The Butler Did It

“I pulled most of my funds for this.”
“Is this the right thing?”
“Am I undoing a whole lot of good for nothing?”
No, NO. I shake these thoughts off and steel my resolve. I have to go ahead with this.
This city needs saving, and no one else I know has the resources to do so, other than this kid I care for.
All he needs is the motivation, and that’s where I come in.
I’m trying to convince myself that what I’m doing is not utterly terrible, but for the greater good.
But how, how can I ignore the sheer monstrosity of it all?
I assure you I take no pleasure in the chain of events that I’m supposedly setting off, unlike my employer, my real employer. He seems to take a keen interest in what the future holds for this city. And in that do I put all my faith, that somehow this madness will redeem this city and stop it in its path to self-destruction. Hence, I commit this heinous act.
I meet the man identified for the job at Robinson Park and hand him the money and the gun.
The Waynes should be on their way to the theater now.

Master Bruce, your journey towards becoming this city’s knight in the shining armor has begun.

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Delirium

Dangerous wouldn’t even begin to describe the situation that he was in.
Minutes ago, he was cozy in his bed, reading Robert Ludlum on a Friday night. When suddenly, he heard these groaning noises that scared the hell out of him. As the noises grew louder and closer, fear took over and he hid inside the closet and waited. He waited till the groans died down.
He sat down and tried to relax, trying to convince himself that nothing was wrong, that it was just a mouse. It is ironic how death strikes you when you least expect it to.
A GROAN reverberated. He stiffened, and shuddered in fear.
This time, it was from inside the closet.

*Save*

He fixed his glasses. Very nice. Very nice indeed. He patted himself on the back, for the great creepy-pasta he had just written. Small, but packs a punch, he thought. Now he can go and pee. He had been holding it in, in his excitement.
Great stories come in the creepiest of situations. His parents being away and the whole house being dark was the ultimate stage. As he returned from the washroom,  he noticed something weird. The notepad application looked blank. His entire story was gone.
Well, except for one line. As he neared his PC, the line grew clearer, until he could read the line clearly.

‘NICE STORY.’, it said.

*Save*

She finished her story amidst the constant  rattling of trees in the monstrous storm outside. Her penchant for darker themes had bested her again. She grew restless. As much as she enjoyed horror stories, she inadvertently became aware of her surroundings once she has written or read one. She put her dairy on the table top and tried to sleep. She tried hard, but to no avail.
The hand stroking her hair made it difficult. Especially ’cause she was alone in the house that night.

*Save*

He was happy with his layered horror story. This would be a hit in the blogosphere, he thought. Just then, he heard a strange noise coming from the backyard. Amused by how real life can sometime mimic stories, he headed out to check upon the miscreant, probably a mouse. He never came back…

I found this story on his PC, unpublished.Prior to his disappearance, he had gone insane, went on writing weird stories. And he always talked about this figure that stalked him.A figure no one else could see.
We should never have gone to the graveyard that night…

Charlie, if you see this story or stumble upon it on the internet,come back, or give a call man. It’s been 8 years now…

A Writer’s Weapons

Yesterday, I came across this very intriguing Japanese folk story.
It was about this person. His neighbours and people across the street were always afraid of him, because of a very peculiar thing that happened every day. As a perplexed neighbour describes, “Every night after the Shyuske returns from the fields, a terrific, blood curdling scream bellows out of his house. Every night at exactly 12. Whenever we ask him about it, he just stares at us in utter silence and with dead cold eyes. We have stopped asking now.” . Weird Indeed.
Shyuske’s cousin Kintaro visits him one time, and on his first day, he comes across this story from the village people (village people. Really?). That night, after dinner, Kintaro anxiously waited for the clock to strike 12, to understand what really happens to his brother. Precisely at 12, Kintaro saw something very weird. All of a sudden, his brother started making these weird, loud noises standing by the window and after a while he stopped and went to  bed.
The next morning, curious Kintaro asked his brother about the events of the previous night, to which Shyuske smiled and replied, “The last owner of this house told me how this was a bad neighborhood. Most of these people living here are into bad things. They harassed the poor guy a lot. But I have to live here because this is closest place to the fields. So I came up with this plan. They will not fear police, but no one dares to mess with the supernatural.”

