Monday, 13 November 2006


• Come on George, Run fast” Rahul yelled. George and Rahul were enacting a PT USHA-model sprint in the bustling Ernakulam Railway Station. The Venad Express was luring them with its crawling. George and Rahul put their full energy into their legs, hoping that the Venad Express won't be callous enough to leave them behind in the station. In that process, Rahul hit an old man and pushed him over. He ignored him and grabbed the handle bar of the bogie and sprang into it. George was about to jump into the compartment. But some irresistible force prevented him from doing so. The sight of the old man lying down.; All the articles in his bag strewed the dirty floor-coins, Tiffin box, some photographs, paper chits. People jumping over him; stamping their foot on his belongings. people rushing around without any thought that they are treading on a human soul. The plight of that old man forced him to ignore Rahul's incessant calls.; to ignore the important meeting which is supposed to take place; to ignore the very fact that he is already late for work.Geroge went near the old man. He helped him to get up from his down-trodden state. He also helped him to gather his belongings which were scattered all over the place. He could see the 'X' mark of the train moving to infinity.'Today I'm going to miss the meeting. My career would be at peril. Again I'll be made to pay the price for helping out someone'It's not the first time that the sight of someone suffering has shaken his conscience. The spring of humanity in him had not dried up in the sultriness of consumerist and materialistic world life. He could not brush people off in their plight. Instead, he extended a helping hand. That too, on many occasions at the cost of his own life; his time; his money; his relationships. his future. It happened when he hospitalized a person, who was lying injured on the National Highway like a stray dog. Not only did it cost him a lot of money but it also got him in legal troubles. Same thing happened on his date. He was waiting for his girlfriend in a restaurant. Then he saw an old woman who was begging outside. Later he learned that she hasn’t taken food for many days. When his girlfriend came, she could see him dining with that old lady. That was the end of that relationship. Even if all trees in this world are made into paper, they won't suffice to record the instances where George has invited troubles by being a Good Samaritan.“Thanks a lot. I’m sorry that you missed your train. “The old man said.“its ok.Trains will come and go. But an opportunity to help a fellow human being, if lost cannot be regained” George replied.“It seems that helping out people is your profession” The old man laughed.“If I turn a blind eye to a man in need of help, my conscience will prick.Afterall we all are children of God. I follow what my Lord has said-”Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and will with thy soul, and with all thy strength and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself”“Oh!!You believe in God?” The old man asked.“Yes. I believe in God. God is Almighty” He asserted.“Oh!!If god is almighty, can he create a rock which he cannot lift?” his eyes were full of mischief.George was flabbergasted by that question. He did not know whether to say 'yes' or 'no'.“God is a divine force which is beyond the level of human understanding. It cannot be explained or substantiated with human reasoning” George gave him the same answer which he got from a priest, when, as a young boy, he questioned the existence of God.“Anything beyond reason is unreasonable. I don't believe in the existence of God. Even if it exists it is a very callous and merciless force who do not know how to mete out justice.” The old man started sobbing.” I lost my wife, my son and my grand children in last year’s tsunami. I lost my everything. My children, they never deviated from the path of rigteousness.Still, they had to meet up with a disastrous fate.Why? What is the justification? Why didn’t I get killed? I haven’t committed any grave sin so that I should spend my old age begging in this railway station.Why?When the corrupt officials,gangsters,murderers,dons,smugglers,rapists,dacoits are thriving in the world, why are poor souls like me and my children punished? Look at those children, who have made this station their home. What sin they have committed to be deprived of love, care and protection? Why some are made blind, lame and mentally retarded? What sin they have commited? Why your god is so merciless and unjust?”George was a bit confused about how to console the old man.“Please relax. Lord says that 'Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.Blessed are they who are prosecuted for righteousness sake; for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven'Haven’t you heard the fable of rich man and Lazarous. Rich man was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously everyday. