Cache Memory

unretentive, oblivious

Bad Luck

Ghosts

At flashfiction.in

The fog lights of the heavily dented sedan flickered as a last attempt to illume but did not succeed. It was not the first component failure suffered by Lillian’s car and whatever that remained screamed for an overhaul. At least, the dents were present before the nth hand purchase. Several taunts, close shaves and breakdowns later she planned on to save to buy a new car. So, Lillian decided reach work early each day so that she could clock in more hours.

Before she could mouth a curse, a Mack rammed straight into the bonnet. The bumper pivoted the car for a quarter of a circle before the hood squashed against the truck’s windshield. It all looked like a perfect choreography, straight from an action flick. Gravity pulled the weight of the car and the vehicle retraced the arc. The driver of the truck, fatigued and maybe inebriated decided to flee the scene. Lillian had not passed out by then. She realized that she was pinned down to her seat. The shock took her voice away and the tattered covers were slowly soaking up red. Lillian lived for another four hours till traffic started when the fog cleared.

The post mortem report ascertained excessive blood loss as the cause of Lillian’s death.

The car was almost as good as it was before the accident except for one vital component when investigators confirmed that the seat belt which was one of the few working parts of the car, malfunctioned after the impact and did not retract out.

What is pain?

    pic: from an old e-mail forward

Uncovered @ Clarityofnight

I really like it at Jason’s, especially when he is organizing a flash fiction contest.

This is the third time I am participating and hope I break the jinx this time round. A coveted place in the 40s club.

The pic above was to be used as inspiration (in honour of Stephen Parrish, a friend of Jason’s who recently got published).

The first draft i wrote wasn’t up to the mark and I had to make some serious changes, obviously after some stern remarks and honest opinions. Here it goes:

Partners

It felt as if I had crossed the Milky Way and back in a split second. The impact caught me while I was deciphering the combination of the vault. Eight times the factorial of seventeen… and WHAMM!

Just before I landed upon my fractured skull, I grabbed one of the exhibits and hurled it onto his face. Jim lost his balance and the sixteenth century vase from the Ming dynasty made enough sound to set the alarm off.  I revived and punted him before he fell flat, breaking his nose in the process.

I trusted Jim, mostly because he wasn’t clever. While there was always a risk, Jim listened on all occasions. He was particularly useful in doing stuff that required more muscle than anything else. Maybe he gave in to the enormity of the situation. Never before we had attempted this big a heist. I had to make a decision. I had three minutes with me. We had practiced this to the second. For four months.  Had this little hiccup not occurred, I would have already broken the code and started to prepare for the exit, with the swag.

Compounded with the pain in my head, the rotating red flash light almost blinded me. While Jim was still recovering, I pulled him across the linoleum flooring and tied him to a railing. As planned, I made the run not before spitting on Jim’s face.

‘The Star of Bombay’ deserves a better plan.

____________________________

I so hope I make the cut this time around.


Meira pehla tag!

Meira  who ensures happy hours with her direct-dil-se writing for the readers of her blog has tagged me for a different sort of a list. Let’s see if I come up with anything close to interesting.

 Have you ever wanted something that only women are supposed to want – like bags, shoes, clothes, creams, perfumes, babies, flowers? A peaceful home and a happy family? Have you ever been afraid of the dark or of insects? As a kid did you ever want to play ‘teacher-teacher’, cooking or did you like playing with a doll? Have you ever enjoyed cooking? Bought something in pink? Loved chocolates?

Well nobody knows what women really want and I guess any person researching on the topic would surely know what it is to RE-SEARCH!

There are certain points that might not exactly reflect as direct answers to Meira’s tag but somehow make it to the list.

1. There was a girl, Tanvi (I know I should not mention names, but was she beautiful!!) in my class when I was 5. I loved to play ghar-ghar with her.

2. I can’t not fold the sheets/blanket that I slept in at night in the morning. In fact, I do it for my roommates as well.

3. I’d surely like to have my own house, my family and kids. I have kinda figured out how my house would look like.

4. I like to cook. Ahem, whatever I can :). I like to cook for others. Only to get praised.

5. I got a net book this summer, which all girls call cho-cute (Argh! I hate that. C’mon gals its convenient)

6. I wish our clothes and shoes were as cheap (I mean the price) as girls’.

7. I would want to have as much patience as my mother.

8. I wish I had as much convincing power.

9. Man! This is tough…

10. Tanvi, if you are reading this, I have imagined you after all these years. And I know you are as beautiful. I AM AVAILABLE.

C’mon it’s MY blog Meira. Thanks for my first tag.

