries, India and Pakistan. Khaleda tried to justify herself. But her ignorant, illiterate mind could not find out the reason for separating her two homes. Her village Qazi told her that her paternal home was now in India.Khaleda was born in Amritsar, Punjab.
“It was East Punjab, now”,
he said.

Last few nights, Khaleda could not sleep properly. There were shouts, cries from neighbours. She stayed awake thinking, it could be their turn. Khaleda remembered how she wept that night. Sultana, the pretty looking girl was taken away. People said they found her raped and murdered near the village 2 kms from the well. Sultana was born in front of her. She was such a sweet girl.

Khaleda was married to Zaqeer Ahmed at a very tender age. She was 13 years of age then. Zaqeer lived in Lahore. That had been her home since then. She remembered how shy she was on her wedding day. She saw Zaqeer through the semi-transparent veil of her Burqa. He was a well built man. He had worn a white sherwani and a beautiful silk cap. His beard was skilfully maintained. The surma in his eyes made them glow. Zaqeer was 25 then. He had dedicated his life to the freedom movement. Throughout her life, she saw her husband fighting to free the country from the foreigners, but she could never recall when the fight against the foreigners turned to be a fight against religion.

People have been given a choice to settle down in any one of the country. Khaleda thought and thought how to choose between the two halves of her country. Her son, Feroz and her daughter-in-law Nafisa had decided to shift to Delhi. They said, there were better chances in the Indian part of Hindustan as they would be considered minorities. Khaleda did not understand the term minority. She did not even understand the partition. But the only thing she realised was that, the division of the country had brought more tears than joy.

It has been 19 years now, Khaleda had last seen Zaqeer.
“It is a very important protest Begum. Lalaji is heading it. I have to go”, said Zaqeer for the last time to Khaleda.
He went to join the Simon Commission protest led by Lala Lajpat Rai. Khaleda had nightmares that night. Next day, Feroz informed her about Lalaji’ s death. Her heart sank in. Zaqeer never returned after that. Some say, he was arrested, some say he was killed. Feroz and Nafisa were now her everything.

She recalls how difficult it was to raise Feroz independently. Feroz is a qualified teacher now. He taught English and Urdu in the village madrasa. But suddenly, everything had changed. The madrasa no longer exists. It was burnt down to ashes. Khaleda had been thinking for some years now to go back to Amritsar. She dreamt to get buried in her birthplace. So, she gave her consent to Feroz’s decision of shifting to Delhi.

They had reached the station quite late. The last train to Hindustan, now newly termed India, was at 4 O’ clock in the evening. It was less than an hour left. There was a great rush everywhere. Everyone wanted to leave the city. Everyone dreamt of a better future. Feroz found a small wooden bench in the 3rd platform and asked Khaleda to sit.
“You sit here Ammi. I and Nafisa will go get the tickets. It’s a huge crowd. Stay here. Don’t get lost” warned Feroz.
“Let Nafisa stay here son. Why to take her in the crowd?” wondered Khaleda.
“The gent’s line is huge Ammi. Let her try in the ladies line as well. We need to get the tickets anyhow. We will come to get you. Stay here” said Feroz.

Feroz and Nafisa disappeared in the crowd. Khaleda sat in the bench thinking about her future. A sudden excitement rushed down her spine. She was going back to where she belonged after almost 40 years. She was lost in a wonderland. The other day, she overheard Akbar telling Feroz, that all the prisoners taken by the British would be freed. She thought, even Zaqeer could be one of those many prisoners. She regained back her long lost hope of seeing Zaqeer again.
“He must have grown pretty old by now”, thought Khaleda.

Khaleda would have loved to dream more, but was interrupted with a sudden whistle of the train.
The train was gearing to leave. It whistled again. The crowd was rushing inside the compartments. Some started to climb the roof. Khaleda tried to look for Feroz and Nafisa but she could not find them. She thought, maybe they were still in the ticket counter. The train slowly started to pace. A huge gush of smoke came out of the train chimney. Khaleda was clueless as she looked at the slowly speeding train. She wondered what happened to her son.

An old man saw her still sitting on the bench as the train passed. He walked towards her slowly and asked ,
“Apa, you do not wish to go? The train is leaving!”
“I am waiting for my son. He is getting the ticket for the next train.” she replied.
“There is no next train Apa. It seems even you missed the train like me.” He sighed.

