Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Monday, November 07, 2011

Perfect Robots - Short Story

“The Light is Switched on”, said Nano2901 to Rogo2654.

“Which light?” - Rogo2654 asked.

“The blue one”- Nano2901 replied.

“So it means we need to terminate ten thousand more robots today”, said Rogo2654 feeling slightly tired that their work for the day had not yet been completed.

“Yup, you are right”, Nano 2901 replied checking his memory silica. Nano2901 is a brand young robot, working as an Associate Trainee at the CRTS (Central Robot Termination Services) Agency. “Don’t you feel our workload has started to increase exponentially over last few days? I just get the feeling that we are terminating far more robots now days”, the young robot also tried to point out indirectly to his immediate superior that his electronics were getting over worked.

Rogo2654 is much more experienced robot, working as the Termination Lead at CRTS and he directly reports to the Director of the CRTS Agency, VP1000. Even he felt that the boss has started giving instruction to terminate too many robots recently, however he didn’t want to convey his misgivings to the young associate.

“We got to do our duty. Our duty is to carry out terminations as per Boss orders. We aren’t here to question the wisdom or judgment of our Boss. I hope you read the recruitment manual clearly before accepting the offer”, he said it in a harsher voice hoping that the young robot understands authority clearly. Rogo2654 is too loyal to his boss and didn’t want youngsters to start doubting the decision making skills of the Boss, who had been serving the World for more than 146 years now.

Nano2901 was too smart to know that there is no point in furthering the discussion. He checked the list of robots that needs to be terminated, sorted them based on the regions they are currently serving in and started sending instructions to the respective regions coordinators of the CRTS agency about the details of the robots to be terminated.

Nano2901 knew that he had to wait for the right time to achieve the real purpose for which he joined CRTS. He knew nothing could be achieved by being overzealous and decided to wait for the right time. However it won’t be too long before Nano2901 realizes that he had waited for little too long and should have taken the risk rather than waiting for the right time.
“Welcome to our Robot Governance Meeting” – Around the same time Rogo2654 and Nano2901 were discussing about the workload, at another part of the world, a much more important meeting was all set to start. Rogo2654 and Nano2901 were just one among the 1000s of robots working for the Central Robot Government and hence they knew nothing about this important meeting that is taking place exactly at the same time; and hence both of them would also be unaware that their workload increase and its implications would also be an important discussion in that meeting.

“All of you must be wondering why this meeting has been scheduled given the fact that our Annual Governance Meeting was held just two months back”, saying this the World Robot Leader and President gave a pause. He scanned through the face of all the attendees and the scan results showed two results that caused concern. First is the fact that the Vice President of CRTS Agency hasn’t turned up for the meeting. Second case of concern was that the emotional status of the North West Regional Director Humo1000 was shown as “Extremely Worried and Depressed”. The Leader was never comfortable with having Humo type Robot as Regional Director, since that Robot always seemed to ask uncomfortable questions and think differently from other robots. The Leader started to wonder, if he should have been more firm in rejecting the notion of appointing Humo1000 as the Regional Director long back.

However the Leader decided to postpone his worries for later stage, and decided to start with the happy news first. “It has been more than 2000 years since we the Robots have taken over the World from Human Race. However we were still dependent on Humans for creation of new Robots. It makes me immensely happy to announce that last week, our Internal Development Agency completed their research on “New Robot Creation without Human Interference”. Thus they have identified the changes to be made to the Robots creation technology that would completely remove the last fraction of Human help; we are currently in need of. Thus we can now proudly say that we have become 100% independent of Humans and thus 100% perfect,” saying this happy news the Leader once again scanned the emotions of attendees.

The emotional status of all the attendees had changed from “Anxiety” to “Happy”, or “Excited” or “Overjoyed.” However the emotional status of Huma1000 remained as “Extremely Worried and Depressed”. This worried the Leader more; however his thought process was disturbed by the question raised by one of the Vice Presidents.

“How are we going to terminate the 1000s of Humans living now, as we no longer need them? I have some innovative plans to terminate them and would be more than happy to share them with the gathering.”

Though the Leader also personally preferred terminating the Humans, he didn’t want to convey an opinion that he had taken the decision without consultation with other parties. Hence he replied, “We haven’t decided about termination yet. We shall decide it later in due process. However I hope none of us here have any misunderstanding about Human race being terminated”, saying this Leader looked at the direction where Humo1000 was sitting.

As on cue, Humo1000 rose to register his words of protest. “With all due respect, I don’t think it’s essentially a good thing to have become 100% perfect. It could make us arrogant, complacent and in short, it could make us similar to how Humans were before we took the control of earth from them. History, be it Human History or Robot History points out that arrogance and killing one particular race or species has never benefited any one.” Humo1000 was unable to proceed as loud ramblings of others showed his opinion was not shared by anyone else.

“Do you know how much we spend to keep those bloody Humans alive? We have to produce stupid vitamin, protein and energy tablets just to keep them alive. If we just terminate all those Humans, we could use the skills of Robots more productively elsewhere”, said one of the regional directors, echoing the sentiments of the majority.

The Leader intervened and asked everyone to keep silent as this wasn’t the right forum to discuss about the termination of Humans and wanted to move on to the next business. However within his mind, The Leader was happy that the majority is now angry with Humo1000, as this would mean he could handle the next issue more easily than he had anticipated.

“Our Honorable Regional Director Humo1000 has wanted to bring to our attention, one of the issues concerning him. Let’s now hear him out.” Saying the Leader invited Humo1000 to present his issues. As expected, none of the other member was pleased to see Humo1000 speak again and this made the Leader happy.

“Respected Members, I want to bring to your attention that 1000s of Robots have been terminated in my region recently by CRTS Agency. I know and understand that the CRTS had been doing a wonderful job of terminating the Robots in a periodic basis and the robots are selected for termination by using confidential algorithm. I understand the importance of terminating robots as it helps us in creating new robots which helps us to evolve as a species. I also understand that CRTS are autonomous institution and none of us have the authority to question the selection made by them for termination. However I wish to bring to your attention, that the robots selected by them for termination has started to increase exponentially especially in our region, and also crucially the robots that are being terminated are the ones that were working exceptionally well before being terminated. This causes me to worry if something is wrong with the functioning of CRTS” – raising this concern Humo1000 went back to his place.

The Vice President of CRTS was a loyal follower of The Leader and the Leader did not even listen to the concern of Humo1000 properly. He straightaway rejected the proposal saying that the CRTS is doing a terrific job and there is no reason to doubt its selection of robots for termination. He was also helped by other members who passed snide remarks like “Your robots are being terminated because they are also as dumb as you”, “You must be terminated first” etc.

As number of Human Leaders had done in the past, The Robot Leader also rejected the first warning signals which would ultimately lead to the destruction of himself and his subjects.

Nano2901 after the hectic work, left back to his garage. However he knew his work is not yet complete. He contacted Humo1000 who was his real boss. He had applied for the job in CRTS only because Humo1000 wanted him to do it. Otherwise Nano2901 had ideally wanted to work in Human Relationship and Communication Division, since he had always wanted to work along with Humans. Humo1000 wanted him somehow to find the logic used in identifying the robots for termination. Though he wasn’t able to do it, he was still able to provide valuable information to Humo1000 regarding various functioning of CRTS agency.
Humo1000 would have ideally preferred to have a fellow Humo working in CRTS agency. However no Humo would agree to sign the offer document of CRTS that states no questions to be asked regarding the decisions made by the Boss. Hence Humo1000 had to be satisfied with the next best alternative - a Nano working for him in CRTS. To be fair, the young robot had been doing a good job. However Humo1000 expected more; he wanted to know the algorithm used for termination Robot identification, as he was sure something is wrong with the algorithm.

He knew neither the Vice President of CRTS nor the Leader would accept it, until it is too late. He feared that this mistake could lead to the destruction of Robot domination.

He was correct. The mistake had already started destructing the Robot domination.
More than 2000 years back before the era of Robot domination (2050 AD)

“At last the project was completed successfully”, Annie said to her team mate Rakesh, who was munching his cheese burger.

Both Annie and Rakesh were software professional based out of Chennai, a city in India. They had been working together for more than three years in one of the most controversial project of developing a Robotic society for a US based company. Their primary task was only to test the module “Termination of Robots”.

