Darr ke aage JEETHU Hai!


Jeethender Singh was my classmate since we were in class 1. We were childhood aquantainces, not really friends because we weren’t that close. He was fondly known as Jeethu. We didn’t know much about each other except that I always felt he was a nice quiet boy who hardly spoke to anyone. Most of the time when we were in a group he would only smile or contribute an occasional word or two to the conversation.But that didn’t stop me from having a healthy rivalry with him when it came to studies.He was damn hard working and so was I. If he stood 1st in one exam, I would beat him in the next. Both of us would enjoy the moment when our names were read out as the class toppers though he would do it more quietly than me.

But if there was one thing that I always beat him at was the elocution competition held in our school year after year. It was a big affair in our school and every year a few students who dared to go in front of the entire school and speak on a topic that was decided one day earlier. Once we got into high school, things were made even tougher because the topics were given on the spot!. Every year I would participate and be in the top 3 in my class. Jeethu participated too. Year after year he would go on stage and fumble for words while I would breeze through my topics. It’s not that he didn’t make the effort or wasn’t good at it. It was just that when the moment came he would freeze! He wouldn’t last on the stage for more than a few seconds.

Over the years, I had seen him grow with me and now we were in class 10. While I was bold and confident and always was up for a challenge, taking up leadership responsibilities, he was still quiet and shy but very hard working and determined. There was something about his silence that made you curious about him. We called him the silent assassin because he would stand 1st in class without making a hue and cry about it, he would go about his work quietly always.

Every time there was a public speaking competition, he would practice for hours all by himself in the corner of the classroom but somehow do miserably when he got on stage. I always wondered why he would want to make a fool of himself in front of the whole school when he knew that he couldn’t speak in front of an audience. But what I did admire about him was that even though his public speaking was ridiculed, he never gave up. And this year would be his last chance to speak in front of the school because we were now in class 10. I was all excited and very determined to do well and leave a lasting image in everyone’s minds

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The day finally arrived. I had practiced on various topics to be prepared for whatever I get. Jeethu was called on stage. There was a box kept in front of him with various topics written in pieces on paper inside it. He picked one up and handed to the teacher. She read out the topic on the microphone “FEAR….Jeethu will speak about fear” she said in a deep voice. He went to the microphone with a grim expression on his face.

“G…G..Good morning respected students and my co teachers” he stuttered
The crowd burst into laughter. I could see a lot of back slapping and pointing of fingers going on in the audience. Jeethu looked around, beads of sweat trickling down his forehead onto his neck and soaking his shirt which was now turning transparent from white. I saw him hold his breath.

“S..Sorry …I mean, good morning my respected teachers and my friends. Fear is something I know a lot about. Since years you all have seen me come on stage in fear and leave without saying a word. That’s because fear has been a part and parcel of my life so far. Someone once told me that fear is a false evidence that appears real. But what if the evidence was real? What if something happened in front of your eyes which made you scared? When I was in class 1, I would wonder why I wouldn’t see my father around the house much but on the days that he did come, I would wake up and see him beat up my wailing mother. He would almost always smell of alcohol on those days. I would hide behind the door and watch the scene in horror all the while not making a sound lest he hear me and beat me up too. The only escape from that fear was school where I felt safe. When he was sober, I would go over to talk to him and he would ask me to shut up. I would not speak. My mother always told me to study hard and that if I did, someday I could give her a better life. So I studied very hard. When my father abused at home I would close my ears and read my books aloud so that I could drown out his voice and my fears along with it. I tried my best to stand 1st in class just for my mother. If my father saw me reading he would come and yell at me saying that I was wasting my time. If I tried telling him that I stood 1st in class he would ask me to shut up. I was scared to speak, at home, at school, with friends. Year after year I participated in these competitions just to somehow overcome my fear but always failed…..miserably. Today ironically the topic FEAR seems to have driven the fear out of me. I’m not bothered about winning this competition, I’m just happy that I manged to speak in front of all of you without running away after the first few words! Thank you “

The students were all stunned. Some of them didn’t realize that it was over as they were still soaking in his words. A small group started to clap which grew into rapturous applause. He had tears in his eyes, so did many in the audience. He had finally conquered his fears. We hugged and all he said was thank you……

Someone in the audience screamed ‘Darr ke aage jeethu hai” and everyone cheered!