Inside the last compartment, Feroz and Nafisa somehow managed to get a seat. They were making a journey to change their lives forever. Nafisa adjusted her hijab. Feroz looked at her and wondered how beautiful she was. For a moment he thought about his mother. But then he had already taken the decision in the ticket counter. It was important for them to abandon her. It would be difficult for Feroz to sustain 3 lives in a new city, especially, where there would be hundreds of refugees like him. Moreover, she lived in Lahore all her life.
“She would love to stay back”, thought Feroz.

Khaleda looked at the train as it slowly traced away the platform. Her eyes were hazy of the water that was flowing through her eyes. She realized she had been left all alone. She had lost her family forever.
The train slowly went out of her sight. It was 4:30 in the big clock. Khaleda Begum had missed the last train to Hindustan.

The Black Jackal

You are the Black Jackal
Shining in the moonlight glow.
You are the shrewd brain
Planning for the fatal blow.

You are the beast
With hideous desires deep in you.
You are the cunning mind
Lost in greed, pretending to be true.

You are the enemy
For all those who are left alone.
You are the devil
Who cannot be seen, cannot be known.

You are the demon
Always hungry for blood.
You are Satan’s own child
You are nothing but a crud!

You are not immortal
But still cannot be killed.
Your conscience deserted you long back
Burdened with your own guilt.

You are nothing but a Black Jackal
Shining in the moonlight glow.
You are my bloody life,
Waiting for the fatal blow!

A Lost Battle

When I look at the mirror,
I see a different me..
A tired warrior stands there
Fighting to be free…!!

His life is just a cycle
With love n loads of pain,
All the loved ones ditched him
And still he tried in vain!

The brave man charged alone,
Keeping his emotions aside,
But fate hit him hard,
With wounds that were wide!

Struggling in the woods
With the deadly fate of life
The poor warrior was captured,
Bleeding with his own knife!!

The only person he trusted
Stamped his trust so hard..
That he shouted aloud
But could never be heard..!!

His love was lost..
In this deadly fight;
He was left in pain
With no hope and light.

Today he stands captive;
Life has defeated him well.
He stands alone in tears
In fate’s dirty cell…!!

Tired and disgusted
He wants to be free…
And in the mirror
His reflection is just like me!!

