The Perfect Shot

The Perfect Shot_Short Story
Mohsin looked at his watch moving like a perfect shot! He noticed the hour and minute hands kissing each other between 1 and 2. He has been on the deck of the two-floor corner guest house near Chiktan Fort in Chiktan village, Kashmir for straight 24 hours.


The sun was almost on top of his floor and head. He could feel the heat entering through his eyes and traveling through his spine to his feet. It was -10 degrees Celsius but he could still wish to escape the sun rays hitting directly on his minimal exposed skin. He found himself at the edge of two wars simultaneously. One was his body which was losing the immunity to stand still. The other was the armed security personnel of the Army at the Fort gate.


The Army guarded the entrance and militant coup in the area.


His hands could not bear the weight of the Norinco assault rifle- the Chinese version of AK-47.  This 9 lbs weapon felt 10 times heavier.  Holding it for straight twenty-four hours made the ammunition heavier than it actually weighed. Mohsin was a part of the rebel group which was fighting against the national establishment. The so-called war of independence for Kashmir from India was the agenda. He left his house at the age of 19 after being influenced by a religious preacher he had heard online.


The ideal visions of the inspirational speaker lured him into believing that the local government shouldn’t be the one formulating laws in his side of the valley.


He remembered the argument he got into with his father, a day before eloping. The discussion over the table was about the myth of Kashmir’s independence. Zia- ur, his father, was a son of a martyr who fought alongside Gandhi for the country’s independence. He clearly understood what bloodshed of the lost was at the cost of freedom. He tried to explain to Mohsin the mindset of fundamentalist and their ideological character. The lecture wasn’t frictional as this was a learned experience of a senior officer in the state-controlled police department. Zia- ur, had been fighting with the extremist agitating for their so called free Kashmir movement. Mohsin couldn’t agree to the litigation objections raised by his father. His father explained to him that a fight against once own land and people wasn’t freedom.


Hurting and killing one's own people wasn't independence.


His mind was in a deadlock. Mohsin couldn’t relate to a word his father uttered that day.


Mohsin was the elder to his 12-year-old sibling. Shabana was his only prized possession. He adored her, almost raising her after their mother’s death. Walking by the lake across the Snow Mountains and collecting Chinar leaves, Shabana would tell her stories.  Mohsin would ask her questions to intentionally argue with her. He'd burst into laughter later!


Each day his schedule pretty much involved Shabana. She had the lion’s share of his time! A couple of hours with his father, he practiced shooting and enjoyed a two-hour evening stroll with Nafeesa, his charming love interest daily. His life wouldn’t be less blessed; if he could have only made it a little more worth! Sadly, it sketched out like a scattered plot.


Mohsin tried to make the flashbacks fade away! His cause was greater than any of the rosy thoughts of the past.


While his head mused about these thoughts, a bullet brushed past his ear- the distance of snail’s length. The shot was fired by the army man from the fort wall. The images of the valley, the river, Shabana, his father shouting him at shooting range started to diminish. It took him a round of second’s hand to regain his senses and get hold of his artillery and peruse the sight for his mission. He felt like being teased that nomad of a bullet; as if it was amused at his failed objective. He rested the rear end of the rifle against his shoulder and leaned back a little.


He took a good calculated guess at the target distance which approximated to around 300 meters. A target shot was something he had never been able to achieve in his life since started practicing from back in the day.


He loosened his muscles and relaxed the grip of his rifle. Mohsin slipped low and rested his back against the wall to hide his visibility. Placing his mind to work and he formulated the strategy to shoot down the target in the defense attire. The binoculars locked his sight and brain; releasing one the lenses from the front by cracking the tripod adaptor from the middle. He stood up once again and placed the Gun at the edge of the wall, circled his index figure around the trigger tightly to take control. To ease the resistance he felt from his hand, he took off his glove and tried again.