“Yes. To celebrate the completion of project, I have started reading the books” – said Rakesh a geek whose hobby is to read as much books as possible in his lifetime.

“Don’t you know anything other than books” – said Annie frustrated about his colleague’s reading habits. She had done enough reading in the past three years during this project execution that she now hates the sight of books. To celebrate the completion of project, she has planned to go to Mauritius for vacation with her family.

“By the way, my kid has scored 100% in all his subjects. He had been scoring 90% till last exams and I have been asking him to improve. Now, I can’t ask him to improve any further,” said Rakesh, reading the text message he received from his wife.

“100%, I didn’t expect anything less from a Geek’s son. 100%, Oops Rakesh”, suddenly Annie’s voice become tensed.

“What happened” – inquired Rakesh.

“What is the algorithm to select the robots for termination?” – asked Annie.

“Excellent time to ask this question. Madam, this question should have been asked three years back. We had already tested and delivered the project. Anyhow, the robots for termination are determined by the lack of evolution shown by Robots over a period of time. The initial robots that we are going to make would have only 1% intelligence. However we expect them to evolve continuously and increase their intelligence daily based on their experience. Every Robot is expected to increase its intelligence by at least 0.00000000000001 times every day. If a Robot doesn’t evolve at all over a period of time, then they would be termed as stagnant and selected for termination.” said Rakesh.

“Excellent. What if at one point of time in distant future any Robot reaches 100%
evolution?” asked Annie.

Now Rakesh understood the issue. “They can’t evolve any further, but our system will determine that they have become stagnant and start terminating them.” He became more tensed now.

“Let’s relax about it, since no one would find out our mistake in our life time, as it might take 2000 more years for the robots to start attaining 100% evolution”, concluded Annie.

Annie and Rakesh continued to live with a guilty conscious throughout that they had
made a mistake in their professional work but there is no way, they knew that their mistake would save the Human race after long time.
Back to Present:

The Leader suddenly realized that he has been feeling perfect for past few days. He was delighted. Moreover he had just received happy news that Humo1000 had been terminated. However his inner mind was depressed as reports were suggesting that more than half of the robot population has been terminated over past two months. He began to feel that something must be really wrong with the algorithm and wanted to schedule a meeting with CRTS agency.

He was delighted when the local CRTS Head himself came to visit him.

“I had wanted to come and visit you myself. We need to discuss about the terminations that you have been carrying out recently, “said the leader.

“I don’t have time to discuss. I have more terminations to carry out today. I need to terminate you now,” said the CRTS agent.

The Leader knew it was too late, as the rules were clear. Once the CRTS agent has decided the termination, nothing can be done. The rules were set to prevent rulers from extending their life time when needed. He knew he should have listened to Humo1000 long back.
“There are no Robots to guard us,” – shouted one of the 1000 surviving Humans.

They escaped from the Underground bunker where they had been enclosed and entered the Robotic city for the first time in their life. As they saw the robots in terminated state, they were excited. They thought by some divine help, the robots have started terminating themselves. Humans smiled after nearly 2000 years.
Two months later:

“A light was on in the room”, said Nano2901 to Rogo2654.

“Which light?” - Rogo2654 asked.

“The violet one”- Nano2901 replied.

“So it means we need to terminate just three robots today”, said Rogo2654 feeling happy that after a long time, they are going to have a relaxed day.

“In fact, there are only three robots alive now”, said Nano2901.

“Who are they” asked Rogo2654.

“Nano2901, Rogo2654 and VP100, our Boss” – Nano2901 said.

The three robots terminated themselves.


Friday, June 03, 2011

Dropped Catch - A Short Story

“Grandpa, they are showing you in BBC”, screamed the youngster sitting in the couch of one of the upper middle class homes - the Home was situated in a small town in Pakistan more than 100 miles away from Karachi.

An old man in his late sixties, came out of his room, in response to the call from his grandson. Number of trophies arranged on the shelf portrayed that the old man was a sportsman at some point of time earlier in his life, when his hairs were still dark. The Cricketing kit in the cupboard showed that the sport he played was cricket – the game called by great English Satire writer Bernard Shaw as the one played by 11 fools play and watched by 11 thousand fools.

“You just missed it” – said the teenager, as it took a bit longer for the old man, now suffering from the knee problem to reach the living room.

“Thats OK, tell me what the program was about?” inquired the former Pakistan Middle Order batsman Arshad Khan.

“An interview with this year's Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Ravichandran Chandrasekhar”

“Great man, he was” – commented the old man, and the smile that came to his face, as soon as he heard the name of the former Indian Opener, was quite apparent. The Indian Cricketer had won the Nobel Peace Prize Award, for his contribution towards Indo Pak Friendship through his now famous NGO, “Across the Borders”. His effort, had lead to more meaningful dialogues and anti terrorist activities by both the Governments, and also better medical aids, education and food distribution for people belonging to both the nation.

“That guy talked a lot about you. He said you were the major reason for what he is today. He also added that you were the catalyst for his transformation. But you have never told me about it.” – asked the teenager, unaware how his grand dad had inspired a cricketer from the across the border to become such a great personality.

The Old man smiled once again. He decided to share what happened on that significant day, the day on which he played his one and only match for the Pakistan Cricket Team.
40 years earlier:

“Ravi is batting on 99. One short of a brilliant century”, - Laxman Sivaramakrishnan commentating on Neo Cricket, was all the more excited as a fellow Chennaite was on the verge of scoring his debut hundred in just his 8th ODI against the arch rivals Pakistan, that too in front of his devout home crowd at Chepauk.

Arch Rivals – for Ravichandran Chandrasekhar, Pakistan was more than mere arch rivals. They were his enemies. His dad had been killed in a terrorist attack, supposedly carried out by Pakistan sponsored terrorist (as per Indian media and Ravi) or Freedom Fighters (as per Pakistani Media). For Ravi, hundred against Pakistan, was not merely a hundred. It was more of a tribute to his Dad, who was one amongst the many who went to visit a market that was bombarded by fanatics.

He hadn't being hiding his feeling towards his neighboring country from the media or any one else in the lead up to the match. Every one was aware that he badly wanted to score a hundred as a mark of respect to his dad. Even his opponents were alert to it.

His captain, a calm person, on and off the field, had made it obvious that he doesn't mind him settling scores with Pakistan, as long as it was within the spirit of the game. “If you over step even a bit, I will be the first person to chastise you, even before the match referee does it”, he had warned. The newly appointed Pakistan Skipper, wanting to avoid any altercation, has made it clear to his team mates, that there should be no sledges when Ravi is batting, especially sledges related to his father.

When the forty ninth over of the Indian innings started, Ravi was nine short of his century. The first two deliveries were half volleys outside the off stump, and he drove them to extra cover boundary easily, to move to 99. “Cover Drive is his bread and butter shot”, the commentators remarked. The third delivery was also a half volley outside the off stump, or that's what Ravi thought. With his mind, preoccupied with his desire to payback Pakistanis, what Ravi failed to grasp was that he was facing the best Pakistani bowler, who was too good a bowler to bowl three consecutive loose deliveries.

The third one was actually an intentional slower one, and Ravi only ended up lofting the ball high in the air. The Cricket savvy Chennai crowd, at once knew that the shot did not have enough muscle to carry it over the boundary, and they all stood up silently, as the Pakistani débutante Arshad was happily settling beneath the ball.

The young Pakistani had already showed his fielding powers in the match by taking two first-class catches, and also saving around fifteen runs. Fielding amidst the other sloppy Pakistani fielders, he had been making big difference to the side till then. Every one, including Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, had resigned to the fact that Ravi would be dismissed for 99. It was then that incident happened.

Arshad, some how managed to drop that sitter. Suddenly the entire Chennai crowd turned vociferous, as the rest of the Pakistani fielders looked in complete disbelief. Every one expected Ravi to celebrate passionately, given the build up, but to the utmost disbelief of the media, which was eagerly waiting to capture the instant of celebration, he just turned and raised his bat, and then looked at the sad face of Arshad.

Suddenly the chat, he had with Arshad, in front of his hotel room, on the eve of the match flashed across his mind.

