And then they were ten

I realized that I was always short of fancy words whenever I wrote something (ok, I ‘am’ even today). I could express my ideas perfectly well and without much error, but then the language was just too simple. So I decided to boost my vocab and went ahead and did a stupid thing. I registered for an email-newsletter at Dictionary.Com which would mail me a new ‘fancy’ word daily.

To do hell with these guys, they sent the most insane of words to me. Now when does someone use a term like ‘bivouac’ for an encampment for the night? Given a choice, I would rather write the whole ‘encampment for the night’ thing than bother to remember the strange word which is also kind of difficult to pronounce. Bye-vou-aik? Be-vou-aik? Biv-ou-ek? To do hell with it again. For the curious ones the actual pronunciation is “BIV-wak”

Today I want to do something. I want to put together the last ten words that I received in one single paragraph (so now you understand what this 'ten' was all about). Let me see if I succeed (though I don’t think it’s really that difficult). And to add to some fun, I will start with bivouac itself! Here I go…

My bivouac was ready. I had eight hours to rest, sleep or whatever else I wished to do. The dark-but-still-rubicund sun was about to set. The crepuscular view of trees all around reminded me of her; she, the ingénue from my town. Her lambent face was still fresh in my mind. She was that anodyne to me who sucked all the pains that I ever had in life. As soon as my job is over, I shall get back to her, I thought. But then, I did not want to think too much about her. Her thoughts were too distracting. I realized however that something else was distracting as well. My stomach! I didn’t even remember when I had a repast last. It was time to take some food finally. I unpacked the routine-high-on-everything-but-taste-food that I had and as I consumed it, my mind kept rolling for some more time. As I finished eating, it had become completely dark, with no moon to brighten the invisible sky. The combined effect of the food that I just had and the moonless night was simply soporific. The subterfuge next day was not going to be easy and a sound sleep was but anything that I needed. If everything worked as planed, I would soon be away from this maelstrom of shit that I had been put into. I would be back to her, playing with her locks. She was the last thing I remembered before crashing inside my bivouac. As soon as my job is over, I shall get back to her.

Hurray, I did it! Anyone has the enthu to find out those TEN words? Hey common you already know one, don’t you?

Neta-giri with the Net: What the hell is wrong with US?

The Background:

The US Department of Commerce (DoC) had pushed and funded expansion of the internet in its early stages. And when the internet had gone global, it had created a private company, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to run it. Before I explain to you what exactly ‘running’ the internet means here, there are a few basic stuffs you need to be aware of.

Any website has to be present as a file on a computer and each computer connected to the internet has a unique ID (called the Internet Protocol address i.e the IP address). The IP address is nothing but a string of a maximum of 12 digits (eg:

Obviously it is impossible for us to remember so many numbers for accessing so many sites. DNS severs come to our risk here.

DNS stands for domain name server. The DNS machines store information that lets us get around the net by way of easy-to-remember domain names, such as, and spare us from having to deal with the numeric addresses that computers understand. They translate the domain names into their IP addresses.

There are many DNS machines, but all of them finally link to only thirteen ROOT servers located in different cities of the world (but most of them are in US). [Click here to see the list]

And now I come back to what running the internet is all about. To quote from ICANN’s website, “ICANN is responsible for coordinating the management of the technical elements of the DNS to ensure universal resolvability so that all users of the Internet can find all valid addresses. It does this by overseeing the distribution of unique technical identifiers used in the Internet's operations, and delegation of Top-Level Domain names (such as .com, .info, etc.).” The overseeing and delegation is achieved with the aid of those 13 computers I talked about.

The issue and why US sucks:

Everything had been running smoothly till suddenly someone asked this: Why is this overseeing and delegation being done by a company which is directly in control of the US Government? Is it just because the US created the internet?

The Inter-Neta* had been questioned! And everyone including the EU joined the bandwagon. This issue got so much highlighted in the recently held second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) at Tunis that the core issue which was supposed to be discussed (about bridging the gap between the internet-reach between the poor and the rich) was sidelined.

