A surprise call

I haven’t thought about this person for almost three years. I probably have forgotten about the existence of this person. Busy life and who has time to think about others when they are just chance acquaintances?  This call was a pleasant surprise for me and cheered me up. So I thought of writing a quick note here hoping it will cheer you up too and also helps me to update this blog. Seemingly self-boasting though.

I was working in a company in 2010 and there was a stall  which sold corn in our cafeteria. There was a boy working at that stall and he was in his late teens probably. He was sincere, polite, and always had a smile on his face. I became friends with him and he always treated me well. I usually do a lot of small talks with people to understand their lives. This is more out of curiosity than anything else. I wasn’t doing this before I started writing. Writing has in a way inspired me to understand different people and their lives.

He told me that he moved to Hyderabad for an year to earn money to pursue his studies. He told me about where he stayed and with whom he stayed. One day he looked concerned that the corn stall was going to be given to some other vendor and he may not find a good job again. But luckily that din’t happen and he was so happy and I still remember his excitement.

One day he told me that he was moving to his home-town as he earned enough money to continue his studies. I was very happy to hear that. I honestly do not remember now how much money I gave him but I gave him what I thought would help him at least to buy his books and stuff. He tried his best to not to take that money. I had to convince him a lot before he accepted.

I forgot about this incident completely and I never thought about this boy until he called me one fine day a couple of weeks ago when I was having lunch.

‘Hello, sir.”

Assuming it was a telemarketing call, I said ‘Who is this?’

Then he switched to Telugu. ‘Sir, this is Naresh. Do you remember me?’

‘Which Naresh?’ honestly, I was a little frustrated.

‘Sir, it’s me I used to work in the corn stall in ___(he told me the office name).’

Then I just remembered this guy after almost three years. I had no clue what to talk, but I quickly realized that I must have hurt him by not recognizing. That was one thing he must have feared when he called me. I said sorry and told him I was confused as I know other people with same name.

Then he told me sorry that he never called me as he lost my number. He told me that he finally found the paper on which he wrote my number. He thanked me for helping him at that time and said he just called me casually and he is continuing his studies. He told sorry a lot of times and asked me if I thought bad about him as he never called. I told him I never felt bad and I told him that I was really happy that he called me.

I couldn’t talk to him for longer as I was in the middle of my lunch. I saved his number but I am guilty of not calling him even after a couple of weeks.

I hope he gets what he deserves in his life. I am going to call him soon. And it’s only at times like these that we feel grateful to the things that life has quite generously blessed us with. Everything that we take for granted are still dreams for a lot of people. I really hope this guy gets a good living for all his hard-work and sincerity. Wish him the best.

He made my day with that call.

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Posted in: Life, Musings, Personal | 2 Comments

Short Story: The Fortune Teller

Places, people, and everything else is pure fiction. Excuse me for copying the village name from the works of one of my favourite authors, R.K.Narayan. How I wish I can write a story like him one day.

***

The Fortune Teller

‘We have to start early in the morning. Sleep well,’ said Krishna to his wife.