Cartoon from : toonpool.com

Growing up with seven languages

I found this great collaborative blog that is for and by students, teachers, and others who share a fascination with language. Any language…I did not bat an eyelid and posted:

I was born in the bustling city of Bombay (now Mumbai; ah! language and politics.) in a middle class Indian family. Due to my father’s transferable job we moved from one place to another quite often. I learnt seven languages in the process and I must say it was quite a learning.

Bhojpuri in Bihar, Punjabi in Delhi, Oriya in Orissa, bit of Bengali, Hindi, English and Marathi, which is my mother tongue. All of this happened when I was seven till I was eighteen. And I loved every bit of it.

Of course, it wasn’t very easy to pick up the nuances of each language (I mean the regional ones. English was mandatory at school and Hindi is the most popular language, that again is political ). From making new friends to even learning expletives, every two years i had to start from the scratch. At some schools, I even had to learn regional language grammar. No marks to guess if I passed .

Every new region threw newer surprises and made me acquire a wider perspective of things. Respecting cultures, understanding social problems and the psyche of the people in a particular region. Today at my workplace, I come across people from all over the country and it makes me and them feel good when I know something about their culture or language. It really helps in networking and making new friends.

People used to ask me where am I from and I was unable to answer this question to their satisfaction. Now, I say I am from everywhere.

Thanks Dad.

Talli Times

‘Gulp Gulp Gulp…’

‘Ek aur beer bhaiya..thandi lao yaar! Aur chakhna bhi…’

Papa would have had tears in his eyes to see his son grow up like this. Not a year out of school, we were having a time of our lives in college. As engineers, it was our moral responsibilty to live up to the name of the profession: get drunk almost every night, stay awake till the hangover creeps in, take a 17 min sleep and take the semester paper for Digital Signal Processing next day. AND PASS :). Choices were directly proportional to the monthly allowance we had from home. From unknown beer brands to not so sophisticated whiskeys and in tough times, desi as well…this could be the story of any engineering student across the country.

The ‘in the buzz’ part is the most memorable. A group discussing lost loves here to a brewing fight there…almost all of it was fun till it got ugly at times. Once while we were coming on foot to the hostel through the ‘pythagoras cut’ (it was a safe route to enter college without getting caught.) from the local bar, a friend lost the way back. We were oblivious to this till we sat down in a room for a round of 29 (an additive card game). Still under influence we got out throught the same secret route and searched for him all night long…when we returned back scared and tired, we saw him brushing his teeth in the bathroom. His wide apologetic grin with the irritating froth said it all. He did not remember a thing. Till date he does not know when and how he returned back to the hostel.

Its been three years since we have passed out (i wanted to use ‘graduated’, but ‘passed out’ suits here :)). Although the size of the group has diminished, we drink to those times today. Well, of course we have graduated to phoren daru now. :)

A new initiative

Having stayed in the most obscure to the most happening places across India (thanks to my Dad’s job), I made friends of all kinds. One of them is this girl who I know for the last 13 years. She was fierce competition at school, be it academics or co-curricula, but you don’t get any prizes to guess who WON!

Anyway, she pinged me a few days ago and suggested to start a blog together. I already have a tough time to manage this blog, leave alone a new one where you have to be responsible for another author as well. Anyway, she coaxed me into it.

We plan to start sometime in July and we would be writing on issues that matter.

Wish us all the best.

Lift, Theft aur Dhokha

Gupta would have loved to keep the actual title (from the movie LSD) for the first two words for this post, but it was not to be. Maybe, just the second one would have been okay for him.

On that fateful sweaty late April night, Daddu had an encounter of sorts. That makes me think why haven’t I ever introduced my roomies on this blog ever? Anyway, getting back to the plot, Daddu was having a nice little stroll in the park adjacent to our building when an auto rickshaw braked right in front of him.

Daddu (to himself): WTF!

It was a bit past midnight and a girl emerged out of the rickshaw and…

Daddu (to himself): A Chick! Mere paas aati hui! I am so cool.

Chick: Please auto ko paise de do…mere paas paise khatam ho gaye.

Daddu (obviously to himself): WTF!

Our imaandari ki murat, decided to help.

Daddu : Take this.

Chick : Please drop me home…

Daddu (now he was really tired of saying this to himself) : WTF!

Daddu : What are you doing here anyway?

Chick : I came from Bombay…a friend was supposed t o receive me…i came here to find him…can’t trace…blah blah blah…

Daddu: Go by the same rickshaw, I’ll pay.

Chick : NO

Daddu needed someone to say along : WTF

The chick was brought to our place to ‘have water’ and finally taken by two humane souls, Gupta and Daddu to ‘her’ place some 25 kms away.

*****

Few days later.