He detached the lens from the binocular and moved it towards the target so that the sun rays reflected at an angle creating a distraction. The trick worked and the officer in the array of rays moved above the covering wall at his side. Mohsin contracted his finger twice and shot two bullets straight at him, one holed onto the shoulder and the other in the face. The officer tumbled forward.


Hitting the roof of a floor, the adversary fell- finally resting on the pavement.


Mohsin leaned back again, unfreeze his grip, kissed the rifle and put it down to rest. He uncovered his face and took a heavy breath. Focusing his eyes away from the painful sight, his blood flow started running to normal. He felt proud of his shot. This, he believed was no less an achievement. He wished Shabana could have witnessed his subtlety. Mohsin also felt respect for his enemy who almost had him until eventually, the man had surrendered to the darkness!


He collected his stuff and moved towards the fort to take it into control and notify his fellow fighters. Just at the gate, he found the body of his trouble maker covered with streams of oozing blood. He bent forward to smile at the martyred face. Mohsin's smile was that of a winner. He relived the entire shot in his head and the brilliance of execution. His chest pumped with the thought of it! He turned the unresponsive body of the only witness of his act and looked into the eyes of his dead father-


Author: Muflis Musafir

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Damsel Outraged

Damsel Outraged Blog Post Author: Kleio B'wti ©
On Christmas this year, ie 25 December 2016 this personal blog 'Damsel Outraged' took shape.


I took a public bus on my way back from a little adventure I had planned for myself. A sleazy man sat next to me and started pressing his body to mine. I kept scuttling towards the left corner but when I could no longer do so, I asked the man very politely to move a wee bit to his right.

The man exploded with invectives. He started threatening me.


A lady was sitting with her daughter just opposite us. She avoided glancing at me a support! I luckily found a seat in the next row where a girl was sitting uninterested in the old man's rudeness. I sat next to her, I shook my head in resignation, the girl looked at me with disgust and then looked away. The old shoddy man said the worst things possible about my character, my family, my upbringing and more. He did not even fall short of calling me base! No one stood up for me.


Finally, a priest, our fellow passenger on the bus asked the man, "Forgive her bro, she is a child. She made a mistake!" Is standing up for one's self-respect and security a mistake?

There are men who publically violate a female irrespective of her age. It is also imperative to remember that abuse can happen in many forms and in different degrees. Any kind of abuse is condemnable.


It was not the first time I endured such an ordeal. Every Indian girl will agree with me! Even as an infant I faced worse trouble in public places in India! The first abuse I was inflicted with was at the age of four. I remember I started crying on the street. My parents picked me up but I was too little to explain how some strange, unknown hand had violated me! Recalcitrant, many-a-times I have courageously stood up for my own protection from filthy words and deeds.


I realized that no one ever stands up for a girl, even the females themselves!


The chilling case of Nirbhaya never rests. Unfortunately, some people blamed her. They tried to dilute the level of devilry that was involved in the attack. Strangely, the youngest and the cruelest of the rapists was set free, not executed for raping and killing a promising citizen of the country.


This recent incident was again a proof of how insensitive we are to women issues. There was no outrage.


No one stood up for me. The only one who could not take the sick man's rot blamed me for the incident! There were women, who saw what happened. There was a lady who was with her daughter and it was evident she doted on her child. Yet, she did not ask the man to stop or move away. She preferred looking the other way, holding her daughter tight. We had the film #Pink starring Amitabh Bachchan that released this year and showed a similar predicament accurately.

Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi had rightly mentioned in a speech how imperative it is to bring up well-behaved sons.


He pointed out why a child becomes a rapist as he grows up. Most male children in India are not taught to value women, stand by them and protect them. Unfortunately, a mother stops her daughter from staying out with her friends till late. Yet, she is unperturbed when the son decides to stay out at night. We bring up a girl differently from a boy even in the most democratic households.


The latest blockbuster movie #Dangal stars Aamir Khan with an assorted star cast. The movie showcases that a daughter is the pride of her family. A girl needs to be brought up to be mentally and physically superior or as capable as any other man.


No damsel is ever in distress if she knows how to fight and protect herself.