I wonder why US hasn’t given a proper answer till date! Is it so because it simply does not have a 'proper' answer? The US is obviously never going to state that greed for power is the only thing it strives for, and so according to it, the rest of the world should stop challenging its undisputed control over the overseeing and delegation act on the internet.

But then the world (and that includes me) is not worried for no reason. I don’t see any point in not letting the running of the internet pass on to an international and independent committee so that no one can politically misuse the power which currently lies solely with the US.

Think of this: today if someone gets a domain name called and fills it with rotten stuffs, and then the Indian Government discovers this site and finds it objectionable and tries to remove it from the web, the only way it can do so is by asking ICANN (and that means the US Government) to do so. What a state of affair!

To spread a false impression of an international private company, this is what ICANN writes in its website: ‘ICANN's Board has included citizens of Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ghana, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Portugal, Senegal, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.’ How does this really matter as long as it is evidently clear that no one else but only the US has the power to directly control the company?

If the US doesn’t change its stand soon, we will see the emergence of new ROOT servers and new sets of internet operating in different countries. Each nation will start its OWN thing.

The following example will emphasize the consequence of such an event: if I, sitting here in Chennai would type a domain name, a different webpage would open than what you would get on typing the same domain name, sitting in say Paris. Internet would never remain the same. In fact its power would be reduced to a devastating extent.

It’s high time the Neta of the Net changes its attitude!

*Neta stands for politician in Hindi Language; Neta-giri is the act of playing politics.

Laloo's Land!

The end-semester exam for a 4 credit course is to happen tomorrow at 9 in the morning (less than 24 hours to go). I have hardly finished even one tenth of the portion that I need to. And yet I jusht could not resist the temptation to put this blog in place. Such a good news from my home has come after so many years: Laloo-Raj is finally over!

? So you come from “Laloo’s Land”? Tell me one thing ‘da’, why do you guys make him win?

I don’t even remember the number of times this question had been thrown over me here in this southern part of India. Each time I had only one answer. Laloo knows how to win and that is it.

Today, I am so happy to hear someone else did learn this art; someone else did win. I sincerely hope that Nitish Kumar as the new chief minister of my state does a better job and sets Bihar rolling in the right direction. My best wishes are with him.

Good bye life! Who were you btw?

Well this one is not set on the same light-n-funny tone as my earlier post ‘What is life’ was. This one starts with a rather sad story of a fourth year IITian. Vijay committed suicide a week ago. He was found hanging in his hostel room, when after a day’s absence, his friends broke open the door. And there he was. Dead! Lifeless! Gone forever. [news link]

Why did he do this? The apparent reason highlighted in the media was that this fourth year EP student of IIT Bombay was short of attendance in some course(s) because of which he was not allowed to sit for the final exams. That meant he would have had to do one more year at the institute. He couldn’t face that, went into depression and finally committed suicide. Dead! Lifeless!

That was the ‘apparent’ reason. The real reason is this. He misjudged reality. And when something happened which he could not face (because he had not dreamt of that; because it was so unreal to him) he couldn’t take it anymore and he took his life. This I should state is the more general reason why people commit suicide.

Most of them who take their lives do it for the same reason. They are the people who never give a thought to ‘all’ that is possible with each passing second. When they step out of their hostel rooms to attend their classes, they only see the class, the short-term goal. They forget that there’s something called probability. And just ‘everything’ in this world has an above-zero probability (however small that may be). That basically means ‘anything’ can happen at anytime because the ‘everything’ includes every damn option. And that does mean that as soon as they step out of their hostel rooms, the probability of a big and sharp peace of metal flying towards them and hitting them on the face and making them blind forever exists. The metal hits they eyes; the eyes are gone. No, they are not dead. But suddenly they are blind. Their life has changed in a second. Is that really unreal? Only if they never thought something like this could ‘ever’ happen. Once you know ‘anything’ can happen, you know ‘anything’ will happen. Should the inability to see the world the way it functions, be a reason enough to end one’s life?