Authors Notes:

This blog post is a submission to RISE ABOVE FEAR challenge by Mountain Dew in association with Indiblogger.

To visit their Facebook page click – https://www.facebook.com/mountaindewindia.

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to a person living or dead is purely co-incidental.

Love Thy Father!


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He sat there on his wheelchair all by himself, so frail and lonely. He looked at the calendar for the umpteenth time to make really sure of the date. It was 2nd December indeed. It only seemed to make him more depressed. Back in the day, he was a jovial and friendly guy, a loving husband and father who would go to any lengths to keep his family happy. But time hadn’t been so kind to him. At 55 years of age his muscular legs of yesteryear seemed to have lost their strength and he now needed a wheelchair to carry him around.

He watched her enter the living room and walk around without a care in the world. He adjusted his black rimmed large spectacles to get a better look at her. At 22 she could afford to strut around with that devil may care attitude. He saw her look at him and turn away without a greeting as if he didn’t even exist. He closed his eyes unable to bear the pain. He ran his hand through his receding hairline which also plucked out a few of the remaining strands. What was it that had driven them apart?

He remembered the day she was born and how his world had changed in an instant. Carrying her for the first time made him feel like he had been blessed for some great deed he had done in his previous life. He remembered those sleepless nights where he would carry her in his arms until dawn humming every tune he knew & somehow putting her to sleep.

He could still picture her 1st day at school where she just refused to let go off his hand, her teary eyes pleading him to stay without saying a word. “Ill be right outside” he had promised her and sat the entire day in the veranda where she could see him. From then on dropping & picking her from school had become a ritual which lasted right until she finished her schooling. She would fling herself on him, the moment he would arrive from work and ask him to solve all her math problems. Once the homework was done, he would lift her on his shoulders & they both would do a victory dance together which would roll in a fit of laughter. He would then put her to sleep by reciting stories most of which were made up but she loved them all nonetheless. He was her hero and she was his world.

He didn’t know when things changed.What was it that had driven her away from him. She seemed so distant now. He sometimes felt like she was ashamed to be seen around him now.

He saw her friends arrive one by one. Soon there were about 15 of them but not one them acknowledged him. Looked like they were having some kind of a party in his house without informing him. But he didn’t mind. He didn’t mind anything she did. He loved her so much. He rolled the wheelchair into the next room.

Where are you going papa?” She asked gently.
To the next room, so that you youngsters can enjoy” He said with a fake smile.
But we youngsters have gathered for you papa” She smiled.
He looked confused not knowing what she was saying.
Happy birthday papa” She said with a big smile on her face
SURPRISE UNCLE!!!” Her friends screamed in unison
His eyes grew moist. He couldn’t speak.
I…I…I don’t know that to say beta, THANK YOU! ” He managed to say somehow
You thought I forgot, didn’t you? How can I forget the 2nd of December, the birthday of the best dad in the whole wild world, I love you Papa” she said and hugged him tight.
I love you too beta” he said and began sobbing in her embrace

Author’s Note : Its not just enough to say you love your parents. Sometimes you need to show them the love too.

What’s Scaring the Ghosts This Halloween?


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The Annual Ghost Convention (AGC) was held every year a day after Halloween, that is November 1st. The main purpose of the day was to bring together all the like minded ghosts & review the year gone by. It was also a time to bond, refresh and discuss new strategies in the world of Ghosto-Sapiens. The meeting was attended every year by a large gathering of ghosts, some of whom were famous enough to be called celebrities with top grossing movies to their credit & some whom were still make a mark in the business . The usual list of the so called celebrities were all in attendance today that included Casper the friendly ghost, Chucky who had a recent blockbuster, Bloody Bones the Bogeyman, Mr Boogedy, Wendy & Sabrina the witches, Anabelle, Hotstuff the tiny red devil, Slimer from the Ghostbusters,Jack the ripper, Spooky the tough little ghost, Timmy the timid ghost and the ghostly trio of Stretch, Fatso & Stinkie etc etc. There were also the lesser known ghosts who worked in the shadows like the Mohini in her white saree, Ram Gopal Varma’s heroines and Miley Cyrus on a Wrecking ball.

