Reading Time: 9 minutes


That was Malgund village in Chiplun Taluka of Ratnagiri district. The entire area filled with mango, coconut, and areca nut trees was coated by the thick fog of January 1948. Satish using his battery torch paved his way home after meeting the client in the factory which was close to his house.

Satish kept the keys of the factory in its proper place and after cleaning himself joined the other members of the family for dinner.

His father, Shri Ganesh Pant Gogte said, ”Listen, Satish, you get more involved and take charge of our business activity. Since our country has now got independence, our people will decide the policy for the growth of the industry. The road map will be announced and we have to be prepared to take benefit of the schemes. Ramesh and Suresh are still studying in high schools.  You have passed B.Sc. and you will be my spokesperson henceforth. The small-scale unit which I have established ten years ago is now stable. We need finance to take a leap forward. And I am sure our government will announce some plans to help the small-scale industry to come up. We have to achieve something big in the coming 5-7 years. So Satish, you have to share my responsibilities and we have to expand. Soon Ramesh & Suresh will get ready to take some roles. Next year only we should see our industry covering a wider area. I am very optimistic.” Mr. Gogte had dreams in his eyes. He was looking for the opportunity to prove his capability. He had expectations from his brilliant sons. They had proven themselves in schools. He wanted them to sparkle in his industry which he had set up with a lot of hardship.

Mr. Ganesh Pant Gogte’s father had spent a major period of his life in jail due to his participation in the freedom movement. His elder brother had also joined the movement. Ganesh Pant had taken up the responsibility of running the family. Despite the turmoil of the freedom movement, he  worked hard and set up a small-scale unit producing parts required for making electric fans. Slowly he established his credibility as a dependable source of parts. A unit started in the backyard of his house, slowly grew to provide employment  for 25-30 workers of Malgund village.

After a frantic struggle by a large number of freedom fighters following different methods to pressurize the British rulers, some following the non-violence and others following the roads of violent methods, finally, Britishers handed over the reins in the hands of Indians on 15th August 1947. But it had a dark side of genocide as the country was partitioned into two countries based on religion. It was one of the deadliest bloodsheds of the world.

But Gogte family was far away from the borders of the partitioned nation, and so was not affected directly by the carnage. Getting freedom for the country was celebrated with fervor in this area. Every individual was happily breathing the air of freedom.

Mr. Ganesh Pant Gogte who had put his sweat and blood in bringing up his unit to present level, was looking forward to expanding his unit to cover all of India. He was grooming his sons to contribute to further development of his unit.

After dinner, everyone retired to bed.

At around midnight, there was a desperate knock on the door. Ganesh Pant got up, switched on the light, and opened the door. On that foggy night, the sarpanch of the village, wrapped in a blanket was at the door with a couple of senior members of the village.

“Yes Patil, what is the matter?”

“Gogte Sir, have you heard that Gandhiji is assassinated?”

“Oh my God! Who was that idiot?”

“We do not know all that but he shot Gandhiji point-blank. Gandhiji collapsed on the spot. And there is a spurt of violence all over India. We have heard that in Maharashtra state, big mobs are moving from village to village causing a lot of destruction. We request your entire family to collect all your important documents and valuables and come with us to our house. Quick. We don’t have much time.”

“But Patil, when the mob comes to our village, we all will have to face the same danger. Whether here in my house or your farmhouse.”

“No. Gogte sir, it is not the same. The murderer of Gandhiji was a Brahmin. And the mob is destroying the properties of only Brahmins. They have the complete list of Brahmin houses. The mob just pours petrol on the houses of the Brahmins whether anyone is inside or not. They burn the entire property. There are many instances of  families burnt alive. Please let us not waste time anymore. Every moment is important. Please take important documents with you and let us run to my farmhouse. I have my bullock cart ready for you. Please hurry up. We do not want you take your car with you. That will disclose your presence instantly. ”

By this time the entire Gogte family was aware of the lurking danger. They picked up all their important material and started out. In no time, the Gogte family was in Patil’s farmhouse.  Everyone was extremely worried. Totally helpless.

Soon they heard a big mob carrying burning torches running euphorically towards their bungalow. A lot of shouting and noise was heard. A flash of big fire could be sensed by the Gogte family hiding in the darkroom. 

After an hour’s commotion, the mob moved to another village. One could see the property set ablaze.

Patil came to the farmhouse. “The inexorable idiots did not listen to us. They tied our hands and legs. Some 7-8  of us who were trying stopping them from doing  this horrendous act.” Patil could not control his sobs.

In utter despair, the Gogte family waited until it dawned. After the sun appeared, the Gogte family rushed to their house.

There was nothing left. The entire house and the complete factory were turned into ashes. The half-burnt axle was the only proof left of the car. The half-burnt furniture was generating a lot of smoke. Ganesh Pant  Gogte could not control the tears flowing away with his dreams.

The freedom of the country brought with it, the disaster for the families of the Brahmin community in Maharashtra.

Gogte’s family took some time to come out of desolation.

After considering all the options, they decided to move to Ratnagiri. Without talking to anyone, they took some public transport and reached Ratnagiri. Rented a room in a chawl, and Mr.Ganesh Pant Gogte started a new life from scratch. He had to wipe off his early struggle. He searched for a small part that can be made in the house. Ganesh Pant and his wife took the responsibility of making the part at home and the delivery was handled by the two younger school-going children. Satish looked for a job. And the family forgot the holocaust and took over the challenge of re-establishing themselves.  Ramesh and Suresh sparkled in the school. Earned scholarship and continued their brilliant career.  Suresh, the youngest of them was maintaining his rank consistently and was getting popular in the area. After S.S.C., Ramesh got his Bachelor of Science and specialized in forestry. He took up Conservation of forests as his career and strongly moved up in his profession. Very soon Ramesh was the Chief Conservator of the state of Maharashtra. Suresh chose medicines as his occupation. After MBBS, he got his Gold medal in Master’s degree, MD. He shifted to Mumbai. He became the medical advisor of the State Government.  

 Ten years passed. All the three sons of Ganesh Pant Gogte got married and had children. They built a big bungalow in Ratnagiri named “AMELIORATION”

 Once in February, the entire family assembled in Chiplun and visited the village Malgund. The entire family went to the spot of their house and the factory. A placard displayed there read  the following message,

“This place belongs to Shri Ganesh Pant Gogte and his family.

We are ashamed that this property and his factory were destroyed by the mob frenzy. The person who had struggled and set up the industry, which had provided an opportunity to earn bread to 30 families of the village, had to face this ill treatment. We could not trace him after the disaster. We do not know their whereabouts. If anyone has any information, please contact the Sarpanch.”

Ganesh Pant Gogte was moved. They went to Sarpanch’s office. A young man was in charge.

Ganesh Pant told his identity. The young man immediately rose, came forward bent down, and touched Ganesh Pant’s feet.

“Sir, please pardon us. Our society had done injustice to you, Sir. We are ashamed of all that. Please come back to this place and start your factory. We are ready to bear all the expenses to rebuild your house. We want your presence here.

Sir, I was a small boy then. I did not understand anything about what happened that day. But my father and our earlier Sarpanch, Patil tell us about you every time we pass the place of your house and your factory.

Sir, my father is not keeping well. But he always says, he has to see you and seek forgiveness before he leaves this world. Mr. Patil is also in distress. He says, when we hear the atrocities on Jews by Hitler, we feel sympathetic about them. When we come across some Indians who were pulled out of their own houses during partition and had to come to India to take shelter, our hearts cry. But here in our own village,  innocent persons were attacked by the unruly mobs in 1948, we could not do anything to save the people from atrocities inflicted on them. Mr.Patil is very upset about his failure to stop the act of brutality.”

“Where is he? I too want to see him.”

“I will take you there. Please come.”

The man took the entire family to Patil’s house. Patil was relaxing in an arm-chair. As soon as he saw Ganesh Pant Gogte, he got up. Bent down and held his feet. Started sobbing. His tears wet Ganesh Pant’s feet.

“Sorry sir, please pardon me. I seek forgiveness. I could not stop the mob. I could not prevent the disaster. I am deeply ashamed. Sir, we are ready for any punishment you give us. But Sir, please come back. I tried whatever I could to get in touch with you. But failed miserably. Now Sir, please take charge of your land and please come back to stay here. There were many proposals to purchase the place. But we  refused all of them. We wanted to hand over the place to you.”

Then Mr.Patil looked at the sons. “Satish, Ramesh, and Suresh. Children, please forgive this old uncle. I was not able to stop the mob from destroying your property. I am guilty. I need to be punished. Please tell your father, to come and stay here. We will build the house for you. You do not have to do anything. We only need  your presence here.”

“Patil, these children have become a big entity. Satish has become the Principal of a college. Ramesh has become the chief conservator of our state. And Suresh has become the chief medical advisor for the state. He keeps visiting various countries. All of them are very busy.”

“Oh my God! I am so happy to know this. Bandya.” Patil called the young Sarpanch.

