Since time immemorial Nitra was a port, today was no different. Times were changing; the ones with trawlers gave stiff competition to local fishermen.
"Two Indian fishermen who infringed foreign waters held," read the headlines along with an image of the two seen holding a fresh catch .
It was Hemanth and Alok's idea to row further into the Arabian Sea. Artisanal fisheries were dead. It was the year 2045. All the polluting industries had killed it..
Living in a city far away from home and family was quite tough for him. There was a legal tangle which was to be taken care of, quite often than not. He remembered his good old days in the army, days of his youth where he roamed the streets in drunken stupor.
Now in this hovel he was left to rot, with a few stray cats and a whole lot of cigars for company. .
Her heart skipped a beat, a glum look spread across her face.
"Mother in law you too, at this age," Leena giggled but was good at hiding her displeasure.
They were one happy couple, in their sunset years. At an age where other women were busy singing their grandkids a lullaby, she was ready to conceive. At first she was stunned to see those two red lines appear across the pregnancy kit.
"Going bareback at this age," guffawed the nurse at the clinic.
Unaffected by all this, they were going strong..
It was a day like any other on the so called lifeline of Mumbai, the local trains. A melange of sweat and odd smelling perfume filled the air as usual. He stood at a measly 5 foot nothing. The chains at the top felt all the more difficult to cling on to.
One day he went missing. When he returned he was on a wheelchair traveling in the handicapped category. His was a case of limb lengthening surgery gone wrong. .
The carcass of the half devoured calf lay in the grass, the leopard had done its deed.
Another had gone missing the previous night. A search party was organized the other day. There was no clue of the jersey calf; this one was quite double its size given the breed. Last time around she was seen munching on dry grass with cows from the far side.
"Even calves stick around their friends, these days," Chutki quipped but tensed as it was her pet.
Drenched to the bone and scared out of its wits, later it returned home unscathed..
Trafficked at a young age, ending up working in a tea stall, between serving the hot cuppa his eyes met something. A guy and a girl sipping away to their new affinity. He had little to no cue as to who they really were.
They made gestures, asking him to come over to him. The owner of the stall got a bit suspicious as regards to their identity. As he was engrossed in thoughts, it stuck him that they were volunteers of a local NGO in disguise.
Thus their attempt at escape was foiled.
"Why did she agree to play that stupid board game in the first place?", she pored over a book and mused.
Coffee mug in hand, she tried to relax.
A slight knock could be heard at a cabinet; wait there was someone locked up inside. On second look, there was nothing out of the way, except an Ouija board stacked in a bundled cloth.
The damage was done, the devil inside wished to come out..
"Lets do the Chatpataka", crooned Devansh to the latest masala soda ad.
His granddad was good at centering the marble in goli soda bottle. It was more of a humble man's drink, a far cry from today's variegated versions. Stacked away in clay pots as freezers were pretty unaffordable.
"Sorry to tell this, but the fizz made up by the old one is simply unmatched, plus no artificial sweeteners", grandad grinned.
"Ok, you win grandpa", with that he tried out the desi soda..
A single man adopting a girl child, still unheard of right?
This man did it, he was known by the name Mr Apollo.
Many a puffs from cigarettes had drained most of his energy, misery surrounded him like a never ending malice.
It all started with him deciding to stay a bachelor. Mid life stuck, along with loneliness, making an orphan his own was the answer.
One day came the sad news, that his adopted child had eloped, plus she had sold off her dad's property without his knowledge.
She had always been a rebel of a kind, even at her times. Born in the 60's, her demeanor drew a lot of flak. NGO's had not mushroomed yet; keen on educating the destitute, she set forth into the slums. Now she's a headmistress of a reputed school. Teaching in an open field.
"If Trudeau can teach sitting atop a tree, then why not me", she mused.
While amidst a heated debate with her former classmate and bully, she gave it back to her.
Age old custom is one obligation which the city bred couple found hard to let go.