The Last Attempt

The monsoon had started. The entire neighbour was busy with idol making. Idol prices have raised now. It earns a good amount of money to the young potters and artists. Kanu was in a state of confusion. His wife was detected with gall bladder stone and she needed an operation. But the operation in the local municipality hospital costs around 20,000. Kanu did not have that much savings to continue with the operation. He could not see his wife in pain. But the offer he got today was worth thinking.
Kanu Pal lived in Kumortoli, North of Kolkata. He was a born idol maker. His ancestors were famous in the area for their traditional “dhaker saaj” (a decoration type) idols. Kanu was of 65 years old now. For 40 years he had provided the city with beautiful Durga idols during this time of the year. But for the past 10 years he had left this work. His left eye is almost blind with glaucoma. And these days he has spotted a cataract in his right eye. With a poor vision it becomes difficult for him to provide the minute specifications in the idol. He and his wife Malati had a son Raghav who had deserted them and stays in a small house near Garia (South Kolkata) where he works as a clerk in some Goverment office. Life was difficult to sustain for Kanu. So he decided to work as a hawker. He goes to the neighbouring houses and trades for the used newspapers and magazines. He earns less than his fellow neighbours in Kumortoli, but it is sufficient to meet their needs. But these days, especially after Malati’s illness, Kanu was finding it difficult to manage both ends. He thought of borrowing some money from Kishore but he wondered whether he could ever repay him back. Thoughts strolled around as he looked outside the window. It was raining outside. The water was slowly leaking the roof shed and flowing through the iron bars of the window he was holding.
Jewels Assosiation Club had a low budget this year. They were spending more on the pandal decoration. So they required a cheap idol for this year’s Durga Puja. Two of the Puja committee members came down to Kumortoli to fix a deal on the idol. They met Kishore, their regular idol maker. Kishore, on the other hand had too many deliveries to give this year. He had no option but to refuse. Jewels Club was now in trouble. They were late this year in contacting Kishore, but they desperately needed an idol for their club. Kishore knew Kanu’s need for money. So he suggested his name.
“You can try Kanu Pal. He has no commitment this year. Rest all of the idol makers will be full by now”, said Kishore.
Kanu was summoned eventually. Jewels Club proposed for an idol in return of 15 thousand to Kanu. Kanu was helpless. He looked at Kishore. He knew his poor vision would be a big hindrance. But Kishore showed him some hope.
“See Kanu da, this might be the best option. You have the art in you, you can do it. With the money you can admit boudi (sister-in-law) in the hospital. I think you should not refuse.”
Kanu thought and thought and realised this might be his final chance, his last attempt. He decided to start with the idol making once again.
Days passed by. Kanu Pal was busy doing what he knew the best. Goddess Durga was almost ready. The straw and clay cladded idol was in the making. His vision was a problem and Kanu knew the problem would be more once he starts painting the idol. Kanu thought of providing a different view of the idol this time. He wanted all the gods to take part in aiding Goddess Durga in the battle with the Mahishasura. So, he created three deadly and dangerous looking asuras. The centre one was the Mahishasura, rest were his accomplices. While, Goddess Durga’s spear was deep inside the centre one’s heart, Kartik and Ganesha were busy fighting the other two. The lion had grabbed the right asura’s leg, while Ganesha was about to realease his disc or chakra towards him. On the other hand, Kartik had released an arrow which killed the left asura. Laxmi and Saraswati were looking at the entire scene and blessing the devotees. His description of the entire battle was different than the rest of the idol makers. The idols so far looked decent. Even after 10 years, Kanu knew he did not lose his talent that he inherited from his ancestors.
Rains had stopped. The festive season was in the air. Kanu had finished with the idol making. Now he needed to paint them, his greatest nightmare. He went to Camac street, College street, Esplanade in search of the right colour and right texture for his idol. It was evening by the time he came. Most of the idol makers were busy with the final touch. Kanu had to finish the idol making in another 3 days. He ate his dinner early, adjusted his 3 high power bulbs and began colouring the idols. For the next two days, he painted the idols. The body colour, the blood marks, the lion everything was coloured. Kanu had to colour the minute things now. He needed to paint the eyes. The bulb did light up the entire area, but still, it strained Kanu’s eyes.
It was 2 in the morning of the day of the delivery. Kanu had to colour the eyes. So far, everything was manageable. Kanu’s hands were shivering. 10 years had passed since his last idol creation. He recalled that his father would take an entire day while painting the eyes. As a kid, Kanu would sit beside his father the entire day and he would say, “Kanu, the power of goddess Durga is reflected in her eyes. The entire idol might look different if the eyes aren’t well positioned and painted!”
His father’s words ringed an alarm. It made him even more nervous. The high power bulb made him sweat. His eyes were paining. Kanu took the brush, and dipped in the colour. He skilfully painted the eyes.
“The position is perfect”, he wondered. He felt like a little boy with a sudden rush of joy. He still had the touch. He was amazed.
The next morning, Kishore woke up Kanu.
“Kanu da, the club members have come. Is the idol ready?”Asked Kishore.
Kanu hurriedly got up and took them towards the idol. When they reached the idol, Kanu opened the polyethylene cover from the faces. He was awaiting applause.
“What is this? Is this a joke? Do you expect us to take this?” shouted one of them.
“Don’t worry sir, this can be mended. Calm down”, Kishore tried to pacify him.
“And what about the squint?” he shouted.
Kanu was shocked. “What are they talking about?” Kanu thought.
He adjusted his specs and looked towards his creation in broad daylight. The Goddess indeed appeared to be squint. The positions were bad. And the biggest blunder was that what he thought to be black colour last night was actually a darker shade of purple. He realised his mistake. He mistook the purple as black in the night. He looked helplessly.
“Whatever it is Kishore, We do not want this. Since you have led us into this, you have to find us another idol” demanded the club members.
Kishore had no other choice. He took them to other artists for any spare Idol.
Kanu was shattered. He slowly sat down. He had already wasted 5 thousand on the colours from his savings. His world was breaking down. He looked at the Idol. He wondered whether God existed. For 40 years he had brought smiles to devotees all across the country. For 40 years he had brought Goddess Durga on earth, and this is the reward he gets? His wife is suffering in front of him. Their only son left them at this age. Is this the reward?
Kanu took his cycle and went off. He wandered across the city. It was Mahalaya. The entire city was getting dressed up for Durga Puja. Mother Durga was ready to come down to earth to offer her blessings to everyone except him. His mind was full of disgust. He went to some houses; traded some old newspapers but his mind constantly cursed him for taking the work.
He reached home in the evening. Ranjan informed him that his wife’s condition had worsened and had to be taken to the hospital. Lady luck seemed to have turned her face completely towards Kanu. He rushed to the hospital. His wife was in the ICU. Doctor said he needed to arrange the money for the operation in another 4 days or else it would be difficult for them to save his wife. Kanu’s despair seemed to be never-ending now. He was clueless. What can he do in 4 days? He thought of selling the house. But then where will they stay after the operation? His mind was turmoiled by his thoughts. He sat outside the hospital blaming God for his situation. The entire excitement, enthusiasm and euphoria among people about the Durga Puja seemed to be a complete waste to him. Goddess Durga never came on Earth. She never existed.
That night there was a sudden rain soaking the entire city. The lights and the drizzle made the city look even more beautiful. Kolkata and the entire world were gearing to welcome Goddess Durga on Earth.
The next day, Kanu went out early, he had to earn as much as possible. He thought of asking his son to help. But he did not know where he lived. The entire day the old body worked. He travelled from one part of the city to another. The entire day’s hard work fetched him only a mere 700 rupees. He was tired. He looked at the day’s collection and could not hold back his tears. The sudden thought of losing his wife forever chilled his body. He thought of asking Kishore’s help.
When he reached home, it was almost 10 at night. Kishore was near the common tube well smoking his “bidi”. When he saw Kanu he ran towards him.
“Where were you Kanu da?”Asked Kishore.
“I went to work. Doctors have given 4 days time. Kishore I needed a help” said Kanu helplessly.
“Kanu da, don’t worry. You won’t believe what happened. Come with me.” said Kishore
He took him to his house and offered him food.
Kanu was tired after the entire day’s work. He did not refuse. He ate whatever Kishore had to offer. Kishore then went inside and took out a bundle of 500 rupees note.
“Take Kanuda, 25 thousand.” Said Kishore handing him the money.
“No Kishore, I just needed 20 thousand” said Kanu, refusing the extra money.
“This is your money Kanu da. Your idol was sold for 25 thousand today. This is your reward. “Said Kishore
“What? Puja starts in 3 days. Who will buy it now in spite of the defects?” kanu asked. He could not believe him.

