neelwrites/agapinghole/FF/fiction/flash/100words/19/10/2017

FRIDAY FICTIONEERS hosted by  ROCHELLEWISOFF at https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/10/18/13-october-2017/

A GAPING HOLE

By Neel Anil Panicker

When a big tree falls, the ground beneath it shakes.

He wasn’t just a big tree, he was the biggest tree the family had ever known.

All grew under his protective shade, come hail, rain, or sunshine.

He was our lodestar, our go to man, friend, philosopher, guide__ all rolled into one, there for us in all seasons, for all reasons__imparting solidity and strength where needed, vision and guidance for those who sought him out, encircling in his massive arms the infirm and the fragile.

Now, we merely exist, woefully ill-equipped to battle the curve balls that life often throws.

©neelanilpanicker2017 #FridayFictioneers #fiction #flash #100words

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neelwrites/loadedsignals/FFfAW/flashfiction/174words/18/10/2017

FFfAW Challenge-Week of October 17, 2017

Hosted at https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/fffaw-challenge-week-of-october-17-2017/ by Priceless Joy

LOADED SIGNALS

By Neel Anil Panicker

Mrs Pankaj rubbed her eyes in disbelief.

Another scribble on the wall. This time thankfully something a tad recognizable.

Two vertical strokes and a curved line below it.

What did that mean?

She walked into the kitchen and turned on the gas.

Nothing like some plain coffee to unclog the senses.

So they are back, their threat as alive as the morning sun.

She turned away and caught herself in the mirror.

Who says the fifties are history?

Innocent wide eyes that twinkled like the stars; a high cheek boned butter can melt bone china face that seemed to cock a snook at the passing years.

A smile crept up as a strobe of light streaked through the translucent windows and settled on the edges of her auburn all curls windswept hair.

They were her crowning glory, her pride, her joy.

It was only then that she understood.

It was them__the braid choppers.

And she, their next target.

The sauce pan hissed in the background.

She didn’t care. Her thoughts were travelling far away.

©neelanilpanciker2017 #FFfAW #flashfiction #174words

neelwrites/servicebeforeself/fiction/shortstory/reena’sexplorationchallengeweek7/10/10/2017

Take any one belief of yours that has ruled your life, and examine it from the following aspects.

  1 Is it true?

2 Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

3 How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?

4 Who would you be without that thought?

SERVICE BEFORE SELF

By Neel Anil Panicker

“Dear friends and colleagues,

I welcome you all to the Annual Board Meeting cum Party of Coaching Time.

Like last year and the previous three years before that, this year too Coaching Time has emerged as the number one coaching institute in the whole of Delhi region. But unlike previous years’ successes this year’s results have been slightly different. Well, before naysayers think otherwise, this year the results have been phenomenal as for the first time in the 25 years since this organization was founded, the Delhi region has outbeaten all other regions handsomely, by a stupendous 30 per cent margin, to emerge as the numero uno by a long mile.

And all credit for this outstanding growth goes to all our valued staff members from the marketing, sales, finance, accounts, planning, and operations departments besides the academic department which includes our most valued faculty without whose sincere and tireless efforts all this would have been next to impossible.

Last but not the least, a ship is only as god as its captain and for that we need to be very thankful that we have at the helm of affairs a man who is synonymous with success, whose dedication and resourcefulness and gung ho attitude towards work and life in general has enabled Coaching Time to garner such love and respect among the students community who are our largest stakeholders.

As a small token of our immense gratitude we now call upon Shri Sai Kumar Swamy to kindly come on stage and accept this award and also share with us his rich and varied experiences in successfully running Coaching Time, a byword in quality coaching. “

Honourable Founder Chairman Sir, my dear friends and colleagues,

First of all I would like to thank all of you for the grand success registered by Coaching Time- Delhi region.

This has been the fifth successive year that we have posted superlative results and this year especially we have outbeaten our previous years’ performances.

Chairman Sir has been too kind to shower such fulsome praise on me but I think that’s part of his nature. I have always known him to be generous with his eulogies, always delivered in that lovely soft uplifting voice of his, a voice and manner which convinced me to heed his advice and take up this noblest of all professions.

I see all around me chests swelled with pride; faces etched with mile long smiles, hands tirelessly clapping away with the announcement of every single award; team spirit and bonhomie at its peak; each one of you jubilantly and lustily cheering the successes of the other.

It pleases me no end to see such camaraderie. It shows that we have in Coaching Time- Delhi Region a very formidable, well strung, highly motivated bunch of super achievers ever ready to take this organization to stratospheric heights.

Now I will take this opportunity to talk about something personal, something, an incident  rather, that opened my eyes to a new reality.

A month ago I was visited by a young man, a youth, barely 22, and quite curiously one of our ex-students.