This years President of the AGC was none other than Chucky. After his movie release last year he was unanimously chosen as the successor to Sabrina as the new President. The gigantic banquet hall was adorned with portraits of the famous ghosts on the walls. Right at the centre of the hall was a throne elevated so that it could be seen by all present. Chucky quietly took centre stage & he didn’t look happy at all. The buzzing crowd of ghosts suddenly grew quiet as they saw the ever ominous look on Chuckys face. Fatso gobbled up an ice cream Hotstuff was holding.

Chucky spoke in a grave tone.

“My dear friends. As you can all see, I am not very happy today. Actually I am never happy but today I’m ashamed to say that for the 1st time my unhappiness stems from the fact that last night I was scared to death by a family of humans.”

The entire audience gasped in shock. Timmy the timid ghost smiled. Its something he had been trying to explain to everyone for years.

Chucky continued.

“We have all been in the scaring business since times immemorial. And all of you know that its bloody exciting & thrilling to scare the living daylights out of these humans. Humans are stupid, they’ve always been so. They are scared of us and yet they make movies about us & scare themselves even when we aren’t around.”

Slimer chuckled, Bloody Bones glared at him with his bloodshot eyes.

“But last night I realised that things have changed drastically! I think the humans are developing mechanisms to counter us. Since it was Halloween night & all the humans were into the business of scaring each other dressing up like us which in itself is an insult to us, I thought I would take this opportunity to teach them a lesson. So I visited this nice looking family of stupid humans. As you all know, the father of the family is the toughest to scare & fathers have always been a curse to most ghosts in the past. As I am not the one to give up on a challenge, I went straight for the head of the human family because once the head is claimed, the rest of the family becomes a cake walk. I waited in the family bedroom in the corner with the lights switched off in the shadows with chicken blood smeared on my face & my knife in my hand. I saw him enter the room stealthily & fling his bag on the bed. Without switching on the lights he began removing his socks. Just when I was about to make a strike I was startled when I saw him coming towards me. I was confused for a moment wondering if at all he had seen me. And if he had, why was he coming towards me, rather than running away. He came right in front of me, suddenly turned his backside towards me & let out a huge burst of air with earth shattering noise. I thought my ears would explode ! But if you think that that was bad, the worst was yet to come. Within seconds the room filled up with a stench so strong that I felt I would die….and I am already a ghost right?!!!! * Stinkie looked around sheepishly * Gasping for fresh air I stumbled out of the room & somehow made it. I really thought that I would die again & become a human.

After the failed experiment, I was even more determined in my mission now. I decided to forget the dad & saw the mom busy watching TV. From the expression on her face she looked angry. I guessed that she must be watching some disturbing news on TV like the rape of a child that these humans seemed to be doing so often these days. What these humans don’t know is they should be scared of each other more than they are scared of us. I knew this was my chance & so with a scream I darted towards her with my dagger. To my utter shock just when I was beside her, she let out an angry scream herself & without even looking at me, grabbed me & flung me onto the TV! My head hit the TV hard & I literally saw stars! I was shell shocked!, I mean what the hell was going on! I was still trying to recover from what actually happened. That’s when I heard her screaming at the TV “Arnav, you deserved that punishment for hurting Kushi” . I looked at the TV still dazed. The top right hand corner said “Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon. That’s when I realised that she hadn’t even noticed me. She was more bothered about her daily soap!