‘Will there be many people?’ she asked.
‘People reach there before sunrise and wait in a long queue.’
‘Then we should start by four in the morning as it takes an hour to drive on our old bike.’
He switched off the light and they slept. Both of them excited about the next morning’s trip to Halgudi. A small, yet famous village that was fifty miles away from their small town.
The old alarm clock which uses manual key woke them up with a sound that is irritating if you hear it during the day. They took bath in cold water and did daily rituals to the God and started on their old motor bike. It had a faint light that could only let others see you rather than helping you see the road.
They were happily married for twelve years. They could have been a more happier couple if they hadn’t this one problem in their lives.
They reached Halgudi before the sunrise and the roosters were crowing in bliss oblivious of the curses from the people whose sleep was being disturbed. Krishna stopped his motor bike near a roadside tea shop to drink tea and also to get directions to the fortune teller’s house. Everyone in this village knew where this house was. People from all parts of the state and sometimes over enthusiastic travellers from foreign too visited this man who supposedly knew your future and promised a better future too. Ask him anything and he has an answer. He knows when you are going to have kids, when you will become rich, how you can become rich, where is the stolen gold from your house and who the thief is, when your children will get married and their children too if you are interested, then he knows who is going to win elections, how you have an impending danger and what you need to do to avoid it, and everything else you want to know about your life that you think will make you happy.
There was a legend about this man that he visits Delhi every year and stays in a five star hotel and famous politicians go to him. No one knew if this was a marketing gimmick or in fact this man really does go to Delhi. But he was not found in the village during every March. Sometimes people travelled from long distances to see him and only to return disappointed knowing he will not be there for a month.
They quickly drank tea and got the directions from an old man who was smoking his first cigarette of the day.
He started the bike and they reached the fortune teller’s house after asking a couple of people for directions again. The night was disappearing gradually and by the time they reached, they could see the contrasting house which stood rather lavishly against a backdrop of old and unsophisticated houses. The house had a big front yard where the crowds stood in a queue and also there was enough place for the people who accompanied. There were at least twenty people already in the queue. Krishna paid the money to a boy who was sleepily brushing his teeth . The boy took the money and spat the white foam out of his mouth and gave a white paper to Krishna and told him to write down the things he wanted to ask the fortune teller.
While his wife stood in the queue under the open sky, Krishna sat down on the floor and wrote what they wanted to ask.
More crowd came as the day brightened. Exactly at seven, the boy went and shut the gate after he let a few people in after they argued with him and paid him a bribe.
There was a tea stall that sold many food items apart from tea and few people put their footwear or a hand kerchief in their places in the queue and went to the shop to drink or eat. There was a quarrel between two old men about their exchanged kerchiefs. Finally, they settled the dispute cursing each other and coming to a conclusion that the kerchiefs were exchanged by someone else.
The door to the main hall was opened ten minutes before eight and a small boy gave a token to each person in the queue as they entered one at a time thorough the half closed door. They were seated in rows of white plastic chairs. First row was reserved for VIPs. The fortune teller, accompanied by a short man who had a large head that stood peculiarly against his short body, entered the hall exactly at eight and everyone in the hall stood up with a reverence that paralleled to what they offer to the God. The fortune teller, however, looked peaceful in white pant and shirt, with a smile that was more than reassuring the futures of the crowd that couldn’t wait any longer. Krishna thought that the fortune teller looked to be in his late forties, but the long beard made it difficult to guess his age.
The fortune teller sat in a chair at least fifteen feet away from the chairs where people sat to make sure the discussion was not audible to the others in the room.
Finally, the number twenty one was called and in fact Krishna’s wife thought that the number was a positive sign when she first saw the token. Both of them went and sat cross-legged on the floor in front of the fortune teller. Krishna handed over the paper to the short man. Short man read the questions in the ear of the fortune teller.
The fortune teller smiled mystically while caressing his long half-grey beard. The smile looked to our couple like a divine blessing for their future. Then the fortune teller closed his eyes and meditated while his two thumbs started tapping his other fingers in a calculated gesture and the smile was still there except that it wasn’t reassuring any more.
He opened his eyes slowly and whispered something in the ears of the short man who never had to bend his body. To guess short man’s age was impossible. On their next visit, they had to learn that he was in his early twenties and was with the fortune teller for as long as he could remember.
Short man smiled and nodded his head with respectful agreement. Then the fortune teller turned to the couple.
‘May god bless you. I see why your wish is not coming true from twelve years. There is something obstructing your way. You need to follow the rituals which I am going to tell you now for a month. Come and see me again after thirty days on the full moon day. And you will be surprised. Trust in God and do the rituals without fail,’ said the fortune teller while the couple listened to it like the divine wisdom.
They stood up and paid some money to the short man and hesitatingly left the presence of the fortune teller while the next person in line was eagerly waiting.
Every day for next thirty days, they did the rituals without fail. Krishna woke up before the sunrise and took cold water bath for thirty days and followed up with a hour long rituals while his wife was devoted enough to assist his husband. Most importantly, they were told to not have sex for these thirty days.