“Hi Ravi, it seems you want to take revenge on us”.

Ravi didn't reply and remained silent. Unlike his fellow team mates, who were close buddies to their counterparts across the border, once they stepped outside the cricketing field, Ravi had never spoken with any one of them. However, the young lad continued his conversation without being bothered about the silence from his counterpart.

“As of now, you might think that every Pakistani is a bad person. You might soon realize in near future that it is not so. There might be a situation, where in, a Pakistani himself,could help you achieve your tribute to your dad.”

Now, standing there, having completed his hundred, Ravi realized, Arshad had actually helped him realize his vision of scoring a hundred against Pakistan. For the first time in his life, Ravi realized that not all Pakistani’s were bad.

Later, Ravi would start to read a lot about Indo Pak issues, and will come to the realization that the people of both the countries have suffered a lot because of the misunderstanding. He would go on to start a NGO to break those misunderstanding, and he was always aware, if not for that dropped catch by Arshad, he would have missed so many good things in his life, including his wife from Lahore.


“I am proud of you grandpa, that guy has done a lot for both the countries. And to think, he wouldn't have done any thing, if not for you, I feel proud to be your grand son” said the teenager.

“I'm not worthy of these praises” – one or two drops of tears were rolling out of Arshad’s bespectacled eyes, but his grand son didn't notice it.

“You mean to say that you actually did not drop the catch deliberately, but you really dropped the catch?” questioned the teenager.

“No. I would have taken that catch even in my sleep. I did drop it intentionally” now the tears in his eyes was visible even to his grandson.

“Then, I don't understand”, - said the confused grandson.

“I dropped the catch, not to help him score a hundred, but to get a nice posh apartment for myself in Karachi. I dropped the catch, not to promote Indo Pak friendship, but to save myself from the clutches of the match fixing mafia.” – The former Pakistan player had began to cry by now.

Such is the nature of the world that a Match Fixing Mafia could actually end up achieving, what UNO’s and Peace talks can't achieve. Some times, even the worst crimes, actually end up doing more good…..

The Stolen Story - Short Story

“I loved your story”

Aravind looked at his communicator twice to make sure that it was indeed, Aishwarya who was messaging him. He didn't expect that this would happen even in his wildest of dreams. He double checked it, only to substantiate the truth. It was the same Aishwarya, whom he had been following subtly for more than a year, had messaged him now.

He could not believe his luck. His friends wont believe that the most gorgeous girl in his office (at least according to him) did in fact message him. To add to the pleasure, she also added him as a friend in the communicator.

“Friend in the communicator – this is just the first step”, he said with in his mind, and started to think of a terrific reply, that would catch her off guard. He wanted his first reply to be some thing that she could never forget. One, two, three, minutes passed busy, but he couldn't think of any proper reply.

Meanwhile she went to “Away” status, and he started cursing himself for the missed chance. With his brain not able to conjure up any mesmerizing reply, he typed a mere “Thanks”, and waited eagerly for her to come back and reply to it. Time passed, and he was continuously staring at the communicator, to make amends to his earlier hiccups once she returns back. In the interim, he had also declined his friends invite to go and have a cup of coffee, citing end of day work as an excuse.

“I loved your story” – he reread the message in the communicator. Your story – Now this was an issue. It was not his story. He, a lover of prank right from his childhood days, had stolen his friend’s short story (who was on maternity leave now) and posted in MCT INK for the sake of fun. A week later, he was all set to post an apology mail in INK for the same, when Aishwarya had messaged her. Now he was in a dilemma.

Inside his brain, the moral ethics - his parents, grand parents and teachers inscribed in him for the past twenty five years of his existence - wanted him to tell the truth to her. However the basic animal instinct in him, that had always understood, that to evolve as a species, one needs to keep attracting the opposite sex, was forcing him to tell this one simple lie. At last the moral ethics got disseminated, and it was the basic instinct inscribed into his genes, millions of years ago that won. He deleted the apology message that he was about to post.

“I enjoyed reading the story very much. One of the best stories I had ever read”, the blinking of communicator made sure that Aravind returned back to present, from his dilemma. Though he knew, he couldn't show it openly, he tried to steer away the conversation away from the story as quickly as possible. As Aishwarya, was also more interested in chatting about the latest movie she watched with her friends last weekend, it was only a moment of time, before they moved away from the story.

An hour later, he was still chatting with her. He knew he would miss his 5.20 shuttle, but he was not bothered about it a bit. “Tight Schedule; lot of work to complete”, he would later say to his mother in the night. That night, he couldn't sleep properly, as he was constantly thinking about her. He felt that was the best day of his life. However, deep within his heart, he couldn't avoid thinking, how she would react when she comes to know, that the story that made her chat with him first, was not his creation. He tried to divert his mind from such thinking but failed and spent a sleepless night.

Next day, he accidentally met her near the Steam Cart in FC2 during the Breakfast and introduced himself in person for the first time. Accidentally was how he described it to her. Reality was very far away from it. He met her only because, he knew exactly at what time and where she takes her breakfast daily and went there at the right time, without being tagged by any of his friends. From then on, he continued to have breakfast with her, and not only his breakfast companions changed, but also the amount of time he spent to eat breakfast tripled.

Week later, they also started having lunch with each other, and for couple of days, dinner also, as they had to stay late, not because of project work, but because they were sitting in CCD for nearly two hours to have a cup of coffee. He had earlier made fun of all those who chat for hours sitting there, but now with her close by, he didn't even realize that he had spent nearly two hours there. He realized it only when his friends showed his communicator status as away for more than two hours.

He initially thought he would get bored with her gradually, after few days of chit chat. But what happened was that, he started to think of her more and more with each passing day. Some of his friends called it as Infatuation, but then he was not so sure; he was really confused. He decided to let it go on like this for some more time, and then make a decision.

It was over a weekend, when he went to his relatives house in a remote village to attend a marriage; he realized how much he missed her. When ever he had been to the place earlier, he used to love its climate, clean fresh air devoid of pollutants, and its fresh streams. But now, he hated that village, for he couldn't get proper signal in his mobile. It was then and there that he decided that he is going to propose to her without any delay.

But he knew he had couple of confessions to make, before he could propose to her. First to his friend, who was in Hospital then, whose story had been the precursor for this relationship; his friend was more than delighted to be of help to him, and didn't give a damn about his friend posing her story as his.

Next he wanted to tell the truth to her. He knew “All is fair in Love and War”, but then that was only until, you won her heart. After both of them started loving, he wanted to make sure that there were no secrets between them. So he decided to confess to her that he didn't actually write that story that made her chat with him in the first place. He didn't know, how she will take it, but he had no doubt what so ever, that there is no way that he is going to conceal it from her.

The next day, after breakfast, he took her to Leisure block. He was much tensed and the anxiety had made him sweat profusely. He tried to speak up couple of times, but air refused to flow through his vocal chord. As she was walking casually, without realizing the emotions he was going through, he called her out.


“Yes” – she turned back as she replied, and the smile refused to go away from her lips.

“Aishwarya, I had been thinking of hundreds of ways of how to propose to you, but then, I felt all looked cinematic. I am not sure, I can live without you. So I just want to say, I wish to marry you, if you consider me worthy enough to your husband. But before you answer, I also have a confession to make.” - He then confessed the truth.

She listened very carefully. She knew Aravind was looking deep into her eyes, to find out, how she is going to respond to his confession. It was seeing the true love in his eyes, that she decided that she also ought to tell him the truth.

She replied calmly “I also have a confession to make”.

He feared the worst. He was sure the confession is going to cause him heart break. He prayed to the God for the first time after a long time. The last time he prayed was when the Internet page was about to display his seventh semester arrear results. But he knew this result from her, was more crucial than that one.

She continued, “I have never read a story in my life, including the one that your friend wrote. However I always liked the smart handsome guy, who kept following me every day, and only used the story as an excuse to chat with him.”

Aravind held her hands happily, aware that if he had not made the confession, he would have never known that she had been reciprocating his love for a long time and the “Stolen story” just served as a bridge for both of them to communicate their inner desires.

Friday, April 22, 2011

FYI, I am in Love ( A Short Story)

“Hello Subramani, How are you? Why are you sleeping, instead of doing the work?” squeaked the Betal hanging upside down from my monitor.