Last night, retired High Court Judge Narendra Biswas dreamt of Goddess Durga. She came in his dream and asked him to worship him as she was angry. Today morning, Mr Biswas decided to carry out Durga Puja in his house this time. So Mr. Biswas and his son Ravi came to Kumortoli this morning for an idol. But none of the idol makers had any Durga idol left. The only idol left unsold in Kumortoli was Kanu’s rejected one. Kishore showed them the idol. He carried out the necessary changes, coloured the eyes black and sold it off for a lump sum 25 thousand.
Kanu stood still with the money in his hand. He could not believe it. He thanked Kishore for his help and went to the hospital. Malati’s operation was successfully completed the next day. Kanu could sense the touch of happiness in his life. 5 days later, Malati was discharged. It was Dashami (Dusshera), the last day of Durga Puja. Kanu brought her home and quickly left for Babughat( bank of river Hooghly), where all the idols would be immersed.

It was evening. The entire Babughat was crowded. Everyone was dancing to the beats of the “Dhak” (drums). The entire sky echoed with shouts, “aasche bocchor aabar hobe!!”(“next year we will celebrate again!”). Kanu stood at one corner staring at the idol. Four five men shouted, “Durga Ma ki jai!(Hail goddess durga!)” as they took the idol and slowly immersed it in the river. Kanu felt a shiver down his spine. He realised, Goddess Durga did exist. She came down to earth to help him. His hands folded out of stimulus. Tears rolled down his eyes as he bid farewell to mother Durga.
The hard work of all the idol makers had been washed away. Goddess Durga had left earth to go back to heaven, where she belonged. Kanu’s last attempt to save his family was blessed by her. Kanu lived again. He realised, the power of the Goddess was not in her eyes. It was everywhere, it was omnipresent.
The idol slowly sank in. He looked at the last remains and cheerfully joined the others as he shouted, “Durga Ma ki jai !”