I knew how to protect myself. I did it most non-violently. After addressing him politely, I moved away. I did not reciprocate to his insinuations. I remembered to enlighten him the reason he was losing his temper. He was the guilty one! I did not budge, I did not cry. An empowered female, I stood up for myself.


I urge every woman to be stand up to be a strong, each day.

Author: Kleio B'wti

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Annie woke up from his light sleep after getting incoming from the reception that a pregnant lady had met with an accident and was in a critical state.


The nurse briefed on the phone as he ran for the lift on the seventh floor. The injured had a car accident and her womb had been hurt hard with profuse internal bleeding. He instructed to shift the patient to Operation Theatre. It would be difficult to save both, mother and child, something he had learned from experience. He dialed the number of another doctor on duty to assess the situation and simultaneously pressed first-floor switch.


Dr. Anhaya Kapoor was the cherry among the lot, known by a more popular name among his breed-Annie.


An upbeat guy in early thirties with a faded beard. He was the senior resident doctor at Brighton’s Medical Research and Science Institute, a prestigious hospital in South Delhi. A hospital founded by his father, who passed away six months ago, Dr. Jagdish Kapoor.


Annie’s brain was as good his face that bruised the hearts of many. He was considered one of the best in the profession a talent he had inherited as genes from his father. His father had been the best surgeon in the country, a favorite among politicians and businessmen who traveled in a private aircraft often for holidays.

Annie wasn’t a spoilt brat at all but had a deal in the closet that constituted of everything considered unethical.


He smoked pot, pee-ed on streets, drank abruptly, had a thing for madly kissing his dates in the parking lots. He chased a cop once till the end of the capital border! Annie could play the flute with ease; spoke French and Latin without stuttering. He was a state level swimmer. Rich, smart, fancy looking, a persona other guys wished to be and girls got lured to was Annie. All this charisma was sadly shadowed after he got married to a girl his father chose for him. This was another feather of burden. He loved his dad too much to keep dating Meera; the girl he loved passionately- his lifelong desire.


They had met at a bar at the Inner Circle in Connaught Place, just next to the coffee house.


Meera’s sleeveless blue dress could just kiss her knees! She came for her friend's breakup party, and he was there … coz, he was there most of the times. She was a jingle writer for an upcoming ad work agency who always carried a sweet tone in her laughter. That laughter eventually made the doctor lost his heart. He could never express accurately the love he felt in his heart for her with his multi-lingual skills but she could read it in his eyes. They were the most handsome couple in the circuit without a penny space between them!


A decade later, he was playing high.


When on a game night his dad asked him to marry the daughter of a family friend he held high regards for. His father has just recovered from the second heart surgery. However,  he could feel a lot more pain agreeing to his father’s request, the pain of a poisoned heart! Meera and Annie spent their last night together speechless, just holding hands. He made love to her like never before and cried as she led him to the door in the morning, kissing- a final goodbye. Eight weeks from his wedding date his dad passed away. Annie felt deserted without the two people he loved.


Annie lost the desire for life and spent most of his day hours in hospital after the marriage.

Everybody knew his story but no one ever whispered in those hallways or canteens!  The times were not the same; he was more of an enigma now, never indulging in his old misadventures. The lift reached the first floor and Annie ran out from the half open door and lurched toward the operation theater. Attendant doctor submitted the summary of the report confirming the urgency of the surgery. He wore his latex gloves and entered the operation theater where the proceeding had already begun.  Sphygmomanometer showed a continuous drop in blood pressure due to excessive blood loss.


Annie completed the caesarean and saved the child.


The mother’s heart had unfortunately stopped beating midway the surgery! The beats didn’t bounce back by the defibrillator. The failure- the silence of losing the mother was broken by the first cry of the child! Annie took the child in his hands and felt a resemblance in the touch and couldn’t stuff away that instant love for the child! He went through the patient information sheet to sign off the document and read the mother’s name -‘Meera’. 

His eyes blurred as he waddled out of the room with his daughter in the arms.