Reality is accepting the fact that you are never going to be the same person all the time. The change within you (or within anyone else) might happen within the blink of an eye, or it might be so slow that you won’t even notice it. The change could be for your good or on the extreme side, it could be the most disastrous thing to have happened with you. Do realize all the time, that you can hardly do anything to ensure either the magnitude or the rate of this bound-to-happen change. Realize the reality.

And then go ahead and ask yourself this: will you really want to live a life even when you are not the same person anymore? even when you have lost all the wealth you had? even when you have lost both of your limbs?

To answer any of these, and answer them ‘logically’, you will have to answer this first: why were you living a life at the first place? And that also means that if you cannot answer this, you cannot actually decide ‘logically’ whether you want to live your 'new' life after the ‘change’ or you just don’t want to.

When someone goes into depression, he cannot think logically. So he goes by instincts. Instincts might tell him that he would never like to live anymore. But that might not actually be the correct conclusion. When does logic work in pain? The pain is just too much to tolerate. And there he ends his life. Dead! Permanent end to all his pains. But wait a second. Wasn’t this step a permanent end to a ‘temporary problem’? Don’t you think that if the same person was made to come out of depression by some close friends and then asked to think about the whole issue ‘logically’, he might have had come with a different answer all by himself? Going by the logical way he would have first questioned himself about the real purpose of his life. After getting an answer (if he had been lucky enough), he would have moved to the next question: Could he really achieve what he wanted in life with the changes that had happened in his life? And then finally after getting an answer to this question he would have decided the action to be taken: to live further or to say life a cold good-bye. And then whatever he would have done would have been justified.

I ask you now to name me a single person who committed suicide without getting into depression. And when you fail to find any, you should realize that these people who took such actions failed to think logically. Their actions were based on their instinct which was affected in turn by the pain they felt because of the sudden change in their life. The pain was too much but then it had to recede. All they needed was time. All they needed was some support, some love, some affection and some more time. And then their decision would have had made any sense.

Talking about sense, does it really make any sense to blame the ‘system’? How is it that all others in the same system are still surviving? How valid a question is this: Did the system kill IIT-ian? I will leave the answer to the reader.

What I look for is a solution. Isn’t there any solution to prevent such tragedies? There indeed is. Before that I would like to mention few things. To begin with, one should not conclude that Vijay committed suicide because his Professors did not allow him to sit in the final exam (because of his own fault of course). We should also not conclude that he ended his life because he was upset about his choice between CS at IITG and EP(or whatever branch it was) at IITB (some of his friends did say this could be a reason!). All these explanations are superficial. He committed suicide and so do many others because he went into depression and he failed to think logically.

And now the solution. What is needed is nothing but the help of friends around such people to make them recover from apparent-tragedies, apparent-failures, apparent-misfortunes and any of these sucking feelings. All of us should be sensitive enough to others around us, listen to their problems and let no one take this irrecoverable path.

I grieve the death of a fellow IITian (and a senior to me) and sincerely wish something like this never happens again. But then the damn ‘probability’! Ok, I would rephrase my wish then: I sincerely wish that the probability of tragedies like this goes down and further down and down and…

Vantage point: Bye, Machan

A dick shun : So?

Any IITian who plays Quake or CS or for that matter any comp-game and who as well cares to read The Economic Times possibly couldn’t have missed this catchy bit of gyaan put up today on its front page: Computer games as addictive as marijuana. Wow! As if we didn’t know already!

I tried to look for an online link for the same on the ET website. But damn these guys! They want you to have an Indiatimes Id to be able to visit their e-paper ( so proudly stating that an Indiatimes membership is “currently free”). How can they expect the surfers to register for any damn thing that’s FREE? That age is sure gone now.

I quickly moved to google news and finally got a relevant link that stated the same news.

And now the discussion: Is addiction really that bad a thing to worry about? Aren’t most of us addicted about something or the other most of the times? Addiction comes from love for something. Right? And love is such a good thing. Then why is it seen with such FU@&%NG-ADDICTION-SUCKS attitude?