Howdy Jackie

In the roadway all alone
The sun was his only mate
Riding a horse fr 16 hours
Trying to change his fate.

He rode across the desert
He rode across the sand
With a bottle of whiskey
In his old rusty hand.

Life was not simple
But he still had a smile
His woes were his fear
He had to ride another mile.

He wanted to reach the world
Wanted people to know
That cowboys were still left
Cowboys can steal the show!

He was just another amigo
Who had left his friends and town
He was the last cowboy left
He was the Jackie Brown!

He stopped by the oasis
He wanted to take a break
He rolled up the cigar
Sitting by the lake

His beard had turned grey
His hat got torn in the way..
His gun was old and rusted
He had loaded it yesterday.

He smoked away the cigar
Waiting for the moon to rise
He knew he had to reach the world
Before this last moonlight dies

He wanted to go to the city
Wanted the world to know
That cowboys weren’t just western
Cowboys can steal the show.

He was just another amigo
Who had left his friends and town
He was the last cowboy left
He was the Jackie Brown!

He was just another amigo
Who had left his friends and town
He was the last cowboy left
He was the Jackie Brown!

[solo]

He was just another amigo
Who had left his friends and town
He was the last cowboy left
He was the Jackie Brown!

He was just another amigo
Who had left his friends and town
He was the last cowboy left
He was the Jackie Brown!

[Fades]

Patience

The day wasn’t any better. Things had started to be different quite a few days. She thought she was just the same and he thought she had changed. But He was not totally wrong. Life was moving fast for her. New friends, new life, new place; it was a new beginning. But her love for him was just the same.
It started about a year ago. The two met each other at a common friend’s party. She saw him; a sweet guy sitting in the corner with a continuous shuffle of drinks and that black guitar. It was the New Year eve. Though she was constantly distracted by a good number of male attentions, her eyes kept checking that corner. He seemed to be in a different world, looking outside the window, feeling the chill of the December breeze. There was something special in him. He saw her too. A charming pretty girl sitting in the centre; she seemed to be the perfect reason for the party to be attractive.
That was the first meeting. It was all a gradual process after that. First hours of chatting in facebook, then regular top-ups for night balance, then movies, dinner and finally love. Love was inevitable it seemed. They were made for each other.
Months passed like hours. He shifted to a new city in search of a job. She followed him there to pursue her long unfulfilled career. Things were fine at the beginning. But then it wasn’t all same as before. Her new friends, new life started taking her away. He was struggling hard. He couldn’t get a foothold to fight back. Joblessness, constant failure led him to frustration and despair. He started being insecure. She stayed busy with her life. Differences came up. Fights were frequent and the “happy couple” feeling was long lost. She found him overreacting. He found her ignoring him. And in the entire time, Love was the only thing missing.
Her new friends and late night parties were ever increasing. And he stayed alone waiting for her. He craved for her time. He wanted her presence. But she was way too busy in her life. The new city seemed to have mesmerized her way too much. Her priorities kept changing. He tried to settle down with everything until that day.
That day, it was his interview; a final chance to try his luck. She was still sleeping after a heavy late night party, when he left. All the way he tried calling her, she didn’t respond. He wanted her to wish him luck, but she didn’t. He cleared each round and tried calling her but in vain. By the time she woke, she saw more than 10 missed calls from him. She called back. But he couldn’t answer. He was having his final round of interview, the last round that would decide his fate. She tried again and again. And each time his cell phone would vibrate he would be distracted. The act though wasn’t much appreciable by the interviewer. She thought he might be avoiding her. The slightest thought of the fact that he might be busy in the interview didn’t cross her mind even for a second. The reason was simple. She had no clue about his interview. Out of disgust, she planned a quick party, switched off her cell phone and went out with her friends.
In the evening when he returned, he was once again a lost warrior. But this time the reason was She! He came back to find her gone. The frustration and disgust filling in him had to make an outburst. He waited for her to come.
She arrived at midnight, drunk, dropped by some of her newly made male friends. He couldn’t control his anger. The result was a high volume fight which left both parties shattered. He knew she didn’t love her anymore. She had found a new life where he had no place. But she pleaded for one more chance. She tried to prove her worth. But he wasn’t ready. He called it off. His love had lost to her new life. He decided to walk out of her life. Even She thought to give up. She thought her friends could fill his gap.
Today, after years when I see them, I see two unhappy souls trying to adjust in the wicked world. He got a job and she had graduated from college. Still Life seemed to have stopped for them. They were still stuck at the night that separated them. Neither could her friends take his place nor could He get anyone in life. To me, they were just one of those million broken souls in the crowd who cannot move on, but just revolve around the sweet memories. It wasn’t love that was lost that night. It was trust that was lost, the minimum trust required to cope up with the faults they had. Love isn’t easy to forget. All they needed that night was just a little patience. May be, patience could have changed their lives forever. May be, patience could have ignited the spark in them that was once the reason for their happiness. May be patience could have brought them back together again.

