neelwrites/maya:littlemorethanillusion/fiction/shortstory/reena’sexplorationchallengeweek#16/14/12/2017

Hosted by the fantabulous Reena at https://reinventionsreena.wordpress.com/2017/12/08/reenas-exploration-challenge-week-16/

Here is a character narrating different episodes from her life. You get an idea of the overall personality. Pick just one sentence from the story, and develop further on that.

why

MAYA: LITTLE MORE THAN ILLUSION

By Neel Anil Panicker

I see the rage in my boss’s eyes and know that is time to quit. Or, more appropriately, that is time for me to be asked to quit.

There he is, sitting opposite me, in that favourite swivel chair of his, the chair, the specific make and colour that I helped him to chose, staring down at me, those limpid blue eyes now a raging red, its pupils trebly enlarged, the nerves threatening any moment to burst out.

I bravely refuse to give in and like a fool who rushes in where angels fear to tread, I lock eyes with him.

I see his head, bald as an eagle’s, the strobe lights streaking in through the translucent windows doodling all over his six foot gym toned frame, the hands, large and hairy, like a grizzly bear’s fiercely clutching onto a palm sized paper weight, furiously rotating it over the oblong sun mica topped teak wood table.

I see a melange of emotions, predominantly distaste, written all over his usually placid face, now a bundle of bumbling emotions.

I see a lot that I haven’t seen in the past six years, the years that I have known him since, the years that I have worked  under him, the years that he has been my boss, also the years that we have been lovers.

I know it is time for me to leave, allow for him to be alone so as to be able to process all that has happened.

I get up and calmly hand over an envelope. It contains my resignation letter addressed to Shiv Kumar Sharma, Director, COACHING TIME, New Delhi from Maya Talreja, General Manager- Planning.

‘I shall see you in the evening’, I say, and walk out of the cabin. I know he’s my man and I know together we’ll battle our way out of this storm too.

***

My name is Maya. Maya Mirchandani. I am a 30-year-old Sindhi, a divorced Gujarati born Sindhi to be precise. I stress on the divorced part because that’s was defined me, at least for the first five years since my marriage with Kunal, a regular parochial wife beating male chauvinist pig fell apart. Wait, fell apart did I say?

Shred to pieces, smashed to smithereens__these would be better descriptors of the hellish times I spent with Kunal whose favourite form of abuse was to strip me naked,   chain me to the window sill, and then beat me black and blue with a steel belt for hours together.

Of course, he did take power breaks in between, replenishing himself with whisky on the rocks and snorting cocaine, just one among many of his addictions.

One night soon after when he and the entire world were in deep slumber, I climbed down the bathroom pipe, walked barefoot upto to the nearest railway station, and took the first available train to my hometown.

My parents, saddled with typical middle class mores thought I had committed a crime  and did everything possible right from weeping and begging to cajoling and threatening to somehow force me to go back to Kunal, to give my marriage yet another try.

But I had resolved that enough was enough and would under no circumstances go back to marriage which I know equated with hell for short of a milder word.

That broke their dam of patience and I was subjected to another round of torture.

This time it was mental, and especially so by own parents, who feared that a daughter, beautiful and educated as she may be, had no life outside of marriage.

Things deteriorated from bad to worse and then one day, when unable to bear their near non-stop rebukes and emotional blackmails, I packed my bags and left home.

In less than 100 days I had hit road again, the only difference being this I had burnt all my bridges and there was no going back, anywhere whatsoever.

I decided to hit a new town and landed up in Delhi. The first few months were sheer hell, as armed with nothing more than a college degree I walked in and out of countless interviews without any luck.

It went like this for a month or so and soon things reached a point when I had no money to even pay the rent for my single room Paying Guest accommodation.

It was then that the landlord offered me a life a line: He would forfeit my dues if I agreed to sleep with him.

Disgusted I slammed the phone down and was about to smash it to the wall when it began to ring.

I picked it up and was about to hurl my choicest abuses when I heard a woman’s voice, soft though business-like over the phone, “Am I speaking to Miss Maya?”

“Yes, this is Maya”, I somehow managed to mumble.

“Congratulations,” the voice continued, “You have been selected. Please kindly collect your offer letter from Coaching Time”.

A melange of emotions swirled through my mind. One moment I was down and out and the other I was on top of the world. I was over, my ordeal, my quest, my struggle for survival. I had finally bagged a job.