(Amrit realizes something suddenly: He has lately been ‘addicted’ to blogging! If not keyboarding down his own blog, he is going through other’s blogs; blogs of people he knows to blogs of people he has never heard about, blogs updated almost daily to blogs which get published once in two annoying years, blog A to blog Z all the way through B, C, D,…and then back to blog A all the way through Y, X, W,…to check if anything new has been put up. HE IS ADDICTED! The good thing is he doesn’t care.)

(And then he realizes something else: End sems!! 2 more day to go! To do hell with blogging… Someone seen his class-notes?)

The tale of a once-upon-a-time-Goddess

A Mumbai girl from a Muslim background became an actress so famous in South India that her fans went ahead and made a temple for her. A temple for a Muslim woman! She was the Goddess for these Tamil people who loved her onscreen. This was in the nineties. Khushboo was a Goddess!

And then one day this year, came a twist in the tale. The Goddess said something in a Magazine survey that made people go mad; made her fans hide their faces. She said it was alright for a girl to loose her virginity before marriage if she took safety measures to avoid AIDS.

Who said this? Khushboo? Khusboo: the Goddess? How can a Goddess say something so insulting to the Tamil Community? A Goddess? NO, she is a Muslim slut from Mumbai and we should drive her away form our sacred state of Tamil Nadu.

Someone had to do something. Where were her enemies? TheDPI (read Dalit Panthers of India)! They needed nothing else but such an apt opportunity to wage their attack. Khushboo had once supported some Association which had made one Dalit Film Producer say sorry in full media coverage for his shady comments on Tamil Actresses. The time for the Dalits to strike back had come now. And there they started their campaign: demonstrations by the women members of the DPI, more than 25 defamation suits against the actress and so many different forms of attack on the her.

We will show her what it takes to teach our children about pre-marital sex. Our children are foolish enough to start believing in whatever their Goddess speaks. They cannot think on their own. We cannot teach them anything useful. And since we cannot teach our children anything, let’s do something. Let’s at least teach her something. To do hell with the Goddess! Where is the broom and has anyone seen that bag full of rotten tomatoes?

Another icon in the form of Sania Mirza was heard supporting the actress a few days back. But then she took back her words as well (and that too within one day!). An already issued Fatwa against her (because someone did not like her small skirts) was enough for her to deal with. And so it was smart to keep her name off in other such ‘hot’ issues.

Does this Indian society even allow us to say what we feel like? Is there anything that can still be called ‘freedom of speech’? A personal opinion of a female becomes such an issue. Such an attitude sucks!

Does it matter?

I recieved an e-mail today and found it interesting enough to be posted here. Here it goes:

From: "itdes not matter" matteritdoesnot @ yahoo . co . in


saw ur blog i am sending u this poem if u like it , u can put it up in ur blog, u can use it as ur own.
thanking u

What is Life?

A blog by a human made me reveal the truth about life for once and for all. The world won’t remain the same once this blog is published (because I heard somewhere that the world changes with every passing count of a second!).

What is life?

At some point of time this question hits you. It hits everyone. For some, the impact lasts only for those ten minutes that they spend at the funeral procession of their best friend’s mother. For some it lasts till they die finally, without any satisfactory answer of course.

Let’s assume an answer exists for this question. And let’s also assume that the answer is a universal truth (without getting into the validity of the existence of ‘universal truth’ itself). Based on these two assumptions let me propose my hypothesis about life.

There’s a creature somewhere. It exists not in some space that science has defined and it lives not in the way the time is perceived by us. But that creature is there; somewhere; and may be not just one, but many more of them. These guys out there in the undefined space and existing in an undefined timeframe are into some experiment. They had generated a random self-sustained process some ‘time’ back (time here and for that matter anywhere in this article should be considered just an English word and its scientific interpretation should be ignored).

Life is nothing but the result of that experiment. We, the human beings are the result of that experiment.