Author: Muflis Musafir

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Bang! Bang!! Bang!!!

'Bang! Bang! Bang!!!' Short Story Author: Kleio B'wti ©, 2017.
Rick liked it all.


He liked his friends, his job, his neighbors, the street dogs that accompanied him every time he went out for a walk. Every person who envied him or felt aggressive towards him regrettably couldn’t say a sole callous word for him. They ended up flattering him and his compassion. All they could say to vent out was that there was something 'wicked' about those twinkling eyes.


Those eyes squinted when they smiled, laughed in those grim conferences and shouted "I told you so" when the boss took someone to task. Yet his face remained expressionless. The strangest bit in this whole phenomenon was the fact that only his rivals and enemies could read his eyes. The others found them most safe and happy.


There is a certain connection that a person has with his critics. They somehow comprehend them better.


The doubters may not value the person's achievements nonetheless, they do identify the shortcomings. Rick's enemies were no different. They saw his eyes were bloodshot under those sunglasses. Scretly, they sniggered and clandestinely jested at the happy man. They knew something was amiss. The man- everyone's idealized had a foe that kept him awake at nights or made him cry to oblivion.


The detractors kept fussing over it, the admirers kept on loving him, and the days passed.


The cloudy days looked sunny when he smiled and the sunny days less scorching when he crooked his Aviator-glasses towards them. Life was happening when he was around- a star in the universe he lived in. This is how the world perceived him. Rick, however, did not think on the same lines of his aficionado and abhorrent.


He was a guy who detested the mirror. He kept his hair really short because he was scared to look at his reflection. It was better to just brush his short crew cut and run his fingers through them to make them look groomed. He regularly took professional help to get a shave. His trusted hair-dresser followed his orders and covered the mirror for him when he visited the salon.


He didn't mind people. They were a welcome distraction – a diversion to keep his mind away from what lay under the layers of dark things that went on in his brains. One day, he grazed his hand on an iron fence and was astonished to see red liquid oozing out of his fingers. He had believed his blood was black too. So much had happened, the snapshots never left him. He was gratified to have people around him; thanking them with an open admiration.


He was scared.


Ricky, whom everyone loved was unloved by his own self. Although he hid his real persona from the world, only he knew what he signified. He represented the worst. The dark fear, the sorrow, the pain, the remorse never left him. Whenever he slept the nightmares -real than life, filled his intellectual space with trepidation. He saw himself as a three-year-old, smiling almost laughing and pulling the trigger.


Bang! Bang!! Bang!!


He saw all his family falling. Dad went first, then his brother on the second and then his lifeline- his Momma on the third. The judges in the court were funny. They did not shoot the last of the cartilage in him. They forgave him saying it was an accidental death by a toddler. He understood what death was when they took him to the graveyard. Were they dead?


Perhaps they weren’t.


They were buried and try how much he might he would not be able to dig six feet underneath. 6- feet under was more than layers that differentiated the living from the lifeless. His soul had departed with them. Sadly, he was all alone- still breathing. He had buried his spirit with them but the inhalation wouldn't stop.


As a grown up, he stood against violence- championed against possession of domestic ammunitions. He wanted to tell others that there was still a chance that he had lost. Yet, more people got licensed guns. Ricky spent sleepless nights for days; sometimes months. Clinically they said he was an insomniac.


Poignantly Ricky believed he was a murderer, a lover of a weapon that had wiped his family, his lifeline, his hope, and future.


He stood and fought with every legislator. He stood in rallies taking leave without pay to fight the law of firearm possession. Yet, it was all in vain. What he saw was that three-year-old toddler killing them all one by one.


Bang!  Bang!!  Bang!!!

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An Aunt’s Agony

An Aunt's Agony Blog Post Author: Kleio B'wti ©

One of the most glorious days in my life was a week ago when my brother called me at 1:52 AM one morning to say that a couple of minutes ago he became a proud daddy!