“Bandya Sawant, This is the great sir, in whose factory your father worked. “

“I recognized them as soon as they came. Come on Sir, you will meet another person who is on death bed but keeps seeking pardon often. Yes, my father is waiting to see you, sir.”

“Sir, please go and see his father. He is holding on to his life just to apologize to you. After you see him, we will have lunch together. Children, are you ready to share our meal? It won’t be like your five-star meal. ” Patil said.

“Surely, we will come back and have lunch with you all.”

All of them went to the other house. The old person could not get up. Ganesh Pant held his hand and with tearful eyes said,” Now I have come here. I have forgotten everything that had happened. Don’t feel guilty. Get well soon.”

Tears poured out of Sawant’s eyes. He could not say a word. The young Sarpanch, Bandya, his son brought a few cut mangoes and offered them.

“Mr.Patil is waiting for the meal to share with you. We will go back to him. “

 Ganesh Pant rose with a heavy heart. Again, held the hand of bedridden Mr.Sawant. He could see Sawant’s face brightening up.

Sawant in his choked voice said, ”Sir, That night when we came to your house with Patil to warn you about the anticipated danger, you were reluctant to consider yourself as separate from the entire village. Unaware that the agitation was against a particular community, you were ready to face the calamity with the entire village. You considered the whole village as your own family. ” Sawant could not utter any word further. He took a deep breath and whispered, ” And these impotent family members from the village could not protect you.” Sawant was bawling all the way through.

Ganesh Pant also could not stop his tears. He somehow controlled himself and said,

“Sawant, I told you I have forgotten everything that happened that day. Please don’t feel remorse. It was not the fault of anyone from the village. The outsiders came and burnt our property. They were so many of them. How could you have controlled them?

Please, for my sake, drop this guilt. I am settled in Ratnagiri. My children are doing very well in their lives. Please do not worry. Now, if you want to make me happy, take your medicines and get well soon. I am going to come back only if you yourself will come to receive me at the temple.”

“Promise, Sir?” Sawant said with freshness on his face. “ I will definitely be there to receive my God back to my village.” Sawant again bawled intensely.

Ganesh Pant patting on the Sawant’s back, said, “Now, no more weeping. Let me see you smiling.”

Sawant forced a smile.

Ganesh Pant and his family left the house heavy-hearted.

They had meals with Patil’s family.

Ganesh Pant and his wife assured the Malgundkars, the villagers from Malgund, that they would shift and would be an integral part of the village.

The Gogte family left Malgund on a happy note.     

Reading Time: 9 minutes


Ramnathan’s close relatives and a few young men, his select students were around the bed in the special room of the hospital. A few were waiting outside the room inside the hospital.  All were worried that probably those were the last few minutes of his life. But Ramnathan was fully conscious and was trying to tell something to the students who were standing very close to him. That was Satish who took his ear close to Ramnathan’s mouth. Satish took care that tears did not wet Ramnathan’s cheeks.

“Please, do not forget what I have told you. I want to donate my body to a hospital.”

Ramnathan took a pause. After a deep breath, he continued,

 “My relatives may oppose this idea. They cremated my wife when I was away in the USA. They did not listen to my telling them and did not care for her pledging her body to a hospital. When I die, do not let them do their way. They all love me. ”

After another deep breath, he said, “But they just don’t agree with me on this matter.

You take responsibility for my body donation. Do not listen to them. I want the last drop of my blood to be used for society. Let me experience how strong characters I have shaped. I remember once Ajay had said that I had chiseled out better shapes out of rough pieces of rocks. This is your test.”

Ramnathan took yet another deep breath. He took his brother’s hand in his trembling hand. “Babu, I know, you all loved me. I am going without the slightest grudge on any one of you. All of you had always sprinkled affection on me.”

Ramnathan took yet another deep breath. “My only last desire is donating my body to the hospital. You must go against your ideas and respect my final wish.”

“No Dada, you tell me anything else and I will follow it completely. But please do not tell me to do this barbaric act. We all love you so much that we can not stand the idea of your body being dissected part by part. No. We can not bear this torture to your body. Barring this, we will do everything else as per your wish. You have given away everything for others. We never disagreed. Though we wanted to get preference for any of your acts of donations, you considered the deserving person above all the relations. Your own family never got any favors from you if a more deserving person came across you. And there is no dearth of persons in the society needing some help. Dada, you had cut off the word “self”  from your dictionary. But we want your consent on the final rites on your body. Dada, excuse all of us. But please.” Ramnathan’s younger brother Babuji said in a choked voice and with teary eyes.

“No Babu. This is my last wish. I have pledged my body. You overruled my wife’s desire of donating her body when I was away at the time of her death. But not this time. You have been critical of following rituals blindly. But then why do you want to do this? I know you don’t believe in unfulfilled last desire and all that. I am not saying my soul will be unhappy and will not rest in peace. But please. Let my students do what I have told them.”

Babuji did not say anything. He could not control his sob. He turned his face and let his tears flow uncontrolled.

Ramnathan looked at Satish. “Satish, do not disappoint me.” Saying this Ramnathan left this world on the eternal journey.

And the persons around the bed wept uncontrollably. The news of Ramnathan’s demise made the small crowd waiting outside the room wept silently.

After the first burst of emotions, Satish came out of the room. Babuji followed Satish. He held Satish’s hand and said, “That is the end of a great devoted life. He loved you all students so much, we used to feel jealous of you all. And you were not two or three but over fifty. Sharing his love to all of you.” He shook his head emotionally. All the present had their eyes filled with tears.

“Okay Babuji, I will inform the body donation workers and they will come as early as possible,” Satish said.

Babuji controlled his grief and said, “Satish, do not be silly. We all are against body donation. None of us can bear the idea that our beloved brother’s body will be dissected hundreds of times, in medical college. The colleges get innumerable unclaimed bodies for their studies. We don’t want to put our brother in that category.

Soon, we will call an ambulance and we will take the body to the crematorium.”

“No. Our Sir has taken a promise from us that we will see that his body is given to the hospital. And we want to keep his promise. Otherwise, his soul will not rest in peace.”

“Satish, Are you telling me about soul resting in peace? What have you learned from that great person? He was against all these myths. Yes, He wanted to donate his body to the hospital but that is a wrong idea. Last-minute I told him, he could tell me anything he wanted us to do but for this body donation. He knew that we would not do this in any circumstances.”

“But Sir, Ramnathan sir had told us repeatedly to guard against this idea of yours. We will not allow cremation.” Ajay, another student said with a firm voice.

“See children, I know you were very close to your sir. But do not forget that I am his younger brother. I know him more than all of you collectively know him. He was against these ideas of soul resting in peace and all the rituals to be done for the soul to get the rest. However strongly you feel against the body cremation, we as his nearest relative would carry out  cremation in electric furnace in the nearest crematorium.”

“No Sir, please remember we nearly 50 students will stage a protest in front of the hospital.” Akshar showed his anger.

Babuji caught up with the relatives getting ready with the cremation of Ramnathan.

In a short while, the team of the Body Pledging group arrived at the hospital. They had a few documents to be signed by close relatives. Satish presented the ID card which Ramnathan Sir had received when he had signed his willingness to donate the body. They forwarded the papers to be signed by the relatives to Satish. Satish took the documents with a pen to Babuji for his signature.

Babuji returned the papers to the volunteers of the organization without signing the paper.

The volunteer was shocked. He said, “Sir, Mr.Ramnathan had agreed to the donation of his body.”

“Yes. The ID card says so. But we do not agree with this. We will not give our consent  to this.” Babuji said.

“But we need to do some processing within four hours. Otherwise, it would be too late.”

“ We are waiting for one of our relatives to arrive and then we will take the body for cremation,” Babuji said.

“No. But our Sir had told us repeatedly to send the body to the General Hospital attached to a Medical College for students to learn physiology. He was insistent on this. He had even told us that his brother may oppose this. But he told us to fulfill his last desire.” Satish put forth his idea.

Babuji said,” Please do not pay attention to these children. You may please go back.”

“No. We have Mr.Ramnathan’s statement expressing his desire to donate his body. Unless we get a substantial reason for denying this, we will not go,” the volunteer said.

“And Sir, we, all his students, number nearing fifty will stage a protest if the desire of our sir is not fulfilled.”

“We don’t care for the protest. We have called for the ambulance, as soon as it arrives, we will take the body to the crematorium.” Babuji said.

‘Come on friends. Let us block the gate of the hospital for the ambulance exit,” Laxman said.

In no time the students quietly gathered outside the exit gate of the hospital.

Babuji realized the seriousness of the protest.

He called Satish and said, ”Satish, we can not yield to your demand immediately. We will need some more time to reconsider the matter.”

“But we do not have much time.” Satish.

“Yes. Now, how do we handle the situation?”  Babuji started thinking in this direction.

