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.

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.

A Song of Fire and Ice

A Song of Fire and Ice is a series of fantasy novels written by George R R Martin. Now I don’t say that I am an expert in fantasy genre but I have read my own share. In my humble opinion, IT IS A MUST READ! It is perhaps on par with the Wheel of Time series, hundred times better than Lord of the Rings, a million times better than the Harry Potter and infinite times better than the Twilight Series (Thankfully I have not read the twilight series).

Of the seven expected books in the series, four have been published and I have just finished the fourth.

What makes the series so good is that there is no love for the good guys in it. They die more easily than the bad guys. When you think that you know how a battle is going to turn out, you are in for a surprise.Β  When you read the first book, you start liking a character and you believe that he is the hero. Bam! His head rolls. That does not mean that all the good characters die, they do have luck going there way too. But you can never get too comfortable. And then there are the gray characters. When you start, you feel that certain characters are definitely bad. Babykillers for example. But later you start seeing it from their perspective and you feel that they are not so bad after all. The cunning characters like Varys, Tyrion, Littlefinger and Tywin are perhaps the most complex characters that you can hope to read.

Unlike the classic fantasy genre, there are no absolute good or absolute bad (may be except “The Mountain” who is definitely a bad one). The dialogues are masterful, especially Tyrion’s. Yea and it has lots of gore, sex and swearing. Its not a novel for kids.

The first three books won the Locus awards and were nominees for the nebula awards.

Now the bad part. The third book came out in 2000 and the fourth one in 2005. Its been five years and still no word of the next books. Many fans must have died waiting for the next book! If you cant bear the waiting don’t read ’em.

Now the really really good part!

HBO is making an original series on the books. πŸ™‚ Expected to debut in Spring 2011, the series is going to rock!

Sean Bean would be playing Ned Stark. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Towers of Midnight

So the thirteenth book of the Wheel of Time series is out and as expected it is AWESOME! Spoilers ahead, so read at your own peril. Those not familiar with the WoT can safely ignore the post.

Moraine is back finally but much weakened. Perrin is no longer boring and Galad and Gawyn are no longer irritating. All the pieces are finally getting into place for the Last Battle. The Generals Ituralde and Gareth Bryne are inspiring. Bryne had a very beautiful quote:

“A man is more than one drive, one goal. No woman wants that in a man. It seems to me that men who spend time making something of themselves – rather than professing their devotion – are the ones who get somewhere. Both with women, and with life itself.”

The book has many situations that makes you think. Many characters of the book realize the enormity of the situation facing them. Rand, Mat, Moraine, Lan, Cadsuane, Nynaeve all realize that there are some things in life that is more important than even your life. They know that Tarmon Gai’don is what matters and nothing else. Somehow I feel that Elayne and Egwene do not realize that. Lan is leading a lost charge of twelve thousand against an army of one hundred fifty thousand. Mat sacrificed his eye and Rand is sacrificing everything for it.

In our lives we lack this goal. There is nothing that we can look as something that is worth sacrificing everything for. Our forefathers had that objective during the freedom struggle and the world had that objective during the Great Wars.

I can see our situation similar to what Cadsuane faced. She lived for more than three hundred years waiting and preparing for the Last Battle, knowing that what she did and what she learned will have a great impact on how the things turn out in the end. We need to also look at things which are far down the lane of time and realize that even if we do not have an immediate choice to make, we still can work at things which matters. The important thing is to know what that is and how you can make a difference. The important thing is not to lose sight of the goal and keep forging ahead. The important thing is not to let yourself be distracted by everylife’s triviality and realize that you are part of the greater pattern of things. The important thing is to work for it. We need to believe in the Chaos Theory. Even a small contribution that you make now can make happen the thing that you are working for in the distant future.

As Yama rightly said to Sam in another great novel (Lord of Light),

An army, great in space, may offer opposition in a brief span of time. One man, brief in space, must spread his opposition across a period of many years if he is to have a chance of succeeding.
~ Lord of Light (Roger Zelazny)