The elation I felt was unimaginable! I am not a human child kind of a person, yet I could feel jubilation run through my veins. I guess, to know that your sibling, with whom you played as a child, is now a parent is a beautiful expression of how life transforms with time!


Excited, I told my friends about the happy tidings the next day. The text messages I received were a rude shock! Each and every message read, “Congratulations Aunt/ Aunty!” Aunty! I had indeed become an Aunt. This four/five letter word came with its own agony. The word made me feel defunct! I was no more a part of ‘the’ generation but that of the ‘older’ era! There was no graduation party, no celebrations, yet I had graduated into an Aunt- the biggest agony!


For many moments I felt no happiness, I forgot about my brother, his wife and their child. I only remembered myself, mentally counting every gray hair on my scalp. I visually added to my frowns in the mirror of my soul! The precious life force that had filled me on hearing about the newborn had waned into lethargy. All this because of the word, ‘Aunt’.


There are certain words that trigger the worst of thoughts! The word ‘Aunt’ stands out!


This word has been used since time immemorial to make fun of ladies. A lady judged of trying to act younger than her years is called Aunty. To politely humiliate a girl for no reason at all, the word Aunt is dropped in.


Any word that brands an individual as old or an aging one is detrimental to one’s self-esteem. I make an appeal to all the recent evolved and loving Aunts; yet hate being called one. Don’t let the word agonize you, do not let it threaten you. Make your own name for the baby to address you, allow the baby to call you by the name that everyone addresses you as or search google to find the translation for the word ‘Aunt’ in different languages.


If you ever wanted to be a princess or a particular character in history, something you have always wished for, let your nephew or niece call you that! How about Cleopatra? I bet is sounds nicer than ‘Aunt’! I wouldn’t mind if he calls me Beyonce either 😉


Be unique!


Let the child call you by that special name you have found on the internet or in the dictionary. It will not only sort out the name issue for you, but it will help you build a unique relationship with the new member of the family you instantly have fallen in love with.


Make the Agony of being (called) an Aunt, the pleasure of being the most special person in the new born’s life. Be a friend, a confidante, that terrific someone to look up to during those trying days, or those stormy dreams. Resolve to be that person in whom the child can confide in even when the thought of talking to the parents is scary. Be that person for the child- something more than an Aunt. There is no greater emotion than the selfless love of an aunt. There is no mountain that I will not climb for my nephew, there is no valley I will not jump into for him.


I’ll never fret about my huge distress- the Agony of being called an Aunt! I will ask him to call me Kleio- The Greek Goddess of Poetry, instead. 😃 😃 😃 😃 😃

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Parental Wise

Parental Wise Blog Post Author: Kleio B'wti ©, 2017. Pic: Getty Image- loving hands

When I see those babies giggling and adding a zest to others lives, I see the strength of their mothers.


In my years of working, I met a lot of people, made a few friends;  learning every step of the way.  What stood out in my memory were two girls- probably, the best mothers in the world. My motherly skills are zilch. The desire to bear a child is minimal. While I fight the fear of the 9 months of ordeal and years of turmoil and sacrifice thereafter to bring up a child, I was forced to learn. 


These two colleagues, both named Anu, strove. They followed the doctor's advice, took their medicines and ate on time, exercised along with handling a very hectic schedule. I saw them smile in pain. I saw them do their work even when physically they couldn't push themselves anymore. Most importantly I saw them caress their wombs to communicate their unconditional love for the developing life within them. 


They were magicians, they were science and they were life givers. I see them both with their daughters now and think, do these girls know what their moms' have been through to give them birth? 


Then I see their twinkling eyes and I know that they honor their mother's efforts and are meant to do great things. They have inherited the strength of their mothers and the unconditional support of their fathers. They will conquer life.  


We all grow up to criticize our upbringing or at least undermine it. It's only when we actually become parents do we realize what our parents have done for us. They give their all to bring a responsible contributor to the world - their child.


Parents face all storms with grit. They want to build a haven around their young ones.