Suddenly, he got some idea. He said,” I think, today we will keep the body in a morgue. Tomorrow, we will make the decision. “

“Ok. If you need more time to change your decision, it is ok. But we want Sir’s final wish to be satisfied.” In a choked voice Satish said.

They discussed with the hospital staff and made arrangements with the morgue of the same hospital.

With a heavy heart, all the relatives and the students left the place.

While leaving the hospital, the students were thinking over the decision of keeping the body in the morgue.

“Let us consider whether it involved any trick to fool us,” Satish said.

“Yes. There can be some trap. But I don’t understand why Babuji is so adamant over the cremation of the body.”

“It is a matter of emotions.’ Vikas said.

“But I think Babuji is a seasoned person. He may fool us and will execute his idea.” Abhijeet expressed his doubt.

“I have a scheme. “ Sagar said. Everyone was all ears.

“We should take out the body before they come to the hospital. And take it straight to General Hospital. With sir’s ID card for pledging his body, we can complete the formalities. Then we can call Babuji and tell him.” Sagar explained.

“Yes. That is perfect. How can we get charge of the body?” Shivam asked.

“I know the Morgue attendant. I will talk to him. Quite feasible” Yesh supported the idea.

“Let us not talk in the air,” Ashish said.

“What do you say Satish? Are you ok with it?”  Santosh checked up.

“We should take Babuji in confidence before our final act,” Satish said.

“ But do we have any proof about Sir’s telling us about body donation? Just having an Id card is not solid proof. ” Antim said.

“I knew this is an important matter. I have recorded the entire conversation on my mobile.” Sanket said.

“That is wonderful,” said Rohit. 

“Ok. Yesh. Let us contact the morgue attendant. Let us go.” Abhijeet said.

Satish instructed, “You do the preliminaries and give us a call. Sushant and I will reach that place in ten minutes. Then we will think over the matter and decide our course of action.”

Abhijeet and Yesh moved quickly and met the morgue attendant. He agreed to show them the place where the body was kept.

Sushant and Satish joined Yesh and Abhijeet at the morgue. The attendant opened the place and let all four of them in. It was pitch dark and shivering cold. The attendant put on one light. All of them started moving between the rows of the racks in which bodies were kept after processing, carrying out embalming. The attendant pulled out one rack. And all of them had a look at the dead body. They had goosebumps. They saw the body having the eyes shut and the mouth stuffed with cotton. The close look of a dead body, without any emotions on the face, was horrifying to look at. “No. This is not our sir.” The attendant moved forward. All four of them followed him. He pulled another rack. And another dead body. The boys were scared. After 3-4 such unsuccessful attempts, the next rack showed up Sir’s body. All four of them broke down. The attendant closed the rack quickly. He put a small red cloth hanging out of the rack as the sign of identification. They noted the physical position of the rack and quickly came out of the morgue.

Emotionally disturbed, they decided over their plan in coordination with the attendant. The scheme was chalked out.

Next day when Babuji and Satish would meet the morgue attendant, they would be involved in the necessary formalities. Meanwhile, before the attendant takes Babuji to identify the body, the helpers of the morgue would take out the body from the rack already earmarked by the red cloth and take it straight to the ambulance waiting to go to the General Hospital. After the body is placed in the ambulance, Satish would take Babuji to the ambulance and show Sir’s body to Babuji and would tell him they would take it to the General Hospital.’

The young men reached their respective houses.

The next day early in the morning Babuji called Satish to meet at the morgue at 9a.m.

Immediately,  Satish informed all other members of the executing group. Made arrangements with an ambulance for taking the body to the General Hospital. Also, distribute the word among other students to be present at the exit of the morgue at 9 a.m.

Babuji reached the morgue at quarter to nine. Satish was waiting for him. Babuji came close to Satish and said, “Satish, We were thinking over the matter all over the night. And finally decided to honor Dada’s final wish. We will take the body to General Hospital and complete the formalities.” With teary eyes, he further added, “Let us get going.” Satish was relieved. Confrontation was avoided.

Babuji was surprised to see the ambulance waiting. Satish told him that was arranged by the students. They went to the morgue. The attendant brought the body out quickly. Babuji was surprised that he did not have to identify the body.

The body was put on the stretcher which was then taken into the ambulance. When the ambulance reached the gate, the crowd of students shouted in unison,


Soon the ambulance entered the General Hospital. Babuji completed all the formalities of body donation. Satish and Babuji embraced each other making each other’s shoulders moist with tears. Babuji said in a muffled voice, “Satish, you students’ determination  has changed our ideas and opened our eyes. We all from the family also have decided to pledge our bodies.”    

Reading Time: 7 minutes

HAPPY NEW YEAR!   – 1235 words


Satish landed in Logan Airport, Boston early morning. Hiring a cab, he reached the Hotel Boston International. At the reception, he displayed his invitation card for the International Convention. With utmost politeness, he was taken to the 17th floor where he was allotted a room. After freshening up, he found out the venue for the convention. It was to be inaugurated in the evening at 6.

Satish, the recognized scientist in the area of the effect of music on the environment and the living species, & winner of a few prestigious awards, was invited to present his views on the coming new year.

At 6 in the evening, the ace scientists from various fields gathered at the convention hall. Everyone had donned a mask. After the formal inauguration, each of the extraordinary scientists expressed his vision for the coming year from the perspective of his research plan.

Prof. Gordon from Cambridge University, London spoke about how the launching of the James Web Space Telescope had enabled humanity to peep much deeper into space. He also said how it would help mankind to know more about the birth of our universe. Dr. Smith, the acknowledged scientist of quantum physics, from Boston University, U.S.A. stated that the secret of entanglement of molecules was getting revealed. He further added that soon it will be a reality for the human being to move in space at a speed exceeding the speed of light. Dr. Mehta a scientist from Concordia University, Montreal, Canada presented his paper on nanotechnology increasing the efficiency of energy consumption. Dr.Yamanaka, Tokyo University, Japan talked about the development of superconducting magnets which would ease the production of rails for maglev trains. Prof. Satish Chowdhary, from the University of Pune, India presented his successful experiments on living beings as well as on the environment, the effects of various instruments & vocal music playing different Ragas. Dr. Natasha Tito from Moscow University spoke on her study on human Genomes.

For about three hours, various scientists made presentations on different topics on which they had worked and would have significant development in that field in the year 2022.

Before the concluding speech was delivered, an elderly person with a grey, long beard, got up. He spoke out loudly, “Can I put forth my ideas?”.

Immediately the convenor came forward. With a lot of respect, he said,

“Surely Professor, Karmarkar. We will be honored if you say a few words.”

When the name Prof, Karmarkar was mentioned, everyone was all ears. A veteran, with a Noble prize and an Order of Merit award in his kitty, he was one of the most respected personalities in the scientific world. A young scientist came forward and gave him his hand to climb to the dais. Prof. Karmarkar took the mike in hand and started,

“I was very delighted to hear the great achievements by different scientists in various fields. Congratulations to all of them.

But is it not melancholic that we had to get together with our masks on?  Since 2020 the pandemic Covid-19 is sitting on our neck strangulating humans. It has been two years that our movements are restricted over the entire world. The death toll has touched the horrifying figures. With his strong clutches, the Covid-19 killed innumerable human beings. Our scientific world worked very hard and succeeded in getting a vaccine for Covid-19. Before we could heave a sigh of relief, it entered our world in a different format. We termed it as Omicron. And it started spreading at a much faster speed. Though its impact is not that severe today, the spread is so wide and so quick that a slight variation or a little mutation of this virus can again cause disaster all over the world. Today, we are a bit relaxed thinking the impact of Omicron is mild. But we can not guess what modification in the virus can suddenly make the situation, horrendous.

Today, we heard how we have succeeded in looking deeper into space. We have made maglev transport cheaper and faster. Nanotechnology has made production methods cheaper. The advances in quantum physics have opened up doors for our inter-stellar movement. Also, we have learned the effect of music on the environment which will help us protect our environment from further deterioration.    

All these things will certainly help humanity.

But will not we be able to benefit from all these only if we are alive?

We are surely making progress but some other forces are contemplating, planning to eliminate humanity from the earth. What about it?

There is a popular saying in India meaning one can have fifty hats if the head is safe.

In 2020, when we were caught unawares, we lost human beings not just in hundreds, thousands but in millions. We could not do anything, but keep counting the number of deaths.  It took nearly a year before the finding of a vaccine was announced. This awful situation we had to face because we were facing an enemy about whom we knew nothing. Human intelligence won over the tactics of the enemy after a year.

We could protect ourselves against Covid-19. But before our steps could be effective, Covid-19 had made his entry deep inside of our society. And when we felt that we had won over it, it reappeared in a different form. It spread like wildfire. Due to our vaccination drive for Covid-19, the new virus, Omicron could not have a fatal effect even if it had a successful entry, The effect was mild. But the spread of omicron like wildfire is again a matter of concern. Its just existence is a possible threat of a new terrible pandemic. The latest information is that a new modification of virus has already arrived with the combination of properties from the Delta Virus and the Omicron virus, they have termed it as Delmicron. It appears that the killer virus is all set to eliminate humanity from the globe with the fast-spreading property of Omicron and the killer strength of the Delta variant.

