Whats in a name?

“I am pregnant.”, Komal said apprehensively, not knowing how her husband would react.

Jack stared at her, stunned, before giving a hoot of joy and grasping her in a rough, warm hug. He let her go only to give her a long, wet kiss before shouting like a kid, “I want a girl, I want a girl!”. She pushed him aside and told him, “No, its gonna be a baby boy, handsome like his father and intelligent like his mother!”

“What are we gonna name him or her?”, Jack asked.

“Hmm, that’s a tricky one. It is going to be difficult picking a right name. I like Andrew.”

“I always wanted a daughter whom I can call Sophia.”

“Lets start looking then, the longer we wait, more difficult it will become.”

“Yep. You start with Gmail, I will look at twitter. For Facebook, we will use Gmail.”

After 2 minutes.

“Andrew.Jack is taken on Gmail as well as Sophia.Jack.”

“Shit! Try with 2022.”

“Andrew.Jack2022 is available but not Sophia.Jack2022.”

“That’s bad. It’s the reverse case on Twitter.”

“What do you think of Andrei? Andrei.Jack2022 is available.”

“Its available on Twitter as well. Check Sophie.Jack2022, it shows as available here.”

“Bingo!!! Available on Gmail as well, my Love!!”

“Register! Register! Fast!”

“Done and Done!!”

“I always wanted a daughter whom I can call Sophie!”

The Boon

Ramsharan was 60 years old. In an age when the average life span was less than 30, he was positively ancient. And 40 years of those 60 he had spent meditating and praying to God and asking Him to fulfill his wishes. Now at the sunset of his life, he was finally going to get his wish.

“My Son. Open your eyes. I am happy with you. Ask what you desire and it shall be.”

Ramsharan was never so angry in his life.

“God! You are late. I am at the end of my life. You are not going to give me immortality and even if you were, I would not want immortality in this decrepit body. I wasted my entire life praying to you. If only I had worked rather than praying, I could have changed the world. I could have made a difference!”

“Tathastu! Your wish shall be fulfilled.”

And God vanished, not in puff of logic, but in that of disbelief and incredulity.

Ramsharan died later that day.

————-

Hariram was old. He had not done anything remarkable in his life. And now on the side of the road, he was dying.

And then on the last day of his pitiful life, the crown prince of Kapilavastu saw him.

————-

“Henry! Get down from the tree lad!”

Henry like any other eight year old was not going to listen to his mom. He continued his stay on the tree. And like any other eight year old, he was greedy. So even though he had an apple in his left hand and one in his pocket, he was still trying to reach for the red ripe one that was just outside his reach. As he was trying to grab it, he fumbled it.

And an apple dropped.

————-

Prof. Andrei Stein was angry. His wife, as was her wont, was pestering him again for getting the repairs done on their house. Andrei was the dean of modern painting in the Vienna Academy of Art and as was the case with all the professors of Arts, rather lacking in monetary benefits. In addition to his wife’s bad temper he had to sit again today interviewing potential students. He hated his wife, his job and his life. He remembered the next student who came in the door. He had rejected him once already.

Even before he saw his work, he had decided to reject him. Again.

I am no Superman

I love flying. Even more than I love Lois Lane. There is no pleasure greater than racing the sunrise on a dark, cloudless night. I hate the cities, they are too bright. Jungles, plains and mountains are what I prefer. Lying on the cold sands of Sahara, I watch the stars move. I like to look at the part of the sky where Krypton was and believe that my parents are looking down at me. I believe that they would have been proud of me. The slow moving river of the Milky Way fills me with a sense of calm, a commodity very rare in a world filled with the likes of Lex Luthor and Brainiac.

Sometimes I spy on people. I like to look at families at dinner, couples in love and children at play. I smile at their happiness and feel sad at their sorrows. Does God feel the same for her creations?

Once I saw a little girl in the wilderness of Africa. She was lost. Perhaps she went out to collect wood and could not find her way back. I went to her and she was plainly terrified. Who wouldn’t be if you saw a weird man with multicolored clothes in the middle of the jungle. I tried to soothe her but I dont think she understood what I was trying to say. After a while I managed to calm her and then walked her to her home. The smile she gave me when she ran into her mothers arms was priceless. A good night’s work.

Once in a while, I fly to moon. That ‘Magnificent Desolation’ is beyond words. Knowing that you are the only living thing on an entire world is hugely uplifting. Like a kid I write “Superman was here. :)” on the sands of moon knowing that what I write will still be there a thousands years from now. May be the future visitors will not even understand the script or take a philosophical meaning of “Übermensch” and not take it as a proper noun. What matters is that I was on moon and I gazed down at the blue sphere that is now home.

Love

“Take me somewhere far away.”

He could not help but smile. “Where do you want to go?”

She looked petulant. “Anywhere. Just you and me. Take me to another universe where there wont be anyone else.”

She rested her head on his shoulder. Her breath on his neck tickled him but he also liked it. He held her in his arms while she watched the sunset. She started humming. “Enmeedu anbu kolla…. Ennoddu serndhu sella…”.

“What was that?”

“You dont understand anything idiot. It is a Tamil song.”

“So what does it mean?”

“Love me… Walk with me…”

He became serious.

She then said. “I will miss you.”

He just stared at the sun.

“Dont you dare worry about me. I will be alright. I will have a great husband and he will love me and I will love him. You will get a great wife and you will be happy too.”

“I know. Tell me, who created God and who created Religion?”

She could just fake a smile. “If there is an afterlife or rebirth, I will be there with you then. I am not going to let you go.”

“I love you.”

She hummed, “Enmeedu anbu kolla… Ennoddu serndhu sella…”.

—-

He was lying on the bed surrounded by his extended family. His favorite grandaughter was lying next to him with her tiny arms on his frail body. He knew that his time was limited.

He could still see her hair blowing in the wind and her beautiful face smiling at him.

He hummed, “Enmeedu anbu kolla…. Ennoddu serndhu sella…”.

The Magic Trick

I ran up the steps leading up to the door, stumbling in the dark, trying to clutch my coat tighter to keep away the rain and the wind. Why in an abandoned lighthouse, why at this time of the night! I met a door with a big padlock blocking my way. I had no time to try and open the lock and I kicked the door in. A lantern was burning beside my dead friend. I went close to him. Even in death, his eyes still reflected the intense life that he had lived. I took his head in my lap. I wanted to ask him who did this to him.

“Ah! Mr Holmes! So he called you up as well.”


I saw my friend climbing down the stairs of the lighthouse.

“You killed him? You killed your own brother?”

He attempted to appear indignant but he could not hide the faint trace of amusement from his voice. “Mr Holmes! You are mistaken! I am here for the same reason you are. My brother called me up and asked me to come here the way I expect he called you too. To save his life.”

“How did you get in? I had to break open the door.”

“You forget Mr Holmes, I am a magician.” He replied and walked out the night. A smile still in his eyes.

I tried to convince the police that my friend was killed by his own brother. But I had no proof. Except for his presence near the dead body. They did not find the murder weapon. And yes he married the beautiful widow of my friend and inherited the vast wealth that my friend had amassed. But all this was, as they say, purely circumstantial.

They seemed happy. I know this because many dark nights, when I was haunted by the eyes of my friend, I would go to their big house and watch them. I knew that he loved his new wife and that she loved him back. I knew how worried he was when his wife gave birth to their first child. I knew that the children loved their parents and every night, without fail, the entire family had their dinner together. They joked, they laughed, they teased. And they were happy. I watched them. Night after night, I watched them. And I always believed that it was all a magic trick, that I was watching a show being staged just for me.