Friday, 16 November 2012

Unfathomable Love: My entry for the Get Published contest

Can love be so strong that it transcends the rigid bounds and barriers of logic? Can love be so strong that it defies what's conventional and makes principles dance to its tunes ? Can love be so strong that it postpones what's inevitable ? Love is indeed strong but is it so strong that it keeps the usual cycle of life and death at temporal abeyance ? Lieutenant VS Pratap, who was recently married to Kamini, his childhood love, was an able army officer. One who was known for his unshakable courage,his enigmatic valor and his gregarious nature. Kamini, on the other hand, was the perfect partner for someone who serves the army. The daughter of an army man himself, Kamini was aware of the intricacies and the realities that delve the life of men who chose to live for the nation.

In fact, ever since Kamini had thought of her marriage, she thought of marrying an army man. One whose very existence has a lot to say for itself. Pratap, though, never really wanted to be in the army. His only dream was to become a doctor - something his grandfather dearly wanted him to be. And his other, and perhaps more important dream, was to marry Kamini. Having stayed at just a distance of 4 blocks away from each other, they were very close chaps since their very childhood. And with time, the friendship continued growing more intimate. Kamini joined a local arts college and Pratap failed to clear the medical entrance. He tried in the army, and for him being a fit and aware man, he easily cleared all rounds. Though he was not sure if he'd actually join the army or not, he was always ready to propose Kamini as an army officer. So, the next thing he did after getting a final merit list that contained his name, was proposing Kamini the offer of being the soul mate of an army officer.He did this straightaway without taking any repercussions into consideration. Kamini was rather bewildered but given her deep rooted desideratum of an army man as a husband, she was indeed happy. But guess what, she took it a little too seriously.

She started to feel the intensity of their yet to burgeon relationship. The informal intimacy started transforming into a formal love. Kamini started getting more and more interested in Pratap. Pratap,clueless, thought that he should perhaps let this grow. After all, Kamini was the only girl he ever liked. But on one fine day, Kamini declared to her parents that Pratap, who was about to join the army, is the only man she'd ever like to marry.  Both Pratap and Kamini's parents were in a nerve jabbing state. Her parents perhaps had different ideas, but the mere prospect of letting his daughter marry someone like him did entice her father. But Pratap was actually baffled. He now had to chose one amongst his love and amongst his life. If he tells Kamini that he was not going to join the army, she'd perhaps shut all doors for him. If he joins the army, he'll not only have a respectable life, but he'll also have the girl he always wanted. The choice was easy !

After the newly wed couple could spend a mere 6 days with each other, Lieutenant Pratap received a telegram which contained orders for him to be back to his camp in Manipur in 4 days. Pratap, dedicated to the nation's service ever since he joined the army, had no option but to leave. Given the periods for which army men normally stay away from home, one good thing for the couple to know was that this was a temporary posting that was to last for just 1 month. Pratap kept calling her from the camp. And on the 25th day he said, "Need to go uphill for reconnaissance with the team. Will be out of communication for 2-3 more days. May be directly sent to the base camp after the ops get over. Will see you then.Maybe this is the last phone call". Kamini replied, "Stupid, you mean last phone call before you come back." Pratap replied,"Does it make any difference ?". She said that it did. She further added that she has become acquainted with some new recipes in the meanwhile and will have some good cuisine for Pratap when he gets back.He joked, "I'd prefer to die than to eat it. Okay ! Gotta go now. Ops commencing. Will be back, Bye sweetheart.". She replied in a conspicuously faint voice, "Bye." This did indeed prove to be his last phone call but will he come back ?

Have a similar story in mind or has the gasp of love affected you in ways which you'd like to tell ? If that's the case, visit this link now and #GetPublished.

This is my entry for the HarperCollins–IndiBlogger Get Published contest, which is run with inputs fromYashodhara Lal and HarperCollins India.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Paranormal Activity III

                                               The Love Story that never really kicked off

In continuation to our recent tryst with the realm of the paranormal, we're a little adamant on bringing you some more appropriate stuff to entice your paranormal alter ego.This one is based on a famous tale that's pretty much prevalent in the native village of a close acquaintance of mine. The village is situated somewhere near Jabalpur in MP. 

It is said that around the first phase of the British rule in India, when the Zamindars(Landlords) still had their say, this native village had one mighty Zamindar who had a huge palace situated in the middle of the village. The palace was situated just next to all of his farms and just next to it was his hay shed. Most of his laborers had their small hutches cladding the palace and its boundary, and they formed a small community in itself. This community comprised mainly of people from the lower strata of the society - Ones who farmed,separated dust from hay and the cart pullers.And amongst these were two tagged 'lovers' who were actually no more than friends.