They waited for the next new moon day eagerly to meet the fortune teller again. He promised a solution to their problem.
The full moon day came and they went to see the fortune teller. The drive on the old bike did not seem as difficult as it was the first time. They stopped at the same tea shop more out of superstition than a need and then they reached the house without asking anyone for directions this time. They saw the same old man smoking near the shop whom they asked directions for the first time.
When they reached the house, they saw a huge crowd which was unlike the last visit. And there were some police too.
”There must be a VIP visiting,’ said Krishna to his wife.
‘May be our local politician as the elections are near by,’ added his wife.
The crowd near the main gate was blocking anyone else to enter and Krishna and his wife were disappointed as they thought it might not be possible to see the fortune teller.
‘Who has come?’ Krishna asked a man who was standing away from the crowd with a determined smile on his face.
‘Who has come? Don’t you see who has come?’
‘I mean is there a VIP visiting?’
‘No they haven’t come yet. They might come soon.’
‘Is it our local politician?’
‘Why have you come here?’
‘We came here a month ago and the fortune teller asked us to come today after we did whatever he asked us to do.’
‘What is your problem?
‘But tell me why there is so much crowd? Will we be able to see him today?’
‘Yes, of course you can see him. But I doubt he will talk to you today.’
‘I am disappointed.’
‘You din’t tell me why you came to the fortune teller the last time.’
‘We have a problem.’
‘Everyone has a problem. What’s so big deal?’
‘We just have this one problem. No other problems.’
‘Do you think fortune teller will help you?’
‘Many people think he knows future and he can change it too. I heard many people get over their problems with the help of fortune teller.’
‘What did he tell you to do? Wear a ring? Don’t eat meat. Do some rituals? And what else?’
‘Well,” paused Krishna for a while to see where his wife was and added “we were not supposed to, you know, not supposed to sleep in the night. I mean not together. My wife and I.’
‘I see, because you are doing rituals?’
‘You haven’t told me what’s happening here. I want to meet the fortune teller today. Who is the VIP that is coming?’
‘May be many. I am not sure.’
‘Why do you look so happy?’
‘Because the VIPs are coming.’
‘I better find someone who can help me see the fortune teller,’ said Krishna and was happy to move away from this man who was embarrassing.
But that man stopped Krishna on his way and asked, ‘will you please tell me what is your only problem?’
‘That is none of your business.’
‘I know a better fortune teller hundred miles away from this place. You should visit him.’
‘And you want me to pay money to you for taking us there. I know what kind of a man you are. Stay away. It’s none of your business.’
‘But you can’t visit this fortune teller today. Nor any other day.’
‘Why? I can come tomorrow again. Our house is close by and we can drive tomorrow morning again.’
‘But still you can not meet him tomorrow. Better you meet him today.’
‘You are mad.’
‘You are mad. Don’t you understand? What is your problem? I can help you solve it.’
‘I am going to see the fortune teller now.’
‘Better you do that today or you would never see him again. He is dead.’
‘What?’
‘He was murdered yesterday night.’
Krishna felt as if a thunder had struck him in the head. How can the fortune teller die? How can he be murdered when he knew everyone else’s future.
Krishna knew that that man wasn’t lying. It took him only a minute to survey the surroundings carefully and to understand that, in fact, the fortune teller was dead.
‘Who killed him?’
‘Ask the police. I have no idea.’
‘May be thieves . What happened to his assistant? I mean the short man?’
‘He is not found anywhere. Villagers say, he has murdered the fortune teller and ran away with all his fortune.’
‘I can not believe this. I can not believe this. How can the short man kill his master?’
‘Because the master never knew his future.’
‘But he knew others’ future.’
‘I have no problems if you think so. And what is your problem that the fortune teller was trying to solve?’
‘Well, no use saying it to you now.’
‘Trust me there is a better fortune teller and he is a close friend of mine. He told me to come here today and he told me that this fortune teller was going to be murdered. That’s why I came all the way to see if what he said will happen or not.’
‘And it happened. Yes, that fortune teller is the real one, may be. And this was a fake fortune teller may be.’
‘He was indeed fake. So what’s your problem, will you tell me now?’
‘Of course, yes.’ said Krishna and called his wife.
‘Do you know what happened? I can’t believe,’ said Krishna to his wife.
When she heard the news from Krishna, she fell to the ground crying. More than the death of the fortune teller, she cried because all their effort for thirty days went in vain. And the hope of solving their problem died with the fortune teller.
‘But not to worry, this man here knows a real fortune teller who predicted this fortune teller’s death today.’
‘Then we should go and see him,’ said she without a single thought.
‘Of course, you can go and see him. I will help you. But, will you tell me your problem?’ asked the other man.
Before Krishna said anything, his wife cried out while saying, ‘we are married for twelve years and we don’t have kids.’
The other man could not believe that the fortune teller asked the couple to not have sex. He couldn’t control his laughter and that made our couple angry.
The other man realized that he hurt the feelings of the couple and was quick to apologize.
‘I will take you to the best man who could solve your problem. Come and see me next week, same day,’ said the other man and gave detailed instructions and asked them to wait near a temple.
After a week, Krishna and his wife started on their bike to visit this man with a hope that he would take them to the new fortune teller. In fact, a real fortune teller. They were in a way happy that the old fortune teller was dead.
Krishna stopped his bike exactly near the address that the man gave them.
There wasn’t any temple, instead there was a hospital.
***
 Thank you for reading. You have made my day!
The idea for this story struck me while I was roaming alone idly in a mall and saw a fortune teller. It was tough to figure out the ending after I wrote the beginning and the middle. I found it tough to balance the tenses too and it was the first time that the tenses were perpetually confusing to me. I hope it kept you interested till the end.
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Posted in: Short Story | 3 Comments

