Category Archives: Short Story

The Love Cartridge: The Mistimed Bullet – Chapter 4

By Joybrato Dutta

the love catridge

Day – Thursday, June 12, 2008
Time – 10:30 PM

Neha drives the car through water-clogged streets as Riya checks her bag. “Didi kya dhund rahi ho?”

“Bas check kar rahi hun, make-up ka saara saaman liya ki nahin” she chuckles as she says.

Rain starts pouring heavily as they get closer to their destination. Riya is constantly glued to her phone and her face gets tensed.

“Kya hua didi, pareshan kyun ho rahi ho” Neha inquires

“Harsh apna phone nahin utha raha hai” Riya answers in a tensed way

“Uffo Didi woh drive kar raha hoga, usey bhi utni hi jaldi hai jitni ki humey”

She drives through a forsaken lane and parks the car behind the temple. As soon as Neha gets off the car something hits her head and she falls unconscious on the ground.

After sometime Neha regains consciousness. She finds herself in the car. She hurries out of the car and tries to find Riya. Tries Riya’s number. But phone was switched off. She looks at the watch; it was 11:15 PM. She cries out loud. But all she heard was her echo. She runs all around the temple. She looks for Riya everywhere possible. Her worst nightmare came true. And she had no idea who to call. She tried calling Harsh, but he didn’t answer his call. She didn’t have Vikrant’s number. She cries helplessly.

Suddenly she notices Riya’s bag at a distance. She runs towards it, but only finds Riya’s burnt clothes. She carefully looks on the ground and notices blood. Horror strikes her.

Fear and sadness crept into her. She runs towards her car. Suddenly she sees Harsh. She notices his blood stained hands, and hides behind a bush. Harsh’s shirt was drenched in blood. He was searching the car frantically. Neha’s eyes were glued to Harsh’s blood stained hands. Assumptions turned into convictions

“It was him. He killed Riya? But why?” she thought to herself.

Vengeance swept away the fear in her. She could not believe her eyes. She came out of her hiding as soon as Harsh left. She sat in her car and drove away as fast as she could. A solemn oath strengthened her: “You will pay for this Harsh”

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The Love Cartridge: The Assured Bullet – Chapter 3

By Joybrato Dutta

the love catridge

Day – Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Time – 6:30 PM

“Yeh fiza itni madhosh hai

Kyunki isme tumhari saanse basi hai

Yeh sham itni khoobsurat hai

Kyunki isme…………..”

“Stop it Harsh, mai mazak ke mood mein hain hun”, Riya screams agitatedly. Harsh quietly rises from his kneeling pose and sits beside Riya on the bench.

“Abb jaane bhi do, kuch na kuch raasta nikal aayega” Harsh consoles Riya

“Kab raasta niklega. Tumhe to jaise koi fikr hi nahin”

Harsh caresses Riya’s soft hair and says “Fikhr hai, bharosa rakho, mai jald hi kuch…

Riya looks at Harsh. Tears roll down from the corner of her eyes to the corner of her cheeks.

“Monday ko papa mujhe Munger le jaa rahe hai. Wahan unhone ladka pasand kiya hai. Brahmin hai. Wahin shaadi karwa denge”.

Harsh hugged Riya. “Don’t worry sab theek ho jaayega”, Harsh tries to comfort Riya

“Tum log kahin bhaag kyun nahin jaate” Neha screams from behind.

“Neha tu yahan?” Riya asks curiously

“Sorry Didi, friends’ ke saath aayi thi, aapko dekha to bas aa gayi” she says as she kissed Riya on her forehead.

“To Harsh, mai yeh keh rahi thi tum didi ko bhaga ke kyun nahin le jaate”

Riya interrupts “Bewakufi ki baatein mat karo, papa maar dalenge”

“Kuch dino ki baat hai didi, Harsh aapko bhaga kar Kareli le jaayega, wahan kuch din reh lena.”

“Papa dhund lenge” Riya interrupts

“India ke map mein koi Kareli ko dhund nahi sakta aapko Kareli mein kahan se dhund lenge.” Neha smirks as she retorts

“Ek baar hum Kareli pahunch jaaye, wahan koi humara baal bhi baaka nahi kar sakta” Harsh assures

Riya and Neha look at Harsh. His eyes provided assurance.

“Tumhe chutti mil jaayegi?” Riya inquires

“Chutti kisey chahiye? Tum par aise sau Tata Motors kurbaan”

They hug each other as Neha leaves them to have a private moment.