The next day, my heart full of joy, I walked into my new office, and fell straight into the arms of my boss.

Well, it so happened that I had just left the HR Manager’s cabin, clutching in my hand an appointment letter that said my designation was Executive Secretary, Director, Coaching Time.

“Walk straight and turn left. Extreme corner is Kumar Sir’s cabin.”

I did as she had guided me, and found myself standing outside an impressive oak panelled cabin door that sported a gold embellished capital lettered name plate ‘DIRECTOR’.

I was wondering whether to knock or to simply step in, when the door opened all of a sudden and out stumbled a man and almost fell into my arms.  In fact if he hadn’t held himself against the wall, both of us would have come tumbling down like nine pins.

“I…I am sorry. ‘Am in a hurry.” was all he managed to blurt out as we pulled ourselves together.

I looked at him, half fearful, half embarrassed.

Pushing the wrong side of forty, the man had a shock of curly grey hair the sides of which fell over a square face that reeked of a childlike naughtiness.

“Sir, I am Maya…your new secr…”

“Sorry, got to go. Shall meet you in the evening. Make yourself comfortable” was all he said before he vanished down the corridor.

I shrugged off the awkwardness and stepped inside to find the room, a mid sized hall rather, a picture of disarray. Half opened books, files, stationery, even Coke cans were littered all over the place__ on the work table, under the chairs, on the mosaic floor, a few even near the attached washroom.

My womanly instincts came to fore and I set about putting everything in order, even at one point picking up the intercom and requisitioning the House Keeping Department.

And when Mr Kumar walked in through the door in the evening all he did was stand and stare in wonderment at the metamorphosis his cabin had undergone.

He rewarded me with a hesitant half smile.

In turn I extracted a cup of hot Nescafe from the Coffee Machine and placing it on his desk, said, “ Sir, I am Maya, your new Executive Secretary”.

He motioned me to the chair opposite him and apprised me of the tasks at hand.

I was to take care of his appointments, attend all his meetings, take down their minutes, prepare notes, and help him with the general functioning of his office.

The next few months I immersed myself fully in my job, voraciously lapping up each day and new experience as part of my learning curve, ever learning, at times faltering, at times making mistakes but never repeating them.

At the end of six months, I had learnt enough to make myself an indispensable part of the office, befriending one and all, helping all and sundry, ensuring the smooth and efficient running of the organisation.

The wheels of time spun and soon a year passed by and another and  then yet another.

I was happy, at peace with myself, had a job, a great one at that, one that I loved to the hilt, and most importantly was independent in all senses of the term.

By now I was promoted as General Manager-Operations and my salary was ten times over what I had started with.

And then I fell in love. Or, we fell in love. Shiv and I.

It was not one of those Slam, Bam, Thank You Ma’m kind of puerile, lust filled entanglements that you hear of but quite on the contrary, a slow brewing, deep stirring, meaningful heart enriching, life affirming love between two mature fully responsible consenting adults.

As such we resolved that our love, romance, relationship, affection or whatever one may choose to call it, would in no way interfere with our official duties. We turned increasingly discreet, making sure that not one soul got a whiff of it.

But then as they say such things have a dirty habit of leaking out and soon someone somehow poisoned the ears of the powers that be at the Head Office.

Soon enough Shiv received a terse one line note from the head honchos asking for my scalp.

And that’s where things stand now as I sit in my cabin wondering over the dilemma that stares Shiv, my boss cum lover.

***

The intercom buzzes; I pick up the phone.

“Maya. We’re in this together. I’ve put in my papers. Now, either we swim or sink.

Are you with me?”

“Forever, my sweetheart”.

I kiss him over the phone.

I am happy, elated, over the moon.
I have finally found love.

I have a man, a man who’s man enough to take on the world.

For me, for him, for us.

©neelanilpanciker2017 #fiction #shortstory #CATolgy #BSchool #MBA

#reena’sexplorationchallengeweek#16 #1670words

Advertisements

neelwrites/labyrinth/part30ofadangerouslove/novella/fiction/100wordwednesday/11/12/2017

100 Word Wednesday: Week 48

By BIKURGURL at https://bikurgurl.com/2017/12/06/100-word-wednesday-week-48/

LABYRINTH

100WW_W48.jpg

Photo by Trevor Cole

By Neel Anil Panicker

Inspector Sharma looked through the windshield as the approaching police van made a discreet entrance through the usually locked back gates of Tiz Hizari Courts.