The cool jungle air couldn't mask the fact that something eerie lay in it's thicket. Far removed from civilization a hovel held their fancy.
"Belch!! this porridge tastes horrible".
"Fresh herbs goes into it's preparation", grunted an old man to whom the house belonged to.
He harked his sons to come have a look at the woman. Petrified by mutilated faces, she ran for her life.
They weren't ghosts, but a byproduct of incestuous relations.
The whole aerodrome was agog with activity, after all a batch of students were going to test a hot air balloon, under the supervision of a senior student.
"Kaboom"; a sound reverberated through the air, there it was a charred burnt up mess on the tarmac.
A part of the fabric which escaped the fire was stocked up, finding it's use as a trampoline cloth later, during his apprenticeship.
It's loose ends were strong enough to tie down an aircraft.
After so many pressurization cycles, they decided to retire for the day. Piping hot tea awaited them on a creaky table, which stood at the edge of the runway.
Curious glances were cast upon the table on which a half slit pod of magic charm beans lay.
"Hey, what's that?", someone asked with utmost interest.
To which Maya replied animatedly, "It's like yin and yang in our culture, the red stands for everything evil, while the black underside represents all things good.
At the far side a guy smirked.
"Shhh, stop with your histrionics, no one's going to find out", with that she cupped her partner's mouth with her hand.
Placing a hand on her ankle she tried to calm her down. This was the famous landmark of the city crunched for space; Marine drive, need one say more.
Suspecting the strange looks from the onlookers faces, she had panicked. Theirs was a love frowned upon by society, as queer as it might seem to be.
Yet this was their place to steal some furtive glances at each other. .
Ramesh was in deep thought, no he wasn't pondering over the complexities of daily life, but was engaged in playing a game of chess with his old friend. Having read Alice in Wonderland, where this particular ancient war strategy of a game was described in great detail, had nevertheless piqued his interest in the same.
His elephant and camel pieces were down, with a few of his pawns in tow. Now was his queen's and king's turn to say goodbye to the battlefield.
He lost out to his friend, who was an ace beyond his age..
Arriving from a small town on a short trip to the city, their journey had been uneventful, till now. After all it was their days of youth meant to be spent frivolously. It didn't help matters that the final semester was scheduled the day after. A worse fate awaited them.
After a while, they boarded the train, later he got down at a lesser known station. She followed suit, only to find him pulling a gag on her.
"Wait!!, if that was him, then who's calling me?", the voice seemed to be coming from behind..
A hydel power plant was coming up in their village. They shifted to higher grounds, moving down plantations of all kind, to make way for it. The project was soon scrapped, but a large chunk of vegetation was lost.
An infamous weed named, congress grass, grew in the now flattened out plains, unchecked. At far it looked like a Savannah, but was in fact a verdure which suppressed the growth of other crops.
Everywhere he looked, it was spreading it's roots. Taking over many a farmlands.
He was cycling at the wee hours of the morning as usual. A lone figure seemed to be waving at him.
"Bhaiya, can you tell me, where the road leading to New Zealand hostel is?", she asked with questioning eyes.
"I am quite familiar with this area, but I never heard of the place you just mentioned", he stated, all the more surprised by her query.
That very same day his wife happened to read about a desolate place which was burnt down years ago, owing to mass suicide by the students of the girls hostel..
A first time smooch had it's perks and nervous trepidation.
"Will it work out fine?", the thought crossed over their minds. Leaving their apprehensions to rest, they tried it out.
"Do I tilt my head to the right or left?", she probed, her heartbeat racing faster. "Oh, no need to get into the technicalities of it", he snapped back.
Up from the balcony overlooking their shawl, his ex got the wind of their nocturnal ministrations. She set an alarm, some elders rushed out. A stream of light flashed upon their faces.
All this in the name of settling scores.
His canine companion let out a huge howl. The creature had probably sighted someone in this moonlit night, alongside the beach. Moving about in circles, as if a phantom were in mad pursuit of him.