Sometimes we might think that our parents push us too much, or maybe project their wishes onto us. This is something even coaches do to their students. However, we forget the ills of the outsiders, the teachers or coaches and remember familial disappointments. I guess it dents the affection that we share with our birth givers.


Every human on this earth is a by-product of the beliefs and strengths of their parents. Although a man may contribute in terms of sperms, financial security, and emotional balance, their efforts are as commendable as the women's who bear them. If only we children can acknowledge this and with no malice, pain or disappointment accept the divine blessings of our parents, I bet this world would have fewer criminals, terrorists, arsonists, abusers, and disbelievers.


It's a sincere appeal to all, to mend bridges, jump fences, kick hurt and embrace our true positive existence. 


The mother who bears us, the father who strives forever; always conceived that they would create the lamps that would enlighten the world with knowledge, skill, and harmony. Let's fulfill their dreams. Let's not exert only for the next generation but also for the yester-generation that saw those visions for us. Let’s be forgiving, accepting and wise. Let's preserve the child in us- just like our parents preserve our childhood in their memories.


Author: Kleio B'wti

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Fishermen’s Bond

"There are very few fishermen left today."
- Paul Watson


Once Upon A Time, there lived a young widowed fisherman- Zingloo and his young boy- Vindloo, by the sea.


The young father and son spent hours trying to catch fishes that mostly slipped through their almost tattered fishing net. Catching only a few, they sold them at the fish market for dearth cheap price, except one. Zingloo saved the biggest fish each day for his beloved son!


With little money, a lot of hard work and a daily one-time meal of fish stew, Vindloo grew up agile as a fish, strong as the sea waves and handsome as his father. As the years passed, the fishes became harder to come by. Then came a day when the fishes had gone extinct!


Zingloo, the forever optimist did not give up.

“Vindloo, my son, do not listen to the others. We make our own destiny. I believe there are some fishes still left. I will myself go into the sea and find them.”


Saying so, Zingloo dived deep into the sea. Vindloo's salty thoughts hung heavily in the pregnant atmosphere. Even the sea waited expectantly for Zingloo come back a winner! The seagulls flew around the boat in excited circles at seeing Zingloo’s left arm and then right one wading the waters to the boat! Vindloo, the young teenager, clapped his hands and jumped with joy to see his father’s form break through the waves!


Zingloo raised his head and asked his son to help him up the boat. The disappointment in his eyes pierced through the heart of Vindloo.

“Son, there are no fishes in the sea, no more!”

Tears rolled down Zingloo’s cheeks. He was only a fisherman. He knew nothing else. His mind scrambled in panic,

"What now?"

Vindloo reading his father’s thoughts, said to him,

“Dad, you remember what you said to me some hours ago? I will make my own destiny. I will find something for us in the sea.”

Saying so, Vindloo dived into the sea much like his father.


Vindloo was back in no time armed with clams, snails, prawns, corals and other aquatic beings that people had overlooked for years! Soon, while the fishermen left the coast to find other sources of employment, Zingloo and Vindloo built their small fishing business into an empire. Strangely, it was only Vindloo who was able to find the other aquatic beings. No other fisherman including Zingloo had been successful in catching even one! No one knew Vindloo’s secret yet, although they realized that Vindloo had been blessed by the sea for some reason.


On that very cloudy and cold morning, when Vindloo dived into the sea to find some fishes for his dejected father, his gaze was attracted by an ethereal beauty, with big ocean eyes, golden and green tresses that even a Goddess would envy! Vindloo, like an iron pin, swam into the magnetic persona of the mermaid.  The Mermaid asked Vindloo what he was looking for. When Vindloo shared his sad tale, the mermaid smiled kindly and told him,


“Here take these. They taste as good, sometimes even better than fishes. We farm them for our meals. Whenever you need some more come, see me, but remember not to tell anyone about me!”


Vindloo’s trip to the Mermaid became frequent as the demand for his aquatic items increased. The more they met the more they fell in love. Vindloo, on the 135th day of their meeting, proposed to the mermaid with a huge diamond ring he had secretly purchased from the best jeweler in town. The Mermaid gladly accepted. The sea and the aquatics swayed in happiness.