The vehicle grinded to a halt near the parking area reserved for judges and higher officials.

From here it would be but a short two minute walk through the narrow garden path that led to the temporary court cell.

The accused would then be led to the respective courts located on the first and second two floors of the multi-plex style sprawling court complex.

Sharma watched the prisoners closely as they alighted.

One in particular caught his attention, Ali; the cop wondered what awaited him_ jail, bail, or was it something else?

©neelanilpanicker2017 #PART 30 of A DANGEROUS LOVE #FICTION #NOVELLA #117WORDS

 

To read previous episodes of this ongoing novella ” A DANGEREOUS LOVE’ click on the links below:

PART ONE:

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/27/neelwritesffphoningaroundfictionromance100words27072017/

PART TWO:

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/28/neelwrites3linetalesphoningaround-part2fiction28072017/

PART THREE:

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/30/neelwritessundayphotofiction03ofdangerouslove30072017/

PART FOUR

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/neelwritespart/

PART FIVE

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/neelwritessixsentencestoriesepisodesixofdangerouslovefiction/

PART SIX

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/03/neelwriteswatcherfictionthursdayphotoprompt03082017/

PART SEVEN

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/05/neelwritesgaffarmian-alifeoutsideprisonwallsthreelinetalesfiction188words/

PART EIGHT https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/08/neelwritescatsoutofthebagfffpppart8ofdangerouslovefiction08082017/

PART NINE https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/09/neelwritesthediscoveryfffawpart9dangerouslovefiction09082017/comment-page-1/#comment-3979

PART TEN  https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/12/neelwritesalonelyvigilparttenofadangerouslovefiction35812082017/

PART ELEVEN https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/15/neelwritesthedisclosurespfpartelevenofdangerouslove15082017/

 

PART TWELVE https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/16/neeelwritesthedonsnestparttwelveofdangerouslovefictionnovella16082017/

PART THIRTEEN

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/21/neelwritesbordersixsentencestoriespartthirteenofadangerouslovefiction195words21082017/

PART FOURTEEN

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/24/neelwritesthehitpartfourteenofadangerouslove24082017/

PART FIFTEEN

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/25/neelwriteswearinganewshadeadangerouslifepartfifteenofdangerouslovefiction25082017/

PART SIXTEEN
PART SEVENTEEN
PART EIGHTEEN
PART NINETEEN
PART 21

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/neelwritespart21ofadangerouslovesixsentencestoriesplate19072017/

PART 22:

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/30/neelwritescryinthedarortrappart22ofadangerouslovefictionnovella133words30092017/

 

 

PART 27: https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/28/neelwritesbiggamehuntingpart27ofadangerouslovenovellafictionthreelinetales28102017/

PART 28: https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/02/neelwrites-dramornightmare-part28ofadangerouslove-novella-fiction-02-12-2017/

PART 29

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/10/neelwrites-timesticking-part29ofadangerouslove-novella-fiction-10-12-2017/

 

neelwrites/thewall/shorstory/reena’sexplorationchallenge/1582words/fiction/16/112017

Hosted by the superb Reena at https://reinventionsreena.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/reenas-exploration-challenge-week-12/

Here’s the prompt

If you were asked to share one experience you had with someone you knew which was experienced as a gift or transmission, what memory would that be? Close your eyes and see what arises. Which gift will you pass on?

 

Exploration Challenge 12.jpg

THE WALL

By Neel Anil Panicker

There are two types of educators: those who do what they are tasked to do out of love and those who don’t do what they are tasked to do out of hate.

Now doing something out of love is entirely different from doing something because it needs to be done.

And the needs could be any and varied. It could be commanded by the every elemental need for survival. I mean people teach for the money that it provides, necessary money that helps feed  themselves and their families.

But then that would apply to any profession, one may argue.

True but then not necessarily. There are those in this category who teach because they know nothing else or because they are no good at anything else.

Not for them the rigours of the corporate world, the daily grind of struggling to meet and outdo targets and KRAs. Not for them also the admonitions, demotions, insults, and humiliations that follow the non-performance or under performance of a task.

Ratnesh Karmakar was one such person. I first met him in the staff Faculty Room. It was on a Monday morning, a little after 11. I had just walked into the Faculty Room after finishing my first class of the day.