Leading him by his leash the owner made a wild snatch at the air. He missed.
"Good, now I can get to work"; the time traveler thought to himself.
An intercom buzzed, "Yeah, humans are living in some kind of structure called conapts, farming is decadent,though beaches still remain, but are highly polluted"; and off went the human from the past.
Sanaya came rushing over to the tennis court. Her diminutive stature, is what put her off, from playing all this while. This time around the coast was clear, she and her friend got together, for a casual match.
Both played with vigor, she put those derides behind her. Unnoticed by her, a guy was passing by. Thwack, resounded the blow, when she happened to slap his face with the racket.
It's quite silly of her to be engrossed in playing, that she failed to notice him, crossing her path.
Only a sorry escaped her lips..
He made the long walk back home. Deprived of his estate, by sheer treachery. Spreading falsehood, in his name, was something he couldn't bear to witness. At least this quaint little garden was still his, this piece of land was safe from conniving minds.
There was blood on their hands, he kept mum about it. He choose to avoid conflict, whenever he felt right.
Land disputes last longer than a generation or two combined. .
He had far left the gangland that his native was, an overpopulated state with sorry governance. For a city bursting at it's seams, it was a serious issue. How much development would one digest as to hack away the sole place deemed the lungs of the city named, Aarey colony.
His lowly existence accentuated his wretchedness. He just wanted to make a living, by hook or crook, the latter seemed quite an easy option for him. Is this the path he choose for himself?.
Silently gazes into the path strewn with wilderness..
This holiday to her hometown, had been worth it. The changing landscapes of the region, including the now dried out paddy fields, held her in great rapture.
Last heard, many families had shifted to this quaint little village, owing to their lands being sold, as there was a thermal power plant coming up in their region.
Bah!, Some happy endings are never meant to be, materialized.
The reasons as to why she befriended Ramesh was not known to all. Trekker, helicopter mechanic, not particularly in that order, yeah , that's what his bio read. His Instagram photos were filled with him gazing intently at some grassland, while being lost in thoughts. His muted communion with mother earth was hard to brush away.
She joined him right away, sneaking , least everyone found out about her escapades. Here she was in this vast wilderness, free at last, camping..
The residents of Whoville were relentlessly troubled by a miscreant, who did away with their Christmas gifts, all for a bitter incident in the past.
He was nothing more than a nuisance; a trickster, who they all despised. He set alight the Christmas tree to get even with the inhabitants of the fictional town.
His hollow threats of throwing away the gifts, off the cliff, fell on deaf ears. The Christmas spirit is alive in the hearts of people, that goes beyond material possessions.
Loved ones matter, this truth dawned over the thick skinned being..
The 10 day Ganapati festival was drawing to a close.
"Whose Gauri?", probed Harpal.
"Ganesha's mom", pat came the reply from, none other than Mansi.
As these guys belonged to different communities, they had no idea as to why Gauri's idol followed that of Ganesha. They had no clue that the elephant god was after all a mama's boy.
He walked up to where his house used to be. A slum cluster rose surrounding it, masking it's appearance; how could one make out, his quaint little house amid the lot.
Good lord it was gutted yesterday, one cylinder blast after another. That's not all, a huge residential area had sprung up, in the vicinity, the very place where there were some shrubs and agricultural land.
He was lucky that he wasn't present during the time of the mishap. He gingerly took his belongings, including a rickety old scooter from his former dwelling, the chawl..
Hailing from a little hamlet, this bustling city was now her home. Standing amidst an array of mammoth statues of the elephant god, a smile graced her face.
Having an ecologically friendly Ganesha at home, was her dream. Back in her village, they made the mold out of sugarcane, which was then used as a prasad, along with some sweetmeat.
Here in Mumbai, she was greeted with an unsightly sight of large plaster of Paris idols being hacked off with hammer. It pained her and she decided to do something about it. Good going, till today.
He was rudely awakened from his afternoon siesta, by his co-worker.