Short Story: A Romantic Dinner

Inspired to write more frequently by the positive feedback that I got for my last post, I have decided to complete this short story which was in my drafts from quite some time. I hope you like reading it. Please use comments section to send me your feedback.

***

A Romantic Dinner

I hate summers. I hate summers like everyone else in Hyderabad. One thing that I particularly hate about it is that the day starts early. The rays of the Sun fell on my face through the open window as if the Sun was waiting sincerely all the night to wake me up like an alarm clock. Like every other day, I woke up from my bed, put on my spectacles, walked up to the hall and picked up the news paper. Like every other day, I opened the astrology page and started reading what was in store for Capricorn.

“This is your day. You may receive some good news at the office today. You are likely to get more involved in work.  A friend may surprise you. A romantic dinner is around the corner to make this a perfect day.”

That brightened my usually dull Monday morning. Monday! Why can’t it be Sunday forever.

I heard a beep on my iPhone and I unlocked it punching the boring four digit code and saw a message from Deepa that she is going to start in thirty minutes. I brushed my teeth in a minute and rushed to get ready as I can not imagine going to office in a bus sweating like a pig by the time I reach office.

Like every other mother, my mother woke up well before I did and prepared the most delicious breakfast and lunch. She is proud that her little daughter is now a big software engineer in an even bigger software company. This I call, the text book definition of an Indian middle-class dream coming true. Children settling as software engineers, doctors, and for some lucky few, IAS or IPS officers in the government.

I messaged Deepa to wait for five more minutes before she starts and knowing me well that five more minutes is always ten more minutes, she honked in-front of our home after fifteen minutes. The mad city traffic already started. I told her sorry a couple of times without really meaning it. We knew each other for a long time to really mean a sorry or a thank you.

She dropped me at my office. Her office is a block away from mine.

I remembered what I read in the news paper in the morning, though I do not completely believe in the astrology and stuff, I am superstitious to an extent to believe in anything that makes me happy.

I have been working in the same office in the same project in the same place for last two years. It’s not as boring as one may think as there is always a sense of superiority that I quite paradoxically enjoy.