It was an English Vocabulary class and as what happens after most such classes I was surrounded by a couple of very eager students too intrigued by the fascinating world of words; words which hitherto were new to them. They were badgering me with questions as to the scientific originations of these new fanciful words.

I decided to give them a very patient hearing and walked them through the various etymologies and root word methodologies to help decode the words and their subtle undertexts.

All this while I barely noticed that the Faculty Room was inhabited by another person. After I was done with the students I turned around and found to my utter surprise and shock a man, barely under 35, half sprawled on the leather couch, his eyes shut and snoring away to glory.

Feeling slightly discomfited by what I saw, I stepped out of the Room and when I came back after grabbing a cup of coffee from the kitchen I saw that the man, whoever it was no longer there. Whoof! Vanished into thin air.

That day, in the evening, I met him again, but this time in passing. He was inside the classroom adjacent to mine. I spotted through the glass door; he was there, seated on the chair, his legs all laid out on the floor like some heavily pregnant woman’s minutes before delivery, ostensibly teaching a a classfull of students, his eyes half shut, sheer boredom plastered all over his swarthy, unshaven face.

Disgusted by this wanton display of insouciance I turned around and walked into my own class, my respect for this man, whoever he may be, definitely hitting rock bottom in the few hours that I had encountered him.

It was only the next day that I came to know that this person was a new recruit, a Mathematics teacher to boot.

Now, was I shocked? Well, not one bit. For in my over a decade and half years spent in and around a classroom I have encountered many such teachers who bring disgrace to the noble profession by not just diluting it of its true worth but by also revealing themselves as very poor role models for the impressionable students that they vouch to teach and thereby to the society at large.

Such laidback people with a damn care attitude and without an iota of commitment towards the world of books and the pious business of teaching are dime a dozen in all educational institutions, be they schools, colleges, coaching institutions et al.

I avoid them like the plague but feel sorry for the hapless students who are at the receiving end of such ‘learning’ for what is education and its efficacy if delivered half heartedly and sans all passion.
And speaking of passion, my thoughts travel to the other side of the  spectrum for every such deadwoods of the world there are also inhabit the tireless, sincere warriors who go about their tasks with a dedication and honesty that is almost saintly in nature.

Rahul Joshi was his name. but we called him simply ‘The Wall’. Quite like the venerated Indian cricketer he was, to all who were fortunate to have interacted with him and partaken of his goodness, Mr Dependable,  always to be trusted upon, reliable to the core.

No, he wasn’t Mr No All, one of those who profess to know every little thing on this planet and then struts about with an air of superciliousness.

No, absolutely not, Far from it, Rahul was the epitome of humility, dedication, discipline and simplicity.

Clad in a starch white or light blue shirt and matching trousers, his hair, neatly trimmed and gelled,

He would be found either in the class, teaching English, explaining the finer nuances of the English syntax to a bevy of eager beaver students who would lap up every single utterance of his with an eagerness and devotion that would any Hindu god to shame.

A fact validated by the huge crowd of students who would swarm him once the class got over and bombard with umpteen questions.

Very assiduously, Rahul would give each one of them a patient hearing, listening, and then clearing, clarifying, correcting, suggesting, counselling all of them in a manner that was nothing short of heights of dedication and sincerity.

I mean here was a faculty who had just taught for a whole two hours a class choc-a-block with students, all the while remaining standing, and then to continue like that and take individual doubt sessions with a dozen or more students without batting an eyelid or revealing a whiff of discomfort, his perpetual smile never flagging a wee bit__all this was more than admirable. My respect for this man, as I sat and watched him over the following days and weeks, grew in geometric progression until one day I resolved to know or better still understand what made him so special, so grounded, when everyone around him walked around with a jaunt and a forced swag as if they owned the world and its backyard.

I came to know few things which increased my respect for this remarkable person.

Here is his story as I gathered over the course of the next few days.

Rahul was the only child of educationists who very tragically died in a ghastly train accident some ten year ago.

After their death, and in deference to their lifelong wish, which they had made known much earlier to him on several occasions, Rahul decided to follow in their footsteps and become an educator himself.

So, immediately after acquiring an IIM degree from Kolkata, he joined Coaching Time, first in its Pune centre and then at its New Delhi branch.