The guys who devised the setup for this experiment made sure that those who had acquired life, tried to retain it for some ‘time’. It can never be found out how they ensured this but it does work. Talk about human beings. They fear death. Everyone fears death naturally. Had this not been the case, this experiment would have had stopped ‘long back’. They would have had nothing to observe; no readings to take; no conclusions to make.

If one goes by this flawless hypothesis, interesting conclusions can be made. Some of them are:

  1. Everything that happens is hundred percent random or at most pseudo-random. It is difficult to find out the exact way all this works but it’s mostly free-flowing.

  2. We have no reasons to worship those who created us. The Creatures!!

  3. There is nothing called ‘a purpose of life’ that we really need to find. The observers will note down all we do and whatever we do is supposed to be random. As human beings we can always look for a purpose but it doesn’t matter much whether we succeed or not. We tend to look for a purpose because of some minor flaws in their experimental setup. Ideally we are supposed to look at the world only with our senses (touch, sound, sight, smell etc.). But we do feel a few things without the need of any of our senses. The question about the purpose of life comes from this feeling itself. And this is it.

  4. Amrit is hazzzar jobless in life. But then there’s a limit!

The Journey Begins (story tree)

I was tagged by The Helmet. I carried forward this story (without any expected twist!). And then I tagged three more (lucky bloggers!).

What you read below is a story contributed by count-them-how-many bloggers. The story is interesting enough to excite each tagged blogger; and excite him enought to carry on the legacy of his taggers by contributing to it while following the rules at the same time (the rules are listed at the end of the story).

Have fun as the journey continues...


He thought it would be an ordinary journey. Standing behind the pillar he watched the train snort arrogantly into the station. With each snort he was reminded of his grandfather's words "You will fail in the city and return penniless"; with every heavenward whistle, he heard his cousin, "Don't worry. Come here and I will get you a job at the construction site." Now he had a 34-hour journey to prove one of them wrong, and he expected the excitement at the end of the journey. He looked at his ticket once again: compartment S9 berth 23.


Pushing his luggage under the seat, he sat close to the window. "Papa, when will you be back?" - his four year old daughter Munni asked innocently. He stared into those soft brown eyes of the motherless kid. He held her frail palms in his, through the window. "Munni, Papa will get you a nice gudiya from the city..Say tata," his sister spoke to the kid, to avoid an emotional outburst. In a minute, the train pulled forward, and Munni's little fingers parted from between his. "I need to go..", he thought, "I have to, at least for Munni's sake.."


The humid summer breeze and the rattling train coaxed him into an uncomfortable state of drowsy consciousness. He dreamt that Munni ran away, the closer he ran to her, the farther she was, like a mirage.

He woke up with a start and squinted at his watch."What is the time please?"A smallish woman, a meek voice as if she was scared that her existence would annoy someone. Her only noticeable feature was her rather large, expressive eyes."4.30"Something made him look at the woman again. He had stopped noticing women long back. Ever since Meenakshi passed away...


But this woman was different. She reminded him of someone he knew. In an instant he realized who and the painful memories came flooding back. She looked exactly like his childhood sweetheart Madhu. As teenage lovers in a conservative society, they had often met secretly and had declared undying love for each other.

Then someone had found out and all hell had broken loose. The elders in the village Panchayat had ostracized Madhu's family as she was from a lower caste. Unable to bear the humiliation, she had committed suicide by drowning. That was twelve years back...


Could it be? Could it really be him? He seems different, weary and downcast. Oh no will he recognise me? No, I am dead to the world. Still she cautiously wrapped her saree end around her head and across her face.

Behind the cotton screen, her mind drifted to happier times, languid strolls in the corn fields, games at the riverbed, his gentle caress, whispered sweet nothings, stolen glances at the temple fair.

Tempted to take one last look, she consoled herself that he wouldn't notice.

Slowly she lifted her eyes only to find Rupak staring back at her.


She quickly glanced the other way.

No, this girl looks too close to be any other person. She is infact Madhu!! “Hey, Madhu!” he called.