(inspired from the song “Patience” by Guns N Roses.)

Plassey: A tale of Trust and Betrayal IV (Final Part)

Even Siraj saw that none of his army other than the French army was functional. He called Rai Durlabh.
“What is going on Rai Durlabh? Why is the army not moving?”
“Sire, the army doesn’t want to fight. They won’t move. It’s a revolt it seems.”
Siraj was shocked. He didn’t know whom to believe. He suddenly was in a state of confusion.
“What do we do now Rai Durlabh? Call Mohanlal. I need his advice!”
Rai Durlabh was one of the traitors along with Yar Lutuf Khan who had already entered into a treaty with Robert Clive. He wanted to overthrow Siraj because he wanted to get a notable position in the court. Mir Jafar promised him one. He promised to make Rai Durlabh the “Dewan” if he helped him to overthrow Siraj. Rai Durlabh was doing his work. He saw Siraj was confused. He knew it was the best time for him to induce more fear in him.
“Sire, Mohanlal is too far. If he retreats now, it can be danger to him as well as to us.” Said Rai Durlabh
Siraj thought for a moment.
“What should I do now?”cried Siraj helplessly.
“Sire, I suggest you to leave the battlefield. Take some men with you and leave for Murshidabad. We will take care of the war.”
“But how can I leave the war and leave the battlefield like a coward?”asked Siraj.
“Don’t worry sire. I and Mir Jafar will make the army fight at any cost. Your presence can be dangerous for you at this moment. You go back to Murshidabad and I promise to send you the good news soon.”
Siraj was perplexed. At a moment, when fear, uncertainty and confusion prevailed in someone’s mind, it was difficult to take a decision then. Siraj thought Rai Durlabh was right. He decided to abandon the battlefield and run for his life. He left the commands on Mir Jafar and Rai Durlabh’s hands. He left with 1500 men and himself riding on a camel.
Mohanlal in the meanwhile, was stunned at the army’s behavior. He wanted to consult Siraj. He turned his horse back. But to his surprise, he saw Rai Durlabh with Siraj near his camp. He knew Rai Durlabh could not be trusted. He started to ride towards the camp. But he was blocked by Yar Lutuf Khan’s men.
“Why are you running back Mohanlal?” Mocked Yar Lutuf Khan.
“I am not a coward Lutuf Khan. I want to have a word with my Nawab. Leave my way.” Shouted Mohanlal.
“Your Nawab doesn’t need your help. You go and guard your army. Let Rai Durlabh do his work.”
“You are no one to command me. I am the commander. And I order you to leave my way. And may I know the reason as to why your army isn’t moving a bit?” asked Mohanlal out of disgust.
“Yes my friend. You can surely ask. The reason is that we don’t feel like fighting today. Ha ha ha.” He burst out in laughter with his army.
Mohanlal saw Siraj mounting a camel at a distance. He knew it was a conspiracy. They were making Siraj flee the battleground. He knew he had to reach his camp. But Yar Lutuf khan and his army weren’t giving him the way.
“Leave my way. My Nawab is in danger. He needs me”, requested Mohanlal.
“Your Nawab is a coward. Look! He is running away. And if you have to stop him, you will have to fight us”, said Yar Lutuf Khan.
Mohanlal saw the entire army was against him. He looked for help. But even Mir Jafar’s army was preparing to attack him. He knew it was a trap. He did not want to fight his own countrymen. The British had taken good advantage of greed and hunger, he thought.
“I do not want to fight my people Yar Lutuf Khan. You have skillfully sold your conscience to the foreigners in return of petty things. You will not understand the consequence now. But tell Mir Jafar that he and all of you along with this country will suffer because of this betrayal. Remember my words.” Said Mohanlal and turned his horse and raced out of the battleground.
Mohanlal understood the entire plan. Rai Durlabh, Yar Latuf Khan and Mir Jafar had pretended to extend their helping hands towards Siraj. Actually they were merely playing their parts as was directed by Clive. They wanted Siraj to leave, so that they can prove the army that the Nawab was a coward. Then they did not need to fight the war. Mohanlal knew that after Siraj , he would be their next target. And so was it.
“Kill him. I do not want that Hindu fool to leave. ” shouted Mir Jafar pointing to Mohanlal who was racing out of the battleground.
Yar Lutuf Khan charged his army to kill Mohanlal.
Mohanlal’s army on the other hand was standing shocked as they saw their commander fleeing the battleground.
Mohanlal was racing his horse. Yar Lutuf and his cavalry was behind him. They started shooting. Mohanlal knew he had to move faster. He dodged the bullets. But he was not much lucky. He was at the end of the other part of the hill, the border that separates Plassey and the river when a bullet kissed his shoulder and hit the bark of a tree.
Mohanlal reacted in pain. He slipped and fell off from his horse into the river. Yar Lutuf and his men checked the river to find any sign of Mohanlal. They even shot a few rounds in the river to confirm that Mohanlal was dead. After that they attacked the French army.
After an hour fight, the French army gave up. It was impossible for St. Frais to continue fighting against all sides. Both English and Siraj’s men were fighting against them. What was supposed to be the condition of English had now been the condition of the French.
Robert Clive with his army met Mir Jafar and felicitated him for his well defined betrayal. He declared Mir Jafar the new Nawab of Bengal and issued the arrest warrant for Siraj-ud-Daullah.