What a great story. Opinions will vary from school to school but what struck my fancy was Shyuske’s intent. He was absolutely clear about what he wanted to do and left no stone unturned to find a way and implement it to the tee. For me, this is very essential to writing. A writer with clear intent writes the cleanest stories. Intent gives purpose and direction to writing. It helps the reader to latch on to your train of thoughts and see things from your perspective.The next story is also very interesting and has actually happened.

There was once a man who chewed paan (beetle leaves) everyday. He would always have a paan in his mouth.And there was one more thing that he’d do.
Everyday, while on his way to work,the man would spit out the remaining paan on a giant stone. He kept doing this for years and gradually the stone turned red from all the paan spit.
One fine day, our protagonist was on his way to work when he saw a huge crowd in front of the stone. To his utter surprise, people were actually worshiping the stone! They thought it was a blessing from some deity. Men were donating wads of money, women had brought their children along to seek blessings of the lord.
The man was bemused. He did not have the heart to reveal the truth.

What this story shows us is, packing is important.It’s just not a great concept, but the way you write it, that makes for a good read. What would ‘The Fog Horn‘ be, but only a great idea, if it wasn’t for Ray Bradbury’s piercing documentary. ‘The Raven‘ would be a drab poem, without Edgar Allan Poe’s grim and dark portrayal of themes. The relic that people were worshiping was just a stone, but the red colour made it a reincarnation of god himself. That’s how strong proper packaging can be.

So there you go. Intent in writing, and proper portrayal of your intent. Those are two of the greatest of writers’ weapons. Armed with these, you can create magic in the greatest theater there is- the human brain.

Oh, and the first story, I just made that up. Wanted to make my intent clear.

Bridging The Deficit

India and Pakistan are bad neighbours is mild way of putting the tension between the countries since their birth. And the relationship has never looked to be heading for the good.
Well, people concerned do use the right words to describe it- “trust deficit”, but what they do to bridge this deficit doesn’t speak much for their vocabulary. Throwing dossiers and accusing each other for attacks in respective countries doesn’t exactly bridge a trust-deficit.
Day in and day out, you see news channels on both sides of the border spitting venom on the other side, accusing each other of things that could be.
Infact, today I saw this news channel, running a program about strengthening ties through cricket. The visuals showed either Pak bowlers getting a thorough bashing from Indian bastmen or Pakistan batsmen loosing their wickets.
Art and sports can only take us this far.Lazing around one fine evening and talking about the similarities in both countries will never help bring a change .The people at the helm have to understand that all they have to do is believe. Someone has to bend. It is painful to see a region that could be an economic and cultural powerhouse, torn apart due to vested interests.
Even if some people do agree to the above, they expect thier counterpart to bend first.
Both parties are at fault and nobody’s helping the cause, neither the government nor the people.
Lets not walk into the hole the bad dudes want us to fall into. Let us listen to each other for a change. Lets believe in each other for once.

GODS

Aman was a 12th std. student in Delhi. He led a normal life, except for the fact that he could lift a truck with his right pinky.

Yes, Aman was a superhero. He saved women, banks, kittens, the president and did his chemistry projects.

That day had been particularly taxing on him. He usually sprains his wrist when he lifts a dozen cars at a time. Aman dragged himself to his room and dozed off instantly.

That night, he had a dream. Not one of the horrible ones, in which you are a mute spectator, but the rare ones, which you feel are under your control. Aman flew past cities, past the Himalayas, and into a, dark, deep tunnel, leading into a cave.

There he saw, an old, frail, breaded man stooped, and chained so heavily that he could hardly see a patch of skin, except for his head. The man looked up and Aman saw a face so featureless, yet screaming out for something, help, maybe, Aman thought. His eyes were sea blue, swollen and very dry.

With a weak, but probing voice, the man spoke, “So, finally, you’ve come.”

Aman was confused, “You know me? How come…But I don’t.Who are you?.”