"Have you heard the latest news, if the PUC reports are anything to go by, vehicles more than 16 years of age, can't run on Mumbai roads", muttered Tyagi, with a tense expression.
"Now what will happen of me, my 3 wheeler is now best sited in a spare parts shop", mumbled Tarun cracking his knuckles.
Only if his daughter was done with her on the job training, he would be free of such hassles.
Ironies of Irony, she was the one who set right the magneto..
It had been her constant companion, all through her sophomore days. Pulling up an all-nighter was an easy task, thanks to, it's magic working on one's attention span.
Sipping on almost 6 to 7 cups a day. Getting addicted to it and then developing an aversion to the cuppa. Her eyes averted the sight of the local tea shop, but her olfactory nerves, were swayed by the aroma..
Playing marbles, after school was their favorite pass-time. Well it was years ago, when they went their separate ways. Still the memories were fresh as if it was only yesterday. Taking a walk by the countryside, an arm placed over his shoulder.
During a chance encounter in New Jersey, their old self showed it's way. Their camaraderie drew curious glances on the streets.
Culture shock was not a term alien to either of them.
Exchanging a few knowing looks, "ciao", was what they said last, before parting..
D-Day was drawing near. They had been in touch through skype, yet it was undeniably an arranged affair. He seemed to belong to a liberal family, that's what it looked like in the surface.
Decked up in her wedding finery, she entered her marital home. Soon she was so absorbed in the daily grind, leaving no time for herself.
Is this the kind of life, she wished for, a life of lifelong servitude or one which sought companionship?.
Her friends enjoyed the bachlorette life, with no silent pauses, why did she had to rush into things, she pondered..
"We have decided to stay put and not move an inch", hollered the gang of picnickers.
"Hop onto the bus, you all, we are already running late", hissed the Instructor to a bunch of unruly youth.
Scratching their heads, tearing at their hairs, they seemed to imitate the simian. A dog too followed suit and stated to bark at the ape.
Furious, it let out a screech, reducing their amusement to bits.
Next, it coughed hard, enough to let out a mucous like substance out.
"Ewww!!" was all they could say..
As she took a sharp turn into the alley, her eyes met a couple of cherubic faces, their mindless chatter and mirth, didn't go unnoticed from her. A pack of urchins made most of what little they had.
Where kids as young as four were busy playing Temple run and the like on their mini tabs, these kids seemed miles apart from such kind of a brood. Their street side games stroked their sportsmanship and imagination alike, like it was back in the late 80's and 90's.
Wish they never get messed up in life ever..
He had to match her steps. Recreating legend through smartly choreographed dance moves. His steps shouted Matador, whilst her's the raging bull to be tamed.
Oh, wait, there's a twist to the tale. She springs forth brandishing a knife, he dodges it, with ease and swift moves.
"Now's not the time, you will have to wait", that's what he wishes to say. In the end, he motions her to lay down and then the moment strikes, for the inevitable to happen.
The audience swoons and the demon plays it's tricks, as she wins at impersonating it. .
"Low life", "Outcast", were the monikers he grew up hearing. The temple tank being his favorite hideout since his younger days. Seated there on the cold rock surface, singing hymns in praise of the Lord.
As the sandbar reached the waters depths, up rose the idol of the almighty.
Ascending from the steps, the high priest, entered the sanctum containing the deity, a loud creak was heard; lo and behold the idol's head had turned 360 degrees, facing the back wall. Wonders of wonders, faith had really felled a wall, if not moved mountains.
She laid on the cushion. Slowly her mind drifted and her muscles twitched. The expert was at hand, guiding her through a session of past life regression.
Startled she woke to find herself lying a on a patch of grass, lost in thought. The azure skies gave her little to no relief. It was on this very verdure, that she was set free from the bonds of life. A mere peasant. No wonder in this life, she was associated with the green warriors.
It was a lazy Sunday afternoon. Returning back to an empty house from a friend's place, she huddled in a quiet corner with a cup of tea and a book.