When SIraj reached Murshidabad, the news of his fall was everywhere. He was informed by a few trusted men about his arrest warrant. That night, Siraj disguised himself as a merchant and left for Patna in a boat. Mir Jafar came back with the English East India Company to celebrate his success as the new Nawab. The hunt for Siraj had begun.
Mohanlal was not dead on the other hand. He somehow managed to stay alive that night. He was helped by some of his faithful Yadav soldiers from the army. He took shelter in the underground Kali Temple at Juranpur, a Yadav dominated village near Plassey battle field. There he married in a Pallav Gope family later in his life and his many faithful solders settled in the nearby Yadav villages. Later on they became a terror for the Britishers. They continued their fight for freedom.
Siraj had taken shelter in Patna as a merchant and was not found by Mir jafar’s men for three months until someone decided to share the information in return of the reward on him. Mir Jafar’s son Mir Miran stormed into the house he resided. Siraj had just finished his daily namaz when Mir Miran and his army entered. Unarmed, Siraj surrendered and they took him to the banks of the river Ganga.
“You are one disgraceful king Siraj. I have orders to arrest you but I don’t feel like taking you back as a prisoner”, said Mir Miran.
“I do not intend to live as your prisoner Mir Maran. You and your father have brought enough disgrace to me and the country. Do me one last favour. Let me rest like a king,” replied Siraj.
On the banks of ganga, the sun was about to set. The cattles were going back home. The day had ended and the entire world waited for the dark night.
Siraj-ud-Daullah knelt down and closed his eyes. The end of his reign was inevitable.
Mir Maran took his sword. It was shining bright in the last rays of the sun. He swinged it in air and cut down Siraj’s throat with a blow. Siraj’s body lay still as it was separated from the head. The end of a brave king had come.
With Siraj’s death, there came the fall of India. It was the first mark of success in Indian History for the British as they skilfully used one Indian against the other. This marked the fall of all the countrymen as slowly the British entered into the kingdom of Bengal. That was the turning point of history. As a matter of fact, the betrayal in the Battle of Plassey indicated the long tyranny that was to come.
Siraj’s body lay still and cold. The Sun had set. The endless nights of pain and tyranny had begun.

THE END

[This is a work of fiction amalgamated with historic facts and evidences.]