She struggled hard not to respond to that call. And successfully managed it too.

Hey Madhu, you forgot me?” he inquired her and came closer.

The old lady sitting opposite to him was looking at this unapprovingly.

“No, you are mistaken, My name is not Madhu.. I am Supriya”, she lied.

Hey Ram! a young girl cannot travel safely in this country without being stalked!” the old lady muttered angrily.


The girl walked briskly away from him, trying to escape his glances, as though she was hiding something, not wanting to be discovered. He stood confused, she had said her name wasn’t Madhu, and should he run after her? Or should he let it pass, after all he still had a train to catch.

His heart told him it was Madhu, followed her, all thoughts about going to the city vanished; he was on delighted to have met Madhu after such a long time. He was filled with memories of their time together. He finally caught up with her. Looking into her eyes he said, ‘Why Madhu? Why this to me?'


"Please dont lie to me anymore"; sounding more like the Mani he used to be ten years back when he had first met her at the Village temple, rather than the arrogant side that seemed to rule his life now. "I know it is you, nobody else but you Madhu". Tears roll down her cheecks as she tries to remember why they ended up this way. Was it destiny or fate that they had to meet now?

As she speaks up, the train which for a while had be at a halt, slowly starts to move.


“I was asked by the Panchayat to leave the village. They said they’d manage by saying I’d drowned. Everyone was led into believing I was drowned. I went to the towns, so no one would recognise me. My family disowned me. I struggled to live. Anyway, it’s all made me too immune. Life being a struggle is passé to me! I’ve learnt it the hard, cold and sharp way.”

“But Madhu, you could have written to me…”

“It’s all over between us Mani. You are now Rupak. I am now Mita. We couldn’t possibly….”
Train no where in sight.


He was jolted into consciousness.

Somebody had yanked the chain.
Some talked of escape. Some, of someone jumping the train.
Others of how this someone had failed.

Alarms rang in his head. Madhu!

Breathe! He commanded his senses.
She wouldn’t. Perhaps she went to the toilet, he reasoned.

He took out a checkered handkerchief from his breast pocket, delicately took off his glasses, and wiped his forehead.

Down, he saw the book lying on the floor.
He shook his head in disbelief.
He got off his seat, onto his haunches and looked for his pen.


He could not find his pen and neither could he find peace.

A reassuring yes is all he was looking for…..Alas! ‘twas still coming.

Then he turned his attention towards the book and what he read was not immensely satisfying. This made him think of what he had seen….how can this happen? Perhaps I am overreacting or maybe not…

He saw the old lady sleeping in peace and thoughts of Munni comforted him, only for a while though. All the chit chatter made no difference to him and hence he decided that he needed to do something.

He rushed towards the door and saw a crowd which made him fear the worst. Delightfully, the outlook of the gathering was not serious enough to make him feel jittery, but he still needed to find someone, he lit up a cigarette and started gazing at the moon


He paused for a moment. Closed his eyes and blew out a stream of smoke.

He had start smoking when Meenakshi had passed away. Anything to ease the pain he had thought. The melancholic tale of the lonely heart is one which repeats itself much too often. He still wondered how he made it through those days. Those terrible days that had sequestered him, from which no one thought he would ever recover. But he did.

“Papa…” He heard Munni’s voice in his head. That one word was perhaps the only reason he was still alive.


It was a cold night and the cigarette was quite comforting. He kept staring at the moon through the train door. The moon! It brought back old memories.

How could he ever forget those sweet nights spent with his wife? They used to stare at the moon for hours. It was during one such cold night that he had told Meenakshi about a story from his past. He had told her about Madhu. She had cried like a child after knowing about the ill-fated end of their love story and had given him the warmest hug in this world.

He never ever missed Madhu after that night.

“Where are you lost?” a feminine voice interrupted his thoughts.