"Look papa, sister is reading that infamous work", her younger brother bemused; who entered unannounced.
Seeing a woman sprawled on the front cover, her dad fumed. She slowly walked away. The freshly minted pages had opened up a Pandora's box of sorts, in her now peaceful life.
The ghosts of her past, had come to haunt her again. .
Her body tersed up, at his slight ministrations.
"Let go, it's as if someone's watching", she muttered with slight apprehension.
Not a single soul was to be spotted in and around the bushes.
A loud din could be heard, as the two love struck beings, were still in an embrace.
The rocky terrain near the river was recently in news for shady activities.
A team of Eco warriors marched forward and cleared up the place of debris. Coochie cooing couple fled.
Whether it be marine drive, the ceased to be lover's point or somewhere else, lovers got raw deal.
"Come quick, the coast is clear", Zafran called out to his family.
He cast his eyes afar on the Greek island, with a distinct hop.
As the news about refugee crisis spread, the local police had a hard time dealing with asylum seekers.
Their joy was short lived, as he was hurt badly by the baton, brandished by one of the police officers.
The ray of hope which had flicked through his eyes, was long gone now. .
He had enough of "ifs" and "buts", only if he had kicked butt.
All eyes were busy refueling the chopper, didn't he knew, as to when the next test flight, was to take place.
"No smoking or signs of ignition, within 30 meters of refueling of an aircraft", the sign read.
Hooked to cigar smoking, it had almost cost him his career. It's good that the aircraft body was grounded, and the carbon dioxide fire extinguisher were placed in position.
The source of the fire, was traced to a pack of cigarettes, setting alight the battery charging unit..
Theirs was one happy family. Two elder sisters doting on their kid brother. What more can a humble man like himself ask for.
The next day, they had to leave on foot towards a famous shrine, chanting hymns, everything went just fine, for a while. The child returned after attending to nature's call, out there in the thicket.
He was not his usual self. All throughout the journey he kept mum, until they happened to pass over a ghat.
"I'm home", a raspy voice uttered quite unlike a child's.
That's how he was gone forever..
The dusty atmosphere of the hanger punctuated by the smell of solvents, hardeners and thinners.
"Good, the guys are busy with their GPU carts, now's my chance".
What a relief, she felt on unbuttoning her shirt; work followed with Ni-cad batteries.
To her dismay, her phone rang, "Quick, I need some gasket seals", ordered someone on the line.
Covering the length between hanger and engine shop, an old tart gave out a sly smile, bemused she cast her eyes downward. Horrors of horrors, her torso was utterly bare. How did she manage to pull up such a stunt..
Mountain biking was something which he had heard from his parkour enthusiast friends. The idea appealed to him somewhat. It was a sport of endurance and most importantly reaction time. It took him years to get it right.
The ramp was set, all he had to do was to get his bike across it and then land safely onto the nearby terrace. Unfortunately the bounce from the ramp wasn't enough to propel him towards his desired spot, missing by a few inches, sustaining grave injuries.
The tire's tread pattern was to be blamed, being of below 14. .
Enraptured by the two roosters in a tussle, he felt the itch to ask his buddy a query.
"What's the story behind the cockpit being called so?"
Mayank lead his friend to the coop, where he saw many a chicken huddled together with little to no space.
In the olden days, when cabin pressurization was unheard of; captain, co-pilot, navigator and flight engineer were all required to be cooped up in the same way, leading to inconvenience. The drop in outside temperature with increasing altitude and nothing to compensate it. Get the connect..
Laila had been transmuting from a deep hypnagogic state, since how long, no one could tell. A slight whirring sound and she woke up with a start; an AI had taken over a part of her brain, integrating itself like second skin, controlling all her bodily functions.
Where was everyone?, her eyes reached far and wide, only to be met with hydraulic lines, broken and sparking occurring at places due to ignition. The roof looked like some rundown mattresses. A clone like herself, trapped in a madhouse of a cursed spaceship. Humanity ceased to exist. Malice took over..