Here, he found as few things that riled him no end. First, the teachers, at least a few of them, were not so dedicated and wedded to the noble task of imparting knowledge.

They would simply come, take their classes half heartedly, and then while away the rest of their time unnecessarily indulging in talks and activities that could very mildly be termed as ‘undesirable’.

He found that all this went antithetical to what his parents had taught him. From them he had learnt that mere possession of knowledge is of no use unless it serves to benefit mankind.

And here that meant the teeming multitude of students who had left behind their homes and comforts, traversing thousands of kilometres, putting up in alien jam packed rooms and subsisting on outside food, living and surviving with just one solitary hope and dream in mind__ that of  cracking CAT, one of the toughest of all competitive examinations in the country, an achievement that would open the doors of the much sought after big, wide managerial world around them.

And so Rahul had decided to dedicate his life to the cause of these students. He not only began to lend a helping hand to every student who came to him for help, but also went back home and studied a multitude of diverse books and resource material and passed on all that extra knowledge to his students to equip them with that extra edge.

Highly impressed by this exemplary display of work ethics and fearsome dedication to the noble cause of teaching, I too decided to inculcate all this in my daily life.

Here was one person who was worthy of emulation, who through his actions and deeds had shown to one and all the right path, the path that led towards knowledge and enlightenment , not the one that Lord Buddha took, but one that was more grounded and rooted in real life, that allowed one to live a normal life while at the same time dedicating oneself to a far nobler cause, that of  guiding, teaching, educating, advising, and handholding a retinue of hesitant, struggling and fearful students, equipping and arming them but not just  the nuts and bolts of their course material but in the process making into better evolved persons and fine human beings.

Thanks to this wonderful person, in due course of time, he became the apple of everyone’s eyes including the initial naysayers and the slackers, and soon his values began to be embraced by one and all.

©neelanilpanciker2017 #shortstory #1582words #reena’s exploration challenge

neelwrites/writingonthewall/FFfAW/fiction/flash/shortstory/14/11/2017

FFfAW Challenge-Week of November 14, 2017

Hosted by the ever charming Priceless Joy at

https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/fffaw-challenge-week-of-november-14-2017/

WRITING’S ON THE WALL

By Neel Anil Panicker

As a kid Inspector Sharma hated going to school.

While his classmates unfailingly attended school even on days when they felt slightly under the weather hoping that by just walking past the imposing school portals, all their illnesses would vamoose like the near extinct Sunderbans Royal Bengal Tigers, young Sharma would be safely tucked in bed, having successfully convinced his guileless parents about being afflicted with one indecipherable illness or the other.

But that was over four score years ago; an age when innocence reigned supreme, when young and old, man and woman__all behaved well, treating the world and its backyard as one large family.

All that was in the past. Circa 2017, the present, stared out at the Senior Crime Branch cop from the semi-blackened brick-kiln back walls of the school washroom.

“Sir, it looks like an inscription, maybe some encrypted code language that the killer left behind”.

Inspector Sharma looked sideways, honouring his junior with a smirk.

What’s the body count so far, Pandeyji?”.

‘Seven, as of today.’

Inspector Sharma felt a knot forming inside his chest. Hurriedly, he unbuttoned his chest buttons. He knew heart attacks among his tribe were a dire occupational hazard.

©NEELANILPANICKER2017 #FFfAW #FICTION  #FLASH #SHORT STORY #197WORDS

neelwrites/100wordwednesday/shortstory/flashfiction/11/11/2017

100 Word Wednesday: Week 44

100WW

#100WW

Hosted by bikurgurl at https://bikurgurl.com/2017/11/08/100-word-wednesday-week-44/

MOVED ON…

100WW_W44.jpg

Image Credit Brevitē

By Neel Anil Panicker

I ignore the Do Not Disturb sign and step into the room, albeit gingerly.

I flick on the light switch; I’m swept over by nostalgia__eighteen years, nine months, fourteen days, three hours, twenty-two minutes, and a few gasping seconds.

A slow jabbing pain creeps up my arthritic ridden legs, squirreling into my already weakened torso.

Through the swirling maze that are my eyes I spot the bedside table.

Its contents stare at me: the camera, lenses, the battery, the chargers, the shiny black backpack we bought him only last month, and the Nike shoes that he’ll never wear ever again.