So it becomes extremely necessary that the entire world gets together and with united efforts try to eradicate Corona-19 from the earth. Its trace in any part of the world, in any form, will be hazardous to the entire humanity.

We have eradicated polio, smallpox, etc. It does not exist in any part of the world. Now we are safe from these deadly diseases. We must reach the same situation in respect of Covid-19.

All research labs should change their programs and must work together for a single, most imminent goal targeting the deadly virus Covid-19.

This will ensure the rest of our life, secured and safe. Then only we will get a moral right to wish a happy new year 2022 to each other.

The year 2022 still hangs in the balance. We, the entire world should come together to win over the situation. This is possible only if all the research laboratories, the world over,  concentrate and work only in the direction against Corona-19.

By committing to this single goal, we will earn the moral right to wish everyone else “Happy New Year 2022”.

We all will wish Happy 2022 to all the residents of the earth by committing to a solitary program of “ COMPLETE ERADICATION OF COVID FROM EARTH”. That is all I want to say. Thanks for patient hearing.” Prof. Karmarkar  handed back the microphone. He started getting down from dais.

At this point, Prof. Gordon took over the mike. “Thank you, Prof. Karmarkar. You brought out a very important point.

Last year, in early 2020, when Covid-19 was rampant in U.K. my elder brother aged 45  had fallen prey to it. My mother aged 75 and all of us were extremely upset. My brother was admitted to a hospital. But the Doctor there confessed to me that the disease was unknown and they did not have any specific treatment. They would be probing in dark. I was shocked. My own brother was on death bed totally helpless. Ventilaters, other life supporting systems were used. But I was a witness to my brother struggling  defenceless. My mother looked at me. Her eyes were telling me to do something. She wanted me to save her other son. But I could do nothing. Finally, my brother succumbed to Covid-19 adding to the number of victims.

At home my mother told me,” All your research is useless if it can not save a common man in pandemic like this. What is the use of your Order of Merit award in science, if it can not protect a common man from deadly disease. ” I literally cried incapable of doing anything. I knew that mother had turned emotional and was blaming me out of her anguish. But doesn’t it hold significant meaning?  

In a small boat if water starts leaking in, is it not everyone on boat have to leave every other task and start throwing out the water out of boat to save it from sinking?

I fully endorse Prof. Karmarkar.”

Dr. Mehta took over the mike and said,” I also have gone through the same experience.

“In 2020, my 21 year old son, a national football player, was snatched from me by Covid-19. My wife had to say the same thing. What is the use of this development if it can not save humanity? As Prof. Karmarkar suggested, in emergencies such as created by Covid-19, we have to keep aside all this developmental work and focus on our efforts to defend the humanity against the threats from such viruses.”

Dr.Mehrutu from Ethiopia added,” I also experienced powerless when I witnessed my friend in his fifties, the chief conservator of the state was taken away by Covid-19. Absolutely fit, without any illness, suddenly felt breathless. He was admitted to hospital and suddenly his condition deteriorated so quickly that we had to attend his funeral. “

Dr. Mehrutu wiped his eyes.

Prof. Satish took the microphone and said, “ Initially we heard about the impressive achievements these persons had in their fields. But later, we heard how all these great achievers had experienced frustration caused by Covid-19. Many of these great persons have had sad experience of losing their dear ones. May be a son, or a brother or a fast friend. The loss was such that it could not be filled by any other solution.

So as Prof. Karmarkar put-forth the idea of concentrated efforts to find out the solution to eradicate Covid from earth. It must be uprooted. So that the virus would not get an opportunity to change its form and re-enter the human body to regenerate itself. I am totally convinced that today’s imminent need is every science lab to work out solution to eradicate virus Covid-19.

I as the department head, I announce that we will collaborate with some biology research laboratory and at least for the coming year we will work together with all our might to eradicate Covid-19.” There was big applause.

Then Dr.Yagahaka from Japan announced his decision of diverting his funds to the biological research institute and work all out to eliminate Covid-19 from earth. One by one, every scientist in the convention announced  his involvement in research in the area of study of the virus.

Further, the convention formed a committee to oversee the work carried out by every laboratory.

Finally, a working committee under the leadership of Prof. Satish Chowdhary was formed. He announced that as suggested by Prof. Karmarkar they committed to work on Covid-19 eradication. So the convention attendees get moral right to wish every soul on earth a happy new year, 2022. He requested the each person attending the convention to greet loudly to other person for year 2022.

 In a short time, the entire gathering called out in unison,

“HAPPY NEW YEAR 2022 to all the residents of earth.”


Reading Time: 4 minutes


Satish and Vidya landed at  Boston Logan Airport to spend some time with their daughter, Rachana. She with her husband, Navin received them and took them to their house.

“So, how are you Baba and Aai? Was the wheel chair service at the airport okay, Baba?”

“Yes. Did not have any difficulty. To think of my problem, I can not walk long distances and am unable to walk briskly even small distances. I get breathless immediately and have to stop for some time. The speed of tortoise goes okay with me for short distances. “ septuagenarian Satish said.

“I am okay in that respect. I am prepared to go for long walks.” Vidya said smilingly.

“Don’t worry Baba. We will take you by car to different places, you don’t need to walk long distance. Whatever short walk you will have to take, you take it at your pace. Even slower than tortoise. No problem.” Rachana assured Satish.

With most of the things automated, Satish and Vidya started their stay in U.S. with full comforts.

After the acclimatization for a week, on week-ends the old couple was taken to different sites of interest. Satish used to keep himself nearby the car, while Vidya used to move rapidly with the young couple. Aquarium, zoo, museum etc. were visited. Satish with his age, and his coverage of different parts of the world had lost keenness in seeing such places. But his interest in nature was still active.

One Saturday, they decided to visit Franklin Park. Wearing the woolen jackets, gloves the foursome went to park at two in the afternoon.

The lush green lawns having backdrop of almost bare trees Satish found exciting. With bright sunshine the atmosphere was very pleasant. After parking the car, they walked half a furlong at the snail’s pace. Made themselves comfortable on a bench. Rachana took out the thermos and they enjoyed the hot Etheopean tea. The temperature was around two degrees centigrade. They decided to take a small peep into the woods.  Satish led the group. Ten-minute walk and then Satish raised his flag. They all stopped.

In a fraction of a second, the sky turned dark, greenish. An air funnel, as though descending from the cloud, suddenly appeared at the south side of that big garden.

And there was an announcement on public address system.

“A twister of EF rating 2-3 is suddenly generated near the south end of garden. The funnel has hit the ground and roaring forward, it is moving towards the north. The winds are of speed above 100 mph. It can uproot or snap large trees and topple the cars.

Everyone is requested to leave the garden immediately. Only two minutes are with you and the twister will strike the garden. It is moving from south to north. Please hurry up.”

There was a commotion in the garden. The visitors, however few, started rushing to the parking place and getting into their cars and leaving the park.

With a deafening roar, the twister entered the garden.

Satish’s family turned around but could not rush back. Satish told others to run fast and get into the car. He would come slowly in their direction. Of course, they did not agree. He shouted at Vidya and Rachana and insisted them to run and get into the car. Navin was holding Satish’s hand slowly pulling him.

The two ladies ran and got inside the car. From there they could see the funnel of the twister entering, at the other end of garden.

“Baba, somehow walk faster.” Rachana called out.
“We are walking as fast as Baba can.” Navin yelled.

And there was creaking & groaning sounds from far away inside the garden. Few trees were windthrown, uprooted and few were snapped.

Navin  said, ”Baba, Let me try lifting you.” With all his might Navin lifted Satish. But the strong winds blowing faster and faster, made it extremely difficult to keep balance for Navin. It became impossible for Navin to move even inches in the required direction, lifting Satish and keeping balance. 

Satish said,” Navin, You go and get inside the car and be ready to leave the place before the twister comes closer. I will come at my pace.”

Satish thought, “If I run this much distance, I am sure to get heart attack and collapse. If I walk slowly in an attempt to save myself from heart failure, the twister will take me along with it. It seems this is the end of my life. Let others be saved.”

The speed of wind was still increasing from roughly 110 mph to 160 miles  per hour. Satish had to keep moving with whatever pace he could achieve. He pushed Navin desperately to leave him alone. Finally, looking at the situation, Navin ran alone to the car. He got inside and started the engine. They could not keep the doors open as the speed of  the wind was increasing rapidly. All the dried leaves in the nearby area were being blown and they were flying very high. The public announcement system was giving repeated warning. “Twister has entered the garden at the southern end. In a couple of minutes, it will  reach the northern end. Please, leave immediately.”

Satish was managing fast winds and trying to walk as quickly as possible. A distance of 5-6 meters was left and Satish was struggling moving even this much distance.