His name is Shrikant Vashishth. Faculty members and sales colleagues from the Connaught Place centre might remember him, a lean bespectacled shy student who had enrolled himself into the G 8 weekend CAT batch of 2015.

I recalled that he had topped all India CAT B-School entrance test that year.

I surmised that he must have joined any one of top three IIMs of the country and having graduated now, could be here,  simply paying me a courtesy visit.

It was only a few minutes later did I realize how grossly wrong I was.

This young man, around 23, a first class topper and a gold medalist to boot from IIM, Ahmedabad was meeting for a teaching assignment.

Yes, you heard that right! This man, who had over seven placement offers from the crème de la crème multinational companies around the globe, each outbidding the other in offering over ten figure dollar salaries was turning his back to all that and wanted to join as a humble teacher.

Unbelieving my ears and the words that he spoke, I thought of putting him through the grill.

“Shrikant,” I said, “Do you know what you are doing? How could throw away your life like that, turning a blind eye to what is the start of a great, successful career for you”?

He looked at me with calm steady eyes and replied, conviction dripping out of every word that he spoke.

‘Sir, my definition of success is different from yours. When I joined Coaching Time, I was just one of the lakhs of students who take the bus or the train or the car or the bullock cart, selling or mortgaging their farms and lands to arrive in the big city and enroll at a coaching institute that gives them a realistic chance at taking a crack at an examination that could change their lives for the better for ever.

Some of them are successful and see their wishes becoming fulfilled; the majority see their dreams get shattered and trudge back to their small cities or stumble and slumber through life leading mundane existences.

I am lucky that I was among those rare few who succeeded. All this because of my teachers, the talented, hardworking faculty of your institution who helped in every which way to help realize my dream.

There were days when I just couldn’t cope with the fast paced rigours of academic life. Waking up in a strange city, washing clothes, cooking food, taking the Metro to attend back to back six hour classes, and then coming back dead tired but still getting back to self studies shortly.

Add to that the complexities  of certain topics and it would have been easy for me to raise my hands, give it all up in despair, accept defeat and take the night train to Bihar, to my home town in Munger district, to whatever awaited my fate.

It was during such times that the teachers helped me, gauged my changing mood swings and injected me with the much needed injection of hope, positivity and belief.

It was they more than me who believed in my potential to bell the CAT, and it is to them that I owe my success.

It is they who taught me the greatest philosophy that a human being on this planet can live by and that is “Service before Self”. I owe them and the society that nourishes souls like them a huge debt and it is my way of repaying that debt.’

Friends, for a long, long time after he left, I sat there, chained to my seat, my mind battling a million conflicting emotions, a deep knowing pain shooting through my heart, my eyes shell shocked and in limbo, utterly flabbergasted, shocked, and above all shamed.

This young boy, half my age, had shown me the mirror, a mirror that I had consciously strayed away from all these years. He had told me things that I knew were right, so utterly right but had foregone long, long ago in the false pursuit of materialistic power and pelf, success measured in the amount of crispy notes that one had in the bank.

I went back home that night but the uneasy feeling of something terribly gone wrong persisted. In fact the initial sense of discontentment, a vague lingering feeling that something was not quite right had by now grown into full blown depressive despondency.

That night, long after everyone had gone to sleep, ad after an hour of tossing and turning around I finally gave it up and got up and entered my study.

I decided to confront my inner self.

I lit a cigarette, a very rare event for me, and as the first puffs of Benson & Hedges wafted into the air, making concentric circles all around the comfy air-conditioned room, I settled down into my recliner and my mind walked down memory lane.

I remembered my impoverished childhood, my village, my school, the only one that had a roof, I remembered the day I graduated, I remembered my first tryst with big city life, the day I enrolled for CAT coaching in Hyderabad, the initial days and months, my diffidence, my discomfort with all things English; I remembered the times when I felt depressed enough to want to kill myself; I remembered my teachers, the excellent faculty who held my hand and guided me and filled me such strength and belief that I went on to not just cleat the CAT but bag a seat at IIM-Bangalore.

I also remembered the changes that happened thereafter; how I chased money, ran after bigger and bigger offers, sacrificed my principles at the altar of materialism.

Friends, I sat alone well into the night and gradually began to see how far I had strayed from my beliefs.

The one that I had become was not the one who I had started off as.

As one material success after another piled up I was losing out on my inner beliefs, my core principles. I realised  that I had to change, to go back to own real self, discover my elemental belief, a belief nurtured into me by my teachers whose tireless selfless services I had abused to serve my own narrow minded selfish interests.

Friends, in Shrikant, a boy from this organization, I began to see my own mirror image, an image from which I strayed several miles away.