This girl was already married and boy was still a bachelor The boy being a cart puller and the girl a hay separator, belonged to two different castes.  These were castes where the mere proposition of marrying someone from the other caste could have raised swords. But this boy and girl were no more than mere friends, as the protagonists believe. They shared a laugh or two and no more than a regular inquiry about their work and families. But everyone in the small community, possible including the girl's husband, was aware that these two do talk with each other at times and I believe this may have surely raised an eyebrow or two in a community with stringent no holds barred rules.

One day,the girl was working in the hay field, and the boy was loading hay on the cart. Those two were just a few meters away, I guess. The girl suddenly remembered to put in  sindoor on her forehead. She probably forgot to do this on time. While she was unwrapping the leaf that had the sindoor, there was a strong breeze that took the sindoor away to the boy's kurta and made its presence felt clear.Those two didn't realize how big an impact this can have on their existence but the sly expressions on the faces of the testaments were more than obvious.

I still don't understand why this could have caused such a big issue but legend suggests that the issue was indeed a big one. The news spread like fire and soon reached the Zamindar. The Zamindar along with saints from the region considered this to be terribly blasphemous and without any second thoughts agreed on awarding the strictest possible punishments to the lads. They were to be buried alive on the very doorstep of the hay shed !

The girl and boy, as helpless as they could be, could do nothing.Till date no one knows if the girl's husband agreed to this or had any other ideas but in a social setup like that, for him to retain his life,I guess he would have been compelled to acquiesce. So,the stage was set. The graves were made and the boy and girl were asked to lay down without any objections. Here comes the event that changed the destiny of generations that were yet to come. The girl and boy, in spite of the injustice endowed on them, bestowed upon the Zamindar and his family a benediction instead of shooting a curse. 

The girl and the boy told the Zamindar that as long as he and his family continue to light an earthen lamp next to their graves, he or his family will never lose any legal/jurisdictional battle. And the day they stop doing so, his family would be ruined. For the boy and the girl belonging to a petty class in the Zamindar's vision, he ignored their comment and concluded the burial with perhaps a sense of satisfaction. Legend suggests that he had no penance for this cruel act.

No one lighted an earthen lamp near the grave for years. The number of laborers kept on increasing and the number of hutches could not be extended. So now, some laborers were asked to sleep in the hay shed itself. And here is where the innocent souls made their presence felt, True to the statements of these laborers, something unusual used to happen every single night. Even though there was no girl near the shed, they would hear the feeble voices of a boy and a girl talking to each other and sharing a laugh or two. Some of them even admitted that shadows of two people were pretty much visible near the graves during nights. Whether these accounts were true or not, the laborers were more happy to die than to sleep near the place. Consequently, the stories of sightings near the graves increased and everyone was forbidden from even coming near that area, specially women and children.The Zamindar had died by now and his son had taken up his father's chair.

A few years later when the Britishers had begun to expand their reach, this Zamindar's palace and his huge farm had caught their eye. They arranged some documents where they showed that the Zamindar is not punctual on his taxes and that his land should be seized.We cannot comment on whether this was true or not. Soon a British friendly law started acting against the Zamindar and the case just kept moving in favor of the local British authorities. The Zamindar lost his farms, a portion of his palace and now was only left with some hay fields and the forbidden hay shed. Most of the legal battle was lost. 

The Zamindar considered this to be his destiny and believed that he too like all other Zamindars from India would lose everything. However, his wife, having heard about the final benediction of the benevolent lads, had very different ideas. One night, when everyone was deep asleep, she took the courage to enter the forbidden area with some flowers and an earthen lamp. She went to the graves, lighted the earthen lamp there, spread her flowers, bowed down and asked for forgiveness on part of her ancestors. And would you believe it. The next very hearing went in favor of the Zamindar. Baffled, he went to his wife and told her about his unexpected triumph. But she knew what was behind this.When she told him about her activity, he literally shivered. He immediately made it public that from now on, its his family's and the village's responsibility that the graves and the spirits of the lads be treated with utmost respect. From then on, someone from their family would light earthen lamps near the graves on every single night. And the Zamindar would win every subsequent battle. 

I was literally amazed after listening to this story and it took me no time to realize that I have to write on this. The friend of mine who told me this story says that though the descendants of the Zamindar's family are now scattered all over the country, some people still inhabit the old palace and perhaps they still follow the practice of lighting a lamp every night. At times, our conscience remains there even after we die. Our souls, as powerful as they can get, have every tool in the world to force their presence and vie for their cause.Feel very sorry for the young lads who lost their lives for no understandable reason. But their benediction continued to live and perhaps would continue existing for many more years.

The end is not far away !

Just imagine if technology progressed a few 10000 times faster than we anticipated, and just imagine if Facebook was available for the Mayans' disposal. Could they've refrained from letting their discoveries and findings flood the world's minds with speculation and skepticism ? And could the anxieties of some fabulous men who followed be cured without commenting on the same ? If you think that the answers to these questions is in negative, this Fake Wall is for you.

In case you liked if, here's the link to our TheWallMachine url where we store all of our Fake Walls -

And here's our Facebook page url where we publish them as sharable photos