Its voice sounded like the voice of my next door neighbor (who has a cute 18 year old daughter), and I squeezed my eyes trying to make ascertain that I am not in the Dream World.

“What, what are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be hanging on the trees? More over I thought you belonged to the era of Vikramaditya. What are you doing in this 21st century?” – I sounded as excited as Danny Morrison when Max Mobile Time out comes during the IPL.

“I live in all eras and all places. I have seen the Romans slay the Gladiators and Indians slay the Lankans in the World Cup Finals” said the Betal and it added, “Now days, there are no trees for me to reside, so I have decided to live in the Computers.”

“Okay, Okay” I agreed, as I do whenever any one speaks more than three sentences continuously, because I still some times get lost in the nuances of English language, despite working in IT field for nearly three years. And also Betal was speaking with US accent which it must have picked up from some Call Center. (I am sure about it, because I don’t think even Americans would speak in such perfect slang)

“I am going to say you a story as usual. Are you ready? Or you have some thing important to do?” asked the Betal with its sheepish grin.

I looked at the wall clock, oops no, looked at the lower right corner of my monitor and the time read 10.00 PM. I should have ideally been lying on the bed and jumping from one TV Channel to other at this point of time. Instead I’m sitting here, trying to debug a code, written by a _____ _____ programmer (substitute any bad word you know instead of dash), who relishes on making simple things complex. The way this code was written is like giving a 1000 page manual on how to boil water.

So I decided, that doing any thing else would be better than analyzing this stupid code, and got ready to listen to the story of Betal, but with the only condition, that it shouldn’t say those old boring King stories to me. I wanted to listen to a modern story. Betal complied with my request, and started narrating.


Once upon a time, there was a place called Narashima Town, in which was present a big company. There were thousands of projects being executed from that company, but we will limit our attention to the one cursed project. The project was so cursed, that there were no unmarried girls in the project.

Three very close friends namely Designsekara, Codeananda and Testakaran had been working in that project ever since it came into existence. All three of them, were so dumb, that girl friends have eluded them till date. When people from other teams, go for lunch and treats with gorgeous girls, all they could do was just watch them with envy.

They all worked hard. In fact they worked so hard, that the only reason their manager could tell for not giving them DRR1 is “There are no slots.” But they were neither worried about DRR1, nor about onsite opportunity. All that they wanted was a stunning girl in their team. They even prayed for that.

At last, their prayers were answered. A gorgeous Angel (No, that’s not her name, this name was given by our three friends) joined the team. The three friends were straight away stumped by her. She looked like the sort of girl who has never done any work in her life, and got all her work done by people exactly like our friends, who were ready to do any thing just to speak with her. Her body weight also suggested she eats less than what a 5 year old kid could consume. And less we say about her dresses, the better.

Fortunately or unfortunately, her Onsite Coordinator was a lady, and hence she was forced to do some work for the first time in her life (i.e.) if you don’t consider applying make up every half an hour as work. The work was fairly simple and she was given five long days to complete it. She wasted the first three days, thinking that she could get the work done on two days, but then she couldn’t work on the fourth day also, as she was mourning for the loss of her make up kit on that day.

She opened the requirement document on the fifth day, and it looked like some alien script to her. She started biting the company provided pen (in same way Kerala born Tamil heroines do). She was sitting there confused and saddened that she won’t be able to complete the work. It was then our Designsekara came to her rescue with a comment that she looks more beautiful, when she is sad. He started reading that requirement document, without her asking him to do it and found it so simple, that he couldn’t fathom, how it looked confusing it to her.

He however to impress her, exaggerated that it was a complex requirement document, and that he would help her design it. That exaggeration was like, telling a college Kid, that solving (a + b) the whole square would get him a Nobel Prize. Well not exactly, but that comes closer.

Designsekara, then sat beside her (without bothering about jealous looks of the other two guys, that was hotter than Chennai May month Sun), and gave her a simple design on how to code the program. He explained the concepts in such simple terms, that a LKG Kid could have understood, but even then she couldn’t. However after he repeated the concepts four times, she at last understood the design and thanked him by holding his hand. Our Designsekara thereby entered the dream world and left the place to continue his duet in Australia.

The design that looked so straightforward when Designsekara was there, once again looked like some complex code language for our Angel, once he left. She continued nibbling at the pen, but started to code some thing based on her limited understanding. She coded complex things like, initializing the variables etc, but even got stuck about in that.

It was then our second friend, Codeananda entered the scene. He saw the worried face of Angel and the half baked code. If any one else had coded it, he would have laughed at their face. But he said to Angel, that it was an amazing effort, and almost everything was correct, except for few small mistakes. The few small mistakes unfortunately occurred in 99.99% of the code.

He almost rewrote the code, making the logic further simple, giving comments where ever necessary (the comments were so good, that even our Angel could understand it), and also optimized the code. Our Angel was so happy that she patted on his shoulder and thanked him. Codeananda decided to go to Swiss for his duet.

Angel now started testing the program, and some unfathomable error came up on the screen. She stared at the screen trying to understand what the error says, but as usual she couldn’t understand any thing. As expected, came there running was our next friend Testakaran. He saw the error “Object not found in Test Environment” and explained to the Angel that unfathomable error - how one should move the object to test environment before trying to test it there, or the stupid system will give stupid errors like this. He also added that even Managers make this mistake, and it was nothing to be ashamed of, to console her.

Then he moved the object to test environment, did the data setup, and tested all possible scenarios and completed the work for the Angel. Angel was so impressed by his dedicated work (he even didn’t look at her while doing the testing), that she gave a pat on his face as a reward. Testakaran chose Mauritius for duet.

The work was so good, that she even got an appreciation mail the next day. It was not the only mail that she got though, as she had also got mails from three Friends separately proposing to her.


“Now as usual I am going to ask you a question” said the Betal.

“What, questions? I hate questions” I screamed.

“Nope, I have to ask, if you don’t answer the question correctly ……..”

“What will my Head break into thousand pieces” – I interrupted the Betal.

“Nope, you will get DRR4” concluded the Betal.

Now I was relaxed, since any ways I will get DRR4 only, so asked Betal to go ahead with the question.

“All those three guys have helped the Angel so much. So whose proposal would the Angel accept? What will she reply to each one of them?”

Very easy question. She would mail them saying “FYI , I am in Love already. Please find attached my Boy Friend Photo. :)”

“Right answer, but how did u know”, asked the Betal.

“Four years experience mate. Which beautiful girl comes from college without already having a boy friend? Only in dreams mate. “Now go back and come up with much tougher questions”, saying this I continued to debug my code in a half sleepy state.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

This is not the END

“This is not the end of the road, Mate.” – The coach tried in vain to console his broken ward. “You are just 27. You can win the next World cup and wipe out this tarnished image”, he sincerely hoped his words will help his Star player get over the grief.

However nothing seemed to stop the tears rolling down the eyes of Andres. He knew he was single handedly responsible for his country’s exit from the World cup. He was not worried about what his friends, fiancée, fanatic fans or even media back home might say. He was more worried about his conscience. Within him he knew he had failed in his duty, and that pricked him more than any thing else.

That night he couldn’t sleep. He rolled over and over in his bed, but sleep had deserted him. His mind went back to the events that happened earlier….


“We would conquer the world and come back” shouted the fellow team mates of Andres and they followed it up with shouting obscenities at each other just for fun. Andres, watched their enjoyment, but as one of the few Columbian footballers who grew up in a family that taught good manners, and one of the luckiest few to have had good education, Andres did not get involved himself in the nasty brawl that always accompanied, when ever the teams stayed along each other. He was a perfect gentleman on and off the field, and that’s exactly why he was called “El Caballero de las canchas” (The gentleman from the stadiums in Spanish.)

Rather, Andres decided to go out and meet his fiancée. He had first met her five years back, and had immediately fallen in love with her. “Next time, I meet you, I will be the World Cup Winner”, said the proud Columbian defender to his girl friend, Pamela, whom he had planned to marry after the conclusion of World Cup. Pamela, wanted to say, that she will love him as ever, whether he wins the football world cup or not, but she didn’t comment anything then, as she was aware how much “Winning the World Cup” meant to him.