He was just ten steps away from car. And the twister came in the close proximity. The sound of twister like a jet engine was deafening. Vidya, Rachana, Navin all were at the edge of the seat. Vidya prayed to God to give some speed to Satish and to hold the twister for a few more minutes moving in their direction

The spiralling twister having come close, Satish somehow was   trying hard to reach the car. Navin opened the door for Satish to enter. The gusty wind rushed inside, and gave a big blow to the car and gave a tilt. The two ladies shrieked. The next moment car settled back. The twister reached within few feet from the car. Extending his hand, somehow, Satish touched the door. The raging tempest was trying to push Satish away from the car. But he firmly held the door. Navin unlatched the door from inside. Satish with all his strength was clinging to the door. He came close and pulled the door. He somehow entered the car even though fast winds were tilting the car again and again. Navin closed the door and started the car at the fastest speed.

The spiralling twister was just behind the car. Navin pressed the accelerator and moved on. At the first turn he moved the car in the direction perpendicular to the twister. After most anxious two minutes, he looked behind. The twister was going in the opposite direction. Still maintaining the speed, they reached a safer place. Navin looked at Satish. He was exhausted and was sitting leaning backwards. Navin said, “Are you okay Baba?”

Satish had a smile on his face.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Satish was a late latif. Reaching late on almost every occasion. Be it a birthday, a dinner party or even a wedding function. Satish could never make it in time.

On birthdays, he had never been a witness to actual cake cutting. For dinner parties, Satish always reached to scrap out the vessels to fill his plate. On wedding celebrations, Satish invariably used to be the last one to greet the newlyweds. That was Satish. Otherwise, pleasant, soft-spoken, caring, lovable personality, somehow, he could not keep up his appointments.

That day, the office colleagues planned out for a short trip to a place some 200kms away, to enjoy the long week-end.

The lunch-time gathering, got converted into brain storming for the itinerary for the three days long trip to Tadoba, the tiger sanctuary. A team of around 15 personnel, interested in the wild life, listed their names. A mini bus was organized to accommodate all the participants to enjoy the fun of travelling together.

Friday night they planned to start at 10:30. They decided that after the office gets over, everyone would go home, finish dinner and meet at the bus station at Five Gardens in Dadar. The meeting time was fixed at 10:15. Everyone was told to reach on time, so that the travelling schedule could be maintained. The organizer further added, “ Please pay attention. Our road to Tadoba goes through two forest areas. One extremely dense area is near Wada that is around 100 kms from here. As it is a ghat section, a lot of twists and turns make it mandatory to drive at slow speeds. Besides, this being a summer season, all the greenery in that area is conspicuously absent. So, we are going to miss the thrills of a dense forest.

Each one agreed and swore to keep time. But all eyes turned towards Satish. They wanted enthusiastic, energetic, bubbling Satish should fall in line. He also nodded with enthusiasm and promised to be at Five Gardens at sharp 10:15.

On Friday, at night, most of members gathered at Five Gardens in Dadar. As the given dead line was approaching, the remaining members hurriedly joined the group. The air-conditioned mini bus arrived at the decided spot in time. Every one made himself comfortable in the bus by adjusting the room provided for the luggage. At 10:15 the organizer noted that all were present except Satish.

“As expected Satish is not present at the pre-decided time. We are going to start at 10:30 irrespective of joining by Satish. This is height of irresponsible behaviour. Let us hope he arrives before 10:30. Another bus carrying other group of people going for Tadoba Sanctuary is also planned to leave by 10:30. We are going to start at the same time.”

There was an uneasy whisper among some members.

“I will call him and find out why he is late.” Saying this he was trying to contact him. After a few attempts, he got the connection.

“What happened Satish? Why have you not reached Dadar yet?”

“I have already started. I am in the train for last 30 minutes. Some problem here and the train service is halted. As soon as it starts, in 15 minutes I should be there. I am sorry.” Satish said.

“Ok. Come fast. We are waiting for you. But we can not wait much longer.” The member warned him.

“See. I told you. He must have had some problem. If trains are not running, what can he do? As soon as the train starts, he will be here in 15 minutes.” One sympathizer for Satish said.

At sharp 10:30 the organizer announced, “we are starting now.  We need to keep timing.”
“No. No. Please listen to me. Satish is the most loved member of the group. We want him to be with us. Even if we get late, we can pick it up by reducing few halts we have planned. We want him to be with us.” Another member ascertained.

“See, I am not of the opinion that Satish should not join us. But there has to be some discipline. If we go out of our schedule, we will have problem at Tadoba.” The organizer made his point.

“I understand. But this is not office that we have to keep minute to minute timing. We will wait till Satish joins us. We will adjust the time by some other means. But we want Satish with us.” Another member put forth his argument.

“More over, he is just two stations away. Let us hope the line gets clear soon and then we will move.” Third member said.

“Ok. As you wish.” The organizer gave up.

The other bus started at 10:30 sharp and left for Tadoba.

All the members of this group were waiting anxiously for Satish to arrive.

The clock was ticking and the anxiety among the members was increasing.

It was 11:30 that Satish boarded the bus.

“I am extremely sorry friends that my train was stuck up just two stations before Dadar. It had halted at such a place that I could not jump down and come on to the road to hire a taxi. My million apologies and many thanks for waiting for me.” Satish expressed his remorse.

“Can we start now?” the organizer asked the group.

“Yes please. We can start now.” One member conceded.

And the bus started.

Everyone heaved a sigh of relief that though a bit late, they were on the way to Tadoba.

After a drive of nearly three quarter of an hour they were at the foot hills of the forest.

And suddenly the forest guards stopped the bus. After a screeching halt, the bus was taken on side. A forest guard entered the bus. “Sorry friends. There was  a sudden wild fire in the ghats. Due to dry leaves and dry trees, it caught up into a big fire in a sizeable area. Unfortunately, a car with 4 persons and a mini bus with 15 on board were trapped in the blaze and both turned into ashes. We have stopped the traffic from both sides till the fire is completely doused by fire brigade. It will take some more time to clear the traffic.”

Hearing this everybody from the bus was shocked. They all were speechless. They were lost in thoughts. If they were not delayed, they also would have had the same fate for their bus too.

What a narrow escape!

All the members decided to help the fire brigade to handle the bodies. The organizer had known the driver. A few of the members, including Satish walked down till the spot of accident. The mini bus was completely charred. They identified the driver and tried to trace the addresses of the  members of the bus. The three ambulances arrived at the spot and carried the bodies of the victims to the hospital that was some 40 kms away. The information provided by the driver was very useful in identification of the victims.

The members returned to their bus. The mood was turned gloomy. They decided to return home instead of proceeding to the sanctuary at Tadoba.

This time all the members were grateful to Satish for being late.

Reading Time: 4 minutes



I was in Delhi working for an MNC. One evening I met Amresh shopping in the market. We decided to have dinner together. After dinner, we started discussing various matters.

” Amresh, do you know? I can predict the death of a person?” I said.

“Come on. What nonsense! “ Amresh said.

“Really yaar. If I look in the eyes of the person, I can tell when he is going to die.” I said confidently.

“Okay. Look into my eyes and tell me about my death.”

“No jokes. Why should we try out this unholy power that I have got?”

“No, Satish. I want to know about my death. Look into my eyes and tell me when I am going to die.” Amresh.

“Okay, let me try”. I went closer to Amresh and stared at him. For 3-4 minutes I was looking into Amresh’s eyes. I was horrified. I wiped the sweat on my forehead.

“What happened Satish? Could you not see my death? Or am I immortal?” Amresh said laughing.

“No. no. I could not see your death in your eyes. I think I do not have that power anymore.” Saying this again I wiped my forehead.

“I knew you were bluffing. Satish, do not bluff on such serious matters.”

Now I was getting compelled to tell the truth. “Amresh, you are going to die just after we reach home,” I whispered.

“Oh my God! That is great. So your authenticity will be tested very soon.” said Amresh with boisterous laughter. “ Satish, you come with me to my house. So that you can arrange for my funeral quickly.”

I saw Amresh was terrified from within. He was scared to stay alone. He needed my company. I agreed to accompany him to his house.

We reached Amresh’s flat in Connaught Place. After entering his flat, Amresh made arrangements for two beds. He changed into a nightdress. All of a sudden I saw Amresh getting choked as if somebody was throttling him. I got horrified. I ran with a glass of water to him. But Amresh was getting strangulated and I could not bear the sight of his wiggling. He was trying to say something but in a couple of minutes, he was silent. Amresh had left this world. I was so much horrified that I drank two glasses of water wondering what to do further? Amresh’s dead body was lying in front of me. The police arrived and saw me sitting near the dead body. They did not need any more evidence. They started dragging me to the custody with handcuffed. I was trying to resist going with them shouting “No. I have not killed him. He was my very good friend.” But police paid no heeds to my cries. They took me to the police van.

And suddenly Bhaskar came into the room and tried waking me up. Maybe I was shouting aloud. I was awakened and I thanked God that it was just a dream.