I have decided to look myself in the mirror and live my beliefs. I know that I am nothing, cipher, zilch without my beliefs. I am thankful to Shrikant for showing me the mirror to my thoughts, for bringing me face to face with myself.

I believe God wanted to deliver me a message, a thought; Shrikant was only a medium. It is upto me to retain that thought or transform it. I have decided to do the latter.

I, along with my new partner Shrikant, have decided to build a world class coaching institute that will provide absolutely free coaching for all graduate students in India. Anyone and everyone who believes in the motto “Service before Self” is welcome to join us. Thank You and have a great time “

©neelanilpanciker2017 #servicebeforeself#fiction #shortstory #reena’sexplorationchallenge #1710 words

neelwrites/ablanklife/ThreeLineTales/fiction/flash/100words/07/10/2017

A BLANK LIFE

By  Neel Anil Panicker

three line tales week 88: dip pen and ink because it's Inktober, innit

photo by Kira auf der Heide via Unsplash

Stormy sea waves lash away relentlessly, ferociously shooting forth icy foams from the ocean beds, maniacally riding the crests and troughs, holding in their froth filled gargantuan arms huge arsenals of soot and silt, which they then send crashing with blinding murderous rage on rocky yet ever subservient shores.
Weasel in hand, Rohit bores his might into the empty white paper; tonight she is intransigent, simply refusing to play muse to his meaningless meanderings.

Love is a two edged sword.When happy, it is an obedient slave, working as per it’s master’s bidding; but when unhappy, the tables turn, turning the once omnipotent master into shuddering vassals.

(c)neelanilpanicker2017 #ThreeLineTales #fiction #flashfiction #100words

 

neelwrites/simplyjamming/sixsentencestories/fiction/flash.shorstory/07/10/2017

Welcome to Six Sentence Stories

WORD PROMPT: FLUID

SIMPLY JAMMING!

By Neel Anil Panicker

“See this jam, Tasty all by itself, but pretty much useless otherwise; you need to warm it, make it fluid,  before it can be spread on bread and become a gourmand’s delight.

Same’s the case with relationships.

Take mine for instance. Left to ourselves, we, Arthur and I, are like bread and jam.
Two wonderful but entirely different people with different attributes, different temperaments, different tastes, likes, dislikes et al.
The zing, the spark, the magic happens only when we are together; that’s because we don’t supplement but only complement each other.

That’s being fluid____knowing who you are and what you bring to the table, when and how much to give and take, so that together you help create the perfect dish, and that my friends is the secret of our long and happy marriage.
‘Wow! that’s great. So between the two of you, who is the bread and who is the jam?’

“Hmm…good question. Lemme think.”

neelwrites/ridingthewaves/FF/flashfiction/100words/06/10/2017

FRIDAY FICTIONEERS

Hosted by ever trustworthy ROCHELLEWISOFF  at https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/10/04/13-october-2017-2/

RIDING THE WAVES

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

By Neel Anil Panicker

Wine glass in hand, Sandra stood at the deck, scanning the horizon.
Below, the moon played truant, drawing curvaceous lines on the limpid waters.
Her pear shaped eyes gleamed at the memory of the weekend tryst.

The serendipitous ‘bumping’, the ‘coy’ smiles, the adrenaline high hot chases, the reluctant ‘surrender’, the furtive romancing, the midnight rendezvous, the frothy waves, the joyous splash, and the sudden crash__she had enjoyed every moment of it.

The siren blast broke her reverie.

On the wharf awaited a young man holding a bouquet.

Sandra got up with a sigh.
Time to meet Victim number 19.

©neelanilpaniker2017 #Friday Fictioneers #fiction #100words

neelwrites/nokeepingoff/

WRITESPIRATION #135 52 WEEKS IN 52 WORDS WEEK 40

2017 brings 52 challenges over 52 weeks.

Your challenge is to write your story using the weekly theme/prompt and write it in just 52 words…. EXACTLY, no more, no less.

Submit your entries in the comments or on a blog post and I post them the following week with the new prompt. You have until Sunday to enter.

Write about the day you ignored the ‘KEEP OUT’ sign.

Hosted by Sacha Black at http://sachablack.co.uk/2017/10/04/writespiration-135-52-weeks-in-52-words-week-40/

NO KEEPING OFF

By Neel Anil Panicker

There she stood, tall and statuesque, clad in a sheer gossamer chiffon saree that hugged her porcelain figure in a way that left very little to my lascivious  imagination.

What if she’s my boss’s trophy wife; what if I was playing with fire.

I was ready to get burnt at the stakes.

(c)neelanilpanicker2017 #fiction #writeinspiration#writespiration-135-52-weeks-in-52-words-week-40/#52owrds