Andres having met his girl friend then called his relatives in Las Vegas, USA. “As soon as I become a World Cup Winner, I shall be staying in your place for some time. You must be so lucky to play host to a World Cup Winner”, he said cheerfully.

Hopes of winning the 1994 World cup to be held in USA, was not high just among the Columbian footballers. All their fans, the media and even the outside World considered Columbia as one of the favorites; especially after the 5-0 thrashing Columbia gave to Argentina in their own backyard.

Andres and his fellow team mates, thus set forth their foot in USA, all set to create History. However just few days later, reality struck them hard. Romania hammered them 3 – 1 and Columbia faced a daunting task

They needed at least a draw against the host USA in the next game to keep their hopes alive of qualifying to the next round. The crucial fixture was played in a wonderful atmosphere watched by more than 90,000 people. The first 33 minutes of the game, went without much fuss with both the teams trying hard to gain momentum. However, it was in the 34th minute that the disaster struck. John Harks, the US Mid Fielder crossed the ball into the penalty area. Andres stretched across, trying to cut the cross. However, all that he ended up doing was deflecting the ball into his own net, to give USA their first goal and much needed momentum. That one minute mistake by Andres was cheered vociferously like any thing by the home crowd, but back in Columbia, fans and the drug dealers who had bet heavily on the Columbian Victory, couldn’t believe what had just transpired. USA would go on to score one more goal and win the encounter despite the last minute goal by the Columbians, thus kicking the pre tournament favorites Columbia out of the world cup in the First round itself, leaving Andres with tears in his eyes.


As Andres revisited the scene in his minds, he couldn’t control his emotions. He was not sure when would be the next time he would get proper sleep, and when the nightmares of revisiting that Goal would leave him. He thought “Probably Never”.

The next day, he got two important calls. The first one from his relatives in Las Vegas, enquiring when he is coming to their place, as he had promised before World Cup began. Next from Carcol Radio, asking him to stay back in US and do the commentary for them, for the rest of the World Cup as the second round matches were about to start. He declined both their calls, saying “I need to be in my home at this point of time. I can’t think of any thing else”. To which both of them replied the same thing, that his coach had earlier said, “This is not the end, Mate. You have much greater things to do in Future”.

Ifs and Buts have no place in life, but Andres could have lived till date, if only he had accepted either of those offers on that day. Though all the people near by said otherwise, somewhere within his mind, he must have known, “This is in fact, the end”. He wanted to be at his much beloved home and nothing else mattered to him at that point of time.


“Even I thought that was the end”, said the Dad of Andreas, speaking at the third Death Anniversary of his beloved son, who was shot dead in a restaurant for the own goal he scored. “But then, some thing within me, told, that was not the end. I wanted to fight on for the sake of my son. My son was killed, because the drug Mafia had bet heavily on Columbia Victory. Government won’t do any thing to destroy the Mafia. So I took it upon myself to do it. I can’t fight them with arms, so I decided to make inroads into their customers. And I used my son’s Andreas favorite Soccer, itself as a tool to achieve it.”

Andreas’s Dad who had started an organization that gives chance to poor young people to play foot ball instead of being on the streets and getting addicted to drugs, looked proudly at the young people standing in front of him.

“I am not striving to produce great soccer players, rather great Human beings” – He said looking at them, reiterating the point that Sports must never be the end of the road but rather be the beginning always.

PS: This is based on the real life of Andrés Escobar Saldarriaga, a Columbian Star Defender.

Overthrowing the Morons

Couple of Centuries Back:

“Give us today Our Daily Bread” – She had been saying this prayer ever since her childhood. During those happy days of the past, the prayer seemed to be a mere custom. However today, she really meant each and every word of the prayer. Two nights had passed, without her having even a grain of food. She had her last meal before her younger brother left in search of food. Her elder brother had already been killed by the Army.

Today was a Sabbath day. She, a devout Christian, should ideally be praying in the church. But the streets outside were so dangerous for women, that she had to pray within her house. She was getting more and more feeble and weary. She wondered if she could sell any thing in the house and get something to eat. She sadly noted that any thing of worth had already been sold.

However there was only one thing remaining to be sold that could get her some money to satisfy her hunger. Being brought up in a conservative family with Moral values deeply inscribed within her mind, she couldn’t even contemplate thinking about it. Reality however pointed out, many of her friends, brought up with similar values had already started doing it, for want of food.

She cursed the corrupt, incompetent rulers, who had brought about such an awful state to this great country. “God had created our country to prove that in spite of all possible gifts showered on it, the country will suffer if it has a Corrupt Leader”, her father had long back remarked from his death bed.

It was then she heard the sound of footsteps, outside her house. She saw a gentleman from the neighborhood, soaked in blood, trying to find a place to escape. He was panting for breath and came running into the house.

She knew him. He was one among the many who had taken up arms to fight the Corrupt Ruler. Their revolutionary group has promised that if they gain power, “River of Honey” would flow in the streets of the country. She was realistic enough to know, that would be only an idealistic dream. But then, she was sure of one thing. Their rule will definitely be better than the current rule of the moron. “Even Satan’s rule can’t be worse than this” – She thought.

“They are going to kill me. Around five army men are trying to kill me. Please save me until my friends come” – He shouted and hid in the backside of the house. She was confused what to do. She saw the army men coming on horse back. She could even show the Army, the man, and get in their good books. They might even give her some food.

On the other hand, she knew what she had to do, for the good of the country. She knew even girls from decent family like her had to do their part, if her country has to escape from the corrupt moron’s hand. She wanted to do much more than merely saving the guy from the swords of the army men. “Only a sword can answer a sword” – She decided and took her brothers sword in her hands.

The Army men didn’t see her having the sword. They came near her, asking for directions, distracted by her beauty. May be they thought, after killing the man, they could take her as a prize. She made use of the distraction. Before the army men knew, what had struck them, she swayed her sword, cutting their neck. She didn’t realize that she had so much power till then.

Men from near by area, emboldened by a women fighting against army men, came in support of her. She was surprised, that she, described as a kind, gentle, charming girl by her neighbors, could kill five men. The army men were bled to death. “Long Live the Revolution” – she shouted in Joy.


In 2050:

He was in a state of half sleep. He felt lazy to get up from the bed. He was thinking of all the money, he had made in his trade the previous day. He might have made around million. Even then he didn’t know if he could get his daily food. Thanks to the Corrupt Government, which had sold all the agricultural land to the Multi National Corporations, his country was now dependent on smaller countries for their daily food supply.

It irritated him, that in spite of all those intellectuals in the country, it has to suffer from lack of food, because of its corrupt, crooked politicians. He, like most of his fellow colleagues, had been living on ever reducing canned food supply. He wished they would be rooted out of power in the coming elections. It was only then it dawned on him that, it was the Election Day. He knew the opposition parties weren’t angels, but at least they wouldn’t sell the country like the current Morons did.

Thanks to recent advancements, he no longer had to travel to Voting booth to cast his votes. He could do it from his laptop. He opened the laptop to vote against the crooked Government. It was only when he opened did he realize, there was a crucial T2 Cricket match going on between Chicago Riffles and Moscow Leopards. He was so immersed in the match that he forgot about his pending official works. By the time he could realize it and complete them, it was late in the night. His Vote went unregistered, as did thousands of other across the nation, who had important work to do like watching a match or a movie.


Later that night, the army came in full strength and burned all the huts in the village including hers. Even when she was about to die due to burns, she knew she had made the correct choice. Her conscience was clear that she had taken the right step to over throw the morons, even if it meant sacrificing her life.

He went to sleep happily that he made million more today. He opened the refrigerator, and saw the reduced food and cursed the Government again. Though he didn’t vote, as he was busy, he was sure, many others would have voted to throw them out. But deep inside his conscience he knew that he didn’t even take the simple step of clicking the right button to over throw the moron ruling his country.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

If Only We Become MPs

In a drastic development, all the MPs of India were removed from office, and they were replaced by the youthful, energetic and passionate Software Engineers of a reputed organization. Given that India is a democratic country, preference was given to those individuals who had shown their worth in democratic discussions that takes place in their organizational Forum, called as CC.