I got freshened up and had breakfast. Bhaskar asked me why I was scared in the sleep. I told him my dream. Mentioned my power to tell the death of the person by just looking into his eyes. And our friend Amresh died in front of me despite my warning him.

Bhaskar said, “Such weird ideas can come only in dreams”.

“ This is true in my case. I can tell your death by just looking into your eyes.” Satish told Bhaskar.

“Arey, just now I woke you up from a dream and you are saying you have the power to predict one’s death by just looking into his eyes,” Bhaskar said.

“It is okay if you don’t believe it. But I have got that power.” I said.

“Okay. Tell me when I am going to die.” Bhaskar.

“Let me see in your eyes,” I said and in a short time, I was staring into Bhaskar’s eyes. After 3-4 minutes of looking into his eyes, I started sweating. Bhaskar realized that I was terrified.

“Do not worry. If you can not know the death, nobody loses anything. Forget about it. But please, don’t fool anyone this way.”

“No, Bhaskar. I could see that you will die very soon, in few hours.” I told.

Bhaskar was shaken up. He wiped perspirations on his face. And all of a sudden, Bhaskar was getting strangulated. He was getting choked. I was also horrified. Bhaskar was trying to say something but his voice was getting muffled. The movement of his legs and hands stopped. And he was no more. Soon the police arrived and tried taking me along to the police station. I was pleading. “I have not done anything. We were good friends”. The police were firm and they were carrying me with them. I was shouting. But no one was ready to listen to me.”

Chandu entered the room. He found me screaming in my sleep.  He shook me to wake me up. I was awakened. When I realized that that was just a dream, I was relieved.

I got freshened up. I saw that Chandu was smiling at himself. I asked Chandu what made him laugh.

“You were kicking vehemently. You must have had really a horrible dream.”

I told him the dream.

Then he said,” What, looking into eyes and telling the death of the person. Absolutely good imagination.”

I could not bear this ridiculing the power which I had.

I dared Chandu that was a dream but I was sure of predicting death by looking into the eyes.

“Ok. Tell me my death.” Chandu looked at me.

I looked back and stared into his eyes. After 3-4 minutes I was terrified. I wiped my forehead. “You are going to die just now Chandu.” Before I could complete my sentence, Chandu was gasping for breath and in no time he was dead. Police arrived at the scene and started pulling me along with them. I was shouting but no one was paying attention. I was made to enter the van. I was throwing my hands and legs. 

And then only Dilip woke me up. Dilip  said, “looks like you had a bad dream.”

Satish, there is flash news. Our group members Amresh in Delhi, Bhaskar in Chennai, and Chandu in Kolkata were strangulated. All of them are dead.”

I was shocked to hear the news.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Satish shut down the operating system, closed the notebook and went for lunch.

“Why do you take so much time to come when you are called? The food has been arranged on the table and it gets cold by the time you start eating. What is the use of serving hot food?” mother complained.

“Aai, I wanted to complete writing one paragraph of my new story. If I break in between, the link is lost. And then it is very difficult to continue with the flow of the story.”

“Oh! Great story writer. How many stories you have written so far !  Just writing stories is not enough. It must be meaningful. It must be accepted by the literary world. Anyway. Now I have warmed the food again. So please finish your lunch first.

What time did you sleep last night? I saw lights on in your room when I got up for water at around two o’clock. What were you doing? Writing only?” mother put a question to Satish.

“Yes, Aai. I got a brilliant idea last night and I wanted to put it down immediately.”

“Satish, you have given up Engineering studies to pursue your hobby of writing short stories. You want to make a career in writing. Fine. But what have you achieved during last one year? So many stories you have written. Each friend of yours whenever he or she visits you, you force upon them your new stories. Sometimes they genuinely give you their feedback. But many times they do not find them interesting.  Satish, tell me. How many stories have you submitted to different publication houses so far? None of them ever got accepted.  Every time you submit your story, you are in high spirits. You are so sure that the new story would be published. Your mood is sustained till you receive a message from publishing house ‘this time your story is unsuccessful.’” Mother kept a glass of water near Satish.

“No. I don’t want to discourage you. But I am putting facts in front of you. You take so much efforts to write a story. So many times you rewrite them. You make your friends read them. Discuss with them. Make some changes if you find it necessary. And when you send them to publishing houses, they send you a message of rejection. I feel you are wasting your energy. It will be better if you take up a job.”

Satish was disappointed that his mother who supported him with his ideas, appreciated his creativity so long, had lost her patience.                                                   

“But this time I have a very brilliant idea. I am sure nobody has written such a marvelous story so far. Aai, this will be a story appreciated by young and old, poor and rich. Everybody. It will draw attention of one and all. You will see the result very soon.”

“Satish, I hope so. You must get recognition soon.”

Satish finished his lunch quickly. Rushed to his study room. Opened  the laptop and started typing his ideas.

In the evening, Latika, his good friend came to his house. She was close to him since their school days. She was working in a multi-national firm as an executive. She appreciated Satish’s efforts. She had faith in his creative ability. She was usually the first person to whom Satish would show his work.

As expected, Latika was given new story to read. “This is going to topple the literary world. Latika, I want you to read this story carefully and give me your feedback honestly.”  Satish pulled one chair near the laptop and opened the file to enable her to read his new creation.

“Satish, Latika has just entered the house. Let her have some water. I will make tea for her. Do not just embarrass her by making her read your new story.” Mother looked at Latika and tried to drag her into the kitchen. But Latika ignored mother and started reading the story. Satish was watching her face for the reaction. As she went on reading, Satish was getting more anxious about her feedback. Slowly Latika’s face started brightening up.  Satish could not hold his patience. He started looking out of the window to hide eager expressions on his face. After few minutes of reading, Latika turned towards Satish. “Wonderful , Satish. This is too good. Just a few suggestions. Otherwise the story is absolutely fascinating. It smoothly glides the reader till the end and finally a superb climax. Very nice. I would rate this as your finest work so far. Make the changes and send it to the publisher. They can not reject this one.”

Mother came with the tea for three of them.

“Aai, Have you read this story?” Latika asked mother while picking up her cup of tea.

“No. He does not believe us. He needs some friends like you to give feedback.” Mother remarked smilingly.

“But Aai, this is really an extra-ordinary piece of work. Just superb. Satish says this is going to create waves in literary world.” Latika said while sipping tea.

“Satish always feels that everything he writes is outstanding. But what he thinks and what the experts think do not coincide. Whatever he has written so far was disapproved by the publishers. Why do you think this time it is going to be different?” mother posed a question to Latika. Of course, she did not have any answer to this.

“You will come to know very soon. I really feel this is a great work.”

Satish was little embarrassed to hear both good and bad about his literary skills.

After making the suggested changes, Satish sent his story to one of the publishers. As the days passed by Satish was getting impatient waiting for the mail for selection of his story for publication. Two weeks passed. Satish was losing his nerves.  No communication was received.

And after three weeks a mail came. That was an intimation of disapproval. Satish was shattered. His mother was literally in tears. When Latika came to know about denial  of this story, she rushed immediately to Satish and tried to console him. Latika said, “There must be some mistake on part of publisher. This certainly deserves selection.  May be the number of stories to be selected was already over. Unfortunately, our story only had to go out. ”

“Latika, I told you, however good we might find this story, it does not match with publisher’s thinking.  So inevitable was to happen-the non acceptance.” Mother said in a dejected tone. “I feel, Satish should stop writing stories. That does not seem to be his cup of tea.” And tears flowed down mother’s eyes.

Latika said “Satish, Don’t feel bad. Anyway, we will send this story to another publisher. Let us try our luck there.”

Latika selected another publisher and made Satish send his story there. Again the waiting for the communication from the publisher was making Satish, Latika and the mother  very uneasy. As the days were passing, the hopes were dying rapidly.

And the mail came to Satish’s inbox. That was a congratulatory letter for selection of his story for publication. Satish was on cloud nine. Mother and Latika were extremely happy.

Mother thanked God and offered naivaidyam to him.

After a week Satish received yet another stunning  letter.  Another publisher had shown interest in his other short stories stating that his published short story had received raving reviews. It was in great demand. So they wanted to offer him a big amount to have rights for publishing all of his short stories in the form of a book. Some news channels gave news to the world about the phenomenal success of the short story writer. Satish had received the deserved recognition. He was a celebrity then.

Reading Time: 7 minutes

This was also published onTwist and Twain.

Shakuntala was holding her mother’s hand and was moving in the crowded fair which was set up in a village far away from hers. She had put on a new frock and was very excited to be in the fair where a lot of people had gathered. Many shops were set up selling a variety of toys.

There were joy rides such as giant wheel, merry go round etc. Ready- made clothes were on sale. Many stalls were also there vending eatables. Shakuntala was tempted to get some sweet eatables. She expressed her desire to her mother. Mother promised to buy her some things a little later. They were moving from shop to shop looking at different items which were displayed as mother was not able to make up her mind. The crowd was getting denser and denser. Many children had come to the fair with their parents or only with mothers as their fathers were busy earning bread for the day.