Everything below the dashed line above should be copied and pasted with every accepted tag

This is a Story Tree and is best nurtured as follows:

1. A blogger can add only 90-100 words (not more or less) at a time
2. All previous snippets of 90-100 words need to be copied before the new set of 90-100 words are appended.
3. Each entire snippet should be linked to the respective author (and not just the first sentence or so)
4. Characters, scenes, etc. can be introduced by an author
5. Bizarre twists, sci-fi, fantasy sequences are best avoided.
6. A tag must be accepted within 7 days else the branch is a dead branch
7. After appending 90-100, the Story Tree can be passed on to at most 3 bloggers.
8. If more than 1 branch leads to a blogger, s/he is free to choose any one of them but cannot mix the snippets of the individual branches.
9. The Story Tree is best left to grow than concluded
10. Please attach the image of the Story Tree below with each accepted tag (the link address can be copied and used).

Here I go now. The three lucky bloggers are :

Pahwa, Shankar & Sandeep

The Big Fight

God Bless Atheism!

Atheism! Hold your breath all you religious souls. I am not here to laugh at you. And I am not roaring to support all the hard core atheists either. What am I up to? Let’s discover.

God bless atheism! I read this statement somewhere (on net). And it caught my attention like anything. Does it catch yours? I do not know how those who have been taught atheism, right from their birth (are there any?) perceive things, but I definitely have some idea of those who come from religious backgrounds and later start believing in atheism. Let’s talk about a character called Anuj. In case you know someone by that name, no, it's not him. The name is fictional. But the story might not be.

Anuj believed in God. It was not just him but so many of them around him did the same; they believed in God. They had been told so many stories. The one that Anuj liked most goes like this.
There was a guru who had four disciples at one point of time. When their learning tenure at the gurukula was over, they had to give one final test. The guru asked each one of them to bring something precious for him from their respective homes, without letting anyone know. Now that’s an easy task, thought the disciples. They had a time of one month to do so. All of them left for their homes.

A month was over. The disciples were back. The first one showed his guru a gold chain that he had managed to get hold of during a night, from his father's (who happened to be a King) drawer. Similarly two more of his disciples presented him precious gifts swearing that no one had seen them picking the gifts. The guru turned towards the last disciple who appeared to be empty handed. He was empty handed.

"Couldn’t you get anything for me?"

"I tried but I failed oh guru. I could never find myself alone. At all time someone watched me. Hey Guru, weren't you the one who taught me that God watches us all the time? So then how could I get anything for you when no one was watching?"

The guru embraced this guy and told the others that he was the only one who learnt all he taught. (I wonder if the fourth kid was telling the truth or whether he was simply smart enough to show his guru a middle finger by putting a smart statement. Imagine if the only intention of the guru, for taking the final test had been to get a little richer by fooling his students, how he would have felt while embracing this smart ass who got away without letting his guru touch a penny of his)

Well the story dragged somewhat but it was important for me to tell it for those who did not know about it. This was a story Anuj liked the most. There were many more that hinted towards the existence of an almighty who controlled our lives. And so did Anuj believe in all this. At times he had also concluded that those who did not believe in God were bad people. Why? Because they could do all bad things since they thought there was no God watching them or to punish them.

Anuj was a kid then; a kid with a religious background. Everyone in his home believed in God. None had ever discussed about the need for it (except for may be moral policing) and none could obviously discuss the proof it. As he grew up, and started giving an ear to what others talked about, he suddenly asked himself one fine day (or it may have been one fine night as well). Why do I need to believe in God? Hey, wait a sec, who is God? He couldn't get an answer and he turned atheist. God became god. He became a non-believer.

At times he was pained by this particular logic put by the believers.

So, you do not believe in God? Heh! Why? You do not know who is He and so you doubt his existence? But just because you do not know if he exists, how can you conclude he doesn't exist at all and hence how can you start non-believing in Him?

Anuj used to ask himself. What are these guys talking about? Are they only trying to prove they are smart enough to believe in something which they kind of confess they themselves can't prove? He thought about their logic some times. It was challenging. And then he concluded that when something just can’t be proved, it hardly mattered whether one believed in that thing or not. But if it really didn’t matter, why were so many of them keen on making him shed his ways? Anuj could never find the answers to all his questions.