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus who was laid at his gates, full of sores. And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table.Morover the dogs came and licked his sores. After death,richman was sent to hell and Lazarus rose to heaven. And in hell, richman lift up his eyes, being in torments and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom. God is just. Justice will be delivered. If not in earth but in heaven.” “Heaven!!Hugh!!You people have invented heaven in order to shut the mouth of the poor and down-trodden. You people exploit them; deny them rights; and pacify them by assuring them a prosperous life after death. I have sheer contempt toward people like you. Instead of trying to make world a better place to live in, you daydreamers envisage a sumptuous life in heaven”George had no answer to give. The next train came“God bless you. I have got to go.”Geroge said.“Are you a pastor?”“No. I’m working in a company.”“Anyway thanks for helping me. And for trying to change my outlook on life”In the train, George ruminated over the conversation he had with that man. His bitter experiences have made him skeptical about the existence of God. George analyzed his life. Even he didn't have a blissful childhood or a resplendent adolescence. As a small kid, he lost his both parents in an accident .His relatives, who were eying his parent's vast property, were reluctant to rear him and threw him in the street. He grew up in the company of street children. Later he was adopted by Christian monks. There he got love, care and education. They instilled in him a quest for spiritual knowledge. He learnt all religious books, especially bible. It enabled him to develop a positive outlook. He believed in God, though there was no rational base for that belief. He felt that there was some in divine intervention in his life. Though his parents died in the accident, he escaped miraculously. Though he was thrown in the street he was given shelter by the pious and philanthropic monks. Though he never got the opportunity to study in any prestigious school, the sagacious monks imparted to him wisdom and inculcated in him a cheerful disposition. All his miseries appeared to him as blessings. He wanted to devote his life to express his boundless gratitude to that omnipotent, omnipresent and obscure force. He found the fragments of that spiritual entity in every human being.'The King shall answer.Verily; I say unto you, insamuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my bretheren, you have done it unto me'These words were his inspiration.When George went into boss's chamber, a volcano erupted. Lava of anger flowed out from boss's face. George was actually a laughing stock of that office. His ridiculous adventure gave enough relaxation to them from their hectic work.During lunch break he met Rahul.“You dumbo! You could have easily come here, had you taken that train. But you cannot leave behind that oldman, right? Was he your grandpa or what?”“Why should you be concerned about my behavior? Isn’t it my prerogative to decide what to do?”“George, be practical. I’m not saying that you should not help people. But you have to look after your affairs also. These people have very short memory. When you are in need of help. I swear. no one will turn up. People are very ungrateful. This world is unfit for people like you.”“If you are telling these things just to give an exercise to your idle tounge, then continue. But if to change my attitude, then it's better you give rest to your tongue.”
George was giving colour to the monochromatic National Highway with the red blood oozing out of his head. He gazed at the sky. The moon and the stars were watching him lying down helplessly like the people who had surrounded him. Birds flew over his body, like the people who passed by without even turning an eye. George could hear the footsteps of death approaching him faintly.The world was playing a cruel joke on George. But he could not comprehend the magnitude of that joke .At least, to do justice to innocent souls like him, there should be a heaven.MANU SEBASTIAN

Thursday, 9 November 2006


The shrieking sound of the bell woke her up from her slumber.The students were waiting for the bell like the parched earth waiting for the skies to open.The sonicwaves emerging from the brass plate stirred up a commotion in the class.
“Happy Birthday Nisha......Happy Birthday Nisha.......”
However,Nisha was not payng much attention the the dissonant song,ostensiably sung in chorus.
“Hey Nisha,You are leaving??We won't let you go.Where are you going to take us to?McDonalds?Pizza Hut?Dominos?”
“or our canteen??”
“Sorry!I'll give treat on someother day.Now I have got to go.”
“Come on man.Its your birthday.Everyday you are like this.On hearing the last bell you rush to your home.Why?So obsessed with studying??”
“No way!you know,I'm not at all studious”Nisha giggled.
“Your scoresheets say that.Then what?You dont like spending time with us?”
“Er..not that..Today I've got to go..”Nisha groped for excuses”Somebody is waiting for me in my house”
“Ooh..somebody!!You naughty bitch!!Somebody waiting for nisha in her house.That too when her parents are out.Now the cat is out of bag.Spmebody!!”