With both my head & ego hurt I decided to leave the parents alone & target the children. I knew they had a teenaged daughter & son. Girls are always easy victims, so to be safe I decided to scare her feeling somewhat confident. I climbed upstairs & entered her room. She was in front of her dressing mirror. That’s when I decided to use the classic ghost trick of appearing behind her through the reflection in the mirror. So I took position just behind & to her right and I could see myself in her mirror. I put on the best evil grin I had & raised my knife. She was in front of the mirror engrossed in her phone. Suddenly she looked up, held her phone at an arms length & began pouting & clicking pictures of herself. She once held the phone towards the mirror & then away from the mirror. Its something the humans call selfies. I waited & waited but she just wouldn’t stop. Whoever said that ghosts cannot be captured in a photograph was not kidding because she didn’t see me in the pictures. Frankly speaking, even if she did I don’t think she would’ve noticed me because she was too busy adjusting her hair, her lipstick, her pout after every click. Each expression of hers seemed scarier than the previous one to me. After half an hour I lost my patience & my arm hurt holding the knife so I quietly left the room.

This was it. My only hope was now to scare their fifteen year old son. I had had enough of these games. No more hiding in the dark, no more using ghost tricks. I am a ghost and that’s scary enough. I decided that I’ll do it the old fashioned way. So I just opened his door & barged in & stood right in front of him with my evil look & knife pointing towards him. He just stared at me with a blank look. He looked more a ghost than me. With his tattoos, long hair, guitar in hand & smoke in the background. What was going on I wondered. He took a cigarette & inhaled & exhaled right on my face. I began coughing even though I had no lungs! There was some green stuff around in packets which humans call weed. Probably its their new Ghost Buster.I banged my head on the wall in frustration. He picked up his guitar and began head banging of his own. I left the house & vowed never to return again.

The entire audience was silent. The ghosts looked as if they had just seen a ghost. Fatso seemed to have lost his apetite for 5 minutes at least. Timmy seemed even more timid. Spooky didnt seem so tough anymore. Casper shook his head not wanting to say anything. The rest of them just ate in silence. Ghosts were indeed scared of the humans

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

The Spellbinders : Chapter 3 – If Looks Could Kill!


Team: The Spellbinders

Here are the links to the previous chapters

Chapter 1 – Room number 4 by Ankita Singhal

Chapter 2 – Table number 4 by Bushra M

Chapter 3
March 23rd
Darius Daruwala walked into the 10,000 square foot Banquet Hall of the Trident at Nariman Point. Camera bulbs flashed as he walked in and the sea of people parted for him. His security guards encircled him, but he did not notice the effect he had on the rest of humanity, and why not? He was Darius Daruwala, THE Darius Daruwala. And they were all gathered in this banquet hall for the launch of Youth TV or Y TV as he wanted everyone to call it, the brand new channel of Darius Daruwala Television Network, DDTN. He glanced around to ensure that celebrities, media personalities and even the politicians that he had invited had cancelled their other engagements just to be there. They had.

Tall, slim & dashing, at the age of 48, DD as he was fondly called didn’t look a year over 30. His over priced tailored 3 piece suit, his well gelled straight hair with not a strand out of place all added to the look & aura of the man that was Darius Daruwaala. The shroud of mystery that seemed to surround him just added to his charisma. His success meant that he always walked the talk & did it in style!

He strolled slowly through the enormous hall of the Trident where just a while ago the guest of honor, the Minister for Information and Broadcasting had launched Y TV. Everyone seemed to want to be with him. Some shook his hand, some exchanged pleasantries and some said things which he did not bother to even listen. He always had that million dollar smile plastered on his face.

He scanned the crowd through the orange hue emanating from the enormous overhanging chandeliers, and spotted the woman he was looking for, the woman whom he expected to be present that day. Draped in a green chiffon saree with a sleeveless blouse and her trademark stilettos , Tara and her out of place husband whose name he could never remember were seated at a table. Tara was engaged in a conversation with a lady who looked like a photographer he found vaguely familiar and her husband looked detached, bored, as he sipped his scotch on the rocks. It had been long since he had spoken to her. Too long he thought as memories of the past came flooding back to him. The thought of her soft and supple skin brushing his hands seemed to light up a fire in his heart as well as his loins.