When the excitement had dimmed a wee bit, the Mermaid took Vindloo to their special corner and told him,

“Vindloo, the rules of the sea are very different from that of the land. If you marry me, you will never ever be able to go back to the land. I can’t ask you for such a big sacrifice. I have changed my mind!”

Vindloo found his heart torn but said,

“Lady Mermaid, I love you. I live where you do, already. So, I will remain here with you. My only condition is that my father should never be short of clams, prawns, snails and more. He has fished every day since he was a baby. This is all he knows apart from being a loving father.”


For one last time, Vindloo returned to the land to meet his father. That night the father and son partied, sang fishermen songs and talked. Sleep didn’t knock on their eyelids that night. Zingloo felt his life was about to change. He had no time to ponder on his premonition; he had only time to see his son smile. The next morning, before dawn, the duo walked to the seashore, removed the anchor, pushed their big boat into the sea and rode into the middle of the mist. Vindloo had promised the night before to teach his father the art of catching precious aquatics, their livelihood!


Like they had done when Vindloo was a baby, Zingloo held his son’s hand and jumped into the sea. This time, however, it was Vindloo who was guiding his father, teaching him a new craft! Zingloo was excited with the first catch! He swam up to the boat to deposit his catch while Vindloo followed. By the time he had climbed up the boat, Vindloo was nowhere to be seen! Zingloo searched, for hours but could not find his son. Defeated, he rowed his boat back to the mainland.


Vindloo soon became the Emperor of the sea with his foresight, his compassion, flexibility, and acumen. His kingdom spread to all the five oceans of the earth. As his children grew, he started missing his father more and more! Vindloo became pensive as the days went by. His wife, who loved him dearly, sensed his dilemma but could do much. Both she and Vindloo knew the rule of the water world. Vindloo walked up to his wife one day and asked her if she knew any news of his land. The Mermaid said,

“My Love, a lot has changed on earth now.

“I want to go, for once and see it for myself, dear Love”, said Vindloo.

“Let me see, what I can do about it, My Love”, said his wife.


The Mermaid went to the wisest soul of the water world and told him her husband’s wish. She wanted to know how he could go visit the land and come back to his kingdom and his family without any repercussions. The wizard gave the Mermaid a box and instructed her to give it to Emperor Vindloo with some words of caution. The Mermaid happily reached Vindloo and gave him the box. She said to him,


“My Love, the Great Wizard wants you to take this box along with you to the land. Do not open this box. Once you swim back to me with the box, I will then take you to the Great Wizard, who will help us understand why he asked you to carry the box with you.”


Vindloo returned. Everything looked different in his land of his birth! He could not find the hut he lived in anymore. Concrete roads, huge bungalows adorned the place instead. Thwarted, he walked up to some fishermen by the wharf. The Wharf! It looked completely different and broader than before, and stronger.


He asked them, “Do you know of a fisherman named Zingloo? Can you tell me where he lives?”


The fishermen stared at him in amazement and informed, “Zingloo, the fisherman died about 200 years ago. We can definitely tell you the way to his grave!"


Another one quipped in, "Zingloo contributed greatly to making our town, our community prosper. Zingloo died as an Emperor of ZinVin. He renamed the town in the memory of his beloved son who had drowned while they had gone fishing at the sea.”


Vindloo was still a young man, yet the fishermen said that his father had died two centuries ago! How could this be? This was staggering! He had not been there to say goodbye to his beloved father, nor to take care of his last rites. Vindloo walked up to Zingloo’s grave and arranged all the aquatic gifts and pictures of his immediate family on his father’s. On his epitaph was written “Zingloo- the proud father of Vindloo.” Two centuries of tears flooded the cemetery yet Vindloo was completely parched.