Nisha could see everyone chuckling.
“Hey..There is nothing like that”
“Like what?..Ooh..look at her blush.Ok.Carry On.We dont want to be spoilsports.”
Nisha got out of the fortressof her classmates with a sigh.She cursed herself for telling that excuse.
'Why can't these people mind teir own business.I hate people trying to be overpally with me'
She opened the door of the house.
'Thank God!There isnt anyone here..I enjoy this solitude.'
She rushed towards her computer.Waited impatiently for everything to get loaded.
Orkut Login.
MSN Login.
Yahoo Login.
Gmail Login.
You are connected to 235657889 people through 568 friends.-displayed the orkut home page.
Suddenly a window popped up
“asl please”
She checked her scrap book entries.Lots of birthday wishes.Lots of ove flowing in from different parts of the world.Her online pals are scattered all over the globe.Sending their regards.Caring for her.Thinking about her.Admiring her.
She felt pride in her gregarious nature.
'How popular and lovable am I '
She was busy chatting with her Mongolian frined.The conversation,whihc was flowing very freely without any viscousity was interrupted by the ringing of the calling bell.
“Oh Fuck!.My mom is early hoem today”
'Ok..bye..I hv gtg..c'.She ended the conversation by adhering to the online etiquette.
“Happy birthday dear.”Her mother hugged her.
“Thanks Mom”
“Meet my colleague Sarita.And her daughter Rita”
Her mother immediately set the table.Kept the cake and candles.Nisha was watchin all the proceedings like a bystander.
'Jennifer must be online now..By the time all the birthday banalities are over she might have signed out.'
She hurried through all the formalities.Blowing our candles,cutting cake,passing the cake pieces.
'How mundane?'she thought.She prayed that the guests would go back soon.She will have to stay back like a statue with a plastic smile.
“You girls go and have chat.We have got some importan matters to discuss.”
“Hi.We will go to your room.”Rita said with a wide smile.
Many chat boxes had sprouted all over the desktop.She entered into her virtual world ,oblivious of the prescence of Rita.
“You seem to be very techno savvy”Rita commented.
“Ha.A Bit”
“Is chatting your favourite pastime?”
“Its not exactly my pastime.Its my life.”
Nisha was getting irritated by her pestering.
“Oh great!!.None of yor friends came for the party.Didnt you invite them?”
“My friends cannot come here”her eyes were still glued at the screen.
“Why?”she was puzzled.
“They are online frinends.”
“Online friends!!Ok.but dont you have any normal....I mean...human friends”
Hours fell into days.Days made months.Months amalgamated to form years.Years passed by to make Nisha a woman.Her online community also grew with her.She shifted to a city and took a flat.She secured a job also.To be specific an online job.
It was actually a dream come true for her.Every morning she need not rush to the office.She need not drink the insipid office grapevine.No need to succumb to anyones bossing.Jut sit in her room with her soulmates-her computer and solitude.She need to chat with the onlin clients of the company.And she has to do some online drafting and accounting works.She will be paid online also.She need not get out of her room/Just make the online order for the household things.Service at doorstep.
She never felt her online life monotonous.Orkutting was opium for her.Messengers her marijuana.The heroin of chatting got into her veins and nerves.
Miseries and sorrows in her virtual world were like snakes in Iceland.Totally absent.No burdens of the mundane world life there.Only the excitement of meeting new people and making new relationships.She had online love affairs.Online dating.And even online breakups.As her online global community was inflating her social circle was shrinking.
The chirpings of the birds woke her up form her deep sleep.AS she gradually opened her eyelids,sunlight seeped into her eyes.She instantaneously closed her eyelids tightly.She has not seen sunlight for ages.It will take time for her pupils to get adjusted with the bright sunlight.The sound of the bird chirpings were getting on her nerves.She sprang out of her bed and screamed ”Shut up...worthless creature..”
Then a lady clad in white dress came near her.
“Easy.Relax.Just lie down.I was waiting for you to wake up.I will call the doctor and come”.She walked away.