Ting tong. (Just for the effect, the doorbell to our house is not working for the past 3 months..c’mon it’s a bachelor’s pad)

Bai : Kon Pahije (whom do you want to meet?)

Chick : Anshul.

Bai : Kabhi nahi dekha tumko. (Never seen you before here.)

Chick : Friend hai, bai.

The girl came in and surveyed the house while we were at work and bai was preparing the food. Gupta was sutta maroing not more than a minute away from home. The girl befriended the bai and even had some food. This is what I call confidence. Soon the girl was gone with Gupta’s laptop and my mobile phone.

*****

Pakya : Kya yaar…download pe rakha tha..aaj apna programme tha. (Better not translated)

Daddu : Abbbbbe.

Gupta :!#@$##%^@@

Me and Jay : K

*****

While Daddu was being verbally reprimanded by the landlord and Gupta was sulking over his loss, Daddu remembered the chick making a call from his mobile phone. Wonder woman Swati helped us tracing the number and the person who it belonged to. We narrated the incident to the police who were more than willing to help. This, actually surprised us.

The owner of the phone was at the police station next evening.

PSI Patil : Gheun ye tila (Get the girl here.)

Dude : Kaun? (Who?)

The dude was made to witness a third degree.

Dude : Atta anto tila (Will get her right now.)

Gupta : :D, tereko tere blog ke liye bohot masala milne wala hai.

The chick was brought and questioned and made to stay overnight in the lockup. Many unpleasant things came out of the police investigation which are better not said. You get the drift.

About the laptop, it was sold to two guys and was later retrieved. The chick was released on warning.

PSI Patil had his share from us for all the hard work he did.

And the mobile phone, we went up to the girl’s place but were close being thrashed by the girl’s gang.

I bid adieu to my NOKIA 1200. (Ok, I know it’s not all that a great phone)

*****

Daddu left for London with a heavy heart when the investigation was on. On knowing the outcome, he was one relieved man.

Pakya : Main pehle hi bola tha (I knew it, I said it before) J

Gupta : Yaar kaash mein jaldi aa jata…Chance tha yar! (OK we are jerks as well!)

Me and Jay : Since mostly we were the silent spectators to the episode, all we could say:

“Bhalai ka zamana hi nahi raha”  :)

*****

In case you want to know,

Daddu : Hrishikesh

Gupta : Anshul

Pakya :Prakash

Jay and yours truly.

Around Life 5

Its been a long time since I wrote a ‘Around Life’ post.

If you ask me the reason, I really don’t know. Maybe because the short fiction bug bit me and there was nothing significant happening.

Well to begin with :

  • Got deported from the Newark Liberty International Airport. Kept in a cell for 10 hours under video surveillance. Got a first hand account of American discrimination against Asians, particularly Indian techies. Anyway, could be plain simple bad luck. Better, I don’t talk much about it.
  • Dad received a long overdue major award for his work. Proud of him.
  • So many other things. Better not talked about now.

I hope to start again. Afresh. Soon :)

Mr. Dudley’s Study

“Wow, that is spectacular!”, Katie exclaimed the moment she pushed the heavy door and entered Mr. Dudley’s study.
She was already panting by climbing eight floors of the almost abandoned building. She bolted the door behind her and pinned hair back.
“Useful.”
Katie drew a deep breath and took a few more moments to let the view from the old fashioned windows sink into her.
The antique Mahogany desk caught her eye. It smelled musty but a certain scholastic touch was still attached to it. It surprised her that the desk was clean. An empty bottle of scotch stood by the corner of the desk. There was a photo frame. Grace was smiling.
The one room apartment badly needed a clean up. Scientific journals, random notes and old books lay strewn all over the study.
“Its been 15 years…will he even recognize me?”

Katie had traveled some 3000 miles searching for her grandfather. From whatever traces Mr. Dudley had left and all that Katie could lay her hands upon, Stockholm was the last possibility. Mr. Dudley had just left one day. No notes, no phone, no wire, no nothing. He left behind his wife and a government provided scientists’ quarter.
No reason could have been associated to his sudden disappearance. The people at the lab had no clue about his whereabouts. Neither were the police able to trace him.
“He hasn’t worn his glasses. Shouldn’t be far away.”
Katie waited.
*****
Click.
Katie’s heart was pounding.
“Uhhh….hey who are you? How did you get in?”
“Hi! Mr. Dudley…just some simple science and mechanics”
“How do you know me?”
“I am…”
“Katie?”
“Oh my God, is that you Katie?”
“How long?”
“Three years. You don’t have to explain.”
“But…”
“Makes no difference.”
“Why did you think I was alive?”
“Because you promised me that I can be your assistant once I am 21.”
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