©neelanilpanicker2017 #100wordwednesday #flash #fiction #shortstory #100words

neelwrites/fromrattocat/reena’sexplorationchallengeweek#11/shortstory/1553words/09/11/2017

Hosted by Reena at https://reinventionsreena.wordpress.com/2017/11/03/reenas-exploration-challenge-week-11/

 

FROM RAT TO CAT 

Exploration Challenge 11

By Neel Anil Panicker

“You are a cat. Not just any ordinary cat. The big one. The biggest of them all.  A true blue Royal  Bengal  Tiger. The best and the rarest breed to inhabit the whole wide world.”

 

Saumik  began to feel dizzy. His head started to swirl. Blood began  to drain out of his face and limbs.

He felt his legs and limbs go limp.

All this not out of fear or pain. But out of shock.

So far no one, not one person in his entire life so far of over two score years on Mother Earth had ever said so many wonderful words of appreciation for him.

 

A tiger. They were calling him a tiger, that too the best in the business. From a lowly rat to a majestic tiger__that’s quite a paradigm shift. How quickly the wheels of fate change, he thought.

His mind flashbacked to the past, to his childhood, to his village by the sea, near the Sunderbans, the home of the Royal Bengal Tiger.

His mind was once again assailed by words, fierce poison barbs and insults that were heaped on his friends and neighbours.

A recurring image flashed through his mind. There he was, a slip of a ten year old boy, naked above the waist standing a step behind his half bent father whose hands were folded in supplication.

It was morning time. They were in the middle of rich, golden yellow paddy fields. A sickle rested on the ground beneath him, between his father’s legs.

The lands belonged to Hari Shankar, the landlord, an evil eyed wily invective hurling rotund man with a ferocious handlebar moustache.

His father was pleading to Hari Shankar, who also doubled up as the unofficial money lender for the entire impoverished populace.

 “O’ dear God’s gift to mankind, O’ dear benevolent soul, you have blessed us by allowing me to till your soil. We__ my wife and three children subsist because of your kindness. Here have a look at my youngest son. Here he is, Saumik, though we call him Birju. His teachers tell me that he is intelligent, that he is meant for bigger things, that he should be sent to the city for a better education. I told him that I am a poor man, that I can’t afford such expenses. But Birju here is insistent. Says he wants to study, go to a proper school, a school that has a roof, a school where the walls don’t smell of urine and cow dung and human excreta. A school that will make a man out of him.  O’ dear Lord, I request you to loan me some money so that I can fulfil his dream and send him to the city. For this act of kindness I shall forever be under your debt and till your land all my life”.

‘I have heard you and feel like laughing. A man should never dream for anything that is above his stature. Look at him. He is just like you and your father and all your wretched kith and kin. You people are meant to slog all your lives. You can do nothing else in life. This is your fate. You are just a rat and he too will end up like one, a small, useless, slavish rat all his life tilling the soil of the rich. I tell you,  in my fields from today itself. That way there will be two more hands and one extra mouth that can be fed. Now, get back to work, you good for nothing rats”.

‘Congratulations Saumik, you have cleared the most prestigious management school entrance examination in this country. We are proud to tell you that since you are among the top five students, you have secured admission into IIM, Ahmedabad. We wish you all the very best in your B school and hope that you will be an inspiration to millions of students who come from small towns and impoverished backgrounds and realise their dreams by making it big in life. Just one last question. Who do you owe your sterling success to?’

Saumik looked at the distinguished group of panellists who sat across in an oblong teak wood table  and were looking at him with eyes that spelled pride and joy. His welled up.

For one nano second his mind’s eye played out the events leading upto his selection in breakneck speed. Like a Bollywood film every single scene, frame and shot came alive in technicolor.

First, his leaving behind his parents and siblings, then his arrival in big city Kolkata. His new school. The initial rough days. The non stop barrage of insults and mocks and humiliations. The stark contrast between him and his city bred school mates. Their language, mannerisms, their style, swag, and oh, their English_ slick and polished, spoken in an accent that sounded alien and heavenly. Compared to them and the crispy starched clothes that they wore and the redolence that emanated from their well toned bodies, he looked with his pidgin rural English, unkept hair, dark smelly skin, and half protruding yellowing teeth like someone literally from the boondocks, a Stone Age man grossly unfit to move around and be accepted in modern society.

And thus he was marked out, segregated, ostracised from all, made the butt of jokes, laughed at derided to the point when he could take it no more.