Even in her dizzy mood she coul make out that she was lying on a hospital bed.
'But why??'
Doctor came in accompaniedby the nurse.Her pulse rate and BP were checked.She was administered some medicines.
“What am I doing here doctor?”Nisha asked.
“You are suffering from acute viral fever.Yesterday night you were admitted here.Before that you were lying unconscious in your room for two days.Some representative of your company came to your flat,since you were not responding to them.He found you lying unconscious and brought you here.And the interesting thing is that your neighbouring flat mates never knew that their next door was occuppied.Ok.Take rest”
The doctor and his convoy walked away.
The bright sunlight illuminated the whole room.She found it irritating.She got up from her bed to draw the curtains of the window.She could see the hospital garden through the window.A well maintained garden with wide variety of flowers.She found the flowers in the garden hoary when compared to the resplendent flowres which decorated her computer desktop.
Some scrreching noise diturbed her thoughts.It was a baby crying.She was getting really annoyed.It was like somebody piercing her eardrums with a needle.She got out of the room.A lady was sitting on a chair with her baby.
“Shut fucking son of a bitch!!”
The lady was startled.
“How dare you yell at my child.?Mind your words...”
“What if I dont...You bloody whore...”
Nisha slapped that lady.It led to a commotion.The timely intervention of the hospital staff prevented it from snowballing inot a major issue.
Nisha was brought to the doctor's room.
“Doctor,I want to know why I am imprisoned here.Please let me go.I am perfectly ok.”
“You are not,Nisha.If you were,would you have scuffled with that poor lady.??”
“Please doctor.This place is weird.I am in desperate need of a computer,I want to get in touch with my online community.This is driving me nuts.”
“Come On,Nisha.The problem is with you.Your problem is that you were totally involved in your online chatting and online business.You were not concerned about the world outside your room.I think you have got addicted to internet.So you had oppurtunity to socialize with people.That is why you are finding everything weird.Actually you are weird.”
“Doctor,dont try to teach me what socializing is.I have got infinite number of friends scattered all over the globe.My friend circle is not like yours,which is confined to some persons living in the vicinity of your house.”
“Oh Nisha.Try to undersand the reality.Step out of your online world.Try to live in the real world.That is why I asked you to spend some time here.Try to interact with more people.Get to know more of them.Enjoy the nature.Enjoy the music of birds;the fragrance of flowers.;the enticing beauty of the garden”
“Doctor,I dont want to listen to your lecture.I want to leave.Finish of the hospital formalities and let me leave.”
“If you are adamant,then I dont have anything more to say.But we had informed your mother.She will be reaching here by tomorrow evening.We will let you go only after her arrival.Otherwise,it will lead to legal comlications.You have to stay back here till tomorrow evening.Please co-operate.”
She had to retreat to her room.The solitariness of the room was horrifying.Time had become stagnant for her.The room was filled with the air of ennui.
'I must get out of this place.I must get back to my room.To my computer.To my online community.This world is weird.It is unfit for living.I must leave at the earliest.But it is not possible to leave through the main door'
She noticed large windows of her room which had no bars.Emotions superseded prudence.She jumped from the fourth floor of the building.She signed out of this world to log in to some other world.

Friday, 3 November 2006


Mr Jacob Mathew kept the trophy securely in the shelf.”THE MOST SUCCESFUL BUISINESS MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD”-These words were engraved in the golden plate of the trophy. He allowed his 85 kg weighing body,marred with diabates,cholasterol and other diseases which are the gifts of the modern life style,to recline on the easy chair.”The most successful person in the world”-the words used by the chief guest to describe him were echoing in his head.The thunderous applause of the audience;glittering flashlights of the cameras;swarming mediapersons.;But his heart was aching.
The party thrown by him was studded with eminent personalitities-filmstars,politicians,buisinessmen.But he was not able to dissolve into the party.He hung a smile on his cheeks.Later he drew a straightline on his face,after thr cheek muscles found it difficult to support the smile.Something was pricking him.”Congragulations”,”How are you”,”Whats up?”-these words fell on his ears like rain drops spattered on a piece of boulder.When he realised that he was an insoluble entity in the party he sneaked out of it to his some.