I started my day by cleaning the spam from my office Outlook inbox and then went for a coffee. I was waiting for that good news to come to me as the paper said.

Before the good news came, there came Rakesh. By the way he looked and walked, I was sure he had some news for us.

“Have you heard?” he said while he was still a few steps away from us, and he lowered his voice when he came close to us and said “Pradeep has got promotion!”

“What the,” I swallowed the four-lettered word and my face had shown that expression instead.

“That guy spends more time in his manager’s cubicle than at his disk. No wonder he is promoted.”

We discussed how stupid it was to promote him and talked about a couple new movies and by that time I finished my coffee.

I returned to my desk a little bit disappointed but remembered what I read in the news paper and wishing that good news will come sooner to make this otherwise boring day a little interesting.

Midway through the day, there wasn’t any good news. I went for an early lunch as Monday lunches usually are interesting with people discussing what they did during the weekend. Rupa, with her never ending and unbelievably soup-serial-type domestic troubles with her newly-wed husband and her in-laws, bored me like she always did. I hurried through my lunch, part because I was in no mood to listen to her troubles and also I did not want my manager to nag me more to finish the work.

It was seven in the evening when I finished the work that my manager wanted. It was then I called Deepa to see when she is starting home. Unfortunately, she started already and told me that she texted me which I missed seeing.

I was left alone to cursing myself and decided to stay a little late before the mad Hyderabad traffic eases out.

At eight thirty, exhausted and hungry by a boring Monday, I went to a nearby restaurant to eat a quick dinner.

When I saw the same news paper at the entrance, I remembered what I read in the morning. A romantic dinner is around the corner. Really! There wasn’t any good news still. But the monkey inside me imagined that I may meet a guy at the dinner and may be that would make a good ending to a boring day.

The waiter helped me find a decent enough place and was surprised to see I was alone. Why an averagely beautiful looking girl who is a software engineer would go for dinner alone in Hi-Tech city?

I ordered Biryani and started to go through my Facebook feed, liking some photos and statuses.

Before the food came, there came a handsome guy and sat right in-front of me on another table. For a moment I remembered about what I read in the paper.

‘A romantic dinner is around the corner.’

What a correct prediction, except that he was joined by another girl and they had a romantic dinner, around the corner.

I hurried through my dinner thinking same old thoughts and shamelessly glancing at that guy a couple of times while he quite proudly and possessively fed his girlfriend with a spoon. I hate public display of affection for some weird reason. It was nine in the night and I could officially use a cab that my company provides for free.

My mother was eagerly waiting for me even though I spoke to her four times after I started from office accompanied by a company security guard.

Exhausted from a not so interesting day, I hurried up to sleep and had a smile remembering what I read as my day’s prediction.

Everything happened as it was written. I heard a good news, but not for me. I had a surprise from my friend, Deepa, but it wasn’t pleasant. Romantic dinner was around the corner and I was a spectator.

I went to sleep and the Sun woke me up again on Tuesday and as they say, life continued.

***

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Pizza, Pasta, Smiles, and few Surprises

I was exhausted from a couple of hours of drive on the Hyderabad roads. My most awaited Saturday was spoiled after I got into an argument in the evening with traffic cops when they misbehaved.  I gave up knowing well it’s useless to argue further, quickly came out of the ego trip, and started my car cursing India and The world in general.

I drove to Paradise restaurant for a Biryani take-away for dinner. On the way back I stopped my car near a traffic-signal. A boy came near me asking for money and started knocking on the car window. Most of us learned to ignore and look away. I confess I do ignore many times even though I feel bad.

My food parcel was on the front passenger’s seat and that kid pointed his finger at it. I do not like giving money. But how could I possibly ignore when he is asking food that’s already a hand stretch away from me?

I lowered my window and asked him to cross the road and wait near a Pizza shop. Realizing he might not know what a Pizza is, I told him to stop near a shop where people are eating and the shop’s board is in blue colour and there is a bus stop nearby. I was not willing to give my Biryani take-away as I was lazy to go back and get one more.