The frame moved to one where was packing his bags and was leaving; leaving the big city, leaving behind his dreams of giving himself an education, of becoming a man, of fulfilling his parents’ dreams, of going back and joining his siblings and countless others whose fate it was doomed to with another man’s fields all their lives, existing but not living, mere worms and pests of absolutely no productive use, neither to themselves nor to the world around them.

The frame changes; a miracle happens. Out of the bottle, like a genie,  a kindly man with a benign smile pops up and says, “Son, I have been observing you for some time. You are a very bright student. I see great potential in you. I also see that you are bullied by other students. I can see why they do it. They see you as unkept, smelly, ill groomed, and most importantly as one who doesn’t speak English like the way they do.

My child, let me tell you, I will guide and teach you the ways of the world. I will guide you in the ways of this world. I will help you to not just speak and write and communicate with your fellow classmates but also to well informed adults in a manner that would be the envy of each one of them. I will make them and everybody who interacts with you feel in awe of you and respect and admire you from the inner cores of their hearts.

The next few frames all full of initial struggle in learning and mastering a new language, the efforts that went into turning an uncut stone into a polished jewel.

And one final frame. The day of his graduation. Seated among the audience was the same kindly man, the his English teacher from school who had taught and moulded him into a man, a much respected hugely admired modern young man.

That evening, as he held in his hands the glittering ‘Best Student’ trophy he had hugged Mr Ashmeet Bhattacharya, his mentor, now for ever friend, philosopher and guide for life.

With teary eyes that night before he went to sleep he realised  that he had turned around his fate and suddenly his perspective towards life, towards what constitutes success and how to achieve it had all changed.

“Respected gentlemen, everyman is the driver of his own destiny and thus no one can blame anyone or society or for that matter fate for what befalls him or her. Yes, all of us need one trusted navigator to show them the right path but then all onwards journeys are our to be traversed, however ardous the paths and difficult the terrains we come across. And that navigator is none other than our own perspective. With the right kind of perspective man can conquer mountains, swim oceans and soar high up in the skies. You asked me as to who I owed my success to. I know it is my parents who kept their faith in me despite ever mounting difficulties and teachers, one in particular, Bhattacharya Sir whose efforts helped me turn into a gem.

But besides them, I owe my success to another section of people. The supposed ‘haves’ of this world, the Mr Know Alls, the condescending ones, the ones who insulted me, called me names, made fun of my English et al because if it was not for them and their insults I would not have turned inward and found my inner navigator that has helped me steer the vehicle of my life past failures and towards success. Thanks to them today I have metamorphosed from a rat to a CAT and am about to enter into the best B-school in the country. But more importantly, thanks to them, my perspective towards life has changed for ever as I realise that nothing, absolutely nothing is unachievable for a human being if has the right perspective towards life.”

(c)neelanilpanicker2017 #fiction #shortstory #reena’sexplorationchallenge #shortstory #1563words

neelwrites/abadeyes/SPF/fiction/shortstory/flash/200words/06/11/2017

Sunday Photo Fiction – November 5th 2017

Hosted at https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/11/05/sunday-photo-fiction-november-5th-2017/

A BAD EYE

216 11 November 5th 2017

By Neel Anil Panicker

Roy Mathews narrowed his eyes and peered into the viewfinder.

Inside, the pupils of his eyes dilated as image after image assailed his senses.

A good three minutes later he extricated himself and half stumbling, fell onto his swivel chair.

Bloody Mary! He had been right. The bitch was cheating on him all this while.

Despite the air-conditioning, hot beads of sweat began to form around his temples.

“Darling, it’s your 40th birthday next week. I plan to make it absolutely memorable.”

Dammit! The lying infidel! His slurring voice ricocheted off the walls of their bedroom.

So this was her plan. Frolicking in bed with another man, his own office colleague, while he went around the countryside, slogging and flogging himself to death, selling sundry products for a living__ for her, for him, for their future.

Red hot molten rage swept through his veins as his heart beats went up and down like a yo-yo gone crazy.

He closed his eyes and maddening thoughts criss-crossed through his mind.

After battling for an hour, running through umpteen options, he finally succumbed.

She had to go, and quick.

A single bullet, shot through her heaving chest.

The death instant, the redemption instantaneous.

©neelanilpanicker2017 #SUNDAYPHOTOFICTIONEER #fiction #flash #shortstory #200words