Getting up from his father’s grave, Vindloo opened the box his treasured wife had given him. Unaware that the box contained the elixir of youth. Vindloo aged drastically within seconds and was reduced to a skeleton and then to ashes. A sweet aquatic breeze carried his ashes and covered Zingloo’s grave. The Emperor of the Sea and The Emperor of the Land, who had separated hundreds of years ago- the father and son were together again.


Author: Kundan Bhagwati


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Secrets Best Kept

It was Maggie’s birthday and she has been a road runner all day, flashing her new car keys with style, a birthday gift from her single mother, Saayra. Maggie waited for this day for ages; the day she would get her hands on the wheels of her own ride. Her mother had promised earlier in the year that she would surprise her baby on the birthday she turns 19. Maggie lived in a wonderland; she had stuff since childhood kids couldn't dream of. Her mother raised her with too much love and pamper. She wouldn’t wish for things rather simply demand them and they would be there in her room the following day.

Saayra worked as the Head of Corporate Communications and Public Relations at People Opinions Media Publications, a big daddy company in journalism. She had all the resources and finances to lure anyone to keep the smile on her only daughter’s face.  She has been a doting mother and was often criticized for the same reason, but the nature she possessed was induced in her genes since birth, she herself was a fairy for her dad who was a strict Army General had mellowed for her... She had ruled hearts in her days when she never took no for any reason. So she just continued the family trait and went miles to cover girl's the wish drops.

Although Maggie loved her mother Saayra, couldn’t stand her mother’s everlasting ally, Rehan. He had been around even for no reason. He was a dark shady guy touching forties, just like her mom.


He always ambled casually, dangling a leather bag on the left shoulder and a deep cut glistened on his forehead. He was definitely a lip smacking guy who carried a mix of a little attitude and little character. Maggie couldn’t stand the un-heady mix and would not even share a coffee on the table while he was around. Her mother’s fondness and bend towards Rehan often created thoughts in her mind about the relationship they shared.

She wasn’t an orthodox school kid, so would have interfered or disapproved of a status her mother would like to give to that relationship. Yet she unwilling to share her mom with Rehan.  Everyone knew the bond shared by Saayra and Rehan but no one ever inquired or challenged them. They sustained it for long and whatever doubts or presumptions people made were all gone during their years of being together. Rehan was a full blown supporter of Saayra and had been a pillar of support throughout her life. People doubted his intentions including Maggie but could never found a blind spot to attack Rehan.


It was evening and they were all prepped to leave for the celebration dinner. Maggie heard some murmuring while crossing the study to find her mother and Rehan discussing something. She peeped in through the side curtain and saw Saayra leaning with teary eyes on Rehan’s shoulder while he tried to sooth her, running his hand on her head and downwards. Maggie had never seen her mother so weak. She knew that her mother hid her pain and troubles from her but she had never seen her broken down like this.


She often thought if she was a fruit of Saayra’s and Rehan’s party play days. These feelings often killed her extrovert nature and turned her into an impulsive and irritating maniac. Though she lived the best of life with all the pleasures and pleasantries, the thought of her identity and creation made them artificial supports. She tried to be sly but would often forego any discussion regarding her conception by looking into her doting Mother’s eyes, full of love and care.


She couldn’t take it anymore, it was hard to crush the feeling in her heart, she felt it was her right to know the truth. It wasn't fair that her entire existence was a mystery. She banged into the library and spoke her heart out to the shocked faces of Saayra and Rehan. Saayra had never expected such words and tone from Maggie and she herself couldn’t believe she possessed them. Her angry words were to know her father and revelation of the relationship that Saayra and Rehan maintained.

Maggie demanded to know all -- the dark secrets and stories she was kept aloof from, the reason she was fatherless child and name she carried. Her mother broke down and fell on the wooden seat as Rehan tried to give her support. Rehan looked into Maggie’s eyes, turned to get hold of his bag and grabbed what looked like a newspaper and handed over to Maggie. She turned to the first page of a twenty-year-old newspaper cutting with a side corner headline --


‘Girl gang raped in an SUV, friend beaten to bloodshed’.

Author: Muflis Musafir


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