I was in for a couple of surprises which I least expected. Without those surprises I wouldn’t have written about the incident here.

I went near the pizza shop and waited for five minutes. And many thoughts crossed my mind. Why din’t I take him in my car? What if he comes after I leave? Why do I not do this every day but why today? Did he really believe me? What if I leave and he comes and thinks I cheated him? I forgot my obsessive thoughts about my fight with the traffic cops.

I waited for five minutes and couldn’t find the boy anywhere near the shop. I thought he din’t trust me. But I started walking towards the signal hoping I would find him. I saw him with a girl and they were running towards me. But they ran past me as he din’t recognize. I called him and they stopped. All smiles on their faces. I was happy to see him.

What surprised me was that he brought this girl, whom I assumed his friend. When I saw the girl with him, two words came to my mind: best friends. If he came alone, I probably wouldn’t have written about the incident here. A little while later he tells me that she is his younger sister. I ordered some pizza and pasta but the cashier made a mess out of my payment as he over-swiped my card by ten times and that delayed my order.

The kids were all smiles and anxious – waiting to eat pizza for the first time.

Finally the pizza came and I took it to their table with a coke and then the pasta came a little later.

And then came another surprise that I least expected. I was thinking they would jump straight into the yummy pizza. The girl took the box and both stood up. They wanted to take it to their mother and eat with her. Knowing well this can be a wrong excuse, I told them if they don’t eat with me, I will take the food away. I convinced them for five minutes before they ate one slice each. Then few more minutes of convincing to eat half a slice each and kept one slice for their mother. And I told they can take Pasta box and eat at home – if they had one.

I spoke to them while they ate and they looked to be totally free from the worries of future. They got a pizza to eat tonight and they are happy till the next day morning before they go on finding food again. They told me that everyday they find food randomly. The boy said he is educated till fifth standard and can read numbers. I asked him to tell me when the waiting counter shows 330. He was repeating all the numbers as they changed. I was expecting to see him excited when he reads 330. But to my disappointment the waitress gave the box to me before the number was displayed.

They said they liked the juice – I told it’s Coke – and obviously this must be the first time they drank Coke.

The boy tells me about their parents and where they sleep everyday. And all the time he was smiling. I was wondering those innocent smiles are going to disappear from their faces soon. When they grow little older, they realize that they can’t smile any more. They know the world they live in is not a place that can make them smile forever like this. But then they were smiling like there is no tomorrow. And that left me to thinking how often do we smile like them?

They took the remaining pizza slice and pasta box and ran and vanished into the buzz of the vehicles and the pedestrians.

Here are the kids. Boy: Surya Prakash – means sunlight; Girl – Sri Lakshmi - Hindu goddess of wealth, prosperity (both material and spiritual), fortune, and the embodiment of beauty.

I started my car with the same old thoughts. Why can’t we do something? But how can I? May be I need to earn enough money and leave my job and then start helping people. But how much enough is really enough? But more importantly, what happens when these kids grow-up like this? Their kids and their kids. Where’s the way out of this trap that you are born into? Am I just satisfying my ego here because I had a bad day? Are they happy or I am more happy? Why do we worry so much even though we have so much?

I confess I do not do this everyday. Not even every month may be. Nor do I feel proud when I do it on those rare occassions. I was really moved when I saw the girl with him as I least expected it and the way they were running with a big smile and excitement on their faces. That made me write this post. A brother helping his sister. And the innocence on their faces and the happiness oblivious of the problems of the real world and their future. I am still wondering where is the way out of the trap they are so innocently born into?

Posted in: India, Life, Musings, Personal | 24 Comments

Short story: For WritersDigest Weekly Creative Writing Prompt

Out of a great urge to write and having no particular topic to write about, I ended up looking at this week’s Creative Writing Prompt on WritersDigest. I have added a link to the prompt at the bottom of this post. The prompt looked very familiar and I hit the pause button on my work and jumped straight in. But they have a 500 word limit. My first draft had 1150+ words. I managed to cut it down to 650+ in the first revision. But finally ended up at 800+ words. This was really challenging as I wanted to tell a short story.