“You see Aman, this world, this universe is all about balance. Everything you see is always at balancing its negative self. “

“Mountains are there to balance the craters and trenches, air to counter water, hatred for love, good for bad. So when you earned those amazing powers, you terribly shook the balance of the creators great work.”

All this was over-whelming for Aman, “Wait. I save the day and I’m blamed for it? What balance is this now, eh?”

“You used your power to help mankind and not otherwise, those are your values and your good nature. But you are a superhuman and there needed to be a counter-force for you too. And that force, is me.”

“Yes, I’m weak, frail, these chains are the burdens of hopes and aspirations of all man and animal kind. I take their misfortunes, their pain and suffering.”

Aman,”But I thought I do that.”

“You wipe off their tears, I keep them. All the pain and suffering don’t vanish, they come to me.”

Aman, “So, why call me here?”

“Because the time has come. We must switch places. It is your turn to be the hope-keeper now.” And the man raises his hand towards Aman.

Aman reluctantly puts his hand forward,”But who are you? And how do you know me?”

“I…, We, are the creator’s two most trusted men. Commonly known as GODS.”

As both touch each others’ hands. A SNAP.

Adam wakes up with a start. He gingerly walks up to his balcony and flies out into the Manhattan skyline for his early morning vigil.

A Comic Situation

I flip through the pages of my old Champaks and Chacha Chaudharys. The pages are still crisp and the yellow tinge adds a hint of value to them, as time does to wine. I can’t help but wonder, where those days of halcyon went?
Comics meant everything to me as a kid. And not the Marvels and DCs mind you. What fascinated me were the Billloo, Pinki, Raman, Sabu, the affable Chacha C and not to forget the Nagrajs and Dogas. Our very own Diamond and Raj comics were dearest to me.
But with each passing year, the quality of content deteriorated and so did my (and probably others’) interest. Diamond is as good as non-exist ant and Raj comics have lost the art of story-telling.
It puzzles me, when I get hold of one of these ‘modern’ Chacha Chaudharys- should I cry at the lame and stale one-liners or should I laugh at the alarming frequency at which the colour of Chachaji’s turban changes every 5 pages. Sometimes, I hardly ever get through 5 pages!
Comics in India is AILING. We need more Prans. We need sharper minds and willing people going into this floundering industry. Comics are a significant part of our history, and they ought be preserved.

The Fact About Fiction

The world has seen a lot of talented fiction writers. Their ideas were new, appealing and gave a new meaning to their (and others’) lives. But what was that one thing that made them so special?
There are hundreds of ‘writers’ guide’ that keep incessantly gloating about doing things ‘differently’. In fact, if something is stale, it is these rhetoric. But then, (I hate to sound repetitive) what was the thing that clicked for these brilliant minds?
We are born and brought up by our parents, and by the time we are capable of brewing intelligent thoughts, we develop what I like to call a ‘cast’. The ideas that come into our mind must fit into this cast, lest it displease a section of our society. It is like writing for others, we are more interested to make our ideas and writings sound sensible rather then making them sound interesting. Sample this: You won’t ask your neighbour if he or she likes beige or metallic interiors when you are painting your house, would you?
Of course, sounding somewhat logical is called for but your fantasy should follow your logic not the world’s norms.
That’s what these fiction writers did, they could shake off the constraints of trying to justify their writings and write for themselves, ending up with classics and bestsellers.
But, its easier said than done (as every cool and awesome thing on self-help blogs and books is). Even the best writers can never completely uproot what they go by in the real world. At a certain level it will influence one’s writing. But such a touch is involuntary and is either unpalpable or pleasing.
You can go “Oh that’s easy,” but you’ll know exactly how tough it can get, when you write. At the end of every line, you’ll be asking yourself, “Oh, what will people say to that?”. These kinds of thoughts are very hard to ignore. But, once the self-realization sets in you’ll find such questions melting away. You’ll want to know how YOU will react to a line, and that’s when your imagination will really take over.
It’s not Mr President’s G8 speech, its your world that we are talking about, your playground. So go, play God.
Its all about realizing that only YOU can write a book that you will love to read.