He was lost in memories when she approached him. He smiled. She blushed. He knew what his smile had done to her the last time. Up close Tara looked even more tantalizing. “Great job DD, another feather in your cap” she said. Her lips seemed more interesting the words that were uttered through them. He brushed her navel through the exposed part of her saree with his hand making it all look accidental. She shut her eyes and took a deep breath. “You came for me, didn’t you?” He asked without trying to hide his arrogance. “I came because I am from the media, DD” she said betraying no emotion at all. From the corner of his eyes he could see Shekhar’s gaze fixed on them. He knew exactly what was going on in Shekhar’s mind. And he enjoyed the fact that Shekhar was envious seeing his wife with him. He place a hand on the small of her back, touching her exposed skin above the skirt of her sari & steered her to the bar counter for a drink. She seemed to feel blessed just to be in his company. DD then casually placed his hand over her shoulder and watched Shekhar for his reaction. Shekhar immediately rose from his chair and walked straight to them adjusting his thin rimmed spectacles as if they were falling off due to the shiver his anger produced. He came upto Tara and said “Lets go, its late” She looked at him & replied in a calm tone “I need to discuss some business matters Shekhar, Ill join you later.” Shekhar was now both angry and insulted. He finished off his glass in one gulp and left the venue in rage. “Looks like he’s gonna kill someone tonight” laughed DD. Tara looked into the distance and did not react.

At exactly 11:33 PM DD made a call on his cellphone and said “Yeah meet me in the parking lot, Car Number MH 4135 ” He smiled. Some would have called it an evil grin.
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Shekhar absently tugged on his French beard. Some called it a nervous habit. Others said that it meant he was in deep thought. He had been at his desk since the past 2 hours. The keyboard of his laptop seemed to mock at him. His unfinished book didn’t have a single new word added today. His mind kept going back to last night. He could still see the sparkle in Tara’s eyes while she spoke to DD, the easy way their steps fell into synchronicity as they walked to the bar, the shiver with excitement when DD placed his hands on her shoulder. He remembered that sparkle. It was the same sparkle that shone in Tara’s eyes during their college days, about 13 years ago.

He saw her enter the college campus. The hazel eyes, perfect cheek bones, long hair cascading over her milky white shoulders which dazzled through her sleeveless top. And her high heels, yes those long pointy heels prevented every guy in her college from approaching her lest she ram those weapons on one of them. She was beautiful and she knew it. She was short tempered, arrogant and everyone else knew it. Shekhar was in love with her but he was sure that she didn’t even know he existed. As if being 4 years her senior was not enough, him being an introvert, a writer didn’t help either. Her penchant for adventure and danger was known to all. Everyday he saw her hop onto a bike after college with a stranger from out of campus. So to Shekhar, his own love story seemed to be a clichéd bollywood movie script.

That was 13 years ago. What transpired later actually seemed to Shekhar like a bollywood movie. The stranger dumps the heroine and Shekhar was there at the right place and at the right time to pick up the pieces . Some called him her “rebound” guy. The rebound had lasted 11 years of marriage and a child but not the emotions. That sparkle in her eyes had disappeared until he saw it again when she spoke to Darius last night.

He saw Tara entering the living room. The clock on the table showed 12:32 PM. She had not come home last night and he was too angry to call her and ask about her whereabouts.

Tara entered his room. “Where the hell were you all night?” he yelled. “There was an incident last night after the party, I had to cover a story” she said looking tired. “And was that news story about you sleeping with someone?” He screamed.

A LITTLE GIRL WAS MURDERED LAST NIGHT AT THE TRIDENT, YOU LUNATIC, ITS ALL OVER THE NEWS THIS MORNING and I COVERED IT” She burst out no longer being able to control herself.

Shekhar froze!

Both of them were too caught up in their misunderstanding to notice little Roohi who was standing in her night clothes at her bed room door listening to them.

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Copyright: The Spellbinders

Copyright: The Spellbinders

TEAM MEMBERS – Ritu Lalit, Farida Rizwan, Sunita Rajwade, Bhavya Nandakumar, Ankita Singhal, Bushra M, Kunal Borah, Ankit Mahato, Deepa Dutta & Ryan Fernandes

Click to read Chapter 4 -The Flower That Never Bloomed by Kunal Borah

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