Shakuntala’s mother warned her to be extra careful and not to leave her hand. “See. The crowd is getting more and more. If you get lost in the crowd, it will be impossible to trace you. So Shaku, walk very close to me holding my hand.”

They came in front of a toy shop. Shaku told her mother to buy a small doll for her. Mother asked the shopkeeper for the price of some dolls. Shaku was already in dreamland with her doll. She was imagining playing hide and seek with the doll. But the cost was exorbitant. Mother told Shaku to wait till they find some affordable doll. Shaku was an understanding girl. She did not persist with her demand hoping to see an affordable doll in nearby shop. So they moved on. When they were in front of another toy shop, mother stopped and asked for the price of a nice small doll. She found that the price was within her budget. She told the keeper to pack that doll. Shaku was very happy and was again in dreamland playing with the doll.

And all of a sudden, there was a big commotion. Everybody started running here and there. “Fire. Run for your life. Leave the place immediately.” A stall had caught fire and big flames of fire were engulfing whatever came in their embrace. The already over-crowded fair was totally disrupted. The whole surroundings were filled with cries and screaming. A complete chaos prevailed.


India Market
Bustling market at night


Shaku could not keep herself with her mother. When everybody was running to go away from fire, Shaku was going in the direction of fire. Her mother was looking for Shaku. But the loads of crowds pushed her away and she had no control of herself. She kept shouting “Shaku……………..Shaku” but to no avail. Shaku was calling out “Aai……………A..a..i” for her mother. But she could not hear the calls. Desperately mother was searching for Shaku. Just then a big burning log of wood fell on her. Some persons rushed to save her but the fire took her in its embrace and she died instantly.

Here Shaku was crying and looking for her mother running every where. The toy shops were turned in to ashes. When Shaku came in front of the shop, she found one half burnt doll lying in one corner which Shaku picked up. She got the doll but she was not able to find her mother. Shaku was crying. Thousands of persons were around but her mother was not to be found anywhere. She cried incessantly. LAXMI an eunuch draped in lady attire noticed Shaku was crying all alone in this chaotic situation. She took pity on her. Laxmi went to Shaku and enquired about her mother. When she heard that Shaku had missed her mother, she asked her name and address so that she could be reached home. But Shakuntala could not give Laxmi her name or address of her residence as this was the first time she had come out of her house with mother from a distant village.

LAXMI looked for Shaku’s mother all around but failed to trace her. Laxmi was confused as to how to handle the situation. She consoled Shaku, told her that they would search for her mother both together. Laxmi showered motherly love on this just found child. It was getting dark then. Shakuntala’s eyes had turned dry due to continuous weeping. LAXMI gave her a vada-pav to eat. Hungry Shkuntala grabbed it and ate it hurriedly. After this she was sleepy. LAXMI took Shakuntala in her lap trying to put her to sleep. Laxmi felt the emotions of a mother springing up from within. She imagined of her own child in her lap even though she knew that she could not bear a child in this birth. Now she was in love with this child. Laxmi was afraid of finding the child’s mother. It occurred to her that as soon as this child found her own mother, it would leave her instantly and go away with mother to her own house. Laxmi hoped that this child stayed with her. That would change her life entirely. She prayed to God that the child’s mother should not be found. And God answered her prayers.

Waiting till it got completely dark and the commotion had calmed down, LAXMI gave up her search for the child’s mother and brought Shakuntala to her house, a hutment in the corner of the village. In the night only she wound up her belongings and left the village where everybody knew her as a eunuch. Under the cover of darkness she proceeded to another village where nobody would know her sex identity. She carried the child with her giving the child a new identity as her own child acting as widowed father.

In the morning Laxmi dressed as a man and introduced himself as Shaku’s father. He tried convincing Shaku that her biological mother was dead in the fire and now he would take care of her as her father. Shakuntala refused to talk to Laxmi. But after a couple of days, Shakuntala experienced the affection of Laxmi as father. Slowly Shaku accepted the food cooked by Laxmi. One morning Laxmi asked her how he should call her. Shaku told Laxmi “my mother used to call me SHAKUNTALA. You may call me Shaku.”

Laxmi told Shaku that the next day he would take her to a school. He warned her that she had to go to school and study hard. She should become an educated lady.

Next day Laxmi took Shaku to the nearby school and admitted her in the name of Shakuntala and herself as Shaku’s father.

Shakuntala’s new life started going to school. Laxmi looked after Shaku very well. He provided her with clothes, school books and offered her food cooked with full affection.

Slowly, Shakuntala forgot about her own mother and Laxmi too forgot about her sexual deficiency. But Shakuntala used to feel odd about her father Laxmi. She used to find that Laxmi was not a normal man. Nevertheless she loved Laxmi very much.

The days passed into months and months passed into years. Shakuntala turned into a brilliant student. Passed her school exams with excellent marks. She even came first in school in the board examination. She was so happy that from school she went home running and held Laxmi with both the hands.

“Baba, I am so happy. I stood first in school. You will have to accompany me to school to receive the prize. Our Principal has told me to bring the parents to the function of prize distribution. You are coming to school with me.”

“Oh. I am so glad. We will buy a new frock for you. You wear that and go for prize distribution. I will not come. I am not feeling well.” Shakuntala was disappointed. But she knew why Laxmi was not ready to come to school with her. She knew Laxmi was not like the father of her friends. He was different from other men.

She entered the college for further studies. Laxmi acting as a man, fulfilled all the duties as father. Laxmi took some labourer job and ensured that Shakuntala did not face shortage of money for college studies. Shakuntala completed her graduation and then joined a company as an executive. The father and daughter binding of love got stronger day by day. Now Shakuntala insisted that Laxmi stopped working and manage the house and take full rest at home.

And one day Shakuntala brought one of her friends home to introduce to her father. Prakash was a very cultured young man working in her office. Shakuntala introduced her father to Prakash.

“Baba, this is my friend Prakash. He is working in my company.”

“Nice to meet you Baba.” Prakash said.

“I am also happy to meet you. Where do you stay?” Laxmi answered in his hoarse voice.

Prakash was a bit upset over Laxmi’s voice and manner of speaking. He found Shakuntala’s father’s behaviour a little odd. He felt her father resembled a eunuch. But Prakash did not make his impressions very apparent.

“Shaku is a nice girl. We know each other for quite some time. I want to marry her. We want your permission for that. “

“Do you really love her?” Laxmi asked.

“Yes. I love her very much. I will keep her happy throughout our life.” Prakash opened his heart out.

Laxmi delighted by Prakash’s seeking permission, whole heartedly gave his consent.

And one day Shakuntala and Prakash were married. Laxmi performed the KANYADAAN of Shakuntala and got a heavenly pleasure. Laxmi felt very happy that despite her different sexual orientation, she could get the opportunity of doing kanyadaan.

After Shakuntala left her present house to move into another house to stay with Prakash, LAXMI felt terribly lonely. He could not bear the separation from his daughter. Moreover, he had sensed that Prakash had suspected his sexual orientation as male. Laxmi did not want any trouble in Shakuntala’s life due to his different sexual orientation. He decided to end his life.

One evening Shakuntala received a sad news of her father committing suicide. Shakuntala was very upset. She remembered Laxmi’s sacrifices for her education. She recollected how her father had suffered for her bringing up a better way. She missed her father very badly.

Shakuntala’s married life was going very satisfactorily. And one day she disclosed to Prakash that he was going to be a father very soon. Both of them were very happy.

But one morning Shakuntala got up very upset. Prakash noticed that. He asked for the reason. Shakuntala said, “I had very bad dream. In my dream my father came and smilingly he announced that he is going to take rebirth as my child.”

“But is not that good? Your father is taking rebirth as our child. That means we are going to get a boy. I am very happy.”

Shakuntala thought “only if my father was my real father, I also would have been happy. But actually my father was a eunuch. He just brought me up.” She appealed to her father,” My dear father, I love you very much. I always remember you. But I do not want your rebirth as my child. I do not want an eunuch as my child.”

{This story is based on the Indian assumption of a person after his death taking rebirth at his will and with the same gender as before.}

Reading Time: 3 minutes


Satish looked at the watch. It was 5:30 in the evening. The soft sound of rain drops on the roof had got milder. He adjusted the blinds on the window glass. Now he could see out onto the road.

The road was glittering as it was wet and was reflecting vehicles moving speedily with headlights on.  Little wind was making the trees sway. The twilight made the atmosphere adorable. It occurred to Satish that  he was in Toronto for more than a week now. He came here to meet his school friend, Ramesh, who had migrated to Canada soon after his Engineering some 10 years ago. After  communication over the phone and the emails with  Ramesh, Satish got into the Air India plane to Toronto. He was received by Ramesh and his wife and was driven down to Ramesh’s house. A nice cozy room in the bungalow, was allotted to Satish. Ramesh had met Natasha in his office in Toronto and after a prolonged courtship they had got married five years ago. The happily married couple took care of Satish and made him comfortable. Both used to go for work early in the morning separately in individual cars leaving Satish alone at home. In the evenings after their return, they used to drive Satish out to see Toronto. On Saturday & Sunday the whole day they spent together visiting Lake Ontario, C N Tower and other places. Satish became familiar with the area too soon.