The Predicament

By Joybrato Dutta

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My eyes blinked. My eyelids fluttered. My hands trembled, as I tried to reach the button, which was just two metres away from me. A thousand voices had formed allegiance in my brain and were asking me to not press it. However, I was seeking that one voice that would make me aware of the repercussion. What if I am not supposed to press the button? What if it’s meant to be this way? The voices in my head told me, it would be better to leave it. My life could be much better. Something better might be waiting for me once the moment passed.

The excruciatingly painful moment just didn’t pass. I looked around. I was in a gas chamber, or a jail, or maybe the vault of a bank. I just couldn’t tell. My vision was blurred. All I could see was the button. I was like Arjun, the great archer from Mahabharata. Well, probably Arjun on acid. Because for some inexplicable reason my hands refused to follow my orders.

The sound in the room was deafening. It was like someone scratching a black board with nails. God knows what caused that noise. What had I done to deserve this? What happened last night? I tried looking through my blurry eyes. I couldn’t spot anyone. Where were my friends? Where was the girl who danced with me last night? I remember drinking with her.

Oh damn! She got me a drink. Did she mix anything in my drink? Why couldn’t I remember? I just remember leaving my friends and sitting in her car. My friends had warned me about such poison ivies. “Poison Ivy? She looked more of a damsel in distress” I retorted. “There’s a bitch in every bitchaari”, my friends cautioned me. Why didn’t I listen to them? Why do I have to always surrender to my stubbornness? Look what it has landed me into. Visuals from the movie Hostel started flashing in my head. Young men being castrated and lynched to satisfy the fetish of some rich Arab.

I couldn’t let that happen. I tried to gather the might and approached the button that would decide my destiny. The voices in my head tried to stop me. But I had already turned my back on common sense. As my hand neared the button the cacophony in my head increased. I hope I am making the right decision. I hope a beautiful day waits on the other side of this button. I hope I am ready to face it.

And then with all my strength, with all the power in my body I got up and pressed the button. The sound stopped. My alarm clock simply stopped. And just like that another day of struggling to get out of my bed was over. I can simply hope the day is worth the effort.

The Adultress

By Malathy Madathilezham

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She stared at his worried eyes. No, she stared through them…into oblivion. What was she doing here? Why was she with him? Tears streamed down her eyes, an ocean of emotions over which she had no control. ‘I am sorry dear, really… I don’t know what to say? Why are you crying?’

His voice just washed over the surface of her skin, in the background. It wasn’t that she regretted having sex with this gentle giant of a man who had become her greatest support during the past few months. She was just surprised and overwhelmed at what could have driven her to do it. She knew he loved her intensely, but she also knew that she did not. He was part of her life right now to help her through this difficult time. Right now, she couldn’t bear the thought of sharing her life with another man! She was repulsed by the very thought.

‘Mridula!!’ Arun’s voice shook her out of her reverie. ‘Look at me dear, you know how wretched I feel when you cry. It’s worse when I don’t know why.’ Should she share her thoughts? No, she decided, it would cause so much pain to him and that she would not be able to see. ‘It happens you know when I get overwhelmed by emotions, tears just flow. Doesn’t mean that I am sad!’ She smiled at him.

It was in college that she first met him. It wasn’t first love but it was in first sight. She was drawn to him in a way she had not known till then. The magic of their first date made her want to meet him again…and again and again. The first time they made love, she had decided that this was the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. She could only see the love in his eyes… Love was everything….

Mridula was in stress. Uncertainty in her career, financial burden and the constant bickering and fighting with Anand was taking a toll on her health. She did not know what to do. Her only solace now was Arun. She felt guilty. She felt as if she was using him. But she could not stop. Their conversations and coffee together after work was the only thing she looked forward to nowadays.

Arun loved her. From the first day at work he liked her. He had sensed that she was troubled and wanted to help her. He tried to maintain a distance after he came to know she was married. That did not work! He could not believe what happened today. He felt guilty. ‘She is married!!’ His friends had warned him not get emotionally involved as they did not want to see him get hurt. But he had started hoping for more…looking forward to more… may be….

Mridula was walking home. She had cheated on her husband today. But why wasn’t she feeling guilty? She was, in fact, feeling calm and relieved. The uncertainty in her mind was there no more. She knew now what she wanted. More importantly she knew what she had to do to achieve that. She felt a sense of freedom which had till then eluded her. She was free.