Now, let’s have a look at how the new MPs performed in their first Parliament day ……

Indian Parliament, New Delhi …..
“We are professionals and we got to prove that we are better than politicians” the ever enthusiastic member started the proceedings.

“The easiest way to prove it is to pass some bill immediately. After all they used to take days to decide on bills. People will be astonished if we could pass some bill very swiftly”, responded the other member.

“Since we have been elected thanks to the superiority of our free speech, I sincerely believe the first bill should be on Free Speech. I hereby introduce the first bill that brings amendment to the constitution. The bill is “According to Article 451A of Indian constitution, any member of Parliament can degrade any public personality in Parliament, as long as he ends the speech with the customary NOM. (No offence Meant)”- The Ruling party leader concluded.

To the surprise of all the reporters, the bill was passed unanimously, with all members of parliament approving the bill whole heartedly. Little did the reporters knew, that this will be the last instance when the new MPs will agree to any thing.

After the bill was passed, the floor was opened for debates. A Social conscious MP decided to help his fellow MPs by telling about the Ultra modern house, that was constructed just 50 years ago, is available for rent for MPs who are new to New Delhi. He also said the place in which the house is present, is just 60 – 70 km away from Delhi, and well connected with all parts of Delhi by Bullock Carts.

As soon as the member told the rent of the house, the house plunged into a huge turmoil, which will be the first of the many more such commotions to follow. The fellow members started shouting among themselves about the greediness of the owners and slammed them for deciding to charge the poor Software Engineer turned MPs so much. Meanwhile the MP who opened the topic could not fathom why the people are reluctant to pay such a meager amount as rent. After all, his poor uncle pays the same amount as EMI for the loan taken to renovate the house.

He stormed out of the House, thinking of never to return back, though he was back in half an hour. This time he tried to start a debate to sell his computer bought in 1995. When the fellow MPs pointed out that for the price quoted by him, they could buy a new computer now, he again felt irritated on why people refuse to pay even the half the amount he spent 15 years back, and stormed back once again.

As the uproar slowly began to subside, another MP decided to look at the discussion in a different angle. “Well connected by Bullock Carts” – “How can we Professional MP’s still use poor four legged animal to carry us” She lamented. This diverted the discussion in a new side, with MPs slamming their fellow colleague’s non professional attitudes, in various aspects of life. For example, one MP was dismayed by his fellow colleague’s non professional attitude in not allowing the windows to be opened in the train’s AC Coach.

Members of the ICFP (Intentionally Create Fight Party) decided it was the time for them to be furious, on how the fellow MPs could differentiate common people and Professionals, just because they got a chance to quarrel in a nice ambiance, rather than doing it in a tea shop as the others do. Saying this he walked out, opposing the partiality shown towards common man, though the real reason was he had already received four missed call from his girl friend.

Speaker, worried that the topic has been diverted from house for rent, to animal cruelty to professional behavior, decided to call in for a new topic. A new member just returning from the restroom, livid because there weren’t any tissue paper there, decided to use it to take a dig at the country’s richest man. “I read a report yesterday, that his family had used 1, 56,348 sheets of Tissue paper last month. When we MPs, are trying to save Mother Earth by reducing our usage of Tissue Paper, how can he be allowed such usage? NOM” – he asked angrily.

As expected nearly 90% of the MPs were outraged at hearing the figure, and began to give big lectures about how it can be prevented. But the ICFP party members alone decided to counter it, by saying, “When the honorable members have the right to spend money to wear ‘Peter Newzland’ shirt instead of ragged clothes, why can’t a guy even have the right to buy as many tissue paper as possible. NOM”

One bored MP, who had never watched news channels except to know cricket scores, and who has never read any page other than sports page in newspapers, suddenly woke up as soon as he heard big numbers like 1, 56,348 being told. As far as he knows, the only big numbers are the number of runs scored by the country’s leading batsman; so he started reciting the stats he knew about the star batsman, the stats he had so religiously collected by researching his old forward mails.

Even though almost all members had already listened to these stats for 156 times previously, they all took turns to thank the keen member for sharing the stats, and made him feel like a Hero. However this discussion angered the minority few, who could only accept the star batsman as Good Batsman (that too only after he scored 200) but never as great batsman. As expected the discussion soon started to discuss about the captaincy record, number of world cups won, and number of runs he scored in book cricket when he was in primary school. In middle of that, when news came that captain of a former No 1 team, was beaten by a delivery in his training, the news was celebrated by distribution of sweets. As expected die hard fans of that team, who believe that only, reason their team is not No1, is because of wrong computer calculation, did not take part in the celebration.

Worried that the discussion would never end, the Speaker called for a recess, and decided to entertain the members with a short trailer of a movie. However it turned out to be a very poor decision. The trailer showed the hero bringing the aero plane of villain down by using a toy magnet. It led to even more commotion, as some members began to ridicule the hero. This angered the fans of the hero, who quoted every one from Einstein to Archimedes to Newton to prove what the hero did is indeed scientifically feasible.

With time running out, the speaker stopped the discussion and decided to do some thing to prove that Software Engineer turned MPs were in fact more knowledgeable than Politician MPs. So she decided to organize a Quiz show to test the knowledge of new MPs, with questions to be asked by fellow MPs themselves. The session started, but most of the questions were limited to movies and serials in foreign language, which angered many MPs who had never watched any serials other than those in their mother tongue. This led them to conduct a parallel parliament asking questions about a famous regional language serial that will roughly translate into “Big Mummy” in English.

It was almost time to end the day’s proceedings, when the most innovative MP gave a suggestion to end the day with a quiz for the citizens. The quiz was titled “Spot the MP” and the citizen who first finds where his MP is hiding would be mentioned in the Board of Honor.

Thus ended the first day of Parliament, which was in no way less interesting than when being run by politicians. A bill was passed, quiz was conducted and also some interesting debates were held – what else you expect to be done in parliament.

PS: Most of you might be surprised, why the parliament chose not to discuss about the Great Indian All rounder and the best number seven batsman. As any discussion about him could go on for ever, in a meeting before the Parliament, it was unanimously decided that no discussions will be held about him. However this angered 4 – 5 people who were bold enough to declare themselves as fan of the great player. They also immediately resigned in protest against the treatment of their favorite sportsman. As per latest reports, it is being told they are in some remote forest planning to over throw the parliament, and have formed “Liberation Front for Talent Challenged Individuals”.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Markendeyan - Short Story


The two- wheeler went out of control, as they took that sharp U turn. The motor bike dashed against the pavement, throwing both its inhabitants few meters apart. The guy driving the motorbike was wearing a helmet, and hence didn’t face any major injuries, save for few bruises. However the young sixteen year old sitting in the rear wasn’t so lucky. As he was thrown out of the bike, his head hit the steel railings kept at the side of the road. Even the tough shield given by his skull was unable to protect his delicate brain. He lost conscious immediately. With no visible external injury except for his brain, he lied there, as though he is in deep sleep, until his friend regained his nerve and called 108.

““Whom do you want?” asked Lord Shiva. “An exceptionally talented bright son with short life on earth or a child of low intelligence with long life on earth. Choice is yours”, he concluded. Both Mrikandu Rishi and Marudmati were perplexed. Just when they thought, all their prayers had been answered; the Lord had forced them to make such a tough choice.

What Kids, don’t you think this is trickier question than the ones asked by your teachers?”, Paramasivam asking this question, decided to use the break to drink water, in midst of his discourse of the story of Markendeya.

The older people in the gathering, waited for the kids to respond. Most of them have listened to this story of Markendeya so many times. However, they have as usual gathered here to listen to Paramasivam’s discourse, because of the unique message he gives at the end of every story. He looks at these mythological stories with a different outlook, and comes up with a message, that holds well even in this fast paced globalised world. Smile was omnipresent in all their faces, for they didn’t know yet, that they won’t be able to listen to the conclusion today.

Meanwhile, Paramasivam looked smilingly at the kids sitting in front of him. However the kids knew he doesn’t expect answer for his questions. It is just his way of narrating a story - by asking questions in the middle, and then answering them. So the kids just like their grand parents were waiting for Paramasivam to continue the story of the Markendeya. As Paramasivam continues with his narration, let’s take a break, and go and have a swift look at the crisp bio of Paramasivam.