Please send me your feedback using the comments form.

***

Priya was deep asleep when I finished typing the last sentence of my first novel. It was a story about a suspicious new neighbour who commits a murder. It was past midnight and I went to sleep happily.

I woke up from my blissful sleep when I heard a loud noise from our neighbour’s house. He moved in recently. I looked at my wife and she was still deep asleep.

The first time I saw him a few days ago, I had a strange feeling that I have met this guy before.

I got up from my bed, put on my shirt, walked half awake and knocked on his door.

He opened the door after a minute.

“I am Akash, your neighbour, I heard a noise from your house, everything fine?”

He nodded and gestured me to come in. His expressionless smile revealed silver teeth he had for two of his upper canines like the murderer in the novel I just finished writing. I smiled at the strange coincidence and went inside.

I sat on the sofa as he excused himself and went to use restroom. It took me few minutes to realize that there were many things in that house which I wrote about in my novel. To make things more confusing, this man looked very similar to the murderer that I always imagined while writing the novel; including those two silver teeth. I started to sweat and I tried to believe this was a mere coincidence.

The most terrifying of all were the following words on the wall written with a sketch.

“I am not a Romeo. I rather want to kill her than to die for her.”

As I finished reading those words on the wall, I had to shout loudly to believe I wasn’t dreaming.

He rushed out of the bathroom and asked me if everything was fine.

I wrote these exact lines and those were written on the walls of the murderer’s house in my novel which I used as a crucial clue in solving the murder mystery.

“What is your name?” I asked him dreading to not to hear the same name.

“Rakesh. Friends call me Raku.”

The same name as in my novel. As if that wasn’t enough to make me go insane, as I started walking towards the door, I saw a knife that had a pink rubber handle similar to what my character used to kill a woman in the first page of my novel.

I hurried to see if Priya was sleeping. I woke her up and asked her to kiss me. She wiped the sweat off my forehead and kissed me. I knew it wasn’t a dream any more.

I never slept that night.

I decided to not to tell Priya about what happened.

I followed my neighbour for next two days to look for clues to dismiss the whole thing as a supernatural coincidence.

Many strange things happened which were exactly same as I wrote them in the novel. Three nights later he knocked on our door as my character did in the novel. He borrowed some sugar while carefully studying our house and often times looking at our bedroom where Priya was talking on the phone.

This was beyond what my brain could handle.

The most terrifying of all was that I knew what was going to happen if things continued to follow as per the novel.

Priya would be brutally killed with a knife if things continued to happen. So brutally that I regretted imagining it.

I was totally insane. I hurried up Priya the next morning and asked her to go to her Mother’s place. She fought with me and I convinced her somehow.

I was insane to an extent that I forgot what I wrote in my novel. The murder happens in the victim’s mother’s place. I realized it after we sat in the car.

She did not agree to change her mind and all the way she was asking why I was behaving weirdly.

If this insanity continued, I had only twenty four hours to save Priya. I took a couple of pills and never knew when I fell asleep for few hours in the noon.

In my dream, I met a publisher in a bar. He looked at the manuscript and read first few pages.

“Akash,” the publisher said while putting his wine glass on the table, “can you change the place where she gets killed and the way she gets killed. We may turn off some sensitive crime fiction readers because of the brutality of the murder,” then he laughed and vanished with the dream as I woke up abruptly.

That saved my wife and my life. I opened my laptop and changed the story without sleeping the entire night.

 ***

The prompt: http://www.writersdigest.com/prompts/novel-character-comes-to-life-and-may-murder-someone

The word limit of 500 din’t allow me to elaborate the story any longer than what I did. I ended up with 800+ words though.  Hope you liked it.

There are quite a few movies and novels which revolve around a similar theme. The challenging part was to finish with as minimum words as I can while keeping the interest till the end without missing essential details.

Thank you! You have made my day if you have read this entirely!

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