When the drizzle stopped, Satish stepped out of the house to take a stroll in the near by area. The roads were wet.  Temp. was around 6 degrees centigrade.  The breeze blowing at 40 kph added  extra chill to the atmosphere.  With all the woolens given by Ramesh put on, Satish was enjoying his evening walk. 

He was using the sidewalk. The speedily rushing vehicles were making Satish a little uncomfortable. He was watching every house as he was passing by. The amazing architecture of these small houses was astounding. But Satish noticed that every house had some weird thing kept in the window or at the door of the house. Satish realized that Halloween day was just at the week end. Some houses had kept some balloons with ghastly mouth and eyes painted on them. Other houses had put cobwebs on the walls or windows to give creepy looks. In front of some houses the cemetery was displayed with few tombs. Full size skeleton was made to sit on a chair in some houses. Small dolls dressed as ghosts were hung upside down in some houses  spooking the surrounding.

The entire atmosphere was eerie.

Satish got little upset and had a terrifying feeling watching all these horrifying articles. He decided to take some rest in the nearby garden where he had visited during his evening walks earlier 3-4 times.

The garden had stretches of lawns and big maple trees. Some benches were kept for resting in the garden. Satish chose one bench under a tree and made himself comfortable. But the ghostly skeleton in the chair was not going out of his mind.

The light was fading fast. So Satish decided to go back home after a little rest. Meanwhile he saw a young lady approaching. She was tired and also scared. As she came close to Satish and said “It is very cold isn’t it.  I am so tired. I wanted to take some rest before moving further. Is it okay if I sit on this bench please?” Satish moved himself saying “yes. Yes. Please. By all means”. The lady made herself comfortable next to Satish. He felt little awkward. 

But before he could get up, the girl said “During the fall the trees change colors. It looks so beautiful. Yellow, red, orange leaves besides the green leaves.Very nice. But this festival of Halloween makes me very nervous. Every house keeps some ghastly looking things at the entrance. It is so horrifying.”

“Yes. It is really spooky. Some houses have even kept a full size skeleton near their door”

“Oh God! I am really horrified” the lady said.

“I saw a small baby size doll hung upside down with her hair flowing down” Satish added.

“My God. So horrible! Did it look like this?” saying this the lady got up and rapidly moved closer to the tree and hung herself upside down on the branch of the tree which was 8-10 feet above the ground.

Seeing this Satish’s throat turned dry. He could not utter a word. He got up and started running out of the garden on to the road and rushed towards his house.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

I finished my practical and got out of the college. I was heavy-hearted. Darkness completely filled my heart. No thoughts were entering my mind. PITCH DARKNESS. I was not seeing anything. Total vacuum  everywhere.  No. I was not walking. I was being dragged. My legs were taking me uncontrolled.

It was winter. So the days were short. It got dark quite early. Very gloomy just as it was in my heart. I saw only the blackness in the sky. I could not see the stars. The entire vacuum in my mind was filled with darkness. The public on the road were walking. I was walking along with them. They stopped. I also stopped. Probably we came at the road crossing. I was not able to raise my head. So much disappointed. Some how dared to look up.  The light was red. I sighted a big hoarding near by. It read.


And these lines pushed me into the ocean of depression. Suddenly, the road sign changed its colour. It turned green. The public moved. They started walking. I also started walking. Again I looked down. It was impossible to look up.

Somebody put his hand on my shoulder. He asked” Have you seen Khandekar?”

Just to answer him I said,”No.” Not interested in knowing who was asking. How would I know about Khandekar? Can one notice some person in darkness?

I heard some announcement on public address system. I realized I was on the railway platform. In a short time a train arrived. I boarded the train without thinking. I stood in the door only. The train started. Cool breeze started biting my ears, digging my heart. I found it annoying. I was looking out of the door. But I could not see anything. Vacuum. Total vacuum.  

The train stopped. Some people got off. Few boarded the train. I did not move. I realized lights on the platform were glowing brightly except one. One light was flickering. It was writhing in pain. Probably one of his ambitions was not fulfilled. So he was very uneasy.

Train started. Again cool breeze started biting. Again it began digging my heart.

When the train stopped again, Uncontrollably I got down. I took the stairs. Got off the bridge without thinking. Traced the road along with the public. I crossed few squares. But I was not seeing anything. I was drowning deep into ocean of depression. So deep that the ray of hope won’t reach there ever. I was walking. Soon I entered a chawl. Climbed two floors. Came up to my room. Took out the key and opened the lock. Pushed the door open. Entered the room. Put on the light. The room was illuminated. Took out my clothes. Changed into house clothes. The tiffin from the mess was waiting for me. But I did not pay attention to it. I sat on the cot. Was not in a mood to even study.

I remembered the flickering light on the platform, its writhing in pain.

Slowly I remembered my house in the village.

Are you going to send Satish to Mumbai for higher studies? He secured good marks in SSC.” Teacher of my school asked my father.

“Yes. Of course. We are thinking on those lines. But we are not able to resolve the problem of his staying few colleges in Mumbai have hostels but they seem to be full. One of my friend’s relatives informed us. We are looking for a rented room.”

“There is no shortage of money for you. If you give some deposit, one can get a good room.” Teacher said.

“All this property is for Satish only. As such, studies are not necessary for my son. He does not have to work to earn money.”

Satish thought,“I was a good student at the school and my teacher wanted me to take up higher studies. He always encouraged me to go to Mumbai and take a degree.”

When through efforts of my teacher, we hired a room in a chawl and my admission in a college was taken, I started packing my baggage to move to Mumbai, my mother was upset. She was worried about my separation from her. She started weeping repeatedly. My father told her that was just a matter of 5 years. After completing his education, Satish will be back and will stay with us forever. Moreover he will be with us during Diwali as well as summer vacation during those years also.

After he completes his education, we will start a factory and Satish will be here managing that. So have patience.”

And I came to Mumbai. Adapted to new environment of college. Slowly I got mixed with the boys of city. My interest in studies increased. Five years were over. I got my Engineering degree. I was an Engineer now.

Then someone suggested to complete a six month post graduation course which would help me in managing the factory. I talked to my father about this. Very unwillingly, after a lot of persuasion he agreed and said “Satish, I must see you here the next day of end of your exam.  Promise?”

“Yes, Baba. I will be there the very next day.”

I joined the course and started attending it regularly.

Meanwhile, China attacked India. State of Emergency was declared. Once I met my professor from the college. He suggested to join army. He said “If you don’t join services now, when our country needs you, your education is worthless. “

And those thoughts of joining Army influenced me completely. I decided certainly to join Army . But I thought of my parents. I needed to seek their permission. Immediately I wrote a letter to him asking for consent to my decision.

Immediately I received a reply.

“Dear Satish,

I was very much upset to read your idea. Do you think you know so much that you can take your own decision? I have given you so much education. Is it only for sending you to Defense Forces? Country is in danger. But are you the only young man in this country? Don’t be over-wise. We have pinned all our hopes on you. Your mother has so many  plans for you. Are you going to bring them down by such a decision? Nothing doing.  You come down home immediately. Forget about the current course you have joined. I must see you here tomorrow. I am waiting for you.



And it crushed all my ambitions.

The letter from my father was staring at me. I picked it up. Read it repeatedly. I lay on the cot.  I did not know when I slept.

Next day I had to go to college early in the morning. I dressed up in a disappointed mood. Only mechanically I attended the college and then the practical.

Now I was back from college lying on the cot. I once again read the letter from Baba.  After facing the conflicting thoughts again and again for sometime, I dozed off.

When I opened my eyes it was dawn and got up. I realized my Baba’s letter torn into pieces, was lying in the corner of the bed. I had a disgusting feeling about my father’s selfish ideas. But I was not disappointed now. The sky was getting clear with rays of rising sun. My mind was also full with bright ideas. I was soaring high. Instead of getting pulled down in the ocean of depression, I was being pushed up.

Quickly I got ready. I satisfied my hunger by having the tiffin of the previous day along with the tea. I came out of the room. Locked the door and started walking briskly looking straight up. My eyes refused to bend down. I was watching hoardings of different products. But I was seeing myself in Army uniform operating some big weapons.  In short time, I reached the station. I boarded the train which arrived in a short time. I got the window seat. The train started. Cool breeze blowing biting my ears. But it was not annoying me.  After a couple of stations, I got off the train. Came out of the platform hurriedly. I did not have to stop at the road crossing as green signal was waiting for me to come. I reached the Army recruitment centre. And entered the office with confidence.