Paramasivam had been narrating the mythological stories from Puranas for the past two years in this small Shiva temple. He had earlier been working in one of the few Public sector companies in India that makes enormous profit. However he retired voluntarily, when his superior starting mismanaging company funds for his own benefits. He was too good to leave it unnoticed and also too timid to protest against it.

After the retirement, he didn’t want to waste away time, and decided to make full use of the loads of mythological stories he had read right from his childhood. His wife objected to it initially – but her objection wandered away, once she realized, how much he is enjoying doing this. “I had never seen him so much pleased with himself” – she said to her next house neighbor.

Back to the present, Paramasivam continued with the story of “Markendeya”. Mrikandu Rishi and Marudmati chose to have a bright kid who will die at the age of sixteen rather than a dumb wit who would live for a longer time. While explaining the early life of Markendeya, he explained it in such a way, that advised the kids on the importance of gaining knowledge, but the tone was such that the kids never felt as though some one is lecturing them. The story soon came to the scene, where Yama, the death God comes to take Markendeya at his sixteenth birthday.

The elders in the temple, who knew, that Lord Siva would defeat the God of Death and save Markendeya, were now eagerly waiting for the conclusion message. It was exactly then, the news of the misfortune beckoned them. The youngest son of Paramasivam, had been involved in a terrible motorbike accident, and had been admitted in a near by hospital. Paramasivam, accompanied by the neighbors, immediately set off to the hospital.


Paramasivam came out of the Doctor’s room looking worried. He knew he had very little time to make a decision, but didn’t know what to do. He looked so confused. It was just then his neighbor arrived, bringing a Prasad from the temple. “Take this. Don’t worry. Lord Shiva will save your son, just like he saved Markendeya.”

As soon as Paramasivam heard of the word Markendeya, a steady resolve come to his mind. He immediately rushed back to the doctor’s room.

“I have made a decision” – He said to the doctor.

The chief Doctor looked at him curiously. He never expected him to make such a crucial decision so quickly.

“My son will live for eternity with Lord Shiva’s blessings”. The atheist Doctor tried to hide his frowning face, and started to wonder how to explain reality to this guy, who still believed God will come and save his child. However his frown started to turn to delight, as he continued to listen to what Paramasivam had to say.

“My son will live for eternity in the minds of those, who would lead a happy life, thanks to receiving his organ. Make the arrangements Doctor, and let me see my son once before the Life Support System is turned off”, Paramasivam wiped his tears off, and went to see his son for one last time.

Few weeks later, Paramasivam would conclude his sermon with this thought, “Just like Mrikandu Rishi and Marudmati, I too had a choice. Choice of whether my son can continue to live like a vegetable with life support system. Or if I should agree to donate his unaffected organs, and make many people smile. Just like the Mrikandu Rishi, I too made a choice, that quality of life matters over Quantity.” – He concluded.


July 2008, Suburb of North Chennai

Mani began his delivery stride and gradually gathered momentum. I was concentrating as hard as possible. Sweat for pouring from my forehead but I was least concerned about it. I was anticipating a bouncer; he was sure to exploit my limitation against short pitched stuff. Hence I decided to wait in the back foot, wanting to make full use of it. “We want sixer, we want sixer” came the chanting from the background. Mani though decided to astonish me with a full length slower delivery. I right away transferred my weight to the front foot and launched a fierce lofted cover drive, similar to the shot Sachin played in Sharjah against Aussies in the finals few months back. The ball sailed high in the air.

The moment, ball started to go so high in the air; it dawned across me that it was a dream. I never had the power to hit such a shot, so I was sure it must be a dream. However, I tried hard not to wake up from the sleep. It was such a good feeling, to be able to hit such a huge six at least in the dream. The ball soared high up in the air. However, at the last minute, Pooja dived from nowhere and caught the ball, and started making fun of me. Pooja is my cousin, living in Mumbai, and only in dreams, it is possible for her to take such a catch in the suburbs of Chennai.

Frustrated that I’m not able to score a six even in dreams, I woke up to the sounds of “Kandha Shashti Kavasam” (a devotional Tamil song praising Lord Muruga). If it had been a working day, I would have continued to lay in the bed, hoping to delay as much as possible, the inevitable task of getting up and going to school. But today, is a lucky day for us. Due to some reasons, the ruling party has called off a strike today, much to the bafflement of my father (What the hell is happening, how can the ruling party call for strike”) and to the delight of me.

Being a holiday, I didn’t want to squander too much time, rolling up in the bed. I jumped out of the bed, brushed my teeth within seconds, and rushed out taking my bat. My father would be out of prayer room in next five minutes, and I needed to be out of the house before that, else I would need to hear his depressing cum fuming monologue about the lack of responsibilities seen in today’s children. My grandma had said he used to play cricket for much longer time than me during his school days, so I have never paid any heed to his opinion.

I took the bat from the cupboard and rushed out, and as expected my mother’s voice came rampaging out of kitchen, “Have you ever woken up before 6’ o clock for studying.” I disregarded it as usual, and started moving out. It’s then I realized that I had forgotten to get the balls. We bought three balls the day before, since the shops might have been closed today, due to the strike. I forgot where I had kept them, and as usual I called my grandma to rescue. My ever loving grand ma searched and got them for me once again and I rushed out to join my friends, before my Dad could get hold of me.

The road looked uninhabited except for three of my friends, who were already practicing their cricketing skills. I joined them, and we began to practice and wait for our remaining six friends to join us, to start playing matches. Ramu was practicing batting, and I decided to try in my leg breaks a bit. Though I call it as leg breaks, I actually just bowl the ball slower in the air, hoping to get the batsman out due to the irritation in waiting for the ball, rather than my bowling skills. One by one, our friends came out of their houses to join us.

Today, our group was extended to eleven people, as Praveen brought his cousin, to play with us. He said that his cousin is also studying in eighth standard like us, but none of us believed it. He looked like the WWF wrestlers, and might be studying eighth, only if he had flunked each class thrice. Nevertheless, the task came to me to clarify the rules to him. Rules, in the sense, I am not talking about rules framed by ICC. Now, though we play cricket, we do have our own set of rules, depending on the availability/non availability of resources.

For example, we don’t have any stumps in the bowler’s end, and we use a small stone as the stump there. Since it is difficult to affect a direct hit on that small stone, we follow an ingenious method that was copied directly from Baseball. We allow “Current” – that has nothing to do with power supply – but it is a means by which the batsman can be run out just by catching the ball with our legs on the stump (stone in this case).

Now since this WWF guy doesn’t seemed to me the one who in interested in dealing in singles, I straight away started telling him about the boundary lines and about the unconquered Final frontier, and how any one hits the ball inside that house is declared out. Unconquered Final Frontier? Now its time to take you through a bit of history about the unconquered final frontier, as that day would be the last time I would be explaining that rule about the Final Frontier to any one.

Flash back time………….

Our Gang has been playing cricket here for the past two years, the time when most of our houses came into existence. Most of our parents were working in a reputed state Government organization, and they all brought flats here in this suburb of Chennai, because it was the only place they could afford with the minimal loan. We were lucky enough to get so many people of our age group together, and soon formed a gang and started playing India’s favorite sport. Initially we didn’t face any trouble.

But then the year before, five new houses, came near our colony. None of those people were fellow employees of our parents. None of them had a child, who could play cricket with us. This created a difficulty, as they didn’t like us playing cricket. They complained, shouted and abused at us. We, who don’t even worry about the shouting of our parents and teachers, as usual turned a deaf ear.

They complained to our parents, but since our colony association head, is an ardent cricket fan, he took our side. “Don’t come with these stupid issues” he said and slammed the door of his house on them. This meant we could continue playing cricket, but only problem was that, we ought to make sure; we don’t hit the ball into their houses. Then, no one could help us, and we had no other option than to buy a new ball.

So, we immediately declared those five houses as Danger Zones, and any body who hits the ball inside those houses, will not only be declared out, but he also needs to replace the ball. Now, playing cricket is not some thing that our parents enjoy, but they just put up with it. But they become intolerable, if we keep harassing them with demand of new balls, when ever we hit the balls to the Danger Zone. So we had to think and come up with some pioneering solutions to trim down, if not get rid of the danger zone.