Years later he turned old and he died. The day he died, he did say “God Bless Atheism”!

The rain and the request

It started raining. There was no place to hide. Did he even want to hide? He had always loved the rain, the flow of drops from up above. He wanted to get wet. Well, sure enough, he did get wet.

The road was empty. The rain went heavy. He was enjoying. And then he saw someone out there on that empty road. She was a girl. She seemed to be the same age as his. She was enjoying the downpour as well. And why had he not noticed her until then? He left the question in the air and kept looking at her.

She looked tall and fair. She was there at a distance, sometimes looking back at him. He couldn't see her face. She was far enough for that. And the rains; they had reduced the visibility furthur. Shall I try to get closer? He asked himself. And even before he could get an answer from his inner self, he was walking in her direction.

She had stopped noticing him. She was too busy with the water falling all over her. Her blue colored jacket and the denim trousers gave her the look of a college girl. He stopped walking once he was close enough to have a look at her face. Was she smiling at him? No, obviously that was his fantacy. Wait a sec, she was indeed smiling. Smiling at a stranger! He had to be sure. He had forgotten about the rain. Now it was only her. He had to be sure how she was taking him and then he asked himself. Shall I go to her and ask? And even before he could get an answer from his inner self, he was walking towards her.

She was indeed smiling. Smiling at him in the rain. Who was she? The rain had slowed down to some extent, but it was still thick. Now her face was clearer. He looked at her but didn't speak (or rather he couldn't speak?). He did not know what to speak. She did know. And she spoke

"Hi, this rain is lovely. I am P"

"P? hi, nice to meet you. This is Q"

"Am i beautiful?"

"What? Oh yes, sure you are. Of course, you are. In fact you are awesome. "

"Can you do anything for me?"

He was confused. This girl who called herself P appeared to be crazy. Or may be she was acting like one. What did she mean by 'anything'?

"What is it that you want me to do?" He replied with the tone of a confused man.

"Do you see that bird there, besides the bush?" She asked him as she pointed towards a small bush on the other side of the road. He could see the bird.

"Thats a duck. Do you want me to catch it for you? I will surely do that." And even before he could get an answer from her, he had started walking towards the bush.

"No wait. I Want you to kill it"

He paused. He thought he had heard something wrong. May be because of the rains. But had he heared kill? He turned back. She repeated her desire. His face turned dull. She was indeed crazy, he told to himself. Why the hell in this world she wanted a duck to be killed? He had no clue. And why the hell would he do such a stupid thing? He was standing there, frozen. His mind was throwing so many questions and this time it was impossible to move any more before he could get an answer from his inner self.

Why should I kill a bird? Just becaus a crazy girl wants me to do so? Even before he could get an answer from his inner self, he saw the duck moving away. He followed it with a blank mind. In fact he ran towards it. The bird was soon within his reach. And he grabbed it. He brought the duck to P and asked her finally.

"Why do you want me to kill it? What has it done to you? Are you crazy?"

"I will answer all your questions but only if you do what I have asked you to do. And you don't have much time to think. I want you to do this before the rain stops. And I can already see its slowing down. Do this fast Q. Please kill this bird".

He turned back. He was still not sure. He could either leave the bird from where he had picked it and leave the place. Or he could actually kill the bird and then get to know why did she want him to do so. He looked at the bird. It was not making much noise. It appeared to be sick. It was sick. He realized that if someone didn't take care of this creature, it would anyway die. And then he looked towards the sky. The rain was indeed slowing down; time was running short. And then suddenly he felt the bird go cold. The creature had collapsed in his hands. It had died. He didn't know how he felt. He hadn't killed the bird but it was dead.

He turned back. Oh my! What did he see? She was lying on the road. Unconscious. He took his right hand to feel her breath. She was not breathing. She was dead. The blue jacket had turned red at places. That was blood. She had killed herself. He ran away.

He commited suicide the same day next year.


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