The Love Cartridge: The Last Bullet – Chapter 1

By Joybrato Dutta

the love catridgeDay – Friday, June 13, 2008
Time – 9:30 PM

Shopkeepers close down the shutters as Harsh drives a black Alto through the narrow cramped lanes of Birsanagar. Not the best lanes for people who love driving. Harsh steers his car in a narrower lane and parks it there. He walks down the narrow lane and climbs up a flight of stairs. As he unlocks his door he senses the presence of another soul. His intense eyes frantically looks everywhere. Unable to spot a shadow, he enters the room..

He picks a bottle of Old Monk and drops in a few tablets in it. Pulls a chair. Turns on his laptop. Composes a mail.

To: neha_luvsu@yahoo.com
Subject: Where are you? 😦 😦

Hey, m sorry

BOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A bullet pierces Harsh’s skull. His corpse lies flat on the floor. Blood spilled on the laptop and on a photo frame that enshrined Harsh’s and Riya’s most special moment.

Neha removes her black hood and comes closer to Harsh’s dead body. She looks at the photo frame and empties the cartridge on Harsh. She sets his apartment on fire and leaves.

Retribution – A Short Story

murder mystery

 

By Ganesh Subramanian

It was a bright morning in New York. Ritesh woke up to the sound of chirping birds beside his window. He rubbed his eyes for his vision to clear. He looked at the Christiano Ronaldo poster that adorned one of the walls of the living room. The poster showed Ronaldo ready to take a free kick. Ritesh was reminded of the premier league match that he planned to watch that night that featured Christiano Ronaldo. Almost as if stirred by memory, his eyes moved to the calendar which was hanging from one of the walls. The date 11th of December was circled in bright red colour. Ritesh smiled at the irony that the date was circled in red and not in any other colour. Today was the 11th of December. The circled date reminded him of the most important task that he wanted to accomplish that day, an accomplishment that would banish the demons of humiliation, embarrassment and pain, an accomplishment that would exorcise the ghosts of the past once and forever. This was something important that he has to finish at any cost. The premier league match can wait.

After a quick shower, he reached his office. After checking his mails and mailing his daily updates to his boss, Ritesh was waiting for a call which he was expecting that day of all days.  The next minute, his mobile screen flashed the name of Vimmy Veronika. Ritesh answered the call.

“Happy Birthday, my cutie teddy”, said the female voice at the other end.

“Thanks. Surprising to see that you have come to office on time”, mocked Ritesh.

“Only for you, dear”, answered Veronika. “Ok Listen. Come over for dinner tonight at my place”, said Veronika.

This was what Ritesh wanted to hear. But still he played with Veronika. “I have lots of work. Need to prepare that presentation for the board meeting this Friday”, said Ritesh.

“Oh, Come on. If you spend a couple of hours over dinner at my place, your board won’t sack you”, Veronika said.

“Alright. I will be there at 9.” replied Ritesh.

“Now that’s my boy. See ya” said Veronika.

Ritesh winded up the day’s work by 8 pm and when his SUV landed in Veronika’s Eastbrook apartments, it was 8.45 pm.

Ritesh and Veronika were from India, but now working in the US. Veronika was born to a Hindu father and a Christian mother, hence the name has a combination of Hindu and Christian names (Vimmy, short for Vimala, a Hindu name and Veronika for her Christian roots). Having got to know each other through a common friend, Ritesh and Veronika loved each other as if there is no tomorrow. Veronika told Ritesh that she will make her dad announce him as her life partner during her birthday party. Ritesh bought an apartment with his year-long savings to present it to Veronika. On the birthday party, Vimmy’s dad announced her engagement to Deepak John, an Indo-American businessman. Ritesh was heartbroken. The worst part was Veronika seemed to be happy with her dad’s decision. She told Ritesh that Deepak was well-settled and she could not disappoint her father. This sudden change in Veronika baffled him. Through some of his sources, Ritesh came to know that Deepak and Veronika had been pals in college and they had a very intense relationship and before they knew it, Veronika was pregnant. So this marriage is a quick heal solution before things could go out of hand. Ritesh’s blood boiled on hearing this. “How could she do this to me?”, he wondered. Although they both had kept in touch occasionally through the phone after this incident, things were never the same again between them.