“I am at the zenith of succes.Yet I am not happy.Why??”
The words engraved on the trophy beamed a sarcastic smile at him.He was feeling hungry.He went into the kitchen in search for anything to eat.His wife,children and servants are enjoying the party.After groping around sometime,he stumbled upon some donuts.He took one in his hands nad gazed through the hole of the donut.
“My life is like a donut.Nothing inside.Just a hole.I have accumulated all material welath.But nothing has nourished my inner self.If i eat up the external part of this donut...what is left..nothing..just air..if i shed my exterior self..there wont be anything left...just voidness...”
He was feeling bored.He swithched on the TV.On seeing the images of him being felicitated he swithched it off.His eyes then stuck on an old almirah.It was stocking some old certificate,documents and other antiquated things.-a dignified form of a garbage bin. On opening the old almirah doors,an old trophy tumbled down with a crackling noise. The trophy he got for clinching the first place in some music competition at school level.
His cerebral cells took a fast rewind. Old memories were dusted off. Music was a passion for that school boy. He took pride in the fact that he belonged to the privilaged class of persons who are gifted with the boon of music. In the fabric of life he wanted to sew the dream of becoming a great musician. When audience felicitated him with thunderous applause , he felt that he epitomized glory.He felt like a conqueror,who after vanquishing the whole universe,skipped around by yelling” I am the most succesful person in this world”.Music was the elixir of his life;it was for music he lived;it was music which fuelled his life.
“Why didnt I become a musician?”
There was a time when he used to proclaim proudly that he wanted to be a musician.
But this was not well received always.Later on he started feeling tounge -tied,when he was confronted with the question “what did he want to be.?”.He tried to evade it by giving elusive answers like “I dont know”,”I havn't decided”.He had a dream.But not the grit to materialize it.
His father told him”Think practically.An engineer or a doctor has got a status in the society.People look upon them with respect.There is no guarantee that you will be succesful as a musician.Be an engineer or a doctor.Your life is secure.”
His mother told him”Think practically.The demand for an engineer or a doctor is very high in a marriage market.It is very easy for an engineer or a doctor to get a beautiful wife”
His brother told him”Think practically.A doctor or an engineer can easily fetch a lot of money.You can easily get a big bunglow,car,etc”
Gradually he mastered the art of thinking practically. He took science subjects.He joined entrance coaching classes.He took consolation in the fact that he has got a respectable answer to give if any one asked him what he wanted to be.
“I want to be an engineer or a doctor.”
All the subjects like physics,chemistry,maths wre choking the musician inside him.He caged his inner self in the prison made of his own avarice and lack of determination.He stopped paying heed to his inner voices.He felt it more practical to follow his reasoning than his instincts.He lost the power to control himself.His mind was controlled by his avarice,his greed and his ability to think practically.
He was like a piece of log floating in river.
Thus he became an engineer.A software professional.A business tycoon,However,as he was ascending his inner self was descending.His unfulfilled dreams,his old ambitions,his old passion;everything was piled up in the cellar of his mind.When he was beaming with glory,his inner self was weeping.He put the musician in himself to a premature death.
He glanced at the trophy.It has become rusty.He wiped off the dust and cobwebs.But it cannot recover its lost sheen and lustre.He cleared his throat.He tried to recollect the lines of a song which he used to sing.Words are coming to his lips.But no sound is coming out of his soundbox.It is very difficult to open a door which has remained shut for ages.At last,words came out of his lips with music.But he could not identify the sound,-a cacaphonic,hoarse voice,
No,this is not my voice.I had a sweet,melodious voice,It had a midas touch which could convert every bystander into a listener.This is not my voice.
He tried again.It was worse.Again.No.
“Oh my goodness.I have murdered my innerself,I have shattered my own dreams.I was endowed with a gift.But I lost it.I am loser.I am the biggest loser in this world.I was gifted with a piece of diamond.But i bartered it for a glowing piece of ember.My life is not worth living.I don't have the right to live in this world”
He committed suicide.