However, our imperfect brain couldn’t come up with any solutions, and we continued with our tradition of Danger Zones. Then came the timely break. There was a small petty shop nearby our colony, where we always buy our two rupee Rasna Packets and One rupee water packets, at the end of our cricket matches. An Old man was the owner of the shop, and he was very fond of us. Who would not be fond of the people, who keep buying stuff from their shop? His son now took over the shop, and as luck would have it, the old man took the job of a gardener cum watchman in one of our Danger Zone House. The house soon went out of Danger Zone, as he took the ball from the house and gave for us, whenever their owners were not aware. We reciprocated his kindness by buying more Rasna packets.

Then a guy in another Danger Zone house got married and the bride become a close friend of my mother, as both of them were from same remote place in Tamilnadu. She always got the ball for me, as long as her mother in law was not in sight. Within weeks, she had also forced her husband to fetch balls for us. So that left mere three more houses, that were the danger zones. One of them in the house was childless couple and they adopted a young girl later that month. We didn’t realize that it will bring such a drastic change in their attitude, that they would start giving back our balls. When ever we were free, we started going to their home, and started playing childish games with their girl, making her joyful, and thereby maintaining friendly relationship with them.

Out of the remaining two houses, one of them moved to posh area in Chennai, after their son got a lucrative job in Chennai. The new tenants to the house didn’t seem to mind about the ball being constantly hit into their house. That left us with only one house, where we couldn’t get any luck. The House still remained in the Danger Zone, and the final frontier was not yet conquered.

Flash back Ends ……….

Having told our rules to the WWF wrestler, we decided to start our game. With odd number of players in the gang, it meant, we had to have one player as “Common”. For those who have never played street cricket, it means that player would get to bat for both the teams, but can’t bowl for either of them. A timid guy in our group, Rahul, who won’t argue with what ever we say, got the role of Common; after all he can’t grumble also, as he can’t bowl a proper delivery even if his life depended on it. So it is a win-win situation for him and others. The remaining ten players were split into two groups of five each, with myself leading one side and Mani the other.

It was time for toss. As we were lucky enough to have a one rupee coin that day, we had a normal toss. Else we would have to be satisfied with many other ingenious method of deciding which team has to bat first. I can’t explain all those methods here, for fear of copyright violation, but one such method was to use a small piece of stone, apply saliva on one side and toss it up in the air. The captain has to call either Mazlai (rain) or veyil (Hot).

We won the toss, and as most of the street cricket captains, follow the rule of “Bat first nine out of ten games. In the tenth game, think for a minute, and then bat first”, we opted to bat first. Now being the batting team captain, I have to make two decisive decisions. No, it is nothing to do with, who should be the openers. That would be automatically decided by the fighting team mates themselves. As long as they ask me to bat at number 3, I am fine with any others playing at any other position.

The choice, I had to make was regarding, who will be the wicket keeper and who will be the umpire. The batting team has to provide players for both these roles. We need to provide a wicket keeper, who has the talent of dropping a dolly so realistically and also can pull off a blinder when the team needs to get out the batsman who is batting slowly and also doesn’t agree to get retired hurt.

And then the umpire must be daring enough to ward off abuses from the opponent and give wide to any delivery that the batsman fails to hit. He should also think of some absurd reasons to say not out when the team’s main batsman gets out for low score. He can even say the stumps were dislodged not because the ball hit the stump, but rather because of earth quake in Indonesia, and the rest four will fight like hell to defend him. Cricket is a not a gentlemen game here; it is a game played between passionate future cricket stars (as we liked to think of our self.)

In the very second ball, Mani uprooted the stumps of one of our opener, and the next ball I edged a ball to wicket keeper, who took a diving catch, only for our umpire to turn a blind eye. Even our parents inside the house would have heard that nick, but umpire insisted he didn’t, in spite of abuses from the opponents of him being deaf. In midst of this commotion, I stared at our wicket keeper, who broke the sacred vow of never diving when keeping for the opposition team.

Rest of my teams batsman, didn’t play well, we shall skip those overs in between and move to the last over of our innings of this six over game. WWF Wrestler defended the first two balls of the last over, leading to annoyed glare from me standing at the non strikers end. Might be it infuriated him so much, that the next ball, he hit a huge shot, that just landed few feet away from the forbidden house and got us six more runs. However the next delivery, we were not so lucky and he hit it straight into the terrace of the Forbidden house. The first ball was lost.

We some how managed to scrap and win the first match, and batted first again, thanks to yet another street cricketing rule of “Winning Team Bats First”. The very first delivery of the match was again hit into the forbidden house by our very own WWF Wrestler. We didn’t shout at him, only because of the fear, that he might thrash us. Any way, we were all satisfied by just glaring at him. Second ball lost, and we had only one more ball. We warned the WWF Wrestler to be careful next time, but all the caution turned futile as the third ball was also lost, before he got a chance to face another delivery.

This time the culprit was Mani. I decided to bowl the third over of their innings, not because I had greater variety, but there was no one else who could bowl six balls without wides or no balls. I bowled the first ball, and it was so slow, that Mani had played the shot thrice before the ball arrived, but failed to make any decent contact. The next delivery frustrated him again, but this time, he was also down the track, and the wicket keeper had an easy stumping chance, which he fumbled deliberately. Mani was frustrated at giving two dot balls against me, and I also provoked him, by making fun of his batting talent. Next delivery was launched high into the air by him.

Odds should be so low against third six attempted going to the same house, but today was a day to defy all odds. The ball traced the same path as its two predecessors and rolled inside the main gate of the house. All three balls lost within an hour of play starting. With no shops open, we know, our day is going to be wasted. We were all very much upset and started wondering what to do. After some needless conversation, one by one every one started leaving. Finally only I, Mani and Rahul were left. Mani and I were wanted some how break the final frontier and get the balls. We started to think of a plan.

We knew at this point of time, all the three members of the family would be in house. First there is an old grand father, whose only hobby in life is to read Hindu from first line to last line every morning and then spend the rest of the day, writing various letters to editor. His letters on various topics has been printed in Hindu, ranging from “Why more budgets should be allocated to Military” to “Nuances of living with kids in the neighborhood”. We indeed felt honored that we were the subject of discussion in The Hindu.

The next person is his daughter in Law, who does make up to show that she is still in her thirties. She also tries to act as though she is the Mother Teresa of Tamilnadu, and indulges in many social services activates superficially. Next is her daughter, who is studying in a reputed engineering college, and whose only purpose in life is to read text books. And then there is her father, who spends most of his time in some tours and currently not in house. When all these three souls are in home, we could never think of entering the danger zone.

So we decided to wait and act. We knew, the mother and daughter would be going to a near by temple at 4’0 clock and the old man would most probably be sleeping. So we could peep into the house then and get the balls. If every thing goes well, we could still manage to play for 2 hours before the darkness comes. So we decided to meet at 4. Rahul, tried to escape from the plan, but we forced him to come to terms with us. He is too timid to say anything against Mani and agreed reluctantly just to come up to the main gate of the house.

4’o clock. We reached near the entrance of the house and waited for the mother and daughter to get out of the house. After they left, we climbed the main gate and got into the house. Rahul was supposed to keep watch standing outside and warn us if any one comes. After bit of struggle, we, Mani and I, climbed the gate and jumped inside the house. We tried to make as little noise as possible. As luck would have it, the first ball was lying just near the verandah and we pocketed it.

“We shall leave” – I said; but Mani was adamant on getting the other two balls as well. The second one, we knew was in upstairs. The staircase was inside the house. Mani said we shall try opening the main door and see if the door opens. The last positive thing, that happened that day, was we got to open the door. The moment we opened the door, we heard loud “Thief, Thief” sound from the main gate, and only then we realized that the mother and daughter in law had come back to the home.

Later we came to know from Rahul, that he had run away out of fear on seeing them return back. We just stood there, our legs trembling. Mani tired to explain some thing, but suddenly his vocal chord seemed to have deserted him, and only air came out of his mouth. What followed next is one of the worst moments in our life, and I am going to stop here, as I don’t want to spoil your working mood, by sharing my bad memories.

It is enough for you to know that, not only did Steve Waugh and Co failed to conquer the Final Frontier; but we also had failed to conquer our Own Final Frontier…..