Veronika welcomed Ritesh. After a sumptuous dinner, they settled on the couch and were having a few drinks. Veronika got up to bring another bottle. Ritesh got up and followed her. When Veronika pulled out the bottle from the fridge and turned back, Ritesh was standing close to her. He flashed a romantic smile. He moved close to her and put an arm on her waist. He brought his face close to hers. Past memories came flooding back to Veronika. She couldn’t resist. Anticipating a kiss from Ritesh, she closed her eyes. This was the opportune moment he was waiting for. He brought out a kitchen knife, its steel finish glistening in the dimly lit CFL lamp. In a swift motion, he plunged the knife into Veronika’s midsection. Veronika froze in horror and pain. The bottle dropped from her hands. Before she could scream, Ritesh’s left hand closed her mouth. He pulled out the knife and drove it harder into her abdomen again. Ritesh came close and whispered into Veronika’s ear – “You shouldn’t have done this to me, you lecherous bitch!”. Saying so, he pushed Veronika. She dropped dead on the floor.

One more task to be accomplished. Ritesh started his SUV and headed towards Maxington Lane. He reached Silver Oak apartments in Maxington lane and headed to Door # 145 in the 3rd floor. Jeevitha, a Tamilian from the southern part of TamilNadu, the occupant of #145, opened the door.

“Yes. How may I help you?” said Jeevitha.

“I am Ritesh. I am the brother of Mukesh, your reportee. I want to talk to you” replied Ritesh.

“Come in.” said Jeevitha.

“I know why you are here. To say that your brother is innocent. But the records seem to tell a different story. The 10 lakhs that disappeared was his responsibility. There were no expenses of that magnitude that day. Only way the money could have disappeared is when Mukesh himself had taken it. Better he admit his crime, so that atleast his punishment would come down” replied Jeevitha.

“Mukesh is not like that. He is innocent. He is being fabricated in this case for some moron’s crime. Do not go by what you hear. Listen to your heart. Save him from this mess”, pleaded Ritesh.

“I am sorry. I can’t do anything. Your brother has to face the consequences”, Jeevitha said firmly.

“Will you help him or not?”, Ritesh said in a menacing tone.

“No. If you don’t leave now, I’ll call the cops”. Saying so, Jeevitha moved towards the telephone.

Ritesh was fast. He pulled Jeevitha back and twisted her right arm behind her back.

” I am asking you one last time. Your statement against my brother tomorrow will finish his career. After that, Mukesh will not be alive. Think again.” said Ritesh.

Jeevitha didn’t listen to him. She extricated herself from Ritesh’s grasp and ran to the window to shout and alert the apartment’s security. Ritesh was equally quick. In one motion, he twisted Jeevitha’s left arm behind her back and put his right arm around her neck. Then he brought out the kitchen knife and slit her throat in a smooth motion. Jeevitha’s crumpled form fell to the floor.

Satisfied with his accomplishments, Ritesh left house no. 145 with the occupant lying in a pool of blood.

 

 

Of Trains and Cruel Mathematical Series

By Ankit Chandra

18

28 f 54
54 f 56
72 f 36
10 m 33
25 m 48
13 m 24 ….

it is not tough for a guy to decode the above series… this happens with all us middle class males so bereft of quality companionship in trains… the series above is a testimony of what I call the great divide of India…

If u still havent understood what the above thing is, well, lemme elaborate on the plight that eats on us like an earthworm feeding on a leaf. It is a very slow and painful slaughter of our hope to spend some ‘quality’ time with members of the opposite sex at a place where there are no parents or relatives…

The series above is what we see when we gaze at the reservation chart of the train that the station guy puts up so nonchalantly… Seat no. 28 F 54 years, Seat no. 54 F 56 (pfff),Seat no. 72 F 36(oh c’mon!),Seat no. 10 M 33(what the hell!), Seat no. 25 M 48(whatever.. it’s always this way..),Seat no. 13 M 24 (Yeah that’s me …)

You see, India is a huge country and when u have to travel to the other side of it, u end up spending close to 20 hrs in the train… U see so much in the journey and are so overwhelmed with it that u have to have someone to share ur feelings with (umm did i actually write what i just wrote?) .

Coming back to the series. I am right there at the end with the unlucky seat no. And it is called the great Indian divide ‘coz all the pretty faces and beautiful bodies travel in the AC coaches! for somehow the fathers of hot and attractive young women are always wealthy enough to keep their daughters away from their potential mates! and we are left with 28 f 54 ‘s, 72 f 36’s to learn about their nephews (mostly) and sons (irritatingly) working in great MNCs and almost always a pass out of II(Ts/Ms) … phew…

I am taking a Deccan airways next time. I am told the the great Indian divide narrows there. Long live liberalization.